Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Monday, 19 April 2010

Do it yourself

I wouldn't say I am an avid follower of Westminster based party politics but I always vote even if it amounts to a vote against than a vote for. Tradition, values, convention, decency and other things mean that I will almost certainly vote as I have always done. Of course, it would be daft not to see what everyone else is offering even if it's just an excuse to boil with rage for a bit.

The Nazi BNP are so laughable they don't allow me even that oddly indulgent satisfaction. I taught one of their PPCs about 10 years ago. His obsession with one of his classmates (a British born woman of Bangladeshi heritage) and subsequent humiliation and rejection may go some way to explaining his current tendencies. The (almost certainly mythical) stories about Hitler and a Viennese prostitute come to mind. The fact that he was odious and disliked by pretty much everyone around him may also explain his attraction to the loose grouping of alienated and ill-educated outsiders and losers that the BNP quite clearly are.

I listened to programmes about the Tory manifesto and what struck me was the emphasis they placed on an obligation to community action. It seemed that to all intents and purposes their principle policy was 'we can't do it so vote for us so that you can take on all the donkey work'. Was it not obvious that people would say 'Hang on Dave, I'm bloody busy enough as it is'. I looked on their website just now and it seems that they may even be trying to distance themselves from the prominence they gave this ridiculous notion. Their 6 aims are as follows:

1 Act now on debt to get the economy moving
2 Get Britain working
3. Make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe
4. Back the NHS
5. Raise standards in schools
6. Change politics

In other words(?)
1. do more of what Brown is doing?
2. because we do sod all at the moment
3. to attract more immigrants!
4. rather than promise to dismantle it like....?
5. rather than lower them like....?
6. so we can persuade Clegg to support a coalition?

I have to admit that my irritation with all things Tory is much less than it was in the intolerant class war days of the 80s but when push comes to shove do we really want a privileged, smarmy, pseudo 'one of the lads' populist like Cameron in charge?

I won't be putting any posters in my window. I won't be telling anyone to vote for a particular party. Indeed, I'm not allowed to do that at work. In my free time though I will be telling people not to waste their votes and offer a few more rational reasons why a vote for the Tories is misguided. I don't think I hang around anyone stupid enough to vote BNP so dialiogue isn't necessary there though I could be persuaded to throw stuff if they don their black shirts and march through town.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

What the heck is going on?

On Sunday we all had our heads in our hands. The pitch was awful and the ref was worse but you have to be up for it and Spurs just didn't seem to be. Credit to Pompey and I'll be rooting for them on final day. It's hard to believe that with this at the start of the week and my dad seriously ill on Tuesday I could even contemplate saying this is one of the best weeks I can remember. I should say that the most important thing is that my dad is out of hospital and proving he's well on the road to recovery by getting back to his old sweary self. Victories against L'Arse and Chelski though have left me breathless and shocked. Wednesday night was amazing. Today's result even more unbelievable. I'd have taken 2 points from these three games (we have Man U at Old Trafford next week) but this is simply not the Tottenham I know. Gareth Bale ran for 120 mins on the crappy wembley pitch, 90 mins on Wednesday and another 90 today. The elfin features clear hide a terminator like robot body; he's relentless and scaring the crap out of the defences. Gomes has his own set of super powers and if Dawson hasn't proved his worth to Fabio by now then he never will.

In addition to this:

Ledley King was immense on Wednesday
Danny Rose's goal!
The crowd!
see the highlights here
We should have scored 6 today

I still expect Spurs to fluff it when least expected- maybe Bolton will pull off a shock at WHL or Burnley will relax and play free flowing football on the last day of the season. Whatever happens no-one can take the Monday to Saturday part of this week away from us.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The reference list's a ........

I'm marking work at home. We're strict on accuracy of reference lists and the university conventions on referencing (basically how you state where you got your information from). I tend to spend two years correcting it on most students' work until they finally get that it's basically copying a template from the copious verbal and printed examples we give them. For some reason it's one of those things that presses internal panic buttons. I try to empathise by recalling that sick feeling I used to get when the maths teacher at school said the word 'algebra' but when you get the 15th script and the same error is there that you know you corrected in previous work and in a draft for this piece the empathy wanes.

Sometimes people forget to put some items into the reference list at the end. All you need in text is the surname and year. If there are multiple authors you use the first surname and the 'et al.' meaning and others. The reader can then look up the details in a single document at the end. Easy. Easy to miss one out though I suppose. However, how this one was missed is beyond me. For me (Fuchs et al. 1997) stands out as it seems to somehow resonate of the average student's attitude to reference lists themselves.

There is a view that as long as you can identify the source that should be OK and that we're too obsessed with such things. it seems to me though that without our insistence on accuracy and conventions we'd lower the actual bar even further and reference lists would look like this:


some books
a bloke I met at the bus stop
the Internet

Monday, 5 April 2010

Why I love the Guardian

If I'd set this for myself as an essay I could go on for ages. I am sure there are better reasons than this but for me it's those unexpected moments of pleasure that set it apart from the rest. My second flick through the last Saturday's sports pages meant that I didn't miss a real gem. It, as they say, is funny because it's true.

"Footprints of astronauts who landed on the moon should last at least 10 million years since the moon has no atmosphere. For the exact same reason, stud marks of footballers who play at Stamford Bridge should last at least 20 million years."

The same can't be said for the Stadium of Light. I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if Spurs had fielded an actual team rather than grannies in disguise. Highlight of the game was Bent's two missed penalities. After his second goal, the mackems sang "are you watching Fabio?" After his second miss we sang exactly the same thing.

Spurs fans are, of course, partisan, but they're also fair. Steed Malbranque played very well on Saturday and was one reason (of many) why they mauled us. He got applause and the customary 'Steeeed' from Spurs and was applauded off after the aforementioned mauling. Bent, on the other hand, is a class A tosser it has to be said. His Spurs tattoo concealed beneath his Sunderland shirt he mocked the Spurs fans like it was us that said Harry Rednkapp's missus could have taken chances for us that he hadn't. I used to defend him and always said there was a role for him. I take it all back. His mockery is a declaration of war. He won the first battle but the haranguing he got after that must have had some impact on his feeble penalty efforts and help explain his substitution. I know that from now on he'll not get applause when he comes to the Lane (like he did earlier on in the season) but vilification and derisory cheers for every fluffed effort.

Darren, You'll never play for England.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Irons in the pink

It may be a rag of less worth and quality than Izal grease proof toilet paper but the Daily Mail pulled it off satisfyingly today with its April fools gag. It may upset a few hardened irons but the pink frills and Ann Summers logo look the part. I think they should consider embracing it. West Sham have of course blown it big time this season but the colour would soften the bummer of relegation. It may mean their new 2nd division/ championship rivals actually warm to them. They've been unpopular too long so I'm sure there's plenty of East London boys looking to widen the circle of their friends. Upton Park could be the New Camp. OK, enough of that already...here's the shirt: