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Monday, 23 August 2010

the end

Hi you, yes you over there with the horrible legs.

I am stopping this blogger site.

Before you sob all the salty tears out of your vengeful ducts, don't panic. I am merely moving over to the superior http://www.posterous.com.

So to carry on reading my musings, head over to

http://el-nacnud.posterous.com

Blogger has been good, but Posterous has a better interface I think, and it automatically syncs with all my other web presences.

Thanks yo!

Chicken Cottage

The slogan of luxury fried chicken restaurant Chicken Cottage is 'Taste the Secret'.

What is the secret? Any suggestions welcome.

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Posted via email from Did I say that out loud?

Friday, 20 August 2010

RIP

I wrote about my love of the work of Edwin Morgan yesterday. As I was just settling down to bed a few minutes ago I heard the sad news that he has died, aged 90.

Rest in peace, Edwin.

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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Poetry - Genius versus Moron

Regular readers of my blog will know that I write the odd (in both senses) poem.  Topics that I have covered include the tallest men in north west England having a fight, the two largest squid in British waters.... having a fight, and beans on toast (a haiku).  I don't claim to be in any way skilled at this poetry lark.  In fact I think I'd call myself a "moron poet".

As a comparison to my body of work, I would like to point people to the Scottish Poet Laureate who blows my rubbish out of the water with just one of his poems.  His name is Edwin Morgan and I remember seeing some prominent Scottish people reading his workon the Culture Show a couple of years ago.  I was gripped by the beauty of his language and the complex simplicity (if that makes any sense) of some of the writings.

One in particular stood out to me as being a breathtakingly wonderful poem, which starts at around the 3:15 mark.  It is called 'When You Go':

"When you go,
if you go,
And I should want to die,
there's nothing I'd be saved by
more than the time
you fell asleep in my arms
in a trust so gentle
I let the darkening room
drink up the evening, till
rest, or the new rain
lightly roused you awake.
I asked if you heard the rain in your dream
and half dreaming still you only said, I love you."

Genius.

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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Literally

"These balls, they literally explode off your feet" - Jamie Redknapp

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Thursday, 12 August 2010

A Poem - Squid

John is the largest giant squid,
In the whole of the British Isles.
His ink is worth a fair few quid,
He's feared for miles and miles.

His nemesis is called Hank,
A colossal Cephalopod,
As mean as twenty panzer tanks,
A really nasty sod.

One day these beasts fought it out,
For control of the North Sea,
And after a truly epic bout,
Hank did turn and flee.

He'll surely return for one more fight,
Badder than before,
The seas will turn as black as night,
Hank will win for sure.

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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

DAaronovitch: king of spam

Don't you just hate it when David Aaronovitch spams you?

Hi, Dunc.

You have a new direct message:

DAaronovitch: Here you can get free IPAD http://tinyurl.com/2ep9x26 just register

Reply on the web at http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/DAaronovitch 
Send me a direct message from your phone: D DAARONOVITCH 

If you'd rather not receive direct message emails from Twitter, you can unsubscribe immediately. To resubscribe or change other Twitter email preferences, visit your account settings to manage email notices. Please do not reply to this message; it was sent from an unmonitored email address. This message is a service email related to your use of Twitter. For general inquiries or to request support with your Twitter account, please visit us at Twitter Support.


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Friday, 6 August 2010

Sold Out!


Who is buying the 2012 Olympic mascot toys?

Some are sold out...

http://shop.london2012.com/mascot-toys/mascot-toys,default,sc.html

Madness.

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Never?

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on relations with the UK:

"This is a friendship that will never break, no matter what happens."

What, not even if the UK punches Pakistan's sister and sleeps with its wife?

www.twitter.com/el_nacnud
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Thursday, 5 August 2010

What?

Worst opening to an article ever?

"For much of the soccer world a Manchester United jersey is the equivalent of the little black dress, something every fan's wardrobe must have."

I don't know where to begin.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE66F01N20100716

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Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Scudamore

Richard Scudamore, head of the Premier League, was quoted as saying the following regarding the England team's poor World Cup showing:

"We're only a small island, we have to be realistic - there are, I think, 217 countries registered with Fifa. That's a lot of people playing football and England don't have a God-given right to win every tournament."

Let's take a look at the populations (according to the World Bank) of the countries that made the Quarter Finals shall we?

Spain (and eventual winners): 45,555,716
Netherlands (and eventual runners-up): 16,607,493
Germany (and eventual 3rd place finishers): 82,110,097
Uruguay (semi-finalists): 3,334,052
Ghana: 23,350,927
Brazil: 191,971,506
Paraguay: 6,237,855
Argentina: 39,882,980

England's population?  51,446,000

So two countries have a larger population than England.

Small island compared with Papua New Guinea, yet one with a sizeable & relatively affluent population, a large economy, and a very very very rich Premier league.

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Monday, 26 July 2010

Nerd Terror

Could Comic-Con be more dangerous than Hackney on a Saturday? I rode my bike through the mean streets of East London last Saturday evening and no-one tried to stab me. Meanwhile, over at Comic-Con:

"A Comic-Con attendee stabbed another near the eye with a pen Saturday after they got into an argument over whether one was sitting too close to the other."

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/07/25/comic.con.pen.stabbing/index.html

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"Stupid bike rack things"

I had a conversation with a chap at the Lower Marsh London cycle hire docking station a few minutes ago. We were both excited about getting to use them and shared a positive attitude towards the scheme (even if it is not looking like it will be perfect).

As I was walking away a young boy asked his father what the station was. The oaf, probably someone the boy looks up to for guidance and advice, said:

"It's those stupid bike racks things."

*sigh*

Friday, 23 July 2010

A tale of two overheard conversations

I was walking along a residential street last week and heard a man shouting at (presumably)his child:

"Stop being f**king ghetto!"

Today, in Waterloo, I was behind a family of frightfully nice people.  The kids were about 10/11, a brother and sister. The sister said:

"I will be the blind person and you can be my escort"

to which the brother retorted:

"Yes, I will walk behind you and be your guide".

London is an interesting place to be sometimes.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Tax Freedom Day

According to the Adam Smith Institute's website, Tax Freedom Day (which they calculate, and marks the day in which we theoretically start making money for ourselves rather than the government) "has become a national institution".

http://www.adamsmith.org/tax-freedom-day/

No it hasn't.

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Fate Worse Than Death?

Ed Vaizey MP:

"Two weeks ago, I was playing scrabble and watching a DVD on holiday in Turkey with my wife. Last night I did the same with a group of homeless men and one woman."

http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/default.asp?pageRef=188

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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

This is a free public service.

11. Is your voice monotonous rather than varied in pitch?

18. Does an unexpected action cause your muscles to twitch?

26. Is your life a constant struggle for survival?

59. Do you consider the modern "prisons without bars" system doomed to failure?

72. Are you perturbed at the idea of loss of dignity

92. Are you a slow eater?

136. Do children irritate you?

If you answered 'Yes' to any of these questions, then join my new religion based on the writings of the creator of seminal CITV show 'Mike and Angelo'.

Amen.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Spelling, Punctuation and GRAMMAR

I blogged about Nick Clegg's Your Freedom website a while back.  Well I have just come across the Treasury's counterpart - Spending Challenge

I had a search for "smoking ban" and found these beautiful ideas - one earnest and the other scathing about the whole enterprise.


To Lift the Smoking Ban

by Shcwest55 on July 12, 2010 at 07:16PM
I would like to see the smoking ban lifted in pubs clubs and and some work places.
Tony Blair and and Gordon Brown along with the labour party are DICTATORS and belive that everyone need there backside's wiped. So hope fully now Dave and Nick running this country we can get rid of the Nanny State.
I know that smoking is meant to be bad for people but people have there own choice on how they live and what they do with there own body. You can advise as much as you like. like the old saying goes You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink.
You say you want to get people spending money to help with the taxes that you collect.
Since the smoking ban came in the pubs and clubs in and around Basingstoke have gone down hill and alot of them have closed that is not good for the goverment as you dont get the taxes that you need so much.
They say that smoking causes cancer? it might do but tell me this 5 members of my wifes family died from cancer yet they did not smoke they did not drink and never went any where where people were smoking. work that one out !
Since the ban came in alot of my friends and other people that i know dont come out any more yet if they could smoke in the pubs they would come back. Blair and co said it was done to allow the no-smokers to go to the pubs but they never turned up. Even thoses that do come out into the garden and join there friends and very offten there are more people in the beer garden than there is in the pub its self.
There are a number of pubs in basingstoke that would welcome smoking back into there pubs and it could be done

How the idea could be implemented

How it could be done Simple
The same as Spain and that is to allow a licence for it to be a smoking pub but with proper smoke extractor fans in place
We are not all binge drinkers and that who we need back in the pub spending there money so that the pub landlords can make a profit so in the end pay more tax which in turn help with that bloody great loan that we have to pay back
And the last thing i need to say and that is there are two things in life that are guaranteed.
One is you are going to Die Two you are going to get taxed. You cant do any thing from dying but you can do some thing about your tax




Clearly someone too angry to worry about STUPID ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS.




Ban obnoxious ring tones


by jennybn on July 12, 2010 at 02:18PM
just tax them for having it, tax them high, tax them and chase them, pay for secret ppl to listen on tubes and coaches, adjust the radar detectors to listen out for spurious ring tones.
check all phone calls and email messages, they may be plotting to get new ring tones
stop everyone smoking and drinking, they're mainly the ones with bad ring tones.
ppl that drive and use petrol, they're bad ring tone abusers, stop them
tax mobile phones full stop, do it by weight, or colour, how big the screen is, make, model battery size!!!


ideas web site what a load of bollox.

How the idea could be implemented



all taxation implementation methods are wildly available and currently being abused by every piss taking government since the war, u already know how to tax everything!




Clearly SOMEONE TOO angry about everything in general.




http://spendingchallenge.hm-treasury.gov.uk/






Hooray for the great British public. 



Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Glory

So the World Cup has been and gone.  The half-filled in wall charts can be taken down and the hopes and dreams of fans (apart from the Spaniards, whose majestic side triumphed) can be picked from the puke-filled gutter and recharged ready for the 2012 European Chamionships, in hooligan paradise Poland/Ukraine.


England did not perform very well at all.  They were knocked out in the last 16 by my favourite team other than the aforementioned Spanish, Germany, who played like vanquishing stallions.  Their brand of counter-attacking, precision passing f├╝ssball enthralled all who had the pleasure of watching them.  Against England they showed us up for the unimaginative footballing laggards that we really are.  We have a great league, but unfortunately our club sides don't seem to have English players who can really perform at the highest level without help from superior foreign imports (or so it seems judging by the way they played at this World Cup).  The strange thing is that I have seen Rooney play in many games demonstrating a good touch, but I lost count of the number of times it pinged off his boot when he tried to control the ball in this tournament.


Typically, swathes of the English media also performed very badly.  Journalists hyped up players who really didn't deserve it only to crucify them when the performed to their true ability, and 'papers drew on archaic stereotypes and jingoistic hyperbole, especially when playing Germany (the War ended over 60 years ago, and Germans really don't care that much about playing the English, get over it).  Adrian Chiles got in on the act before the USA game with a frankly embarrassing skit about Americans eating burgers and playing baseball, telling them to essentially naff off and leave everyone else to play football.  It was cringeworthy to the extreme.  Meanwhile, over on the BBC, the Alan brothers had the cheek to moan about having to sit through some games!  These are people who are payed to watch football and get a nice free trip to South Africa.  Unbelievable.  They couldn't even be bothered to research players, instead resorting to repeatedly calling di Natale (top scorer in Serie A) the "Number 10".  Clarence Seedorf, who played for a long time in Italy, didn't even know his name.  IT'S YOUR JOB TO KNOW PLAYERS' NAMES.  Pathetic.


During the build up to the Germany, pundits pointed to a 1-0 win over Slovenia as proof that England had progressed enough from the 0-0 draw with lowly Algeria to be be able to destroy Germany.  "No German player would get in our team", chirruped one pundit.  "This is an average German side", trumpeted Alan Hansen.  No-one seemed the slightest bit ashamed about their bombastic predictions of an easy England win being proven to be built on lazy cheerleading to sate the chest thumping idiots who feel that passion will win games.


The whole charade taught me a few things:


1. England's players weren't up to the task.
2. People shouldn't have been surprised about lacklustre performances after seeing the opening game.
3. Certain sections of the English media have come out of the tournament in a worse light than the team.  Any other profession wouldn't stand for such a lack of quality as was demonstrated by some pundits and journalists.
4. We shouldn't sack Capello.
5. We should overhaul the system of youth coaching, using the Dutch/German models as a guide.  I had a kick around with some youngsters at a village barbecue last weekend.  Only one of them looked up when he had the ball.  The others shouted for the ball without making any movement and when they received it they ran, head down, and kicked it as hard as they could towards the goal.  They should be taught in school and by parents that this is wrong.
6. The transfer policy of English clubs is damaging our game.  More chances should be granted to young English players at the top teams.
7. I sometimes wish I was Spanish.
8. I dislike Mark van Bommel.
9. I like Andres Iniesta.
10. Hansen and Shearer should resign.

The official Fifa ranking of teams' performance in the World Cup sums everything up:

Fifa 2010 World Cup standings:

1 Spain, 2 Netherlands, 3 Germany, 4 Uruguay, 5 Argentina, 6 Brazil, 7 Ghana, 8 Paraguay
9 Japan, 10 Chile, 11 Portugal, 12 United States, 13 England, 14 Mexico, 15 South Korea, 16 Slovakia
17 Ivory Coast, 18 Slovenia, 19 Switzerland, 20 South Africa, 21 Australia, 22 New Zealand, 23 Serbia, 24 Denmark
25 Greece, 26 Italy, 27 Nigeria, 28 Algeria, 29 France, 30 Honduras, 31 Cameroon, 32 North Korea 

England's past World Cup rankings:
1950 (8th), 1954 (6th), 1958 (11th), 1962 (8th), 1966 (1st), 1970 (8th), 1982 (6th), 1986 (8th), 1990 (4th), 1998 (9th), 2002 (6th), 2006 (6th)

One thing to take note of is France and Italy's respective positions.  Ouch.


One thing that I enjoyed thoroughly during the England v Algeria game was an incident in the pub I watched the game in. The place was populated by morons on the whole, and within 1 minute of kick off a large group of braying quasi-fans began to sing 'No Surrender to the IRA'. At this point an Irishman who looked like he was carved from a piece of granite and could have easily been a bare knuckle boxer took one of the singers to task, berating him and threatening to do all sorts of things to him. No surrender to the IRA quickly became "sorry mate, sorry. I didn't mean it".

Now we have to wait 4 years until Brazil. Come on Germany!

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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Duncan Palmer is fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support

Duncan Palmer is fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support

Please sonsor me on the Dunwich Dynamo! Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Friday, 9 July 2010

Drury

Sports commentators fascinate me.  Take ITV's Peter Drury.

"Peter lives in Hertfordshire with his wife VD and their three children, Adam (better known as AD or Adz), Dan, and Joey, who is in fact an up-and-coming prospect in English football- the only thing stopping him is his poor temperament."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Drury

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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Day the Music Died

From Wandsworth Council's council tax webpage:

"Singing star Suggs says that with a £25,000 cash prize on offer it would be "madness" not to sign up to a new council tax direct debit payment campaign."

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Friday, 2 July 2010

Al Gore - Global Warming Prophet or Perverted Predator? YOU DECIDE

"I only want justice." Howled the masseuse accusing Al Gore (for the 3rd time after charges had been dropped twice before regarding the same incident in 2006) of sexual assault.

The Guardian reports that:

'she said she went to Gore's room at 11pm, and he welcomed her by inviting her to "call me Al" (with the Paul Simon song playing and Chevy Chase lurking in the background perhaps? - el_nacnud). She said it was apparent he had been drinking.'

'he "wrapped me in an inescapable embrace … and caressed my back and buttocks and breasts".'

'She went on to allege that he flipped her on her back on the hotel bed and lay on her, pinning her down. She told police she shouted at him: "Get off me, you big lummox!"'

'the woman called Gore a "pervert and sexual predator. He's not what people think he is – he's a sick man."'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/01/al-gore-sex-assault-claim-massage-therapist

Oh Al, you crazy cat.  Let's hope that this is an inconvenient un-truth!  Aahahahahahaha.

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Thursday, 1 July 2010

Democracy in Action

British people never fail to make me chuckle when they are asked to provide serious and meaningful ideas and responses to surveys.

Today, Her Majesty's coalition Government launched its "Your Freedom" website, asking for ideas about which laws should be repealed, what should be done to restore civil liberties and how to cut spending.

This is my favourite from the civil liberties section:

http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/restoring-civil-liberties/make-traffic-wardens-wear-a-t-shirt-with-i-am-a-git-printed-on-it-at-all-time

Gawd bless us one and all.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The LinkedIn page of your typical Russian spy.

One of the 11 people arrested for being Russian deep lying spies in the US has a LinkedIn page, apparently.  See Anna Chapman's profile below:


http://www.linkedin.com/in/chapmananna


"Love launching innovative high-tech start-ups and building passionate teams to bring value into market! "


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World Cup Court

From the BBC website:


"A number of unnamed players had shirts, a medal and underwear taken by members of the cleaning staff at their Royal Bafokeng base.
The goods were eventually located and returned, and five hotel workers were convicted of the thefts by a special World Cup court."


World Cup Court conjures up images in my head of an evil dictatorship presiding over a system whereby a cake gobbling overlord dishes out edicts and judgeme... oh.  Damn you Sepp!


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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Best. Conversation. Ever

In the lift at work, postroom chap gets in:

PRC: "It's alright, I'm not going to see the sun this summer."

Me: "Oh right?"

PRC: "Yeah.  So I was in hospital.  Food was rubbish."

Me: "Really?  My Grandad is in now, he can't eat though at the moment though."

PRC: "Ha!  They think the war's still on!  Have a good one.  See ya later".

Me: ".........."

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Pringles: Natural Home of Football Debate

I'm getting sick of companies trying to link themselves with football. Webuyanycar.com, Danish brewer Carlsberg with their hollow husk of an England advert, and Peter Crouch peddled Pringles.

The advert I saw in today's Observer takes the biscuit (or should that be crisp?), with the aforementioned Pringles urging us to join the football debate on their Facebook page.

Sorry Pringles, but no. Sod off.


www.twitter.com/hididdlydee

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Best Play Ever?

I saw this poster today advertising a theatrical performance:


Strap line - "Marriage is a 3 Ring Circus: Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring and Suffering..."

I am so there.

Edit: it was in May... damn

Panini Odyssey Part 2: Got, Need, Got Got Got Got Got Got, Need...

So I have been pretty lax about my Panini Odyssey, but I'm going to try and update you about my adventures thus far.  I (foolishly) had no idea how expensive collecting these bloody stickers would be.  I started out with a huge level of optimism but the crushing realisation that I may not finish my collection has begun to rear its monstrous head.  One major stumbling block has been the lack of fellow collectors that I know who live in London.  The only people I am aware of that are collecting stickers are a friend in Richmond, someone else in Boston (USA?), and 3 members of the washed up pop group "Swoont?" who live in Derby or the Island of Wight or somewhere like that.  So far I have seen my Richmond contact once and "Swunde:".... once.  I did some swapping each time.  Thanks must go to Paul and Rowan (who, by all accounts, has completed Portugal).  The same evening that I saw Richmond Paul I found a New Zealand player sticker on the pavement outside a less than salubrious West End establishment.  The next day he had disappeared from my personage.  Maybe I dreamt it?  I blame the loss on Israeli crack commandos.

Last week, after a tiring game of five-a-side with some colleagues, Ravi told me that the Department had a feverish Panini trading economy, of which I was clueless to.  When I emailed the ringleader he responded thusly:

"Sorry, I sent off for mine last week".

upon further questioning about other traders he said:

"Again, sorry but everyone else I know who I was trading with sent off for theirs too".

This left me quite disheartened.  For me, sending off to Panini to pay for the stickers that you have yet to acquire goes against the spirit of the whole endeavour!  It also made me question the amount of money one can be expected to spend on the stickers.  Admittedly, it would probably save you spending money on stickers just to get those elusive last few oblongs of glory, but either way they must have been furiously collecting to be at that stage already.  I felt that 12 packs a week was a bit much at times, so goodness knows what these people were shelling out.

If anyone out there in London wants to do some swappage, please give me a shout.  I have quite a wad in my wallet.

In terms of my most hated of players, squads etc. I would have to say that the North Koreans are annoying me quite a lot.  They seem to pop up everywhere and I have so many of them in my swap-stack.  I especially despise Nam Song-Chol who is less than 2 years older than me, yet has the appearance of a haggard prisoner of war:

Nam Song-Chol, No. 512.

I do, however, quite like the name of a major North Korean club team: April 25.  So evocative.  My favourite squad is Honduras.  They are so chirpy looking and I never seem to get any Honduran duplicates.  I also quite like the French squad because of the ethereal glow that surrounds their players.  I have also noticed that my shiny quota seems to have dropped dramatically.  At the start I would get one every other pack but recently I haven't got any in at least 6 packs.  I blame BP.

I leave you with a definitive list of my gots and swapsies:

Got - 4, 5, 14, 25, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 56, 65, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 79, 82, 90, 92, 93, 95, 97, 100, 101, 111, 115, 116, 118, 119 (Angel di Maria - dislike), 122, 123, 126, 127, 128, 130 (Obinna Nwaneri - great portrait), 131, 132, 135, 142, 143, 146, 148, 152, 154, 164, 166, 167 (Vangelis Moras - has the appearance of an Emperor), 169, 173, 179, 182, 186, 188, 190, 192, 194, 197, 198, 204, 209, 211, 213, 218, 219, 225, 226, 228, 232, 233, 235, 238 (Algerian players all seem to have had to choose between 2 haircuts - shaved off or military/Hoxton fin), 244, 246, 247, 255, 260, 261, 264, 272, 281, 283, 286, 292, 303, 304, 313, 318, 320 (Eric Addo - has the appearance of a policeman), 324, 325, 326, 327, 330, 334, 336, 342, 346, 348, 351 (Dutch squad has the best tracksuits), 361, 363, 365, 368, 373, 375, 376, 377, 380, 382, 387, 388, 393, 401, 407 (Paul Alo'o Efoulou - fattest player), 410, 418 (Italian stickers are very elusive), 429, 432, 434, 435, 436, 438, 450, 452, 453, 456, 458, 460, 470, 472, 478, 480, 484, 493, 496, 498, 500, 501, 503, 504, 512 (the aforementioned Nam Song-Chol), 516, 517, 518, 520, 522 (Jong Tae-Se - the "North Korean Rooney"), 523, 524, 525, 528, 532, 534, 535, 536, 538 (Kader Keita - mug shot), 541, 542, 545, 548, 550, 552, 555, 560, 563, 568, 569, 573, 578, 580, 582, 587, 590, 594, 598, 600 (Honduras squad - hooray!), 601, 603, 604, 605, 607, 609, 610, 613, 615, 618, 621, 624 (Waldo Ponce - great name), 630, 633, 635, 636.

Swapsies - 45 x2, 93, 97, 100, 111, 116, 127, 146, 173, 186, 197, 228, 327, 377, 418, 435, 452, 478, 484, 493, 496, 512, 516, 517, 518, 520, 523, 560, 569, 580, 603, 604, 607, 630.

N.B. Rowan's band is in fact called Swound! and you should all check them out.  They have telekinetic powers and can throw tennis balls a long way.


Tuesday, 1 June 2010

London Cycle Challenge

I have just taken up cycling. I saw the London Cycle Challenge advertised, in which teams try to cycle the most miles in a month.

But how can they track your miles accurately?


"Make sure that the miles you log are the miles are cycled. While we cannot check up on you, the terms and conditions state, 'You will be honest and only log actual miles cycled'."

That's me satisfied.


Friday, 28 May 2010

Cycling meets Brass Eye

"A tumultuous and at times surreal week for the sport of cycling began with reports in the Italian press of an investigation into "motorised doping" – following rumours that riders might be racing with tiny engines in their bikes"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/may/22/lance-armstrong-floyd-landis-cycling

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Thursday, 27 May 2010

On the Bakerloo Line this evening...

...the driver with the golden tonsils:

"It's been a pleasure conveying you on the bakerloo line."
"We'll just wait for the train to pootle on its way"

Lovely stuff.

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From the Guardian Over-by-Over Commentary

75th over: England 289-4 (Trott 141 Morgan 7) "I once interviewed a guy from Oxford uni for a job named Oswald Cuthbert Woodbine III," reveal's Zubair Shah, as this afternoon's OBO begins to take a truly surreal turn, "What a name. It was for a job at the cabinet office. He spent the interview telling me about the cricket team at Uni coached by a guy called Black Robertson who had been shot down in the war and survived, but had metal arms as a result. Apparently he used his arm as a bat."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/may/27/england-bangladesh-first-test-live

HERO!

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Monday, 24 May 2010

Man Shot In Back At London Fields

Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe said: "Despite this very worrying incident, hundreds of people were able to enjoy the event in London Fields safely and without interruption." 

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Eastbourne Knows How to Party

I have been staying in Eastbourne on a work trip since Tuesday. It has the nickname "God's Waiting-Room" due to its popularity with the elderly as a place to retire to or holiday in. I can exclusively confirm that this is true, judging by my hotel.

Highlights include:

- listening to competitive discussions about how many friends and family had passed away.
- the leaflet advertising the visit of a lookalike of the Queen being a "royal visit in February 2011". Her diary must be very busy.
- the singer/comedian telling a long winded Viagra joke to the joy of the pensioners in the crowd, before launching into an upbeat rendition of "Up on the Roof" and ending with "Hey Baby".
- chilling with my homie John Sargent at lunch.
- hearing an old lady singing "Are You Lonesome Tonight" very loudly outside my room.
- the picture in my room being hung upside down on the wall:


- the buffet lunch, including flowers in the salad and large slabs of Spam.
- signs in the town for "local shops" - very Royston Vasey.

Plus much, much more.

Let's hear it for Eastbourne, the UK's top rated holiday destination!

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

What is Kay Burley?

I rarely watch Sky News.  Any channel that freely refers to Fox News as its "sister station" is just not for me.  Consequently, I have rarely seen Kay Burley anchoring live and in a way I feel that I'm missing out on something by doing this this.  Judging by the drivel I have seen her chat on Youtube, she seems like an idiot.

She has made Peter Andre cry:


Adopted the argumentative tactics of a child:


and yesterday seemed to fail to understand the concept of people demonstrating for a cause rather than against one.  She belittled a very polite gentleman  who was taking part in a protest in London where thousands of people marched for electoral reform, and kept bellowing that the electorate had actually voted for a hung parliament:


To many people's joy and satisfaction, Burley later became the target of the protesters at the rally as some vocal members of the crowd repeatedly shouted "sack Kay Burley, watch the BBC":


This elections has made me see Rupert Murdoch's media empire in its true light.  I believe in free press and reporting sans agenda and manipulation of the public, and Sky and the Sun have behaved in a pretty shoddy manner.

Now, what time is the footy on Sky today?  Oh.... damn.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Star Street

Comedy hero Graham Linehan's blog Why, That's Delightful is an excellent source of funnies and insightful comment.  I was having a look this evening, and he recently posted a picture of a Stephen Fry lookalike from an agency called Fake Faces.

Fry, unwinding

I too share Linehan's fascination with this breed of entertainers.  I distinctly remember seeing a terrible lookalike of Piers Brosnan appearing on some daytime show when Brosnan's first James Bond movie had been released.  I was confused by the way that people were accepting him as a good lookalike when he was just some bloke with dark hair that had some designer stubble.

Here are some more of my favourites from Fake Faces and Splitting Images:

Renowned TV Chef Brian Turner

Best bit: Not many people will know who Brian Turner is.  Very specialist.

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, at home
Best bit: Michael's tie, and the proximity of the camera to the happy couple.

"Gorgeous" George Galloway

Best bit: The photo being taken in his bedroom, which appears to be extremely purple.  Very UKIP.

The dynamic Sir Alex Ferguson
Best bit: The quality of the photograph.  Give him credit though, he has the suit down to a tee.

Hollywood's Morgan Freeman
Best bit: Pebble-dash and roll neck combo.

International Super-Villain and frequenter of bedsit parties, Dr. Evil
Best bit: He may very well be Chinese, and this looks like it was taken at a fancy dress party where some drunk people persuaded him to ditch his day-job to become a lookalike.

England football legend David Seaman

Best bit: The moustache.

Kevin Spacey, actor

Best bit: Sideburns.

and finally, my favourite so far...

Zany Robin Williams

Best bit: EVERYTHING.

I could go on, as there seems to be a very large amount of these lookalikes out there.  I do worry for these people if it is their only income.  I just can't see much of a demand for the Gary Glitter lookalike these days.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

General Election 2010: Den of Varying Websites

So, another General Election is taking place on May 6th in the United Kingdom (out of interest, is it catching much attention in other countries?)  They say that with the rise of Youtube, Facebook and Twitter since the last election in 2005, this is the first "internet election".  It kicked off in January with the launch of the Conservative party's poster presenting David Cameron's shiny face to the public next to a slogan about the NHS, which quick as a flash, sparked mockery and a popular website providing users with a template with which to make their own versions.  Tory supporters inevitably retorted with a similar website when Labour launched their own posters later on in the year.  And Twitter has, like it or loathe it, garnered a large amount of attention in the press given its status as a tool adopted on a large scale by political actors as well as a way of gauging instant reaction to events like the Leader Debates and today's "bigot-gate".



I have also been interested by some of the websites that Parliamentary candidates have set up.  My parents' constituency on Mid-Suffolk and North Ipswich has previously been held by Conservative MP Michael Lord.  He has left Parliament and now the Tories have a Doctor called Daniel Poulter standing for election.  His website - http://www.drdanielpoulter.com/ - isn't bad, but has one glaring error on its front page:

"Eleven years of Labour failure have saddled us with serious challenges..."

Labour were elected to power thirteen years ago, or does he think 1997-9 were quite good? 

Another feature of his website that I find frustrating is his photographs.  From these pictures, Dan appears to never open his mouth, a problem which would hinder every MP.  The photos themselves are tiny, and in general the website seems very home-made.  Websites don't have to be super-complicated, but a badly constructed website immediately projects the wrong image.  Try doing a simple wordpress blog or Google page.  They're not difficult.  The Labour candidate for the same constituency, for example, looks clear, professional and to the point - http://www.votejoshi.com/.



Greg Knight

The oddest website for an MP that I have seen so far is that of Greg Knight, who is the sitting Tory MP for East Yorkshire - http://62.149.36.33/~gregknig/ge.php (note immediately that the url is complex!)  This website was highlighted on Twitter as having awesome music, and if you have a visit you will have to agree.  Someone has composed a campaign song for Greg, the lyrics of which are:

"Conservatives work for you,
Vote for Greg Knight and you'll never lose,
Conservatives will work for you,
And Yorkshire tooooooooo."

Amazing!  It really is quite odd.

Upon entering, Greg's website looks like it could have been made in the mid-1990s.  There are awful graphics, Greg's booming voice welcomes you, and rolling text trundles across the screen.  Some of the pages feature Youtube videos that all feature some brilliant amateur incidental music.  My favourite is the guitar solo at the end of this vid about a hospital in Greg's constituency:


I do hope that these shoddy websites continue to be made by politicians.  It's such good fun to stumble upon them.

Have you come across any terrible, funny or even brilliant campaign/MP websites?  Let me know.

Edit - It appears that I did Greg a mis-service.  I believe that he wrote his songs himself and is a drummer in a band called MP4!  Fantastic.  All hail King Greg. 

Seinfeld Clip of the Day - Frank and Kramer Play Pool

Cosmo Kramer and Frank Costanza are two of the more bizarre characters in the Seinfeld universe, and their relationship is encapsulated in this scene from Season 7, Episode 17 - The Doll.


Kramer often enters into scams and deals with George and Jerry's respective fathers and is generally very friendly with them, which always strikes me as odd.  In this episode, Frank has converted George's old bedroom into a billiard room.  The room is just that little bit too small, which is demonstrated when Kramer and Frank have a game of pool and some marvellous slapstick ensues.


The scene is quite delightful and surreal.  I particularly enjoy the lack of music.  When I was young, my parents bought myself and my brother a pool table.  Our pool room wasn't quite as tight for space as Frank's, but seeing them struggle to make certain shots does make me nostalgic for the hours I spent at the baize as a lad.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Panini Odyssey Part 1: We're Off!

Panini.


Panini, Panini, Panini.... Panini, PANINI!


For a lot of people, that word does not equal "sandwich".  For us football loving chaps, Panini evokes childhood memories of swapsies, shinies and mullets.  For every World Cup year a wondrous booklet is launched onto this very Earth which contains hopes and dreams and much much more.  It is of course the Panini Group's Official Licensed World Cup Sticker Album.


The premise is simple.  Buy the sticker book, packed with statistics and facts to keep your average football obsessed lad occupied, buy packets of stickers to be put into the album, stick 'em in.  There are stickers of players, crests, squads, stadia, everything related to the World Cup.  It is a great way to get to know all about the tournament, and best of all it helps you familiarise yourself with the most obscure Slovenian midfield enforcers and Honduran reserve goalkeepers.


As a football crazy youngster, I loved the idea of completing the album but never managed to do so.  It took a lot of effort and scrounging from family friends, begging them to look out for any rare stickers and save them for me.  I would spend many a lunch time trading duplicate stickers with school friends and enemies, adhering to the strict rules like a "shiny" sticker being equal to two player stickers.  I loved poring over the details of the venues and comparing how ugly the different Eastern European squads were.  After a few months, however, I would naturally get  distracted by a new rope swing and my once-loved album would begin to gather dust, never to experience the joy of Carlos Valderrama being added to its vaunted arsenal.


Today, I found a link to pictures of the completed Italia '90 sticker album.  Glory glory glory, it is beautiful.  I struggled to decide which is the ugliest team.  I am going for USSR, what do you think?




Well, this year I am going to make amends for my previous failures.  I can't promise that a rope swing won't distract me but I am determined like never before to finish the 2010 Panini World Cup sticker album.  I will find the official Mascot sticker.  I vow to possess the North Korean striker Hong Yong-Jo.  Nothing will stand in my way.  By fair means of foul, I... will... do it, and I will document my mission right here on Hi diddly dee...



My album and I.
Last Saturday (17th April), I saw an advert for this year's sticker album featuring ITV's much-disliked commentator Clive Tyldesley waxing lyrical about the fun and frolics to be had completing the book.  I gritted my teeth, clenched my fists and became determined to win.  So that afternoon I visited my local high street newsagent and purchased my album.  To my unbounded joy, I was informed by the beautiful typeface that the album came with 21 stickers to start my collection.  When I got home, eager to tear the transparent plastic bag asunder to get to the football themed delights, I saw another advert on the TV, one that made me dance a jig.  It turns out that none-other than the Big Dog, Lowestoft's favourite son, the king of UK Hip-Hop Tim Westwood was advertising the News of the World's Panini sticker album give away.  If he is in it with me and expressing his excitement in such eloquent tones then I know that I am in good company:





Inside my album, I perused the layout and noted some potential rarities (a space split into two stickers for the "Official Logotype" is bound to be in-demand).


The album and free sticker packs.



With the album came six stickers:
Starters.



#580: Fernando Torres, ESP.
#43: Steven Pienaar, RSA.
#116: Javier Mascherano, ARG.
#186: Rio Ferdinand, ENG.
#325: Michael Essian, GHA.
#542: Didier Drogba, CIV.

In addition, 3 packs of five were included:

#97: Alou Diarra, FRA.
#100: Franck RIbery, FRA.
#92: Eric Abidal, FRA.
#580: Fernando Torres, ESP (my first swapsie).
#320: Eric Addo, GHA.
#111: Walter Samuel, ARG.
#146: Lee Woon-Jae, KOR.
#79: Sebastian Eguren, URU.
#123: Diego Milito, ARG.
#503: Luis Fabiano, BRA.
#327: Sulley Muntari, GHA.
#456: Andrew Boyens, NZL.
#363: Daniel Jensen, DEN.
#119: Angel di Maria, ARG.
#281: Lucas Neill, AUS.

So far no fabled shinies, and one duplicate, Torres.  My favourite one was probably Lee Woon-Jae, because of his age (born 26-4-1973) and fetching jersey.  My least favourite was Angel di Maria.  He looks shifty.



Today, I bought 2 more packs of five from a friendly newsagent who was clearly puzzled by my interest in the stickers.  To my utter delight, I found two shinies in amongst my new additions:


#4: World Cup Logo, shiny.
#373: Japan Emblem, shiny.
#97: Alou Diarra, FRA (swapsie).
#605: Victor Bernandez, HON.
#569: Joan Capdevila, ESP.
#560: Liedson, POR.
#342: Mark van Bommel, NED.
#255: Valter Birsa, SVN.
#228: Hassan Yebda, ALG.
#45: Thembinkosi Fanteni, RSA.


My first two shinies.

A good mix.  One duplicate (always useful for inevitable having to negotiate big deals with fellow collectors) and those all important shiny stickers.  My favourite is obviously my first shiny, the Japanese Emblem.  My least favourite is Liedson, because of his pretty horrible hair.


Liedson
Stay tuned to see what the next set of stickers holds.  If anyone out there should happen to come into the possession of some unwanted stickers, please let me know via here or on Twitter (@El_Nacnud).  Or else if you are interested in doing some swapsies then do give me a shout.  I have a spare Torres and Diarra waiting for a good home.

In the words of Westwood.  Pow!


Shiny.