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World Cup: engage Grinch mode now!

Normally it doesn't matter to me if two bands of over-paid primates kick an inflated pig's bladder around a muddy field. I just don't care. As long as they don't do it near me, I can live with that. (You can put this hate on football down to my having grown up Jewish in Leeds in the 1970s. Enough said.)

However, we're now into World Cup season. And I am in full-on Grinch mode, and I assure you that when I become Planetary Supreme Overlord all team sports involving goals and spheroids will be banned forthwith (except for elephant polo on ice skates, which oughta be fun, as long as the elephants give their informed consent beforehand).

Let me enumerate the ways the world cup has pissed me off so far ...

* World cup coverage has totally saturated BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. The kitchen radio is now officially Dead To Me. (If I had a gun I'd take the radio out round the back of the outhouse for the coup de grace, if I had an outhouse.)

* The world cup has hijacked the front page of Reddit (well, not as much as the BBC, but some sub-reddits are crawling with it, and I'm not talking about /r/soccer here).

* It's also hijacked the front page of my preferred newspaper. All the newspapers. (One wasn't enough, apparently. Why couldn't they just rename The Sun to World Cup Daily and leave the rest of us alone?) No, seriously: it's pushed a major military/political crisis in the Middle East—one so barkingly mad that the United States and Iran are actually talking about taking joint military action as allies—down below the fold. We are living through the run-up to the apocalypse, a death cult named after an Egyptian love-goddess is invading Iraq, lions and sheep are discussing engagement rings, but—GOAAAAAL!

* Random people in pubs who would normally be completely happy to make drunken small-talk about the weather expect us to give a shit. This being Scotland, we're expected to root for whoever are playing against England. (And you wondered where the roots of the Scottish independence movement lay.) Looks of blank incomprehension are met with sullen disbelief and a conviction that I really, must, somewhere, somehow, give a shit about the world cup. Not being football-mad is somehow seen as unpatriotic. Next they'll be convening a tribunal in Holyrood and asking questions like, "when did you last see your father [score]?"

* And speaking of pubs, the pub on the opposite side of the road from my bedroom window WHICH IS OPEN BECAUSE I NEED THE AIR CIRCULATION IN THIS GHASTLY EDINBURGH HEAT WAVE (it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon and the cruel burning daystar has been sighted near the zenith) has got the world cup on wall-to-wall wide-screen TV. The resulting mob of ball-deranged drinkers are consequently led to spill out onto the pavement where they set fire their vile stenchsticks and bloviate about goals and penalties at maximum volume, while propping the pub door open so that every goal causes loud cheering at sleep-o'clock.

This cartoon seems to sum it all up, frankly. Where will it all end? Oh, the humanity!

140 Comments

1:

Yesterday's "Mock the Week" informed me that this competition will last 32 days. Joy...

2:

I believe the current score is riot police 5 people 0. BBC4 ans Radio 4 extra have been good refuges so far.

4:

You forgot to mention that in addition to armageddon in the middle-east, there's an invasion(/"civil war") going on in a country that was seriously considered for EU membership, which isn't getting any serious news coverage at all. The thing that worries me with that one is that the timing is so obviously not a coincidence - I'm willing to believe that ISIS don't give a damn about the futbol, the Russians are another matter. The "independent" militia in eastern Ukraine acquiring tanks on the same day that the EU's media switched to 24/7 sports speculation is not a good thing.

5:

This is a good time to be an American. There is some coverage, but it doesn't dominate.

:-)

6:

I agree about the ludicrous coverage of the round-ball game and its effect on coverage of more important things...”The end of the world has been announced, Billions to die horrible deaths but now back to Brazil and Rooney’s big toe”
What also annoys me, and I realize Charlie might not agree, is that it is the Cricket season and there is a TEST match on(as well as a Rugby Union test match) which I think are far more interesting.
There is also Baseball on ESPN which is more fun than soccer.

7:

I don't know what it is about Jews and sports but I can only guess all the sports loving Jews emigrated to Israel. Almost everybody here's a complete football fanatic. I don't need to watch any game to know the score, I can hear the shouts from nearby buildings. Everyday conversations in the workplace used to be mostly football-related already; I dread to think what it's going to be like for the coming month.

8:

I don't understand cricket.

They made me play it at school, but I really don't understand it.

This might help to explain why.

9:

Joy audio file from the early Sun java code base. (I don't actually know where they sourced it from!)

10:

United States and Iran are actually talking about taking joint military action as allies

As an American, I don't understand this at all. From my point of view, neither ISIS nor Iran is an ally. They're rehashing the old Shia-Sunni fight, and we just don't have a dog in that fight.

11:

Events involving odd videos (linked from a BBC report) and very small numbers of invading tanks make more sense as either a map-reading accident or the "invaded" side doing a bit of finger pointing at the other side.

I am getting wary of the BBC's tendency to report news on the basis of what gets posted on you You-Tube.

Two obvious flaws to the story. Just 3 tanks crossing the border, and the video clips showing very different tanks, color scheme and engine sound.

12:

Had you by any chance noticed that President Nouri al-Maliki is the leader of a Shi'ite fundamentalist party?

The allies screwed the pooch during the occupation of Iraq by backing the majority (shi'a) community against the previously-ruling sunni faction from which the Ba'ath drew most of its support, because Ba'ath == Evil. Or something. Upshot: the USA is now in bed with Iran, like it or not. Adding to the picture is the fact that the Taliban, Al Qaida, etcetera are Salafi (sunni) extremists: ISIS are what you get when you set up a cultural reactor, seed it with Al Qaida, and set up the preconditions for the most radical faction to prosper.

13:

As a "civilised"* human being I do not want to see a re-run of the last 2 internicene religious wars (30 years war and 1941-1945 Eastern front) with Poison gas, modern heavy arms and potentially Nuclear weapons. That is why The US, EU and UN have dogs in the fight.
* for some definitions of civilsed.

14:

Ahem: we had that re-run, circa 1981-88. The Iran-Iraq war, in which Saddam, egged on by the west, re-enacted the First World War on the Ayatollah Khomenei's ass, equally inconclusively. The Kuwait invasion, sanctions, and subsequent gulf wars were just fallout from that.

15:

Cricket does have something of a tradition of sedate, anecdotal, amiable, radio commentary. I really ought to start listening again: Test Match Special sort of washed over you, with interruptions for rain, and occasional reporting of cake and seagulls.

16:

I han't forgotten, but the 30 years war was preceded by other religious wars, The Hussites in Bohemia for one.If you were to say that history doesn't repeat its self and the Islamic powers learnt from the Iran-Iraq war I wouldn't disagree. Religious wars however can get out of control very quickly as anyone trying to control it is a "traitor to god".

17:

I was actually somewhat flabberghasted to discover an article on football which was actually interesting:

http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/06/meet-the-england-team-that-could-win-it-all-in-brazil/

Oddly enough it turned up in my RSS feed next to this one. But I will be so glad when it's all over. (We had Mandatory football-related Fun in the office yesterday. Shudder.)

18:

For those who might not have noticed, the Shi'a/Sunni split in Islam goes back to the death of the Prophet, and who has the religious authority.

I'll just note that my quick Google shows Iran as Shi'a Islam, so in some ways it isn't such a big leap to get Iran involved in supporting a Shi'a government in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is Sunni Islam (the world-wide majority) and entangled with the Wahhabi movement, which is a minority pretty much everywhere.

So I am just a little bit wary about putting too much blame on Sunni Islam as a base for ISIS. It's a bit like lumping together the Church of England and the Wee Frees as a single Protestant threat to world peace.

19:

"except for elephant polo on ice skates, which oughta be fun, as long as the elephants give their informed consent beforehand"
Funny you should mention that with the NHL playoffs having concluded yesterday evening... which is not to say that NHL players are elephants, just that they're big (even the short ones).

Bread and circuses.

20:

Yep, seeing plenty of World Cup madness here in Toronto.

I was noticing odd quantities of foreign flags waving off of cars last night when I left work.

The one place with unexpected WordCupNess that irked me was Twitter, where they seemed to want to press upon me a "Twitter World Cup Edition" version of app to run on my tablet.

Mind you, none of this is as bad as back in the mid 1990s when I lived at the corner of Little Italy and Little Brazil (e.g. - in Toronto, at College & Bathurst) when they were the finalists.

On the last evening, traffic of all kind stopped as hundreds of both victors and losers milled about noisily at my intersection. I was just happy to be 4 floors off the ground, mostly proof against the zombie invasion...

21:

> elephant polo

I liked CM Kornbluth's version of polo he described in "The Syndic" back in 1953:

(from the Gutenberg text)
Vladek had loosed a premature burst from his fifty caliber at the ball, and sent it hurling off to the right; they had braked and backed with much grinding of gears to form V again behind it, when Gilby blew the whistle again.

22:
GHASTLY EDINBURGH HEAT WAVE (it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon and the cruel burning daystar has been sighted near the zenith)

I am boggling at "Heatwave" and "19 Celsius" occurring in the same sentence without some substantial negative modifiers in between.

Your infernal heatwave is my "Comfortable Winter Temperatures". At
19 C, I'd probably need to wear a jacket. Currently, we have 32 C at midnight, here in Hong Kong.

And no, we don't have the windows closed and the aircons on. The windows are open, the ceiling fans are hard at work and it's quite comfortable, at least for us tropical types.

23:

It has been announced that volunteers will be providing free Viagra to all English drivers who fly a flag displaying a St George's cross on their vehicles.

24:

Hey...

I wonder if sports events could have some unforeseen purpose that might be of interest to the Laundry...

It lends itself to wondering:

- Why people are so excited about their team sweaters' wearers

- What benefits might be had, to a demonologist, of getting someone to move from one team sweater to another

- Why Beckham would have left the football-playing world for the Americas

- Cosmological significance of the rules of cricket

- Why the Americans *really* wound up with a vastly different thing also called football

- Canadians would be particularly tickled at the discovery of Laundry-relevant reasons for the differences in rules between American and Canadian football. (Note that Canadian football fields are significantly larger, Canadians have "3 downs to gain 10 yards" rather than the American 4, and have an extra player on field, to point out the most obvious bits.)

And it would be entertaining to discover Angleton as a secret fan of, oh, say, Arsenal.

25:

(it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon and the cruel burning daystar has been sighted near the zenith)

19ºC is a lovely temperature. You're just being contrarian. ("Old man yells at clear blue sky!")

26:

If you need more reasons to hate the World Cup:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJEt2KU33I

27:

McCain has declared ISIS an "existential" threat to the US. That word, I don't think it means what you think it means...

A small bunch of sub-literate luddites taking advantage of a power vacuum is hardly a huge issue to the US. It's not like they are going to knock up a nuke in Saddams' mythical WMD lab (though getting one from Pakistan might happen.

The collapse in Iraq is like Vietnam all over again. Maybe the best option is the Kurds taking their North, Iran going imperialist on the middle/north, and Maliki and his lame-ass troops keeping the south - the country is not viable as it stands.

28:

Any chance of getting the BBC to move Cricket onto its own channel? please?
Every test match they have a habit of invading BBC R4 (long wave) for hours on end. Now I understand they leave R4 (FM) alone, but this is the wrong way round. The English can get FM, those of us abroad who like R4 can only get LW, and are not as likely to be cricket fanatics.

I have known some to go as far as to adapt a Raspberry Pi to broadcast R4 on FM from the nets.

29:

No one should pay any attention to McCain. He's a hypocrite, whining about trading 5 Taliban for one American, when he had been part of a prisoner exchange that was equivalent to 4.5 No. Vietnamese per American. I guess when you're talking about more than a couple thousand people being traded, it's okay--or maybe just when it's your own ass.


As for Kurds trying to take over northern Iraq, they'd love to, but Turkey would have something to say about it. Otherwise it would probably be the best thing for that area.

30:

I've given up on football - not that I had much enthusiasm in the first place. I was only ever interested in the result - the 90 or so minutes of mucking about beforehand I could take or leave, and usually left

England matches were the first to go...

this Private Eye cover goes some way to explaining

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bp3z6lSIEAAqG7e.jpg

as will the scoreline when England play Italy.

my "team" won the FA Cup this year after nine years [possibly more] of trying to win some kind of trophy - several barrowloads of monkeys I could not give.

Still as far as the Coupe du Monde 2014 is concerned, at least Scotland "didnae qualify" this time.

31:

"...and bloviate about goals and penalties at maximum volume, while propping the pub door open so that every goal causes loud cheering at sleep-o'clock." Charlie: Do you ever listen to music while writing? I consider the white noise to be useful while working.
Also, to those unaware Edinburgh (where OGH lives) suffers from the urban heat island effect, meaning 19C feels far warmer due to retained heat and lack of breeze.

32:

I went to a sport-heavy boarding school, and found myself the youngest, smallest, and geekiest person in my year. And rubbish at team sport. Deep joy. (Since then, I have had a deep and irrational mistrust of enthusiastic rugby coaches; and worry that my sons actually appear to enjoy playing it).

I went on to discover a team activity I was good at - as a reservist infantryman. I then found myself posted to a small TA centre in West Lothian, to take command of a platoon of football fanatics; our Company team were the second-best in the Scottish TA, and when our TA centre played the other in the Company, scores of over ten-nil were commonplace. I had to learn to play, and to understand, football very quickly (courtesy of the Independent's back pages, which in the late 80s were quite good and analytical enough for me).

My wife finds herself watching the World Cup, because her clients are obsessed by it and she needs to have some understanding of what's going on; and I can cope with listening to Gordon Strachan's commentary (he actually explains things, rather than withering about passion or feelings).

I draw the line at any form of football phone-in on the radio (cheap non-PRS airtime where callers demonstrate that Darwinian selection isn't in operation), or TV where former overpaid Prima-Donna drugs cheats get to fill airtime talking to other former overpaid entertainers.

I'm mildly bitter, because football in Scotland is a vampire that sucks 90% of all available money and support in sport; I competed seriously in a "minority" sport that regularly produced Commonwealth medals, but got zero coverage, watched as Scottish Athletics exists on an annual budget of less than Rooney's monthly income (note that I don't say "earnings"), and help our kids participate in Judo - where Scottish judoka ranked world top-thirty exist on comparatively zero funding.

33:

Token football comment:

Apparently, the England squad visited an orphanage in Brazil. "It was heartbreaking, seeing them so sad, and without any hope in their eyes" said Jose, aged six...

34:

19c? Fuck it, I'm moving to Edinburgh.

35:

I know the sectarian score in the middle east reasonably well, I just don't see any American interest in there. I imagine the whole thing will eventually shake out with Iran getting about half of Iraq's territory by semipeaceful merger, Turkey claiming a bite of Kurdistan and ISIS running Syria-plus-west-Iraq.

36:

Well, yes, that’s near enough as I understand the original Religious Faction divides but I'd call it a classic family quarrel over the WILL and who gets what ... it’s all Very Middle Class and just reeks of feelings of Entitlement and resentment..Great Grandfather Muhammad promised ME his...insert artefact of choice.

In my view of all such Family feuds I'm governed by the fact that my family was intensely working class and thus - barring a few keepsakes - didn't have much to leave to the next generation and so I can be said to be somewhat prejudiced, but, here in the UK the Aristocracy is still quarrelling over the estate of William the Conqueror and his Heirs and Descendents and that argument is relatively simple when compared to that of the Prophet Muhammad, I mean .. Bloody Hell! ..


"According to Anas ibn Malik, the Prophet Muhammad used to visit all eleven of his wives in one night; but he could manage this, as he had the sexual prowess of thirty men.[1] The historian Al-Tabari calculated that Muhammad married a total of fifteen women, though only ever eleven at one time; and two of these marriages were never consummated.[2] This tally of fifteen does not include at least four concubines. According to Merriam-Webster, a concubine is “a woman with whom a man cohabits without being married”, and has a “social status in a household below that of a wife.”[3] All of Muhammad’s concubines were his slaves. Al-Tabari also excludes from the fifteen several other women with whom Muhammad had some kind of marriage contract but who, due to legal technicalities, never became full wives. It is fairly certain, however, that none of these unions was ever consummated. They were the cultural equivalent of a broken engagement. Finally, there were several other women whom Muhammad wished to marry, or whom he was invited to marry, but for various reasons he did "

http://wikiislam.net/wiki/List_of_Muhammads_Wives_and_Concubines

37:

Not all the newspapers: there's always the Financial Times.

They got me through the Dead Diana squelchfest by reporting Day 3 of the national outpouring of grief with four short paragraphs on an inside page under the headline: "Significant rise in sales of cut flowers and greetings cards".

And that was it: the rest of the paper was for news . With numbers.

I have every confidence that their World Cup coverage will be strictly business.

38:

Really? Every confidence eh?

I have several password entries to limited amount of 'free' otherwise paywalled content on the FT - back when I was employed in a Business School in the UK I used to receive FREE copies of the dead tree version of the FT and so I feel a vague resentment that anyone should expect me to pay for the damn thing - but rather than waste my free articles on feetball I just typed "financial times world cup brazil " in Google.” About 101,000,000 results (0.61 seconds) " needs filtering a bit but at the top of the results ...

"High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/770b70c8-b6b7-11e3-8695-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz34eY04vJY

World Cup will have little impact on Brazil, says Moody’s

By Joe Leahy in São Paulo
The official mascot of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil©Getty

The official mascot of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Spending on the World Cup will have a negligible impact on Brazil’s economy despite Brazilians’ perceptions that the tournament is costing the country dearly, a study says.

The games will generate only 0.4 per cent of additional gross domestic product for Brazil in a 10-year period and the infrastructure spending envisaged amounts to just 0.7 per cent of the country’s total investment planned between 2010 and 2014, Moody’s, the rating agency, said in a report.

“The Brazilian economy is very large so, because the duration of the World Cup is limited and also the investment is limited to certain cities and or states, the impact is not that large,” said Barbara Mattos, an analyst with the agency. "

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/770b70c8-b6b7-11e3-8695-00144feabdc0.html#axzz34eW764Ho

And so on and so forth.


You are being FAR too cheerful!

39:

I know that this is extremely off topic but... 19 Celsius is a heatwave? I live in Greece and... you lucky bastard!

40:

Ah yes, how climate change will end history in Scotland. It will be a sad, sad story, what with heat wave after heat wave rendering the thick-walled old buildings increasingly uninhabitable. There will be a huge boom in new, cooler housing (perhaps with solar on the roof, as in Germany), before people abandon the coastal cities and head for the hills, there to work as serfs on the grand estates, making the soil more fertile the old-fashioned way and clearing the heather and the moors to grow their crops.

What a tragedy, that the great cold-proof buildings of history will have to be torn down for their cities to survive a little longer.

Anyway, back to the hatin' o' the footie.

41:

I for one welcome our new Planetary Supreme Overlord. Can this PLEASE be extended to darts too?

42:

As an American I love watching the World Cup exactly because it is not so popular in the States. While living in England in the early 90s I was shocked to discover that the stereotype of soccer players was that there were not very bright brutes...because in the States it is just the opposite. Soccer in America has always been the underdog, the game played by upper middle class white kids from the suburbs.

In high school I actually had fellow students tell me soccer was a communist or socialist game because Americans didn't play it and it was very popular in Europe. I am not kidding!

And of course the US was historically terrible at soccer (er, football). I remember watching the US play Italy in the 1990 WC (the US made it for the first time in 30 or 40 years) and we could hardly string 2 passes together. Now the Americans are respectable and it is so fun to root for my country in something were we are competitive but not dominant (e.g. basketball, where I have actively routed against the Americans).

43:

Here in Australia, it is actually football season (it's winter, winter is for footy). Of course, football here means either Australian Rules (if you're in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory or Tasmania) or Rugby (if you're in Queensland or New South Wales - and whether it's League or Union depends apparently on socio-economic status and aspirations). There are some people who apparently support soccer here, and it appears there are enough of them to manage to fund a national league, complete with bribery and corruption scandals (we spot them out and about here in Perth whenever our group in the national soccer competition - Perth Glory - is doing well. This year they aren't).

But Australia apparently has a team in the World Cup (the Socceroos). They got a 3 - 1 defeat from Chile either yesterday or the day before (it scrolled past in my RSS ticker, which is the sum total of the attention I've been paying the whole business). Which is about what I expected - Australia is NOT a soccer-playing nation.

I'm busy watching the whole business in Iraq with a somewhat wary eye, because if the USA gets involved, Tony Abbott is bound to offer Australian troops to be sent over to do any dying as needs done. I'm not sure whether it would be an optimistic move in the hope of trade concessions, as per John Howard's getting involved in the wars of Bush 2, or whether it would be straight out colonialist cringing on the part of our Australian Bush 2 equivalent. I suspect the latter. But the Liberals here in Australia will love it, because they're tanking in the polls, and a short victorious war is always a winner with the voters[1]!

[1] Yes, I know the likelihood of this war, or any other war in the region, being either short or victorious is right down there with the Australian chances in elephants-on-ice-skates polo. Given the amount of Australian interest in the area is practically nil, it's not likely to be a winner with the voters, either, but at this point the options for the Liberal warmongers are either Iraq or Indonesia[2].
[2] Given the ham-fisted handling of the Australian diplomatic relationships with our rather populous neighbour to the north, we may well wind up with both by the end of Tin-Eared Tony's term.

44:

Sure, the tribalism inherent in organized sports, especially soccer/football (Australia and the USA not withstanding), is probably very irritating to the non sports-lover. But the alternative outlet for these tribal urges (in our DNA? social subconsciousness?) might be, well, actual tribalism?

In the old days, before organized (by the Greeks or Romans?) sports, one may have supported their "team" by heading over to the neighboring tribe to slit a few throats and abduct some women. Go team!

Granted, that kind of tribalism is still with us. But one wonders, if those jihadis making a ruckus in Iraq had decided to become, say, football fanatics/soccer hooligans instead of death cultists, things might be marginally better off for the world. Hmm... that might be debatable.

45:

I am boggling at "Heatwave" and "19 Celsius" occurring in the same sentence without some substantial negative modifiers in between.

Our host is, of course, being grumpily sarcastic in calling 19C a heatwave. Even in the frozen wastes, north of the wall, it's not really a heatwave till it hits 25C, and, unimaginably, the thermometer has in fact hit 31.4C on one very special occasion.

Chin up Charlie, likely only two more matches before the saturation coverage abates somewhat; after England lost their opener 1-2.

At least it's not 1998, the last time scotland managed to claw their way to the finals...

46:

...unimaginably, the thermometer has in fact hit 31.4C on one very special occasion

Just checked, that's just under where Orlando was today, so I suspect Charlie will be appreciating the air conditioning in a few days.

47:

Oh FU! Being an old Montrealer (Montreais?) with the LORD!!!! Stanley Cup going to the fucking LA (la la land) Kings (kings of WTF?) how much compassion do you expect from me? Take your Scottish brogue (can't find a fng spelling) and shove it up the Olgiy's piper's pipes.

Just kidding of course.

Saw you in Brooklyn with Doctorow. Do I have to post a pic?

48:

Boston is putting forward a bid to host the 2024 Olympics. If, God forbid, they win, our family will be boarding up the house for the month and fleeing to some remote location. Scotland, perhaps.

49:

It could have been worse, it could have been the Ducks.

I'm afraid we will get the 2024 Olympics here in the San Francisco Bay area.

50:

And just think of the security freakout if Boston gets the Olympics!

51:

Here in San Diego it's the Super Bowl that sends crowds to the grocery to buy everything on the shelves, and then produces loud outcries from living rooms with huge tvs. I'm not a sports fan, myself; I had to ask my girlfriend what sport the World Cup was—I though, tennis maybe? On the other hand, I enjoyed Bend It like Beckham enough to buy the disc. But I don't think I've watched any sports event all the way through in my adult life, and certainly not paid to see one.

(I enjoy Kipling's "The Maltese Cat," too, which is about polo in India. Fictionalized sports seem to make sense to me in a way that actual sports don't.)

52:

Charlie, can I modify your anti-footie explanation, to apply to me?
Here goes:
You can put this hate on football down to my having grown up fit but unterested in "team games" & intelligent - I went to school to LEARN not to be bullied unmercifully on a cold, wet, muddy, windswept field in London in the late 1950s.
I was fortunate - I escaped to early "O" levels at age 14. Even though I was ony forced into it between the ages of 11 & 14 ( i.e. finishing in spring 1960 ) it still gives me the all-over cold shudders.
As you say - enough said,

53:

Should have read further:
one so barkingly mad that the United States and Iran are actually talking about taking joint military action as allies—down below the fold. We are living through the run-up to the apocalypse, a death cult named after an Egyptian love-goddess is invading Iraq, lions and sheep are discussing engagement rings,

No stranger than Cardinal Richlieu ( leaning heavily on my Huguenot ancestors in N Fance) allying with & paying Gustav Aldof of Sweden to fight against the Imperialist [ Spain + "the Empire" ] in den Drezigjharenkreig.

In fact, the conflict going on there has a horrible similarity to the 30 years war.

Which reminds me:
the War Criminal Blair has made a statement (& I think anouther one upcoming on the "Andrew Marr show"), denying it was naything to do with him or the Shrub.

54:

Lastly
Cricket
Actually, the web-page Charlie pointed you at is useless.
There is a much more succinct version of the rules of the game.
Here they are:

You have two sides in the field, one out and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs, that's the end of the game. .... Howzat! (?)

55:

Let's just hope nobody in the US military goes for dramatic historical allusions and calls it "Operation Firaz"...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Firaz

As for the "Dreissigjaehrige Krieg" as a model the last Near/Middle East fracas, hm, not that sure about that one, the Thirty was originally a civil war involving alliances of regional rulers and the central power of the emperor, and the whole area is notorious for having quite some pretenders, but no true hegemon, as for applying it to the situation in Iraq, Saddam is gone, but at the end of the Thirty there was still a Holy Roman Emperor; we could argue it's somewhat similar to the end of the Osmanic Empire, personally, I think the current fracas is more of a "decolonization conflicts, redux", mainly thinking about the 40s and 50s of the 20th century, but also some episodes of the mentioned end of the Osmanic Empire:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkan_Wars

56:
You can put this hate on football down to my having grown up Jewish in Leeds in the 1970s. Enough said.

Not being Jewish, but having grown up a few km from the Schalke stadion and close enough to Dortmund (Borussia) and Bochum (Vfl) for feeling the influence, am I allowed to chime in with a "I feel your pain, kinda"?

It was not all bad, mind you, every Saturday there was a big bazaar on the parking lot of the stadion, even with some used SF books...

57:

On the matter of sports over-taking the news, Louie C.K. had a lot of fun with this in his show recently:

Newsreader: "Hurricane Jasmine Forsythe has claimed the life of LeBron James of the Miami Heat. Mr. James was swept away by the storm surge that destroyed 90% of the Florida Peninsula. Once again, we’re reporting the death of LeBron James, the rest of the Miami Heat, and 12 million other people."

58:

it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon

Sarcasm aside, even joking about this as a heat wave makes you a bit insane to visit Florida in July. You're going to have issues getting from the hotel to your ride. And if you're renting a car maybe you should consider getting a car with a remote start so you can cool it down before you get in it. And get cloth seats if it's a choice.

19C is when we CLOSE our windows to avoid getting too cold. My wife starts complaining when it gets below about 22C inside. Personally I'm comfortable up to about 32C or more but I've learned I'm an outlier.

59:

The most charitable thing I can say about Leeds and football is that Leeds United's fans spawned a sizable anti-racist, anti-fascist campaign.

They needed to. That's the problem.

60:

Dude, Florida in July is cooler than where I spent last April. (Perth and Kuala Lumpur.)

(I can cope with heat/humidity if there's air conditioning indoors. In Scotland? There just isn't.)

My "close the windows to keep from getting cold" temperature is around 12-14 degrees. My "keep the heating running overnight because otherwise I'll get cold" temperature is around 4 degrees (outside).

61:

Never mind the Middle East, for us Ukraine might be a real problem. Zero State has people on both sides in that conflict and some sympathy with both sides. However, the new leader Poroshenko is far worse than Western media seem willing to report. He has actually put at least six Fascists into government in non-trivial positions. By "Fascists" I do not mean some kind of rhetoric like "Nigel Farage is a fascist because he hates immigrants". I mean card carrying openly avowed Nazis. One of whom runs a paramilitary that wears and fights under a Black Sun symbol. Apart from that, he is a corrupt callous bastard and probably a psychopath from what I have heard from those who have interacted with him personally. He also seems intent on pushing Ukraine into a full blown civil war. If our politicians are true to form in their monstrous stupidity it is not inconceivable that NATO could end up exchanging shots with the Russians.

62:

I've been merrily ignoring the football and watching the live streaming coverage of the Le Mans 24hr race instead. A minority pursuit I don't doubt, but it was looking rather interesting until about an hour ago - twenty seconds between the first two after 22 hours racing - when the lead battle ended with the Porsche dropping out.

That said, 3 weeks of football every 4 years is about the right dose for me. I rather enjoyed the Spain/Netherlands game. I prefer it if none of the home nations qualify so we can avoid the nationalistic nonsense that accompanies it.

63:

In general, I do not enjoy watching other people do stuff, especially of the sports variety.

64:

What a surprise - not.

There are football fans who are not moronic, muscle-bound fascist thugs, but if you are on to the smart money, then that's the way to bet!

I had great amusement at age 17, when my school organised a week-long walking trip/holiday in the Lake District - no-one could work out whyu I volunteered - because I was notorious for hating "sports" ...
But, I was then, cycling 5 miles a day, every day to/from school) and walking is not team games.
By the end, the only pupil who went out every day, was ... me. Even the hardened footie fanatics, collapsed on day 5 IIRC, leaving me the last one standing.
Laugh?
I nearly wet myself.

65:

Well, high school sports and parks-and-rec sports can still be pretty fun to watch.

66:

Not for me. I would rather be doing it. The only time I watch some sports is to learn technique. For example, I rather like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJhzUebpkg8

67:

Not for me. I would rather be doing it. The only time I watch some sports is to learn technique.

You likely don't have kids in sports.

I learned to like Lacross watching my son play in high school (G9-10). Me playing it in my 50s. Not very likely. And I've been an American football fan forever. But stopped playing it when I was about 13 or 14. Wasn't good enough for organized but unorganized became way too dangerous at that age.

68:

Re: Iraq/ISIS/Sunnism/Shiism, hopefully the situation over there will lead Western nations to a saner policy in the region, and drive a permanent wedge between us and the really vile Islamist factions we have often allied ourselves with: the fanatical Sunni Wahabbi/Takfiri groups (the folks responsible for 9/11). How idiotic does the USA look, opposing secular Iraq instead of the Saudi regime, Russia instead of (Saudi-sponsored) Chechen jihadists, and Syria instead of (Saudi-sponsored) ISIS butchers?

Shiite Iran is surprisingly tolerant in some ways, and is nothing like the repressive Sunni theocracies like Saudi Arabia. For example, Iran allows transgender surgery, and a Grand Ayatollah has recently ruled that psychedelic drugs are permissable (see http://realitysandwich.com/219826/ayahuasca-and-the-godhead-an-interview-with-wahid-azal-of-the-the-fatimiya-sufi-order/ ). Compared to the Wahhabis, Iran is a bastion of sanity and civilization. So as far as I'm concerned, US and Iran allying against the Wahhabists in Iraq would be a major step in a saner direction.

69:

Have you seen the kinds of things Roman sports fans got up to?

70:

“I can honestly say that I have felt less emotion at funerals than I did watching QPR get relegated."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10817517/Is-watching-football-making-you-depressed.html

"I think in the modern age we commodify emotion, whether it's music, politics or sport. It's engineered so we can feel. In football we are gambling with our emotions. The allconsuming media surrounding it leads to an increase in intrusive thoughts and nurtures the notion that we are the sport. Some fans are truly experiencing almost pathological levels of upset, obsession and anxiety.”

“Are football fans deliberately seeking out this stress and misery? Is football being used as a way of dealing with life, much in the way that horror films are viewed to lessen the stress of reality. The seeking out of pain and fear?”

71:

The Iranian government is more than somewhat corrupt, and they're big on executions. But then, so is Saudi Arabia. Also, Iran has something not unlike a democratic system in place, while Saudi Arabia is still a mediaeval despotism. If I had to say which one was the lesser weevil, I'd point to Iran. But frankly, I'd rather not have to make that call.

72:

So, how badly did England lose to Italy? I've been at a beer festival in a field in the middle of nowhere in Scotland this weekend, with no connectivity at all.

73:

Badly from the perspective of public psychology: In that because the goalkeeper made a mess of one goal by forgetting his role as the last line defence of England's national psyche, he has forfeited the goodwill of the people for the rest of time.

Seriously, it will be in his obituary.

Also, because England got an equaliser, the people deigned to dream for a few minutes. Then the second Italian goal occurred to smash all hopes. The situation is that mortifying to them, when understood from the perspective of the idea that they are gambling with their emotions: They offered to double-down and they lost again.

Football as a bondage parlour. If it goes to penalties, it is easy to reconcile a loss because it is bascially pot luck, but if it is a long drawn out attempt to even achieve a face saving equaliser, it is comparable to a session with one of these lovelies:

http://www.themanchesterchambers.com/

And then you stagger out.

74:

The only time in the year when Germany is fully painted black-red-gold is the soccer season. I'm neither interested in who scored against whom, nor in patriotism, so it is not easy to be outdoors at the moment. Of course, our own heatwave (going up to 38 °C at the beginning of the week, now 28-30 °C) makes staying indoors the more comfortable case, especially with a bit of temperature management (closing the blinds, don't open the windows until night, ...) - in the end, you get something like half-way acceptable 26 °C indoors ...

75:

Err, sorry, I was not aware of these circumstances; as for German soccer, Schalke's local competitor Borussia Dortmund had quite some problems with Neo-Nazi fans,

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/german-soccer-team-confronts-neo-nazi-fan-violence

with Schalke AFAIK it was not THAT bad. Not that I have a phenotype subject to prey recognition, and as for not typically German surnames, well, if your idols are called like this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Kuzorra

so I might not be the best source on that one.

And not that using public transport on certain Saturdays was ever that wise a choice...

76:

As for the flags, even in my suburb with a high proportion of immigrants from the Eastern Mediterranean. And the right way up, for Cthulhu's sake, compared to Studentenverbindung guys I know. Guess they were more used to the black-white-red one.

Sometimes one can take integration too far...

77:

Aww. I really don't care about watching sports at all. Even sports I enjoy playing (football, competitive martial arts) I just don't care to watch them. But banning them altogether? Is a bit harsh, no? I'd MOST CERTAINLY cap salaries and what organizations can earn and tax the crap out of all sports related activities for the good of local communities (and not what they usually mean when a stadium is pitched).

78:

I prefer to sit back and watch the tigers fight from across the river, given the circumstances.

79:

19 c? Heat wave?

That's 66 F.

66? Heat wave?

Dude, that is COOL. Not hot.

Are you used to snow 10 months a year?

80:

Charlie & feorag @ 71/72
In reverse order:

Err 2-1 I think - BEER Festival - was it good?
The brewery just round the corner from here (Fist on-site brew in May) had one a week-&-a-half back.
Hic.
Are you in London, weekend after next for "pride" or waiting for Loncon3 - I've got a couple of pub-crawls written out - & I must remember to forward details to Alison & you ....

No more insane that the USSR & the USSA co-operting to take down the Nazis, or Richlieu backing the ultra-protestant Swedes in the 30 years war.
I think it's called "Realpolitik" isn't it?

81:

This is popped up in /r/britishproblems that pretty much explain how I feel.

http://www.reddit.com/r/britishproblems/comments/22osn0/as_the_fifa_world_cup_approaches_the_antifootball/cgpdacf

82:

Scotland beat Canada at Rugby Union (just).

83:

Er, darts is a pub game, not a sport. I hate Wendyball as much as pretty much anyone else here, but I'm not about to claim that it's not a sport.

84:

I'm pretty sure Poroshenko is also responsible for the snipers killing Maidan activists, for annexation of Crimea or for the Chechen "separatists" in Donetsk and Lugansk.

/sarcasm off

There is a rule of thumb in geopolitics, one that is correct 999 times out of 1000. EVERYTHING the Russian government (in its various incarnations) does is wrong and should be opposed. Russia is a cursed place.

85:

Personally, I think it was Noam Chomsky who gave this advice concerning Latin America and the Baltics; it's always best to align with the gangster/bully who is farthest away. ;)

86:

Let us not forget that there was only one shooting war with the name of a sport in its name...

"The Football War, or 100 hour war

A simmering dispute over borders and immigration was brought to a boil by three World Cup qualifying matches between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969, and the violence between opposing "supporters" that ensued.

The only interesting thing about it for me is it was the last time World War Two aircraft flew in combat against each other, AFAIK [Corsairs vs Mustangs].

Nearly three thousand people were killed as a result, most of them Honduran civilians.

The political power of the military in both countries were strengthened by the inconclusive conflict, and the seeds for the El Salvador Civil war [1979-1992] were sown, in which a further 75000 would die.

Still, it's the beautiful game, innit?

Somehow I can't a "Snooker War" or a "Netball War" breaking out anytime soon.

87:

Now I'm jealous.

88:

I can tell you the end game in Ukraine right now. Poroshenko pushes into full civil war, using the fascist militias (because the regular Ukraine army is too poorly paid and fed to bother, apart from artillery). A brutal stalemate ensues as the factions become utterly polarized. There is then a deal that E Ukraine will be part of a Federal Ukraine with de facto full autonomy.
There then follows bouts of ethnic cleansing on both sides. Meanwhile, NATO does not get to station troops in any part of Ukraine, and the EU pays billions to the rump state. Which then reappears in Western banks, put there by the corrupt elite. The End (for now). Timescale - about a year.

89:

Not badly enough. I'll be glad when England is out and we skip this moronic crap.

90:

Your obsession with "fascist militias" leads me to believe that read too much Russian propaganda.

91:

Let us not forget that there was only one shooting war with the name of a sport in its name...

Oh, the irony :) shooting is an Olympic and Commonwealth sport, you know. Hence the username - from the days when the firing points on military rifle ranges were covered in a couple of inches of smooth gravel...

92:

One of the big threats of the Russo-Ukrainian argument is the amount of Russian gas which passes through Ukraine to Europe.

The last report I saw, it was about 15% of total consumption.

One use of natural gas is the production of fertiliser for agriculture.

Iraq affects oil prices.

These are not something we can ignore.

Enter Vladimir.
ESTRAGON:
(giving up again). Nothing to be done.
VLADIMIR:
(advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart). I'm beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I've tried to put it from me, saying Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven't yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. (He broods, musing on the struggle. Turning to Estragon.) So there you are again.

93:

Anybody else thinking about the documentation Lisa watches in one Simpsons ep?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3HZhYV3HGM

(Sorry for the bad quality, it was all I could find)

94:

Mr Stross

So what subreddits would you say are usually worth following then? (though they are currently overrun with soccer fans)

I tend to avoid the place as it seems to be a hole for the worst of the ostensibly libertarian really authoritarian corporatist reactionaries who get their jollies from racism, sexism, and kiddie porn

Thanks

96:

I hear you. Mexico goes just insane come World Cup season. And you can't not like football, you just can't, people get this confused look in their faces when you tell them you don't care, and then go on assuming you mean "I don't care, but of course I still support our Glorious and Hallowed National Selection".
You can say "I don't care" and they will respond "But you still watch it, right? To support the team, right?". To which one might respond "I don't like football", which will be met with a "But you still want Mexico to win, right? You still support the team, right?".
Because it seems to be a sin, on equal grounds to spitting on the face of the virgin of guadalupe, to not 'support' our national team, to not send them this supernatural support that somehow reaches trough the television screen and that appears to be fundamental to their victory. Apparently this telepathic phenomena makes it so those of us who don't care are somehow responsible for the eventual and unavoidable defeat, because of not having added our chi to the national jungian thingamabob that nurtures the players and allows them to go Meta Human during games.
Seriously though, there are actual people who rage at those of us who do not support the team, and make a clear connection between us not liking football and the team losing. There are those who, without a hint of irony or humor, declare us Un Mexican.
So I perfectly understand and share your Grinch mode.

97:

"There is a rule of thumb in geopolitics, one that is correct 999 times out of 1000. EVERYTHING the Russian government (in its various incarnations) does is wrong and should be opposed. Russia is a cursed place."

That's quite a claim. To be wrong 99.9% of the time would be an incredible achievement in its own right, perhaps indicating some kind of Satanic or Azathothian guidance.

Would you care to elaborate on the nature of the "curse" Russia is under, or where you get your rather hysterical ideas about Russia? Have you lived there and dealt with the government personally? I have, and it's true that Russia's government has major issues, but singling out Russia in this way as "cursed" is really over the top and dangerous propaganda. Where does this campaign to demonize Russia originate, and why is this kind of Russophobia tolerated?

98:

Charlie,

THANK YOU.

Used to be truefen (tm) had an interest in sports approaching zero as a limit; I have no idea what happened the last 20 years or so.

And on this side of the Pond, baseball, which I suppose I could put up with, and actually got to play a few times, long ago, was subsumed by the misnamed American football, which (being ex-SCA) is a sport suitable for descendeents of Norman knights (look! a field of mud! let's charge our armored selves, on our armored horses, through it to attack the enemy, who will do the same!) Or, the short version, the "sport" where one uses one's head and body as a blunt instrument to bludgeon one's opponents into submission and/or unconsciousness.

But I won't go on, unless you want me to tell you how I *reallY* feel about it....

mark

99:

> I have, and it's true that Russia's government has major issues, but singling out Russia in this way as "cursed" is really over the top and dangerous propaganda. Where does this campaign to demonize Russia originate, and why is this kind of Russophobia tolerated?

Why aren't you also asking who are my collaborators and how long have we been planning to assassinate the Great Leader? :-)

100:

Russia has already made arrangements to sell its gas to China. The pipeline is built, shipments have begun, and short of open war (which is still a Very Bad Idea) it can't be helped.

As far as Iraq goes, it doesn't affect oil prices as much as you'd think. Whoever winds up ruling that patch of sand will sell the oil out from under it or face total economic collapse. ISIS is Wahabbi, but so is Saudi Arabia.

If we were actually serious about stopping global warming (we aren't), we'd have to keep >80% of known fossil fuel reserves buried forever anyway.

101:

I seem to recall a rather profitable joint venture with the Russians in the early 1940s. We Yanks got a space program out of it, among many other things.

102:

19 c? Heat wave?

That's 66 F.

66? Heat wave?

Dude, that is COOL. Not hot.

Are you used to snow 10 months a year?

A joke I once heard:

Man to little boy: "Little boy, does it ever stop raining in Edinburgh?"
Little boy: "I don't know. I'm only nine."

And a real conversation:

Student 1: "My intro to Edinburgh was icily horizontal sleet backed up by a force 9 gale. I kid you not."
Student 2: "Oh? You came in summer, then?"

103:

“Are football fans deliberately seeking out this stress and misery? Is football being used as a way of dealing with life, much in the way that horror films are viewed to lessen the stress of reality. The seeking out of pain and fear?”

I don't see how seeking out stress and misery helps one deal with life. Can anyone explain? The rest of the Telegraph article from which that quote comes seems to show that it makes it much harder to deal with life.

104:

A simmering dispute over borders and immigration was brought to a boil by three World Cup qualifying matches between El Salvador and Honduras in 1969, and the violence between opposing "supporters" that ensued.

Look up Arthur C. Clarke's "A Slight Case of Sunstroke". A nifty technical solution to the problem of intransigent South American referees, with perhaps a football-caused war as a consequence (see the last sentence or two).

105:

Not at all, I'm just challenging your outrageous propaganda, which I see being thrown around casually by Westerners in a way that wouldn't be tolerated against most other nations. You called Russia "a cursed place"; I'm reminded of those who call modern America the "Great Satan," or who called pre-Christian America a "land of heathens"...

106:

Good short story that...I read it in an ACC collection in the 80s and wondered if it was plausible:D

107:

Clarke's idea is rather preferable to this real life version from last year:
Soccer referee beheaded after stabbing player to death in Brazil
They do take their Fútbol seriously.

I believe Clarke had a note at the beginning of the collection with the story that a friend of his did the math for it.

108:

I believe Clarke had a note at the beginning of the collection with the story that a friend of his did the math for it.

Not quite. Looked in my copy of "Tales From Ten Worlds"--says the idea for the story came from a book called "Electrons, Waves and Messages" by John Pierce of Bell Labs.

109:

A joke I once heard:

Man to little boy: "Little boy, does it ever stop raining in Edinburgh?"
Little boy: "I don't know. I'm only nine."

And a real conversation:

Student 1: "My intro to Edinburgh was icily horizontal sleet backed up by a force 9 gale. I kid you not."
Student 2: "Oh? You came in summer, then?"

Sounds like my kind of place, really. Edinburgh (for the climate) is on the shortlist of destinations if I ever decide to leave Helsinki (probably not in the next 15 or so years, though, for various reasons).

I have to admit that the +8 C this morning was a bit chilly and I had to put on my jacket. Yesterday 15-16 C was otherwise okay but the rain was a bit cold, as I had a t-shirt, jeans and a hat (and shoes).

During the last few years, for July-August it has gotten a bit too warm for me here. At least in the office the AC works to keep me cool.

110:

To be fair, there ARE plenty of fascists running around in Ukraine today, but far from all of them are members of Svoboda...

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/04/east-ukraine-crisis-fascist-ma-2014416145823826439.html

(Yes, I know Qatar has its own axe to grind with Russia, but googling some of the names mentioned in the "Russia Today" on the observers article makes for interesting discoveries...)

111:

Well, from a Western point of view, the various editions of Russian (to include Soviet) governements have given us heads of state such as: Mr. Putin, Yuri Andropov (another ex-KGB man), Josef freakin' Stalin (who nearly destroyed the Red Army with the purge of 1937), V.I. Lenin himself, and various and sundry bloodthirsty Tsars and Tsarinas. None of them fall into the "kindler and gentler" category.

112:

Heh. Reminds me of a section from Kim Stanley Robinson's Escape from Katmandu where (as a background event) ex-president Jimmy Carter goes hiking in Nepal and walks his Secret Service bodyguards right into the ground. This would have been on a trip in the mid-late 1980s, (when he was in his 60s), rather than the more recent trips he's made regarding elections in the Republic of Nepal.

In the story, Jimmy Carter shakes a yeti's hand. It's pretty funny.

113:

Ah, blast! My HTML-fu was not up to the task! Only the book title was supposed to be italicized.

[[ now fixed - mod ]]

114:

"Your obsession with "fascist militias" leads me to believe that read too much Russian propaganda."

No. Getting it directly from Ukrainians on both sides.

115:

Wouldn't it be great if the worldcup took place at the same time and in the same places as the archery moving-target worldchampionship? :)

116:

... or a military live fire exercise.

117:

Charles: "...it's due to hit a peak of 19 celsius this afternoon..."

That outer layer of your skin? The part that comes in different colors? That's call 'wool', and you can actually remove that[1], and replace it with a much nicer skin called 'cotton'. You can even sleep without your skin, it's safe for short periods :)

[1] It can be swished around in soap and water, and exposed to the death rays of the Daystar, which will kill that crawling sensation one might get after 8 months of not chaning one's skin :)

118:

"No one should pay any attention to McCain. He's a hypocrite, whining about trading 5 Taliban for one American, when he had been part of a prisoner exchange that was equivalent to 4.5 No. Vietnamese per American. I guess when you're talking about more than a couple thousand people being traded, it's okay--or maybe just when it's your own ass."

McCain firmly believes in the 'circle of life'. For example, war has been described as 'old men sending young men off to die'. He was young, and in war, and now he's old, and sending young men off to any war he can dream up.

119:

"Boston is putting forward a bid to host the 2024 Olympics. If, God forbid, they win, our family will be boarding up the house for the month and fleeing to some remote location. Scotland, perhaps."

You'll need to evacuate by 2020, at the latest. What would billions of dollars of (white elephant) construction do to traffic in Boston?

120:

"What would billions of dollars of (white elephant) construction do to traffic in Boston?"

Google "The Big Dig." Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

121:

Perhaps Boston will pull a Denver--if you're lucky.

1976 Winter Olympics:
The games were originally awarded to Denver on May 12, 1970, but a 300% rise in costs and worries about environmental impact led to Colorado voters' rejection on November 7, 1972, by a 3 to 2 margin, of a $5 million bond issue to finance the games with public funds.

122:

The one thing that might stop me from claiming my Scottish citizenship and emigrating north to my ancestral lands (on me mum's side) when the inevitable happens, is the weather. I could probably cope with the summer just fine, but the winter I suspect would kill me, one way or another.

123:

The one thing that might stop me from claiming my Scottish citizenship and emigrating north to my ancestral lands (on me mum's side) when the inevitable happens, is the weather. I could probably cope with the summer just fine, but the winter I suspect would kill me, one way or another.

Me too. During my first visit to Edinburgh, I met a lady from the nearby town of Prestonpans who had friends "down South" in Brighton, but didn't visit them much because she found it too hot. Now run that in reverse. I find Brighton OK in summer and coldish during the winter; therefore ...

124:

Edinburgh averages around 2-4 celsius (daytime) in winter, dropping to around -2 to 0 at night. One year in 3-4, there'll be a cold snap dropping below -10 (sometimes as low as -14) for a couple of nights and below -5 during the daytime. But usually it's just above freezing during daylight hours, although you'd want a windproof/waterproof layer.

I'm currently in Orlando, Fl, scuttling from airconditioned hotel to airconditioned car to airconditioned (pick a destination), as it's over 32 outside, with high humidity and the odd thunderstorm.

125:

I'm currently in Orlando, Fl, scuttling from airconditioned hotel to airconditioned car to airconditioned (pick a destination), as it's over 32 outside

On the way to pick the kids up from school, the car thermometer was reading 26 today. Edinburgh was basking in sunshine, traffic wasn't bad, and all was well with the world... the "Calvin and Hobbes" books in the back seat does to quieten the squabbling :)

...what often surprises Those of Sam is the latitude - come summer it doesn't get dark until 10pm or so, and is light by 4am. Correspondingly, in winter you can travel both to and from work in the dark.

Meanwhile, I've just finished Nick Harkaway's new book "Tigerman". I liked it :)

126:

...the car thermometer was reading 26 today. Edinburgh was basking in sunshine...

Darn, scooped! ;-)

And on "other authors", I've started "Asterix an' Ra Pechts", in the original Scots*.

* Well sort of; it's actually a curious mixture of Scots, standard English and Glesca.

127:

And on "other authors", I've started "Asterix an' Ra Pechts", in the original Scots*.

* Well sort of; it's actually a curious mixture of Scots, standard English and Glesca.

Which reminds me that I have to find out if I can get James Robertson's* Scots version of "Winnie the Pooh" in the States. Along with the first SF novel in Gàidhlig; "Air Cuan Dubh Drilseach" by Tim Armstrong --not that I'll be able to read it. One of these days I may attempt reading "But'n'Ben A-Go-go".


*No relation. Nor, thankfully, to Pat Robertson or those "Duck Dynasty" shites.

128:

The most satisfying way to refer to all sports involving balls is "sportball". No soccer/football distinction, no preference given, no disguise is offered for one's opinion of the sportball match in question, blaring from the pub sportscreen. Sportball is best ball, and hometown sportball is the best of all sports balls.

129:

I just refer to them as stupidsports.

E.g., "We can't go downtown, because the traffic is screwed up due to stupidsports."

130:

Greg, I have removed three comments of yours. You think you're being funny; I think you're bordering on offensiveness and insults.

Stop doing it, please, at least unless and until Charlie says I am a stick-in-the-mud Colonial who ought to know real humour from the slapstick Three Stooges that is our highest form of literary critique.

131:

Greg: I'm backing Sean (in his capacity as moderator) on this one.

You may think it's funny, but I think "greasy dago" is a term of racist abuse and utterly unacceptable hereabouts unless it's used specifically in context as an example of unacceptable racist abuse. It's as unacceptable and insulting as referring to the Israeli national football team as "yids" or the Nigerian national team as "niggers" would be. So don't do it.

132:

I was being deliberately ironic, actually.
There was a very strong hint to look at a link first.
That link was to A Song of Patriotic Prejudice
Ahem.

Incidentally, this shows the impossibility of ever making the project two (?) threads back ever work.
Detection of sarcasm?
Fail.

Never mind, we can all breathe easier, now that "England" have been kicked out of the international exercise in corrupt moronic fascist thuggery.

133:

Greg, while there's something still amusing in the style of the lyrics, I find there are too many Flanders and Swann songs which have become horribly offensive. For example, the basic idea of that song might be to mock those attitudes displayed by that lyric, but if you were a Welshman would you accept that excuse?

It's not the worst. Standards change and, while "Have Some Madeira M'Dear, is a darkly comic song by Flanders and Swann. It is a song about seduction and alcohol, containing complex and witty wordplay." remains a reasonable description, the audience is laughing at a case of date-rape. Listen to the ending: she doesn't escape. Our definitions have shifted.

Here's my alternative ending.

Until the next morning, she woke up in bed,
With a smile on her lips, and an buzz in her head...

For a knee to the balls had cut short what he said:
"Have some Madeira-aaaaarrrggh!"


(I'll note that I do see some distinction, but a disturbing one, between the old idea of rape and the new. It's a little like the difference between robbery and fraud. The use of violence is pretty clear to everyone, but it can be shockingly easy to get away with the crimes by use of deception. In both robbery and rape, many will see the victim as complicit in the crime when the method is deception.)

If OGH wants to start something, fine. But Woody Guthrie can give us a good quote to think about while we wait for any go-ahead on this topic.


Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

134:

ATT
Point taken, oh dear.
Nonethelss, something has gorn seriouisly worng over "waycism" ...
Recent newspaper reports suggesting that "we" (that is the pinkoes like me) have become "more racist" (!)
Don't believe it, actually. What I think's happened is that some people are determined to call "waycist" at any & every opportunity, that people have given up caring.
Which is a totally counter-productive result, of course.

Take the S Lawrence case: MetPlod PREFERRED to be thought racist to the revealation that they were totally bent & in the pockets of the local hoodlums. That they were, actually racists, as well, didn't help, of course.
Then there are people like the unbelievably dubious Lutfur Rahman (I'm trying to be careful - libel laws - here) His little splinter party in Tower Hamlest has one woman & she & everyone else in it belongs to a very small "racial" ( & - I think religious) group. If this was anyone else, especially if they were pink, the racial segregation alleagtions would be coming thick & fast, wouldn't they? The alleagations of corruption & smell of electoral fraud are strong ... how has he got away with it (assuming, of course that he HAS got away with something)?
Because he shouts "racist" at every accusation & no-one has the bottle to reply "tu quoque" as well as "crook", of course.
The same reverse-snobbery(?) / slant on attitudes has another, much more evil face too: FGM.
Need I say more?

135:

UPDATE
Police find car with boot-full of completed postal ballot forms.
Oops, as they say.

136:

Greg, I am not sure that I would entirely trust a story in the Daily Telegraph on that subject, they may be written from an office in Upminster, but the facts are likely sustainable.

There's certainly a lot of evidence of something dodgy in Tower Hamlets. That story sounds a little dubious: what would you be doing with a box of postal ballots so long after the election? It's too late to use them. But it's the sort of stupid thing that catches out crooks.

137:

Sounds good, but the worldcup is played in a bunch of different locations. Fortunately I remember having an old SLAM somewhere in the shed. Why they never went to mass production is beyond me. No home should be without one! (Look up 'pluto slam' on your favorite search engine if you don't know what it is:)

138:

Project Pluto is well known here.
See A Colder War

139:

Gilligan (the journalist under whose name the article appears)was involved in the scandal over Dr J Kelley & Alistair Campbell & the Liebour-party apparatchiks got him dismissed from the Beeb - but, it turned out, afterwrds, that he was correct.
He is now freelance, but he takes a lot of interest (as you might imagine) in corruption cases.
Whatever its politcal leanings, the tory-graph is not the (SPIT) "Daily Mail" ....
And, there are some very interesting, shall we say, potential prosecutions & investigations in process. concerning the racist crook popular local politician L Rahman.
[ HINT: As an Huguenot, all of my family lived in Bethnal Green, part of Tower Hamlets, until about 1910 ... my great-aunt Rose(1) continued there until she died - having been at the siege of Paris ...
I take an interest .... ]

140:

...(except for elephant polo on ice skates, which oughta be fun, as long as the elephants give their informed consent beforehand)...

I'm not sure why nobody mentioned this already, but it's been experimentally proven that elephants can be taught to roller skate. (Yes, really.) Back in the 1980s in Ojai California a local eccentric took her pet elephant out roller skating, which is not something you see in every town. This may say more about the creativity of bored humans than about the abilities of elephants.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 14, 2014 2:13 PM.

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