Thursday, 30 December 2010

England F (second half)

No, I didn't think I'd be posting about sport so much either, but a few documents have appeared online which shed a little more light on where the money might have gone on the World Cup bid.

Of course in some respects it's a bit irrelevant. We all know politicians cite the financial studies that make these big events look profitable but they do it because they want to be the man (or woman) who brought the games to the city or the country. Even though the mayor who brought the Olympics to London was unseated at the next opportunity they never seem to learn. Still, I've got to admit that I sort of like the fact that our present mayor has withdrawn the free hotel stay he'd offered to FIFA during the Olympics. Only sort of though because I'm not sure it was worth giving them in the first place.

Friday, 24 December 2010

What I've learnt this week (written in advance to make sure it's on time edition)

Amanda Vickery was once told she was too old to present television programmes.

This year is the 500th anniversary of the first documented Christmas tree (in Riga).

Being in a largely abandoned office building can be a bit spooky. But the upper floors give you a good vantage point for pretty winter sunrises.

Both Tony Hancock and I were demoted in our school nativity plays. Of all the things I could have in common with him, that's one of the least bad ones.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

England F

One of the advantages of being a very slow writer is that nobody can blame this blog post for the fact that England won't be hosting the 2018 World Cup. Not that I'd be terribly bothered if it did, because nobody ever seemed to have made much of an argument for it in the first place, until suddenly we've got the heir to the throne, the Prime Minister and the man under the most famous haircuts in sport jetting off to Switzerland to claim the credit. Shouldn't at least one of those people have had more important things to deal with? Suddenly the Sun (or at least its English edition) was devoting an entire front page to a rant criticising the BBC for daring to investigate whether anybody in FIFA was corrupt.

Two days later, anyone south of Berwick-upon-Tweed who dared to suggest that anybody at FIFA wasn't corrupt would probably have been beaten with sticks. The more cynical might even have found themselves wondering whether somebody at News International had been tipped off that England weren't going to be the hosts and decided to get their blame in first; after all, if it had been held over here they wouldn't be able to run the usual "BBC Sends People Abroad To Report On Events In Other Countries Shocker" that they usually like when there's some international event. Funnily enough, few seemed brave enough at the time to ask whether it was worth even the legal bribery (in terms of tax relief for sponsors and so forth) in order to host two big sporting events within six years of each other. Mind you, I did hear a rumour that England did quite well in the last tournament that was hosted here... you'd think people would talk about that a bit more.

What I've learnt this week (too sleepy to type on Friday edition)

Taking the bus to work because I was running late was a waste of money.

DH Lawrence had red hair.

In order to be acquitted for crimes committed while sleepwalking, the accused must prove a defence of "non-insane automatism".

Wokingham is officially the least deprived borough in the UK, and is therefore used to calculate local government funding nationwide.

Not only was Police Squad cancelled after six episodes, the last two apparently weren't even aired in the US at the time.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

What I've learnt this week (only one day late edition)

The famous Shito Sauce is not suitible for vegetarians. However, British Sea Power's fudge is.

Women are not (yet) allowed to serve on Royal Navy submarines.

Home-made baked beans taste so much better than the tinned ones that even I like them. 

The generic name for the game commonly known as Jenga is "tension tower".

Friday, 3 December 2010

What I've learnt (on time edition)

Any time it snows south of Birmingham, it will be the lead story on the news in Britain.

Nicholas Sarkozy once had to chase a dog and a rabbit around his ministerial office in front of the US ambassador.

Apparently I have seen the film Airplane!.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

You know my name, look up the crime number

A few days ago, I heard a couple of familiar names in a news bulletin. As I learnt on listening more carefully to the next update, two people with the same names as people I knew from school had been convicted of a reputationally damaging crime (for reasons which should be obvious, I shan't go into specifics here). Inevitably I found myself having to go online just to check they weren't the same people, despite a faint trepidation if they had been.

Fortunately they weren't, I find myself typing, although of course that's a pretty self-centred way to look at things - the victims of the actual crime aren't going to care who the perpetrators might or might not have been at school with. It's fortunate for me and my classmates that there were even differences of spelling, although again that only makes things worse for people who do use the same spellings of their names. Anyway, I'm not sure what I would or could have done about it had these people proved to be criminals, but it did help to remind me that one of the advantages of having a common name is that you're less likely to be associated with anyone else who happens to have it. Though I was still a little cautious when I came to write this post on my other blog.