Monday, October 29, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower

Curse of the Golden Flower - in Chinese
Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia (2006)

is an interesting film.
I watched a few minutes of a daft martial arts the other day. The monks had a fighting sticks and managed to get the bad ones to bite the sticks so hard their teeth were stuck in the stick. Yuk!

Anyhow I saw Golden Flower on library shelf and was passing by but it looked different and it is. This is more like real history. The plot is not  actual rulers but as maker Ziang Yimou says it tries to show what feudal China was like. The plot is a combination of King Lear and Hamlet as described by Chow Yun-Fa who plays the Emperor

Ziang mentions a proverb "Gold and jade on the outside, rot and decay on the inside." So the film is very opulent - lots of gold and bright colours. Yet very dark deeds going on in the background. The Palace is presented magnificently just as I imagine the Forbidden City might have been like at the heights of its splendour. Although the film is set before it was built. I remember looking into the great hall and my amazement that it would have been filled with all these women and their own sleeping "area". Golden Flower is full of scenes showing how all these people might have operated. The

The battle scenes are not utterly realistic  although they say they were trying to be .  The weapons do kill though and  you can see they are not using those silly flying routines. There is something like a Roman Turtle - a group of men surrounded with shields.

The main courtyard is covered with chrysanthemum as that festival is taking place. Just see what happens to the flowers in the battle and then afterwards.

The Acting is very good.  None of those silly looks of the  martial arts films - these people are real. Well worth seeing

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Apocalypse of Ahmadinejad

This is further to my post: Iran - Ahmadinejad - Nukes

The Apocalypse of Ahmadinejad Book
He stands only five foot four and smiles incessantly. But behind that charismatic persona beats the heart of a genocidal terrorist. In his provocative, well-researched expose' of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock unveils the insidious agenda behind this radical Shiite's regime: Ahmadinejad plans to hasten the return of the Islamic messiah by ushering in his vision of the apocalypse.
His ultimate goal is to bring the Mahdi, or Twelfth Imam, out of hiding. And he plans to do so by arming his country with nuclear weapons, then exporting the Iranian revolution to the world by destroying Israel and the United States.
But there's a bizarre twist to Ahmadinejad's nightmarish intentions: This ardent zealot may well be part of God's plan to set the stage for a scenario prophesied more than 2,500 years ago.
Mark Hitchcock presents compelling evidence that Ahmadinejad's actions, including his alliances with Russia and many of Iran's neighbors, have placed his nation -- and the world -- on a collision course toward the war of Gog and Magog.
(208 pages)
I just love the "well researched" - REALLY - more like a lot of imagination at play from that synopsis.
I did know that Shia belief included the return of the Iman and that Ahmadinejad appeared to believe in this also
from Shi'a: The Hidden Imam

Imam Mahdi will return at the head of the forces of righteousness and do battle with the forces of evil in one, final, apocalyptic battle. When evil has been defeated once and for all, the Imam Mahdi will rule the world for several years under a perfect government and bring about a perfect spirituality among the peoples of the world. After the Imam Mahdi has reigned for several years, Jesus Christ will return (raj'a ), as will Husayn and others. It is the return of the dead that falls under the Doctrine of Return; the Mahdi will only appear to humanity.
Note Jesus is included in this - but this is the Jesus of Islam - not to be confused with the expectations that Christians have for the Jesus of the Holy Bible. Why does Shia belief so correspond to Christian Second Coming of Jesus?

I do not think that Iran is part of the Bible's End Times prophecies. This whole book smacks of Nostradamus who was supposed to had a remarkable vision that there would be "trouble in Persia". There has always been trouble in Persia - it is placed at such a crossroad in the Middle East.

By the way that book is AUD$16.95 at WORD Bookstore Australia - I will not be buying

Thursday, October 25, 2007

George Orwell - (Eric Blair) 1903-1950

Neil has just blogged on: George Orwell exposed!
Mainly that conservtives often quote Eric and how he changed from being a communist whereas he may have rejected dictators like Stalin but he did remain a Socialist and supporter of the Labour Party.

Do read George Orwell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I am pleased to say I own at least one first edition of something and it is:
George Orwell: The English People. Publisher: 'Collins'. GB, London. 1947
A wonderful short essay on the English as he saw them.

A quote follows

during the Jubilee (George V) the rather servile slogan "Poor but Loyal." Other
slogans, however, coupled loyalty to the King with hostility to the landlord,
such as "Long Live the King. Down With the Landlord," or more often,
"No Landlords Wanted" or "Landlords Keep Away." It is too early to say
whether royalist sentiment was killed outright by the Abdication (1936) , but
unquestionably the Abdication dealt it a serious blow. Over the past four
hundred years it has waxed or waned according to circumstances. Queen
Victoria, for instance, was decidedly unpopular during part of her reign,
and in the first quarter of the nineteenth century public interest in the
Royal Family was not nearly as strong as it was a hundred years later. At
this moment the mass of the English people are probably mildly republican.
But it may well be that another long reign, similar to that of George V,
would revive royalist feeling and make it-as it was between roughly 1880
and 1936-an appreciable factor in politics
George wrote that in 1943 I suppose as surely by 1947 it was clear that George VI had revived royalist feeling with his two lovely daughters and the way the family behaved in WW2. And here we are 60 years after the book with a Queen who has reigned 54 years. I wonder what George would say now about republican position in England.

His great book was Nineteen Eighty-Four which in many ways was set in the dismal England of 1948 under rationing and with a Labour government . Recently we had a discussion on Movies and Neil and I both set Brazil (film) high on our lists. Made by Terry Gilliam in 1985 and obviously based on Eric's 1984 even though Terry says he never read the book. The office computers are modeled on 1948 Television sets and even show black and white cowboy films. An enormous romp of a film. See it. And perhaps first read the book and the Richard Burton film of

I got to the book through television the 1954 TV programme in which Peter Cushing was brilliant as Winston Smith - alas then Peter went on to a career as vampire killer.

The other well known book from George is Animal Farm- well worth reading - don't bother with the cartoon film. In this parody of Stalin and what happened to the Russian revolution Eric shows what changed his attitude to politics.

Of course Eric died at age 46 - at that age I myself was still supporting the ALP - if he had lived would Eric have changed?

On Neil's comment "The Road to Wigan Pier" is mentioned that and other books are on line from that link

Friday, October 19, 2007

Poll shows only 70% of Germans are sane

Just as Neil was discussing at One Salient Oversight: Hitler was not an Atheist
up comes this terrible poll
Nazis not all bad, 25% of Germans say - World -
"Those who grew up directly after World War II, now aged 45 to 59, were the least enthusiastic about the Nazi era, with only 15 per cent responding "yes"." But that's still 1 in 6.!!!

It seems it all started because some "a popular talk show host was sacked for praising Nazi Germany's attitude towards motherhood."
That is unless she was Jewish or a Gypsy or a Slav or anyone else the Nazi hated.
Hitler decided to show high regard for "traditional" values so people could say stupid things like "but he loves motherhood".

Don't young Germans understand what happened back then.
A year ago just to remind myself of what it must have been like. I read
The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 - Richard Evans - Penguin UK
'Do you know what fear is?' an elderly worker asked an interviewer some years after it was all over: 'No. The Third Reich was fear.' Yet terrorism was only one of the Third Reich's techniques of rule. For the Nazis did not just seek to batter the population into passive, sullen acquiescence. They also wanted to rouse it into positive, enthusiastic endorsement of their ideals and their policies, to change people's minds and spirits and to create a new German culture that would reflect their values alone.
It seems many people are still deluded.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ImgBurn - burn CDs and DVD

The Official ImgBurn Website

ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!

They are not joking

ImgBurn supports all the Windows OS's - Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 and Vista (including all the 64-bit versions). If you use Wine, it should also run on Linux and other x86-based Unixes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who needs Spies anyway

Desktop naval gazers know a sub when they see one

Mind boggling what Google can do

I remember Hugh Trevor Roper (he was one of guys duped by Kim Philby) saying "you don't need spies just read their newspapers". Of course as well as being wrong about Philby he also authenticated the Fake Hitler Diaries but I think he had something about reading what the other side puts into print. Mind you an SIS officer in that part of the organisation penetrated by communists has to be a worry - they were always shoving him on TV as an expert. The whole affair just astounded me. Ian Richardson made a good Anthony Blunt. It showed what a mess "security" was. Didn't they know that the earlier runaways had these guys as friends.

Just amazing google even knows where I live

View Larger Map

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Burma

We were in North Thailand in 1998 with a day trip across a bridge into Burma. It seemed to me as poor as some parts of India. So what are these generals doing?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Guns and Rifles

Neil Cameron has just published a good comparison on

M16 vs AK-47

Back in the 1950s I fired as well as The .303 Lee Enfield Rifle watch the kick - whoops a shoulder blade.
The WW2 Bren light machine gun a delight no kick - could wander sideways as only a bipod But I could get small groups by firing shorts bursts. (the USA had the BAR - Browning Machinegun).

Also the Sten a very low cost sub machine gun - it really drifted to the side - I used it like a hose - spray the bullets around. Wiki has a picture of Churchill firing from the shoulder - Winnie was a soldier but that was probably a propoganda picture - best I found was holding it at the waist tucked well in. So many WW2 movies (I remember Alan Ladd in the Red Berets) showed people holding the magazine at the end with left hand. NO NO! That would cause a jam.

Talking about recoil and how to hold - Ak47 I see being fired from shoulder - held very well and also from the waist. Then watching some films of training the Iraqis in entering eneny buildings, they have the butt up high on the shoulder like USA weapons. I don't think that is sound practice. Ak47 is not that stable.

yes the AK47 is a WMD - I saw designer recently saying he does not worry and still sleeps nights not his fault how wide spread the gun is.

Big thing with M16 they said on Discovery was the way the butt goes straight from the barrel - avoiding the curved stock stops the tendency to jerk the gun when firing. So point and shoot and it goes straight.

However as you say the AK47 is a more robust field weapon

I see a range of weapons in use by US in Iraq - as well as M16. Blokes lugging around M249 Squad Automatic Weapon the fire power must be good.
I wonder if the CQBR - Close Quarters Battle Receiver is working out.

Storage on Web

When I was checking AMD they had links to

MediaMax - Free Online Storage - Share Videos and Photos - Online MP3 Access

25gb free but note 1 gb download per month

Share Notes, Files, and Photos with Stixy | Lifehacker Australia

Which processor

Looking at

Intel® Core™2 Quad Processors - Digital Home: Performance Overview

Intel® Core™2 Duo processor E6700 looks to have good performance

Intel® Core™2 Quad processor Q6600 is slightly worse on some test but rates higher as CPU and is $375 Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 - Pacstar Australia

a Intel® Core™2 Quad processor Q6700 is better but is $1300 unless the QX means something else at Intel® Product Comparison Chart
QX seems to be Core 2 Extreme
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Quad Core - Pacstar Australia

something to sort out as I get closer

HP Scanjet 4470c Scanner

My photo and document scanner
It has an Adapter for slides and negatives but it is too cumbersome in use and also quality is not great
So in 2006 I got a Plustek Slide and Negative Scanner - OpticFilm 7200i
which is great

Scanner Input Type: Colour Colour Depth: 48-bit colour

Optical Resolution: 1200 dpi x 2400 dpi

Software & Driver downloads HP Scanjet 4470c Scanner

HP Products - HP Scanner Product Is Not Supported in Windows Vista

Also not listed in
HP Scanjet Scanners - Support for Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

MAC I gather you have to buy a CD and I have seen anything that says it works

Plustek Slide and Negative Scanner - OpticFilm 7200i

Equipment I use

Plustek Slide and Negative Scanner - OpticFilm 7200i

with SilverFast for Plustek Opticfilm 7200i :: LaserSoft Imaging

is quite clear only works with Windows XP or 2000 and 7/2007 supposedly Vista

And not Windows 64 and not MAC or Linux

USB 2.0
Color CCD image sensor
Hardware Resolution
7200 x 7200 dpi
Max. scanning area
36.8 x 25.4 mm (1.45 "x 1") *
Preview Speed
Approx. 5.6 sec**
Scan Speed
Approx. 36 sec (3600 dpi), 68 sec (7200 dpi)***
Color Depth
48 bit/pixel
Dimensions (D x W x H)
272 x 120 x 119 mm (scanner only)
Net Weight
Approx. 1.5 kg / 3.1 lb (scanner only)
Scan Mode
Single Pass
Cold Cathode
Film Holder
Mounted slides, up to 4 slides

Filmstrip, up to 6 frames
Regulatory Certificates
CE, FCC, UL/cUL, TUV * Negative ** Negative, calibration time not included. *** Negative in True Colour (24 bit) Mode, calibration time included.

System Requirements
IBM Compatible PC, with Pentium II or faster CPU

CD-ROM Driver

One available USB Port

128 MB RAM (256MB recommended)

160 MB free HDD space (300 MB recommended)

High Color graphic card (VGA or higher)

Microsoft Windows XP / 2000 / Vista Compatible (starting from 2007-07)

**** Please note this is minimum requirement only. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to use a higher performance computer.