Monday, July 31, 2006

Badly Thought Out Book Titles

No #473: Cancer At Your Fingertips

Independent: Charles Kennedy has declined to rule out a return as Liberal Democrat leader, despite dismissing speculation surrounding "a plot" against his successor.

Guardian: The former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has denied reports that he hopes to challenge his successor for his old job.

Telegraph: One senior Lib Dem MP privately hailed Mr Kennedy yesterday as still "the most popular leader we have had" and said he would be odds-on to beat any future rival - including the so-called party golden boy Nick Clegg. "He would beat anybody in the party if such a contest arose," the MP said.

Are the media never happy unless at least one of the main political parties are in the process of replacing their leader?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

[via Fridgemagnet]

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ann Coulter calls Al Gore a 'total fag'. She has books she needs you to buy after all.


Friday, July 28, 2006

More 4 are advertising Studio 60 as 'coming soon'. Seeing as that is broadcast this Autumn in the US I'm intrigued as to how More 4 are going to do this.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Grant Morrison on Google Video.

Disinfo Appearance.
Grant Morrison and Deepak Chopra: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Miss, miss! Ann Coulter's been at the crack pipe again Miss!

Coulter: [On Bill Clinton] I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality.

Yep, Bill Clinton is an uphill gardener because he likes the ladies so much. As the gays are known to do. Oh, and that gays are the bad, though with right-wing loons like Coulter that hardly needs to be said.

You'll Believe a Superman Film Can Suck. Badly.


It's boggling that Superman Returns sucks so badly considering it was brought to us by the team that made X-Men 2, easily the best of the franchise to date. But SR, after some pretty pictures during the title sequence, sucks and then proceeds to suck at quite an alarming speed.

For some reason SR is a sequel to Superman 2, made before most of the audience (and some of the cast) were born. Superman has gone to the stars for five years on the off-chance that his father was just ripped to the tits when he'd sent his son to earth because of the imminent destruction of their homeworld, Krypton. On his return Superman finds out:
a) his adopted father has died.
b) Lois Lane has had a baby.
c) Lex Luthor is out of prison.

Sucks to be Supes. On returning to Metropolis Clark Kent has absolutely no problem getting his job back at the Daily Planet, only to find out that Lois is seeing his editor's nephew, Richard White who, much to my surprise, is actually a good guy and not a dick. Lois is initially not too pleased with the return of either Clark and Superman (quite why she doesn't put two and two together on this point is avoided) while Lex is planning to use technology stolen from Superman's Arctic Fortress of Solitude to create a new island in the middle of the Atlantic, destroying the United States in the process.

Why is this a sequel to an old film? That had two sequels which were rubbish and one of which involved Richard Pryor if I remember correctly? Why not kick the franchise off fresh? Brandon Routh pulls off a fairly good Clark Kent/Superman, following the Christopher Reeve model rather than that of the TV Series. Kate Bosworth fails to charm on pretty much every level, coming across as petulant rather than justifiably pissed-off at the big guy in tights. Where things really go astray is that Routh is 27 and looks 24, Bosworth 23 going on 18. For the first film in a franchise that wouldn't matter, for a story where, by the time Clark arrives Lois is an established reporter, they have adventures for a few years then Superman leaves for five, the characters should be in their mid-thirties, thirty at the very least. As it is this casting makes it look like Superman did the super-dirty with Lois when they were in school.

James Marsden seems happier on this film than the X-franchise, or perhaps it's just he gets to play someone who can smile. As I said above, a pleasant surprise is that he's not a wanker that Lois has inexplicably gone off with because she can't have Superman, he's a brave principled guy and if he sticks around Clark will find it hard to beat him to Lois' favour without just revealing he's the Man. Despite some extremely badly-delivered lines (and if you've seen the trailer then you've seen the worst of them) Kevin Spacey isn't too bad as Lex Luthor, though he lacks charisma. Quite why he has Kitty Kowalski (Parker Posey) hanging around with him for all the film is never explained, neither of them seem to like the other, she's rather stupid and there's no indication that he likes touching her, let alone doing the naughty.

The main flaw with this film is the one that affected Fantastic Four. In that the good guys were in the dark until practically the end that there was a bad guy, let alone that he had a nefarious plan, and then they fought. The rest of the film up to that point was spent dealing with less interesting touchy-feely, stuff which is difficult to deal with convincingly in the world of spandex-fetishists. SR's Lois has none of the bite of Terri Hatcher's character from Lois and Clark and although Routh is good, his Clark Kent doesn't seem to do much except walk around Metropolis with a goofy grin on his face. We never actually see him do a lick of reporting, he might not be the equal of Batman but he's not supposed to be a moron either. Luckily he gets his job back because there's a vacancy on the staff, Perry White (a wasted Frank Langella) doesn't seem to be concerned as to whether he's still got any ability.

Possibly some good stuff has been cut out. In his first scene Lex Luthor has whiled his way in to the affections of some old lady who has helped him to regain his freedom then obligingly signed over her millions to him. After she croaks he leaves her room to find her relatives standing outside. He dumps a wig on a little girl and walks away, only we haven't seen him directly yet, so the wig seems rather unnecessary. Kitty is dressed as a maid but unless that's just Luthor's own fetish coming in to play that's also not explained on screen.

Luthor's grand scheme is to grow an island with crystals stolen from the Fortress of Solitude. When Lois tells him the other nations of the world won't stand for it, he insists that the island will be bristling with advanced Kryptonian technology. We see none of this when the island actually appears, perhaps that's on the other side of the island that we don't see, or maybe Lex means he has, on other crystals, information on how to build them using the zero natural resources on the island.

The special effects are pretty good, although it would seem 'making people appear to be flying' effects have plateaud out since L&C. Lex's island creation causes a tidal wave to hit Metropolis and, while it's not anything that has not been seen before, Superman dealing with this chaos is nicely done. The best moment is probably the rescue of the plane at the start, which signifies to the world that Superman is back in business. (Incidentally, Lois hits her head so many times during this that if I liked the rest of the film more I'd be inclined to write off her behaviour in the rest of the film as 'serious brain trauma'.)

Part of this 'seen it all before' problem is with Superman's powers. In the early 1980s the comics depowered Superman, making him really really strong, rather than someone who could juggle planets for kicks. The films, TV series and cartoons have tended to have the original pre-80s version. The problem with this is that they have all tended to rely on the same thing to even the odds: Kryptonite. Yes, Lex gets his hands on the green stuff and makes sure to have plenty on hand when he and Superman finally confront each other towards the end of the film. Superman goes all gooey, Lex and his henchmen beat him up and, rather than sensibly killing him on the spot, toss him into the sea to drown so that Lois, Dick and Short Round can save him. I don't even watch Smallville and I'm sick of how often Kryptonite turns up. In the comics it tended to be a rare thing, in other media it seems to be the only show in town. Some originality would have been nice. Or, failing that, some Kryptonian battle armour that I'm sure Lex could have found out how to make. However, during the tediously long 'Superman throws the island into space' sequence, he is surrounded by Kryptonite which has no effect on him whatsoever.

So, in the end a humdrum and disappointing waste of a few hours. And already we know there will be a sequel.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Of course, it's highly sensible behaviour during a heatwave to go out walking for a couple of hours but that's what my sister and I did yesterday. When, amid public incredulity, the UK won the rights to stage the 2012 Olympics last year it was decided to bulldoze most of the East End to make way for it, yes (massive and probably historically inaccurate generalisation alert!) what the beastly Huns bombs couldn't do to the plucky people on London during the Second World War... etc etc and so on. Actually, it's not that bad. London is, like the people of Britain, a fascinating mongrel and if we weren't radomly destroying bits and concreting over green space, we wouldn't be true to it. Without the Great Fire of London we wouldn't have Saint Paul's Cathedral, without WW2 we wouldn't have Canary Wharf, without Cromwell I suppose we might not have the Jewish community centred around Golders Green. Who knows.

Anyway, Newham, one of the affected (or afflicted?) boroughs, has organised tours of what will one day become the car parks of the Olympic village. To be fair to them, there does seem to be an effort to reclaim a lot of brownfield sites for this, old unused factories and the like. But it's also going to take a lot of liminal places, edgespaces, the betwixts, betweens and boundaries, which is what I think will be a shame.

There's a pdf of the route we walked here, we were following the red trail, and you can see my photos in my Flickr album. We were walking in sunlight for almost all the way with no shade. Though the morning started cloudy, by the time we had got to Newham in the early afternoon the sun was blazing once more. Though there were only around a half-dozen of us who did this walk it's generally been so popular that it's going to be extended another month into August. Maybe I'll do the walk again in a few years time, so I can see the building work and contrast it with how it was. If you want something to do in August you could give this a try, or one of the other walks in the other boroughs, but make sure you take a lot of water with you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It's another 80's cartoon revival.

We've had some rain at last. An all too brief shower but it's brought some cloud cover with it so we might actually have a chance to cool down a tadge. My sleeping has been minimal over the last few days especially, I've dozed off several times today since getting up this morning, at least once while watching Howl's Moving Castle, with it's general dreamlike structure I'm reluctant to watch it again in case any of the bits I really liked turn out to be my dreams rather than part of the film.

I will write and tell Jack Straw he's a cretin but only if 100 other people will too. [Info here]

It's a clash of the memes. All Your Snakes (on a plane) Belong to Us.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some good news is that the Arctic Monkeys are favourites to win the Mercury Music Prize this year. The Merc seems to carry a curse, almost every band that has won has either split-up, released disappointing albums or just vanished from the face of the earth (if anyone spots Antony and the Johnsons then for god's sake don't let on). Mind you the list this year is almost entirely made up of people I couldn't give a toss about so knowing my luck they'll give the Golden Albatross to Thom Yorke.


Why is it that when it's hot in the afternoon you want to sleep, but when it's hot at night you stay wide awake? Or is it just me?

A microphone that revealed to the UK the truth about our 'special relationship' with the US.

Short version.

Bush: Hey, hey you, where are my pork chops?
Blair: Heh heh heh, very funny George.
Bush: What's so funny? Ay'm hungry!
Blair: George, it's me! Tony Blair? The Prime Minister of Great Britain? We stood beside you in The War Against Terror?
Bush: Oh, right, I see... You're Muslims right?
Blair: No, we're not Muslims!
Bush: Then why won't you get me my pork chops?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I love John Rentoul. No matter what, week after week in The Independent on Sunday, he looks at the weeks news, decides what is more damaging to his hero, Tony Blair, and writes accordingly. Gordon Brown figures rarely these days as Blair is wrapped up in so many other problems of his own making, but the other week it was John 'Two Shags' Prescott he put the boot into, and this week it would appear it's the 'theatrical' police. Poor Lord Levy! Those mean police must be questioning him because they've got nothing to go on and therefore they're just trying to embarrass Saint Tony. When Blair is dead, politically or elsewise, I wonder whether the distraught Rentoul will seek to be buried alive with the man he admires so much, or whether he'll find some other figure to cleave to?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I've been waiting for this for about twenty years and now someone's graciously invented it: Nyx clothing offers built-in flexible display screens. [via gizmag]

Last Saturday I pointed to a pro-life guy who thought an article in The Onion was real. Since then he's been scorned up and down the internet for being a moron. A couple of days later he appears to have still not got it. He still treats the tenets of the article as fact and the writer as genuine. Luckily, he goes out to put up anti-abortion posters and takes strength from a conversation with a pro-choice woman who appears to condone both women killing their children and men raping women. Mind you, looking at the last couple of sentences in his article, was he writing this as a piece that he thinks is a 'satire' on pro-choicers?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Oh my spunky Jesus! They got Rob Lowe back for the end of The West Wing! How many e's in Sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?

"Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women."

Joss Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer's grandmother and equality in his writing.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Register were this morning very happy with the prospect that the ID Card project was dead. This idea has obviously been getting around as this afternoon Blair was forced to give his support to the ID Card scheme (in much the same way he gives his support to a Minister who then has to resign), allowing Touchy Feely David Cameron to point out: "But everyone apart from you knows this project is in deep trouble. The civil servant responsible for delivering it says it's being delayed. Another one says its impossible to imagine the full scheme being brought in by 2026."

Still, it's worth pointing out that tomorrow may well be a good day to bury bad news.

Karl Marx's Grave, Highgate Cemetery

Karl Marx's Grave, Highgate Cemetery
Originally uploaded by Loz Flowers.

This one's for Patrick, to show where I went today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Best Headline of the Day

Talcum powder abuse settlement.

Natural Hallucinogen. Probably best not clicked on if you're using heavy machinery or juggle faberge eggs for fun. [via B3ta]

Aeon Flux. The tagline is: "For people who found The Matrix Revolutions too intellectually challenging"

Blah blah, an evil oppressive goverment (which doesn't appear to be), brave rebels (who we don't see, apart from their agents), a daft plot involving cloning, gymnastics, Matrix- kung-fu and genetically-engineered Charlize Theron playing Aeon Flux. She's an agent of the rebels (who don't seem to do anything apart from order her around via visions of Frances McDormand) and... and... and I really can't pretend any enthusiasm for this pile of crap. I haven't seen the original cartoon but this film brings nothing to the table that we haven't seen in the rash of inferior Keanu and Company rip-offs of the last seven years.

Much better is Serenity in which 'unjustly-cancelled-before-it's-time' sci-fi-western Firefly goers big screen for it's last hurrah. Ironically the first two minutes of the film explain more about the story's universe than the tv series ever did, before taking one of the main plot threads of the series and taking it to a conclusion. I'm not sure the big reveal is actually anywhere near as shocking as writer/director Joss Whedon thinks it is, but with a script full of great lines this entertains as it goes.

Monday, July 10, 2006

'Christopher Walken', 'Richard Dreyfus' and 'Walter Matthau' audition for Star Wars.

The Muppets audition for The Empire Strikes Back.

It now seems as though the number of people that think ID Cards can be succesfully brought in within the Government's time limit can be counted on the fingers of, well, maybe a few hands. Unfortunately they are elected officials in high government, but now the ranks of those who don't want this scheme and don't believe it can work, consisting of the public, opposition MPs and, lest we forget, the companies that would stand to take a lot of public money for this, have been swelled by the civil servants working to bring the project to life. Ministers are accused of being 'in denial' about the problem although that's surely a prerequisite of being in government?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Onion strikes again


[via Feministing, again]

Back in those wild days in April 1997 my grandmother's children were meeting in her house when my Aunt and Uncle announced they would be voting Labour at the next election. This was quite a big thing for them to admit as they'd met at a Conservative Association and been Tory voters for decades.

Almost ten years on and under David Cameron the Tories are slowly ditching the policies which have kept them out of power since then. I'm not sure they can ever do anything to win my vote, even if I could be persuaded that Conservatism in the real world (as opposed to what I understand of Conservatism as a theory) can help poor and vulnerable people one only has to look at the number of changes to the Labour party's views on going from Opposition to Government (Freedom of Information Act? Nuclear Power?) to question whether any pledge by any member of the big two parties is worth the manifesto it's printed on (unless it's a pledge to be beastly to foreigners).

Still, here's some good news.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I feel pretty...

FYI, I'm rocking the 'geek trannie' look today. If you could see me, you would want to. I guarantee it.

Otherwise, I'm still looking for some brave Christians to help me out with this. Jack Fear, what sayest you?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

This is just opening up a whole new barrel of what the fuck?

What the fuck?

[via Blac(k)ademic, via Feministing]

You'll notice the blogroll to your right looks a little different. I've got bored with the courtly motif thing which never really worked from the start, amused only me at best and was progressively harder to work out how to fit people in where applicable.

Otherwise, we're still waiting for the storm over our heads to break or FUCK OFF! Everyone is feeling the oppressive pressure today, but we've been teased with a bit of drizzle but nothing more.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Intensely Intense

Do you remember The Diary of a Manic Street Preacher Fan? Hope is Emo. "Just because I'm introspective and I walk among the shadows it doesn't mean I can't hear you." (Episode Two at Hope Is

MPD as a way of life?

Hot hot hot.

I thought we were going to have some relief earlier, a light drizzle at all points Londinium, the usual stories that the Tube Network isn't prepared for any type of weather, BBC weather predicting thunder and lightning, but it all went away and now we're just back to sweltering weather again.

I'm off for a bath.

Monday, July 03, 2006

When Deities Attack

So I'm thinking about the Bible, as I'm wont to do, and I can't help but think that someone's priorities are wrong. The Devil doesn't do much evil does he? He tempts Eve (if you want to believe that's the devil and I don't think the original text states this clearly), he torments Job, with God's permission, he tempts Jesus and possesses the odd deranged person here or there and is on stage for the Big Curtain Call of Revelations, but Jehovah does decree that Adam and Eve will have to be mortal because they ate a fruit cocktail, he does kill everyone but Moses's family and then continually allows his supposed 'chosen people' to be killed and enslaved until it really hurts, so really, I'd know who I'd take my chances with for all eternity.

Is it possible that Satan is trying to tempt people away from God to try and keep them safe from harm?

Independence, Schmindependence

[O]nly 12 per cent of Britons trust [Americans] to act wisely on the global stage, Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.

Though to be fair much the same can be said of the British, just replace 'incompetent' with 'dishonest'.

MediaWatchWatch. Especially worth reading for the still continuing 'charmless bigots Versus 'Jerry Springer- The Opera' story.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Recently added to my iPod

Well, with absolutely no surprise we've left another international sporting event. I actually missed the most exciting bit, travelling home from work during the time when David Beckham and Wayne Rooney left the pitch for different reasons. While the former is giving up as captain perhaps the latter can take the time between now and the next international competition and try and remember that he's not a teenager any more and grow the fuck up. I'm not highlighting the bollocks-stamping incident in particular but before yesterday he seemed to play better only when England were in the lead and it could be suggested that he lets the team down when they need him the most.

The Conservatives are to recommend Scottish MPs be banned from voting on issues that only affect England. Much as I hate to say it, I think the Conservatives have a point here. The Labour opposition to this seems to be based on the fact that most of the Cabinet, including Prime Minister Macbeth and he who would be Macduff, are Scottish MPs.

Anyway, CDs. I managed to get a copy of Alan Moore's The Highbury Working, one of his series of music backed talks done with Tim Perkins. It's a few years earlier than the other CD of his that I have so far Snakes and Ladders and sounds it, Alan sounds a little less fluid and the words and music don't seem to fit together so well but otherwise it's still a fun and exciting psychogeographical journey.

Then there's Superqueens Royal Shit, which I bought based on hearing them on Mixing It last week. Don't be put off by their awful, awful band name or their awful, awful album name. It's a mix of the Lo-Fi Allstars first album with the vocal stylings of a Southern Mark E. Smith, drawled by a London Karl Hyde. Anyway, there are several free tracks at their website, go listen.

And finally Mi Media Naranja from Labradford. It's more Godspeed You! Black Emperor-ish than the other album I have of theirs (E Luxo So) which, as I don't pay attention to such things as labels and tours any more, was rather a surprise until I saw they were labelmates and toured together in '99. Oh well, live and learn.

Anyway, the weathers hot and sunny out there so I'm planning on staying indoors and watching telly. My landlords had some plumbers in doing work on the empty flat upstairs and, on Thursday, they managed to break a pipe and some water came through the ceiling of the kitchen. Yesterday they tested the electrics and the only problem is I currently have no light in there, but everything else is fine. Some nice little holes in my ceiling too. Sorry, I know it's not up there with Aleister Crowley dying in a grotty B'n'B but there you go.

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