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

Sunday March 01 2015

The other day (to be more exact: on this day) I described England as a “dead team walking”, in the currently unfolding Cricket World Cup.  So, if England now turn around and start winning and winning well, well, that’s good because hurrah England.  But if England carry on losing, and losing badly, then hurrah me for being right.

How to snatch happiness out of thin air: be a prophet of doom proved right.  There are other ways to place a bet besides spending money.

This explains a lot about the world, I think.  Basically, as Steven Pinker has pointed out in the first half of that excellent (because of its first half) book of his, everything (approximately speaking) is getting better, slowly and with many back-trackings, but surely.  Yet to listen to publicly expressed opinion, both public and posh, you’d think that everything was getting worse, all the time.  And it’s been like that throughout most of recorded history.  But people are not really that pessimistic.  All that is really happening is that people are predicting the worst in order to be happy if the worst happens, and also happy if the worst does not happen.

Friday February 27 2015

Indeed:

image

If you know your cricket, you can learn an amazing amount about what just happened from a screen like that.

For me, the most remarkable bit is where it says: “80 runs, 3.2 overs ...” What we see, basically, is the moment when the game went from difficult for the Windies to win, to impossible.

Match report here.

I had the radio on all night to listen to this game, woke up at about 7am when SA were about 320 off nearly fifty overs, listened until they were 378 with one over to go, went for a piss, and came back to find them having finished on 408.  30 off the last over, including four sixes.  I then switched off, in order to get back to sleep quickly enough for it to be worth it, confident the game was over as a contest.  So it proved.  Gayle made 215 in the previous Windies game, but I was not surprised to see him get out for a small score against SA.

I also had the radio on for the previous night, when Afghanistan beat Scotland, in a see-sawing thriller.

I am now suffering from World Cup lag.  I think as reason why I am enjoying this tournament so much is that England are a dead team walking.  They were a long shot going into the tournament, and it would now take a total miracle for them to win it, by which I mean about three miracles laid end to end.  That means I can relax and enjoy all the other teams knocking seven bells out of each other.  And if those miracles do start happening, I can enjoy them too, as a bonus.

Tuesday February 24 2015

This blog is where, among other worthier things, I boast about what a clever fellow I am, given that not many other people are in the habit of saying this.  A recent incoming email from Michael Jennings, entitled “You told me about this 12 years before the New York Times did”, gives me another opportunity thus to indulge.

The New York Times piece is this, which is a about how rich people have less stuff than poor people, because stuff is now so cheap.

And I said this in this, just over twelve years ago, as Michael says.

I’m guessing it’s the BJT Bosanquet reference that he particularly remembered.

Thursday February 12 2015

Last night, seeking to illustrate a point made in the previous posting about how things on the ground look like toys, when viewed from an airplane, I failed to find any pictures of my own to illustrate the point, but I did come across this:

image

Triple Chess!!!  I did not know that such a thing existed, as a serious thing, until last night.

I took this photo in 2008, but it was one of those photos that I took and then instantly forgot about.  Then, later, when looking through the photos I took, I skipped straight over this one and concentrated on others taken at the same time, so I did not actually learn of the existence of Triple Chess, in 2008, when I photoed it, even though I had just photoed it.

Also in this photo is another strange contrivance: the Four Wheeled Pedal Board.  How the hell does that work?  Judging by the absence of any feedback at the other end of that link, the Four Wheeled Pedal Board never caught on.  Perhaps because nobody else could see how it worked either.  And perhaps also because it actually did not work?  “How far”, asks the box, “can you go without falling off?” I’m guessing that for most the answer was: not very far at all.

Despite the instructions for the Four Wheeled Pedal Board being in English, this photo of stuff in a shop window was taken in France, in Quimper, a city which regulars here will know that I often visit.

And look, there is a website. Does the fact that this Four Wheeled Pedal Board seems to be an Anglo invention reflect the continuing interest of Anglo culture in pointless gadgets, in mucking about instead of doing serious things?  Because in Angloland we think that mucking about can lead to serious things?  Perhaps.

Some might seize on all this as illustrating the fact that photography is a substitute for really looking at things.  I photoed it, but I didn’t actually look at it!  But, I am looking at it now.  And, do people who do not take photos look carefully at everything that they see?  Of course not.  The real problem with photography (as I recall mentioning in this talk I recently gave about photography) is not that you don’t look at things, but that you are liable to spend your entire life looking at things and never doing anything else.

Note also the red, white and blue accordion, bottom right.  Confirmation of the Anglophile inclinations of this shop?  Well, no, because the French are also big on red, white and blueness, aren’t they?

Saturday February 07 2015

Yes, I spent the whole of today telling myself that it was only Saturday but feeling it to be Sunday.

For starters, the first of this year’s Six Nations games happened yesterday, on Friday.  I don’t remember that happening lately.  Isn’t the first 6N game usually on Saturday?  And then today, I went to a birthday party at Rob Fisher’s home, in the afternoon, out in the deep suburbs. Which was nice, but that’s something I associate with a Sunday rather than a Saturday.  It was the quite early start and the quite early finish that did it.  Saturday jollifications usually seem to start later and end later.  I’m not complaining about the timing, you understand, just saying that it messed with my head.

I was telling myself this all day long, yet still, when I was in the train back to London, I was thinking that I needed to buy some milk and some bread, but reckoning that I’d be too late for any of the big supermarkets, which are the ones which have the cheapest milk and the sort of bread I like, on account of these big supermarkets closing early, what with today being a Sunday.

Not that I mind any of this.  It’s been a great weekend so far, and there is still a whole day of it left.  England beat Wales in that 6N game last night, and today, Spurs beat Arsenal.  Spurs are my favourite football team, but I’m not a proper Spurs fan, because if Arsenal are involved but if Spurs aren’t, I like Arsenal to win.  Your real Spurs fan wants Arsenal thrashed, by Sporting Beelzebub if that’s who Arsenal are playing.

It actually is now Sunday, and I am cheating on the timing of this posting, by a short while.  The day ends when I got to bed is my rule, and I make the rules here.  What are you going to do?  Cancel your subscription?

Monday February 02 2015

Incoming from Michael J:

Katy Perry and dancing Nazi sharks. I guess this is why you stay up for the Superbowl.

image

Actually I missed KP’s half time performance, but I have it on one of my various TV hard disks.  I did stay up until the Superbowl ended, but I found myself only giving it about a third of my attention.

I did tune in at the end.  That bizarre catch was fun.  But the game ended the way it did because, at any rate in the opinion of all the commentators, the Seattle Seahawks made a horrible mistake.  ("I cannot believe that call!") Truly great games are won because of something wonderful, not something horrible.  In an ideal world, you want the losers thinking, not: “Oh Shit, What Were We Thinking?!?!?  We’ll have nightmares about that for the rest of our lives.” You want them thinking: “Well, there was nothing we could have done about that.” And the winners can spend the rest of their lives remembering that they did it, not that the other guys did it for them.

And then this morning there was this:

6 1 6 . 6 6 | . 4 W 4 W 1 | 1 . 1wd 6 6 6

That’s the last three overs of the England Second Eleven‘s batting effort against the South Africa Second Eleven.  I love how you can now follow these bizarrely obscure games.  Ben Stokes, who has been having a rough time of it of late, is the one hitting six of those seven sixes at the end, and finishing on 151 not out (off 86 balls) , out of 378-6.  Perhaps someone in the England First Eleven (recently crushed by Australia in a triangular warm-up tournament) will get hurt during the forthcoming World Cup, and Stokes will be inserted into their team.  Such is the romance of sport.

Finally, here is a piece by cricket boffin Ed Smith, about how having fun is very important.  Because of fun, Alexander Fleming invented penicillin, etc.  But the real reason for fun is that having fun is fun.  It’s articles like this that cause insane parents to send their children to Fun Classes.

I shouldn’t mock.  It’s a good piece.  And fun is what this blog here is mostly about.

Thursday January 22 2015

This morning I had fun keeping half an eye on one of those Big Bash 20/20 games they are having just now over in Oz. 

This morning‘s hero was a certain Jordan Silk of the Sydney Sixers, who slogged five such boundaries against the Sydney Thunder.  And thanks to the www, I immediately learned about what a long neck the man has.

Below, on the left, Jordan Silk, and on the right, former England bowler Gladstone Small:

imageimage

Silk has a huge neck, but Small has no neck at all.  I imagine the (cricket part of the) internet is awash with pictures of these two guys, side by side.

The game was what they call these days a roller coaster ride.  One moment half of Sydney was cheering.  Next moment it was the other half cheering.  Thunder looking like walking it, with the sixers on seventy something for 5 after 13 overs.  Then someone is reminded of his team’s name and hits three consecutive sixes to swing it the Sixers’ way.  But the Sixers still need way over fifty off the last three overs.  In over 18, they get 25!  But, next (penultimate) over: 1, 4, W, 1, 1, 1.  Thunder look like winners.  Sixers still need 23 of just the one last over.  Someone called Lalor then comes on to bowl the last over, with bowling figures so far of 3 overs 1 maiden (a maiden in 20/20 being a miracle) 6 runs 4 wickets.  And Lalor then goes for 23, and the Sixers win on the last ball.  Jordan Silk and his big neck score two sixes off balls 2 and 3 of the final over.  But Silk gan only get a single off ball 4, which swings the match back towards Thunder.  But then, a tailender, needing 8 off two balls, promptly hits two fours, from his second and third balls faced.

Quite a game.

The one thing I really do not like about cricket writing is whether to put two or 2, four or 4, six or 6, twenty or 20, etcetera.  Comments about that, anyone?

Tuesday January 20 2015

Here, at the end:

You don’t always have to understand exactly what’s going on to enjoy what you’re seeing.

Words to live by, in all manner of situations.

That was said about this fun and games stuff, but I was saying much the same to myself as I watched the fabulously entertaining highlights of the semi-finals of the F(ootball) A(merica) Cup, or whatever they call it over there.  A great come-back and extra time win by Seattle.  A crushing victory by New England, and accusations that they cheated by softening their balls.  What more could you ask for?

Well, what you could ask for is a duet of monodirectional brackets in the heading.  But, no need, because there it is.

BMdotcom (mathematical (and sporting)) quote of the day
Knackered
I’m an adjective!
Home advantage and hoping for the best in the World Cup
Early tries by my guys
Only with a computer
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
On not letting either God or (the other) God do everything
The localness of London’s weather
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