As Leicester City close in on the Premier League title, former players remember Claudio Ranieris unorthodox training methods and praise a genuinely nice man
Leicester Citys players were not the first to hear Claudio Ranieri ring his imaginary bell. Danny Drinkwater provoked much amusement among the British press corps last month, when he revealed the managers technique of saying dilly-ding, dilly-dong to restore focus whenever energy levels start to dip during training.
Back in Italy, though, at least one observer had a different reaction. Ivo Pulga played for three seasons under Ranieri at Cagliari between 1988 and 1991. When he came across Drinkwaters comments, what he felt was a wave ofnostalgia.
You need to write that he invented this bell at Cagliari! Pulga says. As soon as I saw the story in England last month, my mind immediately went back to the training session where it happened. It was very early in the morning and us players were all a bit sleepy. [Ranieri] could see that mentally we were still in bed, so he shouted: Dilly-ding, dilly-dong! Training has started! Dilly-ding, dilly-dong! After that, it became the calling card for our season. At Christmas, he gave us each a bell with Cagliari Calcio, dilly-ding, dilly-dong and his name on it. I still have mine at home.
Ranieris simulated alarm call was no less whimsical to Italian ears three decades ago than it is to English ones today. And yet, in both countries it has worked. The manager did not win a top-flight title with Cagliari but he did guide them to consecutive promotions from the third division all the way up to SerieA. He kept them there at the first time of asking, before landing the Napoli job in the summer of 1991.
The bell came with Ranieri to Naples, and seemingly everywhere else that he has worked since. The former Italy midfielder Antonio Nocerino, now with Orlando City in Major League Soccer, remembers him deploying it even at Juventus. When we had a morning practice session, and some players were a bit sluggish, he would call them out to the middle of the pitch and shout: Dilly-ding, dilly-dong! When I read this story about Leicester, I just started laughing because all those funny moments with him came rushing back into my head.
That Ranieri has a sense of humour is hardly new information. This is a man who, while coaching Roma in 2010, closed out a tense press conference before the derby against Lazio by answering a Norwegian journalists question about John Arne Riise in English. When Ranieri rose to leave afterward, domestic reporters roared in anger at his failure to provide a translation. He flashed the mob a smile and lied: I told him our starting formation.
Just because the jokes come naturally, however, does not mean that they are without purpose. Talk to Italian players who have worked under Ranieri and almost all will all use the same word to describe his penchant for joking around. He does it to sdrammatizzare to diminish and defuse the tension his team might be feeling in a given situation.
Ted Cruz and Fiorina are university-bred titans who excel at academic theory, but they are out of their depth when it comes to relating to other people
My favorite part of American Idol was always the initial audition period, because that was when the least talented, most delusional people were on TV unintentionally creating comedy gold. This eternal presidential primary season has been a lot like that and Ted Cruzs announcement Wednesday of Carly Fiorina as his running mate was no exception.
Picking a running mate when he has almost no chance of becoming the Republican party nominee is just the sort of desperate move Ive come to expect from Cruz, but thats another column. Today I want to focus on Fiorina and that creepy song she sang to Cruzs daughters on live television.
You want to talk about playing the woman card? If Fiorina were a man, wed all be calling for To Catch a Predators Chris Hansen just about now, because that song was the stuff of little girls nightmares.
Just like those ill-advised American Idol contestants, Fiorina probably thought it was a great idea to sing to Cruzs kids on live TV. After all, everybody told her how great it was when she sang about her dog on Jimmy Fallon. But that shows a remarkable inability to distinguish the appropriateness of a given venue.
In case youre reading, Carly, let me break it down for you: singing a dopey song about your pet on a late-night comedy talk show is charming. Singing a dopey song about someone elses kids in the middle of a live press conference announcing your intention to become the person a heartbeat away from the presidency is just creepy.
And therein lies the problem with both Fiorina and Cruz. They are 100% university-bred titans of law and industry who excel at academic theory, but they are completely out of their depth when it comes to reading social cues and relating to other human beings. Its what makes their appearances stilted, unsettling and ultimately damaging to their campaigns.
Take what happened in Iowa during Fiorinas presidential bid. While she was campaigning in Des Moines last year, she plucked a group of Iowa pre-schoolers from their botanical garden field trip so they could act as props at a right-to-life forum being held on the same grounds. Fiorina ushered about 15 tots to the front of the room, where she spoke about harvesting organs from aborted fetuses.
Thats the level of social ineptitude were dealing with. When a reporter from the Guardian emailed to ask why using the pre-schoolers seemed like a good idea to Fiorina, a spokesperson said, We were happy that these children chose to come to Carlys event with their adult supervisor. Not only do four-year-olds not choose to do anything for themselves, their parents werent asked permission, either.
One father interviewed by the Guardian later said the first he knew of the event was when his childcare provider told him about the encounter after the fact. After today, she wouldnt get my vote for sure, the father said.
But the question remains whether bringing Fiorina onto the Cruz campaign will help bring his presidential bid back from the dead. And the answer is: probably not. Trump may not make the magic 1,237-delegate number needed to secure the convention if he doesnt sweep the next few primaries, which theoretically keeps the nomination in play, but he is still the clear frontrunner: there are 502 pledged delegates remaining, and Cruz would need 675 to clinch the nomination outright.
It would be great for Democrats if Carly Fiorina ended up on the Republican ticket one way or the other, because women voters would crucify her at the polls; her anti-abortion zealotry isnt just scary to children. Its the stuff of grown womens nightmares, too.
She supports overturning Roe v Wade and revoking womens right to a safe, legal abortion. And she promised during her presidential campaign that, were she elected, she would sign into law a bill based on the scientifically debunked theory of fetal pain. Not to mention she wants to completely defund Planned Parenthood, and her most high-profile presidential campaign moment was when she spewed lies on national television about the organization based on doctored videos shot by pro-life activists who were later indicted for fraud by a Houston grand jury.
Im ready for this political circus to stop. Even American Idols reign of terror has finally come to an end and the company that owns it just filed for bankruptcy. Because watching delusional egomaniacs strut their stuff is funny at first, but after a while, you begin to crave something more substantial than this.
Most of the world seems to agree a Donald Trump presidency is a disturbing possibility that would inflict unthinkable damage, Guardian reporters found
Dangerous, foolish, irrational, scary, terrifying, irresponsible, a clown, a disaster. These are just some of the words used to describe the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency by politicians, diplomats and analysts around the world.
As the businessman gave his first major policy address since becoming frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday, Guardian correspondents in Washington and around the globe asked the international community whether it was prepared for the swaggering billionaire to occupy the White House.
Many said they still cannot believe the nation that elected its first black president just eight years ago will now rush to embrace a man who has offended Mexicans, Muslims and others. The possibility that Trump might actually win fills great swaths of the planet with dread with the apparent and notable exception of Vladimir Putins Russia with concerns over everything from trade to the nuclear trigger.
While Trump was delivering his speech in Washington, outlining a doctrine of naked self-interest that would shake the rust off Americas foreign policy, the heads of all the major UN agencies gathered in Vienna, Austria, for a strategy session with secretary general Ban Ki-moon, now in his last eight months in office.
If you need any proof that mankind is regressing as a species then, well, you probably need to pay more attention to the world. Take a look at these signs for instance, compiled by Bored Panda. They shouldn’t need to exist. But they do. Why? Because humans are getting stupider, that’s why. Well, either that or sign-makers are getting funnier. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Who knows. Whatever the truth of the matter, all we know is that they’re pretty funny. And as long as we have our sense of humor then there is surely hope for mankind. Although Darwin might disagree.
Seen any similar signs? Then add them to the list below and don’t forget to vote for your favorite! (h/t)
Few contemporary “novels” have been parodied quite as much as Fifty Shades of Grey. We’ve had Fifty Sheds of Grey, Fifty Shades of O.J, and Fifty Shades of Black just to name a few. Hilarious. All of them. But of all the variations that we’ve come across so far (no pun intended), none come close to being as funny as 50 Nerds of Grey.
The Twitter account has amassed over 200k followers and it’s easy to see why when you read the nerd-infused erotica. It’s totally safe for work so you can read it at your desk. The only thing you have to worry about is having to explain to your boss why you’re laughing so much.So for those of you who complain about the Fifty Shades trilogy, don’t. After all, we wouldn’t have comedy brilliance like this without it.
Some dog breeds like pit bulls get a bad rap because of negative stereotypes, and as we all know, they’re more false than true. Freelance Illustrator Laura Palumbo pokes fun at some of the associations when it comes to some dog breeds with her series of minimalist illustrations.
“Many people I know say they would like to have a dog, but they exclude Dobermanns, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and so many other breeds from the start, because theres still a belief that they are too aggressive,” Palumbo told Bored Panda. “I think its true that every breed has different traits but with correct education, every dog can be suitable with kids. I believe that dogs are what their humans are.”
Which slogans resonate with you most? Vote for and comment on the ones that you liked best!
The long read: To understand how the $60bn company is taking over the world, you need to stop thinking about cars
Every week in London, 30,000 people download Uber to their phones and order a car for the first time. The technology company, which is worth $60bn, calls this moment conversion. Uber has deployed its ride-hailing platform in 400 cities around the world since its launch in San Francisco on 31 May 2010, which means that it enters a new market every five days and eight hours. It sets great store on the first time you use its service, in the same way that Apple pays attention to your first encounter with one of their devices. With Uber, the feeling should be of plenty, and of assurance: there will always be a driver when you need one.
When you open the app, Ubers logo flaps briefly before disappearing to reveal the city streets around you, and the grey, yet promising shapes of vehicles nurdling nearby. The sense of abundance that this invokes can make you think that Uber has always been here, that its presence in your neighbourhood is somehow natural and ordained. But that is not the case. To take over a city, Uber flies in a small team, known as launchers and hires its first local employee, whose job it is to find drivers and recruit riders. In London, that was a young Scottish banker named Richard Howard.
Howard was 27 and had recently been made redundant by HSBC, where he sold credit default swaps, a form of derivative that became notorious during the financial crisis. He grew up in Glasgow, where his father sold musical instruments, and never felt entirely at home in the deferential, bonus-driven atmosphere of investment banking. When he lost his job in November 2011, Howard figured that tech must be the coming thing. He began to trawl technology news and, like a lot other people, was struck by reports of a fundraising round for a startup called Uber the following month. It wasnt just the money a valuation of $300m for a company that had been up and running for 17 months but the seriousness of the players involved: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon; Menlo Ventures, one of Silicon Valleys oldest venture capital firms; Goldman Sachs.
On 7 December, Howard found Ubers website and sent them an email. I emailed whatever it was, help@uber, info@uber, and said, Hey, I would love to work with you guys. I live in London. Are you coming to London? he told me recently. By Christmas, Uber had replied. After a couple of Skype interviews, Howard travelled to Paris to meet the Uber team there at the time, Paris was the only city outside North America where the company was operating and in February 2012, Howard was hired. He filled in his contact information on a company-wide spreadsheet. He tried to work out whether he was Uber employee number 50, or 51.
Uber began as a luxury brand. Its tagline was Everyones Private Driver. The companys origin myth is that its two founders, serial entrepreneurs Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, emerged from a tech conference called Le Web in Paris in December 2008 and couldnt find a cab. In the age of smartphones and GPS, this seemed to them a ridiculous state of affairs. From the get-go, though, Ubers idea of a car and driver was something lavish and fun. Unlike its main rival in the US, Lyft, whose ride-sharing philosophy derived more from a hey-Im-going-that-way-anyway approach, Uber was built on selling bite-sized access to big black cars and Kalanicks memorable if slightly untranslatable to British ears wish to be a baller.
For Howard, in London, setting up Uber meant finding the right kind of cars. He worked his way through yell.com, ringing up high-end chauffeur companies and trying to persuade drivers to accept jobs from an app they had never heard of. (Uber likes to describe itself as a marketplace: for a commission, it connects drivers and passengers, sets the fee, and handles payment.) In late March, Kalanick, who by this point was Ubers CEO, flew to the UK and emailed his only employee in the country. Yo London, Im here, he said. The two men met in Moorgate and Kalanick outlined his plans for the city. He said, I want to get [Mercedes] S classes on the road for the same price as black cabs, Howard recalled.
London was the 11th city that Uber went into, but it was like no other taxi market that the company had attempted to disrupt. London had the scale and mass transit systems of New York, but it also had the medieval, twisting streetscape and complex regulations of other European capitals. It was already served by a formidable private transport market, with one of the worlds most recognisable taxi fleets the black cabs and a fragmented scene of some 3,000 licensed private hire operators. Just one of these, Addison Lee, had 4,500 cars and revenues of 90m a year. London even had ride-hailing apps, led by Hailo, which had already signed up 9,000 black cab drivers. Kalanick has described London as the Champions League of transportation and said that Uber spent two years plotting its approach to the city.
Howard rented a one-room office on the Kings Cross Road, next door to an Ethiopian church. Two launchers, from Seattle and Amsterdam, arrived. He put a sign on the wall that said #Hailno and tried not to think too much about the competition. We were worried, he told me. We were worried that Addison Lee would get smart, spend 1m which isnt a lot of money for them and make a really nice, seamless app that copied Ubers. But they never did.