Sunday, July 31, 2016

'nuff said

I didn't remember until just after one this afternoon that Virgin Active was closing at two to be rebranded for Monday as it has been taken over by Nuffield Health.

I rushed off to get my session in. God knows how may time I have done that since 2005. A lot of water under the bridge since then.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

between the extremes

As of last night, though it is a close run thing and there is plenty of time yet, more tickets had been bought for Nick Clegg at the upcoming Wimbledon Bookfest than anyone else.

Who said he was a sell-out? Ba-dum-tish. Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Amazon Web Services (AWS) is on a roll after closing a financial quarter in which its operating income more than doubled.
Amazon as a whole posted a solid quarter, with net sales of $30.4bn, up from $23.1bn, and net income of $857m, up from $92m. Much of that was due to the success of the cloud computing business.
For the Q2 2016 period ended June 30:
  • AWS net sales of $2.88bn were a 58 per cent increase on the year ago quarter's $1.8bn.
  • AWS operating income of $718m was up 135 per cent over $305m in Q2 2015.
  • AWS operating expenses of $2bn was up 41 per cent over $1.4bn in W2 2015.
  • Amazon's total earnings per share of $1.78 was well ahead of analyst estimates of $1.11.
With AWS more than doubling its year-ago operating income, the Amazon Cloud arm looks to show no signs of letting up, much to the chagrin of competitors such as Google and Microsoft.
See Icons passim.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

the finder of lost children

Myself: The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Prodnose: Ben didn't make it to pre-season training last night I take it?

Myself: I'll drive him there myself next week.

Prodnose: In the car?

Myself: No, with a whip.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bicycle races are coming your way

Prudential RideLondon is the world’s greatest festival of cycling with 100,000+ cyclists participating in events on traffic-free roads in London and Surrey. Events will take place in central London on Saturday 30 July 2016 and in London and Surrey on Sunday 31 July 2016.
Herewith the skinny on the implications for Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth.

I used to ride up Wimbledon Hill Road on my way to Richmond Park when I was training for London to Brighton. It damn near wasted me so I will be there at ten to six on Sunday evening to see the pros glide up it as if it wasn't there, but for the rest of the weekend I won't be caught dead any where near the road closures, fuss, itch and bother.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Make me an offer

We certainly sell some weird stuff on behalf of the Old Bill.

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes
Little boxes
Little boxes all the same
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dirt Road

'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.'

Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age. Dirt Road is a major novel exploring the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love and the lure of the open road.

It is also a beautiful book about the power of music and all that it can offer. From the understated serenity of Kelman's prose emerges a devastating emotional power.

Something else for the to-do list.

"Dirt Road is brilliant, a deeply moving and exciting novel. The words feel so believable I forgot at times that I was reading fiction" (RODDY DOYLE)

"Kelman in the American South, with a zydeco lilt, proves irresistible - a thrilling return from one of our most essential novelists" (KEVIN BARRY)

"In writing as pure as this, language becomes the very bones and meat of the characters. I am not transported by these sentences into Murdo's world; I am Murdo" (ROSS RAISIN)

"In Dirt Road James Kelman brings alive a human consciousness like no other writer can" (ALAN WARNER)

"Probably the most influential novelist of the post-war period" (The Times)

"A true original . . . A real artist" (IRVINE WELSH Guardian)

"The greatest British novelist of our time" (Sunday Herald)

"A writer of world stature, a 21st century Modern" (Scotsman)

"The greatest living British novelist" (Amit Chaudhuri)

"To call him a great Scottish writer would be accurate; to call him simply a great writer would be more concise" (Herald)

Book Description

From the Booker Prizewinning James Kelman, comes a road trip through the American South

About the Author

James Kelman was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1989 with A Disaffection, which also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. He went on to win the Booker Prize five years later with How Late it Was, How Late, before being shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 and 2011.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Food and Flavour

Food and flavour is a 'blog run out of the Time and Leisure offices next door.

This review has put sumi-ka on my to-do list

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bad Influence

Possibly I am not the world's most obvious baby sitter.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Our task is terrible, total, universal, and merciless destruction.

House of Lords - House of Commons Joint Committee on Human Rights
Counter-Extremism: Second Report of Session 2016–17

The Government’s proposals rest on the assumption that there is an escalator that starts with religious conservatism and ends with support for violent jihadism, and that violence is therefore best tackled by curtailing or placing restrictions on religious conservatism. However, it is by no means proven or agreed that religious conservatism, in itself,correlates with support for violent jihadism. The aim should be to tackle extremism that leads to violence, not to suppress views with which the Government disagrees.
Absolutely goddamn right. This report came out this week. You won't read much about it in the papers. The select committee system is the great legacy of the late, lamented Norman St John-Stevas.

Dare we think that jihadi radicalism is more about disaffected young men than it is about theology? Nihilism ain't new.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Same Old, Same Old

We are getting reports of booking failures this morning from clients of ours (via their customers) who use Spektrix and Sage Pay to fulfil transactions. This is almost certainly due to BT again. As we work on commission, we aren't making any money while this goes on. I am less than pleased.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BT Broadband users hit by fault

BT has said some of its customers are experiencing problems with its broadband and telephone services.
"Sorry, we're aware of a problem & working to fix ASAP," it tweeted shortly after 0900 BST.
The firm's Plusnet broadband division has also said that it is facing issues.
BT said that "power issues at one of our internet peering partners' sites in London" were the cause. "Engineers are working to fix things as fast as possible," it added.
A spokeswoman was unable to provide more information.

You're darn tooting we are experiencing problems. I seem to be alright on http and https, but the SQL, RDP and Skype ports have all gone for a Burton.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Wes has sent round a link to a video of the weekend's losing semi final. It is too soon to watch it yet, but I might as well post it on the 'blog so I can find it, if and when, I want to check it out.

Also, Spike advised me at the quiz last night that All Or Nothing: A Season With The Arizona Cardinals: Amazon and NFL Films present an unprecedented look at the lives of players, coaches and owners of the Arizona Cardinals over an entire NFL season is well worth a free at the point of delivery viewing on Prime. Another one for the virtual to-do list.

Monday, July 18, 2016

let's go round again

The Rutlish Raiders lost their semi final play off this weekend, so that is the end of Ben's inaugral rugby league season.

In rugby union, Old Ruts U16 pre-season fitness and conditioning training starts on July 27.

It's not really a lot of downtime.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Simple solutions are often the best

My carbon monoxide detector started beeping every coupla minutes last night. Driven to distraction and after a hard day I beat it to death with a claw hammer in the early hours of the morning as suggested by the helpful video above.

I'm glad that I put it out of its misery, but when I was going through its entrails I found a pack of AA batteries. I bet it was whining because that was running down. It might be better if British Gas designed the SOB so we could replace the power supply; robbers.

Friday, July 15, 2016


An auto-antonym (sometimes spelled autantonym), or contronym (also spelled contranym), is a word with a homograph (another word of the same spelling) which is also an antonym (a word with the opposite meaning). An auto-antonym is alternatively called an antagonym, Janus word (after the Roman god), enantiodrome, self-antonym, antilogy, or addad (Arabic, singular didd). It is a word with multiple meanings, one of which is defined as the reverse of one of its other meanings. This phenomenon is called enantiosemy, enantionymy or antilogy.
Have you ever heard of anything so marvellous?

"Alight" can mean to get on, or get off
"Buckle" can mean 'to fasten or secure' or it can mean 'collapse under weight'.
"Cleave" can mean "to cling" or "to split apart."
"Clip" can mean "attach" or "cut off" .........
It is a miracle we ever manage to understand anything at all.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

OK, what follows?

It strikes me that - as I have not the slightest idea what to do next - that I may not be a Pokemon Go natural.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rutlish Raiders vs Invicta Panthers

Ben's Rutlish Raiders have got the Invicta Panthers in the play off semi finals this weekend. The Panthers beat the Raiders rather handily in the Cup earlier this year (in Ben's first ever game of rugby league) and topped the East division undefeated as far as I can tell, so they must be favourites, but as Rhy Ifans (Icons passim) reminds us:
In every battle, every fight and every match. There is always a favourite. The expert’s and the pundits will say on paper this team is stronger, man for man better. More strength in depth. But football rugby isn’t played on paper, and the odds may be stacked against you, fair enough fair enough. But what the odds won’t tell you is.... that this isn’t a maths test. Its a different kind of test! One where passion, courage, heart! Over rides any kind of logic. Where the sun is so much more than its paths. So when you cross that white line with that red dragon crest burning on your chest...Remember...... this is a team game, and you are not alone! We are Wales Rutlish, and together....... we are, STRONGER!!!
The Panthers U15s may be researched on

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Raycat Solution

In 1981, the US Department of Energy and the civil engineering company Bechtel Corp assembled a task force to help tackle the problem of how to warn future humans to stay away from radioactive nuclear waste sites thousands of years into the future. Perhaps the strangest solution came from the French author Françoise Bastide and the Italian semiologist Paolo Fabbri, who proposed genetically engineering cats to change colour in response to radiation, and creating a mythology of danger around those cats. An exploration of unusually creative problem-solving, the French director Benjamin Huguet’s film probes how the once-obscure, decades-old ‘ray-cat solution’ has recently found new life.
I was actually working in Bechtel's offices in Hammersmith on North Sea joint venture around the mid eighties. I don't recall many semiologist colleagues.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The adventures of the son of exploding sausage

The Bonzo Dog Band, seen here in their rock-iconoclast heyday, take a splendidly surreal trip to the countryside in this endearingly odd, semi-improvised psychedelic music short. After a strange-sounding supper with local kids, the Bonzos set up their instruments in a farmyard, where they perform outlandish instrumental versions of their weird theatrical rock songs to an appreciative audience of cattle.
The band line-up featured here is Vivian Stanshall, Neil Innes, Rodney Slater, 'Legs' Larry Smith, Roger Ruskin Spear and Dennis Cowan. Unusually, Viv doesn't sing here. Instead he toys with some radishes, before playing some serious electric guitar, his brow appealingly adorned by a laurel wreath. Meanwhile, Neil expresses himself in clown trousers and Roger attends to his robots.
Possibly one for completists only.

The YouTube version above may well be moody in copyright terms and liable to disappear, but the BFI version at will be on the level.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

ticked off

The boys beat the Brentwood Eels 28-16 yesterday in a London Youth and Junior League - U15 - Play Offs quarter final. Ben's try is at if you haven't got time to sit through the whole thing.

Semi final next Saturday. Bring it on.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Food Blogger

As a rule, I go to the gym and lunchtime and don't eat.

This week however, as Ben has been in with me doing work experience, I have done my duty at Virgin Active early in the morning, and we have been patronising some of the little places in Abbey Mills.

On Monday I had chicken pad Thai at while Ben had beef Pad Namman Hoi.

On Tuesday I had Camembert with Redcurrant Sauce, Walnuts and Baby Leaf Spinach crepe at Ben had a double Cooked Ham & Mature Cheddar with Tomato, Garlic Mayo and Baby Leaf Spinach crepe.

On Wednesday, we both had chicken curry, rice 'n peas, coleslaw at

Thursday, Ben went off and had lunch in where some of his mates were doing their work experience, so I didn't eat, but in the evening had mushrooms and spinach then seafood linguine at at my MBA reunion.

On Friday we both had the lunch special offer of lasagna, salad and garlic bread at

Excluding Thursday everywhere we ate was less than 50m from the office. Not too shabby at all.

Friday, July 08, 2016

It was my thirtieth year to heaven

I went along to the thirtieth year reunion of my MBA cohort last night; an unofficial bun fight organised among ourselves rather than an official po-faced snooze fest.

As I was the youngest of us in 1986, I could attend confident that I will still be the youngest now. There is nowhere else where I have that privilege.

It was an absolute blast. They certainly know how to let their hair down, those captains of industry.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

The Flashing Blade

As long as we have done our best,
then no one can do more
and life and love and happiness
are well worth fighting for.

And we should never count the cost,
or worry that we'll fall.
It's better to have fought and lost
than not have fought at all.

Let's always take whatever comes
and never try to hide.
Face anything and anyone
together, side by side.

When you can't find the words yourself, TV shows you watched as a kid can speak for you. Diolch, Merci… Thanks to the Welsh football team. So near and yet so far.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I Gotta Feelin'

I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good night
That tonight's gonna be a good, good night

Tonight's the night
Let's live it up
I got my money
Let's spend it up

Go out and smash it
Like Oh My God
Jump off that sofa
Let's get get off

I know that we'll have a ball
If we get down
And go out
And just lose it all

I feel stressed out
I wanna let it go
Lets go way out spaced out
And losing all control

Fill up my cup
Mazel Tov
Look at her dancing
Just take it off

Let's paint the town
We'll shut it down
Let's burn the roof
And then we'll do it again

Let's do it, let's do it,
Let's do it,
Let's do it, and do it, and do it,
Let's live it up
And do it, and do it, and do it, do it, do it,
Let's do it,
Let's do it,
Let's do it!

There are lots of Welsh poets, but my inspirational lyric for tonight's Wales Portugal semi final comes from the Black Eyed Peas.

The video has had almost a quarter of a billion views on YouTube. I am astounded.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Ooh, Ah, Cantona

I, Eric Cantona, potential future manager of England, promise never to lose against a small frozen island where the goalkeeper is a movie director and the assistant coach is a dentist.
If I had a vote in the appointment of the next England manager, this is where it would go.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Rhys Ifans - Underdog - Together Stronger

I'm not crying, I just got something in my eyes... yes both of them.

Hat tip, Chris H.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Gim Gyeranmari, 김 계란말이

I was delighted to learn lately that the dried nori sheets that wrap sushi are the same species of seaweed (Porphyra) that is used in Welsh laverbread.

As well as nori in Japan, it is known as zicai (紫菜) in China, and gim (김) in Korea. Isn't that great?

To celebrate this international synchronicity and Wales' arrival at the highest level of international footie, I made Korean rolled seaweed and egg omelettes as part of the buffet for my guests when they came around to my gaff to see us beat Belgium. The recipe is here, and in my case I dressed the parcels with roasted black sesame seeds and a little soy.

They went down very well. Will I have to do them again on Wednesday to propitiate the gods before the semi final I wonder?

The prawn and mango and pork and water chestnut lettuce cups with a 10-second egg-free miracle mayo that Annabel Langbein did on Saturday Kitchen have also made an entry for themselves in my to-do list. The mayo uses the brine from a can of chickpeas instead of eggs. Apparently protein leaches out of the legumes into the water. I will test it in the laboratory of the utility muffin Research kitchen and get back to you.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Action this day

As you can see from the British Film Institute footage above, Wales beat Belgium by five goals to one when we  played them in 1948. Surely it says something about the lamentable state of the national team that we could only beat them three one last night. Someone has been asleep at the wheel. Heads must roll. Root and branch reform.....

I'm only pulling your plonker, I am as happy as a sandboy. Roll on Wednesday and the semi final with Portugal.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Ahm jes' sayin' is all

Well done to the Bomber. Inaugural "Athlete of the Year" at school. He didn't want me to go to the ceremony, not that we knew he had won, fearing - perhaps and with some justification - that I would attend wearing a BB rosette and perform the Viking war chant that that Iceland's football team and fans have introduced to the world when he ascended the stage. Huh!