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Christmas Telly Highlights 2012

No, Virginia, The He Man and She-Ra  Christmas Special(1985) is not on this year

Hail Zeitgeisters,

Obviously today is a day for family etc. what would you be doing watching the telly, eh?  However if you do wish to cast your eye over what’s on the free-to-air digital, you’ll find slim pickings. We’ve had a quick look and chosen some highlights also some “highlights” This selection is based on the Perth guide which will be similar to the guide in many capital cities, but there may be some regional differences.


NATIVITY (2010)
9.16 AM-11.00 AM (ABC 1)

Mr Maddens, a primary school teacher, is charged with producing the school's nativity play and competing against the posh rival school for the honour of 'best show in town'.

Martin Freeman from THE OFFICE (UK) is the lead in what is a well-regarded family movie according to many on-line, although I thought this was awful when I saw it on Christmas Eve. Suss it out yourselves though when it is repeated today. For people who li…

Wake Me Up Before You Vovo

The Iced Vovo brand was registered in 1906. According to the Wikipedia stub, it’s “a wheat flour biscuit topped with a strip of pink fondant either side of a strip of raspberry jam and sprinkled with coconut. It is a product of the American-owned Australian-based biscuit company Arnott's.

When I was a kid, before your fancy Melting Moments and Triple Choc Chip cookies became de rigeur; before we developed the American habit of buying cookie dough; before you could purchase a dozen huge, soft cookies for a couple of bucks at Coles, we had a thing called the biscuit.

Fancy biscuits were in short supply. You could always find a Nice or a Granita or a Milk Arrowroot. These were okay. They were the solid mainstay of the bikkie tin; the Chips Rafferty, the EH Holden, the rotary Hills Hoist of Australian biscuitry. Their ready availability was the result of your canny mother's foresight. She would supply the average ones and only bring out the good ones when absolutely necessary.

Cr…

Let Us Tweet

Apparently Pope Benedict XVI has just got himself a Twitter account and he will begin tweeting on December 12th. Lapsed Twitterers are almost as numerous as lapsed Catholics, so the Pontiff will be on familiar ground. I've done the Twitter thing and I worry that within a week Pope Benedict will be reduced to commenting on the "awesome latte" he just had.

His Holiness will be known as @pontifex. If you're really interested in getting in on the social media wisdom of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, then his people have thoughtfully arranged a hashtag #askpontifex for your convenience.  If you do a Twitter search to see how this is working out (and I recommend you do) you'll see the types of questions are either from those angry at the Church and who see Twitter as a forum for confrontation or from ironists like @Judes_Dickey who asked: "Is Theology the study of Malcolm-Jamal Warner's work on The Cosby Show? #askpontifex."

 Why not ask Benedict XVI as ques…

Feel The Music

I was cruising the Internets this morning looking for a pair of portable headphones. And I discovered a couple of things. Apparently a common Google question is, "Can I use my headphones for a microphone?" Apparently you can. You can also use pliers for a hammer and you can employ Microsoft Surface as a cutting board if you wish, but would you? 

I then looked for "May I use my headphones for a microphone?" and found nothing. The discourtesy of this younger generation continues to disturb.

The second thing I discovered was even more ephemeral, but you're reading Mr Trivia's Tract, not Mr Crucial's Manifesto and this kind of nonsense is why we are here. I saw a pair of clip-on 'over-ear' headphones and wondered if they were any better than the last time I tried them about ten years ago.

There followed the fairly nonsensical 3 am thought - I wonder if I can find a picture of someone using a pair of clip on headphones and looking as though they're …

Palmed Off

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In the Man Booker prize winning LIFE OF PI (now made into a major motion picture by Ang Lee) there is a tiger in a lifeboat. The tiger is called Richard Parker. According to the Internets, in his book THE LIFE OF PI, author Yann Martel has the tiger misnamed Richard Parker as the result of a mix up. The hunter responsible for capturing the tiger is called Richard Parker. Sure, that may sound like sitcom nonsense to you and me, the sort of thing that might have happened on Gilligan’s Island, but it’s actually part of a Man Booker award-winning novel, dude, so it must be hell plausible and well written.
Anyway, I find the name of the tiger instantaneously annoying, Neither Richard nor Parker is a good tiger name and when said jointly, the irritation factor is extremely high. If the tiger is referred to as Richard Parker every time, then this conceit has the quality of a small child saying a phrase over and over, just for the sound of it, all meaning having been lost hours …

Bond Title Songs

I’ve just skimmed through the Bond movies in preparation for watching Bond 23 aka SKYFALL and in my humble, grumpy old man opinion, the title songs haven’t been much chop for a long time. I’m not referring to Monty Norman’s famous theme, nor am I talking about the movie soundtrack music created by the mighty John Barry or lately David Arnold.

I’m focussing on the new song that accompanies those famous title sequences that were substantially the creation of designer Maurice Binder until 1989’s LICENCE TO KILL. Despite the death of Binder, the Bond franchise continues to reference his pioneering work in the field of movie titles featuring naked women in silhouette, wielding guns.

I believe there hasn’t been a half-way decent title song since the 1980s, I find the recent attempts rather forgettable.  Jack White alleges he wrote a title song for QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008) and performed it with Alicia Keys, but even as it plays, it appears to Erase Itself From My Memory. I’ve heard the SK…

The Spice Must Flow

The other night I Facebooked and Tweeted: If you're channel switching on the free to air my Perthian FBB's, David Lynch's DUNE (1984) is on 9. "Muad'Dib!” Among the replies the following morning were some quotes:

“For he IS the Kwisatz Haderach!”
“The spice must flow.”
“His name is a killing word.”
“Walk widdout riddum, It won't attract the worm.”
“I see the truth of it...”


Also

“For once I regret my lack of an actual TV”
“Soooo much unnecessary voice over”


If you saw DUNE at the right time, somewhere around its release, or perhaps at the right time in your development as a fangirl, geekboy whatever, there is some chance you love this movie. Obviously, my filmhead friends and I have a great affection for it, but in many ways, it’s not an easy movie to love.

It’s probably best enjoyed by people who have read the Frank Herbert novel on which it is based. If you don’t know the book before you see the movie and if the movie itself doesn’t turn you off with its weird pa…

Not Canon? Son of A Gun!

So my fellow geeks, is there any way we can consider Joe Pesci's turn on the Snickers' telly ad as canonical to the LETHAL WEAPON franchise, or the Angry Man in Scorsese Films Like RAGING BULL and CASINO franchise? Probably not.

The idea that there is an established body of works that shape a fictional character and others that do not, has spread like Vegemite thanks to Our Beloved Internet. Her, nerds and geeks of every stripe will argue, for example, which movies or TV series about the Teenage Mutant Turtles are canon and which are not. In some versions of the story, Turtles mentor, Splinter is the mutated form of a man called Hamato Yoshi and in other versions he is the mutation of a rat owned by Yoshi.

I am given to understand that Peter Cushing's role in the 1965 movie DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS is not canon, but is considered part of some kind of extended Doctor Who Universe. Science Fiction franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek, often have meandering strands of s…

Moving Story

Zeitgeisters,

You may recall the saga of the Stationary Travelator Parts One and Two. You may recall that back in January the Garden City folk were predicting a 26 week turnaround to replace the busted travelator that comes up in the main Food Court.

I thought they were "under-promising and over-delivering" as the old maxim goes, but no, recently they unveiled their schmick, new moving stairway pretty much half a year after it was munted.

Attempting to represent its Metropolis-like wonder with a still photograph is a fool's errand, but trust me when I say that travelling up or down this modern wonder is an unforgettable experience. It's how I imagine shopping in Coruscant would feel.

Small Truths

I've been rewatching the first series of Game Of Thrones. There's an extended scene in episode seven "You Win Or You Die" that properly introduces the character of Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance).


I don't know the books and I see online that there is much to be made about the fact that Tywin is skinning a stag and that it is the sigil for House Baratheon, so there's plenty o' symbolism for those who want it, but I thought it was excellent for other reasons.


Doubtless my vegetarian and vegan friends will find the whole thing a turn off, doubtless anyone who has ever skinned a game animal would say Charles Dance was make a right hash of things, but showing Tywin doing something so ordinary with a connection to death was solid television story-telling.  


We often see hunting in fantasy/medieval drama but rarely do we see the mundane and bloody result. To see Tywin just going at his task while lecturing his son Jaime was more or less the equivalent of showing &#…

You Can't Understand 27 Dresses From Just Two Scenes

It's Friday, my 7.30am to 7.30 pm work day. I get home, eat dinner and fall asleep on the sofa. I wake up hours later and 27 DRESSES is on the telly. I've never seen 27 DRESSES. And it turns out that Katherine Heigel's character has somehow ruined the wedding of Malin Akerman's character.
Judy Greer is there also and although this usually means her character was to blame somehow, it seems no, this time it's Katherine Heigel. This accords to my own movie tastes because Katherine Heigel is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a movie. I never believe in any of her characters for even a nano-second. I am sure I am projecting here, but all Heigel characters seem to be a thin veneer over the real Heigel who is beaming out this message, "Get a load of me in that last scene? Cool, huh? I grabbed it and nailed it, baby. " I am willing to concede that her inner monologue probably isn't quite so influenced by Sinatra's Rat Pack as I'm making it…

All Over The Map

I was sussing out the website of a certain national rubbish removal company–it looks like we'll have to move out of our current domicile very soon–and I noted they were making some impressive claims about the scope of their business in little old Perth. 

As you can see from their ad below they have Perth covered. They're confident, maybe even a little cocky. The attitude is very much step aside, we got this.


If you're not from our minitropolis you may need some help in understanding just how covered from Mount Lawleyto Inglewood really means. I have provided a helpful map below to give you some idea of the awesome distances involved. 

The ad then lists the sort of jobs they do and the far flung places to which they travel. If you look at my second map the area in the top half that resembles a lap-banded haggis, represents their zone of operations.

No doubt they have plans to extend their business as far as Willetton, Hamersley and Fremantle, but until then, those million or so…

Phoning It In

Unlike Barack Obama who is happy for the Obama for America folk to run his Pinterest, mine is sadly and authentically my own. I usually spend the wee small hours pinning images in a bid to force sleep to steal over me. The picture above is of a raven who was kicking me out of his favourite spot at the Lakeside Joondalup car park.  Click the link and suss out the Phone Slush Pinterest Board that contains other such gems.

"I" Who Have Nothing

Dear Words With Friends,


It is my belief you have something against “I”.  Three times I attempted to play this letter in the course of two different games. Each time your Words With Friends “computer” (and I use the term with contempt and derision) decided to rule against the words I had chosen. The examples are below.



IGORED  - the past tense of the verb to “Igor” - as in Igor, the munted assistant from Universal Studios' 1930s FRANKENSTEIN movie franchise. To Igor is to assist someone and endure his or her withering scorn and derision, to become their scapegoat. Thus Anne Hathaway’s character igors for Meryl Streep’s character in 2006 movie THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.


ZIGIROS - A well-regarded Icelandic party band that have never won a Eurovision Song Contest





ITA   - in Australia, Ita Buttrose is the name of one of our secular saints. She was the founding editor of Cleo, the editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly and she more or less invented Australian feminism. She was the subject of …

A Little Help?

Folks, I need to harness your considerable expertise with the Internets. A bunch of skeezy spammers have found a way to put their links to their rubbishy "adwords" business into posts on this here blog (see post below - but obviously don't click on their links).

I have tried a number of things to deal with this, but so far to no avail. I have changed my Google Password thrice, gone to to two-step verification, I have reported both the URLs in the post itself.

I don't particularly want to delete this blog, because I would feel that way the terrorists win. I want to enjoy the taste of Freedom Fries, not the bitter tang of Spam. What can I do to kick out these unwanted contributors to this blog and return to the regular schedule of lightweight posts about popular culture and zany Western Australian licence plates?

Shouldn't he get this as a tatt?

Is that "Brush Script"

Apparently, yes. Pish tish to those nay sayers,  including myself, who say nay to using Brush Script  as a font style on a public building! The Reynolds Road Doctors Collectivo (or whatever they call themselves) seem more than happy to brand themselves thusly. More power to their elbow we say.

Sleep Debt Cinema (3rd April 2012)

If you weren’t awake between 1.30-3.30 am in Australie this morning, you may have missed the movie C.H.O.M.P.S  on 7TWO which was more or less about a young man (Wesley Eure) who made a robot dog that could see through walls and sense when crime was about to occur; so the mutt had Minority Report moves. As nearly as I could tell the young fella did all this to impress Valerie Bertinelli from ONE DAY AT A TIME, HOT IN CLEVELAND and the Cindy Crawford “Meaningful Beauty” infomercial (also a fave of insomniacs everywhere).
Everything about this movie was cartoonishly poor and it turned out that animation legend Joseph Barbera helped to write the screenplay. There was a cast of veterans including Jim Backus, Red Buttons and Conrad Bain. Apart from this, the only other thing going for it was the cross-sectional robot dog models (as seen in top photo). In addition to robo-Benji there was also a couple of Doberman cross-sections that were probably the work of some obsessive in the Art Depar…

Refrigerated aisle, Coles. Ultra Nails $2 a Pop.

Because Coles sells everything. I am so glad that Woolies and Coles dominate grocery retail in Australia. I kind of wish they would merge into one mega-entity called "Coleworths" because sometimes I have to choose between the two stores. I have to stop and think - Coles or Woolies? That decision can take up to 30 seconds out of my packed daily schedule.


Basically, I really don't like making a decision unless it's for some kind of organised 'phone poll on television's TODAY TONIGHT programme.

The Millennium Mazda

Saw this in the car park at work. If you’re going to protect the interior of your car from the West Australian sun, why not do it in Pop Cultural style? To have Chewie, Han, Luke and Obi Wan sitting in your Mazda is why we fought and won the last war. Which one? Any of them, apart from the War on Drugs. It’s pretty obvious that Drugs are winning that one. Their supply lines need to be cut. Or maybe we should just wait for the Russian Winter. The thing is this; Freedom and Democracy are about the right to buy and sell frivolous things and not just about the serious stuff that Maslow buried at the base of his pyramid. Sure, the Third World probably doesn’t get why we in the First World want a USB stick shaped like a piece of sushi, but we do and we’re prepared to pay for it on E-bay. 


SEAWAY:Canada (1965-66)

This is what we insomniacs watch at one o'clock Monday mornings in Australia. Canadian Telly from the 1960s. SEAWAY is about the policing of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Imagine our own Water Rats (1996-2001) but with Montreal instead of Sydney, stark grey skies instead of blazing sunlight and a cool jazz score rather than pulsing generic rock. Strictly for sleepless fans of retro telly. (3/5) 

Bet this driver thinks he's an Aussie Legend

Intelligent Designs

For as long as I have lived in this town that we call Perth and for as long as I have been intertwined with this flesh-eating virus we call the Internet, people–and I use the term loosely, for some are very likely to be revealed as Cylons at a later date–have been yammering on about how tough it is to design a logo for a business. Usually their own business.

But you know people, they like to have a drama to star in. Whenever I've heard anyone going on about marketing their business and doing a corporate redesign, I've thought something along the lines of "Why don't you give it a rest, you absolute waste of space, if you say the word 'brand' one more time I'll push you in front of a tram." Sure it's a little dark, as inner monologues go, but as I don't live in a tram city like Melbourne, Zagreb or Toronto, the threat of death-by-streetcar seems minimal.

Recently, I thought it was time that I delve into the world of logo design to see how hard i…

Stationary Travelator Part 2

You'll recall that three weeks ago we brought you the tale of the Stationary Travelator at Garden City, Booragoon.  And sure, the moving tale of a non-moving incline is not everyone's idea of a story, but the actual importance of the items reported in this 'blog is more or less given away by the title Mr Trivia's Tract. No one is going to accuse us of false advertising.

I'm sure you can read the above sign, but for those of you who already have "tl:dr" flashed up in your cartoon eyeballs, here's the gist. It will take 26 weeks to manufacture a new travelator.  Half a year, people. You and your Significant Other can get to work on a conceiving a child this afternoon and be well into the second trimester before Garden City finishes its new people mover. You'll be deciding whether the names Jaydren, Baylinn and Robespierre are too posh or bogan for the new baby, before a single shopper in Melville district is moving up or down on those steely, glacia…

Bed Linen Faux Pas

I was talking with friends while purchasing bed linen. Inexpensive linen. Kmart’s Homebrand. My attention wasn’t fully on the task at hand. I thought I had bought a sober black and grey set. Many of you are shuddering now, but I have no problem with the idea of living in a house of black, white and stainless steel surfaces. Reflective, metallic surfaces, glass and recessed–lights – the future as seen from 1979 is what I'm shooting for. And as long as I had a chromed robot called Vacxy to clean those surfaces, I would be as happy as Larry. Larry Fortensky.
It wasn’t until I prewashed the linen that I realised the 30% drop off in my attention had led me to choose a rather more ‘shiny’ bed set than I had anticipated. Shiny metal and glass–good. Shiny quilt cover–bad.
As you can see in the photograph, there’s a circular “motif” on the pillow cover. The fake satin look of the quilt cover is unnecessarily garish. It might be okay for costuming an Earth, Wind and Fire tribute band, but re…

Brief Signage Rant

Thankfully they haven't offended me by suggesting that this checkout was somehow barred to me.  My purchase experience hasn't been negativized with the harsh and ugly "Checkout Closed" signs they used back in the dark ages. The Coles brand is a safe space where a sign informs me that should I allow for the possibility, there are others, somewhere, who are ready to take care of my shopping needs.
I like this about as much as a letter from my bank that tells me how much better off I will be when they change a system that was working fine for me, into something that will work better for them, usually at my expense. 
Doublespeak is Dooubleplusgood!

Generic Workplace Tips Article

Occasionally I read articles that are collections of workplace tips. Perhaps 5 percent of these articles offer useful material, the remainder are poorly researched, use questionable photgraphic material and are filled with bleedin’ obvious advice that can only be useful to those who have never set foot in a workplace. (A 2005 MIT study reveals that of this group 75% will become undergraduate filmmakers of whom 95% will go on to make a short film about the soul-destroying nature of the workplace.)
With this in mind, I determined it was time for me to write my own poorly researched, generic workplace tips. So here goes.


5 Generic Workplace Tips

1. Dress Four Success


A 2007 study commissioned by the Australasian Institute of Fashion Design reveals that four is the correct number of items of apparel one should wear in an office workplace. This quartet should include some form of upper body covering, lower body covering and one or two items of underwear. 
Obviously there is some give and take …

The Wheels of Perth City

I am confident that the good folk over at The Worst of Perth will have looked into this, but I couldn't find a mention of this over there. Not that I searched for more than a couple of minutes; their site is dense with Perthcentric gold. Have a look some time.

Anyhow, when I was a kid, Transperth–then the Metropolitan Transport Trust–ran a campaign encouraging Perthites to take the bus. There was a jaunty tune which sadly I cannot reproduce here and a sprightly lyric which went something like this:

We are the wheels of Perth City
Leave the driving to us
We are the Wheels of Perth
(Take it easy)
Come on and take the bus!

There was even a mascot for all of this, an actual MTT bus driver nicknamed "Jimmy". This is something like thirty years ago, but my memory has him as John Denver looking fellow. And if you don't know who the late John Denver was - ask your grandfather.

I believe Jimmy's brief was to be friendly; being a child at this time, I found the notion of a fri…

Stationary Travelator Part 1

Garden City's travelator has been broken for weeks. They've even had a nice sign made. The Travelator is on an incline, so it's like a lazy escalator. And of course a stationary travelator is a shiny metallic grooved ramp.

Unsung Hughes

Recently, a Facebook friend described herself as an 80s kid. This made my brain blink for a moment because I have always thought of myself as such. However, in my case it means I was teenager during the 1980s, rather than being born during this turbulently day-glo era. So, I'm not going to get into an ownership tussle. If someone wants to claim a decade in which they were a embryo, so be it. Based on that reasoning, I claim Woodstock and the Moon Landing.

But back to the 1980s. No one better defined the decade for teenagers (the other 80s kids) than American filmmaker the late John Hughes. He of SIXTEEN CANDLES (1984), THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF (1986) and PRETTY IN PINK (1986). He also made more adult oriented fare such as TRAINS PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES (1987) however somewhere along the line he became the go-to guy for family films like HOME ALONE (1990) and DENNIS THE MENACE (1993). He stopped directing after CURLY SUE in 1991, but wrote numerous scre…

Check it! I'm losing at Settlers of Catan