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    @thane16 (the elder and the younger)

    Like both of you (janette and the syzygy the elder) I lived through the same years. I too often wonder if our decisions were responsible for the options available to the generation represented by syzygy the younger.

    When I think back to my own experience the one thing that always stands out–the thing that (for me) makes all the difference–is class. Both my parents came from a working class experience of the depression. They carried those values with them, and those values were embedded in my upbringing. My brother and I were the first in the wide extended family to go to university. For me, the only reason I had that opportunity was the Whitlam government allowing me to go to university without the enormous financial burden previously imposed. My older brother (the smarter one) got there because of scholarships.

    Many years later, when I was a professor in a law school, I was at an event where the wife of a retired judge (both he and her from the old established wealth of Sydney’s north shore (only Australians will understand that reference) was complaining that the problem of the younger generation was that “simply anybody” was allowed into university. I pointed out that the only reason I was at this event (as a law professor) was because the Whitlam government had allowed people of my income bracket to attend university. She looked at me like I was something she had picked up on the sole of her shoe.

    Resistance to climate change, opposition to refugees, suspicion of higher education–it’s not just the current government, it’s the enablers of the government.




    @craig Ah, Kayla–she is persistent, isn’t she?

    @pedant How do I know that you are not Chinese?



    I was just reading the obituary of Chris Kraft, the NASA flight director during Apollo 11. Was it he who was the calm, controlling voice in the video you uploaded of “the complete descent”?  Or someone else?


    Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Some of you may have heard of this particular episode of a long forgotten TV show, but many of you will have not. It was made in 1958, it is 22 minutes long, and it is a hoot.

    When it starts you might think: what?? But bear with it…trust me, you will enjoy it.




    In the spirit of keeping alive 20th century viewing habits, there is a line from one of my favourite movies of all time, called “A New Leaf” with Walter Matthau, where one character explains to Matthau’s character: “Sir, in your own lifetime, you have managed to keep alive traditions that were dead before you were even born.”

    I have always loved that line (and secretly wanted to emulate it). It is a wonderful, incredibly funny, and strangely touching movie. I highly recommend it.



    in the spirit of maintains order on the forum, my reply is over on The Kebab and the Calculator (?) Anyway, the other one..


    This may be of interest to American Whovians. Apparently HBO Max has acquired the rights to stream all of Nu Who:

    ‘Doctor Who’ to Stream Exclusively on HBO Max

    Personally, I have managed to avoid signing up to anything. I suppose someone has to keep alive the spirit of 20th century TV viewing…




    yes, Arrival was a very emotionally effective movie. I urge you to read the story which it was adapted from. It was called “The Story of your Life” by Ted Chiang. It is easy to find (I found it for free on the web before the movie came out).

    It was really rather brilliant. (And only about 40 pages long, as I recall.)




    @whisht @thane16

    I know many of us have seen this before, but nontheless:

    It is both incredibly moving and demonstrates the genius of his acting.



    Wow. That was incredible.



    OK, I promised something even worse (or better, when you think about who you were at that moment in time) and here it is:



    OK, I will start here, and I will admit, this isn’t even the worst of it!




    In light of your post, I am starting to think that there should be a sub-thread where we reveal the embarrassing musical tastes of our youth.

    when I find it on youtube, I promise to reveal it.




    It seems that Kayla wants to get to know me. Unfortunately, I don’t really want to get to know Kayla. I am sure others on the site may be experiencing the same.


    There is a very good collection of articles on the moon landing here:

    I particularly like the one on JoAnn Morgan.


    I have been thinking back to my own memories of the moon landing in 1969, and asking myself how clear those memories are. I vividly remember all of us being assembled in the school assembly hall to watch the landing. And I also clearly remember us coming out of the assembly hall and instinctively looking up in the sky and it was one of the clear but cold July days of an Australian winter and you could see the moon even though it was daylight, and while we all liked to pretend we were sophisticated 17 year olds, we shouted “look!” more like 7 year olds.

    I have had that memory for decades, and yet I am now starting to wonder. Australian school holidays today run from the first week of July to the third week of July. Was it different in Australian schools in 1969? I can only assume it must have been. Or was I watching a clip of the landing in the assembly hall after the event when we returned from the holidays? Indeed would the school have had the capacity to show the event live to a large group of school students in 1969? After all, televisions were very small in 1969. Were we listening to it on the radio?

    Damn, it was such a good memory…


    Just following on from @whisht‘s call for items celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing (and also about who has the right to be remembered):




    Syzygy the elder (and @whisht) this provides some background to the wonderful Superman poster:




    Thoughts of space and hope and striving for something better

    This seemed appropriate:

    And, although not music, this seemed especially appropriate, both for @whisht and for all of us. It is something that was produced in 1949, and in light of recent events, it qualifies, I think, as an example of “thoughts of space and hope and striving for something better.”



    Syzgy, I searched (in vain) for an old Bugs Bunny cartoon set in the medieval period that featured the Duke of Ellington and the Count of Basie.

    But I found something even better: Cab Calloway and Betty Boop doing Minnie the Moocher.



    @janetteb when I said “all you need” I confess I am not sure how easy it is to acquire a region free player in Australia.


    @janetteb It is available on the Amazon UK site; all you need is a region-free DVD player. It’s an excellent show.



    @whisht thanks for posting that. He was a wonderful character actor of great range. It is interesting what sticks in the mind for each of us. For me, it was his Claudius in “The Caesars” back in the late ’60s, and his understated, yet hypnotically effective, villain in the 1974 film “Juggernaut”.



    @winston, @janetteb

    Thought I would move this conversation over here as it is not really Who related.

    Climate change: I have never really understood the opposition to an acceptance of this. It seems like a perverse rejection of countless scientific reports. Then I was thinking back to an episode of the current affairs program on Australian TV from many years back called Four Corners. @janetteb will recall  the show. On one particular episode a group of young people who wanted to draw attention to the fact that pristine public parks were being ruined by the rubbish left behind by holiday makers went into a popular recreation park and retrieved all the rubbish that had been thrown into the bushes and foliage by the holiday makers over the years. What was fascinating was that, instead of being congratulated for cleaning everything up, they were angrily confronted by the holiday makers with accusations such as: “If you hadn’t have found it, no one would have known it was there.”

    What the anger was about, of course, was that the holiday makers did not want to accept responsibility for the mess.

    I tend to wonder if that is similar to the reasoning behind ordinary people who deny climate change.

    And interestingly, I see a similar pattern in both Canada and Australia when it comes to accepting that Indigenous peoples in both countries have suffered. There is, it seems to me, a similar angry resistance by the same cohort of people who deny climate change–to whit: “Don’t blame me!” Or, (like the rubbish in the national park) “If you didn’t draw attention to the problem, no one would know about it.”

    late night thoughts…


    Only posted here because you can never be too careful.

    News at last!…




    I should also add that, as a Time Lord, you have been gone for more than five minutes…




    Saw the news this morning. Very sad indeed. Not only was he brilliant as Avon (indeed, his Avon was both magnetic and seductive–in a way perhaps not a million miles away from River Song) but there were other shows I remember him from. In particular, he he was great as Mr. Tallboy in the Lord Peter Wimsey Story–“Murder Must Advertise” from the early 70s. He will, indeed, be missed.




    OK… actual monsters from the past. Interesting. And given who the monsters are, I get the feeling that there will be a slight change of direction in this upcoming season.

    (season…series…? I find this whole growing up with English terms and then getting used to North American terms very confusing.)




    Hi Syzygy,

    well, yes, it’s true, you should always reference (said not in a sing song voice, but a sententious disapproving voice…)

    but I am pleased to report the the blenkinsop archival skills revealed the source as the NY Times, Jan 19, 2017. (It’s a good article, as well.)

    And if anyone on the right in Australian politics starts arguing against compulsory voting, that is the time to man the barricades, as far as I am concerned.



    Hello syzygy! (it is always exciting to be at the birth of a new voice–time will tell whether the views of the new syzygy are different from those of the old Puro and Thane…)

    Where does the Waleed Aly quote come from?



    Well, that was depressing news to wake up to.

    Although, entirely predictable.

    Anyway, here are a few thoughts on what are essential to know about to get a handle on what is distinctively Australian. (In light of the election, the following tend to be oriented towards politics in the broadest sense.)

    Compulsory voting: the single most civilized thing about the Australian political system, in my opinion.

    The idea that no matter what the outcome of an election, Australians “abide by the umpire’s decision”: the single most civilized thing about Australian political culture.

    And now for the bad:

    The White Australia Policy: it may be gone, but it continues to hang, like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, over every aspect of Australian life. As far as I am concerned, it is impossible to understand what modern Australia is without understanding the role that policy has played in Australian history.

    Time for another coffee, to wash away the taste in my mouth in light of this morning’s election news.



    @thane16 and @janetteb

    Oh, crikey. Where to start?

    I started writing, but realized (a) it required a lot more thought, and (b) it is close to midnight where I am. So I will respond properly when…well, when we might know who  is the new government.

    But before I go to bed I do want to say that in my lifetime, three Prime Ministers changed Australia for the better: Whitlam, Hawke and Keating. What followed was part of the reason I am now living in Canada.



    @winston Totally agree that this was very enjoyable. In fact, this two parter (and my lips are sealed on the second part until next week) remains one of my favourite AG Who stories. I know it has received some flack but I find it quintessentially Who. The Doctor’s admonition that we have to be “the best of humanity”, the seamless juxtaposition of humour and scares (I love the idea that the Doctor and Rory can capture the Silurian in a Meals-on-Wheels van), and the final revelation of the underground Silurian city–it all just works for me.

    Knowing that it is a Chibnall story, One can see links to his other work–the child under threat, the potential conflict between mother and father, and the fact that none of the adults (not even the Doctor) can protect the child from abduction–has clear parallels with Broadchurch.

    Watching it again last night I also wondered about the extent to which a Chibnall authored story like this is actually rather collaborative. The scene of Amy and Rory waving at themselves, Rory placing the engagement ring back in the Tardis–they are linked to a wider season-length arc that goes beyond this particular Silurian episode. It would be interesting to know how a writer like Chibnall (or any guest writer) works around those expectations.

    Anyway, a thoroughly enjoyable episode, and looking forward to next week!



    Welcome back @craig!

    And you return bearing treats! You are a beneficent Emperor indeed.


    @craig, @bluesqueakpip, or anyone who can solve the issue, I suspect that I am not the only person to receive an email from Elizabeth who wants to share her fortune…



    After reading the Rachel Talalay notes you uploaded, I watched Heaven Sent again last night. Fascinating to compare the notes with the way it was realized. The whole was very effective, yet I wonder if the TV monitors clashed a bit with the dream-like quality of the castle? For me, perhaps they did. But it was still a damned effective episode, and the insight her notes gave into the way it was conceived and realized was very, very interesting.


    @scaryb That material from Rachel Talalay is absolutely fascinating. Thanks for posting.

    I will have some reflections, but it is coming up to 5pm Pacific time in Canada which means…off to the pub!


    @scaryb (waves!)

    It is hard to think of a Who story more relevant to today’s headlines than “The Crusade”. And I really do mean today’s headlines.



    Just reporting back on a re-watch of one of the partial stories contained in the disc “Lost in Time”.

    the story is the brilliant “The Crusade” from 1965. Scripted by David Whitaker, and directed by Douglas Camfield (perhaps the best writer and best director of the early years–although they have contenders) it is a fourt-part story set in Palestine involving the Crusade led by King Richard (played by Julian Glover) against Saladin (played by the wonderful Bernard Kay). It really is one of the very best early Who stories.

    it also features the incomparable Jean Marsh as Richard’s sister Joanna. It is a story of palace intrigue and those that suffer when warriors thirst for war. The comparison between Richard and Saladin is really interesting–Richard is not portrayed as all that likeable, expecting his sister to offer herself to Saladin as a bride, for example, while Saladin is the wise, but weary ruler surrounded (as is Richard) by military leaders who thirst for battle.

    The picture it presents of Palestine is a cosmopolitan one, where the futility of war is obvious to the viewer. At a time (the late 50s, early 60s) when Britain had engaged in some less than admirable military ventures (the Mau Mau Rebellion, For example) the story is both complex and yet still able to be understood by children. It remains a family show about time travel, and yet the story is making a serious political point about war and imperialism. Now, who would have thought Doctor Who ever did that…?

    If you can, watch it (two episodes remain intact, the other two are audio only).


    @bluesqueakpip, @winston, @janetteb By golly, we did discuss it back then. Of course, I have entered the phase of life when what I did yesterday is often a mystery to me…

    Until @craig is back on deck (best wishes) might I suggest that if you can find a copy on a streaming service or online (particularly those who might not have seen much early Who) that you try and find the box entitled “Lost in Time” that includes some of the existing episodes from shows that are otherwise lost due to the BBC policy of wiping tapes back in the mid sixties. There are some fascinating glimpses of shows from the Hartnell/Troughton years.

    On the other hand, @bluesqueakpip may remind us that we discussed that as well back in the mists of time, and lost to the Blenkinsop memory…




    @craig, @bluesqueakpip, @thane16, @winston, @janetteb, @cathannabel, and, well, everybody

    I mentioned this before, but, I think it would be a great idea if we could have a discussion about Dr Who again. After all, that is why we are here.

    So @craig, (and everyone) what about “The Meddling Monk”?



    Sometimes, it seems, the BBC suits make the right decision…I mean, yes, she’s funny, but…



    I saw your avatar on the page, and thought: “Brilliant! She has survived the 48 degree heat.” A few days ago Mrs Blenkinsop flew over to Toronto to visit family. It was minus 18 degrees. What a crazy world.


    I was just reading about the Trump administration’s NSA advisor John Bolton apparently revealing  (because he was holding his notepad in full view of the cameras) that they may be sending 5000 troops to Columbia, presumably because of what’s happening in Venezuela) and I was reminded (because of the rank stupidity involved) of the bit in the Woody Allen movie “Bananas”:




    You must watch it! It is lots of fun, and it is the first time a renegade Time Lord is introduced. And it is about 1066!

    Here is a brief clip (approved by the BBC!):



    Hi @craig

    Since we have a very long wait for new Who, do you think we might revisit some old Who to discuss?

    And I mean really old Who. Specifically, “The Meddling Monk”.



    Hullo…apparently I do know how to embed a twitter announcement…

    Very mysterious.


    BBC America has announced the start of production of series 12.

    Wasn’t sure how to embed a twitter announcement, so:

    Filming Begins On “Doctor Who” Series 12

    p.s. just saw my post above again. Well, I got that one wrong!



    @thane16 and @janetteb

    My commiserations over the weather. 40 degrees? 46  degrees?!!! It sounds awful. But as a citizen (albeit an expatriate) I am sure we all feel confident knowing that the country is governed by idiots who do not believe in climate change. And whenever they deny it, they always conflate climate with weather. That level of scientific perspicacity reminds me of the opposition to the introduction of daylight saving back in the day…”The extra hour of sunlight will fade the curtains!”

    I hope there is some relief in sight.



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