Thursday, 25 April 2019

Let's Put Catalan Poilitcs Into Pizza

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Well we've bought a house at last. I know it's taken such a long time but it's now done.

Now we can't exactly move in for about six weeks as there is work to be done. Also given that daughter has exams shortly the upheaval would have been unfair anyway.

The point though is that as a sort of minor celebration we decided to order a Dominos pizza. And as it was a Tuesday they had a buy one get one free deal (and as an aside Dominos instead of doing that why don't you give any profits for a second pizza on a Tuesday to the staff instead - After all if you can afford to offer a free pizza then presumably the margin is relatively large).

Daughter had her choice (Pepperoni) and then it came to me. My eyes suddenly focused on one choice. Catalan Chicken and Chorizo.

And let me tell you now it was gorgeous.

Now I wish I'd thought of this at the time. But it's only occurred to me now that as admittedly as a symbolic gesture should people buy these pizzas (not especially buy you understand. You would had intended to buy a pizza anyway) they should send a picture in social media with a hashtag say, Catalonia on it.

I know that it's a gesture, that it's symbolic and that Mr Domino will be very happy. But sometimes symbols can be effective.

A quiet protest through pizza. Supporting Catalonia through Chicken and Chorizo

Until the next time.

So Will Welsh Labour Give Bridgend Town Ghost Town Status?

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

I have in this blog only as recently as last week chatted about the urban tragedy that is Bridgend Town caused I would argue by the arrogant incompetence of the Welsh Labour council.

Well something in the local paper has resuscitated my interest. And interestingly it's something outside of the town.

Work is being started in Leonitd , an open cast mine between Bridgend and Llantrisant (which was a quaint village in the beginning of the Rhonndda Cynon Taff borough). Now of course all of what I'm going to say is Property Developer speak but the proposal is for 5,000 houses with health and leisure facilities plus a railway station.

So let's go hypothetical. Let's assume that everything the Property Developer says is true. And remember that this development is between Bridgend and Llantrisant. For this is a good example of how if you live outside it, Bridgend Town has, with very few exceptions, has become a ghost town for your thoughts (and remember I'm talking about the town and not the overall area).

Where would they go for shopping? Nearby there is a retail park including a massive Tesco as well as an Aldi. Along the nearby M4 there is the Macarthur Glen outlet store.

No reason to visit Bridgend Town.

As I've advised previously how can Bridgend Town compete with the lack of public toilets, the market with it's Christmas decorations in April and empty stalls, the many empty shops, the look of sheer despair?

If you want to go to the beach there's Porthcawl.

No reason to make a detour to go to Bridgend Town.

As far as I see it the only reasons to visit the town are seeing family/friends, watching Bridgend Rugby club and if you have to go to a bank.

Otherwise where is the incentive to visit unless you have to? 

Bridgend Town is the urban equivalent of the effect of Brexit on Britain's image abroad. A place with a proud history now observed as a place for mockery and pity. And that's if people give it any thought at all.

It has become a ghost town because of Labour.

Until the next time.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

The Near Midnight MLS Meanderings Over A Microwave Meal Part 2: Columbus Crew vs Atlanta United

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

We come to a match where Atlanta come with a winning streak well they must be well managed then I thought. So imagine my surprise to find that Frank De Boer is their manager. A man whose managerial career moved from Ajax to Inter Milan to Crystal Palace for all of what it appeared to be a few minutes to now Atalanta.

And I'm not going to be mocking about Frank (barring one joke that I cannot honestly resist) but let's be clear, no one will believe that Atlanta is where he thought he'd be in his life. But also all of us have faced shocks and disappointments in our lives. It's just that most of us though are lucky enough that the world doesn't look at us.

In the first minute, yes the first minute the Crew score. The men in mustard yellow, specifically Santos score a goal following a deflection in the box. I assume (and this is the joke here) the manager was not Frank De Boer but rather Frank De Wild Boer....I'll get my coat.

The match then chugged along and as always I get distracted. The American commentator mentioned in an commentary ad break stated that the pizza chain Papa John's gave a 50% discount to large Pizzas the day after a Columbus victory in their area.

It made me think. What is the profit margin to a Large Pizza in Papa John's? Is it so large that with 50% off the normal price they will still make money? Perhaps a more interesting offer would be that 50% of the profits for a large Pizza would be given to their Pepperoni placing workers for the day after a Columbus victory as a bonus. Perhaps then John will become a true Papa to his employees.

The weather starts to rain. I'll come back to that later.

A player, I think Francis, is Costa Rican who has played recently for the national team which is described as a "Cinderella squad". What does that mean? There are few rats in the team? Are pumpkins required? Will nothing fit properly without a Prince Charming? Makes no sense.

And the rain continues.

There is also a comment that says he's happy to come back to Ohio after one year in Seattle? What's wrong with Seattle? Too much coffee? I know everything about Seattle even though I've never been there. I've seen Fraiser.

And the rain continues...and continues so much the players have to go off the pitch.

I fast forward the recording (it was live when I did it) eventually the match resumes. But I don't. Because the recording has finished.

And so consider it The Mystery Of Edwin Drood of this occasional series. Of course I could find out the final score but I prefer to leave it unfinished for my imagination.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Here's The Question Of The Day. Can A Restaurant Be Too Good?

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

What I'm going to say actually happened on Sunday. But the question only occurred to me today. Hence the delayed reaction.

So then Easter Sunday. Me and the women in my life (mother,wife,daughter) go to a local restaurant in the village of Sully called The Boat House. We'd been there before on Mother's Day and when my mother suggested a return visit none of us minded.

And the food was, let's say it, magnificent. If we focused on the main course I and daughter had the beef, wife had the chicken and mother had the lamb. We all loved it as well as the Yorkshires, the cauliflower cheese and all the other [insert ingredients here] that you would expect from a pub lunch.

I remember once reading jazz criticism by Philip Larkin focusing particularly on a piece about Louis Armstrong. And roughly what he said was that Armstrong was not an innovator. He did exactly what a thousand and one other jazz musicians were doing at that time. Just that he was a thousand and one times better. The Boat House was exactly the same. Nothing experimental. Just miles better.

But the thing you see is this. When we finished we all were full to bursting on moving towards the car park. Michelin man and his family wobbling to the vehicle.

For the rest of that Sunday we were hardly able to raise a laugh we were so bloated.

So, as the question of the title puts it, can a restaurant be too good?

You might blame us for eating to much. But it wasn't as if we'd asked for second helpings. We'd eaten what was literally on the plate. Indeed we were so full none of us had the courage to go for dessert. So we weren't really gluttonous. The restaurant did their side of the bargain as well. For a reasonable charge they gave us (really) good food.

And yet we were all bloated and unable to do anything beyond watching TV and making the occasional cup of tea until nature in it's own way eventually processed what we ate (I'll spare you the details).

Is becoming bloated billys the price for enjoying the food at a restaurant? Or should you just downgrade your tastebuds to a lesser establishment?

All I know is. Whoever can square the circle between good food and a comfortable belly will never need to work again.

Until the next time.

Why Science Is A Tool For Welsh Enslavement

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

We have chatted before about the arrogant incompetence of Welsh Labour government in this blog and how an important example is education. Labour, it cannot be stressed enough, having been so disastrous in this subject the current minister is now a Liberal Democrat.

Incompetent management of the available opportunities will damage not just Welsh children but also Wales as a whole possibly for generations unless this failure is addressed.For the moment let's focus on science.

Now I'm not a scientist. I can look like one easily. I wear glasses and talk about anything as if I know what I'm talking about. All I really need is that white coat they all wear. Presumably white so that whoever does their laundry doesn't have them to split them up.

But I do know that if there are less people that will take up science because of the incompetent way Welsh Labour has managed education then Wales will be damaged. Furthermore assuming it does happen if it turns out to be a long dark Brexit of the soul then many jobs will be lost in the few laboratories Wales has as the facilities are moved within the EU.

Thus the possibility Wales will become a science wasteland cannot be overlooked.

But let's take it further. Do you think Westminster will allow scientific investment in Wales? Of course not. For science means knowledge and the lack of knowledge will mean a people venerable to exploitation.

Teachers in science subjects will have difficulty teaching because kids will ask what is the point of learning a subject that there will be few opportunities of moving forward. Investment in science will need to be a fundamental tenet of  Plaid Cymru policy.

So let's be clear. Not everyone is a scientist. I'm certainly not one. But everyone should have the chance to be should they wish it. Investment in science will need her to be.

Until the next time.

A Bank Holiday. Starring Serie A, Tidying Up, Sunday Supplements and Bubble and Squeak

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

Easter Monday then. And surprisingly it was a bright day. No surprises though for regular readers then that whilst wife spent the morning visiting a friend and daughter did some more exam revision I was staying in watching football. Though to be fair was doing some paperwork/tidying up as well.

After all was it not my wife who only the day before was moaning about the amount of programmes on the DVR hard drive? Since I wasn't working that day perhaps electronic spring cleaning was in order.

Tidying up and watching football. Who says men can't multitask?

I also made the decision just to watch Serie A games today. The oldest dated 31 March. So it did seem reasonable given opportunity had knocked.

So the first game was Bologna Sassuolo . Important for Bologna given their fight against relegation.

Meanwhile I needed to clear my bulging wallet.

Don't be fooled, More receipts than money!

It was seemingly a dull match until a penalty was awarded to the home team. Their normal penalty taker Eric Polgar was on the subs bench. What happens? He gets brought on! Thankfully for him he scores. Goodness only knows how he would've walked the streets of Bologna if the ball hadn't gone into the back of the net.

In injury time Sassuolo equalise. 1-1 you might think it will remain but no. Another sub equalises with a header from a corner. 2-1 Bologna is how it finished. And for the neutral like me it was a good game.

Second match then Inter Milan vs Lazio. Now trust me on this. Italians know instinctively what constitutes style and what doesn't. But there are moments where the people who make the decisions fall ill and go mad. This is the only logical explanation for why the match officials were dressed in a colour best described as motorway maintenance. With their luminous tops and black shorts they looked like marker pens on legs

Meanwhile I'm also going through the weekend paper supplements I've been keeping for months. Including one for the Mail on Sunday! It was offered to me by someone from work? Why did I accept? Was it Caroline Flack telling us that she's proud to be a cougar? No.

Is it to read something Piers Morgan has written  (and I use the term loosely) ? No.

It's their Slimming World supplement. I'm thinking I need to slim and it'll help me. Of course being from the Mail group it doesn't. After all here's the thing. Why is it ingredients for recipes to help you slim always include things that are not easily obtainable from your local store. Baby spinach. Butternut squash. I mean come on!

Lazio score the only goal of the game with a header from a man who goes under the name of you do. It was the only goal of the game and the first Lazio victory away to Inter for many years. Their man of the match was their goalkeeper Handovic who kept it that way.

I find the bookmark ruler daughter gave me for my birthday. No 1 Dad it says. Reminds me when many years ago she asked me for a ruler. "Queen Elizabeth the first" was my reply.

She wasn't impressed. I thought it was funny.

There's a Spring catalogue for Debenhams. Boy that's hard to read now.

Sampdoria A C Milan and the officials here are wearing the other colour in the luminous canon. Bright pink. The other notable colour was the red face of the  A C Milan goalkeeper who passed the ball straight to the rushing Sampdoria player De Frel who scored. That was the only goal of the game.

A C Milan are back for the final game as is the wife. She wants to cook Bubble and Squeak. I've no problem with that. We have a visitor. A wasp. Both wife and daughter are frightened. There seems to be a genetic thing of the stronger the woman the more scared she is of small animals.

Wife grabs a insect thing in the shape of a tennis racket to electrocute them to death. I've got a Sunday supplement with a Jason Issacs interview. Jason kills him. When another wasp enters I just get on with it and with Mr Issacs' help kill that one as well.

Milan's opponents are Udinese and all seems well. They score and are in control of the game even when their goalkeeper is substituted due to injury. The food arrives. It's lovely and filling. Decide to watch the first half, have a siesta and then go for the second

I wake up. Still match seems to be going Milan's way. That is until from a cross Lasagna , a player of many layers, equalises for Udinese. He actually had the chance to win subsequently but didn't have the beef to see it through.

Relaxing - Excuse the hairy leg!
Four Serie A matches in one day. Now that's the way to spend a bank holiday (with added tidying up of course).

Until the next time.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Why Football Support Is Not A Welsh Nationalist Issue

Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.

At a club level Welsh football occupies a particularly freakish position. After all there is a local pyramid structure and we've chatted about these games in the past. But we have a small number of clubs who play in the English league structure primarily Cardiff City, Newport County, Swansea City and Wrexham.

But on Twitter recently I've seen a relatively common complaint. That people could slag off England at country level and yet support at club level a team playing in the English leagues. In other words if you support an English team you're not truly Welsh.

To me football support is not a Welsh Nationalist issue and it needs to be addressed.

Now I can see this argument if you were born say in Cardiff or Swansea for example. I've always felt that you should support the closest team from where you were born wherever life takes you otherwise. That's why my first love will always be West Ham United.

But despite being born in the East End I've known members of my family who pick, excuse me whilst I hold my nose, the North London Arsenal as their team. So this "glory seeking" is not necessarily a Welsh issue.

Furthermore you could argue why should you support Cardiff if Aston Villa say is the closest team from where you were born?

There is actually a simple solution. As regular readers of this blog will know whilst West Ham is first amongst equals I've always believed that watching other leagues are more interesting when you support a particular team. Thus I follow in no particular order Barcelona, Celtic, Fiorentina, Paris St Germain, Ton Pentre and Werder Bremen.

There is no reason therefore that the Welsh football fan could not pick the closest team from the Welsh football pyramid from where he/she was born as well as a team from the English league and support them both. By doing that if you don't live near Cardiff, Newport Swansea or Wrexham you will have the chance of actually going to watch a game (which will of course be cheaper). You are not betraying either team as they play in different leagues.

And by supporting a Welsh team Welsh league club football will improve. I'm not saying you'll be watching Barcelona. But different leagues are not unlike food. I like bacon, eggs and chips. But I also like Spaghetti. There is a different taste to different leagues. It's still football though.

Of course at an international level the Welsh football fan should always support Wales.

Whilst I of course (for reasons I've explained last year) will always root for England first.

Until the next time.