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The Fabulous George Carlin Archive

I’d written this post a few weeks ago, but it seems much more fitting today.

George Carlin, that fabulous, genius of a stand up comic, (and Mr. Conductor on Shining times station!) died today, at 71.  It’s funny, every so often, you think to yourselves, there are certain people that you hope wouldn’t ever die.  Just becasue of how creative, and original they are, because of how much they contribue.  The two people in the entertainment business i always had this pre-emptive Lament for, have been George Carlin and Woody Allen. 

But what is wonderful is that while he may be physically gone, the body of work that is his legacy is preserved, and he stays with us in our thoughts.  So let us enjoy it, thinking about him.

So here is an archive of George Carlin videos available for free on the web:

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Documentary: “Why We Fight”

A very interesting documentary by the BBC on the rise of the Military-Industrial complex :

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A wonderful gem of comedy, Seth MacFarlane giving the graduation speech at Harvard in 2006. He does it as himself, as Peter Gryffin, Stewie Gryffin, and Quagmire. Enjoy:

06:24 – June 08, 2006

Now, Peter Gryffin:

04:30 – June 08, 2006

… Stewie Griffin…

07:28 – June 08, 2006

… Quagmire …

04:35 – June 08, 2006

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There is something very interesting happening currently in French Politics, which might be a sign of things to come in general politics in the future. 

As you might, and should know the French Presidental elections are coming up in several months.  It will offer the french a choice to redress the mistake they made during the 2002 elections or to choose a path which would lead them eventually down the same road as England, Germnay and other more conservatie and capitalists states. 

With this on their mind, the two main parties in France, the Socialist Party (PS) and the Conservatives (UMP), have their presidential candidacy elections.  The PS will have theirs this coming week, and the conservatives in a month or so.  For the past year, the top candidates in the polls have been Segolene Royal of the socialists, and Nicolas Sarkozy of the Conservatives.  I will not talk about Sarkozy, because i don’t want to and because he is the worst thing that could happen to france if, god-forbid, he gets elected.  This currenty story of interest surrounds the Socialists.

As it turns out the there are three candidates for the Socialists presidential nominee.  The aforementioned Segolene Royal a relative unknown until the last couple of years, who despite being with the socialists for many years, has not had much ministerial experience, the annoying Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister under Francois Mitterand, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, an economist and former minister.  Whereas Fabius is the most ‘radical’ of the three, he is not presidential material, as he is annoying, not a team player, and egotistical. On the other hand, Mr. Strauss-Kahn (DSK) is far enough on the right among the socialists to garner a good bit of votes from conservatives. 

segolene royaleThe biggest surprise during the past year, was the rise of Madame Royale to top of polls, without her having to do much.  The idea of a first female french president is an appealing one, and she is clever enough of a politician, to never rock the boat, and let things come to her and let bad things bounce off of her leaving her always very graceful and poised.  She has good socialists values, although she does tend also to be a bit of a family values kind of a politician. Yet she is a bit of mystery, since most of her political views are not very clearly known. 

During the past year, the media has basically been covering the coming elections as a battle between Royale and Sarkozy, even though DSK and fabius having been trying hard to get popularity from socialist voters.  And then suddenly a few days ago, this happened:

03:09 – November 10, 2006

Somebody shot this video, secretly, during a meeting in January 2006, of the socialist leadership, where she porposes a 35-hour work week for teachers.  This is a big deal in france.  Now if you are not familiar with french lifestyle and politics, and moreover tend to believe what you hear from anglophone media, you will say what’s the big deal, and the french are spoiled.  Yes, the french have a shorter work week than most other countries, yet they are teh second most productive country in europe, (after germany i believe) and far ahead of the likes of England, where people have to work much much more and are less productive.  It is the french way, and it works for them.

Furthermore, the idea of having a 35 hour work week for a teacher is absurd.  Currently in france, full-time for a teacher is 18 hours per week. That is 18 hours IN FRONT OF THE CLASS per week.  What nobody ever mentions is that, a teacher, does as much work at home, if not more, as he or she does in front of the class.  Whether is preparations of course material, or documetns, or papers, or marking.  That is all work that has to be done at home, and which does NOT count in that 18 hours.  So considering for example that i woul dhave 12 classes to teach if i am in Junior high, with on average 30 students per class, i would 360 items to mark each time.  AND THAT HAS TO BE DONE AT HOME, AND DOES NOT COUNT IN WORK HOURS. On top of that, a teacher’s salary is not very high, although it is a lifetime position.  On average a teacher of 20 years experience, will earn around 2500 euros/month, maximum.  That does NOT translate to a very high salary. However, there are many benefits that come with the job in terms insurances and whatnot.  And so even monetarily the proposal to increase work hours without increasing pay is unrealistic and absurd.

So the idea of a 35 hour work week is absurb for a teacher. Regardless of the country.  However my point for this article is not that.

The release of this video, anonymously, one week before the socialist party elections, has caused Royale’s lead in the polls which was over 20 % to drop to barely 2% over DSK.  Which is absolutely incredible.  Furthermore once we actually listen to what she is saying, is NOT that teahers should teach 35 hours in front of the class, but that they keep their 18 hours of class time, but stay in teh school for 35 hours, and for example give assitance courses and some such things (the whole debate was brought up because of numerous teachers moonlighting with private tutoring academies).  That in itself still needs to be worked out properly (it is far easier to work at home, where we ahve desks and computers than at school, where these are not available), yet it is a far cry from the blanket statement of "35 hours work week for teachers". 

My point is that, this is video that was obviously taken by someone’s portable phone during this meeting, way back in january.  Yet, somehow, it was released, anonymously, a week before the elections, and it has completely overhauled everything.  There is not question in my mind that this was a sabotage job by one of his rivals, who have attacked her vehemently on this very issue during recent debates.  The irony is that Mr. DSK is right wing enough that he is a backer of this notion, although i doubt he’d admit to it BEFORE the elections. 

But the deed is done.  Even if Segolene Royale does end up winning the presidential nomination, this has shown us perhaps how political campaigns can be won and lost in teh future.  Very simply rivals can film one another during meetings, using simple easy to hide camera phones, and you keep that, until just before the election.  You put it on YouTube, or GoogleVideo, or Sandbox, or one of the many other such web services, you give a little call to a newspaper, saying look at this video, and without spending another penny, you bring down your opponent!  Simple as that.

On the other hand, i wouldn’t be surprised if this causes politicians to never actually be open with each other, even in their own meetings amongst the elite and the leadership. 

Nonetheless, it has been a fascinating phenomenon, and within a week we shall see the results!

[tags] segolene, royale, strass kahn, fabius, video, teachers, enseignants, 35 heures semaine, week [/tags]

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This is something that would never come up in Iran, due to its racially homogenous nature, however in Canada and France, the question of the Origin of your Teacher, is a fun hobby of students.  With my students in grade 8 i have managed quite well to keep the mystery alive.  They top three hypotheses for my origin among my students are:

  1. Portugese
  2. Anglophone (to them i guess that is a 'race')
  3. Pakistani (with honourable mention going to Iranian!)

 So for the moment i have said nothing.

However, for Anne-Laure's first year university class (to him i give physics and chemistry oral examinations) the mystery has been solved.  They actually thought i was the guy in this commercial:

00:31 – July 21, 2006

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Hey guys, here is somethign interesting.

Remember the last post aobut Cyrus Nowrasteh?  Well, remember i mentioned an interview with Bill Clinton on FOXnews.  Well, i was looking for the video, (the interview was sunday), and today i finally found it on YOUTUBE …

… HOWEVER… FOX has blocked the Video! When you do a search for "Bill Clinton" + "FOX" you get a list of the videos of the interview By Chris Wallace.  BUT when you actually try to get a video you get a page saying:

This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Fox News Network, LLC because its content was used without permission

And you go down the list, it's the case with every single copy! So hmmm….i wonder what that means…..

Fortunately, for now, when you search for the video in Google Video, it is still accessible…and here it is, and it is FANTASTIC!

Part I: (it gets interesting after the 4th minute, i have to give him credit, the man knows how to carry himself properly, as much as we make fun of him)

[tags]clinton, fox, chris wallace, bill clinton, bin ladin, youtube, google video[/tags] 

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Insane Russian Climbing

I think this is going to be the most insane and amazing thing you are going to see in a long time. This guy is absolutely unbelievable.

See the freeform Russian climber here.

[gv data=""][/gv]

I am seeing it, but i am not believing it.

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