Saturday, 23 January 2010

Fake photos and fake poetry

There's a poetic irony in the news that a photographer used a tame wolf in the picture that won him the title of National History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year,as well as a handy £10,000. The lupine stunt double is apparently called Ossian, the name of a fake ancient Celtic bard whose poetry took Europe by storm in the 1760s before it was revealed it was all the work of a deluded Scottish poet, James Macpherson (and a bit rubbish). In his Sorrows of Young Werther, Goethe uses Werther's growing love for Ossian's work to show he's going a bit mad.

The wolf photo is obviously copyrighted, and all the pictures of Ossian I could find are mawkish, hideous things. But, thanks to a tip from Jonathan Jones, here is a very impressive faked photo from Soviet photographer Yevgeny Khaldai of a shellshocked reindeer during the siege of Murmansk in the Second World War. As this page describes, the reindeer was there, but the explosion and planes are added. Incidentally, the planes are British - Murmansk is in north-west Russia, close to Finland, so British forces helped to defend it.

In other news tenuously related to photography, coffee-table-book publisher Taschen is having a sale at its Berlin store, which means I now have a few wonderful books and a big headache about how to get the bloody things home in my luggage.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The answers

Here they are, read them and weep:

General knowledge:
1. The Oval (bet the groundsman loved that)
2. George Best
3. They're all nicknamed The Iron
4. Jimmy Hill
5. Ipswich Town
6. Hull (BoothFERry pARK)
7. Andrei Kanchelskis
8. Lewes
9. Rochdale
10. 1965 - Kilmarnock won it

Kilmarnock v Real Madrid in the European Cup after their title triumph. They managed a solid 2-2 draw at home before getting hammered 5-1 at the Bernabeu.

Daft corporate names:
11. The Abbey Business Stadium - Cheltenham Town, otherwise known as Whaddon Road
12. Playmobil-Arena - Greuther Fuerth (a little bit obscure, I know)
13. Signal Iduna Park - Borussia Dortmund, better known as the Westfalenstadion
14. Fitness First Stadium - Bournemouth, Dean Court
15. Home Depot Center - LA Galaxy and Chivas USA

Continuing the stupid corporate names theme, here's Histon's beautifully glazed GlassWorld Stadium

World football:
16. Rubin Kazan, Zenit Peterburg and Spartak-Alania Vladikavkaz
17. David Moyes on Yakubu Aiyegbeni
18. 15 players were chucked out
19. The Anglo-Italian Cup
20. There were still three winners of the Intertoto, but the team that got furthest in the Uefa Cup got the trophy. Since this was usually determined several months after the Intertoto had finished, no-one cared. The last trophy Newcastle won, incidentally.
21. Dario Simic
22. Steaua Bucharest and Red Star Belgrade

Kiddy Harriers round:
23. The first full England game was a friendly against Brazil (1-1), but I accepted the U21 game against Italy (3-3)
24. He was serving time for causing death by dangerous driving. It says something about the relationship between professional sport and basic morality that Oldham offered him a contract while he was still inside.
25. 1955


Tie-break: Very funny contributions, but so as not be libellous, here's a flavour of the best ones. Put them together and create your own: Karaoke, Thaksin Shinawatra, rescuing girls from precarious situations, hairy chests and red faces.

The winner, with a very impressive 21, was Rob Marrs. I should really have expected that, seeing as how his excellent quiz gave me the idea.

I'll be blogging a bit more about football in the near future. Being in Germany has cut me off from the Premiership a bit, but expect a piece about German fans as soon as I remember to get some Union Berlin tickets. Hertha have the better stadium, but watching them is miserable at the moment - nine points from 18 games so far. In the meantime, here's one of the great goalscoring goalkeepers, Jose Luis Chilavert:

Saturday, 16 January 2010

+++Quiz answers going up on Thursday afternoon+++


A couple of suitably red-faced corrections to the quiz after people pointed out some howlers. Since I've received a few answers already and I'm a fair-minded bloke, I'll discount the questions when deciding the winner, so these are strictly for fun.
9. Which English team has not played outside its current division since 1973?
Obviously there are sides who've never been relegated from the top division, so I meant to say it is a league side outside the top divison. That should make it a lot simpler.

18. How many of Nigeria's under-19 squad were thrown out in the run-up to last year's under-17 world cup after tests revealed they were under age? (answers within 2 either way accepted)
This is just daft. It's the under-17 squad at the under-17 world cup. My input makes an already complex question completely unworkable.

Thanks to the people who pointed these out. In the meantime' I've been plugging the quiz on my Twitter account, putting up a couple of extra questions to tempt people over to do the whole thing. These DON'T count as part of the quiz, but feel free to have a crack at them.

There have been a couple of interesting (and some frankly disturbing) contributions regarding the Thai vice den tie-breaker too...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Football trivia quiz

In the spirit of Rob Marrs' excellent Christmas quiz at Left Back in the Changing Room, here's a burst of football trivia questions. Answers to, winner gets a bottle of something nice (if you're in Britain, I'll get it to you when I'm back at the end of next month). Don't bother googling the answers - for quite a few of them, there's no point anyway.

Section 1: British football

1. Where was the first FA Cup final played?
2. The Kinks' song "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" is allegedly about which footballer?
3. What links West Ham, Scunthorpe United and Union Berlin?
4. Which British pundit first proposed awarding 3 points for a win?
5. Which team's players bulked out the squad in the film "Escape to Victory"?
6. Whose dilapidated and now partly demolished former ground became known as "FER ARK" because these were the only letters left on the sign?
7. Who is the only man to score in the Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow derbies?
8. Which team plays at the Dripping Pan?
9. Which English football league side (so outside the Prem) has not played outside its current division since 1973?
10. What was the only year in which neither of the Old Firm finished in the top three in Scotland? (bonus point if you can tell me who took the title that year)

Section 2: Grounds with rubbish corporate names
- For each one, give me the name of the team that plays there. Bonus point for the real name of the ground, if it has one.

11. The Abbey Business Stadium
12. Playmobil-Arena
13. Signal Iduna Park
14. Fitness First Stadium
15. Home Depot Center (2 teams)

Section 3: World football

16. What are the only three teams outside Moscow to have won the Russian Premiership? (3 points)
17. "He's only 25, albeit a Nigerian 25, and so if that is his age he's still got a good few years ahead of him." Who said this, and who was he talking about?
18. How many of Nigeria's squad were thrown out in the run-up to last year's under-17 world cup after tests revealed they were under age? (answers within 2 either way accepted)
19. Swindon Town, Blackpool, Newcastle United, Sutton United and Notts County were the only English winners of which defunct European competition?
20. Between 2006 and 2008, it was possible to win a trophy in the Intertoto Cup. How?
21. Who is Croatia's most-capped player?
What are the only two teams from Communist countries to have won the European Cup? (two points)

Section 4: Things loosely linked to Kidderminster Harriers

23. Harriers played in the first competitive match at the new Wembley, losing 3-2 to Stevenage in the final (and breaking my heart when they choked a 2-0 lead). Who did England play in their first match there? (bonus point for the result)
24. Harriers' record sale was Lee Hughes to West Brom for 200,000 in 1997. Why was his football career put on hold between 2004 and 2007?
25. Harriers played the first ever floodlit FA Cup match. When? (answers within 3 years either way are fine)

Tie-break: Which premiership manager do you think was most likely to have been caught by The Sun in a "Thai vice den" in December? Most entertaining answer will win, although it will almost certainly be too libellous to publish here.

UPDATE: Questions 9 and 17 have been corrected, see why here. To be scrupulously fair, I'll discount them when working out the winner.

Here's a video to keep you entertained and hopefully show that German football can be (occasionally) exciting. 1984 and 1993 are particular highlights.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Belarusian tiger

A pretty drab Belarusian parade to mark the new year. It's the year of the tiger, obviously. (HT English Russia)

World's laziest email scam?

I just received this. No attempt whatsoever to chat me up with a sob story, just an opportunistic stab at naked greed and, apparently, national pride.
250,000.00 Pounds has been awarded to you From the Queen
Elizabeth's Foundation ,send us your:-

How to attract German football fans

On the advertising for the German version of EA's Fifa Manager 2010:
"Look after the food in the stadium, the fanzine, the public transport, the VIP treatment and the state of the changing rooms."
It's the world's first prawn-sandwich simulator.