Archive for the ‘sport’ Category
Numbers, or so, listed in bold and underlined.
Everyone has shit to talk about 2016, and so do I; but, I’ll minimise that, here. I finally sprang for two new pair of running shoes to replace the pair, featured in the photos here, that I picked up in Chattanooga in September 2015 and subsequently added 2253 running miles on before retiring them last weekend (with walking, as these were my usual day-to-day shoes, these had much closer to 4000 miles on them).
Over the Christmas break, we watched a shitload of TV and a bunch of really cheery movies (highly recommended of these are the drama Martha Marcy Mae Marlene and the documentary The Coming War With China. To recover from those you might want to find Twenty Feet From Fame. But, we also caught a bunch of shit tele and some old stuff. In keeping with the theme of the year, we downloaded a collection of the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and spent the entirety of each show playing the middle-age white person version of Jew-Not-A-Jew (aka the straight person’s version of Queer-Not-A-Queer) by pointing at each corpse we spotted on screen and saying, “DEAD.” “Bob Hope. DEAD.” “Joan Rivers! DEAD.” “Gary Shandling, DEAD.” (By the way, that’s Not A Jew, Jew, and a little of both).
So, instead of the multitude of other celebrity deaths everyone is banging on about, here are the 17 I noticed but did not eulogise (and some of whom you may have missed):
17 January: Blowfly, 76
2 February: Bob Elliott, 92
16 February: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93
6 March: Merle Haggard, 79
3 June: Muhammad Ali, 74
17 June: Fred Tomlinson, 88
22 August: Toots Thielemans, 94
29 August: Gene Wilder, 83
8 September: The Lady Chablis, 59
16 September: Edward Albee, 88
30 September: Hanoi Hannah, 87
18 October: Phil Chess, 95
2 November: Dolores Klosowski, 93, American baseball player (Milwaukee Chicks)
7 November: Leonard Cohen, 82
25 November: Ron Glass, 71
22 December: Miruts Yifter, 72
25 December: George Michael, 53
In a similar vein, here are the other numbers of my year…
Obits actually in the blog: 16
Swindon’s Stagecoach Bus Depot in Old Town
Robert Ford, Madman Mayor of Toronto
Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field in apparent murder-suicide
The jihadi sparrow
The villages of Longford and Harmondsworth
America, the not so great pre-Trump version
New Years Honours of Note: 1 (for the name): Mr Fabulous Flournoy, (MBE)
Mileage (running): 1589.8, quite the slack year — the least in two decades of keeping track
Pub write-ups 1 January thru 30 June: 38
Pub write-ups 1 July thru 31 December (we moved house 28 July): 216 (254 for the year)
Recipes, such as they are, published here: 5
Brunswick Stew and BBQ Sauce
Malted Milk Ball Hot Toddy
Chicken Breasts done as if for Pakoras
International trips: Except for returning from Cork, technically a 2015 trip, 1 (Bremen)
Marathons: 1 (Wales Marathon)
Other races: 0, but a few planned for 2017
Weight (high): 169 lbs (12 stone 1 pound, Winter drinking weight)
Weight (low): 150 (10 stone 10 pounds, at the Marathon)
I haven’t seen the game, yet, and was avoiding English language news but forgot that the Dutch love baseball. De Volkskrant spoilered me:
Cheeseburgers and chips (no Coke…Pepsi*) while we watch tonight. *By ‘Pepsi,’ I mean Champagne.
Related post, here, and one that halfway explains this posts weird references, here.
Here is a now obsolete song by Steve Goodman (the guy that wrote “City of New Orleans” and the best part of “You Never Even Call Me By My Name“):
Match synopsis: Wealdstone dominated the match drawing first blood then going into the halftime break tied after a dodgily ‘earned’ penalty shot from one of the Petulant Poole players. The Stones made it 2-1 in the later part of the 2nd half only to eat a 90th minute goal from the oddly (and suddenly) energised visitors.
Rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the match (and the Ruislip Social Club was there to wet my whistle). I’ll have to come back…this was fun.
The background to my day out at Grosvenor Vale:
I like football. I played it in high school when no one really knew what it was: our Recreation Department was able to field 4 teams in 1977 with enough players — by making them coed — to have one substitute per team. I even worked as a referee from 1978 – 82 as it started to catch on around the South (more with young women than the lads, but there you go).
So, you may wonder, why have I lived in the ancestral home of footie for nearly 8 years (and now a short run to its holiest shrine) and still not been to a match there? More than anything, I refuse to be gouged on the price: Swindon Town games cost £20 (maybe more, now) just to get in the gates and they’re in a lower league while Liverpool (who I would love to see) stiff their fans from £37-59 (although the Anfield stadium does have a few seats in The Gods for 9 quid a piece). In Holland, Italy, and Germany (all of which I’ve gone to see top-tier teams play), prices are modest to cheap (so it doesn’t have to be this way — Brits just take it and ask for more).
Now we live in a “Non-League” town with a football team that’s well-beloved and vigorously supported. Wealdstone is in one of the 2 lower tables of the first conference below League 2. It’s hard to put an American equivalent to this what with the mobility of teams across the various leagues and conferences. Major League Baseball’s farm structure is closest. You can probably think of the Premier and Championship Leagues as the big leagues back home, and Leagues 1 & 2 as akin to AAA ball. The top non-league conference, then, is sort of AA with their lower tables most like single A ball. Wealdstone, then, is the equivalent of the Macon (now Rome) Braves or the Savannah Sand Gnats (now the Columbia Fireflies). Minor League ball is the shit, back home, with fans more rabidly dedicated (and drunk) than you usually see at a Major League outing (where the beer prices are similar jacked up out of reasonable reach).
Non-League Day, an annual set-aside wherein no Premier or Championship League matches are held to help promote the lower eschelons of the Football Association, came around. For this, Wealdstone lowered the admission price to a fiver. I couldn’t really say, “no,” to that.
Right out of the Olden Times, here’s a postcard of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium before the first pitch or kick-off (and before the Beatles played here). I was waiting for Jackie and killing time in a charity shop in Bristol when I spotted this one, which is now on its way to Debra.
It’s from about 1966, I reckon. In 1996, it was superseded by Turner Field (built for the Olympics) which itself is too outdated for the corporate version of baseball (dragging its whore ass out to the suburbs to be safely away from black people who aren’t playing on the field). Fuck Atlanta.
The car park with the baseball diamond painted on it is the site of the photo at the top…our place was just right (and later left) of the midtown skyline in the distance.
Here are the minimum details on our annual donation to the Bookies’ Retirement Fund:
Sir Des Champs (mine) took a tumble at ‘The Chair’ (Jump 15 with the airborne jockey):
The Druids Nephew (Jackie’s) pulled up at Jump 21 along with 4 other horses. Aachen (mine) pulled up at the next jump.
The Last Samuri (Jackie’s) led the field from there until the last half furlong (the only one that counts) and came in 2nd (our closest National pick so far) to Rule the World (which we both had shortlisted). The winning jockey, David Mullins (just 19 years old), had to take the wreath and re-mount for the amateurs-and-apprentice race that followed (and he easily won that one by 16 lengths). Best scene of the day had to be Dave’s little brother dashing out of the stands in tears to hug his victorious sibling:
Tim’s clearcoat cured well and he looks lovely. I wandered around looking for the best place for him and spotted this other gnome I acquired on a birthday run a few years ago. I spray painted him gold to make him look valuable but his freakish features gave Jackie the willies and he never acquired a name (although, when she didn’t refer to him as “that freak-ass gnome” she sometimes called him Shatner).
With Tim back on duty, it seemed reasonable to tidy up the other little feller. He had a bunch of bubble flaws and I fixed the ones on his hat and some on his tunic with caulk but eventually gave up as he got a bit messy.
I wanted to keep the psychedelic theme started with Tim (although I was tempted to paint this one into a Star Trek outfit or with the jockey silks’ colours of my Grand National pick this weekend or even a Cubs uniform), and initially was going to use Jerry Garcia as my model but he doesn’t look much like Jerry and I didn’t fancy trying to paint one of those dancing bears on his shirt or hat. Instead, I went with a Ken Kesey in Merry Pranksters motif.
Kesey is garish, as seemed appropriate, and the tie-dye tunic went through several iterations before I was satisfied with it — not exactly happy, but satisfied. The first daubs were leftovers from the shoes and trousers so Jackie asked if I was giving him a camouflage look; “yeah, camouflage at a Packers game,” I answered before explaining the long plan.
Mid-way through the process
The hat was going to be based on a striped top hat I saw Garcia wear at a show in DC, but I decided to make it a wrapped up American flag after some deliberation. The ice cream/gelato is pistachio, by the way.
If Lemmy is mortal then where does a fragile flower such as myself stand? Feeling as though most of my lifestyle choices may have been ill advised after the sad news, we headed off for a Wildcats ice hockey match versus the Bracknell Bees hoping that something familiar would give me a signpost to the correct path.
Then, pre-faceoff drinks showed me this:
Those who have never heard the voice of God (or, as he is alternatively known, Jim Anderson, proprietor of the Meet Rack) may not recognise the Words of the Prophecies but they were succour to my soul in the crowded Harvester Pub that evening.
The match went well even with the weird ritual throwing of Teddy bears onto the ice after the first home goal and the squads played an unusually professional and clean game until the last five minutes when all manner of Hell broke loose (fights, ejections, the lot — so this really IS minor league hockey after all the fine play). Marvelous. This was just what I needed.
Then, the next afternoon after a few rums to cap a day spent upgrading my home PC’s operating system I walked into town the long way to enjoy the fresh, cool air and the quiet of Victoria Road. There was the voice of Jim, again (and, again, this means fuck-all to non-Meet Rack folk):