Monday, 31 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – Contagion

Steven Soderbergh’s back and he’s doing what he does best, directing an ensemble cast in a big budget drama. His latest effort is a paranoia inducing movie about a pandemic that will have you viewing your fellow cinemagoers with mistrust and contempt (I feel that way every time I go to the cinema). So, what did Ashley think of the film?

Boooooring. Been done. Worse than expected, lame cast.

Lame cast? Seriously? Okay, well, it is full of people I don’t care for ie. Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne but what about Kate Winslet, everyone likes Kate right? Anyway, Gwyneth Paltrow starts the whole thing off and dies pretty sharpish… two thumbs up from The Cold Ghetto. Seriously though, I have no issue with Gwyneth, I’m not a fan of her husband’s music though, I’d rather chop my cock off and stab myself in the ears than listen to that.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – Misfits

E4’s hit drama returns for a third series at 22:00 tonight (30.10.11) and introduces us to new character Rudy (played by Joseph Gilgun of This Is England fame). Rudy replaces Nathan, who we saw ‘banged up’ in the online short Vegas Baby, and has the ability to split himself into two identical people but with polarised personality traits. What does Ashley make of it I hear you ask: -

Heroes for Chavs. Can be amusing/entertaining though.

I’m not sure if that makes Ashley a chav or not then? Anyway, this third series is slated to last eight episodes and will see several new writers joining series creator Howard Overman’s team. I’ve only ever managed to watch about fives minutes of the BAFTA Award winning series, I took an instant dislike to all of the characters and dismissed the show as dog’s wank. However, almost two million people watched the season two Christmas finale so I might be wrong. I’m not though.

Lance Has Got His Star Charts Out Again!

It's that time of the month when Steve should really stop taking calls, in fact, I'd recommend never taking calls from animals.

Yep, it’s that time of the month again, a time when werewolves prowl the land, Eric Pickles takes a bath and Lance, the astral plane watcher, gets all predictive and calculates what’s likely to happen in your world for the next couple of weeks. In the words of Lance’s wrangler, “if there’s something up there in the moon’s orbit Lance will see it.” In the words of me, “Bollocks!” But the monkey is adamant and who am I to deny you the right to know what’s going to be going on in your future, even if it does have the same scientific basis as Creationism, The Loch Ness Monster and the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon.

Aries – March 21 – April 19

Take me to the magic of the moment, on a glory night, where the children of tomorrow dream away in the wind of change. (Oi! Lance, that’s Scorpions’ Wind Of Change you stupid monkey.) (I think Lance probably had soft rock FM on while he was listening to this, either that or he’s confused this star chart with one he had knocking about from 1989, silly Simian)
* Lance is adamant that this is accurate, he predicts another falling of communist dictatorships, look out China *

Taurus – April 20 – May 20

I told you about the laudanum you fool; now you’ll never be shot of her. Oh well, I think building a nuclear fall-out shelter in the garden is probably wise, put a train set in it and don’t give anyone else the keys. When stocking up on Nuclear winter fuel be sure to get several different flavours of soup, tomato gets boring when you reach the 3rd or 4th day.

Gemini – May 21 – June 20

Things should bounce along quite nicely, expect several tingly sensations, but don’t worry it’s not a stroke, it’s more like a ride on the waltzers or some pretty fireworks tingly. Wwwweeeeeee woooooooo.

Cancer – June 21 –July 22

70's Icon?
Big wheel keeps on turning, I’m going to keep on burning, rolling, rolling, rolling on the river (either Lance still has Soft Rock FM on or you should become a trucker, it’s up to you what you decide he means.) But also, now that the weather’s turning cooler it’s time to start thinking of a 70s cop film marathon, you should definitely spend a Saturday watching Bullitt (“that’s 1968 you fuckwit, honestly, you’d think Bonobos had learned to use IMDB by now” Editor), French Connection, Dirty Harry and Driver, and don’t be afraid to run places in your shoes.
* That’s all very manly, I think if you’re a lady you should probably ignore this and go and buy yourself some shoes, it sounds like you’ll be spending some time alone. *

Leo – July 23 – August 22

More of the same really, still wellies but add a scarf, a bobble-hat and some thick gloves.

Virgo – Aug 23 – September 22

It’s only a matter of time before your plan works and you rule the world. Not long now.

Libra – September 23 – October 22

If you can read this you didn’t flee far enough, go further away.

Scorpio – October 23 – November 21

Well, well, well, what a mess you’ve got yourself in. I warned you, don’t expect the judge to be lenient either, not after what you did.

Sagittarius – November 22 - December 21

It's not big and it's not clever.
Remember, never go back to firework that didn’t go off. It could burn your mitten into you palm flesh and that’s going to really smart. In other news try a different brand of instant coffee, it might make you look less stupid in front of your work colleagues, you know, because the extra caffeine shot might make you look less like a gormless, know-nothing idiot.

Capricorn – December 22 – January 19

It’s time to give up the bagpiping (both kinds) your neighbours are starting to get very testy about the noise and that landlord wouldn’t think twice about dumping you and your all tat on the streets this winter. It’s cold on the streets at Christmas so quit with the noise and keep your head down.

Aquarius – January 20 – February 18

Ok so which way did you go, if it was the cruise then, Yay! Quoits! But don’t eat the squid in Italy, if you bought a goldfish then keep an eye on it because it’s swim bladder is looking like it might be about to go pop. Also if you’re American don’t vote for anything endorsed by the Tea Party, they’re all nutcases.

Pisces – February 19 – March 20
Michael Flatley's new show looks like a winner!

Might as well jump. Jump! Might as well jump. Go ahead, jump. Jump! Go ahead, jump. (I think Soft Rock FM is still on)
* Again, Lance is adamant, you should be jumping. *

Right, that’s it. Some more bafflingly incoherent gibberish from the monkey there. If it’s not useful then don’t blame me, Lance is the one you want for any complaints or disappointments, although it’s your own stupid fault if you hurt yourself while jumping about because a monkey told you to.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – “Acid Rock” by Rhythm Device

On Monday 11th July 2011 at 15:44 I asked my cousin Ashley to look at a video on youtube. I’d recently happened upon the video for what had been one of my favourite records as a teenager, “Acid Rock” by Rhythm Device. The video was a revelation, a flashback to a more innocent time, a testament to what you could do with a miniscule budget. The thing that troubled me was whether or not there was any irony involved, where they taking the piss? I asked Ashley to have a look and give me his thoughts, he did, but not before he reviewed it in his inimitable eight word style.

Shit! And seven more words that mean shit!

Harsh I felt. He went on to say “I’ve just viewed and listened to said video track. I can wholly confirm that they are actually taking the piss, and that it is not in-fact genius (which is now I’d previously described it). I gave it 2 minutes and 27 seconds out of a possible 3 minutes and 32 seconds, quite fair I'd say.” Yes, he gave it long enough, nothing extraordinary happens in the remaining one minute and five seconds, it continues much along the same path. I don’t agree with Ashley though. I’ve added the video below for you to watch. Have a look and then click onto our Facebook page to take part in our poll. Whilst there, why not like our page? It’s a bit shit but we put extra content on there because it’s easier and we’re lazy.

Alan Partridge vs Tina Fey... Bookwars!

I recently happened upon Richard Bacon's Five Live show, it wasn't the first time, I've listened before, this time however he was due to be joined by Steve Coogan's comic creation Alan Partridge. Coogan was there to plug his latest offering, an autobiography of Partridge written in the fictional broadcaster's unique style. Bacon stated emphatically that “I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan” was the funniest book ever written, one of his sidekicks argued that Tina Fey’s autobiography “Bossypants” was the funniest book. I decided that someone needed to settle the argument once and for all.

So, have I read both books? No, that sounds like way too much hard work. I downloaded and listened to both audiobooks, saving me time and allowing me valuable extra minutes to write this for your benefit, do you appreciate it? Probably not… you ungrateful shit! I forgive you though.

Where do we start then? I’ll go with which is funnier. Unquestionably, I, Partridge is an infinitely funnier book, but it’s meant to be. We’re not talking about an actual life here, it’s a work of utter fiction based around a comic character, of course it’s funnier. It’s very well written and has a punchline in almost every sentence. Coogan’s teamed up with long time collaborators Armando Iannucci, Neil Gibbons and his twin brother Rob to bring us this book and it’s worked out very nicely (far better than his 2009 tour… which was shit).

The book does seem to loose pace once, around the time where Partridge reveals intimate details about his Toblerone addiction. Around this point I realised I’d tuned out of the audiobook, I'm not certain whether this was because I was bored or busy doing something else, but it was definitely because I was bored. It was a brief blip in what was an otherwise smooth and enjoyable listen, I found myself laughing out loud more than I had done for a very long time. If you enjoyed I’m Alan Partridge then you’ll get a lot out of this, I thoroughly recommend it.

What about Bossypants then? Well, it’s a different book altogether and it’s hard to judge it against Partridge. Fey’s a fantastic comedy writer, if you haven’t seen Mean Girls or 30 Rock then you really should take a look at them, admittedly I’m not a fan of Saturday Night Live, but that’s because I think sketch comedy is mostly utter shite. Fey’s a woman that’s made it in a male dominated industry and her book clearly focuses on that as she guides us through the struggles that her career has seen.

Yes, at points it gets a little preachy, and, as a man I felt that I needed to write to her and apologise on behalf of the male species, but it never turns into the Vagina Monologues. Each time Fey starts to talk about the sexes she throws a little gag in, as if to cut the tension. It’s an interesting read and I’d certainly recommend it, whilst I was able to dip in and out of Coogan’s book, I felt caught up in Tina’s story and had to keep listening to “just one more chapter”. So, in summary, Partridge is funnier, Fey is more interesting.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Pierre Hits The Gridiron Again

Lego Pierre, sure to be a Christmas hit.

Pierre’s wrangler ensures me that he had a very fine day out at Wembley for last weekend’s International Series thriller between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and enjoyed his first live taste of hot, sweaty, hulking, smash mouth, NFL football. Pierre is very much looking forward to this weekend’s games and has upgraded his Sky Sports package and is planning something called a Tailgate Party for this Sunday evening, (ladies and people with beer more than welcome). Pierre has yet to throw his avian allegiance behind a franchise yet and is a little disappointed to note that none of the teams have nicknamed themselves the Barn Owls, but that hasn’t stopped him from having a look at the fixtures for week 8 of the regular season and seeing if he can work out which teams might be winners, and which teams might be heading for extra practice next week (oh joy).

Of course all of this was based on getting nearly all of last week’s predictions wrong, in fact the only fixture Pierre got close to score matching was St Louis Rams @ Dallas Cowboys fixture which Pierre missed out on by just a single point. But in a week where Miami let a 15 – 0 lead slip in the last 3 minutes and Carolina managed to beat the defensively tight Redskins and get their season up and running it was a difficult week for a bird to debut his guesstimating skills. But he’s fronting up and he also claims to have learnt lessons, so here goes with week 8.

NFL: Week 8

New Orleans Saints @ St Louis Rams
Edward Jones Stadium
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT) All games played on Sunday 30th October (local time), except San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs which is Monday 31st October
New Orleans put more than 60 points on another hopeless gang of winless chumps last week when they hosted The Colts and although bagging 60 points is a rare thing St Louis are quite terrible at American Football, home field advantage may keep the total score down (or the Saints starting to feel sorry for them) but this is a comfortable away win that should cement the Saints in top spot of the NFC South.
Prediction: Rams 14 – Saints 41

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
Reliant Stadium
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT)

A big win against another division rival for Houston puts them in charge of this division heading to the half way point of the regular season but Jacksonville getting a win against Baltimore keeps them in the hunt and another win on Sunday would see them pull to within 1 win of Houston. A win for either side would help because Tennessee who are the meat separating these two teams in their division are at home to the Colts and look bang on for a win. Close, but a home win.
Prediction: Texans 28 – Jaguars 25

Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants
MetLife Stadium
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT)

While Miami were throwing away a comfortable lead in the last 3 minutes against Denver last weekend that would have seen them make their first score in the win column the Giants had their feet up on a bye week. A bye week can be a bit of a double-edged sword, do players get rusty or is the rest good for the team, who knows? But before the bye the Giants were 4-2, having won those 4 of their last 5 games as well, and if they could have hand-picked a team to beat the rustiness out on they would have probably picked the Dolphins, who look like they may well settle for losing for the rest of the year now to get a great draft pick.
Prediction: Giants 28 – Dolphins 7

Arizona Cardinals @ Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT)

Hhhhmmmm, two teams of birds, curious. I’ve never met a Cardinal, they’re American you know, and ravens are ok but I find them a bit shifty, usually good blokes though. I back the Ravens.
Prediction: Ravens 21 – Cardinals 10

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans
LP Field
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT)

The two teams with the combined longest city names in the league, which would make the scoreboard operators job a bit tricky if they didn’t just use Colts – Titans. Indianapolis are rubbish and getting hit for more than 60 points by a score happy gang of Saints shows that, no wins, very little offense, the defence is a mess, Titans get a comfy home win despite getting shoved around last week by Houston.
Prediction: Titans 21 – Colts 7

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers
Bank Of America Stadium
1:00pm (ET) (5:00pm GMT)

The Vikings were closer to Green Bay last week than this column thought but they still lost and Carolina upset the stats and all the avian wisdom I could muster to run out fairly comfortable winners over the Redskins. My tingly wisdom says that all leads to Carolina sticking with winning and the Vikings sticking to losing, maybe they should get some real horns on their helmets like proper Vikings.
Prediction: Panthers 28 – Vikings 25

Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Filed At Mile High (yes that’s what it’s called)
4:05pm (ET) (8:05pm GMT)

Detroit lost at home to a competitive Atlanta last weekend and they could be looking for a someone to pound away on to get rid of that defeat and stick close to the run away Packers at the top of the division. Denver are pretty bad but had enough to only need three minutes to beat Miami last week, but the Lions aren’t the Dolphins and even though this game is up in the clouds on a mountain the Lions should still win it.
Prediction: Broncos 14 – Lions 28

Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills
Rogers Centre
4:05pm (ET) (8:05pm GMT)
While the Redskins were losing at home to Carolina the Bills had their feet up on a bye week, they come back to competitive action looking to win to keep up with the Patriots at the top of the division and to stick to a ½ game lead over the jets in a competitive looking AFC East. Washington could do with a win as well, especially with the fixtures giving the division leading Giants an easy home fixture and the Cowboys playing the Eagles, they may not get it though.
Prediction: Bills 25 – Redskins 21

Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field
4:15pm (ET) (8:15pm GMT)

While Seattle were losing a low-scoring battle of the terribly averages last week against Cincinnati’s division rivals, the Cleveland Browns, the Bengals were watching it all on the telly with a bye week. Before the bye week they had built a 4-2 record and in not playing they didn’t lose much ground on the two teams above them, Baltimore lost but the Steelers improved to 5-2 although they do have the really quite good New England Patriots this week. If they don’t win that then a win for the Bengals would see them draw level with the Steelers at the top of the table.
Prediction: Seahawks 10 – Bengals 28

New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field

4:15pm (ET) 8:15pm GMT)

A battle of two of the very best teams in the league for the last decade and this season looks no different, they’re only separated by a ½ game, with the Patriots 5-1 just shading the Steelers 5-2, although that closes up if Pittsburgh win and they are both on form both having won 4 of their last 5 games. It could easily turn out that these two teams play each other for the conference title and the right to go to the Superbowl, although they are both in very competitive divisions and there are more than a couple of other sides who will want to have something to say about it. Home advantage may be the big factor.
Prediction: Steelers 28 – Patriots 25
Cleveland Browns @ San Francisco 49ers
Candlestick Park
4:15pm (ET) 8:15pm GMT)

San Francisco are having a good season, they appear to be in the worst division in the league though. Not quite sure if this masks the ineptitude of the division or whether the 49ers are quite good. A 5-1 record is as good as anyone’s in the league, except Green Bay, but the rest of the division have a meagre 3 wins between them. Although the Browns managed to win 6-3 against the Seahawks last week it doesn’t mean they’re a good team, home win.
Prediction: 49ers 25 – Browns 21

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field
8:20pm (ET) (12:20am GMT)

These two fierce division rivals are separated by just 1 win, with the Cowboys 3-3 record against the Eagles 2-4, both could do with a win, the Cowboys probably more so because it keeps them on the tail of the Giants and the teams hunting a Wildcard spot. Although most of those teams are probably better than the Cowboys you still wouldn’t want to play Dallas in the play-offs so. Tough battle this one, the Eagles are not on form but they won’t want to lose at home to Dallas and a win just about keeps their season alive.
Prediction: Eagles 14 Cowboys 17

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Arrowhead Stadium
8:30pm (ET) (12:30am GMT)
Kansas only went and put 28 on Oakland last weekend without reply, a result that this column didn’t see, because it did not know that the Raiders starting quarterback got injured and the guy they drafted in is a hapless, girly plum. Meanwhile San Diego were losing in New York to the Jets, as this bird told you they would but I’m not crowing (no you’re an owl). This game is a bit of a tasty choice for the Monday Night Game, a good division rivalry, everything to play for, good show. Home win to keep everyone in the hunt and make it an exciting 2nd half of the season.
Prediction: Chiefs 25 – Chargers 21.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pierre Sticks His Beak Into This Week’s Fat Premiership Matches

Pierre’s Wrangler called Steve early this week, apparently our Avian friend was feeling quite grumpy and just wanted to get it over with “Football? shit it! Here’s what I think.”

Everton Vs Manchester United
Goodison Park
12:00pm Saturday 29th October

I always kind of want Everton to do well, David Moyes is a good manager, who talks sense, never has much money to spend but spends what he does have wisely and deserves some success and trophies. Manchester United will have been shouted at since last Sunday’s derby game mauling at the hands of title rivals Manchester City and will be looking to go back to Liverpool only a fortnight after they played the red half and put in a performance. Boooos galore for Rooney and probably Evra, who appears to have taken Gary Neville’s scouser baiting torch and ran with it and a few others as well.
Prediction: Everton 1 - Manchester united 1

Chelsea Vs Arsenal
Stamford Bridge
12:45pm Saturday 29th October

Chelsea need a win, half their team will be suspended after sendings off last week at their West London neighbours and John Terry should maybe shut up. Arsenal are improving but you can’t see them winning very much if Van Persie ever gets injured. Tough trip to the Bridge for Wenger’s youngsters who could do with Walcott, Arshavin and Rosicki to do a bit more to help the youth club around them. Expect a red card at some point.
Prediction: Chelsea 2 - Arsenal 2

Manchester City Vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Etihad Stadium
3:00pm Saturday 29th October

Wow! 6 goals at Old Trafford, it’s Christmas for the Sky Blue half of Manchester and the first real sign that they have the squad to definitely challenge for the league title and become only the 5th side ever to win it. Wolves have slumped after a decent start and turned as leaky as they are goal shy, although Kevin Doyle can have a day when he doesn’t get kicked on Saturday, mostly because he won’t see much of the ball. Another bad day for big Mick McCarthy, shame, he’s a good bloke.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 - Wolverhampton 0

Norwich City Vs Blackburn Rovers
Carrow Road

3:00pm Saturday 29th October

Norwich are growing into this premiership lark, up to 8th in the league after last weeks draw at Anfield, the same result as the Champions got, and looking like they have goals in them. Blackburn are woeful and it only seems a matter of time before Steve Keen has to find a new job, if they lose on Saturday it could be by Sunday dinner time.
Prediction: Norwich City 2 – Blackburn Rovers 1

Sunderland Vs Aston Villa
Stadium Of Light
3:00pm Saturday 29th October

Why does this fixture even exist? No one cares if these two teams ceased to be, like the Dead Parrot from Monty Python. I don’t care.
Prediction: Sunderland 0 - Aston Villa 0

Swansea City Vs Bolton Wanderers
Liberty Stadium
3:00pm Saturday 29th October

This game should show whether or not Swansea can match up in the premiership and whether Bolton really are as bad as their position in the league suggests they are. Swansea have improved as the season has progressed, they are finally finding the back of the net, even Danny Graham scored last weekend, enough to give their decent football playing ways a chance to win games.
Prediction: Swansea City 2 – Bolton Wanderers 1gh

Wigan Athletic Vs Fulham
DW Stadium
3:00pm Saturday 29th October

This was clearly the fixture that they had in mind when they thought up the Premiership, both sides need a win and because of that neither will.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 2 - Fulham 2

West Bromwich Albion Vs Liverpool
The Hawthorns
5:20pm Saturday 29th October

West Brom are finally moving along like the little engine that could with successive wins over local rivals but Liverpool are better than the combined powers of Wolves and Aston Villa and if Steven Gerrard starts getting match fit then they could find themselves in the top 4 come May, they aren't yet though and this is a game they need to win if they’re going to. Crafty Roy (people don’t get called Roy anymore) Hodgson will think he was a bit unlucky to be sacked after a brief stint as Liverpool manager and will be wanting to prove they were wrong to bin him off.
Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1 - Liverpool 1

Tottenham Hotspur Vs Queens Park Rangers
Whitehart Lane
4:00 Sunday 30th October

A handy but surprise win against Chelsea last Sunday won’t hurt the hoops one bit and Neil Warnock is a crafty, old dog at this football nonsense. So is Harry Redknapp though, and his team of go-forward players should be able to see off QPR without moving out of 3rd gear, and give them a brief flirtation with the top four.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3 – Queens Park Rangers 1
Stoke City Vs Newcastle United
Britannia Stadium
8:00pm Monday 31 October

Both sides are doing ok in the top half of the table, with Newcastle doing very well, they're still unbeaten and in the top four, although the four most unsurprising words in English football, “Shola Ameobi injured again”, have reared back up again. Stoke are hard to beat and don’t like to let anyone have an easy ride at their ground. Newcastle will have their work cut out staying unbeaten.
Prediction: Stoke City 2 – Newcastle United 1.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash - Fresh Meat

With it’s first series just past the half-way point, Ashley’s had a look at Channel 4’s Fresh Meat. The show is brought to us by the creators of Peep Show and also stars the young comedic talent of Jack Whitehall and The Inbetweeners’ Joe Thomas, so it must be good right?

Well good and funny and sort of true!

Ashley’s clearly impressed then. However, Steve wrote a review for us after the series debuted last month, he described it as “shite” and questioned if the writers had run out of “funny words”. You can read Steve’s review here and, if you’re still interested, you can see episode six on Channel 4 at 22:00 on Wednesday the 26th (of October, 2011).

If You Talk Shit You May Well Get Blocked

Now you've gone & done it, you've only gone & made Steve angry, you won't like him when he's angry!

I don’t like censorship, I think people’s opinions should be heard and I think that you have a right to make as many half arsed, ill considered, stupid, feckless points as you like, mostly so the rest of can laugh at you. But if anyone uses the comment facility to make abusive points about people, especially people who aren't in the blog, then that comment will be removed, as will all further comments from that person. This is not a democracy, if you can’t find something to say that doesn’t abuse people then leave the comment box alone. If you have a problem with that you can appeal to the appeals committee, which just happens to be the editor and me. Thanks, please don’t be a cock.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – Alphas

5*’s latest American import Alphas made it’s UK bow last Tuesday and was met with almost total indifference. The show follows a group, called the Alphas, who are working for the US Defence Department. The Alphas have superhuman abilities and work under the guidance of Dr. Leo Rosen, played by Academy Award Nominee David Strathairn, he doesn’t have any superhuman powers. So Ash, what did you think?

Don't we remember Heroes? This is alright though.

Ashley raises an interesting point. The Alphas are working to crack crimes committed by other Alphas and, quite simply put, it’s the same plot as Heroes. Now, that show was good for the first few weeks as it was something new, something different. The novelty quickly wore off though almost as quickly as the ideas dried up. Heroes lasted four series, with it’s viewership steadily declining it was cancelled in 2010. Alphas has been renewed for a second series, I’ll bet it will be the last. Episode two of Alphas is on 5* at 22:00 on Tuesday (25.10.11) night.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Fuckwit Statistics

Steve had a look at the FIFA ranking and I'm so lazy that I didn't get round to posting his article until after they'd released the updated rankings... I'm a worthless shit. Enjoy!

FIFA, the idiots who run football, are well known for being a gang of thoroughly rotten and corrupt birds. Never have a group of men had their stinking fingers in more open wallets than this bunch of cheats. From Australia to Brazil, from Germany to South Africa and all points in between the global band of footie loving folk tut derisorily every time a fresh story of incompetence and corruption appears.

Of course tutting doesn’t get you anywhere, otherwise we wouldn’t be facing up to the reality that this bunch of self-serving, clown school, thieving bureaucrats have deemed it right and proper to hold the world’s biggest football tournament in Qatar. But that is all well trodden stuff, thousands of voices have already cried “cheat” and the world doesn’t need my shriek added to it for it to know that that decision has little to do with protecting the game of football and far more to do with bungs and bundles of cash in envelopes. Many millions of words of dismay have been written by people far more eloquent than my humble self and so I’m going to take on a different FIFA related topic.

What I want to do is take a look at the slightly less murky, but equally baffling world of the FIFA rankings. It shouldn’t be hard to organise a list of how good or bad a football team is, you start with the World Cup final, see who wins it, decide that they’re the best team in the world and work backwards from there. If that team loses you take points off and if that team wins you add more ranking points, easy peasy.

For all I know this may be how they do do it, but if you go on the FIFA website and look at the rankings list there is a calculator that tells you how the ranking score is calculated. It has words like average and weight, which sounds more like a list of the world’s best pie-eaters than football teams. What this does is make the way they total up scores something of a foggy battlefield rather than a pleasant and well signposted forest.

Belize and Montserrat kicked off World Cup qualifying
in June 2011... more than 3 years before the tournament 
I suppose there is a slight excuse for FIFA in that not all of the countries in the world play matches at the same time, this summer there was the South American championship. The African championship was also last year, but in January. The European championship isn’t until next year and the World Cup isn’t for another three years and, when qualifying starts, not all of the federations will begin the process at the same time (many Federations have already begun qualifying for 2014 “Editor”).

So, FIFA have some teams playing relatively important games at times when others are lopping about playing friendly games. I would have thought the easier thing to do was to separate each federation out and rank the teams based only on the results against teams they play competitively against and in the World Cup Finals. 

But maybe that’s too simple for the cheating burghers in Geneva.

But to the maths, Spain are currently ranked at number one in the world and rightly so, they haven’t lost a competitive game since their first match at last year’s World Cup when they suffered a 1-0 loss to Switzerland. However, they made up for that by going on to beat everyone else and win the tournament. So that seems fair enough, but Spain have only just overtaken The Netherlands to take the number one ranking position!

At last, an explanation for the London Riots, to get Spain
of the top spot!
The Netherlands were the team that Spain beat in the World Cup final and have an equally good record since the World Cup final and it’s right and proper that the two teams should be ranked number’s one and two respectively, only it should be that Spain should never have been over-taken by The Netherlands especially being that the only game that The Netherlands were due to play in August was cancelled because of the riots in London and, since then, Spain and The Netherlands both had 100% winning records, essentially The Netherlands overtook Spain by not playing.

Equally England, who are pretty terrible right now, have moved down from 4th to 8th in the rankings, the 4th place ranking was mostly due to the fact that they keep beating fairly average football sides away and then (like The Netherlands) not playing because of some angry youths stealing tellies and shell suits. Let’s be perfectly clear, England are not the 4th best team in world football, the 8th place ranking still feels quite an inflated position.

The full top ten list reads like this, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Uruguay, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, England, Croatia, and Argentina.

I think most of the world would rather play England than Argentina in say a World Cup quarterfinal. The vagaries of the list becomes more obvious when you see that Greece are ranked 11th and finished top of their European Championship qualifying group, ahead of 9th placed Croatia.

Just outside the top ten we have France in 12th place. The French are a team that I’d have thought would give almost every side in the top ten a run for their money. I suppose they are paying the price for a totally disastrous World Cup, one which saw the team strop off like children and refuse to play. The manager looked like someone who was trying to wrangle a bunch of schoolchildren on a trip to the zoo when those children have had too much sugary pop and have the Frenchies genetic need to revolt at the first sign of something they don’t like.

The mighty Cape Verde Islands.
Further down the list we see Hungary ranked higher than The US and South Korea and Australia ranked behind Switzerland, a team that has just lost to Wales, who are ranked behind countries like Bolivia, Uganda and Jordan in 90th place, which is only one ranking position above the mighty Cape Verde Islands (I know, how can the mighty Cape Verde islands have sunk so low). The whole system is a farce and it should be abandoned as a way of ranking teams against one another.

For the record the worst team in World Football is San Marino, who prop up Samoa, Montserrat, Andorra and everyone else on zero points. Which I assume means that if there was such a thing as a negative ranking total San Marino would be in it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – Tuna

Well this is new, we’ve never reviewed food before. I mean, we’ll probably never do it again and it would be fair to say I’ve overstated it when I call it a review but let’s see what Ashley has to say about the fish.
It's nice, but not when it's pronounced "toona".

I’d say that’s as much of an indictment of the youth of today and the sliding standards of our pronunciation of the English language as it is about tuna, oh well. According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, "Japan's huge appetite for tuna will take the most sought-after stocks to the brink of commercial extension unless fisheries agree on more rigid quotas". Japan's Fisheries Research Agency counters that Australian and New Zealand tuna fishing companies under-report their total catches of southern bluefin tuna and ignore internationally mandated total allowable catch totals. I don’t know who’s right, but I do know that they’re all bellends, let’s just get a grip and stop raping our Oceans.

Things I Learnt In France

As our close neighbours go about losing the Rugby World Cup Final, Steve's decided to tell you all you need to know France.

I’ve just been to France, here’s what I learnt.

The French love dogs and scooters, not at the same time though, I did not see a dog on a scooter.

Friends (the defunct sitcom) in French is weird, and not funny.

And depending on if you’re watching Bad Boys or Independence Day so is Will Smith.

Bad Boys is still relatively entertaining in French, Independence Day isn’t.

The guards at the palace of Prince Albert III of Monaco are dressed in a very camp uniform.

Monaco is very hilly and you should wear some quite rugged shoes if you’re going to go.

The Bugatti Veyron
A Bugatti Veyron doesn’t look nearly as cool in the real world as Clarkson would have you believe (at least not when it’s parked next to a super huge, big, fuck off yacht).

Every Peugeot in France has been involved in a minor traffic accident and has at least one dent in it.

A woman falling over on rollerblades will cry.

Not as many people say sacrebleu! as you’d like in France, despite there being many, many opportunities for it to be used.

The French have heard of baked beans, unlike the Turks.

Due to Britain’s rubbish chancellor (George Osborne) it now costs £7 for a pint of beer in a pub, even if you live in London that’s a bit pricey.

French computer keyboards are different in many quite crucial ways to proper British keyboards, it makes typing an email a lot more challenging than it should be.

The French are better at tolerating the old classic point, mumble and hold out a random handful of coins to get a soft drink than Spaniards are.

It costs €1 to get the bus from Nice to Monaco, which is a very reasonable price.

It does take over 40minutes though.

But it goes via a quite pretty seafronty clifftopy route through lots of picturesque scenery and charming French seaside villages so it’s not so bad.

It's not big & it's not clever.
A Frenchman will try and move house using a scooter, I saw one try and I wouldn’t recommend you copy his efforts.

Despite the good weather and the generally healthy lifestyle an elderly Frenchman in Speedos still doesn’t look attractive.

Or an elderly Frenchwoman for that matter (obviously not in Speedos, but the female equivalent).

Sebastien Chabal looks like a barely tame, poorly shaved, still quite angry bear when seen close up in a TV studio while talking about France losing at Rugby.

There is no direct equivalent of Adrian Chiles in France, his image is an abomination to the Frenchies delicate sensibilities (I think I may be at least ¼ French, which I’m not happy about).

If you ask for a sausage sandwich in France you will get a cold Panini with some sliced salami in it and not a banger filled square of yummy goodness (sauce is your own personal choice).

So there you go, I think you’ll agree that that’s all very educational, thorough and a very decent stab at some entente cordiale.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pierre Goes Stateside (& Possibly Mad)

With the NFL landing it's considerable buttocks in the UK this weekend Steve fielded a call from an inspired Barn Owl, well, his handler anyway.

He’s only gone and done it. Despite knowing less about American Football than he did about Rugby Union before last weekend, Pierre thinks he can guestimate the results of this weekend’s NFL fixture list (as if I don’t have anything better to do than write up these silly predictions). Good luck Pierre.

San Diego Chargers @ New York Giants (that’s the way they do their fixtures, don’t ask me)
MetLife Stadium
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT) (all games played on Sunday 23rd October (local time), except Baltimore Vs Jacksonville which is Monday 24th October)

San Diego have won 4, and lost only 1 of their games this season, including the last 3 games. But the Jets have won all 3 home games, and have scored more points and touchdowns this season.
Prediction: Jets 21 – Chargers 16

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
LP Field
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Top of AFC Southern conference clash, Titans have a 3-2 record, Houston 3-3. Tennessee also have the best defensive record in the AFC. They don’t score many points but their record shows they probably don’t need to if their defence holds up.
Prediction: Titans 14 – Texans 10

Denver Broncos @ Miami Dolphins
Sun Life Stadium
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Both teams are terrible with only 1 win from a combined 10 games between them. Miami have only managed 75 points all season, which is a meagre 15 points per game and that ain’t going to win you any Superbowls, likewise their stingy 6 touchdowns won’t be making many teams quake in their helmets. But Denver aren’t much better, they’ve scored more points, but not many more but their defence have conceded more.
Prediction: Dolphins 14 – Broncos 10

Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wembley Stadium (this game is an international series fixture but is classed as a Tampa Bay home game)
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Chicago are breaking even with a 3-3 win-loss record in what looks like a tough division, Tampa Bay are in a bit of three-way scrap as well but are 4-2, and have won 4 of the last 5 games they’ve played. Looks like The NFL have picked a decent clash for their British fans.
Prediction: Buccaneers 28 – Bears 21

A former Eagle, Matt Ryan is now
the starting QB for the Dirty Birds
Atlanta Falcons @ Detroit Lions
Ford Field
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Both of these sides are currently winning more than they’re losing, the Lions are 5-1 for fuck’s sake, when did that last happen. Something must have happened for them though because they’re averaging nearly 30 points a game and have 20 touchdowns in 6 games, only the 100% winningy Green Bay Packers have scored more in the NFC. Atlanta look a little leaky and despite their 3-3 record have a negative score ratio.
Prediction: Lions 35 – Falcons 21

Seattle Seahawks @ Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Stadium
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Neither of these two are very good, in fact they have almost identical records, they’ve both got 2-3 losing records, they’ve both scored under 100 points for the season, they ship in similar numbers too and Seattle have managed just one more touchdown all season with 11 to the Browns’ 10. Slugfest. Home win.
Prediction: Browns 14 – Seahawks 10

Washington Redskins @ Carolina Panthers
Bank Of America Stadium
1:00 PM (ET) (5:00 pm GMT)

Washington are 3-2 and very miserly at letting in points, Carolina are 1-5, although they do score a fair amount of points for a team with only one win all season. The big reason for their record... they have by far the worst defence in the NFC. Even the hapless Rams have let in fewer points. Despite the Redskins not being particularly offensively minded, away win.
Prediction: Panthers 21 – Redskins 24

Larry Fitzgerald in action
for the Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Arizona Cardinals
University Of Phoenix Stadium
4:05 PM (ET) (9:05 pm GMT)

Arizona are dreadful, only the even more dreadful Rams stop them from being the most dreadful in the NFC, Pittsburgh aren’t dreadful, their 4-2 record, in a tough division, is well earned and they should have enough to comfortably see off Arizona.
Prediction: Cardinals 7 – Steelers 35

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders Coliseum
4:05 PM (ET) (9:05 pm GMT)

What’s happening in the NFL, first the Lions and now the Raiders are winning games, what next the 49ers? (erm, yes). It sounds like there have been some high scoring games involving the Raiders as well, with their games having totalled more than 300 points in 6 games played, which for maths fans is a handsome scoring average per game of more than 50. The Chiefs don’t look like too much bother for that level of scoring.
Prediction: Raiders 35 – Chiefs 14

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
Mall Of America Field
4:15 PM (ET) (9:15 pm GMT)

The Packers are averaging a whopping 33 points and 6 touchdowns per game, they are a perfect 6-0 and look mostly unstoppable for the likes of the Vikings who maybe suffering a bit in a tough division as a 1-5 losing record shows. It still doesn’t mean that that’s going to change.
Prediction: Vikings 14 – Packers 41

St Louis Rams Vs Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys Stadium
4:15 PM (ET) (9:15 pm GMT)

St Louis are not good, no wins and only 49 points scored in five games tells you this is so. The Cowboys are no great shakes either but if they don’t beat the Rams I’ll eat your hat.
Prediction: Cowboys 35 – Rams 7

Indianapolis Colts Vs New Orleans Saints
Mercedes Benz Superdome
8:20 PM (ET) (12:20 pm GMT)

What the frig’s happened to the Colts? They were one of the very best teams in the league for the last 5 or 6 years and now they can’t even win a game. 0-6 is down there with Miami and St Louis and you don’t want to be that bad. New Orleans are battling away in a competitive division and score bunches of points and touchdowns, plus they’re in the Superdome, easy home win.
Prediction: Saints 35- Colts 14

Arguably the most talented player
in the league, Ed Reed of the
Baltimore Ravens.
Baltimore Ravens Vs Jacksonville Jaguars
EverBank Field
8:30 PM (ET) (12:30 pm GMT)

Ok so Jacksonville are really bad as well, Baltimore are generally good and this season appears to back that up, a 5-1 winning record is up there with New England and San Diego and looks very much like a play-off place gaining start to a season. Jacksonville’s 1-5 record does not, neither does their paltry 72 aggregate points total for the season, or their 6 touchdowns in 6 games, they are on a two game winning streak though, but that looks like snapping in the Monday night game.
Prediction: Jaguars 10 – Ravens 24

Done. (Thank God).

Mong The Merciless

Steve's so upset about people talking about Ricky Gervais he's decided to talk about Ricky Gervais.

So Ricky Gervais has been using the word mong, I’ve thought a bit about that and decided that although it is distasteful for someone to use the word, and that it shows a general lack of awareness about what the word means and why people find it offensive, that it’s up to him if he wants to use that word, it is also up to people to decide how they want to react to it.

I’ve also decided that I don’t really care what Ricky Gervais thinks about anything and the fact that people are still discussing almost a week later says more about the reactionary nature of social networking than about what Gervais thinks or says.

The quicker another Tory says or does something stupid the better and we can all move on to some other outrage, hopefully one that lasts less than a week and doesn’t make me want to throw things out of the window.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The 8 Words of Ash – Pete Versus Life

After attracting almost two million viewers through it’s debut season, Pete Versus Life returns to our screens tonight. The programme follows the personal life of Pete Griffiths (played by Rafe Spall, son of Tim), a budding sports journalist struggling with both his personal and professional life. He often finds himself in uncomfortable situations and can never quite find the right things to say. Whilst he goes about his everyday doings, he is commentated on by two announcers as if his life were a sports broadcast. So what did Ash think of the first series?

Sharp and witty - good job Son of Spall!

Okay, well, personally I switched it off after about 30 seconds. I’m told though that it’s aimed at young people and frankly they’re welcome to it. The second series debuts at 22:00 on Channel 4 tonight and sees Pete trying to impress a cleaner by pretending to be a drug addict. I think you’ll agree, we’ve all been there.

Pierre The Cocky Barn Owl (22.10.11)

Get your Littlewood's Pools coupons at the ready, Steve's had a call from our resident Football expert.

The bad news is that Pierre’s back, the good news is that at least he’s sticking to football this week. After last week’s debacle he’s shying away from the oval ball and although he thinks that New Zealand will stick 50 odd points on France this weekend he’s aware that that’s what everyone else thinks so it won’t come as much of an avian revelation when they do. And so Pierre, in a rare glimpse of that owly wisdom that people think that these birds are blessed with, has decided to stick to what he thinks he knows best, football, although there were mutterings that he might try his talons at predicting gridiron results, maybe he’s better suited to American sports, I don’t know. Here are his predictions for this weekend.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Vs Swansea City
12:45 Saturday 22nd October

Both sides play good football, Wolves are on the slide and Swansea are struggling for wins. Wolves should really have done what Neil Warnock said on MOTD2 last week and bought Shane Long but they didn’t and so they may well struggle for goals. I think they’ll just edge this entertaining sounding fixture though.
Prediction: 2-1

Aston Villa Vs West Bromwich Albion
Villa Park
15:00 Saturday 22nd October

Villa got a little smashed at Man City last week and the Boing-Boing Baggies got a much needed derby win over Wolves to double their total in the win column, can they keep it up and win away? Hhhhhmmmmm, maybe. Difficult to call this one, much head scratching. Both look destined for mid-table mediocrity, which probably suits West Brom more, surprise away win.
Prediction: 0-1

Bolton Wanderers Vs Sunderland
Reebok Stadium
15:00 Saturday 22nd October

Bolton were another side that doubled up in the win column last weekend, beating Wigan away for their first win since the opening day. Sunderland predictably lost at Arsenal but gave them a tough time by the looks of things, they’ll be hoping for better fortunes here and more luck. Maybe if they don’t conede a goal in under a minute they stand more of a chance. Is it too early to say six-pointer? Nah. Home win, relegation looms for Sunderland.
Prediction: 2-0

Newcastle United Vs Wigan Athletic
St James Park
15:00 Saturday 22nd October
Newcastle, a bit surprisingly, remain unbeaten but they didn't look out of place against a decent Spurs side last week. Alan Pardew seems to be putting all of those angry Geordies right about whether he was good enough. They may also have found a decent bargain in Cheik Tiote, plus their strikers seem to be sticking the pig’s bladder in the old onion sack on a regular basis, the only thing that can stop this being a home win is complacency. A long, bleak winter beckons for Wigan.
Prediction: 3-0

Liverpool Vs Norwich City
17:30 Saturday 22nd October

Sounds like a good game, although it’s a mean television fixture scheduler who gives Norwich fans a four hour journey home when the game finishes after 7 on a Saturday, they’ll miss themselves on Match of the Day. Home win.
Prediction: 3-0

Arsenal Vs Stoke City
Emirates Stadium
13:30 Sunday 23rd October

Well, well, well. A year ago you’d have said that Arsenal should win this one comfortably, although they would have had to work hard to break down Stoke their Champion’s League quality would have seen them win through. Not now though, they are picking up form but they don’t seem to be ripping the league up and you wonder whether they’ll make the top four again. Stoke are better this year and will make things tricky for the Gunners I think.
Prediction: 1-1

Fulham Vs Everton
Craven Cottage
13:30 Sunday 23rd October

With four of last season’s top five playing this fixture may well get forgotten in the melee at the top of the table. It won’t be pretty because both sides need the win but I’m fairly certain the home side wins, which will be the same when the reverse fixture comes around. Whenever that is.
Prediction: 2-1

Manchester United Vs Manchester City
Old Trafford
13:30 Sunday 23rd October

Alan Green will be positively tumescent about this fixture, which is as good a reason as any for being thankful that 5live don’t play the early radio commentaries on Sundays any more. Could go either way but the owl backs the Champions at home.
Prediction: 2-1

Blackburn Rovers Vs Tottenham Hotspur
Ewood Park
15:00 Sunday 23rd October

Tottenham couldn’t get the job done at Newcastle last weekend despite leading twice, and, a tricky game in Europe on Thursday night might see them lose their priority. They won’t want to finish up like Arsenal did when they went to Blackburn though.
Prediction: 1-2

Queen’s Park Rangers Vs Chelsea
Loftus Road
16:00 Sunday 23rd October

QPR fans wait years for a West London derby and then two come along in the space of a fortnight, they’ll be hoping they don’t ship six in like they did against Fulham, but, Chelsea are finally revving up for this season and should have enough to keep the hoops from getting a result.
Prediction: 0-3

There, football done. What's next?