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More crazy frogs on TV…

…as the French go to the polls in their referendum on the EU Constitution. My jokes never improve on this site, do they?

For all the coverage of the vote in today’s Sundays, there seems little point in commenting until the decision is made and announced. But, hey, this is a comment site so I feel somewhat obliged. The Grauniad website has published a 7pm update, as most of the polls across France close. It looks fairly clear that this is going to be a ‘Non’ vote, unless everyone has followed this voter’s lead:

Katia Volman, a 22-year-old student, left her ballot blank, saying the issues were too complicated to fully digest. “I had so many reasons to vote yes or no so I left it blank and that way I won’t regret my decision two days later,” she said.

Shortly afterwards, she returned herself to her usual wooden box, which she locks herself in night and day, claiming that the world is too complicated and she doesn’t want to do anything in life that she might later regret. The reason being that she wants Edith Piaf singing ‘Je ne regrette rein’ at her funeral. Or perhaps I’m just being cruel.

The Sindie says much the same thing; the Torygraph manage to write a full article on the referendum without mentioning Tony Blair, which is fairly impressive, even in their Q&A about what will happen if the French vote ‘Non’. At the other end of the spectrum, the first word in the Times’s article is ‘BRITAIN’.

Other newspaper websites lead on clearly much more important stories than the future of Europe: ‘Has Cilla been jilted for a young blonde?’ – The Mail; ‘Posh and Becks [sic] bubbly boozathon’ – The Mirror; and ‘Huntley’s devil woman’ – The Sun.

I also nearly forgot to mention that the Guardian has a rather exciting game, to explain the various different possible outcomes of the referendum, on it’s website. Exciting, of course, if you like that sort of thing. Which I’m not ashamed to admit I do. Well, a little bit ashamed, I guess.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

Attorney General: Before and After

Lord Goldsmith, our Attorney GeneralWhen trying to decide what exactly the document Lord Goldsmith produced and put before the House of Commons before the vote on the War in Iraq actually was, it would seem sensible to consult it’s author directly. Not surprisingly, when the Daily Telegraph interviewed him earlier this week, they did, and received the following response:

I never said it was a summary.

Except, if we flip back to November 2003 in Hansard, then he was, erm, saying it was a summary:

This statement was a summary of my view of the legal position

So he did say it was a summary, whether he likes it or not.

To provide you with a summary of my own: When the full document was secret, his document was a summary; Once the full text was released and everyone could compare, it suddenly wasn’t a summary. Funny, that.

We know that the Blair government likes massaging the facts a little, but here he’s on record as directly contradicting himself. He’s absolutely doubtlessly proven as lying. Yet, far from resigning, he hasn’t even been sent out into the frenzied world of the media to apologise, or even clarify his comments. And all of this from a government which promised to be ‘whiter than white’.

If we were observing a developing nation with a government that was lying about the process of deciding about launching an internationally condemned war, not only would we have a few nasty things to say about said government, but there would be those in our government who would want military action taken against it. And yet when it’s people in their own government doing it, they don’t seem to mind quite as much. Talk about double-standards.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

More on Su Doku

Having now completed The Times Su Doku Book One, I’ve now bought and moved on to Book Two – which is available now, even though it isn’t technically scheduled to be released until 6th June. Sadly, the people at The Times have clearly not had the time to write another introduction or foreword to the second book, as those pages are direct copies from the first. But there are 100 new puzzles, and that would seem to be the most important things.

Also available now is the Telegraph’s Sudoku book, which I haven’t had a proper chance to look at and see whether or not it is much good. Forthcoming titles in this crazy world of puzzle mania include: The Times Su Doku Book Three, The Big Book of Su Doku, The Telegraph Sudoku 2, and The Official Su Doku Puzzle Book: The Utterly Addictive Number-Placing Game, Book 1. I think it’s fairly clear to see that this simple puzzle is turning into a publishing craze, as well as a newspaper craze.

Since I last wrote on this topic, The Guardian have launched a Sudoku section of their website, joining those of The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, and very possible many others that I’ve missed. The Times and The Sun also now allow you to download Su Doku to your mobile phone.

The Su Doku craze must surely be reaching its peak by now. Even as someone who’s been playing the puzzle for some time, it’s becoming quite tiresome to hear about it constantly. And I even feel obliged to come on here and write about it, because it’s all over the media. I hear that there are even plans to make it into a television show. But for those of you who aren’t tired of the craze, you can click on any of the book titles above to buy them from Amazon, and I’ll get a nice kick-back to keep the site up and running.

Of course, the most interesting question here is not so much about the puzzle itself, as much as it is about why it has become quite as popular as it has. It’s clearly got something to do with the fact that the rules are simple, there is a big feeling of satisfactation upon completing the puzzle, and there’s no prior knowledge required. But that logic could be applied to any number of number puzzles. If the books weren’t making bestseller lists, I would insist that the puzzle isn’t as popular as it appears, and that it’s all a media ploy to get people to buy a particular newspaper. But that suggestion isn’t borne out by the evidence. So why is this craze happening? And how long will it last? As with all things, only time will tell.

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.




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