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.
NEWS in the Telegraph of foreign birds:
“Radio 4 listeners have woken to the melodious sound of birdsong since the station began its early morning Tweet of the Day slot earlier this year to educate the nation about the calls of British species. However, some wildlife lovers have been left annoyed that the producers have chosen to include rare migrant birds that only stop in the UK for a few weeks of the year.
“One frustrated listener, wrote: “I don’t class these birds as British, so why are we listening to them?”
Maybe they’re EU birds? Or non-doms?
WOMEN who say ‘all men are pigs’ or ‘men are stupid’ want following around with a machine that makes an irritating noise for the rest of their lives.
However, some men really don’t help.
Take for example, the bridegroom who has been jailed for a year after staging a bomb hoax on his wedding day to try to prevent his bride finding out that he’d failed to complete the paperwork required for them to marry.
All those homophobes who think the whole things is wrong and immoral, turns out, are wildly wrong. They reckon it is unnatural? Well, you don’t get more natural than a bunch of insects all shtupping each other, regardless of gender. It seems that ‘beastly’ isn’t a slur at all!
TO shave or not to shave? What says the judge who oversaw a case costing £350,000 that hinged on whether a disabled 23-year-old Muslim woman should have shaved pubic hair?
Her parents wanted it shaved before she returned home to live with them. They said it was a Muslim matter. The council, which cares for the woman, said it was unsure if the woman understood what the procedure meant. So. It went to court.
IN Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, British artist Mark Leckey produced what one critic called “the finest portrayal of British nightlife ever captured”.
Jonathan Jones added that “(Leckey) haunts the secret parts of modern culture, where memory and emotion linger”.
What he did was to capture the feeling of dancing in a night club in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Says Leckey of his 1999 film:
“It took two years to create, but it was made of 30 years of repressed desire.”
POTO and Cabengo were Grace and Virginia Kennedy. In 1976, these San Diego twins were eight years old. Jean-Pierre Gorin created a study of the girls who spoke in their own secret language. Time magazine produced an extract of their dialogue:
Pinit, putahtraletungay”(Finish, potato salad hungry)
“Nis, Poto?” (This, Poto?)
“Liba Cabingoat, it”(Dear Cabengo, eat)
“la moa, Poto?” (Here more, Poto?)
But was it a secret language? Their father thought the girls’ gibbering fools, mentally negligible and not worthy of educating. He was wrong. Advised to place them in speech therapy, their teacher realised they were speaking a language only they understood.
In July 22, 1979, the LA Times Reported:
Gorin explained his film to Bomb magazine:
A low-budget independent film, shot in San Diego in 1979, in 16mm color negative. It’s an investigation, a film “around” an event—the case of the Kennedy twins. They were front page news at the time, as it was believed they had invented a “private language,” a private mode of communication, with a syntax and a vocabulary of its own. But this kind of an answer seems to frame Poto and Cabengo as a classical documentary…
I got hold of the event through the press. It was the middle of the summer and news was sparse. The Loch Ness monster had been nowhere in sight that year, and I suspect the journalists felt the twins would be a good substitute. They built up a case which reeked of Wild Child mystique. The very day I saw the first article on the twins, Eckardt Stein from ZDF was passing through town and I sold him the idea of a film. I lied through my teeth, told him that I had seen the twins, seen the therapists who took care of them at Children’s Hospital, secured the rights to the story. I assured Stein that they spoke a “private language.” He agreed to do the film. But when I saw the twins for the first time I immediately realized that the story as the press—and by then, myself—had cast it was not there. There was no private language and never had been. All along the twins had spoken a Creolized language, some densely unintelligible American/English, a patchwork of southern lingo spoken by their father and of the deformations imposed on the English language by their German-born mother.
The story had become bigger than the girls.
I got excited by the idea of inquiring about something which had never been there in the first place, which had been so completely misconstrued. It seemed like an eminently dramatic premise: two kids who moved and sounded like hummingbirds, who for years had been privately deciphering the world for each other, who did not know why they had suddenly become the object of so much attention, and who by now were for the therapists and linguists just two rather “ordinary” kids with banal problems of auditory information processing, while the press was still “Ripleying” their case to death. At the same time their parents were desperately hoping to convert their 15 minutes of Warholian celebrity into some hard cash. It seemed pretty interesting to try to unravel all these conflicting interests at work below the surface of this event. And don’t forget to add me, the filmmaker, to the stew: me, with my own agenda, trying to get a film out of this whole situation.
What happened to the girls?
The only clue is from a show about twins that aired on TLC around 2000, which reported that Virginia and Grace were still developmentally disabled. We are told this:
Now approaching 30, the twins continue to experience speech problems and mental delays. Grace, who has achieved a higher level of functioning than her sister, works at a McDonald’s cleaning tables and mopping. Virginia works at a job-training center and performs assembly-line work.
THE blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl found living with swarthy Hristos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, is ok. She’s in the care of the Greek State. The couple have been charged with abduction. They say the girl’s biological mother gave the child.
One of their lawyers, Constantinos Katsavos, told reporters outside court: “It was an adoption that was not exactly legal, but took place with the mother’s consent.”
But who is she? The Metro wants to know:
“THEY probably think it has money but in fact the safe has ten kilos of gunpowder,” says Stockholm policeman Mikael Pelagalli. ”A man who works at the company said that is enough to move 40 tonnes of rock.”
The thieves who stole the safe are waned against opening it. If they do, the thing cold blow up.
MARIA, the blonde child found living with non-blondes Hristos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, in Greece is the subject of what the Sun calls a “disturbing film”. In it the “little girl made to dance for cash”.
No, not like on the X Factor. Well, sort of.
The Daily Mirror is so outraged it tells its readers:
Watch Greece girl ‘Maria’ dance for gypsy woman in video as eight “promising” leads emerge in hunt for parents
WHAT has caused the terrible fires in New South Wales, Australia?
The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council:
NEW SOUTH WALES
Above average rainfall for much of the preceding three years is likely to continue the trend of heavy grass fuel loads throughout the grassland areas of NSW. These grassland areas include those west of the Great Dividing Range, the Tablelands and the Upper Hunter. Above normal fire potential is expected to continue in these areas due to high grass fuel loads, combined with the predicted ENSO neutral (that is, neither El Niño or La Niña) summer outlook… Over much of the forested areas of NSW, below average rainfall since July has resulted in a drying trend in forest fuels. If this trend continues, above normal fire activity conditions are expected for the forested areas of central and southern NSW coast and ranges.
More rain. More grass. Mote to burn.
ONE of the things that’s become increasingly apparent in the development of this ‘ere internet thing over the last couple of decades is that everyone’s reading it at work. We seem to have shifted the “finding out the news” thing away from free or leisure time into the working hours of the day and the week.
Anyone who has ever run a website knows this little point: traffic starts to rise from a particular timezone as people start to arrive at work in that timezone. UK traffic is pitiful before about 8.30 am and rises strongly after 9.30 am. It then falls away again around 5 pm. US traffic starts to rise around 8 am East Coast Time and continues to rise until the Californians get in several hours later.
WHILE Michael Jackson didn’t invent the Moonwalk, he absolutely popularised it, took it global, mastered it and became as famous as the music he made.
Trying to top MJ’s moves is probably pretty bold, right?
Well, the 192-piece band of Ohio State University went and managed it… and how!
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.”
THIEF of the day, is part-time gardener Leigh Barry, 28, now serving four-and-a-half years for his raid on a Birmingham bookies and other crimes.
In this video, Barry attacks the cash desk with a brick, a plastic chair and finally a pair of garden shears. The plastic screen refuses to break.
WHERE is Mandy Hogben? This card was seen in a shop window in Kent.
Last month, Michael Hogben, 71, found her. He says.
“I have just had an irate phone call from my youngest boy saying that Mandy is fed up and she doesn’t want anything to do with me…She didn’t appreciate it…I hope she will change her mind, when it all dies down, but I won’t hold my breath. Life goes on.”
NORMAN Geras: 1943-2013
I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.
Jenny Geras (Norm’s daughter), 18 October 2013
His first post on his blog, on 28 July, 2003, instructed: “In the immortal words of Sam Peckinpah. Let’s go.”
The great service Normblog and its comrades on the Net provided was to break down the gates and allow fresh arguments in new intellectual spaces. New alliances brought contrary opinions and new sources of information to the reader. For someone writing from a similar position at the time Normblog began, I cannot over-emphasise how important it was to realise that I had comrades out there.
Almost certainly without knowing it, Norm helped me to have the courage to speak up for what I believe to be right, even when everyone around me, Guardian-readers all, believed something different, and were incredulous or (often) malevolent if they heard a different view. As examples, the belief that human rights are universal, that differing cultural norms do not excuse, for instance, the mutilating of women and girls, that the deliberate killing of civilians is always a war crime. Most of the people around me for most of my adult life (I worked for the BBC for 13 years, was in Labour politics for 20, and now work for an international institution dedicated to democracy, human rights and the rule of law) consider themselves to be liberal, “good” people. But these same people, and you only have to read the letters and comments in the Guardian to see it, support evil and barbaric regimes and practices around the world that they would never tolerate where they live. Some of them marched in 2003 waving Saddam Hussein’s flag. Some of them spoke up for the Taliban and the killing of Americans – even though they expected their own daughters to go to school. Many of them use Jew-hating language about the state of Israel. I don’t presume to repeat the expression of Norm’s views here – he is gone and we will not hear from him again, but his writing lives on. I can only say that when I knew that there were others out there who believed as I do that some things are just wrong, and who could express those beliefs with intellectual coherence and clarity – well, I managed to be a bit braver.
“[T]he first time I became aware of my mom’s age, she was 32. . . . 32 is an age that became, as it were, parental for me. Now, when I arrived in Manchester, having just ceased to be a student, and took up my job as a junior lecturer, I was 24. And 24 I have, naturally, remained – despite becoming a bit more mature and much wiser. Imagine my perplexity, therefore, in having two daughters who have both passed the age of 32. It’s bad enough to have children as old as your mother. But when they’re also older than you, you wonder if you’re losing all your concepts.”
He was always worth a read.
ALL we know about Germans we learnt from the Goethe-Institut, “the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operational worldwide”:
We promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. We also foster knowledge about Germany by providing information on its culture, society and politics. Our educational and training products enable mobility in an international learning community.
A new video called “Typical German: Professional vs. Personal” explains more.
Why do Germans stick to the point?
Why do they value stability and structure?
Why do Germans never leave things to chance?
Why do they stay focused on the objective?
Answer: They fear other Germans.
The division of Germany into smaller states meant Germans were “constantly surrounded by enemies”.
You see? If you don’t like Germans and wonder why they bombed your granny’s house you should blame Germans – the other Germans:
It’s all a huge misunderstanding. “We’re all Germans…”
MADLEI McCAnn: Anorak’s look at the missing child in the news. Today the Sun summons the name of convicted child abusers and killers Charles O’Neill and William Lauchlan.
The headline states and asks:
MADDIE SUSPECTS 2007 SPAIN TRIP
McCann cops probe 2 Brit paedo killers
RIGHT TIME…RIGHT FACE?
We can deal with each point in turn.
WHEN the tabloids looked at the blond child found in the Greek gypsy camp they thought of Madeleine McCann. The Daily Star went as far as declaring “Maddie Found In Greece“:
GRIM news that a plane crash in Belgium has killed 11 parachutists. How is the story presented by the Daily Telegraph?
It looks like American Airlines is using the crash as a chance to burnish its own credentials…
IN “Meeting my porn idol has put me off porn - Addict sickened by grisly reality of sex film industry”, who better than the Sun’s Emma COX to expose the dark underbelly of flesh flicks? The story is about Kevin O’Flanagan, a 20-year-old student who loves watching filth.
But he doesn’t like grot movies any more because of what he saw in LA.
He saw the “sordid and shocking truth behind his beloved dirty movies”. He saw porn stars as “desperate girls who took drugs and painkillers to blot out the pain after hours on set”.
Kevin is a talking head on Channel 4′s Date My Porn Star.