Thursday, April 08, 2004

Time for a break

I'm off to see my family for a few days, so there probably won't be any new entries here until Tuesday. I might find the time to read A Devil's Chaplain and Against All Enemies while I'm gone, so they might inspire posts when I get back. If you're looking for something interesting to read while I, and several other bloggers no doubt, are too busy enjoying the break to blog, I can definitely recommend Jason Burke's Al Qaeda: Casting a shadow of terror which is interesting and informative on the nature of Al Qaeda and the general structures of terrorism in the Islamic world.

But, to break on a lighter note, Green Fairy offers us the following thought about being woken for Easter Egg hunts:
As I get older, I find the exchange of sleeping hours for chocolate less and less attractive.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Recreating history

On hearing of the march to Aldermaston this weekend, I did wonder if the London Riot Re-enactment Society had turned over a peaceful leaf and had spread its wings outside the capital, but no, it does seem to be real.

Nudists in the conference chamber

In the light of discussions elsewhere on Britain's nuclear weapons, this article by Dan Plesch is quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Cliche watch

Now that we know it's going to be Chelsea vs Monaco in the European Cup semi-final, how long will it be till a sportswriter or commentator calls Roman Abramovich 'the man who broke the bank at Stamford Bridge'?

Monday, April 05, 2004

No one likes us, we don't care

This year's FA Cup Final offers an interesting decision for the neutral fan - who do you support? Man Utd, with all the potential accusations of glory hunting, or Millwall, with all the potential accusations of being a hooligan?

Personally, I'll most likely be sleeping through the Cup Final, as it falls between two night shifts, but were I to be awake for it, or manage to avoid hearing the results until the highlights are shown on Match Of The Day, my dislike of Man Utd would win out and I'd go for Millwall. Besides, their Chairman Theo Paphitis tells us that they've controlled the hooligan element and as they're going to be in next year's UEFA Cup regardless of the result in Cardiff I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, it'd be nice to see Dennis Wise win the cup for the third time in three different decades with three different clubs, and I really want the chance to sing 'You've only won f*** all' at Man Utd fans, just like we did in 1995 after Everton's Cup Final victory.

Quick test

It was very easy to determine whether a newspaper was committed to serious news this morning. Just a question of which Madrid story they led with.

At the moment, BBC News is serious, Google News isn't, but all that could change.

Bahraini GP Review

Well, that was a fascinating race wasn't it? The lead changing hand several times, lots of overtaking moves, Montoya denied a second win in a row at the end and Button coming through for his first victory, and taking the lead in the championship. What? Ferrari? Who are they?

I think the best way to watch F1 this year is to go back to the heady days of 1987 and remember what it was like when there were two championships. Back then it was one for turbocharged cars, one for normally-aspirated ones, this time it's one for Ferrari and one for everyone else. Yesterday's TV director seemed to agree with me - once the Ferrari race was clearly going to make the score there Schumacher 3 Barrichello 0, you hardly saw them, mainly because there was actually some action amongst all the other runners. It's one of the things that makes it such a shame that Ferrari are so far ahead, because the next three teams (Williams, Renault and BAR) are all seem very evenly matched.

The new circuit looks good - lots of overtaking opportunities and both the drivers and the media were raving about the facilities. Even the sand didn't cause too many problems, just provifing a couple of interesting mini dust clouds with no serious trouble. Will be interesting to see how it races when the temperature really climbs there, though.

Anyway, in the words of the Rocky Horror Formula 1 Show (lead character: Bern'n'Berter) 'there's three ways a race can go - that's good, bad, and mediocre' so let's get on with the ratings:

Good Race:
Ferrari: All looking far too easy. How about a new rule that says they have to do 1 lap each race in reverse? I'm sure they'll still win, it'll just entertain the viewers more.
BAR: Playing with the big boys now, and looking very comfortable with it. Even Sato seems ready to compete - and keeping ahead of a charging Alonso at the end should boost his confidence.
Renault: On the cusp of average, but saved by the fact they've moved into second in the constructors' championship. Will be worried about Trulli still fading off after the half-way point in races, and Alonso's ability to make silly little mistakes that cost him quite a few places.
Average Race:
Jaguar: I could easily have swapped them and Renault in these rankings, but they'll be glad of their first point, and Klien showing he can race well when he stays on the track. They need to get both qualifying speed and race consistency for a truly good race, though.
Sauber: I'm pretty sure they had two cars in this race, but I wouldn't swear to it.
Toyota: Recovering well after the nightmare of Australia, but still not up to last year's performace level.
Jordan: Definitely had two cars in the race, and they're comprehensively quicker than the Minardis, so a victory of sorts for Jordan in the Formula 1.5 category.
Bad Race:
Minardi: I hear the Andrea De Cesaris monument to Mobile Chicanes may soon be adding Zsolt Baumgartner's name.
Williams: Ralf Schumacher scored two points - it's just that the cost of them is likely to be a 10-place starting penalty next time around. It's poetic justice that his attempt to muscle Sato off the track saw him damaged and losing time. Montoya's bad luck makes you think he'd be glad to leave the team at the end of the year, except...
McLaren: He's coming here. It's beginning to look the McLaren end of season review could consist of just two pictures - Raikonnen blowing an engine while Coulthard trails the Renaults and BARs. Extensive buck-passing (is it the car? is it the engine?) isn't helping.

It's back to Europe after a three-week break, for what could be the final San Marino (or Sammarinese) Grand Prix. Extensive testing for all teams over the next couple of weeks, and it'll be interesting to see if that changes anything.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The madness of King Adam

OK, to stop this blog featuring far too many posts about Adam Yoshida, I promise that, following this post, I won't mention him again until after Easter, regardless of what craziness we get. But, I couldn't let this posting by him to soc.history.what-if go unmentioned, specifically this paragraph where he details his unsuccessful campaign for his local school board in Canada:
I care deeply about education and I hoped that I'd be able to sock away enough of the salary to allow me to go to an American state school. By this time I'd pretty much given up on living the rest of my life in Canada.
I know, listing all the reasons why Adam didn't get elected would take a hell of a long time, but I'd have to suggest the whole 'vote for me to deal with your education, and to show how supportive of it I am, I'm pissing off elsewhere to get mine as soon as I've milked enough cash from you' part of his platform wouldn't have gained him too many votes.

Mixed news

While England winning a series in the Caribbean for the first time in 36 years is great news for cricket fans, it's probably causing all sorts of pain for Sunday newspaper editors. When you consider that the match wasn't completed until well after 10pm, with first editions of most Sundays available in London before then and national editions well on their way to being collated and sent out to the country, I wonder how many people will actually get a chance to read of the victory in the papers tomorrow?

So, as you probably won't see them in the paper tomorrow, here's the PA report (via the Scotsman), Vic Marks in the Guardian, Stephen Brenkley in the Independent and Scyld Berry in the Telegraph to complete your morning sports sections.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Via Doctor Vee comes this pointless, but strangely interesting, page of album covers redrawn from memory in MS Paint. (Warning: may take a while to load as there's a lot of images there, obviously)

Here's my contribution - if you know the album, then you should be able to recognise it, even given my poor artistic skills: