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October 06, 2010

Gamu Nhengu to be deported?

Gamu Nhengu facing deportation after X-factor rejection

Gamu Nhengu - X-factorGamu Nhengu was last week famously rejected by everyone's favourite Newcastle charm, Cheryl Cole. It came as a big surprise for those with a secret guilty love for the reality show, because she was such an excellent singer. Cheryl's since faced accusations of racism (not sure I'd agree), but now Gamu's facing a bigger heartache than Cheryl's bad judgement: deportation.

The UKBO has refused Gamu's mother permission to remain in the UK and it looks like Gamu and her mother will soon be forced out of the UK. It's a sad situation but the problem isn't necessarily with the immigration officials - they're merely enforcing the law - the problem is with the law itself.

I doubt Gamu will be seeing a reprieve unless the X-factor judges renege on their decision and invite her back, presumably with accompanying visa benefits.

May 15, 2007

Song of the Week: Naruto Shippuden

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Naruto ShippudenThose of you who are fans of Naruto will no doubt already be watching Naruto: Shippuden and will have already heard the song I'm linking. It's performed by some sort of rap/pop band and it's really quite catchy. I'd recommend closing your eyes when it plays because all I can think of when watching them dance like smacktards is "Kevin Federline crossed with Jin". It's a nice song - give Naruto: Shippuden a watch!

April 01, 2007

Bush and Blair, the hypocritical pair.

Writing about web page

President George W Bush has condemned Iran's "inexcusable behaviour" after its capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel.

Mr Bush told reporters at Camp David: "The British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water.

"And it is inexcusable behaviour.

"And I support the prime minister when he made it clear there were no quid pro quos. The Iranians must give back the hostages."

(I have edited out irrelevent portions and all parts in bold are my emphasis)

I've been watching BBC news this morning and, without even a trace of amusement (or bemusement), the newsreaders skip from Bush announcing that Iran must free the "British Hostages" to a story of a British "Detainee" realeased from captivity in Guantanamo Bay after five years. This is all amid a deeply sickening fiasco where the US is explicitly refusing to extradite CIA Agents accused of kidnapping (part of the illegal "extraordinary rendition") EU nationals from Germany and Italy. The US is even threatening to withold intelligence from the nations if they persue the extradition requests. 


March 28, 2007

Ruth Badger – Still Thick

Ruth Badger ShirtI used to be an avid follower of the US Apprentice back in its first and second seasons. It used to be reasonably high-brow for its market (ie reality TV show) and it was often genuinely interesting... it has since descended into an epic crapfest. While the show still pays homage to the idea of a business competition, the producers and apparently Trump himself, seem to believe that, in order to boost the ratings, the show should cynically be a weekly, extended advert, with ten minutes spent on the task, ten minutes on backbiting, and then the next half an hour on the "exciting" boardroom.

Yes, I do still watch it. I don't really know why and after each episode this season I feel like punching myself for sitting through it. But what has annoyed me and still annoys me most about the American Apprentice? The ridiculously overused catchprases.

I haven't conducted any scientific surveys but I hear this, without fail, every single episode:

1) I (will/have/am) step(ping/ped) up to the plate.

2) I (will/have/am) give(/ing/gave) 110%

There are others... but I'm sure any of you who've watched  the US Apprentice will agree that these two are the most annoying.

So it annoys me when I flick on the UK Apprentice which, either through virtue or inability, has somehow managed to keep away from being a complete advert for Trump/Whoever's paid the most this week, and I see them saying exactly the same things...


Anyhow, what does this have to do with Ruth Badger (last season's runner-up)? Well in tonight's after-show discussion, Ruth decided to make an appearance and bring her winning (wait... she lost?) advice to the "loser" of tonight's show...

Anyone remember the best bit of last season? Mani vs Ruth in the boardroom?

Mani: ( Ruth's Authoritarian )

Ruth:  "What's that supposed to mean?"

Mani: “Look it up in a dictionary! I don’t have time to explain it to you!”

Beautiful. For those of you who had given Ruth the benefit of the doubt last season, she responded to the first cliche ("I stepped up to the plate")... with "You may have stepped up to the plate, but you didn't eat your dinner"...

What the hell? Now either she thought she was being clever, but in reality being retarded, or she is actually genuinely clever and she is playing around with etymology for too sophisticated for the audience to properly understand.

I'm going with what the t-shirt says. 

February 11, 2007

The Genius of DS9

Writing about web page

Star Trek CastOK yes it's a Star Trek post. It's not going to turn into one of those Picard vs Kirk posts (Picard by the way). I just had to express how brilliant this series is.

I haven't seen it since I saw the final episode back when it aired on Sky One. If you didn't have Cable or Sky you'd have to rely on terristrial TV... and anyone who spent their youth as a Trek fan yet lacked access to Sky 1 would find themselves relying on BBC2. And the problem with BBC2 was we'd frequently encounter this message:

"We're sorry to all our regular viewers/Star Trek fans, but this week's episode has been cancelled. Now we bring you snooker."

Yes... Snooker. The Non-Spectator Sport. It was the bane of my youth. How happy I was when I had access to cable! The deliciousness of Sky One. All those Trek repeats! Buffy followed by Angel!  New episodes of DS9 and Voyager up the wazoo. Those were good times. Good times.

Anyhow, I haven't watched it in many years and then a post a wrote a post a month ago that rekindled my passion for the show.  I went out to the Silk Market and obtained for a very reasonable price what appear to be all 7 seasons on DVD. I'm now half-way through season five. And I can only say that age has bettered the series.Worfs1

Unlike The Next Generation (henceforth TNG!) and Voyager (VOY) Deep Space Nine (DS9) has aged very well. Look back to the first series of TNG and while the first episode(s) will give you a jolt of nostalgia followed by a Patrick Stewart-induced (what an actor), you'll laugh your head off at the ludicrous eighties make-up and the frequently boring plots (saved by the acting). Voyager has remained the same as it always was, as irrelevent as it always was.

But watching DS9 at the same time as Season 6 of 24, it made me think how wonderfully DS9 addressed both issues of the time and issues of the day in what is often a more tactful, humourous and balanced way than TV shows of today (ie like 24).  Let's see what's covered:

1) Torture - Garak attempts to torture Odo.

2) Occupation and Resistance - Bajor and Cardassians.

3) Complex international politics - The interplay between the Federation, Klingons, Cardassians, Bajorans, Romulans and the Dominion.

4) Racism, Race-relations, interracial marriage and friendships - this theme occurs frequently eg Sisko as "Emissary", Jake and Nog, Rom and Leeta, Dax and Worf etc.

5) Creationism vs Science in schools - Vedek Winn vs Keiko O'Brien.

6) Freedom vs Security - When the founders start showing themselves on earth.

7) Paranoia and Betrayal - Ben and Yates, Garak.

8) War and the fine line between necessity and war crimes - Biological warfare committed against the founders.

9) Terrorism vs Freedom Fighting - this theme is often explored in episodes delving into Bajoran/Cardassian relations.

10) Religion vs Scepticism - the whole Prophets arc is beautiful. Aside from the moments in the wormhole where "linear' is used far too many times, I love the way Sisko balances his skepticism with at least partial belief (for example when Sisko has the vision concerning Bajor entering the Federation.

I've gone through some of the general themes and would love to hear more from you guys about which themes you consider particularly relevent in today's world. But since 2001 I think DS9 has become even more modern than it once was. Despite the odd crappy episode ("Filler" nonsense that plagues every series, like the episode on Risa - bleh) we see a strong series of episodes. We see continuinity in nearly every episode and, moreUSS Defiant importantly, we see constant growth.

Growth? In what way? Well like TNG, the first couple of seasons are interesting and exploratory. Like a baby on its first footsteps. The acting is generally good, but sometimes the actors are struggling to find the niche of their character. In the first season Siddig al-Fadil is clearly a bit over-the-top. It fits in well with his character I guess ( a brilliant doctor seeking to impress). But the acting flaws are present in all of the characters. But it makes their growth all the more impressive. By season three they are all truly comfortable with themselves and they compliment one-another. The acting continues to develop along with the make-up, specifial effects, plot and uniforms!

TNG was good. The acting was superb - practically everyone on the bridge except for Marine "Eye-candy" Sirtis was consistently wonderful. DS9 was brilliant and the acting matched the plots (with the exception of late addition Ezri Dax who made me want to punch her every time she spoke). VOY was like a stagnant pond. No real growth. Ensign Kim of season 1 was the same Kim of season 7. The only real change in VOY was the inclusion (and ruination) of the Borg.

DS9 knew what the audience desired and delivered it. We had great acting. Great plots. Consistency (of a kind - DS9idiots like me will notice how Sisko claims his father is dead before his father somehow works its way into the plot). Some fantastic CGI warfare. Lovable characters. Extraordinary scripting.  I don't know if it won any awards but by hell did it deserve to.

So if you're a Star Trek fan, dust off your old videos or invest in the DVD collection and watch DS9 once again, juxtaposing your nostalgia with moments of "Wow I wish Bush, Blair and the Israelis would watch this!" If you're not a Trek fan then give this a go. It's really worth it. And it reaches its peak when Sisko shaves off the 'fro and dons his magnificent goatee and everyone wears the Dominion War Uniforms. 

Oh and sorry Holly, but Voyager is a bit rubbish :P. 

January 31, 2007

That has to be more than seven years of bad luck…

Writing about web page\01\27\story_27-1-2007_pg9_12

A 2,500-year-old mirror worth £500,000 was dropped and smashed on a Chinese TV show. A model was showing the ancient mirror to the audience when it slipped from her hands and fell to the floor. It shattered into pieces, shocking the audience - especially owner Chen Fengjiu who was sitting in the front row.

Ouch. That mirror managed to survive not only the Warring States Period  (战国时代), but also countless other wars. It predates even the first unification of China. 

And it's destroyed by a hapless model. Oh dear.


Someone's not keeping her job

>Image Source: Pakistan Daily Times >

January 30, 2007

He–Man, She–Ra and Sexual Harrasment

Writing about web page

Saw this video linked on a forum and it made me chuckle a fair bit.

Remember at the end of those '70s/'80s toons, there'd generally be a moral message at the end that was somehow linked to the plot? So if, for example, Skeletor had stolen He-Man's sword, we'd have He-man warning against thievery at the end of the episode, or we'd have Captain Planet and his friends talk to use about the wonders of recycling...

Well I have no idea in what context this moral-of-the-story could have come up:


Do cartoons do this kind of thing anymore? What do kids watch these days? 

January 27, 2007

101 Dumbest Moments in Business

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Some of the best include:


A jury in Fresno, Calif., awards $1.7 million in damages to Janet Orlando, who quit her job with home security company Alarm One after team-building exercises during which she and her colleagues were forced to eat baby food, wear diapers, or submit to being spanked on the butt with a rival company's yard signs.


In June, BusinessWeek publishes a cover with the headline "Bill Gates Gets Schooled" showing the Microsoft chairman in front of a blackboard.

The magazine itself gets schooled when observers point out that Seattle Weekly used the same line and a similar image a year earlier.


In August, RadioShack fires 400 staffers via e-mail. Affected employees receive a message that reads, "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."

Very surreal: such a Dilbert moment.


Mick Woods purchases a package of cooked ham made by British food processor H.R. Hargreaves & Son. After reviewing the complete list of ingredients, which includes "dog s**t," he loses his appetite.

Hargreaves fires the employee responsible for the prank and begins a recall of the mislabeled packages.


Sony runs a billboard campaign in the Netherlands depicting a Caucasian model rudely gripping the jaw of a woman of African descent to promote its PlayStation Portable in "ceramic white."

Sony initially defends the campaign, saying it was meant to "highlight the whiteness of the new model," but later apologizes.


This is one of the more recent problem's Sony's encountered. We've had exploding batteries, racist ads and, perhaps most annoying of all, one of the Sony CEOs had the balls to say "We decide when the next generation [of gaming/tech] begins. Arrogance. 

January 23, 2007

Chinese Idiom of the Day #7: 井底之蛙

井底之蛙 - Jing Di Zhi Wa 

Literal Meaning - Well-bottom's Frog (Frog at the bottom of the well)

Figurative Meaning - A Person with a very limited outlook

Story Behind the idiom:

A frog once lived in an abandoned well along the East Sea. Once, the frog saw a turtle at the edge of the well, and it boasted to the turtle "I can jump around in the mud and swim in the water. What a carefree life! Come down here and join me in my paradise!"

The turtle wanted to go into the well, but it was too big for the well-opening. Then it told the frog, "I live in the ocean which is so wide that you cannot tell the sky from the sea, and it is so deep that you cannot see its bottom. Even if there was a flood lasting several years, the water level would not rise. If it did not rain for years, the ocean would not become shallow. Only when you live in such an ocean can you truly enjoy a carefree life!" The frog was stunned.  

January 22, 2007

Not Impressed

The Apprentice Season 6


The quality of The (US) Apprentice has been decreasing with every season. Season 6 marks the biggest drop in quality yet. We've gone from a reality show which actually seemed relatively professional and grounded in plausible business quests (as far as a reality show of its kind could be) to a Melrose Place Oligarchical Circus where Trump spends one half of the episode masturbating his ego whilst his two half-siblings share uncomfortable and hateful (Freud might say incestuous! I wouldn't) glances at one-another. The other half of the episode is spent with the "Contestants" running around like a group of retarded monkeys. 

The board room is even more ridiculous. The pathetic displays of smarmy toadiness and virtual begging makes me more sick to the stomach than the contestants of American Idol who don't realise that they're embarrassing themselves, their families and anyone who's watching or listening, by begging the "judges" to "give them one more chance".

So what's been going on in California so far? Well they've pitched a tent,  had a car wash, sold bikins and run hollywood tours. OK. They may have had a lemonade-selling episode in the first season but for crying out loud, at least there was a modicum of dignity. Even that Ivanka girl from season three (was it three?) had more dignity in stripping to sell M&Ms than these idiots do in washing cars. 

35 minutes of Trump pimping himself, his products, his hair and occasionally throwing his children a bone. 5 minutes of actual work from the contestants (replete with crappy music and even crappier editing) and 5 minutes in the "boardroom" where Trump tries his best to extend the proceedings by wading around in the shitpot and kicking it about a bit.  

January 16, 2007

The Rise of Alexander Siddig

Alright. I admit it. When I was younger I was a bit of a geek. A bit of a super-geek. NCC-1701 D kind of geeky. And I have to say, I still fondly remember my love of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space 9. In fact, DS9 was far and away the best Star Trek series  in terms of acting talent, plots and effects (sorry Holly :P). Bashir

 Now my favourite character in DS9 was Julian Bashir, brought to life by Alexander Siddig . As a slight aside, it claims that he has been credited as Siddig al-Fadel several times in the past but changed his screen name to Alexander Siddig because no-one could pronounce al-Fadel - I can sympathise ;).  But I distinctly remember that for the first season of DS9 he was credited as something like Siddig bin Siddig.

 Anyhow, I'm glad that his talent is being recognised post-Trek and he's landing some decent, if a little bit pigeon-holed, roles.  In fact I think he's probably the most successful DS9 actor to date. Colm Meany has had a couple of parts. Avery Brooks will be well-remembered for his part in American History X. And Odo cropped up as a gentle pastor in The Patriot. But Siddig has been popping up everywhere of late, probably due to Hollywood's need for more Arabs in film. He's been in the UK series Spooks, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, Syriana and if you're watching 24 as eagerly as Chris Doidge has been, then you'll notice him popping up as a Terrorist-turned-Statesman.

 I hope he continues to get parts. He's got the talent and it deserves to be seen more and more. 

January 15, 2007

Desperate Housewives and Condom Use

Just finished watching Desperate Housewives 2x13. The entire episode seems to be an advert for using various forms of birth control. However one niggling problem is cropping up:

The girl keeps saying that condoms are 85% effective. Which is total bollocks. Condoms effectively reduce the transmission of HIV by about 85%. Condoms are only  85% effective when not properly used but 98% effective when properly used. Bearing in mind that they've made condoms as foolproof as possible the vast majority of that 15% of "typical-use" folk are complete smacktards. 

 This is worrying because it's difficult-enough to encourage condom-use in men these days. If you're going around giving them the impression that it's "only" 85% effective then the typical reaction might be "Oh well if they're not so effective then I may as well rely on her using the pill!". 

Silly buggers. 

 Now remember boys, if you're going to be having premarital sex (and therefore put yourself on a highway to hell) at least don't burden me and other responsible folk with the costs of your unwanted seed and/or STDs.  And girls... remember - no glove, no love... if Santa's got a present, tell him to make sure to wrap it etc. etc. 

Rome : Season 2

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Well the HBO TV Series Rome has kicked off again and it begins directly from when the last series ended. Julius Caesar's body still lies bloody on the senate floor. The several different plot threads begin to retwine.

I think much of the first episode was shot concurrently with parts of the first series.  The luxuriant sets are still aplenty. I guess it's silly to talk about plots when it comes to a drama set in Ancient Rome and at least loosely based on a series of events that have been covered in more dramas, movies, books etc than I care to remember, suffice it to say we see the reading of Caesar's will and the beginnings of tension between Octavian and Marc Antony. Verinus and Pullo aren't forgotten but I don't care so much about their plots to be honest. The Historical action is far more interesting than some Eastenders drama. 


There are a few points to bear in mind:

  • Julius Ceasar's old slave Posca is still the best actor in the show  Posca
  • Brutus still looks like a leukemia patient. 
  • Pompey's son still looks like my old English Lit. Teacher Mr. Marshall

It was a good episode and I think we're all going to enjoy the upcoming political intrigue but it'll be interesting if they try to squeeze all the events between the death of Caesar and the reign of Augustus in the next 12 episodes or so. Perhaps they'll start to set us up for a season three based on the lives of the Twelve Caesars in the vein of I, Claudius ?


January 10, 2007


Just downloaded a BBC documentary called Building the Great Pyramid and settled down to watch it. Started off like any other documentary. Just  as the introduction got underway we are suddenly treated to the main theme of The Pirates of the Caribbean with some minor alterations in key.

 I wasn't sure whether this was the BBC just being lazy and blatently stealing music from films or they'd paid the fee to use the theme (I understand that the BBC has a library of music it's paid for either on the basis of individual pieces or with deals with various corporations to use their library). Anyone know for sure whether the Beeb's being dirty-handed or legitimately using a resource?


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