Archive for August, 2018

All-Ireland Hurling Finals Day

Posted in Sport with tags , , on August 19, 2018 by telescoper

Just a quick post to note that today is a huge day on the sporting calendar here in Ireland. It’s the final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship, which will be between holders Galway and Limerick, at Croke Park in Dublin.

It will take some doing for this match to be as exciting as the Semi-Final I watched a few weeks ago in a pub in Maynooth, but you never know. That game ended in a draw, and Galway won the Replay. The other semifinal was also a cracker, with Limerick winning in extra time. Galway are favourites to win the game, but there seems to be more support around these parts for the green of Limerick than the maroon of Galway.

Anyway, if you’re bored this afternoon, and have access to cable or satellite TV, then I suggest having a look. If you’ve never seen hurling before then the first thing that strikes you is the phenomenal speed at which the game is played. The sliotar (ball) can travel from one end of the pitch to the other in a second and the players have to be extremely fit. Brave too. This is definitely not a game for faint hearts!

There was heavy rain last night but it has passed over and it should be a good game. I’m sure the atmosphere will be brilliant in the stadium, but Ill be happy to watch in the pub (although it’s sure to be crowded).

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Humphrey Lyttelton & Elkie Brooks – Trouble in Mind

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , on August 18, 2018 by telescoper

Mention the name Elkie Brooks to people of my generation or older and most will think of her popular hits from the late 1970s, especially Pearl’s A Singer which made the UK Top Ten in 1977. Elkie Brooks has however had a long and very distinguished career as a Jazz and Blues singer, including regular performances over the years with trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton and his band. This particular track was recorded in 2002, when Humph was already in his eighties, but I think it’s a lovely performance so I thought I’d share it here.

Trouble in Mind is a very familiar tune that has been recorded countless times by jazz musicians. In fact an earlier manifestation of Humph’s Band made a very nice instrumental version way back in 1950 which I have on an old Parlophone 78. The tune is usually credited to Richard M. Jones, but it has its roots in much older spirituals and folk songs. There are a couple of things worth mentioning about it despite it being so well known.. Although Trouble in Mind is a blues, it is a slightly unusual one because it’s an eight-bar blues rather than the more usual twelve-bar variety. The other thing is that there’s something about this tune that suits a rhythm accompaniment in sixth notes, as exemplified by drummer Adrian Macintosh on this track when the vocal starts.

There’s also some fine trombone on this (by Pete Strange) and a nice bit of banter from Humph at the beginning. Enjoy!

Cosmology Big Brother

Posted in Television, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on August 17, 2018 by telescoper

I saw on Twitter today that the new series of Celebrity Big Brother has just started, though looking at the list of inmates housemates, I’m not sure whether the producers of this show understand the meaning of the word `celebrity’. At any rate, I’ve never heard of most of them.

I get the feeling that the Big Brother franchise may be getting a little tired, so I thought I’d pitch a new variant in order to boost the flagging ratings.

In Cosmology Big Brother a group of wannabe cosmologists live together in a specially-constructed house (with lots of whiteboards) isolated from the outside world (i.e. the arXiv). As the series progresses the furniture and rooms are gradually moved further apart, the temperature of the central heating is turned down, and the contents of the house become progressively more disordered.

Housemates are regularly voted out, at which point they have to enter the `real world’ (i.e. get a job in data science). Eventually only one person remains and whoever that is is awarded a research grant. They can then spend the rest of their life combining their study of cosmology with the usual activities of a Big Brother winner, e.g. opening supermarkets.

Being and Blogging

Posted in Biographical on August 16, 2018 by telescoper

I saw this cartoon in The Oldie (which I buy for the crossword) and it really struck home. I can think of quite a few occasions when I’ve met a complete stranger who, by being a reader this blog, seemed to know more about me than I do!

There have been a few times when I’ve posted personal things on here that I probably should have kept to myself. On the other hand, a lot of things have happened over the last ten years or do that I haven’t even mentioned on here. Believe me, you don’t want to know!

I know I’ve also written tactless items about things I would have been wiser to have left alone and have sometimes caused offence as a result. Everybody makes mistakes, of course, but if you make them on the internet they’re in the public domain forever. Part of the problem is that it’s do easy to forget that people actually read this stuff!

On the other hand, I do think at least some of the items I’ve posted have had a positive effect and that, in my mind at least, far outweighs the negatives.

Anyway, this rambling post is just a product of the process I go through from time to time, wondering how much longer I want to keep this blog going. I still don’t know the answer..

The Problem of the Moving Triangle

Posted in Cute Problems, mathematics with tags , , on August 16, 2018 by telescoper

I found this nice geometric puzzle a few days ago on Twitter. It’s not too hard, but I thought I’d put it in the `Cute Problems‘ folder.

In the above diagram, the small equilateral triangle moves about inside the larger one in such a way that it keeps the orientation shown. What can you say about the sum a+b+c?

Answers through the comments box please, and please show your working!

Say A Little Prayer

Posted in Music with tags on August 15, 2018 by telescoper

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is gravely ill. You could do worse than say a little prayer for her…

Update: I’ve just heard the sad news that Aretha Franklin died today (Thursday 16th August 2018)  at her home.

R.I.P. the Queen of Soul.

Results Day Advice!

Posted in Education with tags , , , , on August 15, 2018 by telescoper

Today’s the day in Ireland that students get the results of their school Leaving Certificate examinations and, over the other side of the Irish Sea, tomorrow is when A-level results come out. For many there will be joy at their success, and I particularly look forward to meeting those who made their grades to get into Maynooth University shortly.

Others will no doubt receive some disappointing news.

For those of you who didn’t get the grades you needed or expected, I have one piece of very clear advice:

1-dont-panic

In particular, if you didn’t get the Leaving Certificate points you needed for entry to your first University in Ireland or the A-levels needed to do likewise in the United Kingdom, do not despair. There are always options.

For example, in Ireland, you could try looking at alternative choices on the Available Courses, where any places remaining unfilled in particular courses after all offers have been made and the waiting lists of applicants meeting minimum entry requirements have been exhausted, will be advertised.

In the United Kingdom the Clearing system will kick into operation this week. It’s very well organized and student-friendly, so give it a go if you didn’t make your offer.