Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Review
Dec18

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Review

Like many people I’ve been to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens and like many people you’ve probably seen it too even if you haven’t because you’ve probably seen the original Star Wars and without wanting to spoil the film too much this new release is almost exactly the same. In much the same way that J. J. Abrams rebooted Star Trek you can more-or-less consider Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be a reboot of A New Hope with a splash of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi thrown in for good measure. Did I like The Force Awakens? Yes. It was a big sci-fi spectacular, it had good action, good characters, and it all felt warm and familiar. It’s a good film because the original Star Wars trilogy was good. That said, there was nothing new in it at all and I’m really hoping that this is addressed in the following two; I’m going to be mightily disappointed if all we can look forward to is ghost Jedi, swamps, and muppets in forests again. So, let’s see what The Force Awakens is like. The desert planet Tattooine still features, only this time it’s called Jakku. The person on that desert planet with the notably absent parents who dreams of fighting for the rebels and who has the Force flowing within them, originally Luke Skywalker, of course, this time is Rey. An aside here: I really liked her. She’s a tougher character than Luke ever was, handy in a fight, taking no nonsense, and only grudgingly accepting help. I approved of Rey a lot. The evil Empire is now the evil First Order. The evil Emperor is now the evil Supreme Leader Snoke. It will be interesting to see if any back story of Snoke appears in the upcoming movies as I understand he became truly evil because his parents Snufflywubs Giblets and Jar Jar Jumblybum didn’t give him a cute enough name. The Darth Vader character – the Sith Lord, all in black, with a family connection to one of the main characters – is now Kylo Ren. With his helmet removed he reveals himself to be Young Sherlock Holmes. The pipe is truly evil and explains the husky voice. The bit where the Millenium Falcon is captured, boarded, and the pilots are hiding below the deck plating is there. Han and Luke dressed as stormtroopers pretending to take a captured Chewbacca through the evil base is now an actual stormtrooper – Finn – pretending to take a captured Poe Dameron through the evil base. The Death Star is now Starkiller Base. Nobody thinks...

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Star Trek – The Electronic Game
Dec14

Star Trek – The Electronic Game

Who remembers the electronic game based on Star Trek: The Motion Picture as produced by Coleco and listed in their Coleco 1980 Catalogue? No, me neither. Still, let’s take a look at it since it’s almost Christmas and you might sink one too many Snowballs then feel like whipping yourself around the sun in reverse and travelling back to purchase it from a better time in every way except for wages, health, technology, general safety, cleanliness, entertainment, and disturbingly scratchy clothing that you couldn’t get too close to the three bar electric fire while wearing if you didn’t want a trip to the Burns & Melting ward to be your overriding memory of the festive period. Looks sort of like the Enterprise, so that’s good, although sort of like the Enterprise after the episode Encounter At Trash Compactor, so that’s less good as that was one of the early Next Generation episodes before they thankfully killed off Flippy the Space Toad (though not in the trash compactor, sadly). I wonder how you play it. It’s the U.S.S. Enterprise versus V’ger in this action packed, electronic space game for 1 or 2 players! The opposing forces orbit over a runaway planet – their mission to gain possession. They fire at the planet attempting to neutralize it and claim it for their own! V’ger fires a green energy bolt – the Enterprise raises a protective shield around the planet – the bolt is deflected! Now, the Enterprise fires a photon torpedo – V’ger raises its shield too late – it’s a hit! Photons are fired again – and again – five hits and the neutralization is complete. The planet is won for the U.S.S. Enterprise! I see. I have a few problems with this game. I’m going to have to put my nerd hat on and I’m not going to take my nerd cap off first. The runaway planet didn’t appear in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; the runaway planet appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier but it was cut from the movie as the studio felt its story arc wasn’t as strong as that of the bald guy with bad teeth protecting his holes from the emotional Vulcan. Roddenberry was very specific when it came to warfare in his space opera. The Enterprise usually neutralises a planet by having Kirk (later: Riker) give everything on it a venereal disease and for privatised healthcare provided through insurance from the shadowy “Federation” to then quell the global populace. Any Star Trek fan will tell you that you can’t just press a button and extend the shields around an entire planet....

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Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Tripods And Mail
Dec12

Portsmouth, Alien Invasion – Tripods And Mail

Keeping spirits up was vitally important during the alien invasion of Portsmouth by the Squirmy Munge and no time was more important than during the hot summer of 1920 when the invaders strode up out of the Solent in their tripod war machines and caused havoc across much of Eastney. The concerted effort to push back the aliens by Portsmouth locals as well as a battalion of volunteers from Hayling Island (who feared the Squirmy Munge might turn their attentions towards their beaches too) endured for almost a month and relatives of all those fighting for the freedom of the coastal city made sure to send plenty of mail to the soldiers. Delivering that correspondence were the South Hampshire Mail Girls, a group of women from the north of Portsmouth – Wymering and Drayton for the most part – who would pick up sacks of letters day and night and race through the war-torn island city on whatever vehicles were at hand (and even by foot during the last days of the Great Pushback when all vehicles were commandeered to drag ropes and chains around the tripod legs to trip them up). Always welcome because of what written comfort they delivered, the Sham Gals (as they became known) were also famously dressed revealingly because of the summer’s heat and so brought with them a snippet of visual pleasure too to the men and women on the front...

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Which Way Is The Bus Going?
Dec12

Which Way Is The Bus Going?

Which way is the bus in the following image going? And remember, by answering you may be openly admitting that you’re a...

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Einstein’s Other Theories, Summarised
Dec08

Einstein’s Other Theories, Summarised

Albert Einstein is mostly famous for this theory of general relativity and his wild hairstyle. But, for budding future physicists and students of history it’s worth making a note of his other less-well-established yet equally inciteful theories all quite likely proven using chalk and blackboards. Theory of General Relatives The older ones are embarrassing at Christmas. The younger ones are so rude. Cousins are lovely. Theory of Relative Generals The more stars you’ve got the better you’ve probably been at avoiding action. Theory of General Hospital I don’t think this show is ever going to end. Theory of Genital Herpes Too many cousins can be too much of a good thing. Theory of Jenny McCarthy Oxygen...

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Pulp Fiction Artwork: The Allure Of Armpits
Nov29

Pulp Fiction Artwork: The Allure Of Armpits

Take a look at any collection of pulp fiction novel covers and you’ll spot patterns. Understandable, of course; cheap, derivative stories only need cheap, derivative art, quite often bearing little if any connection to the contents of the pages within. Scantily-dressed women feature a lot, naturally, but you’ll also spot other trends too: the smoking gun pictures, the bound-and-gagged women pictures, the ravishing redheads, the sultry brunettes, the innocent-looking blondes. And armpit pictures. Yes, nothing sells a pulp fiction novel better than gratuitous armpittery. I imagine. Just what is the allure of armpits? The following cover images come via https://www.flickr.com/photos/56781833@N06/ but probably don’t really help to explain just why the imagery is so prevalent in the genre. The Emerald Bikini A story of a man’s escape from the drab routine of married life through a girl whom he possessed completely, and whose wanton sex appeal turned a southern town into a frenzy. There’s a reason they don’t make bikinis out of emeralds any longer and it’s not just because it triggers a frenzy of greed in a southern town probably suffering economically because, well, it’s a southern town; no, that reason is chafing. Chafing leads to stretching. Stretching leads to armpit-exposure. Armpit-exposure leads to temptation. Temptation leads to adultery. Also: emerald bikinis are prohibitively expensive. That’s another reason. Harling College A teaching degree was needed… and the subject was sex. Prexied by a beautiful tramp… Financed by tainted millions… Guided by an international boudoir expert… Staffed by a free-loving faculty… …The shocking story of a plush campus, where co-eds received a liveral education. An educational pulp fiction novel and not just because it’s set in an education facility. Let’s count the other ways: Do you know what the name for exposing your armpits to other people is? You do now. It’s harling, apparently. Where do you go to learn to harl? Harling college. How do you entice someone you’re attracted to? You harl like you’ve never harled before. Tramps prexy. Okay, I don’t know what that word means but it’s possibly explained in the book. And I’m hoping it’s the American definition of tramp and not the British one because we don’t have beautiful tramps over here. Our ones have matted beards and smell of wee. Oh, and I really hope that to prexy doesn’t mean to cause someone to wrinkle up their nose as you pass because you’re encased in a cloud of odours that only tramps – British definition – and maybe your gran if you haven’t checked in on her for a while have. It used to be possible to be an international boudoir expert. I...

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