What's this site all about then?

What were you expecting?

The unemployment rate in the UK is at a pretty steady 8.2%, the highest it has been in 12 years. Worse still, in the under 25 age group it is at a staggering 25%.

People who have worked hard their whole lives only to be made redundant are finding themselves having to take any job to make ends meet, sometimes going from a £30,000 a year job to one that pays about £6.50 an hour.

There are two entire generations of people who are being lost to joblessness and despair thanks to the short sighted financial dealings of governments in the mid to late 90's. Anyone who has a fulltime, well paid job should count themselves incredibly fortunate right now. Step forward this lot,

Staff who helped their hospital win a national award are said to be "insulted" after they were thanked with a free Kit Kat bar worth 60p.

About 4,000 staff at Torbay Hospital in Devon were told to "have a break" and cash in a voucher for the snack - which could only be redeemed in the hospital canteen.

The dedication and hard work of the hospital staff won the South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust the title of Acute Healthcare Organisation of the Year 2011 at the Health Service Journal awards.

But a trust spokesman said the Kit Kat gift had been misinterpreted and was simply a "light-hearted gesture" as part of a package of thanks.

The awards event in London was attended by staff representing a wide range of services, including nurses, matrons and catering staff.

Paul Raybould, GMB branch secretary for Torbay, told the Western Morning News: "If I had given 20 years of service, I know exactly what I would want management to do with their Kit Kat. The staff are not just perturbed, but insulted."

About 6 years ago the organisation I worked for won a national award. With only 15 staff to work with and a tiny budget we fended off competition from 400+ rivals nationwide to be crowned the best business in our field in the whole of the UK. 6 months later we went one better and won the European version of that award where, again, we fended off competition from around 200 finalists from all over Europe. I was on top of the world. It was one of the crowning achievements of my life and I felt so fortunate to have reached such a massive career peak while I was still in my mid 20's. As a result of these accomplishments the business made a profit of £1 million.

Do you know what rewards/thanks we all got for all of that? None. Nothing. Not one goddamn thing. And you know what? I was absolutely fine with that. It was my job to aim high and help make the business money and that's exactly what I did. Sure, all the staff went out as a group and had a little party (paid for out of our wages) but that was our decision. I feel absolutely no resentment to my PRIVATE SECTOR employers for not rewarding us, that's their prerogative and it's their money. They paid me a decent wage and gave me lots of support and that was enough for me because even back then, in a world before the financial meltdown of 2008, I realised I was lucky to even have that job.

Now, I don't want to run down NHS staff as a whole. Most of them do a very difficult job really well, and deserve all the praise in the world. Do this specific group deserve cash incentives for performing well and meeting targets? No. Because that's part of their job. Unless they have a very specific reward scheme written into their contracts they shouldn't have anything to moan about. Also, that isn't money that has been raised through private initiatives, that's tax payers money. A small portion of that Kit Kat is mine you whiney bastards, give it to me, I'd appreciate it. Just be thankful you have a job and can pay your mortgage/rent, there are lots of people out there who would gladly beat you to death with that Kit Kat if it meant they could have your job.

Source: The AP


Man(child) of action

Justin Bieber would like the world to believe he is a happy-go-lucky Canadian boy-next-door, who smiles and sings to win the love and affection of sweet girls and to fulfill his dream of becoming a superstar, but you and I (the people in the know) see him for what he really is: a street smart gangsta thug with the cold stare of a serial killer and the kind of martial arts training that makes him deadly to anyone below a 9th dan in tae kwon do.

For some unknown reason this razzi decided that today was his day and he was going to fuck with The Bieber and his business. Big mistake sucka.

A photog is claiming he got into a physical altercation with (Bieber) after he attempted to snap photos of the Biebs while he was out and about in Calabasas, Calif. with girlfriend Selena Gomez Sunday afternoon.

The man alleged he was “physically battered” by Bieber, and complained of pain and requested medical attention when police arrived on the scene.

Look at the picture of the 'photog'. Does anyone believe he's been "physically battered"? As far as I can tell he has no visible signs of a physical altercation on him whatsoever. I've been physically battered before and believe me, when someone uses the word "battered" they had better resemble Rocky at the end of Rocky IV otherwise they're going to look like a massive pussy.

If I called the police and said that I was at the scene of an 18 car pile up with people running around the road on fire and petrol leaking all over the place that's what they would expect to see on arrival. If they then showed up to see a rear ended Yaris with a slightly upset passenger on the phone to the insurance company, I'd probably be arrested on the spot for wasting police time.

The idea of Justin Bieber physically battering anyone with arms and eye sight is so ridiculous it belongs in the same category as claims like "an alien kidnapped me and probed my anus" and "Elvis is alive and working in Tesco's" or the even more unbelievable "absolutely, we'll definitely make money on a Men In Black film when the budget was only $300 million. Everyone loves Will Smith".

Source: fame/flynet


Daz vidania motherf*%&!r

So here I am in the south of England, tired after a long train journey and hot from walking past southern people talking about typical southern things like "oh yummy, jellied eel" and "I'm going to withhold all public funding from the north and the rest of the UK so that I can build another gherkin/giant spinning eye thing" and I completely forgot to check the news.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that the train had not only taken me to England but also back in time to the Cold War Era,

There was a time when Soviet officials would plant stories in their pliant press or concoct honeytraps to bring down an out-of-favour diplomat. These days, the Russian state heads straight to Twitter.

Late on Monday night, the Russian foreign ministry launched an unprecedented attack on Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Moscow, unleashing nine tweets in the space of an hour.

"The foreign ministry is utterly shocked at US Ambassador Michael McFaul's remarks during a speech to students at the HSE," the onslaught began, referring to a speech last week on US-Russia relations to Moscow's Higher School of Economics.

The foreign ministry continued by saying McFaul had issued a "deliberate distortion" of numerous aspects of US-Russia relations, slamming him as "unprofessional" and calling out US ownership of a military base in the ex-soviet state of Kyrgyzstan.

By this point, it seems, McFaul had had enough. He took to Twitter to reply that his university talk had "highlighted over 20 positive results of 'reset,' that our governments worked together to achieve." He later released slides from the talk, which focused on improvements in US-Russia relations.

Time to make for the fallout shelters people; an argument like this in the past would normally have made the Defcon count go from 5 to 4 but nowadays most analysts will chalk it up to too much Vodka, Jim Bean and testosterone. It's unnecessary to drag a boundary dispute into the argument though. I mean come on, are the Russians missing Kyrgyzstan that much? Do they like hearing about gold mines and riots or something? Hopefully this can get resolved quickly and the Americans and Russians can go back to using the internet in the way they have done in the past; hacking Iran's nuclear infrastructure.


Source: guardian.co.uk


The call of the road

To avoid sounding like some sort of globe trotting layabout (who does nothing but moan and find fault in things) I'm not going to tell you that I'm going on another short break (and won't be writing on here on Monday or next Friday), instead I'll say that I'm...umm...off to save the people of the planet Rann, nope, that's no good...I'm going assemble a group of like minded individuals to help me build a giant statue honouring the wonders of Subway sandwiches...nope that won't wash either...umm...I'm going to solve the world's energy crisis by aiming the light that emanates from my posterior at a giant solar panel thereby saving humanity and ensuring our survival as a species. That'll fool them. Mwahahahahaaaa!




Robin...you look...different

A flamboyant millionaire who philanders his way around town with various hot supermodel types...only he actually lives with a 16 year old boy and a butler who used to be in the army. Pretty suspicious behaviour isn't it!?

If you think that Bruce Wayne might be further in the closet than the land of Narnia you wouldn't be the first person to come to that conclusion. German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published a book called Seduction of the Innocent in 1954 which stated that comic books were a negative form of popular literature and a serious cause of juvenile delinquency. Sound familiar gamers?

Amongst his more ridiculous claims (Superman was an un-American facist and Wonder Woman was a bondage obsessed lesbian) was the slightly more plausible claim that Batman and Robin were gay partners. The comic book world laughed it off but with homosexuality being such a terrifying prospect in the 1950's thanks to McCarthyism (which equated being gay to being a communist) the idea that Wertham planted in people's minds just wouldn't go away.

The Batman/Robin/Alfred situation was still such an issue in the 1960's that ABC added Aunt Harriet Cooper to play Robin's paternal Aunt in the TV series because they were concerned about the gay partners thing. Like adding an old woman to that mix made the situation less gay.

Amazingly the reverse scenario seems to have shocked The Sun so much that they've published an article full of mistakes and factual errors,

BATMAN’S sidekick Robin is due for a sex change – with the part being played by a woman.

The caped crimefighter – played by Burt Ward in the smash hit sixties series – is changing gender for two new animated movies and will be called Carrie Kelly. Family Guy star Ariel Winter will voice the female character, who will make up the dynamic duo with Robocop star Peter Weller in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

The Warners Bros. and DC Comics collaboration, an adaptation of Frank Miller's popular 1986 graphic novel series, will be released as two movies on DVD later this year. Robin, whose male alter ego was Dick Grayson, was also played by Chris O'Donnell in the 1997 movie Batman And Robin, with George Clooney as Batman and Arnold Scwarzenegger as Mr Freeze.

First of all let's clear up some bad reporting and lazy editing. The article states that Ariel Winter is a star of Family Guy. Wrong. She's never starred in that particular show, Alison Maloney (who wrote the article) is thinking of Modern Family. Great start aye? They then went on to spell Warner Bros. and Schwarzenegger incorrectly. Why do errors like this always seem to happen in The Sun? Maybe the only research they've ever done is into mobile phone factory settings...or maybe not, what do I know.

Away from the staggering incompetence that is this article, these animated features could be very interesting. The Frank Miller original was excellent and was one of the first of the mid-80's new wave of realistic and dark comics (along with Watchmen and V For Vendetta) which led to the birth of the modern comic Graphic Novel genre and revitalised the entire comic industry...shame the artwork was shit. I really hope they get a more focussed and coherent team of artists to realise Frank Miller's excellent writing, because the original comic looked like it was drawn by someone who's arms were being manipulated Kung Fu film stunt wires.

Source: The Sun


Bill? Is that you? What are you doing up there?

One thing you could never accuse me of is being unclean. I shower at least once a day, smell divine and keep my living space very neat and tidy. Today I spent a good 4 hours dusting, washing, cleaning and ironing everything I could get my hands on. It's not an OCD thing, it's just something I do once a week to maintain a certain level of comfort.

However, if I had to clean up buffalo and wolf poo on top of all of that, I think I'd just throw in the towel and live like an absolute slob or maybe like Bryan Wilson did from 1973-1975,

A cowboy and his wife have set up home with two buffalo and a wolf.

Wildthing and Bullet live with RC Bridges and wife Sherron (Picture: Barcroft) RC Bridges, nicknamed the Buffalo Whisperer, and wife Sherron count as housemates Wildthing and Bullet, who has not even been potty-trained.

Wildthing acted as best man when his owners renewed their vows in 2006. RC, 63, said: ‘He carried the rings on his horns and threw them off one at a time for us to catch.’

After losing an eye in 2004, the cowboy had to sell his buffalo herd except for the 1,090kg (2,400lb) male. His wife Sherron, 39, makes clothes and headdresses from the animals’ hair. She said: ‘I think if either one of them died, RC would go along with them.’

Bullet, a 410kg (900lb) female, was recently given to the couple after her previous owner found her too hard to control. RC said: ‘He told me if I could catch her, I could have her. Well, I caught her.’ He added: ‘Friends and family aren’t afraid to come over as I keep it all safe. But most of them think I will get killed.’

Can you imagine the equivalent of this in the UK? "Yeah I live with two highland cattle and a fox. It was all good fun until the cows ate the neighbours hedgerow and the fox started killing all the local cats." It just wouldn't happen because the council would step in and take them away. Then again these people do own a farm and farmers are (if popular culture is to be believed) a group of people who constantly complain about not making as much money as their ancestors did and enjoy their image as slightly odd country folk. Two buffaloes and a wolf certainly fit the odd part very well.

Thank God for their friends, they are about the only people close to these two nut jobs that see the folly of all this. If I did something weird, invited my friends around to my place to witness it and they told me that it would most likely kill me, I like to think I'm grounded enough to take that as a valid warning, see the error of my ways and get rid of the potential death trap. Even if it was cute and hilarious to watch on floor tiles.

Oh, and that part about "I think if either of them died, RC would go along with them" that is just brilliant! If it was the other way around do you think the Buffaloes and Wolf would be grief stricken? Would they be crying into your chest and screaming at a deity while looking up at the sky? No. The Wolf would eat you before you rotted and the buffaloes would poo all over your bones because, apparently, they never stop.

Source: furniture.someonewhogivesadamn.org


So are we still on for lunch?

Dogs doing weird stuff? Nope. Amazing film facts? Nicht. Random person acting in a strange manner that catches the attention of the authorities, only for it to be explained away by basic human error? Ne, non, niet! Today we get to see Piers Morgan fucking up again! Yay!

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan once told Jeremy Paxman how to access voicemail messages, the Leveson Inquiry has heard.

Newsnight anchorman Mr Paxman said he attended a lunch at Mirror headquarters in Canary Wharf in September 2002 where Mr Morgan teased Ulrika Jonsson about her relationship with former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, saying he knew about a conversation they had.

Mr Paxman said Mr Morgan explained to him how to access people's phone messages after teasing the Swedish television presenter about the conversation.

Mr Paxman told the inquiry: "He turned to me and said 'Have you got a mobile phone?' "I said yes and he asked if there was a security setting on the message bit of it. I didn't know what he was talking about.

"He then explained the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn't put on your own code, his words, 'You're a fool'."The BBC Newsnight presenter said he remembered the lunch for two reasons: he wondered why he had been invited and because of what Morgan said.

"Mr Morgan was teasing Ulrika that he knew what had happened in a conversation between her and Sven-Goran Eriksson," said Paxman.

Now I know it's fashionable to have a go at Piers Morgan because he's a massively arrogant, pie faced David Frost wannabe who has somehow managed to score high profile jobs in spite of his uncanny ability to fuck everything up, but I'm not going to do that because I bet he has a genuinely excellent come back up his sleeve. This is a guy who worked in the cutthroat world of the British Tabloids for years, I reckon he's got an absolute doozy of a zinger to smash Paxman's claims back into the realm of hearsay and Chinese whispery. Here goes,

"Right - that's the last time I'm inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch."

Ummm...is that it? No outright denial? No finger pointing or cries of being misquoted? No angry shouting while maintaining a nervous grin? I'm sure there will be some sort of response from Morgan through an advisor in the next few days, but it probably would have been more prudent to have waited until that time to say something rather than taking to Twitter to cancel future dining arrangements.

It sounds like an odd lunch anyway; Piers brought Ulrika along to mock her and invited Paxman to the meal so that he could witness a little show put on by Morgan. What did he expect the most fearsome interviewer on TV to do about all of this? Pretend it never happened and have night terrors for the rest of his life?! Evening meals must be an absolute treat at the Morgan household, what with all the mockery and hacking techniques that are exchanged over the dinner table.

The funniest part might be Morgan calling the BBC's 6'3" journalistic rottweiler a 'little wretch'. The last time he insulted someone taller than him he got punched in the face three times at an awards ceremony. I'm sure whoever did that was severely reprimanded by the authorities for their actions. In a totally unrelated series of events it was around this time that petitions started appearing online to get Jeremy Clarkson elected as Prime Minister. The two instances are definitely not (strongly) linked.


Source: The Independent and MSN.co.uk


North Carolina is not going to like this

For years comics have blended escapist entertainment with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) comments on the world they inhabit. V For Vendetta was an indictment on the perceived failures of party politics and Thatcherism, Green Lantern/Green Arrow numbers 85 and 86 entitled "Snowbirds Don't Fly" was the first comic to tackle a rising drug problem in America (Green Arrow's teenage protege Roy Harper became a heroin addict) and Watchmen is so laden with references, comments and analyses of the human psyche that it makes even big name novels that attempt the same themes look positively amateurish.

All of the comics that I've just mentioned were either published by DC or independent of the 'big two' when they were first released. While Marvel haven't avoided difficult issues they certainly aren't considered as daring as DC or some independent publishers can be. That just changed,

Today, fans worldwide learned on ABC’s “The View” that Northstar, proposes to his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #50, on-sale May 23 (tomorrow!!!) in comic stores, on the Marvel Comics app and at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop.

The creative team of New York Times best sellers Marjorie Liu and Mark Perkins have put Northstar and Kyle’s relationship to the test—and now they’re about to take their biggest step yet. But will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth or are there hidden dangers around the corner?

“The Marvel Universe has always reflected the world outside your window, so we strive to make sure our characters, relationships and stories are grounded in that reality,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor in Chief. “We’ve been working on this story for over a year to ensure Northstar and Kyle’s wedding reflects Marvel’s ‘world outside your window’ tradition.”

Hidden dangers around the corner? I think the last person that needs to be afraid of gay bashing is someone with the ability to fly at near lightspeed. All credit to Marvel, they've spent more time planning this fictional wedding than Kim Kardashian did planning hers. It's very brave of them and Axel Alonso (who has the most appropriate name for a comic book Editor in Chief I've ever heard) to publish a story like this when gay marriage has become such a hot topic. The only problem I have with this proposal is Northstar's choice of clothing. You're proposing to the love of your life man, surely you could have taken the time to dress up a little? Put a bloody shirt on, this is a special occasion!

It's also a damn good thing that scary, right wing genius Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man and the inspiration behind the Alan Moore created Watchmen character Rorschach) isn't involved in this story. Back in the 60's he used to draw scenes of Spider-Man swinging past protestors screaming stuff along the lines of "Goddamn Beatniks! Why don't you put your fucking bongos down and get a real job!" which Stan Lee would then change to "I'm with you kids!" immediately turning angry, Republican/Ayn Randian Spider-Man back into quick witted, street smart Spider-Man. If Ditko had been involved in this storyline there's a good chance one of his characters would have either violently intervened or been pictured off in a darkened room crying into the American flag.

Source: lezgetreal.com


OWW! OUCH! ARGH! I think that was my kidney that time

Hello officer, nice to see you this morning, what can I help you with? Loud noises? Screaming?! Yeah...umm...I was erm...slaughtering a baby giraffe. Yes! That's it! I was killing a cute little herbivore. Absolutely nothing else was going on, I swear.

The resident in British Columbian capital Victoria feared her neighbour was in trouble after hearing a lengthy period of loud yelling and shouting coming from the man's basement suite at approximately 5am last Wednesday.

Police rushed to the unidentified man's apartment on Empress Avenue to investigate the call of nature.

After banging on the door of the apartment for several minutes, the unharmed man finally came answered the door to the baffled officers.

Writing on the Victoria Police Department's official blog, Stories Beyond The Beat, deputy chief John Ducker explained: 'When questioned about the amount of noise he was making, the man explained that he had been essentially (in his own different words) on the toilet having his morning constitutional but he was done now.

Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I always thought the word 'constitutional' was used in reference to going on a gentle walk, not squeezing out a fudge dragon. Deputy Chief Ducker might want to rethink his use of that particular adjective, it's not the best way of describing the process of having an aggressive shit. Although if this guy had somehow invented a system that allowed him to go for a walk while still sitting on a toilet then, by all means, arrest him. I don't wanna see that when I'm out walking through the beautiful countryside, there's enough of a poo smell there already.

Hang on...has this already been invented by Davros in Doctor Who? Oh God! No wonder The Doctor thought he was pure evil, he was constantly on the toilet. Are the Daleks a race of lazy people who just want to have the luxury of pooing wherever they are? This whole line of thinking is blowing my mind! Time to get in touch with Steven Moffat, he could turn that into 45 minutes of pure TV magic. Yet another million pound idea from yours truly I think you'll agree.

Source: newsvine.com


Crispian Mills may or may not be a master thief

Does everyone remember Crispian Mills? Sort of?! I thought as much. He was the frontman for annoying mid-nineties band Kula Shaker who did pretty well for themselves until Mills fucked everything up by sort of singing the praises of history's most misunderstood scamps, The Nazi's.

Although most of his comments have been lost to the sands of time I did manage to find an article filled with quotes that Mills refers to as moments of naivety.

First, there was the time he told The NME that "Hitler knew a lot more than he made out," and that "You can see why Hitler got support. It was probably the uniforms that swung it." But my personal favourite has to be what he told Melody Maker later that year "Well, we know that democracy doesn't work. If we had a non-elected body that set the right standards..." Not smart.

While that could be dismissed as cherry picking vague quotes, this extremely detailed article I found, written by The Independent in 1997, strongly suggests that Mills is further to the right than Augutso Pinochet. You'd have thought the son of whiter than white actress Hayley Mills and the grandson of legendary actor (and star of more British wartime propaganda films than any other thesp working at the time) Sir John Mills, would have been a bit more careful with his dalliances in the murkier end of the political spectrum.

But now, after years of doing sod all (despite what his fawning Wikipedia page would have you believe) he's back! Only this time he's not making overrated music, he's making a film! Time to pre-book your tickets kids!

Director Crispian Mills says his debut movie 'A Fantastic Fear of Everything' is all thanks to someone who dropped a Harry Potter camera on his street.

Mills who is better known as singer/guitarist from bands Kula Shaker and Pi and The Jeevas got his big break in the movie business, after he found a camera that had been lost from the Harry Potter production in the gutter in the street outside his house.

After returning it to the grateful team he was invited to the set and ended up meeting future producer Geraldine Patten, who was working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The two stayed in touch and ended up working together.

Mills said he owes alot to the person who dropped the camera and he told movieScope: "Every stage of the way, whether it's writing, casting or production - certainly investment - seems to have a life of its own, you have to have faith that things are going to find their way, almost by themselves."

Yeah, because everyone just finds industry standard equipment abandoned in their gutters. Only the other day I found a very expensive camera and cameraman just left at the top of my drive. I rescued the camera and the guy holding it, made him a nice cup of tea, returned them to the studio they came from and, wouldn't you know it, I'm now making loads of money because the studio took a shine to me! I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that my family have been involved with the film industry since the 1930's, or that I swiped that camera and kidnapped that cameraman in the first place, oh no! I have no idea what the word nepotism even means. Isn't that where you sleep with dead people? No, I got that job because I found a camera and returned it. My name is Crispy Crispian Mills and I'm great!

(One last thing his new film is about a frustrated writer who becomes obsessed with murder and murdering people, remind you of any historical figures Mills may have mentioned before?)

Source: itn.co.uk and The Independent


Wait, being my own boss is bad for me now?

Oh yeah! That guy knows the score! You can hear him now can't you, "yes, I know it's frustrating that you've been on hold for 45 minutes lady, but have you tried turning your computer on and off? You have? Ok try doing it again." Kings amongst men the lot of them.

I love being able to work from home; not only does it save me the stress of having to travel around North Wales (where you run a constant gauntlet of OAP's, boy racers, and god damn caravans) but it also means that I don't have to deal with bosses who, by and large, are the most hateful breed of bastards on this or any other planet.

Unfortunately it now seems that my way of life is under attack from some parenting group who think they know better than me. Just because you squatted out a fetus doesn't mean you can tell me what to do you bloody breeders.

Mothers face unexpected side-effects when they work from home, including higher energy bills and having more washing-up to do, according to a new study. A survey of almost 900 members of parenting group Mumsnet also found that many had problems concentrating on their work.

Almost a third of those questioned said they struggled to juggle working from home with looking after children, and half worried about keeping their working hours under control.

Beverley Maguire of energy firm E.ON, which helped with the research, said: "We know from our research that the transition to working from home is challenging from both a lifestyle perspective and the practical implications it has on your home."

Mumsnet and E.ON published a list of suggestions to help women work from home, saying they should take regular breaks, have a strict routine of working hours and create a separate working space to the rest of the house.

Thanks a load Mumsnet and E.ON, those suggestions will really help me become a far more affective home based worker/layabout. My workspace in the past has always been my sitting room, but now I think I'll construct a papier mache Igloo to work in. While I'm at it I could also keep regular office hours, install a phone line, put in a load of file cabinets and have a joyless 50 year old man shout corporate jargon at me for 8 hours a day. That's just what I need to be happy at work right? Also, can I get paid for being facetious?

Source: pa.press.net


That's some paycheck

Of all the people who have made comebacks in the last 10 years none have been quite as successful as Robert Downey Jr. Being blessed with the kind of charisma most people can only dream of his career got off to a flyer. By 1994 he was firmly established as a reliable A-lister but, sadly, it was around this time that the lure of the self destruct button became too strong, and young Robert went off the rails in a way that made Ozzy Osbourne look like a quaker.

Nietzsche once said that “A man has no ears for that to which experience has given him no access” which, in this case, means people find it hard to understand Robert Downey Jr's actions during his lost years because they have never experienced anything like it themselves.

No one could quite understand why such a talented actor and such an...umm...interesting musician could be so hellbent on ruining his life. That was until the world found out that he had been on drugs since the age of 8. Suddenly everything made sense; drugs, partying and acting were pretty much all he'd ever known.

While most Hotel California style screw ups like Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen get a continuous stream of hate filled abuse for their misadventures, Robert Downey Jr seemed to dodge most of it when he was going wild. This could be down to any number of things but I think it's mostly because he's A. Talented. B. Hardworking and crucially C. Likeable.

Thankfully he's gotten his act together, and his standing in the entertainment industry reflects his incredible turn around when you consider that he has basically gone from a loose canon who couldn't get insured to star in anything, to the most successful leading man in Hollywood.

So, with all that taken into account (and with The Avengers doing so well), he is now in the position of being able to pick up a slightly inflated paycheck...and by slightly inflated I mean it has more digits in it than George Clooney's little black book.

When Iron Man grossed a surprising $585 million worldwide in 2008, Downey’s reps at CAA and the Hansen Jacobson law firm renegotiated a deal to include what multiple sources say is a slice of Marvel’s revenue from future movies in which he plays Iron Man (one source puts it in the 5 percent to 7 percent range; another source disputes the percentage).

As Marvel launched other hero pics that would lead up to Avengers, the studio struck hard bargains. Two sources say Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo all signed on for small upfront fees and ultimately will make about $2 million to $3 million on Avengers with bonuses. Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, who signed deals to pop up in several Marvel movies, are said to be making about twice that for Avengers with bonuses.

Doing some quick guess work (which seems to be what the Hollywood Reporter has done here anyway) it looks like Robert Downey Jr will earn between $50 million and $80 million for his part in The Avengers film, which has already made $1.1 billion and is literally days away from overtaking the last Harry Potter film to become the eleventh most successful film of all time. Hard to believe that it's only been out for 19 days.

Simply put, Downey will make more than every other Avenger, even if you combined all their pay and then doubled it. That's a lot of money. Him and his agents should be commended for such a shrewd move. That figure dwarfs the amount of money I made trying to sell condoms to fans at a Star Trek convention. In retrospect that was a really stupid business plan.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter


Ouch! I only wanted a tree!

I think I've mentioned it before, but there aren't too many experiences in life I detest more than going to the supermarket. It's got nothing to do with a hatred of consumerism or the death of local suppliers or anything whiney like that, oh no, it's more to do with the insanity you are forced to endure whenever you go into one.

Screaming children, people smashing into you with their trolleys and a level of confusion and fear similar to what I imagine The Beatles experienced during their LSD phase. You get all that in British supermarkets. About the only thing that could make it more annoying is if you had to run a gauntlet of venomous reptiles while reaching for the Pot Noodles. Good thing I don't live in the States I guess, since that seems to be what they consider a pest problem over there.

An Idaho man's trip to the Walmart garden center ended with a journey to the emergency room. Mica Craig says he was reaching down to pick up what he thought was a stick so he could read a mulch display. Instead, he learned it was a small rattlesnake after his hand was bit.

"I didn't know if i was going to die or not," Craig said. The frightened customer says there was no rattle sound, no markings or anything that would have tipped him off to the snake's presence. Once it had latched onto his finger the snake did not want to let go. A fellow customer saw what happened and rushed Craig to the hospital, where he was treated for the bite.

Fish and Wildlife officials believe the snake likely slithered in from a nearby field and was sunning himself on the wooden pallets that held the mulch.

The best part of this story is the statement Walmart put out which should be called "Ambiguous Responses to a Crisis for Dummies"

"We apologize that Mr. Craig had this experience. We're looking into how this could have occurred. Upon hearing of this incident, we immediately contacted EMTs so Mr. Craig could have the proper medical attention.

"Obviously, we are concerned this could have happened. We've been working directly with Mr. Craig who is appreciative of the store's actions"

Well obviously you're concerned, there are snakes hanging around your stores biting people. If this carries on the best case scenario you could get out of this is Indiana Jones fans will start showing up to have their pictures taken in front of the snakes while saying "Why did it have to be snakes?" Fortunately for Walmart the guy who got bitten is such a massive redneck he'll probably settle out of court for a crate of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a season ticket to all Nascar events and a Crystal Meth Lab.

Source: Kare11.com


ER, yeah, definitely gotta watch ER

Dustin Hoffman, seen here trying to eat a swarm of flies, has lived a pretty full and amazing life. He had a reputation in the early stage of his career for being a bit difficult to handle but as time has gone on he's calmed down a lot and taken his place amongst the best actors in the history of cinema.

On top of being an excellent thesp he's also a political activist, a survivor of a bombing and has hung out with some of the coolest people in history. He was roommates with Gene Hackman for years, entertained a large group of paps in front of a restaurant with Billy Connolly and Robin Williams and helped Paul McCartney come up with the song "Picasso's Last Words" by giving a toast at a dinner party. Now we can add life saver to that list of accomplishments,

MOVIE legend Dustin Hoffman saved a jogger’s life after a heart attack.

Dustin dialled 999 and tended stricken Sam Dempster when he collapsed in London’s Hyde Park. Sam — who is recovering — said: “I want to say ‘Thank you’ to Dustin Hoffman. He saved my life.”

Lawyer Sam had suffered a heart attack like miracle soccer ace Fabrice Muamba. His heart stopped while he was running — as happened to Bolton star Muamba in an FA Cup tie at Spurs in March.

Oscar winner Hoffman, 74, who starred in hit 1970s film Marathon Man, then stayed by his side for 15 minutes as paramedics carried out CPR. Dustin said: “Great job, guys” after Sam’s heart started beating again. The Hollywood star — who has a £10million home in nearby Kensington — only left once Sam had recovered.

I've had to cherry pick quotes from this story because The Sun go round and round in bloody circles about how much of a hero he is and how similar this is to Fabrice Muamba and blah blah blah, we get it already, he's a fucking hero. Stop dragging the story out! Dustin Hoffman is just one of those people who always seems to have cool stuff happen to him. It would probably be a different story if the jogger had died though, then The Sun might have led with "Dustin Hoffman helped non-ischemic heart disease kill a man" which would have caused the letters page to explode with the usual "hunt him down and hang him" post they normally get at that paper.

This is the perfect opportunity for me to show you conclusive proof of his coolness by providing you with a link to an audio clip from the 2003 Empire Magazine awards ceremony where a drunk Hoffman hijacks his lifetime acceptance speech so that he can turn comic genius Johnny Vegas into his own personal jester for the evening. For that reason alone this guy deserves a statue next to Gandhi's in Tavistock Square Garden, London. I mean did Gandhi ever save a jogger? No! He was too busy liberating an entire subcontinent of people from tyranny, big whoop skinny boy.

Source: The Sun


Gimme all your cash or I'll make you drink decaf

In these tough economic times some people will do just about anything to get by in the world. Some might take to selling their bodies on the streets Midnight Cowboy style for money, others will dig great big holes in their garden in the hope of finding the Holy Grail or Jimmy Hoffa's body and some will rob small businesses with the most dangerous substance known to mankind. Caffeine.

A caffeine-loving robber was being hunted today after holding up a newsagents armed with a cup of coffee.

The masked bandit has been dubbed Britain's most carefree raider after casually strolling into the shop holding a mug of black coffee in his right hand then calmly asking the sales assistant to empty the stock of cigarettes into four bin bags.

He also stole cash from the Oasis News store in Wythenshawe, Manchester, before walking out. He did disguise himself in a bandana and a hooded jacket, but he was with an equally casual accomplice who didn’t even cover his face despite security cameras capturing every moment of the 10.45am hold-up on New Year's Day.

Greater Manchester Police today issued CCTV of the raid at the store and said both robbers were 'clearly nonchalant' in their attitude to the raid. A shop assistant at a neighbouring store said: 'We couldn’t believe it when we heard what this guy was carrying when he went into the shop. Normally you hear of robbers carrying guns, knives and coshes - but never one carrying a cup of coffee.

Well you've done it now haven't you Mr. Assistant. Forget about being held up with cups of coffee, every corner shop in Manchester is going to be living in fear of lazy bandits holding them up bottles of Sprite, cartons of juice and the dreaded cans of Dandelion and Burdock.

Really though, what kind of pussy hands over hundreds of pounds worth of cigarettes to someone who's just holding a half full cup of coffee? I honestly hope the person behind the till uses this as incentive to get their backside to a Krav Maga class where they could learn the basics of counter terrorism so that next time someone comes in with a hot cup of coffee as a weapon they will leave the shop empty handed, having just received a free coffee enema.

Source: Daily Mail


The world's greatest boss

Being the boss of my own business (Spectre) I can tell you that it takes a certain level of toughness to manage people. You either have to stroke the egos of the sensitive ones or appear stern and serious to motivate the lazy ones.

It's all there in Sun Tzu's The Art of War, which has been so useful over the years, I've used it's wisdom and knowledge countless times when I had to beat someone over the head with a lightweight book that wouldn't leave a bruise.

While that might sound like cruel and unusual and the sort of thing Bing Crosby might have done to some people, I'm sure this guy would have agreed with my harsh style of leadership.

The outspoken head of Ofsted has hit out at teachers who complain their jobs are "too stressful" and make excuses for poor performance.

Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested head teachers needed reminding what stress really was. Speaking at an education conference, he said heads were better paid and had more power than ever before.

But the ATL teaching union said official figures demonstrated how stressful teaching can be. Sir Michael told a conference of independent school heads in East Sussex that in the past, poor teaching and poor performance had gone unchallenged.

He went on: "We need to learn from this and challenge those who have power invested in them to make the difference, but too often make excuses for poor performance - it's just too hard, the children are too difficult, the families are too unsupportive, this job is far too stressful.

"Let me tell you what stress is. Stress is what my father felt, who struggled to find a job in the 1950s and 1960s and who often had to work long hours in three different jobs and at weekends to support a growing family.

"Stress is, I'm sure, what many of the million-and-a-half unemployed young people today feel - unable to get a job because they've had a poor experience of school and lack the necessary skills and qualifications to find employment."

Nice going mate, now you've lost the support of most of your members. So what if you're right and teachers do occasionally bitch a bit too much and there is an entire generation (actually two generations really) who are staring into the abyss of fuckedom, we don't need reminding about it from you, we're not blind! You think we can't see what's going on around us? Everyone already knows that, for the time being at least, it's bloody tough out there. The more we get people like you talking about it the worse it gets because comments like that only cause the stock market to crap itself even more.

Besides, teachers do have stressful jobs; all the extra long holidays in the world can't make up for the fact that without the threat of a thin piece of bamboo kids can swear at and abuse their teachers far more than they used to. That must be soul destroying. At Spectre I just press a button and the cheeky bastards get flushed down a fiery hole in the floor or a bridge separates and slides them down into a pool full of piranha. You see Mr. Wilshaw, that's what you need, threats of violence. If you say controversial stuff it'll just piss people off, but if you threaten them with a fiery death they'll do what you tell them! I got that one from The Art of War under the section "Laying Plans and Building Fiery Holes of Death, foreword by Kim Kardashian".

Source: BBC


At least you can have a chat with the toilet

Thanks to my wild and crazy lifestyle I've done most of the things on my bucket list. I've travelled the world, had lots of girlfriends, given up a high paying job, owned a house, climbed mountains, raised loads of money for charity and punted a food stealing seagull into the air. Now that was a good day.

One of the stranger things I can also mark off is 'walk around a major city and pretend an apocalypse has wiped out all human life except me'.

The story goes like this: Millennium New Years Eve was a particularly miserable one for me. While I was happy to be in Manchester with most of my family I was still crushed over the recent demise of a relationship (the bitch dumped me on Christmas Eve). So I watched the fireworks, cheered along with everyone but was so down in the mouth that I ended up going to bed at about 5 minutes past midnight.

I woke up the next day at about 8am, had a shower and went for a walk around the city to clear my head. For those of you who don't know, Manchester has a population of about 500,000 which would have naturally swelled to about 600,000 for New Years...not that you would have realised that on my walk because there was, quite literally, nobody in the city centre whatsoever. I walked around for a good two hours before I saw a homeless guy and two WPC's. The thought did cross my mind to run up to them and scream "Zombies are coming! Leg it!" but that would probably have constituted lying to police so I resisted the temptation.

While it doesn't sound like a particularly amazing morning the image of a deserted city has stayed with me as clear as day ever since, and the experience really helped to put things into perspective. Now, thanks to the ever escalating technological arms race being waged by America and China, other people can experience this strange piece of Will Smith in I Am Legend therapy that I already have,

A scientific ghost town in the heart of south-eastern New Mexico oil and gas country will hum with the latest next-generation technology - but no people.

A billion-dollar city without residents will be developed in Lea County near Hobbs, to help researchers test everything from intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks to automated washing machines and self-flushing toilets.

Hobbs mayor Sam Cobb said the unique research facility that looks like an empty city would be a key for diversifying the economy of the nearby community, which after the oil bust of the 1980s saw bumper stickers asking the last person to leave to turn out the lights.

Haha! I've always looked to express my opinions to the world in the form of a bumper sticker. It's like Twitter for technophobic rednecks. It's admirable that the U.S. Government is going to invest $1 billion into a city that could have futuristic plumbing, internet and self driving cars because it'll make it all the more relaxing for me when I break in there and take a 2 week holiday alone. It'll be great!

Source: msn.co.uk


The only thing we saw was a dumb looking hamster

Here. In. The. Vast and. Forboding plains...of the Serengeti, we see...ummm...nothing actually. Oh wait, there's something! Oh no, that's just a tree moving in the breeze. Look! Over there! Damn, that's just the other camera crew. Is that something? Hang on, are all the animals hiding behind that one bush?

It's billed as the most ambitious global wildlife series ever undertaken by the BBC – with cameras on four continents filming creatures in their natural habitats. But the only live animals captured in the first of the eight-part Planet Earth Live series were two rain-soaked buffalo... in the dark.

The beasts were picked up by thermal imaging cameras in Kenya – and made up a disappointing five minutes of the 70-minute programme.

Viewers have now called on the BBC to scrap the series for its lack of live animal footage and criticised the ‘inane drivel’ from co-presenter Richard Hammond. One comment on the BBC’s Points of View site said of the Top Gear host: ‘He’s more interested in trying to be funny and should stick to low grade, inane series that he can’t ruin.’

Another viewer posted on The Week’s website: ‘What was built up as a fascinating live series of broadcasts turned into a celeb-led, dumbed-down amalgam of ‘recorded earlier’ and gurning to camera. The first episode, which also featured co-presenter Julia Bradbury in the US, included only about 20 minutes of live television between pre-recorded footage of animals. Another comment to PoV read: ‘So, let me get this right. The only ‘live’ aspect to this show is Hammond presenting the links from a dark and rainy Kenya?’

I'm gonna let everyone in on a little secret which I'm sure most of you have suspected for a while: live TV is very rarely live. If it isn't broadcast with a delay of about 10 seconds then it will usually be padded out by pre-recorded VT bits or rehearsed segments that have been drilled more than a faulty BP line.

It is funny that the BBC ignored the basic rule of live television which is if you're going to do it make sure it's in a controllable environment with subjects that are entertaining. The Serengeti is not a controllable environment and animals at night are not entertaining. If they're not sleeping or shagging (something the BBC can't show live) they're wandering around marking their territory for HOURS. That's pretty much what all animals do when they aren't eating.

The only reason the David Attenborough documentaries are so amazing is because they take months to film hundreds of hours of footage that can be whittled down into 6 hours worth of excellent TV time. Think about it this way: Channel 4 ran out of ideas for a show that, everyday, could cherry pick incidents from 24 hours worth of footage of idiots running amok in a giant house. Am I saying that two barely visible buffaloes are less entertaining than Kinga making sweet love to an empty wine bottle? Yes. Yes I am.

Source: The Metro


I knew I ate healthily!

Salad? Ryvita? Macrobiotic diet? Everyone who eats that stuff on a regular basis can now pucker up and kiss my arse,

A curry ingredient is to be tested on patients to see if it can help fight bowel cancer.

Scientists are studying whether curcumin – found in the spice turmeric – can be safely added to the standard treatment for bowel cancer that has spread after it helped kill cancer cells during chemotherapy lab tests.

Patients with advanced bowel cancer are usually given a treatment called FOLFOX, which combines three chemotherapy drugs.

But around 40-60% of patients don’t respond and, of those who do, side effects such as severe tingling or nerve pain can limit the number of cycles patients can have.

Leicester University's Prof William Steward said: “Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment.

“The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side effects."

All joking aside this is great news; anything that can ease the suffering of people who have cancer is good news, if it means they get to eat a ton of curry's on the side then that's win freakin' win baby! This is why I eat such crap food all the time. Garlic helps prevent cancer, curry's might help cure it and Chinese people live well into their 80's so I'm set for healthy food thank you very much Supersize vs Superskinny you cuisine Nazi's. Now, I wonder how I can justify all the McDonalds I eat?

Source: mirror.co.uk


The world just got a little less fun

"What the fuck happened to my car? Where's the bloody symbol gone? Hey, why have all those children got Volkswagen logo's attached to chains around their necks?!"

That was the main problem people had with The Beastie Boys in the 80's: bonnet ornaments going missing. Everyone else saw past that to the fact that these guys were revolutionary and appealed to such a massive cross section of the world's population that they were one of the best and biggest bands on the planet.

A lot of articles written today have pointed to the big hits they had early on in their careers, but these guys have a back catalogue that most bands can only dream of. Brass Monkey, Hey Ladies, Shake Your Rump, So What'cha Want, Sabotage, Root Down, Sure Shot, Intergalactic, Body Movin', Three MC's and One DJ, all of them absolute classics.

Beyond being a pioneer, Buddhist, Tibetan activist and an all round nice guy Adam Yauch was also a talented director; under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hörnblowér he created many of the bands best music videos when they weren't unleashing ground-breaking videos with the slightly crazy, high pitched genius that is Spike Jonze.

To put into perspective how good this guy was I've included two videos: the first is 'Sabotage' directed by Spike Jonze, which may be the best music video ever made, the second is 'Three MC's and One DJ' directed by Yauch and done in one take. They created a great music video, live, in one take. In their world these guys are peerless. MCA Adam Yauch RIP 1964 - 2012.



The Holiday Snaps

Instead of showing you all of the slides from my short break down south I thought I'd give you the brief highlights in glorious thumbnail form. Will that involve pictures from my visit to the beautiful home of legendary Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli? No, because while I found that fascinating I'm pretty certain the majority of you will be more interested in seeing some of the pictures I took while visiting Harry Potter World, I say some because I took about 400 photos largely thanks to my giddy, trigger happy approach to cataloguing the day in picture form.

I hope all the historians out there aren't too offended that I chose Potter World over Disraeli, he would have approved since he loved books nearly as much as he loved chasing skirt. That last part isn't a joke; he shagged so many women that he made Rasputin look like Oscar Wilde. OH 19th CENTURY SNAP!





An advert made by a cabal of idiots

Racism is bad, mmmkay. As a person who's had lots of friends/girlfriends/butlers from many different ethnic backgrounds I've seen racism first hand and been thrown by the fact that it still exists and shocked that so many people don't seem to realise how soul crushing it is to the person on the end of the abuse.

While we might want to believe the world has been scrubbed clean of this terrible human failing the fact of the matter is there are still groups of people out their clinging on to bigotry because, as they see it, they are performing an act of protest against some mythical society based on political correctness that they don't agree with.

While those people (idiots) are bad enough for still believing that what they are doing is acceptable there is a far more worrying section of society who are far worse because they are fully aware of how terrible racism is but are so stupid they don't seem to realise when they are committing an act of racism.

Case in point: The popchips people, who made a dating advert parody with Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian guy called Raj. That's white Mid Western U.S. native Ashton Kutcher (the man with slightly questionable decision making abilities) brownfacing up to play an Indian guy. It's almost too gob smackingly ridiculous to be true. Only it is, this really happened, and after a massive outcry the CEO released this statement,

“We received a lot feedback about the dating campaign parody we launched today and appreciate everyone who took the time to share their point of view.
our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs. we did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended.”

So there you have it; they were oblivious to the harm this was going to cause while the advert was being filmed, edited and approved by the decision makers. I've Embedded the video below, God knows how long this thing will stay online given the kind of heat it's created but judge for yourself. One thing no one is arguing about is how funny it is. I mean I laughed, like, once...although that may have been a cough...yes actually it was. This advert was so funny it made me cough. Good going Ashton.

Because there's more to life than hyperbole, picking sides and sending the Olympic torch up the highest point in England and Wales with a man that looks like Captain Birdseye.
Why All The Anger?
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