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Consider the Washington Post, long considered a VIP (Very Important Paper), one of America’s most prestigious. And WaPo veteran Robert Samuelson is a Very Important Pundit who became an online laughingstock this week after publishing a Very Serious Column suggesting life would be safer and better if only humanity would abandon this newfangled dad-blasted “Internet” thingy.
“If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more.”
THE police in the US of A are armed. They are able to dispense ultimate justice at the flick of a trigger finger. This makes them powerful. It should make them cautious and respctful of their badge. However, it can also make them gung-ho, threatening, bellicose and militaristic.
Radley Balko is author of the forthcoming book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces. He’s compiled examples of slogan-heavy T-shirts sold and won by police officers. These include T-shirts that see men as quarry and children as animals:
When subtitlers go bad
At the conclusion of the Confederations Cup, British television audiences will be left with a host of magical memories featuring skill, technique, determination and sheer endurance. Is there no limit to Alan Shearer’s talents? It seems not…
THE blurb for each item sold on the online Etsy bazaar asks at the end: “Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.” After compiling this list of the creepiest, most wrong, oddest, weirdest and worrying dolls for sale of Etsy, we’re a little unsure where to begin. Perhaps, the questions should be, ’Did your mother love you?; ‘Did your mother love you too much’; ‘Are you allaoewed near sharp objects?’ and ‘That you, Linus Van Pelt?’
WHAT has George ‘lifelong Chelsea fan’ Osborne learned this week? That passing yourself off as a man of the people is trickier than it seems.
The Old Pauline has had his fingers burned before of course, after he adopted a Tony Blair style ‘mockney’ accent when speaking to ‘ordinary’ voters, and was rightly ridiculed for his presumptuousness.This week he tweeted a picture of himself burning the midnight oil with just a burger and fries for company. It has predictably came back to bite him on the arse, now that said snack has been revealed as a ‘posh’ burger costing just shy of ten quid.
SUMMER’S here. Toss the daddy long legs from the dusty paddling pool. Grease over the slippery sliders. And head along to the Aqua Park, taking care to avoid the rusty nails. What could go wrong?
WHEN actresses explode, aka Exploding Actresses is brilliant:
THE Spinning Mummy of Manchester is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame after being filmed – using time-lapse photography – rotating 180 degrees in its glass case. The Egyptian statuette in the Manchester Museum is said to have attracted the attention of numerous experts, including the inevitable Brian Cox, and there has been “talk” apparently of an ancient curse.
We here at Anorak are adopting our usual skeptical position until a rational explanation emerges.
In the meantime, it is worth remembering other headline-grabbing statues that have moved before. Hell, they’ve drunk, wept, and even sung. And there is usually a perfectly sensible explanation…
When statues ‘weep’, the chances are that the lachrymose protagonist will be the Virgin Mary. Reports are legion, but only one has been officially sanctioned by the Vatican: Our Lady of Akita, reported in 1973 by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa (below) in the remote area of Yuzawadai, near Akita. This wooden statue of the Virgin Mary – which also apparently manifested stigmata, as did Sister Agnes – is said to have wept on 101 occasions over the following six years.
Reports that a roadside statue of the Virgin Mary had started to move in Ballinspittle, County Cork, triggered off a series of sightings of other moving statues around the country. Sadly on this occasion a Catholic bishop declared this Marian apparition to be an illusion. Nevertheless, around 100,000 people were said to have visited the site of the ‘miracle’. Incidentally, after 15 pints of Guinness, whole churches can sometimes appear to move.
Early in the morning of 21 September 1995 a worshipper in New Delhi offered milk to a statue of the Hindu deity Ganesha, whereupon the elephant god reportedly snorted it up his trunk. Throughout the morning the milk drinking spread to statues of other gods in temples all over India. Later the same day, the new craze reached Britain and other countries.
Indian scientists suggested that capillary action was causing the liquid to rise from proffered spoons before running down the front of the statues.
Big Mouth Billy Bass caused a worldwide sensation when he moved his head and tail and sang Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Take me to the River.
The Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in Mumbai became a major venue for pilgrims after its statue of Jesus began to drip water, and the church was happy to encourage this stat of affairs. So when pesky old skeptic Sanal Edamaruku revealed that faulty plumbing was causing water to leak onto the Son of God, the protests were none too happy. Although he is a longstanding debunker of religious myths, and a vocal critic of the church (including Mother Teresa), on this occasion things went further. After being charged with blasphemy, and receiving death threats, he sought exile in Europe, where he is trying to persuade governments to put pressure on India to abandon its archaic law.
SOME images are just incredible. Thanks to a Greek doctor and his camera, we get to see this memorable image taken dyring a caesarian section. Oddly, the amniotic sac remained intact as the birth progressed. The baby is no longer in the womb but continues to take oxygen and sustenance from the placenta.
The baby is doing well.
IN Hershey, Pennsylvania, dog groomers have been showcasing their creations. Cats will laugh:
WALLE is the World’s Ugliest Dog 2013. Walle (above) took top spot at the 25th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. The 4-year-old beagle, boxer and bassett hound mix is described by Judge Brian Sobel: “This dog looked like he’s been photo shopped with pieces from various dogs and maybe a few other animals.”
TURKISH creationists pose the question “What is Islam”. They then set about answering it with “Islam is…” It turns out that Islam is… a series of questionable fashion choices, a man with a plucked heavage and whipped hair rarely seen beyond the windows of a 1976 barbers shop, a Xanthus with a massive cleavage called ‘VESACE’, a man weaing a suit so shiny the label;says “oven ready”, the double animal print woman who might by computer generated, and backdrops that suggest the talkers are either hiding in bushes, posing for estate agency catalogues or massive and talking from near space… ….
THERE is something of the Bangkok LadyBoy about Miley Cyrus, formerly the world’s biggest-ever teenage star. Not so much the face of the future or the now, Cyrus is the reminder that trying to escape a hyper-controlled past can be tricky for your future career. In these 10 Gifs from her new song We Can’t Stop, Cyrus approximates sex appeal and kookiness without ever coming close to nailing either. She slices off her fingers, frots a massive teddy bear, twerks, engages in a spot of lipstick lesbian, rubs a slice of white bread over her face and smooches a Barbie doll. Naturally, in this check box approach to outrageous pop antics, she alludes to drugs use. In courting controversy, Cyrus manages to come across as remarkable uncontroversial, overly contrived and conservative. Still, at least she’s having fun. Beats working:
MENS’s Fashion gives until the laughter hurts our ears. We went to London Fashion week to see the men wearing what all the cool kids will be sporting soon:
CORRIDORS. Not just any old creepy, long, silent, anxiety-inducing, lonely, crippling, haunted corridors, but eerie, antiseptic, soulless, menacing, echoey, brooding, lugubrious corridors in sci-fi films. Corridors that when you scream no-one can hear you.
Corridors are the places in film that let the dialogue pause and the tensions build. You’d run along though them. If your legs let you.
These are the best corridors in sci-fi:
Code-46 – Michael-Winterbottom (2003)
The Black-Hole – Gary Nelson (1979)
Ikarie XB-1 (1963, Jindřich Polák)
Ridley Scott’s Alien
George Lucas’s THX-1138
Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965, Gordon Flemyng)
Stereo (1969, David Cronenberg)
Saturn 3 (1980, Stanley Donen)
Outland (1981, Peter Hyams)
Equilibrium (2002, Kurt Wimmer)
Alphaville: Une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Titan A.E. (2000, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman)
Forbidden Planet (1956, Fred M. Wilcox)
2010 (1984, Peter Hyams)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977, George Lucas)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977, George Lucas)
Solyaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Event Horizon (1997, Paul W. S. Anderson)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
Westworld (1973, Michael Crichton)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991, Nicholas Meyer)
Robocop (1987, Paul Verhoeven)
Upside Down (2012, Juan Diego Solanas)
Species (1995, Roger Donaldson)
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956, Fred F. Sears)
JOHN McAfee, creator of the McAfee anti-virus program that comes free, annoying and pretty useless on your smart phone, is the star of this video advert for his company. It’s called How To Uninstall McAfee Antivirus, and it is the creepiest, most misogynistic, balmiest, watchable piece of bilge we’ve seen this week. In a blancmange of dull dress-down-Friday tech gurus and billionaire geeks, McAfee is the sticky squirt of colour.
Anorak brings you the Greatest Beauty Pageant Answers Ever. And – remember – no-one likes you if you are cute and smart. Maybe this article shold be entitled The Smartest Beauty Pageant Answers Ever?
BEFORE the Wall came down and the EU came knocking, Polish film posters for American film were handmade. Nowadays, Poles are seduced to Americans films with the usual cocktail of edited quotes from critics and airbrushed photography. But when US publicity material was banned, film posters for Yankee movies were created by artists interpreting the film.
There is no proof that they were more effective in getting punters in to watch the film. But the billboards would have been more beautiful:
For sale: This Game of Thrones suit of armour for your guinea pig.
WHEN Australian cricketer David Warner took a swing at England’s Joe Root (above) in a Birmingham bar, it was merely the latest in a long line of spats between Ashes rivals over the years. Most went no further than the boundary ropes, and old adversaries like Michael Atherton and Merv Hughes would happily socialise together at the end of play. This happily seems to be the case here, as Warner has publicly apologised to Root, who accepted his apology.
But some personality clashes don’t end so amicably. They fester into grudges and develop over time into fully-fledged feuds. Here we consider five of the most enduring – and in a funny way, endearing…
Don Bradman v Wally Hammond
Bradman was the colossus of world cricket, a man whose Test average of 99.94 still dwarfs his nearest challenger (Graeme Pollock, 60.97). Hammond (above) was England’s captain, and one of the county’s top batsmen from 1927 to 1947, whose highest score (336 not out) actually tops the Don’s.
Bradman was a difficult man to like, and considered aloof and selfish by his team mates. Hammond was similarly unpopular with his colleagues – and with the husbands of the numerous women he bedded. It has been suggested that his personality had been affected by mercury treatment for VD.
Hammond regarded any game against Australia as a personal duel between himself and the Don. ‘Fuck Bradman!’ was his battle cry. The duel had an added twist during the 1932-33 ‘Bodyline’ series when both men had to bowl at each other, and Bradman took Hammond’s wicket with a full toss.
When playing against New Zealand, Hammond beat Bradman’s record-breaking score of 334, and screamed ‘Yes!’ at the sky.
In a subsequent Ashes series, Hammond kept Australia in the field for three days, amassing over 900 runs, and delayed his declaration until it was confirmed that Bradman’s ankle injury would prevent him from batting. As Australia’s captain, Bradman subsequently employed the same tactic against England at every opportunity, referring pointedly to Hammond’s previous antics.
The ‘Goodwill Tour’ of Australia after the War proved anything but, as Bradman refused to walk when caught at slip on 28 in the opening Test, then went on to get 187. Hammond refused to speak to him for the rest of the tour.
Below: Bradman is finally dismissed by England after scoring 334 at Headingly in 1930.
Don Bradman v Harold Larwood
One of legendary fast-bowler Larwood’s favourite photographs is of Bradman bent double at the wicket, having been hit, not as reported in the papers, on the arm, but ‘on the arse’.
There was, he admitted, no love most between the two. It began when Bradman knocked him round the ground in the 1928-9 Ashes, but got series when the Don refused to walk when he snicked a ball on naught in the next series in 1930 (shades of ’47). Larwood particularly disliked Bradman’s arrogance and his contempt for those he considered inferior. So when England captain Jardine devised his ‘leg theory’ strategy for beating the man he called ‘the little bastard’, Larwood was happy to carry out the orders. Jardine believed Bradman to be a physical coward, and the tactic of employing bouncers aimed at the body was designed to test his resolve. It worked a treat.
As late as the 1980s feelings ran deep. Bradman was still complaining about being branded unsporting for not walking, and Larwood was angered by Bradman’s accusation that he ‘threw’ the ball with an illegal bowling action.
As Larwood concluded: ‘He wasn’t a very likeable fellow.’
Tony Grieg v Ian Chappell
After a reasonable start, things went downhill during Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket experiment in the 1970s, when Greig, captain of the world XI broke a ‘no bouncers’ agreement as Chappell’s Australia side chased down an eminently achievable target. In the ‘Supertest’, there was more trouble, as Greig was hit on the head by a bouncer and then unleashed his quicks in revenge. Having given Chappell a torrid time, he then tried a few himself, which were hit for fours by the opposing skipper, who memorably declared: ‘Mate, I might not be able to hook good bowling, but I can hook your shit.’ When Greig threatened to break a bottle over his head, the umpire intervened.
When the second WSC season came to its crunch game, Chappell prevented Greig’s team from scoring the required five runs by bowling down the leg side for four wides. He then smoked a cigar throughout the prize presentation and refused to shake Greig’s hand
Chappell’s take on Greig: ‘The problem I had with him during WSC was that he was off earning money by doing ads while the rest of his team was training… he held his place in the superb team and he did not deserve to.’
Greig take on Chappell: ‘I didn’t like him and he didn’t like me.’
The pair continued to trade insults down the years, before eventually learning to co-exist as TV commentators for Australia’s Channel Nine. This developed into close friendship, and Chappell spoke warmly of his former adversary following Greig’s death last year:
‘During World Series Cricket we had a couple of falling outs, mainly instigated by me, and our relationship deteriorated quite a bit during that time. Once we both retired and were together in the commentary box, we’d spend a lot of time together. Since it was mostly my fault we fell out, I thought it was time to let bygones be bygones. We didn’t chat about it at all, though. It’s almost as if Tony said, “What went on was back then, this is now.”
He was very much like that. He wasn’t one to bear grudges.’
Ian Botham v Ian Chappell
The story began when a young Botham was at Melbourne University on a Whitbread Scholarship. During the Centenary Test, he and Chappell found themselves in a bar. They exchanged words, and ‘Beefy’ admits to having been wound up by Chappell’s anti-Pom tirades.
The following Friday they found themselves in a bar once again. According to Chappell, Botham accused him of not wanting to tour England in the following summer because ‘too many blokes were looking to knock your block off’, and then put the tin lid on it by adding that ‘everyone’s looking for you because you’re a prick’. After a lengthy argument, Botham supposedly held a glass to his face and threatened to cut him ‘from ear to ear’, and claims to have punched him off his stool. Chappell, on the other hand, says Botham pushed him backwards off the chair and got hysterically angry. ‘As I got up, he suggested we settle it outside,’ says Chappell. ‘I replied: “I don’t fight. You either finish up in jail or hospital and I don’t intend visiting either over a cunt like you.”’ Botham says that at this point he chased Chappell outside, leaping over a car in the pursuit. Chappell claims the ehole thing is a ‘typical’ Botham fantasy.
They came together again in 1979-80 when Botham was in Australia with England. Botham dismissed Chappell for 0 in a state game, and bade him farewell in characteristic fashion.
They then met in a Benson & Hedges ODI. Botham bowled a bouncer which was a no-ball. Chappell warned him that if he did it again he had better hit him, because otherwise he would come and hit him over the head with his bat. During the interval, England skipper Mike Brearley unsuccessfully demanded an apology from Chappell (Australia’s captain). Chappell then devised a cunning plan to get Botham’s wicket, which worked a treat and added to Botham’s annoyance.
In the 1990s the pair appeared on a TV show together and were asked if they would have a drink together. Yes, replied Botham: ‘That’s cricket. You sit down and have a beer or a wine.’ No, replied Chappell: ‘I can find plenty of decent people to have a drink with. I won’t be drinking with him.’
At the end of the century Channel Nine brought the pair together, just as it had Greig and Chappell. ‘That’s all right,’ said Chappell. ‘As long as they don’t expect me to socialise with him because I certainly won’t be doing that.’ He added that he had barely spoken to Botham since the Centenary Test incident, and ‘it would suit me if I never spoke to the guy again’.
When Botham was knighted in 2007, Chappell remarked: ‘There are many skeletons dangling in Botham’s cupboard, ranging from stories of drug-taking to general thuggery, and if he keeps peddling his lies, there’s every chance more of these stories will emerge. Someone is going to regret awarding him a knighthood.’
In December 2010, news broke that the pair had to be separated after a fight in the car park at the Adelaide Test. Chappell dismissed the story as a fabrication…
Mitchell Johnson v Kevin Pietersen
A relatively new rivalry, and possibly short-lived too, given Mitchell’s absence from this summer’s Ashes squad.
It began during the 2009 Ashes, when only the intervention of Australian twelfth man Stuart Clark prevented blows being exchanged before the start of the final day of the first Test in Cardiff. Johnson was bowling in the nets and was almost struck by a ball hit by Pietersen. Mitchell kicked the ball in the air, landing a long way from Pietersen, who was not best pleased at having to go and fetch it. An angry exchange followed until Clark’s intervention. The argument has continued ever since, with the pair trading insults at every opportunity – usually, but not always, via the sports pages.
After falling out with the Australian management earlier this year, Johnson is reportedly considering retiring from international cricket. But if he does return, and Pietersen stays fit, the pair could be on collision course once again before long…
Below: Johnson celebrates and Pietersen walks – out for a duck in Perth, 2010.