Waiting at Padstow
The last ferry from Padstow has left, but still they wait.
Reflections on another US mass shooting
Once again I find myself immersed in a world where a group of Americans in a school have been shot dead by a lone gunman.
Again I have watched Obama standing before his people, his anger barely contained
, as he has questioned how a society he presides over has allowed this to happen. And once more I have listened to debates that have started with disbelief and ended with quiet resignation this won't be the last.
From a British perspective it is pretty easy to look at the problem and see the solution as gun control. It works well here, with gun related crime still something of a relative rarity. Surely, our flawed reasoning goes, it is simply a case of making guns harder to get hold of.
That misses a key point in America: the gun is a fundamental symbol within Society. The ownership of a gun is seen as a right that originates with the founding of the country. Being able to own a gun is a symbol of freedom from the interference of government in the life of an ordinary citizen. It is seen as a means of protecting oneself from the criminals who exploit the ease of access to assault rifles, concealed handguns and teflon tipped ammunition.
Solving America's gun problem isn't going to be as simple as enacting some gun control law with a child's name attached to it (as difficult as that will be). It will require social engineering across many generations that breaks the link between the handgun and "being American".
Doctor Who returns (and promptly fails)
BBC's long running science fiction stalwart "Doctor Who"
has returned for its ninth post-reboot series. I managed to avoid the spoilers, trailers and pretty much dived into it unaffected by the various bits of media floating around.
Having watched the first episode I was deeply disappointed. Are we to see another excellent actor in Capaldi wasted as Matt Smith was? The "storyline" (if there was one) was cliché ridden and some of the execution absurd. It was little better in the second episode, which included a character defining line stolen from Return of the Jedi
and an "is it or isn't Clara in that Dalek" moment which lasted way too long.
Already one of my daughters - a hardcore fan from the rebirth - has stopped watching it. If this mess continues I shall join her.
Please return us to the days when there was quality writing, exciting storylines and a delivery that doesn't treat its audience as fools. Unfortunately to do that Stephen Moffat has to go, and I can't see the ultimate Doctor Who collector giving up any time soon.
Sunset over Lake Geneva
Looking at this image in full size on a large screen is incredibly restful.
Waiting at the palace
A young couple exploring London. Or are they waiting for someone?
How to have an enjoyable Star Wars marathon without Episode I
With the forthcoming launch of Star Wars : The Force Awakens
there are plans afoot for a movie marathon to prepare ourselves. The problem with this is The Phantom Menace. It's an awful, pointless, badly acted and poorly plotted mess of a film
. So bad, in fact, that I didn't want to watch it. So how could I do a Star Wars marathon when the first couple of hours would be nothing short of hell?
Fortunately help is at hand in the form of an alternative viewing cycle from Rod Hilton
. He not only suggests ignoring The Phantom Menace, but also watching the films in a different order. The blog post is sheer genius and I encourage you to read it, but in summary:
Watch them in the following order: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith and finally Return of the Jedi.
Why? By the time of the big reveal (spoiler) that Darth Vader
is Luke Skywalker's dad, the story has focused on Luke. By dipping back into the prequels we get to see how Anakin Skywalker became evil and this sets up the final showdown in Revenge of the Jedi and explains some of the behaviour Luke portrays. As Phantom Menace doesn't add anything to the story arc it can safely skipped with no harm done. If you are desperate to watch it then you can do so after Revenge of the Jedi without detracting from what is a pretty decent story arc.
Frankly I think this approach is genius and the application of some lateral thinking has created what could be a much better experience.
A youngster shows off skills that many adults fail to master.
Who guards the guards?
An armed police officer walks past the guards at Buckingham Palace.
A pause in the vigil for a spot of lunch.
It's the end of the season, which means it's time to clear the stock away.
Roseanne adopts an easy, restful pose.
ROSS A HALL
By day I take companies into new channels and markets. At night I write science-fiction, contemplate the future of society and capture the world in images. Feel free to get in touch
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