Ex Machina

September 1, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Alex Garland) (2015) Caleb Smith (Domnhall Gleeson), a lowly programmer with a Google-like company, wins a week-long visit to the fabulous home of Nathan Bateman, the remote Bezos-Jobs-like founder of the company. Bateman (Oscar Isaac) is a cool guy. He asks Caleb to spend time with Ava (Alicia Vikander) the humanoid robot built by Bateman. He wants Caleb to determine whether Ava is conscious and aware. Can she have a really, truly relationship with Caleb? Wow! What an opportunity! Not only is Ava a stunningly advanced type of AI, she’s pretty, except for the robot body bit. (But…

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The New Manchurian Candidate

August 31, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS |

Fierce Pashtuns, over time Teach us what we should mark well: All invaders, in their prime Find Afghanistan is Hell. Since Alexander and Genghis Khan Empires laid plans to attack But a donkey borne to Mecca by divan Remains a donkey, when it comes back. Regression, Poverty, Heroin, Despair Its GDP, after the Great Game; Until a parochial tribe assumed the care Of benighted lands, to general shame. For a very few years the only folks To be pained by this, were local tribes Who stood as Shia or told the wrong jokes Or encouraged girls to read or be…

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Nearing the Pointy End

August 30, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Glenelg v West Adelaide at Richmond Oval, Friday night, 27 August 2021 A lovely evening but a pretty modest crowd at “Hisense Stadium” saw a spirited contest, with wooden-spoon certs West having a go all evening, falling short to superior skill and attacking method. West fans might be forgiven for staying home and watching the AFL rather than rolling-up, given we are nearly at the end of the season for half the teams, but the home team showed a bit, including snaring the last 3 goals of the game. The Tigers won every quarter though and at the final siren…

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For Whom the Bell Rings

August 22, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classical Music, LIFE, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA |

August 2021: The Varnished Culture is gutted to learn that the Brisbane Ring Cycle set for October and November has been cancelled for the Second Time.  Due to the damn faux-plague. Opera Australia’s statement of 19/8/2021 followed its message to ticket holders the previous Tuesday: We’re sad to announce that all upcoming performances of the Ring Cycle and Aida in Brisbane have been postponed due to COVID travel restrictions.  This is hugely disappointing news, but we are committed to re-scheduling these spectacular productions so that the seven years of planning that has already gone into this project won’t go to waste….

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Springtime Limbering-Up

August 16, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

[Glenelg v Central Districts at Glenelg Oval, 14 August 2021] Your correspondent had been pressed into service as deputy Door Bitch for the Past Players and Officials function for the last home game of the season (see main image) but there was still time to enjoy the game on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the weather a presage of Spring.  With the minor premiership wrapped up, it was time to keep the streak going and celebrate Brad Agnew’s 150th league game in style, which we did against the Bulldogs, honest toilers in a re-building phase. 10 goals to 3 in the…

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