Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Morpheus on… Where Do We Go From Here?

Since the Year Of Living Dangerously that preceded Britain and America’s headlong dash to disaster (Brexit and Trump) those two countries seem DOOMED.

But as usual, America is the one in less trouble. They can get RID of their Horrible Mistake by DIVORCING themselves from Agent Orange in a mere four years (if he LASTS that long) – whereas Britain is about to divorce ITSELF from EUROPE.

A blunder whose disastrous effects will echo down the decades LONG after this observer has been turned to ash (which may not be long, if Fatboy Kim manages to push the Trumpster far enough).

Morpheus on… There Are Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics

Statistic #1: The most common given name in the world is Muhammad.

Statistic #2: The most common family name in the world is Wong.

Extrapolation: The most common full name in the world is Muhammad Wong.

I rest my case.

 

Morpheus on… The Daily Mail Readers Quiz

Q1) Entertainment: What is Beyoncé’s first name?

Q2) Cooking: What is the principle (main) ingredient of scrambled eggs?

Q3) Transport: How many carriageways are there on a dual carriageway? (you may look up the word “dual”)

Q4) Geography: Which American state is New York City in?

Q5) Science: At what time of day does Noon occur?

Q6) General: What colour is a red bus?

Q7) Regents: Which country is ruled by the Queen of Denmark?

Q8) Spelling: Spell LONDON.

Q9) Celebrity: Princess Diana, Adolph Hitler or Bugs Bunny?

Q10) Physics: Explain Le Chatelier’s Principle Of Dynamic Equilibrium Forces OR write your name in block capitals.

There are a million of these…

Morpheus on… The Truth About 4k

…it’s a waste of time, effort and money.

A quick history lesson…

The movies began in earnest around 1900 and TV, around 1950 (there had been experimental services in the Thirties, but following the Second World Argument, the boom in American consumerism gave birth to what we have today).

However, while Fifties movies were high-definition, colour, wide-screen, with 6-channel stereo – Fifties TV was NOT. It was low-definition, black and white, rounded, flickery and MONO.

But over the sixty years since, it has CAUGHT UP.

And while Fifties seventeen-inch tellies cost a month’s wages (being hand-wired in the West, one component at a time) today’s fifty-five inch flat-screens (made by machines, in the Orient) can be had for only a WEEK’S wages. And they are hi-definition, colour, wide-screen, with 6-channel stereo.

Oh yes, thanks to smart interface chips, a 1080-line TV picture is now sharper than VistaVision (the Fifties equivalent of 70mm). And a 2k picture likewise.

But what of the future?

Well, technology always moves forward, but in the case of TV – this is not necessarily a good thing.

You see, after the minor annoyance of the standards war between 16:9/1080-line (TV) and 2:1/2k (cinema and computers) they decided the Next Big Thing would be 2:1/4k. This would (universally) give FOUR times the definition (two times vertical and horizontal resolution).

Trouble is, it also requires four times the DATA-TRANSFER. Broadband is becoming OBESEband.

But the real problems come when VIEWING it…

In the cinema, colour 3D was available in the Fifties (Natural Vision; it used Polaroid lenses to separate the two images) and continues today. But while it works fine for a couple of hours, the parallax-versus-focus issue (and the need to wear glasses) would guarantee TV audiences would retire with HEADACHES every night, after watching SIX hours of it – which is why TV has ABANDONED 3D.

But it is EMBRACING 4k – which is a MISTAKE.

First, it is no great shakes in the CINEMA. You have to sit in the front three rows to appreciate the difference and (here’s one of Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secrets) the digital SFX are mostly done in 2k, with only the live characters shot in 4k. Thus with the actors representing the focal point, the audience does not notice the relatively low-res backgrounds.

It has to be that way – or the list of video artists in the end credits would be longer than the damn MOVIE. And the WAGE-bill…

And in the HOME, the situation worsens.

Here’s another secret; with 1080/2k, the optimum distance from viewer-eyeball to screen is twice the screen’s WIDTH (not the diagonal). So if you have a 55″ screen (the largest commonly-made size – bigger screens’ prices go up exponentially) that is EIGHT FEET. Which is fine.

But change that screen to a 4k and you would need to HALVE the distance to notice the difference. And the screen would appear twice as LARGE.

Picture the scene; a guy in a La-Z-Boy recliner, his feet UNDER the suspended screen, his eyes and head constantly twitching around. A SINGLE man, of course.

Oh, the viewing experience would be AMAZING. But he’d go to bed TIRED every night – with a POUNDING HEADACHE!

And the curved TV would have cost him the same as the recliner – both around a month’s wages (and from eight feet, that expensive curve is pointless).

Finally, consider the programme makers; in the Fifties and early Sixties, close-ups generally cropped faces an inch above the chin and just above the eyebrows. But then, when higher definition colour arrived, the actors’ faces looked like big, pink BLOBS – so cameramen BACKED OFF aways.

Now imagine 4k definition close-ups. NO actor will look good like THAT.

So here’s the thing; you can get a 55″ 1080/2k LED flat-screen, with 6-channel stereo system, for a week’s wages. Then you can sit eight feet across the room from it (with your LADY). And if you have perfect 20:10 vision (20:20 is what opticians try to palm you OFF with – along with the most expensive “designer” frames in the shop) you will be able to read 8-point print right off the screen.

And that’s all you NEED.

Morpheus on… Frankie Boyle’s Assessment Of Trump

…as published in the Grauniad – sorry, Guardian.

Over a thousand pieces in, I hereby take the so far UNIQUE step of reproducing another’s work.

Imagine this spoken with a Glasgow accent and you’ve GOT it. Over to Frankie…

Trump: a super-villain for a world without heroes.

 

America has gone from the Obama Years to the Trump Years, like going from the West Wing to a sitcom where the incidental music involves a tuba. I actually think Donald Trump is going to prove a lot of people wrong, but sadly not George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, or whoever wrote the Book of Revelation. It says a lot about the man that building a giant wall isn’t even in the top five most Game of Thrones things about him. Of course, presidents always enter office with something to prove, it’s just rarely their sanity.

 

You look into Trump’s eyes and you see the fear and confusion of a man who has just been told he’s got stage-four cervical cancer. He is a super-villain in a world without heroes, a man so obnoxious and unhappy that karma may see him reincarnated as himself. You kind of wish he’d get therapy, but at this stage it’s like hiring a window cleaner for a burning building. It’s still difficult to classify him exactly: he’s not a classic Nazi, but would burn books if his supporters knew how to read. Hillary Clinton was obviously the preferred establishment candidate, and whoever was on the rota for this election cycle at the Illuminati really dropped the ball, but Trump is still very much someone that the permanent powers have assessed they can work with.

 

One of his first acts as president was an executive order to ban federal money going to international groups that perform or provide information on abortions. Making it clear that he’ll only provide billion-dollar funding to terminate young lives overseas if some kind of US-made drone is involved. This bill stops funding for birth control in countries where religion and culture mean women have no access to alcohol. Think it through – have you any idea how hard it is inducing a miscarriage just by drinking tonic? Call me a cynic, but when male politicians defund reproductive health centres, I always wonder how many abortions they’ve funded themselves. Is this just revenge for some clinic in the 1980s rejecting their idea for a loyalty card scheme?

 

There’s probably business pressure behind this bill, too. Maybe American corporations are worried that fewer kids in the developing world means no one to do the detailed stitching on their clothing lines. I suppose everybody’s politics are shaped by the particular bubble they live in. Trump sees anti-choice arguments all the time; the only time he sees an argument for abortion is in a mirror.

 

Trump cares about the same things a member of noughties rap outfit G Unit cares about: women, money and vengeance. Yet, random though it seems, his fight with the judiciary could well be tactical. He will blame them for the next act of terrorism that occurs, then declare a state of emergency where everybody has to stay indoors while his tweets are read out over a Tannoy. I’m in an unusual position in that I don’t support Trump being invited to Britain, but I do hope he comes. Britain is divided at the moment and nothing unites us like hating Americans. Britain is good at mockery, and it will hopefully be a bit like when David Blaine came and sat in that plastic box. Of course, Farage has gone full Lord Haw-Haw, correctly gauging that history wasn’t going to judge him very kindly anyway, and that there might not be any. If the Queen ever has to shake Trump’s hand, she will put on so many gloves she’ll look like Mickey Mouse. I find it amusing that the same people who think it’s ridiculous for Mexico to be asked to pay for America’s wall think it’s fine for us to pay for Trident. To be fair, I managed to get my neighbour to build a wall and pay for it, and all it cost me was the price of a thong to sunbathe in.

 

My best guess at the great man’s next move is the hoisting of an enormous burning eye above Trump Tower. It’s a building for which the words tacky and gaudy somehow seem too jolly and frivolous. Close up, it looks like the memory stick where some giant alien sex-killer stores his worst atrocities, or a version of the black slab in 2001: A Space Odyssey, sent to restore our consciousness to the level of chimpanzees. Trapped inside, Melania Trump has a look that I’ve never seen before, the eyes of someone waiting with increasing impatience for Stockholm Syndrome to set in. The look of a woman frantically trying to unlearn English, appalled to find that this only makes her understand her husband more clearly. Perhaps women trapped in marriages with monsters resort to plastic surgery so that it becomes easier to leave a wax head in their bed while they work on their tunnel at night. Perhaps the manicures are to hide the endless digging. Perhaps it’s the secret of their figures. They’re not dieting, they’re eating those peanut butter and fried egg sandwiches Michael Phelps used to train on and spending their nights burrowing like a f**king gopher.

 

You have to say it’s surprising that, with so much to work with, the response from the Democratic establishment has been to suggest that Trump is a Russian spy. How could he possibly keep a secret? He almost never stops talking, seemingly delivering a live feed of his internal monologue, using national television appearances to ramble about murdering terrorists’ families and blurt out fantasies about torture. Admittedly, any expert psychologist will tell you that torture does work, but only if you first threaten them with bare electrical wires. I’m equally baffled that so much Democratic criticism focuses on his incompetence and instability. Competent, focused Nazis are absolutely the worst kind.

 

Equally, I don’t really understand commentators who say it’s vital not to normalise any of Trump’s actions. They have been normalised for eight years by Barack Obama while many of the same people looked the other way. Banks and corporations writing their own legislation; war by executive order; mass deportations; kill lists: it’s all now as normal and American as earthquakes caused by fracked gases being ignited by burning abortion clinics. Of course, there is a moral difference in whether such actions are performed by a Harvard-educated constitutional law professor or a gibbering moron, and the distinction goes in Trump’s favour. That’s not to say Trump won’t plumb profound new depths of awfulness, like the disbanding of the environmental protection agency set up by hippy, libtard snowflake Richard Nixon.

 

Obviously, the most important issue here is why America hasn’t done as well as in the past at capitalising on these horrors to create good music about the political turmoil. I mean, where is their Bob Dylan? Where are their anthems about drone warfare killing innocent civilians? Instead we’ve got Drake begging women via song to text him back after a fight at the Cheesecake Factory. Britain seems to be in an even deeper cultural torpor. Everything from Teen Vogue to young adult fiction has a more radical take than our press, and the Trump administration is satirised by American television with a venom that the British television industry, for its own government, does its best to avoid.

 

Trump is at war with Saturday Night Live. He thinks it’s horrible and yet he can’t stop watching. Pretty much the same as how the world feels about him. How can he expect to escape ridicule? Being on reality TV is the closest he ever got to reality. His children look like a teen movie about Wall Street vampires directed by Uday Hussein. He has cultivated a square face that’s the shade of a banned food colouring and the muscle tone of a coma patient. He looks like aliens came to Earth and made a human costume after seeing one commercial for a car dealership. Really, he seems like the sort of person that a competent leftwinger with a humane alternative offer should be able to beat at the next election. Sad, really, that the only way Bernie Sanders could return in 2020 is as a glass sliding about a ouija board.

 

During the campaign, Trump said he wanted to stop America from making foreign military interventions, possibly because he realised he would need the army for suppressing the domestic population. Yet someone so media-obsessed can’t help but realise that among all the gaffes and flak, his insane aggression towards China and Iran has escaped censure. The media and political establishment largely approve. They only fret that he doesn’t take the same planet-threatening posture with Russia. War sells papers, television advertising and arms. It makes politicians feel important. It provides nationalism with clear enemies to define itself against. Despite all the other failures this administration promises, the US might finally be on time for a world war.

 

So what do we do? I think, first of all, it’s worth noting that, under an authoritarian government, all protest will be vilified anyway. Even before Trump, people got very upset that quarterback Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand during the national anthem. You’d think that would fall under the list of White People Approved Forms of Protest, along with leaving a voicemail for your senator kindly asking them to stop shooting black people in the street. Personally, I think there’s limited value in moralising with, or fact-checking, regimes that don’t care about morals or facts.

 

In Britain we also have an increasingly authoritarian government. We send them petitions telling them that we don’t want them reading our emails, which they presumably already know from reading our emails. We face a brief political period that, unchecked, will bring at least irreversible climate change and, at worst, nuclear war.

 

Morally, I think you have to look at what you can do to change your own country first, as that’s the bit you have most influence on. This is complicated in Britain as we have a government that has undergone what is known in the business world as “regulatory capture” by corporate and financial interests, and is, broadly speaking, a vassal state of the US. What can we do practically to influence our own government that would truly affect the Trump administration? Well, in a country supposedly filled with restored national pride, we could not renew Trident and refuse to be his missile base. That kind of strategic loss would damage him deeply. No amount of likes or memes or petitions can achieve this. Really, if we want to survive as a species, it’s time for organised civil disobedience. It’s time to stop writing to your MP.

 

…and there it was. Done better than ever I could have. I hope it is WIDELY read in The States.

Morpheus on… The New Doctor Who

Miranda Hart? Are you Kidding? Why not Whoopi Goldberg?

No, the Doctor has to be a BLOKE – who is white, British and of average build (so forget Idris Elba too).

On the other hand, his age is VARIABLE. Peter Capaldi was – IS; he still has a season and Christmas special to go – an OLD geezer. In the show, he is the same age as the original Doctor, Bill Hartnell (who actually looked much older) and Jon Pertwee (whom he slightly resembles).

But the other post-reboot Doctors have all been youngish and I believe now is the time for such to return and thus nominate (for the SECOND time; see elsewhere in these observations) – BEN WHISHAW.

Yes, before Peter got the gig, I suggested Ben. Now don’t get me wrong; I also said if Capaldi minded his language, he should make an excellent Doctor – and as usual, I was right.

But if Peter must go (and next year, it WILL be about that time) who better to replace him than his co-star in The Hour. Said series was going well until the end of Season Two, when a CRAP finale killed the whole thing.

Its lead actor Dominic West then fled to America, leaving Capaldi and Whishaw looking for new work. Capaldi  became the next Doctor and Whishaw, the next Q.

But THAT gig is at best only a week’s work every two or three years – and hardly career-defining.

Of course Ben is openly gay, but at around a thousand years old, the Doctor is ABOVE sex (I am only 64, but less involved than I once was) so that is not an issue. And his nerdy, gentle persona will contrast nicely with his predecessor.

So COME ON AUNTIE – THIS time, give Ben a chance. Otherwise he too will drift across the Pond – and then you will not be able to AFFORD him.

Morpheus on… Noddy In The Dark, Dark Wood

When I tell people Enid Blyton once wrote a book where Noddy got stripped naked and carjacked by a gang of Gollywogs, leaving him stumbling around nude in the forest – they refuse to believe me!

But it is TRUE. Back in 1951, with her fourth Noddy book – “Here Comes Noddy Again” – she did exactly that.

In these PC days, children are constantly coddled and patronised – but back in the Good Old Days, they were spared nothing. Not by Blyton.

Or Disney. Remember when the Seven Dwarves returned to the house and found Snow White apparently dead at the hands of the Evil Queen (having posed as an old woman, with that poisoned apple)? Did they check to see if Ms White was indeed dead? No – they rode off on their woodland creatures as a MOB.

Had the hysterically cackling old hag not been knocked off that mountain outcrop by that bolt of lightning, they would have RIPPED HER APART.

And even then, the grinning vultures follow her falling body…

Scary stuff. And so was Noddy’s misadventure in the Dark, Dark Wood.

It comes about half-way through the book where, after a load of mundane nonsense, the story takes a sudden TURN (one which, as a mini-cab driver in the Seventies, I can relate to).

We begin with what in comic-book parlance would be called the Splash Panel (or Page) – which comes at the start of the book…

01…oh YEAH! Next, here is the front page…

02-fourth-noddy-book-1951…and we pick up the action at the beginning of chapter five…

03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

…and they all lived happily ever after.

Of course, the book has now been out of print for decades. Although some while back, during one of the many PC-driven “cleaning up” exercises with Blyton’s books, they printed a version that replaced this…

31…with this…

32…tee-hee!

Meanwhile, the ORIGINAL fetches a pretty penny. You are unlikely to obtain a copy for less than three figures – if you can FIND it.

Like Baden-Powell’s “Scouting For Boys” – which no middle-aged gay man with a sense of humour can be without a vintage copy of on his book-shelf – it is now a CLASSIC.