The morning news team at KWGN in Denver are a game bunch. None more so than anchor Natalie Tysdal who joined the boys in testing themselves with a particular piece of sporting lunacy on the schedule with something called the One Chip Challenge which involves eating just one Carolina Reaper Madness chip. Apparently, the Carolina Reaper is the worlds hottest pepper. It was never going to end well was it? Good effort though Nats and well played for having a bash. It may be your Bridget Jones news moment but hey, at least you've gone global and have a whole new fan base.
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T.E. Lawrence; Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Bless, they just can't get the foreign thing quite right............................
Earlier this week the Government confirmed it's intention to hold an inquiry into the recent riots.
Yesterday also saw the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visiting areas of London that bore the brunt of the breakdown in civil order.
Having devoted much of his adult life to helping the young and disadvantaged, the Prince spoke of the lack of extra curricular activities in schools and that one way of tackling gang culture was through building the self confidence and self esteem of young people.
"I still think half the problem is that people join gangs because it is a cry for help, the fact they're looking for a framework, a sense of belonging, and a meaning.
"What's been so lacking is that sort of opportunity to allow people to be motivated and encouraged, and frankly exhausted because that's what you really want at that age."
Nobody is better informed about the problems besetting inner city youth than the Prince, nor is anyone in a position of greater neutrality which offers access across all spectrums of society. Congratulations Sir, you get the job. I look forward to the announcement from Downing Street of the Prince of Wales Commission on Youth Dislocation.
Downing Street can announce a separate investigation into the failure of the Metropolitan Police to either predict or control events. Actually, recent events are simply an aggregation of hundreds of individual incidents that happen daily in London with little intervention from the police. They have appeared to lose control of the streets, or seeming interest in controlling them, years ago as we have previously discussed here and here. That organisation is clearly in dire need of top to bottom reform; as I suspect are many other constabularies.
Last week, one of the Crumble boys returned home from the Arctic Circle on Svalbard after the BSES expedition, on which he was a member, was cut short following the tragic death of Horatio Chapple.
Putting aside for a moment the events leading up to Horatio's death, which are under investigation, I'm struck by the stark difference between the actions that day of one group of youngsters and others back in the UK who chose to riot, steal, attack and vandalise.
The two group leaders of the sub group involved in the polar bear incident, (my boy was not part of that group), acted with great courage to protect their team and eventually kill the animal. Having suffered grievous injury their lives were then saved by the others in the group who gave life-saving first aid for an hour and called in help from base camp. Without the actions of all, the casualty list would have been much worse.
Some commentators have criticised the young explorers for being over privileged kids on a jaunt. Typically that's wide of the mark by a country mile, the truth is that the vast majority of the expedition members spent more than a year raising funds to pay their way, as they are encouraged to do by the BSES. Most, if not all, are accomplished outdoorsmen for their age and have a spirited love and respect of the countryside and wilderness. They are the future guardians of the outdoors.
Also worth noting is that the BSES take a number of under priviliged teenagers on expeditions. In fact, there is one traversing some mountains in Norway at the moment which is due to sail back by tall ship. The BSES is only limited in it's outreach by it's relative small size and available funds but it most definately is not a closed shop.
For the Chapple family, there are no words that can lessen the wretched and anguished pain of loss. Locally, we remember Olivia and David, (from when they lived in Haslemere), as being warm, happy and hospitable people. On the very few occasions that I met the young Horatio, (and he was very young at that time), I recall him being a feisty wee thing, bless him.
I offer these words then, from Lawrence, for Horatio and all lovers of the outdoors.
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
The howls of indignation about phone hacking and the News of the World emanating from the Outrage Bus parked outside Westminster has, to my ears, a hollow and tinny sound; like the sort of pinging a cheap Chinese watch makes. It's an absolute fact that to the detriment of anything resembling standards in our society the leaders of all parties have for years courted Murdoch and his papers, even to the extent of employing former editors as their spin meisters. Well, Cameron's got a big old septic boil to lance now.
That it took the revelation that a murdered child's mobile telephone was hacked to give Westminster some backbone after years of sycophantic toadying to News International is just profoundly depressing. Perhaps our formally unelected upper chamber was the only constituency in the country which was independently minded enough to stand up to them. Well, they're not around anymore.
Moreover, hacking into bereaved relatives phones leave one wondering if the story can get any worse. Don't worry; it can and very probably will for these vermin know no limits in their pursuit of so called "stories."
No-one to whom I have talked is in the least surprised by any of this. The general public long since abandoned any confidence in the ability of our tabloid press to lift themselves out of the grimy, manipulative and nasty sewer which they call home.
Audience participation though will no doubt spike when we get to the point when some of these cornered rats begin to turn on themselves and begin to spill the beans on each other, Westminster and their competitors. It's just a fact that the press always have more stories than they dare publish. None of them have yet gone nuclear but I suspect someone will, "I found Jesus and he led me to the truth.... when I worked at the ........" and so on.
The broadsheets needn't take on that holier than thou stance either. In "Newspaper Reporters Plumb New Depths," I discussed how reporters from the Mail and Times trawled the Facebook pages of children for gossip and stories. Odd too how the Mirror is strangely quiet; given they were happy to fabricate stories about British soldiers under that supercilious reptile Piers Morgan it's only a matter of time before their name pops up in the frame. I have experience of their reporters door stepping bereaved families; contempt doesn't come close to what I think of them.
However, the deeply troubling aspect of this disgraceful episode is the reprehensible action of a small number of police officers who accepted bribes from journalists. They will be found and they will go to prison, it's as simple as that. We should chuck the editors and journo's in with them and melt the keys.
News International meanwhile is sinking into a world of financial and reputational hurt, Sunday should certainly be interesting. Some people are even wondering if they used the same password for their email as they used for their Myspace and News International accounts, if they had them. News Internationals statement in 2009 in response to police interest reads as if it were penned by Lewis Carrol, "It is untrue that officers found evidence of News Group staff, either themselves or using private investigators, hacking into "thousands" of mobile phones." Well done Hayley Barlow and Alice Macandrew; just oozing journalistic integrity.
It would of course be warming to think that the News of the World will now go into a death spiral and be quickly buried and forgotten forever. It's unlikely, sadly. Never underestimate how low our fellow citizens will go in their happy pursuit of sex and scandal; however fabricated some of it may be.
And the thing that leaves me feeling like my lungs have been ripped out by an 800lb gorilla? The fact that the Guardian has been the only entity to consistently illuminate the wrongdoing and subversive influence of News International. I'll never be able to bring myself to buy it but they do chalk up some good guy points for the stand they've made.
As a said earlier, the entire debacle is unedifying and profoundly depressing. Lets conclude then with a story which lays the lie of good journalistic practice bare but leaves us with a smile. Over to Uncle Marvo,
"PILOT'S SKILL SAVES PREGNANT WIFE FROM DISASTER
Pilot Philip Foster's skill and training saved his pregnant wife from certain death yesterday when his aircraft's engine failed whilst returning to his home airfield. He averted disaster by landing in a field, avoiding surrounding villages ...
What a hero, eh?
This is the reality.
Philip Foster (the name they used, and nothing like mine) was actually buggering off somewhere else because the weather was nice, rather than returning home, and was skiving off work. The wife at the time was indeed a bit pregnant as I remember, and was reading a book, oblivious to the engine failure which the hero, Marvo, was addressing with what can only be described as the full three degrees of incompetence.
Having looked around for a suitable landing site and found something vaguely greener than most other possibilities, Marvo proceeds to fail to turn off the fuel. He then descends, because this what aircraft do when they have a buggered engine, normally. He fails to apply the flap, then careers into a field of winter barley, about two feet or so higher than the wings, at a rather unusual angle and executes what can only be described as a "crash" which, had it not been for the height of the crop, would have taken out a small village, church and sub post-office.
Marvo then finds the nearest pub and proceeds to drink it dry.
Now, compare that to the MSM article above? Any similarity at all?
No, didn't think so."
It's somewhat unusual for people beyond these shores to go to lengths that make our own football fans look good, but the supporters of the Vancouver Canucks, an ice hockey team, gave an enthusiastic display of boorish and yobbish behaviour yesterday when they rioted after their team was squarely beaten by the Boston Bruins. No one has ever quite made our own shower look so good. Well done Vancouver.
Vancouver Police spokesman Jana McGuinness gave a masterclass in understatement when she said, "This is a rowdy crowd."
Frankly, my own experience of the Canadian Police is that they take a very robust approach to anything connected with "rowdy," but then that was at the Sin Bin in Medicine Hat all of twenty five years ago.
This though, is my kind of riot control..................... Go Canada!