Archive for August, 2012

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

In 1968 the American artist Andy Warhol said that “in future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” This could not be truer for Mark David Chapman who was denied parole for the seventh time last week. Chapman shot John Lennon in 1980 outside the Manhattan apartment building where Lennon lived. Chapman was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

At his previous hearing, Chapman recalled that he had considered shooting Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor instead and said he chose Lennon because he was more accessible, that his apartment building by Central Park “wasn’t quite as cloistered.”

The former security guard said his motivation was instant notoriety but that he later realized he made a horrible decision for selfish reasons. Chapman can try again for parole in two years, but personally I would throw away the key to his cell and let him rot.

Chapman is only one of many millions who strive for their 15 minutes of fame. Closer to my home town, a 60 year old man living as a native American (an Indian) in Swansea won a court battle for his right to keep badger paws and eagle wings in his semi-detached home which he considered to be trappings of his Native American lifestyle.

Mangas Colaradas (which is his adopted Apache name) vowed to fight the court case on the grounds that it is part of his Apache life even though he has been nowhere near the Apache reservation 6,000 miles away and he lives in a three-bed semi in Townhill. Wait a doggone minute. When I was a teenager Townhill was generally regarded as the Wild West part of town where angels feared to tread, but the odd (very odd) pseudo American Indian wouldn’t look out of place.

Wearing his ceremonial head dress and snake’s head necklace probably left over from last year’s Halloween party, he was rain dancing with joy after charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service before he gave his evidence. Ironically he concluded: “Common sense (oh yes his head dress was dripping with it) should have entered into it far sooner, but they just don’t understand my native way of life.” What happened to his tepee?

Returning to Uncle Sam’s side of the Atlantic, a thirty year old female American athlete, Lolo Jones, has been doing the rounds of the chat shows since returning from the Olympics in London. She finished fourth in the women’s 100 meters hurdles final, and intends to hang around for Rio in 2016. She’s reasonably attractive, but has the IQ of dish mop. I began to wonder why she was receiving a disproportionate amount of attention from the media when she claimed she was still a virgin. That will most definitely earn you fifteen minutes of fame.

Finally, 18 year old Tom Daly won a bronze medal for Team GB in the diving event on the last day of the games after failing miserably in the pair’s competition on the opening day of the Olympics when they were considered favorites for the gold. This boy hogged the headlines for nearly two weeks and for the life of me I don’t know why. Team GB won 19 bronze medals during the games but no other bronze star received the media coverage allocated to Master Daly. To his credit he did look cute in his speedo and fake tan and undoubtedly gave the gay community goose bumps.

I wonder what I could do to achieve my fifteen minutes of fame. Suggestions on a post card please, and I will treat the most original suggestion with the contempt it deserves.



Cure for Post-Olympic Syndrome-Return of the Premiership

Friday, August 17th, 2012

It doesn’t seem possible but to-morrow represents opening day to a new season in the English Premiership. Most of us couch potatoes are still reeling from the magnificent achievement of Team GB at the London Olympics, and a little depressed that the Games are assigned to history.

It’s quite amazing to me that Rory Mcllroy winning the PGA Championship last weekend was almost overshadowed by the Olympics, but golf will be given its platform when the Ryder Cup is staged in the USA next month.  Nevertheless a final round of 66 would suggest the “Boyo” is back to his mercurial best.

It’s only a couple of months ago that we were entrenched in the European Championships with Spain confirming that winning the World Cup in 2010 was no fluke by adding European Champions to their impressive resume.

So we return to the bread and butter of the Premiership, and my thoughts go out to my home team Swansea City. They finished a credible eleventh last season when many soothsayers were predicting relegation.

However, the off season has witnessed several changes in management and player personnel for the Swans. Manager Brendan Rodgers and his assistant Colin Pascoe are now at the helm in Liverpool. Rodgers signed player maker Joe Allen from his old team for 15 million pounds, Steven Caulker returned to Spurs following his successful loan spell, and another key loan signing, “The Iceman” is now a Spurs player on double the wages.

 Scott Sinclair has one year left on his contract, but has refused to sign a new one. Consequently it’s almost certain that the Swans will be selling him to receive some value before he becomes a free agent, and it is rumored that Manchester City are very interested in him.

On reflection one would agree that the guts have been ripped out of the team, but we must trust in the old cliché that the Club is bigger than any one individual. Arsenal will attest to that having sold their captain and last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie to their dreaded rivals Manchester United.

Fortunately the Swans have become accustomed to losing managers to bigger clubs (maybe it’s debatable whether Wigan Athletic represents a bigger fish than the Swans,) and they wasted little time replacing Rodgers with Danish legend Michael Laudrup. Before we get too carried away, Laudrup was a legend as a player, but has achieved only moderate success as a manager/coach with a succession of clubs: Brondby, Getafa, Spartak Moscow and Real Mallorca.

He wasn’t slow off the mark in signing some replacements. Kyle Bartley was purchased from Arsenal, Jose Manuel Flores from Genoa, Jonathan de Guzman on loan from Villareal and Michu, an attacking midfielder who scored 15 goals for Ray Villecano in La Liga last season and looks like an absolute bargain at 2 million pounds. None of the players are household names, but neither were Michel Vorm, Nathan Dyer, or Danny Graham all of whom performed extremely well in their first season in the top flight.

Obviously, it’s a voyage of discovery with so many new players in the squad and Queens Park Rangers is not a happy hunting ground for the Swans. Nevertheless Michael Laudrup is making the right noises: “the philosophy of the Swansea team fits mine.” It’s good to know that the coach and team are on the same page at the beginning of a new campaign, so fingers crossed and let battle commence.

Postscript: What do I know? QPR 0 Swansea City 5 (Two goals by debutant Micho.) WBA 3 Liverpool 0.


Olympic Diary: The Final Twist

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

 August 10th

“USA players have donned t-shirts reading ‘Greatness has been found,’” Canadian writer Jerrad Peters wrote on Twitter after they beat Japan 2-1 to win gold. “That, in a nutshell, is why no one outside the US likes them.”

A man who repainted his local post box gold in honor of Olympic sailing hero Ben Ainslie has been arrested for vandalism.

Olympic pundits show that the BBC is full of cheerleading chumps.

Great Britain’s bid to end a 24-year wait to play for an Olympic hockey gold medal came to a halt in the most humiliating of ways as they were subjected to their heaviest Olympic defeat in 9-2 annihilation at the hands of Holland.

NBC chief Dick Ebersol says the BBC has been too focused in British athletes. Has he ever watched his own channel fronted by the poison dwarf, Bob Costas?

Austrian athletes act like tourists, says angry minister. Austria sent 70 athletes to compete in 21 sports, but failed to win any medals for the first time since 1964.

They sucked…….and you can write that down! Wrestling chief blasts Team GB. Well, you have to admire his honesty.

August 11th

Magnificent Mo Farah dedicated his two Olympic gold to his twin girls who will arrive this month after Super Saturday Mark 11. Will they arrive in record time?

Farce as two Egyptian wrestlers disqualified for turning up late for start. Not a great story I know, but good leads are thin on the ground as we approach the end of the Olympics. It also reminds me of a Morecambe and Wise long standing joke.

The view from abroad: your Games were great…….apart from the slums and that weird guy Boris. So are we talking sustainability or legacy here?

Russian’s sports miniser, Vitaly Murko, has accused Britain of using political clout to win medals at the Olympics. Sound like sour grapes from the politburo to me.

August 12th

Congratulations to Team GB for winning 29 golds, 17 silvers, and 19 bronze. Finishing third in gold medals won and fourth in total medals is a magnificent achievement for a population of 60 million.

It’s been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London’s Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze. So it was totally fitting that the virtual Freddie Mercury should play a prominent role in the closing ceremony.

Belaruse shot putter stripped of Olympic Gold medal for drug abuse and four members of Congo Olympic team go missing.

The Plucky Brit belongs to another era of have-a-go heroes, before British sport became a profession as opposed to a pastime. May he rest in peace?

The Olympic diary has come to an end and we must say goodbye to London and hello to Rio in 2016. The Brazilans have one hell of an act to follow. Stage right……

Postscript: the London Olympics turned out to be a roaring success in terms of  Team GB’s performances and presentation. However one of its finest achievements was the spawning of BBC’s “Twenty Twelve;” one of the funniest sitcoms since “Only Fools and Horses.”

Let’s Twist an Olympic Diary again

Friday, August 10th, 2012

August 7th

”Sport does offer an escape, but it is not a vacation from critical thought. This endless Olympic boosterism is oppressive.” Quote from typical Guardian gobbledygook.

T is about the team, it is about the technology, it is about the wheels, the preparation, the numbers, and the thousand tiny pieces of analysis and insight that go to make an Olympic champion. Yet, every now and then, it is really just about the man. One incredible man; one man and his unending thirst for success; one man who simply refuses to be beaten; a six-time Olympic gold medalist called Christopher Andrew Hoy.

Alistair Brown won the gold medal but his brother Jonny highlighted the brutality of the triathlon when he collapsed in exhaustion after winning a bronze medal. Medics summoned ice, wrapped it in a towel and stuffed it up his shirt. A black cloth was held up to protect him from the photographers’ lenses before he was taken away in a wheelchair to the privacy of a tent.

Great Britain’s dressage riders won gold and landed their first title in Olympic history. The trio of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin triumphed.

British success loosens London’s stiff upper lip: stereotype headline from USA Today.

August 8th

Italian race walker Alex Schwazer broke down in tears as he admitted buying banned substance EPO and even lying about it to his fiancée as he stored it in their fridge.

Despite the lessons of history, it became clear yesterday that a British team can win a sudden-death sporting shoot-out after all. Provided, that is, horses are involved.

Also: Gregory Bauge could not beat Jason Kenny in the sprint so he tried to defeat him in the press conference, turning journalist to demand why Britain are so indomitable in the Olympic Velodrome.

Is that an oar in your pocket, or are you just happy to win the bronze? U.S. rower denies he had erection during medal ceremony. Of course not; he was a member of the coxless fours!

August 9th

American Manteo Mitchell brought new meaning to the phrase ‘carrying an injury’ when it was revealed he ran the 4x400m relay with a broken leg.

History belongs to bonny little lass from Leeds with a smile like sunshine and a punch like thunder. Nicola Adams won the first gold medal achieved by a female boxer.

Kenya’s David Rudisha romps to 800m gold and sets first new track world record of London Games, breaking his own world record in the process.

Jade Jones won Britain’s first ever taekwondo gold when she beat Yuzhuo Hou of China in the women’s under-57kgs final.

This is for Pearl Harbor:” racist tweets after U.S. women’s football team beats Japan for Olympic Gold.

Bonkers but beautiful: Lightning Bolt strikes twice to take these Games to a new high.

Track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke was sent home from the Games after he was pictured looking drunk and being carried into a taxi after a night out. Can’t a man be allowed to drown his sorrows?

More water torture sees Team GB women take home wooden spoon in water polo competition.


One Hundred Not Out

Friday, August 10th, 2012

There were several reasons for wanting to write a blog, none of which included making money. Just as well because I haven’t made one cent from ninety nine posts.

I was rather naive when I began this adventure into blogging. I assumed if I attracted any comments they would formulate some entertaining and constructive discussion. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Most of the comments are spam related with one important exception. Consequently I am grateful to my brother for taking the time to read the posts and responding from time to time with entertaining and critical comments.

He has a far better command of the English language than I, and has an open invitation to be a guest blogger on my site. Come on Bro, step up to the plate. Ironically one of the most popular posts was written by a friend who is a keen motor cycle enthusiast and his post “Motor Cycle Diaries Too” (June 2010) received hundreds of comments.

I was contemplating something special for my 100th post when my son suggested I should do a review of my favorite posts. So here goes:

Most of my posts are stimulated by something topical at the time of writing and St Patrick’s Day prompted me to post “If it weren’t for the Sheep and Welsh there wouldn’t be any Irish.” (March 2010) St. Patrick’s Day is a big party day in America which I totally support, but St David’s Day (March 1st) is totally ignored.

Some of the few genuine comments have asked where do I find the topics to write about. Usually it is from personal experiences and a case in point is “The Wailing Banshee and Peanut Lady.” (May 2010) Air travel and” people watching” at airports are wonderful sources for blogs.

“New Beginnings” (May 2010) chronicled two major events which occurred almost simultaneously, but one much important than the other. The first was the birth of my granddaughter over in England, and the lesser event was the first coalition government elected in Britain for over 80 years.

“Antique or Classic” (July 2010) was one of my favorites. It recalls the day when I inherited a 1983 Buick Park Avenue from my mother-in-law, and I drove it to an interview on a hot steamy day in Atlanta traffic with no air conditioning. The car is an antique while the story is a classic!

My son usually visits for a week in the fall, and in 2010 we embarked on a road trip to Nashville and Memphis which is documented in “Road Trip: In search of Freddy Fender.” (December 2010) We were lucky to catch Vince Gill jamming with The Time Jumpers in a moth eaten watering hole in Nashville, and even luckier to survive a shooting at our motel in Memphis. No, it wasn’t the same motel in which Martin Luther King was assassinated back in 1968.

“Surviving Wrestlemania” (April 2011) has a special place in my list of favorites as it was instrumental in bringing all our family together for the first time since 1993 with the welcome addition of a son-in-law, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Many of my posts were devoted to politics and I enjoyed writing “The World is riddled with Wieners.” (June 2011)America on the Brink” (March 2012) also offered an opportunity for an entertaining exchange of views between my brother and me.

In the summer of 2011 I was caught up in the trial of Caylee Anthony who was accused of murdering her little daughter. My interest covered two posts entitled “American Justice” (July 2011) because I felt personally involved having two little granddaughters of a similar age to the victim.

On a lighter note many of my posts extended to sports. In insight I overdid my coverage of the FIFA World Cup, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons, but it is difficult to write without passion and I have a deep passion for sports. “Jimmy, Samantha and Me” (April 2012) was an account of our experience on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. I would recommend it to fellow golfers and I can’t wait to return.

“Elvis is Alive and Kicking at The Liberty” (May 2012) chronicles Swansea City’s final match of their first season in the Premiership. Read the post if you want to know the link between Elvis and the Swans.

My two favorite posts are very personal to me. I discovered some information about my dad which I was unaware of via “RAF Bomber Command and my Dad.” (June 2012) I knew he served in the Air Force during the war but thanks to my brother learned that he was attached to the 2nd Tactical Air force.

Finally “1972: A Season to Remember” (February 2011) is my son’s favorite post and probably mine too. I only have to close my eyes and I have an image of trotting onto a bumpy,  grassless, (well almost) muddy pitch under an overcast gray sky in a claret and blue strip at Underhill Park in Mumbles, Swansea. Great memories!


An Olympic Diary featuring Twisted Sisters

Monday, August 6th, 2012

August 3rd

Anyone can participate in dressage, just as long as they have a top hat, tails, white gloves and a £1 million horse.

Team GB’s women’s football team were dumped out of the competition by Canada. How on earth can you beat the Samba girls and lose to the Canucks? It all boils down to a broken bus.

Adlington goes from top of the world to treading water in the deep end. Having won 2 golds in Beijing four years ago she had to settle for two bronze medals this time around.

Sir Steve Redgrave was a little too eager to congratulate his friend Katherine Grainger on winning her first gold medal when he planted one right on her lips. Was she in need of resuscitation?

At this point Team GB has won 8 gold medals, and silver or bronze are now regarded as failure. I’m just as culpable in this obsession for gold.

August 4th

A British swimming source said: “They complained when the Chinese girl won with a time five seconds better than her personal best but when their girl does it they don’t make a sound. That’s Americans for you.”

Oscar Pistorius, first double amputee to compete at Olympic Games, comes second in 400m heat. The South African, whose prosthetic limbs have earned him the nicknames Blade Runner and the fastest man on no legs, finished in 45.44 seconds, well off the personal best of 45.07 seconds that he achieved last year, but enough to qualify for the semi-final on Sunday.

I maybe an ex-pat living in the USA these past 16 years but I will support Team GB over the Yanks on any given day and twice on Sundays! On that note…….

……..British women thrash USA in world record time to win gold in cycling team sprint.

NBC has become the center of a race storm after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold. Don’t you just love it when Bob Costas looks like a right plonker!

Congratulations to Jessica Ennis for winning gold in the heptathlon. Michael Phelps please note you have to compete in seven events to win the heptathlon for  one gold and not just show up for mickey mouse swimming races where it is difficult to tell one event from another.

August 5th

One of Italy’s best-known sportswomen, Federica Pellegrini, scoffed when her boyfriend, fellow swimmer Filippo Magnini, announced recently that they would refrain from sex during the Games. ‘Abstinence!’ she cried. ‘Are you mad?’

An estimated two billion people saw Jamaica’s Usain Bolt thrash his rivals to win gold in the men’s 100m final on Sunday – but none of them were in America as NBC declined to broadcast the historic moment live. It’s all about Prime Time baby!

Dutch judo medallist tackles Olympic 100m final bottle-thrower. Man who threw plastic bottle on to track at start of race arrested after tackle by bronze medal-winning Edith Bosch. Could bottle throwing become a new Olympic sport at Rio in 2016?

Show me the money!  Australian Olympic chief blames medal failure on low funding.

Ben Ainslie is now the greatest Olympic sailor in history winning his fourth successive gold medal. But, more than that, he is as bloody-minded a competitor as British sport has ever produced. His sport, unlike swimming, does not permit him to win more than one medal at any single Games.

Final closure: Andy Murray exacts revenge on Federer by dismantling him in three sets to grab gold medal… then doubles up with Laura Robson for a silver!

August 6th

The weekend’s Motto: “Kiss Me, I’m British. (Headline from this morning’s Wall Street Journal.)

We did pretty well for a mediocre bunch, didn’t we?” Nick Skelton aged 54 said, referring to some pessimistic previews of the equestrian team’s chances. The oldest winner in any sport for Team GB, Skelton yesterday proved that oldies can indeed be golden.

American judoka star thrown out of Games over failed drugs test for eating food baked with cannabis. Are you serious?

Team GB 4 Montenegro 13: Men’s water polo flops fall to fifth successive defeat. Well they can’t all win medals poor darlings!

Great Britain recorded their first Olympic victory in basketball since 1948 as they routed China by 90-50 in their final Group B game in London.

Olympic Diary with Twists and Turns

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

July 30th

Ryan Lochte may be speedy, but 16 year-old Chinese girl swimmer Ye Shiwen is even quicker! Bizarre scenes as swimming prodigy smashes world record and even beats U.S. champ’s time over last 50 meters

Beach volleyball players say squirrels are causing problems by burying acorns in the sand at Horse Guards Parade. They should give thanks they aren’t playing on an actual beach near London. The dogs bury far worse at Southend. Then they’d have a real problem.

As fireworks lit up the heavens above the Olympics opening ceremony, watched by around a billion people, something else was seen among the whizz-bangs in the night sky… a UFO.

It may have ticked all the cliché boxes – saucer-shaped, bulge in the middle, metallic – but no one has yet stepped forward to explain the slow-moving object.

11 million spectators….just eight cash machines: fears over payment chaos for Olympic spectators as ATM shortage leaves thousands without access to cash. They should take their lead from Prince Charles and don’t carry any cash.

“There are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball glistening like wet otters:” Boris Johnson enthused about Olympic event at Horse Guards Parade. Take a leaf out of Prince Charles’ book and don’t carry any.

July 31st

The Brazilian women’s football team is fuming that British authorities failed to replace a broken down bus for more than five hours, stranding them on the side of the road the night before their big match against Team GB. The British bounders won 1-0.

The women’s doubles badminton competition at London 2012 descended into farce and scandal at Wembley Arena as two pairs appeared to deliberately start playing to lose in an attempt to manipulate the final standings of their group. Both pairs had already qualified for the last 16.

Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and the South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na were booed off after an extraordinary match in which players regularly served into the net or hit wide apparently on purpose.

Barbara Walters, doyen of American TV journalists, launched an outrageous attack on the Queen’s “sour face” and “19th-Century dress sense” at Opening Olympic Ceremony. Is she related to Julie?

August 1st

Shocked NBC viewers watch as Olympic water polo player’s breast is exposed underwater after fight with U.S. opponent. They claimed they were not to be outdone by the semi-naked beach volley ball players.

Aussie rower detained by police after damaging shop… while fainting on boozy night out!
His team finished sixth in the final.

“They played like depressed blancmanges:” 8 badminton players disqualified from London 2012 following match-throwing allegations.

August 2nd

The Gold Rush finally began for Team GB when rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover surged to victory in the 2000 meter pair, and Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins raced through the tape in the cycling time trial.

Bradley Wiggins celebrated his Olympic gold medal by getting ‘blind drunk’ partying into the early hours of the morning at a Central London watering hole.

James Magnussen, Australia’s world champion in the 100m freestyle was labeled by one US columnist as “the biggest Australian flop since Crocodile Dundee 3. He failed to win the gold medal in his favored event and was only the 10th fastest qualifier in the 50m freestyle.

Ann Romney’s horse fails to win dressage, but avoids offending British. Short of mocking Shetland ponies over their lack of stature or laying into zebras for their failure to make a significant contribution to the world of equine culture, her horse Rafalca was always going to struggle to match the sheer incredulity that her husband managed to provoke on his recent overseas trip.