Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gosling breaks his duck

Well, everyone else is at it so why can't I jump on the Gosling pun bandwagon.

Everton 3-0 Sunderland: "The inspirational Mikel Arteta gave Everton the lead with a free-kick after 10 minutes and quickly added a second with a deflected 20-yard shot.

Sunderland improved after the break but barely threatened Everton's defence.

And 18-year-old substitute Dan Gosling slid in his first goal for the club with seven minutes remaining."

Ah...I love it when Everton do that. In truth it wasn't a classic but the toffees were comfrtable and poor Sunderland were pretty hapless. Mikel Arteta has been superb in the last few games and today he was awesome. Dan Gosling came on and capped a great week with a goal and it was no more than we deserved. Phil Neville unleashed a 35 yard piledriver that just went over the bar otherwise it would have been the perfect day.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jesus is born.

Aw, it's difficult not to smile when you read this story :

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Peru Christmas baby named Jesus: "A Peruvian woman called Virgen Maria, who is married to a carpenter, has named her son Jesus Emanuel after giving birth on Christmas Day.

Twenty-year-old Virgen Maria Huarcaya Palomino had not been due to give birth on Thursday, but went into labour early and underwent a Caesarean operation."

and it was difficult not to smile yesterday as Everton ran out easy 1-0 winners (Are we they only team who are head and shoulders above other teams and still end up coming home with the slenderest of margins all the time) against boro who despite looking fairly good earlier in the season are now looking dodgy.

Tim netted again for us but the story of the game is Dan Gosling making an assured debut. It was would have been nice for him to cap it with a goal (he had two very easy chances) but who's complaining. The blues are 6th now and all the other results went for us.

Boro 0-1 Everton

I still think we are vulnerable and are miles behind Villa and Arsenal but at least we are now well placed to give it a go at being the best of the rest.

Villa just seem to have the luck this season without being particularly impressive, can't see us getting anywhere near them now. Arsenal will get stronger I think. Everton's main worry is what's coming up behind them. There are a lot of teams with a lot more in their locker...Whilst the blues are certainly no worse than them we need to keep up our form and get some strikers in to take the pressure off. Cahill, Fellaini, Pienaar, Osman, Neville and Arteta have all been immense in recent weeks leading the line and Jags, Yobo, Bains, Hibbert, Lescott and Howard have been equally brilliant at the back but we do need a recognised goalscorer sharpish.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stuey's song of the day - The Frug by Rilo Kiley

Gentle indie-college rock from Rilo Kiley, an American band I've only discovered recently through their lead singer Jenny Lewis.

The Frug by Rilo Kiley

Everton 0-0 Chelsea

Everton 0-0 Chelsea

Thoroughly enjoyed that last night, I read a lot of reports saying how it was a dull game. I thought it was a proper full-blooded, English footy match and one of the most rivetting 0-0s I've seen in ages. A lot will be made of the Terry's sending off but you've got to go off for that...a 50/50 ball and you go in straight with your foot up and your studs showing...always going to be a red.

After that I think Chelsea did well and deserve a lot of credit. Cech and Drogba especially. Ballack and Deco do look like flat track bullies though. For Everton I thought Jagielka, Lescott, Yobo, Hibbert and Neville were all outstanding. Credit to the entire team really. Pienaar had a frustrating evening but didn't hide for a second. Fellaini looks like such a classy footballer...he looks better and better each time I see him, if he could just up his work rate slightly to disrupt the opposition a bit more he would be a world beater.

So a point, can't complain because the goal was definitely a foul on Cech (although not offside as the linesman seemed to call it). We've played really well in the last 3 games...nice to see us getting a bit of stability because it's such a funny season this year. You are looking Europe one week and relegation the next.

One of the highlights of the night for me was the mascot living the dream in the pre-match build-up. He ran from the half way line, buried it from 5 yards, peeled off doing an AJ, ran all the way to to the corner flag to do a much cheering from the Gwladys.

Christmas is coming

Brilliant article on Christmas by David Mitchell. I loved his quote on The Unbelievable Truth Christmas special about how he hates people who take their Christmas cracker hat off straight away and how he keeps his on so long that when he finally removes it it feels like it's still there.

One thing though David :

To test your suitability for this fight, consider your reaction to the phrase: "We actually had goose this year." It's not the nature of your reaction that's important, but its strength. I'm hoping for a strong one. Either: "Yes of course, goose is a much tastier meat and an older tradition. I can't believe those turkey-eating scum are suffered to live. They should be locked up in the same hell sheds where the bland objects of their culinary affection are chemically spawned." Or, and this is the one I favour: "Fuck off back to Borough Market with your talk of goose deliciousness. We're supposed to eat turkey - that's now the tradition. Stop pretending you're Victorian, drop this obsession with flavour and get defrosting a Bernard Matthews."

Goose IS loads nicer!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Liverpool to bring Capital of Culture year to a close on the River Mersey

Liverpool is to host its biggest free event as its year as Capital of Culture comes to an end at its waterfront.

Cultural venues across the city will be open later into the night as part of a special Transition Light Night.

It will be held on 10 January 2009 - a year to the day the city officially launched its culture year.

The evening will start with a "People's Celebration" at the new-look Pier Head. The show concludes with a pyrotechnic finale fired from ships on the river.

It will use the Museum of Liverpool's waterfront window as a cinema screen, with showing also at the New Mersey Ferry terminal and at the Arena Liverpool on Kings Dock.

The IT Crowd

Loving the IT Crowd, it's ace.

Discovered the Reynholm Industries Website. The staff intranet is superb as is Moss's homepage.

There is also Facebook groups for FriendFace and Cuke.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Apparitions at your local church

I don't watch a lot of telly, mainly just QI and MotD so it came as no surprise that I missed Apparitions last night but thanks to the joys of the BBC iPlayer I can catch up.

BBC iPlayer : Apparitions Episode 6

Why, I hear you ask am I interested? Well it was filmed at Holy Trinity in Garston which is where I go when I'm not feeling sprightly enough to nip to 9:15 mass at St Francis of Assisi. Kind of weird to see such a famliar building used as a film set (especially as they seem to reversed it for the external shots). (It's the church scene about 10 minutes in).

Anyway none of the priests in the show were Father Ron so I'm going to grumble...although it would be pretty cool to go to mass and find out that the celebrant was Fr Doyle-from-The-Professionals!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten & Buon Natale

Stuey and Anne's Christmas pictures 2008

Ben Johnson's Capital of Culture portrait of Liverpool

I love this picture, superbly done.

Liverpool : Capital of Culture portrait

The detail is amazing both in the foreground and in the distance. Nice to see Goodison Park just lurking on the edge of it too.

On the Liverpool Museum website there is a nifty little viewer that allows you to zoom in on the various bits.

Some good images of the painting's development here too

Everton makes a teeny tiny profit

But a profit nonetheless.

Everton announce record turnover

Everton have revealed a record turnover of £75.7m and a slight pre-tax profit in their latest financial results.

Revenue for the financial year ending 31 May 2008 increased by 47% compared to the previous 12-month period.

A profit of £6.8m compares to a loss of £500,000 the year before, but transfers reduced pre-tax profits to £260,000, although last year £9.4m was lost.

Pretty decent really, but you'd expect that considering how good a season we had in 07/08...we obviously benefitted from the EUFA Cup and League Cup runs. You'd wonder what next years will be like given the fact that everyone is feeling the pinch and football grounds in general seem a lot emptier than they have done in ages.

In other news it seems James Vaughan has finally undergone his knee operation (how many players are that unlucky that their surgeon get's injuries as well?). Please, please, please let him get back fit again. Not really for Everton, just for him...he's such a good young player and he's been desperately unlucky over the years. You just fear that he'll never really get himself fit enough for long enough to establish himself. He's got all the skill & talent you need, now he just needs games.

Little Donkey...more problems

Quite like this, a good way to bring the problems of the Holy Land into focus for us westerners.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool walking from Nazareth to Bethlehem, retracing the journey made by Joseph and Mary, pregnant with Our Lord. He's keeping an online video diary and a blog as he does so :

BBC : The Road to Bethlehem

Will be following with interest.

"Two donkeys down, I crossed into the West Bank alone" is a great quote.

At Christmas and Easter especially it's always particularly poigniant to hear of the suffering and strife in places we are so familiar with from The Bible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Press the red button

This will be a good site to bookmark

BBC digital/freeview "red button" scedules.

Sometimes you just stumble upon a little sporting treat on there like I did a few weeks back with the utterly brilliant Munster V All Blacks game.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Harumble. What a brilliant Saturday!

So, the weekend. Has to be said it was a good'n. It started at an eerily quiet Goodison Park as Anne, myself and some mates met up for the Fighting Talk special that was coming from Goodison Park. It was, from start to finish, absolutely brilliant. Loved it. Colin Murray was a great laugh as were Bob Mills, Pat Nevin, Tim Brabants and John Aldridge.

Everyone there seemed to have a great time and if the resulting radio was a bit edgy and near the knuckle actually being there made it a whole lot more outrageous (and all the funnier for it). If they do more of them live I'd go to them all and I'd definitely recomend it to anyone.

It was Tim Brabants first time on the show and you could tell he was really nervous but he was superb. It was great to meet Sarah Ayub who's one of the cricket afficianados from Facebook.

So then fast forward to 3pm, on a Saturday....for some crazy reason some weirdo had scheduled Everton and Man City to kick-off on Saturday afternoon. Bonkers, it'll never catch on. Without a proper striker Everton were always going to struggle, still after last week's crushingly cruel defeat a reaction was vital. A 0-0 would have been brilliant so for Tim Cahill to pop up at the death and knock home a corner for the win was just fantastic. That was just what they needed and deserved after last week. Chuffed.

Man City 0-1 Everton

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look at the stars

Big moon and asteroids! Woohoo

Sounds like it should be fairly interesting tonight...must remember to look up.

Each month the Moon orbits the Earth in an oval-shaped path, and on December 12 it will move past it around 28,000km closer than average.

The unusual feature is that this will coincide with a full moon, which will make it appear 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than most full moons this year, on Friday night.

Astrologists say the next encounter with a moon this close and full will not be until November 14 2016.

To make the sight even more spectacular much of Britain should be treated to a phenomenon known as the Moon illusion.

This is an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky.

Psychologists have tried to explain this as a trick of the eye, as the landscape on the horizon appears to make the Moon loom much larger, an effect that disappears as the Moon rises above the horizon.

Another astronomical treat that could be seen over the weekend is the annual Geminid meteor shower, one of the year's best displays of shooting stars.

Up to 100 meteors an hour can fly across the sky. The meteors, which are easy to spot with the naked eye, appear to shoot out from the constellation Gemini, hence their name, but they can be seen all over the sky.

The best chance of seeing them is to look away from the Moon.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful

I am too gutted to comment on yesterday's game (I've felt so utterly robbed after a footy match apart from a derby) but I did notice this today :

New waterfront stadium plans for Everton.

Please, please, please let there be something to this. PLEASE!

This is the site if you want to look it up Stanley Dock & Clarence Dock. Note the circus there when the satelite image was taken. :) ;) :P

Friday, December 05, 2008

Weird randomness of the day!

Okay, it's Friday and so I've decided that today is Meso-American God day here on Things and Stuff :









Have I missed out your favourite...let me know!

Poetry corner

Love this poem :

'The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered'

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs.

The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I rejoice.
It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
Beneath the yoke.
What avail him now his awards and prizes,
The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
His individual new voice?
Knocked into the middle of next week
His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
The sinker, clinkers, dogs and dregs,
The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
The unbudgeable turkeys.

Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
His unmistakably individual new voice
Shares the same scrapyart with a forlorn skyscraper
Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots--
One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
"My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
Though not to the monumental extent
In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
To the book of my enemy,
Since in the case of my own book it will be due
To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error--
Nothing to do with merit.
But just supposing that such an event should hold
Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
By the memory of this sweet moment.
Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am glad.

Clive James

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Stuey's song of the day

Stuey's song of the day : Jumpers by Sleater Kinney

Song meanings

The Fox

Cool site that debates the meanings of songs. Although in the case of The Fox by Sleater Kinney I reckon it just a whole load of randomness.

"On the day the duck was born. The fox was watching all along"

This is another great, great site that's been around for years Kiss This Guy, for all those misheard lyrics.

"The algebra has a devil for a sidekick eeeeeeeeee...."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Spot the difference

David Norris makes a gesture in support for a convicted criminal - big fine

liverpool fc players make a gesture in support of a convicted criminal - no action

Not a comment on the Michael Shields case, my thought on that relate mainly towards the sheep-like Groupthink so rampantly enforced across the park...just a comment on the rank hypocrisy where the the FA comes down on the likes of David Norris like a tonne bricks whereas liverpool fc can get away with anything and the FA just ignores them 'cause they know it'll just result in an outpouring of righteous indignation.

Pathetic, but par for the course when it comes to the 'big' four.

The Guardian's Fiver put it better than I can :

Now the Fiver is simple folk - we can't even spell M Night Showaddywaddy, never mind understand his films - but after a wasted life of rifling through Spot The Difference puzzle books, there is one thing we're good at. And after hours of staring REALLY HARD at our ZX81 screen, we've spotted the difference between the cases of David Norris and Liverpool FC. Norris was fined £5,000 for a gesture in support of a man convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. Liverpool FC today went unpunished for their collective gesture in support of a man convicted of attempted murder.
The Michael Shields case is one of the most sensitive and emotive in this country's history, and a judicial review will begin tomorrow. We have no idea if he is guilty or not: we're simply not in a position to comment with even a smidgen of authority (so what's new etc). But surely we are entering extremely uncomfortable territory if we allow public perceptions of a miscarriage of justice to supplant that which has been established in a court of law. A lot of people think Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol is a good film; it doesn't mean it is. (Actually it's a belter, the pick of a blisteringly funny series, but you get the point.)
Besides, are the players really so familiar with the minutiae of the case that they can wear such T-shirts with a clear conscience? Does Alvaro Arbeloa, say, have a theory as to why a number of witnesses came forward to say they saw Shields batter Martin Georgiev over the head with a seven-pound paving slab, fracturing his skull? And given what happened to Norris, are we to assume it's one rule for 27-year-old midfielders called David who play in East Anglia and one rule for the rest?
"We understand that Michael Shields's case is one that many Liverpool players and fans feel strongly about," said an FA spokesman, as the Kenny Dalglish pin-badge he had just hidden down his pants accidentally pierced his swingers, splashing blood all over the journalists' buffet, not that they'd mind. "Having heard the club's explanation we will not be taking any formal action, and we are satisfied that they understand the sensitivities around football matches being used as a platform for political messages." If that was the case we wouldn't be writing this, would we? 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Google Street View hits New Zealand!

Mount Eden, Auckland

I am obsessed with Google Maps and Google Street it, love it, love it. I can now explore all the places we visiting in NZ. The link above is Mount Eden, a small extinct volcano in Auckland. The reason I've linked to it is thatI remember a funnny story about some blokes sneaking up there on the morning of April 1st and putting a load of old tires in there and setting them alight so that residents woke up to the sight of thick smoke pouring out of their local volcano. Make me smile whenever I think about it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Travel map (again (possibly))

I think I've done this before but here is my latest travel map.

Powered by 29travels

Aren't I just a big old travel bore!

Restaurant owner uses Facebook to track down bill dodgers

Too darned depressed about Everton to post anything about their dire, dire performance against Wigan. Suffice to say that that side should be more than capable of holding their own at this level. I know dross when I see it and those players are nowhere even close. In the past Everton teams were just not good enough and so results like that were understandable if not acceptable. These players are a million miles away from the journeymen of the past and that's what makes it all the more annoying. Come on lads, remember how good you are!

Anyway in order to lighten up the mood this is great :

Restaurant owner uses Facebook to track down bill dodgers

Peter Leary from seafood restaurant Seagrass on Melbourne's Southbank was fuming when the diners ate their way through the menu, pairing oysters, trout and red emperor with some expensive wines, slipped out for a cigarette -- and never returned.

But Leary, left with an unpaid bill of A$520 ($340), remembered one of the diners asking about a former waitress, whom he then contacted and she suggested they check through some contacts on Facebook.

"We searched a few names and there in front of us his face came up," Leary told Reuters, referring to one of the diners.

"He was pictured with his girlfriend who was the only girl in the group. We also knew where he worked, at a nearby restaurant, which was handy. It'd been clear they were in the trade."

Leary contacted the manager of the other restaurant, where both the man and his girlfriend worked, and explained the situation.

Within hours the diner returned to apologize and paid the bill -- and left a generous tip for the staff.

Leary said the fellow restaurateur called him later to inform him that both the man and his girlfriend had been sacked.

Brilliant stuff, you've got to laugh at that. Well done to the restaurant owner.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Woohoo, my Google bomb seems to have worked

It's took me a couple of months but at long last Nice Stuart Brandwood (Ie me) is now above Not Nice Stuart Brandwood (some weirdo who confessed to lots of debauchery in a Jerry Springer hoasted tv game show).

Over the last couple of months I've been SEOing for all I'm worth by pointing as many links as possible at a page containing some photos I submitted to the BBC website. This week it's finally paid off because the BBC page is now above the Daily Mail page (which should always be the case in my book).

Anyway thanks Google, having the other bloke above me was getting a bit worrying.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Space Spider on the loose

Spider in Space

If this isn't the first twenty minutes of s dodgy sci-fi action film I don't know what is :

First it was a tool bag, now NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station have misplaced an orb-weaver spider.

The bug was taken into space aboard the shuttle Endeavor last week, but was reported missing after crew found its tank empty.

But Nasa managers have insisted that the orb-weaver was not exactly lost, just temporarily misplaced..

“We don’t believe that it’s escaped the overall payload enclosure,” Kirk Shireman, Nasa’s deputy space station programme manager told the Times.

“I’m sure we’ll find him spinning a web sometime here in the next few days."

The spider was one of two orb-weavers taken into space for a three-month research mission.

It was hoped the missing spider might have sought refuge in its neighbour's tank, but the remaining spider has spun a web so thick, to cope with the zero-gravity conditions, that is is impossible to check.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back to sport...

Right so back to matters sporting...Everton were pretty unlucky not to beat boro at the weekend. Very annoying, an early lapse cost us a goal in the first ten minutes and from then on in we dominated the game. It was an annoying afternoon realy but Yakubu finally popped up with an equaliser.

Two points dropped really but other results seemed to go our way so we stayed in position in the mix with Villa.

England were similarly annoying against Australia on Saturday...The Aussies didn't really show anything amazing but ultimately England gave away tonnes of easily kickable penalties and that was that.

On Tuesday I stumbled upon Munster V New Zealand....what an awesome sporting contest. Munster gave absolutely everything and we SO unlucky not to come away with a famous win against an admittedly understrength All Blacks side. Brilliant stuff, well done to the BBC for putting it on.

BNP Membership list goes online!!!!!

This, it has to be said is very, very funny. The entire membership for the British National Party (BNP) has been leaked and published online.

Let's face it, if you are going to be a fully paid up member of a vile, racist, facist organisation that paints itself as a legitimate political party then you'd hope it's hatemonger members would have the courage of their convications to be open about their views.

This is one of their make amusing reading with all the panicking comments about how they are all going to lose their jobs. Aparently their is policemen, teachers and a vicar in the list. Hope they are sweating now. Surely this is legitimate schadenfreude :

"Jesus H Christ! Its true, I've just seen my details. Who in the BNP has done this?"

"I'm also on the list, what the f*ck is going on? I could lose my job"

"I've just had a call, I'm on it to. I want my f*cking member money back, like has been mentioned here, I could lose my fucking job. I'm bloody angry."

Squirm you racist scum, squirm!

Hats off to whoever did this.

Liverpool FC try to kidnap Liver Bird

cultural imperialists try to steal city's symbol

Oh look, liverpool fc being cultural imperialists :

The owners of Liverpool Football Club have applied to register the Liver Bird as their trademark, prompting the city council to take legal advice.

The club have applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office to register the image for £450.

Bosses hope it will stem the tide of counterfeit Liverpool merchandise bearing the famous Liver Bird emblem.

But Liverpool City Council said the club had "no right" to claim the bird as its own.

Deputy council leader Flo Clucas said the council was taking legal advice over the trademark application.

"I have some very real concerns over it," she said.

"They do already have their crest trademarked, but they have no right of ownership to claim the bird, or any version of the bird, as their own.

"The Liver Bird, not only does it appear on the Royal Charter for the council, but it is also used by local businesses and schools.

"It belongs to the city and nobody has a right to claim it exclusively as the own. It's a symbol for the city."

That is a new low from a club you used to be able to respect even though you disliked them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rugby union re-structuring

Plans for a Rugby Union championship gaining momentum

"Members of the Rugby Football Union's council have backed setting up a new professional 12-team Championship to replace National League One.

Earlier the umbrella body for National League One clubs, First Division Rugby, had called the prospect of the new championship "financial suicide".

But six League One clubs subsequently gave the proposal their support.

The RFU said the vote to support the formation of a new competition was carried by an "overwhelming majority".

Coventry, Doncaster, Exeter, London Welsh, Nottingham and Plymouth Albion were the teams who sent a memo to the RFU council urging them to vote in the change.

It concluded: "We sincerely request your support in moving the development of level two rugby into the professional era without further delay."

The RFU believe the Championship is "the way forward" for English rugby, but FDR chairman Geoff Irvine responded by stating he was "amazed" the RFU had made the memo public "on behalf of a minority group of six clubs".

Under the RFU's plans, the leading Division One sides this season would become Championship founder members - if they agree to turn professional.

Interesting developments...I'd hope this will see a stronger higher profile set of teams for the various under-represented regions whilst reducing travelling costs and stabilising the lower tiers. That REALLY needs doing. Waterloo are really struggling this season...all these trips to the south west are proving a huge millstone.

David Moyes - Manager of the Year!

Congratulations to David Moyes for scooping the Manager of the year award at the Northwest Football Awards. He did do an absolutely outstanding job last season, I mean ultimately there was only really one blip and that was the FA Cup defeat to Oldham. Great runs in the UEFA & Carling cups and finishing 5th, can't really complain about that.

Oddly enough I was also looking closely at these awards because one of the companies I'm currently working with, JMC, were up for an award for. They provide IT solutions for quite a few of the clubs in the north west so congrats to them too.

Amusing thing of the day...people getting annoyed about John Sergeant

Boo hoo, I'm the star of the show not John Sergeant

It's all a bit pathetic really, all the catty judges & reality TV addicts getting all bothered because people are treating their precious 'talent' show with the contempt it deserves.

Reality TV is just nonsense and celebrity based reality TV is nonsense x 100 end of story. Don't complain if the public decide to have a bit of mischeif.

And while we are at it can the BBC presenter stop referring to it as "Strictly" please. It's just annoying.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The big one

It doesn't really matter what is at stake, England V Australia is always massive. England looked good last week against the Pacific Islanders but this is a big test. Me and Anne will be doing Christmas shopping tomorrow but at 14:30 that's got to stop and beer and rugby takes over.

Bit gutted about England's dismal performance in the cricket today. That Stamford Series really has disrupted things.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

at what point does a superstition become silly

West Ham 1-3 Lucky Conkers

That is very un-Everton....the scenes in the Everton end after the second goal were utterly bananas, I know footy fans do generally go nuts when their teams scores but the looked something else. An utterly seething sea of joy. God bless The People's Club.

Brilliant to see Everton do something amaxing like that once again.

I love it when they make me love them.

Was in the Waterloo clubhouse for the closing stages of the game, I'd just resorted to extolling my lucky conkers in order to fashion a turnaround in Everton's fortunes. Certain bluenoses in the immediate vicinity were just telling me how silly the whole thing was when we equalised, took the lead and made the game safe.

Friday, November 07, 2008

catching up

So where to begin, well. Number one...Everton. We dominated the first half without even having them truly on the ropes. We trudged off honours even in terms of chances but optimistic. Fellaini had been imperious in winning posession and distributing it (He also hit the post and should have had a penalty).

The second half was all different Fulham got a lot tighter and Fellaini looked a lot les effective. He doesn't rampage around the midfield, merely just imposes himself. In a quicker, more frantic game he was much less effective. The Gwladys St nerves started jangling and Moyes responded with early, positive substitutions. Pienaar is the opposite, a limited player who just takes the games by the scruff of the neck & gives absolutely everything.

The only problem was that it was Pienaar and Fellaini who made way. Evertonians, it has to be said, were bewildered. Fulham were the better team in the second half there is no denying it but late on Osman stroked over a perfect cross for Saha (who'd come on for Fellaini) to head home...and that was that. A nervy & tense end to a week that had seen us gain 7 points and climb to 7 place.

So then onto Lewis Hamilton, after him being so dreadfully unlucky last year it was great to see him bring it home this year. But Lewis, the last corner or the last lap of the last race? Let's do it a bit easier next time. It's superb though, he is just a great bloke. It's great when the nice guys finish first (although you do have to feel sorry for Massa).

And then over to doesn't matter about your feelings for that particularly country, it doesn't matter how turned off by politics you are...Barack Obama winning is truly inspirational. He's such a charismatic orator and for a black man to be President of the United States of America only 50 years after the repression of segregation is amazing.

One more thing, the this thing with cheating footballer Steven Gerard just running into players and get a penalty whenever he feels like is just getting ridiculous now. Never, ever, let a rednose bemoan young Ronaldo's 'diving' without challenging them on it. It's truly pathetic. Equally pathetic was Bernie Ecclestone making excuses for the blacked-up Spanish fans who gave Lewis Hamilton racial abuse at Barcelona. Happily the media has been quick to condemn it. If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

And that's it...I think we are upto date.

Autumn internationals at the weekend....bring it on.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

so much to do

So much to blog and so little time.

How annoying that I haven't got round to blogging the recent momentus events. Everton keep consequetive clean sheets and America elects a black president....astounding.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The big decision 08...which online betting site to use

So as America gears up for it's big decision this week a fair few of us are glued to our online gambling websites. Yes I know the future of the free world is at stake and the dawning of a new political era is about to happen but following on very closely to this concern is online gambling concerns.

You see as the pundits go over the polls and every move McCain, Obama, Biden and Palin make is micro-analysed a fair few of us a looking at online betting shop websites and thinking "5-1 is a very good price in a two horse race".

(Incidentally Google have recently relaxed their restrictions on advertising online casinos and gaming sites.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Killer badgers

I am not a big fan of Twitter but one of my Twitter buddies Emma Jones posted this :

Overheard... Colleague 1: "I wish it had been killer badgers." Colleague 2: "It's always badgers with you, isn't it? Badgers, or sex..."

c'mon...comedy gold that. No doubt about it.

Cubs / Cards tattoo curse

Very, very naughty

Cubs fans cursed with a Cubs/Cardinals tattoo

"the [Cub]'s demise was preordained at a Tennessee tattoo parlor some 600 miles from Wrigley Field. That's where lifelong fan Jimmy Burroughs got the Cubs logo etched onto his right shoulder blade. But that's not all he got. Carved ever-so-lightly within the Cubbie "C" he found the words, "Go Cards."

"I pretty much blame the tattoo for the Cubs losing," said Burroughs, 26, a child therapist from Bloomington, Ind. "It kills me to have a tattoo that says 'Go Cards.'"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lee 'Z-Cars' Carsley

Great piece about Lee Carsley, one of my all time favourite blues

Carsley seemed more intent of climbing to his feet and hobbling around than writhing in agony

"There are undoubtedly many reasons why Everton have struggled so far this season but you could do a lot worse than point to the absence of one player - Lee Carsley.

The 34-year-old left Goodison Park for Birmingham City at the end of the last campaign after six-and-a-half happy years as an Everton player."

Everton keep a clean sheet!

Everton keep a clean sheet!!!!!!

Fantastic! massively happy that. Good old Fellaini and his magic afro* and a great cross from Steven Pienaar. To be honest the clean sheet is more important than the win at this stage but 3 points is certainly welcome with Spurs and Newcastle turning things round.

Amazing result from the Emirates last night. Crazy...I'm not a great Spurs fan and you've got to admire Wenger's Arsenal but it was great to see that fan jump into the team embrace after the equaliser. It has to be said, however, that as far as most of the Tottenham fans were concerned the game finished 4-2. There was so many people who'd left before the end. Tut tut tut. Hope they are feeling utterly bereft this morning.

(*copyright Kirsty McHale 2008)

Let's just forget about this Russel Brand, Jonathon Ross, Andrew Sachs, Georgina Baillie controversy.

So judging by the dizzying amount of web traffic we are seeing here at GarstonTowers shows just how interested people are in this Russel Brand, Jonathon Ross, Andrew Sachs, Georgina Baillie controversy.

It does open up a lot of debates, most of them needless. Let's boil it down. So far two comedians did massively distasteful prank, the BBC production crew didn't bin fact they actually bent the rules to ensure it went out, 2 people complained. A week or so later there's been tens of thousands of complaints, the BBC has lost one of it's most talented comedians and some trollope low-grade stripogram who happens to have a famous grand-father will make a mint (mainly from the same newspapers who are currently feigning moral outrage).

I just don't understand why people are trying to open these wider debates. It doesn't highlight the fact that the BBC is out of control, it doesn't highlight the decline of comedy standards, it doesn't highlight a general decline in society and it doesn't highlight hypocrisy in people's moral double standards. I think if you boil it all down 90% of this 'outrage' is down to people having an axe to grind against the BBC.

I think ultimately Brand has done the right thing, Ross should possibly do the same (How about ensuring the OFCOM fine comes out of your salary rather than the programming budget Jonathon). The BBC staffers will probably lose their jobs and possibly that's right too. At the core of this is a pretty nasty little stunt. I think it does highlight weird nature of the BBC. It is tasked with providing great quality programming and beloved special interest programming PLUS cutting edge music & comedy. When you think of it like that surely messes like this are going to happen every now and then.

The worry is that the whole thing got broadcast...the people at the BBC should always keep their responsibilities in mind, coming on the back of the phone vote scandals you hope that there isn't a culture of carte blanche operating in some areas of the corporation.

Let's ont lose sight of one thing. The BBC is absolutely brilliant and we are massively lucky to have it. Let's just draw a line under the episode, put the tabloid & Daily Mail lead hysteria to bed and let Georgina Baillie get back to the obscurity of her sleazy Satanic Sluts Extreme strip show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ConservativeHome's ToryDiary: John Whittingdale leads concern at Ross-Brand calls

Further to my post earlier

ConservativeHome's ToryDiary: John Whittingdale leads concern at Ross-Brand calls:

"[Conservative MP] Roger Gale called for the resignation of the Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson, following the controversy surrounding prank phone calls made to Andrew Sachs.

'I think the buck needs to stop right at the top with those with editorial control.

“There's a great danger that under these circumstances the BBC will find a scapegoat which will probably be the schoolboy that produced the programme, rather than taking editorial repsonsiblity where it lies - with the editor-in-chief, or the person who used to be called the Director General, which is Mark Thompson,"

Funny how the Tories always seem to want someone to "carry the can", the buck has to stop with long as your name isn't George Osbourne and you've just went to a Russian billionaire's yacht....with your party's chief fund raiser in tow...and discussed donations....and how they can be made without contravening rules on foreigners donating to UK political parties.

There is a facebook group for absolutely everything

I found this facebook group yesterday (already)

The "Phil Neville Follow Up Tackle On C Ronaldo" Appreciation Soceity (great spelling there lads (although readers will be quick to point out that I am the last person on earth who should be pointing that out))

Which lead me to wonder just how varied the groups at Facebook are. Did a quick search and these popped up just in the groups my mates are members of (You may well need to be logged into Facebook to follow these links).

I love the Stade Francais rugby shirts and I'm not afraid to admit it

The Cheese Toastie Appreciation Society.

My name is Brandwood

Ancient Rome kicked ass and you Athens-lovers need to deal with it

Judge Dredd is the best comic character ever invented!

Mark Ronson contributes nothing to music and is essentially an oxygen thief

Everything I Know I Learned From The Big Lebowski

Protest Against the Breakup of the BT Couple

^Black Books^ makes me want to drink red wine all day long whilst Smoking..

The Adam and Joe appreciation society

Big Dunc was the hardest footballer EVER!

Jeanne d'Arc - Lourdes

Groups are great, you name it there is almost certainly one for you. Have been looking at them a lot recently 'cause one of our customers at work is currently establishing a group to dispense free financial advice as part of their efforts to help people beat the credit crunch / recession thingamy.

Ask Owen Your Financial Questions or Money Worries

Russel Brand, Georgina Baillie (aka Voluptua) and Andrew Sachs

This whole Russel Brand, Jonathon Ross, Andrew Sachs & Georgina Ballie (aka Voluptua) thing is just ridiculous.

It has to be said what on earth where the BBC doing broadcasting this? It's a pre-recorded show. Who on earth thinks that's acceptable. The only conclusion is controversy mongering and pathetic forced outrageousness. To a degree I don't blame the two egos involves...the production staff want their heads smashing together.

Russell Brand (RB): “This is Andrew Sachs’s answerphone. Right Jonathan, well this is unconventional..

Jonathan Ross (JR): “Don’t worry I’ll blurt something out”

RB: “Don’t blurt something out, not on the answerphone Jonathan.

Andrew Sachs’s answerphone: “Sorry I can’t answer at the moment, but please call again or leave a message. Speak after the tone, thank you.”

RB: “Hello Andrew Sachs this is Russell Brand. I am a great appreciator of your work over the decades. You’re meant to be on my show now mate, I don’t know why you’re not answering the phone, it’s a bit difficult - I’m here with Jonathan Ross.”

JR: “Hello Andrew...”

RB: “That’s Jonathan Ross speaking now. Anyway, we understand.. anyway.. we can still do the interview to his answerphone...”

(The two presenters exchange banter)

JR: “He f***** your granddaughter!” (laughter)... I’m sorry I apologise.

Andrew I apologise... I got excited, what can I say. it just came out.“

RB: “Andrew Sachs, I did not do nothing with Georgina - oh no I’ve revealed I know her name! Oh no it’s a disaster.

“Abort, abort. Please watch that show. I am out of The Bill, starring Andrew Sachs, I’m out of The Bill... Put the phone down, put the phone down, code red code red. I’m sorry Mr Fawlty I’m sorry, they’re a waste of space...”

JR: “... How could I carry that round in my head like a big brain blister all day? I had to pop it and let the pressure out...

“Like it’s really bothered us though, he’s the poor man sitting at home sobbing over his answer machine...

“If he’s like most people of a certain age he’s probably got a picture of his grandchildren when they’re young right by the phone.

“So while he’s listening to the messages he’s looking at a picture of her about nine on a swing.”

RB: “She was on a swing when I met her. Oh no!”

JR: “And probably enjoyed her.”

RB: “Let’s ring back Andrew Sachs... What if he answers this time? Oh no Jonathan please. I’ll do anything.”

(Andrew Sachs’s answerphone message comes on for a second time.)

RB: Andrew this is Russell Brand. I’m so sorry about the last message. It was part of the radio show. It was a mistake.“

JR: “It was just a joke. If there is any truth in that, I don’t know. It was just a joke.”

RB: “It was just a joke that we done. I didn’t ask him to say it though...”

JR: “It might be true, but we didn’t want to break it to you in such a harsh way.”

RB: “Ok, look the truth is, Andrew I’m ringing you to ask if I can marry, that’s right marry your granddaughter, Georgina the granddaughter.”

JR: “And I’d like to be a page boy.”

RB: He wants to be a page boy. We’re going to have a Fawlty Towers-themed wedding.“

JR: “No, no, you’ve spoiled it...”

RB: “No I’m sorry I’ll do anything. I wore a condom. Put the phone down. Oh, what’s going to happen?...”

JR: “You’ll never become king rat in the Variety Club now Russell Brand.”

RB: “Oh no that’s over for me. I’m never going to be king rat in the Variety Club. Jonathan I think we’ve made the situation worse.”

JR: “Who’d have thought two people like us could possibly have made the situation worse.”

RB: “How could we with all our skills, our social skills, our talents our experiences.”

JR: “Our intentions were pure.”

RB: “You know the only way we can make this better don’t you?”

JR: “Let’s phone him again. Let’s leave a nice message.”

RB: “Listen, we’ve got to make it better. We’ll phone Andrew Sachs back. We’ve got to stop upsetting Manuel. This time Jonathan I’m convinced we can make it better.”

JR: “What should we not mention, the war?”

RB: “Don’t mention the war, don’t mention his granddaughter. Don’t say: ’You only ever played Manuel’... Don’t mention The Bill in a negative way. Yes! We’ll just sing to him. I’ll make up something as I go along.”

JR: “I’ll be Bing Crosby to your David Bowie.”

RB: “I’ve always seen our relationship as a Christmas-themed hit.”

(The answerphone message plays again).

JR: (as the message plays): “She was bent over the couch...”

RB (singing): “I’d like to apologise for these terrible attacks - Andrew Sachs.

“I’d like to show contrition to the max, Andrew Sachs.

“I’d like to create world peace, between the yellow, whites and blacks Andrew Sachs, Andrew Sachs.

“I said some things I didn’t of oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter.

“But it was consensual and she wasn’t menstrual it was consensual lovely sex.

“It’s full of respect. I sent her a text. I’ve asked her to marry me...

“Oh Andrew Sachs, will you marry Jonathan, it sounds like he wants to now.”

JR: “This has made it worse, I feel it’s made it worse, you’ve trivialised the whole terrible incident. It started fine and then you went on about nonsense.”

RB: “You said you wanted to marry him...”

JR: “I wasn’t really listening to you, I was concentrating on my back harmonies... There’s only one way we could possibly make this better.”

(Brand laughs)

RB: “What can we do?”

JR: “Let’s use up the rest of his tape, this time with a heartfelt and sincere apology... Pretend you’re Gordon Brown and make a beautiful speech rescuing the country from the credit crunch and rescue him from the inner turmoil you’ve caused by saying that you jumped on a relative.”

RB: “Yes, you’re right Jonathan, you’re right. Only by doing the exact thing that we’ve done three times already can we make the situation better.”

JR: “If you learn one thing from history, it’s do not repeat your mistakes.”

RB: “Don’t repeat them.”

JR: “So let’s do it right this time.”

RB: “Thank God Jonathan.”

JR: “Maybe this time... I want to do the song this time.”

RB: “You’re not doing the lyrics. You’ll balls it up. And can’t do backing it’s not in my nature.”

JR: “But you talked about his granddaughter’s menstruation.”

RB: “Look we’ve got a golden opportunity here, to make Andrew Sachs happy.”

JR: “... we should go in a little bit more relaxed this time.”

RB: “Right yeah that’s true, let’s not look at this as the last time we’re going to call Andrew Sachs.”

(Ross laughs)

JR: “... The wonder of technology is such that we can keep doing this for hours.”

RB: “And even after the show’s finished Jonathan we can find out where Andrew Sachs lives, kick his front door in and scream apologies into his bottom... We can just keep on troubling Andrew Sachs... let’s do it, right, ok.

“You pretend you’re Andrew Sachs’s answerphone.”

JR: “Hello, Manuel is not in right now. Leave your message after the tone.”

RB (as the phone rings again): “Alright Andrew Sachs’s answerphone, I’m ever so sorry for what I said about Andrew Sachs.”

JR: “Just say: ’Sorry’.”

RB (laughing): “I’ll kill you!”

JR: “Don’t say you’ll wear him as a hat, just say: ’Sorry’.”

RB: “Sorry, right.”

Ultimately you know that Ross & Brand will get away with it, the staffers will get sacked and Ms Baillie and her Satanic Sluts Burlesque act (whatever the hell that is) will laugh all the way to the bank.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Well stoke my lucky conkers

I have to say that's the first time I've ever used that phrase. On the 81 going to the match today I found a couple of conkers I'd picked up weeks ago intending to throw them onto a field somewhere.

They were in my pocket all day today and after two marvelous performances by my teams they are now officially my lucky conkers.

Everton played Man Utd + Alan Wiley really was appalling the difference in the decisions meated out to the two team. Nearly identical incidents warranting completely different outcomes depending on the colour of the shirt. Utterly pathetic.

Everton rallied from a goal down to win a was a superb performance. They got amongst them and took the game by the scruff of the neck. Superb stuff.

From there was hot footed it to Blundelsands for Waterloo V Cambridge. On the way Me, Anne and Paul Cunningham joked about how many points 'loo would be down by the time we arrived. The general consensus was 12, turns out it was 10. From there Waterloo played brilliantly to boss the game and run out 18 - 13 winners against a tem 2nd in the league. It was just such great moments when those final whistles went.

Gotta love it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

YouTube - Toulouse vs Bath - Skrela kick

YouTube - Toulouse vs Bath

David Skrela shows he has brass balls

One Nathaniel Rothschild, there's only one Nathaniel Rothschild!

BBC NEWS | Politics | Osborne denies Russian cash claim:

Loving reading this today...Putting those smarmy Tories and their fawning media lapdogs in their place.

Sir, Since your paper - along with your sister publication The Sunday Times - has made much out of what may or may not have happened at a private gathering of my friends this summer in Corfu, I thought I should make the following observations. I am surprised that you focus on the fact that one of my guests, Peter Mandelson, is a friend of another, Oleg Deripaska. Not once in the acres of coverage did you mention that George Osborne, who also accepted my hospitality, found the opportunity of meeting with Mr Deripaska so good that he invited the Conservatives' fundraiser Andrew Feldman, who was staying nearby, to accompany him on to Mr Deripaska's boat to solicit a donation. Since Mr Deripaska is not a British citizen, it was suggested by Mr Feldman, in a subsequent conversation at which Mr Deripaska was not present, that the donation was "channelled" through one of Mr Deripaska's British companies. Mr Deripaska declined to make any donation. I mention this because it turns out that your obsession with Mr Mandelson is trivial in light of Mr Osborne's actions. I also think it ill behoves all political parties to try and make capital at the expense of another in such circumstances. Perhaps in future it would be better if all involved accepted the age-old adage that private parties are just that.

Also enjoyed reading about Shelagh Fogarty made Tory Alan Duncan look like a right supercilious arrogant get on 5Live Breakfast.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palmer Puuuuuuugh

Brilliant version of Bohemian Rhapsody with every word replaced with a footy player's name

It was featured on Danny Baker's 606. Truly the greatest footy phone-in ever. Forget all your outraged callers and presenters trying to be knowledgable. Just a load of eccentric nonsense chat.

Sony recall video game for fear of offending a religion....this time

Sony recall offensive video game


Sony don't recall offensive video game

Oh look, last year Sony didn't recall a game that staged a violent massacre in a virtual Manchester Cathedral despite the fact that it was clearly offensive to Christians. This year they frantically scramble to recall a game that be offensive to Muslims. Odd that isn't it.

This is most defintely not a jibe at Muslims, just a jibe at the way corporations and the media ride rough-shod over Christian sensibilities whilst taking a super-sensiitve attitude when they offend others. Double Standards? The way LittleBigPlanet and Resistance Fall of Man 2 have been handled stinks of it. Surely all people's faiths should be treated equally.

John Peel to have a train in Merseyside named after him

Noticed this is happening just down the road from us (3pm on Thursday if you can make it) :

The late DJ John Peel is to have a train in Merseyside named after him.

Merseytravel, which co-ordinates passenger transport in Peel's home region, said it was a tribute to "a true broadcasting legend".

Peel's widow Sheila Ravenscroft will attend the naming ceremony and be aboard the train's first journey into Liverpool on Thursday.

This comes two days before the anniversary of the BBC DJ's death, aged 65, on 25 October 2004.

Mrs Ravenscroft said: "We are just really delighted that John is being honoured with this train. He would have loved it."

Peel was Radio 1's longest-serving DJ at the time of his death, having championed new music for nearly 40 years on his late-night Radio 1 show.

Mark Dowd, chairman of Merseytravel, said: "We are very proud of the man John was and of his connection with Merseyside.

"Naming this train in his honour is our tribute to a true broadcasting legend."

Ian Prowse, from the group Amsterdam, will perform at the ceremony what was one of Peel's favourite songs, Does This Train Stop on Merseyside?

Mrs Ravenscroft previously spoke of her husband's love of the song as part of a Radio 1 tribute evening.

She said: "John just loved the song. He always became emotional when he played it.

"He wasn't capable of playing it without crying. If he played it on the radio he'd have to put something on straight afterwards because he wouldn't be able to speak.

"When he played it at home, he'd always need a cuddle afterwards."

The naming ceremony will take place at Liverpool South Parkway Interchange in Garston.

I don't think anyone has a bad word to say about John Peel. Truly great bloke...Everyone knew about his Peel Sessions and all the cool music he played but what really set him apart was how warm and engaging he was on Home Truths on Radio 4. That was the polar opposite of his Radio 1 show and yet you could tell he took just as much joy out of listening to old lady's war memories than debuting a song form a new band.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Punch drunk boxer 0 - 2 St Sebastian

Arsenal 3-1 Everton Waterloo 5 - 46 Cinderford

Seriously, getting propery fucked off with all this sporting getting-shat-upon-ness. I know in the grand scheme of things it means absolutely nothing...there are people in the world starving/getting opressed/dying/getting shot/listening to Sarah Palin....but in terms of my Saturday afternoons I am getting pissed off with watching Everton fucking up then getting home and finding out Waterloo have been battered OR watching Waterloo get kicked round the park whilst Everton piss it all away. I didn't sign up for this....well actually I did....but it's all getting bit monotonous.

I have been pouting all afternoon...and at the same time I am really looking forward to next Saturday and attempthing to get from Everton's 12:45 kick-off against United to Waterloo's 2:30pm kick off against Cambridge. hence the punch drunk boxer reference. I do think St Sebastian, patron Saint of athletes, should stop being so mean to me.

I'm not going to comment on the two games because A: Waterloo players aren't professional, they are the players we've got and we just have to trust they are doing their best and B: I am too pouty a fan to watch Match of the Day when Everton lose.

There you have it....not the best basis to write a sports blog.

In my misery I turned to 90s indie music for solace. Star by Belly and Acetone / Montrose Gimps it up for Charity by Kenickie just about saw me through

Friday, October 17, 2008

Salute : Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman

Thought this was worth highlighting :

Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman

When Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a gloved Black Power salute on the Olympic podium in October 1968 it sent a shockwave through sport. But what happened to the other man on the platform?

Forty years ago, two black Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, won gold and bronze medals in the 200m final at the Mexico Olympics, and used their time on the victory podium to protest with a Black Power salute.

The photograph of the two men with their heads bowed, each of them with an arm raised in the air and a fist clothed in a black leather glove, is one of the most striking images of the 20th Century.

Their actions caused havoc at the Games, ensuring the pair were ejected from the US Olympic team. But three men won medals in that race, and the consequences for the third athlete on the podium would be every bit as significant.

The silver medallist was a laid-back Australian, an up-and-coming runner called Peter Norman who, in the words of his coach, "blossomed like a cactus" when he got to Mexico. While observers expected the Americans to make a clean sweep of the 200m medals, Norman kept them interested by breaking the world record in the heats.

The three were waiting for the victory ceremony when Norman discovered what was about to happen. It was Norman who, when John Carlos found he'd forgotten his black gloves, suggested the two runners shared Smith's pair, wearing one each on the podium.

And when, to the crowd's astonishment, they flung their fists in the air, the Australian joined the protest in his own way, wearing a badge from the Olympic Project for Human Rights that they had given him.

The repercussions for Norman were immediate. Seen as a trouble-maker who had lent a hand to those desecrators of the Olympic flag, he was ostracised by the Australian establishment. Despite qualifying 13 times over and being ranked fifth in the world, he was not sent to the following Munich games, where Australia had no sprinter for the first time in the Olympics. Norman retired soon afterwards without winning another title.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No change at the tops

Martin O'Keefe new head coach at Waterloo RUFC - Crosby Herald: "WATERLOO have appointed prop forward and last season's captain Martin O'Keefe as their new coach at St Anthony’s Road.

O'Keefe, 30, takes over from Chris O'Callaghan, who resigned last month. He comes in at a difficult time for the Blundellsands club, who have lost all six matches so far this season and are next from the bottom of National Two.

Having played for the likes of Orrell, Pertemps Bees, Leeds and Wakefield, ‘Cakes’, as he is affectionately known at the Crosby club, will be assisted by Mark Godwin, who has been in charge of first team since the departure of O'Callaghan.

Former Waterloo captain and coach Gareth Hopkin is expected to help out in an advisory capacity."

Good Luck Cakes. Hope you can turn it round mate.

In other news Evertonians were lifted by Moysie FINALLY signing the contract. Wonder if this was a due-diligence issue prompted by the rumour takeover?

BBC : Moyes signs new deal at Everton

Manager David Moyes has ended speculation over his future by signing a new five-year deal at Everton.

Moyes, 45, delayed signing the deal and admitted it may have unsettled his players after they were knocked out of the Carling Cup and the Uefa Cup.

"There have been many different things for different reasons," Moyes told the club's website of the delay.

"But we are here now. The big thing for me is that I am at Everton, as far as I am concerned, for another five years."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Belarus 1-3 England

Belarus 1-3 England.

So far so good. Another impressive performance by England. Great result away from home that.

The team seems to have a confidence now even if the balance isn't really there yet.

International Blog Action Day : Poverty

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to blunder across International Blog Action Day via Catherine Bray (Many thanks Catherine). From there I quickly embarked on an article for the HitSearch internet news feed publicising the day. During the course of that I got in touch with Stuart Fowkes, online press officer for Oxfam.

Catherine recently did a triathalon for Shelter...Stuart is currently promoting Oxfam's campaign highlighting the rising food prices around the world.

So what do I do? Hmm, tricky one. Regular readers will know that Things & Stuff isn't exactly the most noble of fact it's almost entirely throwaway (unless you are a fundamentally obsessed Everton or Waterloo fan). I do however think it's massively important to be involved in things like Blog Action Day...even if it's only to stand up and say you don't do enough. I'd like to think I am not a shallow person but do I do my bit? Well I do more than some but that's not really the point.

Thinking about it I am an active charity giver in terms of my cash but certainly not my time. I think that would be most valuable than anything. I give without fail to the appeals that go out, I always give to the church and make sure I've got a bit in reserve for those unexpected 2nd collections. Hardly earth shattering stuff. A week of voluntary work down in Lourdes is a step in the right direction but I think of that as a religious duty and a social thing as much as a charitable act.

I do have decidedly left-wing views...coming from Liverpool it's difficult not to. So where does this leave me in terms of poverty. Unfortunately the only conclusion is that I, like tones of others, fall into that wishy-wash void inhabited by people who do genuinely care and will give when necessary but are basically not involved....and from there you can see the need for things like Blog Action Day. A chance for the people who do care and are willing to help to discuss and get better informed. If nothing else it might direct a few un-allocated charity dollars to the right causes. I know my contribution ain't going to be anything earth shattering but I don't think we all have to do that...just sign up, say your piece and then, most importantly, take the time to read what others are talking about.

How tough can that be?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ringo would snub Marge Simpson now

Ringo won't sign any more autographs

Former Beatle Ringo Starr will no longer sign memorabilia for fans and will throw away all fan mail he receives in the future, he has said.

"Please do not send fan mail to any address you have," he said in a video message on his website.

"Nothing will be signed after the 20th of October. If that is the date on the envelope, it's gonna be tossed.

"I'm warning you with peace and love I have too much to do," the 68-year-old drummer said.

Dressed in black clothes and dark glasses, Starr said it was "a serious message to everybody watching".

He added: "No more fan mail and no objects to be signed. Nothing."

Kinds of ironic given that in his Simpsons appearance he spent every waking hour answering a massive backlog of fan mail.

Meanwhile, somewhere in England... Ringo is surrounded by bags of
mail with the word `mail' on them, in various languages.

Dear Sally. In response to you letter of December the 12th 1966,
me favourite colour is blue, and me real first name is Richard.
Thanks for the snapshot. You're a real cute bird. Love, Ringo.
PS: Forgive the lateness of my reply.

Ringo explains to his butler that he insists on responding to every
single piece of fan mail. The next letter is Marge's painting.

Dear Marge. Thanks for the fab painting of Yours Truly. I hung
it on me wall. You're quite an artist. In answer to your question,
yes, we do have hamburgers and fries in England. But we call French
fries `chips'. Love, Ringo. PS: Forgive the lateness of my reply.

Not having a go at Ringo...just thought it was ironic

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where've you bean?

Some general internet stuff today (you notice I am avoiding all mention of sport).

I found this on the superb GoogleSightSeeing blog.

Get a birds eye view here : Google Sightseeing Maps

Earlier I noticed this Great Schlep thing on the BBC website. Sarah Silverman has done a promotional video which I can't decide if it's brilliantly subtle or ham fistedly rubbish. I can never decide whether Ms Silverman is funny or not.

Very interesting scheme though, we all remember how important Florida was 8 years ago.

The American election is great news viewing at the moment. Some of the stuff you watch from over there is so pathetically puerile whilst other stuff like the Tina Fey Sarah Palin skit was pure political genius.

In other new I noticed that Thing and Stuff is actually a Google Whack....providing you are searching for Harumble Quirkafleeg

Post script. I've been informed that it's not a GoogleWhack unless both words are in the dictionary. I think I should be allowed them because if you listen to Radio 4 or played Jet Set Willy as a kids they are perfectly cromulent words.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hat's off to Stade Francais

If you asked me I'd probably say I was a Biaritz fan when it comes to French rugby....after FC Lourdais of course.

There is, however, something wonderful about Stade Francais. Those pink shirts / maillot rose were pretty outrageous when they first came out but they are tame compared to what followed.

Stade Francais Pink Shirt

Stade Francais Floral Shirt

Stade Francais Beige Shirt

Stade Francais Fleur de Lis Shirt

Stade Francais psychedelic Shirt

Stade Francais Notre Dame Shirt

Just with I had the spuds to wear one.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

erm...any chance?

Everton v Newcastle

It's difficult to be optimistic about sport really. Not looking forward to the game today one bit even though I'm wearing my new, hopefully lucky, Everton away shirt.

Come on Blues...sort it out for us. I know things are glum at the moment but it's mine, Paul Cunninghams and Carmel Wilde's birthday today. Give us something to smile about. Please.

Waterloo played like fools for the first 60 minutes and then suddenly turned into world beaters for the last part of the game. It turned a very glum afternoon into a very heartening one especially with the return of Martin "Cakes" O'Keefe. A couple of great tries in there to cheer the dwindling number of fans who are going to see Waterloo these days.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Notre Dame, Nuestra Senora, Our Lady,

Not sure what to make of this...sounds a touch pavlovian but it's nice to see scientific proof of what we've always known, that one way or the other Our Lady is always there for us :

Why faith in God really can relieve pain

Belief in God 'really can relieve pain' - Telegraph: "Academics at The Oxford Centre For Science Of The Mind gave electric shocks to 12 Roman Catholics and 12 atheists as they studied a painting of the Virgin Mary.

They found Catholics seemed able to block out much of the pain. Using brain-scanning techniques, they also discovered that the Catholics were able to activate part of the brain associated with conditioning the experience of pain.

The experiment is one of a series being conducted by the academics, a group of scientists, philosophers and theologians from different departments at the university.

A sparking device was strapped to the back of the participants' left hands to deliver an electric shock.

The scientists then asked them to contemplate two paintings, Sassoferrato's 17th Century Virgin Mary and Leonardo da Vinci's 15th Century Lady With An Ermine.

The researchers hoped that the face of the Virgin Mary would induce a religious state of mind in the believers, while da Vinci's secular painting was chosen because it did not look dissimilar and would be calming.

They spent half an hour inside an MRI scanner, receiving a series of 20 electric shocks in four separate sessions while looking at either the religious or non-religious picture.

The Catholics said that looking at the painting of the Virgin Mary made them feel 'safe', 'taken care of' and 'calmed down and peaceful'"

There's only one thing to say to that :

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
ad te clamamus
exsules filii Evae,
ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Although thinking about it perhaps it was just an excuse for a bunch of Dawkins obsessed scientists to electrocute a bunch a Catholics.

:( :( :( :(

Gutted, Gutted, Gutted, Gutted!

Surpirise how absolutely gutted I am after last night. I've took it all on the chin over the past few weeks but going out last night has totally deflated me.

Over and over again I look at that draw and it still annoys me. How, after our, fantastic exploits last year (Lets not forget we beat all conquering Zenit St Petersberg last season) did we draw them when every other English team, teams that got in via the fair play league and the intertoto cup, get Wisla Plebeless or FC Shitforbrains. That's the thing that really, really guts you.

Ultimately Everton didn't do enough. The 2 away goals meant Liege could just sit behind the ball, the ref should have sent off one of their players and the penalty was ever so slightly harsh but there's no point moaning about it now. The blues played well enough but there was probably only ever going to be one winner. And that's that. With Villa looking good and City poised to splash the cash in January a return further European fun looks a long way off from hear. Next up Newcastle, you can see how that script pans out already.

I think the club need to sort out the Moyes new contract...that would provide a bit of a lift at least.


Thursday, October 02, 2008


Tonight basically defines Everton's season. A win against Standard Liege would take the pressure off so much as it would maintain the focus and give us something to play for and look forward to. I think it would act to release the pressure on both the players and fans.

It's going to be so tough though. A clean sheet is vital then "Feed the Yak and he will score".

Come on you Blue boys!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Liverpool Biennial

This infinity room is part of this year's Liverpool Biennial :

Simple but brilliant stuff. If you get a chance I'd definitely check out the various installations.

Definitely need to see the Joyful Trees.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sporting weekends

Everton 0 - 2 liverpool

Blackheath 48 - 12 Waterloo

Ugh, what a crappy weekend of sport. Everton got lost the derby and Waterloo got another beating down in Blackheath.

The main problem with Everton on Saturday was that their usually hard-to-play-against 4-4-1-1 was shackled all day and kept as a 4-5-0-1. It made all the difference as Cahill just could not get himself into the game. We kept fairly close to them but created nothing with Yakubu up front on his own. Moyes tried to push Fellaini further forward and we looked more dangerous but left acres of space for them to dominate the midfield.

There wasn't that much in the game but you can't really argue with the result. They grabbed a goal and then we went to pieces for 5 minutes...after that there was no way back. It was a surprisingly low key affair with scarecely a murmur from either bunch of fans. Odd.

Hope we can salvage something from our season on Thursday. I do think it comes down to that.

Waterloo apparently played well but came away with absolutely nothing from London. That makes it 4 losses out of 4 and not even a losing bonus point to show for it. Bottom of the pile in a division where potentially 4 teams goes down. Tricky times.

At least Lancashire staved off relegation this comes to something when that is the highlight of your sporting weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Robinho sacks his agent

Robinho sacks his agent

We can only assume that this is because he is SO happy to have ended up at Manchester City instead of Chelsea and therefore he's feeling so settled and blissfully contented that he no-longer needs the services of an agent.

That's really the only conclusion to draw.

UEFA Cup to become UEFA Europa League

UEFA Cup to become UEFA Europa League

The Europa League

New impetus? Changing landscape? Wholesale changes?

How about getting a sponsor and a tv deal and sharing out the money so that clubs don't make a loss by being in it whilst any Champions League club who happens to slip up get's to negotiate it's own telly deal and basically keep the whole pie for themselves.

Just a the new name though. No, really.

The bit of Britain near me in bloom

Well done to the good folk of Woolton for winning gold in the Britain in Bloom awards.

Because we are (infrequent) regulars at The Victoria on Quarry Street in Woolton we walk through it fairly often and it's so obvious how much the appearance of the place is a labour of love to it's residents (This year the floralness even seems to have spilt over to dear old Hunts Cross). Great to see them getting something in return.

I'd like to follow on from yesterday's Harumble for Radio 4 with a Harumble for BBC Radio in General. We are not big telly people but even without that our license fee is worth every penny. Last night on Radio 4 we had a fairly decent Comedy show with Marcus Brigstock at half six plus shows on the feasibilty of Hydrogen powered cars and then a debate about the history of miracles throughout the last 200 years. This morning we had a brilliant think tank about the US economic situation on 5Live featuring Richard D North, Alistair Milne and Sarah Churchwell. All sounds rather high-brow but it was pitched just right for fairly middling intellects like me.

Tonight Sport on 5 comes from Liverpool ahead of tomorrow's derby. Not looking good for The People's Club. We are just incapable of keeping a clean sheet. Most of the blues I know are fairly fearful but you never know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harumble for BBC Radio 4

Radio4's comedies come and go and at the moment we are waving a fond goodbye to Bleak Expectation and Mark Watson makes the World Substanitally Better. They were both brilliant. Hut 33 is good whilst the jury is still out on The Castle.

The 6:30pm slot on BBC Radio 4 is absolutely superb...I don't know what I'd do without it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SuperLambanana donated to Liverpool museum

Well done to Phil Redmond for donating his SuperLambanana to Liverpool's World Museum.

Phil Redmond donates SuperLambanana to museum.

The most popular superlambanana at an auction of the iconic sculptures has been donated to a Liverpool museum by one of the city's most famous sons.

Phil Redmond, creator of Brookside, Grange Hill and Hollyoaks, bought Mandy Mandala at a recent charity auction of 170 superlambananas for £25,000.

Now the creative director of Capital of Culture events, Mr Redmond has handed her to World Museum Liverpool. Mandy will move to the Museum of Liverpool when it opens in 2010/11.

Mr Redmond bought three of the sculptures with the intention of donating them to museums in the city.

Mandy was designed by artists Patricia Lee with the communities of Granby, Dingle and Toxteth. Her patterns are based on a mandala - a symbol of peace, hope and unity.

David Fleming, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: "National Museums Liverpool was determined to acquire at least one superlambanana at the charity auction for our collections.

"We didn't want to see all of them disappear from public view into private hands after all the excitement they generated during 2008.

"Imagine our dismay when the bidding for Mandy went beyond our reach, and imagine our delight when Phil and Alexis Redmond stepped in and ensured that Mandy was bought on our behalf! Now Mandy is owned by the people of Liverpool.

"I am sure she will bring delight to museum visitors for generations to come, as a reminder of the invasion of our streets by these extraordinary creatures."

We do love those SuperLambs don't we. They are even talking about it becoming the new symbol of the city.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

West Ham are cheats and have got away with murder

West Ham ponder tribunal ruling

I am very pleased for Sheffield United but basically the FA are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

At every stage West Ham have been found guilty and at every stage the authorities have bottled it. They have gotten away with murder and the only conclusion you can draw is that it's because they had just got a big money backer OR it's a London friends-in-high-places thing.....or something more murky.

Whatever happens I still feels immensely sorry for the Blades fans.

Cains' former owners buy it back

BBC NEWS | England | Merseyside | Cains' former owners buy it back: "The former owners of Cains brewery in Liverpool have bought it back, securing 90 jobs.

Brothers Sudarghara and Ajmail Dusanj finalised the deal, which includes nine Cains Beer Company pubs, administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) said.

The 158-year-old brewery went into administration in August.

A spokesman for Cains said: 'They (the Dusanj brothers) are focused on getting back into the driving seat of the brewery.'

'They are working closely with the team there and are focused on building the Cains business in the coming weeks and months,' he said.

'The good news is that the jobs have been secured and the future of brewing on Merseyside is also secure.'"

Glad to hear that...the Dusanjs have worked wonders at that place. It was a shame they just over-reached themsleves at the wrong moment.

Raise a glass to Liverpool's beer.