Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Merky Decision

German ref Markus Merk sure has pissed a lot of people off in the past, but this just tops it off. His decision to disallow Shevchenko's goal last night meant that Barcelona have gone through to the finals of the Champions League. Nobody seems to understand why Sheva's goal didn't stand and looking at the replays, it's clear that there wasn't any foul committed. What does it have to take before video technology is introduced for big decisions like penalties and disallowed goals? It works in rugby so why can't it work in football?

In an interview I found from last year, Merk was asked "What's the worst decision you've ever made in a match?" to which he replied "There isn't really a big one. Plenty of small ones though because just as players and managers make mistakes, so do referees." Surely that's evidence enough to do something about it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday 18.45 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park

These pictures were taken from the roof of our flat as violence erupted in Finsbury Park. Police gathered outside The White Lion of Mortimer as glass objects were thrown onto the street. The trouble seemed to be caused by football fans who had been drinking all day following the North London Derby.

More police arrive in riot vans....

.....and go back to their vans for riot shields

An injured man walks past

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vote for the next mafia boss

Since the arrest of mafia boss Bernando 'the Bulldozer' Provenzano on April 11, the post for "boss of all bosses" of the Sicilian mafia has become vacant.

Cosa Nostra has recently been turned into a party, Grande Famiglia Italiana (Big Italian Family). Their preamble states that 'being Italian means being a part of a big family. Italians are drawn together by a deep sense of family bonds, including values such as dignity, freedom, brotherhood and participation. Today these values are being threatened by an incapable political class. Grande Famiglia Italiana is dedicated to embracing them with love'.

One of Sicily's most senior anti-mafia prosecutors has warned that there may be a war inside Cosa Nostra yesterday if its leaders failed to agree on a successor. We must do everything in our power to stop this from happening.

Visitors to Votaprovenzano can choose between the following two candidates:

46-year-old Matteo Messina 'Diabolik' Denaro, known as the 'playboy boss' because of his love of the high life. Born in Trapani, he developed a brilliant head for business at the tender age of 7 seizing the opportunity to organise a catering service as there was no canteen at school.

His rival is Salvatore 'White Fox' Lo Piccolo, 63, an old-style boss from Palermo and lover of the simple life. Some of his best qualities include being a wise mediator and has maintained a tight relationship with the American cousins.

Please remember - it's your vote that counts.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Get off my Land

Leafing through the pages of the Evening Standard last night via horror stories of abandoned puppies and DJs earning £56 a minute, I came across the article about three squatters who have occupied a house in Kennington next door to Commons Leader Geoff Hoon. My first thoughts were that they would be uneducated, dirty old drunks, but how wrong I was. One is a Spanish teacher with a BA in media studies, another is a barman with a degree in Cinematography and the third is studying for a Bsc in environmental management at Birkbeck.

When I was 16, I was an ideal candidate for the Young Conservatives ranting and raving about lazy arsed dole-bludgers and teenage mothers getting themselves up the duff to get on the housing list, but I'm becoming decidedly more lefty as I get older. The house they've claimed as their own has been unoccupied for the past 18 months and if they stay for more than 12 years, they can legally claim it as their own, so who can blame them? They've cleaned it up, brought in furniture and they pay all the bills. One of them is in the process of getting an education, but how can they be expected to pay exorbitant London rent fees and study at the same time?
On the other hand, the law stipulates that the owner would have to obtain a court order to get them removed – I don't particularly agree with this and if I was a landlord I wouldn't be at all happy. Why should you have to fight to win back something that is rightfully yours? But if that's the law as it stands then people are bound to take advantage.
When the time comes to buy a house, it won't be windows of property agencies I'll be browsing, it'll be this.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

When'sa your Dolmio Day?

I'm still sitting here bleary-eyed waiting for the Italian general election results. At 6am this morning the situation was that Romano Prodi had won most of the votes in the lower house. Almost five hours later, the situation is exactly the same. Prodi is celebrating victory, but Berlusconi is contesting and asking for a recount which could take all day. This debacle is typical of Italian politics, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Prodi. Not that his nine party coalition - ranging from communists to Catholics – inspires a lot of confidence, but he does seem to be a nice chap and good on him if he manages to keep the corrupt foul mouthed businessman at bay.

I was off last week and whilst doing some writing at home, ITV's This Morning was on in the background. At every advert, the Dolmio family appeared with their zany antics, including Papa Dolmo mimicking a TV presenter. Dolmio is sponsoring Britain's number one daytime show for nine months. A Masterfoods spokesman said that they hoped to reach the target audience of busy mums' at the time of day when meals are planned – God help the kids of this country.
Have you ever tasted this stuff? It bares absolutely no resemblance to a pasta sauce you'd get in Italy and I think it's shocking that it's being promoted as a traditional Italian product. If you go on the website, there is a section titled 'ask Mama'. If they're claiming to be so authentic, at least get the spelling right (it should be 'Mamma'.) At the end of their adverts, you'll even notice the 'blink and you'll miss it' Made in Holland. One of the snippets on This Morning is a scene where the plastic puppets are sitting around the table with steaming plates of spaghetti with bolognese sauce. Papa says “one, two, three, four” and they begin the race to finish first. The reality would be “one, two, three, four” find the dog first.....
I thought that this country was becoming more culinary aware – some of the best chefs and restaurants in Britain are British – quite an achievement considering the fact that some of the best chefs from all over the world have made a home here. If Mums have got time to be watching This Morning, I'm sure they could whip up a quick pasta sauce from scratch – it really doesn't take that long.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Milan through to semi-finals

The San Siro was a alive with joy last night as the Rossoneri displayed superb resilience in coming back to knock Olympique Lyonnaise out of the Champions League. I watched most of the second half from behind my red and black scalf and as the 88th minute approached, I began to accept the fact that we were out of the competition until Pippo Inzaghi woke me from my trance-like state bundling the ball over the line. Victory happened so quickly as Andriy Shevchenko scored his 52nd goal in the Champions League in the first minute of stoppage time, making him the highest scorer in European history. Admittedly, Lyon did play better - for most of the game, it looked as though Milan's hearts were not in it, but they fought back and that's what Milan do best.

Andriy Shevchenko has revealed that he wants to stay at Milan: ‘You never know what’s going to happen in football, but my objective is to remain with Milan for the rest of my life.’ Dream on Abramovich.