Sunday, 31 October 2010


Be afraid. Be very afraid...


Taken from Private Eye and my good friend Adullamite


Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Jeremy Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you


Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Jamie Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester


Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
Stewart White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm
Stewart White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're...?
Contestant: Strong.
Stewart White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis
Stewart White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?


Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy ?
Contestant: France.
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.


Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: - Prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.


DJ Mark: For 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?


Bamber Gascoyne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM ( Bristol )

Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.


Phil: What's 11 squared?
Contestant: I don't know.
Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?


Richard: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
Contestant: Forrest Gump.

Richard: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er. ... ..
Richard: He makes bread . . .
Contestant: Er .. .....
Richard: He makes cakes . . .
Contestant: Kipling Street?


Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona..
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain .


Question: What is the world's largest continent?
Contestant:  The Pacific.


Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?


Steve Le Fevre: What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta?


James O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... ER.. ER ... Three?


Chris Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna ?
Caller: Japan.
Chris Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er ......... Mexico ?


Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (long pause): Fourteen days..


Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland?
Daryl Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland? Ireland ?
Daryl Denham: (helpfully) It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?
Contestant: No.


Phil Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er... .... ..
Phil Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Phil Wood: Ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . .
Contestant: (Silence)
Phil Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . .
Contestant: Walked?


Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia..


Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?
Contestant: Jewish.
Presenter: That's close enough.


Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

Jesus, indeed....

Monday, 25 October 2010

Jack of Hearts

Back in August I wrote about taking my five year old grandson Jack to Tynecastle for his very first football game. Hearts played St. Johnstone in the opening league game of the season and as we headed along Edinburgh's Gorgie Road to the game with the wee man resplendent in his Hearts top (okay, so it was last season's top as it was considerably cheaper than buying this season's monstrosity and it might have been a bit too big for him but it was all the club shop had left..) I felt my heart swell with pride. This was a truly historic moment - Jack's first Hearts game.

I recalled my first Hearts game way back in 1968 when my father took me to Falkirk in the days when I lived in Cumbernauld. Many like-minded devotees of the famous Heart of Midlothian recall their first Hearts game and I felt sure Jack would remember this tumultuous day and regale it to his children and grandchildren in decades to come.

Alas, Jack didn't find the experience particularly joyous and seemed underwhelmed by the occasion. In fact he asked if he could go home after just ten minutes. Fair enough, I thought to myself - my plan to introduce him to the sometimes despairing life of being a Hearts supporter had backfired. And I couldn't really blame him. However, I was touched when he told me on the journey home that he wanted to go back again. Bless him, I thought, he doesn't want to upset me.

So it was something of a surprise when, more than two months later, Jack told me wanted to go back to the football. I asked him several times if he was sure as he was clearly unhappy first time around. 'No' he insisted, 'I want to go with you'.

Thus, Jack sat next to me at Tynecastle on Saturday as Hearts demolished St. Mirren 3-0. The scoreline apart, it was much the same as his first visit. He was happy enough pre-match. He devoured the hot dog I purchased and guzzled his carton of blackcurrant juice quite happily. He pondered the antics of the Hearts mascot Tynie Tiger and the expression on his face clearly illustrated he just wondered why the hell would someone dress as a maroon and white tiger with a giant head and prance around the field like an idiot...But when the game itself started Jack became bored and wanted to go home. He sat restless in the freezing cold  for ninety minutes, oblivious to Rudi Skacel's marvellous hat-trick. However, as we headed out of the ground at the end of the game, he looked up to me and said 'Papa, that was good, can I go to the next game?'

I ruffled his hair and laughed and said 'Let's go to McDonald's...' I admired his sensitivity for one so young and felt proud that a such an early age, Jack was thinking about others - a trait to be admired in this day and age. It damn well nearly brought a tear to my eye.

On Saturday evening I spoke to the infamous Mrs Smith on the telephone. It's the only way we communicate these days (okay, if truth be told she was in Aberdeen visiting relatives) With her female intuition she remarked that Jack simply loves being with his Papa. He loved the bus journey to the game and back, he talked incessantly on both journeys, he loved his hot dog and relished  - if you'll pardon the pun - the trip to McDonald's afterwards. Mrs Smith told me it was patently obvious why Jack wants to go back to the football - not for the game itself but to spend the afternoon with his Papa.

And there's my dilemma. I also cherish my time spent with Jack. But I don't want him to sit through a football game he doesn't enjoy just so he can spend time with me. The obvious answer is for me to take the wee fella somewhere else other than the football. Which I will do  - just not on a Saturday afternoon.

I'm hoping Jack will develop an interest in football now he has started primary school. And if he does then I'll be ready to take him back to Tynecastle where hopefully we can both enjoy the match day experience. Of course there's an outside chance he may choose to follow Edinburgh's wee team Hibernian.  If he does I will do what any self-respecting Hearts supporting grandad would do.

I'll disown him.......

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hilda Ogden and the Google Search

Earlier today I was updating my football blog - - and thought I would try and search for a new photograph for the banner heading. The best web search engine - so I've been told - is Google so I entered the words 'Scottish football in the 1970s' and clicked on the image icon on my computer toolbar. I waited for hundreds of images of Scottish footballing icons of three decades and more ago  - but some of the results were rather perplexing.

In no particular order, alongside the likes of Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law were:

Alf Ramsay - that Scottish football icon
Gordon Brown (a long haired Brown from the early 1970s)
Jimmy Reid, Trade Union leader who sadly recently passed away
Daybreak presenter Lorraine Kelly
Bart Simpson in a Rangers top
German legends Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller
A team photograph of Elgin City - from 1936
Richard Branson in a swimming costume
Hilda Ogden (a former soap star in the UK)
Penelope Keith
Elliot Gould
John Cleese as Basil Fawlty
Tony Curtis (God rest his soul) and Roger Moore as television's The Persuaders
and, perhaps  most disturbingly of all, porn star Linda Lovelace (I had to find out who this person was - honestly, mother...)

Interestingly, alongside a photo of an Aberdeen player who was a hero of the 1970 Scottish Cup Final - Derek 'Cup-tie' Mackay - was a black and white photo of a Soviet Union nuclear warhead.

Now, I find Google a useful tool for research purposes. But when I type in the words Scottish and football I don't expect to come across Hilda Ogden and Penelope Keith. Yes, they were stars in the 1970s - but I can't recall them performing at Tynecastle...

It may well just be me, of course. When I typed in 'Scottish heroes' I got a photo of Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland - Google had ignored the Scottish bit and gone for an image from the film Kelly's Heroes.

The next time I think I'll try and outsmart Google by typing in the word Morrissey i.e. the ex lead singer of The Smiths. One of his famous lyrics went 'please, please, please let me get what I want - this time...'

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Groaning in the Gloaming...

I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .

She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of maths disruption.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

Atheism is a non-prophet organisation.

Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says 'Dam!'

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Sting in the Tail

It's mid October, the nights are drawing in as we say in Scotland and autumn is upon us. In a couple of weeks the clocks will go back an hour in the UK heralding the official end of summer and the onset of winter. This means the discovery of a third unwanted visitor to the Smith household in the last few days has forced yours truly to take action. I refer to wasp number three which made a valient attempt to hug the radiator in the bathroom yesterday before its worthless life was terminated with haste. Now I realise there may be a tree-hugging hippy or two who will take issue with my description of a wasp's life as worthless. And they will be horrified that I actually took away a life. But what purpose do these blighters serve other than to annoy, irritate and frighten people. At least bees have a duty to perform for Mother Nature - wasps don't. These striped barstewards can sting and sting until their heart's content and still come back for more.

I suspect yesterday's wasp was related to the one which I thought I had obliterated on Saturday evening. In fact it was well after midnight as I was reading the Radio Times in bed that something flew by my lughole with that droning sound that is wasp-speak for 'ha-ha! You think because it's October and it's half past the witching hour and it's only a handful degrees above freezing that you're safe from me. But you're not!' Minutes later I walloped the offending insect with the aforementioned Radio Times but couldn't really settle into a deep sleep for fear the blighter would return from the dead. It had been just a few short days since another wasp had stung my daughter Michaela in an area I wasn't prepared to remove the sting - and I'm not talking about the bedroom here...

Wasp number three has led me to believe there may be an infestation in the house. My suspicion lies with the loft but I'm not prepared to venture up there to risk an aerial bombardment from thousands of wasp family members wondering where three of their compatriots have disappeared to recently. I'd rather get someone else to take a look. I've had a look on the internet and I also used the good old-fashioned method of looking in the Yellow Pages. Thankfully, there are a number of companies in the Edinburgh area that deal with such problems. A couple state in their advertisements that they provide various services - including unmarked vehicles. This made me smile. Now I know they say this in case you don't want Fred Bloggs next door to realise you have an infestation of any kind - whether it's wasps, pigeons, mice, in-laws...But for a moment I had this vision of the wasps watching a van with Pest Control emblazoned on the side pulling up outside my house and the Queen Wasp making a high-pitched drone to her subjects and screaming 'right lads and lasses, it's the man in a white boiler suit and a mask - lets buzz off...'

I know what you're thinking, dear reader - the Auld Reekie Ranter has had one too many brandy and lemonades again. Perhaps it's the fact I'm on leave this week and may have more time to think about these sort of things than is natural. This morning was a case in point.

Just before 11.00am I spied a large brown enevelope lying on my doormat. It said "DO NOT BEND ".

I spent the next two hours trying to figure out how to pick the bloody thing up......

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Voting off The X Factor

As my fellow blogger and Hearts supporter Adullamite will no doubt concur, we men don't like to complain. Having been stricken with a heavy cold this weekend - it's not quite the near fatal ManFlu but not far off - I decided to have a night in on Saturday and crashed out on the sofa with the remote control for the television. With a packet of Lemsip, a man size box of Kleenex and a half bottle of Jack Daniels - purely for medicinal purposes, of course - I slumped on the chair and flicked through the multitude of trashy television channels that comes with Freesat. I have to tell you, dear reader, that my sadness plunged to new depths...

The evening didn't begin well. For I missed the opening programme of the new series of Harry Hill's TV Burp. Hill is someone I admire, not for his daftness, but his occasionally elaborate extraction of the urine from those who purport to make television 'entertainment' these days. I tuned in on time to see the closing credits before the phenomenon that is a sad reflection of the UK took over. I am referring to The X Factor.

At around 7:30pm every Saturday evening from now until Christmas, approximately eight million people will take leave of their senses, jettison their critical faculties and tune into two hours of what I suspect is mind-numbing awfulness on a scale not seen since Noel Edmond's House Party was forced on the nation more than a decade ago.

Mercifully, I have only caught fleeting glimpses of The X Factor but it seems to me to be a repetitive format that plays on the aspirations of susceptible no-hopers with limited talent and even less personality, acting out their fantasies on a set with as much visual appeal as a sixteen year old greasy haired youth with severe acne. Like witnessing a car crash, many people appear drawn to this 'show' watching egotistic no-hopers 'living the dream' to use a modern day cliche.

Talent shows on television are nothing new. In decades gone by there was Opportunity Knocks and New Faces. They could also be cringe-inducing but what marks The X Factor is this appears to be something of a freak show, a cynical marketing exercise masquerading as prime time television in order to manufacture the mythical Christmas number one and generate income through gullible people phoning premium phone lines in order to make someone called Simon Cowell - who gives a new dimension to the phrase 'so far up one's arse' bucketfuls of money.

What little I watched of the show seemed all so predictable and artificial - even the emotions are contrived. Yet throughout Saturday evening there were ceaseless comments from far too many people - some of whom should really know better - on social websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Both my daughters firmly believe I'm something of a geek so it will be of no surprise to them to learn I switched from the highly irritating X Factor to the BBC Parliament Channel and watched a re-run of the 1970 UK General Election. Now you may accuse me of taking leave of my senses, just as I have accused much of the nation above. However, I found watching the likes of Cliff Michelmore, Robin Day and Robert McKenzie covering the election of Edward Heath as Prime Minister forty years ago a fascinating social exercise - Michelmore even suggested that the re-election of  someone called Margaret Thatcher to the Finchley constituency might see her become one of the first female members of the government...

Afterwards, I watched a quite brilliant film from BBC Scotland - Crying With Laughter. Being the BBC there were no annoying advertisements every five minutes and no sponsor's message - just bloody good acting and a powerful and emotive script. Later still, I caught a few minutes of the hugely talented comedian John Bishop on The Comedy Store. Thus, my Saturday evening date with television ended on a fine, uplifting note - after a quite appalling start.

That said, I'm not sure what saddens me more. That fact I watched The X Factor for all of five minutes before leaping for the remote control - or the fact millions of people will be watching this tosh every Saturday for the next few weeks...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Getting Off at Penrith

Next time I'm heading to Preston on work-related matters, I may well get off the train at Penrith. After all, one doesn't get many of these offers every day....


CSN Stores has amazing online products where you can find everything from great cookware to beautiful wardrobes to chic lighting pieces. Here's an example of their delightful goods.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

You Know You're Getting Old When...

...I may have posted some of these before but my memory ain't what it used to be. That and I just can't be arsed looking...

Your joints are more accurate than the weather forecast.

Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

Your back goes out more than you do.

The twinkle in your eye is only the reflection of the sun on your bifocals.

You feel like the morning after when you haven't been anywhere the night before.

You wake up with that morning-after feeling and you didn't do anything the night before.

You don't care where your wife goes, just so you don't have to go along.

It takes twice as long to look half as good.

Many of your co-workers were born the same year that you got your last promotion.

People call at 9.00pm and ask, "Did I wake you?"

You can live without sex but not without glasses.

The clothes you've put away until they come back in style... have come back in style.

You look forward to a dull evening.

The pharmacist has become your new best friend.

You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

Your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.

Happy hour is a nap.

You begin every other sentence with, "Nowadays..."

You don't remember when your wild oats turned to shredded wheat.

You are proud of your lawn mower.

You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don't remember being on top of it.

The little gray-haired lady you help across the street is your wife.

Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.

Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.

Your ears are hairier than your head.

You have a party and the neighbours don't even realise it.

The end of your tie doesn't come anywhere near the top of your trousers.

You give up all your bad habits and you still don't feel good.

You can't remember the last time you lay on the floor to watch television.

You confuse having a clear conscience with having a bad memory.

You frequently find yourself telling people what a loaf of bread USED to cost.

You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.

Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt, doesn't work.

You find yourself beginning to like Scottish country dance music (and your foot taps when you hear it)

You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.

You get into a heated argument about pension plans.

"Getting a little action" means you don't need to take a laxative.

You take a metal detector to the beach.

You realise that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.

You don't remember being absent-minded.

You have more patience; but actually, it's just that you don't care any more.

Your memory is shorter and your complaining is longer.

Your drugs of preference are now vitamins.

Younger women start opening doors for you.

Younger men ask you for advice.

A 'late night' now ends at 11 pm.

You learn where your prostrate is.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Skababs

The Skababs are playing Edinburgh's Whistle Binkies on Sunday 3 October at 6.15. Aye, aye, aye!