Archive for August, 2011


Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 by a4synapse

It’s about seven episodes in and I’m loving this show. It’s an Aussie transplant, co-produced by its star, Jason Gann, and starring Elijah Wood. Mary Steenburgen, Peter Stormare, George Coe and several other actors who have a nose for the offbeat have guest-starred.

The premise of the series is: after Ryan (Elijah) attempts suicide, he begins to see his neighbor’s dog as a guy in a dog suit (Jason). Everyone else (except for Bruce as we saw this week) still thinks Wilfred is a dog. Jason Gann has a silky, sly voice and a silky, sly attitude. His mission appears to be to lead Ryan further into the outer reaches of human relationships. Ryan is a bit of a nebbish (a Stanford Law grad, who has either quit or lost his job) and hangs around the house, when he isn’t fighting with his overbearing sister.

Wilfred is Ryan’s id running wild. He encourages him to shit in someone’s boots, assert his dominance in social situations, and pursue women in questionable ways. He discusses sensitive matters in an aggressively offhand manner and is rewarded by Ryan’s even more protuberant eyes, filled with alarm.

The last episode (titled ‘Doubt’ and guest-starring Dwight Yoakum, written by Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne) featured this charming exchange: the scene is set on a yoga class on the beach, and women doing the ‘upside-down dog’.

Wilfred (downwind of a young woman): “a whimsical light-bodied bouquet, crisp with a hint of peach and a little green rotten-egg finish.”

and: “leathery, with subtle tones of menstruation, when this opens up it’s going to be beautiful”

Another episode went with Wilfred being a companion dog at a nursing home. The staff is convinced that he knows when someone is dying. In Ryan’s mind, Wilfred holds a pillow over an old woman’s face.

It’s well worth a look. I hope it’s renewed.

Tom Coburn’s Remarks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2011 by a4synapse

Here. This is such a mishmosh of misinformation, condescension, and prejudice; where does this guy get off?

“No, I don’t… He’s a very bright man. But think about his life. And think about what he was exposed to and what he saw in America. He’s only relating what his experience in life was…

“His intent isn’t to destroy. It’s to create dependency because it worked so well for him. I don’t say that critically. Look at people for what they are. Don’t assume ulterior motives. I don’t think he doesn’t love our country. I think he does.

“As an African American male, coming through the progress of everything he experienced, he got tremendous benefit through a lot of these programs. So he believes in them. I just don’t believe they work overall and in the long run they don’t help our country. But he doesn’t know that because his life experience is something different. So it’s very important not to get mad at the man. And I understand, his philosophy — there’s nothing wrong with his philosophy other than it’s goofy and wrong [laughter] — but that doesn’t make him a bad person.”

And In Related News

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2011 by a4synapse

Buddhists release 500 lobsters back into the ocean near Gloucester, Massachusetts.  This makes me happy.

New Drug

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2011 by a4synapse

This has all kinds of interesting implications: from MIT  (ht ‘The Dish). Apparently, MIT has developed a drug which zeroes in on the RNA in cells that are infected with a virus, and kills them. That’s any virus.


Wait For It….

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2011 by a4synapse

I refer you to a compelling comment on what our President may, or may not, but up to: here. This is one point of view; Drew Westen is especially hard on Obama for failing to stand up to Republican bullies (they really are, and they’re ignorant in the bargain). The other point of view is that he’s playing a very long game on the grounds that the U. S. public is like the Exxon Valdez and will take some very hard lessons and a long time to change its collective mind. I usually see this on ‘The Dish’, expressed as ‘meep, meep’. I still haven’t made up my mind, which I view as a personal failing.

Another shrewd piece of commentary comes from Mark Cuban here, regarding the state of U. S. Patent Laws. They’ve been a mess for a long time (as are copyright laws), and recent legislation has worsened the situation. Mr. Cuban maintains that patent trolls, who are enabled by such laws, are using the courts to enrich themselves, and are diverting corporate funds and effort from job-creation. Yes.

So, I am watching the effect of the current heat dome and its record-breaking effect on the South with 100+ degree days and 105+ degree days on the Bible Belt’s notions on Climate Change.  I am wondering when the faithful will realize that profligate use of energy and denial of the evidence, is wiping out lives, livelihoods, and a way of life. Then I am wondering when the pendulum will swing from denial to vicious and extreme prosecution of energy-saving measures. Can you say ‘whiplash’?

Do The Right Thing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 4, 2011 by a4synapse

New York City is initiating a new effort to bring young black and latino men into the life of the city and to prevent their further marginalization from job markets and education. It will spend $130 million on the effort which will remodel how the city interacts with roughly 350,000 young men who are ‘undereducated, incarcerated or unemployed’. The New York Times article is here.

It is a very stubborn and longstanding problem. There is a difference this time: Mayor Bloomberg is contributing $30 million of his own money, and he asked George Soros to match that contribution, and Mr. Soros happily complied.

It’s unusual for someone who (at least publicly) defines success in America to put their money to work like this. And yes, I know that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett together formed one of the largest charitable organizations in the world. Their effort is aimed primarily at childhood diseases across the globe. This effort is aimed at a subset of New Yorkers whose lives generally consist of unemployment, ignorance, crime, poverty and social alienation. If it works, it will provide meaningful assistance to these young men and their families, and it will also help the city in ways that are difficult to predict and/or measure.

I am so impressed by this. I hope it works. I hope others follow this example. I hope it does not devolve into a Randian argument in the blogosphere.