Category Archives: Sport

Israel, water, and Roman rule

Well. It seems I’ve promised a few people that I’d share some of my thoughts on a range of current issues via the ever expanding pages of this ‘ere blog. I haven’t done much blogging lately. I’ve been a bit distracted. Anyone who doesn’t know why should probably head to Mattias’ blog. For anyone who doesn’t want to read Mattias’ blog, her name is Robyn (while Matt got the scoop, I get the substance.) So here goes… a triple bunger.

I was talking to some people lately about the tension in the Middle East – and in particular the Israel/Hezbollah conflict. It’s a bit of a political hot potato really. But lots of people have opinions. And lots of people are stupid. Mel Gibson is stupid. Actually, pretty much anyone who takes a particular side in the conflict is stupid. The conflict itself is stupid. The re-establishment of the state of Israel, in hindsight, was probably stupid. You don’t see any Italians pushing for the reinstitution of the Roman empire do you. But then there wasn’t the same religious attachment or reasoning behind the Roman empire. The whole rebuilding of Jerusalem was based on a theologically flawed premise anyway… so there’s the background of my thoughts on the Israel/Lebanon tension… my thoughts on the tension itself are as follows:

No one in the world will ever have appropriate economic motivation to fire a nuclear weapon.

That’s my theory. The only people I can see firing one are a) Al Queda, b) North Korea, c) some crazy fundamentalist Christian sect from Northern Ireland. Al Queda because they hate everyone. North Korea because they’re crazy and want to be taken seriously even though they’re the smallest kid in the playground. The Fundamentalist Christian sect because I think fundamentalist muslims get unfairly tarred as the only crazy religious people – I mean, we’re forgetting Mormons and Scientologists when we tar all crazy people with the same brush.

I can’t see the US or any of the Arab states actually wanting to fire a missile into country side rich with the oil fields they all so desparately want to possess. I can’t see the Islamic countries firing a nuke at a city that holds a large amount of religious significance to their people. So, on that note, I’m not overly worried about world war three occurring this week.

Someone else asked me what I thought about the water shortage. Water shortages are bad. Especially if you are a farmer, or a particularly hygienic person. Whether you can legitimately blame a water shortage on a politician is another question. I don’t think you can. I think I should give some air time to my friend Joe’s theory on water use:

“We’re all going to run out of water at exactly the same time – so why shouldn’t I get more than my share of water while I can.”

Isn’t he a caring, sharing guy…

Speaking of caring sharing people. And because my blog follows the form of traditional newspapers with the sport at the end. I feel it’s time for me to give my first preview of the English Premier League which starts very soon.

Chelsea will win. Because Roman Abramovich will continue to pour his money into the club. This is a bad thing. As pointed out by this article. I was going to write more, but got bored, and distracted.

This blog has been performance enhanced…

I’m in a state of shock. The positive drug test returned by Wallabies wannabe Wendell Sailor sent me into a bit of a headspin. I mean, Wendell is like, totally a role model right… and Warney and his mum’s diet pills – they weren’t helping him perform at all. I mean if those poster boys of modern sports ethics didn’t have you questioning the drug testing bodies then who will. Surely Wendell would never ever have been anywhere near a line of cocaine. I had some serious doubts about drug testing in sport – and this week those doubts have become fully actualised disbelief. It’s not enough that they tarnished the names of such reputable, luminary sporting figures. Now they have to drag two men who are at the pinnacle of their respective sports into the mire of a “positive” drug result. Drugs in cycling. I mean who’d have thought. Next we’ll be told people are using drugs in sports like weightlifting, baseball and professional wrestling. And now drugs in the 100m sprint. That’s taking things too far.

There are conflicting views on the issue of drug use in sport. Obviously health, “spirit of competition,” and “role model” issues aside there are certain points for and against either side of the performance enhancing drugs argument

Here’s a couple of quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald.

The most infamous drug cheat of them all, Ben Johnson, has his two cents’ worth on drugs in sport:

“The spectators don’t care, the sponsors probably don’t care … all they want to see is the world’s fastest man …”

German television station ZDF boss Nikolaus Brender puts the boot in on the Floyd Landis doping scandal in the Tour de France:

“We signed a broadcasting contract for a sporting event, not a show demonstrating the performances of the pharmaceutical industry …”

So some people are a little concerned about drugs in sport. Some people think sports stars should be having a positive influence on society. That sort of thinking is dangerous. Taken to its unnatural extension it creates problems where sports stars suddenly think they’re academically qualified to be making decision that have some bearing on wider society.

For example:

Outcast Brisbane Lions midfielder Jason Akermanis on his wooing into the world of politics by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.

“I know a bit about politics. I have seen how politics can ruin a football club.”

Here is a man who is seriously considering entering the political arena. Celebrity and politics have always been a volatile mix. Lets look at the long list of successful celebrity/politics crossovers…

Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Peter Garrett… intellectuality at it’s best… well ok, I’ll begrudgingly credit Garrett with some brains. But in reality these men have been elected on the back of fame rather than ability.

I thought I had a problem with ex-sportspeople becoming media personalities (Except Channel 9’s Andrew Slack, he’s good, and Richie Benaud, although he was a police reporter while he was a cricketer… I’ll bet some of you didn’t know that) until they decided they wanted to be politicians instead.

Jason Akermanis reckons he knows a thing or two about the water crisis. Apparently Australia is an island, surrounded by water… so we shouldn’t have any problems waterwise… maybe we should just start watering crops with salt water Jason. I’m sure that’s a wise and valid suggestion… (I’m aware that salinity is a problem, that comment, like the rest of this entry, was tongue in cheek… although a men’s 100m sprint with everyone on drugs would be kind of cool).

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Irony, Irons and other stuff

A little while ago someone suggested I write about the misuse of the word irony in the lexicon. Well I would, but ironically I don’t know anything about the topic (See that was funny on a couple of levels). I will point out my favourite example of this societal abuse of the word – Angst ridden Canadian Balladeerette (is that a female singer of ballads?) Alanis Morissette’s song ironic. The only irony in that song is that it doesn’t actually contain irony…

“A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?”

No Alanis I don’t think… and clearly neither did you. I’d suggest that’s more like poetic justice… as found in the correctly titled song Poetic Justice – written by Tom Kimmel and covered by Jane Saunders.

I feel like the king when the queen loses faith
And the crowd rushes in to tear down the gate
While the whole palace slept, and I never rang the bell.
Maybe that’s poetic justice, but it’s pretty hard to tell.”

Actually – perhaps ironically that doesn’t sound like poetic justice to me – but perhaps that’s due to a lack of context. Ironically, again, Jane Saunders released an album called Poetic Justice – with the Tom Kimmel song as the title track. The song contains these lines:

“I feel like the king
When the queen loses faith
And the crowd rushes in to tear down the gate
And declare what was mine
I stole from someone else
Maybe that’s poetic justice
But it’s pretty hard to tell”

So if her album is named after the song, and she sings the song, could she not be declaring something as hers that she stole from someone else… Guilty as charged I say.

So as you can see it’s almost impossible to learn anything ironic from a female song writer… or in fact from anyone at all. Except perhaps H.W Fowler who is quoted on Wikipedia (note: I understand the irony of claiming it’s hard to learn about irony from anyone and then turning to the source of all “reputable”* information**) as saying

Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear and shall not understand, and another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware, both of that “more” and of the outsider’s incomprehension.”

So there you have it. An ironic insight*** into irony.

My iron beeps when it’s been left on for too long. Isn’t that a useful function. I discovered this while preparing to attend the races (of the equine variety) yesterday. Perhaps ironically*** (after my post last week) I did place a bet on a horse and it was quite literally pipped at the post. I bet $5 and lost – I figure the $5 goes a small way towards repaying Jupiters Casino for kindly inviting me into their corporate marquee for the day and feeding me seafood and cake. They would have provided me with free beer too (or heavier stuff) if I wasn’t feeling fluey and congested still. I had a day last week where I wasn’t feeling fluey and congested but then I got up at 4.55am to host the Today show breakfast people up here and the lack of sleep didn’t help my cause. (Look how I tied four pieces of information into the one paragraph – watch and learn people… For those at home wondering what the four pieces of information are: 1. My iron beeps, 2. I went to the races, ate at the corporate tent and placed a bet (all one topic (but three pieces of information I guess)), 3. I am sick, 4. I had the Today show up here last week). Wow. Are you awestruck yet? Probably not. I should point out that I’m actually not as arrogant as I sometimes sound…

* “” Denotes sarcasm
** referring to Wikipedia
*** used ironically

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I’ll bet…

The mighty Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are on a roll. I was so confident they’d beat the Panthers that I placed a bet with a friend of mine who happens to support them. Is this wrong? If I was sure the Sea Eagles were going to win isn’t that tantamount to stealing? If I was uncertain – is that poor stewardship of my money? Is gambling in and of itself wrong – or is it the associated greed? I don’t want the $5 that Pat is going to have to cough up because his team are unable to function effectively as a unit – I wasn’t motivated by greed. I just like to win. A game is infinitely more enjoyable if there’s actually something weighing on the outcome – by enjoyable I mean exciting – there’s more adrenalin involved if you actually might win or lose something depending on the outcome. But am I going to hell because of this bet? (well no, I’m not going to hell… at this point that was a little bit of rabbitical hyperbole… not that I’m claiming to be a Rabbi, or a rabbit…) Is gambling sinful? Should we be condoning or facilitating any form of greed. The Catholics have been running Bingo competitions as fundraisers for years so they obviously don’t have a problem with it. Neither does the Australian Chief Executive of Woolworths who is a professing Christian.

In that story above (by above I mean contained in the link above…) he made some pretty carefully considered statements about the decision his company has made to invest in a series of gaming establishments.

“I don’t think that’s a moral judgment, I think what is a moral judgment is that one needs to be careful and concerned about the environment in which they sell in the market facilities of that nature.”

While personally I don’t have a problem with gambling if you can remove the element of greed from the equation – if it’s budgeted entertainment with no addiction involved then go for it… who am I to say that using a pokie machine is any less fun than playing an arcade game. My problem is making a distinction like Mr Woolworths (not his real name) has made here. It reminds me of a scene from the Godfather where the Mafia Dons (head honchos) are gathered round a table discussing a move into the narcotics industry – one of them says ”

“I don’t want it near schools — I don’t want it sold to children! That’s an infamia. In my city, we would keep the traffic in the dark people — the colored. They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls… “

Somehow the logic in both those quotes seems strikingly similar to me – as long as we’re careful where we put the bad stuff people can go and do the bad stuff if they choose to. Gambling addiction is, without question, a destructive thing. Like the Whitlams I wish I could blow up the pokies… but then I’d lose out on cheap pub steaks designed to attract gamblers. So in conclusion I haven’t exactly figured out my position on gambling yet… but I thought that article was interesting… particularly the quote below, and the fact that Mr Woolworths said he’d be happy to sell bullets at supermarkets if it was legal and there was demand for them. Again, not a moral decision apparently. But where do we draw the line for Christians involved in business? Is it wrong to work at Maccas if they cause obesity? Is it wrong to be a lawyer? I think Mr Woolworths actually has it right in this case…

“I believe that I’ll be accountable one day for my life and so to that extent I’ll be accountable for my integrity,” he said.

State of the Union

I’m sitting down to write this post with no actual content in mind to fill it. It’s more out of a sense of obligation and in recognition of the fact that I’ve had nothing of substance to say for quite some time. Unless of course you count last week’s efforts on the word queue and the North Korea situation. Part of the reason I’m writing this is because I’m sick of the “ronery so ronery” title sitting at the top of my blog page. Those of us still carrying the world cup torch know that the hotly anticipated all European final is on in the early hours of tomorrow morning. For those supporters out there who’ve fallen off the wagon Italy (boo) are playing France (Oh ho ho) in a battle worthy of an Olympic 10 metre platform dive final. The number of dubiously decided close games in this World Cup have done nothing to further the game’s cause in Australia. Speaking of games in Australia, I made the mistake of watching a bit of last night’s Bledisloe Cup. For those of you not interested in the petty fights between League and Union fans I’ll give a quick summary of my problems with Rugby Union.

1. Its fans claim superiority over league based on the flowing nature of the game. Sure the ball is in play longer because there are less penalties given (only because Union refs actually play the advantage rule properly), but so much time is taken up setting up the lineouts and scrums, and the ball is constantly tied up in rucks and mauls. The game flows about as fast as an arctic river. Which is to say not very fast at all. Their tries are invariably scored in an all in “stacks on” on the tryline. Hardly the result of dazzling ball play, creativity or athleticism.
2. Union fans claim the moral highground because their scrums are contested. As far as I can see, contested scrums are not necessarily a good thing. They do not punish dropped ball to the degree that league scrums do, and they take so long to get right. I can understand the ref’s concern with a correctly packed scum, because if they go wrong people will get hurt. I was once told that international rugby players develop hemorrhoids due to the pressure exerted in the scrum. And I believe it.
3. Union aficionados always claim a higher level of sophistication and intelligence than their league counterparts – this claim was historically rooted in the fact that union players traditionally came from good private school, university educated stock. But no longer. These days the Wallabies backline (traditionally the smarter team members) are more likely to have a background in League than a private school education, and they’re much more likely to be getting themselves in trouble off the field (ala Wendell Sailor – those two factors probably go hand in hand). They’re also more likely to get caught out lacking sophistication on the field too, thanks to the wonders of modern television.

Really that link and a genuine dissatisfaction with the quality of last night’s game were the only reason I made this post. I suspect I’ll also get more response from particular female readers (Miriam and Robyn come to mind) than from any passionate male Union supporters. So over to you girls…


Ronery… so ronery

Just when you thought I couldn’t get any less holy – I open a post with a Team America reference. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie… don’t. I can’t recommend it in good conscience. However, I will continue to quote it because it’s actually very funny, and now surprisingly (well it’s actually not really a surprise) relevant given situations in North east Asia. It seems the craziest man ever to wear platform shoes has taken short man syndrome to the next level. Crazy Kim the coiffured nepotist from North Korea has decided to flex his military muscles by sending 7 really expensive missiles to the depths of the Sea of Japan. It says a lot about a man’s character if he’ll gladly waste seven missiles when his people are starving. There were plenty of better places to aim the missiles. The Big Brother house maybe. Channel 9. Boy, am I mister current events or what… Why didn’t he test them by firing them at a terrorist you might ask? Well for starters Hazem El Masri was indoors… and secondly Kim Jong Il is a terrorist in training. He’s just not very good. Yet. He clearly needs more practice – the US reported that one missile fizzled just 40 seconds after launch. There’s a lot of places you can take missile jokes. But I won’t. One can only hope his missiles didn’t harm any whales. I suspect that’s why the Japanese have imposed trade sanctions – it’s certainly the only reason anyone can think of for imposing sanctions on the Japanese. I think the popularity of karaoke would be another one, and the popularity of anime… and those stupid game shows… and umm… well I guess there are lots of potential reasons actually. But I feel sorry for the poor Japanese, not only do they have to put up with a crazy irascible despot on their doorstep, they’re not allowed to snack on their favourite meal in the whole world. Whale. For some reason the rest of the world doesn’t see taste testing as a scientific test. Last I heard science was the use of the senses (observation) to test a hypothesis. I think on that basis Japan can eat all the whales they want.

Another man who is apparently lonely at the moment, allegedly, is Michael Costa. The New South Wales politician who bares a striking resemblance to Dr Evil (oh no, now I’ve also referenced Austin Powers… I’m scraping the bottom of the pop culture barrel tonight)
has apparently (allegedly) been visiting ladies of the night. More specifically a lady of the night. An anonymous lady of the night. An anonymous lady of the night who anonymously made the announcement on talkback radio. Rather than letting the event fade into obscurity Costa decided to sue for defamation – now everyone knows he was the politician named (Merrick and Rosso cut the caller off almost immediately and released an apology without naming said politician). Costa needs a new PR adviser. I fail to see how suing a radio station where the hosts were clearly not culpable (they could perhaps have beeped out the name if their production team had been working on the industry standard 3 second delay) will achieve anything. Particularly if Merrick and Rosso can prove the claims to be true – truth is a defence to defamation provided it’s in the public interest (and the moral conduct of a politician probably falls into that category – some would argue that this shouldn’t be the case, but if you’re going to hold yourself up as a public figure of good moral stature then there has to be accountability). Thankfully we now have uniform defamation laws to make defences easier to remember – it seems these new laws scrapped the public interest element too. Hooray. Defamation was the one area of law I was actually good at. I figured it might come in handy.

We’re through…

What a bizarre game. This World Cup has captured the attention of the Australian public – and if games continue to go down to the wire like that one – it’s likely they’ll be caught up for some time. Harry Kewell finally lived up to the hype. Kalac showed why Schwarzer belongs in the Australian goal mouth. The referee issued three yellow cards to the same player… The game had it all.

Both teams looked much more comfortable chasing qualification than defending it. Neither team acted decisively when they held the upper hand – but Australia continued to play a composed, mature brand of football that I can only attribute to their combined experience playing in top class club competitions, and to the brilliant tactical nouse of Guus Hiddink (who was apparently richly rewarded for taking Australia to the second stage – you’ve got to wonder what he was thinking when Kalac let the ball roll over his body and into the back of the net).

Here’s my player ratings…

1. Zeljko Kalac – Ordinary handling and poor set piece decision making could have cost us our spot in the next round – obviously not match fit. I don’t think I saw him make a save. He was lucky Craig Moore was in position to clear the ball off the line in the last couple of minutes – 3/10

2. Lucas Neill – Again a superb performance – showing maturity, poise and style in the backline. Neill is my favourite Australian player and he’s showing the world what he’s made of – expect a big money transfer offer to come in for him in the weeks following the World Cup – 8.5/10

3. Craig Moore – This guy should still be captain. He’s level headed – and he can score penalties… He was in the right place at the right time to clear the ball off the line at a crucial point in the match. Our 3 man defensive pattern has held up strongly in the tournament so far. 8/10

14. Scott Chipperfield – Made some probing runs down the left hand side, including a beautiful turn and cross which asked questions of the defence. Made way for Kennedy late in the game. Does well balancing attack and defence. 8/10

5. Jason Culina – A favourite son to Guus Hiddink – playing in his club and national teams – always holds his own in the midfield – but sometimes guilty of lazy passing and poor decision making. 7/10.

7. Brett Emerton – Mr Reliable – controlled effort in attack and defence – unluckilly dismissed after receiving one soft yellow card, would have missed the next game anyway because the handball was a clear yellow card offence, he will be missed by Australia. 7.5/10

4. Tim Cahill – was everywhere – looks dangerous on the ball but can be a little volatile. For Australia to do well Cahill must perform. I stand by my statement about his importance to the team. 7.5/10

13. Vince Grella – solid engine room toiler – makes some poor passing decisions but also makes some crucial defensive contributions. He’s a valuable, physical presence anchoring the midfield and keeping tabs on key attacking players. 7/10

21. Mile Sterjovski – I like this guy, makes some great, dangerous runs on the flanks and keeps involved in the play. He’ll be a regular fixture in the green and gold. 7.5/10

10. Harry Kewell – finally delivered on the hype. Kewell looked dangerous all match and consistently troubled the defenders with some neat running, passing and shooting. Was on the spot to capitalise on Bresciano’s brilliant cross to seal our path through to the next stage. 8.5/10

9. Mark Viduka – Viduka is shadowed by several defenders on reputation alone – he never shoots, sometimes bundles loose headers into the keeper’s arms and never really troubles the defence. He’s a master of receiving the ball with his back to goal and looking for an easy pass. He’s penalised too regularly for backing into the defender who’s marking him and holding them off the ball. He’s an imposing physical presence and probably comes back in defence too often. 5.5/10

15. John Aloisi – Australia look instantly more dangerous with two dedicated strikers on the pitch. 7/10

16. Marco Bresciano – provided some spark and forward momentum to the midfield – and a beautifully weighted cross for Harry Kewell’s goal. 7.5/10

Josh Kennedy – He’s a giant. All gangly and stuff – didn’t have long to make an impact but didn’t really make any mistakes either – gives Australia someone to aim at in the box. 7/10

The ref – umm… ordinary effort, someone needs to explain the basics of the game to him. 2 yellow cards = 1 red, handballs in the box = a penalty… Luckily that Croatian guy didn’t do anything special after he should have been dismissed – he musn’t have been too smart though because he managed to fit a third card in right at the death.

Feeling Blue

I apologise for the title. Some times there’s nothing wrong with the obvious. Here are the three reasons Queensland won tonight:

1. They played very well
2. New South Wales were rubbish, mostly because of point 1, partly because of point 3.
3. Brett Finch is a gimp.

New South Wales took terrible options in attack and had an atrocious completion rate. There were way too many long, floating passes to no one in particular. And the Blues forwards were outmuscled and out enthused. And Queensland’s halves were halves. That probably helps.

Some people have complained that my posts are too long these days. I think those people should check out this site here.

That’s all I have to say for tonight.

Except that I think people should go out to their nearest, or most trusted, CD shop and purchase something by Lior. Lior is brilliant. And not at all gay, despite what my sister might have suggested at one point. That might be the sister who has posted a picture of a model as her profile picture…

Man of the moment

They say football (soccer) is a game of two halves. In reality its a game of 90 minutes where things can change in an instant. The beauty of the “round ball” game is the ability for games to dramatically turn around in the blink of an eye. The game’s critics in Australia cite low scores and the possibility of games ending deadlocked at 0-0 as reasons not to embrace the code. These detractors have failed to understand the drama involved in a game where just a momentary lapse in concentration can mean the difference between victory and despair. Australia’s world cup fortunes have been decided by a series of such moments. Some would say the moment Guus Hiddink put pen to paper on a contract agreeing to manage the Socceroos was one such turning point. The few seconds it took for Harry Kewell’s bungled shot to fall for Marco Bresciano to bury into the back of the net in the qualifying match against Uruguay were another. That goal altered the course of Australia’s World Cup campaign. The microsecond it took for Mark Schwarzer to choose the right (left) direction in what turned out to be the decisive penalty save was another key moment. All these moments played a part in Australia’s long awaited return to the world’s biggest sporting show.

Tim Cahill was Australia’s man of the moment last night. He was the man of the match too. Two moments of brilliance. Two vital goals. Tim Cahill managed to snatch Australia a victory from the jaws of an undeserved defeat. John Aloisi’s third gives Australia’s goal difference a vital boost in a group where for and against could be the difference between second round glory or an early trip home. Australia had the lion’s share of possession in the match and looked the better team in attack. Japan are a team seemingly more comfortable defending a lead than extending it. They seemed content to keep men behind the ball in defence, launching probing counter attacks down the flanks when given the opportunity. As Hiddink searched for the breakthrough he brought attackers on for defenders. His substitutions proved a masterstroke. The introduction of Tim Cahill, John Aloisi and Josh Kennedy were too much for Japan’s shaky defence to handle. Cahill buried his first through a sea of defenders. His second, coming as both teams looked content to battle it out for a draw, was a brilliant strike from outside the 18 yard box. The midfield dynamo gave some spark to an otherwise lacklustre performance from the Australian engine room. The truth is, for 80 minutes the Australian attack looked impotent. Shots were mistimed, miss hit and misplaced. Mark Viduka is potentially the game’s greatest defensive forward. His imposing physical presence keeps defenders on their toes, but he too often fails to the goal mouth itself. He looked lonely as the sole player in a one man front line. Josh Kennedy’s introduction to the fray injected some life into the Aussie attack. A regular partnership of Kennedy and Viduka as a strike duo would do much to allay concerns over Australia’s inability to get the ball across the goal line.

Schwarzer stood largely untested in the Australian goal mouth – his bungling role in Japan’s solitairy goal will be excused by some due to the attention he received from a kamikaze striker’s charge. In truth, a goalkeeper of Schwarzer’s stature should not be being forced off the ball by a diminutive striker. By rights he should have claimed that ball. Luckily he was spared further embarrassment thanks to Cahill.

Cahill’s arrival on the field last night also saw the introduction of product placement to a World Cup already teeming with sponsors. Cahill is sponsored by Weet Bix. A point the SBS commentator was only too aware of. “We can only hope he’s had his Weet Bix” he said as Cahill took the field. 33 minutes later when Cahill slipped the ball deftly between the legs of two defenders and into the net the commentator saw this as an opportunity to point out that Cahill must indeed have imbibed his daily dose of high fibre breakfast cereal. Of all the players involved in last night’s event it was the commentator who truly had a shocker. His outrage at the circumstances leading to Japan’s goal led to a constant stream of criticism for Egyptian referee Essam Abd El Fatah. As the whistle blew for half time he said something like “and perhaps fittingly the Egyptian referee has the final say, bringing the end to a sometimes controversial half of football.” Umm, could someone explain when the referee does not have the final say in a half of football?

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flights of fancy… and some other garbage

In the immortal (or somewhat unknown in this case) words of Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. The aeroplane flies high. I can’t wrap (or rap) my head around the physics involved in getting a machine as big as…well for want of a better corroborative noun, as big as a jumbo, into the air and keeping it there. I sat just behind the wind on the way home today – there are a lot of little adjustments made to the wings during flight that I’m sure are absolutely necessary to keep it in the air. I’ve had some aeronautical engineering type people (who I guess technically are rocket scientists) explain all the updraft and stuff to me but it all boggles the mind. I wonder if boggles became a verb before, or after, the board game…

I flew home with Jetstar. Jetstar owe me $3.80. I don’t know who’s responsible for the coffee shop next to the terminal – but they should warn passengers that you can’t take your coffee on board. What did the hostess think I was going to do with a cup of coffee? You can’t exactly highjack a plane with a lukewarm cappuccino. If I was going to highjack a plane – hypothetically of course – I’d be more likely to use this (don’t miss the customer review at the bottom of the page).

The other question which has been weighing on my mind is a question regarding an industry with its share of critics (and a history of mafia involvement in the US ala the Sopranos) – the garbage disposal industry. Garbage disposal and waste control is something we all take for granted and probably don’t give enough thought to. It’s one of those industries where if you do happen to take notice something’s probably gone wrong. My question is this – how many wheelie bin loads fit in the standard garbage truck? I’m going to try to do some research and have an answer by the end of the week. It hadn’t occured to me that there must be a fleet of garbage trucks operating on any given bin day untilI saw two driving around at around the same time. – asking, and answering the questions that matter…

and finally – a fantail wrapper question just to get the comments rolling…

Born Nigeria, 4/4/1960, he arrived with his family in Australia in 1976. He graduated from NIDA in 1981 and made his debut in Maybe This Time (80). He won an AFI Award for Best actor as the blind photographer in Proof (91); and was nominated for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; won a second AFI for The Interview (98); and was named the Australian Star of the year. He then starred in two blockbusters which would give his identity away.

Laying the smack down…

To all the grammar Nazis out there who feel compelled to comment on my posts… it’s time for me to get all Churchillian on you grammatically sensitive supremacists. Read a newspaper… watch the news on TV – journalism isn’t about grammar. The rules don’t apply. I can use whatever phraseology tickles my fancy. It’s my prerogative to do so. Basically this is my blog and I can write what I want to. But I guess some would argue that it’s better to be a grammar Nazi than a grammar Fascist.

In other cases rules clearly should be treated as rules. Today I’m going to talk about sport. I like sport. I like State of Origin. I like watching international matches. I like the world cup. I love the passion involved in sport. I love it when players show loyalty to their country, state, or club. Loyalty in sport is dying. I’m not going to complain about the professionalisation of sport. I believe sports stars should be paid – sport involves large sums of money – through advertising revenue (and television rights to access said revenue), gate receipts, merchandise etc… it’s only fair that players receive a share of the spoils. I understand when players want to leave a club to further their playing career. What I can not tolerate is this growing trend for players to farm their representative allegiences out to wherever tickles their fancy. It’s probably too late for me to comment on the Karmichael Hunt situation – or in fact the fact that New Zealand had 5 Australian born players playing in their team. But the Greg Inglis situation is still newsworthy and current and stuff. Greg Inglis is from New South Wales. He’s played junior football in New South Wales. He grew up in Macksville or somewhere like that in the Kempsey region. You can read the story here. Shifting allegience to increase your selection chances isn’t anything new. Football (soccer for the culturally bankrupt) players have been toying around with duel citizenship for years. League players have been representing the country of their ancestors (read grandparents) at the Rugby League world cup for as long as it’s been running. Ben Johnson played cricket for Canada in the last Cricket World Cup even though he’s as Australian as the next South Australian. Tim Cahill, the man who I believe carries Australia’s world cup hopes on his shoulders, has played for Western Samoa’s national team – admittedly before he was old enough to know better. This craziness has to stop. I offer no solutions other than reverting to common sense and letting it dictate who plays for where… maybe the country or state you’re born in should have something to do with it.

In other sports news… In a somewhat fiery encounter (I got headbutted in the nose… I had to put that in because my nose still hurts and I think it makes me sound tough, although now I’ve said it hurts I guess that’s not so tough), our indoor team delivered a crushing 13-1 defeat to our opponents in the first round of the new season. With all the pushing, shoving, and swearing, it was like I was back playing Baptist League.