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Thursday, January 31

Fetid pools mark the 'new America'

The sub-prime loans crisis reaches 2 million foreclosures and goes legal as the Feds start laying charges on those whose claim was to be a “Proud sponsor of the American Dream.” Enron déjà vu.

So what does a fetid swimming pool explosion in LA have to do with panicked people queuing outside British banks? Read on:

Timothy Eagan /New York Times: The Pools of Riverside County

Look closer and you think you’re staring into a ghost exurb – empty homes left to bankers. This is the new America, Southern California’s affordable edge city, drowning in a sea of debt. In the Inland Empire, the eastern-most suburbs of Los Angeles, one out of every 43 households is facing foreclosure proceedings.

Peek behind the palm trees and there you see the most shocking sight: abandoned swimming pools, fetid and green, left to the elements and choked with algae.

Thousands of people have walked away without even draining the water. Mosquito control agents now patrol these murky pools, treating them with pesticides to keep disease-carrying larvae from forming.

“With the skyrocketing foreclosure rate, the problem is compounding daily,” said Jared Dever, a spokesman for the government district that monitors insect breeding grounds. He said about 2,000 abandoned swimming pools would have to be treated in just one part of Riverside County.

Still no wiser? Let John Bird and John Fortune explain what the hell is going on, Without going into any detail at all. It's far too boring:

I like 'enhanced'. I'd buy anything if it said 'enhanced'.

More about "the ingenuity of the markets":

That's not silly, that's a sophisticated banking system in operation.

Wednesday, January 30

More movie clips? That's all there is, folks

Continuing my rummaging through Google Video Search, I actually found clips from all my list, bar one (a few were unpostable).

However, some of them aren't exactly inflictable or foul up a potential viewing of the movie . Like the ones for Distant Voices, Still Lives - a Terrence Davies movie which never fails to make me cry but seeing a clip would just ruin your day.

Or the one I couldn't find a clip for, Derek Jarman's Blue, described thus by IMDB: 'Against a plain, unchanging blue screen, a densely interwoven soundtrack of voices, sound effects and music attempt to convey a portrait of Derek Jarman's experiences with AIDS, both literally and allegorically, together with an exploration of the meanings associated with the colour blue.' Well I like it.

Or the Ciao Manhattan clips, all Edie tributes except for the uninflictable original trailer.

Or the terrible selection of bad copies of Muriel's Wedding highlights (not my pick), despite the Abba theme.

Or finding the - great - Anita Ekberg's Trevi Fountain flounce clip from La Dolce Vita but only advertising's tribute to the spectacular opening scene. Also good but not the actual film. As un-referable as most trailers, all I could find for Altman's The Player although its opening scene, which features an 8 minute tracking shot, sells the movie.

But the really popular movies do have a variety of clips, mash-ups and parodies and are ready made for clip picking/Youtube. Like one of my NSFW favourite numbers from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut:

'It's not my fault that I'm so eeevill.. it's society ... society ...'

Or another - very safe for work but insane - number ripe for a guitar band rethrashing from Wizard of Oz:

'Witch that rhymes with bitch'?

Masses of Oz and South Park clips. And there are other findable, memorable, inflictable clips like this one of the stunning Pam Grier acting cool for a reason in Jackie Brown.

Or the happy conclusion of Beautiful Thing:

As well as insane ephemera like a surreal 1930s Wizard of Oz cartoon or the bizarre, full-length Turkish version or, from last September, the even more bizarre 'Surviving Munchkins Honored At Wizard Of Oz Screening' (some still in costume):

From my rummaging I learnt that you just can't find 'everything' yet, including with the added touch that I can't then, easily, reshow it to you. Surprising lapse in movie marketing? I think so.

NSFW: F*** Planet Earth

Very very rude and very very funny anthropomorphism in the raw.

Scary spam

Almost all my blog generated spam gets filtered out by Blogger and using a gmail account, but this one got through and certainly stopped me in my tracks.

It appears to be computer generated but it made me think of William Burroughs' cut-ups after I'd stopped thinking 'Do I know anyone in Swansea?' ('which wouldn't be the DVLA', as someone jested).

But, jeez, if this is the state of computer simulation and AI be afraid ...

From: chris miller
Date: 25 Jan 2008 20:30
Subject: webmaster for me, my name is Canning
To: paulcanning1(at)

Hi Paul,
My name is Canning, i am a 54yr old,well built, proffessional lady,at present living in the Swansea Marina.Unfortunately, at the present time, i am in the position of being unloved,so,
in order to bring name to the attention of as many interested people as possible,and hopefully encourage a number of individuals to become special friends of mine,i have decided to look
around for that 'special person' whom i know will take the greatest pleasure in promoting me to all and sundry.
Would you possibly be interested?
Just so there is no misunderstanding, i am sorry, but i will be unable to pay you,but i know i will be able to cover any out of pocket expenses you may incur.
Hope to hear from you.

The State of the Ridicule

Classic Jon Stewart on Bush.

He does the best Bush caricature, better than Steve Bell's. And the cheer when he says 'last State of the Union' is something to behold.

  • Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) explains 'Why I kissed President Bush'

  • Stewart hacks up 'the Democrat response' hilariously too.

    All round great show as he's also on form batting against historical anecdote queen, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.


    One anecdote from this year to be recorded for history was Bush performing the rite of 'pass the phone' - where you go up to someone on the phone and say "tell them 'X' celebrity says 'hi'".

    At the State of The Union it was Bush to the very gay Democrat congressman, elder and power broker Barney Frank:

    "Tell him I said, 'Hello,' ''

    Him, in this case, being Barney's Bf.

    Barney rushed back over and said:

    "Mr. President, by the way, the person I was talking to when you said to say hello was my boyfriend.'

    "Well. I hope you said how open-minded I am,'' Frank said the president replied.

    "I considered telling [the president] I wouldn't marry him,'' Frank said, "but then I thought, 'Nah.' ''

    'Open-minded' must be Mary Cheney's doing and very 'State of the Union'.

    Tuesday, January 29

    'Kill me because I am from the tribe called Kenya'

    Excellent post abut the worsening situation from a self-described young aspiring Kenyan diplomat:

    I refuse to be labeled, hate me, burn my house and even kill me, but because I am Kenyan.

    Kill me because I am Kenyan, not because of my tribe Not because of my name, please kill me because I am Kenyan


    I chose to be proactive. We have to be proactive. I and one of my best friend are starting this movement called kill me because I am from the tribe called Kenya. He is Kenyan luo engaged to a Kenyan kikuyu girl, but first and most he is the key word is kenyan.

    I am angry, really angry. Angry at myself for thinking being passive has ever changed anything. angry that this politicians, this gangs be it mungiki, taliban, kalenjin warriors and et al who want to tell us how to live, who to love and they want to dictate who to hate or kill?

    I refuse yes I refuse that agenda and that is not my destiny

    The Kenyan blogosphere makes for a series of such reads. And it's intimately connected to what's happening on the ground. It's plainly, for Kenyans, becoming the place to find news and where democracy is being fought over.

    There are saboteurs, there are tribalists and there are ordinary people, like this poster, Kamau. The Mashada forum, especially, is apparently becoming the main social site for verbal battle with tribalism a big issue. This is what Kamau is reacting against.

    NB: I was looking for a photo from Joseph Karoki's blog to use and this was about the mildest one. He, like the media is the rest of the 'developing' world, does carry photos of bodies. Burnt and hacked people - one shows a tin hut with a hacked to death mother and a child crying over her. Westerners never get to see these images. But it's really only by actually seeing it that you get closer to what's happening - horror - to other people. So - a warning for 'strong content'.

    Best place to get a flavour if the blogosphere is the blog aggregator.


    Very quick postscript! Just saw the photo of the mother murdered in front of her child in the Washington Post -- anyone seen it in a UK paper? Are we that timid? And where's the offense?