Newcastle 0 – 0 Derby

How the hell we didn’t win today, I really don’t know. Dominated and created so many chances. Could have had 6. On any other day, we would have smashed Derby by half time. But at least we weren’t Cardiff who blew a 4-0 half time lead to draw 4-4. 12 corners to 1 and 13 shot to 2 says it all.

Gutierrez and Enrique had an excellent first half but Enrique stopped bombing forward in the second which left Guti isolated. Delivery into the box once R Taylor went off was poor too. Smith maybe sat too much but played well. Harper, Coloccini, Simpson and Taylor look rock solid, especially Coloccini who actually looks far better than this league. Carroll is still a rough diamond. We might have seen the best of Pancrate sadly, Shola was guff and Nolan maybe looked tired.

Still I am enjoying this league and Nile Ranger is still the best name in the football league.

That’s democracy at work!

This is an epic piece of political theatre. Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man (note: you hold that title until Putin says so) is made to reopen a factory despite the fact that it is privately owned and losing vast amounts of money after the collapse of aluminium prices in 2009. The workers protested, Putin flies in, just off hunting semi-naked some other defenceless animals, gives a speech and forces the owner to re-open the factory. “You have made thousands of residents hostage to your ambition, your lack of professionalism and perhaps your greed.” “Come here and sign,” Mr Putin instructed Mr Deripaska, pointing to an agreement to restart the factory and holding out a pen. Mr Deripaska signed. “My pen—give it back,” Mr Putin then snapped. No doubt who works for who you think.

Of course, the truth is far more cozy than that. From the Economist:

The stony-faced presenters did not tell viewers that the agreement had in fact been reached before Mr Putin’s visit, nor did they mention that state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) had agreed to extend a $4.5 billion loan to Rusal for another year, even though the amount exceeds its normal limit on exposure to a single firm. The public would have been even more surprised to learn that a state bank would soon be offering to invest in Rusal’s planned initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. The rescue of Mr Deripaska, in turn, is a sign of the ever-closer ties between the Kremlin and Russia’s oligarchs.

Just finished


I think most journalists are pretty lazy, number one. A little lazy and also they’re spoon-fed information, such as the weapons of mass destruction back in 2003….you have these people who create a package of news, develop it as a story line, a scenario, and they find, as Mailer once said about the press, that they’re like a donkey. You have to feed the donkey. The donkey every day has to eat. So [special interests] throw information at this damn animal that eats everything. Tin cans, garbage. – Gay Talese

I’ve just finished Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, his exhaustive journalist book covering the execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977. Mailer, the man who brawled with actors over their credibility and the only white journalist allowed into Muhammad Ali’s training camps, took on unglamourous topics, researched and edited them thoroughly over many years and published the complete stories without thought for the casual reader.

Also finished:

Inherent Vice – Thomas Pynchon

A detective story set in California in the late 1960s with as stoned P.I. Doc Sportello investigates a missing billionaire and the murder of his bodyguard. Its cheesy, charming and for Pynchon pretty readable.

Unforgiveable Blackness – Geoffrey C. Ward

The story of Jack Johnson, the first Black Heavyweight champion of the world in an era of overt racism is an excellent historical study of Johnson’s pursuit of the title and the contrversy caused by his relationships with white women in turn of the century America.

Hands of Stone by Christian Guidice

A biography of Roberto Duran. Excellent details of the fights of Duran’s great career but lacking real insight into what made him tick. The lack of amateur psychology could be a credit but with such an emotional and angry boxer, some analysis would work.

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano

I didn’t know for a long while. A short ramble through the dreams of a dying priest. Hard to follow what is happening for a while but then suddenly, as the story races through Europe, Pinochet and his Generals and the ever-present poet Neruda, only the lack of sleep prevents you from finishing it on my sofa.

Next on the bedside table, on the bus or train..

Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden – the hunt for Pablo Escobar

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges

The Great War for Civilisation by Robert Fisk

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The Savage Mind by Levi Strauss

The Human Stain by Philip Roth