Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web

I watched a documentary looking at the black market website known as the Silk Road on the BBC iplayer last night. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' - the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts - emerged in 2011, promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation, and grew into a multimillion-dollar (denominated in Bitcoin) digital drugs cartel.

Fascinating stuff, especially considering that two of the last three books I read were Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey and Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones.

It is available for another 22 days here.

Monday, August 28, 2017


The Blues beat reigning Aviva Premiership champions the Exeter Chiefs in a pre-season friendly on Friday, then the City beat QPR on Saturday to nail themselves to the top of the Championship.

And Dan Fish is back from his long term injury.

And Colin Jackson has come out.

All systems go in Wales' capital.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

nante Hampsteads, nante minces, nante riah, nante everything

... The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound...
Yep, I'm back in Cardiff.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Old Friends From High School Meet Up Every Year To Say Names Of Former Classmates

The Onion
Convening at their hometown bar to grab a drink and catch up on things, a group of old high school friends reportedly met up on Thursday as per their yearly tradition of saying the names of their former classmates. “Hey, remember that guy Dave Getler?” asked 32-year-old Kim Blackburn to a group of nodding Granville High alumni, each of whom took their turn listing a series of mutual acquaintances from the specific four-year period in their lives. “How’s Marcy Levesque doing? Anyone hear from her? Oh, who was Shane Cook and Trevor O’Malley’s buddy who used to date Karen Hest? Tanner Smith? I remember he would always sit with Devon and Sean in algebra—okay, now ‘Sean Houlihan’ is a name I haven’t heard in a million years.” At press time, those friends who still lived near each other agreed that there was no reason to wait another year to get together and say the names of former classmates as a smaller group.
That'll be me, Phil and Tim in the Claude later if everything goes to plan.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tooting you own horn

Lonely Planet has pronounced on 10 of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods to visit right now.

Borgo San Frediano, Florence
Seongsu-dong, Seoul
The Triangle, Lisbon
Vesterbro, Copenhagen
Business Bay, Dubai
Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur
Sunset Park, New York City
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro
Frelard, Seattle
Tooting, London

Myself: Tooting?

Prodnose: Tooting in South London has developed into an uber-cool neighbourhood in recent years and lost none of its gritty charm in the process. Rubbing shoulders with perfectly pleasant yet slightly square Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Balham, Tooting is a more captivating affair, revelling in multiculturalism and originality. Its high street, which stretches between two Tube stations, is one of the best ‘curry corridors’ in the country, and contains some superb South Asian restaurants, like Dosa n Chutny and Apollo Banana Leaf. The best shopping can be found inside eclectic Tooting Market, and quirky bars and pubs include The Castle, The Antelope and The Little Bar. The Tooting Commons create over 200 acres of green between them, and are home to Tooting Bec Lido – the largest swimming pool in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

85a Lower Richmond Road

Rod is back in Blighty from Greece and John is in town from New Zealand, so last night (and more than thirty one years after I moved out) we met up for a drink in the Half Moon pub which is a stone's throw from the flat we used to share with a revolving cast of colourful characters.

According to Zoopla, it is worth £583,000 now.

We must have left it in a better state than I remember.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Life of a Global Adventurer

I'll be starting on this new book shortly. It sounds fascinating. Here is a piece from the Torygraph on a life well lived.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tubby, you go rest your thumbs. I'll drive.

RIP Jerry Lewis. I've always loved this scene. Dunno why, but there you go.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

That went quickly

Time for Ben to apply for a provisional license if he wants to start learning to drive on his 17th birthday.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Premier League 2

Callum has been playing for Chelsea in something called Premier League 2 of which I have never heard, so here is the skinny:

It is a new competition that replaced the Under-21 Premier League from 2016/17, with a greater focus on technicality, physicality and intensity to bring players as close to first-team experience as possible.

The age limit for players has risen from Under-21 to Under-23.

The league will take on the same format of two tiers, Division 1 and Division 2, with 12 teams in each, and the factor of promotion and relegation.

The 24 clubs who compete each applied for 'Category One' status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). There are 15 clubs from the Premier League and nine clubs from the Championship.

All players born after 1 January 1993 for the 2016/17 season are eligible to play, and the format stays as follows:

There are 12 teams in Division 1 and 12 in Division 2, with every club playing each other once at home and once away

In Division 1, the team who finish first are champions

The bottom two teams in Division 1 get relegated to Division 2
In Division 2, the league winners get automatic promotion to Division 1

Teams ranked second, third, fourth and fifth go into a promotion play-off

Second plays fifth place at home and third hosts fourth in the semi-finals, both at the club’s main stadium, while the final takes place at the home ground of the team who finished highest in the league

All play-off matches are one-off ties, decided by extra-time and then penalties if the match is level after 120 minutes

There is no relegation from Division 2

Teams in Division 1
Arsenal, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur

Teams in Division 2
Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Swansea City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea are on top as I write and Callum got both their goals in the first game. Not too shabby when you think he was born in the year 2000 and players both any time in 1993 are eligible.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fast was good. Faster is better.

A little-known feature of the 2nd-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick, which Amazon has never advertised, is that it supports USB OTG by default. This allows you to connect much more than a power cord to the device’s micro USB port, like wired keyboards, mice, hubs, and external storage, but by far the most common use is to connect an Ethernet adapter in order to get a fast and stable internet connection to the Fire TV Stick. If all you want to do is connect the Fire TV Stick to Ethernet, this all-in-one Ethernet adapter by UGREEN is by far the easiest way to go.

Thanks AFTV News, via Google's machine learning estimate of my wants and needs, one is on the way to Browne Acres.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

the path of totality

A universal pop song and the universe are about to align.
Guests aboard the Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise have an extra surprise in store for their once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience: Bonnie Tyler, the Welsh songstress of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" fame, will be on board to perform her 1983 hit just as the moon sails across the sun. (The cruise ship will be positioned in the path of totality for this critical moment. “Bonnie Tyler was a natural choice for this once-in-a-lifetime moment," said the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley.)
Forever's gonna start tonight. Forever's gonna start tonight.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News

I'll watch this later. Not looking forward to it, but it needs to be done.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

One ring

1x Yellow metal Ring

Condition: Used - Believed to be a Lord of the Rings ring

No guarantee it is an actual Nazgûl heirloom, but just imagine.

Coincidentally I was listening to In Our Time on Plato's Republic the other day and learned of the Ring of Gyges which is a mythical magical artifact mentioned in Book 2 (2:359a–2:360d). It granted its owner the power to become invisible at will. Through the story of the ring, Republic considers whether an intelligent person would be moral if he did not have to fear being caught and punished for doing injustices. Internet trolls anyone?

Monday, August 14, 2017

All time high

A £4.21 transaction in my Bitcoin wallet (£4 plus a 21p fee) from 17 July is worth £8.82 today.

See Icons passim. Not the same transaction.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What I think about these days ......

All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Cork v Waterford, Croke Park, 3.30pm – RTE/Sky

The suspension of Tadhg de Búrca is critical to this match. There are two aspects to the situation. One, how do Waterford cope?

We saw them take on Cork without a sweeper in June and it looked like it didn’t suit them. Tadhg de Búrca was chasing Conor Lehane and he was left and right and ultimately very poor on the day.

Since then Waterford have improved and played better against Kilkenny and better against Wexford, in their familiar formation – call it a sweeper system. They’re crowding the middle third and De Búrca is sitting back off the centre forward who is being picked up by Darragh Fives.

It will be difficult to pick someone else to play that role. Tadhg de Búrca has a great positional sense, is a brilliant striker and is excellent under the high ball and plays there extremely well. I presume Fives will be asked to do the job but the truth is they have no-one as good to take over.

Is that all clear? I have made the arbitrary decision that I am a Cork supporter.

In other arbitrary sport support developments my beloved Seahawks kick off against the LA Chargers at one o'clock tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Green and Gold

Paul Flynn MP
Last night I met Tony O'Donnell.
It was a riot of rushed words, shared memories of mutual friends plus gratitude from me for Anthony's playing of me at Donmar Warehouse Theatre. He wore a wig for the show which he sadly dumped for the photograph. Otherwise the resemblance was convincing.......
Following the show Anthony joined me in singing our old school song-Green and Gold. We were both at St Illtyd's College Cardiff. I was there is the late forties Anthony in the early sixties but we share many friends-especially from the Splott area of Cardiff. We will have another get together to catch up on many events.
See Icons passim.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Comrade Detective

In the thick of 1980's Cold War hysteria, the Romanian government created the country's most popular and longest-running series, Comrade Detective, a sleek and gritty police show that not only entertained its citizens but also promoted Communist ideals and inspired a deep nationalism. The action-packed and blood-soaked first season finds Detectives Gregor Anghel and Iosef Baciu investigating the murder of fellow officer Nikita Ionesco and, in the process, unraveling a subversive plot to destroy their country that is fueled by-what else-but the greatest enemy: Capitalism.
I watched the first episode last night on Amazon Prime. It's hysterical. Cardiff's increasingly ubiquitous Jon Ronson introduces it along with Channing Tatum. Enough to elevate him to Welsh Born Icon status. That's two in a month after a year of silence.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Man Named Fieri Filled with Fury

At last someone who thinks - as I do - that Guy Fieri is a great man. What did he ever do, besides support charities and small business owners, to get folk so agitated?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

knife crime

Nineteen year old Daniel Namanga - Rutlish and Old Ruts - stabbed to death early yesterday morning in the Old Kent Road.

Eighteen year old Kishon Allen -  Rutlish, Old Ruts, and Herne Hill Harriers - among four teenagers who appeared in court in June accused of knifing Mahamed Hassan to death in Battersea the month before.

A plague a’ both your houses!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

Proof, if proof be needed

That is Bolt's legacy; unassailable.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Last Chance to See

John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, was one of the richest men in the British Empire in the late 19th century.
With an annual income in excess of £150,000 - around £15 million in today's money - he pursued his passion for architecture with a vengeance. Narrated by Suzanne Packer, The Scot Who Spent a Welsh Fortune delves into the extraordinary world of Lord Bute and reveals what connects the small Scottish island of Bute to modern Cardiff.
Bute was one of the most unconventional mavericks of the Victorian age, passionate about the past but also far ahead of his time - a blue-blooded aristocrat, who supported women's rights and striking miners, a Welsh-speaking intellectual Catholic who was also a ghost hunter. Above all, Bute was a fabulously rich and visionary creator of great architecture including the Gothic fantasy of Cardiff Castle, and Castell Coch - the fairytale castle.
Great stuff and you have only got one day left to catch it on the BBC iPlayer.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Not a lot of  commercial action at the P Grill today. Still a groove and a gas shooting the breeze with the Bomber however which - truth to be told - is the point.

I think his enthusiasm will wane at this level though. Maybe tomorrow's Charity Shield will throw us a bone.

Friday, August 04, 2017

I loves the 'Diff

Seven priests walked into a bar... and were asked to leave because landlord thought they were on a stag do.
The seminarians were initially barred from the City Arms in Cardiff on Saturday despite insisting their clothes were not fancy dress.
But they managed to get their celebratory pints on the house after the bar manager realised they were the real thing.
I will be back later for my mum's birthday; good to see the home town is as barking mad as ever.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dr William Price

BBC Blogs
Wales has had its fair share of eccentrics over the years but none was more bizarre or more flamboyant than the mercurial and fascinating Dr William Price of Llantrisant.
This Chartist and republican, a man who ate no meat, drank mainly champagne, eschewed the wearing of socks and prescribed a vegetarian diet for his patients instead of medicine, has a much more significant claim to fame, however. For this was the man who, effectively, opened the way for legalised cremation in Britain.
Born on 4 March 1800 at Rudry near Caerphilly, Price was the fifth child of the Rev William Price. His father wanted William to enter the church but the young man had different ambitions. He wanted to become a doctor and was, accordingly, apprenticed to a local surgeon, Dr Evan Edwards. He was just 13 years of age and after a number of years, following the death of his father, managed to enroll himself at St Barts in London.
Price was clearly a man of huge intellect. He passed his examinations in just 12 months and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons before the age of 22. After further study in anatomy and physiology he returned to Wales to live and work in 1821.
In 1827 he moved to Nantgarw, just up the valley from Cardiff and became surgeon to the ironmaster Francis Crawshay.
A strain of eccentricity, even of insanity, ran in his family and this quickly began to show itself in his behaviour. He dressed in a white tunic with green trousers and red waistcoat and developed a liking for outlandish costume, notably a fox-skin headdress with the legs and tails hanging down over his shoulders and back. His hair was worn long in plaits and, in these early years, he had the rather disconcerting habit of racing, stark naked, over the hills around Pontypridd.
William Price had little time for many of the standard medical treatments of the day, things like bleeding and purging, believing that a vegetarian diet was far more important than anything else. He was dogmatic in his medical practice, refusing to treat patients who would not give up smoking.
An advocate of what was, in effect, an early example of the health service - he believed that patients should pay him when they were well and he would then treat them when they fell ill - Price was elected as the private medical practitioner to a group of workers at the local chainworks. They paid him with a weekly deduction from their wages.
Dr William Price was no ordinary man. He had little time for marriage, feeling that it was an institution that did little more than enslave women. He did believe, however, in free love. As if to prove his point he fathered several illegitimate children and fell out with church authorities over this issue on many occasions.
He became fascinated by the old druidic rites and even held druidic ceremonies at the rocking stone outside Pontypridd. He even began to build a druidic temple in the area, thus infuriating the local Methodists who went as far as to accuse him of trespass.
William Price was a supporter of Chartism, some accounts saying that he attended Chartist meetings in a cart pulled by a pair of goats. Having moved to Llantrisant, he was made leader of the Pontypridd and District group and, following the disaster of the Chartist march on Newport in 1839 was forced to flee to France. Legend declares that he left dressed as a woman and that a police officer even assisted him up the gangplank of his ship - unlikely but hugely entertaining.
Price lived in Paris for several years before returning to the Pontypridd area in 1846. He again fled to the continent in 1860 when a warrant for his arrest - he had refused to pay a fine - was issued. This time his exile was for a further five years.
Returning to Wales and to Ty'r Clettwr at Llantrisant, Price promptly installed his 16-year-old housekeeper, one Gwenllian Llewellyn, as his mistress. Despite his advanced age (he was then 83-years-old) he fathered a son by Gwenllian, naming him Iesu Grist, Welsh for Jesus Christ.
When Iesu died in 1884, aged just five months, Price cremated his body on an open pyre in a field at Llantrisant. Whether the good doctor was opposed to the traditional act of Christian burial or whether he was more interested in the druidic rituals of the past, is not known. However, what is clear is that, dressed in his flowing druids robes, he timed the cremation to coincide with the conclusion of chapel services in the town.
As might be expected, the local people were wild with indignation at what they saw as pure sacrilege. They attacked Price and were only prevented from assaulting Gwenllian by the pack of large dogs that Price kept at his home.
William Price was arrested and charged. However, in a sensational trial, held in Cardiff, Justice Stephens acquitted Price, a judgement and a decision that led almost directly to the passing of the Cremation Act, thus making the burning of bodies legal in Britain.
After fathering several more children, Dr William Price died on 23 January 1893. His body was cremated in front of many thousands of spectators - some estimates being as high as 20,000 - who flocked to Llantrisant to witness the event. Several tons of coal and wood were piled up underneath the corpse in order to make it burn more effectively.
They say that all the pubs in Llantrisant ran dry on the day of that cremation. Price had organised everything, even selling tickets to the event - bizarre and outlandish, right to the end!
A New Welsh Born Icon; the first inauguration of 2017.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

I'll drink to that

From the Indescribablyboring
According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen's cousin, HM's alcohol intake never varies. She takes a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice. She will take wine with lunch and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening. That comes to 6 units per day, which would make Her Majesty a binge drinker by government standards.
Yes Ma'am.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Hot stuff

Almost exactly seven years and eleven months (Icons passim) after my first Bikram yoga session, I took the some and heir along to Hot Yoga Wimbledon this morning so he could try it out for himself.

He did very well, though he was surprised how intense it was, and has signed up for an introductory unlimited thirty day pass. He should be able to give that a thorough pasting as he will be in limbo between GCSEs and college over the next month.

I have been 443 times in total, which makes it rather vexing to see him to things (Fixed Firm pose anyone?) I still can't do in his first class.