Tuesday, February 28, 2006

England Cricket: My inexpert advice for the 1st Test line up

My England line up for the first test:

G. Jones

Lets jump right in.

A lot of positive words are spoken about Cook, and he hit a double century against the Aussies for Essex in a tour game last summer, so that bodes well for the team. And he’s only 21, so it’s a good opportunity to see the potential he has, let’s look positively at this shall we? Strauss needs to hit the ball with the bat to the right places more on this tour.

Bell and Collingwood both did very well in Pakistan, and their patient, more measured approach will serve them and the team well on the Indian wickets. The only quandary I have here is in what order to play them. Do you play them together, in hope they can build a good score together and occupy the crease for a long period, which will give Pietersen and Flintoff more license to play a bit more freely later on? Or do you mix them up with the latter two? For example Bell, Pietersen, Collingwood, Flintoff? So you have at one end the more patient player slowly accumulating runs, and at the other end the more flamboyant and free scoring player? Tough call.

I would play two spinners, as the consensus is that the wicket is going to turn, though how well Blackwell and Panesar will turn the ball is a matter to be seen in due course. Blackwell has earned his spot with his performances with bat and ball in the warm up games and can fill the Giles role (hopefully)

Monty has been one of England’s most economical bowlers thus far, and has taken a few wickets. I don’t see the point of playing Udal, as he hasn’t featured in the warm up games, and England need to look to the future and develop a specialist spinner for the test side. Panesar is young and can develop further (not least his batting and fielding), so throw him in at the deeper end of the proverbial pool.

An arduous series awaits, lets keep our knees crossed.

Monday, February 27, 2006

England cricket: Disarray the word of the day

Not only is Vaughan flying home with an injured knee, but now Simon Jones, the 9th sexiest man in the world, and reverse swing specialist will be joining him (injured knee also) on what one would imagine to be quite a miserable flight back to the motherland.

Add to that Trescothick going home for personal reasons, Pietersen and Collingwood both having sore backs and a good dose of the runs for several others, and things don't look too ship shape.

Better to see the glass as a quarter full rather than three quarters empty.

Vaughan and Jones returning home

Stop...Hammer time

Former big unruly trouser wearing light entertainment legend has his own blog:

MC Hammer

Not a bad writer, lots of God talk though, doesn't do a lot for my secular self. The man be deep when pondering the question of love. Socrates.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

OKCupid! Politics Test

What's love got to do with politics? Nothing.

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(30% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

I am Hillary Clinton, my name, "you" is on her head on the bit that doesn't show up here. I'd agree with these results, it's better than most tests, which say I am a vanquished far left relic.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Some frequent words in my blog, collage thing

Trying to sell T shirts with the collage on, well everyone has to put food on the table don't they? (though one could eat out) Like the idea, not sure if I want a T-shirt with my blogs most frequently used words on it though. Unless it was four letter expletives, then we be talking, handing over the cash. The shock of the faces looking at my chest, yeah explicit. Donuts.

Look a map, with places I've been marked in a Soviet red , wow!

United Kingdom: Where I am fortunate enough to live
France: 18 times or so, the family holiday of choice, between 1981-1999
Germany: 1993, the hottest place I've ever been, yeah doesn't sound right, but fact.
USA: April 1995 & August 1997
Thailand: The airport, April 2005
New Zealand: South Island, April 2005
Australia: East Coast, April/May 2005
Singapore: The airport, do airports count as countries visited? May 2005
Finland: December 2005

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ye old wind bag

From the Guardian:

Lord Kinnock, the former Labour leader, will today join the former deputy prime minister Lord Howe and the Liberal Democrats' Lord Taverne in a campaign to persuade the nation of the joys of the kilometre.

In a manifesto published today, the UK Metric Association will say…how intensely boring they are, and wear wacky novelty ties to show that they have a fun side, it's not all serious this kilometre business.

No one in this land over 20 years of age has a clue what the real value of a Kilometre is. 67km to London anyone? Yeah, no idea.

Kilometres are rubbish, and so are metres for measuring people. When I see height displayed in metres it’s meaningless to me. 1.62 m? Are you a midget or a giant? Am I a Luddite?

Anyway this campaign is a big waste of time by some old time wasters with nothing better to do, who have woken up from their slumber in the Lords to jump on a bandwagon that is short of passengers. I can’t believe I am wasting my fingers and brain cells on this.

Kinnock says that signs with miles on them:

contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence

I’d say there’s an argument that the House of Lords is more of a contradiction to our societies dynamism, multiculturalism and modernity, Mr Kinnock, sorry Lord. (You did help drag the Labour party away from the loons though, credit where it is due)

Blogs that like to watch

These really annoy me, oh very much so. There is something very pompous and self important about people who deem it necessary to set up a blog who’s sole purpose it to watch over a website, person or journalist. Sort of reminds me of the over zealous neighbourhood watch leader on the third series of Little Britain. You know the sort; “I’ve got my eye on you.” Fair enough if the owner of said blogs are looking for contradictions and hypocrisy in a persons work, but to me they are a way for people to draw attention to themselves, “look, look at me, I’m a purveyor of freedom and truth, I’ll catch them out etc blah”, and because you are guaranteed an audience if you start devoting your life to criticising a blog (why didn’t I think of that?)

Anyway, the logical conclusion for the genre of watching blogs is for there to be a watch watch. Where a blog watches a watch tick all day, to see if it’s ticking in an ideologically consistent way. Or it could chart the changes in watchmaking from day to day. Do interviews with G Shock watches, then run over them in a big 4x4, perhaps TimWestwoods absurd van, replete with his face painted on the bonnet, to see if they still work. Goodone.

I just can’t be doing with people who comment on watching blogs either.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Smoking warning labels: The sniper warning issue further explored

Carrying on an idea that Mr Brooker has probably long forgot may seem like a redundant exercise, but who wants entropy, when you can slip into the easy and comfortable armchair of redundancy? I hope work don't make me redundant though.

Right warning label ideas:

This one, in black and white. Outdoor setting not really appropriate for indoor snipering, but that’s just tedious details. Warning could be: "Sniper seeks smoker who doesn't respect the law, don't let it be you" in the style of a lonely hearts advert.

I like this one best. You’d have to remove the website though. Don’t want to advertise a lunatic gun website on a packet of fags. Makes it seem as if guns are ok, they are not. Except for sniping smokers who break rules, there is a distinction. Look at his mean and scary face, grrrrr! You’d shit yourself if you ran in to him armed or unarmed, or with him having no arms. Or just laugh down the barrel of his gun at his ridiculous beard and wifebeater vest, then run off. Notice the subtle eliding of guns with American constitutional rights, the stars and stripes waving at you in the background.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How to enforce the smoking ban

A novel way suggested by Charlie Brookes: Snipers

My own personal idea, to get rid of smoking completely, which is slightly counterproductive since I smoke, would be to replace all cigarettes with those chocolate ones that you could buy as a kid (in the days before chocolate cigarettes were considered bad for kids health)

But then you would have more fatness, and would need to replace the chocolate cigs with something else. Perhaps celery, but then it would stick in ex smokers, who in turn are now fatties, teeth, and dentists wouldn’t be able to cope getting the silly stick string out of peoples fillings. Then all NHS dentists would go private and we would all pay more, and the government of the day would be relieved of office because it wanted to ban smoking which in turn made smokers fatter, not fitter, who then had less healthy teeth by eating a healthy food.

This is one of the real dilemmas of 21st century.

Liking Charlie’s fag packet warning idea:

Let's change the warnings on the packs while we're about it. None of this wussy "Smoking Causes Cancer" nonsense. Just a sniper, in silhouette, and the words "HE IS WATCHING".

Books read 2005: Colussus by Niall Ferguson & Better or Worse? by Polly Toynbee and Peter Walker

19.Colussus by Niall Ferguson (2005)

Ferguson argues that America isn't really an empire, in a true sense. For example the US has never usually been arsed to stick around after its wars, to nation build, though this administration has shown signs of that in Iraq. He thinks America should be more imperialistic, not less, empire is good for us and the world. Interesting at times, dry and Jacob cracker like at others.

20.Better or Worse? by Polly Toynbee and Peter Walker (2005)

Labour has delivered in its second term according to these two, who use statistics to show that largely Labour has improved the lot of society in many ways. Many will find it hard to concur with this belief, Lies, damned lies, and statistics and all of that, but if you don’t believe these statistics are indicative of improvement, what do you measure improvement by? Anecdote, personal experience?

If you want an audit of Labours second term in power this is a good book to browse through. Though not ideal for reading in one go, too dry, no real narrative, politics are more interesting than policy. It’s not Alan Clark or anything, but it would be fun if he had written this book.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Football racism and hooliganism, the "European disease"

Excellent article in today’s Guardian by Simon Jordan, praising the efforts of English football in stamping out racism and hooliganism.

What was always considered the "English disease" appears to now be more a European one. I don't recall seeing swastikas at Highbury, or hearing monkey chants, en masse, directed at black players. As usual though, these things are forever associated with our island, and Uefa seem to think the problem in Europe isn't that bad. Surprise.

Read it here: "Someone tell Uefa racism is not an English disease"

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I have been on holiday the last few weeks, hence the lack of posts.

I could have said that, or told the truth; which is that I haven't been arsed to update lately even though there is lots I want to write about. Just can't be arsed, you dig?

It only seems fitting that I leave you (for now) with a lyric from the poet laureate Ghostface Killah:

"Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious/ Dociousaliexpifragalisticcalisuper/ Cancun, catch me in the room, eatin' grouper" Indeed.

Drinking Martini at the moment. Never before drank this pseudo sophisticat rubbish, but it is quite ok, even though I am diluting it with water.

My policy with spirits - the drinking sort - is to mix only with water, yet this is only 15% proof, so I can hardly have reasonable reason to mix it with water. I have done so though. And it is not bottle water from a French field in the valleys of the Loire, but lovely tap water from the West Midlands off all places.

I want to be in Cancun, eating Grouper.

This is Cancun, I think it to be in Mexico.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Don't throw slippers at judges in India

From Yahoo! uk news:

An Indian judge has sentenced a robber to a life sentence in jail for hurling a slipper at him.

Judge Gongale was quick to duck when Rajkumar Sharma threw his slipper at him.

The 19-year-old appeared before the judge in Mumbai on a charge of robbing an auto rickshaw driver of £5.

Senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said: "The punishment is excessive but the accused's conduct is unpardonable."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Books read 2005: My Life by Bill Clinton & Free World by Timothy Garton Ash

17.My Life by Bill Clinton (2004)

Book far too long, yet very readable and engaging. It’s excessive, it waffles, but you can’t help liking it, despite its many flaws, much like the man himself.

18.Free World by Timothy Garton Ash (2005)

Optimistic, to describe it in one word. And that's no bad thing in this current cynical age. We can bridge the divide between Europe and America, and do a lot of other things that will help the world. Tim thinks so. And it's good to read a current affairs book that isn't dull and a chore to read. It's also free of dogma, and obvious, lazy criticism that any idiot can make.

Edited extract from the Guardian here

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


This man is in a box, but I can't get his foolish words out of my head. Help.

Yes, I have the great misfortune of having the jazzed up version of Leo Sayer's song "Thunder in my heart" continually playing in my head. A lamentable state of affairs, why not Hey Jude or London calling?

Some foolish DJ with an equally foolish name, Meck, stumbled across the original in a second hand record shop. Mr Meck, it was probably there because it's owner deemed it to be crap, and not fit for human ears. Yet you sir, have decided to give a new lease of life to this vestige of 70's disco disaster. Meck claims: "Lyrically it is so heartfelt and angst-ridden." Mr You make me feel like dancing will now be seen in a new light. Here are the main lyrics for those who wish to join me in my head:

"I feel a thunder in my heart/where it comes from I just don't know/oh no, oh no/there's a storm ragin' deep in my soul/there's a howlin' wind that I just can't control/there's a fire inside me I can't explain/every time you touch me my love falls like rain."

Ivor Novella material.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Best opening lines

The best opening lines to novels according to Litline. The list is here.

The best opening line to a novel, which is not on the list is "And a shot rang out" Kingsley Amis thought so, and said he would never read another book that did not open in this fashion.

Some of the best, are here, underneath these words:

A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925)

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)

The moment one learns English, complications set in. —Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)

It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. —L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. —Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Books read 2005: High Rise by JG Ballard & Orwells Victory by Christopher Hicthens

15.High Rise by JG Ballard (1975)

Review here. My first and maybe last book review.

16.Orwells Victory by Christopher Hicthens (2002)

Hitchens defends Orwell against those on the left and right who have used, and attacked him, for their own ends. I’d rather read Orwell’s books myself. They can defend him and in their own right.

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