Monday, 26 January 2009

Tony Hart

Tony Hart died last week aged 83.

The lovable British artist turned Childrens TV presenter inspired children allover the world to paint and draw for almost 50 years, what a legend. I watched Tony Hart when I was a kid and found his shows hugely entertaining. Tony Hart’s gentle manner and wise years made him one of the best presenters ever to have graced our screens.

Tony Hart broke into television in 1952 after drawing a fish on a napkin at a party that was also attended by a BBC producer (if only it was that easy now!). Tony Hart went on to appear in Saturday Special, Playbox, Titch and Quackers, Vision On, Take Hart, Hartbeat, Artbox Bunch and Smart Hart.

From the 1970s, Tony Hart’s show would often include the animated Plasticine character Morph.

Morph was was produced for the BBC by Aardman Animations who later became famous for Wallace and Gromit. Tony Hart is also famous for designing the Blue Peter logo and badge. Tony Hart received two BAFTAs and a Lifetime Achievement Award before his retirement in 2001.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Inauguration

The Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America took place today. Barack Obama is now the US President. He begins with two advantages – he follows an awful President and he has a lot of the American people behind him. Obama becomes its first African-American leader - in a ceremony in Washington DC watched by millions around the world and an enormous crowd in Washington itself. As he said “A man who sixty years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant now stand before you to take this sacred oath.”

As Andi concluded:-
“Today is an exciting day, a hopeful day, a joyful day. An historic day for every one of us no matter what party, race, religion, or location. Happy Inauguration Day!!!”
Good luck, America.

Monday, 19 January 2009

The 209th Derby Game

Anfield was home to the 209th Derby Game tonight. The Reds scored, thanks to Steven Gerrard, but Everton came back three minutes from time. Bummer. If Liverpool had won they would have gone back to the top of the Premier League as it is they have the same number of points as Man Utd but are behind on goal difference and Man U have a game in hand as well. Disappointing.

John Mortimer

Sir John Mortimer, the preternaturally prolific English author, died last Friday at 85. He created two unforgettable characters: one was the irascible barrister Horace Rumpole; the other was himself. He is pictured above with his actress daughter.

Rumpole, the craftily disheveled Old Bailey "hack," is probably best known through Leo McKern's portrayals on television. As a barrister, he is distinguished by his reverence for the common law, his contempt for judges and his refusal ever to prosecute or to enter a guilty plea.

Mortimer, a former barrister himself, was one of his country's best-known literary celebrities, first as a highly successful playwright -- part of the so-called new wave with his friends John Osborne and Harold Pinter -- then as writer of radio dramas, screenplays, novels, short stories and surprisingly first-rate journalism.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Life on Mars

The "Is there life on Mars debate?" has gone on for my lifetime and indeed since at least the era of H G Wells. This is the latest round in the debate.

Presumably future visitors to the red planet can expect to find signs saying "Methanogens rule OK".

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Milky Way

The Milky Way is considerably larger, bulkier and spinning faster than astronomers thought, it has been revealed.

For decades, stargazers thought when it came to the major neighbouring galaxies, our Milky Way - home to Earth - was a weak sister to the larger Andromeda, but not anymore. Scientists mapped the Milky Way in a more detailed, three-dimensional way and found that it is 15% larger in breadth. More important, it is denser, with 50% more mass, which is like weight.

The new findings were presented at the American Astronomical Society’s convention in Long Beach, California.

Info from The Conscious Mind.

By contrast there is little doubt that Mars Bars are getting smaller...

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Atheist buses

"You wait ages for an atheist bus, then 800 come along at once"
- Ariane Sherine, the woman behind the atheist bus adverts.

The campaign to raise funds to put adverts on buses bearing the legend "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life" was launched in October. Now 200 buses will be taking to the streets in London, with 600 more around the rest of the country.

I wonder how long it will be before we have industrial action by someone refusing to drive one on religious grounds?

Friday, 9 January 2009

Shark Bite

Researchers have found that sharks have very weak jaws for their size and can bite through their prey only because they have a lot of very sharp teeth - and because they can grow to be so big.

"Pound for pound, sharks don't bite all that hard," Daniel Huber of the University of Tampa in Florida, who led the study, said.

As Lee (of A Curate's Egg) commented
Big mouth, very sharp teeth. Seems enough for me.