Tag Archives: Media

Noah

Don’t normally do movie reviews. On this occasion I’d like to offer my thoughts on the current pseudo biblical epic ‘Noah‘ starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone.

Here goes. Technically the CGI is a tour de force. Good, strong, character performances from the excellent Mr Crowe and Mr Hopkins. Ray Winstone oozed psychotic menace like only he can. Sadly the script is a turkey, a preachy piece of proselytising, apocalyptic eco-garbage that sent me to sleep half way through. That’s a first. I have never gone to sleep in a cinema before. Ever. I’ve only ever walked out on one movie in 1972, a cranky old Frankie Howerd vehicle called ‘The House in Haunted Park‘, and if it hadn’t been for my wife’s insistence on staying to the end credits of ‘Noah’, I’d have been out of there in the first half hour. Before we went in I was eager to watch, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I’d even dosed up on coffee an hour beforehand. To no avail. I was out for the count around the half way marker. Mid afternoon. Go figure.

Tinfoil hat adjusted

Excuse the relative silence, but I’ve had to watch relatives die recently. The old grim reaper has been on overtime in our vicinity, and grief has been the baseline emotion underscoring our little clans daily lives. Funny thing grief. Sometimes it’s not the person who dies who has the hard time, but their nearest and dearest. So it is with us. Grieving makes people say and do crazy, out of character things. They lash out. Often at people who only want to help. Dealing with the grief of others is a skill I have obtained a little, if unwanted, education in. Comes with maturity I guess. There are times being a grown up sucks. This is one of many.

So I’m not surprised at the reactions to current speculation surrounding Malaysian Airlines MH370. The Malaysian Government are being accused of not releasing information, which they probably aren’t sure about, and don’t want to look like a bunch of idiots by tipping their hand prematurely. Remember all the fuss about the pilot, a highly experienced professional by all accounts, being branded a ‘Terrorist’? Well, here’s a thing; the FBI found nothing suspicious on his home flight simulator. Apart from a few innocuous ‘deleted files’. So he deleted some files on his hard drive. Who doesn’t? Then there was the much vaunted ‘All right – goodnight’ which was a mis-attribution of the co-pilots sign off remark with ground control? Talk about grasping at straws. The most plausible speculation came from a pilot who argued that a cockpit electrical fire would have firstly caused the transponder failures, and secondly, sent the aircrew looking desperately for the closest place to land, but incapacitated them before they could make a landing. So the plane flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea. No terrorists, no kidnaps, just sheer dumb bad luck and maybe a bit of bad maintenance, but that’s for the crash investigators to find out.

There is one aspect of the whole MH370 affair that I find oddly comforting. In the wake of the Snowden revelations about world wide and domestic surveillance, it’s funny that this massive big brother machine hasn’t a clue about where something as big as a Boeing 777-200R, and little media mention of the incident reports on this aircraft type. Maybe the reports of ‘intelligence’ omnipotence and competence are being massively over sold?

If the answer is tax

Just taking my usual Sunday meander through the frothing unreality of the Tellytubbygraph. I see Vlad Putin being lauded as the current object of the UK medias eleven o’clock hate as they try to stir up the populace. The herd of elephants in the room of course being EU intervention in Ukrainian affairs and massive skimming from pipeline contracts by Ukrainian politico’s. Which monies somehow never got back to the Ukrainians, while certain of their politicians became billionaires. Mm-hm. Over here in Canada, the local Ukrainian population are being heard muttering over their plates of Perogies about how the more things change the more they stay the same. Pass the sour cream. So it is with us ex-pat Brits.

At the moment the current UK media bogeyman is not salt, alcohol, tobacco or fats but sugar, which is found in just about every processed food there is. No surprise there, then. Sugars of one form or another are part of the elements of life. Monosaccharides (Simple sugars) include Glucrose, Fructose and the sci-fi sounding Galactose. Disaccharides (Complex sugars) include Sucrose, Maltose and Lactose. Most plants, as I recall from various biology courses I’ve taken, have a certain amount of sugars tucked neatly away in their edible parts. Starches (Polysaccharides), like the ones used in all those ‘Healthy Option’ ready meals as filler are little more than complex sugars.

So the dilemma for the ‘tax everything’ brigade becomes what sort of comestible will be sugar tax exempt. Of course those poor people need their lives regulating by their elders and betters, they’re such children don’cha know. So which foodstuffs need taxing and by how much? My goodness, what a target rich environment.

Okay, so where will all this new tax revenue go? Back in the pockets of the poor, who will grow more numerous as the tax rates increase, said revenue first having been heavily skimmed to pay for new, personnel heavy government departments to oversee ‘fairness’ and sending out ‘revenue neutral’ cheques? Maybe into the UK’s ‘wonderful’ NHS, the one you don’t want to end up in the care of lest your intimate details are sold to marketing companies and your elderly relatives starved or neglected to death? Whilst ensuring sufficient Management for ‘compliance’ with increasingly engorged cobweb encumbered databases of rules and regulations. Top rates must be paid to the managers of course to get the best ‘talent’, even if their only real talent is managing to navigate the HR departments Byzantine recruitment process. A new tax would come in handy to fund them, and their new staff no doubt.

On the face of it, this is a great idea. Tax sugar because it’s so unhealthy. Reduce consumption, cutting obesity at a stroke, and the costs to the NHS will go down. Fewer sick people to treat, right? Simple, elegant, and logical. Ah, but what was that shadow? The law of unintended consequences is lurking in the wings, awaiting it’s entrance in a puff of smoke, bringing chaos and confusion to the lofty utopian plans of the puritanical tax advocates.

It’s not a leap of genius to see that governmental costs (and hence the cost of living) will have to go up because now there will need to be an extra layer of compliance and enforcement for each new tax, easily gulping down the tranches of revenue thus garnered. Unfortunately the overall tax take will reduce because of the tax inflated prices, meaning that government has to borrow to fund these new government departments for command and control. Higher taxes and borrowing act as a brake on the economy, further lowering the tax take and therefore moving more people into the ‘Poor’ category, requiring more government intervention. Requiring more taxation and borrowing, yah-de-yah, etcetera, etcetera. The money has to come from somewhere. Maybe ex-pats savings. Damn those soon-to-be-poor rich bastards, eh? Just don’t forget to tell your influential friends to start moving their money before the new regs come in. Those middle class bitches can take the bite. Again. Those pensions are unsustainable anyway. By the way, where did all these new poor people come from? Anybody know?

Excuse me, I have a boat to buy, boarders to repel. All that jazz.

Netflix

Snow day today. Probably tomorrow as well. The guys whose boats we were to have seen today cried off the viewings and rescheduled for next weekend. No biggie. I’ve got to be over in Van and Victoria next weekend anyhow. The money will be there for the right boat. So today I shall watch a little TV. Thereby hangs today’s tale.

I have a Netflix subscription. Instead of coughing up fifty bucks a month for a cable subscription, which is, I am often assured by friends and just about everyone I meet “Just not worth having.” I spend just under eight dollars a month on Netflix. Roughly five pounds. So for slightly under ninety six dollars a year – well under half the British licence fee, I get (relatively) high definition, advert free content. No trailers, no public service announcements, no drama queen TV announcers. Only the drama that I want to see. Apart from fighting over the remote control. And I don’t have to plough through the cable schedules to see the show I’m looking for when I’m in the mood to view. Or wade through ‘News’ coverage.

For example, should I take a shine to a given series like ‘Chuck‘ or ‘Longmire‘, I can watch one episode after another. Which is great if a series has multiple show story arcs, so you can watch the cliffhanger episode followed directly by the denouement. It’s also great for catching up after being out of the loop for a while. Even if the series isn’t the latest ‘Game of Thrones‘ (Loved Season 3). I can find that through other means. Hey, it’s only TV.

Which is very cool indeed. Well, it would be if only….. My one major beef with Netflix Canada is that I’m paying the same as a US subscriber for restricted choice. Significantly so. Apparently it’s down to the film and TV distribution companies who won’t license their output for showing in Canada. Well, not at the prices Netflix pay. So we have an Apple TV box as well, but that suffers from the same restricted catalogue issue. Which forces people to use VPN‘s, or browser plugins like Mediahint(Which is free) or Tunnelbear(Which isn’t) to access content and content providers. Plug or share your ‘pooter into your big screen, and in the vernacular, Robert is one’s Father’s Brother. Although being a little bit of a Techie is useful when setting up and accessing content in this way.

For your average punter, these methods are often too complicated by half. Their main problem is usually finding the right button on the remote control (or even finding the remote at all), not setting up and fixing issues like circumventing restrictions. The Internet for them is a dark and dangerous place, full of sexual predators, scammers, viruses and porn. For those in the know, the jolly old Interweb is a wonderful hall of mirrors, information and entertainment, and the small number of sexual predators, scammers, viruses and porn vendors are like Jehovah’s Witnesses. They can come a’knocking, but you don’t have to let them in. It’s what firewalls and anti-virus software were invented for. The NSA and anyone else can snoop all they want too, but all they’ll get is this. Nothing to see here, move along. Stand aside bub, you’re in the way. Quit hogging the bandwidth.

On the plus side, Netflix are putting out content like the rather amusing ‘Lillyhammer‘ and ‘House of Cards. Kevin Spacey, while no Ian Richardson, is still a respectable backstab at emulating the wit and wicked to-camera asides of the original UK mini series, which is also currently available on Netflix Canada for a compare and contrast.

Any old road up. That’s all for now, and me and my dog are off out for a play in the snow. Then we’re settling down in front of a nice log fire to watch a couple of episodes of something fun and fairly mindless. Without adverts or admonitions. Cool.

Unprecedented

I like words. Especially the polysyllabic. However, today’s post is a protest against the abuse of an innocent word by politicians and various speech writing hacks. That word is;

Unprecedented
un·prec·e·dent·ed adjective
[uhn-pres-i-den-tid]
Definition;
without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.
Related forms;
un·prec·e·dent·ed·ly, adverb
un·prec·e·dent·ed·ness, noun

Synonyms
unique, extraordinary, exceptional, novel.

Here at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Words, we wish to protest the persistent misuse of this word, and make clear the cruel abuse it is suffering.

We collect over misused nouns, adjectives and even adverbs, to treat them with the dignity they deserve, putting them out to graze in quiet libraries full of peacefully grazing Thesauri, preserving them in protected dictionaries, and letting them have a pleasant retirement for all the hurt they have suffered.

Ladies and Gentlemen; this is a tough era for words, especially now. Many words are brought to us hopelessly crying, scarred with repeated mis-spellings, arthritic syllables, misappropriation, sometimes even additional suffixes (the bastards!) and simply broken through over use. We see it as our bounden duty to take these wrecked remnants of language and rehabilitate them to their original meanings so that they can once more stand proudly within the lexicons of English, to once more serve honourably and with pride. Restored to their proper place and treated with the loving kindness they deserve.

Chiefly we wish to protest the current over use of the adjective ‘Unprecedented’ by unscrupulous politicians and ‘Climate Scientists’, various hacks and speech writers, whose only aim is to place blame where it does not belong, and thus extend unwarranted and undeserved control over an unwitting populace. We have a simple message to such people. The word abuse stops here. Even now we are gathering highly skilled teams of Librarian activists to stand vigil over those treasures of language as still exist, ready to define, defend and even take staunch preventative action against the abusers of language. Needless to say, we have a policy of non-admission to Socialists of all types, as it is they and their collectivist allies who habitually plunder dictionaries in search of words to misuse.

Please; we do not ask for money, simply vigilance against the widespread degradation of innocent collections of letters. Your support is appreciated. Thank you.

Petitions, petitions

Ex UK tabloid Editor Piers Morgan has apparently annoyed quite a few of our cousins south of the 49th parallel (So what’s new?) with a rant about the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution. There is an active petition lobbying the White House for his deportation. There is a counter petition lobbying for him not to be deported. I’ve heard this mis-reported on CBC Radio that the second petition was raised by his ‘supporters’. Not so. I’m reliably told it was UK residents saying “We don’t want him back”.

There is a problem. If the White House does deport the odious little tabloid hack and he wants to stay in Canada; I personally do not want to have the nasty smegger polluting the airwaves up here in the not so frozen north. He has a vile, and some suspect, criminal past. Violating people’s privacy, damaging their reputations without good cause, causing the deaths of UK troops by publishing sensationalist and untrue allegations about UK armed forces in Iraq, and even suspected insider share dealing. If I was Immigration Canada I’d have him on the next flight out if ever he dared show himself at the border.

Although an amusing thought occurs. He could always take a gig up in Churchill, Manitoba, where he could go see how a gun ban works on one of the local Polar Bears. Or the Grizzlies on North Vancouver Island, even Northern BC would do. The bears would probably appreciate a free hack snack. How would that be for an edition of “I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!“? Hey, I’d watch.

Evil smirk.

Here we go again.

Another day, another tragedy. Another media circus. Another opportunity for the collectivist ‘ban everything’ brigade to wallow in false emotion and wave their nasty anti freedom agenda in everyone’s face.

27 people, many of them children, died not simply because an Aspergers sufferer got hold of his Mothers guns, shot her, then went to shoot up the school where she worked. Nor were Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane), Anders Breivik (Norway), and Robert Ryan (Hungerford) so simple as the ‘nutter with guns’ assertion. Nor countless others which do not receive anywhere near the same media attention. Guns are used to kill, therefore guns are bad, ban guns, goes the argument. The same case could be made against Sabatier kitchen knives, ceremonial swords, ice axes, steel capped safety boots, glass bottles, logging axes or rocks. Or even a qualification in martial arts or possession of exceptional physical strength. Amongst many others.

Yet none of the calls for regulation will address the underlying issue. Why certain people go AWOL and lash out blindly. If you choose to read this book by David M Buss, you will be told that the human mind is designed for homicide.` We are killers. All of us. It’s a feature of the standard human psyche. Yet most would faint at the very notion because our killer within is only unleashed under certain, very specific, circumstances. Most will never, ever, find themselves in those circumstances, or more to the point, never let themselves be pushed that far. They’re too well balanced and socialised.

So what is the single thing that all these multiple, and seemingly random killings have in common? Guns? Well, as a tool, certainly, but that is only superficially true. The real motivation can be summed up in one word; frenzy. A mania, or unbalanced state of mind. Extreme, uncontrolled anger unleashed. To use the vernacular; ‘Going postal’. Yet even that is not anywhere near the whole answer. Where does the frustration come from that generates these tragedies? For me, this comment over at ZeroHedge is as close to the true answer as I’ve seen anywhere else;

As long as they keep focusing on the tool rather than behavior, culture and personal responsibility there will be no progress.

Think about it.

The vast majority will never resort to physical violence simply because someone looks at us the ‘wrong’ way. Generally speaking, people either fear the consequences or such an action would never occur to them in the first place. Offering physical harm to others is not something the average human does as a first resort. We are taught not to. Well, most of us. We are taught to talk rather than fight or shoot. To voice our frustrations before we hit boiling and the lid blows off. To have acceptable social outlets.

All the bans, regulation and repressive rules will not solve anything because the real issues are more deeply rooted. Banning legal firearms will leave the only guns in the hands of Government agencies or criminals. Some would argue there’s little difference between these two factions, apart from the membership criteria.

What is really going on?

Watching the current slew of ‘paedo’ celebrity shock-horror-yawn stories coming out if the UK, my nasty suspicious mind is wondering things like “Why now?” and “Where have all these accusers been for the past forty years?” Also, why do the media report ‘Paedophile‘ when they really mean ‘Ephebophile‘ which is more of a grey area. In a few cases the answer to the ‘where have they been’ question has been ‘There all along’ and fair do’s to any real victims for sticking it out for all these years. In others, my sympathy is mitigated. Why has this scandal taken so long to get this far? Surely all those politicians who famously spout about ‘Social justice’ should have taken notice of the complainants and brought these accusations to light when some of the alleged perpetrators were still alive? As for the victims, what do all these people who must now be in their fifties and sixties have to gain after so long? What changed?

To anybody who can even claim the vaguest worldliness, the knowledge that showbiz has had its camp followers below the legal age of consent comes as no surprise. When I was in High School, there were certain girls and boys who might be called ‘sexually precocious’. Hitting puberty was their cue to shed all inhibitions and gain experience in matters sexual a.s.a.p. regardless of the legalities. The joke about not being able to find a virgin over the age of thirteen was why the Druids had packed up and left was common currency. During my senior High School years I recall three girls from our year alone disappearing from school specifically due to unplanned pregnancy. About sixty percent of the rest were known not just to have lost their virginity, but gleefully discarded it at the first opportunity. This sort of thing was commonplace. Girls and boys of fourteen and fifteen onwards were, and probably still are becoming sexually active at that age. Some openly bragged about their conquests. Even if it was only the lead singer (or even the drummer or roadie) in one of the local bands. So long as they were willing, it wasn’t a problem. No injury, no foul, right? That was common thinking at the time. So why the outcry now? Forty years on.

As an aside, I’m willing to let slip a 100% true personal anecdote here. During my time walking the streets as a UK parking enforcer, I was having a sniff around a black Range Rover parked on double yellows outside a local venue. The usual. Checking for disabled badges and the like before booking. Can’t recall exact dates, but I could tell you the places to an inch, even after over seven years. Saw the ‘Police’ sign on the front dash, and noted the non civilian issue radio, and decided to let well alone. Everything about that vehicle said ‘plain clothes Police’, and I was already walking away when this harrassed young guy, mid 20′s, dark grey two piece suit, comes rushing out of the building by the double yellows, warrant card in hand. I stopped, noting the flash of concealed holster as his open suit jacket drifted up in a passing breeze. He explained slightly breathlessly that I shouldn’t give his Ranger a parking ticket as he was an on duty Police Officer, working personal protection for a specific senior Labour Politician, currently visiting a theatrical event performed by some young girls. I replied, saying I’d already twigged the dashboard sign and the radio, and had thus decided to walk away. I recall making a flip but scathing remark about the politician in question and lost pension funds, laughed, and resumed my foot patrol. At the time, the young officer had the grace to look vaguely embarrassed. End of incident.

In light of the current scandal, one suspicion flags up in the back of my mind. Given the then status of the politician in question, I was surprised we weren’t given the ‘hands off’ signal from control and told walk on by. Why was he making unannounced visits to see some obscure junior troup perform? If a Cabinet minister had passed though the small town I used to patrol, I would expect to be given at least some idea of where not to go at the morning briefing or over the cellphone or old radios we used to lug around. Yet this very senior politician was in our town, ‘flying under the radar’ as it were. Now I’m sure that everything was completely above board and innocent, but every now and then I catch the whiff of a deceased Rattus Norvegicus. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not, but it doesn’t stop me wondering. Why the secrecy? Unless he was afraid of being lynched.

Yet I can’t believe real victims have been keeping silent until now. Or as Anna Raccoon has documented about the alleged scandal at Duncroft, in her several autobiographical posts about ‘past lives and present misgivings‘. All of which seem to highlight certain allegations as being at best factually flawed. Which begs the question; what is the rolling ‘showbiz paedo’ scandal really covering up? More pertinently, how much more oppressive legislation is it going to be used as an apologia for?

Update: Ta ever so to Anna and team for the link and extra traffic. Although I don’t really think there’s any plot, just normal human greed and stupidity. Which many UK and European politicians seem to suffer from more than anyone else. Indeed, if events are any guide it seems to be prerequisite for the job.

As an additional comment on the issue of a pair of lame Australian DJ’s doing crap impersonations to humiliate people they’re never likely to meet (That’s them off the New Years honours list). Every single dingbatted action by idiots seems to be adopted by various jackbooted cheerleaders as cause célèbre for state control of everything in everybody’s lives. Even when it’s nothing to do with the Interweb. Because you could bet your last ten cents some tabloid would have broken the story, and the lame DJ’s would have made the call anyway. What’s the matter with those thinking that Government is going to be any good at regulating everyone’s opinions? Why do these morons think Civil Servants would be the go-to guys for sorting everyone else’s problems out? Especially when you look at such people get their advice from in their sacred little bubble existences.

When it comes down to it, there are times when even the cleverest people on Gods green Earth can’t summon up the mental wherewithal to wipe their own arses properly. Indeed, academia is rife with individuals who may be able to solve Fermats last theorem, but couldn’t find their own underpants if they were honked over their heads. People whose major life ambition is a protected life with pots of taxpayer dosh and nice holidays (I’ve met some of them). Yet these are the unworldly sources the statists claim know all the answers? I don’t think so.

All your interwebs belong to us (again)

A lot of kak is currently being talked about ‘regulating the Internet’ mainly by politicians who don’t seem to understand the medium. They seem to think that the dying mainstream press (owned or controlled by them) needs subsidising against what Glenn Reynolds called ‘An Army of Davids’. A mostly unpaid and unsubsidised bunch of amateurs. Shock! Horror! ‘Professional Journalists’ beaten by a bunch of mere amateur scribblers! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Cue Dalek like repetitions of “Regulate! Regulate! Exterminate!” from vested interests and those with something to hide. Including, and especially, the United Nations, which is looking increasingly like an organisation well past its sell-by date.

Okay, let’s be a bit more dispassionate, shall we? Why is the mainstream losing ground against the many voices on the ultra-connected sources of the Internet? I have a one word answer; Integrity. The Internet is the great leveller of information playing fields. The teller of uncomfortable truths, and, let’s be fair, a whole lot of bullshit as well, but at least that pile of crap is obvious and visible, accessible for fact checking and verification. It’s a full on assault on the sensibilities. Unlike the monochrome, one sided cut and pastedness of the mainstream, where too many press releases get uncritically reposted as incontrovertible facts.

For as long as I can remember, even before the Internet, I’ve heard tales of Journalistic ‘Integrity’. Misquoted interviewees. Cheque book journalism. Garbage rummaging, to name but three. Not to mention important stories ‘spiked’ (rejected) by editorial policy.

To suggest that “It’s all the fault of the Internet” as Boris Johnson (amongst others) did today in the UK’s Daily Telegraph is therefore a palpable, noisome, egregious nonsense. Never mind the impossibility of regulating every single voice and blog. It’s too big. Even highly censorious regimes have serious trouble keeping the drip-drip of dissenting voices silent. As for Theresa May’s “Anyone who doesn’t support regulation has blood on their hands” assertion, why do the presses not jam, their servers not melt and crash under such a heinous untruth?

My response? Anyone supporting such regulation is an obvious Statist, and as such to be viewed with automatic suspicion. Someone who is not worthy of trust. Warning! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!H/T This post at|Counting Cats
Shop an Extremist today

There is a way the mainstream can survive and prosper. If they want to compete, they’re going to have to smarten up their collective act. Be more honest, rediscover the meaning of Journalistic integrity. Print only that which can be independently verified, and not by any ‘regulator’ – the facts have their own voices which need no outside help. Then the ‘lost’ readers will return; slowly at first, but in increasing numbers and revenues will climb. Not that I’m holding my breath waiting for such a miracle to occur, that is.