Friday, 27 February 2009

The Case of the Glenrothes By Election

Glenrothes By ElectionEh bien! I will reconstruct it for you as far as it is possible. I am inclined to think that Mr Brown was the master mind in the affair. You remember him mentioning that he couldn't loose this by-election? Yes indeed mon ami, he is of course familiar with the fact that access to the marked register would allow ghost voters to be hidden. Probably the idea came to him quite suddenly. Mrs Brown had a box of bromide powders, which she occasionally took at night. What could be easier then quietly to dissolve one or more of those powders in the returning officer's tea, once out the way, he can assume his identity. The risk is practically nil. The by-election will not take place until nearly a fortnight later! If anyone had seen him touching the medicine, they will have forgotten it by that time. Mr Brown would have finished his campaigning, and seemingly departed from Glenrothes. The lapse of time, and his absence, will defeat all suspicion. Yes, it was a clever idea! If he'd left it alone, if he hadn't gone back for the marked register it is possible the crime might never have been brought home to him. But he was not satisfied. He tried to be too clever and that was his undoing. Alas for him mon ami, Poirot's little grey cells know all!

New Cbeebies Presenter

There's an article on the BBC about the new Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, who was born without a right hand. It raises some interesting points about how people react to disability. The article says that though there has been a lot of support for Cerrie Burnell:
“...a minority of parents expressed concern that Ms Burnell's appearance was "scaring" children. One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt.”

The presenter says in relation to these concerns from parents and addressing disability with their children:

“It's a totally personal thing and people have to do it when they feel comfortable to do it. But I would just hope that, I guess, me being on CBeebies would present an opportunity for them to do that in the comfort of their own home.”

I certainly agree it's a better to address the question within the home, rather than how children usually do it! The idea though that she's scaring children just seems ridiculous, “my child is scared of watching because she thought the presenter was hurt”, isn't that just your inability to communicate to your child properly? It's like calling death “going to sleep and not waking up” and then wondering your child doesn't want to sleep at night, they just lay there crying softly.

Disability is a fact of life, from being in an accident to being born with a mental or psychical disability. If we were more open about this, wouldn't make it easier on everyone. As I think for a majority of people, you just don't know how to react to disability. It's not something that a large amount of people have been exposed to. But giving disability a platform and visibility like this is a good place to start.

So I say right on Cerrie!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Adverts on Internet Movie Data Base

I've been posting on IMDB's message boards intermittently for about three years. I went to their site today and found they've added adverts to every post, this is in addition to pop up browser advertising, and adverts in the frames of their site. Which begs the question just how much advertising does one web site need?

The information IMDB has in relation to this new addition says:

IMDb has partnered with a number of third-party advertisers to present sponsored links that are relevant to the pages you are reading. When you click on these sponsored links they take you to other third-party web sites where you can get more information.

Interesting since I'm getting an advert for - The Cure for Bad Breath - on a post about Richard Dawkins.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Elizabeth's Super Gun

There's an interesting article on the BBC about two cannons that were recovered from an Elizabethan warship. During Elizabeth's reign the English Navy were greatly feared, but historians couldn't clearly show why this was, until now.

The cannons that were recovered from the wreak, were reconstructed and historians believe that Elizabeth changed English warships to have guns, of uniform size, firing rates and standard ammunition. The benefit of this is it's more effective to have lots of small guns, all the same and firing all at once.

Timewatch did firing tests on the replica gun, which showed the cannonballs were travelling at almost the speed of sound, estimating that they could hit a target about a mile away, and puncher right through a ship at 100 yards. The historians involved say this made the English Navy 50 years ahead of their time technologically.

Which goes some way to explaining the mystery of why Elizabeth's fleet were able to the defeat the Spanish Armada, even though they were out numbered by 200 ships to 130.

Gordon's Obama bounce

There's been a lot of different articles lately about New Labour's expectation of an Obama bounce to their opinion polls. Given public reaction to Dawn Butler's Obama letter. It's a volatile gamble drawing attention or comparisons, as they need to stand up to scrutiny, not just personal but public.

You have to wonder why they would invest so much expectation in this to begin with, as what real value does it have? Obama has of course bailed out the banks and economy in the way Brown did, but does a possible endorsement of his policy effect votes? Will that really be what people think of in the voting booth, when so much news about Brown's role in this recession or how much New Labour have claimed from tax payers has been in the press. People don't unlearn things, forget, but it doesn't take much to remember.

If opinion polls do go up off the back of these meetings, how permanent will that be? Given that there are so many things fundamentally wrong with the direction and actions of New Labour. That unless they're addressed, why would voters listen to them? They have to use any positive attention as a spring board for something more. Which means working through their fatalism. They've become a far too divided party, media certainly sense that and are picking at them one by one.

What's worrying about New Labour expectations is that desperate springs to mind. Not just desperation for improved poll results, but desperate to take what you can before you have to give it up and people with nothing to loose can do very desperate things.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Halifax Howard

In the new advert for Halifax what's happened to the all singing and dancing Howard? Thrown aside like a dirty dishcloth that's what, handed his notice while the sound of "Money's Too Tight Too Mention" softly played in the background. Who could of foreseen the credit crisis reaching heights like this.

ere he is in all his glory, lest we forget.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Iron Sky

This quirky yet ingenious idea uses the internet to it's best advantage, selling war bonds that fund the film, and asking for talent to help make it. That along side I think the greatest tag line in the history of film:

In 1945 the Nazis went to the Moon.
In 2018 they are coming back.

They've got a teaser trailer on their website.

And the Oscar goes to

As the Oscar steam train gains speed, nearing the platform of hysteria, and ready to make it's way down the ever ending carpet of "who are you are wearing?" I'm jumping on the band wagon and making predictions for the main categories, the nominees can be seen if full here.

Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire given how many awards it's received already it seems the most likely.

Best Director

Usually links up with Best Picture so Danny Boyle.

Best Actor

Sean Penn, which may seem an odd choice given Mickey Rourke is favourite, but I think he might just have the edge with the politics of the film.

Best Actress

Kate Winslet, she's been nominated too many times.

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger as Hollywood will want to honour him.

Best supporting Actress

I'm a little unsure on this, but two actress from the same film (Doubt) may split votes enough for Penelope Cruz.

Best Animation

Wall-E clear winner.

Best Foreign Film

Waltz with Bashir clear winner.

Best Original Screenplay

I'm drawn to Milk or Happy Go Lucky, I'm going for Happy Go Lucky though given that I think Sean Penn will win the Actor award.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Benjamin Button, it's got to win something.

Gonna need a bigger nappy

A man held a woman hostage in handcuffs and an adult nappy for three days while he read Bible passages to her. . . . (full story)

You've got to wonder what went through his mind . . . .

1. Nappies, check
2. Bible, check
3. Kidnapped woman, check

Ok let's start

“In the beginning . . . .”

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Methinks Prescott Does Protest To Much

John Prescott's campaign against banker bonuses creates an interesting parallel when you change the word "banker" for "politician" and "counter staff" for "tax payer." I of course don't mean in terms of rhyming slang.

This ideal of "no bonuses for failures" or "greed culture" really does beg the question - how can our politicians criticise, when they themselves are no better? It's like being a judge with a criminal record. So what's a 93% victory really, a token gesture to keep up appearances, but really the same old self serving dogma. As what's in the 7% loss? A job for the senior bankers advising Gordon Brown on the economy?

This is just another clear sign that politics really needs to change, but how is it to do that when it's so party focused. Would we get more of the leaders we need rather than they need, if we were able to vote on the party leader nominations? There needs to be a line drawn somewhere in the ground, but will we ever be able to get this balance with politics so closed off to us?

Perhaps the voting polls show a light at the end of the tunnel. The Lib Dems and
New Labour are drawing ever closer to one another and since New Labour has inhibited our ability to hold them to account by others means. Would it be enough of a shock wave if they were to become the third party after this election? It would need large amounts of people to tactically vote, are we that angry?

I say, go forth and multiply!

Along the lines of this subject, there's an interesting article by Simon Heffer that looks at the response to Jacqui "fiddler" Smith grabbing money like she's in the Crystal Dome.