link log

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


R.I.P Linda Smith

Linda Smith
She frequently made me laugh when appearing on Have I Got News For You and QI and those all too rare occassions when I heard her on Radio 4. Armed with a fantastic wit and devilish sense of humour, she was one of the sharpest comics around and will be a big loss to comedy.

Linda Smith died on Monday. She was 48 years old.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Campbell, Blair and a long term unemployed chap

I'm a bit late with this - Alistair Campbell's recent article about his feeling that "modern technology will change the way politicians communicate" despite being a technophobe throughout his years in the Labour government. The parts that really stood out for me, were the infamous stray email to Newsnight:
"However, as some readers may know, I am inclined to hit the wrong key from time to time, as when I joked with a friend that he should tell the BBC to "**** off and cover something important for once", only to discover that I sent it not to my friend but to the BBC, thereby providing Newsnight with a lead story to salivate over on an otherwise quiet news day."
And this anecdote regarding the Prime Minister's technophobia and subsequent presence at an evening class in basic (not programming BASIC, just basic) IT:
"I should add that the prime minister is not much better. He may be one of the politicians most identified with change and modernity in the world today, but he too is at heart a pen and paper man, the computer on his desk almost as idle as the one I used to have on mine. He once attended a class for adults trying to learn new computer skills up in the north-east of England. Because of the media interest, we had TV cameras and press photographers in for part of the lesson, which concluded with a series of tests. The prime minister noticed that the man next to him seemed nervous, almost anxious. "I'm sorry you have to endure all this media glare just because you're next to me," said Mr Blair. "No, no," came the reply "that's not what's worrying me. What's worrying me is that you're the prime minister, I'm long-term unemployed, and I've done better than you in every single test we've done."
A revealing insight into technology and the government there. Gulp.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Davina gets squeezed

Patrick Kielty
The new series of the Apprentice on BBC2 (more on this later) and the Chelsea vs Barcelona match squeezed the viewing figures for 'Davina' yet tighter. In the space of a week, the show has managed to lose a quarter of an already dismal audience figure.

Mind you, having Patrick Kielty as a star guest is not going to help matters. Now, is it just me or does he look uncannily like Lembit Opik in that picture?

Monday, February 20, 2006


James T and Cheney

The unbelievable story gets even more astonishing, it turns out that a key officer involved in Dick Cheney's recent 'troubles' is called Captain Kirk! Fellow Captains, Mr Scarlett and Mr Planet must be keeping their heads out of the line of fire...for want of a better phrase. (Courtesy of Samizdata).

In other news, DoctorVee's new design is up and running.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Davina; far from a model start

Davina McCall and twin
Davina McCall's BBC1 chat-show got off to an awful start this week and was beaten in the ratings by Channel4's Relocation, Relocation. Hardly the start the BBC bosses can have been hoping for.

I'm not sure which of the Davinas' (to the left of this) presented the show, that could be the problem. Parky can sleep easily for now...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Hague Vs Blair. The re-match

Hague VS Blair
History will repeat itself tomorrow as William Hague steps in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions while the Conservative leader is on paternity leave. Mr Hague's gift for a putdown is well documented, as well Blair knows, but Blair is now an old hand when it comes to PMQs - as the young pretender discovered last week. It should make for compelling viewing.


Breathe easy

After initially musing over where my allegiance lay on the smoking ban issue, I came to the conclusion that the non-smoker's right to a smoke free environment in an enclosed space was greater than the right to smoke. I was therefore pleased to see tonight, that a cross-party, 200 strong majority of MP's agreed with me and voted in favour of a ban in all pubs and clubs, including private members' clubs.

I'm sure we'll hear the usual 'nanny state' argument from certain quarters, surely the government though, have an obligation to protect and ensure the health of their people wherever possible, I think this is such an occasion. The research in to the health implications of passive smoking have shown there are strong links between those exposed to second hand cigarette smoke and heart disease. Not only this, but the ban will no doubt also reduce the number of smokers, especially those who only smoke socially.

From a purely personal point of view - I look forward to being able to go out and not come back smelling like an ashtray, indeed, it’s a shame we have to wait until summer 2007!


Ref, ya feckin' eedjit

I stumbled across a new Everton blog this morning, Real Life Blues. It's only just started up but already has some outstanding posts, a welcome addition to the barren world of Toffee blogs. My highlight thus far is this hilarious report of a quip overheard at the Blackburn game:

"And last but not least, hats off to the Park End sage who spotted a serious look-a-like in the linesman on the dugout side of the pitch and spoke the delightful words 'put your fucking flag down Father Ted'"

Almost one of those fabled coffee/monitor moments when I read that little gem.

Monday, February 13, 2006


BlogCode arrives

Tim Ireland’s new blog tool launched today.

"BlogCode is a fast, easy and intuitive source of blog recommendations based on the model. It allows you to start with your favourite weblog (or perhaps even your own) and find others like it. Recommendations are based not only on subject matter, but also on the style and input of the bloggers themselves - and their readers. Plus the recommendations are formed by the collective view of those who have read and enjoyed these same weblogs."

From my albeit brief play around, it seems a great application though obviously as with all of these social networking web apps, they're only as good as the data people feed in. I'll be coding all my daily blogs over the next couple of days. Thus far, my matches are slightly odd, Doctor Vee at number one is spot on but from there down, i'm not so sure... This is no doubt due to BlogCode being in it's infancy though and hopefully in time my matches will become more accurate.

Powered by StoryCode

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Simon and Miquita to leave Popworld in April

Yes, sadly it’s true. Popworld as we know and love it will cease to be, come the end of April (via doctorvee). The show has been a favourite of mine for many a year now, with a complete disregard for ‘celebrity’ and a boisterous, incisive sense of humour, it’s a hugely entertaining hour of Channel 4 morning television – how often have we heard that said? Amstell and Oliver were the programme and indeed wrote large sections of the material themselves, I fail to see how the show could continue without one of the duo of presenters, let alone both of them.

The Indy recently featured a write-up and mini-interview of the show. Well worth reading.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Duncan' the Disorderly

DISCLAIMER: I feel I should make it known at this point that I am an Everton fan, please bear this in mind when reading my blog!

In addition to the suspension Ferguson has already begun serving - for the red card in the match versus Wigan, the FA have now banned him for a further four games. Their reasoning for this is as follows:

"Because referee Mike Dean had already decided to dismiss Ferguson before the Chimbonda incident, this matter fell outside the jurisdiction of the match officials but was reported to the FA."

"It is broken down into three matches for violent conduct, with a further match suspension in line with disciplinary rules which categorise the proven charge as effectively his second sending - off of the season."

What gets my goat, is not the ban itself - it was deserved of course; it's the gross inconsistency when it comes to these incidents. Will Reina receive an additional ban for raising his hand to Robben? Why on earth was Andy Cole's ban only for 6 games and then REDUCED after his sending off against WBA back in September 2004? He punched Neil Clement in the face and then abused a match official, unquestionably a more serious offence than the pictured incident above. Besides, the scuffle in which the "Chimbonda incident" took place also saw Chimbonda raising his arm to Ferguson's face (see picture), Jason Roberts throwing a punch and Tim Cahill likewise. Surely they are all equally culpable of violent conduct and should be disciplined accordingly?

There needs to be a full - scale review of how these incidents are dealt with by the FA, the contradictory penalties are becoming ridiculous and the rulings are either exceedingly harsh or pathetically lenient.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Education Minister has egg on her face.

Apologies. Thought I'd try and get in before everyone else does.

Credit to the BBC for the image.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


News Roundup

Due to my lack of posting this week, here is a roundup of the major stories and my take on them.

I’ll start with the news on Tuesday that Lib Dem leadership candidate Chris Huhne had reneged on a deal he made in private with fellow leadership candidate Menzies Campbell not to stand against him. Huhne’s fellow young Liberals – Clegg, Laws, Davey et al, are quietly seething with anger about Huhne going against his word. The group had planned to unite behind Sir Campbell and have their own battle for the leadership after the next election with Campbell steadying the ship in the meantime. This situation is all rather comical, Clegg, Laws and co. only have themselves to blame for not standing and thus letting Huhne steal a march. The subsequent withdrawal of Oaten and defaming of Simon Hughes has made it almost a two horse race; if Huhne can get enough of the second votes he may just be able to pull this off. There could be some very irate Orange Bookers come March the 2nd.

The major issue of the week has of course been Freedom of Speech. Firstly the government were twice defeated on their Religious Hatred Bill, the second by just one vote –who was strangely absent? No, not George Galloway, he was present and voted with the government. The notable absence was the Prime Minister himself! With a vote attendance record of only 6% since the election, it’s hardly surprising. Labour’s chief whip Hilary Armstrong clearly made a huge miscalculation, perhaps mislead by a cunning Tory ploy of announcing the vote as a two-line whip yet treating it as a three. Credit also to Mark Oaten who made his return to the House for the vote.

The big story has been the publication of defamatory cartoons in the Danish press back in September and their recent reprinting by European newspapers (none of them British) in an attempt to assert their right to freedom of speech. The Times has a three page article on the furore starting from the very beginning. My own (perhaps naive) feeling, is that whilst the cartoons may have been unfunny, hackneyed and foolish, the paper had every right to print them. As has been said many thousands of times before - I might not like what you say but I will defend your right to say it, or as Cheryl Gillan put it on Question Time – “I might not like what you say but I will die in a ditch to enable you to say it” (or words to that effect.) The issue has escalated and been blown out of all proportion by both sides, the press insist on continued reprinting of the pictures whilst a minority of Muslims are protesting. These protests range from boycotting Danish products (chiefly bacon and beer, that’ll hit ‘em hard) to burning down Embassies and proclaiming on marches that Europe will have it’s 9/11 and anyone mocking Islam will be beheaded. The Christian right argue that they are often subjected to similar derision and President Bush particularly so. Jews inform that Muslim papers routinely insult their religion. This issue only serves to highlight the frailty of the Muslim/West relationship and I fear it may go on for weeks and months rather than days.

On a brighter note: scientists may be close to creating a cure-all vaccine for bird flu. Hurrah!