Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas crap

I guess I shouldn't call it crap. This time of year, God. If I'm not all sparkly and euphoric, I'm rehashing, in detail, every embarrassing thing I've ever said or done, every moment of ignorance or awkwardness, every hurt, every humiliation, or else just contemplating the uselessness of life in general. Great stuff. Very festive.

So I decided to make some Blingees.

Harold blings up surprisingly well, especially if you leave the black-and-white foreground alone and concentrate on background. Stille nacht, heilige nacht.

I like the idea of a Christmas squirrel because squirrels already look so stunned. When they're not frozen to the bark of a tree, eyes staring in bulging unintelligence, they're flapping their fat little tails wildly up and down for no good reason, or doing that blood-curdling "chattering" which is more like a nasty shriek of rage. A good subject for a Christmas Blingee.

He doesn't stand a squirrel's chance in hell.

I already like this picture well enough without blinging it up. This time of year, I miss cats around the house, especially OUR cat, who was around the house for 17 years. Funny how things turn backwards. They shouldn't, but they do. The savage way he bites the string of beads, the frightening unsheathed claws. . . festive.

I wish I could enlarge this, originally a Facebook cover, one of five thousand or so I've made in a pathetic attempt to get someone to pay attention to my third failed novel. Noel!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The real tragedy of the Sydney Siege

Seriously. I am not making this up. This is the decline and fall of civilization as we know it.

Sydney siege casts pall over Christmas shopping

December 15, 2014 - 4:33PM

Sue Mitchell and Carolyn Cummins

Police have sealed off part of the Sydney CBD. Photo: Getty Images

Martin Place siege: Live updates
Dollar brushes fresh lows as Sydney siege unfolds
Business disruption as thousands of office workers evacuated or locked down

Retailers fear the siege in Sydney could further dampen already subdued consumer sentiment in the countdown to Christmas.

"I don't want to be prophet of doom and gloom but you do worry about how this could affect spending," Australian Retailers Association chief executive Russell Zimmerman said.

While major retailers such as Myer and Woolworths said their stores in Sydney's CBD were trading as normal, David Jones closed the doors of its flagship Elizabeth Street store - which is less than two blocks from the besieged Lindt cafe - and customers and staff left the building.

Many specialty retailers in the area around Martin Place were also forced to close and consumers have been prevented from accessing the centre of the city.

"For Sydney city retailers it's going to be a huge drain on cash flow and a huge issue for them," Mr Zimmerman said.

"In the short term people will question whether they go into the city to do their shopping," he said.

"You could also get people questioning whether to shop where there are major crowds. They're going to miss out on a lot of business - this is the time you want people to get out and spend money." (Italics mine.)

The siege is likely to further dampen consumer sentiment, which has fallen this month to the lowest level in more than three years.

Many retailers are already under pressure and have been forced to step up the frequency and depth of discounting.

The Australian National Retailers had forecast that consumers would spend a record $8.3 billion nationally this week but those forecasts could now be in doubt.

"One would hope consumers would look at this and say it's a once only event and its not going to happen again," Mr Zimmerman said. (Oh?)

"I suspect that retailers will need to reassess various aspects of their business moving forward, such as security," he said. (But if it ain't going to move merchandise, forget about it. Hostage-taking happens.)

About 100 stores in Westfield Sydney in Pitt Street Mall were closed, and other main shopping centres in the CBD were empty of people.

Priceline Pharmacy chief executive Stephen Roche said its stores in Westfield Sydney and Pitt Street were closed to allow staff to leave the city.

The seige in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe comes with only a week to go before Christmas, which is the time when retailers make a significant amount of their yearly turnover. (Do you seriously think the hostage-takers are too stupid to know about this?)

Westfield said tenants in its Pitt Street shopping centre were given the option to close and send staff home.

A store operator in the shopping centre confirmed most of the shops had closed, while Martin Place jewellers Tiffany & Co and Fairfax & Roberts also shut and sent staff home.

Global cosmetics chain Sephora was one of the retailers to close for safety reasons. Its first Australian store in Pitt Street opened less than two weeks ago.

Stockland and AMP Capital also told retailers in the city malls and arcades they could close for the day.

"Our advice to all centre managers remains the same: to maintain high awareness and vigilance," a Stockland spokesman said.

With the recent bad weather in Sydney and job-security concerns, retailers had already been feeling the pressure of weak consumer sentiment.

Many shops have been quietly discounting before the traditional post-Christmas sales officially start to entice shoppers.

The retailers say they had been predicting a busy season, but the poor weather along the eastern seaboard had hit them, and they expect the latest round of discounting to continue well into the new year.

It's great to know that at this festive time of year, the malignant spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well. After all, commerce should always trump safety, shouldn't it? It won't happen again, will it? Well, maybe not here, and maybe not now. So get out there and go shopping, you ignorant people! Don't ruin our holiday profit margin with your ridiculous concerns about survival. Surely buying perfume and ties and chocolate is more important than making sure your kids are OK. Or at least, it should be. Don't you know "values" refers to sale prices and not some lame attempt at a moral compass?

I'd say this would all come home to haunt them, but it probably won't. Increasingly, I see a numbing of compassion and concern in the human race that is the real villain in a dehumanized, hostage-oriented world. This is the thing that will finish us, and a lot sooner than we realize. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I didn't mean it! I didn't!

I was only trying to find some documentary footage of my favorite poet of all time (smirk). Honest! And I couldn't find ANYTHING except still pictures, all black-and-white, with the overblown oboe of his windy recitations playing in the background. Makes me feel he lived in a black-and-white world, perhaps blowing invisibly from pub to pub as his poems boomed over the loudspeaker at the Wretch and Parrot.

Then I found this, and my God. I don't know who does these things, but they are both a fascination and a punishment. It's not highway robbery if I steal six seconds of it, is it? A rooking girl who stole me for her side.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What's lower than zero? Worst movies ever made

And here it is: Rotten Tomatoes' list of movies with a zero rating. I've seen some of these, and while many are just plain bad, some (Leprechaun 4: In Space; Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer) are of the "so bad they're good" variety. Because I am sure you will want to know more about these movies, each title links to a Wikipedia entry. Did you think I went to a lot of trouble? I did. Nothing is too good for you, my darling readers: I go to the grocery store for you; I get up in the morning for you; most especially, I go on Facebook and tell the world how fabulous I am, JUST FOR YOU. You are almost as good as real people. In many ways, you are superior, because I don't have to look at your vapid face all the time and get tired of it.

I don't know how many of these there are, because I haven't counted. I got too tired out making gifs of They Saved Hitler's Brain, something I've been wanting to do for over 40 years. Can't get through them all? Then don't.

NameYear# ReviewsRef
A Farewell to Arms195710[5]
They Saved Hitler's Brain19635[6]
Manos: The Hands of Fate196611[7]
Empire of the Ants197716[9]
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan197815[10]
The Villain19797[11]
Staying Alive198324[15]
The Lonely Lady198310[16]
Amityville 3-D198317[17]
That Was Then... This Is Now19855[18]
Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer19856[19]
American Ninja19855[20]
8 Million Ways to Die19867[21]
Deadly Friend19867[23]
King Kong Lives19869[25]
Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol198718[26]
House II: The Second Story19879[27]
Jaws: The Revenge198731[28]
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie198711[29]
Return of the Living Dead Part II198815[30]
Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach19886[31]
Johnny Be Good198811[32]
Mac and Me198823[33]
The Toxic Avenger Part II19898[34]
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege19897[35]
The Horror Show19897[36]
Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland19896[37]
Heart Condition19907[38]
Loose Cannons199017[39]
The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter19906[41]
Highlander 2: The Quickening199123[42]
Return to the Blue Lagoon199130[43]
All I Want for Christmas199113[44]
Once Upon a Crime19926[45]
Prom Night IV: Deliver Us from Evil19926[46]
Look Who's Talking Now!199323[48]
Benefit of the Doubt19935[49]
Car 54, Where Are You?199414[50]
Leprechaun 2199415[51]
It's Pat: The Movie199411[52]
Wagons East!199429[53]
Jury Duty199512[54]
Leprechaun 319955[55]
A Pyromaniac's Love Story199510[56]
National Lampoon's Senior Trip19957[57]
The Big Green19955[58]
Big Bully19968[59]
Plump Fiction19965[61]
Leprechaun 4: In Space19976[62]
Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas19977[63]
Lulu on the Bridge19988[64]
Slappy & the Stinkers19985[65]
Simon Sez199919[66]
Shark Attack19995[67]
The Suburbans199910[68]
3 Strikes200029[70]
Heavy Metal 200020009[71]
De Sade20016[72]
Teddy Bears' Picnic200219[73]
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever2002115[74]
Cinderella II: Dreams Come True20028[75]
Merci Docteur Rey200222[76]
K-9: P.I.20026[78]
Killing Me Softly200322[79]
The Singing Forest20039[80]
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2200445[81]
Sex Lives of the Potato Men200413[82]
Mulan II20045[83]
The Truth About Love200511[85]
Kronk's New Groove20056[86]
I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer20066[87]
The Fox and the Hound 220068[89]
The All Together200710[90]
Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour200712[92]
One Missed Call200879[94]
Long Weekend20085[97]
Strange Wilderness200844[98]
A Beautiful Life200812[100]
Surfer, Dude200818[101]
Echelon Conspiracy200912[102]
Super Capers200917[103]
City Rats200910[104]
S. Darko20097[105]
Fred: The Movie201013[111]
Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back20108[113]
Father of Invention201015[115]
The Last Seven20108[116]
The Nutcracker in 3D201030[117]
An Invisible Sign201115[119]
A Heartbeat Away201113[120]
The Abduction of Zack Butterfield20117[121]
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star201135[122][123]
The Undefeated201115[124]
The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll201114[127]
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 220117[128]
Swinging with the Finkels201119[129]
Run for Your Wife201215[130]
That's What She Said201211[131]
Confession of a Child of the Century201211[132]
Keith Lemon: The Film201212[133]
Elfie Hopkins201215[134]
Generation Um...201215[135]
A Thousand Words201254[136]
Last Ounce of Courage201215[137]
Four Lovers201210[138]
General Education201214[139]
Dark Tide201219[140]
Assassin's Bullet201214[141]
For the Love of Money20127[142]
Sir Billi20125[143]
InAPPropriate Comedy20135[144]
The Starving Games201310[145]
American Milkshake20135[147]
Mission Park20135[149]
Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn20136[150]
I Spit on Your Grave 220137[151]
10 Rules for Sleeping Around20147[152]
War of the Worlds: Goliath20145[153]
Best Night Ever201413[154]
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie201412[156]
Behaving Badly201412[157]
I Am Happiness on Earth20145[159]
Atlas Shrugged: Part III201410[160]
But Always20146[161]
Saving Christmas201412[162]