Saturday, January 14, 2017

a quick update on the wanke situation

Brief upfollowage on a couple of recent (and not so recent) blog items:
  • my linking to the Not The Nine O'Clock News That's Life sketch in the previous post reminded me that this was another one that we did a half-arsed run-through of as part of our sixth form revue in what must have been about 1988. I definitely remember the "Prince Philip exploded" line being one of mine, so I guess I took Rowan Atkinson's lines.
  • one thing I meant to mention in my comments on The Plague Dogs was that the book (set primarily in the Lake District) features some illustrations by Alfred Wainwright. As always with Wainwright the static stuff (hills, rocks, fences, etc.) is brilliant and the living things less so; whenever AW whimsically included a figure (usually meant to be himself) in his illustrations for his hillwalking guides it was always a bit jarringly unconvincing in comparison with the landscape bits.
  • if you have an exceptionally good memory you may remember my mentioning the Mosul Dam back in late 2007, the dam at that time being apparently in danger of catastrophic failure and collapse at LITERALLY ANY MOMENT. Fast-forward to early 2017 (i.e. about nine years) and, as this long New Yorker article makes clear, the dam is in danger of catastrophic failure and collapse at LITERALLY ANY MOMENT. You can see why people are sceptical about these sorts of warnings from science-y types. The article includes some fascinating detail about the daily maintenance activity required to keep the dam's foundations from dissolving - basically pumping a gazillion gallons of concrete into the holes that keep appearing. The article also includes a poignant picture of a young boy taking his inner tube out on a fishing trip on the Tigris downstream of the dam - presumably we're meant to imagine some Spielbergian kids-in-peril scene featuring him looking up to see a wall of water with jagged bits of concrete sticking out rushing towards him while dramatic DUN-DUN-DURRRR music plays. Note that the boy's home village (see picture caption) has a similarly fnarr-fnarr name to the place in this old post. I'm ashamed to say I was too busy sniggering about that to muster the appropriate amount of concern for the boy's welfare.
  • I was unaware until following a link from some other film trailer I was watching on YouTube that there is a film of Stephen King's Cell, subject of a book review in 2012. Some fairly heavy names involved, including John Cusack as central protagonist Clay Riddell and Samuel L Motherfuckin Jackson among the supporting cast. As far as I can tell from the trailer there is a good deal more shooting and stereotypical zombie flesh-eating than in the book, and the scene in the airport with the crashing plane and the exploding wasn't (as far as I remember anyway) in the book at all. In common with most film adaptations of King novels, this appears to be an epically terrible film, and it's not as if King can blame the film-makers, since he co-wrote the screenplay (including, apparently, changing the ending).

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