Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rising from the Ashes: England find their fight

I did my best not to mention the calamity that was the First Test of the Ashes. As anyone with eyes could have seen Australia (if you only have ears you could have heard, or fingers brail...) totally outplayed England and England's bowling and first innings batting were, well in the spirit of national unity I'll just say not out of the top drawer.
And things looked set to get no better as an unchanged England team were put on the rack before showing the right attitude and some little skill and desire to put England in control (just. Well kind of anyway.) of the Second Test. England will rarely experience many such morning sessions as today as the combined efforts of Strauss, Cook, Bell and Collingwood scored a meagre 58 at a shade over 2 an over. With Strauss and Cook back in the pavilion the only two boundaries had been hit by the Essex opener.
The rest of the day was assuredly better with England losing only one further wicket (bell horribly mistiming a hook) and ended on 266-3 with Collingwood looking set for his first Ashes century (after looking set for this accolade in the previous Test before losing his composure - and bails - and getting stumped by yards of bowling Warney) and KP making an imperious 60*.
Encouraging that England went the whole day without McGrath or Warne getting a wicket. In conclusion, so far so good. Hopefully, England can post a total of just over 400 and then bowl well. You gotta reckon Monty is very unlucky not to be in this team. However, if Vaughan gets match fit (I think the Academy have another match this week) he could come in at 3 with Bell or Collingwood in at 4 with the other dropping down to 6 maintain KP at 5. This would allow Freddie to come in at 7 and Jones, hopefully by then replaced by Chris Read, at 8 with the bowlers, form permitting, being Harmison, Hoggard and Monty. That'd give England a pace attack spearheaded by Harmi, Hoggy and Freddie supplemented by Bell and Collingwood and a spin attack of Monty backed up by KP and Michael Vaughan. Big if obviously on Vaughan getting fit, but this line up would hint at the best balance available.

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***Breaking news***

Former Celtic and Sweden legend Henrik Larsson is all set to sign for Manchester United on a short-term loan starting in the New Year. You read it here first, or second if you read it here first.

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Barrow boy pleads guilty

When I initially saw this one on the Beeb, I couldn't quite believe it. I mean just watch it...he's smacked him so hard that the lad's socks changed feet. James Cotterill's guilty plea is hardly the selfless act it may first appear. Like I said watch the video, what argument could he come up with? He's had a look and absolutely leathered him. As a result, Sean Rigg's jaw will be strengthend by metal plates for the rest of his life and he had to eat with a teaspoon and drink through a straw. Cotterill will be sentenced in early January and will probably be locked away for a bit.
And you get to hear Mark Lawrenson's voice go quite high.

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If you wanna be a record breaker

Mohammed Yousuf today broke Viv Richards' 30 year record of the most test runs scored in a calender year. He was finally out today for 124 and a grand total of 1788 (Richards total was 1710) consisting of 9 centuries (also a record). England were one of the countries to have suffered at Yousuf's hands with India and the West Indies also taking a pasting.
It is strange that given this amazing record, he is generally not recognised in the top elite of world batsman. In this group are Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, Kallis, Ponting and Inzi (Yousuf's corpulent Pakistan team-mate), whereas Mohammed Yousuf has not really achieved the recognition he deserves. Personally, I would now include Yousuf and Justin Langer (with KP to join after leading England to a fantastic comeback Ashes victory) in the top, top grouping.

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London Lite - as shit as ever

The London Lite is a remarkable paper in that it makes the Daily Mail look academic. It is by far the worst of the freebie papers so thanks to an unscheduled tube journey yesterday afternoon, I didn't hesitate to pick up a copy to while away the delays.
Now Gail Porter is a celebrity of whom I never tire. She used to be incredibly fit and she has now lost her hair. And to celebrate her divorce from that bloke out of Toploader who didn't have shit hair, she was out on the town wearing a massive red wig. Ok you're bald, so it must limit how you can look your best on a night out, but dressing up as Krusty the Clown probably isn't the best way forward.
Anyway the purpose of this post (believe it or not there is one) is to show how crap the London Lite is. I mean in the pic of her with the angel wings on, I like the caption in the photo reading "Free at last1" - yep cos it's so hard for a proof reader to see that it should have been an exclamation mark and not a number 1. So there you go, just a shift key away from being crap rather than unprofessional. Onwards and upwards.

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Bad day at work? Get it out of your system








coming soon


GET YA PILLOWS READY AND KEEP CHECKING for time, date and place!


We found a Peter Kay DVD after the Liverpool Street Mobile Club.
If you lost it, contact us at

The event could be co-organised by the Appalling Syntax Society (ASS). So maybe I'll be seeing you there. At 19:18.
Oh and if you fancy the Peter Kay DVD give them a ring.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

You're my Best Mate, I really love you

Are you rich? Are you stupid? Do you like horses far too much? If you answered 'yes' to all three of these questions, you may very well be tempted by this item. It's a horse, but no regular horse; no Sir, because it's a horse made out of bone china and it is Best Mate, the nag that won the Cheltenham Gld Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
So how much for this fine, fine item? How's about £1695. Seriously, I shit you not. £1695 payable even up front or in to interest free payments of £169.50. So you buy the horse, which isn't a horse and you role in from the pub, a touch worse for wear, and start slurring "You're my best mate" and for £1695 it couldn't possibly be anything else

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James Bond theme continues

The Litvinenko cases continues and after using a pretty weak James Bond pun in this post, it did tickle me that Scaramanga, he of three nipples, is involved. Oh it's not Scaramanga, it's Scaramella; Mario Scaramella. Well if there are any additional characters who have names with vague James Bond connotations you'll read about here first.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Vaughan's comeback will have the Aussies quack quacking in their boots

Michael Vaughan, still the nominal captain of the England team, came through his comeback match unscathed. Not much chance of anything else after completing a couple of 20 minute stints in the field and then composing a chanceless 7-ball duck against Western Australia. I have yet to come across a socrecard from this match but have read that in response to West Australia's 218, England were on 12-5. It could be a long winter.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

The Spy Who Didn't Love Me

This Russian dissident who was bumped off in the Sushi Bar is the victim of a returning phenomenon in the political/social world: the systematic disregard of aggressive nations to the national policy of sovereign nations housing political dissidents of the self-same aggressive nation. As I said, it's not new; it was a Soviet Agent who, back in the days, plugged Trotsky with a pick-axe in Mexico and it was the newly enlightened Colonel Quaddafi who instigated a policy beautifully named the Stray Dog whereby the termination of overseas dissidents was not only given the leader's consent, but in most cases was the direct result of the leader's will. Putin, of course, has previous: I have memories of a woman getting syringed and dragged out of the leader's presence.
It must be time to actually stand up for the protection of British citizens. How can it be anything but morally wrong for the British Government to tolerate the murder of nationalised Britains in the same way that the Thatcher Government did nob-all to defend so-called renegade Libyans in the 1980s.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Len Goodman

Not that I am a regular viewer, but Strictly Come Dancing does have its good points and top amongst them must be the head judge, Len Goodman. Len's always got a nice word to say and likes nothing more than giving 7 plus to all contestants. He's also very formulaic in that he gives his rating in exactly the same way: a simple barked number. No small talk when it comes to the vote, just a number delivered with military precision.
I then wondered about how much fun it would be to have Len Goodman around for dinner (tea if you're Northern). Soup for starters.

You: "Len, what did you think of the soup?"
Len: "It had everything..the taste; the texture; the seasoning."
You: "Len, your mark out of 10?"
Len: "8"

This is clearly a very entertaining notion and could continue for the whole evening:

You: "Len do you have any children?"
Len: "4"

or how about:

You: "My watch seems to have stopped. Do you have the time please Len?"
Len: "9"

Obviously, the last question works better on the hour. Think on.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Crap reality TV show axed

In news that will dismay everyone without a shred of taste, Celebrity Love Island has seen its last romance. No more Paul Danan, no more Bombhead. So this sh*t-fest can live on in the memory feel free to browse the best bits on the official site.
This quote from ITV's Director of Television, Simon Shaps sums it up perfectly. How it consistently failed and flopped is beyond me.

"I thought the show was terrifically made and produced and I have nothing but admiration for the people who made it. I just don't think the public appetite as evidenced by the second year numbers was strong enough for us to bring it back for a third year. In the end the numbers weren't strong enough"

Even old Comical Ali, the Iraqi Information Minister would have blushed at speaking such drivel.

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Does this bastard never bloody stop?

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And don't think for one minute that...

the Central Line was running properly today. In 1992, the Queen (and the Royal Family) had an annus horribilis, the week proceeding 18th November 2006 has been a weekus horribilis for the Central Line.
Not satisfied with running a special timetable, part of the Central Line was today suspended. And the proffered reason? Vandalism at North Acton, of course. For those of you without a detailed knowledge of the Central Line, North Acton is absolutely miles away from where I am. So when I saw that there was a suspension down the other end of the line, I didn't think it would effect me at all. More fool me, because in addition to the part shutdown there were continuing minor delays meaning...yep you guessed it...a special timetable.
So, in conclusion, Central Line is part suspended but all sh*t


Ding Ding Ding: Round 2

In the Amber corner, Mick McCarthy and in the Red and Black corner, Roy Keane. Their first encounter was choice with some fine insults and ill-feeling floating around with Keane's "You can stick it up your bollocks" sealing a points victory. Actually, as Keano's diatribe led him to miss the World Cup it might have been a split decision. This evening's contest promises to be more sedate and, dare I say, civil. Apparently the two have made up their differences, but I reckon it's still going to be pretty volatile.

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Equality and blood-sucking in equal parts. Welcome to this Open Primary

The Tory Party is alive and kicking. Believe. Not only are they back stronger than ever, thinking what we're thinking but they are now all inclusive too. Eco-warrior? Staunch Patriot? Ethnic Minority? Come on down, the price is right. Taxes? F*ck 'em! Unions? F*ck 'em too! Yee-ha cowboys, there's a new Blue in town.
And where would this new Conservatism find its spiritual sanctum? Well, no other place than Harrow East where the Tories have just selected their next candidate and I can barely believe it, they've selected a black man! This is what the Cameron A-List is all about. Alas he is a black man in name only, for the chosen one is Bob Blackman. Amongst the defeated candidates was Mimi Harker, a vampire creation of Bram Stoker. So ethnic minority? Tick box. Vampire? Tick box.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

A bolt from the blue Czechs in a Plainmoor

Torquay United are perhaps not the most glamorous or talked about football club in the land, but I do have a kind of soft spot for them; mainly in part to an ex-Comrade moving down there after leaving PCH; Garry Nelson's excellent Left Foot In The Grave and that when I was there with my girlfriend I found a shop that sold Sheffield Wednesday cards and that the proprietor was an Owl (a Sheffield Wednesday fan rather than a pellett-emitting bird of prey capable of rotating his head 360 degrees and thus eliminating the blind spot).
And for a club seemingly pernenially plagued by mediocrity, this week has been something of a 15 minutes of fame, ok 15 minutes of recognition may be more accurate. The Gulls have made the backpages for two reasons. Firstly, their new(ish) Chair Chris Roberts, who replaced previous head honcho Mike Bateson, unveiled an anti-diving policy to operate on a three-strikes-and-you're-out (as in transfer-listed or sacked) policy. And secondally when Roberts, who himself forged a playing career and, self-evidentally, a considerable reputation in the Czech Republic, announced that current manager Ian Atkins was to be shuffled upstairs (just like the late Thora Hird) and a mystery former Czech Republic international was to be installed as the brand new, shiny coach at Torquay. All this mystery is just like the early-90s heyday of the WWF. Today it was revealed the man in question is Lubos Kubik. Well, well who'd have thunk it? I remember Kubik turning out for Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic during the 90s and was over the moon to see on Wikipedia that I had remembered correctly and he wore the number 9 shirt in the 1990 World Cup. He is a defender and so should never wear a striker's number.
I hope Torquay go from strength to strength and that this appointment sees Kubik return to form after a frankly disappointing effort in Eyes Wide Shut.

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From Russia With Love

You gotta love junk mail. I had this one waiting in my Barry Beef email. She must be a fan.

My name is Svetlana I am a young girl from another part of the world and would like to get aquatinted with you.
I want to try to tell you a little about myself: I am very tender person with sense of humor and colored life. I am very calm and careless.
I also think that I am a romantic and cheerful type of person, fond of spending lots of time together, enjoying a summer night, walking by the seaside ...
I am rather serious woman and want to find such man for my future, I value strong character in the men because this thing makes men more attractive, in the other hand he has to be gentle with all people who are around him. Because I want to be
proud of him. Of course it would be wonderful to find an understanding and love. Because you know that without this things there isn't anybody in this world who may be happy.
I have some questions for you if you want to get to know me closer:
* Are you interested in serious relations with Russian woman?
* Would you like to correspond or to talk by phone?
* What is important for you in relations and am I right for you?
* Why are you interested in Russian lady?
* Are you planning to visit Russia?
* Have you ever been to Russia?
I will be waiting for your reply to
here you can look through my profile

I particularly like "I am rather serious woman" and "Why are you interested in Russian lady?".

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Out of Harm(i)'s way

The Ashes! Yeh, baby here it is. First's Harmison and...oh's snaffled at 2nd slip. Queue ecstatic whooping, apart from that there was no edge involved. Yep, Steve Harmison's first ball of the 2006 Ashes was so bad and so wayward that it went to slip. 2nd slip. For those of you who are not followers of the beautiful game, please believe me when I say this is total w*nk.
It is getting beyond the point of saying that Harmison is our number 1 bowler and he will hit form. Potential is one thing, but when you are 28 you should be the finished article. The first day went exactly as I feared it would; Harmison and Hoggard bowl crap with Harmison's radar being all out of kilter and Freddie keeps us in the game. And Ponting plunders away til his heart's content.
Oh well, we're still in it and to evoke emotions from last year; Come on England - We Believe.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

Another day, another delay. Not only was the Central Line continuing its special service but the District Line decided to play silly buggers too. Whilst standing on the platform at Gants Hill forlornly waiting for the tube, the rather smug and sanctimonious station announcer proceed to apologise profusely for the delay, smarmily adding: "We are trying to ensure there are no significant delays to teh service." I think he was probably trying to keep a straight face. I was waiting for about 8 minutes and the tube after mine was another 15 minutes after that! Try harder, mate.

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Up the Owls

Last night saw the London Owls continue their awe-inspiring early season form vanquishing Leicester City 8-3. Regulars will be overjoyed to learn that my humble-self, Mr Beef played pretty well last night and managed to only get into one verbal contretemps last night. Of course, I was entirely in the right. So that Wednesday 3 and 0 as our American comrades would say. Could it be our year?

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New job for Keith

I like to keep abreast with what is currently on our screens and recently I was happy (ok a slight over-exaggeration) to see the return of Keith Miller to liven up Eastenders. After seeing this I am sure you can imagine my surprise on seeing that Keith will be joining notorious nob, Oz Clarke on some wine programme. Here's the proof:

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Using the Central Line every work day I am hardly a stranger to delays. Indeed, for the last 3 days I have been in no danger of getting to work anywhere near on time courtesy of the Underground's unique network of signal failures, power failures, defective trains and passenger alerts.
Today was a particular treat with Gants Hill tube advising the next westward service would be in 7 minutes, this remained in place for another 5 minutes and was then raised, somewhat oddly, to 12 minutes and soon thereafter reduced back down to 9 minutes. Eventually the train came in and the conditions were, well cramped would be understating travelling conditions at which even a sardine would balk. Basically, if you were not already a contortionist you were about to get a crash course.
A truly horrible and soul destroying way to start the day, which was by no means improved by the driver announcing, at every bloody pause in the service, that the Central Line was running a special timetable. Well, if Ken or anyone at TfL is reading this your special timetable is rubbish.

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BBC in crap poll shocker

Saw this one on the Beeb website. This is perhaps the worst poll I have ever seen - apart from that asshole who lives in Tring, of course. I particularly like the disclaimer.

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The old master does it again

On the eve of the Ashes and with all attention turning to Brisbane it was somewhat inevitable that the legendary Brian Lara would produce something a tinsy-wincy bit special and he obliged with 196* including a 100 before lunch - a truly incredible achievement. By way of context, it is interesting to note that this was Brian Lara's 34th test century in his 130th test match whereas the top 7 England are going to put out tomorrow can only boast 31 centuries in a total of 184 tests.
After losing the uber-cool Chris Gayle in the fifth over of the day, Lara came in and proceeded to spank the Pakistani attack around the park, saving a particularly savage onslaught for the unfortunate Danish Kaneria who Lara disaptached for 60 runs off only 29 balls including 5 sixes.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

I love babies...but I couldn't eat a whole one.

As staff of the House know, the Debate cafeteria is a bit w*nky and is prone to such rubbish gastronomic misadventures as Great British Food Fortnight and Welsh Cheese Week (remember that one?). However, after a cursory glance at today's menu it appeared that the Debate had, in fact, crossed the line between distasteful (as in food) and distasteful (as in morals) with the following option on the menu, suitable for vegetarians no less:

Placenta with Roasted Vegetables and Crisp Salad

My inital reaction was one of shock, I thought it was purely money for old rope; so conceive of my relief when upon re-reading this, I saw that it was actually Polenta which unless I am very much mistaken is the Italian for umbilical cord.

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(Big) head start for happiness

This is Eggert Magnusson, the man who is expected to launch a bid for West Ham United FC. One thing is apparent, this man's head is absolutely massive.

Friday, November 17, 2006

What goes on in the mind of a Bull?

Yes fans, I am blessed; verily I am. Barry Beef given 20 questions from Paul Burgin. Check it out here. I hope you're all very proud of how far I have come.

England playing well? I don't know, it's all dutch to me

I watched all of this match and must say that although the result was good enough, how gash were both teams and, in particular, the Dutch? Absolutely bloody hopeless. Not impressed by England at all. Getting quite fed up with our team at the moment. Interesting rumour that King, Bent, Lennon and Jenas all pulled out in protest to the Terry vs. Tottenham bust-up which is rumoured to have had a bit of racial spice to it.
Micah Richards played well as did Ashley Cole but Terry and Ferdinand just don't inspire confidence and it is surely them, above Robinson, who was to blame for the shoddy Dutch equaliser. And wasn't it great to see andy Johnson play on the right?? Unbelievable. Why can't we play 2 strikers in a 4-4-2 formation. Oh and Michael Carrick? Just not coming up to international class. We are missing Hargeaves.

Our team should be: Robinson, Neville, A. Cole, Terry, Woodgate, Hargreaves, Gerrard, Lennon, J. Cole, Rooney and Bent

With Lampard on the bench with players like Walcott, Johnson, Carragher, Rio and Carson

More on those Pigs

I used this picture last month here and, luck be a lady, those Piggy b*stards have made it necessary to post it again. Not satisfied with trying to knife each other, or putting people in hospital it is now the turn of fat, bald keeper Paddy Kenny to get in on the act.
Kenny bottled on of his friends after it emerged that this mate had been knocking off his Mrs, as had another mate. With friends like that, mate. After being bottled, his mate bit Kenny's eyebrow off. So you got one eyebrow and your Mrs is shagging your mates. It gets worse and worse.
Pig manager, Colin Wanker denied there was a discipline problem at the club just saying that his players are 'thick'. Yes, Colin thick and criminal thugs. An absolute disgrace to the Premiership. Come On Man United, I hope you trash the Pigs tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Flip, flop the return of the foreign flop

Looking down through the Premier League and find one club who has not signed a player who turned out to be a total waste of money. Well I'll do a quick off the top of my head list and feel free to add others:

Man Utd - Djemba, Djemba; Forlan; Taibi; Veron; Miller; Bellion
Chelsea -
Ambrosetti; Kezman; Veron (again); Sutton; Bogarde; Kjeldberg; Weah
Arsenal -
Cygan; Garde; Luzhny; Vivas; Suker; Helder; Jeffers
Aston Villa -
Balaban; Milosevic; Laursen; Berson
Bolton -
Portsmouth -
Silva; Olisadebe; Chalkias; O'Brien
Everton -
Materrazzi; Van der Meyde; Angel; Bakayoko
Wigan -
can you count Heskeyt and Kilbane? Johansson
Liverpool -
Cheryou; Diao; Diouf; Kewell; Song; Piechnik; Diomede; Titi Camara; Heskey
Fulham -
Reading -
De la Cruz
Tottenham -
Postiga; Dumitrescu; Rebrov; Berti; Stalteri
Middlesbrough -
Ricketts; Maccarone; Branco; Ricard; Beck; Euell
Man City -
Charvet; Sibierski
Blackburn -
Grabbi; Donis; Davies; Dailly
West Ham -
Repka; Radiciou; Boogers; Dowie
Sheff Utd -
all shit
Newcastle -
Boumsong; Bramble; Carr; Babayaro (oh so their back four of last season); Guivarch; Tomasson, Andersson; Kluivert; Viana; Marcelino
Watford -
Blondeau; Glass; Vega; Issa (probably most Vialli signings? Apart from Galli)
Charlton -

Obvously there are a few I would have missed out but the reason for doing this list was not just cathartic but also to draw your attention to flops Tevez, Mascherano and Luque. The former two are, to my mind at least, good players yet to find their feet chez the Boleyn and the third is just useless. amazingly, it appears that Barcelona are in for Luque whilst Tevez and Mascherano may already be heading back ot Brazil this time for Flamengo.
Freedom of labour movement. God love it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And do you take this woman's father to love and to hold?

On Monday I had a lovely time in the constituency and on the train home heard my colleague, Morag get her ceremonials all out of cock.
She was on the phone to a chum and congratulating her on getting engaged. A romantic at heart, Morag asked her friend: "So did he [the fiance] ask for your father's hand?" Made me laugh anyway.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How Do You Solve a Problem Like the English Cricket Team

Trescothick out of the Ashes after his stress-related illnesss returned. Perhaps this puts a question mark over his long-term test future, which would normally be a great loss. So that sorts out the batting dilemma. Will it be Bell at 3? Sadly though you got think is losing Trescothick such a big loss these days?

UPDATE: Ed Joyce of Middlesex has got the call to replace Trescothick. Joyce is a quality player but personally I would have gone with either Rob Key or Mark Butcher - players who are specialist openers/number 3 bat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

F*ck Ups in the F.A Cup

I went down to the Matchroom Stadium, or Brisbane Road as it should still be called, and watched Leyton Orient scrape past Notts County in the first round of the F.A Cup. It was pretty good fun and after two balti pies and a bit of vocal bashing for the ref, who must have rated an 8 or 9 on the Graham Poll scale, I sort of didn't mind too much not going to Portman Road to watch Ipswich get their arse handed to them by the Owls as I really should have done. It was pure laziness anyway, Leyton is only 4 tube stops away from me.
But my happiness spiralled on seeing some of the other cup results. You always here this bollocks about cup shocks and how it's great for the little club to stick one over their supposed superiors. Sort of, I'd agree to a point. Rushden and Diamonds knocked out Yeovil and the media tries to build up excitement but my case is best made by Basingstoke knocking out Chesterfield, who this season had themselves carried the mantle of giant-killers after knocking out Mancester City and West Ham in the Carling Cup. My point being that how can it be giant-killing when the giant is a Yeovil or a Chesterfield? It is an etymological mistake, it is a shock rather than giant-killing, or even a big shock. No particular disrespect meant to these teams but, come on, Southend knocking out Manchester United - now that is giant-killing. It's up there with David putting one over Goliath. You dig?
Personally, at this stage of the tournament I enjoy seeing non-league teams getting absolutely stuffed and, as a consequence, I was delighted to see an 8-0 (Brighton beating Northwich Victoria like an unloved step-kid) and a 5-0 (Forest stuffing Yeading like an unloved...I'll leave it there).
Am currently enjoying Weymouth vs. Bury on BBC 1 (currently 2-2) and there's some quality swearing being picked up from the terraces, which Jonathan Pearce (who is so much better than Motty) referring to it as industrial language. Fucking right!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - the Ashes selection dilemma in a nutshell

Another disappointing day at the office for the English cricket team (not as disappointing as the office down the corridor where a certain Mr Andy Robinson is rumoured to be clearing his desk). Duncan Fletcher has announced that Chris Read has been dropped in favour of Geraint Jones. It is not so much a question as to why Fletcher loves Jones so much, but rather what has he got against Read? Jones' keeping has, to be fair, improved considerably over the last couple of years and, at the top of his game, is a better batsman. Yet upon being dropped from the test team it was said that Jones needed to go back to county cricket and rediscover his form. He didn't. Read came into the team and played well.
However, it is not all doom and gloom as it looks like Saj Mahmood's almost comical inconsistency has been noticed and he is set to be dropped in favour of James Anderson. Anderson is a class bowler and I think he'll do well.
But if Anderson is included it would also indicate that England may go with Giles ahead of Monty due to the harebrained obsession of playing bowlers with better batting averages. Just imagine dropping someone like Glenn McGrath for someone like Derek Pringle because Pringle had a better batting average. Obviously, the gulf between Monty and Giles isn't as vast as my example but the point remains the same. The problem position is number 8. Mahmood cannot be played for his ability with the bat alone. The same applies to Liam Plunkett and given that Harmison is bowling utter crap at the moment and Hoggard will find it hard in Oz, I wouldn't mind going in with two spinners. Perhaps this should mean that I should include Collingwood in the team, probably at the expense of Cook but I think Cook and Bell should shade it and Freddie may have to give more overs to part-time bowlers like Trescothick, Bell and KP. It's a tough, tricky call but, for fuck's sake, why else are Fletcher, Graveney and Miller selectors?

Barry Beef's preferred England starting XI for the first test of the 2006-7 Ashes series, Brisbane November 23rd is as follows:

Marcus Trescothick
Andrew Strauss
Alistair Cook
Kevin Pietersen
Ian Bell
Andrew Flintoff (c)
Chris Read †
Ashley Giles
Steve Harmison/Matthew Hoggard
James Anderson
Monty Panesar

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fucking PICT

Anyone who has dealt with the IT Service Desk personnel who are at the other end of the phone will know what I mean.

I micah guessed he'd be in the squad

It doesn't happen often but I was right. Micah Richards in the England squad. Booya. I told you here and here, I'm not saying I was first but no-one said it before me.
One thing that springs to mind though is what happened to the overhaul of the squad? I'm sure in the autopsy of England's dire performance against Macedonia and Croatia, Macca said he was going to take a long hard look at the Under 21 squad and, I assumed, with the intention of putting them in the squad?
Wes Brown instead of Johnathan Woodgate? I don't buy it. Jermaine Jenas but no Walcott? I don't know...Come on England.

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new link list

I thought I'd spice up my links, so I'll go through them now. I hope you get some enjoyments from these excellent sites.

Recess Monkey - Now considered a veteran of the blogging scene, Mr R. Monkey esq along with the next reprobate were the guys who got me blogging. When not monkeying around with Message Space and Labour Home, monkey remains da man.

Kerron Cross
- Goody two shoes Brownite, Cllr Cross took over my office in Portcullis House. Despite not recognising the significance of darts he's alright but still needs a haircut.

Hamer Shawcross
- *new entry*. The first newie added today. Recently started and very good indeed. I do enjoy blogs that take the piss.

Reclaim Labour - *new entry*. Run by Harry Perkins, the Sheffield Wednesday supporting Prime Minister of A Very British Coup this is an excellent blog and has galvanised opinion on the left against Michael Meacher. And quite rightly so too.

Elijah Wood is Very Very Gay - if you haven't looked, go look. One of the daftest ideas imaginable, brilliant.

Football Rumours
- You know when you're in the pub and there's always someone with an improbable rumour. Improbable like: I hear Rochdale are in for Arjen Robben. All these rumours come from here. Occassionally a rumour is right.

- All things cricket.

- You might have heard of this one before.

The Lord Lucan - Despite a recent obsession with blogging about musicals, the good Lord remains the #1 Tory blog - shame the only people who comment on it are Labour though. A site that deserves more hits and more comments and, yes m'lud, you can pay me later. In the Sports.

John McDonnell for Leader - A close personal friend of Cllr Cross, I only linked this at Kerron's insistence. Hahaha. As it stands he's got my vote, but then I was going to go and vote for Jimmy Tarbuck on Strictly Come Dancing and look what happened to him.

The Carpetbaggers - *new entry*. If Hamer takes the piss, Urquhart and Trollope take it, run around with it and throw it in your face, which if you're Mark Oaten is horny and if you're not is very funny.

Labour Home
- That boy Hilton, he's all grown-up now. I'm very proud, brother. The boy's done good.

Sonja and Ruthie in Mexico - Two lovely ladies, this is a journal of their time in Mexico. Not updated anymore but we were all with you.

I don't like cricket
- Wesley and his gang go Aussie baiting and do He-Man look-a-likes.

Seasiders News - Everything you wanted to know about Blackpool FC's progress but were afraid to ask.

Josie McCoy's Gallery - Consider yourself an art buff? Well have a look here. Makes Picasso looked like Neil Buchanan.

Idiots for Labour
- *new entry*. Pretty brutal and, consequently, pretty funny.

Cllr Bob Piper - Sandwell's finest. Speaks Labour and speaks sense, two things which sadly are not always synonymous.

- Ol' two darts himself. Last night he was wearing his Dad's jumper.

BloggersforLabour - the glue of the Labour blogging world. Enjoys darts and New Order, this clearly marks him out as someone decent.

HTFC World
- *new entry*. Sadly, this appears not to be updated anymore, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes football. It really is sheer genius.

Antonia's blog
- *new entry*. Writes decent stuff all the time and I found the Carpetbaggers blog via hers, so respect.

So there are some things that Jews and Muslims agree on?

A Jew, a Muslim and a Christian walk into a bar; the barman says "Is this a joke?" Still one of my favourite jokes, but, of course, in Israel a land split by religion and intolerance relations between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian societies are, at best, fraught. However, these disparate communities seem to agree on one thing and such agreement, which should be something positive, is disgraceful even by the standards of a country whose actions and beliefs appear to belie their religious convictions. It would just be too good to believe that people could unite in a cause as worthy as something like, oh I don't know the roadmap to peace or something like that; no the issue that has got them together is homosexuality, or more accurately their shared bigotry in seeing homosexuality as a form of heresy.
The Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem has had anti-humanitarian extremists of all persuasions incandescent in fury, raging like rabied dogs at the prospect of gays promoting such bastards concepts as tolerance and equality. In addition to labelling the event 'sinful' the combined braintrust of the fundamental (note to reader: heavy emphasis on mental) elements of Judaism, Islam and Christianity hold the event to be 'an abomination to the sanctity of the Holy City'.
A modus operandi was agreed under which ultra-orthodox Jews were released from custody in return for rabbis requesting the protest to be lessened to only going to synagogue to pray against the parade.
So when a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian walk into a pub one can only assume it's not a joke, but a no-gay pub.

NB: This is not the only obstacle, however, as there is the heavy possibility of Palestinian retaliatory attacks after the bombing of a Gaza town which Prime Minister Olmert put down to a 'technical failure' in the weapons used. This 'technical failure' led to the death of 18 people.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Funny face, girly face, strong face. Let's face it, it's all rubbish anyway

In a study worthy of the hallowed pages of the Metro, a bunch of nerds from the University of Stirling have deduced that this is the funniest imaginable face. Soft and feminie features are the key apparently, thus ruling out female javelin throwers and Clare Short. Actually, thinking about it, if feminine features are a necessity doesn't it follow that the funniest face would be a woman's?
Ok then, so far so pointless, huh? You reckon? Let's take a stroll down Banal Lane. Apparently, David Cameron has features prone to make people laugh. His 'policies' are pretty handy to this end too. But Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are not comedians. No, sir. Their chiselled chins and high foreheads - sadly, I am not making this crap up - make them less amusing and less inclined to have a comedy career, which must put a question mark over the soon-to-be-ex-PM's next incarnation as a stand-up comedian and would also lead one to believe that Gordon Brown was not joking about renewing Trident.* Surprisingly Mungbean Campbell wasn't mentioned in this study, presumably because either they hadn't heard of him or, and this reason is the more likely, Mung was born before laughter was invented.
I don't know though. For me this face is funnier.

* Trident replacement - boooooooooooooo

No danger of England peaking too soon

What's worse than your team getting massacred in the first match of the Ashes tour? Well, I'd have to say having the news broken to you on the phone by your gloating 12 year old Australian nephew. In the same way that some religious converts embrace religion more than those who were born into it, my English-born nephew is becoming more - well how do you put it nicely? - Australianer than thou. Bring back the birch for the precocious little darlings. So England got mullered, but are there any positives to be taken? Yes, I think so. Strauss and Collingwood looked in good touch and Mahmood got some valuable runs, which he'll need to do consistently if he is seriously expected to bat at number 8 vs. McGrath, Warne, Lee et al. Freddie got through 10 overs...and that's about it. It's not all doom and gloom, I have a feeling the Ashes will be closer than most expect. Fingers crossed. Yet, three worrying prospects hover unwanted on the horizon:

1) England considering playing Giles over Panesar
2) Engalnd considering playing Jones over Read
3) If points 1 and 2 happen, it would mean that Geoffrey Boycott was right - Time's up Fletch...

Natural Vaughan Killer

Michael Vaughan, my Lord, Michael Vaughan. Very encouraging news that England captain, star batsman and Sheffield Wedneday supporter, Michael Vaughan is expected to be fit within three weeks and is hopeful of being ready to play a part in the Ashes by the Third Test. I don't know how this is possible given that he isn't in the squad, but I imagine there is one person who will know. You know who you are.
Ashley Giles will be playing in the match vs. the Prime Minister's XI today and should be joined in the team by fellow Champions Trophy absentees Alistair Cook, Liam Plunkett, Matthew Hoggard and Monty Panesar. Come on England.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fat chance

What do you get if one of the teams that constitutes a two team league turns shit? A one team league, of course. How do you follow follow a 2-1 defeat to bottom of the table Dundee United? How's about a defeat in the league cup to 1st division St Johnstone.
Yes live and in technicolour (in the case of Dundee United) is the demise of Rangers FC. I don't know why (because I am neither Scottish, Catholic nor Protestant) but I have never liked Rangers and have always liked Celtic. Probably because growing up in the 1980s Rangers won everything and Celtic nothing. I am really quite enjoying Paul le Guen do a passable imitation of Berti Vogts. Mind credit where it's due, Rangers are top of their UEFA Cup (not to be confused with the Champions League in which Celtic are playing) group. If/When Le Guen gets the boot they could surely do worse than appoint their number 1 celebrity fan as manager, the Viking, Andy Fordham

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Too good to wait for what could the title allude? Rocky Balboa? Pauline Fowler's impending death? Both excellent calls but both, in this instance, wrong. Not only wrong, but nowhere near. Of course, the answer is the Terrace Cafeteria breakfast and the guilty party being one Diane Abbott MP, who pushed in directly behind me in the queue this morning. Sadly, no-one thought of saying something to the oh-so-socialist one. Unlike Diane Abbott herself, pushing in is not big and is not clever.

House points

Brother Beef, in the sibling rather than brethren or ecclesiastical sense, popped round last night and, as ever, the chat descended into politics. This is never too enjoyable, the only thing we have in common is that we are both right. He is right of centre and I am morally right. Haha, see what I did there?
As Brother Beef was about to leave he admitted: "I wouldn't vote Labour even if they were giving out houses." I replied: "Fair enough I wouldn't vote Tory even if they were giving out houses and let's face it, they've done it before."
15-love. Yep, Dame Shirley Porter gags. You can't beat them.

Barking up the wrong tree

A couple (or is it now a few?) weeks ago Gregory Barker came out. His sexuality is really of no concern to me, actually I am more concerned that he appears to be wearing a burberry tie in the photo. Also to reveal myself as a geek (quel surprise) he bares an uncanny resemblance to Harry Osbourne, the human alter-ego of the Green Goblin (although not the original zzzzzz...sorry) - Spiderman's great nemesis.
OK got that off my chest. So on the day he comes out, or is outed I must admit it slipped under my radar. At the end of the day I was off to the Sports and Social with Dudley Eyebrows (24) and we were playing the fools, speaking in fake ghetto speak and generally acting like a couple of twats (for the record Dudley Eyebrows (24) was eerily convincing - as a twat not as ghetto) and whilst descending the lift from Portcullis House to the Palace itself we were making kissing noises and shaming each other's female relations and as the kissing and general tomfoolery continued unrelentingly we walked past Gregory Barker who turned around and looked generally aghast and crest-fallen as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Neither of us knew who Gregory Barker was (although it did strike fear into my heart when I was once watching parliamentary proceedings and saw the Hobgoblin was a Front-Bench spokesman for the Conservatives) and then the day after I saw the story.
So for the record, Gregory, if you're reading this; sorry and well...sorry again.
Good story though.

Football's Guardian

I am a bit wary of the Guardian sports blog - after all David Pleat is a regular contributor. But this piece is quality and well worth a read.

Countdown to Countdown

That most serious of political bloggers, Kerron Cross has been talking about Countdown and, luckilly, we share the same opinion of Tom O'Connor. And Crosswits for that matter.
Coincidentally my attention was brought to this little beaut by Georgie Poorgie. Yes, it's fake and yes it's very funny.

I was sent this picture and it made me laugh loads. Enjoy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm black, you're black...hold on a sec...are you my Dad?

Of course it's Eastenders and one of the dafter storylines. Denise is black. Patrick is black. So the scripters make them daughter and father. Genius. What next? Winston's a long lost step-brother?

Saddam Hussein

Should he be doing the Tyburn Jig? Should he be given an ASBO and Community Service? Should he be put into prison and left to rot?
Please leave your opinion in the comments either Guardian or Paintbrush to state your preference.

Update: As a side point, when did Saddam pick up his extra surname? Al-Majid? It was always strange to hear Clinton or Bush or Blair refer to how evil Saddam was. I mean, he never referred to them as Bill, George and Tony. Anyway if he gets off without hanging they should rename him Saddam Hussein Al-Magic Johnson. Just a thought...

I fought the Laws and the Owls won

The new manager of Sheffield Wednesday is Brian Laws. It hardly inspires but I reckon he's a better choice than someone like Gary Megson. Let's face it who would have been an inspired choice? Keegan possibly.
Personally, I am still sad that Sturrock went but then, to some extent, results and performances must speak for themselves, and we were bad and the results followed accordingly. I do not know enough about Laws to slag him off/praise him to the hills.
The most important thing is for Wednesday to play with passion and commitment. Oh and a keeper wouldn't be bad either. Since Sturrock went Wednesday have won 10 points out of a possible 12. Long may it continue.
Let's just hope there's no chicken wings involved.
Up the Owls.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Boeuf's bon mot du jour

I was watching the quite superb biography of Paul Weller on BBC2 yesterday and loved the John Weller quote for the reason behind the Jam splitting up:

"I don't want to mention names but one or two of the band were taking Paul for granted."

The Jam were a three-piece, so using my Columbo-esque sense of deduction I'd assume he was pointing the finger at Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler.

C'est la vie, Arsene

In an astonishing lack of class even for a football manager, Arsene Wenger really took la biscuite et aussi la mange. West Ham score an 89th minute goal, it's 1-0 and they're on the verge of beating Arsenal. Pards celebrates like a man who's just correctly answered a football trivia question that's stumped him for a good few hours (these scenes are periodically seen in the Sports and Social) and then it's bingo bango as Arsene Wenger, the supposed cool as a cucumber philospher cum football manager, takes exception and goes after Pards, and to compound it he refuses to shake hands after the final whistle. Even ex-Gooners Dixon and Wright cannot defend him on Match of the Day 2. Pardew goes so far as to apologise in the post-match interview saying that his celebration was over-zealous - surely it would have been easier to stick two fingers up and call Wenger a bad sport? It also emerges that Pardew invited Wenger to his office for a conciliatory post-match glass of wine which Wenger, showing his class, refused. Wenger also refused to give any post-match interview.
1-0 to West Ham and 1-0 to class over Arse.
A total lack of grace was also seen in another part of London as Jose Mourinho spat out his dummy, crying like a bitch about a disallowed goal and a red card. Ok so Jose has more reason for complaint than Wenger but football is football and decisions are taken and, inevitably, mistakes are made. Of what I saw Spurs looked good and came back from an absolute hammering early-on in the game. Yet with the blinkers on Mourinho cannot accept this. Why look critically inwardly when you can spout bile in other directions?
Fergie, the Grand Old Man of the Premiership, must have been having quite the day: celebrating his 20 years in charge of Manchester United with a commanding win over Portsmouth on Saturday, he then watches Arsenal and Chelsea lose and then cry on the Sunday.
So given that I do not support a Premiership team, I would like West Ham to win it. As they obviously won't, I gotta plump for Manchester United. Listening to Mourinho and Wenger makes it an easy decision to make.

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