Saturday, December 31, 2005

Finished reading Charity the last book in Len Deighton's trilogy and the last book in the 10 book series about British Spy Bernard Samson.

This means I finished a total of 56 books in 2005.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Finished reading Hope, the second book in Len Deighton's trilogy. - Richard

Monday, December 26, 2005

Finished reading Faith by Len Deighton

Weekly Score Update:

Hartlepool Rovers 3 West Hartlepool 29 - Traditional Boxing day Friendly
Barnsley 1 Hartlepool United 1 - League 1. Hartlepool 13th in League
Washington Redskins 35 New York Giants 20 - Despite the loss Giants qualify for the play-offs with a Minnesota loss to Baltimore.

Carolina Hurricanes 6 Tampa Bay Lightening 4
Carolina Hurricanes 4 Florida Panthers 3 - Hurricanes Lead the South East Divsion by 9 points
Houston Rockets 81 Toronta Rapters 95
Denver Nuggets 108 Houston Rockets 86 - Rockets are last place in South West Divsion trailing the leading San Antonio Spurs by 9 1/2 games.

As, that will become very obvious, I am big sports fan I figured it is time to list the teams that I ma fan of and those that I follow. There is a difference between the two as a true fan lifes for the victory and dies for the defeat, whilst a follower is intersted in the outcome, but, does not have the emotion invested.

Teams I Support

Of course it goes to say all the England National Teams and the US soccer team (unles playing against England)

Rugby Union:
West Hartlepool

Football: Hartlepool United
San Jose Eathquakes

Cricket: Durham County

American Football: New York Giants

Teams I Follow

Rugby Union:
Raleigh Rugby Club

Rugby League: Bradford Bulls

Baseball: Houston Astros

Ice Hockey: Carolina Hurricanes

Basketball: Houston Rockets

On every Sunday or Monday I will do a score update...

Twenty-Six years ago today I went with my Dad to my first ever Rugby game starting a love affair and obssesion with that sport. The game? The annual Boxing Day Derby between West Hartlepool and Hartlepool Rover. A rivalry embittered not just by close proximity of the teams, but the history of two towns, West Hartlepool the new Industrial Upstart founded in the 1850's and the Old fishing town Hartlepool been around since Saxon times. In 1966 these towns were merged to form one. The towns still exist and that is fought out on the Rugby field now over 200 times.

Although I was a sports fan at a very early age. I remeber watching FC Cup finals and Olympics from 1975/76 when I was 6 and 7 it was my love of West Hartlepool Rugby Club that first taught me what being a true fan was. How many cold winter days did I stand at Brierton lane watching the team play. The highs and lows of National Cup games, winning the Northern Merit table getting promoted all the way to the Premier league before it all was destroyed by professionilsm and greed with an owner selling out and disbanding the team.

Fortunatly, the grass roots game together saved the team and now they survive, albeit at much lover level in League North Two East surpassed by many of the teams I used to watch us play and beat. In the States I do not have a chance to see them play live, but, wait impatiently by the computer for the results of the games to be posted and still have the same exhiliration with a win or despair with a defeat.

That first game 26 years ago was a wn by West with a hattrick of tries by Keith Garnett. Today as I read the message boards I am delighted to post that West win again 29-3 on Rovers home turf. Life, for a few moments at least, has no worries!!


Friday, December 23, 2005


This is one my greatest pleasures. I guess it could be said that I am a readaholic. There is not often that I can be found with out a book. I am also very anal about it. In that I mean that I mean I will always finish one book before I start the next and I will to be found with two books open at the same time.

Over the last year I have read over 50 books. They vary from History, to Biography, to varied non-fiction, to fiction, to Spy Thrillers etc.. For example the last book I read was the play Androcles and the Lion written by George Bernard Shaw and I am currently reading the first part of a Spy Trilogy, Faith, By Len Deighton. I will post the book and any thoughts I may have it on whenever I complete one during 2006.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

The draw for the football World Cup is complete. After sometime of thinking about it here are my thoughts 6 months from the event taking place. I will try and update this just before the event after I have seen the teams form at that point. My initial feeling is that Europe will be micu stronger and a European Team will win now it is back on their turf.

Group A: Germany, Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador.
This draw is kind to the hosts. I see them cruising through along with Poland who looked good in qualifying. Predication:- Germany, Poland, Costa Rica, Ecuador

Group B: England, Paraquay, Trinidad and Tobego and Sweden.
England could not have a better chance to make a deep and possibly succesful run through the tournament. However, after 30 years of failure I find it difficult to believe. The key is winning the group as second means they will probably play Germany. I think that will be too much for the "Three Lions. Unfortuantely I think the hex that Swedwn has will bw maintained causing England to finish 2nd. Prediction:- Sweden, England, Paraquay, Trinidad and Tobago.

Group C: Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia and Montenegro and Holland
One of the more interesting groups. Argentina are not as strong as they have been, but, as usual have some fantastic players. Holland also have been playing really well. I think 2006 will finally be the year for the "Oranje". Ivory Coast are a strong African team that may cause the big two some fits, but, will not quite be good enough. Prediction:- Holland, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia and Montengro.

Group D: Mexico, Iran, Angola and Portugal
The most least inspiring group. I know very little about Iran and Angola. After Portugals debacle in 2002 they must have been delighted with this draw. They should be good enough to win this group. Mexico are good, but, in Europe their track record is not brilliant. Prediction: Portugal, Mexico, Iran, Angola

Group E: Italy, Ghana, USA and Czech Republic
The most intiguing group bringing three top 15 ranked teams plus a very good African team. I hate to say this, but, I think the US will fall short. I think the Czechs are one of the most exciting teams in the Competition and will go far and that Italy after struggling a little bit in qualifying and at the last World Cup are due to come good. Prediction: Czech Republic, Italy, USA, Ghana

Group F: Brazil, Croatia, Australia and Japan
Another intriguing group. This is were a think an upset will happen with Australia coming through in second place behind the reigning champions. Prediction: Brazil, Australia, Croatia, Japan

Group G: France, Switzerland, South Korea and Togo
An insipid group which should not cause France to repeat the catastrophy of 2002. The second place team could be any of the next three. I give to Switzerland as the competition is in one of their neighbouring countries. Prediction: France, Switzerland, South Korea, Togo

Group H: Spain, Ukraine, Tunisia and Saudia Arabia
On Paper not very inspiring, but, I think it could be interesting. Spain will win the group but struggle. I think the lone African team to progress will come from this group. A lot depends on the Tunisians gel at the African Nations cup. I can see Saudia Arabia making an upset in this group aswell. Prediction: Spain, Tunisa, Saudia Arabia, Ukraine

Second Round Predictions
Germany beat England I hope I am wrong!
Holland beat Mexico Holland have to much firepower and almost home crowd support for Mexico
Sweden beat Poland Sweden are too solid for Poland
Portugal beat Argentina Portugal have something to prove and Argentina are not quite as good as they usually are (at this moment)
Czech Republic beat Australia Czech's speed of attack to much for Schwarzer and his buddies.
France beat Tunisia I think this game has the potential of a big upset as the Tunisians could beat there former Colonial rulers
Italy beat Brazil A bg upset as the Azuri gain revenge for the 94 final
Spain beat Switzerland. Probably the miss-match of the second round

Quarter-Final Predictions
Holland beat Germany A bitter match, a nightmare for security, but, Holland take home field advantage from the Germans.
Czech Republic beat France France do not have enough left after a scare against Tunisia
Sweden beat Portugal This is not a good match-up for Portugal's style of play
Italy beat Spain After beating Brazil Italy now believes as once again Spain fall short

Semi-Final Predictions
Holland beat Czech Republic In a repeat of qualyfying Holland once again best the free flowing Czechs.
Italy beat Sweden Sweden over achieve, but, this is the end of the line

Final Prediction
Holland beat Italy.
Holland finally exise the ghosts of past near failures and finally take home the price beating Italy in a close and classic match.

I will do this again just before the world cup and afterwards compare how wrong I was. I do not have a very good track record of predicting so I apoligise in advance to the Dutch
It looks as if today is the last day for the San Jose Earthquakes Soccer Team. Below is my initial post I made on the Big Soccer forum. I believe that mircales can happen and I am never one to give up, but, in this case it is over. Where this leaves me in my support of Soccer in this country it is still to early to tell. It needs time for the emotion and anger to be lessened.

On a cold, damp. icy day....

I am grateful for the Quakes. For giving me a passion in a "foreign" country which even got stronger has work moved me East. I am grateful to the Quakes for giving me a sport and passion to share with my wife. I still don't know how to wake her up and tell her:( I am grateful got SSV and the tireless effort that they put into this task. They are the true leaders of Soccer in this country, they give us one fantastic last Season where we were the best in the Country. I am grateful for every one of you that I've come to know on these and other boards. I could never post as much as I would like, but, we need to keep this fraternity together. I am grateful that I got to enjoy three Soccer championships, something that in all my 30 plus years as a soccer fan I never enjoyed with any other team (England and Hartlepool). I am grateful that I will be able to wear my 2001 San Jose Earthquake shirt with pride tomorrow. NO ONE can take that away from me. NO ONE can take that away from us.

I am angry and upset at MLS. There blindness staggers me. What this team has given the sport in terms of quality, excitement, atmosphere, classic games is beyond compare. I find them the most culpable. They are weak in there support of our team, they are weak in their ability not to be controlled by short term ideas rather than the future. I am stunned that this could happen. In a way I wish the team was folded so that no other city can take credit for the ability of our team. When the league realises that the Chivas vs Galaxscum Derby is not all its cracked up to be and thet the manufactured Houston vs Dallas derby is not all its cracked up to be and they ask themselves where is the rivalry game that has the passion that sport has the rest of the world I would love to be in Garbers office and say "look what you've done, you weak, ineffectual human being!"

Where does that leave me in supporting the sport in this Country. As Englisman I have embraced the league here and the National Team. As I write here no more. My heart and soul is ripped out. Perhaps in time I will be able to follow the league and I certainly want every one of the players who've worn our blue and died there on the field of battle well, and as dfb547490 said, it will be those guys that I will follow. I was thinking about buying a new 2005 jersey, but, no I am not as I am not giving another penny back to those bastards.

I believe we can rise like the Phoenix. I believe the Earthquakes will be great again in the Bay Area. Until then Au revoir.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

Boycott Target....

For the second straight year Target had banned The Salvation Army collecting outside their stores this Christmas. Target, the store that markets how much they give back to the community does not allow the Organisation that gives more of the dollar collected to actual work to collect outside their stores. Why? Target is supported by gay groups who are against the Army because of their religious beliefs. Isn't this taking it to far? Target, just to maintain their so-called agenda will allow millions of needy people suffer! It is especially incredulous this year after the coffers of the Army and many other charitable organisations are empty due to the Hurricanes. What would be the reaction of these people if the Army stopped helping those with Aids bought on because of their sexuality? A needy person no matter of what their religious, social, politcal, nationality, sexual oriantation will never be turned away from beeing offered help by The Army. This is another example how special interest groups will allow others to suffer just to get their point, which is generally a minority, across.

There are many with different opinions and beliefs in the world some are totally incompatible with each other. However, if this gets in the way of helping ANYONE who is needy it has gone to far. Its time to show Target that we will not tolerate this selfish and inhuman attitude.
Its been a year since I started doing this. The year is noticible buy lack of posts. I guess the question I am asking is "where has that year gone?". I can't believe its nearly Christmas again. Incredible!!!