Tuesday, 31 October 2006


This is a piece of sculpture that I love. Although it is only part of the head of an Egyptian Queen (possibly Nefertiti, I have forgotten who) I think it is incredibly beautiful. It may be because the sculptor has carved the lips in an exact and perfect curve and the expression is more pleasant than the Mona Lisa smile. They are lips that should be kissed.

Britain's spookiest roads


The M6 has been named Britain's most haunted road in a new Halloween survey.
The M6's spooky reputation follows with reports of phantom Roman soldiers, a ghostly woman and a lorry driving against the flow of traffic.
Motorists have also reported eyes looking out from bushes in Platt Lane, Leigh, Manchester - the scene of a mining disaster years previously.
The A9 in the Highlands was the second most haunted after a family reported seeing an ornate coach and horses, along with bewigged footmen.
The road appears again at number eight in the list, produced by Tarmac, following a sighting of a Victorian-clad man on a horse at The Mound between Dornoch and Golspie.
There were reports of a phantom dog on Great Yarmouth High Street and ghostly children playing in Gloucester Road, Finsbury Park, north London.
A guardian angel voice allegedly alerted a woman driver of an out-of-control car on the B4293 in Devauden in Wales and a lady in Victorian dress was reportedly spotted on the B3314 near Tintagel in Cornwall.
Tony Simmons, sightings co-ordinator for Tarmac, said: "We compiled the top 10 on the basis of the clarity of sightings rather than just the number of spooky experiences.
"At this time of year it's easy to mistake swirling mist for something more sinister and we wanted to make sure we were listing truly spooky sightings."

The spooky top ten in full:

  1. The M6
  2. The A9 in the Highlands
  3. Platt Lane, Leigh, Manchester
  4. High Street and Suffield Road in Great Yarmouth
  5. Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park, north London
  6. The B4293 at Devauden, Wales
  7. The B3314 near Tintagel, Cornwall
  8. The Mound, on the A9 near Dornoch
  9. The B1403 near Doncaster, South Yorkshire
  10. Drews Lane, Ward End, Birmingham

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Cool Pic.

Very clever juxtaposition

Iraq inquiry: let’s do it properly

An Iraq war inquiry is not enough, says Robert Fox.
Tony Blair’s casual approach to warfare needs examining
The First Post:

Final Answer !!!!

... and check out Stupido Salvatore

Monday, 30 October 2006

Celtic Songbird

The lovely Frances Black, who (in my opinion) sings much better than her sister, Mary.
Listen to this short clip and tell me if I am wrong ... All The Lies That You Told Me

More Here:

2 Full Song Downloads here:

Tall Ships.

Don't Think ........ twice!

For all you Bob Dylan fans - have a look at this:

Courtesy of Nothing to do with Arbroath

Slideshow: Lille

Found an interesting slideshow here:

Elisabetta Gardini makes me sick!

An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets.

Elisabetta Gardini, spokeswoman for former PM Silvio Berlusconi's party, said she felt ill after the encounter during a break in Friday's session.

The incident led to heated debate about which toilet the transgender MP, known as Vladimir Luxuria, could use.

Ms Luxuria (right) says she has been using ladies' toilets for years. Using the men's would have created even bigger problems, she said. MORE:

Surprise, Surprise!

Rude Statues

The Institute for Microbiology, Tuebingen University, Germany

Muffin the Mule turns 60

Muffin the Mule, the UK's first hit children's television character, is celebrating 60 years in the entertainment business.
The wooden puppet appeared in the BBC programme For the Children from 1946 to 1955, dancing on a piano played by host Annette Mills.
After a stint at ITV, the character returned in animated form to the BBC's CBeebies channel in 2005.
About 300,000 children tune in each week to watch the mule's adventures.

The BBC decided not to continue with the original series featuring Muffin the Mule when Mills, sister of the actor Sir John Mills, died in 1955.


Robbers attempt to 'tie up baby'

Thieves tried to tie up a one-year-old baby during a robbery in County Armagh, police have said.
Three masked men entered a house at Sheetrim Road, Middletown, at about 2000 BST on Saturday.
They tied up a woman and her seven-year-old son with masking tape, and then tried to restrain the woman's baby. None of the family was injured.
Lilya Mallon, who is from Ukraine, said she was worried for her children's safety.


SDLP councillor Gerald Mallon said the community had been shocked at the robbery.
"We are all left wondering what type of people would hurt and terrify a baby like this, as well as a seven-year-old boy and their mother," he said.
"Those responsible are clearly dangerous and have no respect for human life whatsoever."

... or are they just thick?

I know it's an oldy ....

Van Gogh walked into the bar and Gauguin said: "Vincent! Want a beer?"
And Van Gogh said: "No thanks. I've got one 'ere."

Gobekli Tepe FAQ

The First Post’s report from an archaeological dig in Turkey has sparked interest worldwide. Sean Thomas answers some frequently asked questions ... here>

Missing painting found in a store

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has said it has tracked down one of 52 missing art works.
The oil painting, worth £6,000, was found after checks with the council's transport company revealed that the work was in its store.
The council was criticised by the Audit Office in July for losing pieces and the way it manages a £2.7m collection.
Next week, the council will publish on its website details of the 51 works which are still missing.


To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: To lose one may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose fifty-one looks like gross carelessness.

Film-maker hoping for horror hit

Andy Smith, from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, aims to bring a film crew into the Mourne Mountains in County Down to bring the legend of the werewolf to life in his film, Mourne.
Set in the fictional village of Mourne a group of American paranormal investigators arrive to look into the claims of a panicked farmer that a werewolf has attacked his sheep.
They soon discover that a dark legend lives and split into groups to track the fearsome beastie.


Could they not come up with a more original name for the village or call it Ballygobackwards? I mean to say Mourne - those are mountains NOT a village.

Self-stirring mug

A mug has been created which means tea drinkers will never have to wash up another spoon.
Inventors have created a stainless steel cup with a tiny battery-powered propeller in the base which stirs the drink at the touch of a button.
The £12 mugs can even clean themselves, users just have to put hot water and washing up liquid in the cup and press the stir button instead of scrubbing by hand.

Designed for lazy so and so's.... but can't you just see what will happen to the tea-bag when the propellor is switched on. One unholy mess in your teacup (c:

Video: London To Brighton In 2 Minutes

This is a film that I saw regularly on TV when I was a young boy - every time they had a spare 2 minutes between scheduled programmes they would use this to fill the gap.

This is the YouTube Link for those of you who don't have QuickTime installed.

... and it would appear that this is not the film I saw as a boy.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

The real cost of an extra hour in bed

The First Post:
The clocks going back is not just an inconvenience, it kills people says robert matthews

By Sunday there will be no mistaking the arrival of winter. At 2am, the nation's clocks go back an hour, condemning us to months of dark evenings - so that Scottish farmers can see their cows first thing in the morning.

The convenience of farmers is doubtless a worthy cause, but it loses some of its lustre when balanced against 450 deaths and serious injuries on UK roads. For that is the toll statisticians attribute to accidents caused by the darker evenings.

The bizarre story of how governments came to accept hundreds of road casualties in exchange for placating farmers has its origins in the late 1960s. In a three-year experiment, begun in October 1968, Britain's clocks were left on British Summer Time (BST), while statisticians monitored the effect that this

would have on road casualty figures. As the winter wore on, the mornings became ever darker. And so did news bulletins, which carried ever more reports of children being mown down by juggernauts as they walked to school in the gloom. Ministers made clear they had had enough even before the official end of the experiment in 1971.

The statistics later confirmed there had indeed been a rise in road casualties in the darker mornings. But they also revealed a far larger fall in casualties during the evenings. In short, leaving the clocks alone had saved the lives of several hundred people.

The problem was that no one could identify who these people were. On the other hand, the media had no trouble identifying parents whose offspring had been flattened.

To this day, no government has had the guts to keep us on BST and see off the inevitable sob stories with hard facts. The result has been thousands of avoidable deaths on the roads - and all in the name of farmers who can't be fagged to buy a torch.

Well, I have always understood BST to be the anamoly - clocks being put forward in the summer, which is why it is called British Summer Time.

Benjamin Franklin: Benjamin Franklin, living in Paris, first conceived the notion of rising closer to sunrise to make better use of sunlight. Imagine, he said, how many candles could be saved if people awakened earlier. He never proposed putting the clocks forward, but he whimsically suggested firing cannons in each square at dawn "to wake the sluggards and open their eyes to their true interest."

William Willett: British builder William Willett was up early each morning for his daily pre-breakfast horseback ride. He lamented that few people were enjoying the "best part of a summer day". Reflecting on this distressing waste of daylight, in 1905 a revolutionary idea came to him: putting the clocks forward in summer to save daylight. This would take advantage of the bright beautiful mornings and give more light in the evening, and yet not change anyone’s normal waking hour. Thus was born the idea of daylight saving time. More:

So we have to suffer these idiotic time changes twice a year because of the whims of a couple of eccentrics. Personally, my body clock never reacts favourably to BST - so if anybody wants to enjoy the best part of a summer day then let them set their alarm an hour earlier. I cannot see the problem about needing extra daylight for getting to and from work etc because we have modern street lighting/house lighting/workplace lighting - after all we are in the 21st century now, we are not burning candles any longer. WAKE UP PEOPLE! - this is NOT the dark ages, get with the program. ABOLISH BST!

23 girls brawl over handsome boy

Police were called in Bulgaria after a mass fight broke out between 23 teenage girls over a handsome male student.

The girls, aged between 15 and 18, used brass knuckles, chains and beer bottles to fight over the lad whose name was not revealed.

The girls, from the Bulgarian capital Sofia, agreed to fight it out and skipped school to meet up in a local playground in the Gorublyane district of the city.

Several girls suffered minor injuries and dozens of passers-by reportedly witnessed the incident.

But the alarm wasn't raised until after the fight when a father of one of the injured girls called the police.

I must admit, I know how he must be feeling (c:

Friday, 27 October 2006

Not an ashtray

BCNeta, an organization that deals with trash management in Barcelona, Spain, put out these public-service ads, shaped like giant speech bubble, to remind people to keep the beach clean! Link

We should have them here.

Cool Ads.

Cool Ads VIA:

News Reader or Rapist?

Dingorue posted this on his blog:

I came across this when browing through Defamer and couldn’t help but bust a gut laughing. I sent it around to a bunch of people at work as well and everyone got a kick out of it.
I can’t tell for sure if its a photoshop or the real thing, but its funny either way. The only thing that leads me to suspect photoshop is the slightly wonky “Rapist Search” text under the mugshot, but who knows, that could just be the TV stations formatting.

French police put on high alert

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered police to be on maximum alert in areas where outbreaks of violence could occur. Several buses have been torched in the run-up to the anniversary of last year's widespread rioting in suburban areas.

Mr Sarkozy said that all "sensitive" bus routes would be protected.
"We will do everything possible to ensure that public services are not disrupted anywhere," he said.

This time last year saw three weeks of violent clashes between youths of mainly North African origin and police in suburbs throughout France, when more than 10,000 cars were set alight and 300 buildings firebombed.

Thursday saw armed youths hijack and set fire to a bus in the suburbs of Paris, while hooded gangs torched two others on Wednesday night.

Queen cancels visit after injury

The Queen cancelled a trip to Arsenal's new multi-million pound stadium after suffering a back injury.

Apparently doctors are going to decide today whether she is fit to attend the races at Newmarket, as well as attending a lunch with the stewards at the Jockey Club - now isn't she setting a fine example for the youth of today, drinking and gambling.

Intruders steal pensioners' cash

Two pensioners have been robbed in their homes in separate incidents.
Up to four men forced their way into the Newtownbreda Road home of an 80-year-old man at about 1500 BST on Thursday, knocking him over. He was held down in his living room while the house was ransacked. The thieves made off with cash. Meanwhile, in west Belfast, a woman in her 70s was held down by an intruder while two men searched her house in the Riverdale area. They also stole money.

These are the sort of brave yobs that are being bred here. 4 of them to rob 1 elderly man and 3 against 1 elderly woman. Obviously haven't enough guts to tackle them 1 on 1. - Probably would'nt have fared so well if they had.

Pompeii - brothel restored

John Hooper in Rome
Thursday October 26, 2006

The "wolves' lair" - ancient Pompeii's biggest, best planned and most richly decorated brothel - yesterday reopened to the public after extensive restoration.

The two-storey building, which was built at about the time Spartacus was leading his slaves' revolt, had been closed for almost a year. Its explicit wall paintings have long been a popular attraction for tourists visiting the site of the classical world's best-preserved city.

The busy port of Pompeii was packed with bordellos. At least 25 have been identified. But most occupied a single room, usually above a wine shop. Though sited, like all the others, at the junction of two side streets, the "Lupanare", was different.

Archaeologists believe it was the ancient city's only purpose-built whorehouse. So-called because, in Latin, lupa (she-wolf) was a common term for a prostitute, it consisted of 10 rooms and a latrine beneath the stairs. Set into the wall of each of the women's rooms was a stone bed covered with a mattress.

Researchers believe the Lupanare's celebrated wall paintings, each depicting a different position, were intended to advertise the various specialities on offer. The more elaborately painted upper floor, which had a separate entrance, is thought to have been reserved for better-off clients. The prostitutes were slaves, usually of Greek or Eastern origin. Their earnings were collected by the owner or manager of the brothel.

The Lupanare is known to have been built just a few years before the city's violent destruction. The plaster in one of the rooms bears the imprint of a coin dating from AD72.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

£1,000 fine for householders who refuse council tax 'snoopers'

Daily Mail:
A new army of council tax 'inspectors' is to be given the right to enter people's homes and issue fines to anyone who refuses to cooperate.

Camera-wielding officials will be able to take photographs inside properties, including bedrooms, and rule they should pay more if they have home improvements such as patios and conservatories.

Residents could be fined £1,000, and then £200 every day after that, if they do not let the inspectors in or fail to properly 'assist' them.

The Conservatives branded the proposals a snoopers' charter that would trample over fundamental civil liberties.

Homeowners are expected to face higher council tax bills if they enjoy good views or have improved their property by building an extension or putting in double glazing.

Under a new house price tax, 'site positive' features would include gardens, patios, conservatories, double glazing, scenic views, number of bedrooms and number of parking spaces.

Shadow local government secretary Caroline Spelman said legislation being discussed in Parliament today would pave the way for council tax inspectors to have new powers to enter and assess properties.

In an alarming addition, residents who 'fail to give reasonable assistance' or do not cooperate with the inspectors will be fined £1,000 and be recorded on local police and court records.

If the householder continues to obstruct, hinder or fail to provide assistance, they can be fined £200 per day on top, she said.

The Tories claim ministers are quietly introducing the new scheme in Northern Ireland before rolling it out nationwide, just as Margaret Thatcher piloted the community charge in Scotland before introducing it in England and Wales.

Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Northern Ireland is now being used as a testing ground for Gordon Brown's tax inspectors, from the levying of a new house price tax, to the use of invasive Big Brother computer databases, to new aggressive state powers to enter family homes.

"Labour craves these powers since they want to tax every feature of people's homes - including bedrooms, conservatories, double glazing and garden sheds.

"For all of Labour's talk of human rights, these new powers are the footprint of an oppressive and greedy government.

This tax will hit Northern Ireland in April, with a Government review of town hall finances thought to be looking at the same system for England.

The Conservatives warned that if introduced in England, average bills would go up by £436 a year, with middle-class households in the South and South East worst hit.

If the Northern Ireland model was applied in England, several councils - including Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, Islington, South Bucks, Windsor & Maidenhead, Mole Valley, St Albans, Winchester, Brentwood and Epping Forest - would see average annual bills rise by more than £1,000.

In many Labour heartlands, by contrast, average bills would fall because house price rises have been less dramatic since the last national revaluation.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government accused the Tories of "scaremongering" and said the measures only applied in Northern Ireland.

"The Government is not using Northern Ireland as a testing ground. It has a different system of local government finance from England.

We in Northern Ireland are going to get well and truly ripped off again but it's OK since we will still be retaining the eleven plus!!

Folies Bergere Posters

Folies Bergere (Red), 1970's
Artist: Erte

Folies Bergere (Blue/White) , 1980's
Artist: LOY

Continuing in the Paris frame of mind - here for your delectation we have 2 posters of the Folies Bergere.
What? - it's art

Cooking for Students

Weekend Eating:
Mobile Cooking

with Suzzanna Decantworthy
additional research: Sean McCleanaugh

Many students, and other young people, have little in the way of cooking skills but can usually get their hands on a couple of mobile phones. So, this week, we show you how to use two mobile phones to cook an egg which will make a change from phoning out for a pizza. Please note that this will not work with cordless phones.

To do this you will need two mobile phones -they do not have to be on the same network but you will need to know the number of one of them. The only other items you will need are:

  1. An egg cup, (make sure that the egg cup is made of an insulating material such as China, wood or glass - plastic will do. DO NOT use stainless steel or other metal).
  2. A radio, AM or FM - you can also use your hifi.

  3. A table or other flat surface on which to place the phones and egg cup. You can place the radio anywhere in the room but you might as well put it on the table.

How To Do It:

  1. Take an egg from the fridge and place it in the egg cup in the centre of the table.

  2. Switch on the radio or hifi and turn it up to a comfortable volume.

  3. Switch on phone A and place it on the table such that the antenna (the pokey thing at the top) is about half an inch from the egg (you may need to experiment to get the relative heights correct - paperbacks are good if you have any - if not you may be able to get some wood off cuts from your local hardware shop).

  4. Switch on phone B and ring phone A then place phone B on the table in a similar but complementary position to Phone A.

  5. Answer phone A - you should be able to do this without removing it from the table. If not, don't panic, just return the phone to where you originally placed on the table.

  6. Phone A will now be talking to Phone B whilst Phone B will be talking to Phone A.

  7. Cooking time: This very much depends on the power output of your mobile phone. For instance, a pair of mobiles each with 2 Watts of transmitter output will take three minutes to boil a large free range egg. Check your user manual and remember that cooking time will be proportional to the inverse square of the output power for a given distance from egg to phone.

  8. Cut out these instructions for future reference.
Note: We cooked our egg during the evening using free local calls, if you were to cook an egg for lunch it would cost £3.00 - not cheap but you do have the convenience.

Fire station blaze 'embarrassing'

A fire chief has told of his embarrassment after a station without a smoke alarm went up in flames.
The building and fire engine were destroyed in the blaze at Arundel Fire Station, and more than 20 properties nearby were evacuated as a precaution.
Neil Odin, southern area commander for West Sussex fire service said it showed it could happen to anyone.


First Post:

Guinness Red

Guinness has revealed plans to launch a new red version of its famous drink. The drink will be made from lightly roasted barley and will go on trial at pubs in the UK over the next few months. Guinness Red is the first major new launch since Extra Cold was introduced in pubs in 1999. The strength of the new drink will be comparable with the standard beer, around 4.1 per cent.

mmmmm! - really don't know about this.

Trick or Treat Star Wars Style

Need a costume for Halloween but you're just not sure which Star Wars character you'd like to be? Download and print these masks originally from Random House Publishing's 1983 book, The Star Wars Book of Masks. LINK:

The empire strikes back

philip jacobson sees US space warfare return, two decades after Star Wars

Last week in Washington, the website of a little-known organisation called the US Office of Science and Technology Policy carried a low-key announcement about President George Bush signing an order that set out his administration's position on "freedom of action in space".
With the war in Iraq and the North Korea nuclear crisis dominating the headlines, this received relatively little play in the news media: since the moon landings, the final frontier has lost much of its former allure for the public.
The US will deny access to outer space
to anyone it classifies as ‘hostile’

Yet experts on the issue of deploying weapons beyond the earth's atmosphere were quick to interpret this new doctrine - the first revision of US strategy for a decade - as a unilateral declaration of American hegemony.
And in far-flung corners of the world, those who noticed the announcement were aghast. "Now America wants it all," said the Asia Times. "The US is turning space into its personal colony."

The First Post:

Model Campbell released on bail (Again!)

Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been released on bail after she was arrested because a woman alleged an assault.
Ms Campbell, 36, was taken to a central London police station on Wednesday after a woman said an assault happened at an address in Westminster, London.
It is believed that the woman allegedly assaulted was the model's counsellor.

This woman is in need of some serious counselling ....
Sorry, that's what she was getting!
This woman needs locking up and throw away the key (c:=

Warm weather brings garden woes

Northern Ireland is having its warmest extended summer since 1914.

BBC meterologist John Hammond said in Belfast the average night temperature had been 9.9 degrees centigrade, about three degrees above average.
"We had a record breaking July across Northern Ireland and a record breaking September as well as it being warm from May right until now," he said.

Horticulturalist Reg Maxwell said the extended season was causing problems other than more lawn cutting. "It's making trees, the large trees, keep their leaves on, and of course they're still active, pulling water out of the ground when there is no water going into it," said Mr Maxwell who regularly appears on Radio Ulster's Gardener's Corner.

"We have had such a dry summer that the subsoil is very, very dry so these trees are under stress - you could see damage to trees in later years it doesn't show immediately."
He said that normally gardeners would be getting into preparing for the next season and collecting garden leaves instead of still enjoying summer blooms.

After standing at the bus stop with the wind whipping round my nether regions and the rain pelting down I must admit that I find this extremely difficult to envisage.

Hospitals ban novelty socks

Hospital staff have been banned from wearing silly socks.
Doctors, nurses and cleaners working in East Lancashire Hospitals could face disciplinary action if they turn up for work with characters like Donald Duck or Homer Simpson on their ankles.
Also banned on the list is clothing that is deemed too tight, extreme hair styles, large bows or hair bands and even some visible tattoos.

The Trust covers employees in Burnley, Blackburn and Rossendale.
The MP for Hyndburn, Greg Pope, said: "I'm sure to get some for Christmas and I wouldn't have any problem wearing them in Parliament. They are harmless fun."
A Trust spokesman said the move was an attempt to "establish a corporate identity across the trust".
He added: "The policy is about having a uniform and a more professional appearance."

But one NHS staff member was quoted as saying: "It's daft. They should spend time trying to get rid of the debt."
The Trust faces a deficit of £11.6m.

Heyy, what's up doc?

Robbie fan bets on his love

A Robbie Williams fan is set to win £4,000 if he asks her out on a date.
Frances Ingram, 33, will win another £10,000 if she ends up as his wife.
She told The Sun: "I am his greatest fan. I adore him and I've got all his CDs and loads of pictures of him.
"We have a lot in common, because like me he's around the same age and has no children."

That's a lot !!!

Frances bet £40 at 100/1 that she would get a date with the singer and a further bet of £10 at 1,000/1 she would end up as Mrs Williams.
Ac William Hill spokesman said: "We know Robbie's a great sport and I think there's a great chance we will get stung."

The words Bunny Boiler spring to mind!

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Odd Sign in Angers

A photo I took while on holiday in the Loire this summer.

Translation: Garage Exit.
.. actually there is a quite logical explanation.

More Free Money

Daily Mail:
Lucky revellers were 'quids in' and queued round the block after a high street cashpoint started dispensing - double money.

Hundreds of gleeful punters - mostly students - queued for up to three hours at the Royal Bank of Scotland ATM with most making multiple withdrawals.

But those lucky enough to cash in should not blow their windfall as the RBS has vowed to trace all discrepancies and demand the money back.

It is believed that canny punters fleeced the ATM in well-heeled Clifton, Bristol - which dispensed £20s for every £10 withdrawn - for tens of thousands.


Eleanor Woodward, 23, of Bristol, was crossing the road at 3pm when someone told her the ATM was giving out double money.
Marketing assistant Eleanor said: "I withdrew £20 at first and got £40 and then went up to Sainsburys's thinking I'd done really well.

"But then I thought, 'what am I doing?' and headed back down. By this time there were about 12 people there.
"I withdrew another £80 and then felt quite guilty so left it at that, but I texted all my mates and they headed down.
"Within about half an hour there were hundreds of people queueing as everyone must have done the same thing.

"I went over to my flat, which overlooks the bank, and my boyfriend and I sat and watched as everyone - mostly students - laughed and drank beer and having a ball waiting for their money.
"People were maxing out their credit cards up to £1,000 at a time, so God knows how much money the bank lost."

Those who missed out were left feeling bitter.
Artist Richard Thorne, 24, an artist, queued for an hour and a half but the machine ran out of money when he was just four from the front.

Madonna Adoption Agency (part 2)

Daily Mail:
Madonna defended herself against accusations that adopting a year-old boy broke Malawi's adoption laws, by claiming the country had none - 'so we made them up as we went along'.

The singer's extraordinary comments were revealed by audience members who witnessed an interview to be aired in America's Oprah Winfrey Show today.

She told Oprah in a satellite link up from the UK: "I did nothing wrong".

That is a matter of opinion!

Mum defies million-to-one odds

Daily Mail:
For every mother with twins the art of telling them apart is a task that can take a lifetime to master. But when Kerry Richardson's sons were born she had no trouble telling them apart instantly.
Layton, who weighed 6lb 4oz, was growing blonde hair and was fair skinned. His brother, Kaydon, who arrived 20 minutes later weighing 6lb 9oz, was black.

"When they were first born, no one really noticed anything unusual as they were both practically the same colour," said 27 year old Miss Richardson.
"But over the last few months Layton has got lighter and blonder, like his dad, and Kaydon has gone darker like me."
The one in a million conception happened after two eggs were fertilised at the same time in the womb. While Miss Richardson is of English-Nigerian heritage the twins' father is white.

According to the Multiple Births Foundation, baby Kaydon must have inherited the black genes from his mother, whilst Layton inherited the white ones from his father.

Now who would have ever have worked that out without the aid of the experts?
... and here's an earlier story

Beautiful twin sisters Alicia and Jasmin Singerl certainly make people look twice.

Alicia has dark brown eyes and complexion, and Jasmin is blue-eyed and fair-skinned. Experts say the chance of twins being born with such different physical characteristics is about a million to one.

The sisters from Burpengary, north of Brisbane, were born in May. Mother Natasha Knight, 35, has Jamaican-English heritage, and their father, Michael Singerl, 34, was born in Germany.

SO, does that make the odds a million to two or half a million to one?

According to the BBC Foreign lorries 'threaten lives'

Foreign lorry drivers are putting lives at risk by overworking, using vehicles with serious faults and overloading their trucks, a police chief has said.
Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl told BBC One's Real Story that EU expansion had made the situation worse.
Penalties against the offending haulage companies were not tough enough because of the huge profits available, he said.
One Polish driver told the show he drove in the UK despite not understanding any British road signs.
About 400 people a year are killed in accidents involving lorries in the UK. On a typical day there are 12,000 foreign lorries and 95,000 British ones on the country's roads, according to the Department of Transport.

The programme spoke to Jean Dickins, of Hungerford, who was widowed when her husband was killed by a Czech lorry driver going down the wrong side of the road.

Ellen Clarkson's two children Laura, aged 13 and Robert, aged 9, were killed in a pile-up on the M11 in Kent after a collision with a German driver who had been working excessive hours.

Real Story: Lethal Lorries is broadcast on BBC One at 1930BST on Wednesday 25th October 2006

I suppose we had better listen to it - since in this report BBC have only managed to cite 2 examples of fatal accidents involving foreign drivers nor do they give any figures for accidents comparing British to Foreign drivers. Since there are 8 times as many British lorries on the road than foreign lorries I would expect the figures to be higher on the British side.

Forward Planning

A gang of Romanian robbers expected to hit the jackpot with their raid on the Nova Bank in Constanta city centre. The three criminals broke into a bank's headquarters in a daring overnight raid but they did not know that the bank was relocating to new premises and the building was empty.

Ah well! back to the drawing board.

A family had to scrap a £3,000 holiday after their youngest daughter's passport photograph was rejected - because she was smiling.
Gareth and Lesley Edwards saved for months to go to Cyprus with children Megan, ten, and Alys, nine, reports the Sun.
But the night before they were due to fly out, Lesley, 46, realised she was the only one with a valid passport.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Stationery Movies

Stationery Movies is a quiz where you identify a movie title from a scene made of office supplies and it will save your answers if you come back later.

OOPS, Sorry - forgot to post the link, which I have now rectified. I have managed 16/20, anybody get them all yet?

Teton Dam

The Great Idea: Dam the Teton River in Idaho. Sounds easy enough.
The Great Big Problem: Holding back the river’s 80 billion gallons of water proved more difficult than engineers thought.
Cost to Taxpayers: $100 million in construction fees and another $2 billion in damage.

The planning and design phase of the Teton Dam in south-eastern Idaho took nearly three decades; the construction took a little more than four years. The dam’s total collapse, however, took exactly one afternoon. Realizing you just wasted some serious tax dollars? Priceless.

Built for just under $100 million between 1972 and 1976, the Teton Dam was supposed to provide irrigation, electricity, and (ironically) flood prevention for the thousands of people living in its 305-foot-tall shadow. But as the reservoir reached its full capacity on June 3, 1976, several small leaks began to appear in the dam. Crews were sent to patch the holes, but larger cracks followed, letting through water that eventually engulfed bulldozers and sent workmen fleeing in terror. Then, on June 5, the dam suddenly collapsed, sending more than 80 billion gallons of water rushing out of the reservoir and into the valley below. By the time the water stabilized more than five hours later, 11 people had died and hundreds of thousands of acres of land had been flooded. Despite the estimated $2 billion in damages, officials seriously considered constructing a new dam for several years afterwards. Eventually the idea was abandoned, but more recently, the flood site has gotten some good use as the route of the Teton Dam Marathon.

More photos here:

In the Face of History

Untitled: By Ed Van Der Elsken
Beethovenstraat, Amsterdam, c. 1966
In the Face of History:
European Photographers in the 20th Century at the Barbican Art Gallery
In the Face of History will be on display from October 13 until January 28

Warning to male mobile phone users

Guardian Unlimited
Men who use mobile phones for long periods at a time may be at risk of damaging their sperm, according to research by American scientists.

Samples taken from men attending a fertility clinic revealed that their sperm declined steadily in number, quality and ability to swim as mobile phone usage increased. Where men used their mobiles for more than four hours a day, researchers found a 30% drop in sperm motility or movement and viability when compared with men who did not use a mobile phone.

OH GOODY - that means fewer of the idiots in future (c: (No sperm no offspring)
So here's how we get rid of future yobs ... hand out free mobile phones then keep phoning them every couple of minutes .....know what I mean, like!

Shock at bomb memorial vandalism

Vandals have damaged a memorial to the victims of the Claudy bombing, removing it from its plinth and leaving it lying on the ground.
Nine people, including three children, died when three IRA car bombs exploded in the village in July 1972.
UUP councillor Mary Hamilton, who was injured in the bombing, has condemned the attack, which is thought to have happened on Friday night.
"I cannot understand what satisfaction anybody could have got," she said.


Actually, it sounds to me as if they were trying to steal it and were disturbed.

Dancing Images

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Monday, 23 October 2006

Schumacher: The Final Lap

That infamous collision between Schumacher and Hill, 1994.

50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising.

The Hungarian uprising of 1956 was a spontaneous rebellion by a nation against the rule from Moscow - against the faceless, indifferent, incompetent functionaries who in little more than a decade had turned their country into a pit of Marxist misery. But this fluttering of a national spirit was brief: the Soviet Union crushed the uprising with a brutality that shocked the western world.

The Hungarian revolution of 1956 was one of the most important events of the 20th century. It began on Oct. 23, when a demonstration of Budapest students in sympathy with Polish reforms erupted into anti-government riots, and ended on Nov. 4, when Soviet troops entered the city in force and crushed the new government. During those dramatic 13 days, now 50 years ago, the inhabitants of the Hungarian capital -- students, workers, intellectuals and others -- stood up for freedom and died for their independence.

The Budapest Sun: ‘I want to speak!’

ALF targets tiger, takes rabbit

Animal rights activists broke into a circus to liberate a rare white tiger ......

Campaigners from the Swiss faction of the Animal Liberation Front had earlier told Circus Royal director Oliver Skreinig they planned to steal the Siberian tiger and hand him to a zoo.

But when they broke into the circus enclosure and saw the animal they changed their minds - and stole a rabbit instead.

The liberationists then posted pictures of themselves online wearing black army uniforms and balaclavas and holding the rabbit.

Skreinig said: "The pet rabbit was not even in the show, it belonged to our clown's six-year-old daughter."

You just have to laugh -- especially if you imagine the look on their faces when they saw the tiger.

Ohhhhhhh SHIT!

This is one for the gurlz!

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal - The epilady, scissors, razors, Nair and now...coldwax

Aberfan Remembered

At 9:51am on October 21st, 1966, a huge spoil tip from a local coal mine slipped down the mountain and buried the village school and 18 homes leaving 116 children and 28 adults dead.

Sadly, the disaster could have been avoided. Underneath the spoil tip was a natural spring that, along with heavy rain, helped contribute to the spoil tip collapsing.

The National Coal Board (NCB), headed by Lord Robens, claimed it had been unaware of the spring despite it being marked on some maps. The NCB was subsequently blamed for the disaster. Robens never apologised.

Whilst that alone would have made Robens a hated man, on the day of the disaster he did not rush to the scene; he instead went to accept an appointment as chancellor of the University of Surrey.

Survivors of the Aberfan disaster, which killed 144 people, mainly children, have joined bereaved relatives at a private service.

More delaying tactics in the Northern Ireland Talks

Read here BBC: how the DUP continue to do absolutely nothing for the future of the people of Northern Ireland.

The supposedly historic meeting between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams, scheduled for a Stormont Committee room on Tuesday 17 October, failed to take place.

So the first item on the St Andrews timetable was postponed.

History had to wait while the DUP attempted to resolve a row with the government over when a ministerial pledge of office needs to be taken.

When did the DUP ever attempt to resolve anything???
Beware - scary photo of DUP leader on BBC link. Not for the faint hearted!

Hollywood star puts city in picture

One of Hollywood's biggest stars put two Northern Ireland politicians in front of the camera on a whistle-stop visit to Belfast.
Vince Vaughn came face to face with Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and loyalist politician David Ervine during a visit to the city at the weekend.

The star of Swingers, Wedding Crashers and Old School interviewed Mr Adams in west Belfast and Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine in the east for a documentary on Belfast's murals.
Local people were surprised to see Mr Vaughn and two cameramen in Andersonstown interviewing Mr Adams in front of a mural of the IRA hunger striker Kieran Doherty at Slemish Way.
One of them said: "Vince Vaughn was really friendly, really open. He talked to the locals, signed autographs and had a bit of craic with them.

I received an email from my daughter complaining about the BBC coverage of the above story - she said:

"I found this article and was interested in which murals they were looking at, but look - they put a picture of Jennifer Aniston instead, tenuously connecting her and her bust to the story because of who she is dating."

Frankly I'm glad they put in a pic of Ms Aniston - otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue who Vince Vaughn is (did I mention - he's dating Jennifer Aniston?).

I must disagree with their heading though - Belfast was 'in the picture' long before Vince Vaughn (minor celebrity) ever was.

Who is this Vince Vaughn anyway??

Man in erotic pursuit of mannequins arrested

A Detroit man with a history of smashing store windows to grab female mannequins has been accused of indulging his fetish again. Ronald Dotson, 39, was arrested and jailed Oct. 9 after breaking a window at a cleaning-supply company to get at a mannequin in a black and white French maid’s uniform, police said.

Well, dressed like that - she was asking for it !!!! (Groannnn)

Dotson had been out of prison for less than a week when he was caught. His erotic pursuit of mannequins over the past 13 years has led to at least six convictions for breaking and entering and a stint in prison, police said.
“He told his parole officer he was going to buy a mannequin so he didn’t have to do these break-ins anymore,” Detective Brendan Moore said. “Apparently that didn’t work out.”

She left him because he couldn't keep his hands off other dolls !!!

Weird News

Dog cocks leg and cuts off power

A dog cut off the power in 148 homes when it cocked its leg on a power cable.
Bailey, a Staffordshire bull terrier, went for a wee against a faulty pylon, reports The Sun.
His owner Gary Davies said: "There was an almighty explosion and the whole street lit up. I turned round and the dog was on fire."
The power was off in homes in Middlestone Moor, Co Durham for five hours.
Bailey is recovering at home after being treated for burns.

Sounds like a cock and bull story to me (c:

Sunday, 22 October 2006

Yoga Ad

Is this somebody's way of saying 'Yoga sucks'

Sony BRAVIA Paint Ad

The latest Sony TV ad - featuring massive paint explosions - took 10 days and 250 people to film. Huge quantities of paint were needed to accomplish this, which had to be delivered in 1 tonne trucks and mixed on-site by 20 people.

The effect was stunning, but afterwards a major clean-up operation was required to clear away all that paint!

The cleaning took 5 days and 60 people. Thankfully, the use of a special water-based paint made it easy to scrape-up once the water had evaporated.

Keeping everyone safe was also an important factor. A special kind of non-toxic paint was used that is safe enough to drink (it contains the same thickeners that are sometimes used in soups). It was also completely harmless to the skin.


Vatican reveals Roman burial site

Christian Fraser
BBC News, Rome

They were digging the foundations of a new multi-storey car park under the Vatican.

But what the bulldozers uncovered was an ancient world of the dead - a Roman necropolis, or burial site, dating back to the time of Christ.

Since then the excavations have brought to light more than 200 tombs, arranged on multiple levels and in remarkable condition.

Quiz expert flops on Mastermind

A Mastermind contestant has scored the lowest total in the show's history - just one point on his specialist subject. Simon Curtis, of Castleford, has run a quiz league in Yorkshire for 15 years and won £250,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? But he passed on eight questions on the films of Jim Carrey and got three wrong to end up with the worst specialist round score ever on Mastermind.

Don't you just love it when this happens (c:

Madonna's Adoption Agency

Family planning advice

Court switches off Christmas lights to let neighbours sleep

A man whose annual display of 22,000 Christmas lights failed to impress his neighbours was given an injunction yesterday banning him from putting them up this year.

People living close to Vic Moszczynski in Sonning-on-Thames, Berks, told a court that marriages had been put at risk by the lights, which attract sightseers to their otherwise quiet drive.

Some spoke of their frustration at queues of traffic, including coaches, and of disturbed nights that had led them to take sleeping pills.

Mr Moszczynski responded by calling the ban "a sad day for Christmas" and said his display had raised £55,000 for charity. The injunction was obtained at Reading county court by Wokingham council and will last for three years.

The council had originally sought to ban all lights outside Mr Moszczynski's house but both parties agreed on a much-reduced display of 300 bulbs, which must not be attached to the walls or roof.

YEAH!!! let's have more of it. These things look totally ridiculous. Just another silly fad imported from the good ol' US of A. (Dr Scrooge!!)

Report pinched from Nothing to do with Arbroath.

Monday, 16 October 2006

There will now be a short intermission ...

Sorry for the break in transmission.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Call back on Saturday or Sunday.

Unionism and The St Andrews Talks.

Mr Paisley said: "Unionism can be confident that its interests are being advanced…

... and just how are they being advanced? - by retaining the 11 plus.
Isn't life wonderful?

In Russia: 1 down, 62 to go...

Internet sites run by the most extreme right-wing nationalist groups in Russia were calling for the execution of Anna Politkovskaya (right) long before the investigative journalist was murdered outside her Moscow apartment a week ago.

First Post:

Video: Chinese Soldiers Shooting Tibetan Pilgrims

Video footage of the Chinese army shooting Tibetans on a pilgrimage to India. Chinese news agencies claim that Chinese troops opened fire on the Tibetans in self-defense but climbers who witnessed the incident say otherwise.


This video is not suitable for anyone who might be upset/shocked by scenes of innocent people being killed.

Before the Chinese came in and took over Tibet (July 1949), Tibet had 5 million people and nothing to do with China. One million Tibetans have since been killed, and 6,000 monasteries have been ruined. Today the Tibetan people are a minority in their own country. All the better jobs go to the Chinese people living in Tibet. The voice of Tibetan culture is now merely a rasp in the wind, its colorful history a shadow of the past.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Woman gives birth to grandchild

A Japanese woman in her 50s gave birth to her own grandchild last year, using an egg from her daughter and sperm from her son-in-law, a doctor has revealed.

It was the first time a woman has acted as a surrogate mother for her daughter in Japan, local media reported.

The case is set to stir debate in Japan where surrogate births are opposed by the government and a key medical group.

Pay and dismay!

A HEAVY-HANDED ticket inspector slapped a fine on an elderly driver - because her ticket was upside down!

Irene Ogley ensured she returned to her car before her parking ticket expired but was shocked to find a £25 fine.

"I'm not going to pay it because it's ridiculous" she told the Daily Echo. "The ticket was face up on the dashboard and it had not run out."

Mrs Ogley parked her car in the Sovereign Centre in Boscombe on Wednesday morning at 11am and paid £1 for two hours.
On her return, she discovered a fine had been issued by Britannia Parking Limited at 12.43pm. The reason stated was hand-written and said: "Ticket upside down."

Mrs Ogley said: "There are a number of boxes on the printed ticket which can be ticked for offences such as staying too long or parking in the wrong place but this was hand-written. I couldn't believe it."

A spokesman for Britannia Parking Limited, which operates in Bournemouth through a PO Box number, told the Echo: "We do not discuss individual cases.

"If Mrs Ogley writes to our excess charge department we will look into it."

Mrs Ogley, 69, of Pokesdown, said she intends to dispute the charge and added: "There is nothing to tell you exactly which angle the ticket should be displayed at."

Typical bureaucrats - let's all display our parking tickets upside down and see what happens!

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Dorothy Rabinowitz

Carmen Callil (in her book Bad Faith) suggests lessons of history are being forgotten in the treatment of Palestinians in modern Israel. "The French forget Vichy, Australians forget the Aborigines, the English forget the Irish," writes Callil. "What caused me anguish... was to live so closely to the Jews of France, and to see what the Jews of Israel were passing on to the Palestinians."

For that, Dorothy Rabinowitz, member of the powerful Wall Street Journal editorial board, returned her embassy invitation with a note attached: "You may advise Ms Callil, and her publisher, that any work that equates the murderous designs of the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators with the Israelis - as she so idiotically does - is scarcely worth any such attention."

Callil becomes the latest to feel the wrath of an anti-anti-Israeli lobby which has parlayed sensitivities to the Holocaust into a stance that any dissent from Israeli policy is not just anti-Semitic but 'un-American' too.

"They see the word Israel and they ignite," Callil said in astonishment. "This... isn't good for democracy, and it's not good for America."

We don't have to delve too far to see the cut of Ms. Rabinowitz and I don't find it impressive.

The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Two days into the JonBenet Ramsey/John Karr media deluge, a mid-fortyish male in line next to me at a food shop groaned at the day's newspaper headlines. "Now," muttered this stranger--though he wore a baseball cap with bill turned backward, which suggested a few things about him one could know right off--"now we're not going to hear about anything but this damned story for the next six weeks."

Concord Monitor April 29. 2005
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Wall Street Journal said yesterday that Gordon MacRae, a New Hampshire priest convicted of child sexual assault a decade ago, is the victim of "a corruption of the justice system."
In two articles that appeared on the newspaper's editorial page Wednesday and yesterday, Dorothy Rabinowitz, a member of the Journal's editorial board, contends that MacRae was wrongly convicted of the rape and bullied into signing false confessions.
In her articles, Rabinowitz offers little new evidence to exonerate MacRae. Rather, she focuses on the personal stories of MacRae's accusers, a group she describes as emotionally troubled and prone to exaggeration.

New York Daily News May 13, 2004

Wall Street Journal pundit Dorothy Rabinowitz - who last month penned an acid assault on the "Jersey Girls," four 9/11 widows who've dared to criticize the Bush administration - received some payback yesterday at the hands of "Jersey Girl" Kristin Breitweiser.

In a message meant for Journal deputy editorial page editor Tunku Varadarajan, but was instead accidently E-mailed to Breitweiser on Tuesday, Rabinowitz wrote: "total and complete - not to mention repetitive - nonsense from people given endless media access to repeat the very same stupid charges, suspicions, and the rest...

Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania

The Amish school, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, was demolished overnight on Thursday.

Friday, 13 October 2006

what's today?

Sir Winston Churchill, said, “Friday is my lucky day. I was born, christened, married, and knighted on that day; and all my best accidents have befallen me on a Friday”.
The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a fear of the number thirteen.
Just as tridecaphobia (or triskaidekaphobia) is purportedly the official name for the morbid fear of the number thirteen, so various other fanciful terms are given by different commentators for the phobia associated with Friday the 13th, including paraskavedekatriaphobia (or paraskevidekatriaphobia) and friggatriskaidekaphobia, though one suspects these were invented by journalists on slow news days.

Man finds £10,000 in McDonald's meal

A Belgian man who ordered a burger from a McDonald's restaurant was amazed to find £10,000 cash in the same bag.
Marco Parra-Martinez, 23, ordered his meal from a McDrive restaurant in Waterloo, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Inside the paper bag, as well as his burger, was an envelope containing 15,000 euros, the equivalent of more than £10,000.
"I hesitated one moment, asking myself if I shouldn't keep the money," admitted Mr Parra-Martinez. "But my parents taught me to be honest at all times."
So he returned the envelope to the restaurant.
McDonalds said the cash was restaurant takings that had accidentally been put down next to Mr Parra-Martinez's order. They promised him a reward for his honesty.

Speaks for itself.