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WE’VE heard enough about The Avengers, it’s time for another group of superheroes to get some recognition. The Legion of Regrettable Comic Book Superheroes is a motley group consisting of the lamest and oddest heroes ever put to print. You can keep your Iron Man and Captain America; I like my heroes with a touch of stupidity. So, bring on Aqua Melvin, Matter Eater Lad, and the rest of the gang – The Legion of Regrettable Comic Book Superheroes has come to save the day! (or embarrass themselves trying.)
Origin: Adventure Comics #242 – Nov. 1957
Aquaman responds to a distress call from a ship and discovers an unconscious Vaudeville clown onboard. If that wasn’t strange enough, the only way to save him is for Aquaman to give him a blood transfusion. Naturally, this imbues him with Aquaman’s powers for 24 hours and insanity ensues.
The Guardian Erases Helen Sharman From History In The Race To Praise Tim Peake, The ‘First Brit In Space’
THE Observer salutes Tim Peake, “the First Brit in space”.
Only, he isn’t.
IN the 1980s, cricket was violent, thrilling, angry, captivating and utterly fantastic. When the mighty West Indies played England at Lord’s in June 1980, I was by the Tavener’s pitch-side pub. It smelt of warm body, smoke and beer.
A West Indian steward saw me trying to get a view and invited me to sit by the rope. In the bright sunlight, I stepped over the low barriers and onto the grass. Joel Garner was bowling. At 6ft 8inches tall, running in fast with the ball held high in his hand, Garner was the most fearsome, magnificent human being I had ever seen.
Failed political photo-ops
DAVID Cameron is facing ridicule once again. His latest gaffe was to tweet a picture of himself looking serious and statesmanlike while having a serious statesmanlike phone call with Barak Obama. The problem, aside from the typically patronising pomposity of the gesture, was that he looked singularly un-statesmanlike. In fact, he resembled nothing do much as a perplexed pudding.
Of course, he has plenty of competition in the failed phot-op stakes.
Here’s George Osborne, Chancellor and Chelsea fan, in ‘man of the people’ pose, manfully working late while snacking on a burger and fries. His tweet backfired when said burger was identified as coming from posh nosh joint Byron.
Oh, hello! Talking of burgers…
Hey presto – instant ridicule. What a Gummer.
But frankfurters are even more risky. Republican Presidential nominee Michele Bachmann has been dubbed Palin 2.0 thanks to her numerous factual and logical gaffes. On this occasion, however, she was guilty of nothing more than innocent naivety, and chomped on a corn dog in full view of the press without considering the consequences.
Best to stick with a beer. In Nigel Farrage’s case almost literally so, as he clings to his pint prop as tenaciously as Tony Blair clung to his ubiquitous ‘ordinary guy’ coffee mug. Asked about it, he replied: ‘I’ll tell you something. I work an 18 hour day most days and I think I’m entitled at lunchtime to a pint.’
William Hague famously claimed to have regularly drunk 14 pints a day as a schoolboy, and he wasn’t averse to being pictured pint-pot in hand. But his most risible moment was this fashion faux pas which was intended to make him look cool, but didn’t.
Even without the banana, David Miliband achieves the extraordinary feat of making his brother look normal.
But what the hell – normal’s overrated, right? Just ask Francois Hollande. Actually don’t ask him, as he appears to be a bit sensitive about it. In fact, two French press agencies even took the unusual step of withdrawing this unflattering portrait of the French president.
Ask former US Congressman Chris Lee instead. Or better still, just admire this picture of himself that he utilised in the services of his reply to a sex ad on Craigslist.
Of course anyone can have an off-day. But for one man, it happened to be Groundhog Day.
In the end, you just have to laugh along and rise above it.
MATTERS at the Bitcoin exchange in Japan, Mt. Gox, are getting ever murkier: ever more fascinatingly interesting in fact. For hackers have now broken into the exchange and gobbled up a lot of the internal documents. And, of course, printed them out on the internet. You can see part of it here.
To give you the background to the story. Bitcoin is the new supper must have shiny technology. It’s essentially a new form of money or, if you prefer, a new way of making payments. You really only need on piece of technical information to grasp the point of it all.
WHAT is Livity? It’s a portmanteau of Living and City. And:
Livity is a youth engagement agency.
The banner above asks Livity users: “How do you unite young people against a common enemy.”
The Guardian says of Livity:
“We’re trying to save the world through marketing,” says Sam Conniff, the co-founder of Livity, and he is not joking.
JBS family butcher’s in Sudbury, Suffolk, was told to no longer display fresh meat in its shop window. It used to show off the fresh, hanging unplucked pheasants, deer, pigs heads and rabbits, but because someone complained that it offended them it’s all gone.
The window now features the sign: “Due to complaints, there is no window display.”
THE problem with songs about food is that, well, they’re never really about food. Tasty as brown sugar is, the Stones weren’t really singing about sucrose. And when Robert Plant sings “Your custard pie, yeah, sweet and nice. When you cut it, mama, save me a slice” he’s not talking about pastries. You might say it’s a time honored tradition for rock and pop musicians to use food as symbols of sex and drugs.
We certainly can’t go through them all, so let’s narrow it down and focus just on songs with fruit in the title. Here’s a playlist that not only is interesting and fun, but also rich in Vitamin C.
1. “Apples and Oranges” by Pink Floyd
The setting is the produce section at the grocery store; however, apples and oranges are also an allusion to the differences between Syd and a girl he sees there (who, according to Syd himself, he’d been stalking for hours).
In this video, Floyd makes an appearance on American Bandstand. Syd looks absolutely stoned out of his mind, and you can tell the cameraman takes care to avoid him as much as possible.
2. “I Am a Tangerine” by Tommy James and the Shondells
Tommy has admitted that he was hopelessly wasted when he wrote this song, and that it makes no sense whatsoever. Don’t go reading clever allusions and metaphors into this one, folks. When Tommy screams “Hello Banana”, he was genuinely introducing himself to a piece of fruit.
3. “Peaches’ by The Stranglers
“Peaches” is a simple song about walking up and down the beach staring at the ladies. However, the fruit acquired a gynecological connotation by the line:
“Will you just take a look over there. Is she tryin’ to get outta that clitares?
“Clitares” being a French word for bathing suit, and I’m sure The Stranglers were well aware of how the word would get misinterpreted. Clever bastards.
4. “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin
Led Zep were no strangers to fruity music – let’s not forget “The Lemon Song”. Page wrote this one during his Yardbirds days, purportedly about singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon. The false start at the beginning begat an interesting urban legend – that the intro was the remnant of the “the greatest song ever recorded” but the tape was destroyed, and both Plant and Page couldn’t remember how it went. This snippet at the beginning (not in the video above) is all that remains.
It’s total bulls**t, but nonetheless it’s an urban legend that should be fostered and encouraged. Of course, when it comes to fruit-centered urban legends, nothing will compare to the “Cranberry Sauce/I Buried Paul” conspiracy.
5. “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
Theories abound regarding the meaning of this song. Many feel it’s just a simple story about a young nobody who becomes captivated by a woman who enters the store where he works. Prince was under fire from Tipper Gore over his racy lyrics for “Darling Nikki”, so he wanted to tone things down a bit. But the fact that the store is owned by “Old Man Johnson” belies a dirty subtext. After all, this is the same guy that brought you “Soft and Wet” and “Cream”.
So, what does it mean? Some think the “raspberry beret” refers to an uncircumcised penis. Others say it’s menstrual blood. I say this is may be best left unanswered.
6. “Blackberry Way” by The Move
Very much in the vein of “Penny Lane”; sort of a downbeat answer to the peppy McCartney classic. Personally, I cannot get past the “ooh-wah” bridge (at about the 1:45 mark in the video) which is lifted directly from Harry Nilsson’s “Good Old Desk”. It’s stolen so exactly, the song is ruined for me.
7. “Cherry, Cherry” by Neil Diamond
Speaking of plagiarism, “What I Like About You” by the Romantics features a guitar riff pretty damn similar to Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry”. Of course, there’s always some borrowing and cross-pollination in pop music. In fact, you could argue “Cherry, Cherry” owes some of its melody to “Dirty Water” by The Standells.
Whatever its roots, I’m inclined to agree with Rolling Stone in calling this one of the greatest three-chord songs of all time. You’ll notice no horns or drums; that’s because this hit was actually a demo version. Adding drums, horns and other polish detracted from the energy, so they kept the original.
8. “Dear Delilah” by Grapefruit
I could have ended this playlist on top with “Strawberry Fields”, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” or “Blueberry Hill”. Instead, I’ll invalidate the entire premise of this article and offer up a song without any fruit at all in its title. The band’s name is certainly fruity enough, though. Grapefruit was of the hallowed 60s tradition of bands naming themselves after fruit (ex. Moby Grape, The Lemon Pipers, Strawberry Alarm Clock… not to mention Apple Records). In Grapefruit’s case, John Lennon actually named them after Yoko’s awful 1964 book.
Grapefruit’s singer is a member of the amazing Young family – the same clan that spawned AC/DC (Malcolm and Angus Young) and The Easybeats (George Young). Grapefruit had the full support of The Beatles, but couldn’t achieve the success they no doubt expected.
You might say that everything was going peachy keen at Apple, but they wanted to be top banana, and ended up with sour grapes.
(insert sounds of crickets chirping)
Sorry. A fruit pun was bound to happen at some point. My sincere apologies.
ANY idea why Surbiton’s starlings are vanishing?
A DEGREE in geography and journalism sounds like it would be useless. But Spanish TV channel Telemadrid could do with a such a graduate. Either that or it could do with some kind of system that allows a reporter to access a massive data via a computer. (Call us, Google, we have ideas.)
In a report on Ukraine and Europe’s gas supply, the broadcaster featured the following map:
FLASHBACK to May 5th 1943:
Olive McDonald, branding the casing of a 3-inch mortar-bomb, at a factory somewhere in England, on May 4, 1943.
EVER read Little Nemo, the comic strip about the lad’s fabulous dreams?
The strip ran from October 15, 1905 to April 23, 1911 in the New York Herald.
CHARLES de Ganahl Koch is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is co-owner, chairman of the board, and chief executive officer of Koch Industries.
In 2010, he told the Wall Street Journal: “Corporate Cronyism Harms America.”
You name it, in every industry we have this. The successful companies try to keep the new entrants down. Now that’s great for a company like ours. We make more money that way because we have less competition and less innovation. But for the country as a whole, it’s horrible. And for disadvantaged people trying to get started, it’s unconscionable in my view. I think it’s in our long-term interest, in every American’s long-term interest, to fight against this cronyism.
FLASHBACK to August 30, 1960:
Young girls at Japanese radio manufacturing plant in Tokyo, stretch in unison to the beat of a man blowing the whistle. The stretch break takes place twice a day and, according to company officials, raises the efficiency of the girls who assemble the miniature parts of transistor radios. The girls use microscopes to insert needle-like parts into the radios.
YOU’RE looking at an illustration from a 1530s manual on warfare. The advice is to “set fire to a castle or city which you can’t get at otherwise”.
One way of achieving this is with a flaming rocket cat. You can also surprise the enemy by using doves as instruments of death.
THE teenager who at 15-year-old fell for her 30-year-old teacher Jeremy Forrest has “dumped him for another teacher”.
So says the Sun of the teenager was abducted by Forrest and taken to France.
Back on in October of last year, the Mirror had other news of the girl known only as ‘Gemma’:
We knew policemen were getting younger but are 16-year-olds now working as teachers?
THE Women’s League of Health And Beauty were there to help:
Mary Bagot-Stack founded the Women’s League of Health and Beauty in 1930 when her daughter Prunella was just fifteen years old, but when Mary died at a tragically young age in 1935, Prunella was called upon to continue the work of the League. Not only did she continue the work but she watched the League spread from Britain to Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, with a worldwide membership of 170,000 women by 1938. Around this time, fitness, movement, keep-fit and physical recreation for women was spreading throughout Britain and becoming something of a national phenomenon.
THE Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease presents Peter Gasser’s work with LSD. The paper, called <” href=”http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Documents/90000000.0-00001.pdf”>Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases, and researchers concluded that when terminally ill patient were tested with the drugs their anxiety”went down and stayed down”.
Would you take LSD, or approve its use on a loved one? David Nutt, the former UK government drugs expert, said in Nature Reviews Neuroscience - “Effects of Schedule I drug laws on neuroscience research and treatment innovation“ was evidence of the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo”.
He says drugs, including what tabloids call mind-bending substances, could be beneficial to mankind.
Small clinical studies of MDMA, which was originally used in the USA in the 1970s to improve communication in psychotherapy sessions, suggested that it could play a highly beneficial role in the treatment of PTSD patients. The paper’s authors said the drug could also help with “end of life anxiety” and couples therapy”…
LSD, meanwhile, was widely researched in the 1950s and 1960s, with more than 1,000 papers investigating outcomes for more than 40,000 patients, with evidence suggesting that the drug might be an effective treatment for alcoholism, before bans on the drug around the world ended further research.