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, I am disappointed in you lot. Yes you, the readers of this, the greatest ill-informed blog the world has ever known. Yes, both of you. Why? Because last week there was a glaring error in the grambler.com that nobody pulled me up about.
You see, I noticed the error before I published the article. I thought, I’ll just leave it and see if anyone spots it. And nobody did. Or if they did, they just thought, this guy’s an idiot and left it at that.
So what was this mistake? And I admit it was a genuine mistake when I wrote it. The amount of money that would be lost by each individual living in the UK if the sum made by the bookies from gambling machines was divided equally amongst them. What is £1.8 billion divided by 65 million? Yes, you at the back? Exactly. £27.69, not £276.
So, the amount lost per person across the entire population is only 50 pee per week, not five quids. Oh, well that’s all right then. [Do I detect a touch of sarcasm? - Ed.]
Mind you, I still maintain that many of the people who play these ‘crack cocaine’ machines lose thousands rather than hundreds.
The article has now been corrected, you’ll be happy to know. See http://www.thegrambler.com/2017/11/week-13-grehmbling-reeshponsheebly-with.html.
99 years ago to the day, my grandfather was injured in battle. He sustained a serious head injury... Here’s a little story for you. When he was in hospital receiving treatment, there were two other servicemen in there with similar head injuries. The other two received ‘pioneering surgery’ and had metal plates attached over the damaged area. They died. My grandfather didn’t have this operation and he survived. I think the moral is, if ever a surgeon uses the word pioneering, leg it (if you are able).
Any road up, 99 years ago to the day World War I, the Great War, the war to end all wars came to an end. It came to a close at the symbolic time of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh months. History loves a bit of symbolism. Unfortunately, while all the world leaders and generals knew about the exact time that the war would end, the message hadn’t got through to the actual battlefront and soldiers from opposing sides were still knocking seven bells out of each other up to, and indeed after, the 11 o’clock deadline, hence my granddad’s injury which occurred on the very last day of hostilities.
It is so typical of some of the many mistakes made in World War I. The first mistake was even starting a war... someone falling out with their cousin shouldn’t lead to millions of people being slaughtered.
This weekend sees armistice remembrance day services taking place all over Britain. You may have seen everybody currently on live TV sporting a poppy, the emblem of the Earl Haig Fund set up in 1921 by Earl Haig himself to raise funds to assist ex-servicemen. A worthy cause, you would argue, but hold on there Bald Eagle, wasn’t Earl Haig, formerly known as Field-Marshall Douglas Haig, a senior commander in the Great War of 1914 to 1918? Yes he was. And wasn’t he nicknamed ‘Butcher Haig’ because some of his dreadful tactics resulted in the deaths of some 2,000,000 men? Yes he was. Hmm... a wee guilt trip, perhaps?
Now call me Mr Cynical, but I have a problem with the Earl Haig Fund. I am happy to give to charity and I do actually give to the fund (although I refuse to wear a poppy), but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with it...
‘What ho chaps! The war’s over and we did jolly well defeating Kaiser Bill, what what?’
‘Absolutely old bean. A few million killed in the process but, that’s war for you, I suppose.’
‘Only problem is, rather a lot of chaps have come back from the front...’
‘Yes, that is a problem.’
‘Yes. They’ll be wanting pensions and things like that.’
‘And a few of them are a bit... how can I put this? Mangled. Unlikely to be able to work.’
‘Mmm. Difficult. Don’t think we’ve got enough in the coffers to keep them for the rest of their natural.’
‘Yes. As you say, difficult.’
‘I say you chaps, I’ve got a spiffing wheeze.’
‘What’s that, Douglas, old chap?’
‘Why don’t we appeal to the public for money to pay these injured ex-soldiers?’
‘Er, how do you mean, old bean?’
‘Well, we make the people who didn’t go to war feel guilty about the people who did go to war.’
‘Still not with you, old sport.’
‘We tell them that all those servicemen who fought in the war did it on their behalf, to fight for their freedom.’
‘But it was us politicians who sent them to war. It should be us that pay for the upkeep of these disabled soldiers, not the general public.’
‘I say, steady on old man. Us? Pay? I know who sent the men to war. You know who sent them to war. But the general public don’t. They’re too stupid to realise it. You’ll see. Once we appeal to their sense of guilt, they’ll give thousands. And we can do it every year. If we have the appeal on armistice day, the old memories and feelings of guilt will come flooding back... Never mind thousands, millions more like.’
‘I see what you mean. Splendid idea. And it won’t cost us a penny. Well done Douglas... Do you know, Earl Haig sounds a lot better, don’t you think?’
Okay, maybe that isn’t quite how it happened but, when it comes to cynicism, I think somebody was there nearly a hundred years before me.
Were any famous or notorious people born on the 11th of November? Of course. Here are some I’ve even heard of. Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1821 (Russian author. ‘To live without hope is to cease to live.’ Wise words there Fy.), George S. Patton 1885 (The well-known general.), Pat O’Brien 1899 (Actor. Known as Hollywood’s Irishman in residence.), Sam Spiegel 1901 (Film producer. Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia were a couple of his notable films.), Robert Ryan 1909 (Actor. Seemed to appear in a lot of war films.), Bernard Kotzin 1918 (Who? Better known as Stubby Kaye, a comedy actor. Here’s your first clip of the week; Stubby in Guys and Dolls. ), Roy Jenkins 1920 (Labour, SDP and Liberwal Democwat politician. [That is shocking. How dare you make fun of a speech impediment. - Ed.]), Kurt Vonnegut 1922 (Stomach disorder.), June Whitfield 1925 (Comedy actress. Not really married to Terry Scott.), Jonathan Winters 1925 (Comedian. It says here.), Lavern Baker 1929 (Singer. Another clip? Go Jim Dandy.), Vernon Handley 1930 (Conductor. The musical type.), Jack Keller 1936 (Songwriter. Here’s one of his. Venus in Blue Jeans. Apologies for the somewhat literal video interpretation.), Roy Fredericks 1942 (Crickety bloke and politician.), Chris Dreja 1945 (A Yardbird. A clip? Why not. All together now... For Your Love...), Daniel Ortega 1945 (President of Nicaragua.), Fuzzy Zoeller 1951 (A golfy bloke. Definitely not a bear.), Andy Partridge 1953 (The main man from XTC Time for another clip. Here's All You Pretty Girls.), Demi Moore 1962 (Became the highest paid actress ever when she received $12.5 million to star in Striptease.), Calista Flockhart 1964 (Ally McBeal.), Leonardo DiCaprio 1974 (Actor. Unfairly described by comedian Stewart Lee as having a face like a sprout.), Philip Lahm 1983 (Deutscher fusballspieler.), Kyle Naughton 1988 (Another footy bloke.), Jamaal Lascelles 1993 (Yet another footy bloke.) and Ellie Simmonds 1994 (Swimmy bloke.).
I’ve received a letter...
Dear Mr Bumbler,
Thank you for giving us a clip from our favourite group XTC. We are a bit mixed up with the order of their hit singles. Making Plans for Nigel was a big hit and there was a minor hit called Towers of London, but wasn’t there another chart hit in between? Can you assist?
Yours with fondest kisses,
Jenny Ralls and May Jaws.
Once again, I am sorry to disappoint those of you who like to follow The Grambler’s betting advice but, as happened last week, this is being published a little later than usual, so there are no predictions and no bet this week. I promise normal service will be resumed next week [Why must it? - Ed.].
Teaser time. Yay! Last week I asked you who was the only non-English, non-French player in Arsenal’s FA Cup final side of 2001. The answer was Swedish underwear salesman Freddie Ljungberg.
One for this week? As it is the week in which the playoffs for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers are taking place, how about a World Cup question from the not too distant past? Who scored a hat-trick as Germany thrashed Poland in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup finals tournament? Too easy? Maybe.
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 birthday celebrant Ms J. Whitfield for this week’s closing moments. June Whitfield first became known to the Great British public 64 years ago and has remained popular ever since. She has appeared in (among others)... deep breath... Take it from Here, Dixon of Dock Green, The Arthur Askey Show, Faces of Jim, The Benny Hill Show, Steptoe and Son, Frankie Howerd’s show, Hancock, four Carry On films, Beggar My Neighbour, Scott On..., The Goodies, The Dick Emery Show, Bless This House, Happy Ever After, Terry and June, The News Huddlines, Absolutely Fabulous and Last of the Summer Wine. That long list doesn’t include one-off appearances in various comedy shows and all her dramatic roles. Is it any wonder that she has received many honours? These have included being made a DBE in 2017 and the being the even more prestigious inaugural recipient of the Aardman Slapstick Comedy Legend Award. Some career. What should we have to finish? Her original notable comedy character was the whiny Eth in a section of the radio show Take it from Here (1953) called ‘The Glums’ (or Les Miserables in French). I think a wee link would make a suitable finish this week. Here’s Ron's Birth Certificate. A bit dated, but it should still elicit the occasional smile.
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