We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
WE’RE well used to hearing stories about how the tech companies, Apple, Google and the like, are dodging taxes all over Europe. But people are starting to realise that it’s not just that sector. Many other multinationals are indulging in very much the same behaviour:
Another reason for Inditex’s industry-best profit margins of almost 15 percent: the company uses the kind of tax loopholes coming under increasing scrutiny from international regulators.
In the past five years, Inditex has shifted almost $2 billion in profits to a tiny unit operating in the Netherlands and Switzerland, records show. Although that subsidiary employs only about 0.1 percent of Inditex’s worldwide workforce, it reported almost 20 percent of the parent company’s global profits last year, according to company filings.
SOBS and moans filled the air from Plymouth to Plymouth Rock, from York to New York, from Wales to New South Wales, from Surrey to Salford. Even a few people in the city of Manchester could be heard above the general laughter. So many questions were raised by Manchester United’s performance in Greece this week that we’ll restrict ourselves to just one. Is it the reds’ worst defeat of the modern era?
Here are 11 others that give it a run for its money…
December 1972: Crystal Palace 5-0 Manchester United
Don Rogers ‘did a Pele’; United did something unpleasant in their shorts. But it was Palace themselves who were relegated, and the Red Devils lived to be relegated another day.
April 1974: Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City
That day came at the next available opportunity: the following season, to be precise. Contrary to popular myth, former United legend Denis Law’s back-heeled goal for City didn’t actually send United down –other results meant they would have been relegated anyway. But it became an enduring emblem of the club’s post-Busby demise. United fans invaded the pitch – another symbol of the Red Army at the time.
May 1976: Manchester United 0-1 Southampton
The late Bobby Stokes caused a major FA Cup upset – and won a car – by scoring the Wembley winner for second division Saints, thus depriving United of their first serious silverware of the Seventies.
September 1989: Manchester City 5-1 Manchester United
Chants of ‘Ferguson out’ at the match are often attributed to cheeky City fans, on the grounds that United’s supporters had all left the stadium by then…
The Maine Road Massacre was one of a series of results in the early stages of the season that led the United faithful to lose patience with their as yet unsuccessful manager Alex Ferguson, and prompted the infamous ‘tara’ banner.
September 1990: Liverpool 4-0 Manchester United
Liverpool were reigning champions when they crushed United at Anfield in this early season fixture, and looked likely to continue their dominance. United, by contrast, looked as far from being champions as ever. As it turned out, Liverpool didn’t win the league and haven’t done so since. United, on the other hand, were just three years away from a period of unprecedented success.
January 1992: Manchester United
New Year’s Day brought a result which suggested that United’s 26-year wait for the championship would continue for another season. And so it proved, as Leeds United overhauled their lead in the final season of the old First Division. The Premier League began later that year, and over the next two decades United would make the competition their own.
November 1994: Barcelona 4-0 Manchester United
Group A of the Champions League turned into a nightmare as Romario and Stoichkov tormented United. Keeper Gary Walsh, who remembers being unrecognised by United fans on a coach at the airport afterwards. The result had significant consequences, as United were ultimately eliminated after finishing in third place on goal difference.
May 2002: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal
Arsenal clinch the title at Old Trafford with a goal by Silvain Wiltord (remember him?) back in the days when Arsène Wenger didn’t regard fourth place as a trophy.
March 2009 Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
Losing to their hated rivals is as bad as it gets for United, but this defeat in the run-in proved to be just a blip, and Fergie’s boys went on to clinch their 18th title – thereby finally equaling Liverpool’s tally.
May 2011: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
The score-line is convincing, yet it doesn’t convey the gulf in class between the two sides on this warm evening at the magnificent new Wembley stadium. Barcelona dominated this Champions League final, and established themselves as the undisputed kings of Europe.
October 2011: Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
The ‘noisy neighbours’ put United firmly n their place with this stunning display at Old Trafford, and the goals tasted extra sweet when they went on to pip them to the title on goal difference in the last seconds of the season. And here are the reactions of a man from the south of England and one from Manchester…
GET a load of those Swastikas etched onto the walls of Chelmsford’s County Hall, built between 1928 and 1939 by J Stuart of Portland stone.
A member of the public has lodged a Freedom of Information request asking why it “was still commissioned given the symbol’s negative connotations”. Essex County Council has yet to answer.
WAS Cassius’s Clay shock victory over Sonny Liston in the heavyweight championship of the world a fix? Clays had been 7-1 to defeat the reigning champion, who was backed by the mob.Ali won by technical knock-out when Liston remained in his corner at the start of the seventh round.
Now we get to read the FBI’s nots on the bout. A 1966 memo written to J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI at the time, mentions one Ash Resnick as the organiser of many fixes.
The note alleges that a Barnett Magids believed Resnick and Liston each made $1 million by betting on Clay to win.
“At about noon on the day of the fight, [Magids] reached Resnick again by phone, and at this time, Resnick said for him to not make any bets, but just go watch the fight on pay TV and he would know why and that he could not talk further at that time. Magids did go see the fight on TV and immediately realised that Resnick knew that Liston was going to lose. A week later, there was an article in Sports Illustrated writing up Resnick as a big loser because of his backing of Liston. Later, people ‘in the know’ in Las Vegas told Magids that Resnick and Liston both reportedly made over $1 million betting against Liston on the fight and that the magazine article was a cover for this.”
Resnick and Liston are both dead. Hoover is dead. This site alleges a link between the gamblers and the FBI:
Other information suggests Meyer Lansky obtained hard proof of Edgar’s homosexuality and used it to neutralize the FBI as a threat to his own operations. The first hint came from Irving “Ash” Resnick, the Nevada representative of the Patriarcha family for New England, and an original owner-builder of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. As a high-level mob courier, he traveled extensively. In Miami Beach, his Christmas destination in the fifties, he stayed at the Gulfstream, in a bungalow next to the one used by Edgar and Clyde. ”I’d sit with him on the beach ever day,” Resnick remembered. ”We were family.”
Another source claims:
Meyer Lansky, a Polish immigrant, was considered the head of the Mafia.
But really, what happened?
Florida State Attorney Richard Gerstein initiated an investigation of the fight to focus on Liston’s shoulder injury, for which he enlisted the services of his office’s medical/legal adviser and the Dade County Medical Examiner. A Florida state law provided for a prison term of up to ten years for anyone found to have fixed or thrown a boxing match.
The boxing commission in Sonny’s home state of Colorado suspended him immediately after the bout. “I’m not gonna look at any medical examination and let that guide me wrongly on account of his being injured,” said one commission member. Some people suggested that Sonny should be barred from the ring for life.
Four weeks after the bout, the results of Gerstein’s investigation confirmed the findings of the eight doctors who had examined Sonny after the fight. “While Liston’s injury is beyond doubt, there is also little doubt that he went into this fight with a sore or lame arm,” stated the report. It also noted that none of the pre-fight information was imparted to the Miami Beach Boxing Commission. That means the commission chose not to mention the fact that they had turned down Sonny’s request for an injury-related postponement. The investigation revealed no evidence that the fight had been fixed, and Gerstein’s office found no fluctuation in the betting odds anywhere in the country.
But the story rumbles on… You can see the fight and the photos from the build up to it here.
FAR be it from me to stifle creativity – an author should be able to title their work as he or she likes. However, there is a limit to my tolerance. Sometimes, the title is so terrible that it simply must go; creativity be damned. Here’s a handful of vintage reads which suffer from just such an affliction.
12 Chinks and Woman by James Hadley Chase (1941)
I understand people weren’t as sensitive to racial issues back then, but this is ridiculous. The novel’s title was later changed to The Doll’s Bad News; a wise move, but you can’t undo this level of epic racism. This from the author who gave us these other great titles: The Marijuana Mob (1950), There’s a Hippie on the Highway (1970) and Goldfish Have No Hiding Place (1974).
LEWIS Gill, 20, punched Andrew Young, 40, hard enough for the older man to fall down on a street in Bournemouth. Mr Young hit his head on the pavement. He never recovered, dying in hospital.
We know what went before the attack. Just before 4:25pm Mr Young was upset that Gill’s friend Victor Ibitoye had been riding his pushbike on the pavement. He told the cyclists it was a “dangerous activity”. As Ibitoye rode away, Gill, approaching form the Mr Young’s side, swung his fist. Mr Young goes down hard. Gill swaggers off. A youngish looking women with the pair, barely registers the horror, twiddling her hair as she walks on. But Ibitoye stops. Looks back. And gets off his bike. He appears concerned for Mr Young.
FLASHBACK to November 1 1972: Liverpool’s Steve Heighway (left) and Brian Hall (right) read a Greek newspaper in Athens ahead of their UEFA Cup second round second leg match against AEK Athens.
Liverpool won the tie 6-1 on aggregate. They would go on to defeat Spurs in the semi-final and Borussia Mönchengladbach on aggregate to win the cup.
Rebecca Adlington’s Nose Gives The Mail, Sun And Daily Mirror Abuse Amnesia On Fat And Ugly Wayne Rooney
EVERYONE and their dog has been sticking up for Rebecca Adlington. Apparently, she may or may not have had a nose job. It’s her business, her money and she can do as she pleases.
However, that’s not everything cleared up.
You see, everyone now has to fret and fuss, wondering if this is all the result of years of cruel jibes she’s received on Twitter and from comedians like Frankie Boyle.
Of course, the issue of women being pressured to fit a certain look, or be expected to be good looking if they’re going to be successful is a dreadful narrative that has cropped after, at long last, women started to call bullshit on the practice. It’d be wonderful if we lived in a world where we were celebrated for what we could do, rather than how we look.
TO UGANDA, where the local Red Pepper newspaper leads with:
“EXPOSED! Uganda’s Top 300 Honos Names”
Congratulations to those who made the list, and commiserations to those who did not, could be premature because Uganda is a beacon of intolerance and bigotry. The paper adds:
“In salutation to the new law, today we unleash Uganda’s top homos and their sympathisers.”
According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked 83 German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images, or fantasies on the subject of transition into work life, graduating from university, looking for and finding a job.” Two years later, they approached the same students and asked about their post-college job experiences. Those who harbored positive fantasies put in fewer job applications, received fewer job offers, and ultimately earned lower salaries. The same was true in other contexts, too. Students who fantasized were less likely to ask their romantic crushes on a date and more likely to struggle academically. Hip-surgery patients also recovered more slowly when they dwelled on positive fantasies of walking without pain.
Heather Barry Kappes, a management professor at the London School of Economics, has published similar research with Oettingen. I asked Kappes why fantasies hamper progress, and she told me that they dull the will to succeed: “Imagining a positive outcome conveys the sense that you’re approaching your goals, which takes the edge off the need to achieve.”
IN the 1950s and 1960s, Mead Johnson’s Metrecal promised to get you into shape. What that shape was, we people of the future can only guess at – and we guess it was a human form jackknifed over a toilet.
Mead Johnson spotted Sustagen, a composite blend of mix of skimmed milk powder, soybean flour, vitamins, minerals, corn oil, minerals and vitamins spooned into hospital patients not up to eating solids. Pressing ‘Go’ on the random-name-generating computer, produced Metrecal, the weight-reducing miracle. It looked like baby powder. It tasted like baby sick. But – buy – it sure cured your appetite.
Take a drink and get slim. But do stick to the 900 calories of Metrecal a day.
This advert for the vile goop is from 1965:
The keen-to-be-slim could chow down on Metrecal milkshakes, Metrecal cookies, Metrecal clam chowder (New England style) and Metrecal tuna and noodles. Remember, so long as you kept to 900 calories a day, you’d be thinning. And nothing was better at building the new you than the liquid lunches, dinners and breakfasts.
THIS is what George Washington drank at his leaving do:
…we still have available the list of beverages served at a 1787 farewell party in Philadelphia for George Washington just days before the framers signed off on the Constitution. According to the bill preserved from the evening, the 55 attendees drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer, and seven bowls of alcoholic punch.
That’s more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a number of shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate. That seems humanly impossible to modern Americans. But, you see, across the country during the Colonial era, the average American consumed many times as much beverage alcohol as contemporary Americans do. Getting drunk—but not losing control—was simply socially accepted.
Chin-chin. Never trust a tea-totaller…
CHRISTIAN Aid has a new report out about how tax should work in Africa. And it’s a hugely amusing report. Amusing for devotees of blinkered ideologues ignoring reality that is.
Here’s the basic problem. In this part they are correct:
After a decade of high growth, a new narrative of optimism has taken hold about Africa and its economic prospects. Alongside buoyant growth rates, there has been some poverty reduction and some positive progress in sectors such as health and education.
MATT WALSH on sexism and respect:
The respect deficiency in our culture has reached crisis levels.
I’ve discussed at length how men should treat women. I’ve written about the lessons I plan to teach my son; lessons about how he should love, honor, respect, serve, and protect the women in his life. Indeed, men need to respect women, and we, as men, are far from perfect in that regard.
Those posts — the ones where I call on us men to improve the way we treat women — tend to be very popular. They’re popular when I write them or when anyone writes them. Proclaim that women, mothers, and wives should be respected, and a chorus will shout ‘amen.’ Every day on Facebook brings us another viral post excoriating men and supporting women. I’ve written a few of them myself.
But I’ve noticed that the corollary – a message about the respect women must give men, a message challenging wives and encouraging husbands – isn’t quite so palatable for many people. Disrespect for men has become standard practice. That scene I witnessed was sad but unremarkable; we’ve all watched that kind of thing play out a thousand times over. Men are disrespected by their wives – they’re disrespected publicly, they’re disrespected privately, they’re disrespected and then told that they have no right to be upset about it because they aren’t worthy of respect in the first place.
Disrespect for men is a joke to us now.
Men are idiots. Well, that’s what men who own big brands say on the TV.
HERE are a few vintage phallic instances (either real or inferred) which have gained a bit of notoriety over the years. Read on – your inner idiot will thank you.
1. THE RIFLEMAN’S LOG
This Rifleman comic book has experienced a certain degree of notoriety for what can only be described as a horrifically uncomfortable cover. How is it possible that the subtext went unnoticed before printing? Looking through old magazines, comic books, etc. it’s easy to stumble onto accidental phallic imagery. Perhaps it’s because they weren’t as jaded as we are these days, always finding the tawdry in the innocent. Or maybe published adverts and illustrations generally weren’t as polished, edited and re-edited as they are today. Who knows? Yet, the phallic nature of this one seems so extreme, it couldn’t possibly have been missed by even the most obtrusively naive,… right?
2. THREEPIO’S UNIT
This Star Wars trading card has also received some well-earned notoriety. It appears that C-3PO is sporting a golden metallic erection of impressive proportions. The robot was supposed to be a “protocol droid”, but this picture has one wondering if C-3PO had other useful functions not fit for a family movie. According to the official Star Wars site:
It appears that the extra appendage is not the work of an artist, but rather a trick of timing and light…. At the exact instant the photo was snapped, a piece fell off the Threepio costume and just happened to line up in such a way as to suggest a bawdy image.
According to Snopes, whether this was intentional or not remains undetermined.
3. SEARS CATALOG PROTRUSION
This unfortunate event occurred in the 1975 Sears Fall/Winter catalog. Extending below the boxer shorts emerges what appears to be a glimpse of this model’s manhood. A lot of squinting, enlarging, and Photoshop exploration has occurred over the years trying to get this mysterious object into focus. Can it truly be what we think it is? Or is it simply a smudge? We may never really know.
This phallic incident even inspired a novelty song “The Man on Page 602” by Zoot Fenster, released not long after the catalog was published.
“The picture’s got me out of sorts, because I don’t understand,
Are they advertising boxer shorts, or are they trying to sell the man?”
4. THREE’S COMPANY SCROTAL EXPOSURE
God knows, shorts certainly lived up to their name in the 1970s. So, you can hardly fault John Ritter for what took place in episode 161 of Three’s Company. In this now infamous sitcom episode, he takes a seat on a bed and in the process reveals portions of his junk for the camera. If you blink you miss it, and it’s not exactly in high definition either…. But, make no mistake, Ritter’s naughty bits are definitely there. The incident yielded one of my favorite quotes of all time. When asked by The New York Observer whether they should edit the scene for future broadcasts, Ritter responded:
“I’ve requested that Nickelodeon air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”
5. POPSICLE OF SHAME
I present to you this highly troubling Evel Knievel Popsicle ad. It hasn’t garnered any notoriety yet, but it’s high time it did. Spread the word.
IN 1950, Britain’s most gorgeous men competed for the title ’Mr Apollo’.
The judges feature the lovely Sylvia Wren (Holiday Bathing Girl 1949), seen here on the cover of classy news organ TITBITS magazine, 13 April 1957.
IT’S all kicking off in Minehead:
WHEN the Cossacks whipped Pussy Riot in Sochi, those who decried the Winter Olympics finally had an image of Putin’s politic in action.
The group were quick to harness the brutality, including the footage in a music video:
So there’s Pussy Riot. Asks for Pussy Riot by name at your local shop or online.
And as you talk about Pussy Riot with your family, priest and work colleagues realise that Pussy is no longer a banned word. And Pussy no longer means a weak man.
Xeni Jardin is sensitive to the word. She asked Twitter for alternatives:
• Vagina Riot
• Cooter Commotion
• Ladybits Rampage
• Vajayjay Melee
• Birth Canal Brouhaha
• Hoo-hah Kerfuffle
• Beefdrape Diatribe
• Frontbottom Fracas
• Labial Lawlessness
• Rosebud Rumble
• Bearded Clam Shenanigans
• Muffin scufflin’
• Cooch Confrontation
• Down There Donnybrook
• Labia Fray-bia
• Front-butt Fiasco
• Munch Bunch
• Violencia del Vulva
• Meat-Curtain Mayhem
• Nookie Disagreement
• Honeypot havoc
• Fanny Free-for-all
• Tumult Near Mons Pubis (*also a great title for a post-apocalypic sci-fi erotic novel)
FLASHBACK to April, 30, 1950: An elderly Bavarian inspects what is said to be the first robot in history, a soldier with an automatic bellows that blows a trumpet, made in 1810 by Friedrich Kauffman of Dresden. The robot is one of the many attractions of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
TO Aberdeen, where it’s Kurt Cobain day.
Things to look out for:
1. Mentions of “muddy banks of the Wishkah”
2. 34s – the reporter recalls his enema
3. 1m 12s – microphone sausage.
A PRIME reason for heavy metal’s success is that it is a culture unto itself. Fads come and go, but a culture has staying power. It comes with its own dress code, etiquette and idolatry. A small but important part of that culture is the album cover – the visual representation of the music, the heart of the heavy metal universe. If you’re a metal band, it’s imperative you get this facet right. So, let’s tour through some metal covers from the 1980s, a time when heavy metal was king, and learn from their successes and failures.
LESSON 1: THE 6 REQUIREMENTS
IN 1976, David Bowie was at Victoria station. A rockstar catching a train might be an extraordinary event, but something else caught the eye of the NME. Bowie was now working as the Thin White Duke.