All posts by bhharkins

St. Paddy’s Day Chaos

by Blythe Harkins

The Gown, QUB

Some illicit activities include police being pelted with bottles and the 12 culprits were arrested.  A South Belfast MLA Jimmy Pratt told the press that the St. Patrick celebration was “shameful.”  He went on further to say that “It is time the local universities adopted a zero tolerance approach and expel those identified as being involved in this behaviour.”

Two years ago the student population of Belfast turned a happy go-lucky street celebration into a anti-social riot.  Because of this, the authorities and volunteers were on hand for this year’s festivities.  However, the students see this as a challenge and when police  reached the scene to quiet the chaos, but only more uprising occurred.  Twelve people were arrested after police were pelted with bottles as dozens of house parties spilled on to the street.

Continue reading St. Paddy’s Day Chaos

‘Grief is the Price you Pay for Love’

by Blythe Harkins

Prince William attended a service rally for the Christchurch victims on Friday.  Thousands of people gathered in North Hagley Park for a memorial service for the estimated 182 people that were lost in the 6.3-magnitude quake in New Zealand, on February 22.  Two minutes of silence were observed at the time that the quake hit.  Prince William spoke a few words of hope to the people.  “My grandmother once said grief is the price you pay for love.”  He went on further to say that the Cantabrians “are an inspiration to all people. I count myself enormously privileged to be here to tell you that.”  His closing words were telling the people in Christchurch to be strong.

The New Zealand Herald was very excited to cover the Prince’s visit.  Check out their video below:

Gaddafi troops launch assault

by Blythe Harkins

Loyal troops to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have landed at the Port of Ras Lanuf this morning.  Sounds of fire arms rang out on Friday morning and smoke rose above the town causing people of this residential area to panic.  It is said that four boats carrying about 40 to 50 men each landed in the Port this morning.

credit: Reuters

Check out the full story on the following websites:

Vandalization at the City Chambers

credit: Edinburgh Evening News

by Blythe Harkins


The ‘Stone of Remembrance,’ a war memorial outside of the City Chambers on the Royal Mile was vandalized recently.  Either Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, white paint was thrown on the nearby walls and in front of the memorial.  A team of specialists had to be called in t0 remove the paint, with the Council believing that a specialized paint was used for the defacing.   It is unknown how much the removal of the paint cost the city.  Today a team of marble polishers are going to be returning to the memorial to restore it to its original state.  Defacing public property is bad enough but when it comes to a sacred memorial, a new question arises entirely.  Hopefully Edinburgh will find the culprit and actions will be taken.  For the full story, check out the news bulletin on Edinburgh Napier News TV.


Touchdown in the UK

by Blythe Harkins

Touchdown!  America football is here to stay in the UK.  The United Kingdom just celebrated the 100th anniversary of when the first game was played in London on November 23, 1910.  There are 45 teams that comprise the Division 1 and Division 2 teams as well as the 64 teams on the collegiate level including our home team, the Edinburgh Napier Knights.  The British American Football Association also known as BAFA is the governing body for this great sport here in the UK.  BAFA recognises both contact and non contact versions of the sport.  There are also flag teams for the youth level.

The pigskin that is used in the game. Credit: stock.xchng

Football is a beloved sport in America, and the NFL crosses the pond to play a professional game in the UK once a year.  The first game was played in Wembley Stadium on August 3rd, 1986 between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with the final score being Bears 17, Cowboys 6. This game was part of the American Bowl Series.  After a nine games the Series was dissolved.  The in 2005 the NFL International Series was introduced, as a way of expanding the NFL abroad.  And American Football still has a driving force in the UK with Sky Sports covering and broadcasting live games.  There is a minimum of six games that are shown each week during the regular football season.  Accompanying the live games, Sky also broadcasts several sports news shows and highlight shows.  This year, on October 31, 2010 the San Francisco 49ers acting as the home team and the Denver Broncos acting as the away team.   The game took place at Wembley Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Broncos 24 to 16.


Full contact hold no bars. Credit: stock.xchng

The future of American football in the UK is very promising with now over 70 amateur teams in the British American Football Association Community Leagues.  Scotland is also gaining yardage with the American National Football League.  Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL UK boss, has revealed that Scotland is in talks to host two professional football games in the year 2012.  With the huge following that American Football has here in the United Kingdom, this game is here to stay.

An Enchilada of a Record

by Blythe Harkins

Are your eyes bigger than your stomach?

Iztapalapa, Mexico which sits in the easter part of Mexico City, is know for being one of the 16 boroughs in which Mexico’s Federal District is divided.  Iztapalapa is not boasting with tourists but around one million people visit this borough every year to behold a reenactment of the Passion of Christ which first started in 1833 after locals evaded a cholera epidemic.  But they have much to celebrate about recently.


Sunday October 17, 2010 was no ordinary day for the people of Izapalapa.  With more than 600 local volunteers, the worlds’s largest enchilada was concocted!  Weighing in at 1,032 pounds, this monster of a meal measured 230 feet long and 12 inches wide.  The main components that went into creating this recording breaking dish are as follows: 165 pounds of corn, 601 pounds of white onion, 268 pounds of serranos chilies, 330 pounds of cheese, and 40 gallons of cream, avocado and a sea of salsas, along with many other ingredients.

Aside from the hours of preparation that went into making this, the local said that the biggest challenge was rolling the enchilada up making sure not to break the tortilla shell.  The enchilada also required the creation of a speciality made machine to make a tortilla of this size.  Alejandro Rojas the Mexico City tourism secretary said that, “With this Guinness record we are showing the world that Iztapalapa is a high-level tourist destination.”

Mexico City is no stranger to the trials and errors that go into breaking a Guinness World Record.  Within the last few years, the city has gone for a number of world records.   13,957 people gathered in Trafalgar Square to break the record for the largest number of people dancing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”   The other world record title that they hold is for the most people kissing simultaneously.  39,897 participants gather at the Plaza de la Constitución, on Valentine’s Day to put their lips to the test.
Over 600 locals came out to work on this record breaking enchilada.

GooGoo for GaGa

Blythe Harkins


University of South Carolina does not spring to mind when one would think of courses that push boundaries, but that is about to change.  Professor Mathieu Deflem, a sociology professor is offering “Lady GaGa and the Sociology of the Fame,” as a course for the spring semester.  He said he will be examining the social construction of fame and GaGa’s transformation into “The Fame Monster.”

Delflem is a diehard fan who is GooGoo for GaGa!  Having been to 29 of her concerts he has become quite the front row face and even met her five times. It’s to the point where Lady GaGa has started recognised  Delflem at her shows.  His ultimate goal is that she finds time between her busy tour schedule to come and be a visiting guest lecturer.

According to the official course description, it will be “relatively challenging” because of the required reading and homework.  The course is suspected to require three to four hours of work per week, outside the classroom.  Focus will be on the social conditions of fame and what aided to Lady Gaga’s rise to fame so quickly.  Delflem did not set out to make a Lady GaGa course at first, but he wanted to include her in the lectures so he figured it would more beneficial to observe the climb to fame as a whole.


The books that will give insight into the rise of "The Fame Monster."



Students are quite excited about the class and have already contacted the professor expressing their enthusiasm for socially deconstructing GaGa.   The course may even be filled with some extravagant costumes!  Delflem said that “Some starving artists deserve to starve, but many others who have real talent never land celebrity status. “How do we make sense of Lady Gaga’s rise?”

The costumes, the controversial music videos, the outrageous outfits, (including the ten inch high Alexander McQueen stilettos) apparently are just skimming the surface of what is “GaGa”.  Maybe a dive into the sociological relevancy of that fame.

Potential Terror Abroad

Written By: Blythe Harkins

The US has issued a terror warning for Americans in Europe.  The US State Department has advised US travelers to use extra caution when traveling abroad, with added care when exploring tourist destinations. Terrorists have previously targeted and attacked subways and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  Officials are concerned that new means of attacks may be on the rise.  However, the State Department is not expected to issue a travel alert advising Americans against travel to Europe, however.  Although the Department of State has yet to single out any one country, France, England, and Germany have been thrown out as possible locations for the potential attack.

In Britain, a Whitehall official said there were “no plans to change the threat level in the UK.”  The threat level in the UK remains the same at “severe”, which means the government considers an attack highly likely.  On Sunday, The Guardian talked about the possible style of the attacks.  They went on to say “The US press first reported that they were planning a series of “commando-style” attacks, something European security agencies have feared since the coordinated killings in Mumbai two years ago in which 174 people died.”

Last night the Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated following a bomb threat called in from a telephone booth. This is the second alert at the Eiffel Tower in two weeks. A search conducted by bomb experts found nothing unusual, and it was soon reopened within hours.  No other actual threats have been reported thus far.  Officials have earlier said that Osama bin Landen may be tied to the potential attacks.  It has been stated bin Laden had “approved or “blessed” the attack plan. If bin Laden is behind the terror plots, it would be his most operational role since Sept. 11, 2001,” according to news channel ABC 7 from New York.