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King Charles' new official portrait

Uh... so he's a ghoul in a smart uniform standing vigil in hell? Google it, it is... yeah. A ghoul in a smart uniform in hell.

 

More Thug than Bambie

The creepy witch has made a complaint that they felt threatened by the Israeli commentator's comments prior to their performance, and they have made a complaint to the EBU with the expectation of getting Israel kicked out of the contest for next year.

As far as I can ascertain, from an article on RTÉ's website, this is what was actually what was said (translated from Hebrew):

Commentator 1: Wow, what is about to happen now with Ireland? Wow, wow. What is about to happen now with Ireland?
This is the song Doomsday Blue. They [Ireland] have had a more subtle past with the likes of Johnny Logan, who you will see on stage later. But what's going to happen this evening?
The song is Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug, and now is the time to get your children away from the TV screens, because we are about to see the most scary song of the night. There will be a lot of spells and black magic and dark clothing, Satanic symbols, and voodoo dolls, like we are at Cats Square in Jerusalem in the mid-90s.
Commentator 2: Wow, there might be 200 people at most that get this reference.
Commentator 1: Anyway, there is some controversy about the song in Ireland, too. There is a petition against Bambie Thug, which claims that they are making a mockery of Irish culture.
Commentator 2: You said 'they', as Bambie Thug wants to be referred to in the plural - as part of their non-binary identity.
Commentator 1: They [Bambie Thug] also like to speak negatively about Israel. But we can talk about that later. Prepare your curses.
Commentator 1: Wow, this is a very strange entrant compared to what we are used to from Ireland.

Okay, the comments regarding the use of 'they' pronouns is a little weird given the number of non-binary performers this year, one of whom won. Sure, I get that it is weird using plural words to refer to singular people, but whatever.

Nothing else seems particularly threatening. Given that Bambie (or should I say Thug?) has been extremely vocal about supporting Palestine, it's not really a surprise that the somewhat touchy Israelis might, you know, make reference to this.
Was it wrong to point out that this was "the scary song" and that it might frighten children? Well, Graeme Norton said the exact same thing (I would imagine quite a few countries might have said similar). Should she be calling for the UK to get kicked out of the contest? Or is it only offensive when said by a Jew?
As for the curses, black magic, Satanic symbols... they're basically riffing off of the fact that she's dressed as a witch, howling like a Banshee with toothache, and making out with a guy dressed like some sort of devil/demon.

FFS, Thug, grow a pair. Put out a performance like that, ought to expect some commentary that might not exactly be complimentary.
Of course, Thug made complaints and, well, "F*** the EBU" appears to have been their considered opinion, mostly regarding Israel's participation.

You know, better to be thought of as an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it.

 

Should Israel be in the song contest?

This is a harder one to answer. The "official" reason appears to be that Russia wasn't actually kicked out of the contest, instead the broadcaster was kicked out of the EBU for being the propaganda mouthpiece of Putin's regime. The Israeli broadcaster, KAN, by contrast is frequently critical of the Israeli government.

Of course, this all sounds a bit like bollocks hastily thrown together to justify why Russia was given the boot (as public opinion was firmly on Ukraine's side) while Israel was kept in the contest (as a lot of public opinion still sort-of supports Israel but that's starting to wane as the scale of what they'd done to Gaza starts to be ever more evident).

Rather than relying on syntactic subtleties (there are certain countries in the EU that I can't imagine have free media, hell one doesn't even have a free judiciary any more), the EBU ought to be a lot clearer on what exactly would lead to a country being kicked out, or not. It ought to be an actual concrete rule and not "public opinion says...".

But be careful what you wish for - if the definition is, say, a country cannot compete if they are in a state of tension with a neighbouring country, well there goes Cyprus. There goes both Ireland and the UK. There goes, Spain and the UK (again). And Ukraine. And Moldova. And...

As for the hate shown to Eden Golan, that's a bit out of order. If she turned up wearing an IDF uniform and carrying a machine gun people would have a point, but she didn't. She's just the twenty year old that was chosen to represent her country. Even if people feel that the genocidal (*) country she is from has no place in a supposedly peaceful contest, rage should be directed at the EBU, or maybe her embassy, and not at the performer herself.

Is this polishing Israel's international image? Well, not really. One Eden singing a song for three minutes versus near-daily reports of dying children. The murderous terror-bastards (*) called Hamas killed 1,200 who were mostly civilians. Israel, by return, have caused the deaths of around 35,000 people (mostly civilians) according to the UN; which account for either 14,500 children (May 6) or 7,797 children (May 8). Don't ask me why the UN so drastically changed their estimates, but whatever, we're looking at at least eight thousand dead children. Oh, and apparently intentionally targetting aid worker vehicles, multiple times.
So, no, one can't really say that participation in the song contest is trying to make Israel's image seem better. Especially given that the lead item on the BBC News immediately following was about Israel saying they plan to invade Rafah. So, yeah, one Eden vs a lot of warmongering. Hmmm... those scales aren't balanced.

Honestly, I don't have an opinion on whether or not Russia and/or Israel is in the contest. I just feel that having one and not the other when they're both bombing and killing thousands of innocent civilians is inconsistent.

* - It's a mess and neither said comes out smelling of roses, but then this particular battle has been going on for a few thousand years...

 

The Dutch entry

It would seem that the guy representing the Netherlands made threats to a camerawoman and she made an official police report and in response to this situation, the EBU kicked the Netherlands out of the contest at the last minute.

Let's back up a little. The Dutch bloke was walking... somewhere... from the stage to the green room I think it was... and he asked not to be filmed/photographed and this was ignored. The woman kept on following him. I would imagine that he may have eventually said something like "eff off or I'll punch your lights out" (the Dutch are quite clear that he didn't actually touch her - though her camera had been damaged, so something happened).
Sure, it's not a particularly advisable reaction, but to follow the guy around when he asked her not to, when it was previously agreed that he wouldn't be followed... does that not count as threatening behaviour on her part? It's crossing the line from journalist/event recorder to scummy paparazzi.

I can't help but think that there should have been a much less drastic and dramatic response from the EBU given that it was a contest fraught with difficulties and everybody was a bit on edge due to all of the problems.

 

And to prove that the EBU is really losing the plot

Turns out that people were banned from waving the EU flag during the final. Apparently the only flags that were parmitted were those of the participant countries and various "pride" flags. The EBU seems to be claiming that no specific language banned the EU flag, but, well, it seems to have happened. "Because politics", or something.

I'm starting to understand why everybody was booing Martin. Sounds like this contest was a bit of a disaster. I mean, we ought to be talking about the scary witch, about Slimane's epic vocals, about how did nemo not fall off his spinning satellite dish, about how rather disgusting and sleazy the UK's entry was... instead most of the drama happened off-screen. What?

 

Pareidolia

There's a lovely article on Vince's blog that I recommend reading.

I had my own dose of pareidolia just a few nights ago. That word means people's tendencies to see some sort of meaningful interpretation in random noise or arrangements, such as the face on Mars, or the pattern on the moon being a rabbit pounding rice. For some reason, there is quite a tendency for people to perceive religious imagery in things like clouds, smoke, and so on. This concept is taken to its logical extreme with the Rorschach inkblot test.

Now, I tend to wander around in the dark... because I'm weird. Just go with it. Now, back when Nou was alive, he was a totally black cat, and I was able to tell where Nou was by simply observing the patch of absolute dark in the darkness. Just in case my senses were not a hundred percent, if my eyes weren't fully dark-adapted, it was helpful that he purred loudly, sounding like a motor badly out of balance and with worn bearings.

So I was walking, like I said, in the dark. It was cloudy so even darker. It looked a bit like this, only without the floating copyright logo, because that would be weird to see in reality. Plus, I'd prefer something more useful floating in the air, like a reminder of people's names and where I remember them from. That would be useful.

A picture of dark in the darkness
The dark in the darkness.

Yes, I can see in that (and no, it's not just a black rectangle - if you can't see anything try tossing it to ChangeFSI with a gamma correction of around 3.5). It's bright sunlight that causes my eyes difficulties. So I saw this darker patch right in front of me and abruptly stopped. Nou's been dead a few years. What is there? Is it dangerous? Should I spray pee everywhere? Scream like a girl? Run? All of the above?

No, I facepalmed myself. Because, well, here's what it actually was. Something I realised after about half a second of thinking.

What the dark patch actually was
What the dark actually was.

Yup, I had recently repaired the driveway with tarry stuff that, being newer, will be darker. I hadn't walked that particular way in the dark before. However now that I have, I won't worry about the dark patches, I'll just be like "yeah, it's the driveway patch"...
...until I get spaghettified tumbling into the tiny black hole that has inexplicably appeared on my driveway. You know, like they do from time to time. And there you were thinking that the typical rural thing was random extraterrestrials annoying the various ruminant mammals dotted around the landscape.

Otherwise, I'm not normally known for pareidolia. My mind is far too analytical to be tricked into seeing things. But that's not to say that I don't appreciate patterns...

 

On dying horribly

...something my little so-called brain really likes is raindrops, especially raindrops on glass. So I'm driving and it starts to rain.

Part of my brain can see the raindrops on the windscreen. I want to reach out and touch them, trace the patterns they make with my fingers. I wish I was good enough at maths to have some sort of hope of being able to recreate that sort of thing in code.

The other part of my brain is screaming "PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD YOU FXXXING TWAT OR YOU WILL DIE FXXXING HORRIBLY! THE ROAD! THE ROAD! CAR! LOOK! OH, FOR FXXXS SAKE!".
(but, oh, pretty!)

Don't talk to me about rain at night lit by neon lights. Oh me, that's like a visual orgasm, it really is. I absolutely get the Bladerunner aesthetic.

I'm sure you can understand why I'm in no particular hurry to get myself a driving licence. It isn't because I'm worried about the French. Well, that's maybe 20% of it. 80% of it is that I will die fxxxing horribly, only faster and more messily. Blood splatter everywhere. It'll be like the King's portrait.
And with that lovely imagery to bookend this blog entry, I'll say bye for now. ☺

 

 

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David Pilling, 15th May 2024, 12:39
...not over 'till the fat lady sings, and the court for reconciliation and arbitration in music contests gives its verdict, and the ECJ reviews it and a new generation grows up without the baggage of the past and the tectonic plates move the countries around. 
 
Acting just like a real sporting contest. 
 
I wonder what AI makes of noise - given there's AI based image enhancement software. More hallucinating. What fears stalk the mind of AI. 
 
Rick, 15th May 2024, 15:01
An AI doesn't have a mind. That's the problem, the hypsters seem to think it does, but a fool and his money...
A tree-dwelling mammal, 16th May 2024, 10:25
The advantage of driving a larger vehicle is that you have more of a crumple zone. So when (or 'if' in your case, by the sound of things!) you end up ploughing into a lamp post because you were distracted by a raindrop on the windscreen, you're more likely to be ok. 
 
Case in point - nearly 20 years back, due to a moment of inattention I ended up putting my car through a hedge at nearly 80mph. I walked away without a mark on me. Ok, the car was written off, but on cost grounds. 
 
No, you're right, it shouldn't have happened, I should have been paying attention then I wouldn't have totalled it. But the fact is we're all human, we all make mistakes. And in this case, the fact I was behind the wheel of a strongly-built car with a high NCAP rating meant that I walked away unharmed. 
 
Not that I'd advocate crashing through a hedge at any speed, just for the record.
Rick, 16th May 2024, 14:52
Hmmm, I think my car is supposed to be the crumple zone for whoever is behind...
C Ferris, 16th May 2024, 17:52
Hmm - those Battle Tanks around here are liable to run over your feet when they squeeze past :-/
A tree-dwelling mammal, 23rd May 2024, 11:38
I did once say to a friend who turned up in her Ford Ka (the original one, not the one that's the size of a Fiesta, which in turn grew to the size of a Focus) "that's nice, have you got one for the other foot?" 
 
I had a Golf a few years back. I felt a bit cramped in that. I'm not a small person, I need something with enough space that I can still breathe without the steering wheel poking into my chest. So basically something the size of a Mondeo / A4 / Passat etc. The mid-size saloon / large hatchback size. That way I can get myself into it and have room for any computer kit or music kit that I need to carry around with me. 
 
Rick - please don't become the crumple zone. We'd miss you.

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