Important Scientific Research July 20, 2012Posted by Garibaldy in Film, Science.
I missed this when it originally came out, but it seems that some physics students at Leicester University have been addressing the scientific questions that really matter. Not this God Particle nonsense, or even giving space to creationist rubbish in the Giant’s Causeway exhibition, but the question of whether Batman could really safely fly with his cape. The answer is that he could fly ok, but would seriously injure or kill himself on landing. A great disappointment I’m sure you’ll agree.
Dublin’s Fair City 1988 January 31, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Film, Ireland, Irish History.
1 comment so far
Thanks to Ronan Mooney for pointing this out in a comment.
Here’s a link for a video about Dublin for the 1988 Dublin millennium celebrations. More detail in the video description on YouTube. The old footage might be of some interest to people here.
Some great old footage, photos and Dublin History too.
The video Description
A video presentation of Dublin in it’s 1,000th year in 1988.
A video produced by Michael Mooney (my late father) & funded by Philips Electronics Ireland to showcase their new ‘VidiWall’ technology. It was narrated by a man named Lar Redmond and the soundtrack was composed by two gentleman named Paul Murphy & Barry Grace (Ear Two Ear). Photographic work was done by Arthur Browne.
It was shown in St. Andrew’s Church on St. Andrew’s Street, Dublin 2 for some months to celebrate Dublin’s millennium status. It was a very popular tourist attraction.
Dublin was a very different city in 1988. Pay particular notice to the differences in the helicopter aerial footage at the beginning of the video of Dublin’s Docklands from the Dublin we know in 2012. It brings very nostalgic feelings for me and I hope it does for you too!
My father was very proud of his hard work to make this video, as were his wife & children. I hope it’ll be a fun video for you to watch now.
The Other Guys: Will Ferrell and the Lehman Brothers December 10, 2011Posted by Garibaldy in Capitalism, Film.
I’ve never been a massive Will Ferrell fan. Anchorman bored me, while Old School I never found that great. On the other hand, Talladega Nights was hilarious. The Other Guys is alright, and not much more, though it does have some funny moments. But that’s not what’s interesting about the film. I watched it a while ago, and can’t remember much about the plot now, except that it involved something to do with the TARP bailout given to the US banks. So far, so meh. The best bit of the film though is actually during the credits. There you can find the following the details, which are enough to make your blood boil, and shock you that a mainstream Hollywood film that was number one at the box office will criticize bank bailout so openly. Even if only after the film has actually ended, it’s still progress.
Starting with Ponzi himself, they move on to mention Bernie Madoff, then point out that the $700 billion TARP means $2,258 for every man, woman and child in the US – enough to buy a trip round the world. AIG received $183 billion, while planned bonuses to its executives were $1,200,000,000. 73 AIG staff received bonuses after the bailout.
According to the film, Goldman Sachs in 2007 paid 34% tax. In 2008, after the bailout, 1%. The average salary ratio of a CEO to their average employee was 8:1 in 1916, 24:1 in 1965, 107:1 in 1990, and in 2010 stood at 319:1. In 1998, the average executive salary was $2.3 million. By 206, it was $11.8 million. Many Americans pay into a 401(k) account for their retirement. In 2005, the average was $102,014. By 2009, it had fallen by 47%, to $64,200.
Maybe Frank Miller’s next work will feature The Fixer dealing with the corrupt bankers next. We are, after all, all in this together.
The Battle of Algiers December 8, 2011Posted by irishelectionliterature in Film.
If you’ve 2 hours to spare you could do worse than watching Pontecorvo’s classic ‘The Battle of Algiers’.
3-D or not 2-D… ahem. September 4, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Art, Culture, Film, Film and Television.
I wonder how many times that’s been used? Anyhow, having only this last month or so actually ‘enjoyed’ the dubious benefits of 3-D cinema – Toy Story 3D as it happens, and yes, it was grand, but I preferred Inception (and indeed Up! Now I think of it), this caught my attention, a piece in Slate which argues that:
…the prognosis for 3-D seems dire: There’s either too much supply or not enough demand. For mainstream movies that can be viewed in either format, the added benefit of screening in three dimensions is trending toward zero.
This should give pause for thought to anyone thinking of shelling out for the even more dubious pleasures of a 3-D TV, assuming that is that they can afford the incredible price…
Not that the Irish Times sees it quite like that in a recent article where it waxes, well, not quite lyrical but y’know. TV channels in 3-D arriving soon, not much content though. And everyone wearing glasses abhaile? Hmmmm…
Although one way it could lever in, might – stress might, be through gaming, as also noted in the IT, although hows this for a pessimistic/realistic appraisal:
Microsoft’s Lewis also said it’s too early for 3-D gaming to take off. “We are two to three years away from that, till the price point comes down, till the experience is sufficiently social, that you don’t sit there with big glasses on and don’t talk to your family,” he said. “That will happen, there’s no doubt.”
But when Mr. Microsoft man? When?
Coincidentally I saw a TV series in/on(?) Blu-Ray recently for the first time, and quite a few episodes too.
And it was sort of the same experience, in other words, yes, it’s better but it’s not astounding, or even that remarkable. There are those who would even argue that – it being True Blood, we can do without seeing Sookie’s spots. Or that the pristine clarity of the bar set isn’t really that much to write home about.
As it happens months ago I heard a discussion on TechTalk, a good-humoured US tech podcast which is always worth a listen, where a group of tech experts and commentators came to much the same conclusion. That the leap from video to DVD was so great that the further leap from DVD to Blu-Ray while okay is a bit – meh…
I wonder is that one of the reasons Sony et al are so keen to push 3-D? It’s not that Blu-Ray is failing, per se. How could it be – at least in terms of numbers of players – when every PS3 on the planet has a Blu-Ray player, but rather that people are happy enough with DVD, particularly in the face of the current recession.
More on this debate here…
A seasonal guest post from Brian Hanley…
Readers of the Cedar Lounge Revolution seem to enjoy stories about splits, factional disputes, bitter rivalries and occasional violence: If so then Henry Martin’s Unlimited Heartbreak: the Inside Story of Limerick Hurling (Collins Press) should be right up their street. It was certainly the most enjoyable read of the year for me.
In Dublin’s Stephen’s Green there is a fountain dedicated to the ‘Save the German Children’ campaign. I’ve occasionally wondered why there was such a campaign and what motivated those who set it up and consequently I found R. M. Douglas’s Architects of the Resurrection: Ailtiri na hAiseirghe and fascist ‘new order’ in Ireland (Manchester) very illuminating. Based on an exceptional primary source, the personal papers of Gearoid O Cuinneagain, the founder and leader of Ailtiri na hAiseirghe, Douglas makes a very strong case for the attraction of fascist and anti-democratic ideas in the Ireland of the 1940s. He also suggests, and I tend to agree, that early news about the brutality of Nazi rule in Europe made little impact on public opinion here.
Staying with the Second World War, I saw the French film Army of Crime this autumn. Not to be honest, the greatest movie ever made, but certainly a great story about the role of immigrant fighters in the resistance in Paris. The occupation authorities made much of the ethnic origins of what they labelled the ‘army of crime’ many of whom were Eastern European Jews, Spanish and Italian anti-fascist refugees or Armenian communists. After I had seen the film I thought Tommy Tiernan might benefit from repeated viewing of it (and why is it that twenty years ago comedians who made fun of immigrants, Gypsies and Jews were usually called racist but now they are considered cutting edge?) Anyway, Army of Crime did inspire me to seek out The Resistance: the French Fight Against the Nazis (Simon and Schuster) by Matthew Cobb, which provided a warts and all overview of the role of the Resistance in all it’s varieties. It also opens with a great quote from Resistance veteran Pascal Copeau:
‘A word to young historians- when we read your studies about our underground world, they appear a bit cold. Without wishing to be pretentious, you should not be afraid of dipping your pens in blood: behind each set of initials you describe with academic precision, there are comrades who died.’
A lot of discussion on Irish revolutionary politics talks about the importance of the ‘Fenian tradition.’ An interesting collection of essays was published this summer, edited by Fearghal McGarry and James McConnel entitled The Black Hand of Republicanism: Fenianism in Modern Ireland (Irish Academic Press) and while not agreeing with all the conclusions presented within it, the book paints a very vivid picture of a fascinating movement.
As I write the Catholic Church are ducking and diving in order to avoid the consequences of decades of abuse while several more horrific cases of sexual violence are in the news. I intend to read Diarmaid Ferriter’s Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland (Profile) over the holidays, if only to try and gain some perspective on all of this.
Finally I’ve always thought that Ken Loach’s films which were political with a small ‘p’ worked more than his polemics (hence Kes was a lot better than Hidden Agenda). So I really enjoyed his Looking For Eric this summer, which brought back a lot of good memories and featured a few familiar faces. Unfortunately those memories are now tinged with sadness as a good friend and comrade from those days died suddenly during September. Slan Dave, you won’t be forgotten.
Moon: Worst Film Ever July 22, 2009Posted by Garibaldy in Film, Moon.
97 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.
Robert McNamara Dies July 6, 2009Posted by Garibaldy in Film, International Politics.
Apologies for not posting for a few weeks. I’ve just read that at the age of 93 Robert McNamara has died. Given that he was the US Secretary of Defence during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was responsible for a great deal of the death and destruction wrought on the people of Vietnam, it might be expected that I would be unaffected by his death. However, I find myself feeling that his death is a loss. The reason for that is simple: in 2004 (I think) I went to see The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara and found myself both fascinated and impressed by McNamara as a man.
McNamara was a brilliant young man, and was headhunted by the US military during World War II. His job in effect was to provide statistical analysis of the effectiveness of bombing, and to apply his mathmatical skills to improve their efficiency. He talked interestingly in the film about the moral questions involved in improving the efficiency of bombing civilians in large cities. After the war, he worked for Ford, helping make it more successful and rising to become its President (the first non-Ford to hold the job) before joining Kennedy’s Cabinet as Defence Secretary. As with another President in whom a lot of progressive people place great hopes, Kennedy was keen on the use of US military power where he thought it could win, and McNamara was brought in to reshape the military. The result was a massive expansion of the US nuclear arsenal, and a Soviet response – in other words, McNamara and Kennedy were fundamental to the emergence of the arms race. Both also bear a great deal of responsibility for nearly bringing about nuclear war over the Cuban missile crisis. And as already noted, the extrance of the US into Vietnam was their idea too.
McNamara’s technocratic approach which had served him well during World War II proved to be his achilles heel when it came to Vietnam. While McNamara wheeled out statistics showing that the US was winning the war on every available numerical measure, he completely missed the point that the will of the Vietnamese people could not be broken, unlike the will of the teenage conscripts sent to Vietnam and that of a sceptical public opinion at home. As Defence Secretary until 1968, he had a huge amount of blood on his hands, despite his later claims that he saw early that the war was not being won, and that he opposed some of the more callous and brutal strategies desired by the military. McNamara afterwards served as President of the World Bank, when it was associated in many minds – including those of rabid anti-communists – with more progressive ideals than it is today, and he is associated with efforts to combat river blindness. In his retirement, he worked for various causes he was interested in.
The Fog of War – like McNamara’s 1995 memoir In Retropsect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (which I haven’t read) – is of course an attempt by McNamara to justify himself, and to rewrite history. The most obvious example of this in the film is an event where he meets (if I remember correctly and I might not) a minister from Vietnam at the same time he was Defence Minister. The Vietnamese tells him that all they wanted was their independence but that the Americans wouldn’t let them have it. McNamara goes on a bit about China and Communism, then eventually says we would have let you had your independence. This is clearly untrue. There was no chance of the US happily letting the South Vietnamese state be overthrown by its people and an independent socialist Vietnam emerging. Anti-communism was too strong, not least within Kennedy’s government and its successor. They hoped to replicate the war in Korea, or perhaps be more successful.
Nevertheless, despite all the problems with the film, it clearly showed McNamara as someone with a good deal of humanity, especially in his later years. Despite it all, he did not strike me as being the same as his counterparts in the recent Bush regime. A complicated man, who worked to undo some of the damage he wrought and achieve progress in other areas, he was worthy of respect, if not perhaps admiration.
ADDS: BBC Obituary