keresaspa: (Ben Turpin)
Given that there was a big scare back in 2011, resulting in my backing everything up on Dreamwidth the recent export has resulted in two copies of each entry from 2003 up to the date when I made the first copies. When it comes to things like this I'm rather anal, even OCD, in my approach and as such I've been going back through all my old entries on Dreamwidth and deleting one of the copies for each, as well as smoothing out the tags so as both versions of this blog are in sync. Quite the experience it has been too, and at times an unsettling one come to think of it.

For one thing in the early days I was ludicrously prolific, knocking out up to three entries a day, most of which had little or no purpose. Bear in mind too that those were the days when I didn't have a home internet connection so you couldn't fault my commitment. That dogmatism of youth was present in those early entries, although paradoxically my intractable approach to Sinn Fein had yet to crystallize as I was more a minor critic in the early years and even spoke out loud about possibly voting for them.

I also seemed to have a deep knowledge of the contemporary ins-and-outs of Italian politics and took it very seriously, for some reason considering that developments there were vital to me personally. The number of times I was practically frothing at the mouth with anger about Berlusconi's latest japes or the political career of doe-eyed hate merchant Alessandra Mussolini rather surprised me at this far-removed distance. Mind you, a lot more things seemed to matter to me back then although I suspect, like manys a young person, I felt that I personally could have an impact on politics, something that I have long since given up on.

On the humorous side, I seemed to be under the impression that the word "meme" was pronounced "me-me", leading a lot of attempted puns that now make no sense. On the bleak side, a trigger warning might have been required for some sections. Let's draw a veil over that.

2006 appears to have been the point where Livejournal (or at least my bit of it) went into decline as, having previously had double figure comments as the norm, entries from that period started to show the "no comments" mark that has been standard for me ever since. And yet, reviewing my own writing I was probably at the height of my powers in 2011, having grown from the at-times barely literate boy of 2003 and being some way above the ideas-bereft waffler of now.

The renaissance that has been hinted at as a result of the recent Russian debacle would be a fine thing and I do rather feel the need to try to help revive things (and I've been more prolific this last week than I have in years). Whether it happens or not who knows, but the fact will remain that going back through very old posts is an at-times uncomfortable experience to say the least.

EDIT: And apparently you can't queue posts on here. Bummer.

The end...?

Apr. 8th, 2017 09:10 pm
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Not for the first time in memory it seems that a mass exodus from Livejournal is afoot, with several announcing their departures and promising deletions in the next few days. Armageddon it seems is here after some virtually unreadable bit of non-binding legalese that seems to suggest we will all be subjected to Russian laws on here (an extra layer of oppression to go along with the Investigatory Powers Act, if you will). I'm still trying to work out whether or not I care enough and as such am not necessarily adding my name to the exodus. I'm in the process of exporting to Dreamwidth in case they decide to throw me out for saying the Vladimir Putin loves sleeping with men but, having looked at it, it still looks as much like a tinpot knock-off of this place as it ever did. This journal has been on life support for years anyway and I seriously doubt it would survive a move to an even more sparsely populated version and, try as I might, their whole granting access model makes no sense to a 20th Century boy like me. That and a previous import six years ago appears to have led to a lot of formatting foul-ups and I'm far too old and tired to start learning a whole new set of rules on that score.

Who knows? We'll see what happens although I suspect there are a few of you whose paths I won't cross again. A shame really but if our encounters are over farewell to you and it's been really rather lovely while it lasted. For me I may soldier on here, I may give Dreamwdith a go or I might just finally grow out of this silly habit and leave it to rot as a monument the follies of my youth and middle age. As the man said, still to decide.
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
Normally by now tournament fever would have me in a grip stronger than the thighs of Elizabeth Seitz but so far I've struggled to really immerse myself in Euro 2016. Perhaps it's the relative lack of excitement in many of the matches, a general ennui with the whole build-up, the nagging fears of the fascist nightmare that will be visited upon us when the turkeys of England vote for Christmas for all of us on the 23rd, the undeniable fact that a 24 team tournament is far too big and at least a third of the qualifiers just scream "making up the numbers", who knows? Still, Euro 2016 is here with its high-kicking and low-scoring on the pitch and its war by proxy being waged by boneheads off it.

Being a man who long since disavowed patriotism I have no particular team to root for and that hasn't helped. Before the whole thing started I declared, in a fit of contrariness so typical of me, for Iceland but my heart was never in it and, whilst it would be a delight to see the smallest country ruffle a few feathers, life will go on if they lose all three matches. I did derive a surprising amount of pleasure from Italy's victory over Belgium last night but I suspect it was an isolated incident rather than my rebirth as a great Italian.

As to what we've seen so far, little has really grabbed my interest. I even turned over halfway through the England-Russia match the other night and buggered off shopping rather than stick with the Republic of Ireland's dreary outing against Sweden. Still, I've never been an Ireland fan and the fact that they're now led by an axis of evil every bit as contemptible as Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane seals the deal. Meanwhile the occupied territory represented the real recrement of the tournament, serving up some of the dullest, stalest, olid Pulisball since that awful Romanian team that annoyed me so much that time. Boy was I glad to see them lose and I will be even more glad when they exit the tournament. And yet this happened. Well, it would have been rude to say "no".

I remain hopeful that the malaise will lift. Maybe my eye will be caught by some heavenly Hungarians, maybe the goals will flow as a rampant France put a dowdy Albania to the sword, maybe when the wheat is finally separated from the chaff in the second round things will hit top gear, maybe Michael Gove and Boris Johnson will spontaneously combust as Asmodeus rises from Gehenna to reclaim the debased souls long since promised to him. Either way - must do better, Euro 2016.
keresaspa: (Heckle and Jeckle)
Before I start I should go on record as saying I'm no fan of Vladimir Putin. A little nationalistic megalomaniac, he is to me about as welcome as Spy Wednesday's leftover haslet on Good Friday. But really the coverage being given to the whole Russia-Ukraine business by the BBC is getting a bit much to take.

Whilst waiting on Match of the Day last night I happened to catch a bit of their news report and was gobsmacked by what I witnessed. The policy of "embedding" reporters has always been a controversial one as impartiality is bound to go out the window. After all, who would see both sides when all they see is one group coming under attack from another, rather than the effects of the actions of the group you are with? But with whom was a BBC reporter embedded? Only the bloody Azov Battalion! They mentioned at the very start of the report that this was a far-right group but from then on it was more or less "look at these bunch of great lads fighting for freedom, aren't they wonderful?". Well, no, they aren't wonderful at all and, whilst I've long since given up expecting impartiality from the BBC, has it really sunk so low that it is now endorsing neo-Nazi groups? Fox News was rightly taken to task for calling the National Socialist Movement a civil rights organisation in the aftermath of the murder of Trayvon Martin and yet I've heard nary a whimper about the publicly funded state broadcaster of a supposed liberal democracy glorifying the actions of a bunch of Holocaust-denying fanatics.

A report in their most recent bulletin about the killing of Boris Nemtsov stated that he had been silenced by the Kremlin. Quite probably but as yet completely unproven although, as I said, the sort of extreme editorialising we have long since come to expect from BBC News, which these days is little more than the Daily telegraph in televisual form. But the Azov Battalion? Good God. I've defended the Beeb for years but increasingly it's starting to look like this organ of state propaganda should be done away with. If it's only purpose is to reflect the opinions of the government (and post-Hutton, that's all it is) then I for one have no desire to pay to keep it in existence.
keresaspa: (Evil Timbo)
And thus ends another World Cup group stage for another four years. And it is no word of a lie to say that spills and thrills were provided throughout, with fun for the whole family (the WHOLE family, mind) freely and readily available.

In Group A Brazil spluttered along for much of the time, showing mere flashes of their much-promised brilliance. In Neymar they have the top scorer so far but the Croats proved stout opposition before being downed and Mexico were their match. Indeed the Mexicans might well have been worthy group winners had their lack of attacking vigour against a woeful Cameroon side not proved their undoing. Despite all that I still reckon it's Brazil's to lose.

I had half expected Spain to recover from their awful start in Group B but in the end, of course, they didn't and the illustrious era ended in ignominy and the gall of bitterness will run for some time there. The Dutch are bound to go far unfortunately and Chile will be no pushovers for Brazil. Australia were a gritty bunch of battlers but, Tim Cahill apart, were outmatched throughout. Still, they gave a decent account of themselves in two matches and can go home feeling smart enough.

Colombia owned Group C from start to finish and Japan weren't at the races in what proved a disastrous World Cup for the Asian contingent. The main battle was between the Greeks and the Ivorians for second place and I got right behind the African side in the deciding clash. As such they inevitably lost. A shame really but Yaya Toure had a poor tournament by his standards and Drogba, despite his might, just can't do it for a whole match any more. Greece are something of a grim watch at times but the never say die spirit runs through them like the word "Morecambe" throughout a piece of hard, sugar-filled confectionery sold on the Lancashire coast and they could yet pull off one or two more shocks before konx ompax.

The story of Group D was the brilliant performances by England, whose fans rightly cheered their gallant efforts in finishing bottom of the group. Imagine if Svennis or Capello had done that - they would've been hanged from the yardarm but Woy's status as bona fide English means he is forgiven. I suppose they didn't play that terribly but they just weren't at the races, a niddering lot afraid to go near the ball, and Hodgson's obsession with the future has worn a bit thin. Tomorrow never comes and if you ignore the present then what price the future? That and basing your hopes on Phil Jones and Chris Smalling is sure to end in tears, whilst the celebrated Adam Lallana, who single-handedly (with several others) brought Southampton to the giddy heights of upper mid-table, looked very ordinary during his appearances. Pretty much the standard of Graham Taylor's 1994 side really (who would also have qualified if the World Cup was 32 teams in those days) and to an outside observer the obsession with Steven Gerrard, who has accomplished pretty much nothing in his 114 appearances, is mystifying. At least his Italian equivalent, Andrea Pirlo, is a skilled god of football who won the World Cup, although he was marked out of this series and Balotelli was in "can't be arsed" mode so their elimination was inevitable. The less said about Suarez the better - he is a vile pig who doesn't belong in the game and should be facing a year's ban for his latest outrage. I wouldn't be surprised if Uruguay made the semi finals again to be honest, even without him as the Devil looks after his own. Oh and Costa Rica, good on them, well done, pat on the head, patronise etc.

France took Group E by storm, showing an attacking prowess that few felt them capable of showing. The odd defensive lapse and a weak squad may well catch up with them but it will be fun while it lasts nonetheless. Fair play to Switzerland too, who finally look like they can attack a bit too rather than their old trick of having ten in defence. About time M. Colin-Tampon did something half decent at the World Cup. Despite my earlier claims Ecuador weren't too bad in the end. There was a lack of skill but they played their socks off and were rather unfortunate to go out. Honduras had the odd moment here and there but were making up the numbers really.

You can't really fault Argentina in Group F. Bosnia had a right good go at them and Iran ran themselves ragged but in the end Messi finally started to show what he is capable of in a World Cup. Bully for him. Despite the presence of the odious Odemwingie I got behind Nigeria in this group and was glad to see them qualify. In Victor Enyeama they have a fine keeper who has enjoyed his second consecutive solid World Cup whilst Ahmed Musa is surely set for a glittering future after his harassment of Argentina.

Portugal's bundling out of Group G was hardly a shock given their opening drubbing by Germany and their failure to get the better of Germany Junior. Despite the blip against Ghana the Germans looked comfortable enough although their defence is decidedly un-Teutonic and will prevent them from going all the way. GerJu are lacking in any real skill but for commitment and gritty determination there are few who come close and if they grind their way into the quarter finals I won't be astounded. Seeing the poseur Portuguese go after the first round is always good but I was disappointed at how far Ghana had slid since four years ago and as usual Muntari had to make it all about him. Oh, and whatever became of Freddy Adu?

As we've established, Group H was the poorest crop of all. Belgium were effective and got the job done although the notion of them being outsiders for the title seems fanciful after they made fairly heavy weather of a very weak group. I found myself rooting for Algeria in this one on the strength of their crazy performance against South Korea, a team who haven't looked so poor since the early '90s. Next time the AFC try to agitate for extra places in the World Cup then they should be reminded of this World Cup. It's been abject for the continent from start to finish. But anyway, glad Algeria made it ahead of a shockingly dull Russia side.

Looking ahead to the second round I'll don my fatidical hat and predict wins for Brazil, Uruguay, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Argentina and USA. When I did this four years ago I got all eight correct so if you want to put your house on it do so. You might well lose the house, of course, but if you want to then go right ahead.
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
And so it came to pass that the World Cup has reached that most auspicious of stages, where every team has been played and we can now gave a half-arsed opinion of all of them. So permit me to do just that:

Cut for you football-hating numpties out there )

Clouds

Mar. 18th, 2014 08:24 pm
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
If any American ever gets annoyed at the stereotype about their not understanding irony, just remember the reaction of your leaders to the recent Ukraine/Crimea debacle. We get Barry O standing up and saying that "there is a strong belief that Russia's action is violating international law" whilst his forces continue to illegally occupy Iraq and Afghanistan (to say nothing of the sovereign Cuban territory on which their concentration camp is housed). Then his stooge John Kerry informs us "I think that it is clear that Russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further" when they invaded Iraq based on made-up stories about WMDs (not his administration admittedly, but they had several years to get out and they haven't bothered) before informing us that "brave Ukrainians took to the streets in order to stand peacefully against tyranny and demand democracy". Would that be demanding democracy through anti-Semitic pogroms or perhaps these brave heroes:



Everybody knows I'm no fan of Putin and his ways but this continuing nonsense that Ukraine is all about goodies vs baddies is really making my teeth itch. Invasions to protect the self-appointed interests of one country are wrong but when you are guilty of them time and time again you can't really start shouting the odds at somebody else for doing the same thing. And there are plenty of vermin on both sides in Ukraine but, just like they did in Syria, the western powers seem happy to turn a blind eye to that fact.

Mind you the British can hardly sneer at the Americans given William Hague's decision to stick his tuppence in. Land grab? Get the hell out of Ireland (and the Malvinas, the Chagos Islands and all the other parts of the world where you continue to force your imperialism on people) and maybe you can talk. Until then, shut up and get a bit of self-awareness.
keresaspa: (Cow)
There's one thing we can probably say without fear of contradiction - Yulia Tymoshenko has quite nice hair. Generally the notion that conventionally pretty women don't belong in prison (venomous harridans are fine, but not babes) and as such the outpouring of bollocks about the woman is perhaps understandable. Let's call it Eva Peron syndrome, as I'm at a loss to explain why otherwise sensible people are reacting with orgasmic fervour to the news that an admittedly corrupt President is about to be replaced by a billionaire oligarch whose political stock in trade has always been populist conservatism. That this woman, who made billions by buying up precious natural gas reserves that could have served the people rather than the individual, worked closely with Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko to increase her fortune, a man subsequently convicted in the United States for his corruption and who happily collaborated with Viktor Yushchenko in the Orange Revolution despite the leading role played by the anti-Semitic extreme right and who in 2009 signed a gas deal with Russia without consulting the elected government, is now being hailed as a wonderful heroine, a shining angel in the holy war against Russia, is laughable. I expect the inevitable fawning tone from the BBC, who have been the organ of state since Hutton and who now trumpet the NATO apologist line of William Hague as if it were gospel but seeing more considered people anointing this witch as some latter day Joan of Arc is a real disappointment. She's a right-wing populist and will no more benefit the Ukrainian workers than Russophile predecessor. And clearly she's happy to jump into bed with the extremists too:



So that's what the new Ukraine will be like is it? A historic statue of Lenin tore down and replaced by the symbols and slogans of the SS. Nearly 4 million Ukrainians, Jewish and otherwise, killed by the SS and their Einsatzgruppen during the Second World War and the return of their symbolism is hailed by the West as a great dawn for democracy. Despicable.

I'm certainly no fan of Viktor Yanukovych but he and Tymoshenko are two sides of the one coin; the bureaucrat being ousted and replaced by the monopoly capitalist. That people are giving their lives to replace dominance by one crook with dominance by another is the real tragedy here, not that some blonde-headed bint had to do a bit of stir. Being dictated to by Yanukovych and cosying up to Russia or being dictated to by Tymoshenko and cosying up to NATO - what's the sodding difference? As usual it will be the people who suffer whatever happens whilst those in charge fill their boots. Really not worth dying over, no matter how long somebody's plaits are.

Snow - no!

Mar. 23rd, 2013 09:01 pm
keresaspa: (Snowman)
Bloody snow! If in the past I expressed any affection for it (unlikely, but you never know) I take it all back as I hate the bloody stuff with a passion. I was caught smack bang in the middle of it yesterday as it rained down for about seven hours solid, with little nail-like crystals whipped on by the wind cutting the face of me. I can just about tolerate the soft stuff but this was that hard nutty shite, not a million miles away from being hail but still snow. And I tell you what, it hurts a hell of a lot more than it used to now that I'm bald.

Inevitably a dirty hole like Windsor Park couldn't take that so Friday's proposed match between Northern Ireland and Russia was postponed until today, as a result of which the Irish League programme as a whole was postponed. Cliftonville's plastic pitch would have inevitably been playable and something could have been arranged for Crusaders, but no Craig Cathcart and Daniel Lafferty being destroyed by Roman Shirokov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov had to be the only game in town. I checked the Northern Amateur League site, reasoning that some of the clubs there have plastic pitches too (not least Immaculata, whom I visited earlier this year) but even they had cancelled everything because of Michael O'Neill's green and blue sack of cack. DC reserves offered possible solace but as reserve fixtures are always the reverse of first team games those too were postponed. I was unable to fully determine whether or not the Ballymena and Provincial League (yes, I was that desperate) was on or off and so the prospect of Brantwood against Magherafelt Sky Blues tantalised me but in the end I decided not to bother, reasoning that Skeggy would either be under a foot of snow or a sodden mess and I would have endured a run out to the Shore Road in the snow for nothing. Still not sure if it went ahead or not to be honest - why is the internet so crap in Northern Ireland.

So instead I was forced to endure a Saturday's shopping in the freezing cold, surrounding by the sort of brain-dead morons you only get on a Saturday, all the while fighting the almost irresistible urge to fall thanks to the mess the snow has made of the pavements. And as if that wasn't enough the electricity went off last night and I am fully expecting it to go the same way tonight. What is it about snow that makes the generation of electrical energy so difficult? Who would have though those two things were natural enemies.

So yeah, snow and that. As far as I'm concerned you can keep it. It's nearly April for God's sake!
keresaspa: (Maurice Bishop)
I suppose it would be opportune to give my thoughts on Euro 2012, even though I'm not sure what precisely they are. As winners Spain were fitful and at times not as pleasing on the eye as they should have been but when it mattered they suddenly became rampant and as such you can't really begrudge them yet another triumph. I did eventually get into Italy but unfortunately the final proved a game too much for them as their semi-final demolition of a much fancied German side was very much their zenith, with the final an enormous drop off. A win would have been a fine sign-off for Andrea Pirlo (assuming he doesn't appear again in two years time in another of those veteran-heavy first round casualty Italy sides) but, whilst it wasn't to be, his performances will live long in the memory.

Overall it was an OK tournament, but not as good as it should have been. There was some excellent stuff on the pitch (alongside a lot of rubbish) but for whatever reason I didn't really get into like I should have. I got into Italy near the end but for the majority of the tournament I had no team, which didn't help, whilst the racism that kept rearing its head cast a long shadow over proceedings and the reactions of UEFA in general and Michel Platini in particular really didn't help either (racist chanting less of an offence than having Paddy Power on your knickers?!). There was a time I hoped Platini might be a new broom at UEFA who could finally challenge the dominance of the old boys at FIFA but he has proven a massive disappointment and his non-reaction to vile racist abuse means he is now tainted with the same stench as Sepp Blatter, Lennart Johansson and the rest of the old colonials that have always dominated football administration. Meanwhile looking at the performances of the likes of Poland and the Republic of Ireland it wasn't hard to get the impression that, like the last World Cup, the whole thing is a little too big for its own good. I dread to think what the 2016 version, which is to be expanded to 24 teams, will be like when real rubbish start to qualify, as who outside of Portugal will actually get any enjoyment out of watching the Portuguese trounce Finland 7-0?

As to the actual participants, for once the best two teams made the final. Germany looked an excellent attacking unit at times but, as they always do now, choked on the big stage. Amazing to think that a team once known for winning with dully efficient football is fast garnering a reputation for playing great football but blowing it, but that looks to be the pattern and as long as they continue with Joachim Löw it probably will be for some time. Portugal had their moments but Cristiano Ronaldo is no Diego Maradona and there was no way he could carry a whole team to victory like the Cosmic Kite did in '86. Other than that it just seemed to be bunch of let downs as, to varying degrees, England, France, Russia, Croatia and above all the Netherlands, let themselves down with ropey performances and shoddy play.

Other than that, it was just another tournament really, and as such was preferable to the black-outs of odd-numbered summers. Still never fear as, after all, Linfield play some Faeroese outfit tomorrow night and that promises to be a barn-burner. Close season, what close season?
keresaspa: (Greavsie)
Well, it only took until day nine but finally I have managed to actually care about a game in these European Championships. The unlikely qualification of the Greeks for the quarter finals at the expense of Russia gripped me intensely and I was on my plates cheering when the bearded legends of Hellas went through. There was a distinct arrogance about this Russian team, a feeling that they only had to turn up to make the next round so I'm not sad to see them go and as Greece the country slides steadily into oblivion it is heartening to see their football team providing some light relief. Defeat in the next round for this highly limited side looks almost inevitable but I'll be cheering them nonetheless.
keresaspa: (Bungle)
Isobel Campbell, a lady so twee that she makes Acorn Green seem like Murder Casebook, once asked "is it wicked not to care?" and to an extent I've been reminded of her words these last few days. It's not so much that I don't care about Euro 2012 as I've missed very little of it (bar chunks of the England-France match as the biased ITV commentary got a bit too much to take after a while), but so far it hasn't really grabbed me. It doesn't help that I have warmed to none of the teams so far I suppose, but by now I would normally be in the grip of finals tournament fever regardless and I have yet to so much as run a mild temperature. Still we've seen all the teams now and, in theory at least, we should have an idea about who we can expect to do what. Let's look at the evidence.

GROUP A: It hardly requires a soothsayer to know that Russia will win that group handily. Their demolition of the Czech Republic and the festival of sloppiness served up by Poland and Greece and suggest that they will cruise through, quite possibly scoring into double figures as they go. As for the rest God only knows. It's hard to judge the Czechs fully as they were so badly outclassed and both Poland and Greece looked awful at times so any one of them could finish second. I have a slight hankering for Greece but whoever finishes second will definitely go no further as they're likely to face Germany in the second round.

GROUP B: I believe it has been established on here several times in the past that I have no love for the Dutch national team (despite my slight Dutch ancestry) and this tournament is no exception, so I enjoyed the Danes smash and grab win over them. To be honest this group contains four sides that I'm not fussed about so I have little interest in how it turns. Germany will probably win (even though they looked nothing like the team they were built up to be in their laboured win over the pampering prima donnas of Portugal) and given the fixtures I wouldn't be surprised to see Portugal going through. If only to wipe the smirk/sulk of Cristiano Ronaldo's face and to finally banish Mark van Bommel to east of Eden where he belongs I would rather see the Danes make it but I think they've already used up all their luck.

GROUP C: Forget Ireland, they're obviously out of it. That's what they get for being so bloody boring. Italy put on a good show against a pedestrian Spain whose decision to play no forwards was bizarre to say the least (when you have Messi you can get away with that, when you don't you can't). Still, Spain started the World Cup very slowly and they are bound to go through. Italy on the other hand I'm less sure about. I wouldn't be surprised to see them going out but equally I wouldn't be surprised to see them making the final. Anything else would surprise me though as it seems to be the Italian way now to either go out in the first round or go all the way. If Croatia's performance in their opening game is anything to go by they will give the Mediterranean duo a lot of headaches and could conceivably top the group but again it is hard to tell as Ireland were just woeful and the Croatians might crumble against proper teams.

GROUP D: Shrug. Seriously, no idea. Woy's England are an extremely defensive team with very few ideas going forward. As Greece proved eight years ago (seems like eight weeks, but never mind) such gruesome anti-football tactics could carry a team to victory but equally it looks the sort of team that could draw three times and go out in the first round. But let's be honest, this is England and a quarter final elimination is almost inevitable. France were clearly a better side but they are crying out for a penalty box goal poacher as they looked short on ideas when it came down to the bit. Ukraine seemed to get by on passion alone but who knows how far that could take them? I expect Sweden to go out but if they take a point or even two from England and France it won't be amazing, nor would it be that much of a shock for them to get a win. With four middling teams that do some things well but are clearly deficient in some areas this looks the most evenly matched group and nothing would surprise me about it.

So tomorrow it's back to Group A and I may have to force myself to pretend to care about Greece in order to finally get my interest in this event going properly. So come on the Galanolefki, by the dreadful sword you hold, tonight we dine in hell and all that. At least until I get bored of them and try to force an interest in Italy, France or Spain that is.
keresaspa: (Squidward losing it)
A quick word on the European Championships, even though I intend covering this tournament only sporadically due to a lack of interest round these parts. Reasonable start with Greece and Poland serving up a huff and puff fest which, whilst short on quality (we're talking near Irish League standard at points here) was nonetheless an enjoyable spectacle in which the Poles initially looked top quality before the Greeks suddenly made wee boys out of them. In contrast Russia destroyed a crap Czech side and will easily win a terrible group. They won't win the tournament you can bank on that, but they're by far the best in Group A.

Still European Championships are but one minor aspect of football as something much more momentous happened today - Albion appointed Steve Clarke as manager. Steve Clarke. Just take a moment to drink that in. Steve bloody Clarke. The only appointment that could have been more underwhelming would have been Terry Connor. Is there anybody in football who screams stooge quite as much as Steve Clarke? Far be it from me not to get excited over a 48 year old who is entering his first managerial position but I am getting awful visions of Brian Kidd's spell at Blackburn, Sammy Lee's time at Bolton and Les Reed's heroic stint at Charlton here. Steve Clarke's roles in football are threefold i.e. placing small traffic cones at regular intervals on the training pitch, sharing a laugh with the club captain whilst wearing a fluorescent bib and standing ashen-faced behind a puce manager whilst he gives the lads a right bollocking after a 5-0 shellacking. Other than those he has no part to play at any club and the announcement that he is to replace Roy Hodgson as Albion boss is tantamount to Motorhead announcing that Lemmy is to be replaced by Robbie Nevil. From the sublime to the ridiculous or bathos defined? I suppose I should enjoy these Euros really as come August it will be another season of relegation to look forward to. God, Steve Clarke almost makes me wish it was the dreaded Michael Appleton!
keresaspa: (Greavsie)
[livejournal.com profile] theresitayju - you're welcome.
[livejournal.com profile] cassandryb - I'll decide what themes to develop myself, thank you very much.
[livejournal.com profile] weidneripuxe - Babel Fish couldn't make head nor tail of what you said so no response.
[livejournal.com profile] bernwace - nobody's making you read it if it isn't entirely interesting so piss away off, you cheeky knobhead.

There, that's today's bunch of Russian spammers dealt with. The anonymous advertising bots I can cope with but single purpose Russian language accounts that exist only to place bland comments on random journals I can really do without. Assuming this is something do with the Russian elections I would just like to make it clear to both sides that I couldn't give a monkey's toss who wins as it is no skin of my nose who leads Russia so kindly nick off and do something constructive like clipping your nasal hair.

See, I'm still alive, just a bit strapped for things to write about.

EDIT: I've just noticed this post seems quite anti-Russian which was never my intention. Nothing here is aimed at Russians in general just the spammers that are currently on the march round these parts.
keresaspa: (Türkan Şoray)
Just a word of congratulation to England on their success in winning Euro 2012. Well that seemed to be the consensus reached by Gary Lineker and England's Mark Lawrenson after the draw for the group stages. Unquestionably it is an easy draw, so much more so than that of 2010 when powerhouses like Algeria and Slovenia blocked the triumphant march of the Three Lions. Ukraine rely on Shevchenko and he didn't succeed at the boys in blue from the King's Road so they will be pushovers. As for Sweden, well no less an expert than Jeff Powell has already showing that they don't know nuffink about football and the brave boys in white will lick them quicker than you can say smorgasbord. As for the cheese-eating surrender monkeys, what have they over won except a World Cup and two European Championship? Clearly no match for the heroes of 66 and the Rous Cup. Once those three have been with the spirit of Nelson obviously England will then march on to glory as there are no other teams on the continent even close to their level.

Or not as the case may be. On a sensible level England got a half decent draw from which they will have a good chance of qualifying but it is (perhaps inevitably given the smaller size of the European Championships and their comparative lack of make-weight teams) a stronger looking group than the one they faced last year and made such hard work of qualifying from. Sweden are probably the least likely to make it but France will fancy their chances and Ukraine have home advantage so it is not a given. Unlike the Republic of Ireland whose fate is already sealed after the group they got. I'll eat my hat if they don't go out in the first round. Group B will obviously be the one to watch and I for one hope that Portugal are one of those to be eliminated as their current crop of preening prima donnas are impossible to like. Mind you the Netherlands team were absolutely hateful too with that scumbag van Bommel wreaking havoc so come on Denmark and Germany. Group D meanwhile looks weak as water and as such I will state here and now that I expect Russia to go very far indeed after easing through that bunch of jabronis, possibly even winning the whole thing. The final issue will be who to support and as yet I have no idea. Normally in these circumstances I declare for somebody in advance but there is no country that is catching my eye, in part because no real underdogs made it and in part because my usual European side of choice hasn't qualified (that being Turkey, of course). Happen I'll just stay neutral for once.

There aren't you glad I was able to duck under the gunfire of this latest DDoS attack in order to get this posted. Well I know how much you all love it when I talk about football.
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
Does this bloody site ever work now? Being the technophobe that I am I have no idea what "Varnish Error 503" means but I am sick to the back teeth of looking at it. I don't know if it is yet another bloody Russian attack or if they are STILL updating their servers but it is ridiculously irritating. I'll waste no more of my words as I fuly suspect this post to disappear for the next few hours and I'll end with this.

One for RonnieB )
keresaspa: (Uncle Ho)
Anyone else greeted with Russian language as default on livejournal when attempting to log in today? I know they run things round here now but they used to recognise that I am in English language town rather than assuming everybody is Russian. I smell the hand of Putin in this.
keresaspa: (Bhishma (Mukesh Khanna))
The recent draw for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Europe threw up some interesting stuff, he said euphemistically. Interesting not least because once again it demonstrated what a farce the FIFA ranking system actually is. Normally I would raise an eyebrow at the notion that England are apparently the fourth best team in the continent but compared to some of the other placements that FIFA decreed that looks positively sensible. Norway last qualified for a finals tournament in 2000 yet somehow they are ranked amongst the best in Europe, along with other no-marks like Greece and Croatia. Montenegro have enjoyed a decent start to life as an independent football entity but so far they have accomplished precisely nowt and as such their position in the second tier looks dodgy to say the least, especially given that perennial qualifiers Switzerland are ranked with the third lot. A pity too for poor old Wales being dumped amongst the pocket handkerchief mob as they may be sinking into the mire under the hapless Gary Speed but they would still have the likes of Azerbaijan and Moldova any day of the week and really should have been in Pot 5.

Still the FIFA rankings being screwed up is about as much news as a politician being a liar so what of the groups themselves? Has there ever been a group weaker than Group A? As they stand at the minute none of this rabble should be at a World Cup. Still the boneheads that make up large sections of the support of both Croatia and Serbia should have two field days re-enacting the Yugoslavian civil war when these two meet. Did nobody think to fix the draw to avoid this sort of occurrence? B,C and D look straight forward with the top seeds winning easily and the second and third seeds the only ones really in contention for runners-up spots. Group E is another one packed with nobodies and for the previously aggrieved Swiss redemption of sorts can be had by the fact none of their opponents look much of a threat to their top spot. Mind you for the purists a pair of matches featuring Switzerland and Norway will be grim to say the least. Group F looks slightly more interesting as, although Portugal and Russia will most likely take the top two spots, either of them could win and they both have a history of making qualification as difficult as possible meaning I wouldn't be surprised if Israel took a shock second place. No chance for the Province as usual, unless they have 11 good players who have yet to make their debuts of course. Group G is another of those rubbish efforts packed with mediocre teams who all look like first round fodder and it will be a shame if we lose a grand old team like France just so as Greece can play out a couple of 0-0 draws before going home. England have effectively been given a walk-over in Group H and whoever is in charge then should find no problem winning the group. Unless, of course, they put some eejit like Ian Holloway in charge in which case who knows?! Finally Group I demonstrates what is wrong with the system as Spain and France should both be going to the World Cup finals. They still might of course but there is a good chance that only one of them will and that is firmly the fault of the morons at FIFA and their daft rankings.

All of this won't be starting for a year, of course, so it's far too early to make any firm predictions. But nonetheless FIFA are idiots and some of the just daft groups that they have produced prove it even further. Norway the best in Europe, my arse!
keresaspa: (Fidel Castro)
This whole Georgia invasion malarkey has reminded me somewhat of Cuba. When Cuba went communist on the USA's doorstep it took a brave decision but in doing so made itself a sitting duck and was forced to endure a comedy invasion from an alleged peacemaker and subsequent harassment from all and sundry. Similarly when Georgia went for the virulently pro-Bush Mikheil Saakashvili as their leader they were always thumbing their noses at their much bigger neighbour and setting themselves up for trouble. Such are the hazards of living cheek to jowl with a superpower, I suppose. Just ask Grenada. Do I support the invasion? No. Am I surprised by it? Equally no. I am on record as having no time for Vladimir Putin and indeed Dmitry Medvedev, who has proven, as expected, to be little more than a stooge. But to treat this as a great shock when Putin happily bombed Chechnya into a car park is a little silly as Saakashvili's obsession with keeping hold of South Ossetia (and Abkhazia, come to that) was always going to come back and bite him on the arse.

What has really got me about the whole sorry incident has been the response of serial invader George W. Bush and his lapdog Gordon Brown. To go around condemning Russia for invasions when your troops are still in Afghanistan and Iraq after all these years reeks of the sort of rank hypocrisy that makes these two knobheads so despised. Perhaps if Bush hadn't made war so fashionable and acceptable with his Islamophobic crusade then there could be more recourse to censuring Russia but as it stands they are merely following the template already put in place by their harshest critics.

Overall then Georgia is a human tragedy and a sad indictment of the bellicose world we live in but by going along with his big neighbour's traditional enemies so closely Saakashvili unfortunately invited this trouble due to the new Cold War that is emerging. What a shitty world!
keresaspa: (Max Miller)
People never cease to amaze. Give them long enough and anything, no matter how objectionable, will gain a following because it was the past and everything in the past was super with its polio and trenches. Benny Hill - a genius. Imperialism - civilising and benevolent. Russ Conway - a maestro (OK, I'm still waiting on that one but you get the point). It now seems that bugger all the stuff about letting people starve whilst they live it large or the Black Hundreds or taxes and wars for the sake of them the tsars are now the in-thing in Russia. It's hardly a surprise that two of the most outspoken supporters of restoration at various times have been Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a wholly repellent individual who makes Jeremy Clarkson seems like an intelligent New Man with his public boasting about fictitious affairs and his constant anti-Semitism despite being a Jew, and Aleksandr Ivanov-Sukharevsky, who found time during a failed career as a film-maker to expound at length about how Nicholas II and Hitler were the twentieth century's two greatest heroes despite both of them being ground in the dirt by communism. Tsarist Russia is well documented as hellish, a mediaeval state still ran as feudalist into the 20th century and one that had to endure a good whipping from a Japan that had itself only emerged from ancient times less than forty years before the war. Just the thing to bring Russia into the 21st century - complete dominance by men wearing too much jewellery for their own good. People, I ask you!

Still, I don't know what I'm complaining about as, after getting bored from too much work for one day I took a stroll down to a new Oxfam bookshop that's opened near here. Not much in the way of books but in amongst the records, containing the obligatory naff 80s compilations, Lionel Richie albums and copies of Golden Avatar's "A Change of Heart" (which, by law, every charity shop must have a copy of, seemingly) I only touched for three long deleted albums of Max Miller. In this day and age Maxy is hard to come by as the younger generation seem to have forgotten all about him and what is available is largely the same few performances but here I now have three complete performances for my delectation. Ah, life is sweet.

So that'll do me for today as I must go home and listen to these fine new acquisitions. And have you heard the one about the Yorkshire man who came to London and couldn't get any Yorkshire pudding? He went home and battered himself to death. I'll get me coat.

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