A live toad every morning

Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Age Bin

Now, whether one believes that water is a vital ingredient necessary to the health of human beings, or whether one falls into the camp of Kiribati president Anote Tong who is worried about it rising several metres above the surface of his country once the icecaps melt, it remains important that unrepentant climate denialists like Concetta Fierravanti-Wells are called out for their bullshit. I'd describe her differences with the current Environment Minister as involving deckchairs on the Titanic if it were not that the Liberals' policies will mean that future Titanics will be able to cross the oceans unhindered by any icebergs at all. Every month - every day, every hour - that this government clings to office is costing the world dearly. We need an election now.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Last Straw

Saw  The Last Jedi, with little enthusiasm. Much smaller canvases are much better at doing the epic thing - Breaking Bad, say. I can see the difficulty of having a true epic sweep, which really involves a final gotterdammerung (sp), in a series that you can't afford to let ever come to an end, but still...

Not a good outing for Newton's laws of motion, either.  The rebel ships were being chased by bad guy warships, and the problem was said to be that the rebs were running out of fuel; which in space must surely mean that they were steadily accelerating, as they'd need almost no fuel to maintain a constant speed.
And what are the chances that their rate of acceleration would be identical to the pursuing warship, neither gaining not losing? 
and the following problem, that the rebel ship shed a number of transports to land on a small planet (well, earthsized, by the gravity) that would have had to expend enormous amounts of fuel to come to a stop, being as what they were travelling at the speed of the mothership. 

 Their fighters engaged with the warships at distances that would have been regarded as uncomfortably close at the time of Trafalgar.

And the rebel cruiser appeared to have shields, while the bombs that were dropped on the Bad Dreadnaught just dropped straight on without impediment.

Bah, humbug, to be seasonal. 

Sunday, December 03, 2017

PC Peter

Went to the National Theatre film of its Peter Pan, which was really even worse than the total shambles it made of Treasure Island last year.  They have absolutely no idea - no, they have ideas, deeply misguided ones, that they impose on the text, and absolutely refuse to allow the work to speak for itself.  They remove from Pan, for example, both the sentimentality and the viciousness.

When you come to think of it, the classic Pan, where Mr. Darling doubles Captain Hook, is a pretty close approximation to the Oedipus story; Peter kills the father (Hook) and marries the mother (Wendy).  But you have to leave the quirk in. The national had the mother as Hook, which would require a much more thorough rewrite; had Tinkerbell as a gay clown - can't imagine who clapped for her/him; had the father also double as a lost boy - in fact, they screwed with every carefully mined apposition - age, sex, class - that  make up the witches' brew that is Peter Pan (I find that nobody ever remembers that bit about Peter thinning out the lost boys if they started to grow; much more like the later vampire movie than the Disney).

OK, am I wrong? The Guardian review says
[The Director's] latest ruse is inspired by JM Barrie’s original concept for the staged version of Peter Pan, which first premiered in 1904, although Barrie didn’t publish a script until the late 1920s (because he kept altering it). Barrie always intended that the roles of Mrs Darling and Hook be played by the same person, even though he never achieved this in any of the productions he staged. “Barrie wanted the actress playing Mrs Darling to double up as Hook because Hook is Peter’s nemesis and his arch enemy is really the mother figure.”
“Peter was rejected as a tiny infant by his own mother. We learn about that in [the 1906 novel] Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. There’s a chapter where we find out that his nursery room has bars and he has been denied access to his mother. This provides the emotional essence of the story. If Hook is a man you don’t get that ‘mother figure’ theme running through the story, which is hugely important to the piece.” 
I'm going to have to check that.
The Independent mentions that 
there’s an interpolation from the later story Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens that goes some way towards explaining
Peter's dislike of mothers, and that I would certainly have accepted without demur. 
And then there's this:
There were odd stories about him; as that when children died he went part of the way with them, so that they should not be frightened. 
That would be quite a treatment. Rather like Gaiman's Death. 
Barrie contemplated naming the story "The Boy Who Hated Mothers", and tried to have the actress playing Mrs Darling double with Captain Hook (Barrie himself remarked, "There is the touch of the feminine in Hook, as in all the greatest pirates). In a remarkable moment in Peter and Wendy, the narrator declares that he despises Mrs Darling; a little later, he says that he likes her best of all. Out of such idiosyncratic, rapid switches of feeling, this classic draws its life.
All right, I have to buy The Annotated Peter Pan. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Age binnegan

The No advocates all say that a Yes majority will inevitably lead to boys wearing dresses and dogs and cats living together.
I'm reminded of the old English analysis:
" The Principle of the Wedge is that you should not act justly now for fear of raising expectations that you may act still more justly in the future -- expectations which you are afraid you will not have the courage to satisfy. A little reflection will make it evident that the Wedge argument implies the admission that the persons who use it cannot prove that the action is not just. If they could, that would be the sole and sufficient reason for not doing it, and this argument would be superfluous.
 The Principle of the Dangerous Precedent is that you should not now do an admittedly right action for fear you, or your equally timid successors, should not have the courage to do right in some future case, which, ex hypothesi, is essentially different, but superficially resembles the present one. Every public action which is not customary, either is wrong, or, if it is right, is a dangerous precedent. It follows that nothing should ever be done for the first time."
That's from Microcosmographia Academica, in 1908.  Little has changed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Age bin

On page 6 of Monday’s Age are wonderful pictures of distant galaxies to illustrate a story about Dr. Caroline Foster’s new astronomical discoveries. The science involved is breathtaking. Our radioastronomers, for example, can get pictures from halfway across the universe -- provided that nobody’s using a competing radio frequency within interference range.
On page 8 we hear that the government is proposing to flog off a part of the radio spectrum currently used for radio astronomy so that we can have more mobile phones, and to do that before the International Communications Union, which actually listens to scientists, has made a decision. We’re assured by the Chief Executive of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Union, whose members are going to profit immensely from this decision, that there’s no risk. “An Optus spokesman said it welcomes the ACMA’s proactive approach.” I’m sure it did.

Call me a suspicious old fuddy-duddy, but I’d have rather more confidence if we could hear Dr. Foster’s opinion on this matter.  I’d like to think that the universe had at least one vote.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


Took Leonie and Shirley to My Fair Lady.  Rose thought it not as good a production as the one she saw in 1959, but I put that down to nostalgia.

Still, questions arise on rewatching.

One is how well it all fits if you take "confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so" as meaning what it would today, which is gay.    Higgins picking up Pickering at the opera, and then on from there.  You could play it like that.

Another  is that it was surely slightly odd for a socialist like Shaw to suggest that it wasn't capitalism that was keeping people down, just regional accents.                  

Recurring, where exactly was Professor Higgins a professor?  and of what?  Sweet, who was the model, was a professor of phonetics at Oxford, but late in his career - and Higgins is unquestionably a Londoner. In any case, it seems to pay extremely well; though some money must come from his mother, who also lives extremely well (though in a Cecil Beaton house, rather than, as Shaw wrote, a Morris print arts-and-crafts house).

Today, too, there would be the vestige of a suggestion of child abuse between Liza and her dad.  You could play that at different levels.

Other than that, a reminder of how many classic songs you can cram into one musical.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

There and here

One other difference between the US and here; they have a statute of limitations for crimes and we don't.  I vaguely thought we did, till I looked it up.  They exclude homicide and a few others. I would rather prefer to have one; it's really impossible to defend yourself against an allegation that's fiftyyears old.

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