Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Friday, November 30, 2007

Macbeth...
Last night Paul, Simon, Stu and I went to see Macbeth at the Gielgud Theatre in London glitzy West End.

Wow! What a show! It says here, "Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most bloody and fear-filled tragedies" and they got that right. We were on the edge of our seats. The settings were more Stalinesque than Scottish, more white tiled military hospital ward than cold damp castle. But what a great production idea by Rupert Goold - brilliantly executed.

Patrick Stewart was the murderous Macbeth (and no, no-one shout out "engage" or "out, out damn'd Scotty" but we were tempted). And he didn't just play Macbeth he was Macbeth. Quite fabulous. Equally fantastic was Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth.

What a great night at the theatre!
Brain Teaser - An egg a day - Answer...
They were ostrich, goose, fish, quail ..etc...eggs.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Brain Teaser - An egg a day...
A man ate an egg each day. He did not have any chickens at home. He never bought, borrowed or stole eggs. How is this possible?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Arsenal 2-0 Wigan...
On Saturday I took Jane to see the Arsenal game. We were playing Wigan. It was freezing cold at the Emirates but we enjoyed ourselves. Two late goals sealed Wigan's fate so we are now three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Quick Quiz...
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs

7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert

8) What colour is a purple finch? Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange

For the answers click and drag your mouse at end of each question
[Thanks Roger]

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Beckham TV...
Both Beckhams appeared on my telly box last night at about the same time. 9pm.

David Beckham was on the Beeb having been brought on for the second half of the Croatia vs England game. Although he was good his efforts weren't enough to save England from not qualifying for Euro 2008.

And over on E4 Victoria Beckham was strutting her stuff in Ugly Betty.

I know which one I enjoyed watching most.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Four Tops & The Temptations...
Last night Stu and I went to see a bit of classic Motown: The Four Tops and The Temptations performing live at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Temptations were initially known as the Elgins but the quintet were renamed the Temptations by Berry Gordy when he signed them to Motown in 1961. They have undergone dozens of lineup changes over the years but a couple of their members have endured longer than you'd expect. Last night they did look rather aged on stage but the trademark dance moves were still there as were their voices. Sadly they were just badly let down by the sound. The orchestra just sounded like a din. It was awful. So much so we retired to the bar half way through the first half. But not before enjoying such hits as My Girl, Get Ready, Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) and their cover of Papa Was a Rollin' Stone.

Back for the second part of the show the sound was a lot better (but perhaps still not quite up to the RAH's usual high standard).

The Four Tops were initially known as The Four Aims but changed their name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. At first their signing to Motown in 1963 didn't produce much success until one day Holland-Dozier-Holland added a few lyrics to an instrumental track they had been working on. This produced The Four Tops first hit Baby I Need Your Loving. This we were treated to last night along with other hits like I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), It's the Same Old Song, Reach Out I'll Be There, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Bernadette, Walk Away Renée and the more recent Loco In Acapulco. The boys were all in fine fettle, sounded great and looked the part (yellow suits all round). At times they had a bit of the Boyz II Men feel about them but we didn't hold that against them. By the end we were clapping and singing along with the rest of the crowd.

From a personal perspective it's a shame Levi Stubbs is no longer with The Four Tops as it'd have been fun to close my eyes and match up his voice with his performance of the man-eating plant Audrey II in the 1986 musical film Little Shop of Horrors.

Stu is more of a Motown girls fan rather than a Motown boys fan. And although we had fun at the gig last night I'm not sure last night did much to change his mind.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Gentle Sex...

I'm not quite sure how appropriate viewing this would have been last Sunday morning - "Arse: The Gentle Sex".

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tutankhamun...
On Saturday Stu, Andy, Kev and I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2. It was fun to see but slightly disappointing that the death mask wasn't there. Good but no 'wow factor'. Some snaps here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Goldfrapp Go All Folk...
Goldfrapp's new album will be called Seventh Tree and out late Feb 2008. Reports are that it's a folk album created mainly with a harp and small organ (!). The first single will be called A&E. The album track listing is:

1. Clowns
2. Little Bird
3. Happiness
4. Road To Somewhere
5. Eat Yourself
6. Some People
7. A&E
8. Cologne Cerrone Houdini
9. Caravan Girl
10. Monster Love

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kate Bush Writes New Song...
According to the BBC: Kate Bush has recorded a new song called Lyra for the soundtrack to the film Golden Compass Northern Lights, based on Philip Pullman's book. Her song will feature over the film's end credits. Yay!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don Hertzfeldt...
I quite like this little cartoon called Wake up Cat. Very sweet. However my favourite 'stick' cartoonist is probably Don Hertzfeldt typified by the wonderful Ah l'Amour and the Oscar nominated Rejected.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eggcorns...
I quite like malapropisms. Kath and Kim specialise in them (loving season four on UK Living BTW). There's quite a funny collection of them at the Eggcorn database and here are some of my favourites: wreckless driving / blown-idle / bare witness / batter an eyelid / cease the opportunity / chickens come home to roast / common everybody / dashboard stomach / explanation mark / gas turban / get one's nipples in a twist / no stings attached / siezes to amaze / one fowl scoop / rimming with pleasure / damp squid / wide elephant / free reign / free rain / stutter to think / shutter to think / all intensive purposes / given up the goat / take it for granite / moo point / mute point / fine toothcomb / drank ourselves to Bolivia / He went as white as a sheep / It's not Brain Science/ It's not Rocket Surgery.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Amsterdam...
Stu and I have been in Amsterdam for the weekend. I was staying there last week on a business trip anyway and Stu flew out to join me on the Friday night.

We had a great time; a little bit of culture, a little bit of sightseeing and a little bit of bar hopping.

We do have fun when we're away. Although Stu has come back with a spot of RSI - I blame Elvira Mistress Of The Dark Pinball!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Two Cows...
TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM:
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM:
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet is provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
Both are mad.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION:
You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them.

A HINDU CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You worship them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

AN ISRAELI CORPORATION:
So, there are these two Jewish cows, right? They open a milk factory, an ice cream store, and then sell the movie rights. They send their calves to Harvard to become doctors. So, you should complain?

A TEXAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
That one on the left is kinda cute...

[Apologies for any excessive jingoism!]

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Don't do anything I might find out about...
From the archives:

"Look at this. 'Humon Resources'. I ask you. 'Humon'! How do they expect to get a job when they can't even address an envelope without making a spelling mistake?" So started a rather surreal conversation in Sainsbury's this morning. A rather cute in-a-military-kind-of-way security guard had been watching me since I first walked in on my way to work. He had waited for me to queue up with my chicken hickory Be Good To Yourself instant meal and then without warning just started talking at me. The envelope in his hand was apparently from a recent job applicant. Quite why he had it or indeed felt the need to show it to me was as yet a mystery.

"You take my sister. I got an e-mail from her yesterday. And you know what? It had sixteen spelling mistakes in it. She spelt wool W-U-L." I eyed him slowly. He was dressed in the typical gold trimmed brown trousers and jacket that is often the standard apparel of supermarket security personnel. His highly polished black shoes and crisply ironed shirt gave him the appearance of a door-to-door Mormon or a fresh young accountant bright-eyed ready for their first job interview. I smiled and nodded thinking that maybe he would leave it at that. Making no eye contact I shuffled forward one place in the queue that now seemed to have slowed to a snail's pace. I looked straight ahead and mused. Maybe he'd been driven mad by the inanity of his job? Perhaps banging on to complete strangers somehow was keeping him in touch with reality, I thought. Then he surprised me by talking almost directly in my ear.

"Did you have the strap and the cane at school?” he said. My eyes looked around nervously wondering whether I was part of some elaborate prank. No one else seemed to be looking at me or smiling in my direction so I just thought it was me who was overreacting. Maybe he was hitting on me and I'd got the signals wrong from the start? I turned and smiled. I'd chance it and with a nod said, "Yes." Big mistake. Huge.

Without pausing for breath, permission or further response he held me up, and the rest of the queue, with such wistful pronouncements as, "We had assembly every morning at school, didn't we?” and “We had to say the Lord's Prayer and behave while we said it, didn't we?” Not only was I getting late for work but also beginning to feel slightly uneasy. Why was this man talking to me? Didn’t he need any feedback when he spoke? I studied him for a while. He had steely blue eyes and almost perfect tanned skin. His short-cropped dark hair was slightly greying at the sides. His lips where slight but betrayed a permanent smirk. Still he was banging on, “We had to dress smart and look smart. They don't do that anymore, do they?"

Saved at last by Mohammed on check out number three I finally managed to turn away from my rabid talker and to quickly pay for my food, stuff it in a thin plastic bag and make for the door. Just as I was about to secure my escape he called after me, "Don't do anything I might find out about!”

Quite surreal.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Netherlands...
I'm in The Netherlands all this week. On a 'visionary management' training course. It's full of jargon of course ('Current Reality Change Framework' anyone?) but actually quite good fun. I'm staying in Amsterdam and commuting to Leiden where the course is.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd...
Paul and I went to the match on Saturday. It was a thrilling game as we took on the premiership title holders. I thought we were hard done by to only get a draw but it was certainly an entertaining game to watch.
Mastermind...
Erasure fan Katie Bramall will feature on tonight's edition of the quiz 'Mastermind', with her specialist subject being Erasure! "Host John Humphrys invites four contenders to answer questions in the famous black chair. Subjects for this edition are The Naval Career of Nelson and Collingwood, Life and Works of Primo Levi, Erasure and the Life and Career of Sir Richard Attenborough."
Date: Monday 5th November
Time: 19:30 - 20:00
Channel: BBC Two

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mary Poppins (revisited)...
A couple of years ago I went to see Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street. As it's closing in January next year Stu thought we might go and see it again before it finally goes dark.

It was still great fun with all the hits we know and love; Step In Time, A Spoonful Of Sugar, Feed The Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee and the still sublime Let's Go Fly A Kite.

Tragedy struck though during the marvelous Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. An old dear in front of us attempted to do some of the letter-spelling movements to the song. She got into difficulty and seemed to have a fit and fell from her seat. Before we knew what was happening and amid much curfuffle she was pronounced dead and her lifeless body was dragged from Dress Circle Row E. We could hear an ambulance and police cars arriving outside. We, and most of the Dress Circle were in shock. It was only after the show was over we were informed that it was her eighty-seventh birthday and in fact she had be resuscitated on the way to A&E.