Southampton coach Ralph Hasenhuttl drops to his knees in tears after a critical victory over English Premier League top of the table Liverpool. Hasenhuttl, an Austrian, has never before defeated the famous German coach of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp.

Southampton, now 6th place in the league, are only 4 points behind leaders Liverpool.

You don’t have to be a “hard man” all the time.

Would you hire Luis Suarez to work in your office?

I realize hilarious responses may be limited to fans of proper football who already know Luis Suarez. Suffice it to say he’s an athlete paid millions of dollars [pounds, pesos, whatever] to dazzle his opponents on a football pitch. Soccer field in the USA.

He’s also known for problems with translation into English leading to penalties for racism. Problems with civil behavior leading to penalties for biting an opponent. Problems with balance admittedly affecting dozens of world-class athletes leading to penalties for “simulating” a foul by an opponent.

Any road, the video is a hoot.

Gran gets prison time along with her sons – for drug trafficking

A grandmother in Liverpool was sent to prison Friday…for helping her sons launder the proceeds from their heroin trafficking business.

Christine Fitzgibbon, 60, was given a two-year sentence at a hearing in Crown Court in Manchester, The Liverpool Echo reported. Her son, Jason, 40, got 16 years and his younger brother, Ian, 39, 14 years and six months.

The brothers were arrested in 2011 when police foiled a plan to import a large quantity of heroin from Turkey. Investigators said the drugs had a street value of 7 million pounds.

“The drug dealing involved huge quantities of both heroin and ecstasy,” Paul Mitchell, the prosecuting lawyer said. “It involved the importation of multi-kilogram quantities of the drugs into this country and then the onward supply of those drugs. The scope of the enterprise was truly breathtaking.”

Mitchell said investigators seized large amounts of cash, some of it found in Christine Fitzgibbon’s home, and described her as the family “banker.” The Department of Work and Pensions said she was collecting benefits while enjoying a large income from her sons’ business.

As the slogan so aptly states, “A family that preys together stays together”.

Did dinosaurs fart themselves into extinction?

Some scientific findings are just too good to leave alone, even if you don’t know if they can ever be confirmed: Such is the case for a study saying that plant-eating dinosaurs could have emitted enough digestive methane to warm Earth’s climate 150 million years ago.

“It is known that the time of these dinosaurs was warmer than now,” said David Wilkinson…lead author of a paper on the subject appearing in the journal Current Biology. “This is explained usually by an enhanced greenhouse effect, mainly carbon dioxide. If we are correct, then methane from sauropods may have been a contributor to this greenhouse effect.”

Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and modern-day livestock are thought to be responsible for about a quarter of the methane released in the United States. Some say that the belches and flatulence of cattle, pigs and sheep are a significant contributor to the warming effect caused by greenhouse-gas emissions. So why wouldn’t it have been the same in the age of giant plant-eating dinosaurs, when global biomass density was at least several times what it is today..?

He and his colleagues ran the numbers, using what they saw as conservative estimates for the total amount of dinosaur biomass and methane production rates per kilogram of body mass. They came up with a figure of 520 million tons of methane emitted per year, which is more than total modern-day methane emissions from all sources, natural and industrial. The current estimate for total methane emission is around 500 million tons a year, with 50 to 100 million tons of that coming from ruminant animals such as cows and goats, Wilkinson said…

Biologists have found that most of the modern-day methane emissions from livestock come from belching rather than flatulence. Was it the same for dinosaurs? “We have no particular view which end of the sauropod the methane came out,” Wilkinson told me. “Could be either or both…”

“What our simple calculations show is that, yes, it could. It’s a real possibility. But we don’t show that it did happen,” he said. “That would require much more work, and indeed it may be impossible to completely prove this without a time machine.”

Perhaps we might send some sort of device back through — eventually. It needn’t have a human pilot. Just a sensor-sniffer of sorts.

Chelsea 2 – 1 Liverpool in FA Cup

Interim manager Roberto di Matteo tossed in airborne celebration by Chelsea players
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Chelsea’s FA Cup final talisman Didier Drogba was the match-winner once more as they overcame Liverpool to lift the trophy at Wembley.

Drogba’s goal early in the second half – his fourth in this Wembley showpiece – proved decisive as the remarkable turnaround in Chelsea’s fortunes under interim manager Roberto di Matteo was rewarded with silverware.

The BBC article tells the tale pretty well. The heart of it has been the resurgence of the Chelsea side under the leadership of Roberto di Matteo – assistant manager made interim manager by club owner Roman Abramovitz after he fired Andre Villas-Boas.

Football fans all wonder whether Roberto will get the fulltime job for next season after the stellar job he’s done bringing the team back to winning form. They still face the Champions’ League Final with Bayern Munich later in the month. But, even if they win that cup as well – will the billionaire club owner consider Roberto di Matteo’s talents sufficient, say, versus some other coach with an established reputation as a “big” coach?

I hope so.

Banksy’s sculpture dedicated to abusive priests

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Street artist Banksy has installed a vandalised sculpture of a priest in a gallery in Liverpool.

Cardinal Sin is a bust with its face sawn off and replaced by blank tiles, designed as a response to the child abuse scandal in the Catholic church.

In a statement, Banksy said: “I’m never sure who deserves to be put on a pedestal or crushed under one.”

The sculpture was unveiled at the Walker Art Gallery, where it is sitting alongside 17th Century religious art. The bathroom tiles have been put in place of the priest’s face to create a pixelated effect…

The statue? I guess you could call it a Christmas present. At this time of year it’s easy to forget the true meaning of Christianity – the lies, the corruption, the abuse…”

This is only the second time that the secretive artist, known for his subversive images on street walls, has created work for a gallery…

Cardinal Sin has been loaned indefinitely by the artist to the Walker Gallery.

As much as I dislike graffiti, I love Banksy.

Merseyside primary school says Nerf-balls only!

Huyton’s Malvern Primary School in Merseyside has decided that exposing pupils to leather and plastic footballs during breaktimes is too dangerous.

Using a February newsletter to remind parents of the policy, the school stressed that the only balls not deemed a health hazard which can be brought into school are those made from sponge.

Yesterday anti-obesity campaigners said the “stupid” rule was at odds with Huyton’s reputation of producing a string of footballing greats including Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool captain…

The school defended the sponge-only ball rule, stressing it had a duty to protect pupils of all ages.

But Tam Fry, chairman of obesity prevention charity the Child Growth Foundation, branded the stance “stupid”. He said: “Children must be exposed to risk otherwise how can they be expected to learn.

“Schools should be places to learn. It may think it is protecting the children but they could just as easily fall over playing with a sponge ball.

Policies like this mean our children are in danger of becoming cocooned cotton buds.”

Nanny state world leadership still apparently belongs to the Brits.

We ain’t far behind in the States; but, this is a winner. Or rather – a decision for non-winners.

Thick coppers won’t return stolen puppy!

After saving up for months for a pedigree puppy, Leanne Stewart did the sensible thing and had her new pet microchipped.

So when the mother-of-two’s Chinese shar pei Millie was stolen from her back garden, she at least had the comfort of hoping she would eventually be returned to them.

It took more than six months but, eventually, the £750 puppy was traced. Miss Stewart – and more importantly her nine-year-old daughter Megan – were expecting an emotional reunion with the pet. But this has been dashed by police.

They have been told that they cannot take Millie off the new owner because the man bought the dog in good faith – despite the microchip proving she is Miss Stewart’s.

Now she faces the agonising choice between a lengthy – and potentially expensive – legal battle or accepting she will never see her puppy again.

At the end of the day she’s my dog, she’s been stolen. I bought Millie, I have got the papers for her and she is registered in my name. I just can’t understand it.

The Liverpool coppers throw their hands up and say it’s a civil matter, now. They don’t have the brains they were born with.

You can be assured if someone was found with some of the clobber stolen from Liverpool footballers [everytime they do a match outside the country] the goodies would be personally shuttled home.


Argleton: the world mapped imprecisely, sort of…

It may be an unpromising place to look for Xanadu, but just north of Liverpool off the A59 there is a town that is already entering the annals of myth. This town, “Argleton”, appears on Google Maps, by mistake, and nowhere else. Mike Nolan and Roy Bayfield of Edge Hill University are the modern-day Marco Polos who discovered it, and there is now a “save Argleton” campaign on the web which is urging Google not to correct the error.

The preservationists have poetry on their side. Argleton is a fortuitously evocative name, sounding a bit like Edward Thomas’s Adlestrop, that village in deepest England known only by its railway station; and even more like something out of an old Ealing comedy, about a town fighting for its autonomy against the faceless drones of Whitehall.

Perhaps the save Argleton campaign also marks the beginnings of a dissident movement, a reaction against the speed and stealth with which Google is mapping every last blade of grass in the world. It is easy to overlook how quickly this has happened…

Now Google Earth allows us to fly from deep space to our own back garden in a matter of moments, and then switch to Google Street View and check out the state of our neighbours’ curtains. And while I don’t agree with the anti-privacy campaigners who have tried to stop the company doing this – Earth is not copyrightable, after all, and a street is a public space – it is still disconcerting to discover, as I did recently, your front door in high resolution on the web…

Perhaps this explains the schadenfreude that some people feel when they hear about motorists deposited in village ponds by their satnavs. The discovery of Argleton is part of the same reassertion of the local, the happy realisation that the world is not completely mappable, that not even Google knows as much as God or the people on the ground. The Argletonians are the contemporary equivalent of the apocryphal local leaning on a gate who, when asked directions by a motorist, sucks his teeth and says: “Well, I wouldn’t start from here if I were you.”

While I understand and mostly agree with the sentiments of the author – I’m one of those people who enjoys correct maps. In fact, just a week ago, I corrected Google Maps record of a road ending in my neighborhood – which, as a matter of fact – had been extended by a group of neighbors with a borrowed backhoe and a free [somewhat decrepit] culvert pipe to join a nearby legitimate road. Quite illegally – but, now, it’s there.

I have traced disappeared roads – El Camino Real for example – via Google Earth. I love real places as much or more than imaginary – but, I guess I can support the Save Argleton campaign, too.

Doctor Giggles got “floaty” while treating kids in hospital

A doctor inhaled laughing gas for ‘fun’ whilst he was treating children on a hospital A&E ward, a medical tribunal heard today.

Paediatrician Dr Jonathan Chahal, 33, was caught out when he was heard giggling in a resuscitation room by two on-duty nurses, it was claimed.

He then allegedly persuaded several nurses to breathe in the anaesthetic gas Entonox after telling them: ‘It makes me feel floaty.’

The drug has a warning from manufacturers saying people should not use machinery for up to 12 hours after taking it, the General Medical Council was told.

Are children tougher than tractors?

The incidents were said to have occurred in 2007 when Chahal, a senior house, officer was working as a locum at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the children’s accidental and emergency ward. Counsel for the GMC…told the Manchester hearing how nurses Christine Timmons and Siobhan Fitzgerald were on duty at 2pm on June 27 when they went into the resuscitation room and spotted Chahal taking Entonox…

‘They were invited by Dr Chahal to sample the Entonox…

On July 5 nurses Briony Routledge and Amanda Howe were on duty at the Children’s A&E department when they spotted Chahal using Entonox consistently throughout the night.

Mr Sephton added: ‘He offered it to them and also offered it to a student nurse Helen Aspinall – two of them accepted Doctor Chahal’s offer…’

The doctor denies his fitness to practise was impaired.

Stick to your guns, doc. That is – if you can find them, figure out which end makes the big noise?