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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

After everything Glen A's done for you?!

Rick Springfield says he still battles with the depression that briefly ended his musical career in the 1980s - despite being lusted after at nearly 58... When he's not "getting possessed and burning up a sweat on stage," as he puts it, he's enjoying meditation nights with rock pal Richard Page, from the 1980s band Mr Mister. And if you thought that was lame for a rocker, Springfield also reveals he's a sci-fi geek. "I'm a toy freak. I've got about 10 toy guns, and I've just bought three ray guns. I've also got some really rare Star Wars stuff, action figures and Japanese tin robots. I collect weird s***. It must be a part of me that still lives in my mother's basement" ...

- Emma Pryer, "Rocker Rick battles blues - But his fans still go wild," Sunday Telegraph [Sydney] (19 August 2007), p 27.

Star Wars figures?!!! With that sort of ingratitude, the Sacred Scrolls foretell that Rick's chances of being cast in a cameo role on CSI Caprica ("Jeff Athanasius, complaining passenger on luxury starliner") are diminishing.

Well, I suppose you gotta love somebody. And take heart, Rick, at least you're doted on by Jennifer Garner, if not Leia Organa.

To be fair, gratitude goes both ways. Given that Ronmor and crew are lifting Jimi Hendrix tunes now, and given that "Jesse's Girl" has been used in other films (most memorably, in Boogie Nights), that tune would have made fitting background music to Zak and Kara creating their own private Tropic of Caprica in the episode "Act of Contrition".

Monday, August 20, 2007

Portman, Kidman, Pullman

[1] "Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen have topped a poll of the most unconvincing on-screen chemistry for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones."

[2] "Film not anti-Catholic: Kidman"

Nine.MSN News (Sunday 19 August 2007)

Nicole Kidman has been forced to deny her latest film is anti-[C]hurch and [to] reaffirm her own faith as a religious controversy threatens to brew in the United States.

Kidman stars in the fantasy film The Golden Compass, an adaptation of a book that has been labelled 'anti-Catholic' in the US.
[Well, that's not really fair. Pullers has a swipe at "every religion" in his books. Yes, that does include even Bahais and Hollywood Buddhists, I presume - he did say "every".]

The film also stars Daniel Craig and recent Bond-girl Eva Green.
[As opposed to ancient Hitler girl Eva Braun...?]

''I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic,'' Kidman told Entertainment Weekly magazine.

''I was raised Catholic, the Catholic Church is part of my essence.''
[What, not merely one of her accidents?]

The film's screenplay is based on Philip Pullman's book Northern Lights, which has reportedly gained attention in the US for its perceived anti-Catholic rhetoric.

Kidman, who is currently midway through production of the Baz Luhrmann period epic Australia, told the US magazine that the screenplay had been altered.

''It has been watered down a little,'' she said.
[Yeah, well... up to a point, Lord Summerisle. In the film version, the corrupted priests of "Pope John Calvin" only eat the babies raw; they don't burn them alive first, like in the books.]

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On spoilers

Why is ther an insatiable desire for spoilers? Or is it an uncontested drive by media outlets to publish and be damned? Or is knowing the spolier the lazy person' guide to everything? Or a vicious desire to see those who do not want to be spoiled be dismayed on the revelation?

I spent months trying to avoid spoilers for The Phantom Menance, back in 1999, and the final result wasn't worth the effort.

Trying to avoid Harry Potter 7 (7! This kids has done more rounds than Rocky) spoilers was a little easier - it's a book, not yet a fil, so just avoid all print, tv and internet, but KFC an McDonald's kids toys are safe.

What is the big deal. Three points of view:

J.K. Rowling:

A couple of weeks ago (April 28th, if you want to go and search the archive) the Potter fansite The Leaky Cauldron posted an editorial on potential spoilers for "Deathly Hallows". It made me laugh, but I was also incredibly moved and grateful.

We're a little under three months away, now, and the first distant rumblings of the weirdness that usually precedes a Harry Potter publication can be heard on the horizon. The Leaky Cauldron's early mission statement on spoilers (ie, don't, and we're not putting them up if you do) is deeply appreciated by yours truly.

I add my own plea to Melissa's for one reason, and one only: I want the readers who have, in many instances, grown up with Harry, to embark on the last adventure they will share with him without knowing where they are they going.

Some, perhaps, will read this and take the view that all publicity is good publicity, that spoilers are part of hype, and that I am trying to protect sales rather than my readership. However, spoilers won't stop people buying the book, they never have - all it will do is diminish their pleasure in the book.

There will always be sad individuals who get their kicks from ruining other people's fun, but while sites like Leaky take such an active stance against them, we may yet win. Even if the biggest secret gets out - even if somebody discovers the Giant Squid is actually the world's largest Animagus, which rises from the lake at the eleventh hour, transforms into Godric Gryffindor and... well, I wouldn't like to spoil it.

Josh Wheedon:

AVC: Is there a conscious philosophy to avoiding spoilers rather than seeking them out? There are fanatics on both sides of that divide.

JW: You know, I had older brothers, and I don't think there's anything worse than an older brother. They pretty much told me the end of everything they got to see before I did. It occurred to me very early on, "This would have been a lot more fun if I hadn't known everything that was going to happen before it happened." I got a little neurotic about it, and people were like, "What up?" So I sat down and I really thought about it, and realized that there is a philosophy behind it, one that I've talked about before, and I won't bore you with. It's the idea of surprise being the point of storytelling, and the most honest emotion, because it's truly humbling. Surprise means you have to reassess what you thought. It means that you were wrong about the way things were structured, and that's exciting, and really important. It also makes for a good story. I mean, The Sixth Sense is fine the second time around, but honestly, the first time around, it's dazzling. When it matters, when it makes a difference, letting a story happen to you, letting a narrative take place instead of just waiting for placeholders is a better experience, and it feeds you. We need narrative, it feeds us in a particular way, and deconstructing it completely before you've actually experienced it, I think it leaves us unfed.

And some tongue in cheek from Slate (warning! Contains HP7 spoilers for spoiler purist, and some basic themes for those who don't care as much)

So, it's not crazy to posit that peekers and page-by-pagers may represent two opposing personality types. Maybe the tenacious tots who read Harry Potter all the way through will show great self-restraint, competence, and resourcefulness later in life. And maybe when the peekers come of age they'll whine, sulk, fidget, and try to get ahead by taking shortcuts. To date, I've only heard one convincing reason to flip to the back, from another famous Harry. In When Harry Met Sally..., Harry says "I always read the last page first. That way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Presidential Tag Clouds

A tag cloud (or weighted list in visual design) is a visual depiction of content tags used on a website.

An interesting tag cloud:

State of the Union clouds - words used in U.S. presidential addresses through history

- note the change in content over time, yet the word "economic" persists

"Don't keep the Lego Man waiting!"

Oop ja, het is verij kuuriooslijk indeed. Did anyone check whether Nicholas Cage/ Edward Woodward was trapped inside, perhaps with a SIM card melted to him? Was the harvest especially bad in any small, isolated islands in the Zuidersee?

A giant, smiling Lego man has been fished out of the sea in the Dutch resort of Zandvoort. Workers at a drinks stall rescued the 2.5-metre tall model, which had a yellow head and blue torso. "We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water," said a stall worker. "It was a life-sized Lego toy." A woman nearby added: "I saw the Lego toy floating towards the beach from the direction of England." The toy was later placed in front of the drinks stall.

"Giant Lego man washed up on Dutch beach," Reuters (Wed 8 August 2007)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blue Murder in the Cathedral

"Church apologises "

A racist outburst by a leading member of the Catholic Church has been caught on camera and posted on video website YouTube.

The clip shows the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, the Reverend Geoffrey Baron, confronting a group of youths riding skateboards on the church property.

He tells them to leave, but as they taunt him, his demands become more abusive.

Joe Tucci from the Australian Childhood Foundation says the remarks were offensive and the Church should arrange anger management and counselling.

Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Monsignor Les Tomlinson has apologised unreservedly for the remarks made by the priest.

I can understand FGB being provoked and angry under these cirucmstances. However, his response was disproportionate. In today's climate, there is a certain percentage of the population among whom you automatically forfeit all moral legitimacy if you make a negative racial/ ethnic statement. Doing that is a deal-breaker, one that automatically makes you more sinning than sinned against, regardless of what the other person (or group) was doing to you.

Anyway, these skateheads should be thankful that Guilfuss never got hisself ordained (apparently he declined all attempts to recruit him the clergy by maintaining steadfastly that he wanted to pursue a career where he could produce some visible results). Had he been corporeally present thereat, the Lunar Love God would'a flogged 'em with rosary beads, as the corrupted priest who was protagonist of Anthony Burgess' novel Earthly Powers did to a Nazi war criminal.

Heck, I'd even settle for Fr Bob Maguire (of John Safran fame) giving these bogues the sharp edge of his tongue, as long as it could be captured on ThouTube.

UPDATE: Well, my desire to have Fr Bob putting the boot into theological opponents via online video has been partly met, now that NINEMSN has posted this video expose , with him using his acerbic tongue on Hillsong. FBMG is particularly steadfast in upholding the Catholic Church's 1,700-year-old [T]radition abhorring the use of religion as a means of accumulating wealth. Channel Nine, too, is shocked! - shocked! - at the idea that people would do things to make huge amounts of money. Kerry Packer could not be reached for comment, even by Fr Bob.