Friday, May 06, 2011

Musical Ramble

A short ramble this week—a ramble through some relevant musical gems.

First, Robert Johnson was born one-hundred years ago this week—which makes just eighty years since he went down to that fateful crossroad and made a deal that changed modern music…

It’s not dark yet…

And finally, get ye to the Venusberg…

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

‘Perigo!’: The ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Special

PERIGO!--Rand-Special-V1

Who is John Galt? Who was Ayn Rand? What is Atlas Shrugged?

Find out tonight on Perigo! as Lindsay marks the release of the movie based on Rand's epoch-changing best-seller.

PERIGO! Thursday on Stratos 7.30pm. Freeview 21 & Sky 89

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NOT PJ: 3D or Not 3D

_BernardDarnton This week Bernard Darnton reviews a film he slept through.

FILM TECHNOLOGY TOOKANOTHER leap forward this week with the announcement of special “2D” glasses that convert 3D films into an amazing unblurred 2D experience. The relentless march of technology never ceases to amaze me.

Gadget site Red Ferret announced this stunning new development, explaining how the cunningly designed glasses block one of the two images projected onto the screen in a bog-standard 3D film and convert it into glorious flat-o-vision.

This gave me an idea for an even better technology in which both lenses of the glasses are replaced by black cardboard. Films would be rendered in zero-D, instantly improving the vast majority of them.
Avatar, for example. It was Avatar’s hype that brought 3D back into fashion and yet it would be so much better in zero-D. I only went to it because I thought it was a documentary on the incarnations of Vishnu.

(This might sound like utter nonsense but this sort of thing happens to me all the time. When I was working in Porirua and commuting from the Hutt Valley, one of my workmates had a meeting to go to and asked me the best way to get to Avalon. At the time I was reading Foucault’s Pendulum and my head was full of esoteric religious nonsense. I thought he meant Avalon the Celtic paradise. It never occurred to me that he wanted to go to Avalon the suburb in Lower Hutt. I looked at him for a moment and said, “You can’t just go there - you have to be a Celtic warrior and die in battle.” He stared at me for an even longer moment and then backed off to ask someone who wasn’t utterly batshit crazy.)

True story. Anyway, Avatar.

Avatar is an action-adventure movie in which a group of humans, called “Americans,” invade a foreign planet populated by a peace-loving people known as “the Arabs” to steal an unobtainable mineral called “oil.” They blow up a tree and the star of the film turns blue (that bit at least was Hindu god-like) and goes native. I think that’s what happened. I was asleep for a lot of it and, if I’d had the benefit of the zero-D glasses, I might have been able to sleep through a bit more of it and really put that three hours to good use.

Even with my sporadic wakefulness it was quite clear that the film had a message to ram home. Americans are nasty and they shouldn’t blow up trees that belong to other people, even if those people speak another language and look like ten-foot tall smurfs. Director James Cameron explained that the film was in fact very patriotic because it’s patriotic to slag off your own country if your own country is crap. Or something. I was asleep during that interview too, with good reason.

Cameron also said, “We know what it feels like to launch the missiles. We don’t know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil.” Except for that one time when some guys stole some Boeing 767s and crashed them into American landmarks killing thousands. Admittedly, if Cameron can’t remember that event then the last decade of American foreign policy probably looks belligerent.

Not that the War on Terror hasn’t got a stupid name, and hasn’t at times descended into a shambles, but Americans aren’t just crashing around the world to steal oil or to kill people for fun. They are primarily, if not always directly, trying to prevent another 9/11.

Fortunately, the message of moral equivalence hasn’t sunk in. That much was clear in the jubilant scenes on Tuesday night, when we heard that US Navy Seals had delivered Osama bin Laden the bullets he so richly deserved - something that many of us were happy to see with or without special glasses.

Bernard Darnton’s NOT PJ column appears here every Thursday. Except when it doesn’t

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Brash v Harawira

Don Brash and Hone Harawira face off with the Walrus in the chair. Watch it here:

Part One.

Part Two.

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“End the War on Drugs,” says the Law Commission

2001's 22 most wanted.

There’s still 15 to go.

[Click to enlarge]

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Man, the Builder

_Quote I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.”
                       – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

[Hat tip Temple of the Human Spirit]

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

“Holy Cow!”

Close up footage of the Albany tornado.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Quote of the day: “An infinite amount more where that came from”

“Most of the state’s wealth comes from ordinary people working hard and then giving a huge chunk of their income to the government, so spending it is a sacred trust not an endless opportunity to squander it all on gimmicks and whims and political stunts…”
           - Danyl at Dim Post - “An infinite amount more where that came from

Discuss.

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I’m going to be busy today [updated]

I’m going to be busy today. Here’s why.

Obituary: Willa Cresswell

CRESSWELL, Willa (nee Clarihew).
Died peacefully after a long illness, with family at her side. Loved mother and mother-in- law of Lyn and Andrew, Peter and Carol, Bhim and Shammi. Much treasured cousin of Barbara. Thanks to staff at Metlifecare Highlands and the dear friends whose visits meant so much to her. In lieu of flowers donations to the Bible Society or Child Cancer Foundation and can be left at the service. A celebration of Willa's life will be held in the Chapel of Manukau Memorial Gardens 357 Puhinui Road Papatoetoe, on Monday 2 May 2011 at 2pm.

UPDATE: Thanks to you all for your kind and generous thoughts.

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