Picture round

You know the picture round from A Question of Sport, where they show you a subtly obscured photo of some sporting celebrity you've never heard of, and you have to try and guess who it is? Well, my Dad and I attended a practice day at the Open yesterday, and I took a picture-round-type photo. See if you can guess who it is:

Ernie Els, British Open 2014, Hoylake

Ernie Els, yesterday… D'OH!!

You will note that, while I insist on referring to the so-called World Cup as the Soccer World Cup (there being more than one World Cup), I refer to the British Golf Open Championship simply as The Open. This is because my Dad has drilled it into me for decades that, while there are French, American, and other golf open championships, as well as open championships that aren't even golf, the British Golf Open Championship is rightly referred to simply as The Open. As if to prove him annoyingly right, the Royal & Ancient has even managed to bag the theopen.com domain. So there.

[The answer is Ernie Els, by the way.]

Loads more photos »

Shaken, not stirred

BBC: Cambridge Five spy ring members 'hopeless drunks'
Members of the Cambridge Five spy ring were regarded by their Soviet handlers as hopeless drunks incapable of keeping secrets, newly-released files suggest[...]

A short passage describes Burgess as a man "constantly under the influence of alcohol".

Written in Russian, it goes on to recount one occasion when Burgess drunkenly risked exposing his double identity.

"Once on his way out of a pub, he managed to drop one of the files of documents he had taken from the Foreign Office on the pavement," translator Svetlana Lokhova explained.

Moving on to Maclean, the note describes him as "not very good at keeping secrets".

It adds that he was "constantly drunk" and binged on alcohol.

Not wishing to be pedantic, but it sounds to me as if Burgess and Maclean, far from being ‘hopeless drunks’, were actually extremely accomplished drunks.

T'oo-er!

Le Tour de France passed through Hebden Bridge this afternoon. Boy, were they ever lost!

Peloton, Le Tour de France, approaching Hebden Bridge

The peloton of Le Tour de France approaching Hebden Bridge this afternoon.

Jen and I headed off across the moor to cut them off at the pass, but they still managed to get through.

The best joke of the afternoon came from Jen. As the lead, breakaway group of seven cyclists passed, she turned to me and said, “Is that it?! What a huge disappointment! I was expecting a lot more riders than that.”

Well, it made me laugh.

More photos here.

The boy who decried Woolf

From Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf:

Then, while a seedy-looking nondescript man carrying a leather bag stood on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and hesitated, for within was what balm, how great a welcome, how many tombs with banners waving over them, tokens of victories not over armies, but over, he thought, that plaguy spirit of truth seeking which leaves me at present without a situation, and more than that, the cathedral offers company, he thought, invites you to membership of a society; great men belong to it; martyrs have died for it; why not enter in, he thought, put this leather bag stuffed with pamphlets before an altar, a cross, the symbol of something which has soared beyond seeking and questing and knocking of words together and has become all spirit, disembodied, ghostly—why not enter in? he thought and while he hesitated out flew the aeroplane over Ludgate Circus.

Far be it from me to find fault with the late, great Virginia Woolf—the woman whose writing inspired my own mini-masterpiece, The Aftermath—but read those words again very carefully:

Then, while a seedy-looking nondescript man carrying a leather bag stood on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and hesitated, for within was what balm, how great a welcome, how many tombs with banners waving over them, tokens of victories not over armies, but over, he thought, that plaguy spirit of truth seeking which leaves me at present without a situation, and more than that, the cathedral offers company, he thought, invites you to membership of a society; great men belong to it; martyrs have died for it; why not enter in, he thought, put this leather bag stuffed with pamphlets before an altar, a cross, the symbol of something which has soared beyond seeking and questing and knocking of words together and has become all spirit, disembodied, ghostly—why not enter in? he thought and while he hesitated out flew the aeroplane over Ludgate Circus.

Do you see Mrs Woolf's utter howler, there? Her schoolgirl error, so to speak? The sort of mistake that, when realised, would almost compel any writer worth their salt to fill their pockets with stones and take a long walk into the nearest convenient river?

What do you mean, ‘No’?! IT'S STARING YOU IN THE FACE!

How can a ‘seedy-looking’ man possibly be ‘nondescript’? Nondescript means not distinctive enough to be described. But she's just described him: she said he was ‘seedy-looking’! Anyone who can be described as ‘seedy-looking’—or, indeed, as anything else—is, ipso facto, most definitely descript.

If I might make so bold, I think what Mrs Woolf meant to write was something along the lines of:

Then, while a seedy-looking, otherwise nondescript man carrying a leather bag stood on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and hesitated, for within was what balm, how great a welcome, how many tombs with banners waving over them, tokens of victories not over armies, but over, he thought, that plaguy spirit of truth seeking which leaves me at present without a situation, and more than that, the cathedral offers company, he thought, invites you to membership of a society; great men belong to it; martyrs have died for it; why not enter in, he thought, put this leather bag stuffed with pamphlets before an altar, a cross, the symbol of something which has soared beyond seeking and questing and knocking of words together and has become all spirit, disembodied, ghostly—why not enter in? he thought and while he hesitated out flew the aeroplane over Ludgate Circus.

(My emphasis added.)

Sloppy, Ginny! Sloppy!

 

(Gobsm)hacked

BBC: Hacking trial: Coulson guilty, Brooks cleared of charges
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones.

Ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges in the phone-hacking trial.

This is the foot of our stairs:

The foot of our stairs

… I just went there to eat my hat.

To tide us over while Andy Coulson awaits sentencing, surely nothing can beat a little Lone Justice:

Soccer World Cup

Did you receive your free (soccer) World Cup copy of The Sun through the post this morning?

Me too. Murdoch really is clutching at straws, isn't he?

Here's what I did with my copy:

Murdoch shite

You won't be at all surprised to hear that soccer World Cup coverage will be pretty light on Gruts—what with soccer being a totally rubbish game, and everything. The only match of interest, as far as I can see, will be Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Iran on 25th June—and that only for the prospect of seeing two countries playing against one. I wonder if they'll all wear different colours, and have three sets of goal-posts.

Come on, you Bosnia and Herzegovina! Haway the lads!