Monthly Archives: May 2011

TV Executives Are Not Subtle

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Helps me get my head around why some of my favourite shows are underrated/cancelled. 

You are a TV executive. You are working on a promising sitcom about six young 20-somethings working, dating and having fun in 90s New York City. Although they are all different in character, they are all lovable and the best of friends.  What would you call this show?

Central Perk Friends? After the coffee shop they reside in… Relationships of New York?

These all seem boring and obvious right? NBC is even less creative and calls the show ‘Friends’. People love it and it becomes one of the most successful TV shows of all time.

This is not the only TV show where subtlety isn’t appreciated:

  • Lost
  • 24
  • The Sopranos
  • Dexter
  • The Simpsons
  • Seinfeld
  • House

You could not think of a simpler name to call these shows (I love these shows).

You may be thinking that it’s clear that you have to give shows a simple name for it to sell.
This may be true. Some of my favourite shows that have/had consistently low ratings and/or get cancelled would have done better, if the executive’s 5 year old daughter had thought of the name:

  • Scrubs – What are scrubs? Just call it Doctors
  • My Wife and Kids –  What about The Kyles
  • Futurama – Is that even a word? Let’s call it The Future
  • Arrested Development. More like  Family Trouble
  • How I Met Your Mother should be called The Barney Show

Maybe then these shows will get the recognition they deserve.

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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Entertainment


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Champions League Final 2010/11- Important Battles

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….this may be the most hyped football game since 1998 World Cup Final.

Nobody on either team is an unknown. However, the importance of Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Rooney and Vidic’s importance to the team is being constantly discussed and over emphasised. I have picked out 6 other players with VITAL roles to play in this mouth watering encounter:

A passionate summary of why this writer wants Barcelona to win:

1. Dani Alves

Sometimes lost in the midst of Iniesta and Messi, Dani Alves is the key to giving width on this team. If Man U play 4-4-2, Park is likely to drift and tried to stifle Iniesta and Xavi so Evra will have his hands full against Alves all game. If Park stays out wide, Alves will have his hands full with Park’s underrated ability.

2. Antonio Valencia

He has Dani Alves’ role but for Man U. Assuming that Man U will play 4-4-2, then Valencia will be the lone source of width to the team. With Rooney’s potential aerial prowess and the possibility of an ageing Puyol playing at left back, the powerful Valencia needs to provide his consistently inviting crosses.

3. Ryan Giggs

Man U will have to rely on preventing Iniesta and Xavi from being to comfortable in the middle and will have to be dangerous on the counter. This describes Giggs’ role in the middle perfectly and he will be key in both the team’s defensive and attacking success. He has a lot to prove after his recent personal issues.

4. David Villa

Barcelona is the only team in the world where a player of Villa’s caliber is being underplayed before a game of this magnitude. Ferguson may prevent Barca having as many chances on goal as some people think, thus Villa’s finishing and his ability to play his best on the biggest stage will be crucial.

5. Gerard Pique

With his history with his opponent, he will be fired up even more. Man U will rely on goals coming from counter attacking and the Valencia-Rooney combination. Pique’s size and strength will be important in handling Rooney’s similar strengths.

6. Javier Hernandez

The game may come down to a few chances for Man U. It will likely be Hernandez with those couple of half-chances and he must take them.

This may be one of the most exciting Champion’s league finals of all time and there is obviously not a single player on the pitch that won’t be crucial in deciding the outcome of the game.

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Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Sports


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6 Reasons To Take Up Parkour

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Parkour is totally rad man…..You like jump buildings and stuff.

[Guest Writer: Pep]

1. It’s fun

You get to jump from wall to wall, improving constantly, with no rules or boundaries. There is no set time to ‘play’ or set place to train. You can set yourself any challenge you please. Complete freedom.

2. It’s good for you

You spend a whole day pushing your physical boundaries without even realising it. You don’t have to be fit or strong to start, parkour makes you strong.

3. It is useful

Skills learnt in parkour not only help you if you need to climb somewhere or escape in a chase. The mentality of overcoming obstacles can be applied to all aspects of life. The majority of traceurs (parkour practitioners) agree that parkour has improved them as a person.

4. There is no competition

You cannot lose in parkour, but every day you improve you are winning. Fellow traceurs will help and encourage you instead of competing against you. Therefore there is always a positive, friendly atmosphere without rivalry or disappointment.

5. It is safe

Many people see traceurs jumping across rooftops and think “they are crazy, they will break their neck!” However, the reality is you are in control of your own movements and you will do the bigger jumps only when you are ready.

6. It’s free!
You don’t need anything but an imagination to start. There is no equipment to buy, no pitch to rent and no team to join (although it is much more enjoyable to train with friends).

And in case you didn’t know, this is parkour:

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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Lifestyle, Sports


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Dynamite – Rock Paper Scissors Variation

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Regular RPS is boring and too much to do with luck.

Rock Paper Scissors gets boring after a while:

Here is a better variation – Dynamite!!!!


There must to be something to play for e.g. the last bowl of fufu
Need more than two players


You can play a regular rock, paper, scissors but now also dynamite (as shown above):

  1. If only  you have ‘dynamite’ you automatically win
  2. If more than one person have ‘dynamite’ all those players automatically lose
  3. If nobody has dynamite regular RPS rules apply

Playing for more than one item (Example)

Say there are two bowls of fufu to play for.
Say there are 4 players.
If three people play dynamite, they automatically lose.
The 4th player gets a piece of fufu.
Nobody gets the remaining bowl. Give it to charity, neighbour or someone passing by.

To improve your game

Think tactically
Take a course on ‘Game Theory’. I recommend Yale ECON 159.
Plan longer. Play for all the fruit in a large bowl. The winner of each round gets their pick of fruit and this continues until there is no more fruit left.


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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Sports, Uncategorized


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10 Great Athletes Who Never Won The ‘Big One’

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….Knowing that not all great athletes are superhuman.

[Guest Writer: DBoi]
The debate about the greatest athletes in every sport has been done to death. But what about the ones who didn’t win? The ones who missed out on their chance to win the big championship. When their opportunity came for sporting immortality, they didn’t take it. This list is dedicated to the people who will forever be known as the “one who let the big one get away”.

10. Greg Norman (Golf)

Never won: Major US title

Greg Norman is regarded as one of the most talented but also one of the unluckiest golfers in history. He was known for his unique style of play and having one of the best swings in the game. He is generally thought of as the greatest driver of the ball bar Jack Nicklaus. He won the British open twice but never won any of the three US majors. On 5 occasions he finished second in one of the three major US titles; the Masters, the US Open and the PGA Championship. In many of these he led for most of the tournament but always stumbled at the final hurdle.

Interesting fact: Bill Clinton fell down a set of stairs outside Greg Norman’s house in 1997, tearing tendons in his right knee cap.

9. Jimmy White (Snooker)

Never won: World Championship

Nicknamed the ‘People’s Champion’, Jimmy is one of the most popular snooker players in the history of the sport. The left hander was known for his attacking style of play that enticed fans. He made it to an incredible six World Championship finals, including 5 in a row between 1990-94, but lost on every occasion. Four of those defeats were at the hands of Stephen Hendry, the most successful snooker player of all time. His most agonising defeat came in 1994, in the last of his six finals. Needing to pot just a few more balls in the final frame of the match, he missed a routine black off the spot allowing Hendry an opportunity to steal an 18-17 victory. Some will say that Jimmy never quite had that killer instinct to get over the line on the big occasions but no one could argue that he was unlucky to play in the same era as two of the games’ greats: Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry.

Interesting fact: Jimmy’s bull terrier, Splinter, was dognapped and held for ransom in the late ‘90s.

8. Brazil 1982 (Football)

Never won: World Cup

Brazil has won the World Cup a record 5 times yet their 1982 team is consistently voted their greatest ever side and the best football team of all time. Many regard that team as better, even than their ‘Golden Era’ team of the ‘70s that included the likes of Pele and Carlos Alberto. They went into the ‘82 World Cup in Spain as heavy favourites and their campaign got off to the perfect start. They cruised through their first three group games scoring 10 goals in the process. They had a mouth watering attack comprising of Zico, Eder, Socrates, Junior and Falcao whose slick passing and movement mesmerised their opponents. Their philosophy was simple: however many you score, we’ll score one more. In the second round they were drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Argentina and Italy. They breezed past holders Argentina 3-1 but lost 3-2 to Paulo Rossi’s Italy in one of the best World Cup games ever. If the Brazilians had a weakness that year, it was their defence. The brilliant Rossi scored all three goals in that game and went on to score again in the final as Italy beat West Germany.

Interesting fact: The Brazilian Gold Frog is the smallest frog in the Southern hemisphere; it grows to just 9.8mm.

7. Dan Marino (American Football)

Never won: Super Bowl

Known for his powerful arm and quick release, Dan Marino is one of the most prolific passers the NFL has ever seen. In his 17 year career with the Miami Dolphins they reached the playoffs on no fewer than 10 occasions. He became a starter for the Dolphins mid way through his rookie season and by the end of his second season he was named NFL MVP and had set 6 single-season NFL records including 48 touchdown passes, destroying the previous record of 36. At the end of that season he made his first and only Super Bowl appearance, losing to the great Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers. Although he would never make it to another Super Bowl, he continued to smash record after record. At the time of his retirement in 1999 he held almost every major NFL passing record, many of which still stand today.

Interesting fact: Marino made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler movie, Little Nicky, in which he asked Satan for a Super Bowl ring.

6. Gilles Villeneuve (Formula 1)

Never won: F1 World Championship

Gilles Villeneuve’s short F1 career tragically ended in 1982 when he was killed in a high speed collision during qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix. Despite racing for less than 5 years he had a long lasting impact on the sport and his rivals. He was famous for his all out attacking style of driving, no better demonstrated than during an extremely wet practice at the US Grand Prix where he was at one point, 11 seconds faster than any other driver. He recorded just 6 wins from 67 races but this was mainly due to the fact that he spent the majority of his career in uncompetitive cars. Villeneuve came closest to becoming World Champion in 1979. Had he beaten his team mate, Jody Schecketer, in the Italian Grand Prix he almost certainly would have won the title, but he agreed to follow team orders and not challenge his team mate for the lead. He lost the championship that year by 4 points to Schecketer.

Interesting fact: His less talented son, Jacques, became F1 World Champion in 1997.

Honourable mention: Stirling Moss

5. Ted Williams (Baseball)

Never won: World Series

Ted Williams was probably the greatest pure hitter that baseball has ever seen.  He had a career spanning 21 years although he only completed 16 full seasons for the Boston Red Sox as he was twice called up to do military service as a Marine Corps pilot. His scientific approach to hitting changed the way baseball was played forever. In four separate seasons he won Most Valuable Player and the Triple Crown twice each. However, he had a poor relationship with the media and his team’s fans. He often vented his anger in public and never tipped his cap to the crowd. These were probably the reasons he didn’t get the public following that the more charismatic, but maybe less talented players, such as Joe DiMaggio had. In his only appearance in a World Series in 1946 he produced a poor display going 0-for-4 in the last game as the Red Sox lost in seven. Five days before the game Williams was struck on the elbow by a curveball and was taken to hospital, possibly hindering his performance.

Interesting fact: Williams was a keen fisherman and was inducted into the Fishing Hall of Fame.

Honorable mention: Ty Cobb

4. Ivan Lendl (Tennis)

Never won: Wimbledon

Despite never winning Wimbledon, Ivan Lendl is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He dominated men’s tennis in the 1980s, holding the number 1 ranking for the best part of 5 years. He has 3 US Open titles to his name, 3 French and 2 Australian Opens. Lendl made 19 Grand Slam finals in total and appeared in at least one Grand Slam final for 11 consecutive years, a record only matched by Pete Sampras. He played mainly at the baseline, known for having machine like consistency with his ground strokes. However, the uneven bounces seen on Wimbledon’s grass courts somewhat neutralised his baseline style. He was forced to change his tactics for the grass court season but his serve and volleying was not consistent enough to deliver him a title. He still had a very impressive record at Wimbledon making two finals in 1986 and 1987 and 5 other semifinals.

Interesting fact: In 1986 North Korea issued a postage stamp of Ivan Lendl.

3. Charley Burley (Boxing)

Never won: World Title

Born to a black father and a white mother, boxing managers of the 1940s have said that Charley Burley was ‘too good for his own good’. He was so feared as a fighter that he never got a title shot against any welterweight or middleweight champion of the ’40s. The list of fighters that ducked Burley include: Billy Conn, Marcel Cerdan, Jake LaMotta and even Sugar Ray Robinson, considered the best pound for pound fighter in history. To make things worse, most of the top white fighters also refused to fight him, a problem for so many black and mixed race boxers of the era.  Because of this, Burley had a limited choice of opponents and regularly fought and knocked out fighters from welterweight to heavyweight divisions. He had to work, sometimes as garbage collector, throughout his career because he simply couldn’t get enough fights to pay his bills. He retired to go to work full time because no one would fight him. By the end of his career he had knocked out three world champions in three different weight categories.

Honourable mention: Sam Langford

Interesting fact: Burley had a chance to appear in the 1936 Olympics but refused due to Germany’s racist policies.

2. Johan Cruyff (Football)

Never won: World Cup

The three time European footballer of the year was recently voted the 2nd best player of the century, only behind Pele. In his only World Cup appearance he led Holland to victories over Argentina and champions Brazil before they eventually lost in the final to West Germany. Cruyff was instrumental in Holland’s success and was named player of the tournament that year. After helping Holland qualify for the 1978 World Cup, Cruyff surprised everyone by announcing his retirement from international football. The Dutch again made the final in ’78 and many believe that had Cruyff been in the side, they would have beaten winners Argentina. He made up for his lack of success with his country by the 10 league titles and 3 European Cups he won with Ajax, Barcelona and Feyenoord as well as countless individual prizes.

Interesting fact: Cruyff was the first Dutch player to be sent off and received a one year ban from the Dutch FA as a result.

Honourable mentions: Ferenc Puskas and Eusebio

1. Paula Radcliffe (Marathon)

Never won: Olympic Gold Medal

In her first London Marathon she set the second quickest time in women’s marathon history. A year later she had already set the two fastest times, over 3 minutes faster than anyone else. A leg injury in 2004 meant that she was unable to compete at anywhere near her best in Athens. She only managed to start the race by taking high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs and wasn’t able to finish the marathon for the first time in her career. After missing out in 2004 she was determined to complete in Beijing and despite being diagnosed with a stress fracture just 3 months prior to the event she recovered in time for the 2008 games. She started well but struggled towards the end with cramp and only finished in 23rd. She still holds the women’s marathon record and she now has 4 out of the 5 fastest times in women’s marathon history. Radcliff is without doubt greatest female marathon runner in history and only misfortune has cost her an Olympic Gold.

Interesting fact: Paula suffered from both asthma and anemia, conditions that drastically effect running performance.

Winning isn’t everything…


Posted by on May 19, 2011 in DBoi, Sports


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[UK] Newcastle United’s 2010/11 Season – Grief and Celebration

THIS STOPS ME FROM COMITTING SUICIDE BECAUSE…….once you start supporting Newcastle, you cannot get out.

[Guest Writer: © Robb Dylan 2011]

[For full, unedited version:]

Why Newcastle United’s season is a cause for grief as well as celebration

As we come down to the final weekend of the 2010/2011 Barclay’s Premier League, I find myself somewhat nostalgic when looking at the table. My team, the Magpies, are sitting 12th, comfortably above the relegation zone.

A year out of the top flight and here we are, safely back in the mid-table. Some would condescendingly point out how fantastic an achievement that is, to finish so high up immediately after promotion, and yes, I agree 12th is good; at least we’re not being relegated like West Ham – who finally get what has been coming for them since the Tévez débâcle.

However, at the same time I am torn between satisfaction and disappointment. The two biggest moments off the pitch for us have undoubtedly been the sacking of Chris Hughton and the departure of Andy Carroll, events that I believe are interlinked. Carroll got his big break under Hughton’s management, playing regularly in both the Championship and the Prem and having the team effectively moulded around his aerial presence, as the cheeky 1-0 win at Arsenal will testify. But when the manager went, Carroll’s inspiration went, and eventually he himself went.

Now, though £35million is an excellent bargain for a largely inexperienced forward, I am still sore about losing him. Not only was he a local lad – yet another local lad to up and move south à la Shearer and Carrick – who quite possibly was cresting the pinnacle of his career at such a young age – a starter for his boyhood team and sporting the famous number 9 shirt – but he was supposed to be the future of our club. Whenever I say this, I can’t help but think of Obi Wan’s speech in “Star Wars: Episode III”: “You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them…Bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!” But it’s true, Carroll was the Chosen One to wear Wor Jackie’s jersey. Bring balance to the Top Four/Bring Newcastle back into the Top Four, not leave us in the darkness of mid-table.

The only bright side to Carroll’s departure, as everyone mentions, is the £35million. Once upon a time you could buy two or three world class players for that – you could get TWO Alan Shearers in his prime, Cheik Tioté, and have £1.5million to spare. But sadly, the modern day transfer market is suffering from insane inflation where players like Charlie Adam are valued at over £20million.

We have £35million from selling Carroll. Great, yeah? Well, sadly no. From what I’ve seen of Mike Cashley since he took over, my gut feeling is that, despite Pardew’s repeated claims that he will spend all the money on players in the summer, I would not be surprised if Fat Mike Cashley pocketed it.:

Then again, Pardew was his appointment, his London casino buddy; so will he back him? But this is the same owner who wanted to sell Newcastle TWICE, for about £300million or something – basically, for what he had bought it for and sunk into it. When no one would touch it, he had to hang on to his investment. Now that he’s made 10% of that money from one player, what is to stop the greedy scoundrel from putting that into his bank account to balance out the red?

In more ways than one, Mike Cashley was obligated to retain Chris Hughton as manager. Not only had he been given a three year contract, but the man was a young manager learning his profession and had taken the bogey-job of managing Newcastle by the horns and dragged us back, in some style, from a potential Leeds United situation back into the Premiership on the first attempt. He was sacked because Cashley wanted someone “with more managerial experience”. I shouldn’t think I would need to point out that Pardew’s managerial experience is confined largely to the lower leagues: promotion with West Ham VIA THE PLAY-OFFS as opposed to Hughton’s romp to the title, relegation with Charlton, and sackings from all his managerial posts. The only exception is Reading, whom he deserted.

It may be worth taking a look at Hughton’s league stats in comparison to Pardew’s this season (by the way, I’m giving the 3-1 win against Liverpool to Hughton as it was his training and tactics on display; Pardew had, to quote Joey Barton, “only been here two days”).

Hughton:             P:17       W:6        L:7         D:4       GF:27      GA:26       GD:+1     Pts.:22       Win %: 35%
Pardew:              P:20       W:5        L:7         D:8       GF:26      GA:28       GD:-2      Pts.:23       Win %: 25%

All in all, Pardew has basically done in 20 games what Hughton did in 17. The Londoner may have gotten one more point and fewer losses, but the Irishman got us another win and a better goal (and win) ration. Plus, we still had Carroll.

In short, their stats are very similar – though Hughton’s are slightly better – and I will admit that I am not as infuriated by the appointment of Pardew as Newcastle manager because he has kept us up. However, for me, the season’s success has been irreparably marred by the sacking of a wholly competent and exciting young manager who guided the club through the rough patches and brought confidence, dignity, and consistency to the team and club. Chris left us in 11th after gracing the heights of 4th a couple of weeks earlier and, within touching distance of 3rd. Pardew looks to be closing off the season at around the same mark. If we finish 8th, 9th, or 10th, we would be ‘more successful’ than when Pardew took over. But would it be worth it? Can we revel in a final position that Hughton’s stats suggest he would have obtained, perhaps even bettered with the presence of Andy Carroll? Yes we may have stayed up comfortably, and played some decent football, but the joy has to be tainted by the knowledge that it has come at the price of a manager and striker, two needless casualties in the pursuit (or loss) of a league position or two. And still we will have no extra glory – no silverware, no European competitions next year – just a sullied reputation as a club ruled by a tyrant too quick to fire when things don’t go his way.

So the question you must ask yourself in the end is, was it worth it? Was it worth halting the career of a young manager for one more meaningless position? Was it worth selling the club’s local hero for money that may or may not end up in the transfer kitty? Will that money even buy some competent strikers, or will it be wasted on mediocre players who come to the club overvalued and on excessively inflated wages?

Certainly for me, our finishing position is marred by the disgraceful sacking of Chris Hughton, though the new manager has done an acceptable job. As to the transfer kitty and Pardew’s future? We can only wait, hope, and see…

Robb Dylan

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Sports


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[Korea] Overreaction or Justice?


From ‘Ask A Korean’ blog (Which I recommend):

The third most read article on ultra-popular Korean news site Naver was about some ‘foreigners’ who drank beer and played cards on the undeground:

A link to the original website for anyone who can read Korean:


First of all, I’m sure this is not anti-foreigner prejudice although it is not uncommon in Korea.

I was barely suprised that it was a popular news story (which suggests they were highly unhappy/suprised by their behaviour).
However, I was surprised by the fact that Korean-Americans were also disgusted by these people’s actions.

I have seen people drink and play cards on different forms of public transportation around the world. I would have agreed with ‘The Korean’ if the subway was completely full and they people were vying for airspace. Thus, I am surprised by the reaction of a man who has lived in a western culture since he was 16. If you look at the comments in the blog post, many others seem to agree with ‘The Korean’.

Note: I am also surprised this was a big enough event for someone to write a news article about.

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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in News, Random


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