Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Thank heavens for a voice of reason. Perhaps the breast bullies can now be made to SHUT UP.

"Michael Kramer, a professor of paediatrics who has advised the World Health Organisation and Unicef, said that much of the evidence used to persuade new mothers to breastfeed was either wrong or out-of-date. (Article)

NO solution suits everyone. Which means the grossly simple statement "Breast is Best" - is a lie.

It's NOT best for those whose babies are allergic to their milk.
It's NOT best for those with greatly weakened systems - which is common after a hard birth.
It's NOT best if the mother's milk is scanty.
It's NOT best if the struggle to do it is exhausting, painful, and a barrier between mother and baby. Yes effort and good support can overcome problems - but some would rather just be happy with their happy baby.
It's NOT best for ensuring the greatest involvement by a devoted father.
It's NOT best if pushed at mothers as a guilt trip.

For many it might be best.
For others it just isn't.
Live with it. We're different.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Genesis Enigma

A new book claims it is astounding that biblical Genesis describes the stages of "creation" in the right order, matching the theories by modern scientists.

This isn't so surprising as it appears. It only looks it if we assume Genesis was authored by the primitive early Israelites. Those tribal brigands who invaded and massacred peaceful Canaan were indeed not great thinkers.

However many Israelites were later taken into slavery to Babylon which DID have highly sophisticated scholars, where Israelites learned some knowledge. Many of these better educated Israelites then returned to Israel under Cyrus.

The Magi and other scholars of Babylon invented geometry we still use today - 60 seconds/ minutes, angles etc. They gave us our first recorded literature as well via their own ancestral culture, the Sumerians. In fact one of those books, by Enheduanna, told of a messiah who descended to hell for 3 days to hang dead on a tree - only that messiah was female.

Much of the early books of the Israelite Bible are based on Babylonian myths - Eden, Noah, Babel. Like the Greek philosophers we know better, the Magi well knew analytic logic so the order of the origin of the universe could have been worked out.
Impressive? yes. Mystery? no.

This new book also quite clearly distorts in order to fit facts to its argument. Day 4 for example has God creating the stars and the sun and the moon. As the author admits this is a facer as Light, day and night, already exist from Day 1.
An ingenious but unlikely theory is put forward that at this point evolution developed sight - so beings could SEE the sun and moon. Apparently this sequence does fit.
But I doubt if early science (deductive logic) could go that far and the argument here sounds artificially distorted. It's arguing back from what we know now - or rather what we theorise now.
We should not forget that evolution is only a theory, not a fact. A good theory, but just a theory. It doesn't fit all the facts. It just fits a lot more than other theories do.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

"Public Enemies" - John Dillinger

‘Public Enemies’ is such an outstandingly bad film it almost becomes interesting just because of that.
Depp is the only good thing in it, but he’s crippled by an overload of bad cimema.

As a film, "Public Enemies" needs a public health warning against boredom.

There’s a mass of gunfire, pitched much louder than usual to the point of real discomfort. Action fans might like it, but the camera work is so muddled it’s hard to make out who on earth is shooting who. I guess if all you want is bangs that's all right.
That muddle might be realism, as shootouts are like that, but good cinema it isn’t. A few shots of muddled shooting would give us realism: a constant flow of muddle becomes simply boring.

Action movies are often accused of cardboard characters. In this film we don’t even have paper ones.
Who was Dillinger? how did he become “John Dillinger”? We don’t know.
Yet we do, and his story is fascinating. Why was it all left out of the film? Why did we not see a glimpse of him looking after ‘his people’? for example. Nothing of the human person can be seen behind the guns except Depp’s skilled facial expressions.

Perhaps the greatest flaw is lack of identification. Even action films can grip us tight to the hero/ine. With Depp up there it’s a real tribute to the director Mann's failure that he leaves us outside gawping at muddle and mistakes. His hero is just a standard Hollywood cliché.
As for Dillingedr's gang and opponents, there are so many men in suits looking intense it’s hard to know who’s a cop and who’s a gangster. Constant close-up, in your face filmwork, doesn’t help recognition. Parts of faces, the back of someone's shoulder, don't tell us much about who's doing what to who.

Dillinger’s amazing capers simply aren't there. Not just a gunslinger but a mastermind so why not let us see what fun he was? Checking out banks by posing as a sales rep selling security systems – not shown. Setting up a job as a film company doing a bank robbbery, so people smiled as the real robbery took place – not shown. His trademark two shots at the ceiling, then “Everybody get down and stay calm!” – not shown. Instead lots of those muddled gunshots.

The regional American accents are so thick that a third of the dialogue or more is completely lost unless that's your hometown. Oh and who was the guy in the blue suit who got shot at the start? Never did find out. Nameless guy shoots nameless guy, shooter looks a bit uncomfortable, now that's real exciting cinema.

Most of the actors’ make up was smeared on like amateur stage make up. Men especially look peculiar in obvious heavy make up and tough guy heroes and villains hardly benefit from caked mascara, and lipstick.

There’s only one significant female role and she’s a scrawny, ugly little thing with no magnetism or appeal. Her photo in Dillinger’s fob watch, seen several times, shows up how hollow and skeletal she is.

Period detail is poor. Steam trains meant stations were filthy: this one was bright and clean – with white tilework. Everything else is lovely and clean too, such as streets and buildings. In a Depression era when everywhere except a few rich highspots was shabby and broken down.

The origin of the FBI was an interesting subplot, but like so much else, got lost in clever clever camera work, and muddle. The new type of gangster, another subplot, was another casualty to opaque accents, too-fast talk. That could have been genuinely interesting. Pity.

Was it too controversial to show just why Dillinger was so adored? Banks were hated then even more than now, with repossessions and unemployment as a ruthless backdrop for their greed. Dillinger challenged them by robbing them, so he was loved by the people so greatly they helped and sheltered him. They say his blood on the pavement was sacred, and hankies dipped in it when the body had been removed.

His death chapter is cheesy, predictable even if you don’t know the story. Why was the prostitute not wearing the red dress she actually wore? After such a boring film it was hard to feel regret when he died though the close up of blood pouring out of his face was a really nice touch (not).

Looking up Dillinger when I got home I was entranced by his real story. I think that was the one thing I can thank the film for. It made Dillinger so boring I wanted to know why he's a legend, so I looked him up. Not a great achievement for a film.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Shaven Slavery

A school wants to force a boy to shave because "his moustache is not part of school uniform."
Face shaving originally started among homosexual men to try to look boyish.

Shaving has also been widely used to control hygiene in prisons, armies and navies. Keeping crowds of males clean in grubby or dirty conditions, to avoid epidemics, is a lot easier if they are forced to shave and crop their hair.

With a few exceptions, more hair is therefore universally the sign of a free man.

In modern Western societies shaving is required of the mass of bonded servants who service companies, councils and corporations. Cropped hair also depersonalises men, making them look remarkably similar. Suits complete the clone robot appearance to a frightening degree.

Shaving demonstrates that the man is a subordinate male, a lesser person who must obey the boss even in very personal matters like this.
Noticeably when men have more independence they tend to grow more hair.

To force a child to shave means forcing them into servant status. This is especially damaging as once started shaving distorts facial hair into stubble, an unnatural condition which can be uncomfortable, and can cause medical problems (ingrown hair).

British law requires education not to close off a child's options to decide their adult lifestyle.
The child should be able to wait till he gets a job or starts a business, to choose his way in life. Education is not mere obedience.

Oh but of course it is. That is the main thing schools are about.