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Babylon 5 redux April 22, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Mentioned Babylon 5 last week, and here’s the wikia, and quite comprehensive it is too. I’m always amazed by fandom and how it manages to persist. But what of B5? There’s some – frankly – fairly cheesy CGI (good in its day, no mistake but twenty odd years later showing its age).

Oddly, and rather cleverly, the live action scenes were shot in widescreen which makes it an oddly enjoyable viewing experience, whereas the effects were all shot in 4:3 if I recall correctly and are very obviously pixellated. Given how difficult it has been to get some Star Trek series with updated CGI and it’s not hugely necessary (sure, I like The Original Series with fancy planet shapes but there was something charming about the original matte paintings etc – and yeah, the Blu-Ray’s have old and new on the same discs but that’s an expense too far), I’m almost certain B5 won’t be updated.

The Citizens’ Assembly speaks April 22, 2017

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From the IT… interesting news that must have significant political implications down the lin

The Citizens’ Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to amend the Constitutional provision on abortion.

And…

The first ballot had two options: that “Article 40.3.3 should be retained in full”, or that “Article 40.3.3 should not be retained in full”.

Of 91 eligible voters, just 12 voted for the first proposition (13 per cent), while 79 voted in favour of the second (87 per cent).

Speaking of the Lord of the Rings yet again… April 22, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As we did last week and the week before. When I was a kid I read the LOTR very young, probably around the age of ten, and for a couple of years it was something I’d haul around with me and reread again and again. And then. I stopped and didn’t pick it up for decades, not until the films came out. At which point I wasn’t able to read it.

More recently I’ve started back in again and I’m struck by how cosy it is – and how near forensic its detailing of Middle-Earth. I kind of like the way it lopes along, over hill and dale as it were, with, quite literally many a twist and turn in the landscape described. Indeed the thought strikes that it would be feasible to provide a sort of visual journey depicting that. An enormous project.

Cosy, as I mentioned above, and chock full of songs and poems and so on. I’m fascinated in a way as to what Tolkien thought of what he was doing – not in the sense of what his intent was, but whether he thought it was ‘serious’. Because it is difficult to read it and not be hugely impressed by the detail of place and language and history and mythos. And it is impossible not to feel that this fantasy was indeed serious.

But then, in another sense, how is that different to any fiction? These are, after all, all creations – perhaps even lies in the sense that they are not fact or truth or history. Tolkien went further, much further, than most others in filling in the backstory.

For me the way my own feelings about it have changed over the years is somewhat intriguing. They have moved from absolute love to something close to indifference (music and politics and so on took over my adolescent years and after) and back slowly to a sort of fondness.

It’s intriguing too how those other factors inflect my reading (and viewing) of it. For example, and I know this probably sounds like no fun, viewing Rohan last weekend on DVD the question struck me how the hell does its economy work? Or Bree and the Shire? How do the different races function in relation to one another. Bree is human, the Shire hobbit. But the distribution of humans throughout that area seems remarkably sparse given our own experience of same. And again the economy of Bree is somewhat mystifying, though the Shire less so. The levels of technology are pretty disparate, the Shire is 18th century, or thereabouts, those of Rohan near medieval. Gondor perhaps a little more advanced. Mordor is more mechanised but whether a largely troll-driven technology counts is a different matter.

And what of the court of the King in Rohan? Were there no checks and balances to prevent him being upstaged? Or the Stewart of Gondor. Not a King but with a seemingly hereditary system of rule. How did that work? On the other hand perhaps one should be grateful to Tolkien for offering us a rather more sceptical view of hereditary rulers than traditional myth – human frailty and weakness is never more than a chapter or two away. But then for Tolkien all is decline – and humans are thin material to build upon. Rohan may be led by a ‘noble’ King but he’s pretty damned flawed too. It’s difficult to feel any comfort in the reign of Kings. And perhaps that is how it should be.

Then there’s the dearth of women. Famously the film had to blur out Glorfindel and introduce Arwen on the way to Rivendell, in order to introduce a prominent female character. But the books? You’ll be looking quite some time. And not finding. I’m admiring of the treatment of Eowyn which at least attempts to address the issue more or less head one – that being why are women not more prominent, and her role right up to the end is significant. But is Tolkien addressing a ‘reality’ consistent with the mythos he is building or is he ignoring potential means of introducing or giving a higher profile to female characters?

And speaking of reality – how does magic work in relation to the fabric of the universe. There’s Gandalf and the Balrog falling through a fissure in the Earth. Do plate tectonics function? If so how do other ‘powers’ impinge on them?

Yeah. I’ll back away from the book real slow…

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Industries of the Blind April 22, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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The most gentle of Post Rock, Industries Of The Blind. They broke up a year or so ago leaving one three song album “Chapter 1: Had we known better (2011)” and a host of soundtrack work. Unfortunately the Soundtracks don’t seem to have made it to any release. Nor does their Chapter 2 album which was in the process of being made.

Labour’s outreach programme April 21, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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From the IT this evening, Brendan Howlin at the LP conference, the first, as the IT helpfully notes, since their precipitous drop in seat numbers at the last election.

“We know what we stand for, we know the principles on which we build our policies. We now need to shape our communication with the rest of our society, to reach out to people who have fallen out with us.”

Hmmmm….

Media mishaps… April 21, 2017

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How’s this from the IT from a week or two back...no not this…

People Before Profit will oppose any attempt to bring in water charges including excessive use charges, according to its Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

But this…

Speaking at the party’s annual press conference in Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin, he said “there’s no evidence whatsoever of wastage by householders in this country. The big wasters are the Government who have failed to fix the 40 per cent leaks in the water mains systems.”

I don’t think so.

Left resources and links – Week 16, 2017 April 21, 2017

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We’re looking for links/resources useful to the Left at Starkadders suggestion. This can be archives, support groups, study groups, whatever people think can assist in building up a stack of easily accessible tools necessary to the tasks ahead. Perhaps keep articles – unless they’re longform, to the What You Want to Say thread. We’re going to do this on a monthly basis.

An expedient extension… April 21, 2017

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Seeing that the negotiations over the formation of a Northern Ireland Executive etc are now to be extended until the end of June, safely past the UK General Election one could argue the that latter was, in some respects, quite an expedient development pushing matters yet further out. And then, presuming we have a Tory victory and very likely a new UK Minister involved, why not delay it further? After all, as noted in the report above in the IT, that latest extension pushes it right into marching season which while some heat has been taken out in recent years isn’t exactly the best possible back drop.

And for those who might think the British might not be too unhappy with no Assembly etc…

After Sinn Féin’s meeting with Mr Brokenshire, its northern leader Michelle O’Neill said there is a growing belief among the nationalist community that the British government “would prefer no local Assembly to one which stands against the Tories’ Brexit agenda”.
“I told him the British government have done nothing over the course of last seven weeks to achieve an agreement. It’s clear that the people of the north who voted to remain in the EU are regarded as saboteurs by Theresa May and her clique of Tory Brexiteers. We are no more than collateral damage.
“Theresa May needs to hear clearly from the people of the north that we don’t want Brexit, we don’t want a border and we don’t want Tory cuts and austerity.”

Difficult not to think she’s correct in her analysis.

This Week At Irish Election Literature April 21, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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A 2016 leaflet from GLEN giving details of the role played by Fine Gael in “the remarkable journey towards equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland”

A 2014 leaflet from GLEN giving details of the role played by The Labour Party in “The Remarkable Journey towards Equality and Civil Marriage for Lesbian and Gay People in Ireland.”

A Leaflet from The Socialist Worker Student Society from around 2013

“Eamon De Valera and 1917” A leaflet produced by Senator Ned Sullivan

Signs of Hope – A continuing series – Week 16 April 20, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

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