Sunday, December 10, 2006

Miscellaneous: Birthday Girl

Friday was Rosemarie’s birthday. Part of the gala celebration was ceding control of the TV to her.

We began the week with Wordplay, the winning documentary about crossword creators and fanatics. By the end of the movie Rosemarie, who tackles Saturday’s New York Times puzzle in ink, had jumped out of her seat and was shouting answers at the screen. She has now made it her goal to enter the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament at least once. Considering that her last such goal was to appear as a contestant on Jeopardy!, Stamford here we come.

She also wanted to revisit one of her favorite films, 1933’s Design for Living. Bohemian artists and longtime pals Fredric March and Gary Cooper both fall for Miriam Hopkins. The problem is that Hopkins falls for both of them. Ernst Lubitsch directs, with Noel Coward’s play adapted by Ben Hecht. That’s quite the writing combination, one graceful and sophisticated, the other brash and voluble, both of them as witty as all get-out. I’d draw a parallel, but modesty forbids.

For once, the birthday was not the signature event of Rosemarie’s week, or even her Friday. She delivered her presentation How Not To Do It: Scientific Misconduct in the Cinema, to her largest audience to date. Based on a paper she prepared for the Society of Research Administrators International, it uses movies to illustrate ethical dilemmas faced by scientists in matters like animal testing (Deep Blue Sea), human trials (Extreme Measures), and reporting conclusions (Hollow Man). Not many academic lectures refer to both the German Expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Diane Ladd’s performance in Carnosaur.

What kills me is that in her presentation, Rosemarie has to set up film clips. I wanted to be the first one in this marriage to do that. Damn.