You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Honour among thieves (or at at least some quality control)

'A hoon driver who performed a "burn-out" inside a convenience store after driving through the front door made the task of tracking him down easy for police: he left a registration plate behind. Police said the store attendant had to jump for his life as the car crashed through the front of the store in Warrigal Road, Oakleigh, when the driver lost control during a tyre-smoking "burn-out" in the car park just before 9pm yesterday.

[Police] said the man then drove further into the store, damaging equipment and threatening the attendant. "Not satisfied with the level of stupidity he had displayed to this point, he did another burn-out inside the store, narrowly missing the attendant," [police] said. [... A]s the driver reversed out of the store, "he conveniently left his front bumper bar inside" with the registration plate attached...'

- " Number's up for clueless hoon," Melbourne Age (Friday 19 October 2007)

"A thief caught shoplifting a packet of cheese from a supermarket in Germany tried to make his getaway in a cement mixer, but he was quickly nabbed by police.... When a shop detective in the town of Limbach-Oberfrohna caught the man stealing a 2.79 euro ($3.98) packet of processed cheese, the 55-year-old broke free and leaped into his cement mixing truck outside... The shop alerted police, who arrested the man when he stopped his getaway vehicle at a red light a few hundred yards away.'

- " Thief fails to grasp concept of getaway", Reuters "Oddly Enough" (Friday 19 October 2007)

"Deuwd! I, like, teautally left my car plate behind!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Won't always have Paris

... but may keep Elaan for a change, this time:

Australian actor Eric Bana is to star as a villain in the latest film adaptation of hit science fiction television series Star Trek. The 39-year-old star of Munich and The [sic] Hulk, will play the character Nero in the movie, which is being directed by JJ Abrams, the man behind hit television shows Lost and Alias, Daily Variety reported today. Details about plot and characters in the new film are being kept under blanket security. Bana joins a cast that already includes Leonard Nimoy, although it is not clear if the veteran actor from the television series will be reprising his famous role as Mr Spock. The actor who will play USS Enterprise captain James T Kirk had not yet been decided, Variety reported. The new film is the 11th to be based on the series, which began in 1966 and became one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood, extending to 726 episodes.

- AFP, " Bana to play Star Trek baddie", Sydney Morning Herald (Thursday 11 October 2007)

Answers: Yes, Nimoy does play Spock. But so too does Zachary Quinto. As as for Kirk... In 40 Terrestrial years, Trek has come full circle from being captained by Christopher Pike to being captained by Christopher Pine. (No, not that one.)

Strange intentions

"Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon's divorce from actor Ryan Philippe has been confirmed, nearly one year after the couple's separation, court documents revealed today.... Witherspoon, 31, filed for divorce from Philippe, 33, in November 2006 after a seven-year relationship which began when the duo met on the set of Cruel Intentions. The couple have two children, Ava, 8 and Deacon, 3..."

- " Reese, Ryan divorced," Sydney Morning Herald (Thursday 11 October 2007)

Huh? 7 - 8 = ... -1 (plus nine months)?

UPDATE: Some more funny numbers in the news...

"At stake... were five of the 10 non-permanent seats on the 15-nation council... Unlike the five permanent members, ... the non-permanent members have no individual veto. But an alliance of seven of them can stop a resolution even if the big powers want it."

- "Libya elected to UN Security Council," ABC News (Wednesday 17 October 2007)

Seven out of fifteen can pass a motion, with... hmmm... (15 - 7 =...) eight voting against? Maybe they use a weighted voting system,like this one:

"Australia opposes the death penalty. It is an article of faith for both the Government and the Opposition... The 2004 Australian Election Survey found support for the death penalty stood at 51.1 per cent, with opposition at 32.7 per cent and 16.2 per cent undecided."

- Sian Powell, "Double standard on death: Labor foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland's remarks on capital punishment put bipartisanship under scrutiny," Weekend Australian (13-14 October 2007),25197,22576191-28737,00.html

Yep. The pro-DP Australians only outnumber the anti-DP Australians by a mere 1:59 to one. That's a pretty clear and convincing margin by which "Australia" opposes the death penalty, innit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

"I, the Jury" meets "We, the Living"

"Tomorrow, October 12, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged...
In his 1989 memoir, Judgment Day: My Years With Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden recalls that Rand once enjoyed a literary friendship with another popular and controversial author - Mickey Spillane. Branden recalls that when Rand first met Spillane she found the tough-guy novelist crying in his soup. "They sure hate us, don't they?" he told her, lamenting all those harsh reviews. "Some literary guy," Spillane added, had recently approached him at a dinner party and said, "it's disgraceful that of the ten bestselling novels of all time, seven were written by you." "You're lucky," Spillane replied, "that I've only written seven books."
Spillane was right to think he deserved a bit more critical praise. When he was bad, he was very bad: gratuitously violent and crude. But the author of I, The Jury and My Gun Is Quick had certain talents too: a clean and vivid style, a sly wit, and a distinctive narrative voice that hints throughout of self-parody. Moreover, Spillane was, by most accounts, a sociable and likable fellow, and seems to have largely avoided the urge to take himself too seriously. Ayn Rand took herself very seriously indeed..."

- Brian Murray, "Who Is John Galt? And Does Anyone Care Anymore?" First Things "On the Square" blog (Thursday 11 October 2007)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shoulda known/ We'd never get far

One Eighties icon hopes to succeed in bringing peace to the Middle East where others have failed...

Bryan Adams has announced he will headline two peace concerts [on] October 18, calling for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of the New York-based OneVoice Movement. The organization seeks to create a grassroots movement to bring about a two-state solution to end decades of strife. The Canadian rocker will begin his epic day in a soccer stadium in the ancient West Bank town of Jericho in the Palestinian Authority, then cap the day with a set at Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv, Israel. The simultaneous festivals, which will also include Israeli and Palestinian artists on the bill, will be beamed by satellite to audiences in Washington DC, Boston, London, Ottawa and other cities in the US and Europe that will be holding their own "echo events." ...

- Josh Grossberg, " Bryan Adams' Mideast Peace Plan," NineMSN News (9 October 2007)
Reports that Mr Adams plans to dedicate his live accoustic of "Cuts Like a Knife" to Daniel Pearl and Kenneth Bingley could not, at time of writing, be verified.

Monday, October 08, 2007

What part of "no graven image" don't... oh, forget it

Taliban First Commandment jurisprudence, 1997:

"... the Taliban is perhaps the most militantly religious militia on earth. At checkpoints around the city [of Kabul], its fighters were searching cars for magazines and cassettes. I saw videotapes and audiotapes festooning a tree near one such checkpoint, and assumed they were pornographic, or rock and roll, or some kind of anti-Taliban propaganda. But I learned that the objective of the fighters is in fact much wider. They are searching for anything that depicts the human face or any of God's creatures. In no other Islamic society have the new revolutionary authorities gone so far."
- Michael Ignatieff, The Warrior's Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience (1998), pp 150-51.

Taliban First Commandment jurisprudence, 2007:

Osama Bin Laden plans to emerge from the shadows to taunt the United States again in a video message marking the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, US-based monitoring services said on Thursday. The video from the world's most wanted man would be the first such appearance by the Saudi extremist since October 2004, when he threatened new attacks against the United States just days before a US election. "The SITE Intelligence Group has learned that a new video message is forthcoming from the head of Al-Qaeda" on the 9/11 anniversary, said the group, which monitors extremist websites and publications. The Al-Qaeda network's media arm announced the video in a notice posted on jihadist forums... The video of the soft-spoken Al-Qaeda leader who has claimed credit for the 9/11 attacks will be closely watched with every word and visual detail analyzed and dissected by intelligence agencies in Washington and around the world... Al-Qaeda now promotes itself in numerous videos and web postings but Bin Laden retains a low-profile, staying out of sight while issuing only occasional statements. Thursday's online notice included a photo of Bin Laden in which his black beard did not have the usual streaks of gray. He was also not wearing a camouflage jacket as in previous appearances..."

- AFP, " Bin Laden to taunt US again in video marking 9- 11" (7 September 2007)
Maybe the Taliban have concluded that Osama's visual depictions were actually made by angelic, not human, hands.

"'Fenris Ulf' means no more and no less than 'Maugrim'..."

UPDATE: And finally... Hal E Potter and the Potentially Lethal Season's Greetings.

Harry Potter fever is sweeping with the impending release of JK Rowling's much-anticipated sixth book in the heptalogy, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Following well-established publishing precedent, the title will be extraordinarily rendered to make it comprehensible to US children. Just as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as both a book and a film title, was translated into Americanese as Hal E Potter and the Sorceror's Stone -- and just as Books 2 to 5, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- were likewise translated into the True Speech of Webster and Clay (as Hal E Potter and the Room Full of Secrets, Hal E Potter and the Jailbird from Wizardprison, Hal E Potter and the Jewelled Cup Full of Fire, and Hal E Potter and the Sorority of the Burning Bird -- so, too, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will need to be made comprehensible for the MTV and zee-for-zed generation. My money's on Hal E Potter and the Full-Blood Kennedy Nephew, but I invite your contributions.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"Evening, Mrs Vader... Darth is over there"

" Evening, Mrs Vader... Darth is over there"

Reutos "Oddly Enough" (Monday, April 23rd, 2007)

[via "When vogue goes rogue..." blog]

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

John Ralston, Saul

The backlash continues. White, light-haired North American males are being given iconic science fictional roles that used to belong to persons of colour - Black and Asian. First, Ged of Earthsea was filmed as a bland whiteboy. Then, Colonel Tigh (played by Terry Carter, black) was turned into Colonel Saul Tigh (played by Michael Hogan, white). Both bad. Two smacks for Sci-Fi Channel.

But now it gets complicated. In Sci-Fi's new re-imagining of Flash Gordon, Emperor Ming is now played by a white Canadian actor, John Ralston. I'm guessing, just guessing, that Pam Noles won't be as pissed off about this particular de-pigmentation as she is about Danny Glover's role in Earthsea and Ron Glass's role in Firefly.