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August 24, 2009

Ashes to Ashes, Memories to Dust

So we won the Ashes. Yay. Awesome. Etc.

Can’t help but wonder how many people actually saw it happen though. There were several thousand in the stadium, but the best that the bulk of the country could do was hope to catch it on the radio.

Given how much press the series has generated on both back and front covers, isn’t it a bit wrong that so few had the opportunity to see it happen? Isn’t it time to move the Ashes – home and away – to the protected list of events that have to be on terrestrial?


July 01, 2009

Watching black and white paint dry…

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_1/8124105.stm

No. This is not fair.

The BBC have a grand total of ten Championship matches last season. That’s ten between a league of 24 teams, so already four teams won’t be making an appearance. So in the interests of fairness… they give Newcastle the first two games.

How can this be fair to the myriad of quality sides in the division that some team, who at the back-end of last season played some pathetically soulless football, can be guaranteed two appearances on terrestrial television when unfashionable sides like Doncaster who play a decent hard-working probably won’t be shown at all? Would it really have been that difficult for the BBC to, if unable to at least pick up a couple more games, structure things so only four clubs miss out rather than immediately focus on a club which claims to be big yet continues to achieve nothing?

Oh wait, I forgot – Newcastle are going to be the Man Utd/Chelsea/Liverpool/Arsenal of the Championship, getting far more TV exposure than the rest of their division. Difference is, in Newcastle’s case I think it’s going to be 1 from 24 rather than 4 from 20.


June 16, 2009

Don't tax my phone line

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8102756.stm

So the latest great completely stupid idea of the government is for all of us with phone lines to pay £6 a year to make Britain “the digital capital of the world”.

Wonderful. By 2017, our internet speed will have caught up with where Japan and South Korea are… um… well, where they are in 2009.

Something doesn’t seem quite right with this deal…


May 04, 2009

What if…

Last week, Britain’s only world champion boxer (Carl Froch) beat American Jermian Taylor in the final round with seconds remaining. Of course, nobody in this country could watch it, as due to the senselessness of boxing politics no TV channel would screen it. So of course, it was off to YouTube if you want to see any coverage of any of the fight.

Once you remove the anti-American/British/English/Welsh/disestablishmenterialism rubbish, you are left with two strong opinions:

  1. If you disagree with me, you are gay. In fact, the only place where you are more likely to be gay is Xbox Live. Not even Gay Pride has as many people who are gay, if the comments are to be believed.
  1. Taylor “deserved” to win because he was winning most/all the earlier rounds.

Of course, the latter was largely the thoughts of bitter Americans and/or Taylor fans who couldn’t accept their man had lost, let alone the circumstances. Their case was that Taylor had been so dominant in the fight, that he was clearly the superior fighter. Moreover, because Froch was just a punchbag until the end, the fact that Froch had fought so well in the 12th and forced the referee to end the contest in his favour was irrelevant, as Taylor was ahead on the scorecards.

So let’s put this logic into other sports…

  • Pretty much any team sport on the planet, but let’s stick with football: Man Utd go 4-1 on Liverpool. Liverpool score 4 in the last six minutes. However, Man Utd were better for the first 84 minutes, so they should win the fight.
  • Golf: Tiger Woods leads by six shots with two par 4 holes to go. He finishes bogey-double bogey, Ernie Els finishes eagle-eagle and takes one shot less for the competition. But Tiger was better for 16 holes, therefore he deserves to win.
  • Motor Racing: Jenson Button is six laps clear of Lewis Hamilton in second place, before his engine blows up and he stops at the last corner. Hamilton crosses the line first, but because Button led until the last corner he should be the winner.
  • Rowing: Oxford have rowed ten lengths clear of Cambridge with metres to go before the end of the race, but the stroke violently sneezes and tips the crew into the water. Cambridge row past and cross the line in first place, but Oxford led for all that way so they should be the winners.
  • Diving: Tom Daley executes a whole series brilliant dives to leave him miles ahead of Blake Aldridge. Unfortunately, on his last dive Daley gets it wrong, smacks his head on the diving board, the crowd watches his brains splatter across the pool, and he scores nothing. Aldridge dives into the pool, avoiding the bits of broken skull, and does enough to make up the deficit on the final dive. However, Daley was better before that dive, so he should win.

These farcical examples should go a long way to proving three things. Firstly, that the winner is the one who is in front at the end of the competition, not some arbitrary point in the middle. Secondly, that the internet gives a very powerful voice to very stupid people. And thirdly, I am supposed to call your sexual orientation into question if you do not agree with this entry. According to YouTube, anyway.

As an aside, Ricky Hatton got beaten by Manny Pacquiao, and said that the winner deserved it. Just like Jermain Taylor did, as a matter fact. Wonder how long it is before Mancunians claim Filipinos are homosexual?


November 18, 2008

Correction

Follow-up to Restructuring from The Man From O.N.K.E.N.

We would like to apologise for earlier this week suggesting that former members of the Magic Department of the Amnesia Party threw their toys out of the pram and walked on us. If I remember correctly, they actually went to do some research on the physics of animal projectiles launched from a near-horizontal position.

In other news, the Amnesia Party would like to express its disgust at how Haringey Council forgot what they’d learnt from Victoria Climbie. You wouldn’t catch us forgetting important details like that.


November 13, 2008

Restructuring

We at the Amnesia Party would like to apologise for the delay to this entry. This was caused by us forgetting to write something.

It is with regret that the have to announce some restructuring, which means we have to make substantial cuts to our paid staff. Hopefully in this time of recession, our adjustments will allow us not to waste money on trivial causes that aren’t important.

Next to go was the Department for the Colour Blind, but that’s because the returned the red form instead of the green form. In any case, most of the members of that group are now in Switzerland living as tax exiles so they don’t have to remember to fill in self-assessment forms. We’ll put them into the Department for Foreigners for now.

Unfortunately the Department for Rugs also had to be cut. To be honest it’s not like we even wanted them in the first place, but they just kept coming and coming. It was enough effort just to get them to accepting new members. They accepted the end a bit better than we expected though.

We also cut the Department for Magic, as we realised they were just creating an illusion of being worth something. Thankfully we managed to get some of the staff in other areas of the party, but when those who weren’t invited found out, they got in a huff and quit the party entirely.

Finally, we had to ditch the Department for the Colour Blind, as they filled out the wrong colour form. For similar reasons, we decided to keep them away from the Department for Electrical Engineers.

Hopefully in this time of recession, our adjustments will allow us not to waste money on trivial causes that aren’t important.


November 06, 2008

Amnesia Party welcomes the new President of Americashire

Hey Jahn,

Can you get Luke to stick this up some time on Wednesday morning?

Cheers,

Mike


Mike,

Please edit as applicable and send on to Jahn for release.

Cheers,

Pat


People of Britain,

We at the Amnesia Party would like to congratulate Senator McCain/Obama on becoming President of Americashire. It is in times like this, where [stuff] is happening, where we need a bold leader who can do [stuff].

As a forward-thinking political party, we believe that the appointment of Senator McCain/Obama will be good for Americashire, because [reason]. We therefore congratulate him on taking up this post, and look forward to engaging in dialogue on the critical issues of today in due course.

Let us look forward now to an era of [something], where our great nation can work together with Americashire on the critical issues of today.


May 29, 2008

Play–offs: it's just cricket

So I hear that the ECB is again looking to revamp the county game. It was only in 200 that the long game was changed from 1 division of 18 sides playing home OR away to 2 divisions of 9 sides playing home AND away. (This conveniently removed the extra game in the season which Durham added by joining the league in 1992.) Of course, you could say this prompt review has been caused by the Indian Premier League, a fairly apt title in that it too is making millionaires of its sportsmen thanks to hefty TV funding (and a fanatic Indian fanbase) but that would be oversimplifying the issue.

As well as the County Championship (16×4-day games), you also have the dreadfully named Pro40, which is the 40-overs a side league competition also in two divisions from 1998 (so 16×1-day games), the Friends Provident Trophy, currently a 50-overs a side round-robin which knockout competition that again features the major counties plus Ireland and Scotland (although before 2006 it also featured a lot of minor counties) and then of course the Twenty20 knockabout thingy that gets 108% of the revenue of the sport in each year.

Now for those of you who have also been keeping up with rugby (be it union or league), not to mention several other sports like basketball and ice hockey, you’ll know that the end of the league season has this completely pointless play-offs thing, where the top four of the regular league season compete in a stupid end-of-season tournament to decide the “winners”. Why do they do it? TV money. It serves absolutely no use whatsoever, as the whole point of the league structure is to decide who is the best over a long series of games, not in an end-of-season PPV rushabout.

Play-offs, of course, are an American idea, both in their execution and the fact that’s where the big money comes in from the advertisers. Yet in America, it works. America is a big country, it has a limited number of franchises in each sport (for simplicity let’s assume American Football, Baseball and Ice Hockey) which don’t change from year to year that ideally need grouping by geography. Not only do they bring in a ton of extra money (because the sports aren’t awash with enough already) but they provide the ideal scenario to combine the geographical results of the season past without making everyone play each other every season and trawl all over the country.

Fixed group of teams, spread over the country, pressed for time. What sport does that remind you of… no, not rugby. It’s cricket. From the day they introduced the two-tier system I couldn’t see the point of it. Suddenly, you make the county game based upon geography and play-offs and it’s perfectly balanced: split the 18 into three leagues of six, play 10 games (H+A) against the other five in your “league” and three games against other teams, and lo and behold you’re set for top 2 from each league plus two others in an end-of-season knockout. 13-16 4-day games a season, a money-spinner at the end of the run, and more time for the slogfests during the year.

Granted it’s not quite as straightforward as just shoving the idea into play (What if the play-off games get rained off, for instance? Where would they take place?) but as far as British sport goes it’s by far the most useful implementation of the end-of-season knockout tourney there could be.

Far better than doing it in rugby, at least.


May 09, 2008

We <3 England

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7391776.stm

According to the latest Rough Guide to England, we are a nation of “overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex- and celebrity-obsessed TV addicts”, and a “insular, self-important and irritating” nation.

Wow, they know us so well!


May 01, 2008

A quick reminder

VOTE AMNESIA.


April 19, 2008

London Mayor Elections

As you may be aware, the Amnesia Party is not fielding a candidate. This is because somebody spilt Onken on our forms, and by the time we had finished grieving we’d forgotten to get the application in in time. So, we’re left to look at one of the other candidates.

Firstly, we have the incumbent, who is I think is the Conservative candidate. He is the one who is currently the Mayor, and we can’t remember what he’s done for the city. But we aren’t dead, so we can’t be doing that badly.

Then we have the other guy, who I think is a Conservative. He is the one with the really bad haircut, and therefore we support him as our second choice.

Of course, you can’t forget the current mayor, who hasn’t done anything that we can remember as particularly bad. We made him one of our choices.

There’s some other guy, but we can’t remember who he is, which party he’s in or what he stands for. I’m not sure if he knows either to be honest.

However, we have decided to back the Green Party, whose candidate is a person. We believe any party that names itself after the colour it represents must be doing good, because they named themselves after the colour they represent.

So, if you want to vote for us, you can instead vote for.


February 27, 2008

Earthquake

It has come to the attention of the Amnesia Party that there was an earthquake in the West Midlands early this morning. Unfortunately, we’d forgotten that the West Midlands existed, having closed our office there in 2005.

Nevertheless, we believe that it is very important that our country is prepared for such natural disasters. We at the Amnesia Party believe that it’s very important that our country prepares for natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Therefore, we have resolved to draft a green paper on this issue about this thing, once we’ve remembered which drawer we put the green paper in.


January 17, 2008

Important correction to Import annoucnement

Writing about web page /lblackwell/entry/important_annoucnement_part/

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Citizens of America,

Following yesterday’s press release by the Amnesia Party of America, I would like to issue the following correction. The phrase:

A vote for Amnesia is a vote you’ll never forget.

should have in fact read:

A vote for Amnesia is a vote you’ll never remember.

We would like to apologise for any confusion this hasn’t caused.


December 22, 2007

A New Year Message from the Amnesia Party

Follow-up to A New Year Message from the Amnesia Party from The Man From O.N.K.E.N.

People of Britain,

We at the Amnesia Party hope you have had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward forward to a prosperous New Year in 200?. It has been a long and hard year for all of us with several events changing the world’s perception of itself, for example… stuff.

We at the Amnesia Party will never stop striving for something to happen, and this year we shall throw our weight behind the Government for the introduction of ID cards as soon as possible. However, we believe that things should go one step further and that rit… rot… reticle… cretin… eye scans should be used as a more efficient form of ID. This is because it is quite difficult to forget where one has put their eyes, and it would mean that another piece of plastic which can quite easily be lost down the back of the sofa along with the passport, the loss change and the contraceptives would not be of concern. Moreover a nationwide ID system would help make it a safer place for me, for you me and for me. Moreover, we also think instead of ID cards we should introduce retinal scans so that the cards don’t get lost.

With all the best for all our followers and supporters in the Next Year,

The Amnesia Party


November 28, 2007

The Completely Useless Sports Guide #9

Horse Racing

Horse Racing, often abbreviated to just Racing, is a sport which involves midgets sitting on horses and beating the living daylights out of their steed in order to make them run faster.

Many races take place on a flat or undulating course of turf, sand, astroturf, carpet, mud or jelly. Other races, known as point to point, start in one Lord’s back garden and end in another’s, whilst in some races they construct obstacles, known as fences, which span this course, forcing the horse to either jump it, run away from it, throw their mount to the floor, or trip over it and die. Races can have anything between 2 to 40 teams taking part.

The races themselves are often a sideshow to the main attraction, the betting on which horse is going to win/lose/not quite win/have its rider slow it down enough to make money for themselves/sneeze.

Although the horses usually only do one race every 3 or 4 months, the riders will often do several in a day, as they aren’t being whipped all the time. At the end of the season, the “Champion Jockey” is the one who has made the most money from fixing races, whilst the “Champion Trainer” is the one who has the most interviews by John McCriririririririririririririririririck.


September 21, 2007

The Amnesia Party's Guide to a New Year

Dear John,

I am glad you are reading this, because this will help you prepare for a new year of university. Here are some simple guidelines for keeping everything OK for the new year.

  1. Make a list of all the things that you need to do before you leave home.
  2. Make a list of all the things that you need to bring with you from home.
  3. Make a list of all the things that you need to buy when you arrive.
  4. Make a list of all the things that you need to do before you leave home.
  5. Make a list of all the things that you plan to do outside lectures.
  6. Make a list of all the things that you plan to do inside lecture.
  7. Make a list of all the things that you plan to do before you leave home.
  8. Make a list of all the lists you just made.
  9. Make a list of all the lists of lists you just made.
  10. Make a list of all the things that you need to do before you leave home.

Once you have done this, you need to make the following lists:

  1. Make a list of all the things that you need to do before you leave home.
  2. Make a list of all the things that you need to do after you leave home.
  3. Make a list of all the local pubs, clubs and eateries.
  4. Make a list of all the books you need to buy for your course.
  5. Make a list of all the things that you need to do before you leave home.
  6. Make a list of all the names of people you meet.
  7. Make a list of all the lists you have just made.

Finally, make a list of all the lists you have just made.

I hope this helps. :)


September 14, 2007

Learning Japanese with Luke – Lesson 2: Peter Pen the Prostitute writes his diary

Follow-up to Learning Japanese with Luke – Lesson 1: Peter Pen the Prostitute from The Man From O.N.K.E.N.

Now I know where Peter is, I have to help him write his diary. This will be useful when I walk up to some random Japanese person in the street and ask them what day of the week it is.

Kyoo wa naniyoobi desu ka?
Kyooh wah nan-yooh-bee dess kah?
What day is it today?

Nanji desu ka?
Nan-jee dess kah?
What time is it?

Kyoo wa Suiyoobi desu.
Kyooh wah soo-ee-yooh-bee dess.
Today it is Wednesday.

Ashita wa Doyoobi desu.
A-shtaah wah doh-yooh-bee dess.
Tomorrow it is Saturday.

Gogo goji han desu.
Go-go go-jee han dess.
The time is 5:30pm.

Kinoo wa nanyoobi ka oboetenain desu ka?
Kee-noo wah nan-yooh-bee kah o-boh-eh-teh-naiyn dess ka?
Can’t you remember what day it was yesterday?

Kechi ni naranakute, udedokei o kau toki desu!
Keh-chi nee nah-rah-nah-ku-teh, ooh-deh-doh-keh oh cow tokk-ee dess!
It’s time you stopped being a cheapskate and bought a watch!


September 07, 2007

Facebook: Open All Hours

Now I would have expected somebody to have beaten me to this by a long way, but it seems to have sneaked by WB unnoticed that Facebook is opening its doors to Google, and with it taking the last bastion of “privacy” from the site.

Facebook, of course, started out as a North American collegiate networking site, which then expanded to international students. It then opened it doors to the general public, but during all this kept the spiders out, so that what was in Facebook could only be tracked down by logged-in Facebook users.

But now Facebook is directly pitching itself against major rivals like MySpace and Bebo. The two target audiences are arguably significantly different – potentially there could be a continuous migration from Bebo to MySpace to Facebook with age, but as those who despair at the state of SPG of schoolchildren will know the “infiltration” of the MySpace userbase onto Facebook is changing the face of the site.

Of course, being able to be tracked down by Google raises several issues, although I can leave talking about “infringement of privacy” and “protection of personal data” and stuff like that to others.

I reckon Facebook has left a niche in the market behind, which it used to fill. By targeting collegiate students and not allowing anyone else in, it very powerfully segmented a userbase who had intent to procrastinate. But by going open in this way, could Facebook be leaving their niche behind for somebody else to fill? Another potential scenario is that “even more ‘grown up’” sites like Linked-In could benefit with a Facebook userbase dissatisfied with the opening out of the site.

But if it make Facebook Inc more money, then why should they worry about this?


August 09, 2007

Learning Japanese with Luke – Lesson 1: Peter Pen the Prostitute

For those of you who don’t know, I’m off to Japan in November for a whole fortnight. This means I have to learn how to speak the language, otherwise I will be in a spot of bother.

I speak Japanese like a native of Bulgaria. Thankfully, my housemate speaks Japanese like a native of Japan (as long as you don’t ask him about cardiomyopathy) so he’s training me up.

In today’s lesson we will learn about locating pens.

Pen wa doko desu ka?
Penn wah do-ko dess kah?
Where is the pen?

Pen wa teburu no ue ni aru.
Penn wah teh-buru no ooh-eh nee a-roo.
The pen is on the table.

Pen wa isu no shita ni aru.
Penn wah ee-soo no schtar nee a-roo.
The pen is underneath the chair.

Pen wa kappu no hidari-gawa ni aru.
Penn wah cuh-poo no he-dar-ee-gah-wah nee a-roo.
The pen is on the left hand side of the glass.

Pen wa oita tokoro ni aru.
Penn wah oy-ee-tah toh-koh-roh nee a-roo.
The pen is where you left it.

Nande anata no bakana pen no basho o wakaru hazu da?
Nan-deh a-nah-tah no bah-kah-nah penn no ba-shoh oh wah-kah-roo ha-zoo dah?
Why the hell should I know where your stupid pen is?

I look forward to you joining me for your next lesson.


July 25, 2007

Cycling: is it really an example of a failed sport?

Well what a silly couple of days in Le Tour. Firstly pre-race favourite Alex “crash lots then stage fightback then crumble then stage another fightback” Vinokourov fails a blood test and gets both him and his team kicked out. Then after Cofidis form part of a protest to not start racing for a bit, one of their riders fails a drugs test and promptly gets himself arrested and his team kicked out. Now race leader Michael “I’m not a drugs cheat, I just forget where I am a lot” Rasmussen, having just won today’s stage, has been sacked by his own team for being dishonest about his whereabouts. And that’s before you mention the ongoing sagas of last year’s Tour de France “winner” Floyd Landis and this year’s Giro d’Italia “winner” Danilo Di Luca.

It’s laughable that something that considers itself to be a sport can be so ridden with competitors artificially enhancing their bodies. But I’m not going to go and have a rant about how drugs are bad and the riders are nasty people, as that would be too generic. Cycling, at least, is actually trying to something about it – it’s just so disorganised and haphazard. The incentive is there for riders to keep cheating, and with the money floating about you can hardly blame them.

No, instead I look at sports like baseball and golf. Baseball has probably the most apathetic testing system of any sport, and golf the laziest (i.e. it doesn’t even have one). Why should people stay clean when for such little risk they can reap massive rewards by injecting blood or other substances into their system?

Cycling is again looking very bad. For the second year in a row its showpiece event leaves a bad taste in the mouth because its main stars have been shown to be cheats. And I can see the trend continuing, because as the system sorts itself out more and more people will be caught out, until a new generation of cleaner riders prevail and then positive tests become the exception rather than the expected.

As for baseball, how can you possibly compare the achievements of Barry Bonds, who has been dogged by the BALCO scandal, to Hank Aaron? It’s more than noticeable that Marion Jones, since the BALCO details have come to light, has been running at best average and more accurately plain crap.

Some thought that when German TV ceased transmission of le Tour in protest at the pre-event failure of a drugs test by another rider it was an overreaction. Some today felt that the refusal to start cycling by the teams campaigning for cleaner cycling was an overreaction. Yes this is another Tour de France which is going to be remembered for all the wrong reasons, but it’s not because cycling is a sport which isn’t trying to clean itself up. It just is playing catch-up from having not taken it seriously enough.