Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Neander Chavs

I had a good plan last Sunday. I needed to go to Tesco and get the things for the cricket tea and, using my valuable 5p off voucher, get some petrol at the same time.

Tesco actually open at 10:00 on Sunday to abide by the trading laws, but they allow you to enter the store at 09:30 to fill your trolley. The check-outs don't function till 10.

So, off I went.

I got to Tesco about 10 to 10. I thought I'd get the petrol first.

Petrol stations are un-nerving places – particularly Tesco's. First you have to choose your queue having mind which side of the car the filler cap is on. I can never really remember. Then you have to guess which queue is likely to progress soonest. It's hard to guess. The people are inevitably un-helpful. That's the customers I'm talking about; I'll get to the staff later.

I suggest you get down to your local Tesco petrol station and make a short documentary film. You could call it “Anti-Social Dimwits”. Quite catchy I think. People are in front of you in the queue. I accept that. But, often the car in front is populated by idiots. Watch them and see if I'm exaggerating. They dawdle, oblivious to anyone else. They fill the tank. They saunter off towards the shop. They see their mate and stop for a chat. They pick up a bottle of coke and a Mars bar. They finally get in the queue. They reach the front. They seem genuinely amazed that they have to pay for the petrol. They fumble for their wallet/purse. They can't find their Tesco Club Card. The decide they need a bag of crisps as well and go back and get one.

And what are the people in the queue doing? Nothing. Sorry, not nothing – they are wondering where Dippy is!

Eventually they appear and, after a momentary pause whilst they wipe the drool from their lip, they start towards their car. Sometimes they go to the wrong car and gormlessly grin, excuse themselves and make their way to the clapped out Mini they came in.

Then the real fun begins. They stow their provisions on the front seat. They adjust their mirrors. They roll up (or down) the window. They exchange words with any passengers. You see the rear stop light come on as they switch on the ignition with their foot firmly on the brake pedal – as if they are afraid the beast will leap off all on its own. Finally, they start the car. You'd expect it to move; often it doesn't. They switch off and go back to the shop. They have forgotten to buy breath mints. Finally they leave.

Sometimes the car at the front pump has already left and, if you can, you manoeuvre past the troglodytes to the other pump. These are satisfyingly rare moments. I almost managed this on Sunday – except Dippy had parked too far from the pump and just as I was about to set off for the front pump Dopey pulls up to the pump on he left in his van. Not enough room.

I put in petrol. I pay for it. I leave. It really is quite simple.

It's now about 10:10. Tesco's car park is full. Can someone tell me what these Drongos are doing in Tesco's on Sunday morning at 10? Are they insane? I'm just trying to get some stuff for the cricket tea!

I find a spot half a mile from the store. I manage to get a trolley. I make it to the front of the store. Neander-Chav has beaten me by three paces.

There he is. The sun is shining for the first time this spring. It's actually pleasantly warm. Neander-Chav has taken it upon himself to declare UDD – Unilateral Dumbo Day. He got his tank top on so the tasteless tattoos on his arms and shoulders are impossible to ignore. He's got his best Bermuda shorts on – you know – the ones he always wears on holiday at Clacton. Mrs Neander Chav and the little 'uns are with him.

You have to see Mrs Neander Chav to believe her. Her make-up is an inch thick. Her blue eye shadow tastefully matches her skimpy blue dress, which rides up when she reaches for the bag of Mars Bars so you can see the thong strap between her bum cheeks. You feel the need to throw up! (Recent scientific discoveries seem to support the idea that early man did, indeed, mate with Neanderthals and some Neanderthal genes are still in the human gene pool – it is certainly possible that one might jump on Mrs Neander Chav, but some sort of pre-historic drugs would be necessary first!)

Whilst the kids run about the shop causing mayhem, Neander and Mrs Chav split up so they can shop in a dually obnoxious manner.

I rush about Tesco and fill my trolley with the essentials for cricket tea.

I make it to the check-out.

A fairly normal-looking chap is in front of me buying vast quantities of drink – among other things. The check-out assistant reaches the last item, which is some sort of Gillette razor in one of those packs that have a security tag attached. Razor blades? Crown Jewels? No, razor blades?

He's got a coupon for a few pence off the razor blades. He give it to the assistant. She informs him that it's the wrong blades for the coupon. If he wants to save a few pence he needs to get another kind of Gillette blade. Absolute magic!

So, he says to the check-out pillock that he will pay for his groceries, go to the customer services and get the correct Gillette item and use his coupon there.

Unbelievably she says, “Oh no, just go back and get the right one and bring it here.”

Right. We're in check-out aisle 27 and the razor blades are on aisle 2. The store has filled up to bursting point with more Neander Chavs and their drooling kids. Super Numptie heads off. We, in the queue, amazed, just stand there staring at the check-out operator.

More than a few minutes go by.

We stand and wait.

He returns with correct Gillette packet, pays, mumbles some kind of “sorry” and leaves.

Check-out operator gives us a cheerful, “Sorry you had to wait” and starts on my bit of the conveyor.

I pay. I head for the car. I get out of Tesco car park as fast as practicable.

I'm having a bad day – a really bad day. We lose the cricket match.

I'm not surprised.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the News

From Manchester to Barbados to Arrowhead

Down at Arrowhead the troops arrived to begin OTA's (organised team activities). For those not in the know, the difference between OTA's and training camp is only on the calendar. Although OTA's are officially voluntary, almost everyone turns up in some form or another. The Chief's rookies because they have to convince the coaches they are worth a spot on the roster and the veterans because they have to convince the coaches they are worth a spot on the roster. Simple!

Meanwhile, before football takes over completely, the round-ball experts from Manchester United will be visiting the re-vamped stadium to play the KC Wizards on 25 July. Tickets are from 10 bucks to 200. I suspect the paying public of KC don't realise that in a World Cup year it is very unlikely MU will bring anything like a full squad. In particular, the England World Cup players will be on holiday, no matter how well they do in South Africa. Still, it is a chance to show the KC public what they are missing. Answer? Not a lot.

Back at Arrowhead there are some interesting battles looming for starting positions. In the DB's it seems very unlikely that Number One pick Eric Berry will not get one of the starting safety spots – barring injury of course. You don't draft a top player to sit him on the bench and play special teams. There will be pressure on the others to step up and secure one of the other three starting spots. Suddenly the Chiefs looks solid at this ultra-important position!

Down at my target position, wide receiver, Dexter McCluster seems destined to be a big-time player – or a complete flop. I expect the KC sports writers are drooling over the prospect that he is another Reggie Bush. If he is then it's happy days! Remember, he's a rookie. The running backs look good and solid. With Colin Brown returning from injury there should be real competition in the O-line.

So, where are the problems? Line-backers. Chiefs have too many and they are not all well-versed in the 3-4. Noises are being made to shift Glen Dorsey to nose-tackle. I'm against it. Actually, I'm not a great Dorsey fan full stop. I expect the Chiefs to keep close tabs on any line-backers, well-versed in the 3-4, who may become available – either as un-drafted or released rookies or available veterans.

Also, believe it or not, at QB. This is the year Todd Haley and Co. must see some improvement from Matt Cassel. They passed up on some promising QB's coming out of college. They have banked on Cassel doing his bit. Given a better offensive line and some receivers who can catch the ball and run with it and an improved running game – it's going to be hard to pin losses anywhere else. It's pay-back time for Matt – or it's Adios!

Finally, England finally won a one-day trophy and smashed the Aussies in the process! Looks like the umpires (chiefly that clown Doctrove) got some things wrong to the detriment of Australia, but that's the breaks. England's decision to bowl first was inspired. The old adage that first you think about batting first, then you think again, then you bat clearly didn't apply this time. By putting the Aussie openers under pressure, England were always in the driving seat. It's always good to win, but lets not get carried away. 20-20 is not really cricket as we know it. But, it's always good to win. Can England use Kieswetter and Eoin Morgan in a “real” game? Why not? Time will tell.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hung Out to Dry

Gordo, Cammy, Cleggie

The people have spoken. Unfortunately, they have spoken with a forked tongue.

Gordo has probably had it. Cammy is on the phone to the removal folks, but can't give them a date to get his stuff. Clegg with the extra leg is morosely holding the wolf by the ears and dare not let go.

Analysis. Gordo will have to go. Why? Nobody except Gordo thinks he can do a deal that leaves him occupying Number 10. Nobody except Gordo even wants him to. He's finished, but does that mean that the Labour Party under another leader is also finished? That's not clear. It's possible that another Labour leader could emerge who could work with the Lib Dems. It's possible, but it would have to happen very fast. Like now.

Cammy looks like he's in a good spot. He's not. He didn't win. There was a big swing to the Tories but not big enough. He can make a case for almost enough MP's but, as the old saying goes, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Some commentators even keep repeating the falsehood that he won the popular vote. He didn't. More people voted for other parties than voted for him. He also must get into government at almost any price. Anything less and his days are numbered, and the number is very small.

Clegg with the extra leg looks like he in the strongest position of the three. He's actually in the worst! His vote may have held up but he lost a crucial number MP's in the election. He's not even holding a convincing balance of power. His shibboleth of proportional representation looks as far away as it ever was. His room for manoeuvre is very small.

So, where do we go from here?

That, as they say, is the 64,000 dollar question.

Pundits are adamant that a Lib Dem/Conservative is most likely. I think the pundits are wrong. Clegg has only one chance to get some sort of proportional representation and this is it. If he bottles it now – he's had it for the opportunity may never arise again. The Tories will never agree to PR. They know it would mean a permanent Lib/Lab majority. Cammy could not agree. If the Labour Party can ditch Gordo fast, and are serious about offering PR Clegg could not resist the temptation to have a go. If it all went pear-shaped he could at least say, “I tried.” It's hard to see any other win-win situation for him. A deal with the Tories without something akin to PR will so anger the activists that he might have to resign.

Get to the bookies and bet on a Lab/Lib Dem deal.

That's my best bet.