Wednesday, November 30, 2016

First World Problems

The Echo in the kitchen wasn't responding when I got in yesterday and its rim glowed red as opposed to blue. It looks like the cleaners had pressed the microphone-off button to stop it eavesdropping on them.

The original Echo lives in the kitchen now. I Black-Fridayed an Echo Dot for the bedroom along with a dimmable Hive bulb.

I can now ease myself into the day by murmuring "Alexa bedroom light 10%" when I wake up.

Unfortunately the lamp shade won't fit over the new bulb which, with all its magical extras is deeper than standard.

Into each life a little rain must fall.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Every Newspaper Analysis of Everything for the next four years

Trump, Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump. Trump Trump Trump.


Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump; Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump trump Trump Trump.

(Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump.)

Trump Trump Trump: Trump, Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump? Trump!

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump/Trump/Trump.

[Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump.]

Trump Trump Trump-Trump Trump Trump. Trump Trump Trump Trump…Trump.

Trump Trump?

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump #Trump.

Trump Trump Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump(!). TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. Trump Trump Trump Trump; Trump Trump Trump; Trump Trump Trump; Trump Trump Trump Trump. Trump—Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump, Trump Trump Trump Trump—Trump Trump Trump.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Types of Ethical Theory

You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.
"Jeeves Takes Charge" is a short story written by P. G. Wodehouse. It was first published in the United States in The Saturday Evening Post on 18 November 1916, and in the United Kingdom in the April 1923 edition of Strand Magazine. Its first book publication was in Carry on, Jeeves in 1925.

I've been meaning to dig this up for ages. Now you are as well informed as I am.

To my surprise and delight Types of Ethical Theory appears to be a real book; "a synthesis of the lifelong thinking of British theologian philosopher James Martineau (1805-1900), this astonishing work, written when he was 80 and published in 1885, continues to offer important insight into the borderlands between faith and reason."
The postulate or common understanding involved in speech is certainly co-extensive, in the obligation it carries, with the social organism of which language is the instrument, and the ends of which it is an effort to subserve.
All perfectly true, no doubt; but not the sort of thing to spring on a lad with a morning head.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hold your breath

I am just back from the second assessment for the U16 Surrey RFU squad.

The Bomber fumbled a high pass that would have out him over in the corner for a try so I will be on tenterhooks until we hear the result.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

the race is not to the SWIFF, nor the battle to the strong,

To the list of civilised events where only I am sufficiently belligerent to have a barney we may now add the South West London International Film Festival.

Friday, November 25, 2016

How not to speak like Richard Burton

Dan Fish starts at full back for the Blues tonight, away at Connacht.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to speak like Richard Burton

Concerning my Richard Burton impersonation - A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases.

I will, however, still listen to How Richard Burton Got His Voice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Final Comment on the US Presidential Election


If Donald J. Trump played cricket, imagine his reaction on being given out leg before wicket.

I have the honour to remain, Your Royal Highness's most humble and obedient servant.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


This looks like just the job for me but it doesn't (like many ECHO skills) seem to be available in the UK yet.

Monday, November 21, 2016

the student has become the master

Ben made the cut in the Surrey U16 trials yesterday before lunch and didn't have to take part in the blood and thunder elimination matches in the afternoon.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

desparate men

I very much enjoyed last night's Bonzos gig. A special shout out to guests desparate men; a new favourite in the Browne household.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Ben has to go for a CRY heart test today. It is compulsory at the London Broncos which is very impressive.

From the website
Screening Means Having
An Electrocardiogram (ECG), which looks at the electrical conduction pathways around the heart. Small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the client’s chest and the wires connect to an ECG machine whilst you lie still.
A printout of the heart’s electrical activity is obtained for evaluation by the cardiologist. This test is painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to perform.
An Echocardiogram (Echo) is an ultrasound test (such as offered to pregnant women) which looks at the structure of the heart. From the information provided on screen, measurements are taken which give a guide to muscle thickness and size of the chambers of the heart.
Again, this test is non-invasive and painless; and it takes approximately 20 minutes to perform. The tests are performed with the client lying down on a couch or bed. For both tests clients will need to be undressed to the waist.
The email says the test takes 20 minutes so it looks like the are going the whole hog rather than just an ECG.

Friday, November 18, 2016

1. The Holy Trinity

On this day of days, "Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May start their brand new car show with hundreds of cars, thousands of people, a fire spitting metal scorpion and a squadron of jets in the California desert, plus three amazing hybrid hypercars and a brilliant BMW."

Amazon Prime members, like me, may fill their boots at

I have been waking up to Amazon Alexa's shouting Jeremy Clarkson alarm (Icons passim) for a week now. It emerged last night that my God daughter, who is staying in the spare bedroom, thought that this daily screaming match meant I was going off my head.

I probably haven't helped myself on the mornings when I forgot that I was listening to the news on the radio rather than the Echo and bawled "Alexa stop! Alexa off!" into the ether time and again to no avail.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rugby Round Up

Ben scored a try for the school yesterday that put me in mind of a quote from Apocalypse Now.
Rated a major success. He received no official clearance. He just thought it up and did it. What balls. They were going to nail his ass to the floorboards for that one. But after the press got a hold of it, they promoted him to full colonel instead.
He's off school today though, aching all over. Maybe a game and Broncos training is too much one after the other. He's also been offered a trial for the Surrey Development squad on Sunday; Jonny too. They've apparently relented after last year's fiasco (Icons passim). I wonder if he will want to do it.

Kevin is in town, so I went out for a drink with him after work. He's something to do with the Hong Kong RFU so I ended up meeting Trevor Gregory who represents Asia on the World Rugby Council as well as Dennis Dwyer, who does the same for Rugby Americas North. Small world.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Simple pleasures are often the best

"Hey, hi, I'm Jason Momoa. I like beer and throwing tomahawks."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Alternative Christmas Jumpers

I've already started thinking about giving up booze again for Dry January 2017. That must mean it is OK for you to start thinking about Christmas. Solve all your dilemmas about presents at

Monday, November 14, 2016

Leon Russell

Yet another musical great gone. They're dropping like nine pins. I didn't even realise he wrote this, Donny Hathaway's has always been my go-to version.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Undiscovered Peter Cook

Following the death of Britain’s greatest satirist in 1995, Peter Cook’s widow Lin locked the door of his Hampstead house, and refused all access to the media. Until this year, when she invited her friend Victor Lewis-Smith and a BBC crew inside, to make a documentary about the man she knew and loved, with unprecedented access to Peter’s private recordings, diaries, letters, photographs, and much more
The result is a fascinating and unique hour of television, that includes Peter performing hitherto unknown comedy sketches, rediscovered interviews, and long-lost footage of Peter performing with his comedy partner Dudley Moore, as well as with Peter Sellers and David Attenborough. There are multiple extracts from Peter’s home videos, as well as Lin’s first televised interview. A major find is The Dead Sea Tapes, an LP recorded by Peter and Dudley in 1963, but never released (due to concerns about blasphemy laws), and long thought lost. Also included are rediscovered classic sketches from Not Only But Also, reconstructed in the edit suite after mute film clips were retrieved from Australia, and reunited with the original audio tracks.
Confirmed for BBC Four on 16 November at 10pm to 11pm. Set your video recorders.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Grand Tour

Amazon's big push of The Grand Tour continues this week thanks to Alexa. The company's voice assistant is doing its bit to promote the new series to Top Gear fans with a new alarm on the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot in the UK. If you want to hear Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May wake you up then a new alarm is available within the Alexa app settings. You can enable it by going to Timers & Alarms in the Alexa App, selecting "Manage alarm volume and default sound" and setting "Grand Tour" as your default alarm sound from the new celebrities section.
Does it work? I set it up last night and I am awake this morning if that helps.

Friday, November 11, 2016

a solemn song of celebration

Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.

One of my all time favourites, see Icons passim,  Leonard Norman Cohen; 21 September 1934 – 7 November 2016.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Dream Day of New Orleans Eating

Dear John, my brother,

I am sorry I can't get bqck for the Wales Japan game in a fortnight.

Read this homage to the Big Easy and remember simpler days.
We break the masking tape holding our sandwiches at bay. Each one rolls out an over-stuffed glorious mess. The duck is so drenched in gravy that it has already passed the limit of its structural integrity. I gaze over at the shrimp, and I know that where I’m going, there won’t be seafood like this. This has to be a full pound of fried shrimp stuffed into twelve inches of bread. I do the math in my head and my heart sinks a little. What would it cost me to make this in the country where I’m headed?

Who says nostalgia isn't what it used to be?

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trump Pence a bag

Californians voted to approve marijuana for recreational use yesterday. With the success of Proposition 64, nearly 40 million more people will soon be living in a state that has decided to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol rather than treat it like a criminal enterprise.

California’s measure allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home. It will also allow state-licensed retailers to sell it to adults.

Although it will be at least a year before the state begins issuing licenses, the measure gives regulators the authority to issue temporary permits to some existing medical marijuana businesses, which will be able to sell weed for recreational use until the formal system comes online. But from today, it is no longer be a crime under state law for adults to possess, transport, purchase or use limited amounts of marijuana. Adults can also begin to grow plants at home.

I didn't find out about this until this morning, and I was astounded. It seems incredibly significant. I guess it was just lost in the sound and fury of Trump v Clinton.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Russia Today

If I can't sleep tonight I may watch Russia Today's coverage of the US Election; Freeview channel 135.

Best to get a range of views. Perhaps I'll mix and match with Qatar's Al Jazeera.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Danny Baker

I have never deliberately watched an episode of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! but I may be persuaded to give it a shot with Danny Baker.

He is also on tour next year. My cup runneth over.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Just relax

"Everybody sit down and be quiet for a second. Now listen up, I'm serious. Listen up! You've got an older gentleman who's supporting his candidate. He's not doing nothing! You don't worry about him. This is what I mean about folks not being focused. First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we have to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we have to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don't boo, vote!"
Obama, we are gonna miss you when you're gone. I can't remember the last time a politician reminded us that  disagreeing with him or her is not the same thing as being wicked.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

A Public Service

If you actually want to read the judgement in R (Miller) -V- Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union before bending my ear about it, it has been published on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website as a convenient PDF file here.

Short of time? Try this convenient summary.

Perhaps the febrile Mail and Telegraph can now go back to the vital issue of Theresa May's footwear.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Thoughts the day after the High Court's momentous Clause 50 ruling

Gareth the rugby gnome will be in my house tomorrow afternoon watching the Wales Australia game, and will probably tie his All Blacks scarf around his neck and take himself off to the Standard in the evening to watch their game against Ireland beamed over from Chicago.

Has any other reader noticed his remarkable resemblance to Mel Gibson's latest incarnation? I wonder if they are, by any chance, related.

"Fxxking Gnomes... the Gnomes are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Gnome?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Whose Coat is That Jacket?

Welsh Dialect Words with Korean Billy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Veritable Boon

There is footage above of Johnnie Boon training a fighter for an upcoming tournament. It is staggering to think that Ben was five and it was over ten years ago that had his first Muay Thai lesson (Icons passim).

I also stumbled on the film below today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

London Broncos Scholarship

Dear Ben,

Congratulations on your performance during the London Rugby League origin series. I am pleased to say we would like to invite you to spend 7 weeks training on our Scholarship programme up until Christmas with a view to a permanent place in the squad after that point should you have had a successful 'trial' period.

We are asking all new players to 'trial' in this format rather than automatically offering a place so that we can establish if is right for you in terms of commitment/travel etc as much as to see if we feel you will fit into the programme.

The commitment should not be taken lightly and we expect attendance at all sessions pending illness. Whilst understanding there may be other commitments in terms of sport at school and potentially in additional sports this needs to take the priority given the level this represents.

This is the next step on route to becoming a professional rugby league player and you should feel proud of your achievements to have been offered the opportunity.

All gravy, and not so shabby for his first season playing the league code.