Tuesday 27 November 2007

Six degrees of separation #18

Another fairly tough one this week. Had it in five at one point before cutting it to just three. Here goes: 1. Greg Kinnear to Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets; 2. Nicholson to Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men; 3. Cruise to Randy Quaid in Days of Thunder.
#18: Mel Gibson to Jack Palance

Saturday 24 November 2007

Perfect end to a tough week for Rafa

Rafa Benitez and his team came through a turbulent week with a three goal demolition of a sorry Newcastle United today. Gerrard opened the scoring with a scorching free kick, to quiet the boos of the home fans following England's midweek failure.
In the post match interview the inevitable question was asked and Rafa wasn't shying away from it, saying that the owners didn't understand the nature of football transfers and the urgency which is needed to secure the players you want in the short transfer window. There is a bit of a worry that Rafa will play this card once too often.
The owners are right in saying they backed Rafa this summer with funds, but the reality is that Liverpool are still short one or two players to be a championship winning side, in particular another centre back. If Rafa gets a centre back, secures the long-term future of Mascherano and keeps Torres fit, then Liverpool will be there right to the end.
But back to tonight's interview. While Rafa seemed magnanimous explaining a cultural misunderstanding for the weeks drama, he still got a dig in at the Americans saying he was going to concentrate on his team winning more games "for his fans".
Truth is, I think he's right - Liverpool fans want Rafa to stay and there are still some doubts over the way Hicks and Gillett are running the club. As a fan myself I worry about them spending so little time in the UK and the fact that nothing seems to be able to progress without them.
Another couple of wins before the two owners return will put Rafa in a strong negotiating position as well as putting the team in a strong position in the league. So heads down from coach and players, get the points on the board and worry about the transfer funds when something can be done about it.

Wednesday 21 November 2007

Match Point

Match Point is a movie I was not especially interested in when I first read about it a couple of years ago. There are a few reasons for this.
First is Woody Allen, who I respect as a writer/ director, but find his movies to be a little over-dialogued and drawn out. Then there is Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who - talent as an actor aside - I find generally unlikeable. His off screen antics are the main reason for this.
Notice my surprise to find then, that Match Point was a good show and well worth the watch!
Myers plays a former tennis tour pro (Chris Wilton) who befriends an upper-middle class member while coaching. He is quickly drawn into this rich, successful world of country houses and opera. Despite his immediate spark with Tom Hewitt's fiance Nola (Scarlett Johansson), Chris begins to date Tom's sister Chloe.
This leads him further into their world and the good graces of Hewitt's father, played by Brian Cox.
From here the plot is as you would expect on some points, but in others it twists and turns unexpectedly. Overall Allen maintains the flow of the movie and only digresses once or twice. Here is a clip from early in the movie, the rest I'll let you judge for yourself.

Monday 19 November 2007

Six degrees of separation #17

As I predicted (to myself mostly) last weeks one was tough. I got it in three moves in the end and when, feeling all happy with myself, I logged on to update it, CK from Dossing Times got there first - the b*stard!!! So well done CK and here is the answer for everyone else.
1. Lauren Bacall to Nicole Kidman in Birth; 2. Kidman to Jim Carrey in Batman Forever; and 3. Carrey to one-time wife Lauren Holly in Dumb and Dumber.
#17: Greg Kinnear to Randy Quaid

Arcade Fire

I got Funeral form a guy I worked with almost three years age and loved it instantly. I'm surprised myself that it then took me until this weekend gone, to get to see the band live. But it was definitely worth the wait.
The Alexandra Palace in North London is a bit of a trek but the band acknowledged the efforts of the 6,000 strong crowd and the farcical beer token system was about the only black mark on the night.
When the band hit the stage all thoughts of beer tokens were quickly forgotten as they dived straight in with the opening two tracks off Neon Bible, Black Mirror and Keep the car running, before cooling off with a couple of slower tracks, including The Smiths' Still Ill.
Playing their way through the hits of Funeral and Neon Bible the band played with incredible energy and their own unique, orchestral sound. I'm always impressed by bands who play a wide array of instruments and loved the way the band members interchanged positions and instruments throughout the gig.
The encore was a perfect close, comprised of Intervention and Wake Up. And the crowd, which had been a it quiet earlier, were left begging for more.
I'm not one of those people who holds up a mobile to film half the gig I'm at but someone else did it for me and I pinched it off youtube! So here is No Cars Go and a slightly fuzzy Wake Up from Saturday night.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Paco for the Hammers???

Paco Ayesteran hasn't been out of the news long. The dust has barely settled on his acrimonious departure from Anfield and he is now being linked to the soon to be created Technical Director of Football role at Upton Park.
Unsurprisingly, Alan Curbishley has thrown water on the rumours. Why wouldn't he, having seen the result of the power struggle across the way at White Hart Lane. These middle roles don't seem to suit the traditional role of the manager in English clubs.
Also, I wonder how Rafa would feel, pitting his wits against his former consiglieri.

Friday 9 November 2007

Six degrees of separation #16

Well I'm not even going to attempt this one. Instead props to Paula with a two move masterpiece: 1. Salma Hayek to Breckin Meyer in "54"; 2. Breckin Meyer to Katie in "Go". Even bad movies count in this game!!!

Previously I have mentioned how female to female tends to be the more difficult. The other thing that increases the degree of difficulty is crossing the generation gaps. This week we are doing both!
#16: Lauren Bacall to Lauren Holly. Enjoy!

Friday 2 November 2007

Fantasy Rafa

I have been a regular participant in fantasy football over the past couple of years, but this week I was sent a great link which takes it to a whole new level - Fantasy Rafa. The premise is simple, the game itself less so - guess the Liverpool starting eleven that Rafa Benitez will choose for the next game.
Just to put into context how difficult this is, of over 34,000 guesses, only 443 have matched Rafa's final selection. So all you Liverpool and football fans get signed up and get guessing here.