Tuesday, 26 July 2005

Judgement Day

I am delighted to report another great weekend. It began in London on Friday, where I caught up with some old work colleagues. Apologies to those of you I missed – I made in late, and had to go to Milton Keynes the next day.

That begs the question, For God’s sake why? Well, for a VERY good reason indeed. Mark, my oldest pal, turns 29 next weekend, and so to celebrate he had the towering brilliant idea of attending the Southern division of the Masters Football. This is a six-a-side competition involving ex-pros. It was unutterably joyous.

Although Oxford United did not field a side, there was a disproportionately high number of our former players in other teams. They included HM Paul Moody, Nick “First Class Degree in Economics” Cusack, Alex Dyer and Peter Rhodes-Brown. But – and attentive readers of this blog will appreciate the significance of this – the most exciting realisation was that none other than Alan Judge would be between the sticks for Crystal Palace.

I had no idea that he used to play for them – and indeed can find no evidence on the Internet that he did. But ours is not to reason why. Ours is to marvel as Alan rolls back the years and makes save after world class save. He was magnificent. God I love him. I didn’t quite have the courage to seek him out though. Next time.

Matt Le Tissier played for Southampton. History will record that as a youngster he was turned away by the Yellow Army after playing badly in a trial game for us. Oh Matty, Matty, Matty. He still has hilariously good ball control. Basically he can make a ball sit up and talk.

Afterwards we went out on the town. (Not me and Matty.) The beer and shots and champagne flowed (and a few shorts for some of the gang too). And Tom Holliday and I made a big impression on the dance floor. TH by veering all over it like a tramp, and your humble blogger by throwing some awesome shapes. It is a little known fact that I am a VERY good dancer.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

All Quiet On The Western Front

Sorry for the lack of posts in recent days. There hasn't been much I've wanted to say!

I will be away over the weekend too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Food For Thought

I’ve just been checking out the powerlifting results from the recent World Games. (Note: the World Games is an event for various sports that are not included in the Olympics.)

I’ve realised that if I can become twice as strong in the three lifts as I am now, and lose a bit more weight from myself, I will be a world-class powerlifter. Plus I don’t use much specialist equipment, so that will make a difference too.

Do you have any idea how PROFOUND this realisation is? Can you appreciate the determination it instils in me? No doubt some of you are sitting at home thinking it can’t be as simple as that. But it IS as simple as that. It is statistically straightforward. Maybe you are one of the multitudinous lifters who could also claim to be half as good as the world’s best. Good for you. You should hop to it as well.

I’ve dabbled with weights for years, and that has undoubtedly built a foundation. But I have only been training effectively, in earnest and explicitly as a powerlifter since this February. I will learn a lot more about lifting technique and training, get competition experience, gain confidence, and grow stronger.

So how big a leap is getting twice as strong? It could be a lot bigger. I’m twice as strong as most of my friends. Now I just have to bridge the same gap they’d have to bridge to be as strong as me to become world-class myself. And just think about this – in how many other sports could I claim to be half as good as someone at the top of the game? Roger Federer is MUCH more than twice as good as me at tennis! Would that I was half as good a goalkeeper as Gordon Banks in his heyday. And Shaun Murphy is about fifty times better than me at snooker.

I suppose you could say this theory falls down because, for example, I am less than twice as slow as a world-class sprinter. I suppose it IS more complicated than I’m making it sound. But the facts are the facts; I just have to get twice as good as I am now - five months into a new sport - and I’ll be a champ. Moreover, man’s capacity to increase his strength is huge, certainly bigger than his capacity to increase his speed.

And look – we have all heard of human beings exerting apparently superhuman strength in extreme conditions. Like the 8 stone housewife who lifted the corner of a stagecoach that had fallen on her son. We can do almost anything if we can tap into the immense power of the mind.

The aim of this post is emphatically not to boast. It is to motivate myself, and inspire you to endeavour to do something awesome too. You really can. You just have be one of the people who dares to try.

Sunday, 17 July 2005

Asian Tiger

It was good to see some top-notch boxing on terrestrial television last night. Matt Skelton was in marauding form against eleventh hour replacement Mark Krence. It was a pity that Danny Williams dropped out of the fight having already weighed-in, but at least we did get to see a thoroughly noble performance. Krence looked hopelessly underweight, and Skelton is a massive man who just keeps coming forward. That Krence kept at it all night, despite appearing to lack any significant punching power, showed real grit. Perhaps a drop down to cruiserweight might yield some greater success.

Skelton meanwhile will probably get some stick for not finishing the job sooner. But he never looked in trouble (although I doubt he’ll want to take so many punches when he next faces a real banger), and did well to adjust his tactics at such short notice.

The story of the night, however, was the professional debut of Amir Khan. With the heavyweights preceding him, we were able to appreciate a little better just how fast this guy is. He would undoubtedly make a world-class dancer were he so minded, and his hand speed is awesome. He decked David Bailey so quickly that I missed the punch. I find it hard to imagine that Khan - a young man who looks very sensible and who seems to have a good family that keeps him honest – will not become a world champion and legend of the ring. He did brilliantly against one of the finest amateur boxers in the world at last year’s Olympics, and subsequently avenged that loss against Mario Kindelan.

Some people might be cynical about Khan’s remarks after the fight. Just 18, he paid tribute to those killed in the London outrages, and urged us all to get along. We live in a celebrity age now. Perhaps we can reflect on how to alter that, but in the meantime, I like it when people surrounded by cameras and microphones say admirable things. Khan did, and I think it IS significantly symbolic that the most famous young British Muslim respects both his nation and the central tenets of his faith.

Good lad Amir, and good luck in what I have no doubt will be a glittering career.

Thursday, 14 July 2005

Rep. Tom Feeney

I understand from my man on Capitol Hill that Representative Tom Feeney (Florida) has stuck a Union flag outside his office. A condolence book is being signed on the Hill too.

My thanks and respect go out to the Congressman. He gets a permanent link.

Bugger

Another knockback from an agent re my script.

On to the next one.

Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Words Alone Do Not Do Justice To How Much I Love These Folks

A very gentle Southern lady was driving across the Savannah River Bridge in Georgia one day. As she neared the top of the bridge, she noticed a young man fixing to jump. She stopped her car, rolled down the window and said,

"Please don't jump, think of your dear mother and father."

He replied,

"Mom and Dad are both dead; I'm going to jump."

She said,

"Well, think of your wife and children."

He replied,

"I'm not married and I don't have any kids."

She said,

"Well, think of Robert E. Lee."

He replied,

''Who's Robert E. Lee?''

She replied,

''Well bless your heart, just go ahead and jump, you dumb ass Yankee."

Arms And The Man

Do any of y'all know some good exercises for really isolating the biceps? I can make my triceps and forearms blow up no problem, but curls just leave me with a pain in the crook of my arm, even when I don't lock-out. I want to do some assistance work on my biceps to help with deadlifting, and also for vanity purposes.

I can be emailed me on tommywgreeves@yahoo.co.uk.

P.S. No obscene jokes please. In fact, no jokes at all. This is a VERY important matter.

God Bless Him

Click here.

Rock and roll!

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Take A Breath, And Count To Ten

You have probably already heard, and will continue to hear, people say something along the following lines. ‘London was bombed because we invaded Iraq. It just goes to show that we never should have done so.’ I urge all of you to really think about the implications of that statement.

It goes to show that we were wrong to invade Iraq? You mean the bombings alone are proof positive that this action was wrong-headed? So the fact that some murderous bastards acted so wickedly overcomes any persuasive arguments in favour of the action? Come on.

If you conclude that Iraq was or was likely to become a crucible for terror, if you believe that we should destroy terrorist networks at the root (instead of waiting for them to come to us), if you believe that it was necessary to show resolve, if you have noted that Libya has come to heel since we took action against Saddam, if you recognise that we were targets long before 9/11 – then surely the London atrocities alone don’t change your position, do they?

Only the most spineless pacifist would oppose military action SOLELY on the grounds that our enemies might want to hurt us. So unless you are that sort of pacifist, then you should not rely on this alone as the reason to oppose a war. Most of us accept that war can be just and necessary – and ultimately the safer option.

But perhaps you were already against the Iraq War. Fair enough – many of my best friends were, many of favourite Conservative MPs were, and two of my recent employers were. I disagree with them, but whereas I think that opposing the invasion of Afghanistan is absurd and contemptible, I can see that Iraq was a tougher call. What I cannot accept is when people say ‘I was already against the war, and what happened in London is further proof that it was wrong. We made the bombers do it.’

We didn’t actually. They didn’t have to do it. Most people from countries that we have invaded, or who oppose wars we have fought, have not sought to blow up British civilians. And the point about these people – and we can say this with some confidence because they have made their desires plain – is that they’ll take any excuse to kill us. They were targeting us long before 9/11. We foiled those plans. We will foil further plans if and only if we seek these people out wherever they are, and stop them before they hurt us. We’ll debate about whether that required us going into Iraq, but if it WAS necessary then it was righteous.

The terrorists are not just upset that we went into Iraq. They are upset that we went into Afghanistan. They are upset that we are supportive of Israel. They hate Israel, and want to destroy it. They also want to kill ALL Jews and ALL American soldiers and ALL British soldiers, and evidently a lot of British and American civilians too. They want to enslave women. They want to forcibly convert us to an extreme and perverted form of Islam. They want to tear up democracies and impose Islamic law.

So what do we do? Give into their demands? Come off it. The day of the bombings, I heard someone say ‘That’ll teach us to host the G8 summit’. Oh yeah, good point mate. Let’s avoid meeting with our allies. In fact let’s dissolve Parliament while we’re at it.

The next time someone implies that we should calibrate our domestic and foreign policy to the wishes of the terrorists, resolve to make the following observation at a later date. ‘I think we should imprison convicted child molesters for the rest of their natural lives. That’s the only way to stop vigilantes attacking them.’ There is a good chance that your acquaintance will say something like ‘Oh no. We should never give in to the Mob. You can’t let penal policy be determined by THEM.’ Then draw the obvious analogy.

There is a particularly weird strain of prejudice among the liberal Left. People who will rabidly attack you for having the temerity to dislike partial birth abortions will hysterically scream their opposition to the execution of a self-confessed serial killer. People who will say something wet like ‘I don’t have much time for Saddam Hussein but …’ will be only too happy to denounce President Bush as evil. Something is profoundly wrong here.

You may well continue to oppose the war on Iraq. But please don’t cite the London bombings as reason enough for your position.

Great Blog To Check Out

Y’all should read this staggeringly brilliant post. I am linking to the Daily Ablution immediately.

Ahead Of My Time

I am delighted to report that I just bench pressed 120 kg (264 pounds).

This is the weight I was shooting for in time for the September competition, so I'm well chuffed.

Monday, 11 July 2005

Wisconsin Grocer Of The Year

Congratulations to Dave Skogen on being the Wisconsin Grocers Association Grocer of the Year.

Dave is the first to admit that he couldn't have done it without his wife Barb. Behind every Great Man is a Great Lady.

One of these is Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States of America. Could any title be more apt? I had the privilege of meeting her two weeks after arriving in South Carolina last year. She is wonderful. Elegant, intelligent, classy, articulate, beautiful and warm. What a contrast to liberal types who affect a tough persona, but who crumble at the first sign that their husband is a lecherous oaf. Southern and Texan women are made of sterner stuff. They are genteel, but made of steel. I adore them.

Wisconsin women are obviously pretty cool too, as Dave Skogen would tell you.

Calling All Southerners

Big shout out to my Southern friends: I hope these hurricanes don't hurt any of you or your loved ones.

‘fessing Up

I have a confession to make. It will probably lead to me being cast out of the Conservative blogging fraternity (and shunned by the sorority), but here goes: I am not implacably opposed to the introduction of ID cards.

I never have been really. I remember thinking, when they were mooted a few years ago, What’s the big deal? I have at least three cards in my wallet that ‘identify’ me. Having an official ID card that contains biometric material is not a big leap.

I suppose the big issue revolves around people being able to stop me and demand to see my card. I’d have no problem with a police officer doing so. I like the police. We’d probably have an agreeable conversation. And if a nightclub bouncer, or a teller at a bank where I wanted to open an account, or a taxi driver wanted to see it, I can’t say I’d be very fussed.

People - including the man who is pushing for the introduction of ID cards (Home Secretary Charles Clarke) - have been quick to claim that they would not have prevented Thursday’s outrages. This is likely true, particularly if the murderers were apparently law abiding British subjects. But could ID cards play a ROLE in the war against terror? I can imagine ways in which they could.

On BBC’s Panorama last night, they interviewed a terrifyingly calm, softly spoken and articulate terrorist. He indicated that he had moved to the UK instead of France because in the latter country people get approached by the police and asked to hand over papers. Surely if that happened here it could deter illegal immigrants from entering the country. And surely it would make it more likely that illegal immigrants would be caught and deported (or jailed if they are terrorists).

And if the fingerprint details of all British subjects – law abiding and otherwise – were held on computer, then could they not be compared with tickets retrieved from Underground stations? Are there not myriad ways of which we lay people cannot conceive in which clever people could use evidence obtained from crime scenes to hunt down evil people? Might not a database of details about us help with that? I hardly think the pattern of my fingerprints is an intimate physical detail that I only want my future wife to know.

Inevitably the loudest cries are that ID cards would be an infringement of our civil rights, and their introduction a capitulation to terror. Are transparent plastic litter bags in Tube stations a sign that we are giving into terror? Are police officers with large guns stood outside the Palace of Westminster a sign that we lack courage? No – they are common sense precautions. Refusing to secure our borders would be giving into terror. Allowing forced marriages would be. Declining to fight necessary wars would be. Not going out to the pub would be. Treating women as chattels would be. ID cards would be an inconvenience, nothing more.

Of course some people would get stopped more frequently than others. This leads to the wider issue of profiling suspects. I am searched pretty much every time I go to a football match. I expect that this is because I am 6’1, very heavy set, and have a skinhead. By searching me, the police officer is not asserting that I am a football hooligan. He is asserting that I LOOK LIKE one. He is right – I absolutely look like a football hooligan. He has profiled me. With limited resources, he is very sensibly taking common sense steps, and stopping people who fit a pattern.

(The FBI do this too. Read John Douglas’s marvellous book Mindhunter to learn more about how they catch serial killers through profiling. You will see how people got outraged when Douglas said that a killer in Atlanta was probably Black, and how that statement was in fact very sensible for various reasons, and subsequently vindicated.)

We should not shirk from taking the same steps as part of the war on terror. Only the most deluded left wing sociologist would doubt that those who carried out Thursday’s attacks are / were not Caucasian. I bet they are / were also all men, and under thirty-five. The search for those who have encouraged them will begin in radical mosques, not Baptist churches. That is not demonising the sizeable majority of Muslims who are peaceful and as appalled as the rest of us (and in some ways more appalled and frightened). It is putting political correctness in the place it belongs – i.e. nowhere near a crime investigation or a war.

We should not reflexively oppose extensions of state power in a time of war. This is a difference between the libertarian and the conservative. Oh and by the way, people are kidding themselves if they think ID cards would be a unique form of surveillance. The security services will be bugging, photographing, filming and eavesdropping like crazy. And so they should.

What have the law abiding among us got to fear from ID cards and a fingerprint database? Being hassled a bit and inconvenienced a bit? Big deal.

I would be genuinely interested to hear dissenting or other views on all this. I will post interesting and civil emails (if you would like me to post them). Send them to me at tommywgreeves@yahoo.co.uk.

Sunday, 10 July 2005

Light Relief

In the fog of much more important things, most of you will have missed Glenys Kinnock’s hilariously absurd comments about Bob Geldof.

‘Mrs Kinnock told BBC Wales the singer refused to acknowledge the European Union’s commitment to aid for Africa, and its efforts to develop fair trade … “Europe is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid, and the biggest trading block in the world - he should take that into account. He constantly rubbishes what people try to do in the European Union”.’

It is a source of continual amazement to me that European federasts think they can pull the wool over our eyes to this extent. The same people will rabbit on about how the UK benefits from EU structural funding, whilst ignoring the fact that we are overwhelmingly a net donor to the whole sorry enterprise. Similarly, aid from the EU is a lot less welcome than would be tearing down the barriers the EU erects to stop poor nations competing with European producers.

But then it’s hardly surprising that Glenys should be so warmly disposed to the European Union – it’s certainly been mighty generous to the Kinnock family. She’s an MP, her husband was Vice President of the European Commission, and Brussels has provided employment for their son as well. Of course dear old Neil now sits in the House of Lords. Just goes to show, you can’t take the Windbag out of the Welshman, but you sure can get him to jettison his democratic principles.

Monty, This Doesn’t Seem Strange To Me

Conservative Home’s Editor once again shows his intellectual and moral clarity. Check it out.

Saturday, 9 July 2005

The South Beckons Once Again

I Love This Bar

Toby Keith


We got winners, we got losers
Chain smokers and boozers
And we got yuppies, we got bikers
We got thristy hitchhikers
And the girls next door dress up like movie stars

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

We got cowboys, we got truckers
Broken-hearted fools and suckers
And we got hustlers, we got fighters
Early birds and all-nighters
And the veterans talk about their battle scars

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

[Chorus:]
I love this bar
It's my kind of place
Just walkin' through the front door
Puts a big smile on my face
It ain't too far, come as you are
Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

I've seen short skirts, we got high-techs
Blue-collar boys and rednecks
And we got lovers, lots of lookers
And I've even seen dancing girls and hookers
And we like to drink our beer from a mason jar

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar
Yes I do

I like my truck (I like my truck)
I like my girlfriend (I like my girlfriend)
I like to take her out to dinner
I like a movie now and then

But I love this bar
It's my kind of place
Just trollin' around the dance floor
Puts a big smile on my face
No cover charge, come as you are
Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar
Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar

We got divorcees and a big bouncer man
An old jukebox and a real bad band
We got waitresses and we got barflies
A dumb-ass and a wise-guy
If you get too drunk just sleep out in your car

Reason number 672 why

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar
Play it on out boys
Beer-thirty's over
Got to take it on home

Hmm, hmm, hmm I love this bar
I just love it

HELL Yeah!

I've had so many cool emails from across the pond. Here's one that Geoff asked me to share.

I'm at the Def Leppard show in Aberdeen, Maryland. God Bless the UK. God Bless St. Boltoph's, Aldgate. God Bless the UK. God bless the USA. God bless our friends.

(Def Leppard just thanked us for our support - to resounding cheers.)

Gorilla In Your Midst

I did a 190kg deadlift this afternoon. That's 418 pounds, or nearly 30 stone.

Rock and roll!

Friday, 8 July 2005

We’ll Never Be Divided

Lots of good stuff on the blogs. There is an excellent showing of steely resolve. Proportionate, intelligent and (usually) shrewd comment seems to be the order of today and yesterday.

We’ll debate with each other about the merits of ID cards, about the wisdom of the war in Iraq and about whether or not George Galloway is the most contemptible piece of shit to sit in the House of Commons for the last 30 years. That is right and proper. But we can unite around a few common positions:

1. The people who did this are evil perverts, and we hate them. Wherever they are today, it’s not Heaven.

2. We want to see them brought to justice, and we expect that to happen.

3. London is our capital city, and therefore emblematic of the whole country. We’re all Londoners now.

4. If our security services and military can seize or create an opportunity to hunt down and get more terrorists, here or abroad, we want them to go for it.

5. Without labouring the point any more, normal Muslims are not to blame for this, and are victims of it too.

6. In broad terms, we like our way of life. We like earning money from our jobs, and spending it. We like trading with other countries. We like the fact that most of us do not consider females inferior to males. We like sport, movies, the arts and music. We like the wide range of culinary delights on offer in this country. We like the countryside and we like towns and cities. We like to be tolerant of all peaceful religious worship. We like the fact that we like these things – and anyone who doesn’t like that can go f-k themselves.

Muslim Council of Britain

I thought y’all might like to read what the MCB has said about the attacks.

As a nation, we may be divided about the merits of the war on terror. Some of us may have qualms about the extent of immigration, and about the weakening of our Judaeo-Christian tradition. But none of us should be under any illusion – this was NOT a ‘Muslim’ attack. It was an attack by evil and demented people. Ordinary decent Muslims, and almost all of them are decent, will be as appalled as the rest of us. They may also be fearful of revenge attacks. Any such assaults would be most un-British.

That said, I am confident that we will show these bastards a united front.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

We Will Prevail

Thank you to all my friends who have checked in on me. I rarely go to London these days, and am not there today. Thank God, I think all my friends there are OK too.

I don’t want to reflect on all the implications of what has happened in London right now, other than to say the following. May God rest the souls of those who have died and watch over their families and loved ones. Let’s hope that everyone acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of Muslims want no part of any of this. And may Londoners unite, as they surely will, and show the world that we will never be beaten.

London got through the blitz, it has got through terrorist attacks before, and it will get through this. We will host a fabulous Olympic Games in 2012. There will be much to celebrate before then. Last weekend we saw a huge concert in London attended by people who want to see poverty in Africa stopped. I’ve moaned about London in the past. I won’t be moaning so much in future.

We’re all Londoners now.

Hurrah!

Twenty cheers to Lord Coe, my buddy Susie Black and all the team for landing the Olympics for London.

It's restored my faith in the competence of our bureaucrats, and I believe that it will be a magnificent show. There is every reason to suppose that the problems that affected the Millennium Dome will not be replicated (because Seb is far more competent than the people who ran that), that the taxpayer will not take a huge hit (because the Games will be a success and help the economy), that transport will get a boost, and that sport at every level will too.

Can I have a front row seat for the weightlifting please?

Monday, 4 July 2005

Brad Pitt Is Not Omniscient

Those of you who genuinely care about finding the best way to tackle poverty, and have a degree of intellectual curiosity, should read this article in its entirety.

Happy 4th of July!

I weekended with Paul, who resides in the charming location of Teddington. He was in good form, and we paid a visit to the Bexhill Pavilion down in Sussex. It’s an extraordinary site / sight, very modern, slightly weird, and not at all what one might expect to find in a seaside town. We ambled into an office where there was a public display of pictures showing what the soon-to-be-done-up-pavilion is due to look like. The staff were most attentive, and very put out when we both declined muffins. (We literally declined to eat muffins – this is not some monstrous euphemism for some beastly practice.)

I saw the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final yesterday, and watched Roger Federer secure his place among the legends of tennis. Poor Andy Roddick – he of the huge serve and forehand, and an all-round superb player and splendid fellow – looked like a British qualifier playing in the first round. Federer is simply awesome.

I’m sorry to report that the agent has turned down the opportunity to read my script. However, he was very generous with praise - more so than politeness required I THINK - and so it’s on to another agent now. I will not be deterred.
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