Archive for November 2008
How-lee shee-it boys and girls the Gunners are reloaded and firing both barrels again!
The last time I heard from them I was barely 18, long hair, black t-shirts and I was thinking of forming a band. I was at college learning about computers, which I barely understood. The height of technology was the CD-ROM and the Internet was still a good two years away.
We thought The Spaghetti Incident was ok, and we waited patiently for the next brilliant album. And we waited….
Things began to loose momentum. Gilby Clarke left, then Duff, then Slash! That was the end of the road we thought.
But those that left were replaced with a new crew, and a few old faces are even talking of coming back! Finally in 2008 Chinese Democracy was released.
AND. IT. ROCKED!!!!
So for your enjoyment, ladies and gentlemen are a few classic G’N'R hits from the nineties.
The gunfight of downtown Mumbai is now over, and all there is left to do it bag up the bodies and count the cost.
To briefly bring you up to speed if you have been off-planet for the last week: On Thursday the city centre of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) was attacked by ten gunmen armed with AK-47s, pistols and grenades. They walked into restaurants and hotels and began shooting at foreign nationals, particularly targeting British and Americans
Several hostages were taken in the Jewish quarter of the city. Other sieges included the five-star Taj Mahal palace, where gunmen holed themselves up. Fire was later seen spewing from the windows.
Within minutes Indian N.S.G. Commandos were on the scene and taking control of the situation.
They assaulted the Jewish day centre, killing the militants within. They sadly found the five Jewish hostages dead.
Their sweep-and-clear operation in and around the Taj Mahal Palace took several hours, as they were hampered by fire and fleeing guests. Only one militant have been reported captured alive.
The these killers managed to infiltrate the city is a cause of some controversy. They seem to have arrived in dingys from a fishing boat discovered yesterday by Indian marines who are still on high alert. On board they found the captain, bound with his throat cut, and also a Global Positioning System in one of the holds. This device may indicate where the militants arrived from.
A lot of people are quick to implicate Pakistani intelligence in the plot. It is not the first time they have been accused of colluding with Al-Quaeda to carry out actions in the Indian State. As a result the head of Pakistani intelligence has flown to Mumbai to co-operate with the investigation.
The Militants are said to be Al-Quaeda inspired fanatics. But their tactics seem to have been pulled straight from an action movie. Where is Bruce Willis when you need him?
How come my parties are never like this? Well if I had $35 Million at my fingertips then maybe I could splash out on more than a tube of Pringles and a case of Skol.
But the Emirates can afford to do a lot better with their multi-squillions, and they have decided to invest all their working capital in the tourist industry. Which takes rock-solid balls in the one of the most unstable areas in the world, when you consider that their main clients will come from Europe and the Americas.
But the hotel Atlantis is truely the icing on the cake. It boasts 2000 rooms, world renowned restaurants by Mitchelin-starred chefs, the most amazing bars I have ever seen (I am a bit of a bar geek, being a long time barman), with Whiskys sourced from Scotland, Japan, Kentucky, and Ireland.
Their opening party guest list read like the who’s-who of anybody that matters. Robert De Nero to promote his restaurant, Kylie Minogue came and sang, Sir Richard Branson, Charlize Theron, Denzil Washington among others. Oprah Winfrey did arrive but had to dash back to the USA as her house was very near a forest fire. Now there is a dilemma, I think I would stay for the party and worry about the house after.
Not only that but it has the most lavish spa in the world, ideal to keep the wife/girlfriend/fiancee happy for hours on end.
Try the Dubai glamour ritual, girls. I don’t know what it does but I am sure it will be worth the money.
But my personal favourite has to be the Lost Chambers suite. Straight out of a James Bond movie, it has one wall that is totally glass looking out to the Ambassador Lagoon.
So what can I do but recommend the place? That’s if the credit crunch hasn’t hit you and you have a spare £2000 a night. It makes you feel better about stealing that bathrobe…
As a Yorkshireman this case has been of some interest to me, even more so as I suspect there is still so much that could still come to light.
The facts to date are as follows:
Shannon Matthews (9) disappeared from her home in Dewsbury on 19 February this year. A massive police operation was mobilized costing an estimated £3.2 Million
On 14 March she was found alive, hiding in the space under a bed in her uncle’s house. Her uncle, Michael Donovan, was arrested at the scene.
The trial of her mother and uncle is underway at Leeds Crown Court (where I dropped off many an affidavit in my previous job life), and it has had many revelations.
As the facts emerge the complicated relationships between the Matthews family goes under the microscope. A prevailing atmosphere of fear and denial hangs over the proceedings.
As I stated in a previous post, the story has a long way to go, and a lot of questions need addressing.
Why was Shannon drugged with sleeping pills?
What was happening to her while she was out of it?
What part did her uncle (who has already been charged for possession of child porn) play in all this?
What was the mysterious noose-like strap hanging out of his loft?
The fact is there is a lot of lying going on, and nobody is really sure what the collective motive was, possibly rewards money. The motives of some individuals are far more sinister, and it seems Shannon may have, in fact, had a lucky escape.
For further information follow this link to the BBC website
In early April 1988 the Larne ferry arrived from Scotland. On board was an 18 year old girl from Munich called Inga Maria Hauser and shortly after arriving in Larne she was brutally attacked.
Her neck was broken and she was found in a shallow grave. Her body, next to her rucksack and diary were found by a forestry worker in Ballypatrick Forest, near Ballycastle.
Since the DNA revolution tests have been conducted on these items but no suspects have ever been found. Now in a new investigation, headed by Detective Superintendant Pat Steele 1500 people have been called to take DNA swabs in the latest attempt to find the killer. These include the passengers and crew of the Galloway Princess, dock workers, soldiers, local taxi drivers and other members of the general public.
In April 2002 Ballycastle police station received a phone call anonymously. The caller confirmed the suspicions of the identity of Inga’s killer. Unfortunately the caller could not speak to detectives directly and they are desperate to re-establish contact.
The reason why all this is of interest to me is that two members of my family were on the same boat and they too have provided DNA swabs. No suspicion has ever been pointed towards them I would like to add.
In an unrelated story, another family member, a retired CID detective, has been assigned to the Madelaine McCann case. Let’s just hope they come up with something.
Two chicken breasts
One beef steak tomato
One mixed meat tapas packet containing choritzo and parma ham
One ball of fresh Mozzarella
This one is a bit fiddly but it is worth it. Take each chicken breast and cut a pocket in them with a sharp knife. Roll up the choritzo and insert into the pocket of the breast. Then wrap the parma ham around the breast. Take an oven proof dish and add a table spoon of olive oil to the bottom. Add the chicken and ham carefully. Then using a fresh knife chop the tomato into small diced pieces and place carefully on top of the chicken. Then take the mozzarella ball and chop it into slices. Take equal amounts of Mozzarella and place on top of the tomatoes. This isn’t as easy as it looks. Finally add a teaspoon of Oregano to the top of each.
Place the dish with the chicken in it into a pre-heated oven at 160 degrees and cook for 30 minutes or until you are certain it is cooked. Check the middle with a knife if you are not sure.
Allasio is a small town in northern Italy where I first tried a dish similar to this. I recommend a visit some day.
One chicken, suitable for roasting.
Four cloves of Garlic
Tarragon, salt and pepper.
Roasting potatoes and root veg if you like
Switch oven on at 160 degrees. Place the chicken on a baking tray with a tablespoon of oil in the bottom. Grate a lemon and keep the zest on a small plate then cut it into wedges. Next remove the string or elastic binding the chicken and stick the lemon right up it’s bum! Take your cloves of garlic, peel them to the bare flesh and shove them up it’s bum too. You may alternate between lemon and garlic to ensure an even flavour.
Next rub a little oil into your fingers and massage it into the chicken breast and legs. Then sprinkle the zest over the chicken.
Follow this up with a tablespoon of freshly chopped tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
Chop several potatoes and place around the chicken, season with salt, pepper and tarragon.
Place in the oven and cook for approximately 40 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through to the middle.
As it cooks the flavour of the lemon and garlic will seep out into the chicken flesh and into the potatoes in the baking tray.
And there you have a delicious healthy chicken dinner.
This is a lovely Mediterranean salad that is chunky and tasty.
Two beef-steak tomatoes
One block of Feta cheese (Total is best)
One small pack of Mint leaves
Cut the cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese into dice-sized pieces. Roughly chop the mint and add all ingredients to a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir all ingredients well and tip into a serving bowl. You may wish to add a sprig of mint for decoration.
Nothing to this one.
It sounds like the plot for the new Steven Seagal movie. Get his agent on the line quick!
On Saturday the MV Sirius Star, en route to the U.S.A was hijacked by Somali pirates. It is the largest vessel Somalian Pirates have ever attacked. Additionally, at 420 nautical miles, it is the furthest they have ever attacked from their home base.
25 Sailors are now being held ransom, along with 2 Million barrels of crude oil. The sailors are the primary concern. Two of the sailors are British, and that makes this a British concern. However a significant threat is represented by the oil. It could either be spilled into the sea, causing untold damage to the environment or it could be ignited, causing one hell of an explosion.
Piracy off the horn of Africa has been a concern for shipping for decades. The nation of Somalia is bankrupt and starving, torn apart by civil war. The only big money spinner for the lawless nation is piracy. Pirates have come a long way since the days of Bluebeard and Kidd. Modern Pirates have motor launches, Global Positioning Systems, and automatic weapons. The money they can make by holding boats and cargoes to ransom runs into the millions. At this time there are twelve ships anchored off Ely. Somalia is a mostly Muslim country and has close links with Al-Qaeda.
Simply put, the owners cannot afford to pay the ransom. They can afford to pay the money, of course, but the fallout would be fatal. The money would be used for terrorist activities, and it would probably cement the war-lords in power in Mogadishu. Furthermore it would tip the balance in their on-going war with Ethiopia.
Fortunately Britain and America both have maritime special forces that could be employed to eliminate the bad guys.
From America we have the Navy SEALS. First activated by President Kennedy in 1962 they were designed to cover low-intensity warfare, swiftly and silently. Their training is some of the most difficult and enduring ever devised by the military. Their battle honours include tours of Vietnam, Panama and both Gulf Wars.
And from Great Britain we have the Special Boat Service. The less famous Special Forces team has the motto ‘Not By Strength, By Guile.’ They are nominally recruited from the Royal Marines and they operate along side the Special Air Service.
The rivalry between the two Services is legend, with the S.A.S. referring to the S.B.S. as the ‘Shaky Boats’, who retort with the name ‘Parashites’ for their Airborne brothers. However they fought side by side in two Gulf wars, Sierra Leone, and once secured the QE2 together after a bomb hoax.
Under the umbrella of NATO the Special Forces are allowed to act in International Waters if lives are threatened. They are trained to insert by submarine and small dingy then climb up the ship. Once on board they have to neutralize the guards before taking the bridge and releasing the hostages. The element of surprise is crucial. If guns are fired it could rupture the tanker.
We don’t know when it will happen but I am sure Ridley Scott will have his pen and paper handy.
Give it to them, boys.
For all you writers, there is a new website that caters perfectly to you needs. Chapter Seventy Nine is barely a month old but it has already attracted a wealth of talent (and me to make up the numbers).
It has links to publishers and all the research tools you will ever need.
It is well worth a look and they also have sites on Facebook and Myspace.
Follow this link