Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Chicken Little, the sky is falling

    Jenni Frazer
    Jun 4, 2009

    Today's Independent gives over the whole of page 2 to a somewhat baffling story, Chicken injected with beef waste sold in UK.

    Its standfirst tells readers: Muslims and Jews conned into eating meat bulked out with cow and pig products.

    I have read this article several times now and I cannot find any evidence to support this assertion. If one eats kosher chicken, sold in a supervised kosher butcher's shop, the food chain is directly traceable to the shochet with, as far as I understand, no opportunity for the alleged adulteration to occur.

  • Oh, good grief

    Jenni Frazer
    Jun 3, 2009

    Yesterday The Times ran a story asking if the Novogratz family were the coolest in the world. They are, for those who have not read the story, a photogenic Manhattan-based family in which the parents, Robert and Cortney (no, that is not a spelling mistake, but something like a clue as to what follows), have done rather well on property speculation and renovation. So well have they done, in fact, that they are about to be embraced by reality tv, whose various Tarquin execs seem to think that R & C and their adorable brood will make for unmissable viewing.

    Yes, the children. There are seven of them, including two sets of twins. And their names simply defy belief. They are, in descending order, Wolfgang, 12, twins Tallulah and Bellamy, 10, Breaker, eight, twins Five and Holleder, four, and four-month-old Major. Not much goes with Novogratz, fair enough, but Five Novogratz?

    And I thought Sarah Palin's variety pack of Track and Trigg and Bristol were bad.

  • This is not Zionism

    Simon Rocker
    Jun 3, 2009

    Rabbi Sidney Schwartz, writing in the Jewish Week,exposes a disturbing incident that took place on this year’s Salute to Israel parade in New York:

    “Then a band launched into a rousing rendition of Am Yisrael Chai. I spent more than 25 years as an activist for Soviet Jewry. This was our theme song signaling solidarity both with the history of our people and with all those oppressed Jews in the world whose cause we championed. A group of young men in their 20’s with kippot and tziztzit were right in front of me dancing in a frenzy. But they alternated the verse that meant ‘the people of Israel lives’ with ‘all the Arabs must die.’ It rhymed with the Hebrew. Given the way all joined in, it was clear that this was not the first time it was sung.

    “I leaned over to a young man who was next to me, also wearing a kippah and tzitzit. I nodded at the dancers and asked: ‘Does this song bother you?’ He looked at me with a suspicious look and replied: ‘This is Zionism.’”

  • The real danger of the BNP

    Marcus Dysch
    May 28, 2009

    I’ve never liked Rotherham.

    It was my first 'patch' as a trainee reporter in south Yorkshire. On the first day I was pounding the streets in search of news stories when a driver decided to purposely speed through a sizeable puddle at the side of the road, thus drenching me.

    Also, on the first day of the 1998/99 season I travelled to the town to see Hull City take on Rotherham. It was the start of Mark Hateley’s second season as Hull manager. He’d been built up as the saviour, the ex-England striker who would fire us up the Football League. This was going to be our year.

  • The 210 bus must go that extra mile

    James Martin
    May 28, 2009

    Orthodox residents in Golders Green and Stamford Hill desperately want a direct bus service between the respective areas, but the capital’s transport operator, Transport for London, is unlikely to listen to them.

    A four-month survey by transport watchdog London TravelWatch, which was published on Tuesday, shows there is heavy demand for either an extension to the current 210 bus route, which runs between Brent Cross and Finsbury Park, or a new route.

    However, the operator, which doesn’t have to adopt recommendations from London TravelWatch, is standing by its previous stance that “the cost of introducing a direct bus link can’t be justified”.

  • And this is our dictator range...

    Marcus Dysch
    May 28, 2009

    I’ve found myself working on some bizarre stories in my short career.

    Meeting a chap who had a full-size replica cow dumped in his garden, interviewing a dog which had been banned from a care home and meeting Billie Jean King are all fairly high on the list.

    But this week's case of a man complaining that his underpants featured an image of Hitler could be my new favourite.

  • He's ronery

    Stephen Pollard
    May 27, 2009

    I'm not sure why the commentators appear so unsure of North Korea's intentions.

    Everything was made very clear in that fascinating documentary a few years ago, Team America. As the astonishing undercover footage of Kim Jong Il showed, his motivation is straightforward: 

    I'm so ronery. So ronery. So
    ronery and sadry arone. Dere's
    no one, just me onry, sitting on
    my rittle throne.

    I wook rearry hard and make up
    great plans. But nobody
    listens, no one understands...
    Seems that no one takes me
    And so... I'm rone-ry... A rittle
    rone-ry... Poor rittle me.

    Dere's nobody I can rerate to.
    Feel rike a bird in a cage. It's
    kind of sirry...But not rearry...
    Because it's firring my body
    with rage!

    I 'm the smartest most clever,
    most physically fit but nobody
    seems to rearize it.

    When I change the world maybe
    they'll notice meeeeeeeeee---
    until then I'll just be
    lonely...poor little me...
    I'm so rone-ryyyyyy.