Wednesday, January 31, 2007

First loser in super-casino

Step forward Philip Anschutz, owner of a big tent in Greenwich who lost out to a proposal from Manchester to build a big feck-off casino and is now considering suing. Which smacks of sour grapes, especially as his biggest gripe appears to be "but I must win because I put John Prescott up at my ranch that time".
You gambled, Philip. You lost. Deal with it.

News item of the day

With Lord Levy's arrest last night (which did make me laugh out loud), Hugo Chávez seizing more power in Venezuela, the football transfer window closing and a kidnap plot averted, it's a busy news day. But my particular favourite news story of the day is:
Schoolyard penis seen from from space

I'm not above knob jokes...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Enjoy the music

More musical trawlings from everyone's favourite video sharing site. And this week I am on a bit of an electronica kick:

That'll do for now.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Support Barclays, support Mugabe

I don't know why I always thought Barclays were a despicable bunch of nerks. I didn't know of their support for the apartheid regime in South Africa back in the day - had I, then today's revelation that they, along with Standard Chartered Bank and Old Mutual, continue to do business in Zimbabwe and provide loans to the regime, the most controversial of which is £30m for the land seizure that sparked the disintegration of Zimbabwean society. Spokespeople can bleat about how 'this is part of doing business in Zimbabwe', but it doesn't wash. Nobody is forcing these companies to deal with a thoroughly hateful regime.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Carbon offsetting

Seen by some as a panacea in combatting climate change, the England cricket team today took the idea on board, ensuring they were bowled out quickly on a good pitch which allowed Australia to knock the runs off before the floodlights needed to be switched on. That should offset the flight out. One more should take care of the internal flights and another after that for the flight home.
Well done, you environmental warriors!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not fit to do the job

A Sheffield magistrate quit yesterday because he's a homophobe. Well he didn't say that - more that he doesn't agree with homosexual couples adopting, but I'm reading between the lines.
Andrew McClintock has gone to an employment tribunal because he claims he was forced into quitting after his request to avoid cases involving anything a bit gay was turned down. He's not got a leg to stand on. For a magistrate in a family court, two things matter - the rule of law and child welfare. Religious beliefs, however moderate or crackpot they may be, do not enter into it one iota. Therefore, he should have been removed as he wasn't able to do his job properly for some misguided sense of pseudo-morality.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The British public are sleepwalking idiots

That can be the only explanation for this report.
Let's pick a few snippets out.
20% of respondents think that torture is a good thing. This is despite all known reports on torture being totally ineffective as a means of gathering evidence, even before you get to the morality of it; especially for a nation which wishes to portray itself as being against that kind of thing and, indeed, lectures other nations against doing it. Except Uzbekistan, where if you raise the issue, you get shifted out of your ambassadorial role.
A majority favour a return of capital punishment. Again, this has been shown not to work. All it does is satisfy the bloodlust of the tabloids and throws all sorts of human rights questions around. For a start, we'd have to undo the European Human Rights legislation out of the window, which would basically mean we're isolated from the rest of our European partners.

The key quote in all this appears right at the end. Conor Gearty, co-author of the report: "It is as though society is in the process of forgetting why past generations thought these freedoms to be so very important."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Reasons behind the madness

It was obvious really. I feel stupid for thinking otherwise, but apparently we're all safer being packed into trains like veal calves.
Packed trains make it look like the service is being well run - to anyone but the people who use it. Now there's an excuse for further overcrowding. It beggars belief. For the second time today, I have to use the word 'chutzpah'.

It gets no better for England

Another day, another dismal defeat. But we were undone by a bowler in glasses. One up for the four-eyed community!

Serious farce: part 2

The full scale of the pressure applied to the SFO to drop the investigation into BAe is slowly beginning to emerge. Seven times was Robert Wardle, head of the SFO, pressed to drop it; three by the solicitor general Mike O'Brien, once by BAe themselves ("Please don't pursue us. It might stop us winning more business" seems to be the reasoning) and, scarcely incredulously, three times by the Prime Minister.
All of this slightly softens my attitude to the SFO, but only slightly. If those three parties were so insistent that the SFO should drop it, I think I'd have been keener still to uncover what had gone on, especially as MI6 has never claimed that national security could have been at risk (which I find a spurious defence anyway).
The tinkering of the PM brings ever more serious charges that the SFO is no longer an independent prosecutor and totally wipes away any claim that Blair - and, by association, Britain - could possibly have of being an anti-corruption champion. It's just more rank hypocrisy at the top of the British government, although I get the feeling this is something that will run and run.

A new definition of equality

Equality to me means just that. Everyone on a level footing with the same opportunities and rights. To the Catholic church, however, it means everyone with the same opportunities and rights except the gays. The chutzpah of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor in that article is staggering, albeit unsurprising. 'Not allowing us to discriminate is discriminatory'. It doesn't wash. You can't play the victim and the oppressor in the same breath. Well you can - Israel's been doing it for decades - but it will not elicit sympathy from anyone even approaching broad-minded.
Besides, an organisation like the Catholic church which is fighting child abuse claims the world over isn't in a great position to start lecturing on child welfare.
And it's no surprise to see our old friend Ruth Kelly sticking her oar in trying to negotiate an 'opt-out' for Catholic organisations, but that's tempered with Peter Hain's assertion that banning dicrimination on any grounds is a "fundamental principle".

A new England

With seeming support for an independent English parliament - presumably as a herald to breaking up the Union - I propose a new flag for an independent England:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Idle doodle

Summat I did ages ago and have only just found on this computer....

Not exactly highbrow satire, but passed the time for a bit....

My Sportingo debut

I've made my debut as a writer for Sportingo with this article: an homage to the best one day cricketer in the world at the moment.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Teach kids 'British values'

That's what education secretary Alan Johnson reckons. What the chuff are British values?
I can think of a few:
  • Failing at international sporting events
  • Moaning about the weather
  • Complaining incessantly about governments and councils then not bothering to vote
  • Total inability to get a stadium built to time and budget

There must be more...

How to haggle; Accrington style

York City have a player who is currently top of the Conference goal scoring charts; Clayton Donaldson. As he's doing so well, other clubs wish to offer us money in exchange for his services, but we're, unsurprinsingly, reluctant to part with him. Indeed, our chairman said it would take silly money to persuade us to let him go, mentioning the sum of half a million of your English pounds.
Peterborough United offer us £100,000 which was turned down flat.
Accrington subsequently offer us £25,000.

Friday, January 19, 2007


It's been a stressful week and with delays expected on the train home due to a power outage, I gots to chill.
So how better than with a bit of the Buena Vista Social Club performing Chan Chan? Enjoy.

Coffee fascism

I'm knackered this morning, due in part to not getting home from work until 10pm yesterday, so much so that I decided I needed another coffee over and above my standard one prior to leaving the house. The coffee machine at work had a change of state yesterday as it went from working to not, so a trip to one of the myriad coffee shops was on the cards. Eschewing the evil Starbucks, the only real option is the probably just as evil (I don't know anything about them) Caffe Nero.
How hard does it have to be to get a large black coffee? I understand three states of coffee - espresso, black, white. And as I actually like coffee and wish to taste it as I drink it, you can forget the latter of those. I don't particularly care what beans are used (although Fair Trade would be nice). I don't know what a 'shot' is. Who the fuck has syrup of any description in coffee? I will never have a hankering for a triple mochachocacappafrappacino latté with hazlenut syrup and an extra shot. Just pour me a fricking coffee, you McDonalds reject. And by crikey it's expensive.

Wind trouble

It can't have escaped anyone that Britain was subject to higher than average wind speeds yesterday. As is typical in this country, this spot of mildly extreme weather caused untold chaos to the transport infrastructure. Forget about trains out of Leeds at rush hour yesterday - I debunked to the pub for a few hours while the network sorted itself out.
Reading the Daily Mirror over a fellow commuters shoulder this morning, one chap described yesterday as "being like the end of the world". Well if the end of the world is heralded by twigs falling off trees and loose roof tiles being dislodged, then I shan't worry about it.

Daft sayings: 3

Slept like a baby.
You mean you slept in short bursts, waking up for a feed at 1, 3 and 4.55am and roaring your head off? No, you didn't.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Watch out, there's a chemist about

It appears that one of the accused in the alleged bomb plot who is currently being tried would have learned about rates of reaction when he studied chemistry. That must mean I'm in major trouble myself, as is my partner - possibly moreso seeing as she teaches this stuff to unsuspecting kids for a living (how dare she be such a corrupting influence on our youth, the callous witch) - and some of my very best friends seeing as we all studied chemistry to degree level; a much, much higher level than the GNVQ which Yassin Omar sat.
If that's all the prosecution have got, I suggest they go outside and have a word with themselves.

Big Brother racism row

I've held off from this for a while because I've been trying to avoid the show as best I can, but I reckon anyone who has glanced at a newspaper - certainly in the UK or India - will know about this. I'm not going to post links as I don't feel the people involved - except Shilpa Shetty who, her being a Bollywood actress and that not being a genre I'm familiar with, I don't really hold an opinion about as she's never entered my consciousness - are worth the oxygen of publicity. Hell, I'd rather not give them the oxygen of oxygen, but there you go...
Anyway, back to the point. Whoever would have thought that racists are also as thick as an extra thick pigshit milkshake?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today's musical musings

Today, I am on a bit of a French funky house kick. It must be the bright sunshine (despite it being fecking freezing) pouring in through the window.
Anyway, some items that I'm convinced Jerry Chicken will hate but are currently tickling my ears:

'What the hell' corner. Not funky. Not house. Still French though...

And while I'm on the subject of French music, perhaps the greatest music video of all time to go with one of the greatest records:

More Trains Less Strain

Commuters in Gloucestershire are going on a fare strike. In a protest at the unreliability and chronic overcrowding on the Bath to Bristol service, run by our old friends First, protestors will be
offering a fare strike ticket - essentially a fake ticket with which to say 'up yours' to the cretins at First.
And more power to their elbow. I hope it's a roaring success and that the idea can be deployed elsewhere. The problems on this section of line do sound a lot worse than the daily misery First subject Transpennine Express users to, but I'd be up for a similar do.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Here's a headline that made me chuckle: One in five Home Office statistics are unreliable.
Can we be sure that that statistic isn't one of the 20%?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A First time for everything

Twenty to six. The height of the evening rush hour. So what faced me as I entered Leeds station? A cancelled service. So three trains-worth of commuters were trying to pack onto two trains - one local stopper and a later express. Result - chaos.
Just when you think they've reached a nadir, First still manage to surprise you. Their incompetency really does know no bounds.

Trial And Retribution

The aforementioned is an ITV police drama. It's bloody awful. Poorly scripted, badly acted and reliant on that '90s cliché, split screen. No wonder ITV are struggling when this is the best they can do. Woeful.

More help for gambling addicts

With the Gambling Act coming into force in September, doctors have told the government that more help for gambling addicts should be made available through the NHS. Those who know me will recognise this as something close to my heart, for I am a gambling addict. Reformed, I hasten to add, but all the same I'm still aware that I'm vulnerable.
And I'm not sure where I stand on this. I was aware of Gambers Anonymous (not that I'm either advocating their services nor advising against), but it never struck me that it would be a good idea to seek them out for help. Rather, I introverted and tried to deal with it myself. I'm pretty sure that if I'd sought help from elsewhere it would have been a lot easier. Still, each to their own. It certainly never struck me that seeing my doctor would be a sensible plan. Unlike alcohol and drugs, gambling doesn't have the direct effect on ones health. And if you're not physically ill, why see a doctor? So to that end, making it public that your GP is there for something like this is a good thing, even with the admission that their aren't enough resources.
Havign packed the whole gambling thing in, I'm not someone who goes out of their way to preach the evils of it. I've no problem with the existence of gambling and gambling culture. I do wonder about the whole glamourisation and respectability of it. No longer do you have to cram into a small betting shop, thick with smoke from countless roll-ups while a crowd of old men wait for them to weigh in at Newton Abbot. Three clicks of a mouse and you're spunking a month's wage on the time of the first throw-in at Scunthorpe v Hartlepool, all without leaving your armchair. Spread betting - that's a nasty one. Win big and lose bigger seems to be the motto. And the onset of large casinos will give people a nice environment to splurge cash on the turn of a card. And I don't necessaily have a problem with making it appeal to a wider audience in this way, despite what I've just written. I think my problem is that it's beginning to be seen as a quick fix method to plug gaping holes in governmental budgets. And the prevalence of gaming companies sponsoring, for example, football clubs and sporting events bothers me. As long as the services get the funding they require to deal with any problems, I guess the onset of regional casinos doesn't bother me too much. I know I won't be using them and don't begrudge people who do.
Just promise me that if you do end up with a problem, you won't do what I did and you will seek help.

Guest rant: 2

I mentioned in episode 1 of these guest rants that it'd be an occasional series and so it's proved. Here now is the second, authored by Chris of the rarely-updated but oft-amusing Scratchcard Rants with a rant on a not-unrelated theme to the first one: Chelski. Take it away Chris.


In Madrid they have a saying – ‘There are some certainties in life. Death, taxes, mediocre, skinny-jeans wearing indie lovers appearing as guests on Soccer AM, and Real Madrid screwing up La Liga’. Alright, so I’m lying, I’m fairly sure they don’t say that, unless they do get Soccer AM over there.

But the decline of El Real is very real, and shown none more poetically than their performances in their two most recent La Liga matches, at home to Recreativo Huelva before Christmas and away at Deportivo La Coruna following the festive break. Against promoted Recreativo, the galacticos were demolished 3-0 at the Bernabau almost single-handedly by Liverpool reject Florent Sinama-Pongolle (a tough but fair assessment, I think) and Nigerian tyro Uche, who turned Fabio Cannavarro (recently voted World Player of the Year) inside out for the second of the night. The Christmas recess evidently did not help the flagging team, who promptly turned up in Galicia and had a stinker. David Beckham, playing in what will prove to be his final league game at least under Fabio Capello, was terrible and wasn’t even the worst offender. Despite all the money spent since the Italian tactician arrived, he has not been able to reverse the dramatic slide in the club’s fortunes. Mahmadou Diarra, Marcelo, Emerson, Cannavarro, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and more recently Argentine duo Fernando Gago and Gonzalo Higuain have all been added at considerable expense, without any real effect on their performances. And the rest of the country appears to be loving it, with Sevilla and Barcelona breaking away from the rest as title contenders. Real’s golden age of challenging for domestic and European honours has come to a crashing halt, and you sense only a major clear out (Capello ridding himself of Beckham is a good start) would correct this.

Why am I talking about this? Well, because over the weekend, the newspapers here in blighty were full of a perceived rift between Chelsea’s oligarch owner Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho, who, with a misfiring £30m striker and a threadbare defence, is probably under pressure for the first time in his tenure at Stamford Bridge. The Sun said Mourinho had had enough and was off to replace Capello in Spain; The Mirror said he’d be swapping Chelsea for Milan at Inter. Frankly, in this writer’s opinion, Roman and his minions Peter Kenyon and Frank Arnesen would be potty to let this happen. Mourinho is one of Europe’s finest coaches, he has delivered consistent success to Chelsea when others, such as Rainieri and Vialli (who had plenty of money to spend themselves) could not. His record both with Chelsea and Porto speaks for itself. And if they dismiss Mourinho, or force him out by suddenly coming over all thrifty, they set Chelsea on the road to becoming the next Real Madrid.

The roots of Real Madrid’s decline come in two forms – firstly, their inability to defend, which has been made no better by the acquisition of Fabio Cannavarro and Sergio Ramos, and Roberto Carlos, Michel Salgado, Fernando Pavon, Alvaro Mejia and Marcelo cannot defend either. This means they simply haemorrhage goals against good sides with intelligent attacking play. The second is their trigger-happy nature with coaches. It seems unlikely, if the current pattern continues, Capello will be in the hot-seat next season, and their record with coaches is chequered to say the least – the likes of Wanderley Luxembergo, Jose Antonio Camacho, Juan Ramon Lopez Caro and Carlos Quieroz were given maximum one season to produce results with a lop-sided squad littered with players – like Beckham, Ronaldo, Raul, Robinho and Cassano – for whom complacency has become the most prominent attribute. Should Mourinho walk out, there are few coaches good enough to fill his shoes – Frank Rijkaard will never move to Stamford Bridge, not with the two sides’ recent history, neither will Arsene Wenger; few other coaches have the record or knowledge of English football, nor ability to control a dressing room full of highly-paid international egos, to make a success of Chelski.

The possible parallels with the current situation at the Bernabau should make every Chelsea fan frightened. However, if they are all as cocksure as Soccer AM’s Tim Lovejoy, they won’t see it until it’s too late.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Mild, selective dyslexia?

I have a problem. I walk past this shop most days.

However, in my mind, I think it looks more like this.

I don't know why. I'm not convinced it's any form of dyslexia, but I have narrowed it down to two things: either they've chosen a bad name which opens up this Pronutia/Pornutopia confusion or it says more about the state of my mind than anything else.

When the tanks come rolling in

As seen on East Parade in Leeds yesterday...

If that's 'Jesus Army's personnel carrier, I'd love to see their tanks.

Cover versions

I don't mind a cover version. Good artists can put their own mark on a song and make it their own. Much better than those horrible bad karaoke versions churned out by non-entities that offer nothing different to the original. Here are some of my favourites in no particular order:

I only wanted to pick five, but once I got started....

Here then, are some cover versions that serve no purpose whatsoever:

  • Robson & Jerome - Unchained Melody
  • Gareth Gates - Unchained Melody
  • Anybody doing Unchained bloody Melody really. Awful song
  • Will Young - Light My Fire
  • Girls Aloud - I Think We're Alone Now (do they not realise that five of them singing 'I think we're alone now' at the same time is faintly ridiculous?)
  • Atomic Kitten - The Tide Is High (they made me hate a ska classic, the witches)
  • Madonna - American Pie (not that the original was any cop either, mind)

I may add to this list as I go along through life, but there are all totally pointless. So stop it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Booking fees

Why? If a ticket is listed as costing £10, why is that not the price I pay? If it is subject to an across the board booking fee of £2, then why not just list the fricking thing as costing £12?
Why goddammit, why?!?

Either way, that's me off to see the Clone Roses in March...

Why admit to reality...

...when you can stick your head in a proverbial bucket of porridge like Van Jolissaint?
Even supposing he is right about climate change - which all available evidence seems to now refute - the West is still far too reliant on dwindling supplies of fossil fuels which are largely produced by unstable Middle Eastern nations and the dependence on those finite resources has to stop at some point.
Van Jolissaint wins today's Moron Of The Day award.

Everything is possible...

...with Nicolas Sarkozy. Such as labelling a large section of the Parisian population "scum" because they have the temerity to stand up to perceived injustices.

Hero #2 - John Cooper Clarke

The bard of Salford. Lyrical genius and a world class ranter, which one day I aspire to be. Poets don't often inspire me. I think this is down to the force feeding of dreary war poetry at school from Wilfred Owen, Siegfriend Sassoon and the like. The fact that there's a poet laureate narks me as well. Not sure why the reigning monarch needs his/her own poet or what he/she actually does once appointed. Poets like John Hegley, Simon Armitage and Roger McGough I find very hit and miss. Clarke, however, rarely misses the mark. And he advertised Sugar Puffs back in the day...
Not a lot more really needs saying, so instead I'll point you to examples of the man himself saying it.
I Don't Want To Go To Burnley, for instance.
Here also is a good excuse to link to some footage of him performing Chicken Town which then segués into the Joy Division performing Transmission. Which is brilliant.
A chap called Markus Koenig has set some of his verse to music with video: Salomey Maloney, Daily Express and Kung Fu International.
The brilliant Sugar Puffs adverts. (It's tummy time!)
And my personal favourite, Twat.
And you've got to love that backcombing action, barnet-wise.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Not very christian

A row is brewing as peers are set to debate a motion to annul regulations under the Sexual Orientation Regulations which are in force in Northern Ireland and due to be applied to the statute in England and Wales shortly. Religious groups aren't happy that gay people will soon have equal rights with everybody else. The underlying theme is that these groups wish to remain free to discriminate on the spurious grounds that outlawing discrimination of one sort introduces another.
Thomas Cordrey, a barrister and analyst with the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, is quoted in the article I've linked to as saying that while christians don't want to discriminate, they don't want to be forced into actively promoting or condoning practices which they don't agree with. Nobody is proposing that. What is proposed is a set of rules to outlaw denying a person access to goods or services based on their sexual orientation and I fail to see how anyone can have a problem with that, same as with previous rules to equalise the rights of women or black people, for example, or indeed for anyone who feels the need to follow any given religion. Indeed, the law will stop gay bars barring heterosexuals entry, not that I've ever found this to be a problem myself.
It's a typical and semi-expected knee-jerk really - a common tactic, especially in right-wing rags like the Mail or Express, whereby a law outlawing an action is taken to mean that you actively have to perform the complete opposite. Which is, let's face it, unmitigated bollocks.
With a bit of luck, common sense will prevail and these protestors can stew in their own misguided sense of moral superiority.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tip and run

Following the Ashes humiliation and prior to the one-day international humiliation, where both Australia and New Zealand will thrash us from pillar to post, we have an international Twenty20 match.
It's not taken off in Australia the same as it has here and the attitude towards this format is summed up by the Australian players sporting their nicknames rather than surnames on their shirts, the wacky funsters. The Australians are rather proud of their inventive nicknames. Like Michael Clarke, a.k.a. 'Clarkey'. Wow!

Suffer the little children

A new education initiative is being proposed whereby pupils will be tested more often, but with shorter assessments.
I don't necessarily take issue with change to the testing regime, more that these things are never given time to settle. Surely a plan can only be judged a success or failure when at least one cohort has passed through the schooling system in it's entirety? At the moment, it's every couple of years that things are changed and that can't be easy for teachers or for pupils who are being constantly messed about at Whitehall's whim. If a plan is launched, give it a chance to succeed before launching something else.

Friday, January 05, 2007

It's over

Another thrashing inside three days and the 5-0 Ashes whitewash is complete. Can't really be arsed formulating a coherent article about it, so instead please see here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Squalor on the barracks

The state of housing provided for members of the armed forces has come under scrutiny. In the main, it's crap. Having lived near a couple of barracks out East Yorkshire way a while back, it never looked particularly appealing. 50s prefabs were order of the day and cracks were visible from the road. Flat roofs were prevalent too, and in my experience, that's not generally a good sign. As Jerry Chicken himself taught me, "never drink in a pub with a flat roof". Sound advice.
I digress. I'm convinced by these reports and the raising of rents to equal private rented accomodation while not upgrading the accomodation doesn't seem like a good thing. On the radio this morning was the wife of a serviceman talking about her experiences of substandard MoD housing. And for about 8 seconds, that's what she did. The rest of the relatively long interview
consisted of her talking about why her husband wanted to quit the forces for reasons totally unrelated to the issue at hand - the fact that time away is longer and more frequent due to shortage of numbers in the face of growing commitments, for example, seemed more of a reason than a shit house. The reverential tone of the interviewer - James Naughtie - and subsequent army bloke interviewee made it sound like her speech was relevant and moving. It wasn't.
So if you're going to get someone on the line to discuss a particular point, make sure they're going to do that and if they digress, pull them back on topic. I managed to lose all sympathy within 20 seconds.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sense about science

A charity called Sense About Science has published a pamphlet in the hope of persuading the rich and famous to have a word with themselves before backing pseudo-scientific quackery as fact. And more power to their elbow. There's enough misinformation among the out-and-out lies out there to confuse the average punter without the new uberclass of celebrity muddying the waters.
I don't want to impose my own educational background, i.e. scientific, on everyone (I'm fully aware many people haven't had the luxury of a Huddersfield University education) and I can believe that some people may think "Well if Madonna says so, it must be right" and debunking the shite that's often spoken in the name of science is a valuable job.
And that Gillian McKeith.... Not even a proper doctor. Obtained her 'doctorate' via a correspondence course. Not sure why you need a doctorate to indulge one's scatological fetishes anyway.

We have the technology

Toyota are about to unveil technology that detects the level of alcohol in the sweat of a driver and potentially restricts the use of a car. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
It has long been a dream of mine to have such technology and I didn't think it t be implausible. The application I had in mind was slightly different though - not that I'm saying that preventing drunk people from driving is a bad idea. If this works and takes off and gets progressively cheaper, I hope to see it employed on mobile phone keypads, so if you've had a few, you can't make inadvisable calls/send inadvisable text messages. Apply it also to computer keyboards so that folk can't make arses of themselves on messageboards, blogs and suchlike. It's for the best.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Honours double standards

I'm not a big fan of all this MBE, CBE, knighthood etc malarkey. And if anything showed the whole system up for the huge farce it is anyway, it's this story about former world featherweight champion Naseem Hamed being stripped of his MBE after serving a prison sentence. Nothing wrong with that, but serial fantasist and fellow jail-bird Jeffrey Archer retains his peerage. One rule for kids from Sheffield's rough bits, another for former senior members of the Conservative Party.

Speaking of Naseem Hamed, I managed to catch a few of his fights on some Eurosport retrospective type show. It's very easy to forget just how good he was before he ran into a red-hot Marco Antonio Barrera. While it's very easy to slag the guy off as a big head, for a time he was easily Britain's best boxer and pound-for-pound among the best in the world. And he got out of the fight game with a flipping great stack of cash and his health.

The French are protesting again

Down with 2007!
Oh, that made me chuckle. Particularly the bit where the clock ticked over and the chant became "no to 2008!"

I spoke too soon

I suppose it was inevitable - in the face of unprecedented dissent in his own ranks, Mugabe's come out fighting. Which is a worry. Not that it's ever been much of an activity conducive to a long life, being a dissenter right now would seem to be more dangerous than usual. Unable to take direct action against opposition in the party, anyone else who gets in his way are going to pay for that too.

Creme Egg watch

Nipped into Morrison's supermarket yesterday for a spot of breakfast and pick up a few things and, lo, there was a stand full of Cadbury's Creme Eggs. Yes folks, Easter has officially begun. On December 31.

PS - Happy New Year to all my readers.