The well-known soldier
Harold Jellicoe Percival, of Lytham St. Annes in northwest England, never married or had any children, and was by all accounts a private and nomadic man. After he died last month at age 99, the local funeral home, fearing a poor turnout for the Second World War veteran, placed an ad in the Blackpool Gazette asking any military personnel or fellow Royal Air Force vets to attend his service. The notice quickly went viral, though, drawing hundreds of people to the Remembrance Day send-off for a man they never knew. “We marvel at the power of the printed word, whether on paper or screen,” said Rev. Alan Clark, who conducted the service.
A dog and Kony show
Fugitive Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony achieved global notoriety in the “Kony 2012” viral video documenting his crimes, which was tweeted by the likes of Justin Bieber and Oprah Winfrey. Now, Canadian journalist and adventurer Robert Young Pelton says he’s going after the elusive Kony, if he can get the public’s support: Pelton has started a crowd-funding campaign to enable his team to track Kony down. Pelton’s page on Indiegogo, “Expedition Kony,” says he’s been following “the most wanted man in all of Africa” since 1993. There’s a $5-million reward for Kony’s arrest, but this isn’t a bounty hunt, Pelton insists. As of this week, and with 45 days to go, his campaign has raised just more than $8,000; Pelton hopes to make a total of $450,000 to fund the process, which will include a documentary of the hunt for Kony. To members of the public who fund him, he promises: “You can say, ‘I got Kony.’ ”
Too much Tiger for one continent
Perhaps when you haven’t won a major tournament in five years, you take achievements wherever you can get them. Last week, Tiger Woods made a show of hitting golf balls from Europe into Asia. Standing on an elevated tee, Woods hit balls the length of the Bosphorus Bridge that connects the two continents in Istanbul, Turkey. (Half the bridge was closed to allow him to do so.) Woods was there for the Turkish Open, a tournament for which he reportedly received a $3-million appearance fee. “To be the first golfer to do this was very cool,” Woods said of his continent-traversing shots.
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill won album of the year at the 1996 Grammys, and was the highest-selling disc of the ’90s. Now, for whatever reason, it’s going to Broadway. Set to hit the stage in 2014, the musical will include every song on Morissette’s iconic 1995 album, as well as other songs from different periods in her career, and some new material. “I look forward to taking the heart of Jagged Little Pill and expanding its story, fleshing it out into ever-deeper layers of emotionality, specificity, humanity, power, physicality, spirit and fabulism,” the Ottawa-born singer said in a statement. Morissette isn’t the only rocker making the move to Broadway: She’s collaborating with Tony Award winner Tom Kitt, who also worked on Green Day’s own Broadway musical, American Idiot.
Where the best friends roam
The sight of a bison pulling up to a bar might cause most passersby to do a double-take, but residents of Spruce Grove, Alta., know better: That’s just Bailey Jr., Jim and Linda Sautner’s 1,600-lb. pet. Bailey gets around town in Sautner’s convertible, which has been modified so the massive, hairy animal can fit in the passenger seat. Sautner, who previously had another bison named Bailey Sr., adopted this one as a baby after its mother died while giving birth. The bison was “the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen,” he told NPR, and he couldn’t resist taking it home. Now three years old, Bailey Jr. eats hay and oats, and has been known to drink beer. His owners suspect he likes it “because of the barley,” Linda told the Calgary Sun.
Brother, can you spare a crown?
The cost of modern life can make it difficult to make ends meet. Just ask King Albert II of Belgium. When he was the ruling monarch, Albert was entitled to an annual stipend of $16 million (tax-free), but since abdicating the throne to his son, the retired king has had to make do with a comparatively meagre $1.3 million. And he’s now apparently struggling to get by. “He says he has not been treated as he had hoped and that he now finds himself in difficulty,” a source explained to Le Soir. Alas, the Belgian government has ruled out any increase, with Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo saying, “The government is not going to change one comma of the accord thrashed out earlier this year on annual payments to the royal family.”
Screen early, if not on the air
When ABC News correspondent Amy Robach agreed to participate in an on-air mammogram for Good Morning America, it was supposed to be about breast-cancer awareness for the millions of people watching at home. It turned out to be most important for Robach herself. This week, she announced that, after follow-up tests, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a bilateral mastectomy. “And while everyone who gets cancer is clearly unlucky, I got lucky by catching it early, and there are so many people to thank for making sure I did. Every producer, every person who urged me to do this, changed my trajectory,” she said. “The doctors told me bluntly: ‘That mammogram just saved your life.’ ”
The high cost of infidelity
Is a website designed to help married people cheat guilty of cheating its own customers? That’s what Doriana Silva is alleging in her $20-million suit against Ashley Madison, which bills itself as the first stop for online adulterers. The Toronto woman, who was hired to work on the launch of the Portuguese version of the site, says she was tasked with creating 1,000 “fake female profiles” in just three weeks, according to the suit. Silva says she suffered permanent injury to her wrists as a result of all that spicy keyboarding. Ashley Madison, meanwhile, condemned the “frivolous” suit, saying its service is “100 per cent authentic.”
Wrong ‘son of a gun,’ Joe
After Boston legislator Marty Walsh was elected the new mayor of Boston, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gave him a congratulatory phone call—but dialed the wrong Marty Walsh, mixing him up with a businessman and former aid to Sen. Ted Kennedy. “Marty, you son of a gun, you pulled it off,” Biden exclaimed as soon as Walsh (the wrong one) picked up the phone. After Walsh politely pointed out his mistake, Biden double-checked the phone number. Looking on the bright side, he said, “I’m talking to a Marty Walsh in Boston.” Biden wasn’t alone. The non-mayoral Walsh told ABC, “There are a lot of Marty Walshes in Boston.”
En direct de Montréal, c’est samedi soir!
However regularly it’s lamented as having seen better days, Saturday Night Live persists as a late-night television institution and now, for at least two nights next year, the sketch comedy banner will expand to Quebec. Télé-Québec last week announced the cast for SNL Québec, to be hosted by comedians Louis-José Houde and Stéphane Rousseau and airing live on Feb. 8 and March 22. Quebec’s not-ready-for-prime-time players will include Léane Labrèche-Dor, Virginie Fortin, Katherine Levac, Phil Roy, Mathieu Quesnel and Pier-Luc Funk. International versions of SNL have previously aired in Spain, Japan, Italy and South Korea, though this will be the first extension in North America.
Turning the page on reading
Having failed to save Newsweek and now planning to leave the Daily Beast, editor Tina Brown says she’s not much interested in reading magazines anymore. “The habit has gone,” she told reporters in India this week, where she was speaking to a conference. In fact, she thinks maybe reading’s time has come and gone altogether. “I think you can have more satisfaction from live conversations,” she said, explaining, according to the Hindustan Times, that society is “going back to oral culture where the written word will be less relevant.” Or maybe the famed editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker just didn’t do a great job with Newsweek.
Visiting royalty is the best medicine
While Prince William is skilled at many things—piloting helicopters, playing nice with the press—he is not, contrary to the photo above, a surgeon. Instead, the duke of Cambridge paid a visit to London’s Royal Marsden Hospital as part of his duties as president of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. According to the hospital, all the patients observed by the prince knew about their royal visitor in advance—even if they weren’t awake to say hello.