Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2012

Solving Rugby Scrums

Over 18 minutes of the 80 minute international between Wales and Scotland this year was taken up by scrums. There were probably only a dozen or so of them, but they kept breaking down and having to be reset. In monetary terms, a ticket costs £80 - that's £18 per person x 80,000 at Twickenham = about £1.5m that rugby fans paid the RFU to watch failed scrums in that match - and that doesn't include Sky subscriptions etc. Unfortunately this has become a regular feature of the professional game, and is exceptionally boring for spectators. Unfortunately it's also impossible for most people, other than perhaps the front row of the packs, but certainly including the referee and touch judges, to know what is going wrong. Generally the referee will get bored and award a random penalty to one side or the other in the hope that it will 'encourage les autres' and show he means business. This might then result in a team gaining 3 points for fictitious reasons with a 50% probabil

Mixed Metaphors

They say one of the secrets of a good marriage is never being bored by your partner. During the course of our marriage I have been collecting what are largely a series of my wife's mixed metaphors which might normally slip by unnoticed, but which for some reason, don't quite sound right. After a double take I realise their genius and jot them down. Some are not mixed metaphors but actually malapropisms, spoonerisms, or delightful figures of speech all of their own. The joy is that her mind works so fast, she finds and combines two figures of speech in the time most of us might struggle for one. But the best talent of all is to throw caution to the wind and launch them into the world whether they have ever been uttered before or not - and especially whether they are physically possible or not. The result is a magical combination of ideas that are far more evocative than either of the original sayings, as well as being more meaningful and infinitely more colourful than the underl