Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jennifer Love Hewitt is an Actress?

Wow! I would never have recognized her in last night's Law and Order SVU, without seeing the credits run. Actually I saw her name in the opening credits and only at the end asked myself whom she had played! It was a great episode and she contributed enormously.
And one other point, looking at interesting careers. The episode was directed by Helen Shaver, from the London, Ontario area (more precisely St. Thomas) (who has had a great acting career) and it seemed to me she did a great job.

Barcepundit Reports on the Alien Ambassador

who apparently isn't.
You see, the thing is that if this was said just about any other organization people would instantly know it's not true. But everyone has swallowed it this time, since you can expect anything from the UN...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

London, Ontario's Grand Theatre High School Show - "Anything Goes"

Wow! Wow! Wow!
Each year London, Ontario's Grand Theatre hosts a season-opening production largely casted from local high schools. This year they chose Cole Porter's "Anything Goes".
Regular readers will know from past reports that I often enjoy these shows, and I particularly did way back when when they did "West Side Story".
But this show! WOW! WOW!
An especial WOW! to Olivia Sinclair-Brisbane as Reno Sweeney; she was utterly spectacular. Great voice and great presence. And this is not meant to belittle the rest of the cast; there was no weak point in the whole show. But she made "I Get a Kick Out of You" work as it should. I hope to be watching her on some other stage in 10 years.
Greatest credits should go obviously to the unseen folks who organize this show every year. I wish Toronto had something similar I know about. Thank you all so much.
Now I am excited wondering what next year's show will be.


The song is about Memory.  I started a YouTube search for something quite other.  Along the way I took a sidestep to see Jerry Orbach (whom I miss terribly, never have met him).  For obvious reasons I find myself at this magnificent performance:
This is just stunning!  How do I not recall having heard it before?  I hope  because I have not.
Nice little tie to the latest 'Mad Men' (or a week before?) when Peggy suggests Harry Belafonte as a spokessinger.

Norwegian-American Characters on TV

We have Peggy Olson on Mad Men.
Now we also have Deeks on NCIS:Los Angeles, and in episode three of the show this year he kind of gets awkward talking about African-Americans.
This looks to me like a trend!
Keep it up.

Apatow Films

I resisted seeing 'The Forty-Year Old Virgin' for a long time despite some recommendations from people I really like and more fool me, but man is this one weird art form.
Dirty talk everywhere, to the point of discomfort for me.  But oddly, and in a very weird way, sweet and deeply social conservative.
'Superbad', 'Knocked Up', 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'.  I may have missed some and would probably love to see them.  This post was inspired by 'Get Him to the Greek' which has a weird and inconsistent tie to the Sarah Marshall film, and also has Elisabeth Moss!
It is to me strange; I have always loved art where desperately wild messages are delivered in some controlled Appollonian way.
Apatow films are the opposite; you are in Dionysus-land for an hour and a half and at the end realize this is utter social conservatism.  It is a delightfully funny form.
And I will say that the end of 'Get Him to the Greek' moved me quite a bit.  Jonah Hill and Elisabeth Moss are great together.

Congratulations to the Glee Folk

Late last season it seemed to be sagging a bit.
No way this season so far!  The marriage of Britney Spears and Bob Fosse this week was a delight.
And the Will-Sue battle is now beautifully back in place.  (And Sue says she has hired Gloria Allred.)

Silly Little Country - You Wondered

... how this blog was named.  This is utterly astonishing and nonsensical.

And even more amazing is the reported position of the University!

For its part, the University of Windsor agreed the tribunal has the power to remove or appoint its dean of law, but it argued that an order to stop the search or appoint Prof. Carasco "would be an onerous intervention into the university's governance" and would negatively affect faculty and students, and discourage stable funding from donors.
So what is the purpose of the search committees and their processes?  Why not just ask Barbara Hall to pick the province's University deans?

This is stupid beyond any reason.

(I grant you the University of Windsor does not have much repute, but surely even it would stand up against simple shakedowns like this.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trailers/Ads Versus a Movie - Salt

I watched all the TV ads for 'Salt' and thought 'Thanks, but no thanks'.  Celebrity Star, and the only advertised reason to watch.  No cast members mentioned but Angelina Jolie - so I thought, to heck with that (though I might have asked whether I liked her earlier films).  The ads did not mention Liev Schreiber nor Chiwetel Ejiofor, actors I love seeing.  So I decided no way I watch this.
And man is it good!  Take a Bourne film and replace Matt Damon with Angelina Jolie and that is it roughly.  But the secondary casting here is SO rich.  What a nice piece of moviemaking!
Angelina Jolie is a celebrity.  But she is one great actress (explaining the earlier point).  I think this movie deserved a lot more respect.

Palin on DWTS

I love what she says - it is exactly why I love watching the show.

"courage, and joy, and exuberance" - a great trifecta!
The booing, if you wonder, was for the low scores for Jennifer Grey.  And judges have a problem - should the show be called "Dancing with Some Has-Beens and a Skilled Other Person", which is what this year now looks like?

Praise where Praise is Due - The Current

Regular readers know I can barely stand CBC's The Current most of the time.  No CBC show more completely reflects the sorry ideology of the journalists who work at that corporation, financed out of compulsory public funding, and thus a great believer in squeezing ordinary citizens for funding to listen to stuff they would not willingly pay for.  And pay for things they would not willingly pay for in general.
But yesterday, to my astonishment, I listened to it on the road for its whole duration and had barely a moment of frustration, despite all of Anna Maria Tremonti's "hmmmm"'s.  (If I thought it were interesting, I might one day do an analysis to try to figure out what these noises mean.)
It is worth listening to the show of Sept. 27.  It started with a half-hour on the jokingly named "Peace Process" that I found almost encouraging, except for the fact that the two excellent interlocutors, once involved in it, seem not to be today.  Still they encouraged me.  Then there was a great discussion of the godawful Balfour Declaration, tarred only, I thought, by an utter historical error by Tremonti (no surprise - she does it all the time), and some tendentiousness by the guy she was interviewing.  Still it was good.  And it finished with a half-hour that pretty much had me in tears, to the point of thinking of pulling off the highway.  The subject was a clearly wonderful Vancouver Afghani-Canadian woman who is back (she left as a child) in Afghanistan as a pop star and a sort of Oprah.  People like her are amazing! 
So to the producers of The Current, and even to Anna Maria Tremonti, thanks so much for managing an hour and a half with only a few seconds of stupidity!  I was astonished.  Maybe you can do it again sometime!
Readers should visit the link above and listen to the Sept. 27 show.  REALLY.  It was good.

Who'd Have Thought

... a semi-retired mining exec would make this list?
He is a worthy choice, whether right or wrong; I love the drive to confirm or deny.
The influence might not be positive, but there's no doubt he has shaped the debate.
Errr, ummm. The influence is clearly positive in my view.  Quiet acceptance of some other position is NEVER good.

Monday, September 27, 2010

DWTS Live-Blog 20100927

Damn missed the first dance!
Judges pretty happy with Rick Fox .  (Cheryl is a genius.)
And now Florence Henderson!  Go Flo!
She IS A performer!  This was not major athleticism but it was sweet.
Bruno cites "Driving Miss Daisy".  Carrie liked the footwork.  Len - liked it!
Flo is a pro!
7-6-6 (challenged by Flo)
Brandy!  I just learned she is an R&B 'artist'.  And she has Maksim.  And hates having to work"  Let us please punt her tomorrow!   Maksim has been for years a great coach.  Brandy not so consistent on anything.
My read on this - she did not give a crap.  Maksim threw himself into it and that made it worse.  We shall see.
Carrie: good with better shoes.  Len - worse than last week (my old coot) - Bruno OK but please be better.
Michael Bolton and Chelsie?
This was great!  I could have done that!
And the judges seem to agree - he was as bad as I would be.
4-5-3 (I may have got hat wrong).
I might be able to beat that,especially latched onto Chelsie Hightower.  Hmmmmm.
Audrina Patridge comes out!  Tony says he needs longer hours.  Kudos.
Basically judges give big improvement message! Rightly!)
Bruno is mean but it was roughly their target!
OK Jennifer Grey whom I love but still wonder why she is here.  But with Derek ...
Dammit - I had a complaint with her even being on the show.  OK that is gone.
Carrie: Bionic bunny!
Len : Nothing Grey!
Bruno: Killer Jive - so hard to do and she did it.
She was gorgeous.  But why invite her still?
8-8-8 - maybe even conservative scores - she is astonishing
Interesting - Sarah Palin is interviewed.  Well, her daughter is on and she speaks so well as her daughter's mother.  I doubt even Clinton could have spoken so well.
Margaret Cho
It is nice to see women realize they have nice legs.  But do not bore me this way.  Personally I do not believe she worked very hard on this.
"Everything I had."  Bruno says tuck in the butt, and Carrie work on posture
Kyle Massey coming? Who is he? He Was fun last week.
And wow! again this week.  Who is he?
Kurt Warner and the fabulous Anna (she is far and way my favorite dancer on the show).
So yeah this getting emotional for me.
"Everybody's favorite uncle at the wedding".
7-7-7 (so nice words but not quite the score).  Go Anna!!!!
Aha now we have The Situation!  I have no idea who that is.  I want him gone.  And the rehearsal tapes are not helping.  How could an audience pint the Hoff, who at least tried,and keep this jerk?  How much can the lovely Karina care?  Sure his survival is income for her but one goes only so far.
And I can only say she was fabulous and he barely adequate.  Please please vote him off a week late.
Len - "A series of unfortunate events."
6-6-6 - very kind
"Teen activist" Bristol Palin!  What a society! But I still love her Mom! (And she as there!)
Carrie wants her back and Len thinks she is on the edge of being quite good. Pretty sweet.  ABC are so smart.
I will not vote this week but she would get a good fraction from me, just from Mark Ballas' comments.
Love the damned show!

The Amazing Race - S17E01 - Tenors are Known for Being Tough Guys

By sheer accident I discovered that Season 17 was starting Sunday evening, so I was back, always delighting in the resourcefulness of human beings in a pretty straightforwardly defined competition (i.e. no stupidities like voting others off the island).
My quick summary - Ron and Tony were screwed but they really helped too!
A quick summary of the itinerary the opening week; find your way from Gloucester, MA to Logan Airport, whence they fly to Heathrow, and then must find their way in (standard-transmission) cars to Stonehenge.  There there is a meaningless task, and then a clue to take them to Eastnor Castle.  There they must engage in a rather amusing simulation of storming the castle walls, then or fording a stream, and finally of using a catapult with watermelons as a weapon to wipe out a fake knight,after which they then have to find the finish line (it's called the 'pit stop' on the show) somewhere on the extensive castle grounds.
Pretty nifty, and it is never obvious at the start figuring out what the biggest challenges are.
Of course, it is also fun in the first episode that we meet the eleven teams.  I was astonished at this year's choice of all-female teams, but the world seems to be going that way.  Most of the teams seemed pretty attractive to me - sometimes I cannot stand one right off, and the two that gave me the willies a bit this year were the two of the three 'dating couples'.  They usually feature parent-child combos and those always appeal to me; this year they have a mother who gave up her child many years ago and is playing on the team with the newly reunited or at least reacquainted child.
What breaks my heart is I will have to miss the next couple of shows, at best see them only a lot later, so I cannot invest too much in teams that will disappear.
But wow what a great roller-coaster ride, and CBS is great at making it stay that way.
CBS does a great job of slotting them into categories.  I will simply refer to teams by category below hoping I can get ti right overall.
Problem #1: Get to Logan - if you are in Mass and know that Logan is about as far east as you can get near Boston, this should be easy.  Amazingly, the Ivy League tenors end up in west Boston.  They barely make Logan on time, and almost everyone else is there well ahead of them.
The Black Guys have a compass and are proud of their navigational skills.
One of the dating couples has a self-announced 'educated' guy and a hairstylist; I already want her to carry that team.
There is much drama about who makes the first flight, but it turns out, and I think justly that that hardly matters.
Let us now turn to Heathrow.
Here what matters is no surprise to someone who has had a first trip to England.  At Heathrow the teams get cars, manual transmission, but really nice.  And they have to drive on the wrong side of the road and have NO concept of the UK's signposting system, which while really good, is not the North American one.  Moreover the Brits rely heavily on roundabouts, and even worse (and really stupid) roundabouts with lights.  (If you need lights better to have just lights.)  (Conversely if you do not need lights, the UK roundabout is WAY better than North America's prescriptive lights.)
They must get to Stonehenge.  From Heathrow, I could now do this almost in my sleep; but I know how nightmarish my attempts were initially, it was fun to watch this section.
"No we're going south Stephanie."  This is not trivial but roundabouts always let you solve that in a few seconds at the cost of some embarrassment.  It is clear early there are problems with the idea of Chad navigating for Stephanie.  There is a mutual support problem.
There is no such problem for The Doctors ("Nat and Kat") nor for the TV Sales Channels Saleswomen ("Brooke and Claire", henceforth B&C).
Many of the driving disasters that are shown are things I recall well.  I was impressed at all of the teams figuring out how to drive in such an alien environment.  It is not trivial.
B&C are first to Stonehenge and they claimed communication was their great skill.  It has been so far.
BV (the Beach Volleyballers were next).
Jill and Tomas (J&T) were up there and I liked Thomas' "That was awesome, both of us."  Few teams can approach it that way.
Can I just say at some point that asking people to recognize "The opposite of Nor'Easter" as "Eastnor" is so dense I could not believe it.  {I will not even go into reasons.)  But I was wrong - all found a Brit to tell them were to go in no time.
Meanwhile the Black Guys with navigational skills are totally out in left field.  I would feel a lot more sorry had they not mad the claim about strength.
Climbing the wall at Eastnor was fun to watch but silly, but fording the stream required some brains and it was funny to watch.  The boats for the fording were perfectly awful little upside down buttons and this was a really important stage where teams had to balance risk and success.  Most got it sorted in a couple of tries but some were dogged.
As there were a few teams together the early groups figured out they needed to simply balance the 'boat', and ford by a gentle pulling along the fording ropes.  All these teams prevailed pretty quickly once they got the hang of it.
But looking at those little boats, I thought that Ray and Tony were screwed.  They were just too big to stay above water all the way across the ford.
Chad and Stephanie had a difficult time and it let a few times get by them; their communication skills are a nightmare.  Chad still thinks communication means telling Stephanie what to do.
Next task - a somewhat symbolic ride with a knight followed by using a ballista to fire at watermelons at a model know until it is essentially destroyed.
Significantly Claire takes on the task from Brooke.
So these ballistas, as far as I can see, were equipped with no obvious hints to allow the shooter to calibrate from shot to shot and adjust.  This incompetence seems pretty unlikely to me in a medieval tool (though I am guessing - maybe art was beneficial to the shooter.
Meanwhile Babe and Thomas have nailed their knight and are off and get the big prize.
Claire lies wounded and Brooke keeps telling her she has to stand and rise again and after much complaining she arises and seems (from the show) to almost immediately nail her knight.  Brooke NEVER seemed to stop the 'Keep Going you are great!' chant through the whole show.  Is there normally a lesbian couple? Are they it?  Meanwhile quietly the doctors come second.
Somehow the Nerds sneak up and grab third.
The highlight along the way is that Claire managed to get a watermelon explode in her face and it really hurt.
I have long wondered whether people could get hurt on this show - seems the diligence is limited.
Brooke tells her she must finish and in perfect Pete Campbell mode she responds, "What?``
But she does and they come next. 
Not much more to say, and I do not want to invest too much in teams that are doomed before I get back in front of my TV.
The sad thing is I was right about The Black Guys. Their joint weight was way too high and they never crossed the ford, so we don`t see them again soon.
I grant their navigation was awful but I would bet if they had been first at the wather they would have sunk in it forever as other teams went by on teh ford. Not fair. Not cool.
Highlight of the Show: Nikki and Vicki trying to get a flag from the battlement by asking every person in sight whether he/she was the battlement and then missing the boats on the next stage. Is she the one who thought the country she was in was `London`and had never heard of Stonehenge? Sadly, I suspect I won`t see them when I am next back in front of live broadcasts of the show. Their tattooist is likely getting good business.


Mad Men S04E10

I have enjoyed this season the most, though last night's episode left me somewhat confused; secrets were revealed all over the place, each of them portending some very bad outcomes for SCDP.  I suspect a major setup for the closing three episodes; sadly I won't be able to watch the first two live (well, when they first air).  I assume they do not broadcast them live and I hope to live to see them!
Nicest image: Sally responding to news Don was taking her to see The Beatles.  And Betty's sadly uncharacteristic apparent pleasure in Sally's happiness.  (And is there an understory here that Betty has not even considered - Henry, as an aide to the Governor, could have got those tickets easily  - Don was hanging dependently on Harry Craine.)
Worst image: Don gazing at Megan at the end.  (I really like Megan.)
Sweetest image: Pete holding Trudy in that crazy nightie and being unable to tell her the secret he knows.
Best line for me:   Don : "I'm not worried; not in the slightest."  (He is talking about Harry producing the Beatles tickets, but the darker meaning becomes much clearer later as this is the breakup of the NAA meeting.)
Funniest line: When the G-Men ask Betty about clubs Don might be a member of, responds "New York Athletic Club."
Joan starts by telling Roger that she is pregnant by him, and they agree to an abortion.  He is always casual, but she has to take all the indignities along the way to apparently doing this.  His first attempt at arrangements are a disaster as a doctor insults Joan (well, and Roger).
North American Aviation(NAA)'s report is almost all secret.   It did trickle through my mind that this leads to what it led to, ironic given how Don had sent Pete off during that weird California trip to sign them.
Lane has a girlfriend and she is a Negro!  He seems quite lovely with her.  "You're in my life", and it is sweet as she responds "Why do you have to be so damn dashing?"
Betty guards Don's secret in response to a rather implausibly precisely placed question directly about Don's identity from the G-men. (Surely someone can go check what the standard security clearance questions back then were.)  This is really a great triumph for Betty, who has been on a terrible run lately for us viewers.
Pete applied for the security clearance and told nobody.  And as the episode goes on he squirms more and more.  I also got the feeling the production team reads the blogs as there was long ago a discussion about the statute of limitations for what Don did, and the discussions I read got so faithfully reflected in this episode.  Don explains it is desertion and there is no statute of limitations, and Pete points out this hardly seems relevant this long after the Korean War.  Which from a practical point of view, seems to be pretty much the case, from what I read in the very erudite discussion.
Betty tells Henry she wants no secrets with him and tells him the smallest part of the secrets she knows.  He is contented.  Do secrets have a frisson?
Pete and Don in the elevator: "If you ask me if he knows how to keep a secret, we works for the DoD".
Don won't tell his lawyer (!) why he wants to make money available to his kids and let Betty control the money, and moreover tells the lawyer(!) Betty will know the reason.  Talk about privilege.  Don does not respond to the lawyer's suggestion he is involved with Megan.
Faye has not got a call Don made.  Recalling for us Ida's 'pushy' remark, she will not be deterred and ends up back at his place.
Faye sees Don totally freak out at two guys in suits.  She is not totally stupid - knows there is something pretty deep there.
Lane exposes Toni as his girl friend, a secret not made clear earlier.  Not great, I thought, for Lane.
And then the most brutal secret-maker - Lucky Strike, as so thoroughly portended, wants to dump SCDP.  We know this is it for Roger - but he gets to keep the secret a month!
Lane exposes his secret and gets whacked across the head and sadly submits.
Pete and Trudy have the greatest secret discussion in the episode, him admitting he has a profound one but cannot tell her what it is.   With her in her teddy and they way they are postured, I feel she really accepts this.
Don exposes most of his secret to Dr. Faye.  She is nice.  Well. she has known him a while.
Pete arrives at Don's apartment to talk privately and find Dr. Faye!  Another \secret.
And then the slaughter of the secrets at the partners' meeting (except that all were held, and none exposed, for all the lances thrown).  Pete falls on a sword (OK a lance) big time, and it is not even his sword except in a small way, Roger goes bonkers, knowing he has a REAL secret and threat to the company.  Lane announces in other words his submission to his father.
Roger caterwauls in a form of laughter but nobody has any respect for him and he leaves after reporting that the Lucky Strike account is great.
 We have three episodes for all these secrets to explode and SCDP to sort its fate out, though it dies it not yet fully know it must.
Key questions:
1) Where did Lane's Mickey Mouse doll come from? He holds it as his father arrives and it perfectly bespeaks his love of America, and his, as we learn, subservient role to Daddy.
2) Do Don and Betty still really connect in a way? - when she phones him about their interrogation, they communicate just brilliantly.
3) I was on tenterhooks through the whole episode concerning the Beatles tickets.  I interpret the closing song as confirmation Don and Sally were there.  I am worried about the closing image.
UPDATE: I missed what the closing song was, thinking of it only as a Beatles song.  Thanks, BoK.
Thanks, Weiner and crew, and all the Mad Men fans out there on the Internet!

A Real 'Animal House'

Seal Screams Like A Man @ Yahoo! Video

Streets of Gold?

Apparently perhaps not as much as hoped.
Forty per cent of newcomers to Canada say that managing finances is more difficult than they expected, according to a recent RBC poll. Additionally, close to half (47 per cent) are worried that they will not have enough money to live comfortably.
My emphasis above.  I wonder what they mean by comfortably.  (This was apparently Chinese and South Asians, here less than ten years).
Since RBC is behind it the article has its share of puff advice about what to do.  I loved the idea of establishing a good credit rating.  Then you can borrow your way to comfort!   We've been there.
My favorite line though was this:

Environics conducted a total of n=598 interviews among Chinese and South Asian immigrant residents in British Columbia and Ontario who have lived in Canada for 10 years or less.
What is the purpose of that "n=" interjection?  If you remove it that changes the meaning in no way.
Oh except for leaving out the implication, "and by  the way, I who write this am very sophisticated about statistics".

Adjective Intensification

h/t xkcd
My guess is this chart is based on a frequency analysis of some VERY odd group of people.

Take Me To Your Leader

I am so glad the UN has solved another major world problem! Allahpundit provides the most amusing report I have seen.
THE United Nations was set today to appoint an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist to act as Earth’s first contact for any aliens that may come visiting.
And as Allahpundit points out, this is about as relevant as a lot of UN activity.
Let’s face it. If they landed tomorrow and said “Take me to your leader,” they’d be taken to Obama. And then he’d take them to the AFL-CIO.
The original article made the somewhat dubious claim that it was all those pesky astronomers identifying earth-size-like planets out there that made the pressure to make this aappointment so urgent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Biggest Regret in Months

Missing Katie Melua's Toronto show.

Yeah I know I have posted this before but ....

They Would Not Broadcast This?

What has PBS and Sesame Street in its mind? I find it charming.

OK Go Amazes Again

... and recruits another species. The next challenge should be cats.

h/t Moose and Squirrel
One take? There must be a making of video.
And there is!

The dogs took five years. I may not live long enough to see it with cats.
UPDATE: Now it has been done with cats!

UPDATE: Two other species! I missed the goat in several viewings.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Derek Lowe Rants

And rightly.
We did it, naturally, because we expected to make a profit out of it in the end. The whole PPAR story looked like a great way to affect metabolic disorders and plenty of other diseases as well: cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular. That is, if we could just manage to understand what was going on. But we didn't. Once we all figured out that nuclear receptors were involved and got busy on drug discovery on that basis, we didn't help anyone with any diseases, and we didn't make any profits. Big piles of money actually disappeared during the process, never to be seen again. You could ask Merck about that, or GSK (post-rosiglitazone), or Lilly, or BMS, or Bayer, and plenty of other players large and small.
No one hears about these things. We're understandably reluctant to go on about our failures in this industry, but the side effect is that people who aren't paying attention end up thinking that we don't have any. Nothing could be more mistaken. And they aren't failures to come up with a catchy slogan or to find a good color scheme for the packaging - they're failures back at the actual science, where reality meets our ideas about it, and likely as not beats them down to the floor.
Honestly, I don't understand where these they-don't-do-any-research folks get off. Look at the patent filings. Look at the open literature. Where on earth do you think all those molecules come from, all those research programs to fill up all those servers? There are whole scientific journals that wouldn't exist if it weren't for a steady stream of failed research projects. Where's it all coming from?
Of course there are those who think Universities and Government Labs create all that initial research and I do not believe it for a second. In the industry I wwrked in, software development, the academic 'research' teams were ludicrously behind the private development teams.
Most hilariously, I recall a keynote address presented at a workshop by an academic who had just figured out that there is quite a bit of nondeterminism in Java performance results, and her treatment was to deal with them statistically.
Of course, the company I worked for had figured this out many years ago and had been doing that sort of analysis for years. I would be deeply unsurprised if any of the other companies in the business were behaving otherwise. This was a revelation only to academics for the obvious reason that the right outcome actually mattered to the companies, and in no ways to acacemics.
The deepest irony is that this was presented largely to a bunch of corporate Java performance analysts, who of course said not a single word. (But likely shook their heads in wonder.)
I doubt it is any way different in the drug industry. I will wager the development guys know WAY more than the profs.
Just a bet but I am happy to make it real with someone who wants to differ.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Silly Little City

The fatuous jerk who ran the last two times for Mayor of Toronto did so each time on a fiscal responsibility pledge of not increasing property taxes above the rate of inflation. Of course he and his clowns increased property taxes WAY more above inflation every year of the last eight! (Disclosure - I must admit I voted for him for the first regime, but had learned by the second).
Now we get the really silly! Rocco proposes parking forgiveness!
Is he not an Ignatieff guy? Why is he being so kind to car-drivers?
Sure, sheer desperation is a reasonable answer to me? But it makes my vote even harder to get!
The City undercharges for Parking in my view!
It is interesting to see that the Rossi campaign, now being directed by the ridiculous Warren Kinsell, has found an issue with which to battle the fiscal responsibility argument. Genius!

Damn! Never Post Prematurely - Mad Men

No I don't mean the typos and semicolons that were supposed to be apostrophes. (Hey can I write apostrophe's?)
I mean do not link to a great post without grabbing its best bits out. And it is that Slate post I sent you to (well, if you read it). Julia Turner wonderfully tells me I had missed a large point about Ida Blankeship.
When Abe tells Peggy, "You're political, whether you like it or not," he's righter than he knows. It's not just that Peggy should recommend Harry Belafonte as a tire pitchman (although perhaps she should). It's that she, like Joan, and Faye, and Megan, and perhaps even Sally, are the natural descendents of the original Blankenships: women who were invited into the workplace to "answer phones"—and "be the pot" and call the coroner and hide the corpses and otherwise manage the practicalities, because, as the woman who rescued Sally put it, "men never know what's going on"—and who now find themselves moving on up, not as flightless birds, but as astronauts.
That almost has me crying. Go read the whole post. And no Don has never fly-fished.

Mad Men Recommendations

Almost as much fun as watching Mad Men is commenting on it and reading the comments of others. There are a lot of entertaining sources, but I am becoming utterly engaged with Tom and Lorenzo. Not just with the weekly episode reccaps, but with the (to me) apparently quite knowledgeable occasional analysis of the week's fashion. It must take SO many people to make such great entertainment so rich.
Enjoy this for last weekend's episode. They really do deepen the experience of the show for me, no fashion maven. You get really good observations like:
Notice that the colors in Sally's dress; the pinks, yellows, and greens; are all picked up in the outfits of the other women in the scene, except for Betty. The other woman have a connection to Sally at that moment through her pain and despair. Betty seems to have no connection to her at all.
Of the women in that beautifully framed shot, it's the three on the right that are one bookend for the episode, the epiosde's fabulous closing scene in the elevator. Megan, (BTW - Canadian content - and even better, at least for a role like this, French-Canadian) in her yellow, is clearly not quite worthy yet of such a scene, but the fact that a sort of yellow is the color worn by the only two people in the episode to listen to Sally hints to me Megan will be more important.
Another great resource is Slate's Mad Men Corner. That link rather arbitrarily points to one post, but it is a post that starts with a statement I rather agreed with:
The gods of Mad Men smiled kindly on us this week. We asked for Sally to walk the halls of SCDP. We asked for Betty to remain off-screen in Ossining. And we asked for Don to please, please stop writing in that diary. The episode obliged us on all three fronts—although it was a close call, there, when Don briefly opened his journal and picked up his pen.
Well, Betty did in fact come on-screen, but after a wonderful dressing-down of Don who thought he could fob his renegade daughter off on Mom yet one more time in short order.
That journal was a conceit whose time has not come; I think it should never come again. And I want way more Sally in the future; that actress is someone I suspect I will be a seeing a lot of on-screen for the rest of my life; she was magnificent in that episode.
And a thought from Tom and Lorenzo about Joan in her PJs and glasses:
From a style point of view, there's not much to say about this look except that she looks adorable. We wonder how long she's been wearing glasses and we pray a pair of Ida Blankenship cateye frames aren't in her future.
One thing also that is a lot of fun is noticing how differently people read a lot of scenes. Basket of Kisses' (the premiere site - thanks, Lipp Sisters) first response to S04E09 seemed to feel all three women in the elevator were in great turmoil but I am not buying it. Peggy almost has a smile, and I think Tom and Lorenzo have that. She has a little interest in Abe but I am pretty sure she has no wish to shape herself like a pot to hold his soup:
Look at their differences and what each outfit is saying about them. They are all three career women in their own way. Faye has arguably worked the hardest out of all of them to get where she is, since she pursued an advanced education. Her look is the most business-like of all. Peggy wandered into her career and found that she both loved it and was good at it. She's still a bit wide-eyed about what it means on both a personal level and an ethical one. She is dressed the most youthful; the most "girly." Joan used her looks to make her way and now that the world considers her looks outdated, she's struggling and possibly falling back into old romantic habits. She is dressed the most...romantically, is the word we'd use. Swirling florals of pinks and purples that hint at her confusion and the depth of her feelings.
And nobody should forget Sis as a source of weekly comment. This week she caught me up with a great comment about one of my favorite lines from this weekend's episode, Peggy's remark about civil rights and her problems. While listening closely to the script could have caught me up there, it did not - there is too much going on to keep up in real-time. And while I feel corrected, I also understand Peggy's view, though how she thought anyone could have pushed his or her way into Sterling-Cooper is curious, given that she got in as a secretary, and just lucked out when Don hit one of his few insightful moments, that she had some talent.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whom Can You Diss?

I have been wondering as I reflect on Glee. I do love its willingness to make fun of various aspects of diversity.
But the willingness to make fun of minorities is limited.
With Artie it has been mixed. And to be honest I think that character has been treated well.
Asians. Well, Tina just dumped Artie in a scene that I actually found pretty funny because the stereotypes are actually pretty real!
Jews are of course a total target. And they take a few forms - the buffoon who is the school reporter, Mr. Ben Israel, Rachel, and Puck. And they are all, I think, pretty good plays on stereotypes. It is not as if we do not know lovable and amusing Jewish people like them all. (Disclosure: I have known my Rachels, and could not take my eyes off them for years, and certainly cannot give up on this one.)
And white boys like Corey Monteith's Finn. We easily know them.
Mercedes? Hmm no - I think my whole memory is her getting kid gloves treatment.
And there is no Islamist idiot? This is an Ohio high school - were it one in Detroit you'ds have a herd of the little puppies to make fun of. Ain't so far away (in every sense). Will we see one this season?

If Glee Wants to Show Real Guts

Let's get one thing right; Season 2 Episode 1 played brilliantly on some elements of 'diversity' and its worship. (I loved Brittany's confession - "I wanted to touch her boobs.")
They have actually taken on pretty anyone else but I note they have not touched Islamism? Have they the guts?
Until I know I will wonder about how easily they have chosen to play this game.
It would be trivial to toss some embarrassing Islamism into the show.
Hey that Jewish kid could publish a Mohammed cartoon in the school paper or blog and an Islamist student could kill him! (After all, anti-Jewish violence remains the major hate activity in the US, not anti-Muslim. And I am willing to speculate about who originates the anti-Jewish violence.)
OK maybe we could just have him in critical condition and have him come to understand how insensitive he was.
Step up, guys!

WTF? Glee has started again too?

How can an old guy keep up?
The new football coach looks interesting and it will make the Will-Sue relationship a lot more interesting.
Quinn is no longer pregnant and Santana had a boob job (with NO apparent effect).
Diversity is having its griefs - Tina dumps Artie for an Asian.
Rachel cannot really face competition.
Lots of potential this season!

Well That WAS Fun

The Landsburg-d'Souza debate on the impact of religion.
D'Souza does a sleight of hand immediately and decides to defend only Christianity, which is silly, but does actually implicitly make a great point about Christianity's uniqueness in terms of its universality and openness.
Christianity was the lunacy I had to fight as I grew up (and I am thankful I did not have to fight parents, only teachers, and pretty much everybody else in the neighborhood). But it was nowhere so nearly crazy as the elephant in the room today!
And hey don't give me no kosher or halal meat! That's not nice!

Really Interesting Actors' Careers

As I am now warming rapidly to NCIS Los Angeles (watching last night's episodes now), it makes me reflect on how someone so unlikely made what appears to be such a successful acting career; I am thinking of the excellent Linda Hunt, who plays the local office director.
I recall first seeing her in The Year of Living Dangerously, where the character she played was definitely pretty odd. IMDB seems to show she has had a pretty good career overall, with much steadier placement in movies than a lot of far more conventional actors.
Her character in NCIS Los Angeles is a terrific one, and she fills the role beautifully.
I suspect she has fought hard to create great roles for herself, not just to count on bureaucratic support, and that this is the form 'diversity' ought to take. Diverse, but with quality!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DWTS 2010 Week 1 Elimination

Please let it be The Situation!
Tension mounting! Chelsie and Margaret will be back!
We may get rid of The Situation!
"It's never too early to panic." Not sure why Len uttered the line but it is brilliant and I am sure I can use it some time.
Next non-elimination - Jennifer and the Canadian content! Yay!
But how ia Brandy in danger? This is truly strange.
Flo is coming back! Maybe I can just go to sleep now.
OK I hung around long enough - we will dump!!! please let it be The Situation, a useless soul if ever there were one.
Oh no! The Situation survives! I will miss Kym's legs if the Hoff gets tossed and I cannot believe Kyle would go (though maybe nobody else has ever heard of im). And the viewers speak - the Hoff is gone, which was surely tipped off by the interviews with his daughters. Farewell, Kym's legs; I will start thinking about seeing them next year!

Jonathan Kay on Rob Ford

I am pretty sure I WILL vote for him, perhaps unlike Kay, but I do think Kay's column is interesting.
This year's Toronto is not the rather sickeningly sweet place it has been for so long, the Toronto I tend to connect with the Annex, full of the 'creative class' and CBCers, and others who suck off government grants.
For weeks now, the Toronto media has whipped itself into a frenzy about what sort of international laughingstock Toronto would become if this “buffoon” (Google that word alongside “Rob Ford” and you get almost 2,000 hits) were to become mayor. But no one cares. They don’t even care about the YouTube videos showing him freaking out, or those sophmoric Facebook groups with names like “Can this croissant get more fans that Councillor Rob Ford?” All they seem to care about is their visceral conviction that Toronto has been wrecked by the sort of big-spending, union-coddling lefties whom Ford rails against.
I am really enjoying reading poll reports now; I have to confess to idiotically voting once (ONLY once, and only the first time) for the liar David Miller, who committed to city tax increases staying below inflation, and then running a regime that never once achieved that goal in years.
During those many years Rob Ford has been a bullish mulish force making fun of Miller's crew, and has never been taken seriously by the media.
Now they have a problem. It seems we like him! And I hope it is true.
I have never missed an election and I sure won't this one. (Pace Bryan Caplan (if you do not read his blog you sure should!).)
I am finally, after almost 25 years here, starting to admire Toronto. And Kay gets a key point here:
Suburbanites are from Mars, urbanites are from Venus. Whatever their differences over cars versus public transit, the pro-Ford phenomenon spans the entire GTA — something I didn’t properly understand till I attended a Yom Kippur fast-breaking party on Saturday, in the elitist enclave of Forest Hill, a place I expected Ford to be a figure of mockery. “I’ll be voting for him,” said my cousin Danny. “I don’t care how polished he is. He knows what’s right.”
Danny is right and it is substantially Ford's utter lack of polish that make us want to vote for him. This is a guy who faced charges in Florida and nobody seems to care! (Miller and his like were likely doing their stuff at Harvard too.)
I am the ultimate urbanite. As I said, I am quite sure Ford has my vote. I loathe the administration that went around the world to environmental conferences (Miller's best moments I am sure).
Ebenezers of the world unite! You have nothing to losee but your junket-enjoying mayor!

What! I Failed to Notice that DWTS was Back!?

I did but am now catching up.
But should Jennifer Grey not have quite an advantage here?
Impressions from week 1:
Audrina Patridge is very attractive and knows it. As does Bruno! And as Tony says, she works hard. Carrie Ann has some interesting anatomical observations.
Kurt Warner has seven kids! What a great story his is. Must be so much fun for him to appear on the show as he knows he has more watchers than I have blog readers. He, like me, is a recent retiree, and I would love ABC to pay me to work intensively with Anna Trebunskaya! But wow did he ever feel nervous coming to the judges. It is what I love about this show. But he seems so damned nice. As his whole story suggests.
Kyle Massey comes on. I have NO idea who is. But I do recall Lacey Schwimmer, which shows I am becoming an addict. I have to confess the people on this show are too attractive for words (though not necessarily all the 'stars'). Hmm - Kyle impressed me. As Bruno pointed out, this guy is a professional entertainer and he knows it.
Rick Fox (Canadian content!) is paired with the very competitive and successful Cheryl Burke, who is struggling with the height issues. Very interesting to watch. And as he notes his height is an enormous disadvantage in dancing. He makes Cheryl look like a gnome. I thought Rick was stiff but Len liked it. And Bruno is, I think, right, "What a season it is going to be!" Cheryl Burke is one hell of a coach.
I like this show largely because it makes people compete outside the zone they are accustomed to. I had the feeling Margaret Cho had no wish to in the end. I think I want tonight's elimination to hit her (though I have yet to see Hasselhof).
As it turns out I also have NO idea who Brandy is (though her cleavage is special). Now Maksim I know. I wonder if she can turn into this year`s Nicole Scherzinger (who was excellent). Oh yeah there is potential! I bust out laughing as she shouted `Me too!`during Len`s review. She will be fun. I think Brandy is now my favorite.
Clearly Bristol Palin is a scene hugger but this is gutsy, and she was pretty darned good, as was that red mini-dress. She seems actually pretty grounded, which is not much of a surprise. Bruno - `For you this is virgin territory`. He is such a mischief. And Carrie Ann, I have to agree with, "Bristol, you have fantastic legs".
Next we get this year's Buzz Aldrin in Florence Henderson and more power to her! This is just great! "Florence is kind of funky." Those 76-year-old legs are just great and those Ballas! Her response to Bruno is utter genius! I want Florence back next week!
Poor Chelsie Hightower has to try to train Michael Bolton. One might have thought this would be no problem. Nope! Maybe her skin problems were too much for him. Talk about wooden! I won't miss Bolton if he is voted off but I will miss Chelsie.
Let us please as soon as possible get rid of The Situation!
That's it. I feel so sorry for Karina. Careless, uninvolved, self-absorbed, total asshole. Len was so spot on - "You've got the guns but not the ammunition". Vote this ass off! (I will badly miss Karina.)
Why is Jennifer Grey on this show? WTF? I do welcome her presence and sure it's nice of us all to feel about Patrick Swayze, but I liked her more with her earlier nose. Derek Hough is one of the nicest partners anyone could get and she got him! This just seems wrong to me but also terribly touching. But is it not the point that the players should not be professional dancers? Don`t get me wrong - I have long loved Jennifer Grey, even with her old nose (especially with her old nose). But she sure seems out of place here. This is surely terribly wrong.
Hasselhoff is awful! Though I would love to keep Kim Johnson's legs around. But please!
I say Jennifer Grey should be voted off as unqualified in any way to be on the show. I think she is utterly beautiful but not right to have here. What was Bergeron thinking?

I Like the Changing of the Guard

So welcome Dawna! She gazes down at me as well from many billboards on the Danforth!
Now I have to confess I doubt I have EVER seen the Global National News so this new bit of eye candy is unlikely to make much of a difference in my life.
Now the other private network has enlisted its own sort of eye candy, at the cost of losing pretty much the only journalist I thought worth two bits there.
Meanwhile, over at the tree-hugging, Brikenstock-wearing CBC, Old Baldy continues to rule the roost (I speak as someone with a generic gift for outrageous hair in aging). They would have been well served replacing him with his ex-wife! But no way government-subsidized old men will readily yield to the new generation!
UPDATE: The gall of the CBC has almost no end. The CBC recently allowed Evan Solomon (OK not allowed - encouraged) to interview some joker whose complaint about a Sun News application for broadcast rights actually went so far as to suggest that taxpayers might subsidize them! Good God! We cannot have such discussion on the CBC!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mad Men S04E09 - the last 30 seconds

Did that not pretty much utterly summarize the episode?
Joyce leaves on her own, Joan arriving to press the elevator button as she disappears.
Dr. Faye joins Joan to await the elevator, only to find it arrives on the side they are not facing.
Peggy gets them to serve her by holding the elevator.
And of course the elevator played a key role last week in the tussle between Peggy and Joan. It is becoming very clear who is ascendant, and Dr. Faye is apparently turning out to be much less commanding than she once seemed.

Grimmest and Funniest Moments in Mad Men S04E09

Betty is in the lobby, and Megan has to leave Don with Sally for her (Sally's) transfer to the Francis home.
The utter incompetence of everyone (but Sally) is wonderful to watch.
Sally: "I want to stay and I don't know why I can't."
She tosses logic at her Dad and I suspect she may even hope he can supply some.
Poor Dr. Faye blunders in and Don rather stupidly thinks she can handle it, though she knows better.
"Dr. Faye wants to talk to you," a piece of BS that Sally smells right away.
"Sally, sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do." "Shut up."
Basically after that Don simply applies physical force.
Megan winds up being the one who comforts, though Sally does not allow the "It's going to be all right" lie.
Sally NEVER gets any explanation of what her parents are up to.
I am guessing we will see a lot more of Sally and I hope so. She deserves to be heard and has not been.
Like pretty much all the women in this wonderful, and very funny and simultaneously grim, episode.
And man, Dr. Faye's "Part of it's good" has to be pretty much the saddest line I have ever seen on television.

It's a Business of Sadists and Masochists (Mad Men S09E04)

"... and you know which one you are."
I will certainly miss Ida.
The number of great lines in this last episode was too much to sample fairly.
"Satisfaction guaranteed" (an odd tip of the hat to last week's opening scene outside the NYAC?)
Best image? I think Joyce licking Peggy's cheek in response to Stan's attempt at dismissing her. Though Joan in her PJs and glasses was also pretty smashing.
"But I have to say, most of the things Negroes can't do, I can't do either, and nobody seems to care." Weiner captures so much of the time.
"It starts with an 'l'". "The hell it does." Oh Ida.
It must be so much fun working on writing this show.


Mad Men S04E09

They sure let their comic chops loose this week! Just spectacularly funny.
But also very dense in content. Sally is becoming amazing and was for me the highlight of the episode. "Why would she want to meet me?" I especially like the way Sally makes french toast.
And Roger and Joan again!
Cooper's dismay at the hellcat Ida's passing was also very touching.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Steyn's Sappho Award Speech

I find it bizarre that whatever Danish organization created this award named it after Sappho, but it gives Mark Steyn its award for a commitment to free speech, and this seems reasonable to me. He may not speak accurately with a full justification for what he claims, but he is almost always pretty funny, and he sure knows a lot about popular music.
The girl who introduces Steyn is far more credulous about him than I, and far more skeptical than I about multiculturalism (I do not think it requires us to believe that pernicious ideas from other cultures are to be tolerated, though there seem to be those who do think that).
Still the speech is worth a listen. There likely will come a moment where the willingness to be killed, well actually the unwillingness, will become an issue. Likely after I die. Steyn is reliably funny.
Fantastic that he was outside the US for the first time on September 11 this year.
And entertaining that the Euros pretty clearly get the problem with the utterlky useless 'Little Mosque on the Prairie'.
I am only slightly ashamed at busting out in laughter at his admonition to worry about moving the goat toward the grill.
UPDATE: This is a REALLY good speech! I think I want to listen to it every month or so.

I'm With That Guy!

He is brutal, but the Pope's utterly ridiculous comments suggesting that Hitler and atheists had common cause deserved response.
Ratzinger is not a man who can claim he did not support Nazis; Dawkins CAN.
Ludicrous. Ratzinger's gall is unbelievable. And the stupidity of his followers is unbounded.
I would not likely speak so forcefully but thank Dawkins for doing it. "Joseph Ratzinger is [indeed!] an enemy of humanity."

And Mein Gott! I had no idea Dawkins could be so passionately eloquent!
P.S. Loved the white collar!

The Daily Mail Deepens My Concern

After my bleg, with NO responses, I stumble across this, which shows the concern I had makes sense, and in fact the Brits are well advanced!
A Mail on Sunday investigation - which will alarm anyone concerned about animal cruelty - has revealed that schools, hospitals, pubs and famous sporting venues such as Ascot and Twickenham are controversially serving up meat slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic law to unwitting members of the public.
All the beef, chicken and lamb sold to fans at Wembley has secretly been prepared in accordance with sharia law, while Cheltenham College, which boasts of its ‘strong Christian ethos’, is one of several top public schools which also serves halal chicken to pupils without informing them.
Even Britain’s biggest hotel and restaurant group Whitbread, which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, among many others, has admitted that more than three-quarters of its poultry is halal.
I wonder if I will live to see meat labelled as 'non-halal'. I sure hope so. I expect all the PETA people are lined up to help on this one. 'Halal' slaughter seems to me even more disgusting than what I had assumed we were doing.
I wonder if they have special rules about how to kill a salmon. I hope not. I can give up beef and chicken but salmon would be a problem.
And of course I am assuming 'halal pork' makes no sense so I can assume the pigs are being slaughtered relatively well.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Prisoner's Dilemma on The Bachelor Pad

Well, it is classic and actually multiple prisoners, but the choice is that of one prisoner. So the apostrophe is in the right place.
It is a sorry fact that I did not watch 'The Bachelor Pad', though I do tend to watch 'The Bachelorette', and found out about this from an economics blog. (h/t Cheap Talk). The analysis of the other players is very entertaining. I know I would pick 'Share', but I am that stupid.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Time of Transition

In many ways where I live these weeks are a delight; what might have seemed to some of us oppressive heat and humidity have given way to astonishingly comfortable weather.
But I view one aspect of our summer as decisive regarding the end of summer. It seems the Monarch butterflies are migrating still, well into September, and trying to profit from generally pleasant if not wonderful weather.
On my lake walk this morning I got to see five Monarchs, the most I have seen any day this year, except when I was recently on a couple of five-hour drives, when they were flying over my path so I noticed at least 20 or so, a couple of weeks ago.
I do not recall so many so late, which may be encouraging, especially given the awful effects of the rainfall last winter in Mexico.
The morning walk also featured some more telling change of colors than on my last recorded walk.
For me though I think what hit me today was the relative quiet - no Red Wing trills, no Song Sparrows. We seem to be down to the year-long birds now, the Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards, Ring-Bulled Gulls, Double-Breasted Cormorants, Common Pigeons, Common Terns, and House Sparrows (though they hardly show up at the lake, and I leave out other birds that feature in my back yard all year (Blue Jays, Cardinals, Starlings, Crows, OK I don't leave them out)). The Juncos are tricky - over the last few years they have seemed summer birds and then they have visited my deck in the winter. And the Jays, Cardinals, Starlings, and Crows are pretty noisy - but the soundscape cannot match resident Red Wings by the lake.
In a few weeks the Oldsquaws and Buffelheads will return. Maybe Loons - we have seen that.
It will be a thrill and, as one ages, a tricky feeling about yet another year passing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

TV Not Quite as Good as Mad Men

AETV's "The Glades" is terrific!
And damit Callie I wish it had not taken till episode 8 for you to get sane!

Mad Men S04 E08 - Third Best Image

I found the whole episode a bit tedious when I first watched but of course that is not the right way to deal with this series.
As I now watch the episode yet once more, it is Sally's quiet wave that blows me away. She has been through some hard time lately with Mom, so this was perhaps more interesting than I got at first watching.

Mad Men S04 E08 - Dr. Faye's Hair on the Date

What is with that? The curlicues at the bottom were nuts.

More on the Mad Men Writers - S04E08

Small things leap up.
Dr. Faye, when setting her own terms for a date with Don, responds to his suggestions of Saturday Night with "Not normally, but you're in luck." (She does know to a degree her own value.)
During that date she asserts that when she is out of sorts, she just has to look into her calendar to see that something significant is usually on the horizon. I guess not this time, after dumping the boyfriend that expects her to cook for him.

Mad Men S04 E08

As Don turns reflective (somewhat tediously, to my mind) the women start an uprising!
"Joan is just handing out demerits." (Bye bye Joey.)
Don "I'm set." Ida - "And then you're not." (re the supply of CC in the office). As it turns out, Don is right this time.
Peggy fires Joey. Joan dresses Peggy down. Betty freaks out when she sees Don with Bethany, who is really a Betty Jr (note the name). Bethany attacks Don and tells him she has needs (to little useful effect). Dr. Faye REALLY dumps a boyfriend. Dr. Faye agrees to a date, on HER terms. Don does not remember women being so assertive.
Don to Dr. Faye - "I've been a little out of sorts." A little!
Best image of the week - Don studying Peggy drinking her CC as he thinks about his own drinking. Second favorite - Don emerging from the NYAC to have the '60s walk by him to the strains of 'Satisfaction'.
The writing continues to be rewarding; I loved the bookends of Don complaining early that he has never written more than 250 words, and later noting with Dr. Faye that Aesop's fables are short.
For those who do not watch the show, the amazingly rapidly appearing summaries by Tom and Lorenzo each week are a superb resource.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let's Hope This Czar Knows Stuff Mostly About Fish

Unlike some of Obama's previous asinine appointments.
We may well need this.
The nation's new Asian carp czar said Wednesday that, as a fisherman, he understands personally the threat of Asian carp to the Great Lakes and will do everything he can to halt the fish's steady march past barriers intended to hold it back.

Can Greece Really Be This Hopeless?

I know it is all just a matter of degree - after all, Canada is also somewhat hopeless - but Michael Lewis seems to find it hard to say anything nice about Greece!
The long-term picture was far bleaker. In addition to its roughly $400 billion (and growing) of outstanding government debt, the Greek number crunchers had just figured out that their government owed another $800 billion or more in pensions. Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek. Against $1.2 trillion in debts, a $145 billion bailout was clearly more of a gesture than a solution. And those were just the official numbers; the truth is surely worse. “Our people went in and couldn’t believe what they found,” a senior I.M.F. official told me, not long after he’d returned from the I.M.F.’s first Greek mission. “The way they were keeping track of their finances—they knew how much they had agreed to spend, but no one was keeping track of what he had actually spent. It wasn’t even what you would call an emerging economy. It was a Third World country.”
And that's the cheery bit!

The Weather Smiles on Djokovic

Novak Djokovic won an amazing wonderful match yesterday against Roger Federer, exposing to a degree the injustice of the US Open Schedule. Rafael Nadal had won a routine three-setter, while Djokovic was forced to a long five-set match against Roger Federer. The single day of recovery would have left him at an enormous disadvantage.
Obviously he is still at a disadvantage tomorrow, but the difference will be a lot less, now that rain in New York has caused the final to be moved to tomorrow afternoon.
I've never been much of a believer in Djokovic, though I rather love his impressions, but I'd sure like the final against Nadal to be close in quality to the semi-final against Federer.

I love the setting of the pants.
This seems quite a mini-industry, and can involve amsuing reciprocity.

Watching the NFL Again

But maybe not for much longer.
"You do what you have to do to win and Jason Williams did that."
i.e. cheating
I give up.


I know what TED is but I have no idea what Gel is. But this is too true.

Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

In my somewhat born-again retired frugality, I notice a lot more of this sort of nonsense. There is nothing I like better in some ways than a reason NOT to spend money I am not sure I have enough of.
I LOVE the North Vancouver dog signs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mad Men S4 E7 - continuing saga

I cannot stop watching this episode; it has so much that is so funny and so completely unlike the television I have watched for 45 years or so.
There is Don's unwillingness to call Stephanie and learn the news he knows he will get. It is heartbreaking and causes much other grief.
At the same time he knows exactly why he has Ida Blankenship as a secretary - "Joan
knew exactly what I needed and made sure that I got it."
The look on Pete's face as Peggy and Trudy emerge from the washroom was amazing too.
"I thought we could drop one off the Eiffel Tower and show how it doesn't break." "But it would, wouldn't it."
Is there a moment that is even slightly off in this whole episode? It is clearly written and conceived with such detail and care.
"Liston just goes about his business. Works methodically."
The most enjoyable bit was Peggy's finally brushing off her stupid boyfriend. "He's crestfallen, you know."
I love a lot of today's TV but I know of few instances where one wants to hear every line and figure out what it means. This is so rich.
Thanks, Matt Weiner, and that great cast.

Alda Offers Thanks

And rightly; it's a lot of fun toi use blogs to rant about silliness, of which there is a lot. But it is too easy to forget how wonderfully privilileged we are to live now, even in the midst of economic 'crises'.
Those people working in that hospital were amazing. Just to be able to walk in there at two in the morning, have a team of professionals receive us and instantly know what to do, have people working around the clock in laboratories to diagnose blood samples and all the rest, to be in an environment with the latest technology, that moreover is clean and well-maintained and efficient … it was just a little humbling. That feeling was reinforced the second time AAH went in, when they had her on monitors for the entire the night and nurses working around the clock to make sure she was stable, and moreover doing it with such kindness and caring … it’s not something that can be taken for granted, particularly not under the present conditions.

Lucky Me


h/t Protein Wisdom

What a Disgusting Puny Creep

Good Lord is he really this stupid? A day of national service and remembrance? Sheesh.
The true message is indeed about the human drive to evil and the sorts of godawful beliefs that make this evil easy.


I get to be part of two generations. Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated? Where I was is unimportant but it was the first time I saw my father cry. Where were you for the World Trade Towers attack? Where I was is unimportant, but nine years later, a lot of people just do not understand that small declaration of war.
So what should I post. Rondi has a great image at her site.
But I would like the core here to be a firefighter, from Fausta.
“He was the air in my lungs, and now that air is taken away from me,” Donna Angelini said. “I keep waiting for him to come off a 24 [hour shift] and come through the door and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe what happened to me today.’”
There were serious important caring human beings involved in that day. Not like the total clowns that propagate themselves still, so many years later.

The CBC Reaches a New Low

OK it was bad enouygh back when the overnight Radio One programming was changed. What once made me a happy insomniac, the former programming, consisted of news shows from other countries' public broadcasters, and it was invariably good.
For a reason I still cannot fathom, the core of this has now been replaced by some fright of a show called 'The Link', produced by Radio Canada International; as such it is designed as a link to Canada for our expatriates. It makes NO sense to broadcast it to Canadians on Canadian soil.
Now last night was a classic insomniac fest for me, so I wound up listening to The Link yet again.
And what do they have as a key part of their show the night of September 10? They have an interview with a complete idiot named Barry Zwicker, evidently a prominent troofer. And of course he hauls out the usual hoary Building 7 'mystery', which has never been a mystery. He makes the usual claims that questions long answered have not been answered. He mistakes incompetence for malice, something very typical.
I'll give him some credit; he does point out the truth is a 'conspiracy theory'. Though he does not believe it is the truth; he prefers his fantasy nutball versions.
I love how the little jerk thinks that the results of polls are meaningful in terms of determining the truth. This lad is an utter loon.
This was not just bad programming, I found it thoroughly offensive. If I had lost a friend in the Towers, this would sicken me even more. If you have the stomach, this demonstration of bad faith starts at around 11 minutes here.

Yet More Islamophobia

What an excellent story; and the interview on that page is enjoyable as well.
"After 13,000 miles, I think that America still exists, and I'm happy to know that it does," said Tariq, a 23-year-old American of Pakistani descent. "It's really made America feel like home to me in a way that I've never felt before. The America that we think about [as immigrants] is still actually there. I've seen it! And I'm seeing it still."
When he approached the fisherman after their car broke down, Tariq says, he didn't know how he'd be received. He asked if he could hitch a ride to town and the fisherman "happily does it." When the man asked Tariq what he was doing in Montana, he told him about their 30 mosques journey.
"And he doesn't flinch and doesn't get worried," Tariq said. "For me, it was like, 'Wow! That America still exists.' "
You can read their blogged experiences here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

OK Look

I am a 61-Year Old Guy.
Can there ever be a better match than Venus WIlliams against Kim Clijsters?
It seems to me these are the most beautiful women on the planet. Please let us set up more tennis matches!

How Long Are You Going to Go On Like This?

Peggy is stunning in this year's episode 7 of Mad Men. She asks the subject question but is so compassionate that she pours the drink, which he does not touch, and she drinks.
I have watched it several times, and each watching was worth it.
I hope the next six episodes give us so much.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What a Fool I am What an Addle-pated Fool!

When I was in Ottawa last month I was astonished to hear that Katie Melua was to be performing in Ottawa, and so I checked and found she would also be in Toronto.
So this morning I decided to find out where she was performing and see if I could get a ticket.
It was last night!  Grrr.
OK maybe in another couple of years when she has newer and I hope even better songs.
On the other hand one door closes, and Angus over at KPC has opened one for me.
And the guy is Canadian!  I had never heard of him; it takes someone in Oklahoma to wake me up!
"We are young we have years ahead maybe we might fall in love ... fall apart .... fall apart...before it ends well we should try to start"

And this one just makes me cry it is so sweet - "Are we cool now?"

Jesus and Mo on the Florida Koran-Burners

Too good.
h/t Ophelia

Tell Us What You Really Think

He did not leave much out!
I'd add one thing only.

If the Muslim youth are not lured in the mosques, these Islamicist organizations have set up clubs in the universities in the guise of student unions, women's and advocacy and community groups. They organize large conventions and invite fiery speakers from abroad to lecture with multi-media shows.
Also, university departments of 'Muslim Studies' (about as useful as 'Women's Studies').
And he is spot on about what is wrong with the self-appointed 'community leaders' and any recognition of those creeps.
When police engage youth through their self-serving leadership, the youth have no option but to submit and accept their strict dictates. This is neither fair for the youth nor their families who are left with no choices. They are at the mercy of this Muslim "leadership" through whom to access government, community associations, advocacy groups, politicians and public institutions.
People are people, not members of 'communities', and all public policy mediated through the so-called 'communities' is profoundly unliberal, and as a result bad.
This guy may have to be dragged before a human rights commission:
The media should be suspicious of those who rationalize terrorism due to foreign policies, wars, conflicts or poverty and other causes. Such rationalization and arguments encourage the jihadis. Ottawa Imam Khaled Abdul Hamid Syed, in his recent interview in the Citizen with Don Butler, refers to the jihadis as "strong on emotion and lack of knowledge." But they are aware that their cause will get media exposure through sympathetic editors and columnists and their "friends" will come to their rescue anyway. They have nothing to lose.
And he is clearly caught up in values that are simply not Canadian:
Finally, we all need to practise the necessary patriotism to help our law enforcement agencies and make Canada safe and secure for all Canadians.
Patriotism?  Help law enforcement?  Omigod.

h/t BCF

Diversity? No, Its Opposite

Which, as has oft been observed, is University!
On the day of club rush, officials approached the group and after seeing information about the organization and its ideals criticizing Barack Obama's economic policy. Ms. Ford-Morris was visibly disturbed by the material presented, published by the Heritage Foundation, criticizing President Obama's administration. College officials then called the campus police to assure the group left campus. Ms. Ford-Morris denied having ever talked to Ms. Beattie about giving permission to the organization to be a part of PBSC club rush.
Regrettably, as pointed out in the post, this is pretty typical.

Ramirez Hits It Perfectly

Unfortunately all these ridiculous positions are reflected in the press, especially abroad.

Ooopss, Sorry, Nevermind

What a disgusting creep.
We were seated around a smallish table; Castro, his wife, Dalia, his son; Antonio; Randy Alonso, a major figure in the government-run media; and Julia Sweig, the friend I brought with me to make sure, among other things, that I didn't say anything too stupid (Julia is a leading Latin American scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations). ... [D]uring the generally lighthearted conversation (we had just spent three hours talking about Iran and the Middle East), I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.
"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.
Let's get one thing right. The Cuban model worked brilliantly for him and his revolting cronies. It did not work very well for Cubans in general.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Curious CBC Choices

Who assigned Ian Capstick to the evening political shows?
Has there ever been more of an utter useless wimp?

A Mayoral Debate

Toronto elects a new mayor this year, and Gottseidank, the current clown is not running.
So whom do we pick now? See what you think.
This is a debate among the candidates and I do not recommmend your watching it unless you have some solid reason to.
But it has left some things clear to me.
The one candidate I would NEVER vote for, though I might with a gun at my head, is Joe Pantalone, who is somehow proud of the heritage of the godawful David Miller.
There is no question this debate puts Rob Ford at the top of my list; Rocco Rossi is next; Sarah Thomson seems pretty cool too. Smitherman has now found fiscal religion, the guy who pissed away a fortune as provincial Minister of Health. So yeah, he is an unlikely vote from me.
UPDATE: Rossi lost me with his credentialism and his cheap shot at Ford's charges in Florida. The man is an utter asshole.
UPDATE: Smitherman's argument for himself is that he was better than the a**holes that preceded him. Good God, what a nasty approach. I will never vote for that man for anything. What an utter jerk!
UPDATE: I like Sarah Thomson. She is funny and self-deprecating. (She is also really cute.)
UPDATE: After watching Rob Ford's sum-up, Panatalone's response disgusts me. No way I would ever vote for this guy for anything.

I love the end, which came from some of the stupid debate questions that Paikin imposed in the Federal Election debates (I thought the question was dim-witted but it showed a lot).

Ford refused to play.

He's my guy!

A Stupidity Contest

I've come to regard pastor Terry Jones and his flock, planning to burn the Koran next week, as fairly stupid. It's too late now for burning the Koran to help; the right time would have been when it was written, when you had a chance to get all the available copies and stop its transmission into the future. Sadly, the harm has been done and we cannot stop it.
But it's a race for stupidity that has been entered by the various media covering this as some sort of event, and all the usual idiots marching and chanting and threatening violence.
There are some clear winners on the stupidity front hanging around this event. There are actually people worrying that the Koran burning will foment violence, and suggesting that somehow Jones' sect will have responsibility. The only responsibility for any violence will belong to those who commit it. This will be as true here as it was for the murder of Theo van Gogh, the riots over the Danish cartoons, and of course the Palestinian murderers who lob rockets into Israel, or devote their lives to finding new ways to slaughter innocent people going about their daily lives.
Jones' sect has as much right to burn Korans as the Park51 guys have to build their community center. That's what I like about this part of the West.
UPDATE: Some excellent observations here specifically on David Petraus' stupidity on this issue.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bleg re Non-Halal Meat

I am noticing an alarming tendency of the grocery stores that supply me meat of featuring 'halal' meats.
I have NO wish to buy halal meats (any more than I wanted to buy kosher meats); the slaughter practices seem to me savage and disgusting beyond my tastes.
Are there any stores yet making clear that their meats are NOT halal?
I would certainly pay extra to avoid thinking I had contributed to the disgusting way of killing animals that halal entails.
How can I be sure when I be meat it is not slaughtered in this revolting manner?

Oh Dear Me - The Current Sept. 7 2010

Could they get worse? Well, maybe.
And actually this segment was just typical. This was their "Aaarrgghhh - Americans are utter Islamophobes!" section of today's show (yes, sadly, I was on a drive today, so I did have to hear it, by my driving rules). It was Part 2 at this link.
I love the way the CBC producers line up the grievance mongers and professional complainers (one of the 'experts' was from a department of something like Muslim Studies, whose sure aim is simply to whip up complaints). I did wonder the degree to which the one sane person in the segment (the U of T prof) was aware of what trap he was walking into. And of course he was not even that sane, but way closer to being grounded in some real life not created by CBC journalists and academics in a 'Muslim studies' department.
But the amazing thing was the elephant in the room never came up.
Who are really trying to kill whom now in North America? I don't think there is much of a case that Muslims are targeted, and there does seem to be a case that they are targeting their co-religionists and others. I actually think this is a problem. I guess Anna Maria Tremonti must not, as she never raised it as one.
I hope I live another ten years; I bet the discourse will have changed.

Damned Islamophobes!

As reported by Gail Rosenblum of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Despite the fact that tensions are running high in this political season, they independently confirmed that Minnesota graciousness remains top-notch. At the Crutchee's food stand, the smiling owner offered all three a free cheese-on-a-stick and lemonade (this before learning that a reporter was present). "I want you to like America," she said.
"People here are so nice," said Nada who, observing Ramadan, waited patiently to eat until sundown. "No one treats me different because I look different," she said.
Bastards! Islamophobes! (Nada wears a hijab. Go look.)
And I loved this from the simply German guy.
Max, tall and slender, made a beeline for the beef-and-pork dogs and made one disappear like magic. "The best!" he said.
"But," I asked, "no sauerkraut?"
"Nobody eats sauerkraut on hot dogs in Germany," said Max, who will attend Roseville High School.
They may well have when the families of those serving hot dogs at the state fair today emigrated but things change.
I learned about this from PowerLine where John Hinderaker cannot resist a parting shot, UTTERLY justified.
A postscript: remember when President Obama (who speaks no language other than English) ridiculed his fellow Americans for their alleged inability to speak foreign languages? The third exchange student, who is from Germany, recounted his experience in the presumed sea of Know-Nothingism that is the Minnesota State Fair:
Max agreed. "I like how the Americans talk to me, very open-minded," and more than willing to make him really feel at home.
"I don't know why," he said, delighted, "but everyone's talking to me in German."
Realize this is in a context where Minnesota has an enormous Somali immigration, parts of which earn some dough and then go back to fight Jihad in Somalia, and many of whom have become taxi drivers in Minnesota and refuse to carry people with alcohol or with guide dogs (firing offences in my view).
So who do you trust? The average Minnesotan? Or the pompous ill-educated self-important ass who cannot even do what the average Minnesotan can do and then goes tell them to be more tolerant and learn more languages, something he has nover bothered to do?