"I'll be giving my old mate Big Sam a hug and a kiss when I see him, maybe two kisses."- Ferguson, after Sam Allardyce's Bolton held The Special Team to a 2-2 draw that enabled United to open a five-point gap at the top of the Premiership standings with only three games remaining.
Sunday, 29 April 2007
In his 11 seasons at Old Trafford as a United defender, Phil Neville scored only nine times in 386 appearances (five times, if you only consider his 263 league games as a Red Devil). He has just scored his 1oth goal for Manchester United, but as an Everton player. The Toffees captain sent the ball into the back of his own net instead of clearing it. It must have been hard on him, but United aren't complaining!
He stated: "We got ourselves into a good position by getting into a two-goal lead. But we let them back into the game with an individual mistake that they scored from. Then we made three more mistakes, including one from me, and we were punished. It is disappointing from our point of view."
Saturday, 28 April 2007
"I've seen Beckham and Cantona — and films of George Best. Now I, too, have the No 7 and I will do my best to become a great player like those players from the past. They were entertaining players, like me, and perhaps there's a certain spirit about the jersey. The No 7 shirt is a legend's shirt at Manchester United, especially.
"Before I came, I knew it was a big club, one of the best in the world. Everybody, more or less, knows Man United, even those who don't follow football. Being the first Portuguese to play for them is a big honour. This is a club where you can grow as a footballer, reach as high a level as you want to. The manager encourages young players, Sir Alex has helped me a lot, supporting me through some difficult times. I think he's a very human person, very sincere."
Of course, there are always the odd cases of mismanagement that we read in the newspapers. I wasn't surprised when the first cases of sexual abuses and bullying were reported. While the government has been fast enough to take action, it could still have been more efficient. For example, trainee deaths at the National Service camps can be avoided if the camp administrators are more careful, observant and diligent. Trainees themselves can be trained to notice warning symptoms among their fellow mates.
But what takes the cake is the sad news today that a National Service trainee was not allowed proper time off to visit her sick father and later, to attend to his funeral. And the camp was only 30 minutes away from her home. That's sad and reflects very badly on the camp administrators. Are they so heartless? After all, the trainee's sister had produced a note from the hospital about their father's medical condition. He had suffered a severe stroke. And two days later, despite producing a death certificate, the trainee was only given a few hours off to grieve. It's not everyday that a person's parent dies, you know...
"Zero-gravity is wonderful. I could have gone on and on. Outer space here I come..."
- Stephen Hawking, 65 -
after experiencing zero gravity flight in a specially modified Boeing 727
26 Apr 2007
"Jose Mourinho seems to be on some sort of personal crusade about regulations. I am surprised no action has been taken against him. He just seems to go on and on and on.
"He abused Barcelona in the past. He has accused the Swedish referee [Anders Frisk]. He put the German referee [Markus Merk] under pressure the other night. He insulted Liverpool, a club with great history. He suggested their players were going to hunt down Didier Drogba . . . Jesus Christ, it goes on and on and on. It's a rant all the time now. And that's disappointing. I don't think it's fair to the game itself. As for Cristiano Ronaldo, everyone is entitled to have a comment or opinion. That doesn't mean to say they are liars. He's on about changes in the regulations but I'd like to know who does he think has changed the regulations. Is it us? Or the FA? Or the Premier League? Who exactly is changing the regulations? I think the FA and the Premier League have let him off lightly on this because what he's saying is that our game is suspicious. And I think that's wrong.
"We all get good and bad decisions. Nobody is exempt. But when he was the manager at Porto, let's remember we had a goal disallowed against them that knocked us out of the European Cup [in 2004]. We may have won it otherwise. Paul Scholes had a goal disallowed [wrongly, for offside] but we didn't go to war on it, did we? It's part of the game. You don't like it, you complain and you feel disappointed, but it's football. You just get on with it.
"Or should he be pointing to the fact Tottenham were forced to play on a Easter Saturday morning, a day and a half after their previous game, to allow Chelsea to rest before their European tie? We have to play Manchester City at 12.45 on a Saturday after a European tie in Milan next Wednesday. Is that fair? We don't think so but we are not going to start accusing and raising suspicion that Chelsea and the Premier League have got it carved up. We just have to accept it. We'll go to Man City and do our very best, because it's important for this club to do it the right way. There will be no complaints from us. We made a case to the Premier League [to get the game put back 24 hours] and it was refused - and we'll get on with it.
"It is a rant all the time now. I don't think it is fair to the game. Jose is a very clever man. Everything is calculated by him. I don't think it's the strain getting to him, I think it's calculated. In some people's eyes he is a hero. I don't know who is a villain and who is a hero. According to what I read in the paper, he thumbed his nose at UEFA the other day by hiding in a laundry bin to do a team talk. And then he’s gone on talking about it. Is that breaking regulations? I don’t know.
"The biggest fear for us is that by citing the fact we are not allowed to get penalties at Old Trafford - and we have had three against us this year and there have been none at Stamford Bridge - it puts a terrible pressure on the referees in future games . It is a calculated move. That, without doubt, is calculated by him. The referee who gave Bolton a penalty against us a few weeks ago [Alan Wiley] is our referee [at Everton today]. What kind of pressure does this put him under? We have four games to go now. If we get a penalty kick against us in that time, Mourinho wins that war. That is wrong."
Friday, 27 April 2007
You'll have to excuse me these next few days if I do not make my opinions heard more often. It's tax submission deadline for most of us honest citizens who are trying to make a living in this country. As always, I've also to prepare my wife's too. So, it is double work.
E-filing. The government's been trying to push us along to use e-filing but I really don't know whether I want to go this way. What's holding me back is the need to do double work - writing everything into the Form BE and then recopying into the electronic form. Doesn't sound very efficient.
Either way, I'm struggling with the language. Everything is in Bahasa Malaysia and I have difficulty understanding that's being sad.
Ooops! Too many words already. See you next week.
Thursday, 26 April 2007
Trust firefighters to come to the rescue again. In Essex, they came to a boy's rescue after he got his head stuck through a toilet seat.
The two-and-a-half-year-old toddler walked into a fire station with his mum on Tuesday. She said the boy had put his head through a small trainer seat for the toilet and now could not remove it.
"His mum had tried to get it over his head but it couldn't budge. So they came down here and we went to work on it. We put some dish washing liquid on his head and ears and it slid off nice as pie," firefighter Chris Cox said, adding: "The boy was very brave and he toddled away as happy as can be."
Wednesday, 25 April 2007
It's part of a very valuable video footage that captured the rhino (Dicerorhinus Sumatrensis) in its natural habitat in the jungles of the Sabah interior.
We know that most animals tend to be noctural so this two-minute video of an adult male rhino was filmed around midnight on 16 Feb 2007, showing it feeding, walking towards the camera and sniffing the equipment.
According to the World Wide Fund For Nature Malaysia, this is the first time the animal’s behaviour has been filmed in the wild.
The Sumatran rhinos are very shy creatures and almost never spotted. Moreover, they are solitary animals and there are fears that they may face extinction within 10 years if efforts are not made to protect their natural habitat. It is estimated that only between 25 and 50 of them may be left in Borneo.
Visit the World Wild Life Malaysia and learn more about their efforts in nature conservation.
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
The farmer in the dell,
Hi-ho, the derry-o,
The farmer in the dell.
The farmer lost a cow,
The farmer lost a cow,
Hi-ho, the derry-o,
The farmer lost a cow.
25,000 euros is the estimate of the damage caused by a pregnant cow as it ran riot through the streets of Hanover in Germany.
As the owner, a camera crew, police and fire fighters went after the cow, which had escaped from a farm on Monday night, it became increasingly agitated and violent as it ran through the city in a three-hour spree, destroying or damaging property in its wake.
The pursuit ended after five hours when police managed to tranquilise the animal.
"She probably won't remember any of it when she wakes up again," said a fire services spokesman, "but the farmer will, because he's going to have to pay for all the damages."
Monday, 23 April 2007
It's so small that there's only one main road passing through the town and possibly less than 10 or 15 smaller roads that are lined by residential houses or terraced shophouses. None of the shopping centres that you see in the cities. It's so strange to walk along a road that's fully residential and then you turn a corner and there's a row of old shophouses.
It's a quaint little place where everyone knows everyone else. The moment a stranger walks into town, all eyes are on him. The locals will want to know what's his business is to be here. Are you visiting someone or are you going to the Chai Sin Yah temple nearby?
The temple is quite popular, especially during the Chinese New Year period where people come by the busloads to ask the local deity for some good luck. For a ringgit, you can make a lucky dip and pull out a small, folded strip of paper written with a four-digit number. Surely, many people would have struck it rich sometime in the past or else the temple's reputation would not have spread far and wide.
Not quite so long ago, someone came to the town and borrowed the statue of the deity. That's quite unheard of. It created such a stir. Luckily, the statue was returned days later. It came back as mysteriously as it went. Perhaps the deity went on vacation, a little break from the hard work of dishing out luck to people 365 days a year even though it's only a numbers game.
The other attraction in this small sleepy town is the Serdang lake. I'll just offer you two photos of this place. It could have been a former tin mine but now it is a scenic spot for people to come and relax. A bit of a nonsense, actually, because everyone in Serdang relaxes 24 hours in a day. You can either retire to your beds at 9pm or join the men in some coffee shops to drink the night away and tell tales of who have come into the town today.
Anyway, back to Serdang lake. Really very quiet and scenic, isn't it? I loved it. Oh...now you know. I have been to Serdang and back. And yes, I was at the temple too. And yes, I invested RM1 and I'm still waiting to collect.
"It's a special night. It is amazing and a big honour for me to win trophies like this in the English Premier League. I am very proud. My colleagues have voted for me and that is fantastic because the players know the qualities of (other) players. I want to keep working hard and getting better because these trophies have now given me more motivation. This great team has helped me as well, because when the team win it is easier for us all to play with more confidence. Everything is right this season and I am really enjoying it."
I did read in the manual that if I were to hook the portable HDD to my MacBook, the installation would be taken care of automatically. So, putting great faith in this suggestion, I connected the portable HDD to the MacBook through the USB port and just pressed Enter, Enter, Enter all the way until the end of the process. I didn't bother to read the step-by-step instructions clearly.
That was when my problems began. Accessing the portable HDD with my MacBook using its Mac OS X was easy. Heck, I was already transferring files to it and happily creating folders and sub-folders.
But I just couldn't connect the beast to any of my desktop home PCs. Sure, I could see a message telling me a new USB device was detected but I could not see it at all in My Computer or Windows Explorer.
My Mac sifu, Yap Kant, from CG Computers told me that I should've chosen MS DOS format when I first plugged the portable HDD into the MacBook. But never mind, I could still do it if I didn't mind losing everything that I had already transferred there.
No problem with me, as long as I'm able to get it to work on both the MacBook and my Windows desktops. I must've gone through the process about 10 times but each time, my desktops would only smell the portable HDD. Nothing more than that. Exasperation. Couldn't anyone help me?
In desperation, I thought of one final trick. Could it be that the 2.5-inch drive needed more power? I connected a power adapter to the four-port USB hub on my desktop and then plugged in the portable HDD.
Suddenly, it worked! All that it needed was that extra juice. I'm now the happy owner of an 80Gb 2.5-inch Western Digital portable hard disk drive.
Sunday, 22 April 2007
Saturday, 21 April 2007
What makes Lancaster so special is because this season, with only three games to go before the end of the football season in England, the team is languishing in the Conference North league with ... zero points.
After playing 39 games, Lancaster do not have a single point and are 41 points behind second-from-bottom Scarborough.
Early in the season, they actually started off with two wins and three draws. That's worth nine points. Then the club went into administration last December. Pok-kai. Bankrupt. They were punished by having 10 points deducted. Because of this, they were suddenly thrusted into negative territory.
"Zero makes us look as though we have lost every game this season but we haven't," Lancaster chairman Mick Hoyle said. "We had nine points but all the players left because we couldn't afford to pay them.
"After we released our big stars and those on higher wages, we went looking for players from the local leagues. We brought in local boys and they picked up a point. That would have taken us to 10 but with the deduction we are on zero. But we would like to finish with plus points.
"Morale is good and spirits are high. The lads may lack strength and a bit of confidence but they go out there with a great sense of pride. We just pay them basic petrol expenses to get to the games, so we have gone from a club with wages of £5,000 to £500."
Hoyle intends 's to reach further into the local community by recruiting some players from Lancaster University. "We will keep going," said Hoyle.
Note: They've now also lost their 40th game on 21 Apr 2007 by a 0-2 score. So still at zero points.
Astronaut Walter Schirra (Gemini 6 mission): “I left Earth three times. I found no place to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth.”
Astronaut Bill Anders (Apollo 8 mission): “We came all this way to explore the moon and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.”
Last Thursday (19 Apr 2007), the Australian Navy boarded a 40-foot yacht off Queensland to find it mysteriously empty of its occupants.
What could have happened to its three owners - all retired West Australian sailors - who had purchased the yacht and were planning to sail back to Perth via Cape York, Darwin and Broome?
A few days later, their boat was found drifting 80 nautical miles off the north-eastern coast with its engine running, saloon lights on and sails set, a laptop computer turned on, radio and global positioning satellite (GPS) working, food on the table but without a crew. Three life jackets and survival equipment, including an emergency beacon, were found on board, but no life rafts.
Indeed, the only two things found amiss was the absence of the three-man crew and a sail which was badly shredded.
Friday, 20 April 2007
I am rather upset this week at events which have been happening around me. So do excuse me if I'm not my normal self.
But luckily, today is the weekend ... a time for me to recover and to reflect on how best I can channel my anger and frustration into more useful activities which admittedly have taken a back seat these past few months. For my own sake, it's time for me to look into them again!
First, I've gotta calm down. I will calm down. Tonight, at 8.50pm, I was taking a breather outside the house and I saw a wondrous sight in the western sky: the three-day-old crescent moon hanging low in the sky with a small bright light to its left. It's Venus, our nearest planet. Beautiful...
Note: The picture was taken with my Dimage Z5 with ISO set to 100, aperture at 4.5 and shutter speed of 1/3 second. The camera was handheld, but resting on a pillow to sturdy myself. I'm quite used to low-speed photography.
Thursday, 19 April 2007
"Nobody can stop him. Probably the only way to do it is to kill him. When he runs at you, you try to grab his shirt or do whatever you can. But he just goes past you, makes fun out of you and leaves you kicking the air. Even when he is sitting on a bike, Cristiano is doing tricks. He eats with the ball, he watches TV with the ball. He probably even sleeps with the ball."
Wednesday, 18 April 2007
It's not the first time that campuses around the United States are hit by these mindless shooting sprees but every time it happens, all that the American people do is to grieve and pray at memorials to the victims.
But have they ever thought of the root cause of all these murders? Why they happen every now and then?
It's because the Americans are too self-righteous about their right to bear arms. It's a right that's enshrined in their Constitution: self-defence in the face of menace. That a lot of bull. What about the right not to bear arms? Who suffers when the right to bear arms clashes with the right not to bear arms?
There's just no political will in the United States to take away that right from their people. The law makers in Congress and the Senate are unsurprisingly quiet in the wake of the Virginia Tech University slayings. Ooh ... the elections are looming. Let's not commit political suicide. But the fact is, even when there are no elections, they will remain ambivalent over the whole matter.
I've been following some of the news reports that were written in the aftermath. One of the university students claimed that if one of the victims had armed himself, maybe he would still be alive today.
Another said: "I wish I had a gun that day. I wish some of the professors had had guns on them. They could have taken the shooter down."
Stupid, isn't it? Such a simpleton. That's not the solution to the problem. How can you ever control guns by acquiring more guns?! This is no longer the wild, wild west. This is supposed to be Civilisation and civilised people don't go around with guns around their hips any more.
The solution isn't more guns, the solution isn't more stringent background checks before guns are sold; the solution is to abolish the right to arms. Leave it to the law enforcers to carry arms, not you, not me, not the ordinary man-in-the-street.
It's real downright, damn stupidity. And the American law makers and the American people just can't understand it or they won't face up to this problem. How sad for their nation...
Tuesday, 17 April 2007
For more than 10 years, I've always wanted to use this fantastic picture of the Pale Blue Dot, a photograph of our Earth as seen from Voyager 1 on 14 Feb 1990. The spacecraft was more than 4.0 billion miles from home as it turned its camera to look back at us for one last time. From this distance Earth was just a tiny speck of light showing up in a scattered ray of light. You would've missed it if you didn't know where to look.
I watched Carl Sagan's television programme, Cosmos, in the 1980s and I was visibly moved by this American astronomer who brought the heavens into my home. He died in 1996 but not before he wrote these words in a commencement address, Reflections on a Mote of Dust:
"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
"The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
This man lived with a bullet in his heart for almost 40 years.
Le Dinh Hung, now 60 years old, was shot at by American troops in 1968 during the Vietnam War (the Vietnamese would call that the American War) and the bullet lodged itself at the back of his heart after entering his body through his stomach.
Vietnamese doctors were at first unsuccessful in removing the inch-long slug in 1969 and Le had been living with constant chest pains. However, he entered the Hanoi Heart Hospital last week and underwent a successful three-hour surgery. Doctors also replaced his heart valve.
"I was very lucky to survive," he said from his hospital bed. "People believe in their fate and I do too."
Monday, 16 April 2007
"The fringe players are very important. Just look at Darren Fletcher — he was magnificent against Roma in central midfield. Then he was asked to play at right-back against Watford and looked as though he had been there all his life. He is a fantastic all-round footballer who is now starting to get the credit his talent deserves. The manager has said all along the players who weren't necessarily playing at the start of the season are the ones who have to come to the fore — and they have done exactly that."
Sunday, 15 April 2007
But do you see that tiny hamlet, with a population of around 90 people, called Fucking? Yes, there's such a place in Austria.
The village is known to have existed as Fucking since 1070 - that's already almost 1,000 years, if I count correctly - and is named after a sixth century Bavarian noble with the name of Focko. “Ing” is an old Germanic suffix meaning “people” and thus, Fucking means “place of Focko’s people”. In 2003, the residents were given a chance to change the village's name but they voted against it. Mmm .... I wonder what they call themselves. Fuckers?
There's this news item that says that the English-speaking people are awfully obsessed with stealing its name signs. I would too, if I were there but I'm not. So, I've got to be contented with stealing this picture instead.
And in case you are still wondering, here's what was mentioned in the news item about the English speakers ... and Fucking.
My thanks to my old school mate, Frusco, for sending me this little piece of Fucking news!
A stiff needing Viagra? Whatever for??
Former world chess champion Gary Kasparov has accused Russian authorities of illegally crushing an anti-Kremlin march on Saturday and called the protest a victory for opponents of President Vladimir Putin.
Kasparov, who was among at least 170 people detained during a march organized by opposition coalition Other Russia, appeared briefly outside a central Moscow court after being charged with public order offences during the banned protest.
"Russia is no longer a country ... where the government tries to pretend it is playing by the letter and spirit of the law. This court rejected the very presumption of my innocence. I was the one who had to prove that I was innocent, although there were no concrete allegations against me. Nevertheless, we consider today a victory. Today is an important demonstration of the degeneration of Putin's regime. The outrageous behaviour of the authorities only demonstrates that we live in a police state. But we are not going to stop here. We will continue to struggle. Although the Russian constitution clearly stipulates that every citizen has the right to speak freely, the current regime doesn't respect that right. The opinion of the average man simply doesn't count. This regime has shown its true colours and its true face. We now stand somewhere between Belarus and Zimbabwe.
"We were arrested when we were doing nothing. There was no action. We were just walking along. There was simply a criminal attack by people in riot-police uniforms on Russian citizens who were just walking along. Every possible (procedural) violation has been committed, from the moment we were grabbed up to this court .... I have to go back (into the court) now, because if I'm late they'll charge me with another violation."
Want to see pictures of the march? Then visit Kasparov's own website at kasparov.ru
Saturday, 14 April 2007
"At 22, he has the same skill factor as Maradona and Pele. He is one of the best signings I have ever made. The measurement of his improvement this year is astronomical. In terms of top-flight football, where do you find a winger who has scored 20 goals. It is incredible. Without question, Cristiano is getting to the level of best player in the world. Thereafter, it is up to others to decide whether he is as good as Maradona and Pele. That is the challenge in front of him now.
"Why should he move? He's seen his career rise here, he plays in front of 76,000, he is well liked and there is a great atmosphere within the dressing room. There was no reason for him to leave, other than the fact people perceive Real Madrid as a club for galacticos, or whatever they call them. They have this pretty conceited notion about themselves but we never discussed that club with him. It was down to a simple equation of does the boy want to stay and how much is it going to cost us? Barcelona are a fantastic club, too, but I can't say they are miles in front of us. Most people recognise we are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we believe Cristiano is in the right place."
"I don't know what it is with Madrid but it seems to happen time and time again. They seem to have no regard for anyone but themselves. The way they kept talking in Spain and trying to unsettle clubs the way they do. We know it is a game they like to play when their elections are coming. You could report them to Uefa, but I don't think it matters to them. If you fined them, it wouldn't bother their backsides, would it?"
Friday, 13 April 2007
Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new deal that will keep him at Manchester United until 2012.
"I am delighted. I spoke with Sir Alex and David Gill about my future and everyone knew that I wanted to stay. I am at the right club and this is why I signed. Everything is good with the club, the president, the boss, the staff and the supporters have helped me so much, and the big reason is I want to win trophies and hopefully we will do that this season."
Ferguson: "It is fantastic news, it emphasises the point that Cristiano is happy here and that he is at the right club. He has a great relationship with the team, staff and the fans and he will go on to be one of Manchester United's great players."
Giggs: "I don't believe there is anyone who could rival him as being the best player in the world. For someone in his position, and of his age, to be as consistent as he has been, is remarkable. To secure his future for the next five years is great news for everyone."
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Last Mar 29, when I was writing about THE MOST EXCITING event in cheese history, I never realised that the screenshots I was making of cheddarvision.tv would turn out to be this significant. Or mysterious. Or both.
At 2.40pm, I took this screenshot:
And at 5.32pm, I took another screenshot:
Much, much later at night, at 8.04pm, I took this third screenshot:
I never gave these screenshots another glance ... until today. I was thinking to myself: what am I doing with three images of the same mouldy block of cheese? Until I realised that there were slight differences in the pictures!
Yes, between 2.40pm and 5.32pm on 29 Mar 2007, who touched the cheese?? And again between 5.32pm and 8.04pm, did the label adjust by itself or did someone move it? Hmmm...
"What more can you say about Cristiano? He is the best player in the world just now. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the performance. He is going to have an awful lot to say in terms of how we finish the season. At the moment we just have to give him the ball and let him get on with it. Put it this way, I am glad he is in my team and not anyone else's."
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Okay .... eeeasy does it. Let's be careful unloading this grand piano. After all, it's a Bosendorfer. You know what's a Bosendorfer, don't you? Well, it's like a Stradivarius, only much, much bigger.
So we gotta be careful, lads. After all, these folks have paid a lot of money for the piano. They've been saving and scrimping these past two years to raise £26,000 to buy this rare Bosendorfer and they want to play it this weekend at the Two Moors British music festival.
Altogether now, heave.....
Instead of imparting joy to music lovers at the festival, the 9-foot piano turned in a brief and off-key tune as it crashed to the ground. The memorable performance was caught on camera by the festival's organiser as she stood by to welcome the Old Lady.
As its wooden casing broke open, the piano gave up the ghost with "a deafening noise like 10 honky-tonk pianos being hit by mallets".
Added the same organiser: "The piano is enormous - much longer than most grands - and its tail must have caught on the lorry as the movers were trying to manoeuvre it off. They were swinging it round and were dropping the tail lift when it caught on the side and bounced off the trolley. It landed on the drive and its momentum made it slid along, tipped over and landed on its lid. The drop was at least 14 feet and it made an incredible racket - like something from a cartoon."
Three staff jumped clear, one holding his head in his hands in one of the camera shots which are now part of the festival's unwanted souvenir.
In a final act of ignominy, a farmer was called in to scoop up the piano in a mechanical digger. It was loaded back into the lorry and returned to London for the damage to be assessed. It cost £26,000 secondhand but could cost about £45,000 to replace.
Hmm .... need any original spare parts for your private Bosendorfer, anyone? There are about 10,000 pieces in London. All going cheap.
"Everyone is pleased for Alan. His enthusiasm spreads throughout the team. His great quality in the last year has been his patience and the perseverance to keep going. He’s deserved it more than anyone. He’s been patient. He’s trained like a beast. He got his reward tonight."
Tuesday, 10 April 2007
The secret, if I remember it correctly from a colleague in my previous employment, is to treat all the wives equally. Woe betide the Muslim man who favours one wife over another either materially, emotionally or sexually.
This former colleague of mine was simply amazing. He worked as a bank messenger at one of the branches but he had the ability to support his four wives. How he did this was a mystery not only to me but to others who knew about this. Unfortunately, I'd lost touch with him a long time ago so there is no updated news from him.
Anyway, I saw on the Internet today a story about a Saudi man losing a bit of his nose when he was assaulted jointly by his two enraged wives after he jokingly threatened to marry a third woman.
This man, Judaie Ibn Salem, had thought that the threat of bringing a third woman into his household would help resolve an argument over dividing up his house. Silly bugger. Serves him right.
“I swore that I would do it because they were impolite (to me). I never thought they would get so worked up," he said, adding "and that’s when I came under an even bigger attack.”
His reward was seven stitches on his nose at the local hospital. But has it really changed his mind about marrying a third time? No. The unrepentant man insists that the only way he could restore his dignity now is really to carry out his threat.
But he is well aware of the repercussions. “I don’t know what I’m going to lose next if I do that," he acknowledged. Silly guy. Go ahead. You'll find out soon enough.
Well, the only Apple product that I have is the MacBook and I'm very pleased with it. Running both Mac OS X and Windows XP Home on it has been a breeze. Why do I need XP? It's because there are some proprietary programs that just won't run on OS X. Sony's Sonicstage for one, and I'm stuck with it because I have a very trusty HiMD Minidisc recorder that plays the most fabulous sound.
So, although I do not have anything against the iPod, it's still the Minidisc for me ... at least, for the moment!
Monday, 9 April 2007
He's dead, Johnny Hart's dead. Johnny Hart, the creator of the B.C. comic strip that's running daily in The Star, is dead. He was 76 when he died last Saturday of a stroke. Although I did not enjoy those strips that had a religious undertone - and there were many - I enjoyed those thoroughly modern prehistoric characters like the guru on the hill, the ants, the advice-dispensing rock with the ridiculous "ching" sound effect, the snake and especially the fat lady that thumps the snake. Will we still see the strip now that Johnny's gone?
Instead of writing "....to continue nonchalently..." I had actually typed "...to nonchalently continue..." in my item below on Najib.
I'm really upset with this piece of nonsense from me.... :-(
I say, I say, I say .... am I to believe that such words are uttered by a person so high in the government?
Don't over-react? Should we not over-react to bomb scares? Are we to nonchalently continue with using the Penang Bridge even though there may be a bomb planted there? Should we not be scared? Are we only to react only if a bomb actually goes off? Are we to be the guinea pigs or the victims of a bomb blast, if there is one? Would you like to be the guinea pig and go across the bridge first and then tell us it is save??
My mind boggles....
Sunday, 8 April 2007
Last Mar 31 during lunchtime, I was at their outlet in TESCO, Penang, wanting to pick up a 75-sen stamp. What did I see? A group of about 15 to 20 people hanging around Pos Malaysia, some standing and some seated. All looking rather bored and silly, actually.
I walked up to the only counter opened (three were three, but only one was manned to handle customers) and asked the chappie whether this was the counter to buy stamps. Without batting an eye, he said yes but I'll have to take a number and queue up like everyone else.
I was stumped. Taking a number just to buy a 75-sen stamp? What would I have to do to buy a 30-sen stamp? Take two numbers??
Anyway, meekly I went to press the Butang A and the little slip of paper fell out. My jaw dropped again. Another 16 people ahead of me? At the Tesco branch of Pos Malaysia, where traffic is considerably high, there is only one staff to handle customers during lunch hours? And you know what people generally do at post offices, apart from buying stamps...they don't hang around for a teh tarik. They weigh their parcels, send off registered letters and Poslaju letters, buy postal and money orders, transact on their Bank Simpanan accounts, pay their utility bills, what not...
Gee, my 75-sen stamp pales in comparison with these lofty activities. No wonder I've really got to wait in line in that one long queue, waiting for others to complete their business before I could buy this little miserable 75-sen stamp. Maybe, I should have gone for the teh tarik first...
Friday, 6 April 2007
Extracted from the New Straits Times today:
GEORGE TOWN: It has turned out that the phone call which led to the closure of the Penang Bridge came from State Works and Public Utilities Committee chairman Datuk Koay Kar Huah.
Koay yesterday admitted that he received a call from a friend who was stuck in a traffic jam enquiring if there was a bomb on the bridge.
"I got the call and instructed my staff to check and verify if it was true. They then called the Malaysian Highway Authority," he said at a specially called Press conference by Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
And this is the extract from theSun today, a report by Opalyn Mok:
PENANG (April 5, 2007): The chain of events that led to the closure of Penang Bridge yesterday afternoon was apparently set in motion by a query from a bridge worker to a state executive councillor, and was not a bomb threat.
Datuk Koay Kar Huah, who is the exco in charge of public works, utilities and transportation, said today he received a call from a friend, who is a staff at the bridge, asking him whether it was true there was a bomb at the bridge.
Koay said this when asked by reporters about talk that it was his call to the police that led to the bridge's closure for two hours and 40 minutes that resulted in a gridlock for peak-hour commuters.
"I called up my staff to check it out and the staff then called the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) to verify the information," he said in a joint press conference with Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.
Thursday, 5 April 2007
Earlier this week, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards commented in an exclusive interview with New Musical Express:
"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared, he didn't give a shit. It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."Richards has since denied saying this:
Which version would you believe??
"I wouldn't take cocaine at this point in my life unless I wished to commit suicide. The truth of the matter is that I planted a sturdy English Oak. I took the lid off the box of ashes and he is now growing oak trees and would love me for it!"
"Lots of things drive me on. The disappointment of games we've lost, the trophies we have lost. It is not the trophies that you have won that drive you on; it is those you've missed out on. Maybe having only a year or two left drives me on as well. You can see the finishing line and you just have to enjoy it. It brings out the best in you. When you are 19, 20 and 21, you think the end will never come, but once you are in your 30s, you know the end will come around 35-36. You just try to enjoy it and win as much as you can, because you know that in three or four years, you won't be doing it."
It's funny ... before Chinese New Year, we would be spring-cleaning our houses and before Cheng Beng, we would be doing the same for our ancestors' grave stones.
Anyway, I didn't go for Cheng Beng today. That had already been done four days ago. We are permitted to start this ritual as early as 10 days before the actual Cheng Beng date but I know families who had started even earlier. It's not about being kiasu but only a matter of practicality. The weekends may be the only convenient days for the living!
This year at the Batu Lanchang cemetery, I bumped into my KL cousins who had returned just for Cheng Beng. They were at their parents' grave, just across the ditch from my maternal grandparents. I hadn't seen some of them for a few years so it was like a mini-reunion of sorts.
Where my family is concerned, going for Cheng Beng always mean waking up at 5am. Two good reasons for this: one, we want to find a good place to park and beat the traffic jam at the cemetery and two, we want to avoid the hot morning sun at Batu Lanchang. So we'll always leave the house at about 6am and reach Batu Lanchang at about 6.45am. It would still be pitch dark but already, a hive of activity is going on. For one, there'd be touts collecting parking fees from the early birds. Then, as the darkness lifts suddenly, you'll find yourself surrounded on all sides by a sea of tombstones and people generally walking, cleaning and praying.
My other Cheng Beng spot is the Siamese cemetery along Green Lane, across from the Caltex petrol station. This place, unfortunately, is very run down and nobody seems to be responsible for its upkeep. Certainly not the Siamese monks that live nearby. But this place is shady. There is relieve from the searing sun BUT you face something more challenging: mosquitoes. About four years ago, a big tree was uprooted and it fell across some grave stones. It narrowly missed my paternal grandparents' grave stone but several nearby ones were damaged. It took more than two years for people to clear away the trunk.
You should have seen the queue as traffic was diverted from the Penang Bridge. It was real bad. Cars, trucks, vans, lorries and buses all wanted to make a line to the ferry terminal.
And in the midst of all this chaotic scene, old cars were overheating and breaking down. Luckily, there were good Samaritans around to help push the cars away. These guys didn't have to, but they did.