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Birthday blogging: goss, goblins and gobby dolls

Today is my birthday, which means two things for this blog: it'll be shorter and less cynical than usual. Gone are the diatribes of Homeric proportions on the horrible financial state we're all in and gone are the complaints about how bad parts of the national press are (though they are). No, for this week, I am going to bright, breezy and brief.

Which means, yes, there may be some silliness. Sorry.

To that end, I have just opened one of my birthday presents, which is a collection of crap jokes. So, in the spirit of silliness: where was the Declaration of Independence signed? At the bottom. Boom boom.

No, I don't know what happened to this blog either.

Is Manchester United the ugliest football team in the world?


So clearly the biggest news this week is the impending divorce between 75-year-old lingerie model and Joan Rivers impressionist Madonna and her lovable cockney geezer of a husband, Guy 'cor blimey guvnor' Ritchie. Apparently this split has been a long time coming. Apparently bears defecate in heavily wooded areas.

It's interesting that the announcement supposedly came earlier than planned: the couple had wanted to keep up appearances until the end of Madonna's new tour (I imagine this was her idea, not Guy's). Maybe it's just me believing too much of the little celebrity gossip I read, but I was under the impression that everyone knew they've been growing apart over the last few years, so they can't have done brilliantly in the 'keeping up appearances' part of things. Still, waiting until the end of your tour to announce your divorce? Isn't that a little cynical? Call me naïve, but even the end of a marriage should have its priorities, rather than being "highly stage-managed", "announced when it [is] convenient" for one of the two people involved. Madonna "didn't want the distraction while she is trying to concentrate on her tour," The Sun reveals. With a thought process like that, how has she has the nerve to question Ritchie's emotional capabilities?

With this in mind, I also find it very interesting that the announcement came from Madonna and not the couple, as usually happens. Even soon-to-be-divorcees usually manage to be in the same room as each other for one more press conference, for old time's sake, perhaps. But, although Ritchie's representative co-signed the statement, the news was revealed by Madonna's cohort. Maybe it was seen as her responsibility as the more famous party, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's quite happy to take the reins with the press on this one.

She has, after all, been more vocal about the divorce than Ritchie. The other night at a concert in Boston – her first after announcing the divorce – Madonna gave Ritchie lock, stock and two smoking barrels, introducing the song Miles Away with the words, "This song is for the emotionally retarded. Maybe you know some people who fall into that category. I know I do." She then powered through her set like a true rock 'n' rolla, although it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to notice that in those clothes you can very clearly see her snatch.

Apologies for the appalling punnery and quite crude (but accurate) observation that for the millions of dollars she spends on her stage show, Madonna still dresses like a cheap whore. We shouldn't be too surprised by this sort of behaviour from someone who has released singles called Bad Girl, Hanky Panky and the less-than-subtle Erotica in the past, but she's 50 now. Apart from anything else, she could at least start saving some money for retirement. Allegedly her new tour, called 'Sticky and Sweet' – the woman has no shame – involves £1 million of jewellery, 3,500 individual wardrobe elements, 100 pairs of fishnet stockings and 69 guitars. Strangely, it's the last of these statistics that concerns me. Even The Clash, at the height of their instrument-smashing mayhem, didn't get through that many.

Anyway, back to the divorce, just briefly. One final piece of interest, for me at least, is Guy and Ritchie bringing out the old privacy chestnut, requesting that the media "maintain respect for their family at this difficult time."

Optimistic, I feel.


A line of Fisher Price dolls has been withdrawn from sale at a number of toy stores in America after parents complained they were spouting such questionable messages as "Satan is king" and "Islam is the light".

Americans? Paranoid? Nah.

I'm pretty sure this could only happen in the Bible Belt of America (in this case, Oklahoma). Not only is it a hotbed for insane Christians hitting pro-choicers with bricks, it's a hotbed for insane Christians insisting that everyone in the world apart from them is a heathen/Islamic fundamentalist/the Devil/all three. Add a dash of 9/11, a whiff of Jerry Springer: The Opera and a soupcon of 'Holy shit, there's a black man running for President' and you get full-scale terror.

Listen to the clip attached at the top of this link and tell me that gurgling, babbling baby doll is saying "Islam is the light". It's not. If anything, it's saying "Me ears are alight" in an obscure reference to a Maxell advert. Equally weird, but probably less terrifying to Americans. Still, I expect somewhere in the Palestinian Bible Belt – the Qur'an Colony? – there are families complaining that an evil Western doll is saying, "Ooh ooh, the Israelites."

Or maybe they're more understanding than crazy American bible-bashers.

Is Manchester United the ugliest football team in the world?

It's been discussed before, this, but watching their match against West Brom made me realise once more that United's players are uglier than Route 1.

This is a team that has produced and since released such Elephant Man cast-offs as Luke Chadwick and Phil Neville, and yet they still keep up an impressive ugly quotient. Maybe it's part of Cristiano Ronaldo's contract. Maybe it's an obscure EU law. Whatever the reason, it's slightly eerie. If you don't believe me, look for yourself at this full XI of hideous United players (in a 4-3-3 formation, notice). To be fair to them, a lot of these pictures have been taken with the players at the very height of gormlessness, but I don't care – they're funny.

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Birthday blogging: goss, goblins and gobby dolls + TIME