Tag Archives: rugby

Should Hayward be made to watch England?

Now I know how Tony Hayward feels.  I walked into the golf club on Saturday (after a reasonably good round) only to be the recipient of a broadside from a Scotsman, Brian Edwards.  He opened with ‘your blog isn’t funny, I got halfway through and gave up’.  With the Scots in buoyant mood after Friday’s footie debacle I really wasn’t expecting to have to deal with the one grumpy Scot (maybe he was upset by England beating Australia at rugby).  I love the World Cup as it costs the Scots a fortune in replica shirts; let’s hope we squeeze through on Wednesday and get the Germans.  I would love to see Mr Brian proudly wearing a German shirt.

Anyway just to keep the Scots happy and to continue with my policy of appeasing my American friends, below is the first funny of the day.

Cover of the New York Post

Closely followed by great observational humour courtesy of Alan Main (a Scot):

The England World Cup squad visited an Orphanage in South Africa today.

“It’s so great to put a smile upon the face of those who have no hope, and no prospects for the future”….said Thambo Mzuli, aged 6

If I was Tiny Hayward, and thank goodness I’m not, I too would be thinking I deserve a day off after stone walling the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the House of Representatives.  However here is where we deviate, whereas I would think hair shirt and a bit of purgatory, Mr Hayward had other ideas.  My trip to SA to watch England play would have extracted a lot of goodwill and sympathy from everyone.  Bottom of my list would have been to take my 40 foot yacht into the unpolluted waters off England for a pleasant sail around the Isle of Wight.  Who the whatever advises these guys?

BP CEO Tony Hayward criticised for yacht trip

With the Americans pressing for unlimited damages from BP ($20bn and climbing) it would be the perfect time to address the crime committed against the good people of India by a US company (sorry for the sombre note Brian but we need to keep this one in the public eye).

Bhopal 1984: 3,878 dead, Union Carbide (US company) paid in 1999 (i.e. 15 years later) the statutory max of $350m plus interest = $470m.

Moving swiftly back to funnies, third funny of the day is this Lego inspired replay of the England US game – brilliant.

And for my fourth – a naked bike ride around London to highlight how vulnerable you are when competing with cars on busy roads.  I wonder if it would be worth repeating the exercise in Dubai?

Cyclists strip off in central London for World Naked Bike Ride

My price watch this week is the highly recommended X-mini speaker (it’s brilliant) – Dubai silly prices strike again.

x mini speaker

Amazon £13.60, Sharaf DG AED 129

My music recommendation of the week is the brilliant new single by Sparklehorse with Julian Casablancas (of Strokes fame) on lead vocals.  Sparklehorse was the brain child of Mark Linkous who sadly took his own life in March of this year.

Also very sadly Andy Ripley died last week after a long battle against prostate cancer, he was a truly special character and rugby player, he managed to shine when England were absolutely rubbish.

Andy Ripley – a superstar who lit up our lives

Top 5 songs by Scots

  • Heaven; David Byrne Talking Heads
  • Road to nowhere; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • Psycho killer; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • Take me to the river; David Byrne, Talking Heads
  • This must be the place; David Byrne, Talking Heads

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The analytics of age

Someone has pointed out that my blogs need to promote ATOM more and re-reading some of the articles I have posted I can see that I wander off-piste rather a lot (ha, managed to get a sporting reference in straight off the bat; ooh there was another one).  Anyway this week my lead subject is Google Analytics.  It’s brilliant and I’m now an expert so if any of you want to better understand who is interested in what you have to say on your website I’m your man – if you have any really grown-up questions I have my wing man all prepared, step forward the mighty Matt ‘the stat’ Birch.  I have one criticism of Google Analytics and it concerns an Americanism.  At this point I have to say that I don’t share the common hatred of all things American.  I actually think they do some things very well, like, for example, peanut butter.  On Google Analytics the dates are upside down, month followed by day followed by year.  Now that is extra-specially dumb and I don’t think I need to explain why.

While on the subject of stats another one I came across was the description of a 31 year tennis player as a veteran.  Ouch.  Seven minutes 32 seconds later I discovered another horrid stat, a child laughs 300 times a day and an adult 15 times.  Now here is a promise, if you can spare thirty minutes to visit our office I promise the combined efforts of our jolly team will ensure you exceed your daily quota of giggles.  And before Mighty Marek of MMI fame comments below, it won’t be due to the work we present to you.

Talking of being a veteran at age 31, I woke up this morning seriously worried about where my life is heading.  Last year you may remember I was raving about the Maccabees brilliant new album; Wall of Arms (is album still a word?).  Now the Maccabees are a serious indie band, a little bit off the radar, so I felt very comfortable being an admirer.  This year I can’t stop playing Midlake and it’s horrible.  They are beardy sorts playing electronic folk and I can’t believe I just owned up to liking them.  I sense punk mark two is just around the corner to save me.

Tavistock College

Spot the difference

Princetown jail

Which is the school, which is the prison?

In mentioning the music I grew up with I am often accused of being a public schoolboy. I actually attended Tavistock Comprehensive School on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon. My school often got mistaken for Princetown Prison which lay around ten miles away.  I have just realised that my American friends did something else stupid, name an Ivy League University after an English prison (there is a spottable flaw in my argument).

Apologies for finishing on sport but following the 6 Nations rugby tournament I was trawling the reviews to try and get a better understanding of why England under-performed.  It wasn’t so much the losing it was the total lack of ambition.  Good players like Delon Armitage have somehow had all of their confidence surgically removed by the England coaches.  Jack Rowell the legendary Bath coach of old was pretty scary if you under-performed but he was a cuddly teddy bear of a man compared to the brooding Martin Johnson.  Armitage was so obviously out of form yet managed to start four of England’s matches while the bang in form Ben Foden sat warming the bench.

Anyway, enough of being an armchair critic, this is what a gentleman called Miles Kington concluded on the subject of England rugby: ‘Was William Webb Ellis really the first Englishman to pick up the ball and run with it?’ Probably not, but he was almost certainly the last.’

And now for something completely different, to try and rid myself of my alarming drift into folk I’m going for top 5 punk songs this week.

  • Beat on the Brat; Ramones
  • Anarchy in the UK; Sex Pistols
  • White Riot; Clash
  • Alternative Ulster; Stiff Little Fingers
  • Germ Free Adolescents; X-Ray Specs

I would be staggered if anyone out there can beat this list of classic anti-establishment songs but feel free to have a go.

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Breaking news – Islamic finance is not going to save the world

I was watching Mock the Week last week and apart from it being absolutely brilliant – topical, insightful and funny – it dawned on me that there are lots of news stories popping up on a regular basis that make you sit up and wonder.  With this in mind and having seen how other people nick stuff from newspapers to put in their blogs here is what caught my eye.

First up the very sad story of the Georgian luge rider who died at the Winter Olympics when he came off the track at nearly 100mph and hit a metal pylon.  These guys and girls are barking mad and I just watched the skeleton which looks the same as the luge – throwing yourself down a mountain on a tea tray – but with skeleton you do it head first.  Luckily you get to wear a helmet.  I hate to say it, but for anyone doing the skeleton there is a big elephant-sized clue in the name!  Back to the luge, the International Luge Federation, Vanoc and the police investigation has concluded it was the athlete’s fault.  I look the other way whenever I detect the aftermath of a car crash, a sort of back to front rubber-necker, but I couldn’t help but notice the metal pylon he hit was totally missing the sort of protectors you see on a set of rugby posts in a local park.  Oversight seems a very weak word when extreme negligence is bang on the money.

For a full report click on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/lizziegreenwoodhughes/2010/02/tragedy_of_terrifying_whistler.html

At this point I need to mention that on the mad dogs and Englishman principle we are good at head-first down mountains.  Well done to Amy Williams for winning Britain’s first winter Olympics gold since forever – she comes from Bath and her training track goes down the side of one the grassy hills that surround this most beautiful of cities.

Back to a local story and the strange case of the missing in action saviour of the world’s financial system – Islamic Banking.  Now I’m one of the millions that struggles with the concept of Islamic Banking but got very excited when I was told it means you won’t be charged interest on loans. As a result I was first in the Tamweel queue when I was thinking of buying a property.  I swotted up and listened very carefully and as a result discovered you pay profit rather than interest and the very sad news is the profit rate is set at about 100 times what you would expect to pay in interest.  Now we’re told Nakheel’s struggles to repay a 4.1bn Islamic bond in December were the result of the inherent risk aspects of Islamic banking.  Quoting from Arabian Business:

Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, are governed by Shariah laws, which ban the payment of interest and stipulates agreements be based on the transfer of goods or services. Commenting the chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Tirad Mahmoud, said “When you put a deposit with the bank, we don’t say, ‘This rate is what you are going to get.’ We say, ‘This is the expected profit rate. If anyone says there is profit without risks, they are not telling you the truth.”

For the full article click on: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/581583-adib-chief-islamic-banking-not-to-blame-for-nakheel-woes

On a less serious note (or so I thought when I first saw the story) was Andy Powell’s exploits in a golf buggy after the Wales v Scotland rugby international.  Now I remember the glorified stories of Willie John McBride’s 1974 Lions Tour when they trashed hotel rooms across NZ and invented the 99 call which was the signal for an all-in televised brawl (a sort of WWF but for real).  I’ve also been involved in various rugby tours which included behaviour such as borrowing a sheep from the local farmer and bedding it down for the night in the coach’s bedroom.  What made me smile were all of the old players pitching in to call Andy Powell an idiot for behaving like they used to do.  ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t take clothes off’ springs to mind.

For full details of Andy’s exploits click on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2010/feb/14/andy-powell-golf-buggy-wales

To end in the traditional way here are my top five vocalists of all time.  I presume that you agree with my choices as I wasn’t contradicted last week.  Or do you…?

  • Ozzy Osbourne
  • Edwin Starr
  • Johnny Cash
  • Florence Prosser
  • Aretha Franklin


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