Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WTF Article of the Day: 'SmarTrend's Candlestick Scanner Detects Possible Bullish Harami Pattern for SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)'

Just in case you were wondering, the above is it. Now if you can see bull amongst those candles, I salute you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa

Too good not to share.
As I used to say to my mother-in-law (until some dumb shit enlightened her) how is the Missionary Position going?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quote of the Day: Nouriel Roubini

Gold is not a hedge against inflation.

Gold is a hedge against Armageddon.

    - Nouriel Roubini

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey Paul Krugman (A song, A plea)

When pictures kick word butts.

Mark Your Calendars: Chavez Day!!!

From the files of You Just Can't Make this Stuff Up. And in America, no less!

Recognizing Chavez
March 24, 2009

Every year at this time, Jacque Rhodes, Calvin assistant dean of multicultural student development, is surprised afresh at how few people recognize the name Cesar Chavez. “This man made such a tremendous contribution to our country and how we look at labor and unions, and he’s hardly known,” said Rhodes of the farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who founded the United Farm Workers of America.

Cesar ChavezRhodes and the students leaders of Calvin’s multicultural student advisory board (MSAB) have planned a full round of activities to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on March 31—and to perhaps raise Chavez’s “Q rating” a little: “I really think he should be as prominent a figure as Martin Luther King,” Rhodes said.
Free cake and buttons

First on the roster of events is the complimentary birthday cake served up by MSAB from 10:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. in the fireplace area of the Hekman Library. The students will also pass out Cesar Chavez buttons and informational flyers about his life. The cake honors Chavez’ birthday, which coincides with his annual day. “We do this every year,” Rhodes said.

The celebration will continue at 3:30 p.m. as Blair Babcock, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent speaks on “Inside Immigration: the Struggle to Become a Citizen. “He’s actually going to talk about immigration law and just talk about the complexity … ,” said Rhodes. “ I think people in general have kind of a misinformed idea that it’s as simple as getting your driver’s license—that you walk into an agency and take a test and ‘Voila!,’ you’re a citizen. They have no conception that it’s a process that can, in some cases, take years.”
Hearing from peers

A student panel, held at 5 p.m. in the Commons Lecture Hall, will offer further insight on the immigration process. Of the panel, titled “The Impact of Immigration: A Multifaceted Perspective, Rhodes said: “I think it’s really important for students to hear from their peers. I think it makes a greater impact on them when they can put a face on a story.”

The day’s events will conclude with the provocatively titled A Day Without a Mexican, which Rhodes explained, is a “mockumentary.” The film, to be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the Robert L. Bytwerk Video Theater, depicts what would happen if, suddenly, there were no Mexicans working in the state of California. The film carries an important message, Rhodes said, adding: “I think we do our best learning when we’re uncomfortable.”

All Cesar Chavez Day events are free and open to the public.

~by Myrna Anderson, communications and marketing

Don't believe me? Believe!

Quote du jour

But then there are those fundamentalists such as the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who offer all the limitations of Calvanism without any of its strengths.
-Alan Wolfe

Word of the Week: 'Backwardation.'

As in,

At the same time, backwardation in LBMA silver forward rates has been slowly disappearing.


If a supply disruption is approaching, however, we could see LBMA silver backwardation return with a vengeance.

More backwardation here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You Are Not An Orphan Alert!

Dear Friends,

Someone who attended the Uzbek film, You are not an Orphan, left a pair of
glasses behind. The glasses are now at the lost and found with Penny in the
south building of Munk.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Website of the Day: Jew of the Day

Website of the Day: Jew of the Day

TLA here.

Isaiah Had it Right

“For these studies spring from, and thrive on, discord. Someone may question this on the grounds that even in a society of saintly anarchists, where no conflicts about ultimate purposes can take place, political problems, for example constitutional and legislative issues, might still arise. But this objection rests on a mistake. Where ends are agreed, the only questions left are those of means, and these are not political but technical, that is to say, capable of being settled by experts or machines, like arguments between engineers or doctors. That is why those who put their faith in some immense, world transforming phenomenon, like the final triumph of reason or the proletarian revolution, must believe that all political and moral problems can thereby be turned into technical ones. That is the meaning of Engels’ famous phrase (paraphrasing Saint-Simon) about ‘replacing the government of persons by the administration of things’…”

--Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty

Wordsmith's Word of the Day

"Detroit's bet on big trucks and sport-utility vehicles has turned snake eyes."
David Kiley; Michigan: Epicenter of Unemployment; BusinessWeek (New York); Jun 24, 2008.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Extreme Sheep LED Art

Courtesy: LM
(PS What's a TAF?)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor

[Most Recent Quotes from]

Those Were the Days When If Someone Called You a Crypto-Nazi you could call them...

At the Aug. 28 debate in Chicago - the penultimate encounter in the series, with an estimated 10 million people watching - things began with relative calm. But it didn’t stay that way, and before long the men began exchanging words that one simply didn’t hear on TV at that time (see box below). Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto-Nazi," a modest slip of the tongue, he later said, because he was searching for the word "fascist" and it just didn't come out. Inflamed by the word "Nazi" and the whole tenor of the discussion, Buckley snapped back: "Now listen, you queer," he said, "stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered." Smith attempted to calm the exchange with "gentlemen, let's not call names," but the damage had been done. The two men, considerably subdued, met the following night for the last of their week of debates.

Clip here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gotta Love the Vatican; Making One New Member at a Time

From Times Online

March 17, 2009

Pope says condoms are not the solution to Aids - they make it worse

(Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

The Pope departing for Africa today - his first trip to the continent

Richard Owen in Rome

The Pope courted further controversy on his first trip to Africa today by declaring that condoms were not a solution to the Aids epidemic – but were instead part of the problem.

In his first public comments on condom use, the pontiff told reporters en route to Cameroon that Aids "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".

Pope Benedict has previously stressed that the Roman Catholic Church is in the forefront of the battle against Aids. The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease.

After his election as Pope, Benedict described Aids as a "a cruel epidemic which not only kills but seriously threatens the economic and social stability of the continent", but reiterated the Vatican ban on the use of condoms.

He said the "traditional teaching of the Church" on chastity outside marriage and fidelity within it had proved to be "the only sure way of preventing the spread of HIV and Aids".

The Pope, who will also visit Angola, is making his first trip as pontiff to Africa, the continent where the Roman Catholic Church is growing fastest.

Two years ago there was speculation that the Vatican might amend its ban on condoms after Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, said that in couples where one partner had HIV/Aids, the use of condoms was "a lesser evil".

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, the Vatican Health Minister, also said condoms could sometimes be exceptionally condoned, for example when a married woman was unable to refuse her HIV-positive husband's sexual advances.

"You can defend yourself with any means," he said. A subsequent Vatican study of the issue reiterated the blanket ban on condoms, however.

In 2003 a senior Vatican official claimed condoms had tiny holes in them through which HIV can pass, exposing thousands of people to risk.

The then head of the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, said: "The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom."

He added "These margins of uncertainty... should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."

The World Health Organisation responded at the time by saying that "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The WHO said that "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90 per cent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bernanke on 60 Minutes; Such Bullshit

Watch CBS Videos Online

Elders of Zion Disband!

The Elders of Zion, the venerable and shadowy Jewish organization that controls the international banking industry, news media and Hollywood, has announced that it is disbanding so that members can retire to Florida and live out their golden years on the golf course. 
"We had a good run," said one senior Elder, reminiscing over old photographs of world leaders in his musty, wood-paneled office at an undisclosed location.  "Maybe we ran the world for just a little too long. Anyway, now it's Obama's problem." 
After a humiliating year left most of its financial holdings, as well as the entire civilized world, on the verge of collapse, the organization has re-defined its mission in terms of bridge games and making it to restaurants for the Early Bird Special. 
The announcement comes after a year in which many of the Elders' most prized institutions suffered disheartening failures. The vaunted global banking system, which lay at the heart of Jewish world domination for almost two centuries, collapsed with astonishing rapidity, requiring trillions of dollars in bailout funds. The newspaper industry, through which the Elders have controlled world opinion, is in shambles, with prominent papers declaring bankruptcy and forcing millions of readers to form their own opinions. And, in the unkindest cut, Hollywood suffered the humiliation of losing the Oscar for Best Picture to Indian film "Slumdog Millionaire". 
The organization's reputation for financial probity had also taken a hit amidst rumours of billions in losses in private Kalooki games against Sheikh Hamad bin Isa of Bahrain. According to inside sources, the organization also lost close to $1 trillion with disgraced investor Bernard Madoff. 
Even before this past year, though, the Elders were facing hard times as they struggled to stay relevant and attract young members. The organization has tried to project a more youthful image, setting up a Facebook page and founding a new "Hipsters of Zion" youth division, which has sponsored a number of singles nights. But youngsters haven't been interested. 
"World domination just doesn't resonate with the younger generation of Jews," said Marvin Tobman, a professor of non-profit management at San Diego State University and expert on Jewish communal life. 'They want the fun of fixing the world, not the responsibility of running it." 
These recent troubles have worried even some of the Elders' sharpest critics.  "I always used to complain that Jews ran the world," said Reginald Weber, author of "Zionists and Zookeepers: The Unholy Alliance." "But now, I'm starting to worry that nobody's in charge."



Monday, March 16, 2009

Not to be Missed: You Are Not An Orphan (Uzbekistan, 1963)

Tuesday, March 24, 4 - 6 pm
Central Asia Program Film Screening
You Are Not An Orphan (Uzbekistan, 1963)
Directed by Shukhrat Abbasov
The film is the story of an Uzbek family who gave shelter to 14 children evacuated to Uzbekistan during World War II while the family's own son was drafted to the front. Children of different nationalities and ages learn to live together in one house - a veritable metaphor for the multi-national country itself. The Makamov family shelters a Russian, an Uzbek, a Jew and Lithuanian a Tatar, a Kazakh, etc. Every child gets into the family by accident but eventually stays on by the decision and the good will of the foster parents who realize that their house is a safe haven for the kids during the complicated times, certainly preferable to the orphanage. The film combines staple patriotic and internationalist ideas of the time with the affirmation of the national mentality of the Uzbek people. The film's director, Shukhrat Abbasov, received the 'Hamza,' a State award of Uzbek SSR. The film was also awarded best screenplay prize at the first All-Union film festival in Leningrad, 1964.
Room 108, North Building, Munk Centre for International Studies (1 Devonshire Place)
Sponsored by the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

Dollar Collapse! Bank Runs! 80's Movie Predicted it! george4title

It gets particularly good after 1:50

From the Onion, Where Else?

Fifth-Grader Writes 'Mrs. Alan Greenspan' All Over Her Notebook

March 28, 2001 | Issue 37•11

INDEPENDENCE, MO–Brianna Kilgore, 11, a fifth-grader at Westlake Elementary School, was observed scribbling "Mrs. Alan Greenspan" an estimated 200 times in her notebook during class Monday. "She was totally writing 'Mrs. Alan Greenspan' and 'Brianna Greenspan' all over her spelling notebook–big and small, in cursive and block letters, everything," said Ashley Taylor, who sits directly behind Kilgore in Mrs. Schukal's class. "Then she took out a pink marker and wrote 'B.K. + A.G.–4EVA' inside a heart." When confronted by Taylor, Kilgore denied being in love with the Fed chair and told her classmate to mind her own beeswax.


Which bring me to my next question: I understand why people listen to Bernanke. I just don't understand why they act on his bullshit.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Yet Another Portent of the Apocalypse

PJ's Pets, purveyors of the finest Saltwater Fish in Town, has closed their Yorkdale Doors.

Doesn't Quite Seem Like the Same Guy Does He?

No Photoshop Here: From The Telegraph (Ceylon)

Quote of the Day and A Portent of the Apocalypse

"We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States," Wen said at a news conference in Beijing. "Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I'm a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets."

Turning the Other (Ass) Cheek

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

The Bentley/Rolls/Ferrari/Maserati dealership on Avenue Road south of Whole Foods has closed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

"Jonathan Berger, a professor of music at Stanford, tests his incoming students each year by having them listen to a variety of recordings which use different formats from MP3 to ones of much higher quality, and he reports that each year the preference for music in MP3 format rises. Berger says that young people seemed to prefer 'sizzle sounds' that MP3s bring to music because it is a sound they are familiar with. 'The music examples included both orchestral, jazz and rock music. When I first did this I was expecting to hear preferences for uncompressed audio and expecting to see MP3 (at 128, 160 and 192 bit rates) well below other methods (including a proprietary wavelet-based approach and AAC),' writes Berger. 'To my surprise, in the rock examples the MP3 at 128 was preferred. I repeated the experiment over 6 years and found the preference for MP3 — particularly in music with high energy (cymbal crashes, brass hits, etc) rising over time.' Dale Dougherty writes that the context of the music changes our perception of the sound, particularly when it's so obviously and immediately shared by others. 'All that sizzle is a cultural artifact and a tie that binds us. It's mostly invisible to us but it is something future generations looking back might find curious because these preferences won't be obvious to them.'"

HT: /.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words in 3 Languages

Posted by Picasa

Another Portent of the Apocalypse

In the UK, Starbucks is now giving their coffee away for free as no one now cares to spend two quid on a cup.


Info here.

Beatcha M2!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

From Steve Bell in the Guardian


Unfortunate Quote of the Day

Kant called this historical process 'the euthanasia of the Jews.' (Kant, Conflict of the Faculties VII)

Digging Myself Out of a Hole Unsuccessfully

An academic Faux Pas

Over sherry I was introduced to an economist (whose name I shall leave out).

Trying to be witty, but it was for me a serious question, I asked him, 'Is it now a time for Keynes or Shumpeter?'

He drew himself up like Gandalf castigating Bilbo, 'You're asking the wrong man. I edited Keynes' papers.'

'You must, then, have had to delve very deeply into the Bodleian archives,' I said.

'Keynes went to Cambridge,' he answered, almost curtly.

'Oh, I see,' I replied. Attempting to recover, I asked, 'Is it really true that Keynes kept Trinity College out of debt in perpetuity.'

'No,' he replied. 'And in any event, Keynes was at Kings College, not Trinity.'

(The awful thing is that I knew all these things, or at least did.)

That said, I still think it is a time for Shumpeter and not dear Maynard.

Even This Squid Can Go Limp

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Papa's Got a Brand New Watch


PRESIDENT Obama clearly has a new watch and is fascinated with it, Gordon Brown revealed last night.

It is a really nice one actually
Following his first meeting with the new president Mr Brown said Britain and the United States must work together to create a new age of global stability where everyone can have a watch as nice as that.

The prime minister added: "I was making some very insightful points about Fred Goodwin's pension, but he just kept looking at that watch and I'm thinking, 'gosh, it must be a really good one'.

"Eventually I asked him if I could have a look at it but he said no, it was a special watch they only give to presidents and astronauts and that I might break it.

"I pointed out that I don't break things and that all of my watches have been broken by an extraordinary combination of global circumstances."

The prime minister said it was unfortunate a planned press conference had been cancelled due to 'a pack of Alaskan timber wolves on the White House lawn' but dismissed claims he had been snubbed, adding: "He knew my first name. Does he know your first name? I didn't think so."

Despite the distraction of his new watch Mr Obama did find time to send a series of Twitter messages including, 'oh fuck, why did i agree to this?', 'should have met the french guy instead' and 'note to pentagon - phone me now and pretend it's really important'.

Meanwhile Mr Brown again stressed the British economy is nothing to do with him and published a list of people who were to blame including Alan Milburn, Geoffrey Howe, former Eastender Michelle Gayle and K-9, the robot dog from Doctor Who.

VCR Hack!

Never Mind the Words, Just Listen to the Accents

Sudan Passes Campaign-Finance Reform; You Can't Make this Stuff Up.

Well, you can, actually.

Sudan Passes Campaign-Finance Reform
from The Onion
KHARTOUM, SUDAN—In what is being hailed as a major step toward making presidential contests more fair and equal, the Sudanese legislature approved sweeping campaign-finance reform Monday, passing a bill limiting all candidates to 500,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why I Hate Leonard Cohen and the CBC

It is no secret that I like radios and often sleep with a pair of headphones.

While I have never taken the time (it would be too embarrassing) to count how many radios I have, they must number in the dozens, ranging from hand built crystal sets, a '27 Rogers batterlyless, a Revox bruiser and my latest acquisition a Wi Fi set.

Who else can you name who owns three Tivolis? But I digress.

One of the great things you can do with radios is listen to them.

However, the quality of programming that we have from our national broadcaster is becoming increasingly repulsive.

Case in point: the CBC just spent 30 minutes waxing in an almost orgiastic state about how great the Leonard Cohen's last concert in New York City was. I nearly threw up on my desk.

Why do I continue to listen to the CBC? Well, for one thing there are no commercials which for me counts for a lot. And for another, like the gambler that continued to play craps at a rigged game even though he knew it was rigged because it was the only game in town, I still listen to the CBC, because, well, it is our public broadcaster and used to be good.

Today, however, I might as well just hit my head with a two by four with a rusty nail hanging on it for all the pleasure I derive from it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

From November, Also Courtesy of KPC

First Job Created as a Result of the Stimulus Package


As I calculate it, the bill spends around US$733 mil per page!

The Goode Olde Dayes of Banking

(5 & 6 Will. & Mar. c. 20)
An Act for granting to their Majesties several Rates and Duties upon Tunnage of Ships and
Vessels, and upon Beer, Ale, and other Liquors, for securing certain Recompences and
Advantages in the said Act mentioned, to such Persons as shall voluntarily advance the Sum
of Fifteen hundred thousand Pounds towards carrying on the War against France.
Sections 1 to 15 and section 17 repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1867. Sections 16 and 18 repealed by the
Statute Law Revision Act 1966.
19 Their Majesties may appoint Rules for transferring: and may make the Subscribers
a corporation, subject to Redemption
And … that it shall and may be lawful to and for their Majesties, by Letters Patents under the
Great Seal of England, to limit, direct, and appoint how and in what Manner and
Proportions and under what Rules and Directions, the said Sum of Twelve hundred thousand
Pounds, Part of the said Sum of Fifteen hundred thousand Pounds, and the said yearly Sum
of One hundred thousand Pounds, Part of the said yearly Sum of One hundred and forty
thousand Pounds, and every, or any Part or Proportion thereof, may be assignable or
transferable, assigned or transferred, to such Person or Persons only as shall freely and
voluntarily accept of the same, and not otherwise; and to incorporate all and every such
Subscribers and Contributors, their … Successors, or Assigns, to be one Body Corporate and
Politick, by the name of The Governor and Company of the Bank of England, and by the
same Name of The Governor and Company of the Bank of England to have perpetual
Succession, and a Common Seal, and that they and their Successors, by the Name aforesaid,
shall be able and capable in Law to have, purchase, receive, possess, enjoy, and retain to
them and their Successors, Lands, Rents, Tenements and Hereditaments, of what Kind,
Nature, or Quality soever; and also to sell, grant, demise, alien, or dispose of the same; and
by the same Name to sue and implead, and be sued and impleaded, answer and be answered
in Courts of Record, or any other Place whatsover, and to do and execute all and singular
other Matters and Things by the Name aforesaid, that to them shall or may appertain to do;
subject nevertheless to the Proviso and Condition of Redemption herein after mentioned.
First words omitted repealed by Statute Law Revision Act 1888, and second words omitted repealed by Statute Law
Revision Act 1948.
Section 20 repealed by the Bank of England Act 1708 and the Statute Law Revision Act 1867. Section 21 repealed by the
Bank Act 1892. Sections 22 to 24 repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1867 and section 25 repealed by the Bank of
England Act 1946.
26 Corporation not to trade – Punishment
And to the Intent that their Majesties Subjects may not be oppressed by the said
Corporation, by their monopolizing or ingrossing any Sort of Goods, Wares, or
Merchandizes, the said Corporation to be made and created by this Act shall not at any
6 Bank of England Act 1694
Time, during the Continuance thereof, deal or trade, or permit or suffer any Person or
Persons whatsoever, either in Trust or for the Benefit of the same, to deal or trade with any
of the Stock Moneys, or Effects of, or any Ways belonging to the said Corporation, in the
buying or selling of any Goods, Wares, or Merchandizes whatsoever; and every Person or
Persons who shall so deal or trade, or by whose Order or Directions such Dealings or
Trading shall be made, prosecuted or managed, shall forfeit for every such Dealing or
Trading, and every such Order and Directions, treble the Value of the Goods and
Merchandize so traded for, to such Person or Persons who shall sue for the same by Action
[in the High Court].
Section 26 amended by the Common Informers Act 1951 and words in square brackets substituted by the Supreme Court
of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925.
27 In what things they may nevertheless deal
Provided that nothing herein contained shall any Ways be construed to hinder the said
Corporation from dealing in Bills of Exchange, or in buying or selling Bullion, Gold or Silver,
or in selling any Goods, Wares or Merchandize whatsoever, which shall really and bona fide
by left or deposited with the said Corporation for Money lent and advanced thereon, and
which shall not be redeemed at the Time agreed on, or within Three Months after, or from
selling such Goods as shall or may be the Produce of Lands purchased by the said
Section 28 repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1976. Sections 29 to 31 repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act
1948. Sections 32 and 34 repealed by the Bank Act 1892. Sections 33 and 35 to 48 repealed by the Statute Law
Revision Act 1867. The Act, as reproduced here, is taken from ‘Acts relating to the Bank’ Vol 1 published in 1694.
Bank of England Act 1694 7

Nuclear Subs Collide

Nuclear Subs Collide

Two nuclear submarines, one French and one British, collided in the Atlantic earlier this month, raising safety concerns. What do you think?

Brody Nett,
Submarine Captain
"Luckily, I heard the collision from a few feet away, which saved my nuclear sub from becoming part of a nasty pileup situation."

Lee Muller,
Systems Analyst
"I can see how it happened. That space in the Atlantic between North and South America and Europe and Africa is so tight that underwater vessels can just barely squeak past each other."
Young Man

Stuckey Relyea,
Billing Coordinator
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: No one can top Russia when it comes to tragic submarine accidents."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Safir-2 rocket. Iran launched the Omid satellite

Kinda makes you want to speak Farsi doesn't it?

Prepare to Gag on Ignatieff

Mr. Wieseltier added: “When I would see Michael [Ignatieff], he and I would stroll arm in arm around Covent Garden singing — poorly, of course — some of the great quintet in the first act of ‘Così Fan Tutte.’ There was in him a hunger for intellectual authority and for a certain degree of social recognition, but it was never about power."

From the NYT

Monday, February 2, 2009

Now if we had a Mayor Like Boris

Write snow, wrong quantity!

Story here.

Tell Me This is Not Straight Out of Borat

1. Tuesday, February 3, 4 - 7 pm
Central Asia Program Film Screening
The Orator (Voiz) (Uzbekistan, 1998, 83 min) -- Writer and producer Yusup (Jusuf) S. Razykov (b. 1957) -- tells a witty and poetic story of Iskander, a poor cart man, who can't give up his three-woman harem and therefore happens to find himself at the centre of events that impact his marital life, family relations and his position in the society. The Orator takes place in the 1920s, at the dawn of Soviet power in Uzbekistan. The Orator is crucially concerned with gender, specifically the early-Soviet reform of Uzbek women's rights and marriage policies. Razykov said in an interview: “My favorite costume is the veil. It's much more interesting to peek under that shroud, which expresses nothing but conceals a great deal.” The Orator is a landmark not only, or even primarily, in the director's own career, but in Uzbek film generally. The film made the international festival rounds to great acclaim.
Discussion will follow the film.
Room 108, North Building, Munk Centre for International Studies (1 Devonshire Place)
Sponsored by the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Picnic, Lightning


I was born in 1910, in Paris. My father was a gentle, easy-going person, a salad of racial genes: a Swiss citizen, of mixed French and Austrian descent, with a dash of the Danube in his veins. I am going to pass around in a minute some lovely, glossy-blue picture-postcards. He owned a luxurious hotel on the Riviera. His father and two grandfathers had sold wine, jewels and silk, respectively. At thirty he married an English girl, daughter of Jerome Dunn, the alpinist, and granddaughter of two Dorset parsons, experts in obscure subjects--paleopedology and Aeolian harps, respectively. My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory, over which, if you can still stand my style (I am writing under observation), the sun of my infancy had set: surely, you all know those redolent remnants of day suspended, with the midges, about some hedge in bloom or suddenly entered and traversed by the rambler, at the bottom of a hill, in the summer dusk; a furry warmth, golden midges.

I grew, a happy, healthy child in a bright world of illustrated books, clean sand, orange trees, friendly dogs, sea vistas and smiling faces. Around me the splendid Hotel Mirana revolved as a kind of private universe, a whitewashed cosmos within the blue greater one that blazed outside. From the aproned pot-scrubber to the flanneled potentate, everybody liked me, everybody petted me. Elderly American ladies leaning on their canes listed toward me like towers of Pisa. Ruined Russian princesses who could not pay my father, bought me expensive bonbons. He, mon cher petit papa, took me out boating and biking, taught me to swim and dive and water-ski, read to me Don Quixote and Les Misérables, and I adored and respected him and felt glad for him whenever I overheard the servants discuss his various lady-friends, beautiful and kind beings who made much of me and cooed and shed precious tears over my cheerful motherlessness.


I attended an English day school a few miles from home, and there I played rackets and fives, and got excellent marks, and was on perfect terms with schoolmates and teachers alike. The only definite sexual events that I can remember as having occurred before my thirteenth birthday (that is, before I first saw my little Annabel) were: a solemn, decorous and purely theoretical talk about pubertal surprises in the rose garden of the school with an American kid, the son of a then celebrated motion-picture actress whom he seldom saw in the three-dimensional world; and some interesting reactions on the part of my organism to certain photographs, pearl and umbra, with infinitely soft partings, in Pichon's sumptuous La Beauté Humaine that I had filched from under a mountain of marble-bound Graphics in the hotel library. Later, in his delightful debonair manner, my father gave me all the information he thought I needed about sex.

-Vladimir Nabokov, 1955


The details of my life are quite inconsequential.
Where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy--the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical; summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds--pretty standard really. At the age of 12 I received my 1st scribe. At the age of 14, a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a freshly shorn scrotum--it's breathtaking--I suggest you try it.

--Mike Meyers, 1997

Coincidence? I think not!

Note to self: be more careful

It has come to my attention that this blog has a small following in Kent.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Israeli Conflict Is Far Too Nuanced And Complex To Sum Up In One Op-Ed: [Unless] You Hate Jews

The Israeli Conflict Is Far Too Nuanced And Complex To Sum Up In One Op-Ed: [Unless] You Hate Jews

--The Onion

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Find the Weirdest Things in Your Mailbox: A Conrad Black Update?

Subject: Conrad Black update

I know these messages from Facebook groups can be annoying. But this club has existed for more than a year and a half and this is the first message to ever go out.

Yesterday was an exciting day for America and the world with the swearing in of a new President. It also brought disappointment in that Conrad Black did not receive a presidential pardon or a sentence commutation from President Bush. Nevertheless, I thought you might be interested to know just how Lord Black is holding up.

I was fortunate to see him recently in Florida and you will be pleased to know he is doing extremely well. Indeed, both physically and mentally, he was in virtually the same condition as before he went in. And he is as determined as ever to clear his name. Anyone hoping or expecting him to come out of this ordeal a broken or even dispirited man will be sorely disappointed.

He asked me to pass on a few messages to members of this group.

First, conditions at the Coleman low security prison, while naturally somewhat regimented, are not severe or even uncivilized, and he has no serious complaint with the administration. He is occupying his time reading, writing, tutoring educationally disadvantaged individuals in English, and teaching US history. You have probably been reading his bi-monthly contributions to the National Post comment page and his columns on The Daily Beast, Tina Brown's riveting new online publication. He is receiving great volumes of supportive messages from many countries, particularly from Canada and the U.S.

He has also become an advocate of reforming the U.S. judicial system. He is in touch with many justice and penal reform organizations, and does what he can to help some of the victims of America's unjust prosecution system. As he put it, "the US has become a prosecutocracy and a carceral state, and the relevant sections of the Constitution, especially the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, have been imprisoned in the world of the cooperating witness and the whistle-blower. It is a distinct, though unsought honour to play a small role in the restoration of American due process, and respect for the rights of the accused."

Lastly, you should be hearing a lot from Lord Black in the coming months. His legal counsel recently submitted an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He won 85% of the case at trial and his hope is to win the remaining 15% there. His widely-anticipated book about the travails of the last six years, which he has been working on for some time, will be published this spring.

Lord Black is already planning and looking forward to re-launching his career upon his release. He is extremely grateful for the solidarity of those who have supported him throughout these difficult years and looks forward to resuming normal life before too long.

Thanks for your support of this group.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breaking News from The Globe and Mail: It's really gloomy out there

Breaking News from The Globe and Mail
It's really gloomy out there


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gloom and doom here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Say it isn't so!

Some jumped writer in the other, other Times claims Tin Tin is gay. Can't we leave Tin Tin's private life out of it?


The scurrilous case here.