The new Old Firm
Well that must have been the worst FA Cup final in its 135-year history.
It was built up as something special, mainly because it was the first at the new Wembley, but only proved what a sorry state English football is now in.
I was cheering for Chelsea - who eventually won with a goal, five minutes from the end of extra-time. This wasn't because of any allegiance to Chelsea - because I don't have any - but it was nice to see Manchester United brought down a peg or two.
Remember this is the team who, a few years ago, announced that they would not be entering the FA Cup in that particular season, effectively saying they had become too big for the competition. As the team most responsible for devaluing the FA Cup in recent years, they clearly didn't deserve to have the glory of being the first new Wembley winners.
The only real entertainment value in two solid hours of mediocrity came from seeing Christiano Ronaldo flop. Just lately, everybody has been raving about him being player of the year and even - if you can believe this - comparing him to Pele and Maradona. Throughout all this I've stuck by my view that he's the most over-rated player ever. Some people, who have clearly believed all the hype, have scoffed at this, but I can now rest my case. Just as in the recent European Cup tie against AC Milan, when United were outclassed and you could have been excused for thinking that Ronaldo had missed the team bus, so he was completely ineffective today.
To be a great player you need to do it in the big games - and he doesn't. Even I could score goals against the Middlesbroughs and Fulhams of this world if I had Rooney, Giggs and Scholes to give me the ball or turn a poor cross into a bad one.
What we now have in our league is what they've always had in Scotland - and that's not much to get excited about. United and Chelsea have become the Celtic and Rangers of the Premier League, and as I told Sean, just before Drogba rescued us from the another pathetic penalty shoot-out - just think: if we had Sky Sports, we could watch this every week.
A bit of a pig
Continuing the theme of being unimpressed, I've just finished reading a book called The Pig That Wants to be Eaten, which promised alot but mostly failed to deliver.
It's a collection of a hundred 'thought experiments' in which author Julian Baggini - a bit of a philosophy boffin, apparently - throws up moral and logical dilemmas and gives a bit of a commentary about possible answers to them.
Sadly, most of the 'thought experiments' are pretty uninspiring, especially as many of them are science fiction which require fantastic leaps in technology to be viable, such as brain transplants. He argues that these still have parallels in the real world, although I'm not convinced that they do, and it seems pretty futile to consider them.
The best ones are the logic puzzles, but I can only remember two of these without dipping into the book again. One argues that it's very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to make a 'surprise visit'. Briefly, the idea is that if I am a hygiene inspector and I tell a restaurant that I am going to make a surprise visit, sometime in the next month, logically speaking it's not possible to surprise them. You can rule out the last day of the month because if you turned up then, it wouldn't be a surprise because they'd know you were coming since there's only one day left. The same logic can therefore be applied to the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, and so on.
As sad as it is, these are the sort of things that I sometimes lie awake, thinking about, but there isn't much in the book that I'd lose much sleep over.
Much more interesting is trying to come up with your own 'thought experiments'. One they could have included - which also neatly fits in with the pig theme of the title - is something that my old sports editor, Alan Johnson, once said. It's worth remembering as a philosophy because it can be applied to many everyday situations, especially in Britain Today... You can't educate pork.
Re-reading the above, I sound like I'm in a real strop, and I haven't even trashed The Kaiser Chiefs yet.
Actually, if I'd written this a couple of weeks ago, when I first bought their new album, I'd have needed only two words to sum up Yours Truly, The Angry Mob: utter rubbish.
This is all part of my new policy of trying out new music because a) there must be some good new stuff out there and b) my recent experience of discovering The Bees' new album, Octopus - which gets even better, every time I listen to it - proves that a) is right.
I'd been at least partly impressed by two Kaiser Chiefs singles (I Predict a Riot, despite crappy verses, and Ruby) which is why they were chosen as the latest guinea pigs for my great experiment.
After the disappointment of the first hearing, I decided you could at least remove the 'utter' from my original assessment, and a third listening has improved it again, but only so that the name of one of the tracks could be used to sum it all up, if I was feeling really cynical. It's called Everything is Average Nowadays.
A lot of these new groups seem, to me, to be trying to sound like Swindon's finest, XTC, who I still maintain have been vastly under-rated. A couple of the Kaiser Chief tracks sound so much like XTC, in fact, that I'm convinced that it's a direct rip-off attempt.
But whereas XTC were capable of blinding lyrics, The Kaiser Chiefs really don't have a clue. Boxing Champ - a surprising slow one that had the potential to be something special - begins: We went to the youth club/And we looked out of place/I didn't know where to look/So I looked at your face. Now, you sometimes have to be careful that the lyrics aren't deliberately naive, but this is roughly typical of the rest of the lyrics on the album, so I'm on fairly safe ground.
Compare this with the poetry of XTC: It's raining on the beach/She's inches close but out of reach/The waves look painted on/Seagulls screaming, 'Kiss her, kiss her'/The sea is warship grey/It whispers 'fool' then slides away/Black coastline slumbers on/Seagulls screaming, 'Kiss her, kiss her'.
Now, what else can I give a good panning?...