Thursday, July 31, 2014

Matters more serious and pressing have caused me to delay signing off on this year's Tour de France. So let's get it done now.
My team, Bretagne-Séché-Environnement, finished in 18th place out of 22 teams. Team leader, Brice Feillu finished in 16th place out of 164. The whole team finished the race on the Elysian Fields, pretty good considering that most had never taken part in the Tour before, had never, most of them, ridden for longer than a week before.
Let's see if they are invited to any more "grands tours".

The overall winner was Vincenzo Nibali of Astana, but who cares about that? Not me.

Monday, July 28, 2014


I've been too busy lately to post here. The genocidal onslaught on Gaza has preoccupied me and I've been posting elsewhere. I'll try to get back soon (if anybody gives a monkey's).
Meantime, a poem by Michael Rosen. It's in response to the Israeli government's banning of the naming of murdered children on the radio.

Don't mention the children.
Don't name the dead children.
The people must not know the names
of the dead children.
The names of the children must be hidden.
The children must be nameless.
The children must leave this world...
having no names.
No one must know the names of
the dead children.
No one must say the names of the
dead children.
No one must even think that the children
have names.
People must understand that it would be dangerous
to know the names of the children.
The people must be protected from
knowing the names of the children.
The names of the children could spread
like wildfire.
The people would not be safe if they knew
the names of the children.
Don’t name the dead children.
Don’t remember the dead children.
Don’t think of the dead children.
Don’t say: ‘dead children’.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"This was the sole Gaza content on the BBC home page this morning."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Today is a rest day in the Tour, une journée de repos. Time for an update on the progress of Brice Feillu and the Bretagne-S-E team. We left Brice in 23rd place after stage 10. We take up the story at -

Stage 11, 24th and 11 minutes 32 seconds in arrears
Stage 12, no change
Stage 13, 21st, 11'32"
Stage 14, 19th, 21'00"
Stage 15, no change

Brice's brother and team mate, Romain, finished in the first ten yesterday, but he's well down the classification (the fate of the domestique), and the effort will make little difference. B-S-E still has a full complement of nine riders and stands at 18th out of 22, in the team classification. The other wild card team, Netapp-Endura, is doing a little better in 15th place.
It looks like Vincenzo Nibali of Astana is destined for first place on the podium in the Champs Élysées, barring accidents (Kein Ain-hora).

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brave warriors of Zion

Friday, July 18, 2014

"We should all be with the people of Gaza tonight now that the Israeli brutal operation began. I think we all can support the Hamas terms for a ceasefire and not fall to the western narrative that Israel accepted the ceasefire and the Hamas did not. This is 1947 all over again, Israel 'accepting' the partition resolution and the Palestinians rejecting it and 2000 again Israel makes a generous offer and the PLO rejects it.
"The Egyptian-Israeli ceasefire offer is to continue the siege, the starvation, strangulation and the ghettoization of Gaza. No decent person should accept such a dictate for being incarcerated when the only offence he or she committed is being a Palestinian in Gaza.
"We were trying this evening all over Israel to stage demonstrations and what we received was a bloodthirsty response from a society that thrives on militarism, fanatic nationalism and racism. The time will come when deeper work from within will bear fruits, but now we need, as never before, a strong BDS campaign and a insistent demand from our politicians and media to show a modicum of decency after more of a century in which they ignored the Palestinian suffering and provided Zionism and Israel immunity for their policies against the native people of Palestine."

Ilan Pappé

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"I'm a warrior of Zion, you terrorists don't scare me. Oo-er! Don't come any nearer."

Monday, July 14, 2014

On the Tour de France, which I've neglected to mention to date -
The Yorkshire stages, one and two, were a resounding success. "Le Tour de Yorkshire", UK journalists named it, but the French organisers stuck to "Le Tour en Yorkshire". Everyone was surprised that the people of Yorkshire could organise anything, particularly the London based media.

I usually choose a competitor who I think will win. I think my success rate is about 20%. This time I didn't bother. Most of the pundits were placing their faith in Froome or Contador, but neither has survived, both crashing out. Now they're tipping Vincenzo Nibali, the current Yellow Jersey.
I decided to pick an underdog team and follow its progress. My choice was Bretagne-Séché-Environnement. They are what is known as a "wild card", a less successful outfit given a chance for a little publicity. The leader is Brice Feillu who won a tour stage back in 2009. Most of the rest have never ridden in "The Big Lap". The sponsors are the Breton regional government and a recycling firm. Four of the team members are Bretons.

This is Brice Feillu's form so far -
Stage 1: 53rd (of 192) clocking the same time as the stage winner
Stage 2: 52nd (progress!) 1 minute 19 seconds in arrears
Stage 3: 41st same time gap
Stage 4: 41st 1'19"
Stage 5: 42nd 9'10"
Stage 6: 39th 9'10"
Stage 7: 38th 9'10"
Stage 8: 27th 10'23"
Stage 9: 22nd 6'43"
Stage 10: 23rd 9'56" (tough stage)

Rest day tomorrow.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What a lucky little girl! After all, so many of her contemporaries are being blown to pieces. She has only been shot in the face.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Was it yesterday or the day before? I heard Norman Smith, the BBC's "chief political correspondent" refer to the union UNITE as "Labour's paymaster". I wonder if he will ever refer to the multi-passported Lord Ashcroft as the Conservative's paymaster?
That's Lord Ashcroft who WASN'T involved in drug smuggling or money laundering.