I thought that was the most deserved Oscar of the evening. I wonder who had the brilliant idea to have him responsible for the music in 'The Social ContractNetwork'.
For me what leaps out is the great sequence starting at an hour and twenty minutes in, with the Sean Parker and Mark Zuckerberg characters (who I assume bear at best a vague resemblance to their actual counterparts, of whatever name).
The music is SO crucial in supporting the dialogue, and so good in supporting what seems to me to be Aaron Sorkin's obsession with the girls lacrosse captain who rejected him somehow. The pounding music makes this oh so talky movie seem a bit compelling.
Thanks, Trent Reznor! I mention one scene that leaps out to me but I bet the whole film is so informed.
I rarely see any of the movies before the Oscar show but that still allows it to be fun.
Today I decided to make sure I had seen "Winter's Bone" and am I ever glad I did! Normally I do not like watching 'white trash' movies as good ones are hard for me to read in plausibility - some, like 'Deliverance' are just Gothic fun foolery, but others confuse me.
And I have no answer for this year's, but it had its moments of such wonderful mixed emotions. And flat out Jennifer Lawrence performed just stunningly. To think that Natalie Portman, a total joke in the total joke 'Black Swan' could be the favorite over this young actress' work. And yes, Portman went way out of her way to prove how hard she worked, while Lawrence makes this all look so natural. Ah well that is Hollywood.
So the one movie where I know anything about its venue ('The Social Network') is full of important lies, another I have seen ('Black Swan') just seems comical, and another ("The King's Speech") whitewashes history significantly, maybe the fact that I do not know how genuine "Winter's Bone" is should be less of a problem.
To be honest, I Do not much care what movie wins the Best Film. But Lawrence! Wow! That "I'd be lost without the weight of you two on my back" almost had me crying.
This is an excellent change, and Willis Eschenbach puts credit where much credit is due:
If I had to pick one person who was responsible for this sea change at Science Magazine, I would point to the long and untiring fight by Steve McIntyre for full disclosure of scientific data, code, and results. Much of my own activism in this field is a direct result of watching him struggle for good science. With rare exceptions he has remained calm and restrained despite an unending string of vitriolic personal attacks and public slurs by many who fatuously claimed to be his scientific betters, and by scientists who foolishly claimed that his math was wrong and should be ignored. He has written a number of letters to the Editors of Science and NSF officials and individuals encouraging them to follow their own policies and require authors to archive datasets.
His generally unruffled demeanor and unwillingness to engage in the gutter tactics of too many leading AGW scientific luminaries has inspired in me an occasionally successful attempt to become less cowboy and more … more … well … let me call it “more Canadian”. Science Magazine owes him a debt, as do we all.
One of the worst things CBC Radio One did in the recent past is to insert a godawful RCI show called 'The Link' into its overnight insomniac lineup, displacing several interesting rebroadcasts of public network news shows from around the world. This show features people who seem proud of not knowing what they talk about (the sports guy, especially), and two total clowns who come on as experts on language and appear to be almost uniformly wrong on any issue they take up. And that is typical.
As an occasional insomniac, I have most certainly noted this degradation of service, as has SillyWife.
The show is clearly produced by a pretty sorry staff. As one simple example I will start by recalling one show where they read a letter from a listener (poor insomniac soul) who was a bit disappointed that their coverage of climate change seemed to be totally slanted to the alarmist school, and that they gave no time to anyone who might have a more nuanced view of the topic that that comes from Al Gore. The idiot presenter claimed the show had tried to find anyone with reasonable views different from Al Gore and were unable to.
This is a very sad statement. Canada features two of the people who have done the most to try to engage in intelligent discussion with what I will continue to call the alarmists - Toronto's Steve McIntyre, and Guelph's Ross McKitrick. This is a Canadian show! You almost get the idea that David Suzuki runs RCI. (No I will not link to David Suzuki - he is sort of Canada's Al Gore, ranting while living high on the hog.)
So last week I had one of those nights and on comes 'irrefutable proof' that extreme weather events are linked to greenhouse-gas driven anthropogenic global warming (and no that phrase is NOT redundant). Curiously the UVic (Canadian connection!) co-author of the paper comes on and what he says is nothing like that there is anything 'irrefutable', though he does sort of talk a good game. I am sure you can use the link above to go hear it.
The next morning, I decide I should go find more about how 'irrefutable' this paper shows its claim to be.
20 years ago, this would have been hard to do. Now, it was pretty easy because I have invested a lot of time in these topics; so I started with the fabulous Watts Up With That easily find a nice detailed analysis by Willis Eschenbach. It turns out the same issue of the same journal published another paper on a similar theme and has analyzed it as well. It is pretty evident that there is nothing irrefutable at all!
The authors of the first paper NEVER EVEN CLAIMED the word 'irrefutable'. Listen to this poor academic (the Canadian connection) try to triangulate. It is pathetic and unworthy. He should hedge as he knows he should. This kind of misrepresentation would be actionable in business. I guess not in academia.
BTW the broadcast monkey said that 'if you have been following the news you know' something to the effect that we are having more extreme weather events than we ever have. He mentions Australia. There is a lot of evidence that the weather events in Australia are quite in line with history. And only the recorded Australian history, which is pretty recent (at most a couple of hundred years).
I do not really know which is worse - is it the 'scientists' who are enjoying the light shone upon them, or is it the credulous idiots who work as producers and reporters in the media. All I know is it creates a very ugly situation in which someone like me who would normally care a lot about this stuff is becoming rather indifferent to the officially driven Cassandra cries.
And yes I do know that GREAT and utterly brilliant song from Abba.
According to Nobel laureate and raconteur Paul Krugman, Gov. Scott Walker and "his backers" are attempting to "make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a Third World-style oligarchy."
It was that single word 'raconteur' that made me laugh, so beautifully separating the Krugman I enjoy reading and learning from, and the public figure who has become such an awful joke in the last few years.
Harsanyi does have some fun with his theme.
Democracy, naturally, can only be saved by public sector unions, which attain their political power and taxpayer-funded benefits by "negotiating" with politicians elected with the help of unions who use, well, taxpayer dollars. And you know, that doesn't sound like an oligarchy at all.
While Walker, who won office using obnoxious Third World oligarchic tactics like "getting more votes than the other candidate," is a cancer in the heart of democracy, union- funded Democrats evading their constitutional obligation to cast votes are only protecting the integrity of representative government by completely avoiding democracy.
You're getting it now, right?
And he makes the obvious simple point at the end.
Because, despite the chilling fairy tales of Krugman and others, public union employees aren't revolting against corporations, power brokers, Kochs or any other villains. Right or wrong, public employee unions can only revolt against the public.
... in the process of schooling Jon Stewart. On the Comedy Network Canada web site it is the Feb 23 show, andthe second part (skip the first part, which is about the worst Jon Stewart I have ever watched - I have not watched much).
He gets Stewart to really get silly "On the coast we just curse and have gay sex", a sad admission of utter defeat early in the discussion.
A line from last night's "Modern Family" and an opportunity to sing its praises.
The subject line summarizes a much-used theme of sitcoms like this show, the clueless husband who is not sure what he has done wrong, what milestones in the relationship with his wife he has missed. But they play it so smoothly, to get to where hubby has to say "I thought you were a raccoon", so they did what they do every week, and that I recall no other sitcom doing, they made me laugh out loud. All by myself. As I do in every episode.
This is an achievement; I will watch "30 Rock" and I have enjoyed much of it but it gets a bit of "same old, same old". It has been up and down lately for me. But Modern Family exploits wonderfully its same old same old by finding new situations and new opportunities to exploit Phil's desperate desire to please, Claire's mercurial nature, and all the other nicely defined and consistent characters. (One failure of 'Glee', for example, is keeping the behavior of the characters even remotely consistent.) It's a bit like watching the old Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore shows; the characters had established characters and the humor played off it. And in all these cases, you always feel for all the characters involved, never that you are laughing at them (I would say that even for Alan Brady).
It really helps that the cast is amazing - Ed O'Neill is a constant joy and no male can complain about having to watch Sofia Vergara. Ty Burrell is just lovely. But so is everyone.
Congratulations to whoever invented this wonderful show.
Not in the sense of 'get' that would mean proves her wrong, but at the very least in thesense that he understands that she is not really interviewing him, but trying to catch him out, he understands that, and does not let her take over with her ridiculously forgetful narrative (one shared by many nowadays).
I like Ace of Spades comments:
My favorite part starts at 8 minutes where Mitchell uses Colin Powell as a shield and Rumsfeld calls her out on it. It's really all worth it.
I love the way he refuses to accept the premise of a number of her questions. It's a skill I wish more political figures had. Far too often Republicans accept the framing of the question. They also tend to treat reporters as if they are trying to get information and not score liberal points. A few reporters but most aren't. Rumsfeld doesn't have any of it. He understands he's in an adversarial situation and acts accordingly.
Well I was sure wrong - no detectives, no Brooke and Claire; I wonder what made me think that from the promos. But as a bonus we have Gary and Mallory again! We also have the Sistas, whom I had forgotten completely until they showed the episode with the diving that was their undoing.
The first episode was one great product placement for Sydney, making it look as attractive as it always does. One of the most interesting things to observe was they way teams helped one another, and also refused to. Humans are funny animals.
In the ramp-up to the Oscars, I thought I should try to see many of the movies.
'Black Swan' is the best comedy since 'The Hangover', but I have noted that many people seem to take it seriously in some way. This puzzles me.
Barbara Hershey does the most over-the-top comic film mother since Piper Laurie. Natalie Portman keeps looking around with a weird look - she inspired constant mirth. For heaven's sake they casted Vincent Cassel, after 'Ocean's Twelve', and he gave at least as amsuing a performance here as in that film! Is Aronofsky just fooling us or himself as well?
I rather like the idea; take several of the most popular losing teams from past seasons of The Amazing Race and give them all another shot.
We the audience already know them to a degree so we don't have to invest a few weeks getting a feel for who we like and who we hate. From the trailers, I mostly like the teams, which is what ABC should do. We'll get another shot at the cowboys, the detectives, Brooke and Claire, the Globetrotters, the poker playing women, etc.
Now, we have no election yet announced, and in fact most of what I read says the NDP is the party most likely to prevent the passage of a non-confidence motion, which would likely trigger an election. Of course this might just be due diligence, playing both sides; which is fine if you have the resources.
The category was not "American cities". It was "U.S. Cities". There was NO ambiguity.
How much of this stupidity goes unchallenged every day? This was a supposed science show with a supposed academic expert (Geoffrey Hinton)! All utterly careless about facts. I now regard Geoffrey Hinton as even more of a buffoon than I did earlier.
The US federal structure is proving fascinating now. I have blogged in the past on Chris Christie, and now there is an infantile lefty hissy fit going on in Wisconsin, as its governor struggles to fix an unsustainable budget. What is astonishing is that one of the best descriptions of the situation shows up in The Guardian!
The Democratic shutdown of the institutions and processes of state government, following their loss in free and fair elections, is simply evidence of their near-total subservience to the public sector union racket. It's not limited to Wisconsin: the president himself has spoken on the unions' behalf, which says everything about his opinion of federalism one might want to know.
In kowtowing to the public sector unions, Democrats seek to ingratiate themselves with the union movement at large. The irony there is that union membership is in rapid decline nearly everywhere – except in the public sector. Only 6.9% of the private sector is unionised now, but a massive 36.2% of government workers are. In operating the levers of power for them, the Democratic party engages in governance for the material benefit of the government. It is a model of power more suited to the Soviet Union than the United States.
Someone involved with making 'The Good Wife' is not a total Aaron Sorkin fan.
That line above refers to the pseudo-Sorkin in the episode broadcast last night (Season 2 Episode 14), in which the law firm represents a Mark-Zuckerberg-type with complaints against a movie about him that are astonishingly similar in some cases to Sorkin's inventions that went into The Social Network.
I have to confess I think that is one great movie, with a snappy, bantering script that allows David Fincher to inject enough energy to make one enjoy following it. But really, as someone who worked for a long time in software, and near some startups, I never thought as I watched it that it could possibly be a particularly accurate portrayal of how Facebook was built. It seemed clearly to me to be mostly about Aaron Sorkin's personal problems as he projected them into his script - that desire to be recognized by some class 'above' him (I doubt Zuckerberg ever cared a bit), the deep misogynism (again I doubt Zuckerberg shares Sorkin's obvious resentment of women), and the desperate childish wish for recognition (again, not Zuckerberg's - watch him on SNL recently).
John Nolte has a lot of fun with both the movie script and Sorkin's obsession with Sarah Palin. Nolte also links to this excellent article on the movie's deep misogyny, where Sarah Lacy comments:
I’m curious, Mr. Sorkin. How can someone who admits he doesn’t know most of the people he is writing about, know so much about how they treat women? I’m particularly curious, because I happen to be a woman who moved to Silicon Valley in 1999 at the age of 23 and spent much of my “exploitable” years going to parties and hanging out with exactly the type of people that you insist are so misogynist. I’m also a woman who knew Mark Zuckerberg during those early years, spending time in the offices and attending several birthday parties of Facebook’s senior staff. I wasn’t exploited. I did have several long conversations with Zuckerberg’s smart, non-bimbo, longterm girlfriend who was cut from the movie. I assume, because it wasn’t convenient to your story line of the angry nerd who couldn’t get laid.
Having really enjoyed 'The Social Network' a few times (on my flight to and from New Orleans last month) and then having done an awful lot of reading of articles from people who knew a lot about the development of Facebook, it seems clear to me the story in the movie is largely a fabrication of Sorkin's, and that, moreover, most of the characters are simply not credible. Sorkin had to torture the truth to make his story somewhat credible. He has a cool story, but it is not Mark Zuckerberg's.
This was my past experience trying to watch 'The West Wing'. Everybody told me how great it was, but when I tried to watch there was not a single believable character on screen, so I gave up. And this was a series that featured Moira Kelly!
In the end I am fascinated that somebody (well, more than just one person) decided to let this laundry out on the line on The Good Wife. Congratulations. That IS a series with believable characters.
A little more from Sarah Lacy who clearly knows the people better than Aaron Sorkin does:
I can count on one hand the times I’ve been hit on at a techy party or event– and even during those few occurrences the people apologized as soon as they realized I was married. I have never had an illicit proposition, I have never seen a girl stripping at a party, I have never seen giggling underage girls in panties doing bong hits as male programmers code. I have seen far less misogyny in this scene than I have during stints in New York, or nearly a dozen countries around the world where I’ve reported. Anyone who has gone to a Valley party will probably say one thing about the girls: There are hardly any there to be objectified. But this will really shock you: I don’t even own a pair of red, Stanford panties to lounge around in seducing young millionaires!
The problem, of course, with that, is that the movie is a bit boring, and the screenwriter does not get to vent his personal insecurities.
And Egypt? It is the only large country to have become less urban in the last 30 years, according to the World Bank. About 43 percent of Egyptians are city dwellers today.
Hmmm - I think we saw only those people on TV the last couple of weeks.
The lack of skill development is obvious. Among the 48 countries that participated in a recent standardized math test for eighth graders, Qatar finished dead last. The bottom dozen also included, in ascending order, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Palestine, Oman, Algeria, Egypt and Syria. (The United States placed ninth.)
And an interesting measure of how hopeless the local economy is:
A 35-year-old urban Egyptian man with a high school education who moves to the United States can expect an incredible eightfold increase in living standards, the researchers found. Immigrants from only two countries, Yemen and Nigeria, receive a larger boost.
At least the people clearly recognize what a mess they have on their hands:
for every green card the United States awarded in a recent immigration lottery, 146 Egyptians had applied.
Well, it is true that problems are also opportunities, but the fact that the army is in charge, that it has tentacles throughout the economy, do not encourage me to believe that there will be greater freedom in that economy in the near future.
I do not often watch the Grammys. The last time I watched I recall them doing improbable combinations, as they did this year, but those were real; I recall Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift actually singing together. This year's combinations were pretty disappointing in that they were not similarly combinations.
But I watched this year for one simple reason.
A year and a half ago I was thrilled to win seats to a Keith Urban concert. As is usual, the audience is asked to suffer through an opening act. And so I did, but as you can see, 'suffer' is the wrong word.
I utterly loved Lady Antebellum! And little did I expect that within a year and a half they would dominate the Grammys. Not the country music awards, the Grammys. But really, are there better songs than 'I Need You Now?. It is such a lovely earworm.