Monday, 29 March 2010

JEDI KITTEHS

OK I'll post something more sensible when I can think of something but....awww






ht: Geeks

DICK GIORDANO RIP

Ach, another great artist has died - Dick Giordano.

Dick was responsible for changing the face of comic books in many ways, from editing Denny O'Neil and Neil Adams revamp of Batman in the '70s to being the head of DC's creative output, in the '80s which saw the release of Crisis On Infinite Earths and Watchmen which started initially as a story of the Charlton Comics characters he had helped buy for DC after that company's demise.



Dick Giordano 1932-2010

Saturday, 27 March 2010

OH WOW

I use photoshop quite a lot but this preview of its new content aware tool is just freakin amazing!!




ht: Geeks

DOCTOR WHO

Oh c'mon it's a week away...
Anyway, courtesy of Jonathan Ross and Youtube, here'e the extended trailer and a clip from Vampires in Venice





HT: Rich

Friday, 26 March 2010

WELL THAT'S HONEST


There's a job spec up for a press officer for the Superleague formula - that's Formula Ford with national teams.

Nothing unusual about that but there was an extremely honest spec which I've never seen (or even been told) before.

Leak unofficial SF news and rumours to media partners and local press officers


Like I say, well that's honest!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

SUPERMAN

It seems that there has been a twist in the ongoing legal saga over who owns Superman with the finding of an old silent film...




;)

HT: Rich

MP:V


Speaking of Old Holborn, he has decided to stand for the Jury Party in Cambridge. Now I think he will lose his deposit, his private life will be open for examination, and he will end up exhausted and despondence, which is more than I would put up with!

But...


Give him credit for trying to do something. And, if previous shows are to go by, his campaign will certainly liven up the doyens of the river Cam so fair play.

Fair play indeed OH.

ITMA

And my favourite copper has made a reappearance on OH:

THE BUDGET

No, there are plenty of commentaries going on about the political budget yesterday but one thought did occur to me...

What sort of joke has this country come in international terms where the Exchequer signs tax transparency deals with other territories solely to make a cheap political dig at the opposition?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

BONKERS BUT BRILLIANT PT2



From the utterly bonkers Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets

BONKERS BUT BRILLIANT



Ht: David Bishop

JOHN HICKLENTON RIP


I was saddened to hear of the death of John Hicklenton.

He was an incredible artist who tragically was diagnosed with MS and died at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland last week.

Johnny was a rapacious, punkish, talented man who had a cutting barb for anyone and everyone but was also a great laugh.

I last saw him at the launch of Here's Johnny at the Science Museum - the documentary about how he was dealing with MS.

The film was greatly received and won the Grierson Awards for best newcomer and best arts documentary in 2008.

Pat Mills, long-time friend and collaborator of Johnny's, will be writing a short piece for an upcoming 2000AD/Megazine memorial issue.

Great artist, will be missed

AND WE'RE OFF...

Remember me talking about a survey on smoking in cars?

Wellll......

Leading doctors call for ban on smoking in cars


Twenty of Britain’s most senior doctors call today for a ban on smoking in cars as part of a sweeping expansion of laws to protect children against the effects of inhaling smoke.


And a link to their letter

And so it begins...

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

DOCTOR WHO - spoilerish

Yeah, I know but it's only a week and a bit away!!

Want to see the new console - those enterprising people over at Gallifrey Base has grabbed a high-def grab of the console

Look away now if you don't want to know the results...

I mean it, look away


Go on



OK here we go












I like it but others are saying that it will probably only last one season as it caused practicality problems while filming. And other's are saying that it is the Blue Peter competition winner.

Shame, I like the idea of a big console room, like Paul McGann's...



Update: Yeah, it's real if the Guardian is anything to go by

At the centre is a console now made up of bric-a-brac – a typewriter, a 1980s touchphone, a gramophone speaker, a petrol pump, taps, dials and pistons all surround a central "time rotor" made of blown glass.

Moffat explained the clash of ancient and modern by explaining that, because it is a time machine, "there is no such thing as modern to the Tardis" and that it complements the 11th Doctor in being "elegant but kind of a mess".

END OF DAYS


Sometimes you can find one of those brilliant Apocalypse 'documentaries' on the History Channel where some somber narrator enjoins you to watch dubious theories without much backed-up evidence and last night was no exception - apparently Isaac Newton believed in a bible code that predicted 2060 as the end of days.

My favourite though has to be the Mayan Calendar.

According to the theory, because the calender ends in December 2012, then that is when the world will end...

I reckon it was simply some junior civil servant finally having enough of the pointless task in front of him:

"Why are we doing this calendar? We're already up to 2012, it's ridiculous. That's it, I've had enough, I'm off to the Slaughtered Llama for a beer!"

OH...MY...GOD

Actually I could have seen this really happening back then



Courtesy of: Unenlightened commentary via Obo

Monday, 22 March 2010

DOCTOR WHO (again)

I make no apologies - the trailer for the new season from BBC America



ht: SFX

WHO'S THAT?

For my more local readers...you may recognise the bloke in the silly costume (and I'm not talking about Old Holborn

ONE FOR MR SHARP




I was amused to see this in the Standard on Friday -

Nightclub entrepreneurs Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling are soon to launch Maggie’s, a new Eighties-inspired club in Chelsea, in honour of Lady Thatcher... Lucky club-goers will hear famous speeches from the Iron Lady playing in the loos. Thatcher memorabilia will vie for space on the walls, along with such paraphernalia as A Team action men and A-ha platinum discs. Timmy Mallet, John McEnroe and Bananarama will be depicted in a giant mural.

Gilkes, who is also behind the clubs Barts and Kitts, explains: “Duncan and I love the general style and music of the Eighties but have always found Eighties nights to be cheesy and naff. We wanted to create somewhere which totally encapsulates the period, from its history to its music, drinks and style, where people can relive or indeed live this amazing decade for the first time. We want to open a nightclub that transcends politics but it will be open in time for the general election.”


Pic ht: Tory diary

Friday, 19 March 2010

SURVEYS

Surveys are fascinating things, no really they are.

I took part in one recently which was so far in ASH's court it may as well have been labelled with the anti-smokers' logo.

It was the push questions that amused me such as-

Do you agree that:

Smoking should be banned in all cars

Smoking should be banned where an under-18 is present

Smoking should be banned when there are passengers

(I am not quoting verbatim btw.)

Basically are you nasty enough to smoke when anyone is present in a car you fiend.

Weeeelllll, it's a bit of a "When did you last beat your wife" type question really.

If there had been a question that asked: Do you think there has been enough pointless, intrusive laws in the last few years and that a free society should be open to choice and have the freedom to choose? Then I would have been happier ;)

Still, nice to know what line of attack Ash is planning next!

Monday, 15 March 2010

TENNANT'S WHO

Via Tom Harris, here's a brilliant montage of every single David Tennant appearances as Doctor Who.

LOAD OF...

Balls, that odious creep was on the Vine programme today.

Apparently there are funding cuts but funding will increase over the next three years (somehow)

It is not his fault, anything, nothing is his fault, it's someone else's.

Well done the GCSE examiner for hammering Balls for the fall in standards in English literacy - the examiner damingningly described some 16 year olds of having the literacy of an eight year old.

One thing that did come to mind was the energy bills for schools. Surely, if each borough's schools grouped together, they would be able to get substantial bulk order discounts from energy companies, or am I missing something?

Friday, 12 March 2010

DAN DARE

News over at Rich's place that Sam Worthington (star of some minor Jim Cameron film) is to play Dan Dare.

A mixture of fear and excitement from me on this one.

I love Dan Dare, the original.

Created by Frank Hampson and ably supported by his studio team, it set a benchmark in professionalism and story telling in those dank post-war days. Full colour, with models and sets created just for the two pages a week, boys would scramble for the comic every week.

I found Dan Dare through an old annual I found in the attic and was entranced. Sure idiots who didn't know better would accuse it of being imperialist in attitude but that missed the point - Space Fleet was a world-wide organisation that happened to be run on RAF lines with Sir Hubert as boss and Dan Dare as the poster boy for the service. And cricket was stil being played!

For a boy in the 70s, where war films were on every Sunday, British phlegm in a Sci-Fi setting wasn't odd at all, in fact quite endearing.

I remember walking three miles into town, in the snow, just to get the biography: The Man who Drew Tomorrow!

Late 70s saw 2000AD come on the scene, with an updated Dan Dare - terrible quite frankly and missed the point of it. Within a few issues Judge Dredd would become the star of the progs.

Then in the 80s came the new Eagle. A bizzare mixture of photo-strips and comic strips, Dan Dare came back...as his grandson. Fairly hit and missed, visually I felt it was only right when that stalwart Ian Kennedy took the art reins.

I kinda missed the relaunch with the "original" Dan Dare coming back - now he was a WW2 pilot shot into the future, Buck Rogers stylee and I missed the Dan Dare comic which utilised the likes of David Pugh to update the look if not the characters.

However, Dan Dare obviously has had an impact of quite a few creators.

Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes created the brilliant satire for Revolver, Dare, whilst Warren Ellis and Chris Weston almost did a love letter to him with their Ministry of Space mini.

I have to say I wasn't that keen on the recent Dan Dare by Garth Ennis and Gary Erskine but respected what they were tring to do.

Which leads me to my concern -

Dan Dare just won't go away but the ones that succeed the best were those that treated the "culture" of his world if you like properly.

If this film does go ahead then I want to see mono-cars, cricket on the World BBC service, anastasia, green RAF uniforms...oh and Andy Srikis playing the Mekon!

And Chris Weston has to be involved - although I suspect that he is already camped outside the studio gates ;)



Update: Doh, got my Pugh's mixed up, I meant David Pugh of course (thanks Anon)

DEFENCE

Courtesy of Channel 4 Fact check

“The defence budget has been rising every year…. The only time the defence budget has been cut was in the 10 years before 1997″

Gordon Brown, Questions to the prime minister, 10 March, 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

CHANNEL CLOSURE

Absolutly wonderful

Tho' youngsters may not get it!



ht: Mr Eugenides

COMMUNITIES

The Right Honourable the Baron Mandelson of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham, First Secretary of State and Lord President of the Privy Council and Secretary of State for Business and Secretary of State for Innovation and Skills, and Church Commissioner


So Mandy is to continue with the music licencing levy which will cost voluntary groups up to £20m in extra cash.

Bascially if you have a radio in a charity shop staff room, hire out a church hall for discos etc, or maybe you run a sports club, then now you will have to pay a licence for music.

140,000 charities, 6,750 charity shops, 66,440 sports clubs, 4,000 community buildings, 5,000 rural halls and 45,000 religious buildings will be affected.

This is intolerable and will effect communities the length and breadth of the UK. The hiring of church halls gives much needed revenue to parishes, let alone what the effect will be on fund-raisers for sports clubs, charities etc.

As Cranmer puts it:
Having effectively shut down post offices and local pubs, Labour Ministers now have our village halls, scout huts, charity shops and church halls in their sights. This is a heartless charge on community buildings and charities.

SMOKIN


So Nick Hogan has been released from jail after £9k had been raised by bloggers around the world and the sterling efforts of Anna Raccoon and Holborn.

Well done all of you but there is one thing that tickled me in the Daily Mail report:

Lighting up a cigarette, he added: 'Ironically, on my first day in prison I was issued with a packet of tobacco and some cigarette papers - and we could smoke in our cells.'


pic ht: GOT

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

THE WICKER MAN

Ah yes, Edward Woodward burning to death as he prays to his god, the villagers to theirs.

Or singing the Muppets theme tune...

Enjoy ;)

TRON


A bit of fun away from politics

When Tron came out in 1982 it was ground breaking, seriously, ground breaking. When the light cycles game came out in arcades you couldn't get near a machine.

Anyway with the inevitability of Hollywood, there is a sequel: Tron: Legacy.

Here's the original trailer -



And the new Legacy trailer, enjoy

POLITICAL FOOTBALL


BBC turned down Gordon Brown for Match of the Day 2 appearance

Hahahahahahhaha - Brown's team will stoop to anything. However, I do think the majority of MOTD2 viewers would have been quite annoyed having him interrupting the analysis of that weekend's game

Pic ht: Awightman

COUNTING THE COST




An inquest into the deaths of Cpl Sarah Bryant, Cpl Sean Reeve, L/Cpl Richard Larkin, and Trooper Paul Stout, after the Snatch Land Rover they were travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province in June 2008, heard evidence that they were forced into a Snatch Land Rover because of vehicle shortages and that they had insufficient training in the use of metal detectors.

The inquest heard that the commander of the four soldiers had requested a replacement for their Snatch Land Rover but was refused due to equipment shortages.

Soldiers also had to “acquire surreptitiously” mine detectors because they had not been issued enough. Some did not get correct bomb detection training until four months into their deployment, the inquest in Trowbridge, Wilts, heard.

SAS soldiers 'would be alive' if they had the right equipment, The Daily Telegraph, 10 March 2010


"At any point, commanders were able to ask for equipment that they needed and I know of no occasion when they were turned down."

Gordon Brown, Iraq Inquiry, 5 March 2010

I've said this before and I'll say it again, the British Army, traditonally have been underfunded and ill equipped by governments but for Brown to claim that there is no issue of funding for the military is disingenous to say the least.

And I repeat my demand from an earlier post, it doesn't matter what the politics are - If a Government is to send troops in then, for once, I want the soldiers to be fully equipped and manned.

Give them the tools and they will do the job, without those tools it is amazing that they are still working.

BUDGET TIME

It's been announced. 24 March.

Usually the Chancellor's perogative but there you go.

So election should be 6 May so what sort of manifesto budget will we see?

Whatever Darling has up his sleeves, guaranteed that the budget will not be for the good of the country but for the political good of the Labour party.

Expect to see promises, promises, promises, just enough to take the economic narrative and control it whilst trying to squeeze out the Tories.

Should be fun but be warned, whatever Darling has to say at the dispatch box, there will be his helpers pickpocketing you as you watch.

Monday, 8 March 2010

UNITE and DIVIDE

There was an interesting bit in the News of the World at the weekend that super-union Unite was conducting a campaign in marginals trying to activise union members that may not vote the next election.

But there are a few things that are noticeable to me:

1) Unite is using its own database of members, contacting swing voters on the list who are then asked whether they are likely to vote Labour and what they think the most important issues at the next General Election will be.

That info is then used to send them personally tailored letters, and follow up calls and visits from government Ministers and prospective MPs.


Now forgive me but how does the Data Protection Act apply in all of this?
I'm sure that Unite is doing the correct procedures and asking these members whether they would agree for their data to be used for contact with prospective MPs and the data has not just been sent out without the correct permission aren't you?

And

2) Unite are likely to spend up to £5m on this campaign according to NoTW.

Where's this money coming from? According to the most recent accounts available (year ending 31 December 2008), Unite has a operating surplus from members of £339,000 and "other income" of £2.4m.

It also has a net worth of £178m.

Is Unite really going to blow most of its surplus? What's the payback for this? Has it mortgaged itself?

And that's without including pension liabilities.

Also I'm sure members would love to know where £5.6m of their money went from the year previously.

And these are guys that have a go at bankers?

Oh and a message to Gordo from his paymasters:

As a consequence of the recession, there are many challenges facing the Union and its members in the years ahead. Our aim is to consolidate our position as the premier campaigning Union, not just in size, but in impact and influence.In doing so, we intend to live within our means and take the necessary steps to streamline the operations of the Union to the benefit of all our members.

TAX ON LEARNING

The government seems to have been doing a bit of kite flying over the weekend about raising funds for its debt.

Extension of VAT seems to be the one that hits the headlines - whether it is on food, children's clothing or books.

Ignore food and children's clothing for a minute (that would eventually happen under Labour anyway to conform with the EU).

Tax on books and magazines...

In 1380's John Wycliffe created the first English Bible. So much was the outrage that 44 years after Wycliffe died, the Pope ordered his bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river.

1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

And so it continued until Henry VIII, and the English bible only really occured out of spite for the Pope than anything else.

What has this got to do with VAT on books and magazines?

Knowledge and the access to knowledge by the masses.

The outrage in letting plebs know exactly what was going on at a mass was due to power, concentrated power. Keep the sheep in terror of what awaits them, do not encourage them to question that authority.

Tax on knowledge.

I lived in Dublin when they still had VAT on newspapers and books. As a result, second-hand bookshops did very well out of me. I bought the Irish editions of english newspapers because, due to being printed in Northern Ireland, they were not subject to the VAT and were a good 20p cheaper than the Irish papers.

A price comparison: The Evening Herald was IR£0.55, the London equivalent, The Evening Standard, was at the time £0.20.

VAT on books and newspapers is a tax on knowledge. Add 17.5% onto a newspaper would mean that many would give up buying papers. Even if they only get the Sun, at least there is some awareness about what is going on in their world and elsewhere. Without this, where would the info come from? BBC News would essentially have a monopoly.

17.5% on the Independent would probably be the final nail in this struggling paper. The communion of ideas, disparate voices, that are available through all printed media at a realtively cheap price would disappear. We would be left with a monopoly of ideas and Heat/OK magazines.

For many people, university is not an option no matter what the government targets say. Either through financial cost, or through apptitude, some are not going to have formal education. So where will they get their knowledge from.

Although I do think the end of the Net price aggreement has been costly and only seems to have benefitted Waterstones, there is an incredible amount of literature, factual, fiction, available out there and quite often at reasonable prices.

Chuck 17.5% on them.

That's OK you can go to a Library, people say.

But hang on. In real terms, funding for Libraries has already been slashed and coupled with the barmy "learning centres" branding means there is already pressure on the book purchasing accounts. Add 17.5% on each book they buy/replace. There's going to be less books and more library closures.

I know many a person who are self-taught and knowledgeable through books but they are on limited means. If books go out of their price range and libraries cannot update their catalogues, what will happen to them?

VAT on printed material will mean a tax on knowledge, a tax on independent thought.

What about what history has shown us: The printing press and brave souls that defied papal edicts to bring the bible to the masses.

Enlightenment was designed to tear down the temple curtain.

If VAT does happen then there is a very, very high possibility of that curtain going back up, denying knowledge to the masses, taking away self-improvement for the plebs. Returning the jurisdiction of knowledge to the rich and powerful.

Knowledge is power, don't tax it.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

SMOKING

A pub landlord has been sent to jail for failure to pay a fine relating to smoking on his premises.

Old Holborn has the details and how to help Nick Hogan get out of jail.