As you may remember, I tried to convince The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain to cover Albatross, but it seems they so far haven’t taken me up on it, but Pražského ukulele bandu have:


E.T. (spoilers)

It turned out that neither Honeybuns nor I had actually seen E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial*, so we decided to shell out a few crowns to YouTube and watch it. It was quite interesting.

One thing which I reacted to quite strongly was how obvious it was that several outdoor scenes were shot in an indoors studio. I presume the controlled environment weighed up for the loss of realism to the film-makers.

Another thing was how very 1980s everything was—as if the film makers had gone out of their way to insert period markers, but of course these were just things that happened to be around at the time.

But, and this is quite important, I got a very different impression of the central conflict of the film when compared to reviews and various references I’ve read, and that is that the mysterious Government Authorities in fact are kind and well-meaning. We find that they are quite happy to let Elliott initiate contact and communicate with E.T.—they have Elliott’s house bugged, to be sure, but they stay out of the way and just monitor what happens. Only when E.T. falls ill do they swoop in, and then in a desperate attempt to save E.T.’s life. All through this they are very respectful to E.T., Elliott, and his family.

The chase of the children by police cars is directly caused by two children (Elliott and Michael) stealing a van, driving away and by that endangering the lives of two technicians, who, as far as we can tell, do not at all threaten anyone, but are only interested in getting out of harm’s way, as they are being dragged behind the stolen van. Indeed, as ”Keys”, the leader of the operation, figures out where the children are headed (to reunite E.T. with its kin), it seems the police chase is called off, as there is no further perceived danger.

Further, the aliens are tacitly understood by all to not be a threat. In recent times it’s rather unusual to see a secret(?, we don’t really know, maybe they’re just not very publicly well-known) government agency portrayed so positively.

Then it is rather weird that they apply human-adapted medication to an alien, whose biochemistry they really don’t know anything about at all. It seems that even in a desperate situation it would be likely to cause more damage to do interventions the consequences of which are completely unknown, than just leaving things to their natural course. That E.T. seemingly dies after its bout with…hypothermia(?) and then comes to life again within minutes suggests that its physiology is, indeed, alien.

* I was reminded of a class-mate in secondary school, who, based on the film title, decided that “terrestrial” meant “alien”. That “extra” bit must have been taken by him to mean simply “yet another”…


Alien Stockholm

A few years ago Stockholm City Museum showed the exhibition United Stockholms of America, pictures and stories from the eight Stockholms in USA, all very small towns and hamlets.

It now struck me that surely there must be at least one Stockholm in Canada, and so there is: Stockholm, the seat of government for Fertile Belt No. 183, which gives an immediate idea of the Canadian prairie, about as featureless and sparsely populated as a terraformed area on Tatooine.


Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing

So the bike lane comes up the hill on the left of the pedestrian path, but right here at the zebra crossing, it suddenly switches over to the right side. Presumably the people who did this did not for a second think it would make any difference whatsoever.


Everything is on YouTube

When I made my first visit to the US, this ad came on on the TV and again and again over the following days. The horrific scenario of pre-prepared junk food with soulless activity cards burnt “My Mom’s one busy lady” into my mind, enough for me to look for it on YouTube. What’s possibly worse is that I actually found it – in multiple versions. Other people must also have tried to exorcise the jitters by rewatching the scene.


Rare people

Watching British detective series it has often struck me that no matter in how seemingly remote a place a person has been killed, the body will typically be found within a few hours. An explanation for this might be suggested by Northumberland (where Vera is located) being the most sparsely populated county of England at 63 persons/km², which population density is in Sweden only surpassed by the three “big city” counties of Västra Götaland, Skåne, and Stockholm.