Archive for July 2015

Not in Wisden #13: First Aid C/DC

July 30, 2015

The dangerous ritual in cricket whereby a fielder on catching the ball hurls it up into the air in celebration is an accident waiting to happen because they forget, while rejoicing, that the ball is too hard and could land on them with a glorious thud. Wouldn’t it be safer simply clenching a fist or having a slide along the ground to signify their delight? Or doing a Giggsy by taking the jumper off and circling it around like a wheel?

Thus it was that at a GDCCC (Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship) match that the inevitable happened. Cranhillshire were having a local derby against Ruchazieshire when fate chapped on the door and like the meter reading man was given entry.

The young Cranhillshire backward point, Gus Young, had taken a marvellous acrobatic diving catch. Thunderstruck, with great joy he propelled the ball upwards on the highway to heaven. Alas, Alad, Alaughingstock, what goes up…

Gus’ jubilation was cut short when the projectile returned to sender. He was whacked on the head by the incoming missile and blacked out.

The other players were going to continue the game until they realised they were a man down. Brite Spark, one of Cranhill’s finest lamp salesmen suggested some shock therapy to revive grounded Gus.

“Let’s give him some high voltage electric shock treatment. I’ll get some of my lamps and hot wire them. Everybody stand clear. I’m going to give him a buzz.”

“Hold on, hold on” reasoned Barmullochshire’s The Professor who was spectating at this event. “That won’t work. He’s lying flat on the earth. The earth connection will neutralise your Live Wires.”  he further reasoned with his dodgy science knowledge.

Ruchazie’s Jakey Van Helsing offered a more bloodthirsty remedy.

“Get one of the wickets and drive it straight through his heart. I like nothing better than the sound of willow on flesh in the morning.”

“Wait a sec. Hell’s Bells” said the umpire, Bumble Bee “In the GDCCC we play with a tennis ball not the regulation Dukes. There should be nothing wrong with Young. A tennis ball’s not ‘ard”

Heeding Bumble’s words of  Wisden wisdom Gus jumped up like a schoolboy. His act was all an act. It was time to resume the action. Play.

 

Not in Wisden #12: Space Invaders

July 29, 2015

One of the endearing characteristics of the GDCCC (Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship) was the fact that most of the players didn’t know the rules of the game. A lot was made up on the crease and became law. Just as in the GDCFC(Glasgow and District County Football Championship) no matter how violent, reckless or criminal the hatchet men tackled, there were no fouls given because the refs would be too scared, the cricketing equivalent of this would be there would be no LBWs. Plainly, a batsmen could occupy the front of the stumps all day. Drawn games of 0-0 were not uncommon with not a run scored or a wicket taken.

Thankfully not everyone wanted to be Chris Tavare and most of the contests featured hard hitting batting and outrageous bowling. The more educated amongst us, that is those with a rudimentary knowledge of the game, pined for a more professional approach to proceedings. We wanted a bona fide scoreboard that detailed all the facts right down to extras and last man. We never got what we wanted. The score was done verbally by both teams with the usual difference of opinion. To reach a consensus diplomacy failed countlessly and war took over to settle the score.

The educated class pined for another thing to resemble the English and broader world game. At the GDCCC’s apex the zeitgeist was that lots of test matches were invaded by streakers. These joyful exhibitionists enlightened many a drab occasion and their nudity was innocent and funny. We wanted a streaker and we went further with our wants, we wanted a female streaker. We never got what we wanted.

The only pitch invasions we got were by clothed men brandishing wine bottles. Depending on how tough they were we had to let them have a bat for a while before they got bored and wandered off to cause havoc elsewhere. The other winos we chased off. It was Apache country back then and maybe just as well we didn’t have a scoreboard; the natives would have burned it down. This would have been a new take on The Ashes.

 

 

*Family-friendly blog. No streakers only Heath Streak (above) ex-Zimbabwean bowler.

The danger that lurks in plants

July 15, 2015

Plants and flowers are not one of my areas of expertise. And while I can understand that some trees are big and some are not so big, I wouldn’t be able to name them. I don’t know my oak from my cedar. Therefore it was frightening to learn that the deadly Heracleum mantegazzianum is growing wild and plentiful in my neck of the woods.

All along I thought Genesis were having a laugh. The rock group, that is, not the first book of the bible. Way back during the band’s prog rock period on the LP Nursery Cryme was a track called, The return of the Giant Hogweed. It told the story of an imported plant that began to kill all mankind. Nothing could stop it. As science fiction tales go this was quality feverish imagination. Imagine my horror when I found out the story is true. Hogweed is real!

Giant Hogweed is a dangerous plant that causes third degree burns and is growing wild along the banks of the Clyde. Environmental managers say that pesticides can curtail its advance but this has to be done regularly. The invasive plant has also been spotted across many of the city’s public parks. This is a worry, I wouldn’t know Giant Hogweed from a foxglove. Next time I’m out jogging I might run into one of these man-eating carnivores. I will have to keep my wits and my spider-sense fully tuned up just in case there’s a showdown. The only thing I know is that they have a white flower head.

It really is an apocalyptic ordeal to go outdoors. There’s mushrooms and toadstools that need to be avoided.  Berries do look enticing but they might carry a kick in the interior stomach afterward. The last deadly lampshade I encountered gave me a beump (© Inspector Clouseau) on the head; it fell out a window. Now I have to stay clear of white flowers. It’ll be white rabbits next. The only thing missing from this nightmare is zombies. Although, in some of the rougher parts of the woods a few fellows do resemble the walking dead.

Fleet of foot with a horseshoe boot

July 11, 2015

Man o’ War at full speed

In the pantheon of great studs Man o’ War makes Warren Beatty an also ran. The prolific stallion sired 64 stakes winners and many champion racehorses. Regular viewers of the Jeremy Kyle Show will be familiar with the strange breeding policies of the families featured on the daytime programme. Down is up and up is down in this topsy-turvy land. Long before this two of Man o’ War’s genes were almost a forerunner of this abominable daytime entertainment programme.

Seabiscuit was War Admiral’s nephew although he was one year older than his uncle; such is the way with thoroughbreds. Both horses were the two most successful equines in their era but they never raced against one another. The public demanded a blood feud. On November 1st 1938 the two horses had a winners takes all race. Seabiscuit won and was immortalised in a book by Laura Hillenbrand and a subsequent film. (sorry- forgot about the spoiler alert- still, at least you won’t need to watch it now)

It was all the nag’s fault anyway for this horsey talk, of course. There we were stabilised in the pub when the resident military expert shows up. He neighed on and on about the Battle of Waterloo. It was something to do with the anniversary of the event; 200 years by my reckoning. This “historian” nagged us about the dynamics and tactics of the battle. I got the feeling he had just purchased an Osprey books edition of the Napoleonic Wars and so was bombarding us with short-term memory blasts.

Battles can be lost but wars can still be won. I let the phony Max Hastings gallop on before I reined him in. I asked him a question? One thing I am quite good at is remembering famous horses. Off the top of my head I couldn’t tell you when my wedding anniversary is but ask me for the name of Alexander the Great or Simon Bolivar’s horse and I wouldn’t need to phone a friend. I stuffed the bragger by asking him if he knew the name of the Duke of Wellington’s horse. I had David Broomed him as he became speechless and received four faults for his refusal.

I enlightened him with the capital, Copenhagen. Before I could ask him if he knew Napoleon’s horse he had retreated into the woods. History could have lost a famous Abba song if the commanders of the opposing armies on the day had decided to have a horse race to settle the spoils. The two fleet footed Manowars could have had a duel between themselves saving much bloodshed.

Copenhagen or Marengo?  Where would you rather go on holiday?

Flame filled chords break through the Firewall

July 4, 2015

Without knowing much about them, when I was a pup my favourite English football team was Reading; it was something to do with the name; it had a ring about it. At the time I didn’t know they were nicknamed The Royals so that was a Brucie bonus when I found out. Little did I know that I would grow up to be The Royalist.

Reading FC are pronounced -as I’m sure you know- Redding and not reading as in what you’re doing just now. Though I can understand Guillaumey foreigner being confused. My kingdom for a homonym, indeed. Where one tries to lead the other is stuck in lead. You can chip your nail varnish with a nail. Have you ever been on a trip and tripped?

Enough of homonymphobia, let’s cut to the stream. Spotify are one of the best music streaming services on the line (© The Internship 2013). Now I am not ashamed to admit that my knowledge of computers is limited. The technological age beats me all the time. Something went wrong with my Spotify account, I don’t know what, I pressed the wrong button or something. The downshot was that I was forever off the line ( that’s a wee © from me). Seeking help from one that knows he suggested that the problem was with my firewall setting. Firewall? I didn’t even know I had one of those fearsome sounding things aboard.

So I messed about with the firewall. As you do. No matter what I did with it: turn it off, turn it on, pass go, go west, go deep, exit stage left, turn it on again, go straight, collect $200, go right, go to jail- Spotify remained offline. A further remedy suggested was uninstall the programme and then install it again. This option had the potential to go through all those motions previously stated with the end result being the same but…it worked. By re-installing the prog,  my music streamer of choice is now online and I can comb through its vast network of sounds again.

Which brings us to Sweden’s Yngwie Johan Malmsteen. This Nordic guitar lord juxtaposes heavy metal with a touch of classical; Yngwie, has an idiosyncratic shredder style. As my stream was running again I spotifyied the Swede until my ears bled. The name Yngwie is a toe-curler for those that first see it. I’ve heard Yang-wee, Nnn-vee and, absurdly, Gang-way being said.

Reading time over, let’s listen to the baroque guitar hero as he soars over the battlefield. Ride of the Valkyries was never as good as this.