Monthly Archives: November 2010

Imagine if… all police chases were like this

Imagine if…

…all police chases were like this…

Some fantastic euphemisms in the video: “A response vehicle soon arrives and notifies the felon of their presence.” = blasts holes in their van.

I’ve driven round a fair bit of South Africa, with and without hitchhikers. (The deal is Continue reading

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Little bird on a wire

This is true high adrenalin film making – far from home, forests, rebels lurking, soldiers hunting them, language problems, poisonous snakes, poisonous bees, a shoestring budget and transport via a wire 1,000 feet up.

It’s a mate of mine, Jesse Quinones, and his brother Daniel – they’re Woolfcub Productions.

This intrepid pair are currently somewhere around Guayabetal, Colombia making their film The Cable. They can explain the plot:

The story? In a nutshell, it is about a farming community who live on this mountain, and their only means of transport is a cable, which connects their mountain to another. The cable is approximately 1000 feet high and 400 feet wide.

You can follow their progress as they shoot the film at their blog The Cable. Here’s a little taster of what they’re trying to convey:

The children arrived at around 9 with their father Ruben. The boy was five and the girl was 11. Both were confident and a little excited by our presence. We asked if they felt nervous before going on the cable. ‘No,’ the boy said. ‘It’s normal.’ Ruben clung himself to the cable and then put the boy into a sack. The boy sat their patiently like a pile of potatoes while Ruben latched himself to the girl.

Even though they regard this as normal, I notice that there is an air of anxiety and excitement every single time they embark on the cable. I started to feel very tense myself, especially at the sight of this little boy in there. He was peaking out bravely, telling us again how easy it was. The way the sack fastens to the metal bit is simply by poking a hole through it. So it is hardly secure, especially given that the person riding the cable travels in excess of 100 km per hour. It is a recipe for disaster.

I’m excited and anxious for Jesse and co as I read about their film making – never mind the poor souls who have to live in what sounds like a blighted valley. I hope they return safe. The film should be something to behold.

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Bad memories

I joined our village’s Remembrance Sunday parade and service this morning. Though I have an instinctive uneasiness about people in uniform marching through my community – a hangover from growing up in Northern Ireland – this is one of the few such occasions of which I am proud for my family to be a part.

There is nothing grand about our Continue reading

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It’s all here – cheese, politics, a Gandhi joke and the best headline of all time

Thanks to Virus Comix for the cheese.

Politics time now.

This is not about rights and wrongs – but analysis of the raw data. In the US mid term elections, who swung the most from the Democrats to the Republicans? Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has this to say:

First things first: In 2006 Democrats won the popular vote for the House of Representatives by about 8 points. In 2010, Republicans won the popular vote by about 6 points. That’s a shift of 14 points. There are plenty of broad structural explanations for this—the economy, dislike of health care reform, whatever—but beyond that, we’d also like to know if there were any specific groups that helped power this Republican victory. Was it the youth vote? The evangelicals? What?

To find out, you have to look for groups that swung by substantially more or less than 14 points. So here they are. Based on a comparison of 2006 and 2010 exit polls, here are the demographic groups that showed the biggest swing into the Republican column this year:

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Be careful what you start

Be careful what you start. Especially if you’re on facebook, twitter or any other social media. Before you know it, the world will be knocking on your door. And not necessarily in a happy friendly way.

That’s according to Tom Scott who spins a very entertaining yarn. It’s short and plausible.

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But I ordered the lobster

I was at the memorial service for former BBC broadcasting colleague Allan Robb today (9th November). Allan died earlier this year. The service at All Souls in London was lovingly well organised, poignant and joyous.

People spoke – very aptly. One, his old friend Nicky Campbell, told this story (apologies for any inaccuracies on my part): Nicky and Allan were out one day when Allan collapsed in the street. An ambulance arrived and after some effort, Nicky managed to chivvy Allan inside. Pleased to have a new audience for his stories, Allan entertained the ambulance crew en route to hospital. On arrival Allan was decanted and wheeled to a ward, whereupon some “four day old NHS mush” was presented to him.

Never failing to rise to the occasion, Allan immediately responded: “But I ordered the lobster.”

Thanks to the organisers – and Allan – for a great day. It was lovely to see old friends and remember.

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This is funny writing

This is very funny writing. You don’t need to know the characters or the context to enjoy it.  But there’s a guide to the dramatis personae at the bottom just in case.

George Osborne’s dry and dusty reception at the Treasury committee – The chairman became so dry one feared if the sun came out his body might crumble into a yellow pile (by Simon Hoggart)

George Osborne, the chancellor, was in playful mood when he appeared at the Treasury committee. By contrast, the committee chairman, Andrew Tyrie, was dry. Dry as autumn leaves blowing across a deserted country lane. Dry as a cask of Manzanilla sherry. As dry as an Egyptian mummy’s armpit. Continue reading

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Can this machine make you a better person?

Some people come to look like their pets. But can your character be altered by the machines you use? Continue reading

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