Mark#38 – Manchester Super-Casino…Great News for UFC Fans??

January 30, 2007

It was announced today that Manchester has beaten off competition from, among others, London’s Millennium Dome and Blackpool to become the location for Britain’s first ‘Super-Casino’!

For sure the debate will now rage about whether a Vegas-style casino will be a good or bad move for the city. On the one hand it will bring investment, employment, rejuvenation to a down-trodden part of the city, and much-needed entertainment facilities. On the other hand casinos are synonomous with vice, corruption and gambling addiction.

But I, for one, am thrilled at the news for one very big reason. As a huge fan of ultimate fighting, I’m hoping that this super-casino will become the UK base for future UFC events!


Apparently UFC 70 will be held at the Manchester Evening News Arena  this coming April (I’ll be first in line for tickets), but surely a Vegas-style arena will go some way to tempting the organisers to have events here more regularly. I wouldn’t be suprised if Zuffa LLC (the owners of the UFC and various casino interests) are already weighing up how to get a piece of the action.


Mark#37 – Rome is Where the Art is

January 29, 2007

I’ve been meaning to post some photos from our honeymoon for a long time now, but it’s always seemed like such a daunting task. Downloading all the pictures to the laptop, organising them into some kind of order, giving each photo a descriptive file name, choosing which ones to put online, uploading them to the blog, writing a boring blog posting to describe the entire process….

But anyway, I’ve finally got around to doing it. Well, kind of. This is sort of a part one of four when it comes to our honeymoon – part two will be Florence, part three will be Venice, and part four will be photos of April and I – so I suppose I’m only really a quarter of the way through.

These are some of my favourite photos that we took in Rome. The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, St. Peter’s BasilicaVatican City, the Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angleo and the River Tiber are all included.

 Just click on the thumbnails to see the bigger versions.


Mark#36 – Gonna Be on TV!

January 24, 2007

One of my five New Years Challenges was to get myself on TV at some point during 2007. Well it looks like this one is in the bag already.

Gooooooders and I recently auditioned for BBC 2 quiz show ‘Sudo-Q’ and, even more recently, heard that they want us on the programme! Bonkers!! It’s hosted by noneother than the absent-minded Irish TV legend, Eammon Holmes, and is a combination of sudoku puzzles and trivia questions.


To be honest, we only applied for a bit of a chuckle, but now that we’re on the show (and have a shot at winning a few grand if we’re successful) I find my competitive mindset is now well and truly in gear. I’ve been practicing the online game for the past couple of days and am steadily improving my times with each attempt.

But really, even if we don’t win, at least we’ll get a free trip to the Big Smoke (the show pays for our trains and accommodation) out of it, and I’ll get to tick off one of my New Years Challenges already.

Watch this space for info on how we get on and for broadcast dates. Note, if we do horribly, then broadcast dates might be withheld.

Mark#35 – Puppy Update

January 24, 2007

When our friends and lodgers, Eric and Brian, leave us to move into their swanky new apartment in Manchester’s Northern Quarter next month, we will finally have the requisite space to bring a pooch into our hearts, home and family.

And, further to THIS POST from last year, April and I have now agreed on a breed.

We are hoping to get a flat-coated retriever, a relatively uncommon breed of retriever (compared to the labrador or the golden varieties) but one which is still what I call a ‘man-dog’ and that is supposedly fairly intelligent and easy to train. Most importantly, they are very tolerant of children and other pets, which is great because we want babies and we already have cats.

Not surprisingly, there are only a few breeders in the country, so now the key is to find a reputable breeder who is expecting a litter in the near future. Fortunately I have made contact with the breed club secretary and she is putting the feelers out ther for us. So, with a bit of luck, it might only be a couple of months until we have another mouth to feed (and poo to clean up).


 You can read more about the breed characteristics by CLICKING HERE

Mark#34 – Shirt or Blouse…You Decide

January 24, 2007

Last night our good friend, Mark ‘Yonner’ ‘Goooooooders’ Goodwin appeared on TV in what will be his first of at least 3 scheduled appearances in the coming weeks.

The jury is out on whether he was wearing an unbelievably horrible men’s shirt or if it was actually, as I suspect, one of his mother’s best blouses.

What do you think?



Mark#33 – Daniel Larusso…You’re the Best Around!

January 11, 2007

Dipping back into the whole 80’s nostalgia thing today, I came across one of my favourite sequences from one of my favourite movies (well, it was one of my favourites growing up anyway).

The Karate Kid was right up there with Back to the Future and The Goonies for me, in fact they’re probably the three films that best define the 80’s for me.

In fact, I was shocked and a bit sad to hear that the actors who played ‘Sloth’ and ‘Mama Fratelli’ in The Goonies both died only 3 or 4 years after the film was made.

On a brighter note, April and I are off to Wales this weekend for a bit of R&R. With any luck we’ll find One Eye Willy’s hidden treasure.

Mark#32 – Ultimate Fighting

January 8, 2007

In the last couple of years I’ve become I huge fan of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I’m quite lucky in that April encourages me to watch the events, whereas I think a lot of women would refuse to sit through a UFC event with their other half on account of the violence and brutality of it all.

But what makes Mixed Martial Arts an interesting spectacle for me isn’t the anticipation of seeing limbs get broken, heads get split open and guys taking 12 consecutive elbows to the head. What I enjoy is the precision of it all – the technique and the skill that is required in order to avoid defeat (or serious injury). It is a sport where a split-second can be the difference between victory and defeat (if you don’t believe me, CLICK HERE). 

Long gone are the days where they would put two guys in the Octagon who had no skill but would just beat the daylights out of each other. The fighters in the UFC are, by and large, extremely dedicated professional athletes who are well versed in boxing, wrestling, ju-jitsu, muay thai, kickboxing, Brazilian street-fighting, judo, or a whole host of other fighting disciplines. Many of them have been international champions are their preferred style, and have then looked to add other styles to their technique in order to compete well in the UFC.

Anyway, rather than giving a sermon on what the UFC is and why I love it, I just wanted to put a couple of highlight reels about the two latest fighters to join the UFC – neither of whom I know much about.

Mirko Cro Cop is Croat and, from seeing this highlight video, looks like his high kicks are going to be dangerous.

And Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson just looks explosive. Big slams, big punches, big aggression, big chain round his neck – exactly what UFC fans love to see. Rampage is the only guy who has beaten current UFC light heavyweight champ, Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell, that Chuck hasn’t since come back and avenged – so this should be a great addition to the UFC.

Finally, CLICK HERE if you want to read my brief recap of the most recent UFC event, UFC 66 that took place on New Years Eve