Black and Blue

New Zealand vs Scotland

I found it hard to watch the Scotland v New Zealand match today, part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, which ended with NZ beating Scotland by 40 points to nil.

It wasn’t because I knew that they’d lose, I mean I literally found it hard to watch the match because their jerseys were so similar.

Scotland v New Zealand

Who on earth decided that they should play in those colours?! I found it hard to differentiate the teams, I can only imagine how difficult it was for the match officials to make split-second decisions when their colours were so close. I used to work in a textile mill in Selkirk, and sorting out similar batches of navy and black was incredibly difficult.

Scotland were in their home strip, which is a predominantly navy shirt, with patches of silver-blue hatching, navy shorts and navy socks. New Zealand were in their new away strip which is black and silver-blue, with black shorts and black socks.

I think that New Zealand should have played in their all black strip, and Scotland in their white ‘away’ strip. It would have made watching the game much, much easier.

Result

As for the result, I think Scotland did remarkably well to hold New Zealand to such a low win. Their defence in the second half was tremendous, especially for a second team (many of Scotland’s key players sitting out to prepare for the match against Italy next weekend).

I thought that New Zealand were very disappointing in places: missed and dropped passes, failure to spot otherwise obvious routes through the defence, unnecessary knock-ons. I usually go into a Scotland v NZ game resigned to the fact that Scotland will lose but at least I’ll get to watch some elegant and beautifully executed rugby. It was refreshing not to see that because NZ appeared to be rattled at times by the Scottish defence.

It’s encouraging to see that of the three teams the Kiwis have played so far ours had the lowest points difference:

NZ Score Score Opponent Difference
New Zealand 76 14 Italy 62
New Zealand 108 13 Portugal 95
New Zealand 40 0 Scotland 40

I’m looking forward to Scotland v Italy next weekend at St Etienne on Saturday 29 September. I think I’m right in saying that Scotland need to either win or draw to stay in the competition. We can’t afford to lose.

But before that we have eight more games to enjoy. England v Tonga will be good to watch. You see, that’s what’s so exciting about supporting Scotland at rugby — you get to be passionate about two teams: Scotland and anyone that’s playing England! ;)

Climate change and the British Empire

Map of the British Empire
The British Empire in 1897, marked in pink, the traditional colour for Imperial British dominions on maps. (Map courtesy of Wikipedia)

I have a theory about climate change — have you noticed that people don’t call it “global warming” anymore? My theory is simply that climate change was invented by British scientists. Let me explain.

Now, when I say “invented” I don’t mean made up, as in ‘fictitious’ or ‘not-real’. After all Sir Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and I’ve paid enough money on phone bills over the years to know (sometimes painfully) just how real that invention was.

You see, I think it goes back to the fact that once upon a time we had an Empire. The British Empire: it was the big pink bits that covered most maps of the world.

Back in the 15th century when the hobby began and European countries started collecting colonies Britain was a dominant force.

As late as the early 1920s, the British Empire was the largest empire in the history of mankind. It made Alexander the Great’s effort around the Mediterranean look a bit half-hearted. Britain was the dominant global power, ruling over 458 million people: almost a quarter of the world’s population and a quarter of its land mass. That’s a lot of people, a lot of land and a heck of a lot of influence.

And then over the last sixty to seventy years we lost most of it, frittered it away. Largely, in the words of Eddie Izzard, by using phrases like “Oh … do you think so?”

What’s left of the British Empire, or the Commonwealth of Nations as it is now called, is now restricted mostly to countries that beat us regularly at cricket or rugby. And Canada.

A bit of a let down, really, for a once mighty nation. Britain needed something new, something to make them a world leader once more. And I think they found it.

What is it that Britons do better than anyone else in the world? I’ll tell you: no matter where in the British Isles you visit you can guarantee that people of all ages and abilities — old, young, rich, poor, friend or stranger: everyone — talks about the weather.

We’ve been talking about the weather since before the rise of the British Empire.

Raleigh: I hear that we’ve acquired a new island for our empire.

Gilbert: Oh really?

Raleigh: Yes. Off the coast of Africa, I believe.

Gilbert: Tremendous! I bet it’s warmer there than here.

Raleigh: I’ll say. The weather here’s been bitterly disappointing. And they call this summer, huh!

Just this morning, while I was at church in Newport-on-Tay, I heard at least two conversations within one hour about the weather.

We’re great at it, and thanks to British scientists we’ve now taken that greatness to the rest of the world. Now everyone is speaking about the weather, from the Arctic to Zambia, Zimbabwe to America … okay, maybe not America but everyone else is.

There ought to be a new map created showing which countries now have the weather as their number one topic of conversation. Maybe they could colour those areas of the map pink.

Doesn’t it once again make you feel proud to be British.

Deleted Images

View out of a window

If Flickr is about sharing your best photographs with the rest of the world, then Deleted Images: The junkyard of art is about sharing your worst.

The idea is simple:

DeletedImages.com brings unsharp, moved, blurry and unfocused pictures back to life. So before you delete you images on your camera. Have another look and start sharing what you would have deleted with the rest of the world.

I’ve got a collection of similar types of photos in my days of using real 35mm film. Somehow I was loath to bin them. These photos captured something unrehearsed, unposed and natural.

I should dig them out, scan them and create a special category on my Flickr account, or submit them to Deleted Images.

Why not submit your worst photos today!

Christian vs Christ-follower

There’s an interesting Christian vs Christ-follower debate going on in Christian (or should that be Christ-following) circles just now.

It seems to be an attempt to reclaim the message and person of Jesus of Nazareth — Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah — from popular Church culture. A refocus on what following Jesus is really about.

Christianity is about

  • a personal relationship with Jesus
  • putting Jesus first in everything you do
  • following Jesus in your every day life, in everything you do
  • demonstrating who Jesus is by the way that you live your life, the way that you speak, the respect that you give others

Christianity is not about

  • focusing on the external signs of living in the Church sub-culture (e.g. wearing WWJD wrist bands, listening only to Christian bands like Delirious?
  • simply attending Church week-in-week out
  • simply believing without putting your faith into action (see Epistle of St James for details)

It’s not about how you look on the outside (wearing the right clothes to go to church), it’s about offering who you are on the inside to Jesus.

Caveat

And while there is something good and healthy about this drive — anything that truly helps people to reconnect their relationship with Jesus has to be a good thing — I wouldn’t want folks to get the message that everything about the current Church culture is bad; that all Christians who attend Church do not try to follow Jesus closely.

There is a wealth of riches in the Church today, some of which get obscured sadly by emphases on buildings, committees, ‘flavours’ of worship and at worst scandal.

So much of what can be regarded as church traditions are simply frameworks for helping us to engage with God; like windows to look out of onto one particular aspect of who God is. The problem is when you stop looking through the window and start staring at the window itself.

I’m a Christ Follower (Mac vs PC parody)

Here are a few video examples of what I’ve been clumsily trying to describe. The following are made by Community Christian Church in Chigago.

Christian vs Christ Follower

The following YouTube clip comes with the following disclaimer:

The purpose of this video is not, in any way, to create division. It is not intended to say that Christianity is bad or that all Christians are bad.

The intent was to say that following a set of Christian ideals or traditions without Christ being the true focus, following Christianity rather than following after Christ himself, is not what a relationship with Christ is all about.

(Christian vs. Christ Follower on YouTube.)

Your thoughts?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about these videos.

I’ll read them after I get back from Church, where I’ll be wearing my WWJD wristband under my cassock-alb and quietly singing Delirious? songs under my breath during the hymns! ;)