Monday, 30 August 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
Saturday, 28 August 2010
The above is ten time World Gurning Champion Tommy Mattison by the way. The motto of the World Gurning Championship is 'proud to be ugly'. Ermmm.. Quite so.
Urban Dictionary tells me that gurning is 'the muscle tension in the face that usually ends up with the jaw and tongue rolling and teeth grinding as a result of amphetamines' though I have no doubt that the above gentlemen are doing what they are - erm - doing without chemical assistance. And yes women can compete too. Here is the BBC's Michaela Strachan who entered the ladies' gurning competition for fun and somewhat embarrassingly won it...
Only In England... Below is a person named Gary Neville, He plays for a football club known as Man Ure (right in red satan shirt). He is not gurning. He really looks like that...
As a parting shot and following a comment to Tony on the last posting, here is seventies cult glove puppet Basil Brush entertaining the children. Take a look. He was a gem...
Oh and here is Part 2
Oh and with Hat Tip to Jailhouse Lawyer, try this one for weird. Must be a Welsh thing.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
This posting is primarily for overseas readers as there can't be a single person (well maybe the odd contemplative monk) in the British Isles who doesn't know this story by now. The clip above shows a middle aged woman walking down the pavement in a residential street in Coventry. A cat approaches her and hops into the wall. She strokes it and then looks over her shoulder. An evil plot is being hatched in her mind. She lifts the bin lid and seizes the cat by the scruff of the neck and deposits her (name of Lola and aged 4) in the bin. The cat was trapped in the bin for 15 hours on a hot day and without food or drink until found by her owner, a Mr Mann, 'terrified and covered in her own mess'. Poor Lola is a rescue cat. In an attempt to find the miscreant, Mr and Mrs Mann put the above CCTV footage on YouTube (422,629 hits and rising).
A facebook group (5,000+ members) was set up to help identify the woman. She was duly identified and her address and home telephone number is on the internet. She has become a hate object of the type unseen since the expiry of the late Myra Hindley and is presently under police protection. She lives in Rugby and works in a bank. A virtual storm is working up in cyberspace. 'Boycott the bank this evil woman works in, hope she gets the sack' announces Jack from Ashford on the Daily Mail (what else) website (the rabbit is of the opinion that the bank she works in - the Royal Bank of Scotland - should be boycotted anyway as incompetent, greedy tossers). PhantomAct counters on YouTube 'Am a dog person. From my experience, people who like cats are most likely to betray you or stab you in the back. Most evil guys in movies had cats. See! So she did something good'.
The miscreant, named Mary Bale (45), has now spoken to her less than adoring public. 'I don't know what came over me, but I suddenly thought it would be funny to put it in the wheelie bin, which was right beside me' she helpfully explains. 'I did it as a joke...I never thought it would be trapped. I expected it to wriggle out of the bin' our non-heroine elaborated. These pronouncements seem to contravene the rule 'if you are in a hole (as opposed to bin) stop digging' as is her comment 'I don't know what the fuss is about, it's just a cat'. The police and RSPCA want to have a word, but this is the least of Ms Bale's problems as may be gathered from the following facebook comments:
'She should come clean and put her hands up, and APOLOGISE to the owners, then we can skin her'.
'I hope the evil cow tops herself '
'Iwant to put a vigilante mask on and beat the crap out of her and dump HER in a bin'
'If you see her go and punch her in the face!'
'God help them if the Stoke lynch mob get to them first'
I'm not sure who the 'them' referred to in the last quote are, but the Stoke lynch mob sounds an unattractive prospect.
Meanwhile the cartoonists have been busy (Hat Tip to Frank Davis for quotes and cartoon) ...
The rabbit will now sit back and duck. But two thoughts arise. One, Mary Bale's mistake (well she made a series but bear with me) was to perpetrate this misdeed in August when there is a dearth of proper news. The media were very quickly all over the story like a rash. Ms Bale has no doubt discovered that there are disadvantages to the Warhol fifteen minutes fame. Secondly, albeit that the rabbit (who is fond of cats and has lived with at least one most of his life) accepts that she did a cruel and stupid thing, there is something deeply unattractive about the baying lynch mob in Orwellian 'two minutes hate' mode. By way of reassurance, here is Lola, safely restored to the loving arms of Mr Mann.
Monday, 23 August 2010
Friday, 20 August 2010
Above is a haggis that has been knifed to death - note the murder weapon still lodged in the unfortunate deceased haggis. It is about to be eaten by Scottish persons.
On a more sombre note, there is a sad story in the papers today that the British Transport police have released sketches of twenty of the unclaimed dead persons whose bodies have been found on the rail network or London underground. Above are three of the sketches. Most were hit by trains and there a total of 44 unidentiofied bodies from recent decades. It just struck me as terribly sad that someone meets their end - whether by suicide or accident - and no-one comes forward to claim them. Or even to help to identify them. La vie c'est triste - at least sometimes.
More cheerfully - unless you are an aged rock star - la belle Catch Her in the Wry comes up with a link to then and now rock stars. Warning - anticipating complaints about the pic of the haggis looking nasty, it's got nothing on some of the aged rock stars. Click on pic of chicken pieces. I commented on Ms Wry's blog that I am constantly amazed at the fact that Keith Richards is still alive - see below - this is not good. The rabbit has just got an I-phone for the first time. Now to attempt to set it up.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Quadrupleplus, the lovely Mona Lisa. Hat Tip to Voidspace for these fillers.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Totally changing topic, I made a comment on a posting in Charon's blog about the stocks, which set in motion a chain of enquiry. There are still a few sets of stocks about in various parts of England (although it emerges that they were not an uniquely English device for ritual humilation etc) but were in use by the civil authorities from the middle ages to the early modern period. Essentially, the stocks immobilised the miscreant's feet or sometimes arms and head (technically a pillory rather than stocks) and were typically located in market places so that lots of people would be in the vicinity and could then proceed to abuse, insult or attack the unfortunate occupant. Acceptable activities included spitting, kicking, punching, urinating over, throwing rotten fruit, vegetables and eggs at and generally abusing the occupant. Deaths from heat exposure or hypothermia were far from unknown. The criminal justice system has moved on a little since the days of the stocks. The example below is in the village of Chapeltown, Lancashire.
Plus it looks like our old friend crasher squirrel is back in the hood. Hat Tip to Jailhouse Lawyer.
Monday, 16 August 2010
Informative stuff from Harry Enfield, I'm sure you'll all agree. Hat Tip to Mahal who has deserted his post feeding the rabbit with material and shoved off to Poland, also leaving this behind - an election day leaflet by Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Phil Woolas. I reproduce it without further comment. And for good measure, also from Harry Enfield is the equally informative Women, Don't Drive. Oh here is something else that amused the rabbit. Hat Tip to Wacky Archives.
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Cue minor celeb ripping open glittery envelope.
The Strata Tower at the Elephant & Castle (inner South London) , by BFLS (formerly Hamiltons) nominated by The Georgian Group for its 'plain visual grotesqueness'. It must be said that the Strata Tower (above) does indeed look pretty damn nasty. Weirdly, it looks like a Phillishave electric razor. Is this the most bizarre piece of subliminal advertising yet?
Not to be outdone, Birmingham made the shortlist with The Cube by Make Architects - supposedly a 'tribute' to the city's Jewellery Quarter. Huh?
The first three above are all very urban and private sector developments but finally, here is a piece of municipal silliness, East Ayrshire Council’s Robert Burns Memorial Centre. If it had been built a couple of hundred years earlier, it would have been described as a folly.
I mentioned Daleks above, here is the Radio Times (that's the BBC programme listings magazine overseas persons) Vote Dalek cover. It was inspired by the 2005 General Election and a new series of Doctor Who arriving at the same time. It has been voted the best magazine cover ever. Vote Dalek? Maybe we unwittingly did.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
'Who said the diamonds came from Charles Taylor?' Farrow was asked directly by the prosecutor. 'Naomi Campbell', she replied.
It will be recalled that Campbell admitted receiving diamonds from an anonymous doner, so everyday an occurrence for her that her curiosity as to the identity of the donor was - erm - nonexistent. Now here thing start to get shaky. Farrow is talking about one big diamond. It will be recalled that la Campbell mentioned sniffily 'two dirty stones'. And it doesn't get any better under cross-examination. She is pulled up for describing Imran Khan as a 'soccer player'. She can't remember if Taylor was at the dinner. She can't remember her own son's age. She admits to having removed the words 'if true' from an article on the allegations against Taylor which she otherwise cut and pasted for her blog.
Oh dear. Defence cross-examination has made a serious dent in her. This is what we do and sometimes there can be blood on the carpet. Farrow isn't looking good. Enter Campbell's former agent, Carole White. She volunteers details of the dinner party.
'Naomi leant back and Charles Taylor leant forward. Naomi was very excited, and told me "he's going to give me some diamonds"' White told the court.
'They were being charming to each other. Mildly flirting'. Campbell told the tribunal she didn't remember 'pacifically' (sic) speaking to Taylor at the dinner. Campbell doesn't do pacific, as set out in previous posting on the topic.
'As I was getting ready for bed I heard some chinky noise at the window as if someone was throwing pebbles' White announced. 'We have something for Miss Campbell', she was informed. I told them to wait' she said. White told Campbell that the guys with the diamonds had come.
'She really wanted to let them in' White pronounced. 'The guys came in. I gave them a Coca-Cola each. They took out a scruffy piece of paper (complete with the diamonds). They were quite disappointing because they weren't shiny'.
One can imagine the disappointment. White said there were 5 or 6 diamonds. This contradicts Campbell (variously two or three) and Farrow (one big diamond, except Farrow didn't see the haul)
As per usual, things take a turn for the worse in cross-examination. White's staff ahve been posting pictures (see above) of a 'blood diamond party' over facebook. White was at the party but doesn't know anything about that. The party was to do with the purchase of a house for models. I must say I don't particularly buy this line of attack. It's not White's facebook page, it' someone else's. Why would she know about it? Her staff seem badly disposed to Campbell but this is no surprise (see tricky bit below)
Here's the tricky bit: White has a legal claim against Campbell worth around £600,000. 'You have a powerful motive to lie about her' pronounces Courtenay Griffiths (Taylor's counsel). Hmmm...
Not sure I buy that one either in the context. 'Would you have had an opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela, were it not for Miss Campbell?' Griffiths then asks.
Double Hmmm.... That's a bit thin in the rabbit's opinion. What does it go to? My overall impression is that Mia Farrow emerged from cross-examination looking somewhat flaky, White less so but she always had the problem that she is in litigation against Campbell and was always going to get a kicking in cross-examination on the topic. In the meantime, this procession of gruesome gargoyles gets all the attention. It tends to be forgotten that there are a hundred thousand dead and many, many amputees at the bottom of this story.
Monday, 9 August 2010
The above clip is a five year old Palestinian boy's reaction to his father being arrested. His father's 'crime'? 'Stealing' water. The area has been identified as appearing to be south of Hebron where the Israeli authorities have consistently refused to supply running water to Palestinian homes. And then arrest them for 'stealing' it. Hat Tip to Charlie Pottins.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Yesterday's posting led to JoJo posting the lyrics of Birmingham Blues by ELO. Which in turm led my mind to ruminating about other songs with Birmingham in the title. Which led to Emmylou Harris and Boulder to Birmingham. Different Birmingham but no matter. Her voice is sumptuous and she is also seriously beautiful. The rabbit has been smitten for many a year. She was in love with Gram Parsons. He was in love with heroin mostly. All a stupid waste.
I'm reading a book by rock journalist Nick Kent called Apathy for the Devil at the moment. I've nearly posted a review for it before finishing the book! Yes, it is that good. Watch this space. But he does tell a story of Gram Parsons turning up for a Rolling Stones concert but being so stoned that he blundered into a nearby cinema instead.
Then of course there is Randy Newman's Birmingham (different Birmingham again) from the wonderful Rednecks album. Like so...
Saturday, 7 August 2010
I'm not at all sure of what I think of blogging as diary but I seem to be doing it increasingly. I have now lived in Birmingham for just over a year. I like it well enough - better than I expected - but don't anticipate remaining here forever. My roots and my fractured family are elsewhere. But it is okay for now.
Here is a verbal picture of Saturday lunchtime in central Birmingham, I start by going to buy a newspaper. The asian guy behind the till asks about my Barcelona shirt. Can I spell Barcelona? he asks. I demonstrate that I can to his satisfaction. Why not support an English team? he asks. I say that I do. I then give him a lecture on the Spanish civil war, Catalonia and anti-fascism. He looks as if he wished he hadn't bothered asking. I move on before I am in danger of launching off about Orwell for good measure.
On the subject of football shirts, most shirts seen in the street are Birmingham City as opposed to Aston Villa ones. The average working class Brummie is a bluenose (for overseas readers and the footballingly challenged, a bluenose is a person who supports a team who play in blue - as Birmingham City do). Villa is seen as regional and aspirational and nothing much to do with the average working class Brummie, I think.
I live just round the corner from the Birmingham Hippodrome . I haven't been to see anything there yet - basically because there hasn't been anything I have wanted to see. I can pass on Connie Lingus - sorry Fisher and The Sound of Music, thank you. But today there is street theatre on the pavement outside. The street theatre involves young women with hula hoops and loud music. A street person makes his way unsteadily toward the entertainment, can in hand. He is grinning broadly and attempting to gyrate his hips as if in possession of an invisible hula hoop. I move on. I pass through the Bullring, which is at the corner of High Street and New Street and has apparently been a market since the middle ages. Now it is the point where a collection of shopping malls intersect. Children climb all over the Bullring bull (above) and love to be photographed on it. I head down the High Street.
As usual there are stalls. One has a large display of Korans (or more accurately Qur'ans) on some sort of Muslim evangelical foray. There is often a street evangelist here as well (but not today). I once saw the street evangelist launch into a pair of asian men who were wandering about minding their own business. 'You muslims' he announced. 'You are all murderers! You can only be saved from your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ!' I reflected that he was plainly not getting the hang of the inter-faith dialogue thing and moved very rapidly out of the way. I expect he got away with it, though. He is one seriously big guy.
Next to the man with the Qur'ans is the Socialist Workers Party. As always, as well as a stall they have a megaphone and a petition. The petition is in relation to the Tory cuts. Unsurprisingly, they are against them. The Hippodrome street theatre has a second spot on the High Street today. It appears to involve people dressed as kangaroos on this location. I move briskly past them and the guys selling great fistfuls of inflatable novelty items.
Then on to my weekly treat - fish and chips at John's Fish bar, a place I never go in on a weekday because it is right by the courts and full of clients. They serve a reasonably modest portion for £1.90. This is a bargain. They have a thing about chips round hereabouts (that's fries to American readers). A very kind friend put me up in these parts on and off for much of the first half of last year. One night he suggested fish and chips for dinner. I agreed. We went in the fish and chip shop...
'Two fish and one large chips' he said. 'I have a weakness for chips' I announced, not at all sure that one large portion would be enough for two.
'Just watch' he replied.
The guy shovelled about three large scoops onto the wrapping paper. Then he paused momentarily. Then he shovelled another couple of large scoops. Then he paused again to admire his handiwork. Then he shovelled on another scoop. And then another. Then he finally decided that perhaps the accumulated chip mountain would be sufficient unto our needs. Two of us could not finish the chip mountain between us and the rest was fed to the deer on Cannock Chase. Deer like chips, it emerges. Tonight I'm off to somewhere in Warwickshire for dinner. here is some helpful stuff on hula hooping.
Friday, 6 August 2010
It will have escaped the attention of almost everyone until very recently that there is a War Crimes Tribunal going on at The Hague where the defendant is former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The fact that 100,000 people were murdered at the behest of this person, not to mention the mutilations and acts of cannibalism (apparently there was an incentive bonus of a 200 pack of cigarettes for the cannibalism thing) is apparently not very newsworthy.
Sorry, I forgot the 'allegedly'.
Until now. Naomi Campbell gave evidence before the Tribunal yesterday. She was not best pleased to do so and attended under a witness summons. It was, she announced, an 'inconvenience'. This is to be contrasted with the plainly lesser inconvenience suffered by Taylors 100,000 victims. Allegedly. For why was she there? Well in 1997 la Campbell attended a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela. The pic above records the happy event. From left to right we have Jemima Khan, Imran Khan, la Campbell, Taylor, Mandela, Graca Machel, Blah, Blah, Mia Farrow and Blah. The happy event was something to do with something called the Blue Train but that's by the by.
Imagine our heroine's surprise when woken in the middle of the night after the dinner by two men at her door. She said they offered her a pouch and said it was a gift for her. And that was it. It contained uncut diamonds. This is important in the trial of Taylor as the prosecution want to show that he was involved with 'blood diamonds' (so called for the obvious reason). If the diamonds presented at our Naomi's door came from Taylor then there is powerful evidence linking him to the blood diamond trade. Campbell failed to oblige as is explained below and the case against Taylor was not advanced in this imnportant respect. The prosecution applied to have her treated as hostile. Courtenay Griffiths QC defending Taylor waxed indignant. The prosecution application failed but back to the main story.Well, I said imagine our heroine's surprise when presented with the diamonds at three in the morning (or whenever it was). There was none, she announced. Her curiosity at this event was - well - nonexistent. It certainly did not run to asking the presenters of this gift who it was who was actually sending her the diamonds. Well you wouldn't, would you? Especially when the kind of event described was pretty much an everyday occurrence. Where Mia Farrow got the idea that Campbell told her the next morning that the men had said the diamonds came from Taylor remains a mystery. Presumably Farrow was hallucinating this conversation. It's the only explanation. Campbell helpfully further explained that she gets 'gifts all the time. Sometimes in the middle of the night without knowing who they are from'. Of course she does. Who could doubt it?
The case continues. I should say that our heroine is not unacquainted with the courts. Basically for hitting people. Any suggestion that she is low life is of course to be deprecated. Here she is modelling a particularly fetching community service smock after one of her court appearances.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
I'm not sure if I've ever posted this clip of Throwing Stones (from the So Far video - now on DVD I think) before but it came to mind and merits repetition, if repetition it be. Penned by Brent Midland this must surely rate as one of their darkest songs and has visuals to match. In fact some of them test the boundaries of what is okay to put up to accompany a rock song. But have a look. There can't be many videos that feature variously, Hitler, Lenin, Nixon and Kissinger as well as a mandala, one of the windows (I forget its name) from St Peter's, Rome and some Aztec stuff - oh and Hiroshima. About 7 minutes in watch Garcia. He's plainly enjoying himself with one seriously chunky riff. At one point he growls a 'yeah!' like an old and contented bear.
Monday, 2 August 2010
The rabbit has now hopped back from London to find the above (Hat Tip to Charon QC, jailhouselawyer and similar reprobates). By way of explanation for overseas readers PCSOs (police community support officers - abbreviated to CSOs here to the greater glory of a CSI Miami or wherever type pun) are - well - no-one quite knows what they are for. They are some sort of uniformed backup to the police but are not police and do not have police powers (or salaries, which may explain a lot) They wander about to no discernible purpose and are generally useless and - as revealed in an early White Rabbit - are often exposed to the mockery of rough fellows.
Lion Eyes TV , who the rabbit confesses to never having heard of before made the above rather splendid PCSO baiting satire. As a pilot, it works. Perhaps one of the channels (BBC4?) should run with it.
The estimable Dental Maven (link to left) has accidentally drawn my attention to
snopes.com - basically a website for urban myths, some actually true. Sadly untrue is the one the Maven debunks following a comment on her blog concerning a young woman suing following getting pregnant after spreading contraceptive jelly on toast. It is apparently one of the stories from one of those gloriously bonkers American papers that peddle insanely implausible 'news' stories that (sort of) entered the mainstream. If anyone wants to open a UK equivalent, I'm available for editor!
I rather like DOES GOD LIVE ON SATURN? A question to exercise all seekers after truth. I also like the story concerning a strategically placed turkey neck - an edifying note to end this posting on.