Friday, March 31, 2017

Faraway, So Close

After leading for most of the game, Rutlish U16 lost in the Surrey County Rugby Cup final yesterday after shipping a couple of tries towards the end of the game.

Tries for Jonny and Ben in their last game for the school, but I am sure they would have swapped individual notches on their belts for a team win.

The atmosphere was subdued when I popped my head in the changing room after the match.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

I am Theodore Twombly

Windows 10 includes Cortana, a voice-activated personal assistant, not dissimilar to Amazon's Alexa. It doesn't work out of the box however, you have to enable it to respond to the "Hey Cortana" wake command like what I did below.

So now you know. Scarlett Johansson's Samantha (an intelligent computer operating system expressed as a female voice) was science fiction in the Spike Jonze movie 'Her' in as recently as 2013. Now in 2017 I talk to speakers (Alexa), my phone (OK Google) and my PC (Hey Cortana) and they Little-Britain-We-Are-Ladies back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Perennial vegetable

We only came second in the quiz last night; a narrow defeat for which I was largely to blame, rashly contradicting Andy when he said that asparagus was a perennial vegetable like rhubarb.

It turns out that such perennials are parts of plants that are prepared and eaten as veg while the plants live on for next year rather than being completely harvested.

I was thinking of the word perennial as an adjective that means lasting a long time, and couldn't relate that to the fleeting six week asparagus season. More fool me, you may think.

Possibly not the greatest anecdote in history, but it is how things went down in the Sultan's fortnightly bun fight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

April 6 Shopping List

Google Home speaker £129 April 6.

All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player £39.99 April 6.

Either, or, both?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Not Sanguine

The report went a little under the radar due to blanket coverage of last week's Westminster attack, but the Taliban have recaptured the crucial south Afghan district of Sangin.

456 British troops were killed in Afghanistan. Of those, around 114 died in the city of Sangin.

Back in 2010 when British forces in southern Afghanistan handed responsibility for security in Sangin to US forces, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister said:
Our troops have performed magnificently in Sangin and I pay tribute to the thousands who have served, to the over one hundred who have given their lives, to the many who have been wounded.
They did not die in vain. They made Afghanistan a safer place and they have made Britain a safer place and they will never be forgotten.
They did die in vain. They didn't make Afghanistan a safer place and they haven't made Britain a safer place, and they are being forgotten if the deafening silence around this latest development is anything to go by.

Sangin is considered the bloodiest battleground of Afghanistan by both the British and the Yanks. Both nations lost over 100 killed in action there along with several hundred moderate to severe casualties. Here is a dated list (US format) of the Americans who died there when they took over from us and after Cameron's boast of "huge achievements."

9/28/2010 Lance Cpl. Ralph J. Fabbri - USMC 1stMarDiv, HQBN, H&S, Combat Camera. Was an attachment to 3/7.

10/08/2010 LCpl John T. Sparks USMC 3/5

10/13/2010 PFC Victor A Dew USMC 3/5

10/13/2010 LCpl Joseph E Rodewald USMC 3/5

10/13/2010 LCpl Phillip D. Vinnedge USMC 3/5

10/13/2010 CPl Justin J. Cain USMC 3/5

10/14/2010 LCpl Irvin M. Ceniceros USMC 3/5

10/14/2010 LCpl Joseph C. Lopez USMC 3/5

10/14/2010 LCpl Alec E. Catherwood USMC 3/5

10/15/2010 LCpl James D. Boelk USMC 3/5

10/16/2010 Sgt Ian M. Tawney USMC 3/5

11/04/2010 LCpl Mathew J. Broehm USMC 3/5

11/04/2010 LCpl Brandon W. Pearson USMC 3/5

11/06/2010 LCpl Randy R. Braggs USMC 3/5

11/09/2010 1stLt Robert M. Kelly USMC 3/5

11/10/2010 LCpl James B. Stack USMC 3/5

11/24/2010 LCpl Ardenjoseph A. Buenagua USMC 3/5

11/25/2010 1stLt William J. Donnelly IV USMC 3/5

12/02/2010 Sgt Mathew T. Abbate USMC 3/5

12/06/2010 Cpl Derek A. Wyatt USMC 3/5

12/06/2010 PFC Colton W. Rusk USMC 3/5

12/07/2010 Sgt Jason D. Peto USMC 3/5

12/17/2010 LCpl Jose L. Maldonado USMC 3/5

12/24/2010 LCpl Kenneth A. Corzine USMC 3/5

12/28/2010 Cpl Tevan L. Nguyen USMC 3/5

01/20/2011 Sgt Jason G. Amores USMC 3/5

02/22/2011 Cpl. John Taylor USMC 2/8

04/24/2011 - LCpl Joe M. Jackson, USMC 1/5 (Alpha)

04/28/2011 - LCpl Ronald D. Freeman, USMC 1/5 (2nd Combat Engineers)

06/09/2011 - LCpl Nicholas S. O'Brien, USMC 1/5 (Bravo)

06/12/2011 - LCpl Sean M. N. O'Connor, USMC 1/5 (Alpha)

06/12/2011 - LCpl Joshua B. McDaniels, USMC 1/5 (2nd Combat Engineers)

06/21/2011 - Cpl Jared C. Verbeek, USMC 1/5 (Police Advisor Team One)

06/22/2011 - Cpl Gurpreet Singh, USMC 1/5 (Bravo)

06/26/2011 - LCpl John F. Farias, USMC 1/5 (Bravo)

06/26/2011 - GySgt Ralph E. Pate Jr. USMC 1/5 (EOD)

06/30/2011 - Sgt Chad D. Frokjer, USMC 1/5 (Alpha)

06/30/2011 - Cpl Kyle R. Schneider, USMC 2/8 (Echo)

07/10/2011 - LCpl Norberto Mendez-Hernandez, USMC 1/5 (Bravo)

07/12/2011 - LCpl Robert S. Greniger, USMC 1/5 (2nd Combat Engineers)

08/06/2011 - Sgt Daniel J. Patron, USMC 1/5 (EOD)

08/07/2011 - Sgt Adan Gonzalez Jr. USMC 1/5 (SSP)

08/07/2011 - Sgt Joshua J. Robinson, USMC 1/5 (SSP)

09/15/2011 - Cpl Michael J. Dutcher, USMC 1/5 (Bravo)

09/24/2011 - LCpl Frankie Watson, USMC

10/13/2011 - LCpl Scott D. Harper, USMC 1/6 (Animal)

10/23/2011 - LCpl Jordan Bastean, USMC 3/7

10/24/2011 - LCpl Jason Barfield, USMC 3/7

11/5/2011 - LCpl Nickolas Daniels, USMC 3/7

11/18/2011 - LCpl Joshua Corral, USMC 3/7

11/21/2011 - Cpl Zachary Reiff, USMC 3/7

1/21/2012 - Cpl Christopher Singer, USMC 3/7

3/27/2012 - SSgt Joseph D'Augustine, USMC 3/7 EOD

Sunday, March 26, 2017

concerning recent maths exams

And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up
This old fool

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bro Science

I try to get to the gym every day but I seldom share my insights on these spindrift pages.

For once, however, I will make an exception. Here is some advice, fellow meat heads:
Do not burst into tears reading Lit by Mary Karr when you are doing half an hour on the recline exercise bike. It plays merry hell with your hormonal profile.
Prodnose: A memoir, superficially addressed by a parent to a child, from an author with a complicated relationship with alcohol and Catholicism?

Myself: I bet you didn't see that one coming.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lest we forget

LONDON — A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage at the heart of Britain's seat of power Wednesday, plowing a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before stabbing an armed police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. Five people were killed, including the assailant, and about 20 others were injured in what Prime Minister Theresa May condemned as a "sick and depraved terrorist attack."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

slow and low fo' sho'

12 barbecued things you should eat in Wales if you're obsessed with brisket and pulled pork.
Two years ago (Icons passim) it was just the Hang Fire girls. How quickly things change. I am due back in Cardiff this weekend by the way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ben and Rutlish are at the National Schools 7s today; live coverage above.

They are in group X and play as follows:
10:40 Tiffin School
12:00 Millfield School
14:20 St Olave's Grammar School, Kent
15:20 Langley School

I will try and get over to see the lunchtime game; pitch A1 Richardsons Evans Memorial Playing Fields.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chelsea 7 Spurs 1

Chelsea beat Spurs 7-1 in the second leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-final. Callum cames off the bench to score three minutes and twenty seconds into the highlight reel above.

Back on planet Earth the Old Ruts U16s were thumped by KCS yesterday.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The full story of what happened in the shambolic 20-minute France v Wales finale

Actually I have no idea what was going on between the 80th and 100th minute yesterday. If anyone can fill me in I will be in their debt. I await Brian Moore in the Telegraph on Monday with interest.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Where I am watching the Six Nations today

Friday, March 17, 2017

At 4:15 on 30/3/17 I will be at Dorking RFC

Ben will be playing at outside half if they keep to the usual line up.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Judge: “What is a 'yoot'?” Vinny: “Oh, excuse me, your honor. Two youths.”

Callum (Icons passim) started for Chelsea against Spurs in the 2016/17 FA Youth Cup the day before yesterday. You can see him go close to scoring thirty odd seconds into the highights above.

Only those players between the age of 15 and 18 on 31 August of the current season are eligible to take part, which puts him in the 15 year old cohort. Quite an achievement.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Cousin Vinny

My father, as a forensic consulting engineer, spent a lot of his career giving evidence on technical issues in court. I can remember him saying that Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito's peformance as an expert witness (above) was vaguely credible as well as hilarious.

It seems he is not the only professional to appreciate it:
It was a quarter-century ago yesterday when the movie My Cousin Vinny made its debut in theatres. Over time, the comedy and its leather-jacketed, smart-alec hero, played by Joe Pesci, have swaggered into the pantheon of legal cinema, taking a seat alongside the genre’s dramatic greats, 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Judges have referenced it in rulings more than two dozen times. Just this month, “Vinny” made a cameo in an opinion written by US Circuit judge Janice Rogers Brown in Washington DC. Lawyers talk about the movie with a Casablanca-like fondness. Professors at elite law schools have invited “Vinny” into their classrooms, using the film as a teaching tool for courses in evidence and trial advocacy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Well I never!

Wales could stay clear of big guns New Zealand, England and Australia in their World Cup pool if they beat France on Saturday.
A victory away in Paris, combined with an Irish defeat to Six Nations champions England, would see the Welsh team jump up to fourth in the world rankings.
That would mean them avoiding the other teams in the top four in their World Cup group, with the draw for the 2019 tournament in Japan to be made in May, based on the rankings after this final weekend of the Championship.
It’s a far cry from this time last week when Wales were facing the prospect of finishing outside the top eight and ending up in another group of death.
But their 22-9 triumph over Ireland has ensured that can’t happen and moved them up to sixth in the rankings.
Regardless of how the Scots fare at home to Italy, Wales would go above them with a win over France, as it would be an away victory over a higher-ranked side than the Azzurri.
And if Ireland lose to Grand Slam-chasing England in Dublin, then Rob Howley’s Welsh team would go up to fourth with a success in Paris. They wouldn’t need a bonus point. Any win would suffice.
That would see them pooled with one team ranked 5-8 in Japan, plus three other lesser sides in the World Cup draw.
So, if Wales beat France on Saturday afternoon, I will be supporting England against Ireland. Didn't see that one coming.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Passing on the mantle

I first took Ben skiing when he was seven years old in 2008. I was keen to get him started because I remembered how well Deb's son Ryan got on with skiing after an early introduction. I am now so long in the tooth that this year Ryan brought his seven year old daughter along to Austria for six days of ski school. Not that I'm sentimental you understand. I just happen to be peeling onions as I write.

Ben got his skiing assessed when he went to Italy with the school in half term, so now it is done and dusted as one of his Physical Education GCSE sports. I wonder if that would ever had happened if a woman I was chatting to on a chair lift years ago hadn't told me it was possible? It would never have occurred to me, and it is not something Rutlish promote actively, though they have been very accommodating in arranging for him to get it once I passed the suggestion on.

He will be in college next year, so the school trip won't be an option. Maybe I should cancel my Barcelona/Andorra idea and take him on a long weekend, perhaps on the Eurostar ski train?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

This time next year

I am back from Saalbach. There were 24 of us in the party and it was a great week, but Bondy isn't organising this trip again until the week after next.

I have long had the idea of combining a Barcelona weekend with four or five days skiing in Andorra.

Maybe this idea's time will have come in 2018.

Random Google result -

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Maintain radio silence

I am flying off from Gatwick South on flight BA 8612 to Salzburg at half past one this afternoon, skiing for a week in Saalbach.

We are staying in Berger's Sports Hotel and BA 8613 should dump me back in Blighty at 18:30 on Saturday March 11.

You are in charge while I am away.

Friday, March 03, 2017


I have got my ticket for Jah Wobble.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Be still, my beating heart

Two sleeps till Saalbach.

Ski Tracks for Android installed. I was an IOS man last time round.

Let's do this thing.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

it was Geek to me

I have set up a (deep breath) TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug Works with Amazon Alexa, No Hub Required, Control Your Devices From Anywhere HS100 (UK Plug) in the office.

I can't help but notice that it is considerably cheaper than the Hive Active Plug I use at home even though it has wi-fi built into it.

The TP_Link plug has to be configured via the Kasa for Mobile app (here's the Android version), there isn't a web or PC implementation.

That said it is pretty straightforward, as is connecting it to Amazon Alexa, see