Friday, September 29, 2006

Okay, just knock this crap off.

Ah yes. All the Sturm and Drang of the foiled terror plot. The more you
read the more you think that there's no there there. When my folks
arrived over here they barely brought any carryon luggage because they
know they can't carry it back. You are free, however, to abandon your
carryons in the UK. Look for a big pile of abandoned video cameras in
Hyde Park stacked up like empties after a student's lease-breaking party.
The first person to really underscore the fact that this has to come to
an end was Wonkette

So why does Wonkette have a mad-on for these new security procedures.
Well, because they are the bullshit response to a bullshit threat:
There's a pretty good rundown of why there's no there there.

The Eternal Gaijin
Lost Somewhere in Wandsworth, London

"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Finally Motivated to Write In to Filmspotting

Sam and Adam
Long time listener, etc, etc.
I've been listening since the early days and this is one of my favourite
podcasts. I enjoy the reviews, the arguments, the hits, the misses...
The problem is that I'm usually a couple of weeks behind on listening to
the podcasts. So I may be a bit dated but since I only listened this
afternoon, here goes:

You're way off the mark on your Top Five Truly Moving Pictures list.
Forrest Gump? It still astounds me so many years on that a shallow
one-note performance - the cinematic equivalent of chopsticks - could
still be hailed as being so rich and layered. "It's not chopsticks! It's
a symphony," I keep hearing. How does this happen?

Ultimately, you missed some of the most powerful and tear provoking
movies in cinema...

5) Truly, Madly, Deeply. Juliet Stevenson loses her husband, Alan
Rickman, and is still seeking counselling to deal with the grief. Her
palpable anguish in the opening scene is real beyond any Hollywood
crying you've ever seen. When Rickman returns and eventually begins to
grate on her, bringing other ghosts home, watching footie all night, she
begins to spend more time out for a walk. She begins to get more
involved with Michael Mahony and move on with her life...The final scene
where it becomes clear that Rickman had intentionally pushed his
grieving wife away so she could live happily can and does bring a tear
to the eye. This is a movie that successfully strides back and forth
between tear-jerker and light comedy and never makes you think that it
was confused.

4) Immortal Beloved: Gary Oldman as Beethoven. Could've been bad. But it
turned out to be surprisingly powerful. And if you have a shred of
empathy you will feel the pain and anguish of Ludwig's loss. Seen it a
lot, will see it a lot. Sadly overlooked by most people.

3) The English Patient: One of the best books of the 20th century became
one of the most moving films. Helmed by Anthony Minghella, this film has
a longing and a sadness in every scene that builds to the final terrible
climax. The scene of Ralph Fiennes carrying Kristen Scott Thomas's body
from the desert cave tears up everyone who has tear ducts.

2) Quill: How can you describe this 2004 Japanese movie? It the story of
a yellow Labrador who is trained to be a guide dog. No cute kids, no
celebrity voice-overs, no anthropomorphizing. Just the story of a dog
who becomes a guide dog, lives 12 years and dies of old age. And if you
don't cry 5 times in the film, you wouldn't notice if I changed your
Visine for onion juice.

Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka): Older film from Studio Ghibli
(Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Tonari no Totoro). This is a very
serious offering of two kids orphaned in the tail end of the Second
World War. It's cute and funny at times, but also powerful with a
downbeat ending that will have your neighbours listening to your sniffles.

That's my belated two-bits. Really looking forward to the next podcast.
See you two weeks after it.

The Eternal Gaijin
Lost Somewhere in Wandsworth, London

"Words Cannot Describe What I Am About To Tell You."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

badscience » Dreary Pro-Homeopathy Piece and Letter

So, Ive been away for the last week or so.
I've started the new job and have been running around with that. And then the big news happened.
No not my folks coming over to visit. That's actually up in the air because my neice was admitted to the hospital.
With a 4cm brain tumour.
Between the brainstem and cerebellum.
The story was long and convuluted. This is just the Readers' Digest version.
To prepare for my grandfather's internment and to begin cleaning and preparing the house for sale (which doesn't make my grandmother happy at all), my parents travelled down to Amherst again.
During the stay there, my neice complained of double vision, nausea and other problems. She was lethargic and harder to get up in the mornings than most teenagers.
When they got back up to Bourget, my sister booked an appointment for the opthamologist. Who took one look in Bailie's eyes and called the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (make note of the acronym CHEO. You'll hear it a lot. It's pronounced Chee-oh, Like Chiyonofuji.) Eye Clinic, who refused here and sent her in for X-rays and MRIs and other medical alphabet soups.
And they found the tumour.
A couple of days later she was in neurosurgery for 14 hours to have it removed. Let's just say that's dangerous. I really don't think I could describe the tension the family was under.
Cut to the middle.
The tumour was completely removed and wasn't attached to the brain, meaning there's no substantial neurological damage. There are the usual issues associated with brain salad surgery: motor function difficulties, blurry vision, moodiness (more than other 13-year old girls -- I'm almost 14!!!)
She will need extensive physio therapy to relearn walking and fine motor skills and may end up with a lazy eye out of the deal. But she'll live and be intact, both of which are important.
By the way, the treatment available at CHEO is first class. They gave this their A game and we are grateful.
In celebration of this triumph of conventional medicine, I have found a most interesting set of articles.
They guy who writes the Bad Science column in the Guardian is going to town on his own paper in this post badscience » Dreary Pro-Homeopathy Piece and Letter on his blog.
It's a response to the recent change of regulation allowing homeopathic medicines (is there a font that is ironic I could put that in?) to print their claims on the label. This was followed by the release of a study showing that most complementary medicine is bunk...yeah, I know, which one was that again. They all say the same thing....
An osteopath was narked by this and got out the typewriter to vent her spleen with this article, which is basically the same as this rambling, fallacy-ridden bit of sandwhich schmutz by, guess who, the same clown-college teacher.