Friday, October 31, 2008

A jolly good time

It was movie night in our household as we were all too full of cold to venture out for Halloween fun and frolics. So we dimmed the lights, lit the fire and jack'o'lanterns, dressed up in our costumes and ate hotdogs, popcorn and toasted marshmallows while watching DVDs.

The first was Monster House, which was suitably scary for such a night, considering the age range. It may even have been a bit much, but we did enjoy it. S was hiding behind me some of the time 'tho, so we will see if we have nightmares and I regret the whole thing after all. She's quite a sensitive soul and we've had to abandon Dr Who watching, so perhaps an elderly neighbour appearing to die in a child's arms and a monstrous house that eats people was pushing it. I'm hoping the animated nature of it will prevent her taking it too seriously and me laughing inappropriately at the scariest bits will have helped. T was too stuffed up with cold to be scared.

Our second choice was Bee Movie and what a pile of excrement that was. The humour in the film was just too adult: while some animated films add in subtle layering of adult & children's jokes, there wasn't enough for children in this and the adult jokes dominated uncomfortably. The film clearly didn't know its audience or was trying too hard to cover too wide a range. The pop-culture references would pass most children by, although I did enjoy Ray Liotta's appearance. But the self-referential can get a tad wearing.

Like Antz and A Bug's Life, there was a whole lot of gender reassignment going on, bearing in mind one of the major features of sodding honeybees is that the females are the workers. But we couldn't have a kid's movie with any kind of accuracy regarding the natural world, could we*? And we certainly couldn't have a female protagonist. It's a bit like those ads with a cow character that clearly has massive udders but speaks with a male voice. What's that all about, eh?

But no, here we have all the pilot-type nectar-gathering bees as macho macho male ones! What ticked me off most about this was the scene with the two female fan bees fawning over them after they came in to land. Whaaaaaaat? Not only are the female bees removed from the frame and their real-life role in a beehive erased, but they are imported back in as groupies!

And the fact that female mosquitoes apparently trade up for moths, according to the Chris Rock voiced character just makes me grimace. I mean, what is this saying to my daughter?

Obviously an animated film about bees is going to anthromorphise radically, otherwise it'd be a bit grim, lacking in adventure and difficult to get to know, like or even tell apart the characters, but surely to push all female bees out of the story is going a bit far!?

I gather from the credits that it was written by four men, one of the them Jerry Seinfeld, who also voices the main character. So well done to them.**

I quite like A Bug's Life - it got away with some of the things Bee Movie doesn't, because the female is represented and not just as hangers-on or cheerleaders; the Queen and Princess actually exist, serve a purpose in the tale and have actual power & even things to say for themselves, while the plot itself is clearly a reworking of a classic film, made for children. Bee Movie neither has the charm of Bug's Life nor a decent stolen plot. The plot of Bee Movie is a bit of a hotch-potch: a cross-species love story, a trial of little bug against huge corporation and rites of passage blending imperfectly. I'm not altogether happy with the end moral which appears to be "better keep your mouth shut and stick with the status quo" as [spoiler in background colour] winning the trial ends up nearly killing the planet.

Ooh, I'm in a ranty mood of late. Anyway, apart from me loathing a Bee Movie, it was a lovely evening with the children and I only set fire to one marshmallow.

edited to add: Oh and another thing about Bee Movie [spoilers again]: the bit where the friend bee loses its temper and stings the opposing counsel? The provocation is that the lawyer exposes the fact that all the bees in the hive have the same mother: the Queen (unseen), and that somehow this makes them all illegitimate. Eh? I mean, eh to the logic of that, and eh at the resuscitation of the "bastard" stigma. So funny, hahaha, so funny. **

* Like we get sodding raccoons in one of the Dalmation films despite it being set in the UK. And despite having perfectly decent, cute wildlife of our own that could have performed the same function, like squirrels, say.

**That was sarcasm. I didn't really mean it, you see, I'm tricksy like that.

Sexual slurs and a bit of a rant

I really have to stop reading comment threads and forums where they have been discussing the fall-out from the Brand & Ross incident.

Somehow it appears to have become all Georgina Baillie's fault for having the poor judgement to sleep with Brand in the first place and have the audacity to be a sexual being in her own right. The ones that annoy me the most are those predominantly frequented by women, who patently fail to recognise the anti-woman, anti-sex aspect of this.

You don't need to put the woman in the frame to defend the two presenters. You don't need to call her sexist sexual slurs that you hypocritically fail to apply to Brand's sexual behaviour. Moreover, if she hadn't sold her story, do you think the press would have walked away respectfully & stopped door-stepping her and ringing her? No, no, they'd have been dragging out every ex-boyfriend from under every rock (and if they don't anyway, I'll eat my hat). She might as well make money out of it now, but she wasn't responsible for instigating this whole mess.

Oh no, the fault here lies with the howling media who scented blood on the Beeb and the several thousand numbskulls who are so easy to manipulate into moral outrage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ross, Brand and some great Sachs

All this fuss about Jonathan Ross & Russell Brand "insulting" Andrew Sachs... Well, apart from it obviously being whipped up beyond belief by the media, who scent blood on the Beeb, there's something a bit screwy here.

It was an asinine prank call, but what I take out of the aftermath, is that the focus from the media is pretty much based on Sachs' outraged sensibilities*.

On the radio today, the story was about the "insult" to Sachs, any unpleasantness for the woman in question was never touched upon. Alright, Sachs was the recipient of the call and therefore most immediately affected, but the tools, (apart from Brand & Ross themselves, haha) feed into some hideously sexist notions of the male ownership of female sexuality. Ie. it's getting one over on the male progenitor to have sex with his female family member without marrying her.

It's also a good excuse to put up lots of pictures of her in burlesque and splash her activities & sexual proclivities all over. Of course, she may well be perfectly happy with the exposure and it may do her career wonders, but even if she wasn't, it seems she doesn't deserve consideration because she's got that stuff online and she's in a rather outrageous burlesque troupe. So she calls herself a slut in the troupe, and she may have had sex with Brand, therefore she is a slut and cannot be shamed as she is shameless and deserves all she gets. She can of course bring shame upon her male family members, which is an awful, awful thing.

She doesn't have a right to make her own sexual choices without it being held offensive to her grandpa, because after all, men should still be controlling women's sexuality.

That's what I take from this anyway.

* Although he himself is asking for an apology to his granddaughter.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I wonder what the odds would have been on Mandelson being forced to resign (not that he has been - yet) if I'd gone to Ladbrokes or something as soon as I knew he was coming back into the cabinet.

I don't suppose they'd have been that great, but it's good stuff, these rumours within, what, a month(?) of being back in his unelected position of power. Of course, he was in an unelected position of power before, but not dangling right in front of me as he is now.


It doesn't make me larf as much as Osborne's donation 'mistake', what with Mandy ostensibly being on my team. Argh. Just when I thought Gordon was doing well and pulling back a bit by actually seeming to do something about the financial crisis...

Thank goodness for George Osborne. Nice to see the Tories have changed so much since the days of daily sleaze.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

A god of no fixed abode

A Nebraskan senator's lawsuit against God has been dismissed with prejudice* after the court found itself unable to serve papers on the defendant as his address is unknown. The suit was about his (God's) threatening behaviour and the senator was seeking an injunction against the deity due to his infliction of 'death destruction and terrorisation' on Nebraska and the world at large.

Ernie Chambers, the litigant, contended that if God is omniscient he'd be fully aware of the suit against him.


*In the legal sense of the word.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Not so very bright

Talking about what annoys me today involves me revealing a secret shame, รก la those awful Trisha type chat-shows... and it is, dun-dun-dun - me watching Trisha today*.

You see, the sponsors of Trisha are Bright House, your weekly payment store, that allows you to buy things you can't normally afford - at a 29.9% interest rate. What bugs me about the adverts is that they show people buying flatscreen tvs, game consoles and such-like.

While it's surely up to you what you go into debt for, and in theory I'm all for people making their own choices, it makes me itch and itch and itch.

You don't need those things! For goodness sake don't buy them if you haven't got the money lying about waiting to be spent!

The only things I could see in these ads as valid** expenditures were sofas and fridges. And even then, I'm not really on your side***. If you troll around looking at the cards in shop windows, tour the charity shops, look up freecycle and network with friends & family you can pick up absolute bargains in secondhand furniture, even get items free. Or you can go to reclaim stores for reconditioned furniture and white goods. There are options other than buying brand new at high rates of interest.

OK, what you get may not be absolutely to your taste but when you can afford it better you can always trade up. OK, a reconditioned fridge may not have the life expectancy of a brand new one, but it'll do the job and I've always had very good value out of mine, to date. At least you're not paying a third extra for the privilege as well.


I wonder what it says about the intended audience of a tv show like that, when they get sponsored by such companies. I suppose I don't take offence at Spondex/Spongex/whatever it is type of marigolds that sponsored House, 'though.

* At least it wasn't Jeremy Kyle, eh?
** According to the Gospel of Mephitis.
*** If 'you' were to be a dying-to-get-into-more-debt sort of person.
In which case, stop it and behave!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Six Feet Over

Mary Roach's Six Feet Over was a vastly entertaining book, looking into literal soul-searching by scientists through history and to the present, including the pseudo and the well-credentialled, their experiments, theories and er, rather interesting equipment.

There were forays into mediumship, delving into ectoplasm (very disgusting), weighing the dying and psychic telephoning: all very fascinating and told with humour & evident, infectious enjoyment by the author. The book frequently made me laugh: the footnotes are not to be missed.

I don't know how much the book would appeal to a believer in these various things, but from a sceptical viewpoint, it was very enjoyable.

"The debunkers are probably right, but they're no fun to visit a graveyard with." Roach may be right about that, but she was certainly fun for this sceptic to take a tour with.

If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit

join our club...

My blog has been added to The Atheist Blogroll, as you can see from the blogroll (mid-way downish) in my sidebar.

"The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information."

Apparently I'm the 800th blog to join, so jolly dee. It's a nice round number that.

Jump jump jump, jump around!

Having a heart-stopping time today.

I went out this morning thinking about this and that, and jumped out of my skin when a neighbour had the nerve to get out of their very own car.

I chuckled to myself heartily over my foolishness and drove away... and had myself another jolt to the nerves when a parcelforce van had the audacity to want to turn into the lane. Other vehicles on the road? What kind of world is this I'm living in?

And it didn't end there. There was a tanker delivering oil! Parked on the side of the road. Not remotely in my way or remotely alarming in any aspect. (Apart from the notion of flammable substances pootling about the countryside at the hands of human beings, which I suppose is fairly alarming at base).

Later I go into my bedroom and nearly have a spasm when my son greets me.

I've spent the entire day in a guinea pig-like state of terror.

Howls of derisive laughter, mate?

I was having a discussion with someone online about Dawkins and so forth, and it all seemed quite reasonable and rational - lots of mutual incomprehension, but that's par for the course.

Things took an unexpected turn suddenly when the question of whether it is more likely the T-rex's on Noah's Ark would be babies rather than full-grown was raised.

He's got to have a twinkle in his eye, a tongue in his cheek, hasn't he?

It's times like these when words on a screen aren't enough to discover intent.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Knock knock

  • Who's there?
  • Mandy.
  • Mandy who?
  • Man de life boats, we're sinking!

I'm kind of appalled that Mandelson is back in the cabinet. Wasn't this the man who twice resigned, due to political scandals he was involved in?*

Is Brown stark stare raving mad? Are we supposed to have forgotten?

I presume the thinking is that he helped Blair to power, he can keep old blunthead there; but if ever there was a man with the capacity for getting himself into trouble, it's got to be Mandy.

* At least he knows when to resign, unlike some people.**
** Ian Blair obviously.