Simon Round

Oh Canada, proud land of processed cheese

By Simon Round, November 20, 2008

Mention Canada to British people and you will get one of two responses - either: "It's very cold there" or "Mmm, maple syrup". Despite the fact that winter temperatures can sink to minus 30°C and it is quite hard (and to be frank, pretty pointless) to avoid maple syrup in Canada, these reactions reflect quite badly on the British.

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I have to admit it - I’m hooked on golf

By Simon Round, November 13, 2008

Regular readers of this column will know that I have written about a number of sports. Football has appeared frequently, as has cricket, tennis, marathon running, boxing and mud-wrestling (although, I think that last one might have been for a different publication).

But I have never touched on golf. Why not? After all, a sizeable number of Jews (not to mention a number of sizeable Jews) play the game. I have thought long and hard about this and have come to the conclusion that it is because watching golf is boring.

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Dress does not impress

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

The left-wing Meretz party in Israel has long campaigned against religious control of Israeli life.

However, an advertisement promoting a Meretz candidate in the Ramat Gan municipal election on a secular ticket has been pulled from buses - because the candidate's sleeves were considered too short.
Meretz's Ramat Gan branch were told this week that if the sleeves of candidate Yuli Goldstein were not lengthened, the ads could not be posted on local buses.

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Save Brand, says George

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

George Weiss, the founder of the surrealistic political party the Rainbow Coalition, has started a campaign to get disgraced presenter Russell Brand back on the radio.

Rainbow George, who has been on Brand's show a number of times, told the Diary that he was due to be a guest on the fateful night of the obscene phone calls.

"When they got Jonathan Ross, they decided they didn't need me. I don't think any of this would have happened if I had been there," he said.

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Rabbi dreams of Xmas

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

The word, Christmas, has been banned by a council-funded charity, leading to outrage in the city of Oxford.

Oxford City Council has endorsed an idea from cultural development agency Oxford Inspires to call the end of year festivities the "Winter Light Festival".

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Hitler’s trout in hot water

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

A Belgian TV channel has dropped plans to broadcast a TV cookery show on Hitler's "favourite dish".

The programme, on public broadcaster VRT, caused heated controversy when it cooked up plans to devote an episode to the trout in butter sauce beloved of the Fuhrer. Presenter Jeroen Meus said in the programme, which has already been produced: "Hitler was the most powerful man in the world and could have had caviar. But it's simple trout instead."

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No Boris, I won’t be growing Olympic-class veg

By Simon Round, November 7, 2008

I wonder whether you would agree with me that London mayor Boris Johnson has a tendency to be a complete lunatic at times?

The latest benign manifestation of his wackiness is the proposal that we turn our roof gardens into allotments, convert railway yards to wheat fields and plant crops in the cracks between the pavement - all in order that we have food grown in London to feed the 2012 Olympians. It makes you wonder whether Boris is aware that fruit and veg is widely available at the supermarket these days?

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The BBC Four Session

By Simon Round, November 6, 2008

BBC Four, Friday November 7

I have never really sat down and listened to Randy Newman before. I don't really know why except that he has always been my uncle's favourite singer-songwriter, so I suppose I always filed him under artists that people's uncles might like.

I have been missing out. The BBC Four Sessions is a simple concept - get a great musician, stick him or her in a church with an orchestra and let the music play. It really works.

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Your shul-seat diagnosis

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

A while ago we asked you to vote on the comfort of your synagogue seat. of the 40 who voted, only five per cent of you rated your shul seat as "heavenly", 57 per cent said seats were "adequate" and 38 per cent were considered then "excruciating". There must be some sore bottoms out there.

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‘Hit A Jew Day’ is not a hit

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

Four American schoolchidren are in trouble over their less-than-inspired plan for a Hit A Jew Day at their school in Missouri, in which around 10 of the district's 35 Jewish children were struck. The 11- and 12-year-olds children now face exclusion from school. We suggest humiliation in the manner of Borat's Throw The Jew Down the Well.

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Berko gets ruff over dog

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

Former Premier League star Eyal Berkovic has angered animal-lovers in Israel.

During an interview last weekend on the country's Channel 10 TV, the 36-year-old told viewers that his family dog, Chuckie, was a nuisance and that he shoved him away whenever he came near.

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Is Gaza the new Hawaii?

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

You wouldn't normally associate Hawaii with the Gaza Strip, but Palestine activists have found a tenuous link between the two - which is why they have decide to name a ferry service which runs between Gaza and Cyprus "Aloha Palestine".

According Aloha Palestine's first press release, Palestine and Hawaii share "common values of hospitality, generosity and desire for a just peace". The organisation, which has grown out of the Free Gaza campaign, is spearheaded by Cherie Blair's half sister, Lauren Booth.

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My new diet’s taking me back to the Stone Age

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

A couple of months ago I had a health check. It went pretty well. All my organs were still intact and my weight was more or less what it should be.

The doctor did add, in a conversational kind of way, that I was getting to the age where I was probably finding it a bit tougher to keep my weight down.

"Actually," I replied, "I haven't really noticed any problems at all. My weight never seems to go up that much."

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Storyville: When Borat Came to Town

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

The American Future: A History
BBC1, Friday October 31

Storyville: When Borat Came to Town
BBC4, Tuesday October 28

Considering that the United States is a nation founded on immigration, it does not seem to take very kindly to immigrants - or at least to some them.

It is not often that one is able to say that the Jews had it easy, but in comparison with at least two ethnic groups who settled in the USA, but they probably did.

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A peek into the soul of Arsenal

By Simon Round, October 30, 2008

On the cover of Alex Fynn's latest anatomy of Arsenal Football Club, Arsènal: The Making of a Modern Superclub, with Kevin Whitcher (Vision Sports £16.99), the club's manager Arsène Wenger (who gives the title its e-grave accent) is quoted, saying: "Alex Fynn is a football guru, and I'm always interested in what he has to say."

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JN’s ‘crooked slimy Jews’

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

Until now we have assumed that The Jewish News was on the side of, well, the Jews. However, a quick perusal of the headlines of last week's issue might lead one to assume that it has gone over to the other side.

"A crooked slimy Jew" screamed a headline on page two (about a virulent antisemite who made the accusation against an American judge).

Meanwhile, over on page nine we learn that "Car crash: ‘Jew job'" - a story informing us that the death of Austrian right-wing politician is being blamed on the Jews.

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Chicken soup, the proof

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

Hard week at the office? Well, it turns out that chicken soup really is the perfect antidote to stress on a Friday night.

Japanese scientists have found that Jewish penicillin helps to reduce blood pressure. When the soup is made with chicken-leg meat, the broth contains an ACE inhibitor, a chemical which reduces tension in muscles, in turn reducing tension on blood vessels.

Go easy on the chopped liver, and you should be fine.

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In Israel, don’t cross roads

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

With the reduction in the number of terror attacks, Israel is becoming a safer country. Correct?

Well, visitors to Israel probably are perfectly safe - as long as they don't try to cross the road.

A new report claims that Israel is the second most dangerous country in the world for pedestrians - only North Korea is more hazardous. There has been a 14 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities in Israel since the start of the year, according to data supplied by the National Road Safety Authority.

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Hamas: Jews caused crisis

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

You may be under the misapprehension that the global financial crisis was caused by the dodgy dealing of sub-prime-mortgage products in the US market, but now thanks to Hamas we know who was really to blame for the credit crunch. It was the Jews.

According to Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum, the whole problem was the result of "the bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby".

With such acute thinking and honed analysis, Barhum could soon be putting Robert Peston out of a job.

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Ties are history — wear pyjamas to work

By Simon Round, October 23, 2008

Two things occurred to me while watching the BBC News last week. The first was that business editor Robert Peston can't be getting a huge amount of sleep these days, because whenever I turn on the television or radio he and his elongated vowels are there - it's almost like he has taken up residence in my living room.

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