Friday, August 29, 2008

Please Stay Tuned For Yet Another Party Political Ad

In honor of the upcoming Republican National Convention: I've got your Country First: right here!

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Friday Catblogging

What cat doesn't like a good neck skritch?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Please Stay Tuned For This Party Political Announcement

Through much of the first half of the year, I was asked a lot about Barack Obama by people who know me as an American or people I don't know but who heard my accent. At first, of course, it was about Hillary Clinton and Obama, and then just about Obama. The name John McCain has rarely if ever been mentioned. Perhaps it's people knowing my politics, guessing my politics from what they know about me, or playing the averages because they believe Democratic voters are more likely to live overseas than Republicans. Whatever the case, interest seemed high only in those candidates who were the exceptions to the rule in American presidential politics: a woman and a black man.

I have a feeling that if the citizens of the world were allowed to vote, Obama would win in a walk. I might chalk that up to my own personal biases if it weren't for the confirmation we receive from his visit to Berlin. The citizens of the world don't vote, of course. But keep in mind that the decisions America makes affect how the rest of the world views it. The presidential election is the most-watched in the world--a cynic might say that's because it's an election in a major country that Americans actually pay attention to--and what Americans decide do affect us all, perhaps more than any other country. The saying in global economics is that when America sneezes, Britain catches a cold. By extension, now, you could put the 27 countries of the European Union in that same sickbay. And it seems almost certain that eight years of disastrous U.S. economic policy is about to put the UK into a recession, if it isn't already there.

Obama accepts his party's nomination tonight. It's a watershed moment in American politics. I could be more excited about it if I didn't have a bad feeling about November.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Blogroll Addition

I've put brother blog Kevboy's Realm on the blogroll. Go visit a brother blogger who's in need of some inspiration to keep it up if you have a chance. Are there any other candidates for blogrolling? I can think of one, but only if the blogger in question wants to be added.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And now ...

"Hey, Smitty, how's come you dowan't come around no mowah? Ever'body was dere: Big Petey, Little Petey, Regular Petey, Joey Bagadonuts, Jimmy the Woman, Irregular Petey, Muscles Marinara ..."

Well, the truth is threefold. One, I'm lazy. Two, I've been getting ready for a rather important event coming up, the preparation for which has consumed more of my time than I care to say. Three, I was watching a lot of Olympics.

Now, if you follow the Olympics, you know that London gets the next summer games in 2012. The handover of the games was marked by celebrations throughout London and the sonic boom of the Red Arrows (the British Thunderbirds) screeching directly over our flat. I noticed two cultural trends emerging from the overseas Olympic experience.

First, I get the impression that with the conclusion of the Beijing Games it has become all the more immediate to the London 2012 organizers how big their job is. Obvious trampling on human rights aside, Beijing put on a nearly flawless fortnight. In their defeatist post-Empire way, the British already are despairing that they'll never be able to duplicate it, a theme I started hearing from the moment the Beijing opening ceremony ended. If the organizers share that belief, they won't be able to duplicate Beijing. I think they're up to the job, however.

Second, I learned a bit about British sporting fans from the unexpected medal haul the GB team earned. In victory, British fans can be much like Boston Red Sox fans: insufferability squared. Yeah, I know Americans are the arrogant Yankees fans of world sports. But the British are simply annoying--yes, you're annoying, with your sneering over topping Australia in the medal table, with the way you picked a fight about how the medals are tallied. (PS: Times of London, the IOC doesn't issue a medal tally. It takes the view that the Olympics is a competition between athletes. PPS: I was planning on cheering for England in the next Ashes series, but when you picked a fight over the medal tally and started mocking Australia, I changed my mind.) I expect to have to put up with a month or so of this, I guess--but then the World Cup qualifiers will begin soon, and with luck we'll be back to the same old British sports fans. I could use the peace.

Besides, we all know who the real winner is: Arise, Jamaica! Your tally means you won medals on a weighted basis at a rate of 11.5 per billion dollars gross domestic product.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Other News

Olympics Commentary

I didn't realize there was such a rivalry between the British and the Australians.

More here.

And to think it all stems from a silly little urn.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Famous For Britain, The Answer

Before any more of the Olympics slips past, the answer: Yes, Middle Kid got it right, it was Daley Thompson, Olympics decathlon champ in 1980 and 1984. He looks a little, well, beefy in that ad. I remember him looking a little more like this ...

... but maybe the tracksuit doesn't do him justice.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The London Bus Boycott

I'm having a customer service battle with both our horrible bank and Transport for London, which runs the Underground and the buses. To sum up, there has been a botched transaction of an automated payment that neither one wants to take responsibility for, despite hours on the phone and a few shouting matches with snarky, lazy customer service types. For this, neither one deserves my limited funds.

I think I've resolved that it will be more than worth it to sever our ties with the bank, but denying TFL my money will be a little bit more of a challenge. For obvious reasons, there's no real market alternatives, except for minicabs, black cabs, and overground rail. I'm already off the overpriced, overhyped bullies of the street they call the black cabs, which leaves minicabs and overground rail. But I have resolved to avoid using TFL services whenever possible, because they've made me angry. Today, I have to get up to our old neighborhood, and I've decided to ride my bike, despite the on-off rain. Rail would be an option if I wanted to walk some distance, but I think I'll just stick to the old pushbike.

We'll see how this goes.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

Famous For Britain

We now bring you part 2 of our continuing series:

This ad confused Mrs. W and me for awhile, although I figured it out at long last. The big bloke with the 'stache is a famous British athlete who actually might be known in other parts of the world. Can you name him?

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