Friday, 16 August 2019

Week 2/3 - Grambling and juggling


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

 

Well, the new football season is well underway now and I attended my first game last Saturday: the Mighty ’Well against Celtic. I would love to tell you that the Steelmen came out on top, but the 5-2 scoreline suggests otherwise.

The pundits who spoke after the game used expressions such as ‘Celtic blew Motherwell away’. That wasn’t the game I watched. Motherwell were well on top for the first part of the match and scored the first goal. Sadly for the ’Well, the players in the Celtic team are quicker and stronger and it wasn’t long before those qualities began to show.

I won’t say we should have won the game; Celtic are a better side and deserved the win. However, I will say that they should only have won by, say, one goal rather than the three. Why? The referee, that’s why.  He made many decisions that helped Celtic on their way to what looked as if it was an easy win. For example, a Celtic player went to ground just outside the box and the ref immediately awarded a free kick. I'm not saying it was a dive...  Anyway, Leigh Griffiths took the free kick and scored an absolute belter, but he really shouldn’t have been given the opportunity.

Later in the game, a Celtic winger received the ball and it was obvious that he handled the ball to bring it under control. I say handled, juggled more like. It was pretty blatant, but the ref turned a blind eye and a goal was scored from the move that followed.

The Celtic support weren’t very sporting either. Just before the goal, there was an incident where the ball went into the crowd and they refused to give it back. A new ball was sent on. As soon as our goalkeeper received it, the original ball was thrown at him. Not funny, Celtic fans. He was just clearing away the extra ball when another was thrown onto the pitch. Come on, a joke’s a joke and all that...

It was while he was retrieving that ball that the move that resulted in the goal began. The officials really should have stopped play until everything had been cleared away. But they didn’t. The goal stood.

Again, the referee chose not to intervene while all these shenanigans were going on. There were many other incidents of... cheating... there I’ve said it... from Celtic players that the ref either didn’t see or thought it better to ignore. One such saw a Motherwell player tackled to the ground in a move that was more suited to all-in wrestling than football.

All this must seem like sour grapes from a disgruntled Motherwell fan. I’m not disgruntled, although I’m not exactly gruntled. (Thanks to P.G. Wodehouse for that one.) My old gripe about Scottish football referees hasn’t changed since the last time I had a right old grumble about them. The problem with many referees is that they grew up with the Rangers vs Celtic mentality. Every kid growing up in Scotland, with an interest in football, will be asked this same question... Who do you support, Rangers or Celtic? That is the choice. Such is the ‘us and them’ mentality in Scotland (certainly west central Scotland) that, from an early age, children have it drummed into them that they must be firmly in one camp or the other.

Am I suggesting that referees are biased? There is a retired referee called Bobby Tait who has made quite a career out of after-dinner speaking at masonic clubs and the like. When he was a ref, he had a reputation for favouring Rangers. Whether it was the case or not, his after-dinner routine now plays up to the fact totally. It is, incidentally, hilarious.

That is (allegedly) one reason for the predominance (That’s a good word; wonder what it means.) of Rangers and Celtic winning a lot of games by the odd penalty or three being given in extra time.

Another, more sinister, reason for favouring the big teams is fear. Sadly, many football fans take losing a game very seriously indeed. Fan is short for fanatic, after all. Do you remember the cup final incident of 20 years ago when referee Hugh Dallas was treated for a head wound after being hit with a missile (possibly a coin) thrown by an angry fan? Other incidents have included referees having their house windows smashed or their cars damaged.

Would you want to upset a mob of thousands of angry supporters by making decisions against their beloved team?

I still hold with my assertion that the way to deal with such matters, which would keep both sides happy, would be to import referees from England and elsewhere to take charge of matches involving Rangers or Celtic.

Further ammunition for my views was provided on Tuesday when Celtic were bundled out of the Champions League qualifiers. I would suggest that having a neutral referee, favouring neither side, meant that at least the result was a fair one. I really wanted Celtic to succeed... when it comes to European competitions, I want my local team to win... but had to concede that they were beaten by the better team.

Without any dodgy decision-making from the ref.
 
A lot of balls
[You said it. - Ed.]

 
.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 10th of August? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Henri Nestlé 1814 (Founder of what is now the world’s largest food company.), Aleksandr Glazunov 1865 (Composer. A clip?  Why not?), Laurence Binyon 1869 (Poet. Here is his most famous work, For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,

England mourns for her dead across the sea.

Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,

Fallen in the cause of the free.

 

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal

Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,

There is music in the midst of desolation

And a glory that shines upon our tears.

 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe.

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;

They sit no more at familiar tables of home;

They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;

They sleep beyond England's foam.

 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,

Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,

To the innermost heart of their own land they are known

As the stars are known to the Night;

 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,

Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;

As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,

To the end, to the end, they remain.

Wise words there Larry mate.), Herbert Hoover 1874 (The well-known president.), Charles Darrow 1899 (Inventor of the bored game Monopoly... Did I tell you I don’t enjoy playing it?), Jack Haley 1897 (Actor. Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.), Norma Shearer 1902 (Actress.), Leo Fender 1909 (Guitar designer and manufacturer. Factoid: Leo Fender couldn’t play the guitar.), Noah Beery Jr. 1913 (Actor. Played James Garner’s dad in The Rockford Files although he was only 15 years older than him.), Rhonda Fleming 1923 (Actress.), Eddie Fisher 1928 (Chanter. Have a clip.), Keith Duckworth 1933 (Engineer. Founded Cosworth.), Tony Ross 1938 (Author and illustrator of children’s books.), Kate O’Mara 1939 (Ectress, luvvie.), Bobby Hatfield 1940 (A Righteous Brother. Have another clip. Nice suit, Bob.), Sid Waddell 1940 (Sports commentator. Suff’rin’!), Anita Lonsbrough 1941 (Swimmy bloke.), Jimmy Griffin 1943 (Musician.  Co-wrote this.), Ronnie Spector 1943 (A Ronette. Have another clip.  All together now... The night we met...), Ian Anderson 1947 (Musician.), Alan Ward 1947 (Crickety bloke.), Dianne Fromholtz 1956 (Tennisy bloke.), Rosanna Arquette 1959 (Actress.), Antonio Banderas 1960 (Actor. El gato con batos.), Julia Fordham 1962 (Singer-songwriter. Here’s her biggest UK hit.), Charlie Dimmock 1966 (Gardener.), Riddick Bowe 1967 (Boxy bloke.), Roy Keane 1971 (Grumpy footy bloke.), Lawrence Dallaglio 1972 (Ruggery bloke.) and Bernardo Silva 1994 (Cara de futebol.).

And now... August the 17th... Davy Crockett 1786 (King of the wild frontier according to the song.), Monty Woolley 1888 (Actor.), Mae West 1893 (Actress. First to use the line, ‘Is that a gun in your pocket?...’), William Rootes 1894 (Businessman. Founded the Rootes Group. [There’s a surprise. - Ed.]), Maureen O’Hara 1920 (Actress.), Ted Hughes 1930 (Poet.), Robert De Niro 1943 (Actor. Are you looking at him?), John Humphrys 1943 (Broadcaster.), Hugh Baiocchi 1946 (Golfy blake.), Gary Talley 1947 (A Box Top. A clip? Here is their biggest hit.), Julian Fellowes 1949 (Writer and English milord don’t cha know.), Nelson Piquet 1952 (Racey car bloke. [Didn’t he invent chewing gum? - Ed.]), Guillermo Vilas 1952 (Tennisy bloke.), Kevin Rowland 1953 (A midnight runner for Dexy. Another clip?  Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno Geno...), Robin Cousins 1957 (Skatey bloke.), Belinda Carlisle 1958 (Chanter. Have a clip.), Fred Goodwin 1958 (Banker... I said banker. Known as Fred the Shred.), Sean Penn 1960 (Actor.), Maria McKee 1964 (Chanter. Another clip? Go on... show her heaven.), Donnie Wahlberg 1969 (An old new kid on the block. Let’s have a clip. This is Hangin' Tough or looking like a right tw*t, if you prefer.), Jim Courier 1970 (Tennisy bloke.), William Gallas 1977 (Footballeur.), Thierry Henry 1977 (Footballeur aussi.) and Phil Jagielka 1982 (Footy bloke.).

 

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr Drambuie,

Thank you for giving a link to a New Kids on the Block song. I wasn’t a fan, but I am writing on behalf of someone who was. They want me to ask you, what was NKOTB’s top ten hit immediately prior to Hanging Tough?

Yours,

Albie Luff-Ingyu (for F. Verr).

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened two weeks ago? We lost. Big time. Not a pee back. How did that happen, I hear you ask. Read on.

 

Blackburn vs Charlton - Prediction Home win

Result - Blackburn Rovers 1 Charlton Athletic 2

Boo!

Lyle Taylor's improvised finish earned Championship newcomers Charlton Athletic a battling victory over Blackburn Rovers.

Taylor flicked the ball in for the winner, from Jason Pearce's powerful header following a corner, with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The Addicks had to withstand strong Rovers pressure before then, but led just before the break thanks to Ben Purrington's close-range finish.

Rovers continued to dominate possession in the second half and equalised when debutant Bradley Johnson's header was cleared off the line but rebounded off goalkeeper Dillon Phillips for an unfortunate own goal.

 

Brentford vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Brentford 0 Birmingham 1

Again I say... Boo!

Blues defender Kristian Pedersen powerfully headed in the winner against the run of play in the first half, with Birmingham's only notable effort on goal.

Brentford struck the woodwork three times in the first period and controlled possession throughout the game, but could not beat Blues keeper Lee Camp.

 

Stoke vs QPR - Prediction Home win

Result - Stoke City 1 Queens Park Rangers 2

And again... Boo!

Jordan Hugill's debut strike and Eberechi Eze's fine solo goal gave QPR a win against Stoke.

Hugill steered QPR ahead from close range early on after goalkeeper Jack Butland's decision to rush out and challenge Bright Osayi-Samuel went awry.

Eze sauntered through a static Stoke defence to double Rangers' lead after the interval.

Stoke later managed to pull one back when Sam Clucas fired home from close range.

 

Doncaster vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win

Result - Doncaster Rovers 1 Gillingham 1

Almost another boo, though definitely not a yay.

The visitors made the better start against a disjointed Rovers outfit, with Regan Charles-Cook and Brandon Hanlan both twice going close to breaking the deadlock.

But Gillingham finally got the breakthrough on the half hour when Hanlan's flick-on put Mikael Ndjoli through on the right and he squared to Alex Jakubiak to slam home.

Doncaster had struggled for opportunities throughout the first half but changed the mood at the Keepmoat in stoppage time.

James Coppinger clipped an excellent ball forward which Kieran Sadlier caught sweetly on the volley and rifled past Jack Bonham.

Rovers were the brighter side in the second half with Alfie May going close on several occasions but deadlock remained.

 

Lincoln vs Accrington - Prediction Home win

Result - Lincoln City 2 Acrington Stanley 0

A belated yay.

Accrington almost took the lead just past the half-hour mark when Sean McConville's free-kick skimmed the top of the bar.

The Imps responded by taking the lead when Jorge Grant's corner was met by Michael O'Connor, whose header looped over the defender on the line.

City almost scored early in the second half when Harry Anderson's cross was met by Tyler Walker, who was denied by an incredible save from Dimitar Evtimov.

Evtimov made another stunning stop to deny Michael Bostwick as the Imps pressed for a game-clinching second goal.

That finally arrived when substitutes Bruno Andrade and John Akinde combined. After Andrade was bundled over in the box, last season's top scorer Akinde sent Evtimov the wrong way with a typically cool spot-kick.

 

Oh well, not a very good start to the new footy season. Things ought to have picked up with last week’s predictions which were...

Game - Result - Odds

Bournemouth vs Sheff. Utd. - Prediction Home win - Evens

Watford vs Brighton - Prediction Home win - Evens

Fulham vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win - 4/5

West Brom vs Millwall - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Swindon vs Carlisle - Prediction Home win - 10/11

If they had all gone as The Grambler predicted, the Bobby Moore Fund was due to receive a whopping...

 

£11.38

 

Unfortunately, The Grambler got things slightly wrong [There’s a surprise. - Ed.] and the return from our £2.20 bet was a mere 70 pees. What happened? Read on...

Bournemouth vs Sheffield United - Prediction home win

Result - Bournemouth 1 Sheffield United 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

The visitors nearly took the lead inside the opening 30 seconds when David McGoldrick's powerful strike was well saved by 21-year-old Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Ramsdale again did well to deny Callum Robinson a goal for the Blades, before McGoldrick shot another chance narrowly wide.

Those missed opportunities looked to be costly when Chris Mepham put the hosts ahead. Sheffield brought on Oliver McBurnie and then, with eight minutes left, Billy Sharp.

The Blades were rewarded with 33-year-old Sharp's first ever Premier League goal.

Watford vs Brighton - Prediction Home win

Result - Watford 0 Brighton 3

Wowee! That is bad.

Abdoulaye Doucoure's first-half own goal gave the visitors the lead.

Then, substitute Florin Andone, with virtually his first touch of the game, doubled their lead.

Just minutes later, Neal Maupay scored, calmly finishing after rounding Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Not much else to say about that one.

Fulham vs Blackburn - Prediction Home win

Result - Fulham 2 Blackburn 0

Yay!

Tom Cairney spectacularly opened the scoring as his left-footed effort from 25 yards nestled into the top corner.

Adam Armstrong almost levelled early in the second half, but his low, long-distance effort flashed past the post.

But Aleksandar Mitrovic sealed the win when he tapped in from close range late on after great work by Joe Bryan.

West Brom vs Millwall - Prediction Home win

Result - West Bromwich Albion 1 Millwall 1

Ooh! ’It the bar

After dominating possession during a goalless first half, Albion made the breakthrough when Alex Pearce headed a Matt Phillips free-kick into his own net under pressure from home defender Kyle Bartley.

But Matt Smith, having headed wide moments before, slid the ball home from close range to level when the Baggies failed to deal with Jed Wallace's cross.

Towering striker Smith then went close with an ambitious volley and Ben Thompson fired wide from 25 yards as the Lions went in search of a winner.

Albion nearly then won it themselves deep in stoppage time but keeper Bartosz Bialkowski was equal to Nathan Ferguson's curling effort.

Swindon vs Carlisle - Prediction Home win

Result - Swindon 3 Carlisle 2

Yay!

Olufela Olomola (Got to be ‘Cracking name of the week’) slotted Carlisle into a 52nd-minute lead after a Harry McKirdy cutback, but Jerry Yates bundled home to level the score four minutes later.

Swindon’s Zeki Fryers headed in a Michael Doughy corner in the 70th minute.

Carlisle had substitute Canice Carroll sent off five minutes before the end. The midfielder, on loan at Swindon last season, was dismissed for a two-footed lunge on Jordan Lyden.

And Swindon took advantage when Kaiyne Woolery tucked home a third in the final minute of normal time following a lovely Keshi Anderson through ball.

Mohammed Ali Sagaf scored in stoppage time to set up a nervy finish for the home fans, but Swindon held on for their second win in as many games.

 

Ho hum. Not too good from The Grambler; let us hope he/she/it can improve things this week. What have we got?

Game - Result - Odds

Bradford vs Oldham - Prediction Home win - 17/20

Colchester vs Cambridge - Prediction Home win - 19/20

Northampton vs Macclesfield - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Scunthorpe vs Crawley - Prediction Home win - Evens

Annan vs Albion - Prediction Home win - 13/20

 

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

 

£11.54

 

As whoppingness goes, that is fairly whopping.

 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you, prior to Harry Maguire’s record-breaking transfer fee, what was the previous transfer record between two UK clubs. The answer was Riyad Mahrez who, in July 2018, was transferred from Leicester City to Manchester City for £60 million. Not bad, Leicester; £145 million for two players.

One for this week? We saw the first games of the Premier League 2019-20 season last weekend. See if you can guess the teams from the following sponsorship deals.

M88

W88

American Express

Lovebet

Chevrolet

Yokohama Tyres

SportPesa

Union Standard Group

Etihad Airways

AXA

 

 

.....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.....
 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr I. Anderson who is the musician a lot of people know simply as the guy who can play the flute while standing on one leg. To those of us who call ourselves fans, he is the founder, songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and, yes, flautist with the band known as Jethro Tull. To finish this week, how would you like to see the band as it was when I first went to see them playing live? It was at the Glasgow Apollo on the 2nd of February 1977 and it still rates as one of my favourite concert performances?

Footage of that show doesn’t exist, but eight days later, Tull recorded a concert for the BBC’s Sight and Sound In Concert series. An hour-long edit was broadcast in stereo on BBC2 on the 19th of February.

Hang on a mo, I hear you protest, stereo television didn’t begin until the mid 1980s, how the blibbing flip did they get stereo telly back in 1977? Well, it was a simple solution really. The Beeb broadcast the show simultaneously on TV (BBC2) and on BBC Radio 1 in stereo sound. Clever, eh?

I arranged my newly acquired stereo system speakers either side of the sarcophagus sized rented colour TV, which dominated the corner of my parents’ living room, to get the best stereophonic effect. Actually, comic effect was more accurate. The whole ensemble, with cables leading here there and everywhere looked faintly ridiculous. Still, this was the first opportunity to watch Jethro Tull while listening in stereo.

Any road up, here is what the fuss was all about... Good evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.  It is nice to be here.

 

 

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, 3 August 2019

Week 1 - Happy new footy season


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

 

Happy new footy season! Yes, the new football season starts this weekend and with a huzzah we can say farewell to our lacklustre donkey bets and look forward to a highly successful season of predictions from The Grambler to secure a veritable fortune for the Bobby Moore Fund.

Of course, every season begins with the same optimistic outburst and every season ends with us losing rather than winning but, hey, why shouldn’t this season be the one to finally buck the trend? [Can I make a statement? It just won’t. All right? - Ed.]

Yeah. All right.
 

.....oooOooo.....

 

"Ahem."

"Didn't see you there. I'm just reading the news... What on earth is going on? First we've got tsunamis sinking just about every ship in the world. Then all the submarines developing faults. Now there's someone going about sabotaging all the ships that are left.

As the head of the world's largest cruise line I'm left with one ship and a lot of very angry customers... You're not a customer, are you?"

"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Noah and I am here as instructed by God himself to purchase that last ship."

"Yeah okay grandad. On your way. I'm too busy to deal with cranks. Like the beard, by the way."

"Thanks. No. Gen up. God has asked me to get hold of an ark into which I will cram a few examples of every creature known to man...
You don't believe me do you?"

"Frankly, no."

"I'll prove it. God sent me an email."

"God sent you an email? You are joking, of course... Okay grandad... Why not Facebook or Twitter?"

"God doesn't do social media... Obviously. Here have a read."

Hi Noah,

How are you keeping? Actually, I didn't need to ask that, I already know. I am God, after all.

We are all okay up here. My lad, Jesus sends his best.

Any road up, I've got a job for you. It's similar to the one I gave an ancestor of yours a few millennia back.

People are making a right old pig's ear of the world, especially Donald, Vladimir, Kim and Boris - aka the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - so it's time to start afresh. A bit of vengeful punishment is required. I'm going to flood the Earth again. Only, this time, none of this forty days and forty nights lark; forty months more like.

Here's the plan. Rather than waste your time building an ark from scratch like the original Noah did, I am giving you an unlimited amount of money to buy the only ship left in the world. I've made people too greedy; some folk will do anything for money, even though there will be nowhere to spend it soon.

Incidentally, I will leave it up to you how you go about ensuring that there is only one ship left in the world. It should be fairly easy for you to find a few willing helpers to do a bit of sabotaging given the amount of money you have at your disposal. That greed thing again.

It might be a good idea to deal with those nuclear submarines as well.

Obviously, I can't expect you to take care of everything, so I'll create a tsunami or two to get rid of most of the world's shipping.

When you have your vessel, I want you to fill it with every creature known to man (see attached list).

Make sure you get examples of each sex so that, once the waters subside, they can procreate. We don't want the unicorn scenario again. Lol. You would have thought old Noah would have realised they were both mares. Sorry to speak ill of your ancestor but, what a barmy pillock.

Of course there will be a bit of procreating going on while you are floating about. Suggest you use some of the excess rabbits to feed the carnivores such as lions and tigers and bears. Oh my.

Best of luck.

Cheers,

God.

"Cheers, God? Do you think I button up the back?"

"How much would it take to buy your ship off you? Here... have a look in this suitcase... It's crammed full of used twenty pound notes. And there is plenty more where that came from."

"You're serious, aren't you?"

"Yup. So how much?"

"Well, the cost of the ship is in the region of three quarters of a billion, then I've got to pay off all those irate holiday makers...."

"Would two billion cover it?"

"...And then... Pardon?"

"Two billion. Enough?"

"Erm. Yes... You're having a laugh, aren't you?"

"Absolutely not. You read the email. Check the date it was sent. Tsunamis. Ships. Submarines. It all happened after that date, didn't it?"

"You're right... so are we all doomed?"

"Fraid so."

"Is there nothing I can do to get on the... 'ark'? Surely, I could pay you. I'll have all that money; you can have it all."

"Sorry mate. Money isn't much use to me. No civilisation left where I can spend it, see."

"Ah... in that case, why are you offering me money now?"

"Well exactly. I was just assuming you'd be a greedy bas... so and so that would do anything for money. All right then, why don't you just give me your ship for nothing and that'll be the end of it?"

"Can't you give me a place on the ship? You'll need someone who knows how to sail it."

"Why? It won't be going anywhere. It's just got to float around for a while."

"But the email said every creature known to man. You'll need someone to keep the human race going."

"Ah. Yes. I was coming to that. You see God doesn't really want us around any more. Mankind. It's the one species not on the list. Sorry."
 
Hang on, you've only got one of each
species in there.
 

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 13th of July? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Hilaire Belloc 1870 (Writer), Geoffrey de Havilland 1882 (Founder of an aircraft company. [Really? Which one? - Ed.]), Francis Xavier Aloysius James Jeremiah Keenan Wynn 1916 (Actor... Not surprisingly, he known by a simpler name. [Really? Which one? - Ed.]), Adolfo Celi 1922 (Attore.), Henry Patterson 1929 (Orfer. Better known by his pen name of Jack Higgins.), Baroness Williams of Cosby 1930 (Better known as Shirley Williams... Her from off of politics.), Jerry Van Dyke 1931 (Actor. Dick’s little bro.), Anna Dawson 1937 (Ectress.), Don Galloway 1937 (Actor. Ironside’s sidekick. That was him.), Bobby Gentry 1944 (Singer. Had a couple of hits, including this.), Simon Jones 1950 (Ectaw. Arthur Dent. That was him.), Greg Pead 1953 (Who? Oh, Yahoo Serious, the Aussie actor. Not to be confused with the Yahoo search engine... according to the findings of a lawsuit in 2000.), Mark Stanway 1953 (Ivory tickler with Magnum. A clip? Why not... This is called Rockin' Chair.), Allan Border 1955 (Cricketty bloke.), Christopher Dean 1958 (Skatey bloke.), Jo Durie 1960 (Tennissy bloke.), Jonty Rhodes 1969 (Cricketty bloke.), Jonathan Rhys Meyers 1977 (Actor.), Max Power 1993 (Footy bloke. Isn’t that a brilliant name?) and Jordan Spieth 1993 (Golfy bloke.).

And now... August the 3rd. Were any famous... etc. Joseph Paxton 1803 (Gardener and founder of Crystal Palace F.C. [Surely, some mistake. - Ed.]), Stanley Baldwin 1867 (The well-known prime minister.), Rupert Brooke 1887 (Poety bloke.), Louis Chiron 1899 (Racey car bloke.), David Buttolph 1902 (Composer. Wrote music for over 300 films and TV shows including this one. Good lyrics.), Dolores del Río 1905 (Actriz.), Alex McCrindle 1911 (Actor.), Norman Dewis 1920 (Test driver for Jaguar Cars.), Phyllis James 1920 (Orfer. Better known by her pen name of P.D. James.), Jean Hagen 1923 (Actress. Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain.), Leon Uris 1924 (Orfer. Wrote Exodus. [I thought Bob Marley wrote Exodus. - Ed.]), Rona Anderson 1926 (Actress. Mrs Gordon Jackson.), Tony Bennett 1926 (Singer who just refuses to retire. A clip? What song is he best known for?  Probably, not this one... his number one hit.), Steven Berkoff 1937 (author and playwright.), Terry Wogan 1938 (Radio broadcaster par excellence.), Martin Sheen 1940 (Actor.), Jack Straw 1946 (Him off of politics.), Syreeta Wright 1946 (Singer. Known as Syreeta.  Have a toon and you can sing along too.), John Landis 1950 (Director.), Osvaldo Ardiles 1952 (Futbolista.), Kirk Brandon 1956 (The sharp bit from Spear of Destiny. A clip, perchance? Why not. You won’t take him alive, though.), James Hetfield 1963 (A bit of Metallica. Here’s a toon you should recognise.) and Gina Gardiner 1970 (Singer known as Gina G. Sang the UK’s Eurovision song back in 1996. It didn’t win, but it has the distinction of being the last British entry to reach number one. And here it is.  Ooh Aah...).

 

.....oooOooo.....
 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened with the last bet we had? It was a complete and utter waste of time. Did it lose? Yep. Not a single pee back.

Thank goodness that’s the last gee gee bet. Yes indeedy. It’s back to footy bets from here on in. No more dismally disappointing donkeys.  Yay! What has The Grambler predicted?

 

Game - Result - Odds

Blackburn vs Charlton - Prediction Home win - 8/11

Brentford vs Birmingham - Prediction Home win - 3/4

Stoke vs QPR - Prediction Home win - 4/5

Doncaster vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win - 10/11

Lincoln vs Accrington - Prediction Home win - 17/20

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

 

£10.36

 

Moderately whopping.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which player has been the most used substitute in the Premier League. The answer is Peter Crouch with 157 games started from the bench. He beat Shola Ameobi’s tally of 142 back in November 2017. Incidentally, Crouch’s goal-scoring percentage was better as a sub than when he played complete games.

One for this week? As I write this, news is breaking that Manchester United have smashed the transfer fee record between British clubs by paying Leicester City £85 million for defender Harry Maguire. So, your teaser for this week? What was the previous transfer record between two UK clubs? Who was transferred and which clubs were involved in the deal? A good un to start the season, I reckon.

 

.....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.....
 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Mr. T. Wogan who was well-known for his acerbic (That’s a good word. I must look it up.) wit. He would have been celebrating his 81st birthday today. I called him a radio performer par excellence and I meant it. Nobody before or since, in my opinion, has come close to his warmth and humour... he always came across as being a dashed nice bloke. So, let us end this week’s edition with a few of his amusing quotes.

On Finland's turn as Eurovision host

Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? Actually I do, I've seen the rehearsals.

On announcing his plans to retire

I wanted to make my own way to the exit before somebody led me there.

On marriage:

If the present Mrs Wogan has a fault - and I must tread carefully here - this gem in the diadem of womanhood is a hoarder. She never throws anything out. Which may explain the longevity of our marriage.

On his loyal listeners

Gratuitously hurtful folk declare that I'm very popular in hospitals because the listeners abed there are too weak to reach out and switch me off.

On fame

The price of fame? Who in their right mind would want to pay it?

On superfluous verbiage

When somebody says to you, "I hope you don't mind me saying this", you know you are in for it. Why do we feel we have to dress it up when we tell someone off? There's no point softening the blow before you hit somebody.

On his wife

If the present Mrs Wogan has a fault – and I must tread carefully here – if she has a fault, this gem in the diadem of womanhood is a hoarder. She never throws anything out. Which may explain the longevity of our marriage.

Could it be that behind every great man, there's a woman working him with her foot?

On Meccano

My dear Auntie May once gave me a present of a Meccano set for my birthday. It was the worst present I have ever had in my life. You see, I am not interested in "how things work". Inanimate objects fight me. They are not susceptible to persuasion or cajolery.

On exercise

My simple philosophy of just lying there while the rest of the world exhausts itself… (was) entirely vindicated recently by two German doctors who said that all exercise was good for was wearing the body out… Take it easy, life's short enough as it is without rushing it.

On appearance

Go out and face the world secure in the knowledge that everybody else thinks they are better looking than they are as well.

On nostalgia

What is it that makes us hold on to things that have long outlived their usefulness? Nostalgia? Memories? There are not many memories in a drawer-full of sunglasses.

On change

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose"… Tosh, mon brave. If there was any truth in that load of old frog spawn would the present Mrs Wogan have spent a fortune doing the bedroom?

On modern life

Thirty years ago who would have predicted that gardening would become the opium of the people? And the garden centre the hub of the community?

On barbecues

Why do men think they know how to cook outside when they haven't the smallest idea how to go about it indoors?

On age

Age, they say, is only important if you're cheese. or a wine. They also say, if you are stuck behind one on a golf course, that a tree is 90 per cent air. How come, then, that you invariably send your ball crashing into the remaining 10 per cent?

The only physical adornments that grow bigger with passing years are the nose and ears. The rest, regrettably, diminshes.

I forget as many faces as I do names these days. I think I may have forgotten my own, because the face that looks out at me from the bathroom mirror doesn't look like the me I remember. It's more like my father's.

On retirement

It (retirement) is coming to all of us, and as my accountant said to me lately: "You'd better think of taking your pension soon – otherwise it won't be worth your while…"

Wogan's Golden Rule of Broadcasting

Get on your toes, keep your wits about you, say goodnight politely when it's over, go home and enjoy your dinner.

The ancient motto of the Wogans

Time flies like an arrow – but fruit flies like a banana.

 

 

 

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, 20 July 2019

Week 46/47 - The Grambler gets ripped off... 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

 

Apologies for there being no edition of your favourite ill-informed blog last week, I was away with Mrs G for a short holiday. What? Oh yes, we enjoyed it very much, thanks for asking. [I hadn’t even realised you didn’t publish the blog... Shows how much notice I take. - Ed.]

We went to Krakow in Poland. As with so many European cities, it is steeped in history; the most obvious historical reference is the treatment of the Polish Jews at the hands of the Nazis during WWII.

This being a less than serious blog, I would be better to avoid the worst atrocity this world has seen in recent times and stick with lighter fayre... such as being ripped off by a taxi driver. Again.

Anyone who has been a reader of the world’s greatest ill-informed blog since its early days might recall an article I wrote about being conned in Barcelona some years back. On that occasion the driver in question drove us for what seemed like half an hour before depositing us exactly 50 yards from the point we had set off from. We didn’t realise that we had been duped until the next day and we vowed to be more careful in future.

So how did we get stung again? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ee...

We had asked the receptionist at our small, but friendly, hotel [What is this? Trip Advisor? - Ed.] to book us a taxi to take us to a restaurant for our evening meal. The driver arrived on time and drove us to a point very close to the restaurant in question. He had to take a wee detour here and there to avoid roadworks and pedestrianised areas. Fair enough. He had got us where we wanted to go, so, no problem with that. He then charged us 12 zloty. How much is that, I hear you ask. Well, the current exchange rate is something like four and a half zloty to the pound, so we were charged approximately £2.65 for our journey. Don’t tell me you are moaning about that, I hear you protest. No, I was perfectly happy with that. Indeed, he received a sizeable tip... mainly because he had a pretty decent radio station playing some good music. I didn’t expect to be listening to Rush in Poland.

Any road up, our evening had started well and the food in the restaurant was enjoyable. There was even some traditional Polish entertainment thrown in. We had a great night.

However, our evening was about to take a bit of a nosedive.

In hindsight, we should have arranged for the proprietor of the restaurant to organise a taxi to take us back to our hotel. Instead, we just headed to the nearest taxi rank and got into the first cab.

Rule one: do not get into a taxi where you have trouble trying to make the driver understand where you want to go. He spoke no English and we, being Brits abroad, had made no attempt to learn the language of the country where we found ourselves.

Rule two: do not get into a taxi where the driver hides his meter from view before he sets off.

The journey from hotel to restaurant had taken no more than ten minutes, even with the various detours. On the journey back, this guy went down all kinds of narrow alleyways. I assumed that he was doing this to avoid the roadworks but, when I spotted that he had been within a block of our hotel before he turned down another alley in the opposite direction, I realised we were (literally) being taken for a ride. After ten minutes we were still being driven up and down narrow alleyways. He eventually stopped and shrugged before pointing in the general direction of our hotel.

I was not happy. He gave the impression that he didn’t know the place we were staying. Given that we had to find our way from that point, possibly even needing to get another taxi, I offered him 10 zloty. He shook his head angrily and said that it cost 40 zloty (So, he could speak English, after all.). Sorry pardon excuse me? A taxi door-to-door costs 12 zloty and a taxi from door-to-god-knows-where costs 40? I don’t think so matey. I’m not sure if his English was of a standard to understand the terms ‘on your bike’, ‘rip-off merchant’ and ‘conman’ but, having got those off my chest, I gave him 20 zloty and got out of the cab.

It dawned on me after the event that he might well have locked the doors with me in the car and driven to the nearest polis station. It could have cost me a lot more than 40 zloty in fines.

I think it didn’t end that way because the driver knew he was in the wrong and feared for his licence.

Was that the end of our escapade? Not quite. As I said, we were dropped off somewhere we didn’t know; we now had to find our way to the hotel. We went into a nearby takeaway-shop to ask for directions, expecting to have to order another taxi. The girl who worked there spoke reasonable English and promptly took her mobile phone and checked our location. She reckoned we were very close, although she hadn’t actually heard of the hotel where we were staying... but we were definitely very near... ooh, only two minutes, maybe seven (?)

We stepped out of the shop and looked across the road... Hang on, isn’t that the cake shop immediately opposite our hotel? Yup, we were about two doors away from our destination.

Maybe I was a bit hard on that taxi driver... He was still a rip-off merchant, though.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or notorious individuals born on the 13th of July? Of course there were. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Julius Caesar 100BC (Roman leader. Looked nothing like Kenneth Williams.), Eric Portman 1901 (Ectaw.), Kenneth Clark 1903 (Historian.), Alberto Ascari 1918 (Racey car drivery bloke.), Bob Crane 1928 (Actor. Hogan of heroes fame.), Patrick Stewart 1940 (Ectaw dear leddie.), Harrison Ford 1942 (Actor. Indiana Solo.), Roger McGuinn 1942 (A Byrd. Have a clip. How high?), Chris Serle 1943 (Journalist.), Cyril Knowles 1944 (Footy bloke. He was the subject of this.), Emo Rubik 1944 (Inventor of the cube.), Ashley Mallett 1945 (Crickety bloke.), Cheech Marin 1946 (Chong’s pal.), Ian Hislop 1960 (Him off of Have I Got News for You.), Anders Jarryd 1961 (Tennisy bloke.), Neal Foulds 1963 (Snookery bloke.) and Craig Bellamy 1979 (Footy bloke.).

And now... July the 20th. Alexander the Great 356 BC (Fireplace.), Tom Crean 1877 (Explorer.), John Reith 1889 (Co-founder of the British Broadcorping Casteration.), Edmund Hillary 1919 (Mountain climbing bloke.), Jacques Delors 1925 (Politicky bloke.), Heather Chasen 1927 (Ectress.), Sally Anne Howes 1930 (Ectress. She was truly scrumptious.), Cormac McCarthy 1933 (Orfer.), Rex Williams 1933 (Snookery bloke.), Roger Hunt 1938 (Footy bloke.), Diana Rigg 1938 (Ectress.), Natalie Wood 1938 (Actress.), Wendy Richard 1943 (Actress. Miss Brahms that was her. She had a hit record once... sort of.), Kim Carnes 1945 (Singer. Here’s her ‘it, Bette Davis Eyes.), John Lodge 1945 (A Moody Blue. Here’s a solo effort.), Carlos Santana 1947 (Geetarist. Here’s an early ‘it, Samba Pa Ti.), Jeff Rawle 1951 (Ectaw. George Dent. That was him.), Desmond Douglas 1955 (Table-tennisy bloke.), Paul Cook 1956 (A Sex Pistol. Have a clip. Here is Silly Thing.), Chris Cornell 1964 (A bit of Soundgarden.  Time for a clip.), Sebastiano Rossi 1964 (Portiere.), Courtney Taylor-Taylor 1967 (A Dandy Warhol. A clip? Why, soitenly. Sing along if you fancy... You got a great car...), Sandra Oh 1971 (Actress. Her from off of Killing Eve.), Claudio Reyna 1973 (Saccer guy.), Nicola Benedetti 1987 (Rerr fiddler. Here’s an apt clip for this week.) and Niall McGinn 1987 (Footy bloke.).

 

I’ve received a letter...

 

Dear Mr Garbo,

Thanks for including the Steve Jones and Paul Cook track Silly Thing in this week’s selection of links. We are both big fans of the Sex Pistols and have a little teaser for you. What was the first Sex Pistols song to chart, reaching number 38 in 1976?

Yours inquiringly,

Anne R. Kay, Ian D. U. Kay.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Let’s move onto grambling matters. What happened with the last bet we had? It was a complete and utter waste of time. Did it lose? No. Did it win? No. The return was exactly the same as the stake money. £2.40. As I said, a waste of time.

Shall we try again? What has The Grambler come up with this week? What randomly selected predictions are we going to get? Let us see...

 

Meeting - Time - Horse - Odds

Ripon - 1.45 - Calippo - 10/11

Newbury - 1.50 - Fox Chairman - 8/11

Newbury - 3.00 - The Tin Man - 2/1

Curragh - 4.00 - Pistoletto - 8/11

Doncaster - 5.40 - Debawtry - 9/4

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...

 

£22.32

 

Uh oh... far too whopping.

 

.....oooOooo.....

 

Teaser time. Yay! Last time I asked you which Liverpool manager had been the most successful in Europe. The answer was Bob Paisley who presided over three European Cup wins. Incidentally, the other managers (with one trophy each) were Joe Fagan, Gerard Houllier and, of course, Herr Klopp.

One for this week? Here is an oddity. Which player has been the most used substitute in the Premier League? Hmm... very interesting.

 

.....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.....
 

Please, also take the time to click on this link, an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

 

…..oooOooo…..

 

 

And finally Cyril? And finally, Esther, it is a very special anniversary today. It is exactly 50 years since Messrs Armstrong and Aldrin stepped onto to moon with the memorable (and obviously planned) words ‘A small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind.’ What a pity Neil fluffed his lines and forgot the ‘a’ before the word man.

I thought something to mark the occasion should end this week’s edition of your favourite ill-informed blog. A song perhaps. Something to do with the Moon... Walking on the Moon? Everyone’s Gone to the Moon? Fly me to... No. None of these. One of my favourite bands, then and now, came up with a song to mark the occasion. However, Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull’s writer-in-chief, commemorated the event from a slightly different angle. Ladeez and genullum, I give you For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me complete with lyrics.
 
I went to the moon, me.
Honest.  No kidding. I did an' all.
 

 

 

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.