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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Britain has had another pretty awful week, a horrendous fire in London, causing any number of questions about the housing situation and cuts to the Fire and Emegenecy Services. Local's rally round in magnificent

Also in London, a white terrorist attempted to run down a group of worshippers at a Mosque as they left late night prayers. One dead, several injured, and notably, an Imam who protected the attacker from potential angry mob to ensure that the rule of law and justice would proceed. (Even The Daily Mail had, eventually and after it's usual shoddy attempt to victim blaming, to describe a white man as a terrorist, a move so outside their normal scope that a friend of a friend described it as "Like hearing a cat moo")

Also Brexit negotations started... with the UK team immediately capitulating on the order of discussion, a topic which they had promised they would fight all summer long.

In the US, the tentative loosening of diplomatic relations with Cuba initated by Obama, were summarily removed by Trump... citing human rights concerns... Which, given the human right records of certain countries he recently toured and praised to high heaven, seems to be a rather radical disconnect, even by Trumpian standards.

In more upbeat news a College at Oxford University has loaned a 19th century violin to a 14 year-old Syrian refugee and musician.

The opening titles for the new Ducktales series have been previewed, and though the new animation style will take some getting used to, it seems very promising, with some very definite nods to Carl Barks in the layouts.

And it's been announced that Animaniacs may be returning to the small screen

"Transformers: Rescue Bots" which ended after four seasons (and the longest run of any single title in the Transformers franchise" is getting a sequel "Rescue Bots Academy" which will follow the further adventures of the team, as set up in the series finale. Also announced is another Transformers series (presumably something to replace Robots in Disguise?) and new series using the name "Micronauts", though how it ties in to comics old, new, or whatever toy line Hasbro has been working on, is anyone's guess right now.

Peter Capaldi's final season as the Doctor starts it's two part finale this coming weekend, with the return, after fifty years, of the original design "Mondasian Cybermen" (Mondas being the long lost twin planet of Earth that appeared in William Hartnell's final story "The Tenth Planet", which also introduced the Cybermen). Also featured in the trailer is the return of John Simms as the Master which, since the story also includes Michelle Gomez as Missy, makes this the first multiple Master/Mistress story on TV.

Also in a cute note, just discovered that in "Dark Water", the Season 8 story which revealed Missy was the new incarnation of the Master, her line "I am a Mobile Intelligence Systems Interface, MISI for short" (As a fake out, since we viewers had no idea who or what Missy was at that time), was originally recorded as "I am a Random Access Neural Interface, or RANI for short" in case anyone outside the film crew overheard the recording (There was much speculation about that Missy might actually be a regenerated Rani, the amoral scientist Time Lord the 6th and 7th Doctors met) so the surprise could be kept.
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Inthe comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Well, good personal anthropomorphised cosmological concept almighty, the UK Political situation is currently.. I believe the term the young folk use is "cray-cray". To summarise for those who probably wisely, haven't been paying attention.
  • Britain voted (narrowly) for Brexit last year in a purely advisory referendum.
  • The Conservative Prime Minister who said he's oversee the Brexit process if it was voted for promptly quit, prompting a leadership election.
  • New PM eventually appointed after the rest of the contenders perform the political equivalent of a suicidal Keystone cops routine (I started to right that out but gave up, because no one would believe it all)
  • New PM triggers Article 40 to start the Brexit process
  • The new PM promised repeatedly she'd not call an election as we needed "stablity" and the current Parliament runs until 2020 anyway. (Since in the UK you vote in a party, not a person. the parties are allowed to change leaders without an election, though it's sometimes a risky move)
  • With less than two months to go before the start of Brexit negotiations, she calls a General Election to increase her majority.
  • Vicious campaigning, PM predicted to win a landslide despite genuinely appalling track record on campaign trail Refused to debate, constantly reciting "snappy" mantra's like a Dalek in a twin set ("Strong and stable" being the one that lingers), awful media presence, etc.
  • Young people come out to vote in record numbers, many for the first time (And bless every single one of them) and many vote for the opposition, a very old school Left Wing chap of a sort we haven't had in decades (think Bernie Sanders).
  • PM loses her majority.
  • UKIP wiped out and lose their only MP, who had already quit the party to defect to the Conservatives.
  • In order to achieve a majority, PM has to form an alliance of some sort with the only party prepared to do business with her, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which won ten seats in the election and so can swing things the Conservative way, for an unspecified political price.
  • The DUP has been described as both "the Political Wing of the Flat Earth Society", and "The UK equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church". A bunch of highly religious, homophobic, anti-abortion, "woman's place is in the home" zealot throwbacks who would be only slightly scary if they weren't currently holding the balance of power in their hot, sticky hands (For some samples of their positions's try this list, but assume trigger warnings for homophobia, misogyny etc etc)
  • Alliance with DUP may seriously damage the UK's involvement in Northern Ireland government, as they are supposed to remain impartial and neutral when dealing with the various parties there, which they are now quite clearly NOT.
  • The leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, who is about to marry her same-sex partner, makes it clear to her London based boss that she is NOT happy about the DUP alliance.
  • Current PM's projected political lifespan measurable in weeks, possibly months, but can perhaps console herself with the fact that whilst she has incredibly low popularity, all her likely successors have even lower ratings.
As a friend put it "Basically, Britain is drunk and doing politics."

Sorry, I needed to vent a little I think.

Not that the US has much to be happy about with with the Comey deposition not exactly winning him friends at the White House, and the Trump machine, basically acting like the Trump machine does... which hardly needs cataloguing at this stage.

E3 is this week, so there will doubtless be good news and disappointing news depending on what you were expecting to hear.

The sad loss of Adam West has been noted already in another thread, but I will risk you ire by mentioning again. A host of delightful, and in many cases heartbreaking, tributes have been paid to Mr West since Saturday, including editorial cartoons, art tributes and perhaps my favourite, a US digital billboard company changing all their boards to the Batsignal shining into the night sky.

Michael Palin has donated a large quantity of notebooks, annotated scripts and diaries to the British library, which includes many pieces relating to Monty Python and his own travel writings. It's hoped they will eventually go on display.

The new Doctor Who may be announced soon, with former showrunner Russell T Davies revealing that he knows who it is, but is saying nothing beyond that. The most recent episode included the return of the Ice Warriors, and gave us our first female Martian in the form of the Ice Queen Iraxxa.


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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

As we all know, the world situation is currently an endless kaleidoscope of kittens, puppies and baby otter photos, all set to a soundtrack of kd lang and Louis Armstrong.

Sigh, nope, I can't do it. I wish I could, but I can't.

Following recent attacks near the Houses of Parliament and the Manchester stadium blast, Britain had another terrorist attack this past weekend near London Bridge. Our thoughts go out to those impacted by this, or any other terrorist incident.

(And full marks to Ariana Grande for returning to Manchester for an impressively staged benefit concert so quickly)

Quite why the US President felt that right after the attack was an appropriate time to start a pissing contest with Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London (who has behaved with diplomatic aplomb throughout) is anyone's guess. With any luck it might put the nail in the coffin for any plans to give the Mangled Apricot Hellbeast the State Visit that our current PM ill-advisedly offered earlier in the year. It also means that his legal case about his travel ban on Muslims NOT being a travel ban but "Extreme vetting" is looking even weaker since he referred to it as "a travel ban" in one of his angry (Well, angrier than usual) tweets.

Speaking of the PM... Brits, we have a General Election this Thursday and by all you hold dear, if you can, PLEASE vote! If you're young and never voted and feel like your voice isn't heard, here is your chance to show that it is. It may not seem like much, but trust me, it's one of the most important things you can do. The Brexit referendum ended with the result it did largely because of voter apathy, especially in the disenfranchised young.

The Beatles seminal, ground-breaking album "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" celebrates 50 years since it's release.

The sequel to the more-perspective-distorting-than-turning-a-TARDIS-inside-out game "Monument Valley", called with remarkable originality" Monument Valley 2", was released last week.

And sort of on-topic but worth mentioning, Wonder Woman is enjoying phenomenal success, both critically, financially and in terms of word of mouth from those who have seen it, WAY beyond anything we might reasonably have hoped for. Just wanted to end on an upbeat note by mentioning that.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Ramadan Mubarak to those who follow the Muslim faith. And a few simple pointers for those who may want more information about what Ramadan is (Though there are many more in depth analyses available quite readily)

Taiwan became the first country in Asia to recognise same sex marriage!

The US Government has managed to, one way or another cause dissent with the Israeli intelligence service (by mentioning them as the source of information casually mentioned to a visiting Russian delegation), the British intelligence services (by leaking information and photos from the Manchester bombing before they were intended to) and the US intelligence services (Which is no mean feat) by mentioning where a couple of the US nuclear submarines were heading (It rhymes with Korth Norea) when one of the golden rules of your stealthy, sneaky submarine fleet is YOU DON'T TELL PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE... especially if the place they are heading towards is testing it's own ballistic weapons and is run by a paranoid)

Oh, and a shout out to the half of an entire 8th Grade class from New Jersey who on a tour of the US Capitol, were given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have their photo taken with House Speaker Ryan Paul, and who basically told him "No" and were quite happy to, politely, explain why.

In the UK, campaigning for the Election is back up and running, with the heads of both main parties being interviewed on TV (but separately, so no actual debate as such) and achieving a no score-draw, no major gaffes, no major slip ups on either side. May came across (again) as rather rigid in her approach to things, and Corbyn came across (again) as someone who operates based on strongly held personal beliefs (which sort of puts him at odds with many career politicians).

With so many examples of humanity seeming to be pretty much a lost cause of late, it seems appropriate to mention, as a counter, the names of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Rick Best, two men (one a recent college graduate, the other a veteran turned community worker) who intervened when two Muslim women were being threatened by a white supremacist terrorist (Lets call him what he is) in Portland, and who were fatally stabbed whilst defending them. A third man, Micah Fletcher, also came to their aid, and was injured, but survived. Selfless heroism should always be recognised.

Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley have both expressed their concerns about the direction of their characters and plot of "The Last Jedi", with Hamill saying to the director "I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision."

That being said, the Vanity Fair photos of The Last Jedi cast by Annie Leibowitz, including what are probably the last in character shots of Carrie Fisher, are absolutely beautiful.

And finally (As they say in the news), full marks to the Russian news anchorwoman, who had to deal with an unexpected visitor on set whilst in the middle of a broadcast.

If someone has cheerier news to report, PLEASE chip in, as this is getting harder every week it feels like.
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The horrible events overnight in the UK at the Manchester Arena have left me in not very much of a light-hearted mood today, so this may be a somewhat shorter list than usual.

If you are concerned about anyone still missing, the Greater Manchester Police have emergency contact details on their Twitter feed.

Local people and business have, as they so often do, rallied round magnificently offering shelter, resources and transportation for those who needed them, and given how many of those impacted were young children and their parents coming to collect them at the end of the concert, those were some deeply traumatised people to deal with.

As yet, not motive or motivation has been ascribed to the bomber, and media outlets have been asked not to speculate or mention names, as it may hinder investigations, or spread fear and we would ask that you do the same.

Any act of terrorism which targets the helpless and innocent is an abomination, and I can find no words foul enough to describe someone who would deliberately target an event where the audience are likely to be young children and teenage girls (The concert was by Ariana Grande, the star of a Nickelodeon show for Gods sake). Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones.

In associated news, the UK political parties have, in a pleasing display of unity and good taste, agreed to suspend any campaigning for today, and most likely for the rest of the week.

In other news, Zach Snyder has withdrawn from the Justice League movie to deal with a family tragedy. Joss Whedon is coming on board to finish it.

Buzz for the Wonder Woman movie is extraordinarily positive, which is a reassuring change of pace.

A photo of Donald Trump (spreading his special kind of politics around the globe and trying to avoid all the talk of Russian-links investigation), King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian PM Abdel Fatah al-Sisi all placing their hand on a glowing globe (actually switching on a bank of computers, but giving the suggestion that they are activating the Omegazon Omni-Destructor (tm)) hit Twitter and every single possible joke that could be made was. My favourite quote is that it looks like an Alex Ross cover and all it needs is the Justice League looming behind them to complete the effect.

Things took an even MORE surreal turn when a sinkhole mysteriously appearaed at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort... I'm SURE the two events are not connected.

And on a lighter note to end with, anyone buying the Titans Return Seapray from Transformers, might have spotted, or more likely have not spotted, an incredibly geeky easter egg from one of the designers.

And it's just been confirmed that Sir Roger Moore, British actor and star of several Bond movies in the 1970's and "The Saint" in the 1960's, has died at the age of 89, in Sqwitzerland, after a short battle with cancer. RIP 007.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

In terms of the week in US politics, I could comment on the various stages of "WTF?" that are going on, but instead I choose to proffer an analogy... Imagine a puppy.. now imagine a blender. You can complete the analogy for yourself (Hey, they MIGHT just be making a smoothie for the puppy.. or they might be making the puppy a smoothie, if you see what I mean).

In terms of the week in UK politics, imagine a puppy.. with fleas. A lot of fleas, of a variety of types, all the fleas make the puppy very uncomfortable, but there's not a lot the puppy can do about it and even if it can get itself down to one type of flea it'll still be itchy.

WB Games and Traveller's Tales have confirmed that the next LEGO console game will not be released for last generation consoles, so Marvel Superheroes 2 will require a PC, PS4, Switch or Xbox One. It will feaure time travel and alternate versions of existing characters, so we'll get Spider-Man 2099, Wild West Captain America and so on (I suspect no X-Men again though... which is irritating, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. There is a teaser trailer with a full trailer next week.

The infestation of UK computers (especially in our National Health Service) by the WannaCry ransomware in a massive cyberattack (which may be linked to North Korea) is a serious issue, but I did like that the severity was greatly reduced by a young British computer security tech who, after examining the code, spotted a line of code for a website domain that didn't exist, and the failure to contact would trigger the worst of the virus. So he registered the domain for $11 and directed the domain to a sinkhole server where it prevented a lot of damage being done.

Special note that Microsoft has, very unusually,
released a special patch to protect no-longer-in-general-support Windows XP PC's (because there are still a heck of a lot of people running XP at home...including yours truly)

The Eurovision Song Contest final was held this past weekend, and it was it's usual bizarre self, with entries including:

Americans, you don't know what you're missing out on!

And finally, to remind you either that all things are possible in life, or else to remind you that no matter how cool you are, you will probably never be THIS cool, a 101 year old man, and D-Day veteran, has just broken a world record, by going skydiving from 15,000 feet!. :)
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At the MTV Awards, Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen accepted the award for Best On Screen Duo for Logan, but Mr Jackman was put in his place by Ms Keen for wanting to give the acceptance speech. :)

In Politics, well, France has been the shining light, with Emmanuel Macron's Centrist party delivering a resounding defeat for Far Right nominee Marine Le Pen, whose tears at the loss give hope to us all. (It also led to one of the most amusing news stories of the week, as a British Twitter user gloated about how Le Pen was going to win, and how he'd put money on her victory, then tried to claim that their account had been used by their 13 year old child and so the bet was invalid. It's fair to say that not many people believed them :) )

In the US, the replacement for the AHCA has been passed by the  Senate House of Representatives, removing concepts like "Affordable" and indeed "Healthcare", especially as regards pre-existing conditions. The House Senate looks set to not be quite the pushover but it's looking pretty grim. The ACLU has put together a summary in case you find yourself in need of some depressing reading.

In the UK, last weeks Local Government elections were a mixed blessing as it cemented and expanded Conservative seats across the country (not good if you're not pro-Brexit) but it did destroy UKIP more or less completely (Though as many noted, since the Conservative Party now seem to embody many of UKIP's policies, it's not needed so much... which is not as reassuring.

Two pages by William Caxton, who introduced the printing press to Brtain in the 15th Century have been discovered in a Unversity Library

The BBC has announced that it's making a new series based on HG Wells classic "The War of the Worlds", but are taking the unusual step of NOT updating/relocating it (as all the most famous versions of it have done) and it will be set in Victorian England.

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Thursday is Star Wars Day (May the Fourth, and all that) any plans to celebrate? I've just discovered that Acker and Blacker are releasing a special Star wars book launch concert in aid of pro bono law firm Public Counsel on the day itself, so that should be fun.

In other, coincidental, battles against evil empires, POTUS Mk45 has announced that A) The job is harder than he expected and B) He'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for that meddling, archaic Constitution and it's system of checks and balances! Oh, and he also ended an interview because he was asked question about the wiretapping allegations that he had brought up in one of his more obscure rants.

Brexit continues to be a fun game for 27 players, and a crappy one for the other one, as acrimony and bitterness already the order of the day.

The UK General Election campaign continues to be a party that no one wants to attend and has featured some breathtakingly bad PR from pretty much everyone. My personal favourite being Theresa May going door to door in Scotland surrounded by press, and no one answering the door, apart from one couple of saved her the bother of trying by calling "No, thank you", as she walked past.

France heads to the Presidentila polls again for the final vote and, whilst it may look like Le Pen isn't getting in, the same might be have been said about other far-right-wing leaders of democratic societies the past couple of years, so please do exercise your constitutional right to vote.

In non-political news, a tweet about a Chinese lesbian couple getting married and become the world's richest married couple turned out to be a hoax (They were actually members of a Korean pop group), which is a shame, but it was fun whilst it went viral, and the degree of support it gained was refreshing.

Oh, and in terms of reminding us of our true size in relation to the universe, NASA's Cassini probe is nearing it's end, as the plucky little probe is darting in and out of Saturn's rings a total of 22 times as part of it's Grand Finale, before reaching the end of it's 20 year mission, and the images it's send back are breathtaking.
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Tests of the first malaria vaccine will start in 2018 in three African countries; Kenya, Ghana and Malawi

Politics; Noun - "The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power."

And that's all I can bring myself to type about it this week.

Doctor Who scored another winner in "Smile", with a nice simple story about killer emoji-bots wandering around a city on an alien paradise world (beautifully realised using the gorgeous Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias City of Arts and Sciences), an entertainment and cultural complex in Valencia, Spain.

The March for Science, in support of evidence based decision making (and how sad that THAT should need a protest), happened around the world, and featured some of the best signs I've seen since the Westboro Baptist Church attempted to picket the San Diego Comic Convention and got roundly schooled by cosplayers.
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So Easter is over, and chocolate consumption levels will now presumably start to level off towards something less... excessive (With a short spike allowing for cheap-chocolate going on sale yesterday)

The world political situation is still, well, "royally screwed" seems to be the most cogent term. Take your pick; North
 Korea, Syria,  Russia, Turkey, the USA, the UK and Marie Le Pen veering even more radical right wing as the French Presidential election hoves into view.

And just to add to our British fun,
 Theresa May has announced a nsap general Election for May 8th... oh this is JUST what we need....

On lighter news new Doctor Who started at the weekend, with the introduction of new companion Bill Potts, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed both her as a character, and the story. The Doctor has a new story setup and a new job as a University lecturer whilst he's looking after... well, I won't spoil anything about that. But I do like that his reason for choosing Bill as his new companion was not some weird sci-fi plot thingie like Clara. He just liked her attitude and curiosity ("When most people find something they don't understand, they frown, but you... you smile") and Peter Capaldi giving a lecture would pretty much have been my student dreams come true.

And the rather wistful, light story was peppered with lovely little nods to the classic series, such as the photos the Doctor has on his desk, or the background aliens with the silly wigs who show up when... but again, not going to spoil it if people haven't been able to see it yet.

(Also, rumours abound that Kris Marshall is to be the next Doctor, news that leaves me fairly cold as, whilst a tolerable, if bland, light drama/comedy actor, I've seen nothing in his many years of serviceable-ish work to suggest he has the range the Doctor requires. I appear not to be alone in my concerns

Oh, and we've had a larger than usual influx of new members recently. not sure if some of them are just people migrating over to DW from LJ, or are a nice little batch of newcomers, but in any event, welcome.
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It's been a pretty bloody grim week all round, I'am afraid.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (who has the approval and indulgence of Vladimir Putin) has denied the possibility of mistreatment of gay men in the province he runs because there ARE apparently NO gay men in the province. This, in conjunction with plausible reports of his having established what amounts to concentration camps for gay men where they are murdered with impunity, is a deeply worrying state of affairs.

The world political situation is... I'm trying to think of a better term than "Up shit creek" but am sort of drawing a blank there. I don't even know where to start so I won't.

Pepsi looked like a sure fire winner of the "Worst PR Campaign of the Week" award with their astoundingly inappropriate advert with it's implied message of "Pepsi can stop police brutality" (Coke just wanted to teach the world to sing), but props to United Airlines for snatching that prize at the last minute with a breathtakingly ghastly treatment of a passenger on an overbooked plane (involving actual violence), when they had UA staff they wanted to be given the seats instead. You can find that one on your newsfeeds if you wish because I'm not going to link to it.

STOP PRESS: Clearly feeling ignored in these PR disasters, good ol reliable Sean Spicer has contributed his own special kind of flustercuck  to pour a little crude oil on troubled waters, managing to screw up a comparison between Bashar al-Assad and Hitler in such a way as to make himself look even more like an idiot. I'd be impressed if it weren't so scary.

Scrabbling to find something positive, we DO have new Doctor Who to look forward to on Saturday, and in this messed up world, it's worth nothing Peter Capaldi's recent summation of the show when asked his opinion of cyber bullying. (Prompted by a question from a young fan who has experience with it)

"The essence of Doctor Who is kindness, that is what really is underneath all of this.

This is a person who moves through time and space and history, and all kinds of situations, and reacts to them, ultimately – despite the way the different versions of him may appear – he reacts with kindness.

And that is how everyone involved with Doctor Who should be and how everyone who is a fan of it should be.

If they’re not kind, they’re not receiving the show in the proper way and they’re not really a fan of it."

The show has been REALLY lucky with the actors it casts in the role, and Mr Capaldi is no exception.

Slightly on topic, but Jay Edidin of the ever entertaining X-Plain the X-Men podcast, gave a talk recently about mutant metaphor and representation which you may find interesting (I know I did). It's a Facebook video, which I know some people are a little iffy about, so I won't embed it

https://www.facebook.com/BooksWithPicturesPDX/videos/450383108635852/

Oh, and since this weekend is Easter, and Passover is underway, best wishes to those who celebrate either of these and, if you don't, enjoy the weekend anyway. Me? I can finally eat chocolate again as Lent will be over. The fact I have a dental checkup booked for the end of next week is just one of those ironic coincidences, but it will encourage me not to binge TOO much.

Oh, and in an effort not to be too dismal, let me end with a story which might seem depressing, but isn't. A rally of the English Defence League (as thuggish a bunch of far-right arseholes as you might hope to avoid in the street) was held in Birmingham this weekend and went about as badly for them as you might hope.

The photo that was captured is absolutely perfect. One of the EDL's nasty little lot being confronted by a smiling young woman of colour, a passing local (as opposed to the EDL who arrived by bus from who knows where), who stepped in to protect a woman in hijab that the EDL had surrounded and were menacing. It's a near perfect dichotomy of an image, it highlights, as nothing else, everything that is wrong with the EDL worldview and everything that is optimistic for the future. 


The lady's name is Saffiyah Khan and my admiration for her is boundless. The man has a name too, but I'm not going to mention it here.

Oh, and Birmginham's Central Mosque's reaction to the rally? They organised an open-to-all "Best of British" tea-party with Union Jack bunting, tea and cakes,

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So British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 last week, officially notifying the EU that Britain wishes to leave, and to say the wheels are coming off that cart faster than even I had thought possible is understating it. Little things like Spain being likely to play hardball over Gibraltar ("But who could have seen THAT coming?" wail the Brexiters. "We did, and warned you about it", say the Remainers with a sigh) and not helped by Michael Howard, one of our "elder statesmen", immediately ranting on about how Britain would be prepared to go to war over Gibraltar (Wanna bet?).

Internet privacy in the US took a major body blow, with ISP's now able to sell your data to third parties without any need to check with you about who those third parties might be. Several of the more right wing websites are appalled at this, since it means that something the man they helped vote into office might now impact on THEM! (Shock horror), though in a delicious move, a number of parties are now seeking to buy data about the Congress members who voted on those laws, and we'll just have to see what comes of some of THAT data being revealed.

And as appreciators of the visual medium, scans_daily extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Gilbert Baker, who died at the weekend. The self-styled "Gay Betsy Ross" was the man who designed the Gay Pride Rainbow flag in 1978 at the behest of Harvey Milk.

In more happier news...

Grenoble has become the first city in Europe to ban outdoor advertising, and replace it with community noticeboards and trees

It's been confirmed that Bill Potts, the 12th Doctor's new companion (played by Pearl Mackie) making her debut in a little under two weeks time when Series 10 launches, is gay. Aside from the rather special case of Captain Jack (Who hails from a distant future where being omnisexual is the norm) she is the first confirmed LGBTQ companion in the shows history. Go Bill! :)

And I'm delighted to report that I'm the happy owner of the new Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure from the X-Men wave; WARLOCK! :D
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Following last weeks horrible attack at the Houses of Parliament in London, Muslim women showed their solidarity with the rest of the British population in a powerful silent statement

I don't even know where to start on politics this week, so I'm just not going to.

A little late to report this, but LEGO have announced their LEGO Ideas set will be "Women of NASA". This will consist of five figures; Margaret Hamilton (Computer Scientist), Katherine Johnson (Mathematician and Space Scientist), Sally Ride (Astronaut and Physicist and Educator), Nancy Grace Ronan (Astronomer) and Mae Jemison (Astronaut, Physician and Entrepreneur). (Sally Ride is also the first known LGBT astronaut, though she kept her private life very private and it was not widely known prior to her death in 2012)

The new British one pound coin hits this week, a twelve sided coin which is intended to be harder to fake than the original pound coin.

A woman's group in Uttar Pradesh, India is forming "anti-Romeo" squads to deal with sexual harrassment on the street.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Attempting to discuss the talking points of the UK or US political situation would probably take about

Paul Rand had to be taught how "Insurance" works, but that's okay, because Trump had to be taught how NATO is funded (AFTER tweeting about how NATO is funded). I

Angela Merkel demonstrated on multiple occasions during her visit that "WTF?!" is a facial expression that transcends any spoken language.

The US has banned electronic equipment like cameras, laptops, and DVD players as carry-on luggage from eight Middle Eastern and North African countries.

The FBI are investigating claims of interference in the 2016 US election by Russia. At the same time they have flatly contradicted the POTUS claims about him being wiretapped, and confirmed that the UK hadn't done it at their behest either, to the surprise of no one other than the POTUS.

A reminder to UK based members that the clocks go forward 1 hour this Sunday, and our society goes back 60 years starting next Wednesday.

Just to be reminded that there IS still good in the world though, here are four young women who have used Gofundme to better their community and the world in general.

And today is World Down Syndrome Day, a global event to raise awareness of the condition, and seeking to give those who have Downs Syndrome, and their advocates, greater influence on the Government policies and actions which impact on them.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

I confess it's getting harder and harder to find the positive stuff to temper the discussion beyond the death spiral of shitty politics and sheer bloody mindedness that seems to be engulfing the US and UK, so if you have other good news to share, for the love of your poor Mod Team's blood pressure please do!!!

A new trailer for Doctor Who hits, and I confess I'm getting excited by the prospect of more Peter Capaldi as D12. (and the title of the first episode "The Pilot", does hint in some ways as a soft reintroduction to the series)

All I will say about the current UK situation is that Scotland's First Minister has called for a second Scottish Independence referendum and Prime Minster Theresa May has called it a dangerously divisive and likely to cause economic uncertainty which, given that's EXACTLY what she's in the middle of doing (on a much bigger scale) must rank as one of the most ironic comments ever made in British political history

The European Court of Justice has ruled that it is lawful to ban "the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign" in the workplace, This specifically includes Muslim women wearing headscarves or other forms of concealing attire.

The Nintendo Switch has been released.... has anyone picked one up?

I'm limiting myself to one Trump story (and avoiding commenting on healthcare) and that one, from a wide selection is that apparently President Trunp didn't mean wiretapping when he said wiretapping and he wasn't actually referring specifically to President Obama when he said it was President Obama was behind it... Yeah, wrap your brains around that one.... and Kellyane Conway appears to think that the Decepticons are involved with her comment that "You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets - any number of ways... microwaves that turn into cameras."  Decepticon spokebot Reflector was unavailable for comment at this time.

The US North East has heavy snowstorms incoming. Stay safe folks!
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Okay, let's bracket the weird stuff with the fun stuff.

The BBC has released publicity photos from the shooting of the two part season finale for Season 10 of Doctor Who, which reveal a completely unexpected return of a particular monster. In case people are trying to stay spoiler-free I won't say which one, so treat this link as a spoiler. but let's just say that as a fanboy I am REALLY jazzed by this, and that it was probably written into Peter Capaldi's contract somewhere that he HAD to be allowed a story featuring these guys if he were to play the Doctor (and other photos showing up on twitter suggest that they are not alone)

After a brief belch of apparent presidential behaviour (IE stood up, read autocue, managed to not trip up or cause a diplomatic incident whilst doing so) from Trump, US politics is now back to it's now traditional, smorgasbord of "What?", "WTF?" and "You're kidding, right?"

Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in first major speech in the role, told agency employees about the virtues of the “can-do” American society and cited “immigrants” who “came here in the bottom of slave ships” as examples.

Historians were not impressed, NAACP were dumbfounded and Samuel L Jackson was just a LITTLE more direct.

In the UK, one feels that if anyone actually involved in negotiating the terms of Brexit had to sit a "Can you tell your arse from your elbow?" test, not a single one of them would pass. It's not even organised enough to be identifiable as chaos.

A right wing groups attempt at a meme, "This is the Future Liberals want" backfired exquisitely, as the picture of a woman wearing a niqab sitting next to a full blown drag queen on the New York Subway (Taken from an instagram account about embracing diversity) was embraced by anyone for whom the concept of religious freedom, mutual respect and a robust public transport system weren't innately anathema. (Others noted that this isn't the FUTURE liberals want, this is the present that they want to hold on to.) Trust me, google this one for yourselves, it's delightful.

In more positive news, a doctor has developed a new reconstructive surgery technique for victims of female genital mutilation.

The first woman in space, Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, reached the grand age of 80 yesterday.

Out of curiosity, has anyone been to see Kong of Skull Island? Any good?

And finally, Galavant will finally be getting a proper soundtrack CD release featuring ALL the songs from the much missed (by me at any rate) show.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

And... we're through the freaking looking glass people...

Following last weeks decision by the White House to bar certain news organisations from Press briefings (Out: The Guardian, The New York Times, Politico, CNN, BuzzFeed, the BBC and truly bizarrely, The Daily Mail (The sort of Right-wing xenophobic rag you'd have thought would have been just up their alley) In - Breitbart News, the One America News Network, The Washington Times, CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC... Yes, THAT Fox News, the ones who, last week, made up out of whole cloth a "Swedish National Defence and Security Advisor" who... wasn't), we have to turn to that universally regarded voice of sweet reason and logic, George W Bush, who has come out in defence of an independent media
"We need an independent media to hold people like me to account."

In a similar topsy-turvy move former UK PM's Tony Blair and John Major have clarified their issues with the UK's approach to Brexit. Blair wants a second vote before the leaving is final, and Major wants to see less rhetoric and just a little more charm to Theresa May's bulldozer in a china shop approach.

Oh and one final piece from Trumpland, apparently the US military problem is that "we don’t win wars any more" as he is set to boost military spending by $54 billion.  (No you wretched tangerine fartbag, your primary aim should be to avoid, wherever possible, having wars in the first place!)

On a lighter note, confusion at the Oscar's has had a humungous amount of media coverage probably because it was something very public, very embarrassing, ultimately harmless and had nothing to do with the White House.

I have to give credit where it's due that there was no sulking or pouting, and Jordan Horowitz handed off the Oscar he’d just been told was his to Barry Jenkins personally and proudly, which can’t have been an easy thing to do, but was absolutely the RIGHT thing to do.

And, of course, the fact that Moonlight won is something to celebrate in it's own right, as it's the story of a black, queer man and his life (though that's selling it rather short as a description).

And Doctor Who got a new trailer for Season 10. In true new companion style, we see an assessment of the Doctor from the POV of Bill, and hints at, amongst other things, our first female Ice Warrior (or Lady Ice Lord... or Ice Lady... or something)

Oh, and on behalf of a friend, who has asked for everyone to pass this message on due to personal reasons; Tell your loved ones you love them. Do it as soon as you can, today if possible, because you never know when you might not get the chance to tell them again.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

A heterosexual couple has lot their latest appeal to be allowed to obtain a civil partnership in the UK. (Civil partnerships being a precursor to gay marriage, a secular, legal recognition of same sex couples commitment to each other and granting certain rights more associated with marriage). The judges agreed there might be a breach of human rights in not permitting it to those straight couples who don't want to be married but want a legal relationship, but that will require more legal work.

The is House of Lords debating the Brexit situation, with PM Theresa May doing a very good impersonation of a vulture, sitting in and trying to intimidate them like a stern headmistress.

Former 70's hearthrob David Cassidy has announced that he is suffering from dementia

The FBI are investigating a have of threats against Jewish sites in the US. Though in the sort of reminder that decent human beings exist (Which we all need right now), commuters got together on a subway to remove anti-Semitic Nazi graffitti

And UK MP's have been debating Trump's planned State Visit to the UK following a petition signed by 1.8 million Brits who objected (and another petition in favour of him coming, which managed 311,000 signatures) , and it's amazing how insulting you can get whilst being terribly polite.

 

As for Trump, well, where does one begin on that one.... though his bumwaffling about a terrorist attack in Sweden, carried out by the perpetrators of the Bowling Green Massacre one assumes, is a classic.

The LEGO Dimensions Batman Movie level is fun. It keeps freezing on me whenever I try to build the bloody batcomputer, but the animations are great (and Robin making his way through ductwork is hilarious)

NASA have a major announcement tomorrow about a "Discovery beyond our Solar System". Personally at the moment, I think I'd settle for Galactus or Brainiac.

The New York Toy Fair has been and gone, and Funko are releasing a Batman 66 3.75" action figure line (Here's hoping it does better than the gorgeous Mattel one from a couple of years ago)
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

In amongst some quite remarkable analysis of handshakes and body language, Trump has had his first major loss with National Security Advisor Michael Flynn having to resign due to links with Russian business (As one wag put it "What do you call Michael Flynn resigning Trump's team?" "A start")

Though it's worth noting the remarkable situation surrounding the Trump teams discussions of the recent North Korean nuclear missile testing, in the open area of a private club, and asking waiting staff to shine their mobile phone's lights on the documents so that Trump and team could read the documents!

It's Valentines Day, or as those confirmed singletons amongst us know it, "Cheap Chocolate Eve" (Though there are some who reserve that title for the run up to the day after Easter materials). I think a request for suitably romantic scans would be appropriate, but that'll maybe be on it's own post.

Finally managed to download the LEGO Batman Movie DLC content for LEGO Dimensions and have that to look forward to this week!

An Uzbekistan film has been blocked from release for heavily featuring Morgan Freeman in posters for the movie... despite the fact he's not actually in it.
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

Trump... I'd try to keep up with whatever the latest mess turns out to be but I can't type that fast. (Though I will note that the Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK has in a controversial step (since he's supposed to remains impartial) stated that he will not permit Trump to address the Commons on a State Visit) due to his racism and sexism.

The LEGO Batman Movie is probably more ON topic that off, but having been to see it, I thought I'd mention that it's a whole lot of fun, with a near-exhausting stream of non-stop gags. Batman being a complete ass should get tiresome, but it makes it work, especially with Michael Cera's complete optimistic Robin to balance it.

Whilst the majority of Bat-villains who show up are more or less background noise (which is a shame for Billy Dee Williams chance at finally playing Two-Face) the more unexpected villains who show up are a hoot and a half. Also has some of the best scenes of Dick Grayson's impact on Bruce Wayne's life (also some of the outright silliest, but I'm fine with that).

In my favourite headline of the day; LEGOland in Windsor, has discovered a cannabis farm on their property

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