Friday, November 25, 2005

Headline of the Week

Spotted in The Sun today

'Glitter facing 10 girl charge'

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

England lose First Test

Well I may have gotten the result right, but the manner of it shocked me. Very few teams in history have surrendered a 144 first innings lead quite so tamely - and quite frankly, it should have been a much bigger lead than that. The lack of application by the England middle order was quite shocking today - all guns blazing may work well on the bouncier pitches of the west, but the sub-continent requires rather more application. England's 5,6,7 of 'bangers' looks far more vulnerable here against more modest bowlers than it did during the Ashes. Having said that, no blame to Geraint Jones today - he did as much as could be expected to him under difficult circumstances - it's KP and Freddie who deserve the Paddington hard stares for very poor shots. Yes, it's great when they come off, and I do accept that that is the way they play, but you have to play to the conditions and match situation, and with four wickets down today and only a hundred needed, the necessary approach was dig in and accumulate, not thrash your way out of it.

Very disappointed. Glimmer of light is Vaughan may replace Collingwood on Sunday, Colly having made no impact whatsoever with either bat or ball, while Ian Bell worked hard to earn himself a reprieve. Udal and Giles took 2-100+ between them - wonder if Fletcher is contemplating a fourth seamer ? Step forward Liam Plunkett ?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pakistan v England, First Test, Day One.

Fifteen minutes before tea at 161-1, this was shaping up to be Pakistan's day, but England showed their now customary resilience to bounce back and shade the honours, with Pakistan closing on 244-6 in good batting conditions. If England can remove skipper Inzy early tomorrow while the second new ball is still moving, they stand an excellent chance of bowling the hosts out well short of the par score of 450.

In unfavourable conditions, England's three man pace attack did very well to take five of the six wickets to fall, with Shaun Udal claiming the other on debut - keeper Jones taking a sharp reaction catch via captain Trescothick's head.

England 3 Argentina 2

Following on from that Man U v Chelsea game last weekend, tonight's tremendous match went some way towards restoring my faith in football - and I was thinking that even when we were a goal down with three minutes to play.

How refreshing was it to see two good teams, with nothing more to play for than national pride, try their hearts out to win the game by taking the game to the opposition. I've tried hard to recall a better friendly international game, but at the moment nothing springs to mind.

I thought that despite the result, on balance Argentina were marginally the better side, and that Riquelme and Rooney were head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch. Eriksson appears to have inherited Bobby Robson's trick of accidentally stumbling across his best formation, albeit six months before the finals as opposed to wor Bobby's two games in - see 1986 and 1990 for details.

I think these two sides are deservedly second and third favourites behind Brazil - Italy are short of creativity, France are not the force they were five years ago, and Spain and Holland often flatter to deceive at big tournaments. Cannot see a winner beyond those seven though - even though one writes off hosts Germany at one's peril...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

England 26 Australia 16

Well my call about the England front five besting the Australians turned out to be an understatement, as Andrew Sheridan et al mashed the Aussies all the way to the embarrasment of uncontested scrums.

Sadly, the backs failed to capitalise on this tremendous platform, and it took a 75th minute try by the impressive Mark Cueto to seal a game that we should have killed off in the first half. We need more creativity in the backs - given Tindall at 12, I would be tempted to replace fellow banger Jamie Noon with the gliding Ollie Smith at 13. I hope Hodgson's injury is minor - he looked increasingly assured until he went off. Fantastic to see Big Ben Cohen back to form - that back three of Cueto, Cohen, Lewsey is as strong in defence as it is potent coming forwards.

All Blacks next week, and right now they're in a different league to everyone else. I haven't heard who the referee is - hoping for a Northern hemisphere ref who will allow us to push the Kiwis around at scrum time should we gain an advantage, but their pack is a totally different proposition to Australia. Chris Jack and Ali Williams are at least as good at set-piece as Borthwick and Grewcock, and considerably better in the loose, and Richie McCaw is a step up even from the ever impressive George Smith - not sure Sanderson/Moody will get close. I'll be looking for solid first phase on our own possession, and good defence, but generally I'll be happy if we can keep them under two tries per half.

Day and a half

Jayzuz, what a couple of days. Working from 9am until Midnight last night, a long trip home due to road closures and the biggest crash I've ever seen on the North Circular, meaning I didn't get to bed until around 2am. This was then followed up with son number two deciding to get up at 04:30. A further four hours or so in work today, and I'm throughly knackered, but haven't exactly endeared myself to Mrs Infoholic by arriving home just in time to watch the rugby, immediately followed by the football. Thought I'd recovered some Brownie points by agreeing to watch The Stepford Wifes (2004 remake), but having slumbered through that, I'm now fully awake watching the cricket highlights and tapping away, putting me right back in the dog house.

Huge work release early next month, what's known as a 'career limiting opportunity' - failure is not an option, hence the efforts now. The weekend after is Mum and Dad's birthday - as I'll be needing a holiday by then, looks like we'll be travelling to sunny Glos. Hopefully me and Mrs I will squeeze in a trip to see Harry Potter 4 while we're there...son number one apparently doesn't want to go.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

England in Pakistan 6

England slumped to defeat against Pakistan A by six wickets - all three wickets to fall today taken by Freddie.

However, the real concern is the likely absence from Saturday's Test of Michael Vaughan - the prognosis does not sound encouraging. Vaughan's influence on the side is difficult to understate - his record bears favourable comparison with any England captain, and his innovative fielding positions and astute bowling changes are unlikely to be matched by the solid but uninspiring Marcus Trescothick. The middle order also looks far more prone to collapse without him - fortunate that we bat down to 9, 'cos we may need to.

England's lineup is therefore expected to be

Trecothick (c), Strauss, Bell, Pieterson, Collingwood, Flintoff, Jones, Giles, Udal, Hoggard, Harmison.

Still fancy our chances for the series, but given Vaughan's fitness and the lack of batting form displayed thus far, my prediction is now a come-from-behind 2-1 victory, rather than the 3-0 thumping I expected a fortnight ago.

Monday, November 07, 2005

England XV v Australia

Lewsey, Cueto, Noon, Tindall, Cohen, Hodgson, Dawson, Sheridan, Thompson, Vickery, Borthwick, Grewcock, Sanderson, Moody, Corry.

One or two surprises in there I think - Van Gisbergen only on the bench, Dawson chosen ahead of Ellis.

If Sheridan and Borthwick can translate their club form to the international arena, then provided Thompson doesn't have one of his cow's arse/banjo days, I think we've got the beating of the Aussies in the set-piece. Tindall's return should mean Giteau can't breeze through outside Hodgson as he did last year, and I always like to see Lewsey at full-back.

Cautiously optimistic, as Australia are also in transition right now - I fancy England to nick it by a single score. Next week is another story altogether...

England in Pakistan 5

England finally manage to post a total in excess of two hundred, thanks to half-centuries by Strauss and Collingwood (with Giles falling one short), but all eyes are on the captain, after he retired hurt with an injured knee, turning sharply for a second run.

Given that last time Vaughany missed a Test, Andrew Strauss stepped in and made hay (and has done ever since), Ian Bell must be rubbing his hands...

Two wickets for Grievous this morning, and one for Hoggy tonight, despite being battered all over the park in his two overs (1-22). At 31-1, Pakistan A are chasing 245 for victory.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Compare and Contrast

Well, I've seen two games of football in the last couple of days, but I might as well have been watching different sports - Chelsea and Manchester United are sooo far ahead of Villa and Liverpool it's untrue. United reverted to the 4-4-2 that's served them so well over the last umpteen years; for an hour their pace and passion more than matched the defending champions, and they were good value for their lead - a super header by Darren Fletcher, from the only decent cross that over-rated show pony Ronaldo put over all day.

For the last half an hour, Chelsea's superior technique and effective fitness took over, and they absolutely battered United, but couldn't quite get the goal. Rio Ferdinand proved that when he can be arsed, he really can be a great defender, and Wayne Rooney once again demonstrated that he is well on the way to becoming the best footballer on the planet, with an incredible display of controlled aggression, ball skills and awareness that matched anything I've ever seen from an English player - reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne in his pomp.

And finally, I learned today that qualification for the Villa mailing list's "Old Fart's Brigade" is now defined as having seen the European cup winning side in the flesh - as I went to Villa Park twice as a ten year old in the championship season of 1980-81, apparently this is proof positive that I'm both superannuated and smelly !!!

England in Pakistan 4

So England have decided to play their Test side in the final warm-up - Udal replacing Bell, with Pieterson and Collingwood moving up a place in the batting order.

If the conditions were expected to closely mirror those for the first Test, I'd understand this apporoach, but they weren't - and so it proved, with eighteen wickets falling on the first day. So while I think they've got the right team for the Test, I would have liked to have seen the 'possibles' get a last run, before their cricketing activities are curtailed by the Tests.

England batted first, and were reduced to 53-7, before Giles and Udal led the tail to a final total of 126. Hoggard ripped out the Pakistan top order, then there was a fifty plus partnership, before Giles nipped out three quick wickets at the end, leaving the hosts with a single run lead at stumps, with only two wickets remaining.

SO, yet another warm-up match with no bearing on the Test - seems some nations are determined to wring every last drop out of home advantage.

England meanwhile, have hopefully learned that the new ball is everything - the bowlers have to take wickets with it, and the batsmen have to be watchful in seeing it off.

Pay Per View Masochism

Well, I never seem to learn, and despite vowing never to part with my cash ever again after the last debacle, I found myself shelling out another seven quid yesterday, to watch referee Steve Bennett deny Villa the draw they probably didn't quite deserve.

The most depressing thing is that this was probably as good as Villa have played in recent weeks, and we were still rubbish. The defence is a shambles, the midfield is lacking in both pace and flair, and the strikers are about six inches too short for the hoofed passes that are fired in their general direction from afar.

We MUST acquire a centre-half in the transfer window, or we're doomed. Even then, it's going to be a long hard season, and it certainly won't be pretty to watch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Arsenal through, United out

Arsenal's lucky draw pays off, and they are through to the last 16 with two games to spare.

Manchester United however, are running third and have the group leaders (Villareal) at home and Benfica away. Horror of horrors, for the first time in ten years, they may not make it to the knock-out stages.

Having never been a hardcore ABU (Anyone But United, for the uninitiated), I think I can fairly say that this is the most negative United side I've seen in twenty years (since the Sexton era) - 4-5-1 does not reflect the approach I have begrudgingly appreciated for the last 12 years or so. Given the recent board upheaval, Ferguson cannot afford to lose the fans at this juncture, or he'll be out on his ear, but from what I hear, he's no longer as untouchable as he once was.

As a Villa supporter, I'd love that level of 'failure' in a manager...just goes to show how fickle football fans can be.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Battle of Britain ?

A second defeat in a week for Chelsea last night, and it throws up some interesting possibilities.

Assuming a win for Chelsea at whipping boys Anderlecht on 23rd November, a draw or better for Liverpool against Betis at Anfield will see both English teams through.

A home defeat for Liverpool on the other hand, will put the Spaniards in the box seats, with an English play-off at Stamford Bridge on 6th December - loser goes out. A draw would see Chelsea through at the expense of the holders.

Today's Shout...

...and it's many happy returns to Son Number Two, who's three today. Happy birthday, destructo-boy !

England in Pakistan 3

Despite the best efforts of our batsmen, Giles and Plunkett have bowled England to a 52 run victory - both took four wickets, with Udal chipping in with the last two.

Seven wickets is a good return for your first match in international colours - Plunkett moves alongside Anderson and Udal in the competition for the last bowler's spot. Loudon appears to be out of the race.

An important thirty-odd for Colly today. Unless Bell scores big in the last warm-up match, I think there's every chance he'll be left out. Presumably both will play in the third test, as it seems Strauss will be back in Blighty attending the birth of his first child.

Problem is with most batsmen struggling, Freddie and Harmo returning, and Hoggy out of the wickets, there's a shortage of slots for the last game (against Pakistan A, starting Sunday). I guess they'll have to leave out Banger and Gilo, who've proven their form, and one other from Hoggard and Collingwood (or fudge and play 12, but I think that's unlikely to be allowed). No place for Prior or Loudon, neither of whom can expect to play in the Tests, barring injury.

My guess, assuming only eleven, would be:

Strauss, Vaughan, Bell, Pieterson, Collingwood, Flintoff, Jones, Udal, Harmison, Plunkett, Anderson.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

RFU says FU to clubs ?

Interesting litle rumour doing the rounds, that the England team walked out of training today because they heard the RFU were going to ask them to sign central contracts.

If (and it's a big if) this turns out to be true, then I think the RFU have just moved from brinkmanship to a lemming-like plummet...

England in Pakistan 2

Anderson, Plunkett and Udal all in the wickets - a happy selection problem awaits. Apparently Colly also bowled well, and seems to have added an extra yard of pace to his game. Now we just need the batsmen to find some form in the second innings - unfortunately Strauss and Vaughan both out cheaply again...

UPDATE : England a woeful 39-6 at the close, with KP and Jones also making low scores. Only thing that might save us is that we've messed with the batting order, Prior and Loudon failing to capitalise - Colly and Bell at the crease, Banger still to come...

I hate being right

Well, two-thirds right anyway - Darius only got a brace against us last night. I'm not sure we could have made the first one any easier for him, but he took the second one well. I always thought he was a good player poorly used, and he seems to be proving that at Citeh.

Villa have real problems - with Martin Laursen seemingly out for the season, we desperately need a centre-back to replace the ineffectual Ridgewell. In theory, any one of Hughes, Bouma or Delaney can fill in there, but the former two are injured and the latter is our only fit right-back, so we can't even do that. Even if Bouma was fit, he'd have to start at left-back - Samuel's been playing injured for so long he's lost all confidence. Until Baros is fit, the team is decidedly one-paced up front, and the lack of flair in midfield is frightening - get well soon Lee Hendrie, all is forgiven !

O'Leary has lost the support of the fans with the team putting in a series of inept and passionless performances, mitigated only by a derby win - he needs results soon or his days are numbered. Another home defeat (on live televison) to Liverpool on Saturday, and he may not survive to see the alleged takeover.

Monday, October 31, 2005

England in Pakistan 1

Good news - Trescothick scored a ton, the tail wagged, although Matt Prior batting at 10 is going to strengthen just about any lower order.

Bad news - the rest of the top order struggled.

Listening to Banger's interview, it seems the ball moved all over the place early doors and then the pitch went completely flat. Useful local knowledge gained on day one then.

To be honest, apart from getting used to conditions and finding form, England's batting in the warm-up games is a bit of a non-issue - the top seven is a given. The last bowling place on the other hand, is very interesting, with Udal, Loudon, Plunkett and Anderson all in with a shout - I suspect Colly's trundlers won't get a look-in this tour unless one of the batsmen is injured, or Bell's wretched run continues. I reckon it'll be Udal or Anderson, with the final decision coming down to the look of the test pitch, but a good performance by anybody tomorrow will give them a head start on the field.

Man City v Villa

Okay, a fiver says Vassell's going to score a hat-trick tonight - any takers ?

Ah, well that it explains it...

Tired now...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Prussian Blue

This article has to be the most bizarrre news story of the day - 13 year old twin girl popstars belting out white supremacy numbers ? There's just sooo many things wrong with this I don't know where to start....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Speeding Question

Mrs Infoholic has just got a ticket from a mobile speed camera unit. All of 150 yards from our house, the photo supposedly shows her doing 41 mph in a 30 zone...but also included in the picture, just 30 yards further up the road, is the sign declaring a 40 limit. Bastards. We drove down the same stretch of road yesterday, carefully observing the speed limit, and we had cars crawling all over the back of us. And now Mrs Infoholic is spending half her time looking down at the speedo, when she should be watching the road. Congratulations Mr Plod, you just made the roads more dangerous.

The reason I post this up is not a rant, but to ask advice in case anyone with experience reads this - the charge sheet thingy says she was travelling north. However, the photo clearly shows her travelling SOUTH. Can we get the charge thrown out for this, and if so, what is the best method of doing so ?

Pub Laws

Marvellous double standard on display in the Telegraph today, with them coming out against the proposed smoking ban.

I particularly liked this bit.

"Ministers, however, do not believe we can be trusted to decide these things for ourselves. As with pistol-shooting, smacking, hunting or eating beef on the bone, their first instinct is to proscribe what they do not like."

And how exactly does this statement reconcile with the Telegraph's ongoing campaign AGAINST the Government's plans for 24 hour opening ?

The people know best...err, except when we say they don't...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bird flu

Busy at work at the moment, so I apologise to my reader for the lack of posts, but this Bird flu crap prompts me to write.


Now I'm no medical expert, but surely the lethality of this thing is down to the fact that nobody has any antibodies that recognise it and attack it.

In order for it to be transmitted from human to human, it has to swap genes with an existing strain.

Won't the swapped genes then be spotted by the antibodies ? Hence making it...errr...a lot less lethal ?

If not, then if it's killing all its hosts, won't it stop spreading awful quickly anyway ?

Either way, I don't see why this is any different to any other virus myself...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Short Film

If you haven't seen the film Farm Sluts yet, you really ought to. Not what the title would make you think it is, it's a hilarious cautionary tale about what can happen if you click on unknown hyperlinks in the office. Lasts about 15 minutes, but well worth the time.

Nostra who ?

Astonishing game today - I've worn a groove in the lounge carpet from all the pacing up and down during the last half-hour.

Our scraping through means I'm two for two on my Ashes predictions. I predicted England by 20 runs before the game, but didn't put my money where my mouth was in the department pot and now I've missed out on a tidy sum.

Still think Warne will be too much of a handful at Old Trafford, but the way both sides are batting, I think its unlikely there will be any draws unless the weather intervenes. If there are going to be results, I'd tip the Aussies in Nottingham and England at The Oval...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Licensing Laws

The Last Ditch has a very good comment piece on Teenage Drinking.

I'd add two further comments.

1..Before drinking was permitted all day in 1987ish (previously pubs had to close 3pm-7pm), similar dire predictions about increases in drink-related violence during the day were raised. Not only did they fail to materialise, disorder actually dropped, as those who wished to drink all day were no longer forced out onto the streets. This had been a real problem in my town, and it practically vanished overnight.

2..Even if things do get temporarily worse, we have to change the culture. A foreign commentator, it may have been PJ O'Rourke, once observed that while the Americans drink to relax and enjoy themselves, and the Europeans to be sociable, the British drink like someone's going to take it away from them. That's because they do ! It's unrealistic to expect us to adopt a cafe culture overnight, but perhaps over time people will no longer feel compelled to to pour as much beer down their necks as possible before eleven o'clock.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Working Hours

Anyone else spot the obvious flaw in this study ?

Ananova - Staff 'Work Better After 6am Start'

Yep, I get more work done if I get in at 6am too. However, if everyone got in at 6am, I reckon it'd be about the same as 9am is now.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Being a Brummie lad by birth, I really shouldn't, but I can't resist it.

Tornado rips through Birmingham - causes millions of pounds worth of improvements...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

State of Alert

Saw this posted on Heroes & Villains and had to nick it...

Be aware that the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from 'Run' to 'Hide'. The only two higher alert levels in France are 'Surrender' and 'Collaborate'. The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's only white flag factory, effectively paralyzing their military.

It's not only the French that are on a heightened level of alert, The Italians have increased their alert level from "shout loudly and excitedly" to "elaborate military posturing". Two more levels remain, "ineffective combat operations" and "change sides".

The Germans also increased their alert state from "disdainful arrogance" to "dress in uniform and sing marching songs". They have two higher levels, "invade a neighbour" and "lose".

Seeing this reaction in continental Europe the Americans have gonef rom "isolationism" to "find somewhere else in the middle east ripe for regime change". Their remaining higher alert states are "take on the world" and "ask the British for help".

Finally here in GB we've gone from "pretend nothing's happening" to "make another cup of tea". Our higher levels are "remain resolutely cheerful" and "win".

Friday, July 22, 2005


Has there ever been a more worthless warm-up match than this ?

Gallstad 0-14 Aston Villa

I mean, six goals for a guy who only came on at half-time ? How exactly does this help prepare for a Premiership season ?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Lording it up

My prediction for today's cricket looked a bit crap at tea. One hour later, and I'm brushing shoulders with Nostradamus. Pitch looks a little capricious for a Test first day - perhaps it'll flatten out tomorrow. Gotta pray we're the one's batting if it does...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ashes to Ashes

Okay, so the phoney war is over, and the real Ashes battle starts tomorrow. Here's my predictions on how the series will go.

Lords : McGrath to bowl Australia to comfortable victory.
Edgbaston : England's pace quartet level the series.
Old Trafford : Warne skittles England's second innings to go 2-1 up.
Trent Bridge : High-scoring draw sees Australia retain Ashes.
Oval : England on top, but Aussies hold on for draw and series win.

I'm sorry, but until McGrath and Warne retire, I just don't think England are quite good enough...not that there's any shame in that, those two are both all-time greats.

Teenager wins child curfew challenge

Glad to see this youngster has shown up blanket ASBOs for the crap they are. We've got one in our town, which means some of the lads I play cricket with can't even wander in to buy a bag of chips ! Of course, what the police should be doing is cracking down on the couple of dozen youngsters who ARE causing trouble, but why penalise the few when you can penalise the many !

Friday, July 08, 2005

ICE ICE baby

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE)" campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone's annual life savers award.

The idea is that you store the word "ICE" in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency". In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them.

For more details click here.

It's so simple - everyone can do it. Please do. Please will you also forward this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life.

Also recommended by Vodafone.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tough Day

I'm feeling a little emotional after today (and yes, perhaps a little tired too), so this is likely to turn into a rant, but here goes.

God I love Britain. The way we deal with tragedy is so fucking cool. People just like us are dying a few thousand yards from where we stand, and what do we do ? We go down the pub, get pissed and make jokes about it.

And here's the crucial thing - WHY do we do that ?

Because we KNOW. We know innocent people's lives have been cut short in their prime. We know there are families who will be devastated by today's events, and may never recover. We know that we can't start to express even one iota of this, even though we all feel it, because it's just too damn painful to discuss. And most of all, we KNOW we have to carry on as if it never happened - and in that is our victory.

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London

Too fucking right

London Calling

Amazing how a city's mood can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in less than 24 hours.

First hint I got that something was up this morning was a Fire Investigation van belting past me at high speed on the A13 at just after 9am.

It's been a fairly mad day - have had calls or messages from both brothers in Plymouth, my cousin in the British Virgin Islands, and a colleague on holiday in New Zealand.

Canary Wharf is deserted - no sign of suicide bombers, shot or otherwise, but they've closed the complex to traffic, and entrance to the shopping centre is via one (monitored) door only. Found myself humming The Specials as I crossed the road...

Hello, mobile phone reception is coming back - first time in about three hours. Suspect the firm may need to re-think its policy of keeping people informed via Blackberry and SMS in a disaster situation.

Tim Worstall is keeping a running log of events here if you want more information.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Child Logic

Son number one is really getting into the swing of his reading, so I often ask him to read things as we walk around places, so he gets the habit of reading away from books. In the chip shop the other day, I asked him to read a couple of signs.

Infoholic UK : What does that say ?

SN1 : Easy, "No dogs".

IUK : And that one

SN1 : "No smoking"...(Pause)...Daddy, dogs aren't allowed to smoke in here !

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Picture Perfect

A heartwarming tale from Ananova of a man's lucky break in extreme adversity.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hat trick

So Villa have signed Kevin Phillips. Having managed to get both Sunderland and Southampton relegated in recent years, if we don't sign some quality players rather than other team's cast-offs, he'll be registering a hat-trick all right !

Take Two

Sir Clive has named his team for the second Test. Never been sure about Moody as an open-side - expect Dan Carter to kick a few penalties for offences at the breakdown. I'm also very surprised to see Jason Robinson keep his place, although apparently he played well yesterday morning. The lineout is still a worry - Thompson is capable of being at least as erratic as Byrne was last weekend, but one hopes they've been paying special attention to that area in training this week. Glad to see Lewsey restored to his best position, and Peel keep his place - I think Dawson would have been a major step back.

All in all, I expect to see a better performance, but I don't really see anything the All Blacks will be frightened of. New Zealand to win by two scores...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Getting very wet at Edgbaston at the moment - boy did it come down ! My decision not to bring my cap or jacket is looking a bit daft now.

Intruders on the pitch are causing much hilarity - one clown even crawled under the covers ! The stewards are falling all over the place trying to catch them - it's like the Keystone Cops out there !

Looks like we may get some more play after all - hurrah ! Between the ticket, the room for the night and sundry expenses (belch !), + must have spent 150 notes today - would be nice to see a result...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Dieting more lethal than obesity

I was put onto reports of this study by Tim Worstall, but I have to say it makes a lot of sense - as someone who is 'carrying a bit of timber', and yet plays sport three times a week, I generally feel fine, EXCEPT when I try and go on a diet.

I also feel the NHS are currently obsessed by weight - every time I go the doctor with some minor ailment, I get told 'you need to lose weight'. Well yes, I probably do but that's not the cause of the problem. I think GPs have become very lazy and look to that every time, and I think that if there WAS something seriously wrong with me, they'd probably miss it due to the fat focus.

Also, they've GOT to get away from the BMI as a useful measure - I come from a family with big shoulders, and in my most recent trip to the GP, was told my ideal weight was eleven and a half stone. I told him that I weighed thirteen stone when I was nineteen and as lean and fit as it was possible to be. Frankly, in my mid-thirties, if I could down into the fourteen somethings, I'd be happy...

Jobs for the boys

So now we know why Tony took us into the Iraq war - Euan needed a job

Saturday, June 25, 2005

O'Driscoll fumes at 'cheap shot'

Looks like BOD agrees with me...

Wimbledon Update

So, the great new hope Andrew Murray bows out with a glorious failure. Two sets up and blew it big time - clearly got all the attributes to be a future British Number One then...

Lords of Time

I've completed Last Dalek - the Daleks are the new Lords of Time. Exterminate !

Good game that. Son number one likes it too, although he has trouble moving and shooting at the same time...

Now I'm a Lord of Time, just going to nip back to last Saturday and put a few quid on Bangladesh at 300-1.

First Blood to the All Blacks

Very disappointing display by the Lions this morning - Sir Clive is probably going to cop the flak for his selection, with a certain amount of justification, but you can't expect to win games at Test level if you can't secure your own lineout ball, and Shane Byrne had an absolute shocker. Ironic, considering I was pleased he got the nod over Thompson precisely because he was supposedly a better thrower !

They'll not be able to prove it, but I suspect the All Blacks deliberately targeted O'Driscoll for some early 'treatment' - whether they set out to injure him or just rough him up a little I don't know, but it's still disgracefully cynical behaviour. They also got the benefit of some dodgy decisions and slices of luck early on, but once they had the momentum, they never really gave the Lions a sniff, and that second try was astonishing quality in the conditions.

Onto Wellington then, and with only three fit centres, not including the woefully out-of-form Gordon D'Arcy, Henson HAS to come in, with either Greenwood, who I thought did okay, or Horgan to partner him. Jonny moves to 10, Lewsey to full-back, and bring Shane Williams in on the wing. Thompson and Grewcock will probably start, and Martyn Williams may get a chance at 7. It wasn't ALL bad, the NZ backline didn't shred the Lions as I thought they might, and the Lions might just turn it around if they can secure some ball. Big 'if' though...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Techie Question

Yes, I know I work in the IT industry, but I crossed to the dark side (management) so long ago, I'm now almost completely useless on technical questions. Therefore, if anybody can help me with the next question, I'd appreciate it.

How does Trackback work ? If I've linked to someone else's blog, as in the previous posting, how do I get this to register on their site ?

Smoking Ban

I was going to write a long and impassioned article on the interference of the nanny state, despite the fact that I am not, and have never been, a smoker. However this guy has done such a bloody good job of summarising my thoughts, I'll just let you read his words.

And this is pretty good too...

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Men's singles draw is interesting. No noted grass court players in the third quarter - might be worth a cheeky each-way flutter on the likes of Nalbandian. And a nightmare draw for Marat Safin - Srichaphan followed by Phillippoussis, with Ancic waiting in the fourth round !

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Aussie Bashing

So we finally thump the Aussies in a cricket match and do I get to see any of it ? No. Played football last night, and after a very competitive game (drew 1-1), wandered down to a couple of local pubs to watch the second half of the game, only to find that neither had Sky any more. What is the world coming to ? Got in the car to head home, and the guy on the radio says Australia are 31 for 7. Excuse me ? Shurely shome mishtake ? But apparently not. Marvellous win, but it probably means nothing for the Ashes - I still think the Aussies will be that bit too strong for us until McGrath and Warne hang up their boots.

Had to drive home the long way in the event - massive fire in an East London scrapyard meant that the A12 was closed. One hell of a blaze - the smoke could be seen from miles away. The road was still shut this morning, but fortunately I come in a different way - nobody in their right mind goes anywhere near the Blackwall Tunnel of a morning...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Last Dalek

Nice little game Last Dalek on the BBC website for all you Doctor Who fans.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Out of Pocket

For the second succesive day, I have to leave work early to pick up my car. Got halfway to the garage yesterday, only to find out via a phone call that it had failed the MOT and needed new brake pads, discs and some new bearings. I'm going to start a sweepstake on exactly how many arms and legs this is going to cost me - my guess is about £1200. Anyone fancy a punt ?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Repeat Business

Near disaster at Infoholic Towers yesterday, as the family returned from holiday to discover that the Sky+ box had failed to record anything from mid-week. What would normally be a minor irritation escalated to a crisis situation when I discovered that we'd missed no less than THREE series finales (Charmed, ER and Desperate Housewives).

Thankfully E4 have a habit of repeating their blockbusters on 'Second Chance Sunday' as they call it, and Living TV were helpfully having a 'Charmed special weekend', which involved them showing all seven series finales, so I guess tonight will be finale night in the Infoholic household after all...never before have I uttered the phrase "Thank God there are so many repeats on TV nowadays".

In the end, the only show I couldn't recover was Doctor Who, but seeings as that's just about the most popular programme in the world via BitTorrent right now, I managed to download that in a couple of hours. Means me and son number one sitting round the laptop one night this week, but what the hell...

Those of you who suspect my choice of viewing, based on the above evidence, involves a criteria regarding the ratio of hot women in the cast, will not be overly suprised to hear that I am looking forward to the second series of One Tree Hill starting later this month.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Candid Camera

Ananova - Photographer criticised

I'm sorry, but anyone who cycles carrying an umbrella deserves everything they get.

Perhaps my brother-in-law would like to comment, as I understand he's got recent experience in the field ? :-)

Who you calling crazy ?

Stealing is bad, I think we all agree on that. Re-cycling however, is supposed to be good, right ? And working in IT as I do, we're always being encouraged to re-use code. Therefore, I have 're-used' this article from the Telegraph, via Tim Worstall. I have no comment to make about observing any of this behaviour at my place of work whatsoever.

New psychiatric conditions appear to be being discovered on a weekly basis.

Acute Change Managementism: The desire to start more change management programmes even before the last (failed) one can be properly evaluated.
Adult Consultancy Dependency: A regression to a child-like state on expensive management consultants who encourage that dependency. This leads to an inability to make decisions without consultants at hand.
Award-Seeking Addiction: A total inability not to waste time, money and effort chasing some meaningless government-sponsored industry award, plaque or badge.
Chronic Appraisal Phobia: A fear to doing staff appraisals while expecting one's boss to appraise oneself. It can involve rehearsing improbable explanations as to why appraisals are unnecessary.
Lock-up Memory Loss: A fugue like state that forgets all HR failure while remembering even partial success.
Comp & Ben Disorder: An obsessional condition brought on by Hay Point Addiction and legal cost phobia. It maybe accelerated by bench-marking others' salaries.
Creativity Finding Delusion: The belief that everyone is creative; that creativity is desirable in everyone; and that a few expensive courses can unblock and unleash creativity, even in health and safety experts.
Delayed Board-membership Ulcer: A stress condition caused by worrying if an HR manager will ever (or worse deserves to be) promoted to the board.
Email paralysis: A new condition caused by being so frequently flooded by emails that one has no time to formulate a considered response.
Hysterical High Flyer Mania: The belief wunderkinds can be found that will save the business. It involves frantic searches and often ends up by promoting good looking psychopaths.
Mild Meeting Madness: A very common complaint which is the belief that a) meetings work b) achieve anything c) they improve decision making.
Narcissistic Organogram Condition: A delusion caused by fiddling around with the organisational chart in the belief that a) it is important b) anyone pays attention to it and c) one can promote HR by doing so.
Decision Procrastination: A common condition caused by massive discomfort in making tough, decisions about staff cut-backs, lay-offs or pay reductions.
Repetitive Innovation Syndrome: This results from both a failure to learn and an addition to innovation programmes that promise much and deliver nothing. The results can be innovative phobia on the part of staff.
Restructuring Fatigue: The belief that the solution to all business problems lies in restructuring.
Teamitus: The insistence that everyone does and should work in teams. This involves commissioning sadistic ex-corporals to teach the benefits of interdependent teams on cold, wet Welsh hillsides.
Trainomania: Going on wacky, fashionable and unnecessary courses and coercing others to do likewise.
Shareholder Halo Illusion: This is the belief that the shareholder appreciates what one is doing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

PlayStation v XBox

BBC NEWS | Technology | Sony shows off new PlayStation 3

My oldest son, who will be six soon, has been telling all and sundry that he's getting an XBox for his birthday. His uncle's got one, and he loves to play Sonic Heroes (among other things) on it. However, with both Microsoft and Sony unveiling their new offerings, and only the latter saying their new product will definitely be backwardly compatible, I may have to nudge him towards a PS2 instead. Frankly, I don't fancy my chances...

Berger set for Aston Villa move

BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Aston Villa | Berger set for Aston Villa move

I'm sure they've got this wrong, that would involve spending money. Doug Ellis must have said "I'm going buy a burger"...

Monday, May 16, 2005

Green Day

Not a huge fan of Green Day as it goes, although I did like Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but I have to say their new video, Wake Me Up When September Ends, which premiered here on just about every channel here in the UK over the weekend, is powerful as hell. Featuring an all grown up Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), it features a couple of young lovers where the boy decides to sign-up and go off to Iraq. Damn good song too...

And how the hell did they release their first album in 1994 ? The lead singer looks about fifteen even now...perhaps it's just 'cos the When I Come Around video is getting more airtime now than it did when it was released, and they WERE really young then.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Constitutional Reform

Ananova - Peers give Labour Lords majority

I think we all agreed that the House of Lords needed reform. But did any of us forsee the disgustingly partisan way that New Labour have destroyed the old system, failed to come up with an alternative, and in the meantime, stuffed the interim with cronies ?

Anyone who doesn't think Blair is very clever and very ruthless, please think again.

The Art of Captaincy

Apparently I'm captaining the cricket team on Sunday. Bit of a new experience, seeings as I haven't skippered a team since I was an under 15 - yeeee-eeees, may have been a while ago. Mrs Infoholic is doing the teas too, which probably gives her more influence on the day than me. Wonder who she fancies to open the bowling...

Blinded by Science

Over the last week, I have had good reason to consider the following question - how does the human eye calculate the trajectory of an object propelled at speed in the general direction of the observer ?

I came to the conclusion that the eye uses the deviation in height and width over time from the object's starting position in order to calculate the projected position as the object passes the observer. The closing speed of the object to the observer is clearly of tertiary importance, as a) it can be derived from the other measurements and b) it is more difficult to judge, being a function of the perceived size of the object over time, which will clearly vary less than the other two dimensions.

All of which helps to explain why the damn cricket ball hit me in the head last Sunday before I even picked up where it was going. The ball basically left the bowler's hand and proceeded in a straight line towards my head. Seeing no horizontal or vertical deviation, my brain only registered the increase in perceived size at the very last minute, giving me just enough time to duck my head enough to take the impact on the ear rather than than the bridge of the nose.

Infoholic UK Retired Hurt 1

Conclusion : Wear a helmet - if a quickie chucks a beamer at you, you won't know until it hits you.

Beefy's not bothered

BBC SPORT | Cricket | England | Botham unworried by batting blips

Ian Botham is clearly a lot less concerned than I am about the form of England's batsmen. On the selection front, if Thorpe is fit, then I would pick him at five, with Vaughan at three and Bell at four. If he's not (and I don't think he will be), then I'd propose a straight swap with Pietersen - we know all about what Key can do and watching him take Bangladesh apart will tell us nothing new, but Bell has one test cap and Pietersen none - if you can't blood new talent against Bangladesh, when can you ? Similarly, I would give Jon Lewis a run at Lord's, see what the lad can do.

My XI : Trescothick, Strauss, Vaughan, Bell, Pietersen, Flintoff, Jones, Giles, Hoggard, Harmison, Lewis.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Malcolm Glazer

Ananova - Fans vow protest over Glazer buyout

I would just like to express my own message of condolence to all Manchester United fans.

Bwahahahahaha ! Bwahahahahahaha ! Capitalism rules - you lived by the sword, now you die by it you hypocritical whingebags. One final thing - bwahahahahahaha !

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Mission Accomplished

My favourite result from last week's general election came in Cardiff North

Catherine Taylor-Dawson (Vote for Yourself Party) 1 vote

At last, a politician who lives up to expectations. Well done Catherine !

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Top Order

BBC SPORT | Cricket | Counties | Strauss continues county struggle

Bit of a worry that so many of England's top order haven't found form yet. I'm going to the first test against Bangladesh at Lord's, and they should have no problems there, but the Aussies will be a different kettle of eels...

This post is to test the Blog This functionality.

Email Test

And here I'm trying out the email to blog functionality.


Okay, so I'm defecting from my current blog home, not that I've updated it much lately. Hopefully this blog will have a wider remit (and readership !) than the last one, but you may have to bear with me for a few days while I familiarise myself with the software and get it the way I want it.

To keep you going for now - don't you wish the company you worked for was as cool as this ?