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18 December 2011 @ 03:38 am
Think about every great global, local, familial, personal problem there is and no way that you couldn't unwisely choose one that proved disastrous to banish. And by 'you' I mean me as well.

You could be sure that whatever disease or disaster I wished away there would be a consequence. Cancel cancer and there'd be an explosion of carcinogen-ridden daredevils reaking havok. Stop cyclones and the spirit of rebuilding goes into a spin; deprived of this commuity after-calm that occurs, would there be less mopping up of each other's yard?

And yet I wouldn't want to solve a first world problem as that might be frivolous, and therefore also not worth the energy expended, 

So, let's review, the solution to a problem that is worthy, that doesn't cause further problems.

I can't really manage that so I'll do just go along with the gag, knowing it'll never happen. I would end irrational belief. 

I don't propose to go into what "I" mean about that as it's not a phenomenological response. I believe, as did the late Christopher Hichens, that belief causes terror, causes wars, causes atrocities one would not countenance if they did not believe as they did. It is the person's moral code, however shaded, that will dictate how they behave.

Wealth and power do corrupt at least part of the time but they aren't the biggest problem. I've seen good come from riches and influence, and I've seen worse come from other candidates for problem status. Like sloth and dishonesty and theft and violence. 

So why don't they feature instead of religion and/or superstition, of faith or fable, myth or mistake?

Because I believe - and, yes, I get the contradiction - that our belief system is what allows us to purloin and pilfer. Not to mention pulverise.

If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]
01 October 2011 @ 11:50 pm
What always makes you laugh?
I have my Grandad's sense of humour and he'd laugh at a small child slamming their fingers in the door. I find the surprising things funny, where something is unintentional, and a certain gravitas is flung down in the crudest fashion. Watching a businessman stepping in a coil of rope on the footpath and stacking it was the cause of much mirth, and that's unfortunate when you immediately recognise how insensitive and cruel it would be to burst out laughing in the wake of an already embarrassing experience.

Like the Speech classes we did in high school, the more forbidden it was to burst out in gales of laughter, the harder it is to keep it in.

I'm not strictly slapstick. I appreciate irony and satire and so on and so forth. I get belly laughs from the traditional sitcoms and stand-up, but real life pratfalls never fail to make me laugh - or at least splutter and snort and cover my face. 

The funniest thing I witnessed was with my son when he was still going to winter magic festivals. An obviously do-it-yourself street performance came into view; a guy walking along with his girlfriend standing on his shoulders. All was going well until, as they drew closer, the guy must have decided that they would step it up and he began stomping like a goon. This basically without warning. 

Rather like the bucking bull at a saloon bar, the other half of the street art lasted admirably for the next four and a half seconds before tumbling to the bitumen. She rose and moaned "Awwww darl"

What's your favorite vegetarian meal?
A soy burger made in one of those hippy communities is not only one of the best vegetarian meals, it's one of the most delicious repast full stop. And I know that's all kinds of grammatically wrong but the food is good, so I don't care. 

There were falafel rolls that my girlfriend and I used to make special trips to the Cross just to buy, but that was in the eighties. Like hot chips and pies, falafel rolls are a variable feast.
09 July 2011 @ 03:20 pm
Which is your favorite classic Beatles’ song, and why?

A Day in the Life. It lacks the whimsy or the mystical trippiness of some of their songs of this period, and I think that's because it's the perfect Lennon McCartney composition; Paul's more personal observational style is a relief from John's esoteric take, the music dipping expertly into each. The singing and the production all contribute to a masterpiece.
09 July 2011 @ 02:21 pm
Who was the worst boss you’ve ever had? Did you ever get your revenge?

It's been my experience that bad bosses are fostered by the workplace they operate in. The worst boss I had was a foreman in probably his late twenties early thirties, the same age as me at the time. Firstly because his lack of a system made it needlessly difficult for us to do our job, but also because he exceeded his authority by forcing me up every time to get drinks (the only time I went to the pub with those guys!)

The big bosses tend to be comparatively magnanimous (although there was one state director who near caused a mutiny among the field officers) as they can afford to be. Even the mid level managers (a club I've been in for near the past decade) are fairly easy to work with as they are collecting their collectively bargained paypacket the same as their staff. And they have their own bosses to placate.

What made the factory and warehouse environment so perilous is that it was peopled by fairly random units. You could call them staff if you wanted. But there was no discipline or rules other than do your work and don't get caught sitting down on the job, which is not as much fun as it sounds. It wasn't liberating because it paid less, involved harder and more menial work, and there was no opportunity to contribute anything. We weren't the ones having meetings or issuing notices. The fact that I could balance a quantity of aluminium extrusions in the air, even lowering them under a beam, did not catch anyone's eye. Nor did the other racker and I realising the morning of the Christmas party that the regular cleaner was already too drunk to push a broom, and the place needed cleaning up before the food arrived.

It never looked so good. But somehow two guys kicking up a lot of dust through the place escaped everyone's notice, so it wasn't the sort of place you worked if you liked getting recognition. 
29 May 2011 @ 02:49 am
If you could get your hands on a talent duplicator machine, whose talents would you want, and why?

Richard Branson's skill at enterprise across multiple platforms, Noam Chomsky's insight, Elvis Costello's ability to use his lyrical finesse to fuel a stunning career, all those amateur artists who sketch trees or make unique curios.
18 May 2011 @ 03:18 pm
If you were granted unlimited magic powers for just five minutes, what would you do?

I'd ask to be shown the nature of magic so that I could better understand the outcome of any of my untrained ventures into the impossible. Even if this took longer than five minutes, I'd risk the chance that my new rich understanding would be able to furnish the same results as the untutored me could have done wildly waving the wand.

Because magic necessarily defies the laws of physics and renders probability statistics moot, the unmagicked is in no position to cast any spells or mutter any oaths within that first phase. Of course my magic tutulate could be accelerated so I'd still have time to effect the ones that wouldn't damage the fabric of space-time or make my own situation worse.
18 May 2011 @ 02:39 pm
What movie would you like to see remade, and why? How would you change it?

Judge Dredd. There is a golden rule of Golden age characters that say that there's no more pulp efficient manner of creating mystique than keeping the character's real identity and/or motives secret. Dredd is a departure from shadowy characters like the Shadow or spirited characters like the Spirit. In keeping with the dystopic future surrounds, Dredd wears his helmet at all times as he is a clone of the much loved founding Judge Fargo - he's wearing someone else's face. And had an evil twin with, of course, the same affliction. 

I can't speak for all long term 2000AD (or even "dippers" like myself) readers, but any screenwriter worth his or her salt should understand this about his raison d'etre and thereby be qualified to do a treatment. Whichever producer pressured them to write in scenes of Stallone removing his helmet - just, I guess, to remind him of who he was - missed this and with it, the chance of make one of several brilliant and engaging accounts of Megacity One, the Chief Judge, Judge Anderson, Judge Death, the Cursed Earth.. the list goes on. 

The irony is, like with the revivified Spider-Man (even if their mask removal efforts did skate perilously close to making the same error) and Batman franchises, a decent treatment of this world where judges rule would be very popular.
Bring it on.
24 April 2011 @ 12:21 pm
What was the first video or computer game you ever played? Did you love it or hate it, and why?

Space Invaders. I enjoyed it but found it frustrating that I could never get all that far before getting blown up. I preferred the later games as they both had more variety, and enabled longer playing time through employing different strategies.
26 January 2011 @ 03:14 pm
What were your favorite books as a child, and why?

I read a lot of children's literature that was put in front of me, and I had the privilege of being read to as a child. I was voracious and indiscriminate and quickly took to the encyclopedia, already twenty years out of date. I've read at least as many Reader's Digests of the Nixon era as the staunchest conservative, so I wouldn't say that my reading choice was restricted. Though, by today's standards, it would be.

I liked the same Asterix and Tintin in the school library as all the other kids and I was active in the Silver Age. But the two books I recall most enjoying, and returning to, were Strange Case of Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde and The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm.

It's hard to second guess of a mind discovering much for the first time, even if that mind is one's own. There's memory accretion and a hundred since embraced thoughts and feelings colouring the interpretation. But I have a thing for wonder, and I don't like too much of the corny or falsely gleeful, and this is where the dark duality really impressed me. Everyone has these darker sides, and all the nineteenth century science was doing was bringing theirs out.

It's probably why I didn't have a generational disgruntlement to go through, because I could see merits in the viewpoints of those long turned to dust.