WHAT’S the monetary value of suffering? In California, they calculate it like this: the suffering you experience when a bored yet out-of-control cop pepper-sprays your face at point-blank range is worth eight thousand dollars less than the suffering said poor put-upon cop feels once he gets a reputation as the type who pepper-sprays harmless people in the face.
Seriously. Remember John “Pepper Spray” Pike? He’s the ex-Marine and former University of California at Davis policeman who became an Internet meme back in 2011, after he was recorded calmly walking down a line of student protesters sitting on a sidewalk pepper-spraying each one in the face.
MARIA, the gypsy girl found living on a Greek Roma camp, was not abducted. Sasha Ruseva, 38, and Atlan Rusev, 37, are her parents. Sasha is a Roma gypsy. The police have arrested her and Atlan, just as they arrested her adopted parents Hristos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40. Sasha and Atlan were pinched in the Bulgarian town of Nikolaevo.
Ms Ruseva says she fell pregnant in Greece. She had no money:
“I intended to go back and take my child home, but meanwhile I gave birth to two more kids so I was not able to go back.”
See her other children beklow.
So. The gypsies never did steal Maria, the blonde whose face was flashed around the world. The gypsies never did steal that child in Dublin, either. And there is not a shred of evidence that gypsies kidnapped Ben Needham or Madeleine McCann.
Time, then, to have a look at what the British Press said about blonde Maria:
Revealed: The rundown home where the four-year-old ‘Greek Maddie’ lived with her gypsy ‘abductors’
Daily Star: Maria was Our Maddie:
His mother Kerry Needham, 41, said: “The authorities in Greece always told us, ‘Gipsies don’t steal babies’. Now we know they do. We are very optimistic this new information may help us find Ben.”
The Times told its readers:
The possibility of Gypsy involvement has been investigated in the abduction of two blonde-haired British children — Madeleine McCann in Portugal and Ben Needham in Greece.
Maria was seen dancing in a video. She was like a dancing bear, they said. She was the blonde angel, they said. The caring Mirror topped the chilling video with an advert for Gummy Bears:
Ian Murphy told Sun readers:
THE little girl rescued from a gypsy camp dances for her captors in this disturbing video handed to cops.
Lest you think the video of a blonde kid dancing was very ordinary, Murphy told us that what we were seeing was awful:
In the 29-second clip she twirls in circles in the middle of a sunny yard as a dark-haired woman watches. When the tot falters and stops the woman pushes her back into the centre of the screen and she starts again.
Those dark-haired demons. Never did trust them. Stick with Aryans, we say.
The Daily Mail had inverted commas:
First pictures of gypsy couple ‘who snatched Maria’ as they appear in court accused of abduction and facing up to 20 years in prison
Maria had “secrets“:
The Sun had more on that rescue:
THE mystery blonde girl rescued from a gypsy camp sits with the couple who posed as her parents for years.
Fair-haired Madeleine, then nearly four, went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. Paedophile Raymond Helwett — who lived in the area at the time but died in 2010 — insisted she had been “stolen to order” by gypsies.
Blond Ben vanished on the Greek island of Kos in 1991, aged just 21 months. Five years later a local convict claimed he saw a child matching his description in the Farsala camp where Maria was found — and said gypsies told him the boy came from Kos.
That would be Helwett who never did confess to anything.
The Express then spotted Our Maddie with the gypsies:
Should they now give up hope?
Hell, no. The Star said there were 10 More Maddies:
A child living with Roma gypsies in Ireland is seized.
The Star saw – yep – you know who:
This Irish child underwent DNA tests to establish her identity and links to her family. After a few chemical experiments and State-sanctioned kidnapping, the child was in the care of the Irish state. What could go wrong? (She is now back home with her parents.)
Then the Express spotted Maddie:
The Mirror went further. It talked of an “ABDUCTION PANIC”.
The Sun had news on Maria:
Is this Maria? Missing US toddler link to ‘blonde angel’
Ws asked: These not-all-that-wealthy people nick your kids and then at no expense spared ship them to camps in Europe.
And know we know.
Still, no harm done. It was only the gypsies who got accused of running a global child-stealing racket – and no-one likes them, anyhow…
“PETER never had any regrets in his life…the only regret he regularly voiced was that, at the house we all shared in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1963, he’d saved David Frost from drowning…”
– Alan Bennett in Some Interesting Facts About Peter Cook.
Peter Cook did David Frost no favours. Their rivalry was as bitter as vinegar but the potency mostly came from Cook’s side. He despised Sir David for his buddying up to the establishment and for what he perceived as Frost’s piggybacking on the talents of he and his Beyond The Fringe colleague’s work. Beyond The… made satire bite again but it was Frost who sold the concept to the commercial side of television, steering That Was The Week That Was to the centre of the nation’s heart. His story was at the heart of the best documentary on television last week, Sir David Frost: That Was The Life That Was.
IF you missed last week’s “mad gunman terrorizes American schoolchildren” news story, this time out of North Carolina, don’t feel bad; these days they’re common enough that it’s not reasonable to expect any one person can keep up with them all.
Still, last week’s story was notable for two reasons: One, nobody actually got shot; and two, the gunman was on the school’s payroll. Seriously: Administrators at Eastern Wayne Middle School later sent parents a letter explaining that they sent a masked gunman to various sixth-grade classrooms as an “enrichment lesson on exhibiting good citizenship and observing your surroundings.”
WHEN Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling header smashed into the Hoffenheim net during their recent Bundesliga match, referee Felix Brych had no hesitation in whistling for a goal. Players questioned the decision, but he brooked no disagreement.
Nothing unusual about that, except for one thing: the player doing most of the questioning was Kiessling himself, whose goal ‘celebration’ had consisted of holding his hands and grimacing. From his excellent vantage point he could see what the ref could not: that the ball had missed the goal and powered into the side netting. After that it had somehow slipped through the net and ended up nestling inside.
GREAT Car Ads presents the 1997 Jeep Cherokee – $1750 (Enid, OK )1997 Jeep Cherokee (XJ):
4.0 L in-line 6
Crank Windows, no cruise, no tilt, no delay wiper, no nonsense
POWER MIRRORS! Woo Hoo!
FOOTBALL fans and all decent people everywhere will have been cheered to hear that Fulham Football Club has finally got round to taking down the statue of Michael Jackson that has besmirched Craven Cottage for the past few years. Former owner Mohamed Al Fayed, who erected the statue in 2011, is apparently considering selling it to raise money for charity.
Good news for all those who believe that sporting establishments should be treated with respect and dignity.
BANKSY, the muralist, has been decorating walls in New York City. The locals can’y get enough of him. For a few dollars they’ll let you see his artwork.
capnyc took a video:
WHO the hell decides what is and is not “essential”? That’s not a philosophical question about life, the universe and everything; I’m asking specifically about the idiotic “let’s play chicken with the whole country” federal-government-shutdown thing playing out here in America.
The way it works is, “essential” employees of the federal government still go to work and get paid, while everybody else stays home (and will likely get paid anyway, though not until after the shutdown ends). Check out who’s working and who’s not and it soon becomes obvious that, even by the standards of a creepy police surveillance state, the US government has seriously warped priorities.
Essential: the Drug Enforcement Administration, responsible for arresting and imprisoning anybody who uses intoxicants other than alcohol and prescribed pharmaceuticals, is open.
Not essential: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responsible for monitoring and tracking contagious illness, switched to shutdown mode.
So if one of those deadly science-fiction-movie-type pandemic viruses breaks out during the shutdown, the government can’t track the spread of the contagion but will still arrest anyone trying unapproved forms of medical treatment.
Essential: the private gym and heated swimming pool where members of Congress can work out at taxpayer expense.
Not essential: the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program providing food assistance to extremely poor moms with extremely young kids.
Because where “essential use of taxpayer dollars” is concerned, helping a Congressman burn extra calories off his corrupt and flabby ass takes precedence over getting extra calories to hungry babies who aren’t getting enough. (Though perhaps that’s not a fair criticism to make. Cory Doctorow speculated the real reason the gym’s staying open is because so many Congressmen live in their congressional office suites and use the gym’s shower facilities to bathe. Can we really criticize them for that? Trying to cleanse Congressmen of their own foul stench isn’t “non-essential” so much as “a lost cause.”)
Not essential: America’s national parks and all the park rangers who staff them; hence, all the national parks are closed.
Essential: The National Park Service also “closed” the World War Two and Vietnam War memorials on the National Mall in Washington, DC, which are actually open-air monuments in the middle of a large, unenclosed public area. So the only way to “close” these monuments is to have staff set up temporary barricades blocking area usually open to everybody, requiring far more manpower than simply leaving them open ever would.
Also deemed essential were the Yellowstone park rangers who allegedly locked tourists in their hotel, and even prevented them from taking pictures of animals. Can’t let people have fun in national parks, but must scare the hell out of those who try. It’s all about priorities.
IAN Wright and Jack Wilshere agree that only players born and blooded in England should play for England at football. How Wilshere’s views will pan out with Liverpool and England’s Jamaican-born Raheem Sterling have yet to be established. Manchester United’s teenager Adnan Januzaj should not play for England, they say.
Fair enough. He might not want to. But Anorak recalls one foreign-born player who did pull on the England shirt. Australian-born Tony Dorigo, for it is he, played in the same England team as Ian Wright. We can find no record of Wright saying back then in 1993 that victory over Brazil would have been “hollow” with a foreigner in the team. Playing with a non-England born player is “just cheating” says wright.
MEREDITH Kercher is not yet at peace. The retrial of Amanda Knox in Perugia, Italy, for Kercher’s murder is underway. Knox and her then lover Raffaelle Sollecito were convicted and then acquitted. This time, however, Knox won’t be in the courtroom, opting to remain in the US.
Mic Wright’s Remotely Furious.
NO one calls themselves a telly addict any more. Time was, that was a thing. In the ‘80s being yoked to the idiot box was a bad thing. But today? We covet screens endlessly. We carry them around with us all the time. Right now I have two monitors in front of me, a MacBook Air demanding my attention, a Google Nexus 7 chirping away to itself and a smartphone gone the way of a black mirror, its battery worn down by incessant fiddling. The screens are everywhere now. We don’t notice them because they surround us.
And I love it. My name is Mic Wright and I am an addict. I am unrepentant. I was born to be a telly critic but sadly telly isn’t what it used to be. When Clive James – the greatest TV reviewer of all time – was stalking the Palaeolithic expanses of the small screen, a world where Channel 4 was just a glimmer in some priapic executives hungry eye, television meant something. It had Play For Today and hard hitting documentaries. World In Action, Death on the Rock, truly panoramic Panorama. It had drunks and eccentrics. It had George Best, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo and Helen Mirren on Parkinson. It had The Tube and TOTP. It had surprises.
Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
HALLOWEEN is coming. You want to host a party. This is the music you need to play.
Tam Lin: Fairport Convention
WHEN it comes to talking of anti-Semitism in newspapers, who better than the Guardian to bring the Daily Mail to order over its Ralph Miliband hatchet job? The Guardian is the paper in which Richard Imgram told readers:
I have developed a habit when confronted by letters to the editor in support of the Israeli government to look at the signature to see if the writer has a Jewish name. If so, I tend not to read it.
The Guardian is subtle in its bigotry, doing down the Jews claims to a homeland.
ROBIN Thicke’s hit has everyone’s knickers in a twist. The Universities of Kingston, Edinburgh, Leeds, Derby and West Scotland have banned their students unions from playing one of year’s biggest hits. The righteous students have censored the Top Ten, just like the BBC did in the unenlightened 1970s, when the likes of The Kinks, Paul McCartney, the Sex Pistols and Judge Dread were all banned.
Granted, Macca never did rap “ I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two”, which it turns out is not a reference to a late-night Ultra Chilli Kebab from Big Ahmed’s Van but something illegal in Qatar. And Macca never did grope naked birds on his videos. Yes, he posed with dead babies. But naked women is so. well, offensive to “good girls” who don’t enjoy posing in the nude and being awakened to the magic of sex by Thicke’s dick.
HAS the Council of Europe banned Jewish boys from being Jewish boys? The Council has decreed that circumcision is “a violation of the physical integrity of children”. It says all 47 nations in the Council’s zone will “initiate a public debate, including intercultural and interreligious dialogue, aimed at reaching a large consensus on the rights of children to protection against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards”.
Member stats should “adopt specific legal provisions to ensure that certain operations and practices will not be carried out before a child is old enough to be consulted”.
Hey, boys. You’ll get to be circumcised not when very young but when you’re 18. Happy days.
TOM Cowan and Robbie Fowler are the latest pundits to find that a casual remark or a casual prejudice can get you into hot water.
‘Banter’ is no longer an acceptable excuse for inappropriate sentiments however lightly expressed, and woe betide anyone who steps over the line into heartfelt abusive opinion.
BBC pundit Cowan’s crime was to make disparaging comments about women’s football in a column for the Daily Record, headed ‘And Now A Message From the Dark Ages’. In it, he remarked that “Fir Park should have been torched on Thursday in order to cleanse the stadium after it played host to women’s football”.For this, he has been suspended by the Beeb.
WHEN Huddersfield Giants star Danny Brough (seen here with his bestselling blueberry bonbons) revealed his other life as co-owner of the Hull confectionery shop Sweeet Shack (with an extra ‘e’) some people may have raised an eyebrow or two.
Once upon a time, however, there was nothing unusual about celebrities operating a sideline. Former footballers, boxers and cricketers opened newsagents, sports shops and pubs. And they weren’t the only ones. Even the Beatles got in on the act.
ON September 18, 1978, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungun appeared on New York cable Tv show The Efrom Allen Show. Also on the panel taking calls from the great unwashed were, Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys, and Cynthia Ross of the B Girls.
Viewers were invited to “CALL 473-5386 TO SPEAK TO THE PUNK OF YOUR CHOICE”.
Photo above: Vicious and Spungen outside Marylebone Magistrates court after being charged possessing the drug methamphetamine – 08/02/1978.
Spungen seems to idolise her man, telling one caller who calls him “derivative”:
“He’s as original as you get! He’s not derivative of anything.”
On October 12, 1978 Spungen was dead. She’d been stabbed. The prime suspect in what looked like a suspicious death was Vicious, aka John Ritchie.
Photo: The Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street in New York City is shown, Oct. 18, 1978, site of Nancy Spungen’s murder. Her boyfriend Sid Vicious of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols has been arrested and charged with the murder.
Photo: New York police escort British punk rock musician Sid Vicious, or John Simon Ritchie, former bass guitarist of the Sex Pistols, shortly before he was charged with murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Nancy Laura Spungen, at New York’s Chelsea Hotel, Oct. 13, 1978.
Photo: John Simon Ritchie walks from Rikers Island prison in New York, Oct. 16, 1978 after being released on $50,000 bail. Police charged Ritchie with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
On February 2 , while out on bail, Vicious died of a drugs overdose. His mother told us:
“He knew the smack was pure and strong and took a lot less than usual.”
But it was enough to kill him:
Photo: New York City police carry the body of punk rock star Sid Vicious from apartment in the Greenwich Village section of New York, Feb. 2, 1979.
Photo: Michelle Robinson leaves her apartment in New York, Feb. 2, 1979 after the body of punk rock star musician Sid Vicious was found in her apartment.
Photo: Anne Beverley, mother of the late punk rock star Sid Vicious, sits in ambulance outside the Sixth Precinct police station in New York, Feb. 2, 1979. Police said her son apparently died of a heroin overdose taken the night before at a party given to celebrate his release from prison.
Now the phone-in show:
TWO stories in today’s papers stand out:
The Times leads with news that Under 11s are getting drunk and seeking treatment in A&E departments.
Hundreds of primary-school age children were admitted to accident and emergency departments for alcohol-related problems last year, it has been revealed. The 293 admissions, up by a third on 2011, came after a year in which more than 6,500 under-18s were taken to hospital as a consequence of drinking.
What about drugs?
The numbers, which were obtained through a freedom of information request, also found that 145 children under 11 were admitted to A&E with drug-related conditions, up by 14 per cent on the previous year.
ON January 4, 1969 Jimi Hendrix appeared on Happening for Lulu. Sharing the bill with Pan’s People, Badfinger and Johnny Harris, Hendrix and his Experience would perform a duet with the Shout singer at the BBC’s London studios. Well, they were supposed to. But it never did happen.
Charles R Cross recalls what occurred in his book Room Full of Mirrors. After breaking into Hey Joe, as arranged and introduced by the pop Pixie, Hendrix had enough:
“We’d like to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to The Cream, regardless of what kind of group they may be in, dedicate to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce”.
The band then began playing Sunshine of Your Love.
Hendrix told his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham (pictured above in 1969): “I’m not going to sing with Lulu. I’d look ridiculous.”
Noel Redding writes in his book Are You Experienced? The Inside Story of The Jimi Hendrix Experience:
“We cringed,… [tit was] so straight it was only natural that we would try to combat that atmosphere by having a smoke in our dressing room…In our haste, the lump of hash got away and slipped down the sink drainpipe. Panic! We just couldn’t do this show straight–Lulu didn’t approve of smoking! She was then married to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, whom I’d visited and shared a smoke with. I could always tell Lulu was due home when Maurice started throwing open all the windows. Anyway, I found a maintenance man and begged tools from him with the story of a lost ring. He was too helpful, offering to dismantle the drain for us. It took ages to dissuade him, but we succeeded in our task and had a great smoke.”
Photo: Lulu marries Maurice Gibb of the pop group the Bee Gees at the Parish church, Gerrard’s Cross in Buckinghamshire on 18/02/1969.
“This was fun for us, but producer Stanley Dorfman didn’t take it at all well as the minutes ticked by on his live show. Short of running onto the set to stop us or pulling the plug, there was nothing he could do. We played past the point where Lulu might have joined us, played through the time for talking at the end, played through Stanley tearing his hair, pointing to his watch and silently screaming at us. We played out the show. Afterwards, Dorfman refused to speak to us but the result is one of the most widely used bits of film we ever did. Certainly, it’s the most relaxed.”