Sunday, October 19, 2014

Photo of the Week: Yun & his Shadow


Who knew when Yun Suk Young was warming up earlier this afternoon in preparation for his start against Liverpool that the last ten minutes of the match would be so dramatic, and utterly heart-stopping if you were a QPR fan?

Yun had an excellent game, and deserves to keep his place. With the help of two own goals, Liverpool were victorious 3-2. The ravaj was drained by the experience, and needs to go lie down!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Photo of the Week: An Autograph? Feh!


Thanks to the kindness of an old friend who invited me to his book launch, I ended up sitting in the VIP section with him and behind this hero of my youth.

I've always been a bit proud of having noticed this chap at the beginning of his career with his hometown club of Leicester City.


Nevertheless, I've no idea whence came the chutzpah or the speed that fuelled my move to block his exit so I could ask for a quick selfie.

As my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and now Blogger friends can see, I am delighted to share this moment with Mr Gary Lineker. It's a crap photo, and posterity may prefer an autograph, but this is not for my heirs. This reminds me of a happy moment during a great night.

Thank you DW (check out his book here).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Photo of the Week: A Visitor to our Balcony


We awoke this morning to find a beautiful web on the balcony and its designer firmly ensconced in the centre. The only down side to this was that in my excited attempt to photograph it, I stepped back to frame the shot and smashed the pot housing our TuBishvat rose. Shhhhh, don't tell L!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Traore est Triste


This is my favourite photo from yesterday's match between QPR & Stoke. It's near the end of the second half, and QPR are 1-2 down. A long cross field pass just evades Armand Traore on the left wing.

Luckily, Nico Kranjcar restored some kind of parity in the final minute. Having been viciously fouled a couple of times and the perpetrators receiving minimal punishment from the referee, he equalised with this fantastic free kick:

video

That feeling of denying victory to an obviously superior foe does not get old. What is it about thwarting the opposition that is so delicious? 

Hoping this is not the best moment of what currently looks like being a long and painful season for my beloved R's.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Not Another Post About the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?



I'm blaming issues with Google for not blogging earlier about the ALS Ice bucket challenge. But even though everyone is probably fed up by now and you've moved on to other challenges like the Hummus one, I'm still up for this.

First of all, am not exactly sure why, when the actual challenge is make a donation to the charity OR ELSE dump a bucket of ice on your head, people are donating and still sluicing themselves. I'm with my friend young David P who gave his money and absolutely refused to do the ice thing. Also, I do wish that my government would use more of the money I've already given through taxes as funding for all kinds of vital medical research and treatment.

Back to the topic of this post ... actually, first of all should be what on earth is ALS, or MND as it's known in the UK? Here's a link to a simple explanation from Huffpo.

This is a dreadful disease, and hurrah for everyone helping to find a cure!

Meanwhile, here are some of my favourite Ice Bucket Challenges to inspire and/or please you:

Actor Orlando Jones poured a bucket of bullet casings over his head to highlight the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO. There is an article about it here. The vid is here.

Matt Damon is committed to sanitation issues in the developing world, so he decided to use toilet water for his challenge. Read about it here. Watch him here.

Patrick Stewart made a really classy video that I found here. However, at the moment the YouTube video is telling me that the film is now private. If that doesn't work, this link may.

This one is cos I love Tina Fey.

This is for L who loves Sex in the City.

This one is cool and a bit political I suppose.

Dolly Parton is a good sport here.

It's fun seeing famous people get soaked I guess. If you enjoy that, then browse a whole lot more for yourself right here.

Finally, if you still want to take part, both donating and dousing, the UK link for the Motor Neurone Disease Association is here.

I've Missed You All!



Sorry it's been so long since I blogged - a bit of an issue with Google accounts and access to Blogger. Am back now though :-)

Here is a happy photo I took from my seat last Saturday with my little pocket Lumix camera - Rob Green making a save early on from Sunderland's Fletcher to keep us in the game. The first points of the season for QPR were a great early birthday present. Also just glad to keep my reflexes in shape!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Macklemore's Wardrobe Malfunction. Offensive or Stupid (or Both)?


 


This is the costume that an American rapper called Macklemore wore for a concert the other day. Shortly afterwards, photographs were published with a story accusing him of being anti-semitic. Since he is quite popular at the moment, this was big news in some areas.

So was his outfit offensive? The angle in this photograph is certainly not flattering. Macklemore writes in his blog that some people thought he looked like Ringo Starr and others that he looked like President Lincoln. I would add Howard Wolowitz (from The Big Bang Theory). Was he a bit thick not to anticipate that a beard and a hooked nose might evoke a strong prejudicial stereotype? CNN refers to him as someone who "won a Grammy for a song praised for its cultural sensitivity". HuffPo notes that Macklemore & Lewis have been "lauded for their progressive messages". The general consensus appears to be that Macklemore is basically a decent chap. His apology is also contrite and sincere:

"Family, friends and fans alike who know me well, know that I'm absolutely not the person described in certain headlines today. There is no worse feeling than being misunderstood, especially when people are hurt or offended ...

My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume and nothing more. Thus it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalised leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic (sic). I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee (sic) the costume to be viewed in such regard. I'm saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity ...

I respect all cultures and all people. I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and … happen to love a weird outfit from time to time.

I truly apologise to anybody that I may have offended. I hope this better explains the situation and my point of view.

with love,
Ben"

You can read the rest of it here.

So nu, it seems pretty clear to me that, unlike for example Nicolas Anelka, Macklemore's behaviour had neither a direct or indirect intention to make any kind of social or political point. He was just trying to disguise himself to surprise his fans, and picked a costume that others interpreted in a way he had not considered possible.

Having said that, some people were apparently offended. I hope that if they were, they will have seen from his explanation that it was a genuine mistake. There are certainly anti-semites out there that need our attention. However, particularly when Macklemore's statement concludes with this:

"Out of a negative can come a positive. Through this situation I've got hip to some incredible groups like the ADL and I encourage people to check the great work they, and others like them, do"

I choose to conclude that this boy is ok. And this evening, the Guardian reports that the ADL accepts Macklemore's word regarding the matter. Abraham Foxman, National Director of the ADL, has referred to the incident as 'a tempest in a teapot' (Guardian article here, ADL press statement here).

One last thought … is it ridiculous of me to note that the stereotype of a Semitic man with a big beard and a giant nose is surely not limited only to members of the Jewish community? 


Monday, March 03, 2014

I Love Panda Bears



If there is one thing in the world guaranteed to make me feel calm, and peaceful, and better, it is being in the presence of a panda bear. A Native American friend once told me that the panda is surely my spirit guide. Since it's hard to hang out with live pandas in Finchley, here are some alternatives that are quite helpful:

1. The San Diego Zoo PandaCam  LINK

ok there's an 8 hour time difference and sometimes the pandas are behind a tree or somewhere else, but so far it's the best way to get a live fix when necessary

There are also PandaCams in Edinburgh, Atlanta, & Memphis.

2. Cute videos, e.g.,


3.  Wildlife Documentaries
(this is a clip from the David Attenborough film where the panda does a handstand)


Perhaps one day I will experience a moment of joy as I hold a small panda in my arms, like the lucky lucky film-maker gets to at the end of this clip



Best Picture at the Oscars Last Night


Apparently a selfie taken by Bradley Cooper with Ellen DeGeneres and the other movie stars sitting in the front two rows at the Oscars last night crashed Twitter because so many people connected to it.

IMHO, if a picture from the Oscars is going to go viral, I'd choose this one:  Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing a group shot of the band U2.