Homophobia in the Republican Party: “God Hates Fags”

When watching some interviews with a few of the Republican party presidential campaign candidates I was shocked to see how ridiculously homophobic a lot of these people were. There was one guy called Rick Santorum who said in a speech that the state has to intervene to stop immoral acts from taking place. He says that slavery was immoral and so the government stopped the slave trade from taking place and because homosexuality is immoral, the government should stop same sex marriages from taking place. And 200 republicans applauded this…. Because that makes perfect sense… capturing African people, forcing them away from their home country and treating them like animals based on nothing but the colour of their skin is JUST AS BAD as two men holding hands. Chaining people up, taking away their freedom and engaging in one of the most shameful events human kind has ever experienced is EXACTLY the same as two women having a snog. Continue reading

Proud Cabaret, Camden: the most fun you can have in a horse hospital

Proud at Camden is quirky, sexy, but not too cool, and it is for these (exceptionally important) reasons that I have enjoyed many raucous nights there. Set within the 200 year old Horse Hospital, a place that treated injured equine canal workers, the owners have retained much of the original architecture that gives the club its fantastic earthy, dirty air. The cobbled floors and wooden doors of the stables now serve as VIP booths; meanwhile the outside area is a perfect example of courtyard charm. Continue reading

So Close Yet So Far for Cardiff

Liverpool’s rather blunt onslaught held its nerve and gave the club a huge boost in lifting their first piece silverware in six years at the expense of the perennial ‘nearly men’ of Cardiff.

Gerrard celebrating Liverpool's Carling Cup triumph (Courtesy of The Telegraph)

Gerrard celebrating Liverpool's Carling Cup triumph (Courtesy of The Telegraph)

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Rediscovering the 90s: How Jeremy Scott and Ashish are Taking us Back For Autumn/Winter 2012

It’s fair to assume that serious fashion types are not likely to be encouraged to ‘do the Bartman’ on a regular basis, but next season’s catwalk offerings have dictated that all things Bart Simpson are suddenly cool again. Along with tie-dye, smiley faces, punchy slogans and in-your-face trashy sequins, the 1990s will definitely be making a resurgence if the designs of Jeremy Scott (in New York) and Ashish (in London) are anything to go by.

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott's designs included computer screen grabs and Bart Simpson

Jeremy Scott Smile

The freaks and the cool kids came together in Scott's show

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The Sun On Sunday: The Verdict

After the demise of the News of the World, many of us were waiting with baited breath to see what Rupert Murdoch’s team would come up with to fill the gap, either rubbing our hands together with malicious glee or genuine curiosity. Personally I’m not a Rupert Murdoch fan, but I am partial to a bit of Dear Deidre (the Sun’s problem pages guru) and I’m not afraid to admit it. Trying to put my agony aunt bias aside and be an impartial reviewer, I eagerly opened my Sunday edition and looked forward to some pun-filled headlines and a few shouty public campaigns in capital letters. Continue reading

The Sun on Sunday, struggling banks and a House of Commons brawl: The Week in Politics

This week started with the long-awaited announcement that News International will publish a new Sun on Sunday newspaper, thus filling the gaping void of Sunday filth left by the closure of the News of the World last year.  The first issue will be published this weekend, which is news that will presumably be greeted with cheer by those inclined towards the esteemed journalism of its sister paper. Continue reading

Carling Cup Final Special Part 1: Liverpool

Andy Carroll: World's most expensive Sausage

Liverpool’s PR team may be scrabbling around trying to pick up the pieces of the Suarez affair, but equally as damaging to the clubs reputation is its inability to play attractive football. Continue reading

Movie Monday #19 – Beauty: Winner of the Cannes ‘Queer Palm’

The need for cinema that enlightens audiences to areas of homophobia couldn’t be more relevant. The battle for gay rights is getting hotter. So far in 2012, LGBT history month has received more press than ever (you’re not alone in thinking it seems to have appeared out of nowhere: it is in fact in its 8th year), Washington has just become the 7th state to legalise gay marriage, and Lady Gaga has released dates for her ‘Born This Way’ tour, which will see her preaching equality in her high heels worldwide.

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Syria Needs Change, Not a New Constitution

Today SANA, the Syrian state news agency, announced that a date has been announced for a vote upon a constitutional referendum. Though February 26th may now be set in the diaries of both Syrians and the watching world, it seems naive to suggest that democratic progress could possibly spring forth whilst President Assad’s forces continue to brutalise those exact same prospective voters. Continue reading

The Don, The Armband and EastEnders

As one man avoided prison, another received sweet relief from his own private incarceration. Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp left court exonerated of all charges of tax evasion and was immediately back being courted, this time by the FA. A matter of hours after walking free, Redknapp’s prospective employers parted ways with Italian manager Fabio Capello after almost four years in charge of the England national team. Fact being clearly stranger than fiction in the footballing world.

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Movie Monday #18 – Silent Cinema in the Digital Age?

A new season is upon us. Milan fashion week has just showcased its new Autumn/Winter menswear collection, winter seems to have properly begun (February is in fact the coldest month of the year, lest we annually forget) and of course the most important for movie fans everywhere – it’s Oscar season.

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Fashion: The Menswear Report – Muted Tones from Milan and Paris, A/W 2012

In the fickle world of fashion there are many trends that are flash-in-the-pan affairs, but what you’ll often find is that there are certain staple themes which rarely fall off the radar. With the latest offerings from the menswear catwalks of the world, you’ll definitely feel a sense of déjà-vu. This hasn’t been a season of ground-breaking new innovations, but instead we have quietly brilliant reinventions of classic styles, such as the three-piece suit and muted block colours which feel worlds away from the brash yellow and pink that are currently filtering down to the high street, and which isn’t the easiest trend to adopt if you don’t want to look like Mr Blobby. Here’s an introduction to the big-hitters at the recent fashion weeks in Milan and Paris, where things really got sophisticated. Continue reading

Give over, Gove

Education Secretary, Michael Gove, once again talked of desired reforms to the education system this week. Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he talked of increasing from three hours (per teacher) headteachers’ inspection time and the need to sack teachers who cannot control classes and get them to succeed. And, on ITV’s Daybreak, he spoke in favour of longer school days and shorter holidays, and the consequent need for teachers to work for longer.

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Sport in 2011

Another action-packed, swashbuckling year has drawn to a close, a year that has had more than its fair share of controversy, amazement and wonder. A humdinger as some would say, and here’s a few reasons why…

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Movie Monday # 17 – 2012’s Predicted Turkeys

Happy 2012. By now you will have been hit with the usual annual influx of beginning-of-the-year occurrences: the overeating shame; the coincidence that every gym in your area appears to now offer a miraculous deal; the rubbish sales that you never buy from, yet never learn and still get excited over, and the wave of articles, programs and publications dictating how, this year, resolutions will finally be kept and you can become the new you. In the sphere of Film Journalism, we are treated to the definitive guide (as each separate publication boasts) on what to watch in 2012. The hotly anticipated, the directorial returns, the exciting and the oscar worthy. So, 9 days in to the year, I can presume you’re  now bored of that shit. You probably know by now what you’re going to be seeing in the next 12 months – and if you don’t, you can pick up any magazine concerning even a whiff of cinema and it will tell you. So instead, I will give you something different. Here is what not to watch this year – to hastily avoid with utmost defiance and repulsion. The turkeys of 2012:

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The Case Of Stephen Lawrence

18 years after the brutal murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, Southeast London the courts have finally reached a verdict. Two of the original suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris have been convicted on the basis of new forensic evidence. Today they were dealt life licenses with a combined prison sentence of 29 years 5 months. Continue reading

2011 In Fashion: Kanye West Overkill And Sequinned Swimming Caps

It’s been a weird 12 months for fashion lovers, not least because we’ve been receiving mixed messages from the powers that be. Whilst the Credit Crunch rolled on and we all tightened our already extremely tight belts, we were also simultaneously told to support struggling businesses and save our high streets. In the summer we all watched in horror as looting rioters lunged for ice white trainers in sports shops but strangely left a branch of Waterstones untouched, then November saw the launch of Versace for H&M (think leopard print, chains and palm trees) and suddenly chav chic was cool again. Talk about confusion. In order to make things a little clearer, here’s a little retrospective of what 2011 dictated for our wardrobes – the good, the bad and the ugly bits. Continue reading

Spare a Thought For the Pundits This Christmas…

BBC execs are fearing for the health of their football pundits over this festive period, in which there are approximately 7,989 games of top-flight British football.

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Year in Review – 2011 in Politics: A Fractured Coalition?

In his 2010 New Year’s message Nick Clegg spoke of testing times ahead for his party, and described the “white-knuckle ride” that the Liberal Democrats had been on since the general election.  Little did he know that the sheer extent of the testing times to come were to put the previous year’s ride firmly in the shade.

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Year in Review – Freedom

Freedom and the quest for democracy pervaded and penetrated almost every news story published in 2011. How could it not? Uprisings, civil wars and genocide have all occurred as a direct result of attempts, whether successful or not, to overthrow dictators. But people in 2011 have not been entirely liberated. Continue reading

Why the World Should Be Scared of North Korea

I have spent many years in complete disbelief that George Orwell’s 1984 was a physical reality in the 21st century. It is so hard to comprehend how a society can sustain and support such an ill-fated evil dictator and why, despite the dangers, thousands of North Koreans are not fleeing across the country’s  borders.

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Movie Monday #16 – Total Film: Another Lad’s Mag?

Some time ago, in their February issue, Total Film had a very hot topic on their letters page. The ‘Paz de la Huerta Locker’ was the title given to a group of readers’ responses that addressed the explicit photo shoot of Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta. The photos depicted her as in a lingerie-style lace body suit, naked behind a feather boa, and in a bodice that revealed her nipples. Female readers were shocked. They remarked that the article was akin to those found in a men’s magazine as opposed to one about movies.

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What European Future For The UK?

The pivotal and momentous nature of Thursday night’s developments, in terms of their likely effect on power balances in European politics, cannot be overstated.  In effectively blocking a proposed EU-wide treaty change designed to sort out the Eurozone crisis, David Cameron has opened the door to a future in which Britain could be reduced to having a peripheral role on the European stage.  In pandering to the City of London and his own baying eurosceptic backbenchers he has decisively focused on short term political objectives, a decision that could seriously harm Britain’s longer-term interests. Continue reading

National Rail to employ “Train Whisperers” to assist in train repair

The beleaguered train operator National Rail has confirmed its intent to employ train whisperers to assist their highly qualified engineers in repairing the ailing and ageing fleet. TAY got the exclusive scoop on the story. Continue reading

Society Strikes Back

Wednesday saw thousands of public sector workers put down their stethoscopes and red pens in a day’s strike against austerity cuts to their pensions, increases of the retirement age and just general protest against supposed underpay and under-appreciation. But many less sympathetic onlookers such as Jeremy Clarkson labelled them work-shy whingers, the man himself even calling for their execution in front of their families. And this conflict was mirrored across the country in cafes, pubs and the blogosphere. TAY has been keeping a close watch on the masses and the media in an attempt to get to the heart of the matter. Continue reading

Cow Elders Confirm Reincarnation Of Bovine Jesus

It’s official – Bovine Jesus has been reincarnated as a Guernsey cow. Although prophesied almost a thousand years ago in Cow Bible, it was always assumed that Cow Jesus might take the form of a perhaps more spiritual and ethereal form, such as the Lincoln Red or, somewhat controversially, as a Black Pied Dairy cow. However, Bovine Jesus, in his infinite, beefy wisdom, has confounded the Cow elders once again. Continue reading

The Wolves Are Howling For AVB’s Blood.

For all the squats, twirls and pirouettes, Andres Villas Boas struggles with a Chelsea team that are still looking back at what they were, rather than what they are.  Continue reading

Movie Monday # 15 – Your Guarantee for a Good Weekend

Last week I made known a thrilling little titbit of cinema goss: British film is doing very well right now. My knowledge came from what I had seen thus far and what I saw was arriving for the next month to come. Now, I am further cemented in what I claim: last week, I saw Weekend.

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A Bit Too Weird For The Electorate?

Sunday morning’s YouGov poll results for the Sunday Times provide a fascinating tale of two leaders and two differing fortunes.  The bottom line is that Labour leader Ed Miliband has hit a new low in his personal approval ratings: just 27% of respondents said Miliband was doing a good job, compared with 57% who said he was faring badly. Continue reading

Small Twitterings Not Enough to Bring Down FIFA’s Old, Dilapidated Manor

Sepp Blatter’s clumsy remarks have caused uproar at a time when consolidation and clarity are needed to reaffirm football’s on racism.  In light of recent on-field acts coming under scrutiny, the careless words shame FIFA, which anti-racism group Out of Touch rebuke as ‘worryingly out of touch.’

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Florence + the Machine: Ceremonials

So, your four times platinum selling debut album has been a mainstay in the charts since the summer of 2009, you have conquered the states, wowed at intimate gigs, rocked festival crowds and, most incredibly, become loved by everyone from reviewers, to Rihanna fans, to hipsters, to housewives. What do you do for that ‘difficult’ second album? Why, ramp up it up to 11, of course. Continue reading

Movie Monday #14 – British Film is Back

Mondays aren’t just for movies. With the start of another working week comes the Monday blues: that sinking return to the 5 day grind after 48 hours of freedom. With the onslaught of Winter, daylight is shrinking. For the next few months, most of us will barely see the light at all throughout our working week. Sub-zero temperatures are forecast, the EU is squabbling and senior citizens can no longer ride the National Express for a 1/3 off. As usual, us Brits don’t have a whole lot to be cheerful for right now.

But when it comes to cinema, we do. With hushed excitement I dare to utter the following 4 words: British film is in.

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Sunday Shuffle 06/11/11

The best new music hitting us this week…

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Sport Needs A Sense Of Humour

Infamous Mario Balotelli, to use a now well worn cliché, sets the Manchester derby alight with a sublime 16 yard finish and, in celebration, reveals a T-shirt which reads: ‘why always me?’ Unusually he doesn’t – directly at least – wind anyone up, he doesn’t harm anyone and he doesn’t indirectly endanger anyone’s safety by rushing to the crowd. Yet, inexplicably, he is booked. Continue reading

It’s Never Too Early To Plot In Politics

“A week is a long time in politics” Harold Wilson once pithily remarked. Liam Fox’s recent demise would prove this Werrittable.  So it may surprise some to discover that just under a year and a half into this coalition’s tenure, the 2015 general election is becoming a serious talking point. Certainly more serious than Boris Johnson’s recent offer to Jeremy Paxman anyway- “I’m going to be your campaign manager…down the line David’s eventually going to pack it in.” Continue reading

Adventures from Sierra Leone

Five weeks in, the spatial awareness of the taxi drivers here still hasn’t ceased to amaze me. Luckily we have now befriended a great driver called Kelvin (like the temperature, as he proudly tells us every time we see him!). He is incredibly well educated (“I went to grammar school, you understand?”), very keen on politics and a huge fan of Britain and the British.

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Would Ian Huntley’s Death By The Knife Of A Psychopath Have Made The World A Better Place?

Ian Huntley needs no introduction.  However, you may need to know a little more about Damien Fowkes.  Already serving a life sentence for armed robbery, he targeted child murderers while in prison, slashing Huntley across the neck with a makeshift weapon in March 2010 before successfully strangling child sex killer Colin Hatch earlier this year.  Fowkes, despite intending to have at least as many dead bodies on his conscience as Huntley himself, is clearly the less notorious of the pair.  The term conscience, by the way, is used here in the loosest possible sense, this particular one being stunted in its development by psychopathic constraints, and lacking the public outrage and condemnation it might have needed for a little guilt-growth. Continue reading

The End Of A Queer-a

On September 20th, President Barack Obama signed the bill which finally repealed America’s absurd Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, effectively decriminalising homosexuals from serving in the armed forces. ‘Gays in the military’ is as contentious an issue amongst American conservatives today as it was 18 years ago when Bill Clinton tried to appease all parties with this single, incoherent programme. High ranking officers such as Commander Craig Quigley were angered by the fact that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender (LGBT) persons could still seep into the United States military and ‘share the same shower’ with heterosexual patriots. Furthermore, the policy did little to protect the basic rights of LGBT individuals already in service; able to serve on the condition they remain firmly locked up in the closet. Continue reading

They Said WHAT?! Topman Seemingly Advocates Domestic Violence And Degrading Women In One Fell Swoop

Call me a killjoy, but I’m not entirely comfortable with the phrase ‘You provoked me’ being screen-printed and sold to blokes as the height of cool. Why? Because those words are typical of the excuses given by abusive people (not just men, let’s be honest) to their victims. So how did Topman, a shop that predominantly sells trend-led pieces, suddenly find this text appropriate for a t-shirt? And why did they accompany this charming product with another top that gleefully yells, ‘Nice new girlfriend. What breed is she?’, giving shoppers two offensive slogans to choose from? It’s time to dig deeper into these careless messages and discover why Topman only withdrew them after customer complaints. Continue reading

The Real Cost Of Technology In Football

The image of an airborne Manuel Neuer, looking back despairingly at the ball, clearly over the line from Frank Lampard’s disallowed lob, is one that still burns the retinas of millions of Englishmen, and has been cited by many as a reason for the introduction of video technology in football. Continue reading

Beware A British Bill Of Rights

After quietly stirring up opposition over the last few months, the Tories last week used the party conference silly season to go all-out in their attack on the Human Rights Act.  Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference had earlier thrown his weight behind the Act, but the Conservatives have made no secret of their desire to rip up the legislation and replace it with a British ‘Bill of Rights’.  Continue reading

They Said WHAT?! How American Apparel Has Made Enemies For Its BIG Offensive Competition

As forms of protest go, covering yourself in salad dressing and climbing in the bath is right up there with chaining yourself to the railings of Buckingham Palace: both are pretty damn hard to ignore. Funnily enough, Nancy Upton (the woman behind the former campaign) is not much of a shrinking violet, and she is determined to stand up for larger women who are being ridiculed by the flippant copywriting for the clothing firm American Apparel’s ‘The Next BIG Thing’ contest. It’s easy to see why she got so upset when you read some of the promotional jargon used for this plus-size model quest; would you be flattered by the term ‘full-size fannies’? Well, quite. Let’s explore how phrases such as this ever made it past a brainstorming session in the boardroom and ended up offending a global audience. Continue reading

Guilty Until Proven Innocent – Italy Highlights The Importance Of True Justice Around The World

Yesterday was the final showdown between the Italian ‘justice’ system and young American Amanda Knox, one of the convicted murderers of English student Meredith Kercher. After nearly four years in an Italian jail, the world press has been able to report that Knox has been acquitted along with her co-accused ex-boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito. In the coming days, weeks and months we can expect a flourish of criticism surrounding the miscarriage of justice. Continue reading

Small Contribution, Big Society

It’s been just over a year since Cameron and co launched the flagship Conservative initiative in the not-so-familiar surroundings of Liverpool. A privately educated Tory, armed with suspiciously utopian-esque dreams of how the country should be run, steps into the relative safe-haven of the then appropriately, perhaps now ironically named Hope University – embedded of course in the wider anti-Thatcherite bastion of Merseyside. Continue reading

Troy Davis Case Highlights Folly Of Capital Punishment

At 11:08pm EDT on September 21st Troy Davis was declared dead, executed by lethal injection for the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia.  Fifteen minutes after he was administered with the drug, one of the lengthiest and most controversial episodes in the history of the American criminal justice system had ended.  Since being sentenced in August 1991 Davis had been subjected to twenty years on death row and no fewer than four separate execution dates; despite huge popular support, backing from public figures as wide-ranging as Pope Benedict XVI and former US president Jimmy Carter, and one last desperate appeal to the Supreme Court, a man’s life has now been taken away in the name of justice. Continue reading

Why a Taliban Headquarters Makes Sense Today

Whilst concluding his excellent history of Christian-Muslim conflict, Faith and Sword, Alan G. Jamieson asserts that; “American military power can in the end destroy continuing guerrilla resistance in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the methods and consequences of doing so may prove counter-productive. […] Unless American military action is matched by genuine political initiatives, the Americans will merely add another bitter chapter to an age-old conflict.” With the news that the Obama administration is preparing to engage with elements of the Taliban as part of its Afghanistan strategy, has America reached such a political initiative? Continue reading

Is 9/11 fear mongering justified?

The tenth anniversary of the September 11th 2001 atrocities is, of course, upon us.  On that day, four coordinated suicide attacks against targets in New York and the Washington DC area killed almost three thousand people.  Two hijacked jets were flown into the World Trade Centre towers, which collapsed within two hours, a third plane collided with the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, while a fourth crashed down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers attempted to take control, preventing it from reaching its assumed target of the United States Capitol in Washington.  Those events, and those who lost their lives, should never be forgotten – it truly was a day that changed the world forever.

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The Search For Fantasy

It is, of course, a fact that all life situations have a comparable Simpsons moment. For instance, when Bart is forced to befriend Ralph Wiggum after Marge sets up the much maligned ‘play-date’. After initial reluctance to endure the social stigma that the friendship would attract, Bart warms to Ralph’s innocence and especially the contents of his new friend’s father’s closet. Unable to comprehend this interest, Chief Wiggum retorts ‘what is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?’. Humorous indeed, but he hits upon an almost universal human characteristic; a fascination with the mysterious.

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Blair’s Hot Air

It seems post-riots Britain is caught up in a morass of vilification, trolling, finger-pointing, theorising, soap-box preaching and chin-stroking pondering. But fear not, readers, for Tony Blair is here to save us; to steer us onto the one true path of political enlightenment! At least that was how he came across reading his thoughts as reported by the Observer.  So, here follows a critique of his ideas, hopefully showing how it’s all a load of ol’ codswallop. *Disclaimer: this article is written with reference to the aforementioned article, which I trust reported Blair’s thoughts accurately and, more importantly, comprehensively. I recognise that this could in theory be a misappropriation of Blair’s views. In which case, some criticisms may not apply. Continue reading

E-petitions and the illusion of democracy

Parliament – the cornerstone of our great democracy.  Debating chamber for our elected representatives.  The voice of the people.  So say successive administrations dating back to time immemorial.  Parliament, they say, is the pillar around which our free and fair society is built, the means by which ordinary people up and down the country (as long as they are at least 18, a British citizen and are not legally debarred) can vote for their political representative of choice, and theoretically have a voice in the seat distribution of the House of Commons.  Legislation is therefore, so the argument goes, enacted subject to the will of the people.  The purportedly democratic nature of the process is a point politicians will return to again, and again, and again.  It is their most potent tool in maintaining relations with the electorate. Continue reading

The Week in TV: Highlights

It can be tough rifling through the TV channels for a source of entertainment besides an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ you’ve seen 8 times. But don’t sweat: I bring you this week’s pick of the box:

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