Saturday, 15 June 2019

Week 42 - The Grambler solves city congestion


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

Let’s start with a joke from George, our resident comedian...

A man walks into a bar... Ouch!

Ooh, are you all right? Have you hurt yourself?

No. It’s part of the joke... The man who walked into the bar said ouch...

Oh, I see. He hurt himself. Perhaps he had walked into a solid bar or something rather than a public house type bar. An iron bar perhaps. That would be painful, especially if it got him across the shins... No meat there, you see. Just bone. Very sore if you bump that. Anyway, carry on with your joke. How does it finish?

No, you’re all right.

I don’t get it.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

As regular (and irregular) readers of this august blog, you are probably aware that I am a little bit of a petrol-head. I enjoy driving and reading (and sometimes writing) about motoring matters. The current thinking of motor manufacturers is that we will all be driving electric cars before very long. So, what would a petrol-head be called then? A current-head?

Why has the motor industry adopted this approach? Well, it probably isn’t through choice; it is all to do with government decrees that air-polluting internal-combustion-engined cars will be outlawed by some date in the not-too-distant future. Don’t panic yet, though; it will only affect new cars, initially. Any gas-guzzling behemoths that are currently in use, or will be in use at the time of the demise of petrol/diesel-fuelled cars, will still be allowed to be driven. However, the cost of fuel to run them may be prohibitive. Sorry for all this doom and gloom for you motorists out there.

Blame politicians. Why have governments around the world decided that we must switch wholesale from one form of propulsion to something else? Votes. Purely and simply that. It has been pointed out by quite a few high-profile individuals that the amount of pollution in the atmosphere is getting to dangerous levels. People pay attention when David Attenborough or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tell them that the planet is being killed by pollution.

Politicians, quick to jump on any passing bandwagon, have also been listening [For once. - Ed.] and realise that people are now getting a little bit concerned (or should that be scared sh*tless?) about the consequences of humans polluting the atmosphere. Oh ho, they think... or maybe it’s aha... we don’t want to be seen to be ignoring this very real danger, it could cost us votes.

Hence, without really understanding the situation fully, politicians have decided that the internal combustion engine is to be consigned to the history book.

Why do I say they haven’t understood the situation? Because a blanket ban on vehicles powered by fossil fuels rather than ‘renewable energy’ is not the answer; or, at least, it isn’t the complete answer.

The pollution is most prevalent (That’s a good word; must look it up.) in cities and densely populated areas, obviously. Surely the sensible option would be to ban, or at least limit, the use of ICE vehicles in those places. Agree? Of course you do.

So, what did the politicians do? Let’s take London as an example. They didn’t put a ban on vehicles; instead, they introduced a ‘congestion charge’, currently £11.50 per day. That, they deemed, would be enough to deter people from driving their big cars into the city. That wasn’t enough, though. The problem there would seem to be that those affluent enough to work in the centre of London and affluent enough to drive there, would still take their cars into the city. The costs involved would probably mean nothing to them... ‘Just charge it to the company.’

Surely [Don’t call me Shirley. - Ed.], the answer is to actually prevent congestion altogether. How, I hear you ask. My suggestion is to ban cars from entering the centre of the city. Sorry pardon excuse me? Yes. Ban them... Up to a point. Buses and taxis would obviously be exempt. Disabled drivers would also be exempt. Delivery vehicles would need to be allowed in, as well. Every other form of private, motorised transport? Banned.

How on earth could that be implemented, you may be asking. Quite easily, I reply. There would be no parking areas at all in the city. The only places for vehicles to stop would be taxi ranks, bus stops, delivery drop-off points and bays for vehicles driven by disabled people. Other places for vehicles to be left would be vast cycle-parks, similar to those already seen in many towns and cities on the European mainland. Car parks would have to be provided away from the areas to be kept free of vehicles. These could be within cycling distance of the city. You might argue that cycle lanes would have to be added to the city road system. Would they, though? With fewer vehicles on the road, the city ought to be a safe place for cyclists.

The users of those vehicles that have to enter the city centre could be offered incentives to adapt to cleaner-fuelled cars, rather than forcing all users of petrol/diesel vehicles to change to new technology. And it is new... And not without glitches... Jaguar and Audi are already having to recall electric vehicles which have only been on sale for a matter of months. Tesla, the early adopter of electrically-powered cars, has a history of recalls due to technical problems.

To me, electric vehicle technology is still too new to be foisted on everyone in this way. Governments should not interfere so much. Instead, follow The Grambler’s sensible advice. Come on, councils of Britain, it would only take one to implement the ban on non-essential vehicles and the rest would follow suit. 

Of course, the bean counters wouldn't contemplate such a sensible solution to the problem.  Last year the income from congestion charges raised £122 million.  You read that correctly; one hundred and twenty two million quid!  The council won't want to lose that sort of money, which is why they are just paying lip service to the campaigners for a greener environment... Sure, make every car electric and when the income drops off, we'll just start charging a fortune to bring them into the city, the same as happens with petrol and diesel engined cars right now.

Cynical?  Me? 

I've just thought of another benefit with my plan.  There would be an increase in employment. Beg pardon? You see, not everyone would want to cycle from the out-of-town car parks. More buses would be required and, it follows, more drivers for those buses.  This idea just gets better and better.

Hang on a minute, one occupation might find its numbers depleted, somewhat. I wonder if any traffic wardens would like to become bus drivers?  Or bicycle park attendants.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 15th of June? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Edvard Grieg 1843 (Composer and inventor of the steak bake. A clip?  You'll recognise this.), Harry Langdon 1884 (Early film star. Made over 90 films in his career.), James Robertson Justice 1907 (Bad-tempered ectaw.), David Rose 1910 (Composer. Wrote this.  Ba ra ba ba, ba ra ba ba...), Wilbert Awdry 1911 (Co-creator of Thomas the Tank Engine. If he is aware of the current TTTT output, he must be spinning in his grave.), Yuri Andropov 1914 (политик.), Errol Garner 1921 (Pianist and composer. Have a clip. Watch what happens. [Yes, what? - Ed.] No. That’s what it’s called.), Richard Baker 1925 (Newsreader.), Brian Sewell 1931 (Art critic. Always came over as posh and proper... but we know different, don’t we? Read Week 8 - Brian Sewell - the haughty culturalist), Waylon Jennings 1937 (Singer. This is Wrong. [Well, don’t play it. - Ed.] No. That’s what it’s called.  Factoid: Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the ill-fated plane that carried Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, but gave up his seat to one of the others.), Harry Nilsson 1941 (Singer. Had a huge hit with Without You. It won him the best vocal performance award in 1973. It was a song penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger.  Surely, there can only be one choice for our link.), Johnny Hallyday 1943 (Chanteur. Voici un lien pour le suivi... Que Je T'Aime.), Muff [Excuse me? - Ed.] Winwood 1943 (Record producer who began his musical career as a bass player with the Spencer Davis Group, so I reckon a link is valid.), Neville ‘Noddy’ Holder 1946 (Slade front man during their glory years. Yow wanna cleep?  Gow on then.), Demis Roussos 1946 (Megáli tragoudístria. Edó eínai énas sýndesmos gia tin parakoloúthisi. Here's Forever and Ever.), Henry McLeish 1948 (Footy bloke and politician.), Simon Callow 1949 (eccctawww, dear leddie.), Russell Hitchcock 1949 (Half of Air Supply.  Here's a bonzer clip.), John Redwood 1951 (Politician who doesn’t know the Welsh national anthem. You will squirm with embarrassment.), Jim Belushi 1954 (Actor.), Julie Hagerty 1955 (Actress. She was in Airplane.), Alan Brazil 1959 (Footy bloke.), Chris Morris 1962 (Comedian, writer, director, actor, voice actor and producer... in fact, a right old smarty boots.), Courtney Cox [Ooh... nasty. - Ed.] 1964 (Actress. Here’s an early role.), Michael Laudrup 1964 (Fodboldklump.), O’Shea Jackson aka Ice Cube 1969 (Rapper. You want a clip? No chance. This is a family blog. Well, as long as the family members are adults.), Oliver Kahn 1969 (Der Torhüter.), Cédric Pioline 1969 (Mec de tennis.), Justin Fletcher 1970 (Children’s entertainer. Mr Tumble. That’s him.), Justin Leonard 1972 (Golfy bloke.), Tore Andre Flo 1973 (Fotballkamp.), Neil Patrick Harris 1973 (Actor. Doogie Howser, M.D. That was him.), Katie Chapman 1982 (Footy bloke.) and Mohamed Salah 1992 (Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Running down the wing...).
 
I can't live, if living is without
the lime in the coconut


 

 

I’ve received a letter. Hang on a mo; I think this has come to me by mistake.

 
Plot 17,
Graveyard,
St. Mary the Virgin,
Dedham,
Essex.

Dear Mr so-called Director of the BBC,

I am writing to you from six feet underground to complain in the strongest possible terms about one of the so-called birthday celebrants in the so-called world’s greatest ill-informed blog.

As you know, while I was alive, I made it my life’s work to mind other people’s business and I don’t see why that should stop just because I am dead.

This very morning, I watched a so-called children’s television programme called Something Special on the See Beardies channel and it was the dirtiest, filthiest programme I have ever watched in my death.

The person I take exception to is so-called Jessica Fletcher, the so-called children’s entertainer who calls himself Mr Fumble or Mumble or something like that. Tumble! That’s it.

I’m a reasonable person and I certainly don’t have a dirty mind that sees something rude in even the most innocent of activities, but I think even his so-called name is filthy. Mr Tumble. Absolute filth! Where exactly is he going to tumble? Straight into bed, I don’t doubt. I think we can all guess what the so-called something special is. Ess Ee Ecks, that’s what.

He is supposed to be addressing children who are deaf and is using so-called sign language. A likely story! Who knows what he is signifying with those hands. I’m a reasonable person, but every movement of his hands looks, in my opinion (and I don’t have a dirty mind), to be suggesting something absolutely filthy. Who knows what subversive messages he’s putting across to these vulnerable children?

However, the most shocking thing about this so-called entertainer is that he is obsessed with his own medical condition which is obviously something he has contracted by indulging in ess ee ecks. Yes, I am talking genital warts, Mr so-called Norman Stanley Fletcher. Indeed.

Why else would he be inviting all and sundry to look at his spotty bag?

Yours disgustedly,

(the late) Mary Whitehouse.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened with last week’s bet? We won... a bit. A tiny bit. We only got 74 pees back from our outlay of £2.40. Oh dear.

What has The Grambler come up with this week? What randomly selected predictions are we going to get? Let’s see, shall we...

 

Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Sandown - 2.35 - Fantasy Keeper - 7/4

Bath - 2.55 - Khafooq - 8/13

Bath - 4.10 - Handytalk - 7/4

York - 3.00 - Mekong - Evens

Downpatrick - 5.55 - Santana Plessis - 8/11

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator plus 20 pee each way cop out bet) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

 

£18.28

 

Blibbing flip!  That's a bit too whopping.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which football club had the nickname ‘The Biscuitmen’ until the 1980s due to the town’s association with Huntley and Palmers. The answer is Reading F.C. Huntley and Palmers made biscuits in the town until 1976. Since the 1980s the club has been known as The Royals because Reading is in Royal Berkshire. Hmm... I preferred the old name.

One for this week? I’ve given you anagrams to work out before; this week’s teaser lists famous footballers names in anagram form together with the team they played for. See how you get on.

Aide index - Tranmere Rovers, Everton, Notts County

Amethyst set lawn - Stoke City, Blackpool

Jeer comer - Everton, Arsenal

My lawn motto - Burnley, Everton, Chelsea, Notts County, Brentford, Arsenal

Final minnow - Middlesbrough, Hull City

Ornament nests - Blackpool, Hull City, Southport

Not so hateful - Bolton Wanderers

Nifty omen - Preston North End

 

The only clue I will add is that they are all players from not just way back, but way way back. Have fun.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr A. Brazil, one of this week’s birthday celebrants. Alan Brazil made over 150 appearances for Ipswich Town (scoring 70 goals) before big moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. He also played 13 times at international level for Scotland. Sadly, his career was ended early by a recurring back injury. However, nowadays he is remembered less for his football career than for his unique style of radio presenting. He is prone to the occasional gaffe... You’ve heard Colemanballs? Well, his mistakes are called Brazil nuts. So, this week, we finish with a few examples of his foot-in-mouth moments.

It’s 6.45… coming up to a quarter to seven.

John Cross is feeling very boyish about Arsenal's chances.

On Alex Ferguson - The man is United. Cut him and he bleeds red.

I saw Real Madrid the other week, against Gaddafi.

In the papers this morning: Police closing in on Ian Holloway... Sorry… it's Palace closing in on Ian Holloway.

I wouldn't touch Chimbonda with a barn door.

Sly Stallone will be at Everton promoting his new film, Rocky Bilbao.

Paolo Di Canio is one picnic short of a hamper.

Levante have gone fourth in Serie A. If anyone can tell me what part of Italy Levante is in, please call. I've no idea.

Tony Adams is braised for rejection by Arsenal.

The tackles are coming in thick and thin.

With the greatest possible respect, Luis Garcia is a tart.

Let's hope it's not a case of sore grapes.

Liverpool have won seven of their last 11 Premiership derbies with Everton. But that form goes out of the window when it comes to a derby.

Sam Allardyce has backed the FA’s decision to overturn the referee.

There's a good-feel factor about Sheffield Wednesday.

Clint Dempsey scored a last-minute winner to earn Tottenham a 1-1 draw against United.

Some players need a boot up their backside. Other players need the arm.

Alan Brazil: I remember, more than the cup final, the semi-final v West Brom at Highbury. That was one hell of a game.

Co-host: 3-1 wasn’t it?

Alan Brazil: I can’t remember.

Chelsea have to play Sunday night - the FA won't bulge.

Van Persie will play against Milan... no youngster wants to miss out on playing in the Nou Camp.

Our talking point this morning is George Best, his liver transplant and the booze culture in football. Don’t forget, the best caller wins a crate of John Smith’s.

Belgium’s not a hotpot of international football.

Reading have got amazing teamship.

To be honest, the game was a bit of a damp squid.

They gave the Serbian FA a poultry fine.

In their last four Blackburn have lost 3-0, 3-1, 5-3 and 3-2. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that's 12 goals conceded.

I wonder how Villa would fare with such injuries. It would be like them missing young Barry Milner… er sorry, misread that, I mean Young, Barry and Milner.

I’m not going to single individuals out but Yakubu has missed loads of great chances.

I have seen players sent off for far worse offences than that.

Alan Brazil: I was sad to hear yesterday about the death of Inspector Morse, TV’s John Shaw.

Mike Parry: John Thaw, Alan.

Alan Brazil: Do you know, I’ve been doing that all morning. John, if you’re listening, sorry mate.

Jose Mourinho is starting to annoy me - I'm getting a bit fobbed off with him.

Some of the Scotland players need to look themselves in the face.

Brendan Rodgers has been singing the praises of Suarez and Sturridge – the SS.

He’s put the cat among the bags there.

Brazil interviewed Gary Bushell about comedy and in particular Bob Monkouse.

Brazil: How is Bob's health these days?

Bushell: Er...he died, Alan.

Brazil: Will Hansie be doing any commentaries for us during the World Cup?

Cricket man: Well not unless he's going to be doing them from the grave, Alan.

He held his head in his hands as it flashed past the post.

Roy Keane, his face punches the air...

...the Derby fans walking home absolutely silent in their cars.

One moment I'm playing football and the next - whack - I wake up in hospital unconscious.

 

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Week 40/41 - The Grambler salutes Andy Robertson... again


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

This week, let’s take a look at the big news story. No, not President T. Rump upsetting anyone and everyone with his ill-considered diplomacy. No, the big story of the week is The Grambler’s favourite footballer winning the greatest competition it is possible to win. Yes, Andy Robertson has won the Champions League (with a little help from ten other Liverpool players).

Forget the Jamie Vardy story. Forget Roy of the Rovers. Andy’s career has been one terrific journey. From being cast aside by Celtic for being ‘too small’, he has proved himself to be, possibly, the greatest left back in Europe.

All I can say is, well done Andy of the Reds.
 
 

.....oooOooo.....
 

I have been watching a programme on television. [Really. How very interesting. Yawn. - Ed.] Actually, it is a series of programmes that was shown on the Beeb Beeb Ceeb last year, but I did that catch up thing where it is possible to ‘binge watch’ a complete series of programmes one after the other. What is this programme, I hear you ask. Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema, I answer. It's all about various film genres (That's a good word; must look it up.) and, as suggested by its name, it is presented by Mark Commode.

Now, Mr Portaloo is a very knowledgeable guy when it comes to film. I get the feeling he has seen each and every film ever made such is his expertise on the subject. Okay, he comes across as a bit up his own ar... humourless, but he certainly knows his stuff. I'm sure if I were going to a pub quiz where there was a round relating to films, he would be a stick-on for my team. Mind you, he probably knows ’kall about sport, so maybe not.

One aspect of his presenting does bug me though. He is so in awe of film makers in general that he thinks that if somebody is what I would call ripping off a famous film, they are doing so simply to pay homage (pronounced as in French cheese... fromage) to the earlier film.

No, Mr Portable-Toilet, it is not homage, or in the case of comedy films, parody. It is, purely and simply, plagiarism (There’s another good word. Wonder what it means.).

Yes, the similarities make you think of the earlier film but, surely that is not paying homage so much as being lazy. The film makers can't come up with an original idea, so they just copy something they have already seen.

Mr Portapotty only credits film makers of some repute as paying homage, incidentally. If it were a film by some unknown, I am sure he would agree with me on the matter and say that they were simply copying another, earlier film... Unless, of course, the film in question goes on to be itself considered a masterpiece.

How can I make such a claim, I hear you ask. Well, back in 2011 there was a film made which scooped loads of awards. It was called The Artist. It was made in black and white and was silent... spoiler alert... except for the last scene. It was lauded for being original. Sorry pardon excuse me? Original? It copies a style of filmmaking which was washed up eighty years before it was made; how can that be original? Oh no. I'm forgetting. It was paying homage to all those silent black and white films of the early twentieth century.

Okay, maybe the screenplay was original and totally different to anything that had gone before. Perhaps that was the reason for all the plaudits. The story was basically about the transition of films from silent movies to talkies [Okay... with you so far. - Ed]. One actor (the ‘artist’ of the title) was struggling with the transition [Yehhhsss... - Ed.] whereas others made the move effortlessly. [Hang on a mo! That's the plot of Singing in the Rain! What a ripoff! - Ed.]

No. Not a ripoff. Remember it is paying homahhhhjj.

[So all those jokes you use are not ripoffs or plagiarism... you are paying homage. - Ed.]

Well, exactly. And then again, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

[It is indeed. - Ed.]

He's walked off with my wine gums! If you can't trust a blood donor, who can you trust?

 

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 1st of June? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Brigham Young 1801 (Second president of the Mormon movement.), Mikhail Glinka 1804 (Composer. Have a clip.  It's a lark, this one.), John Masefield 1878 (Poet. Laugh and be merry, he told us. Wise words there, mate.), Clive Brook 1887 (Ectaw, dear leddie.), Frank Morgan 1890 (Actor... We’re off to see the Wizard.), Robert Newton 1905 (Oy be an actor, I be. Aaaarh, Jim, led. An over-actor, more like. Responsible for what has become accepted as pirate-speak based solely on his portrayal of Long John Silver in Disney’s Treasure Island, aahaaar!), Frank Whittle 1907 (Inventor of the jet engine.), Bill Deedes 1913 (Journalist.), Nelson Riddle 1921 (Composer and bandleader. Worked with the Hoodlum from Hoboken. Have a clip. Here’s the theme from Route 66.), Andy Griffith 1926 (Actor.), Marilyn Monroe 1926 (Actress and singer, it says here. Here's a clip. What’s with the nets over their faces?), Bob Monkhouse 1928 (Comedian, it says here.), Edward Woodward 1930 (Ectaw.), Pat Boone 1934 (Singer. Have a clip. Ye gods and little fishes!), Norman Foster 1935 (Architect. The gherkin, that’s one of his.), Gerald Scarfe 1936 (Illustrator and animator. Here’s a terrific example of his work. That is brilliant.), Morgan Freeman 1937 (Actor. Keeps bees, you know.), Cleavon Little 1939 (Actor. Sheriff Bart.), Robert Powell 1944 (Actor. Jesus of Nazareth.), Brian Cox 1946 (Actor. Not the bloke who looks wistfully up at the stars.), Jonathan Pryce 1947 (Actor, isn’t it.), Ronnie Wood 1947 (Geetarist. Here he is taking on vocal duties with The Faces and Ooh la la.), Powers Boothe 1948 (Actor.), Charlene 1950 (Singer who’s never been to me... I think it's in Wales.), Martin Brundle 1959 (Racey car bloke.), Nigel Short 1965 (Chess player.), Jason Donovan 1968 (Ector en seenger. Here’s his first solo number one.), Heidi Klum 1973 (Clothes horse.), Alanis Morrisette 1974 (Musician. How ironic.), Justine Henin 1982 (Tennisy bloke.) and Tom Holland 1996 (Ectaw.).
 
Ahaaarrrr!  Oi reckons Oi'll get an Oscar for
moi restrained performance in this here film.  Ahaaarrr!
 

Now, let’s move on to June the 8th and see if anyone famous entered the world on that day. Tomaso Albinoni 1671 (Composer.  Have a clip. Beautiful.), John Smeaton 1724 (Civil engineer. Very polite, indeed.), Robert Schumann 1810 (Composer. Have another clip. Here’s Traumerei.), John Everett Millais 1829 (Penter.), Francis Crick 1916 (Scientist.), Robert Preston 1918 (Actor. His most famous role was as The Music Man. A clip? Why, soitenly.), Barbara Bush 1925 (Wife of George H.W. and mother of Dubya.), Dana Wynter 1931 (Ectress.), Ray Illingworth 1932 (Crickety bloke.), Joan Rivers 1933 (Comedian.), Millicent Martin 1934 (Singer.), Nancy Sinatra 1940 (Singer. A clip? What was her most famous song? Not this one; a rather unusual song with Lee Hazlewood.), Doug Mountjoy 1942 (Chwaraewr snwcer.), Colin Baker 1943 (Ectaw. The 49th Doctor Who.), Boz Scaggs 1944 (Musician. A clip? Let’s go for a swim. What? It’s nothing to do with an outdoor swimming pool?), Derek Underwood 1945 (Crickety bloke.), Annie Haslam 1947 (Singer. Here’s her biggest hit with Renaissance - Northern Lights.), Bonnie Tyler 1951 (Singer, it says here. A clip? Let’s have her biggest hit.), Tim Berners-Lee 1955 (Inventor of the Worldwide Web. Notice that? Worldwide. One word. Where did this www come from? Catchier, I suppose. Still wrong, though.), Mick Hucknall 1960 (Simply Simply Red. A clip? Did the Earth move for you, Nancy?), Nick Rhodes aka The Controller 1962 (A bit of Duran Duran. Another clip? Here’s a lovely toon.), Butch Reynolds 1964 (Runny bloke.), Rob Pilatus 1965 (A bit of Milli Vanilli.  Here is their hit. He is dancing, though, it turned out, not singing.), Doris Pearson 1966 (Who? Oh, a bit of Five Star. Have a clip. Systematic... erm... Sister Maddick ...erm...), Shilpa Shetty 1974 (Actress who won Celebrity Big Brother.), Lindsay Davenport 1976 (Tennisy bloke.), Kanye West 1977 (Rapper. Have a clip. Here he is with a lot of help from Daft Punk.), Cisoln Mith 1982 (The world’s greatest - or should that be ‘only’ - Van Halen fan. Let's Rawwwkkk!), Kim Clijsters 1983 (Tennisy bloke.) and Javier Mascherano 1984 (Jugador de fútbol.).

 

I’ve received a letter.

 

Dear Graham Blur,

It was interesting that the Duran Duran track you played wasn’t one of their number ones. Save a Prayer only reached number two. It was a surprise to me that they only actually had two number one records in the UK considering they were one of the biggest acts of the eighties. One was ‘Is There Something I Should Know’, but I can’t remember the name of the other. Can you help?

Yours sincerely,

Terry Flecks.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened the last time we had a bet? We won. We really did. £4.36 back from an outlay of £2.40. Yay.

What has The Grambler come up with this week? What randomly selected predictions are we going to get? Let’s see, shall we...

 

Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Haydock - 2.25 - True Self - 8/13

Navan - 2.50 - United Front - 8/11

Newmarket - 3.20 - Ottoman Court - 6/4

Newmarket - 4.30 - Nonchalance - 11/10

Chelmsford City - 4.50 - Neon Sea - 8/13

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator plus 20 pee each way cop out bet) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

 

£12.44

 

Two quids more whopping than our last bet.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which two English clubs had won the old Inter Cities Fairs Cup on two occasions. Were you confused? Well, I must have been, because only one club won it twice. I think I was including the UEFA Cup which followed on from the Fairs Cup. Any road up. Sorry for the confusion. What? Who was it? Oh yes. Leeds United in 1968 and again in 1971.

Let’s have one for this week. [With the correct information, if you please. - Ed.] Which football club had the nickname ‘The Biscuitmen’ until the 1980s due to the town’s association with Huntley and Palmers? A good one there, methinks.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Ms J. Rivers who features in this week’s birthday honours. Joan Rivers was a comedian known for her self-deprecating style as well her ascerbic barbs aimed at celebrities. She was also known for the ridiculous amounts of cosmetic surgery she underwent; the last procedure actually finishing her off, as she died during the op.

She didn’t really tell jokes as such; her style was very much the use of that typical American/Jewish comedic tool - the wisecrack. Let’s finish this week’s edition of the world’s greatest blog with a few examples of her caustic wit.

People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.

I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.

The fun of working on the road means stealing from hotels. I’ve been doing it for so long, I have a set of towels from the Ark.

I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor.

Thank God we’re living in a country where the sky’s the limit, the stores are open late and you can shop in bed thanks to television.

I was born in 1962 … and the room next to me was 1963.

I’m no cook. When I want lemon on chicken, I spray it with Pledge.

I am definitely going to watch the Emmys this year! My makeup team is nominated for “Best Special Effects.”

At my age an affair of the heart is a bypass!

A child can be taught not to do certain things, such as touch a hot stove, pull lamps off of tables, and wake Mommy before noon.

My love life is like a piece of Swiss cheese; most of it’s missing, and what’s there stinks.

You know you’re getting old when you buy a sexy sheer nightgown and don’t know anyone who can see through it.

Looking fifty is great - if you’re sixty.

You know you’ve reached middle age when you’re cautioned to slow down by your doctor, instead of by the police.

The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it.

There’s no one to call up and have the same memory bank. … Nobody wants to hear that you met Harry Truman. … I met Harry Truman. … But you know what I mean? Nobody’s interested. They want to know you met Rihanna.

I must admit I am nervous about getting Alzheimer’s. Once it hits, I might tell my best joke and never know it.

At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.

When a man has a birthday, he takes a day off. When a woman has a birthday, she takes at least three years off.

I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again.

Love may be a many-splendoured thing, but hate makes the world go round. If you think I’m kidding, just watch the six o’clock news. The first twenty-nine minutes are all about dictators and murderers and terrorists and maniacs and, worst of all, real housewives.

Half of all marriages end in divorce - and then there are the really unhappy ones.

A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue two more, but I don’t want to go through menopause again.

There are many self-help books by Ph.D.s, but I hold a different degree: an I.B.T.I.A. - I’ve Been Through It All. This degree comes not on parchment but gauze, and it entitles me to tell you that there is a way to get through any misfortune.

You know you’re getting old when work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work.

The fashion magazines are suggesting that women wear clothes that are ‘age appropriate.’ For me that would be a shroud.

Had a friend who is going through menopause come by for lunch today. Her hot flush was so bad, it steam-cleaned my carpet.

The funniest [writer] in person but rather boring on the page is, hands down, Leo Tolstoy. If I hear one more time: ‘How many czars does it take to change a light bulb? None; they didn’t have them in those days,’ I think I’ll scream!

The book I wish I’d never written is Joan Rivers’s Pop-Up Guide to Gynecology.

We all mourn in our own way. I mourn with a great steak.

 

That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler (usually) every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.

 

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Week 38/39 - The Grambler and that milk-shake


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3 .

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/heartbroken-widow-geraldine-smith-raises-3452997

Similarly, if you haven’t heard it, please listen to Geraldine’s moving radio interview which was on Radio Scotland recently.


Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy

 

How about a joke from resident comic, George, before we begin this week’s (g)ramble? Take it away, George...

 

A horse walks into a bar and orders a pint...

 

How?

 

Pardon?

 

How does a horse manage to walk into a bar? I mean, for a start, it is very unlikely that a horse would be anywhere near a bar... Unless it was a bar in the countryside and the horse had escaped from its field. Even then, it would be an impossibility for a horse to simply walk into a bar without causing quite a commotion. I would imagine that it would be stopped long before it reached the vicinity of the public house in question.

Let us assume, though, that this bulky equus had somehow managed to get through the low, narrow doorway of a pub... although how it would manipulate a door handle with its hoof, I don’t know... you then suggest that it simply heads to the bar and orders itself a drink. How on earth does he convey that message? It’s a horse, for goodness’ sake. What does he ask for? A pint of Heineighken? Absolute nonsense, the whole idea.

Anyway, you were saying, George? Oh dear... You don’t look very happy. Why the long face?

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

This week Mrs G and I spent an afternoon in the hottest, sunniest part of the country... Portabello. That sounds rather exotic, doesn't it? Hardly; it is Edinburgh's nearest seaside resort.

For a midweek day at the end of May, it was unusual to see such a crowded beach in Scotland. Normally, the only people brave enough to head to the beach are dog walkers and joggers.

This day, the world and his dog (complete with walker) seemed to have headed to this particular stretch of sandy beach. Who could blame them? There wasn't a cloud on the sky and the temperature was into the low twenties... That is just about tropical to Scots.

Folk were in the sea swimming, others were simply sitting on the beach sunbathing.

One kid, aged about eight or nine, was busy doing what children of that age always do... digging a hole in the sand so that he could sit in it. I wonder why that is. I'm sure I did the same when I were a nipper. I know my own kids did it and the grand kids do it. Odd that sand can have such an effect on generations of children.

Anyway, I digress. This particular kid was repeatedly running between his sandy den and the sea; basically, he was having a rare old time.

His mum sat close by, watching and occasionally joining in. Meanwhile, sat on a bench on the promenade, filming the scene for posterity, was granddad.

How nice. At least, I thought so until 'granddad' put his camera in its case and left without acknowledging his family.

Now then (now then, now then), the whole scene took on a more sinister hue. Who was this man? Was he related to the family on the beach? Why was he filming a small child playing in the sand? All a bit worrying.

Was he perhaps a modern day equivalent of the old bloke this song is about?

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Well, it’s been a busy old week news-wise, and the biggest story? Theresa May (be time to do a runner) resigning? As if. Britain coming a humiliating last in the Eurovision song contest and then having that embarrassment compounded by having five points deducted? I should cocoa. No, the biggest, and downright funniest, news story of the week was Miguel Garage having a milk-shake thrown all over him. This, according to news reporters, raised some serious questions. About security, I hear you ask. No, more important than that. Questions need to be answered about why anyone would waste a milk-shake by chucking it over a tw*t like Norbert Farmage. And also, what flavour was it? Hope it was chocolate; he’d have hated that.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? A bit of confusion last time out, methinks. What happened to the birthday honours for May the 11th? Fear not, dear reader, here they are...

Were any famous or notorious individuals born on May 11th? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Irving Berlin 1888 (Songwriter. Let’s have a clip. Here is his first major hit. All together now... Come on and hear. Come on and hear...), Paul Nash 1889 (Penter.), William Grant Still 1895 (Composer. Here is part of his first major symphony. And you thought Gershwin was the first American to compose serious music.), Phil Silvers 1911 (The King of Chutzpah.), Richard Feynman 1918 (Physicist.), Eric Burdon 1941 (An Animal. Have another clip. Here Eric fears being misunderstood.), Ian Redpath 1941 (Strine crickuddy blike.), Jeremy Paxman 1950 (Answer the question!), John Gregory 1954 (Footy bloke. Has been manager of... deep breath... Portsmouth, Plymouth Argyle, Wycombe Wanderers, Aston Villa, Derby County, QPR, Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, FC Ashdod, FC Kairat, Crawley Town and currently manages Chennaiyin FC. Gets around a bit, doesn’t he?), Jason Queally 1970 (Bike racey bloke.), Holly Valance 1983 (Ictress en chenter. Here’s her biggest hit to date. Give us a kiss... kiss.), Andrés Iniesta 1984 (Tipo de fútbol.), Abou Diaby 1986 (Footballeur.) and Thibaut Courtois 1992 (Footballeur and General de Gaulle lookalike.).

Now, let’s have birthday honours for May 18th. Omar Khayyam 1048 (Mathemetician and sometime poet.), Nicholas II of Russia 1868 (The well-known Tsar. Known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer [Ooer missus. - Ed.] or Nicholas the Bloody or Vile Nicholas... depending on your standpoint.), Bertrand Russell 1872 (Clever bloke.), Walter Gropius 1883 (Archtect.), Frank Capra 1897 (Film director famous for schmaltzy films that he dubbed Capra-corn.), Meredith Willson 1902 (The Music Man, which is apt as he wrote that very show. A clip? Here is the only song from a musical that the Beatles ever covered.), Fred Perry 1909 (Tennisy bloke.), ‘Big Joe’ Turner 1911 (Blues singer/shouter. He’s the originator of this.), Pierino ‘Perry’ Como 1912 (Singer. Have another clip. All together now... Magic moments... An early Burt Bacharach success there.), Margot Fonteyn 1919 (Hoofer.), John Paul II 1920 (The well-known pope with a tarmac fetish.), Pernell Roberts 1928 (Actor. Adam Cartwright in Bonanza. That was him.), Norman St John-Stevas 1929 (Politician don’t-cha-know.), Don Martin 1931 (Mad’s maddest artist.), Don Whillans 1933 (Mountaineer.), Miriam Margolyes 1941 (Ectress.), Nobby Stiles 1942 (Footy bloke.), Albert Hammond 1944 (Musician. Another clip? All together now... My father is a doctor; he's a family man...), Rick Wakeman 1949 (keyboardist, songwriter, producer, television and radio presenter, author and all round good egg.  Have a clip. Brilliant or what.), Paul Da Vinci 1951 (Singer/musician. He was the voice behind the Rubettes, but here is his solo hit.), Wreckless Eric... not his real name... 1954 (Singer, it says here. Have a clip. Here’s Whole Wide World. ), Toyah Willcox 1958 (Singer, it says here. Here’s another clip... It's A Mystery this was ever a hit.), Graham Dilley 1959 (Crickety bloke. Famous for that ‘Lillee bowled Dilley, caught Willey’ moment.), Yannick Noah 1960 (Mec de tennis.), Heinz-Harald Frentzen 1967 (Rennfahrer.), Martika 1969 (Singer with a kitchen.), Billy Howerdel 1970 (Musician. A bit of A Perfect Circle... An arc, perhaps? Here’s a later example of their work and they seem a bit disillusioned.), Brad Freidel 1971 (Soccer guy.), John Higgins 1975 (Snookery bloke... The Wizard of Wishaw.), Lee Hendrie 1977 (Footy bloke.), Danny Mills 1977 (Footy bloke.) and Julian Speroni 1979 (Tipo de fútbol y Jimmy Carr parecido.).

Finally, let’s hear it for the birthday celebrants of 25th of May. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803 (Poet and philosopher.), Max Aitken 1879 (Publisher. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day. Without the charm, of course.), Miles Malleson 1888 (Ectaw.), Igor Sikorsky 1889 (Aircraft manufacturer.), Gene Tunney 1897 (Boxy bloke.), U Nu 1907 (Prime minister of Burma. [Sorry, pardon, excuse me? You Knew U Nu? - Ed.] Yes, he made a state visit to Polomint City back in the early 1960s.), Richard Dimbleby 1913 (TV presenter. Davie and Jonny’s dad.), Steve Cochran 1917 (Actor.), Hal David 1921 (Lyricist for Burt Bacharach. See above.), Kitty Kallen 1921 (Chanter. Time for a clip. When did we last have one? It’s been a long long time.), Claude Akins 1926 (Actor. Mainly in westerns. Yee hah!), Robert Ludlum 1927 (Orfer. The Jason Bourne bloke.), Norman Petty 1927 (Producer for Buddy Holly and often cited as being ultimately to blame for Holly’s death by forcing him to tour.), Tom T. Hall 1936 (Singer/songwriter. He wrote this.), Margaret Forster 1938 (Orfer. Georgy Girl. She wrote that.), Ian McKellen 1939 (A thespian, no less. One of the best pretenders out there.), John ‘Poli’ Palmer 1943 (A bit of Family. Here he is on the vibraphone. [Ooer, missus. - Ed.]), Frank Oz 1944 (Actor/puppeteer. Miss Piggy. That’s him.), David Jenkins 1952 (Runner... of tracks and drugs.), Alastair Campbell 1957 (Political... erm... aide?), Paul Weller 1958 (Musician. a bit of Jam.  Let's have a clip.), Julian Clary 1959 (Comedian. Aka Gillian Pieface aka The Joan Collins Fanclub.), Anthea Turner 1960 (Former Blue Peter presenter, more recently a presenter of unsubtle adverts.), Mike Myers 1963 (Comedian, it says here.), Robert Croft 1970 (Cricketty bloke.), Stefan Holm 1976 (Höjdhoppare.), Jonny Wilkinson 1979 (Ruggery bloke.), Ezekiel Kemboi 1982 (Steeplechasy bloke.) and Geraint Thomas 1986 (Rasiwr beicio.).

 

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

Dear Mr Grimbewlah,

It was so nice of you to play a song by that fine performer and charming personality, Mr Perry Como. We are both great fans and recall he had another hit record around the same time as Magic Moments, but neither of us can remember the title. Can you help?

Yours with fondest good wishes,

Katya Fall, Ian Starr.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened the last time we had a bet? We won... ish. 82 pees back from an outlay of £2.20 isn’t very clever, is it?

Oh well, onwards and upwards. Since the footy has now ended for the summer break, we will have to shift our gambling to that other well-known way of losing money, betting on the nags. So can you remember the form? No? Well, I’ll remind you. The Grambler will select five random races from Saturday’s racecard and bets of 20 pees will be placed on each of the favourites from those races. There will also be a five race accumulator bet of 20 pees each way. The each way part of the bet is a way to improve our chances of winning the accumulator because, if any of the gee gees that The Grambler has selected come second, our bet will continue onto the next race. Does that make sense to you? No? Nor me.

Anyway, that’s how the bets will go for the next few weeks until the footy season starts up again. So what has The Grambler randomly selected for this week’s flutter?

Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Cartmel - 2.05 - Young Wolf - 8/15

Goodwood - 3.10 - Silent Wave - 5/6

Goodwood - 5.30 - Neon Sea - 5/6

Haydock - 4.00 - Baltaash - 11/10

Chester - 4.05 - Raffle Prize - 8/13

The bets have been placed (10 x 20 pee doubles plus 1 x 20 pee accumulator plus 20 pee each way cop out bet) and if they all go according to The Grambler’s Prediction, the Bobby Moore Fund stands to receive a whopping...

 

£10.44

 

Hardly whopping at all.

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I told you about the only times two English teams had contested a European competition final and asked you to name the competitions, the teams and the years in which the finals took place. The answers are that Tottenham Hotspur played Wolverhampton Wanderers in the two-leg final of the UEFA Cup in 1972. Spurs won that 3-2 on aggregate. The other English final occured in the Champions League final of 2008 when Manchester United played Chelsea. Man U won that one on penalties (6-5) when the game finished 1-1 after extra time.

One for this week? Sticking with European competitions, there used to be a competition called the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. [Really, how interesting. - Ed.] It only ran between the years 1956 and 1971, but two English sides won it twice each. (Does that make sense?) Can you name them, without resorting to Googly, that is? [No. I win. - Ed.]

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/campaigns-policy/latest-campaigns/never-too-young-campaign

 

…..oooOooo…..
 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr P. Silvers, a Vaudeville comedian who starred in his own very famous comedy series between 1955 and 1959 during which time 143 episodes were shown. It was named simply The Phil Silvers Show, but everyone remembers it as Bilko, the name of the scheming, but workshy character he played. The programme was so popular that animators Hanna and Barbera made a cartoon version of it featuring some of the characters as alley cats. The main character, Top Cat or TC, was a straight copy of Bilko. To finish, here is the first Phil Silvers Show to be transmitted.  I do hope you enjoy it.

 
All right, all right, all right!
 
That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week by going to the blog at www.thegrambler.com

 

Happy grambling.