Monday, 28 July 2008

mixed feelings

So Spurs win 5-1 at Norwich, Bent scores four, Berbatov is spotted smiling on the bench and Dos Santos plays a blinder. I know it's only a pre season friendly but it's still a promising result, especially given Keano's departure to Liverpool today. Typical then that in Ar5ena1's pre season friendly they score 10. We're going to see Spurs at Orient on Wednesday- looking forward to seeing how Modric and Dos Santos look. I predict 3-3.

The worst thing about Keane leaving is his bloody name on the back of my son's new Spurs shirt. Guess the best we can hope for is that Ramos signs another player called Keane.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Things that make you go eeeurrgghh

We went to a french restaurant this evening. I had snails. These made my girl's 'bum go funny'. She said that if she'd known I had eaten and would continue to eat things like gastropods with a set of each type of genitals (see snail specific post here) and rabbits she'd never have so much as nodded at me in a corridor or held a door open for me let alone paid for my tea in a restaurant in Blackheath.

We did this after taking her rabbit to a retirement home/ refuge (for rabbits). She has had treatment after treatment but couldn't get shot of this horrible gunk around her eyes (this is the rabbit not my girl). I didn't think it'd be that bad but, man, when I saw it for the first time, that really made my bum go funny. The woman at the rabbit place was obviously batty but brilliant (luckily) with rabbits. She took one look at the eyes, flipped the rabbit on her back, opened its legs and thrust the poor thing's bunny vagina in our faces: "It's rabbit VD" she said. " Look how it's all crusted up". Between winces I noted that this was VD and not an STD. Apparently they get it from their parents.

Now here's the question (especially considering girl's reaction to snail eating): If someone said "Here's a foxy chick who is funny, intelligent, beautiful etc. but her bunny has VD" what would you do?

The most worrying thing is that my eyes are a bit goopy this evening and I've definitely lost the spring in my step.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

anti-social science

In much the same way as Brussels sprouts are repellent to a child but then become strangely tasty in adulthood, so activities that I'd have never considered before are now on my agenda. Walking has always been a necessary evil; where no motorised transport is available I have used shanks' pony to take me from A to the much visited and popular destination: B.

Today I chose to walk. For pleasure. To nowhere except from whence I came! I enjoyed it to. Rivers and hills and rocks and other nature things. I did get a bit bored though and engaged in a little bit of research in the field. I read something in the paper on Saturday about being friendly to strangers and thought I'd see how friendly people are when out walking in nature. The first 10 people I passed I said nothing to. I glanced at them but raised no eyebrows and resisted the temptation to nod my head. Only one of them said hello. In fact he said: ' aa'ternoon'.

The next lot of people I said hello to. ALL of them replied except an old lady with TWO walking sticks who looked scared. The interesting thing was that virtually everyone replied with the same word I used. If I said 'Hi' they said 'Hi'. If I said 'Hello' they said 'hello'. Even if I said 'urghh' they replied in the same way. If I smiled and said hello I usually got a smile in return too. When I said 'goodbye' I got a confused look though so you can only go so far. If 'goodbye' had been successful I'd have gradually worked my way up to 'banana'.

Conclusion: you can force people to be friendly just by being friendly first. Goodbye for now. I am going away for a while. Matt.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

fuel prices

So the Tories have come up with some half baked bribe for the 4X4 self interested lot... but, when I looked at how the fuel price is broken down, I began to grudgingly accept that they may actually have a point. The amount that actually goes to the retailer is ridiculous, especially when compared to the amout in both fuel duty and VAT.

The Green lobby will probably say this is a good thing but, at least in the short term, this escalation is going to have a big impact.

Footnote: I had the shift key held down when typing 4X4 and it came out $X$... QWERTY keyboards work in mysterious ways.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Picture for the sake of it...

...of a sign that exists for its own sake.

It's like that self referencing song : "you're so probably think this song is about you'. I never got that but here it is anyway. Subtitled for your convenience.

It's also kind of like the Magritte painting entitled 'ceci n'est pas une pipe' ('This is not a pipe') so in a way, the sign makers are really picking up the (banana shaped) baton of Belgian surrealism.


From the Enfield Independent:
"TOTTENHAM have spoken to Milton Keynes Dons about the possibility of moving into their stadium if White Hart Lane is to be redeveloped. With the recent good form of the club seeing their worldwide fan base grow, Spurs have been considering expansion of White Hart Lane.
The stadium currently has a capacity of just over 36,000 but the plan is to increase the size to 50,000 to bring it into line with other top European sides.

However, if the expansion does go ahead, it would leave Juande Ramos' men homeless for at least two season while work at the ground takes place. Many possibilites have been viewed - and rejected - over recent months, including a potential ground share at West Ham's Upton Park.
The Football Association has ruled out Wembley as a club venue, while the new Olympic stadium has also been dismissed - after the games in 2012 it will be reduced from 80,000 to 25,000 and has been designated as an athletics only ground.

Now, with options running low, the Spurs board have made contact with the Dons about a potential ground share. Dons owner Pete Winklemen revealed in the News of the World: "If Tottenham decide to redevelop on site it seems they will need temporary accomodation and they have had a chat about using our stadium." The League One side moved into stadium:mk last year and the ground has a capacity of 22,000, enough to compensate all season ticket holders at White Hart Lane."

22K? Season ticket holders only? What the...? I am not happy.

The lovely Samantha

Mass grief a la Lady Di has always struck me as odd. I have never felt that affinity for people in the public eye that seems to afflict a lot of people. I don't know whether that makes me cold, cynical and unfeeling or just a bit supercilious but I do know that when I heard Humphrey Lyttleton had died I got a taste of the grief people feel for someone they don't actually know. I'm not a big Jazz fan but appreciate the technical ability of the man. However it was his humour and role on I'm sorry I haven't a clue that I will miss. Within that it was his "Samantha" innuendos that nearly made me crash several times whilst listening on the way home form work on a Friday night. My own, admittedly limp, tribute is a collection of lovely Samanthas.

"She's popped out to visit an old gentleman friend of hers who's a notorious curmudgeon. However, she finds that if she butters him up properly she can sometimes get him to splash out."

“Samantha has to go now as she’s off to meet her Italian gentleman friend who’s taking her out for an ice-cream. She says she likes to spend the evening licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan”

“After tasting the meat pies, Samantha said she liked Mr Dewhurst’s beef in ale; although she preferred his tongue in cider”

"Samantha is a croupier and often works at an exclusive Soho club where gamblers pay top money to play roulette all day and poker all night"

"Samantha tells me she has to go now as she's off to the country residence of her new gentleman friend, who has some interesting birds in the thicket. He keeps a young chicken, but Samantha says there are also wild breeds there, and she can't wait to see his Woodcock, Pullet and Swallow."

"Samantha is something of a keen horse woman, and she tells me that she's off to see a trainer who's offered her the chance of a couple of races he wants her to contest. She's quite excited, as he's prepared to drop his jockeys to enter her at Newmarket."

"Samantha is off on a dinner date with a gentleman friend from Moscow who's brought over a variety of caviars and an array of vodka-based aperitifs. She says he's going to offer her delicious food in his hotel room and then liquor out on the balcony."

“Record researcher Samantha has made one of her customary visits to the gramophone library, where she runs errands for the kindly old archivists, such as nipping out to fetch their sandwiches. Their favourite treat is cheese with home-made chutney, but they never object when she palms them off with relish.”

“Samantha tells me she has to nip off now as her trusted aged gardener is coming round to identify the mysterious trailing plant that’s growing in her privet. Obviously she’s keen not to miss him if there’s a chance she may have an Old Man’s Beard in her bush.”

Not half as funny in print as when uttered with his iconic voice and classic timing but brilliant all the same in my view.

"Well as the vanquished charwoman of time begins to shake-n- vac the shagpile of eternity I've noticed we've just ran out of time"

The Road to up north

I was reminded recently of a bit in 'The Road to Wigan Pier' where Orwell talks about the perceptions southerners and northerners have of each other and in particular how Yorkshiremen see themselves in contrast to southerners. I re-read the bit (available here) and was struck by how persistent the sentiments described are. I've been saying this sort of thing for ages. Though, I grudgingly admit, without quite the same turn of phrase and expressive sentiment.

"...when you go to the industrial North you are conscious, quite apart from the unfamiliar scenery, of entering a strange country. This is partly because of certain real differences which do exist, but still more because of the North-South antithesis which has been rubbed into us for such a long time past. There exists in England a curious cult of Northemness, sort of Northern snobbishness. A Yorkshireman in the South will always take care to let you know that he regards you as an inferior. If you ask him why, he will explain that it is only in the North that life is ‘real’ life, that the industrial work done in the North is the only ‘real’ work, that the North is inhabited by ‘real’ people, the South merely by rentiers and their parasites. The Northerner has ‘grit’, he is grim, ‘dour’, plucky, warm-hearted, and democratic; the Southerner is snobbish, effeminate, and lazy —that at any rate is the theory. Hence the Southerner goes north, at any rate for the first time, with the vague inferiority-complex of a civilized man venturing among savages"

I'm not sure how persistent the 'effeminate' part is (or maybe that's just wishful thinking) but the 'lazy' and 'snobbish' prejudice still rings true. I was about to say that I am no rentier until I looked it up and found that, until last Saturday at least, I was. The last line above did in fact ring a few bells of guilty rememberance. I was worried about venturing into this unknown territory. The savages at work have taught me otherwise though.

The hardest part to overcome is the strength of the drinking culture. I don't drink any more but if you tell that to a Yorkshireman, he'll look at you like you just asked him to moisten your nipples with custard.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

discovery and relativity

An ex colleague is leaving where I used to work and shifting to Newark. I wanted to say something that made it look like I knew where he was going so I got my Google out. I think it's the one in the UK he's going to (we weren't that close; he's an ar5ena1 fan) but I browsed my way through a few pages on the one in New Jersey. While I exhausted my metaphorical thumbs flicking through electronic pages I read that Newark had one of the highest murder rates in the whole of New Jersey with an average of about 100 per year. Intriguingly (because of its intrinsic interest but also because it was deemed so newsworthy) is the strange occurrence at the start of this year. It went 43 days without a murder! The number so far this year represents a drop of 75% on the equivalent period in 2006.

If a hundred a year doesn't sound too bad, there were fewer than 800 in the whole of England and Wales in the year 05-06 and that included the people killed in the London bombings:

"There were a total of 765 homicide offences recorded in 2005/06, a decrease of twelve per cent compared to the previous year. The figure of 765 includes 52 homicide victims of the 7 July London bombings." (Home Office)

Bearing in mind the population of Newark is less than 300,000, it kinda puts all the British media's hysteria and fear provocation into perspective.