Wednesday, 30 January 2008

!


Tuesday, 29 January 2008

New Badge for Les Arses

Someone was very quick off the mark with this one. Not sure I like it on here but I haven't put an image in for ages. I also pledge to stop going on about that win.

Losing well

Losing is always hard to take when you're passionate about a sport or team. However, I experienced something approaching a new phenomenon on Sunday watching Spurs lose to Man Yoo: Yeah I was disappointed but we played well and tried a bit! That's the key really. Too often the team has just flapped and floundered and not really tried very hard. Too soon in the past they capitulated and threw their arms up at each other with every misplaced pass. This could easily have gone the other way. The draw for the next round would have put us up against Le Arse again- that would have been so sweet.

Spurs have bought Woodgate from Boro this week and it looks like we're getting Hutton from from Rangers. 'Woody' has a dubious past but as my girl says, 'Everyone deserves a second chance.' It's not so much his playing as his off the pitch activities that disconcert me. I recall that he was involved in some fracas that may or may not have been racially motivated. I'll be keeping a close eye on him. Hutton is a good bet at right back by all accounts. If we can play them both tomorrow and they do what they're supposed to do it could be that we'll have something resembling a proper defence which is more than can be said for the team on Sun (especially after Dawson got sent off). Dare I say it but Woo Hoo. A little revenge for our early season defeat at the hands of the toffeemen would also be sweet. In a chewy, stick to the roof of your mouth kind of way.

Vive t'difference

In Halifax on Saturday I felt a bit peckish as I sauntered around the market looking for a lamp. My eyes hurt when I read these days unless I have a bright light and am not trying to read some stupid mini font that papers and books (and students) sometimes use. I didn't find a lamp but I found a stall that sold pies. They didn't have many left but the ones in the glass fronted cabinet didn't look too forlorn so I thought I might give one a go. Yorkshire pies, by and large, tend to be an altogether less life threatening prospect than their southern counterparts. Dog food, for example, isn't the principle ingredient. Neither for that matter is dog. I approached the stall and asked a woman (who, judging by her clothes, must have just rushed from an audition for the regional 'Last of the Summer Wine' extras recruitment drive) whether the pies were hot. I thought: "simple question, simple answer." But no.
" Theyrared."
"I'm sorry?" I said with a slightly puzzled look whilst surreptitiously trying to clean whatever it was in my ears that obviously blocked my hearing.
"Theyeeared."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
" THEY ARE AIRED." she bellowed looking at me like I was two ferrets and a pigeon short of a party.
"What does that mean?" I asked. As far as I'm concerned, airing is what you do to sheets and washing, not pies. The woman's clone intervened at this point and, fingering and prodding each of the pies in turn, she said, " They're a bit warm love." No doubt she'd come across this dialect difficulty before and even spoke to me in something less than mocking exasperation. I walked away muttering something about wanting something hot and diseaseless and ended up with a bag of chips. Very well aired.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

CSI Las Wengas

[The scene: Inside a big plane. Grissom- pensive and whimsical head of the Las Vegas CSI night shift; Warwick-The tall cool gambling black guy; Sarah- the slightly goofy woman and Nick-the bloke that's there for his looks rather than his talents sit in pairs either side of the aisle. ]

Grissom: I sense the work of Moriarty
Warwick (inquisitive sideways look at Grissom): Say what?
Grissom: Forgive me. That regression therapy has me daydreaming. As we get nearer to London, Heathrow in England I feel an increasing force of history on my shoulders. Pass me that magnifying glass Watson.
Nick: Huh?

[Cut to plane landing and montage including big red bus, black London taxi, man in bowler hat making phone call in one of those quaint red booths and a guy in big black hairy helmet guarding the Queen of England. Cut to interior of high tech CIA style transit van with whizzy things in it. ]

Sarah: Are you going to brief us Gris?
Grissom: The case centres around a European aristocrat who has been robbed of what he considers to be his by right.
Sarah: who's the perp?
Grissom: There are only suspects; we haven't yet let the evidence speak. Warwick- you and Nick go talk to this guy and see what his angle is. Me an Sarah will collect the evidence from the scene.

[Cut to inside of some sports stadium. It looks similar to a baseball ground but the markings on the grass are unfamiliar. A heavy set Hispanic guy sits at a desk with the pitch behind him. At his elbow is another Latin type. His name badge says:' Gus'. ]

Grissom: For a man accused of larceny you seem pretty calm.
Gus: It's all a matter of perspective senor Grissom. My boss always say 'one man's terrorist is another man's postman.' Similarly- your thief may feel he is simply liberating something that belongs to him.

[Cut to close up of the Hispanic boss. His shifty look makes us guess that he's as guilty as hell. ]

Cut to pitchside.
Sarah: He's as guilty as hell.
Grissom: Not necessarily elementary my dear Sarah. Let's look at the evidence.

[Montage sequence of the two blowing dust and liquids over grass, boots, shirts and analysing the playback on the jumbotrons. ]

[Cut to a very plush, velvet lined room. Everything is red. In a throne style chair at the centre of the room is a thin man with a white cat on his lap. Either side of his chair are two blank staring children. They are scantily clad in white shorts and a grotesque red shirt.]

Nick: Explain to me again how you were robbed.
Wenger: I never lose. Since ze dawn of time zis organisation has made sure it has success. The trophy zat was stolen from us on Tuesday was done so in ze most brutal style. This does not happen. When my fazer was in his ascendancy in Germany he took ze colours of zis club and made it ze flag of his nation. But the fools could not see his greatness. I was forced to change my name and identity. I took ze reigns of the organisation dedicated to ze destruction of these filth! It was to be my finest hour! Their humiliation was to be at the hands of my boys here.

[Warwick's cell phone rings. He answers. ]
Warwick: Grissom?....Uh Huh (he nods sagely, puts his phone away carefully then suddenly whips out his gun) Don't move Mr Wenger.
Wenger: Eh what, you cannot do this. (He leaps out in a rage and we see, in slow motion two bullets from Warwick's gun tear through his chest. He falls to the floor and as he does the whole building begins to quake.)

Nick: Run, it's gonna blow.

[Cut to outside view of big red stadium crumbling to the ground with little explosions going off all a round and escape pods flying off with little swastikas on the side.]

[Back on the plane]

Grissom: So you see, this was more than theft. It was about the resurgence of a vile regime. All we did was prove with the evidence the rightful owner of those trophies and that prestige. Further enquiries revealed the true nature of their corruption dating back to the early in the 20th century. It's a wonder those brave boys didn't go under. They're the real heroes. Pass me my pipe will you Sarah.

Nick: Huh?

[Cut to close up of Warwick's face. He smiles. Pan to Grissom. He's puffing on a pipe and wearing a deer stalker.]

[Pan out- they all start laughing.]

Closing credits.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Magnanimity

From the A*****l website. Proof that they do care; it was important and that at least some of them realise the truth that Spurs were simply a better team:

Gallas: " It is difficult to accept this defeat and 5-1 is too much,” said Gallas. “All the players are very disappointed and sad. I think Tottenham were better than us and we have to accept that."

Richard Clarke Match report: "Undoubtably this was a disappointing, even dispiriting, defeat for Arsenal. Their players left the pitch head-bowed at full time as their Tottenham counterparts did a lap of honour." (The Arses can't spell 'undoubtedly' either)

Of course Wenger was his usual magnanimous self in defeat: "Of course it is disappointing because we lost. I feel that everything went against us...The score is very high and very brutal but I think it does not reflect what happened on the pitch."

Some interesting responses to the question about why Arsenal fans leave early: All credit to those that can accept defeat like Gallas but see how much there is there in the way of sour grapes. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080122161507AApyTpO

Right, I'm going to stop going on about this now!

Lamp

When I was kid my grandparents used to live near Epping in Essex. On the way through we'd pass a lighting shop that would leave all the lights on at night. I thought that it looked like the most magical place and always wanted to visit. These days kids plead with their parents to go to Disneyland; I aspired to multiple bulbs. When lava/ bubble lamps came back in that retro chic way that a lot of 70s stuff has been doing for the last 10 years or so I got one asap. I still love stuff like that. I also remember seeing a fibre optic lamp in a friend's house some time in the mid 70s. After oohing and aaahing a lot we were told to leave the furry strands alone as the thing had cost the Earth. Finally I own one. Well my son does. I put it in his stocking. I got it in the 99p store.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Holocaust Memorial Day

http://www.hmd.org.uk/
Sunday is Holocaust Memorial Day. No doubt there will be the usual ill educated deniers doing their best to put on a puzzled frown and ask why it is needed. The ongoing fight is not won but the day is a significant victory. You can light a candle on the Holocaust Memorial Trust's website. I can't help wondering if this is little more than a gimick or a genuinely significant act that will draw people in to think and read further. On the one hand I can see why they ask us to do that but on the other I worry that people can abrogate themselves from genuine reflection by thinking that clicking an animated candle enables them to 'tick that box'. Sorry if it sounds just too cynical.

Cockerels 5 Arses 1


.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

what just happened?


Gotta get home to watch the Chelski/ Everton game but couldn't resist sticking this up. Yeah I know we've had false dawns before and this is only 1 victory after years of draws and worse but, man, what a victory it was! I cried when the 5th one went in. The residue of years of hurt won't be washed away with one win for sure; I do feel at least partially cleansed though. All the petty talk of 'kids' and reserves makes me laugh- who are Adebayour, Hleb, fabregas, Eduardo, Gallas, Toure, Gilberto? What about Huddlestone, Lennon, Boatang, Cerny for Spurs? The myth Wenger tried to create was picked up by the media and its perpetuation helped put the team into a no lose situation. Until last night of course. They lost big time and they knew it- the dejection on their faces showed it mattered. The fight between Adebayour and Bendtner showed it. The score line showed it. Of course Wenger couldn't even bring himself to say the better team one. For God's sake, even Merson made no excuses and praised the Spurs fans.



The most important thing for me though is not reaching the final or the well deserved thumping that the arrogant boys from Woolwich got. No, it's the breaking of a hoodoo- Psychology is so important in football and if we can now put this one to bed, it could make the difference needed. It's amazing how many Spurs fans I spoke to last night and this morning were sure the Arses would get back into it even at 4-0. Any other team you'd have been certain of victory once the third one went in. After last night I am certain of this:



  • Bill Shankley was right



  • Wenger is the world's sorest loser



  • Berba can be a baby but he's got nothing on Adebayour who is still in the 'terrible twos' phase by the looks of things



  • Their fans are shocking- leaving after 70 mins is no way to support your club- when they stuffed Newcastle the Geordies stayed singing to the end.



  • I must get me and boy and my girl cup final tickets



  • I will chuckle every time I see some glory hunting Bradfordian or Halifaxian walking round in his A****al shirt- those ones are even worse than the ones that actually live in South London (cos that's where they're from of course)



  • I'm getting carried away again.



Sunday, 13 January 2008

Relax

For years I have fought a battle against the ants that live in my underwear. At work I crave 'a day to myself' or time to relax and 'do nothing'. I don't get much time like that but when push comes to shove the ants decide to have a rave or some lively anty thing. I usually can't sit still even to read the paper and drink a brew (this being the thing I imagine myself doing when I look longingly into the middle distance with a slight smile on my face contemplating a good relax). HOWEVER- despite Spurs poor showing at Chelski yesterday and two whole days of only me for company I am looking at a return to work tomorrow having sat about a lot, slept quite well, read both Independent and Grauniad cover to cover, watched a lot of footy and a feature length 'Lewis' and eaten some hearty, warming tucker. I can't put my finger on what it is that I have done different but I like it. Maybe the ants are on holiday.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Fishcakes

It's amazing really. I thought I knew what a fishcake was. Dahn Sarf they are small, vaguely fishy round things that you have when you're in a hurry at the chip shop and not really that hungry. They're pretty much a round fish finger like these ones:

I saw some massive round things in a chip shop in my bit of Yorkshire the other day and was surprised to discover that they were also fishcakes. These ones are two slabs of battered potato with a think chunk of real fish inside the spuds (not fish nipples and arses mixed with sawdust like the southern version). They're a meal in their own right and about the same price. First rate stuff. If I ever have to draw up a list of blessings of life in the north, this will be near the top. they look a bit like this though this is a crap picture and doesn't really give you an idea of scale:
You really couldn't eat two of the things- the plate in this picture must be huge. Those aren't peas either; they're Brussels sprouts. Funnily enough, my friend sent me a fishcake joke the day after I enjoyed my fishcake epiphany:

A man walks into a shop with a haddock slung over his shoulder.
"Have you got any fishcakes, mate?" he asks the shopkeeper.
"Sorry, all out of fishcakes today," he replies.
Looking apologetically at the haddock on his shoulder, the man says: "Oh, shame, it's his birthday today."
Response to question: Local chip shop in Bradford. Remind me and I'll get you some, anonymous

Buy one lesson, get one free!

I went to see a training session this morning and like a lot of this type of class that I see, it was very competently managed and enjoyable. The phrase that used to be bandied about was 'death by PowerPoint' and that seems to have gripped the training community in a fear of being labelled as boring. In order to make training sessions enjoyable for people who would otherwise be at a desk there is a tendency to use ice-brakers, games and fun activities to keep up the momentum. I started to wonder today though where the line was between utilising these things as energisers etc. and swamping a session with so much of it that the point of being there is somehow lost. In the space of an hour the group was introduced the the course mascot (a cuddly toy whose function was lost on me), the 'askit baskit' for suggestions and private queries, the racoon line, the 'I'm the only one who' post it note activity, the shared intro and a free raffle! In one hour! All expertly managed and enjoyable and a long long way from sitting through slide after slide but I kept wondering when are they going to find something out? When will they learn something?

In some ways I think it's also part of the zeitgeist that currently afflicts kid and 'yoof' media which assumes a 2 minute attention span and insists on layering background music and image or video montages onto everything. Sometimes it's better to to work out what you want to say and say it. The biggest worry I have though is that as a teacher trainer who offers new ideas about variety and the importance of enjoyment in learning then maybe it's actually all my fault when the balance tips too far that way.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Reading the score

In some ways the board says it all, in others it says nothing at all. Of course a scoreline like this will raise eyebrows but it will never reveal the anxiety or the depth of incredulity felt the supporters. I always say that the taunting and gloating chants are asking for trouble. Their supporters didn't learn though. Every time they went into the lead they sang something or other in an effort to rile the Spurs fans but barely got beyond the second verse before THFC had equalised. It was half an hour in the second half of 'Oh no...' followed by 'YEY...' followed by 'Oh no...'


Saturday's game was never going to produce the same result but it wasn't far off. Strangely, Reading celebrated the draw like they'd won the cup and good luck to them I spose. After conceding a lead so many times the week before it must have felt like it. The Fulham game was a Christmas treat too. That's 20 goals we've seen in 10 days. I need a rest.



A little PS: On behalf of my brother in law I'd like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Oldham.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

New Year

January 3rd and I have already had a near death experience. I woke up choking. It was bloody scary. As I sat up in bed afterwards, afraid to go to sleep, I vowed to live life to the full and get healthy. At the moment I'm watching James Bond on the telly waiting for my chips and mushy peas to digest.

Warning