Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Simpsons Movie and Me

There are moments in ones life that stay with you forever. Ask anybody alive in 1963 and they should be able to tell you where they were the day JFK was assassinated. A similar claim can be made about September 11th 2001. I had my “JFK” moment at 7pm on a rainy Wednesday evening in April 1992, the day we got satellite television, when I sat down to watch my first ever episode of The Simpsons. I had heard of the Simpson’s before of course, owning a couple of t-shirts and having seen the music video for “Do the Bartman”. However, this was different and although I was only 9, as I watched Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie electrocute one another I knew I was watching something very special.

As usual, I was right.

In my opinion The Simpsons falls just shy of the wheel in terms of human achievement. Running now for over 18 seasons it is not only the greatest sitcom or TV show in history, it is a fully fledged institution of popular culture that has not only profoundly impacted our television and comedy but also our language. By a happy coincidence I found myself in Chicago this past weekend allowing me to see the movie, in America, on opening weekend and with a hopefully suitably enthusiastic American audience. So at least I had the perfect setting.

Nevertheless, as the lights dimmed I held a number of reservations that a worthy movie could be made after over 400 episodes, over 146 hours of storytelling, especially given the considerable drop in quality of the last number of seasons. I’ve waited 10 years for this moment and it’s a little strange to be able to say that I finally got to see the Simpsons on the big screen. On a purely visual level the larger canvas afforded has been utilized superbly with animation that is grander whilst remaining familiar. Gone are the repeated backgrounds and animation of the TV series and, although not at the level of Pixar, a richly developed environment has been created for the characters to do their thing in.

I’m delighted to report that I had a ball with this movie. The leap to the big screen feels effortless right from the opening scenes. It’s “The Simpsons” only on a bigger canvas. The love and effort that went into making this movie is evident in each and every frame. I love the rhythm and tempo of the movie, how it sets its own pace and maintains it throughout. As is tradition the movie starts in a very different place to where it ends up. The opening scenes give no clue of the mayhem and lunacy that is about to unfold, but its character driven and not lunacy or mayhem just for the sake of it.

For the entire running length the jokes arrive quick and fast and although some don’t quiet hit the mark the wait for the next one is never long. There is diversity to the laughs from big set pieces, to slapstick, satire and razor sharp one liners. The jokes are also some of the funniest I’ve seen in the cinema in a long while and I laughed out loud for the vast majority of the movie. It kept me engaged throughout.

I was not alone. The audience I saw the movie with was into it in a big way. Every big gag received a suitably large reaction. However what I loved about the audience was how diverse the experience was for different people. Different people reacted to different parts of the movie with maybe only 1 or 2 people laughing at certain points. The Simpsons have always meant different things to different people. People have different reasons for liking it. Seeing the movie with this kind of audience was a big thrill.

Sure it’s pretty to look at, but looks are nothing without some soul. The Simpsons have never had to rely on cutting edge animation to weave their magic. Its greatness lies in its ability to marry biting satire, razor sharp one liners, parody and slapstick, all layered so kids of all ages can find something to enjoy, with an emotional punch and empathy that few other sitcoms can even approach. The Simpsons are never afraid to allow the audience to feel more than the urge to laugh. Nonetheless, I was surprised by how genuinely touching the movie is in places without ever turning to mush like so many other comedies who try to add some emotionally depth. Marge has always been the emotional soul of the show and without spoiling it, the movie is no different.

The family is front and centre throughout the movie with the secondary citizens of Springfield generally only getting a look in as a collective rather than individually. I personally don’t have a problem with this as the Simpson family should be the focus of their own movie. Simpson regular Al Brooks is back doing stellar work as the baddy, Russ Cargill. As the man behind Hank Scorpio, Brad Goodman and Jacques, the French bowler, I’m personally ready to give the man a medal for his contribution to the series.

I’ve been watching The Simpsons for 15 years, I’ve grown up with it. I’d rather sit and watch Homer go to college/ go into space/ gain weight to get disability etc. for the millionth time than most of the so called must see TV produced today. It’s still easily the best show on TV, just watch an episode more than 5 years old. Like the best episodes, the movie bears repeat viewing and I cannot wait to see it again to see some of the things I missed the first time through. I feel it will take numerous viewings to fully appreciate it. Whilst never quiet scaling the heights of the best of the TV show (an almost impossible feat) it is a worthy addition to the franchise and for that I’m thankful.

My Resignation, by Tuathal

After much soul searching I've decided to hand in my badge here at the Dossing Times. I've had fun here and I'd like to thank Simon and CK for the work they put into this blog. I'd also like to thank you the readers and especially all those who comment. The three of us are crazy insecure and your comments are as good as a nice big hug when we're feeling blue.

However lately I haven't been contributing at all to the blog and I feel that it's right for me to go.

To finish I'd like to leave you with possibly my favourite moment from one of my all-time favourite TV shows, Scrubs. Anybody who cannot watch this without laughing, even after multiple viewings, is a friend of mine.

Hell, why not go out in style

My next post, on the Simpsons movie, will be my last post and is how I want to go out (In fact you probably read that before this post, oh well). So I think it's only fitting that I leave you with these sentiments (Kudos to the first to get the reference)

"This scene is gettin' old, man. I'm hittin' the road! Maybe I'll drop you a line someday from wherever I end up in this crazy old world!"

Be Good,

The Banner

With Tipp losing many people would say I should drop the banner from the site. To me that is saying that we here are only fair weather supporters. What do you think? Should it be dropped. Should a Cork banner be added for the 1 cork guy on the blog?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sweeney Todd

See above the first picture of Johnny Depp, as Sweeney Todd, the fictional butchering barber who's various love interests like to bake the unfortunate customers who came his way for a shave. Tim Burton directs with Helena Bonham Carter co-starring so we can expect plenty of gothic stylised characterisation and ambience.

Kiwi Satire Ban

Read here an article detailing a move by the New Zealand parliament to ban ridicule and satire of politicians by controlling the use of footage and shots recorded by media outlets in the parliament chamber. This is the type of political manouevering that undermines any claim a government can make on openess and transparency and is surely a violation of the freedom of the press. This issue stems from a member of the parliament giving the finger to a member of the opposition last year, while I was in New Zealand. It was a major news story, with the member being reprimanded. So too however the news station that covered the story were sanctioned for directing the camera away from the person who was speaking at the time to catch the gesture, violating chamber rules. If we cannot expect elected representatives to be held to account and fully visible while they debate on our behalves in government buildings then we may as well throw in the towel on encouraging mutual respect between politicians and the electorate.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Defence of Cleavage

I remember a scene in 'Primary Colours' as a political aide sitting in a cafe watched John Travolta, deliver a speech, playing a thinly disguised version of Bill Clinton. Emma Thompson stands behind Travolta on screen, looking distinctly Hilaryesque. The aide is hooked up to comms and is relaying feedback on the comments of those surrounding him in the cafe. One of the comments he passes to the back room of analysts is a comment that the potential first lady's hair could be shorter, based on the assesment of a woman sitting next to him. There is no doubting the effort, thought and commentary from all quarters on fashion, attire and presentation and this seems to be evident more than ever with Hilary Clinton emerging as the lead Democrat nominee for next years campaign.

John Edwards, during last weeks CNN - Youtube debate, even went as far as choosing Clintons wardrobe choice as a ground to knock her on. Now, it seems a low cut top, Mrs. Clinton wore during a speech to the House this week, has caught the attention of those who like to drag stories from the deep recesses of their mind that come up with ways to waste ink and energy. As ever issues matter not, I dread to think to things this woman will have thrown at her. Then again we are dealing with the country that seemed to relieve itself of all semblence of sense on Janet Jacksons Superbowl performance a few years back. To everyone who took an excessively moral stance on that story and on Clinton choosing to wear a V-neck I say take this:

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Spock

J.J Abrams as well as teasing us with whatever this ‘Cloverfield’ project will turn out to be is also of course re-imagining, re-hashing, re-making, screwing with or bringing a new vision to the Star Trek series. The man to the left, Zachary Quinto, you may recognise as a character from ‘Heroes’, if not, then find some solace in the fact he does a fine job playing the villain of that series so should be ably equipped to play the legendary character of Spock. I still have nightmares from my first night out with staff from my new job, discovering some of the senior staff were Trekkies I was somehow (aka drunkenly) dragged into playing the part of Spock (i.e. providing the harmony) in a recreation of a campfire singalong scene from The Wrath of Khan. It wasn’t pretty or harmonious. I take much pride in having found a picture of Quinto emphasising his ears.

Top 6 Friday: Simpson's Movie References

Whatever the verdict on ‘The Simpsons Movie’, the series' consistently smart tributes, spoofs of and ridiculing of an endless number of movies has become a calling card for the show and one of the many sources of humour utilised.

6. In the episode ‘Bart the Murderer’, Bart begins working for the ‘Legitimate Businessmen’s Social Club’, the crime syndicate run by Fat Tony and his crew, Legs, Louie and Joey. The basis for the episode is of course ‘Goodfellas’ and on the whole is ‘supoib’. Quote: (Chief Wiggum): ‘Fat Tony is a cancer on this fair city, and I am the ...uh...what cures cancer?’

5. More Martin Scorsese pops up in the excellent ‘Cape Fear’ episode which essentially condenses the Robert DeNiro thriller into a half hour spoof as Bart and his family are pursued to ‘Terror Lake’ by arch-villain Side Show Bob. Some of the best slapstick I seen in the series is Sideshow Bob being ramped in the face by an unfortunately arranged set of rakes. Quote: (Bart) ‘But who’d want to hurt me? I’m this century’s Dennis the Menace!’

4. In the episode ‘Lady Bouvier’s Lover’, Grandpa Simpson interrupts the nuptials of Jacqueline Bouvier (Marge’s Mom) in a scene directly taken from ‘The Graduate’, where Dustin Hoffman races to the church to stop the wedding of his mistress' daughter whom he has fallen in love with, and so too the Simpsons episode finishes on the same bittersweet note, a bus journey arriving at reality all too quickly.

3. A Halloween episode must of course be mentioned and no horror movie of any repute has not been riled for the annual ‘Treehouse of Terror’. My personal favourite is the spoof of ‘The Shining’, the aborted car journeys in the opening minutes of the segment are hilarious enough before the outstanding resolution to Homer’s rampage courtesy of a mini-TV.

2. There are countless episodes spoofing Hitchcock, Homers outline being used to spoof the Alfred Hitchcock Hour at the beginning of a Tree House episode, the spoof of the ‘Psycho’ shower scene as Homer lies on the garage floor with red paint pouring down a drain, Homer stepping through a nursery full of soother sucking babies, spoofing the end of ‘The Birds’ as Hitchcock himself makes a cameo walking a dog outside and the outstanding episode where Bart becomes convinced Flanders has murdered his wife, as he is confined to his room with a broken arm as Jimmy Stewart was in Rear Window.

1. An oft-spoofed scene, the famous ending to ‘Planet of the Apes’, has never been done better than Homer’s realisation of the true meaning of the ending at a press conference in ‘Deep Space Homer’. Charlton Heston has got nothing on his earnest dismay.

Indymedia censorship

Everyday indymedia is coming more and more like IndyFOX. Yesterday I posted a comment. In this post About Mobile phone masts pointing out that mobile mast do not damage your health and the more in fact the better. I have posted about this before if anyone is wondering about Masts. I checked it this morning and the post was deleted. Why? Well I can only guess that it is because I didn't argee with the poster. I would never delete any posts that would disagree with me. In fact I don't think I have ever deleted comments even ones that have attacked me personally. Why? Because free speech is sacrosanct. However in indyfox it is all in the spin.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The fall of Globalisation would be the end of the tiger

Of the entire world, Ireland probably has the most to thank for from globalisation. While the likes China and India have also boomed, the social changes that globalisation has brought to Ireland has been greater then the changes that have been made in China where civil rights abuses still are rife and India where the caste system still dominates society. In Ireland the wealth that globalisation brought to Ireland has changed a priest ridden society, emigrating, backward looking depressed nation to one that is in many ways unreconcilable to the one we had before. I am sure that few would want to go back to that past way of life. While people talk about inequality and having to buy houses, but inequality is better then 80s poverty and a house in Carlow is better then a flat in Kilburn and I think most people believe that. Joe Higgins was on the Last Word saying why housing speculators were like heroin dealers and talked about the need for justice in the market for young people. But the replies by txt were in the defence of capitalism, I doubt much of continental Europe would have similar responses. But if the world abandons globalisation. We are in for a s**t storm.

The biggest problem for globalisation is that it breeds inequality simply because the workforce is now global. In most non-service cases workers compete against their world peers not there country peers. Some one making cardboard boxes in Dublin is competing against that same person in Shanghai not against others in the same country. While the computer programmer in Sligo is competing against the computer programmer in Chicago. So with each industry existing in more or less global market place their income growth is somewhat linked to the growth in their sector not just in their country.

This is also leading to the fall of the usefulness of a college degree. It is simply a case of supply and demand. With more people going to college in the world then 50 years ago there is simply more people to fill the jobs that require college education to go along with the increased requirement for college graduates in jobs means that a college degree is basically becoming the Leaving Cert. The minimum education standard needed to get a job. It is the very nature of a knowledge economy. While it obvious that we need to educate more to bring people up to be useful in a knowledge economy it may not cause the great increases in incomes that we hope it would, it might just decrease the inequality if we have a equal education sector.

Now it can not be denied that living standards have improved in this country, unemployment is at levels never dreamed of poverty is down and people are by and large better off. This is due to globalisation the begins of the boom were created by growth in export a growth facilitated by the fact that the barriers to our main trading partners were up. And while exports growth has slowed (it shows signs of recovering) it is still at a high level that feeds into the economy as a whole.

While the globalisation benefits everyone it does not do equally. This is where right-wingers make their fatal flaw in thinking. They think of computer logic. The thinking being the belief that people are better off is all that matters to people. But it does not people are not satisfied with being better off they want to be better off in relation to everyone not just themselves. If Johnny gets a raise of €2000 and Mary gets a rise of €1000 while Mary herself is better off by a grand the fact that where she was once equal with Johnny and now not does not go un-noticed and can breed a resentment of the system that caused the difference to happen even if that system gave her a rise as well.

This mechanism is bringing us to a dangerous place. In Germany, France and America winds of change are blowing. Protectionism is on its way back. People see jobs going abroad, companies losing out to foreign competition and wish to protect themselves. While there are measures that can be used to combat this. (Foreign Affairs has an article on this click on the above America link). The measures while should be implemented in Ireland. Will have little effect of the state of world globalisation or indeed the survival of the Irish boom. It is all in the big countries especially America staying open. We can’t survive trading with ourselves. Whether we are selling services or manufactured goods we need people to trade with and they are foreign and what they do will stipulate what happens to us. Our future is not in our hands.

Unless we encourage more innovation, that create stuff that can cross the barriers as they are unique. And even then.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


The town of Muff in Donegal has come in for a tough time of it lately. Firstly, a low fares airline has used a sign post for the town, portraying it as a sleepy, depressing spot in contrast to the sunny locations you could travel to with the same airline. To add salt to any wounds, the additional images of the town and docile inhabitants were not actually shot in the village but in England. Then the town’s unfortunate name was included in a list of the 22 worst town names in the world, coming in at number 19. The list as you can imagine is littered with bad language, references to bodily appendages and in the case of one New Zealand town, just plain unpronounceable words. According to the Independent article, linked here, the town also regularly gets a bashing from Graham Norton and Podge and Rodge. The only avenue I have to defend the town is that how we pronounce the town’s name is in fact a poor Anglicisation of the Irish word ‘Magh’. I can imagine the original names of many towns have been bastardised through the ages, with the true nature of their meaning being lost along the way. Unfortunately for Muff, the direct English translation of ‘Magh’ is ‘plain’ so unfortunately however images of the town are evoked they seem to be negative. The list of 'worst town names' is linked here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yet More Cracks...

Official Questions Ahern Explanation

'The Lovely Bones'

The casting for Peter Jackson’s adaptation of ‘The Lovely Bones’ continues to grow in its appeal. Rachel Weiss and Ryan Gosling have been announced as the mother and father at the helm of the family around which the novel revolves. The casting of Gosling seems slightly askew, and with both names they are casting decidedly younger than the middle aged people described in the book. Nevertheless, Weiss has always excelled, whether it be rubbish ‘Mummy’ sequels or ‘The Constant Gardner’, so too Gosling was outstanding in ‘Half Nelson’ and ‘The Believer’, proving his worth so that you feel he could lend himself to the various stages in life he will have to play in the role. His part of all the players could be the one to pull in nominations next year. Stanley Tucci has been announced as Mr. Harvey, a truly sinister part – I don’t think we’ve see Tucci in a villain role since ‘Muder One’ on TV so this will be one to watch. The biggest role has gone to a young Irish girl Saoirse Ronan, who has quietly been making a name for herself – co-starring with impressive actors and being involved with interesting projects. Many of you may have read the mention she got in ‘The Ticket’ last week, the link to her IMDB page is here. 'The Lovely Bones' will be an interesting departure for Peter Jackson, though one setting in the book will require some CGI I expect. 'The Lovely Bones' and its story of family trauma will be more akin to 'Heavenly Creatures', a bleak, dark film starring a young Kate Winslet. A tour guide on a 'Lord of the Rings' tour we took last year speculated that Jackson accepted this project as a sign of gratitude to his partners after the scale involved in his previous projects.

Day for the Ducks

It seems some of the British clergy have gone all fire and brimstone on the homeless victims of the recent flooding. Instead of offering prayers and shelter (though I’m sure they are, I’m just trying to create a contrast here!) Rt. Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not alone a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence. He even went as far claiming as that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless. Even more than alienating people by preaching on high that we should take more care of our planet and have brought this symptom of global warming on ourselves, they have been sure to sever any link with people caught in desperate times by choosing now as a time to tell us how to lead our lives, pointing out the errors in our ways. Surely some opportunist should have been savvy enough to recognise now was the time to win over a deflated public, bringing them back to God and a faith but instead senior clergy seem to be reprimanding the public and claiming bad weather as a punishment. Will people tolerate being spoken to in this way?

Story here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

John Gumley

Just when I was warming to John Gumley he went back to his old ways. Ahh well. From RTE. Gormley targets chewing gum manufacturers. Now this is more of the usual lets scapegoat the corporations moronic shite. Gum on our streets is terrible and anyone who has stood on it will atest. But who ’s fault is it that the gum end up on the street? People.

Chewing Gum wrappers tell people to bin there product, yet people still throw it on the ground. Unlike smoking corporations they never pretended that chewing gum would not stick to the paths. This is not even equivalents of the alcohol companies promoting drinking. They never claimed anything but put it in the bin when finished. They never advocated littering. Is it the chewing gum companies fault that people are twats and mis-use the product? No it is not. By targeting the chewing gum manufacturers Gumley is totally missing the point and making the matter worse.

We should not be trying to get the manufacturers of the gum to clean up the mess we should be trying to stop the mess in the first place. Hell that is even more environmental cutting down on Carbon emissions from street cleaners. By freeing the litter laots of the responsibility of the messing they are making a culture of abdicated responsibility from the masses. Can’t someone else do it. The reason there is gum on the streets is because Gum companies make gum not because people throw it on the ground seems to be the thinking here.

This is similar to the case in Scotland of trying to ban Buckfast thinking it will stop teenage binging. Which is bull the issue is not what product they drink it is the reason they do drink and the need to stop them drinking. Ban buckfast and they will drink vodka. Same problem save thhe monks of buckfast abbey will be down a fee quid. Same to with this.

Push for harsher punishments on the corporations, you will achieve nothing the culture that makes people throw stuff on the ground will just increase as people feel that it is not there responsibility any more and an innocent corporation (yes it is innocent of any crime) punished just because it easier and more political advantageous (especially after going into power with the “anti-Christ’s” and need to reinforce your right-on credentials) to punish the innocent.

CNN Youtube Debate

Tonight, Democrat Presidential nominees will face questioning from the general public as asked by users of Youtube, followed by similar treatment for Republican nominees in the coming weeks. There is obviously praise for this new outlet for debate, personalising the questioning while also broadening the opportunity for a greater range of people to contribute and take part. Any potential for a bunch of crazies to go asking random or obscure questions is being curtailed, as CNN, presumably quaking in their boots at the thought of having their hold over debates eroded will be filtering the questions, ensuring the seriousness of the debate. The article I have attached here lists some of the types of questions logged to date as of course does the Youtube page, the link to which is here. Considering the crazy stuff up on Youtube this debate smacks of missed opportunity for some classic meltdowns.

Charity Update.

Thanks for the suggestions on Charities. I have decided to go for 2 charities. First to the National Center for the Blind I gave a single donation. And I have decided to give a monthly donation to the Red Cross. (Actually the British one as I live in Britain and bank transfers just easier.) I would urge everyone here to give to Charity as well if they can. It is funny how guilty I felt giving money to these charities guiltier then I would if I was not giving them money. Because once you are giving them it, you start realising how little you are actually giving. I am giving about 3 hours pay a month to the Red Cross but when you think about it how much would you spend on a night out? Am I seriously doing that much for them. But also is it any use is aid useful? I remember this interview from an Kenyan Economist talking about the damage aid can do to these countries. If that is true should I be doing anything? That is one of the reasons I picked the Red Cross as most of their work is in crisis area's where emergency supplies are needed. But maybe I am wrong and maybe the guy is wrong. Who knows. But the act of donating has not aswayed my guilt but increased it.

Buckfast in trouble

For any of you who went to NUI Galway I have bad news for you. The drink that we so affectionately enjoyed for years, that was the social lubricant for so many, the drink that induced the buckmucks in the morning Bucky is in trouble. It seems the Scottish assembly is after it with a passion. Just a month after Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill called the creation of a Buckfast Sorbet as "crass and insensitive". Mr MacAskill, who represents Edinburgh East and Musselburgh, pledged to crack down on "irresponsible" alcohol promotions earlier this month.
He told the BBC Scotland news website: "Things such as this reinforce the problem. We should stick to exotic flavours of ice cream.

"Some things are just not funny. Scotland has a problem with alcohol, it's a well-known fact.

"Ice cream is to be enjoyed but frankly this is crass and insensitive."

Now to me buckfast seems quiet an exotic flavour of ice-cream certainly more exotic then Strawberry. And I doubt anyone is going to get pissed on a sorbet of Buckfast unlike a bottle of Scotch which I doubt MacAskill would never dream of calling for banning.

But it seems that the EU still wants to ban buckfast. For anyone that has ever drunk at the Spainish Arch I issue a rallying cry. They may take our lives but they will never take our BUCKFAST.

God bless those monks.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter

So I have finished the book. What did people think

Friday, July 20, 2007

Top 6 Friday: Ways to End a TV Show

With ‘The Sopranos’ bowing out of TV schedules last night it struck upon me to look at how shows have gone about wrapping up programmes. Final episodes of programmes such as ‘Mash’ and ‘The Fugitive’ are amongst the most watched hours of television in history – such shows must achieve a lot, catching one armed men, dealing with the fear of returning home and saying goodbye, often mirroring the thoughts of audiences watching. Yes the selection is laden with American TV but they consistently make the best TV if nothing else.

6. Do a Dallas Cliff-Hanger

Dallas is credited with mastering the cliff-hanger, ending its second series with the ubiquitous question of ‘Who Shot J.R?’, the show went on to end each series with a cliff hanger. Though never topping the interest in the identity of J.R.’s assailant (FYI, it was his sister-in-law, Kristin), there was of course the infamous Bobby appearing out of a shower even though he had been run down by a car a year earlier and viewers soon abandoned the show having been told the entire past series had been a dream. For the last episode, J.R. is visited by what appears to be a guardian angel, who takes him on an ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ type journey to show him what life in Dallas would be like without him. The closing shot is one of Southfork Ranch and we hear a shot ringing out leaving J.R.’s fate open to question unless you watched the TV movies that followed in the 90s.

5. Set up a Spin-off

Angel and Frasier are of course both spin-offs. While ‘Angel’ was launched at the end of ‘Buffy’s’ 3rd season, ‘Frasier’ was plugged in the closing episode of ‘Cheers’. ‘Boston Legal’ is a spin-off of ‘The Practice’ and has gone on to outdo the critical and rating success of the original show. So too ‘Friends’, ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘Saved by the Bell’ each had off-shoots with various degrees of success, expanding elements of the parent show.

4. Go for a cheap Gimmick

It could too be said that the visiting angel in Dallas was a bit gimmicky or indeed, entirely gimmicky. And some shows have gone all out to change our perceptions of the show with some form of premise upheaval. ‘The Bob Newhart Show’ ended with Newhart waking to find the entire run of the show had been a dream, the events of ‘St. Elsewhere’ were all a product of the imagination of one of its patients, while at the end of ‘Roseanne’ we find the families misadventures have in fact been the creation of Roseanne Connor a novelist. So too it could be said the final episode of ‘Seinfeld’ used a gimmick, putting each of the main characters on trial for the grief they had put people through, somehow it was more apt than cheap.

3. Keep it low-key

Just as we discuss the ending of ‘The Sopranos’, there was much anticipation surrounding the end of ‘Friends’ 10 year run. In the end, the makers went for a straight forward non-gimmicky ending, though they did make reference to running gags such as Joey and Chandler’s chick and duck as well as Gunther’s love for Rachel. It was a bit lacklustre but nostalgia for the good days of ‘Friends’ will always preserve its good name. Friends off course also had some false almost ends as at least on two occasions the cast were reeled back in with promises of more cash, each time for a reduced number of episodes.

2. Signal a new beginning

The last episode of ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’ could have been the pilot for a new show about an army of vampire slayers. Buffy made a decision that changed the fate of her world, aptly resolving her reluctance to be a Slayer, an issue during the programmes 7 year run and in doing so created new dynamics, challenges and possibilities. The story of the show has been continued in comic-book format, allowing Joss Whedon the freedom to expand and enhance the Buffy universe.

1. Go All Poetic

‘Six Feet Under’ is for me the pitch perfect ending, with ‘poetic’ being the word that comes to mind. Each episode of the show opened with a death that would somehow impact on the family run funeral home business. The final episode closes with an amazing flash to the deaths of all the main characters. Now this may sound bleak but it is done so well, with a beautiful song playing over it. I feel even if you don’t know the show, that segment is worth watching so I have posted it here. If you want truly bleak, think of Dr. Sam Beckett of ‘Quantum Leap’, on having the show suddenly cancelled the episode was re-edited with a final note that the time traveller never returned home – surely the man deserved a happy ending.

Bill Maher on Religon

Very interesting Debate on religion on the Bill Maher show. Basically going on about fanaticism in religion. Thing with many people on the Christian right and most other religion's ignore is the main part of their faith.
  • "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the lord." — Torah Leviticus 19:18
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." — Jesus (c. 5 B.C.E. - C.E. 32 ) in the Gospels, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:39, Luke 6:31, Luke 10:27
  • "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the lord your God." — Torah Leviticus 19:33-34
  • "This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you." — Mahabharata (5:15:17) (c. 500 B.C.E.)
  • "What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not to others." — Confucius (ca. 551 - 479 B.C.E.)
  • "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man." — Hillel (ca. 50 B.C.E. - C.E. 10)
  • "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." — Muhammad (c. C.E. 571 - 632), Hadith 13 of al-Nawawi's Forty Hadith.
After that nothing else, be it homosexuality, the holy land, Jihad matters. When someone crosses that line they are no longer acting for their religion they are acting for themselves.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Latin Mass

Pope Benedict has so far certainly been nostalgic for ways of old in his term as Pope. He has been seen to wear parts of the Pope’s wardrobe not seen since medieval times, has claimed all other churches outside that of the Catholic Church to not be true churches and most recently passed a decree which will allow the reintroduction of the Latin Mass. In the face of any number of criticisms, suggestions of regression and worries surrounding the damage to inter-faith relationships, there has been some sign of concession as the Pope’s most senior spokesman has announced that there is a possibility the Vatican will remove prayers, traditionally said as part of the Latin Mass on Good Friday, which call for the conversion of Jews. The Good Friday prayer asks that God remove the "veil" from from Jewish heart so that they would recognise Jesus Christ. Is there any sense that if we could remove ourselves from the history of the Church and all we know and put the state of the planet and such statements in context here is a serious sense of farce about the whole thing. As I write it has been announced on the radio Michelle McManus is to play the role of the Virgin Mary in a disco version of the Nativity. I was at a bar in Salou, Spain once and the barman announced he had his way with Ms. McManus the night before. There were no words.

Story here.


The final ever episode of the Sopranos is on tonight on RTE 2.

Then tomorrow Top 6 Friday looks at ways to end a TV Show.

Who should i Donate too

About 2 years ago I was coming out of a night club in Tarragona in Spain and I found €20, not seeing anyone likely to own it ( there was no one in sight in the square. I took it and decided to give it to charity. But I never got around to do that. Considering that it has been 2 years. I have decided that with interest it should be €30 and probably should give money to charity more often. So the question I have for you is what charity should I donate too. Who is good?

Stuff to Read

McDonald's converting to bio-fuels.
The fast food retailer, which has often been the target of criticism from environmental groups, is to power its fleet of 155 vehicles to run on fuel consisting of processed leftovers from its restaurants, cooking oil and rapeseed oil. According to Mathhew Howe, the company's vice president, this will result in a carbon saving of some 1,675 tonnes annually - the equivalent of taking 2,424 family cars off the roads.

Patrick's Day moved

So mark your calendar for next year - the Church have decided to move St. Patricks Day to the 15th March, to avoid it clashing with the second day of Holy Week that is Monday the 17th. The Church have justified it with the usual its not the day that matters it is the celebration. We are lucky enough that we should still get to celebrate the bank holiday on the day of the 17th and with Good Friday and Easter Monday at the end of the other week we can look forward to short working weeks and I for one will be booking holidays because of the short few days holidays I will be cutting into. Story here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Most be people who are believe that an individual has a certain right to liberty and that this liberty can only be taken away from them in very set circumstances such as in courts. Hence why the idea of Guantanemo even with out torture thrown in is pretty bad for most people. I wrote my views on guantanamo here.

But an interesting debate is happening over in the UK at the moment. Sir Liam Donaldson, England’s Chief Medical Officer is calling for a system of presumed consent in relation to organ donation. Over on Adam Smith blog they argue against it making the point

Presumed consent is not the solution. It only means a further loss of individual liberty. It is doubtful Sir Liam Donaldson would ask for the state to legislate a time and a hospital for us to report too so that we may "pass away" under the correct circumstances for organ donation but the call for presumed consent is a step in that direction.

Now me personally I have no problem with this measure. But the comparison could be made with the Guantanamo situation invading someone else liberty for the saving of others liberty. By presuming guilt we are doing the same as presuming consent

But there are two fundamental difference between the 2 scenario’s. One without a trial we have no way of being sure that this measure is saving anyone. Where as with a transplant we are sure that it will save a life (barring complications). And two being denied your freedom during your life is a serious affliction on your person. What affect does removing your organs have on you when you are dead? Can you really infringe the liberty of a dead person.

Happy Birthday!

If the Tipp Banner can run across the top of the page then I am taking liberties and wishing my sister a happy birthday - so happy birthday sis! This picture is just for you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Innovation comes from Capitalism my arse

I usually like the Adam Smith Institute Blog but this has to be one of the silliest things I have ever read.
This ties in neatly with William Nordhaus' paper on the profits to innovation: only some 2.2% is kept by the innovator, the rest goes to consumers. Clark then goes on: "But the efficiency growth from innovation is actually the true source of all growth,..."But the efficiency growth from innovation is actually the true source of all growth,..." Which really leads us to a rather interesting thought. We're told that in this modern world we need an ever more educated workforce: indeed, it is Government policy that 50% should go to university. That is, that more human capital will lead to growth. But if Clark is right, that isn't so. Rather, attention should be paid to the barriers in the way of innovation, for that is the true source of growth.
Rather then innovation coming from some crazy things like innovative idea's innovation comes from.
Or to put it more directly, if innovation is the source of wealth then mightn't we want a little more of that capitalism, red in tooth and claw, the system that best promotes said innovation
Yes capitalism promotes innovation and drives it but what creates it Elves? No it is human's and the best way to get them to innovate on average is to give them a university education or at least access to learning. Very little innovation is built on ether most is improvements on the past technologies etc on learning. Thinking that if you simply drop off regulations all these new inventions will suddenly appear is silly. Google was not made by regulations it was made by too guys in Uni with an idea.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Blog

I'm just recovering from a good weekend in London having stayed with good friends of mine. I was happy to discover my mate Paul has begun his own personal blog and even within the few months he has been blogging a certain Langley based IP address has popped up on his tracker! So too he has posted a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon segment which for me is like doing a crossword only fun. Check out his blog at yednnek.blogspot.com - it covers a fine range of topics. I will add the link to his blog later in the day.

Movie Review: 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

‘Harry Potter’ presents itself first as a publishing phenomenon and secondly as a successful film franchise. Each film has been compared to the source material and criticized for remaining too faithful at the expense of cinematic effect and equally for straying from the story of the novels. From the off the makers were confronted with the prospect of adapting the longest book in the series as well as perhaps the most poorly appreciated. The book did excel in invoking many ideas ranging from freedom of the press to scare-mongering, to how we deal with grief and the true power of choice. So too the film as well as condensing the story does touch on many of these ideas, however it does not have the opportunity of lines of text to expound on them before racing to the next plot point. There is a sense of hurried unease throughout, with characters we know so much of with roles beyond merely supporting characters in the overall legacy, making mere cameos, serving as vehicles for exposition. This is felt most significantly in watering down the impact of an already struggling climax but also on reading the names of the stellar cast as the credits role you feel cheated of the justice they have done in fleshing out each character.

A specific example is Severus Snape, played to perfection by Alan Rickman even within the slivers of time he has on screen. The private classes with Harry are amongst the most intense sequences in all of the books, yet here they are given brief attention and the feeling is that ultimately they were covered out of necessity than choice, never really being tied into the broader issue of Harry’s doubts as to his worth. As for Radcliffe, he does fine – Harry Potter, for me at least, represents a strange central hero as throughout the series he has spent his time responding to the actions of others and events outside his control, succeeding only with the help of others and good fortune. Potter admits as much during the film and it is where he strives to take charge and lead Radcliffe is at his most refreshing, not labouring us with the same monotone angst. The film though belongs to Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge, her initially strange casting making perfect sense now. Staunton oozes true menace through the bureaucratic pink haze surrounding her. She is the perfect representation of the darker themes at play and sense of foreboding. The film is most enjoyable at this point, the struggle of the magic boot camp against the new regime compensating for the neglect of the back story of the Order of the Phoenix who earn a mention in the title but little else.

So at who’s door can I lay the blame for this? Simply – no one. While specific faults and improvements could be suggested by every Potter fan there is the over riding point that in constructing the story sensibly, directing how it is portrayed, delivering spectacle where possible and delivering a fresh perspective on a setting we have visited 5 times now, director David Yates and his crew have succeeded. The true litmus test for this installment should be whether it is enjoyable and entertaining and if we are to extend the limits of judgement considering the event movie it is then I feel we can also confidently state it acts as an effective adaptation of the novel, though not always fulfilling.

Stuff to Read

Ah the magic road in Waterford. Those fairies are devils I tell ya.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown argues that all the simplistic explanations are wrong because it is not a simple answer. Then says that the simple answer is that Muslim men are having trouble with there masculinity.Why is that people think they can sum up the worlds problems and solutions in 15 small paragraphs Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Ignoring terror suspects' rights will achieve nothing more than to further brutalise them.

What happens when a economy grows old, workers disappear and people's saving are not what they think they will beStephen King (Not the writer): Perils of seeking a pot of gold at the end of an overseas rainbow

Perot did not cost Bush the election in 1992

Party like it’s 1992

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Come On Tipp

In honour of Tipp's great victory over Cork and the fact that there are more Tipp people on this blog then Cork people. The banner on the site has been changed. Come on Tipp.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Top 6 Friday Movie Baddies

I know CK is the movie guy but I felt like taking his thunder this week. All suggestions welcome

No. 6.Alan Rickman in Die Hard. This guy is born to play a Villain and this is his finest hour.
No 5. Hal 9000 From 2000 a Space Odyssey . Chilling computer logical voice. Scary biscuits
No 4. The Wet Bandits, They got that pesky Kevin McAllister twice in Home Alone.
No 3 Dr. Hannibal Leckter. Enough Said.
No. 2 Darth Vader. Would be too predictable not to be number one.
No. 1 . Nazi s. Where would all those films be without random Nazi's to shoot.

More Mayors?

The Green’s have got out of the blocks fast and got one of their major idea’s in the process of being implemented. The idea of a directly elected Dublin Mayor and more power to local councils. And this has been hailed in many quarters as a good thing. But I think it is a bad thing giving more power at a local area. If we look at all the tribunals in this country most of the corruption has come from the councillors. Most counties in Ireland have county development plans which outline where the county is going and how to plan for future growth. Where developments should be. But ask anyone from down the country what to do when you don’t get planning permission for a house and the answer is the same. Have a word to the local cllr.

The Local cllr knows that his job is in the line if he doesn’t sort out the planning permission and with a this and a bit of that the house gets planning permission. With many cllr’s doing that the development plan gets basically displaced. So what do we learn from that? In essence what we learn is that the further away the politician is from the people the less he is likely to bend the rules on a nod and a wink.

So what is the government going to do? They are going to give these people more powers. In an effort to give “power to the people”. In Ireland we don’t have the great civic mindset of our European Neighbours. We have a strange Mé Féin approach to life. Not entirety selfish we certainly don’t wish our neighbours poorly but we look out for our own interests first. It is not so much I guess as selfish but that we don’t see our selves leaving in a community where people’s lives are dependent on each other. We see our selves as individuals brought together not as a collective group to help each other but as a group brought together by pride in the 5 miles radius (or so) that we exist in. Be it exhibited by tidy towns or GAA.

Take houses in the countryside on of the big issues outside urban areas. People see it as an attack on themselves that they are being denied planning permission not as decision to try bring order to service provision for the community. They don’t The belief is that a local community knows what needs to be done to solve the local communities problems. Thing is community Ireland doesn’t exist in that way. The way community works in that way is that the community works as a homogeneous unit after the same goals. But in fact they rarely do.

So this idea of bring the power closer to the people will not bring the collective wisdom of the people to bare on local issues but instead just result in more nod and wink politics.

im glad that the north has put their secterian history behind them

Im glad that the north has put their secterian history behind them

Want to know the differance between papers

I remember having a argument about papers being biased with news. But not just the likes of Fox News and indyfox. But the main streams. Here is four frontpages today from English news papers on the same subject The independent, Express, Sun and Mail. . Schools told to dump Churchill and Hitler from history lessons.

Two-finger salute

Revolution as curriculum embraces modern life


Thursday, July 12, 2007


Though the film was criticised for taking liberites with the facts of Charlie Chaplin's life, Robert Downey Jnr's performance of the lead role was universally praised on the films release including an Oscar nomination. See for yourself tonight at 10.30 on Channel 6.

Stuff to Read

Want to know how Bertie won the election same way as Bush won and Cameron might win. Appealing to feeling rather then logic. If cast as rational rival to Cameron's man of emotion, Brown is sure to lose

Spoiling for a fight Hamas and Fatah just don't want to get along.

Johnny Logan said whats another year but considering where the North was last year Brian Rowan In the belfast Telegraphy says Paisley proves what a difference a year makes

Here this CK Tipperary star Kelly passes fitness test for crunch showdown with the Rebels

See if you are a sleep walker don't sleep in the nip OK?Director censured for nude night visit on African trip

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A new middle East?

General Wesley Clark talking about the government plans to invade 7 countries in 5 years before 9/11

They seemingly wanted to re-divided the middle east up into more stable countries. Not a bad idea in some ways. Much of the trouble in the middle east involves people being ruled people they don't want to be ruled by. eg the Kurds and Palestinians. But not sure how easily a foreign power can do that if it all. Here is the map.

Hat tip Godwhacker.

Tom Parlon

A spokesman for the Irish branch of Transparency International this morning on Morning Ireland raised questions about the appropriateness of former Junior Minister Tom Parlon's new job as head of the Construction Industry Federation.

Mr Parlon confirmed the move yesterday. The opposition were of course going to raise questions but so too have Transparency International, a global anti-corruption group who seek to tackle the issues surrounding and causes of corruption.

As part of his role in the last government, the former Laois-Offaly TD oversaw the Office of Public Works. The OPW gives out lucrative contracts to construction firms and in my experience happen to be the most frustratingly slow-moving public office so that any in with that crowd is bound to be valuable.

The Irish branch of Transparency International is now calling for new regulations to prevent the situation whereby ministers can "make decisions with one eye on future employment prospects". It is bound to be a real issue that private firms prove to be good career moves for those with experience in the public sector and it is very likely that moves by civil servants bringing insider knowledge with them occur quite often, without being regulated.

Transparency International compile a Corruption Perception Index annually which would have been pored over in my political corruption classes in another life. We are consistently in the mid teens and moved a position in the correct direction last year. Have a look for yourself here. Ideas and understandings of corruption are so intangible that perception is the most substantial measure of it we can look to.

Prision Labour.

I stumbled upon this story via a story about idiot robbers via Damian This is the headline For farmers, inmates step in for migrants. Basically the story is as follows.
The women bend at the waist between rows of green-topped onions, hacking at weeds. At day’s end, their muscles will scream. They’ll also be $4 richer — several dollars more than they’d get splitting wood or mopping floors at their prison.

That’s not the only benefit for this crew of 10 inmates from Pueblo’s La Vista Correctional Facility: “I get to see things grow instead of piddling around in the facility,” Lisa Richards said.

It’s also a good deal for Pueblo County farmers, who say Colorado’s get-tough-on-illegal-immigration stance scared away their laborers and left last season’s crops spoiling in the fields.

This year, Rep. Dorothy Butcher, D-Pueblo, brokered a deal to replace migrant workers with a nearby abundant supply of cheap labor — inmates.

When ever I think of prison labour I think of the Shawshank Redemption where the governor made buckets of cash from prison labour . Now I doubt this is anything but above board. But I am still in two minds about this.

First the prisoners are getting paid to do this and it is voluntary. Even though of the $9.60 a hour the farmer pays the inmate gets $4 dollar. I guess the rest going to the prison service. I have actually no problem with this. That $4 dollar while paltry is in essence spending money. They don't have bills or anything to pay. So while it appears that it is not far off slave labour in reality it is not, for them.

For the farmers the fact that immigration has been tighten up means that they need new workers. They seemingly advertised and could not find anyone. Whether or not it is the wages they offered or the fact that it is dahm hard work is the reason who knows. So is it justifiable to use prison labour?

Considering the climate that America is in where they are trying to close their borders I can't see anyway around this. Farmers need workers, Immigrants are not being brought and no one wants these jobs. It is a dangerous slope to go down. Where prison labour which is cheaper (and tax payer subsidies in many ways) is used to replace workers. If it comes to a stage where they compete with actually workers not as in this case filling in non-existing workers then we will have problems.

But for the moment even though I don't like it in my gut, my mind sees it as sensible measure in this case. But something tells me the desire to make "prisoners pay back to society with hard work" could end up displacing workers. Causing more social problems then it will solve

Stuff to Read

Love in Tennis between Murray and Jankovic
she also told the local newspaper Vecernje Novosti: "Instead of discussing tactics in pauses between he used to tell me how attractive I was. I told him I would give him a kiss for every good point and it worked."
Green future demands a radical shift in lifestyles for British

MEAT-FREE menus, battery- operated cars and an end to affordable flights.

These are among the radical visions outlined in a report which says Britain could be carbon neutral within 20 years - but only if major steps are taken to change our lifest

But maybe there is another response Garlic for cows. Which seemingly can cut cow emissions by 50%. Why a whiff of garlic may help scientists cut cows' flatulence

Ringtones or the Auditory logic of globalism

This essay attempts to provide a description of the global ringtone industry, to determine and assess the numerous cultural consequences of the ringtone’s appearance and development, and to situate the ringtone within the context of contemporary capitalism. At its broadest, my assertion is that the development of the ringtone is a powerful lens through which we might clearly view some of the dynamics of present day (or “late”) capitalist cultural production, including the development of new rentier economies within oligopolistic sectors of production and consumption, and a long–term shift in global productive dominance from North America to the Pacific Rim. The ringtone is also a remarkable cultural phenomenon that is demonstrating a high degree of popularity and is undergoing rapid transformation; therefore, its short, continuing lifetime already needs to be assessed historically.
Somehow ringtones can bring about
"a resurgence of a global culture of socialism"
Emm not sure how. But you can buy socialist ringtones here. Assessing the Effectiveness of Suicide Attacks and Targeted Killings by David A. Jaeger, Daniele Paserman (June 2007)

Abstract: In this paper we assess the effectiveness of suicide attacks and targeted killings in the Second Intifada. We find evidence that the targeted killings of Palestinian leaders by Israel reduce realized Palestinian violence. We find, however, that intended Palestinian violence is increasing at low levels of targeted killings, but decreasing at higher levels. There is little evidence to suggest that suicide bombings against Israelis reduce the number of subsequent Palestinian fatalities. Rather, we find that suicide attacks that kill at least one Israeli lead to subsequent increased incidence and levels of Palestinian fatalities. Our results do not support the notion that suicide attacks and targeted killings follow the “tit-for-tat” pattern that is commonly postulated in the literature. Discussion Paper No. 2890

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I got memed from windandbreezes don't always do these but Treasa is nice so. 8 Random Things 1.) Did my Leaving Cert history topic on Zeppelin's as weapons of war hence I use zeppelin or vonzeppelin as a nick name on the internet. Still have an interest in them. They were used as bombers in World War I. One night they went to bomb London and bombed Newcastle. Accurate. 2.) My PhD is about Optical coherence tomography , Scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and Adaptive optics 3.) I make a very good cheese cake

Now the meme was for the Dossing Boys so I will let the other guys finish it if they want.

Update CK. Adds

4. I have proof read a book on the history of Catholicism in New Zealand,

5. I have worked in an elevator asking people what floor they wanted to go to.


Just I thought I would re-design the site to get some use out of the new features of blogger. It is not done yet this is only a quick one. But will try and get a nice one up and running soon. All idea's welcome

Stuff to Read

In the post 9/11 world, any kind of brutal depravity is possible - even 'laudable' Kevin Myres on how the attacking of innocent targets by Islamists is a new low never reached before.

Should feminists support basic income?

Don’t blame Campbell

If journalists did their jobs, how could ‘spin’ make any difference?

Watch Michael Moore's Sicko.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

New 7 Wonders of the World Announced

The New Seven Wonders of the World have been announced. They are as follows:
  • Chichén Itzá, Mexico
  • Christ Redeemer, Brazil
  • The Great Wall, China
  • Machu Picchu, Peru
  • Petra, Jordan
  • The Roman Colloseum, Italy
  • The Taj Mahal, India
The Vatican have accused the organisers of deliberately ignoring Christian monuments in conducting the poll.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Rather than paraphrasing the article 'Empire' magazine have on J.J. Abram's next project, I have provided a link to it here. So often the pre-hype publicity never matches the quality of the final product as we saw with 'Snakes on a Plane'. Nevertheless, this project has spiked my interest much more so than 'The Dark Knight' who are going down a similar route in introducing The Joker to the world for next years 'Batman Begins' sequel. Both movies have at least a year until their release so it will be interesting to see if the can maintain the momentum. Admittedly half the attraction with 'Cloverfield' is that nothing is known of the movie with casting being held in secret and scripts being kept under the strictest of wraps.

For 'The Dark Knight' Warner Bros. asked users to submit their e-mail address in exchange for filling in one pixel of the first official photo of Heath Ledger as the Joker. It was pretty cool and had fanboys glued to their screens for an entire weekend. Now, the image has disappeared, only to be replaced with what seems like a "Page not found" message. Highlight the screen, however, and a new message is revealed - an entire page full of "Ha ha ha" and a few isolated letters scattered here and there. Bringing those isolated letters together reveals the message "See you in December," and speculation has been that the message is referring to the time when we'll first see the Joker in a trailer for 'The Dark Knight'. Read more here.

High profile movies are certainly becoming an experience for those who choose to involve themselves. I would rank 'The Matrix', 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' and 'Titanic' as being films which deservedly earned the title 'phenomenon' in the last decade or so for catching the publics imagination. I would contend his was based almost singularly on what was acheived within each movie. Whether it be a drive to meet the demands of a more sophisticated audience or a drive to make more money there is no doubt that advance marketing, particularly online, is being proffered as a means of letting movie makers have a role in the huge influence online word of mouth and comment can have on the fate of a movie. It strikes me as very strange that poor films such as 'Pirates 2' and 'Spiderman 3' can break world records so how such ploys will progress and how they will impact on what determines the success of a movie remains to be seen.

Dinner with Spinal Tap

As part of the Live Earth campaign the members of Spinal Tap as well as the movies director, Rob Reiner are auctioning dinner with themselves. Initially this counds kind of cool, but reading more of the details on Ebay (here) it states only 20% of the final price will go towards the Alliance for Climate Protection and the price will not include, airfare, any other type of transport costs or accommodation. So it seems 80% will be spent on the appearance fees of individuals whose characters are protected by rosetinted nostalgia and will hardly be as impressive all these years later.

The One to Watch: 'Dexter'

First up I am not recommending you watch Dexter of 'Dexter’s Laboratory'. If I were to praise an animated series chronicling the adventures of a child genius it would be Jimmy Neutron and even we are not on the best of terms after I watched the Jimmy Neutron Movie the day before an exam last year and cursed myself afterwards at the thought of the hour and a half I had wasted watching him. Either way, the ‘Dexter’ I write of is a Showtime series starring Michael C. Hall, best known for his role playing David in Six Feet Under, as a crime scene specialist who just also happens to be a vigilante serial killer, writing the worlds wrongs as he sees them. To ensure maximum dysfunction, his murderous leanings were encouraged by his father throughout his childhood. And of course the man is revered and admired by all those around him, those who learn of his true nature never getting the chance to spread the word. The premise alone would draw me in. So too any association with Six Feet Under is a plus for me and I can only hope that Hall has chosen as wisely as he did in getting involved in Six Feet Under, certainly that he is a fine actor is without doubt. The high praise coming from the reading I’ve done also doesn’t hurt so I look forward to watching Sunday, July 8th on FX. Reading this after that date, don’t fret, FX are good for reruns throughout the week.

Friday, July 06, 2007

New Order are no more :(

Like a lot of things I miss some big stories just found out New Order have split. Is this the end to the legacy of two of the greatest and influential British bands Joy Division and New Order? looks this way.Here are some classics


Blue Monday


And U2 and Arcade Fire Singing Love will tear us apart

Stuff to Read

Some truth about invasion of Iraq John Howard Oz Prime Minister
Australia's participation in the American-led invasion of Iraq. Yesterday he advanced a new one: the need to secure a major oil supply. In an address to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute yesterday, John Howard said the Middle East was crucial to Australia's strategic and economic future because "our major ally and our most important economic partners have crucial interests there".

Sources of Lifetime Inequality

Interesting paper on Inequality haven't read it all but looks good

The Bohr-Einstein debates. the debate at the foundation of Quantum Mechanics.

Bad News

I hate to be to do this but I have some shockingly bad news for the males of this world. On the other hand the news will be greeted with joy from the female members of the world.

'Sex and the City' Movie in the Works

Binge Drinking, my ass!

Having my medical for my new job a while back the doctor told me what I already knew that my Body Mass Index is a point off what it should be and I have been aiming to remedy this since by buying a pair of trainers, cooking for myself more often and generally winding back the excess. For instance I am writing to you of a Friday morning, a morning on which I have often unfortunately had the hounds of hell doing laps of my head, my mouth feeling like a duck shed and my stomach rejecting food and all its evil works. Today however I am in the office early (though writing this post kinda cuts down on the amount of extra work I will complete with said early start) and feeling fresh. Instead of a mad crazy night out I was home by 9 last night, I had four pints and a nice meal and gracefully left the establishment and this morning all faculties and memories are intact. Nevertheless, I was binge drinking.

Yes the helpful people of the Drinks Industry Group have this morning informed me that my idea of binge drinking is overestimated. After I had consumed 2.5 pints of beer last night I was officially binge drinking. I mean, come on! The Drinks Industry Group found that 27% of people believe 10 drinks or more to constitute binge drinking with a further 27% believing 7 -9 drinks falls into this category – these are obviously reasonable people. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of our unhealthy drinking culture and its impact. But I don’t see how this survey adds anything new to the debate, we all know that we need to normalise the level of drinking in this country but as far as I can see this is just a drinks group pandering to the government by being seen to take an interest in our level of drinking, all the while I’m sure they lobby to safeguard the advertising of alcohol at sporting events and also defend a publicans right to raise prices. Get your own house in order before you go imposing some puritanical standard on us, undermining my attempts to lead a healthy life.

I’m not even going to look up 'binge' in dinctionary.com to support my argument, of course moving onto the 3rd pint you should be conscious of encroaching onto the danger zone of no return but when I have taken the decision to get home early, eat with my food and be responsible I will not be told that I have been drink bingeing. Let that to the stumbling, shouting crowd who were still at their houses as I walked home slugging beer because it was too expensive to drink at a pub before they projectile vomit their way to a late bar, get turned away, mess up their Body Mass Index by heading to AbraKebabra and then start a fight. Sort that problem, leave me to my quiet night.

Story here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Read Hard

The first surprising thing to pop up on screen last night while watching 'Die Hard 4.0' was that the story was based on an article written by , John Carlin, a Washington correspondent for the London Independent. After you have seen the movie, and I highly recommend you do, you can read the article here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Stuff to Read

France's problem with their new president because he jogs.

“Is jogging right wing?” wondered Libération, the left-wing newspaper. Alain Finkelkraut, a celebrated philosopher, begged Mr Sarkozy on France 2, the main state television channel, to abandon his “undignified” pursuit. He should take up walking, like Socrates, Arthur Rimbaud, the poet, and other great men, said Mr Finkelkraut. “Western civilisation, in its best sense, was born with the promenade. Walking is a sensitive, spiritual act. Jogging is management of the body. The jogger says I am in control. It has nothing to do with meditation.”
See that is why I am glad we don't have "celebrated intellectuals" in Ireland because that is some of the stupidest crap I have ever heard.

AFI top 100 movies. I have seen 63. You?

Central power is a forcefor economic liberalism from the FT

The alternative to a strong Brussels is not a decentralised free market and minimal government interference. It is greater political capture of economic policymaking and abuse of authority by member states and sub-national governments. Politicisation is more likely and more obstructive to market competition when done by local or member governments than when the federal authority has competence. Subsidiarity is in many cases an invitation to corruption, entrenchment of incumbents and horse-trading of handouts. Too many political veto points equals too many opportunities for extortion.

Steorn to go live

Steorn are going to show us there wonderous perpetual motion technology at 6.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Does anyone remember Alvin and the Chipmunks?

I am fairly certain I have a clear picture of them in my mind despite the intervening alcohol infused years since I saw them last. Nevertheless the people who have decided to bring them to the big screen in the company of Jason Lee as David, their 'father', feel that they must be dressed so that they will be refused entry to shopping centres. I realise they wore baggy clothes, but it was the 80s and I don't feel it should have been taken as an invitation to invoke gangsta rap. In fact any bit of rap instead of their normally harmonious chessy pop and I won't be happy.

Public Service Reform

The OECD have undertaken a review of the Irish Public Service. They will be undertaking a root and branch analysis and are inviting submissions from individuals, groups and essentially any concerned party irrespective of their format. The report will ultimately comment on the future direction it feels our public service should take. So here is the link to where you can make your submissions - whether you view it as a Liveline outlet to vent your qualms or have been waiting for this opportunity to make a detailed submission on reforms you've though long needed here is your chance.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

the best of the critic

I remember the Critic used to be on The End on Network 2.

Star Trek Generation X

Penguins Can't Fly

Movie Parodies (Alien, Home Alone and rabbi PI)

What the Beatles did in India

3D glasses

I went to the cinema with herself last night to see Sherk the Third (not great movie) and they had the "first ever" 3D add. It was for Red Bull flying race or some such thing. Anyway I realise how it works. Basically colours focus at different depths in the eye. So to focus them the lens of you eye has to adjust itself to focus them. So when you put the glasses on you are only seeing red in one eye and green in the other. As these wavelengths are going to be focused at different depths.each eye is going to be focused differently. Thus when the image on the screen is shown with different colours they are going to be focused at differently in each eye giving the illusion of perception. Genius I think. (I think this is the way it works if anyone cares to differ with me please tell me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

'Garden State'

Directorial and writing debut from Zach Braff, he of 'Scrubs', rite of passage, dysfunction and romance all balled up into 2 hours, Tuesday night at 9 on TV3.


The Washington Post has a handy 'database' of the candidates currently vying for the attention of the respective parties faithful members. I don't know whether it is written about to spike interest or create a sense of tension but commentators do like to play up the potential role independent candidates could play in next years election - of whom there is no mention in this list. With Michael Bloomberg having resigned from the GOP, announcing his attention to become an independent, there is certain credibility leant to such speculation. So too there is the prospect the election could be a New York lead affair if Giulani and Clinton both receive nominations and Bloomberg decides to take up the gauntlet.

Find here a well written New York Times article on the scale of the issues the candidates are being confronted with. I know comparisons with our election just gone are a pointless exercise based on scale alone but the election serves as a reminder of how insular our election was.

Though I am still burnt out from polls, the Gallup poll has consistently predicted the winner of the US presidential election, even the win for George W. Bush in 2000! Homepage here.

Their most accurate finding to date has to be this one reported on The Onion.

Paris Hilton

Let that be the first and last time that woman's name ever darkens a title line here at Dossing Times. I post with good reason though (well relatively good). Below is a clip from a US news show and their news correspondant refusing to lead with the story of the socialites jail term.