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silly little country

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Home March 2012
March 2012

I Hate Remakes

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But I finally just watched David Fincher's "THe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo". And much as I loved the Swedish movies and Noomi Rapace as the utterly central Lisbeth Salander, I also loved director Fincher and actress Rooney's totally superb recreation of the original.

I hope they do all three novels!

Lisbeth Salander is the most interesting character in the last couple of decades. Let us enjoy a couple of versions of her.

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 March 2012 17:11

Is Anyone Sweeter than Charlotte?

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It's not Susan Boyle, but it is close.

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h/t Blazing Cat Fur

Last Updated on Sunday, 25 March 2012 06:47

I've Shooken Thousands of Hands

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From Paul Dewar's speech at the NDP Leadership Convention!

Well, it is not clear to me whether this piece of ignorance is worse than him having his keynote endorsement from the dubious Maher Arar, but all I can say now is I am happy he is not going to win!

And this was a guy I, with an Ottawa background, might have wanted to take seriously.

Bring on Thomas Mulcair!

What a gang of useless asses these Dippers are!


Missing - and Ashley Judd

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I am now watching Episode 2 and I am blown away.

Ashley Judd is appearing and is appearing as a woman of her age!

I find her very fetching but I am in my 60s.

She is an executive producer and has decided on the amount of Photoshopping. Good on her!

As for other aspects of the series it seems rather goofy. We will see.

But the Ashley Judd part I utterly love.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 March 2012 19:24

Husband Daycare

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I was in Ottawa most of the week, and the law-defying restaurants in the Byward Market opened patios before it was allowed and I am delighted! (There really are a lot of dimwit laws on the books.)

I loved this sign though I wound up on other patios:


Katy Perry Surprises Me

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I have liked her a long time (not quite to the degree I like Taylor Swift). I like her firework song among many others. (I also like the way she delivers outfits, something Taylor Swift does not bother with. Taylor - do not change!)

I found this a lovely surprise.

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Maybe we will recover from the sixties when the last ugly turbots hanging on by their fingernails die off.


National Differences

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Angus lays out an analysis of how busted many Muslim countries are, and oddly, which are less so,

His summary is good too. I was also astonished how poorly this bodes for Egypt. It seems unlikely much that we regard as civilized is coming out of there, except emigrants trying to find a tolerable place to live.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 March 2012 21:21

The Rutherford B. Hayes Atrocity

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I've pretty much stopped listening to Obama; his speeches are tiresome and usually exceedingly misleading. And he really is not very good at facts; we haven't seen his transcripts so we really do not know what history he ever studied but it seems his staff does not bother Googling. Moreover, the twit's narcissistic self-regard drives him to denigrate others just so he can feel like a hotshot.

So it was at second hand that I discovered the most recent manifestation of this narcissistic behavior, as he puts down Rutherford B. Hayes to make himself feel innovative. (As one blogger commented, this from a guy who uses a Blackberry?) Scaramouche pointed me to Mark Steyn's evisceration of the latest blarney from The Great Windbag Obama.

Steyn transcribes the core bit including the approving response form his equally ignorant audience (students, no doubt in awe at the presence of The One):

One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, 'It's a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?' [Laughter]. That's why he's not on Mount Rushmore – [laughter and applause] – because he's looking backwards. He's not looking forwards [Applause]. He's explaining why we can't do something, instead of why we can do something."

The self-regard is unbelievable. He has already described his great visionary nature - pissing millions of dollars away on 'green' coumpanies (usually with ties to his funders) that go out of business shortly after cashing in their loans. And he thinks he is a candidate for Mt. Rushmore, as is implicit in this context?


It fell to Nan Card of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Ohio to inform the website Talking Points Memo that the quotation was apocryphal. Hayes had the first telephone in the White House, and the first typewriter, and Edison visited him to demonstrate the phonograph.

But obviously Rutherford B. Hayes isn't as "forward-looking" as a 21st century president who believes in Jimmy Carter malaise, 1970s Eurostatist industrial policy, 1940s British health care reforms, 1930s New Deal-size entitlements premised on mid-20th century birth rates and life expectancy, and all paid for by a budget with more zeroes than anybody's seen since the Weimar Republic. If that's not a shoo-in for Mount Rushmore, I don't know what is.

Steyn goes on to analyze Obama's examples of backward thinking (apparently cribbed from a Wiki page, a quality of speech-writing I thoroughly expect from his team) and shows that in general what skepticism existed was pretty much right. Only a caricature of the skepticism was wrong, and that is the reason for the caricature.

My favorite is the flat earth myth about Columbus. I'll let Steyn describe it.

Christopher Columbus? Once upon a time, your average well-informed high-schooler, never mind the smartest president in history, understood that Columbus was laughed at not because everyone believed the world was round: Educated Europeans of his day accepted that the Earth was spherical and had done so since Aristotle's time. They laughed because they thought he was taking the long way round to the East Indies. Which he was.

It's not just that people back then (and for a LONG time) knew the earth was a sphere (more or less). Any idiot who has ever watched ships on a body of water can see immediately the earth cannot be flat, and that as far back as the Greeks it is almost impossible to believe they had a bad model. I wonder if Obama or his team (many from the shores of Lake Michigan) have the mental chops to figure this out on their own without the help of a shoolteacher or Wiki. But it is easy for Obama to think he is a lot smarter than those idiotic medieval scholars and Greek scientists.

Steyn summarizes:

So let's see. The president sneers at the ignorance of 15th century Spaniards when, in fact, he is the one entirely ignorant of them. A man who has enjoyed a million dollars of elite education yet has never created a dime of wealth in his life sneers at a crippled farm boy with an eighth-grade schooling who establishes a successful business and introduces electrical distribution across Michigan all the way up to Sault Ste Marie. A man sneers at one of the pioneering women in broadcasting, a lady who brought the voices of T.S. Eliot, G.K. Chesterton and others into the farthest-flung classrooms and would surely have rejected Obama's own dismal speech as being too obviously reliant on "Half-A-Dozen Surefire Cheap Cracks For Lazy Public Speakers." A man whose own budget officials predict the collapse of the entire U.S. economy by 2027 sneers at a solvent predecessor for being insufficiently "forward-looking."

A great nation needs successful self-made businessmen like George Peck, and purveyors of scholarly excellence like Mary Somerville. It's not clear why it needs a smug over-credentialed President Solyndra to recycle "Crowd-Pleasing For Dummies" as a keynote address.

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus, they all laughed at Edison... How does that song continue? "They laughed at me..."

At Prince George's Community College they didn't. But history will, and they will laugh at us for ever taking him seriously.

However did Obama hide the content of his character for so long?

I expect we'll see much more of this sneering in the campaign; lacking any achievements to run on he will have to do a lot of denigrating the achievements of others.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 March 2012 11:01

THe Luck of The Irish - Happy St. Patrick's Day

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A great story for St. Patrick's day from Sippican Cottage.

I'll tease with the same excerpt Tim Wrostall uses (and h/t to him! - you could go read it there).

She was very old when that awful day christened Black Friday took her fortune, just like the famine had taken her family. Her son sat with her on the simple wooden settee she still favored, like a pew in her own church. "It has St. Patrick's clover on it, and to put a cushion on it would be extravagance itself." He told her, gently, that he had lost her money, all of it --over a million dollars -- in one afternoon.

"What a blessing!" she said.

Her son, now grown grey himself, and ruined along with his mother, couldn't comprehend.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 March 2012 06:41

Fake But Accurate

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... seems to be a favorite trope of 'the left' these days (go back to Dan Rather, but we have lots of other examples).

It seems the producers of 'This American Life', discovered that Mike Daisey had been making up all the nonsense he has been publicizing about Foxconn; unfortunately they found this out after broadcasting what they describe as one of their most popular episodes full of his nonsense.

Tim Worstall, who has run a mini-industry debunking nonsensical reports about Foxconn, takes some pleasure in Daisey's lack of contrition. (Another theme Worstall has attacked is the claim of an elevated suicide rate at Foxconn; Worstall has repeatedly pointed out that the suicide rate of Foxconn workers is substantially lower than that of the general Chinese population.)

Daisey now says it's all just theatre telling the larger story. (A false story)

And, to be fair, in a piece of theatre it’s a perfectly acceptable defence. Indeed, that’s pretty juch what writing any form of fictional narrative is about, manipulating events so as to create that coherent story that is being aimed at.

It’s just not journalism though, it’s not an accurate description of reality and shouldn’t be treated as such. But it was, and that’s the problem.

It's the quintessence of 'fake but accurate'.


UPDATE: Tim Worstall reviews Foxconn and Daisey at great length.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 March 2012 15:03

How Thick Is My Bubble

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Pretty thick; I scored 4, and my attitude is rather like Bryan Caplan's. He beat me by one point. I suspect I may have scored something crazy low had I not been in a high school band and picked apples in my teenage years.

Indeed, I wish outsiders the best of luck.  My only request: If you're not happy with your world, don't try to pop my beautiful Bubble.  Either fix your world, or get to work and make a beautiful Bubble of your own.

We can do a lot to create our own bubbles, and mine was definitely constructed.

On a scale from 0 to 20 points, where 20 signifies full engagement with mainstream American culture and 0 signifies deep cultural isolation within the new upper class bubble, you scored between 0 and 4.

In other words, your bubble is so thick you may not even know you're in one.
Well, all it takes is occasionally sitting in a bar to realize how thick it is, so I do know.
Last Updated on Saturday, 17 March 2012 06:40

Steve Bridges RIP

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How did I miss this wonderful performance? It makes me miss W. Especially given the contrast with the pompous ass who succeeded him.

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Bridges as Obama; not too bad.

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Last Updated on Friday, 09 March 2012 11:47

A Natural Rhetorician

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It is lovely to watch someone deliver a speech so naturally, without the neck-twisting needed by teleprompters. And he deliciously praises the dimwit Obama.

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Count on Iowahawk - Lovely Memory of Breitbart

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Why would I expect this? Because Iowahawk is so good.

Plenty will be written about Andrew Breitbart in the next few days, some flattering, some not. As for me, I will drink two beers in his honor tonight, and remember him the way he was last December in Venice - a big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball surrounded by his family, basking in the coolness of it all.


Davy Jones Part 2

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A nice video of his last reunion performance with the team; it is easy to see how much fun he is having.

BTW - I had no idea he was backstage during the Beatles' Ed Sullivan performance before the Monkee days and was nominated for a Tony for his performance in Oliver. Such a talent.

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Last Updated on Friday, 02 March 2012 13:54

Dammit - Davy Jones

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The Monkees were perhaps the greatest refutation of the snobbish ache for something called 'authenticity'. They were a group put together purely for a TV series. And yet. And yet. They produced wonderful music and were very popular (those aching for authenticity might regard as proof in the eating - after all it was the hoi polloi eating).

All proved to be pretty talented, but the charmer in the midst was always Davy Jones. Like Sis, I always love to hear his lead vocal in 'Daydream Believer'. So often in my life I find myself saying to myself 'Cheer up sleepy Gene' though my name is not Gene. (Nor Jean.)

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Amazingly to me, I learn that the song was written by John Stewart, a core member of my favorite group of my youth, the Kingston Trio. (BTW, unlike SIS I did see the original run of the Monkees; we are of different generations). Here's why it seems odd to me, though utterly delightful.

As I am heading to Boston (and I hope Fenway!) next month, here is a great Kingston Trio song; I hope it does not happen to me.

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And here is a great interview with John Stewart talking about Daydream Believer.

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So thanks Davy and John (also departed) for giving me the lift I need from time to time.


Nick Gillespie on Breitbart

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I for one will miss Andrew Breitbart. I have waited to outsource why to someone else and Nick Gillespie does the job I hoped someone would do.

His legacy has nothing to do with whether the Republican party picked up Anthony Weiner's congressional seat or whether ACORN has been able to renew its funding. It has to do with the ways in which he created new places and spaces to talk about whatever any of us want to talk about. He told Reason in 2004 that after feeling ignored by existing outlets, "We decided to go out and create our media."

It doesn't matter who we is, kemo sabe. It's the conservatives at Drudge, the liberals at HuffPo, the leftists at DailyKos, the libertarians at Reason. It's all of us and Breitbart helped create and grow a series of do-it-yourself demonstration projects through which we can all speak more loudly and more fully.

One should read the whole thing.

Along the way, Gillespie convinced me to remove Matthew Yglesias' blog from my Google Reader. And Yglesias was not the most appalling of the disgusting outbursts.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 March 2012 11:49


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