Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mandela Statue Unveiled

A larger-than-life statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled today in London's Parliament Square.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAfter unveiling the 2.7 metre tall bronze, Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the man, following which the man paid tribute to the country; during President Mandela's remarks, he shared his reminiscences of coming to London in 1962 with Oliver Tambo and their visit to the same square.

As usual, the quote of the day came from Tony Benn. "If Diana was the People's Princess," he said, "Then Nelson Mandela is President of the human race." Amen.

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RIP Richard Jewell

I don't remember what I was watching the evening of July 27th, 1996, but you can be damn sure it wasn't the Olympics. Anyway, I ended up missing what I was watching when news of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing was broadcast.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWithin days the hero of the bombing, Richard Jewell (left), became the prime suspect. By this time I was riveted by the story, mainly because of this poor schlump of a man, living with his mother, working as a security guard, who had spotted the device and begun calmly clearing the area before it went off. In a low-key, soft-spoken way, he appeared various times on various shows and described what had happened; I just knew he couldn't have done it, even as others rushed to judgement.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe FBI, in their usual zeal to catch anyone - whether he did it or not - implicated Jewell in the heinous crime, which killed 2 and injured 111. Although never arrested he was put under surveillance and had his home searched. Neither turned up anything, naturally.

Of course, by the time Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph (right) was eventually apprehended, Richard Jewell had been fully exonerated; but even though the real bomber had been caught and Richard Jewell cleared in the most public way possible, I'll bet there are still people who think he's guilty.

Apparently Richard Jewell had kidney trouble related to diabetes. He was found dead at home today, aged 44.

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It's A Dog's Life

Trouble, the white Maltese belonging to the late Leona Helmsley, has nothing to sniff at today. It seems he was the principal beneficiary of the Queen of Mean's largesse.

The dog will inherit $12 million, and live with Helmsley's brother Alvin Rosenthal, who also made out none too shabby.

Two of Helmsley's Panzirer grandchildren - David and Walter - will inherit $5 million each (and another $5 million each in trust), so long as they visit their father's grave once a year. Two other grandchildren, Craig and Meegan, have been utterly disinherited "for reasons which are known to them".

Her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea, got $100,000; as predicted the proceeds from the sale of all her worldly goods, expected to fetch billions, will be funnelled into the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

One Bright Note: in my thorough, ongoing research into this matter, I have learned that Leona Helmsley paid out of pocket for repairs to burned black churches in the South, during a rash of such crimes in the late 90s. In fact, she'd donated as much as $35 million to various causes in recent years.
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Wherefore Art Thou, Mimi Panzirer?

Well, if Google is any indication (and I think it is), the most popular woman in the country this week is Mimi Panzirer.

I think by now we all know the basic story, but it bears repeating. When her son Jay Panzirer died Leona Helmsley sued her daughter-in-law Mimi for everything that had been his. Ms. Panzirer and her four children, Mrs. Helmsley's grandchildren incidentally, were rendered penniless.

There are no pictures of Mimi Panzirer on the Net, and believe me I've looked. Alas, the libraries in Vancouver are on strike, or I'd be down there now, looking for a photo from an old magazine. I'm beginning to feel like Leonard Nimoy; remember, he used to do that show, "In Search Of"? Well, I'm in search of Mimi Panzirer, except I don't have that groovy Spock voice, so if and when I find her I won't be able to do the narration like him.

Anyway, I'm just putting it out there, but it seems to me that if some news organisation or other wanted to make a ratings smash they should get an interview with Mimi Panzirer toute de suite. The world wants to know, Mrs. Panzirer, what really happened when Leona Helmsley came screeching out of the sky like a vulture with PMS and robbed you of your life.

And if, by some chance, you don't feel like sharing your story with one of the big guns - a Diane Sawyer or a Barbara Walters, say - you can always talk to me, Mimi Panzirer. Likewise, if you need a ghostwriter for your book, I work cheap; I also happen to have a black belt in adjectives. Or, if you prefer, just take a digital camera and take a photo of an existing photo and email it to me. I'd be ever so grateful.

Talk to us Mimi! The world wants to know!
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1153: A Year in Review

As lucky numbers go, I couldn't ask for a better one. As years that I'm determined to blog about, though, 1153 is barely better than 1111.

There was a change in the papacy, as Anastasius IV succeeded Eugene III to become the 168th Pope.

There was also a new king in Scotland; Malcolm IV followed his grandfather David I onto the Scottish throne.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTo the south, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theobald of Bec, managed to reconcile King Stephen and Empress Mathilda, ending a period in British history known as The Anarchy with the Treaty of Winchester (which is also, somewhat anarchically, known as the Treaty of Westminster and the Treaty of Wallingford). Stephen's heir, Eustace, died in 1153, which cleared the way for Matilda's son Henry of Anjou, to succeed as Henry II, which he did the following year.

Considering what British Royals used to get up to - equipping armies, torching villages - makes the current lot seem kind of tame.

Also: Constantinople became the largest city in the world, a title previously held by Merv, in the Seljuk Empire (present-day Turkmenistan). Taira no Kiyomori assumed control of the Taira clan in Japan, Baldwin III assumed control of Jerusalem from his mother Melisende, and Islam was introduced in the Maldives.

Just so you don't think I'm one of those Anglophiles who's never heard of anything beyond Gravesend.
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A Personal Milestone

The day started as an interesting test - to see what blogging full time would feel like; lucky for me it feels bloody marvellous. It's a long time since I've so enjoyed being so busy for so long. In fact, it's going to be hard to go back to staring at walls and harassing the innocent for a living on Thursday afternoon.

Today, in just under twelve hours, I wrote 22 blog posts. Please be kind if it turns out there's a mistake in one; just leave a nice comment and I'll cheerfully correct the error. Think of it as an Easter egg hunt, only with spelling. Yum... Spelling. I'll be reviewing them all myself, but despite my output I am only just one person. I'll be very surprised if my clear morning eyes don't spot some mistake right away tomorrow. As for now, it feels like there's glue underneath my eyelids. Blepharitis, feh!

Of course, this now means I am not only caught up on a day-to-day basis but also ahead of my monthly quota. I will need to publish 9 posts a day to attain 2008 posts by New Year's Day. Of course, not all of these have to appear at this end of the blog; there is much to be done to prepare for the beginning of the year - only three months away! - and so the archive will be getting it's fair share of the next 855 posts. Not to worry, though; you don't have to go looking for them, they'll come around again just as inevitably as the calendar.

Traffic is growing - from an average of 20 visits a day three weeks ago I'm now averaging 30 visits a day. From the gathering crowd I'd like to single one lady out in particular and welcome her as a new regular reader: Hey Rhonda!

The next post is a milestone (number 1153), and in the next few days there'll be a major anniversary (the death of Diana), and a programming change as well. Now more than ever it's time to stay tuned!
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