- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
I feel really sorry for the workers of Phones4u. They have been well and truly stitched up. Their celebrity obsessed owner John Caudwell built up the firm from nothing to its high street dominance and then sold it for a billion bucks to private equity firms. These vultures load the companies they buy with debt, and then cut costs to the bone in an attempt to make instant profits. BC Partners stacked on an extra £200 million debt on the company and then immediately paid £200m to its ‘business partners’. Instead of investing in the business with trained knowledgeable staff and new ideas they went with high pressure sales techniques with staff working for bonuses, the so-called ‘Streefighting’ techniques. It’s pretty disgusting stuff by Caudwell and BC Partners.
Most customers have traditionally turned to companies like Phones4u and Carphone Warehouse to find out which network, tariff and phone maker to go with. Phones4u mark up would be selling the phones cheap but higher contracts to get the money back. But they were sunk as the big four networks ganged up on them and cancelled their contracts, the loss of EE throwing the company into administration. The big four prefer to run their own branded high street stores now and that was the end of that. Coupled with falling call costs forced by the European Union phones4u struggled and the big four got together and realized not only could they wipe out the middle man here but steal their prime high street locations to put their own Vodafone, EE, O2… stores on the high street. The killer was Phones4u simply had no room to renegotiate deals that would see the big four get a bigger slice of the call time cake as smartphone punters moved more towards internet usage and free phone aps like Viber and Skype. The day of paying for phone calls is coming to an end. Carphone Warehouse shares immediately rose on the news of the collapse as they are now the only major bespoke highstret firm that offer network choice. But will they be next? They do, though, have good distribution deals with Nokia, Sony, Samsung and Apple and so won’t be taken down any day soon and being partnered with Dixon helps.
We all know the networks ripped off PAYG customers with 35p a minute calls and unless you had a monthly contract you could only really afford to text and receive calls. A five for a regular phone call is ridiculous. But Phones4u seemed fair whenever I sued them and their staff knowledgably in the early days. I wanted to chat with them about my Nokia 520 PAYG from Amazon warehouse refusing to allow me to download any credit. I wondered if this was an issue with phones that are older models and have been stored in warehouses for a while. Previously I had always gone to these guys to get advice and they had sorted my problems. But the statement of closure was on the door and that was that.
As far as consumer rights go for current customers with contracts and guarantees I would say it’s pretty strong. The company was profitable and so there is money there for compensation. This company didn’t go bust over accumulated debts but simply broken up. This is the new style of capitalism and why we are all on contract or zero hours employment deals. It was actually quite successful in its own right. If companies like this can fall then any can.
Well, it turns out Kazakhstan’s first ever ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Oscar nomination wasn’t Borat but Mongol (2008), a sprawling and epic war film that even the now departed Sir Richard Attenborough would be proud of. If you think ISIS are bad then checkout this guy, a barbarian that would take control of more than half of the ancient world. Whereas ISIS will be destroyed once the conniving Arab dictators are happy with the oil price hike from their furtive funded violence and oil price hedging, Ghengis Khan crashed on and saw quite a few more heads roll until he was reigned in.
It was meant to be the first film in a trilogy but ended up a conflation of all three by director Sergey Bodrov as production dragged on and on, taking 14 months to shoot. It had a crew of over 400 people (300 Chinese and 100 Russians) and over 1500 extras, of which many got drunk in the authentic rural areas of Central Asia between scenes, were the film was mostly shot. So isolated was the location that viewing dailies was impossible and exposed footage had to be sent to Hamburg in Germany to be processed, and then sent back to China for viewing, a process which took three weeks, normally ready by the next day on digital red eye cameras.
A young Temudjin ‘Ghengis’ Khan (Odnyam Odsuren) is trekking across the baron Mongolian outback with his clan to choose his future bride, his father Esugei (Ba Sen) insisting on tradition and he chose one from the Merkit clan. But 10-year-old Temudjin takes a shine to confident little Börte (Bayertsetseg Erdenebat) on route and chose her, dad knowing it will only bring trouble along the way for not taking a female from Merkit clan but happy his son has chosen, give years from today the couple meeting again to get married.
As they turn back for home they meet members of the fearsome Merkit clan, Esugei poisoned by clan chief Taichar (Bu Ren) for his disrespect, his father Esugei’s clan soldiers deserting him and stealing all of his stuff. Loyalties are hard come by in Mongolia and Taichar promises to slay little Temudjin when he comes of age for his insolence.
We spin forward to when Temudjin (Tadanobu Asano) is of age, tracked down once again by Taichar and his goons, constantly on his tail to reap their revenge and so honor, Tem seeking spiritual advice at the holy mountain of the great God Tengri. But Tem is wise and resourceful, escaping once again, his mission to collect his new wife Börte (Chuluuny Khulan), also of age. But Taichar strikes again, stealing away his beautiful wife and so Temudjin, seeking the help of his brother Jamukha (Sun Honglei), now a powerful Khan warlord.
Mission accomplished we see the first seeds of mistrust between both warriors and brothers, clear that only one Khan can rule the Mongol clans, a rivalry that will pull on the warrior instinct of Mongolia.
As far as epic action and adventure movies go this is great fun. It’s climatic and ambitious battle scene are worth the wait and the simmering sibling tensions always driving the film forward. It does feel a little bit cat and mouse early on with little Genghis being legged all over Mongolia but settles down in the middle as we enjoy the two brothers enjoying their growing power. But it also feels rushed at the end as you can see how its being sandwiched up to fit all three of his films into one, a lot of important history and battles glazed over to keep the film around two hours.
It is a little too CGI at times although the battle scenes are never over the top like some other movies I could name in their genre. In fact Bodrov’s movie feels more Asia Extreme than Peter Jackson and most times in CHI cinema that’s better. Too much going on screen can make these historic action movies look over-the-top so fortunately this one is about right as far as that goes. Even the obligatory rain of arrows is toned down. I’m not so sure about the Tarrantino CGI style blood bags though.
It cost a mere $18 million to make in that part of the world and did a healthy $26 million back. But the pro rata on a 14 month period to make the movie may suggest they ended up on minimum wage. Saying that it’s worth every penny and although not the best one I have seen in this Oriental fantasy genre its good fun and action packed. It’s a bit long at 126 minutes although Tadanobu Asano doing his David Carradine keeps you enthralled to the legend of Genghis Khan, which I knew little about. It’s not an accurate historical document by any means and certainly not suitable for kids but fun all the same.
Blue Ray version has no additional extras and just one disc, a surprise. There’s a subtitles interview with director Bodrow and some behind the scenes stuff, plus obligatory deleted scenes.
The film looks amazing in Blue Ray and I set it too full aspect to fill the screen. I’m not a big fan of the rectangle film viewing experience. The colors are spectacular in the panoramic fight and battle scenes and Mongolia rich burnt umber and big sky colors bought to life.
So, we all remember Fight Club, David Fincher's excellent examination of alpha male versus metrosexual man, only one clear winner as far as getting beautiful women goes. Yes, Helena Bonham - Carter did equal co star Brad Pitt for facial body hair but an iconic movie all the same from the writing cannon of gay writer Chuck Palahniuk. Chuck’s success with that one saw his other book, ‘Choke’, get snapped up and made into a movie, little known director Clark Gregg behind the camera this time around. Its similar Palahniuk themes of male masculinity and sexual dominance but a very different interpretation of the writer’s style.
Sex addict and general slacker Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) has given up his studies to help pay for his mom’s private healthcare, adding in a few scams on the way to meet the $20,000 annual bill, including faking choking incidents in restaurants. Mom Ida (Anjelica Huston) has a rare form of dementia and not able to recognize Victor and so Victor acting out different roles when he visits her to try and drag back just one memory of him so in that moment of clarity he can say goodbye to the mum he adored. Victor was adopted at a young age but his rather eccentric mother always taking timeout from her crazy life to covertly visit her son between foster moms and cause general mayhem, like releasing all the animals from the zoo at night. But when Ida declares Victor is not the name of her son he can’t work out if she is his real mom anymore and a victim of her chaotic lifestyle.
Victor works in a reenactment theme park of ‘early frontier America’ with his best friend Denny (Brad William Henke), also in therapy for his sexual addictions, the two japesters in constant conflict with their boss (Clark Gregg) for not staying in character, not cleaning their muskets or sleeping with the staff, Ursula the milkmaid (Bijou Phillips) the next target.
Victor is a familiar face at the mental hospital, with staff and patients, sleeping his way through most of the females and having the hot’s for pretty doctor Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald), who sympathizes with his plight over not knowing whether his mother is actually his mother and comes up with some interesting therapies to find out, also involving taking clothes off. If they can’t find a method of extracting memories of her son she will soon be moving up to level 2 in the hospital, which few patients return from, mentally or physically.
Victor: You want me to f**k you in a church to save your mums brain?’
It’s no Fight Club, that’s for sure, some interesting ideas but the film weekly cast and put together. It’s certainly an ambitious black comedy but with explicit sex and deliberate offensive dialogue it’s very up and down and never really finds its way. That’s not to say its not entertaining viewing though. I quite like Sam Rockwell, an actor who can do comedy as he can do cool, but here, with his co-stars, dragging this film into run of the mill mainstream comedy at times with crass behavior and knob gags. I’m sure the book is far more intelligent than the screenplay.
It’s occasionally funny as it is risqué but few wow moments like the writing of Fight club. This film simply lacks that adult anger and realism of Fight Club. There are some good bits and nice to see Anjelica Houston back on our screens and Rockwell trying the best he can with the rather ambitious ideas but never quite leaves you being impressed with its manipulation of the books ideas on deviant sex. Why is it that having forced sex with a stranger is most women’s number one sex fantasy? I’m sure Rockwell thought it would be another Fight Club hit but fair play to him for sticking with the project. I loved Fight Club because it dared to go to the real reasons of sexual attraction and why women are crying out for modern men to be the dominate sex once again but the nuance of that was lost here. Still it beats most American comedies around these days.
I love Patterson’s shortbread fingers! In the old days the only place you could find shortbread was at the airport or a three years out of date packet jammed at the back of the shelf in your local Asian newsagents. Like the Toblerone Chocolate bar it was always marketed as an expensive treat and so no one ever bought it. I think the airport thing was mostly about shortbread marketed as Scottish and so it’s an easy gift to buy in duty free to impress your Auntie Aggie in Idaho as it has a big Scottish flag on it, exotic indeed. Whether it was ever mixed and made in Scotland on a cool misty autumn day with beads of dew on the heather catching the eye like diamonds on a beautiful woman’s finger we will never know but it isn’t any more.
Another reason to buy Patterson’s Fingers is they are available in the pound shops now and for that you get 16 scrummy fingers. They also run a competition with a code on the packet that allows you to try and win various levels of prizes with the points you have accrued. I have entered loads of codes into the website and want to win a years supply of shortbread. Knowing my luck they will send it al at once and it will go off after three days. Shortbread, once exposed to air, doesn’t have a long shelf life.
Fresh out of the packet it tastes just right, not too crumbly and not too dry. I think shortbread's selling point is the way it’s not quite a biscuit. It has the little bit of give that gives it a hidden texture but also the bite of a biscuit. They do crumble but not enough to have to use a big plate. The tang on the tongue is lovely. The only draw back is there are 16 in the box and you may end up eating half of them and so not great for the diet. The major supermarkets match the pound shops for price and Morrison’s do two for one at the moment.
Coca Cola has what looks like a really clever marketing campaign going on and clearly aimed at young people to have their daily dose of 14 spoonfuls of sugar, the amount in each regular sized can. The idea is a really simple one. Put popular Christian names on the Coke cans and bottles and the consumer will have a personal connection with that bottle and seek out their name in the stores. This is double smart as they then keep the bottles and fill them up with other drinks but keep advertising Coke. The key to shifting junk food is making people friendly with the product in pier groups; the same way Ronald McDonald encourages children to eat burgers and fries. The drawback is if the kids can’t find their name they go looking for it at other stores and may end up buying Pepsi or generic colas. The Muslims protested about Mohammed – and its variations – appearing on Coke bottles and it was removed. Other nations complained there weren’t enough foreign sounding names on the products, over 1000 on bottles world-wide. All good publicity is good publicity.
I have never liked Coca Cola and if I DO buy a branded Coke style drink it’s always Pepsi. I much prefer the generic supermarket ones that are less tangy and you don’t feel the coca beans so much and always cheaper as you don’t have to pay for those expensive branding marketing campaigns included in the price. The stronger the brand the more they can change for essentially the same profit. It costs about four pence to make and deliver a can of Coke. Of all supermarket generic Cokes I like Tesco’s the most. It’s smooth and has a lovely Coke taste without the tang and sweeter. I find some diet Cokes too bitter and on your tongue;
As I say it’s a nice Cola taste with the familiar lite edge you get with diet drinks, in the same way Bar Cola is. It doesn’t fizz too much when you pop the ring but you all know that if you tap the top three times before you pop the ring-pull it will flatten out some. Of course it’s true! Burpage is also low if you gulp it. Cost wise it’s about 80p for two liters or 35pa can in the bigger Tesco stores or slightly more in the Tesco Expresses. Why that is the case is complex and based on the fact consumer sill pay more for convenience. But it keeps well and lasts the week in the fridge and if the kids don’t get to see the label they will never know it’s not their favorite cola. Its 50% cheaper than brands so great value. I really do feel supermarket colas are the better deal.
If any of you still don’t understand why Israel does what they brutally do to protect their borders then you need to read up on the Holocaust. If a country told Britain they were going to wipe us off the face of the Earth by flinging in rockets 24/7, then nuke us, then we would do the same. 90% of European Jews were systematically exterminated by the Nazis and no one did much to help them, many countries complicit in the genocide trough their inaction and even collaboration. That’s why Israel are ruthless. They are not going anywhere and if being successful in the desert without oil and with a democracy annoy’s Arabs and Muslims then tough is their rightfully arrogant attitude.
Sarah’s Key draws on the French cowardly actions in the war towards the Jews to have an easier ride under the Nazis. It’s based on the book of the same name by Tatiana de Rosnay, a harrowing story of a young girl trying to survive the extermination of everyone she knows in war torn Paris.
It stars super intelligent anglophile actress Kristin Scott Thomas in this mostly French spoken drama and although yet another in a long line of well made Holocaust films it surprisingly fell short on the film festival awards roll call. Normally these films score big in a Hollywood, a town that has 25% of the Academy voters of Jewish heritage and keen to keep memories of the war alive through the medium of film, the same way Manchester United remind us of Munich to reinforce their providence. I wouldn't say the Holocaust has become the Jewish brand but it is still an emotive history.
Its 2011 and Paris Match journalist Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas) is writing a story about the long since forgotten ‘Vélodrome d'Hiver’, the Paris indoor cycle track that was infamous in the war for being used by the French authorities under the direction of the Nazi’s to round up the Jews ready to be packed off to the camps.
We then flash back to that terrible time through the eyes of 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance), the gendarmes banging on their flat door in the Jewish quarter of Paris, telling the family to grab their things and then packed off to the velodrome. Sarah knows only bad things are going to happen and locks her little brother in a secret compartment in the wall, promising him she will return to free him.
The family is split up at the first camp, men going on one train, women on the other and the kids left at the camp, horrific stuff. Little Sarah, traumatized like everyone else, is most distraught that her little brother is still locked in the wall and she can’t get home to free him.
Flashing forward we learn our journalist is moving into that very flat and thinking about starting a family, her grumpy husband to bound up in his career to care. Julia becomes intrigued by the heritage of the flat and ties Sarah’s story into her article, a more emotionally engaging story than she could ever imagine. Did Sarah escape the camp and free her brother from the wall and is the Starzynski family still alive now? A trip to the French countryside is the first big clue.
The dramatic start to the film in the war quickly hooks you. It’s a little known story on just how much the French collaborated with the Nazis and anyone who knows a French person will know this is who they really are. It’s a film that plays as a guilty remembrance of a dark corner of French history through the conduit of a ticking clock thriller. Director Gilles Paquet-Brenner doesn’t go too deeply into the reasons why France betrayed their hardworking Jews but at least we now know the story of the velodrome, over 15,000 Jews tagged and sent to the work and death camps from the center of Paris.
Its mostly sub-titles and Sarah’s story far more interesting and emotional than Julia’s, the journalist line not only used to set up the look back narrative but to jemmy a big star to sell it to both French and American audiences, Scott-Thomas multilingual appeal why she is so admired and marketable, her spoken French immaculate. She is the ideal actress for this movie and puts in a strong turn, as does little Mélusine Mayance as young Sarah.
It cost 10 million Euros to put together and did $21 million dollars back, good sales home and away for a subtitled movie. The Holocaust always sells as we are never allowed to forget. I enjoyed it all the way through and the story taught when we are in war ton France. You want to know what happens to Sarah and her little brother and did they live through the atrocities of their war? The Julia story is not so relevant and interesting and the film drags when it drifts on the contemporary narrative, the way Amy Adams role does in Julie & Julia. Its in now way chick flicky though.
The cinematography is occasional impressive and comes alive when we see the terrible world through the eyes of an innocent child, one scene in a lake when the kids grab some rare freedom extremely emotional. The soundtrack is good and the other actors bang on the money. It’s a sad story as its important not to forget and an above average Holocaust tale to enjoy. You do get involved and at no point do you reach for the fast-forward, a common itch watching tow hours of subtitles.
Sulky Lewis Hamilton and handsome Nico Rosberg are set to battle it out for the championship after Hamilton won the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. Rosberg made a couple of mistakes as Mercedes seventh 1-2 saw Hamilton win his sixth grand prix of the season to Rosberg’s fourth. The cynic in me would say Rosberg was told to let Lewis win after the last race collision to try and insure team unity. The mistakes to allow that suggested that. If these two start taking each other out it will let the smiley Daniel Ricardo in with a chance, double points for the last race, of course. Rosberg or Hamilton have featured in the top two of ever single race bar one.
=Current Points Standings=
Rosberg 238 points
Monza is a very fast track, like Silverstone, with lots of fast straights and exciting corners. AT one point the cars were hitting 220mph at last week’s race. It’s the track that had the high banking back in the day, still preserved by the local Monza Trust. But the banks were only used for five races as cars flew off the top or spun into traffic below if they were touched or lost control because of the steepness, causing general mayhem.
The race was exhilarating stuff with lots of overtaking on high speed corners, the DRS system allowing the cars to take back their positions almost immediately, Button and Perez in some amazing 200mph duels. Ferrari, on their home track, didn’t feature, a rare retirement for Fernando Alonso, his first sine 2009 in a Renault. He is tied into a lucrative contract with the sports most glamorous team but the team sitting fourth in the driver’s championships. It’s not much better for Vettel, the defending champion down in 6th place in the championship, his team mate Ricardo showing him up every race. The best car wins the championship, not the best driver. Alonso is the best driver and the Mercedes is the best car.
Mercedes 454 points
Red Bull 272
Force India 109
The body language wasn’t great at the end of the race as the multilingual Rosberg spoke in fluent Italian with third place Massa so to avoid eye contact with Hamilton. Rosberg isn’t that popular in his native Germany and has no real respect from Monaco, where he lives and doesn’t pay his taxes. His Finishness is limited to his father’s legacy now. That is the sort of guy who will go along with team orders to keep his seat. I think Hamilton will be the one more likely to leave the team if the two can’t get on.
Singapore – 21st September
Japan – 3rd October
Russia – 12th October
USA – 31st October
Brazil – 9th November
Abu Dhabi – 23rd November
An awkward friendly for Roy Hodgson saw a Wayne Rooney penalty deliver England a 1-0 victory over Norway. Hodgson seemed irritated in the post match conference that his players had only had two shots. But the players were playing not to get injured, for their premier league clubs and for the fact England play Switzerland away on Monday, their first European Championship qualifier. If they lose that I don’t think they will qualify. The only reason we do make the big tournaments now is because there are more qualifying groups with weaker teams in. This guarantees the big TV revenue nations make the championships.
The FA needs to fund Wembley Stadium and so have to play meaningless friendlies. If you didn’t know, the players receive no remuneration for playing for their country and their expenses given to charity. The official attendance at Wembley was poor, just 41,000. The actual attendance was far worse, all 17,000 Wembley club members counted as attending, which they clearly didn’t. Another issue was the England fans that protested by staying away from this game, annoyed that from now on only home attendance counts as far as priority ticketing goes for the big tournaments, ironic then if you’re penalized for only England going to away matches. The FA wants England fans to spend their entire England budget on boring home friendlies and qualifiers. The home fans clearly don’t agree and tired of watching dull friendlies.
Norway proved not to be up to much and an out of season eleven shuffling the ball around for a tedious first half. England changed the formation in the second half and much better once the younger ones came on, bar the penalty, Rooney looking a shadow of his former self. His United contract clause where he must be the highest paid player at the club that saw his wages shoot up 75 grand in the window when Falcoa signed for an absurd 350k a week, ironically be the trigger to get rid of overpaid Rooney in January as United have to hit the financial fair play targets.
England eleven was pretty good and with no Lampard and Gerrard we got to see exciting young Raheem Stirling from Liverpool let lose. It was Rooney’s 41st goal that won it, now 4th in the all time England scorers list, overtaking Owen in 5th, Just Charlton, Greaves and Linekar to go. But the starting team was picked from last years top seven clubs and so outside influences by the sponsors still helping those selections, just two boot manufacturers on show. I’m not down on England as they made the right changes and the next England manager will have a pool of young talent to mold into a team. The European Championships throws up some surprise winners.
5 years ago only 3% of online shopping was done on smartphones. Now it’s 51%. Dooyoo has had to react to that, a reaction that will ironically kill off dooyoo. They have chosen to squeeze down your creativity to 250-500 words so consumers will actually bother to read it on those 4 inch and tablet screens. Problem is it’s tough for us to sum up products in 500 words, especially in the categories we like writing in. We want to write with passion about great books, films, places and experiences of products. Dooyoo want 500 words of anodyne and snappy product information, mostly on laptops and lipstick, and moving towards lifestyle products only. We are becoming the company blurb on the back of the packet. Dooyoo made one concession where we can now post up long reviews over 500 words but we won’t receive payment. Needless to say numbers of reviews are down and crowns almost impossible. And when you do get one for 400 words on Bakewell Tarts you feel cheap. I have managed 2 crowns in 6 months, another save for dooyoo. They won’t admit money is tight but it clearly is.
I never would have written in boring categories like food reviews before but now I have to. It’s the only way I can earn on dooyoo, unless I lie about those 18 netbooks I haven’t. The current trend is to post and then leave without rating others.
The saying goes that if its free to use on the internet then you are the product. Presumably that is why they pay us as they know we won’t do this for free. But it feels like I’m doing it for free on dooyoo. I don’t even know how much each posted rate or review is paying or if my rate has even stuck on other peoples work? Why haven’t they fixed that yet! Maybe they don’t want us to waste time rating? I miss the comments and crown and opinion ranking s too. I haven’t received any rewards on site for six months as the cheque remains lost in the post. DON’T REQUEST MONEY! You probably won’t get any. Go with Amazon vouchers instead. You will get those. For me the only reason the £50 pound option is still there is it reduces Amazon requests on site as members chase the cash option they may never reach. Cash in on £20 pounds guys.
I suppose I will try to write 250-500 words to get those Amazon vouchers but dooyoo a very boring experience now. But I feel if members like me walk away then it will just accelerate dooyoo’s collapse, as vain as that might sound. 350 crowns by December remains my target, 4 needed in 4 months, which sums it all up. We need more members to rate on the newest review list and we certainly need more dooyoo incentives. It seems like the site is for housewives now and the rest can go hang.
Its fantasy football time and with international football week upon us it’s the first breather of the season as a dramatic transfer window closes. I’m doing four, free games this season with various news websites. In the old days you would do them in the printed newspapers, buy each team and then purchase the paper for the weekly results and scores, the point. That broadsheet papers like the Daily Telegraph got a lucrative print run from younger readers on Wednesday plus cash from the premium telephone line number you would call to make your transfers on. Going back before that we would actually post in the transfers to a PO Box! Needless to say it was cumbersome business and eventually evolved with the internet to be 100% online and interactive as it is now.
The gimmick now is to give away free teams to hook you in and then you get the chance to pay into the big game that doesn’t carry restrictions. I player Fantasy/Premierleague.com, the worlds biggest Premier League one and Prem games with the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph and Yahoo, of course. I used to pay to play the Telegraph game in the 90s but professional players took it over and guys with 100 teams each would win all the weekly, monthly and end of season grand prizes. There is a website called Fiso.co.uk that solely deals with professional players of the many fantasy league games out there. When I found the site out and the fact they were winning everything I stopped paying. Its big money if you win the games and peaking at 50k in 2005 for the Sun Dream team.
Yahoo’s game differs from the main games in that there are no prizes on offer. It’s really one to play with your mates through the mini leagues and main game. Its not the best one out there guys. It’s unique in that you can change your whole team each week and no transfer restrictions. Player’s value swings dramatically in the game so if you dump on a popular player that has built up value through strong performances then you lose his current value, not the one you bought him at.
You have 100m to spend from day one but as soon as the game is up and running in July the players value is set by how many purchase them, before a ball is even kicked. So if you want to play get in early. For that 100 m you must pick 15 players (4 subs). As subs don’t come in automatically on a late injury its best to buy the cheapest ones and spend all your money on the pitch.
It’s easy to play and a neat colorful team page with all the stats you need to know. One issue is you can’t clearly tell if you have saved your team or not ready for the next week by the available display and buttons.
It’s all in the maker for a good Bakewell Tart. The small six to a pack ones from Mr Kipling are too tangy and there bigger family version nice but the icing just too soft. The filling is pretty scrummy and the right texture there. But for me these Bakewell treats are all about the icing and I think the icing should be harder on the Kipling cake, say like thin ice on a lake in January. It should crack when you bite it so you get more of a hit from it. It’s often the case that the best Bakewell Tarts are the homemade ones you can buy on the local market.
The Tesco one had terrible icing on it and the Sainsbury one more traditional with no icing and irritating almond sliced nuts in the sponge. Nuts ruin a lot of delicacies. Why do Cadburys put nuts in chocolate bars is the question. The Pearls Bakewell Tart is nice and the one you can buy in the Pound Shops. I like the Marks & Sparks one but smaller and ludicrously priced. £1.50 is genuinely how much you pay for a Bakewell Tart.
The Kipling cuts well and only a small amount of the sticky icing deciding to go with the knife. The sponge is a nice constituency and a decent layer of jam to compliment it. The icing is perhaps a little too thick and so the overwhelming taste sensation. You must eat it within a day as they do turn quickly. On the whole a good solid Bakewell but not the best version. For me the local markets still provide the best and even if have to pick the almonds out I will always go with the harder iced versions. Bakewell's, like Colas, are better when they are the generic super market ones.
I do like McVitie’s Lyles Syrup Cake. It’s packed in their rather grand and signature green packaging and available in the shops for about £1.30 or you can take your chances in the pound stores. It’s a spongy like loaf product with the brown textured cake laced with a syrup mix. It is not too sweet or bitter and a reasonable chance of serving three or four people with one. It’s a moist texture with a spongy give and has decent shelf life although one of those cakes you will wolf down the lot and so no worries.
Now the big problem with it is not the taste. No problem with that. The problem is actually eating it. Once you unpack it from the sealed pack you try to cut it and it simply collapses like a poorly inflated bouncy castle. But it doesn’t squash down the way a Fruit Malt life does but simply crumbles away to very little, the way a Flake chocolate bar does so you have to buy another one. You end up eating these with your fingers as half of it falls in the floor (again like the Flake) and the rest sticks to the cardboard base of the packaging. The bit that sticks is the best bit with all the treacle in. You really don’t get good value with it.
I would say it’s a treat product to buy once a month because of its scrummy taste. It’s not one that will loiter in the family cake tin unloved the way the brown Fondant Fancies do so that’s good and, like I aid, it does keep well. But at the end of the day Mary Berry will tell you that the constituency of the cake isn’t great and needs a bit of starch in there. One of her Bake Off contestants would have surely have binned it in disgust if they had created it. It really needs sorting.
At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation and prejudice, so said someone famous, none more so prevalent than in those Evangelic Churches in America, the target for noisy director Kevin Smith, here.
Smith, of course, bought us the View Askew Universe slacker comedy stuff and the indie hit Clerks and the enjoyable Dogma and Mallrats. Later on he strayed from what he knows best and bought us Jersey Girl, the beginning of the end of his career according to the critics. Gifted bigger budgets seeking mainstream success Smith took the edge of his work, Cop Out, with Bruce Willis, a disaster. Trying to be the next Judge Apatow with Zack and Miri Make a Porno didn’t do much for cinema either.
After sending up Catholicism in Dogma he returns to his religious hatred here, this time dumping comedy for the horror genre, having a go at those small nut job cults like the Westborough Church, the ones you see on the news in America with those religious zealots holding signs damming homosexuals and abortion, a horror story in their own right, WACO meets Wolf Creek on the menu this time around for Smith fans. Don’t expect Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to guest star here. Its not that type of film.
Highschool kids Jarod (Kyle Gallner), Travis (Michael Angarano) and Billy Ray (Nicholas Braun) decide to search the personals online to meet sexy older women, a lady called Sarah (Melissa Leo) responding to their ad in Craigs List and agreeing to meet. Home is a mobile home out in the sticks, but the boys tricked into drinking drugged beer and waking up locked in cages in a small church, cowing with fear at their surreal and horrific situation.
On the way to their sexual tryst the boys pranged a car, the off-duty local sheriff receiving a heinous sexual act from another man in that car. The kids don’t know who he was and drive on. But the sheriff needs his deputy to find them just in case.
The rural church is run by fire and brimstone Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) who has a rather brutal way of dealing with sinners by wrapping them in cellophane and tying them to the cross in the church before dispatching them with one to the head in front of the small but loyal congregation, witnessed by Billy Ray cowering in that cage, the other two lads likely to be next on the cross.
As the cops closes in on the boys location a confrontation nears, a distressed deputy calling in when shots are fired at the complex, alerting ATF Special Agent Keenan (John Goodman), his job to shut these church whackos down. The people inside are ready to die and a new directive from the US government say that’s fine with them. But who will get out alive?
Well it’s certainly a change for Smith (another one) and the film all a bit of a mish mash. It starts off in familiar teen spirit Smith territory but quickly turns visceral before falling back into a political take on conservative Middle America. Smith is taking the opportunity to make a lot of points on religion in, mostly bigoted ones. The priests monologue at the start of the film on that subject goes on and on and Smith clearly keen to write in those hang ups. You can fast forward that bit as nothing happens in context with the movie although great fun for the guy playing the preacher.
As the captured kids begin to fight back and the AFT surround the building then big John Goodman takes over the film and it becomes a different movie. I like Goodman but this doesn’t work for him, sloppy writing becoming almost comical at times, Goodman trying to keep a straight face. I was also surprised to see Oscar winner Melissa Leo here, effectively playing a B-Movie role that can’t be good for her career. You get the feeling these two committed to this before they saw the script.
It cost $4 million to make but tanked big time, doing just $1.2 million back. With just $5000 spent on special effects and the money clearly on the cast and those names expected to sell the movie. But Kevin Smith fans didn’t really want this and so poor word-of-mouth and if he is to do horror then Tarantino or Rodriguez slock gore and big blood bags would be what they were expecting.
It’s ok and if you survive the first half hour then the middle bit is quite taught and keep you on side. But once Goodman’s character starts moralizing on America leading up to the silly ending then you are glad you never rented this from Blockbusters back in the day (I bought my copy second hand on the local market). I like Smith and his early work classic indie cinema but slacker stuff is his thing and I want him to go back there. The problem here is this film is neither a horror movie or an action movie or a psychological thriller, ending up a mix and match of those three things and so incomplete. You simply don’t care who dies or who lives with no hero or likable leads.
Tyson is the Black America that white America is terrified of. Republicans don’t lodge 16 million license applications a year to hunt deer! But to Black America, Tyson is a mega star; they say a black man who made it big in spite of white America, every fearsome punch one up for Black America. White America would retort and say he is a convicted rapist and a thoroughly nasty man. The scenes of him being mobbed in Brixton made that point how important this guy is to black people, the Barak Obama of the black working-class. It’s pretty clear in the book Tyson didn’t rape Desiree Washington but it’s also clear he deserved that jail time for his unrepentant delinquent youth. This is not a nice guy, a womanizing drug taking thug, as he himself puts it. He loves being America’s baddest man. He is exactly as he looks. The saddest point in the book is how that very same black community wanted to take some of that money for themselves with all manner of erroneous law suits against Iron Mike.
The early days for Tyson were in and out of school and the correctional facilities of Brownsville, Brooklyn, born to a drug abusing mother and absent father, a familiar black males story. By 10 he was robbing people and houses and the owner of a strong stutter. Helping gang members with their pigeons, he quickly moved up the pecking order, by 12 bullying and beaten up the older guys who once bullied him. But he was incredibly built for a young teen, soon taking up boxing to vent his frustrations, the 200 Lb 15-year-old winning medals in the Junior Olympics in 1981-82, mentored and trained by his great friend Cus D’Amato. Cus was so paranoid he would sew his pockets up fearing the FBI would plant drugs in his pockets!
4 years of knocking out bums as a pro saw him become the youngest heavyweight champions ever as he knocked out Trevor Berbwick for the WBC title, at one point winning 26 of his first 28 by KO or TKO. From then on in it was money, girls, drugs and fast cars as the fights generated more and more cash. He would famously lose his 37 unbeaten run to James ‘Buster’ Douglas in 1990, his tenth attempted defense. After serving 3 years for allegedly raping Desiree Washington he would retain his title and again beat the best around, but Holyfield ending that run, leading up to the infamous ear bite in the rematch, earning Tyson an 18 month ban from the ring, and so no hard cash, blowing $50 million a year at that point and heading for bankruptcy. But after defeat to Lennox Lewis in 2002 there would be 2 more defeats and retirement in 2005, a record of 50 wins and 6 defeats over twenty years of pure brutality and lots of controversy.
The book is a hefty 550 pager even in soft back and a tough uncompromising read. He owns up to all manner of things, like giving someone else’s urine to dodge drug tests and, incredibly, financing his friends crack cocaine business back in Brownsville during his early years as champion. His marriage to Robin Givens is dissected and he doesn’t pull his punches there on the women he called the gold digger he loved. She was from college stock and wanted his status and money. He clearly wanted college stock on his arm to boost his status in the white middle-class circles he was flirting with. I also enjoyed his love hate relationship with Don King, regularly punching the annoying loud mouth in the head but King fleecing Mike of so much money he was prepared to put up with it.
It’s a brutally honest book and hard to read at times, very little contrition from the author. He seems intent on scaring whitey some more now that he is retired. He has calmed down of late now that he is middle age and can’t spark out everyone who challenges him on the street anymore with one punch. Age gets us all. I suppose the most revealing thing about the book is juts how much he got away with over the years as champion, shameless women of all social classes and colors throwing themselves at the champ and perhaps no wonder his rough sex caught him out. But he lives by the sword and will probably die by the sword and clearly a man who doesn’t really care, the ultimate warrior in his prime and what women really want their men to be deep down.
I think it’s fair to say that India didn’t give a shit about playing a long test series in England! They like to win one (possibly Lords) and return home with their heads held high after the best of three. Five tests was simply too much and sent packing with a 3-1 defeat. I believe this is why the ECB provided an India like pitch in the first test at Trent Bridge to keep them interested, a far from interesting Test though. England are only the second team to come from behind after two Tests to win the final three Tests of a series. Donald Bradman's Australia recovered from 2-0 down to beat England 3-2 in the 1936-37 Ashes.
It’s been a roller-coaster for Alistair Cook and claims his wife talked him into keeping the job after a difficult year whereas my understanding is the ECB told him he was safe and they were not going to push him. Either way he went into the 5th and final Test at The Oval knowing he couldn’t lose the series after two crushing test wins.
England put India in and they got out, the fourth time in a row they were bowled out for less than 200, 148 poor stuff. They were 90-9 at one point in the afternoon before captain Dhoni (82) added 58 for the last wicket.
8257 and he is now the third leading run scorer for England after Gooch (8900) and Stewart (8463) having overtaken Pietersen and Gower. He has also overtaken Michael Clarke's 8240. There have been more runs for the 10th wicket in this series (466) than in any previous Test series, beating the record held by the 1924-25 Ashes. The England seamers shared the ten wickets and Anderson just 5 away from Botham’s record. Beefy also had a bad week with pictures of his penis appearing on twitter. He claimed his account was hacked but Twitter said they didn’t delete the picture.
Cook became the highest English run scorer for England against India with 1713 runs with his 79, putting on 125 with super reliable Gary Balance (64). Joe Root his third test century of the summer and shared a 100 partnership with Butler, who could be something very special for England as far as taking games away from opponents go. Root added a quick fire 82 with Jordan (20) and 63 even quicker runs with Broad (37), sporting his new shiner. 486 all out was another poor bowling display by India as England smashed ten an over on day four. Joe Root is only the third England batsman to score a half-century in every Test of a five-match series, after Wally Hammond against South Africa in 1938-39 and Peter May against South Africa in 1955. John Edrich achieved the feat in a six-match series against Australia in 1970-71.
India simply couldn’t be bothered with the task ahead to level the series and bowled out for a pathetic 84 on day four, lasting just 29 overs, Jordan 4-18. 2 more wickets doe Anderson as his record will have to wait for the West Indies in the winter. An innings & 244 was the sixth biggest victory in test history for any nation, the 5th being on the last India tour. Its getting harder and harder for England to fill their nine test grounds as tourist gets increasingly poor. In 67 tests Anderson and Broad have taken 501 wickets at 29.51
===Most Test Wickets for England===