philmophlegm: (NFL draft)
There never was a TV series called 'Terrible Sporting Moments'. Shame really.



Anyway, there will be now. My list of terrible sporting moments includes incompetent performances, bad luck, bad refereeing decisions, poor administration and some horror shows. This first entry is in the latter category (hey, it's almost Halloween). If you're at all squeamish, don't play the video. Joe Theismann was the star quarterback for the Washington Redskins. At least he was until this happened.

(I'm really not kidding about the squeamish thing. You have been warned.)



If you've ever seen the film 'The Blind Side' (good film; Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for it), you may remember that this is how the film starts:
philmophlegm: (Concentrated power)

"We can all put aside our partisan differences for a moment and agree that this Trump-Clinton “Dirty Dancing” duet is the best thing to come out of the debate."

Don't trust "factcheckers". Maybe it’s just my innate cynicism and a background as a professional sceptic that always makes me doubt someone who claims to be “unbiased” when giving you “the facts”.

Why Truman fired MacArthur. Fascinating account.

Weaker Sterling is (on balance) somewhere between good and very good for the UK economy.

...and another article making a similar argument.

Tolkien might not have been too impressed by the current trend to concentrate on the ethnicity of science fiction and fantasy authors rather than the quality of their work.

There is no such thing as trickle-down economics.

This is the best explanation of why so many people will vote for Donald Trump that I've seen.

Ched Evans is Not Guilty. Here's ten myths about the case that need to be busted.

Who is winning in Labour and the Liberal Democrats' race to be the most anti-semitic party?

Dennis Byrd didn't deserve to die in a car crash.

Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' slowed down is amazingly good. (Thanks beckyc)

18 Game of Thrones moments improved by quotes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Given the dearth of available options, who should American conservatives vote for in the presidential election?

Are we seeing the beginning of a political realignment in the UK? Interesting lecture.

Here's a particularly unsubtle example of simple corruption from the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Political map of Europe, year-by-year from 3650BC to 2016AD.

70-year-olds play D&D for the first time.

The third most likely person to become the next President of the United States, and how he would do it. OK, it’s beyond unlikely, but not impossible…

philmophlegm: (NFL draft)

Here's a clever way to make interstellar travel real.

"Around 50% 'hold authoritarian views'". Sounds shocking. What’s more shocking is the ignorance of the researchers (three politics professors no less, albeit from second rate universities) as to what constitutes “authoritarian”. Authoritarians would presumably favour powerful state control, right? You know, like Stalin or Hitler or Mao. Not according to these three clowns. Apparently “ideological sympathy for… rolling back the state” is an authoritarian point of view. Incredible.

Thankfully I wasn't the only person to spot this.

Did you own a copy of Buckaroo or MouseTrap when you were a kid? There's a good chance it was assembled by Irish slaves. Seriously.

The new president of the National Union of Students sounds like a lovely girl.

The Game of Thrones Mock Draft.

The Stevland Angus Appreciation Society

Brave socio-political commentary in 'My Little Pony'. Yes, really.

The man who put 50p on Leicester City to win the Premier League at 5000/1 and cashed it out for 45p after one match (which they won 4-2).

Richard 'fuckwit' Murphy had to publically apologise to Lord Ashcroft and make a donation to his charity for being wrong. I wish the legal system could force him to make an apology every other time he’s been wrong.

Paramount is trying to claim copyright over the Klingon Language. The Language Creation Society's legal reply is wonderful.

Why are we so understanding towards the crimes of Communism? A suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere is that International Labour Day should be replaced with a day of remembrance for the victims of communism and socialism. Good idea.

Gerry Adams apologises for tweeting the word "nigger". I’m amazed at the fuss about this. Might it not have occurred to the twitter commentariat that heading a terrorist organisation responsible for the deaths of 1,800 people is ever so slightly worse than typing a naughty word into social media?

10 things the bookies thought were more likely to happen than Leicester City winning the Premier League.

When the US Navy had flying aircraft carriers.

philmophlegm: (NFL draft)
Later this afternoon, the New York Jets* will play the Miami Dolphins* at Wembley. Moving an entire NFL team across the Atlantic for a single game is a major logistic exercise. The New York Times recently interviewed the Jets' Operations Manager about the extra work such a game entailed.

"Degerness learned which gate the plane would pull into, which door the team would exit and where the jet bridge would deposit the group. [OK, seems a little anal, but presumably this guy has to check for any eventuality because that's his job. Fair enough.] He also learned that when the Jets flew home, their walkway would meander past duty-free shops, and that worries him, if only a little. [Is it really a problem if the players buy the odd bottle of single malt on the way home?]

“It’s hard to tell the guys: ‘Don’t stop. Just keep walking,’ ” Degerness said. “Those are the things that keep us up at night — that we get through security, someone stops at duty free, and we leave Ryan Fitzpatrick because we didn’t know he wasn’t there.” In that unlikely event, the Jets have a solution: As each player boards the plane, a team official will cross off the player’s name with a highlighter. [These are highly paid adults, and apparently the only way to reliably ensure that they all board the plane is to treat them like children on a school trip. Do you think they'll be made to hold hands with a partner and told not to speak to strangers? Ryan Fitzpatrick, the player singled out, is the Jets' starting quarterback. He has an Economics degree from Harvard.]


If the Jets were playing in South Florida, for instance, they would not have needed to pack more than 5,000 items — ranging from cereal [Yeah, because we don't eat breakfast cereal in the UK. Come to think of it, aren't the three biggest breakfast cereal manufacturers in the UK market - Kelloggs, Quaker and Nabisco all American companies?] and extension cords to gauze pads and wrist bands — onto a ship containing supplies for all six N.F.L. teams playing in London this season.

They would not have needed to list the value and country of origin for the contents in every trunk or bag. Or find an industrial launderer to pick up soiled practice clothing at one location and deliver it clean to another. Or fly in the chef at their London hotel to observe how food is cooked and served at team headquarters. [OK, fair enough.]

Or order 350 rolls of toilet paper to replace the thinner version used in England. [Wait...what?]



The toilet paper side of the story has been picked up by Pro Football Talk and the BBC among others. The BBC investigated further: "There was an intern who had been over to London numerous times. "He noticed when he was there that - and I quote - 'the toilet paper was very thin because their plumbing isn't as good'. "So, the intern informed the operations staff, and the Jets ordered 350 rolls of toilet paper for the hotel and the stadium."

So an organisation of a few hundred people apparently had to rely on a single intern to tell them what one of the world's most important cities and most popular tourist destinations was like. Where did the thin toilet paper idea come from? Apparently, American toilet paper is "2-ply". Well, so is British toilet paper. Here's the toilet paper section of Britain's biggest supermarket chain's online website.  All of the toilet paper, even the dirt cheap 'Tesco Everyday Value' stuff, is 2-ply. In my life, the only time when I have ever seen single-ply toilet paper in the UK was at a grotty campsite in the late 1970s. If a major hotel is providing single-ply toilet paper to its guests, then you're in the wrong hotel. (It occurs to me that the intern who had experienced thin toilet paper had been dirt poor when he visited London and maybe stayed in a really awful hotel. Even then, I think he'd have been unlucky to experience single ply toilet paper.)


I wonder if this could lead to one of those odd stereotypes that Americans have of the British. We all drink tea and nobody drinks coffee. Beer is served warm. That kind of thing. Oh, and British people have bad teeth.

Where the hell did the bad teeth stereotype come from? It presumably predates this scene from The Simpsons:


I've seen it in plenty of places since then. Yet British dental health is generally considered to be among the best in the world. Here's an OECD study that said that British children have the healthiest teeth of all the OECD countries. (You'll note that American children had only average teeth - not as good as the French, and a long way short of Germany and the UK.)







* Or, as the BBC announcer rather incompetently says "New Yorks Jets will play Miami Dolphins". What, any jets? Any dolphins? Is a random collection of airliners from JFK International going to show up to thrash a bunch of small cetaceans?
philmophlegm: (adamsmith)

Want to play in the NFL? How good is your memory? It’s very rare for people not directly involved in the game to ever get access to pro playbooks. This copy of the Oakland Raiders’ 1998 June mini-camp (a sort of short training camp before the main one) playbook was leaked / released recently. Yes, it’s a bit old (dating back to when the Raiders were good…), but it gives you some idea of the intellectual pressures placed on NFL players. 216 pages, thousands of formations and audibles and routes and options. Quarterbacks will have to learn every single permutation. Other positions will need to learn large parts.

Oxford rape and trafficking: Who were the abusers? Not long after political correctness was shown to have led to the gang rape of 1,400 young girls by muslim gangs in Rotherham, we have this. The names of the Oxford gang were Mohammed Karrar, Bassam Karrar, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Kamar Jamil, Assad Hussain and Zeeshan Ahmed. Yet, at no point in this BBC article, even though it is clearly relevant to the story, are these men referred to as ‘muslims’. When someone tells you that political correctness does not exist or that it isn’t anything to be ashamed of, show them this.

Question: How vain is Cristiano Ronaldo? Answer: Very, very vain.

"Fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John." Well, yes, but there's a good reason for that.

The racist and eugenicist history of the American minimum wage.

239 years of 'The Wealth of Nations'. Smith’s “greatest breakthrough was the realisation that we do not have to conquer people or make things in order to increase our wealth. We can also increase it by simply exchanging things.”

5 Economic Myths That Just Won't Die

Great image of the same supernova appearing four times because of the gravitational lens effect. (Thanks to louisedennis.)

The British charity that named the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff "Islamaphobes of the Year". Makes you proud to be British…not.

Broad Jump

Feb. 28th, 2015 09:46 pm
philmophlegm: (NFL draft)
How far do you think you could broad jump? To clarify, a broad jump is like a long jump, but you don't get a run-up - you have to do it from a standing start.

The broad jump is one of the tests used to see how athletic wannabe NFL players are at the annual Scouting Combine, which took place last weekend.

Now how far do you think elite athletes can broad jump? To give you some context, the best broad jump at the 2014 Scouting Combine, was 11 feet 0 inches, by Marquise Goodwin, a wide receiver from the University of Texas who would be drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Goodwin is a world-class long jumper, who made the Olympic Final in 2012, and was expected to win a medal. (He had a bad day and didn't. You may remember Great Britain's Greg Rutherford won the Gold.) The best ever broad jump at the Scouting Combine was 11 feet 7 inches in 2013.

So what do you think was the best broad jump at the 2015 Combine?

Read more... )
philmophlegm: (NFL draft)
Don't care whether you're into the NFL or even sport in general or not. Watch this. Amazing catch. Best I've ever seen.

(Sorry, don't think nfl.com will let me embed the video, so you'll have to click on the link:
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000433435/article/giants-odell-beckham-makes-catch-of-the-year



This isn't the first time he's done this. Check out this catch from his college days:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92rauLT3enE
philmophlegm: (raidersshield)
That last post featured an astonishing performance at the Oakland Coliseum. But that same venue hosted something equally astonishing last Thursday night. After a period of more than a year in which they lost every sodding game they played, the Raiders actually won! And it was against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. And it featured this brilliant 90 yard touchdown run from Latavius Murray:



Bit of trivia for fans of Glee: the player throwing the key block on that play was tight end Mychal Rivera, whose sister is Naya Rivera.
philmophlegm: (911 (2))
1. Managed to get six tickets for the Oakland Raiders / Miami Dolphins game at Wembley in September (me, two friends and three friends-of-friends). 28 years a Raiders fan and this will be the first game I've seen in person. (Not counting a preseason game.)

2. Car passed MOT (well, it needed a headlight bulb). I'd expected that at least £2,000 of work would be needed. The dealer had some very rare and interesting 911s in including three GT3 RS models (a very fast, very hardcore 911). One of these, in white, with red trim and red wheels had the number plate FA51 LAP, which amused me. They also had an utterly gorgeous blue ducktail 1970s 911 that was almost mint. The service manageress reckoned it was worth £180k.

3. Had a very successful wander around secondhand bookshops in Exeter while waiting for the MOT results. Two Robin Hobbses (although one turned out to be a book I already had but didn't realise, the other was the third in a trilogy where I've read the first and have the second sitting on the to-read shelf), one Tad Williams (the first of his famous trilogy, whose name escapes me, but which I've heard good things about), one Michael Moorcock omnibus (about the only Eternal Champion series I don't have - the second Corum trilogy), David Brin's entry into the trilogy of other-famous-authors-do-Asimov's-Foundation (which will take me ages to get around to, but only cost a quid) and a non-Revelation Space universe Alastair Reynolds. None of the books cost as much as £2, so I call that a win.

4. My Dad has ordered fibre-optic superfast broadband from BT based on my advice and has got his current provider (the astonishingly shite TalkTalk) to fix his current 1mbps copper connection for the remaining two weeks until his fibre is switched on. They'll go from 1mbps to "Up to 34mbps". I have arranged to provide some IT education so that they will be able to make the most of their new superfast broadband. This may have to start at a very basic level. I don't know why, but neither of my parents seems to pick up IT skills without actual teaching. They've had a computer of one sort or another in their house since 1982 and a Windows PC since the 1990s, so you'd think they'd at least know of the existence of copy-and-paste...
philmophlegm: (Fiend Folio)

The dogs playing D&D poster

The NFL probably wants a team in London.

1st edition AD&D combat can be straightforward, with this handy eight page flowchart!

Correlating Doctor Who preferences with voting intentions. I love living in a country where someone thinks this is worth doing.

Some unfortunate publishing layouts.

Forget the console launches at E3; the PC is the top gaming platform for the next couple of years.

World's oldest human dies.

Here's the new holder of the title.

Javapocalypse. "It's a virus!"

Domino-toppling, but with books.

Pet Shop Boys less racist than Stephen Hawking.

The Spirit Level is bollocks. (But you knew that already.)

Schools probably aren't the right institutions to be giving careers advice. (Mine certainly wasn't.)

Siberian bear-hunting armour from the 1800s.

Did you know that you can see the food hygiene ratings of all UK restaurants online?

Does anyone else think that the "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame" possibly isn't up to much if they've only just got around to adding J.R.R. Tolkien (in the same class as David Bowie!)?

Richard 'I am Legend' Matheson has died.

Mick Aston has died, but not before slagging off Time Team's producers.

Four changes to English so subtle we hardly notice they're happening.

My old school has gone downhill. Mind you, it was 1,600 pupils in five years when I was there; merging it with another school surely wasn't clever.

David A. Trampier - the forgotten AD&D artist.

Brazilian amateur football match: Referee sends player off. Player refuses to go. Player and referee fight. Referee pulls a knife. Referee stabs player. To death. Player's friends and relatives rush onto pitch. Player's friends and relatives stone referee. To death. Player's friends and relatives decapitate referee's corpse.

philmophlegm: (Cantona)

"Deck the Halls with Macro Follies" - "The greatest collection of economic holiday hits ever assembled!"

Client feedback to marketing agencies as posters. (Much better than it sounds.)

Sir Patrick Moore had some financial difficulties in the last few years of his life. So Brian May bought his house for him. (Please, please, please BBC, don’t give The Sky at Night to that wanker from Manchester with the bad dress sense and the creepy lips. Give it to Chris Lintott and Brian May. Queen, not D*Ream.)

Famous movie scenes in Lego. (I think The Godfather is the best.)

ESPN presenter argues that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III isn't "really" black because he has a white fiancee and he's a Republican. (For this, he has been suspended for 30 days by ESPN. This is the same punishment they gave to a basketball commentator (whose wife is Asian-American) who asked “Is there a chink in his armour?” about a Chinese basketball player. The former behaviour seems much worse to me.)

Gerard Depardieu moves to Belgium and farts in the general direction of President Hollande.

Bradley Wiggins is, without doubt, the coolest man on the planet right now. And a random security guard might be second.

Football management - what they apparently _do_ teach you at Harvard Business School.

The Doha climate change talks failed. That doesn't matter since they would have had a trivial effect anyway. What matters far more is the Doha trade talks.

I wonder at what point the Labour Party website will remove this page...

Famous British eugenicists. (Including Marie Stopes, who disinherited her son for marrying a short-sighted woman.)

Strong contender for worst album cover of all time. On the other hand, it does feature a cat.

Spot the hidden Dalek!

If video games were realistic.

philmophlegm: (raidersshield)
Remember this?



The BBC is bringing Superstars back for a special one-off Christmas special featuring British 2012 Olympic medalists. Yay!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-20322939




(I'm using my Raiders userpic for this post in honour of Raiders wide receiver Willie Gault, who was twice American Superstars champion.)

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