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Friday, July 30, 2004

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You know, you can take a fit rangy young woman
 
... give her a weapon, which she clearly knows how to use, put her in unrestrictive clothing, pose her on a mountain top, tie a bandana around her head ...

and she'll still look silly.

Doesn't she look nicer here?

 
Julian


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Thursday, July 29, 2004

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La Griffe du Lion
 
La Griffe du Lion predicts, from an American perspective, that "the PhD market in the math-intensive technical areas will saturate at almost 99 percent White and Asian. Of the Asians, almost all will be either Chinese, Japanese, Korean or South Asian. Whites will fill 59 to 72 percent of the jobs, Asians: 26 to 40 percent. Asians will continue to be represented well beyond their proportion in the general population."

Or, as they used to say, "damn clever, the Chinese".

It occurred to me today that the last three medical professionals I have seen have been Chinese: my general practioner, my dentist and my skin cancer expert.

Julian 

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

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Alexander Downer criticises Hispanics 
 
Our Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, continues to perform well above his media-driven reputation. This time he has had the cojones to tell sundry Hispanic nations that their cowardice in the face of Islamic terror might not have been the best policy option.

Downer has had the misfortune to a) speak rather well (in a country that prefers its politicians to sound common) and b) to have a bit of a personality. The latter cost him the leadership of the Coalition thanks to a joke he made that offended media feminists. Media feminists in Australia have a sense of humour that you couldn't find with a scanning electron microscope, and so Downer had to go. But he lingered on in the Foreign Affairs line, and now he is doing a damn good job.

Julian


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Monday, July 26, 2004

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Ground beetles and mites

While chopping wood on the weekend I noticed two beetles. I think they were ground beetles, Carabidae. At least one, and possibly both, had a mite living on it. The tiny mite on one of the beetles moved freely around its body. Apparently mites commonly infest ground beetles, as indicated here, here, and here.

There has been a lot of new interest in mites of late. Perhaps suitable techniques to study such tiny arthropods are now available. This volume on mites is of Australian provenance. I have a poster from the same authors depicting mites from Australian rainforests. One of the mites depicted looks somewhat like the one I saw on the back of the beetle in our backyard. It is described as possibly being a kleptoparasite on beetles, perhaps living by stealing food from the beetle's mouth. "Kleptoparasitism" is living by stealing another animal's food. Here is a paper on kleptoparasitism among flies.

[Note added on 7 August 2004: Here is a picture of an Australian mite that lives on Carabid beetles, perhaps the very type I saw.]

Julian


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Honey, I shrunk the argument
 
This is amusing on the 10 Laws of Bad Science Fiction. I particularly like No. 4.

However I don't agree entirely with this one:

" Make no distinction between science and technology. These kinds of clear definitions will only confuse your audience, and besides, everyone knows that scientists spend all of their time building fabulous machines, pouring brightly-coloured chemicals from one test tube to another, and zapping stuff with radiation for kicks. All scientific research is directed toward the idea of building some kind of a device, or mixing a magical potion. The idea of a scientist who just spends his/her time figuring out how physical laws work, with no kind of "product" in mind as the result - - aside from the sheer accumulation of knowledge - - is unheard of in scientific circles, and will remain so, as long as there are giant robots to be built and people to be shrunk. "

The point being made here (using irony) is that real scientists don't build gadgets much. But, when you think about it, many do.  Robert Oppenheimer - a theoretical physicist of some note - "built the A bomb".  Teller and Ulam - both theoreticians - designed the H bomb.  Examples could be multiplied. As for building devices that do truly weird things, what could be weirder and more like bad science fiction than building a Star Trek type gadget that "teleports" a laser beam? Which is what scientists at the Australian National University did recently.

Moral: real scientists do build weird inventions.

 
Julian



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"Forbidden Love" by Norma Khouri probably a fake
 
It seems likely that the bestselling book of doomed Jordanian love, "Forbidden Love" by Norma Khouri, is a fake.

We have a copy of this book, a handsome paperback with a cover showing a pair of beautiful brown eyes peeking out of the slit of a hijab.  It is part of a genre of books on women who are trapped in oppressive patriarchal Arab societies, who eventually manage to escape.  Why are these books so popular with Western women? Think about it: the title "Forbidden Love", the suffering under the cruel masterful Arab, the eventual end of the fantastic interlude. All it needs is Rudolph Valentino. The reason they are appealing is that they are soft porn for understimulated Western women. If you don't believe me, read this from a "liberated" Western woman:

" I must admit that those majestic bearded warriors are quite sexy. Here's a slightly embarrassing confession: I've had several major orgasms in the last few weeks just imagining one of those cruelly sensuous moujahedeen whipping my ass for wearing my burka too short. But I try not to let my pussy sway my politics. "

This is the market for books like "Forbidden Love". In this particular case it turns out that the book is not just bogus in its appeal but bogus in its authorship. A true folie a deux.

Julian 

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Dream on, Rome
 
Fiat Mihi writes:
 
" Traditionalists have good reason to be suspicious of motives. The Ecclesia Dei Commission has come right out and said that their purpose is to gently lead the Trads into the new liturgy. Their thinking is that the reason the trads reacted so strongly against the new liturgy was that it was introduced too abruptly, and that if the traditional rite is slowly, incrementally eroded down to the N.O. then we will all happily follow along with the huggy-kissy crowd, see the error of our retrograde ways and their embarrassing problem will go away. This theory is not a paranoid conspiracy theory, but can be read in the Ecclesia Dei Commission documents, in inteviews with Vatican representatives...they've said as much in so many words. In the same interviews and documents, they have also shown that they don't have the fondest clue what the Trads are talking about when we say that we don't EVER want to go down the Novus Ordo rabbit hole. They are baffled when they see more and more younger people going Trid. They don't have any idea of the theological reasons, they know nothing at all about why we make the objections we make. It is like talking to a stone. A Modernist stone.  "

Julian:  I was about ten when we all changed to the English Mass (I was an altar boy at both Latin and English masses).  I gave the new, English Mass a fair trial - about thirty years. It is a valid Mass that brings many graces and blessings, but it is not a patch on the Latin Mass. So I mostly attend the Latin Mass these days.  If Rome thinks that this kind of reaction is due to not giving the English Mass a fair trial, Rome is dreaming.  If Rome thinks that people are going to happily abandon the ancient Latin Mass for the "mess of pottage" that is the English Mass, they are deluded. 

I am rather more sanguine than Fiat Mihi about the assured future of the Latin Mass for three reasons: one is that I seriously doubt that Rome would permit the establishment of the FSSP priestly order to say the Latin Mass if it had no long-term future; the second reason is that the SSPX would never reconcile with Rome without a guarantee of the future of the Latin Mass; and, thirdly, Rome must have noticed that the Traditional Latin Mass community is healthy and orthodox whereas the vernacular (English Mass) world is in disarray and decline.

I don't think that the Latin Mass will be the only factor in the Catholic Church's eventual recovery - there will be other areas of healthy growth - but it must surely be part of any strategy for long-term recovery.

Julian



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Sunday, July 25, 2004

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A truly radical thinker
 
Famed Australian (and now Princetonian) philosopher, Professor Peter Singer believes that humans should feel free to have sex with apes.

I agree - how else will we get more philosophers like Peter Singer?

 
Julian

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Saturday, July 24, 2004

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Uncovering the mysteries of the deep
 
The MaxWave project uses ships and satellite radar to search for objective evidence of the "monster waves" that mariners have reported. These freak waves, tens of metres high, have been reported but not often confirmed. High-tech has now confirmed their existence and measured them accurately.

If you want to see a record of a 15 metre wave (a "giant singular wave") go to the website and look in "work packages" and then "investigation on extreme single waves".

If I am reading the data correctly, it seems that part of the reason a giant wave would be so devastating is that it is not just a big peak, but is associated with a correspondingly deep trough.  This may be consistent with reports of ships falling into "holes in the sea".

What I find fascinating about this research is that it is a perfect example of proving that extraordinary reports can have a basis in fact. Who would have expected that a satellite would settle such a maritime argument?  Now if we can just invent some way of visualising those monstrous squid that are supposed to be down there ...

Julian 


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Monday, July 19, 2004

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The Economics of Religion

One of the intellectual wonders of the age is the growth of interdisciplinary studies. I am not just thinking of things like "economics of the arts" or "sociobiology", worthy fields of study but almost old hat now. I am thinking of things like the sociobiology of literature, the systems analysis of the history of religion, and - now - the economics of religion.

The work by Marchetti on systems analysis as applied to the history of the Catholic Church is intriguing, although his use of Nostradamus (!) in support of his prediction that the Church is nearing its end has to be one of the strangest things I've ever seen in a supposedly serious academic paper.

The "economics of religion" site includes this paper, a proposed explanation for why strict churches are growing while liberal, modernising church denominations are in decline. The puzzle of the depressing decline in Catholicism since Vatican II has no easy solution. But maybe part of the solution is suggested by the analysis in the cited paper. By becoming less distinctive as regards food (fish on Fridays), dress (veils on women in church) and the like, and less demanding as regards the quality and complexity of liturgy, church music and theology, the Catholic Church has lost its appeal and Catholics have tended to become lukewarm. I often attend a Traditional Latin Mass parish, where I observe a level of serious commitment often lacking where the modern liturgy holds sway.

[Note added on 31 July 2004: I notice that some similar ideas are covered in an article by Richard Sosis in the March-April 2004 issue of American Scientist. The article is entitled "The Adaptive Value of Religious Ritual": "Rituals promote group cohesion by requiring members to engage in behavior that is too costly to fake." I must say that I find "American Scientist" to be the best magazine of its kind, better than New Scientist or Scientific American.]



Julian




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Sunday, July 18, 2004

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Blood puddings
 
I was just discussing blood puddings with someone, and it occurred to me that it is interesting that people can apparently eat blood in this form. And yet, it is sometimes said that blood is not a healthy food.  Another example of blood eating is provided by the Masai of East Africa who have always drunk cattle blood mixed with milk and there is no question of the blood being cooked in any way in this case.
 
Julian
 
 

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

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Very cheap soundtrack
 
At Belconnen Mall, here in Canberra this afternoon, I got a copy of the soundtrack by John Morris to the David Lynch film "The Elephant Man" for only two dollars. I wonder why it was so cheap.
 
Julian

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Very happy with this result
 
I recently did one of those Internet tests on "What kind of a theologian are you?" and got St Augustine, which satisfied me. (I was pleased not to get John Calvin, for example). Now I have done a test on what moral philosopher I most agree with, and got these results:

1. 
Aquinas   (100%)  Click here for info

2. 
St. Augustine   (99%)  Click here for info

3. 
Ockham   (87%)  Click here for info

4. 
Kant   (87%)  Click here for info

5. 
Jeremy Bentham   (73%)  Click here for info

6. 
John Stuart Mill   (69%)  Click here for info

7. 
Spinoza   (68%)  Click here for info

8. 
Jean-Paul Sartre   (58%)  Click here for info

9. 
Aristotle   (54%)  Click here for info

10. 
Plato   (51%)  Click here for info

11. 
Prescriptivism   (41%)  Click here for info

12. 
Epicureans   (40%)  Click here for info

13. 
Ayn Rand   (37%)  Click here for info

14. 
David Hume   (32%)  Click here for info

15. 
Stoics   (32%)  Click here for info

16. 
Cynics   (29%)  Click here for info

17. 
Nietzsche   (27%)  Click here for info

18. 
Nel Noddings   (22%)  Click here for info

19. 
Thomas Hobbes   (0%)  Click here for info
 
This looks almost exactly correct to me.
 
I found the test here.
 
 
Julian
 

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

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The Bush Capital

That's what they used to call Canberra, "the Bush Capital". Sometimes they still do. It is still a bit like a large country town, and we tend not to have much local news coverage. "Stateline" (covering only Canberra and the region) has been a revelation. Often in the past we were treated to a lot of Sydney news that was of limited interest to us Canberrans.

So, I tend to link to any Canberra-based blogs I find. The latest, tsumakin, looks stylish and has some local photography as well.

Julian



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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

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The jokers of the insect world

Many entomologists consider the true flies (Diptera) to be rather a special order of insects. Their sprightly behaviour and endless, subtle variety makes them a favourite group. These days, macro photography brings out their full beauty and distinctiveness. This web page will show what I mean.

As one of the commenters writes: " I never thought flies could be so gorgeous. "

Julian


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The Karmann Ghia

I saw a Karmann Ghia today in the carpark I normally use near the Australian Archives (old East Block building) here in Canberra. They don't seem all that common any more. I gather they ceased making them in about 1974. The model I saw was very dark (not sure of the exact colour as it was twilight), but I remember the typical colour in earlier days as a sort of cream. Here is Karmann Ghia World.

I liked the styling when I was a kid. I had always assumed they were simply an Italian make ("Carmen" Ghia) but apparently Volkswagen made them. If nothing else, they were distinctive in an era when cars tended to look much the same (dumpy boxes if English, longer boxes if Americo-Australian). At the time it shared this distinctiveness with the Citroen and the occasional E Type Jaguar. At least that's how I remember it. I am not a car bloke by any means.

Julian


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Sunday, July 11, 2004

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Ex-politician loses debate with puppet

The ABC had a program last night on the early days of Australian television. It was pretty good on the whole, although I thought the rather camp, not to say epicene, host was a poor choice. At one point he spoke to ex-Senator Susan Ryan on the regulation of children's content on TV. She has long been concerned about "sex role stereotyping". At this point a puppet, the famous "Agro", joined the discussion. Agro argued that children wanted to be entertained, not lectured in their leisure time by politically correct TV programs, and that ex-Senator Susan Ryan was wrong. Susan Ryan did not seem to be able to muster an effective response; she seemed bemused; thereby losing a debate with a puppet that looks like an animated oven mitt.

(In fact, Agro's performance was so impressive that perhaps he should form a puppet government.)

Julian

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Saturday, July 10, 2004

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Cathedral in Montreal

When I visited Montreal a few years ago I attended Mass at the Notre-Dame Basilica. It was very fine. But I don't think I saw this cathedral, which rejoices in the beautiful and euphonious name, Marie-Reine-du-Monde (Mary, Queen of the World).

Let us pray that Quebec becomes truly and fully Catholic again.

Julian

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More on the blogroll

I've added two local (Canberra, Australia) blogs to my blogroll: A.E. Brain and Graham72.

Julian

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I want to be a Tangerine

Sometimes I try to decide what would be the best city in the world in which to live. I usually conclude that where I live - Canberra - is the best. Although the winters are a little trying. On the whole I would like somewhere warm. I've been greatly enjoying this lovely book about Moroccan gardens , some of which are owned by Europeans, so I am currently thinking that it would be nice to live somewhere in Morocco such as Tanger (i.e. Tangiers). Nice and warm. The only problem - how would I get to Mass without having to fly to Spain every Sunday? Problem solved - there are over a thousand Catholics in Tanger, ten priests and a bishop.

A bloke can dream.

Julian


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But I like evolutionary psychology!

Dawn will think I am picking on her, but it is just that I am reading her blog carefully. I came across this:

" Evolutionary psychology is the Da Vinci Code of scientific theories. Just as The Da Vinci Code attempts to knock down Christianity by a long chain of assumptions on a fictional foundaton, so evolutionary psychology attempts to destroy faith in God through a meticulous set of if-then statements based on conjecture. "

No, I think evolutionary psychology ("sociobiology") is really interesting and that there is exciting work to be done in reconciling it with traditional Christian belief. Like Dawn, I am puzzled about how to reconcile Genesis with evolution but I think we should try.

Evolutionary psychology is illuminating so many fields these days, even literary criticism. I've just acquired "Literary Darwinism" by Joseph Carroll, which looks absolutely fascinating.

Julian

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Australian joke

One of my sisters recently visited the English town of Bath. That sounds right - one bath in the entire country.

Julian


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The Imp of the Perverse

Now that I am leaving policy work for more scientific work, I find myself assiduously watching episodes of The West Wing, reading policy sites on the Internet and reviewing the public policy books in my personal library. Why this perverse tendency on my part?

That being said, I expect to watch less broadcast news in future. Watching the news takes time and tends to lower one's mood. If I am less involved in policy work, I will have less need to keep a watch on public events.

Julian

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Friday, July 09, 2004

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Charlotte Corday

I mentioned Charlotte Corday in a recent post. Here is her handiwork. As for the painter, Jacques-Louis David, he was an early example of the artist in the service of the totalitarian state. Of course he had real talent, unlike most of his modern epigones.

Weren't artists under the French monarchy also under a totalitarian state, I hear you inquire. Maybe, except that I would make two points: a Christian polity contains at least inchoate rights for all by virtue of their common baptism whereas an atheistic system does not; and this was borne out by the rapid and efficient way in which the revolutionaries began murdering their opponents. A further point: in a Christian system you pretty much knew what would get you in trouble (blasphemy, treachery, public immorality). In the new more modern totalitarian system of the revolutionaries, the nature of crime and treachery could change from day to day. Hence the Revolution famously consumed its own (e.g. Robespierre and, in a sense, Corday, who started as a supporter of the Revolution).

It is banal to point out that the French Revolution - with its terrifying habit of purging and purging its erstwhile supporters - only showed the way for later egalitarian revolutions (including the Russian Revolution) which did the same thing on a much larger scale.

All this came from my earlier observation that "Corday" is a silly name for an English character in a TV show.

Julian

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The Pope is not the Church

The Dawn Patrol writes:

" Moreover, I disagree with the Catholic Church on the war to oust Saddam (which the church opposed)* and the death penalty (which it also opposes, and which I believe is biblical in principle, if not always in practice)*. "

The Church does not oppose the death penalty. Tradition in fact supports it. The present pope does not support the death penalty, which is his personal opinion. On a number of issues the Pope has departed from Tradition. This is one of them. He seems to do this when he is trying a bit too hard to be "pastoral".

Julian

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Speaking of obscure cultural references ...

Sometimes sub-editors are a bit too clever. Page 3 of yesterday's "The Australian" newspaper has a picture and story on Alyssa Sutherland's modelling a Galliano bridal gown in Paris recently. The story is headed "Model's gown and pout in Paris". I take this to be a reference to George Orwell's book "Down and Out in Paris and London".

A trifle too obscure I think.

Julian

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Peeving away

Someone in the Blogosphere complained recently about the use by bloggers of the phrase "hat tip". While I concede the annoyingness of this expression, I have another pet peeve. American bloggers love to use the phrase "Can you say ...?" sometimes followed by "I knew you could". I gather that this refers to a catchphrase from a much-loved children's TV show but it gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Can you say ... "please stop"? I knew you could.

I don't mind cultural references, but this one has grown tired. Speaking of growing tired, I saw Shrek 2 recently and I had that feeling you get sometimes along the lines that, while something is done brilliantly, it may not be worth doing in the first place. I suppose there was a place for yet another parody of old fairy tales, but really practically every retelling for the last hundred years has been a dumbing down of some kind. And how many times can you be self-referential? I gather that one of the jokes that got a laugh at the viewing I attended depends on knowing who the current boyfriend of the actress who voices the character is. Obscure and ephemeral. Also, if you are going to parody old fairy tales, fine, but why have the fairy tale characters journey to a parody of Hollywood? This is beyond gilding the lily: this is applying the hundreth coat of lacquer.

I know, it's a kid's movie. But it's a post-modern kid's movie.

Most really good films have a freshness about them. I'll wait for this new Spielberg film "The Terminal", which sounds promising, although a bit like a happier version of JG Ballard's "Concrete Island" perhaps.

Now, on to my main topic, namely the season finale of "ER". I didn't blog on last week's episode because I couldn't think of anything worth saying, but a season finale sort of demands a summing up from a dedicated viewer.

The show began with one of the ER doctors (Luka) involved in a road accident on the way to work and ended with a gunshot aimed at two of the other ER doctors, in a road rage incident as they were driving home. I've heard about taking work home, but this is ridiculous. But then this is a show that had a main character suffer two helicopter accidents in a short period of time, and without his actually getting into one.

As one of the professional critics has pointed out, what "ER" is suffering from is a shortage of characters about whom one cares. I could do without Dr Weaver and her preaching about her rights over her Lesbian love child, and Luka is a cold Croatian fish. Abby is very sweet in a way but, now that she is a doctor, she will have to give up her loser style, which was part of her appeal. The new girl who filled the "feisty nurse" role was always a bit of a bore (with stupid hair too) but she has shot through to avoid her ex-whatever and presumably left Chicago. The Chinese female doctor and the Indian female doctor are not especially interesting, although it was remarkable that the Indian girl (Neela) decided to leave medicine. (She is touted as beautiful in some quarters. I honestly think she's average at best. And she looks tense and unhappy most of the time, which only really works on the catwalk.)

I don't even know the name of the blonde pregnant doctor who seems to be largely absent now. "Corday" has some presence and a pleasant English accent but apparently she is leaving ("too old for the show" - but what about bloody Weaver?). And, by the way, why name an English character "Corday"? The only "Corday" I know of was Charlotte Corday who was some kind of assassin at the time of the French Revolution.

Carter is an unlikely character. Incredibly rich, he works as an ER doctor. Improbable. His relationship with the girl he picked up in Africa never had any chemistry and I think they decided to write her and their lovechild out of the show. The whole African adventure theme has been a bore.

Carter is also annoying.

So, they need to find some fresh likeable characters quickly.

I noticed another example of scriptwriter's overreach in this episode too. A high school algebra teacher was dying of cancer and feeling that his years of teaching kids had been a waste of time. So Abby invited some of his ex-students in to thank him for his efforts. One had become a teacher at the same school, a maths teacher (reasonable believability and acceptable irony). The other, a Chinese woman I think, had "gone on to MIT". Whenever an American scriptwriter wants to indicate hyper-nerdic achievement, he sends a character to MIT. Sometimes Caltech, but usually MIT. (Although it is actually slightly harder to get into Caltech). Anyway, typical.

It was interesting to see Neela at Ann Arbor. I came close to going to the University there on a post-doc, but ended up at Buffalo instead. The other possibility was Miami, which would have been rather jolly, as Corday would say.

PS I forgot to mention the black male doctors. Gallant has left because of army commitments. So one of the more pleasant characters is absent. We are left with the surly Pratt.

Julian

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

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The Australian Cheese Academy

The Australian Cheese Academy:

" Introducing "Cheese Discovery", a fascinating 3-hour gastronomic journey of award winning cheese and premium wine matching conducted by leading cheese educator Helen Waterworth. Each session will also be attended by a guest Australian specialist cheesemaker.

Cheese Discovery is the first consumer cheese appreciation workshop offered by the Australian Cheese Academy, a program committed to becoming the centre for cheese knowledge in Australia. "


The "centre for cheese knowledge": "leading cheese educator".

That would look good on the old resume: "Leading cheese educator". Much better than "average cheese educator" or "struggling cheese educator" or "unemployed cheese educator".

I am just jealous because I can't eat much cheese any more for health reasons.

Julian

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

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Women and Ideas

I just found this at 2blowhards, and I must say it rings true in my experience:

" The brains-and-gals thing is interesting, no? It does seem hard for bright, idea-centric guys to find gals they can talk with. Maybe it's a mistake to go looking for a gal who likes to talk ideas -- there just don't seem to be many. Maybe that's not what gals are generally for. In fact, I know a number of bright arty idea guys who married arty women clearly hoping that they'd have great arty-idea conversations together, and who wound up frustrated and feeling blue about it. Their women finally just don't want to do it.

I'm a lucky one -- The Wife has tons of mental horsepower. But even so I have to manhandle her into having idea-conversations. She just isn't drawn to such discussions. Her idea of a conversation is to discuss people, relationships, motives, what someone's up to, pulling people's characters apart, etc. For me to get a bit of what I'm looking for takes labor. I've got to announce loudly that we're about to discuss what's on my mind -- and even then she'll tend to respond by addressing subtext and emotions. So I've got to steer her firmly onto the "let's discuss the actual substance of these ideas" path. Finally, she'll do it -- she's in fact great at it -- but she always gives me those "I'm doing you a favor" looks. Talking ideas is nothing she'd ever choose to do -- I'm meant to understand that I owe her one. By her lights, the "normal" thing is for me to sit there nodding my head and seeming fascinated while she talks for hours about relationships and feelings. Anything else is her really extending herself for my sake. I get the idea-and-art-discussions I crave, but I have to pay for 'em. And I'm one of the lucky ones -- a guy who's got a wife he can actually talk to about what's on his mind. Every now and then, anyway.

I exaggerate, but not by too much.

Anyway: ain't it interesting that stuff like art and poetry and such are in America so often considered "gay" interests? That isn't true in many cultures. How'd it come to be true here? It's not as if we're so all-fired macho. And, come to think of it, macho isn't a synonym for "no poetry, please." Italian guys, for instance, are often supermacho as well as eloquent (and demanding) on aesthetic matters -- food, fabrics, haircuts, opera. It's not a pussy thing to pay attention to such topics for an Italian guy; it'd be a pussier thing not to care about them. "


Julian: I've noticed the same things. There seem to be as many intelligent women as men, but women just don't seem to be as intellectual. Even quite ordinary men will talk ideas and even very smart women often don't.

The point that in non-Anglo cultures men can be artistic and not be considered "gay" was illustrated for me a few nights ago when I saw a TV report on the Indonesian generals campaigning in the election there. The Singing Generals they call them, because they warble away (quite tunefully) in their election advertisements. These are in reality quite brutal men but they seem happy to be singing. I can't imagine an Australian man putting out an election ad in which he sang.

At the same page the "blowhards" write:

" Donna Hay Magazine. This lush Aussie glossy about food comes with a bit of a built-in language problem (We still haven't quite figured out what a "bug" as in "grilled bug tails with kaffir lime leaf and basil" is. A small lobster? A big shrimp? An actual insect?). "

A "bug" is probably a Balmain bug.


Julian

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

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Blogrolling

I've set up a sort of blogroll on the right. These are either blogs that have blogrolled me and/or blogs that I admire and/or they are Australian and/or they have amusing titles. I shall add more in due course.


Julian

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

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Can someone explain to me why this is not a travesty?

Finally I have come across something on this rumoured Fatima fiasco, in which Hindus were invited to pray at the Fatima shrine in Portugal.

Apparently some conservative Catholics claim that they can swallow this. How?

" The Bishop of Fatima says, 'We do not want to be fundamentalists' "

Stupid. Fatuous. Slothful. Donkey.


Julian

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