Monty Python Not Silly About Copyrights

Monty Python is finally doing something about all those unauthorized video uploads of their comedy sketches and movie clips to YouTube. Rather than unleashing their lawyers and issuing take down notices they're fighting back by launching their own YouTube Channel and reposting all their most popular clips in HQ (High Quality) direct from their own vaults.

This means that the best quality version of your favorite Monty Python moment can be found on the Monty Python Channel.

As well all of their videos are linked to their corresponding products on Amazon which they are blatantly encouraging you to buy to help ease their pain of being ripped off for the past three years.

Watch their very entertaining announcement video of this strategy below.

The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

Posted by MontyPython

The channel was launched in November of 2008 and, according to YouTube's blog, not only are Monty Python's video clips frequently receiving high views but also their product sales on Amazon have increased dramatically.

"The past few months have demonstrated that great content on YouTube leads to increased sales. For example, when Monty Python launched their channel in November, not only did their YouTube videos shoot to the top of the most viewed lists, but their DVDs also quickly climbed to No. 2 on Amazon's Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent." - YouTube blog

What this demonstrates is that issuing take down notices and phoning lawyers is not always the best strategy for protecting great content. Instead of spending a small fortune removing illegally posted content (and reducing their fans access to their content) Monty Python is uploading better quality clips and making a small fortune in the process.

I know a few record labels, TV Networks and others who should be taking notice.

Rather than issuing take town notices they should be asking copyright infringer's to include links to their official content. That way people who want to see more have a way to find the official source of what they're looking for.

For example I'd love to be able to use popular music as a sound track on my videos and would be more than happy to put links back to the artist's homepage, Amazon store or wherever.

This also ties into something I've said about my own content for a long time which is: If you know of anyone making good money from selling my content please let me know because I want to find out what they're doing and possibly even form a partnership with them to sell more.

These kinds of positive strategies can be win/win for everyone concerned. Let's get those lawyers working on licensing agreements instead cease and desist letters.

Miracle on the Hudson Video of Plane Decending

Whilst I'm sure you've probably had plenty of opportunity to see the video, filmed by the Coast Guard, of US Airways passenger plane, flight 1549, descending into the Hudson river I thought I'd post it here anyway along with my thoughts.

Video of US Airways descent into Hudson River released

Posted by USCGImagery

Personally I watched this video because I was hoping to see how the plane managed to land on the water without spinning out of control.

In all the reporting on this event pilots everywhere seem to have universally agreed that landing a plane of this size safely on water is one step removed from impossible. (One step removed NOW because this pilot has shown its not completely impossible).

I was interested to see the landing just to satisfy my curiosity of how the pilot achieved it - especially considering he had no power, only gliding capability.

Did he need to keep the nose of the plane up? Did he have to use the engines, located below the the wings, as skis to slow the plane down so as to prevent a flip? Did he just keep the plane as level as possible and hope for the best?

Unfortunately, in the above video, whilst you can see the plane coming down at around the two minute mark (from the left of screen) it's too far away to be anything clearer than a white streak.

Don't get me wrong. It's great that everyone made it out of this emergency landing safely but that side of the story is fairly well covered in the media. Just like the world's greatest magic trick (whatever that is), when someone achieves the seemingly impossible, most people would love to know how it's done.

In pilot circles, this pilot achieved the impossible.

It amazes me that, in a city like New York, where the War on Terror began, there weren't more cameras pointed at the Hudson. In a world where seemingly every second person has a digital video camera enabled mobile phone no one was in the right place at the right time and thought, "I'll never see something like this again - I'd better get my camera".

I know it all happened very quickly but still, I've seen planes coming into land. You know when a plane is flying too low for it to be normal. There is time to fire up a camera. People managed it on September 11, 2001 right?

Perhaps an actual video will surface at some point but until then the video below is the closest I've found. It suggests the pilot probably dragged the tail to slow the planes momentum:

US Airways crash Miracle on the Hudson River (Simulation)

Posted by 1DLflyer

The Bat Suit and CSI: Batman

I'm not much of a reader of Batman comic books. Most of my appreciation of Batman is with the film versions of the character (excluding the animated versions) because that's where I first discovered him. I'm fairly sure it was the Adam West TV series version that first caught my attention as reruns in the nineteen seventies followed closely by the 1949 cinema serial and the animated 'Super friends'.

However I am a fan of the way batman is drawn in the comic books. I like the grey leotards with either a blue or black cowl. I prefer the black cowl but the blue version still works on the page. (The blue cowl is actually meant to be a black cowl that has a kind of 'blue black' hue in the light and came about as a way to make Batman stand out more from the black outlines and shading used within comic books).

When it comes to Batman on film we've become accustomed to the black rubber suits that Tim Burton established in his movie Batman (1989)(See image left with Michael Keaton as Batman). The logic being that the suit is a kind of protective armor, capable of stopping bullets. It makes sense right? Even when the character was first created guns were a common weapon of criminals. Yet, in the comics Batman, never wore protective armor as his regular 'work' suit. Not ever. Not until the 1989 movie.

In fact, in the comics, he still doesn't wear armor as this cover (image left) from the comic book series, Final Crisis, ( NO#6, Jan 2009) shows.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the rubber suits of the movies. Not even the current upgraded suit that Batman has in Chris Nolan's, The Dark Knight (2008)(see image on the right).

They do look good but they tend to play up the brute force aspect of the character. In a suit of armor Batman is going to be able to withstand a lot of punches without feeling them a whole lot. Bullet to the head on the other hand... well, he should be okay so long it doesn't hit him in the face from the nose down (or take an eye out).

The thing is, Batman isn't just about brute force. Virtually all the Batman comic fan boys will tell you Batman is 'super' intelligent. Which is why they often argue Batman would win in a fight with Superman. Brains over muscle - but that's a whole other topic.

Batman is one of the world's greatest detectives. So good he has access to technology that can lift fingerprints from completely obliterated bullets - apparently (see Nolan's, The Dark Knight). He needs the muscle, stealth and fighting ability to bring his criminals in but he relies on his intelligence and advanced technologies to build a case against them and to track them down.

Whilst an armored suit should definitely be in the 'Bat Closet' I think Batman would operate more like the regular police force who don't usually wear full riot gear for day to day police work. They usually only suit up when they expect the situation to be dangerous.

Adam West did the leotard Bat suit no favors. He didn't look bad in it but he didn't look menacing either. Understandable since the sixties TV show was aimed at children whom the studio probably didn't want to scare with the complexities of a tortured vigilante. It was just for fun and Batman was a role model of the fine, upstanding hero who always triumphed over evil.

Recently I revisited a superb fan made short film, Batman: Dead End (2003) by Sandy Collora. The film is a single scene where Batman finds the Joker, who has recently escaped custody, in an alley.

In attempting to apprehend him the Joker is grabbed by an unseen rooftop foe and then Batman is attacked by an Alien (from the movie of the same name - though the film is actually inspired by the comic book series Batman/Aliens). Batman wins against the alien but is subsequently attacked by a Predator (again from the movie of the same name and again, actually inspired by the comic series Batman Versus Predator).

Whilst I'm not into the whole Alien/Predator concept - despite being done well - what's notable about the film is that Batman, played by Clark Bartram, is wearing the Black and grey leotard suit from the comics. Not only that but he still manages to be menacing and fully owns the physical, brute force aspect of Batman. See for yourself in the full eight minute movie embeded below:



What this short film shows is that Batman can, believably, hold his own in a fight, even without body armor. Not only that but that the traditional suit from the comics can look great. It even looks great in the day time, full lighting. Don't believe me check out the video below which covers the making of Batman: Dead End and gives you some insight into why the grey suit was used.



This article is leading towards an idea that I just want to throw out there about the direction Batman is heading in the film world and something I'd like to see.

Christopher Nolan's Batman films have brought the character back to a more realistic vision. At the same time Sandy Collora's short film shows that the traditional costume of the comics can work in a realistic environment not dissimilar to Nolan's world (if you leave out the aliens and predators).

I guess I'm arguing for Sandy's Bat Costume because of all the Bat Suits I've seen it really is my favorite version. Batman's strength is not hidden away under layers of armor. This is a guy that doesn't need armor and he'll still stand and fight if necessary. I'm more inclined towards the Batman that wins by stealth and smarts than brute force but can hold up in a fight if absolutely necessary.

To my point... crime shows are really popular on TV. Always have been. Wouldn't it be interesting if the producers of one of those shows - say CSI, Law and Order, Cold Case etc. etc. gave Batman that kind of treatment?

Super criminals are all very well but Batman is about cleaning up Gotham city of all its criminal element - not just your Jokers or your out of town tourists like Ra's Al Ghul. How interesting would it be to focus even more on the detective aspect of the character?

CSI:Batman. A simple suit like Batman: Dead End. A modest set for the Bat Cave. Maybe a car that's a little less tank and a little more Lamborghini. Access to Gordon and the Gotham PD. Rent a mansion for Wayne Manor. How hard could it be?

Even just a once off special by the producers of any of these shows would be fun. Maybe even incorporate their own characters who interact with Batman like it's completely normal - not like they're trying to wrap their head around the concept of working with a six foot bat.

I know this article took a long time to get to my point but I really had to talk about the suit and why I like the 'old school' comic version. Otherwise you'd be thinking of Adam West when I made the suggestion instead of Clark Bartram (who, incidentally would be great in the role if he still looks as good in 2009 as he did in 2003. He looks good enough to make a great Bruce Wayne too).

If you have any thoughts I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

Boom Crash Opera Born Classic But Not Again

Boom Crash Opera are an Australian Band that reached the peak of their popularity in the mid to late nineteen eighties. They are a band that I knew about at that time but was never really excited by until they released their ill fated double album Born and Born Again in 1995 (Album cover pictured).

At the time of its release I was very much into emerging Australian musical acts and was also looking out for new sounds that were different and had kind of a futuristic/electronic sound. Artists that I was buying at the time included; Swoop, Nine Inch Nails and Pop Will Eat Its Self. As well as a really interesting release by David Bowie, the concept album, Outside.

Born was a fairly radical departure for Boom Crash Opera (BCO). The first single, Gimme, was often compared to the sounds of Gary Glitter, particularly his single, Rock n Roll part 2, because of the pounding drum loops. Watch the video below.



My favorite single from the album is dissemble which probably went nowhere on the charts but its electronic sound and seemingly reflective lyrics always strike a chord with me. Lines like "No... we haven't met, 'cause I've got a memory too big to forget." whilst not particularly deep have a naive complexity to them. Kind of like a machine carefully trying to understand how to link words together in order to express meaning.

Born is one of the few albums that I can say I like every track but what makes it interesting, apart from the music, is the themes, look and style of how the album was promoted.

One could argue the album was ahead of its time dealing with mass consumerism, violence, self obsession and futuristic machine domination by an increasingly computer reliant world. Born's album cover suggested the idea of people tuning out of reality by living more and more in a virtual world.

The band members promoted the album wearing minimalist, black, 'plastic' looking costumes that wouldn't have looked out of place in the movie The Matrix (which wouldn't be released for another four years).

Even the CD its self included computer multimedia presentations including two song video clips, Gimme and Tongue Tied.

The book that came with the CD doesn't include song lyrics, instead it features passages of text that extend or suggest themes and ideas covered in each song. There's complete instructions for creating your own 'cryo-doll', 'primal regression therapy in three easy steps' and 'how to turn your car into a psychotromic accelerator'.

As a concept album Born should be a classic. It's filled with so many ideas. I bought it when it was released in 1995 and songs from it are currently on my MP3 player (which only has 1GB of space so I can't just stick my entire catalog of CD's on it).

The sad thing is that this was released as a double album in a double CD cover (the old style, double thick case). It came with a cardboard circle where the Born Again CD was intended to be, when released, according to the circle, in April of 1995. It never was. Born wasn't a commercial success despite its singles receiving generous radio airplay. Record label BMG dropped the release of Born Again as a result.

To this day other than two singles from Born Again, Soundtrack and Radio, available on BCO's release, Best Things - Greatest Hits (1998), the album has never been released.

One can only assume the album was complete or nearing completion because the release of Born came with a complete track list for Born Again. The complete list includes the tracks; Analytical, Radio, Soundtrack, Stay Where You Are, Shallow, Mind Over Matter, Hit The Beach, Bomb For You, Beating Addiction, Shivers, Come a Little Closer.

Perhaps there was even another book full of ideas as per Born?

I recently picked up Gizmo Mantra (1997), the last new release from BCO, in a bargain sale. Not because I was waiting for it to be bargain priced but I never knew they released anything after Born. I just happened to see it and bought it on the spot - hoping it might have some of the brilliance of Born.

To be honest, Gizmo Mantra, whilst you can see some of the themes echoing through, never stood a chance against an album I've loved for 13 years. It's not that Gizmo Mantra is bad - it isn't - it's just that Born captures my imagination and continues to do so.

With bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails releasing entire albums directly to their fans online, I hope BCO will take a leaf out of their book.

Personally I'd prefer them to release Born Again on CD with any book or extras that may have come with it had it been released back in 1995. I'd buy it as a mail order item from their web site (if they had a proper web site rather than a myspace page maintained by the band).

Mostly I'd just like to have the complete concept double album. It's bugged me for 13 years not having Born Again. I know the band is still together and have gone back to where they started with the Aussie Pub circuit. Somewhere in their 'unreleased' pile of songs there's a whole album of potential brilliance that completes the MUST HAVE classic release that is Born.

The Female Orgasm Explained

The other night I was mindlessly watching whatever show happened to be on TV next when I was confronted with a French documentary titled The Female Orgasm Explained (Warning note: the previous link will take you to this fairly graphic and explicit documentary on Google Video). Naturally I had to watch to... to... um... learn something. The fact that they kept showing really old porn clips in no way influenced my decision to watch.

So this post isn't a review, it's commentary on what I learned. This could get quite graphic and possibly a little sexist. If talk about things below the waist and above the knees makes you run a mile out of earshot then now's the time to start running.

Most men already know women are complex beings. Especially when it comes to their um... 'bits'. The enlightened men amongst us know about the clitoris, G-spots and even know there's a difference between vaginal and clitoral orgasms.

Apparently, though, according to this documentary, women also have three other orgasmic spots besides the clitoris and the G-spot. Oh crap! As if things aren't complicated enough. It's about time all women came with a printed manual for what buttons to push. (Is there a button for 'make dinner'?).

The show put up a diagram showing where these three other 'spots' are supposed to be and as near as I can tell they're just making stuff up now. There is nothing actually there (well nothing to differentiate it from any other part of the vaginal wall) all of them are just kind 'zones' really. See the diagram on the right which comes from the show but with my own labels added.

Even a few women are skeptical about the existence of 'G' spots now we've got 'A' spots and other zones to find too?!

Men get a bum rap for their simplicity. Ever seen those joke remote controls you can buy for women and men? The woman's remote has something like fifty plus buttons on it whilst the man's remote has only three: Beer, Sex and Food. In my case, I don't drink beer so that reduces my remote by a button.

I think it's about time men made their 'bits'... umm... let me rephrase that, their 'tools' more complex with a few more labels and spots. I think we should go the whole way and have a whole alphabet of 'spots'. 'A' at the tip of the tool through to 'Z' at the base. We could then have a whole sliding scale of pleasure based on how far through the alphabet your partner gets.

Like men, it's a system that's totally logical and not really that hard to work out. At the very least it gives us something a bit more complex than an 'On/off' button.

Well it makes more sense than randomly naming zones that nobody can see let alone prove their existence.
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