Archive for May 15, 2008

Rare 1960s TV: Space Patrol

May 15, 2008

Space Patrol (1962), Ep 09 (1/3): Husky becomes Invisible

Space Patrol was a science fiction television series featuring marionettes that was produced in the United Kingdom in 1962. It was written and produced by Roberta Leigh in association with the Associated British Corporation. For many years it was believed that all but a handful of episodes had been destroyed, until a complete cache of 16mm prints was discovered in the loft at Roberta Leigh’s house. Despite their scratched and grainy condition, they were of sufficient historic interest to warrant a DVD release. Selected episodes were issued on DVD in 2001, and the complete series was released in 2003 on Region 0 discs.

The show featured the vocal talents of Dick Vosburgh, Ronnie Stevens, Libby Morris, Murray Kash and Ysanne Churchman, and comprised 39 half-hour episodes. This series is also known by its U.S. title Planet Patrol to avoid confusion with a U.S. series of the same name.

It concerned an interplanetary police force in the year 2100, and focused on the crew of Galasphere 347 under the command of heroic Captain Larry Dart. The crew includes elfin Slim from Venus, sausage-mad Husky, from Mars and the Martian parrot Gabbler (a Gabblerdictum). Providing technical support was Irish genius Professor Heggarty. Keeping them all on a tight rein are Colonel Raeburn and his super-efficient Venusian secretary Marla.

Leigh had previously worked with Gerry Anderson on children’s puppet series, and there are some obvious similarities between Space Patrol and Anderson’s Fireball XL5, although Space Patrol was made on a lower budget.

Although compared (and often confused) with the Gerry Anderson productions, Space Patrol stands out on its own. This is mainly due to the boldness of a few creative choices. The only music involved is extremely vanguard. Final credits always showed panoramic views of a gigantic city of the future, and never featured any music; only the throb of some industrial machinery, sounding like a gigantic pump or a steam engine, beat in rhythm. The male characters from planet Venus (Slim for example) presented obvious androgyne features (in contrast to the rustic, virile Martians). Thus the style of the entire series created an extremely eerie atmosphere, that remains rarely matched even by the best adult science-fiction on screen.

In this episode, when Dart is sent to Mars to find the eggs of the Aba bird to help find a cure for a condition known as the “floats”, he calls on Professor Zeller who has discovered that his new star-measuring apparatus can make objects disappear.

When I saw this series as a child, I thought it was from Gerry Anderson — but I couldn’t understand why it was so bad. The puppets were crude and ugly, there was no dramatic music, and the entire styling was just cheap and unimaginative. And the robots — not shown in this episode — scared the bloody hell out of me. (In one episode, they revolt! It gave me nightmares for years!)

Seeing it decades later (which is a shock as for years everyone believed all the episodes had been lost!), I’m surprised at how adult it was compared to, say, Fireball XL5. It tried to adhere to actual science, the music was a harbinger of decades-away techno- ambient- industrial, and check out the pre-Star Trek pointed ears and the pre-punk spiked hair! There’s also some very sly humor in the series — and in this episode, so listen carefully!

This was apparently released in the U.S. at one time on VHS tapes. It’s never been available here on DVD.

Apparently Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski was a big fan of this show during his childhood. He provided a blurb for the video cover, which also survived onto the British DVD set. See the text I’ve highlighted in red below:

Click to continue watching Space Patrol

The iPod Air Will Be Better …

May 15, 2008

… that’s my mantra, as I am assaulted — assaulted, I say! — by YouTube videos of the HTC Advantage showing stuff like this:

HTC Advantage – VGA Output in action

Judie Lipsett hypnotized by the HTC Advantage! She can’t be saved!!!

MSI Wind: Mad Traffic Here Again

May 15, 2008

Five of the top ten posts here today deal with the MSI Wind.

Six, when I count the updated subnotebook dimensions post — into which I added the MSI Wind yesterday.

Nine of the ten posts are about subnotebooks (yes, even the eInk post).

The All-Time Top Post here is Everex Cloudbook: The Asus EeePC Killer?

The Second All-Time Top Post here is now MSI Wind: Photos And Video

Everyone is eager to fondle the totables!

I think this proves there is a huge appetite for an inexpensive yet capable device that meets each person’s particular needs.

For some people, it’ll be the hp Mini. For others, the MSI Wind. While others who already have the Asus 700 series might continue to be content with that for a while yet.

While I thought the hp Mini Note would trump the Asus EeePC, in my own case that proved to be false. My fondle of the Mini was not drooltastic.

The Asus EeePC 700 held its own against the Mini on several points.

Now I need to get my fingertips on an MSI Wind to see if it can trump the Asus.

As usual, should Apple jump in with an iPod Air next month, that will trump everything for me and be the device I get.

What’s Happening To My Links?

May 15, 2008

What the hell is going on here?

The hyperlink should be:


Instead I’m finding it to be:


How are all those other dates getting in there?

They are screwing up the Previously here: in the Blogger backup blog!

Any HTML experts out there who can explain?

Disintegrating England: Soldiers Go Hungry!

May 15, 2008

Exclusive report: Soldiers need loans to eat, report reveals

A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Some of Britain’s most senior military figures reacted angrily yesterday to the revelations in the report, criticising the Government’s treatment of its fighting forces.

The disturbing findings outlined in the briefing team report written for Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, include an admission that many junior officers are being forced to leave the Army because they simply cannot afford to stay on.

Get this:

The analysis, described by General Dannatt as “a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the views and concerns of the Army at large”, states: “More and more single-income soldiers in the UK are now close to the UK government definition of poverty.” It reveals that “a number of soldiers were not eating properly because they had run out of money by the end of the month”. Commanders are attempting to tackle the problem through “Hungry Soldier” schemes, under which destitute soldiers are given loans to enable them to eat.

The scheme symbolises a change from the tradition of soldiers getting three square meals a day for free. Now hard-up soldiers have to fill out a form which entitles them to a voucher. The cost is deducted from their future wages, adding to the problems of soldiers on low pay.

The controversial Pay as You Dine (PAYD) regime, which requires soldiers not on active duty to pay for their meals, has seen commanding officers inundated with complaints from soldiers unhappy at the quality of food that they get and the amount of paperwork involved.

Emphasis added by me.

When money is the measure of everything, this is what happens.

And this is what happens back:

Douglas Young of the British Armed Forces Federation said: “People are leaving the armed forces for financial reasons. There’s no question about that.”

Liberal Democrat defence spokesman Nick Harvey said, “Junior ranks in the armed forces have terrible salaries when you compare them to people starting out in the police service or fire service. How on earth are you supposed to recruit and retain people unless you offer a decent salary?”

Emphasis added by me.

What, you expect commitment or loyalty or patriotism or duty to be a part of the equation? The ground was already set: all that matters is money money money!

He fed his soldiers well!

Previously here:

England Continues To Fall
Bloody England
England: You Can Die For Nothing There
England Continues To Sink
Degenerate England
Britain: The Lion Stirs?
England Slides Into National Insanity
England Goes Totally Off Its Nut
England: The Coming Explosion
Britain’s Last Man
Britain Commits Suicide — Again!
Dark Future
Hey! I’m Not Homeless! I’m A Geek!

Tell Me Again, Eejit, How Drugs Only Hurt Users?

May 15, 2008

‘Father of 36’ jailed for benefit fraud

A married father-of-two was jailed for 13 months today after fraudulently claiming almost £80,000 in benefits for 36 children.

Irvin Fraser, 30, from Aberdeen, admitted claiming child tax credits over three years, costing the public purse £79,718.

The recovering heroin addict began the scheme to feed his habit, Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard.

Emphasis added by me.

At the time he was using £150-£200 worth of heroin daily, he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Oh, the eejit will argue, if the heroin was legal, it’d be cheaper.

Hey, a cup of coffee is cheap, yet there are people who can’t afford that. I was just begged for change for a cup at 6AM this morning!

You think someone in the grip of a drug is just going to peacefully sit around and beg for spare change?

“As a result of the substantial media coverage Mr Fraser has had to deal with a substantial amount of ill feeling, particularly within his own area.

“It’s not surprising they are less than happy regarding his conduct … made clear to him on numerous occasions when he’s felt safe to leave his home as it were.”

Awwww, the poor baby!

The Ultimate Unanswerable Question

May 15, 2008

My mother hated all women

My grandmother told me that “education is never too heavy to carry around” and my mother’s hated younger sister, Edith Newman, who had distinguished herself in the Second World War as the country’s first woman munitions officer, encouraged me to go to university. The women my mother denigrated were the ones urging me towards independence. Now I see that, unlike her, they were my positive models.

To the warped ones out there who have deformed the minds of the children they should have never had, all their children have the one question that can never be answered: Why did you do that to me?

Who’s The Pig? YOU!

May 15, 2008

I swiped this photo from the Times of London‘s article: Manchester riot forces big screen U-turn for Champions League

If these sports fans are the same psychodemographic as Americans fans (and they probably are), they believe themselves to be a superior breed, unyieldingly patriotic, and contemptuous of people they don’t understand.

So they probably go about their lives asking, Why has everything turned to such shit?

Look at the picture, you fuckhead: It’s because of you!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #101

May 15, 2008

OECD warning as stagflation goes global

Price pressures across the emerging world are reaching levels that may soon threaten stability unless governments jam on the brakes. Inflation rates have reached: Venezuela (22pc), Vietnam (21pc), Latvia (18pc), Qatar (17pc), Pakistan (17pc), Egypt (16pc) Bulgaria (15pc), The Emirates (11pc), Estonia (11pc), Turkey (9.7), Indonesia (9pc) Saudi Arabia (9.6pc), Argentina (8.9pc), Romania (8.6pc), China (8.5pc), Philippines (8.3pc), India (7.6pc).

Many of these countries are now suffering the worst prices spiral in thirty years, setting off widespread riots. India’s government has suspended futures for a clutch of key commodities as states resort to draconian measures.

Emphasis added by me.


While the soaring cost of food and energy is the key driver for the poorest countries, others are ensnared by their own currency pegs. Most Gulf states are linked to the dollar, forcing them to shadow the US Federal Reserve’s super-loose interest rate policy, with inevitable over-heating. China operates a semi-fixed rate, or ‘dirty float’.

Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, said this week that the pegs had become a major headache. “The world environment has become very inflationary. Many emerging economies are partially ‘importing’ US monetary policy, although their position in the economic cycle is fundamentally different,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Governments are going to start to wake up to that fact. Alternatives will be sought. The future could find America financially alone, like a plague carrier in an isolation ward.

Not that the current configuration of the Euro is salvation:

The ECB’s task is doubly complicated by the yawning gulf between the Germanic and Latin blocs of the eurozone. Industrial output fell in Italy, France, and Spain in March. April manufacturing orders fell at the fastest rate since the dotcom bust in Italy and Spain. “We’re suffering a clear and profound slowdown in the Spanish economy”, said Pedro Solbes, the country’s finance minister.

The issue of Spain’s crumbling property market intruded on the bank’s policy agenda last week, pitting the South against the hawkish Bundesbank chief Axel Weber.

It is understood that the meeting broke down into a fierce exchange of national views, ignoring the EU treaty requirement that the ECB focus on the eurozone as a whole. EU officials have begun to ask whether Mr Weber is committed to monetary union. A senior German advisor told a closed group of investors in London last week that “it wouldn’t matter in the least if Spain left the euro”.

David Bloom, currency chief at HSBC, said the single currency was likely to fall from near record highs as investors woke up to the realities in the South.

“The euro has been trading on the German export story. The market has conveniently ignored the collapse in Spain, and the near recession in Italy,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Could some countries be evicted from the eurozone? If the weakest members were excised, wouldn’t that drive the Euro into even higher valuations against the U.S. dollar?

Quote: Hordac The Refuser

May 15, 2008

I see a future ruled only by those in leather, with fast cars and ass-less chaps and guns and mutant powers.

This in response to an Ambrose Evans-Pritchard column, EU to launch assault on bankers’ bonuses

A confidential document prepared for the gathering in Brussels finds the “short-term” pay structure of modern capitalism has become deformed, causing firms to take on “excessive risk” without regard to the interests of stakeholders or society.


EU governments are paying close attention to a law going to the Dutch parliament this month. It imposes a 30pc supertax on pay packages above €500,000 (£398,000) and limits bonuses and stock options to 100pc of pay – far below the windfalls made by UK-based traders and bankers at the height of the credit bubble.

I don’t think Ambrose favors it.

And I do think Hordac is correct.