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Friday, November 09, 2007

Ninja Turtle


Godfrey is not amused.

'Animal welfare officers are trying to find out who taped a turtle to a firework and set it off on Bonfire Night in Wrexham.
The creature, thought to be a female, was found by a dog in the back garden of a house in Rutland Road.
The firework had been lit and the turtle suffered a bash to the head, bleeding from the mouth and a cracked shell, the RSPCA said.
The turtle is being cared for at a north Wales specialist reptile centre.
On Tuesday morning the dog returned from the garden with what looked like a stick in its mouth.
Its owner was horrified to find that the stick was in fact a used firework which had a turtle attached to it.
The turtle had been taped to the rocket-type firework with white masking tape.
It is thought the firework was set off on 5 November, meaning the turtle had lain in the garden overnight until it was found by the dog early the next morning.'

Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Bugger

Big Brother ends this week, I learn from the BBC News website. I say "I learn", because, with near tear-inducing relief, I can say that this has been the first year that the hideous gargoyle-fest that the show has become has completely passed me by.

One interesting snippet, though: according to the BBC viewing ratings, the programme achieved its highest ratings when Blah got evicted for Blah Blah in week Blah (details, like contestants, entirely irrelevant).

This 'highest rating' in question was just shy of 6 million viewers.

A quick perusal of the weekly viewing figures tells us that this peak of Big Brother excitement was deemed less interesting - and was watched by less people - than a mid-week showing of the dire and interminable knacker soap, The Bill.

Time to put it out of its misery now, SURELY?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two for the price of One

Right, now hold on a minute. Madonna ‘baby snatcher’ Ciccone has been told she can adopt a second child from Malawi. Confusingly, you might think, given that the Malawian government have, as far as I am aware, still not authorised her first baby-raid in the country.

She is choosing to pick up another one, apparently, because she wants to give ‘a sister’ to the first Malawian baby she took a fancy to. In order to “redress the balance”.

What the fuck does that actually mean? Redress what balance?

Do you mean that as a white woman adopting a black child you need to ‘provide’ said child with another black sibling, by any chance? Of COURSE you do.

Because that’s going to do what, exactly? Fool both children into believing that you’re their parent rather than just a patronising white woman with a defunct biological clock and a penchant for cute piccanninies? Miraculously make them feel that they ‘fit in’ to your life socially and racially? Somehow bring about their instantaneous familial identification without you having to do any of the seriously hard work that being an adoptive parent - a proper adoptive parent - actually involves?

Now look, you should have paid closer attention, really. You don’t actually NEED to pick up a second child of the same race and background to chuck into your oh-so-modern multi-coloured menagerie. Oh no. Any non-white poverty-stricken urchin will do, Madonna love. Look at Angelina Jolie - she’s been out there performing her own one-woman game of global baby Monopoly for years.

“I’ve got two Cambodians, one African…. Let me see. Has anyone got any hotels - sorry, I mean orphanages - on India?”

‘MADONNA has been given the green light to adopt a second orphan from Malawi — a 13-month-old girl called Mercy.
She’s been told she can take the “smiling angel” as a sister to David Banda, her first child from the African nation.
It follows months of legal wrangling over the adoption of 22-month-old David.
And to ensure all goes smoothly this time, Madge, 49, has told her lawyer in Malawi, Alan Chinula, to “cover all legal bases” before she collects Mercy next April.
Madge insisted she wanted to adopt a sister for David “to redress the balance”. Officials asked her to view up to TEN girls before deciding.’

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

They f**k you up, your mum and dad

It seems that family strife is the theme of the day. Mere days after Britney Spears's mother announces she is taking the side of her own daughter's ex-husband in their custody battle, Britney finds herself dragged up on what sounds like an absurdly spurious child abuse charge of highly suspicious timing:

'IN another blow for BRITNEY SPEARS, the singer is now being investigated for possible child abuse.
According to reports in the States, the LA County Department Of Children And Family Services (DCFS) are "conducting an active investigation".
The star has not been accused of physically harming her kids, Sean Preston and Jayden James.
The complaint instead centres around allegations of poor dental hygiene, eating and sleeping habits.
It is also alleged that Britney's ex-husband KEVIN FEDERLINE instigated the investigation as part of their bitter divorce battle.'


Course, I'll retract without question if it turns out the undeniably-batty Ms Spears has been branding her kids with cigarettes and the like, but wouldn't you like to think that the girl's mother would try to find some way of supporting her own child through her troubles?
Let's face it, if you're prepared to make millions of dollars by dressing your teen daughter up as a sexualised schoolgirl-come-hooker, encouraging her to writhe around bleating 'hit me baby' for the general paedophilic delight of one and all, you pretty much have an obligation to stick around for the inevitable fall-out ten years after the fact, don't you?

Happy Families

Golly. Not satisfied, it would seem, with outing her as a heroin addict a couple of weeks ago, Amy Winehouse’s parents-in-law have really been sticking the boot in over the weekend. Whether it’s the rare Bank Holiday sunshine that got to them, a burgeoning taste for the limelight, or simply the crisp sound of an old-fashioned tabloid cheque being waved aloft, it appears they simply couldn’t STOP themselves from further destroying the livelihood and sanity of their one-gentle-shove-from-total-oblivion daughter-in-law.

Firstly, daddy dearest “opens his heart” to the News of the World on Sunday in order to….erm….tell us all how Amy Winehouse’s drug problems are really nothing to do with his son - NOTHING AT ALL. In fact, it's pretty much all her fault:

‘POP druggie Amy Winehouse and husband Blake Fielder-Civil have been chillingly warned by his dad: "Stop or you'll end up dead like Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy!"
Pouring out his heart in an exclusive interview headmaster Giles said: "Drink, drugs and a history of self-harm is a worrying cocktail. I'm going to point out the Sid and Nancy comparison to Blake."
Despairing at his son's downward spiral since marrying 23-year-old wildcat Amy, Giles sighed: "You couldn't tell Sid Vicious what to do, could you? But I'd like Blake and Amy to think about those two. It might shake them up. I doubt it, but maybe."
…And shocked dad Giles, 42, told us: "They've fallen out and Amy's gone a bit frenzied. She's got her claws into his face.
"Blake's a dignified person. He wouldn't hurt Amy — not even in self-defence. But clearly she's gone hell for leather.
"It's nasty. The trouble is Amy does like to have her own way and she can be quite wilful.
"Maybe she wasn't allowed to continue whatever she wanted to do and this is how she reacted. Blake HASN'T been supplying Amy with drugs. But there are people close to her who do.
"And what Amy wants, Amy gets. Of course, my wife and I find that totally abhorrent….’


After disappointly failing to swing public sympathy away from the unfortunately troubled-yet-talented Amy and toward their own preposterous waste of skin and organs son, they came back for more today. And this is a cracker: they want the public to stop buying Amy Winehouse’s music. Because, according to them, that’ll stop her taking drugs:

‘The in-laws of the troubled singer Amy Winehouse today urged fans to stop buying her records – to send a message to her and her husband that they must sort out their drug problems.
The parents of Blake Fielder-Civil said that Winehouse and their son were drug addicts but in a state of denial. They also said the singer should not be given any awards for which she is nominated, to show the couple’s behaviour was not acceptable
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live, Giles Civil said: “They are taking cocaine, we believe they are taking crack and there have been instances of heroin abuse. Clearly they are addicts but they are in abject denial.”
Georgette, his wife, said: “They both need medical help before one of them dies.” Giles added: “They are a very close couple. We are concerned that if one dies through substance abuse, the other will commit suicide.”’


Denying her professional success as a drugs intervention policy? That’s the ticket, you say?
Really. It’s a ploy that doesn’t seem to have worked too successfully with Pete Doherty. Let’s face it, he’s sold a fuck of a lot more stories about his mangy ex-missus to The Sun than he ever has albums, but that appears to have escaped this lovely couple’s attention. (Conversely, to imagine what a sudden about-turn in success would have done to the drug habits of the likes of Keith Richards or James 'PCP' Brown is too complicated a folly for this time of day, so I won't bother with it).

One can only hope that Amy Winehouse has the strength to sort herself out, and the intelligence to realise that getting rid of her grubby-looking drug-addled husband and his equally grubby family is the best place to start.
And if she doesn’t have the brains or the will to do that, let’s hope instead that her dad gets a second chance to throw a punch in the direction of the Fielder-Civils. It won’t get her off drugs, but I’d like to bet it’d make him - and the rest of us - feel a whole lot better.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Goody Lord

Jade Goody - you know, the curious-looking woman who made a lot of money from reality TV and was then crucified publicly by the same medium that made her - has split up with her boyfriend. He's inexplicably become something of a celebrity himself, apparently, judging by the fact that his phizog ended up in today's Daily Mail. Nowt so curious and all that.

Anyhow, "of no consequence", you say, and you'd be right. But look:

'Mother-of-two Jade was reportedly devasated after splitting with Jack earlier this week.
The pair, who lived together in Jade's £500,000 home in Ongar, Essex with her two son's Bobby, 4, and Freddie, 2, had been dogged with claims of cheating throughout their stormy two year relationship.
Jade's agent, Sean O'Brien said of the break-up, "We are not commenting on that".'


Now, who'd have thought that Jade Goody would still have an agent?

A (famously not very) Tall Tale

Altogether now:

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm.

'Katie blames Tom Cruise's snoring for sleeping in separate bedrooms

It's an age old problem, and many a wife has suffered because of it - but not Katie Holmes.
Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes are reported to sleep in separate bedrooms, so she doesn't have to suffer his snoring.
A source told US magazine, Star: "It's a situation that works for both of them".'

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Debt, Drunkenness and Dirty Kitchens

The annual ‘A Levels are getting easier’ story is round again. Hard to believe it’s that time of year already.

Rather than drone on – as I would love to do – about the pointlessness of it all (of COURSE they’re getting easier, kids are getting THICKER) I thought I’d write my response to The Times’ ‘Ten Reasons to go to University’. They say:

1. You can make A Levels a thing of the past.

Yeah, ok, I’ve got no argument against that. Apparently once you get to Uni, nobody cares what A Levels you’ve got. Personally, I never noticed anybody caring what A Levels I got when I was doing the fucking things. Least of all my school teachers.

2. The work will actually be interesting.

Rather a ridiculous assumption, this. If you’re studying molecular biology, the work might be interesting. If you get your rocks off on molecular biology. If you’re studying English, on the other hand, the work will only ever be marginally interesting, on the grounds that there’s actually only the equivalent of a day a week to get interested in. The rest of the time you can either get a proper job, get drunk or masturbate. I don’t recommend combining these.

3. Learn to get on with people and make lifelong friends.

Learn to get on with people? What does that mean? Are we to assume that, by the age of 18 and having spent every weekday of their teenage life in the competitive social environment that is school, these kids haven’t learned how to socialise with other humans? What are they, fucking autistic?
And as for making lifelong friends, well yes, you’ll meet a very small number of people at University that you like and want to drink beer with, and lots and lots of people that you’d rather stab in the eyeball with a fork than share breathing space with. A bit like the rest of your life. Oh, except there’s generally more of the latter group to go around in a University. And they’re drunk. And dirty. And noisy. And living in the flat next door. Enjoy!

4. It’s your one chance to doss around.

Oh please. Have you heard of the dole? You don’t have to pay £3000+ a year for the priviledge of sitting on your arse going quietly out of your mind on the dole. Plus if you do go out of your mind (which you will if you live like a student in a squalid cesspit of an overpriced house in the shit end of town watching deal or no deal on television) they’ll give you extra as a disability allowance. Everyone’s a winner.

5. The graduate premium (i.e. cash)

According to The Times, if you have a degree you’re guaranteed to earn more money than if you don’t have one.
Excuse me momentarily…

A HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
HA

Ah ha.

That’s a fucking good one. Must remember to tell that to my plumber next time he pops round. In his Mercedes.

6. It’s never too late

Oh, this is the mature student bit, isn’t it?
Well, yes, yes it is. If you’re 30 and you’ve got a mortgage and a job and some semblance of a secure and contented life and you’re hit by the sudden and INSANE notion that you want to render yourself unemployed and surrounded by fuckwitted teenagers for three years, what I suggest you do is go to a friend, partner or colleague and ask them to slap you repeatedly in the face with an iron bar until you snap out of it.


7. You’ll enjoy crazy experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.

True, true indeed. Nowhere else will you find people who consider a brigade of St Johns Ambulancemen a necessary precaution on a night out clubbing. Who bring home traffic cones for a joke because they’re just so post-ironically-fucking-funny. Who think that bathrooms need to be cleaned annually. Who talk inane shit incessantly but believe themselves more intelligent than the rest of society. At no other time in your life will you be patronised and hated by everyone else in society, and suffer in the humbling and soul destroying knowledge that they’re absolutely bloody right. Should I go on?

8. Think of your country!

This refers to the skills shortage. We need more highly educated people in this country, so going to University is…yeah, like a really good thing to do, yeah? Well, yes, until you realise that, three years down the line, you’re £15K in debt, you can’t afford to buy a postage stamp never mind a home, you’re up against every other ‘highly educated’ bastard in the country in a swamped jobs market, and you fuck off to America where they’ll pay you twice as much as here. Yep. University is a patriotic act, people.

9. What else are you going to do?

This is a reason to waste three years of your life, is it? Because you haven't the intelligence to think of anything more productive to do with your time? Jesus. I can hear the underside of the barrel being scraped from here.
Here's a suggestion: how about getting a paying job that will allow you to function as a contributing member of society?
Gosh, I found that question quite easy! Must be thanks to my superior education.

10. Learn how brilliant you can be

And that statement, ladies and gentleman, (from a currently-serving work-dodger) sums up EXACTLY what is wrong with students. Here endeth the lesson.

Come in, PC Khan...

Now this is special. A senior police officer, by the name of Masood Khan, has been let off a wilful misconduct charge in court, brought against him for having sex while on duty.
Why?
Because he had his earpiece in the whole time. "On low volume". (LOVING the detail).

Brilliant. What was he going to do? Stop halfway through if a crime was committed? Can he hear suspect packages through his earpiece, then?

Admittedly, it was a bit excessive for him to have been brought to a Crown Court over the whole affair, but as a user of public transport, I've got to tell you that I don't feel particularly safe knowing that the man in charge of public safety (such as he is) was off in a Gatwick hotel room, rodgering some woman he met on the internet, when he was meant to be stopping people from trying to kill me.
(Oh, and as the beauty is in the detail, he met the lucky recipient of this twenty minutes of romance on a 'specialist' site for kinkies that are into uniforms. Naughty Plod.)

I'd say it's only fair that the police disciplinary board elect to give PC Earpiece more time - a LOT more time - to stick to what he enjoys best. At low volume.

'A senior police officer who admitted having sex with a stranger while on duty was cleared of any offence yesterday after the jury heard that he kept his radio earpiece switched on throughout. British Transport Police Inspector Masood Khan, 41, was charged with misconduct in a public office after a 20-minute tryst in a police office with a woman he had met on an Internet dating site.
The officer, who signed up for the website using the name Michael K Plod, told jurors: "It was an absolutely wrong thing to do, morally and professionally, and I shouldn't have done that."
But he claimed that he was always poised and ready to respond to an emergency because he had his earpiece in.
"If there was a call for me I would have answered it and dealt with it,' he said. It took the jury at Southwark Crown Court only ten minutes to clear him but Khan still faces a disciplinary hearing. The ultimate penalty is the sack.'

Fabulous Insult

In today's paper there's a story about a minority religious (i.e. non-Muslim) sect in northern Iraq who are being targeted and murdered by Al Qaeda. (I'd feel sorry for them, were it not for their oh-so-predictable prediliction for stoning women, but I digress).

Not the most likely source, you'd think, for a funny.

And yet.

It seems that this "misunderstood" group are derided by Muslim Iraqis as, "peacock-loving, lettuce-dodging devil worshippers".

And here, fabulously, is why:

'The Yazidis are mainly Kurds, spread out in villages across northern Iraq and around Lalish. The temple is leased out each year to a different family, who are entrusted to maintain the leafy courtyards and smoke- blackened halls in good order, while taking whatever surplus profits are made from the pilgrim trade.

The entrance to the sanctuary is adorned with a large black snake carved next to the stone portal, said to represent the serpent that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

On one of the walls of Lalish’s principal outside courtyard is a beautiful image of a peacock, representing the main angel created by God when he formed the world. One of the Peacock Angel’s names is Shaytan, the same as the word for Satan in the Koran, which has led to misunderstandings about the Yazidi being devil worshippers. He is, however, only considered as one of seven archangels created by God and revered by this obscure ethnic minority. The shrines and tombs of Yazidi leaders that dot the landscape of northern Iraq are often referred to by local Muslims as “Beit Shaytan”, of the House of Satan.

The taboo on lettuce is also obscured by secrecy and age, but is believed to have arisen because the name in the Yazidi dialect of Kurdish resembles the title given to the seven angels when they appear in human form, giving rise to an injunction that prevents worshippers from eating the body of those whom they revere.'

I prefer a shower




India's Yamuna river is not, apparently, a source of holy goodness that local Hindus think it is. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it's actually quite polluted. Just how polluted, however, does give pause for thought.

The Yamuna, in which thousands of people take ritualistic daily dips, according to The Times, "contains faecal waste 100,000 times the safe limit for bathing".

Yummy.

Born Free

Just been reading – as you do – a feature about ultrasound procedures on pregnant women. Now here’s a fairly disturbing thing: the amniocentesis, which is done to test for Downs Syndrome on unborn babies, appears to be causing a not insubstantial number of women to miscarry wanted foetuses:

‘In a paper published in Ultrasounds this week, retired Dr Hylton Meire not only argues there is no scientific evidence to prove the 20-week scan is worthwhile, he also casts doubt on the reliability of the principal method of testing for Down's Syndrome - the nuchal fold measurement.
These tests do not give a yes or no answer to whether a baby has Down's, but an indication of risk. Those deemed to have a higher possibility are offered an amniocentesis, where a needle is inserted into the womb to give a much more accurate analysis.
Every amniocentesis carries a small risk of miscarriage, so women who are not carrying a disabled foetus in the first place can end up losing a perfectly healthy baby.
Using various figures, Dr Meire, formerly of King's College Hospital, calculates that as many as 3,200 healthy babies are lost in this way each year.
For every 50 live births of children with Down's Syndrome prevented, he says 160 women miscarry non-affected babies.’


That’s pretty grim as medical findings go, particularly when you consider that the women being tested in this way are usually older, thanks to the higher risk of Downs in pregnancies past the age of 40. To lose a desired baby at the age of 45 must be quite a choker.

Moreover, I find it a bit strange that aborting Downs babies is something that is seen as acceptable as standard – I mean, I GET it, depressing though the logic is, but it’s very specific. I’m not a doctor so I wouldn’t know, but aren’t people with Downs capable of achieving a reasonable quality of life? I’m not saying it’s a bundle of laughs to parent a child with disabilities, and I would never judge anyone for taking the abortion option when offered, but shouldn’t a person due to be born with Downs have the option to at least give life a go, however inconvenient it might be for the parents?
If the medical establishment deems it perfectly acceptable to abort a late stage foetus if it has Downs Syndrome, does it condone it for other disabilities? If having a disability means your life is effectively not worth the living, doesn’t it then follow that a person who, say, loses the use of their legs at the age of 10 should kill themselves? Are other disabilities aborted as standard? Other perceived ‘defects’?
And if so, why is Carol Vorderman alive?
(That’s called lightening the mood)……

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

"Take my mother-in-law..."

So, Amy Winehouse is addicted to heroin. Can't say I'm surprised - her husband has the look of a smackhead about him, and she seems to be the type that soaks up her bloke's problems and personality defects like a giant human sponge, bless her.

But it's good to know that she's got the support,the comfort and above all, benefit of the DISCRETION of her mother in law, isn't it?

'Singer Amy Winehouse is reportedly addicted to heroin, according to her mother-in-law Georgette Civil.
Winehouse and husband Blake Fielder-Civil have checked into a rehab clinic in the U.S., according to newspaper reports, after the singer collapsed following three days of hard partying last week.
And now Fielder-Civil's mother tells the Daily Mirror newspaper, "You can't blame Amy, you can't blame Blake. They're just as bad as each other. It's the hardest thing in the world for me to say in public that my son and his wife have a drug problem...
"I know my son has had a drug problem ever since he was 20 and moved down to London. I needed to know about Amy's problems and we had a chat - just the two of us. She told me she was addicted to heroin and cocaine."'


"Just the two of us", Mrs ironically-named Civil? Surely that should read, "Just the two of us and several million Daily Mirror readers"?

PR Advice

Now. That woman Sienna Miller.

WHO IS SHE?????

WHY is she in the papers?

I have never met anyone who has seen her films, and I have never met anyone that was interested in her. I know no woman who wants to look like her or dress like her, and I know no man that wants to bed her.

And yet, every day this week, I have endured pointless gossip stories about the woman and the 'conquests' she appears to change daily, like contact lenses.

Now, obviously, I realise that she's just one of those random blonde actress nobodies that the world of celebrity seems to inexplicably want to foist upon us -despite no discernible traces of talent or notability - but REALLY. Shagging Jude Law is all well and good, but it's hardly interesting on the 'doing a Britney' level, is it?

Note to Miller's PR: Enough already. Do you never SLEEP??? Put down the Red Bull, put DOWN the straw, and try leaving it at least a fortnight between each puff of 'dating co-star' guff, yes?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Gallic Wizardry

Apparently, the French kid who posted a full translation of the latest Harry Potter book online will not, despite being arrested for his efforts, actually be charged.

Quite right too. In an age where society (oh alright, the Daily Mail) is up in arms on a weekly basis about falling educational standards, yob rule, teenage pregnancy and gun crime and the general all-round chavvishness of young people, I think it's madness to have arrested a 16 year old capable of singlehandedly translating a 700 page novel from English into French in less than a week. We should have given the little chancer a bloody honourary degree.

'A French teenager who was arrested for publishing his own complete translation of the latest Harry Potter novel online will not be prosecuted.
The decision to not sue for damages was made in agreement with JK Rowling, said the book's French publisher, Gallimard.

'The aim was never financial, it only aimed to protect authors' rights," said a spokeswoman for the company.
The official French language version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is scheduled for release on 26 October.
The 16-year-old, from the southern city of Aix-en-Provence was arrested last week.
He told police that he had not sought to make money from his unauthorised translation, which appeared within a few days of the book's release on 21 July.

Gallimard said France's anti-piracy squad had spotted the student's unauthorised Potter as part of a probe into organised networks that post pirated book translations online.
Investigators were reportedly struck by the "near-professional" quality of the boy's work.'

Ha Ha, Cowell, Ha Ha

Hmmm. I wonder what the backers (if there are any) for your hate-inducing reality-telly-inspired-movie will be making of this, Simon Cowell?

If there really was a God (unfortunately in this case, there isn't) you'd be back making Zig and Zag novelty tunes by this time next year, you hateful little toad.


'A Broadway show which was based on the hit reality TV programme American Idol has closed after its first official night on stage in New York.
Idol: The Musical, which was dubbed a "satirical musical comedy", was originally previewed in July.
By the end of the month the entire cast had been replaced without explanation and fresh previews began on 1 August.
Producer Todd Ellis said he had scrapped the show "due to a lack of advance ticket sales".
He added that a "lack of positive feedback from audience members and critics and a lack of sustainable financial resources" had also fuelled his decision to close the show.

Earlier this month, American Idol judge Simon Cowell announced he was going to make a movie set behind the scenes of a TV talent show.
The film, currently titled Star Struck, will tell the fictional story of 10 contestants in a singing competition.
Cowell will help pick the lead characters from open auditions like those used on American Idol.'

Monday, August 13, 2007

I don’t feel like chicken tonight

Today we learn that retailer Philip Green pays some of his Asian workers less than £4 a day to make manky cheap clothes with Kate ‘crackwhore’ Moss’s name scrawled across the label. This is a priviledge for them, apparently, as these workers are asked to pay local agents £725 in order to get the job in the first place.
Quite why anyone would expect a better ethical position from a man who refuses to pay fair taxes in the country that provides him his billions, just as those us who fuel his wealth by buying his sweatshop tat are obliged to do, is a mystery to me. This is a man who, upon turning 50, donned a toga at his own £1m party. Yummy. A man whose wife recently bought him a solid gold Monopoly board as a gift. Does that spell ‘caring and sharing’ to you, people?
Handily for those who have undergone trauma to the frontal lobe in recent years, The Times newspaper explains that this kind of thing is rather common and MIGHT JUST be the result of globalisation. (This, a full seven years after ‘No Logo’ hit the bestsellers list). As The Times shockingly reveals, the retail world’s terrifying obsession with offering absurdly low pricing to its consumers in Preston and Port Talbot means that the real cost is felt by others at different points along the supply chain, say, in The Phillippines and Pyong Yang.
At the same time, rumours are abound in the press that a mangy and anaemic-looking chicken, now being sold at Asda stores with a ridiculous £2 price-tag for an entire bird, might not actually be the true ‘bargain’ – or, in Asda’s own words, “iconic” - product it claims to be. (Antibiotic overdosing, broiler shed overcrowding, pork-protein injecting, loss-leader selling, supplier blackmailing, all the usual stuff).
Well bugger me backwards, REALLY???
Frankly, if you find yourself surprised by these pieces of information, you need, in my opinion, a damn good slapping. To be so ignorant of how the world works, to walk around with your eyes SO firmly closed that you hadn’t even bothered to think about what the true cost of your ugly Primark shift dress or your poultry-heavy diet might be, both to other people and to your own society, is actually offensive, in my view. Buy shit designer knock offs, by all means. Eat, as the EU says we do, the weight of a 7 year old boy in rank chicken every year. Tell yourself that the words ‘ethical’ and ‘consumer’ don’t belong in the same sentence. Go ahead. But don’t come over all mock-outraged when it’s pointed out to you what your consumerist greed really means and how we actually got here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Duckie






Look on the bright side - if we manage to actually kill of all beasties and birdies, we can make our own. Out of plastic. Like Florantijn Hofman.

Bye Bye Baiji



Everyone loves a dolphin.

But damn, if we started regulating Chinese economic activity, think where it would lead! First it'd be the fishermen, then it'd be the factories. Before you know it, kids from here to Arkansas would have to start paying a fair price for their trainers!

Ah well. So at least there's still the common goldfish. They're cute, right?

'A freshwater dolphin found only in China is now "likely to be extinct", a team of scientists has concluded.
The researchers failed to spot any Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baijis, during an extensive six-week survey of the mammals' habitat.

The team, writing in Biology Letters journal, blamed unregulated fishing as the main reason behind their demise.

The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threaten Species currently classifies the creature as "critically endangered".
Sam Turvey of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), one of the paper's co-authors, described the findings as a "shocking tragedy".
"The Yangtze river dolphin was a remarkable mammal that separated from all other species over 20 million years ago," Dr Turvey explained.
"This extinction represents the disappearance of a complete branch of the evolutionary tree of life and emphasises that we have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet."
If confirmed, it would be the first extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years.
The scientists added that there were a number of human activities that caused baiji numbers to decline, including construction of dams and boat collisions.
"However, the primary factor was probably unsustainable by-catch in local fisheries, which used rolling hooks, nets and electrofishing," they suggested.
"Unlike most historical-era extinctions of large bodied animals, the baiji was the victim not of active persecution but incidental mortality resulting from massive-scale human environmental impacts - primarily uncontrolled and unselective fishing," the researchers concluded.'

Monday, August 06, 2007

Should've kept a checklist

This is really quite spectacular: the US government has admitted that it has "lost track of" (i.e. lost) nearly 200,000 guns that it has given to the Iraqi security forces.

Apparently weapons distribution within Iraq had been "haphazard and rushed", but happily, they're now reviewing their weapons distribution process in the country.

That will come, I'm sure, as an enormous relief to the US soldiers currently serving in the war zone, who, the same report also suggests, are enjoying the not-terribly-pleasingly-ironic experience of having Iraqi 'dissidents' take pot-shots at them with their own country's guns.

'The US military cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to the Iraqi security forces, an official US report says.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Pentagon cannot track about 30% of the weapons distributed in Iraq over the past three years.
The Pentagon did not dispute the figures, but said it was reviewing arms deliveries procedures.

About $19.2bn has been spent by the US since 2003 on Iraqi security forces.
GAO, the investigative arm of the US Congress, said at least $2.8bn of this money was used to buy and deliver weapons and other equipment.
Correspondents say it is now feared many of the weapons are being used against US forces on the ground in Iraq.
The GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005.

MISSING IN IRAQ
AK-47 rifles: 110,000
Pistols: 80,000
Body armour pieces: 135,000
Helmets: 115,000

During this period, security training was led by Gen David Petraeus, who now commands all US forces in Iraq.
The GAO reached the estimate - 111,000 missing AK-47s and 80,000 missing pistols - by comparing the property records of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq against records maintained by Gen Petraeus of the arms and equipment he ordered.'

Truly Desperate Dan




This is so, so sad.

The Dandy is no more.

It would be bad enough if they were just ditching it. But no.

They're relaunching it as a fortnightly publication called (truly) Dandy Xtreme, which will contain a pull out section snappily entitled Dandy 'Comix'.
Because, as every brainless marketing wanker the world over kleerly no's, young people aren't interested in anything spelt correctly or that makes sense in any way.

This decision was apparently made because, and I kid you not, children are no longer able to fit comic-reading into "their hectic lives". Either the good folk at DC Thomson have a finely-honed (if embittered) sense of humour about such things, or the world really is going to utter shit.


'The world's longest running comic, The Dandy, has ceased to exist in its traditional format.
The weekly title has been changed to a fortnightly magazine called Dandy Xtreme.

Dundee-based publisher DC Thomson confirmed the comic had been given a major facelift in its 70th anniversary year.

It said favourite characters such as Desperate Dan would still feature in the central pull-out, Dandy Comix.
DC Thomson said the format of the publication had been updated because of feedback from readers.

'Too busy'

Dandy editor Craig Graham said: "Following extensive research, we discovered The Dandy readers were struggling to schedule a weekly comic into their hectic lives. They just didn't have enough time.

"They're too busy gaming, surfing the net or watching TV, movies and DVDs."

Mr Graham added: "They still enjoyed The Dandy, but if they were going to buy it themselves they expected more than just 'a comic my dad used to read'.
"They required a guide, packed with the stuff kids need to know to stay in the loop - a lifestyle magazine attuned to their hectic lives, featuring all the latest trends, must-haves, must-sees and must-dos.
"They made us promise to retain comics, but suggested we make our characters cheekier, edgier, and more extreme."
He added that the Dandy Xtreme would still qualify as the world's longest running comic because the publication had been updated, and not replaced.'

Living in Wonderland

"We have a need for love and we have a need for sharing song and happiness and really enjoying this that we do have, and that is life"

Now, I love you dearly, Stevie Wonder, but this doesn't really answer the question, "Why are you touring again after ten years off?", does it?

Stick to the singing, methinks.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Going Down



"I have been found guilty on charges I have made admission to from the moment of my first arrest"

Chris Langham


This really is the most fabulous 'not-quite-getting-it' statement I've ever heard. The man genuinely appears to believe that if you hold your hands up to a crime, you are somehow 'innocent' of it.

"Well, yes, officer, clearly I was stealing that car, cos what you saw me do it innit, but I've admitted it. Can I go home now?"

Clearly, Mr Langham has not seen Dave Caruso at work on CSI Miami. The legend that is Caruso gets a full confession from his "perps" at the end of every episode. EVERY EPISODE! But, as Langham ought to have taken note, he nonetheless always announces, with a final flourish, "you're going down for a very long time".

Should've watched a bit more Channel Five, rather than child pornography, that's what he should have done.

The whole way through this sordid trial, the chap seems to have had a frighteningly rudimentary grasp of how the law works with regard to paedophiliac behaviour. A couple of weeks back he was recorded as saying, in court, "I was very arrogant to think that the law did not apply to me".

Arrogant, sir? ARROGANT? What a strange term to use under these circumstances. You've really got to be quite divorced from reality to consider the collection of images of children being sexually abused as "arrogant", as opposed to "sick, nasty and illegal".

The law does apply to you, Mr Langham. Dave could've told you that.

Pop has eaten itself

'Music mogul Simon Cowell has signed up to make a movie which will be set behind the scenes of a TV singing contest, according to industry reports.
The film, currently titled Star Struck, will follow 10 contestants trying to make it big in the music business.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cowell said: "We want it to be the musical version of Rocky - an underdog story, a feel-good film."
Cowell hopes the movie will be ready for release by next summer.
The lead characters will be cast from open auditions similar to those used on talent shows The X Factor and Pop Idol.
Cowell, who will sit on the judging panel as he does in the TV programmes, insisted that he wants complete unknowns to star in the film.
"To enjoy the film, you've got to watch the actors and believe that they are contestants on a reality show," he said.
The film's writer is Jonathan Harvey who has spent the last two years following the music mogul around.'

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Daddy Dearest

I don't know why an ex-Spice Girl's love life should be of any interest to me, but I couldn't help noticing this:

'Spice Girl Melanie Brown has filed court papers in the US in a bid to confirm that actor Eddie Murphy is legally the father of her daughter.
Mr Murphy, 46, has maintained he is not the father of Angel Iris Murphy Brown, who was born in April.
The singer's solicitor, Gloria Allred, said a DNA test carried out in June had "established paternity, but paternity has not been legally acknowledged."
Ms Brown said Angel needs to know she was "planned and wanted by both of us".'


First of all, how is it possible that a DNA test has confirmed paternity, and yet Eddie "chivalry" Murphy can still get away with not making it legal?

And secondly, a word of advice, Melanie love: this man disowned your child before she was even born, and called you a liar and a cheat while he was about it. On television. Frankly, I would be less worried about your kid feeling 'loved' by her dad as it grows up, and more concerned with keeping her as far away from the man as is humanly possible...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dead Biased

From attacking the BBC to defending it in a matter of hours - who said I was fickle?

I'd just like to point out that, in the grand scheme of harmful broadcasting, faking someone's death on telly is probably SLIGHTLY more offensive than making the bloody Queen look a bit tetchy.

Wonder whether this story - like the Queen's tantrum episode - will make the lead item on the ITV news this evening?

'ITV has admitted that an Alzheimer's patient who "passes away" in the final scene of a documentary actually died three days later.
Publicity for the programme, to be screened next month, claimed it showed the final moments of Malcolm Pointon, a composer from Cambridgeshire.
ITV now says the footage was of Mr Pointon slipping into unconsciousness days earlier.
Film maker Paul Watson blamed the mistake on ITV publicity material.'

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

IT shocker

I've just read that BSkyB has bought Alan Sugar's company for £125 million.

So, would that make Rupert Murdoch the first person to buy an Amstrad in about 20 years?

Casting Ouch

Beowulf. An Old English heroic epic poem composed around 1100 AD, in which Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists: Grendel, who is destroying Heorot and its inhabitants in Denmark, Grendel's mother, and a dragon.

What’s the first thing that springs to your mind when you consider this incredible piece of literature?

NOT Angelina Jolie, you say? Really?

You do surprise me.

'Finally, an Angelina Jolie movie her kids can watch. Jolie has signed on to star in a big-screen adaptation of the epic English poem "Beowulf" to be directed by Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump").'


[FORREST GUMP. YES.]

'The film, like Zemeckis' previous movie, "The Polar Express," will use performance-capture technology to transform live acting into computer animation, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The story of the Scandinavian hero of the sixth century who slays a beast will star Ray Winstone ("Sexy Beast") as Beowulf, who saves the Danes from Grendel the monster, portrayed by the always creepy Crispin Glover ("Willard," "Charlie's Angels").
Jolie, who played Colin Farrell's youngish mother in "Alexander," will again portray a maternal character in the film, taking on the role of Grendel's mom.'


[GRENDEL’S MOM. MOM. I need a sit down].

'The cast also includes Anthony Hopkins, Robin Wright Penn and John Malkovich. The movie is scheduled for a 2007 release.'

Monday, July 30, 2007

Size Matters

"Instead of Spiderman or Bratz dolls, children in the US could soon be clutching a talking Jesus toy, a bearded Moses or a muscle-bound figure of Goliath.
From the middle of August, Wal-Mart, the biggest toy retailer in the US, will for the first time stock a full line of faith-based toys...
The market is notoriously hard to crack, with every child wanting what their friends at school have and high-profile brands like Transformers and Spiderman dominating marketing.
So will the 12in (30cm) Jesus doll quoting scripture or the 3in (8cm) figure of Daniel in the lion's den open up children's imaginations - and their parents' wallets?"


Am I the only person who wants to know why Jesus gets given a full 12 inches and Daniel only gets three? I mean, I know he was, as the story has it, quite a wizened old chap (and he did live in a cave, which everyone knows isn't good for your health), but I wasn't aware that Jesus was a bloody GIANT.

Or maybe I'm misreading it, and the bloke's just lucky?

Madonna - baby thieving update




This, from an outraged 'Grazia' magazine article:

"Madonnna has been quick to admit that adopting Malawian baby David Banda was one of the most difficult decisions she's ever had to make... Now, in order to win complete custody of the two year old, Madonna must open the doors of her £7 million home to a complete stranger so he can scrutinise her suitability as David's mother."

Erm.... yes. Being assessed "by a total stranger" is what is commonly known as a vital and entirely standard part of the adoption process.

Only difference is, if you're not rich and famous, they tend to want to assess your parental suitability BEFORE you get to bundle the child on a plane and take it home.

Coconuts

Now, I know it’s terribly unimaginative to attack the BBC these days, but I couldn’t help but notice this lovely piece of creative newswriting. (Tediously, I’m going to have to repeat it in full here for my point to be clear).

A study has apparently been carried out by the BBC in which they wanted to explore the sense of ‘Britishness’ felt by ethnically Asian Britons.

Or rather, they were looking to write a piece about how alienated Asian people feel in Western society.
This would then allow lazy BBC hacks to attack the government’s foreign policy and its position on Iraq and Afghanistan.
It would allow them to write reams and reams of pointless copy criticising what they clearly want to falsely imply is Briton’s unforgiving, intolerant and racially and religiously bigoted society.
Moreover, it would allow them to suggest - once again – that it is Asian Britain’s sense of social alienation that is squarely to blame for the rise in numbers of young Islamic men wanting to commit mass murder on public transport, and nothing at all to do with their exploitation by fundamentalist Islam.

Unfortunately for the BBC’s biased agenda, what they found was that a significant majority of British Asians do, in fact, “feel British”. Indeed, 84% of British Asians stated that they were “satisfied with life in Britain and almost half thought they have more opportunities here” [than where, the survey doesn’t deign to mention].

Oh dear.

But never fear – if the facts don’t fit, we’ll just misrepresent them! Hurrah!

So, rather than the reasonable and accurate “Majority of British Asians are happy with their place in British society”, we get this: “Many Asians ‘do not feel British’”.

Well done, BBC!

'Many Asians 'do not feel British'

More than a third of British Asians do not feel British, a BBC poll suggests.
The research among the under-34s for the Asian Network found 38% of the UK residents of South Asian origin felt only slightly or not at all British.
More than a third agreed to get on in the UK they needed to be a "coconut", a term for somebody who is "brown on the outside but white on the inside".
Yet 84% were satisfied with life in Britain and almost half thought they have more opportunities here.
Half of the South Asians and nearly two-thirds of the white people interviewed agreed it was too easy for immigrants to settle in Britain.

Three-quarters felt their culture was being diluted by living in the UK and nearly half believed white people do not treat them as British.

The poll was commissioned to coincide with the BBC's India and Pakistan '07 season of programmes to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1947 partition of India.

Some 12% of those polled said they considered themselves to be "coconuts".
Meenal Sachdev, director of Connect India - which works with young Asians to strengthen identity - said she did not think British Asians needed to be "coconuts" to be successful.
"Identity can be a tool for success. I feel very confident about being a British Indian," she said.
"Confidence with identity comes down to ability and knowing you have as many opportunities as other people," she added.'
Many British Asians consider themselves to be British but at home they are more in touch with their cultural and ancestral roots.
ICM Research interviewed 500 Asian people aged 16-34 and 235 white people aged 18-34 between 4 and 12 July.


[Journalism students note: just 12% of people agreed that the racially pejorative term ‘coconut’ was relevant to themselves, whether through prompting or not we aren’t told. A mere 12%, and yet the term makes it into one of the first paragraphs of the article. Oh, and then we have the director of Connect India telling us that the term ISN’T relevant to young British Asian experience. So that’s cleared that up.]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When I'm 64

According to some stockbroking firm's research, young people "don't understand" how much money they're going to need for their retirement.

Is that right? Or is it rather MORE likely that the average 20-30 something in London is so used to being up to their eyeballs in debt, living on their overdraft and wondering when - if ever - they'll be able to afford a studio apartment in Barking that the archaic notion of "retiring" at all seems entirely unlikely to ever happen to them?

"Young people underestimate the amount of money they will need for a comfortable retirement by almost a quarter of a million pounds, research shows.
Nearly half of people in their 20s and 30s (45 percent) have no idea how much they should be saving for their retirement, according to research by execution-only stockbroker Selftrade.
They estimate they will need a lump sum of 262,456 pounds to see them through retirement -- a far cry from the 500,000 pounds needed to receive an annual pension of 25,000 pounds, the average annual income among British workers."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Forget History...




...it's all about advertising, my friends!

Next week: Bruce Willis's spotlit face to be carved into Stonehenge to promote "Die Hard - The Retirement Years".


'A 180ft chalk figure of Homer Simpson painted beside the famous Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset hasn't gone down well with the Pagan community.
Springfield's own favourite rude man, dressed only in his briefs and brandishing his beloved doughnut, was painted on the hill to promote the new Simpsons movie.
But Pagans are praying for rain to wash away the display next to the Cerne giant, which is considered to be an ancient symbol for fertility.
Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: "We were hoping for some dry weather but I think I have changed my mind.
"We'll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away."
She added: "I'm amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It's an area of scientific interest."
The Cerne Abbas giant is the largest figure on a hill in Britain, but it is unknown when it first appeared.'

Go, JK, Go...

Can anyone explain to me what GOOD is going to come from J K Rowling hanging up posters at her book signing of that kid that went missing three months ago in Portugal?
You think large crowds of 10 year old kids are going to go, "Oh, hang on a second, when I was passing through southern portugal on business a few weeks back, I REMEMBER seeing a suspicious looking man and a small blonde child, I shall go to the police immediately"?

The sentiment is, of course, admirable, I wouldn't be churlish enough to deny that. Plus, it will give useful publicity for the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, but I've read several versions of this story in the press today and in none of them does anyone actually attempt to properly explain what it is they hope to achieve in terms of solving this particular case. Apart from (dare I say this?) more publicity for the book launch and yet another opportunity for the tabloids to indulge in media mawkishness.

'Posters of missing Madeleine McCann are to be made available to book retailers around the world at the request of Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
She has arranged, with the help of her publishers, for a poster to be made available for book retailers worldwide.
The posters will be available around July 21, the publication date of the final Harry Potter book.
Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared from an apartment in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve, on 3 May.
The poster will display images of Madeleine and a link to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
Ms Rowling said she hoped thousands of people around the world will see the missing girl's image as they queue for their copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
She said: "I fervently hope that posters displayed prominently in shops all over the world when the new book comes out will help find Madeleine McCann and will help raise the profile of the many other missing children in different countries."
The author has made her request for bookshops to display the pictures through her 65 international publishers.
The McCann family said they were delighted that the world-famous author is launching the poster campaign on their daughter's behalf.
Madeleine's mother, Kate McCann, said: "We are overjoyed by this generous offer and would like to thank JK Rowling, her publishers and book retailers for all they are doing to help.
"Madeleine has the first three Harry Potter books and first three DVDs. Like most other children the world over, she loves the stories."'



On an only marginally related subject, I am, however, glad to see J K flexing her muscles elsewhere.

For a long while, the publishing world was immune to the Mafia-like buying power of our nation's great supermarkets, and as a result, a meagre number of independent bookshops (you know, actual real life shops that sell books) were able to survive on the high street while all around them fishmongers, greengrocers and butchers were closing their doors.

However, as anyone who bothers to open their eyes will see, the supermarkets now control more or less everything we buy, and so over the past several years they have cheerfully been eating into the publishing world too. One of their best tricks is to force publishers to give them their best selling titles as loss leaders - books like the Harry Potter series. Asda then sells them at half their hardback RRP, while smaller bookstore chains and independent stores are obliged to sell them at their cover price.

That banging sound you can hear, people, is the last nail being driven into the coffin of independent bookstore retailing.

JK Rowling, however, is different to most authors (which makes Bloomsbury different to other publishers), on the basis that she's probably the only living author who is actually powerful enough to take on the supermarkets and tell them to fuck off:

'The publisher of the final Harry Potter book has cancelled an order to supply 500,000 copies to Asda supermarkets.
Bloomsbury said it had taken the decision because it had not been paid by the chain.
But Asda claimed the publisher was unhappy that it had criticised the book's price tag of £17.99.
It has assured UK customers the issue will be resolved in time for the book launch on Saturday, although Bloomsbury said "dialogue has not opened yet".
Asda spokesman Ed Watson told BBC Radio Five Live the chain - owned by US giant Wal-Mart - was not aware that the deal had been cancelled, and said the chain's criticisms of Bloomsbury's pricing policy was behind the decision.
He added: "It just seems funny that after we expose the potty Potter price hike, Bloomsbury are trying everything they can to stop kids getting hold of Harry Potter at a price they can afford."
Bloomsbury marketing director Minna Fry said the order had been cancelled due to "invoicing issues", but acknowledged the firm had been annoyed by Asda's comments.
She said: "Asda have had a problem with our pricing of Harry Potter for a while now, and they sent out a very aggressive press release saying that we were ripping off children.
"We think at 608 pages, £17.99 is extremely good value."'


Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's: these companies want to own our entire lives, from what we eat, to what we read, what we wear, even to where we live (Tesco Mortgages, for fuck's sake? Thirty years ago the idea would've been laughable...). The only thing that can truly stop them chewing up and homogonising every aspect of our world is for us as consumers to actually reject them and the hideous lie they propogate that what they give us is 'value', and is 'cheap'.

What they do, and I don't apologise for any hyperbole, is systematically and ruthlessly destroy livelihoods and societies. They do this purely through shareholder greed, in order to fuel their own unstoppable, pointless growth for its own sake. If supermarkets were human and slavishly consumed everything they saw before them until they became giant and grotesquely obese, we'd say they were sick, wouldn't we?

Therefore it is almost - almost - as heartening to see Bloomsbury (and indeed, any sector of the business world affected by the supermarket monster) fighting to hold onto their business as it is to see local schools fighting to stop their playing fields being turned into Tesco carparks.

If you don't want supermarkets to own your world, you've got to fight for it...

Monday, July 16, 2007

We don’t need another (skinny) hero

It has been said many times that people should never meet their heroes. This is true. Equally true, I think, is that one should never read about them either, because that experience is almost always equally disappointing (unless of course your hero is Boris Johnson, in which case you should devour every calculatedly- buffoonish word the man utters).
Today, a ‘hero’ of mine (OK, someone I’d previously quite admired) proved this very point.

Today, the ever lovely model Erin O’Connor is quoted in the paper as saying that it would ‘compromise the dignity’ of models if the fashion industry were to be legally obliged to stick to a minimum-BMI when hiring models for shoots and catwalk shows.

Oh Erin.

Loss of dignity? You truly believe that asking the fashion industry not to chuck sick, emaciated child-women down a catwalk is any less ‘dignified’ than allowing those same naïve little girls to puke and shit themselves into a skeletal shape with the aid of laxatives, amphetamines and a well-placed digit down the throat?
That’s a shame. Not for me, mind, cos I’m middle-aged and I just LOVE a pie, but for those young girls’ equally naïve peers, who read the magazines, see the pictures, and actually believe Victoria Beckham, Nicole Richie et al when they tell us that they are naturally thin and eat saveloy and chips at least thrice weekly.

It’s also truly a shame that Erin sees fit to use the word ‘dignity’ when the inquiry of which she was a part, The Model Health Enquiry, which set out supposedly to address serious problems within the modelling industry, has so stunningly failed to address any of the issues it was supposed to.

Perhaps ironically, given its self-absorbed vanity, the fashion industry is and has always been entirely unable to see its own reflection clearly. (The fable wasn’t called The Emperor’s New Clothes for nothing). Nonetheless, to freely admit that, according to the findings of your own inquiry, “as many as 40% of models may have eating disorders and almost all the models the panel spoke to confessed to having an unhealthy relationship with food”, and to then do NOTHING about it is, in my opinion, rather undignified.

Moreover, what kind of insult to our intelligence - not to mention the democratic process - is it to entrust legislative powers over abuses in the modelling industry to models and their AGENTS?
Sarah Doukas, the head of one of the country’s largest modelling agencies, is against the idea of banning the use of models who’ve been found to have taken drugs, you say? Well now, that does surprise me.

Asking the fashion industry to police itself a bit like asking supermarkets to decide for themselves whether their putting local retailers out of business is anti-competitive.
Oh yeah, the government did that too, didn’t it?

Happy Happy Joy Joy

'Boris Johnson is to enter the race to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor in next year's election.
Mr Johnson, one of the best-known MPs, has confirmed that he wants to take on Labour's Ken Livingstone.
He said he had been "overwhelmed" by the support he had received. He has resigned as a shadow minister, but he is to remain MP for Henley. Mr Johnson is likely to face a number of rivals to be Conservative candidate. The deadline for hopefuls was noon.
In a statement, Mr Johnson said: "I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from so many people across London."



So, there is a god. And - who knew? - he has a sense of humour.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Republicanism, Australian-style

Brilliant story today: “Prince” William, of useless-Royal-offspring fame, has apparently been rejected as a candidate for the post of Australian Governor-General.

It’s funny on many levels. Firstly, because the bloke’s been rejected for a ‘job’ that he has expressed absolutely no public interest in. Secondly, because….well…. what the fuck is an Australian Governor General?

Who knows. All I know is that there is nothing more revealing about the Australian character than when they are given a carte blanche opportunity to slag off Britain and the British. It’s always great fun, because the overblown pompous outrage that usually follows a meaningless story like this in the Australian press demonstrates – more than any referendum ever could – just how much the Australian nation still suffer from a terribly bitter case of ‘filial envy’ where their ‘relationship’ with Britain is concerned.

“Look at those fucking poms, who do they think they are, sending their Royals over here, don’t they know we’re Republicans? Don’t they know we’re better than they are? Yes, YES WE ARE!”….etc.

Oh, look, here we are:

‘Opposition leader Kevin Rudd, whose Labor Party still campaigns for an Australian republic, said it would be "party, party, party" at the governor-general's official Canberra residence if Prince William took on the job.
"Australia overall is probably much better at exporting royals like Princess Mary than importing royals," Rudd told reporters, referring to a former Sydney real estate agent who married Danish Crown Prince Frederik in 2004.

Earlier, Rudd told Southern Cross radio: "There is a great place for the British royals and it's in Britain".’
Bless you, Mr Rudd, but to be honest, we don’t really want him either.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

If Only

Saw this headline on Yahoo News today, and for just one sweet, sweet brief moment, I thought they were talking about two people....

'Mariah hits Paris for show'

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Baby Killers

If ONLY the topic of abortion didn’t get people (primarily of the religious persuasion) so alarmingly heated up: then we would be able to, as a society, have a proper sensible conversation about the subject without the threat of burning in hell or somewhere similar being made.

The fact of the matter is – and, along with many other thousands of people, I’ve said this several times before – nobody enters into abortion lightly; not the women that consider it, the women that have it, the doctors and nurses that perform it…NOBODY.
Rather, the reason why legal abortion exists and should continue to exist is because people will HAVE abortions, and accepting that fact as an unavoidable reality is simply sensible. People need to have abortions in order to live satisfying and fulfilling lives, and so as a society, we have an obligation to provide an abortion service that is safe, legal and non-discriminatory, whether we like what they’re doing or not.

The BMA is not a hysterical organisation prone to emotionally-triggered outbursts, therefore when they say that access to abortion should be made easier for women, I am inclined to listen to them. If women are having to go through surgical termination procedures instead of medical terminations (the latter of which is considerably less invasive and potentially damaging to the patient’s health) purely because of failures in the system, then the system should be changed, no?
And if it COSTS less and is less of a drain on the NHS to boot, everyone should at least consider this as an option and a potentially positive step to make.

Agreed?

Right, so what’s the betting that tomorrow’s Daily Mail (or as I increasingly think of it, ‘Misogyny Today’) includes a screamingly hysterical piece about the BMA being baby killers?



'The British Medical Association conference is to consider a call for quicker and easier access to abortion.
One proposal at the Torquay conference is a call to scrap the need for two doctors to allow an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy.
Doctors will also consider proposals for non-approved premises, such as GP practices, to carry out abortions.
The ideas have angered anti-abortion groups, but the government said there are no plans to change the law.
BMA leaders said it was important to discuss the issue because many women are facing long waits for abortions.
Abortions before the nine-week mark can be done using drugs, rather than surgically.
But with waits of up to seven weeks in certain areas, some women are denied this option.
Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA's medical ethics committee, said medical abortions of this kind represented such a low risk that carrying on with the pregnancy was actually more dangerous.
He said this raised questions about the need for women to prove - as they must currently do - that carrying on with the pregnancy represented a risk to health in order to be granted an abortion.
The two-doctor rule could be interpreted as outdated, he also claimed - as people have more control over their treatment than they did when the Abortion Act was passed 40 years ago.
"Women can now refuse to have a caesarean, even when that may be safer for the foetus, so it raises questions over the abortion requirements," said Dr Calland.'

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

State of the Union

Erm.... forgive me, but if you're a union and you're going on strike, isn't your entire REMIT to screw with things as much as humanly possible to make sure people have to pay attention to you?

On that basis, isn't the timing of this threat really just a simple case of clever tactical thinking?

'Festival anger over rail strike

Scottish rail union members have been slammed for planning strike action which would coincide with the start of T in the Park.
The Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) intends to strike on 6 July in a row over bonus payments.
Network Rail described the union's timing as "appalling".
The dispute involves about 400 Network Rail signallers in Scotland, who claim bonuses were cut following a previous strike in March.
The T in the Park festival will see tens of thousands of music fans heading for Balado in Perth and Kinross from Friday 6 July to Sunday 8 July.'

And again...

...as I said, nobody could accuse Tony of not having a finely tuned sense of comedy.

Blair talks with Schwarzenegger

"Tony Blair has begun his last full day as British prime minister with a visit from California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at Downing Street.
Mr Blair, who will resign after prime minister's questions at lunchtime on Wednesday, discussed environmental issues with the former film-star.
The two politicians agreed a deal last year to commit California and the UK to developing low-carbon economies.
Mr Schwarzenegger and Mr Blair will also visit a school...

At a joint press conference, Mr Schwarzenegger said it was crucial to show leadership is getting other countries to commit to lowering carbon emissions, particularly as the US has 5% of the world's population with 25% of greenhouse gas emissions.
On a personal note, Mr Schwarzenegger thanked Mr Blair for his "great leadership and great friendship".
Austrian-born Mr Schwarzenegger - a former Mr Universe and the star of films such as The Terminator and Total Recall - has been Californian governor since 2003.
He is expected to be the last foreign official to visit Mr Blair in Downing Street."

“I swear this is true, right…”

Having retired as PM, Tony Blair is planning on becoming a peace ambassador for the Middle East region.

At least nobody can accuse him of not having a sense of humour.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crazy Biscuit

Hmmm.... A couple of weeks in rehab, and it seems that Britney really is ALL BETTER NOW.

Yes, yes she is.

'Pop star Britney Spears is asking fans to help her choose the title of her next album.
The 25-year-old, who made headlines with a spell in a rehabilitation clinic earlier this year, makes the appeal on her website.
Spears suggests a number of titles, including "OMG is Like Lindsay Lohan Like Okay Like"...'

Doing jailtime like Paris

I tell you what, if I ever ended up in prison, could you make it Sudbury?


'A prisoner has absconded from Sudbury open jail in Derbyshire - the sixth to walk out in a week.
George Richard Day, 25, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court in September 2006 to two-and-a-half years for burglary.
Derbyshire Police said anyone who knows where Day is should not approach him and should contact the force immediately.

Christopher Chambers, 23, from Mickleover, Derbyshire, absconded from Sudbury last Friday. He was sentenced to three years for arson endangering life.
Simon Downer, 30, and Lance Wesley Reid, 28, both from Birmingham, walked out of the jail on Saturday.
Downer was jailed for six years for wounding with intent. Reid was given eight years for robbery, false imprisonment and aggravated burglary.
John Christopher Reilly, 34, and Mark Roberts, 34, both from Birmingham, absconded from the prison on 6 June.

More than 660 inmates have walked out of Sudbury in the past 10 years.'

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Catholic guilt

The Vatican has apparently told Catholics to stop supporting (the notoriously big bad and nasty) Amnesty International because AI refuses to condemn abortion.

Only a religion – i.e. a group of people daft enough to believe in the theological equivalent of fairies or Father Christmas – would think that withdrawing support for a HUMAN RIGHTS organisation is a good and reasonable way of demonstrating its interest in human (or, more accurately, foetal) rights.

It’s a shame that the ever-anti-semitic Catholic Church didn’t feel similarly compelled to “speak out” against the Nazi party in the 1930s and ‘40s, really.
Clearly its interest in human rights doesn’t stretch so far as to give a flying fuck about anyone who’s actually…well, you know, been born.

Oh Look….

…it appears that other – considerably more knowledgeable – people agree with me. Jolly good.


‘Obesity has figured as a factor in 20 child protection cases this year and some doctors now think that overfeeding children could be seen as a form of abuse, according to a BBC study on Thursday.
The BBC said its findings were based on a survey of about 50 consultant paediatricians around Britain.
Earlier this year, the case of an obese eight-year-old boy hit the headlines after social workers threatened to take him away from his parents because of concerns about his weight.
Studies show Britain has the worst rate of obesity among children in Europe and the media regulator plans to ban television advertising for junk food aimed at school-age children from next year.
New proposals for cracking down on obesity will be discussed by medical experts at the British Medical Association's (BMA) annual conference this month.
These will include considering obesity in young children as "neglect" and taking obese children under 12 into care, according to the national Obesity Forum, an independent charity that aims to raise awareness of the problem.
Dr Tabitha Randell, a consultant paediatrician from Nottingham, told the BBC it was common to see children entering puberty before they were 10 because they were obese.
"I think the perception of parents is a very real problem," she said.
"If you see every other child in the playground with their belly hanging over their trousers you think that's normal."
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath (RCPCH) said parents and children needed to be helped to understand the benefits of living a healthy, active life.
"There may be a few families that give cause for concern where there are other matters of neglect or emotional harm and this is where a paediatrician might have discussions with social services," a RCPCH spokeswoman said.”

The Right to be Fat

Yesterday I found myself reading a Guardian article about the state of the healthcare system in the US – probably a lot more where that came from once Michael Moore’s movie gets its UK release, and not before time.

People’s lives are being lost in the richest country in the world, because they have no health insurance. While it’s clearly not a laughing matter, the case of the man with amputated fingers who was told he could have his ring finger reattached for $13,000 or his index finger for $60,000 was sickeningly funny.

I felt – and not for the first time – proud and relieved to live in a country with a free national health service. To my mind, the NHS is probably this country’s greatest achievement and I loathe the constant bashing it gets in the Nazi end of the media spectrum.

So it’s particularly saddening when the NHS makes decisions to reduce the availability of life saving – or in this case life enhancing – drugs without sufficient explanation. I’ll admit to having a personal bias here (both my grandmother and my mother suffer from AMD) but it really doesn’t make a great deal of sense to restrict AMD sufferers’ access to drugs that can help them keep their sight where otherwise they would almost certainly lose it.
And it’s not human compassion I’m talking about, although a little more of that in society would be nice. As the Scottish health service managed to work out (in their usual good judgement as compared to that of England and Wales), the longterm cost of managing and caring for the needs of 20,000 blind people is FAR greater than…erm…preventing them going blind in the first place:

“Some 20,000 people will be condemned to blindness each year because of a government proposal to allow a vital drug to be restricted on the NHS, it has been claimed.
Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) suggests the use of Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Macugen (pegaptanib) should be restricted.
The drugs treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of sight loss in the UK with 26,000 new cases each year.
Patients in Scotland can already get both drugs, although there is concern that ruling will be overturned in light of Nice's decision.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said it was "outraged".
A final ruling on the drugs is expected in September.”

What’s worrying about all of this kind of stuff is that it illustrates the squeeze that is being put on the NHS. The service is creaking under the weight (literally, when you consider how many of us are obese) of the expectations placed upon it. Something has to be done to preserve and secure the future of the National Health Service, because British society would be vastly diminished without it. The creeping privatization of the NHS exercised by our “Labour” government is not the answer. Nor is it to fall back on Daily Mail-inspired oversimplification and blame immigration.
What we do need to do, however, is begin asking ourselves some uncomfortable self-examining questions. Like, for example, whether we should be feeding our children such utter crap that they’re fat by puberty; whether, actually, it IS unfair for treatment for smoking-related illnesses to be treated only upon the patient kicking the habit.

The NHS should remain a free service for everyone who contributes to British society – but maybe it is time that we stopped thinking about self-inflicted illness being among our rights and freedoms?

Friday, June 01, 2007

In just one fine day...

...in the world of supermarket retailing.

Weellllllll, every little helps.


"A three day strike by over 100 Tesco distribution drivers at Livingston , near Edinburgh, rocked the multinational last week.
The drivers took strike action when they were told that their union would be derecognised in a forthcoming move to a new depot 500 yards down the road.
They would be asked to leave the T&G and join the Usdaw union, and to sign a contract saying that their conditions could be changed at any time.
The proposed changes would mean the drivers would take home £3-£6,000 less each year. They were warned that they faced dismissal if they did not sign the new contract.
Tesco has been buying up similar sites in the near vicinity of all their depots nationwide."


"The Food Standards Agency is advising people who may have bought certain batches of fresh packets of basil from ASDA, Sainsbury's and Somerfield stores not to eat them.
This is because of possible salmonella contamination, which can cause diarrhoea and sickness.
Some of the 'display until' and 'best before' dates on the affected packets will have expired and the product will have reached the end of its shelf life. The affected basil is also labelled as 'wash before use'."



"Asda has been fined a total of more than £80,000 after a Trading Standards probe in South Wales discovered food, including meat products, being offered for sale past their use-by date.
The company pleaded guilty to 59 breaches of the food safety legislation at its branches in Newport and Cwmbran during a hearing before Abergavenny magistrates.
Evidence was given that the worst instance was a pack of lamb chops 31 days past their use by date.
Asda was fined £78,750 with £10,000 costs."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quotes of the Week

"How can a guy with gold teeth sell toothpaste? It's like a bald man selling shampoo."

So says Johnny Depp of the proposal - subsequently rejected - that he should advertise "Captain Jack" toothpaste, the silliest tie-in yet to his Pirates of the Carribbean character. Well done that fabulous man.

Less fabulously, Conrad Black is even more deluded than we thought. Himself facing an almost-absurd 101 years in jail for theft and fraud and other associated nasties, he has written a book on Richard Nixon, in which he claims the shamed former President was merely misunderstood.

"Had it not been for his legal and ethical shortcomings", he says, Nixon would be ranked as one of America's greatest Presidents.

Similarly, "if Conrad Black wasn't such a blatant fraudster, he would be heralded as the best businessman that Canada has ever produced".

Or perhaps, "If the Arctic Circle wasn't so cold and covered in snow and ice, it would be one of the world's most popular sunshine holiday destinations".

Hurrah.

Unequal Rights

Did anyone see the joke at the weekend about the Equal Opportunities Commission (apparently, "working to eliminate sex discrimination in Britain today") paying their male staff more than their female staff?

What do you mean, it's not a joke?

"SEX discrimination watchdogs have been caught out breaking their own guidelines—by paying men MORE than women.
Red-faced bosses at the Equal Opportunities Commission, which campaigns to make sure employers treat men and women the same, have admitted that male staff earn on average nearly £2,000 more than female workers.
The revelation is a major embarrassment for the government-funded body, which has just launched a major three-year campaign to close the national pay gap of £2.41 an hour. It also gives advice to female workers on their rights and fights legal battles to get them equal pay.
Yet it has now revealed that the average salary for its male employees is £26,962...while women get only £25,128. Tory MP Philip Davies, who forced the commission to disclose the figures said: "You really couldn't make this up. This organisation can't even practise what it preaches to everyone else."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mental Nurse

I’ve checked and double checked, but no: it’s not April 1st. This really is a plan to introduce “robot nurses” into hospitals (Charing Cross Hospital apparently already has one). According to Lord Hunt – who is a HEALTH MINISTER, by the way – the removal of human interaction and communication from the drugs distribution process “will reduce errors and free up staff time”.
Give me fucking strength. How can a man that believes this bullshit is needed by our overstretched NHS system (full as it is of woefully underpaid staff and plagued by MRSA outbreaks and cleaning crises) actually be in charge of making ministerial decisions?
I wouldn’t let the bloke buy me a plaster.

‘ROBOT nurses could be bustling around hospital wards in as little as three years. The mechanised "angels" - being developed by EU-funded scientists - will perform basic tasks such as mopping up spillages, taking messages and guiding visitors to hospital beds. They could also be used to distribute medicines and even monitor the temperature of patients remotely with laser thermometers.
Lord Hunt, the health minister, said: "These robots will reduce errors and free up staff time which can be better spent caring directly for patients. We would like to see more of this kind of innovation in helping to transform patient care."

Saint Bob

Bob Geldof has been having a pop, to anyone who will listen, about the rather daft Live Earth concert being staged in July, apparently to raise awareness of global warming, or something. (Presumably it will do this by using the same amount of power to stage as a small town the size of Telford might use in a week, thus neatly demonstrating what “energy wastage” actually means... but I digress).

Bob’s problem is apparently not – I repeat, NOT – the fact that the name Live Earth is strikingly similar to the name given to a couple of concerts he’s been involved with over the years (his role seemingly restricted to bellowing “give us your fookin’ money” at the nation’s pensioners, which is always a nice message to receive from a multi-millionaire) and the mortifying fact that he will nonetheless not profit from the venture. No, that's not it at all.
Bob’s problem, he insists, is simply that everyone “already knows” about global warming, so why bother?

Well, Bob, everybody “already knows” that you’re a hideously inflated, talentless, self-righteous and hypocritical soap-dodging c**t: does this mean we don’t have to listen to you either?

Not so fine dining

Frank Bandura, the financial director of the restaurant chain Carluccio’s, says that the company’s policy of paying staff £1.60 an hour below the national minimum wage is fair because, “the way we remunerate encourages [our staff’s] best efforts”.

Well, Mr Bandura, how about I halve your wages for a year? You know, just to make sure you’re performing to the best of your abilities?

Mr Bandura also says that several members of the chain’s waiting staff actually take home salaries above the minimum wage, thanks to the tips staff are given by paying customers.
I think it’s less important who pays,” he opines.

Is that right? So it is the job of restaurant diners in London – already one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to eat out – to tip staff NOT because of the good service they may provide, but in order to compensate the restaurant management for paying its staff near-illegal wages? And this is on top of the already grossly inflated prices we’re meant to pay for the actual food itself?
Righto. I’m glad we’ve got that sorted.

Course, for anyone keen on Italian food who happens to find all this rather distasteful, the food at Strada is cheaper and just as palatable as at the disappointingly-average Carluccio’s. Funnily enough, the staff seem happier, too….

Good Lordi

Gosh – I REALLY must visit Finland, it is clearly a most extraordinary sort of a place:

'Former Eurovision Song Contest winners Lordi are making their first film, an English-language horror movie called Dark Floors.
"Lordi goes to the twilight zone is what you can say," said the singer, whose real name is Tomi Putaansuu.
The Finnish band are famous for wearing gruesome latex masks on stage.
Shooting began earlier this month, and the group expect to release the fright feature in Finland by the end of 2007.
But the movie venture is not the first extra-curricular activity for the hard rock band.
Following their Eurovision success last year they opened a Lordi-themed restaurant, Rocktaurant, in their hometown of Rovaniemi.
Items on the menu include the Lordi Burger and Rudolph's Last Journey - a reindeer sausage.'

Friday, May 18, 2007

3-2-1

Right. I realise I’m a helpless pedant in STILL managing to get my knickers in a twist over this, but frankly it’s getting ridiculous. We’ve had 9/11, and being as the Americans (or rather their media) needed a way of describing the event, and being as they legitimately use the month/date order system, their position is basically acceptable. (Our adopting it as well is far less forgiveable, but that’s not the point just now).

But honestly: 7/7? That was just a bit sad. When did it become OBLIGATORY to refer to terrorist bombs and other atrocities by some peculiar ‘trendy’ numeral shorthand? And for the love of God, why?

Does it work retroactively, I wonder? Must we now refer to Eniskillen nonsensically as 11/8? The Guildford Bombing as 10/5? Or Bishopsgate as 4/24?

Apparently not. Because apparently, though we’re following the US example, we’ve actually turned it around to a UK date order. Hence (and I kid you not) 21/7. This apparently is how we refer to a terrorist plot for a bomb attack that never happened.

So does that make 9/11, in actual fact, 11/9?
Anyone?

I need a lie down.


‘21/7 accused 'is absolute liar'

A defendant has been described as an "absolute liar" during heated exchanges in the 21 July bomb plot trial.
Yassin Omar, who set off a device on a Tube train at Warren Street on 21 July 2005, has claimed it was a hoax aimed at highlighting grievances about Iraq.’

Rabid nonsense

You’ve got to love Jose Mourinho. I mean, we knew the man was supremely arrogant (he’s a multi-millionaire, sexy Portugese boss of a successful football club, so that’s hardly an earth-shattering surprise) but I love the fact that his arrogance is of the tongue-in-cheek, comedy “f**k you” variety. Particularly when he’s taking on knacker in the truly delicious ‘terrier-gate’ saga.

‘JOKER Jose Mourinho teased cops who wanted to take away his dog — saying he had sent it to St Tropez. First the Chelsea boss sold police a pup by telling them he needed to make a phone call — and instead carried the family pet to his garden.
Then, said a source, he hopped over a neighbour’s wall to hide the Yorkshire terrier and got a driver to pick it up.
Last night he sensationally admitted HIDING the dog.
Police and animal experts had gone to his mews home on Tuesday night after a vet said he believed the pooch had been abroad and back without vital jabs.
He revealed the bitch was NOT named after former Holland and Chelsea star Ruud Gullit. Its real name is Leya. And he said he was STUNNED by the police action.He went on: “How is it possible that I had eight police officers at my house because of a dog? It’s a disgrace.”

Preston Don

I do love a good Friday story, and nothing beats a tale of a Mafioso godfather being dramatically brought down by the police….in PRESTON.

‘A wanted real-life Mafia godfather has been arrested in Preston on suspicion of four murders.
Gennaro Panzuto, 32, went on the run a year ago following a bloody mob war between rival clans in Naples, Italy.He was traced to a flat in Preston, Lancashire, following months of undercover work by Italian police, working with the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Vittorio Pisano, chief of the Naples Flying Squad, said: "Panzuto is a very senior Mafia member and his arrest is of great significance. He was the head of the Pincirillo clan which he took over from his uncles of the same name when they were arrested two years ago. Panzuto is also wanted for extortion, illegal possession of firearms and Mafia association."
He added: "Preston seems a rather unusual place to hide out as mostly these criminals prefer the South of France or Spain.
"I have never heard of a Mafia man being held in Preston before."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The non-fight club




‘Prince’ Harry isn’t going to go to Iraq after all, because there’s the danger he might get his wee self killed or injured.

Now there’s a surprise.

Wonder what would happen if other military service folk went to their superiors and asked if they could stay at home, due to the unacceptable potential risk to their health and wellbeing of being shipped out to a warzone?

Headline of the Week

Unsurprisingly, from The Sun.

The Story: A woman has been charged with organising a £1.8m benefit scam, from a secret office "accessed only by a door at the back of a wardrobe".

The headline?

"The lying witch in a wardrobe".

I thank you.

Jailhouse Sucks

According to today’s news, drug-addled human vacuum Paris Hilton is only going to serve half of a sentence she received for drunk driving (or as they call it in America, “an alcohol-related reckless driving case”). Not only this, but the silly bint will stay in a ‘unit’ as opposed to a proper prison, which houses 12 two-person cells that are actually reserved for “police officers, public officials, celebrities and other high-profile prisoners”.

Think about that for a second.

If you break the law in America, you go to jail. If you break the law in America and you’re poor and black, statistically you’re going to jail for a fair while longer. If you break the law three times – even if yours is a non-violent crime, such as growing marijuana – you will go to jail for life. And, you probably don’t need me to tell you, they take the phrase “life sentence” a hell of a lot more seriously in America than they do here.

However, if you’re vacuously blonde, stick thin, come from an extremely wealthy family and have been rendered famous by releasing videos of yourself (badly) shagging your boyfriends on the internet, you can drive around “dangerously” on the streets of a major city while out of your tiny mind on booze and drugs, violate your subsequent parole and get no greater punishment than a few weeks in a “celebrity” Hilton-hotel-a-like prison cell as a result of your apparent good behaviour. (Good behaviour in this case simply means showing up to court, apparently.)

And I’ll bet you every penny I have that her little stint inside will do no harm at all to sales of her watches, her perfume, her soon-to-be-released ‘Paris in Prison’ lesbian ‘romps’ movie and its accompanying (no doubt already in the pipeline) “My jail time nightmare” autobiography.

Long live the American dream.

Paris Hilton will serve about half of her 45-day jail sentence and will be separated from the general inmate population, authorities say.
The party-loving hotel heiress will spend about 23 days in a "special needs housing unit" at the Century Regional Detention Centre in Lynwood, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Her sentence was shortened after jail chiefs gave her credit for good behaviour, Whitmore said. Officials considered several factors in calculating the credit, including that she appeared for her latest court date, he said.
Hilton will stay in a unit that contains 12 two-person cells reserved for police officers, public officials, celebrities and other high-profile prisoners, he said.
The 26-year-old socialite was sentenced to jail this month for violating the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.’