I do not get it. Why is so much of the West such a big fun of a theocrat? I grant that this guy is opposed to the Chinese government (good in civil rights terms) but is he not just another theocrat (bad in civil rights terms). So why is he so popular? Perhaps because he is just today's loser?
I mentioned earlier plans for last Saturday. It has another few days to run, and you should see it. If there is a show that high school students would love to perform it is this one. The male lead is superb - he sings, dances, and acts brilliantly. The woman who plays Rizzo has a great voice and presence. The choreography is amazing and surprising at times - I loved a little Travolta/Pulp Fiction reference at one point. Some of the staging just makes one giggle. (The cars are done with great ingenuity.) Yet another triumph for the London high school project, truly a Grand idea. I do not know why they do not do such a thing in conjunction with the Canadian Stage Company in Toronto. Seems to me it is likely the territoriality of the high school programs, and the conceit that each of the blessed artsy high schools can do it on its own. And so they get audiences that are just the families and friends. Oh I just went and looked. The remaining run is deservedly sold out! Sorry to have tempted you.
Do you assert that an artist ought to receive special treatment? Would an ingenious Nazi deserve to live out his life in peace? What does the special treatment of artists have to do with democracy? Explain what ingeniousness, filmmaking, and democracy have to do with your proposed rule.
It almost seems as if Levy simply does not understand the Polanski case at all. False consciousness certainly helps him take his position, I suppose. There is a lot of bizarre special pleading going on, especially in Europe, where rape appears not to be considered much of a crime, and flight from justice appears to be OK.
My weekend was a bit sucked up by other things than the Amazing Race and Dancing With The Stars. Catching up with the latter last night was brutal, as my bicycle repair class in the evening forced me to watch the show from 11pm to 1am. So first The Amazing Race. I just love the ingenuity of picking out local skills that will put the teams out of their comfort zones. The mud-gathering, the duck-herding. ABC is doing a lot with the Amazing Race people to set up a story, or many stories; I especially liked the theme, I suspect staged, of the poker players pretending basically to be social workers and getting exposed. I loved the gay brothers and the staging of the interest of the hetero poker players being interested in the gay brothers. For all that I love the structure. Having everyone fly desperately to arrive as contestants on a Japanese game show surely let ABC deal with a Japanese network for a common show. And watching people walk in Tokyo was a riot. Now on to DWTS, another case of comfort zones. I won't be watching it live (Eastern Time Zone) this fall but I love it. I find stunning how the judges can give wildly different assessments and the same score. Or at best or worst a marginally different score. I think the standouts were those scored last night as standouts and worry a bit about who will be tossed tonight. I want to keep most of the Slavs, who seem the most fun! Anyway, the season has begun!
There has been SO much communication about the current crisis. Paul Kedrosky has a great discussion at MIT. This is smart people who look closely at things - not like the people you have likely looked at. Great discussion. The show is interesting - Simon responds SO well to the self-important Seattle type at 25 minutes. And not surprisingly both respondents agree to the continued hand-waving. The following question - at what point do we restrict leveraging, Simon answers interestingly.
After reading a LOT of articles and posts on the arrest of Roman Polanski in the last while, I've concluded, after starting out with NO real opinion, that I have no sympathy at all. Howard Kurtz provides a nice summary. I rather like the idea of his having been hoist on his own petard, and the hubris of him and his legal team.
"Roman Polanski's attorneys may have helped provoke his arrest by complaining to an appellate court this summer that Los Angeles prosecutors had never made any real effort to arrest the filmmaker in his three decades as a fugitive, two sources familiar with the case told The Times. "The accusation that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office was not serious about extraditing Polanski was a small part of two July court filings by the director's attorneys. But it caught the attention of prosecutors and led to his capture in Switzerland on Saturday, the sources said."
And Kate Harding is cited regarding the poor man's sad exile:
which in this case means owning multiple homes in Europe, continuing to work as a director, marrying and fathering two children, even winning an Oscar, but never -- poor baby -- being able to return to the U.S.)
Megan McArdle has a great response to one astonishing, and likely not unusual, European reaction:
The French, too, have forgiven him of course: "Seeing him alone, imprisoned while he was heading to an event that was due to offer him praise and recognition is awful. He was trapped," French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said at a news conference Sunday. "In the same way there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America, that has just shown its face." You would think we'd busted him for unpaid parking tickets. The guy drugged a thirteen year old girl in order to rape her. Perhaps the French have some sophisticated, European point of view on these things that I, with my puritan ancestry, simply cannot rise to.
I would say in some way of course that his arrest is a suitable lifetime achievement award in the end. Unfortunately I fear the extradition may never happen.
I was lucky enough last year about this time to have decided to drive to a business meeting in New Hampshire, and be cruising through New England. Once CBC Radio was no longer available on the radio, I switched over to the local NPR stations(s) (those stations seem to have fairly small ranges), and wound up listening to this great episode of This American Life, which latercaused me to go listen online to its predecessor, "The Giant Pool of Money". Roughly on its anniversary, we now have an assessment of the situation one year later. The assessment is very interesting and it may cause me to go listen again to all three (this is a bit daunting, as each is about an hour long, but thoroughly entertaining) Personally I think there is a bit too much emphasis on the role of the global glut of savings, and too little on a number of government policies, particularly the emphasis on increasing the homeownership rate, especially among minorities (not really mentioned at all), and how this was driven by many in Congress with apparent ties to Countrywide (one of the popular promoters of high-risk loans). I suppose this is natural on NPR, as is the little moral story at the end about life changes. I'm skeptical, but not disbelieving. Well worth listening at least to the current episode!
I was poking through my old books and found Burke's "The Day The Universe Changed" I was not induced to read it, but opined after the great TV shows. And of course YouTube got me going! This is one of hte best episodes. How useless medicine was until the late 19th Century and how great Ben Franklin was.
From the Post. No question this is a nice guy with good intentions. I would claim this is why I made the mistake of voting for him once. But how appallingly maudlin is this?
Why was Mr. Miller’s family crying? Surely not for sadness; there is lots of prestige in the mayoralty, but not for those who stay at home. No, those were tears of joy. David Raymond Miller, 50, was saying that he picks his family over politics. He will be around to go to more of Simon’s soccer games and help him with his homework. “I get that as a kid of a politician who never saw his father,” Councillor Adam Vaughan (Trinity-Spadina) said after the speech. Mr. Vaughan has two children, aged 11 and five. “I get that as a parent who aches every time bedtime comes around and I’m not with my kids.”
Yes but get me the barfbag. This egotist decided he needed to be mayor at whatever the cost to his family. Nobody forced him to run for mayor. Let's not get stupidly weepy seeing him welcomingly go away. I am sure he is a nice human being. Likely why I voted for him once. But this was a particular howler!
“I have accomplished what I set out to do,’’ said the mayor. ‘‘Today, every major policy that was at the foundation of my  campaign has been accomplished or is well underway.”
Even in his second campaign, having NEVER done it in his first tenure, he committed to keeping property tax increases below inflation. He NEVER managed it. I hope his family is happy to have him. He seems a nice guy. I suspect he won't pay much attention to his job in the next year and that is likely to be good for Toronto. And for his family. So let us all rejoice.
Never has he been more united with other countries in the West (re: Iran). Indeed that is deadly true. Never has the USA stood more hypocritically in simply agreeing to blow wind, as the rest of the West has done consistently. . Bush's problem was that people were afraid he would actually do something. No fears from this lad. Blah blah blah.
Can Someone Please Tell This Clown to Stop his Windbaggery?
CBC switches to Obama again, now in Pittsburgh, making absurd claims about how great he is. I really wonder how smart this is. At some point people will figure out that 90% of what you say is nonsense. Far better just to keep the mouth shut. But not if you are an utter narcissist.
Frabjous Joy - Just a little more than a year more of Millerbabble
Toronto's mayor, David Miller, has announced that he will not run to renew his mandate next fall. Now the question is which candidate I will be complaining about for the next many years. Hey, wait, that's not fair to me. I did not complain much about Mel Lastman, and came to view him as a giant after a couple of years of Miller.
I love the way the London, Ontario high schools co-operate to put on a show each fall with what they see as the top talent in the region. This year it is Grease and SillyWife and I will be watching it with Mr and Ms EclectEcon!
Today reporters gathered en masse at the opening of the 3-1-1 call centre at Metro Hall to ask Mayor David Miller what he knew about the audit mistake. Handlers placed him behind a plexiglass podium half-way up the tall pink granite staircase, and he took only a few questions. “The figure used during the strike was precisely accurate,” he said. “$140-million was the total we owed CUPE members in sick days.” As for the bigger number, he said, “I was aware that Mercer had made an error.”
Precisely accurate! Is this lying or is it completely unselfconscious self-deception? I especially love The Miller's response to motions from council to discuss this.
That motion goes to council for debate next week, though the mayor won’t be there; he’ll be in California at an environmental conference.
Could he possibly win another election? Maybe even John Tory could beat him now (hey, I like John Tory).
I saw this guy a couple of years ago in Toronto; slick, and empty. Refused to answer a great question about the orientation of human rights in the West as it was uncongenial to his position. Made fun of the idea of 'universal values' because they were Western. Pretty sickening performance. Ophelia finds a dandy excrescence of his awfulness.
The true liberal position would be to look carefully at those 'principles of our religion' and ask whether they are good principles or not, in secular, human, this-world terms. The true liberal position would be to know that the fact that something is 'forbidden according to the principles of our religion' is not necessarily a good reason to disapprove of it, much less to punish or ostracize or threaten it. According to the principles of some (and not a few) religions it is 'forbidden' for women to work, or travel without permission, or leave the house. Such 'principles' are bad principles and should not be obeyed. The true liberal position would be to realize that no one has managed to offer any real reason for homosexuality to be 'forbidden' or for Tariq Ramadan to be telling gay people that he doesn't agree with what they are doing.
What makes this guy such a magnificent sleazeball is he knows all the rhetorical slime that gets used in the West and plays it for all he can get.
I am sure that cognitive science can teach us a good deal. On the other hand, it was pretty clear that it had never occurred to him that, when it came to metaphor, reading someone like Northrop Frye would be a greater benefit to him than his particular discipline would be to us
I'd change 'would' to 'could' and point to these guys as a starting point for the discussion.
I have never understood the hand-wringing over dolphin bycatch; I do understand and care about the general bycatch problem, but for Pete's sake, should the tuna not get the same compassion? It turns out that dolphin-safe is pretty unsafe for any gazillions of other creatures. Southern Fried Science explain the disastrous results of selective compassion.
If you work out the math on this (and you don’t have to, because the environmental justice foundation did) , you find that 1 dolphin saved costs 382 mahi-mahi, 188 wahoo, 82 yellowtail and other large fish, 27 sharks, and almost 1,200 small fish.
A fair response would be, "Leave the tuna alone, too!", but even I am not likely to go there. The tuna don't care much about smaller fish. :-) What's your trade-off?
By imitating Trudeau, Ignatieff could recast himself as a leader with a bold vision for Canada
A bold vision we keep trying to roll back for its fatuity.
Love him or hate him – and millions hated him – Trudeau was respected as a leader.
When someone hates you I'd say any respect is likely based most on fear.
He was seen as genuine, a man not easily swayed by polls, a leader unafraid of tackling controversial issues, such as legalizing abortion.
Name ONE tough issue he held the line on that proved not to be disastrous.
He was internationally famous and he made Canadians believe we mattered on the world stage
Yes he was famous (see below) and looked a damned fool at the end of his career championing the Communists against Reagan.
And he had flair, dating a series of beautiful women and once performing a pirouette behind Queen Elizabeth's back.
A notorious womanizer, he became internationally famous for that. And wow he could pirouette!
You knew where Trudeau stood on issues.
That's right. I remember him winning an election campaigning against wage and price controls and then almost immediately imposing them as Prime Minister. Maybe we knew where he stood because we knew he was lying. I wonder sometime what world Trudeau fans inhabit. Sure he was a cool dude in an age when we ached stupidly for cool dudes in politics. But his policy legacy is far from positive (some of it of course from common cause with the NDP during a minority government). Ignatieff strikes me a a truly decent and thoughtful guy, with no embarrassing background in fascism (another feature of the beloved Trudeau) and a real commitment to civil rights and an awareness of the value of humanitarian intervention. The sad thing is that he seems to be leaving all that behind, which I suspect is the real Ignatieff, and turning into a statist, largely because he must do that to separate himself from Steven Harper. He is becoming too much like Trudeau. His most recent expostulations on his great campaign platform sound scarily reminiscent. I can see it now - more Foreign Investment Review, more National Energy Policy. Aaarrrggghhhhh! One thing I do agree with Hepburn on:
He championed causes deemed by others too sensitive to touch, such as same-sex equal rights.
Of course this is exaggeration. Neither was this issue too hard to touch, with much of the public already moving on it, but nor was Trudeau especially forceful on this front. That he moved anything at all (and it was only a little) is, however, commendable. It's easy to forget that Trudeau likely has NO major fan base in Canada now outside Toronto and maybe the Maritimes.
I think I do! And more deeply than you might imagine. Now I don't buy the tone here (I think it was very wise of Harper to avoid the day of the blowhards at the UN) but I think we mesh on content.
Nevertheless, far too many journalists followed Harper’s trail of stale doughnuts to Oakville. Canadian Press wrote a print story. Both Global National and CBC’s The National accorded it prime-time television coverage. The Toronto Star and Global TV criticized Harper for blowing off the opening of the United Nations General Assembly to do the tacky photo-op. However, some critical assessment is also needed of the Tim Hortons “story” itself.
Weir hits directly my main question.
As a registered Canadian corporation, will it be paying any additional tax to the Canadian government? Will it be relocating any facilities or jobs north of the border? Neither the Prime Minister nor Tim Hortons have even suggested any such benefits for Canada.
I imagine MAYBE they have moved some administrative jobs back to Canada, but it won't be many. The company is publicly traded and, so far as I know, its shareholders could live anywhere. So why should Canadians much care?
As far as I can tell, the only consequence of Tim Hortons’ reorganization is that it will pay less American tax. The US government taxes the global profits of US corporations, which had no effect on Tim Hortons when Canadian corporate taxes were a little higher than American corporate taxes. Now that Canadian corporate taxes are lower, it is better off as a Canadian corporation because it will pay the higher American tax rate only on its American profits.
Now I personally think corporate tax is highly regressive, and am surprised at these Progressive Economics people, but I thoroughly agree that the re-registration of Tim Horton's as a Canadian corporation is a piffle story at best. Still, I am pleased Harper did not go waste time on the blowhards in New York. UPDATE: You might get the feeling I don't think it much matters to Canada whether the company is owned by Canadians or Mauritanians. You'd be right.
I still miss Melissa. OK boring third-party boring performer performs boringly. Hope it is over soon. I think this guy is worse than boring - he seems close to offensive. Who can get bumped the first week? "There's only one one way to get in that club - suck". Penn Jillette made it. Tom DeLay survives! Too great! And I am pleased to see Ashley go rather than Micheal Irvin. Ashley Hamilton had the least real case for being in the competition so this elimination has some clear justice. What woman goes in this first round? (Meanwhile I watch Miley Cyrus and wonder this is what became of social conservatism. I think it is.) "You're a white middle-aged Republican and dancing comes naturally to you." Why cannot ABC bring the same skills to their News department? This has to be incredibly cheap entertainment. (Even including the magic of the Lion King.) And yet truly entertainment! I sure hope it is Macy who gets tossed tonight; she seems useless. Nice idea to do a small Swayze tribute. Woman knocked out is Macy. Yay! Excellent. I want to see the remaining women learn to salsa!
A pair of Christian hoteliers who argued with a Muslim guest have been charged with a "religiously aggravated" public order offence. Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang run the Bounty House Hotel in Aintree, Liverpool. The incident took place in March when a guest came down to breakfast in a hijab. It is alleged Mr Vogelenzang said the prophet Muhammad was a warlord. He denies the claim. It is also claimed that Mrs Vogelenzang described the hijab as a form of bondage. The guest complained to police and the couple will appear before Liverpool magistrates on December 8.
If the hotelier has an opinion I don't like I can stay somewhere else. The good news, I hope, is that the Brits will likely recognize how dim-witted this is, and it will start helping all of our Western societies to build the spine up a bit. We'll see. What a waste of time!
... I have read in a long time in my pleasurable trash reading. The author is writing in his persona as Inspector Charlie Priest about a billboard. "It was for Benetton. They make racing cars, I think, but I couldn't see the relevance of the picture."
Len was right! How could so many beautiful women do such dull salsa? And in the end it takes a Pole to do justice to this Latin dance and do a "hot smoking salsa"! On CBC'c "Overnight" last night I listened to a report about the importance of dancing in Poland so maybe this should be no surprise. This is not that report but is relevant. This IS that report. Highlights? Clearly Kelly Osbourne's waltz, as well as the Polish salsa. I find this one of the most entertaining "reality" shows as it actually tests positive skills to a degree. There are two sides here; there are the "celebrities" (most of whom were entirely new to me), who are out of their "comfort zone" but surely also competitive. There are the professional dancers, who have the task of trying to turn some ugly duckling dancers into swans. Bottom line - some eliminations tonight. I hope it does not take too much fun out of the future. I miss the Woz.
I had seen passing references to the hopeless unsuitability of said Egyptian to head any UN agency but had not realized there was real dissent in the works (having, I guess, given up on the UN as any sensible organization).
Her election marks a victory for Jewish groups, French intellectuals and press-freedom advocates who campaigned hard against Mr Hosni, depicting him as a longstanding practitioner of censorship and an anti-Semite. His chief offence in their eyes was a promise in the Cairo parliament last year to burn Hebrew books if any were found in the Egyptian national library.
An interesting coalition indeed. Thank you, French intellectuals! Less so, French politicians, though full credit to one diplomat.
Catherine Colonna, the French Ambassador to Unesco, was said by diplomats to have disobeyed President Sarkozy’s orders and voted for Ms Bokova.
The NY Times Economics blogs post very intelligently on the debate over harmonizing our consumption taxes, and larger general issues. The much-despised Brian Mulroney is one of the few Canadian Prime Ministers of my lifetime I consider to have done anything useful policy-wise. He drove two great policies - NAFTA and the GST. Both were presented by opposition groups as unacceptable, and neither was ever rolled back when that same opposition took power. (As a side point, Pierre Elliott Trudeau introduced and withdrew numerous policy initiatives and his successors had to take apart many of his stupid ideas, not nearly enough of them, though.) The NY Times blogger, Ian Austen, makes one very good point that seemed not to have been noticed back at the time Mulroney introduced the GST:
While most Canadians were not aware of it, the Goods and Services Tax replaced another federal tax: the 13.5 percent Manufacturers’ Sales Tax, which was charged on the wholesale level on goods and excluded the service sector of the economy. (The G.S.T. also replaced an 11 percent telecommunications tax.)
This allowed the opposition much rhetorical nonsense. It is an important fact that the GST is a VAT. There has long been pressure to bring the federal and provincial taxes together.
Then what explains the current outcries in British Columbia and Ontario? Businesses have long pushed the provinces to incorporate their sales taxes with the G.S.T., thereby creating what the federal government calls a “Harmonized Sales Tax.” Not only does the step reduce paperwork, the single tax also allows businesses to recover provincial sales taxes on inputs as they now do with the G.S.T. But with the exception of Quebec, most large provinces had been reluctant to take that advice until now. That’s mostly because it’s not an easy sell to voters. To increase its efficiency, the G.S.T. taxes far more products than provincial sales taxes and it also include services, an area largely untouched by current provincial sales taxes. Because of that expanded base, a report prepared for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce estimates that combining the two taxes boosts inflation by about 0.01 percent to 0.02 percent a year. The Toronto-Dominion Bank, however, estimates there will be an initial 0.7 percent rise in prices after the two provinces merge with the federal system and a 0.4 percent increase over the long term. But both the bank and the chamber of commerce agree that the impact on consumers will fall over time as companies pass along the savings they gain from recovering provincial sales taxes.
The main hits from the HST would not be hits on me; I do not plan to sell my house, ever, for example. It would be a major hit to a lot of people. It makes the taxes political dynamite, as pointed out, and McGuinty, Ontario's premier, will be especially vulnerable as one who so visibly joined the "Read My Lips" school of political campaigning and promising not to raise taxes, who of course do it first thing on being elected.
But the controversy generated by merely modifying Canada’s existing federal sales taxes will likely give pause to anyone in Washington considering the merits of launching such a scheme from scratch.
Chuck Liddell IS scary-looking and has a lot of trouble smiling! Donny Osmond is charming. Michael Irvin was mistreated. I have also noticed now that dancing is a bit like tennis - lots of Slavs! They pronounce better on DWTS than at tennis tournaments.
This is the night it starts again! And it seems even more mysterious to me who are the 'star' people and who are the dancers. This is the list of pairs. Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff Natalie Coughlin and Alec Mazo Mark Decascos and Lacey Schwimmer Tom DeLay and Cheryl Burke Macy Gray and Jonathan Roberts Ashley Hamilton and Edyta Sliwinska Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas Kathy Ireland and Tony Dovolani Michael Irvin and Anna Demidova Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough Chuck Liddell and Anna Trebunskaya Debi Mazar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Mya and Dmitry Chaplin Kelly Osbourne and Louis Van Amstel Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson Louie Vito and Chelsie Hightower The names of those I recognize to be 'star' people are : Tom DeLay, Melissa Joan Hart, Kathy Ireland, Michael Irvin, Kelly Osbourne, and Donny Osmond. I guess I will figure out in due course who are NOT the dancers. So all the stars are the first-mentioned members of the team. That might be the priniciple.
I had the privilege of living near Ottawa when Charlotte Whitton was the mayor. This was long before 'feminism' and I have never heard a negative thing about her time as mayor (unlike, for example, Ottawa's current mayor). I love the look on her face at the suggestion of kissing babies and her response regarding 'important men'. 'A whole swarm of them'.
The federal NDP has decided that the cause of social democracy will be advanced by positioning itself as the anti-tax party.
To a large degree this comes from the fatuity of the two major parties, with more or less indistinguishable platforms, and only the personal ambition of the leaders driving what little policy there is in this country. On the issue itself, I personally read a missive from one of the lobby groups I belong to (CARP), which I thought was intended to make me oppose McGuinty's decision to move to HST (I had not realized the provincial tax was not a VAT) and I came out of the argument in favor of the move. (And it WILL hurt, as there is a house sale in the future.)
I made a big deal about the intelligent writing in this song - what happens to the furniture and photographs progresses. Much the same thing happens to blame in this utterly classic and brilliant song. Listen closely for YOUR moral lesson. "That frozen concoction that helps me jang on". Genius.
Apparently Margaritaville rightly has a national anthem.
Yesterday's Wiretap featured pet insurance in the event of a rapture. Atheists, who will be left behind, are lined up to take care of your pet, which may or may not be left behind. I was/am amused but now through excessive blog reading find what it seems is independent confirmation of this business model! OK maybe not independent - possibly Goldstein's staff found this. i.e. this is out there in the world, not just in Jonathan Goldstein's brain! I particularly like the idea of atheists marketing to Christians on the grounds of the atheism, and the resulting assurance that they will be left behind with the dogs and cats when the rapture happens. You'd think at some point the ridiculousness of these religious beliefs (no not just Christians - they are funny but so are the others) would finally have an effect. Seems I am wrong. h/t Obscene Desserts
Unfortunately at this time we are not equipped to accommodate all species and must limit our services to dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and small caged mammals.
A computer belonging to alleged al Qaeda suspect Najibullah Zazi showed he had researched baseball and football stadiums and sites used in the recent Fashion Week event in New York City, law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com.
With the information we seem to have now I am certainly glad that the FBI got this guy.
More than twenty years ago, the local University radio station had a weekly women's music show, and this wonderful song was played every week, and so I tried to listen to the show every week for that single reason. The writing is stunning - I love the progression on the furniture and photographs. Well, I love everything about it.
(The video has little to do with the song, except perhaps for the brook metaphor.)
IMDB lists Wuthering Heights as among the stunning collection of films from that year. I have no wish to document this (I seriously doubt any movie year could ever again be so good) but I am watching Wuthering Heights and really impressed. The child actors are superb. I doubt anyone could improve on this.
Yeah, I use it sometime, and not elsewhere. In particular I am learning to give up on inserting the useless 'u' in 'our' endings. It adds no value. But this last week I was reading an enjoyably mischievous book, "The Act of Roger Murgatroyd". I was reading it as a result of a tip from Harriet Devine. The book itself is a wonderful trifle, a pastiche of Agatha Christie novels with suitable postmodern intrusions from Gilbert Adair. If you are male and you want Gilbert to entertain you I strongly suggest "The Dreamers" (where he gets a LOT of help from Eva Green). But back to the book. In the story there comes a turn that depends in a major way on the spelling of "behavio/ur". This passage caught my eye. "Then there are the Rolfes, who lived several years in Canada before Henry's misadventures in the operating-theatre brought him and Madge back, via the Riviera, tp dear old England. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always understood that the Canadians spell the American way, not the British." How subtle is Gilbert Adair? I think pretty subtle, in fact. At NO time in my life in school did I learn other than the 'our' spelling. Moreover, almost no living Canadian could read that passage without a degree of astonishment, I think. But I think Adair is right. The novel is set in the '30s. Our infatuation with spelling differently from the USAians is new (well, it swings back and forth). I believe I heard some of this one morning with Andy Barrie interviewing Catherine Barber, and I am quite sure from what Andy has said that he will see this post in the next day or two. Can he recall? Andy - please comment, or enlist Catherine. I think Adair is right. But I will say I found it a bit off-putting, as I consciously choose my spelling.
It's Amazing What Tasks Overworked MPs will Take On
Scott Kelby, an excellent writer on photography, has discovered that the UK Parliament has found some new nannyism.
members of the British Parliament are calling for a ban on digitally altering ads aimed at children under 16, and disclosure of these modifications in ads aimed at adults
After all, we're all so dumb, we need to be told that Naomi Campbell really does not look like that should you meet her. I'm not going to put a lot of argumentation here. This just seems completely ridiculous to me. I'd rather see the Jennifer Love Hewitt that is on the cover of the magazine on the cover of the magazine than the real one (yes, it parses). (I pick her purely generically. I do not think there is a celebrity this comment does not apply to, and I welcome those who feel I have wronged them to comment - I will update to remove them from consideration, including you, Jennifer.)
The "overwhelming part" of the American population is much more concerned with how health care reform will affect them, Obama stressed, according to an interview excerpt released by ABC News' "This Week" program. The "biggest driver" for the intense opposition to his administration's proposals, Obama told the network, is likely from people who are "passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right." The president similarly told NBC's "Meet the Press" that it is an argument "that's gone on for the history of this republic -- and that is, what's the right role of government? How do we balance freedom with our need to look after one another?"
And it would be easy to go farther and point out that calling the rallies "Tea Parties" focuses exactly on unwelcome government intrusion and taxation, to which the last few centuries should add a legitimate skepticism about the capabilities of government and regulators. Of course everyone speaks in code, and my guess is that Jimmy Carter was too. When he expostulated about opposition to Obama today, he was simply telling us that he knows the reason people opposed his stupid policies (especially his stupid energy policies) the opposition was just really upset at finding they had a president who was a peanut farmer, or an engineer, or something, but surely not at his bad policies.
... appear together in a context I would not have expected! I've been following the Northrop Frye blog I cited earlier, finding much of it beyond me (it is written largely by literary scholars, and they write largely as such - this is no complaint - each domain has its jargon and notions) but also finding much that is interesting. Frye's diary excerpts are a nice reflection on much of our history, and of course occasionally an astonishing entry into his character (though the history interests me more). Michael Happy has an entertaining post today (and he amusingly confirms my general assessment by introducing it with "Lest this blog get too serious"), which is essentially a memoir from Barry Callaghan. I won't pollute this post with links - suffice it to say you can find Wikipedia entries for most of the people named. Gale Garnett appears in a part of the memoir; I still think of her "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" when I hear her name; I imagine I might have other memories had I gone to see "Hair" back in the days, but it did not appeal.
I had mischievously put the actress Gale Garnett beside Frye on a banquette. The great scholar, whose public manner was often “shy reluctance” (masking an enthusiasm for the scatological), eyed her ample cleavage. People kept interrupting with “Good evening, Doctor Frye” and “Very pleased, Doctor Frye,” until Gale—a forthright literate woman of gumption, beauty and wit, a trouper in the finest sense (schooled as a girl by John Huston, a star in Hair, a companion to Pierre Trudeau, a journalist for The Village Voice, novelist and a mature actress in fine movies, including Mr. and Mrs. Bridge), said, “Doesn’t anyone ever talk to you like a human being?” “Not often,” Frye said. “I’ve a cure for that,” she said, taking two red sponge balls out of her purse. She squeezed one, it opened, and she clamped it on his nose. She damped the other on her own nose and the two sat side-by-side beaming, clowns on a banquette. A film producer from Amsterdam cried, “Norrie, how are you?” Frye stood up and clasped his hands, saying, “Fine, fine.” Gale handed out a half-dozen clown’s noses and soon Greg Gatenby and Francesca Valente, director of the Istituto Italiano, and Premier Peterson were posing with Frye for snapshots, all clowning, happily wearing red noses.
Points to Gale Garnett! And then to my astonishment, Sophia Loren pops up, and it seems to me in a way that turns out to be slightly serious, and allows Frye to adapt his own theories.
It was hilarious and touching and grew more so as the three great men began to quietly explain the world to each other, offering little insights, playful and provocative observations— three heavyweights flicking ideas like nimble featherweights, tap tap, jab jab, until Morley got around to Sophia Loren and — as Morley explained that the mystery of her beautiful face was that everything in it was wrong — Frye made a loud sensual umming sound. “The eyes are too far apart, the nose is too big, the mouth too big,” Morley said, “yet she is beautiful, she is her own perfection,” and Moravia, who had a perky light in his old eyes, said, “Si, Si, so much for Botticelli. . . .” and they laughed loudly as if they had just exchanged an insight on behalf of a beauty that was sensual in all its surprising irregularities, irregularities that had their own harmony . . . and Morley started in on one of his favorite notions: “I’ve been watching all those nature films on television, down deep in the Amazon, all that insect and animal stuff . . . and I’ve been fascinated to see the way a bug can’t be anything other than the bug he was meant to be, living only to realize the beauty of its own form, the form — whatever it is — emerging out of itself, completing itself, whether it’s a butterfly or Sophia Loren.” “And this is why,” Moravia said, “Michelangelo’s last Pietá is so great, it is like watching a butterfly emerge out of the stone,” and Frye said, “But this is all I ever meant by archetypes. There are forms, they are in us, they emerge . . . we become who we are.” “And with all our everyday exercise of the will,” Morley said, “we become who we were meant to be, freely.” “Of course,” Frye said. “Well, now. . .” and they paused for dessert.
Thanks, Educated Imagination gang; I'm enjoying it.
Poor Wolf Blitzer. Of course it wasn't fair; he was up against Dana Delany (Andover, Wesleyan, and a descendant of the inventor of the flush valve that is likely in your toilet) and Andy Richter (son of a professor of Russian). It is a bit alarming that none of them can count to three.
I heard this on the Deutsche Welle report this morning, and fortunately they have an English written report online.
Just like any other business in a difficult situation, the Pascha has come up with new tactics to boost its clientele. For example, it gives men over the age of 66 free entry to all parts of the building, which, apart from the brothel section, houses a nightclub, a leisure area and a hotel. Another tactic is increased targeted advertising, for which the Pascha uses a variety of media, including newspapers, movie theaters, posters, flyers and taxis in German cities.
And then there are other pricing actions.
Some German brothels have resorted to offering their customers flat rates – all the sex you want with all the women you want for a one-off payment. This strategy has created controversy around the country, with criticism from politicians and human rights advocates. Lobscheid sees this method as a poor solution to financial problems. "I find these flat rates legally questionable," said Lobscheid. "I would have to more or less force a woman to perform her services, and I don't know how she would then charge the client. This doesn't fit into our system at all."
I infer that somehow the prostitutes are normally paid for piece-work, so to speak. It turns out (as a simple Google news search shows) that this is not merely a German phenomenon, as is reported here and here. The latter link reports that the business model depends heavily on concessions:
Along with falling clients, similar clubs have noticed that less people stop by to consume alcohol as well, which is where the largest portion of their profits lied.
(I assume it is the number of clients that is dropping, not the clients themsel es, especially if they are drinking less.)
Everything They Believe in Has Been Proven to be Wrong
Bill Whittle is unquestionably overwrought here. And yet, I started watching thinking this was off the rails and found it in the end actually pretty much on the rails. I think he gets 'Critical Theory' dead right. (Except there is no theory.) And it stuns me to find someone explaining the Frankfurt School (a 'think tank') in this context! I was once quite an enthusiast of this gang of Communist apologists, but you might gather from my saying this, I am not now. The whole thing is, and always was, an utter sham. It is worth the watch.
each tomato she purchased had a carbon footprint of several tons. The promotion of organic and locally grown food, though an admirable cause, is a risky one for the Obamas, because there's a fine line between promoting healthful eating and sounding like a snob.
There may be some fine line somewhere but Michelle has shot that all to hell. And why am I not surprised? Even going to an Ivy League school left her resentful.
Look, I'm generally a descriptivist, but REALLY! And from Ignatieff.
"We don't want to give Mr. Layton any alibis," Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters yesterday.
So he is worried that some Liberal might say Jack Layton was elsewhere at the time of the vote. I think the TV coverage might prove otherwise. Perhaps Ignatieff's linguistic sloppiness is explained by his desperate current efforts not to appear to be a girlie-man in Parliament.
It's a bit pointless doing an R.I.P. post immediately without a good obit. I have been waiting. Iowahawk, normally one of the great satirists, posts the obit I wish I had seen earlier, and it well worth reading. He sounds to me even more amazing than other accounts suggested to me.
The last season of Norman Borlaug's life was spent on the faculty of Texas A&M University where [he, ed. fixing typo] continued working to promote humanitarian projects and food yields around the world. Despite the many accolades he earned he remained modest, almost to a fault. According to one story a security cop refused him entry into his campus office parking lot one Saturday morning, due to an Aggie football game. He cheerfully complied and walked an extra mile from another lot, instead of pointing out to the cop that the building was actually named after him.
And I agree with Iowahawk that his virtues are those of the Midwesterners, as they mesh with what I know of them.
Unlike contemporary self-styled members of the environmental-scientific community -- many of whom seem to view the human race as malignancy -- Norman Borlaug was unapologetic in his view that science should be harnessed for the good of mankind. For him, starvation was a pressing human problem to be eradicated, not the inevitable self-inflicted consequence of human folly; and he went about solving it in a systematic, methodical way. Not through armchair theorizing or manifestos, but through hard work and dirt-under-the-fingernails empiricism. He didn't seek utopia, just better crop yields. I like to believe a good measure of that came from the flat black earth of Howard County. There's plenty of old jokes about the stereotypical boring Iowa farmer, who can only talk about rainfall and crops. If you'll permit me a little state pride, I would only say thank God and Cresco for that. Because Norman Borlaugh was simply the greatest Iowa farmer who ever lived.
That he came from Norwegian Lutheran stock, of course, does not enter into it at all.
Jon Stewart is excellent on the hilarious ACORN exposes, still being released. (The link works in Canada - for those elsewhere, it's the Sept 15 show opener. "Two kids from the cast of High School Musical 3" I give him credit for recognizing journalism, even when it is not likely from the side he likes. (His section in the opening on the NFL first weekend was also funny.)
Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby, who chairs the Government Management Committee, concurred. "This has been a bugaboo of mine," she said. "There are few things that really bug me and this is one of them.
Her unwillingness to be bugged by issues other than the spelling of her job title and possible ethnic origin explains and awful lot when one realizes she chairs the Management Committee. What a pathetic bunch.
The word colour is spelled wrong 3,000 times, or 15.9% of the time."
There is something wonderfully wacky to imagine someone has spent my tax dollars counting the occurrences of 'color' (I am assuming that the misspellings that trouble our wasteful council do not take the form 'mxylpyx') in city documents. The inserted 'u' in several words is one of those stupid and wasteful bits of nationalism that I really don't think is worth a cent of my city taxes.
I can't vouch for the "promiscuous" part myself (not yet having the chance to find out), but I can verify that the streets of Copenhagen are impossibly full of tall, slender, gorgeous blonde women, the average Western heterosexual male's fantasies brought to life, in fact: hopefully they're a bit keener on contraception than the fictional "Karen26" supposedly was though ...
My fantasies turn a different direction, but it is a funny story.
And rightly, in a post with an ironic title (Obama Shreds the Constitution) that most of the media would have used had Bush done the same things.
These are all, as I said, efforts for which the Obama administration should be congratulated. How those who voted for Change feel about them, I have no idea. UPDATE: Andy McCarthy has much more on the politics of the Patriot Act extension here. And, as Scott noted this morning, those who voted for Change still have Obama's feckless Iran policy to cheer.
A long time ago I contrasted US and German police shows; ironically, the US shows have now all become like the German ones of years ago. The grandaddy of them all, and a show I really miss (dammit, local cable, sell me German Kino Plus!) is "Tatort". The NY Times profiles it very nicely here. An aspect of it I quite like is the local nature.
There are 15 versions of “Tatort” produced by the various regional divisions of ARD, the German public broadcasting system. So this means there’s a Leipzig “Tatort,” a Frankfurt “Tatort,” a Bremen “Tatort,” a Kiel “Tatort,” a Stuttgart “Tatort” and even a Vienna one, made by Austrian television, all of which take turns sharing the Sunday time slot with “Polizeiruf 110,” the former East German knockoff of the show, still producing new episodes occasionally. ... The “Tatort” from Münster plays for laughs. In Konstanz, a green swath of the country, the “Tatort” detectives often crack environmental cases. Hamburg stars a hunky, James Bond-like Turkish detective who works alone; Hanover, a beautiful, clever female detective, also a loner.
The Tatort detectives all have private lives full of problems and that foreshadows recent developments in US crime shows.
Or as Ms. Wintgen put it: “Its detectives stand for the dreams of the people. The plain-looking guy or the middle-aged blonde who in the end solves all of life’s problems and finds the murderer. “That’s our kind of hero.”
Norm points to this lovely song, which I had never heard, but reminds me of one reason I like occasionally to go start up a chat with a seat neighbor in a bar (though this happens rarely now for me). (The song does quite move me.)
And, of course, once you a reminded of the truly great George Jones, you find yourself wanting to link to a hundred songs. I will link to simply one, touching, and with great lyrics, always with a twist, as in country music, where they learned this trick before the postmodernists made it an emotionally empty game to use to chase tenure.
Wordplay was once of value to emphasize emotional content; today it is often used to hide the utter lack of any content.
One of Bill Easterly's commenters makes a good point, that also explains Canada's Wozniack, and Denmark's Wozniacki. Moreover, the theory's mechanism includes, I think Clijsters. She may outly the system differences but hardly refutes the point.
The Communists selected hundreds of young male and female athletes to train for the Olympics, and located them at training centers. Inevitably, many of them married. And their daughters grew up to be some fearsome athletes too.
The original post makes some other claims I think ridiculous but they address points that matter. I am not convinced Oudin is especially able to compete compared to her skills. On that point I still think Sharapova wins - when her physical skills are shot she will still fight you to the end. I would love to think I know of other women like that right now.
One Small Case in the Complexity of Creative Destruction
I am reading Tyler Cowen's "Creative Destruction" and it reminds me in the most amazing ways I have stumbled across in some of the most interesting parts of my personal life.
Part of his theme is how local cultures change to adapt in brilliant ways the other influences they see. Moreover, he nicely challenges any notion of a national or tribal culture of any useful long-run significance. (He might not want it characterized that way, but I measure it against the cultural conservatives.)
I am tempted to do some exercises in that notion, though maybe not so carefully as he has looked at theory.
But I have hit cases that thrilled me since attaching myself to SillyWife.
For a bunch of other reasons, I think this a fine video from Austria. It challenges a lot of notions as it is clearly about not just "German" music (they are Austrian) versus the world, but mostly about local Austrian (these guys are from the south) versus Vienna (the cultural centre).
Let me do an analysis of this utterly challenging and brilliant video. I am stealing lyrics from OLEO so they may vanish. I am doing the translation and cannot promise I am right and invite correction. I know how much they astonished me when I first heard them. And even in the hours since starting this somewhat dynamic post it has come to mean a lot more to me, and in particular its reference to Bob Dylan has become so much clearer.
(Added in an update: The song directly references "Blowing in the Wind" and later references the wind; even more crucially, it is the story of someone not unlike Robert Zimmerman who left Hibbing, Minnesota, definitely the provinces in the USA, for New York. Worked out better for Zimmerman.)
A number of things stand out - they start with electric guitars! Well, actually they start a capella and singing about busking. And this is about the video not just the song. No tourist has been at the top of the Kaertnerstrasse (main shopping street of Austria) can fail to recognize these guys.
OK here is the video link.
And he is not doing to well. Opening a capella: Langsam find't der Tag sei End und die Nacht beginnt Slowly the day comes to an end and the night begins In der Kärtnerstrass'n do singt aner "Blowing in the wind" In the Kaertnerstrasse a guy is singing "Blowing in the Wind" Hat a greanes Röckerl an, steht da ganz verlorn He is wearing a green outfit and stands there lost (SillyWife and I think this is a suggestion of traditonal countryish Loden) Und der Steffl der schaut owi auf den oarmen Steirerbuam and the St Stephens Cathedral looks down on this poor Steirer (meaning he is from a southern province, Styria) Er hat woin sei glück probieren in der großen fremden Stadt, He wanted to try out his luck in the big strange city had glaubt sei musik bring eam aufs Rennbahnexpress Titelblatt Hoped his music would put him on the cover of the Rennbahexpress magazine (roughly a Rolling Stone) aus der Traum zerplatz die Seifenblasn nix is bliem From that dream the soap bubble exploded into nothing ois wir a paar schüling in seim gitarrenkoffer drin All he got was a few schillings in his guitar case *** Just guitars coming in now **** Wochenlang steh i scho do For weeks I have been standing here Wochenlang plog i mi o For weeks I have been playing my heart out I spuil mia die Finger wund I played my fingers to soreness Und sing sogor "Do kummt die Sunn" And even sang "Here comes the Sun" (There is a joke here - seems STS played that as a cover favorite in their early days)
Doch es is zum narrisch wern But now it is getting crazy Kaner will mi singen hearn Nobody wants to hear me anymore Langsam kriag i wirklich gnua Fore a while I have been getting fed up I frog mi wos i do dua I wonder what I am doing here da geht den ganzn tog da wind The wind blows all day long nix als baustelln das ka mensch was find Construction sites everywhere make it impossible to find your way die burn-häusln san ein grauss This is all just gross (Burnheidl = Burenwurst = Bratwurst) und im Kaffeehaus brenns' di aus And in the coffee houses they just burn you for money Now enters bass guitar oom-pah-pahing a bit I will wieder ham, fühl mi do so allan I want to go home, I feel so alone I brauch ka grosse Welt, i will ham nach Fürstenfeld I don't need a bigger world, I want to go home to Fuerstenfeld Something oom-pah-pah in the bac but I think it is gutiar. In der Zeitung da ham'S gschriem The papers said Da gibts a Szene do muasst hin There is a Scene there, you have to go there
Was die wolln des soin die schreim They can write what they want Mia ka de Szene g'stoin bleim I don't care about the "Scene"
Da geh i gestern ins U4 I went down into the U4 (some club) Fangt a Diandl a zum redn mit mir And a chick started to chat with me Schwoarze Lipp'n grüne Hoar Black lips and green hair! Do kannst ja Angst kriang wirklich woahr That can freak a guy out I will wieder ham, fühl mi do so allan I want to go home, I feel so alone I brauch ka grosse Welt, i will ham nach Fürstenfeld I don't need a bigger world, I want to go home to Fuerstenfeld Accordion enters! Niemals spiel i mehr in Wien I will never play again in Vienna Wien hat mi gor ned verdient Vienna does not deserve me I spiel höchstens no in Graz From now I will play at the best in Graz (The capital of his province, Styria, not national) Sinabelkirchen und Stinatz Names of towns even more obscure and in the middle of nowhere in the south of Austria Guitar even more oom pah pah I brauch kan Gürtel i brauch kan Ring I don't need the outside ring or the Inside ring I will z'ruck hintern Semmering I want to get back past Semmering I brauch nur des bissl Göid I just need the little money Für die Fahrt nach Fürstenfeld For the trip back to Fuerstenfeld All translated above Deeply Oom Pah Pah! I will wieder ham, fühl mi do so allan I brauch ka grosse Welt, i will ham nach Fürstenfeld I will wieder ham, fühl mi do so allan I brauch ka grosse Welt, i will ham nach Fürstenfeld Again, above. I don't need a bigger world, I want to go to home to Fuerstenfeld. Tuba sound at the end.
I think this is the smartest song I know on this theme. And what is the theme? What is the larger versus the smaller world? They are one of the many great groups from Austria in one phase that insisted on singing in their dialects, and this is a very subtle song about the conflict involved, as they absorbed all the other manifestations of the outside world (outside Austria), like rock guitars, mixed with oom-pah-pah guitars. Moreover, as their commitment to going home grows, the instrumentation shifts slightly back to oom-pah-pah bands, which are also a somewhat recent invention (accordions and tubas are surely mid-19th-century).
It is worth watching the video against the lyrics as the geography is done brilliantly, including the train station to go home.
The pure old culture never existed, nor does today's.
By contrast, the less interesting Canadian artists of that time just did what those in the US were doing and did it better, with the exception of Buffy Ste-Marie, who did something different, and better than anybody in North America.
And these guys did not retreat to Fuerstenfeld. More later, as Tyler inspires me.
UPDATE 1: fixed up Rennbahnexpress line UPDATE 2 : linked the Rennbahexpress in and also added a suggestion regarding the meaning of the green outfit (tx SillyWife). Also added some text regarding what I meant by outside world. UPDATE 3: The video is inconsistent with my interpretation of the U4 as a subway station - in any case it is a subway line. So I changed the line about the scene - whatever the U4 was it was surely part of it. UPDATE 4: It would be crazy to think the early mention of "Blowing in the Wind" is not a key part of their thinking. I imagine they knew Bobby Zimmerman came from nowhere in the heartland of Minnesota. He never wanted to go back. :-) UPDATE 5: Changin the translation of hochstens to "at most". UPDATE 6: Incorporating the great help of commenter rm UPDATE 7: Expanding the Bob Dylan connection a bit. UPDATE 8: Changed to vaguer wording about the obscure towns they plan to play in
Some Random Observations. The men's game seems a lot more attractive right now than the women's; it has not always seemed that way to me. The men play more entertaining matches, with more variety, and seem generally less petulant and infantile. As a small instance, Federer gets peeved at the umpire for letting Del Potro violate some timing rules, makes some off-color remarks, while Serena Williams blows a gasket. One can argue lots of ways about this, but Federer was asking for the rules to be maintained, and Serena was way off the mark (even though I agree it was a bad foot fault call). The games of many of the top women are extremely one-dimensional. It is stunning how many of the top-50 women have poor serves, and seem confused about what to do about short balls. This bespeaks a certain lack of coaching, competitiveness, and willingness to learn and really train. It seems to me to partially explain why the list of top women is so volatile. The tone of the top women's players is less attractive than that of the top men, who seem to exhibit great respect for one another, and it almost seems in many cases, friendship. On the other hand, I will say that Kuznetsova's behavior in victory at the French Open was exemplary, and made me think a lot differently about her. The whole pissing match over who is #1 in the women's game has also been extremely unattractive. The WTA defines rules for how this is determined; if Serena Williams chooses a year's strategy of play that is tuned only to performance in majors, ignoring satellite tournaments, she really has no case to make that someone else is #1. The players have to make (or maybe their managers do) decisions about which results get them the best income potential, through prize money and endorsements. The WTA could align its ranking more with the majors, but this would threaten the relationship with the non-Grand-Slam tournaments, which depend on having realistic play from top players. As for realistic play in a non-Grand-Slam, I want to give credit to Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova at the Rogers Cup in Toronto this summer. Dementieva's determined unwillingness to let a ball by her was very entertaining. Sharapova is a classic fighter, who simply will not quit even as her skills are failing her; that she won a semi while making 17 double faults and missing many many shots long impressed me no end. Neither Williams made the final in Toronto.
I know the year is not over, but the Grand Slam tournaments are, and I must say this has been one of the most amazing years of tennis I can recall watching. Part of this is surely that I have had more time to watch the tennis, but this year's events have provided an amazing share of truly dramatic matches, and other drama. We start in January in Australia, where the Verdasco-Nadal match remains one of the most exciting ones I can recall, full of amazing play, and full of changes of momentum. It was followed by the final, with a tired Nadal winning as Federer seemed not up to the challenge of being anointed as the greatest ever by the collection of luminaries assembled, to the point of Federer sobbing on the podium, and many wondering whether he would ever return to form, and wondering whether he would ever win another Grand Slam, with Nadal looking so unbreakable. And in the French, the day of the men's semifinals stands out, as featuring two tremendously fought matches, each very much back and forth. As my neighbor, a bigger tennis fan than I, commented after the matches, "That was about the most emotionally exhausting day of my life." I especially came out of that day remembering a player named Juan Martin Del Potro, who had Federer on the ropes. To Federer's credit, he prevailed in that match, and while his final was less exciting, it reversed the story from January as he finally won a French Open, shattering the notion that Nadal owned that tournament forever. And what stands out from Wimbledon is the final, the best match to have stand out! Thank you Andy Roddick for broadening your game and becoming so tough. And Monday night! Del Potro, having been run into the ground at the Rogers Cup a few weeks before, adds to a drubbing of (a perhaps not entirely healthy) Nadal by running Roger Federer into the ground; this is a way I have never seen Federer beaten. Del Potro was so close at the French that this should hardly have been a big surprise, as his game seems to me even more suited to hardcourt than clay. The women's side of the game has provided rather less pleasure this year. Partly it is that Safina so regularly succumbed under pressure. Part of it was that Serena Williams kept moaning about Safina's position as #1, though the rules on how to become #1 are prettty clearly out there, I think. If you want to be #1, don;t just gamble on majors, and tank merrily on other tournaments. But there was a highlight. My unexpected star sighting at the Rogers Cup in August quite deservedly won the US Open. I had not realized why she left the game; I do have a lovely recollection of pictures of her, late in day where SillyWife and I had fled Toronto's Rexall Centre from one of those scary rainstorms-of-the-x-years in the middle of the afternoon of the quarter-finals (some even number of years ago). The pictures showed the main court holding several inches of water, and a clearly playful and apparently delighted Clijsters dancing around in the water. That alone endeared her to me. Many are excited about her winning the tournament as a mother, but across the expanse of athletic events I like to follow it is not unusual for a woman to win a major championship after childbirth, so I am not sure why this matters much in her case. For me she seems a genuinely entertaining player who revels in life, and lets it show.
Norman Borlaug died yesterday. Not a power-monger like Ted Kennedy. No, a guy who probably did more than anyone in history to save lives. He did not try to take money out of your hands. He just tried to make the world better.
There is pizzazz in New York that simply does not happen elsewhere. Here Nowak Djokovic is induced as part of a post-game interview to imitate John McEnroe (as usual with Djokovic's imitations, it is uncanny - he does a stunning Sharapova, but the body language of McEnroe is subtler and he still amazes).
McEnroe is a fine sport too and has some fun imitating Djokovic.
Community organizing in its highest form. These are tyhe people who focused on getting the great community organizer into office. And are of course now having slush funds pour onto them. It would be shocking if it were not so completely predictable.
I return to Iowa with a Maple Leaf pin on my backpack. I give my American fiancée her present: a ridiculous action figure of Macdonald, complete with reading table and book. He was a “father of confederation,” I explain. I tell her what the enthusiastic Parliament tour guide told me: “Sir John A. Macdonald was a dreamer.”
My good friend the EclectEcon (mildly suppressed snarl) decides to out our disagreements about tennis coverage. I still do not know what his problems are with the CBS team. His explanation seems exceptionally feeble.
What I think irritates me is his arrogant yet whiny condescension that both says and implies that if only the players had done what he thought they should, they'd have won the point/game/set/match/whatever.
I confess I have never noticed this about McEnroe and will watch for it, but I also suspect McEnroe's assessment of such things is likely pretty darned good. That is in fact what I expect from the color commentary people. I will confess that my expressed enthusiasm for the CBS team was mostly focused on the women, and I will also confess that, while I do think they are generally knowledgeable, they are also quite cute, and that is a positive element. But do not get me wrong. I think both McEnroes are very useful and truly appreciate CBS' decision to use them in their coverage.
Alan deserves recognition for his contribution to humankind. For those of us born after 1945, into a Europe which is united, democratic and at peace, it is hard to imagine that our continent was once the theatre of mankind's darkest hour. It is difficult to believe that in living memory, people could become so consumed by hate – by anti-Semitism, by homophobia, by xenophobia and other murderous prejudices – that the gas chambers and crematoria became a piece of the European landscape as surely as the galleries and universities and concert halls which had marked out the European civilisation for hundreds of years. It is thanks to men and women who were totally committed to fighting fascism, people like Alan Turing, that the horrors of the Holocaust and of total war are part of Europe's history and not Europe's present. So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work, I am very proud to say: we're sorry. You deserved so much better.
Eight years ago I was engaged in the official opening of the new site of the development organization ("Lab") I worked in; my task was to walk visitors through some interesting explanations of why what we did then was interesting. Festivities were to begin around 10 am. Much earlier than that someone told me a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers. This seemed entertaining if unimportant, as planes had flown into NY highrises before. Little did we know. Needless to say the day did not go well. My multinational had many execs visiting, many of whom had close ties to people in the World Trade Towers. That day removed from me any of the still fashionable anti-Western views I had. Until late in the day I refused to accept the reality of what had happened; amusingly, a bartender (who was also a pilot in training) was able to explain the utter feasibility of jerk-balls flying large jets into skyscrapers. And that is what happened. This is of course surely another day that will live in infamy. Rondi has an excellent picture on her site.
Mixed doubles is settled today and the ceremonial stuff is totally enjoyable. The adverb form is vanishing as people keep playing "awesome", but who cares. That American girl's surname "Gullickson" is suspicious. Hmm. Congratulations - that they can beat a team that includes utterly amazing doubles players like Leander Paes and Cara Black says tons.
He is right about her limitations - her height will always be a problem, but her game is not to be simply a backboard, at least not as I saw it. I rather agree about the coach and was astonished at the first-set interview, where he seemed to dismiss her play. Loyalty, at least when faced with the CBS microphone, should surely be the first priority:
She seems like a sweet kid (although there was a lot of Monfils type yelling out there on the court) and I wish her well. My number one piece of advice to her would be to get a new coach, preferably one that wasn't a scumbag.
Wonziacki was the well-justified winner last night. But I think an all-Belgian final would be a laugh.
The Process of Continual Invention had not yet been Invented
What a privilege to live in a world where this lecture is not heard simply by the perhaps scores of student in the Berkeley lecture room. Even nicer, the lecture is about the rather general fact that we can hear the lecture! I look forward to the further ones.
I think the results described here make sense, though I feel no particular pride in living here, as it's an outcome of events not really entirely in my control.
More than 80% of those surveyed said they agree the city of Toronto is "a great place to live" and that they are "proud" to tell people what community they live in.
But I especially liked:
The results came a day after another Ipsos poll showed nearly 80% of Torontonians want Mayor David Miller replaced.
Now a lot of the people in that 80% must have voted for that guy last time, a mistake I can claim I did not make (though I confess I did his first time out). It will be interesting to see whether we get a good candidate next year to run against Miller.
Caroline Wozniacki is just what you would expect in sheer class, having won. Robin Soderling, looking forward, is amusingly skeptical about his outcome versus Federer. I really love that part of my background. Thanks, Mom!
And yet. Oudin gets an interview and is a charmer. I know I am uttterly charmed. But also by Caroline Wozniacki, who actually won! I am stunned at the sheer class of these teenagers. I wish I could have shown such, and even more I wish I had occasion to show it.
Alec Baldwin asks Pam Shriver a great question: what is the difference between playing in the US Open Day sessions and the night sessions. She observes, sensibly, that during the day there are usually other key matches going on. (This seems not to be true late in the second week.) This does make sense to me.
For me, the interesting question is not so much the spread of the ban across jurisdictions as its nearly universal success in implementation.
It was not always so - I recall the joking in Austria when the initial ban there was applied to railway stations and of course there was no enforcement and no change in behavior. And I do not know exactly what is happening there now but I bet the world is more like mine in Canada than it was back then in Vienna. My own guess is that there were many people like me revolted by proximity to smokers who were nevertheless somewhat tolerant, and lost it along the way.
WTF!? Both players in orange? Thank heaven Verdasco has a baseball hat on.
PS. Where do I stand? Verdasco gave me one of the stunning matches of the year. (Nadal beats Verdasco in the Australian open.) Djokovic, much as I find him amusing, has contributed nothing to my tennis enjoyment this year. Draw you conclusion.
Well, as those who read my blog might know, I am thrilled to see Kim Clijsters (more slim and svelte than you know, likely) make the US Open semifinals. But Wow! Yanina Wickmayr is there too! And what a story she has.
Her father quit the construction business he worked for and the two made the trip into the Floridian unknown. But Wickmayer insists that they never knew she could have a future in tennis. This was not a case of a parent trying to breed a champion. This was a parent doing everything to help his daughter through the toughest moment of her young life. “He didn’t leave everything because he expected me to be a champion,” she said. “Actually he just left everything to make me happy. I guess that’s a whole lot of difference.”
I love sports. One of the few places there is honest competition.
Despites its tragic tone, Dreams from My Father wraps up with Barack’s marriage to Michelle, presided over by Rev. Wright, suggesting that the book is most profitably viewed as a comedy (albeit one to which the reader has to bring his own jokes).
Let’s be insensitive for a moment. The basic social problem that both Farrakhan and Obama want to alleviate is that, on average, blacks have less money than whites. Farrakhan‘s plan to create a separate black-only capitalist economy in which blacks could not be cheated by whites out of the hard-earned wealth they would create is doubtful on various grounds. And even if it were plausible, it would require generations of hard work in dreary fields such as toothpastemanufacturing. In contrast, Obama’s plan to get more money for blacks from whites by further enlarging the already enormous welfare / social work / leftist charity / government / industrial complex is both more feasible in the short run, and, personally, more fun for someone of Obama’s tastes than making toothpaste. Obama’s chosen path involves organizing rallies, holding meetings, writing books, attending fundraising galas, giving orations, and winning elections. In these endeavors, insulting whites in the Black Muslim manner is counter-productive, because whites will have to pay most of the bills.
This is long overdue, and I won't call it a review, rather an encouragement that others read it. I cannot promise that my citations are in the final version: I am finally reading and citing an early pre-release but it is quite brilliant, as one would expect from Steve Sailer. Steve is writing an exegesis of Obama's "Dreams of Race and Inheritance" (to which he makes page references).
In modern America, society encourages white males to invest their tribalist emotions in spectator sports, and strongly sanctions anyone so gauche as to take ethnocentric pride in their race (unless they can qualify as a certified oppressed ethnicity such as Irish, Jews, Armenians, or whatever). In contrast, the public schools, academia, and the media all endorse and inculcate feelings of race loyalty among blacks and other minorities. For instance, a survey of 2000 high school juniors and seniors recently discovered that the three most famous non-Presidents in American history are now Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, with Oprah Winfrey in seventh, two spots ahead of Thomas Edison. This racial disparity in how society treats tribal pride is rationalized on various grounds: minorities are powerless victims of racism, they need constant stoking of their racial self-esteem or they won't do their homework, and so forth and so on. In reality, today’s “multiculturalism” industry is a self-reinforcing perpetual motion machine. It’s a pyramid scheme offering pleasant sinecures for the diversicrats at the top. It sucks in young people, fills their heads with ideas ranging from the useless to the malign, and then gives the glibbest ones jobs entrapping the next generation in the system. The terribly irony of Barack Obama’s life is that he was taught the new multiculturalist ideology by his parents, who were so representative of the egotistical Save the World Sixties People who now preside over our Education-Media Industrial Complex. There was never a truer believer in this propaganda than young Barack. Yet, what he truly wanted deep down, even though he could never quite admit it to himself, was for his parents to stop saving the world, come home, and just be his mom and dad.
We in Canada encourage the same nonsense, including the opening of an "Afrocentric" school in Toronto recently, apparently with walls covered in Swahili slogans (how many languages are there in West Africa?).
Getting his point across is not the point of most of Sen. Obama’s verbal efforts. In this respect, Obama is the exact opposite of his long time mentor, Rev. God Damn America. Wright is a master at distilling his meaning down to an agitating phrase, such as “U.S. of K.K.K.” In contrast, there are no soundbites in Dreams. Obama’s goal is more typically to induce in the reader or listener a trance-like state of admiration of Obama’s nuanced thoughtfulness. Those opportunities, and the perils they portend, have limited Obama’s actual literary output. While the verbal quality of his best speeches and of his 2006 campaign book, The Audacity of Hope, are well above the norm for American politicians, that bar is set low. His literary reputation, therefore, must rest on his enormous 1995 memoir. From 2004 onward, Obama remolded himself into Oprahma, the male Oprah Winfrey, the crown prince of niceness, denouncing divisiveness, condemning controversy, eulogizing unity, and retelling his feel-good life story about how he, the child of a black scholar from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, grew up to be editor of the Harvard Law Review. Beneath this bland Good Obama lies a more interesting character, one that I like far better—the Bad Obama, a close student of other people’s weaknesses, a literary artist of considerable power in plumbing his deep reservoirs of self-pity and resentment, an unfunny Evelyn Waugh consumed by umbrage toward his mother’s people for being more successful than his father’s people. (Waugh, the greatest satirical novelist of 20th Century England, could never stop feeling sorry for himself that he was born into a merely affluent, respectable family rather than a rich, aristocratic one. Obama’s sad “story of race and inheritance” is more complicated, but not terribly dissimilar.) That’s why Dreams from My Father reads like the Brideshead Revisited of law school application essays. When Obama briefly surfaced in the media in 1990 as the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review, Random House gave him approximately $125,000 to write a book. Originally, he intended to author a disquisition on race relations, but the immaturity of his theorizing discouraged him: “Compared to this flood of memories, all my well-ordered theories seemed insubstantial and insecure.” He turned instead to writing about what he finds truly fascinating: his relatives and himself.
He meets a part-black girl named Joyce, who defines herself as “multiracial” because her beloved parents are as variegated as Tiger Woods‘s parents. Like Tiger, she doesn't see any need to choose one over the other by choosing only one racial identity: “Why should I have to choose between them?” she asked me. Her voice cracked, and I thought she was going to cry. “It’s not white people who are making me choose. Maybe it used to 131 be that way, but now they’re willing to treat me like a person. No—it’s black people who always have to make everything racial. They’re the ones making me choose. They’re the ones who are telling me that I can’t be who I am….” [p. 99] Obama mocks: They, they, they. That was the problem with people like Joyce. They talked about the richness of their multicultural heritage and it sounded real good, until you noticed that they avoided black people. It wasn’t a matter of conscious choice, necessarily, just a matter of gravitational pull, the way integration always worked, a one-way street. The minority assimilated into the dominant culture, not the other way around. [pp. 99-100] Then he explains: I knew I was being too hard on poor Joyce. The truth was that I understood her, her and all the other black kids who felt the way she did. … I kept recognizing pieces of myself. And that’s exactly what scared me. Their confusion made me question my own racial credentials all over again. [p. 100]
That's a small sampling; Sailer write entertainingly, and has convinced me Obama does not (and I assume that is true as the public speeches are so leaden most of the time). A couple more sentences as I go on:
A recurrent theme in Obama’s career is Power to the People gestures and Ivy League outcomes.
He moved to Chicago to work as an ethnic activist to help the impoverished black community wring more money and services from the government. That government money was wrecking the morals of the housing-project residents never comes up in Obama’s book. Numerous white moderates assume that a man of Obama’s superlative intelligence must be kidding when he espouses his cast-iron liberalism on race-related policies, but they don’t understand the emotional imperative of racial loyalty to him.
This is deeply unfortunate and having its effects. The (un)appointment of Van Jones is a symptom of this disease. And hey, what about black politicians before now?
When he attended Occidental in Los Angeles, Obama had also lived under a black mayor, Tom Bradley. Obama did not find Bradley as thrilling a figure as Washington, probably because Bradley was so much less racially divisive. Bradley won five terms as mayor of Los Angeles from 1973-1992, a city that was then only about 15 percent black. He put together multiracial coalitions and tried to govern with a minimum of ethnic fuss. Indeed, the most interesting question about Tom Bradley is why, since then, have there been so few Tom Bradleys—conventional politicians who “just happen to be black.” Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison wrote on October 2, 2008: … [Mayor Bradley] regarded himself not as a black politician but as a politician who happened to be black. Philip Depoian worked with Bradley for about three decades, and he told me that Bradley's "was probably the most integrated mind-set I've ever come across -- he never looked at anybody from an ethnic point of view." When a student visiting City Hall in 1979 asked the mayor whether L.A. voters had gotten "a black Gerald Ford rather than a black John Kennedy," Bradley replied, "I'm not a black this or a black that. I'm just Tom Bradley." Unsurprisingly, Obama doesn’t mention Bradley’s name in Dreams.
Sailer has read Obama's "autobiography" carefully and applies his usually interesting reading!