On 19th November, 1863, Abraham Lincoln made the world-changing Gettysburg Address, becoming an eternal icon for freedom and democracy. On November 22nd 1963, JFK was assassinated in Dallas. While no angel in life in death he has become a shining liberal beacon of high ideals, calm diplomacy under extraordinary pressure and idealism.
150 years since Lincoln, 50 years since Kennedy, today, the biggest political news story is that the Mayor of Toronto likes to smoke a big bag of crack.
Yes, the crazy case of Rob Ford trundles on. As if wasn't bad enough that he smoked crack, he then made it worse by blaming it on his drinking. He then making a sexual harassment case worse by talking about eating pussy, and this week he responded to Toronto's City Council taking yet more powers off him (what does he left at this point? Some felt tip markers?) by charging at the public gallery, knocking a councillor over and revealing his wild dreams of becoming Prime Minister. Rob Ford claimed what was happening was tantamount to dictatorship, dictatorship by elected officials being the worst kind of all. The whole thing is given a beautiful honey glaze by the Mayor's TV show Ford Nation, hosted alongside his brother and Toronto councillor Rob, being cancelled after a single episode. Despite the ratings, the hour long show took 13 hours to produce: 5 to record, and 8 to edit, which can only mean the Ford's presenting style is as fluid as a man putting together a ship in a bottle in oven mits with olive oil on them. One wag commented that it puts it in the One Show Hall of Fame, along with, among other things, Heil Honey I'm Home.
Sex and drugs and Canadian football may be all the rage in Toronto, but back in Cork, attractive ladies with kids seem to be more in vogue among politicians. At least that's how it looked when it show up on the Facebook of Michael McGrath, opposition spokesman for Finance, had liked "MILF of the day". He claimed it was a hack and, in an odd case of burning the barn after the horse had bolted, deactivated his whole account.
Luke Harding may have cause to legitimately consider doing the same thing, as internet on the phone got him in an expensive handling at the weekend. After going out for a few scoops in Oldham, he got a taxi home while inebriated. And then he changed his mind and went to Paris instead.
Luke journalled the whole thing, including pictures of himself along with the Eiffel Tower, and it's probably for reasons like that that "selfie" became the new word of the year, just beating words like twerk and binge-watch. While I've no instinctive problem with the evolution of the language or cry over the bones of Shakespeare when such words emerge, the word selfie I find terrible because I really hate the phenomenon. For example...
Rich kids being insufferably profligate has been a phenomenon that long pre-dates selfies, but it's been given a very modern spin of late with a story that has everything: public school boys, one from Eton, college party damage in to five figures, racial stupidity, irksome comments on the pay of the hoi polloi and, perhaps the worst sin of all, disrespecting the memory of John Candy.
Budding actors will be standing out in the November cold like the Jamaican bobsleigh team for that other much loved underdog movie, Star Wars, as the first round of open auditions are now underway, this weekend being held at Twickenham Stadium (in case they run out of space - seriously), thankfully neither of the roles filled are Jamaican reptillian yokes. In something of a London invasion of sci-fi aficionados, Whovians will converge upon the ExCel Centre to celebrate 50 years of the Timelord on telly. And a tumultuous five decades it's been as well, as he's had 11 more regenerations in those fifty years than in the previous 900-odd he was alive. It's been a tough few years.