Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Burt Reynolds’ skid marks, Prince Charles’ long-lost brother, and another Obama cover-up in this week’s tabloids

The British Royal Family is nothing more than a lurid soap opera to the tabloids, which this week come up with a few wild and fact-free plot twists of their own.

The tabloids have long indulged their salacious imaginations at the expense of the Royals, who are loathe to sue for libel, exposing them in recent months to stories of Prince Harry's "real father" being at least two different men, Prince Charles plotting Princess Diana's death, and Charles' wife Camilla being locked up in a mental institution.

This week German TV repairman-turned-private eye Guenther Focke, aged 71, claims that he is Prince Charles' long-lost brother, the result of his mother's World War II fling with Prince Phillip, according to the Globe, which includes the headline: "DNA Test Bombshell!" The bombshell? Focke is demanding a DNA test. The "exclusive interview" with Focke might be more gripping if he hadn't been making this claim since 1995, and penned a book on the subject in 2008: Not In Her Majesty's Service. In those past 22 years not one iota of evidence has confirmed Focke's claims, but that's good enough for the Globe to revive the ancient allegation.

"William & Kate Crowned King and Queen!" screams the cover of the National Enquirer, in a story that spectacularly ignores every known fact and law in the Royal line of succession. A "top secret meeting of government leaders" from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand meets next month to force Queen Elizabeth to abdicate and "cast their votes in secret" for Prince William to take the throne, "and there's nothing the Queen – desperate for Charles, her eldest son, to succeed her – can do." Let's be clear on this: The Queen has vowed never to abdicate; Charles is next in line for the throne; and there is nothing foreign government leaders can do to change the British line of succession, unless the British Parliament ever votes to abolish the monarchy. And since this imaginary meeting has not yet even occurred, the Enquirer cover claiming that William has been crowned King is premature at best.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry's future bride Meghan Markle's "secret junk food diet has royal courtiers cringing over her caloric cuisine!" reports the Enquirer. It claims that the American actress loves to wolf down mac 'n' cheese and French fries, saying: "I love carbs." Proving that what you post on social media years ago really can come back to haunt you, even if it bears no relation to reality.

"Princess in Training!" declares the cover of People magazine, which knows its readers love a good Royal story. Unfortunately, this isn't it. The future Royal is reportedly being taught how to curtsy, wave, and how to politely decline to sign autographs. Also how to sit, roll over, and beg, one assumes.

Back in the real world, the Enquirer claims a "World Exclusive," which you can also read in this week's Globe, which calls its story a "bombshell exclusive." Both report that American soldiers in Afghanistan in 2003 placed explosives inside the corpse of an enemy combatant and exploded his head. Former U.S. Army Sgt Ronald Logan appears to have photographs of a dead Afghan soldier, but they are hardly conclusive evidence of anything. Suffering PTSD, Sgt Logan reportedly attempted suicide in 2013, was charged with sexual misconduct, accused of attempted rape in 2015, and demoted to private in a court-martial, before being discharged for misconduct, the Enquirer reports. Logan claims to have written to President Obama in 2013, but received no response. Intriguingly, while the Enquirer portrays this as the "Shame of Abuse By U.S. Troops," the Globe headline places blame elsewhere: "Obama War Crime Cover-Up! . . . Ex-President ignored evil atrocities on his watch!"

But more importantly, will Ben Affleck get back together with estranged wife Jennifer Garner? Us magazine's cover story is breathlessly devoted to reports that the couple are "spending nights together! . . . Ben declares he's still in love with Jen . . . Jen's only dates have been with a Ben look-alike . . . Will they reunite – or finally move on?" It's all a huge tease, as Us goes on to report that Affleck stays at Garner's home on occasions "to log some time with their children," and that Garner is already moving on, looking not for a boyfriend but for "a partner."

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Julianne Moore wore it best, that Dennis Quaid admits "the biggest misconception about me is that I'm a nice guy," that Grey's Anatomy star Camilla Luddington carries pimple concealer, a satin eye mask and her daughter's teething ring in her Stella McCartney purse, and that the stars are just like us: they have pedicures, pump gas and go through airport security. Shocking, as ever.

The award for the week's most disturbing headline goes to the Enquirer, with its story on Burt Reynolds' alleged problems with incontinence on a recent movie: "Burt's Bowels Explode!" The 82-year-old acting legend on occasions would "have to run to his trailer" to take care of business, claims the report – as if other actors never have to use the bathroom. The only surprise is that the Enquirer does not have exclusive photos of skid marks in Burt's underpants.

Onwards and downwards . . . *Madison is a city located primarily in Madison County in the northern part of the State of Alabama. Madison extends west into neighboring Limestone County. The city is included in the Huntsville Metropolitan Area and is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 42,938.[2] Madison is bordered by Huntsville on most sides. Contents 1 History 2 Geography 3 Demographics 4 Economy 4.1 Personal income 4.2 Industry 5 Education 6 Media 7 Infrastructure 7.1 Roads 7.2 Rail and airline 8 Notable people 9 References 10 External links History Southern Railroad Depot, Madison, Alabama Madison's first resident was John Cartwright, who settled in the area in 1818. The city was originally known as Madison Station, and grew up in the 1850s around a stop of the Memphis & Charleston Railroad. Madison was the site of a battle in the American Civil War on May 17, 1864, when Col. Josiah Patterson's 5th Alabama Cavalry, supported by Col. James H. Stuart's cavalry battalion and a section of horse artillery, drove Col. Adam G. Gorgas's 13th Illinois Infantry Regiment from the city. Patterson's men captured the 13th Illinois Regiment's wagon train, taking 66 prisoners. They also burned Union supplies and tore up the railroad tracks before retreating. Portions of the 5th Ohio Cavalry, the 59th Indiana Infantry and the 5th Iowa Infantry were sent in pursuit from Huntsville and skirmished with Patterson's rear guard that evening at Fletcher's Ferry on the Tennessee River south of Madison. More recently, the city has become a fast-growing suburb of Huntsville. In 1980, the population of Madison was about 4,000. As of the 2010 census the city's population is 42,938. Geography According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.7 square miles (77.0 km2), of which 29.6 square miles (76.6 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.45%, is water.[3] Madison is located at 34°42'54?N 86°44'23?W (34.715065, -86.739644),[4] primarily within Madison County. Demographics Historical population Census Pop. %± 1880 410 — 1900 412 — 1910 426 3.4% 1920 435 2.1% 1930 431 -0.9% 1940 455 5.6% 1950 530 16.5% 1960 1,435 170.8% 1970 3,086 115.1% 1980 4,507 46.0% 1990 14,904 230.7% 2000 29,329 96.8% 2010 42,938 46.4% Est. 2014 46,450 [5] 8.2% U.S. Decennial Census[6] 2014 Estimate[7] As of the census of 2010, there were 42,938 people residing in the city, an increase of 44.6% from the 29,329 residing there in 2000. The population consisted of 16,111 households and 11,770 families. The average household size was 2.65, while the average family size was 3.16. 30.8% of the population was age 19 or younger, 61.0% was 20-64, and 8.2% was 65 or older. The median age was 37.0 years. The population was 49.3% male and 50.7% female. The racial makeup of the city was 74.0% White, 14.6% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 7.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 4.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. According to the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison was the fastest-growing city in Alabama as of 2010.[8] Economy Personal income The median income for a household in the city was $92,136, and the median income for a family was $111,217. The per capita income for the city was $41,490. About 3.9% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over. Industry Madison's largest employer is Intergraph, a computer software company based in Madison. They are currently working on a streetlight maintenance program. Thousands of Madison residents commute to Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal in nearby Huntsville. Within the city limits, most of Madison's businesses are retail, with stores and fast-food restaurants lining US 72 to the north and Madison Boulevard to the south. Education The Madison City School System, formed in 1998, serves over 8,400 students from the city of Madison and town of Triana.[9] As of 2012, the school system has seven elementary schools serving grades K-6 (Columbia Elementary School, Heritage Elementary School, Horizon Elementary School, Madison Elementary School, Rainbow Elementary School, West Madison Elementary School, and Mill Creek Elementary), two middle schools serving grades 7-8 (Discovery Middle School, Liberty Middle School), and two high schools serving grades 9-12 (Bob Jones High School, James Clemens High School). Madison also has several private schools, including Madison Academy, Lindsay Lane Christian Academy, St John the Baptist Catholic School, and Westminster Christian Academy. Madison Elementary School is the oldest school in the system (est. 1936) Media The Madison Record[10] and the Madison County Record[11] have been newspapers for the city since 1967. The Madison weekly news[12] is also another local newspaper. Infrastructure Roads Madison is served by Interstate 565, US 72 (University Drive), and Madison Boulevard (Alabama State Route 20, and Alt. US 72) as main routes for east-west traffic. Slaughter Road, Hughes Road, Wall Triana Highway, and County Line Road are main north-south roads in the city. Rail and airline The Norfolk Southern railway has a main line and a spur running through Madison. The Port of Huntsville, an intermodal center which includes Huntsville International Airport and a rail cargo center, is just south of the city. Notable people Mike Ball, member of the Alabama House of Representatives[13] Kerron Johnson, professional basketball player[14] Walter Jones, former offensive lineman at Florida State and an all-pro at the Seattle Seahawks Robert Hoffman, actor, dancer, and choreographer[15] Bill Holtzclaw, Republican member of the Alabama State Senate since 2006.[16][17] Reggie Ragland, American football linebacker[18]

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