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Monday, August 30, 2004

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Pride and Prejudice

A BBC TV version of "Pride and Prejudice" of several years ago has been on local TV of late. It seems we have a copy of Jane Austen's great work in our home library. It is a pleasant-looking but rather faux edition. Cop this:

"Chatham [!] River Press Classics have been designed and produced for the discerning [!] book lover ... The pages are gilded on three sides with simulated [!] gold foil ... genuine quality bonded-leather [not as good as it sounds] spine stamped in simulated [!] gold lettering, and carefully reproduced [!] four-color antique marbleized paper - re-creates the finest features of the age-old traditions of European and American antiquarian book design and manufacture, recalling a time when bookmaking was a true art."

The book was published in 1983 in New York.

Julian

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

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Why are we so good and the South Africans so weak?

As I survey our (Australia's) excellent medal tally at the Olympics, I am moved to wonder why we are so much better than the South Africans, who have apparently done poorly.

Our nations are of comparable size; the South African racial mix should be an advantage; we both have marvellous outdoors climates; the South Africans are keen sportsmen in areas like Rugby Union; we’ve both had the English sportsloving influence. So why don't they do better?

Is it a lack of government support? Or could it be that the dominant group for so long, the Afrikaaners, were simply not sports-minded? Too much emphasis on cricket and rugby? Does black culture centre around singing and dancing rather than sport?

[Later] Here is a clever anthropo-economics blogger writing about the Olympic performance of his own country, Canada:

" In some ways, this is apt. Canada is a country trembling on the verge of Second World status. Its health care system is crumbling. Its economy is underpowered. Its education system, merely ordinary. Its contribution to global culture, modest. But let’s take the most immediate case in point, the Olympics. So far, Canada has a score of 9 in the medal race. The Netherlands, with a population of 16 million (Canada has 25 m.) is well ahead with 21. (Naturally, everyone is thrilled we continue to outpace Estonia which has 3 medal points.) "

I don't think that success at the Olympics is crucially important. Still, it is something positive to excel at. Australia has not always done so well. I seem to remember a very weak performance several olympics ago (Munich?, Montreal?) when we only won a couple of silvers and a few bronzes.

It must be hard being a Canadian. In many ways, Mexico seems likely to be the American neighbour to watch this century. They are certainly burgeoning demographically, burgeoning all over the United States in fact. Santa Anna's Revenge?

Julian


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Saturday, August 28, 2004

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Abstract replacing concrete

Abstract concepts seem to replace plain words everywhere these days. I saw a Linfox semitrailer today with this written on its side: "Linfox: Supply chain solutions". Whatever happened to "trucking"?

" Pour me another cup of coffee
For it is the best in the land
And I'll put a nickel in the jukebox
And play that truck drivin' man.

The waitress just brought me some coffee
I thanked her but called her again
I said that old song sure does fit me
You know I'm a supply chain solutions man. "


Julian

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

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Lay off Canberra

What the cat dragged in wants to make a case that those who supported that rowing girl ("Sally") who gave up before her race was over are all upper class twits. In doing so, he writes:

" In the Australian, the pro-Sally tally includes letters from swish South Yarra, Mt Eliza and Toowong. The Henry-est High-Pants letter of all comes from Kambah (Canberra) – an anomalous city where all suburbs, apart from a few streets in Forrest, are homogenous shit-holes – and indignantly reminds all us swill of the drama of the great 1961 Oxford vs Cambridge boat race. Ah, so that explains it. "

What exactly this means is unclear. Is the claim that Kambah is a top suburb socially in Canberra? (It isn't.) Is the claim that all suburbs in Canberra (apart from Forrest) are homogeneous in their ugliness and low quality?

Is Canberra as a whole ugly? Its many visitors do not find it so. Are its suburbs ugly and all the same? I don't think so. The older parts of Canberra in particular have a discreet and understated charm. The 'twenties and 'thirties architecture, with its subtle Art Deco flavour and its local Federal Capital Commission style, is redolent of its time. Canberra, people complain, is a planned city, sterile, a "failed experiment". Even if this were true, it remains a noble attempt to make people's lives better and more comfortable. It is unique.

I challenge anyone who thinks Canberra ugly to drive around the suburbs - not just the tourist destinations - and see for himself how lovely the city is.

I am heartily sick of these cheap shots at Canberra. All they show is a lack of imagination.

Julian

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

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How dense is the rainforest around Kuranda

... in North Queensland?

John Ray raises this question in the comments to a post below (More on the "original Pygmies" of Australia).

I have measured the ultraviolet light levels in rainforest around Kuranda. They are very low. The rainforest is quite dense there.

Julian

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Monday, August 23, 2004

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Ballard's "speculative sociology" novels

I have written below about JG Ballard's Millennium People. Although I am impressed with what he is trying to do, I do have reservations. One is that I think he is using outdated apparatus in his social thought experiments. His vocabulary and ideas reflect his personal heyday - the sixties. And so he writes of Jungian archetypes, industrial psychology, and other special concerns of that time. I wonder if he would not have been better off speculating about societal behaviour under various pressures using neo-Darwinian insights: that is, evolutionary psychology. Rather than reading mainstream psychology, which he clearly has been, he might have been better off reading this kind of thing on "literary Darwinism", or this on societal "tipping points", or this on social networks, or this on applying physical formulas to social behaviour.

Julian

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More on the "original Pygmies" of Australia

John Ray of Dissecting Leftism has responded to my post below ["Windschuttle, John Ray and the "Pygmies" of North Queensland"] with a few objections. One is that the Melanesians in places like New Guinea live where there is dense jungle (tropical rainforest) but are not of short stature like the Aborigines from the rainforests of Northern Queensland. However there is one important difference: the Melanesians are mostly agriculturalists, not hunter-gatherers. That is, unlike the African Pygmies, Asian Negritos and Australian "Pygmies" or "Negritos", they do not live in the rainforest itself (under the canopy).

The Harpending paper cited claims that the Tasmanian Aborigines should have been white given their location. In fact, Tasmania is at the same latitude in the South as Corsica is in the Northern Hemisphere. That is, it is not really very far South. When one also considers that the Tasmanian Aborigines wore little clothing and had a diet rich in meat and seafood - both sources of vitamin D - it is possible that their dark skins would not have been a disadvantage. (A relevant paper is here.)


Julian

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

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Millennium People

I borrowed "Millennium People" by JG Ballard from the ACT Public Library Service. With the kind of life I lead, I find it difficult to get slabs of time to read fiction, and I often feel that it is a waste of time reading material that does not contain information anyway. Still Ballard is one of the few writers I can be bothered with. I suppose many writers have fixations, and his tend to resonate with me.

He is sometimes called a science fiction writer, but he is more into what I would call speculative sociology. I like that. I also like the fact that he writes about the middle class, and not just the literati but scientists, managers, doctors, computer programmers and the like.

I am half way through "Millennium People" and I am well-motivated to finish it. He does not spend too much time on description, or on character really. He is pretty much a novelist of ideas. Sometimes his thoughts do not ring true, but when he hits on something really novel and interesting he is very insightful, giving one that feeling of delighted recognition that a truly seminal idea can produce.

He is very much a product of the sixties, and his obsessions have not changed that much. In fact I was surprised to find that this novel was published only last year. He has updated the sociology a bit, but he is still writing about social reactions to economic and technological challenges. He still has a wide-eyed excitement about change of all kinds, in a rather "sixties" style.

He is very focussed on the middle class and its muted sufferings. This novel deals with a smouldering middle class rebellion against responsibility and respectability. Members of the middle class "act out". He posits such things as attacks on travel agencies and firebombing of video shops by a disaffected cell of middle-class terrorists. Which brings me to a problem with Ballard - how realistic is he really about human nature? How likely is a middle-class revolt, really? A revolt, he suggests, against itself. Well, I suppose the Baader-Meinhof terrorists of West Germany in the late 1960s and the 1970s came from quite good homes, and their targets included comfortable capitalism, in such forms as the department stores that they fire-bombed.

I do suspect though that Ballard is projecting somewhat. I notice that he has a sexy disabled woman character in this latest novel, a counterpart to the similar character from his book and movie "Crash". Are we simply getting Ballard's private obsessions? Whatever, he writes well.

In the sixties and seventies social thinkers wrote of the coming computer revolution (a robot in the house, the robot car), the leisure society (the problem of what we would do with all our spare time), and a revolt against roles. These predictions proved to be partly true. We got microcomputers in our gadgets, appliances and cars. In terms of leisure, some of us had too much of it (the unemployed) but most of us chose more money and goods over time off work (apart from one large and neglected group, female part-time workers, whose most pressing problem has not been what to do with leisure). In terms of revolt against roles - some women did, at least temporarily, but most men remained "organisation men".

Ballard writes of the plight of the trapped male middle manager, with more responsibilities than rights. I have seen a lot of cultural references to this kind of person of late. Is this the cry of the baby boomer males who never really made it big?

Julian

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

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Adding to my blogroll

I am adding a local, Canberra blog - When Crustaceans Attack! - not only because it is local but because the author, Nick, is very funny.

I am also adding Troppo Armadillo because they kindly put me on their blogroll.

Julian

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This morning my wife told me to stop singing in the shower ...

or at least turn the water on.


Julian

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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My Big, Fat Greek Olympics

I haven't seen much of the Olympics, but I saw a large part of the opening parade. I thought the women carrying the names of the countries looked quite cute in their dresses in the shape of greek vases, although the design seemed to be the same on each one (those skinny dolphins). The commentary was pretty dumb on whatever Australian channel I was watching. The bloke was flummoxed by the order in which the countries paraded. It turns out they were in Greek alphabetical order: something he should have known. The girl said how great it was to see women representing Islamic countries: in fact, the numbers in that respect are down.

I was much amused by the trilingual announcement of the names of the countries, especially this one: "Canada! Canada! Canada!"

Julian



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When graduate students attack

I have a friend who once threatened his Botany Ph.D. supervisor with a machete.

Graduate study can indeed become fraught. I had a relatively easy time in my Ph.D. I think the smallness and rural location of the department I was in, and the low-key tone of the place helped. So did the nine-to-five work ethos. It felt like a sane organisation.

This story - about students who murder their professors - is interesting. Why do they do it? My guesses are that America is that kind of place - very competitive, and if you don't look after yourself you can get truly screwed. Also, academics are not the most mentally normal people, and that goes double for academics-in-embryo like Ph.D. students. But the biggest reason is that you are literally on your own. You have no union or professional association to look after you. It's just you contra mundum. I got treated badly in my postdoctoral position in America. I learned a lesson from that - don't put yourself in a weak position where you are too dependent on your work going well and your boss being decent, and you are on your own professionally. Try to have a fallback position. Never perform without a safety net.

Julian

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Tempting Fate

Today at lunchtime I toddled into Civic to pick up a book that had come in on order on commercial fishing for deepsea crabs off Alaska. It had a great cover, with a boat's deck wallowing in the swell, chaps in orange overalls mucking about with the large crabs on deck, and equipment being deployed. It's called "Working on the Edge" by Spike Walker. I bought this through the Catholic Bookshop in Favier House, near Civic. While I was there I had a poke around among the religious books and found a book by one Pearson, "Gnosticism and Christianity in Roman and Coptic Egypt". It looked good, and I am interested in ancient Gnostic texts and religion, so I bought that as well.

The weather was sunny and warmer than it's been lately, so I was starting to think that the entire family might be in for a calmer, more halcyon time. Back at work I get a phone call from my daughter's school to say that she had fallen off the "monkey bar" at school and landed on her head. She told me on the phone that she felt OK but her chest hurt a bit when she breathed. As a keen watcher of "ER" I now had vivid imaginings about what this could all mean: broken or bruised rib, spinal damage, the start of something worse ...?

So I took her to Casualty at Calvary Hospital, in the Canberra suburb of Bruce. They were very good. The nurse put her in a neck brace. She checked that my daughter was "oriented as to time and place" (I had already checked that she knew what day it was, and so on.) She frightened me by casually remarking that one of my daughter's pupils was bigger than the other. This sounded bad to me (too much "ER" perhaps, but I know that the wrong pupil size can indicate bleeding and pressure inside the head). But the nurse evidently thought it was just a pre-existing situation - apparently quite a lot of people have one pupil slightly larger than the other.

The doctors were careful and excellent. All her reflexes were normal and there were no sinister signs. We were probably lucky that we attended Casualty on a Wednesday afternoon, not a Saturday evening, for example. This meant they were only moderately busy.

Never a dull moment with kids.

Julian



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Monday, August 16, 2004

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Windschuttle, John Ray and the "Pygmies" of North Queensland


John Ray, whom I normally have a lot of time for, gets himself in a pickle by writing:

" An historical interest of Kuranda that is now almost completely unknown to almost anybody -- and which is certainly not mentioned to the tourists -- is that the last survivors of Australia's pygmy race were found in the jungles around there. There are still quite a few striking photos of them from around a century ago, but intermarriage between them and other blacks since then has eliminated any obviously distinct modern population of them. Yet 99.9% of Australians would think that there has only ever been one indigenous race on the Australian mainland. The existence of the pygmies used to be mentioned in the history textbooks but is now almost nowhere to be found. Why? Because the indigenous Australian blacks (Aborigines) that we know today appear to be mainly the descendants of a later wave (or waves) of immigration into Australia -- which means that they are not truly the first "owners" of the country. They are just as much invaders as the whites. And they did a pretty good genocide job on the pygmies -- so, as in Africa, the pygmies survived only in the deep jungle. And that TOTALLY undermines the Leftist guilt industry which says that whites as invaders owe the Aborigines something for being the original inhabitants here. More woes for Australia's Leftist historians. And, yes, it IS the wicked Windschuttle who has shown their deceptions up in this matter as in others.So what did I see in Kuranda yesterday? I saw only about a dozen Aborigines there but two were remarkably short. Isn't that surprising? "

My comment: Where to begin? First things first. My impression of Windschuttle vs the Academic Historians is that he has cleared a lot of foetid air, a miasma of misinterpretation of important aspects of our history. I am not sure he is completely right, but I think what he has said needed saying. Be that as it may, he is "out to lunch" on the Aboriginal "pygmy" story.

Here is anthropologist Colin Groves, as heard on Ockham's Razor (ABC Radio) on the issue.

The situation is that there were indeed some unusually short-statured Aborigines living in the Cairns district, in the rainforests. There were several tribes. They were first studied scientifically by the noted anthropologists Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell. It was these men who first surmised that these people, whom they described as "Tasmanoids" because of a fancied resemblance to the Tasmanian Aborigines, were the remnants of the earliest wave of human migration into Australia. They were - and are - short, somewhat lighter-skinned than other Aborigines and have "frizzy" hair. In the Cairns area they are sometimes called "Negritos". There was quite a good popular article on them, with pictures of some very short older ladies, in a mass circulation magazine a few years back. It was "People" or something downmarket like that.

I went to Cairns to check out these people and the environment several years ago. The people are there, and the magazine article checked out.

In my view, the so-called "Pygmies" or "Negritos" are simply locally adapted Aborigines. The issue has been argued in "Quadrant" magazine (a few years ago) but essentially the people did not differ linguistically or in terms of cranial features from the surrounding taller people.

Wherever dark-skinned people venture into rainforest (in Africa, Asia - or Australia) they evolve to become short-statured. I have published a theory in an attempt to explain this, which Colin Groves referred to in passing on Ockham's Razor. However the important point is that there is no reason to adhere to Tindale and Birdsell's old theory that the rainforest people are a relict of an early wave of human migration into Australia. Far more likely, they are only a local adaptation to the rainforest conditions.

Windschuttle's batting average has been pretty good, but in this case I think he should have let the issue "go through to the keeper".

Julian



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Sunday, August 15, 2004

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Still making excuses

Another weekend, another dud game. I simply didn't bother watching the Port Adelaide v. Bulldogs game on TV because I knew it would be another caning. Gone are the days when the Bulldogs could frequently pull off a late-season upset against a top-ranking team.

It's a shame, because as I found out later, from watching The Fifth Quarter, it was apparently the first true competition game of AFL played in Darwin. It was great to see the young Aboriginal kids skipping around in their Bulldogs jumpers at the break (as replayed on The Fifth Quarter). Maybe the Bulldogs will get some joy in the future out of some Territorian talent. One can but hope.

But, meanwhile, the excuses continue:

"Western Bulldogs' coach Peter Rohde says his team simply ran out of players ..."


"But Rohde said his young side ran out of legs in the Darwin heat after half-time as a heavy injury toll caught up with the Bulldogs." [The usual "young side" excuse, even sillier than usual since a "young side" should be the last to run out of legs in the heat.]


"while the Bulldogs were thrashed there were positives in the continued good form of Adam Cooney while Brad Murphy also made an impressive debut ..." [The first five words are all that really matters.]


"The 13,000 strong crowd that packed Marrara was definitely behind the Bulldogs ..." [Maybe, but how long will this last if Darwin decides the Bulldogs have no heart?]


Rohde should go - really go - now.


Julian


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Saturday, August 14, 2004

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The latest statement from Rome on men and women

I haven't been following the discussion on this document closely.

I gather that discussion has been muted, although it has been "spun" various ways, as one would expect.

My reading of the document and of the "church politics" is that this is Cardinal Ratzinger's attempt to rein back some of the Pope's identification with feminist trends in Church dogmatics. A quick read leads me to conclude that it is basically a return to a more mainstream and traditional interpretation of the sexes. It very clearly counters the Gnostic tendency to conflate the sexes, as well as permitting a more traditional understanding of New Testament teaching on family roles. (One very telling point is the reference to 1 Corinthians 11:9, which states that woman was created for man, not man for woman.)

I wonder if the message may have got through in Rome that some of the Pope's notions in Mulieris Dignitatem did not really make a lot of sense in terms of scripture and tradition, and if this is Cardinal Ratzinger's attempt to dispel some of the confusion. I had anticipated some eventual official correction, but I am surprised to see it come out so relatively quickly.

I'll speculate further: my reading of the politics of Mulieris Dignitatem is that the Pope was, to some extent, "conned" by feminist advisers who fed him some fashionable and dubious scriptural interpretations, particularly of the crucial text in Ephesians on male headship. I think Ratzinger spotted the problem at the time, but has now got around to doing something about it.

In any case, despite some of the spin, this is a much more traditional document on the sexes than any we have seen for some time. It is not fully traditional, but it is a step in the right direction.

Julian

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Monday, August 09, 2004

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The techie kind of man

I took my three-year old to a model train show on Sunday. He hadn't been that impressed with the airport the day before, despite talking about it a lot beforehand. I think perhaps the planes were simply beyond his understanding. But as soon as he saw the model trains on Sunday, he recognised them as worthy of his attention.

At events like this I waiver between watching the technology and watching the people. The trains and other models were quite fascinating, especially the technical titbits: the (very poisonous) selenium dioxide used to blacken the model locomotive wheels; the working model of a hovercraft that somebody picked up for under 100 dollars at K-Mart; the wiring for dolls' house lighting; the book-in-progress on the signal boxes of New South Wales Railways (clearly a fit subject for scholarship).

But the people were interesting as well, despite being middle-aged men. I recognised them as Homo technicus: Techie Man. How they love to fuss over the tiny tracks, the details of decals and electrics, layouts and switching. A sign stressed that they had members in their model train club from all walks of life: "lawyers", "clerks": but they all seemed to have that classic tinkerer mentality. I envy them. It must be very relaxing to be able to come home and just fiddle with something, use your hands, and at the end of it all have something tangible to show for it.

I have never been much of a tinkerer. I do home handyman stuff with more-or-less good grace and reasonable efficiency, but it doesn't come naturally. We can be surprised by ourselves. I would never have predicted that I would publish the occasional article, but I have in recent years (I'm not a "writer" - I'm just someone who occasionally writes.) But I would be very surprised if I became a tinkerer. I think some men - mostly men - are born tinkerers.

Even on Sunday I noticed that it was anything related to animals that interested me most. I was much impressed by a beautiful little model of a cattle truck. And, in the event, all I bought was a four dollar packet of five tiny pewter model pigs to go with a model livestock transporter I have at home.

Julian

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Friday, August 06, 2004

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On the phrase "playing dead"

One commonly reads in biological writing of animals "playing dead". In many cases this may convey a mistaken impression because it is more likely that the animal is simply remaining still so as to avoid being seen - many animals have vision that is attuned primarily to movement.

To take an example, I was reading Elwood C Zimmerman's "Australian Weevils" (Volume III) - as you do on a Friday night - and I came across this on page 175:

"Most are slow-moving and will feign death when disturbed."

He is discussing the distinctive group of Australian weevils, the Amycterini.

It seems more likely to me that the weevils are not "feigning death" but simply staying motionless so that they are less likely to be seen. Many animals (including many insects and their predators) have sight that identifies objects by their relative motion against the background.

A while back I blogged on the rocking movements of the Australian lizard, Moloch horridus. I suggested that these movements, like the similar motions of some African chameleon lizards, are probably used to create relative motion of nearby objects against the background, so as to help the lizard's vision. I was pleased to see a National Geographic special recently that gave this reason for the forwards-and-backwards rocking motions of chameleons. Such movements are often misinterpreted as cryptic mimicry of vegetation swaying in the wind.

Anyway, to return to my basic point, many animals that allegedly "play dead" may simply be staying motionless to reduce their "visibility". They are not trying to feign death in the true sense. An exception might be the American opossum, which apparently can make itself smell dead as well as look dead.

Julian

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Goosestepping Kiwis

Prime Minister Helen Clark's cheap anti-Israeli posturing seems to have encouraged real anti-semitism.

Apparently she said that the link between the attack and the spy case was "not an open and shut case." In fact, it was a case of opening her mouth when she should have kept it shut.


Julian

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

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On not buying certain cheap used videos

Our local video shop sells used rentals. I have bought a few - copies of "Perfect Storm" and "The Mothman Prophecies" for example, OK movies. But some of those sold are real duds. So, how to spot a dud? Last night I succeeded. I found a copy of a film called "Comic Book Villains", which was billed as a mixture of "Clerks" and "Pulp Fiction". In fact it is apparently a film that begins well, about obsessive collecters (like "High Fidelity" perhaps) but turns into a gorefest. Rule No. 1: don't buy films that sound like amateurish blends of genres. Another couple of videos were in a science fiction series clearly inspired by "The X-Files", called "Strange World". It turns out, from reviews I later checked, that this was a cancelled and incomplete TV series. Rule No. 2: don't buy films that sound like they might be failed TV pilots.

Julian

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My team dumps its coach

Footscray (aka the "Western Bulldogs") have dumped their coach, Peter Rohde. It has been a disappointing couple of years for the Bulldogs. At least this year we won't be winning the wooden spoon, but we are not far off (in fact we could probably still pluck it out of the fire, so to speak.) We are playing bottom-of-the-ladder Hawthorn this weekend, and I am not confident, not confident at all, that we shall prevail even against them.

We had some good wins this year (against St Kilda, against North in Canberra, against Geelong I seem to remember) but lately it has been one disappointment after another. Losing to Adelaide recently was very disappointing and the rot has clearly set in.

I don' t expect miracles from a team like Footscray. They have always been, in my lifetime, a funky little club. But even the most devoted supporter likes his team to win a few games. I don't mind if we are only mediocre, but the relentless flop games are too wearing.

Some people said: give Rohde another year: the players are young. As I said before, I have been hearing this "young team" excuse for about forty years. Footscray must have discovered the Secret of Eternal Youth, because the players have always been "young"; that's been the perennial excuse.

I suspect the fact that the other coaches of this year's crop of dud teams (the Hawks, Tigers, Crows) have all got the bullet must have made Rohde stand out and practically scream to be shot, figuratively speaking.

Any side that can play good games like those against the Saints and so on this year should be able to win more than four games in a season. Something is wrong. The buck should stop somewhere. And it finally has.

Julian



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If anyone doubts that Fr Reese is totally misinformed ...

let him read this from Rome itself.

As I said in an earlier post, Fr Reese's claim that the Latin Mass was never intended to last is utter bunkum.

Julian

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

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A Womb with a View

Steve Sailer is annoyed with one Jorge Ramos who has been blunt enough to write:

"But while no fighting is taking place on the military or legal fronts, there is fighting going on culturally. It's the Reconquest. Latinos are culturally reconquering lands that once were part of the Spanish empire…"

By which Ramos means that the United States, which grew by "borrowing" Mexican land (Texas, for example), is being bloodlessly invaded by Hispanic Catholics who tend to have largeish families. Sailer also writes:

" Ramos sees immigration and the high Hispanic birthrate as Latinoizing America. And, as a Latino celebrity, he strongly favors Latin demographic imperialism. "

If Anglo Americans won't breed, whose fault is that? They have become so progressive that, as the coffee-mug joke has it, they "forgot to have kids". It is the Hispanics in America who have "a womb with a view".

Julian

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Priest talks nonsense about the Latin Mass

Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of America Magazine in New York City, a Catholic priest and an "expert on the structure of the church" has been quoted in the Detroit Free Press as follows:

" When the pope authorized bishops to allow this mass in 1984, the idea was that this was a pastoral response to older people who still are so attached to this older mass that they need it. The idea was never to create a new desire in people for this mass ... The idea behind allowing this mass was that it could help older people in the later stages of their lives. The hope is that this mass eventually will fade away. "

This is, of course, completely untrue. It is also patronising. I challenge Fr Reese to find any word in any Vatican document that supports his case. Fr Reese may hope that the Latin Mass will fade away, but it is in fact growing strongly again. But if Fr Reese is comforted "in the later stages of his life" by believing such nonsense, so be it.

Julian

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