Friday 31 August 2007

Paco leaves Anfield

Big news coming out of Anfield today as it has emerged that Rafa's #2, Paco Ayesteran is leaving Merseyside. This will be a blow to the team as Paco has been an integral part of the coaching team for the past three years.
Prior to coming to Liverpool he worked with Rafa at Tenerife and Valencia. It is unclear whether his move is for personal reasons or whether he has had another job offer.
No news either on possible replacements although I for one, would like to see Gary MacAllister return to Anfield.

All Ireland Hurling Final 2007

Unsurprisingly, Kilkenny return to Croke Park this Sunday to defend the title they reclaimed from Cork a year ago. Big surprise, it's Limerick who they face in this year's decider.
Earlier in the season it seemed likely that Cork or Waterford would be the Cats' opponents, but it's the Shannon-siders who fought back from a Munster final defeat to gain their revenge on the Deise in the All-Ireland semi.

I'm a bit torn as to the outcome on Sunday. My head screams Kilkenny all the way; that they are too experienced; that they have too many All-Stars in their team; that Limerick have only one player who has been this far before; that the semi-final win was the best Limerick could have hoped for; and on and on.

At the same time I can see them do it. They are riding a crest at the moment. Confidence is high and the team is hurling very well. Andrew O'Shaughnessy is obviously key, as well as goals. I don't think the men in green score enough points and I can't see them matching Kilkenny point for point (the Cats regularly score 20+ in a game).
Also, I think five finals in six years may actually be a disadvantage. Looking at last years final I couldn't help but feel Cork were a tired team - it must be incredibly draining on both the body and mind to play at that high a level, year in, year out. Limerick are hungry and that will be important, equally so how they deal with the nerves.

My head says Kilkenny by six, but if limerick can stay in it, they may just nick it at the death.

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Bush and Cheney: Last men standing

The Bush administration has fallen further into ruin with resignation of the controversial Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. This now leaves Bush with just one of his 2001 team in place, VP Dick Cheney.
Gonzales has been one of the most controversial figures in US politics over the past few years. His role was summed up neatly on Political Gateway: “Gonzales has been under fire for his role in the treatment of "war on terror" detainees, domestic surveillance, and has been accused of lying to lawmakers over the sackings of federal prosecutors last year”.
Bush has maintained his support for Gonzales, claiming he was merely a victim of a Democrat smear campaign. Ultimately the pressure told and the AG walked, just weeks after Karl Rove did the same.

Six degrees of separation #7

I had a good week on #6, only 2 moves! 1. James Woods to Kirsten Dunst in The Virgin Suicides; Kirsten Dunst to Alfred Molina in Spiderman 2.

#7: Paul Rudd to James Gandolfini

Friday 24 August 2007

Star gazing with Google

Google have now made star gazing even easier for those so inclined with the addition of Google Sky to its Google Earth offering. The company have described it as turning Google Earth "on its head". Read more here.

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Jose embarks on comedy career

I can barely type I'm laughing so hard. I was just catching up on the BBC quotes of the week and Jose Mourihno's is a peach: "I think I have a naive team. They are naive because they are pure and they are clean. We don't have divers, we don't have violent people."

Rafa responds accurately as always (yes, I'm biased): "If Chelsea are naive and pure then I'm Little Red Riding Hood."

Anyway, here is the evidence of Jose's non-violent naive little flowers in action - in this first picture it's Essien trying to (un)surgically remove Didi Hamann's knee at Stamford Bridge and below the gentle chaps in blue having a discussion with some equally naive Arsenal players.

Ref rage

I suspect I'm not alone in my unhappiness at the standard of refereeing on display during the first two weeks of the Premiership season. Quite frankly some of the decision this past weekend have been laughable.
Topping the list must be Rob Styles who had an absolute stinker at Anfield on Sunday. The phantom penalty incident and the seemingly random waving of yellow cards, have earned him at least a week away from top flight action.
Quite frankly, if his punishment was to be made referee a Sunday league game, the only people to suffer would be the teams involved in that match.
Not to be out done however, the officials at the Fulham V Middlesborough game were responsible for the worst 'was it over the line' decision since Roy Carroll got away with dragging the ball out from the back of his own net as a Man Utd player.
Middlesborough may feel some justice was done following the goal that wasn't, which was awarded against them at West Ham.
It's a tough job being a ref and I don't criticise for the sake of it. As a Liverpool fan I'm pretty miffed about the way that a bad decision turned a game. Chelsea were not going to score on Sunday. The question must be asked as to how can we minimise these all too frequent errors. Goal line technology is one definite option and clear cut in its application.
Penalty decisions are a bit more difficult. I don't know what the assistant referee was doing but he must have had a good view. Perhaps referees should have to consult with their assistant prior to awarding a penalty.
One thing though. Those who say video technology will slow the game are wrong. There was more time lost through players arguing with the ref/ each other than it takes for Sky to replay the incident. Worth some thought I think.

Six degrees of separation #6

Ok, well done to CK who got last week's link in four swift moves. I managed four too: 1. Kristin Scott Thomas to Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient; 2. Fiennes to Ed Norton in Red Dragon; Norton to Brad Pitt in Fight Club; and 4. Pitt to Peter O'Toole in Troy.

This week, #6:
Alfred Molina to James Woods

Monday 20 August 2007

Rebel yell!

Could it be? Could Sam really be returning to Leeside after almost 20 years? Based on the performance by the Cork footballers in Croke Park yesterday it's a distinct possibility.

Cork hurlers were the ones making all the headlines early this summer but now it's the footballers who have booked their place in the All-Ireland final for the first time since 1999. The other semi-final will be played next weekend but whatever the outcome it promises to be a great final on the third Sunday in September.

Meath entered the game as strong favourites and many - this blogger included - had written off Cork's chances following the loss of star forward James Masters to a broken jaw. How glad I am to say I was wrong!

Special credit has to go to Cork's dynamic duo in the corner forward position, as Donnacha O'Connor and Daniel Goulding contributed five and three points respectively and lead a an all round display of attacking football which will worry Kerry and Dublin.
Meath were poor on the day but Cork were magnificent and certainly quietened critics following lacklustre performances against Louth and Sligo. Only one more hurdle and Sam can come home!

Return of the Wispa!

At long last. The saddest day in chocolate history has been reversed! The Wispa is back. Click here, to read of this miraculous event on Brand Republic.

Cadbury have announced that the Wispa for a "would be reintroduced for an unspecified limited period, but it could make an indefinite return if it proves to be a hit with chocolate lovers." Oh it will!

We may even see the return of the Wispa Gold!

Friday 17 August 2007

US election information

If, like me, you're a fan of American politics and in particular electioneering, check out the polling info for the 2008 Presidential primaries and potential head to heads at Real Clear Politics.
There's a cool chart which tracks the poll results of all the candidates over the past few months and it tells you who participated in the polls, i.e. likely voters or registered voters etc.
There is a section on the polls within the all important Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, and a section which pits candidates from the different parties against each other.

World's stupidest laws

These appeared in the Guardian today and they are all really good. Click here for a laugh -

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Keenan returns to Lebanon

Brian Keenan is returning to Lebanon, 17 years after being released by Shia militants. The Belfast born lecturer was captured, imprisoned and tortured for four and a half years during the country's civil war. Read more here.

Six degrees of separation #5

Ok last weeks ladies linked as folows. 1. Lucy Liu to Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels; 2. Diaz to Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday; 3. Pacino to Bridget Moynahan in The Recruit.

Peter O'Toole to Kristin Scott Thomas

Classic Movies #1: The Hitcher

Following CKs accurate assessment of movie remakes on Dossing Times, I have decided to do a couple of reviews of classic movies when I happen to see them. The other night, while unable to sleep I switched on the TV to see Robert Harmon's 1986 classic, The Hitcher, starting.

It caught my attention as I had recently seen ads for the 2007 remake with Sean Bean in the lead role. Watching it I could not fathom why anyone would want to make another version, aside form the obvious reason of money. Rutger Hauer is sublime in his role as the devious, unflinching and brutal bad guy. I like Bean as an actor and he is as good a likeness as you would hope for, but this remake is destined to fall short of the original.

Tuesday 14 August 2007


I got a good kick out of this advert which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph - and I must admit to stealing it from the boys at 'Dossing Times' .
However Michael Copeland, an Ulster Unionist Party MLA, didn't share my mirth. Oops!

From bad to worse in Zimbabwe

A friend of mine from Botswana recently sent me this article 'Mugabe the author of smart genocide' By Sihlangu Tshuma. I must admit that while being vaguely aware of the issues under the Mugabe regime, I had completely lost touch with the severity of the conditions the people of Zimbabwe are suffering.
If like me you have lost touch it's worth reading the following article, click here. Journalists like Tshuma are taking huge risks bringing us this picture of an emaciated nation, so it's at the very least worth reading about it.

Monday 13 August 2007

Treaty roll on!

Yesterday's hurling semi final at Croke Park was certainly the shock of the Championship (in either code) so far this year. Having deservedly dispatched Cork in last weekends replay, the Deise succumbed to their old demons at the semi-final level.

The men in green have been a revelation this year and having beaten Tipperary at the third attempt, pushed Waterford all the way in the Munster final. In fact it was goals for the Deise on that day which unfairly skewed the score late on.

As a Cork fan I was disappointed to lose to Waterford last week but I feel vindicated with regards to comments I made in earlier posts that Cork were the only team who could beat Kilkenny in an All-Ireland final. I stick by this and fear for Limerick. Yesterday was a fantastic win but 11 points is a pitiful return and one they will need to double to have any hope of taming the Cats. I don't think they can.

In truth, Waterford should have been far too strong for Limerick, but it looks like the end of the road for some of the current team. Flynn and Browne are both in their mid-30s and I suspect they will call time on their excellent careers. Maybe losing at this stage will make them give it one more year but I suspect it would be a bridge too far. Justin Mac will likely pack in too.

I will say a big thank you to Waterford for their entertainment this year. I think they have been the 2nd best team in the country and it's a shame they couldn't overcome their bogey round and face the best team on the first Sunday of September.
I'll sign them off with the best catch of the year (below) from Brick Walsh in the replay versus Cork.

Bush's 2nd term facing a long goodbye.

The resignation of Karl Rove has left George Bush facing an agonisingly slow conclusion to a disastrous second term. While his first four years were graced with high favourability ratings in the wake of 9/11 and the 'successful' War on Iraq, His administration has been faltering since re-election.

The repeated departures of high level advisers and the resurgence in the democratic party during last years mid-term elections has been topped off by the resignation of Rove - the brains of the operation.
With regard to Rove himself, the question I have is how he is able to resign in his own time, when he could (should) arguably be in prison, having admitted telling journalists about the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Five appearances before a grand jury followed, however he avoided charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

A democrat guilty of same would no doubt be branded unpatriotic and left to rot in a prison cell for the same crime. But let's look on the bright side. Whatever happens in next year's election, Bush will be out and the whole world can heave a collective sigh of relief.

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Six degrees of separation #4

The last two actors I chose were lesser known to many I think. Here is a five move answer but I'm sure it can be done in fewer: 1. Lithgow to Eddie Murphy in Shrek; 2. Murphy to Robert de Niro in Showtime; 3. de Niro to Cuba Gooding Jr. in Men of honour; 4. Gooding Jr. to Lawrence Fishburne in Boyz in the Hood; and 5. Fishburne to Maria Bello in Assault on Precinct 13 (speaking of bad remakes!).
Next up, a couple of actresses:
#4 Lucy Liu to Bridget Moynahan

Monday 6 August 2007


I had my first visit to Wembley Stadium yesterday for the Community Shield and despite being a neutral to the teams on the pitch I was totally blown away by it. The stadium is immense and immaculate. The view of the pitch superb and the atmosphere excellent. I'd recommend a visit for anyone.

I'd like my next visit to be watching Liverpool in the 2008 FA Cup final!!

Disappointing finish for the Rebels

Cork bowed out of the senior hurling championship n Croke Park yesterday, to a Waterford side who were well worth their win. Despite the fact that Cork had more scores in two of the three encounters, it was the ability of Waterford to hit the net that earned them their two victories over the men in red this year. In particular Dan Shanahan has been lethal in front of goal.
The big test for the Deise now is to step up and win the competition out. Limerick should be no match for them but it could be difficult to replicate the intensity of the Cork games.
Then Kilkenny in the final. The cats are undoubtedly the best team in the country and I have some doubts as to whether Waterford will d it n the day. They have the hunger, lets see if they can control it and really push the Cats all the way.
The Cork footballers have hung in for another semi-final appearance by scraping past Sligo in an unconvincng fashion. If a rampant Meath weren't difficult enough to face Cork will need to do so without inspirational forward James Masters, who suffered a broken jaw in a second half challenge.

Friday 3 August 2007

League debates Leeds future

The Ken Bates/ Leeds debate is still going on it seems. It's heartening to see both the football league and HM Revenue and Customs weighing in. If he does retain control it is vital that it is in the best interests of the club and its creditors. Bates' cannot be allowed to profit at their expense.

Movie remakes

I think we all feel some frustration at movie remakes. Very few come anywhere near the heights reached by the original and some are downright awful.
Click on this link for an excellent anti-remake rant from CK at Dossing Times:

Thursday 2 August 2007

Cork U-21s show seniors how it's done.

Cork's U-21 hurlers gave an outstanding display of hurling at Walsh Park last night, demolishing their Waterford counterparts on a scoreline of 1-20 to 0-10.
Shane O'Neill and Pa Cronin came through unscathed, which will be a relief to Gerald McCarthy, while Cathal Naughton scored 1-4 to try and give the senior coach a selection headache for Sunday's replay.
Centre-back Eoin Cadogan stole the show however with an assured display and two fine points (one a free from his own 65). Cadogan has been in the senior football squad all season but has not broken through to the first team under Billy Morgan.
Displays like this with the small ball suggest it is only a matter of time before he is knocking on the door as a dual star, although he has a tough battle on his hands to break into the best half back line in hurling.
This victory is a good sign for Cork hurling and will hopefully give some inspiration to the Seniors when they return to Croke Park on Sunday.

Simpsons movie

Fantastic! I want to see the Simpsons movie in the iMax last night and it was top class entertainment.

It's amazing that after so many years that the writers can still get it right. If you are in London I recommend the iMax as the venue of choice. Perfect. If you have been even a passing fan of the show then go, as I think the end may be nigh.

Wednesday 1 August 2007

Six degrees of separation #3

The last one was tough. Nearly killed me! But here it 4 moves. Will, you gotta start solving these!
1. David Duchovny to Brad Pitt in Kalifornia; 2. Pitt to Claire Forlani in Meet Joe Black; 3. Forlani to Jason Lee in Mallrats; 4. Lee to Selma Blair in A guy thing (a truly awful movie which I only watched cos it was on a plane. I swear).

Ok, #3:
Maria Bello to John Lithgow.