Friday, June 16, 2006

Where to invest £100

Apologies to those who have already heard this news a thousand times, but this is for the benefit of those who may have spent the last 24 hours on one of the remoter satellites of Jupiter, or in Texas: England beat the Caribbean island 2 – 0 last night. This means that they will finish up in either first or second place in their group, and are therefore certain to qualify as one of the last 16 – whether or not we beat Sweden on Tuesday night. England were dire for the first ⅔ of the game, but then Sven sent in The Roon and Lennox, neither of whom scored, but they managed to inculcate upon the guys who had already been on the field for an hour a sense of urgency they had hitherto lacked. (The word ‘Roon’ does not appear in the Oxford, but its homonym is defined as ‘a mark of magic significance’, which is about right.) I don’t wish to be parochial about this, but goal #2 was scored by a different scouse, who for the first 90 minutes had thought he was Jonnie Wilkinson. (A rugby player.)
Whom we play in the quarter finals depends on a number of factors, but I think it comes out at either Germany or Equador. We will by then be in the ‘sudden death’ part of the competition – if you lose you’re out.

Enough about football – let’s discuss bananas. A shop in Sydney, Australia, has a sign in the window which reads ‘No bananas kept on the premises overnight’. Sound like the beginning of a joke? It’s no joke. Because of serious storms in its banana-growing regions, the crop has failed, and the cost of the phallic fruit has increased twenty-fold. So instead of putting your £100 in the stock market and ending up with £90, you could have had £2,000-worth of rotting bananas.

Do you get a wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach when you get a message headed, "Introducing a simpler (or ‘safer’, or ‘more efficient’ or ‘beneficial’– you get the idea) policy", from a big organisation – or is it just me? Do you, like me, wonder who will reap these benefits? Today’s e-mail from British Airways is headed ‘Introducing a simpler baggage policy’. Flashing red lights – what is it going to cost me?
You will be pleased to learn that henceforth, in order to comply with ‘health and safety recommendations’, you will be charged excess baggage on every checked-in bag not included in the (unspecified - depends how much you paid for your ticket) 'free' baggage allowance, and that the maximum weight of said bag will be reduced.
But there's good news too: you will be allowed to carry two pieces of luggage on board – provided they are within certain measurement and weight limits. (To be fair, no efficiency or health and safety benefits are claimed for this procedure.)
The e-mail ends with a logo and the words:
‘In association with Samsonite’.

8 comments:

Ed R said...

HEY! That was a shot at me! I may be in Texas, but I had indeed heard that England had beaten Trinidad and Tobago. I didn't realize the implications, but I did read an article that stated it wasn't as much of a beating as the score implied. Not knowing all that much about it I figured I'd wait for you or someone you know to clue me in. And you have!

riviera writer said...

Sorry Ed, a cheap shot but couldn't resist it. In fact it's my second favourite - I mean favorite - state, (despite occasional lapses in choice of governor) and the Cowboys are second only to the Eagles!

Ed R said...

Aw it's OK. I'm used to it;)

riviera writer said...

All good clean fun - but we'll be rooting for your guys tonight.

Ed R said...

They need all the help they can get with Stackhouse out of the picture.
Truthfully, I'm not a big sports fan, but I keep up because I have a lot of friends who are. I have a good friend who has been a MAvericks fan since day one- he moved to Dallas the very same week the Mavericks played their first game. He was 8 years old. Now that he's fully grown and succesful he's bought season tickets for the first time, and he's going to the playoffs and finals games and enjoying them just like he was 8 again. IT's been great to see.
I only root for them because of him, basically. But if they let him down and lose this series I'll hate 'em forever. ;)

Ed R said...

oh, you meant FOOTBALL! ;)
With only one point now before the final group plays, things are looking extremely grim for the US.
But it appears they hardly deserve to play anyway, three red cards in one game- now that's hooliganism.

riviera writer said...

Yes, but only one of them was merited. The second (US) one was to even things up and the third - well nobody's perfect. I'm really enjoying this competition but two things are trying to spoil it: stupid refereeing and this equally stupid Adidas ball - should be used exclusively for beach games.

Ed R said...

THe ball was partially designed by an Englishman you know;)

In American sports, the design and construction of the ball is always regulated. Baseballs have to be a certain weight, circumference, diameter, and have the same number of stitches. Those stitches have to be a certain height off the surface of the ball. And the seam design must not change, nor the number of panels of leather ( used to be horsehide only but now they use cowhide ) . And they go even one step further and require that every ball used in every official game be rubbed with the exact same amount of mud from the exact same spot on the Delaware River -0 and the spot is in a state where baseball is not played at the Major League Level, NEW JERSEY.
A Football has to be cowhide, four panels, x number of lace stitches on the bladder seam, etc. A basketball's gotta have the riht number of stripes, etc.

But in teh World Cup, the biggest sport in teh world, tchanging the ball design appears to be an annual thing! WHy is that?