Reading lend dear old Nottingham a hand, bless them

For the first time in about twenty years (the last time was at Reading’s old ground, Elm Park) I attended a football match today and enjoyed it. I am all for Reading helping Nottingham Forest to avoid relegation. 😉

Here’s a photo (below) I took from my seat of Kevin Doyle making an early challenge for a throw-in.

Reading looked promising in the first half but could not land the killer blow despite many chances.

As a result, they seemed to receive the morale equivalent of an injection of dopamine in the interval and came back out like losers. Forest smelt blood and scored a fantastic goal. You have to hand it to them. But then again, as Alan Hanson would say “Where was the defence?” The goal was not arty, crafty or fancy. No side angles or deflections here. It was what I would call an old-fashioned goal. The guy ran 25 yards dead centre down the pitch and booted the ball full square on the goal and it went straight into the back of the net. Wham. A “Roy of the Rovers” goal.

And then the bloke who runs the Reading supporters’ North End singing machine got the hump and took his toys home, and that was it. Very depressing.

Steve Coppell is going to need all his great experience and skills to make the most of the last thirteen games. Otherwise old Sir John will be winding up an “amicable agreement” with him at the end of the season.

Paddy whups James Graham’s ass

I should declare an interest: I work for a major global computer company. Mind you, I also disgree with all the surveillance state nonsense which Labour has been edging forward (especially the clerk of the local water works being able to read my email).

I was alerted via Twitter to Paddy (Lord) Ashdown’s response to James Graham’s LDV article “Is Lord Ashdown the IT industry’s patsy?”

It is worth reading the article and the response.

To be fair to James, he was making some fair points. It all comes under the heading of free speech. But I think there is a little disease which effects bloggers, which I think James or perhaps, more accurately, whoever wrote the title of the piece, may have fallen foul of here. It’s called “Sexytitlitis”. You write quite a balanced article but after putting in all that effort you want someone to read it, so you give it a provocative title (see above).

Check your password

I’m a pale imitation of Dr Pack, I know. A friend of mine was recently the subject of a Nigerian scam. They guessed (or ‘malwared’) his Yahoo mail password, took over his account and sent out begging mails to all the contacts. The mail said he was stranded in Lagos….you know the rest – the text is below.

Fortunately, I sat next to my friend in hundreds of (quite expensive) English lessons some 35 years ago, and I knew he wouldn’t commit such sloppy grammar, as was in the text, to a mail.

But my poor friend was reduced to texting his friends to ask for their email addresses to restart a new account.

Now Jack Straw, for it is he, has been the victim of much the same scam.

It’s a good prompt to check that your password for any “Hotmail” accounts is unpredictable and relatively complex.

In need of assistance

How’s work on your end? This has had to come in a hurry and it has left me in a devastating state. These people won’t even allow people write in native dialects as they have configured the systems here to display messages in English only. I am in some terrible situation and I’m really going to need your urgent help. Yesterday, unannounced, I came to visit a new researchers’ complex in Nigeria, Imperial College Nigeria, Gallery Section, (South Campus, Nigeria), Nigeria. Well we actually got robbed in the Hotel I booked in and they made away with my wallet (which included my cash, diaries and credit cards). My cellphones were not brought along since I did not get to roam them before coming over. The phone cables have been burnt including internet connection cables and the Hotel’s database has been compromised as well. So all I can do now is pay cash and get out of here quickly. I do not want to make a scene of this which is why I did not call the office or my house, this is embarassing enough. Please I want you to lend me a sum of £1200pounds, just to clear my Hotel bills and get the next plane home. The Consulate only cleared me of my travelling documents and ticketing since I came in as a tourist and not on official purpose. Please be rest assured that I’d have your money reimbursed to you immediately I get home.Once again, I thank you so much for your imminent response and please as soon as you are done help me write out the MTCN number given to you by the Western Union official and the details you used in sending me the money. Please scan the receipt and attach it to the mail for me. Thank you so much as I would be waiting to hear from you.

Thank you in advance.


Deep Tory hypocrisy as they back out of their commitment to Freedom of Information

Jo Swinson brilliantly tweeted the unfolding disgrace in parliament yesterday.

Quite frankly, we’ve come to expect the kind of outrageous stupidity of Labour over Freedom of information, as with Jack Straw’s refusal to publish six year old cabinet minutes. It is ludicrous because the minutes, if Clare Short is to be believed, are more notable for the reporting a lack of debate, rather than the full debate which Straw disingenuously says he wants to ensure in future, and gives as a reason for refusing the minutes’ release.

But it is the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Conservatives which is most notable on this matter. The moment they sniff power they ditch all their promises about freedom of information and effectively back out of their commitment to the Convention on Modern Liberty before the ink is dry on it.

One-armed CBeebies’ presenter exposes parents’ prejudices

A rather disturbing story. Cerrie Burnell is a presenter on CBeebies. You can read about the furore surrounding her here in the Daily Mail.

Basically, nine complaints have been lodged with the BBC from parents who think their children may be upset by Ms Burnell, who has had a disability from birth. And, of course, as usual, coverage in the media has whipped the whole thing up so that there have been some pretty unedifying remarks about the presenter on various net message boards.

Lucy Mangan in the Guardian covers the issue very sensitively and sensibly:

Parents have complained that they cannot let their children watch her because the sight will “possibly cause sleep problems”, that she is scaring toddlers, and that they are being forced to discuss the issue of disability with their offspring before they are ready.

Altogether, it makes you glad that the medieval witch-hunters weren’t internet-enabled. The comments of course reveal nothing about the children’s true feelings and everything about those of the adults involved. Young, CBeebies-age children do not have profound concerns about disability. I worked for several years, on and off, at a school for physically disabled children and it was never their able-bodied peers who were the problem when our paths crossed on school outings, but their parents, who kept them pinioned to their sides and made sure they turned their faces away.

I have to agree. I watched CBeebies with our child for about six years until a few years ago. I have always found that young children are extremely accepting of everyone they encounter. They don’t even notice disabilities – not in a negative way anyway.

I congratulate Ms Burnell on her continuing role on CBeebies.

As for ‘scaring children’. Have these parents not read any children’s stories recently? Little Red Riding Hood is only the half of it.