Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Is Rice Pudding Taller Than A Sense of Shame?

We kick-off the latest bloggerisationisms update, dear blog reader, with a jolly important blog announcement. This blogger his very self has absolutely no confidence. In pretty much anything but, particularly, in The Future. Apparently, all The Cool Kids feel this way. That is all.

The New Year's Day Doctor Who episode, Resolution, had a consolidated, Seven Day-Plus, rating of 7.13 million viewers, according to figures released by the Broadcasting Research Audience Board with around two million timeshift viewers added to the initial, overnight figure of 5.15 million. A total of 6.96 million punters watched the episode on their telly-boxes, with an additional seventy three thousand watching on PCs, fifty three thousand on tablet devices and forty four thousand on smartphones. These figures made Doctor Who the fourteenth most watched programme during the week-ending 6 January and the third most-watched programme on New Year's Day itself, behind episodes of Luther (9.09 million) and Coronation Street (7.17 million). The largest audience for the week was for the BBC's coverage of the New Years Eve Fireworks with 12.39 million.
There's a very interesting piece written by Adi Tantimedh of the Bleeding Cool website Doctor Who Series Twelve: The Real Big Bad Responsible for 2020 Delay which it well worth a few moments of your time, dear blog reader. Written, as it is, from an American perspective, whilst broadly hitting on most of the salient points about the BBC's current position with regard to financing, it is - perhaps understandably - a bit short on nuance. It also rather falls into the standard 'year' delay descriptor - it's not, of course, a year delay or anything even remotely like it. It is, in fact, a three month delay given that the previous series of Doctor Who began in October 2018 and the next one will, in all likelihood, start in January 2020. Nevertheless, it's nice to see someone actually writing about this subject in an admirably balanced way. Do yourself a favour, however and ignore the below the line comments. Your blood-pressure will thank you in the long run.
One of the most iconic images from Doctor Who series eleven was, actually, taken on the spur of the moment by Jodie Whittaker's co-star Shaun Dooley using his smartphone, it has been revealed. The so-called 'silhouette photo' sees The Doctor and her TARDIS at the top of a mountain as the sun sets behind them. You might assume - and, indeed, just about everyone did - that this shot was carefully staged or was created using CGI. But, according to the actor Shaun Dooley, he was the geezer what snapped the image in South Africa while playing the role of Epzo in the second episode of series eleven, The Ghost Monument. Dooley told the Doctor Who Magazine how the photo came about while filming on a road to the top of Paarl Mountain. 'As we went round this corner, I suddenly saw the TARDIS on top of this mountain range. There was nobody else there and it looked amazing. I'm a big Doctor Who fan so I was like, "Stop the car, stop the car,£ so I could take some landscape pictures of the TARDIS.' Shaun recalled seeing a South African boom operator 'really beautifully backlist at the top of this huge rock. I've taken a lot of pictures in my life in silhouette with back lighting - I really love that sort of thing - so I was like, "Jodie, Jodie, Jodie, go and stand up there!" I got her to face sideways, facing out to my right. I don't normally get this, but it was a really odd moment where I knew I was going to get the shot I wanted,' he explained. 'I felt a wind coming in from the side and I said to Jodie, "Keep looking that way. Don't move." The wind came and it just lifted her coat up. I went click on my iPhone and I was like, "I've got it!" It was a beautiful, perfect moment. I showed Jodie the picture and she was like, "Oh wow." Honestly, I was so chuffed.' If you're wondering, dear blog reader, no, this blogger has no idea when the phrase 'I/he/she said' was replaced in the English language by 'I/he/she was like' but, there you go. Way of the world, it would appear. With Jodie's approval, Shaun then sent the image to executive producers Chris Chibnall and Matt Strevens. 'I said to them, "I think I've got a great picture of our Doctor." And they were like, "This is amazing!" Then publicity came on board and now I've got a cup and a T-shirt with it on!' He added: 'The image is everywhere! I'm going to get it framed.'
This blogger along with, he suspects, many Doctor Who fans is very much looking forward to the next issue of the Doctor Who Magazine. If only to see the exact context of former script editor Christopher H Bidmead's reported quote: 'I thought my old girlfriend, Helen Mirren, would make a good Doctor!' Still, that does help to explain, at least in part, the name of Chris's 1984 four-parter Frontios.
The soundtrack to the twelve-part 1965 Doctor Who story The Daleks' Master Plan, is to be released on vinyl for the first time. For younger dear blog readers, that is a method of listening to top pop tunes which is a bit like downloading only involving 'a record player'. If in doubt, ask yer granddad. The release, from Demon Music Group, follows the recent popularity of similar releases of the radio version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and The League Of Gentlemen. The Daleks' Master Plan, is a narrated full-cast TV soundtrack adventure starring the late William Hartnell as The Doctor in a battle against his arch-enemies, The Daleks. The vinyl set will be released on 15 February and is now available for pre-order with a recommended retail price of an eye-wateringly expensive ninety nine English pounds and ninety nine of yer actual pennies. Ben Stanley, the Head of Product and Marketing at Demon Music Group, said: 'We're very excited about the first release in our Vinyl Who collection - it's a new way for fans to discover lost episodes of Classic Doctor Who.' The release comes in two editions, a 'standard' edition of seven LPs in heavyweight translucent blue vinyl and an 'Amazon exclusive edition' (limited to one thousand units) in heavyweight 'splatter' vinyl.
In this twelve-episode adventure, first broadcast on TV between October 1965 to January 1966, The Daleks threaten to destroy the fabric of time itself for their own nefarious purposes. And, you know, cos they're Daleks and that's what they do. In their quest to control The Solar System, they have taken possession of the devastating Time Destructor. Determined to stop them, The Doctor steals the core of the weapon before he and his companions are pursued across time and space by his ruthless, powerful nemeses. 'From the eerie sonics of Ron Grainer and Delia Derbyshire's original theme tune and the familiar 'wheezing, groaning' of the TARDIS, to soundscapes illustrating the jungles of Kembel and alien spacecraft, the story is brought to life by the unique sounds produced by the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop,' it says here. Written by Terry Nation and Dennis Spooner, this was the longest single Doctor Who adventure ever made for television. Linking narration is provided by Peter Purves (who played Steven Taylor) and the cast also includes the late Kevin Stoney as Mavic Chen, the late Nicholas Courtney as Bret Vyon, Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom, the late Adrienne Hill as Katarina and the late Peter Butterworth as The Meddling Monk. The film recordings of all but three episodes - two, five and ten - of this story and a few random clips from some of the other episodes (notably ninety second clips from episodes three and four) are lost from the BBC's shamefully incomplete archives. The 'prelude' episode, Mission To The Unknown - the only Doctor Who story not to feature The Doctor him or herself or his or her companions - is presented on its own single-sided disc with a 'unique' Dalek (exclusive edition) or TARDIS (standard edition) etched reverse. Tasty. But, very expensive.
From The North's TV Comedy Moment of The Week Award (Part One): Rhod Gilbert is always great fun during his appearances on Would I Lie To You? - who can forget the time he told us about giving away his car to pay for twelve quid's worth of tapas, for instance? But, our latest peep into Rhod's bizarre world, relating to a time when he was supposed to be staying in a hostel during a Spanish holiday but was so horrified by the thought of having to hang around with the other hostelers that he chose to sleep on the streets instead, might have been his best tale yet. 'At what stage in your life was this?' asked David Mitchell. 'Do you mean "how old was I?"' Rhod shot back. That was just the start of a three minute comedy masterclass.
From The North's TV Comedy Moment of The Week Award (Part Two) also involved From The North favourite Lee Mack who was appearing as a guest on a terrific new episode of Qi, Pain & Punishment. During a round on the subject of the best way to make people punctual Jimmy Carr revealed that he had only ever been late for a gig once in his career when he was scheduled to play in Blackburn but there had been a two hour delay on the train. Did the audience wait, asked Lee? 'Well, the annoying thing was I had to buy everyone a drink,' Jimmy noted. 'Yeah, but with your audience, that's only eighteen quid!'
Normalcy was extremely restored during this week's From The North favourite Only Connect when yer actual Keith Telly Topping managed to get but one question correct before either of the teams. Inevitably, it was the telly-related one!
And now, dear blog reader, a new semi-regular From The North award, Things That Occurred On This Week's University Challenge Which Are Sure To Have Annoyed Some Regular Whinging Viewers On Twitter But Which Yer Actual Keith Telly Topping Thought Was Rather Charming, won by those two American chaps on the Darwin College Cambridge team who kept high-fiving reach other whenever they got a question right. Even Paxo was fairly relaxed about such malarkey.
It was right proper terrific to see From The North favourite Peter Davison copping himself a nice meaty - non-murderer - role in the opening episode on the new series of Vera on ITV on Sunday.
Killing Eve's first series ended on one almighty mother of a cliffhanger, dear blog reader. You might have noticed. But, there is more drama to come when the series returns later this year. The last moments of the 2018 finale saw Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) stab Villanelle (Jodie Comer), really hard, only for the assassin to flee. Jodie Comer implied what fans can expect from the second series as she spoke to the website at the Golden Globes and, it seems, there may be a surprise or two in store. 'The story picks up right from where we left off,' she said. 'Obviously, Eve stabbed Villanelle. Let's not forget that. But what's going to be really interesting for the audience is how Villanelle reacts to that. It may not be as they suspect it will be. I think what happened in episode eight brings [Eve and Villanelle] closer together in a way that neither of them expect. A lot of relationships were tested in series one, so I think the dynamics have really shifted.'
Sam Claflin's allegedly 'mysterious' role in Peaky Blinders' forthcoming fifty series has finally been unveiled thanks to new on-set pictures released by the BBC this week. The Hunger Games actor's role had been kept tightly under wraps ever since his participation was announced, although much online speculation, including on this blog, had guessed that he would be playing that despicable and ghastly old stinker Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley. Now, it has now emerged that Clafin will, indeed, be playing the former cabinet minister and extremely jailed fascist leader. It's not often that this blogger is in a position to say 'I told you so', dear blog reader. But, he did tell you so. After reasonably distinguished military service during the First World War, Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley was one of the youngest Members of Parliament, representing Harrow from 1918 to 1924, firstly as a Conservative, then an independent, before joining the Labour Party. He returned to Parliament as the MP for Smethwick at a by-erection in 1926 and served in the cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in Ramsay Macdonald's Labour Government of 1929 to 1931. He was considered a potential future Labour Prime Minister, but resigned from the party in a stroppy huff due to a disagreement with the Government's unemployment policies (and, because he couldn't get his own way, basically). He then founded The New Party but lost his Smethwick seat at the 1931 general erection. The New Party subsequently morphed into The British Union of Fascists, inspired Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley's belief that he could emulate Beniot Mussolini in Italy and seize power in the UK. Although initially achieving some popular support - particularly from the Daily Scum Mail who were, like, big fans - by the mid-1930s, Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley and his loathsome blackshirt thugs were, politically, a busted flush. Following the outbreak of war with his close chum, Herr Hitler, Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley had his fascist ass thrown in The Slammer in May 1940 and the BUF was banned as a subversive and naughty organisation. He was released in 1943 and, politically disgraced by his association with fascism, he moved abroad in 1951, spending the majority of the remainder of his life in Paris. He stood for Parliament twice in the postwar era, achieving very little support and the odd punch up the bracket for his trouble. Which was funny. Because he was a Nazi shithead and he deserved it. In the newly released Peaky Blinders pictures, posters can be seen adorned with Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley's boat-race advertising a rally, as well as a group of followers giving fascist salutes. Alongside Claflin, new additions to the cast for the next series include Anya Taylor-Joy, Brian Gleeson and Emmett J Scanlan.
HBO has announced the date for the premiere of the first episode of the final series of Game Of Thrones, after months of intense - and often wildly inaccurate - speculation. In a new trailer, the network confirmed the long-awaited eighth and final series will begin on 15 April at 2am in the UK in a simultcast with America. The episode will then be repeated nineteen hours later on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. The hit adaptation of the fantasy novels of George RR Martin returns to screens after a near two-year wait, bringing the story to an end after having fans glued since its start in 2011. Or, in yer actual Keith Telly Topping's own case, since just after Christmas 2015 when he got the first four series DVD box-set.
The first series won this blog's award for the best TV show of 2014. The second - despite not being quite the twenty four carat disaster that it is often claimed to be - nevertheless disappointed almost everyone who'd been so impressed with the first. Debuting five years (almost to the day) after the series premiere and three-and-a-half years since the second series finale True Detective's third series started its story in November of 1980 in West Finger, Arkansas, where twelve-year old Will and ten-year-old Julie Purcell (Phoenix Elkin and Lena McCarthy) have gone missing. And in 1990, when former police detective and Viet'nam veteran Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) is deposed on an appeal relating to the person or persons jailed over the children's disappearance and learns of new evidence that he and his partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff) were unaware of at the time of the crime. And in 2015, when despite Hays's failing memory, a documentarian interviews the aged former detective about the Purcell case and his wife's acclaimed book on the case. On the strength of the opening two episodes, True Detective is back on the sort of form than so enthralled viewers in 2014. Broadly positive reviews of the episodes can be found here, here and here.
TV Drama Moment Of The Week. The - true - birth of Catwoman in the latest episode of Gotham. Healed from a potential life as a paraplegic by some nefarious chemical skulduggery supplied by her old friend Poison Ivy, Selina discovers her, ahem, inner pussy. And, Bruce doesn't know yet. But, that won't last long, one suspects.
One of this blogger's favourite actors CSI's David Berman was, briefly, spotted in a near-blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in the latest episode of The Blacklist, playing a pathologist. Which might be regarded as typecasting.
Meanwhile, another of this blogger's favourite actors, The X-Files' Mitch Pileggi turned up on NCIS this week, playing a senior member of a government investigation service. Which, again, some may regard as typecasting.
It's been a long wait, but New Amsterdam has finally got a UK broadcast date. Starring The Blacklist's Ryan Eggold and former Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman, the medical drama will be available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from 8 February. All series one episodes that have already be shown in the US will be on the streaming platform on that date (so far, ten episodes have been broadcast on NBC). New episodes are then being launched weekly on Wednesdays, one day after the US. New Amsterdam follows Doctor Max Goodwin, played by Eggold, a medical director at one of the oldest public hospitals in the US. He attempts to 'tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care to patients.' Ratings for the drama have been exceptionally strong during its first series and, in October, NBC increased the number of episodes ordered from thirteen to twenty two. A second series appears to be a definite possibility. 'If we have the opportunity to continue then I would love to have the opportunity to maybe even write one [episode], if [creator David Schulner] would allow me to crash his writers' room,' Eggold previously told BriefTake. Based on the book Twelve Patients: Life & Death at Bellevue Hospital by Eric Manheimer, New Amsterdam also stars Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Anupam Kher, and Tyler Labine.
Daniel Dae Kim has announced that he will be appearing in The Good Doctor. The former-Lost, Hawaii Five-0, 24 and Angel actor will feature as Doctor Jackson Han, the new chief of surgery, for the final four episodes of the second series, one of which will be directed by the show's lead Freddie Highmore. Kim serves as an executive producer on the medical drama. This is Kim's first TV role since his departure from Hawaii Five-0, which came about after he and former co-star Grace Park were seeking - but, did not get - pay equality with the CBS show's white stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan. 'As a fan of our show, I'm thrilled to be doing a guest arc with such a talented, kind, and hard-working cast,' he said. '[David Shore] and I have been looking for the right opportunity and we've found a character that is both dynamic and surprising. It's an added bonus for my character to be directed by our own Freddie Highmore, who's proving to be as talented behind the camera as in front of it. It's been a lot of fun already and I'm excited for the episodes to air.' Kim recently filmed the Hellboy reboot as Ben Daimio.
A long-held wish to bring the story of The Windrush Generation and its descendants to a wider audience has come true for a leading director. But as From The North favourite Kwame Kwei-Armah's dramatic tribute - a series of televised monologues that will feature leading black actors - was announced this weekend, he is coming to terms with the death of his father a few days ago. 'It is now very personal for me,' said Kwei-Armah, whose mother died in 2005. 'I have been longing to make something that could be a tribute to my mother and father's experience [they arrived in Britain from Grenada in the early 1960s]. I did it to celebrate them and it means even more because of my father's death. I feel it will pay tribute.' The eight fifteen-minute films overseen by the director, Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, are part of a diversity-themed season which runs on BBC Four next month and were made for the channel by Lenny Henry's production company, Douglas Road, in collaboration with Kwei-Armah's London theatre, The Young Vic. They tell the chronological saga of a Caribbean family's arrival in Britain in 1948 and chart its progress down the decades, eventually projecting into the future.
Michael Jackson's estate has criticised a documentary alleging the late singer sexually abused children. Leaving Neverland will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month and includes interviews with two alleged victims of Jackson's alleged sordid and naughty ways. Representatives for Jackson's estate have responded in a statement. 'This is yet another lurid production in an outrageous and pathetic attempt to exploit and cash in on Michael Jackson,' it claimed. Two men who appear in the film claim that they were aged seven and ten when Jackson befriended them and their families. Now in their thirties, both allege they were sexually abused by Jacko. Police raided Jackson's Neverland Ranch in California in 2003 while investigating allegations Jackson had molested a thirteen-year-old boy. The case went to trial and Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005. The synopsis for the documentary reads: 'Through gut-wrenching interviews with the now-adult men and their families, Leaving Neverland crafts a portrait of sustained exploitation and deception, documenting the power of celebrity that allowed a revered figure to infiltrate the lives of starstruck children and their parents.' The two-part film is directed by Dan Reed, who is also behind documentaries including The Valley, Terror In Mumbai and The Paedophile Hunter. It will debut at Sundance in Utah on 25 and 26 January and will then be shown on Channel Four during the Spring of 2019. The film is a co-production between Channel Four, HBO and Reed and will be shown in two two-hour broadcasts on consecutive nights in the UK. Channel Four said that the film had been 'in the pipeline for a few years.'
The director of Green Book has grovellingly apologised for flashing his penis at colleagues two decades ago. An article published in Newsweek in 1998 revealed that Peter Farrelly 'played a game' on set which involved trying to get cast and crew members to look at his penis. The article was found and quoted by The Cut after Green Book's success at the Golden Globes on Sunday. 'True. I was an idiot,' the director said in a statement. 'I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I'm embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I'm deeply sorry.' The original Newsweek piece - and another one in the Observer - told how Farrelly and his brother, Bobby, would come up with routines to 'trick' colleagues into looking at Peter's genitalia. They included pretending Peter had 'a mysterious blotch on his stomach' which he wanted a colleague to look at. He would then lift up his shirt to reveal his geet throbbing dong hanging over his trousers. Cameron Diaz is quoted in the original article, as she was that working with the Farrelly brothers on There's Something About Mary at the time. She said: 'When a director shows you his penis the first time you meet him, you've got to recognise the creative genius.' Farrelly has previously been known for making comedy films such as Dumb & Dumber and Kingpin. Green Book, however, marks a significant change in tone for the director and is a serious contender for the Oscars next month. Set in the 1960s, the film stars Mahershala Ali as an African-American musician who hires an Italian-American driver (played by Viggo Mortensen) on a tour of America's Deep South. The movie has already picked up three Golden Globes for best comedy or musical film and best supporting actor for Ali. It also has four BAFTA nominations.
The former BBC war correspondent and MP Martin Bell has praised surgeons who rebuilt his face after he suffered car crash-type injuries when tripping over his suitcases at Gatwick airport. Bell fell face first on the concrete floor at Gatwick's train ticket hall after returning from lecturing on-board a cruise liner in November. The former journalist said that he resembled 'Dracula's grandfather' after fracturing his right maxilla bone, right and left eye sockets, his nose and an area at the base of his skull. But after surgery, performed by a team led by Helen Witherow, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at St George's hospital in Tooting, he joked that he looked younger, 'like I've had Botox. It's taken a couple of lines out and I'm very pleased with the result,' he said. Bell, who served as an independent MP for Tatton from 1997 to 2001 and later became a UNICEF humanitarian ambassador, covered eighteen wars during his television career, including Viet'nam, the Gulf war and the Bosnia conflict, during which he was wounded by shrapnel while reporting in Sarajevo. 'So it's a bit ironical. I survived all those wars and I go and crash at Gatwick airport,' he said. Bell is superstitious about his 'lucky white suit,' which he believes protected him in conflict zones and was wearing it at the time of the accident. 'I still have faith in it, absolutely. I'm sure without the suit it would have been much worse,' he said. Describing the fall, he said: 'It's a bit sad. I had two suitcases with me, so both hands were on a suitcase handle and I was in the ticket section of Gatwick's train station. I caught my heel on one of the suitcases, went straight down and fell flat on my face with nothing to break the fall and with the results you can see in the photographs. At first I was saying: "It's just a scratch." But my jacket was totally blood-soaked.' He was taken to East Surrey hospital in Redhill then transferred to St George's. During the operation surgeons reattached his upper mouth to his jawbone and used four plates and sixteen screws to repair facial fractures. He also lost a tooth and broke his nose, which was manipulated back into place. The operation took two-and-a-half hours. 'I really disgraced myself when I came out from under the anaesthetic,' he recalled. 'I was convinced I had been kidnapped and I demanded to be released. It was a couple of moments before I realised I was in the recovery ward. I'd obviously gone back to my other life.' He had decided to share his experience, he told the Gruniad Morning Star, 'because this lady is an absolutely brilliant surgeon and I think sometimes the NHS can use a bit of good publicity.' Witherow said that Bell had suffered 'a phenomenal amount' of damage. His injuries 'required specialist maxillofacial surgery, which St George's is a centre of excellence for. The surgery involved repairing Mister Bell's fractures using titanium plates and screws and these remain in place permanently,' she said. 'We are pleased to hear he is so well and so positive about his experience of the care our team provided.' Bell, an author of several books - his latest is titled War & The Death Of News - is planning to resume his travels once fully recovered. 'I'm being pretty careful. And I am being especially careful at airports, especially when travelling with suitcases,' he said.
Last Friday night, Jeremy Kappell, a local weatherman with WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, added a word to the name of a local ice rink. Kappell was reporting on 'Martin Luther coon King Junior Park,' he said, his voice appearing to catch on 'coon' or at least, something very like it. The incident initially went unaddressed on-air, but gathered steam over the weekend online. By Sunday night, Rochester's mayor, Lovely Warren, called for Kappell's dismissal. By Monday, WHEC had very fired Kappell, who has maintained that the word was an innocent mispronunciation. Snowballing online outrage has produced a statement in Kappell's defence from Today show co-host Al Roker, an appearance on the Today show and, on Thursday afternoon, a statement 'urging caution' from Martin Luther King's daughter. 'I believe that when these racial slurs occur, unless there's a situation where it's continual, that people need an opportunity to be rehabilitated,' said Doctor Bernice King, the civil rights leader's youngest child, in a video posted on the TMZ website. While she said there needed to be 'repercussions' for using a racial slur, 'I don't think it should go as far, in this particular instance, as firing an individual.' Instead, she suggested other options such as demotion, another assignment off-air, or implicit bias training. 'Obviously, an apology is warranted,' she said. 'And yes, he did apologise.' Earlier this week, Kappell, accompanied by his wife, posted a video to Facebook explaining the slur as 'a simple misunderstanding' borne out of speaking too quickly. 'If you watch me regularly you know that I contain a lot of information in my weather forecasts, which forces me to speak fast,' Kappell said. 'Unfortunately I spoke a little too fast when I was referencing Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. So fast to the point where I jumbled a couple of words. In my mind I knew I had mispronounced but ... I had no idea how it came across to many people,' continued Kappell. 'That was not a word that I said, I promise you that. And if you did feel that it hurt you in any way, I sincerely apologise. I would never want to tarnish the reputation of such a great man, Doctor Martin Luther King Junior.' Kappell also expressed disappointment in WHEC for sacking his ass, a decision that has been criticised this week as several television journalists defended Kappell's explanation of events. Al Roker tweeted Wednesday that he thought Kappell 'made an unfortunate flub and should be given the chance to apologise ... Anyone who has done live TV and screwed up (google any number of ones I've done) understands.' Kappell has shared on his social media channels three other instances of on-air talent making the same mistake with Martin Luther King Junior's name in the past, including Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN's Mike & Mike. One of them, a weatherman with KTNV in Las Vegas, was extremely fired in 2005. Greenberg and the San Antonio weatherman Mike Hernandez, who both publicly apologised, were not. In a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday afternoon, as reported in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Mayor Warren quoted Martin Luther King and 'urged empathy and forgiveness. It is our job to recognise the divide between our beliefs and our actions and dedicate ourselves to change our actions so our intent is never called into question,' she said. This being the same Mayor Warren who, three days earlier, had publicly called for Kappell to be sacked. Lord be praised, it's a miracle. Regardless of intent, Bernice King urged change. 'At the end of the day, I can't question a person's intent when they apologise. But we're here now. It's viral. The world knows about it. So he's going to have to take some actions to show that he has made some effort at trying to insure something like this doesn't happen again.'
Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have been suspended by India's cricket board, the BCCI, after comments they made about women on a television show. The ban is with immediate effect and the pair have been told to return home from India's current tour of Australia to 'explain themselves.' Pandya has since apologised, saying that he 'got carried away with the show.' The BCCI said 'an enquiry and proceedings will be made against them for misconduct and indiscipline.' Pandya and Rahul were speaking on popular celebrity talk show Koffee With Karan, which is hosted by Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar. The chat show is in its sixth series and this was the first time cricketers have appeared on the sofa. Pandya spoke about 'hook-ups' with several women and said that he liked to 'observe' women at bars or nightclubs. He boasted on the show about being 'open' with his parents about such liaisons, however Rahul, who is yet to address the controversy, was more reserved with his comments. Writing on social media, Pandya added: 'I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way. Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone's sentiments. Respect.' India captain Virat Kohli called the comments 'inappropriate' and was without the two players for his side's defeat in the opening match of a three-match one-day series down under.
A venue which put on an allegedly 'spectacularly bad' pantomime has offered a refund to all of the customers who paid to see it. Jack & The Beanstalk at Chippenham's Neeld Community and Arts Centre was billed as boasting 'a sparkling set and glittering costumes.' But, one disgruntled punter said: 'There were only three people, no scenery, they couldn't sing or dance.' The town council, which runs the venue, said that it 'was not the standard of show the Neeld is used to presenting.' The company behind the show, OOOH ARRR Productions, said there had been 'a booking error' and it had received 'a handful of complaints' but had agreed a full refund with the venue. The show ran from 27 to 29 December, and was sold out, with standard tickets priced at seven knicker. Posting on the one hundred and fifty eight-seat venue's Facebook page, ticket-buyer Natalie Uff (whoever she is) described the panto as 'awful. At one point they were talking to voices in the wings as they ran out of people,' she claimed. Another 'panto fan,' one Tereza Cleverley, said: 'It was spectacularly bad. It felt as if two of the cast members had been pulled in at the last minute and it was their first live show.' And John Snell claimed that he was 'mortified' by the standard of the production. The Chippenham show was promoted using photos taken from a previous production 'with a different cast.' In a statement, the town council said 'we pride ourselves in providing high quality shows for Chippenham' but the 'images provided by the company for promotional purposes did not reflect the show they brought to us. We had been assured by the theatre production company there would be a cast of six professional actors with industry standard staging,' it added. In a statement on its own Facebook page, OOOH ARRR Productions said the 'disappointment and confusion' was the 'result of a booking error' which saw the original 'six person production' replaced. 'There were conversations with the venue that involved replacing it with the three person cast due to it potentially not selling well,' the spokesperson said. 'The other members of our staff were only made aware of this issue following the first performance.' The company apologised for the 'disappointment experienced as a result of this booking error' and added the person 'responsible for this error' had 'left the company.' And, had been eaten by The Giant, presumably. On its website, the Malmesbury-based firm describes itself as 'a professional theatre company' which 'takes pride' in being 'fun, affordable and relevant.'
The Chinese Moon rover and lander have taken images of each other on the Moon's surface. The Chinese space agency says that the spacecraft are both in 'good working order' after touching down on the lunar far side on 3 January. Also released this week were new panoramic images of the landing site, along with video of the vehicles touching down. The rover and lander are carrying instruments to analyse the region's geology. The Chang'e-Four mission is the first to explore the Moon's far side from the surface. The rover has just awoken from a period on 'standby.' Controllers placed it in this mode shortly after the touchdown as a precaution against high temperatures, as the Sun rose to its highest point over the landing site. Those temperatures were expected to reach around two hundred degrees. But the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program said that as of the morning of 11 January, the Yutu Two rover, its lander and the relay satellite were all 'in a stable condition.' The panoramic images show parts of the static lander and the Yutu Two rover, which is now exploring the landing site in Von Kármán crater. CLEP, which released the images, said in a statement: 'Researchers completed the preliminary analysis of the lunar surface topography around the landing site based on the image taken by the landing camera.' In contrast with previous images from the landing site, the panoramic image has been colour-corrected by Chinese researchers to 'better reflect the colours' we would see if we were standing there. Online commentators had pointed out that these earlier, unprocessed images made the lunar landscape look reddish - a far cry from the gunpowder grey landscapes familiar from earlier missions to the surface. In an article for The Conversation, Professor Dave Rothery, from the Open University in Milton Keynes, observed: 'In the raw version, the lunar surface looks red because the detectors used were more sensitive to red than they were to blue or green.' Chang'e-Four was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China on 7 December. It touched down on 3 January. Because of a phenomenon called 'tidal locking,' we on Earth see only one face of the Moon. This is because the Moon takes just as long to rotate on its own axis as it takes to complete one orbit of Earth. The far side is more rugged, with a thicker, older crust that is pocked with more craters. There are also very few of the 'maria' - the dark basaltic seas created by lava flows - that are evident on the more familiar near side. Because there's no way to establish a direct radio link to Earth from the far side, the spacecraft must bounce data off a relay satellite, called Queqiao (or 'magpie bridge'), which orbits sixty five thousand kilometres beyond the Moon, around a so-called Lagrange point. CLEP said: 'The ground receiving image was clear and intact, the Chinese and foreign scientific loads were working normally and the detection data was valid.' Space News reported that the rover would be put into a dormant state on 12 January, to coincide with the lunar night-time, when temperatures could drop to around minus one hundred and eighty degrees. During this time, the rover 'would have limited functions.'
Astronomers have revealed details of 'mysterious signals' emanating from a distant galaxy, picked up by a telescope in Canada. The precise nature and origin of the blasts of radio waves is unknown. Although, rumours that it said 'send more Chuck Berry' in response to the Voyager probes is thought to be unlikely. Among the thirteen 'fast radio bursts,' was 'a very unusual repeating signal,' coming from the same source about one-and-a-half billion light years away. Well, it's only fair, we've been sending our radio and TV signals out into space for decades. The aliens have already got all of the episodes of Doctor Who that no longer exist here on Earth, it's about time they sent us something in return. Such an event has only been reported once before, by a different telescope. 'Knowing that there is another suggests that there could be more out there,' said Ingrid Stairs, an astrophysicist from the University of British Columbia. 'And, with more repeaters and more sources available for study, we may be able to understand these cosmic puzzles - where they're from and what causes them.' The CHIME observatory, located in Canada's Okanagan Valley, consists of four one hundred-metre-long, semi-cylindrical antennas, which scan the entire Northern sky each day. The telescope only got up and running last year, detecting thirteen of the radio bursts almost immediately, including the repeater. The research has now been published in the journal Nature. 'We have discovered a second repeater and its properties are very similar to the first repeater,' said Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University. 'This tells us more about the properties of repeaters as a population.' FRBs are short, bright flashes of radio waves, which appear to be coming from almost halfway across the Universe. So far, scientists have detected about sixty single fast radio bursts and two that repeated. They believe there could be as many as a thousand FRBs in the sky every day. There are a number of theories about what could be causing them. They include a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field that is spinning very rapidly, two neutron stars merging together and, among a minority of observers, 'some form of alien spaceship.' Expect the Discovery Channel to be making a documentary on the latter possibility featuring some blokes with mad hair and even madder eyes very soon.
Russia's only space radio telescope is no longer responding to commands from Earth, officials say. Astro Space Centre chief Nikolai Kardashev said that some of the Spektr-R satellite's communication systems had 'stopped working.' But it was still transmitting scientific data, RIA Novosti news agency reports. The telescope has been operational way beyond its expected five-year lifespan, Russia's space agency Roskosmos added. Specialists had repeatedly tried and failed to fix the lost connection, Kardashev said. Yuri Kovalev, head of research for the Spektr-R project, said the link went down on the morning of 11 January, but added that 'there is still hope.' Spektr-R was launched in 2011. A new Russian-German satellite, Spektr-RG, is scheduled to be launched this year.
Cern has published its ideas for a twenty billion knicker successor to the Large Hardon Colluder, given the working name of Future Circular Collider. As opposed to 'the Even Larger Hardon Colluder' which would have been this blogger's own preferred name. The Geneva-based particle physics research centre is proposing an accelerator that is almost four times longer and ten times more powerful. And, whatever way you look at it, that is one massive mother of a Hardon Colluder. The aim is to have the Even Larger Hardon Colluder hunting for new sub-atomic particles by 2050. Critics say that the money could be better spent on 'other research areas' such as combating climate change. Or on, you know, beer and chips. But Cern's Director-General, Professor Fabiola Gianotti described the proposal as 'a remarkable accomplishment' and said those who wanted to spend the dosh on beer and chips instead were effing daft. And, to be fair, she's probably correct. Cos, that's a lot of money to spend on beer and chips. Not even beer chips and gravy, please not. 'It shows the tremendous potential of the FCC to improve our knowledge of fundamental physics and to advance many technologies with a broad impact on society,' she said. Cern's plans have been submitted in a conceptual design report. These will be considered by an international panel of particle physicists, along with other submissions, as they draw up a new European strategy for particle physics for publication in 2020. Professor John Butterworth of University College, London is among those drawing up the strategy. He told the BBC News website that, although he was 'keeping an open mind,' he was 'particularly attracted' to Cern's proposal. It entails gradually building up to a one hundred kilometre ring that is almost ten times more powerful than the Large Hardon Colluder. 'This programme is very ambitious, very exciting and would be my plan A,' he said. Cern engineers are already building and testing prototype components capable of working at the Even Larger Hardon Colluder's higher energies. The proposal involves digging a new tunnel under Cern and then installing a ring that would initially collide electrons with their positively charged counterparts, positrons. Stage two would involve installing a larger ring to collide the nuclei of lead atoms (large hardons) with electrons. Stages one and two would lay the ground for the final step of colliding large hardons together nearly ten times harder than they have been by the Large Hardon Colluder. Physicists hope that such collisions at these unprecedented high energies will reveal a new realm of particles that really make the Universe tick, rather than the sub-atomic pretenders we know of, which play only a part in mediating the forces of nature. The current theory of sub-atomic physics, called The Standard Model, has been one of the great triumphs of the Twentieth Century. It neatly explains the behaviour of matter and forces through the interaction of a family of seventeen particles. The last of these, The Higgs Boson, was discovered by the Large Hardon Colluder in 2012. But, observations by astronomers indicated that there was more to the Universe than could be explained by The Standard Model. Galaxies were rotating faster than they should be and the expansion of the Universe is accelerating rather than slowing down. On top of that, The Standard Model cannot explain gravity. Or gravy for that matter. So, there must be 'a deeper process' going on, involving yet to be discovered particles. This is applicable to both gravity and gravy. Uncovering them would provide physicists with their much sought after Theory Of Everything (Including Gravy), one that would tie together all the forces of nature and unify the twin pillars on which modern physics rests: general relativity and quantum mechanics. When physicists first proposed the construction of the Large Hardon Colluder they knew that if The Standard Model was correct it would be capable of discovering The Higgs Boson. They had hoped that it might also discover particles 'beyond The Standard Model.' So far it has failed to do so. The difficulty with Cern's proposals for a Even Larger Hardon Colluder is that no one knows what energies will be needed to crash large hardons together to discover the enigmatic, super particles that hold the keys to the new realm of particles. Cern hopes that its step-by-step proposal, first using electron-positron and then electron-large hardon collisions will enable its physicists to look for the ripples created by the super particles and so enable them to determine the energies that will be needed to find the super particles. Perhaps because of media hype, national governments and taxpayers had expected the Large Hardon Colluder to have already found particles beyond The Standard Model. So a new request for an Even Larger Hardon Colluder risks creating the impression that the physics community's desire for ever larger, more expensive accelerators to solve the mysteries of the Universe is potentially as limitless as the Universe itself. The UK's former Chief Scientific Advisor, Professor Sir David King, has advised the UK government and the European Commission on large funding requests. He told BBC News that he believed the escalating costs of conducting basic research in particle physics means that it is 'now time to carry out a cost-benefit analysis,' especially when it was unclear whether the twenty billion smackers machine would discover any new particles. Or, as Mad Frankie Boyle predicted in 2011, create a Black Hole and destroy the universe. 'If my kid said to me "can I get a train-set up in the loft?" I would say "okay." But, if they said "could I get a train-set that might end the universe?" I'd say, "Hmm ... What about a bike?"' 'We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator,' King added. 'And, if it doesn't end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back.' Or, create a Black Hole and end the universe. Just sayin'. 'There is always going to be more deep physics to be conducted with larger and larger colliders. My question is to what extent will the knowledge that we already have be extended to benefit humanity?' Professor King believes that governments should consider if the money could be better spent on research into other, more pressing priorities. Beer and chips. Just sayin'. 'We are rattling towards a high temperature planet in which the current global economy will cease to operate. More than one hundred and fifty million people will be displaced. So if we had a pot of twenty billion pounds and we were discussing what to do with it, we would be faced with people in the medical sciences community coming up to us with ideas to improve human health and wellbeing. But I'm going to say a new high priority for human beings is now dealing with climate change.' However Cern's director for accelerators and technology, Doctor Frédérick Bordry, said that he did not think twenty billion knicker was expensive 'for a cutting edge project,' the cost of which would be 'spread among several international partners over twenty years.' He added that spending on Cern had led to many technological benefits, such as the World Wide Web - so, Twitter's their fault if you were wondering - and the real benefits were yet to be realised. 'When I am asked about the benefits of The Higgs Boson, I say "bosonics." And when they ask me what is bosonics, I say "I don't know." But if you imagine the discovery of the electron by JJ Thomson in 1897, he didn't know what electronics was. But you can't imagine a world now without electronics.'
Robbie Williams is 'blasting Black Sabbath music' to allegedly 'torment' his neighbour Jimmy Page over their bitter home extension row, according to an alleged complaint emailed to their local council. Now Page knows how those of us who've lived next door to Zeppelin-Heads for years feel. The former Take That singer recently won a bitter five-year battle when he was granted conditional approval last year to build a basement swimming pool at his London home. Page fears excavation work will damage his own 1875 Grade-I listed mansion. Williams is also said to be 'imitating' Page's former bandmate Robert Plant. Which is definitely cruel and unusual, this blogger feels. A whinge to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea states that as well as Black Sabbath, the singer has also been playing Pink Floyd and Deep Purple songs 'at high volume,' as 'he knows this upsets' the seventy five-year-old Led Zeppelin guitarist, who has lived at Tower House for more than forty years. The two rock and/or rollers live next door to each other in swanky, fashionable Holland Park - Williams's Grade II-listed home used to belong to film director, restaurant critic and full-of-his-own-importance arsehole the late Michael Winner. It is not publicly known who wrote the complaint, which is signed 'Johnny.' Talking about the row in the Torygraph on Friday, a spokesman for Williams said that the claims made in the complaint were 'a complete fabrication and nonsense.' The correspondent adds that Williams has also 'dressed up to imitate Plant' by 'wearing a long hair wig and stuffing a pillow under his shirt in an attempt to 'mock or imitate' Plant's beer belly that he has acquired 'in his older age. This is "embarrassing,"' to Page, the complaint continues to allege, because 'Plant was remembered for performing with his shirt open on-stage and, obviously, he cannot perform in his current condition as it would be very embarrassing.' Designed and built between 1875 and 1881 by William Burges and seen as one of the greatest Victorian architects, Tower House became Grade I listed in 1949. It was previously owned by Lady Jane Turnbull and the actor Richard Harris before Page bought it in 1972, allegedly outbidding David Bowie. Who wanted it for his own nefarious skulduggery. In December, planning permission for the extension to be built was granted to forty four-year-old Williams. However, work cannot begin on his Kensington home until councillors receive reassurance that 'vibration levels' and 'ground movement issues' will be monitored. They will also decide whether to ask Williams for a bond, which could be forfeited if those conditions were breached or if any damage is done to Page's property.
Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable and now relegation-threatened) Newcastle United scored two goals in extra-time to defeat Blackburn Vindaloos in their - entirely unwanted - FA Cup Third Round Replay at Ewood Park on Tuesday. Sean Longstaff scored after a minute for the visitors with a deflected twenty five-yard shot, before Callum Roberts added the second with a fine volley. But Adam Armstrong pulled one back from Danny Graham's pass and Darragh Lenihan's powerful header made it two-two before half-time. In extra-time, Joselu scored from a rebound and Ayoze Perez's powerful strike sealed the win for the visitors. Spanish striker Joselu reacted quickest after Vindaloos keeper David Raya had spilled Fabian Schär's long-range shot. United's win was their first in seven games in all competitions, since a Premier League victory at Huddersfield on 15 December; they will play Watford at home in the Fourth Round on 26 January. It is only the sixth time Th' Toon have won an FA Cup tie since the loathsome Mike Ashley became the owner of the club in 2007. With Newcastle eighteenth in the Premier League, manager Rafael Benitez made it clear before the game that this competition was 'very much of secondary importance' to the club and that, frankly, he needed tonight's game like he needed a hole in the head. The Spaniard said: 'Who has a realistic chance [of winning the FA Cup]? Teams in the middle of the table because they can have a go because they are safe. The other teams, you have to manage it really carefully. The Premier League is massive - you have one hundred and thirty million pounds guaranteed if you are there. You have to be realistic.' The last thing Benitez would have wanted was this match going to extra-time and any injuries to key players, but that is, of course, exactly what happened. Ciaran Clark, one of only three players to remain from the side that started the loss at Moscow Chelski FC on Saturday, went off injured at half-time. His replacement, club captain Jamaal Lascelles, injured his hamstring within three minutes of the restart, although he remained on the pitch for a further ten minutes, before he was, himself, substituted. In extra-time, vith Schär and Isaac Hayden, who had replaced Lascelles, were both struggling with injuries for a Magpies side that are already without defender Paul Dummett and midfielders Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey. Benitez, however, would at least have been pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his players and by the performances of some of his younger squad members, with twenty one-year-olds Longstaff and Roberts both scoring their first senior goals. Newcastle benefited from a bad miss from Blackburn's Bradley Dack in the first half of extra-time when he shot wide and two goals either side of the break gave Benitez's side a hard-fought victory.
The Dutch public have been warned that it is 'strictly ill-advised to lie down on a bomb,' after a man did just that for about three hours. No shit? The man came across an unexploded World War Two device while gardening in the town of Venlo on Wednesday. When it started 'whistling' he covered it with his body, apparently trying to limit any potential damage. To property if not to himself. Nearby residents were evacuated and the device proved to be harmless. The man was treated for symptoms of hypothermia and given a change on underwear. The device was variously described as either a grenade or a shell. Security services spokeswoman Veronique Klaassen told the AFP news agency that the man had covered the device with sand but when it started whistling he put his body over it. She said he dared not move and rang emergency services on his mobile phone. Klaassen told AFP that it appeared the defence ministry bomb disposal team must have come from some distance away as it did not arrive until about 1am on Thursday to free the man from his 'delicate position.' Surrounding areas were evacuated, affecting more than one hundred people, but it transpired that the device no longer had any explosive material and they were allowed to return to their homes. What caused the whistling remains a mystery. The man was taken to hospital suffering from the extreme winter cold. Klaassen said: 'It is strictly ill-advised to lie down on a bomb. The best thing to do if you come across an explosive device is keep your distance and call the police.'
You have to be really careful what sort of information you give out on dating apps, especially if you're bragging about breaking the law. One woman ended up with a fine of over two thousand dollars after telling a stranger that she had illegally killed a deer in Oklahoma. What she didn't know then - but, now, presumably does - was that the man she had matched with was a game warden, who then changed tack in their sexy chat. Cannon Harrison went from flirting with the woman to asking her subtle questions in an effort to identify the woman and grass up her naughty illegal ways. He was speaking to the - unnamed - woman after the end of Oklahoma's hunting season, which is why the woman's comment about having killed a 'bigo buck' sparked his professional curiosity. She also admitted to using a spotlight during her illegal kill, which is when hunters shine a light at an animal to confuse it. Details were shared on Facebook by the Oklahoma Game Wardens page this week. The incident reportedly took place in late 2018. After sending photos of the dead deer and personal details to Cannon, he reportedly tracked the illegal hunter down on social media, with wardens showing up at her gaff the next morning to throw her ass in The Joint. 'As Game Wardens our personal lives are often blurred into our professional lives. This is often the case when it comes to social media, personal cell phones, and now dating apps,' wrote Oklahoma Game Wardens on Facebook. 'She has already pleaded guilty and paid multiple fines.' Alongside screengrabs of Cannon's conversation with the illegal huntress, the wardens shared photos of magnificent beast she illegally murdered. 'Honestly, the first thing I thought was that it was someone who was messing with me because they knew who I was,' Cannon told the Washington Post. 'It seemed too good to be true.' US media reports claim that the woman was fined two thousand four hundred bucks but will avoid doing jail time because she was willing to pay the fine.
A frog believed to be the last of his kind in the world has been granted a reprieve from solitude. Romeo, known as 'the world's loneliest frog,' has spent ten years in isolation at an aquarium in Bolivia. Scientists say they have 'found him a Juliet' after an expedition to a remote Bolivian cloud forest. Five Sehuencas water frogs found in a stream were captured, with the goal of breeding and re-introducing the amphibians back into the wild. Teresa Camacho Badani is chief of herpetology at the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d'Orbigny in Cochabamba City and the expedition leader. She is 'optimistic' that opposites will attract, even in frogs: 'Romeo is really calm and relaxed and doesn't move a whole lot,' she told BBC News. 'He's healthy and likes to eat, but he is kind of shy and slow.' Yeah, this blogger empathises with the chap, really he does. Juliet, however, has a very different personality. 'She's really energetic, she swims a lot and she eats a lot and sometimes she tries to escape.' Sounds like one or two ladies this blogger has dated over the years. Especially this bit about trying to escape. Anyway ... The five frogs - three males and two females - are the first Seheuncas water frogs to be seen in the wild for a decade, despite previous searches in the Bolivian wilderness. Romeo was collected ten years ago when biologists knew the species was in big trouble, but was not expected to remain alone for so long. He attracted international attention a year ago over his search for a mate and was even given an online dating profile. The newly discovered frogs are now in quarantine at the museum's conservation centre, where the race is on to stop the species from becoming extinct. Chris Jordan of Global Wildlife Conservation, which is supporting conservation efforts, said there is a risk to taking animals into captivity. However, there are too few of the frogs in the wild to maintain a viable population in the long term, he said. 'We have a real chance to save the Sehuencas water frog - restoring a unique part of the diversity of life that is the foundation of Bolivia's forests, and generating important information on how to restore similar species at grave risk of extinction.' The re-discovered frogs will be treated to protect against an infectious disease, chytridiomycosis, which is wiping out amphibians around the world. Romeo will then meet Juliet, in an attempt to produce offspring that can eventually be put back into their natural habitat. Hopefully, his decade of solitude will not have turned him to an alternative sexuality and the two will, you know, put on some Marvin Gaye and, as it were, get it on. In Bolivia, twenty two per cent of amphibian species face 'some degree of extinction threat,' from habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Teresa Camacho Badani says that Romeo's story is 'important to draw attention to' the plight of amphibians. They did not find any other water frogs in adjacent streams, raising worrying questions about the health of the ecosystem. 'It's a really good opportunity to use Romeo to help understand those threats, help understand how to bring those species back from the brink but also at the same time to take advantage of the global profile that Romeo and his species has now,' she said. Other amphibians such as the Mallorcan midwife toad in Spain and the Kihansi spray toad of Tanzania have been bred and reintroduced from just a few individuals in the past. 'They provide hope in the context of this sixth mass extinction that there are solutions to maintain our wonderful biodiversity, to protect endangered and even extinct-in-the-wild species and bring them back and restore some of the beauty of these ecosystems,' said Chris Jordan. All species are important and should not be underestimated as their DNA represents millions and millions of years of evolution, he added.
From frog's porn (sorry) to rich cats, dear blog reader. A man (in America, obviously) is renting out his fifteen hundred dollars-a-month Silicon Valley studio apartment to a pair of cats who he describes as 'very quiet' tenants. The unusual situation, as reported by Mercury News (and re-reported by the Independent), 'arose out of necessity,' when renter Troy Good realised that he could not keep his daughter's two Maine Coon and Bombay-mixed cats in his own apartment when she went off to college as they didn't get along with Good's terrier. Rather than giving them away, Good came up with a novel - if hugely expensive - solution when he realised that his friend and apartment owner David Callisch was planning on listing his studio on AirBnb - admitting that he would have paid more than fifteen hundred bucks as long as his daughter was happy and the cats were safe. And, there's a name for people like Good. Mugs. 'Fortunately, the agreement worked out well,' according to landlord Callisch, who told the newspaper: 'Basically I've got two renters that don't have opposable thumbs. It's actually great. They're very quiet, obviously. The only problem is they stink up the place.' Considering the astronomical prices of real estate in Silicon Valley, the cats Tina and Louise, actually got a Hell of a good deal. According to the article, the average monthly rent for a studio apartment in the technology hub of the San Francisco Bay area is over nineteen hundred dollars, as reported by RentCafe. Although the lack of kitchen in the apartment brought the rent down slightly, it works out for feline tenants - who get their food from Callisch when he visits daily to feed and play with the cats. And, presumably, clear their shit out of the gaff. The cats, who - of course - 'have an Instagram account run by Good's daughter, Victoria Amith,' also have an Apple TV in their new home. Although, whether they can ever change the channel due to their lack of opposable thumbs is not revealed.
Americans eat an awful lot of cheese: almost thirty seven pounds per person, per year. Yet, apparently that's still not enough. Demand for American-made cheese is 'seriously falling behind supply.' According to recent data from the Department of Agriculture, America is currently experiencing a one-and-a-half-billion-pound 'cheese surplus.' Lucas Fuess, director of dairy market intelligence at HighGround Dairy, a consulting firm, explains that cheese is literally sitting in cold storage facilities waiting for some aspiring pizza-maker to give it a home. 'It's normal to have some cheese in warehouses, to make sure there's enough in the pipeline,' Fuess said. 'The amount that's in there currently is, if not a record, very close to record high.' In part this can be linked to lower dairy consumption and 'the growing popularity of veganism' (mind you, this is according to some Middle Class hippy Communist at the Gruniad Morning Star so take the latter claim with a pinch of salt). Plant-based products such as almond-milk have experienced rapid sales growth. Since 2008, milk production has surged by thirteen per cent, but domestic demand for milk has dropped sharply. As demand decreases, the price of milk drops and farmers receive less per gallon produced. This appears to have pushed farmers to produce even more milk to make up the shortfalls in their income, exacerbating the problem. Producing American cheese helps farmers to use up milk they can't sell and that would otherwise 'go off.' At the end of November 2018, US cheese production had grown yet again for the sixty seventh consecutive month. But the problem is Americans are eating less cheese, too. American diets are moving away from processed cheeses like Velveeta and Kraft and many of the nation's leading fast and casual restaurants are trying new things. Panera, like others, has replaced American cheese in their sandwiches with a four-cheese combo made up of fontina, cheddar, monteau and smoked gouda. According to Euromonitor International, sales of processed cheese are projected to drop 1.6 per cent this year, the fourth year in a row. In part, that's because many Americans now think processed cheese is gross, but also because they're au fait with quality cheese from around the world. It's hard to turn back to an indestructible fluorescent orange mess once you've tried brie de meaux. 'We're seeing increased sales of more exotic, speciality, European-style cheeses. Some of those are made in the US; a lot of them aren't,' Andrew Novakovic, a professor of agricultural economics at Cornell University told NPR this week. Since imported cheese costs more than domestic, a few blocks of the good stuff might not leave much left in the old cheese budget for anything else. The cheese mountain is crushing farmers. 'We've seen record numbers of dairy farms close because milk prices are so low that dairy farms aren't profitable any more,' Feueff added. 'This cheese that is hanging over the market is preventing prices from raising higher and it's reaching a critical level.' President Rump's trade policy has also played a role in The Cheesepocalypse. In response to his tariffs, three top importers of US milk and cheese products – Mexico, Canada and China – have instituted retaliatory tariffs that will have a significant impact on American dairy farmers' bottom line, according to a study from Texas A&M University. 'As long as the tariffs are still on in Mexico, it remains a challenge to move cheese out of the country and move those stocks lower,' Fuess explained.
A planned sculpture of Satan in the Spanish city of Segovia has been criticised for being 'too jolly.' The bronze statue was created as 'a tribute to a local legend,' which claims the devil was tricked into building the city's famous aqueduct. But, residents say that The Devil - who is smiling and taking a selfie with a smartphone - looks 'too friendly.' A judge has now ordered the artwork to be put on hold whilst he looks into whether it is 'offensive to Christians.' More than five thousand four hundred people - just over ten per cent of the city's population - have signed a petition calling for the sculpture to be cancelled. The petition claims that because The Devil is shown in a 'jovial' way, with a phone in his hand, it 'exalts evil' and is therefore 'offensive to Catholics.' But, not Protestants, seemingly. It adds that Satan is 'supposed to be repulsive and despicable' - not 'kind and seductive, like that of the "good-natured Devil" without malice' that has been proposed. But the artist, José Antonio Abella, says the row has taken him completely by surprise. 'I don't understand anything,' Abella told the Spanish newspaper El Pais. 'I just wanted to pay homage to my city and to create something to give back all I have been given.' City Councillor Claudia de Santos has also called the campaign 'unfair and disheartening.' She told the paper that she would try to ensure that the sculpture goes ahead as planned.
Three knife-wielding masked raiders disrupted a children's birthday party when they 'burst into a house demanding drugs.' Police believe the men, who threatened people inside the house in Norwich, 'broke into the wrong address.' No shit? Officers were called to the property on Friday evening, Norfolk Police confirmed. No-one was hurt, but a mobile phone was stolen and several children were traumatised and will probably spend years in therapy as a consequence, the force said. The men are described as black, about six foot tall and were wearing dark clothing. So, that narrows down the list of potential suspects, 'This must have been very distressing for those involved and I want to reassure the victims and those that live locally that we are doing everything we can to find the offenders quickly,' Inspector Graham Dalton said. 'I do believe this is connected to Operation Gravity drug dealing and would ask anyone with information regarding those involved to contact the police immediately.' Operation Gravity was a Norwich Police campaign, launched in 2016, to deal with drug dealers coming into the county from London to continue their naughty druggy-type ways.
An appeal for knickers to 'raise awareness of sexual assault and consent' has been launched by a Newcastle University student society. It Happens Here is asking for ladies underwear which it will 'turn into bunting.' The organisation, which aims to support victims of sexual assault, hopes it will raise awareness and start a discussion around the issue of consent. It said the 'mass of beautiful and bountiful bunting' is due to 'streak across the campus' in February. The move was sparked by the This Is Not Consent Twitter campaign, which was in response to an incident during a rape trial in Ireland where a thong was shown in court. Posters and donation boxes have been put up at the university, in areas such as student laundries and donations have begun arriving. However, one of the posters was vandalised on Thursday, with comments which an organiser said were 'exactly the reason why we are running the campaign.' Madeline Baugh added: 'I got quite cross, because it seemed they were doing it to get a reaction. But I wanted to rise above it, so just replaced the poster.'
The brothers of England footballers Marcus Rashford and Trent Alexander-Arnold were attacked in an armed robbery at a restaurant. Dane Rashford and Tyler Alexander-Arnold, who also act as the players' representatives, were at the Littlerock cafe in Moss Side when it was raided on Saturday. Three men wielded a suspected gun, machete and baseball bat. Three people were injured in the raid, police said. The robbers fled the gaff in two cars - a white Range Rover belonging to one of the victims and a white BMW Three Series. Police later found the Range Rover abandoned in Fallowfield. Four men and two seventeen-year-olds, have been very arrested on suspicion of robbery. Two guns have been seized by detectives as part of the investigation. Officers said that the three men who entered the Littlerock restaurant threatened members of the public and demanded they hand over a set of car keys and other belongings. Superintendent Mark Dexter, from Greater Manchester Police, said: 'Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but the victims have been left understandably shaken following this incident. It is thanks to the swift action of our officers that we now have six men in custody, but this investigation is still very much ongoing and officers will be in the area continuing with inquiries.'
A football match in Northern Ireland was abandoned after a spectator reportedly ran onto the pitch and 'attacked a player.' Saturday's game between Portstewart and Sport & Leisure Swifts was ended after seventy minutes when a fan joined a mass brawl between players and coaches with kids gettin' sparked and aal sorts. Both clubs claimed that one of their players was headbutted during the incident which caused the melee and geet rive-on and led to a fan allegedly attacking a visiting player. Police attended and sorted out the sick and twisted outpouring of violence but are not currently investigating the incident further. The home side were leading two-one at The Seahaven ground when the Premier Intermediate League game was abandoned. Portstewart chairman Eamonn Murray told BBC Sport that their committee will meet on Monday to 'discuss the incident' and decide on the club's response. 'We unequivocally condemn the spectator going on to the pitch and attacking a player, it was very unsavoury and should not have happened,' he said. 'We are trying our best to identify who it was and will make sure he never gets into the ground again.' Portstewart also alleged that the wife of one of their players was 'struck' during the brawl. Swifts manager Pat McAllister said that Stephen McAlorum, the former Glentoran and Ballymena United midfielder who joined the West Belfast club earlier this month, lost a tooth after being headbutted. McAlister, who played for Coleraine and Cliftonville as well as managing Donegal Celtic, described the scenes as the worst he has seen during his long involvement in Irish League football. 'It had not been a dirty game at all but in the end the referee had no choice but to abandon the match,' he said. 'It is totally unacceptable for a fan to run on to the pitch and attack a player or a coach. I've been involved in a lot of incidents as a manager and player, but this was something else.' In a statement issued on Sunday, the Northern Ireland Football League said: 'We are aware of yesterday's abandonment of the Premier Intermediate League game between Portstewart and Sport & Leisure Swifts but we are currently awaiting the submission of the referee's report regarding the match. This will require, in the first instance, consideration from the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee under article twenty three, before any further action from the NI Football League.'
A student who left 'a piece of artwork' on a bridge, sparking a major bomb scare, has been sentenced to ninety hours of community service. Thomas Ellison, of Fenham, placed the lunchbox containing wires, a circuit board and a doll on the city's High Level Bridge. A member of the public called the police, leading to parts of the city centre being sealed off. Ellison admitted to causing a public nuisance but claimed it was 'art.' Sentencing him at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Edward Bindloss said Ellison was 'naive' but 'showed genuine remorse' and had no previous convictions. The alert started when a member of the public saw the lunchbox on 15 August 2017. Several roads in the city were sealed off for two hours, but eventually police discovered there was no threat to the public. Trains were stopped and the emergency services attended, costing over three grand. The following day Ellison called nine-nine-nine and asked for the piece to be returned to him. Detectives were able to trace the phone box he was calling from and identified him by his fingerprints. The court heard that Ellison had seen 'a similar exhibit' in Prague and 'wanted to do the same on Tyneside.'
Police were called to a Texas Walmart after a woman was reportedly drinking wine from a Pringles can whilst riding an electric cart in the parking lot. Officers responded to a call around 9am about 'a suspicious person' in the store's parking lot, the Times Record News reported. Investigators found the woman at a nearby restaurant and told her that she was, forthwith, banned from the Walmart.
A naked man walked into the Tulsa County Courthouse. It happened on Monday at approximately 10am when Brian Edward Johnson was caught on courthouse surveillance cameras walking into the building wearing only a blue t-shirt, black shoes and a black leather harness without any pants or underwear on. Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies said that Johnson parked his Porche outside the courthouse and entered the courthouse 'fully exposed from the waist down.' After he was arrested, Johnson said that he was 'dared' to go to the courthouse nude and appear naked in front of Federal Judge Daniel Boudreau, a booking report stated. Johnson was booked into the Tulsa County Jail and, later, released after posting his two thousand dollar bond.
A Memphis woman learned the hard way that calling nine-one-one without an emergency does not end well. Police say that Kelci Newby was a passenger in a Nissan Altima that had a damaged right-side mirror hanging from the vehicle and extremely dark tinted windows. Officers stopped the vehicle. When Newby asked why the had been stopped, the officers said they had probable cause, according to the affidavit. Newby then called nine-one-one while she was still seated in the vehicle. The report says officers warned her not to make the call because it wasn't an emergency, but dispatch quickly advised they had her on the line. Police arrested Newby for making a nine-one-one call in a non-emergency situation. The driver, Marchico Newby was taken into custody on unrelated charges.
Police claim that a woman 'smashed' her way into a closed Pennsylvania police station looking for an officer she had been 'sexually harassing' ever since he arrested her. Police say twenty seven-year-old Ashley Keister, of Nanticoke, used 'a large cigarette butt receptacle' to smash glass doors into the West Wyoming police building around 12:45am Monday. Once inside, she started rummaging through filing cabinets. West Wyoming Police Chief Curtis Nocera said that Keister had been 'under investigation' for harassing an officer who arrested her last year. He claims that she sent 'sexually harassing messages' on social media and would call nine-one-one 'just to talk to him.'
Police have very arrested a California man who was captured on video licking the doorbell of a family he had never met. He also stole a few extension cords from their Christmas decorations. Roberto Daniel Arroyo spent an unhealthily long time licking the doorbell of the Dungan family home on Saturday night before allegedly making off with the cords. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is 'known to police,' who are seeking to charge him with 'misdemeanour prowling, theft and violation of probation,' according to Salinas Police spokesperson Miguel Cabrera. The bizarre display of doorbell-love was caught on surveillance camera while Sylvia and Dave Dungan were out of town, but their children were inside the home at the time. 'This just kind of reinforces how important it is to have security within your home,' Sylvia said. 'This guy's getting some sick jollies off of something,' David commented after watching the man-on-doorbell action in disbelief. The Dungan family has since disinfected their bell, bleached their doorknobs and 'thoroughly cleaned their porch.' Arroyo also appeared on camera relieving himself on the property and at one point seems to lie down to sleep.
Two women in the UK have been infected with the 'super-gonorrhoea' virus, sparking 'deep concern' from sexual health doctors. A European 'party destination' is one line of inquiry and health officials are trying to contact subsequent sexual partners in the UK. Both women have since been cured of their nasty infections, which were resistant to traditional therapy. Public Health England has encouraged people to use condoms with new and casual sexual partners and to seek the advice of to their doctors as a matter of urgency if they start experiencing you know, 'funny stuff' going on ... down there. One of the women appeared to have been infected in mainland Europe. The other acquired the infection in the UK, but this case also has 'strong links' to Europe. Doctor Nick Phin, from Public Health England (Hi, Doctor Nick), said that it was 'unfair' to say super-gonorrhoea was 'currently circulating in the UK.' But he told the BBC: 'It really brings home the message that these organisms will spread globally and you can get them in the UK.' The disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. Symptoms can include 'a thick green or yellow discharge' from sexual organs, 'pain when urinating' and 'bleeding between periods.' However, vaginal and rectal infections often have no obvious symptoms. An untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy. There is no personal connection or established chain of sexual partners which links the two women. But, both were infected with a version of gonorrhoea that was resistant to the first choice antibiotics - a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone. The cases were not related to the 'world's worst case,' which was detected in the chap of a chap in the UK in 2018 after he had been on a trip to South East Asia. Doctor Nick said: 'We tried to follow up contacts as much as possible, but it can be difficult - particularly if people don't have details you can contact them with. It is possible there may be other cases, these are definitely the first two we have picked up and at the moment there are two.' The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea has rapidly developed resistance to new antibiotics. There have been growing levels of super-gonorrhoea around the world with similar cases reported in Japan, Canada and Australia. Doctor Olwen Williams, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: 'We are deeply concerned by these new developments.' Paddy Horner, from the University of Bristol, told the BBC: 'We've got to wait and see what happens over next few months and whether more cases appear, but it is only a matter of time before it arrives in the UK. When people mix sexually it can spread quite rapidly and the concern is this could become established - if not from this infection, then one in the future.'
He tried to impress tourists that were present but ended up getting crushed to death by the elephant. Authorities of the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka reported that a forty one-year-old man, died 'trying to prove himself,' that he was 'able to hypnotise an elephant and do what he asked.' He failed. The tragic - if somewhat inevitable - incident occurred when a group of tourists gathered in an area popular with pachyderms. The man attempted to impress the tourists and, sadly for him, his rather messy death was captured by one of the tourists, who recorded everything with his phone. In the images, the exact moment when the protagonist slowly approaches the elephant and begins to raise his hands to get his attention can be seen. After that, don't watched dear blog reader, trust this blogger, it all gets rather ... stompy. Suspecting that it was being attacked, the animal whose weight is more than six tons, threw the man to the ground and began to crush his sorry ass. 'It was a terrible thing, we all saw it, including the children, we never thought that a tragedy would happen. We thought that his hypnosis was a joke and that he would soon return' and 'it was evident that he was wrong,' were some of the comments given to local media. So far, the identity of the victim has not been revealed.
Does anybody want to see a picture of From The North favourite Gillian Anderson suggestively fingering a phallic-looking vegetable, dear blog reader? Of course you do, you're only human after all.
And finally, dear blog reader, a recent Facebook conversation about Antony Buckeridge's classic Jennings children's novels gave this blogger the opportunity to astound his Facebook fiends with one of his favourite bits of media trivia; that a 1972 BBC Radio 4 adaptation of some of the stories featured the broadcasting debut of yer actual Jeremy Clarskon (then a twelve year old schoolboy at Repton) playing the role of Atkinson. A contemporary Radio Times photoshoot of the cast suggests that Jezza hasn't changed much in the intervening forty six years. Power!