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Archive for February, 2007

China puts the breaks on their asset markets, global instabity and over inflated asset markets worldwide.

Posted by Adrian on February 28, 2007

Is the asset markets correction at hand? Refer to articles – if you have Windows media player watch Marc Fabers commentary on overbought stock markets (on Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

The Age Business

CNNbusiness

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Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

French far right wing party emerges

Posted by Adrian on February 26, 2007

Europe is currently leaning towards far right politics. How wide spread this we will be, only time will tell. But never the less refer to forecasts for 2007 here, regarding far right/right wing finding strength in 2007

Article here

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

February Comic Reviews 2007 – Midnighter #4 (Wildstorm Comics)

Posted by Adrian on February 26, 2007

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MIDNIGHTER #4 (Wildstorm Comics)

After attacking the crew of the Time Cops and sending their ship off course and into the last stages of WW2, the Midnighter moves on to complete his mission and kill Hitler before Hitler kills himself. On the way there Midnighter runs into German kid soldiers as they are blowing up Russian tanks, the Kids turn out to be little Hitler fanatics. After Russian troops capture the kids and are about to execute them, Midnighter decides to help the kids (due to their innocence and naivety). Midnighter kills the Russian troops, and confronts the brainwashed little kids, who keep ‘Sieg Heil-ing’. Midnighter informs them that Hitler brought this upon Germany and the people, don’t believe in the madman, save your own skin and head West. The kids think this a test, answer back in a brain washed way and with a furore of Sieg Heil’s they go on their way.

Issue 4 has a change of artists (Peter Snejbjerg), Snejbjerg does a good job at showing the destruction of Berlin end of WW2. As the Midnighter makes his way into Hitlers Bunker, some great panels showing Hitlers SS officers getting drunk having sex with the Secretaries, Ennis portrays the idiocy of the German high command as it was crumbling rapidly – just before the fall of ww2. The Midnighter overhears Hitler give his final order and releases his officers from duty as he goes off to kill himself. We see a full page of Hitler a worn out and pathetic man. Midnighter follows, Hitler turns around and asks, ‘have we met somewhere before?’ (refer to review #3 here). As Hitler goes through to a darkening room to end his life.

Ennis is keeping in check with the time-line theory, that you can’t change events in the past to selfishly or in a deluded way to protect or restructure your future. As inevitably it will have consequences – which could be devastating. So, Midnighter doesn’t kill Hitler. We see the drunken officers and the last of Hitlers staff surrounding a makeshift grave with Hitlers body being cremated. A drunken solider offers Midnighter a drink he obliges, grabs the booze and heads back to where the Time Cops are fixing their ship.

The last part of the comic is Bonnie (Time Cop Sargent) and Midnighter drinking ‘Nazi’ booze and discussing the ramifications of altering time lines. Midnighter explains that his powers of anticipation of attack and the ability to counter attack were clouded just prior to him about to go in after Hitler and kill him – which means the future was going to be dramatically altered. Ennis writes up some good dialogue from Bonnie that people are too concerned about changing the past, rather than trying to move on and create the future. Everyone (who have the ability to time travel) are trying to rewrite mistakes of history, and it doesn’t work like that. What’s happened, has happened you can’t change it. Midnighter agrees so it’s brought back to the situation with Paulus (the guy who blackmailed Midnighter by placing a bomb in his chest) – which is the future. In which Midnighter is going to create for him self and kill Paulus.

Midnighter #4 is full of black humour amidst the seriousness of a social and philosophical discussion of changing the past, by going back into the past.

Posted in Books, Comic Reviews | 1 Comment »

February Comic Reviews 2007 – The Other Side 5# of 5 (Vertigo)

Posted by Adrian on February 21, 2007

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THE OTHER SIDE #5 (OF 5)

This is the end. What a comic. As I have explained in previous reviews of The Other Side. The writer Jason Aaron has written a horror story, within the horror of the Vietnam war. PFC Everette and Vo Dai finally meet each other on the battlefield. We have followed them both with their psychological mental baggage, their hallucinations, dreams and their visual manifestations of the dead. Although a short comic (5 issues) and essentially a short story, it never the less holds the readers attention and the impact of the writing and art is still severe on the reader. The art is perfect for this kind of story, very complemented art by Cameron Stewart. Both Vo Dai and Everette are drawn with both unique characteristics, which is sometimes lacking in comic art by comic artists (you know, the villain can sometimes remarkable look like the hero).

I am not going to give too much away with the conclusion of The Other Side. The final battle occurs, both men meet. The confusion and fog of war leads to basic survival. Whether right of wrong. The viciousness of battle and a desperate enemy. An enemy that endured so much, an enemy whose desperation to survive and fight made them win against it’s invader.

As Sun Tzu says in the Art of War ‘never pursue a desperate enemy, they will fight to the death’. America lost the Vietnam war. The Other Side reiterates that conflicts for political gain, the larger side ultimately end up losing.

The Ghosts, the horror and the nightmares in The Other Side, seem to be the other side of consciousness. The darker side of the human psyche. A mental battle with the dead and their nihilistic existence and conflict with conscious life.

Great comic.

Posted in Books, Comic Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Coming comic reviews for Feb 2007

Posted by Adrian on February 19, 2007

Reviews this week 19th (At some point). Check back or RSS the comic review page

Welcome to Tranquility #3 (Wildstorm)

Midnighter #4 (Wildstorm)

The Other Side #5 (Vertigo)

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Can we make the world any weirder? Cults, the Occults and idea factories – the fusion for a good story.

Posted by Adrian on February 16, 2007

I have always been fascinated by secret societies, cults and other quasi religious or sub-culture societies, mostly from 20’s 30’s. Namely from a entrainment perspective. I especially like the art, and the imagery of some of these ‘cults’. I also find it fascinating that a cult, secret society and the like is a removal from an individualistic society, and/or an extreme representation of conformity. Individuality doesn’t have a place. That interests me. History shows that certain political ideas are also afraid of individualism, these are Communism, Fascism, Nazism and other current trends in political spectrum – namely right wing orientated. This is a very complex and detailed philosophical argument and discussion. These debates exist within evolutionary biology/psychology studies, economic, sociological and political philosophy. But that’s for another time to discuss all that.

The knack is whether a writer or artist is able to use basic occult, cult imagery and fuse that into a script, a short story or a book.

Some of my favorite ideas, is the ‘mad’ ideas from a visionary. I particular like the Ghostbusters (remember that movie?) cult group in the movie, where the describe the Gonza cult, a fictitious cult/occult group created for the movie, this is such a cool quote (from wikipedia) ”

“He was an insane, early 20th century architect and physician with a penchant for performing macabre and unnecessary surgeries (possibly as a cover for the worship of various evil deities) who designed the high rise apartment building at 55 Central Park West (NYC) as a giant altar to the Sumerian god Gozer.

His followers, known as Gozer Worshippers, performed bizarre rituals on the top of the high-rise, intending to bring about the end of the world. After the first world war, he and his followers thought society was too sick to continue. He had over a thousand followers when he died.”

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55 Central Park West (pic from this site, please check it out for detailed info).

According to the rest of the Wikipedia article, the original idea for Ivo Shandor came from real life Satanist Anton Szandor LaVey, as far as the skyscraper, portal idea – as LaVey believed that a skyscraper in Chicago (John Hancock Center) was a portal to the ‘spirit world’.

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John Hancock Centre

This is great quote from ghostvillage.com, regarding LaVey and his commentary on the John Hancock Center in Chicago, loosely based on the Shandor building NYC, which is actually (55 Central Park West) portrayed in Ivan Reitmans’s Ghostbusters)

“LaVey wrote many essays during his time as the Satanic Church’s leader, including fascinating analyses of the problems of modern architecture. LaVey knew — as most occultists do — that the trapezoidal shape holds significant power for arcane forces: traditionally, the shape is believed to serve as a doorway or “portal” for occult — or even diabolical — forces. As a young man, LaVey was fascinated with the thought of H.P. Lovecraft, whose horror novels often feature characters grappling with the dangers of “strange angles,” and it was Lovecraft’s work which led LaVey to first pursue his study of modern architecture’s sometimes deadly capabilities.”

Early Germanic occultist groups

Some of the early esoteric and occult Germanic based groups, which were a prelude to Nazism. One group that comes to mind is the Thule Society, an early Germanic occult/mystic group that believe in the origins of the so called Aryan Race. They were primarily a group that was ant-Semitic, anti-communist and getting more involved with a growing right wing sentiment in Germany in the 1920’s. There has been numerous books and research and interest in the connection between the occult and Nazi German building up to WW2. Historically it portrays the captivation of delusion, and pseudoscience to create an idea of the master race.

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Thule Society symbol from early 1900’s

from wikipedia

“According to Thule Society mythology, Thule was the capital of Hyperborea, supposedly a legendary island in the far North polar regions, originally mentioned by Herodotus from Egyptian sources. In 1679, Olaf Rudbeck equated the Hyperboreans with the survivors of Atlantis, who were first mentioned by Plato, again following Egyptian sources. Supposedly, Hyperborea split into two islands, Thule and Ultima Thule, which were considered to be the center of an advanced, lost civilization whose survivors lingered in subterranean caverns, or according to some legends, within the Hollow Earth.[7] The concept of a hollow earth was first advanced by Sir Edmund Halley at the end of the seventeenth century.”

The Thule Society was used a a background idea for the character Kroenen (Villian) in the movie Hellboy. A comic character created by Mike Mignola , and adapted by Spanish director Guillermo del Toro. Guillermo Del Toro recreated some of the background for Kroenen – in which del Toro inserted a lot more mystical aspects to Kroenen. According to fictional history of Kroenen, he became head of the Thule Society.

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Karl Ruprect Kroenen was born in Munich in 1897. Kroenen suffered from a masochistic compulsion commonly known as surgical addiction and extended his life through mechanical means, turning himself into a clockwork monster in the process. Long a practitioner of the dark arts, he joined with Hitler’s inner circle of Nazi mystics in order to further his need for more power. The blood in his veins dried up decades ago; only dust remains – the suit which keeps him alive is powered by the ancient power of the river Nile and the souls he has captured.

So the combination of factual (albeit sometimes extradited) and fiction makes an interesting story for fantasy based ideas. It’s layering the mythology of the past occult groups and creating updated versions for entertainment. Because we all like stories of good v’s evil.

Posted in Popular Culture/Culture | 3 Comments »

Ghost Rider – Filmed in Melbourne City Australia

Posted by Adrian on February 14, 2007

I remember when they were filming just around the corner from my old work close to Little Lonsdale St, use to check out the shoot during lunch breaks

These shots are stills from the trailer

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Little Lonsdale St

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Posted in Melbourne City Urban Visuals. Mixed images | Leave a Comment »

Comic reviews February 2007 – MOON KNIGHT #7 (Marvel)

Posted by Adrian on February 13, 2007

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MOON KNIGHT #7

Disappointing. After a Stella start, with writer Charlie Huston reconstructing the Moon Knight character again in 2006, the series has fallen very flat. When Huston brought Moon Knight back to life, you couldn’t get a more darker, introspective and moody series. It was one of the surprises of last year, refer to my top comics of 2006.

But, #7 shows the comic losing momentum. Firstly the cover art, which is some great art by David Finch. We see Spiderman and Moon Knight on the front cover. Spiderman has about one page and a bit of of a non appearance, with some silly pointless dialogue. Then he (Spiderman) disappears. In fact the dialogue throughout the comic, at best, is a ramble. It’s hard to follow, and seems to lack direction. Marc Spector (Moon Knight) is forming his old crew together, but the writing is not what I recall it to be prior to #7, it is quite poor. Which is a shame. Even the art is not up top scratch, in fact in looks rushed and poorly constructed. Very surprised at the lack of quality in the art. Finch is such a good artist. If you look back to the start of the series, it was amazing well drawn art with the Task Master and Moon Knight – very horror orientated. This isn’t, it’s sketchy, poorly colored and messy. A rush job. Finch is the sort of artist that should not rush his work. It’s the details that suffer.

Like I said the story has a rambled feel, almost nonsensical. It was like drunk dialogue, seriously! Drunk superheros. Amidst this messy dialogue, we learn there is a serial killer loose. Long behold Captain America makes his appearance, with his god awful dialogue (albeit short) referring to Moon Knight as a “soldier” (ala The Punisher, refer to Punisher War Journal #3 review). There is an attempt at a tie in within the Civil War ‘event’. I wouldn’t have. It has defused and slowed down the story. Spiderman shouldn’t have been in this, so the cover is deceptive.

Well, I am amazed at the quality of work declining in #7 of Moon Knight – both from a written perspective and artistic one. Finch is soon leaving Moon Knight, to be replaced by a new artist, by the name Michael “Mico” Suayan. We shall see if this can be salvaged, otherwise it’s doomed.

Posted in Books, Comic Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Australian Federal Reserve leaves rate at 6.25% , February 2007

Posted by Adrian on February 8, 2007

As predicated by majority of economists, the Australian Reserve Bank left the cash rate unchanged at 6.25, after their meeting on Tuesday 6 of February. Although a predicated decision, due to lower CPI contributed from (apparently) lower retail spending in late 2006, the question is; Was this a right decision? Within Australian economists, you don’t find many dissenters. We just hope that the RBA is keeping check on inflation and price volatility. We also hope and pray (if you are religious) that the RBA doesn’t copy the US Federal Reserve in an overall biased view against a tighter monetary policy.So, was this a right decision? In my opinion, no. Yes, a breather for the overstretched mortgage market. But in the long run, a short sighted view that the Australian economy is cooling. Which it isn’t, you just have to see prices for your self. Do you see a decrease in costs at the supermarket? Rents (definitely not, which is just driven by greed)? Fuel? General goods? The answer is no? If I buy a $7.50 falafel, that essentially is a cheap food (non meat), and his competitor is offering a $7.25 (with extra homus) – I am not seeing much decline in a price. But it’s obvious, what we earn after tax doesn’t have the purchasing power that it should. In other words, prices are still spiraling upward. Demograpia just recently released a report stating that Australia is the least affordable nation (property) surveyed with Ireland , New Zealand, Canada and America. Australia has an overinflated property market and it could be in for a big correction. The RBA should have tightened, with more of a future view; rather than CPI results prior to the decision, that came in from last years retail spending.

There has yet to be a decline in the Australian housing market as compared with the American one, which has been gradual, to the point of now a sharp decline. Australia may just be a sharp decline. Was the RBA correct in trying allow a slow decreases in the economy? Or should they have gauged the spiraling overpriced rental market and the high costs of food, and no significant price decrease in petrol? They should have been brave and attempted to tighten now, it just means they may do it later – which of course confuses the consumer.

Article regarding Demograhia housing affordability report – The Australian

2007 Demagraphia property affordability report here pdf format

I love this quote,

” ANZ economist Amber Rabinov said the data was consistent with the bank’s expectation that higher rates would lead to more cautious spending by households and moderate growth in non-farm activity. “This is further evidence that the RBA has done enough to contain domestic demand and inflationary pressures in the Australian economy,” she said..

What a programmed response. Yet the share market rallied, and household debt is still extraordinarily high – there are no real signs that consumption is slowing.

Article here

Posted in Finance and Economics. Strategy and Society | Leave a Comment »

Clear Magazine

Posted by Adrian on February 7, 2007

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I just picked up this publication. Not bad. There is an article about a designer (I will post the name and link later) who does these amazing ceramics, with fossilised style skelton engravings on the plates. It’s an upmarket style mag, as far as design an architecture. It’s not as grounded SOMA. Still and interesting read if you are into design, art and fashion. Worth checking out.

website here

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