Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Morpheus on “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others”

A picture says a thousand words…

Morpheus on… A Doctor’s Story

So this little old lady went to see her doctor. “Doctor, I have this problem with wind. Actually, it’s not a big problem. It’s totally SILENT and luckily, it doesn’t SMELL at all. In fact, I’ve let several go while I’ve been talking to you and you probably didn’t even notice.”

The doctor replied, “I see – well, take these pills and make an appointment to see me next week.”

A week later, the little old lady returned and said, “Doctor, I don’t know what you gave me, but now my wind smells TERRIBLE.”

“Good,” the doctor said, “Now we’ve cleared up your SINUSES, we’ll see what we can do about your HEARING.”

(My name’s Morpheus. Don’t forget to tip your waitress!)

Morpheus on… When Right Is Wrong

There is an old, English schoolboy joke that goes – “If the French all drive on the wrong side of the road, how come they don’t have ACCIDENTS all the time?” Of course, the truth is – there IS no right or wrong side. EITHER side is fine, provided everybody sticks to the SAME side.

But which side is BEST? Most countries drive on the right – but far from ALL. Britain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia are just some of those who chose the LEFT.

Sweden originally chose the left, but in order to fit in with Europe, changed to the right in the early Sixties. The change was made gradually. I’m kidding of course – the change was made overnight. They unbagged the new signs and traffic lights and bagged up the old ones.

But the thing is, these traditions have nothing to DO with cars. They pre-date the horseless carriage by centuries – in some cases, MILLENNIA. The reason most countries drive on the right is – the ROMANS.

Apparently, when chariots passed on the left, people (being mostly right-handed) got into sword fights and so a proclamation was passed… or maybe that’s just an urban myth. Either way, the Romans drove on the right – and the tradition spread.

However, for MODERN times, that tradition is WRONG. Car control layouts took some time to get standardised, but once they were, they ensured that the wheel would be in front of you, the pedals would be at your feet and the gear lever would be in the middle of the vehicle.

And it is that LAST fact that makes driving on the LEFT much, much BETTER.

You see, when driving on the left, the driver SITS on the RIGHT (if they didn’t, they couldn’t see past the vehicle in front – which is essential for safe overtaking). And this positions them with the gear lever on their LEFT. And THAT’S what’s important.

Think about it; most people are RIGHT-handed – thus possess more strength and accuracy in that hand. And when taking a hand OFF the steering wheel to change gear, they need that strength and accuracy to maintain MAXIMUM control with the hand which remains ON the wheel – while the simple act of changing gear should require a MINIMUM of strength and accuracy.

And the same is true for the BRAIN. Left hand – gears – subconscious (or SHOULD be – if you need to think CONSCIOUSLY about gear-changes, you shouldn’t BE driving). Right hand – steering – conscious.

Therefore, given that the majority of people are right handed, right-hand-drive is the only way to go. Left-handed people; if you want to drive – go and live in a left-hand-drive country!

(Of course, Americans – who HAVE to be different –  have ALWAYS been left-hand-drive. But then, their cars have always had automatic gearboxes and power steering – thus while driving, they only use their left hand to hold the damn ROOF on!)

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 (which from eight feet away is also pointless) would have cost him the same as the recliner – both around a month’s wages.

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… American Cops With Guns

These days, US cops tend to shoot first and ask questions later – and their State condones it. But I recall a time when there was such a thing as “response training”.

American trainee cops would be made to sit and watch a film, whilst in their hands was a push-button. They were told they would witness a number of scenarios – all of which had happened for REAL – where they would have to make a decision on when – or if – to fire.

When they pushed the button, the film would freeze and it would be assumed they had hit their target (this was a test of JUDGEMENT, not accuracy) and killed them instantly. But if the “suspect” shot at THEM FIRST, it would be assumed that THEY were dead.

Your Humble Scribe has SEEN this film – and it was most instructive. By the time you had got out the mandatory, “Police! Stop, or I fire!” – you were TOAST. There was a pram with a midget inside, a guy who walked casually around a tree as he was being hailed – then swung around firing, a cop in poor lighting conditions who was slow in identifying himself, a man who reached inside his coat for a sign announcing he was deaf and dumb…

This was and is the reality of living in a “gun society”. And that reality has now resulted in US citizens living in an atmosphere of FEAR. These days, cops just blaze away in CASE.

In England, a suspect is chased onto a tube train and despite being subdued by four “officers” SITTING on him, they fire five rounds into him, because they fear he might be a terrorist with a “button”. He turns out to be a plumber.

In America, two cops TAZE (Tazers can KILL) a lone woman in a car, on a routine traffic pull, because she won’t jump out of it and throw herself in the mud at their feet. She was talking to her husband on her mobile phone. After she has finished writhing on the ground, the cop says, “Aw, it don’t hurt THAT much.”

Another routine US traffic pull. Two cops fire at the BACK of a fleeing suspect who tries to grab one of their guns. Silly of him, perhaps – he had panicked because he had drugs on him – but it shows he is UNARMED. He survives their bullets – and HE gets charged with attempted murder. And convicted.

These last two cases were shown on TV – with the authorities’ APPROVAL. In My Day, they’d have WIPED the tapes, for fear of them being used as evidence of police brutality.

But today, that brutality is State Sanctioned. And thanks to post-9/11 paranoia, US – and even British – citizens accept it.

So might YOU – until the next time you see that flashing blue light in your rear-view mirror…

Morpheus on… Trump And Brexit: The Root Cause

As I type this, Leggy May has just delivered Britain’s suicide note to Europe and the Trumpster has completed his first disastrous two months in office. But how the hell did we reach this point?

Well, elsewhere in these scribblings, I have laid the blame squarely upon the Worst President America Has Ever Had (at least, in MY lifetime).

Mr George Wan… sorry, WaLker Bush. The Monkey.

For ’twas HE who decided to ignore the UN and everyone else and go finish off the job his pappy had had too much intelligence, class and wisdom to attempt – nail Saddam Hussein. Which resulted in total chaos, destabilising the entire Middle East (which was hardly stable to begin with) and led directly to the year of terrorist atrocities that drove the populations of America and Britain to make the monumental blunders they will now regret for years – perhaps decades.

America voted for Trump and Britain voted for Brexit.

Of course, there were a variety of other factors which lead to these decisions – but there is no doubt that FEAR of foreign terrorism (and the misbegotten belief that “strengthening borders” would combat it – misbegotten, because almost all of the terrorists were CITIZENS) carried the day, both times.

And in both cases, the results came as a complete surprise (nay, SHOCK) since the pollsters had made the mistake of BELIEVING the public they had polled.

However, while The Monkey may SEEM to be the root cause of our current woes, one can actually trace it back FURTHER – to an unlikely source.

Mr Ralph Nader.

What? The “Unsafe At Any Speed” guy? Sadly, yes.

The thing is, Ralph had dickered around with presidential runs for many years and in 2000, ran as the candidate for the Green Party. And with absolutely NO chance of winning, there is no doubt whatsoever that most of the votes he took from the two main contenders – Bush and Al Gore – came from the LATTER.

What happened then is well known; thanks to a handful of votes (just as with Trump and Brexit) and Bush family corruption, The Monkey managed to unceremoniously elbow his way past Gore into the White House where, thanks to the FEAR created by “9/11” – he would remain for two terms. During which time… see above.

So RALPH NADER – the guy who certainly saved thousands of lives by prodding the American “auto” industry into grudgingly introducing the safety features we now take for granted – is ultimately responsible for f***ing up both the US and the UK.

Thanks a lot, Ralph.

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).