Friday, October 27, 2006
Work Together *
I never ever write about work - ever! So no doubt you'll be wondering why I would say that this morning every phone call I had sounded as if I was talking to Donald Duck! It really was pure dead fucking mental! If any of you really must know what the fuck I am talking about, then drop me an e-mail and I'll do my best to get back to you. Let me just say that it brightened up the morning after we had earlier got some pretty horrid news about a work colleague.
* Paul Haig - once of Josef K.
Food Glorious Food *
I have never read any Harlan Coben novels before, so decided to pick one (Tell No One) up at the library - yes, many people do still use them - the other day there. I've only just started it but I know already it's going to be a good 'un. Anyway, by coincidence, I noticed this piece he wrote in the New York Times yesterday. Yes, it has its faults and is not exactly mind-blowing and is rather peppered with middle-class liberal naivete, but these are words which should be repeated at every opportunity. In case you need to register to read it on the NYT site, I reproduce it:
"ENOUGH with the organized snacks.
When did this start anyway? I’m at my 7-year-old’s soccer game. The game ends and this week’s designated “snack parent” produces a ginormous variety pack of over-processed chips and an equally gargantuan crate-cum-cooler. Our children swarm like something out of the climactic scene in “The Day of the Locust.”
Do our kids need yet another bag of Doritos and a juice box with enough sugar to coat a Honda Odyssey? Can’t they just finish playing and have some water?
Call me a spoilsport, but I don’t want to bring a team snack. I hate that first day, when the coach’s spouse passes around the sign-up sheet so we can schedule what parent brings the communal snack on what day. It’s too much pressure. Suppose I’m away? Suppose we want to visit relatives and miss that week? Now we have to find “snack coverage.” And heaven forbid you forget altogether and then the little darlings look longingly for the expected goody and you’re the social pariah who didn’t come through and that one mom, the one who always has the perfect after-school arts ’n’ crafts project, gives you the disapproving eye and head shake.
The scheduled snack is yet another way we cater to our child’s every whim. Guess what? Precious can go an hour — maybe more! — without eating. And if your child can’t make it that long, bring your own snack. Feed your kid’s need, not mine.
Are none of us reading about the obesity of our young people? Do you think it helps their well-being that after every sporting event our children gorge themselves Fall-of-Roman-Empire style on extra calories, extra sugar, extra hydrogenated fat? I recently sat down with Annette O’Neill, a registered dietitian and bona fide nutritionist, and asked her, “Do you think it’s a good idea for our kids to have Cheetos and Kool-Aid after a sporting event?” Her response: “Uh, no.”
And please don’t get on me about bringing so-called alternative or healthy snacks. I barely remember to put on my son’s shin guards and cleats, not to mention those long socks and that black soccer eye makeup — I don’t have time to slice up 50 orange wedges that the kids will never eat because last week’s cool parent brought Ho Hos and Hawaiian Punch.
This isn’t about ruining anyone’s fun or being the food police, but does the fun always have to revolve around food? Do you know what should be fun when your kid plays soccer? Playing soccer.
While we are on the subject, when your child celebrates a birthday during the school day, maybe we can try for a small cookie or cracker and a rousing, even multicultural, rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Stop with the cupcakes the size of softballs. Have you ever seen the leftovers brought into the school’s main office? By two in the afternoon, the place looks like the San Gennaro festival.
Where did this organized snacking start anyway? Is it a holdover from the toddler years, those half-hour library story times when we trot out Goldfish and those cute Cheerios containers and use the small foods as calming pellets? Is it the Old World philosophy of food-equals-love? Or are we just trying to keep them quiet for our own sake?
I don’t know. I don’t care. But I want you to join me in banning these organized parental sports snacks. Let’s do something for the youths of this country right now and end the American Snack Tyranny.
I will start by asking my friends at the Ridgewood Soccer Association to stop the snacks. Furthermore, I am asking all sport associations in my hometown to follow suit. I encourage the rest of you around the country to contact your league officials and join the fight.
Instead of spending those last few athletic minutes forcing down a fruit roll-up (what mentally malnourished monster, by the way, invented those?), why not have your child gather with his coach, have him or her explain some of the fundamentals (like how being active is healthy!), talk about teamwork or the important life lessons of sports? Maybe even try listening — instead of trying to sneak an extra Chips Ahoy for his younger sibling?
And hey, enjoy your water. "
* The cast of Oliver
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Don't Believe The Hype *
I never thought I'd ever utter these words, but Chris Waddle seems to make a lot of sense here. I've been saying for a few years now that the Premiership is the most over-rated rubbish around. The number of really exciting - in fact, just simply good - games over the last two or three seasons can be counted on one hand (oh, okay then, maybe two). If you disagree, then come up with more than 10 good games from the past three seasons. I'll do some research on this over the next few days and see what I come up with. The best game of football I have seen this season so far was Leicester v Southampton - a real cracker and, of course, not in the Premiership.
* Public Enemy
P.S. Note to self: Reidski, you must blog about Charlie Drake. There, that'll have them wondering .....
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Police and Thieves*
I could really bore you all stupid with Youtube stuff! And, yes, from that really really bad film Rude Boy which The Clash disassociated themselves from. Although the concert footage was pretty darn good!
* I think you know!
Walking past the post office in New Cross yesterday, I passed this bloke that I instantly recognised. I know for certain he was in Eastenders. I think he played a dodgy character ( but doesn't everyone who has been in the programme?). I think the character had an affair with Kaff (but didn't every dodgy male character do so?). He has one of those faces which look as if they have just got out of bed! Anyway, who is he? I'll have to do some more research. In fact, why don't I read through that Wikipedia entry for Kaff?
* I, Ludicrous
Monday, October 23, 2006
As birthdays go, the one I have just had was way up there with the best. In fact, it has to be considered the best - for so many reasons.
Well, I think it was better than the birthday I had when out for a meal and lots and lots of drinks with some old friends and I was drunkenly banging on and on about the creative genius of Nick Cave and, in particular, the brilliance of his album The First Born Is Dead and, as well as the music being superb, the title was also rather fantastic. That one of my friends had a miscarraige the month before after a few years of trying for her first baby did not make my drunken ramblings go down to well. But did I shut up? No, I kept on and on and on - what a tosser. And how bad I felt the next day when the evening's topic of conversation came crashing into my hangover!
I would also have to say that my recent birthday was rather better than the birthday I had when my ex and I realised finally that all the romantic spark which was once there was now doused for good.
So, yes, no exaggeration whatsoever to say that I have just had an amazingly brilliant few days. First up last Thursday was meal out with a few people from work here, which always ranks as a great venue for me. There are not many places in central London where you can have two courses, plenty of wine, after-dinner coffee and a glass of amaretto for twenty quid, are there? The waiters are friendly, as is the owner, who always makes an effort to come round the tables and chats to the regulars. A lovely, lovely evening. Made all the more lovely as JJ was sat next to me throughout - and then by my side for the next three wonderful and happy days.
Friday, we had a walk through the rather bland (well, it is autum) Green Park, walked past Buckingham Palace and were awed by the splendour of the architecture and appalled at what this building represents and then had a stroll through St James' Park. That worked up a thirst and on to the Weatherspoon's pub next to the Trafalgar Studios theatre in Whitehall - like Mondello's, not many places give value for money like this pub (£3.99 for a large glass of Villa Maria sauvignon blanc - very tasty! And £1.89 for a pint of a whole host of real ales on offer).
After dinner, we settled down to watch Last Days of Disco - don't know why, but this is one of my favourite films of all time. Maybe it is the fantastic soundtrack or maybe the excellent script. But, whatever, a great film.
Saturday saw us meeting up with Lisa and Neil for a great chat, a great beer and some great nachos - a fitting way to spend a Saturday lunchtime, I would say. After a relaxing stroll through town with a few stops off for drinks (well, we were working up a thirst) it was then a bit of a rush to get home, have dinner and pick up the boy and his mate for a night at the Bush Hall to see Let's Zep, who are, believe it or not, a tribute to .... well, don't need me to tell you. They were utterly brilliant, the singer was Robert Plant, the guitarist was Jimmy Page and, as for the other two, well, who has ever bothered about the rhythm section in a band, eh?? They must have played a two-hour set and the highlight for me was seeing the boy and his mate headbanging in front of the stage - how sweet! No, wait, that was definitely not the highlight of the night, cos that accolade goes to our meeting up with the boy's mum on the Underground. I suppose it could have been a lot worse, considering that she was seeing her ex and her boy ready to have a fantastic night out with ex's fantastic new friend and partner. And she did tell me last night that she thought that JJ was "really nice." So happy faces all round!
Which brings me back to why the past few days were so fantastic. The idea that on my last birthday I would be spending the next one with such a person as JJ would have had me laughing it off as a joke. That someone has come into my life and made me so incredibly happy and so looking forward to every moment I spend with her is a pretty amazing feeling. And it makes me so lucky.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Police State in the USA *
Read this - I found it interesting anyway!
* Anti Flag
Thursday, October 05, 2006
This is one of those "what I should be writing about posts" rather than one of those "what I am writing about posts". With me? No? Oh well, that's the only explanation you get.
Since I last wrote a long and meaningul (hey, who was the one at the back shouting "meaningless"?) post, I have been:
1. Having some wonderful times with JJ. We've been to the cinema to see some wonderful films - Volver, Little Miss Sunshine and Children of Men. All rather good in many different ways, but with the first two on a different level from the latter. Not to say that Children of Men wasn't a good film, but it had a major flaw. If you haven't seen it, I don't think I'll be giving the plot or the denouement away by saying this. The premise of the film is that the world in about 30 years time is on fire politically. Britain, meanwhile, is under a fascist government. Britain is also attracting lots of "illegal" immigrants who get rounded up and caged in camps. So my question is: why would you flee to an obviously fascist state? The film doesn't explain this and doesn't give the impression that anywhere else in the world is any better or worse. But, anyway, that apart, it was an enjoyable romp. I would recommend the other two before this one, however. And I may write about those reasons some other time.
2. Playing football and been disappointed that our time at our indoor five-a-side-venue has come to an end. It seems that the so-called "community centre" where we have our weekly games gets taken over by the University of London whenever it wants it as they helped fund its building. So we're fucked for a weekly game until next spring. We do, however, have a game coming up on Monday at lunchtime against an overseas team. Our employers have very kindly given us the time off and putting on a bit of a do afterwards at a very nice pub. I'm looking forward to it.
3. Playing in our work's annual golf day tomorrow and, until looking at the weather forecast, I had been looking forward to it. But it will be pissing it down and I'll get soaked. My foursome won the tournament on our debut two years ago but we failed miserably last year. Hope the rain stops and we put on a good show. Btw, don't get the impression that I'm any good at the game - my best score going round a golf course is over 100.
4. Been meaning to blog about my past as a darts player, but I've just not got round to it. Believe it or not, I played for my local Masonic Lodge when I played and was once tipped as a future Scotland international player.
5. Following JJ's car troubles yesterday, we were sitting having a glass of wine when I happened to mention a few of my own (car troubles, that is, not glasses of wine) over the years. These included the police writing off one car and another packing up in the middle of France in the middle of nowhere in the middle of us wondering why we didn't, for the first time in 10 years, take out AA European breakdown cover. And another having its window broken and me hearing it and me chasing the two blokes who done it and me slowing down when I was catching up with them and noticing that one of them was about 6 feet 5 tall and quite bulky looking and then me shitting myself when I cornered him. One day, I may get round to expanding on these stories. The most epic being the holiday one, which also included phone calls home to find out someone close had a double heart attack, realising that neither of us had a drivers' license with us and realising that we were over 100 miles from holiday destination.
6. Been getting annoyed at bloggers (myself included) who take things too seriously. Listen up, folks, if you want to give it up, do so, just don't pretend you are just so you get people pleading with you not to stop. If you don't want to give up, then carry on and we'll continue to read them with delight. Equally annoying are those bloggers who have a blogging protocol or comments policy whatever the fuck they call it. If you don't like someone's comments, delete them. If you do, keep them on. And, if you do either, you really don't need to explain to anyone - we don't give a fuck!
7. Having some wonderful football-watching times with JJ. Yes, we went to the Den and saw her boys beat Millwall. And we were down the pub the other week there to watch Celtic put on a good display against ManUre. And we were donw the pub to watch Celtic humiliate the forces of darkness. And this weekend it will be a challenge as both England and Scotland kick off at 5pm. I have a feeling we shall be at different parts of the pub as one tele will have the sassenachs and other will be showing Scotland play France. We'll see.
8. Been wanting that computer, but things have came up that have made it not possible quite yet. But, here's hoping.
9. Going to buy some shopping now - JJ visits this weekend and she demands to be fed, watered and, well, you don't need to know the rest ...
UPDATE - after turning computer off and about to leave my old house, boy tells me that he isn't really comfortable being in the house on his own these days as a result of an incident which happened couple of weeks ago. Boy (in the house with a friend) hears knock on what he believes to be front door. He goes, no-one there but he sees some coppers hanging round the house three doors down and goes back inside. Hears another knock and friend says it is coming from the back of the house. They go out in the hallway and see a Chinese (yes, I know the ethnicity is irrelevant, but there we go) woman in the garden knocking at the window and pointing indoors. The boy, for some strange reason, opens the back door and woman stands there talking in Chinese (yes, I know there are many languages in China, but it's one of them, smartass!). The boy hasn't yet grasped his Chinese lessons yet, him being only 13, but realises the woman wants to come insider. The boy, for some strange reason, stands aside and let's her enter. The boy and his friend and the woman all just stand there and look at each other until the woman takes her shoes off. As she has just walked over three gardens, as all concerned were soon to find out, this is quite polite on her part. She then walks to the front door, makes some sort of wave as if to say "thank you" and walks toward to gate and goes in the opposite direction of her own house. Few minutes later, the boy's mum appears and finds the boys in a strange agitated state and with coppers really really really all over the house three doors down. The boy and his mum then inform the police what happened. The coppers say that's who they were hoping to talk to but thanks for letting them know anyway ( I secretly think they are a pair of coppers' narks, but, hey!). The boy, who has shown no signs over the last two years or so of having any problem being in on his own for an hour or so, ponders what has happened over the next few days and the next time he is in on his own .... he doesn't like it. I suppose he is only 13 and, legally, he really shouldn't be on his own. At least it gives me time to put a postcript on this stupid post. Oh, by the way, this is the second time in about six months he has let an unknown female pass through the house from the back (and, important to say, enclosed) garden. But the last time, there were no cops involved, but the boy did say she was "the local mad woman" - so that's alright then!!
* Robbie Williams