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.