Daily Archives: December 18, 2009

“A Christmas Carol”: David and the Kids at the Movies

David: As a long time fan of Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol”, the latest film adaption by director Robert Zemeckis starring Jim Carrey was no disappointment. By means of live capture animation, a rather understated Carrey was able to play not only Scrooge at all stages of his life, but also all three Ghosts. For those who don’t know the story, Mia has a short synopsis:

Mia: The film was about Scrooge, who was a selfish old man and some ghosts helping him realise how selfish and bad he had been. I don’t think it’s for the younger kids, because there were some kids behind us that were crying and saying “I’m scared”. .

David: This is not just a children’s movie. Except for the almost unforgivable addition of some extraneous action sequences, the film follows the original in all respects: dialogue, visual illustrations, and social commentary are all fully faithful to the 19th Century original without any dumbing down.

Maddy: I knew as soon as the movie started that I was going to enjoy it. I could tell by the swooping camera effects. It was pretty scary, especially the scene where Ghost of Christmas Present disappeared. The Ghost of Christmas Past was nice, and the least scary.

David: We rather regret not take the option of seeing the film in 3D. Every scene is clearly designed to milk that “third dimension” for all it is worth. I reckon you would get your money’s worth if you went to see it at Imax.

Mia: The movie was quite “doomy” until the end. I really liked the part where he got up and told the boy to go fetch him turkey.

David: Yes, this is a dark film for the most part. There are not many laughs, and some sections are downright terrifying. The ending is, however, “as light as a feather” as Scrooge describes it.

Mia: I quite enjoyed it. I give it four and half.

Maddy: I give it four.

David: If we saw it in 3D minus the unnecessary chase sequences, it would be a near perfect film. As it is, I’m giving it four stars too.

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Political Correctness hits the Big Fat Man

Where do they find these people? The Age runs a story (“Santa’s image is a big ho ho no“) on a local academic slamming Father Christmas for not living the healthy lifestyle! Dr Grills (who seem to want to put us all under the grill and on the treadmill this Christmas):

Santa Claus should swap the brandy and mince pies for carrot sticks and start jogging to children’s homes instead of drink-driving his sleigh, a public health expert says.

Dr Nathan Grills, a fellow at Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine yesterday accused Santa of promoting obesity, smoking, drink-driving and other dangerous activities, and said his increasing popularity should be used to encourage healthy living instead.

After conducting a literature review of Santa’s links to public health, Dr Grills said Santa often appeared fat, sedentary, drunk and smoking a pipe when more responsible imagery would depict him running on a treadmill with a badge proudly declaring he had quit smoking.

Writing in a special Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, Dr Grills said that among other things, traditional images of Santa sent a message that obesity was synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality… Dr Grills said he was also concerned about Santa’s “roof surfing”, “chimney jumping”, disregard for road rules and tendency to drink-drive and speed. “Despite the risks of high-speed air travel, Santa is never depicted wearing a seat belt or helmet,” he said…

“The potential for Santa in his asymptomatic phase to propagate an infectious disease is clear,” he said.

My girls had a laugh about the “smoking a pipe” bit! (Actually, you don’t see may pipe-smoking Santa’s any more – and certainly no cigarette smoking Santas).

Still, it sounds like this guy deserves, I think, a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Present. It worked wonders for Scrooge.


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Toppling the Crown – by stealth!

Not just monarchists, but all Victorians should be a little taken aback at the way the Victorian Attorney General (and Acting-Premier to boot) is carrying out his Republican agenda without consultation with The People and radically rewriting our legal procedure. (Cf. this article in yesterday’s Age “Victorian courts banish ‘outdated’ Queen” and this article in today’s “Tension over Queen’s removal

The changes are changes to terminology, but (as in our discussion of the meaning of “men” in the Nicene Creed) words, in law as in religions, are never “just” words. Here are the changes according to The Age which Hulls is driving through for the start of the new year (why have we only just heard about this?).

”From New Year’s Day, criminal prosecutions will be brought in the name of the Director of Public Prosecutions, rather than the Queen…

Referring to the Queen is outdated,” he said last night. ”Substituting the DPP for the Queen or Regina reflects the legal and political independence from the United Kingdom and its monarch that has been achieved by Australia.”

From January 1, law lists will read ”DPP vs Bill Smith” instead of ”Queen vs Bill Smith”.

It follows two controversial changes to the legal system that the then new Labor Government made in 2000: substitution of ”senior counsel” for ”Queen’s counsel”, and the removal of the requirement for new lawyers to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen…

Under the Criminal Procedure Act, effective from January 1, state laws will be written in plain English. For example, the word ”accused” replaces ”defendant”, ”sentence” replaces ”sentencing order” and ”set aside” replaces ”quashed”.

Well, I’m sorry, but this has nothing to do with “updating”. It has everything to do with what is actually going on in our courts. It is the State of Victoria which brings people to trial and the State to which criminals must answer, not the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is merely a public servant – a servant, in fact, of the State. And whatever way you look at it, and I know this is a matter for argument but it remains the fact as long as “the Crown” is the Queen of Australia the Queen is our Head of State. She is not our Head of State as Queen of the United Kingdom, but as our own Queen. Under our current constitution and legal system the Queen remains the only one in whose name trials can be brought about. NOT the DPP. Even if you were to argue that the Governor is the de facto head of state (an argument which holds some water) he is this because of his Vice-Regal status representing the Queen. It is still the Queen who appoints our Governors, last I checked.

We should be asking what right and authority the Attorney General has to change our legal system. As for the other changes, I don’t see how changing “defendant” to “accused” serves any purpose, and surely “quash” is still “plain English”.


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