Saturday, June 19, 2004

Surprising places to learn things

In a Jeremy Clarkson column, no less.

First, on Richard Littlejohn, that staunch defender of all things British, a man who stands by his country through thick and thin:
Littlejohn, you need to know, spends a deal of time in a gated community in Florida. Much of his family lives in Detroit. He really thinks America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. If you cut him in half . . . I’d be grateful.

And then, for all those conservatarians who seem to believe that Clarkson is the last defender within the evil BBC of all they believe to be noble and good while standing up to those who want to make us all Europeans:

I, on the other hand, feel more at home in a Zurich tram station than I do in the bar of a Ritz-Carlton hotel. And I have more in common with my dog than I do with the immigration officers at an American airport.

It’s the little things that baffle me most of all. The way every coffee shop plays Pachelbel’s canon in D on the Muzak system, the way the middle classes don’t wear socks, the way they address one another in such loud voices across the hotel swimming pool, the inability they all have to locate themselves, or anyone else, on a map of the world, the love affair with country music, the mullets, the television ad breaks, the way they don’t offer you a cup of coffee or a drink when you go to their houses. I always feel like a civilised human being at a garden party for very rich apes.
...
Imagine my horror then when my wife casually announced the other day she’d like a pick-up. “What,” I exclaimed, “in the name of all that’s holy, do we want one of those for?” We’re European. We were sipping tea while the Americans were shooting Indians. We’ve had 2,000 years to get used to civilisation, not 20 minutes. We’re advanced, we’re slim, we’re at the cutting edge of evolution. We think that shooting bears is daft. Budweiser gives us a headache and we think George Bush is an arse. So why in God’s name do we want to drive around in a car made from a hen house and two bits of railway track?

This, of course, is the man who started his chat show by removing America from the map of the world and throwing it in the bin, but some people like to forget that.

2020 in 2012?

The International Cricket Council has put forward an interesting proposal - to use Twenty20 as a way to get cricket into the Olympics. While it's certainly possible that the chance of cricket getting into the Games could be slim - after all, there are a lot of sports that would like to be in the Olympics and only a finite number that can be included - Twenty20 does seem like a good way of doing it as I think it offers a much more open game, and hence a chance for the smaller countries to compete with the Test nations, than the regular one day format.

England and Australia are already scheduled to play the first international Twenty20 games during the Ashes series next year and it'll be interesting to see how that goes, and whether other nations will want to play it when they come to England, or even stage their own games.

One idea I've had for Twenty20 internationals would be quite fun if anyone was to adopt it - a four team tournament over three days. As the finals day has shown, it's possible to stage three Twenty20 games in one stadium in one day (provided it's floodlit, of course) so one could stage three knock-out tournaments (two 'semi-finals' and a final on each day) with each team getting to play each of the others in the opening fixtures over the three days and the overall winner determined by who does the best over the three days. It could feature the hosts, one or two touring sides and another one or two lower-tier national sides (Ireland, Holland, Wales or Scotland in an England-hosted tournament, for instance). So, if anyone from the ECB happens to be reading, get in touch and we'll talk...

Endorsements

Having previously mentioned QFlicks and how good they seemed to be, it seems only right that I should mention I've now cancelled my membership with them. Firstly, because when they were good they were good and when they were bad they were non-communicative and very slow to respond to any problems and secondly, because Blockbuster have now started a similar service that's cheaper, so I'll let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile, on another blog...

I'e just added a couple of things to Fistful - a short bit on the Constitution agreement and the lack of agreement on a new Commission President, and some news on Croatia becoming an official EU candidate state.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Decision making for dummies

UEFA have said that Wayne Rooney should be credited with England's second goal yesterday. It's not too much of a surprise, but given that at the last World Cup FIFA officially credited Ronaldo as the scorer of a goal when he hadn't even touched the ball, there was always the possibility of a strange decision.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

If you've done six impossible things before breakfast...

Developed 'weapons of mass destruction'? Been an illicit source of information on them for other countries and organisations? Overthrown democracy? Abused human rights? Helped to set up the Taliban in Afghanistan? Sabre-rattled with your nearest neighbour and sought to destabilise a region?

Why not round your day off by becoming a 'major ally of the United States'?

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Later, the commission went on to state that the sky is generally blue and that apples grow on trees

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bits and bobs

Anyone know what the turnout was for the 1989 European Parliament Election in the UK? I'm wondering if the Greens' 14.9% there was more or less as a percentage of the total the swivel-eyed mob got this time.

So, is UKIP really the political wing of the Rotary Club? Seeing the wonderful diversity of their MEPs on the news this evening (yes, some of them wore suits that weren't pinstripe and their hair all comes in varying shades of grey) it seems slightly more appropriate than the political wing of the Daily Mail. That old description of the Masons - the mafia of the mediocre - comes to mind as well.

No Canadian GP review, I'm afraid. The convergence of England beating New Zealand and losing to France meant something had to lose out and unfortunately Graham Thorpe was batting far too well in a nervewracking game to change the channel.

As of tonight's results, I am going to be looking for Swedish ancestors so I can justify supporting them.

Anyone else wonder if UKIP's poor level of support in Wales and Scotland has anything to do with their lack of support for devolution there and just how hypocritical that stance is? After all, if one believes that nations shouldn't be part of 'superstates' then surely you really ought to be cheering the breakup of some failed attempt to unify diverse cultures that can't even come up with a coherent geographic name. Sorry, I'm trying to use logic to explain the thought-processes of swivel-eyed loons. My bad.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Can I go back to my own universe please?

There's something seriously wrong with this one. I know crazy things happen all the time, but surely the Reverend Sun Myung Moon being crowned as some kind of 'King of Peace'/messiah figure in a US Senate building belongs in The Onion, not in real life?
Should Americans be concerned that on March 23rd a bipartisan group of Congressmen attended a coronation at which a billionaire, pro-theocracy newspaper owner was declared to be the Messiah – with royal robes, a crown, the works? Or that this imperial ceremony took place not in a makeshift basement church or a backwoods campsite, but in a Senate office building?

Alternate voting systems

Those of you who like to ponder on the effects of different voting systems might find this discussion on soc.history.what-if about a 'negative vote' system quite interesting.

Waiting for the night

I get the feeling that the Government will be hoping for a big England victory tonight at Euro 2004. After all, that might just push what's looking like another bad night at the polls off the front pages. The Telegraph's front page story sets out a rather unhappy picture for the Prime Minister (and it's not too good for Michael Howard, either) with Labour facing the possibility of another third place finish, but behind the swivel-eyed loons this time.

And while some may worry about the prospect of Kilroy-Silk contesting Leicester South for the Flat Earth Society that the article mentions, I think it might be quite fun. After all, if reports in Private Eye and elsewhere are correct and the not-bright, but definitely orange, loon doesn't take up his position as an MEP if he's elected, it's a rather large stick to beat him with throughout the campaign - 'Why should anyone vote for you when there's no guarantee you'll actually do the job you're elected for?'

Strange things to search for

To the person who came looking for this, I'm sorry you didn't find what you were looking for.

Well, maybe not.