Saturday, January 17, 2004

Wolves 1 Manchester United 0

Steffen Iversen congratulates Kenny Miller, who will never have to buy a drink in Wolverhampton for the rest of his life:
Further comment would be superfluous

Friday, January 16, 2004

Today's pointless fact

Did you know that Libya is a member of the European Broadcasting Union and, as such, is entitled to enter the Eurovision Song Contest?

I was warned...

Gert warned against visiting the Telly Years site, but did I listen? Nope, so now I'm addicted to looking through their archive of old Radio Times listings. There's some wonderful nostaligia to be had there, like remembering the days when Radios 1 and 2 shared the same FM frequency and there's a suitably TV Go Home-esque air to some of the earlier listings, such as this from 1936:
9.05 Television Comes to London This film sugests, by means of simple pictorial sequences, some of the events that have preceded the opening of the BBC Television Service
or this from 1946
10.00 News Maps 1939-1946 JF Horrabin returns to illustrate the news with maps, diagrams and pictures. Presented by Mary Adams

Voting ring patterns

With London having officially annouced its bid for the 2012 Olympics, you might find the Games Bids site a useful site to keep an eye on to keep up with news and predictions about the bidding process.

One part of it is that is quite interesting is the archive, with details of all the votes that determined the location of the previous Olympics. There's some interesting bits of alternate history when you see the cities that lost out in the bidding process - 1936 could have been in Barcelona, not Berlin, in 1956 Melbourne only won the first Southern Hemisphere games by one vote from Buenos Aires; and Detroit bid for every Games from 1952 to 1972, but never got more than 14 votes.

For sale: one league place, rarely used

Two South African football sides have swapped divisions after one bought the other's place in the Premier league for £400,000. (via the same Wolves fans list I got the supporter value quiz from - and yes, it was suggested that we might be able to get 50p for our Premiership place)

Top Ten

Although I recognise much of the sterotypical male behaviour in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, one thing I've never been that prone to myself is the making of lists, especially the process of ranking various artistic items. That's not to say that I don't have favourites, but my category of 'favourite' is a lot more general - I don't have a specific favourite film, book, album, colour etc just a broad selection of things I like slightly more than others (it's why I always secretly dread being asked to fill out one of those What's your favourite X, Y and Z? questionnaires). What's my favourite at any particular time depends more on mood rather than any particular personal platonic ideal of favouriteness.

Which, as some of you may have worked out, is my introduction to the films I've chosen as my top ten for the Normblog favourite films poll. These are the ten I've chosen now - ask me in six months and you may get a list that's entirely identical or entirely different, depending on how I'm feeling when you ask me, rather than any objective considerations. It's why I'm glad that it's a favourite, rather than best, film poll so I don't really have to justify my choices to anyone but myself. After all, if I want to list a selection of Police Academy and Friday The 13th sequels as my favourite films, you may be able to question my taste, but if I proclaim them to be my favourites, you can't argue with that.

However, I'm sure you'll be glad to know that none of those films make it into my Top Ten. Here they are, arranged in almost alphabetical order (I've ignored The in titles, or it just gets confusing):

The Blues Brothers (John Landis, 1980) - It's a film that shouldn't work - a thin plot based around Saturday Night Live characters with numerous guest stars and cameos has proven to be a recipe for many a bomb since, but something just elevates this into a great film. It's not a film I rewatch to find anything new, but just to know it'll make me smile and want to dance around...while cheering the demise of the Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis.
Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins, 1992) - It seems almost deliberately obscure to out this in, but it is a great film. Robbins delivers a great performance as both director and star, and the story is a mystery that we never really see solved - Who is Bob Roberts and what really happened? However, part of the reason it's in here is because Alan Rickman does his usual trick of stealing an entire film with one line: 'Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pray'
The Day The Earth Caught Fire (Val Guest, 1961) - I wrote about this film last summer and my comments from then still stand. I think it's a forgotten British classic, and deserves a wider audience. After all, how many other films give you the chance to see Leo 'Rumpole' McKern saying 'We've got about four months before there's a delightful smell in the universe of charcoaled mankind'?
M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970) - It's a pretty scattergun film, more of a collection of scenes than a plot (which probably made it perfect to turn into a TV series) but unlike most scattergun films, it hits the mark with almost every scene.
Monty Python and The Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, 1975) - I had to include one Python film in my personal ten (part of me wanted to include all three) and this just wins out over the other two mainly because of the Black Knight scene.
The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994) - In a close decision, this just squeezed in past Blade Runner, so you can see that as Stephen King triumphing over Philip K Dick, heart triumphing over artificialtiy or Morgan Freeman beating Rutger Hauer. Whatever you want, I just like this film.
This Is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984) - I should have made this a top eleven and stuck this on the end because it, of course, goes all the way up to eleven. But I suspect someone else has already thought of that idea.
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002) - I was debating whether or not to include this in my ten as a lot of polls like this are, in my opinion, compromised by people voting for more recent stuff which time then reveals to be not as good as they thought it was. But sod it - it's a great horror film where you don't know who's going to get out alive, or just what might happen next. It's clearly borrowed a lot from Day Of The Triffids but that's no bad thing - if you're going to steal, do it from the classics (and unlike the film adaptation of Triffids it doesn't star Howard Keel, or feature a silly sub-plot in a lighthouse)
The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995) - One of the first two films I wrote on my top ten list. If you've never seen this film then stop reading now, go out and get a copy now and watch it. If you've seen it, you know why it's here, but if you don't, I'm really not sure you should be allowed near a cinema again you were watching it closely enough.
Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987) - The other one of the two I wrote down first it's another film that divides the world into people who think it's one of the greatest films ever made and tasteless cretins those who don't. Like Suspects, it's one of those moments in film-making where everything - director, script, actors - comes together at the perfect moment to create something that's just fantastic to watch.

Update: Now, if someone could tell me how to send these to Norm without getting my email bounced back to me, I'd be most obliged.
Update 2: OK, sorted. Think it was a problem at my end.

Just a part-timer, but it's better than the armchair

Quick bit of boredom relief for a Friday afternoon - this (flash required) quiz finds out what your value is to your football team as a supporter, if they ever started to buy or sell them. I'm worth a grand total of £588,970, but I will not be doing a Louis Saha-style sulk in an attempt to get a transfer.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Really down under

There;s a fascinating article in today's Guardian science section about life in Antarctica. It's one of those things that makes me wish I'd studied sciences at University, just to keep open that slim chance of getting to visit there for a while. Of course, if I had,I'd probably be complaining about the cold right now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Can you Googlebomb someone into a job?

I doubt it, but it might be fun to try, so say hello to BNFL's new Chairman (see here and here for reasons why).


While the supposed casting for a Hitch-Hiker's film revealed in this article is pretty good, somehow I'm doubtful that Freeman and Nighy's parts in the movie, should it actually happen, are cast in stone.

It's just that, with a director not assigned to the project yet, I'd say that all castings would be pretty tentative, given that the director is likely to have hs own ideas on who he might want to have in the role. As neither Nighy nor Freeman are (yet) the sort of actors who can get directors hired or fired on a project, one wonders whether 'tentatively offered the part, based on directorial approval, timing, and other commitments' has been replaced by 'cast as' for the better publicity it might bring?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Complimentary statistics

Someone told me today that 2 million British women were dumped during 2003.

Sorry, I got that wrong. 2 million copies of Dido's latest album were sold in 2003. Which is about the same thing.

Kilroy Host to be determined

One of the strange features to the l'affaire Kilroy-Silk has been that it sees me and the Mighty Aaro in agreement:
Mr Kilroy-Silk is not being gagged; he is free to say what he likes. But the BBC is not under any obligation to use presenters who, in other guises, offend and insult a substantial section of its own licence-fee payers.
I particularly loved the cover of the Daily Express with a headline that was something like 'KILROY: STOP GAGGING ME' - I know the Sexpress is losing readers, but it didn't really seem much like gagging to me.

Also, I doubt that the BBC having to find 'a way to fill 200 hours of programming a year' as this story reports, is really much of a concern to them. Daily shoutathon programmes survive well enough all over the world presented by people not named Robert Kilroy-Silk, and I doubt the BBC would have to look that hard to find a replacement host - I'm sure Nicky Campbell is having some interesting chats with his agents at the moment.

Ah, but where's Rutland?

A map of the the UK, with the English counties resized by population. (thanks to my friend Helen for the link)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The seedy side of the Democratic Party

Which Democratic Candidate are you in Bed? (found in Andrew Northrup's comments) I'm equal parts Clark, Kucinich and Sharpton, which is kind of odd, really.

More from America

Some of you might find this link interesting (found via Josh Marshall) - it's the results from ARG's tracking poll of Democrat voters in the New Hampshire primary election, going back to the start of the month. I assume/hope they'll keep updating it with fresh results as we get closer to the election itself (on the 27th, IIRC) but the trends over the last week are quite interesting to see - Dean down slightly (-4), Clark up strongly (+9), Kerry slipping (-4), Lieberman up a bit (+2), the others rattling around down in the low single figures.

A quick, not even back of the envelope, calculation of the trends, shows that if they continue like that until the election itself, Clark would win, over 100% of people would vote and Kerry and Gephardt would get a negative number of votes. Vote early, vote often indeed.