Daylight Saving

Can someone explain this to me? The country turns its clocks back one hour, giving us the benefit of darker evenings and pale mornings. Summertime has a proven record of cutting traffic deaths in the evening as well providing more time for evening activities i.e making us more social beings. It was first introduced into the UK during the First World War to try and alleviate hardship and promote industry. It was a political and economic decision which undoubtedly promotes society. As a kid, I remember those long summer days, playing football on the green and then riding home around 9pm. Or these days in the pub, sitting outside and enjoy the sun.

But the reason we still turn the clocks back is simply to appease farmers or Highland school kids. Well considering agriculture accounts for less than 2% of GDP these days and Scotland wants to have far greater independence, I am all for them keeping it, while the rest of us managed to get some longevity and breath into our day and lives.

The Darkside of Man

Further to the story below but deeply disturbing and horrific. A West London man has been convicted of paying for acid to be thrown in the face of a girl. After meeting her and then finding her on facebook, he did briefly date the girl, only for it to end within weeks. He was also convicted of assaulting her three days earlier, threatening to hang her but the jury was deadlocked on a rape charge. What is more disturbing is I know this girl. Not well but I have spoken to her on a few occasions at MMA events.

She was a ring girl and TV presenter on a London network, mainly interviewing actors and reviewing films. She was always bubbly and cute but also had an intelligence you don’t often find in a ring girl. At the age of 24, she had a lot to look forward to, a promising career in the least, a full and active life at most.

But since the attack in March 2008, she has had 12 operations on her face to try and ‘normalise’ her appearance. And before she was a pretty girl. In an industry which requires beauty and allure, it’s a cruel blow. But far worse will be the mental impact. Will she ever trust a man again? How will she feel about her appearance again? Will she keep that bubbly, vivacious character?

The attacker plead guilty and will be sentenced soon. How someone can do this is beyond me. How lacking in moral fibre, in basic human ethics can you be? Everyone knows the destructive power of sulphuric acid. Yet he seemingly had no second thoughts in doing such an act, not even on the journey to find her. The money was enough.

Danny Lynch, the man who physically assaulted her, threatened to kill her and then paid for the acid attack was also found guilty of the attacks. He too will be sentenced soon. But what sentence does he deserve? How can you compensate for the possible 50-60 years of pain, the looking into the mirror and forever seeing that attack, the memories of the burning, the reddening and peeling of her facial skin? It’s an attack that leaves us all lost for words, struggling with disbelief and choking with anger.

For why did Lynch do this? One reason is clearly his lack of moral base. But it also goes far deeper into the psyche of man. I have long thought men at their most base levels believe they own women and find it difficult to accept others possessing ‘their’ woman. The dark emotions of jealousy or envy rears up within them making it impossible for them. Men have always been vulnerable to their emotions. While they can be infinitely practical with their head, their heart can be equally weak. After all it’s common for men to fall apart after their first-love break up, usually descending hilariously sad drunkenness. I know that from personal experience. But its not always the same for everyone. Many young men have killed themselves, believing they will/can never love again.

Women have a far more logical approach and it stems from their biological imperatives. The high numbers of women living well beyond the death of their husbands can be easily compared to the numbers of men who die shortly after their wives. Suicidal men also often ‘take their families with them when they commit suicide wrongly thinking they won’t survive without them. A case of a father killing himself and his son in a dingy happened off the East coast of England recently. The parents were getting divorced and the father drown his son and himself.

Its warped and illogical but performed through an overly-emotional and desperate framework. Most men are adjusted enough to see a longer-term, more separate view. Life goes on, they tell themselves. Their family support them. Their friends keep them entertained and get them back an even keel. It’s all a learning curve. That’s how most men deal with it. Maturely and calmly despite the alcoholic endeavours.

So what happened her, to Katie wasn’t a normal occurrence. Men are better than that. While I despise Danny Lynch for this, I understand his thought process even if I don’t agree with his actions. Unfortunately for Katie, she has innocently met someone who did something she’ll never be able to forget. And that’s why he did it. To possess her forever.


The male ego and the IMF

That’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF which at present is negotiating with a number of countries to provide loans and financial stability in this present crisis. States as large as the Ukraine and Argentina have come for help while worryingly South Korea, the 13th largest economy in the world is trying to stave off its huge debts alone. Pride, I guess. So its a very important time for Mr Strauss-Kahn. Despite being a family man, he is deep in meetings, putting his intelligence and leadership into the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Well he is deep in meeting all right, defending his lack of judgement in having an affair with a fellow married staff member, Piroska Nagy (pictured below). He has only been in the job for a year but still proved unable to keep his mind on the job.

So what happens now? Well in this time, it hardly the time to fire him. And the IMF lacks the partisan politics which mired the US Congress during the Clinton – Monica Lewinsky affair of the late 1990s. But yet again, you find a very powerful man being unable to make head-led decisions over a frankly average girl. It was as brazen as the Clinton affair and Strauss-Kahn admitted his affair. He and his wife have “tourné la page” sur “une aventure d’un soir”and Mrs Nagy has resigned. Having an extra-martial affair is considered a private matter in Europe and should be here. It’s just the timing and the complete lack of self-control over emotions is a clear indicator of man’s inner ego and priorities.

Ramos and Comolli Fired

Shame for Juande Ramos even though he has looked increasingly hopeless lately. His tactic of playing one striker up front makes little sense. I understand he is trying to protect his shaky back four but by doing so he firstly leaves his attack isolated and secondly takes direct responsibility away from the centre midfield to play like the players they are paid to be. Zokora wanders around, consistently 10 metres from the action, Jenas tries to be world class and he had headless chickens on the wing.

Comolli should have gone years ago. What qualifications does he have to evaluate players? When was this considered a good idea?

Daniel Levy the chairman, wants to sell the club. Its worth a lot with its support and location but naturally a great deal less in the Championship.

Important Breakthrough in MS treatment

Shocking disease. Deserves to be combatted.

A drug developed to treat leukaemia may be a powerful new weapon against multiple sclerosis, researchers say.

Alemtuzumab appears to stop progression of the disease in patients with early stage active relapsing-remitting MS – the most common form of the condition. The University of Cambridge study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests the drug may enable repair of previous damage.

More here

Joey Barton – It’s long but articulate

“At the end of the day, I let a lot of people down and now I’m just hoping to re-pay them. I know a lot of people don’t think that I deserve another chance but fortunately I have got one. I am very, very fortunate. And now I have to make the most of it. There are people that have been in jail longer than me. I was watching the boxing the other night and saw Bernard Hopkins. He had been in jail for four years and managed to turn his life around. I just have to try to take inspiration from that. I’m not the first person to mess up and I have messed up on more than one occasion, but nothing sobers you up like the reality of going to prison. That’s it. I know it’s the last chance saloon. I am just thankful that I’ve got that opportunity. Now it’s time for me to keep my head down and let my football do my talking.
“I have done enough talking over the last few years and sometimes I have been pretty controversial. But to be to honest it is always the truth. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t feel it. At the end of the day, I am a human being. I have made mistakes. Probably a lot more mistakes that other people. People are quick to condemn me, but if you don’t make mistakes you don’t give them the chance to start throwing stones. But all I would say is that I have hopefully learned from my mistakes and I am trying to put things right and get my football career and my life back on track. I probably won’t speak to the Press again for a long time. But I know that if I don’t speak people will just print what they want. So I am just taking this chance to clear things up. It’s not that I don’t want to speak but it’s just a case of me stopping talking and starting performing.
“Time will be the great teller. One thing I do know is that I am sober. I have not had a drink for ten months – since December 27th. That’s a start. It’s well-documented that I have had problems with alcohol in the past and the thing I went to jail for was alcohol-related. I am not using that as an excuse. It was my own stupidity. We have all had a few pints. Alcohol does something to you that makes you do things that you would not necessarily do when you are sober. Things will be levelled at me that I had a fight with Ousmane (Dabo) when I was sober. I understand that. I know that if I drink again I am putting my football career in jeopardy. I have to put everyone that has believed in me first and that is why I will not drink again. I feel better instantly.
The last 18 months have been hell. I have been living with a court case over me. If I am brutally honest I knew that I was going to jail. Imagine trying to get out of jail and then going back to St James’ Park getting booed by the fans. I wasn’t playing particularly well. I was over-weight. I wasn’t feeling sharp. But somehow I found the strength to come through it. I put in a couple of average performances at the end of the season, in my own opinion. I did a decent stint for the team and thankfully for me the manager at the time, Mister (Kevin) Keegan, he saw that and the way I turned my life around and stopped drinking. I was trying to take on board everything that everyone was saying to me, but probably in the past I always thought I knew best.
“Prison wasn’t a nice experience and hopefully people can see the stupid mistakes I have made and think to themselves maybe they won’t make as many mistakes as I have made. Now I can be a shining beacon for kids who have been in trouble before like myself, people who have messed up. I can hopefully show them that if you knuckle down and try to do that right things then time is a great healer.
“In the long-term that will be my focus. But in the meantime I am just trying to get m my life back on track. Obviously it has been documented that I had to do community service and at the minute I am still repaying my debt to society and what the judge has ordered. There will be things I will be doing especially with something like Sporting Chance and causes that are supported by the club. It’s important that I am able to do what I know about and things that have helped me through the difficult times and in the local area and around the club to repay my debt to everyone who has had the embarrassment of reading the papers and having to read about me going out drinking and doing stupid things. Since I got out of prison, there has been a weight off my shoulders. I don’t feel under pressure and I don’t have to got and stand in front of a judge anymore. I don’t feel like I am going to jail.
“Just try to imagine for one minute having to go on a football pitch and, at the end of the season when everyone else is planning to go to Dubai or America and they’re all sitting there thinking about where they will be going on their holiday, all I was thinking about was going to jail. And that was down to my own stupidity. But I still had to go on to the pitch and turn in performances but sometimes your head just isn’t clear. But I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me by any means. If anything I rightly deserve every bit of criticism that was levelled at me. I can’t stand here and try to defend myself because I am indefensible. And I am the first to acknowledge that – I am indefensible.
“To say I want to be a different person would be to take away what I am myself. There are bits of me that I don’t want to be. And the majority of those things come out when I am drinking. I don’t really want to use drink as an excuse, but it was a major part of me messing up. If you read about my previous incidents, which were well documented, a lot of people know about them, it was about drink. You do feel a little bit sort of, not hard done by, but my reputation will always precede me to the day I die for some people that probably can’t be quickly enough.
“For me, I have looked at the Cipriani-Lewsey incident and while I don’t know exactly what went on there, what I do know is that sportsmen in full-contact sports – although rugby is a lot more full-contact than us – tempers do get heated. I have seen that throughout my career. Maybe if it was English guys it never leaves the training ground, but at the end of the day it’s well documented and it does take two to tango. People must remember that. But I am disappointed at myself for the way I reacted but there are lessons to be learned and if I don’t learn those lessons then my career will be over. My chance will have gone. I have had more chances than anyone deserved but I am just thankful that I have got them and hopefully I will go some way to repaying the debt. I may never fully repay it but I will have to try.
“They (fans who want him sacked) have an argument. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but thankfully for me the club chose no to do that for whatever reasons. It never happened and today all I know is that I’m an employee of Newcastle United and as soon as I get back on the football pitch I will endeavour to give it my all. That’s all I have ever done. That’s something that could never be levelled at me. When I was at Manchester City, I always gave everything had and the same applies to Newcastle. What I lack in ability and all other things I try to make up for in hard work. That’s all I can do.
“You can’t make everyone happy. I have probably made a lot more people unhappy than a normal person will, but young kids may look at the likes of Michael Owen, David Beckham who are unbelievable professionals, who are squeaky clean and can’t relate to them. I have met people on the street and I have met people in prison and they relate to you. When I speak, I speak from experience about the things I have done wrong in my life and how I have tried to change them. I think they respect that.
“Hopefully I will be able to reach those people who have been unreachable. That’s all I can do. People have reached out for me and tried to help me when I didn’t deserve it. Hopefully I can be there and be a role model that I haven’t been before. All I’ve wanted to do all my life was play football and that’s all I know. I live and breathe the game. If I don’t play well on a Saturday I go home and sit down and watch the game in a sulk and try to put things right on a Monday morning.
“Probably I have been guilty of caring too much about my profession and that sometimes spills over. When I have got into trouble before on training grounds … if anything, I expected too much of others. That’s something I have do deal with. It’s not a case of all of a sudden you go to jail and you see the light and you come out. It’s a work in progress. The main thing for me is staying sober. I have a great support system from all the guys at Sporting Chance and I feel so good about the future. It’s messy when I look back. It’s not great when I look back and if I could go back and rewind things and change things, I would, but I can’t. All is do is look to the future and try to help or soothe things and repay my debts for what I have done wrong.”

The Boys are back in Toon

Times are looking up. The boys fought it out well, overcame a dodgy refereeing decision and showed the kind of organisation and heart that’s been missing throughout the club. If JFK gets us a win over Sunderland this weekend, he can have the job for the meantime.

Sir Bobby speaks here. I agree with it all except for the Shearer comments. It’s just too early for the man and I’d rather he stood up when times were disastrous, not when its convenient for him.

“There are all sorts of words you could use to describe what’s happened at Newcastle and some words have been vitriolic, but the one I’d use to express what I feel about the club is sadness. It’s not just disappointing or outrageous or obnoxious, it’s just sad how a big, magnificent club like it is, could have reached this point.

“The five years I had at Newcastle were brilliant. To have been in charge of my father’s club, phew. If my dad had known that, he wouldn’t have believed it. He’d have been so proud, he’d have somersaulted all the way to the games. It was bottom when I took over. It’s hard to envisage how the club has gone back to where it was, and possibly worse.

“There have been way too many managers in that time and some of the player acquisitions have been dreadful. Who’s been responsible for that, I don’t know. In Kevin Keegan’s case, that was one of his arguments, that they were bringing in players that he didn’t even know. Certain players came into the club when Kevin was there and I don’t know who bought them.”

“I felt that lift, the emotion (when Keegan returned). On that day, the whole city was enraptured, everyone was excited and thought that the Messiah had returned; that it might take a little while, but that he’d get it right.

“Everyone thought he’d have a great relationship with Mike Ashley, that because he’d been given a three-year contract, the club would back him. It was a shock, but it felt like an inspired choice. I thought to myself ‘this is it now’. But then they threw a spanner in the works by appointing Dennis Wise and he operates from London. Whether Dennis has got the skill, expertise and experience in that field is very doubtful.

“Alan (Shearer) might not have any experience, but he knows what the club is all about, he knows how the supporters feel and he’d be dedicated to it. I think Alan will make a very good manager. He’s got clout, he had that in the dressing room. He loved the club, he wanted everything right. The one thing he hasn’t got, of course, is experience and to run a club like Newcastle, you’d need a very experienced man. Whether Kevin will come back or whether they’ll give it to Alan or a combination of the two or someone else entirely, I don’t know.

Anything for a Pie eh?

A naked man found wedged in the chimney of a supermarket in Wigan has been arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Police officers discovered him trapped in a chimney breast of a Tesco Express store on Ormskirk Road, Pemberton. Firefighters were called to rescue the man who had become trapped in the chimney as he tried to get out. Police said that because the man was naked he was taken to hospital as a precaution but was treated and discharged before being arrested. A GMP spokeswoman said: “It is believed some of his clothes came off as a result of him struggling to get out of the chimney.” A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and remains in police custody.

A Tale of Two Managers

Felipe Scolari & Juande Ramos are being interviewed by Richard Keys at the start of the season. Keys says to Ramos ‘What do you want from Spurs this season?’. Ramos replies ‘A respectable league position first and foremost’. Keys says ‘What about Chelsea, Felipe?’. He replies ‘Win the champions league, FA Cup, League Cup & win the premier league by over 20 points’. Keys says ‘Don’t you think thats a little unrealistic?’. Scolari replies ‘Well he fucking started it’.