The Plastic Hippo

May 28, 2016

Facing forward in flats

Filed under: History,Media,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
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Fred and Ginger

Fred and Ginger

Viewed from this considerable distance, watching Hollywood musicals produced in the 1930s is tinged with an indistinct melancholia. With sumptuous sets, casts of thousands, spectacular production numbers and improbably storylines, the golden age of RKO, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount and Warner Brothers portrays a fantasy world in stark contrast to the Great Depression that preceded the Second World War.

In these marvellous yet shallow movies, “ordinary” Americans pursuing the American dream would tap dance in penthouses the size of aircraft hangers; relax with cocktails by the pool, fly down to Rio; dress for diner with minor European royalty and always have a happy ending. A few precious nickels and dimes, or shillings and pennies, could in those dark days buy a couple of hours of escape from a harsh reality. Now, at this considerable distance, Busby Berkeley has been replaced by reality television as a means of escape. Sadly, this escape is based on watching people being thoroughly unpleasant as a form of entertainment and as a reassurance that there are, out there, people more unpleasant than us. (more…)

December 15, 2015

How Green Was My Valley

Filed under: Environment,Media,Politics,Science,World — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
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Rosebud

Rosebud

The uncanny ability displayed by politicians to deflect any suggestion of responsibility or accountability when something goes horribly wrong is matched only by an inevitable clamour for praise when something accidentally goes well. Even when nothing happens at all, it is immediately redefined as being profoundly splendid and our leaders take every opportunity to remind us of their wisdom and selfless sacrifice.

One particularly fine example of this double talk came at the weekend with the conclusion of COP21 Paris Agreement on a global approach to reducing carbon emissions. Emerging bleary eyed after being up all night, the delegates from 195 nations at the Conference of the Parties indulged in an orgy of backslapping and self-congratulation not witnessed since FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar. (more…)

December 27, 2014

Turkey Gochujang Bibimbap

Filed under: Media,Politics,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 1:01 am
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Christmas in Pyongyang

Christmas in Pyongyang

It is a worry that sits heavy on every kitchen goddess or god at this time of year; will the massively expensive turkey turn out to be a huge Christmas flop resulting in mountains of leftover meat. Instead of endless turkey sandwiches, turkey risotto, turkey curry and more turkey sandwiches, adventurous chefs might try cooking up an invented Korean recipe for Turkey Gochujang Bibimbap.

Gochujang is a fiery paste made from red chilli and fermented soybeans and will resuscitate even the driest over-roasted turkey. Served with Bibimbap, a dish of short grain white rice, stir-fried vegetables, doenjang and soy sauce, this simple taste of Korean cuisine is quick and easy to cook.

The worry that sits heavy on every film studio executive at this time of year is the fear that a massively expensive turkey will turn out to be a huge Christmas flop. Money obsessed film studio executives are not normally noted for artistic creativity but the bean counters at Sony Pictures Entertainment are to be congratulated for inventing a recipe that guarantees a box office smash and galactic free publicity. (more…)

April 1, 2014

Battleship Pitlochry

Filed under: Fiction — theplastichippo @ 3:04 am
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Via atlanticfilm.com

Via atlanticfilm.com

EUROPE ON THE BRINK OF WAR
Dateline: March 31 2015

As last ditch negotiations again end in deadlock, the crisis facing newly independent Scotland looks likely to spread into global conflict as Russia, Syria and North Korea mobilise their armed forces to defend Scotland from English aggression.

The euphoria and hope brought about by the successful yes campaign in the referendum back in September 2014 rapidly gave way to civil unrest as a minority of English speaking Scots became disenchanted with the new government`s policy of cutting links with the nation`s former masters in Westminster. Street protests grew violent when a proposal to adopt the pound sterling as the official currency was rejected and the Holyrood government set out legislation to enable Scotland to join Scandinavia. (more…)

December 4, 2013

The magnificent seven

Filed under: Environment,Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 2:59 am
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Power to the people

Power to the people

Any suggestion that the big six energy companies are operating an illegal cartel to fix gas and electricity prices to ensure massive profit is entirely erroneous; there are a magnificent seven gunslingers in the illegal cartel.

Akira Kurosawa`s superb “Seven Samurai”, released in 1954, told the story of noble warriors protecting simple farmers against evil, pillaging bandits. Hollywood updated the scenario into the wild-west with “The Magnificent Seven” released in 1960. Later, in 1998, Pixar used the same story in “A Bug`s Life”. The 2013 version is a little more complex. We still have the evil, pillaging bandits and the slightly camp cowboys and the hopelessly inept circus troop but we simple farmers might be a little confused as to who the mercenary protectors are and who the pillaging bandits might actually be. (more…)

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