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Have some respect for your arteries!

First we had the deep fried Mars Bar, reportedly  invented in 1995 in the Haven Chip Bar (now the Carron), in Stonehaven near Aberdeen.  Originally a novelty item it has now become synonymous with Scotland’s notoriously unhealthy diet.   After an item on the Channel4 programme, the Big Breakfast, chip shops around the country started putting it on their menus.  One phone call to a local paper and in the space of just a few days a bit of fun between a chip shop owner and some local children in a Scottish fishing town, the dish was transformed into a global cultural and gastronomic phenomenon. The product is “not authorised or endorsed” by Mars Inc.

But like all phenomenons, there is always someone who wants to take the theme still further and today we read that an ex-pat Brit, Chris Sell from Rugby, Warwickshire, who has a  New York chip shop, has come up with this “tasty” treat to satisfy hungry Brits living in the Big Apple who love fish and chips and a traditional fry-up – a 1,200 calorie battered sandwich with a full English breakfast filling!

             

Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of anything deep fried makes me cringe!  On the rare occasions I do find myself having a fish and chip supper I always strip the fish of all the batter before eating but I do know people who love this type of fatty food – each to their own.

However, why ruin a perfectly good English breakfast by wrapping it in batter?  This type of heart attack on a plate needs to be consigned to the nearest dustbin – unless you’ve got a hangover of course when I’m sure it will hit the spot nicely!   And the next big decision you will need to make?  Will it be red or brown sauce with that?!?

Give us a smile … you’ve won!

This morning Andy Murray is $1.9m better off after [finally] winning a Grand Slam and in doing so has ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion with an epic victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.   Murray, 25, emulated Fred Perry’s 1936 achievement, winning 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in four hours 54 minutes in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York.  Beating the world number two and defending champion makes him the first British man to win an Olympic gold and the US Open in the same year.

It was incredible that Murray served out the championship 76 years to the day – on the same court – that Perry won the first of eight major singles crowns but I should imagine the 4 hours and 54 minutes that it took were the longest of his life!

Murray had plenty of noteworthy fans in the stands cheering him on, including a pair of Scots who crashed his news conference after his semi-final: actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.   Also spotted in the crowd were Patrick Stewart and Kevin Spacey.

For the last few points everyone was on their feet, desperately hoping that they were just about to witness something special and for once they weren’t disappointed.  As Andy sank to his knees, the relief on his face was palpable and I swear there was just the smallest hint of a smile on his face.  He did say in his post match interview that he was “smiling on the inside” but as usual it didn’t quite make it to his mouth!

A fabulous end to a great summer of sport for the UK and a belief that maybe, just maybe, we’re getting better at this sport malarkey!

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Keeping it simple

This picture is doing the rounds on the social networks today – a great advert for the Glasgow subway I think – You may just go round in circles but at least you can’t get lost!

A sad day for me

Had things turned out differently, today would have been the day that I flew off to New York for the trip of a lifetime. This afternoon I would have been in Times Square soaking up the atmosphere and checking out where the best places were to eat and shop.

Instead, I am here in Glasgow, the weather miserable which pretty much matches my mood. Oh well … onwards and upwards … maybe next year?

‘Ground Zero Mosque’? The reality is less provocative

Things seem awfully heated in America just now; so heated you could probably toast a slice of bread by jabbing it on a stick and holding it toward the Atlantic.  As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, millions are hopping mad over the news that a bunch of triumphant Muslim extremists are about to build a “victory mosque” slap bang in the middle of Ground Zero. 

The professional exaggerators who initially raised objections to the “Ground Zero Mosque” keep calling it the “Ground Zero Mosque”, incidentally, because it’s a catchy title that paints a powerful image – specifically, the image of a mosque at Ground Zero.

When I first heard about it, I imagined it was just a rumour that had grown arms and legs in the telling – I was wrong.  The “Ground Zero Mosque” is a genuine proposal, but it’s slightly less provocative than its critics’ nickname makes it sound. For one thing, it’s not at Ground Zero.  Also, it isn’t a mosque.

Wait, it gets less interesting. It’s not being built by extremists either. Cordoba House, as it’s known, is a proposed Islamic cultural centre, which, in addition to a prayer room, will include a basketball court, restaurant, and swimming pool. Its aim is to improve inter-faith relations. It’ll probably also have comfy chairs and people who smile at you when you walk in the door.

To get to the Cordoba Centre from Ground Zero, you’d have to walk in the opposite direction for two blocks, before turning a corner and walking a bit more. The journey should take roughly two minutes, or possibly slightly longer if you’re heading an angry mob who can’t hear your directions over the sound of their own enraged yelling.

New York is a densely populated city and there are lots of other buildings and businesses within two blocks of Ground Zero, including a McDonald’s and a Burger King, neither of which has yet been accused of serving burgers and chips on sacred ground. Nevertheless, for the opponents of Cordoba House, two blocks is too close, full stop. However, they haven’t produced a map pinpointing precisely how close is OK.

That’s literally what I’d ask them given the opportunity.  I’d stand there pointing at a map. That hasn’t happened. Instead, 70% of Americans are opposed to the “Ground Zero Mosque”, presumably in many cases because they’ve been led to believe it literally is a mosque at Ground Zero.

According to a recent poll, one in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though he isn’t. A quarter of those who believe he’s a Muslim also claimed he talks about his faith too much. Americans aren’t stupid. Clearly these particular Americans have either gone insane or been seriously misled. Where are they getting their information?

Sixty per cent said they learned it from the media. Which means it’s time for the media to give up.  Seriously, give up now because either you’re making things worse or no one’s paying attention anyway!

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