Thursday, August 31, 2006

I would love it, just love it if

in his first interview Carlos Tevez says:

"It was always my ambition to play in the same team as Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood. Having lived in Argentina and Brazil it just seemed logical to move to East London and I cannot wait to eat jellied eels. I have already bought an Oyster card."

Young Fabian quiz

The social event of the year took place last night in the Marquis of Granby pub, Westminster - yes the Hitler Youth Young Fabians Pub Quiz.
So we get there and there's about as much space as a small Chinesse restaurant, but negatives aside our team settles down. Much merriment ensued as every round was named after, and very loosely based on, a government department. Ho ho. Sadly there was no DCLG round on militant Catholicism. Well our team "Stakeholders of the World unite" were out of the blocks like Linford Christie in the lead after two rounds, sadly thereafter we resembled Agatha Christie. Much like the Chinese sprinter we were guilty of Peking too soon.
We finished 5th (I think) and the team who won had 7 members (as opposed to the 5 it was supposed to be - quite sad that a Labour affiliated do was won by cheats and that the organisers let it go). And also the Sports round (the true way of determining the quality of a quiz) sucked ass big time. Oh yeh and the funniest team name was deemed to be Dyslexics Untied - get it? About as original as a standing ovation after a Conference speech.
Still, don't get me wrong, it was an alcohol-fuelled laugh and there were some highlights: Roy's immense free-styling interpretation of Vanilla Ice and Helen spilling red wine all over Stewpot's book (that'll learn you to try to look like an intellectual) spring to mind.

England and the Bunnies

Bunny is the cricketing term for someone who doesn't know one end of the bat from the other. A number 11 of very limited batting prowess. Basically me but a loads better. However, in times gone by England have turned this definition on its head most notably when the ultimate bunny, New Zealand's Danny Morrisson survived for about three weeks as he and Nathan Astle saved a test England should have wrapped up easily.
A bunny can also be a batsman who has a particular aversion to one particular bowler, at the moment it could well be Kevin Pietersen when facing Mohammed Asif or an English batsman facing Murali/Warne.
Anyway cricketing Comrade, sorry cricketing STAKEHOLDER Wes has blogged in a terribly, tempting fate manner here to ask who you, not you...YOU, who the bunnies in the Ozzie team are.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh my God

Excuse me for lifting this straight from the Beeb but if this is right it is astounding and will make Pards the greatest manager ever...

Argentina striker Carlos Tevez says he and team-mate Javier Mascherano have agreed to sign for West Ham.

The World Cup duo, who both play for Corinthians in Brazil, are set to move to Upton Park on a year-long loan.

Tevez, 22, claims on his website he and Mascherano, 22, have signed contracts with West Ham despite being linked with moves to Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Hammers are thought to have struck a deal with Media Sports Investments, who own the rights to the two players.

Tevez is, of course, disgracefully ugly.

The pleasure of playing computer games

Was playing a cheeky bit of Championship Manager last night (2001-2 version - can't be done with the game play bit in later versions) as West Ham and played Manchester City in the 3rd round of the F.A Cup.
Just amazing. 7-7 after 90 minutes. 8-8 after extra time and 8-7 win on penalties. Scintillating!

The pictures

Don't worry dear readers, you didn't really think I'd not post the pictures did you? I have deleted the text that accompanies the pictures because it didn't scan too well.
So in the first picture we see Dot, Pauline and Pat with Patrick Trueman as the Merry Wives of Windsor's Mistress Quickly; Mistress Page; Falstaff and Mistress Ford respectively. I didn't know Mistresses Quickly and Page worked for Mr Theodopolopodous in the laundrette. Lives and learns. In the actual text accompanying it Rudolph Walker says: "Doing this shoot got my juices flowing", well you are standing between Pauline and Pat so I guess you are only human.
Next up we are treated to Johnny Allen as Macbeth. I studied Macbeth for GCSE and don't quite recall the seen where Macbeth shakes King Duncan's hand and somehow levitates him over a bridge resulting in instant death. Anyway next is Phil Michell as Richard III. Well for sure Phil always has the hump (tee hee) but McFadden does pick up a lsight difference between Shakespeare and Eastenders, when talking about studying Shakespeare at Rada he says: "It was like shouting poetry at someone 350 yards away", MacFadden prefers the intense whisper.
Hold on here's Sean Slater, Lola's Dish of the Week if any higher accolade were possible. "It was Shakespeare that turned me on to acting" he muses, well thanks for that Bill.
And there are the fools Minty, Garry and Billy and the quote "I've always fancied myself as a Bottom. Or a Puck." Make your own jokes.
And Chelsea and Deano who don't really warrant comment.
And in the last pictures we have Stacey and Bradley as Romeo and Juliet (hold on, a couple of pages ago Demi and Leo were Romeo and Juliet???). I have also studied Romeo and Juliet and will never forget the line "Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo. I'm pregnant".
And there's Max and Tanya - Max looks like an extra out of Carry On Cleo for fuck's sake. And no Eastenders article would be complete without Peggy Mitchell. Now tell me, which Shakespeare play had the fairy godmother in it?
Denise and Kevin also get the Shakespeare treatment, they are apparently sparring partners. That's Parklife, I suppose.
And finally Squeal Beale and Dawn as Hamlet and Ophelia. Because Hamlet, of course, ran a cafe and who can forget Ophelia getting money under false pretences to fund a boob job.
So basically I am not sold on this link but, at least, it has given me something to blog.

Is it just me or is someone in the Radio Times office smoking crack?

Eastenders and Shakespeare. Eastenders and Shakespeare. Hardly the commonest of bedfellows, yet last week's Radio Times would have us believe that, and I quote verbatim, "If the world's greatest dramatist were alive today, would he be packing out the Barbican or the Royal National Theatre? Much more likely he'd be writing for a TV soap." Well as he's dead, I guess he'll have to make do with spinning in his grave.
But the article doesn't end with that asinine comment, no indeed; for next up in this pointless and implausible study is Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company no less who states, presumably straight-faced, that "The Elizabethan stage fulfilled some of the same functions that soaps do today." What, by giving lazy TV executives the opportunity to chuck out more and more episodes a week at the expense of new programmes?*
Next up is Dr Elizabeth Woledge, a lecturer in Shakespearean studies (or an English lit. lecturer in old money). She blethers on about "complex characters" and how soaps "inspire and provoke audiences." True dat! After watching the truly stomach churning Patrick Trueman/Pat Evans affair, I am sure countless men have been tempted to sleep with big-earringed lesbians.
And then in a shameless attempt to cement these strong links between the Bard (hang on...Peggy Mitchell shouting "YOU'RE BARD"??) and Stenders the author of this waste of paper (actually its sheer stupidity makes it very amusing) states that in the last year we have seen "Leo and Demi's Romeo and Juliet-esque doomed love...Alfie and Kat's volatile relationship, which mirrored Beatrice and Benedick's in Much Ado About Nothing; not to mention Chrissie Watt's majestic transformation into a murderous Lady Macbeth." Ermmm, no that's just plagiarism mate, pure and simple.
The article ends: "But on reflection, if he were alive today, Shakespeare probably wouldn't be writing soap. He'd be far too busy watching it." Yeh probably. Unless of course he got a job writing for Radio Times.

*Don't get me wrong, I love soap operas; but you really have got to be dedicated to watch all episodes of the Holy Triumvirate (Stenders, Corrie and Emmerdale) - indeed as a result I haven't watched Corrie or Emmerdale consistently in months.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Tale of Two Curries

After reading my computer the last rites (not that it was Catholic mind), I was faced with a dilemma: how was I supposed to play Championship Manager and/or International Cricket Captain? I procrastinated for weeks, trying in vain to resuscitate my computer until it became apparent: you can't resuscitate something that's dead (notwithstanding Trinity's resuscitation of Neo in the Matrix).
So I decided to buy a laptop and went to buy one this weekend when I was off visiting my girlfriend in Northampton. So off we trotted to Currys after I had seen an enticing Bank Holiday promotion in the Independent. However, Currys had sold out but the very friendly and efficient assistant pointed us in the direction of PC World (basically the same company). PC World has a strange system whereby you go to some woman (to be fair it could be a chap) who's sitting on a chair in a raised position - imagine a cross between the umpires at Wimbledon and the lifeguards in Baywatch (minus the looks) - give her your name and wait in a queue. Organised anarchy would be the term that springs to mind. Although to be fair it wasn't that organised.
Anyway, as I am waiting in the queue I get called out and informed that the last one has been flogged. So back to Currys to reserve one at a different store. The helpful assistant obliges and all done.
So yesterday I went to Currys in Romford, well just off the Eastern Avenue to be precise and stand around at the Customer Services bit until someone deigns to come in off a cigarette break (was so long the guy may have been puffing a stogie). Anyway the guy I need to see is not about, so after a couple of calls over the loud-speaker and still no appearance I am informed that he is on a conference call and some other ham and egger comes out to help me.
He trots off to get the laptop and when I ask where the added extras are (laptop bag, optical mouse and software pack) he tells me they are not reserved. I politely told him to sort it out as I had no intention of this clown not giving me what I had ordered. Eventually he comes back with the bag and software pack but no mouse. Yes they'd sold out so I am awaiting a call for that. I ask him what comprises the software pack to which he eloquently replies: "It's basically a whole load of shit we just chuck in there." Well, I'm no fan of jargon but that's plain-speaking in the extreme.
He then proceeds to quickly talk me through a couple of installations including the immortal advice: "If you don't back it up you're basically screwed." I then ask him how to set up the broadband connection and the switch is flicked and he's off, years of jacking off to computers are a clear advantage as he speeds off. I managed to catch something about a router but he may have well have been speaking Greek, although I doubt it - he didn't much strike me as the Classics sort. Don't worry I buzzed my old chum Recess Monkey who will sort out the technicalities for me.
To cap off this thoroughly soul destroying episode he said (the usless guy not Monkey) that they didn't have a big enough carrier bag to put the laptop in. Some crap about Currys making cuts so that you only got a certain amount of big bags at certain times of the year. He said: "You wouldn't believe it." Well you said it, pal.
Thank goodness for the brain-trust that is Currys that I just told him to take the laptop out of the box and put it in the laptop bag. When I regaled this tale to Mother Beef, she said "You could work at Currys" - not one to naturally take the mick, she may well have been on this occasion.
All sorted now and, rest assured, I have now started a new Champ Man game as West Ham (couldn't be arsed to start with the Owls as they are always bankrupt at the beginning). So far 3-3 at home to Derby, 5-4 away defeat to Chelsea, 3-2 home victory over Sunderland, 4-4 home draw with Leicester, a 3-0 away drubbing at Middlesbrough and an away victory in the League Cup over Cambridge on penalties after it was 2-2 after extra time.

3 is the magic number

A while back I started pontificating on the subject of fantasy comedy - my top ten film comic characters of all time. The first two inductees were Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant, Police Squad and Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and, to be honest, I forgot about the whole idea. However, on reading the latest issue of Total Film I read a compilation of the 25 Greatest Film Comedians Ever - I'm sure that's just a coincidence, you know great minds and all that; but it is pushed me into finishing the list. Here is number 3: Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr - remember Dennis Pennis getting Martin with: "Hey Steve why aren't you funny anymore?".
Well let this serve as a reminder, Martin was da man:

Girl: Sounds like a subdural hematoma to me.
Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: Oh, it does, does it? Well, it's not your job to diagnose.
Girl: But I thought...
Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: You thought, you thought. Just go. Three years of nursery school and you think you know it all. Well, you're still wet behind the ears. It's not a subdural hematoma. It's *epidural*. Ha.

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: I'm making a citizen's annulment. Ipso facto coitus interruptus.

Dr. Brandon: Well, Dr. Beckerman was murdered in Europe - you know that.
Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: Exactly. Not only is he dead, he's six thousand miles away.

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: Would you read that last bit back to me? I'm afraid it might make me sound pompous to your readers.
Journalist: 'My brilliant research in brain transplantation is unsurpassed, and will probably make my name live beyond eternity'.
Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr: No, that's all right just take out the 'probably'. It makes me sound wishy-washy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

England's forgotten man seeks to get out of a spin

Ok no cheating right? Which 12 players were the first to be given Central contracts in 2000? I could only get 10 but one of those that I knew was because he is best known for being forgotten.
Before Monty there was Giles and before Gilo was...Chris Schofield. Given a contract back in 2000 he lasted all of two test and despite a 50 he was wicketless and quikcly sent back to Lancashire. He suffered from the same unfortunate mishap that befell (and continues to befall) Ian Salisbury - himself once the great English spin hope - the long hops and full tosses, although in his autobiography Nasser Hussain hints that Schofield was a cocky git.
Anyway things went wrong at Lancashire and he was released and, if memory serves, he tried to sue Lancashire CCC for unfair dismissal. Anyway he has since been scratching around the second XIs of Durham, Sussex and latterly Surrey and it is Surrey who have offered light at the end of the tunnel after injuries to Anil Kumble and Ian Salisbury left Surrey with only Nayan Doshi as a fit spinner.
So Surrey have given Schofield a contract for the rest of the season and he made his debut in the recent Pro 40 match against Yorkshire and I am happy to report he responded with a perfectly respectable 8-0-39-1. Respectable rather than setting the world alight, but hopefully he will get some overs under his belt and prive his worth. England needs quality spinners and Schofield has all the tricks and just needs the control that hopefully he can regain. Good luck. Your country needs you.

p.s The original 12 were: Atherton, Stewart, Hussain, Ramprakash, Hick, Gough, Caddick, Flintoff, White, Vaughan, Headley and Schofield. The ones I couldn't remmeber were Headley and Ramprakash (in his last stint as an international cricketer he was promoted to opener with predictable results...)

Twenty 20 cricket shows lack of 20:20 vision

The symmetry between England's success at test level and woe in the one-day format is startling. The latest one-day defeat was against Pakistan. Ok it's important to get this into perspective: Pakistan are a very classy one-day team: Akhtar, Al Naved, Asif and Razzaq are quality bowlers and Afridi, Yousuf, Khan and Inzimam are superb batsman. But I think the problems lay in England's team and their lack of continuity.
For starters why is Ian Bell opening the batting with Strauss (England's test match opening bat) at 4? I just don't understand. Pietersen at 3 makes sense. You get your most destructive batsmen in as soon as possible - using this rhetoric when fit Freddie should be in at number 4. I also think the selection of Gough is a backward step and Saj Mahmood seems too expensive to be a success in this format.
Yet there are positives: Jamie Dalrymple continues to impress with bat and ball and Stuart Broad and Michael Yardy both performed well on debut. It just seems to me that England are too willing to chop and change and this results in England not performing to their potential.

Update: As a sidepoint I wonder how many times both number 3s (in this case Pietersen and Younis Khan) have been dismissed for golden ducks?

Up Pompeii

Portsmouth are second in the league. That's higher than Chelsea, higher than Liverpool and higher than Arsenal. After a 4-0 drubbing of Middlesbrough it was a case of Oooh no misses as Kanu, Benjani and Todorov all banged in goals. On the back of a victory over Chelsea it was a case of woe, woe and thrice woe as the Boro came back down to Earth with a bump. So Portsmouth for the Champions League? Titter ye not, it might just happen.

Ideas that will never catch on

I was watching Eastenders last night and was happy to see Billy and Honey back from their honeymoon despite them not actually getting wed. Anyway spotting the anomaly uber-matriarch Peggy Mitchell has decided, in her infinite wisdom, to throw a surprise wedding. A SURPRISE WEDDING! Honestly, I ask you - how? Just think about it...HOW? HOW?
And even worse than this was when Peggy suggested her hair-brained idea to Phil and the gangster thug responded: "Yeh that'll be nice". WHAT? Nice? This is Mitchell, he should be itching to give someone a slap not becoming a domestic princess.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The plot thickens

So it has come to light that Darrell Hair offered to resign as an umpire in return for a $500,000 payment. Intriguingly, Hair was most keen that this offer remained confidential. No wonder. The bloody cheek of it.
Considering this I feel it is only fair to offer my boss the same offer. So make with $500,000 and I'm off.

And now for the serious business

After a convincing victory over a wholly unconvincing Greece, Big Mac is to pick his first squad for a proper competitive qualifier. Although being optimistic Andorra shouldn't be all that competitive and, no disrespect meant, btu England will have to tackle bigger and better teams than Macedonia too.
So who's going to be in? Gary Neville is ruled out. Carrick will almost certainly be in porbably at the expense of 52 cap Phil Neville. I hope Jermaine Pennant gets in the squad and also Scott Parker. As for the striker to replace the injured Dean Ashton? Hmmmmm...may well be Andy Johnson perhaps his Everton tema-mate James Beattie? Marlon Harewood has been mentioned. Darius Vassell? The cupboard's a bit bare. To be honest none of those fill me with much excitement. Go on the Johnson at a pinch behind Crouch, Defoe and Bent.

Quality stuff

I have stumbled across a couple of blogs that are pure, solid gold: The Jawa Report and Blame Bush!. Well worth a butchers.
Anyway here's a couple of pics I have shamelessly lifted off Blame Bush! The first neatly sums up the unbiased and totally reliable reporting of the situation in Lebanon/Israel and the other is a beauty of everyone's favourite English-hating anti-Semite Mel 'from Hell' Gibson. Too funny for words.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I spot a discrepancy

In the wake of the appointment of Caroline Flint as the fit Fitness Minister it has been announced that there will be 13 million obese people, or Porkus Maximus in latin, by 2010. Given this fact, it is refreshing that OfCom has remained resolutely against banning junk food adverts.
Anyway I go slightly on a tangent, the thing is pass results at GCSE and A-Level continue to sore higher year on year. As is well documented it is impossible to fail an exam now and some people are passing who didn't even sit the exam. However, if there are going to be more chubsters yet also more brainiacs it begs the question who's going to get their picture in the paper?
As we all know full well it is only beautiful people (or twins, or ideally fit twins) who get their photo in the paper after exam success, so what will happen when all people are fat?

Anelka back in the Premiership

Nicholas Anelka is a very, very good player. He has loads of pace, good skill, good positioning and socres goal aplenty. So what's he doing at Bolton? Hahaha. Seriously though, his attitude is second to all and I am sure he's already checked the Reebok Stadium for exits. Can Allardyce control the man nicknamed the Incredible Sulk? Looking back with hindsight, Wenger's decision to sell the then protege to Real Madrid for about £23 million was absolute genius. Since then Anelka has not stayed at a club for more than 2 seasons and has plied his trade at PSG; Liverpool; Manchester City and Fenerbahce.

Will they have to re-name the Disney Pluto? Or will the dog also be killed off?

Despite not really being of interest, I thought I'd quickly blog that Pluto is no longer to be considered a planet. It's rubbish, truly the Weakest Link.
Some nerdy anorak stuff about its orbit overlapping Neptune's orbit. Anyway, not everyday that a planet gets downgraded is it?
Rumours abounded that the solar system was to be increased to 12 planets but instead it is down to 8. Proper hardcore planets. Planets you could go to and know you've been to a planet. The kind of planets that make you get down on your knees and thank God you're an astronomer.
Maybe Lembit and his space APPG will demand an instant recall of Parliament? And, of course, the obligatory pointless EDM. But should this kind of thing blow your hair back you can get this Save Pluto t-shirt here.

Don't judge a book by its cover

Sometimes you hear facts that are so astounding that you feel genuinely astounded. You know, stuff like Liberace was gay; nutmeg is the number 1 export of Grenada and Fairlop is the second least used station on the London Underground.
But none more shocking than this. Giant Haystacks was a Liberal Democrat voter. I tell you, you learn something new every night you're in the Sports and Social. Interestingly (for me anyway) he was a devout Christian who never fought on a Sunday.

The Labour Party

In the light of dodgy loans (a subject I never blogged because it's been going on since time immemorial) Francis Maude, the Tory Chairman, has been getting excited declaring that the Labour Party will be financially dependent on the Trade Unions. Or in hoc - cos that sounds more sinister.
Lovely seeing the Tory Party trying to whip up anti-Union sentiment. What's he reckon? Arthur Scargill opening up all the coalmines again? 3 day weeks? Or maybe for the cabinet to contain no less than 50% Militant and Communists? What a joke.
The thing is, is that the majority of the Labour Party membership would be far happier being funded by the Trade Unions than various (allegedly) on-the-make millionaires (allegedly) on the look out for a peerage.
I presume the 'pet policies' Maude refers to are better rights for workers and British industry and such other terribly heinous ideas.
The Tory's should stick to what they know, like enabling tenants to buy their council flats thus freeing them from the chains. Or patient passports.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Upset? Insulted? Bit of a pyro?

Idea for a shop in Pakistan: stock up on Western flags and have three prototype effigies, one skinny; one medium and one fat. Never forget to have an abundant supply of fuel and lighters.
If anyone deigns to offend Pakistan, or is interpreted to have insulted Pakistan just get-a-burning. Yee-yah!

Scene 1
Pakistani civilian enters shop.

Pakistani civilian: Hello. A danish paper has published pictures taking the piss out of Allah and Islam. Do you have a danish flag that I could burn?

Pakistani shopkeeper: You wouldn't guess it, but I had an inkling and ordered some in. The shipment arrived this morning, so yes I do have a danish flag. Would you like that wrapped in fuel?

Pakistani civilian: Yes please, and can I have a lighter too?

Scene 2
Pakistani civilian enters shop

Pakistani civilian: Hello. A fat umpire has insulted Pakistan, Allah and Islam by accusing our cricketers of tampering with the ball. Do you have an effigy of a fat bloke that I could burn?

Pakistani shopkeeper: You wouldn't guess it, but I had an inkling and ordered some umpires whites and funny Darrell Hair hats in. The shipment arrived this morning, so yes I do have an effigy of a fat Australian in umpiring whites. Would you like that wrapped in fuel?

Pakistani civilian: Yes please, and can I have a lighter too?

I could get on Dragon's Den with an idea like this.

Life imitating blogs

Kerron pointed out that my polls aren't working. Of course, I already knew this but as not a lot of people vote on them I couldn't be bothered to change them and, to be honest, I still can't be bothered.
Basically when I have more than one poll up at a time it all goes wrong.
Just like a microcosm of EU expansion, eh? Too many f*cking polls ruin it all.
Tragically for a Labour supporting blogger I now face the very real prospect of having to outsource my polls, possibly to a Liberal Democrat who are very good at this poll malarkey.

Is it just me or this letter from today's Metro really funny?

Builders have been banned from wolf-whistling at models at the Harrowgate Lingerie And Swimwear Show (Metro, Wed). This morning on two separate occasions, I passed men who made kissing noises at me. This is disgusting and I am baffled that they think women are going to respond to it like a dog to a whistle. Men, please realise that it doesn't make us feel good, just repulsed.

N. Keys, London E1

F*cking Thatcher

This tackle got a yellow card although it is tantamount to ABH. Dear, dear he has cleaned him up good and proper. Wallop have a bit of that.
Thatcher will more than likely get suspended and fined for this assault. There's no reason for going in for a tackle there anyway, but that is pure malice. Nowhere near the ball and from one of the angles you can see him take his eye off the ball and lock in on Mendes.
Judge for yourself.

Who's the odd one out?

Ben Johnson (Canada) - The most famous athletic junkie of them all. Won the 1988 Olympic 100 metres in a then World Record time of 9.79. Subsequently tested positive for steroids and banned. Stripped of his gold medal and his world record was not recognized. Made a comeback in 1991 but was not the same athlete and was later banned for life in 1993 after failing another test.

Kelli White (USA) - White won the 100 and 200 metres double at the 2003 World Championships. However, she was smacked up on modafinil and was stripped of her medals. Retired in May 2006 and has since given lectures on drug abuse in sports. Shw should know, I guess.

Tim Montgomery (USA) - displayed all the tell-tell signs of a junkie athlete by following up not qualifying for the 1996 and 2000 Olympics 100 metres by breaking the world record in 2002 with a time of 9.78 seconds. Not even subtle that one.

Justin Gatlin (USA) - 2004 Olympic 100 metre champion and bronze medal in 200 metres of same Olympics. Also won gold at 2005 World Championships. Won the 100 and 200 metre double at the 2005 World Championships. Equalled world record of 9.77 seconds in May 2006. Tested postive and banned for 8 years.

Marion Jones (USA) - In 1997 and 1999 Jones won the 100 metres gold at the World Championships, she also won bronze in the 1999 Long Jump. In 2000 she won gold in the 100 and 200 metres and third in the Long Jump at the Olympics and in the World Championships in 2001 she won the 200 metres and came second in the 100 metres. Her drug trial is currently in the news, so would be unfair to say she's guilty. she is probably guilty. Has had long-term relation with C.J Hunter, the American shot putter and Tim Montgomery (see above) both are athletics junkies.

Dwain Chambers (UK) - European 100 metres champion in 2002, bronze at 1999 World Championships. Part of the UK 4x100 metres relay gold winning team at 2002 European Championships and 2003 World Championships. Also equally Linford Christie's British record. Best known for (in addition to being a junkie, sorry ex-junkie) for pulling up injured during 2002 Commonwealth 100 metres final and finishing 4th when favourite to win the 2003 World 100 metres.

Point being that basically even when drugged up our boy comes in 4th.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And the fittest MP is...

Greater minds than mine have occupied themselves with the question of who is the fittest MP. A few MPs are mentioned regularly, but none is as prominent as Caroline Flint and, perhaps accordingly, she has just been appointed the Minister for Fitness. As well as being fit, Caroline Flint will have the duty of vanquishing the UK of obesity. Come to think about it there aren't too many fit MPs so it may be quite a tricky task.

How to make the news more interesting

The majority of news programmes are a touch on the boring side, slanted to their desired perspective with far too many human interest elements. BBC News at 6.30 or Hollyoaks? The purists like Channel 4 news. Not me. When John Terry was announced as England captain it was only the fourth item, something about some terrorist attack on planes being thwarted monopolised the news. Well I never.
Anyway, it has fallen to our European brothers, the Swedes to tackle this issue head on. Beef source, Brandy Nipples was quick to spot the story of porn being shown on a background monitor whilst the anchor waffled on about whatever is newsworthy in Sweden.
Apparently, some staff had previously switched the monitor over to Canal Plus to watch some sport. They forgot to turn it back over. The problem being that when not showing sport Canal Plus shows a fair share of bongo. So Swedish viewers were treated to 30 seconds or so of pure filth. Pure Czech filth actually.
Interestingly, not one single complaint were registered. Mary Whitehouse must be spinning in her grave.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Glenn alert

Now I am not a big fan of Small Mouth Glenn Roeder, but credit where it is due. He looks set to flog hapless, blunderer Jean-Alain Boumsong to Juventus for £2.5 million. It is a miracle to get any cash for this shocker of a defender.
Additionally, Damien Duff still represents excellent value for money at a mere £5 million and now he seems to be on the verge of signing a striker who is pretty good.
The man in question is Obafemi Martins who is set to fly in from Inter Milan. There was a problem when it emerged that Martins was not 21 (as claimed) but rather 27. This came to light when he claimed to have played in the same youth team as Celestine Babayaro who is...27.
Initially, Glenn insisted the fee would have to be changed to reflect his sudden ageing. Well it seems his age has been proved or Glenn has just decided to splash the cash anyway.
Oh well, the fee of £10.9 million is, of course, far too much but reality and value for money hardly seems to be major considerations when signing strikers. Any the how after the most unrealistic attempt to get Dirk Kuyt and being linked with the virtually unknown Italian forward, Francesco Taverno; Glenn has found a striker of some pedigree.
And Martins spouted the de facto footballer rubbish:
"Playing in the Premiership has been a long-term ambition and I am extremely delighted with the prospect of concluding that in the next couple of days"
The same line Anelka has used numerous times and is about as ingenuous as disingenuous can get.

The biggest argument for more European integration

For pure excitement and suspense few things surpass the Ryder Cup. This may surprise some as golf tends to be the most prosaic of sports, however, the matchplay format of the Ryder Cup has something which is impossible to replicate.
Anyway the US Team is as follows:
Tiger Woods
Phil Mickelson
David Toms
Chris Di Marco
Jim Furyk
Chad Campbell

together with rookies:
Vaughn Taylor
JJ Henry
Zack Johnson
Brett Wetterich

and wild card picks:
Scott Verplank
Stewart Cink

Well one thing is for sure; all of the rookies have stupid names as has Chad Campbell.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Things go pear-shaped at the Oval - Part II

I originally used this title on a post a few days back to blog on England's dire predicament after having been dismissed for 173. Who would have predicted an England victory?
Only someone who could have foreseen the most calamitous and injudicious day's cricket ever, that's who. The controversy arose in the 56th over of England's second innings after umpires Hair and Doctrove decreed that the ball had been unfairly tampered with. Having been distorted from its original shape, a ball will swing, seam and spin more. A new ball was summoned (or more aptly a spare ball which closest resembled a ball that had been used for 56 overs - confused yet?), and Pakistan were docked 5 runs, which were in actuality added to England's second innings total.
Things proceeded serenely enough until tea when the Pakistani team saw the report prepared by the umpires to explain the penalty. In effect they had been accused of ball-tampering (read cheating) without any evidence and had no opportunity to appeal. The fact that Sky Sports has 26 cameras permanently trained on different parts of the field of play would indicate that if any foul play had been afoot, it would have been picked up. Lest we forget Big Brother (or Sky) is watching you.
If no evidence was immediately forthcoming then surely it would make sense that all camera footage be studied meticulously. On Radio Five Sports Extra (I finally lost my tether with the ridiculously inane Jack Bannister on TalkSport) Geoffrey Boycott said that the ball is studied after the fall of any wicket and given that Alistiar Cook was out a quarter of an hour before the incident, it means that only 15 minutes of cricket needs to be studied (granted from 26 different camera angles).
I remember Mike Atherton and the dirt in the pocket scandal against South Africa in 1994 and that was caught clearly enough. Now given that this footage could not be satisfactorily examined during the tea interval (given time restrictions) would it not have made more sense to study the footage overnight and make a judgement overnight alerting both the Pakistan team, the England team, the media and, most importantly, the people who paid good money to sit around and not be informed anything at all?
The penalty of 5 runs would, in all likelihood, not effect the outcome of the match, so consequently it could have been levied after plays end and before the start of play today, which of course will now not happen.
Now let's get one thing straight: Pakistan don't have the right to bollocks around and not come out to play. No question or right or wrong here, law 21 of the game about 'timing out' states that the players must come out to play within a certain time scale. By contravening law 21, the Pakistanis forfeited the match, thus giving England a 3-0 series victory.
However, the real culprit is Darrell Hair (and his sidekick Billy Doctrove); Hair has a history with Asian countries notably calling Murali for chucking and a ridiculously unfair run-out decision against Inzi last year. He appears to be the most insensitive of individuals, a jobsworth who does his job to the letter of the law. He upheld the laws of the game, but the spirit of the game was left beaten and bloodied on the floor. Hair's intransigence (in issuing of the penalty) caused this whole schemozzle and I agree with Pakistan's offence at this insult without proof.
If the penalty was issued after plays end, Pakistan's protest would not have resulted them forfeiting the game. So the blame falls upon the shoulders of Darrell Hair not the Pakistani team. It is their misfortune not to have known the rules, or if they did then to think they can flout them. There should be no talk of restarting the match or making it void, the laws of the sport must remian in tact and it would be totally wrong to change them in this instance.
Today, Pakistan have announced that they will *never* play in a match umpired by Darrell Hair again. I understand their reasoning and agree with it 100%. It has also been announced that the Sky cameras have not found any evidence of ball tampering.
One sidepoint: have bookies had to pay out for the England win? If so there must have been some great odds for an England win and some cookies somewhat smarter than me may well have reason to celebrate today.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dream debut

Now my thoughts about Djimi Traore are well conveyed here and here
A red card on his Charlton debut still pales into comparison to this deft finish a few years back to knock Liverpool out of the F.A Cup, the shame being he was playing for Liverpool not that you'd guess.

Owls are off

Come on Wednesday! First win of the season for the mighty Owls. With all 5 of our recognised strikers injured and Wade Small going after 10 minutes, Wednesday's performance was fantastic. A source formerly close to the PM must be gutted, but their undefeated record goes and Wednesday have 5 points! Plus the fact that I got a rather unexpected bit of wonga, completed the Times' fiendish Sudoku and got the last clue my Mum couldn't get in the Crossword made yesterday a quite magnificent day. Even the usually mind-numbing Triathalon on Grandstand was enlivened when a woman stacked it changing from the swim to the bike ride and, much like dominoes, proceeded to trip up some others.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sports Personality of the Year

So Andy Murray has beaten 'Tiger' Tim Henman, the World's best player Roger Federer and Robbie Ginepri in the Cincinnati Masters. Does this make him a better sportsman than David Walliams?? Even though, I don't particularly care for tennis it is a better achievement surely?
Or how's about this for an outside bet: Owen Hargreaves. Presented by a prostrated and penitent Frank Skinner.

Update: Or how's about Darren Campbell? It'd take guts to award it to him. Maybe a lifetime achievement would be more appropriate given his recent retirement. Or Luke Donald? One round to go and level with the Tiger. What's playing more on his mind? Winning the US PGA and becoming the first European to win a major since 1999 (Paul Laurie winnig the Open after Van de Velde took leave of his senses) or being BBC Sports Personality of the Year?

Quote of the day

With 'Deadly' Doug Ellis gone, the mantle of the most forthright of football league Chairmen must surely belong to Ken Bates currently at Leeds Utd.
The background is that Leeds accused Chelsea of tapping up players under contract at Leeds and Chelsea have put in a claim that Bates had made anti-semitic remarks about Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich.
Well Bates is not scared at all by the prospect of Chelsea's official complaint. In fact he is loving it saying he is very amused which brings me to his actual quote:

"I haven't laughed so much since Ma caught her tits in the mangle."

Owen Hargreaves? Oh yeh, I've always rated him.

Let's cut to the chase: before the World Cup Owen Hargreaves was widely, and wildly, lamented as the worst thing since unsliced bread.
Here was a man who nobody knew, who had somehow got into the England squad. The fraud. Now, however, he is the sweetheart of the nation having actually played well in the World Cup. Indeed praise is coming from all quarters and he is destined to sign for Manchester United.
Practically all of the BBC World Cup pundit team, most notably Ian Wright, slagged Hargreaves off so much. Not understanding why Sven would ever pick him in the squad, or pick him over Michael Carrick; Hargreaves was ridiculed by experts as renowned as Frank Skinner whose number 1 thing he was looking out for in the World Cup was:
1) A reason for Owen Hargreaves being in the squad
Maybe cos he's good, you prick. His number 5 point was:
5) A pundit saying that Peter Crouch is "surprisingly good with his feet for a tall man" Yeh, that'd be funny if the Guardian Football Unlimited site had not been making the gag for about 3 years now.
So, in a round-about way, what I am asking is when will these experts stand up and apologise. Or preferably when will their employers sack these idiots who constantly give woefully inaccurate, and on occasion offensive, observations about people they are supposed to know about?
If you're interested, this was my blog post on Hargreaves when he was called up to the squad. And if you're interested, yes I should be a football pundit for the BBC.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things go pear-shaped at the Oval

So for the first time this Summer, the English cricket team finds itself well and truly with its back against the wall. Some impressive bowling by Umar Gul and Mohammed Asif restricted England to a pretty poor 173 all out.
I now wait for the inevitable condemnation of the team in tomorrow's papers. Despite John Prescott being about the House today no-one has claimed that he said: "England are crap"

Who says cheats never prosper? Part 2

The first time I wrote about cheats in sport it pertained to the disgraced quartet of Italian clubs found guilty, to some degree or another, of fixing matches. Well the second case is that of Dwain Chambers, the man who was going to win medals galore, until he tested positive for anabolic steroids and was banned for two years. His ban served he returned to international competition and was a member of the UK four that won gold in the 4x100 metres relay.
However another member of the quartet, Darren Campbell refused to take part in the team's lap of honour presumably understanding the meaning of the word honour. Campbell has made clear that this is not a personal vendetta against Chambers but his belief that Chambers should name names to break the drug circle in athletics.
In a world where morals and principles are often little more than public utterances, I find Campbell's stance all the more admirable. Campbell, who behind Linford Christie, is Britain's most medalled sprinter ever is set to retire next week.

When a silver lining gets greyer

I previously vented my spleen in the direction of Royal Tunbridge Wells but as the old adage goes every cloud has a silver lining and the pictures left are Tunbridge's lining.
The star of Chinese Elvis impersonators is apparently in the ascendancy and Paul Elvis Chan's performance - with full white 70s jumpsuit - promised much but ultimately delivered little. It was shut.
Seeing no other reason to stay, I left. So this is a case of when the silver lining becomes decidedly grey.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A-Level results show yet another improvement

Britain, the home of the genius, has seen its pass rates at A-Level rise for the umpteenth year in succession.
A record 125% of students passed their exams this year beyond even the Government's targets. That's right more people passed than sat the exams.
Are exams getting easier? "No" answered Terry F*ckwit unequivocally. "Do you know how hard the 5 times tables is? And I spelt my name right." Terry got 5 starred As.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

England name 30-man preliminary Champions Trophy squad

Mal Loye (Lancashire) - One of the last decade and a bit's nearly men. Never quite made it, but has now been named in the preliminary squad. His one-day pedigree is unquestionable and although I would not have him in my first choice XI, England's seemingly never-ending injury worries may see him get in. Given that he is over 30 a couple of failures wouls seem him banished back to county cricket, but a couple of typical Loye knocks could see him enjoy an Indian summer in the one-day format.

Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire)
- What a fickle game cricket can be: last week I would have said 'no' this week he scores a 'probably'. Raw pace, agression and bounce. It's what English cricket fans are licking their lips for.

Graham Onions (Durham)
- I must admit I have never seen him bowl live. He has got loads of wickets this season, but I think he needs a season or two more of consistency to warrant his place in the squad. His silly surname may yet become the darling of tabloid headlines. Onions (runs) Rings get my drift. Any why not?

Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire)
- Of course. Simply magnificent.

Liam Plunkett (Durham)
- Tricky. Has enormous potential, which is yet to be fulfilled in the international arena. I put great emphasis on 'yet'. I think his time will come but possibly in test cricket. For me it is between him and Mahmood and current form points to Mahmood.

Chris Read (Nottinghamshire)
Altogether now. England's number 1.

Vikram Solanki (Worcestershire)
- Not so much drinking at the last chance saloon but necking tequlia straight from the bottle. Simply not up to it. Has had chances galore and at 30 is unlikely to develop. Sorry, but a resounding no.

Andrew Strauss (Middlesex)
- Will be in the team. Should be captain and should open. Easy.

Marcus Trescothick (Somerset)
- England's other opener and senior player.

Michael Yardy (Sussex)
- I like Yardy. Rather than yardies. His batting is solid and his bowling is improving. I just think the same triumvirate that do for Giles (at least in my mind) also do for Yardy especially given our strength in depth in the batting department. A 'no' but only just.

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