Monday, 29 June 2009

reasons to love football: #1

I read an article this week on the Sporting News where the writer says : "Make no mistake, the Ravens won't sneak up on anybody in 2009". Here's a thing, and it's my first reason for loving football.

The 16 game schedule has a number of impacts, and one of the interesting ones is the total lack of squad rotation. When you watch the Premiership (Guinness or Barclays) is that some teams have an increased level of performance one season, followed by a drop off. This is because teams take them more seriously following good performance, and stop rotating out as much of the first team squad as they had previously.

Each game is a battle, and on any given Sunday anything could happen. There's reason number one.


When I read the quote, I paused and had a little think about it, and I think that the writer means this:

1 - the Ravens system had changed. Although the offensive patterns had been used by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron at his previous stops, the particular strain used by Baltimore was new, and the way in which players fit into it was different.

2 - Joe Flacco was a total mystery to NFL defensive coordinators. The best plan in that situation was to bring some exotic pressure, plug up the run, take away the easy options and force errors. Unfortunately for these opponents the Baltimore run game remained rugged and Flacco showed his arm strength to go down the field, drawing defenders out of the run game. In addition, Flacco had the advantage of playing with the Baltimore D - firstly, they gobbled up the ball, and secondly there are few better groups at showing exotic looks, so he had become accustomed to the strange in training.

I am super excited about the new season. I'd do a poll on whether this year's crop of 1st round QBS will top the bar set last year, but I have no readers!

Friday, 26 June 2009

players I'm excited about

As previously posited, I love the draft.  I love it because you get some great stories about some interesting players who go on to play minor roles at best in the NFL.  I love college ball for the same - there'll be one or two guys on each squad with these fascinating stories.  One guy I liked to watch last year was James Casey at Rice.  A former professional baseball player who took a second chance in athletics and returned to football, played for Rice and looked really good.  Any player who has a package of plays built around him is exciting, but when the package is called the "Thor" package, then well... exciting! He's big! He runs.  The Thor package was a QB option type bundle, but this guy played end, TE, H back, fullback, tailback, split end - he's a football player, not a position player.  He'll contribute on special teams, and in a hybrid role, is my best guess.  He's the guy you will never draft in Fantasy, but has the potential to excite a hardcore fanbase - look for him at the Texans this year.

super jimmy back on Welford Road

James Grindal is coming back to Leicester to replace the departing Dupuy.  Grindal came into the Tigers set up initially as a security blanket for Andy Goode, and looked pretty promising as far as Leicester style 9s go.  Solid, steady, enough pace, a flat pass.  He didn't break all the way through though, and was basically pushed out by the emergence of Harry Ellis.  Up to Newcastle he went, where he's toiled in relative obscurity.  136 appearances: that's 19 games a year or basically a full season of appearances.  That'll work for Leicester, where his durability isn't going to be stretched because he'll be the old head who backs up Ben Youngs when we start the bolter, or he'll sit behind Ellis and provide us some sort of steadiness off the bench in a big game.  I think Youngs could be the future, and Grindal may be resigned to the fact that his career will be the constant placeholding for emerging scrum half talent - first Ellis, then Micky Young at Newcastle, now maybe Youngs at Leicester. 

n other news, more rugby emails from Sideshow.

Picking Simon Shaw in the test team for Saturday = the maddest thing I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t have him in the Saxons squad. Smacks of panic to me, they are playing on the top of a ruddy mountain, the idiot will wander, knackered, to the breakdown, fall over and give up so many kicking points it’s unreal, followed by the inevitable sin binning for whacking someone. If they wanted that, they should have taken White, at least that way we’d not have looked like 8 year olds at scrum time, and wed’ve loved him despite his indiscipline. I love Geech, really I do, but that’s just picking your own bloke at the expense of sanity. I think Burger’s selection will help us, but this hurts us more."

I think Berger is going to ram the ball down our gizzard something crazy.  I think Shaw has had a pretty good tour, but hadn't expected him to get the nod, because I think he's the same player as O'Connell.  I was surprised he went on the tour (the Shaw and Worsley selections
were rampant Wasps homerism, as was putting Cipriani on the waiting list).  I think the harshest move is saying that Monye is a worse player than that leek eating midget.  That will backfire.  I'd have put Hook in at 10, or certainly on the bench.  ROG should have jogged off
the front of the pitch after missing that kick and run straight to the airplane.  Inexcusable.

Monday, 22 June 2009

testing times for the lions (plus more)

I got an email from Sideshow, and he has this to say:

"What got me about the Lions game was that if we could play basic Rugby, we'dve comfortably won. Thow the ball into the lineout properly, get a prop that can prop (and if not, have the 8 pick up quicker), kick intelligently rather than down the 15's throat and get a winger that can carry the ball in the correct arm = comfortable win. "

I didn't mind so much kicking the ball down Steyn's throat - he spilled a couple of times, and has played the last 18 months at 12.  Pressuring him is tactical. It didn't pay the dividends it could have, but you learn things in a three test series, and that's one of them - we need to pull him around a little bit.  That's Ok.

The Front Row - I wasn't convinced by the Vickery selection, and it turns out I know more about scrummaging than the Lions selectors.  If you insist on leaving mighty mighty Julian White at home, you can't guarantee victory in the scrum.  I'm deeply concerned about the front row call ups.  Oh well.  Mears had a poor game, but you couldn't have predicted that.  Rees will step in and do well, and we'll have competitiveness up front, which will mean we can't exploit De Villiers awful substitution timing again.

As for Monye - I thought he could have gone to deck earlier for the first attempt, but that the cover tackle was spectacular.  The second try I'll let him off, because he'd shifted arms to fend off the first tackler, and got tomahawked by an unseen man.  I don't think Williams will step in, but Fitgerald could. 

There's been a lot of talk about Phillips having a good game.  For my money, he was picked to go over people and on the one occasion he tried he fumbled away a try.  For me, off he goes and in comes Ellis.

I watched the Saxons final too.

Luke Narraway is a lot bigger than I thought - 6'3 and about 17 stone. 
The kid we played at scrum half (Micky Young of the Falcons) has a great pass - straight off the deck and it fizzes across the park.  He gets around the paddock at pace as well.  He isn't at the Ellis standard yet, but I prefered what I saw of his game to Danny Care. 
Dan Cole is a massive lump of a man. He was unlucky to be sin binned because Ireland infringed about a dozen times, got warning warning warning, Ireland get into the red zone once, Cole slows the ball and off he goes.  And watching the replay, there's an argument to say that it wasn't a penalty at all - it looked to me like he was the tackler, made the tackle and Ireland pinned him off his feet.
Varndell is still very young, and looked big and strong - his stiff arm is a thing of beauty.  He looked much more polished than he has in the past, a more complete player.  This is a problem when the player is moving to Wasps. 
Myler is still promising, but he doesn't smash people like you'd expect a League convert to.

He also refers to my story writing as a "Barbera Cartland (sic)" impression.  There's nothing like the support of your friends (and this isn't exactly the support of my friends, now, is it!) but I shall persevere regardless.  Of course, that isn't how you spell Barbara.  So there.

Friday, 19 June 2009

you tube if you want to

I hate the overblown hype, the misunderstanding, the confusion and then the misappropriation that accompanies any changes in the media landscape.  First it was blogs, then it was myspace, then facebook and youtube, now it's Twitter.

The thing that companies and politicians don't seem to understand is the inherently organic nature of these types of activity, and how corporate intrusion into them is horribly ineffective.

Youtube is the worst for this - other than the censorship and fair use issues which go on and on and on, the idea of politicians making press releases via this site is ludicrous.  You have proper TV equipment and access to the world's actual media.  Social media is not for you Gordon.

That said, youtube can be pretty neat - kids learning to tell visual stories, old tv clips, pirated gigs, amatuer music videos, all these things I am on board with.  Video diaries, less so.

Here's a list of things I have found this week on the internet, via various sources, which have amused me.

First up, two links from the excellent Earache blog - a cool Bezerker cover and the best washing machine advert of all time: (don't watch this at work!)

Then there's some more professional content, an unreleased single from the Streets. Mega.

And finally, via boing boing, a Jay Z remix

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lions test team


Here's the team:

L Byrne (Wales and Ospreys); T Bowe (Ireland and Ospreys), B O'Driscoll (Ireland and Leinster), J Roberts (Wales and Cardiff Blues), U Monye (England and Harlequins); S Jones (Wales and Scarlets), M Phillips (Wales and Ospreys); G Jenkins (Wales and Cardiff Blues), L Mears (England and Bath), P Vickery (England and Wasps), Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales and Ospreys), P O'Connell (Ireland and Munster, capt), T Croft (England and Leicester), D Wallace (Ireland and Munster), J Heaslip (Ireland and Leinster).
Replacements: M Rees (Wales and Scarlets), A Jones (Wales and Ospreys), D O'Callaghan (Ireland and Munster), M Williams (Wales and Cardiff Blues), H Ellis(England and Leicester), R O'Gara (Ireland and Munster), R Kearney (Ireland and Leinster)

All I can say is wow - the selection looks spot on.  I've written about the back row and half backs already, so let's have a quick peak at the rest of the side.

Full Back

Byrne ahead of Kearney (and that muppet Earls).  This is the correct selection, but it's been a pretty close call.  Two very similar players, both exhibiting impressive range, tackling and deep field kicking.  Byrne is a touch better in defence, Kearney a bit swifter.  I wouldn't like to say who's better under the high ball - Byrne has a solidity about him which makes him a great selection, but Kearney has a bit of the GAA bred player about him.  In terms of form Byrne is the guy, and it's nice to see it recognised.


Ugo has been in menacing form this tour, despite being something of a fringe selection in the squad.  He's scoring a lot, and bulldozing people on little wing incursions.  Bowe is a pretty similar player stylistically - he comes into the line at pace and uses good balance and shake moves to go past people.  His kicking game is a bit more finesse based than Monye's booming style, and suffers a consequential diminution in range.  He's in good form also.

Fitzgerald struggled in the centres, and has had something of a up and down tour in terms of form.  At the risk of over emphasising - that game in the centres has cost Fitzgerald a chance of playing in the first couple of tests.  Shane Williams has been awful on the tour.

Kearney provides back up on the wing and in the centre, which fits the defensive plans, but might limit the overall attacking potential of the team in the final 20 minutes.


These selections are the easiest on the tour.  Flutey has struggled with injuries and hasn't had the chance to hit form.  Leaving aside the fact that I wouldn't have taken him (he's not British!) he was the player who made England's backline tick in the Six Nations.  He won't get the chance for the Lions for now.  I guess he'll be the starting centre in the third test, after the shoulders of the incumbents have worn down.

Roberts has been the player of the tour for the backs - big, strong, quick, surehanded.  He adds to the possession and breakdown battle in a way that the other backs simply do not.

O'Driscoll is the highly rated, high reputation player on the squad.  I've seen him in the meat once, where he and D'Arcy were played off the park by the Leicester combination of Smith and Lloyd.  That game gave Smith his chance with the Lions (although he never really got a proper push on that tour, and following his father's tragic early death his form suffered - which is totally understandable - and he's not looked quite the same player since... here's hoping France is helping him feel at peace).  BOD get's the call simply because there's no one else - Earls has been dreadful - even though his form hasn't been epic.  He's been OK though.

D'Arcy was a late call up, and never had a proper chance of an early test slot, despite his rapport with BOD. 

Hook is out, possibly for the whole tour, with a head injury.

Front Row

The Hooker selection is really interesting.  I thought Rees would get the nod, because there hasn't been a lot to choose from between him and Mears, and Rees has a significant size advantage over Mears.  Line out throwing is going to be a battle ground for the Lions, given the proficiency of Matfield and Botha - this is why Ford is going to be playing the remainder of his tour in the midweek side.  Mears gets the chance to impress, but if he struggles, expect a switch for the second week.

Prop wise, there's been a lot of talk about how Sheridan must start because of the weakness of Smith as a tight head.  I never bought that, and always felt that Jenkins superior technical ability would win out.  Win one for me.  He's a great asset in the loose too.

Vickery plays, and is a professed favourite of Rowntree.  I'm prepared to accept he knows more about scrummaging than I will ever learn, and so will take this selection on faith. 

Jones adds a lot to the breakdown (massive massive unit).

Euan Murray got himself banged up, but he was playing well as well - I'd think he'd have started ahead of Vickery, but as I said, I won't argue with Wig.  This is the strongest performing group in the squad, and I couldn't say if this was due to selection, combinations or coaching.

Second Row

O'Connell was a shoo in, a gimme pick.  He's been paired consistently with Wyn Jones, and it's been obvious that this was the plan - pick two line out forwards to attack Botha and Matfield. 

O'Callaghan adds experience, strength and power for the loose.  At a push Croft can come forward.  Hines has been pushed around the pack, and seems to be considered as exclusively a midweek player.  Shaw is a huge lump of a man, solid at 5 and plenty of power on the break.  In the event the captain gets spear tackled in a challenge from which no player is cited, expect Shaw to come up into the test squad.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lions thoughts, take two


Oh the halfbacks... spine of the team, most important positions on the park... decision makers... coaches on the field.

I think it might be a bit over baked, the whole worship of the halfbacks, but that is probably a typical Leicester front row forward mentality.  I've watched Leicester compete with the very best with some pretty limited half backs, and come to value some of the qualities which those limited guys had.  Calm heads (when they were playing well), a quick pass from the 9, sensible kicking... yes, Mr Serevi, I'm looking at you here.

The Lions were in an awkward position, what with the French having opened up a brutal monopoly on half backs in the last couple of years, clever little players who can switch between 9 and 10, kick goals, run games, distributed efficiently from out half with no pressure or ferret the ball out of the ruck and maul and fire it across the field. 


The best out halves in Britain are both Welsh, for my money (Stephen Jones and James Hook are very different players, but both excellent, and you know full well there are a handful of other Welsh tens just waiting... I remember that Arwel Thomas and Ceri Jones never even got a run for Wales, even though they were quality, so I'm going to assume there are more).  ROG used to look like a pretty gifted, flash player, but something happened at the World Cup and he's (for my money) done.  The Scots have nothing, the English out halves are all separately and difficultly limited - Cipriani has a need to reduce his cuntyness and regear his kicking, but runs like a gazelle, Andy Average has one of the best kicking games you'll ever see, but is a confidence pony, the younger guys need seasoning (Myler and Geraghty come to mind, but Barkley barely played this year also).  Vesty is a Leicester guy, but not an international stand off (see weak leg, lack of goal kicking range for more details) who played himself out of contention in the last two games of the season.

I can totally understand why the decision was made to take ROG and Jones, and the belated addition of Hook made sense to me.

Tour form has been hard to come by for all the out halves - ROG has played awfully, absolutely awfully.  Jones has had a couple of good games.  Hook has been given no quality time, and seems to be viewed as a utility back for the midweek side, which is a shame, as he could lean on the game management expertise of the grizzled forwards and the (allegedly world class) O'Driscoll and make a name for himself.  As it is, the pick will be Jones.


As I said, the best 9s in Europe are all French.  Yachvilli, Elisalde, Dupuy, Michalak... there's something for everyone there.

The Lions went for the Tomas O'Leary, unimpressive scrum half for the Irish team, who actively impaired the team function of Ireland during the Six Nations.  Every time Stringer came on ROG looked better, the ball moved quickly and the team looked fluid.  Unfortunately Stringer is an old man, and has no pace.  I'd have considered taking him as an impact sub.

Then O'Leary got hurt and Mike Blair got called up.

Since then he's looked like the old man, out of place, unable to manage the Lions backline.  We can safely say he's out of contention, regardless of his nationality.

Then there's the Leicester man, Ellis.  Ellis has shown off his stunning box kicking game, putting pressure on the wings and sidelines.  The ball comes off the deck quickly when he's in the game and allowed to play the ball (fucking Wayne Barnes) and Ellis brings a ferocious amount of pace to the table. 

Mike Phillips is the other contender for the jersey.  He's afflicted with what I like to call Matt Dawson syndrome - the habit built into 9s these days to pick up the ball and have a little look to see what is on for them.  That might wash at junior level, where they're the best player on the paddock, but in the international test arena, they could really do with coaching that back a bit.  Phillips isn't as quick as Ellis, but is bigger.  He'll go through a tackle which Ellis would go over, but won't beat a guy to the corner that Ellis might.

As it is, Phillips has had all the plum starting jobs, and so looks likely to start.  He's also got the advantage of having a rapport with ROG.  I think that the third test will show Hook and Ellis in the starting roles, battling to get some respect in a series which is already lost.  For the moment though Phillips is tied on for the starting role.

Monday, 15 June 2009

booking fees...

are something of a bugbear of mine.


A bugbear? me? But I'm such a cheery chappie.  I never grouse.

Well, ok, a bit.

Here's an interesting article

But to summarise - Ticketmaster are a bunch of pirating, kidnapping, ransoming bastards.  No one likes them, but we all have to deal with them.  There's a word for that type of business practice, and I'm pretty sure that the people who are supposed to regulate it even have the word in their name.

I'm a blank

### and Mergers Committee?

The word eludes me.

self indulgence

So, this is pretty self indulgent, but isn't posting a diary online and expecting anyone to read it pretty narcissistic anyway? I figure it is, so sod it.

I wrote this little short story in response to a competition. Submitted it. Heard nothing. Still mine though, so I'll stick it here.


Their lips touched once, twice, thrice.  Hesitant, tentative, bashful.  First, chastely.  Second, demurely. The third time insistently, as they fell in love.

He thought of the first time they met, the softness of her skin as she took his hand, they way her eyes glittered in the light like a fistful of sapphires piled in a snow white palm, the smell of vanilla as he leant forward to kiss her cheek.

She thought of the warmth of his smile as he leant towards her, the flush that rose unwanted in her cheeks as his stubble grazed her face, the pounding of her heart as he drew away.

In that brief instant they could feel their lives unfolding into the future: years spent together, travelling, exploring, a wealth of experiences cementing their passion.  Walking on sandy beaches whilst the wind whips salt water into their hair.  Sitting beneath broad oak trees, drinking wine and gazing at a peach and violet sunset. Raising their children, three all told, with her grace and his strength, her laugh and his wit, tall and brave. 
Watching their
first steps, hearing their first words, sharing in their triumphs and commiserating with them on their defeats.  Growing older, growing together, taking comfort in their love with the passing of each year.

These things they told me, my sister and my husband, the day he asked for the divorce.

Lions thoughts

One of the key concerns for the Lions has got to be the back row. 

Let me rephrase

The Lions have got to be concerned about all their positions.  For every player who's put their hand up for test selection, there's an injury or a hopeless bust (I'm looking at you Shane Williams you overrated little smurf)

But the back row is critical to victory.  Winning the breakdown and turnover battle can make or break a test team.

The squad selection for the back row was interesting to say the least.  Alan Quinlan got selected as a squad filling hardman/bolter, and promptly got himself banned for gouging.  Out he went and in came Tom Croft, a personal favourite of mine, and a man many thought would be in the test team prior to the squad announcement.

Tom isn't a prototypical openside though, he's a freak athelete who could play on the wing if he wanted, but has the side of an early 90s lock.  Let's talk opensides:



Pros - freakish speed, and I don't use that phrase lightly.  Reputedly the second fastest player in the Tigers squad, after nippy little Tom Varndell.  A monster in the lineout, partly based off the same kind of explosive power which drives his pace, and partly because he's comparatively light for a big man, at about 16 stone. 

Cons - he's too fucking tall.  This is a typical Leicester attitude, but an open side should be able to get low to the ground and scrap.  Too many times in the tour we've seen Croft blown off the ball.  Not his fault, but it's an issue.


Nominally a 7, which is where he was first selected for England.  People said he'd replace Neil Back, and despite his dozens of England caps, let's face it, he never did. 

Pros - love him or hate him (I hate him) he can tackle and has a mastery of the Edwards defensive system.

Cons - he's slow. And he's too fucking tall to play 7. 

Here's a Wasps coaches select Wasps player thing - the coaches know what they're getting, and took a guy on tour who had one good international match all year.


Pros - great in the tackle area, great around the park.

Cons - he's too slow, he's too tall... when a player is touted as a player who can play anywhere in the back row, there's a guy who cannot play openside against the Springboks.


Martyn Williams

Last seen missing a penalty kick against Leicester (oooh, salty) Williams is limping around with injuries a plenty. 

Pros - a true openside

Cons - he's old, he's hurt, he's never been as good as people made out (typical Welsh player in other words)


Oh yes, the cupboard is bare, and it isn't like there were any quality 7s left at home.  Looking at the English, Moody was hurt all year, Narraway is too small, Armitage is overrated and simply not a big game player, Ben Woods looked good for Leicester but isn't a test player... there's not a lot there

The Welsh don't have any opensides outside of Williams, hence his unretirement

Scotland's top back row players played hurt and out of position, Simon Taylor is the openside you'd have wanted to step forward, but he didn't. Ho hum.

The Irish are short of players too, outside the two we've mentioned.  I love Shane Jennings, but he has never got a look for Ireland.  At Leicester, he was spectacular.  Ludicorus.  Since... less so.

So Williams it is.


I love Geech, but in his wisdom he opted against taking any out and out 8s.  Instead we have the massive unit that is Andy Powell and the flexibility of Stephen Ferris.


Pros - what  a beast.  Brrrrrrring. Beast.  A big hitter who's pretty close to the line at all times, and a huge carrier. 

Cons - not exactly a force in the lineout, is he.  Hands are a little bit suspect.  Has turned it over a few times when isolated.


Pros - Good around the paddock.  A mixture of skills.

Cons - He's not a massive crash ball guy, and he doesn't scare people.

Here's a man who'se put his hand up big time for the test place, one of the very few.  He's been pretty impressive.  Ferris.


Blind side is the toughest position on the park, the hardest to play, the hardest to value.  It's also the place in the squad where tactics come into play the most, certainly in the pack at least.

This spot was absolutely locked down.  Heaslip was playing like a man possessed.  A demon on the park, quick, skillful, good in the line and the loose.  He would have formed a terrifying tandem with Croft and run the Boks off the park.  Now he's gone, there's no chance of Croft playing openside (although blindside isn't out...) and the other contenders for the shirt are...

All discussed above!

Wallace, I guess, could play, but hasn't stood out
Worsley hasn't played superbly
Croft looks savage quick
Ferris could play 6 to allow Powell to play

I'm going to say Croft, because Botha and Matfield are going to dominate the lineout, but I think it will be Worsley for the first test.  I don't think he'll be good though.

In the words of So Solid

Romeo Done.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Scouting next year's draft

I love the draft. Love it to bits. The hope, the promise, the prospect for change... and then the success, the failure, the disappointment, plus the odd bolter.

This is why I love the National Football Post's scouting the draft - because it is never too early to start guessing at who will go high in the next draft.

And, of course, it adds spice to my watching of the fall's college ball. And yes, I don't like the word fall for autumn, but there we go. Here's a link:

Scouting Series

Book review: The Instrumentalities of the Night

Books: The Tyranny of the Night, Lord of the Silent Kingdom
Author: Glen Cook
Purchase: Book 1 , Book 2


Glen Cook uses his unparalleled world building skills to showcase a version of Crusades era western Europe where magic exists and the gods are all too real. Else Tage, slave soldier turned infiltrator, represents a threat in the mind of hoary powers, sorcerers and warrior emperors, even if he isn't aware of it. A heresy rages, a crusade stutters and stumbles and the old gods rise.


The mix of complexity, politics, war and realism that Cook creates is a pretty unique blend. There are dozens of non fantasy war authors who would kill their kids to achieve a similar level of grit and grime in their work, but Cook will never achieve the same level of commercial success because A) he writes fantasy and B) as far as I can tell, he is an ornery cuss.


The heresy in the books is a pretty accurate representation of the Albigensian heresy in the south of France, which the Catholic Church put down in typically brutal fashion - the contention was that, as the world is such a shitty place to live, it seems more reasonable to assume it was made by the Devil than God. Cook even gets some of the famous lines of the era into the lips of his characters.

For readers of:

Glen Cook, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Pat Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson

Song of the week

Bettah - Dennis Bovell

I like reggae. This may seem somewhat incongruous for someone who can usually be found listening to some pretty heavy metal, a music not known for it's cheeriness and upbeat nature, unlike the reggae. Nonetheless. I like reggae.

This tune is fantastic. At the same time upbeat and political, it has what I look for in a song to roll around in the car to on a summer day.


Also, there's a kind of punky sensibility to the snarly "bettah!" of the chorus. I have two versions of the song, but here's a link to the original, just in case you wanted to listen.

I may talk about other great records by this guy in the future - he's kind of cool.

A first post

So here's the plan:

Some book reviews (this may include reviews of series, depending on how it's going on a week to week basis... I'll strive to have a uniform system, but who knows how that'll turn out);

Some ruminations on football; and

Some notes on other stuff that's going on. This may include music, film, television, who knows what else.