Week commencing 07.06.04

Ray Charles
The legendary R&B musician Ray Charles has died aged 73, in Los Angeles, his publicist has said. Charles, who went blind aged six, kept a largely low profile during a recent bout of ill health – but still managed to collaborate with other musicians.

He died of acute liver disease, which was diagnosed after he underwent hip replacement surgery.

Soul diva Aretha Franklin described him as “a fabulous man” who introduced the world to “secular soul singing”.

Charles is considered a pioneer of soul music with hits including Georgia on My Mind and I Can’t Stop Loving You.

I have interviewed Ray Charles in the past and he truly was an energetic, kind and considerate man. He will be truly missed.

Dancing in the street
Well, actually it is in the station, Victoria station to be precise. Flash-mobbers are part of an underground movement in the city at the moment where individual use walkmans and headphones to create their own personal discos in public places.

By dancing alone to their favourite tunes in unlikely environments, the dancers hope to challenge perceptions of public spaces.

If you were at a station and someone started dancing enthusiastically next to you, you would either throw them some money or think they were a nutter.

The Jackson’s
The Jackson’s are negotiating the final details of their reunion tour on the west end stage. Apparently there has been an interest in the old group since Michael Jackson’s recent publicity.

I do not think that we should be holding our breath for Michael Jackson to front the tour. Maybe that is the negotiation, one price for four Jackson’s and less if they bring Michael.

President Bush has been trying to shake off his Toxic Texan image by driving an electric buggy around the G8 summit. All eight leaders at the event have been supplied with their own vehicle, painted in their national colours.

Mr Bush has used his to give lifts to British PM Tony Blair and the new Iraqi President Sheikh Ghazi al-Yawar. Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin looked comfortable in his high-tech buggy, but France’s Jacques Chirac chose to move around on foot.

The Global Electric Motorcars have been supplied by DaimlerChrysler. The zero-emissions vehicles were chosen as part of an effort by the Sea Island Summit Planning Organisation to create a “green” event.

Although he has used his frequently, Mr Bush’s attempts to establish his green credentials have been slightly undermined by secret service agents following him everywhere in powerful black SUVs.

Did anyone see Bush pictures of driving the newly unveiled ‘Bushmobile’. The car is going one way, he is looking in a completely different direction and he is rapping the steering wheel in a way that should role that car.

I am glad for all Americans that he is chauffeur driven.

Citizen, do not forget to vote, it is your duty!

Police around the world are planning to monitor conversations on internet chat rooms so they can stop paedophiles from grooming their victims over the web. The idea emerged at a summit in London of the Virtual Global Task Force, set up six months ago to make the internet safer for young people.

Police in the UK, US and Australia will make use of the different time zones to monitor the web 24 hours a day. If a dialogue is potentially dangerous, officers may warn both online parties.

The National Crime Squad in the UK and the FBI in America are heading the effort to set up the full-time surveillance.

I have to say that where as I understand the need to protect the children of today, I can not help but feel that this is the slippery slope to a police run internet.

So the police will be able to interject into chat conversations like a school teacher or prison warden. What if they start to apply this to potential liable infringements.

“You can not say that about the Prime Minister as you know full well his mother is not cayenne”

” You there, Jenkins, you are very quiet at the back of the chat room”

Kids will simply move to chat sms.

A banned driver landed in court after police saw him riding an electric scooter with a top speed of 12mph. Kevin Severtson, from Edinburgh, said he had been told that the scooter was legal for him to use when he bought it.

The 26-year-old admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Sheriff Kenneth MacIver said he was prepared to take “an exceptional view” of the case and deferred sentence for six months for good behaviour. Severtson, who has seven previous convictions for driving while disqualified, is currently banned for 10 years.

Now this is not a Mod,s scooter, no, this is like a child’s scooter, or perhaps more accurately, a scooter of the late early 2000’s. The police should have more sense.

Reagan homage
Several plans are afoot to see the late former US President Ronald Reagan immortalised on American money. Competing proposals suggest his image should grace the 10- or 50-cent coins, or the $10 or $20 bills.

But many of the proposals would see Democrat icons knocked off their spots to make way for Reagan – leaving many Democrats less than impressed. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, an airport, and a large government building already carry Reagan’s name. In the Reagan-fever sweeping the US since the former president’s death at 93 on Saturday, it has also been proposed that the Pentagon be renamed in his honour.

I know the guy was sick when he died but this is now getting totally out of hand. The Americans have got swept up in the hysteria and forgotten that he was the Bush Jr of his day

Hindu knickers
London’s Harrods department store has apologised to its customers for selling controversial underwear bearing images of Hindu goddesses. Harrods removed the underwear and swimwear range from sale after a protest by a Hindu pressure group.

Hindu Human Rights said the garments, created by Italian designer Roberto Cavalli, insulted the religion. The store said: “We apologise to those customers who have been offended or distressed by the situation.”

I guess it is not often that they are the ‘butt’ of my jokes. Ho ho, that ‘crack’ed me up.

The elections
The major political parties are launching a frenetic final few days of campaigning ahead of Thursday’s local and European elections. Extra urgency came from the knowledge that 14 million people have been urged to use their postal vote by Tuesday.

Labour is stepping up its warning against a return to past Tory policies.

But the government’s European record is facing a new Conservative assault. And the Lib Dems continue to underline their plans to scrap the council tax.

They talk about a final push, but I have only received one booklet containing a series of manifestos. I think that the major parties are becoming a little too complacent. They need to get onto the streets and knocking on doors. At least pretend to be interested in the public.

Injury time
While Sven coaches the England squad toward peak fitness for Euro 2004 it is physiotherapists who are looking out for the team’s armchair supporters. Adjust the television’s angle and avoid leaping from the sofa in wild celebration is the advice from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. It has issued an injury survival guide to football clubs in an effort to stop ardent fans being stretchered off.

Those watching the pitch are as much at risk as the players on it, it warns. Meanwhile fans are also being cautioned on the dangers of “voice abuse” during tournament matches. Excessive shouting, singing and screaming could lead to serious long-term damage, the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists said. Chartered physiotherapist and leaflet author Sammy Margo said twice as many patients at her clinic are injured by sitting in awkward postures as by playing sport.

Her chief concern for Euro 2004 fans is the “lower back pain, muscle sprain and strain” risks involved in a sudden goal celebration after sitting still. “What we need to do is set ourselves up correctly,” she told BBC Radio Five Live. “Adjust the position of the television so that it’s right in front of you

In the Genes
Some people may be genetically programmed to be unfaithful to their partner, a scientist has claimed.

Professor Tim Spector, of the Twin Research Unit at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, says he has evidence of a genetic component to infidelity. Focusing on women, he found that if one of a pair of twins had a history of infidelity, the chances her sister would also stray were about 55%.

In general it is estimated that just 23% of women are not faithful. In addition, Professor Spector found the tendency for both twins to be either faithful, or unfaithful was strongest in identical pairs – who have identical genes. He stressed that genes alone did not determine whether somebody was likely to be unfaithful – much was down to social factors.

But he said it made good sense in evolutionary terms to get a good mix of genes – and for women to chose a better option if one came along.

It is interesting that this article focuses on women, is this a subtle warning to us men to keep an eye on our loved ones, or has the good professor been burned recently.

Irish society
TVs and mobile phones should be switched off one day each week to help preserve Irish society, according to the country’s most senior Catholic churchman. Archbishop Sean Brady said the incessant noise of modern life was threatening to tear society to pieces.

At a church service in County Kilkenny, Dr Brady said there needed to be a return to “a sound of silence”. Ireland had “lost its soul” and many people were experiencing “alienation from life itself”, said the Archbishop of Armagh. “For some, this alienation can take the form of self-harm or, ultimately suicide,” he said.

Suicide had to be tackled with the same vigour as the issue of reducing road deaths, said Dr Brady.

He said many people were now asking the questions: “Has Ireland lost its soul? Have we lost our spiritual and moral bearings? Have we thrown out the best of the old for the worst of the new?”

What else would the Archbishop like to see returned; messages by carrier pigeon perhaps, the horse and cart, or maybe even women as milk-maids. Why not go all the way and bring back the famine.

Tough toys
The Game boy was described yesterday as being the most indestructible modern gadget. The gameboy was up against the latest Nokia phone, an Ipod and a digital camera.

The testis involved the items being dropped in mud, thrown around a car and being shot with a clay pigeon gun.

What they wanted to do was give it to a 2 year old child. If it is destructible, they will find out how.

Bad girl
Lucy Liu reacted with delight after winning the best villain award for her role in Kill Bill Vol 1. At the MTV awards this week.

Oh yes, she has been a bad girl, a very naughty girl, she must be spanked.

A catering college in the northern Algerian city of Tizi Ouzou has cooked the world’s largest couscous.

The traditional north African dish was made from 2,600 kilos (5,732 lb) of dry semolina, meat from 100 sheep and 1.5 tonnes of vegetables.

Representatives from the Guinness Book of Records attended the event to ensure it complied with the rules. The feat by both teachers and students surpasses the previous record – not listed by Guinness – in Tunisia. It was made using a custom-made couscoussier, or traditional cooking pot for couscous, which was 14ft (4.3m) wide and 26ft (8m) deep. A three-tonne stove was also built to cook the couscous. Organisers said the finished dish could feed 22,000 guests.

22,000 guests. What if, like me, they do not like Couscous? That would be a lot of left overs for the next day, and the next day, and the next day.….

Magicians secrets
Magicians have protested against a new exhibit in a Wisconsin museum giving away the secret to one of illusionist Harry Houdini’s most famous tricks. The exhibit at the Outagamie Museum in Appleton, Wisconsin shows how Houdini performed his “Metamorphosis” trick.

In the illusion Houdini – supposedly handcuffed in a sack and locked in a trunk – miraculously switched places with an assistant on the outside. Some members of the Magic Circle have been angered by the museum’s decision. Illusionist David Copperfield and magical duo Penn and Teller have reportedly expressed their disapproval, along with lesser-known practitioners of the craft.

Of course they are disappointed. This is their livelihood that is on display for all to see. They will start having to do tricks in shopping centres and at bus stops. They may even have to create new tricks.

First french gay marriage
A French mayor has presided over the country’s first gay marriage. Noel Mamere officiated at the civil marriage ceremony of two men in the south-western town of Begles, near Bordeaux.

One hour after the ceremony, Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin said he had begun disciplinary proceedings against Mr Mamere. The former television presenter has ignited a fierce debate over the legality and morality of gay marriage. He could face suspension or sacking and a fine of 1,500 euros ($2,000).

There seems to be a lot of effort being expended by governments the world over to stop gay marriages. I wonder why.

Pillow talk
The top target of the US war on terror isn’t usually the subject of pillow talk – except for the defence secretary. Donald Rumsfeld has admitted that his wife often needles him about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden – often just after they wake up.

“When I walk out of the bedroom in the morning, my wife frequently rolls over and says, ‘Where’s UBL?'” he said, referring to the spelling “Usama”. Mr Rumsfeld insisted the search for Bin Laden was as concentrated as ever. Speaking to sailors and marines aboard the USS Essex in Singapore, Mr Rumsfeld did not reveal how he responds to his wife’s teaser.

You would think that this joke would get a little tired if you heard it most days as pillow talk, although I thought that it was very sly of Rumsfeld to try and introduce the topic as a joke now, thus detracting from it as a serious political issue.

Tony’s Black woman
Phylicia Rashad has become the first black woman to win best actress at the US theatre’s Tony Awards on Sunday, hosted by fellow winner Hugh Jackman. Rashad, best-known as Bill Cosby’s wife in TV’s The Cosby Show, won leading dramatic role for A Raisin in the Sun.

The planet Venus is set to make a very rare passage across the face of the Sun. Tuesday’s six-hour transit has not been witnessed for 122 years and observers will position themselves in Europe, Asia and Africa to get the best view.

Scientists will use the event to test technologies they will soon deploy to detect similar sized worlds orbiting stars tens of light-years away. Venus will appear as a tiny black disc against our star but no one should look for it without the proper equipment.

Looking directly at the Sun with the naked eye, and worse still through an open telescope or binoculars, can result in blindness. It is recommended people attend an organised viewing where the transit will be projected on to a screen; or they can visit one of the many institutional internet sites planning to stream pictures.

If this has not been witnessed for 122 years, who told the people 122 years ago not to look up directly into the sun? Was their a sudden increase in blindness 122 years ago that nobody could explain, as someone looked up and saw a dot crossing the sun, turned to he mate and said “look at that”. He then turned to his mate and said, “look at that”

Americans have been mourning former President Ronald Reagan as preparations begin in Washington for a state funeral to be held on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered outside a funeral home in California, where Reagan’s body currently rests.

Candlelight vigils were planned in several US cities on Sunday night. Tributes have continued to pour in for the former US president who died on Saturday at the age of 93 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Nobody liked him when he was alive and now everyone is singing his praises when he is dead. I have heard comments like he is a president worthy of Mount Rushmore and Margaret Thatcher leading the admiration, yet she was one of his strongest critics when they were both in power.

Have people forgotten that he was the Bush Jr of the 80’s? This does not mean that we should be glad that he is dead, but it does mean that we should remember him, without the ‘rose-coloured’ glasses


~ by jeditopcat on 8 November, 2008.

One Response to “Week commencing 07.06.04”

  1. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog,thanks for sharing

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