Saturday, November 29, 2008

Movies we've seen - 'Australia'.

Went and saw the film 'Australia' this afternoon, we wanted to see if it lived up to the hype and it's budget.

The short way to to put it is that if Baz Luhrmann wanted it to be a blockbuster epic (with a message) that will be a rival to 'Gone with the Wind', it falls short.

The scenery was great, the plot quite good, the actors did a good job (both lead and supporting). Things went bad however, when Luhrmann inserted his 'message', and that message was heavily worked on from beginning to end. The message was his view on what is called the 'Stolen Generations'. I felt like I was being preached at.
Since it was part of his storyline, read more about 'the Stolen Generations' here (Wikipedia).
(Of interest, the same problems that drove that policy, is being addressed in the Northern Territory these days by a set of laws collectively called 'the Intervention'. Which suggests there's more to the problem than Luhrmann lets on?).
The treatment of Aboriginal Australians was portrayed in the worst light possible. And that is not the only way the movie goes too far. It's a bit too 'TryHard' in many places - to the point that if you wanted to parody parts of it - you couldn't do any better than it does itself.

Entertaining, pity about the preaching. Worth seeing, but I'd wait until you can get it on DVD at a discount if I were you. Non Australians might find the cliched Ocker aspect entertaining.

3 1/2 out of 5.

[Update 6Dec08 - Another review - by a scriptwriter - here.]

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What some people will try (subtext: how warped is your sense of humour?).

The link is an "email conversation that Adelaide man David Thorne claims he had with a utility company chasing payment of an overdue bill".

(I have to admit I did ask the lady behind the lunch bar once if I could have a discount because the Swiss cheese had holes in it... ;-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Do Men and Women write differently?

It would seem so.

Found a link to this site (Genderanalyzer). which uses AI to analyse site content.

What did it say about this Blog?

"We think is written by a man (82%)".


Monday, November 24, 2008

Cheap, clean, 24/7 power.

Cheap, clean, 24/7 power. But I can pretty much guarantee that the environmentalists will dismiss the option out of hand.
"...Small enough to be transported on a ship, truck or train, Hyperion power modules are about the size of a "hot tub" — approximately 1.5 meters wide. Out of sight and safe from nefarious threats, Hyperion power modules are buried far underground and guarded by a security detail. Like a power battery, Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and are delivered factory sealed. They are never opened on site. Even if one were compromised, the material inside would not be appropriate for proliferation purposes. Further, due to the unique, yet proven science upon which this new technology is based, it is impossible for the module to go supercritical, “melt down” or create any type of emergency situation. If opened, the very small amount of fuel that is enclosed would immediately cool. The waste produced after five years of operation is approximately the size of a softball and is a good candidate for fuel recycling.."
More on Hyperion Power from Wikipedia.

Yes, it's a new style technology nuclear reactor.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Disparate thoughts.

I haven't blogged much lately - for a few reasons. In no particular order some of them are;

A bit depressed about the outcome of the US elections. I wish the new President well, and I hope he at least doesn't make the current financial mess worse, and I hope he can confront some of the may challenges that must be faced, like Iran, China, Russia. Al Quaeda and the Taliban.

Have been watching the current world financial mess make a similar mess of my Super - (retirement savings). Early retirement is looking increasingly remote now.

Lot's to do work wise before we can have a Christmas break, very busy.

And bluntly, have a case of Bloggers block. Hope to get over that soon.

Plans. Trying to get some other writing done (I've had a screenplay under way for ages, - but Bloggers block and Writers block seem to be pretty much the same thing).

I'm taking more interest in some other hobbies as well of late. Hobbyist radio for a start - Thinking of maybe sitting for my Ham licence. Next year, I'm thinking of maybe doing some tech/uni work, to upgrade my quals a little.

I have been checking my usual haunts/friends sites;
Looks like Peter's retirement was short lived. His skills are obviously still valued.
C... err pumuckl is back 'home' after a short spell in Georgia.
Alex has some great photos on his site.

And I note we have a fight brewing here in Oz over internet censorship.

Til next time (and soon) - Phil.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thoughts on the coming Nov 4th US elections...

I won't get to vote in the coming US elections, where positions from President, Senate (p/of), HoReps, through on down to Sheriffs and school boards get elected across the US. But I, and the rest of the world will be affected by the results. Which is why it's well worth taking an interest.
(As an example, the US legislation that enabled 'sub-prime' mortgages has a flow on effect for the world financial markets, through on down to what interest rate my mortgage costs, and the negative effects on the balance of my superannuation portfolio - and I live on the opposite side of the world. It affects YOU as well, at least indirectly, but probably directly).

The position most of interest (but not the only interest - the results for Congress are also of importance) is the choice the US voters make for President, between John McCain and Barack Obama.

The polls say Obama will win, so I will think aloud on this.
Looking as objectively as possible at the "junior senator from Illonois", I see a young, gifted politician who is an excellent 'networker', and a charismatic public speaker.
Examining his resume, I DON'T see a background, or skills which prepare him for the job he is applying for from the US electorate, that of President of the USA (POTUS). In particular, I don't see a background preparing him for the job as the most powerful, and responsible 'Chief Executive' in the world.
The most obvious thing to me (besides the inexperience - Sarah palin has more executive experience than Obama) is that Barack Obama has a political ideology substantially to the left of mainstream America.

In John McCain however, I see someone who as we Aussies would put it, has 'the runs on the board'. His commitment to country, and selfless service in the military, and in government service as a long time elected represenative are beyond reproach. In him I see a mature, and principled public servant.

Then there are the questions about Obama which follow;

Why spend 20 years in Jeremiah Wright's church if he didn't agree with him, or wasn't influenced by his views? (Listen to this!).

There's the questions over the relationship, and what Obama knows of the past of William (Bill) Ayers.

Then there's ACORN 'voter registration drives'.

There are questions about credit card donation improprieties to the campaign.

You have to worry about how he plans to (if he can), fulfil those supporter expectations though.

And we haven't even begun to examine his foreign policy yet. Will he stand up to the threat Iran poses? Or the challenge of China? Whatever you may think of President Bush, he has taken the fight to the terrorists, and they have had little chance to engage in mischief for that reason. If the pressure is taken off them....?

As Melanie Phillips in the UK puts it;
"...You have to pinch yourself – a Marxisant (sic) radical who all his life has been mentored by, sat at the feet of, worshipped with, befriended, endorsed the philosophy of, funded and been in turn funded, politically promoted and supported by a nexus comprising black power anti-white racists, Jew-haters, revolutionary Marxists, unrepentant former terrorists and Chicago mobsters, is on the verge of becoming President of the United States. And apparently it’s considered impolite to say so...". [Melanie Phillips 'The Spectator' (UK) 14 October 2008]
I fear it's going to be 'interesting times' if he wins. (Chinese curse - "May you live in interesting times").

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