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January 03, 2007

Fox News (Cavuto) on Muslims…

A friend’s just sent me a copy of an interview between the Cavuto programme on FoxNews recently with Rabbi Weiss.

Now to put some context on things, Rabbi Weiss is an Orthodox Rabbi who is also a member of Neturei Karta. For those who are unfamiliar with the group, Neturei Karta is a religious, anti-Zionist group of Jews who believe that, as stated within the Torah and as has been elaborated on by various Rabbis throughout Jewish history, Jews should not return to Palestine until, essentially, Judgement day. Ie until the Messiah returns (I think the Hebrew is Messiach, Arabic is Messih).

The group, including the featured Rabbi attended the rcent Iranian conference on the Holocaust.

Now I don’t wish to get into a debate on the Holocaust or the Holocaust conference. The conference was more-or-less pointless. The Holocaust has been substantially documented and the only empirical disagreements come over the numbers actually killed. What I do wish to get into is one of the presenter’s (many) throwaway comments:

C*avuto: OK. Israel ceases to exist as a Jewish state. You really have trust that Muslims wouldn’t *butcher you?
*R*abbi *W*eiss: Yes.
C: In revenge for what’s happened in the last 60/70 years?
RW: What happened in South Africa? The people were afraid that they would butcher all the white people [Cavuto interrupts]
C: South African blacks are not Muslims.

So not only would the Palestinians butcher all Jews should there be a binational state within Israel/Palestine, but they would do so purely because they are Muslims.

Meanwhile the Iranians have apparently “butchered Christians in Iran for 20 years”.

November 26, 2006

CSI: Miami and Hollywood Realism

(This rant concerns CSI Miami 5×08 . Don’t read if you’re desperate to not know what happens in that episode)

I happen to like CSI Miami. I think it’s better than CSI Las Vegas and, thankfully, not generally as cheesy. It’s always stretched plausibility, by fielding these CSI agents in generally-dangerous situations, sometimes having them apprehend and shoot criminals. You’ve got to expect a little bit of stretching reality – it makes for more excitement. So I put my disbelief aside and enjoy the show, particularly Horatio’s constant posturing and repositioning of Sunglasses. Drama, drama, drama.

Until this latest episode of CSI Miami which plunges to the Hollywood depths of Realism in celluloid. Think Bravehear was a criminal in that respect? How about The Patriot? (OK, any historical film iinvolving Mel Gibson).

Basically we have a situation where the forensic scientists have unravelled a terrorist plot to blow up a nuclear power plant. Here’s how it plays out:


OK this hasn’t quite got anything to do with the episode. It just struck me that Horatio’s constant posturin reminded me of Paula Abdul. shudders


See the text in the image.


See, the cops are there. No FBI or DHS. Good ol’ fashioned Miami Police. With handguns… against a truck full of explosives. Lead by Horatio Cane… With a sniper rifle. Yes… seriously. A Forensic Scientist… With a sniper rifle. Fantastic.


Oh what’s this? A conveniently place flammable gas tank in the front of the truck… CARRYING THE HUGE PAYLOAD OF EXPLOSIVES. These terrorists are clever enough to almost get away with a plot to bomb a nuclear power plant, but are somehow stupid enough to put a “Please shoot this” sign on the truck. Wonderful.


He takes the shot. On a moving target. And hits it. He’s a forensic scientist. With a sniper rifle. Shooting at a moving truck. ARGH


The truck explodes and, defying the laws of physics, stays exactly in place. Yes, the truck exploded as though it weren’t moving at around 70 m/p/h at the time of explosion. It exploded almost as though it were standing still. Which it most likely was. But making a huge, mobile explosive device like that explode about 20 metres away from you means that if it’s travelling in a straight line, there’s a good chance that some of the material will collide with your roadblock.


Woman clearly not wearing bulletproof vest, gets shot.

Horatio is an uber-sniping FORENSIC SCIENTIST (with a hunchback)

November 23, 2006

Prison Break's 'Surprise Twists'


It’s gone from Prison Break to Treasure Hunt / Fugitive . I can appreciate that. It’s still enjoyable. Though killing off the lawyer in the first episode was a bit of a bitch, OK you’ve proved you can kill off a central character without worrying about the audience. I like that. Keeps us on our toes. But there’s a fine line between that and just hacking away at a script wondering which character you can kill this episode. It’s exciting when it fits into the script. It’s cringeworthy to the extreme when it feels artificial and is clearly just a convenient plot-device.

So imagine my “surprise” when I watch Prison Break 2×12. Here’s how it essentially played out:









That’s pretty much exactly how it happens… And I think they’ve managed to kill of a character every other episode, and since they’ve flooded the drama with more characters than Lost, they can promise at least one death every episode. Yawns

It’s taking on the X-Men III theory of celluloid development: The number of deaths in a film/series is proportional to its sequential number. It’s absolute bollocks. To keep a good series interesting, writers shouldn’t shoot it in the head and hope that the body will be able to fill in the rest. It just doesn’t work. Now Desperate Housewives is a great example of how good script-writing and good acting can keep an aging series with a more-than-slightly ridiculous plot highly-entertaining and witty. Here are some examples of dialogue from the most recent episode (3×09):

(The hired help has just discovered Susan in the bed of her latest lover, who’s in the shower)

Rupert: I am Rupert. I work for Mr. Hainesworth…. That would be the man you slept with, in case names weren’t exchanged.

Susan: Oh no, I’m your boss’s girlfriend… he must have mentioned me.

Rupert: Mmmm not that I recollect.

Mr. H pops out of shower, gets robe for Susan.

Rupert: Would you care for some breakfast? Omlette? Strawberry tart? Brioche?

Susan: Um yeah, yeah, that sounds great. You pick. giggles

Rupert: You are aware there is a Mrs. Hainesworth?

Susan: Well of course!

Rupert: Tart it is.

Later in the episode:
(Lynette’s at the Police station reporting a neighbour of hers, who saved her life, to the police, because he’s a rampant paedophile. Unfortunately she discovered this only because she was trespassing on his property. Oooht he moral dilemmas! PS Tom is by far and away the best actor in the series ;) )

Lynette: The door was open…I was bringing him a cake.

Police Officer: A cake?

Lynette: It was a thank-you cake… He sort of saved my life.

Tom: She didn’t know he was a paedophile when she baked the actual cake.


In the words of that skeezy Gonzo director with a moustache:

Now THAT’S a fuckin’ plot!

January 13, 2006

On Daytime Terrestrial TV…

When I'm working, often on my PC, I have to have something on in the background. I can't give my all when it comes to coursework (exams are different – they give me the "Exam adrenaline" variable), I have to multitask in order to concentrate. So while I'm typing out thoughts for an essay, I'll also be watching the latest episode of Prison Break or Friday Night with Jonothan Woss. Or if I'm going through Denning's vibrant challenge to the house of Lords in his far out Ratio Decidendi, I like to be playing World of Warcraft or Eve Online at the same time.

So what's the problem with that? Well I moved out recently into an internetless flat. BT buggered me up against a wall over the Christmas period. The BT Engineer came in, said he couldn't find a line and this was early December. They couldn't slot me in again until last week and now there's one more day until broadband activation. So I'm sitting her sponging my Sister's old Samsung X10+, Surfing the interweb and watching TV while working.

And here's where it gets worse. We have Sky+ downstairs. But the Sky + is broken. And after wasting £30+ on phoning Sky and getting the same old crap from an underpaid, undertrained (yet no doubt pretty) Scottish teleworker, they'll finally send an engineer over to have a look at the box. So I'm stuck with 1,2,3,4 and 5. Fine. As long as you avoid the daytime TV.

My experience of daytime TV has generally been one which taught me never to pretend I was ill to avoid school. Because, despite the AOL chatrooms and the 1337 56k modem (and my PII MMX!! WH00+!), I would invariably end up, in front of the television, crying my eyes out over supermarket sweep and Richard and Judy. Funnily enough I've found Richard and Judy has become more watchable now that they just interview various topical celebrities…. but you've got to remember, back when I was a kid, they focused on stuff for various Housefraus, such as how to clean stains with Valencia Lemons and what multiple uses there were for a neck massager. Aside from that, there was just a pile of pure, unmitigated crap, interrupted by the odd news reports. (And it was worse – Sunday daytime TV with Songs of Praise and that weird nun who reviewed art!)

Little has changed. Richard and Judy have disappeared and been replaced with Philip "Any Dream Will Do" Schofield and his much, much bigger Gopher. Meep I flipped onto the channel the other day and what were they talking about? The importance of wearing correct bras for women when walking, running/excercising. They had an expert brought in with simulation equipment attached to the nipples of two random (and token) hotties (I shit you not). They were set loose on a treadmill and the measurements taken from the nipples were juxtaposed with those taken from the head. Conclusion? Women should wear bras that correctly support their breasts, or by the time they'r thirty, they'll resemble South Park's Mrs. Choksondik. And the always sexually-ambiguous Schoefield is probably heterosexual. Probably

And today. Well the TV was on Channel 4 and I couldn't find the remote… Sod's Law . And, succumbing to what my friend calls the ""Couch-potatolisation"": of society, I couldn't be arsed to get up. I let it roar.

And to be honest I had mixed feelings. There was a veritable relay race of low budget semi-documentary, amateurish productions, starting off with what looked like a High School Drama lesson in comedy, replete with shitty acting, a la Harry Potter . I remember back in the Harrodian, my old foil, Rory, and I had some concept of what Comic Timing was... These kids clearly didn't. I almost got up to change the channel... but hey, What am I?

So that finally finished, thank god and then there proceeded something more interesting, if too amateurish to be more than dull. It followed a couple of amateur directors who had invested £20,000 in a play and how they play was carried out. Interesting from my perspective because I used to take part in such amateur productions, the last notable occasion being when I played a bald, wheelchair-bound, pink-bespectacled Tiresias, replete with leather jacket, in KCS's Oedipus Tyrannos. So the sympathy was there. Shame the musical play looked crap.

I was eventually compelled to rise and manually changed the channel when something which I think was called "Hurdeep does Pets" came on. A Sikh Scottish person telling really, really bad jokes about pets. Imagine the unfunniest display you have ever seen – and I'm talking Martin Lawrence unfunny – and then triple the pain. I have something against Scots anyway… and that's despite me being half-Scottish. There's nothing more unfunny than a Scots trying to be funny. Here's the math:

Scotch Accent + Shitty Jokes = (Birth-Giving Pain x 10^7)/ Jim Carrey's Cable Guy

In other words, I avoided it like the plague… ya Sasannach baastar's.

I breathed a sigh of relief until I saw what was on the telly: Antiques Hunt Ripoff No. 5 with throwaway lispy bowtie-wearing "Expert" X where contests compete for an hour to win all of five pounds by selling antique pepsi cans they find in car-boot sales in Swansea and Reading. Nothing more explefies my idea of Shite. Except a cricket/snooker/other shitty "sport" replacing my favourite reruns of Star Trek: DS9 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer on BBC2.

But the trouble is it beats the other crap that's bound to be on: Shitty Gameshow X on BBC2, Crappy House Decoration Programme Y on ITV, another antiques program on Channel 4… and hardcore porn (the ones which try to have a story) on Channel 5. Bleh.


The Crisis of British Culture

I'm bored. I'm not sleepy. And I don't fancy starting up on my new copy of Benny Morris's classic. So inbetween manically refreshing , reading Warwick blogs and playing a bit of Eve Online, I've got the TV on in the background. I look up from the laptop and hey, it's Big Brother !LIVE!

And what are they housemates doing?

They're sleeping.


Sleeping some more.

Literally 15 minutes-worth of snoring housemates before the presenter quietly says "And that's all from the housemates for tonight folks"...

WTF? Does anyone actually watch these people sleep as though something miraculous is going to happen.

Now there's a program called "Big Brother's Little Brother" which starts of with some hippy with black catterpillers glued to his eyebrows and the most annoying voice I've heard since Dawn Penn sang "No No No", insinuating that George Galloway was receiving a handjob from an actress, sounding much like a man who's had his throat slit and who I've never heard of.


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