Archive for June, 2016

Or maybe the year that was ? Is it just me or is the acronym EOFY everywhere this year? Sounds like a disease you get where an appendage falls off. And not the “hardly ever used” variety 😦

It could be the country that was coming to an end if u listen to ScoMo the Goose if Labor win on Saturday. Talk about politicising an overseas event. Your average Joe (or maybe Bruce?) has no chance of understanding the impact of Brexit given the differing views of many experts. What is clear, given the Google search rates for “What is the EU” AFTER THE VOTE WAS DECLARED , your average Pom was clueless as well and in the age of Trump appear to have been driven more by fear of immigration. Of course as it is politics the big central promise of spending the EU money on NHS if successful exit immediately fell by the wayside as if run over by a BUS! Trump’s initial tweet from Scotland tells all u need to know about his grasp of world politics. John Oliver, as is his way, of course had the best summary

Then Samantha Bee stepped it up with the best reading of the many twitter responses

Speaking of US Politics there could be a run on Blue Pant Suits if Elizabeth Warren gets nod for VP choice. Personally I think it unlikely as despite many male fantasies, two women at once could be a bit much. What if their cycles overlap?? Lordy Lordy, hide those nuclear codes 🙂

In a clear sign of the times, although I have no idea what it actually implies, the line ups for pre election polling are longer than on actual election day! I wash my hair on Saturday so naturally lined up at Boltons yesterday with many many others and it was a slow process. If the world doesnt end on Saturday then I still have to pay this years rego I assume. How did it suddenly get to $900? For that money it should come with a couple of 50% off vouchers for any speeding fines incurred at roadworks. Electricity charges continues to rise to. Anyone else think it may be due to all of these “Solidarity Light Up Your City Monuments” spectacles in recent times ?

GOT ends and Winter does arrive? It has been cool the last few mornings indeed and then followed by simply glorious days. So booteeful in fact you dont want to sit inside watching said GOT episodes but really the last two this season have been stunning in a visual and aural orgasmic way. Is it just me or has Cersie Lannister become Clare Underwood ? You can tell its school holidays though as the fan geeks go into meltdown at such minor things as time leaps and lapses. Not that any other reason was needed but it does make me glad I dont read the books and can just let the show flow over me like the warm breath of a dragon on a cool June morning. Speaking of cool and hot at the same time

In other TV news WIN is now Ten and Ten is now 9. I think. Tracy Grimshaw says “she cant wait to see us” so clearly does not understand the one way concept of how TV works. I do hope that Win’s version of Offspring next week is better than 10’s last night although they do seem to have the same cast? VEEP finished with a moderate episode after a superb season. Silicon Valley is still a bit hit and miss for me but better than 80% of other crap on of course. Aquarius is an interesting show about a fascinating time period in US history. DD still mostly plays Hank Moody with a buzz cut but the source material is what works here. Manson and OJ is one double date no girl should go on.

The sports world is entranced by the Semi Radradrararar saga – or at least copy editors think we are. As said in other media commitments if all of the articles written on this nonsense were printed out and laid end to end they would reach to Fiji! Maybe Kieran Foran can walk on them and get out of Australia. Look up “implode” in the dictionary and there is just a photo of the 2016 Eels. Broncos are struggling but really who cares at this stage of season. Wait until about September 10th before placing any bets this year. Can the RIO Olympics really go ahead? Athletes are dropping like flies, or maybe more appropriately mosquitoes, with that traditional symbol of all things Olympics – Golf – front and center in the who cares caper. Seriously at this stage it will be Jack Newton and Peter Thompson representing Australia. Speaking of snoozefests Wimbledon is here again and the big question on everyone’s lips is will Stosur fall to an unranked player before Tomic tanks again ? Kyrgios has already played his requisite “ball between legs” shot so he can go now. The Aussies won some game of cricket in the West Indies apparently. Wake me up when The Ashes start again please

July 1 tomorrow which means I have to set aside 30s to do my tax return online at some stage. Mind you there may be a couple of surprises this year so only time will tell. As long as I get it done before Saturday when life as we know it in Australia could end. If it does then of course only one course of action. Trumpy Von Trumpster would approve

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SOO 2 – What comes after 9?

Posted: June 23, 2016 in Sport

Another Origin game that NSW could easily have won but at end of day they lack composure, discipline and quality finishers. One suspects though that when they start winning they could well go on a little dynasty themselves. NSW whinge about the penalty count but a lot of it, though maybe not all, is due to poor discipline. Their new players were their best and there is a very good side in there somewhere

Thurston was great. He got knocked to the ground heavily after every kick but never whined. His goal kicking should never be under estimated especially if you are going to let wingers score all your tries! Gagai is a class finisher as is Oates. Boyd does whatever is needed at time and it pretty well is now Billy Who ? Smith controlled game well while Cronk was quiet again. Would like to see a full game with Thurston and Morgan as halves but am sure Cronk brings his own class to it all. With Myles away Thaiday went full grub. The tackle on Gallen is simply unacceptable.

For NSW, Tamou went missing simple as that – very overrated player. Maloney looks dangerous always as does Jennings but he also does some stupid things. Like Ferguson – clearly no relation. Time to blood some new players but Gallen deserves one last game. Moylan appears to be a scapegoat with all the rave for Tedesco but not sure what else he could do

Is Kevvy a great coach and Loz a shocker? Nope. Kevvy is smarter than he looks though whereas Loz may be exactly as he looks. Like The King , Loz was an exceptionally gifted player but that does not make you a great coach. Look at Gus, Bellamy, The QT man…. all good players certainly but not superstars . You need a mix of talent, knowledge, experience and man management. Personally I think both these guys, but maybe Loz in particular, should shelve the media career for a while and concentrate on coaching

So is it a dead rubber ? Check the Stilnox sales the day before 🙂 It shouldnt be but then again these are not necessarily the sharpest tools in the box we are dealing with. All the usual comments will be made but you will only know after the first 15 mins what the deal really is. If they keep starting the show at 830 pm and having extended half time breaks then expect the TV ratings to drop for the third one. Lot of talk of playing one game in NZ after 2018. All about money sadly.

OJ : Made in America

Posted: June 18, 2016 in TV

So good it deserves its own blog

As expected this was the definitive telling of a complex tale with amazing access to most parties involved. You can understand , if not accept, how the trial verdict occurred in a times and place scenario. At first it is clear that he was an amazing athlete and NFL star. Like a later day Rock he then made the transition to media star easily and had the same loveable charm and easy going nature . However, at a time when someone like Ali clearly represented the black race on the world sporting stage and also took an active part in civil rights during that period OJ was the exact opposite . It is thus the supreme irony that it was his “blackness” that set him free. He clearly aligned with white corporate America when it suited him but found his “roots” when life in prison beckoned. In short he was a phony.

Memorable moments and lasting thoughts from the 7 hr doco

* the quick jury decision was mostly a product of having been locked up for 263 nights alone and also payback for Rodney King and similar cases

* Juror 6 did the Black Panther salute after verdict. Maybe they didn’t have jury experts in those days ?? Poor research

* the prosecutors blew it on several points but especially the famous gloves

* Cochranes Hitler comment was reprehensible of course but in keeping with the general ” do anything needed” theme of the defence team

* Travolta did a better job playing Shapiro than first realised . Clearly struggled not being the star of the team

* he made $3 million just signing autographs from jail during the trial

* the media coverage was both amazing and pathetic and likely the origin of the crap we see these days that passes for “news” . The fascination with celebrity started in USA for sure

* before the trial it was blacks in the street with placards protesting. After trial it was whites doing the same thing

* ” I don’t think he was not guilty but was in touch with the fact that I wanted to think he was not guilty ”

* for a gifted athlete he has one shithouse golf swing . Think a skinny Charkes Barkley

* he craved attention of course and this led to some poor decisions most notably the book ” If I Did It” . Money was a factor too of course as long as he could keep it from the Goldmans

* unlikely to ever win ” Father of the Year” anytime soon

* girls still love the bad boy

* ” Keeping up with the Kardashians won’t last 2 weeks ” Oh dear, if only

* the memorabilia heist could make a movie in itself as long as Frank Drebin was involved ! Only in Las Vegas

* Marcia Clark finally settled on a decent hair do after 20 years

* 13 yrs to the day of his first verdict, the judge did not miss him the second time around .

* the “fifth quarter” was an interesting concept of ” payback” . 33 yrs was same as $33 million civil lawsuit . Seems a bit far fetched but one of the many interesting synchronisms

* Juror 9 was honest as day is long ,if misguided , but she summed it up perfectly ” he was a dumbass to go out there and get into some more shit ”

* ” it was all a waste. He wasn’t deserving ” “does not reflect on black people . It reflects on OJ ”

Early on he did not want to align with his black race but wanted to be judged only as OJ as if his personality was bigger than anything else . Ultimately it bought it all crashing down around him which only seems fitting . The circular nature of his story, like a floater disappearing down a toilet, with his rise as an NFL star generating money making memorabilia to his downfall trying to reclaim same in a ham fisted caper is not lost on this LBD

If you want the whole story and have 7 hrs to spare do yourself a favour

Yeah Yeah, a bit late but in my defense , Your Honour, one day is pretty much the same as the next to moi

There were two significant events in USA in the last few days with one being a celebration of a life and the other involving tragic loss. There is a tenuous link and one is always wary with such sensitive matters to trivialise such things. This meme demonstrated one view and the central theme of “muslim” but more importantly highlights the major role that media plays these days in colouring our views. One only needs to watch this weeks Media Watch on ABC to start to comprehend the impact that Facebook for example is having on the news we see

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Lets start with the celebration. So much has been written about Ali’s passing and legacy that there is no need to say any more but rather one should look at two eulogies given at his memorial service to wrap this significant period up. I will only share Billy Crystal as thought it was perfect but one should also chase down Bill Clintons as well

By all accounts it was indeed a memorable service of all faiths thus fitting the way Ali transcended the world. Nothing happens these days of course without Trumpy Von Trumpster blowing in. If there is anything worthwhile about twitter it is once it is out there it cant go away so when Trump tweeted after Ali’s passing

Muhammad Ali is dead at 74! A truly great champion and a wonderful guy. He will be missed by all!

it was only a matter of minutes before a previous tweet emerged showing Trump in his true colour – bright orange!

Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?

One of course is reminded of Ali’s perfectly measured response to Trumps initial Muslim rhetoric. In part

True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

We as Muslims have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. ”

This is relevant of course because Ali initially was aligned with the more militant side of Islam before moderating later in life and adopting the true beliefs of the religion.

And so to the tragic events of Orlando. It is far too complex for any quick solution to the issue of gun violence and homeland terrorism but one does shake one’s head that they dont have the collective will to at least address one complicating factor. Gun control. If Sandy Hook didnt do it then in the land where Trump can be the Republican nominee the deaths of 50 people from LGBT community aint going to do it. Australia, and Little Johnny in particular, always come up in these discussions with our own response to Port Arthur and its “apparent success” . Once again this is a simplified review as the two countries are vastly different in gun culture amongst many other things but at least we did something. One can think of telling your young child not to run with scissors. On the first occasion the accident occurs you sweep them up in your arms and simply care for them. By the fifth or sixth time you still sweep them up because that will always be your reaction as a parent but part of you is tempted to give them a clip around the ear and try to knock some sense into them. So nothing will change again and in the meantime social media will be flooded with signs of solidarity when maybe some tuff love is needed. No one suggests there is a simple solution, especially to the lone wolf scenario, but there has to come a time when simply turning the Empire State building or Eiffel Tower into a rainbow is not enough. Does this show of solidarity give any comfort to the families of the victims? I dont know and I hope I never find out. Trump of course made it all about him as usual. John Oliver though was pitch perfect in his opening to his show yesterday and summed up the sadness of the situation but also the knowledge that life – and all its stupidity – must go on

So before moving totally away from Ali, this week saw start of OJ: Made in America from the always excellent 30 for 30 Series. This has “definitive telling of his story” written all over it. The first 90 minutes showed his amazing rise as an NFL star and then his movement into the media world mostly because he was not defined as “being black” and never wanted to be. One could be generous and say he didnt want to be defined by colour which seems fair at the time. Knowing his story better now it seems more likely he was just looking after Numero Uno and doing whatever was needed at the time. It is relevant to Ali because at the time – late 60s – his anti war stance was prominent as was Black Power at Olympics etc and most powerful black athletes including NFL star later turned actor Jim Brown were prominent in the black movement. OJ was not, he was too busy running through airports as the face of Hertz Rent a Car. Comparing Brown and OJ is a worthwile exercise given how the former walked away from NFL to star in The Dirty Dozen but never lost his true identity and “blackness” for want of a better term. The next 4 episodes has one simply licking one’s lips. This is not necessarily a good thing with this wind around mind you

In other TV news The Americans finished on the expected cliffhanger but was generally a low key finale to a superb season. As usual I have no idea about the original source material but Preacher is all kinds of batshit crazy and engaging. GOT fans are crying in their cornflakes as “expert fan theories” are blown out of the water each week. It is the usual slow build until the cataclysmic final episode no doubt but there was a memorable scene this week indeed

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Speaking of cataclysms we mostly dodged the ark building caper the other weekend here in Maryhole. The media of course were creaming their jeans at the prospect of a very wet Armageddon here with the pick of the headlines for me being “Tie down your Trampolines” . One can only assume that Maryhole must have the highest “trampoline per household” per capita rate in Australia? As with many weather events there can be sadness and real hardship involved as well as many good folk in NSW no doubt know. Its a strange time of year weather wise with warmish nights and coolish days. If nothing else this can lead to some stunning sunrises and sunsets as I discovered on a couple of early morning drives this past weekend

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The Greatest – A Boy Remembers

Posted: June 4, 2016 in Sport

It all started for me in 1970. My best friend at Wavell High was Ian Anderson and he was a rabid Ali fan. Didnt follow boxing much but saw the hoopla about his return to the ring with Quarry and then Bonavena and by the time March 1971 rolled around for the Fight of The Century I was hooked. Because he was more than boxing. As said in other media commitments this was when Heavyweight Boxing ruled the world of sport and Ali ruled boxing in the early to mid 70s. Forget State of Origin there was no bigger event in the sporting world before that night. It was a Monday night in Brisvegas – a school night even – as it was beamed live into out lounge room . Sinatra was a ring side photographer, Lancaster a ring announcer etc NYC was a rough place then and Madison Square Garden was the epicentre that night. Frazier won fair and square but Ali was not diminished in any way and was yet another example that behind all the bluster was a courageous man as well. Devoted fans would know of my love of the USA and have been very lucky to visit several times and pay homage to this night both in NYC and Philadelphia. For me the two men are inextricably linked like no other sporting foes. They displayed the beauty, brutality and courage of boxing at its best and worst

Around the same time there was a better than average Aussie boxer going around called Mundine but not of the dickhead variety. Another friend at school (yeah yeah two friends is hard to believe!) had a very generous father who started taking us both to Festival Hall in Brisbane on the odd Friday night where we would see Mundine and Jeff White amongst others ply their trade. To see the crowd stand as one and sing “Stand up and Cheer” as the boxers walked to the ring was amazing. This was close and personal trust me and really filled a young 12 yr old boy with awe. Mr Hassum always joked “Dont shave this week David we are going to the fights on Friday” You had this world class boxer up close and personal to watch and then follow Ali from afar. Now my mother likely had early onset OCD bless her heart and amongst many early memories was Thursday morning washing day where the bottom sheet was pulled off the bed, the top one replaced it and then a new one on top. To this day I have never known anyone else to do that and yet it made perfect sense at the time. I relate this fascinating anecdote more to highlight what a wonderful mother she was, in difficult times, because despite a cleanliness requirement bordering on obsession she allowed me to plaster my bedroom wall with newspaper clippings of Ali. I cant recall the state of the paint when finally removed but imagine a redo was in order. I left town. Literally. She also sewed me a wonderful label to attach to the back of a dressing gown. These things are magic to a young boy. Not sure how I got the money (maybe packing at Woolies on a weekend) but as is my own little obsessive habit started to collect US boxing magazines, Newspaper clippings and even started to import Super 8mm films from the USA of Ali fights. The excitement in those days of receiving a package from the USA was significant. Later on my sweet CLP got me the same fights on DVD.

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The next few years had its ups and downs until we got to September 1974. By now I was collecting friends like acne on a teenagers face and one – David Anstey – lived next door to school. It was Senior year and it was October 30th but only one thing mattered that lunch hour – the fight was on TV. This could well have been the start of the extended lunch hour that I manfully continued with through my working years. It was a masterful display by Ali and the world was indeed shocked. Then of course we came to maybe the greatest Heavyweight fight of all time – The Thrilla in Manila. Certainly a brutal one and the one Ali should have walked, or at least limped, away from. But that is not in his nature.

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If you have even a passing interest in Ali or Boxing you should watch “When We Were Kings” for the Rumble in the Jungle and the HBO doco “Thrilla in Manila” for the latter. The latter is actually a more warts and all look at Ali as told from the perspective of Frazier and when reflecting on Ali it is important to understand he was no Saint. There were many more fights to come including the epic Norton battles but the peak had been reached and only more damage could be done. He achieved the rare feat of winning the championship a third time but by now not only his decline but also that of Heavyweight Boxing was evident

Ali’s greatest fight was still to come and one can only admire his courage in such a proud man showing his frailty so clearly in public time and time again. Without knowing anything about his real health one can only imagine it may have well been a blessing in the end. Despite his appearance though in later years most suggest he was still quite “well” . Mind you , one consistency throughout his career were the “hanger oners” . It is only with his passing that you truly understand the impact he had on your life especially in those early formative years. It also reinforces what a mediocre lot of “sporting superstars” , with some exceptions, we have these days. There will be many words written and said and sadly by a lot of “personalities” but I have my own memories so I dont need to read anyone else. I will however highlight something Obama said as he always strikes me as a thoughtful person (or at least his speechwriter is!)as it does highlight the flipside of this larger than life character that transcended the sport.

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.” But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves.

One could spend all day simply looking at his life in pictures. Here are a couple that I always liked

I have only kept one magazine in pristine condition from those days and it was actually a wonderful gift from CLP who chased it down many years later from USA. It is a classic piece of sports journalism that again you dont see much of today

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If you want an example of Ali’s charm and wit simply watch his interactions with Howard Cosell over the years. “Whatever Truculent means if thats good I’m that” No script there.

I no longer have a bedroom wall covered in photos. I only need one

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Rest in Peace

In some final good news for Loz the Snoz this morning news comes through he has been signed up for a big part as a new hero in the next XMen movie. His secret weapon is his huge Deflection Shield. He must have spent a lot of time with the QT man of Rugby League to have taken on board the one thing you need to do when you lose is deflect any blame away for your over paid Superstars. You know the ones that drop balls at tap kicks, or bombs at Fullback or miss getable conversions. Nah, load up on the referees instead. Now I like Loz and he is a fair and decent man by all accounts but just think the sheer frustration has finally got to him. Did QLD get the rub of the green ? Yeah probably. Have they always got the rub of the green for the last 11 years? Nope. The two most contentious issues were the no try for the Morris and reversal of the knock on against O’Neill just out from our line. Both decisions were correct Loz. It was actually the NSW touch judge that got the Morris call wrong and indicated to ref it was a try. Only reason it went up to Bunker as an onfield try. And this same ref missed a pretty obvious strip from Reynolds against Thaiday close to their line too which resulted in NSW feed rather than penalty. Kevvie is a newbie at the press conference caper but he needs to shut up about “needing some assistance ” to win big games. Take it this time Son because in your coaching career you will be on the other end for sure and certain and no one will give a crap let alone the NSW coach

The issue developing with SOO that the administrators and Channel 9 dont want to admit is they are becoming largely boring games. “Dour” is the buzz word but is a pretty way of saying snoozefest. Yes it is tough no doubt and every debutante will say “it was a lot faster than I thought” but it is not good spectacle . Unlike last years Grandfinal. The hype simply continues to build each year but is more about some petty hatred between some media and a need to justify “the game that stops the nation” Speaking of which a couple of players could have been put down this morning or at least swabbed. Now, I get wrapped up in the hype each year too but really only because I get sick and tired of the heavily NSW Biased NRL media and the crap they go on with so simply want QLD to win to shut them up

Thought Boyd was outstanding and should have been MOM although Gillett was very good. Gagai impressed while Smith and JT did usual solid stuff behind the line. Cronk was quiet. Thaiday did his best work after the match which simply gives the NSW media something else to latch on to and run with. For NSW, Maloney impressed as did Fifita off the bench. Moylan will be better for the run now nerves are out of the and looks all class. You cant see NSW winning at Suncorp and then will have the dead rubber in Sydney and a night on the Stilnox so NSW have hope for 2017.

Great line on the QPS Facebook page this morning

And THAT is how you Hold the Door! #Origin #Queenslander #GoT

There will be many great memes around today but this one tickled my fancy for its simplicity. From TAB with the tagline

One win in 10 years, probably smart keeping the tag..

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