Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sayings I'd like to ban

Football commentators referring to penalty shootouts as a 'lottery'. Is there a saying for something that's gone so far beyond cliche, without even being vaguely accurate?

Pockets of Laotian speakers

Can be found in Southern California and Seattle as well as Arlen, Texas. That's just one thing among many you can find out from using this rather fun interactive language map of the US (found via Davos Newbies). If nothing else, the mosaic patterns the counties make are rather pretty.

Explanations and excuses

I've got a new post up on Fistful about how some of the surprises in Euro 2004 can be explained by where the players are working when they're not playing for their country.

Because a swivel-eyed loon is for five years, not just election time

Anthony continues his swivel-eyed loon updates with some news of what the UKIPpers have been doing with themselves for the last couple of weeks. It's been a busy time for them:
Well, at the rate we've seen so far the next five years should a rollercoaster ride of lunacy: the days following their election success have already seen one of their new Members of the London Assembly settle a libel action out of court with his own party chairman for associating him with the BNP, the aforementioned party chairman resign, one of their newly elected MEPs appear in court on charges of benefit fraud, the appointment of one of their phalanx of disgraced former MPs as chief executive of the party, and the party toddle off to Europe to form an alliance with the ultra-nationalist, Christian fundementalist, anti-semitic "League of Polish Families", which opposes the EU as an anti-christian plot by freemasons and includes the holocaust denier Ryszard Bender as a prominent member. By one's friends shall we judge them...

Meanwhile (via Doctor Vee) here's news of UKIP's big day out in Brussels:

Mark Croucher, UKIP's affable press officer, also does not want the country to be ruled by Brussels.

But as he climbs into his 4X4 at the end of the morning's events, he can at least see one upside to Europe.

He tells me he is off to load up on "cheap fags and booze" before heading back to Blighty.

Quote of the day

'Civilisation is common defence plus waste management'

Says Councillor Happy, and now he's responsible for one of them on Cambridge City Council.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Long live the Last International!

Ken Macleod has a couple of short posts that may or may not be connected to The Stone Canal in some way.

And you thought fiction and reality could only merge in Kim Newman stories.

A shocking deterioration in quality

Last week, Sarah wondered if Norm had reached the dregs. This week, he's clearly pierced the bottom of the barrel and is down among the who-knows-what that's accumulated beneath it.

Or in other words, I'm the subject of this week's Normblog profile.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

My top secret super plan is nearing fruition

That's the one where it turns out that Swansea University (and specifically the Student Union) is the real power-hub of Britain sometime in the future. Following on from a number of Swansea graduates being elected as Liberal Democrat councillors a couple of weeks ago, my fellow Swansea alumnus Nicola Davies has been named as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Hodge Hill by-election.

I'm off to practise my evil laugh and begin building a mountain fortress. No one can stop me!

It all started going downhill when they translated it from the Aramaic, you know...

Some wonderfully unintentional humour from Peter 'so close to God he doesn't need to go to church' Cuthbertson today:
How dare they second-guess Saint Paul and then write their own pathetic hormonal morality into his books?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know. After all, Paul seemed to spend most of his time second-guessing the message of Jesus and writing his own 'pathetic hormonal morality' into the canon of the church.

those fake Christians with their fake Bibles who use God's name to promote exactly the sort of values to which real Christianity has always been in fiercest opposition.

Yes, how dare they use the name of Jesus to promote that whole 'love one another as I have loved you' message. Don't they know that God's real message is one of smiting, anger, hellfire and eternal suffering for all who dare to question his infinite love?

Panic over

For those of you going cold turkey, unable to survive without a day of being told what to hate George Galloway for today (and, by the way, he's on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff right now, which I'm sure is another example of the media's shameless pro-Respect bias, or something), unable to survive without more navel-gazing about the failings of 'the left' to march in lockstep behind socialist revolutionary George Bush, unable to survive without getting involved in a giant pissing contest in a comments section, you can breathe easily again because Harry's Place is back.

Personally, I'm expecting a series of denunciations, show trials and purges to begin soon to identify which person (who, no doubt, is objectively pro-Stopper) was responsible for the internet having to go for all of 48 hours or so without the latest pearls of wisdom from Harry et al. It's the least we can expect...

Will this do?

Once again, Stephen Pollard steps where others fear to tread, fearlessly standing up to the forces that threaten society, fearless of the risk to himself in confronting such entrenched interests, daring to go where no journalist has gone for at least twenty-four hours in penning a critique of Glastonbury, based on extensive research in his head and The Cuthbertson/Scruton guide to whatever it is young people do to enjoy themselves nowadays, good lord, how terrible this modern culture is, bring back national service. (found via Bobbie)

I'm wondering what his next piece will be. Part of me thinks it'll be 'Wayne Rooney is a tosser' or 'Why I hate football' (though, as he's already confessed to supporting Spurs, we already knew that) though there's always other fearless contrarianism like 'Why more people should kick puppies', 'Jesus, how I hate the taste of ice cream', 'We must extinguish the sun now', 'How dare these nanny staters tell me that banging my head against a brick wall repeatedly might be bad for me and it could be a good idea for me to stop' or 'Really, newspapers will fill their comment sections with any old toss nowadays, won't they?'

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

First day at school

Continuing this blog's tradition of being the place to go to find what people are saying in BBC corporate emails, here's what Mark Thompson had to say to staff on his first day as Director-General:
Hello everyone.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself (or re-introduce myself!) on my first day back at the BBC.

One of the great things Greg did here was to transform the relationship between the DG and the rest of the organisation. He went out of his way to meet and talk to people, to keep them informed and to listen to them. Everyone thought they could e-mail him or button-hole him if they saw him.

We're starting a new chapter at the BBC but Greg's tradition of openness and friendliness is definitely one I want to continue. In fact, we may need to spend more time talking to each other in the coming months. In a week, we're launching our vision for the future - our contribution to the debate about the BBC's Charter. And we face a host of opportunities and issues, some of them quite complex and contentious.

So you'll be hearing plenty from me. This afternoon I'll speaking on the ringmain at 2 o'clock. The broadcast will also be streamed on Gateway. See below for broadcast details.

Next Tuesday, you'll be able to hear Michael Grade and me launching our Charter document. And I'm also going to do something I started at Channel 4 - a regular e-mail to all staff with news and some tips on what to look out for on our airwaves. You'll get the first one on Monday.

It's great to be back. I'm really looking forward to working with you.

All the best,


Public Service Announcement

Some hosting catastrophe means that Harry's Place is currently down. Norm has the full story.

No word yet on whether the 'Stoppers' are to blame for it, but I'm sure it'll turn out to be their fault, just like everything else is...

Monday, June 21, 2004

To the playa haters

I wonder if Tom Watson calls it a 'back room deal' when Labour make those sort of agreements? Or does he think it's all worked out by the magical powers of the No Overall Control fairy?

But then, of course, Labour councils do nothing wrong and are loved by all the people. Why anyone would want to vote them out is a mystery.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Worst. Archbishop of Canterbury. Ever.

Guaranteed to send certain people into apoplexy, Rowan Williams may be appearing as himself on The Simpsons - and unlike many rumours of this sort, it's backed up by quotes from the show's producers.

Plus, it may settle one of the great theological questions of our time - what church do the Simpsons belong to? Reverend Lovejoy's always seemed pretty Episcopalian to me, and this may confirm it.

Staggering lapses of judgement

I could write a lengthy post about the Observer's supposed 'Top 100 British albums' but I think all its flaws can be summed up by noting the simple fact that Pulp's Different Class isn't in it.

Lookalikes: Euro 2004 edition

Just watching the replay of Holland vs Czech Republic and noticed that the Czechs appear to be coached by veteran British character actor Peter Vaughan, under the alias 'Karel Bruckner':

The wonderful world of the iPod

I've temporarily joined the ranks of the iPodders, having borrowed one from a friend to keep me entertained on my journey into work. Suddenly I understand what all the fuss is about...and now I need to work out how I can afford to buy one for myself.