Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Babies, Religion, Morality

At the moment I am sitting in the office watching Nadine Dorries put forward her 10 Minute Rule Bill on reducing the time limit for legal termination from 24 to 21 weeks. Please excuse me for not offering the most balanced viewpoint but I cannot believe we have a Tory MP, a Tory woman MP, a Tory woman MP who used to be a nurse standing up in the House advocating such retrograde bollocks. Nurse to leading light in fight to reduce the limit for abortion; kind of like poacher to gamekeeper.
Dorries concluded by commenting that many more Members in the House knew more about the subject. It would have been closer to the mark if she admitted, as she did (so I believe) to Abortion Rights that she had not collated any scientific evidence that supported her campaign. On her website front page Nadine Dorries is pictured with a Harley Street practitioner who calls for the limit to be reduced to 18 weeks. Even the misguided Bill only asks for 21 weeks. However, far from being discouraged - or ashamed - she sees her campaign as popular. Populist politics, eh - can't beat it. Never fear though as she has apparently employed a PR firm to promote her activities. Fuckwit and Fuckwit were sadly unavailable for comment.
Chris McCafferty, the Labour MP for Calder Valley (and formerly my next door neighbour) spoke against the Bill and spoke well. I think it is rare for a political issue to be so polemic but this is: it is right vs. wrong and Nadine Dorries and the hordes of 'religious' Britons who, I don't doubt for a moment, will be inking their quill and salivating at the prospect in equal measure, are wrong.
Only 1% of abortions happen between 21 and 24 weeks.

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross has been cleared of any wrong-doing after asking Dave 'Dave' Cameron whether he'd ever flicked one off thinking of Lady T. And quite rightly so. My problem is not that he is offensive but that he is patently not funny. Allow me to re-phrase that - fearing the wrath of one of my girlfriend's ex-housemates: he is funny(ish) but is not a comedian. I am getting increasingly fed up by him. He's rude for the sake of being rude rather than the sake of being funny and this is a big difference. Seriously, it's like f*cking kiddy-hour asking Dave 'Dave' questions like this. What next? "Hey Tone ever knock one out thinking about...Lady T" Ok Blair's a bad example. What about Brown: "Hey Gord ever you know think about Clem Attlee in the all together?" Or even better would be Arnie: "Arnie when you were younger did you ever cum thinking about Adolf Hitler?"
Rant over. Feel free to answer the poll in the side menu.

Monday, October 30, 2006

McDonnell set to fall before the Starter's pistol?

In news that is set to upset his close political ally, Cllr Kerron Cross it appears that the closest John McDonnell will get to the Labour Party leadership is his rather flash and impressive website John4Leader. First it came to light that he had upset another leading light of the Left (when he's not in the Government...) Michael Meacher by announcing his bid for leadership without consultation. You can't blame McDonnell can you? Consultation would be one of the higher scoring words in New Labour bullshit bingo, but anyway...
It has now emerged that ex-Chair of the Campaign Group, and current member, John Austin, MP for Erith and Thamesmead is set to nominate Gordon with Hilary Benn as his preferred lieutenant.
Somewhat pisses on your chips, eh? The problem, of course, is not the opinion of this author but rather the numeric difficulties John McDonnell is going to have in obtaining enough nominations from Labour MPs. I was heartened when McDonnell scored high in the Union popularity stakes, but I think (I may be wrong, but doubt it) that a percentage of his support came from Unions that are no longer Labour Party affiliated. In effect, they are of about as much use as a left-handed polo player (as HRH the Prince of Wales, old Etonians and other horsey people will testify, polo can only be played right-handed). Well, I can tell you this for free, this Bull is happy to have withheld financial support for the McDonnell campaign (despite numerous 'alms for the poor' emails with the nudge, nudge, wink, wink to the proles and Trots; "You won’t be surprised to hear that this campaign has no millionaire backers"* - none of these emails, interestingly enough, in reply to a couple I sent him. Alas he's a busier man than I)

* It may, or may not, be welcomed if you stuff a crisp £20/£50 pound note in McDonnell's shirt pocket if you see him round the House. "I'm sorry to hear you have no millionaire backers, maybe this will help?"

Watch the Windies blow the Ozzies over

Big Johnnie, a good chum back from the uni days and an aspiring bowler who once rearranged, amongst notable others, Jamie Theakston's stumps, sent me word that Google Video was hosting a little treat. By little, of course, I mean big. How big, Barry? 2 hours big, readers. This is highlights of the Windies vs. Australia tour of 1990 and is pretty awesome. Many of the greats of Windies cricket are there: Haynes; Greenidge; Richardson; Richards; Marshall; Walsh; Ambrose and Patterson. A certain Brian Charles Lara is 12th man. The Ozzies boast Taylor; Marsh; Boon; Jones; Border; Mark Waugh; Healy; Hughes and McDermott. Well worth a watch.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Feeling the heat

"Climate Change?" poses the Climate Changer whilst scratching his head with a pencil inexplicably wedged behind his ear. "I've heard of it, never seen it this bad mind. Put the kettle on will you? I'm parched. How do I put this? It's gonna cost you, love, and I haven't even taken labour costs into consideration..." Not only you, love, but me, him, the butcher, the baker and even the downtrodden candlestick maker (who in recent years has been reduced to solely making candles that smell of something distinctive, like vanilla). "I don't think you'll be seeing change out of $3.7 billion" continues the Climate Changer concluding his estimate. "Will we still have enough for renewing Trident and continuing our controversial, and arguably unhelpful, military forays into, and the occupation of, foreign countries?" wonder the good burghers of Britain. "Indubitably" answers Chancellor Brown, "but pay heed: It's getting hot in herre" in answer to which the Deputy Prime Minisiter mumbled under his breath (and chins) to anyone within earshot; "so take off all your clothes."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pigs in sh*t

Apparently two Piggies have been at each other's throats after a training ground clash between Pig players; Claude Davis and Adi Akinbiyi. Unbelievable. These guys are supposed to be professional footballers not yardy thugs.

Darts of Pleasure

In recent days I have been seen wiping the cobwebs off my Three Ladies and readying myself for the new darts season. Last night saw the opening match of the London Owls season with the Wednesday beating Rotherham 7-4, thus registering our first win against them in 8 matches. Sadly, I was at my cloven hoof worst in my singles match losing to a bloke with an uncanny likeness to what you'd imagine the Chuckle Brother's dad would look like.
Even more surprising than our victory was that I was wolf-whistled on my way to darts. By girls, yeh!

And just when things couldn't get any worse

So you sign two sensational players, you then start to lose every game you play, you score your first goal in about 3 months but then go on to lose 2-1 to Chesterfield and clanging along in the background is a bunch of alleged dodgy sorts waiting to buy your club. Yep welcome to the Boleyn. Roll up, roll up and if this circus couldn't get any worse (cue the quiet start to the Jaws theme) this twat gets linked with your managerial vacancy which, amazingly enough, does not yet exist.

Emotion by email

Who on Earth was the first moron to think a colon, a hyphen and a right bracket makes a smile? This is certainly a new inclusion into Room 101 however, at this point, I must make clear that I don't mind text speak. You know when some hip cat types gr8 instead of great, or urs instead of yours. These are examples of time-saving (and character saving) measures. My problem is with people who add an emotion presumably because they think that standing alone their statement might be misinterpreted. Culprits include Gutbuster who today sent an email consisting of :-) Another culprit would be McDonnell's mate himself, Cllr Kezza Cross who takes pleasure in plastering his blog with such inanities as the smile, the coyly deployed wink ;-) and his personal favourite the concerned eek :-/
Other points of annoyance would be the overuse of the exclamation mark!!!!!!!!! If you actually spoke like this, you'd actually end up speaking like Barry Scott! Off the Cilit Bang adverts!
And how about the stupid anachronyms? LOL! Are they really laughing out loud when they type? It gets dafter. PMSL! Pissing myself laughing. That's actually disgusting and my favourite (least favourite) ROFL! Rolling around the floor laughing. This would certainly make typing more challenging. People are patently lying.

Remember Day (or 3 weeks)

I enjoy Rememberance Day. All the veterans being remembered for fighting for King and Country. The Cenotaph and all that bollocks. Top stuff. Hear Hear! And poppies are good too. Dip into your pockets and give money to a Beefeater. Or something like that. My problem here is manifold:

1) Because unlike some cheapskates I don't have just one suit and will invariably forget to change my poppy from suit to suit. And even if I do remember it make me feel like Scrooge, which surprisingly isn't totally bad, so I will end up with either 3 or 4 poppies which will all end up battered because it's hard not to crush them when you are wearing an overcoat.

2) That pin is really quite tricky to...pin. Maybe being left-handed has made me cack-handed, but I do find it a mission.

3) How early are people starting to wear them? This is the crucial point. People moan about Christmas advertising starting in Mid-July but commercialism waits for no man (or woman), yet Rememberance Day is not in the same category. We all know full well that it is Rememberance Day and not Rememberance 3 Weeks. Do people feel more righteous if they are the first to don a poppy? Does it give you a feeling of superiority knowing that you are remembering whilst every other dullard on the tube partakes in the rigours of everyday life? Does it put you on a spiritual pedestal? And, of course, what bunch of people would lead the way? Yes, it's MPs. MPs enjoy the poppy more than most. Some wear them as early as early October. It may well soon be mandatory dress during Summer Recess.

Oh well. Got that off my chest. Blogging is just like therapy, but a lot less cool. I'm off to buy some Easter Eggs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Feel free to harpoon this idiot Whale

James Whale, the ever opinionated twat DJ who currently resides chez TalkSport, has announced that he may be UKIP's next London mayoral candidate, although this has not been confirmed by UKIP and, yes, this is the self-same James Whale, who taking an opinionated stance, defied the dictum not to pronounce political allegiances on-air in the run up to the 2005 General Election by urging listeners to vote Tory. Yes Tory, not UKIP.
Whale is hardly a political sage and it appears his outlook has been shaped through talks with new UKIP top honcho, Nigel Farage. Wow, that's one hell of a political mentor. Lucky his conversion wasn't courtesy of George Galloway (on the MOTHER of all chat shows) or you could have this buffoon standing for Respect.
Whale, in his thankfully inimitable fashion, declared that he would seek the advice of such gurus as Jamie Oliver (for diet); Peter Stringfellow (for pub and club measures) and Lord Archer (for perjury). It remains to be seen whether Frank Sidebottom (with whom he is pictured) will be his paper-mache spokesman.
I have never been a fan of James Whale and once came across a site which summed him up to a t. It should also help those like Comrade Hamburger not blessed to know who this goon is:

James Whale (so called DJ and TV phone in garbage)

the word c*nt really does not cover this odious f*cker. The english language fails to have a word that properly describes the overweight, perspiring, oafish hog. C*nt shall have to do. *None* more c*ntish...
I was going to add that Gary Bushell fits into this category but he is below Whale. I don't know how that's possible but it just is. Whale's a Category A C*nt.

Why say something, if someone else says it first?

Very seldomly do I read someone else's blog and think; "Yeh. Spot on." This is one such case. Well done, m'lud.

Hold on to your hats, Bramble the Shambles is on the move

I like to think that throughout my life I have had an appreciation of the stupid. Not stupid people, but rather the Form of Stupidity.
However, one thing which is so stupid it is beyond me is that Ipswich manager, Jim Magilton, is tracking the woeful, rent-a-blunder defender Titus Bramble. Anyone who has watched Newcastle will testify that he is not good. His partnership with Jean-Alain Boumsong was to defending what Diamond Lights were to music. Equally inept in the air, on the ground, in the tackle, going forward, going back or standing still; Bramble inexplicably cost £6 million. I think Sir Bobby was having a senior moment.
The possible barrier would be Bramble's unfeasibly high wage packet, which would probably be beyond Ipswich, a team who last bought a player for cash back in 1867.

Fireworks aplenty

When I was a younger Bull (calf?) I was blessed in luck to the extent that I was a Caseworker rather than a Researcher. There are big differences in the jobs and I must admit I do not particularly miss being a Caseworker as it is the Caseworker, far more than the Researcher, who attracts the weirdos, the freaks, the loons and the serial phone callers. Whilst the Reasearcher will bemoan their misfortune when they have to do some work, i.e. a constituent's perfectly legitimate concerns about a piece of policy cannot be answered by a flimsy pre-prepared briefing, it's the Caseworker who is deserving of sympathy when, from about late August/September onwards, they get more and more swamped by constituents writing in, or phoning, about fireworks. You get complaints from a multitude of angles and perspectives: noise pollution ("Because of fireworks I haven't slept in 3 months"); animal welfare ("Because of fireworks my flea-ridden mutt hasn't slept in 3 months"); the Little Englander ("I mean, I like fireworks, but since all these Indians come over; it's non-stop." Please excuse the semi-colon, it would never be used.); the conspiracist ("Would it not be better to have fireworks without any sound?" Incidentally, this is one of the daftest suggestions ever. Ever.); the perenial worrier ("My children might pick up a sparkler which could explode in their face causing burn damage, AIDS and pneumonia"); the constituency bore (of an older vintage) ("I have to put the volume on my TV up so high." This, ironically, is because you are invariably deaf; so whilst you can now hear Coronation Street and Holby City, so can the rest of your street, ward and borough.) and the Ebenezar Scrooge ("I don't like them they're noisy and I find them in my garden the day after.")
This always put me in a bit of a quandary as I really like fireworks. If they piss off pensioners, Little Englanders and animals all the better. I love the noise and I love the spectacle. The concept that it is ok to approve of fireworks when commemorating Guy Fawkes being hung, drawn and quartered but shake your head in disbelief when it's for Diwali is warped. More fireworks. More, more, more. When I am walking home of an evening (the British evening appears to start at about 4 when the clocks are changed) the fireworks actually lighten up my route home, which is significantly more than the London Borough of Redbridge Council has deigned to do.

Fast cars

Every sport has its figureheads. Sportsmen/women who reach beyond the afficionados and appeal to (or are at least recognised by) others. Football boasts the likes of Maradona and Pele, cricket has Viv Richards, darts has Phil Taylor, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry did it for snooker, Muhammed Ali for boxing, Richard Branson for failed hot-air balloon missions and, of course, Michael Schumacher for Formula 1.
However, my issue is that I find Formula 1 chronically dull. Seriously, watching cars go round in a loop about 70 times with the results incresingly determined by the speed, braking power and technical reliability of the car rather than the skill of the driver. Vroom vroom a car has gone past. Vroom vroom another car has gone past. Vroom vroo...splutter, splutter a car has broken down.
Anyway I thought I'd brave the Brazilian Grand Prix and see Schumacher off. His domination of the sport will probably not be repeated and he did, of course, barge Damon Hill off the course about a decade ago in something that almost approached excitement.
So I watched it, got bored, couldn't see Schumacher, got more bored, eventually saw Schumacher miles behind cos of a puncture and try as I did, and please believe me it was some little effort, it's was boring.
So Schumacher ended up finishing fourth, didn't win the Championship, didn't get up on the rostrum for one last time, and didn't waste perfectly good champers by spraying it over the winner in one of the most patently homoerotic sporting practices. The highlight for me was when they cut from the action to show Schui meeting Pele before the race. Not hawking viagra this week, Pele? What a media shower. Pele and Schumacher. Two greats, two legends - but from two different (and not even remotely similar) sports, which surely makes the meeting pointless. I know the Grand Prix was in Brazil and Pele is Brazilian, but please...ok I admit it, I am a far bigger Maradona fan than Pele.*
Keenly await next season, which I am certain will be...boring.

* although Pele ruled in Escape to Victory as Luis Fernandez: "Give me the ball. I do this, this, this, this this (illustrates running past the opposition by drawing zig-zaggy line on the board)....GOAL!"

Now this McGrath is worth listening to

Of course I am referring to the ex-Manchester United, Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland defender Paul McGrath rather than loud-mouthed pantomine baddy, Glenn McGrath. You see when Glenn stats off, you drift into the twilight zone...5-0...Monty's soft...yadda, yadda, yadda.
But Paul McGrath? Well, I respect him loads. He was an incredibly talented footballer and it's a shame that booze and dodgy knees robbed him of his full potential. Anyway, when asked in a Guardian interview what he made of Steve McLaren his answers were prophetic and insightful. McGrath played for Derby in the 1996-7 season when McLaren was serving as Jim Smith's number 2:

"I'm amazed at Steve's rise. You could tell at Derby he liked patterns of play and all that stuff but it's simply amazing how quick it's happened for him. From obscurity he was suddenly picked as Sir Alex Ferguson's No2. If he hadn't been given that break at Manchester United it would never have happened...You have to have so many gifts as an international manager. Fair play to him being nominated for the job - let alone getting it. But it looks a step too far . . . an England manager has to have special skills and nerves of steel. There were a lot of young lads in the dressing room, cocky kids who weren't exactly gentle. Some of the more surreal memories are of how utterly dismissive a few of them were of McClaren . . . some of them devoured him."

I reckon there might be some pretty public dissent soon enough if England don't return to winning ways asap. Paul McGrath: you're a great man, you were a great footballer, you had great hair and you don't rate Macca.

Friday, October 20, 2006

End of the Short Parliament

She's gone, out of here, soon to be forgotten. Yes it's Clare Short, the newly liberated and independent MP for Birmingham Ladywood.
It links in neatly to the point I made with regards to wearing the veil. Clare Short canvassed the people of Birmingham Ladywood (and the election literature below would have been put through the letterboxes during this campaign) as a Labour Party candidate and less than 2 years later has left the Party, so how honest was she being when she was canvassing for the 2005 General Election? Her resignation is hardly a conversion on the road to Damascus with the venting of her spleen, anger, frustration, bitterness and bile (if these can all be vented), in the direction of the Labour front benches and the media alike, a common occurence. These thoughts of dissent from the Labour Party were not recently sown, my point being that the people of Birmingham Ladywood voted for a Labour MP and are now stuck with an Independent member no-one voted for. Please note the enlarged coloured font for the enraged tabloid effect.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A nice little touch from Mozilla

This is for those of you who use flash photography; yeh baby the Mozilla generation. You know sometimes in Mozilla sometimes a specific window won't open, so with this patch you can open an Internet Explorer window from within Mozilla through an option offered upon right-clicking. Plain genius.
Here's the link

Sturrock axed

Paul Sturrock is now the ex-manager of Sheffield Wednesday. It's easy to point the finger and say good riddance to bad rubbish, but I would be lying. Sturrock struck me as someone who had a vision for the future. Yet Wednesday are struggling and losing to Colchester Utd 4-0 is shockingly bad. The performance was perhaps worse than the result indicates.
I am surprised he has gone. For one who is going to succeed him? Wednesday are a big club but perennial under-achievers and more importantly the whole team needs an overhaul. We need a new keeper, we could do with another centre-back, and we need a bit of creativity in midfield. A winger and a quality striker would help but it's not Christmas. Yet.
It's a shame as he had just celebrated two years in charge of Wednesday and, personally, I thought he was the right man for the job. However, one point remains: Wednesday are already in a relegation cock-fight but we are yet to play the majority of the good teams. It may well be a very long season.

Labour pigs! Who's going to save Lord Winston's bacon?

Animal testing? Booooooo. Lord Robert Winston? Yay. Ying and Yang. Bad and good. How cruel, therefore, that the two become unbreakably linked? But don't fear, Lord Winston has not turned to the dark side, but look at this then.
"The Government claims that ot only permits animal experiments if it thinks they will lead to essential medical benefits. They're lying...". Scandal. They really are giving Monkey's fags and dressing them in waistcoats and fezs for no other reason than a SICK joke. Some of them even juggle.
This is a campaign card sent to MPs by the bucket load (of pigs' swill). The standard campaign card has Dear...and then something to ask their Member to do. Something like; please sign EDM...or please write to the Minister/Secretary of State, you know the score. So what does this card say?
"I am very disturbed that the Home Office has licensed pig organ transplant experiments involving Lord Winston." Noooooooooo it's just like 28 Days Later, but without animals being injected with hate and anger they are being made...really clever. The Lord Robert Winston pig may become a member of Mensa. The Lord Robert Winston pig may be permitted to sit in the House of Lords. It is also rumoured that the Lord Robert Winston pig has been offered a lucrative BBC contract to host boring and underwhelming pseudo-intelligent programmes. To echo the words of Charlton Heston (later replicated by Jay): "God damn you. God damn you'se all to hell."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Not much fun to watch Wednesday on Wednesday

Stuffed 4-0 at Colchester. Not ideal.

Excuse me but who are you?

"You're wearing a veil. Take it off please. Take it off now. I want to hypnotise you" cries the Demon Headmaster in his Blackburn lair and its bingo-bango as everyone has an opinion on this one. Yes it's race and every Briton can speak their mind with some authority on this subject; no matter how ignorant or ill-formed they are.
But has it not struck anyone else as a touch bizarre? The MP wants to see the constituent so they can better judge...well we don't quite know why, but they want to see your face: smiling or crying, fit or minging. But how about the same question from the other view? Constituents want to see their MPs. As well we know some MPs are totally duplicitous so it is an interesting conundrum. Because there's more to this than meets the eye. Let's here it then: MPs remove your veils of platitudes and half-truths and let's see you. Or as Delia Smith would say: "Come on! Come on let's be having you!"

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Used To Be A Celebrity (Get Me In There!)

The reality TV programme that gave the Great British viewing public the Former Butler: Paul Burrell; Phi Tufnell; John 'Awooga' Fashanu and the renaissance of Joe Pasquale is now set to unveil John Leslie, the disgraced and oversexed ex-TV presenter. It's I'm a Celebrity (Get Me Out of Here!) a show that is so shit it is very watchable. I wonder what other celebrities are going to be in it this year? Apparently Malcolm McLaren and some guy out of Busted have already signed up.

Wimpy, the Public Order Act and a last minute winner

As I slowly woke up on Saturday I could not have envisaged the joys in front of me. The prospect of getting up at 8am on a Saturday morning is abhorrent and the thought of watching Sheffield Wednesday not just once but twice in a week is daunting. For the uninitiated of you, watching Sheffield Wednesday is like watching a speech by the leader (who you don't agree with) of a political party you support; a labour of love.
Eventually we get to Watford Gap for a food break and conceive of my delight on seeing a Wimpy. I didn't even know they still existed and sadly there were no plates and cutlery, that said Wimpy Chicken Chunks (big bastard chunks of chicken as opposed to the anorexic offerings of Ronald McDonald) with fries was awesome. Particularly good was when a bunch of vegetarians, deliberating over the vegetarian options of Spicy Cheese (?) Beanburger or Quorn in a Bap, were informed that products were all cooked in meat oil. Hahaha. If God (or whatever) intended for you to be a vegetarian, animals wouldn't taste so nice.
Somewhat buoyed by the munch, the next touch was a Sheffield Wednesday pub that chucked out pints for £1.50. Four minutes in the match and Wednesday are 1-0 up, the remaining 86 odd minutes are not very enjoyable. Despite having a man advantage Wednesday were pretty piss throughout. However, after conceding a predictably poor goal, Wednesday grabbed an undeserved, but thoroughly welcome, winner when Chrissy Brunt hammered in an unstoppable right foot volley from the edge of the area. Chris Brunt had been our worst player and continually wasted opportunities and possession. The crowd were giving him some pretty serious jip and then he pops up with a bit of class. And instantly he's a crowd favourite (for about a minute).
Also newsworthy was Twin, the new emerging pop talent who are, you'd never guess, twins. They came on at half-time and mimed their way through a version of Slade's Cum on Feel the Noize. Apparently, they flipped the bird at the 7,000 odd (some very odd) Dirty Dingles (Barnsley fans) and then told them to f*ck off at the end of their performace. I say apparently because from where I was it looked like they were giving the w*nker sign too. They were arrested under the Public Order Act and given fixed penalty notices of £60.
And then the last minute goal. Makes the long journey all worthwhile when you, for once, lack out massively and Leeds lose 4-0 at home.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Football crap talk

A question that has perplexed me eternally: why (in football terms) is a left-foot cultured or educated? For the linguists amongst you, does this exist in other languages?

Quote of the day

Sakio Bika is the guy who will be fighting Joe Calzaghe this weekend. He was just interviewed on TalkSport and he was very good value. Extremely confident and managing to get 'trust me' into practically every sentence, Bika can certainly talk a good fight. But the best part was when he was actually talking about Calzaghe and came out with this classic line:

"I'm going to beat him like I'm his father"

England's chances

England - Any team with Freddie, KP, Anderson and Harmison have a chance of winning any tournament. One Day cricket much more than Test cricket is specifically reliant on individual performances. A destructive 100 from either KP or Freddie, or a quick 2/3 wicket spurt from Freddie, Anderson or Harmison could really turn the tide.
If Dalrymple and Yardy continue to bowl tidy spells and contribute with the bat and Read keeps well and chips in with lower order runs. Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss are classy players and Bell has started to show some real form as of late. Collingwood is a banker for some quality fielding.
However, if I take off my rose-tinted glasses I can look with admiration at the other teams and, man alive, there are a lot of quality teams.

- Ponting, Gilchrist, Hussey and Symonds are proven world class one day players. I have always been a massive fan of Damien Martyn and hope he comes back to his best. But for me I think the bowling might let them down. McGrath is awesome, but in my opinion Brett Lee, whilst certainly being a wicket-taking bowler, is too expensive. Hogg is hardly Warney and I can see some teams getting into the 'bits and pieces' bowlers: Watson and Symonds. A lot depends on Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken. I just don't see them winning it.

- With such classy batsmen as Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar and Dhoni - not to mention the pinch-hitting of Pathan - the Indians are going to be very hard to beat and will dish out some maulings. The bowling of Pathan, Singh, Munaf Patel and 'the Turbanator' Harbajhan Singh will be very strong and the one day specialists Yuvraj, Kaif and Powar give the team balance. I think India will win it.

New Zealand - Tough call New Zealand, I mean they have some quality players in Fleming, Astle, Marshall, McCullum, Oram, Styris and Vettori and I cannot wait to see Shane Bond at full pelt - fully fit, he could well be the best bowler in the tournament. I don't think they are quite good enough. Franklyn, Mills and Vincent are decent players but I'll be surprised if they set the tournament alight and their star batsman, Nathan Astle, doesn't have the greatest record in international tournaments.

Pakistan - Although they trolleyed England in the recent one-day series and must be scratching their head in disbelief that they only drew 2-2; Pakistan are in a bit of a mess. Inzi is banned and Younis Khan has turned down the captaincy saying that he doesn't want to be a 'dummy captain'. Given this phenomenon it's not a bad call. If the openers click (a massive IF) and if Afridi lives up to his 'boom boom' nickname and if Younis and Younis continue their great form, the bowling looks strong enough to skittle out a few teams. And in Mohammed Asif they have the most impressive new talent I have seen in ages. For me, there are too many ifs and they might struggle if their batting second and chasing a big total.

South Africa
- On paper they look strong, but on a cricket field they have a tendency to choke. Smith, Kallis, Kemp, Boucher and Gibbs are proven quality. I am really impressed by AB de Villiers and Pollock and Ntini are great bowlers. Andre Nel is an annoying loud-mouth and I look forward to him getting bashed around a bit. I think they'll do well but not well enough.

Sri Lanka
- Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Jayasuriya and Tharanga are quality attacking batsmen and Vaas, Malinga the Slinger and Murali are good bowlers but I don't see them doing a great deal in this tournament - just not enough quality throughout the team.

West Indies
- If England don't win it (and they probably won't) I will be right behind the Windies. Lara, Chanderpaul and Sarwan. What more do you need to say? And Chris Gayle, my all-time favourite player ever. I mean, Chris Gayle = cool. Attacking batsman, handy off-spinner (off the most stoned one step run-up), bit of bling and cool as anything stand at slip and snaffle anything in the field. Bravo is handy enough and Collymore and Bradshaw are steady, dependable bowlers and Smith, Edwards and Taylor are capable of brilliance. Surely, they can't retain the trophy...or can they?

India to win.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

They all look the same

A lot is being made of the Tory Party and whether their rebirth is genuine. Have they been cleansed of their past? Are issues such as homophobia, racism, Trade Unionists and the NHS no longer the bete noirs of the Parliamentary Barbour Wax Jacket brigade?
An ever reliable contributor, A Source Formerly Close to the PM, pointed me in the direction of a mistake that was by no means intrinsically racist and certainly not a "Well they all look the same to me" blunder, Tory Shadow Secretary of Health Andrew Lansley got a touch confused between Sadiq Khan and Shahid Malik. The fact that they are both Anglo-Asian Members is, I am quite sure, purely coincidental.

Mr. Sadiq Khan (Tooting) (Lab): Can the hon. Gentleman confirm that, despite all the cuts that he claims will be made, staff will be safe and no jobs will be lost under a Conservative Government?

Mr. Lansley: I am interested in what the hon. Gentleman says. He will forgive me if I am wrong, but I think that his local hospital is part of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Is that right? [Hon. Members: “Tooting.”] I beg his pardon.

Yeh I know Tooting. Hmmm...Tooting. Tooting...Tooting. Yeh next to Pontefract??? No Tooting is in London and is represented by Sadiq Khan. Perhaps he thought Sadiq was Shahid Malik who is the Member for Dewsbury, which falls within the....Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Khan? Malik? Well, what's in a name?

Upset? Insulted? Bit of a pyro? Part II

A while back I pitched an idea for Dragon's Den and was happy to come across this picture from the BBC site. An effigy of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister, being burnt in Lahore. Now I wonder was he skinny, medium or fat?

Stevie Mac attack

Some things are best left unsaid. And criticising England's deplorable performance against Croatia would have to fall into this category. As I didn't post on Macca yesterday, some of you may have taken this as compassion to a manager under fire. Not at all, my blog was down all day. I am from the kick them when they are down school. So here goes. Ok, so I was lucky enough to miss the match as I was out in Northampton enjoying a thai yellow curry, but I suffered the highlights/lowlights afterwards.

Paul Robinson: anyone criticising him for the own goal is bang out of order. I don't quite know how but Robinson has become a sort of Calamity James figure in the eyes of many, this is as patently unfair as it is wrong. Robinson was keeping us in the game. Full stop (grammatical necessity and particular emphasis on this point). The bobble was a freak goal. People have said he should have got his body behind the ball or he should have taken a touch before wellying it upfield. What a load of tosh. 99 times out of 100 the ball wouldn't have bobbled like that and not one single person would have criticised him. Yeh his positioning was a bit suspect for the opening goal but with three centre backs and a left back covering the little Croat lad shouldn't have even got his head to the ball.

: You can play 3-5-2; 4-4-2; 4-5-1 or any other combination - basic fact, if you play that badly you will lose. Personally, I think Macca played the system correctly with Neville and Cole as wing-backs but a central three of Parker, Carrick and an out of form Lampard doesn't exactly give you a hard-on. For me Carrick has been really disappointing. I rate him, but he's got to do much better.

Out of form players: Wayne Rooney is playing badly (at least by his standards). Frank Lampard is playing badly. I don't know if this is particular just to England but it appears almost impossible for big-name players to be dropped. David Beckham was never dropped, he was axed totally - virtually excommunicated - by Stevie Mac. In the 3-5-2 we played against Croatia. The positions of Lampard (attacking midfielder) and Rooney (link up player just off Big boy Crouch) are the most important. Both are so out of form that it is hardly a shock we lost to the Croats. There also seems to be a preferred ranking order of the substitutes too: Defoe will always come on before Darren Bent (irrespective of form); Wright-Phillips will always be brought on. And Kieran Richardson will 8 times out of 10 be the third sub. Just so formulaic, which would be fine if it worked. Sadly, England are in a lull reminiscent of 1993/4.

David Beckham: I have no problem with McLaren dropping Backham. As far as I can see he was poor during the World Cup. However, is it right to totally discard the player who is arguably the best English player of the last decade? Granted, I am looking back with hindsight, but you look at the results and the answer is there in black and white. If there is one position Beckham could fill in this England team you'd say it would be the sitting midfielder passing the ball around. With Hargreaves (or whoever is fit) filling the role of midfield enforcer. In the 3-5-2 is there anyone who seriously believes Carrick is a better player than Beckham in that role? Even in a 4-4-2 there is an argument that Beckham would be of more use than Lampard (so long as both wide midfielders were attacking). The whole Beckham episode looks dodgier as it has now come to light (through Mark Bosnich) that Beckham and McLaren do not get on and that this dates back to when Macca served as assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Interesting.

Wholesale changes: Apparently Macca has declared that his next squad (to face draw specialists Israel) may be considerably revamped. I wonder who he has in mind? If fit Jonathan Woodgate, Andy Johnson, Aaron Lennon and Kieron Dyer must be shoo-ins. Jermaine Pennant must be a decent enough shout. And after his two-goal salvo in the U-21 match, it may be a recall for Theo Walcott (although it should be noted that he was only a sub in this match). Defensively, I would be happy for Micah Richards to come into the squad as Gary Neville's understudy. The key to the majority of these players is pace. Johnson, Lennon, Dyer, Pennant, Walcott and Richards are like shit off a shovel. Woodgate is just a class apart.

I reckon Macca's got a few games left to save his bacon. Good luck. I must reiterate I don't want him to fail. I just suspect he will and if he is failing he must be booted out. This is England and at the risk of sounding jingoisitic; we are a massive country with top qulaity players and should not struggle against footballing pygmies like Macedonia and supposedly inferior (ranked 24 in the world) teams like Croatia. Come on England.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Puppet or not? You judge.

The case for the prosecution rests.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Question of the day

And this should be done without resorting to a google search. What does the word retromingent mean?

Chris de Burgh; chanteur, icon and faith healer

Chris de Burgh. A name that kind of makes your skin crawl. I don't want to be particularly harsh but just looking at him is a bit...weird. It's the bushy eyebrows, I think. Anyway, he can't be all bad, one of my ex-bosses used to be in his fan club. However, to the point of this post, I came across a story that Chris de Burgh can turn his hand to faith healing. Laying hands on and relieving pain. De Burgh made the admission on the Heaven and Earth show declaring to Gloria Hunniford that: "I have found myself able to cure people with my hands. I met someone in the West Indies who was not able to walk. I put my hands on him and he was able to get up."
Quick tip Chris: if you'd have sung to him he'd have been able to get up, run and in all likelihood break the land speed record.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dead meat

Man what a bummer! The best reason to tune into Corrie has gone and died. On his wedding day no less. Fred Elliott master-butcher, I say Fred Elliott master-butcher has cut his last chop. Things were looking bad for t'big lad, I say things were looking bad for t'big lad when he was smoking throughout the episode. Bad omen.
Well here's to you Fred and here's hoping you go to the big butchers in the sky. You'll be sorely missed, I say you'll be sorely missed.

Scotland upset the French...again.

I'll put my hands up and admit that I appear to have done wrong. I did not give the Scots a cat in hells chance of qualifying for the European Championship. But so far so good and the horror years of the Berti Vogts reign are fast becoming a distant memory. Their 1-0 victory over France was just amazing, so congratulations. Sadly, the group doesn't get any easier and I still don't think they will qualify but out of all the Home Nations the Scots turned in the best performance followed closely by Northern Ireland.
And what is it with the Scottish upsetting the French? Not satisfied with Rugby Union they move to football.

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