10.7.08

Hard Work never killed anyone

Says who?

Apparently, in Japan it's so popular, they have a name for it - karoshi.

7.7.08

How to know you're ready for parenthood.....

MESS TEST: Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Now rub your hands in the wet flower bed and rub on the walls. Cover the stains with crayons. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

TOY TEST: Obtain a 55-gallon box of LEGOs. (If LEGOs are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks or broken bottles.) Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream (this could wake a child at night).

SUPERMARKET TEST: Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at Asda or Tesco. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

DRESSING TEST: Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff it into a small net bag making sure that all arms stay inside.

FEEDING TEST: Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill it halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Get the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

NIGHT TEST: Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 to 12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8 PM begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9 PM. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 PM. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing them until 4:00 AM. Set alarm for 5:00 AM. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

PHYSICAL TEST (WOMEN): Obtain a large beanbag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10% of the beans.

PHYSICAL TEST (MEN): Go to the nearest pharmacy. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest supermarket. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their child's discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and table manners. Suggest many things they can improve as well. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run riot. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you'll have all the answers.

2.7.08

What did you just say?

My little girl has become a chatterbox. Anything you say, she will repeat. For a while now, she has been saying the names of every single child in her class, including their surnames.

Some weeks ago, while looking in the mirror, she pointed to herself and called her name. Her full name. It was the first time that I heard her mention her surname. And she butchered it.

You see, she had learnt her name from her teachers in school. And they obviously couldn't pronounce our surname properly. When I mentioned this to my wife, she did say that they asked her to teach them how to pronounce it just a few days before. She did her best, but left them still trying and not succeeding.

But what can we do? She spends over 9 hours a day at the nursery, so that is where she has learnt most of her speech, and we have tried to teach her the correct name, but she seems to prefer her pronounciation.

All of a sudden, I feel useless. I've seen African kids who can't pronounce their own names, in fact, I know a few (I might be related to some). And I've seen a few who speak with Birtish accents, but when it comes to their own names, they get the pronounciation spot on. I was hoping our little girl would be in the seond category, but it's looking very unlikely.

So, is it a bad thing? I don't know. But I guess this is what happens when you decide to raise kids in a foreign country. And I'm sure this is the first of many similar situations I'll have to face over the next few years.

1.7.08

Paul Ince - The Guv'nor !!

Following on from my last post, it's great to see Paul Ince take the job of manager at Blackburn Rovers, becoming the first ever English black man to manage a club in the top flight of English football. (Ruud Gullit and Jean Tigana were 1st and 2nd black managers respectively).

However, Paul Ince needed special dispensation to take the job, as he does not have the required qualifications to manage a club in the top flight.

Now, make no mistake, Ince has excelled in his two previous jobs at Macclesfield and MK Dons. And when he started managing, he was talking about going all the way to the top, hopefully managing Inter Milan one day.

What surprises me is that he has been managing for two years, and has not managed to get any of the UEFA badges. You see, to manage in the premiership, you need a UEFA Pro License, which is the highest qualification you can get. But you can also get a lesser 'A' badge or a 'B' badge when you start coaching. I read in the press that last year, Paul Ince was meant to go to college to get his 'B' badge, however, he didn't turn up, and went golfing instead. And Roy Keane, who only just retired, has already completed his qualifications.

For someone who wanted to manage at the top, I'm surprised he didn't prepare for the role. He's been retired for years, and could have taken his badges a lot earlier. Current and recently retired players are already talking about getting their badges, Stephane Henchoz started his while still playing for Blackburn, and Steven Gerrard has been thinking about doing his for a while. Neil Lennon is starting his A badge this summer.

Make no mistake about it, the UEFA Pro License is hard work. Generally, the course takes a year to complete, with 240 hours of work to be put in. Prospective coaches are taught on their handling of top-class players, their use of the latest technology, and their abilities to deal with off-the-field problems. The English course begins in June with a 10-day residential period at Warwick University.

Glen Roeder and Gareth Southgate are both working towards obtaining their qualifications, after being given dispensation to manage with it in the past. And we hear that Ince should be one of the last people to take a job in the premier league without one.

We have another black former player in the shape of John Barnes, who is claiming that the only reason why he has not been offered another management job since he was in charge of Celtic, is because he's black. However, I don't see his name on the list of holders of the UEFA Pro license. For all I know, he may have an A or a B badge. However, if someone in the premiership decides to offer him a job tomorrow, he won't be able to take it, because he's not ready. They say opportunity knocks but once. I've heard another expression, 'If opportunity doesn't knock, then build a door.' or 'Chance favours the prepared mind'.

Both Paul Ince and John Barnes were great footballers. And Ince has done really well as a manager. But both would be wise to follow Roy Keane's example, and prepare for the future in good time.

N.B. Just realised that Roy Keane's name is not on the list of managers who have the qualification. However, I don't remember the Premier League making a special case for him unlike Glen Roeder, Gareth Southgate, Avram Grant and of course Paul Ince, so I assume he has it.