Brighton v Forest

A tough one today. I understand that Megson is likely to play 3-5-2 again, with Wes Morgan and Andy Reid back from injury: Gerrard; Doig, Morgan, Dawson; Louis-Jean, Derry, Reid, Commons, Rogers; King, Taylor.

Hopefully he won’t be playing David Johnson.

My prediction? 0-1 to Forest. I gotta be optimistic!

Internet Restrictions

Melissa at Boris Johnson’s blog pointed out this article on the BBC News site:

“A large part of the attraction of the internet is that it goes below the radar,” he said. “Generally it’s more difficult for the government to be able to control it.

“Its real value is as an open window onto what’s happening elsewhere in the world,” he said.

This set me thinking about how the internet is (ab)used in other repressed countries. After a couple of Google searches, I finally came across this page, from Reporters Without Borders. Plenty to be going on there, I feel.

Bush Reads Dostoevsky!

Burning Bush brandishes Dostoevsky

Given the Biblical language in which George Bush and his speechwriters are steeped, it is not surprising that the US president should invoke the imagery of fire, writes James Meek

One of the models of American leadership is that of Moses, leading God’s chosen people – then the Jews, now the Americans – towards a promised land, following a pillar of fire. At one point, according to the Bible, Moses was shown a sign: “Behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”
But the key fire passage in the Burning Bush speech – “We have lit a fire as well; a fire in the minds of men” – actually has its origins in a novel by the 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Devils, about a group of terrorists’ ineffectual struggle to bring down the tyrannical Tsarist regime.

One of the characters declares that it is pointless to try to put out a fire started by terrorists: “The fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses,” he says.

The novel belongs to a period in Dostoevsky’s life which the White House might find attractive, after he had been sent by the Tsar to a kind of Russian Guantánamo and emerged a deeply religious conservative.

Nonetheless, it is not clear whether Bush is identifying here with the terrorists – or the tyrants.

Booker 2005 Controversy pt. 2

‘Indiscreet’ Sutherland’s Booker role appals advisers

Members of the hallowed Man Booker advisory committee, the body responsible for appointing the prize’s judges, are spitting blood at the appointment of John Sutherland to chair the award panel this year, claiming not to have been informed until hearing of it “quite accidentally” after the event.
A committee member, who preferred not to be named, said: “We were stunned when Sutherland was appointed. His name hadn’t been mentioned in meetings.”

The member said that the Man Booker administrator, Martin Goff, had made the appointment without consulting his committee colleagues, who include the broadcaster Mark Harrison and the bookseller James Heneage.

“He is an appalling choice, because of what happened last time round,” added the committee member.

“Last time round”, when Professor Sutherland was a judge in 1999, he wrote a piece for the Guardian in which he described the judging process.

His analysis was thunderously denied by two fellow judges, who accused him of a “breach of trust”.

The committee member said: “Last time he was incredibly indiscreet, and I think other judges felt betrayed. That kind of gossip, turning it into a circus, diminishes the stature of the Booker.”

Mr Goff said: “If the person concerned had gone through the minutes of the committee meetings, they would find that Sutherland was one of those people originally suggested.

“Then, when I had some turn-downs from other people I went to him and asked him to do it. The committee is an advisory committee – I don’t want to push it down, and we would never go against a majority decision, but almost no appointment of judges has ever been unanimous.”

Asked if Prof Sutherland was a potential liability, Mr Goff said: “That’s the very word I have used to him tonight. I have laid down certain rules.”

But he said Prof Sutherland was a “brilliant man”, adding: “Have you seen his CV?”

On the 1999 judging (when Prof Sutherland claimed that the winning book, JM Coetzee’s Disgrace, was “admired” but not “passionately liked” by the panel), Mr Goff said: “I was present in the whole meeting, as I have been for 33 years.

“There was a strong discussion, but no more than that. There was enthusiasm for Disgrace. It wasn’t a compromise.”

John Irving

John Irving, who wrote A Prayer for Owen Meany, which is looking like it is going to be my next read, gets a brilliant write-up from the incomparable John Self here.

If I like APfOM, it looks like I’ll have to invest in The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules as well.


Top ‘eCouncils’

From The Guardian‘s Online supplement:

Top eCouncils

Oldham Borough Council’s website is the best-performing local government site, according to automated testing by SiteMorse. The result is an average of tests based on the Web Accessibility Initiative, including responsiveness, error-free operation, HTML standards compliance and accessibility. Oldham attributes its success to Steria’s fine tuning of its website, following an analysis by the company’s Content Solutions Practice. Previously, Steria raised Spelthorne Council 297 places up the list in a similar exercise. The fastest downloading site is Scilly, while Chiltern has the fastest response time.

See here for more.

Will update with links to those Council websites later. No doubt our current one wouldn’t even deserve the wooden spoon…

New Look

You may or may not have noticed a new look for the site. The standard one that comes with WordPress is hardly inspiring, so a quick search of the WP Forums came up with Alex King‘s site.

On this page he ran a competition to see who could design the best template style for WordPress. This one, titled ‘Human Condition’ (for some reason!) came third, but it was the most suitable. It was designed by Ian Main.

Installation was very easy. Just upload the stylesheet file into the blog directory, along with the directory of images to go with it. Head into a browser, do a hard refresh and there it is. Perfect!

Now all I need to do is come up with a decent name for this thing. ‘Dave’s Blog’ is not good. When I have a name I can design a slightly snazzier graphic to go in the acre of blue space at the top of the page.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Reality Reading update

A Prayer for Owen Meany 58% [ 7 ]
The Great Gatsby 41% [ 5 ]
Alma Cogan 0% [ 0 ]
Status Anxiety 0% [ 0 ]
The Unfortunates 0% [ 0 ]

Total Votes : 12

It’s looking very much like a two-horse race at the moment. Good news because I fancied having a crack at APfOM anyway…honest!