Personal website of Jonathan Cannovan
Posted by: In: Books, Random 26 Apr 2013 0 comments

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat on his strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbour. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens.” So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.

Anthony de Mello (1931 – 1987) Jesuit Priest

 

 
Are you an eagle living the life of a chicken?……….

 

Posted by: In: Random 30 Dec 2007 0 comments


Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 01 Sep 2007 0 comments

The Festival finally finished earlier this week. I mangaed to see a few more shows – some good, some not so good.

For the second time I saw the ‘Circus Of Horrors‘, which had some entertaining performers – rollerskating acrobats and the infamous Gary Stretch.

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However, another circus show I went to was the ‘Cirque Surreal‘, which had some great performers – including an amazing juggler. He juggled with loads of footballs. At one point he was spinning a football on his right hand, juggling 3 footballs with his left hand, kicking another ball up repeatedly with his foot, all while headering another football. That’s something you don’t see everyday.

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I also got tickets for some comedians including Frank Skinner – he was good, but not as good as I was expecting. Still, there’s not many comedians that can make jokes from paedophiles and pensioner porn films. One comedian that was really funny was the Australian Jim Jefferies

 

For the third year running I went to see Gamarjobat. Their new show this year was ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Penguin’. The shows these Japanese guys have put on over the last two years have been fantastic, but I was a bit disappointed with them this year.

 

The Edinburgh Film Festival was also on while I was in Edinburgh. One movie I went see was Planet B-Boy – a documentary that “re-discovers one of the most incredible dance phenomena the world has ever seen…. known as B-boying to an audience who only remebers it as breakdancing from two decades ago“. It was an excellent film, and when it ended the film director Benson Lee was there for a Q&A session. An added bonus was that one of the crews that featured in the documentaery – the world famous Korean B-boy group Last For One were also there. They won Battle Of The Year 2005 -

Last For One Battle Of The Year 2005:

Battle Of The Year is an annual event to find out which is the best B-boy group in the world. Currently the top B-boys come from Korea and Japan. One group that was also in Planet B-boy was the Japanese crew Ichigeki:

A few hours after the documentary finished I went to the ‘CastleRock Breakdance Championships 2007‘. Again the Koreans Last For One came along and ‘battled’ with some UK B-boys. Some of the UK crews were impressive, but ultimately the Koreans won it.

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While walking down the Royal Mile I was pleased to see that the folk band Ghurt Yoghurt were again back in Edinburgh. I first saw this Ukrainian folk band busking last year. I not really a ‘folk music’ fan but they played some good tunes. I even bought some of their CD’s. Unfortunately the weather in Edinburgh this August was terrible, with it raining most of the time. However, this did not stop Ghurt Yoghurt busking.

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Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 13 Aug 2007 0 comments

I went to Edinburgh at the weekend. The Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival is on, so I went through to see a few shows.

As part of the Book Festivals ‘Focus On China’ theme, I went to meet authors who have written books on China and/or their experiences of living there:

Harry G Gelber spoke about his new book The Dragon and the Foreign Devils. A “history for the general reader to tell the story of China from the outside as well as from the inside.” Sounded very interesting, especially his comments on China’s increasing problems with its population and water shortage and its possible repercussions.

Mark Leonard, who is supposedly “one of the most brilliant young analysts of the age” talked about his new book What Does China Think?. The book is about the debates raging within China – from democracy to the idea of a ‘peaceful rise’. Again it sounded very interesting, and I plan to read it once its published.

Oliver August spoke about Inside the Red Mansion – an account of his time on the trail of China’s most wanted man, Lai Changxing. An illiterate peasant from the coastal city of Xiamen, Lai created his own shipping empire from nothing before vanishing abruptly when the Communist Party accused him of corruption and fraud. Once the richest man in the country, Lai was now public enemy number one because his immense wealth became a threat to Beijing’s power. The book investigates the tycoon’s meteoric rise, his catastrophic demise and the mystery that surrounds his disappearance. Click here to watch a 15 minute video on the book.

The last author I saw was Guy Delisle – a funny Canadian/French guy who created the graphic novel Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China. It is a graphic novel of his visit to Shenzhen, the cold, urban city in Southern China. Click here to view a PDF preview of the book.

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Other shows I went to included the free comedy show ‘Mob Logic’ by Mark Allen. The show was quite funny – all about what makes humans behave differently in crowds. Having a mild interest in psychology, it was interesting to hear his jokes/thoughts on psychology & anthropology. He mentioned a few theories and authors that I’ve heard about before – Desmond Morris and Robin Dunbar’s number theory – “which is 150, represents a theoretical maximum number of individuals with whom a set of people can maintain a social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who each person is and how each person relates socially to every other person. Group sizes larger than this generally require more restricted rules, laws, and enforced policies and regulations to maintain a stable cohesion.” Not what you would normally expect to be hearing at a comedy show, but it was entertaining.

Last year I saw the Korean show ‘Jump’, and this year the same crew were back in Edinburgh with a new show – ‘Breakout’. The group bring together a fusion of martial arts, slapstick comedy and break dancing.

‘Breakout’ consisted almost solely of hip hop, break dancing and voiceover, the show is a cops and robbers type of comedy, following a group of prisoners on the run. I didn’t find the comedy element that good, but the break dancing and acrobatics was very impressive. Top break dancers / b-boys are not something I expected Korea to produce, but it seems that they now have some of the best in the world.

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The best show I saw was Lawrence Leung Learns To Breakdance. A hilarious account by the Australian comedian, describing his attempts to become “cool”.

Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 04 Jul 2007 0 comments

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John Smeaton – Glasgow Airport Terrorist Attack Hero. Buy him a pint….

Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 02 Feb 2007 0 comments

Tokyo Pink Man



Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 30 Jan 2007 0 comments

Does anyone want to go skiing in Japan?….anyone?

Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 26 Dec 2006 0 comments

Posted by: In: Random 29 Aug 2006 0 comments

I’ve just read an article in today’s Daily Mail about a small Irish company – Steorn, which has recently claimed that it has turned physics on its head and developed what it calls ‘free energy technology’. If proved true it will mean the end of the global energy crisis, the end of global warming. We will no longer be dependent on oil, gas and coal for our energy needs. A free energy machine could be used to power cars, lorries, ships and anything requiring motive power.

Claims to have discovered such a scientific breakthrough are actually rather common. Not a week goes by without some lunatic/conman announcing that that they have succeeded in developing free energy, perpetual motion, etc…

What sets Steorn apart from the loony brigade is that they have actually spent £75,000 on a full page advert in The Economist, challenging the world’s scientists to come foward and test what it admits are its ‘blasphemous’ claims.

A few years ago, Steorn was working on a novel CCTV syestem to spy on cashpoint machines. Instead of powering the cameras with batteries or from the mains, the cameras were to be powered from tiny wind-generators.

Steorn claims that when fiddling with these ‘microturbines’ that the engineers made a startling discovery: the magnets used in the turbines were behaving in a strange way and seemed to be generating more power than was put into them.

Basically, Steorn claims that by setting up a series of magnetic fields in a certain way, and moving a magnetic object through the field, you get an ‘energy kick’, apparently from nowhere.

There is no electrical input, and the magnets do not ‘run down’ like batteries. Once in motion the machine – effectively a magnetically powered motor – simply runs forever.

The next stage of the company’s plan involves selecting 12 scientists from thousands (so Steorn claims) who have written in since The Economist advert was run. This handpicked jury of boffins will be given access to the full plans for the Steorn machine and invited to test it to their hearts content.

The odds are it’s a load of complete and utter nonsense. Steorn’s claims are probably wrong or a lie or maybe even a PR stunt. All previous claims have been shown to be bogus and Steorn will most likely be another addition to the list. However, I hope I’m wrong – time will tell.

Posted by: In: Entertainment, Random 09 Jun 2006 0 comments

Here’s a history lesson for you…