Happy New Year

To my friends, my family, my devoted reader (that would be my wife), and to Imo, evil though he is,


Friday Rodent Blogging

Sept 2003 - Dec 2005.

In Memoriam

Kuzco died tonight. I guess it should have been expected, when one goes, the other can't be far behind. It seems both Kuzco and Pacha just died of old age. But that doesn't help in the slightest. We'd grown really attatched to these two guys and it's hard to see them go.

We love you Kuzco. You and your brother will be in our hearts forever.



Recieved this the other day, via email:


We happily announce to you the draw (#1020) of the UK NATIONAL
LOTTERY,online Sweepstakes International program held on Saturday 1 October 2005.

Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from a pool of over 25,000 names and e-mail addresses of distinguished professionals drawn from Europe, America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, parts of Africa, and North & South America as part of our international promotions programme conducted weekly to encourage prospective overseas entries. We hope with part of your prize awards, you will take part in our subsequent lottery jackpots.

The result of our computer draw (#988) selected your e-mail address attached to ticket number: 56475600545 188 with Serial number 5368/02 drew the lucky numbers: 04-06-31-42-46-47(bonus no.11), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category i.e match 5 plus bonus.

You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £243,306 (TWO HUNDRED AND FOURTY THREE THOUNSAND,THREE HUNDRED AND SIX POUNDS STERLINGS) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03. This is from a total cash prize of £1,703,142 shared amongst the Second seven(7) lucky winners in the 2nd category i.e. Match 5 plus bonus.


Match 6 2 £2,767,607 £5,535,214

Match 5 plus bonus 7 £243,306 £1,703,142

Match 5 318 £2,793 £1,064,133

Match 4 26475 £88 £2,329,800

Match 3 561913 £10 £5,619,130

Totals 588,778 £16,251419

Additional Information:

Jackpot winner(s) 2

Machine used for Draw MOONSTONE

Winners by Lucky Dip 216277

Ball set used 7

All participants for the online version were selected randomly from World Wide Web sites through computer draw system and extracted from over 100,000 Unions, associations, and corporate bodies that are listed online.

Your prize award has been insured in your name and is ready for claims. To begin your claims therefore, you are advised to expeditiously contact our licensed and accredited claim agent for Overseas Lottery Winners within a period of 21 days (date of this email inclusive) for the processing of your winning and remittance to you after all statutory obligations have been satisfactorily dispensed with.

This promotion takes place weekly. Please note that your lucky winning number falls within our European booklet representative office in Europe as indicated in your play coupon.

In view of this, your £243,306 (TWO HUNDRED AND POUNDS STERLINGS) would be released to you by any of our payment offices in Europe.

Please be informed that claims not processed within the stipulated period may be forfeited to the pool without further notice.

Our European agent will immediately commence the process to facilitate the release of your funds to you.

For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program. Please be warned!

To file for your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent:

Overseas Claims Unit
United Kingdom Lottery Fiduciary



You can go to our online result site to confirm the
value of your
winnings and also get a prize breakdown:-


At your disposal, we remain.
Very Truly Yours,

Brian Hunt
Online coordinator for UK NATIONAL LOTTERY,

Sweepstakes International Program.
Open 7 days 8am-11pm.



1.FULL NAMES:__________________________________





5.MARITAL STATUS:___________________


7.E-MAIL ADDRESS:_____________________________

8.TELEPHONE NUMBER:_____________________

9.BATCH NUMBER:____________________ B. REF NUMBER:______________


11.AMOUNT WON:___________________________________


12. COUNTRY________________________________

Upon receipt of the duly requested data, I will send you the contact information of the payment office so you can proceed with effecting the release of your claim in anyway you deem fit.

Warm Regards,


Nicely done. Except that the National Lottery's logo appears nowhere in the email, there are several spelling and grammatical mistakes, the website linked to, whilst it it the official UK National Lottery site, contains no information whatsoever concerning any "Overseas Claims Unit", the national Lottery Machines are all named after characters from the "King Arthur's Court" realm of fiction (because the company that runs it is called "Camelot") so there is no "Moonstone" machine, and, oh, I didn't buy a ticket.

The Naional Lottery isn't a freakin' charity. No pay, no play.

Sheesh. It scares me that there may people out there fooled by this kind of thing.


Migraine, again

Just an excuse to post another useless link from my collection.

More funny t-shirts.


Once there was a dream

Once there was a whacked-out dream of a unified Europe rising up out of the detritus of the cold war, becoming another superpower in the world.

What's scary is that there are tiny signs it's starting to happen. People around Europe are working together on common projects instead of in competition like they used to. We have a unified currency, such as it is. We have a government, such - again - as it is. Barriers are coming down, friendships are coming up.

We've even found a way to get into space without having to go cap in hand to NASA. The ESA is no longer a silly little bastard cousin to the Yanks.

How do we know?

Because, after years of putting vital communications satellites in space and not much else, suddenly they're spending $4billion on putting mostly-useless crap up there.

Galileo, Europe's "it ain't broke but were gonna fix it anyway" answer to GPS. Now you'll be able to know how lost you are "down to the metre".

Baby's growing up..


10 Terror attacks foiled

Ten terrorist attacks have been foiled since 9/11, thanks to the brilliant work of anti-terrorism units.

Not news? Didn't Bush make that announcement back in October?

Well, yeah. But I'm not talking about plots against the USA, I'm talking about plots against London.

That's right. Tiny lil 609 square-miles of London has had as many "foiled" terrorist plots as all 3,537,441 square miles of the US of A. That's ten plots against 7.5 million Londoners vs the same number against 292 million Americans.

So, do they really hate us that much more or did dear ol' Ken just pick up the wrong script?

Ten plots. Count 'em - ten! Except you can't, because they're secret, so we'll never have any details over who was plotting, what was plotted, when it was plotted, when it was plotted for, how the plot was uncovered, who did the foiling, how foiling took place, and when the plotting was foiled.

Hell, it's a good job our politicians are so trustworthy, otherwise the skeptic might ask "how do we know you didn't just make up a nice, round figure?"




Yep, it's Christmas, so, whoever you are, however you celebrate, and whether or not you celebrate, I hope you had a good day.

Unless you're the dickhead commentator from the Bears-Packers game who thanked the troops overseas for defending freedom - which he defined as "the freedom to celebrate Christmas - as we all did today - any way we choose".

That must be news to all the Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems and people who just plain don't celebrate it. Sounds suspiciously like people who define "freedom of religion" as "the freedom to worship an almighty god any way they choose". Now, who was it who said that?

And I'm working on an article answering the question I've been asked repeatedly this year - how can an atheist justify celebrating Christmas?

Look for it tomorrow or sometime next week.

Happy Holidays.

Bite me, O'Reilly.


Bengals 27-37 Bills

Not exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but at least it was a closer game than the score would indicate.

Well, hope the Packers-Bears game is as fun to watch. Dallas won. Chargers got hammered. Teach you to beat the Colts. Oops.

Merry Chirstmas, in case I can't (or can't be bothered to) get on tomorrow.

Friday Rodent Blogging

Freedom! Oh, wait! Dammit! There's a hand! Curses, foiled again!

Kuzco finds his freedom to roam o'er the hills and valleys of Doombreed isn't quite so liberating as he thought.


Busted Tees plug

Was sent this link.

Have now passed it on.

Hmm.. kinda disease-like, this blogging stuff, ain't it?

(Seriously, that's a great site with some amazing shirts. I really want the "DIKFORE" one.)

Gay marriage

Sir Elton John and his long-time partner David Furnish, along with dozens of other couples, have tied the knot under Britain's Civil Partnerships Act of 2004. Yes, two people of the same sex are "married". The world is still here. Civilisation did not come to an end. There were no rains of sulphur, no plague of boils, kids did not run amok in bloody demonic-possession, dogs did not rip out the throats of the elderly, bats did not rape mice.

Neither did any of the above happen two weeks ago when Britain's first same-sex marriage, a specially licensed ceremony where permission was given to waive the 15-day waiting period because one partner was terminally ill, took place. He died the next day, but he died a married man.

I am very proud of my homeland, right now.


The Daily Show vs Bill O'Reilly

Must-see TV. This oustanding clip is from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, replying to a clumsy attempt at scathing journalism by Fox news vis a vis the whole "War on Christmas" line. Utterly hilarious.


Stattin' it up (again)

Tonight's Packers-Ravens massacre threw up this week's useless nugget of information award when the commentators (John Madden, he of the "EA Sports Madden NFL [insert year]" games fame, and Al Michaels, the guy who made the greatest joke in the history of the world in BASEketball) vouchsafed that, when Deion Sanders intercepted Brett Favre, it was the first time ever that a player as old as Sanders had picked off a player as old as Favre.

There. Aren't you gad you read this blog and can now sleep soundly knowing that?

(p.s. The spellchecker on this blog, that I use to check blog posts before posting them to my blog, which is part of the blogger software used to blog with, does not know the word "blog" and counts it as a typo.)


Bengals 41-17 Lions


First division title since 1990.

Match report.

And serious commiserations to the Colts for losing today. That's a major bugger, I was hoping they'd go undefeated all the way. Still, Super Bowl beckons.

Spies warned of Tube attack

So, it appears that the JIC "warned" Blair that the Tube might be targeted by terrorists before the 7th July attacks when they actually were targeted.

The shock! The horror!

Newsflash: The British anti-terrorism services have long known that the Tube would be a choice target for terrorists. Shit, think about London and it's the one, big - and above all, soft - target that sticks out like a sore thumb.

And forewarned, what, exactly, could Blair do? Remember, four unremarkable youths with backpacks. Thousands of them pass through the Tube every day. We're not talking about guys in robes with teatowels on their heads carrying beeping boxes with wires sticking out of the sides chanting in Arabic as they march into our subways.

Besides, the conspiracy theorists point to the fact that the company that runs security for the Tube performed evacuation exercises and drills with this scenario in mind mere days before the actual bombing as evidence that the gummint did know it was coming. So, er, they were preparing.

Or maybe we should react to every tidbit of information by strip searching everyone with dark skin who even so much as looks at a building?

Spies warned of Tube attack:

"SPYMASTERS warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a ‚“high priority‚” attack specifically aimed at the London Tube.

A leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which oversees all spying, is the first definitive evidence that the intelligence services expected terrorists to strike at the Underground."

Space cadets taken in by TV hoax

Man, I'm pissed to have been unable to have seen this.. fantastic..

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Space cadets taken in by TV hoax:

"Three contestants have spoken of their disbelief after being fooled into thinking they went into space for the UK reality show Space Cadets.

The three believed they had blasted off from a cosmonaut training camp in Russia, but were in fact in a fake spaceship in a warehouse in Suffolk."


Friday Rodent Blogging

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who do the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? Huh? Ok.


The War On Christmas

Fox News is in full judgment mode with an ongoing series of "exposes" dealing with the alleged "War on Christmas".

The British have long been puzzled by the American custom of wishing a "Happy Holidays" instead of a "Merry Christmas", but once one understands the concept, it's really quite good. Many religions have some variation of the winter festival, from Hanukkah to Kwanza, and thus, all are grouped together - by most - into a generic "Holiday Season", and wishes are often exchanged based on this. Most obviously, businesses who wish to avoid offending their non-christian customers with a christian-specific greeting often instruct staff to use the all-encompassing "Happy Holidays" instead.

But Fox is pissed. And, but for one tiny nugget of information, one might be fooled into thinking that this is serious and new. It's neither. Fox, according to those I've spoken to, do this every year. And every year Fox gets caught with its pants down.

Here's an example:

On his show, ranting pundit Bill O'Reilly claimed that a Wisconsin elementary school (read: primary school) had changed the lyrics to the carol Silent Night in an attempt to secularise the song and were "forcing" the kids to sing the new version. Horrendous. Except it's not true.

He was also caught out when he made similarly spurious claims about a Michigan town banning people from wearing red and green during the holiday season.

Sean Hannity made a similar mistake when he repeatedly claimed a New Jersey school had "banned" Silent Night entirely.

The "War on Christmas" exists only in the minds of those with an incredible martyr complex. And it's laughable - as ReasonOnline points out with an excellent piece entitled "The True Spirit of Xmas: How 4/5 of the country became an oppressed minority" - in a country where christians control every branch at every level of government.

Ah, 'tis the season, indeed.


A shout out (or whatever it is that the kids are doing these days)

I just wanted to post a public thanks to the company Bed, Bath and Beyond, being about the only company over here to sell that most quintissential and British of christmas goodies, the christmas cracker. Apparently, Americans haven't embraced the cracker like we Brits have, and they're very hard to find.

Here's an entertaining site explaining the history and evolution of our beloved crackers.


On giant pandas

August J. Pollack has an excellent piece on giant pandas over at Xoverboard today. It's well worth the read.

And honestly, I'm positive that this makes the very existence of giant pandas unique. In contrast to any other animal in the world, giant pandas exist solely because humans adore them, and want them to reproduce and stay alive. This doesn't demean their beauty or my respect for nature in general, but it merits saying out loud and accepting: these aren't noble, majestic creatures. And then I realized it: they're the Paris Hiltons of the animal kingdom. They exist because we lavish them with wealth, fawn over their appearance, and stare at them endlessly via night-vision cameras.


The greatest ice cream in the history of the world, ever.

That's right. Edy's Grand Limited Edition Bengals Blitz: vanilla ice cream with fudge swirls and caramel filled footballs.

Oh yeah.

Bengals 23-20 Browns

Okay, so let me see. The word was that if the Bengals won and the Steelers lost today, the division would belong to the big cats. The Steelers won, though. So, now, it apparently comes down to next week, and - no matter what Pittsburgh do - if the Bengals beat Detroit (and, come on, Green Bay beat them today), then the division is over and Cincinnati are going to the playoffs.

So, like, yeah. Watching next week?




Ahh, yes. This is from someone who believes in a holy book that includes the phrases "love thy neighbour as thyself" and "judge not, lest ye be judged".


Germany 2006 draw

The groups for the first round of the FIFA World Cup 2006 have been drawn. England (ranked 9th in the world) got Paraguay (30), Trinidad & Tobago (51), and Sweden (14). USA (8) got Italy (12), Ghana (50), and Czech Republic (2). Tough group.

The BBC has a neat printable wallchart for anyone interested in keeping up.

Friday Rodent Blogging

Sept 2003 - Dec 2005.


Hospitals may ban treatment for smokers and drinkers

Well, this is outrageous. Hospitals may refuse to treat someone who is, for example, a smoker or a drinker, if the doctor feels the treatment may not be "cost effective". A group called N.I.C.E. (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - yeah, I know, but N.I.H.C.E. doesn't sound so warm and fuzzy) is set to pass a ruling allowing just this kind of bull.

Yeah, I can hear the wanky campaigners now; "We pay for the NHS, you're putting a strain on our resources".


Take smoking. Cigarettes cost three to four times more in the UK than in the USA. Why? Taxes. Taxes slapped on by the British government way in excess of that levied by the US government. And where does this tax revenue go?

Yeah, that's right. The NHS. The justification for all this extra tax is that we're putting poisons in our bodies, we should contribute more to the health service which is going to end up treating us.

Same goes for alcohol.

So, sincerely, I appreciate your position, but fuck the fucking fuck off. If I'm a smoker or a drinker in the UK (I was), it's my NHS more than it is yours, because I've been contributing way more than you, for many years, Mr and Mrs Campaigner.

I want back all the money I paid on cigarette tax.

I really dislike these idiot dumbfucks who spend their days helping the Labour government find new ways to screw the people they're supposed to be representing.

In Memoriam

Pacha, one of our two hamsters, died last night. He had been apparently ill for a few days, spending almost all of the time sleeping. We initially thought it was the "little hibernation" that hamsters sometimes go through, because his brother was also sluggish. We turned up the heat and Kuzco was up and running around within a few hours. Pacha, though, got worse, and this morning when we checked on him, he'd gone.

Anyone who has never owned a pet cannot comprehend how central to your life they can become. I cried and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

We love you, Pacha, and we'll miss you.


Stattin' it up

Last night's Seahawks-Eagles match allows the perfect lead into an idiosyncrasy of American Football, that of the stat obsession.

I say it's American Football, but it's Baseball, Ice Hockey, and Basketball, too. Basically, all the American sports. But it's American Football I'm interested in.

Last night, the Seahawks gave the Eagles what we, in England, call a "right-royal spanking", beating them 42-0. The commentators pointed out (several times) that this is the biggest defeat since a 38-0 loss (again, to the Seahawks) in the '98 season opener, and their worst home game since the Packers spanked them 49-0 in 1962. It was their only shutout (scoring no points) since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held them to 17-0 in 2003 which, incidentally, was the Eagles' first game in their new season.

I'm not making this up, check the NFL match report.

The commentators mentioned that only three times in the history of the team have they been down by 35 or more points at halftime.

I guarantee, someone out there could tell you the stats from the Seahawks' side, too. Last time (if ever) they won by 42 points. Last time they shut out a team. Last time they shut out a team "on the road" (that's American for "an away game"). Last time they shut out a team and, if ever, scored 42 points or more. In the snow. On a Monday night. On the road.

Stats are huge in American Football. Watch a game - any game - and the commentators will offer tidbits of information. "That's the longest punt in NFL history, Bill", "That's the furthest any quarterback has thrown the ball for a completion and failed to get a touchdown, John", "That's John Smith's fifteenth consecutive game with at least one fumble, Troy", or, in extremis, "That's only the second time in NFL history that the same player has fumbled and recovered more than twice in two consecutive Monday night road games in the snow at Dallas the day after it rained for more than seven hours straight in December when I was wearing a blue tie, Mike."

Okay, that last one might not exist. But you get the idea.

Now, don't get me wrong, I guarantee that one could go to any Manchester United game and find someone who can quote stats till the end of time. Number of wins, number of losses, number of goals for or against in a given season. But ask "What's the biggest margin of goals Man Utd has ever won by in the snow?" and most will give you a blank look. Why does a person need to know this?

Most career touchdown passes? (Dan Marino - 420)
Most touchdown passes in a single season? (Peyton Manning - 49)
Most career touchdowns? (Jerry Rice - 207)
Longest pass completion? (Frank Filchock to Andy Farkas - 99 yards)
Most rushing yards gained in a career? (Emmett Smith - 18,355)

How about football?


First, it's hard to find them. Second, having found them, it quickly becomes apparent that one can easily get hold of stats for each team, but league-wide are harder to find. For example, want to know which Wolverhampton Wanderers player scored most goals in his career? Steve Bull, with 306. In a season? Same guy, 52. Most goals scored by an Arsenal FC player at home in a single game? Jack Lambert with 5.

But, what about across the whole Premier League? Even the FA's site doesn't list them.

The BBC lists this season's top scorer (Frank Lampard for Chelsea with 11, tied with Man Utd's Ruud Van Nistelrooy) but what about last season? What about all-time?

Don't get me wrong, I'd bet one could find them, if one was patient enough.

But when I googled for the NFL scores above, they were first result. Googling for football results doesn't give anything meaningful on the first few pages.

And the most obscure stats are trotted out by NFL commentators every single game!

The how, I get. But why?

Seahawks 42-0 Eagles

All together now..

Ain't that a shaaaaaameeee!
My tears fell like rain...


Bengals 38-31 Steelers


Nicely done.


Match report.


We went to see this movie today, as part of Mrs Doombreed's birthday celebrations (Happy Birthday, love of my life!) and we both loved it.

Basic story: Dude decides to cheat on his wife. Is caught on the cusp of completing the act by an unsavory character who robs him and then decides to blackmail him. Twist in the tale does not even begin to describe it, and Jennifer Aniston has just got hotter since leaving both Friends and that idiotic Pitt guy.

Doombreed rating: *****


Friday Rodent Blogging

Kuzco, who has decided that he's had enough of the paparazzi invading his privacy.



This is almost too funny:

The British government just released the Primary School (for Americans, read "Elementary" school) league tables. What's funny is that the Headteacher of the top school in the country said that her success is due to "ignoring" most of the government's advice and strategies on education.


Check it out.


Supreme Court to hear pro-abortion challenge

Well, I guess it's time to test out that new court...

The battle over abortion rights has returned to the US Supreme Court, where campaigners are fighting to overturn a New Hampshire law that requires minors to inform their parents before they can receive the operation.

It is the first time the court has heard an abortion rights case under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, and the outcome of the hearing - which will not be announced for some weeks - is unclear because of the recent shake-up in the court's membership.

Story here.