Matt Shea writes: Google image search “Edward Davenport” and you’ll see a mosaic of celebrity selfies featuring everyone from the Prince of Monaco to 50 Cent. “Welcome to the website of Edward Davenport,” the website of Edward Davenport proclaims, “one of London’s most flamboyant and best-known entrepreneurs, as well as a true English gentleman from an established British family.”
But this public persona—that of the aristocratic socialite—is Eddie’s trick. It’s how, in the past, he gained people’s trust and got what he wanted. The man behind that selfie smile—the subject of the new VICE documentary Wolf of the West End—has bankrupted business partners and made an estimated £34.5 million [$51.5 million] through fraudulent activity, according to the Serious Fraud Office (Davenport says the figure wasn’t anywhere near that much).
The 2000s were good to Eddie. After buying Sierra Leone’s London embassy—the Central London mansion, 33 Portland Place—for just £50,000 [$75,000] in 1999, he turned it into an arena for decadent sex parties, spending the next ten years entertaining celebrities and aristocracy. However, in 2011, “Fast Eddie” was convicted of engineering a multi-million pound fraud and sentenced to nearly eight years in prison, before being released in 2014 as an “act of mercy” because of ill health due to one of his kidneys failing.
So what was it like to go from a life of luxury to a South London cell? How would a serial partier cope with life between the sexless walls of Wandsworth Prison? What’s life in jail like for a wealthy white-collar criminal? I spent a fair amount of time with Eddie during the filming of Wolf of the West End, so I got back in touch to find out.
VICE: What’s your worst memory from prison?
Edward Davenport: There were occasions where there was a staff shortage or things would get canceled. So when you normally play badminton on, you know, a Saturday afternoon or something, and then suddenly it gets canceled due to staff shortages, it’s not like you’ve got a lot of other things you can arrange at short notice.
So your worst memory from being in prison was having to reschedule badminton?
[Laughs] I’ve been raided in the middle of the night before.
Why did they raid you?
I think they were looking for illegal contraband items.
What about, like, the solitary nature of it—the boredom and the lack of intimate company. Did that not get to you?
Well, it was a bit like being a virgin again when I got out. I think I had plenty of women before I went in. I mean, maybe if you’ve been into prison and you haven’t done anything before with your life, but I had a bloody busy 45 years where I had had, you know, I suppose you could say, more than anyone could ever dream of and ever want. I had been out most nights—I’d done everything, you know.
The staff are almost up to the standards of politeness and friendliness and professional-ness as hotels. They call you by your name, you know.
OK, but there must have been some bad bits about prison.
Well, having a kidney transplant wasn’t exactly ideal. This is supposed to be a very civilized country, a very sophisticated country, yet here I am for a white-collar crime being taken to do dialysis and, during the whole of the dialysis, left in handcuffs
The kidney story does sound quite bad, but what about the rest of it? I mean, prison can really get to some people. Are you telling me you experienced none of that?
I’ve seen none of that. I think you might have been doing articles on prisons in different countries.
OK. In that case, what was good about prison?
Well, I became quite good at badminton. There wasn’t much else there except playing badminton that was quite good.
Is the rumor true that you used to somehow get the prison guards to give you lobster for dinner?
Well, of course I’d have my own food, yeah. Read the rest of this entry »
FRIENDSHIP, Maine – The bitter cold weather is taking a toll on New England’s lobster industry which is losing a significant amount of money this winter.
Frozen waters in Maine have left lobstermen stuck on the mainland again this week.
The boats are sitting frozen and stuck and ice is preventing many lobstermen from leaving the harbor. Read the rest of this entry »
BETHEL, Maine – The owner of a Maine bait and tackle shop says she found a rare calico-colored lobster that was caught off the state’s coast.
Sarah Lane says the crustacean, covered in orange blotches, appeared in a crate of lobsters brought from the Pemaquid Lobster Co-op in Bristol last weekend.
The University of Maine says the odds of finding one are about one in 30 million.
Lane named the lobster “Freckles.” Read the rest of this entry »
— Chris (@Chris_1791) August 25, 2014
Know Your Enemy
1. Cup of drawn butter
2. Plastic bib
3. Fistful of moist towelettes
— from the Lobster Self-Defense Handbook
For WSJ, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn writes: Summertime, at its very best, announces itself in little rituals: the sprint down the beach to feel the ocean hit your toes, the beer yanked from an ice-filled cooler. Up and down the New England coast, the first lobster of the season emerges steaming from an aluminum pot and is served with a little cup of drawn butter, a plastic bib and a fistful of moist towelletes.
“Claws like boxing gloves, prized for its hefty size…”
— Human Predator, describing targeted species
Then there is the second lobster, likely tossed in butter and mayonnaise and piled on a toasted roll. The third one might arrive by way of a creamy bisque. By then, most of us have come to the end of our lobster repertoires. We’re out of steam.
“I look for the lobster that scares me the most.”
— Chef Michael Hung
Lobster might be the ultimate totem of the seaside experience.Though it looms large in the summer vacationer’s imagination, it has traditionally been pigeonholed into a tediously narrow range of preparations.
“This scrumptious shellfish is nothing to be intimidated by.”
— Wall Street Journal, promoting shellfish combat tactics
This is a shame, because lobster has so much to recommend it. It’s sustainable, for one, in an ocean full of creatures being fished toward extinction. It’s lean. It has also, in recent years, become a bargain.
The cost of meats, fish, poultry and eggs has risen, overall, by almost 8% in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but lobster is getting more affordable. Thanks to a glut of so-called soft-shell lobsters—the delicate specimens in new shells caught off the coast of Maine in the summer months—the past three seasons have delivered deals for anyone buying close to the source. Consumers at the seaside this summer are finding local prices as low as $5 a pound, as much as 50% below where they were a decade ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Benjamin Siegel reports: Authorities have found the body of missing former White House chef Walter Scheib a few miles from the hiking trail where his car was last seen, New Mexico State Police confirmed.
“The body was discovered off the immediate trail approximately 1.7 miles from the base of the trail. No further details are available at this time. Rescue workers are still gathering information.”
— New Mexico State Police Sgt. Liz Armijo
Scheib, 61, was last seen on June 13 heading to hike a trail in the Taos Ski Valley 10 miles outside of Taos, New Mexico.
State police and volunteers had been searching for Scheib since Wednesday, after a family member reported him missing and his car was discovered at the trailhead.
Cell phone data that showed Scheib’s last known location helped rescuers narrow their search – and eventually led them to his body Sunday evening.
“The body was discovered off the immediate trail approximately 1.7 miles from the base of the trail. No further details are available at this time. Rescue workers are still gathering information,” New Mexico State Police Sgt. Liz Armijo said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Jellyfish are washing up on shore in Oregon and Washington
Eliza Gray Millions of jellyfish are washing up on the shores of beaches in Washington and Oregon, CNN reports.
It is not unusual for the bluish-purple species called Velella velalla to turn up in the spring, but a sail fin on their body usually keeps them away from the shore. This spring, though, their sails were no match for the wind.
The species, also known as “purple sailor,” has stinging cells that are not seriously harmful to humans, but the Oregon State website warns it’s best to avoid rubbing your eyes after touching them or walking barefoot through them on the beach.
After a rough cut leaked earlier in the day, Warner Bros. released the first official trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on Friday. In it, Superman is declared a “false God” by pundits. [TIME]
The movie, based on the DC Comics, hits theaters March 25, 2016.
ROCKAWAY BEACH, Ore. (AP) — Thousands of jellyfish-like creatures have been piling up on Rockaway Beach in what appears to be a massive die-off.
The animals are like a cousin to the jellyfish.
They are commonly called “purple sailors,” ”little sail,” and “by the wind sailors.”
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says die-offs occur each spring along beaches from Oregon to California.
(CNN) — Marine biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium are treating a rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle that washed up Saturday on a nearby beach.
The episode marks the first rescue of a leatherback sea turtle in South Carolina and is believed to be only the fifth live rescue of this species in the United States, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The endangered turtle was found stranded on the Yawkey-South Island Preserve, a wildlife refuge near Georgetown, South Carolina. Rescuers named it Yawkey.
Because the turtle is believed to be a juvenile — rescuers say it’s probably less than 10 years old — and has not reached sexual maturity, biologists can’t yet determine its sex.
Rescuers found no external signs of trauma to the reptile, although it was hypoglycemic. Staffers with the aquarium’s sea turtle rescue program gave it antibiotics, vitamins and some time to recover at their facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
Admitting that the way we were getting news was desperately flawed—at least until a few years ago—is really admitting to a larger failure in ourselves. So, of course, we will never do it.
“What gets lost is a proverbial sense of communal experience. We’re not all getting it through Walter Cronkite. We’re not all going to experience him choke back a tear. The danger is that we become isolated in our own echo chambers—that we don’t get different points of view that open us up to thinking about other people. That’s the dystopian view. That’s the fear—that everyone’s essentially in their own bubble.”
— Jordan Levin
The reality is the opposite: The protections that we now know need to be provided to TV journalists—the expectation that they could be human, that they could quickly admit to mistakes without being permanently reviled, that they could unveil their process while reporting on what they know and don’t know—are really only provided to comedians.
Comedy and news collided not because comedy needed the news, but because news needed the protections of comedy.
Here’s how we know it: The most prominent cases of clear government corruption that were brought to light—and eventually killed—by a TV show in the last year did not come from the Nightly News, a tepid-by-design, rote reconstruction of the day’s events told slowly and dispassionately, as not to ruffle the feathers of the powerful.
Those scoops—acts of journalism in the truest sense—happened, instead, on places like Last Week Tonight, hosted by Daily Show alumnus John Oliver.
His show, for example, highlighted an FCC Commissioner—one whose last job was the head of the telecom lobby—proposing rules that would have allowed that same cable lobby to rake consumers over the coals by artificially slowing down the speed of some websites while simultaneously raising prices. His show launched a protest that was so swift and immediate it crashed the FCC’s servers. That commissioner, Tom Wheeler, did a 180—and last week proposed different rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling.
[Note: If Ben Collins actually thinks the Obama administration-pressured FCC’s 300+ page stack of regulations aimed at transforming the internet into a highly-regulated government-controlled public utility is as simple as consumer-advocacy “rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling” one might conclude that guys like Ben are also among those Kool-Aid drinking journalists who shamelessly promoted the Affordable Care Act as a popular, successful “reform” package that made health care “more affordable”. If this sloppy comment about Tom Wheeler raises serious doubts about the credibility of everything else Ben’s article, so be it.]
— Barracuda Brigade (@BarracudaMama) February 10, 2015
Then it happened again with payday loans, which prey only on the poor. (The Consumer Protection Agency, as of three days ago, is trying to put an end to them.)
And then again with civil forfeiture—a process that allowed police to seize assets from citizens who were never arrested or charged with a crime. (Attorney General Eric Holder laid out an edict effectively putting an end to it.)
These issues were on the fringe of public consciousness. Fifteen minutes, a lot of reporting and a little bit of comedy later, three pieces of legislation that would’ve negatively affected less fortunate Americans—or, in the first case, all Americans—were about to be killed.
The Nightly News couldn’t dream of doing this that efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »
Many of the state’s marijuana users have stuck with the untaxed or much-lesser-taxed pot they get from black market dealers or unregulated medical dispensaries
“Every grower I know has got surplus inventory and they’re concerned about it. I don’t know anybody getting rich.”
— Cannabis farmer Scott Masengill
A big harvest of sun-grown marijuana from eastern Washington last fall flooded the market. Prices are starting to come down in the state’s licensed pot shops, but due to the glut, growers are — surprisingly — struggling to sell their marijuana. Some are already worried about going belly-up, finding it tougher than expected to make a living in legal weed.
“It’s an economic nightmare,” says Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.
State data show that licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of bud as of Thursday, but Washington’s relatively few legal pot shops have sold less than one-fifth of that. Many of the state’s marijuana users have stuck with the untaxed or much-lesser-taxed pot they get from black market dealers or unregulated medical dispensaries — limiting how quickly product moves off the shelves of legal stores.
“State data show that licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of bud as of Thursday, but Washington’s relatively few legal pot shops have sold less than one-fifth of that.”
“Every grower I know has got surplus inventory and they’re concerned about it,” said Scott Masengill, who has sold half of the 280 pounds he harvested from his pot farm in central Washington. “I don’t know anybody getting rich.”
“It’s the volatility of a new marketplace.”
— Randy Simmons, Washington State Liquor Control Board
“Obama entered the presidency trailing clouds of intellectual self-regard. His carefully cultivated persona was of a uniquely thoughtful, judicious, deliberative, evidence-driven man comfortable with complexity. The protracted consideration of Keystone supposedly displayed these virtues.”
“Now, however, it is clear that his mind has always been as closed as an unshucked oyster.”
— George Will
Washington State Legislature to Introduce Metal Napkin Dispenser Control Act to Establish Guidelines for Napkin Dispenser Background Checks, Regulate Production and Ownership of Defensive Full-Metal Napkin Dispensers
BURLINGTON, Wash. — Cops are on the hunt for a serial armed robber and police say his last target was a clerk inside the Lafeen’s Donut shop on November 30.
But thanks to a brave store clerk police now have a clear view of the suspect’s face.
Investigators think the same man is responsible for robberies stretching from Burlington to Bellingham.
“It just makes me mad,” said clerk Sara Mora, “It makes me angry.”
Mora was working in the back of the store when she heard a customer walk in.
But when she saw a man guy holding a gun, she did exactly as she was told.
“Right when he flashes his gun I’m like, whoa,” she said. “This is the end of me, my life ends right here.”
The thief made Sara empty the register. But when the suspect turned to cut the phone lines, Sara made her move and armed herself with a metal napkin dispenser.
During the struggle Sara pulled down the suspect’s hood. Investigators said the image of the man captured on video is their best chance to identify the suspect.
“It gives us a very description of who we’re looking for,” said Officer Jed Cates of the Burlington Police Department. “He’s obviously shown that he’s willing to do it, this has occurred 4 times in Bellingham.”
Investigators believe the suspect is responsible for other armed robberies in Bellingham; several were also captured on surveillance video. Read the rest of this entry »
The Oceanographic Museum – Monte Carlo, Monaco
This monumental architectural work of art has an impressive façade above the sea, towering over the sheer cliff face to a height of 279 feet (85.04 m). It took 11 years to build, using 100,000 tons of stone from La Turbie. Read the rest of this entry »
The footnotes alone could fill a library
Alyssa Abkowitz reports: Braising chicken is a science in itself.
That’s according to an 80,000-word doctoral dissertation by a 34-year-female PhD candidate in China’s Shanxi Province, written in an effort to find out how spices impact the taste of meat.
Sun Lingxia, a student at Shanxi Normal University, conducted a two-year study on braised chicken to help pave the way for standardizing production of traditional food on a large scale, she told the Southern Metropolis Daily, a local newspaper in Guangzhou.
“While Chinese microbloggers have nicknamed the dissertation “The Most Yummy Paper,” one of Ms. Sun’s professors said scientific research on food is quite normal, citing examples including Japanese research papers on bread.”
By comparing differences between chicken braised with star anise and those braised without the popular spice, she was able to control taste by quantifying the temperature, time and power needed to make braised chicken taste the most delicious. To ensure consistency in her experiments, Ms. Sun used one factory in Henan Province to source all her chicken and only used star anise from Guangxi, the report said.
Ms. Sun focused on star anise because it’s affordable and commonly used in both braised chicken and braised pork, two popular dishes in China. Read the rest of this entry »
“Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment…215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates.”
For China Real Time, Richard Silk reports: Chinese consumers are used to food safety scandals, from toxic heavy metals in their rice to cooking oil scraped up from the gutter. After those outrages, they might be grateful for some good old-fashioned painkillers in their soup.
“Last month a noodle shop owner in Shaanxi province admitted dosing his dishes with poppy buds after a customer tested positive on a drug test.”
The website of Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official information agency, reported Thursday that restaurants around the country are routinely spiking their dishes with poppy shells, which contain opiates like morphine and codeine, to keep customers coming back.
Hotpot, noodles and lobsters are the most common dishes to get this treatment, Xinhua said. The tactic isn’t new – 215 restaurants in Guizhou province were shut down for spiking their food with opiates way back in 2004 – but has been receiving increasing media coverage as multiple incidents have come to light. Read the rest of this entry »
95 Percent of BBC Viewers Think Multiculturalism Has Failed
A whopping 95 percent of respondents to a BBC straw poll have said that they think multiculturalism in Britain is a failure. The poll was taken yesterday morning during the BBC’s Saturday Morning Live show, and asked “Is multiculturalism working?” Just 5 percent said “Yes”; 95 percent said “No”.
“fortunately the actually scientific polling suggests that’s quite a pessimistic answer.”
Breitbart London’s James Delingpole was a guest on the show. During the discussion of the results, he said: “I think the thwacking great majority in that poll says it all. The multicultural experiment in Britain has failed totally and people have finally realised how much it has failed. Rotherham was just one example; we’re seeing cases all around the country. It has been a disaster. I think that this is going to be the turning point.”
Also on the show was the left-wing journalist Owen Jones, who extolled the virtues of interracial sex and claimed: “fortunately the actually scientific polling suggests that’s quite a pessimistic answer. Yes there are always tensions which we need to work on. We need to bring our communities together. But Britain has one of the highest levels of interracial relationships in the whole world.”
“We need to break down segregation like faith schools. We concentrate poor people in particular areas because of the lack of social housing, and that disproportionately affects people from black and minority ethnic communities.” Read the rest of this entry »
And if a whole marshmallow is a little too much for your overweight kids, the article suggests scrapping the whole idea of roasting marshmallows, and instead using marshmallow creme out of a jar
“Put a piece of fruit on a roasting stick, dip quickly in the crème and roast over indirect heat until a delicious golden brown.”
The U.S. Forest Service on Friday published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, all in preparation for Saturday, which is National Roasted Marshmallow Day.
“You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack.”
As one might expect, the article is riddled with safety tips that might make you think twice about even carrying matches into the forest at all, let alone actually igniting a marshmallow and putting your family’s life at risk.
“First, let’s talk safety,” the article says. “Never start a campfire when there are fire restrictions in place. The restrictions are put in place for your safety and for the safety of others.”
It also warns that children should be given a stern talking-to before any of the “fun” begins. Read the rest of this entry »
“The number who trust the government all or most of the time has sunk so low…”
CNN‘s Paul Steinhauser delivers the bad news: Four decades after President Richard Nixon resigned, a slight majority of Americans still consider Watergate a very serious matter, a new national survey shows. But how serious depends on when you were born.
” …that it is hard to remember that there was ever a time when Americans routinely trusted the government.”
— CNN Polling Director Keating Holland
The CNN/ORC International poll’s release comes one day before the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974. With the Watergate scandal escalating, the second-term Republican president had lost much of his political backing, and he faced almost certain impeachment and the prospects of being removed from office by a Democratic-dominated House and Senate.
There’s a big generational divide over the significance of the scandal, with a majority of those older than 40 describing Watergate as a very serious problem and those under 40 saying it was just politics.
“Just 13% of Americans say the government can be trusted to do what is right always or most of the time.”
The poll also indicates that the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low. Read the rest of this entry »
— WSJ China Real Time (@ChinaRealTime) August 7, 2014
“You get a really thick char on the outside which, frankly, tastes delicious. And when cut into it medium-rare, it’s juicy and unctuous.”
— Sam Bompas
A couple of badass cooks decided to use molten lava and lightning to cook a steak. Their names are Bompas and Parr, and let’s just say they’re known for doing insane things with food.
…Of course, nearly everyone in Washington has seen the much-vaunted Clinton PR machine in action. It’s very predictable. Here’s how it works:
1) Media intimidation tactics: Following their usual method of operation, the first thing Team Clinton would do is attempt a media blackout. A producer with CNN said I’d never be able to get any airtime on her show because the Clintons punish networks that give space to their perceived enemies. So far, even claims in my book that were well sourced with on-the-record quotes—such as Bill Clinton offering counsel to John McCain in how to defeat Barack Obama in 2008—have been all but ignored by the mainstream media.
2) Defame and attack: There would be repeated efforts to turn me into a kook or right-wing hit man. Though they haven’t yet gone so far to label me a “crazed stalker” like they did with Monica Lewinsky, the reliable Clinton aide Nick Merrill has repeatedly deployed a classic Clinton spin line on my work—before it was even on sale, mind you, and presumably he hadn’t yet read it. “It’s sad to see Daniel Halper join the discredited and disgraced ranks” of other authors supposedly out to get them at all costs, he emailed the Huffington Post. Read the rest of this entry »
GLOBAL PANIC OF 2014 REACHES CHINA: Freakishly Large, Bizzare Flying Insect Found in Sichuan Province, Experts SayPosted: July 22, 2014
World’s largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China’s Sichuan province
Large enough to cover the face of a human adult, this scary-looking insect is also known among entomologists as an indicator of good water quality.
(CNN) – According to the Insect Museum of West China, local villagers in the outskirts of Chengdu handed over “weird insects that resemble giant dragonflies with long teeth” earlier this month.
Several of these odd critters were examined by the museum and found to be unusually large specimens of the giant dobsonfly, which is native to China and Vietnam.
The largest one measured 21 centimeters (8.27 inches) when its wings were open, according to the museum, busting the original record for largest aquatic insect held by a South American helicopter damselfly, which had a wingspan of 19.1 centimeters (7.5 inches). Read the rest of this entry »
GLOBAL PANIC OF JULY 2014 UPDATE: President Obama Plans 16-Day Martha’s Vineyard Vacation on $12m EstatePosted: July 16, 2014
For the WashingtonExaminer, Paul Bedard reports: It’s going to be hot tubs, basketball, tennis and golf for the first family this summer, having set plans for a 16-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., on a $12 million, 10-acre forested estate on the southwestern corner of the island.
Reports from the Bay State indicate that President Obama and his family will vacation August 9-24 at the 8,100-square foot, beachfront home of a Democratic donor that includes a pool, hot tub, basketball and tennis court.
Mad Martha’s Ice Cream last year developed a new flavor called “Barack My World,” espresso ice cream, macadamia nuts and caramel
It will be new digs for the first family, who have summered on tony Martha’s Vineyard every year of Obama’s presidency, except in 2012 when he was running for reelection.
Obama is expected to be accompanied by top aide Valerie Jarrett, a regular summer resident of Oak Bluffs
Global Panic of July 2014 Centers on Meat Spill on Upstate New York Roads, Stench may Reach Manhattan by Sundown
The Associated Press reports – QUEENSBURY, N.Y. – Some car owners are raising a stink after driving a road littered with meat in upstate New York.
The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports that dozens of chunks of meat were on the road in front of a mall Thursday in Queensbury, about 60 miles north of Albany.
Police believe meat fell off a truck that might have been heading from a farm or slaughterhouse to a rendering plant, but no one has come forward to claim it.
For NRO, A.J. Kritikos writes: On Friday afternoon, Kentucky senator Rand Paul spoke at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Despite the libertarian and conservative arguments he put forth to the Cambridge audience, he was received warmly, though his more detailed legal arguments on national-security issues need some fine-tuning.
Senator Paul’s prepared remarks primarily addressed privacy and national-security issues, beginning, appropriately enough, by alluding to the Boston Tea Party. After describing how the British used general warrants to harass colonists, and the subsequent writings of James Otis on the topic that helped catalyze opposition to the Crown, Senator Paul addressed privacy concerns that have arisen since 9/11. The checks and balances required by the Constitution, in his view, have been partially abandoned in response to the threat of terrorism, highlighting the Patriot Act as an example.
That law was part of counterterrorism efforts responding to 9/11 that Paul characterized as being marked by “hysteria.” While the law certainly was enacted rapidly, suggesting that America has been hysterical in its pursuit of al-Qaeda and its associates seems more reminiscent of his father than the more mainstream image Senator Paul has sought to cultivate. Read the rest of this entry »