July 30, 2010

Conversations With Greatness...

...is, as is the norm at this time of year, taking its annual two weeks off. We'll be back on (gulp) Friday the 13th.

July 29, 2010

Resistance Is Viewtile

From AOL News: Obama Tells 'The View' He's Not Invited to Chelsea Clinton's Wedding

Whoa, whoa whoa, hold on... What?! Why is the President of the United States appearing on The View?!

I mean... Why is the President of the United States not invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding?!

No, wait. I don't mean that. Let's go back to the first thing.

This is depressing, right? He holds the most powerful office in the land, he's one of the most important men on the planet, and he's reduced to talking to Barbara Walters about the Jersey Shore just because... what? He needs the votes? He's trying to broaden his appeal? I don't get it.

Besides, he's the head of the Democratic party — doesn't he spend enough of his time surrounded by boobs?

SPLABANGO!

July 27, 2010

Synergy

BBC News - Pigeons force Kings of Leon to abandon concert
Rock band the Kings of Leon have been forced to end a concert early after pigeons defecated on them from the rafters of a US venue. . . .

Their publicist added the band found it hard to carry on after the incident.

"Jared was hit several times during the first two songs. On the third song, when he was hit in the cheek and some of it landed near his mouth, they couldn't deal [with it] any longer," said Amy Mendelsohn.
Hmmm... A building that relentlessly shits on you until you can't take it anymore and you're forced to go elsewhere. Where was it they were playing, again?
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.
Ah.

July 23, 2010

July 20, 2010

Going To The Trial

From BBC News: Swiss bank to lift lid on hidden Kafka works
Safe deposit boxes believed to contain manuscripts and drawings by the late author Franz Kafka are due to be opened at a bank in Zurich.

The move is the latest twist in a long legal battle over who owns the papers.

Two Israeli sisters say they inherited the documents from their mother, but the Israeli state claims them as part of the country's cultural heritage. . . .

Kafka asked his friend and fellow writer, Max Brod, to burn his manuscripts after his death. Brod refused, publishing the novels and taking letters and other writings to Israel where he left them to his secretary Esther Hoffe - who then bequeathed them to her two daughters.

At some point during the past 50 years, the documents were stored in bank vaults in Tel Aviv and Zurich. . . .

Today, on the orders of a Tel Aviv judge, the four vaults in Zurich will be opened but only for the eyes of one Kafka specialist who will itemise the contents and report back to the judge.
This is some crazy, elaborate piece of performance art, right?

Also, man, the Swiss are just releasing everything these days, aren't they — am I right, Roman? Hey-oh!

July 17, 2010

Beating Them To The Punch

Here's my prediction of the topics stand-up comedians will be making jokes about at the Fringe this year (bearing in mind that many of them are writing new material in March/April/May/June so that they can test it out at Edinburgh previews). I'll update this post every time I get one right.

[] Oil spill
[] World Cup — General
[] World Cup — England's failure to do well in
[] British General Election — General
[] British General Election — Defeat of Labour
[] British General Election — Cameron/Clegg love-in
[] Icelandic volcano
[] Death of Polish president/government in plane crash
[] Recession — General
[] Recession — Collapse of Greece

July 16, 2010

July 14, 2010

Somewhere A Tobacco Executive Has Just Given Up

From The New York Times: Philip Morris Said to Benefit from Child Labor
MOSCOW — One woman said children as young as 10 working in the fields developed red rashes on their stomachs and necks as they harvested tobacco for use in cigarettes made by Philip Morris. . . .

Human Rights Watch, the group best known for documenting governmental abuse and war crimes, plans to release a report on Wednesday showing that child and forced labor is widespread on farms that supply a cigarette factory owned by Philip Morris International in Kazakhstan, in Central Asia.
Good grief. If there's one thing Philip Morris needed less than another example of how completely fucking evil they are from filter to tip, it's an example of that provided by an organisation that normally goes after dictatorships.

Still, I'm sure their P.R. guy can dispel any whiff of monstrousness and corruption.
Mr. Nixon, the Philip Morris spokesman . . .
Oh, FFS.
Mr. Nixon said Philip Morris would step up its efforts to eliminate child labor. The company, he said, was “appreciative” of Human Rights Watch for drawing the continuing abuse to its attention.
Ha! I bet they are. The thank you card is in the mail, boys!

A spokesperson for Kazakhstan, meanwhile, said something hilariously backwards about his wife.*

(*This joke courtesy of Sacha Baron Cohen.)

July 12, 2010

Easy Dorset

From BBC News: Man, 75, hurt in 'tombstone' cliff dive
Coastguards have warned people about jumping off cliffs in a practice known as "tombstoning" after a 75-year-old man who dived 30ft (9m) was injured.

Portland Coastguard was called to Durdle Door at 1504 BST on Sunday after the swimmer was said to be "in shock".
I'm sorry, the coastguard was called to where?
DURDLE DOOR.
Well, I mean, the poor old sod can hardly be blamed for thinking there was nothing dangerous about a place called Durdle Door, can he? It sounds like something out of Harry Potter.
WIFE: Where are you going, dear?

HUSBAND: Oh, just out for a spot of swimming at Durdle Door.

WIFE: BEWARE! Men have met their gruesome ends at the horrific site of Durdle Door! Abandon hope all ye who ente—

HUSBAND: Whatever.
Durdle Door is, in fact, only one of many popular coastline attractions in the area, including (these are all real):

The Lulford Crumple
Budleigh Salterton
Langton Matravers
Old Harry's Rocks
St Aldhelm's Head
etc.

(I think Budleigh Salterton and Langton Matravers won the men's doubles at Wimbledon one year.)

Dorset is also home to an impossibly long and wonderful list of silly English place names, among which my favourite are:

Melbury Bubb
Okeford Fitzpaine
Fifehead St Quintin
Badbury Rings
Bradford Peverell
Sixpenny Handley
Whitchurch Canonicorum
Higher Bockhampton
Ryme Intrinseca
Winterborne Stickland

...and of course, the long-suffering village of Shitterton.

And then, of course, there are my own too-fun-to-make-up additions to the list:

Windy Bottomsford
High Bottomsbury
Fotheringham-Upon-Potts
Chintzy St Margaret
Forgetmenot Plympton
etc.

I love England. Except when they are put in charge of refereeing world cup finals.

July 09, 2010

July 07, 2010

British Politics At Its Finest

BBC News: 'Big budget' porn film shot in London hospital
A "big budget" pornographic film was shot in a London hospital when it hired out one of its wards to a film company.

The movie generated "substantial income" for the hospital, Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt said. . . .

"I cannot claim to have seen the final picture," [said Ms Mordaunt]. "As I understand, these things are no longer claimable on parliamentary expenses."
Ha. Zing! Talk about mordaunt wit.

July 06, 2010

Alleged Child Abuse Collaborator To Visit UK On Taxpayer's Penny

From BBC News: Pope's UK visit 'could cost taxpayers £12m'
The Pope is travelling to the UK at the invitation of the Queen, and she will meet him at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on 16 September, the first day of his trip.

He will travel along the city's Princes Street in the Popemobile.
SONOFABITCH! I'm missing the Popemobile by eleven days?! Come a few weeks earlier, Your Holiness! On behalf of the Underbelly I will heartily reserve a sixty-seat dark, humid room for you.

Actually, I'm glad he won't be there during the Fringe — otherwise every single stand-up bloody comedian would be doing gags about it.

e.g. "So, the Pope's in town. Yeah, he came to my gig last night, but we had to kick him out — nobody behind him could see past his fucking hat."

e.g. "The Pope is staying with the Queen right now, apparently. Either that or there's a fucking great costume party going on at Holyrood Palace."

e.g. "I was down on Princes Street yesterday. I think I saw one of those new trams going past. Wasn't too impressed — it was only doing about five miles per hour and the fare collector's uniform made him look like a fucking twat."

(N.B. Every Fringe punchline includes the word "fuck".)

July 02, 2010