a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘jon stewart’

the hero is canadian…. ;)

this is just a boondoggle… for a change it will be short!  Jon Stewart is interviewing Michael Lewis and talking about predatory behaviour in the stock market… as Jon just said, “it’s not fair, American or capitalism”.  High frequency traders are now the new everyday evil people…

I trade for fun in my spare time and know all the lingo so this is fascinating for me… and I see all the silly games the alpha males play as they pound their chests and pay cash for their Maseratis…  I’m the kind of girl who told some hedge fund guy I met in a bar in the Meatpacking District during the height of the financial crisis, “oh, you work for a hedge fund… so you aren’t just a little bit evil… you are REALLY evil”… but he was from Kentucky and at heart not evil…

but also not as good at holding his bourbon so I ended up dropping him off at his apartment on the Upper West Side and then convincing the immigrant taxi driver that I just needed him to drop me back at the Standard, his company not part of the deal…

So, I am a bit of an alpha female 🙂  I can beat the high frequency traders, Wall Street and the random idiots in Silicon Valley… I don’t need Michael Lewis to save my ass.  But it’s interesting… and apparently some Dudley Do-Right Canadian dude at RBC started the ball rolling…

so I am intrigued… I’ve spent all of prime time watching American actors kill people with guns… it’s exciting… but remember that most of the greatest heroes didn’t have a glock… they had a brain…  what kind of hero do you want to be? 😉

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/03/31/flash-boys-former-rbc-trader-hero-of-michael-lewiss-new-book-on-how-u-s-stock-markets-are-rigged/

 

Mr. Pine’s Purple House…

Apparently I was not the only one inspired by Mr. Pine – you gotta love the internet 🙂  My crush, Jon Stewart, was talking on The Daily Show this week about painting your house mauve… in response to Glenn Beck’s crazy Marxist utopia Independence USA.  He likened it to Main Street USA at Disneyland.  Disneyland was fun to visit but it was not for the independent of mind.  So the comparison is apt.

mr pines purple houseAnd Jon is my age so I am wondering if he picked mauve because he also knew about Mr. Pine 🙂  Purple is an awesome colour – with lots of interesting associations –  but we’ll talk about the colour purple some other time…

Jon’s take on the whole crazy mess is hilarious and you should watch it, rather than listen to me paraphrase it (Jan 29, 2013)

http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/shows/TheDailyShow?videoPackage=130175

It points out the strange, conceptually warped place that is the present day USA.  It’s such a complicated, remarkable and twisted place.  Watching The Daily Show freaks me out a little – and makes me recall my first public speech.  I was an atrocious public speaker.  But a precocious, serious child.  So aged 11 I warned about the dangers of watching too much television.  Back when all I could watch was the CBC!  No danger of wanting to watch it for too long 🙂

But I did LEARN some stuff from TV.  And was usually reading a book in the background because I wasn’t intellectually engaged enough.  But luckily my mom really liked small children and engaged us, rather than popping us in front of a video so we could have the storyline of every Disney animated classic memorized.

The media IS powerful.  And independent thought is essential when you are sitting in front of a TV.  Or a movie screen (more on that soon 😉

So… I am really grateful that reading was highly encouraged by my parents.  First, they read to us.  My internet research revealed that I was 3 when Mr. Pine painted his house purple – so it was likely one of my very first books.  Maybe that’s why it ended up as my favourite.  We had at least one story every night.  And I cleaned out the small town library once I could read on my own.  One of my favourite childhood memories were the boxes of books that came into my house courtesy of auction sales.

It certainly wasn’t all high brow!  That’s how my best friend and I found “The Happy Hooker” and read racy passages aloud to each other when her mother was at work.  We didn’t even really know what was being described – but we knew it was forbidden 🙂

Maybe your child shouldn’t read “The Happy Hooker” but it’s good to be exposed to new ideas and situations outside your own personal realm.  It was books that saved my ass when I ventured out as a young adult with very little knowledge about the great, wide world in which I wanted to wander.

The first boy I seriously considered marrying sealed the deal because we would chime, almost in unison, “let’s go get a book about that!”  We figured books were the answer to every obstacle or new situation life threw at us.

There is something to be said for human contact – and expert advice from live humans 🙂  But it took me a rather long time to figure that out.  In the meantime, I had books…

All sorts of points of view, myriad experiences I would never be able to create for myself, a chance to delve into both the past and the imagined future to try to figure out how to make the present better…

All that reading will also give you a point of view.  You don’t need to paint your house purple (it’s likely not a good idea 🙂  But you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe.  People love a maverick!  Just ask Mr. Pine.  His purple house made him the toast of the town 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/Pines-Purple-House

p.s  I have carried Mr. Pine’s Purple House with me to over 30 residences and three continents – but I learned all the lessons by age six – so the physical book is just nostalgia 😉

Thanks, Mayor Bloomberg! :)

It certainly seems like Michael Bloomberg has done a lot of good things for New York City.  And the world at large.  But I also owe him personally since my friend Sarah’s Bloomberg connections got us free access to some wonderful art exhibitions on this trip.

I am a big fan – and small supporter – of the arts.  But Bloomberg sponsorship of the arts – and the vision of making the arts more accessible to a wider audience – is definitely something to celebrate.  You may not realize but your free audio guides at the Guggenheim are courtesy of his generosity.

You will likely have to pay for the shows but I do think they are worth the price of admission.  To make sure my visit involved more than shoe shopping and gluttony, Sarah and I went to a couple of current shows at some of the temples to art that are a large part of the New York experience.

chrysler building on a sunny day!

chrysler building on a sunny day!

I know I think I slagged Picasso a little bit in an earlier post.  And he apparently produced 50,000 art works.  He didn’t seem to be a particularly great guy to have a relationship with.  And I’m not quite sure he didn’t court fame a little more than a proper Englishman would consider dignified… but, hey, the dude was a great artist.

I’m not convinced everything Picasso signed his name to is a masterpiece but he certainly produced a lot of them.  And this show was fascinating as it is only works in black and white.  Apparently Picasso did not believe colour was fundamental to the art.

My friend Sarah said I had to see it as lots of these works are privately held and this was a once in a lifetime chance to see them.  As a huge fan of Kandinsky – who thought colour evokes moods and used it as symbolism – I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to think about black and white…

But it likely won me over as a much greater fan of Picasso.  Not all the works really “spoke” to me but many did.  And it was incredible to see what he could do with such a limited palette.  It was also interesting to see how he used that limited palette to create many different types of work as he was influenced by the world events of which he was part and the women he decided to sleep with…

If you can, definitely go and check it out.

http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view/picasso-black-and-white

mom at the guggenheim

mom at the guggenheim

We also went to the Met to see the current Matisse exhibit.  Sarah is a big fan of Matisse.  I wasn’t so sure.  I think I saw too many Matisse posters in dorm rooms in my youth.  But he is an important artist.  And I love art.  And am always open minded 🙂

And it was a great exhibit, even if you aren’t a huge fan.  It is focused on Matisse’s love of drawing – and his penchant for reworking the same motif in different ways.  They have gathered multiple works of art for many of the famous pieces you might have seen in a major gallery somewhere in the world.

What engages you is that you see the same painting essentially from multiple points of view and it helps the non-artist to better understand the choices that the artist makes in composing the final product.

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2012/Matisse

It also helps to see the process of modern abstract art, where the artist might start with a composition that is quite realistic and almost photographic.  But then they will distort details – or apply unnatural colours – or just simplify lines to create an essence of the subject matter rather than a true representation.  We weren’t always sure we would have chosen the final product based on the options, which made us wonder what the artist was thinking and how his process worked.

Art is meant to provoke us.  To make us question things.  To make us see the world in a new way.  To make us question ourselves and maybe evolve in new ways.  As a very analytical person, I am attracted to art for its fluid and non-linear qualities.

Humans seem to need to make art.  It happens in the poorest and most primitive societies.  I am a big advocate of science and the scientific method.  But I think really great societies engage their citizens in all ways and encourage them to work both sides of their brain.

Art has always offered me an emotional connection even my super analytical brain could not properly explain.  Art has provoked me and expanded my questioning and understanding of the society in which I live.  Art has disturbed me.  Art has made me smile.

It’s important.  It is one of the elements that create a civilization – and civil citizens.  So I salute Mayor Bloomberg and the efforts he has made to make art available to all.

I also have to thank him for the wonderful profile I saw on Bloomberg TV while I was in New York.  I am watching The Daily Show as I type this – and it is reminding me of the segment they did on Jon Stewart.  Given my mega-crush, it was fascinating to have more information on his early career and the genesis of The Daily Show.  They just talked to the cast of The Newsroom in their sketch, questioning whether the only investigative journalism on the air anymore is fictional…  It’s like Stephen Colbert singing with Harry Belafonte.  Some moments in life are just pure gold 😉

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/mon-january-14-2013-roger-waters

http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheDailyShow?videoPackage=129456 (for Canadians – Jan 14, 2013 episode)

http://www.hbo.com/the-newsroom/index.html

more jobs… fewer snakes…

I was too sleepy to write this post last night while I was watching Jon Stewart skewer politicians but this was one of his memorable quotes.

If the context seems a little hard to grasp, well, that is part of the message.  The reference was to the vague quality of the Republican candidates plans for the economy and the future of the country.

The statement above refers to Mitt Romney’s plea for more jobs.  Since he hasn’t the supplied the details as to how he plans to get those jobs, Jon quipped that the Republican platform reads like a letter to Santa Claus.  Most people would also ask Santa for fewer snakes…

While making fun of Republicans is a form of sport for Jon (like shooting guns at moving targets is for Republican NRA members), the digs at Mitt’s lack of details on how to create those jobs was juxtaposed with a Bill Clinton talkin’ about arithmetic.

Nothing warms my heart more than a man who says “do the math.”   I think that’s why I am always falling for brainiac engineers 🙂

I realize most people hate math.  I love math.  But I also love logic.  And facts.  And apparently I like Bill Clinton a lot more than I realized 🙂

I was working every minute or living overseas when Clinton was President so I really didn’t know enough about what he was doing to have an opinion.  But his moral compass seemed a bit questionable and I had just assumed he was swarmy and unimpressive.

But I gotta say I was impressed!  Bill’s charm is totally lost on me.  He’s the dude I would leave sitting at the bar after I had excused myself to the bathroom and then snuck out when he wasn’t looking…  But he is smart!  And one of the best politicians in modern history.

Bill actually talked facts!  He quoted numbers.  He made the Republicans look like ill-informed jerks.  And I am pretty neutral.  I don’t get to vote for the President.  And I think the United States of America would be a far better country if they knew how to count in Florida and Gore had put  Bush into the place in history he really deserved.

Being part of the nerdy minority who thinks intelligence, honour and compassion are the critical elements to a civilization and the tenets to which every citizen should strive, it is painful to watch the Fox News clips on The Daily Show.  I really should have brought that up with Rupert when we were in the same elevator… but he hadn’t created that atrocity yet…

What is more sexy than a smart guy with a big vocabulary – who actually knows how to use those words properly in a sentence? 😉  God bless Jon Stewart.  He gives me faith that there is still intelligent life in the USA.  I fall in love with him a little more all the time.  Don’t tell his wife 😉  But watch him!  Shockingly, you will actually learn stuff.  And he will make it fun.  That’s why he has all those Emmys 🙂

my dark days with Ayn Rand ;)

I am working my ass off right now.  Ayn Rand would be proud 🙂   And, yes Republicans, I built it!  Really truly.  Not the infrastructure, including the highly subsidized education that got me here, you morons, but I am FAR more impressive than Mitt or Paul… of course that great education I got was mostly courtesy of the phenomenal world changing conception invented by the Scots I believe of making free public education available to the masses.

And the scrappy side of my family who taught me to question everything.  I should be in bed but Jon Stewart is at the Republican convention and he has rarely been more brilliant.  My brain is on fire from watching television.  Who would have thunk it?

How I am back thinking about Ayn Rand.  It’s been decades…  I am not sure if you know about Ayn Rand.  She was a crazy Russian novelist who had been through the Russian Revolution as part of the displaced bourgeois.  Seems fair she ended up an atheist elitist who hated government.

I have always been a voracious reader, one of those strange people who stressed out at a young age when they realized they would NOT be able to read ALL the books in the library!  So instead I had to try and figure out what I should be reading.  I asked my twelfth grade English teacher for a list of books to read.  And she was the one who told me to read Ayn Rand.

Being young, impressionable and fairly conservative, Objectivism initially seemed attractive.  And I was fairly bright and inordinately ambitious.  Which is how I built it.  A successful consulting practice soon to go into its tenth year.  It’s all me.  No daddy money.  No mentors.  Not even a country club membership.

But I wasn’t always so smart.  I remember meeting some cute guy on a beach in Bermuda and he said some stuff and I knew he was quoting Ayn Rand and it was a bonding moment.

Thank god I got over it.  I am not proud of my Ayn Rand days.  Unlike the Republican caucus.  I am really grateful to my father.  He always talked very conservative and I know I leaned that way because I idolized him and thought he was very worldly and smart.  But, because I thought that, when he started questioning my right wing ideas, I really took notice.

And moved toward the center.  My mom and I were just talking about what a Canadian patriot he was.  And the more I watch American politics, the more proud – and relieved – I am of being Canadian.  We do need to pay attention though.  We hear their rhetoric too often and it’s easy to be seduced.

Like people are seduced by Ayn Rand.  Personally I think “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” are good reads.  Especially when you are young and impressionable.  But, thanks to my dad, even when I read them the first time, the critical reader in me was always in debate with the author.

Sure, it’s good to promote ambition instead of laziness.  Government can get out of control and is not inherently good.  But neither are rich people.  OMG, I am just learning why Stewart and Colbert have been talking about Ayn Rand so much and bringing up my fond memories of using “Atlas Shrugged” as a pretense to make out on a beach in Bermuda.

Paul Ryan’s views are far more scary!  And obviously he IS an idiot.  I thought his economic policies made it obvious already – but apparently he didn’t realize Ayn Rand was an atheist.  Seriously, dude?  He makes his staff read the novels anyway… some kind of sneaky Republican diluted, confused, pretending to be intellectual message… read this – but only take note of part of the message… sounds pretty Republican to me 🙂

Remember – government builds infrastructure.  Education is good.  A great education that actually teaches you to think rationally is even better.  So you can tell Ayn Rand to go to hell – altruism is good, you bitch.  Selfishness and unregulated capitalism are what’s gonna take us down.  And she is dead, having been born in likely the greatest capitalist economic sweet spot in the history of mankind, so why would she care…

Colbert is just interviewing an Ayn Rand expert.  Gotta love these boys.  Some of the stuff Ayn Rand said wasn’t bullshit.  Self reliance is good.  Mixing religion and politics is bad.  Apparently just before she died she denounced Reagan for bringing religion into politics.  So she would slug Paul Ryan.  And Mitt Romney?  She must be rolling in her grave!  That’s what you get for promoting crap values and trying to bring the world down, lady.  But thanks for the make out session on the beach in Bermuda – it was cinematic 😉

And Republicans…  Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert – and all their viewers – love you.  Keep talking crap!  As Jon so brilliantly showcased tonight, you dudes sound like Charlie Sheen.  SERIOUSLY???  I know The Expendables 2 will likely play better in foreign markets and exporting your “culture” seems to be on track, but people, you are electing the most powerful man in the world.  He should be someone the rest of the world is in awe of, not a gift to smart comedians.  If only Jon Stewart would run for President…

But first you would have to build the infrastructure to educate enough people to actually understand what he says… it’s brilliant…

http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheDailyShow

Everyone with a brain should watch tonight’s episode.  It will make you feel better about the world, if only fleetingly 😉

who’s sexier – Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert

Apparently some of the recent posts have been inciting tears so I thought we should try something a bit less sappy 🙂  Still much to be said about friendships, family, relationships but we will talk about silly stuff tonight.

It’s shocking to me but until the last US election I was only vaguely aware of Jon Stewart and had never heard of Stephen Colbert.  Thank god I am a political junkie and thought I had to watch what indeed proved to be a historical US presidential race.  Watching political conventions and election results was one of the many activities I shared with my father while the other two members of the household looked at us as though we had two heads.

There is no doubt politics will find its way into this blog but most days I think a great sense of humour has more potential to effect positive change for individual citizens than the messy versions of democracy that get enacted on the global stage.

But that’s the kind of lesson you would learn from watching Jon Stewart 😉  He was my first love.  And while he and Stephen may not be quite in the same league as Brad Pitt or George Clooney, they each have considerable physical appeal.  But, of course, that is not what makes them sexy…

Most days I feel I am in a fairly small elite of the double X chromosome gang, but I think brains are sexier than muscles.  And a really smart guy with a deadly sense of humour… well – see above 🙂

I know most women think foreplay is the key.  But wordplay is even more enticing – when done well.  And the best guys know how to combine the two 😉

Both of them make me laugh out loud – a great honour.  I can’t decide who is sexier.  Jon is the modern, socially acceptable equivalent of a lion in the coliseum tearing apart some unsuspecting not so smart dude with crazy political views – but instead of being torn apart limb from limb, he is crushed by a superior intellect while the crowd smirks because the guy is too dense to realize exactly what is going down.  My heart pounds every time 😉

And then there is Stephen.  At first, like the Emmys, I figured he was not a real contender.  But then he made his strange – but funny – trip to Iraq.  And indulged in hilarious skits while he tried to find his way into the Vancouver Olympics while trashing my adopted city.  Unfortunately I was far too busy during the Olympics to stalk him while he was in my town but how can you not have a crush on a guy who reads Joyce in an Irish pub – and gets away with it…

But then there was Stephen Colbert interviewing Harry Belafonte.  The ultimate bromance 🙂  Be still, my beating heart!  There will be more about Harry in future posts.  I had no idea his life story until I saw a documentary at the Vancouver Film Festival this past October.  Sorry, Jon, Stephen – hands down, Harry is the sexiest!  If only I will be that charming and gracious when I am 85 🙂  At least I have the smile.  It’s my dad’s smile.  And his laugh.  I don’t laugh at dumb stuff – but when I do, you will know.  I like to think it’s infectious – the perfect type of virus 🙂

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