So, having never really been one for film, I’m now starting to go all filmnuts. Specifically, I’ve realised I want to see this, this, this, this, this and this; and that tomorrow, all things being equal, I’m going to see this;
and I guess also that I’m slightly dreading this. Oh, and over the last two weeks I’ve been to see this and I’ve also watched this. All of which makes me virtually contemporary and possibly even vaguely up-to-date, which can’t be right. Hmmm.
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Tercet of the day

Always nice to have a tercet to waft one off. Today’s is owed to the great Denise Riley, from “Wherever you are, be somewhere else” in her 1993 collection Mop Mop Georgette:

Stop now. Hold it there. Balance. Be beautiful. Try.
—And I can’t do this. I can’t talk like any of this.
You hear me not do it.

An occasional feature brought to you by this rattling round inside my head during a bout of insomnia.

Updates to darklooks

In response to quite literally millions of requests*, two small changes to darklooks. First off, all the photography is now my own, including the Holkham skyline, some books from the library, a sunset in Richmond and some mountains in New Hampshire; and, second, users need no longer log in to comment on posts. Of course if you’d like to you’re extremely welcome, but I’m aware registering is a barrier to entry, and nothing seems to stop the Russian spambots anyway.

That is all. I thank you.

* i.e. zero to one

The Enchanted Pig

If Bluebeard was Lear, and Cordelia was Cinderella, or vice versa, and you added in some iron shoes, metamorphoses, the worship of stellar bodies, and then wrapped the whole thing up in a sort of para-parable about the nature of, and boundaries between, faith, fate, fidelity and trust (not to mention love, or perhaps better Love), then you would start to get an idea of what Dove and Middleton’s The Enchanted Pig is about.
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If you were a theme park….

Sunday morning discovered me slumped in front of the goggle box after a splendid bash, looking for something I could use to keep my eyes occupied for ten minutes. I found a curious factoid-laden thing about Dolly Parton, which as you would expect mentioned Dollywood. In my hypnagogic state, my mind wandered off after the idea. What would it be like, I wondered, if I had a theme park? What would be in it? Continue reading

Things I Wish Were True, Part 46 billion

I’d quite like this image taken from my online banking thingy to be a lot more accurate than it really is…

A Long-Scale Billion

USians will call this a trillion, UKians who’ve been paying attention will have been calling this a trillion since 1974, and all you lovely Europeople will call it a billion.

When I hit refresh, I lost something over £1,000,000,000,000. Trust me, that stung.

Fatuous “research” reveals foregone conclusion!

In an exciting new piece of research reported today, but without any link to any substantive facts, journalists learned that men look at ladies. By drawing lessons from life (in the form of a series of photographs of shapely ladies), reporters discovered that attractive women sell papers, at least to their leering colleagues. Astoundingly, men began to “gaze upon the components of the hourglass figure within 0.2 seconds”, rather than averting their gazes completely, ignoring a good two-thirds of the body (you know, the torso — the big bit you aim at when sniping because it’s harder to miss) and only opening small gaps in their fingers to focus on the subject’s eyes, fingers, shapely ankles, split ends, etc.

Sadly history does not record how the scientists (for lo! this is Science, a cape in which bad journalism too often proudly drapes itself) actually carried out the study. If the images were of the obviously pneumatically advantaged, how do we know that men aren’t simply responding to cues to pay extra attention to unusual things? (Silly me — breasts are involved, so it has to be sexual — I keep forgetting.) And of course one has to conclude that all the men were gay tailors — checking the quality of the weave in the difficult decolletage area.

I know it’s Silly Season and I know I shouldn’t ever take anything the Daily Mail say in any way seriously, but I do find this consistent “Science proves a stereotype! Hooee! We were right all along! Plus, phwoar!” drivel really depressing… who knows what the researchers a) actually wrote (the editorial opinion is obviously that Daily Mail readers are not smart enough to cope with links to research, or they are perhaps lifting this wholesale from a block-headed press release) or b) think when they see this kind of coverage? This is what makes people yell about stupid research, and that hurts not just research in general but society as a whole, because it reinforces anti-intellectual stances, erodes broad support for research funding, and makes life poorer for everyone.

Humph. Rant over.