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Johann Hari: Guilty, but not of being a liar.

There are many things all journalists know but one thing is more important than all the others – when your name moves from the by-line to the title then something has gone awry. The story should never be about you and if a story is about you then nine times out of ten it’s not going to be a positive one – journalists rarely write a story on how good another journalist is.

So we get to the shenanigans of yesterday and the award winning journalist Johann Hari. There was a twitter storm as it came out that he had been using quotes from an interviewee but these quotes were not from interviews that he had done with them. They had either been quotes they had used in other interviews or had written themselves. This is of course pretty bad form. Twitter lapped it up like it does any shitstorm because in general people on twitter like to mock others undoings.

The journalist has responded on his own blog this morning in a blog posted entitled My response to yesterday’s allegations which is worth a read. For me though it just didn’t ring true. I know what he means about someone saying something but when you scribble it down it doesn’t scan right. However that is part of journalism and you need to find a way around it.

For example if Maria Sharapova was interviewed about her match with Laura Robson and had said ‘she played well, she become good player’ it clearly doesn’t scan in print. However you could make it scan very easily and not mis-quote anyone by re-writing it as thus ‘she played well, she [has] become [a] good player’. It is a well known way in journalism to not mis-quote someone but still get their point across and making it scan well. This is certainly something that many journalists do when interviewing or getting quotes from a non-native English speaker.

The apology for me is a bit meh. He should have apologised and whilst he is accurate that it is neither plagiarism nor is it churnalism it was still extremely poor etiquette. He seems more focused on defending himself from those allegations than he does apologising for his poor judgement. Hopefully he has learned his lesson that there are ways to make a quote scan well in print and still not mis-quote anyone. He is clearly a fine writer and journalist and hopefully this incident doesn’t detract from that. We all make mistakes in life and writing from deadbeat hacks like myself to established and world-renowned journalists. He does need to make a stronger apology for me but whether he does or he doesn’t I don’t expect him to be fired.

If he gets his head down and continues to put together well thought out and thought provoking articles then this incident will be forgotten by the masses. Some folk won’t of course as they never forget a mistake and these are the people that in general have never made a mistake in their lives because they are perfect. I wish I was perfect however I am not.

Hopefully the next time we read about Johann Hari it’ll be because his name is in the by-line and not in the title.

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TV looks like it has found a way to sink even lower.

Just when I think we can’t sink any lower in terms of entertainment we drop another level. So a former Big Brother contestant had a fling with a married Premier League footballer. We don’t give a damn. It dominated the media landscape for a couple of weeks but is now already yesterday’s chip paper. However the lady in question isn’t ready to give up just yet and plans to turn her seedy affair into big money but how is she planning to this?

Is it be on another reality TV show? I know that I’m a Celebrity… would love to add her to the next series in the jungle. Could she write a tell all book? Will she become a TV presenter for some trashy TV show/channel? All of these are possible but none are as depressing and indicative of the culture that we live in than the truth.

The truth as exclusively revealed by The Sun today is she is locked in talks with multiple broadcasters about her own reality TV show entitled Imogen Finds A Husband and now I vomit. I know in this digital age there is a lot of TV hours to fill and so much of it is dross but have we as a nation and as a society come to the point where the barrel has been scraped so much that a reality TV show about a nobody finding a husband is worth not only being commissioned but for multiple broadcasters to have shown some interest?

I know there have been some god awful reality TV shows – mostly on ITV2 – but really Imogen Thomas finding a husband? What the hell has happened to television? Do people really want to watch such tripe?

Honestly my faith in humanity gets rocked most days but today the rocking has been of seismic levels.

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You Have Won 1,000,000GBP(Contact Us:director@a7bnk.com)

Here is a straight c&p of a spam e-mail. Really if you are going to spam at least learn basic English grammar and punctuation…

This is a short notice from Yahoo! We hereby announce the official notification of the results of the Microsoft-Yahoo! Financial promotions held This Month.you have won in the 1st category, you have been approved for a lump sum pay out of 1,000,000.00GBP (i.e One Million United Kingdom Pounds).Please ensure to keep this message for future references{Do Not Delete} as it may be required to procces your claims,Your One Million British Pounds will be released to you by our European Union office here in london,please reply immediately to claim your prize:

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Please note that the above ticket information was automatically attached to your email address which has consequently won in the 1st category and you have therefore been approved by the Yahoo Finance Management to claim the total sum of 1,000,000.00GBP (i.e One Million United Kingdom Pounds).

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you are required to contact us with your detailed information as listed below;

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Comments in the Daily Mail – always good for a laugh.

As I’ve said before I peruse most of the newspaper online throughout the day and every so often I like to read the comments. I was interested in an article in the Daily Mail entitled So just how long did these couples wait before sleeping together? as that is something I’ve always had interest in. What is the norm on these things?

The piece was a bit blah but the first comment when I clicked on in what the following from Roger in Upton Snodsbury:

They should ALL have WAITED until they were MARRIED. I am utterly disgusted that people would want to share details of their relationships with complete strangers, and FURIOUS that a once family friendly newspaper such as this one would stoop to such depths as to include an article of this nature. You should ALL be ashamed of yourselves.

You have to admit that is hilarious. Roger should have his own stand-up show because I know that I’d go and watch. He even uses capitals in an attempt to emphasise his point. Oh Roger you are a funny one. I know that there have bee many better but that has to be right up there.

Roger the Daily Mail reader in Upton Snodsbury is HILARIOUS!

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Hello Good Luck Bear!

Look what arrived in the post this morning…

Good Luck Care Bear
Good Luck Bear

So now I have Good Luck overseeing me. Excellent.

This means that two become three as Good Luck Bear joins Bedtime and Tenderheart Bear on my headboard.

Good Luck, Tenderheart & Bedtime Care Bears
Good Luck, Tenderheart & Bedtime Bear

There are more to come. I shall post again when they arrive.

And people wonder why I’m single. Well some people do – Bunky doesn’t – but that’s because he’s just mean.

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An example of pretty darn awful linkbuilding

I received the following e-mail the other day (it actually went straight into my Spam folder which is pretty impressive):

Subject: Publicity Proposal to neilmonnery.co.uk

My name is Lily Holmes and I was wondering if you are interested in exchange links, I’ll place your link on my sites exactly here:

fit-fuers-abi(dot)com PR5
online-casino-games.mypoker4u(dot)com
scarborough-casino(dot)com

If you agree please send me your site details:

Title:
Url:

I´ll place your link in less than 24 hours, then I’ll send you an email with my info.

Regards

I can’t say I’m exactly bowled over by the publicity proposal I must say. Considering I actually work in the field of SEO and have done down exclusively for the best part of two and a half years and before that it was a significant part of my job for the previous year and a half – it would be fair to say I know a bit about linkbuilding and how to attract interest.

Firstly at least find out my name and put it in the introduction. My website is called neilmonnery.co.uk FFS so who do you think I am? Secondly give me a reason for wanting to exchange links. Thirdly you know my URL but you still want to know it so you can add it to your websites and lastly why would I want links on spammy casino websites which are even worse in quality for links than porn websites?

Safe to say I haven’t accepted her proposal. I think Lily Holmes needs to speak to me with regards to how to put together a good linkbuilding e-mail. I used to be half decent at it when I did that task.

To end if you want to exchange links then basically you need to have a website on topic with what I blog about. I link within articles often to revelant blogs/news stories but I have no Blogroll. This is something I am looking at changing and putting a list together of my more frequented Lib Dem/Political Blogs. Also if you want to pay me or give me free stuff to advertise on my website then I’m shameless enough for that. Click on the e-mail logo in the top right hand corner of the screen to contact me.

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The Hitler House – Exclusive: Daily Mail Newsroom is smoking some heavy stuff

If someone retweets a link on Twitter I think I’m more likely than most to click on it. If someone retweets a link saying that it is the best thing that I’ll read today then it is a no brainer. I hovered over the link and saw it was from the Daily Mail so I knew it had to be whack but what I clicked on even surprised me.

Yes a story about a semi-detached house in Swansea looking like Adolf Hitler. Really. Sometimes you just have to wonder what is going on in the minds of bored journalists desperate for a filler story in a newsroom late one evening. I doubt any of the journalists discovered the semi themselves so some bored eejit will have e-mailed it in saying ‘look at this bored Daily Mail journalists – isn’t this semi a spitting image of Adolf Hitler?’ and said bored journos have thought ‘blimey that’s an easy filler story that we can knock out in ten minutes and then kick back and relax instead of doing some proper interesting journalism that might enrich the newspaper and stop our soul degrading even further.’

And yet even worse than the story. I’m blogging about it. Seriously what am I doing? I suppose I’m just trying to point out that this might just be the most bizarre and pointless story I have ever read in a newspaper. I know there have been ‘Jesus in my Beer Froth’ articles but any Jesus story has some credence because so many idiots believe it but a house looking like Hitler. Honestly who cares? Has the house taken on the personality of Hitler and in persecuting jews and invading the rest of the street but knocking down its own rooms and evicting the neighbours with poisoned gas? If so that might be quite a story. As it happens it’s absolute codswallop.

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Rebecca Black – Friday

Now that I’ve been culled from the Lib Dem Blog aggregator because I’m not a card-carrying member of the party (yes I still haven’t joined – one day I’ll get around to it, probably, maybe) I feel more at ease writing about non-political things that crop up in my mind. So on to the song of the year so far. Oh yes it’s my review of the quite erm…shall we say ‘interesting’ song and video by Rebecca Black. If you haven’t had the ‘pleasure then please watch the following video.

First of all no matter the standard of her voice and the heavy use of auto-tune to make her sound like she’s not as awful as she is, just how bad is the actual song? I think it might just be the worst song I’ve ever heard. Just how many songs tell me in bad English the order of the day of the week? Or how many songs have a whole verse about the hard decision people have about which seat to take in a car? In the video the only seat available is the middle back so unless she’s going to be a whiny bitch and ask people to move then there is no decision to make. Also no-one in that car is wearing a seat-belt, that’s shocking. Seat-belts are cool kids because they save lives.

Away from the song then the singing of it is not great. It’s not as bad as some people are saying but it’s certainly not got much going for it. In a way I feel for her as she has gained a lot of notoriety but on the other hand she’s got notoriety and when you are a 13 or 14 year-old girl trying to make your mark in the music industry then that isn’t a bad place to be. Simon Cowell said he loves it and she’s been on Good Morning America. So hey things could be worse.

However for a $2000 investment and 38million views on YouTube already you’ve got to say that it was a pretty damned good bit of business. I’m ‘looking forward’ to the follow-up release…

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Replacing Richard Keys & Andy Gray – a fortnight on…

So here we are a fortnight or so since Andy Gray was dismissed by Sky and Richard Keys followed him out of the door They are working together over on talkSPORT with a daily 10-1 show that is probably rather interesting. I will admit to not having listened to it but I think they’ve found a good home there and it was a great coup by the broadcaster to bring them on board but enough about them. This ramble is about what Sky have done to replace the face and one of the voices of Sky’s football coverage.

Presenting wise we’ve seen a three-headed monster of David Jones, Ed Chamberlain and Jeff Stelling. Ben Shephard has not really been asked to step up and this says a lot. I have always been a Ben Shephard fan but watching him on Goals on Sunday last Sunday it was cringing. He would interrupt guest Big Sam Allardyce all the time and not let him finish his point. Pretty shocking for a trained journalist certainly when you consider Chris Kamara sitting alongside him was never guilty of that. Bn Shephard has talents but he needs to learn (in my opinion) that people want to listen to the guests on a show and not the presenter. Just calm down and you’ll be great as you do ask good questions but seem to keen to answer them yourself.

So this leaves us with three and no surprise that Jeff Stelling is involved to some degree. Jeff is a class act but doesn’t want to build up a big portfolio of live football because of his Soccer Saturday and countdown commitments. If Jeff were to become the new face of football on Sky Sports then no-one would complain but I don’t see it going that way. So that leaves us with two.

And from those two I think I’m leaning on Ed Chamberlain’s side. I think he seems more at ease than David Jones (whom I’ve always liked) and I’m very interested to see how Ed develops over the next few weeks. David Jones I’d think has the inside track long-term if they hire in-house but after a couple of EPL weekends I think Ed is looking great. I still think they should go outside and bring in James Richardson but we’ll see what they do in the summer.

Replacing Andy Gray though has not been impressive with so far Alan McInally, Glenn Hoddle and Ray Wilkins all being asked to step up to a co-commentator role that they just aren’t suited for. Ray Wilkins did the Milan v Spurs game last night and just wasn’t great. Terrific studio pundit and I like him a lot in that role but I didn’t think he added any real insight sitting up on the gantry. Hoddle put his foot in his mouth and that won’t have gone down well in Sky and as for Alan McInally, another pundit I like but not sure he brings anything to the gantry. I’d still love Chris Kamara to be brought back as he was great on the football league a few years back.

Sadly great co-commentators are hard to find in football when you consider the likes of Craig ‘every ref is an idiot – every time’ Burley, ‘Mark ‘I like to complain at everything’ Bright and Chris ‘Whinges a lot’ Waddle are all getting a lot of live work on big fixtures. Jim Beglin is the best one out there but not sure Sky will go out and hire him. Much more likely to keep trying ex-pros to see which ones work and give you real insight during a game.

So replacing Keys doesn’t look like an issue but replacing Andy Gray still looks like something Sky have to worry about.

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Take Me Out – My ramble on the ITV1 love show.

We all have guilty pleasures in life. Whether they be chocolate and ice cream, long bubble baths, Jimmy Choo shoes or trashy TV. Everyone that knows me will know that trashy TV is something that I’ll watch. You can’t get trashier than Take Me Out on ITV1. For me it is easy Saturday night TV and if I’m out the Sky+ box goes into record mode. I’m not missing an episode of this show. My mate Dickie went to a recording of the show (Show 11 – so not this weeks but next weeks show) and I lambasted him for not inviting me. It also means I know who may well get a date this week…

Anyway on to the point of my blog. For those of you who’ve never seen it, first of all where have you been? Out having social lives I suspect and not sitting in alone watching trashy TV with a chinese. Ok so I don’t have a life… Moving swiftly on. For those of you who haven’t seen it basically four men a show will come out and try to get a date with one of 30 ladies on the show. These ladies range in age probably from early 20s through to shall we say late 40s. The ladies if they don’t like a man will turn their light off. They get three chances to do this. At the start after just seeing him, after seeing a video about him and then after the third round which is either the guy doing something to impress them or a video by family or friends (usually stitching them up). After this if there are any lights left on then he has a date. If there are more than two he has to turn off the lights of all the girls he doesn’t want to take on a date except two, then he’ll ask a question to them and they’ll come out with corny Blind Date answers and he’ll pick on to go on a date.

Sounds complicated but it is about as simple a viewing as you can get.

I enjoy it for a variety of reasons. I have heard before that people have turned their lights off before due to the fact the guy shared a name with a dog they once had or an ex. Are you really telling me that someone wouldn’t even entertain the notion of going on a date with someone due to their name? Apparently so. Also silly things like ‘he has big ears’ or ‘I don’t like his shoes’. Now call me thick but that’s shocking. Just come out and say ‘you’re not my cup of tea’ or something, don’t make up a terrible excuse. When people are ruling out potential dates for those reasons then I can see why some of these girls are single.

Also as an aside I seem to have learned from this show that if you are a Cage Fighter then you are more attractive than if you are a geek. Whodda thunk it? Also reading out poems doesn’t go down well – even if you only get to spurt out one line. Last week we saw a crossdresser on the show and seemingly women don’t go for men who like to be women – well not in public on national TV anyway. It was reported in the newspapers that he was actually gay. I’m just glad none of the women kept their light on in the end as that would not have been a good experience.

On to the stars of the show – the single ladies. We obviously only get a very brief snapshot of their personalities on the show but over the course of the series you start to get some sort of feeling for what they are like. Some of them you can see why they are single whereas some of them you just wonder if every guy that ever meet is a moron and can’t see how potentially awesome they are? Again I’ll put in the caveat that we only see that snapshot of their personality but still you do wonder.

Some of the ladies come across very differently to others and I won’t say a bad word about any of them – except one – Elle. I just don’t understand why she went on the show. She was on for two seconds, got a date and basically was a complete bitch throughout the date. Did she just go on to be on TV hoping she might get some publicity from it? That is the only reason I can think of. Some of the other girls or a bit too picky or come across a bit too desperate (anyone who watches the show will know who I mean there) but they all seem nice enough. Amongst the single ladies it surprises me just how low some of their confidences are.

Now I’ve been single an eon – my confidence is pretty darn low when it comes to women but I’m not going on any TV shows. To go on the show you surely must have some confidence deep down. Yet I get the sense of some of them that they really don’t believe in themselves and think that a guy will always pick someone else over them and that makes me sad that people think that way. Look I’m probably not one to talk but beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and if you read any forums you’ll see everyone having a different opinion about who is the nicest and who they would take on a date. So there is plenty of hope for us all!

I shall sum up this ramble on the show by having a quick word about who in my opinion come across as the ones I would like to date the most. We’ll start with someone who has left the show on a date and is still with the guy, Dawn. Dawn always seemed nice and on her date when she was worried about being and I quote ‘fat’ I just sat there and thought, ‘you are fine – you have nothing to worry about’. Gorgeous smile and face. Comes across as nice and without a doubt attractive. Delighted she has found something special on the show. Next up is Carol. Carol nearly got a date a few weeks ago but the idiot chose Elle instead. He knew he’d made a mistake straight away but such is life. Carol doesn’t come across as to clichéd or desperate. Happy to wait for someone she likes. Very attractive and down to earth. What more could a guy want? She got a date last week so we’ll see how that went on Saturday.

And lastly there is Jo Jo. What is there to say about Jo Jo? To describe her using her own favourite expression she is ‘mint’. One of those people who is drop dead gorgeous without even knowing it. She looks around at other women and sees them all as great and at times you get the feeling that she thinks she can’t compete. She has probably had her light turned off more than anyone (except Lucy) and I suppose it must sap at the moralé. However not only is she stunning she seems like a regular lass and not a prima donna. Someone that you would take home to meet the family without even blinking about what they might think. Any guy would be lucky to take her out and hopefully after seeing the positive feedback she’s getting on forums etc… she’ll realise that.

I’m sure there are others but they are the three that stand out. Stacey seems like a good egg, Heidi has her charm and Lucy, well even I think that she tries a little bit too hard but still.

And there we go. First of all – no I’m not ever going to apply for the show – I would get no lights left on and would only get some Paddy Loving and secondly I do respect any guy or girl who does go on Take Me Out as it must be quite a weird and unnerving environment. Big props to you all for helping keep five million of us entertained every Saturday Night.

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