Trump

It’s too easy to make fun of Mr Trump. Because of how he is, what he does.

We know he is stupid, we know he is unhinged, we know no-one can stand up to him. His irrational tweets show us, and we don’t need to read books to know this. You look at the family, the friends, people in the White House, senior Trump advisors, who used to be fashion correspondents.

But Mr Trump is the President of the USA, the leader of the western world, the most powerful person on this planet.

Doesn’t that scare you?

So, i am off to New York city. I will meet people and talk to locals. They will not talk about Trump. In NYC, you cannot get away from Trump. He ‘owns’ so many buildings, but it’s like he doesn’t. Get something about Trump from a local, and it’s generally disgust. They don’t like uncouth, common people.

Trump’s buildings have his name all over them. A tv programme said that Trump Tower has been shown to be the least ecologically efficient building in the world. There was a fire recently. Someone died. Had Mr Trump chosen to install sprinklers, to protect the people and the building, this would not have happened. Mr Trump dismissed the whole thing with “well built building”, in a tweet.

All Mr Trump wants to be is the most famous person in the world. Possibly he is, and, for many, a source of amazed laughter.

2001

It is fifty years and a little bit since 2001: A Space Odyssey was released. 1968.

So many books and articles have been written about this film over the years, you wonder if there is anything left to say.

But I have a few thoughts.

When it came out, man was nowhere near landing on the Moon. There was no cinema cgi. Nowadays, every film has a wash of cgi on it, but not one frame of this film. It was all actual models, hand animation and other rather ingenious special effects. It was craftsmanship and patience and skill. And it shows on the screen, setting a visual standard that films nowadays cannot match.

I know people who hate science fiction and have never seen it. This is actually probably good. It is a film made for the cinema, a true film. I first saw it in my home town on a small screen, but when I moved to London, it was on in 70mm (or Cinerama) at the Casino theatre (now the Prince Edward). On a big screen, with a good print (film, not digital) it is an experience never to be forgotten. Those huge, glorious images, and that wonderful detail. And let’s not forget the choice of classical music.

It is a film unlike any other. Whatever you may think of the story, and it is just a story, 2001 is one of the greatest films ever. The story is told mostly through the images. There are occasional patches of expository speech, once on the Moon about the object they have discovered and again at the end, as HAL is being lobotomised.

Kubrick is dead. Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood are alive, and will talk about the film, though I think Mr Lockwood thinks it’s “just a film” in the end, and that there’s a lot of popmpous nonsense said about it. Douglas Rain, who voiced HAL, is still alive but does not seem to want to talk about it any more.

2001 represents a high point in cinema history. Yes, people can point out mistakes – Pan Am has gone, Howard Johnson’s too, and 2001 the year is long gone and manned space travel is more restricted now than it was in 1968, which is sad.

Is spelling important?

OK, I know there are people who find spelling and recognising words difficult. I also know there are people who are dyslexic who revel in it, use it as an excuse for pretty much anything.

I watch YouTube and similar from time to time. There are some interesting clips on audio, photography, travel, tv, music… things I am interested in and want to learn more about. I assume the people making clips on a topic are experts, they know something I don’t, something I will be interested in. I assume they speak with knowledge and authority.

But then you watch videos and you see simple spelling mistakes, with words you would expect them to know, simple words sometimes.

Like the travel man not being able to spell WIMBLEDON (“Wimbleon”), the hifi man (“Turntabel”), someone talking about movies (“Moveis”), “UBS” (as in memory stick), “Weinsein” (as in the film man) and the list goes on.

To be honest, it is very rare to watch something that has no spelling mistakes at all.

How do I feel? well, if you know you have a difficulty and you are putting something out for the world to view and judge, don’t you make an extra effort, or get someone else to check? How hard is that? Five minutes perhaps.

So I look at these badly made clips of people telling me stuff with rubbish written on the screen, and I discount what they say and, to be honest, don’t take them seriously.

And feel disappointed.

YouTube

There are many people who post tourist guides on YouTube. They may be on other sites, too, but I don’t look. These vary in quality considerably.

I know when I travel that there are basic things that I like to know. What public transport there is, for example, and how to use it. How to get to and from the airport. Places to avoid. Even how to cross the road.

If you see a video entitled “10 things that will shock you about London”, then you know you are going to find out something of major importance.

In the first video I am thinking of (no, I won’t lower myself to giving a link), the presenter says that the first shocking thing is that London is big. That is shocking? The presenter is plainly some small town American who has no concept of the world (despite his travel videos, well, actually, mostly of his children playing) and no understanding that one of the major cities of the world is going to be relatively large.

Elsewhere, someone else is shocked that we do dates ‘wrongly’. In America it is MM/DD/YY. Here and for almost all the rest of the world it is DD/MM/YY. Even the USA immigration department acknowledge that the American way of doing dates is confusing, as the immigration forms ask for the more standard format. You, lady presenter, cannot cope with the dates, but that doesn’t mean they are ‘wrong’. Of course, neither is the best. YYYY/MM/DD would be advantageous for many reasons.

Someone else was ‘shocked’ that roads in the UK are not straight and that the cars drive on the wrong side! And that we use the metric system, obviously ‘wrong’. And we don’t accept dollars in our shops.

And so on. Shocking.

You would hope that people who create websites, do blogs or vlogs about any topic will bring some knowledge or informed commentary to a subject. I talk about London because I have lived here for nearly 40 years. There are things I don’t write about, because I don’t know.

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