Archive for May 17, 2008

Dennis Potter, Born This Date

May 17, 2008

Dennis Christopher George Potter: 17 May 1935–7 June 1994

When Potter discussed his work at the National Film Theatre immediately after the first showing of Rain on the Roof, a member of the audience questioned him about the conclusion of the play:

QUESTIONER: I felt that the husband’s death came rather abruptly . . . lf I’d been the producer of that play . . . my inclination would have been to say to you, ‘This text is incomplete, there ought to be more work on it, I ought to know more about this character, the husband.’ What would have been your reaction as a writer if I’d presented it back to you and asked you to do more work on it?

POTTER: I think I would have told you to fuck off.

— Dennis Potter: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter; pg. 388

What’s that you say?

Who is Dennis Potter?

In the pantheon of immortal television dramatists, there are only three:

Rod Serling
Paddy Chayefksy
Dennis Potter

And of these three, Potter is the greatest. Serling and Chayefsky would have bowed down to his accomplishments.

No, don’t take my word for it.

Experience Dennis Potter for yourself through the incredible generosity of YouTube:

BBC Close Up – Dennis Potter 1
BBC Close Up – Dennis Potter 2
BBC Close Up – Dennis Potter 3
BBC Close Up – Dennis Potter 4

BBC Close Up, featuring the life/works of Dennis Potter

Dennis Potter Interviewed by Alan Yentob

Interviews of this standard are rare these days. Alan Yentob is a class act, allowing Potter to speak (which many didnt) and it makes for fantastic viewing.

Dennis Potter on the experience of watching television

Taken from BBC Four’s ‘Arena: Potter on TV,’ 2005.

Dennis Potter Points of View

An old episode of Points of View in which Potter’s recently broadcast The Singing Detective receives comments from viewers. I dont actually like the format of the program, and watching it, seeing how dated it is(was maybe?) does make me squirm in my seat a little. Anyway, enjoy.

And now, prepare to have your brain totally seared. This is the complete original UK broadcast of Dennis Potter’s legendary play, Brimstone and Treacle. You will have never seen anything like this in your entire life, nor will you ever see its like again (at least not on TV!).

Credits from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter One).
Which One? from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Two).
Mr Tom Bates from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Three).
Far Far Away from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Four).
Eyes Like… from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Five).
Old Black Magic from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Six).
Morning from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Seven).
Horn & Tail from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Eight).
Cinnamon And Spice from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Nine)
Prayers from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Ten).
Dinner from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Eleven).
England Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Twelve).
Accepting Evil from Brimstone and Treacle (Chapter Thirteen)

Dennis Potter wikipedia entry
Dennis Potter official website

I cheated. This is mostly a reprint of the post I did at the old blog.

What I want to add is:

If you want to see a real man, watch the interviews of Potter.

If you want to see a real writer, watch the interviews of Potter.

If you want guidance on how a life should be lived, watch the interviews of Potter.

If you need strength for the struggle, watch the interviews of Potter.

If you don’t watch at least one of these, don’t come back to this blog.

Oh, I’ll be able to tell, too!

I Accuse YahooMail Of Deliberate Delays

May 17, 2008

I think I know what’s going on with YahooMail.

These delays are deliberate.

They are making people wait so the ads have X-seconds of exposure.

Go ahead, Yahoo. Issue a formal statement to the contrary!

Where are all those so-called crusading bloggers to uncover this?

Because if Yahoo is doing this, you can damn well bet it will spread!

Is that the kind of Internet you want? Ad breaks, even worse than TV?

Previously here:

Is YahooMail EVER Going To Be Fixed?
YahooMail Is Still Screwed
YahooMail: Redefining Suck

The Great Internet Self-Delusion

May 17, 2008

Over at ReadWriteWeb is a story about a revolt over at digg (yet again!).

Anyone who’s clicked into my growing list of Bookmarks will see that digg is not listed among the aggregators I visit.

I’ve used reddit — with increasing irritation (hey, you eejits, your obsession with Ron Paul and “pot liberation” reveals your low IQ and utter naifdom) — and, randomly and seldomly, a few others.

The one thing I do not and never will use them for is to gauge the popularity of anything.

Nor would I ever try to game them as an ad tool (and to those who’ve gotten through on reddit with their ads, I have three words for you: die!die!die!).

And anyone who does either of those two should summarily be dismissed from any corporate or consultancy position they have as an “Internet” or “new media” or “social media” “expert.”

This is the Internet. Fraud and deception and hidden agendas and post-for-pay are endemic. Anyone who cannot see they are slogging through shit past their ankles on a daily basis is probably someone who needs some cognitive rehabilitation. It’s done not just by big name-brand sites, but cheesy little people with low-level blogs eager to get free stuff.

There are very, very few sites I trust (and even those, not totally!). I’ve written about this before. Since that time, it’s gotten even worse.

So this digg revolt? Please. Who cares if some guy with possibly the dumbest damned screen name I’ve ever seen had his feelings hurt? This is a story?

Near-total corruption is the story. Is anyone bothering to write about that?

A Mission From God. Which God?!

May 17, 2008

Bush: God told me to invade Iraq

President George Bush has claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq and attack Osama bin Laden’s stronghold of Afghanistan as part of a divine mission to bring peace to the Middle East, security for Israel, and a state for the Palestinians.

The President made the assertion during his first meeting with Palestinian leaders in June 2003, according to a BBC series which will be broadcast this month.

The revelation comes after Mr Bush launched an impassioned attack yesterday in Washington on Islamic militants, likening their ideology to that of Communism, and accusing them of seeking to “enslave whole nations” and set up a radical Islamic empire “that spans from Spain to Indonesia”. In the programme Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, which starts on Monday, the former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath says Mr Bush told him and Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister and now Palestinian President: “I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,’ and I did.”

And “now again”, Mr Bush is quoted as telling the two, “I feel God’s words coming to me: ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God, I’m gonna do it.”

Emphasis added by me.

We have someone leading this country who thinks he is fulfilling Biblical prophecy!

I think if he was asked to swear on the Bible if he said this and admitted that he did, there would be grounds for removal from office due to insanity.

What the hell is the Congress waiting for? A sign from God?!

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #104

May 17, 2008

BA forced to consider £900m fall in profit

The board of British Airways has been forced to assess the impact of a possible £900 million reduction in profits this year caused by the rising price of oil.

Martin Broughton, the chairman of BA, admitted yesterday that the board had debated what would happen if the airline was in a “break-even position” by the end of this financial year.

This is a remarkable scenario for the company to be considering having just revealed record operating profits of £875 million last year.

However, BA’s profits are expected to collapse in the coming months as the sustained high price of oil pushes up its costs.

In a conference call with investors, Mr Broughton said: “We had quite a debate at the board as to what happens if we get into a break-even position and the crude objective is not to get into a break-even situation but to stay profitable.”

This pessimistic outlook stunned investors who said it demonstrated how serious the coming downturn could be.

Emphasis added by me.

Iceland: Greed Capital Of The World?

May 17, 2008

Scandinavians unite to end Iceland’s financial chaos

The central banks of Norway, Sweden and Denmark have joined forces in a stunning move to rescue Iceland, offering a credit line of €1.5bn (£1.2bn) to beat back speculators and shore up the battered krona.

The solidarity gesture is a powerful signal to hedge funds betting on Iceland’s downfall that they are up against the international system. The swap accord doubles the foreign reserve cover of the Icelandic government at a stroke.

Iceland’s central bank said the deal was a “precautionary measure” to stabilise the currency, which has crashed 25pc this year.

Emphasis added by me.

I guess I really don’t understand the ways in which currencies are valued. Couldn’t we say the US Dollar has crashed against the Euro? The Dollar has gone down against the Euro more than 25 per cent!

Lars Christensen, an economist at Danske Bank, said the swap deal would make it harder for speculators to short the krona but would not stop Iceland plunging into a deep recession.

“Economically, this changes nothing. Iceland is one of the most indebted countries in the world,” he said.

Paul Rawkins, of Fitch Ratings, said the country’s external debt had reached $97bn, five times the size of the economy. ” The markets had begun to doubt whether the government had the resources to rescue the banks,” he said.

Iceland has evolved into a sovereign hedge fund.

With a home economy the size of Bristol, its banks have borrowed massively on the global capital markets to launch raids on companies across Europe.

Emphasis added by me.


Chris Whalen, head of Institutional Risk Analytics, said Iceland was the emblem of our times.

“The country is like a big pension fund that has taken a punt with leverage,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Iceland? Who knew?

Remember Newton? No, Not The PDA!

May 17, 2008

Newton the Household Robot (1989)

Oh. My. God.

Paleo-Future comes up with a winner here.

I never heard of this one.

You must go watch the video there.

More Made In China Horror?

May 17, 2008

This is an absolutely ghastly story of a woman who bought a pair of cheap flip-flops from Walmart to wear at the beach. The end result was chemical burns and weeks of agony.

Warning: The pictures are graphic, disgusting, and horrifying.

I wonder if these were made in China?

I have had my feet react from cheap shoes and sneakers I’ve purchased from Kmart. All of them made in China!

Smile U Dumbo

May 17, 2008

That’s the filename given to the JPEG below.

My most special agent in England, who previous detailed a personal security cam system, sent it. A loping brute, who clearly escaped the rigors of Natural Selection, is prowling about looking for what he can take for free.

The Social Table: The Coming Horror

May 17, 2008

Watching a video attached to this Gizmodo post, Full-Screen Multitouch Mac OS X Is Here (But Not from Apple), I nearly threw up in my mouth thinking of the implications.

Microsoft’s Surface was pretty cheesy, I thought. As well as dumb.

It took a simulation of OS X to open my mind to the full horror of what is coming. Inevitably coming.

And probably first to Starbucks.

I call it the Social Table.

Imagine (please brain, stifle my gag reflex) sitting down to an Intelligent Table that is hooked into the Internet. In fact, it’s just one big-ass computer.

But you can log into it.

Tech Fiends such as James Kendrick could leave his notebook at home. He could actually get some work done on a Starbucks Social Table. Or simply be entertained by it.

The one thing missing from that dumbass Microsoft Surface demo was the social implications of it.

You can create a personalized and customized UI that will allow you to follow the Vanity Stream — Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, ad nauseum.

And call up an on-table keyboard to reply.

Sign into Second Life and do whatever those nitwits do there. Check techmeme to see if your crap merited being scrawled there. Look at reddit to see if those eejits are still flogging Ron Raul.

There will also be instant Tic-Tac-Toe, instant Checkers, instant Chess — and, for you really sad bastards, instant Solitaire.

The variations are as infinite as they are nauseating.

Leave behind notes for people who will show up later. My god! I’ve just created TableMail!

Play games or chat with people in other frikkin Starbucks — something you will need because if you find this future appealing, you’re the kind of person without real social interaction, so the thought of playing with a stupid table probably makes you drool.

Really, I have to stop here. I’m getting sick.

Oh, and that screensnap above? It’s from a TV series you probably never heard of. Star Cops. Made in 1987.

That’s right. A TV writer thought of it before Microsoft.

Still think you’re so frikkin smart?

Microsoft Surface Parody