Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On the Roeder Nowhere

New Carrot Rud manager Glenn Roeder and stroke-victim winker-weirdo Anne Robinson. I must say, I've never seen them in the same room at the same time.

Rather intrigued at Naaaaarwich's new manager. He had one good season at West Ham, but has been pretty crap everywhere else he's been. At Newcastle, he spent a lot of money and although he did have injury problems, he simply wasn't good enough. And Naaaaarwich have also spent big this year, but sit proudly at the bottom of the league.

And on Sunday afternoon it's the East Anglian derby at Carrot Rud. What better game could he start with? The mighty Ipswich are currently 4th in the league and playing well. Well, they're playing well at home, at least. I still think we've got enough to beat the budgies at Carrot Rud, but I do expect Roeder to lead them out of trouble. It would be a shame if our inbred cousins were to be relegated (snigger snigger).

Especially for Shit

Hallowe'en Table tennis with Creepy Pong. Ridiculously addictive and very good fun!

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See how many Halloween ghouls you can beat at table tennis!

Play this free game now!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Royal Rumble

All sorts of fun and games going on with the Royals at the moment... It is alleged that one of them has been a naughty boy. Apparently they were being blackmailed in a sex and drugs sting. Now, the thing is I don't really give a toss about the Royals, but it is actually quite fun trying to guess who it might be.

According to 'sources', it's not a very high up Royal, sadly. And unless it's a rather clever double-bluff, it's probably true. As much as I'd like to think it might be Charles getting sucked off by one of his aides. But my sources suggest that we should be looking towards Kensington Palace for this one...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Viz Top Tips

TOURETTES sufferers with an interest in Victoriana. Simply replace shouting 'fuck', 'cunt' and 'wanker' with 'poppycock', 'fiddlesticks' and 'balderdash' to recreate an authentic Victorian experience.

TAME budgies and parrots easily by replacing their grit with iron filings. By holding a large magnet, they will sit hapilly on your hand for hours.

DAILY MAIL EDITORS. Underline important words in your headlines just to make sure that your readers are clear about what it is you want them to think.

HOMEOWNERS. When selling your house, replace your furniture with children's tables and chairs, and use a dwarf estate agent. Instantly, your house will seem more roomy than it actually is.

OIL COMPANIES. Avoid having the general public pointing the global warming finger at you by putting some pictures of trees and flowers on your websites and adverts.

SMOKERS. Enjoy seemingly longer holidays by stopping smoking on your first day off, making every day thereafter appear to be 72 hours long.

DOG OWNERS. Don't waste money on a lead. Simply walk your dog backwards holding its tail.

JEREMY BEADLE When selling DVDs on your TV advert, hold the disks in your bigger hand so that they do not appear to be the size of laser disks.

MUMS. Confuse your children by mixing butter with their I can't Believe It's Not Butter. They won't know what to believe.

Find more at www.viz.co.uk

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Supporting the Samaritans

I went to the Annual General Meeting of the Plymouth Samaritans last night. It's when all the volunteers get together to discuss what has happened in the previous year. High on the agenda was funding. I assumed that an organisation like the Samaritans would get government funding, but only 2% of our overall funding comes from the goverment - that works out at only £200,000 a year. Incredibly, the Donkey Sanctuary gets more funding each year - £17m - than the Samaritans, which nationwide only brings in £10m.

However, that only tells half the story. The individual branches don't actually get any support at all and the Plymouth branch is totally self-funded. I was shocked to find out that last year, the Plymouth branch of the Samaritans brought in less than £20,000. Bearing in mind their outgoings are substantially more than that, they are trading at a loss, even though no one in the branch is paid a penny for the great work they do.

The branch relies heavily on donations, tin shakes and the like, but needs to raise at least 25% more each year to cover its outgoings. Obviously, if any readers of White Spirit would like to make a donation, please email me at whitespirit@chezguevara.com and I'll let you know how to do so.

But, I've got a scheme. Some of you may know that in my day job, I'm a mortgage adviser. I also offer all sorts of insurance, such as buildings & contents insurance as well as accident, sickness & unemployment cover. I've decided that I will donate any commission I receive for any buildings & contents or ASU policies I write to the Samaritans.

So if you'd like to help a truly worth cause whilst at the same time helping yourself, then drop me a line. As an independent broker, I offer the cheapest insurance you can possibly get. You can have just buildings insurance, but if you go for both buildings and contents, the contents insurance is half price. I can also do buildings insurance on a buy to let. Or if you want to protect your mortgage against losing your job or not being able to work due to an illness, then I can help with that too. And every penny will go to supporting the Samaritans.

Drop me a line at whitespirit@chezguevara.com or call me in the office on 01752 201 221. Make sure you state that you want the Samaritans deal. I'm not after your charity or your donations; it's a win-win situation. You get the best and cheapest insurance, which you need anyway; the Samaritans get the support they so richly deserve; and best of all, it's all paid for by the insurance companies. Get in touch; you know it makes sense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who helps the helpless?

As many of you will know, I'm now a fully fledged Samaritan. Everyone knows the Samaritans, but there's a lot of misinformation about what it is we actually do. Some think the Sams are a religious organisation. Others consider us to be the suicide line, the last place to call when no one else will listen.

And we do get suicidal callers, who are at the end of their tether. But we also get all manner of people who have no one else to talk to. The Sams are not religious, volunteers do not impose their own religious, political, philosophical beliefs on people who get in touch. They have no agenda or allegiance to any particular movement. The Samaritans offer confidential, non-judgemental support to anyone and everyone, whether they are suicidal or not.

It has been one of the best things I've ever done. Obviously I cannot go into any detail about actual callers, but I've already helped some truly desperate people deal with some truly desperate situations. It's a remarkable feeling when you make such a difference to a total stranger's life. I would thoroughly recommend becoming a Samaritan to anyone.

If you want to make a difference and give more back to the world than just a donation each month, then go to the Samaritans website. It will be hard at times, but the training is first class. And I guarantee that if you do it, it will be easily the most rewarding thing you've ever done.

Hiddink for Euro Exit

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. England lost their crunch match against Russia and qualification for Euro 2008 now looks decidedly dodgy. And what a shame. In the last five or six games, England had started to actually play quite well. But they are paying the price for some truly shocking results last year, most notably against Macedonia and we are now facing the real possibility that England will not be at Euro 2008.

I watched the match and I thought we were unlucky to lose. Dodgy penalty and yet again, dodgy keeping from Paul Robinson was England's undoing. I can't see Robinson keeping his place after once again showing he is not up to the job. There are plenty of good keepers below him - most notably Robert Green and Scott Carson, not to mention David James and even Chris Kirkland. I've never really rated Robinson - I always thought he was more lucky than talented - and now that his luck seems to have deserted him, his shortcomings are there for all to see.

It's not all over yet, though. Russia still have to beat Israel away, which is not a foregone conclusion. However, qualification is no longer in our hands as England have underperformed yet again.

The bigger question is, will McClaren keep his job? He looked like he was starting to get the hang of it, but if we don't qualify, I can't see him staying. Three months ago, there is no way he would even have had a chance of staying. But recent results and performances have been encouraging, exiting even. The FA will have some difficult decisions to make if we don't qualify.

I have to say, I think I probably do want him to go, despite the fact that he now seems to have found his way. Harsh? Probably. But I think that England need a truly world class manager to get the best out of what is clearly a talented bunch of players. And McClaren may be many things, but a world-class manager he is not.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Those Rugger Buggers...

Left in a bit of a quandary with England's recent rugby success. Well, not so much of a quandary, really. I mean, I'm not going to be cheering on South Africa, just as I wasn't cheering on France or the Aussies. However, am I the only one who finds England's style of rugby deadly dull?

There's no flair, no moments of brilliance. Just kick it up the pitch, then bung it to Johnny Wilkinson and kick it over the sticks. Booooring. In many ways, the drop goal has ruined rugby. But what is it about the English? The last few football World Cups were the same - get a goal, then the fabled 10-0-0 formation. Yes, it's all English grit and bulldog spirit. But it's so fucking dull.

England used to be exciting, at both rugby and football. To be fair, the football is getting better, although only recently. But I don't want to watch our teams grind out results against more exciting teams. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I'll still be cheering them on against South Africa; but I hope against hope that they play some decent rugby, just as I hope that the football team will play well against Russia, whatever the resuls.

A Joke about Hairdressers

My mum got a job as the Queen's hairdresser. She parked outside Buckingham Palace and a policeman said to her "Have you got a permit?"

"No," she replied "I've just got to take a bit off the back."

A Joke about Marriage

Two old men are sitting on a park bench chatting. One asks the other "How's your wife?"

The second old chap replies "I think she might be dead."

The first man asks "What do you mean, you THINK she's dead?"

"Well," the second elderly gentleman explains, "our sex life is much the same as it always was, but the dishes are starting to pile up."

Mercifully no more Ming

I don't belieeeve it!

Finally Sir Menzies Campbell has decided to do the decent thing and has resigned as leader of the Lib Dems. I know that they're never going to get into power, due to the voting system that we have in the UK. But even so, I feel that I share more in common with the Lib Dems than anyone else. I will never vote for Gordon Brown and I sure as hell cannot bring myself to vote Tory, no matter how fluffy and green they are trying to pretend to be.

And that does seem to be a lot of the Lib Dems' strength. Since New Labour's switch from Left to middle, the Lib Dems now occupy the left of the political map. (And just how long can New Labour be considered New, by the way?) But a lot of their votes have come from people that are frankly disillusioned with the other two.

I was prepared to vote for Charles Kennedy (safe in the knowledge he'd never become Prime Minister, obviously) even though he was an alcoholic. But I could never bring myself to vote for Campbell. Why? Irrational, but he's just so damn old, dull and posh. I was gobsmacked to find out that he is only 66. He looks about 80. But more than that, what sort of name is Menzies? Even if it was pronounced 'Menzies', it's a crap name for a politician. But Ming?

Now I know that you shouldn't base your political opinions on a name, and I'm sure that Campbell had some great policies. But in order to sell an idea, you have to sell yourself. No one will buy from someone they don't like. And no one will vote for someone they perceive to be so far removed from what they know.

We live in an era where presentation is as important as substance, perhaps even more so, if David Cameron's success is anything to go by. And sadly, Sir Menzies Campbell just didn't cut the mustard. He was the poorest choice of Party Leader since William Hague, for exactly the same reasons. I'm sure that Campbell still has a strong part to play for the Lib Dems, but they need someone more consumer-friendly upfront.

Who do I want? I think Nick Clegg would get my vote, although he may be perceived as a Cameron clone, because of his looks. We shall see. But whoever they get, he's bound to do better than Campbell.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Joke about Art

A couple attending an art exhibition at the National Gallery were staring at a portrait that had them completely confused. The painting depicted three very black and totally naked men sitting on a bench. Two of the figures had black penises, but the one in the middle had a pink penis.

The curator of the gallery realized that they were having trouble interpreting the painting and offered his assessment. He went on for nearly half an hour explaining how it depicted the sexual emasculation of African-Americans in a predominantly white patriarchal society. "In fact," he pointed out, "some serious critics believe that the pink penis also reflects the cultural and sociological oppression experienced by gay men in contemporary society."

After the curator left, a Scottish man approached the couple and said, "Would you like to know what the painting is really about?"

"Now why would you claim to be more of an expert than the curator of the gallery?" asked the couple.

"Because I'm the guy who painted it," he replied. "In fact, there are no African-Americans depicted at all. They're just three Scottish coal-miners and the guy in the middle went home for lunch."


Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Real Che Guevara

20th Century Icon

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara at the hands of a CIA execution squad in Bolivia. He's always been a bit of a hero of mine, hence my nom de plume. In many ways, he is the face of the 60's - the iconic picture of the beret-wearing Che is possibly the most reproduced picture of all time.

As a figure in history, he's always been controversial. On the one-hand, he was a hero to the flower power generation of the 60's; and yet he was a man that believed firmly in armed struggle; indeed, he literally wrote the book on guerilla warfare.

Some have argued that there is little difference between Che in the 60's and Osama Bin Laden today. I think that's a little far-fetched. Both were indeed violently opposed to American Imperialism; however, Che was - and still is - the undisputed global icon of all wars fought by rebellious peoples who believe in hope against injustice and who believe another, less cruel world is possible.

It's true that a large part of the cult of Che is his good looks, and he is certainly a member of the 'died young and cool' club, along with Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, James Dean and others. I often see people wearing Che T-shirts, and I think that is largely because he does look cool. I suspect that Che is probably turning in his grave at the way his image has been mass marketed.

Why is he a hero for me? I don't share his politics. I don't condone violent struggle and I'm not a Marxist. My respect for Che Guevara comes from the passion he had for his ideals. He was from a rich, land-owning family who had been educated at one of the top universities in Argentina. He graduated as a doctor and could easily have lived a comfortable life in Buenos Aires, at a time when there was a strong rich / poor divide. But he decided to give it all up, choosing instead to fight against the Americans in order to try to free Southern America from the hold that the US held against them.

It is a little known fact that Guevara was actually asthmatic – living in the humidity of a jungle would have been incredibly difficult for him personally. And even after the Cuban Revolution, when Che had been made Economics Minister and could then have gone on to live a very comfortable life in a position of real power and authority – even then, he didn’t let it go to his head. He refused to abuse his position for his own gain, in a country where corruption was rife.

But two things impressed me most of all about his hero – first was the refusal to suck up to the Soviet Union, despite the imminent threat of invasion from the Americans; the second was his decision to give up his post of Economics Minister in Cuba to go back to the jungle of Bolivia to try to overthrow the American-supported government there – a decision that would ultimately lead to his death.

That’s really being passionate about your ideals – the willingness to die for them. I know deep down that I wouldn’t die for an ideal – my self-preservation instinct (and general apathy) are both far too strong for that; but Che Guevara inspires me nonetheless to stick to my own ideals and moral code, even though they are nowhere near as grand as the real Che Guevara’s were.

Che Guevara was simply prepared to die for his ideals. His ideals were flawed in my opinion, but he died trying to make the world a better place. And in this politically and socially apathetic I'm alright Jack world, that is why he will always be respected and remembered long after his death.

Tall Tales

Made a bit of a faux-pas recently whilst out shopping with my girlfriend. She was looking for a long t-shirt, so we'd gone into a shop called Long Tall Sally in Exeter, which is aimed at the taller lady. We were chatting about clothes sizes for girls - my girlfiend is 5 foot 10 - and she was saying that Top Shop also run a range for taller girls, but they're not very well fitting. Without thinking, I suggested rather loudly "well, they probably only sell to trannies".

With that, the whole shop suddenly went really quiet. I had one of those "did I really say that outloud?" moments and my girlfriend was mortified. Fortunately, it was only a group of shorter girls that heard me, who dissolved in a fit of hysterics. The shop assistants (who were all very tall) were not very impressed, though. Needless to say, I quickly made my excuses and left.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Who wants to be a millionaire?

I've found an online calculator that shows you just how much you have to save each month to be a millionaire. For example, if I want to be a millionaire by the time I'm 65, I'll have to save £1,100 a month.

Easy. And if I can save £3,400 a month, I'll be a millionaire by the time I'm 50. Ahem. Looks like I'm going to need more bitches to pimp.

Criminal Masterminds Award 2007

In third place are the three men who decided to streak through a restaurant in Washington. In order to make a quick getaway after their nude sprint, they left their car running outside. Unfortunately for them, during the time they were in the restaurant, their car – with all their clothes inside it – was stolen. They chased after it (in temperatures below –5°C), but were unable to catch up, and were forced to huddle, naked, behind another car until the police arrived.

In second place, if I was going to carry out an armed robbery, I think the last place I'd try to hold up would be a karate academy. But that's exactly what one rather hapless thief tried recently in Colombia. The would-be criminal mastermind discovered the flaw in his plans when the students at the academy didn't take kindly to being robbed. The robber is now recovering in a hospital, after the martial artists used their combat skills on him and took away his gun.

Although perhaps a karate academy isn't the worst place in the world to rob, which brings us onto first place where a man attempted to rob a gun shop near Seattle. Ignoring the marked police car that was parked outside, he went in, pulled his gun, and told everybody to freeze or he'd kill them. Among the numerous people in the shop who pulled their own guns in return, both the shop clerks and an on-duty police officer returned fire. Our criminal mastermind died from four gun shot wounds.