Monday, June 19, 2006

Reasons to vote Conservative (snigger)


Just dropped in to direct you to's challenge to invent Tory campaign material for the next election. Much joy, and a strong reminder of how much sensible people (yes, all three of us) hate both the Tories and their new incarnations, New Labour. (Not that we have much time for the LibDems, either...)

Sorry, won't be able to blog tomorrow, will be at the cricket. Actually, why am I apologising? It's not like you're paying to read this.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apologies for lack of service

Not dead, just too busy to blog. Feel guilty about this, even though there is no rational basis for my feeling (can feelings have a rational basis? Never mind). Trouble is, writing a decent blog entry commenting on the news of the day demands a minimum of half an hour - and writing an exceptional one takes all morning. How the rest of you manage, I don't know. Either you're all unemployed or you have imaginations like quicksilver. Will be back soon, I do hope.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Third Test: Sri Lanka win by 134 runs



Although it feels almost too depressing to write about, several things have to be acknowledged about this match, only Sri Lanka's second ever Test match victory over England in this country. First, England did not lose the series - so they remain unbeaten at home (in terms of series) since 2001; second, Muralitharan is one of the greatest bowlers of all time; third, England have a half-baked team - even though seven of the Ashes-winning squad played in this match, the absence of key performers like Vaughan, Harmison and Simon Jones has made all the difference; fourth, English cricket is going through a psychological handicap that seems to affect all English sport: complacency.

No one expected Sri Lanka to perform well in this series. Unfortunately, that included the England team who seriously underestimated their opponents. Jayawardene out-thought Flintoff throughout this match - where Fred stuck to unimaginative, over-defensive field placings and bowling changes, Jayawardene mixed things up, experimented and learned the lessons of the two previous matches. As so often, England suffered from the belief that the Sri Lankan tail would just roll over and die once seven wickets were down, a belief which has cost them dear in matches for several years now. Knowing they were up against a theoretically weaker side, England simply didn't try hard enough (nine dropped catches at Lord's tell their own story). And, when things suddenly started to look difficult, they tried too hard.

The problem in this match was largely with the batting, however. It seems that England know only one game - get out there and blast the bowling. That sort of cricket doesn't work against a side more intent on attritional cricket, ekeing out runs in singles and aiming to occupy the crease. Against a spinner who's almost unreadable, attempting anything cavalier is likely to end in disaster. And so it proved.

Presumably English attention has been focused more on the series against Pakistan, coming up in the summer. Let's hope the homework will not have been wasted, and let's hope this series will have served as a warning. England are not the best team in the world, nor even the second best. They have to fight to regain the psychological top spot. The Ashes are coming (which I predict we will lose, especially if the side is still weakened) and the Australians forgive no weakness, especially on their home soil.

Let's not let the football wrench attention away from English cricket. Let's give the fans something to cheer.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Link nonsense


I can scarcely believe that a week has passed since my last post, but I guess real life has an unfortunate tendency to intrude into one's virtual, online life. I wonder if I will ever be anything more than an occasional blogger.

Anyway, time is still limited, so you'll have to be content with a list of Things I Have Enjoyed Reading on the Internet. (This really is bog-standard lazy blogging, almost pointless.)

First up (I do hate that expression, why do I use it?) is this at the Onion (via Jim), satirising the thin undercurrent of xenophobia running through this once most open of societies.

An impressively written account of last year's bombs by survivor John Tulloch. In future, I won't be so quick to curse the many people who get onto the Tube at rush hour with loads of suitcases.

A wonderful piece from Justin about the blurred line between truth and fiction. Isn't there some kind of sporting competition taking place in Germany this month to distract the masses?

Why Germans are funny from Jamie (via Worstall's BBRU). No. not because of the war.

Also via the BBRU, The Gorse Fox discovers an unpleasant fact about the Criminal Records Bureau. I alluded to this fiasco in an earlier post but it's worse than I thought. Incidentally, the Gorse Fox is the first blogger I've come across who uses the same Blogger template as me. Maybe I should think about changing it - one does want to keep one's individuality, especially at a time when one's identity is under threat from one's own government.

Rather late in the day, Madeleine Bunting gets the message. Nice work, Madeleine, but you could have written almost exactly the same thing three years ago and still have been right.

And finally, Dilbert Blog on why stupid people shouldn't vote.

I'll be back when we've lost the Test match.