Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Where Are Those Goddamned Statisticians I Ordered?

Well, where are they?

From Five Live's 'Midday News' today:

'The two main political parties have loan debts of over £60 million. The Conservatives have £35 million, and Labour have £24 million'.

Hang on,let's see if we can get our resident maths expert to sort it out:

Any luck?

Hmmmm. Looks like a 'no' then.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Newsflash: We're Great

If you head to the BBC News page right now, you will find a link to a video podcast containing 'The Best Of The 10 O'Clock News'. Even news programmes have best-ofs now? How do they even pick this sort of thing? Maybe, after each story, the producer leaps up and down shouting 'Yes, great news, folks!' or 'This news just isn't up to par' and they judge accordingly. Personally, I have to say I think it a little opportunist to take credit for the day to day happenings of the world, but there you go.

However, I mustn't beat up on the Beeb too much. Long-time readers will know that it's not exactly my favourite organisation in the world, but credit where it's due means I must complement them on their coverage of the Ashes online. In addition to being able to listen to the matches over the net, meaning I can drift off to sleep while they're on, they have finally caught on to the possibilities of blogging, and have set up blogs for a number of people involved in the coverage to share their thoughts.

The writers, including Jonathan Agnew, and sometime commentators Mark Pougatch and Arlo White, as well as quite a few others are pretty variable in quality, and most of them are trying to big up England, which is a little tricky at the moment, but it's refreshing to see some out of game discussion and dissection. Frankly, the BBC, which has been pretty slow picking up the baton in harnessing the power of the net, and blogging in particular, is on to a good thing if it utilises it more frequently, because of the sheer number of people it can put on the ground. Hopefully they'll have some cheerier news to talk about soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Happy Birthday Tonya!

Okay, I'm late, but never mind, better late than never. After all, Tonya herself was late to the medal ceremony at the 1993 US Championships, so compared, mine is a minor misdemeanour indeed.

Yes, this time last week was the 36th birthday of erstwhile American figure skater Tonya Harding. The only thing most people can remember about Tonya is that her husband hired a man to cripple her main rival Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships. Yet there's so much more to her than that, and we here at Dr Feelgood thought now would be as good a time as any to reveal '10 Reasons Why Tonya Harding Is A Much Better Person Than Nancy Kerrigan, And In Fact Just About All Of You Too':

1. Well, for a start, she was arguably a better figure skater - she was the first, and to this day the only, American to land the famously difficult triple axel.

2. She was terrible at timekeeping, being nearly late at two competitions (including one in which she was so late that jet lag nearly ruined her performance) and one awards ceremony. She was, therefore, much more dramatic, and anyway, as all celebrity parties show, it's the best people who turn up last.

3. Harding married a man called Jeff Gillooly. This is arguably the funniest surname in the world. By contrast, Kerrigan married a man called Jerry Solomon. You can almost feel the greyness washing off that name.

4. Harding once got someone to telephone in a bomb threat against herself in order to avoid the pain of having to qualify for a tournament. I'm jealous - why didn't I think to do this with my homework?

5. Even better - Harding later used the same excuse to cancel a boxing match. It takes guts to burn people once, but twice? Fair play!

6. A patron of the arts - her attack on Kerrigan inspired a novel 'Celebrities In Disgrace' and 'Tonya and Nancy: The Opera'.

7. Come on - would anyone give a shit about figure-skating if it wasn't for her?

8. Made a sex tape before it was passe.

9. Harding was found guilty of domestic assault, which is, I admit, not terribly cool. However, she assaulted the man by throwing a hubcap at him, which most certainly is.

10. Kerrigan, by contrast, was a whiny bore. She once attended a promotional event with her sponsor, Walt Disney World, and was caught saying: 'This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done.' An ungrateful bitch, obviously, but it's the grammar that upsets me. 'Most corniest?' She deserved everything she got!

Also, she made it to the cover of Time magazine. More than any of you, anyway!

Saturday, November 18, 2006



I haven't really been doing right by you all recently. Hardly any posts, emails and comments unanswered. I have been extremely busy this week, but I promise I'm going to try and do better in the forthcoming weeks. I've started by answering comments and adding people to the blogroll who asked to be added.

To be absolutely honest with you, I've had an absolutely awful week with work, which isn't over yet by any means. I just had some devastating news from the girlfriend too, so I'm really quite down at the moment. The upside for you lot is that that usually means a bit more frequent blogging.

Monday, November 13, 2006


A Bad Rap

The Times:

'HIP-HOP and rap artists are teaching young Muslims the ideology of radical Islamism through songs about the war in Iraq, the oppression of Muslims and the creation of an Islamic state governed by Sharia, or religious law.'

'Intelligence agencies have identified music as a “tool for indoctrination”. The phenomenon began with an American group called Soldiers of Allah. The group has since disbanded but its music and lyrics remain popular on the internet. Other groups in Britain, France and the US have been identified as giving cause for concern. Many use the derogatory term “kufur” to describe non-Muslims.'

'Madeleine Gruen, an American intelligence analyst, highlighted the lyrics of a British group called Blakstone as a possible gateway to extremist politics.'

Uh-oh. Here we go again. People are using music for ill reasons. I know I should be concerned, but I just can't remember what music is . . . I'd better ring my mate John, he'll know.

: Alright mate, how's it going? Been up to much lately? Listen mate, I've just forgotten what music is and I was wondering if you could tell me?

JOHN: Nah mate, haven't done anything for years. Music? Let's see, I seem to recall writing that down somewhere. Ah, yes: "sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats."

I'm glad we cleared that up. That act was twelve years ago. Twelve years and one government on, and we've gone precisely nowhere. First it was raves (pdf warning), then it was Jamaican dancehall, and now it's the turn of the next group of people who've come up with music that's 'threatening'. As per usual, we see the implicit assumption that people can't possibly make up their own minds about what they hear, or take responsibility for their actions. No change here, then.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Cognitive Dissonance

Within two minutes of each other on the Simon Mayo programme on 'Five Live' yesterday.

A spokeswomen for road charity Brake (who I've complained about before):

'One young person dies every hour on Britain's roads. In the time it takes us to talk about this, one young person will have met their death'.

A spokesman for some union or association of driving instructors:

'Two young people die per day on Britain's roads'.

Obviously the young people perishing are those who were going to grow up to be statisticians.

All of this guff was supporting some typically monstrous proposal to prevent seventeen year olds from learning to drive, and for people just past their test to be limited in the number of passengers they can carry. Obviously this rubbish should be opposed for being impractical and illiberal, and also contradictory to the always-ignored fact that actually road deaths in Britain are on the decrease, but my real question is how all this fits in with this new legislation banning age discrimination? Mixed messages, perhaps?

Sunday, November 05, 2006


A Little Comment Goes A Long Way . . .

Shorter Quin Hillyer: The tragedy of democratic politics is that sometimes politicians who have had a hand in a couple of decent pieces of legislation get voted out.

Shorter Madeleine Davies: A 'Glamour' magazine poll suggests quite a lot of women reckon Jamie Oliver would make a great prime minister, and as a fellow reader I'm duty-bound to take this seriously.

Shorter Simon Tisdall: North Korea setting off a nuclear bomb would be good news for the United States.

Shorter Peter Melchett: I want cheap and affordable food for people on low incomes to taste horrible.

Shorter Yvonne Roberts: According to my broad definition, Madonna is quite likely to engage in child abuse of her adopted child.

Shorter Masoud Golsorkhi: It is immoral for people to buy cheap and affordable clothing. (Are you spotting a theme here? - Ed.)

Shorter Graham Holliday: I've seen the future - and it's French dog turds.

Shorter Bill Emmott: The Conservatives just look stupid for having a policy on taxation.

Shorter Imran Waheed: I'm in favour of freedom of speech, except when people use it to criticise Islam.

Shorter Michelle Hough: Western women who don't eat enough are basically taunting starving Africans.

Shorter Michele Hanson: The trouble with having opinions is that it forces you to take sides in an argument. I'd much rather get a season ticket on top of the fence.

Shorter George Monbiot: Statues celebrating animal heroes from yesteryear are insulting to the dead Iraqis of today.

Shorter Mark Lawson: Caution! The following is a desperate attempt to be humorous about the issues of the day, mostly by means of jokes about Dick Cheney's forthcoming heart attack.

Shorter Derek Draper: Everyone should have to go to mandatory therapy sessions.

Shorter Polly Toynbee: I'm going to carry on my policy of comparing Britain to Sweden, the most perfect society in the world, no matter what anyone says.

Shorter Carol Midgley: By not dying in his car crash, Richard Hammond has helped convince thousands of boy racers that it's okay to run over pedestrians.

Shorter Julie Bindel: Most men are criminals, and men generally are just scum.

Shorter Tony Juniper: Everyone with a different opinion to mine on global warming should be censored.

Shorter Andrew Rawnsley: Me, lose my faith in politics? Are you kidding? When have politicians ever tried to screw us over?

Shorter Cristina Odone: Free speech on the internet can only lead to trouble.

Shorter Janet Daley: When men get pissed, it's cultural tradition, but when women get pissed it should be a cultural panic.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Ill-Fitting Appendage

This article about disappearing fish stocks is deathly boring - and it seems to me rather unlikely too - but one fact does alleviate a little of the tedium.

The key scientists name?

Dr Boris Worm.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Like A Vandal

Sometimes, you just read a story and you think you couldn't laugh any harder . . .

BBC News: 'Tycoon Holes Dream Picasso Deal'

'A US casino mogul has pulled out of a deal to sell his Picasso painting for a record $139m (£74m) after accidentally elbowing a hole in the middle.'

'Las Vegas magnate Steve Wynn was showing Le Reve (The Dream) to guests at his office in Las Vegas last month.'

'Mr Wynn, who has retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disease affecting peripheral vision, tore a coin-sized hole.'

'He will now keep the painting, which he bought in 1997 for $48.4m, and repair it, his spokeswoman said.'

Absolutely hilarious.

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