Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Sport

Monday December 22 2014

Here.

I also like this one, of the Wembley Arch, seen from the Wheel.

Sunday December 21 2014

Incoming from Michael Jennings:

As of this morning, thirteen successive Australia v India tests have been won by the home side. Seven of these matches have been won (and hosted) by India, and six by Australia. If Australia win the remaining two tests in this series (which may or may not happen) this will be the fourth successive Australia v India series to be a whitewash to the home side.

He was talking about this game.

Cricket has been a bit of a wasteland for me lately, what with county cricket being in hibernation and England playing nothing but one day cricket, which they are rather rubbish at.  They have been preparing for the forthcoming one day World Cup, by losing a one day series in Sri Lanka and then by replacing their captain.  But the feeling among cricket’s chattereres is that sacking Cook will improve England, and one day knock-out tournaments are such a lottery that I will live in hope, for as long as there is any.

Saturday November 08 2014

My rule about being a sports fan is be very happy when your teams are winning, but relax when they aren’t.  Enjoy the good stuff.  Let the bad remind you that it’s just games.  I am not, in other words, a “real fan”, the sort of who puts his entire happiness at the mercy of events that are wholly out of his control.

And just now I am happy, because two autumn rugby internationals have just kicked off, Wales v Australia and England v NZ, and in both games the Brit teams have scored early - and frankly very surprising – tries.  7-0 Wales.  5-0 England.  This is the kind of thing you must enjoy while it is happening, without assuming that it will get any better, in fact while assuming that it is pretty much bound to get worse.  Protective pessimism.  Am watching Wales v Oz on the telly.  Highlights of Eng NZ on the telly later.

And Australia score under the posts.  7-7 with the easy kick (yes).  But, according to the BBC:

New Zealand are reeling from England’s blitz start.

Don’t you just love it when the other fellows reel.  Reeling is something only now done with an -ing on the end.  Why is that?

I am giving a talk on Jan 6th at Christian Michel’s about Sport Being A Substitute For War.  Just thought I’d mention that.  I will try to write it down and will thus be able to shove it up here afterwards.

And NZ have now scored.  5-5 with a kick to come.  And Oz have now scored another.  Wales 7 Oz 12 with a kick to come. I must stop.  Three antipodean tries have been scored since I started writing this. It’s only games.

Or is it?  Wales Oz 7-14, but Eng NZ 8-5, to England.  And now Wales have scored in the corner.  Wales 14 Oz 14.  I remember when rugby was played in mud and you were lucky to see a single try in an entire match.  So far there have been six tries in under half an hour.  Make that seven because Oz have just scored again.

Monday October 20 2014

I sympathise with whoever wrote this:

West Brom can hardly believe their luck. Being denied a win at the death by Manchester United is one thing, but having teased a previously woeful Marouane Fellaini back to life must really does takes the biscuit.

“Must really does takes the biscuit.” I reckon he was choosing between, not two, but three different ways of saying what he was saying, but managed to combine all three.

This is the kind of mistake that can only happen with a computer.  If you were merely writing, or typing with an old school typewriter, there is no way you would have put that.

When I perpetrate something like that, and I frequently do, and if I later spot the mistake, I then allow myself to correct it, no matter how long ago I made the mistake.  Is this wrong?  My blog, my rules.

A subsection of Sod’s Law states that whenever you mention someone else’s mistake in something you say on the www, you will make a similar sort of error yourself.  If I do this in this posting, I will not correct my error, but will add something “LATER”, in which I identify my error.

Computers.  New ways to screw things up.

I attended a talk this evening at Christian Michel’s about robots.  The point was made the robot cars probably will be safer, but every once in a Blue Moon, there will be a truly spectacular disaster, of a sort impossible to perpetrate with old school cars.

Thursday September 11 2014

Last night, at that birthday party I attended, I was asked all the usual questions about what I was doing.  Which is not a lot just now, what with my waiting for Godot problem.

Inevitably, in some of these cross-examinations, this blog came up, with me saying that I write here about whatever I feel like writing about, with very little thought for the interests of my readers.  Cats on Fridays, general trivia, etc.  I do Big Issues at Samizdata and trivia here.  Blah blah.

However, an American lady friend, whom I had not met in quite a while and whom I was very pleased to meet again, told me that she quite liked my trivia stuff, and that she even read my postings about cricket (this being the most recent one).  I thought that only I and Michael Jennings and Darren the Surrey Member were at all interested in those.  It seems not.

I’m guessing that this interest on her part is partly actual interest, but also partly that a principle is at stake here.  Which is: that the trivia that other people are interested in, but not you, is not actually an entirely trivial matter.  Life is not only Big Issues.  It is the small pleasures that give colour and texture and individuality to life.  Watever matters, to someone, matters.  Your opinion about what the Big Issues are should not be allowed to drive a tank or a government bureaucracy over my trivial pleasures.

So, her reading about the trivial pleasures of others is her asserting this Big Issue to herself, as well as maybe learning something about other little parts of the world, like the world of cricket (actually quite big of course, as I daresay are the worlds of embroidery and gardening and croquet and rap music and all the other little things in life that I don’t personally care about, other than to believe that tanks or government bureaucracies should not be driven over them).

Me being me, my way of asserting the importance of trivia, in general, to people, in general, is me writing about the trivia that interests me.

Her way of asserting the importance of trivia to people generally is her reading about the trivia that others write about.  But we are both making the same point.

I don’t want to say that I have entirely described why my American lady friend likes to read what I write about cricket.  I merely speculate that the above speculations might be a quite small part of why she does this.

(She, like me, probably also thinks that thinking about trivia can often lead to interesting angles on Big Issues, of the sort that merely looking straight at the Big Issues might cause you to miss.  Pointless fun and truly original insight are often delightfully close neighbours, I think.  But that’s a tangent for another time, hence this paragraph being in brackets.)

Thursday August 28 2014

This afternoon, The Guru is coming by to reconstruct God, so God (the other one) willing, I will be back in serious computing business by this evening.

When I was recently in Brittany, my hosts supplied me with a state-of-the-art laptop and a state-of-the-art internet connection.  These last few days, without God (my one) and having to make do with Dawkins (my obsolete and clunky little laptop, the thing I am typing into now), I have felt less connected to the world than I did in Brittany.  I am connected, after a fashion.  But Dawkins is so slow and clunky that I have been doing only essentials (like finding out about England being hammered in the ODI yesterday), and checking incoming emails, and shoving anything however bad up here once every day.  It’s like I’ve regressed to about 2000.

I have managed to put up a few pictures here, in God’s absence.  But Dawkins’ screen makes these pictures look terrible.  I am looking forward to seeing God’s version of these pictures and hope they will be greatly improved compared to what I am seeing now.

Thank God (the other one) I haven’t been depending on God (my one) for music.  As I have surely explained here many times, one big reason I prefer CDs (and separate CD players scattered around my home) to all this twenty first century computerised music on a computer is that if God goes wrong, as he just has, I don’t lose music.  I also have music concerts recorded off of the telly, onto DVDs, which I can play on my telly, which is likewise a completely separate set-up to God.

In general, the argument against having everything done by one great big master computer is that when something goes wrong with that master computer, everything else in your life also goes wrong, just when you may need those things not to.  One of the things that willgo wrong, rather regularly, with your all-in-one master computer is when this or that particular one of its excessively numerous functions becomes seriously out of date.  I mean, if it has a vacuum cleaner included, what happens if vacuum cleaners suddenly get hugely better?  In Brian world, all I have to do is get another new and improved vacuum cleaner, and chuck out the old one.  In all-in-one master computer world, you are stuck with your obsolete vacuum cleaner.  Or, if you can, you have to break open your all-in-one master computer and fit a new vacuum cleaner, and probably also lots of other new stuff to make sure the new vacuum cleaner works, which buggers up a couple of your other functions that used to work fine but which no longer work fine.  Or at all.  I prefer to keep things simple, and separate.

Something rather similar applies with how to handle (the other) God.  That is another arrangement you don’t want to have running the whole of your life for you either.  It’s okay if you do God for some of the time and keep Him in his place, but you want scientists telling you about science, doctors about medicine, and your work colleagues about your work, and so on.  If, on the other hand, absolutely everything in your life, and worse, everything in the entire world you live in, is controlled by ((your version of) the other) God, everything is very liable to go to Hell.  (Aka: Separation of Church and State.  Aks: don’t be a religious nutter.)

I have my own particular take on (the other) God, which is that He is made-up nonsense.  But just as wise believers in (the other) God don’t let that dominate their thinking on non-God things, nor do I think that my opinions about (the other) God can explain everything else as well.  These opinions merely explain the particular matter of (the other) God being made-up nonsense.

Do not, as they say, put all your eggs in one basket.

Sunday July 20 2014

As of right now, late afternoon, there is rain and wind outside my window, and not long ago there was thunder.  That’s in London SW1.  And yet over in St John’s Wood, there is a test match going on, and there is no mention of any weather getting in the way of things.

Oh, as if to prove me wrong, Nasser Hussain has just talked about how the rain is staying “east of Regent’s Park”, in other words travelling northwards from me.  North east and Lords would be getting a little bit of moisture some time around now.

It’s very tense, with England 62/1 and chasing just over three hundred, with an hour and a bit this evening and then all of tomorrow, weather permitting.  Ballance and Cook have put on fifty, with Cook batting like his life depends on it.  Which it does.  He won’t die if he gets out soon, but how well he does today and tomorrow could have a big impact on how he lives from now on.

NOT MUCH LATER: 80/4.  Cook just got out, for 22.  Ballance and Bell already gone.  England are not playing at all well at the moment.

Yesterday, someone emailed or tweeted Test Match Special, saying that the Notts captain, Chris Read, could be drafted in, to replace Cook as captain and Prior (who is now dropping catches) as wicketkeeper.  It may eventually come to that.  Continuity of selection is all very well, but what if they continuously selected team keeps on continuously losing?

See this earlier piece.

Monday July 14 2014

I have just done a comment at Samizdata, on this (about the recently concluded football World Cup in which England did its usual rather badly (although it did at least get there)), saying this:

I agree with the first comment, about how, if individualism explains this, England (England perhaps more than Britain) ought to be winning tennis, golf, swimming etc., routinely.

I think much depends on what a country (to use collective shorthand) just considers important, for several years rather than just for a few weeks.  Like it or hate it (personally I hate it) Britain, definitely including England, put in a mighty effort (both individual and collective) to make a success (but damn the cost) of the 2012 Olympics, both as an event and by winning a ton of medals.

But from what I hear from football fans, English football takes winning the Premier League, and then doing well in European club competition, more seriously than doing well in the World Cup.  The feeling I get is that the winning England footballer is the one who makes the most money throughout his career.  A former Spurs manager recently talked about how some of his players would fake injury, and wanted his help to do this, to avoid being picked for England.  That would knacker them to no personal career purpose.

Plus, there is this huge split between regular English fans who support their clubs week in week out, and people like me who watch the World Cup but not a lot else.  That Germany Brazil game was the most memorable football game in years, for me.  For a proper fan, it would be some obscure promotion battle or an amazing away draw against a European club that got their team to the last sixteen of the Champions League, or whatever.  For a Man U supporter it would be that remarkable last ditch win against Bayern in the Champions League final.

Sadly, I think politicians have a big influence on this.  The kind of power and money they command doesn’t make successful countries out here in the real world (Brazil, Argentina, etc.), quite the reverse.  But it can make national sporting effort more successful, if by that you mean more medals and trophies.  Angela Merkel is a big fan of her now triumphant football team.  I wonder what else she and Germany’s other politicians did to support them, other than her showing up for lots more of their games than she had to.

Sport.  War by other means.  Discuss.

That last point is one I definitely want to write about more in the nearish future.  How A-bombs and H-bombs have made all out war between Great Powers impossible, and caused an unprecedented outbreak of peace between Great Powers, and thus caused national rivalry to express itself in sport rather than war.  That kind of thing.

Football comment
Brazil 0 Germany 5 after forty minutes
My favourite Tour de France in London photo
More Big Things from the Oval
Big Things from high up at the Oval
Capturing moments
Will England get lucky?
Surrey doing rather well shock
Quota photos of and from Tate & Lyle Park
Compact Cats buried under London’s poshest homes
Last night at my place
0.080519 would still have beaten 0.074163
Cricket news: Surrey win – IPL – The Big Wosname
Leaf Cycle
Organised water
Premier League soccer news
T20 fun and games
England ahead of the game in Rome - but in the end not by enough
Cricinfo just said it didn’t rain in Port Elizabeth on February 24th until after lunch
Ashes Lag recovery continues
Games lovely games
Strata quota photo
Will Kevin Pietersen now play lots of cricket for Surrey?
England crush Australia and keep the Ashes
Talk at Christian’s – then NFL on the telly
“O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!”
Whitewash
On having written about the 1958/9 Ashes series before the 2013/4 Ashes series had started
Tough going in Australia
Mash cats
Jane Austen’s naval brothers
Only games
Ashes to ashes
Gloomy Earl’s Court picture
Broad thrives properly on getting abuse
Conquer the Pillars of Islam
Ashes black out
Who was the youngest batsman to reach 7000 runs in Tests?
Otherwise blogging (and a Burgess Park butterfly)
Stuart Broad has a kitten heel
Why I admire short term weather forecasts but why cricket people don’t
Chess set made of London’s Big Things
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Australian selection inconsistency and getting the causal link the wrong way round
Quite a morning
Monty Panesar: “I piss on your short pitched fast deliveries aimed at my body!”
Australian cricket is doomed! - or maybe not
Women of Japan – better luck next time
Should Broad have walked?
On the pleasure of assuming the worst
Samir Chopra on how match fixing turns cricket into not cricket
Funniest run out ever?
IPL thrills
Wembley Arch with balloons and with umbrellas
Me and the Six Nations under the weather
Six Nations joy
Monopoly Cat replaces Monopoly Iron
6-3-7-5
Me going to bed causes collapse
Testcricketlag
Carnage at Adelaide
Australia v South Africa starts now
Surrey win their relegation battle
A memorable scoreboard surrounded by empty seats
Cricket ranking
Surrey might not be relegated after all
Back there and now back here
Usain Bolt takes photos of photographers!
Self portrait with sunburn
Well that was close!
Surrey have a short but sweet day against Sussex
Outage
Latest C4 logo sculpture
AB-solutely fabulous!
Nerd spin talk overheard by Jarrod Kimber
The Big Olympic Thing from nearer
Steve Baker MP
Ancient and modern (but mostly ancient) cars in Regent Street yesterday
More NFL Fan Rally pictures from last Saturday
That Clive Woodward gets around
NFL fans and their name-and-number shirts in Trafalgar Square on Saturday
The England rugby aftermath
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
France beat England
England squeak through against Scotland
Another Surrey fast bowler gets an England call-up
Davies and de Bruyn get promotion for Surrey
Thrashing India
How England have dropped catches yet still won matches
Bopara’s chance?
WWWhat a great afternoon!!!
Does Kevin Pietersen have a weakness against bowlers?
The boy from Egham Dunn good
Today there is cricket and there is cricket
Friday link dump
Meaning in sport
The fluctuating fortunes of Praveen Kumar and the devastating impact of Lasith Malinga
Rugby shirts on drugs
The most celebrated sporting win ever
NZ doing a bit better than England
Quota choke?
New bridge in Melbourne
Ireland beating England in Dublin
Subconscious cricket
Pronouncing on the Six Nations
Ireland lose - England trying to
Sportsmanship by us – bullying by them
Crushed cricket minnows - missable soccer goals - Ashton’s swallow diving
Clumbersome
Bouncing bombs and spinning cricket balls
Cricketology
Thoughts on England not just keeping the Ashes but winning the series 3-1 (with asterisks)
Australia so nearly 55-0 (plus thoughts on the impact of Twenty20 cricket)
Boxing Day morning at the MCG
No wickets in the first over shock
The Ashes: chickens and now a swallow
How quickly the mood can change!
And it resumes …
A down and up weekend
More blood to Australia
First blood to Australia
Ashes highlights on ITV4
Nice try
Twenty ten twenty ten
Greenies make a video saying: “We’re a bunch of vile greenie-nazis!”
I don’t usually approve of swear blogging but …
Zaltzman on Clarke
Andy Flower urges England fans not to punish cricket for being corrupt
Ten thoughts about the Pakistan cricket corruption story
Graeme Swann on drink-driving charge after 3am dash to save kitten
Big Singapore Thing
Cricket technology and its imperfections
Farnborough (5): Supacat Bloodhound Falcon
Snappy quote from Victor Davis Hanson that may or may not actually be true
Another world cup photo of photographers
Photoing the World Cup
On cricket and death
Strata from Waterloo
Cricinfo gets its clock in a tangle and Pyrah bowls an unforgivable no ball
A response to the cyclist menace
England beating Australia – Germany beating England
Curse you Friends Provident t20
Balls balls up
A serious disappointment
Lucky we didn’t go to Lords
Cats and bridges on Pixdaus
Surrey are now crap at cricket but they are sitting on a gold mine
Muralitharan and Hayden carry on doing badly
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
Six lions on a white Mercedes bonnet
Watching IPL cricket beats watching England play rugby
IPL on ITV4!
Separating the men from the toys - the future of warfare and of sport?
Is Martin Johnson another Kevin Keegan?
Biker shadow
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Reds against Blues in Munich
Cricket talk tonight
Two New York stadiums temporarily next to each other
Three more headlines and how the internet remembers it all
Andrew Hughes on making heroes of cricketers
London cricket roof clutter
India looking good against Sri Lanka
Talking with Toby Baxendale
Forget the fifth of November - and the Brown curse strikes (again)
Graeme Swann - twitterer but no twit
Gordon Brown dithers about rugby - cricket’s on the up
Unfair advantage?
Quotes dump
Making the IOC feel important with a personal lubricant
The curse of Gordon Brown is now ruining the England cricket team
When Cricinfo doesn’t supply the info
Changing faces of Europe
More recorded cricket chat and some further Oval hindsights
How the BBC ignored the problem of how to pick two from three equal-ish teams
England and me both upset
Summer break
Photo by me in a newspaper!
How technology has improved detention
Thinking thin at the top
More sign photos
IPL continues to literally trump proper cricket
At Samizdata: cricket - crime - Kevin Dowd quote
WWW
What the previous two postings here have in common
Indian Premier League trumps test cricket
Angleterre formidable - France merde - Italy crap
Reading Kasparov
By bus to Sheffield
Not cricket
Rubbish
It could be a rather small funeral
Cricketers don’t have to get along – they just have to turn up and play
Nothing today but link to Samizdata
A little drunk blogging
Keeping up with the NFL
Another Samizdata piece
Cricinfo
Four Minutes
Why Willem Buiter blogs and why I do
Not happy
Imperfect day
England sinking fast
Dongling at Michael’s
Metaphor muddle alert
The Great River Race
Cricket chat
On the perils of recording to your TV hard disc at the midnight hour
Smog returns to Beijing
Vaughan steps down
Blue sky in Beijing
Collingwood comes through and The Internet is a hat trick
Cricket misery
It’s blue!
Twenty20 cricket on Sky TV
“The air is apparently not getting better …”
Everything changes today
Posting at Michael’s
Pietersen not humbled
Seven Napiers – three Ansaris - Gilchrist
More Beijing smog-blogging
Bird’s Nest in smog
I predict that Germany will win
I’d be cheering
152 not out in a Twenty20
Me elsewhere
Guido Fawkes gets Douglas Jardine wrong
New Zealand crumple at Trent Bridge
Bowlers who look like actors
Avoiding barbarism in the street
Bowled Harmison bowled Harmison
Cozier cheers up
First Jaques – then Ponting – then Katich – then Hussey cleaned up
IPL-lag
Ashes news
Giant table football table and hamster powered cars
They play a lot of snooker in China – and in Essex
The IPL is a new face for India but Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth is no big deal
Head Men need to be a bit wrong in the head
Slow day here
News Media Coalition versus Indian Premier League
Ramps carries on where he left off last autumn
F1 athletics?
Fourth innings heroics
Meltdown in Russia … and New Zealand
Ed Smith on how baseball defeated cricket in America
Cricmisinfo
Thank you very much Ambrose and Collingwood
It really is about bloody time Jonathan Davies learned how to pronounce Jauzion
Watching paint dry at the end of a Six Nations game
Professor Wenger
Me talking about the great twentieth century musical divide
Lucky I don’t take cricket seriously
Flat horse pictures
Otherwise engaged
Billion Monkey Maria Sharapova lookalikes!!!
The Lord is watching
Democracy for sale – starting with football and beer
Weather to go out
Rain stops Murali
Probably not right - but definitely written
I hope I’m wrong about this
More rugby talk
Only games
Ramprakash at his level of competence
Australia out! – New Zealand out! – pass forward!
Wildlife news
The blue and gray men are slaughtering the gray and blue men
Nine points better than last time!
Alisher Usmanov is now better known for being nasty
Renaissance Man
Revised logo
When inimitable means very imitable
Lots of links
Cricket lovely cricket
Ugly logo(s)
Test match special
Depressed about the Windies
Bicycling Billion Monkeys!
Surrey crash to earth
Maybe not quite so amazing after all
“A fitting end to a very badly organised tournament …”
A double cricket surprise
Old gits at the Oval – and Shane Warne
Cricket blogging by me elsewhere
He’s for ever blowing bubbles
Cricket is ruining the youth of India!
Footbridge in the dark and cricket
Four Nations still in it!
Clever old Catt
An improbable England win in the Six Nations
Tall chess men and tall buildings in the evening
“You will struggle to ever see a better caught and bowled than that!”
Displacement photo of Billion Monkey!
That Rooney goal
Empty football stadiums on TV
Pictures of the world for the world
Ashes 2005 to Ashes 2006/7
Alice in Texas on form - England in Australia not
In a bad way - but recovering
They are only games
Crickinsomnia
Foreigners on film
Not much here today
Chumpires
624
“Are you telling me I don’t know my own brother?”
Podcasting with Adriana tomorrow
Lords pictures from last Monday
Something to bore everyone
England versus Pakistan – first test – final morning
“We are looking for a Cricket obsessive . . .”
Antoine gets Mexican election right
I’m hot and I’m happy
Twenty20 Sri Lanka and World Cup ejection
Quota photo and Surrey weirdness
Ethereal India photo
Ace Academician
Cricket with landmark
Big Media crap and football cock-ups
County cricket - great and not so great - and what to do about that
It is very hot
Dnalgne no emoc! - Billion Monkey snaps mental Maradona!
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Wisden on the back foot
Zooming in on the Wembley Arch
Chinamen playing cricket
So does Flintoff really look like Jessop?
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
Lightning strikes twice
Disaster in Paris
Unplugged and writing about sport because sport Doesn’t Matter
Blogging takes a back seat
Only a game
More ancient rock and rollers photographed from off of the telly
What it was only better
The father of invention
The Superbowl is live on the telly!
The animal spirits of Six Nations
Organised games as a way to control boys
I will never flirt with religion again
I am now thinking of abandoning atheism
Vive le rugby
Great headline
Picture perfect
The new stand at the Oval
Ouch!
Pictures I took of yesterday’s Ashes celebrations in Trafalgar Square
Douglas Jardine and Spike Milligan