Monday, 31 August 2009

The Daily Teaser

Hmmm …

Oh, well, at least Yesterday is showing an episode of “Heroes of World War 2” that covers the Bletchley Park codebreakers …

At any rate, here’s today’s questions …

Q1) 31st August, 1997, saw the death of which member of which member of the Royal family?


Q2) More to the point, August 31st, 1889, saw the separation of which royal couple?


Q3) August 31st, 1994, saw who declare a ceasefire?


Q4) August 31st, 1888, saw police find the body of the first victim of Jack the Ripper; what was her name?


Q5) August 31st is the feast of which Irish born British saint?


Q6) Name either the Scottish, or English, island that Saint worked from.


Q7) And finally, today in 2006, saw Swedish police recovery which famous painting by Edvard Munch?


And here’s yesterdays questions and answers …

Q1) August 30th, 1797, saw the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; what was her best known novel?

A1) “Frankenstein, or, A Modern Prometheus.”


Q2) A couple of centuries later, August 30th saw the first flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery; in which year of the 1980s?

A2) 1984.


Q3) August 30th, 1967, saw Thurgood Marshall become the first African American to become what; a NASA astronaut, a Supreme Court Judge, or US President?

A3) A Supreme Court Judge.


Q4) August 30th, 1951, saw the birth of which Irish politician and singer?

A4) Dana.


Q5) And finally, August 30th, 2003, saw the death of which American ‘tough guy’?

A5) Charles Bronson.


Enjoy those! I’ll catch you later!
















Sunday, 30 August 2009

A Rose …

My word, the thing’s you start watching, when there’s nowt on TV …

Well, I got bored with stuff about Stalin …

Somewhere in my back catalogue of backed up bits & bobs is the very first episode of the new series of “Dr Who”.

Ageing fan that I am, I’ve got to confess, I fell in love.

Again …

Much as I had as a child …

Odd?

No odder than dressing up in a silly costume and singing strange songs of a weekend; much like many football fans …


I’ve got to admit, that comparison, between football and sci-fi fandom, is probably more valid than people realise.

Or that’s my thinking.

Now I’d grown up on the original series — the Tom Baker years, to be exact — and that was the exact point I’d made to my (then) boss, Pete, back in 2005.

He’d wanted some idea’s for getting people into the Hutton; and the fact that the BBC were making a very big deal about the opening episode.

So I’d suggested getting a bunch of friends and fellow fans in to watch it.

He was dubious.

But my point — apart from the début episode being shorter — was quite simple. How was it different from half a dozen or so Accrington Stanley fans turning up to watch a game.

He had to agree with me.

It’s just a shame I couldn’t manage to pull that off, but there we go.

But it kind of show’s you the level of expectation that was surrounding “Rose”.

Something I thought, on actually seeing it, was fully justified.

Rose” had a level of emotional maturity that I thought was very hard to find in most sci-fi serials of the 1970s and 80s. And definitely an improvement on the original.

One thing that struck me was the fact the Russell T Davis and the rest of the back-room gang had dug up both the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness.

And as a way of introducing the ongoing Time War thread that they’d written into the Doctor’s back story, had given the Consciousness a motivation for invading Earth; its homeworld had been destroyed in the War and it was blaming both the Doctor, and looking for a new place to live.

Something that the original series hadn’t done as well as it could.

But you don’t usually question these things, do you?

Not when you’re 7!

But that’s kind of my point, here, strange as it sounds.

The original — for me and many others — had magic to it.

Which “Rose”, for me, managed to re-capture.

I’ve been glued, ever since …

The Daily Teaser …

Amazing the stuff the Soviets could dig up from drunken German officers, isn’t it?

Or, at least, it is; according to the documentary currently showing on Yesterday …

Hmmm …

Quite!

Which is why I’m using Spaces to flick between an open Safari window, and Pac the Man X …

At any rate, here’s today’s questions …

Q1) August 30th, 1797, saw the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; what was her best known novel?


Q2) A couple of centuries later, August 30th saw the first flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery; in which year of the 1980s?


Q3) August 30th, 1967, saw Thurgood Marshall become the first African American to become what; a NASA astronaut, a Supreme Court Judge, or US President?


Q4) August 30th, 1951, saw the birth of which Irish politician and singer?


Q5) And finally, August 30th, 2003, saw the death of which American ‘tough guy’?


And here’s yesterday’s questions and answers; I just couldn’t resist those Thoth questions, I really couldn’t …

Q1) August 29th is the first day Of Thoth, the first day of the Egyptian calender; was Thoth the Egyptian god of Wisdom, Magic, or the Dead?

A1) Wisdom.


Q2) Following on from that, did he have the head of an Ibis, a lion, or a Jackal?

A2) An Ibis.


Q3) August 29th, 1533, saw Francisco Pizarro execute the last Incan Emperor; what was that Emperor’s name; Atahualpa or Montezuma?

A3) Atahualpa.


Q4) On the subject of empires, August 29th, 1833, saw the UK abolish what, throughout the British Empire?

A4) Slavery.


Q5) In a musical direction; the Beatles played their last concert for a paying audience; in which US city was this?

A5) San Francisco.


Q6) 29th August, 1928, saw the birth of actor, Charles Grey; what’s the name of the only musical movie he appeared in?

A6) “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. As distinct from “The Rocky Horror Show”; that was the stage version.


Q7) 29th August, 1958, saw the birth of which British comedian?

A7) Lenny Henry.


Q8) That comedian shares his birthday with which recently deceased American singer?

A8) Michæl Jackson.


Q9) Britain’s oldest twins turned 100, on 29th August; but in which year of the 1980s?

A9) 1986.


Q10) And finally, August 29th, saw the death of which star of “Paint Your Wagon”?

A10) Lee Marvin.


Enjoy those. I’ll catch you later!

Death, smiling at all of Us

You know, I think both me and Adrian will probably be asking a question of director, Ridley Scott.

What is it, with the white gee-gees?

No, I’m serious, here …

I’m mean, “Bladerunner” has a complicated dream sequence with a white unicorn, “Legend” has white unicorns at the centre of the tale, and “Hannibal” having a search sequence with Hannibal on a white horse … on a merry-go-round …

It wouldn’t surprise me if he tried working one into the “1984” ad …
At any rate, there are tons of white horses in the film Adrian and I watched, tonight, the 2000 film, “Gladiators”.

Which still looks as good as the first time I saw it; I know Adrian was saying the same thing.

The Ridley Scott directed “Gladiator” sees Russell Crowe, as Maximus, determined to avenge the murder of his wife and child by Emperor Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Which puts this as a good ol’ fashioned revenge drama.

And possibly one of Scott’s best works, although I personally prefer “Alien”.

But “Gladiator” is one of his more mature works, I know that. And it shows, I think, being a very tight hand on the pace, scripting and acting.

And editing.

I mean, it’s not that often one of the headline actors dies during filming, is it?

Hmmm …

What can one say, here, about the late Oliver Reed?

Possibly lots, although I don’t know if this is the place for that.

I do know that the mix of a riveting last performance from the late actor, the stand-up performances by the rest of the cast, plus the job and and half Ridley Scott and his production crew put in to salvage it, after Reed’s death, makes “Gladiator”, at ten years old, still a very good film to watch.

What did concern both of us, tonight, though was good old fashioned historical accuracy.

I’m not as bothered as Adrian, about this. I would have been more concerned if this had been the film of the book; then you’d be reading a list of complaints!

But it would be nice to know which bits were accurate, and which weren’t.

Actually, I will be fair, here, there was a rider at the end of the credits, to the effect that, whilst the story was fictional, the history was as accurate as they could get it for a movie.

I’m thinking, there, that you can’t say much fairer than that. And also that — as far as a historical film is concerned — we, as an audience, have to keep that thought very much in mind.

That — to quote the tagline from the Wes Craven original of “The Hills Have Eyes” — it’s only a movie.

Taking it as history, rather than entertainment, would be silly!

But it does leave thinking I could look up Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, on Wikipedia …


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Retro Violence …

Hmmm …

Last Tuesday wasn’t something I expected to see …

I got talking to one of the regulars, today’s, who’s a bit of a Hammers fan, before you ask, who’d not actually been at last Tuesday’s Carling Cup match — which saw at least ten arrests, and one man in hospital — but had seen and been shocked at the news reports

Something we both agreed was that it definitely a disgrace. And that no-one had seen for a good decade.

Now, I’m no football fan, but I can remember the 1970s.

Whew!

I can remember seeing the news reports of the violence, that occurred, without fail, every week; it’s something that gave — and still gives — English football a bad reputation.

To the best of my recall, I also think— in part — it’s why my step-father never took me to a West Ham match, back in the day.

Let’s face it, this sort of thing didn’t exactly make the game look family friendly …

The Daily Teaser …

You know, I’ve got to admit, the weather, last night, was bloody terrible!

It was, wasn’t it?

You can tell, can’t you?

But let’s move on, shall we?

Yes, let’s!

Here’s today’s questions …

Q1) August 29th is the first day Of Thoth, the first day of the Egyptian calender; was Thoth the Egyptian god of Wisdom, Magic, or the Dead?


Q2) Following on from that, did he have the head of an Ibis, a lion, or a Jackal?


Q3) August 29th, 1533, saw Francisco Pizarro execute the last Incan Emperor; what was that Emperor’s name; Atahualpa or Montezuma?


Q4) On the subject of empires, August 29th, 1833, saw the UK abolish what, throughout the British Empire?


Q5) In a musical direction; the Beatles played their last concert for a paying audience; in which US city was this?


Q6) 29th August, 1928, saw the birth of actor, Charles Grey; what’s the name of the only musical movie he appeared in?


Q7) 29th August, 1958, saw the birth of which British comedian?


Q8) That comedian shares his birthday with which recently deceased American singer?


Q9) Britain’s oldest twins turned 100, on 29th August; but in which year of the 1980s?


Q10) And finally, August 29th, saw the death of which star of “Paint Your Wagon”?


And here’s yesterday’s questions and answers …

Q1) August 28th, 1963, saw who tell the world that he “… had a dream”?

A1) Dr Martin Luther King.


Q2) A few years earlier, 28th August, 1789, William Hershel discovered a moon orbiting which planet?

A2) Saturn.


Q3) August 28th, 1879, saw Cetshwayo captured by the British Army; Cetshwayo was the last independent king — prior to post-apartheid South Africa — of which African nation?

A3) The Zulu nation.


Q4) August 28th, 2003, saw which politician questioned by the Hutton Enquiry?

A4) Tony Blair.


Q5) One year later, August 28th, 2004, saw who win Olympic gold, in the 1500 Metres?

A5) Dame Kelly Holmes.


Q6) And finally, today in 1994, saw Britain legalise what?

A6) Sunday trading.


Enjoy those. I’ll catch you later!