Archive for April 2009
Almost two years to the day British toddler Madaleine McCann went missing. No suspects have ever been charged, no real leads have been found and no credible witnesses have come forward.
No trace of her, alive or dead, has ever been found. It seems she vanished off the face of the earth.
The Portuguese police have abandoned the case, reduced it to the lowest level even though they have a very effective abductor working their resorts. If whoever took her sold her then he will certainly be encouraged to take another child. And if Maddy was sold for a price you can guarantee it was a high one.
In the intervening two years Maddy’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann have suffered badly at the hands of the Fleet Street press. But later a full apology from the Daily Express and the Star was given.
Most recently there has been a huge backlash in the town of Praia Da Luz with posters being torn down and splashed with paint. The economic downturn has hit the town hard, and the Ocean Club, where the abduction took place, has made 60% of it’s staff redundant. It is clear that the hotel and the town are unhappy with the bad image the abduction has given them, and the McCanns are a convenient scapegoat.
A new documentary about Maddy’s abduction will be screened on 7th May on Channel 4.
So what do we do now?
Well we could petition the Foreign Secretary to put more pressure on Interpol to work the case.
We could write to the Portuguese Ambassador to Great Britain to express our ongoing concern over Maddy’s disappearance and the subsequent lack of leads.
Above all we need to renew a focus on finding Maddy again. There is not the smallest shred of proof saying she has died, and if she is out there then she must be found.
Check out the following link:
and never give up hope.
The final decision from the FIA is to give McLaren a three race ban, which is suspended for twelve months. They will not lose any drivers or constructors points.
It could have been a hell of a lot worse. All the talk of over-zealous FIA decisions proved false. I think a lot of credit goes to Martin Whitmarsh, who worked hard to diffuse the situation, where I am sure Ron Dennis would have only exacerbated things further. Lewis helped by admitting his culpability and making a full apology.
The three race ban has been suspended for twelve months. Why was the ban suspended? Well the FIA are aware of the changes Martin Whitmarsh has been making to cut out the cavalier attitude towards FIA regulations. It sought to recognise his ongoing efforts, which has done much to impress Max Moseley.
There has been some grumblings among other teams that the decision has been too lenient. But then what else would you expect? Max Moseley has gone on the record to say that the decision is not too lenient. In an interview today with Edd Straw he stated:
“We think it’s entirely fair. They’ve demonstrated there’s a complete culture change and under those circumstances it’s better to put the whole thing behind us. Unless they do something similar, that’s the end of the matter.”
I personally feel they have just had a tap on the wrist. Given into account McLaren’s recent history, such as the stolen Ferrari plans, it may have offered an opportunity to get their house in order. It has rid them of less scrupulous elements, such as Mr Ryan, who have led the team into disrepute in the past.
So none of this decision will harm Lewis’s attempt to defend his title. All he needs now is a more competitive car. Over to you, Martin.
Anyway enough of me, what do you lot think?
A big well done goes out to Mike Juett who ran the London Marathon in 6 hours and 37 minutes. By 6 hours and 38 minutes he was on his second pint.
Mike, from Shepperton, near London, has been a supporter of Motor Neuron Disease Association for nearly over two years. He described his race as a surreal experience. He saw a giant blue pig, followed by two orange people, who turned out to be Peter Andre and Katie Price. He even got his arse out on Tower Bridge (thats my boy!)
So I tracked the old boy down and asked him a few questions.
How long have you been involved with Motor Neuron Disease charities?-
I wanted to run for The Motor Neurone Disease Association in the memory of my aunt who died 18 months ago. There are two main ways for a applying for the run. Either through the marathon itself or through a charity. I applied through the marathon, although didnt get in. To be succesful through this method is pretty much down to luck as it’s highly oversubsribed. I think there are something in the region of 100,000 applicants for 30,000 places. After this rejection I wrote to MNDA directly, expressing my wish and potential to raise moneyy for them, and they kindly accepted and offered me a place. This is my first involvement with them.
How did you train for the marathon?
I’m a big lad as you know, so my main goal initally was to shed some weight to help my running easier. I didn’t get confirmation of my acceptance until early January giving me 4 motnhs to prepare. First step was to cut out alcohol, I haven’t drunk a drop since new years eve. I started to run 3 times a week, gradually increasing the distance. I shed around 18 pounds in that time, I didn’t however achieve as much in training as I would have liked, time just seemed to fly by. They recommend that you should be able to run 15 miles comfortably before attempting the marathon safely, admittedly I fell well short of that. This was to be my 4th marathon though, so I knew what to expect.
Did you see anybody famous?
I saw Peter Andre and Jordan. Jordan was struggling with her knee and I went past them with a mile or so to go. I didn’t see any other celebs tho, think they had all finished by the time I had got to the end, lol.
What was the atmosphere like?
The atmosphere is just sensational, you cant fault it. Everybody is just so supportive, the spectators and your fellow runners. It’s a very special day, I recommend anybody to do it.
Was there a moment when you hit ‘the wall’?
I knew from the off that I was unlikely to be able to run the whole way, how people do that god only knows. I think “the wall” hits them more. I knew my fitness was such that I had to adopt a different startegy, so generally walked for a bit, ran for a bit. The top half of my body felt fine, but my bototm half was killing. There was a point where it felt like bones where going to burst out the soles fo my feet, I guess that was my wall.
What did you do after the marathon?
Some friends from work kindly came up and supported me, meet them 2 or 3 times around the course and then at the end Sat in the park for a bit then cautiously made our way to the tube to go home. Go home about 7.30, went straight to bed after crawling on my hands and kness to get up the stairs
How much have you raised so far and how will the money be spent?
Hoping to raise about £2,500. Have £1,250 online, and have to colelct a further £1,250 from people have sponsored me on a form in the old fashoned way, if you like. I’m quite likely to work with about 200 people whom have been very generous.
The money goes towards further research into MND and helps the families of those suffering with MND
It is still not too late to make a donation, just click the lower link.
Mike’s efforts will ensure that sufferers of MND will continue to get round the clock care and the best treatment we can provide.
Well it was confirmed within the last hour that two suspected cases of Swine Flu in Scotland have proved positive. The death toll in Mexico has risen to 150, yet it has yet to be confirmed that this is the cause of their deaths.
So far the Flu has not proved as virulent in Britain, Spain and America as it has in Mexico. No lives have, as yet, been lost.
Swine Flu is a very new disease and it’s full potential as a killer has yet to be realised. But it has spread through air travel like wildfire and could prove a global pandemic within a very short space of time.
According to Wikipedia it has very similar symptoms to human flu, fever, cough, body aches, and maybe vomiting and diarrhea.
Strangely it’s mutation makes it attack younger people with stronger immune systems, very similar to Spanish Flu of 1918.
How can we prevent infection? The World Health Authority recommend frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in-public. People should avoid touching their mouth, nose or eyes with their hands unless they’ve washed their hands. If people do cough, they should either cough into a tissue and throw it in the garbage immediately, cough into their elbow, or, if they cough in their hand, they should wash their hands immediately.
How worried should we be? Well don’t panic yet, just keep to basic hygiene discipline and follow the news broadcasts. And we will be fine.
If you took the 2008 season, and at the last minute announced that the races would be ran in reverse, with every driver going backwards around the track, I think the results would look something like the 2009 season.
Thus far, this has been a year of raised eyebrows and compelling viewing. Left for dead teams have driven to victory, middle ranking teams have had their maiden wins, and front running teams in continued dissarray.
The surprises just keep coming thick and fast with Toyota taking a maiden pole and second place on the grid. This is just the tonic for a team that has worked so hard in the years since it arrived in 2002.
Actually it makes you wonder what would happen if Minardi were magically transported from the nineties to the present. If they had a diffuser I am sure they would have gained a few points.
Lewis Hamilton starts fifth on the grid and is positive that he can make a podium finish. No doubt this Wednesday’s hearing is at the back of his mind but he had incredible focus and a ruthless frame of mind.
Just ahead of him is this season’s leading racer, Jenson Button. He feels that Brawn no longer has the technological advantage that it had for the first two races, still it was fun while it lasted.
But the grid for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix look like this:
1. Trulli Toyota 2. Glock Toyota 3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 4. Button Brawn-Mercedes 5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 6. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 7. Alonso Renault 8. Massa Ferrari 9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 10. Raikkonen Ferrari 11. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13. Kubica BMW-Sauber 14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 15. Piquet Renault 16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 18. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 19. Webber Red Bull-Renault 20. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari
*** Breaking F1 news***
And now the good news!
According to recent press releases from the chairman of Prodrive Engineering, in the guise of it’s racing partner, Aston Martin, Prodrive are very keen to get back into Formula 1 racing.
To quote David Richards, Prodrive Chairman:
“They hold the promise to return F1 to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organisation, not simply those with the biggest budget.
“We are therefore very optimistic, but let’s wait and see what the final proposals look like when they are published next week.”
All they have to do now is get it past the accountants…
Aston Martin did construct cars for Formula 1 between the 1958-1960 period without any success. This was back in the days when British made cars dominated the track with names like BRM, Lotus Cooper. Of course this was back in the days when they didn’t have Prodrive as their main resource.
But in this new age of budget capping Bernie has thrown open a whole new world of possibilities for smaller teams to pick up the F1 gauntlet.
The other team that has expressed an interest is Lola Cars, based in Huntingdon. Now they may not sound familiar to many but in fact they supply the whole of the A1 racing paddock with their chassis. A lucrative contract indeed. Lola had a long history of supplying chassis for client teams in Formula 1 before finally fielding a team of their own in the 1997 Grand Prix. But my word, was it a disaster! They only entered two races, failing to qualify for the first, and withdrawing from the second. Shortly afterwards, and six million in debt, Lola went into administration.
To read Lola’s press release, copy and paste this link. http://www.lola-group.com/newsstory.asp?NewsId=37
So the two teams seem to have a lot in common, both are successful manufacturers for client teams but when it comes down to racing their own teams they fell flat on their face. So why do they want to do it again?
There are eleven teams currently competing for three new team places on the F1 grid. Who will the others be, we wonder….?
*** Nick’s Formula 1 round up ***
Well people we have good news and bad news this week. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
The Donnington Park Grand Prix is now in severe doubt. Donnington Park’s owners, Wheatcroft and Son Limited, have taken legal action against Donnington Ventures Leisure over £2.5 million in unpaid rent.
This figure apparently dates back to September last, and is due to several factors. The main factor being that several events has been cancelled due to construction work being done. This work is vital as Donnington prepares to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.
Donnington Ventures Leisure has a 150 year lease to manage the track. But legal action may lead to a very early termination.
This action has prompted a spate of views. Bernie Eccleston says that if the race cannot be held at Donnington then the British Grand Prix will disappear off the calender. Apparently this revelation comes as no surprise to him. Bernie is a man always with his ear to the ground.
Damon Hill, on the other hand, feels that the British Grand Prix should still be held at Silverstone. Damon Hill is the president of the British Racing Drivers Club.
As it stands nobody is sure what will happen now but it all rests on the outcome of the legal action held by Wheatfield and Son.
Cancel all army leave, call up the riot police, roll back the carpets and load up the shotguns. Because Jessica Delfino is coming to England.
Jess has been making her name on the stand-up circuit over the last few years and this lady has some unusual trophies in her collection. She won the Stoned Spelling Bee contest (self-explanatory, but it sure sounds funny). She managed a record-breaking mayoral campaign for Christopher Brodeur.
She has featured on BBC radio’s Loose Ends programme and Russell Brand’s radio show. Jesus, imagine those two together.
And, God help us, she is coming to the UK later this year. She will be playing gigs at the Leeds and Reading festivals, Edinburgh and Soho.
More recently she played live shows across Ireland and Edinburgh. Here is some of her stand up show.
So we grabbed her sorry ass, sat her down and shone a light in her face. She asked for her lawyer and a phone call. We tightened the handcuffs. Finally she cracked. Here is her confession.
According to the Catholic Church you are going to burn in hell. Who are you looking forward to meeting down there?
All of the people who have told me I’d be going to hell. See ya there, suckers! But seriously, I don’t really believe in hell. I think I’m there, now. I think that Hell is a place on Earth, sorta like that Belinda Carlisle song.
And they say you have been providing ammunition to the terrorists? What type of ammo is the most popular among the Taliban these days?
According to the Catholic League, the Taliban apparently really like using f-bombs (and other “f” words) and also vaginas full of glitter, sprinkles and rainbow fluff as their weapons of choice. The worst part about getting hit with a fanny full of glitter is getting all the sparkles out of your clothing and hair later. It’s a real bitch to clean up and the Taliban knows that.
You recently toured Ireland, any road stories you care to tell? They have a wonderful way of giving road directions.
At the end of my Roisin Dubh show in Galway, I requested someone in the audience drive me to the Cliffs of Moher or get me some pot. A cute gent named Cian came to my rescue. He said he had his starter’s permit and could accommodate both of my requests. The next morning he and his friend “Crazy Mary” met me at my hotel, and he, she, myself and a friend drove in his tiny car with a huge red “L” on the windshield through the beautiful, hairpin curves of the countryside to the cliffs. I kept expecting Jimmy Page to leap out from behind a rock and play Bron Yr Aur. Every time we met another car, one of us had to pull over so the other could pass. We met a parade of really old time-y vehicles on our way and I thought maybe we’d accidentally driven through some ancient Celtic porthole. Parking at the cliffs cost a lot but Cian was a local and knew a secret off site spot in some farmer’s field so we parked on his potato patch and walked fromthere.
The cliffs were breathtaking. I was floored that it wasn’t fenced in the way America has fenced in every natural wonder we have. Cian said several people leapt over the cliffs each year. I say “thank you” to the Irish government for letting their people govern themselves. Jumping off a cliff is a basic human right.
You are performing in two festivals this year, so you may never feel clean again. Have you ever tried using a rickety chemical toilet at 03.00 after your fifth joint?
I heard no one uses the chemical toilets at all. I heard they just go on the ground and dance in it until it becomes a swarming fecal cesspool. I look forward to observing the indigenous festival peoples, and maybe even participating in their local pastimes, as well.
Could you happily live in London?
I LOVE London. London loves comedy, and Londoners are smart and quick, and funny and ribald themselves. London is a city I could happily live in. But I’m currently in love with another city. NY City is amazing. It treats you like shit, overcharges you to live and eat, swallows you up in it’s grandeur, makes sure you know you’ll never be good enough, and acts like it’s shit doesn’t stink. NY is like an abusive boyfriend that you just can’t leave. So though I could happily live in London, London and I would first have to devise a plan to KILL NY.
Your forefathers brought Nylons and Hershey bars to our country in return for a good time. What are you bringing, in return for a good time?
I’m bringing a good time in exchange for nylons and chocolate. So get your London Hosiery and your Cadbury Flakes and Crunchies ready for me.
Jessica is playing the following dates.
Latitude Festival — July 17-19
Soho Theatre — July 21-15 @ 21:55, every night in “More Dirty Folk Rock”. Mon & Tue are two for one £.
Duckie in Battersea, London — August 1
Edinburgh Fringe Festival @ Jekyll and Hyde, “Jessica Delfino — I Wanna Be Famous” 21:55 Aug 6-25
Reading & Leeds Festivals — August 28-30
Well another soggy Grand Prix gave us our first Red Bull win at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel kept his tutonic cool to take the chequered flag, with team-mate Mark Webber hot on his heels. The Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello took a distant third and forth place respectively.
Predictably the race was something of a demolition derby with crash-outs from Sutil, Massa, and Trulli who took a nasty shunt from Kubica’s BMW.
Lewis Hamilton gave a good account of himself, with some hair-raising overtaking on the outside. Altogether though he is not a fan of the rain, which made him spin out, and he was surprised to finish sixth.
Although it was wet and blustery race there was a lack of controversy compared to previous races this year. Play was fair and above board in all respects.
And as for the supporting cast, well they just hung on and gritted their teeth. No doubt everybody is looking forward to a hot dry race in Bahrain.
To see some coverage of the race itself click play below. Sorry if it is a bit slow.