Monday, January 23, 2006

7 x 7 Meme

Since I've been tagged in a 7 x 7 meme by Wonko (henceforth referred to as Stuart the Bastard), I thought I should explain what this means.

A meme (pronounced "meem") is an idea, thought or piece of information that is passed from generation to generation through imitation and behavioural replication. Coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book "The Selfish Gene," memes and memetics are the cultural counterpart to the biological study of genes and genetics. Using the evolution analogy, Dawkins observed that human cultures evolve via "contagious" communications in a manner similar to the gene pool of populations over time. There is an argument that in humans, cultural evolution by selection of adaptive ideas has superseded biological evolution by selection of hereditary traits. So an idea, considered as a replicator, behaves a little like a parasite which causes people to propagate it, much as viruses do. Hackers find this idea congenial for tolerably obvious reasons.

There's shed loads more about it on Wikipedia and jolly interesting it is too, but for this purpose we are talking a kind of blogging-chain-letter-cum-parasite, courtesy of Stuart the Bastard! And as he's TOLD everyone he's tagged me I'll have to do it.

Trouble is, my mind has gone completely blank...I think this will be more word association (football) rather than anything approaching a deeply profound response...

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
1. Live the life of Riley on the proceeds of my second and subsequent novels. The first, having been duly completed by me, published to great literary acclaim for a first novel, yet gone to blockbuster status instantly.
2. See Hollywood snap up the film rights to the aforementioned book and smugly attend the premiere of the blockbuster movie.
3. Keep the Evil Daughter on the straight and narrow long enough to see her in gainful employment, and thus off my hands. If need be by securing her a leading role in (2) above through nepotism, or (less likely) marrying her off to an eligible suitor who is not a chav with no chin.
4. Given that (1) and or (2) pan out, make anonymous gifts to deserving people and causes (except the Evil One because I'll already have done my bit for her).
5. Remember and then make amends for all the evil things I have done, just in case I was wrong on the atheism front...
6. Sort out state Education provision in this country.
7. Wash the car. I will get round to it, honest. Maybe next Spring...

Seven Things I Cannot Do
1. Apologise properly (apparently).
2. Explain things patiently to idiots.
3. Undo the knots in chains.
4. Lie convincingly.
5. Tell children that Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy are not real. (Quite a challenge given (4).
6. Play a musical instrument.
7. Long division.

Seven Things I Say
1. It's nearly finshed.
2. Still soon be Christmas...
3. Will you lot stop squabbling!
4. It's your round.
5. Yeah right!
6. You know where you can stick your fucking job
7. There's many a man walking the Thames Embankment for not getting his trumps out soon enough. (Oh no sorry, that was my Dad, I got confused!)

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Family Life
1. Being in a close orbit of the centre of the universe. Mrs C. is naturally at the epicentre.
2. Seeing the children's faces on Christmas morning; little ones so excited, big ones sportingly keeping the myth going.
3. Family suppers, with menus made by younger daughter complete with her unique, dyslexic (but pleasingly medieval) spelling.
4. Making things with the kids for school projects that prove to be ridiculously over ambitious (that bloody chain mail coif took six & a half THOUSAND steel rings!)
5. Teasing the yoof and playing devil's advocate to make them think.
6. Watching them spread their wings...from Nativity Plays to Debating Competitions.
7. Being needed when it all goes horribly wrong.

Seven Books That I Love (total cheat since they are the nearest to me on the shelf)
1. Longbow - Robert Hardy
2. Football Factory, Headhunters and England Away (trilogy) - John King
3. Emperor series (all three so far) - Conn Iggulden
4. The Flashman books - George Macdonald Fraser
5. The Last Kingdom (and sequel The Pale Horseman) - Bernard Cornwell
6. Discworld (any of them) - Terry Pratchett
7. Citizen of the Galaxy - Robert A. Heinlein

Seven Movies That I've Loved (from the top of the DVD pile so I guess they get a lot of viewing round here)
1. Fight Club
2. The Matrix
3. School of Rock
4. Kight's Tale
5. 10 Things I Hate About You
6. The Day after Tomorrow
7. Shrek

Just to perpetuate the agony, I hearby tag:

1. Span
2. Six
3. Kayfer
4. Mags
5. Augustus
6. DFH
7. Kats

Did I mention you have Stuart the Bastard to blame for this...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What is it with the Evil One?

It seems her friends are in the news constantly! Good news this time though.

As you will all no doubt know, Theo was signed by Arsenal for £12 million.

I did tell her he was a dead cert for a no show at the party tonight...

Heck if I'd just signed a 16 year old with a downpayment of 5 million quid, I wouldn't let him out of my sight!

Kids, eh?!

Good grief!

I've been tagged with a meme by that bloody Stuart! Cheers mate, I'll remember this!

You, Stuart, you lucky bastard, may be able to presume your readership knows what you're on about but I fear I may not be similarly blessed...

A job for tomorrow methinks. Blimey is that the time?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Top news folks: Ian's OK!

Bad news is I rang him up in the middle of the night... Yeah right, I know, ringing a chap you are concerned about in the middle of the night is not usually the best idea, but WTF, and strangely enough he answered and didn't appear to mind!

But fuck I was worried... There he is blogging away with a spoon. Then nothing.

Do you know what he said? When I called, in the middle of the night...? He said (in his beautiful Welsh accent) "How are the kids? Sorry I've been a bit lazy recently!"


I am so glad he's OK.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Queen of England

Word on the street has it that Her Majesty has been taking a pretty dim view of Gordon Brown's attitude towards the English. Obviously her customary dignity precludes her openly commenting, however there is something in her demeanour which has led royal insiders to comment that she is not amused.

Category: England_

Man Utd help line

Manchester United have apparently set up a call centre for fans who are troubled by their current form.

The number is: 0800 10 10 10.

Calls are charged at peak rate for overseas users.

Once again the number is: 0800 won nothing won nothing won nothing.

Category: Football_

Thursday, January 19, 2006

BBC World Cup Guidelines for commentary team

1 - Within 1 minute of kick off in the opening match (whoever is playing), the commentator must mention England.

2 - Regardless of what two teams are contesting the final, England have to be mentioned within the first minute.

3 - The commentator shall refer to the Falkland Islands in passing at some point during the England v Argentina match.

4 - Whenever a hat trick is scored, comparisons with Geoff Hurst will be made within seconds of the third goal hitting the net.

5 - Should England wear their red jerseys, then '1966' should be mentioned approximately 20 times.

6 - 1966 will be mentioned approximately 10 times a match,or only on 4 or 5 occasions for matches not involving England.

7 - Prior to the captain of the winning team lifting the trophy, the commentator will mention Bobby Moore. And 1966.

8 - When Germany are playing, they must be referred to as
being arrogant by the commentator on at least 14 occasions. This must refer to their style, their passing, their haircuts and their general footballing ability..

9 - Should England play Germany, mentions of Winston Churchill, Dambusters, The Luftwaffe and Adolf Hitler will be compulsory. And 1966.

10 - All Scottish members of our commentary team must continue to refer to England as "we" and "us".

11 - We must ensure that nationalistic stereotypes are adhered to. Of course, the Germans are arrogant. The Spanish are bottlers, The Nigerians are fast but bad at defending, The Cameroonians are disorganised, The Argentinians are cheats and the French are only good because their best players play in England.

12 - For matches not involving England, we must only discuss the players that are playing in England.

13 - The mythical "bulldog spirit" phrase should be used as often as possible.

14 - Each match involving England should begin with the phrase "England Expects."

15 - Should any player be involved in an injury that involves the loss of teeth, then references to Nobby Stiles and 1966 are compulsory.

16 - If in doubt, mention 1966.

17 - Slag off all the stadia in Germany, as faulty, but emphasise that they lack the presence of Wembley, the spiritual home of football since 1966.

18 - Commentators should feel free to imitate the style of Kenneth Wolstenholme, the hero of 1966.

19 - Should any team feature brothers playing together, then Jackie and Bobby Charlton should be mentioned.

20 - When England bow out after the first stage, we must emphasise that it is a massive blow to football and a serious loss to the World Cup.

Category: Football_

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't it just make your English blood boil?

Gordon Brown seems to be under the misguided impression that proposing to pay university tuition fees for students who volunteer for community work is somehow good for his Prime Ministerial prospects. This, believes Brown, will encourage "strong modern patriotism".

Now let's see...Scottish students don't pay fees. English students pay fees. So Mr Brown, you are proposing to make English kids work for what the Scots get for free? And this most divisive of propositions is somehow intended to further "an agreed British national purpose"?

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Community Service something the courts hand out in lieu of prison sentences? The only good thing about this is that English students are unlikely to vote Brown.

The Higher Education (‘top-up fees’) bill affects only England, but was passed through the votes of MPs in Scotland’s constituencies. There is a strong case for suggesting that the imposition of top-up fees is democratically, constitutionally and morally invalid, and consequently whether their imposition is ultra vires [acting beyond the scope of government power]: in other words a form of dictatorship.

Incidentally, it was the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman who first introduced the term “Scottish Raj” to describe England’s current plight. Despite being instructed by Scottish MPs to apologise for his utterance, Paxman’s term, “Scottish Raj” has become increasingly widespread.

Via Gareth.

Category: England_

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Don't mention the war!

I love it! The build up to this World Cup is just getting better and better!

From Annanova:

England football fans could be jailed if they do the Basil Fawlty goosestep during the World Cup Finals in Germany.

Using Nazi symbols or actions is illegal in Germany and authorities say the same tough penalties given to right wing extremists will apply to fans who copy the salutes - even if done in jest.

Christian Sachs, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said: "It doesn't matter if someone is doing the goosestep, raising their arm in the Hitler greeting or handing out swastikas, these are all crimes in Germany and can be punished with up to three years in jail."

Mr Sachs added: "If the judge in a case decided the offender had encouraged others to violence, the sentence could even be as much as five years. The perpetrator's country of origin is also irrelevant."

Category: Football_

Would you recognise your own mother?

This bloke didn't!

It's Mother's Day. The old girl is in hospital. Bloke identifies some other old baggage as his mother. Her nearest and dearest are told she's dead.

The staff don't check the wristband and write the wrong name over the bed. It's only when the the man's daughter shows up and alerts everyone that the woman that her Dad's been sat with for "a significant period of time" is not her grandmother.

NHS staff are obviously slack, but what about this bloke? Was he pissed? Or hadn't seen the old girl for so long he no longer recognised her?

As a people we really do not treat our elders with the love and respect they deserve.

I tried but I couldn't resist...

Kev emailed this earlier this week. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of posting it but this stuff needs circulation. I didn't realise pilots were so funny...

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!" Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"

"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees." "Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?" "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm bored!" Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!" Unknown aircraft: "I said I was bored, not stupid!"

Control tower to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this.... I've got the little Fokker in sight."

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked." Air Traffic Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."

Allegedly, a Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following: Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war."

Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."

One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?" The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."

Allegedly the German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They, it is alleged, not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.
Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven." The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"
Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark,...... and I didn't land."

Allegedly, while taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"
Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"
US Air 2771: "Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded. Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.
Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

Category: Jokes_

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Conspiracy theory...

Call me an old worrier if you like, but I really do not think this kind of "reporting" is responsible.

The same story has been syndicated all over the shop: here, here, here, and here.

Great syndication work, I hear you say...yes but the trouble is with the content.

"The disease is not cured. The most recent edition of Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, highlights the problem and tells the story of Darren Wells, a former member of Combat 18, the neo-Nazi group, insulting tourists and destroying artefacts at a Polish concentration camp while supporting England abroad."
Firstly Darren Wells started working for Searchlight the anti-fascist magazine in 1999, so his 'story' of causing offence at Auschwitz while supporting England away can scarcely be considered 'fresh' news.

Secondly, they've got a few quotes from people who've made a bob or two out of poorly written memoirs of the 'bad old days' on the terraces. What for? To big up the evil English threat? It makes better copy than happy peaceful football supporters...

And what is the response from German authorities to the perceived English menace? Some fine words about everyone having a good time, while the German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is suggesting deploying German soldiers during the World Cup, to assist police officers.

That's really going to be seen as low key 21st century policing by the English. Not!

Are the media really conspiring to provoke the English into a blood bath?

Category: Football_

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Official: St George is not an English Icon!

Well doesn’t this just take the biscuit?

David Lammy, the culture minister is launching the Icons Online project tomorrow. It’s a virtual collection of “England's most cherished cultural treasures. Nominated by the general public, the Icons collection reflects a contemporary view of English culture and values.”

The initial list includes Alice in Wonderland, Punch and Judy, a cup of tea, the Angel of the North, the FA Cup, London buses, the S.S Empire Windrush, Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII, the King James Bible, the Spitfire, Stonehenge, and William Blake's Jerusalem.

But why oh why leave out the St George Flag? It is the single most identifiable Icon of England. Apparently the government is funding a list of national icons that they hope can save England from the “white van man” image of a St George’s flag stuck to the inside of a vehicle window.

This is proof if any were needed that Nu Labour believes it is politically incorrect to wave our national flag. Roger Scruton, the philosopher and author of England: An Elegy, is not wrong when he is unsurprised by this since, as he puts it, England has “been run for the past few years by some mealy-mouthed Scots.”

More at the Beeb here.

Category: England_

Monday, January 02, 2006

On a happier note...

On New years Eve the big kids assembled and departed - to return for later sleeping purposes. This picture is half of the Evil Daughter's Coven, plus my two little 'uns. An easy guess is which ones are mine...(Clue: 3 kids are mine.)

An early returnee was Number One Son's girlfriend. My dozy boy (the one wot won all the prizes at school) had left his passport in London and was being quizzed in the town about his age. His girlfriend came seeking coroborration of his age, even though he has cultivated a beard of sorts since he came home - which doesn't suit him - (he looks like Abraham Lincoln - but nothing but photo driving license or passport holds sway on New Years Eve). Sadly, man with badly grown beard looks like he's trying too hard. Still you can't tell 'em ....

Best I could do was supply his baby health record (which taken in conjunction with his NUS card might have coroborrated his name with picture with his age but only generated much mirth). As it happened they all proceeded over the road to our local where his name and provenance are known and word from licensee to licensee was passed. Better to be known in your home town than to have to prove yourself on paper.

Me and the missus had a whale of time with old friends, eating at home, going to the pub, coming home, eating and drinking more, teasing the yoof as they came in... Sport!

Oh and for those of you who have followed my posts from the start of this blog, yes there is trace of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry on the pier between the books....