And then what happened…

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Missing Seqeuls.”

633

Like a good book, some of the best movie experiences are those that we don’t want to end. Most times, though, it is best that they do end…we’ve all seen the series of hacked sequels that can follow a movie that makes money, that erode and diminish the original experience (did someone say George Lucas?). But there are those rare occasions where a story so well told begs for a sequel…

For me one of those such times is the 1964 classic 633 Squadron, based on Frederick E. Smith’s novel of the same name. Although hinted at in the book, the movie leaves the story of Grenville and Hilde hanging: she’s stranded in England, he’s seriously injured, possibly dying, in a Norwegian field…

Rather than succumb to the current plague of remaking of classic movies, I’d like to see that sequel that answers that question, that fulfils the expectation set at the end of the book (sorry, you’ll have to read it!). Smith wrote another five or six sequels to the original novel but I always felt that these were rather 2D products more focussing on paying teh rent than developing the promise of the original. Only Operation Valkyrie comes close and possibly it would be a vehicle for the sequel that closes both the Svartfjord story and that of Grenville and Hilde, Adams, Hoppy and the other survivors;  and whatever happened to Maisie (Rosie in the movie) the buxom lass who waved them all off from the bar of the Black Swan…?

For the boys…

Things Pop Culture Ruined for Me

Another great thread from Rarasaur here, always so thought-provoking, at times just provocative…

I get where Rara is coming from with this and my thoughts since she posted it the other day were that perhaps she is being just a little precious over this…I mean, if something is precious to us, then we should still be able to hold it close…right?

Then I woke this morning, considered the issue again and the first thing that leaps into my head was Jar-Jar Binks (I hope you didn’t arrange that just for me, Rara, because it wasn’t a very fun experience…) and all of a sudden, I got it…

While I think that the original Star Wars trilogy started its downhill slide when the Muppets took over Return of the Jedi (and Palpatine thought he had problems) and then the revisionism of the 20th and 25th Anniversary releases (yes, I am on gain about Han shooting first!) but the following prequel trilogy just leaves me COLD. The one anchor of my faith in the Star Wars Universe is the theatrical release of Star Wars that George Lucas grudgingly included on the 25th Anniversary release DVD – even though he spitefully refused to remaster this version it remains the same awe-inspiring epic that first wowed me in January 1978. And, just for the record, I have great hopes for the Disney/Abrams epics in this universe planned for first release in 2015…

The other modern take on an old classic that leaves me shivering is the last few seasons of Dr Who, specifically the Matt Smith regime of weirdness. The original BBC black and white Doctor series used to terrify me as a child because it was a. really scary, b. had a diverse range of monsters, and c. it had lots of cliff hangers (each story would typically run over 4-6 30 minute episodes – At one a week the terror could be drawn out to the nth degree…now the Doctors all about love, fish fingers and custard (an offence against humanity in its own right), and Daleks, Daleks and more bloody Daleks – what part of extinct don’t you guys get???? And it’s all driven my how much the Beeb executives think that they can squeeze out of the franchise as opposed to any desire to actually rethink or revitalise it for this century…

So little Sunday morning rant over…Rara again drives her point home when I open my mind a little…

PS. I love both BSGs even if the 21st century version does ramble on a bit at times…

Edit: another WordPress tool that doesn’t work so well – I thought I’d give the reblog tool a go but the editing tools in it are sooo limited, I will just stick to my current practice of ‘pressing this’ on any page I feel like commenting further on…if I could have saved this, it might have been longer (that could be a good or a bad thing); ditto if the reblogging text window was more than three lines high – clearly this is meant to attract twits et al…and the formatting is all screwed up too…fail WordPress…..

rarasaur

Recently, I had to remove the word “tweak” from my vocabulary due to the surge in popularity of another word entirely.

You see, it looks like twerk.  If the word “twerk” is stuck in your head, it even kind of sounds like twerk.

Tweak happens to be one of my favorite words, and its definition isn’t even mildly related to the concept of twerking– so I’m hoping this fad calms down enough that I can reclaim it.

This isn’t the first time pop culture has ruined something for me.

I’ll give you a five examples.

1. That is fifty shades of…

Another beloved expression of mine was “this is fifty shades of ______”. It could be applied to anything, really. Kids were fifty shades of sticky, cats were fifty shades of crazy, and my big sister was fifty shades of bossy.  Now it can’t be said without people thinking of…

View original post 197 more words

My Little Life: Five Question Friday!! 5/3/13

1. What is your next home improvement goal?

In priority order….

BATHROOM!!!!!! BATHROOM!!!!!! BATHROOM!!!!!! BATHROOM!!!!!!

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Knocking out the wall between the current shower and the rest of the bathroom; shifting the shower into the opposite corner of the bathroom and putting the bath in the area where the shower is now…

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This wall goes and the bath goes in the new area;

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…the windows are replaced by a full-length bi-fold or sliding door that  provides full access to the bush outside…

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…seal up the sleep-out cottage by fitting clear roofing over the deck(ette) and mounting windows (currently in storage in the Chalet’s garage where the plywood panels are at the moment; flip the door so that it opens the other way towards the direction people approach from the Lodge; the cool bendy tree in the foreground will go as it has passed away and the deck will be extended  another metre or two….

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…at the moment the dining room bifolds open out to nowhere: the plan is to put a floor level deck out here extending out as far as the gate post in the foreground and, in Deck Phase 1, to just past the kitchen window (to about where the bush under the pantry window is now; Phase 2 will see the deck extended to meet the spa deck steps and around the corner to the back door…if the ugly internet satellite dish can not pick up any decent TV channels it will go to as we know have fixed line broadband

2. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? No religious texts (ie Bible, Quran, Torah, etc, etc)…

This is a toughy…I once spent six week in Vietnam with only one English book and no access to any bookshop selling books in English til my last night in Saigon…had to settle for many many re-reads of Vulcan’s Glory (I’ll add the text as there’s not mcuh as most people lack the fitness to click on the link anyways)

The novel focuses on a young Spock, a conflicted ensign, serving on the Starship Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike. Spock is having a difficult time dealing with his Vulcan heritage and how it conflicts with his duties as an officer and what he wants personally.

Spock soon becomes involved in a mission to retrieve the ‘Vulcan’s Glory’, a priceless gem long thought lost in a spaceship crash. It is soon discovered there is far more to this mission then readily apparent.

The novel focuses on the crew of the Enterprise from the period featured in the pilot episode The Cage. A younger Montgomery Scott also appears.

That was challenging, character-building even, but I survived with no (visible) scars…looking around the library now at all the books that I have read so many times, I am conflicted…I’m leaning towards a classic like George Lucas’ original Star Wars, or possibly Dean Koontz’ Watchers or Lightning…?

3. What is on top of your refrigerator?

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Dog treats, soap crystals in case one of the dogs picks up any of the poison that the Department of Conservation persist in dropping everywhere , tea pot because it is handy and unlikely to get knocked off, bug zapper, token pot plant, random stuff up high and out of sight out of mind when the girls are here….

4. What are your favorite or most used phone apps?

My phone is not really app-compliant or -capable but it does has Lego Star Wars on it from the time when the twins were born and we were spending a lot of time hanging around in hospital waiting rooms…lego star wars

5. What’s the one thing you hate most about your spouses job?

That they don’t recognise her for what she does, more so considering that THEY headhunted HER for the job…be nice if some of that recognition involved extra income but ‘thank you‘ also goes a long way…

via My Little Life: Five Question Friday!! 5/3/13.

 

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 3/15/12

My Little Life: Five Question Friday! 3/15/12.

1. What is one thing you wish you did not have to teach your children?

That there are some people that they need to be wary of, that not everyone is what they seem and really wants to be their friend…I miss the good old days when children could walk to and from school without fear of impropriety…it’d also be nice to see an end to the herds of unruly SUVs that congregate around schools twice a day…suv schools

2. What are you going to use since Google Reader is going away?

Don’t care…don’t use it…never could get RSS to work properly for me without feeling that I was spamming myself…

rip-google-reader

3. British comedy; Hilarious or strange?

Classic…even the stuff that I don’t like…subtle and not a smack in the face with a baseball bat like most US comedy…when the US can get Basil Fawlty, it will have arrived in the realm of true comedy as opposed to slapstick…

Fawlty-Towers

4. Do you prefer card games or board games?

I only really play with the girls so whatever they want but probably my preference is for board games as their hands aren’t big enough yet to hold cards properly, certainly without giving the game away to those sitting around them…personally, on the half day a year when I have time, I prefer board games…still waiting to try out the special rules in the Star Wars Monopoly I got for Christmas ’11…

star wars monopoly

So much cooler than boring Monopoly…

5. Will winter ever end?

Asking the same question here about summer – some rain would be really nice after almost six weeks without…so very happy we put that second water tank in last year…but last year, winter never did end and just rained through summer and back into winter again…didn’t think that was much fun but it was probably preferable to this year’s drought…

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On the left, the North Island, nice and green albeit a little damp in March 2012; on the right, the krispy krittur, it is becoming this year…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

For this week’s theme ‘kiss’, I was really hoping that I’d find some images that would fit some sort of theme like a galactic apocalypse kiss of death, or ‘…the asteroid only kissed the Earth’s atmosphere but that was enough to set in motion a bizarre chain of destruction...’ but nope, sorry, nothing like that at all so it’s back to the schmaltzy-waltzy stuff again…

Friends forever 001

Not quite a kiss but as close to it as these two foes ever got…

“Ewwww….!!”

sleep time

“I’ve got your back, sis…”

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Go on...try it...I DARE you!!!

“Go on…try it…I DARE you!!!”

Kiss 001

Bloody cheeky natives…(…but which one?)

…but a parting thought (and it’s not even my own) on that galactic apocalypse kiss of death, ‘…the asteroid only kissed the Earth’s atmosphere but that was enough to set in motion a bizarre chain of destruction...’ thing…somewhere in Russia, as you read this…

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The greatest question ever asked…

Star Wars saga

Arguments will rage and wars may be fought over this question and there may never ne a full resolution that all thinking peoples will be happy with however it is a discussion that needs to take place and not be shuffled away under th hustle and bustle of day to day life…namely…

What is the CORRECT order in which to watch the Star Wars saga?

I don’t think you can go wrong with Andrew P. Street’s take on the question – I agree 100% that the correct and only sequence that makes sense is…

4

2

3

5

6

Although appearing rather like a dyslectic’s take on the opening scene from Thunderbirds, this sequence makes absolute sense, and the logic in the article can not be faulted…

But’s there’s no ‘1‘!!” you cry – and crying is really only a natural response to Star Wars Part I George Lucas Gets It So Wrong – correct. This ‘movie’ adds nothing to the saga other than a sad comment on what happens when David becomes Goliath, or Anakin becomes Darth Vader in the real world…

And, as astute Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fans will have noted, it is clearly no accident that the first numbers of the answer are 42 – Douglas Adams just got the question wrong…

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few of My Favorite Things

This is a toughie…since this popped in my inbox early this morning  a couple of weeks ago (have been dillydallying – yes, it IS  a word – over a simple thing like taking the two photos), I have been keeping an eye out as I have drifted around the house, an eye out for a few of my favourite things…well, there’s Kirk and Lulu, of course, who follow me all around the house…except for when Kirk disappeared this morning a morning a couple of weeks ago after breakfast: we got a possum on a couple of Sundays ago and so I think he’s kinda hopeful of getting another – I don’t know if he’s noticed yet but Lulu and Deeda have already stolen Sunday’s possum from where he buried it – tarts! – and there’s not much left of it now… (nope – Lulu was last seen with a bit of possum snout sticking out of her mouth and that was all she wrote)…

So…favourite things…I’m always rapt to acquire another book to replace one of the many that went missing or were ‘borrowed’ while I was on the move in the 80s and 90s…I now have all the Airfix Annuals again less #3 and thought it was a real coup to score a full set of the short-lived (all four!) Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine from the late 70s, complete with the posters…this was the one that, in each issue, analysed a modern (70s) science-fiction movie, one from the 60s and one from the 50s and merged themes from each into a poster in each issue….I still smile when I think of the article that tried to calculate the physical size that the Enterprise’s computer would have to be to hold all the information retrieved from it during the Original Series of Star Trek, drawing the conclusion that it would be impossible by virtue of its sheer bulk for any computer to hold that much information…meanwhile 35 years later…

I still have odds’n’sods from soldiering days…my Gerber ‘letter opener’, various bits and pieces of web gear that might be useful one day – Carmen was quick to commandeer my secateurs and folding tree saw pouches onto a belt for her forays into the Lodge’s garden/forest – and I still jealousy guard the original day park and vest webbing we developed in 1 RNZIR…oh, yes, and of course, there’s the hat collection that graces the big beam running across the study, acquired from here and there…thirty odd years of military head-dress…less the warmer stuff that has found its way into the cold weather front line of hooks by the back door…

But the thing is, I’m not really that attached to any of it…sure, I don’t want it to just be binned because each represents memories…my favourite cup when I was in Waiouru was the classic ‘cups’ canteen’ partly because it held a lot of coffee but also because some fairly brutal attrition and experimentation showed that, of all cup types, it was the absolute least likely to be stolen…I don’t think that I have any one thing (non-breathing anyway!) that I would be desperately cut up about if I were to loose it…I’d be hacked off to loose my photo collection but I’d get over it, and ditto for the book and movie library and my still growing model collection (although I am getting better and slowing down on acquisition)…

Some things you just can’t beat…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sky

Something you don’t often see…I was flying from Pensacola to Dallas-Fort Worth at around 33,ooo feet when I spotted this Super Star Destroyer and its escorts just dropping out of stealth…quite rare to see one in the atmosphere and possibly rarer to also fly away unscathed after seeing one like this…

And that’s this week’s response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The Princess Leia Doctrine

(c) 2011 Graham Art Productions

Doctrine Man!’s Facebook page this morning links to a Politico article Robert Gates’s Final Act: Slow Afghan Drawdown

As his final act before leaving the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is working to build support for what he is calling a “modest” drawdown in Afghanistan, even though a war-weary Capitol Hill wants more.

Gates, who retires June 30, is hoping that his 12th and final trip to Afghanistan will help steer the Washington debate subtly away from the number of troops that will come home next month — a figure that is almost certain to disappoint the growing number of Washington critics of the war.

I’m a big fan of Doctrine Man! – and not just because he is a ‘doctrine’ guy (clearly some very very bad karma in a previous life!!) – his ‘life on the staff’ cartoons are great,and  his FB output is not only prolific, but also spurs robust debate. Some of the comments on the Gates’ article include:

 I don’t think we are going to get a choice here. Politically these wars have been milked to death, and I think regular old Americans are actually pushing this. A collective “sick and tired of war” let’s bring them home has settled in. I remain on the fence as to whether it is good or not, but I count myself in the “sick and tired of war”. You know some idiot will start spouting about win/loss war, but we all know it’s just ego. Military did their job, state department failed miserably.

With other examples of leaders making some very negative comments on their way out the door, this is one that can be seen as very consistent with the profile of the man (who, by the way, warned against Libyan intervention). Good stuff.

 However brilliant one might think Gates is, you never hear any of this drawdown talk discussed in the same context with objectives. Either we are saying objectives are unachievable and we drawdown anyway, or we are drawing down for the pure political gain the appearance gives. Either way, the American people need to hear specifically what we are trying to achieve, in clear, unambiguous terms.

Of course, that comes on the heels of being asked (by a planner) what the difference was between tasks and objectives. For the third or fourth time. If deep-seated rage is a symptom of PTSD, then DM probably needs to get checked out.

It would help me be a little more positive about staying if I knew in measurable terms (a) what the desired end-state is, (b) how much that’s likely to cost in death, injury, and treasure, (c) how long it’s likely to take, and (d) where the money is going to come from.

To those who say “this is war, we can’t tell you these things,” I say that we do these kinds of multi-variable plans all the time in the civilian economy; now go back and get us some answers.

Failing those sorts of answers, I’d rather see us stick to the drawdown plan we have — or accelerate it. I don’t want to see one more American service member or NGO person come home in a box or on a gurney than is absolutely necessary and the thing that haunts me most is the memory of those who died in my war while Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were arguing the merits of round table vs. square table in Paris.

Re tasks and objectives, whatever happen to the Princess Leia doctrine “When you broke in here, did you have a plan for getting out?”

The last comment is, of course, mine…I have been a staunch proponent of the Leia doctrine for years and wonder  if, with the fall of Saigon only two years previous to the release of Star Wars, George Lucas was actually slipping in some very insightful commentary on recent history…some ammunition for pub trivia: Saigon fell on April 30 1975, Star Wars was released on an unsuspecting world on May 25, 1977.  His 1973 American Graffitti has clear parallels today of a nation in war but possibly not at war in Vietnam, as perhaps it is today with Afghanistan…

In conducting my typically superficial research for this article (Google is our friend, as is Wikipedia) I was by this paragraph from the Wikipedia item on the Fall of Saigon…

Among Vietnamese refugees in the United States and in many other countries, the week of April 30 is referred to as Black April and is used as a time of commemoration of the fall of Saigon. The event is approached from different perspectives, with arguments that the date was a sign of American abandonment, or as a memorial of the war and mass exodus as a whole.

No one can argue that South Vietnam was abandoned in 1975 but it is unfair and inaccurate to label this as solely ‘American abandonment‘ . America was not the only nation involved in Vietnam, nor the only one that walked away…let’s not forget that the only nation that was there to the very end was America…everyone else had just quietly drifted away…With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the application of US air power (like anyone else was going to ante up) in 1975 would only have prolonged the pain of and for Vietnam…

Abandonment is also the word that springs to mind when discussing drawdowns in Afghanistan…the true failure in Afghanistan has not been one of tactics or capability but quire simply one of having no clear idea what it’s all about. If there is only one lesson we learn from a decade (come November this year) in that nation that NO ONE have ever managed to pacify over millenia it surely must be the Leia Doctrine…

Before you go in, have a plan for getting out.

This is such a fundamental of life, NOT just the military…as any teenage boy in his girlfriend’s room knows where he hears her father’s footsteps outside the door…how can it be that it has been purged from our doctrine and our thinking for so long? Of conflicts since the end of WW2, the 1982 Falklands War and DESERT SHIELD/ STORM in 1991 are the only two that I can remember  where the strategic objectives were clearly stated, adhered to and achieved…

And while contemporary planning doctrine may prattle on about metrics and measureables, it rarely if ever links these to decision points and from there to exit strategies. During one of my irregular warfare engagements in this trip, we used an analogy of the campaign plan as a freeway and each off-ramp along the journey being both a decision point and a potential exit…depending upon how well a driver understands where they are going and why, they will consider off-ramps along the way and opt to drive off or stay the course…

It also just struck me that the freeway analogy also works quite well as an analogy for unilateral, alliance and coalition warfare:

When you are the only driver on the freeway, it is quite easy to select your course, speed and direction.

When you are driving with habitual partners of which you normally only have a small number and who all generally sing of the same sheet of music, it’s much the same.

When you have a coalition, all driving with different national rules and customs, most if not all free to join and depart the coalition at will, and many for whom the use of indicators is totally alien, you have potential chaos, traffic jams and pile-ups..

That’s something I will explore further in another item…today’s takeaway is to promote and encourage adoption and application of the Leia Doctrine to hopefully avoid replays of this…

Never again?

Rapid Fire

Michael Yon still continues to drag the Bridgegate chain in releasing his Dispatch on the Tarnak Bridge attack and who was ultimately responsible for security on the bridge…on his Facebook page this morning, he said “…General Menard is definitely partially to blame. He’s got nowhere to hide. I’ll do this on my timeline, when the moment is right…”  This is the guy who had false accusations on the air in less than 24 hours after the attack… who then said that BG Hodges accepted full responsibility and that he would be apologising to GEN Menard (who I would suggest is not attempting to hide anywhere)…perhaps Mr Yon could enlighten us, and all those he accused over the Tarnak Bridge attack just when ‘the moment will be right‘ and how he goes about determining that? Surely the best time to apologise is as soon as he realised HIS error(s)…?

The story continues

Peter @ The Strategist has set up a new blog to host his short stories…the latest installment of Tales of the Collapse has been released this week…

The Falklands War 2010

No, not really…Cheeseburger Gothic has a thread on the likelihood and likely outcomes of another spat in the South Atlantic between Argentina and the UK…this follows items on The Strategist and Neptunus Lex on the same topic…it seems that the UK is getting a bit squirmy at the thought that the US might not be willing to commit unconditional support for any UK initiatives ‘down south’…funny, that…maybe that’s what happens when you bail and leave your friends holding the baby in places like…aaaahhhh, let’s see…Iraq? I said it there, I’ll say it here…

I posted this on a local blog a week or so ago that took a similar stance. I think that the US (regardless of what you think of the current tenant in the White House) has a right to expect some quid pro quo from its ‘friends and allies’ before supporting them in issues where they have decided to no longer be capable of supporting themselves. I’d dispute the 1 million protesters figure and also note that the UK in Iraq had a backwater AO (compared to the intensity of AOs further north), did nothing but snipe at US conduct of the war especially after the COIN phase kicked off, and had to be rescued by the US in Basra just before scuttling out of the theatre…

From http://kotare.typepad.com/thestrategist/2010/02/britain-us-argentina-falklands.html#comments

Fact time.

– The UK didn’t take a lot of casualties in Iraq…SFA considering they were right up there with the US promoting the cause. They had a backwater AO that the US had to bail they out of just before they ran away back to the UK.

– The UK contribution to Afghanistan is only notable in comparison to the rest of NATO, Australia and NZ. They have scrimped on every pound of support to that campaign (which once again, they talked up in 2001) at the expense of their own soldiers and their allies. They have had to be shamed into providing adequate support to their forces so that they are not a liability to themselves or other coalition partners.

– The UK and NATO were pretty lightweight and ineffective in Yugoslavia until the US bailed them out again in 1995.

– The US worked overtime under the table to ensure that the Brits would win the Falklands War in 82.

– The US had to stand ready to bail the UK and France out of Suez in ‘56 after they made such a botch up of putting Egypt in its place.

– The US had to bail the UK and France out of two world wars and provide the majority of the capability to NATO throughout the Cold War.

In the interests of fairness, I’ll also list those times that the UK has bailed the US out:

Well, that didn’t take long did it…?

So why would the US really give a fat rat’s about Britain’s problems with Argentina, especially since the UK still persists in touting itself as a ‘world’ power…?

If as one comment states on Lex’s item “…Britain is still a “world” power today, once you take American hyperpower out of the equation. She’s one of the very few countries in the world with both the economy and capability to provide “global intervention” military power today…” then Britain won’t really need help from anyone will she…? Certainly not small nations in the South Pacific that had their Argentinian ambassador on a plane home before the Brits could evict their own, that offered ships and troops to free UK forces from other commitments to be deployed ‘South’….

JMS on Superman

In one of my occasional random strolls through the blogosphere I came across this great article by J. Michael Straczynski (of Babylon 5 et al fame) on the values he (and we can) draws from Superman…I don’t have much access to modern comic books here…Archie and Jughead are the upper limit in rural bookshops around the Mountain…

Seven fun ways to exercise the mind

Random stroll #2 took me to The Village Wise Woman…keeping the grey matter ticking over is a vital part of both individual and organisational learning – if we allow ourselves to fall into a nice safe comfortable rut e.g. like preparing the defence of the Fulda Gap…then we start to become less innovative and effective and our ability and will to question the things about us atrophies…take a slow day and try one or two of the exercises suggested – even better see if you can make one a habit…

No service = better service

Curzon @ Coming Anarchy describes the Dubai postal service (or lack of) and describes how this actually creates a better postal service for people living and working in a major regional hub and international center of finance and commerce.

The Oscars

Great to see The Hurt Locker take out Best Picture – just as good that it wasn’t any of the blockbuster movies that were nominated…I’m listening to various commentaries as I type and it is a concern that many of them see to draw the dots between box office income and best picture…using this methodology, who we ever see any movies that challenge us, make us think or nudge us our of our comfort zones…in a few years who, less the scifi geek community, will really remember Avatar? In thirty years will children today describe a scene from Avatar with the same wonder that many today still describe that opening scene from Star Wars (which also did not win Best Picture in 1978), as the Star Destroyer fills the screen? What phrases from Avatar will be used three decades later by people with no interest at all in science fiction? Great bling ≠ great movie…

This year’s winners list