Sunday, July 18, 2010

Olympians

Many moons ago, one of my oldest friends, made a comment about Morrisons, the supermarket chain. It was a highly subjective statement regarding the store's fresh produce and its quality, or rather lack of it.
I dismissed the statement as inverted snobbery - some people think of Morrisons as a kind of British Aldi or Lidl - mainly because my local branch has possibly the best bakery department in the town. Back when it was Safeway, we'd go there just for the bread and I reckon they either kept the same baking team or the ovens there are just the bee's knees.
Over the last month or so, my opinion of Morrisons has changed in line with my old friend (who is still old, but no longer chooses to associate with me - a strange and befuddling story that maybe one day I'll try and get my head around and explain). The quality of the fresh produce in Morrisons is frighteningly poor...
Now for the boring, unscientific stuff: On June 6th, I bought a cauliflower from Sainsbury's. One week later, forgetting I'd bought a cauliflower, I purchased another from Morrisons. Today, I finished the 6 week old cauli bought from the poor man's M&S. It was quite perfect. Two weeks ago, we composted the Morrisons cauli. The reason was simple, the one bought a week later had started to go off. In fact, by my reckoning and the state of the supposed white vegetable, it had probably started to go off before I bought it.
The thing is, this shouldn't be definitive proof, apart from the fact that in recent visits, I've put back a bag of mixed peppers because a green one was more grey than green. I put back a cucumber, because it was floppier than a gay man's penis in a bath full of clunge and I've baulked at purple sprouting broccoli, not because of the price, but because of the slightly yellowish tinge around the edges of the plant - supposedly green and purple, not washed out mauve and sickly orpiment.
They might be cheaop, but I really can't vouch for the quality and freshness...

***

My word, wasn't that dull?

Well, it gets worse. Two football stories ...

Next football season could see an interesting development - a London derby with little or no acrimony.

Fulham are about to unveil, possibly, the most popular man to have managed Spurs in recent years, as their own new manager. Martin Jol, or BMJ as he's affectionately referred to by Spurs fans is unbelievably popular at White Hart Lane. When Spurs won the League Cup the other year, 3 months after Jol was fired and replaced by a shite Spaniard called One Day Ramos, the fans were singing BMJ's name rather than that of his successor. Win, draw or lose next season and I expect the reception to be the same - massive respect and love for a man who transformed Spurs' fortunes and led us to two 5th place finishes. Yes, Harry went one better, but the fans love the big Dutchman and will treat him with that respect.

Another popular manager is Roy Hodgson, now in charge at Liverpool after the devastating departure of the funniest man in football - Rafa 'Fat Spanish Waiter' Benitez. However, one thing hasn't changed at Anfield, the dearth of confidence. Last season FSW complained that his poor team were being priced out of the war for good new players and that they would struggle to do as well as the previous season (he wasn't wrong there!). This season, with everything still up in the air at Liverpool, Hodgson has said that at least 8 of his first team will be missing from the club's important Europa League qualifiers. Reading the news item felt like he was basically saying, 'despite the near success I've recently had with this trophy, I'm looking at it as nothing more than a League cup and my main job is to consolidate the Red Shite's league position; so don't be disheartened if we don't go far.'

I can but dream of a continued Liverpool plummet to the depths, but, unlike the FSW, who really didn't have a clue, Hodgson might be playing a different ball game and that worries me.

***

Oosthuizen reminds me of Oosterhuis and I wonder if long ago, in (royal and) ancient times whether the two might have been related. Louis Oosthuizen won this year's Open Championship of golf; Peter Oosterhuis was arguably Britain's best golfer in the 1970s, despite not being able to emulate his great rival Tony Jacklin and win a major.
The nature of Oosthuizen's win today was boring. The contest was over by 4pm, despite nearly 3 more hours of play. It needed a collapse of Greg Norman proportions and a charge from the pack to even dent the man's ascendency to golf's greats and neither of those things happened. I'll stick my neck out and say if Louis wins another major, I will eat a pair of my used socks. He's going to join Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton as people who have won majors and done bugger all else through the rest of their careers.
When Paul Casey (along with Lee Westwood, two people almost guaranteed never to win a major and emulate dear old Colin Montgomery as the new nearly men of world golf) drove into the middle of a gorse bush on the 11th, it was all over bar a heart attack or an assassination attempt.
The last Brit to win this tournament was Paul Lawrie and arguably he won because everyone else screwed up. The Open has become something of a poisoned chalice for British golfers. It's played on links courses that should be far more suited to a British game than any other, but we fail consistently.
I have no solution.
Next year, I doubt I'll take two days off to watch it.

***

Before you all get mortified and bored to death...

Yesterday, I found a clump of pleurotus cornucopiae - the first edible mushrooms of the season! You'd know pleurotus ostreatus very well; it's commonly called an Oyster Mushroom. The big difference between shop bought oysters and the much desired cornucopiae is that the latter tastes of something; cooks well, doesn't break up too much and works well with all mushroom dishes. The other good thing is this is the first of this species I've found for 10 years! I knew of two places where it grew when I lived in Wellingborough, but this is the first time I've seen it since living back in Shoesville.
I left some to go back to in a few days (although I have this theory that a wild mushroom stops growing once it's been looked at, by me!).

***

Last week was a mildly stressful week at work. This week, I fear, that will change from mildly to massively. The first half of this coming week has a number of things happening that I'm really not looking forward to.

I chatted to the wife today about upheavals; she took it better than I expected. I told her that over the next 6 months, I'm going to be looking for another job and in the current climate that will probably mean taking a pay cut. I did soften the blow by telling her that if things change the way some people are forecasting then I could face either a 5% pay cut or redundancy anyhow.

I'm hiding the increasing stress well from colleagues. The sudden bought of insomnia I seem to have picked up, will get worse before it gets better. I know my body, my psyche and my brain, so why try to be positive about something that I know will get worse before it gets better?

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The title of this blog entry is a piece of music by the marvellously named Fuck Buttons. The Observer reckons their album Tarot Sport not only deserves a nomination for the Mercury Music prize, but also deserves to win it. But, opines the journalist writing the preview, the track Olympians deserves to be used as the BBC's theme tune to the 2012 Olympic Games.

We live in a very informal world now, one where bad language is the norm. I really can't see any of the above happening - not in this reality.

***

Further to my mention of Eureka in a recent entry. This programme has just shown the TV world how to jump the shark properly. The creators obviously wanted to go in a slightly different direction and the way they did it was both scientifically sound (in a fictional way) and intriguingly surreal, while keeping its inherent sense of fun and wonder. It might not be the best TV show ever, but it appears to have spawned its first clone: The Jensen Project is a new TV movie cross Pilot episode for a family programme about a settlement run by the world's greatest minds...

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Nuff said

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