Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Blog Has Moved

Following the lead of one Sis, I have moved into the hands of another Sis, and my blogging will now occur over at
See you there, I hope!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DWTS - There Really Are Twits Loose in the Land

And Ann Althouse is decidedly hunting them down!
I really could barely believe this crap:
That's a Boston Herald columnist, a grown man, attacking a teenager... for dancing. Somehow it's an injustice if Jennifer Grey doesn't win. Jennifer Grey, supposedly she's a nondancer, eligible to be a contestant even though she danced famously in a very famous movie about dancing. Bristol wasn't even an entertainer, but she stepped up and exposed herself to all manner of embarrassment, trying to dance in front of an audience for the first time. And it's not as if Jennifer Grey has relied purely on dancing. Grey — with strong help from the show — vigorously milked emotions over the death of Patrick Swayze on "Dancing With the Stars." So I don't want to hear any of this "fairness" crap.
And she is back later finding Sally Quinn being unsurprisingly an utter twit:
So this lady, this longtime Washington powerbroker, has 6 phone lines, and she maxes each line out, each week, voting 30 times. But that's the show's rules. They can't tell how many individuals vote are voting. They can only see phone numbers. So if your family of 5 watches the show and you — you economic losers — only have one phone, you can make 5 calls. Sally Quinn happens to have 6 phone lines, so she gets 30 votes — under the rules.
She's voting correctly. For the best dancer. You stupid people are voting for Bristol Palin. Lord knows why.
Well I know why I cast votes for her; she seems a very pleasant and tough young girl who has learned a ton working with Mark Ballas, and it is a pleasure to watch her Mom and her Mom's parents watch her development! She has far more courage than I have ever had. It is also a pleasure to watch Jennifer Grey's friends and kid. And it has been a gas watching Kyle Massey (whoever he is?).
But Bristol is the only one of these who had no background in performance, and stuck it out through some pretty brutal criticism. She was a great choice as a competitor and I feel privileged to have watched her this year. John McCain - you did one thing right for my entertainment!

Stan the Man Turns 90

... and Power Line remind us why we should remember him.
I was a Cardinal fan in a big way in my youth; part of it was that my father was, but another big part, and it is pretty amusing, was that KMOX could be heard clearly most nights on my little transistor radios. 1964 was certainly my favorite baseball season, especially as the Cardinals defeated the Yankees (who better!?) in the World Series.
What made Musial special? I like:
Jack Buck said this about Stan: "When you first hear about this guy, you say, 'it can't be true.' When you first meet him you say, 'It must be an act.' But as you watch him and watch him and see how he performs and how he comports himself you say, 'He's truly one of a kind.' There will never be another like him."
(In the same regard) Willie Mays has praised Musial through the years for extending his friendship to African American players during those tense days. Here's a story from Mays, who told it to Kansas City Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews: "All-Star Game, late Fifties. There were seven black players on the National League All-Stars. We were in the back of the clubhouse playing poker and none of the white guys had come back or said, 'Hi,' or 'How's it going?' or 'How you guys doing?' or 'Welcome to the All-Star Game.' Nothing. All of a sudden I look up and here comes Stan toward us. He grabs a chair, sits down and starts playing poker with us. And Stan didn't know how to play poker! But that was his way of welcoming us, of feeling a part of it, making us feel a part of it. I never forgot that. We never forgot that." (Emphasis added.)
and, remembering a great Red Smith column about Dickie Kerr, I was surprised to see this interesting fact:
The way The Man treated Dickie [sic] Kerr, an influential figure and great benefactor in Musial's life. Kerr was Musial's manager at Daytona Beach in 1940 and guided and supported the young prospect when Musial hurt the left shoulder and faced a career turning point. Kerr had encouraged Musial to become a full-time outfielder even before the injury and that gave Stan confidence. Moreover, Kerr and his wife had taken Stan and Lil into their home in 1940 as Lil was expecting their first child. In 1958, Musial bought Kerr a home as a measure of gratitude. [Kerr, by the way, was a clean member of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, and won both of his starts in the World Series that year)
Happy Birthday and thanks for the pleasure you gave me as a teenager!

DWTS - Some Small Shreds of Integrity

I tried but failed; in the end I had to cast the majority of my votes for Jennifer Grey.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Bristol Palin Voting Fingers are Warming Up!

Should be fun!

The Amazing Race S17E09

Let me start by saying I won't really miss Chad and Stephanie though I do wish them well in their forthcoming marriage. And I even hope to hear about it.
What utterly blew me away this week was Nick and Vicki's decision not to do the fuck you thing to some other team (I forget the name of that). That Nat and Kat then did it to Chad and Stephanie really did not trouble me, though perhaps it should have. In the end, I am sort of in love with Nat and Kat.
But even more deeply, I am in love with Brook; she is incessant in her positive chirping, and it is clear that Claire has learned not only to live with it, but to take it as the encouragement it is meant to be.
Jill and THomas are also neat, so the next week will be fun.

That So-Called Student

As I watched the latest awesome Chris Christie performance, it crossed my mind to wonder what the real content of the University of Waterloo's apology to Christie Blatchford was. As an example it seemed to me obvious that the student who was the centre of the activity should have been suspended by the University.
Well, the National Post was ahead of me on this one, and I feel a bit sorry for the University, as this guy is clearly one of those goofs that hangs around a campus in some vague state.
Mr. Kellar said he and Prof. Scott "parted ways as I did not wish to work in climate change adaptation or mitigation research as I felt it was not critical of the role of transnational and neoliberal capitalism in the perpetuation of global ecological shifts."
He said he has a meeting with the dean at Waterloo on Monday, and he expects to have a "rousing debate," although he has a pessimistic view of university life in general.
"With the university turned to a degree mill through continuing neoliberalization, knowledge has become appreciated only when it can be commodified," he said.
"Most students are not there to learn, they are there so they may become acceptable to the capitalist system by receiving a piece of paper which gives them the privilege of accessing sectors that those without that paper can not."
Waterloo needs to block this clown from the campus forever, and if they can find a time machine, send him back to the sixties where he belongs. If any University can do that, I think Waterloo can! (I am an alumnus and also a former faculty member there.)
BTW Rex Murphy is very temperate in reviewing the utterly awful failure of UW to do its job.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mother and Child

I don't go to movies at movie theaters, so it is in a way understandable that a movie will be released and I will not have heard of it.
But a movie with Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, and more! And it passed me by?!
'Mother and Child' is an utterly lovely piece of work. And I am really impressed with Annette Bening's willingness to be so utterly deglamourized.
I recommend the movie highly.
UPDATE: Apparently Rodrigo Garcia, the director, is a son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I made it to the end of the son's movie, and never have with Dad's novels. Still, this is clear proof genes matter.

Chris Christie Remains Awesome!

Some apology!

One Hundred Books

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
That has been fun several times. I am sure I will do it again - it's on my Kindle.
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
No way never.
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Fun once.
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
Read and utterly LOVED the first one but saw no reason to read another.
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Never read it - loved the movie - is there a reason to read it after that?
6 The Bible
Yup - bits and pieces. What a silly story!
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Once, high school, is enough, though I will say that tapping on the window was really spooky.
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
Never read it and never will.
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
He sounds intriguing but I suspect my backlog will continue to displace him.
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Had to in high school. Great potboiler. Pip was really a mean guy in his time.
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
The movie was really good.
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Perhaps the only Hardy I have not read.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
Complete? No way. But lots.
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Loved the movie.
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Sorry - I think Tolkien is silly - and I know because I have never read any of his works.
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
Are you kidding?
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
I was too well-adjusted as a child to bother.
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
I watched the movie - sweet but silly so no I won't ever read this.
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
Have read no Mary Ann Lewes books in my life. I may correct this as they are likely free for my Kindle.
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
No but love the movie.
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
I love the last passage about rowing. And there is a new movie coming.
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
I tried and failed. It was too bleak for me.
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
Yes! And it was amazingly enjoyable! Go Peter - shoot that midget!
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Yes! Yes! Yes! And all his too few other books,
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Yes but I recall nothing of it.
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
The movie was better but that was in the time of Henry Fonda.
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Multiple times and constantly.
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Yup - damned dog ate my copy, though.
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Once and never again.
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Once - great story.
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
No nay never.
34 Emma-Jane Austen
A few times - my first-year University teacher made me love this book.
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
Hm - it IS on the Kindle.
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Not a chance. Pullman is higher on the list.
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein
Movie is enough.
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
Sadly, I wasted time on this. The movie is also worth missing.
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Absolutely - some of the worst and most entertaining writing I recall.
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
Pretty sure it's a no.
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
I think so.
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
Yes. All those poor men!
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
No. I recommend one read 'The Edible Woman' and then no other Atwood.
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Perforce - high school.
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
I read all McEwan and this is the least satisfying. A nasty trick!
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
No and I will go to the grave innocent of this fatuous fool's books.
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
No could not even manage the movie it was so silly.
53 Cold Comfort Farm
Liked the movie.
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Yes! And it is on the Kindle!
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
High School.
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
I once thought this silly thing was profound.
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
No and never.
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Guy is too much of a windbag - I tried him once but the rewards did not match the effort.
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
No but like the movie and plays.
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Yes - it was a great portrait of 1950s America,
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Never heard of it
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
No - sounds depressing.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
Liked the movie.
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
No way - no attraction to the era.
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Of course!
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
Of course!
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
Never read any Rushdie and I am not even Muslim!
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
No - would if he could get to the point.
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
And I have not seen any of the movies either.
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
Why bother?
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
This guy writes with authority about things he does NOT know. Having found a giant mistake in the first of his books I tried to read, I have given up on him.
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
Actually, yes. It is a sweet sad book about the connection of a couple of lost souls.
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
No. I did TRY to watch the Gerard Depardieu movie.
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
I have started it a couple of times.
80 Possession - AS Byatt
I loved the movie.
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Hard to avoid.
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Never heard of it.
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Sadly I did waste my time on this.
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
And what a joy that scene with the agriculture speech interspersed with the seduction!
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (X)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I've read some.
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Perforce - high school.
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
One book I had when I was really little.
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
I loved it - a nice parable about the creation of myth.
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Tried and failed.
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
No, and I find the movies silly.
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Of course.
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
I think yes, and even in French, long ago.

What a bizarre list. h/t EclectEcon

Saturday, November 20, 2010

On the Road Again

I spent last week in Ottawa again visiting my mother. When the weather is friendly, I love the drive, joining Highway 7 at Peterborough and wandering through Norwood, Havelock, Marmora, Perth, and Richmond (yes, I have left Hwy 7 there).
One challenge on that route is finding a nice place to get some food. In the past I have stopped at the Marmora Valu-Mart and picked up a sandwich and a chocolate milk.
But there is now an alternative not far before (or after, if westbound) you hit Perth.
Fall River Espresso served me a wonderful breakfast sandwich and cafe latte yesterday! And the pecan tart I took for the road vanished in a wave of pleasure today!
If this is a route you drive I suggest marking this as a stop. It is now a 'favorite' in my GPS.

Highlight of the Week

Well it is early in a sleepless Saturday morning so this is a reflection worth recording.
It was Annie Lennox on the DWTS Elimination show. What a delight! And even if French pedants do not like her pronunciation of "rue" I love her cover of that great newly-discovered-by-me song of Francoise Hardy. As one who spends so much time perforce distant from Silly Wife I feel what this song is about whenever I am out and about seeing others with their mates.

TSA = The Stupid Adminstration

And this is hardly a surprise with Janet Napolitano in charge.
Read this and laugh or weep.
This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns-but nothing [ed. like nail-clippers] that could have been used as a weapon.
h/t Mungowitz

Rick Mercer and the TSA

Too good.

John Nolte on PDS and DWTS

He finds some real dimwittedness and reports it here.
I particularly like:
These two transparently dishonest concern trolls have inspired me to do something I’ve never even considered before. Not only am I going to watch the next episode of DWTS, I’m gonna vote like a deceased, ACORN-loving Democrat from Chicago. Then afterwards, I’m gonna drive to Wal-Mart while eating a cheeseburger in my gas guzzler to buy Sarah Palin’s new book as my DVR records ”Sarah Palin’s Alaska” so I can watch it later on my now outlawed-in-California plasma TV with the air conditioner set on KILL THE PLANET.
These people are wicked. They can’t even allow a young woman to have a little fun without doing everything in their power to publicly undermine and humiliate her. As I’ve said before, I may join them in Hell, but I’ll have better living quarters.
And the Left starts writing columns about how a Bristol Palin win will cause bullying in 5… 4… 3… 2….
Can I get a Team Bristol?
I've been in love with Jennifer Grey for a long time, long before her nose job (and by the way I cannot stand the movie 'Dirty Dancing'), but GO BRISTOL!
DWTS has three apparently very pleasant celebrities in its final. This would not have been the case with another outcome from last week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

They were Canadian - I Thought They Were Friendly

From tonight's episode of CSI:
Hodges: Let's just say I was terrorized by a flock of Canadian Geese while visiting my uncle in Saskatchewan.
Sara (skeptically): Really?
Hodges: They were Canadian; I thought they were friendly.
That is one serious misapprehension of Canada Geese!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ann Althouse on Today's Palin Derangement Syndrome

Thanks to Ann for some very sensible commentary on the two Palin stories that seem to have got the lefties in a state today, and which has caused a lot of putrid drivel to be written by hateful people.
First Willow:
Do decent people read a 16-year-old girl's Facebook page? But we've read it, so let's at least be decent enough to be fair to teenagers. It's common and casual speech to use the words "gay" and "faggot" like that. It upsets upright people, and it would better if the kids didn't do it — or so it seems, as we look down on the young from our lofty adulthood.
Indeed, teenage discourse is not adult discourse and it will take some sort of adjustment when the bluestocking adults now suddenly have a window into that teenage discourse on social media. It seems the current reaction is for the so-called adults to erupt in fainting spells and get on high horses they really should not try to ride. Ann has it spot on here.
There's absolutely zero indication that Willow has any negativity at all toward gay people. She's just pissed at Tre and talking like a teenager (or a "South Park" character). To tar her as homophobic is like saying if you call someone an "idiot," you hate persons with Down Syndrome.
And then to Bristol:
If we should be talking about the Palin kids at all today, we should be talking about Bristol. A complete underdog, Bristol Palin made it to the finals of "Dancing With the Stars." She had no experience as a performer, certainly not as a dancer, and it's incredible that she kept going at all, as the judges and others either tore her down or — when they saw the votes flowing in? — were modestly supportive. Week after week, she landed at the bottom of the judges' scores, but she made it up time and again as regular people called in enough votes to overcome the disadvantage the judges had imposed.
Congratulations to the shy, unassuming teenager who didn't particularly ask to be thrust into the spotlight 2 years ago, who went through an accidental pregnancy in front of millions of people (many of whom didn't mind insulting her in any manner they found amusing), who didn't hide herself away in shame, and who tried, again, in front of all of us, to dance. How many of the people who snipe at her, are too big of a pussy to dance anywhere, including on crowded dance floor at a local club?
Yeah, I said "pussy." Does that make me a misogynist?
Thanks, Ann.
The usual media suspects were full of conspiracy theories on how Brandy got eliminated, theories that seem totally unnecessary; the three most likeable celebrities were voted to the final. That this gets turned to something political is a measure of how juvenile our discourse has become! This is a reality TV show and the spoils certainly do not go to the best dancers, and it has NEVER been thus. It's a combination of competence and popularity contest and I have had NO trouble seeing how Bristol could be popular.
And I am now finally getting to see episode 1 of "Sarah Palin's Alaska" and it is pretty clear it will be fun. It's rather like 'The Amazing Race' but with only one team and no eliminations, and no leaving the state of Alaska.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DWTS - People Must Really Like Bristol Palin

I am pretty sure my face looked like Derek Hough's at the end of DWTS when it was announced that Bristol Palin is into next week's finals. One of the joys of live television is that such expressions of total astonishment might not get edited away (though I suspect ABC was hoping for such a response, as they knew who had advanced). Eight weeks in a row of finishing at the bottom of the judges' scores, and advancing eaxh week!
Now I can see why viewers would like the relationship she has built with her partner, and the way her personality has been working its way out of its shell, but I don't think I could have cast a ballot for her over Brandy and Maks.
I had hoped for a final showdown between Brandy and Jennifer Grey, but I will say that Kyle has been a surprising and delightful development and next week should be fun.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cat Bravado

Of course their bravado is why they are still here enriching our lives.

The Amazing Race S17E08 - Farewell Gary and Mallory

I assumed that because of the searching the lanterns for a ring task, which is pretty much random in outcome, this would be a non-elimination leg, and I was sadly wrong.
Of course, that is not why Gary and Mallory lost.
I will miss them both, especially Mallory, with her constant "Gee! Wow!" approach to every new place she has to go. On the other hand, the "Hail Mary full of Grace" did rather little to help her cause.
At this point I really want either Nat and Kat or Brook and Claire to win. I am amazed that the cavilling male/female pairs are still in this. On the other hand Chad did rather knock my socks off in this leg by proposing to Stephanie; it was rather sweet, and it IS true that as presented on screen, they do seem to be learning some mutual trust, which seemed pretty absent at the start.
I must say I had no idea Oman was so dramatic a place. Those Omanese goats are so pretty.
I am beginning to think that in another life my dream job would to be a producer on this show.

Let Me Help You Pack

Chris Christie just gets better and better.
“Let me help you pack.” That’s what Gov. Chris Christie told one of the state’s top administrators when that administrator commented publicly that he could leave New Jersey and go to another state if his $242,000 total compensation were to be capped under the governor’s proposed rule.
Please give me one Canadian politician who could speak such good sense so straightforwardly!
h/t Mungowitz

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The General Uselessness of Government

A nice piece of education:

Totally stupid! And we have a pile of this crap in Canada too and the current Ontario government loves this nonsense.
h/t Instapundit

Maru Loves Boxes

When you feel more secure in a box, it hardly matters what box it is. We have seen Maru in the past, but this really is amazing.

h/t Freespace

Competing UVics

Persephone introduces me to yet another new art form, the lipdub. Regular readers will know that she introduced me to the world of literal videos (perhaps a bit more on that below). These lipdubs are exhilirating and joyful, and I have got a lot of pleasure recently watching various among them.
Now I had seen passages of the Canadian video before, but did not really understand that this was a piece of a competitive industry. Here's the Canadian UVic video that makes Persephone nostalgic about her schooldays:

Now this was explicitly pointed at a previous effort from the Universitat de Vic in Catalonia, which I think is much better in fact:

This one has much better visual jokes, and kicks off with a brilliant use of a mirror.
But for integration of the music and lyrics with what the camera is seeing, by far the best I have seen is the one from Orientation Week at the Université de Quebec à Montréal.

The latter two also have `making of` videos on YouTube, which are quite entertaining, as well.
Campuses are featuring much more constructive activity than they did 40-odd years ago, when I was on them. Quebec and Catalonia seem the hotbeds of this creativity.
As for literal videos, I stumbled over this piece of genius, to a song I always rather liked back in its time. And of course the Canadian connection makes it more fun.

What a Try!

It's a game that largely baffles me, but this short video displays the great athleticism of its best players.

h/t Timmy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mortgage Interest Deductibility

One of the stupidest ideas ever.
And Ann Althouse makes it all seem much more complex than it need be.
Phase it out over the next 20 years!
As she points out it is clearly a subsidy for the rich.

Serendipity - Francoise Hardy Version

With unexpected time on my hands, I am watching 'Metroland' (which is actually surprisingly good) and about 48 minutes in a wonderful sad song appears on the soundtrack. Sounded like Francoise (sorry, don't do those cedillas and accents on this machine) Hardy! And it IS! And it is this song, which I do not recall from my period as one of her fanboys.

The ONE song of hers I can not forget, mind you, is one of those featuring the subjunctive mood, rapidly vanishing from English (and perhaps other European languages; it belongs to an era when language was owned by a small minority).

I noticed that the Boys and Girls song was covered by Annie Lennox and noted that YouTube can invite a certain cruelty.
Here is the video:

The cruelty is a comment, which is actually stupid, if a bit entertaining.
"les roues de Paris".
OK C'mon we Anglos will never actually get the French 'u' (ditto the German 'u-umlaut'). Give us a break. You guys do not get 'th'. In fact is there a single French- or German- native language speaker other than SillyWife who can make the voiced aand unvoiced 'th' sounds work correctly. I do not know one.
(A Side Point: Francoise Hardy's songs are often rather self-pitying. Now it may be true that supermodels cannot get dates (little would I know) but as I watch her videos I am unconvinced that she really ever had a problem of the sort she features in her songs.)
UPDATE 2: Forget that this is ridiculous for Francoise Hardy. It is also ridiculous for Annie Lennox! Like why are all those other boys and girls out there? I am pretty sure lots of boys want Hardy and Lennox to hold hands with them. How goofy can we get?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cats and Water

This has been all over the news and the blogs today,and I find it wonderfully astonishing. Cats do not drink like slobby dogs!
My memory is that my cat co-residents did actually make a bit of a water mess in their time but this report is fascinating. I could never figure out what their tongues were up to and this sounds a bit plausible.

The Comedy that is Canada

Its quintessence is wonderfully distilled in this hilarious story about the apparent loon who wants to be Dean of Law at the University of Windsor.
Far from a conspiracy of old white men, the school says these negative opinions of Prof. Carasco represent the majority of a search committee composed of six women, “four persons of racialized origins,” one person with a disability, a female Superior Court judge, and a non-voting equity assessor who is African Canadian, and later judged the process to be “excellent” in terms of fairness to minority candidates.
This ludicrous sentence, not the author's fault, rather reality's fault, reflects so much of what is utterly wrong in today's Canada.
Women are presumed to be better judges of candidate quality than men, it seems. Arrant nonsense. And then persons of 'racialized origins' - I have some of that moxie, too, and it is part of why summer stresses me; having a background genetically built from Scandinavians and the Great British, I find the sun a bit difficult, but can process milk flawlessly; that is pretty racialized. However I suspect there is an institutionally approved definition of 'racialized' that means you are actually adapted to the sun quite nicely, and may be lactose-intolerant. And it is nice to see that disabled people get more credit than whitey. And there is an equity assessor! How do I get that job? Oh - I likely have to have darker skin and an approved racialized background.
What a farce.
The story makes it clear this person should not be elected dog-catcher. But what astonishing idiocies stand between such a simple conclusion and the processes our asinine government has put in place!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great News from Mexico - Monarch Butterfly Version

From a note on the DPLEX Monarch mailing list:
Ocampo, Michoacán .- Large numbers of monarchs are arriving at the Rosario sanctuary this season, and now are at least two hundred trees full of insects.
The chairman of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Rosario Tellez Sergio Guzman, said a change of Michoacán, the number of insects that are arriving is greater than previous years, said at the moment already has at least a couple hundred trees full of insects.
Of course it IS Mexico and a later note continues:
As to his statement regarding the "safety" of the Reserve. I hope everyone will keep in mind the massacre/shootout...
June 15th, “sicarios” (assassins) blocked the main highway out of Zitacuaro (one of the larger communities near the entrance to the Reserve) and gunned down twenty-eight federal law enforcement agents: thirteen died and fifteen were injured. There were also fatalities among the ranks of the murderers, but no precise count could be made, since the perpetrators fled, taking their dead. A young girl who happened to be crossing the street was run down by one of the speeding cars.
Michoacan has become one of the major turf war locations between the Colima Cartel and three other gangs: Juarez, Gulf, and Milenium. Both Zetas (enforcer gangs) and their trained protégées, La Familia de Michoacan, operate in the State.
"American citizens should bear in mind that on July 16 of this year the State Department of the Federal Government posted a warning to citizens stating
"Recent violent attacks and persistent security concerns have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to defer unnecessary travel to Michoacan and Tamaulipas, to parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila, and to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution."
I imagine few butterflies get gunned down.

A Truly Sisyphean Task in the Climate Change Area

When the cards are really stacked against you, it is easy to see how someone might give up. But Ross McKitrick will not quit, as Andrew Montford points out here.
The dishonesty of the warmists is on display in a major way; Montford's reading suggestions are worthy. (A sensible shortcut would be to simply read the two McKitrick docs.)
As part of what you will read are the questions that astonish me about the 'hide the decline' 'trick', which has been characterized by some as an innocent bit of wit. Instead it seems to me an utter violation of the whole point of science, and Ross summarizes it really well:
Jones felt it was necessary to hide the decline in tree ring records. He may very well have felt that way, but the point is he did not tell the reader what he was doing. Had he done so, the reader might well have asked why the tree ring data should be considered an accurate record of temperatures in previous centuries if it doesn’t appear to be one in this century; and why we should assume the tree ring records would have tracked medieval warmth if they are obviously not tracking modern warmth. The decision to hide the decline prevented the reader from seeing the uncertainties and weaknesses in the model.
Amen! The promulgators of these godawful IPCC graphs deserve utterly zero respect in their claims to be scientists.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sic? Gordon Ramsey Version

I don't expect Ramsey to be a great grammarian but I think AFP is being way too self-congratulatory here.
They cite:
In an impassioned conclusion, he added: "I know how hard this must be for you Greta, and I'm not expecting a birthday card, but your (sic) punishing your daughter and our four children, for all the wrong reasons, it's so sad. She's an amazing woman and you've been a fantastic mum please don't stop!"
Now I am pretty sure it was AFP who inserted that 'sic', thinking they were so smart, and reading the passage as if 'punishing' were a present participle. But it could perfectly well be a gerundive in this sentence, and then 'your' would be utterly correct, and 'you're' would not. the 'it' in the 'it's' would then be referring to the punishing.
AFP editors are pompous nitwits. Gordon Ramsey probably knew full well what he was doing.
I would certainly be more inclined to trust him than the sort of person AFP would hire as an editor.

Democrats and Republicans in Front of the Boob Tube

This must be in the air; here is yet another post looking at shows and the characteristics of those who like them.
Deep into the post there is a chart of the favorite shows of Democrats and Republicans.
From the Republican list I studiously watch and enjoy #s 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, and occasionally watch 12 (but mostly for the great Tim Roth). From the Democrat side I watch and enjoy 2, 8 (but with less pleasure this year), 9, and 11. And I agree that 'Law and Order: SVU" is having trouble staying vaguely sensible. It is even crossing my mind to give up on my weekly fix of Mariska Hargitay.
So it is pretty clear I lean Republican, and there is also NO question that I will be eager to watch Sarah Palin's TLC Alaska show.
But the lists are interesting; I cannot really see a clear theme. For my choices there is one; I like shows where people compete fairly, or where hocus-pocus is treated as such ('The Mentalist').


I am watching Business News Network, CTV's business channel, and some guy named Jan Randolph was talking about the Irish bond market going "orrie" ("Oh-ree"). Is this how he pronounces 'awry'? I pronounce it ah-rye.
Have I been confused my whole life?
I am not sure how often I have heard it pronounced in my 61 years +.

Eliminating the Mortgage Interest Deduction!?

Greg Mankiw says this is being recommended. What sort of sane people are these!?
This is actually somewhat personal for me. In 1979, when my father was Chief Economist (or higher) at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Commission (or whatever CMHC stood for then) the Conservative Party ran with mortgage interest deductibility as part of its campaign platform. He was publicly opposed to this policy. In fact, late in the campaign he gave a widely-noticed public speech explaining clearly why this was simply BAD policy (not least because it redistributes money to the rich from the poorer).
The politician who wound up as housing minister threatened to fire him for this.
When she took office, it turns out they managed to work together and that policy plank was NEVER implemented. And he was not fired. In fact that government found one night they could not count, lost a vote of confidence, and got booted out of office fairly quickly.
But I do not readily forget the childish threats and the stupidity of the policy. Needless to say, I got to hear a lot about what was wrong with the idea just by hanging around my father.
Now it is a hell of a lot harder to reverse a bad policy like the US mortgage interest deductibility than to stop the installation of something so dim-witted, as he helped do in Canada.
But I wish good fortune on this case! I suspect most economists do. (I do not mean that I am economist.)

More Class versus Crass

Here's the class, and Stuart Varney agrees:

Crass? HoW about Bloomberg's rant, or perhaps Barney Frank's victory rant?

Class and Crass

Class: Bush to Rush Limbaugh:
I do believe in the institution of the presidency, and I didn't think it was right then, I still don't think it's right to engage in name-calling if you're the president of the United States. I was focused on the mission... I still feel very strongly that's the way a president ought to conduct himself.
And he does not do any name-calling now, unlike some previous Presidents.
Crass: You don't need my help. It's happening almost daily now.

A Promising Poll

Nice to see that American Muslims in general are smarter than American lefties and don't readily totally buy into the lefty-Islamist line.
It turns out that only 43 percent of American Muslims think the mosque should be built on its current proposed location. Meanwhile, 44 percent think it should be moved or changed to an interfaith center.
This is of course yet another clear sign that the most vocal clowns in a specific 'community' really are clowns.

35 Years - Hard to Believe

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

h/t Mungowitz at KPC
Big-Sea-Water indeed!

Yes I Miss Blair

Especially after reading this.
There is no general failure to integrate. In the U.K., for example, we are not talking about Chinese or Indians. We are not talking about blacks and Asians. This is a particular problem. It is about the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim. And I stress part of it. Most Muslims are as much at ease with their citizenship in the U.K. as I am. I dare say that is true in other European nations too.
However, some don't integrate. But when we talk about this in general terms, without precision, for fear of "stigmatizing" Muslims, we alienate public opinion and isolate the majority of Muslims who are integrating and want to be as much part of our society as any other group. Then, because we won't identify the problem as it is, a subterranean debate takes the place of an open one, and that debate lumps all Muslims together. So in the interest of "defending" the Muslim community, we actually segregate it by refusing to have an honest debate about what is happening.
Yup, the failure to integrate is concentrated in one community which makes more and more claims in support of this very failure. If anything, the claims expect us to integrate with them, a ludicrous idea, as the notions promulgated are so primitive.
Concerns about illegal immigration have a lot to do with the notion that the system can be gamed, played, or swindled by some who are hostile to the host community they seek to penetrate. Ensuring that there are rules, strictly enforced—and in Europe's case, these could be pan-European as well as national—is not anti-immigrant. It is, in fact, the only way to protect the idea that immigration, properly controlled, is of enormous benefit.
We will not defeat extremism (and the fear it then produces in our societies) until we defeat its narrative. This narrative is Islam as a victim of the West, locked in an inevitable cultural conflict with it.
Islamist claims are so extensive they need simply to be rejected. Blair of course later has to claim that the Islamists are not preaching a true Islam. From what I can see they are truer to this silly religion than the moderates are.
Still, to a degree he calls a spade a spade.
h/t Harry's Place, which also features this wonderful little video:

Religious Freedom Can be REALLY Harmful

Those veils can be so useful for criminals.
Elizabeth Smart told jurors Tuesday how a Salt Lake City police detective tried to see behind her veil but backed down when the man accused of kidnapping her said her face was hidden for religious reasons.
"I was mad at myself, that I didn't say anything," she said on her second day of testimony in the federal trial of Brian David Mitchell. "I felt terrible that the detective hadn't pushed harder and had just walked away."
There should be NO presumption whatever that people can hide their faces. This is a dramatic example of the cost of 'respect' for bullshit religious 'requirements'.

A Reason to Like Michelle Obama

I don't find many so when they pop up it is worth recording.
In footage of the official welcome, Sembiring appeared to share his countrymen's enthusiasm. He smiled broadly as he shook the president's hand and then reached with both hands to grasp Michelle Obama's. But later he said she forced their contact.
His denial was in a response to tweets from Indonesians who noted the handshake and questioned his long-standing claims that, as a good Muslim, he restricts his contact with women.
Islam is one sick bunny of a religion.
On the other hand, an encouraging point about Indonesia:
One female journalist — who said the minister had refused to shake her hand — gleefully noted that now he would no longer be able to wriggle out of it.
The other encouraging point in this article is that this small incident created a bit of a Tweetfest in Indonesia. Whatever the opinions, I am delighted to think that opinions were being transmitted in great numbers.

DWTS: Bristol Lives On!

People must really like her! Even more than Kurt Warner, whose story and personality surely make him incredibly likeable.
I haven't voted this year. I probably would have withheld votes for Audrina Patridge, though she was an excellent dancer, just for her failure to project much of a personality. Bristol is a bit like that but you see that cute smile and it radiates a certain attractive confusion. Also, she does get some help from Mama Grizzly's occasional appearances in various ways on the show ("Just dominate; just take over!", Mama Grizzly advises, but when I look at Daughter Grizzly, that doesn't seem to be there. It is sweet. Families).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Things that Break my Heart as I Age

That I did not listen closely enough to friends who recommended magic I did not recognize as such (sorry, Don and MaraLee).

How could someone be so stupid as not to recognize this talent? I was.
I got to witness college students dancing to this in Halifax! Crazy? Yes, but also inspiring.

And the greatest Canadian a capella:

Last Night's Dancing With the Stars

Whatever the psychology of fans of the show, last night's show was great evidence of why it is as popular a franchise as it is.
For one, as a live show, it allows some real suspense in tricks like last night's second dance, giving the dancers only 45 minutes to prepare to an assigned piece of music.
And then the personalities.
The charm of Kyle (whoever he is - it is not surprising that I have no idea, given that they call him a Disney star) and his constant improvement are nice, especially combined with Lacey's exuberance at the scores for the first dance.
Jennifer Grey's vulnerability and sheer excellence as a dancer makes me care about her performance, and her daughter.
As a football fan, I have long known Kurt Warner's story, and he has amazed me at his lasting this long, and it easy to see why he is well-liked.
It's been fun watching Bristol Palin improve, though she is surely doomed this week, and even more fun has been the background coverage involving Mama Grizzly. Bristol struggles so hard to perform, but it clearly is very hard for such a self-contained person.
And Brandy! I had never heard of her but sure know who she is now, partly, I am sure, because she had the good luck to be paired with Maks, who always seems to have a conflicted relationship with his celebrity. And can she ever dance.
As for the second dances:
Kyle's was amazing on 45 minutes of rehearsal. It shows how great a studeent he is and how good a teacher Lacey Schwimmer has been for him.
Jennifer's was stunning (3 10's!)as well, and it is nice to watch her legs, too. BTW, talk about Dumbo, I learned in this show that her father is Joel Grey! This is about as ignorant as when I did not realize Ione Skye's ancestrry.
Kurt also did as well as in his rehearsed dance.
I felt sorry for Bristol - as Len said, the rumba is really tough for the untrained and unmusical. She is only a point behind Kurt, though, and I wonder if the votes will keep her around again, as they did last week removing Rick Fox. Also curious was Mark's patting her bottom.
Brandy was also fabulous whatever Carrie-Ann says, clearly enraging Maks.
Thanks, Lacey, Anna, and Bristol for the short dresses. Shame on you, Brandy! :-)
This instant dance idea is a great innovation.

An Excellent Letter from Matt Ridley

My views on climate change have been changing significantly over the last few years, as I spend more time reading about the existing evidence and the quality of the science behind the more egregious claims. Matt Ridley publishes an excellent letter, explaining his current somewhat skeptical view, and I recommend it highly. One quick excerpt that shows how he is thinking today.
My last point is this. We always discuss climate change in isolation, as a unique issue. Yet we cannot ignore the history of past environmental alarms, which I catalogue in my book: on population, famine, pesticides and cancer, desertification, sperm counts, acid rain, GM crops, and many other issues, we have been promised catastrophe, often with the backing of peer-reviewed science, and repeatedly these hopes have been dashed. (You may need to remember to switch your sarcasm detector on when reading the last sentence.) My position is heavily influenced by having been science editor of The Economist during the acid rain scare and having been a full-scale alarmist at the time myself. In 1984 I wrote: `Forests are beginning to die at a catastrophic rate. One year ago, West Germany estimated that 8% of its trees were in trouble. Now 34% are...that forests are in trouble is now indisputable.’ Experts told me all Germany’s conifers would be gone by 1990 and the Federal Ministry of the Interior predicted all forests would be gone by 2002. I was wrong. German forest biomass increased during all these years. Of course, the boy who cries wolf may be right one day. But we are right to grow more sceptical when he keeps being wrong.
Now, if for the past 20 years we had been told that there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch, then I could join with you and the consensus. Instead of which I have been repeatedly told that trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and it is the most urgent problem, more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution, likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover that the science is settled and to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal. So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year. Ask yourself if these emails had been within a drug company about a drug trial, whether the establishment would have been so determined to excuse them.
A world ruled by buffoons like David Suzuki would indeed be a scary place.

Jake Tapper Misses the Real Point

Or maybe he just does not want to point at it.
Read that transcript; does the reference to Kenyan ancestry leap out or does something else?
To me it was Obama's utter narcissism. He does not simply interrupt the questioner, but then makes it all about himself, when that had not been the point of the question at all. It was supposed to be about India. But who is more important - the little pipsqueak from Chicago, or one of the greatest democracies on Earth? An easy call for one guy.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Taylor Swift

I posted long ago about how much I admired her, and liked some of her songs. Now she is all over the news with a new album expiating some of her really bad choices, but let's face it, she in her very early twenties, and can pick whatever she wants, and so is likely to make a ton of bad choices.
But SPIKE today is running that great episode of CSI where the character she plays hits it off so nicely with Nick; it is sad and sweet as an episode, and Swift's acting plays a great role.
I hope to see her do more of this in the future. She may well be better at it than singing.

Thanks, Stephen

There is much of what you do that seems to lack principle (and I understand you need to stay in office), but this is one reason to worry about Iggy or some other jerk replacing you.

h/t BCF

The Amazing Race - S17E07

What a great first choice! Either do the spinning plates trick, which requires some manual dexterity and patience, or learn to play 'Kalinka' on accordions (right hand only it seems) simply by watching someone else do it. (I would have loved to do this, as an accordion player.)
Brook and Claire were stunning with the spinning plates; and they made it clear they had the patience to make it work. "Don't we look like plate-spinners to you?" I love them.
Nate and Kat revealingly attacked the accordion with some organized use of numbers (med school?).
I was impressed by Chad's patience letting Stephanie take the lead. (Of course he lost it later.)
Gary and Mallory were fun to watch; she seemed to control their careful approach.
But both tasks appeared to find the seams in the relationships inside the teams other than those three.
The second task involved some careful instructions about limiting what teams could do and even Brook and Claire blew it, but realized along the way they had to go back. Stress makes comprehension a lot tougher.
The inferential problem in the middle of the second task was fascinating and it was interesting to see how quickly people twigged to the little model of the church in the tower.
Around 18 minutes into the show the saddest moment is when Michael appears to hear someone cite the rule about not using cabs and it seems to go over his head.
I was thrilled to see Nat and Kat win the leg and Brook and Claire ("You can do it Claire!", though Brook had the tricky task this week)) come second; certainly my two favorite teams. The only mixed-sex team I much liked was Dad-Daughter Gary and Mallory.
Sadly, the elimination was of the Asian Father-Son, largely because they did not read the clues, which astonished me. Also astonishing was that Nick and Vicki were third. But they do seem to be learning how to work together.
For all the negative implications of comments above, I have found this one of the most attractive seasons of the last few years as it enters its last few weeks.
And Sunday's episode seemed a set of pretty fair tests, compared to last week's music and film exercises, which just seemed too random to me. The tests this week seemed fair, and that a team I liked was eliminated for not carefully reading the rules seems really fair. After all one team figured out the problem and fixed it partway through.
For a lot of reasons this is the only reality show I really believe in.

Opera Atelier's 'Acis and Galatea'

For some odd reason Opera Atelier decided to make the subscription series I have been buying for years for SillyWife and me include seats in the final show of the run, rather than early in the run, as in past years. The effect of this is that my motivation to blog on the show is deeply reduced, as it is no longer possible to influence attendance at later shows.
That said, let me say this was yet another truly enjoyable Sunday afternoon at The Elgin Theatre, and quite different from all the previous productions we have seen. The plot is ludicrously simple: Boy (shepherd, mortal) loves Girl (sea-nymph, immortal), and after trying to find one another they do and everyone is really happy; but there are portents and sometime later a big bad guy comes (immortal), who wants Girl; there is a scuffle, and bad guy kills Boy; Girl is sad but uses her power as a goddess to transform dead Boy into a fountain, which she as a sea-nymph can still really appreciate.
But the production featured all the usual joy of such productions: color, excellent dancing, young, lovely and highly skilled performers, a magnificent Baroque small orchestra (Tafelmusik), great singing. I am not sure how they do it, but they have become wonderful at refreshing the company, so that everything is new once again.
I can only praise the performers.
Mireille Asselin got her first lead here and she was a wonderful actress as well as singer. So glad to see her in the role of Galatea. Thomas Macleay was sensational last year as his linked bio says, and he sure was yesterday. Lawrence Wiliford was a wonderfully mischievous and sweet-voiced Damon. And Joao Fernandes made Polypheme at once threatening, sympathetic, pathetic, and funny. What astonishes me is the deft combination of acting and singing and dancing skills, nothing I recall seeing in opera when I first became enthusiastic about it 40 years ago.
And then there is the music. Having listened to Handel now for 50 years, it is easy to see him quoting himself, but in such lithe and humorous ways, and with such deft attachment to the lyrics, that the almost endless recapitulations are almost painless (sometimes I thought they might have cut a couple). With no recapitulations this show would have lasted at most ten minutes, so they have an effect.
Part of it is to allow us to continue to sit and enjoy the sumptuous visual experience; for all its simplicity, it is a world I think I could have studied through one more show.
Tafelmusik are so good at expressing Handel's compassion and humor.
Touch and smell among the senses get welcome short shrift in these shows, but sight and hearing get a workout and that is just dandy.
If it made any sense I would recommend you go see this production. It makes no sense in the near future in Toronto, but it may someday if they travel with the production.
And by the way, as for finding new young performers and people involved; I saw Jeannette Lajeunesse-Zingg up there dancing, and Marshall Pynkoski introducing the show; they will be forever young. And they are THE artistic collaboration that gives me an amzing amount of pleasure each year.
UPDATE: I also wanted to say that the song lyrics in places were stunning - John Gay was clearly an Oscar Hammerstein of his time.

A Bit Like Astrology and Also Fun

An exercise in analyzing the psychology of those who like particular shows: thought I would see what it says about me.
Mad Men: Mac people? Hardly, though I did own a couple of Apples of the Apple II generation before the IBM PC appeared. "prefer brands like Blue Moon to Campbell's soup": Nope.
Family Guy: Have seen only one episode; it was pretty funny. "They gravitate towards brands like DiGiorno and the Ford F-150." Not me at all: what is DiGiorno?
Glee: "Open to new experiences and creative." OK look who does not recognize him/herself there? Of course Richard Florida counts me as part of the super-creative class so it is clearly true. "They favor brands like Evian over Quaker cereals." Nope, have never bought and Evian and never will; don't buy Quaker, but have been thinking about oats lately. Neigh! Whinny!
DWTS: "They prefer a nice, solid Chrysler Town & Country to that newfangled Toyota Prius." I probably would though both are too high-end.
The Office: I have seen only the Gervais version. 'Nuff said. Though I found this funny: "They choose brands like the BMW Series 3 over the Lincoln Town Car. " Now that is a tough one - I cannot imagine wanting either of those vehicles.
Biggest Loser: I see bits of it only as the remote hunts. 'Nuff said.
The Real Housewives of Orange County: I have not seen any of the Real Housewives. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Short Answer to Globe Question: No!

Stephen Gordon explains it well here.

The Fruit-Fly's Critic

A fine Ted Talk from a smart Austrian:
I SO want to know how my silly brain works and I know I will not live long enough. But please let us cheer on the people who will sort it out!

Election Hangover

A couple of post-US-election YouTubes.
Marco Rubio's lovely victory speech:

And it is lovely and it is the voice of someone close to those who have lived in deeply more godawful places, and with a family that does not forget this.
"It doesn't matter if your Dad was a bartender and your Mom was a maid."
And then there is Ms. Mischief, Mama Grizzly-in-Chief:

I do not recall who to h/t on this, but one good blogger pointed out that election of so many Republicans to various offices (including key state ones) almost surely dilutes Palin's influence in two years, but I continue to welcome her presence on my TV screen.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

DWTS - This Week's Elimination

I will miss Cheryl Burke - she is clearly one of the best coaches. Rick Fox less so, in terms of missing him, but he was doomed by his height.
People must really love Bristol Palin - I have no problem with her - she seems incredibly sympathetic to me. I have not voted this year.
Was Taylor Swift really performing live? I love her but the fact she was on tune makes me wonder.
UPDATE: Rick leaves with utter class, of course as Canadian-born.

These Really areTwo Appealing Creatures

However different their views.
Would not DWTS be even better if both were on next season!?
Ferraro is no fool and she sees how smart the Tea Party has been.

Palin simply does not interrupt Ferraro, and it is so admirable.
And the very end is so lovely. And I am glad to have Bristol back next week.

Steyn on Coren Show

I should have watched it live but SDAMAT did us all a big favour and Blazing Cat Fur provides links so you too can watch it.
It is actually a very sensible (and scary) discussion.
How Mark Steyn can be regarded as 'controversial' remains a bafflement to me.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Russ Roberts Has a Lot of Fun

He may be swimming against the stream, but with GREAT cheer:

"Prone to confirmation bias." Yup.

Please! No Vision

I was working in IBM in the worst of its times in the early 1990s, when Lou Gerstner became the CEO. He immediately made clear to the world that he was not very interested in 'vision'
So it was interesting to read this piece by Rick McGinnis, yet another one of those creative class guys (he might even have been super like me, and lives closer to the Annex), on why he voted for Rob Ford.
What Ford clearly lacks is eloquence, and for that I’m grateful. Vision is given wings by eloquence, and history is full of poor ideas given inadequate criticism thanks to a carapace of pretty words. We’re long overdue for a debate over what government should and should not provide, and what our own city can and cannot afford, and since that debate will be harsh and uncivil at times, I have no problem with my choice for mayor.
For the first time in decades, municipal government looks like it’s going to be interesting, and voter turnout in this election – higher than it has been since the city was amalgamated – suggests that voters agree. Rob Ford might say some rude or even silly things in the next four years, but I’m certain he won’t be trying to sell me his vision.
Amen. Miller convinced himself it was important for him to fly all over the world fretting about our carbon footprints (not his). That is just one egregious example of the temptation that believing you have a vision creates. Please - no more in my lifetime!
h/t BCF (and please go over there and send him some money in his free speech battle).

Sanity or Insanity?

It's funny - on the day of the great Sanity/Fear Rally, I flipped the remote over to CNN at one point, confident, rightly, that they would be slavishly wanting to report Stewart's party.
And what did I see?! Not quite astonishlingly I saw an Islamist walk onto the stage. Unbelievable. Well, actually not; today's lefties love these deeply disturbed individuals (common cause in deep disturbance).
But really? Did the organizers not know what a nutball Cat Stevens became after becoming Yusuf Islam? Is this poor research or is there an agenda?
The irony here is that it all makes me a lot more sympathetic to Salman Rushdie.
What a world!
Maybe this is the subtle Stewart/Colbert way of flipping it over all to Fear. Rightly.
UPDATE: Only the most negative of my thoughts are supported.
What the Fuck is Going on?!

Sarah Palin is God

Or so the buffoonish BBC seems to suggest.

This is SO ridiculous that it is almost hard for me to believe the BBC hires such fools. (OK I know - I do watch it and they do.)
Sarah Palin has certainly inserted herself into the process this year and it has been entertaining to watch her, someone who I thought at the end of 2008 could never possibly be a viable candidate for national office, assert her voice.
Here she is on FOX News Sunday last weekend; usually the opening interviews on such shows are snoozefests even for me, who watches the shows fanatically. Sarah Palin is not boring. "Hurry up then, because I have a lot to say." "Was it a rock climber or a rock star?" "Thanks for keeping the questions short."
In normal circumstances, I can not imagine ever voting for her, but she is growing on me (I don't get a vote in US elections). And she is growing partly because she is working and clearly learning as she goes, but probably even more so because of the clowns on the other side, and the apparent disarray in the Republican party.
I am coming to suspect anything can happen.
But look - today's elections are not ABOUT Sarah Palin.
They are about Obama-Pelosi-Reid. She has just jumped aggressively on the negative coattails.
BTW - the nicest TV moment of the week for me was seeing Bushes 41 and 43 opening the fourth game of the World Series. Do I miss him yet? Yup.


In the land of Jon Stewart fans, in the land of Keynesia?

Monday, November 01, 2010


OK this was ridiculous - you put Brandy AND Jennifer Grey on the same damned group team. Pretty easy to guess how that will work out.
Though to be honest I am ready to predict Brandy wins the season. And I think a good part of it is the way Maks fights with Brandy. She responds to all his challenges.
And it seems Derek Hough is not asking Jennifer Grey for enough.
I still think everyone else is just on an elimination schedule that is not yet known.

This Week's Amazing Race

It is just that it was a non-elimination round. The main tasks were needle in a haystack efforts and could go pretty well any way, and did.
I am curious to see if Chad and Stephanie are actually nicer next week.
I love Mallory's constant 'Wow!'s; "I've never been on a train before."
And Brook is just such a constant cheerleader for Claire it has become simply hilarious. Meanwhile Claire takes the watermelon in the face, ...
I loved Nat and Kat's self-characterization as Natasha and Katya.