Three Incredible World Cup ‘Facts’ That You Almost Won’t Believe

With the 2014 World Cup well under way and journalists always trying to get a different angle, I thought I should help them out a little with these obscure World Cup stories I unearthed.

1: Goalscorers Score Goals

Did you know that – until the 2014 Finals – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined have scored less goals at a World Cup stadium than Kojo, an elephant that was involved in the Opening Ceremony at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

2: Bet What You Know

A fun one, this. In 1994, the son of a very famous American billionaire was on his gap year in London.

Taken with his new surroundings and the fever that came with a World Cup Finals back in his home country, he decided to have a big bet on England to win USA ’94.

He wanted to bet £10,000 but none of the big bookmakers would take the bet nor, unsurprisingly, would the independents. He was, apparently, repeatedly told that there was no way England could win USA 94, but he wasn’t dissuaded.

Eventually, he found a small bookie near where he was staying who did agree to take his money. The bookmaker explained to this guy that as England didn’t qualify, his bet would not be able to win but he would take the bet providing this particular chap would sign something that clearly showed he understood this.

The man did so and, of course, lost his £10,000. He had, however, written on the bottom of the note ‘England are just as qualified as any other team’ and signed it with his name.

3: In A Game Of Feet, The One Armed Man Is King

Hector Castro, the Uruguayan international, who scored the final goal to win the first ever World Cup for his country in 1930 had only one arm.

He accidentally cut it off with an electric saw when he was just 13. In typical football style ‘banter’, he was nicknamed ‘El Manco’ or, in English, the ‘One-Armed’.


Create Your Own Americal Idol : How To Manipulate The Public For Fame And Riches

After several years of watching Pop Idol (as it’s known over here in the UK) and it’s American equivalent, I am now ready to present my guide to creating your own guaranteed ratings winner, super successful talent show that is a sure fire way to make you a millionaire several times over.

1: People Like To Watch People Being Humiliated

Never, never underestimate the essential cruelty of your audience. If they don’t get to see mentally unstable people attempting to sing or some hopeless case being savaged by the judging panel, then they are going to change the channel.

Luckily, you can avoid this fate by recording absolutely everything from every audition for your show. That way you can focus on the untalented, the mad and the truly disturbed as much as you like.

2: Bring Me The Homeless Orphan With The Lisp

Right from the start, you need a human interest story to keep the attention of your audience from week to week.

Actually, you will need 4 or 5 of these during the show’s run, but before the finals, you only need one really good one to hold the interest.

As this is early in the show, your first story has a sad ending. Yes, despite overcoming being homeless, parentless and having a lisp, the cute female orphan who walked 17 miles barefoot to the audition unfortunately doesn’t make it to the final 12.

She is, of course, rejected at the final hurdle with the words “it was a tough, tough decision…but with your drive, I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you in the future”.

By that point, your homeless orphan has served her purpose and the fact that she sang flat is no longer a problem.

However, the controversy caused by this will generate lots of press interest, headlines and water cooler comment, thereby increasing your audience share still further.

3: You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

The golden rule is ‘keep people watching’. The more people who watch, the higher the networks charge for advertising and the more money you will make for your show.

Let’s face it, on it’s own, a bunch of amateurs singing bad Karaoke is not enough to keep people tuned in.

That’s why you need to be very careful when choosing your judges.

You need at least one really self-obsessed, opinionated egomanic (other than you) otherwise you won’t be able to convincingly fake an ongoing hate-hate relationship. This will inevitably lead to an onscreen confrontation that results in at least one judge ‘quitting’ the show.

This, again, creates more press, more interest and higher ratings. Obviously, your co-judge returns 2 weeks later, again boosting the ratings of your show.

4) I Am The Spawn Of Satan…And You Are My Puppets

As the creator, main judge, promoter, executive producer, record label owner and all round Svengali of your show, you don’t want to come across as arrogant and dictatorial. Heaven forbid!

That’s why you need to hire a judge who is essentially a decent human being who tends to see the positive in things.

A former, but not major, pop star is ideal for this.

This person’s role is to be unremittingly positive about performances, regardless of quality. That will allow you to bully them to the point of tears. Thereby creating more press, more controversy and higher ratings for your show.

There is, of course, always the possibility that this judge will genuinely want to quit. At that point, you’ll need to remind them that their entire career rests on your good graces.

5) The Public Decide…What You Say They’ll Decide

Unfortunately, in order to create a truly successful talent show, you will actually need some genuine talent. You do want your viewing public to care about who wins. But what you don’t want is that the public choose a winner you don’t want to win.

That would be catastrophic. After all, you are a highly paid music exec and they are just the public. Their job is to buy whatever you put in front of them. That’s it.

That’s why you don’t allow public voting until the final, even though the money you would make from the phone calls would add an extra million or two to your bank balance.

Luckily, because the other judges are, in effect, paid employees, you can always ensure that the final two are, at the very least, the two contestants you would like to win.

6) Milk It ‘Till It Hurts

Don’t forget that every contestant is your property – you’ve signed them all to short term deals, so force them all out on tour together, and collect another $1million.

Combine this with DVD sales, download, album and merchandising sales for the winner (and runner up, most likely) which are going to be huge as your music buying public has both watched them on TV for months and voted for them to win.

You can see that the path to riches is yours. All you need is a bunch of crazies, one semi-talented, fame hungry youth and a talent show. Go to it !

You Named Me What?

In the Sixties, inspired no doubt by industrial strength LSD, otherwise normal people started naming their children ridiculous things like ‘Sunbeam’ and ‘Starshine’.

Thankfully, time has moved on. Now, it seems, it’s only the most self-obsessed celebrities that give their offspring names you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. And here are 10 of the very worst.

10: Apple and Moses

Tiresome, self-satisfied musician Chris Thingy and tiresome, self-satisfied actress Gwyneth Paltrow clearly thought that Apple was an appropriate name of a girl.

They then went one worse by calling their second child after the father of the Israeli nation, Moses. What were they thinking?

9: Moon Unit

Frank Zappa’s eldest daughter was lumbered with the name Moon Unit. Of course, she followed in family tradition by calling her own daughter Mathilda Plum.

8: Jermajesty

Just to disprove the idea that Michael was the only ‘Wacko Jacko’ brother Jermaine called his son ‘Jermajesty’.

7: Kal-El

Elvis and Superman fanatic Nic Cage called his first born ‘Kal-El’, which apparently was Superman’s birth name. It seems Elvis Superman Presley Cage was too obvious.

6: Moxie Crimefighter

Magician Penn Jillette’s first child. This is a girl’s name, apparently.

5: Lark Song

The choice of ’60s throwbacks Mia Farrow and Andre Previn.

4: Fifi Trixibell

First of two entries for Paula Yates – Fifi is the daughter of that nice Sir Bob Geldof , who really should know better.

3: Princess Tiaamii

British glamour model Jordan and her ridiculous ex-pop star husband Peter Andre thought this was a great idea for a child’s name.

2: Sage Moonblood

Sylvester Stallone was obviously reading a lot of Conan books when he named his son this.

1: Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily

Possibly the worst children’s name in the history of mankind. Proud parents : Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence.

The 10 Worst Translated Movie Titles

It’s a danger well known to international brands, who have to be extremely careful so that their USA best selling cleaning product doesn’t translate as ‘dog dirt’ in Finnish or something.

However, movie makers are not so lucky and here are 10 of the worst translated movie titles :

1. Airplane : Translated into German as ‘The Unbelievable Trip In A Wacky Aeroplane’

2: Leon : How can anyone mistranslate this. It’s someone’s name. But the Chinese decided on ‘is Hit Man Is Not As Cold As He Thought’ instead.

3: Home Alone: This became ‘Mom, I Missed The Plane’ in France.

4: Lost In Translation : It was inevitable perhaps that this movie title has been mistranslated. The Portuguese called it ‘Meetings and Failures in Meetings’. Sounds fascinating. Sure to be a big hit.

5: You Only Live Twice: Personally, I think the Japanese translation : ‘007 Dies Twice’ sounds a more interesting prospect.

6: Jaws : The French went for ‘The Teeth from the Sea’ for this ’70s classic.

7: Cruel Intentions : Became ‘Sex Intentions’ in France.

8: The Horse Whisperer: Ended up as ‘Held by Wind in Montana’ over in Japan.

9: The Matrix : This has got to be my favourite. The French called this sci-fi extravaganza ‘The Young People Who Traverse Dimensions While Wearing Sunglasses’, which is literal, if nothing else.

10: Pretty Woman : Can anyone confirm this one? Apparently, this was translated into ‘I Will Marry A Prostitute and Save Money’ in China.

Lies Your Parents Told You

I’m in my late thirties now and it has suddenly occurred to me just how strange my, and I presume your, parents were when I was younger.

I keep remembering all those weird lies they told me when I was a kid. So here’s a few of the best:

“If you swallow melon seeds, a melon will grow in your stomach” – Um, why did they tell me this. Did they have a deal with a local therapist? Who knows.

“If you swallow chewing gum, it will stick your insides together.” – This one used to terrify me.

[Said when I was pulling a strange expression] “If the wind changes, you’ll stay like that” – This didn’t even make sense at the time.

“If you sit too close to the television, you’ll go blind” – There were lots of other lies they told about things that would make me go blind, but this was the first.

“If you eat lots of carrots, you can see in the dark” – Um, not after sitting so close to the television, I can’t.

“If you’re bad, Santa Claus won’t bring you any presents” – This is actually true, right ?

“If you go out dressed like that, you’ll catch a cold” – The common cold is a virus. It has nothing to do with the weather.

There’s probably plenty more but those are the ones that have stayed with me all this time.

Are These The World’s Least Funny Comedians?

I was forced to watch yet another Jim Carrey movie with my wife yesterday and that got me to thinking about who are the least funny comedians in the world, um, ever. Carrey does, of course, feature quite highly.

So, in reverse order, I give you the top ten least funny comedians in the world.

10) Will Ferrell

Pulling stupid faces and SHOUTING VERY LOUDLY is not inherently funny. This seems to be the limit of Ferrell’s abilities. Hopeless and thankfully he’ll wear out his welcome very soon if he keeps putting out tripe like ‘Semi-Pro’.

9) Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay

This man is a moron. His audience consist of sub-normal rednecks to whom his reworked nursery rhymes are the equivalent of the complete works of Oscar Wilde.

Once again, shouting very loudly isn’t actually funny and his witless comments and use of swearing in place of actual humour place him on this list. The Day The Laughter Died? Too right.

If you have managed to avoid this idiot, here’s an example of his oeuvre. If you laugh, feel free to check yourself into the nearest institution :

8) Bernard Manning

Bernard Manning was, for a time, one of Britain’s most successful comedians. Until that is, someone noticed that he was a racist, sexist, homophobe and that all his material revolved around these things.

Manning was soon relegated to his own club just outside of Manchester and good riddance too.

7) Jim Davidson

Somehow this guy managed to sustain an extremely successful 25 year in the UK, making misogynistic jokes about women and racist jokes about ‘chalky’ (I kid you not).

Luckily, this deeply unpleasant individual has fallen from favour and now is mainly seen as a TV talking head moaning about ‘political correctness’. He isn’t and wasn’t ever funny and here’s a YouTube video to prove it:

6) Cannon and Ball

In the UK, Cannon and Ball were hugely successful in the ’80s – prime time television, millions of viewers. The only thing that was missing was any discernable comedic talent whatsoever.

Apparently, they used to be welders, which is somehow appropriate, because their ‘comedy’ was like being hit over the head with a steel pipe. ‘Rock On, Tommy’, indeed.

5) David Baddiel

David Baddiel must be the luckiest man in comedy. He seems a smart, engaging and likeable chap, which could explain why he has managed to work with some of alternative comedy’s brightest and best (The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Rob Newman and Frank Skinner).

The only problem is that Baddiel just isn’t funny. Think of him as the Ringo Starr of the comedy world. A man who was in the right place at the right time.

4) Rowan Atkinson

Atkinson is famous worldwide for Mr Bean and in Britain for Blackadder.

Blackadder appealed to teenagers, mainly because it consisted of only two jokes, so they could repeat them back to each other at school. The show mainly consisted of Atkinson and his alternative comedy friends messing around like a bunch of self-indulgent kids. It was awful.

Mr Bean, likewise, is lowest common denominator stuff. If you find slipping on bananas skins funny, then it’s probably the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. Otherwise, you’ll see that Rowan Atkinson is a one-trick pony and not remotely amusing.

3) Lee Evans

Falling over like a second-rate Michael Crawford (back when he was a comic actor in Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em) and a third-rate Norman Wisdom and sweating A LOT just isn’t funny. What more need be said.

2) Andy Kaufman

Being deliberately unfunny is not, at any point, actually funny. Getting other people to perform as you is not funny either. Behaving like a spoilt brat – whether part of an act or not – nope, still not funny.

Andy Kaufman was not funny. The end.

1) Jim Carrey

Gurning like a loon, saying ‘alrighty now’ and overacting like it is going out of fashion does not a good comedian make.

The scale of Carrey’s success makes me want to weep. He has been doing the same schtick over and over again for years and each time, it’s just a bit more desperate and humourless.

There are a lot of bad comedians who didn’t make this list (Tom Green, Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown and others…we salute you), but I’ll end this post on an upnote with a couple of clips of what I consider real comedy genius.

I give you all Bill Bailey :

Cremation Urn In The Shape of A Football

Class. You can’t buy it,  you know. But what you can buy for the Arsenal or Man Utd fan in your family ( you know the type…never been to Manchester or North London in their life) is a cremation urn in the shape of a football.

I know, I know. You’re probably wondering why no one has thought of it before. But luckily a funeral company in Vienna has finally done it.

A snip at £281.00 each.

Strikers That Don’t Step Up To The Plate

So, a couple of English teams went out of Europe last night on penalties. No big surprises there.

But there’s one thing I hate about penalty shoot outs is who steps up to take one. All too often strikers ( you know, the people that are paid to be calm in front of goal and score) bottle it and don’t even take a penalty.

Such was the case with Everton last night. Where was Andy Johnson for Everton. Surely, he should have taken one of the first couple of penalties for the Toffees ? After all, scoring goals is what he is paid to do. Phil Jagielka (who missed one) is not.

It irkes me a great deal that managers always seem to allow the players to decide whether or not they want to take a penalty. The end result is that brave players with less skill in front of goal end up taking them while certain strikers hide away at the background.

All strikers should be made to take part in penalty shootouts. Otherwise, they’re just gutless glory seekers.

Stand up and be counted, for Christ’s sake.

21 Reasons The Stones Were Better Than The Beatles Part Two

OK, following on from part one of 21 Reasons The Stones Were Better Than The Beatles here, imaginatively enough, is part two.

8 ) That George Martin Was Good, Wasn’t He

Let’s face it. Lennon and McCartney were good with a melody, but certainly weren’t the musical geniuses everyone thinks.

A large percentage of the arrangements and innovative instrumentation was down to their producer, George Martin.

Strip away a lot of that stuff and many of the songs don’t stand up anywhere near as well as the best of The Stones.

9) Still Got The Blues For You

A lot of the comments regarding part one of this article argued that The Stones were little more than a derivative blues band, while The Beatles were innovators.

The thing is, at the outset of both bands career, both were little more than copyists. The Beatles just played the latest pop hits (Twist and Shout, etc.) while The Stones played the blues.

The Stones, however, always had an authentic touch when playing differing styles of music as their career developed. They could do blues, country (‘Wild Horses’, etc.), reggae, rock…everything they did sounded right. Largely because Keith Richards just has a natural affinity for music in a way that McCartney and Lennon didn’t.

The Beatles, by contrast, just played pop music and, um, music hall.

10) In The Studio…No One Can Hear You Scream

The Beatles may have been a fairly good live band, but they threw a strop somewhere around 1965 because the screaming was too loud and they couldn’t hear themselves properly.

The Stones would have just bought bigger amps. Let’s face it, from the footage available, it’s clear that The Beatles weren’t anywhere near in the Stones league as a live band. The Stones were, probably even still are, the greatest live act in rock n’ roll.

11) They Influenced Who ?

OK, it’s undeniable that The Beatles have been a huge influence on popular music for, well, ever.

However, let’s have a quick look at the bands that followed the Beatles as part of the Merseybeat sound they popularised.

Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas and The Swinging Blue Jeans. Rubbish, one and all.

Not to mention the fact that they helped kick start the musical career of Cilla Black.

By contrast, The Stones helped kick start the musical career of Marianne Faithful and the bands that followed them from the London r n’b scene included The Kinks, The Who and The Yardbirds.

12) OK, We Give Up

The Beatles lasted about six years, giving us a few good albums and lots of great singles. And then, well, they just gave up because they couldn’t really be bothered anymore. Listen to ‘Let It Be’ and you’ll hear the sound of a band who can’t be bothered.

The Stones, of course, are still going. While, admittedly, they haven’t done anything worthwhile in the last twenty years, they continued growing as a band way after The Beatles split and put out great album after great album well into the 1970s and even one (Tattoo You) in the 80s as well.

13) The Beatles Wrote The Worst Song Ever…Official

In 2004, a BBC released poll voted Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da the worst song ever. That’s because it is. Although Octopuses’ Garden runs it close…and Hello, Goodbye isn’t exactly the work of genius either.

14) Coyness Is Not An Attractive Feature In Grown Men

Both the Beatles and The Stones took their share of drugs. Well, Keith Richards probably took your share as well, but I digress…

Nevertheless, the coyness of the Beatles about the drug use was very far from endearing and smacked (pun intended) of a fear of losing their cuddly, family friendly image.

The Stones never allowed such concerns to get in the way of industrial quantity drug mis-use.

‘I Was Forced To Caddy For Tiger Woods Wearing A Ball and Chain’

The world is stranger than we think. Don’t believe me? Then I’m proud to introduce you to Jonathan Lee Riches.

Mr Riches is a convicted fraudster, who since his incarceration in 2004 has issued more than 300 legal actions from his jail cell, mainly against well-known sports stars.

Here are the highlights so far:

Jonathan Lee Richens vs The US Masters

Richens filed a suite against the US Masters golf tournament for forcing the plaintiff to caddy for Tiger Woods while wearing a ball and chain and allowing Mexicans to enter the United States via the 14th hole.

Damages Sought: Suspension of US Masters tournament

vs The Williams Sisters

Charge: Having a ‘beef’ with the plaintiff since the Nixon ear and stealing several Van Gogh paintings.

Damages Sought: Exclusion of the Williams Sisters from all future tennis tournaments.

vs Mike Tyson

Charges: Playing Culture Club’s ‘Do You Want To Hurt Me’ on a nightclub jukebox, kicking the plaintiff when he refused to dance with Mr Tyson.

Damages Sought: $4,000,000 plus medical costs.

vs Tiger Woods

Charges: Stealing luggage, treason, not answering the plaintiff’s telephone calls among others.

Damages Sought: $213,529,000,000,000

vs David Beckham

Charges: Using footballs that are really satellite guided missles, dropping balls on the plaintiff from Empire State Building, receiving funds from Iraq and giving them to Buckingham Palace.

Damages Sought: £3,000,000 in UK pounds plus Beckham to wear plaintiff’s name on his shirt for all matches.

vs Barry Bonds

Charges: Bonds bench-pressed the plaintiff against his will plus illegally produced moonshine.

Damages Sought: $42,000,000,000 in Swiss Francs.

vs LeBron James

Charges: Putting bubblegum on the plaintiff’s bicycle and breaking into the Watergate hotel during the Nixon era.

Damages Sought: $83,000,000 to be donated to good causes.

vs Floyd Landis

Charges: Cycling with E.T in his basket and plotting to ride into South Fork dam using a missle-shaped bike.

Damages Sought: Surrender of the missle shaped bicycle.

vs Jeff Gordon

Charges: Dropping tic tacs on racetracks via a secret trapdoor in his car and stealing the talking car ‘Kit’ from Knight Rider.

Damages Sought: £22,000,000 plus the defendant’s Nascar car.