Killing Time with the Conspiracy Nuts
Posted 2 Weeks Ago
You know me. I adore conspiracy theorists. You see, they make the lives of fiction writers and cartoonists SO much easier...
I've been reading selections from this blog aloud to Elektra. I have tears in my eyes from laughter.
Just in case you're bored and want some comic relief, here it is:
There are two particularly lovely threads going here. One concerns the alleged conspiracy of FEMA and/or the British Royal Family to escape coming climate change by hiding in Denver, Colorado, the mile-high city.
Another is the futile attempt by the mathematically literate to explain the numbers involved in pedigree collapse to the Illuminati fans.
Anyway, my favourite quotes are these:
First Poster: 'The President and Secretary of State are always members of The Pilgrims Society, whose patron is the British monarch. This is a secret society refusing to issue roster for public viewing and it controls the world's financial system the British are in competition with the Pope/Vatican but have had the upper hand against Rome for centuries."
Second Poster: 'this explains why I have freckles ...'
Some posters drop heavy hints about aliens...see if you can spot them...s are in ur gene pool, messin' wif ur DNA...
Anyway, have a nice Saturday.
Take an Auditory Break from that Headbanger Stuff...
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
...and listen to this.
Okay, today's treat: Bobby McFerrin doing illegally cool things with his voice.
Just watch and listen to his version of Gounod's 'Ave Maria' (with audience participation):
And of course, his classic demonstration that the pentatonic scale is lodged somewhere in our brains:
I got there today by noodling around after I found the tune I was looking for, the unfortunately-named 'Distress'. Pretty tune, though:
Okay, back to what you were doing. But doesn't your brain feel better now?
RADA and Indians and a Bear, Oh My
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
Netflix didn't steer us wrong last night. They recommended we watch 'Windwalker', a 1980 film starring Trevor Howard, James Remar, and a lot of American Indian actors.
You might be thinking, 'Where have you been? I've known about this for years.' If so, excuse my gushing. If you haven't seen it, though, get it. It's a real treat. Billed as 'a movie about Indians - and not one cowboy!' Yay. The story's set out West in the 18th Century, hence the absence of annoying John Wayne types.
Trevor Howard is amazing as the elderly Windwalker, a Cheyenne whose journey is full of magical realism. The RADA-trained actor does an impressive job, especially considering that he's acting in a foreign language. Except for the voice-over narration in English, the film is completely in Cheyenne and Crow, with subtitles. James Remar gives a stellar performance as the younger version of Windwalker, an enthusiastic young husband and father.
The landscape, of course, is breathtaking. But the whole show is stolen by about a dozen American Indian kids. The adult actors are completely eclipsed onscreen by these natural performers. Watching the little girl feed jerky to the captive Crow warrior...pure bliss. Think of the way you felt about the natural talents of Bushmen when viewing 'The Gods Must Be Crazy'...
The adult cast are also marvellous. Be sure you read the cast list. One actor rejoices in the glorious name of Marvin Takes Horse. If he's the person whose obit I found in the Billings, Montana, Gazette, he was a Marine veteran and former Golden Gloves boxing champion. He was raised by a man named Sam Bird in Ground. Why doesn't everybody have beautiful names like that?
Mention must also go to another outstanding actor in the film, Bart the Bear. Imdb informs us that Bart, whose 20-year film career included many famous productions, usually played the part of 'The Bear'. He was a 9-foot 6-inch Kodiak bear, although he was often cast against type as an ordinary brown bear. I believe he even got to intimidate Anthony Hopkins, so he acted with some top talent.
The story in this film is riveting. It concerns a Cheyenne family who are menaced by Crow warriors. I don't want to give the plot away, it's too good for that. But as I watched, I kept thinking: this reminds me of a Norse saga. I could just see Ingmar Bergman tackling these themes...etc, etc. Afterward, I discovered that the film was based on a novel by Utah writer Blaine Yorgason.
Aha! Such themes are universal. And it's honest. After all, Stith Thompson, the American folklorist and co-author of the great Index of Folklore Motifs, wrote his dissertation on 'European Borrowings and Parallels in North American Indian Tales.' Those Norwegian lumberjacks did more than fell trees - they shared their stories with the tribes over there.
So, watch this film if you can. Or rewatch it, if you have already. It's on US Netflix these days. Youtube will show it to you if you pay them $2.99. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can watch it for free.
Here's a clip, worth it for the buffalo:
And yes, Trevor Howard DOES say, 'It's a good day to die.' But later, the grandkids say, 'Maybe it wasn't a good day to die after all?'
Bad News: Nuclear Attack/Worse News: No Tea
Posted Jul 11, 2015
I was doing some research for a guide entry on fallout shelters, and had recourse to one of my favourite blogs, 'Conelrad Adjacent'. It occurred to me that this website might interest some of you as much as it does me. It informative, well-researched, and amazing entertaining, especially when you consider that the subject of each post is some aspect of Cold War nuclear policy, practice, etc.
I've been reading around in it, and came upon one I think UK h2g2ers will particularly want to read:
It's called 'England’s Cold War Tea Panic'. Now, aside from the unnecessary flippancy of assuming that running out of tea would be a trivial matter in a crisis (if that's what you drink, it wouldn't: how would YOU like to run out of coffee, bubba?), the bloggers have done us all a service. They ordered and READ volumes and volumes of 1950s bureaucratese about war planning. (Better them than me.) Their synopsis makes interesting reading.
What interested me was that the British planners were frustrated - which I fully understand. What a nightmare. Apparently, they were less rosily optimistic than all the fools...er, cheerful fairies...er, I was right the first time...in the US of A who thought we could survive a minor event like World War III with perfect aplomb.
But, oh, are those reports passive-aggressive. I could just hear them saying, 'Well, if three-quarters of the country die because I couldn't get a requisition, I WILL say 'I told you so'...'
So, what do you think? Do you sympathise with that lone commenter, and think the bloggers are being rude? Or does it make you wonder just exactly how bad things were in the Food Ministry?
And please noodle around in that blog. It's simply amazing what you'll learn.
Happy Second of July
Posted Jul 4, 2015
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
Now, before you complain, 'But I'm not from the US, and this is a meaningless, ridiculous holiday,' consider this:
* Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence for the American colonists in 1776. Then he helped France write the Declaration of the Rights of Man. These documents together inspired revolutions and freedom movements around the world for the next couple of centuries - including the Vietnamese declaration of independence written by Ho Chi Minh in 1945.
* John Adams was big on celebrating independence. He wrote:
'The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations...[i]t ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other...'
Wait...the SECOND day of July? Well, duh. That was the day they voted for independence. But those printers put 'In Congress, July 4' on the Declaration (in English AND German), so we're stuck with the 4th.
Interestingly, three US Presidents - Jefferson, Adams, and Monroe - have died on 4 July, and Calvin Coolidge was born on 4 July. Fun with numbers...
Anyway, they've been doing fireworks since the beginning, because fireworks are a great 18th-century custom. They had some over at the local stadium last night. We went out on the front lawn and watched them. They did theirs on 3 July, not sure why, but different towns around here have them different nights. Maybe they all use the same fireworks team. And everybody can drive around and see them. So who cares? One day or another, celebrate freedom. Yours, and everybody else's. People of the world, unite.
Oh, the first music used to celebrate the 4th? Besides 'Yankee Doodle', we mean, or 'The World Turned Upside Down'? It was Johann Friedrich Peter's 'The Psalm of Joy', performed in 1781 in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. I would like to hear this, but I can't find it. I wanted to see how Peter stacked up to my 18th-century favourite, William Billings. But no joy. Or psalm, either.
So here's a patriotic song by William Billings (Read about him here: A87746340 ). Don't complain: at least it's not Lee 'Proud to be an Amurrican' Greenwood. And it's MUCH easier to sing than that old drinking song. Funnier, too.