Man Sues Dog - 10 ThingsAs the weekend hangover fades, so too does the hope that the escalating conflict between Palestine and Israel will kickstart that third world war we've all been looking forward to. Palestinian officials claim that current emergency meetings in Cairo could see a truce hammered out shortly, although that's not stopping Israeli F16 missiles pouring into Gaza at the moment. Business as usual in the troubled region, or the beginning of the End Times of prophesy? And if it's the latter, does that mean we'll have Def Leppard's 'Armageddon It' going through our head the entire time? Truly, there are no winners here.
Fortunately, as this human tragedy unfolds, we have great thinkers able to parse out the complex cultural, historical and geographical threads that make the Middle East such a Gordian challenge to untangle. We also have media baron and universally respected philosopher Rupert Murdoch who writes things like "Why Is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?" on Twitter and then hits send, secure in the knowledge that he's just pretty much solved everything. Rest assured that future generations will revere your candour, Rupes, and not think you're a cage-rattling moron. Although he did make a swift non-apology shortly thereafter, graciously accepting that he didn't realise you people were so sensitive, so that's OK.
Mind you, maybe Ol' Rupert's just acting out because he's seen the new MySpace and been reminded how he paid $US580 million for it in 2005 before getting a smidge under $US35 million for it last year when Justin Timberlake and business partners Tim and Chris Vanderhook bought it, possibly to win a bet. Anyway, Timberlake has revealed the first look at the all-new MySpace beta to journos last week, with the former social media behemoth set for relaunch as a predominantly music-based site. "What a lot of artists told us, is how do you make this my space?" Chris V told journalists who presumably fought the urge to roll their eyes or make jerk-off motions to one another, and who also probably didn't ask things like "is it Facebook compatible?" or "can you embed Spotify playlists?" or "why are you doing this at all, exactly?" Either way, time to try to remember your log-in from 2003, kids!
Email, eh? it's so easy to make a faux pas. We've all done it at one time or another: hit reply instead of forward and inadvertently let some jerk know what we really think of them, Steve, or sent an email to the person the email was about, or accidentally written reams of drunken poetry and then bombarded someone's inbox with desperate, limerick-based odes to the object of our affection (again, Steve). Well, next time you goof up, know that you're as prone to human error as Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, the official Taliban spokesman who hit CC rather than BCC on his last little what-we've-been-up-to-lately missive and thereby revealed the entire contents of their mailing list. The 400-odd names were mainly journos (who were pretty chuffed to have their contacts publicly linked with the Taliban, with journalist Mustafa Kazemi tweeting "Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list. Quite reassuring to my safety.") but there were a few interesting other names in there, including political figures possibly a little embarrassed and/or terrified now. But most importantly: the Taliban's mailing list only has 400 people on it? So the planet's most feared international terrorist organisation has less direct reach than most local bands? Either the Taliban needs to start looking at some marketing strategies, or the City Riots should start issuing more demands.We know that Russell Crowe starts his day with TheVine's news, so we're taking this opportunity to speak to you directly, big guy. Listen. It's us. We know this has been a terrible year for you, with the marriage to Danielle Spencer ending and everything, but just because one love dies doesn't mean you need to act out and start, say, selling off your share in the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Sure, we know that you told reporter Danny Weidler you were trying to "simplify [your] life", but c'mon: this is us you're talking to. Don't destroy everything good and beautiful in your life. Weidler also claims that "Crowe is confident that South Sydney are in good shape and he feels that his job is done," which, if true, means that Crowe's estimated $11 million investment in the club was specifically in the hopes that they'd make a strong push for the cup all season and then get their arse handed to them by the Canterbury Bulldogs in the semi-finals. In which case: money well spent!
Jason Gann, best known As The Dude In The Dog Suit in both the Australian and American versions of Wilfred, is facing bankruptcy proceedings in the US after having not paid $325,000 to Joseph Hosny, a bus driver he assaulted at the races in Flemington five years back. Hosny claims that the assault has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, an inability to work and contributed to the end of his marriage. Gann, meanwhile, insists that all this is bullshit and that he only pleaded guilty to avoid getting a criminal record that would have made it impossible for him to work in the US - which, technically, isn't a watertight legal defence against having to pay damages imposed by a court. Still, journos like nothing more than a variation on "man bites dog" headline, so cheers.
As European leaders debate which politically-expedient austerity package they wish to back in order to fail to reverse the collapse of one of the planet's largest economies comes heartening news from the UK: a new survey reveals that over half of the British people want out of the EU. If a referendum was called, 56% would vote out while a mere 30% think that hey, we've had some rough times but we can get through this together. The polls are strongly divided along age, interestingly, with young people supporting unity and older people effectively saying "hey Spain, fuck you." PM David Cameron, meanwhile, is expecting to get get eviscerated if he returns from the negotiations without having reduced the amount of coin the UK has pledged to helping bailout failing European economies. Which, since the UK is the only country asking to reduce the amount it helps its neighbours, is going to be one hideously awkward meeting.
Maybe the Brits would be more down with the idea of collective EU action if they knew they'd get something kick-ass out of the deal, like a sweet Moon Base. That's the thinking presumably being bandied around by NASA, who have cordially invited the European Union to chip in on the awesomely named Project Orion via the European Space Agency. It'd be the first opportunity for the EA to have an in with manned space flight, which has hitherto been limited to letting would-be European astronauts sit in refrigerator boxes while a team of physicists make whooshing sounds. The UK has already indicated support, but France is looking like being the hold out having sighed deeply, declared space to be "so boring" and then dragged sexily on a Gitane.
Giving an adorably warm-hearted face to the rarely-endearing world of the underground drug market comes word that there is a booming market of seniors supplementing their pensions by selling off their prescription painkillers. "I don't think it's extraordinarily common but it's possible we're not hearing about it," said Dr Matthew Frei, Head of clinical services at Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, giving an indication of just how terrifying this quite-possibly-entirely-made-up epidemic has become. For our part, we're just sick of having to have a cuppa and look at new photos of the grandkids every time we want to score.
And finally, spare a thought for the poor old Catholic Church. With Julia Gillard getting a staggering 95% public support for her Royal Commission into institutional sexual abuse locally, now they're under fire from the international community for letting Savita Halappanavar - a 31 year old Hindi woman living in Galway - die in agonising pain from septicaemia last week after doctors sternly explained that just because her baby had miscarried didn't mean that they were about to go removing it from her body since that, technically, was an abortion as long as they thought they could hear a heartbeat since if there's one thing that Catholic medical science has taught us it's that miscarried pregnancies always end in healthy births if you just wait long enough. The family of Savita are lobbying the Irish PM Enda Kenny to have the laws changed to prevent such a tragedy happening again - and everyone else might want to remember this next time that some arsehat politician makes blithe comments about, say, how "with modern technology and science, you can't find one instance... there's no such exception as life of the mother, and health of the mother." Yep, recently ousted Republican congressional rep Joe Walsh, facts are for jerks.