The Final Superhero Movie

I have just watched the final movie in the Captain Lichtenstein series and feel satisfied that the entire thrilling story has finally been told. It is based on a comic book drawn from the annual reports of the Swiss Bureau Of Economic Planning and has become somewhat of a cult classic. It is one of the few superhero movies that features double-entry book-keeping.

I was a little worried when they discovered the June 1978 journal with the missing receipts but this was explained satisfactorily when the alien space shop landed amid the gasoline explosions. The audience in the cinema with me – a firm of chartered accountants – heaved a sigh of relief. You can tell a good film maker – they engage the soul of the viewer.

Hard to say what the studio can do to top this one. I believe they are working on a mini-series that involves the competition between two dynasties of industrial chemists. They sneaked a trailer into the last credits of Captain Lichtenstein showing lab samples of paint drying. I think it’s a hint.

 

 

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Confusion Is Optional – Apply For Our Brochure

We are contemplating digging a missile silo into our front lawn and installing an old Minuteman I we got off eBay. I initially wanted an Atlas D but the wife said she isn’t going to get up at night to pump in the liquid oxygen because it would disturb the cat. I am going to have to have a solid rocket and be satisfied with that. I agreed if I can have a concrete door that slides aside on rollers.

The problem with this is when you go to the BGC or Midland Bricks display at the Homecrafts exhibition they have any number of concrete options to choose from. And they also put them on their website. Unfortunately the numbers on the website don’t match the samples at the exhibition. You can’t really be sure if the colour you choose is the one that will be delivered.

It didn’t use to be this tough. In Australia there was a lot of concrete used for building  – sometimes delivered by trucks or sometimes mixed on-site by Italian grano workers. You pretty well got one standard product – grey – and you could paint over it later if you wanted to be flash. Now there’s integrated colours plus choices in the sort of rocks in the cement. You can have it all exposed and polished it you wish, but that costs more. I’d be satisfied with a simple 3 metre-thick blast door in plain grey but the wife is fussy. She’s looking at colour cards and trying to match the paint on the missile fuselage. I’m smart enough to shut up but it is all going to take forever…

I feel like just parking a mobile SS-4 trailer in the drive and making do with that.

 

I Rather Like Mr. Trump

And so should you. Here’s some good reasons why:

a. He is loud and brash and sometimes crass.

This may not seem a good thing to start with but consider how much better it is that way when you are in a group of Trump-haters. You can be harshly judgemental and in line with your crowd at the same time. You try doing that to one of your university classmates or drinking buddies and see how good-humoured they’d be about it.

b. He is male.

If you are not and are angry about that, he is the ideal embodiment of The Patriarchy. Or The Oligarchy. Or The Lever Archy. ( That’s an in joke for people who collect stationery…). In any case he is a convenient punching bag for you when you cannot find someone else to punch.

c. He is white.

Well, actually sort of tanned pink. But a lighter shade than his predecessor. If you are not, and resent the fact, you can batten upon his race as the cause of all your troubles. If you’re a little leery of playing the race card, in case it is used in turn against yourself, you can always complain that his ancestors were Dutch. That’ll get everyone on your side, including 96% of the Netherlands.

d. He is rich.

Well, that annoys me too, but I can point to every one of his possessions or activities and either sneer or cry. Everyone else who is in the same boat can join me. If we all bay at the moon the dogs will join in. Awwwooooo….

e. He has funny hair.

You might decry this but it’s been a godsend to the political cartoonists. They had a difficult time with Obama as any exaggeration of his face teetered on racial stereotype. They had to batten upon his ears. The funny Trump hair is funny and I suspect he keeps it so for a good theatrical reason.

f. He has bad ideas.

Yep, some of them are doozies. Of course all his predecessors had bad ones too, and so will all his successors, and every othe world leader… but you need not be scholarly or fair about it. When he has a bad one, you get to crow and dance about.

g. He has good ideas.

Awkward… This one is a problem, as you may secretly agree that one of his schemes is a darned good one. But what can you say? How can you agree with someone you have always pilloried? What if the good idea succeeds? Is it hot in here or are you sweating?

Give yourself an out. Do like the Russians used to do whenever anyone else invented something or did a good deed. Tell the world that it was already done by Ivan Svelkavich in 1845. In the case of Mr. Trump, invent someone who had that same good idea but from the Democrats or some socialist party. Then blame Trump for stealing it.

You know how to operate a blame-thrower, don’t you?

H. He is American.

All the way through, probably…though I doubt that you’d be allowed to saw him in half to count the rings.

The main thing is he is American and not British. That means if you are, then he is wrong. You get to deal him the same contempt you dealt to Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and every other President. You get to resent every success and sneer at every failure based upon the fact of his citizenship – not merely his leadership.

You can rely upon every small politician or large comic to assist you in this with the assurance that you’ll always get an audience to agree with you down the local pub. That audience may be sitting there under the sword of Brexitocles and sipping their £ 8.00 shandy while the lights flicker on and off, but they’ll all agree to hate Trump with you.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that hating Trump will make them love you or themselves… and if you are on a trip to the USA do remember to pick the correct bar in which to open your big fat mouth.

 

Who You Voted For Is None Of My Business

Over the last few years there have been a number of state and federal elections here in Australia and in the United States of America.

Whether someone moved a lever on a machine in Milwaukee or pencilled a paper in Perth, the fact that the ballot in both of these cities was secret means that as soon as the levers snapped upright again or the paper was pushed into the cardboard ballot box – their choice became none of my business.

If I had tried to get into the curtained booth or the cardboard cubicle with them I would have been detained by the authorities and brought before a magistrate – and fined or jailed for attempting to interfere with a voter.

I would have been free up until they entered the polling place to try to convince them to vote for whomever I supported. Or against whomever I hated. There might have been restrictions on how this could be done within a designated radius of the polling place but outside of that I could have swamped their social media with memes and smarmy shared videos all I wanted. I could have made a right social pest of myself.

I was also apparently free afterwards to applaud or boo their choice through those same social media channels – dependant upon several things:

a. Whether my side won or lost.

b. Whether I could find out who they voted for.

c. Whether anyone gave a damn.

I am a firm supporter of the free, private, election system and the legal protections that keep it so. I also accept that there will be politicking of an amateur nature before the vote by anyone who can push a mobile phone button. But I am getting butt-sick of the aftermarket catcalling that tries to restructure an election or refight a lost battle.

In simple, if crude, terms – who you voted for is none of my goddamn business, and who I voted for, none of yours. This sentiment is even more valid if you try to make me cry political crocodile tears for another nation’s electoral choices.

Western Australia’s got enough of our own crocodiles to occupy us for the forseeable future.

The Tee Shirt Shop – Retail Clothing Part Four

If you are over 50, your tee shirt shop is called Target or Big W. Your colour is white or black and your size is immaterial – just get it big. No-one is looking and no-one cares. You can wear the thing inside your flannel shirt in the winter and be comfortable.

If you are younger, your tee shirt is a statement and where you buy it is important. The people who sell it to you want you to be happy – happy to advertise their shop or politics to others and happy to take your $ 50 for it. Go-on – make yourself poor and spread a little happiness.

You’ll find a surprisingly large number of stores willing to enter into this game – they’ll be up, down, and side-market venues and the staff will look happier than you do. No wonder – other people have been in before you and emptied their wallets and purses into the till and the staff know this.

If you wish to reflect on the fact that the only people who used to wear tee shirt were the old bastards up the top of the page…and that the shirt was a form of underwear…you may wonder how it came to be the defining garment of whatever generation you now occupy. This happened because they were originally cheap cotton things and people bought them for a purpose. Then the makers discovered that you could screen print Che Guevara on them and sell them to chardonnay socialists for $ 50. And away it, and you, went. In your case without your $ 50.

 

The Extremely Wild Blue Yonder

Never having been in any army, navy, or air force means I am disqualified from writing about military service. But I am allowed to read about it and to think about it…

I’m also allowed to look at maps and clocks and do mathematics. Recently I considered the twin bombing campaigns of the Second World War in Europe that were conducted against the Axis by the RAF and USAAF. By and large they came from much the same areas in the UK and went to much the same areas in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. What they did there is different but that is the subject of another post.

First let’s consider the ranges: from the UK to the deepest part of Germany – about 800 miles. Anything less is a shorter distance. If you get shot down you only have to fly the one way.

Night Time: RAF, Bomber Command. Lancasters, Halifaxes, Stirlings, etc. Speed of laden aircraft: about 250 miles per hour. They needed about 3 and a half hours to get there and somewhat less to get back. If they were going to drop their bombs in the darkest part of the night – about 2:00 AM – they needed to start from the UK at about 10:00 or 10:30 in the evening. Which meant the crew would have started to get ready to go at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Day Time: USAAF, 8th Air Force. B-17’s and B-24’s. Speed much the same. Bomb load sacrificed for defensive capability. Again the same time there and back but with more flak and fighters. What time did they want to be over the target? Well, enough light to let the Nordens see the ground, but hopefully while the locals were still reeling from the night attack. So, perhaps early in the morning?

That would have meant a takeoff at 3:30 AM with the difficulty of setting off in darkness and forming up before dawn. If you are going to fly and fight in a box formation, trying to get into it in the dark would have been murder.

Or did it matter all that much – did they just accept that they were going to get pasted all the way in and all the way out and just opt for an easier takeoff when there was light? Off the ground at 5:00 and over Vienna at 8:30 then back either by noon or never again?

I wish I had more information about the timing of the actual bombing raids. There must have been some occasions when the planners had to do traffic cop duty to keep the returning stream of bombers separate from the outgoing one.

Who Is Whizzing On Whom

A few days back a new Mini motorcar passed me in the Northbridge tunnel and slowed down – the brake lights came on. See the heading image – they were in the shape of part of the British Union Jack flag. Thank you to the chap who took that picture – I couldn’t get my camera out while driving.

I was instantly delighted – it was such a clever use of technology to tie this iconic symbol into the iconic car. But it gave me to think…

a. The car is not wholly British. it is made by a company that is firmly German – BMW – at plants in the UK and Holland. The design comes out of Bavaria. Leading to the question of whether or not it is a gentle piss-take.

b. Apparently it is associated with a wide-eyed ring of LED running lights up the front that make the car look permanently deranged. I did not see the front of the vehicle in the tunnel. But again, aus München…

c. In the past there have been any number of Issigonis and later Minis that have had the roof painted in a complete representation of a Union Jack.

d. Which leads to a cynical smirk at the proclivity of Brits to complain about Americans flying the Stars and Stripes or displaying it as a symbol. Be honest, Johnny Bulls – you’ve all sneered at the Yanks for their patriotism at some time or the other…and yet painted your national flag on the top of a tinny little motor car. Or in the case of the modern version, an expensive little German motor car.

All the same. I did admire the modern Morgan in the York Motor Museum…If you’re going to be crass for $ 92,300, you might as well do it big-time.