Our Pick of the News – Today’s Top Five Links from Holyrood
Monday, June 6th, 2011
He’s the most infamous fraudster in history and is currently serving a 150-year jail term in the United States. But just because Bernie Madoff is behind bars doesn’t mean that he’s not still encouraging people to part with their hard-earned cash.
A recent auction of items confiscated by the US government from Madoff’s mansion has helped raise around $400,000 for the victims of his $64 billion fraud. But while designer suits and furniture may be understandable purchases for trophy hunters wanting to own a piece of history, a number of more unusual items have been sold – including 14 pairs of the fraudster’s boxer shorts that sold for $200.
The auction is the second sale that officials have carried out on the Madoff estate and follows a previous auction of possessions – including boats, cars and jewellery – from his New York house.
THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY – PART I (Scott)
People tell me: “You feel part of momentous events as history is being made.”
Oh aye. Not momentous enough to keep me away from my bed. The result will still be the same come the morning.
So I was intrigued when writer Jamie Milne blogged about his experience watching 10 hours of live footage from the remarkable election of 1970 (he did his watching in 2003).
The writer shares the weird feeling of being at the heart of live, unfolding events – from the transformed world 33 years later.
There are a slew of familiar names and the writer’s observations of the fag smoke-tinged footage, wonky technology and off-colour commentary is marvellous, marvellous stuff.
THE PAST IS A FOREIGN COUNTRY – PART II (Scott)
Dunno about you, but as a schoolkid, I found history lessons endlessly boring. The narrative was dull, the subject matter seemed irrelevant and the teaching materials – from text-books to Open University-style programmes -calculated to make the learning experience as difficult as possible for young minds.
So I am regularly delighted by the humour, colour and sheer fun-packed celebration of the past that is the BBC’s Horrible Histories. It uses popular music and black humour to rope in its audience.
The true mark of fantastic kids’ telly is when the programming captivates the young ‘uns and also serves up a surprise treat for watching parents. Typical of the Horrible Histories irreverent approach is this video, debunking the ridiculously rose-tinted tale of Dick Turpin served up to modern kids. Me? I just loved the marvellous Adam and the Ants pastiche:
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (Raymond)
An eruption of a volcano in Chile – which has been dormant since 1960 – has produced stunning images and photography.
The eruption in the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic chain near Osorno, about 575 miles south of capital Santiago, forced some 3500 people to be evacuated and caused ash clouds to fall on communities in neighbouring Argentina.
Some of the most striking pictures involve bolts of lightning sparking from the crater and plumes of ash. Experts are not sure why bolts of lightning are sometimes seen within erupting volcanoes. One theory is that that the spewing magma bubbles or particles of volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create separately charged areas.
IT’S TIME TO GET THINGS STARTED….WITH ANOTHER MUPPET MOVIE (Adrian)
Ever since the anarchic genius of the original Muppet Show, I’ve loved Jim Henson’s bizarre creations. Gonzo, Piggy et al have lit up both the small and silver screens with their zany anrtics for decades and there are few better things in life than spending an hour or two in their company.
The trouble is that aside from a decidedly ropey reboot of their variety show a few years back, there hasn’t been much for muppet fans to enjoy in recent times. But that has just changed in a dramatic way in the past few weeks. First, there was the footage of Kermit the Frog in full Captain Jack Sparrow regalia interviewing Johnny Depp at the premiere of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which is brilliant by the way). And now there’s this – the first official trailer for the new muppet movie.
The great thing is that there doesn’t seem to be anything bad about this film. In Jason Segel, you actually have a decent front man that won’t hog the show from the principal fuzzy cast, and there’s a genuine A-lister and award nominee in supporting actress Amy Adams, who is no stranger to comedy. But best of all is the trailer itself, which fools the audience into thinking it’s a cheesy romcom before the pandemonium begins. Fantastic stuff.