Sunday, 26 June 2005

Sound-a-like no. 1

by Dom Corrigan

Coldplay: Speed of Sound
Kate Bush: Running up that Hill

Saturday, 18 June 2005

LMWN's Greatest Living Englishmen part 1

by Ted Hoffman

Despite the name, this series of posts (if it turns out to be a series of posts) is not exclusively male. The likes of Paula Radcliffe and Delia may well appear with the title altered accordingly, but I have a strong aversion to using Englishperson, I'm not sure why.

Darren Campbell
With a personal best of 10.04 at the 100 meters, and 20.13 at the 200, Darren Campbell is on paper a very good, but not quite top tier sprinter. Except by the time he chooses to retire he will have a trophy cabinet so stuffed full of major medals as to make a mockery of those who have much faster times.

Darren is a European Junior champion at the 100 and 200 meters, a World Junior silver and gold medal winner, in seniors events he has won the AAAs (British Championship), the European cup, European Golds, 2 World Championship medals, and achieved the heights of Olympic silver and gold. His finest individual hour was the Sydney Olympics, where the gold was kept from him only by the highly suspicious speed of the Greek Kostas Kederis.

It is a running theme that no matter what hiccups he encounters at a competition and what odds are apparently stacked against him, he always walks away with a medal. He can line up injured against 7 others with better season best times and he will duck over the line ahead of enough of them to win something.

How does he achieve this apparent dichotomy? I have no ready explanation, thought I suspect he bows to no one when it comes to the size of his balls.

When you add to this that he seems a thoroughly nice chap and will leave the sport free of drug use allegations, he surely has his name down on any list of great living Englishmen.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

The Smooth Criminal

by Captain Oates

Hello avid readers, it's the Captain here. I have been out - I have been some time, but now I'm back, writing about thing which concern or interest me, rather than cheap stories aimed at mass hits, purely massaging one's ego.

What concerns / appalls me recently in the news is the fact that Michael Jackson has got away with sleeping with young boys. What sort of a World is it we live in?

I woke up this morning when the
Radio 4 came on and the interviewer (perhaps John Humphrys) was interviewing Tom Sneddon the Prosecutor in the Jackson trial, who seemed very upbeat, despite writings in the press I have read since, saying he was very depressed, following the defeat of his biggest case.

On the radio this morning, the interviewer asked something along the lines of "I hear you're retiring now, how do you feel about that - do you feel a bit of a loser?" The reply was directly out of a self-help manual paraphrased as "I do not feel a loser and if people wish to look at me as a loser they are welcome , but my conscience is clear."

My question is how on Earth did Jackson get away with it? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as it's not the first time we've seen US celebrity justice (
O.J. 'killer' Simpson)

One excuse I have heard is that there was "no smoking gun." This is I feel a particularly unfortunate phrase and one which perhaps is best left unused in this case. The problem with Child molestation cases is that these crimes are committed in private, and are not the sort of cases which leave evidence trails.

I would be very interested to hear the views of any American (or perhaps not) supporters of Wacko Jacko - if there are any of them reading this blog.

We need not worry about Mr Jackson's personal fortune, as apparently sales of his greatest Hits' have increased by over 300% since his acquittal. It seems that 'Billie Jean' or 'Earth song' are not that bad, as they're being sung by someone who's not a convicted child molester!!


UPDATE Breaking news from the Onion: "Enchanted By Own Innocence, Michael Jackson Molests Self"

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Naughty, naughty

by Dom Corrigan

Browsing our StatCounter today, I saw we had a visit from one of our middle eastern friends from Qatar.

What was this chap looking for?

Click to enlarge.

Is this permitted by the Wahhabists?

Geldof on eBay

by Dom Corrigan

International statesman Bob Geldof told the Guardian,

"What they're doing is capitalising on the misery of millions. Although they have offered us their margin I don't want it. They can shove it up their arse.

It's just pimping

I say, "No more money to Africa, 'til they've got better chiefs"

UPDATE Charity begins at home, Bob.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Thought for the day . . .

by Ted Hoffman

..... and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.

I think even the most fervent defender of capitalism can accept that the market's ability to meet consumer's desires doesn’t produce perfect results. For example, chicken McNuggets. McDonalds works diligently to produce a food product that they sell by the million to grateful customers; but under any reasonable analysis nobody should ever eat chicken McNuggets. They are made from poor quality ingredients, are bad for you and to anything above the most unsophisticated palate they taste uninteresting..

Crazy decision of the day

by Ted Hoffman

Former world snooker champion, and lunatic Peter Ebdon has moved himself and his family to the United Arab Emirates, apparently life will be safer there. Though Dubai is hardly Baghdad, funny time to move to the Middle East.

Monday, 13 June 2005

The tsunami

by Dom Corrigan

I've got several hundred photos from the East coast of Sri Lanka. They show the devastation caused by the tsunami and that really nothing has happened to rebuild the infrastructure in that area. I'm not sure I'm going to post the photos, though, because they hardly communicate the scale of the devastation - you can get a picture of a ruined house or part of a hospital, but don't manage to capture that this is the only part of the town that remains. One can't hope to get across the horrible, eerie, ghostly silence where there was once, assumably, so much life, and there is still so much beauty. And there is the clang and thunder of the Pacific Indian Ocean going by, and you're haunted by the fear that it might rush inland and swallow you up anytime you turn your back.

UPDATE Ah, what-the-hell. Here are two pictures taken by my girlfriend on the East coast of Sri Lanka.


by Dom Corrigan

I've renewed my interest in blogging of late, but am accutely aware that the quality of writing here at LMWN isn't a good, or at least as varied, as it once was when we had the whole team writing regularly. This causes fewer people to read what is posted here, which makes me less inclined to write, and so on. I'm not particularly inclined to recommend my own postings for the BritBlogs roundup or to the various carnivals - it's self-promotion as un-English as you can get, is like voting for yourself, and is almost as bad as using your blog to prostitute yourself for cash.

Posting here will continue at an increased rate. Dear reader, please keep reading and commenting.

Saturday, 11 June 2005

An honourable man

by Dom Corrigan

The Times

BRITISH Muslims are to boycott this week’s commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz because they claim it is not racially inclusive and does not commemorate the victims of the Palestinian conflict.

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, has written to Charles Clarke, the home secretary, saying the body will not attend the event unless it includes the “holocaust” of the Palestinian intifada.

That Iqbal chappy should really be given a knighthood for such a charitable attitude and his mission to spread love between all creeds.

UPDATE Cor! He has!.

Friday, 10 June 2005

Dog bites man

by Dom Corrigan

Listening to Radio4 as I write my dissertation (it's lonely work), I'm not at all surprised at the sloppiness I hear. Take the 'Feedback' programme, for instance. It's like 'Points of View' on the tele, and lets listeners voice their opinion and get some feedback from the programme makers.

The problem is that the makers invariably seem a bit, well, arrogant. A typical segment will go like this,

Host: "Colonel Smith writes in objecting to the title of a show reviewing the Tory's performance in the election. It was called 'F*cking little England c*nts'. The show's producer replies."

Producer: "We asked a lot of our friends and none of them had any objection. Bugger off."

Host: "There you go."

Could they get away with this if we had a choice about whether we took the BBC's 'service' or not?

Oh blimey, it's The Archers.

Just so everyone knows, the above is an accurate account of a fake exchange.

Monday, 6 June 2005

EU flights of fancy

by Dom Corrigan

So, the tyranny that is the EU is taken a battering from the French, the Dutch, and other good people. I can't say I'm sorry to see it and might as well weigh in with a post or two on the subject. I can see it now: "The EU: My part in its downfall."

I like cheap flights. I don't find, in general, that I require continual feeding, and hence don't mind foregoing a meal on a short hop to Tuscany, France, Eastern Europe or wherever I might fancy going on a whim, or for meetings related to my present employ. I also don't mind having 10% less leg-space, when the fare is 60% lower than the equivalent fare on a flag carrier. Whatever you might think, for me, chavs, and anyone who needs value, having the choices offered by cheap carriers is wonderful. And not only for me, but for the places I can go to spend my Pounds Sterling, which will hopefully remain worth something long after the Euro has disappeared (18 months reckon some).

Ryanair et al are currently trying to overturn legislation requiring them to pay compensation to passengers who are delayed or have their flights cancelled altogether. This was passed, at least nominally, to deter airlines from the practice of over booking-flights. As far as I was aware, on the flag carriers, such compensation was commensurate with the cost of a fare. When I was (nearly) put on stand-by on a flight to Sri Lanka, I was offered all manner of inducements in cash and kind to fly the next day, which I felt were rather generous. Even on the one occasion I arrived at Stansted 2 minutes after the Easyjet check-in had closed, I was offered a free seat on the next available flight. I would not expect Ryanair to have to bung me around £170 of compensation if my £9 flight to Milan was delayed or cancelled. The consequences of such levels of compensation should be obvious, and benefit none of the parties involved - not me, not the airline, and not the citizens of the obscure destinations to which some flights depart.

It's also rather unfair. It seems to me that a huge proportion of delays must not be fault of the airline operator. Everything from bad weather to striking workers, to the closing of airspace, eg the Pope's funeral, will result in airlines working hard to minimise the inevitable delays for which they are not responsible. In the absense of powers regulating life and death, or the weather, the EU, as usual, picks on business.

Surely the only parties whom these new laws benefit are the flag carriers, which in some cases the relevent national governments hold a large stake. The game being played these national governments is to protect their carriers from competition by binding the cheaper carriers to expensive regulation.

Naturally the value carriers are aiming to overturn this legislation. They do so using two arguments. The first, laid out above, is that the potential costs of compensation are rather out of proportion to the fares paid by the passenger. The second is that this legislation could only be passed if two EU bodies, the Council and Parliament, agreed. These two bodies did not both agree that this was in everyone's interest. When disagreements occur, the whole shabang is meant to be kicked into long grass and enter a conciliation process, which should probably have involved greater consultation with the airline industry. In this case the already established rules were changed so that the regulations could be passed.

A disgrace and another example of the arrogance of these EU officials.