Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Fade away or gradually die

Some more sad news Edward Woodward's BBC Obituary

I mentioned Breaker Morant just recently elsewhere. Callan seems to have branded itself into a generation, too. Glad now DVD releases are available. The Wicker Man has left quite an impact as well. Saw him only a couple of weeks ago, doing a good job in a recent Britcrime TV drama. Only one I can see in IMDB list is Jonnie Johnson in The Bill – which I virtually never watch, maybe it was spotting him sucked me in?

It sounds like a pretty good life overall: family together, not too much financial or physical struggle, doing good work in profession he enjoyed. Always sad to lose his like, tho'.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Disturbing Wall Art in Berlin

Altho' this Daily Mail article, linked at end, has a different main subject – starting with Nicolas Sarkozy's confused recollection of his part in the fall of the Berlin Wall & continuing with general reflections on that event & its 20th Anniversary – there was a background in an accompanying picture that I found striking, disturbing &, unfortunately, memorable (brain bleach wanted). It's the first modern picture after two historic ones.

WARNING! This picture may disturb some readers. DO NOT PROCEED IF SENSITIVE.

It's a mural in the East Side Gallery in Berlin featuring Leonid Brezhnev & Erich Honecker (UPPA Photoshot)
OK. You can look again.

The newspaper story, parts of which you might like to read. There are other photos too. (Second weirdness note: Why did they make the 1989 photo sepia?)

Sarkozy reinvents history
Last updated at 5:45 PM on 09th November 2009 news/ worldnews/ article-1226161/ Sarkozy-posts-Facebook-image-hacking-away-Berlin-Wall-night-came-down.html

Friday, 23 October 2009

American Poem

I AM the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.

Do you know that all the great work of this world is
done through me?
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the
world's food & clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons
come from me & the Lincolns. They die. &
then I send forth more Napoleons & Lincolns.

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out & wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me &
makes me work & give up what I have. & I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself & spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then — I forget.

When I, the people, learn to remember, when I, the People
use the lessons of yesterday & no longer forget
who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool — then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: "The People", with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far off smile of derision.

The mob—The crowd—The mass—will arrive then.

              – Carl Sandburg

Saturday, 3 October 2009

So, it's Rio for 2016 Olympics

When the human world & its damage to itself & its planet gets too much, sometimes looking at a bigger picture can distract us from our distress & despair. (NB: Need better, official links for these two.)
Mysterious Mercury reveals more surface secrets to Messenger spacecraft
The Messenger team were hoping to take close-up pictures of other features glimpsed during the first two fly-bys, but an unexpected signal loss just four minutes before making the closest approach meant the craft went into safety mode. When returned to operational mode, it reported all systems were functioning normally again. [Conspiracy theorists will love that.]
Messenger will now enter into orbit in 2011 after it used the planet's gravity during the latest fly-by to help slow it down … Before the current Messenger mission only 45 per cent of the planet's surface had ever been glimpsed, using the Mariner crafts in the 1970s.
Now after three flybys in 2008 and 2009, around 95 per cent of the surface has been imaged. Only a few small sections around the poles have yet to be covered.
The team are hoping to answer six key questions about Mercury: Why is it so dense? What is its geological history? How does its magnetic field work? What is the structure of its core? What are the unusual materials at the poles? What volatile materials are there?

Turbulent Milky Way revealed in new light using British space camera
An image of a Milky Way region in the constellation of the Southern Cross has been constructed from individual SPIRE (UK-led camera) and PACS images in the European Herschel Space Observatory. It shows 'a very turbulent process', constantly forging new generations of stars. … Herschel, which launched in May, was designed to view the universe at far infrared wavelengths and carries the largest telescope ever flown into space … providing astronomers with information about how much material there is, its mass, temperature and composition, and whether or not some of it is collapsing to form new stars. The two instruments have imaged an area around 16 times as big as the size of the moon as seen from earth. … Large areas of the milky way will be systematically surveyed by Herschel in this manner, helping astronomers to unravel the mysteries of star formation.
OTOH, this world is the only one we know of that has mind, thought, feeling, art & created beauty, or the capability of appreciating any of the natural beauty we find.

Extraordinary Origami (there's a tiger) news/ worldnews/ article-1217194/ Origami-master-Sipho-Mabona-art-creating-paper-butterfly.html OR
Which can be another thing adding to the despair, when contemplating what damage we're wreaking, despite so many people trying to stop it.

Another comfort is cats:
Duststorm Boo ("one angry orange kitty!") photos/ velvetink/ 3946361231/

On Mount Olympuss serge_lj/ pic/ 0007ss5x/ g1

Agatha on desktop serge_lj/ pic/ 0005fth6/ g1

Cats Learning to Swim (somewhat dodgy) watch?v=tu6fVdAFGSI

i are cute kitten watch?v=_ZSbC09qgLI

Sharing a bath with Woody watch?v=sGrQV23TTUY

Cat Shower 2 (Woody Style) watch?v=8KswnjMa-MQ

From envy of the shelf-room of Neil Gaiman, seen at Gaiman's Bookshelf Details, at Ron Brinkmann's blog, Shelfari, we go all gooey seeing his cat posing there

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Antiquity of the Novelty Song

An odd thing I discovered while searching for details of a quite different nursery song for someone.
Nursery Antiquities, from Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell
"The following has been traced to the time of Henry VI., a singular doggerel, the joke of which consists in saying it so quickly that it cannot be told whether it is English or gibberish:
"In fir tar is,
In oak none is,
In mud eel is,
In clay none is,
Goat eat ivy,
Mare eat oats."
(Assuming you all know the song "Mares eat oats"?)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The Strange Story of Stan Brock remains untold here

A report from Guy Adams in Los Angeles at the music arena that has been turned into a makeshift medical centre
The Independent (UK)
Guy Adams
Saturday, 15 August 2009
The brutal truth about America’s healthcare: &hhellip; Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.
… Remote Area Medical was founded by an Englishman: Stan Brock. The 72-year-old former public schoolboy, Taekwondo black belt, and one-time presenter of Wild Kingdom, one of America's most popular animal TV shows, left the celebrity gravy train in 1985 to, as he puts it, 'make people better'.
Today, Brock has no money, no income, and no bank account. He spends 365 days a year at the charity events, sleeping on a small rolled-up mat on the floor and living on a diet made up entirely of porridge and fresh fruit. …"

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Sonnet to be kept for a proper time

If I should die some night and never see
Dawn's light, my email, and my morning tea,
I face the thought with equanimity,
In fact, it would be worse for you than me.
Not that I want to die and turn to clay.
I'm only half-way through, I want to stay,
I want more years, more books, more chance to say
I love my life, my work, my friends, my day.
But I would know for sure the mystery
Perhaps go on to live again and grow
But even if there's nothing, I would know.
My death I view with calm philosophy
It's other people's death that makes me rage
Weep, grieve, and curse, demand another page.
        – Jo Walton

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Apology Again

Not putting much here right now. Haven't given up. Life goes on, so far.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Hate Crimes

One quote from a recent American Terrorist story jumped out. From my local paper's report (‘Gunman says murder of abortion doctors was 'justified'’), via Associated Press, also in variations from several sources
"The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew," said Lindsey Roeder … he became involved with the Freemen movement, an anti-government group that discouraged the paying of taxes.
That story seems to be getting more publicity than this one: ‘British hostage executed by Islamists in Mali’.

It'll be interesting to see how the Tiananmen Square massacre 20th anniversary, and some other anniversaries are remembered in the next few weeks.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Two Anniversaries: the Effluxion of Time

From comments on a review at Rixosous of The Mayor of Castro Street, by Randy Shilts.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the White Night Riots, which occurred when Dan White was given a ludicrously low sentence for the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone.
Tomorrow is Harvey Milk's birthday. He would have been 79. It's hard to imagine.
Posted by: Susan de Guardiola | May 21, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Friday, 27 February 2009

Watchmen Widget

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Leviathan's Underbelly: TV

I've mentioned John Birmingham's book Leviathan* (Assorted links) before (5 June, 2005). Here's one of the chapters, expanded and filmed. Also see the works of Rupert Kathner
Underbelly: Back where it all began - SMH TV & Radio - Entertainment:
"Sydney had been corrupt since the Rum Corps, but in the 1970s it exploded. A cell of bent detectives effectively franchised crime using 'pet' criminals. People such as Lennie McPherson, a safebreaker but no mastermind, became a Mr Big after police gave him the 'green light'. Arthur 'Neddy' Smith, a violent thug, became a protected mob leader. The smooth George Freeman made millions — so brazenly he was once photographed at Randwick races with the chief magistrate.

But there were a few honest police — and they had to break the law to prove it..."
* Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney A RIVETING HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY OF A REMARKABLE AUSTRALIAN CITY “Combining intensive research with the pace of a techno-thriller, John Birmingham creates a rich portrait of a city too dazzled by its own gorgeous reflection to care much for what lies at its dark, corrupted heart. … Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present … Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. … Illuminated by wild flashes of black humour, violent, ghoulish and utterly compelling, Leviathan is history for the Tarantino generation.” ISBN: 0091842034; ISBN: 9780091842031; ISBN: 0091832616

Sunday, 18 January 2009

A Minnesota January — Things People Do When It Gets Cold

Still Too Cold To Go Birding (15th January, 2009) 2009/ 01/ still-too-cold-to-go-birding.html
There's a video of unusual banana use, and stories of bubbles and spray.
Elsewhere, there's ‘Is it cold enough for you’ (by dmilstein) showing the effect of cold air on hot water. watch?v=F-ugVrA8e5M
which led to matociquala
2009-01-16 05:13 pm UTC (link) saying
“When I was a kid, I remember it would get so cold we'd throw boiling water out the door and freeze it to make hot ice. Got so cold one night the fire froze--we kept it in the icehouse and chipped pieces off it for years, to warm our coffee.

Gotta handle it with tongs, though.”
More videos of the hot water throwing watch?v=Qlwhk2ozb50

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Humanist Podcasts through December

New Humanist Advent Calendar Podcasts (link to list)

From Monday, 1 December 2008 to Wednesday, December 24th, these were posted up day by day. There's a short entry and an embedded player in the blog, or you can listen directly to the MP3 file. Each interview subject was asked to pick a scientist or philosopher or writer who they'd suggest be commemorated by an annual day, rather like Christmas, and also any invention through history they'd like for a Christmas present.
Advent Podcasts Day 1: Stephen Fry (post)
MP3: users/ newhumanistmagazine/ 01DecStephenFry.mp3

Advent Podcasts Day 2: PZ Myers (post)
MP3: users/ newhumanistmagazine/ 02DecPZMyers.mp3

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

USA Today: Car Smashes in the Snow

Ouch - two car crashes survived. Photos shared from Flickr. ~*Leah*~ [untitled] & Lauren takes Pictures, Day 198 of 365

Saturday, 13 December 2008

SMH Obituary - Dacre Smyth, 1923-2008 - A poetic observer, unwittingly, of Hiroshima: text/ articles/ 2008/ 12/ 10/ 1228584924971.html
Smyth was on HMAS Norman 160 kilometres east of Japan on August 6, 1945, when another officer called him on deck to see a 'spectacular sunset'. Smyth immediately wrote a poem, of which the second verse says: 'No cloud, I say, but yet the sun did light/ On towering columns all unreal yet huge/ Which waved and shuddered in grotesque delight/ In myriad hues of ghostly subterfuge.' Unknowingly, he was describing the aftermath of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Dacre Henry Deudraeth Smyth, who has died in Melbourne of prostate cancer at 85, was born in London into a family linked directly to the kings of England Henry III and Edwards I, II and III. The family also had some claim to being related to Pocohontas, the Indian who saved the life of Captain John Smith, the founder of Virginia.

Smyth's mother was Anna Maria Story-Maskelyne. His father, Nevill, was awarded a Victoria Cross under Lord Kitchener at the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan in 1898, and was considered unlucky not to have won a second VC during the Boer War. He went on to command the First Australian Brigade at Gallipoli, leading him to emigrate with his family in 1925 and settle on a sheep property, Kongbool, near Balmoral in Victoria's Western District.

Nevill Smyth's first cousin, Lord Robert Stephen Smyth Baden-Powell, was a hero of the 217-day siege of Mafeking in the Boer War, and founded the Boy Scout movement, of which Smyth became a leader in Victoria.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Post-Election Musical Thoughts

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State!
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State!
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty Ship of State!
    To the Shores of Need
    Past the Reefs of Greed
    Through the Squalls of Hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
           —Leonard Cohen L/ leonardcohenlyrics/ leonardcohendemocracylyrics.htm

The Burns Sisters sing it on their
'Wild Bouquet' album.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Satellite Photo Maps and 'Reality'

    1) My home is on a busy & important road, running straight for over a mile along the top of a ridge next to central Sydney. On my first use of Google Street View, like everyone else looking for my place, it was in the only block along the whole length missing.

    2) Walking in a new area of the city I discovered a tiny hidden oasis right off a big busy main road. Two little angled lanes of brick terrace houses lined with tubs & pots full of plants, with at least two friendly cats and, in the point of the triangle formed by the lanes, a minuscule park — lawn, flowerbeds, tables & benches. On Google Maps the park is invisible, covered by two leafy trees. Shocked, I realised since the photo was taken both have died, still standing as bare skeletons I'd barely noticed.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Links on Compulsory Voting

Here's a link to the Australian Electoral Commission's very brief summary page on Compulsory Voting. This links to more detailed PDF documents (1-short, 2-fuller. See also Informality. For excruciating detail see Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918). It covers the Federal law, the States have their own (NSW, see legislation: Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 No 41, Div 13), and each also (fairly loosely) enforces it for local Council elections.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Life (sort of) Imitates Snow Crash

Pizza man fined for delivering very fast fast food
September 17, 2008, 3:29 am
(Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Michael Perry and Miral Fahmy)
SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian pizza delivery man gave fast food a new meaning when he was caught, and fined, for driving 53 km (33 miles) over the speed limit.

The 20-year-old man, driving on a provisional driver's license, said he was speeding because he was 20 minutes late with his delivery in the tropical northern town of Townsville.

Police clocked him driving at 131 kph (82 mph) in an 80 kph (50 mph) zone on Saturday, but waited for him to deliver his pizza before booking him.

On his return journey to the pizza shop, he was caught speeding at 133 kph in the same zone.

Police sergeant Brendan White said on Tuesday the delivery man, who was not named, was fined AU$1,520 (US$1,226) and lost his license for 15 months.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Nice Noises

MP3 extracts of Richard Einhorn's music - composer of Voices of Light, etc, Audio/ AudioIndex.html
Voices of Light link VOL/ VOLHomepage.html
And another space … whitenoise

YouTube clip called Kaamelott - The perfect fifth. It seems to be part of series called Kaamelott, I think. I did LOL (quietly (LQ?)) at 'diabolus!', remembering being told about it in music class in my childhood.

What Cannot be Knitted or Crotcheted?

Knitted Tardis (don't let the BBC hear, tho'): TARDIS Knit Plush Pattern Instructions, and Pattern Graph; Knitted Tardis Flickr set; and Instructables page: The Tardis - knitted. I would love someone to bring one along to the Sixth Annual 702 ABC Sydney Knit In for the Wrap With Love charity (the Big Day is 1st August this year), 'cos our ABC is & has been the Dr Who purveyor in Australia since the show's beginning..

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Mud of some sort or another

Someone mentioned mud, and I immediately sang in my mind “mud, mud, glorious mud” – from ‘Hippopotamus’ by Flanders & Swann.

Mud is something they'd love to find on Mars — see HiRISE images of the Phoenix landing site at blog/ article/ 00001472

Mud also plays a small, but vital role in the film The Ballad of Cable Hogue

And for a picture that evokes quite different emotions, GW Bush officiating at an Air Force Academy graduation ceremony

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Some English language alphabets

John Higgins's silent alphabet
A as in BREAD
B as in DEBT
E as in GIVE
G as in GNAW
H as in HOUR
I as in FRIEND
K as in KNOW
L as in CALM
M as the first M in MNEMONIC
N as in AUTUMN
O as in PEOPLE
P as in PSALM
Q as in COLQUHOUN (a Scottish surnamepron “Cull-hoon”)
S as in ISLAND
T as in CASTLE
U as in GUARD
V as in MILNGAVIE (a Scottish place name pron “Mull-guy” or “Mill-guy”)
W as in WRONG
X as in SIOUX
Y as in PEPYS
Z as in RENDEZVOUS museum/ silent.html

Sites showing the 'spelling-out' alphabets (also called phonetic alphabets, not to be confused with the kind of phonetic alphabets used to show pronounciation)
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whisky, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu phoneticalphabet.htm
Wikipedia: Spelling alphabet
Wikipedia's disambiguation page: Phonetic alphabet

Friday, 21 March 2008

Another Death; Another Good Legacy

It wasn't that far back that Paul Scofield was brought to my mind in relation to discussing Thomas More (in the 'William F Buckley, dead' thread). I watched a few online clips from A Man for All Seasons. Now he joins our other recent losses, leaving, we are comforted, a legacy we can continue to benefit from.

From The Guardian, their obituary, personal remembrances, comments from the public; and also the NY Times obit.

[Follows the recent unexpected sudden and early death of Anthony Minghella, the less-surprising, but still memorable taking away of Arthur C Clarke — much-discussed over at Making Light: Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008, with many links and recommendations for reading.]

Sigh. Six Apart, further apart

Darkrose (you are so good to me eggplant mike) has put up a translation of an interview with LJ's recent owner (a Russian). It's not happy reading. 373663.html — The Rodney McKay Principle of Consumerism as applied to LiveJournal

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Solastalgia: homesickness you have when you are still at home

Researchers identify new syndrome
Wednesday 6 September 2006 news/ 2006/ 09/ newsyndrome.html
Researchers from the University of Newcastle, Australia have discovered a new type of syndrome affecting potentially thousands of people who have lived through human-made environmental change such as open-cut mines, and natural disasters such as drought and cyclones.

Researchers, Dr Glenn Albrecht (philosopher, School of Environmental and Life Sciences) and Dr Gina-Maree Sartore, (psychologist, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health) said 'solastalgia' is a lack of solace in one's home environment caused by the impact of negative environmental change. Dr Albrecht described solastalgia as the "homesickness you have when you are still at home".

They have researched the impact of the drought and open cut mines in rural NSW and say affected people feel melancholia or homesickness, and loss of a sense of place …

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Outwitting History: A Book-Rescuer's story Outwitting History
The Amazing Adventures of A Man Who Rescued A Million Yiddish Books, by Aaron Lansky "Lansky and his fellow dreamers traveled from house to house, Dumpster to Dumpster saving Yiddish books wherever they could find them—eventually gathering an improbable 1.5 million volumes, from famous writers like Sholem Aleichem and I.B. Singer to one-of-a-kind Soviet prints."

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Analysing Raising Arizona

The House Next Door (
H.I. Pulls the Pin (10th October, 2007)
Raising Arizona's universe exists somewhere between a Sam Shepard play and Chuck Jones' 'Dripalong Daffy.' H.I (Nicolas Cage) and his barren, ex-cop wife, Ed (Holly Hunter), participate in wild car and foot chases, throw roundhouse punches that would have knocked John Wayne's eyeballs out, and speak in courtly sentences that mix pop psychology, cornpone aphorisms and odd, poetic rhythms. ('Biology and the prejudices of others conspired to keep us childless.')