Tag Archives: cricket

Swedes lead the world in mad

I thought Brits set the pace in mad until a Swedish man made news with his botched attempt to split the atom . . . in his kitchen.

Check out the article below for the full story, my favourite bit was when asked on BBC World Service where he had bought the raw materials he replied, “eBay”.  I’m still not sure whether I burst out laughing because it was funny or petrifying.

Swedish man arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen

Dubai is not a scary place to visit after all

Early this year there were some scary stories that Dubai is a very dangerous place to visit if you are British as you have a better than evens chance of ending up in prison for smiling in public.  Now there is a report out using data rather than hearsay and guess what, Dubai doesn’t even warrant a mention.

Brits behaving less badly

The first rule of customer service

Don’t automatically put your valued customer (aka the guy who buys stuff from you) onto an auto responder with the memorable line: Your call is important to us.  I’m not sure why I do it but I immediately reply, ‘if my call is so important you would have a real person talking to me right now with a nice telephone manner being very helpful’.  End result, happy customer and I tell my friends and work colleagues about how great you are.  Also while I’m on the subject here is another tip; if someone presses 2 for English it works better if the person who answers speaks English.   

Catching taxis to gloat!

I’ve had a big week catching taxis, they would pitch up to my house and I would ask, are you Indian?  If the reply was yes I jumped in and talked cricket nonstop.  Back in Blighty there is always a lot of Daily Mail sponsored debate about immigration, Norman Tebbit famously set an Englishness test for anyone who wasn’t Anglo Saxon white.  He reckoned everyone with a British passport that doesn’t support England at cricket should be sent back from whence they came.  Which brings me nicely to the picture below.

England vs India 2nd test

Real Estate still suffering

There was interesting piece in Arabian Business last week looking at Real Estate projects that have stalled, one of which was Universal Studios. With the continuing glut of residential and office space which, from what I can see is being significantly added to, Universal Studios was a great idea as it would have pulled in more tourists.  Dubai is short of major entertainment attractions; Alton Towers would do really well here.


Universal Studios

Universal studios

One other great story from Arabian Business, the UAE is going to bid for the Olympics, a marathon in July would be interesting.

How to get noticed

Companies spend a huge amount of money buying visibility and another big amount creating messages that get noticed and make people do something they weren’t necessarily planning to do, e.g. buy a Ferrari instead of a Toyota Prius.

An Abu Dhabi Sheikh has taken a bold approach to raising his profile by having his name sculpted in sand so big that it can be seen from space.

Hamad from space

Down, down and ever down

I hate to say this but America has caught a huge cold (just a sneeze used to trigger a worldwide recession).  I’ve long been a bear on the word economy and now we are about to enter what could be a deeper depression than hit in 2009, then we were talking about financial institutions, now it’s government debt.  Those with a strong stomach and a glass of the stiff stuff from MMI read this article and prepare to batten down the hatches.

The man who predicted this

Happier days for Man City

To close on a lighter (sport-related) note there was a time not long ago when Man City were all about entertainment, you never knew what was coming next but it was usually very funny.

A former player’s, Paul Lake, autobiography, I’m Not Really Here, tells the story of one match in 1989 when City could have guaranteed promotion by beating Bournemouth at Maine Road. They were 3-0 up at half-time – party time! – and the manager, Mel Machin, told the players he was bringing in a special friend for the team talk. In came the comedian Eddie Large – shiny silver suit, sleeves rolled up – to dole out individual advice to the players … each time using a different celebrity impersonation. “Deputy Dawg ordered me to keep tight in defence,” Lake recalls. “Cliff Richard advised Trevor Morley to shoot on sight, Harold Wilson told Bob Brightwell to keep it simple and Benny from Crossroads told Andy Dibble to stay awake.” The game finished 3-3.

Happy days and I’m sure Mario Balotelli would have thrived in this environment.   

Top 5

My wife knows I can’t resist a gadget, maybe it’s a boy thing.  Here are my favourites:

  • Bokashi bin that turns food waste into compost (for my tomatoes)
  • Pickle fork for extracting pickled onions from a jar
  • Extra long shoe horn
  • Weber Q 100 gas BBQ
  • iPad 2

Off on my hollers (back to the UK, quick blast of The Clash White Riot to get me in the mood), see you when I get back.

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My part in the second Ashes test victory

Kevine PietersenFor those of you with decent enough memories, you will recall that I made a public appeal through my blog a couple of weeks ago for KP to get rid of his silly moustache.  Fortunately he heeded my advice, then promptly delivered a double century and a resounding England win.  Well done me (a fellow KP)!

Also I can’t resist the shot below of Paul Collingwood defying gravity to get rid of Ricky Pontificating in the first innings of the third test at the Wacca.  At which moment a certain Marek Sheridan let rip at an Aussie colleague and I quote (in my version of WikiLeaks):

Can you go all out to help Leanne here, just iron out any creases and make sure we don’t drop the ball, we can’t afford any slips because if we miss the deadline I would be stumped for ideas and we can’t get caught by anyone……………….. if we run out of time then it would all be over and we would be sunk, done in, never to rise again, buried, ashes to ashes etc

Unfortunately for Marek we then promptly lost the third test (in order to keep the series alive).

Paul Collingwood catching the ball

RERA boss is the main man

A late nominee for man of the year has to be the chairman of RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority), Marwan bin Ghalaita, he’s been on fire recently!  A man on a mission, he has made a few enemies along the way by taking a swipe at the likes of Emaar and Nakheel for drowning the market in real estate. The bit below has been extracted from an article in Arabian Business.

Many construction projects in Dubai that look unlikely ever to be finished will be cancelled in 2011, CEO of RERA, Dubai’s real estate watchdog, Marwan bin Ghalaita has said.

“Now, the end of 2010, I have clear picture of all of the projects here in Dubai…. Now it is clear on my dashboard, to see what project will go ahead, which project is in ICU, which project is in the emergency room, which project is fine. And this is the way we will classify projects here in Dubai. Green, emergency, ICU, dead. This is the way we have worked for the whole of 2010.”

Asked why so few projects upon which work had started had been cancelled until now, bin Ghalaita said: “It is in the process. It is in the process of evaluating and cancelling. It is in the process. It is in the process of cancelling.”

Ballet is not my thing

I remember as a student being dragged kicking and screaming to a ballet by my still very good friend Manda Glenn.  Before falling asleep my abiding memory was of incredibly skinny women defying gravity.  With this in mind I couldn’t help enjoy the NY theatre critics comment about the principal dancer in a recent performance.

Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.

Lee Brett is a hobbit

For those that know Lee he’s tall and skinny, totally unlike a hobbit but a little like a ballet dancer.  Today he polished off a first lunch (sausage casserole) and a second lunch (fat boy curry) 30 minutes later; a truly world-class performance.

People who drink bottled water are naïve!

Apparently everyone knows this but have you ever noticed what Evian spells backwards.  This one was pointed out to me by young Eve of Brennan fame and follows on from a BBC programme I watched about the incredible amount of money being made from simply bottling a natural resource.  Coca Cola took this idea to its natural conclusion by bottling London tap water and selling it!  Fortunately for the good people at Coke, tests showed that London tap water is actually better than most bottled waters.

Who is the biggest clown – Ecclestone or Blatter?

Sport is afflicted with dictators who would give mad, bad Mugabe a good run for his money.  They are all old which makes it very odd that they are so obsessed with power and money.  Ecclestone recently came a cropper when he was mugged for his watch but then managed to turn it into a bit of strange publicity stunt – even stranger is the watch-makers decision to turn his heavily bruised face into an ad – crass!

http://www.topgear.com/au/car-news/bernie-ecclestone-hublot-advert-bruised-face-2010-12-07?

Top 5s

I’m edging ever closer to my top 5s of the year, so this week I’m going for the top 5 strange things that I have observed in 2010:

  • Nameer Kanderian, a near and dear colleague, saying to me ‘do you have any Chas and Dave’ as I was playing the White Stripes at full volume followed by ‘they are jolly good’
  • Gerry Feerick (sadly soon heading off to Singapore) and his version of the elephant in the taxi
  • Abu Dhabi investing in the world’s most expensive Xmas tree
  • Indian gent on a bicycle wearing a policeman’s helmet from the Early Learning Centre (cool dude)
  • Every gent’s loo in Dubai being a design icon

And finally a quick acknowledgement of Dick Purchase’s hole in one on the 7th at the Majlis, we celebrated in style, thanks Dick.

Anything to add to the top 5 strange things of the year or any other words of wisdom? Pop them in the comments box.

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Hats off to Louis and Charlie

Pride of place this week goes to Louis Oosthuizen.  You could tell from his general demeanour what a nice, grounded individual he is from the way he strolled around St Andrews beating the pants off grumpy Tiger and his pals.  If you are wondering what he did with all of his money, he went out and bought a tractor!  Then he honoured a prior commitment to play in the Scandinavian Open rather than cry off on the grounds of being too important.  McDowell who won the American Open last year is in the same league, he spent the month after his victory drinking Guinness out of the trophy.  It’s brilliant to see a big bucket load of talent and humility being handed out to the good guys for a change.

Moving to a true sporting legend that I have long admired, Muttiah Muralitharan has sadly retired but not without achieving another milestone.  800 wickets is phenomenal especially that Murali overcame a disability to become one of the greatest bowlers (if not the best) who ever lived.  Every era throws up sporting heroes and while it’s sad to see them retire it leaves the stage open for new heroes to emerge.  Could it be the newly arrived Charlie Thomas Bellman who popped out last Wednesday measuring an impressive 50+cm.  Rumour has it that ’arry Rednapp is already eyeing him for a place up front as target man alongside Defoe.  Well done Mum and Dad (Sarah and Cam) and make sure young Charlie is fit and ready for the new season (if you are still wondering how to get coverage of the Premier League, click on this link and all will be revealed http://admcsport.com/en/ – it will be available on satellite, cable (Du and eVision) and online).

Sad breaking news, Hurricane Higgins died on Saturday (RIP) after a long battle against throat cancer which he blamed on smoking sponsors’ products (yes really, cigarette companies did used to sponsor sporting events).  I was never into snooker but Hurricane was one of a kind and lit up a very dull sport.  Click on the link to read one of the many obituaries –  http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/other_sports/snooker/8852020.stm

I hear lots of people moaning about the quality of advertising in the UAE/region and whenever I listen to the radio I find it hard not to agree with the moaners.  The classic radio dialogue formula is sometimes funny but for all the wrong reasons.  The American-accented Lebanese Mum with the English Dad and Indian kids is always good for a chuckle.  Traffic jam reports for ads promoting a sale are another of my favourites.  Brilliant advertising is observational and builds on shared experiences and popular culture.  While this is a wonderfully integrated community there are still huge differences in our growing up experiences.  Below is a classic example, I laughed, whereas my Arab and Indian friends were left looking bemused and a bit offended.

Bend over and think of England

The ad was critiqued in Brand Republic and this perfectly demonstrates how even in England some people just don’t get it (although I suspect the comment was a joke): The message is one we are all familiar with, 2 obvious questions arise: 1) If the campaign is encouraging people to be conscientious and pick up their own litter, why would these same people have dropped it in the first place seemingly moment earlier? 2) Why is this campaign encouraging people to bend over in a way that can cause lower back injury? It’s common knowledge that one should bend from the knees and keep a straight back.

For all of you, in the UAE, looking to dodge the ads on commercial radio, World Service has moved to 90.30.  It’s being broadcast out of Abu Dhabi so the signal is patchy but given the quality of the programming it’s worth persevering with.

Another subject that caught my eye this week is worries about a double dip recession.  The commentators predicting a double dip obviously don’t have a clue what they are talking about, you need a recovery to have a second dip.  There is no way out of this until the government stimulate the economy (starting to pay off debts is a good start) or the Chinese arrive on mass.  My advice comes from re-watching the very excellent Rome series:

“Quidquid ages prudenter agas et respice finem” (whatever you do, do it with prudence, and consider the outcome).

The Chinese have certainly arrived in style on the wine investment market with 2009 En Primeur prices at world record levels.  Apparently they top up a glass of £1,000 a bottle wine with a bit of lemonade!  MMI has managed to snap up some top quality 2009 wines including the most sought after first growth – Lafite.  Hurry, hurry, hurry if you want some (get in touch with me and I’ll point you in the right direction and be prepared to forget my be prudent advice).

At the other end of the scale Bud is tax-free at MMI this week and I made some great discoveries during my annual visit to Spinneys.  Firstly, you can earn Air Miles there and secondly Del Monte has started producing fresh juice locally – AED 13 for 1lt of orange juice (bargain!).

Finally some wildlife stuff to uplift you, an amazing picture and link to more incredible scenes from nature: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2010/jul/21/wildlife-photography-scott-linstead

Bee and flower

To end, it’s got to be the best 5 cricketers I’ve seen play:

  • Muttiah Muralitharan
  • Ian Botham
  • Shane Warne
  • Michael Holding
  • Viv Richards

There is loads of controversy in my choices – I could have picked 100.  Any objections please pitch in with a comment.

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