June 3rd 2007
Today: Summer snake? (5)
Consider losing extremes; it's a good position to be (6)
On June 1st there was a great deal of excitement all round, for various different reasons. It was, for example, the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the greatest albums ever recorded (and one of the top 5 Beatles albums ever recorded), so we played A Day In The Life on DA to commemorate the fact. It was also Steph Hoyland's birthday, if June 1st 2000 is anything to go by (in the world of television, it probably isn't). Furthermore, it was Tim Jones' sister's birthday (apparently), but to top them all, it would have been the 100th birthday of one Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine, and son of Earlsdon. So to celebrate the occasion, Ant and I did what we do best, and traipsed pointlessly around taking photographs - see Ant's site for a selection. I'm always left to ponder why we do these things on days when I neglect to wash my hair. Argh. In other news, I used to be exceptionally annoyed by Reese Witherspoon - or, more particularly, her forehead. Don't ask me why. Her few episodes in Series 6 of Friends were, I think, my introduction to her acting (although I may have seen Legally Blonde before that) and she hardly endeared herself. I have had to make, it seemes, something of a U-turn. Having grown up and out of the ditzy blonde roles in which she seemed to revel, Reese has got an Oscar for her excellent performance as June Carter in Walk The Line, and I've also admired her in Just Like Heaven and, before that, The Importance Of Being Earnest - possibly the only film in which I've been in paroxyms of laughter in the cinema. Although that had absolutely nothing to do with Witherspoon (she wasn't onscreen at the time) and everything to do with the wit of Oscar 'should have stuck to plays' Wilde. So, while there's no real danger of her joining Kirsten Dunst, Michael J. Fox and Matthew Perry in the ranks of actors I'll watch in (more or less) anything, she has grown on me. I'm sure she'll be delighted.
So songs-a-go-go 9 is with us, bursting at the seams with wonderful music. I'm thinking of making a Best of Sagg next, the absolute cream of the cream, as the French say. Here's the track listing for Sagg9:
1. Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn
2. Workingman's Blues #2 - Bob Dylan
3. Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
4. Against All Odds - Phil Collins
5. Your Latest Trick - Dire Straits
6. Changes - David Bowie
7. California - Josh Ritter
8. Someone To Die For - Brian May/James Gnecco
9. Mr. Brightside - The Killers
10. Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
11. Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne
12. Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon - Cliff Richard
13. The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
14. The Windmills Of Your Mind - Dusty Springfield
15. Jesus Was A Cross Maker - The Hollies
16. Circle Of Life - Elton John
17. California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas
18. Delirious Love - Neil Diamond
19. Running On Empty - Jackson Browne
June 5th 2007
Today: Go to sleep - it's nearly twelve! (4)
Summer snake? (5)
The front page of the Times today was emblazened with the logo for the 2012 Olympic games, which - as we all should know by now - is being hosted by London. I wasn't especially happy when we were awarded the Olympics (although since it signified a massive increase of popularity for Tony Blair, I was reasonably pleased), but I've more or less made my peace with it. And I have to say that I like the Olympic logo very much; when I saw it, I was impressed. I then read on, and it transpires that I'm more or less the only person in the world who has responded this way; there is a barrage of criticism for the logo from both experts and civilians, although for varying reasons. I say congrats to Lord Coe (although he probably had little to do with the design), and good luck. In other news, I don't really like Alanis Morisette, largely because she's not a very good singer (and has never taken the trouble to make sure her lyrics scan with her tunes), but I do like the fact that her album titles are generally lyrics taken from a song on the album, but not the actual song title. There is something very dull about merely taking the title to the best song on the album and making that the album title (one of the few faults of the Beatles is that they did this too much; Let It Be, A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, Magical Mystery Tour, Please Please Me, Sgt Pepper - although in the majority of these the album was tied to a film, hence the need to make the title the same). Anyways, Alanis is not alone in this idea - others I have are Josh Ritter's 'Hello Starling', Sterephonics' 'Performance and Cocktails' and Pink Floyd's 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. Are there any more out there? (Note: Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' probably doesn't count, since while that isn't a song title, it is part of several song titles on the album. And I also have Stevie Nicks' 'The Wild Heart', the first track of which is 'Wild Heart' - this is stretching the point).
I have recently been perusing a website of cartoons that are decidedly hit and miss, but when they hit, they hit good. here is my favourite, methinks. Since last I wrote here, I've also repaired my right slipper with tape. Just so you know. Oh, I forgot to put a crossword clue up earlier, but there's one there now.
June 9th 2007
Today: Model motive for plotting to oust the Queen, perhaps (7)
Go to sleep - it's nearly twelve! (4)
Number 67, Westwood Road made its first steps towards disintegrating yesterday (in a purely metaphorical sense; in a literal sense, those steps were made months ago) as Anthony left these fair walls to head to Montenegro via Leicester. It's the first in a sad series of farewells from this homestead (well, second after David 12 months ago); things will never quite be the same again. Thanks Ant. Thant. In other news, I discovered a few weeks ago that Kate Beckinsale is the daughter of the late Richard Beckinsale - how did that pass me by for so long? If you don't know who one or both of these people are, the former appeared in various corsetted roles before going all superhero in Hollywood, whereas the latter was in both Porridge (Ronnie Barker's greatest work? Possibly. Certainly better than Open All Hours) and Rising Damp. This is not the only exciting family connection on the big screen! Probably. Anyways, I should really be revising Maths of Random Events, so I shall leave you now - with the exciting news that I'm thinking of crafting a special (albeit small) new page here, inspired by Simon's list of 50 books. Although rather less literary.
June 12th 2007
Today: Moor in Old Testament place of destruction - and love (7)
Model motive for plotting to oust the Queen, perhaps (7)
Last time's clue may have conned people by having a long definition part - or perhaps people haven't come across the Model T. Or maybe everyone found it easy - I don't know. Anyways, to fill you in on the recent happenings in my life, last week was Grandad's funeral, and while these occasions are never happy ones, it was a moving service (which quoted from this page, in fact) and good to see a large turnout from the village as well as from family. Many people said that, even from briefly meeting him, they felt that Grandad was a very gentle and pleasant man. After the funeral, Simon came up here for the day (as I may have mentioned) and joined us for Dangerously Articulate, which was good fun (if rather rowdier in the studio than usual). Then on Sunday evening I went with James, Jason and Israel to see Casting Crowns (not to be confused with Counting Crows) in London, which was a highly enjoyable experience - and it's probably unusual for the stewards to see quite so many breaks for prayer in a gig. As I've said before, Christian music is in a pretty poor state (with the obvious exception of Cliff Richard), but Casting Crowns are actually very good, with thoughtful lyrics and excellent tunes. Check 'em out. Speaking of Christianity, on the way back from campus with Becky today, a chap stopped me asking if I was wearing a Wolves shirt (I was) - and it transpired that he had been a Wolves follower for years, and was actually there for the Honved game. We chatted about Wolves' history for a while (well, he mostly spoke to be honest) and he brought in the fact that Stan Cullis, Wolves legend, was a Christian, and that his son was a vicar! I don't think I ever knew that. Wolves just started ruling even more.
June 13th 2007
Today: Frighten everyone hiding sailors in the county (8)
Moor in Old Testament place of destruction - and love (7)
This is my last entry for a while, since I'm heading off with the family to Cornwall tomorrow, for some walking/painting depending on your particular bent (Dad and I are going for the former). I'll fill you in when I get back. In other news, I've mentioned the Traveling Wilburys before; the supergroup of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty deserves a lot more fame than it's got, and I've never quite been able to work out why their albums were 'deleted'. Is that the correct term? Anyways, Warner Bros stopped putting them out, so I had to make do with an import from Russia (which, I rather suspect, is in fact a copy). But then this week Rhino republished both albums (Vol. 1 and Vol. 3, as they were titled) with a bonus DVD and some extra tracks - go out and buy it! It may not be the best music in the world, but they were some of the best musicians in the world, and having a lot of fun. I'm thinking of buying the genuine article myself. Although I was slightly confused by V-Meg advertising it as 'new music'...
June 20th 2007
Today: Actress horribly stunned after skirt gets shredded (7,5)
Frighten everyone hiding sailors in the county (8)
I'm finished! My Warwick Uni career is over, and what a three years it's been. Read (a little bit) more on my exam diary. But of course my Warwick Uni time isn't over yet - the next week and a bit is pretty packed with all sorts of exciting events and happenings, which will almost certainly be documented here, fear not. In news of the wider world, last time here I mentioned that the Traveling Wilburys collection had been re-released for the first time in ages; clearly you were paying careful attention, as it now sits at number one in the album chart. Must be the first time there's been decent music there for a goodly long while. Speaking of good music, tune in to RaW this Friday at 9am for a special Kirsten Dunst theme on Dangerously Articulate (then keep listening, as we tend to get the 10-11am slot as well now, what with Trivial Rebellion failing to turn up most weeks). Matt Shortman will be there - he who filled my shoes last week, while I was off with the family. We had a good few days away, walking admirably (and it's not my place here to fill you in on the state of Dad's knees, so you'll have to conjecture for yourselves), as well as playing games such as hearts, Trivial Pursuit (Dad thrashing us all as usual, until we all ganged up on him as one team) and Power Scrabble. Power Scrabble is like regular Scrabble in every respect except that you only have 15 seconds per move; and you have to put up with Simon complaining about perfectly legitimate words. We experimented with the JD rule in hearts (in which Jack of Diamonds is worth -10), which resulted in a very long game which I won on 96 points or thereabouts. Whoof. In other news, I look forward to seeing Rob again over the weekend, and we should be going for about the fourth 'last ever' Ricky & The Red Stripes quiz outing.
June 22nd 2007
Today: Not knowing right from wrong in morning exam (6)
Actress horribly stunned after skirt gets shredded (7,5)
Answer: Kirsten Dunst
When Max & Steph broke up in Neighbours, and I ceased watching, I wrote a rather rambling critique on the move, and on Neighbours in general, which has a prominent place on this site. I ended it by pondering where the next Max & Steph was coming from - since almost all couples on the show are now ephemeral and seemingly only united because of similar ages (and sometimes even that isn't required). Well, I think I have my answer; it looks like it's Frazer & Rosie. He's come out with some great lines in his time on the show, with excellent delivery (a shame he and Will couldn't have had more time alongside each other), and while I'm less convinced by her, they look they like could be the next successful pairing. Not enough to make me return to watching Neighbours (especially now Steph & Toadie have apparently been paired up properly), but if I did still watch it, they'd be the ones I'd root for - allowing myself to see spoilers, however, has meant I'd be waiting months before anything I don't already know happens to them. In fact, while I was looking at spoilers, I came across something which I'll broadcast here for Simon, and anyone else similarly interested (fear not - it won't ruin your enjoyment of the show, Si) - rumours abound that Kym Valentine will be returning to the show some time in the not-so-distant future. Well, quite distant, but still - he'll be delighted. Speaking of being delighted, tonight Tom & I achieved our long-term aim of beating Arsenal with Boston on Fifa 2004 (World Class) - we must have attempted this a few dozen times (occasionally restarting the match well before the end), and at last we registered a 1-0 victory this evening, a 53rd minute goal scored by Tom. Finally achieving this is, I feel, every bit as fulfilling as getting a degree... well, that's obviously garbage, but it certainly felt good. Picture to follow. Now, I should be in bed, since it's the show tomorrow morning, and I have a relatively busy schedule ahead of me. I might fit in an afternoon nap if I'm lucky.
June 24th 2007
Today: Garden area of plenty intended for listeners (9)
Not knowing right from wrong in morning exam (6)
There are times when I despair for the intelligence of people. Not in a maths-sense - although in recent days two friends doing maths-based degrees told me that 10+30+60 and 10+40+50 respectively didn't add up to 100 - but in terms of not being complete and utter idiots. In Earlsdon yesteday, Rob & I were accosted by some chap asking if we wanted to know the 'truth about 9/11' - the truth, it turned out, was that a janitor who worked there is willing to testify that there were explosives in the building as it went down. I can't quite believe that there is anyone out there stupid enough to believe that George Bush was responsible for the 9/11 attacks - but there I'm wrong, as the Coventry Truth Movement evidences. Surely they should be prosecuted under the Trade and Descriptions Act, if nothing else? Rumours that the Bush administration is terrified by the forces of truth in the Coventry area remain unsubstantiated. Anyways, Rob & I went to their website (hosted on myspace, to lend it additional credibility) and watched a rather poor video that, rather like I do in tricky maths problems, stated that the answer was obvious in the absence of any proof to back their claims. And there was a very curious bit in which they said that the American government should be spending their money on a decent rail system - suggesting that the entire enterprise is in fact a subliminal messaging service run by a monorail construction firm. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the general stupidity of people, since I've experienced those who will believe any nonsense if it paints Blair or Bush in a bad light - and more nonsense has been printed about the Iraq war than anything since the JFK assassination. In the last couple of weeks in the Times, Martin Samuel has claimed that everything other than Iraq should be a 'footnote' to Blair's tenure as Prime Minister, and at the other end of the scale, Tim Hames suggested that any other PM would have done exactly what Tony did. Clearly, neither of these is close to being true: and this is in one of the world's best newspapers. Indeed, it comes off the back of years of preposterous "It's all about oil" claims, which some people actually seem to take seriously. So, there it is - startlingly foolish people are all around us. These are the same ones who reckon the smoking ban is an affront to civil liberties, that speed cameras are somehow unacceptable, that ASBOs are somehow acceptable (unless they're given to anyone other than working class teenage males) and that having compulsory ID cards (like over 100 other nations worldwide) will mean Big Brother is watching are every move (I'm rather less worried about Big Brother watching British citizens than vice versa). In other, less depressive, news, I was moveed to received a round of applause in my last service at QRBC this morning (having mentioned in passing to Grenville that I was on my way), and farewells from several members of the congregation, including one man I'd never met before, but who wished me well. And if one lady called me Anthony, what of it? I'll miss the church. With a lower case 'c' (apologies to anyone who read an earlier version of that last sentence and got confused - thanks Dad!).
June 28th 2007
Garden area of plenty intended for listeners (9)
So many "last"s in these remaining days of Uni; hot on the heels of my last QRBC service came my last CU main meeting, followed by a bring & share picnic to celebrate our time at Warwick CU. It was an enjoyable, rather emotional experience, and ended with much hugging. During the last meeting, there was a montage of photos from the last three years, and with my vain cap on I looked out specifically for myself - and appeared thrice. All this has yet to sink in, really... there are those in the CU that I'm sure I'll see many times again (although three of them - Ant, Dave & Christine - weren't at the last CU, having left some time ago), but there are also those with whom I won't keep in touch. But, as I say, the predominant feeling was one of joy (the repeated refrain being that, worst case scenario, we'd see each other again in Paradise), and I have to mention the highlight of being told by Sinead that I'm in her top ten funniest people. Anyways, anyone with access to facebook can see some pictures of the occasion (and even - gasp - a video), and I may get round to putting one or two here. In other news, I got my degree results today, and got a first, with a grade for this year of 82.62%, and an overall grade of 84.51% - my tutor, during what is by far the most prolonged conversation we've had, told me that my marks had gone down from the first two years. But he also congratulated me a fair bit, so that's cool. What's also cool is that almost everyone I've spoken to has done as well as or better than they were hoping/expecting. What's not so cool is that Tiger Tim is out of Wimbledon in the second round.