Trump Wins

Before we move on, I feel like I need to acknowledge that Trump is now US President, and it really sucks.

I don’t know if there’s much point adding anything else but perhaps we can continue the conversation in the comments.

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It’s Getting Hot in Here …

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Further reading.

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Five Little Ducks – Part 2

 

But not even one little duck came back …

 

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Mother Duck went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

Mother Duck said …

 

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And you can bet your ass that every single one of those little ducks came back.

 

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Five Little Ducks – Part 1

Five little ducks went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

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Mother duck said, “Quack. Quack Quack Quack.”

But only four little ducks came back.

 

Four little ducks went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

Mother duck said, “Quack. Quack Quack Quack.”

But only three little ducks came back.

 

Three little ducks went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

Mother duck said, “Quack. Quack Quack Quack.”

But only two little ducks came back.

 

Two little ducks went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

Mother duck said, “Quack. Quack Quack Quack.”

But only one little duck came back.

 

One little duck went out one day,

Over the hills and far away,

Mother duck said…

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duck3

 

duck4

 

duck5

 

duck6

 

duck7

 

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To be continued…

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5 Reasons Why ‘Blinky Bill’ is Way More Messed Up Than You Thought

Blinky Bill. Australia’s favourite lovable larrikin. You may know him from this cartoon …

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… or from the 2015 movie  …

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… or perhaps you have no idea what I’m talking about because you’re not a 90’s kid from Australia who watched too many cartoons. Either way, you are probably not familiar with Blinky’s dark origin story from the 1930’s …

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I was given this book (which is a collection of three stories) as a child, and now that I have a kid myself, I’ve been gifted it again (though I suppose, technically it’s for my child, not me). You would think that seeing that same cheeky koala on the cover would send waves of nostalgia through me – but mostly it just made me think of how disturbing I found the book when I was younger.

Don’t believe me that a story about a koala could be full of unimaginable horrors? Well read on and find out for yourself.

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1. Blinky (Maybe) Kills the World’s Nicest Frog and Doesn’t Even Care

Let’s start with the part I found most troubling.

In the first story the little koala runs away from home to explore the bush, and stumbles upon a school for frogs. Apparently the school has a “No Bears” policy but the teacher, Mrs Spotty, decides its okay for Blinky to join in – because she’s either really nice or she just understands that koalas aren’t actually bears. She even invites Blinky to join in on a game of leapfrog.

And that’s where everything goes horribly wrong.

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Yes, Blinky’s turn results in him squashing poor Mrs Spotty into something resembling a pancake. Thankfully the story points out that she’s not dead. Yet.

“‘Oh I’ve killed her!’ he cried in a frightened voice … She certainly did look flat; but her throat was puffing and one eye moved a little.”

Blinky then pushes her into the water, which you’d think might be the right thing to do (frogs do like water after all). Except that it clearly wasn’t.

“He gave her a push with his paw, and in she went, head first. ‘Now you’ve done it!’ called the frogs in cries of horror. ‘We’ll tell the policeman.'”

With the reader left to think that Mrs Spotty may have met her watery demise, Blinky hightails it out of there. Still, Blinky apparently doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong – because the frog he may have killed was kind of ugly anyway.

“‘I’m not sorry for Mrs Spotty, she had such googly eyes.'”

And if you’re anxious to know that Mrs Spotty was okay – bad luck. The reader has to wait 40 pages for the next story, which has one off-hand, slightly ambiguous comment in a discussion about a bush bazaar.

“Last year Mrs Thrush sang for us … and Mrs Spotty Frog’s pupils gave an exhibition of jumping.”

Not entirely reassuring but I guess it’ll have to do.

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2. Mrs Snake and Granny Goanna Die in Agony Under Blinky’s Command

In the second story, Blinky colludes with an army of bull-ants to launch an ambush attack on an elderly goanna and her snake friend. Here’s an excerpt from this charming moment in children’s literature …

“‘For heaven’s sake save me, save me!’ moaned Granny Goanna, as she hissed until all her hisses had gone.”

And another …

“Oh! Oh! I’m dying!” groaned Mrs Snake, and she fell with a thud to the ground. In another second plopped down Granny Goanna, as dead as a door nail.”

The ants bite the pair to death and then feast on their flesh until only bones are left, and Blinky watches the whole thing with glee.

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To be fair, the goanna and snake were planning to eat the children of Miss Possum, so they kind of deserved it. Still, it’s not exactly the light and fluffy, child-friendly material you’d usually associate with cuddly koalas.

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3. So Much Corpse Desecration

One of the moments that sets the surprisingly macabre tone of the book, comes right at the beginning when Mrs Rabbit is talking about her dead husband …

“‘Poor Mr Rabbit was shot, and I found his skin nearby; but I managed to bite off the tail and bring it home.”

Yes, innocent Mrs Rabbit actually bites off a body part of her deceased lover to keep as a souvenir. To make it worse, the tail is then promptly eaten by a snake who thinks it’s a baby koala – because these stories are also full of attempted infanticide.

The carnage isn’t over though as, not long after, the body of another dearly departed bunny is tampered with. Again it’s as a decoy for a would-be predator but this time the whole corpse is stuffed full of prickles and propped up as if it were alive – making it look like something from a rabbit version of Hellraiser.

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4. A Cute Joke Ends With Someone Buried Alive

Crickets playing a game of cricket. Adorable, right? Especially when it’s coupled with this illustration …

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However, things take a dark turn when the crickets start savagely beating one of their own then burying him alive. Of course Blinky is not phased by this and simply leaves the crickets to their business.

“They pounced on him and gave him a terrible kicking; and as Blinky turned to walk away he saw them piling earth on top of the bowler.”

And what was the victim’s crime that made him deserve such a punishment?

He broke the cricket ball.

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5. Blinky Traumatically Injures an Elderly Rabbit as a Prank

At one point, Blinky ends up at a party for rabbits. He has no business being there but, once again, he is allowed to hang around due to the kindness of the other bush animals. So how does he repay this kindness?

He yanks the tail of elderly, Madam Hare.

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At first this doesn’t seem so bad. Madam Hare is depicted as a bit mean anyway, and Blinky does get rather severe comeuppance when he is found out (he is literally kicked out of the rabbit burrow). But there’s one passage that changes everything …

“She looked a sorry sight with her stumpy tail showing bone”

He ripped the flesh off her tail all the way down to the bone! Suddenly it’s clear that this wasn’t just a harmless prank – it was an attempt to inflict maximum pain and maybe even cause sickness …

“‘My poor tail has been pulled again, and you all know it’s moulting time. I’ll catch a dreadful cold is I lose any more fur.'”

And at this point one thing is as plain as day.

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This is the face of pure evil.

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If you’d like to traumatise your own children with Blinky’s adventures, the three stories are available for free online here, here and here. Or for more overanalysis of kids’ tales, check out my Happy Feet or Winnie the Pooh rants.

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Andy’s Movie List 2015

(Note: Eligibity for the list is based on Australian release dates).

A new year has begun, so why not celebrate by watching some of the best movies of the year just gone?

“But which movies to watch?” I hear you ask.

Well if you’re asking me, the films in the list below should be top priority. And if you’re not asking me, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog. Seriously, there are plenty of other things you could be doing with your time. I hear that knitting is fun.

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This could be you.

10. Avengers: Age of Ultron

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It packs so much into its running time that it feels like a bit of a mess, but Marvel’s latest mega-blockbuster is still a fine example of crowd-pleasing entertainment. Superhero-fatigue is starting to set in for me though, so it’ll be interesting to see if Marvel can keep me on their side in the coming years.

9. Ex Machina

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A quiet, deliberately paced sci-fi that’s as captivating as it is unsettling. Stunning visuals and complex characters make it a winner, even if one those characters isn’t human.

8. Inherent Vice

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To me, 2015 was the year of seriously strange but brilliant films, and Inherent Vice may have been the strangest of them all. Enjoy it for it’s melancholy and surreal (yet quite funny) take on 1970’s culture – just don’t think too hard about it’s incoherent plot.

7. Paddington

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Recent times have been chock-full of updated versions of children’s shows. Most of them aren’t worth your time (Smurfs, anyone?). But Paddington is a definite exception. It’s about as fun and charming as you could ever hope for from a family movie.

6. The Martian

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Another year, another fantastic semi-realistic space movie (I’m also thinking of Gravity and Interstellar). Despite a couple of far-fetched scenes, this may be the most realistic of the three, yet it never compromises on entertainment value and humour.

5. Imitation Game

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A masterful biopic that just scrapes into the list due to its release date (1st January). It might play fast and loose with the historical details, but its such a well told story that I’m not sure I care. In the end, the audience walks away convinced that Alan Turing was a brilliant man who was unfairly treated by the authorities – and that much seems to be very true.

4. Birdman

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I’ve never been a fan of director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s work. 21 Grams felt like a waste of time, and Babel was just its slightly better cousin. If I’d written a letter to Alejandro a couple of years ago with suggestions for his next film I would have asked him to; add some humour, use more long tracking shots, and make the plot more focused. Turns out that’s exactly what he had planned anyway, because Birdman has all of that in spades. It’s also probably the weirdest film to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars.

3. Inside Out

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Pixar’s return to form is jam-packed full of laughs, creativity and tearworthy moments (but I just had something in my eye, I swear). It’s also great to see a family film with a different sort of message. In a sense it may be another version of the “just be yourself” message that we always see in these films, but it approaches it from such a unique angle that even the adults in the audience are likely to walk away with a new perspective.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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As a massive fan of the original trilogy (at this moment I’m surrounded by at least three pieces of Star Wars memorabilia) The Force Awakens was never going to live up to my hopes and dreams. But amazingly, it came pretty damn close. My main problem with it is that it follows the formula of first film (Episode IV) a little too closely. I’m glad it came close to recapturing the feel of those older movies, but it also flirted dangerously with being a repackaged version of the same film.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

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Remember when I said that 2015 was the year of seriously strange but brilliant films? Well, this was at the forefront of my mind. I remember seeing the trailer and thinking it looked like the craziest thing ever. Turns out I wasn’t wrong. So much about it is batshit insane that it makes the original Mad Max films look  like The English Patient – but it’s also a masterclass in energetic, enthusiastic, thrilling cinema and should not be missed.

Honourable Mentions: Selma, Shaun the Sheep, Still Alice

Some of the Movies I DIDN’T See But Probably Should Have: Straight Outta Compton, Crimson Peak, Sicario, Hunger Games: Part 4, Amy, Foxcatcher, Theory of Everything

Worst (That I Saw) of the Year: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

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Usually I’d use this space to whine about some mainstream blockbuster that I felt was overrated. Not this time though. This time I’m choosing an artsy, relatively low budget film that was seen by few but loved by critics all over the world. Why? Well, just think of all the typical complaints that people usually have about arthouse films, because this time  they’re all valid (e.g. Tedious. Nothing happens. Pretentious. Unfunny. Waste of time.). Feel free to give it a shot if you want to try something different, but remember that different doesn’t necessarily mean good.

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What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Or check out my movie lists from previous years here.

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A Very Leroy Christmas

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Still feeling Christmassy? Great! This comic I did about Rudolph is just for you.

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