Month: August 2013

"Noooo...I have so much to live for!"

“So Mouse, are you going to review “Planes”? Ha ha ha ha?”


Yeah, I’ve been getting this question a lot (oddly enough, always with the same mocking supervillain laughter). So, will I be reviewing Pixar’s Disney’s You Take It! No, You Take IT! Okay fine Disney’s Planes. Hmmm…tough one. Will I be reviewing the tossed off, cash-in, almost direct-to-DVD spinoff to what is, without question, one of my least favourite animated movies of all time?

And while that is soooooo tempting, I think we’re all forgetting the rules. Remember, back when I embarked on this little saga all the way back in the mists of prehistory? Your grasp of archaic, 2012-era English may be a little rusty so let me sum up; No live action films, no straight to DVD movies and no Pixar films. Only the canon classics.

So, can't. Love to. But can't.

So, can’t. Love to. But can’t.

Also, that movie is not getting my money. Not when there’s less morally questionable enterprises to be giving my money to. Like blood diamond smuggling cartels. Or NAMBLA.

It is Thursday though, and I do really want your support for the second week of voting for the Irish Blog Awards 2013 (Please vote Song of the South for Best Blog Post thank you so much close bracket!)

So, as a consolation, I will share with you now:

The 25 Things the Unshaved Mouse would do before reviewing Planes.

1) Desecrate a stained glass window.

2) French kiss a skunk.

3) Skunk kiss a Frenchman.  (Don’t google it)

4) Act disrespectfully to a lady.

5) Kick a dog that wasn’t asking for it in some way.

6) Take a ball to the groin.

7) Take a groin to the balls.

8) Eat broken glass.

9) Eat Philip Glass.

10) Eat broken Philip Glass after a horrific plane crash where he broke every bone in his body and I had to eat him to survive and also his body was full of broken glass from the crash.

11) Get in a plane with Philip Glass.

12) Hire The Coachman as a babysitter.

13) Puppets. Just…puppets.

14) Stop using the phrase “Screw off”.

15) Say “Candyman” five times in a mirror while watching the video from The Ring while simultaneously having sex with Pinhead’s wife.

16) Marathon Pocahontas, Aristocats, Black Cauldron and Three Caballeros in one sitting.

17) Defenestrate a monk.

18) Tell local ex-IRA hardman Kneecaps “They call me Kneecaps because of all the kneecaps I’ve smashed” Malone that he looks “kind of English” today.

19)  Michael Eisner was right. Traditional animation is no longer viable and it’s time for us all to just accept that CGI is the superior technique. Is a thing I would rather say than review Planes.

20) Review Planes. Yes, you read that right. I hate it so much I would rather review Planes than review  Planes.

21) Climb into Rush Limbaugh’s house in the middle of the night and, while he sleeps, tuck myself in between two layers of flab, spending the night cocooned within him, slowly soaking in his sweat and odour.

22) Waxing of the barse.

23) Pistol whip a ferret.

24) Let you, my loyal readers, down in any way.

25) Unless not letting you down means reviewing Planes, in which case you can screw off.

In conclusion, no. I will most likely not be reviewing Planes. I will however, be reviewing Mulan, so I look forward to seeing you on the 5th of September.

VOTE MOUSE!

technical-difficulties2

Question: Has Ireland’s biggest newspaper lost its goddamn mind?

 

Alright, so let me set the scene for you. I’m on Facebook, minding my own business, wondering what the hell “twerk” and “Miley Cyrus” are, when I see that a friend of mine has linked this article called “Wave Goodbye to Global Warming, GM and pesticides.”

Now, the first rule of any news story you come across on the internet is of course, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Some fourteen year old kid in Tanzania has discovered a cure for cancer in his garage? Yeah, I’ll believe it when he’s up on the podium accepting the Nobel prize. But this story actually gave me pause because it was on the Irish Independent’s website. See, the Irish Independent isn’t some fringe blog or rag like the Daily Mail that will publish literally anything because, fuck it.

Daily-Mail-Logo

 The Indo is a Big Serious Paper, actually the second Biggest Seriousest Paper after the Irish Times. For an Irishman, seeing this headline would be like seeing it in the Washington Post or USA Today for an American. It’s not the NY Times, but still. This is a paper with some not inconsiderable prestige. So I think, okay, maybe the headline is a little hyperbolic but what if it’s true? What if they actually have discovered some new technology that will solve the problem of climate change, the single greatest challenge facing the human race? Hell, it’s in the Indo, it’s got to be true! So I clicked on the link…and entered a world of MADNESS.

I’m going to quote the article pretty extensively here, because I have a feeling once whatever drugs have worked their way through the systems of the Indo’s editorial board this thing’s going to get taken down right sharpish. I’ll take you through the article piece by piece and as I go I’ll leave footnotes as to what Google has been able to tell me about the various persons, institutions and “scientific”…no, wait, that needs another set of quotation marks “”scientific”” concepts mentioned. The article is written by “Tom Prendeville”(1) and is in the Business section. Not the Science section. Not the environment section. Not the “Hey hey I saved the world today” section. The business section.

“A GROUNDBREAKING new Irish technology which could be the greatest breakthrough in agriculture since the plough is set to change the face of modern farming forever.”

Holy shit! Really? Wow! I mean, I may not be a farmer, but I am WELL aware of the importance of ploughs. Without ploughs, what have we got, farming wise? Jack shit is what! Also, this technology is Irish?! We just revolutionised agriculture as we know it?! Excuse me for a moment.

Please, continue.

“The technology – radio wave energised water(2)– massively increases the output of vegetables and fruits by up to 30 per cent.”

Radio wave energised water? Tell me more! Also, nice choice of “30%”. It’s big, but not crazy big.

Not only are the plants much bigger but they are largely disease-resistant, meaning huge savings in expensive fertilisers and harmful pesticides.”

Um…you do know pesticides don’t just protect crops from disease? That they also kill “pests”? As in, bugs and shit? And the only way they could be pest-resistant would be if the pests couldn’t eat them. Maybe the radio wave energised water renders them invulnerable like Superman?

Extensively tested in Ireland and several other countries, the inexpensive water treatment technology is now being rolled out across the world.”

Several other countries, sure. But Ireland did all of the important work, don’t you dare hone in on our glory, Several Other Countries. Lookin’ at you Djibouti!

Fuck did I do?

Fuck did I do?

“The technology makes GM obsolete and also addresses the whole global warming fear that there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, by simply converting excess CO2 into edible plant mass.

GM’s obsolete?! But they’d just gotten back on their feet after the Obama administration bailed them out and now they’re one of the top car manufacturers in America….oh wait, you mean “Genetically Modified”. And not “Genetically Modified Food”. Just “Genetically Modified”. Anything genetically modified is now obsolete.(3). Also, I love how it addresses “the whole global warming fear”. That’s such an Irish way of putting it. “You know, that whole global warming thing. You know that thing?” Also notable that it “simply” converts excess CO2 into edible plant mass. That’s not simple. That’s fucking black magic, dark and eldritch. But who cares? Not only are we solving Global Warming, we’re getting a meal out of it!

“Developed by Professor Austin Darragh (4) and Dr JJ Leahy (5) of Limerick University’s Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, the hardy eco-friendly technology uses nothing but the natural elements of sunlight, water, carbon dioxide in the air and the minerals in the soil.”

It’s not even a technology, man. The earth just,like,…provides.

“The compact biscuit-tin-sized technology, which is called Vi-Aqua – meaning ‘life water’ – “

Wow. That is the smallest technology I have ever heard of. I mean, digital technology is so big they have to keep it in a barn, and it’s one of the smaller technologies! Also, while I don’t doubt that “Vi-Aqua” means “life water”, is that in a real language or one you made up?

 “…converts 24 volts of electricity into a radio signal, which charges up the water via an antennae. Once the device is attached to a hose, thousands of gallons of water can be charged up in less than 10 minutes at a cost of pennies.(6)”

If you have the antenna, why do you  need the hose? To spray the water at the antenna? Or, is the hose used to transfer the now magically imbued water away to where it is most needed? Because then, why does it have to be a hose? Seems like a large pipe might do the job better.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Again please.

“Speaking about the new technology, Professor Austin Darragh says: “Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

Last part.

“Vi-Aqua makes water wetter.””

I…I…I…I…have I gone mad?

“…and introduces atmospheric nitrogen into the water in the form of nitrates – so it is free fertiliser. It also produces the miracle of rejuvenating the soil by invigorating soil-based micro-organisms.”

It produces miracles. There you have it.

The Messiah

HE IS THE MESSIAH!

“We can also make water savings of at least 30 per cent. When the water is treated it becomes a better solvent, which means it can carry more nutrients to the leaves and stem and percolate better down into the soil to nourish the roots, which in turn produces a better root system. Hence the reason you need less water and why you end up with larger and hardier crops,” explains Professor Austin Darragh.”

30 per cent again. Marks for consistency. Fuck it, after the miracle of “wetter water” this paragraph feels like a beacon of rationality and cold scientific objectivity.

Extensively tested in Warrenstown Agricultural College (7), the technology is being hailed as a modern day miracle.

For I tell you most solemnly, the compact biscuit-tin-sized technology has given up the blind to see and the lame to walk. It has cleansed the leper and led the faithful to rejoice in the sight of Radio Wave Energised Water.

Harold Lawler is Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist (8). As Director of the National Botanical Gardens (9) and former Master of Agricultural Science at Warrenstown Agricultural College (10), he has carried out more research on Vi-Aqua growth-enhancing technology than perhaps anyone else in the world.(11): “In the bedding plants we really saw a difference in the results; they were much hardier and tougher. You could drop a tray of these plants on the ground and they would not shatter, like ordinary plants.”

Does…does Ireland’s foremost Agricultural Specialist think that plants shatter when dropped? Has he confused vegetables with fine bone china? Well, with Agricultural Specialists of this caliber, that must explain why Ireland has never had a famine.

The iceberg lettuces were far superior with faster germination, and with carrots for example, the crops were on average 46 per cent heavier,” explains Harold Lawler.

46%!? What are you doing?! The bullshit cannot exceed 30%! Dammit, there are rules!

“During recent successful tomato crop field trials in Italy, three of the country’s largest Agricultural Co-op’s were so impressed with the results that they have now decided to recommend the technology to the country’s farming community.”

Hey Italy! We’re watching you! Don’t go stealing our biscuit sized technology. They’re always doing that. Fucking Italy.

“Elsewhere, the Indian government have now concluded their own tests, which confirm that they are able to boost tea (plant) production by over a third while using far less water.”

Elsewhere. Maybe…in India?  Also, I’m so glad they were able to boost tea(plant) production as tea(plant) is my favorite drink(beverage).

In recognition of the groundbreaking technology, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London, recently took the hitherto unheard-of step of granting Professor Austin Darragh and his team the right to use their official centuries-old coat of arms on the new technology – the first time ever that Kew Gardens has afforded anyone such an honour.”

Ahem.

Excuse me.

The Kew Gardens botanists were not just impressed with the research; they used the technology to restore to life a very rare orchid which had been lying dormant and practically dead in a greenhouse bell jar since 1942. Amazingly, the orchid is now flourishing once again.

Flourishing and hungry for brains! THE DEAD GROW AMONGST THE LIVING!

Intriguingly, chickens and sheep fed the energised water turned into giants. . . but that’s another story!

Giant farm animals, huh? May have buried the lede there just a bit.

"Whoops, outta time. We'll tell you about this next week."

“Whoops, outta time. We’ll tell you about this next week.”

Limerick University off- campus company ZPM Europe Ltd (12), who are based in the National Technology Park, Limerick, is now manufacturing the Vi-Aqua technology.”

Soooo…

This is a joke right?

No, I’m actually leaning more in the direction of “con”. See, the ZPM Europe Limited site leads to  a Vi-Aqua site where you can actually pay for a water radio energizer. With money. That you presumably earned. Oddly enough, on the Vi-Aqua site it simply markets the biscuit sized technology as a way to improve your garden, which seems kinda small potatoes for something that’s GOING TO SAVE EVERY ONE OF US FROM GLOBAL WARMING.

Okay, I’m cracking jokes here but I am actually, no lie, really freaked out. As I said before, the Irish Independent is not the Daily Mail. It’s not World Net Daily. It is a real, serious newspaper that people trust. This article has been shared over 20,000 times. Somehow, an obvious con artist has managed to get a clearly ridiculous scam and cloak it in the reputation and respectability of Ireland’s largest selling daily newspaper. That is fucking terrifying. In the modern era, with the internet drowning us non-stop in a sea of never ending half truth, cons and sheer bullshit we need, more than ever, legitimate, trustworthy news sources. If I see “Asteroid Headed For Earth” on Mayanprophecy.net I won’t give it a second glance. If I see “Asteroid Headed for Earth” on the front page of the The Times I’m running for my wife and daughter to hug them goodbye. We need the grownups. We need to know who we can trust, and who we cannot.

The Irish Independent has incredibly, spectacularly failed that test.

Thanks for reading,

Mouse

(1) For a journalist, he seems to have a very humble web profile. I did find some articles he wrote for Hotpress magazine with titles such as “September 11. Terrorist Outrage or sinister conspiracy ?” and “The World’s Secret Rulers are Coming to Town”. And yes, ladies, I hear he’s single.

(2)  Searching “Radio Wave Energised Water” gets you plenty of results. All either this article, or people talking about this article.

(3) Side note. Number of people who have been saved from famine by Genetically Modified Food: Over 200 Million. Number of people who have been saved by “Radio wave energised water”: -52. I’m assuming some people killed themselves after reading this idiocy.

(4) Real guy, apparently. Seems to have a connection to the University of Limerick. Five year old CV on their site where he does claim to be researching “The development of technologies to increase the productive recycling of CO2 to enhance the availability of edible and energy crops through amplifications of photosynthesis by Electro Magnetic stimulation of water. The effects produced are visible, tangible, and quantifiable, and water supplies are conserved in the processes.

(5) Again, google takes you to what seems to be a University of Limerick site, listing details for a Dr JJ Leahy. But the more I look at it the more I think this is a dummy site that links to the real University of Limerick site. The main UL site seems to be a lot snazzier. And if this site is fake, who the hell is going to all this trouble?!

(6) That could be a problem. Ireland hasn’t used pennies since 2002.

(7) That was quite a coup for Warrenstown, considering it’s been closed since 2009.

(8) I don’t think he is, but I’ll bet he knows a lot about manure.

(9) The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland is a real place. Near my parents. Really nice, you should see it if you’re ever in Dublin. Free entry. Free of Harold Lawlers too. Harold Lawlor is a lecturer there though.

(10) Did teach there, apparently. “Rate My Teacher” opines that “This man takes all criticism personally and never listens to what really is being said” and “hmmm interesting fellow but has the personality of a pencil.” It’s not all bad. One past pupil says that Harold Lawler is “a true OG when it comes to planting.” Word.

(11) Undoubtedly true.

(12) This is their website. Which leads to this website for Vi Aqua. Behold the GeoCities hosted glory of our saviours.

mulan_sword

Something to get you in the mood for the Mulan review. Also: VOTE!

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to get antsy waiting for the fifth to roll around so here is something I threw together with my friend, the incredibly talented Jeda DeBrí and my equally talented wife Aoife O’Donoghue. Yes, we do video here now! Like a real internet!

Okay, so now that I’ve lured you back to the blog I have to confess an ulterior motive. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. There’s no use fighting it. You feel it. I feel it. There’s something between us. Always has been. But I’ve been hurt so bad before. I just don’t know if I can trust someone again, to let my barriers down and let a community of internet commenters into my heart. What’s that you say? How can you prove your love?

Well…there is one thing, but…

No. I could never ask you.

What’s that? You insist?

Well…

So you remember I told you that I’d been nominated for the Blog Awards Ireland 2013?

blog awards ireland

Oh dear oh dear, did I leave this old thing lying around here again?

Well it turns out that I’ve also been nominated for Best Blog Post. (Twice technically, the Song of the South and Black Cauldon reviews both got nommed.) This one works a little differently from the other categories. You vote for your choice (you can vote once a week) and then at the end of the week the 5 posts with the fewest votes get eliminated. This goes on every week until there are only ten left, and the winner will be announced at the Blog Awards on 12th October.

So please. If you have a moment, pop over and vote here for Song of the South for Best Blog post.  (I don’t want to split the vote, and honestly, the SOS review is the one I’m more proud of.) So go, exercise your democratic right and vote. Otherwise the terrorists win. By which I mean the other bloggers. Who are terrorists. Nah. I’m kidding. They’re great, it’s all in good fun and may the best man win. They’re not terrorists.*

Thanks guys.

*No, seriously. They hate our freedom. It’s us or them.

Awwwwww…you guys!

blog awards ireland

Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you thank you you. Merci. Danke. Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

It is with great pride that I can announce that The Unshaved Mouse has been nominated for The Blog Awards Ireland 2013 in the Newcomer, Humour and Pop culture categories.

happy-mouse

Thanks guys.

Hercules

Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #35: Hercules

 

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

***

Pff. Hercules. What a poser. You want to talk about impossible labours? Try writing a comedic review about a comedy while looking after a sick baby, fighting off a stomach bug, grappling with unreliable internet connection and only three days to write the review because you’re going on holiday. Now there’s a challenge. Especially if it’s a good comedy. And I’ll admit, this is a funny movie. Maybe it’s just because it comes right after three of the most serious movies in the canon (yeah, Lion King is light-hearted in places but nothing that has that death scene gets to call itself jovial) but fair is fair, it goes for the yuks and it gets them more often than not.

Production started in 1994 under the directorship of Ron Clements and John Musker, the directing team behind The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, the movie it most closely resembles. In fact, if I had to describe Hercules it would be, “Aladdin, but more.” Actually no, it would be “Aladdin, but too much.” Hercules sees Aladdin’s celebrity voice actors, heavy emphasis on comedy, deliberate anachronisms and pop culture references and raises the stakes like a wild-eyed gambler in a saloon who won’t listen to his wife pulling at his arm and screaming at him not to bet the farm, Lawence! The end result is that…that…

Aw hell, I can’t hold it in anymore…

ONE YEAR BITCHES!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

winter-festival-fireworks

Sorry, where were we?

Oh right, Hercules. My point is, while Aladdin  is overall a very fun and light movie, they still treated the story as something that mattered. You care about Aladdin and Jasmine, and while the genie might seem like a joke dispensing machine, he does actually get some quite affecting character beats.

I've been chopping onions, shut up.

I’ve been chopping onions, shut up.

Hercules though? The whole thing just comes off as such a lark that it’s kind of hard to give a damn about anything that happens. It’s an easy film to be entertained by. But not really an easy film to care about.

This represents Disney’s first foray into actual mythology rather than fairy tales, literature or legends. And no, a legend and a myth are not the same thing. In fact, let’s do a quick crash course on terminology (please let me do this, this is literally the only time my degree in Folklore has had any, even slightly, practical use).

Okay, so a fairy tale (or as folklorists prefer, a wonder tale) is set in a faraway place, a long time ago. It’s not about a real place, and it’s not about real people. It’s a fictitious tale told purely for enjoyment and usually has fantastical elements and magic and what have you. A legend, while also fictitious, takes place in a real place and time and features real people. So, for example, Washington chopping down his father’s cherry tree is a legend. It never actually happened, but Washington was a real person and it’s set in a specific time and place, Colonial America.  Finally, a myth is the remnant of a now extinct religion. Hercules is a myth because both he and Zeus were once genuinely worshipped as gods and the tales featuring them had the weight of religious belief behind them. Myths tend to be taken more seriously than legends or wonder tales and while wonder tales tend to be considered universal (which culture gave rise to Cinderella?)  myths remain very closely linked to their native culture. This may explain why this movie is absolutely loathed in Greece, where its, shall we say loose, interpretation of the Hercules stories enraged the Greeks.

Whoah whoah whoah, hold the phone. The Greeks were pissed off about something?

Whoah whoah whoah, hold the phone. The Greeks were pissed off about something?

Was their ire justified? Let’s take a look.

(more…)