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, we’re off. Last Sunday I attended my first footy game of the new season. Unfortunately, the mighty ’Well were not so mighty on the day and lost 2 - 1. However, the new team - and it is basically a new team - looked impressive.
We were playing the Teddy Bears and as is so often the case when Motherwell play either of the Old Firm (or New Firm as it is often called these days, because Rangers is a new club. It was formed in 2012 apparently. Not 1872. It is therefore a new club with no affiliation to the original Glasgow Rangers. Apart from playing in the same stadium. And having the same true blue support. Definitely a new club. Mmm.) it seemed that we were up against 11 players plus match officials. [I should like to point out that referees and linesmen are totally impartial and would never favour one team to the detriment of the other. - Ed.] That is as maybe, but when a dodgy penalty was awarded against the ’Well, you can imagine the comments made by the crowd. The Hallelujah Chorus rang out, with altered words of course. Any road up, that penalty decision cost us the game. Well, at least a point. Why am I telling you all of this? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell ee...
The following morning I got up - Cue Chic Murray gag... I like to get up; it gives me the rest of the day to myself - Mrs G had been up and about for ages. We started talking about the game, which is unusual in itself because Mrs G has no interest in football other than wanting to know how Andy Robertson got on. I mentioned that some sections of our crowd thought that the referee was not only biased, but was actually a Rangers fan. She replied that she had read all about it and that the penalty being given was being questioned by the media. What has happened, thinks I. How does she know about the game? How does she know about the disputed penalty decision? It turns out that she had seen the headline which included the ref’s name. And? The name of the ref drew her attention. It transpires that Mrs G in her capacity as a nursery school teacher had actually had the said referee as one of her pupils sometime during the last century.
There was me thinking that she had suddenly taken an interest in the beautiful game.
I can’t let this week’s (g)ramble go by without a mention of Mr Glen Campbell who died earlier this week. I actually liked old Glen. He seemed like a nice guy. He was the acceptable face of country music as far as I was concerned. The songs he produced in his heyday were gentle, melodic pieces; not the usual schmaltz. He also had the distinction of being in the touring band of the Beach Boys during 1964 and 65 and played guitar on their 1966 album Pet Sounds. He even made a fair fist of acting when he appeared in the John Wayne film True Grit. Yes, he was an all right bloke. Or was he?
One snippet of information that I recently spotted shows him in a very different light. His first really big hit, in America at least, was a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Universal Soldier. And? That was in 1965, at the height of anti-Vietnam War feeling across the USA. Young people were refusing to be drafted into the American forces to fight in a war they saw as being unjust. And? Universal Soldier was very much a pacifist song which tapped into that zeitgeist (That’s a good word. Must look it up.) And? When he was questioned about the anti-war theme of the song, he showed his true colours, perhaps... ‘People who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung.’
I liked him until I read that. We should still afford him the honour of a link, though. Don’t you agree? Here he is singing that very song.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 12th of August? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. George IV 1762 (The first gentleman of England.), Cecil B. DeMille 1881 (Film maker fond of Biblical epics.), Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia 1904 (Heir apparent to the throne of the Russian Empire.), Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes aka Mario Moreno aka Cantinflas 1911 (Mexican actor. Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days.), Guy Gibson 1918 (Dam buster.), Fulton Mackay 1922 (Mr Mackay. [Obviously, he’s called Mackay. - Ed.] No. Mr Mackay in Porridge.), Derek Shackleton 1924 (Crickety bloke.), Ross ’n’ Norris McWhirter 1925 (Twins who founded the Guinness Book of Records.), John Derek 1926 (Actor, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor and producer who was famous for his wives. Well, three of them, anyway. Wives numbers 2 to 4 were lookalikes Ursula Andress, Linda Evans and Bo Derek.), George Hamilton 1939 (Ronseal man.), Eddie Barlow 1940 (Sarth Ifrican creekutty blike.), Terry Nutkins 1946 (TV naturalist and beekeeper.), Mark Knopfler 1949 (Dire Straits singer [Singer!!! Ha! - Ed.], guitarist and Rab C. Nesbitt lookalike. Time for our second clip of the week. Woo hoo...), Francois Hollande 1954 (Ex President of France.), Pat Metheny 1954 (Jazz guitarist and composer. Here’s one you may remember.), Amanda Redman 1957 (A new trick.), Roy Hay 1961 (A quarter of Culture Club. Want a clip? One of the number ones? No, this is my favourite Culture Club single. Roy’s the one pretending to fly the plane, incidentally.), Pete Sampras 1971 (Tennisy bloke. Aka Pistol Pete.), Tyson Fury 1988 (Boxy bloke. Aka Gypsy King aka The Furious One aka 2 Fast.), Tom Cleverley 1989 (Footy bloke.) and Mario Balotelli (Nutty footy bloke.).
I don’t normally dwell on those who die on a given date, but August the 12th seems to have been a day that many famous folk snuffed it. Cleopatra 30BC (Egyptian queen. How the hell can anyone pinpoint that date over 2000 years on?), William Blake 1827 (Poet and painter.), George Stephenson 1848 (Pioneering civil and mechanical engineer.), Leos Janacek 1928 (Czech composer.), Thomas Mann 1955 (German novelist.), Ian Fleming 1964 (Writer.), John Williams 1978 (Motor bike racey bloke.), Henry Fonda 1982 (Actor.), Kyu Sakamoto 1985 (Japanese singer.), Jean-Michel Basquiat 1988 (American painter.), John Cage 1992 (American composer and music theorist.), Loretta Young 2000 (American actress.), Les Paul 2009 (American guitarist.), Robert Robinson 2011 (British panel-game show host.), Alf Morris 2012 (English politician.), David McLetchie 2013 (Scottish politician.), Laren Bacall 2014 (American actress.) and Stephen Lewis (English comedy actor.). Hmm... A busy date for funeral directors.
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Bumbler,
I am a pretty laid-back guy living in France and just loved Culture Club. I can recall their number one record ‘Do You Really Want to Hurt Me’, but I’m sure they had another song made it to number one, but can’t remember its title. Can you help?
Calm R. Cammy (Lyons).
Well, time to get on with some grambling. How did The Grambler’s predictions for the first week of the 2017 to 2018 season fare? Not so good, I’m afraid. [No need to be afraid; I’m here to protect you. - Ed.] We got a return of £1.90 from our £2.20 bet. What happened. Read on...
Bradford vs Blackpool - Prediction Home win
Result Bradford 2 Blackpool 1
Bradford took the lead in the 41st minute when ex-Motherwell man Nicky Law's free-kick was flicked into the path of Nathaniel Knight-Percival by substitute Tim Dieng and the defender stabbed the ball into the net at the far post.
However, Blackpool were rewarded with an equaliser two minutes later when the Bradford defence failed to cut out a through-ball from Mark Cullen for the unmarked Colin Daniel to score.
Bradford put the visitors' defence under pressure at the start of the second half and Omari Patrick came up with the winner in the 58th minute. He took a neat pass from Jake Reeves to score with a right-footed shot just inside the upright.
Doncaster vs Gillingham - Prediction Home win
Result Doncaster 0 Gillingham 0
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Rovers midfielder Ben Whiteman saw one strike hit the woodwork and another cleared off the line, while the visitors also had opportunities to walk away with the spoils in an entertaining encounter at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The hosts had the better of the play overall and should have been in front early in the game with Liam Mandeville and Matty Blair both going close.
Gillingham surged back as the half wore on with Gabriel Zakuani seeing a header clawed off the line by Ian Lawlor while Danny Andrew drew a fine save from Thomas Holy at the opposite end.
Doncaster continued to have the better of the chances with Holy saving an Andy Butler header while Mandeville drilled narrowly over.
Gills' Scott Wagstaff made sure Lawlor stayed alert with a rasping drive while John Marquis curled wide from 20-yards as Rovers looked the more likely to win it.
And Whiteman twice went close to ensuring that, sending a dipping volley back off the crossbar before seeing another superb strike headed over by O'Neill.
Peterborough vs Plymouth - Prediction Home win
Result Peterborough 2 Plymouth 1
The Pilgrims fell behind just four minutes in when a Leo Da Silva Lopes cross took a deflection off Gary Sawyer - who was credited with an own goal.
Plymouth conceded again two minutes into the second period as their appeals for a foul were ignored after Jack Marriott robbed defender Sonny Bradley. Marriott then set up a second goal for Junior Morias.
Excellent saves from McCormick kept ex-Motherwell man Derek Adams' side in the contest as he denied Doughty and Marriott before Plymouth substitute Gregg Wylde fired past the previously unbeatable Jonathan Bond with 14 minutes to go.
Portsmouth vs Rochdale - Prediction Home win
Result Portsmouth 2 Rochdale 0
The visitors started brightly and their first chance fell to Oliver Rathbone, who tried his luck from outside the area but saw his effort sail over the bar.
Rochdale's Keith Keane was given a straight red card by referee Lee Probert in the 21st minute after fouling Conor Chaplin when the striker ran through on goal.
The home side made the extra man count in the 46th minute when Pitman dribbled his way into the area and had two shots blocked before eventually curling it past Josh Lillis into the bottom corner.
Probert gave another straight red card in the 81st minute, this time sending off Pompey's Jamal Lowe for a high challenge on Jamie Allen.
However, Pitman headed in his second goal of the match in the 92nd minute to secure victory for the home side after he was picked out by Gareth Evans.
Did you know Portsmouth are now owned by former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner? So are they now officially a Mickey Mouse club?
Scunthorpe vs AFC Wimbledon - Prediction Home win
Result Scunthorpe 1 Wimbledon 1
Ooh! ’It the bar!
Conor Townsend gave the hosts an early lead when he fired into the top corner after being played in by Josh Morris.
Jimmy Abdou grabbed Wimbledon's equaliser midway through the second-half with a volley from the edge of the penalty area.
Blast! Two ’it the bars spoiled our first bet of the new season. Never mind. What has the great and good Grambler come up with this week?
Game - Result - Odds
Everton vs Stoke - Prediction Home win - 7/10
Brentford vs Nottingham Forest - Prediction Home win - 17/20
Hull vs Burton Albion - Prediction Home win - 8/13
Sheffield Wednesday vs QPR - Prediction Home win - 5/6
Middlesbrough vs Sheffield Utd. - Prediction Home win - 10/11
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...
No. Not in the least bit whopping.
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you which famous Scot managed all those hunners of clubs when he retired from playing. The answer was, of course, Joe Jordan aka Jaws.
One for this week? A tougher one than last week’s, I hope. What unusual ‘double’ did Shrewsbury Town win in 1978-79?
As usual, let’s finish with a mention 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
And finally, Cyril? And finally Esther, I am indebted to Messrs R. and N. McWhirter who were the first editors of the Guinness Book of Records. Originally the records included in this tome were reasonably sensible. Fastest and slowest moving species would be given. Tallest building, fastest plane/car/motorbike, highest mountain. longest river, etc. would be covered. Human extremes were also noted - tallest/shortest, heaviest/lightest - that sort of thing. All very interesting and the sort of information which could stop any potential argument in a pub. Sporting ‘bests’ were also covered, so if you wanted to know who the fastest runner/swimmer/walker was, the answer was at your fingertips.
Things have changed, though. Nowadays, any old stunt can get you into the Guinness Book of Records. Here are some of the dafter entries...
Michael Kopp holds the duration record for spinning a basketball on a toothbrush held between his teeth. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe there is a competition anywhere that asks competitors to balance a basketball on a toothbrush, so why would anyone attempt such a thing?
A 21 year old failed to get into the book when she attempted to pull an aeroplane with her hair. What? Why? Who needs to do such a ridiculous thing?
Juggling underwater? I am not making these up.
How about a world record gathering of costumed dogs? Presumably it was their owners who brought all these well-dressed animals along for a pooch parade; the dogs didn’t all just gather together of their own accord. That would be silly... No, I think I should rephrase that. That would be even sillier.
100 metre hurdles in a record time? That’s more like it. Wearing flippers. What!!!
Largest gathering of people dressed as Smurfs? This is now getting incredibly silly.
Deepest cycling underwater? No juggling involved.
Largest gathering of people dressed as Mahatma Ghandi?
The largest number of people twerking simultaneously? This is just ludicrous!
Largest gathering of people dressed as... who is it this time? Oh, Albert Einstein. Of course. I should have guessed.
All very silly stuff. Here’s a question for you. Why did the Guinness Book of Records come into existence? Let’s end with a little history lesson.
On May 4, 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver - stop sniggering at the back - then the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, went on a shooting party in North Slob in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, but later realised it was impossible to confirm in reference books. He thought that a book supplying answers to such questions might be popular. The rest, as they say, is history.
Nowadays, we just head for Googly (which is exactly where I found the above information) and, hey bingo, the answer is right in front of us. [Ah, but is it the correct answer? - Ed.]
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