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Home April 2011
April 2011

"I Exist and I Find It Nauseating"

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People are really funny.

h/t Timothy Sandefur

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Two Billion?

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Who invented this ridiculous number for the number of viewers of the royal wedding today? The BBC keeps repeating it with zero evidence of it even being close to true.

I don't believe it. And hey I watched!

I might buy 500 Million, maybe even One Billion. But for Pete's sake, can the BBC even just try to be close to plausible?

 

"Katherine Middleton Smiled Briefly"

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So the BBC. Briefly!? Were they watching the same feed I was watching? Both of them looked as if they were having a great time. No deer in the headlights this go-round.

It looked to me as if a good time was had by all. I had a great time, having torn myself from bed at 4am.

Nice for the Queen that she could find public response once again 'amazing'.

A nice day for the Brits, especially for a couple of them.

 

Further American Idol Confessions

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OK I was on a business trip a few years ago and tuned in accidentally to some country music awards show and this song came on performed live by Pickler and I burst into tears. I had no idea who she was but now I have a nice Pickler T-shirt and that CD.

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As I understand, though, she was only third, so maybe American Idol does not count.

(Realize though, as was clear at the awards show, this song is about her life.)

I also know I like several Kelly Clarkson hits. Though I recall not a single one of them.

I am pretty certain no Canadian Idol 'star' has penetrated my turtle shell.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 15:18
 

Twelfth Imam Kind of Looniness

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Yes, one of my favorite hymns has nutty lyrics almost up there in Ahmadinejad territory. And when Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill send the state after me to torment me for taking the lyrics in a sort of secularist way, then I will worry.

For now when they talk about things being way bigger than I am, I will happily confess, yup, I am about six feet tall, and the earth has a girth of 25000 miles (Is that right?) and moon and sun are really far away, and wow mountains are high.

For now, I just love the song and this performance.

 

Sis Comments on Sun News

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She cites, I think dead rightly, CNN as a good model: (cf my amateur first-week assessment).

I love the sight of CNN’s Anderson Cooper with his fancy hair and his form-fitting black T-shirts. Yet, I’m able, while appreciating all the pretty, to listen to what he’s saying about squalor in Haiti. I love the sight of the roguish Italo-hunk Alessio Vinci, but I can focus when he talks about Silvio Berlusconi.

And I would pick different individuals but have no problem separating form from content, all the while liking the form.

 

Carrie Underwood Lets Loose

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With a little help from her friend Vince Gill, whose SO sweet voice blends beautifully with hers.

I know we Canadians are supposed to have a sort of hate on for her; well, maybe it's only Ottawans, as she lured Mike Fisher to Nashville. And I personally regard American Idol as a joke, except for the fact that it has thrust into prominence some of my favorite currrent country performers. Add to all that that this is about my favorite hymn, and I am delighted to wallow in her excellence. It is a beautiful song, and she throws herself into it fully, and Gill too seems even instrumentally to care about it quite deeply.

h/t John Hinderaker over at PowerLine

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BTW I love her slight floozy attire; Muslims have a lot to learn from Christians!

And since I bitch regularly about standing ovations, no I would not have given this performance one but I do love it.

P.S. She is funny (and so is Ellen).

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:53
 

Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

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We do not have time for this kind of silliness

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So like why has this gone on for years? What a pathetic and totally self-important little twit.

Nice job Donald Trump! Next task the Columbia transcripts. (I am willing to post all my transcripts online.)

This is one pathetic little man and everything is about him. This WAS about him and he might have fixed it in a minute or two. I am guessing he decided to fix it when it started finally to hurt him, likely thanks to Donald Trump. What a feeb!

BTW the speech in that post is just pathetic. This guy is utterly awful.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 09:51
 

Tom and Lorenzo are Following AMC's 'The Killing'

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And I am delighted; if you watch  the show you should check in with them on Monday mornings. I shall henceforth.

They have chosen not to watch the Danish original; I am not sure what difference that makes. The remake includes a variety of apparently arbitrary changes.

But they are refreshing. From their post on 'A Soundless Echo' ('The Killing' seems to follow 'Mad Men''s habit of naming the episodes but not including the name as part of the episode):

Linden apparently has had some sort of issue in the past; the implication being that she becomes obsessed with "dead girl" cases. Obviously, there's a much bigger story there and we look forward to hearing it because, as wonderful and nuanced as the performance is, after 4 hours we're starting to wonder why the hell she's so morose all the time. Obviously, we don't expect the character to be laughing her way through a murder investigation but we're glad something has been said to explain her long silences and seeming emotional involvement (she was practically in tears after showing the Rosie video to Kris) in this case. We're still less-than-intrigued with her relationship, or in fact her entire personal life for that matter, but patience is obviously going to be the name of the game with this show and the intensity and high quality is enough to keep us entertained for now.

In the Danish version I just accepted Sarah Lund's obsession, partly imposed on her by her boss. Was there an explanation? If so I do not recall it. And Bengt seemed a rather useless appendage in the plot until quite late in the game, when he intervenes and takes a great risk.

Tom and Lorenzo tell me the actor who plays Holder is Swedish! Wow - damned Scandinavians!

 

Election Canada!

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We have a federal election next Monday. For the first time since the 1970s, I will be casting a ballot for what is called the Conservative party today; when I did this last it was for the Progressive Conservative candidate, one Keith Norton, as red a Tory as one could imagine, even in Flora McDonald territory, where I lived at the time. My vote this year will be fruitless in one sense, as my riding has long been Liberal Party territory, with only the NDP as a viable alternative. Of course that vote will direct a small amount of government subsidy towards the Harper party, as I think appropriate.

However the election goes, it looks delightfully as if it may be  the final stake in the heart of the Liberal party. I profoundly hope so. That is despite feeling a bit sorry for Michael Ignatieff (just a bit), who is hardly the cause of what I hope to be the coming fiasco; he is just the next in line of leaders of a party watching its support vanish since the late Chretien years. In a way they were all good men. But the Liberal party has no reason to exist. It has never stood for anything but ruling.

Even the idea of a popinjay Prime Minister in Jack Layton does not trouble me much. Mind you, I am sure that outcome will lead to yet another election, but I doubt we'll have the Liberals to bother us much in the next one. Of course, I am almost always wrong.

 

Unutterably Sad

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Sure it wasn't all bikinis and boats, but I don't think I have much of a sympathetic ear for those who think Alexandria has improved in 50 years.

For all the tragedy there is clearly a nice story hidden in there:

But the memories aren't all bittersweet. The woman on the far left in the above photograph, taken on Alexandria's Mediterranean coast in 1955, is Odette Tawil, whom Moreno first met in Alexandria in the summer of 1959. Reunited in the United States years later, they visited Egypt together in 1998, to get married.

Much improved in the last 50 years - we got rid of most of the stupid communism - but a large part of the world is falling backward, and there are forces even here that seem to favor this sorry development.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 April 2011 16:07
 

A 4.0 Is Kind of Excessive

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Via Robin Hanson, a wonderfully funny video of students being asked to sign a petition in favor of redistributing GPA scores. The students have a real struggle with the analogy to redistributing income. I chose the subject line above as it jumped out of the video as so Obama-like.

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Hanson comments on it with his capable acerbity :

We humans are much better at coming up with reasons for opinions than at choosing coherent sets of opinions – we clearly have a powerful inbuilt capacity for hypocrisy.

 

Sustainability

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Almost always used as an excuse for NOT doing things we should be doing!

David Friedman has a lot of fun with the concept, and is dead serious (though it is not clear at all that the concept is serious). You don't need his slides - just listen to the talk.

He is doing all of us a favour.

h/t Many good blogs

 

I Knew I Liked 'The Wisdom of Whores'

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It was a very good book, which I read on a Kindle for free (the best way).

Its author's voice was utterly convincing. She is Elizabeth Pisani.

And now Tim Worstall, who pointed me to the book, makes it even clearer how strong her integrity is.

For an unintended slip of a keystroke conveying a silly, laddish comment to a small number of staffers in the middle of the night, a slip which he tried instantly to rectify and for which he apologised without reservation, David was fired. Let me repeat that. Thompson Reuters fired a brave, loyal journalist who has put himself on the front line for the company time after time after time for 20 years, because he mistakenly shared a gallows-humour joke with an internal audience.

Elizabeth Pisani is a class act in an era of crass acts. Go buy her book. (Yeah, I know, I read it free.)

Reuters is moronic.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 10:50
 

One of My Favorite Waitresses

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... had always planned to go home and get into broadcasting. Looks as if she made it.

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It's an interesting tale; Steve Sailer Tyler Cowen has blogged frequently on the dearth of Brazilian emigration, and she is living proof as one who reversed her being in Canada.

(And if you are wondering I have NO idea what she is talking about.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 07:36
 

Farewell Typewriters

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I recall the excitement with which I bought my first typewriter way back when; it was an ELECTRIC typewriter!

The number of them left is now fixed.

We still have two! And one occasionally comes out for action because there still seems to be something broken about filling in some forms online.

The first commercial typewriter was produced in the U.S. in 1867 and by the turn of the century had developed into the  standardised format - including a qwerty' keyboard - that we know today.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 07:33
 

The Guy Earle Farce

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I defer to Mark Steyn, experienced with the nonsensical Roos of the BCHRT.

This is not a farce in any funny sense; it is the jackboots of a government than now wants to rule over stand-up comedy, one of the many continuing fronts of a totalitarian movement into every little bit of everyday life. Yeah, sounds overwrought, but once they go after Earle, where does it end? Can I cuss out my neighbor? Looks pretty dangerous to me.

I do not know where to start so will quote Steyn's main provocations:

There is a word for a judge who tries and convicts a man without testimony or representation or a jury of his peers. I mean, aside from words like "dick", "ass" and "cunt", all of which one might apply to "Judge" Geiger-Adams. That word is sham. As with any show trial in any nickel-and-dime banana-republic presidency-for-life, the outward forms of "justice" are deployed for a precise inversion of it. That's wretched enough when it happens in North Korea or the Soviet Union. When a jurisdiction that's heir to one of the oldest sustained legal inheritances on the planet decides to dump due process, it's even more shameful.

What's wrong with Geiger-Adams' court? You notice that I appear above to have called him a "dick", "ass" and "cunt". So what? I'm a dead white male, he's a dead white male. I could say everything Guy Earle is alleged to have said to Ms Pardy - including the bit about the strap-on - and "Judge" Geiger-Adams would have to take it. No "human rights" law is infringed if I launch a blizzard of four-letter words at a fucking dickhead asshole cunt like Geiger-Adams. But, if Ms Pardy is around, the vulgar, witless boorishness that is the stock in trade of the average "comedy" club gets dramatically upgraded to "discrimination in the provision of a service customarily available to the public, on the basis of her sex and sexual orientation" - in other words, a hate crime.

Earle says he is taking this to the Supreme Court. I hope so. And if he has a Paypal account for the task, I am in!

 

Sun News a Week In

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It is probably not the world's greatest news network, but I am not sure what that would be; every one of them that I know suffers from deep problems. As a simple example, for all its preening, our national public network suffers badly from the fact that it is paid for by coerced funding, and everything it does reflects the idea that such coercion is natural (it is common, but I do not think natural).

I have found the arrival of this network refreshing in much the way I recall  the arrival of City-TV in Toronto long ago; here is a fresh irreverent voice, wanting to have some fun, and not afraid of silly criticism for not being perfect.

The new network was handed a gift by National Post columnist, who wrote a silly, self-absorbed, and petty column, (actually almost Islamic in its childish puritanism) and handed them a theme to play with for the first week, as even the NDP leader and his wife came on (this is the leader of our farthest left party, most inimical to the explicit politics of this network), she herself a leading politician, and she explicitly showed up in her skanky bare arms. It was a lovely moment. And of course bare arms filled the week. On men too.

The quintessence of the first week was, I think, the very amusing Earth Day chain-sawing of a little tree.

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I don't know how long Ezra's show will last; it seems rather under-produced, and I suspect he has shot many of his bullets in the first week. But there is a lot else on the network that makes sense. We now get to see people like Theo Caldwell and Brian Lilley who, as far as I can see, should have had a larger public profile long ago. As for the bare-armed skanks, most of them seem pretty intelligent. Actually, when I think about the other major networks, many of the people who are the best there should also be bare-armed skanks; I think immediately of Amanda Lang and Dianne Buckner, for example.

Bottom line - this is now my default 'when I have nothing else to watch' channel. We will see how long this lasts.

And, I am watching right now, and everyone has a jacket on - no bare-armed skanks this morning. (Ooopss, weather girl has bared her arms. Call the religious police!)

Is this country silly enough! Not according to National Post columnists!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 05:46
 

Obama's Stupid and Enabled Youth

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At least by the Obama clique. What an amazing gang of morons. My guess is their understanding of history (and even basic economics) is about the same as Obama's. "Start some small gardens in yards... and pretty soon people have enough they can can some." Look, backyard gardening is nice but it is no basis for an economy that is not ruined, say like Cuba's. These dipsticks don't what middlemen (whereas I do!).

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The existence of these silly children is a pretty sad reflection on American education, but that the Obama administration is enabling these clowns, and sending Lisa Jackson to ask them for help, is a  sorry statement about the US Administration. Though not much sadder than what the administration actually does.

Where are you, W?

BTW as for middlemen, a nice post from The Unbroken Window:

The existence of middlemen: distributors, wholesalers, processors, retailers, etc. is not evidence of inefficiency, but quite the opposite – it is evidence of efficiency. These are agents who have a relative skill at bringing buyers and sellers of products together. Heck, even the Farm to Table supporters know this – their middlemen include community magazines, farmers markets, even local restaurants. This idea is not new to regular readers, but it is like speaking Martian to many folks who support Farm to Table ideas because it just sounds good.

Martians! Yup, the young 'uns here do seem a bit like that. (And the dipsticks in the video seem not even to admit farmers' markets; or farmers, for that matter, when it comes to that.)

h/t The Amateur Economist

 

Opera Atelier - La Clemenza di Tito

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I had the great privilege last Friday night of watching the current Opera Atelier production of 'La Clemenza di Tito'.

Regular readers know I see all Opera Atelier productions, but this was opening night, which I have never seen. I will know better next when I see it again if that makes a difference. I was also in other than my usual seats, near the back of the orchestra, and it was interesting to compare this to our normal seats up front. The orchestra sounds much richer in the back, the angle to the surtitles is more merciful, and generally one hears the performers quite adequately (a little more on that below).

The fact that Kresimir Spicer was in the cast told me already that this would be a very enjoyable evening. As it was, and substantially because of him.

But let me back up. This is an interesting bit of Mozart, apparently really popular in its time, but one I have never known or heard. It was apparently one of his greatest successes. Apparently this was the first period production of this opera in North America (I am not sure - Pynkoski said something like that).

As it opened, the scene between Vitellia and Sesto, the dominant earth colors worried me a little; I had managed to drag along my sister and hoped she would get to enjoy some of the colorful and bright productions OA do so well. It was with relief I saw the second set living up to all the usual colors, dancing, and all the rest.

Spicer had a couple of wonderful areas, and gave proof again to his sweet voice, excellent projection, and amazing diction. He stands out incredibly. And he can act easily up to the level required in Baroque opera. He elicited a nice roar from the crowd when he appeared as part of the ovations, and it was well-deserved. Michael Maniaci was again wonderful in his role, and was appreciated as deserved.

Less well-deserved, I thought, though entirely understandable from a Toronto audience, was the general standing ovation that began when Measha Brueggergosman stepped forward. She has a great role that she fit well, especially when the scenes required broad strokes and a certain extremity, and volume. And in these scenes she was terrific, and performed wonderfully, to elicit all the implicit humor and convey her character's, well, character.But she did not seem to project very well in the more delicate singing.

By contrast the two Mireilles, Asselin and Lebel, did for me an utter tour de force as Servilia and Annio, in the scene where they must renounce one another. This was a new Mozart aria to me, was utterly lovely, and performed at the sort of level you can count on from OA.

Curtis Sullivan, as ever, did yeoman work as Tito's administrative assistant.

And as ever, Tafelmusik sounded wonderful (as mentioned above even better than usual in my experience), Mozart's music was always a delight, and I rather loved the set and costume design, fearing, though knowing better from past OA experience, that we might get something rather Spartan, er, Roman.

My only niggle was that this show started quite late, something that always annoys me. To add to that, Marshall Pynkoski seemed to go an at much greater than usual length, to the point of tediousness. Maybe this makes sense on opening night. But there is NO night on which he needs to explain the opera to the audience before it starts; if they wanted that there was the opera talk available before the show. After all we are just about to watch it! Surely that is the way to experience it.

A thoroughly delightful experience, as usual. The show runs until next weekend, and I recommend it highly to anyone looking for a couple of hours of entrancing entertainment.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 April 2011 10:28
 

Climategate - Steve McIntyre Gives Me a Morning Laugh

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In an excellent Climate Audit post on Climategate, triggered by a recent Mother Jones article, Steve McIntyre gives me an excellent morning giggle:

Sheppard mentioned that Mann keeps a hockey stick signed by Middlebury College’s championship team “to show support for his work”. CA readers may not realize that this was a women’s hockey team, the captain of which was the daughter of two of our best friends and who played on rep teams in Toronto with our daughter. (There is a CA post on Mann’s visit to Middlebury). From first hand knowledge, I am quite confident that the Middlebury College hockey team did not have strong views on principal components, verification r2 statistics or strip bark bristlecones, but, in the absence of more positive endorsement by the NAS panel or the Wegman report, I do not begrudge Mann taking comfort in the perceived support of the Middlebury women’s hockey team.

The post is not all giggles; in fact it winds up constituting a very nice summary of large parts of the Climategate story. His final paragraphs summarize the current state of things extremely well:

Sheppard’s own diagnoses seem wrongheaded in the extreme. She says that climate scientists were unprepared to deal with the news circus. However, climate scientists have been issuing news releases for years. Indeed, as someone used to mining promotions, I was amazed at how promotional these press releases were. The Climategate scientists had inside tracks to the most influential science reporters in the world and used those connections without a second thought.

Her other conclusion – that it’s just a problem of finding a “better communication” strategy – is one that we hear more and more. Nor does it seem to me that the establishment of another Team, this time the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, is really what the situation calls for. After all, realclimate started out its existence with a similar objective, but, in my opinion, it has dissipated much of its original franchise by the attitudes and condescension of its principals, conduct that has arguably created more sceptics than WUWT.

Linking back to Mother Jones. As I’ve said on many occasions, many of the most important “communication” problems for the climate science community are elementary ones that should have been learned from their mothers. Don’t be untruthful – the mendacity of excuses by climate institutions in refusing data was easy for third parties to understand and corrosive to public respect for the institutions. Answer the questions that are asked (Lucia has written eloquently on this.) Disclose data without arguing – if you’re asking the public to take actions, you can’t simultaneously attempt to protect supposed intellectual property rights to data collected with public money. Disclose adverse results and data on your initiative without them being dragged out of you. Above all, be polite.

It shouldn’t take a Climategate to understand such simple things.

The first of those last paragraphs is a nice reminder how McIntyre got involved in the first place; he saw Mann's hockey stick being promoted by the Canadian government, and realized that similarly shaped curves appeared all the time in mining prospectuses and need some justification. What, he wondered, was the justification for Mann's curve? It seems unclear in the end that there is one.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 April 2011 06:23
 

The Killing - What it Was Not and What it Was

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I do not think I said it below clearly so I want to.

The promotion here is that it is a story about how a murder affects a lot of people.

The actual story is about how a totally bungled investigation by implausibly stupid detectives and supporting (or not quite) bureaucrats can wreck the lives of people who might have been a lot better off otherwise.

I remain curious to see whether the AMC series is so confused.

In the age of Obama I expect it to be more so.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2011 04:39
 

The Killing, the end

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I made it through all twenty episodes, and it held me to the end, though much got lost in the process, after the eighth episode. Depending on how AMC remakes it there may be spoilers below.

Any sympathy I had for the detectives evaporated as their blithering incompetence became clearer and clearer - they were affected totally by their first conclusions, obviously based on connections they really wanted to see, with no injection of skepticism until after a case had been closed with a misidentified guilty party. Moreover, they came to rather casual conclusions rather quickly, as when they decided that what connected the two related crimes was a removalist (looks like a combination of mover and private garbageman), on a very flimsy basis, and they they did NO deep work to analyze the connections between the two cases before they focus on one guy. Moreover, their behavior is idiotic; for example, Sarah Lund makes a potentially dangerous visit alone, without informing even her partner, much less asking for help. She continues to be so stupid, and of course, with bad consequences. And in the show, she is correctly described as having 'tunnel vision'. Her 'partner' is just too ready to follow along her idiocies.

The prosecutors are not much better; they just want cases closed and buried, even when their really incompetent police force makes it clear the case is not closed. And they take rather extreme measures to assure this. The mitigation I grant them is they may know how incompetent their police force is.

And then there is the Town Hall bunch. Troels Hartmann, however mistreated he is by fate, clearly has no judgment in staffing. He gets at the end what he deserves, though not the people of Copenhagen. My early read of Rie Skovgaard was way wrong, and at the end I felt quite bad for her character. I almost felt sorry at the end for the Mayor. I was also really wrong about Bengt, who took great risks for his very 'bad detective' girlfriend in the end. (Sweden should be glad it dodged the bullet of hiring her. If it did indeed.)

And the end I found extremely inimical. I would have had Theis put down the gun. I grant you could have it go one of two ways - he reverts to his earlier character (exercised once in the series, perhaps not quite) or he hangs on to life with Pernille and the kids. But why even introduce the change in character and the midway near-abandonment, if you want to throw him to the ficitional wolves at the end. Maybe that is a Danish predilection. I found him and Pernille the two most sympathetic characters (in the inverse order).

I also found the suspense towards the end less than suspenseful in some ways; it was obvious that one of the previously eliminated guilty parties would be the final one after a dodge off onto somebody else.

So what I felt after the first eight episodes, that this was deeper and more engaged with its characters that '24' got rather lost in the next twelve. The compelling nature of the series was not much lost; I got annoyed with almost all the characters, but I still wanted to see where the writers went next. And that is the problem; in the first eight episodes, I was conscious of the characters. As it progressed after that, I was mostly conscious of the producers and writers. The characters became caricatures.

Other than the Brink Larsens. I stayed with them to the very end, and just get really pissed at the writers when they let Theils go. OK and maybe Rie, and Heike.

In a smaller way, I thought that how they finished with Hartman was wrong too. OK in writerly terms, but he was developing character as we proceeded, only to have the rug piulled out of him at the last moment.

I saw this series referred to once as 'Scandinavian noir'. During the first episode I could not figure out what they meant except for shooting excessively dark. It seemed realistic and engaged sympathies. In the last twelve episodes, as the writers decided to make all of Copenhagen official society look utterly corrupt, I could see, but this was cheaper than the great real film noir.

And loose ends?! in twenty episodes,  there are surely way more than I can know. The one that still sticks in my craw is the e-mail from Weber's laptop to the journalist early in the sequence. Can someone tell me who sent that?

But look I really liked it! But also, like '24', I doubt I will watch another season. It was refreshing, but as the above shows, not worth paying the same attention to again.

On now to the AMC remake, to see whether they just replicate the bad parts here; I would hope they can produce the good and drop the bad. How incometent will those Seattle detectives be?

 

 

The AMC 'The Killing' - the Pilot

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Wonderful, and so neat that it compresses the tedious Danish schedule.

And what interesting differences (though so much should remain the same)! The politician calls for the e-mail log and in the Danish version opposes it and makes Rie look bad. Is that just legal? I do not know. Or maybe I was inattentive.

Did I not hear the American mother say her daughter would not wear a costume to the Halloween party (and then we find she did as a witch). And what is Halloween in Denmark?

And how did the nasty room in the basement get discovered? Fortunately without the rather useless pursuit of the car driver in the original.

I like the compression of the AMC version and the shifts of responsibility.

After all, who can last 20 hours?

Maybe Danes, but I will bet they were just hanging on.

I am going to love this show in any language and culture.  But AMC learned a lot from hindsight, it is clear. I am only in episode three, but find their changes all improvements so far.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 April 2011 05:11
 

The Killing Part 3

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Why is Bengst so Juvenile?

SillyWife and I have lived the last few years where she simply had to get stuff done and it was all one me for us to be together. And I sure have not used my retirement on anything to change that front (not to say I do not care).

But in Episode ten. it seems to me Bengt is childish. Have I this wrong?

Last Updated on Friday, 22 April 2011 08:50
 

The Killing Part 2

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In Episode 8, and surely almost any Dane gets the reference, Hartmann says the Swedish equivalent of "Ich kann nicht anders". It is beautiflly placed.  In this episode the character is taking the orthodoxy around him.

I sure hope it fits the ending twelve episodes later.

Commmenters - you may just say yes or no.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 April 2011 19:40
 

The Killing

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While on the road and sleepless, I got partially engaged in the pilot episode of AMC's 'The Killing'. It did not quite engage me, but I have since waded into the Danish original (Forbrydelsen). I am now on the eighth episode, apparently of twenty.

It has been a compelling ride so far, and I am really enjoying it. I don't recall a similar experience since watching the first year of '24' on a loaned DVD, as in this case, at my liberty and not according to a predetermined schedule. As back then, the schedule has become 'all the time I can devote to it'.

What do I like. Like '24' it has a great sequence of cliffhangers, and like '24', it has groups of characters that play off one another nicely. Unlike '24' it has a plausible story, and the characters are pretty credible, and actually quite interesting. I find myself emotionally quite engaged with many of them (as I never did in '24' - whatever made that appealing it was not that I cared about Jack Bauer much except as a cartoon figure).

And some of the characters are wonderful. Sarah Lund and Jan Meyer play off one another so well. And Srarah has such interesting family relationships as she remains hopelessly committed to her job). That poor politician Hartmann leaves me confused at this point. I do not trust Rie one minute. I feel terribly for the Larsen family.

But top of the pile of reasons is that the acting is just astonishing in places. The victim's mother is so full of tiny gestures that communicate so much, as is the policewoman. The politician is suitably stolid, and his admin Rie is a great mix of attraction and projection of alternative motives. I always felt the same way about acting quality (as a North American) watching 'Tatort' in Germany. My guess is that the state subsidies for the arts cause an oversupply (in any reasonable terms of efficiency) of quality. This is occasionally even true in the UK, though don't get the idea I think the general quality of European TV comes close to that in the US.

What's wrong with it? Well, plausibility, at many levels, but it is not so bad as a lot of TV. The story sets inself in a crucial situation, the midst of an election campaign, and the transition to a new job of a policewoman, and to a new richer life of a family. This allows many plot threads to play out, and VERY nicely.

But the biggest implausibility is the regular feature of the TV show 'House', where the brilliant diagnostician and his team every fluff a diagnosis at least five times in an hour before losing or saving the patient. Here the police seem to focus on only one possibility and suspect at a time in an utterly linear fashion, so we keep getting reversals. That is dramatically good, and likely vaguely realistic, but it makes me think this is a bit of Keystone Kops. And this is salvaged partly of course that we get a fluff so far only every two hours, because of the leisurely pace, which allows the Danish macro-mini-series to engage one in so much else.

My guess now in episode eight. It is looking bad for Muslims but I am guessing that cannot be how it comes out; it's state-subsidized TV in Denmark, surely not very different from that in Canada. And surely that politician in favor of being nice to Muslims, and spending a ton of state money on over-expensive housing the taxpayers give to immigrants, cannot end up being bad. I expect to know relatively soon.

As for AMC's version, now ongoing. Now I really want to watch it. As I plan to watch David Fincher's Stieg Larsson.

AND: if anyone actually reads this, don't include spoilers in comments until Tuesday.

 

Dentistry Part II

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It is a ridiculously good piece of John Ford so let 'er rip:

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A TV screen playing 'My Darling Clementine' for the almost two hours of the ordeal would have been so welcome.

Few movie scenes are so dominated by one actor as this one by Victor Mature, and of course by the magnificnet text.

What other great movie dentists exist? Steve Martin played one, as I recall, but Olivier and Mature are my main memories.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 21:21
 

Dentistry

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I spent almost two hours in the chair, and though I far prefer my choice to Laurence Olivier, this was not fun. By the end I was shaking all over and no happy camper.

But the outcomes are fun. I had lost a part of one of my front teeth to a cheese and cracker combination on Air Canada.

And worse, and the longest time investment, was for a new crown installation. The hard part is over. So tomorrow will be dandy (and in fact now is almost dandy).

I look back on Victor Mature playing a dentist (perhaps an odd one; I doubt mine could handle a six-gun or help Alan Mowbray out with his Shakespeare) and I think it is a big win being born now.

Thanks to advancement!

 

How Do I Choose?

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Sun News debuts in a few minutes. But they will be running opposite Law and Order! I think I have to hope that L&O are running one of the few episodes I can actually remember.
 

I Raise a Pint to Desiree Davila

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On a day where the Boston Marathon features the fastest time run over the distance by men, I thought the day was made by Desiree Davila, who did exactly what she had to do to hope to win, and never failed to press the issue. I have always been a Landy man rather than a Bannister man, and Davila was brilliantly Landyish.

So a major hat tip to Desiree, but then also to Caroine Kilel, who responded to everything Davila threw at her. (And expired at the finish in true Bannister fashion.)

Sometimes genetic advantages cannot be overcome.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 April 2011 12:05
 

Regarding Celine dION

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in case you are confused, I totally love her.
 

It Is a Little Funny

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That Celine Dion's hair is blondish in her performance of 'At Seventeen'.

And yet in this stunning (I still think) Eurovision-winning performance she looks a lot like Janis Ian.

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And in my view she is utterly gorgeous (despite the utterly awful outfit).

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 April 2011 02:09
 

Celine Dion Covered 'At Seventeen'!?

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In a way I can imagine it - Celine Dion is not conventionally beautiful, but she IS beautiful, so I can see she might have felt like an ugly duckling. Her case is not good in the end.

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Of course neither was Janis Ian justified in her views:

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And there are places where the cheerleaders mate with curlers! (Bemidji.)

 

They Fooled Me

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I think this is an utterly lovely song but I had no idea what mischief Lady Antebellum were doing with their video. This is not remotely how I think of the song.

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