Epoch-defining international news reaches even the most peripheral, overlooked corners of the Globe. Take this piece that appeared on page 1 of the Ketchikan Dispatch in late 2007. The Dispatch is one of the finest news publications in the entire Southern Alaskan Gateway.
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Pinocchio escapes extradition
From correspondents in Santiago
October 03, 2007
An appeals court in Chile has blocked the extradition of Commodore Augustine Pinocchio to Argentina for questioning over a car bombing in 1979.
But the Santiago Court of Appeals, in refusing to lift the immunity Pinocchio has in his capacity as former president of the South American Anti-Woodpecker Trust, has effectively blocked his extradition. The Santiago ruling would appear to put a lid on any legal avenues to make the nonagenarian faces charges in Argentina, at least for the foreseeable future.
Court President George W Somoza-Duvalier said that the Tribunal ruled that Pinocchio is mentally and physically unfit to stand trial as he is still suffering the debilitating effects of an abusive relationship he had recently with a particularly violent termite.
Pinocchio’s health is generally in a bad state, he also suffers from a mild case of degenerative wood rot, has a pacemaker and has had three strokes since 1998. When interviewed briefly in hospital this week, the edgy nonagenarian revealed that his emotional ill-health started at the age of three when his father took him on a visit to a saw mill, and as a result, to this day he stills breaks out in a rash at the mere sight of a pencil sharpener!
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The Daily Llama
(Anglo-Welsh language lifestyle newsletter for the N/W Cymru community of Llamas & Alpacas)
Gwyl Tyddyn a Gardd Llamalife
Editor: Llama Llewellyn-Jones
Editor’s Welcome … Llamas ac Alpacas am Cmyru! Hawddamor … gochel y twyllo dafad, y penfelyn Dolly Parton Sheep ys not ‘ch real MacLlama!!! Defnyddless hamfustyd git Dafyddna Rhys-Vanstone ys y blonegog camel ag gynhyrchu testiculyrs. A braiddyn arseferol fyckwyt Tonnay Abbytt synied Cardiff ys named arftyr llecyn (a place) ym Newydd Ddeau Cymru! Ditto Canadia! Lawn-mewn effenthidiot! A myfiggin serial Selth abusyr, Jones Taffy Howard, dremiau lyke ‘ch typical mutant Guanaco ar ‘ch particularly bayd dydd! Hefyd, poncey, fuddsy, Llardarss crossdressyr, Alexydd Downyr-Alpaca, plays golff off 26 – frym ‘r ladyes tees, ym hygh heels! Cardiff camels cymhuru ymd Welsh National Choir! Dai Llamas-Jones rhifo hwy sawl Taffy Howard yma digyt ym rear end am a vicuna. Must havye mystook i fer George Dubya’s!
Harwedd Feature Stori: ‘r Marxist-Llamas League (MLL) ystofedig attacks ym Alpacaglania Ilywodraeth. I takes ownership fer mercy killyng am smirky Liberalllama Deputy PM Maddog Costello-Lewis. Sloth learnyr Downyr-Alpaca has a thyng amdana Countess Duckula impersonators, esp Condeleeesa Rice-Crackers! Fewn y Tony Blair doll is popular ag depressyd llamas ac alpacas sawl gain a sense am moral superiority frym i. Holy St Bloddwen am ‘ch Crop Circles … ym gyflawn a chewers rhwystrau … golli! Os na Iwyddoch chi I canna cael Dai Davies ym ‘ch Swansea ffôn book!?! Deheuol alpacas frym Pontypool – pam felly diddeall? Na chewchew chi chew! Article: Oriel Guanaco-Luniautic Continue reading
Hogsback, 18 kilometres from Alice in South Africa’s Eastern Province, is just about the coldest place I’ve been to in sub-Saharan Africa, barring the mountainous Malealea region of Lesotho. In fact it is one of the few places in South Africa where it actually snows!
The topography of Hogsback is characterised by dense forests, an extended mountain range (the Amathole Mountains), lush, verdant hiking trails (a veritable hiker’s nirvana) and teeming rivers, magnificent waterfalls such as the Madonna and Child Falls and the 39 Steps Falls, the Arboretum (garden comprising a wide selection of international trees including 100 plus year-old Californian Redwoods).
In the period since JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books became famous, many acquainted with this part of Eastern Cape have drawn attention to the physical similarity of Tolkien’s fictional Middle Earth with the town of Hogsback. Director Peter Jackson could as well have chosen Hogsback for the setting of “The Rings” series of movie epics had he not been a native of a country (New Zealand) with a landscape equally evocative of Middle Earth.
Even before “The Lord of the Rings” movie series some Hogsback locals did their best to capitalise on a handful of tenuous links with the celebrated Lord of the Rings author. The story goes, the ‘Rings’ books were inspired by the magical, enchanting physical form of Hogsback. The proponents of this theory point to the fact that Tolkien was born in South Africa (in Bloemfontein, Free State). The thesis loses traction when probed more closely. The famous author and avid philologist left South Africa at the tender age of three, never to return and having not ever visited Hogsback.
Myth-making about the Master Mythologist:
Despite this inconvenient fact, it hasn’t stopped the local tourist industry from milking the supposed nexus at every turn! ‘Lords of the Rings’ themes pervade the town and its surrounds, driven obviously by an effort to exploit the enhanced fame of Lord of the Rings. Tolkienesque references are scattered throughout Hogsback in the names of lodgings, shops and outdoor activities – Rivendell, Gandalf’s Rest, Merrell Hobbit Trail Runs, The Shire, Lothlórien, The Rings Hardware and Bottle Shop, Hog and Hobbit, Away with the Fairies Backpackers, River Running, Camelot Cottages, etc, etc. The association can probably be traced back in 1947 with the establishment of Hobbiton-on-Hogsback, an outdoor recreation and education centre for disadvantaged kids just off the R345 as you come into the Hogsback township. The “fantasy and fairies” theme is underscored in the numerous pieces of town sculptures depicting these motifs [www.hogsback.co.za].
The Tolkien connection is emphasised as in the following: “The romance of Hogsback, is recognised by reading The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (1892-1973) which seems to capture the special atmosphere of the unspoilt Hogsback forests and of a time when peace will rule the world” [Trevor Webster, The Story of Hogsback, www.Hogsback.com].
Talking to the staff person in the Hogsback Visitors Information Centre, she was unequivocally dismissive of the Tolkien LOTR nexus. So the lingering myth clearly wasn’t emanating from the likes of her! She also warned me against buying the primitive wooden toy horses and zebras in the street from members of the local Xhosa community. The street sellers, looking cold and dismal in the freezing conditions, were only asking R2 an animal, but the Visitors Centre lady explained that they are not properly gazed and sealed, making them a prohibited item to export out of RSA. Apparently a local artisan/sculptor had offered to glaze the artworks for the community at minimal cost so that they could charge more for the figurines, but his offer had not been taken up.
So, how plausible is the link between “Middle Earth” of Lord of the Rings and the sleepy, little village of Hogsback? Clearly, as stated above, JRR Holkien had no direct association with Hogsback, having left South Africa at age three. Information on Tolkien’s life however, suggest the existence of an indirect link. One of Tolkien’s sons, whilst in the Royal Air Force during WWII, was stationed at Hogsback and did correspond regular with the author with his reflections on the locale. These correspondences from Tolkien Junior included sketches and descriptions of the Hogsback ambience [Ibid.].
Accordingly it is quite feasible that, at the very least, these glowing accounts of the mystical, magic-like countryside provided background material for the physical world of The Lord of the Rings trilogy published in 1954/55. It would be a reasonable conclusion to draw to say that the description of the Mirkwood forest in the Rings cycle drew inspiration from the accounts of the place by Tolkien’s son.