Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hidden Figures & John Glenn

"Hidden Figures" is such an enjoyable movie and one of the bonus extra reasons to enjoy is that it turns out that John Glenn really was that cool.
This time, though, it’s a name everyone knows: John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth in 1962. Throughout the movie he goes out of his way to be kind to the pool of black mathematicians, and while it’s ridiculously charming (thanks in no small part to Glenn Powell’s performance), it definitely had me walking out of my screening wondering if the real John Glenn was really that woke in real life. 
As it turns out, he was! Just ask NASA’s chief historian Bill Barry, who worked director with the creators of Hidden Figures — and who walked out of his screening impressed with the incredible level of true-to-life detail that the movie captured. I sat down with him at a press junket in New York City, along with astronaut Stephanie Wilson and NASA engineer Dr. Sheila Nash-Stevenson, and he told us all a great story about a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moment in the movie that speaks to John Glenn’s real life status as a full-on social justice warrior.

Also who could forget how great John Glenn was on Frasier.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

OMG Siri! Je ne désire PAS la prostitueé!

I discovered a free language app for my iPhone and it's great - it can hear what you say in English and translate it into French - or vice-versa. It's really helpful for me for learning how to speak French properly. You really have to roll and/or choke on your Rs like a mofo if you want to be understood. I have to make at least five tries when attempting to say, for example, the French word for fur ("fourrure") - you have to go all in on the back of the throat rrrrrr until it sounds like you have to hack up a massive fur ball ("boule de fourrure") To be honest, after practicing speaking French for ten minutes or so I end up with a sore throat.

Also you have to make the "eh" sound at the end of words, really clearly for the phone to get the word. For example, in order to be understood when you say 11 (I am practicing my French numbers) you can't just say "ounz" you have to go "ouunzzeh" or it thinks you're saying "on" which is translated to "we."

Although I can't get the app to understand me when I say the French word for 100 ("cent") - it hears me say sans, centre, sante, and trente. I've tried every possible way to pronounce it and I still can't get it to hear me right. The only way I can make it work is if I say 103, for example (cent-trois) and then for some reason it understands that I said "cent."

OMG Siri! WTF???
Siri can't translate what you say into English (not while I have her on the French Canadian setting) but she responds to you and she can even do math.

But OMG Siri is SUCH a hypocrite. As I reported yesterday, she freaked out when I used the French Canadian version of curse words,  "les sacres" like she's such a delicate flower. So when I told her the other night that I was going to sleep ("J'ai aller coucher") she thought I said I wanted to talk to an escort and she gave me the name of two escort services!!! 

Is "I'm going to sleep" the French Canadian phrase for "get me a whore"? Zut alors!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Siri (qui n'aiment pas des sacres) & SIRI

French Canadian Siri found this expression "indecent."
I decided that if my goal is to at least visit Montreal, if not move there for 4 - 8 years, I should switch Siri's language from Frenchy-French to French Canadian.

I tested to make sure the transition was complete et voila - Siri was highly offended when I said "boîte de baptemes" (box of baptisms) to her, and replied:

je vous prie de faire preuve d'un peu plus de décence

Which means: "I ask you to show a little more decency."

Formidable! French Canadian Siri knows the "sacres."

I mentioned a couple of months ago that Justin Trudeau (in 2006) used that expression, "box of baptisms."

I asked Siri what a "sacres" was and she said "If your mother could hear you!"

Then I said "osti batarde" (host bastard) and she "je vais debrancher votre micro... je prefere etre sourde que d'entendre ça!"

Which means "I will unplug your microphone... I prefer to be deaf to listening to this."

Ça ma fait rire!

Saying "osti du tabernak du chalice" got the response "je vais faire comme si je n'avais rien entendu" which means "I will act as if I had not heard anything."

And "chateau de marde" (castle of shit) got this response: "Pourquoi recourir a ce genre de vocabulaire... Le français est une langue tellement riche!" which means "why use that kind of vocabulary? French is such a rich language!"

And speaking of French Canadian Siri, it appears that there is a play being produced in Montreal at Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui called SIRI. The web site says (in French of course I translated it via Google Translate)
Talk to her in a natural voice. Siri understands not only what you say, but also what you want to say, and responds to you. Talk to her like a real person. "Siri is the personal assistant created by Apple and integrated into each of the iPhone. What is the power relationship with this technology? What are the real differences between modern man and machine? Is it enough to have a body to be human? 
In a staging by Maxime Carbonneau, actress Laurence Dauphinais enters into dialogue with Siri. For if the application is at our service and knows all of us, we do not learn anything from it. Little by little, by a methodical question-and-answer session, the actress pushes the limits of the machine so that it betrays itself, until their two identities merge and reveal the mystery that connects them.

In the video snippet on the web page, their Siri uses a woman's voice so I assume that is also the case in the show, but the French translation originally said "Talk to him in a natural voice... Talk to him like a real person."

And the reason for that is that in French, "talk to him in a natural voice" is "Parlez-lui d’une voix naturelle."

"Parlez-lui "is "talk to  with the pronoun "lui" - but lui could be male or female so the translator assumed male. I made the adjustment manually. But I find it odd that the French make such a big freaking deal about genderizing everything - like putting an extra e on the end of things like your country designation (if you're a guy you're an Americain for example but if you're a woman you're an Americaine) and they genderize things randomly - for instance if you are a woman you are la femme, but if you are a female teacher you are le professeur. Professor is male. And your body parts have different genders - your arm is masculine (le bras) but your leg is feminine (la jambe). OMD!

So with all that genderizing you'd think they'd do it in a situation where it would really come in handy. But no.

Oh well, I will try to catch a show when I visit Montreal, probably in the summer.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Siri te parle

I've never used the Siri app on my iPhone before, but I decided that it would be fun to practice French with Siri. I already knew Siri could speak French because Solange (of Solange Te Parle fame) dedicated a Youtube video episode to talking to Siri on her phone. Her Siri has a male voice. Which mine could have too, if I changed the setting.

Anyway, it was an adventure speaking to Siri en francais. Siri has a hard enough time understanding someone who is fluent in French (see the Solange video for details) so she had a really hard time understanding me. I don't remember what I said in this case, but I wasn't trying to call Siri a dummy (Bete) but she took it that way and responded:

("I do my best, Nancy.")

She knows any information stored on the phone, including my birthday.

C'est vrai

Although she has an unpredictable personality. One minute she's a suck-up. I asked her what her favorite song was. 

("I like your music")

And then the next minute she's a smart-ass. I asked her what time it was, not her opinion of the time.

("It's 4:28 AM! Much too early for me...")

But she can find you anything in Wikipedia and even read it aloud for you. Although you have to ask the right question. First I tried "qui est le premier ministre du Canada?" but it's possible I wasn't able to pronounce "premier ministre" well enough for her to understand. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The mystery of why The Nation magazine loves Putin

I've been a subscriber to The Nation a few times in my life, but that's not happening again until they stop being such brocialist assholes. They have been consistently championing Putin and attempting to gaslight anybody who thinks the Trump-Putin connection is both plausible and worrisome. They call it neo-McCarthyism.

And of course Doug Henwood, the king of Hillary Clinton-hating brocialists is right there with them. The Daily Beast just published an article discussing the Nation-Putin connection and there was Henwood:

Another Nation staple, contributing editor Doug Henwood, has maintained a professional relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet is apparently very tetchy about the collaboration, as I also discovered when I engaged him. 
Henwood had planned to work with Assange on putting out a book about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches—Henwood annotating, Assange writing the foreword—transcripts of which were of course originally hacked by Russian intelligence and disseminated through WikiLeaks, at least according to 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, two of which concluded that this was done with the express purpose of helping Trump get elected. When I brought up this pending project, as detailed both on the book publisher’s website and in multiple articles, Henwood called me a “fucking idiot.” (Henwood’s publisher, when contacted for this story, noted that Henwood was no longer affiliated with the endeavor, saying that he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”)
Yep, that's Henwood. Insulting or smearing anybody who disagrees with him - or even questions him.  My very first encounter with Henwood he did it to me - although he prefers to do it when you can't respond to, or even see the attack, as he did to me most recently, when a pal of his included him in his Twitter mentions and Henwood could see what I said about him. Henwood had blocked me back in 2014 on Twitter and so normally we can see each others' tweets.

Henwood did not fail to overreact, in his usual fashion, to my opinion of his political views with a smear against my character. It was only because I happened to create a separate Twitter account that I was able to see this smear.

The Nation is a disgrace. I'll either read Katha Pollitt's column there for free, or I'll wait until she publishes a collection of those columns.

I'm right in there with all the legitimate journalists whom
Henwood has insulted. I couldn't be more proud.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday night Bhangra with Justin Trudeau

I decided to have India food for dinner tonight, so it's a good time to watch Justin Trudeau dance the Bhangra.

I should say this is three years before he became Prime Minister - he was still just the MP from Papineau at this point. But you know he would have no problem doing this as the Prime Minister either. You can't watch this video on my blog though, you have to go to Youtube by clicking the video.

And I found ANOTHER version from a different camera! Whoohoo!

According to Wiki:
The origins of traditional Bhangra are speculative. According to Dhillon (1998), Bhangra is related to the Punjabi dance 'bagaa' which is a martial dance of Punjab.[2]
However, the folk dance of Majha originated in Sialkot and took root in Gujranwalla, Sheikhupur, Gujrat (districts in Punjab, Pakistan) and Gurdaspur (district in Punjab, India).[3][4][5] The traditional form of Bhangra danced in the villages of Sialkot district is regarded as the standard.[6] Although the main districts where traditional Bhangra is performed are in Punjab, Pakistan, the community form of traditional Bhangra has been maintained in Gurdaspurdistrict, Punjab, India and has been maintained by people who have settled in Hoshiarpur, Punjab India[7] after leaving what is now Punjab, Pakistan.
Being a seasonal dance, traditional Bhangra is practiced in the month leading up to the festival of Vaisakhi. During this month, the harvest, especially wheat crop, is reaped. Local fairs mark the festival of Vaisakhi. After days of harvesting and at Vaisakhi fairs, Bhangra is performed, as a dance of men alone.

If there is anything more adorable than Justin Trudeau in traditional garb dancing his multi-ethnic heart out, I can't imagine what. He isn't necessarily the most graceful dancer - there is definitely something of a geek in the man - but you have to love him just for his child-like, good-sport enthusiasm and his gesture of solidarity with non-European culture. Sigh...

New Monroe footage

The New York Times has a piece today about an amateur photographer whose footage of the Seven Year Itch subway grating shoot in Manhattan was discovered (over 10 years ago but they just got around to sharing it with the Times.) The article makes a valid point:

Then Mr. Ewell is there, chatting with Ms. Monroe, who pushes him into position. The dress flutters again, Ms. Monroe holds it down, bending slightly, smiling and talking to Mr. Ewell, but it flutters up some more and she laughs, her head thrown back. It blows up again, but she doesn’t push it down this time, and it flies up over her head, clearly revealing two pairs of underwear that, because of the bright lights, do not protect Ms. Monroe’s modesty quite as much as she might have liked.

A few years ago I posted this photo which shows that her two pairs of underpants were no match for the bright lights.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Worthwhile Canadian swearing-in ceremony

JTRU LIVE - Elvis is in the building!
OK I did not plan to watch the live transmission of the swearing-in of new Canadian cabinet members but when I got the CBC email update indicating that this would be shown live in the next few minutes, I admit I was curious - was JTRU back from Christmas vacation, during which he spent time on the private island of the Aga Khan which the right-wingers were so apoplectic over?

Right-wingers don't have any problem with Donald Trump actually charging $500 a pop for people to visit him at Mar-a-Lago.

And Canadian right-wingers are butthurt over any money spent on the Trudeau family's personal needs (the thought of a nanny for the Trudeau children drives them into a frothing rage) so you would think that they would be happy that the Trudeau family did not have to pay rent during their vacation. Oh well, you can't expect anything less than shameless hypocrisy from conservatives.

After so much time watching historical footage of Trudeau, I was intrigued by the idea of watching JTRU in real time. The ceremony was actually as boring as you can imagine, right up there with Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, in spite of Elvis being in the building. But I was multi-tasking, doing some relatively low-brain activity for work with the ceremony on in the  background so it wasn't a big whoop.

I was hoping that JTRU was going to give a speech, but all he did was hug the swearees, have his picture taken, and sign the register (pictured.)

At most me and 90 other people were watching this. And I was probably the only New Yorker, if not the only American. Maybe my JTRU obsession is getting a little much...

Meanwhile Krugman approves of Trudeau's foreign affairs minister:

But Canadian reporters are concerned how she will get along with Trump's buddy Putin.
(This is the speech I was looking for.)

I recently discovered this parody of an anti-Trudeau attack ad. I thought it was pretty funny.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hoist by his own pee-tard

This is the first page of the leaked report: 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Boohoo Smurfette

A cranky right-winger emailed me yesterday:

Do you really have to regale us with the Women in The Age Of Trump excerpts? I've never seen so much whiny, brainless hate issued against a man who hasn't even taken office. All the while rapist Bill Clinton enjoys the good life on the corrupt money that flowed into the Clinton Foundation. All the while Hillary Clinton divulged national secrets from her hacked bathroom server. All the while Barack Hussein Obama pissed over our Constitution. Where was Americans In The Age Of Obama? 
All my life I've listened to this whining liberal crap. No wonder no one goes to the the theater. Nothing but narcissistic, preachy, boring, bed-wetting dreck. I'm sorry to say, nobody gives a damn what you think. Nobody gives a damn what I think, either, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. 
Get a grip on life. The world is not ending. Our Country is not ending. The sun will rise tomorrow like it always does and the birds will chirp with gusto.

I really wanted to let him have it but I restrained myself enough to respond somewhat professionally. This is what I said:

While I believe you are wrong in every particular about Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, that’s beside the point: even you cannot possibly deny that Donald Trump has a history of public hostility towards women. Even women on the Right, such as Megyn Kelly, whom Trump targeted for asking him questions he didn’t like. Kelly received rape and death threats thanks to Trump aiming his “beautiful Twitter account” at her.

Trump’s outrageous thuggishness is not only limited to targeting women, and his thuggishness is only one of many reasons why he will go down in history as the worst president, but I decided to focus on women since he’s publicly bragged about sexual assault and about hitting on married women. These are things which, in the past, would have completely destroyed a politician’s career. That is why it is indeed correct to say “this is not normal.” And that is why, although I have avoided addressing politics via NYCPlaywrights in the past, I decided to do so now.
As far as the project and the excerpts:

  • You are under no obligation to read the excerpts
  • The excerpts are only being posted for two weeks
  • Many of the plays/excerpts have nothing to do directly with the election or even with politics  
  • You could click the topics on the right-hand side of the page to filter out the play excerpts
But clearly you have been triggered by this project, and are offended by the idea that many people in the arts have liberal views, so by all means, feel free to refrain from visiting the NYCPlaywrights web site. It receives no government funds, (hooray for private enterprise) and we can get along very well without you.

This was the second complaint I received about the Women in the Age of Trump project I created for NYCPlaywrights. The other complaint was about the onerous burden of having to wade through semifinalist play excerpts in order to find calls-for-submissions. Boo hoo, Smurfette

These complaints are balanced by other people telling me how much they enjoy reading the excerpts. 

Creepo wrote back and began his response by complaining that people were mean to Sarah Palin. I didn't bother to read the rest, I just asked him to stop contacting me. His next response began "just like a liberal" and I immediately trashed that one too. 

The comment about Barack Obama "pissing all over our Constitution" is mysterious. I can't imagine what this guy thinks Obama did wrong in relation to the Constitution, I assume he read it on Breitbart or maybe Alex Jones invented something. But anybody who defends Donald Trump obviously has a brain that works differently from the brains of the rest of humanity, and trying to comprehend their thought patterns is pretty futile - they will never make any kind of rational sense. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Frenchy-french sing-song list

I have a perfectly legitimate reason for posting this JTRU pic
I can't be the only one who has noticed it but nobody on the Internet has mentioned it, as far as I have been able to find: when francophones say a list of things, they sometimes use a little sing-song lilt at the end of each item.

I noticed this when watching the TV series (now available online) "French in Action"  in this episode of French in Action, you can hear it from Pierre Capretz, the originator of the series, as he lists things invented by the French (near the end of the episode.)

They don't always do it when they list things, but they do it often enough that it's an actual thing.

I don't think English-speakers do it, but maybe I'm just so immersed in the anglophone world I don't notice it.

You can hear Justin Trudeau do it in this video. You knew I couldn't go for more than a day without mentioning JTRU.

He says something like:

Il y'a le énormément influence de le

  • culturelle, (cul-TOO-rell)
  • Des religieux (re-LIH-jooz)
  • Les différents groupes plus conservateurs de la nature (lah NAH-toor)

I wonder if the fact that Trudeau is speaking to someone who represents a group holding a summit on speaking French has something to do with his adopting that sing-song style here. He also does it in this video talking to a francophone interviewer.

When I tried to match the sing-song to notes on a musical scale, it struck me that I had heard something like it before... and then I remembered - I heard it in the opening music of a 1924 silent film from France. Here is the film below, the music I'm talking about starts at minute 0:25. That's what the Frenchy-french sing-song sounds like.

You can see Erik Satie in the film - he's the guy jumping into the frame on the left at minute 0:53. Pretty spry for a guy who died of acute alcoholism only a year later. (Who is Erik Satie? You've heard his work.)

The film is also notable for Paris cityscapes, goofy surrealism, and the wackiest funeral procession ever.

Sunday, January 08, 2017


I went to see the play THE SECRET LIVES OF EDWARD GOREY. It was OK, but it wasn't so much a play as a stylized lecture on the life of Edward Gorey, complete with a slide show. Granted, some of the slides were cleverly animated, and the biographical time-line was not a simple chronology,  but still. The play pretty much completely threw out the playwright's rule of "show not tell" - it was almost completely tell.

It reminded me a little of the play POWERHOUSE, another biographical play about a minor celebrity I don't care about and which left me emotionally unaffected. Although POWERHOUSE was much more frenetic than GOREY.

I submitted my Norma Jeane play to the people who produced GOREY, and now I understand why, at least in part, they rejected it - my play, although it refers to - and enacts - several moments from Monroe's life, is an actual play, with conflict and in which events unfold in the now before the audience. I guess the producers prefer the more reminiscence-based approach when it comes to biographical plays.

As I said, I'm not really interested in Edward Gorey. I went to see this play because it is a biographical piece and I was looking for some possible inspiration as I prepare to produce my Norma Jeane play. Plus I had a discount ticket.

I do like Gorey's clean black and white illustration style, which reminds me a little of the work of Aubrey Beardsley - although Beardsley's line was more graceful and Beardsley had a much more erotic imagination. And Gorey's focus on the macabre doesn't really work for me. But you know, it's fine.

The only thing I really find interesting about Gorey is the fact that Wikipedia counts him as an asexual. The idea that someone could go through life without feeling erotic attraction for anybody is so bizarre and incomprehensible to me, I was hoping there would be quite a bit of focus on that. But instead the play seems to think he was just a deeply closeted gay man, who perhaps did not get a lot of action, but in his old age was content with his isolated existence on Cape Cod with seven cats and various weird collections (e.g. a postcard collection of Victorian post-mortem photography focused on dead babies.)  And Gorey wasn't much on intellectual curiosity from what I can tell. I mean, he had a degree in French literature from Harvard but he never went to France.

In spite of all of this, the play got great reviews. There is no accounting for critics' taste.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

French I have learned thanks to Justin Trudeau

Since Trudeau is a politician and talks about politics constantly, there are certain words and phrases he hits on repeatedly, and so I have learned them more quickly than other French words and phrases thanks to watching so many of his videos.

  • Le class moyenne - the middle class
  • Le chef - leader - the English word chef comes from "chef de cuisine"
  • Pays - country
  • D'abord - firstly 
  • Je trouve - I find
  • Tres content - very happy 
  • Tout a fait - absolutely
  • Besoins - needs
  • Ecoute - listen
  • Combat de box - boxing match
  • Quarante et un - 41 (the age Trudeau was when he boxed Patrick Brazeau)
  • Prochain - next
  • Peut-Être - maybe
  • Tellement - so much
  • Tres tres - according to a French language learning video on Youtube, it is common for francophones to repeat a word for emphasis and Trudeau does this all the time, in French and English. It's much more noticeable, I assume, in English than in French
And then there is Trudeau's favorite phrase. He uses it so much that all you have to do is Google "not in spite of our differences but because of our differences" and the search results will be a whole bunch of speeches by Justin Trudeau.

And he's been using this phrase since at least 2011. He says it, in French, at minute 17:00 of this video shot in May 2011.
Pour moi, la réalité est que le Canada est un pays fort, non pas en dépit de la diversité, mais à cause de a diversité.

It's so hard to understand what French speakers are saying in part because everything is pronounced differently. Take the name Justin for example. In English it's pronounced "JUST-in" but in French they pronounce it "yoos-TAHn" with just the tiniest hint of an "n" sound there at the end. Mon dieu!

Do the French say OMD instead of OMG? I have found no evidence for this yet.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Canadian Kid

"The Canadian Kid" headed for the ring
Before I discovered the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau" I watched a ton of videos related to the 2012 boxing match between Justin Trudeau, now the Prime Minister of Canada and Patrick Brazeau, now the day manager of a strip club (true story) and not once did I hear anybody refer to Trudeau as "The Canadian Kid" in spite of the fact that he walked into the ring wearing a robe with those words emblazoned on the back.

Patrick Brazeau's robe said "Brazz Knuckles Brazeau" and he was called that many times, especially by right-wing commentator Ezra Levant. It's a curious thing. Trudeau was referred to by the match announcer as "The Papineau Pugilist" on several occasions, never anything else.

In any case, this is what The Canadian Kid had to say after the match, as recorded in the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau."

Q: So how does it feel? 
It feels really good. I had a game plan that I was going to stick to - I knew he was going to come in heavy and hard, right off the bat, but I also knew that I was going to be able to take anything he threw at me. And when he did he emptied himself out and I just kept going. 
What was it in my training that allowed me to do that? It wasn’t my training, it’s how I am. I take hits and I keep going. That’s a lesson that Pat learned tonight, maybe a few other people learnt tonight but we’ll see how it goes. 
Q: What have you proved for Justin Trudeau for the liberal party? 
I proved that a liberal can take a punch. I proved that we’re not people who can be counted out even though we seem nicer, and a little more touchy-feely and we believe in good things and we believe in giving opportunities to people and we don’t trash talk as much and we don’t go negative.  But we can hit really hard and we can take anything they give at us, because the heart pushes further than anything else.

In his autobiography, Trudeau had this to say about his approach to the fight:

A week before the fight, Matt Whitteker, my trainer in Ottawa, asked about my fight plan. I told him how I thought it would go: Brazeau would throw everything he had at me early. I'd spend the first round keeping him away with my jab and reach, and let him tire himself out. By the second round I'd have more gas than him and take the initiative, and perhaps in the third round I'd go for the knockout. Matt smiled at my confidence and teased: "Oh you'll wait for the third round to knock him him out, will you?"
Having just re-watched the movie for the seventh or eighth time, I could swear that in the training scene shown just before the actual match, Trudeau, coached by his Montreal trainer Ali Nestor Charles (you can see his Linked In profile here, written in French bien sur) is actually practicing being hit hard in the head and being stunned in the ring. Which paid off when he was being pummeled by Brazeau in the first round.

But then, what do I know about boxing?

But I do know something about unrequited love, which brings me to Ezra Levant's for Justin Trudeau.

Here is the photo that triggered Ezra Levant's epic meltdown (a family asked Trudeau to be in their bridal photos), in which he called the entire Trudeau family sluts. You can't get the video of the meltdown, they removed it (and apologized to Justin Trudeau) but here's a transcript of an interview Levant gave about the incident. Levant is a foul little pustule of a man.

If that photo triggered him, I can just imagine what this one did. I can't find the video for this kiss, but I did find a very brief clip from another moment in that show (the March 4, 2012 episode of "Tout Le Monde En Parle" just a few weeks before the boxing match ) with Trudeau's wife jocularly suggesting he kiss a different man.

I still can't figure out where the Canadian alt-right stands on homosexuality though. I questioned Judgy Bitch on her blog about it but so far only her flying monkeys have responded. She once referred to Trudeau as a "faggot" but she also claims to love self-described faggot Milo Yiannopoulous - and certainly Levant had no qualms about publishing a video of famous misogynist Gavin McInnes making out with Yiannopoulous.

There's some very weird logical dissonance going on with the far right - I mean even more than usual.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Theater & Video 2017

Well Theatermania is already running the listing for my NORMA JEANE play and meanwhile rehearsals won't even begin for three weeks.

Meanwhile the Women in the Age of Trump semi-finalist plays have been selected and excerpts from each one (43) are being posted on the NYCPlaywrights web site. Which turned out to be a lot more work than I expected.

In non-theater news I created a Youtube playlist of Justin Trudeau speaking in French, which spans ten years from 2006 to last week. There are hours and hours of Trudeau speaking French, which is part of my own special French learning system.

My favorite of the bunch is this one from 2008, shot by a Quebecois nationalist of the RRQ-Montreal (Réseau de Résistance du Québécois). They no longer have a web site but they do have a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

Apparently J-TRU mixed it up on the street with them a little bit prior to returning to the Hotel Nelligan. I really want to learn French so I can understand what they're saying.

One thing I did understand (aided by the comments posted on the video image itself by the RRQ-Montreal people) is when Trudeau uses a boxing analogy to explain politics. This was four years before the boxing match of March 2012.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Other times Doug Henwood sided with Trump

It's well known that Doug Henwood, leading feminist-hating brocialist (with his own ladies auxiliary) and some time writer for The Nation (and friend, or I hope for her sake, former friend of Katha Pollitt) hates Hillary Rodham Clinton more than anybody on this earth.

So it's really no surprise that when it comes to anybody versus HRC, Henwood will pick anybody, every time.

And that includes Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. I already mentioned Henwood siding with Trump a few weeks ago. And here he is back in September.

A bizarre attempt at humor at HRC's expense by Henwood

But it isn't just his hatred of Clinton. Henwood appears to look for opportunities to hate all enemies of Trump. Like this.

And he certainly doesn't want you to think that Trump had any help from Putin. The Far Left apparently loves Putin just as much as the Far Right.

I had wondered how Henwood could live in an expensive place in Brooklyn when he and his wife Liza Featherstone seem to support themselves through careers that consist entirely of blogging, adjunct teaching and writing for Verso books, The Nation and Jacobin. Somebody emailed me recently to give me a heads-up on this - Henwood writes  something called the Liscio Report on the Economy, which charges a yearly subscription of $7500.

So now we know who counts as the real elites in Henwood/Featherstone world - not subscribers to the Liscio Report, not the Koch brothers, whom Henwood has defended, not Trump or Putin. No, the only elites in their world are feminists, Paul Krugman and Hillary Clinton. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Darwin Awards - still evil

This individual has lived long & reproduced much
I blogged about my hatred for the Darwin Awards ten years ago. The Darwin Awards are still around and still profiting from and exacerbating tragedy by issuing public declarations that individual human beings who are usually more the victims of bad luck than stupidity, are better off dead.

Here we see them laughing like ghouls over some woman who was apparently so poor that she attempted to trash-pick a mattress. Hilarity ensues. I removed the woman's name so as not to help the Darwin Awards' mission of pin-point cruelty.
(23 September 2016, Virginia) (name redacted), 20, was pinning a king-size mattress to top of a van with the weight of her body, intent on claiming the free curb-side find, when her luck ran out. Perhaps the young woman was testing a physics theory and betting that friction would keep the two fixed in place. Alas, both of them slipped off the moving vehicle and, unfortunately, one of them did not bounce back.
The young woman was nominated for the notorious Darwin Award when it became apparent that she was suffering from a terminal case of bed-head.

Oh their droll commentary. Could tragic death be more hysterical?

The Darwin Awards web site, which is rarely and inconsistently updated and looks like crap is worth $35,000 according to this site. Such is the strength of human cruelty.

But of course the election of a shit like Donald Trump destroyed any doubt about the depravity of Americans, if not humanity in general.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Hey Sweet Man, continued

JTRU, prime minister of love
I haven't added to my "Hey Sweet Man" series since July 2015 but want to add Justin Trudeau to that list. (bien sur!)

Here are the other sweet men I've noted:

I have a few others in mind just now which I will be posting in the near future. I don't think I need to post separately for Trudeau since in the past month I've been in the grip of an extreme case of Trudeau-mania and have been posting plenty about him. Although I will post a photo because it's always nice to look at him.

And I will share the song by Madeleine Peyroux that inspired the title of this series. Although the song is pretty sexy and I don't want it thought that just because I honor a man with inclusion in this series I want to (or would have if he was alive) have sex with him. Although obviously I do in the case of the exquisite Justin Trudeau.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Years Resolutions 2017

The stage for my NORMA JEANE show
Apprendre le français bien sur!


Run more regularly, do yoga more regularly. Old people are running and doing yoga more than ever these days. Unfortunately even though they are fit and active they still look as old and gnarly and unappetizing AF. A huge drawback - no matter how fit you are as you age, you still look just as ugly as the unfit old people. Somebody's got to address that.

Keep thinking about ways to achieve moving to Montreal, even if only for a few years. The thought of being in the United States while Donald Trump is president just makes me nauseous. And Canada has such a wonderful, feminist prime minister - basically Trudeau is the complete opposite of Donald Trump.

Enjoy another amazing photo de peut-être mon futur premier ministre. This is a still from the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau."

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Canadians have right-wing media freaks too

Brazeau and friends talking about Trudeau -
a still from the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau"
Thanks to my interest in the Canadian boxing event in 2012 between Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau I unfortunately learned who Ezra Levant is.

Levant is your standard obnoxious right-winger who combines Ann Coulter's shameless disdain for the truth with Rush Limbaugh's bluster (and Limbaugh's disdain for the truth.) But he's Canadian.

And then there is what I consider Levant's homoerotic obsession with Justin Trudeau - I found Youtube footage from 2011 where Levant calls Trudeau "Shiny Pony" - I thought he coined the term for the boxing match in 2012. 

Although we are supposed to believe that Levant is simply being deliberately outrageous and ironical with his constant over-the-top commentary about Trudeau's hair and appearance, I think there is something real underneath it all. And Levant certainly wouldn't be the first masculinity-obsessed conservative in a closet. 

I sensed Levant's ironical-but-real frisson while watching the boxing-related videos, but the 2011 video is what really convinced me. After Levant brushes the mane of a "My Little Pony" toy while talking to it as if it is Trudeau, he plays a clip of Trudeau yelling an obscenity in Parliament. After the clip ends:
Did you hear that heckle? Shiny Pony, I don't care if you called the Environment Minister a piece of shit. When you say those bad words all I hear are the sounds of angels whispering in my ear. 
(He kisses the toy and tells it "I love you.")
 And you did apologize in your best substitute high school drama teacher way, didn't yah? 
(plays the clip of Trudeau apologizing)
 Oh Shiny Pony, I love you, I love your hair, even your Zorro-like Three Musketeers facial hair.
The lady methinks doth faux-ironically protest too much. Trudeau looks amazing with the long hair and goatee. Trudeau is one of the very few men who can look good in any facial hair configuration. 

And then Levant really gives himself away:
You're so serious now, you're so grown up, I love it, you're so authoritative now, I trust you to lead our country through these troubled times. I can imagine you going head to head with the Vladimir Putins and the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads of the world.
Thing is, Levant and other conservatives love that kind of behavior: swearing and being authoritative. That's exactly what they love about Donald Trump. 

Levant, teaming up with another Canadian asshole I recently discovered, hardcore misogynist Gavin McInnes, explicitly declared just a few days ago that Donald Trump's win is "a return to masculinity." 

Although to be fair, Levant did publish a video of Gavin McInnes making out with Milo Yiannopoulos (the gay neo-nazi darling of Simon and Schuster.) Don't worry, right-wing homophobes they didn't really mean it - it was faux-ironical-fake and they only did it to upset fundamentalist Muslims. Yiannopoulos for his part allowed that Trudeau has a face "begging to be cum on."

It's kind of sweet the way right-wingers make a big ole daisy-chain like that.

Levant isn't sincerely bothered by Trudeau's lack of government experience either: Donald Trump had even less government experience on being elected president than Trudeau had on being elected prime minister. 

Since Levant is faux-ironical-faking disapproval of Trudeau's behavior and lack of government experience, what else is he faux-ironical-faking about his feelings for Justin Trudeau? 

Now of course I sympathize with Levant's desire for Trudeau - millions of straight women and gay men and bisexuals do. But his obsession with Trudeau on a personal level while pretending to hate his guts is truly creepy.

Here is the latest from Levant's Twitter feed. This comic book came out in August and so it's doubtful this photo is recent. So Levant posted it just... because... 

More important than Levant's amour fou pour Justin Trudeau is his absolute shittiness as a journalist. And he does consider himself a journalist, and not in the faux-ironical-faking sense either. He went whining to Justin Trudeau last month when the United Nations organization didn't believe that he and his sleazy The Rebel were real journalists.

Since Levant has so much animus towards Trudeau (again, possibly the result of repressed homoerotic lust) it was no surprise that during the boxing match Levant claimed Trudeau's tattoo was fake. But Levant claimed to adore Brazeau, constantly praising his he-man toughness in contrast to Trudeau's alleged effeminacy. So you'd think that Levant would at least have enough respect for Brazeau to get his facts straight about him. But he absolutely refused to remember that Brazeau was Algonquin and kept calling him a Métis (pronounced may-tea) even though Brazeau corrected him, himself, during an interview, and then during the boxing match the other announcer mentioned early on that Brazeau was Algonquin and Levant still called him Métis. Like any right-winger, Levant is not especially concerned about the facts. And probably in his mind all First Nations are alike anyway.

I'm not sure if Levant was saying that Trudeau's tattoo was a fake tattoo or a real tattoo but not real aboriginal art. Or both. In any case, it is a real tattoo and also real aboriginal in that the tattoo was based on the art of a First Nations man:
Robert Davidson, a Northwest Coast artist of Haida descent, is a master carver of totem poles and masks and works in a variety of other media as a printmaker, painter and jeweler. 
I found this photo of Trudeau which is very unusual - it shows the world tattoo Trudeau got in his 20s before he had the Haida design added around it when he was 40. I certainly enjoy this photo. I'm guessing Ezra Levant really really enjoys it too.

UPDATE ON LEVANT - via a Twitter parody account "Narrated Ezra Levant" I discovered that Levant resigned from being a lawyer before they had a chance to disbar him. Reminds me a little of Roy Cohn in ANGELS IN AMERICA.

While a resignation during a disciplinary proceeding can be deemed a disbarment, Mr. Levant said he has applied under a section of the Alberta Legal Professional Act which permits lawyers to resign without disbarment when there are no outstanding conduct issues that warrant disbarment.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Love this political ad

The animation sequences are really great but it's the music that makes me watch it again and again. Tres bien Canadians!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More on the Thrilla from the Hilla

Q. What is the Thrilla from the Hilla?

A. The fight between two Canadian politicians in Ottawa in 2012, one of whom is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

Q. What is Ottawa?

A. The capital of Canada, you dumbass American

I am very sure if you are an American you did not know that Ottawa was the capitol of Canada, because I did not know it until recently (I thought the capitol was Toronto) and even more so because my daughter, who has been to Canada many more times than I have, also had no idea until I told her the other day.

I'm incredibly excited to have discovered the documentary "God Bless Justin Trudeau." I can't believe  it took me so long to discover it, I've been searching on Youtube for videos associated with the Thrilla for days now and although I did find plenty of videos associated with it, including a version of the match itself with French commentary

 - and you can see my video collection here - no references to the movie came up. I only found it because I Googled "posters of Trudeau" and the poster for the movie turned up.

I promptly rented it and will have more to say about it soon. But for now I leave you with this bit which really really amused me. An exchange between Justin Trudeau and his wife. The full exchange, which was shot from a distance by the documentary camera and helpfully captions goes like this:

SOPHIE TRUDEAU (kissing Justin) 
Just do what you have to do. 
I know. 
I really admire you. 
I was put in this planet to do this. I fight and win. That's what I'm good at.  
(unintelligible and not captioned)
But it's true honey! 
You fight from the good place. 
Be humble.

They had been married for like eight years in 2012 so it's interesting that they are speaking to each other, especially Justin, like they just started dating.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sans doutes je dois apprendre le français!

Je continue à apprendre le français en regardant des vidéos de mon professeur Justin Trudeau (Le premier ministre du Canada, au cas où vous ne sauriez pas.)

J'adore la vidéo du match de boxe avec Justin Trudeau et Patrick Brazeau - je l'ai posté ici. Mais les commentateurs parlent anglais, donc je n'ai aucun problème à leur comprendre.

J'ai découvert récemment une vidéo (ci-dessous), une interview avec Trudeau la veille du match de boxe. Mais c'est en français et il n'a pas de sous-titres ou de traductions. Donc la seule chose que je peux faire est d'apprendre le français rapidement!

Jusque-là, quel bel homme! Avec des cheveux vraiment longs. Oh mon Dieu, je vais mourir pour ce gars! Les anges me préservent!

Ça ne me fait pas de mal de le regarder, pas de tous.

En parlant de la langue française, j'ai trouvé ici un article très intéressant dans The Walrus par Jonathan Kay sur les affrontements entre francophones et anglophones à Montréal en le 70s et 80s.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

They are the Walrus, goo goo ga joob

It really startles me now, how little the election of Justin Trudeau registered with me. I am a regular reader, as anybody who follows this blog would know (like maybe three people but anyway...) of Paul Krugman and of The New Yorker and both Krugman and the New Yorker wrote about the election win. I must have read both, or at least read the Krugman piece and noted the existence of the New Yorker piece, but I have no recollection of either.

And the New Yorker piece mentions Krugman:
Trudeau is now set to become, among other things, Paul Krugman’s favorite politician, since he promises to follow an economic plan that might have been hatched on the right-hand column of the Times’s Op-Ed page: raise taxes on the rich and unapologetically do some deficit spending in order to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and its middle class.
I would have remembered if I had read that. Being Krugman's favorite politician means quite a bit to me.

Via the New Yorker article I discovered a piece in the Canadian magazine The Walrus, (a magazine I had never read or heard of before) and I was really pleased to see that the author confirmed my own conclusions about the character of Justin Trudeau - and that's pretty significant considering that the author Jonathan Kay collaborated on Trudeau's autobiography "Common Ground." So he probably knows Trudeau better than anybody outside of Justin's family and close friends. Kay writes:
He’s someone who desperately wants to do the right thing. Who believes that what he does and says can set things right; that he can heal people and relationships; that he can make people like him and—a sad fantasy for many children of divorce—one another.
As I blogged a couple of weeks ago:
(I love him) also because he is always trying to do the right thing. He's super-conscious and for the most part carries it off with a fair amount of grace and not too much self-consciousness. And he almost doesn't have to - he's pretty much Canadian royalty, as the son of former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau. The fact that he tries so hard to do the right thing makes him so admirable.
Kay made his observation in reference to a story Trudeau told about his relationship with his mother (I mentioned a couple of others in a previous blog post.) This story jumped out at me too, for its poignance and its exposure of the character of an endearing adolescent:
I spent more than thirty hours interviewing Trudeau. He told me hundreds of stories, not all of which made their way into the book. But there is one, from his young childhood—during the period after his mother, Margaret, abandoned the family—that stands out clearly.
“Whenever I knew my mother was on her way to visit 24 Sussex, I could barely contain my excitement, and began planning my welcome,” is how Trudeau tells the story in Common Ground:

On one occasion I decided to mark her arrival with a musical theme. I had received a small record player as a gift and enjoyed playing the hits of the day—“the day” being the early 1980s—especially Journey’s romantic ballad “Open Arms.” I had heard my mother say how much she liked the Journey song, and I decided that this would be the soundtrack to her entrance at 24 Sussex after one particularly long absence. I waited for her to arrive in her VW Rabbit before cueing up my tiny, tinny record player in my room upstairs. As she opened the door and entered the foyer I cranked up the volume and rushed to the top of the stairs. “Listen, mom,” I yelled down to her. “It’s our song!” Her reaction was to stare up at me, happy to see me but a little confused because she couldn’t hear the music at all. The volume on my record player was about half the level of a modern cell phone. I remember being crushed by that, so desperate was I to inject a sense of magic into every moment that we did have together as a family.
When Common Ground was published in 2014, and the Trudeau camp chose to disclose my role in preparing it, lots of friends asked me some variation on the question: “What’s he like? ” I would say, “Read the book.” And like clockwork, they would roll their eyes and reply, “No—what’s he really like? ” The underlying assumption is that books of this type are mere propaganda. Depending on the politics of the person asking me the question, there usually was some suggestion that, behind closed doors, Trudeau is either a closet socialist or a corporate shill. That he is a thumb-sucking ignoramus who is spoon-fed his lines by Gerald Butts—or a tactical genius who wears his glibness and childlike enthusiasms as a political mask. That he is a tormented scion who is desperate to rise to his father’s epic legacy—or who bitterly detests the old man’s oversized shadow. Since we have spent the last decade trying to figure out the “secret agenda” of Stephen Harper, it was perhaps inevitable that the country would become convinced that there is some “real” Justin Trudeau lurking below the surface.
You can find the real Justin right there, at the top of those stairs, playing his record player.
That last sentence especially is as perfect, concise a summation of a politician's character as any you're likely to see, right up there with another favorite of mine, the line from the New Yorker's David Remnick about Obama: His practiced calm is beyond reckoning.

Kay also addresses the phenomenon of Trudeau being considered just a pretty dummy - or at least less of an intellectual than his father. I could see that was bullshit even before I read "Common Ground" - and Kay of course spent quite a bit of time with Trudeau during the writing of the book and so is in a position to evaluate Trudeau's mind:
Pretty, yes. Dummy, no.
Trudeau probably reads more than any other politician I know. And yet you wouldn’t know this from the way he talks about ideas: His boyish, eager-to-please personality leads him to project publicly in a way that can seem intellectually unsophisticated. Political oratory always sounds best when it’s relaxed and natural. Trudeau’s hyperactive personality makes that a difficult act for him to pull off.
I admit that I am sometimes guilty of idealizing Canada, in light of the election of Trudeau vs. Trump and for other reasons, but Canada is dragged down by anti-intellectuals the same as in the United States - although perhaps not to the same degree. But I think that Trudeau's coming off as more of a regular guy and less of a brainiac serves him well. His being thought of as not-so-bright makes him much more palatable to the know-nothing slobs of Canada. Obama's and Hillary Clinton's obvious intellectual superiority were resented by many Americans and it worked against them.

Obama only squeaked into office, in my opinion, thanks to the overwhelming support of African Americans and the fact that his first opponent's running mate was Sarah Palin and his second opponent was Mitt Romney, who came off as a rich prig, and made Obama look like a regular guy by comparison. Women didn't support Clinton the way blacks supported Obama, since women suffer more from Stockholm Syndrome. But if Trump had gone up against Obama there's a good chance Obama would have lost. In spite of what Obama claims.

But I digress.

Trudeau should keep doing what he's doing.

I have to say, I was surprised by the reason given for the selection of the name "The Walrus" for this magazine. I immediately assumed it was from "Through the Looking Glass."

But no, it's a Canadian thing.

Sunday, December 25, 2016



If he was any hotter my head would explode. OMG that belly button with just a hint of a happy trail below. DAYAM.

He can eat my Poutine ANY TIME.