So, according to the folks who give us the news, the greatest baby in the history of mankind … no … in the HISTORY OF THE GALAXY … no … IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE … (is there anything bigger than the universe?) … has been born in London.
Yeah, Will and Kate Mountbatten (also known a Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) have become full-time diaper changers. (yawn…)
Anyway what it means in the cosmic scheme of things is that a bunch of people who were in line for the British throne have been moved back a square. (Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.)
Here’s what matters (from the Washington Post):
Baby just pissed off 12 other people.
Welcome to the world!
Oh, and remember, Professor Snape tweeted his reaction months ago. Click here to see it.
- Duchess Taken to Hospital for Birth of British Heir to Throne (bloomberg.com)
- Palace: Kate Gives Birth to a Baby Boy (world.time.com)
- Baby Boy for Prince William and Wife Kate (thejakartaglobe.com)
- Watch: Heir to the Throne: Awaiting Royal Baby’s Birth (abcnews.go.com)
- Palace: Kate gives birth to a baby boy (news.yahoo.com)
Here’s the London Underground (click to actually see the station names), which is expanding service by taking over the privatized Greater Anglia franchise out of Liverpool Street to north east London and Hertfordshire.
Right, means nothing to you.
Look, all you need to know is that the Red Line to Oxford Circus is for shopping, and the Cockfoster (Really? Isn’t that pornographic) train goes to Picadilly Circus and Leiscester Square (though I preferred getting off at Charing Cross station and walking the extra block or two).
And if you’re on a train south of River Thames, don’t bother getting off at London Bridge. The thing you think is London Bridge is really called Tower Bridge.
This is London Bridge:
I used to walk over it every day to get from the commuter train station to work on Fleet Street.
This is Tower Bridge:
That’s the tourist attraction.
- Visiting London as a Tourist (sarahardmantravels.com)
- TfL takes over services to Hertfordshire (newstatesman.com)
- Riding the London Underground (garydenness.co.uk)
- 150 Years Of The London Underground Map. In Lego. (vicchi.org)
So the Mountain Dew ad with the goat in a police lineup with black guys while a white woman tries to identify her attacker was taken down. And now if you look for it on YouTube, you see every television news story in the world on the ad.
Which means the ad is a success.
Mountain Dew gets world-wide attention and great television viewership without spending a cent for advertising. The ad has a wider audience than it did when it just ran on the Web.
This ABC news story says the ad got about 2 million hits. But let’s see what’s happening here. ABC is talking about the ad for almost two-and-a-half minutes. That’s at least double, maybe triple, the time it took for the original ad to run.
According to Media Bistro today, the daily rating for “Good Morning, America” is 5.7 million viewers. So on one network alone, Mountain Dew got almost triple the number of viewers it had in all the time the thing was on the Web. Triple the exposure, triple the viewers. And not one cent was paid for advertising.
I will be interested in seeing if Mountain Dew’s sales go up this month. If they do, this is the reason.
And since I’m thinking about ads that are in bad taste, the following fake Volkswagen Polo ad from about 10 years ago is the all-time winner:
A Middle East looking suicide bomber. Kind of racist, right?
It was made for the U.K. market, and ran about seven years ago. The production quality is pretty good. Someone spent a bunch of money to put it together. I first saw it when I lived in Brussels. Volkswagen denied any responsibility for it. But this clip alone got more than 800,000 views.
- Pepsi Pulls Tyler, The Creator’s Mountain Dew Commercial (stereogum.com)
- Tyler the Creator Mountain Dew Ad Pulled: Is It Racist? (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- Mountain Dew Pulls ‘Racist’ Tyler, The Creator Ad: ‘We Apologize’ (v103.cbslocal.com)
- A quick run down of why this might be the worst commercial ever made. (dantreadwaydotcomwastaken.com)
- Is this Mountain Dew advert the most offensive of all time? (metro.co.uk)
Here’s how out of it I am. I didn’t know Glenda Jackson had quit acting! Well, I knew I hadn’t seen her in a movie in years, but just the thought that a two time Academy Award winner for Best Actress (“Women in Love,” 1971; “A Touch of Class,” 1973) is totally out of the business astounds me.
Even worse, I didn’t know she’s been a Minister of Parliament in the U.K. for 20 years!
And then I find out she went of the floor of Parliament and did a savage rhetorical autopsy on Margaret Thatcher when everyone else was eulogizing the former PM.
Here’s the speech:
Wow! Jackson left a lot of sputtering Conservatives in her wake!
- Bonnie Greer: Glenda and Maggie: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore (huffingtonpost.co.uk)
- Glenda Jackson Literally Rips Into Margaret Thatcher’s Mouldering Corpse During Parliament Memorial (wonkette.com)
- Glenda Jackson: She Spoke for Me!! (think-left.org)
- Glenda Jackson on the death of Margaret Thatcher: I spoke to stop history being re-written (independent.co.uk)
- Margaret Thatcher was ‘not a woman on my terms’, claims Labour MP Glenda Jackson in bitter attack on former Premier’s memory (dailymail.co.uk)
- Video: Glenda Jackson savages Thatcher (newstatesman.com)
There was a lot of coverage last week for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Glowing tributes. Memories of the Iron Lady allied with Ronald Reagan and standing up to the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union.
It was a great day for global conservatives.
But the surprising thing is the overwhelming venom she inspired throughout the British empire. This song hit the top of the charts on the BBC after her death was announced:
YIKES! OK, maybe there was a coincidental rush of interest in “The Wizard of Oz” the week the baroness died. After all, the Brits don’t treat their royalty with such contempt…
A pensioner called Phil Williams was holding a banner saying “Rest in Shame”.
“Sorry, but it needs saying, they’re burying an old woman,” said the 58-year-old former power station worker from Shotton in Flintshire.
“No one’s ever heard of Shotton apart from the fact that they lost 8,000 jobs when the steelworks closed in the early 80s”, he added.
“Look at what she did to the North, steel works, mining, the poll tax. She trialled all these things in the North and made criminals out of a million people. I have no regard for the woman.”
Protester Charmain Kenner, 58, had her back turned as Lady Thatcher’s coffin went past Trafalgar Square in the hearse.
“Thatcher’s policies were all about individualistic materialism. She created a much greater divide between rich and poor, she ruined many communities and many industries”, she said.
“Basically, she ruined this country and, to add insult to injury, we’re expected to pay for her funeral.”
Surely, there were politicians in America who were hated as much as Margaret Thatcher was in Britain (George Wallace, Richard Nixon and Strom Thurmond immediately come to mind), but I don’t remember anyone singing about having a party or celebrating their deaths like the Brits did this past week.
One of the technologically fascinating but morally disturbing aspects of modern warfare is that the means of attack have taken on the character of a videogame.
You see the precision of the attack and the calm manner in which it’s carried out. Air support is literally putting missiles in the windows it wants to put them in. Troop on the ground ask for help from the sky, and it’s there in a matter of minutes. From the air perspective, things blow up soundlessly. If the missile doesn’t go off? Fire another. Any motion detected among the insurgents? Then stick another missile in the front window.
But what is actually happening on the ground? Here’s a BBC clip showing what happens when there’s a case of mistaken identity. Ten years ago, the BBC crew was with a group of Kurdish allies in northern Iraq accompanied by Americans prepared to battle Saddam Hussein‘s army. Air support misidentified the allies as insurgents. (Warning: This is very graphic, so keep that in mind before you view the clip.)
Today, instead of troops on the ground and pilots in the air, an attack against enemies can be carried out with a drone aircraft guided by a soldier hundreds of miles away. War is done with pinpoint accuracy and is more efficient and more deadly. But it oddly has become more sterile when seen through the prism of a video screen.
And then a mistake is made. When that happens, we hear terms like “friendly fire” and “collateral damage.“
Those words turn into Orwellian profanity, when you fully realize what has happened: People have been blown up, like in the “friendly fire” the BBC crew witnessed. And it isn’t a videogame, where you get a new life after you’re killed.
The worst thing you can do in war is to undermine the horror of what is really happening.
- John Simpson: ‘The Iraq memories I can’t rid myself of’ (bbc.co.uk)
- No longer forgotten: a Kurdish view of the Iraq war | Rand Khalid (guardian.co.uk)
- Ten years after war, Iraq emerges as a major arms buyer (rawstory.com)
This Sherlock Holmes movie is 101 years old.
If you know anything about Sherlock Holmes, you know that this is actually a modern day interpretation of the famous detective. Arthur Conan Doyle, his creator, wrote the first Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlett” in 1887.
Conan Doyle died in 1930 at the age of 71, so this Holmes film is an accurate reflection of the time, even though the actors do go on like overcooked hams. And there really isn’t that much of a mystery. All they have to do is open the door of the side building and the case is solved.
Here’s an interview with Conan Doyle from 1927, in which he talks about psychic phenomena, an area he was obsessed with, and Holmes.
- No Suit, Sherlock: Doyle Estate is Embroiled in Public Domain Legal Battle (gawker.com)
- Sherlock Holmes fan to estate: Sherlock belongs to all of us (csmonitor.com)
- Free Sherlock (madisonian.net)
OK, it takes 11 minutes and 34 seconds. But language is never precise.
I had a movie preview for “Life in a Day” saved on my computer for some reason, so I checked out the movie listings today to see if it was playing locally. Nope.
I figured I could go to a place that sells DVDs and buy it. Nope.
Now I see it’s on YouTube, free of charge.
This is a look at the world on July 24, 2010. Just a normal day on the planet.