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Silly Little Country - Latest Articles

CSIS Recruiting Videos

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These apparently popped up recently - CSIS does after all have to recruit. (CSIS = something like Canadian Security and Intelligence Services, vaguely like the CIA).

I have seen all sorts of tweeting about how creepy the ads are.

So I watched them.

I see nothing creepy - the only creepiness, as far as I can see, would be perceived by those thinking these jobs should simply not be done, a view I consider ridiculous.

Every ad makes the job look interesting. Were I applying, I would want to be in physical surveillance. I like watching other people. And chasing one on a bicycle would be really cool! Especially on my new geeky bike (I suspect CSIS would not allow that).

Way back when in academia, I got visited by a guy who was somewhat vague about his purpose, and then grilled me for a long time about one of my students. CSIS was quite new then, and I was in math, and I finally told him I asumed it was a CSIS cryptography hire that interested him, and he did confess. I hope the student got the job he wanted. That guy who visited me was a security screener. It is the only direct contact that I know I had with CSIS.

More power to them. I love how they sort of stick it to the government by having Allison's intelligence officer job mention Chinatown (though the suspect gets out elsewhere).

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 September 2012 10:10

OK If You really want an Orator

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Here he is - will update with an embeddable link when I find one.

This was extremely good, despite the weird graphic at the end as he tries to explain how to build a bomb.

I can stand watching him so here is how you can do so (no transcript needed).


Here simply by example he makes Obama look like a relative buffoon, a guy with few really strong principles (which is what Obama is).

And how simply he points out that Viva la Muerte is the slogan of a big part of the world!

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 19:01

Birds and Squirrels and Earth and Sky

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I had a pet dog only for a short period in my youth - it did not go well.

But this little cartoon about dogs has me close to tears if only because of the dogs I meet in my morning walks.

The last few panels are the sweetest - their simple enthusiasms, and short lifespans.

h/t vx

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:18

Lucy Liu as Watson!

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My first response to a US Sherlock was dismay.

And then I saw the casting for Watson!

I can live with this. Starting tomorrow night!


My Reality TV Season Now Starts!

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There are very few 'reality' shows I much care for. I like people being asked to perform outside their zones of ostensible competence with reasonable rules not requiring all sorts of asinine conniving by the producers, and artificial rules trying to make people play off one another in ways they never would in 'reality'..

Which cuts me down to The Amazing Race (starts this weekend!), Dancing with the Stars (started a couple of days ago!), and the various Restaurant shows.

So far the season has already charmed me; Dancing with the Stars features a somewhat re-born Bristol Palin. The mousy shy kid of her first go-round appears to have been replaced by an alien! The alien still gets cheers from Sarah and Todd, and especially from Tripp, who provides the nicest moment in the video below recognizing Mark Balas at about 0:18. "Mark!" Sweet. And cheering after the dance.

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Who am I cheering for? Hard call, but Shawn Johnson right now.


Did Obama Hire a New Speechwriter?

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I cannot stand to watch the Great Windbag bag wind so I did not watch.

But if this transcript is right I am impressed. Clearly somebody new is writing the speeches.

My one quibble is I would like the future to belong to those who mock religions, no matter what their religion. (Especially those who point out that it is Muslim tradition that points out Mohammed was a pedophile.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:25

Hunger in the USA

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Just brilliant.

I love the guy (girls can be guys too) flat on her face on the basketball court. The crawling kids are pretty good too.

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We canot be rid of those asinine Obamas soon enough. (And clearly it is not just them - this idiotic policy apparently made it through Congress. Or was this yet another case of letting regulators loose?)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 10:11

London Free Press Reviews My Fair Lady

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McCauley is a second-year student?!

Watch this. (Not in Firefox with Flash, which is utterly fucked.)

Vaguely contemplating wanting to see it again if possible, as I just love the musical and this whole production was superb.


On The Street Where You Live

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Here is what was in the My Fair Lady Movie:

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I am sure this made me cry almost 50 years ago when I was thrilled to watch it in a movie theater (and then later to validate Julie Andrews by watching Mary Poppins, also great).

But those Grand Theatre High School project kids made this both more touching and much funnier.



The Low Point of the Emmys

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This was no hard call:

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Not the whole speech - just the start referring to Sarah Palin.

"Vaidated?" Because Sarah Palin, who likely knows more about the character she plays than anyone (and is no un-self-conscious fool, unlike Moore), was not impressed and she's validated because the media industry liked what she did? Good God how stupid are people!

Palin was a successful business owner, mayor, governor, and parent, so far as I can see, and I hope to see Bristol dance tonight.

Even Tom Hanks winning later for the same movie did not fire such a cheap shot. He was very careful in what he said and he surprised me.

I doubt I will ever watch Julianne Moore with much respect anymore. But actually, when did I ever?

Has she ever played an interesting important role? I can't recall one.

UPDATE: Observation from William Jacobson:

But Moore might have a little more sympathy for the character that provided her a win; especially after Moore’s own gaffe on the red carpet. Twitterers were quick to pick up on the fact that while walking the red carpet, Moore referred to our electoral process as the “electorial college.” I give that a big thumbs down.

Bright has never seemed her strong suit.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 September 2012 17:31

Grand Theatre - Grow the F&*( Up

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I posed on my blog what I think was an utter paean of praise to you people.

No damn way to contact your site by e-mail.


 People - shows are still good!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 08:13

Grand Theatre High School Project - My Fair Lady

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London, Ontario's Grand Theatre, in co-operation with local high school boards, does the most brilliant thing every year; it combines the talents of high school students from across the region to put on shows, treated really just like the pro shows, a couple of times a year. I knew about the fall ones and only noticed the spring ones yesterday.

A few years ago we went with some friends to see their West Side Story production and really loved it. I have skipped some years now, for example for 'Footloose' last year, which as a show has NO appeal to me.

This year I decided I really wanted to watch it again, as the show chosen was "My Fair Lady".  And what an utter delight it was.

It took a few minutes at the start to wash Rex Harrison, Wilfred Hyde-White, and Julie Andrews/Audrey Hepburn/Marni Nixon, and later Stanley Holloway, out of my brain so I could relax and start enjoying the performances. (I have not seen a production since the movie version I have on VHS tape.) But it did happen within the first ten minutes or so, and once I got there, they had me with the appropriate suspension of disbelief.

My smallest difficulty was with Rebecca McCauley as Eliza. She has a great singing voice, and just natural acting chops. I thought she was just amazing.

OK I am male and the rest of the major characters are male so maybe she has a small advantage. Ben Cookson's Higgins, deeply and profoundly not the Rex Harrison version, started to win me over and had pretty thoroughly pretty fast. I loved how Dallas Ensing's Pickering was stiff maybe in the same way as Hyde-White's, but it seemed much more vulnerable to me. His stiffness, beautifully performed, made his version of that character just lovable.

Brendan O'Brien's Doolittle was a pretty fine Doolittle and had me sold by the end.

What I do not recall at all from the movie is Freddy Eynsford-Hill (except by name) - but I must say, though I did not warm to him at all in the opening sequence (as I am sure I am not intended to), Joshua Van Belois just made him so goofily loverly that he was starting to steal bits of the show with 'I Have Often Walked' (I remember the song but not that it was Freddy). (It is almost 50 years.)

It's a bit wrong to focus on lead roles like this. The choreography and dancing, a major team effort, was so much of the fun. The number of people involved astonishes when you reflect. The costumes, the blocking, the sheer selection of dancing skills!  And actually some of the dancing was the most fun - the Doolittle numbers always featured athletic work short of break-dancing (thank you).

But it is more than that - the choreography featured constant geometry I loved (I am a mathie),and so dynamically that I found myself laughing a lot. That these students can combine so many skills just amazes me.

Where do they find the time to do all this work?!

I hope the McGuinty world does not turn this off, and it does seem Rae did not.

Thanks Grand Theatre High School Project. You made my yesterday.

BTW there was an enormous standing ovation the moment as McAuley and Cookson came out on their curtain call. I did not join in but I am a real standing ovation snob. I try to hold out for about one in 50, which roughly suggests every three years.

On reflection I was wrong. This was a spectacular show.

I was being a Grinch. I want to stand now and thank the whole team. It was terrific! I am not worthy!

Why does the GTA not do this?

The tone of this finish is quite different from the Grand show but gets it to a degree (yes - it is a matter of that old production 'getting' the High School one - yes I liked the Grand version better than either the movie or the Broadway record). It is always the song I loved most in this show before ever experiencing it.

Actors, eh?

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Of course this is NOT how Shaw ended the play.

Moreover what an interesting multicultural show this is  - Loewe from Berlin (I thought he was Austrian), Lerner USAian, Shaw Irish.

Not one of them central culture.

Thanks teachers. Thanks all you arts people. And good God, thanks all you students.

Last Updated on Monday, 24 September 2012 17:47

What a Great Culture

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You know you are living a good life when the media can keep fulminating for days because some local shortstop decorates his eye-black in a way that offends the media!

Gang. Grow up. Give it a rest.


What the H&*( is Gangnam

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Steve Sailer explains Gangnam-Style to me and he is almost as mystified as I am.

No question there is a certain delight in seeing South Koreans lead us culturally. An even better example is the current Samsung Galaxy ad lampooning the Apple iPhone5 launch. "But they make the coolest adapters", and those lovely parents de-cooling the queue by showing up. (If you have a nice link for me I will add it.)

In any case here's the US Naval Academy enjoying Gangnam-Style:

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UPDATE (2012-10-01):  OK Found the ad


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Last Updated on Monday, 01 October 2012 10:38

Pat Condell Summarizes the Last Week

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All I can say is 'Exactly!'.

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"We do understand and we do not care!" YES.

Let Mohammed go fuck himself.

If only the guardians of the US Constitution could do other than snivel in cowardly responses to infantile outbursts (granted, with guns - but the right response to the guns is to shoot back and kill those people using them).

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 11:14

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Alan Adamson


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November 24 2010