Sunday, 31 August 2014

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

That's It

Aye, this is the final post for today and the month of August.  The reason for is that somehow I've gone a bit OTT and posted quite a bit this month and I am almost 100% certain I will never be able to repeat this crazy feat again.  Over two thousand posts in one month?  Mental.

And to ensure it remains memorable and to keep my OCD in check, I have decided to stick with all the twos; 2 222.

Naturally I have kept one left for our favourite comic duo, Calvin & Hobbes which follow next, and I will see you all tomorrow.  No doubt late than usual and suffering- with only a hangover I hope and not through a poor Spurs' loss.  :o)

Ta to Olivera

For translating and printing this off.  I'll be handing a few out to our pals locally and hope they have as good a time as I intend to.

Some Very Odd Results Yesterday

Nine goals at Goodison Park, Man City beaten at home, the Toon's yo-yoing draw and we still have Spurs v Liverpool and The Arse to play today.  If we can at least nick a point, that would be a good result, but who knows?

We'll be at the Bariera to watch the MotoGP from rainy Silverstone and then carrying on for the Tottenham game- we've got it all arranged for prime seats and they even have Guinness back.  It may only be from tins, but there's something about drinking a cold black one in the sun that makes it taste extra special.  And it's the same price as a Union or Lasko at our other haunts, so it would rude not to.

Anyway, as posts are valuable today, all the results, remaining fixtures and table in one go:


Latest standings

No Movement1Chelsea379
No Movement2Swansea359
No Movement3Tottenham256
No Movement4Man City336
No Movement5Arsenal214
No Movement6Southampton314
No Movement7Hull214
No Movement8Aston Villa214
No Movement9Stoke304
No Movement10West Ham3-13
No Movement11Liverpool2-13
No Movement12QPR3-43
No Movement13Sunderland3-12
No Movement14Man Utd3-12
No Movement15Newcastle3-22
No Movement16Everton3-32
No Movement17West Brom3-32
No Movement18Leicester2-21
No Movement19Crystal Palace3-31
No Movement20Burnley3-31

RIP Big T?- 4

1. “You Probably Don’t Even Hear It When It Happens, Right?”

If David Chase can be credited for anything, it’s how every detail in his programming matters. There was a specific line that was referred to three times in the final season. It was uttered by Bobby Bacala to Tony in the episode “Sopranos Home Movies.” When Tony talks about how most mob bosses either end up dead or in jail, Bobby says, “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?” referring to being killed.
This theme of not hearing it when it happens resurfaces twice throughout the final season. In the episode “Stage 5,” Silvio Dante is having dinner with Gerry Torciano whenGerry is murdered at the table. The gunshot happens while the camera is focused on Silvio, and Silvio doesn’t even notice there’s a gunshot until blood is splattered on his face. The sound cuts off, and only a low-volume ringing is heard (like you were wearing headphones and listening to music too loud). It’s a good two seconds before Silvio even realizes what is going on. Silvio tells Tony later, “…scary thing was I didn’t know what happened until after the shot was fired.”
Finally, the “don’t even hear it when it happens,” line comes up one more time in “The Blue Comet” as Tony reminisces about Bobby after Bobby was murdered. David Chase brought this theme of not hearing death coming up three times during the season to prepare the viewer for not hearing death coming for Tony in the final scene.
Those five pieces of evidence should be definitive enough to convince anybody that Tony Soprano was shot and killed by the Man in the Members Only Jacket in Holstein’s. If anybody chooses to accept any other scenario, it renders the final scene nonsensical and open for ridicule. David Chase’s big mistake was overestimating the ability of the viewing audience to think beyond what’s in front of their face, as well as underestimating their bloodlust and desire to see Tony’s brains splattered all over Holstein’s. Chase, as he was wont to do over the course of the series, decided to go cerebral with the ending of his series by wanting the viewers to feel Tony’s death rather than see it. And because the ending required people to think rather than to take what was in front of them at face value, he’s been forced to have to answer questions about the final scene for seven years now.
Unfortunately for us, Chase refuses to compromise his artistic integrity by explaining the scene himself. That’s why it seems that his comment in the Vox article was sarcastic and made out of frustration, but the author of the article chose to take it literally, and now a wonderful website like Master of Sopranos is being bombarded with emails requesting that the site be taken down. No matter what David Chase says in the media, these pieces of evidence put together are convincing enough that Tony Soprano is dead.

RIP Big T?- 4

2. Tony’s Point Of View

Many shots in the final scene (as well as throughout the course of the series) were shown from Tony Soprano’s point of view. When AJ, Carmella and the Man in the Members Only jacket enter the scene, they’re all filmed from the same location. The camera would be placed exactly where Tony would be looking. And each entrance shot was shown after Tony picked his head up to see who was coming in. Therefore, the audience is seeing everybody’s entrance through Tony’s eyes.
Now, let’s go back to Meadow entering Holstein’s. The final shot of the series has Tony looking up to see who is coming in, as evidenced by the bell ringing when the door opened. Now, when it aired live, many viewers swore up and down that they saw Meadow enter the diner. But they didn’t. They just expected to, because that’s what Tony was expecting.
The cut to black, which replaced the shot of Meadow entering the diner as Carmella and AJ did, was also shown from Tony’s point of view. It’s just that he was already dead, so that’s why there was blackness.
There was also a longer delay than usual between the cut to black and the credits rolling in silence, long enough that many viewers thought that their cable had gone out on them. Those extra seconds of blackness represented the nothingness of death, which we as the audience were experiencing from Tony’s point of view.
So when people had the theory of, “the ending was David Chase ‘whacking’ the audience,” they’re actually right in a sense. Only the audience was experiencing the “whack” from Tony’s point of view.
And there’s a very good reason why we as the audience, through Tony’s point of view, didn’t hear any kind of gunshot before the darkness.

RIP Big T?- 3

3. Meadow’s Parallel Parking

One of the big focuses of the final scene is Meadow Soprano, Tony’s daughter, trying and failing to parallel park her car. Considering how strange the cut to black was, viewers may have forgotten how strange it was that in the final 30 seconds of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, the audience is watching Meadow Soprano trying to park her car.
The question that can be drawn from Meadow’s final scenes is: “What are we supposed to get out of watching this?”
If we subscribe to the (correct) theory that the Man in the Members Only Jacket killed Tony coming out of the bathroom, then Meadow’s parallel parking may have been able to save her father’s life. As the diner table is laid out, Tony is sitting alone with Carmella and AJ across from him. When Meadow gets into the diner, she would obviously sit next to her father. What this creates is a block in the line of sight for the Man in the Members Only Jacket. Without Meadow, he has a clear shot at Tony from the bathroom.
Meadow’s presence is so important because of something Tony told Carmella in the previous episode, “The Blue Comet,” just after Bobby Bacala was murdered. In an attempt to calm her, he said, “Families don’t get touched,” meaning that there is an inherent code in the mafia to not go after family members. Now, there’s no guarantee that had Meadow sat down that the Man in the Members Only Jacket wouldn’t have shot her before trying to shoot Tony, but since Meadow didn’t make it into Holstein’s in time, we will never know.

RIP Big T?- 2

4. The Godfather

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie The Godfather involves Michael Corleone (played by a young Al Pacino) avenging two assassination attempts on his father, Don Corleone, by agreeing to murder Virgil Sollazzo (who ordered the first attempt) and Police Captain McCluskey (who pulled his police forces away from the hospital where Don Corleone was recuperating for the second attempt). Michael makes an agreement to meet Sollazzo and McCluskey at a restaurant for dinner under the false pretenses of settling the dispute between Sollazzo and his father. Knowing he’d be searched for weapons, Michael has one of his associates hide a handgun behind a bathroom stall. Michael excuses himself during dinner and goes to the bathroom. He retrieves the gun, then returns and shoots both men.
There are a number of Godfather references throughout The Sopranos (remember Silvio repeating “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” in the second episode’s cold open?), and it was obvious that the film had a big influence on David Chase. That’s why he used the movie’s most pivotal scene as his muse for his series’s most pivotal scene.
If you think of the ending of The Sopranos like a game of Clue, we had the culprit, now we have a weapon and a location. It was Man in Members Only Jacket in the Bathroom with the Handgun!

RIP Big T?- 1

5. The Man In The Members Only Jacket

David Chase gave a lot of attention to the Man in the Members Only Jacket, sitting at the counter during the majority of the scene. He is the only person other than Tony’s family who is shown entering the diner. He is shown looking over at Tony at various points during the scene. The camera follows him as he gets up and walks to the bathroom. David Chase wanted us to recognize this man’s presence. But why? Because he was the man who murdered Tony Soprano.
When the cast of the patrons in the diner was listed in the credits, there were names like “Truck Driver in Diner,” “Old Woman in Diner,” “Old Man in Diner,” etc. However, one credit sticks out as interesting. It’s listed as “Man in Members Only Jacket.” Of all the “extras,” he got a callout and was the only credit not to have his title end “in diner.” This was a deliberate decision, and has a tie-in to the very first episode of the season, appropriately titled “Members Only.”
In the first episode, one of Tony’s lieutenants, Eugene Pontecorvo (who wears a Members Only jacket) receives as $2 million inheritance and wants to quit the mafia, but Tony won’t let him, and Eugene hangs himself by the end of the episode. But before Eugene commits suicide, Tony orders him to kill a man named Teddy Spiradokis (whose initials are T.S.). Eugene shoots Teddy and kills him in a diner, similar to how Tony ends up dying. The Man in the Members Only jacket in the final scene also looks like Eugene.
The fact that David Chase cast an extra without a speaking role as “Man in Members Only Jacket” when no other extra in the diner got any kind of special designation is a clue that this man is important. Namely, he is the man who killed Tony Soprano.
So, we have our man. Do we have our method?

RIP Big T?- Intro

It’s been more than seven years since The Sopranos ended with one of the most polarizing final scenes in television history. Since “Don’t Stop Believin’” blasted through the speakers of nearly 12 million television sets on June 10, 2007, everybody has been asking the question: just what exactly happened?
Here’s what we know about the scene. Tony Soprano walks into Holstein’s diner and looks at the jukebox. He selects Journey and looks around the diner at the patrons. Of particular interest is a man sitting by himself at the bar. As the song continues to play, Tony’s wife Carmella and his son AJ enter the diner. They converse, and the man at the bar gets up and walks to the bathroom. As this is happening, Tony’s daughter Meadow is outside the diner, trying to parallel park but failing twice. She finally succeeds on the third time, and as she enters the diner, Tony looks up, and the screen immediately cuts to black.
So…what happened? Did Tony Soprano die or not? For years, show creator David Chase has been mum on details…apparently until now.
That famous scene has recently made headlines again when Chase answered a direct question posed to him about Tony Soprano’s fate. The article says:
“When he (Chase) answered the ‘Did Tony die’ question, he was laconic. Just the fact and no interpretation.  He shook his head and said, ‘No, he isn’t’. That was all.
First off, it was bad journalism to not ask a followup question considering the fact that Chase had finally given a direct answer after years of dodging the question. Secondly, there was no true context to Chase’s demeanor. “Laconic” doesn’t really tell us much. Did he seem sarcastic? Annoyed? Frustrated? It was very naive of the writer to assume that what Chase told her was the absolute truth.
Chase quickly responded to the article in question and offered a non-committal denial. So the debate rages on. But there really should be no debate. Anybody who was paying attention to the final scene really knows the truth: Tony Soprano is dead.
The final scene has been broken down in painstaking detail (almost frame by frame) in this fantastic Master of Sopranos essay. It is an extremely long, but worthwhile read that does a great job of making the argument that Tony died in the final scene. Many of the reasons in the essay are theoretical, and many parts are guesses or connecting dots that may not have been meant to be connected. However, when looking at the final scene itself, as well as the hints dropped by Chase throughout the final season, there were five main arguments that should convince you beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tony Soprano was killed in Holstein’s in front of his family.
What Culture


Longhand notes are better for taking in conceptual information than inputting notes into laptop.

C & H II

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic

Mop Tops

This is where Beatlemania begins.  Along with the then “shocking” Beatle haircuts, this song is “the” symbol, “the signature tune” of the early Beatles- the four happy, cheerful, chipper, and harmless moptops.  This is the Beatles before drugs, before Yoko Ono, before the facial hair, before the in-house fighting and bickering, before John said they were “more popular than Jesus.
The song seems to encapsulate the image of the “early Beatles”- an image still held indelibly in the minds of millions of fans the world over.  “She loves you” was written by John and Paul in very unremarkable circumstances.  The two brilliant co-writers sat down in a hotel room on June 26, 1963 and dutifully knocked it out.  They finished it up at McCartney’s childhood home a few days later.  (This, by the way, was the first Beatles record of any kind with the publishing credit rendered as “Lennon-McCartney” rather than the other way around.  All songs written by John and Paul, even if one had written the entire song themselves, were credited to John & Paul jointly.)
That said, “She Loves You” seems to have been a genuine 50-50, half & half, collaborative effort.  At the time they composed it, the boys were on a bus tour as a back-up act to a teenage girl named Helen Shapiro.  The song itself is unusual for a love song, in that it is about a guy talking to another guy about a girl who loves the second guy.
John and Paul’s original idea was a call and response type of song.  According to Paul, the original plan was “a couple of us would sing, ‘She loves you’ (choruses) and the others would do the ‘yeah yeah yeah’ ones… Then John and I agreed it was pretty crummy idea… but at least we had the basic idea of writing the song.”
Thus, the call and response idea was ditched, and instead, the “yeah yeah yeah” was tacked on to the opening line, a chorus in the middle, and the finish.  The gimmick worked and the “yeah yeah yeah” became an early Beatles catchphrase.  (Paul’s father, a very proper Englishman, actually chided Paul for not using “yes yes yes” as the chorus.)
Another gimmick of John and Paul’s was the constant use of pronouns in their early song titles. “She Loves You” followed “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” and “From Me to You” in the Beatles canon. Another pronoun title, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” had actually preceded “She Loves You” to the top of the charts in America, and these two would be back-to-back number one hits for the Fab Four in early 1964. This rare event had only previously been accomplished by Elvis Presley in 1956.
Americans at large got their first earful of “She Loves You” (and eyeful of the Beatles themselves) on a film clip of the Fab Four on “The Jack Paar Show” on January 3, 1964, one month before the Beatles arrived in the U.S. for the first time.  Paar showed the brief clip and made a few withering, sarcastic remarks as the studio audience giggled at these strange-looking long-haired youths in their matching collarless jackets.
Despite this being the first widespread look at “She Loves You,” it was not the first time Americans had been exposed to it.  “She Loves You” was released a few times on various minor labels in the U.S. in 1963… It flopped.  Famed DJ Murray the K even played it to lukewarm reception with it placing third of five new singles he debuted that week.  For whatever reason, although the Beatles were already a smash act in England, the record buyers of America answered the early Beatles efforts with a yawn of disinterest. Of course, this would rapidly change.
British singer, Kenny Lynch, was a performer with the Beatles on their bus tour of 1963 and has clear memories of John and Paul.  According to Lynch, “I remember John and Paul saying they were thinking of running up to the microphone together and shaking their heads and saying ‘whooooo’.”
Lynch warned them against this radical idea, “You can’t do that. They’ll think you’re a bunch of poofs.”  But the boys did incorporate the hair-shaking shtick into their live performance of “She Loves You,” albeit with George and Paul, rather than with John, who once nearly killed a man (literally) for insinuating that John might be gay. As John said, “He called me a bloody queer, and I bashed in his ribs for it!”  Needless to say, John had no interest in appearing a “poof.” This brush with near murder, at the least, ultimately helped John change his ways.  As he said, “It was the last fight I ever got into. That’s when I gave up violence, because all my life I’d been like that.”
In any event, it turns out the head shaking worked and the bit by George and Paul drove the girls into a complete frenzy, as all four would do for the rest of their time together. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Mohammed is now the most common name for men in Norway's capital city Oslo, it appears.
"It is very exciting," Jorgen Ouren of Statistics Norway tells The Local news website. A recent count of the city's population showed more than 4,800 men and boys in the city are called Mohammed, beating out other popular names like Jan and Per. Although Mohammed - with various spellings - has been the favourite name for baby boys in Oslo for the past four years, this is the first time it has also topped the men's list.
And it's not only in Norway that the name is gaining ground. The UK's Office for National Statistics says Mohammed was the most common name parents gave to baby boys in England and Wales in 2013.
Norwegian Muslims made up around 150,000 of Norway's 4.5 million people in 2012, the website On Islam says, mainly from Pakistani, Somali, Iraqi and Moroccan backgrounds. But Norway also has Europe's largest anti-Islam organisation, called Stop Islamization of Norway. It was set up in 2008 and is thought to have more than 3,000 members.
Outside the Norwegian capital, Filip is the most popular name for newborn boys, while Emma is the favourite for girls.