Who’s That?

Paul O’Grady? Danny La Rue? Teller from Penn and Teller?

No. This is an artist’s impression of newly freed Julian Assange! I had to take a still from the TV because it made me LOL so much!

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WTF?! Lol

Hershey Kisses – Choc Vomit?

Hershey’s Kisses come to Britain

For those that love them, they’re a halcyon taste of childhood. But that’s not everyone. Will you be making a special trip to buy Hershey’s Kisses?

Hershey chocolate Kisses
Hershey chocolate Kisses. Photograph: Alamy

New chocolate is one of those things (like new cheese, new restaurants and, I am told, new shoes) which cannot fail to pique the interest. However cheap, sweet or low in cocoa solids it may be, a frisson of curiosity accompanies each innovation. New shapes and variations must be tasted, if only to be tossed, barely chewed, over one’s shoulder on the way to Paul A Young’s. Until now. Hershey’s Kisses are coming to the UK and that is something I absolutely cannot get in bed with.

The fact that the diddy conical filth-bombs are on a list (as yet unconfirmed) of Hershey’s products expected to be sold exclusively by Asda next year may explain, finally, why Mum’s gone to Iceland. They have a distinctive character, described by Paul Richardson in his history of chocolate as “a piquant background flavour of something faintly sour, cheesy, or overripe, what chocolate experts call a ‘barnyard’ taste.”

As anyone who has plunged their hand excitedly into a crackling bagful brought back from America (or a posh UK food shop with a penchant for kitsch) will know, there is nothing like the disappointment of discovering that a food which boasts an impressive amount of cultural glamour has all the flavour notes of regurgitated milk.

It’s not just the taste of ming, though powerful, which is objectionable. Given its innocent moniker, the Hershey’s Kiss, introduced in 1907 and trademarked in 1924, can pose a surprising threat to our physical and emotional wellbeing. They are the source, of course, of some NSFW innuendo. But more importantly, as a child our own Lucy Glennon drew blood at the sharp end of one. And there is an episode of Supernanny US in which a family, ripped apart by grief, misguidedly offer the children “candy” if they kiss a picture of their recently-departed grandpappy. I have a distinct feeling that that candy was a Kiss.

Richardson also notes that tastes in confectionery set up cultural barriers as rigid as religion, and we wouldn’t argue with that. Homesick Brits eager for a taste of home have been disgusted to find that our own Cadbury’s Dairy Milk has a foreign taste and texture in Ireland, America and elsewhere (the betrayal is compounded, of course, by the fact that Hershey makes Cadbury’s products in the US). But just as many of us struggle to see what is wrong with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Americans (even gourmet ones) brought up with Hershey’s Kisses seem unable to know the taste that dominated every Valentine’s Day mini-gift and Halloween treat for what it is.

Iron Chef Judy Joo, erstwhile of the Saveur magazine test kitchen and the Gordon Ramsay empire, was brought up in New Jersey, where she fell in love with Hershey’s Kisses. “They’re totally an American nostalgia thing for me,” she says. “When I was little we used to let them melt in our mouths and lick our lips with the chocolate and give everyone chocolate kisses. I love them. I used to make peanut butter and kisses cookies with a little Hershey’s Kiss snuggled in the middle.” She doesn’t know when she last ate one, but remembers, “I had a special way of eating them.  I used to rub the pointy top against my tongue in a circle until it was gone and then eat the round sphere that was left in one bite. Maybe you’ll like them more if you eat them that way!”

Nice try, Judy, but in a chocolate-based game of snog, marry, avoid, Hershey’s ain’t getting no kisses from me. Is anyone prepared to defend these tapering terrors?

The story bore this comment which gave me the giggles. Many refered to Hershey Kisses tasting of sick/vomit but this one was the best!

Hkiss

BBC – In pictures: Snow 2010

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Bruce the turkey says “you know what Lenny? The oven ain’t looking ‘alf bad right now.”

These turkeys don’t go ‘gobble gobble’, they go ‘brrrr’!

Society’s Outcasts?

Just watching the news and they were showing Labour leader Ed Miliband visiting the Birmingham suburb of Dudley today. He went to a local ASDA supermarket and spoke to staff.

One lady said “The ones 4 or 5 houses down, they don’t work. They’ve never worked. They just have children and more children but they’re the ones that all wear designer clothes and manage to go on the holidays and everything else. Whereas we [ASDA staff] have to work really hard.”

Nobody on benefits BUYS designer clothes! If her ‘work shy’ neighbours are wearing designer clothes it’s one of three things. 1) They’re cheap ‘knock offs’ and NOT designer clothes 2) They’ve perhaps shoplifted the clothes 3) They are involved in some other sort of criminal activity.

Anyone who is allegedly claiming benefits, work shy, yet ‘well off’ is most likely involved in criminal activity because I for one have personal experience of living on benefits and you CANNOT afford these things.

Don’t tar us all with the same brush and certainly do NOT delude yourself that our life is in ANY WAY palatial!

Welcome to the world…

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Welcome to the world…, originally uploaded by Larelle_M_R.

Lilly Maree Dowdell. Born 10.28am, Australian Eastern Standard Time August 7th, 2009, weighing 7lb 10oz.That means her birth date will be 07/08/09!

Congratulations to Lisa and Adrian.

I have a great niece!
🙂

Listen Up, All You Young Dudes…

And London Boys. I don’t want to “Scream Like A Baby” about it for fear of “Repetition”, but the BBC have done a “Kook”y article on Duncan Jones’ (aka Zowie Bowie) Edinburgh Film Festival debut of his film Moon.

“Fill Your Heart” with love for this film. Make sure you go see it, and don’t “Look Back In Anger”. It’s a “Criminal World” when you use puns like this, but it’s the “Fashion”, so who am I to argue, “Queen Bitch”?! I’ll always “Win”, “Right”!

I think I better go “Underground”.

And so, like a “Slow Burn”, my puns have died.

Here’s the article.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Bowie son lands Moon at festival

Erm…watch out for the puns, “It’s No Game”.

The Snobbery of Art – Tracey Bashing!

I read yesterday that there’s a long awaited (for us who love and appreciate her art) Tracey Emin exhibition at the White Cube Gallery in Mason’s Yard called “Those Who Suffer Love”.

Once again, there’s a bubbling undercurrent of controversy, for HEAVEN FORBID Tracey has a piece in it that shows that most women in the 21st century like to masturbate. One of her pieces is a flick-book animation of a woman masturbating. Oh, HOW pornographic!

The first article I read about the exhibition was on the BBC News web site. They mentioned the animation briefly, but seemed to realise there’s much more to talk about with Tracey’s work. They had a comment from Tracey about the piece. She said, “[Masturbation] is not just about self-love, it’s also about self-loathing and being alone and for the act of being alone.” I understand what she means completely. Tracey’s work speaks to me.

I have to say, I’d never even heard of her until I moved to the UK. And even then, it took a visit to Tate Modern and seeing some of her work for her name to REALLY resonate with me. I saw a short film she’d made, almost like a video diary piece. Her art is SO personal and the video work I found very moving. I think I started to become a fan from that point on. If indeed artists have “fans”, like rock stars do.

Perhaps that’s what the critics (and Lord, the woman has her fair share of them) hate about the “modern” artists or as the Brit contingent are referred to YBA’s (Young British Artists – in the early 90’s, when a set of them came to public attention). That they are sort of held up as “pop stars” and have fans and followers. Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Wood, The Chapman Brothers, Michael Landy are in the ranks of being labelled YBA’s. Hirst and Emin appear to be the “King and Queen” of the YBA’s, given the Wikipedia entry on the subject.

I see Tracey as almost a “today” version of Frida Kahlo. Kahlo was ballsy. She went FAR beyond what was the “acceptable face” of femininity in her art and her life. Her art was deeply personal and although I’m not a BIG fan of her artwork, I am of Frida herself and the things she represented in the art movement at the time. She portrayed herself in her art. She showed us what she wanted us to see, not what she THOUGHT we WANTED to see.

And that’s why I love Tracey. Her art is personal, but it is in no way conceited or self-centred. I’m sure critics would disagree (oh how they would disagree), but that’s how I see it. And that’s why ALL art is good. Critics, I swear, through their snobbery think they must like ALL art. If they don’t like it, it’s not art. WHAT A LOAD OF SHIT! I don’t rate Damien Hirst much myself, but I don’t begrudge people liking his work, or think any less of them.

I do, however, think it’s criminal that art has become SUCH a commodity. I watched a programme recently called “The Great Contemporary Art Bubble.” Revealed in the programme were aspects about how the collectors make the art a bigger commodity than it should be. A couple of examples: Andy Warhol collector Jose Mugrabi and his sons prop up the price of Warhol works, because they own SO much if it. Jay Jopling (the owner of White Cube Gallery – incidentally) and Damien Hirst bid on his own artwork (Hirst’s) to make it sell for what THEY deem it to be worth. But not only that, they also retain a percentage of the work most of the time, as it’ll be bought by consortia in which THEY are part of, therefore reinvesting in their own work, making more and more profit each time.

Most of the critics that criticise Tracey don’t do it because of some morality about the absurd price of art. Quite the opposite in fact. Most of them think she’s just “not worth it” or is not an “artist”. But what is an artist? Someone who is creative? Someone who produces images (be they words or pictures) for viewing? And isn’t art, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder? Should I be pandered to and told what is art and what isn’t? Should *I* be told what I should and shouldn’t like? Am I meant to like a Jackson Pollock, even though (frankly) I think an elephant can do a better job? That’s just MY opinion on Pollock though. I don’t expect others to feel the same. For what his art sells for, obviously most people don’t.

But the critics who critique Tracey seem to think we should all listen to them and stop liking her work.

Here are comments left on a article on the Times Online.

She’s absolutely right when at the end she says others artists will be missed by the media even if they are fantastic, whereas she will not . She’s “lucky”. Job done…but just don’t ask us to accept your rubbish as well. You’re extremely famous and lucky but you can’t draw. You are not an artist.

Bob, from Hong Kong.

I have a good idea for an artwork. Copy some of the crude scrawls from the walls of my local public toilet, add some pretentious titles and pseudo-intellectual explanations, and…

Oh bugger, Tracey Emin has beat me to it.

Chris K from Cheltenham

While Hirst doesn’t seem to be any better at drawing than Emin is, at least it is not what he’s trying to impress us with…. actually the ‘dead sheep’ and ‘pickled cows’ have quite an effect when seen for the first time. I just really can’t see what’s so special about her rather ugly sketches.

Paloma, from London

In response to Paloma, I dare say that what separates Hirst from Emin is that although it could be argued that Tracey’s sketches are crude (by definition a sketch is “A hasty or undetailed drawing or painting often made as a preliminary study.”), they ARE personal. What’s personal about a pickled cow? Yes, it’s very fascinating anatomically, but is it art? Is it something Hirst MADE? All he did was probably design the thing it’s displayed in. He didn’t “design” the cow, or make up the formaldehyde or probably even dissect the animal himself. Tracey’s not trying to “impress” us, she’s telling us her story (and for some of us her appreciate her art), OUR story).

Then there are just absurd, ridiculous statements that are laced with personal attacks.

Good grief! We have all had trauma in our lives – why is this hellish woman who wants us all to know about her tawdry life in a sick visual Big Brother style, taken seriously? Arrgh. She is not an artist but a poor exhibitionist who always makes me want to shower after seeing her work. Eeww shudder

Christina from Edinburgh

“As artistic as vomit. – Tom Franklin, London, United Kingdom”

Geez Tom, don’t give the lady any ideas!

Clickety6 from London, in reply to an earlier statement.

Tracey Emin can’t draw for toffee.
Nice frock she’s wearing though, so she must find a few suckers.

Sara from Leicester.

Maybe an inspirational woman, but an artist!?
You can fool some of the people some of the time…………

Steve Duckworth from Leicestershire.

Steve may have a point at the end, but if you are basing that purely on her drawings, then perhaps you would come to that conclusion. The Times article DOES point out (some people seemed unable to take this information in) that some of the drawings go back a LONG way.

Let’s not forget, they are doodles, sketches. What Tracey does is present ALL of herself. Good and bad. If you only show the “good” art, isn’t that sort of a con? A cop out? Why do people not understand that? That, what is artistic in her is the way she reveals herself. That’s HER art. That, if you like, SHE’S the art. If she left sketches out because they weren’t “good enough” she’d feel she was cheating us. And people can’t see that it’s the revelation of the art, and perhaps not so much the pieces themselves that is the art.

And that’s why I compared her to Frida. And that’s why I want to go and see the exhibition.

Would YOU give 1000% to something?

Are you THAT committed? I’ve just been reading an article from the BBC News – Magazine section on their web site, about the death of using the term “giving it 100%” to signify you giving something your all. It’s not enough to say 100% any more. You have to say 110%, 150%, some, in the American version of The Apprentice are now using the over-assured 1000%!

I was trying to put this into context. Say you’re applying for a full-time job and you say “I give everything 1000%”. Would the employer snap you up on the logic that if you give “everything” 1000%, that perhaps you’d work 1000% MORE? Say the job was for 40 hours per week, does this mean you’re willing to give your employer 400 hours a week of work? There’s only 168 hours in a week?!

I’m really committed to finishing the post now. I think I’ll give it 99.99%! lol

To read the story, click the link below…

BBC NEWS | Magazine | The death of 100%

Where Has Morality Gone?

There is a big story in Australia at the moment regarding sex scandals between groups of professional, high profile sportsmen and young women who participate in “consensual” group sex with these sportsmen.

Not all incidents are evidently consensual though. The ABC’s current affairs programme Four Corners looked into the way NRL (National Rugby League) players conduct themselves off-field and their attitudes to alcohol and women.

I’ve been reading the transcript of the Four Corners programme and my word, some of the reading is disgusting.

Some of the behaviour highlighted is beyond belief. One of the teams season launches (the Manly Sea Eagles) was so fuelled with bad drunken behaviour, I found myself slack-jawed reading about it. There was an incident involving Sea Eagles player Anthony Watmough in which he was at the ceremony badly intoxicated and was abusive to one young lady – apparently for the appalling reason that she couldn’t remember his name and didn’t recognise him as the “famous footy player” he so believed he is! He then went on to verbally abuse her to her own father, saying “How could you let her leave the house dressed like that?” (for obviously Mr Watmough believed her to be scantily clad) and then proceeded to punch him!!

Another incident highlighted saw team members from a different club behave in a disorderly fashion at a University campus. What’s wrong with that? I hear you ask. Well, not anything especially, other than the players had absolutely no reason to be AT the campus, and one helped himself to trying to sexually abuse a young woman who was sleeping in her dorm. Yes, she was intoxicated herself, but she was in her OWN private dorm, asleep! She didn’t invite him back to her dorm, she didn’t consent to anything. She was asleep in her dorm, and this player just walked into her room and assaulted her!

Another incident saw a group of players take back a “footy groupie” to a hotel room and forced her to perform oral sex on several players whilst being filmed on mobile phones. She was actually told to say that she’d given her consent to the sex acts, TO camera!!

A woman who was involved in arranging “groupy” meetings with footballers on Facebook said that one of the men present told her about the incident. She wanted to know if she knew the woman and so asked the player who she was. He replied “oh, just some slurry from around Cronulla.” (Cronulla is a suburb in Sydney’s south.)

One of the biggest stories to surface in recent years was an incident that happened with members of the Canterbury Bulldogs team in 2004. It was during an away game which saw players staying at a Coffs Harbour resort involved in a group sex act with a young woman. There was an investigation. Team members were interviewed, but no charges were laid. There didn’t appear to be any indication the group sex was consensual, and the woman in question was insulted by the players and discarded.

Roy Masters, sports writer and former NRL coach, seemed to believe that players participated in group sex activities as part of a “bonding exercise”. That is the most unbelievably disgusting excuse I’ve ever heard. By way of airing that opinion it is tantamount to condoning it!

Four Corners revealed that two years before the Bulldogs sex scandal, there was another sex scandal that took place while (surprise, surprise, given their high regard for women) the Cronulla Sharks team were on tour in New Zealand.

Four Corners spoke to a woman they referred to as “Clare”. She told the programme she was invited back to one of the players rooms. She was initially accompanied by two players. What was to follow was (in her testimony) NON-consensual group sex. She described aspects of the incident in detail, including mauling and mass fondling of her body and having players sexual organs probed and rammed into her face. Players were either having intercourse with her, sexually abusing her in some other way, or in the room masturbating over what was taking place. Clare was 19 years old at the time.

Over the last seven years she has had a severe alcohol problem, has been suicidal and now has to bare the brunt of Australian public opinion, in which a vast swathe just believe her to be a whore, a trouble-maker and someone who, quite frankly, deserved what she got!

I think that is absolutely disgusting. Clare named one player in particular that she remembered from the ordeal, Matthew Johns. Given what I’ve seen in the past, not the brightest colour in the crayon set. He is now an ex-player and has a role in presenting a tawdry television programme, called The Footy Show, based loosely on discussing the weeks football (NRL), but more about juvenile antics and supposed “funny” segments. Johns has an alter ego on the show called Reg Reagan. From what I’ve seen he’s as about as funny as a tooth canal. What classes for humour in my country of birth sometimes leaves me in despair. But to each their own, I suppose.

Mr Johns doesn’t deny being involved in the incident. In fact, he admits to having sex with her! And he’s a married man, but that’s okay, all is forgiven. But if he had a modicum of decency, he’d at least reveal who the other team members were in the room with him. Oh, but no, he’s keeping schtum, so is his team-mate Brett Firman, who also admits to having sex with Clare. But in a rather un-team-like manner, all other members are keeping quiet and not revealing their involvement.

There was a police investigation at the time in New Zealand, and no charges were laid.

Last week Mr Johns made some pathetic statement about the accusations raised in the Four Corners programme and subsequently through the rest of the TV and print media.

You can’t say sorry enough. Maybe to your family, but absolutely nothing to Clare. Nothing like “If I have caused upset, anguish and pain to the lady involved, I unreservedly apologise”. No, nothing like that. What a man, eh?! What a hero!! Co-host Paul “Fatty” Vautin goes on to say, after the statement, “Alright mate, well said. Alright, let’s get on with the show”. FFS! That’s disgusting.

Channel Nine (makers of the Footy Show) then stood Johns down from his presenting role. Some sanity prevailed.

Sadly, you only have to see the comments on the YouTube clip, and the numerous Facebook groups to know that the tide of support is behind Johns.

One of the most eye-opening things in this whole Four Corners report was the attitude the younger players were shown to have in reference to sexual abuse on woman and men. Shown two video clips in which in the first incident a woman goes to a hotel room with two players, has consensual sex with one, but gets raped by the other, the general consensus by the players was “She put out first”. So the fact that she had consensual sex with the first man didn’t justify her saying “NO” to the second. Other comments went “She flirted with them both.” That, basically, she asked for it! Nice! Asked whether they thought the players might face consequences, the opinion of the players was that male number two (the rapist) might, but male number one (the seemingly consensual participant) might “get away with it” depending “how good his lawyer is” says one player!! My word!

Given a second video to watch in which a drunken man is raped by a member of the same sex, the opinions and views of the young players changes somewhat. I don’t think I need to explain that in this incidence all the players realise that what happened was unjustified, immorally wrong, and actually WAS rape. One player, having a particular epiphany says “You don’t really ask for trouble if you have too much to drink and get raped by a bloke. You don’t ask for that.”

REALLY?

One of the older players there, showing the videos says to the young men “Can we see that there’s some sort of double standard that may apply here? The girl’s gone out to have a drink. No one said that she didn’t ask for it but yet the male goes out and has a drink and it’s crystal clear that he didn’t ask for it.”

Lord help me I can hear the groans of realisation and epiphanies as I type.

I rest my case.

The (Sun) Burnt Country.

Bush fires in Australia have now, so far claimed 84 lives. Scenes like this now shower the Oz landscape once more. Not the image Colin Hay was thinking of, surely, when he wrote the lyrics to Down Under. “Travelling in a fried-out Combi”.

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What makes the decimation and loss of life worse is knowing most of the bush fires have been attacks of arson. When will these people learn? I hope the law that I know was brought into New South Wales under the Carr government still exists and is now nationwide and the culprits get caught and sentenced for what I think is now a minimum 15 year jail term. It is the very least they deserve.

My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones. I hope that soon relief, at least weather-wise, will come your way.