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

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bolshie rag

In conversation today I used the phrase "Bolshie rag" when describing a certain industry publication. I am not sure if my colleagues who heard me actually undertsood what I was saying, so I decide to google the phrase when I got home. The result: only six entries for the phrase "bolshie rag" and no wikipedian in sight. After my last attempt to edit Wikipedia (my ham-fisted efforts were viciously maligned by a pedantic Wiki-Nazi who insisted I has plagiarised my content. Au contraire! I was merely editing), I shall post my interpretation on the blog.

Bolshie rag: A derogatory term used of left-wing newspapers and the like, such as The Guardian (UK). Or any Australian newspaper containing a column written by Phillip Adams. From "Bolshevik" (abbreviated as Bolshie), original Russian revolutionaries, and "rag" for newsprint.

This definition is made up out of my ownhead and if you would like to correct or amend it, join the beg the Wiki-Fuhrer for permission to stain the beautifully polished marble floors of his palace with you mud-sodden boots. So there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some inspiration...

... for the Paradise Lost Lucifer film's CGI. Apologies to the respective original copyright-holders - I used to download any interesting clips I came across, without recording the site they came from. These are too good not to disseminate. Contact me if you are the copyright holder.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Paradise Lost to be filmed

I agree with this blogger: Rufus Sewell for Satan. ("But then I looked at his name again and saw it backwards: LLEWES SUFUR....Was this guy born to play the Prince of Darkness?")

[AE Hochner (Paul Newman's spaghetti-sauce-making partner) records in his Blown Away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties that one Michael Jagger Esq was once sounded out, four decades ago, to play Lucifer in a proposed film (based on a novel by Herman Hesse or Gunter Grass or Carlos Castenada or Michael Mann or one of those guys), and he initially agreed, but after "Sympathy for the Devil" attracted some criticism from the usual enraged vicars (gee! Who'da predicted that! Why not just call yourself "bigger than Jesus" and be done with it?!), Mick decided he needed to, ah, de-Satanise his public image, and started ostentatiously wearing gold crosses in public.]

James Earl Jones, of course, for the voice of God. Essential to get right away from all the "talking lion king" associations that Liam Neeson would bring.

My preferred fallback for depicting God on screen (First Commandment issues and all) is "a bright light shining down from a cloud and three voices talking in unison", but since Milton was a neo-Arian (in modern terms, a Jehovah's Witness avant la lettre), his estate might veto.

Imagine the most evil creature that ever existed, a villain who commits atrocity after atrocity, who has scarred the world and each and every creature in it, a scoundrel so heinous he makes Heath Ledger's anarchist Joker look like Mother Teresa. Now imagine that you like him.
Director Scott Derrickson says that when you see his upcoming adaptation of "Paradise Lost," the epic 17th-century poem by John Milton about the Fall of Man, you won't be able to help but have sympathy for its bad guy: the devil.
"What's interesting to me is that you cannot help but feel that his initial feelings of being disgruntled are merited, and I feel a lot of empathy for the Lucifer character in the beginning of the story," said Derrickson, who wrote and directed "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." "I would want the audience to be sympathetic with him at the beginning, and what happens - what he's up against and what he's wrestling and struggling with - you certainly feel that."
The poem, praised by secular and religious scholars alike, opens with Satan's fall from heaven. He is surrounded by utter darkness before coming to rest in the fiery pits of hell. Defeated in his war against God, and with like-minded fallen comrades in his service, Satan soon concocts a plan to belittle the Creator by desecrating his most recent, and most prized, creation: mankind.
Given that setup (a remarkably futile one at that, since Satan can never actually defeat God), how is it that so many people most identify with the devil? It's a complex theological explanation that Derrickson can only sketch in the film but one that, if you are Christian, essentially boils down to this: "Because you are fallen too."
"In the movie, Satan goes from being a completely good being [an angel] to becoming the most heinous kind of evil, and you really have a hard time knowing exactly where he crossed that line because you were with him," the director said. "What is interesting about that story, in the way Milton laid it out, is that people jump off with him at different points and some never at all. Properly done, it's a story that tells readers a lot about themselves.
"You have to respect that Milton created the first anti-hero with that poem, and certainly this was preserved in the script," Derrickson added. "At what point does love turn to jealousy, jealousy turn into hate and hate into evil?"
For Milton, and for religious thinkers who follow similar beliefs, that point comes when Satan commits the sin of pride, when he begins to set himself up as separate from and in opposition to God. It's a transgression that is mirrored later, of course, by Adam and Eve. Much later, actually: Milton's sprawling poem isn't just dense, it's remarkably long as well, spanning tens of thousands of lines.
Fitting the entire poem into a movie is actually one of the biggest challenges, Derrickson said, but one he hopes to accomplish.
"The screenplay takes aspects of the entire arc," he said. "What it encompasses is still a fraction of the poem and has to be, because you could make a 50-hour miniseries out of it if you wanted to. But it really covers end to end the basic events of the poem."
That means showing not just the highlights, but also the building of Pandemonium (the chamber for the devil and his minions), the revolt of the angels and the battle of heaven. At this stage, much of Derrickson's work on the film is in trying to figure out how to do exactly that, he admitted.
"That's a big part of the process I'm in right now in terms of working on both artwork and just conceptualizing how to do something," he said. "There's CGI and then there's versions that are blends of the two, live-action and CG, and I think the best version of the movie is going to have a lot of blending in it."
Add up all the challenges - the evil character at its heart, the theology, the visuals, the epic story line - and adapting "Paradise Lost" is no easy task. For his part, though, Derrickson can't wait for the opportunity.
"It would not be an easy movie to make, but it would be ground-breaking," he said. "It's really worthy of the attempt."

- Shawn Adler, "Scott Derrickson Says His 'Paradise Lost' Film Might Lead To Sympathy For The Devil', MTV. com (23 July 2008)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"When I find myself/ In times of troubleborough..."

This was prophesied:

"The city of Maryborough, in south-east Queensland, could have its own anthem within the next six to 12 months. The Maryborough Regional Arts Development Fund Committee has allocated $13,000 of funding to compose a city song...."
- "Maryborough looks to own anthem", ABC News (9 July 2007)
Ooh! Ooh! Pick me! Pick me!

Maryborough! Mighty town of ancient awnings
Bringer of life, mother to us all
We swell with pride when the Mayor lets off
The ceremonial cannon every Saturday during the markets
Maryborough! Where they filmed "The Delinquents"
A story set in Bundaberg, but that town "looked too modern"
O Maryborough! We shed our blood for you
A thousand swords leap into our hands
Next time the bogans from accursed Gympie and Monto
Dare to drive donuts through our sacred burg
On their migration to Hervey Bay...

Take it from there.

Granted, finding "life imitates The Onion" stories in the Fairfax papers is like finding stray thongs on the beach, but still

'NEW YORK - Miguel Nunez, a Brooklyn-based artist, has sparked protest and outrage within the art community with his "Jesus Rising #4," a non-controversial, non-feces-smeared painting that in no way defiles or blasphemes Jesus Christ. "Jesus Rising #4," included in Nunez's new Divinity exhibition at the Whitney Museum, has received harsh criticism from artists and academics since its June 6 debut. The painting has been picketed nearly around the clock by angry protesters, who say they are stunned by its lack of obscene imagery metaphorically conveying a provocative, highly charged theopolitical message. "Why isn't this [painting] splattered with donkey semen?" asked sculptor India Jackson, one of the protesters. "And I defy anyone to find a trace of urine, human or otherwise, on this entire canvas. The piece does not appear to be an enraged howl against Christian patriarchal hegemony at all. Frankly, I'm shocked"...'

- "Non-Controversial Christ Painting Under Fire From Art Community", 37(22) The Onion (13 June 2001)

THE nation's top prize for religious art is again embroiled in controversy after one of its judges resigned in protest over the inclusion of a crucifixion painted by the artist Adam Cullen.

The Sydney academic Dr Christopher Allen has resigned from the judging panel for the Blake Prize for Religious Art over his vehement objections to Cullen's work. The triptych shows Christ on the cross and the inscription "only woman bleed", a line inspired by a song by the shock-rocker Alice Cooper.

Cullen said the organisers contacted him yesterday and told him Dr Allen had resigned in protest over the work's selection for consideration for the $20,000 prize.

"It's just a Jew on the cross," said Cullen, who won the Archibald Prize in 2000. "All the other entries would be of a Jew on two bits of wood. It's a very left-wing, almost pseudo-femme, artwork. How can he be offended?"

Dr Allen could not be contacted yesterday. But at a judging session on Friday he admitted he was not a fan of Cullen's work. "I've never even met him - I just don't like his work," Dr Allen said. "It has a kind of deliberate ugliness which has been exploited as a gimmick. This isn't a personal preference, it's a judgment."

Prize organisers were hoping to avoid controversy this year after entries last year, including a statue of the Virgin Mary shrouded in a burqa and a hologram of Christ morphing with Osama bin Laden, angered the then prime minister, John Howard, and the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell. Mr Howard called them "gratuitously offensive".

Most of this year's entries are benign, but the more provocative works include the party boy Corey Worthington as Jesus Christ. "Jesus was crucified to pay for the sins of man, and Corey was crucified by the media to pay for the sins of the MySpace generation," said the image's creator, Dean Sewell, a photographer who also works for the Herald.

The Blake Prize's chairman, Rod Pattenden, confirmed that Dr Allen had quit the judging panel. "Christopher Allen resigned due to his objection towards a particular work included in the exhibition. That was related to his training as an academic and it was an aesthetic objection."

Cullen's entry was condemned by another judge, the academic Dr Kathleen McPhillips, who described it as "really offensive". But another member of the judging panel, the Blake Prize-winning artist Lachlan Warner, was more supportive. "We knew that work was Adam's," he said. "It couldn't have been anyone else's. I decided to throw it in there. I put in a vote for it. I wanted to look at it again." Cullen has become used to strong reactions to his work. "Sometimes I think all I have to do is wake up in the morning - I just have to fart and there's flames."

- Erik Jensen, Louise Schwartzkoff and Richard Jinman, "Religious art prize judge quits in disgust," Sydney Morning Herald (Wednesday 6 August 2008)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Just reading over at MetaLutheran a whinge about RTFM. Having offered this advice in desperation on the past, here's my two cents:

Josh (and many like him) are confusing _effort_ in searching with
_effectiveness_ in searching.

Example #1:

Child: Where are my school socks?

Mother: Where have you looked for them?

Child: Everywhere!

Mother: Here they are, in your sock drawer!

Take it as given that the child has indeed searched literally everywhere, but not found what they were looking for because of an ineffective search strategy. Searching exhaustively in and of itself will not necessarily find you what you are looking for - you have to know _how_ to look. And, you often have to know _what_to look for.

Example #2:
In the bush, you can look and look and look and not see a person standing near you because they are camouflaged. But if you look for a camouflaged person, "through the trees" instead of "at the trees" you will see them.

The manual is the best place to look for the right thing, but you still have to know what you are looking for and how to read it.

Testy techs do grab for this too quickly in my opinion, because many users are very needy and will often play helpless because they are too lazy to find out for themselves, and a tech support call will given a guaranteed iron-clad answer. Some people by habit just pick up the phone and call or send an email because that's how they learn - by asking someone else - rather than trying to find out for themselves. And others just want to get back to being productive rather than wasting time trying to sort out a problem that is not their department anyway (and they might make it worse- best to log a tech call).

Proper training of staff about their proper area of responsibilities (Should you call tech support to help you make a bulleted list in MS Word? No. Should you manager send you on an MS Word course to teach you how to use the tools of your trade? Yes), and of tech about how to speak to humans (Grunts, sneers, sarcastic remarks and long periods of silence are typically not regarded as helpful), goes a long way.

By the way, many manuals written by techs with poor communication skills are fairly useless. It is the synthesis of technical ability and communication skills that makes a tech an asset to both the computers and the people who work with them. They can act as a kind of priestly interpreter, divining the true gnosis generated by the 999th iteration of the Deep Thought project for the congregants at large.

And if they still don't understand, they can always RTFM.