A belated thank you to Dr Heimlech

This weekend saw the passing of Dr Henry Heimlich, famous for his life saving technique. I’m not going to lie reading his brief obit from the Beeb there were two things that hit me (a) surprise, as I thought he was already dead and (b) shock, as I’d assumed the manoeuvre had been around a lot longer.

1974?! It took us longer to work out how to stop someone choking than it did to get to the moon! 

The manoeuvre being used by Mrs Doubtfire

Anyway, I felt bad that he had only just died as I should have probably written and thanked him because without the good doctor’s invention I wouldn’t be writing this post.

Back in the early nineties I was on the yard at primary school eating an aniseed ball and reenacting the death of a minor film character when the sweet lodged itself in my throat and began to choke. Panic rose in my friends and I but we hurried inside and found a dinner lady.

They may have almost killed me but I am now massively craving some

The dinner lady, her name sadly forgotten, kept a cool head and several abdominal thrusts (as the manoeuvre is known as by many) later the red sweet hurled from my mouth, skittering across the school corridor.
So, thank you anonymous dinner lady and Doctor Heimlich, for saving my life and stopping me from being a playground legend and warning against sweets.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


In memory of Alan Rickman. In defence of Emma Watson

This week saw the passing of Alan Rickman, a truly great actor who appeared in many great movies like Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Love Actually, Galaxy Quest, Dogma and Sense & Sensibility, where he oozed dignity and decency as Brandon.

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To a younger generation he will always be known as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series. Leading the tributes were his former costars, including the former child stars of those films.

Emma Watson tweeted several times, one of which included this image and quote.

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It made sense for Watson, a vocal campaigner for women’s rights to post this but she was soon under attack from various tweeters who felt she was out of line for “pushing her own agenda” and exploiting Rickman’s death.

Frankly these comments are utterly daft and disrespectful. These strangers are attacking someone who actually knew Rickman for years for how they grieve and remember him. As fans it hurt us, but for those who knew him it must have been far worse.

Also, why shouldn’t she post this?

All of us can comment on his acting abilities, and I’m sure Watson will praise his skills as a performer. What she’s doing with this quote is showing that as well as being a marvellous talent he was a decent bloke with sensible views.

The quote shows him in a good light, it shows a man who believed in a equality and unlike many online knew what feminism is about.

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Watson probably chose this message because it echoed her views and also because it’s statements like this that are part of the reason she admired and now mourns Alan Rickman.

Exploiting his death? No, just showing why she respected him.

The sad thing is that people felt the need to attack someone and  object to an “agenda” which is about equality and fairness. Read the above definition, that’s what Watson and Rickman support, equal opportunities and rights for everyone.

If you attack that you’re basically coming out in favour of a system which places some above others just because of their gender, and that’s a crap thing to defend.

So, I think Watson did nothing wrong and those objecting come from a position of ignorance or hostility.

In closing, I just want to say Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman, you were a great actor, I never tired of watching you and thanks for all the great work you left us.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Bowie

I don’t know when I first heard David Bowie, but I have a good idea that it was in my Dad’s car. I think a lot of us get some pop music education from our parents and I’m lucky that my Dad had some decent taste. The Stones, Dylan and Neil Young were all artists I heard first on cassette on family holidays or when my Dad gave me lifts.

My Dad had the first half of The Best of David Bowie. It collected the 60s and 70s stuff. My Dad was an old school Bowie fan.

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To me the album was utterly unique, different from anything I’d heard before. A lot of the songs had a weird, spacey vibe which as a budding geek I was onboard with. I loved that cassette.

There were great story songs like the tragic Major Tom adrift among the stars on “Space Oddity” or “Ziggy Stardust” where Bowie took on numerous voices to tell the story of a band falling apart as their guitarist gets caught up in his own hype. To this day both songs captivate me after uncountable plays, and when the opening chords of “Ziggy” kick in I get a smile on my face.

There were the dystopian lyrics of “Diamond Dogs”, the surreal beauty of the imagery in “Life On Mars?”, the iconic “Changes” and my personal favourite “The Man Who Sold The World”.

Over the years I got to know more about Bowie, the showman with the knack of changing style yet remaining distinctly Bowie. I was less fussed on his later songs with a few exceptions (“Golden Years” and “Heroes”) but he remained an interesting and singular talent.

Other stars of the seventies fell from grace or faded away, either becoming old men of music or else trying to maintain an image they couldn’t pull off anymore. Bowie avoided both of these by keeping going, retaining some of his mystery and in the process cementing his position as a pop culture icon.

Bowie was cool, there’s no other way to put it. But not the cool of a fleeting trend, a distinctive coolness that stemmed from the fact he was courageous in his individuality. He didn’t chase trends, he was just David Bowie.

His music will endure and continue to be loved and inspire.

Bowie’s death hit me harder than I expected, not just because I loved his music and realised that we’d lost a true legend, but because Bowie had become linked with my own life, his songs had become what I sing to myself, the things that remind me of places and times.

That’s why musician deaths hit us so hard. It’s because their music goes beyond what they’ve made, it becomes entangled in our lives. They become the soundtrack of our lives, so David Bowie is more than just a guy who made great pop music, he was the third passenger in the car when my Dad told me daft jokes, old stories I’d heard a hundred times and talked about movies.

He was there on nights out when I danced like a muppet to his tunes. And he was there on countless bus trips or essay writing sessions when I needed to tune out and daydream. He may be gone, but the music will still be there, and in a way that means Bowie will never die.

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I’m rambling a little now so i’ll just leave it by saying, rest in peace David Bowie.

Top 5 Bowie Songs

5. “Starman”
4. “Life on Mars?”
3. “Space Oddity”
2. “Ziggy Stardust” (the line “making love with his who, Ziggy sucked up into his mind/ like a leper Messiah” is one of my all time favourite lyrics)
1. “The Man Who Sold The World”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Lemmy

I woke up this morning to the news that Lemmy had died.

Despite the rocker having lived and partied hard for his 70 years, it came as a shock. Lemmy just felt like one of those faces who had always been there, and you kinda felt always would.

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Like most folks my first experience of Lemmy was the burst of fast paced rock genius that is “Ace of Spades”. I can’t remember when I heard it first, but I know I’ve loved it since. That frantic, dashing riff just feels like what rock music should be like, and it’s damn near impossible not to nod along to.

I used to throw myself about to it in rock clubs, air guitared to it in my room and turned it up when it came on, wherever I was.

The lyrics spoke to me and embodied the reckless spirit if rock-

You know I’m born to lose and gambling’s for fools
but that’s the way I like it, baby,
I don’t want to live forever

After the song I discovered Lemmy, an undisputed rock god and legend. His distinctive look, reputation for excess and gravelly voiced charm made him a fascinating character in the pop culture landscape.

I learned about his time with Hawkwind before starting his own band, Motorhead, which is why he became most well known for. Motorhead were a band I fell in love with after seeing them live, supporting Alice Cooper.

They played no-nonsense, head down rock ‘n’ roll with furious pace and Lemmy centre stage. I was lucky enough to see them twice more and enjoyed myself immensely each time, even when Lemmy appeared worse for wear at one Download.

When I decided to get my first tattoo I chose the band’s logo, the monstrous face that appeared on their merchandise, album covers and stage backgrounds.

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My iPod boasts a few of their albums and they’re one of my go to bands when I want a bit of bus headbanging or am just in a bad mood and want something to play really f**king loud.

Lemmy was one of a kind. There was nobody else like him, and I doubt we’ll see anyone else like him again.

Lemmy embodied rock at it’s my best- tough, a little bit dirty and bad, charming and fun. He carried himself like he didn’t give a damn, and was enjoying himself immensely. As music became increasingly dull and pop stars neuteured, sanitised shadows of their forebears, Lemmy was like an enhanced version of the rock star.

He wasn’t the best looking, and others surpassed him in talent, but in terms of attitude, persona and raw rock power, few could match him.

Simply put, Lemmy was a rock star. Possibly one of the best of all time. He’ll be greatly missed and the rock world will be duller without him.

A fitting tribute would be to put on some of his tunes, crank up the volume and go nuts.

Might I suggest “Ace of Spades”, “Eat the Rich”, ” Orgasmatron” or “Killed by Death”. Or Motörhead’s cover of “Louie Louie” and Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl”.

If you feel like something more subdued, I always loved “I Ain’t No Nice Guy”

RIP Lemmy. It just got louder in Heaven.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


The role I’m dying to play

Like a lot of people I have a bucket list (see the link at the top of this page), but rather more unusually I have a post-death ambition as well.
Yes, this topic might be a tad morbid, but it randomly came back to me this week.
I’m not a gloomy person normally, but I have planned for my funeral (songs and stuff) and what I want to be done with my mortal remains (MWG has strong objections to sky burials, donating myself to science and being mulched, so at the moment I’m thinking buried with a tree planted atop me).
However, while most of my body goes underground I have bigger plans for my head. You see, inspired by the pianist Andre Tchaikowsky, I’d quite like to appear posthumously in Hamlet as that fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy, Yorick.

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Tchaikowsky in action with David Tennant

I think that would be kind of cool. My acting career as a live person hasn’t been that amazing (shepherd, the angel Gabriel, a zombie, a king in panto, a giant and a sinner in a Biblical play) so it would be quite cool to grace the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage or a movie.
Unlike Tchaikowsky, however, I’d want a good billing:

And introducing Chris Page as Yorick

I might not be around to see it, but if there’s an afterlife I’d get a kick out of that and I think some of my more macabre friends and family would too.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Mixed Bag: Holy Hypotheticals, Batman

All of these are courtesy of The Daily Post’s Daily Prompts. Prompts paraphrased so I can get this posted by midnight.

Back In School

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic, your adult self is suddenly stuck in the body of a 12 year old. How do you survive your first day in school?

I think this might not be so bad because like Rod Stewart said “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger”, I think when I was 12 I wasted far too much time worrying about what people thought about me and was quieter and shy. I’m still awkward in some situations, and I don’t think anybody is ever completely unaffected by other people’s view of them, but I’m definitely a lot more confident.

I think I was back as twelve year old Chris I’d enjoy it more, although I’d probably wind up in more trouble because I’d probably back talk teachers more. When I was at school there were plenty of times when I had a sarky comeback ready for a teacher but kept quiet, and I’d kinda like the chance to shut a teacher down on their crap.

I think I’d also be nicer and chat to the outsiders and kids who looked like they were struggling, just to let them know someone’s noticed them and maybe make them feel better.

Man in the Mirror

You wake up in a world without mirrors. How is your everyday life effected by this?

At first I thought it would make no difference, but then on further thought it would. I’m not the vainest bloke in the world but I still look in mirrors a fair amount, this is mainly to check for stray food in my teeth, lament the fact that my beard growth is still patchy and, my major use of mirrors, pulling faces. I think making silly faces at myself while I dry myself or brush my teeth would be the thing I’d miss most about mirrors.

Take This Job and Shove it

In honour of Labor Day in the States, tell us the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

Well, I know I couldn’t be a nurse. I think two jobs I definitely couldn’t do are being a lawyer or a carer for the elderly.

Lawyer is a moral thing, I don’t think I could defend someone I thought might be guilty, or live with letting down someone I knew was innocent.

Elderly care is just me being weak. I couldn’t handle the bodily fluids, the death and the depressing sight of someone fading away. I know that sounds grim, but for me the elderly are depressing. I’ve only seen a few people very far along and the knowledge I may wind up like that strengthens my hope that I die before I get old. Forgetting who I am, losing control of my body and all that scares the crap out of me, and I couldn’t watch other people go through it without getting seriously down.

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum

Captain Picard drank Earl Grey, the Dude had white Russians, what would be your signature drink? And how did it achieve this status?

It probably used to be cider. I used to drink gallons of the stuff throughout uni, and still indulge now, but as I’ve got older it’s too sweet and gassy and so I’d probably say that for an alcoholic drink it’s a simple rum and coke. Dark rum, preferably (Sailor Jerry’s or Captain Morgan’s). I like it because rum has a nice warm taste which isn’t as harsh as other alcohol and it works well with the sweetness of the coke.

Non-alcoholic it’s probably tea, milk, no sugar.

Do Nothing

If money was obsolete, would you still work? How would you fill your time?

I thought this one was gonna be easy, but if money’s out of it completely then a lot of the stuff I like doing won’t be possible- without financial incentive there wouldn’t be Costa Coffee, or movies, so my plan of being constantly high on caffeine, reading books and watching flicks doesn’t work.

So I have no idea. I guess if I could get all the food and shelter I needed I wouldn’t work and just bum around a lot, but if not I’d imagine I’d be fighting for survival.

A little pointless today, I know, but I had a bit of blogger’s block and wanted to write something.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Book Review: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

In this book Mary Roach addresses the question of what happens to us after we die. Not in a “is there a heaven? Or are we reincarnated?” way but in a more literal sense. What happens to our bodies after we die? It turns out, that a lot of stuff can happen, especially if you decide to donate your body to science.

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You could end up being cut up in an anatomy lesson, or sat in a car to help improve vehicle safety. Or you could just be left outside in the sun so that they can study decay, which will help them work out how long bodies have been dead.

It’s a fascinating, if morbid book, and provides plenty of “well, I never!” moments as Roach reveals little secrets and facts that the regular Joe doesn’t spend much time thinking about. And she does it all in vibrant, engaging writing which is full of wit and humour. Roach is always able to see the surreal or absurd moments in the processes she investigates and her mind goes off on weird tangents which are highly amusing.

It won’t be for everyone. Death is something a lot of us find hard to talk about, let alone read a whole book about and we probably don’t want to think about what might happen to us, or has happened to people we know, after we shuffle off this mortal coil. And there are a few moments that the more squeamish might struggle with.

Personally, I loved it. Roach goes through all the different ways donated bodies are used, including organ donation, which focuses on one patient who’s organs are collected to aid others. As a card carrying organ donor, I found this to be an inspiring and positive section of the book, with Roach sharing my view that organ donation is the way to go. I also found it odd that the term “organ harvesting” has been dropped because people thought it sounded too celebratory, when really it should be celebrated, as lives are being saved.

Some of the sections are just weird- eating human flesh and juices as medical cures, not only in history but more recently was a touch odd. And the bodies converted into art works was a little bit creepy sounding.

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She also investigates new ways of getting rid of bodies, not cremation or burial but a form of composting, where the body is frozen and then mulched, buried in a biodegradable coffin in order to replenish the world around it. Personally this sounds pretty good to me, and let me go on record that this is what I want to happen to me after I stop being Chris and become the Body Formerly Known as Chris. Mulch me up, plant an apple tree over me and let me live on as delicious cider.

The book ends with Roach discussing what she wants to happen to her body after she dies. It’s interesting, she’s pro-donation and giving her body to science but she raises an interesting dilemma- how far should we go in honouring the wishes of the deceased? If the idea of dissection is painful or unsettling to the relatives is it fair to continue? Should we put more emphasis on the feelings of the living as opposed to the wishes of the dead?

It’s a tough one to call, especially when it comes to how the body is disposed of. In terms of organ donation I think it should go with the dead person’s choice. Apparently around half of families refuse to consent to heart transplants, which is sad as that means we’re only aiding around half of the people we could be.

It’s a book that made me laugh, that shocked me and most importantly made me think. We don’t dwell on death, which is probably healthy, but it’s coming and we should probably think about what we want to happen to our remains after we pop our clogs. There are plenty of ways that even after death we can aid others, and I, for one, think that’s pretty damn cool.

Verdict: A fascinating and wonderfully entertaining book about something we don’t often talk about but will all have to deal with. Roach finds the humour throughout without being disrespectful and it revealed a lot of new stuff to me. Quality science writing that the average Joe can understand. 8/1o.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


News Grab Bag Jan/Feb 2014: Deaths, Names and Badassery

Okay, so I routinely bookmark news stories that I’d like to write about, sometimes they get a post to themselves, but now and then a few smaller ones pile up and I do these News Grab Bag ones, so this is a collection of stories that caught my eye earlier this year but which I never got around to writing about. You may have heard some of them before but I hope you enjoy.

Early contender for badass of the year

It may only be the start of March, but it’s going to take a lot to topple James Grant as 2014’s badass champion.

Grant, a doctor in New Zealand was out fishing when friends when he was attacked by a shark. Now at this point I’d probably lose my shit completely and yell for Aquaman to come to my rescue, but the Kiwis, like their Aussie neighbours, are made of stronger stuff. Grant pulled his diving knife and repeatedly stabbed the shark which was sinking it’s teeth into his leg.

The shark swam off and Grant and friends returned to shore. At which point he did what every self respecting man from down under would- went for a pint. Admitting that adrenalin may have had something to do with it, Grant treated his own wounds with a first aid kit while having a beer before deciding to take himself off to hospital.

Grant shows off his bandage

Grant shows off his bandage

More.

Going out in style

Being a morbid so-and-so I’ve spent far too much time thinking about what my funeral will be like. This mainly revolves around the music selection, although I have given some thought to my coffin. However, none of my ideas are as elaborate as two instances unique funerals that I read about recently.

First up, in Puerto Rico young boxer Christopher Rivera was gunned down. At his wake he was posed in full boxing regalia and mourners were allowed to pose with their lost loved one. It all seems a little weird to me but it’s unique and pays homage to what was an important part of his life.

Puerto Rico Standing Wake

The second story also revolves around what the deceased loved. Over in the States Bill Standley was laid to rest astride his Harley Davidson bike. His sons assisted in building a special coffin which would allow this to happen, after Standley started it while battling cancer. Described as a “quirky man” by his daughter, Standley would show visitors to his home the coffin and tell them his plans, which might seem grim to some but I gotta respect the dude for his creativity and sense of fun.

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Contemptuous laugh

The fact that I’ve never been called up for jury duty is something that bugs me a lot. I think too many court room dramas have left me with an unrealistic impression of trials and how dramatic they are, but even taking this into effect I’m curious to see how the system works and also have dreams of being the sole voice for compassion and decency, Fonda-style.

People who have done jury duty have told me it’s either dull or distressing. Either way, it’s an experience that’s light on laughs.

Or usually it is, but recently in a London court room the judge had to tell the jurors to stop laughing.

To be fair the case they were hearing was a bizarre one. The accused is said to have attempted sex with a sheep after a cow wouldn’t perform fellatio on him. I defy anyone not to read that sentence and not snigger, it ranks high on the weird crime stories I’ve heard.

More.

Well nobody can say they didn’t see it coming

There’s an obscure passage in the Bible about the handling of the snakes, which I’m only aware of because I read The Years of Living Biblically. Some Christians have taken this line to believe that God’s love will protect them from snake bites and snake handling preachers exist, who handle venomous snakes as part of their services.

It’s attention grabbing to say the least and there’s even been a TV show in the USA, which features Jamie Coots. In a tragic, if unsurprising turn of events, Coots died in February after being bitten by a snake.

I’m not religious and so this practice strikes me as extremely bizarre. For one it feels a bit presumptuous to test God’s love for you, I mean, I know the Christian almighty is a caring dude but that seems to be pushing it. If God does exist he’s got enough on his plate without having to deal with folks who are putting themselves needlessly at risk just to prove a point.

My sympathies go out to Coots’ loved ones, but I can’t help feeling that this was a stupid way to go out and this sort of practice really needs to stop.

Coots

Coots

Out for Justice

The Sochi Winter Olympics finished recently (the Paralympics kick off this week) but in the run up there were a lot of fears about the safety of the games, with terrorist attacks and the usual problems of having a high profile event coming into effect. It was debated in the media and it’s the type of situation where you need experts to come in and discuss it. You know the type- ex-military types, or security officials from previous games.

But Russia Today clearly decided they needed something more. They needed someone with real experience, a man who’s taken on the mob, terrorists and saved the lives of a battleship’s crew. What a guy, right? The problem is that these weren’t one guy. They were several guys, all fictional, with one linking factor. They were all played by the same ponytailed ass kicker.

Yes, I’m talking about the man, the legend, Steven Seagal.

Calm down everyone, Russia's gonna be alright!

Calm down everyone, Russia’s gonna be alright!

Russia Today went right to the big guns for advice on how to keep the games safe.

Subtitle fail

Oops.

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What’s in a name?

I always feel bad for people with daft or unusual names. At best you’re gonna waste time telling people how they’re spelt, or else face open ridicule because your parents didn’t think it through.

I don’t go in for governments telling people how to live but I’ve always felt that there should be naming office and when particularly moronic names come up they get to veto it. “You want to call your kid ‘Pineapple’? Yeah, his name’s gonna be Jeff”.

So I was kinda pleased that down Mexico way they have a rule that “prohibits giving children names that are derogatory or that don’t have any meaning and that can lead to bullying,”.

That quote comes from the Civil Registry director in Sonora, Cristina Ramirez. Already failing to get by are Rambo, Facebook and Lady Di, the last kid in particular dodged a bullet there.

I’m all for it. I mean, you might think it’s cute, but your kid’s gonna have to deal with it their whole life.

Overdue

Younger readers might not know this, but we used to have these things called VHS cassettes which had movies on. And not only that we had shops that would rent you a movie for a night or two. Kind of like a library.

Like a library they had fines if you were late getting them back. Which is fair enough. I once went overdue on Anaconda and had to pay an extra £2, it was worth it though because I love that movie.

I think it was the one time I was late taking it back and once the fine was paid it was done and dusted.

But what if you went overdue by a long time.

And lived in a country as daft as the USA.

Well, you could wind up like Kayla Finley, of South Carolina, who went to a sheriff’s office to report a crime only to be told she was a wanted woman. The reason why there was a warrant out on her? She hadn’t taken a video back 9 years ago.

Ouch, that’s gonna be a hefty fine.

Finley was understandably miffed about the whole thing, especially as she was jailed overnight. She’s due in court and aims to fight the case.

Adding salt to the wound is the fact that her undoing might be down to Monster in Law, a painful failure to make a comedy and a black mark on the careers of it’s leads Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez.

ngb monster in law

Hopefully the matter resolves itself easily, and Finley just has to pay a minor fine. I can’t see them asking for too much because, well, it’s not like they’d have got much demand for a VHS copy of this movie in recent years.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Nan

Last night my Nan passed away.

She was 78 and had been admitted into hospital earlier in the week after chest pains which turned out to be her second heart attack. Late last night my Mum was called to the hospital.

I didn’t find out about it until this morning because I was at a friend’s with my phone off.

Needless to say it’s hit me pretty hard. My Nan was easily one of my top 1o favourite people in the world. She was unbelievably sweet and kind, and almost every single memory I have of her is a good one. This lovely woman raised my Mum, which is a testament to how good a person she was, and my Uncles, who are all tidy blokes.

All my life she has been a loving and kindly presence. She was a wonderful grandmother to have, and not just because she spoiled me, my sisters and my cousins rotten. A visit to my Nan’s wasn’t complete without her bullying you into having another biscuit or sweet, or slipping you some cash.

nanpost

But even without this she was a wonderful Nan to have. She’d let us mess around in the house as kids and read us Enid Blyton stories, loved to hear what we were all getting up to and wonderfully supportive of us in everything we pursued. She always had a kind word for us all, and would often pay me compliments on my weight loss as she forced another cake on me.

My Mum and big sis tell me that when they saw her yesterday she was in a good mood and unafraid. I like to think that she’d made peace with what was coming, and while not eager to go went peacefully and easily. If there is a heaven, she’s definitely up there, probably tutting at how long Jesus’ hair is and asking Elvis if he wants another Viennese Whirl.

Luckily I saw her about a week ago, and at home, where she was in fine form and chatted away with us, so my last memory of her is a happy one. In a way, I can’t help thinking it’s a good thing that the end when it came was fairly quick. She was only in hospital a couple of days, so it wasn’t a painful, protracted experience for her or our family. It’s understandably hit my Bampa hard, they’d lived together as man and wife for 58 years, and I can’t imagine what he’s going through, but luckily it seems to have rallied the family and my Uncles are taking care of him. My Mum has gone to visit him today, and I’m planning to see him tomorrow.

Not only have my Uncles stepped up but niceness seems all around, my mate, Llyw was wonderfully understanding and gave me a lift home this morning because I wanted to be with my Mum. When I got home two of my Mum’s friends had turned up with cake to see if there was anything they could do to help. This kindness and willingness to help was extremely heartwarming.

I’ll miss my Nan, and probably be a total mess at her funeral, but I’m trying to stay strong and remember what a wonderful lady she was and what a blessing it is that she passed away peacefully and without undue suffering. Rest in peace, Nan.

Don’t worry, normal trivial service will resume tomorrow.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


News Grab Bag: Infighting, Ignorance and Insensitivity

Sham(pagne) Marriage

A lot of people have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that their kids are gay and may not provide them with grandchildren. If what I’ve learnt watching Mulan and various kung fu movies is right, this must be even tougher in China where family is very important. I think the parents should get over themselves, but I can appreciate that it can be quite tricky at first to get used to it, although I’d like to think people have the sense to overcome this surprise and realize that if they love their kids they should support their kid and want them to be happy.

Clearly disagreeing with me is Chinese billionaire Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, who so wants his lesbian daughter Gigi to get hitched and continue the family name he’s offered a $40 million “marriage bounty” to any man who can woo his girl down the aisle.

Daddy Tool- Cecil in his crib

Daddy Tool- Cecil in his crib

This is a bit tricky as Gigi has been with her partner for 7 years and rumours that they actually got hitched last year. Clearly, Cecil thinks that this must just be a passing phase, in an interview where he walked around his mansion Cecil stated:

She can choose whatever she wants. But anyone who comes along to pursue Gigi, we will give them a moderately deluxe life. I would not force her to marry a man. But obviously I would, from my point of view, prefer her to be married and to have grandchildren

Hardly the most sensitive or supportive statement I’ve ever heard, and there’s the nasty taste in your mouth that he’s trying to sell his daughter. Although 33 year old Gigi (a bad enough name for anyone but must be especially awkward for a grown woman to bear) seems to be understanding. When the bounty was first floated last year she commented:

My heart is taken. I am happy. And he knows I am happy. He just wants me to be more happy.

Which, is a wonderfully restrained and nice way of looking at her dad’s actions.

Cecil appears to be even more of a hypocrite when you bear in mind that he’s commented “It’s safer not to be married” because your ex-wife can clean you out and also brags about bedding 10,000 women. I’m guessing if he was a poor man his numbers might not be so good.

That being said, if I was Gigi I’d be tempted to hook up with a male friend, fake it for a bit and then split the cash and get out from under daddy’s influence and live as I wanted.

Civil War

It must be tough being an Arsenal fan. Your team plays competently enough and is consistently hailed as one of the most attractive teams to watch, and your manager Arsene Wenger was vital in turning the fortunes of the club around and making you one of the big boys. Wenger is a legend to the Gunners’ fans, but at the same time it’s been a while since they actually grabbed some silverware (8 years this summer) and it’s unlikely any will be added soon, although they are still in the mix for the FA Cup.

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

So, you can understand that some Arsenal fans might be thinking it’s time for a change of leader and to try a different approach, and to show this some fans made a banner:

ngbarsenal

Quite polite considering the usual signs you see at football matches:

Stay classy, Liverpool

Stay classy, Liverpool

However, this caused some tension and there are reports that Arsenal fans began scrapping with each other as tempers flared at their weekend 3-2 victory over Brighton. Personally, as a non-Arsenal fan I think the bannermen have a point and it might be time for Wenger to leave, as the longer he stays the more he’s going to alienate fans and tarnish his legacy.

Always read the label

A Newcastle university lecturer has got done for vandalizing cars with what’s been described as “polite” graffiti, including phrases like “very silly”, which he keyed into the side of cars. I can’t help feeling this is a stretch of the definition of polite and really the only polite form of graffiti is post-it notes as those can be removed without hassle or permanent damage.

The guy in question stated that he had no recollection of the events and blamed a bad reaction to a mix of booze, prescription meds and antibiotics, proving that when you’re on meds you should probably lay off the booze, the wally.

We need more zoos

When I was a kid one of the first things you learned was how to recognize animals. From the everyday ones (cats, dogs, horses, cows) and then on to your more exotic ones. One of the first and most memorable ones was the lion. Being British lions crop up quite a bit on logos and in statues and they’re still kinda trading off the fact they look majestic and regal, earning the “king of the jungle” tag.

However, it would seem that my education was not the norm and that some people have definite problems recognizing the big cat. A few weeks back a town in Virginia was struck by panic as reports of a lion roaming the streets spread and the police were contacted. It turned out that it wasn’t a lion but rather Charlie the Labradoodle.

Here’s Charlie:

ngbcharlie

And here’s a lion:

ngblion

I’m not going to do one of those tedious “aren’t Americans stupid?” rants because (a) I don’t like those kind of views and (b) while there are idiotic Yanks, stupidity is a global problem and last year in Essex there was a similar lion panic caused by somebody seeing a long haired cat. So, maybe the key is to just spread more awareness of what a lion actually is and more kids should watch David Attenborough documentaries.

What a way to go…

A woman in the state of Washington has been accused of killing her boyfriend by smothering him with her breasts. Donna Lange, 51, apparently argued with her fella, and then used her superior size to kill him with her boobs.

It sounds like something from a Russ Meyer movie, especially when the incident took place in their trailer. It’s probably not as fun as it sounds, but still, smothered between boobs is definitely one of the nicer ways to go I’d imagine.

This isn’t the first time someone has been smothered by boobs, a while back the UK had a similar story with a happier ending:

ngbclaire

And in that incident the busty almost-killer, Claire Smedley translated her notoriety into a career in porn.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.