It's got to be said. The post below, bulging, as it is, with sporting facts, figures and dry analysis of Major League Baseball and Australian Rules, trends toward the tedious. A stone fucking bore, don't cha know.
It's got to be said. The post below, bulging, as it is, with sporting facts, figures and dry analysis of Major League Baseball and Australian Rules, trends toward the tedious. A stone fucking bore, don't cha know.
Moneyball (The Art of Winning an Unfair Game) is a book about baseball by American sports-writer Michael Lewis.
The Moneyball thrust is that The Oakland Athletics, a team struggling against the big money advantages enjoyed by the Yankees, Red Socks, Braves, etc have been able to stay highly competetive. They could not afford to buy, say, Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson for gazillions of dollars and, instead, had to look closely at the statistics of lesser credentialled players like Nick Swisher and Scott Hatteberg in an attempt to keep up with the big boys.
Up to now it has proved a reasonably successful strategy.
The architect of this ploy that's taken The As from a struggler in the late nineties to a potential contender in the naughties is former prodigy Billy Beane. A precocious talent as a youngster who apparently didn't have the right attitude to cut it in the big leagues as a player, but who is seen as something of a wunderkind as an administrator.
The main statistic according to Beane and his off-siders, is Percentage On Base: a stat which refers to the ability of a batter to get himself into play regardless of whether he hits the ball, or not. Key to this is the batter's self discipline in being able to wait for the right one to hit, and prepared to accept a walk. Hatteberg is a gun here. It's a batter's equivalent of playing the percentages.
Also covered in the book is the notion that while raw talent is no doubt a strong pointer to whether a player will make it in the big leagues, there is much to be gained from in-depth analysis of the less obviously talented draftees.
This, of course, may, may, have ramifications in Australian Rules. I stress may, because at The Athletics a batter cannot continue to swing at bad pitches because Beane will sack him as quick as you can say "three strikes and you're gawn!" That can't happen here. Nevertheless, the book is one that hasn't escaped the attention of quite a few pundits in Aussie Rules. The latest is Gerard Healy in today's Herald Sun:
MONEYBALL, written by sports journalist Michael Lewis, is a must-read for anyone working in the sports industry.
It's about how a one-time failed star recruit Billy Beane became a manager of Major League baseball side the Oakland As and turned a poor, down-and-out franchise into a raging success.
At the time most put it down to luck, but those on the inside knew it was all about mathematics and a new way of thinking about the sport.
Beane didn't recruit big names – they couldn't be because Billy didn't have any money – but he picked up players that statistically fitted his analysis of what won games.
I read this book 18 months ago and have read it again since, and following an All-Australian team selection meeting last week I began to think of Moneyball again.
Healy goes on to make a case, using statistics, for compiling his list for All Australian honours.
I also read the book last year and found it to be an enjoyable, easy read. And while I agree with it's premise (different stats matter) I find I'm getting increasingly tired of the experts here referring to it without caveat.
Sure, stats do matter. But the way of looking at stats in Moneyball cannot be done so in isolation, and then directly transferred here. It must be seen as extra information to what they already know about a much smaller talent pool.
There are two main flaws associated with using the strategies of Moneyball in Australian Rules. One, hitting analysis is not comparable to the analysis needed in a contact sport. All it does is engender new streams of thought. And two, I've never yet heard one pundit here state the bleeding obvious: The As, while they've managed to win more than 90 games (55%) in each of the past five seasons, have not won The World Series in that time. Nor have they even made the play-offs every year. On the other hand, one of the players The As traded away is Johnny Damon. Damon has become an integral and popular member of the Boston Red Sox (a much derided team in the book) who, in fact, after more than eighty years have managed to win a World Series.
And rest assured, if Beane's strategies prove successful, they won't be his alone for long. The big clubs will adopt them and everyone will be back to square one.
Tonight is the last episode of Silent Witness and the newspapers are chock full of glowing testaments. Loads of "we're going to miss Sam" and all that. Bollocks and all that, more like. Good riddance, I say. What a turgid bore that show is. Sam herself shows less life than the stiffs she dismembers.
What has happened to British crime shows? Callan was cool. The Sweeney skipped along at a tidy pace. Minder was fabulous. The first series of Cracker was a ball-tearer. The same for Between The Lines. But how about now? Prime Suspect? Everyone seems to love it, but I can't stand it. Morse? What a dreary show; at least he did crosswords. The first series of Blood in the Wire was pretty good but it didn't take long to go off the boil; this year's version was utter nonsense. Dalziel and Pascoe was excellent but it is well past it's use-by date; there are only so many times you can watch a character theatrically fondle his nuts. And it gets right up my hooter when people say things like "Taggart needs subtitles." Balls! It's clear enough. Making gags about Scottish accents is about as clever as making jokes about politicians. Say something smart, you peanuts; don't just cough up someone else's lame gag. No, Taggart doesn't need subbies, it needs laughs; or at least a cheery smile. The lot of them, This Life with murders. Fuck! I hate This Life. That is possibly the worst show of, well, ever.
They are all sooooo bloody serious! Fuck that! I don't want to watch someone, ANYONE, mope through their day-job. If they don't enjoy it, why should I?
Update! Knock me down with a strand of case-breaking DNA if I didn't just watch Silent Witness! Commanda Burton solved the case, of course, Darragh "McFeck" O'Malley was the rotter and her naughty son was bound for the slammer. In the end Sam emerged from her series-long bout of "self putty" to quit the Grissomhood and move back to Emerald Isle to be near her boy and raise free-range Irish Stews. But, by Christ I was right, what a tedious affair. Soo deeply earnest, it was. Sam almost broke into a genuine smile, though. Almost. And everyone lived paddily ever after.
On the radio today, David "Bumble" Lloyd talked about the way the English have tried to appear more combative in the field. Their tactic of throwing the ball at the batsmen; the fact none of the fielders inquired about Ponting's head or Langer's arm; Flintoff's exploding face; the huddle before the start of play. All blatantly contrived, said Bumble; often "in the wrong place." The Aussies he described as naturally confident and aggressive, "I love the way they play," he said. And using Shane Warne as an example went on, "Compare England's nonsense with Shane Warne coming in to bowl. He doesn't need to say anything! But if he did, you know what it would be? 'I'm here and you're crap!' I love Shane Warne."
Bit busy today. But just to bring you up to speed; the quoit is coming along fine, thanks. No doubt you'd been wondering. It doesn't pay to take these things for granted, I tell you. A happy hoop is quite the under-valued asset.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail," they say. "Balls!" I say.
How often have you gone out anticipating a blinder but end up having a shocker? Often, I'm sure you'll agree. It's the Law of Diminishing Return writ large in beer. On a coaster. If you are sitting there right now, all adrool at the prospect of a huuuuuuuge night sometime soon, well I'm sorry, but you'd better stay home; your night is already a bust. The good news is though, it works in reverse. To make up for that impending disaster, pop on out tonight for a couple of quiet drinkies and you'll have a monster; nothing surer. Spontaneity, is what I'm saying. Forget the planning; planned events are best left unplanned.
I have been invited to something called a "progressive dinner", which I thought might be quite exciting, with naked guests and everyone eating with their feet, and eating really genetically modified food, the absolute latest dernier cri in nosh. Sadly not, what it is, is my least favourite thing in the world "organised fun" ...
-- Noreen, Progressive? I think you mean fucking awful
Yet again, the inestimable Noreen is right. Organised fun, fun that is planned, is no fun at all. There are few things worse that organised fun. Salient amongst those few, of course - suffering the swine who organise organised fun.
Craic? I'm tipping he's never used the word; not in public, anyway. All the more reason to check him out.
"Hello Eircom net technical support, Jason speaking. How can I help you?"
-- Twenty Major, *bring bring*
Very, very funny. But bit of a language warning, what.
I've just had confirmed for me cricket's lowest ever moment. Its nadir. A thing - say it with a sneer - so vile, so blood-boilingly loathsome that upon reading about it, I threw my apple against the wall and burst out "C~~~S! Utter C~~~S! You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!" and stomped around the house swearing at appliances. A reasonable reaction, you will no doubt agree.
Yet oddly enough, this was a latent outburst. I had, in fact, seen the thing happen, but my initial response was merely a muted "Hmm, that's odd, it's only three o'clock." 3:05 am to be precise, and I suppose at that late hour you are just happy to be going to bed.
Nor did the experts have me any the wiser. The Sky commentators didn't say anything. No idea what was occurring on SBS, which has poor reception here; they were probably still showing the Tour De France, anyway. The radio commentators did not venture an opinion. Last I'd heard, Blowers was on about airliners over Heathrow. Doubtless, though, they were all party to a deceitful pact of silence. Best not slag off a present or potential employer.
Then yesterday I followed up my initial suspicion via Cric Info. Yes indeed, there it was. "80," I mused. "Odd, that." But I was still unaware of the full circuspants.
No, it wasn't until today, almost a full two days later, that the Herald Sun's Susie O'Brien - a TV reporter, no less -- revealled the full facts in all their ghastly, gory, disgraceful, shit-licking detail. No, not Shane Warne in a threesome, disgusting as that would be. Nor even Ashley Giles
cheating bowling two feet outside leg-stump. Worse than both of those put together.
The cricket, not just the telecast, but the whole box and shooting match, was stopped 10 overs early (at 6:00pm UK time) and in good light so that host broadcaster Channel 4 could show The Simpsons.
ICC = Fiasco.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've an apple to clean up. Fucking toaster!
Update! Crash Craddock.
IT was the day of cricket we didn't want to end.
But it did end. So people could watch The Simpsons.
Cricket has got to the silly stage where television interests are having too big a say in the running of the game.
A new International Cricket Council rule decrees that play stop no later than half an hour after the scheduled finish time and that lost overs will not be made up.
So, when 6pm arrived on the first pulsating day of the Lord's Test the players left the field in broad sunlight even though there was 10 overs to reach the one-time mandatory mark of 90 overs a day.
Britain's Channel Four switched to The Simpsons and Australia was denied the chance to snip England's tail.
If one of the sides narrowly misses a win in this match the Test could become the first in history decided by an American cartoon show.
The new rule was put in because television stations were having trouble with their schedules because of slow over rates.
When the stations left the cricket early they were deluged with complaints from fans.
When they stayed until the end, viewers of The Simpsons would be up in arms.
The Simpsons won.
It probably won't be until a manipulative captain launches a go slow in a bid to save a Test that the game realises what a mistake it was to sell its soul.
Update!! Martin Johnson in The Pommygraph
When people start taking primus stoves and sleeping bags to cricket matches, and octogenarian MCC members start behaving as though they're taking part in the Pamplona bull run, it's a sign that something special is afoot.
After 20 years of coming to heel whenever Australia snap their fingers, it would have been more appropriate for England to emerge from a dog kennel than a pavilion, so no wonder that the most competitive-looking series in two decades has given rise to abnormal behaviour. Not least from the people who decided that the official cut-off point for yesterday's play revolved not around the number of overs remaining, darkness, pestilence, or flood, but Channel 4's 6pm screening of The Simpsons.
Officially, Test cricket is run by the International Cricket Council. In practice, however, it is run by television, which is why the players left the field last night with 10 of the 90-over allocation remaining. Those 10 will never be made up, and if one of these sides ends up a few overs short of claiming victory, it could be the first Test in history to be decided by an American cartoon show.
Crash: "If one of the sides narrowly misses a win in this match the Test could become the first in history decided by an American cartoon show."
Johnson: " ... if one of these sides ends up a few overs short of claiming victory, it could be the first Test in history to be decided by an American cartoon show."
Of course, it is quite possible the two were just having a chat prior to filing. Quite possible.
A work colleague asked me to run a marathon "Piss off," I replied.
He persisted, though "Aww, come on, it's for spastics and blind kids."
"Fuck it!" I thought. "I could win this."
Indeed that is quite the cracker. Jokes of that calibre have been known to blow the legs off of Vietnamese urchins.
Welcome to a new dynamically-enabled paradigm shift in delivering content-rich online experiences to generate more sticky eyeballs. Yep our host, that great raconteur, humanitarian and patron of the arts, Tony the T, has generously allowed me to do a little Grog Flogging (film blogging) here from time to time - basically about odd little films I think are unjustly overlooked… or bloody overrated. And since blogland has the attention span of a dog just let out of the car after a long drive, I'll try and keep it short and mainly about flicks with lots of sex and violence.
I'll start gently with a well-known cult classic (ie: bloody hard to see and some confusion over the director's intended ending) that’s now finally on DVD - half a century after it was made: "Kiss Me Deadly".
1955. B&W, natch! Script: Albert Isaac Bezzerides. Direction: Robert Aldrich. Cinematography: Ernest Lazlo. Score: Frank De Vol, also feat. Nat King Cole, Franz Schubert and strange hissing noises.
So what's the fuss about? Well, it's the atomic-powered, crazed mutha of a movie that stomped classic film noir into the gutter. Before it, there was there was "The Big Sleep", "The Third Man", "Pickup On South Street", "The Lady from Shanghai", "The Killers" (the 1949 version) and "Criss Cross". But after they spawned their sneering, swaggering bastard child, "Kiss Me Deadly", there was nowhere really left to go but "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" and eventually "Night Of The Living Dead". It was the genre's Gotterdammerung.
Deadly kept all the ingredients of the original Mickey Spillane book. Mysterious damsels in distress, urbanely evil masterminds, nympho gangster molls, glinting drug-laden hypodermics, stone-faced henchmen, cynical wise-cracking cops, hard-boiled but soft-curved blondes with snub-nose .38s and a merry sidekick who dies hard. And bourbon. Lots of bourbon. But then Deadly got really wild.
For starters, our main boy, Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) is a completely amoral, sleazy ratbag. He slaps innocuous folks around at the drop of a fedora, his private dick operation is basically a sexual blackmail racket that would make Jake Gitties blanch, he treats his luscious jazz ballet dancing secretary, Velda Wakeman (Maxine Cooper) like shit and he keeps stealing other people's smokes (the whole bloody packet too). However Mike seems be to be raking in the mazuma, even though he's a thieving bastard with the Lucky Strikes. He drives a succession of classic 50s roadsters even shapelier than his women and his "What kind of man reads Playboy?" pad has one of the first answering machines ever seen on screen – all bakelite console and big tape spools.
But what really makes Deadly leap off the screen and slap you around is the utterly bravura filmmaking that delivers a very post-modern (ie: no one gives a shit if it makes sense or not) story. The lighting and camera angles often push noir conventions till they scream for mercy, while even the bit players seem to have stepped out of a stag film parody of the original Twilight Zone. It opens with a metaphorical bang and closes with a literal one. And in between it’s grainy, grimy 50s LA gothic at 120 mph. There's a brainsnapping title sequence (reverse credits, rolling backwards as well, over a car windshield and accompanied by sobbing and panting overlaid on a moody jazzy ballad) followed by an artfully just off-screen torture scene that gives you the willies even now. And that's just in the first few minutes.
And a savage, smirking but increasingly baffled Mike Hammer stalks through this nihilistic, shadow-sodden, off-kilter world, pulling judo moves here, smashing fingers and Caruso records there and puzzling over a clue hidden in a Christina Rossetti love sonnet, but always blind to what's really going until the light's so bright, it burns everything up.
No wonder Lynch, Scorsese, Tarantino, Ellroy, Frank Sin City Miller, and so many others, deftly lifted moves, motifs and riffs from this flick just like Mike Hammer would your cigarettes. See it or take one in the kisser, pal.
GrogFlog's verdict: "Va-Va-Voom! Pretty POW!" 8 out of 10.
Coming soon: 70s sci-fi porn, the young Oliver Reed, arthouse coprophagia, telepathic dogs and wrinkled retainers.
MacKay: "Six soft toilet rolls have disappeared from the governor's closet. We've had to give him standard prison issue tissue."
Godber: "That's rough."
Fletcher: "Rough? Yeah ... I'll say it is ... that'll wipe the smile off his face."
-- Porridge. Check out sound-bites here, you slags.
My sense of humour has come back to bite me on the behind; the doctor just banned me from using toilet tissue. "It's like sandpaper," he said. "Diabolical stuff." He laughed as I managed a crack about it being a pain in the arse.
I have this problem with the botty, you see. And instead of using standard issue bogroll, the doctor has insisted on medicated baby wipes. Didn't THAT go down a treat at the chemist? "Err ... umm ... do you have those ... umm ... baby cleaning whatsits?" I asked the chemist tart. "Right over here, sir. Is there something wrong with your anus then?" she yelled.
After an initial period with some fancy ointment, I then have to coat the blighter in paw paw oil. No need to go into the pros & cons, but apparently it's quite the medicinal winner. A wonder unguent. Who knew sticking fruit up your date could be healthy. It'll be just like German porn. I hear.
"At Monash we played billiards and frisbee," reminisced Jon Faine. Billiards and frisbee? You don't play them. They are not games. They are distractions for simpletons "Oooooo look mama! The plactic, it fly!"
Now, Jon-Jon is a lawyer so he's not a complete imbecile. And it's not that I mind he was out getting a little exercise, exercise is good, but it's the way he said it. Almost skiting, he was, as if HE the great butch ath-er-lete, was out getting all rugged and bruised up with his roughneck chummies.
It's unlikely that was the case.
Frisbees are for bumbling clods who can't catch balls. Any idiot can catch a frisbee. Christ, dogs do it all the time. People catch frisbees because they can't catch balls. Balls are hard, come fast and can hurt. You have to be on your mettle to snag them agates (especially with some monster thug trying to put a lump on the back of your noggin). Not so frisbees! Buy a ball, you softcocks!
And billiards? Siiiiggghhh. Billiards is soooo boring. In the 1930s Australia suffered the Great Depression with everybody else. In the rest of the world, though, it was caused by the Wall Street Crash. Here it happened because every man jack was sat round obsessed with Walter Lindrum and his endless cradle-cannons. It can be fairly said that in Australia billiards caused the Great Depression. I'd rather watch sailing. Pool and snooker shits on billiards. Being good at both requires you to beat other good players. There is competition. Billiard players can't handle competition and slink off to dark corners of barely occupied parlours to sneak in surreptitious caroms with their gawky, talentless mates and mate-ettes.
Those who say "I play billiards and frisbee" are really saying "I am a blouser"
My name is Antony, not Anthony. Yet most everytime I give my name the respondent takes it as Anthony. "Antony, no Aitch," I politely correct. What I'd rather do is gouge it backward on their forehead.
I hate being called Anthony. This may stem from teenage visits to the orthodontist to get my braces tweaked. Come my turn to be tortured a nurse with enormous coke-bottle glasses would appear from behind The Door and usher me to The Chair. "Come on thhhhrough, Anttthhony," she'd malevolently ooze. Dad said she just had a speech impediment. But he was wrong; I could tell she was evil.
Thirty years later, though, and I'm confronting my fears head on. No more shirking. It's time to change my name to Antony Anthony. It's the sensible approach, as I'm sure you will agree.
* Aitch is in the dictionary, Haitch is not. There is something amiss with people who say Haitch. The same people have dinner for lunch and tea for dinner. It's wrong, I tell you.
Never, till Caesar's three and thirty wounds
Be well avenged; or till another Caesar
Have added laughter to the sword of traitors.
-- Octavius, Julius Caesar
Slaughter appears 55 times in Shakespeare, laughter just 24. It just goes to show that for all the Falstaffian wassail, there's nothing quite like a gory shank from nave to chaps* to get the punters in.
Apropos chucklement, I have a theory. Not just any old theory, mind you, not some ludicrous half-baked notion, but a 100% fully baked theory. One based on detailed, assiduous observation, and developed over an extended period of research. Five seconds, or so.
No one should laugh in movies!
Seriously; think about it. When was the last time you saw an actor convincingly laugh on cue? Never; that is when. Sure, actors mold their faces into appropriate shapes to convey the idea of laughter. They also expel the requisite variety of absurd noises. But rarely have I thought "By Christ, that WAS funny!" and brayed along with them. It's more "Shut it! And stop overacting!" Could be it's a ruse to get the viewer to laugh. Un-canned laughter, if you will. It just doesn't work on me.
You can't fake laughter. Smiling? Smiling is good; smirking, sneering, jeering, leering. It's hard to beat a truly malicious snigger for entertainment value. But laughter? Never. Cut it out, I don't buy it.
* Right up the guts.
I let my students sleep in class. It's the best way to keep the troublemakers quiet; it's not as if they listen while they're awake, anyway. But apparently this ain't no great idea. A colleague of mine (Bob is as good a name as any) has the cautionary tale.
Bob was invigilating at his previous school. "This student rocked up late for an exam, but instead of tearing into it, just put his head on his paper and went to sleep," he said. "I ignored him, of course, it's not as if I could force him do the test."
About now I tuned out. Stories of gormless students are pretty much conventional fare around here so I payed only scant attention. " ... after about an hour I decided to send him packing and walked over to wake him up, but before I got to his desk fell flat on my arse. A classic pratt-fall, it was, and I felt like a goose." Naturally I tuned back in. For entertainment value it's hard to beat people falling over. Young, old, fat, sick, arms full of breakables; who's to say which is funniest. Had I been there I would have laughed like a drain. Bob continued "As I got up I realised I'd slipped in the student's blood; it was all over the shop. Turns out he'd quietly slashed his wrists and wasn't so much sleeping as slumping and was almost dead."
For this reason Bob doesn't let his students sleep in class. The lunchroom nodded in agreement; calling the ambos was no problem, but imagine the fucking paperwork.
Ad rem dozing in class. Just last term we were doing pre-test revision and half the class were asleep. The other half were babbling the sort of shit teenagers talk about; cars and Big Brother and cars. "OK, these are what you'll get in the test," I said, doing two examples on the board. Only one guy looked up to pay attention. Not surprisingly, he was the one guy to get them right in the test. The rest blew fifteen gimme marks. Christ, nearly the whole class left the question blank! As you'd expect, most failed, many by less than fifteen marks.
You should of seen the looks on their faces when I gave them their results and told them the questions on the board were exactly the same as the ones in the test. Scha. Den. Freu. Duh.
The drama in London reminded me of my own brush with terrorism. An incident which also happened in London when I travelled there in 1987.
Back in 1987 I was working night shift in a London department store with more front than itself.
One night I'd settled into my burdonsome routine of eating cakes, drinking coffee and reading newspapers when a security guard popped in and told us we must evacuate the building. In a cunning plan to make dead animals deader, the Animal Liberation Front had placed some bombs in the fur section.
We (workmate James and me) calmly panicked as we walked in a frantic running style for the emergency exit. Once outside we smoked a couple of
jointscigarettes and then in accordance with company OH&S policy congregated at a designated assembly point, The Local. There we fortified ourselves with beerrestorative fruit juice and chipshealth bars until a couple of hours later the one security guard who could still stand told us we may as well go home. All in all a satisfactory nights work.
The ALF might be a nasty bunch of nutters and oxygen thieves, but at least I've got to thank them for a night off.
Come to think of it, nothing more happened. The bombs turned out to be cigarette packets and wouldn't have blown the lid off a lunch box, let alone the roof off a bus. Pretty small potatoes, in fact.
Carry on then.
Boynton me memed.
Total volume of music on your computer:
The last album you purchased was:
The Magic Flute - Karl Böhm and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
Song Album playing right now:
When I started: Life on Other Planets - Supergrass.
When I finished: Brain Capers - Mott The Hoople.
songs albums you've been listening to a lot recently, from several genres:
- The Magic Flute.
Rather than listen to the Berlin Phili on seedy, I've just this week got a tape of the Royal Opera doing TMF at Covent Garden in 2003. It's a fabulous production with standout visuals and huge performances from Dorothea Röschmann as Pamina and Simon Keenlyside as Papageno. If you are new to opera (like me) this is surely a good place to start. Fabulous! Super overture sequence, too, as one of the youngsters runs through the backstage looking up at all the main characters by way of introduction/credits. A top way to open the show.
- Venus and Mars - Wings.
Suffering from the usual comparisons with Band On The Run, Venus & Mars has nevertheless lately been on high rotation here. It contains two of my favourite post-Beatles songs, Rock Show and Magneto and Titanium Man, and while there is undoubtedly some filler, I loved (most of) it when it came out in 1975, and I still love it thirty years on.
- Legend - Micky Jupp.
Ebullient London pub rocker Mickey Jupp is generally obscured by the likes of Dr Feelgood, Brinsley Schwarz, The Rumour and all their intermingling personel. But this 1978 album, an amalgam of out-takes from Jupp's late 60's band Legend is a terrific sampler of top-class guitar, drums and bass. Or what I like to call London Chug.
- Roots of Hip Hop - Mojo.
Released by Mojo Magazine in September 2003, this is their best sampler CD yet. Standout tracks by Grandmaster Flash (Adventures of Flash on the Wheels of Steel), Rufus Thomas (Itch & Scratch Part 1), The Dramatics (Get Up & Get Down), Al Green (Here I Am), Parliament (Flash Light) and Funky 4 +1 (That's the Joint). Not sure how you can got hold of it, but if you can, do.
- Muswell Hillbillies - The Kinks
Recently I commented at Fluteys that I thought Shangri La was my first favourite Kinks song, but that's not the case. I'd forgotten 20th Century Man, the lead-off track from this under-rated (and often mocked) 1971 album. While not as good as Something Else, Village Green Preservation Society or Arthur, this is the one that is doing the business here at the moment.
- Funky Kingston - Toots and the Maytals.
Forget your Bob Marleys and Peter Toshes. Proper reggae is all about Lynton Kwesi Johnson, Burning Spear, Lee Scratch Perry, the soundtrack from The Harder They Come and these guys. Specifically, this album; family size, deep crust, extra everything, reggae with the lot. Right from the tight drum intro of Time Tough, via the majestic title track, a bang-up version of Louie Louie, a brilliant cover of John Denver's Country Roads (naturally transplanted from West Virginia to Jamaica) and the awesome Pressure Drop. The only mis-step would be the closing track which probably suffers by coming straight after Pressure Drop.
- Long Journey - Michael Hurley.
Today's Green Guide contains an interview with Ian McShane talking about Deadwood. Mid-point the interviewer (Ian Munro) writes "Deadwood benefits from use of a broad range of American roots or roots-influenced music. The first series featured Mississippi John Hurt, Bukka White, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, and Lyle Lovett." But where's Michael Hurley? The Oregon folkie's Hog For The Forsaken from Long Journey closed every second episode of series one and, for me, was the stand-out roots sample during Deadwood. Though it didn't ring any bells with Munro, it certainly had ME putting the album back on the turntable after a longish hiatus.
Passing on to:
Emerald Bile: Noreen got memed once before and whined about it. It was funny. And it's obvious she, Ball Bag and Barry are dead-set desperate to rave about their latest Corrs, Chieftans and U2 purchases.
Chase Me Ladies: Harry has recently revealed his ambling around the slums of Carcas. What he didn't tell, though, was that he'd been doling out CDs to grasping urchins. The smiles on their grimy dials are something to behold as he hands them the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge.
Hungbunny: HB is an official music type person; chances are he knows the difference between a quaver and a tin of peaches. Thus it will be enlightening to have him instruct us ignorant slobs on the coruscating and multi-hued brilliance of his two favourite songs; Agadoo and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. There should be a bonus, too. He and Harry are pulsingly excited to have the Olympics in London so maybe they'll be recommending the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire. Won't that be grand.
Brisbane Window: Rusty has exquisite judgement. Appreciating, as he does, the cultural significance of shithouse sequels. Movies with numbers after their titles are too easily dismissed by the "serious" filmgoer. But Rusty, like me, understands that the higher the number, the greater the net worth the fillum. I mean, It's obvious Eddie & The Cruisers II is a far better film than it's pedestrian original. Eddie comes back, for Christ's sake! Anyhoo, I reckon Russ might just treat us to his favourite tracks, 50 Years by Uncanny X-Men and Moving Pictures' Busting Loose.
So Lost then.
FLASHBACK to a small house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the red desert of Kalgoorlie. Hurley asks the woman who answers to door if this is Sam Toomey's house. When she says it is, and that she is his wife, Hurley says he would like to speak with him. His wife would like to speak with him, too -- but he died four years ago.
Got that? Hurley has come to Straya looking for Sam Toomey but only finds Sam's wife; the archetypal rough-as-bags, cynical, drawling, Aussie sheila. Despite the shack being sat bang in the middle of an enormous red salt-flat that is nothing like the real Kalgoorlie, it's a perfectly acceptable premise. No. Worries. Maaaaaate.
But Toomey's accent! And, for that matter, ALL the Aussie accent's in Lost bar Claire's - Christ on a stick! We are not Sarth Efricans! We don't sound anything like like Christian Barnard, Gary Player, Zola Budd, Nadine Gordimer, Tony Bloody Grieg or even Joss Ackland in Lethal Weapon 2. We don't spik like Pik. Soon they'll have us pronking around the veldt on safari, poaching bontebok for "scientific research".
Nope. It just won't do. Although many an Aussie somewhere-else-ophile would like to deny it, we actually DO sound like Paul Hogan.
My favourite sports journo type writer person, The Great Man Leapin' Larry L, the Sunday Age's Superstar of Scrawl, bangs out The Greatest Article Ever (super superb CAPITALS included).
But first, a couple of points.
One; personally I couldn't care less whether Ten shows Carlton v Collingwood or Port v Adelaide, but if it was me running Ten, I'd show the Pies/Blues game into Braxopolis. And two; pity Leapster couldn't squeeze in Dwayne "from the paint" Russell for a slap about the hipster chops. Then again, it would have been impossible to stop at just Dwayne-Oh; the list of clichéd cooloid fuckwits goes on and on, like, forever dudes.
Who cares about us? Not Ten
There is s a tide in the affairs of media sport coverage, which, taken at the flood, can make you a little seasick about the whole damn business.
There comes a time when one has heard sufficient prattle about "the blowtorch", which sporting idols are always purportedly "under", to start wondering what became of the pumps they USED to be under, let alone when in Hades someone outlawed the words "pressure" and "scrutiny".
A time when one may tire ever so slightly of the usual sports media suspects big-noting and testosteroning at interminable length all over the shop, in the pure pursuit of "good fun", as long as it's lamebrained fun at someone else's expense.
Not to mention their media boofhead compadres - the pundits - some of whom have no definable sense of humour whatsoever, but have imbibed sufficiently of their own bathwater to constitute a hazard to shipping, and have heads visible from Mars.
There probably came a time at least two years back where actual sports fans reached an apex of gastric reflux over the merciless soap-operaisation of sport, where we're apparently obliged to care about "scores" made in the bedroom region than the kind still occasionally made on the field of play.
One may grow palpably bone-weary at being told, AGAIN, what sort of shot a television camera is making (useless information - we can see it), how good a camera shot is (an insult to the intelligence - we can see it), or that most spectacularly thick-eared of pandemic TV vulgarisms - telling us that whatever's coming up next is a "great story". (Actually, we'll be the ones deciding that, thanks very much.)
When it comes to the flyblown showbiz hipsterisms ("You're working beautifully", "You're travelling well", "Not a good look", hello James Brayshaw), or everyone down to the guy who brought in the doughnuts being referred to as "a superstar" if not "the Great Man", or a television station wilfully withholding available information about a time-clock on the apparently Jack Nicholson-inspired basis that "You can't HANDLE the truth", the temptation to invite all parties concerned to stick it right up their jumpers - or somewhere thereabouts - becomes entirely overwhelming.
So full credit to anyone, at the grumpy peak of what Shakespearean scholar Benny Hill used to call "The Winter of out Discotheque", who can find a way to make matters appreciably more irritating. Step up and take a bow Channel Ten.
Last week Ten confirmed that, in round 20, in Melbourne, it will broadcast the Super-Ultra Smackdown thingo match between Port Adelaide and The Crows in preference to a Carlton-Collingwood game. Amazing.
"National game," Ten Said. "Finals chances," Ten said.
"Oranges, porranges, who cares?" responded the home viewer, thoughtfully.
Welcome to scenic Melbourne. Bottom line: Collingwood-Carlton ALWAYS matters here, and Adelaide-Port - well, with any luck, there's a half-decent Eddie Murphy movie on another channel.
David Astle compiles the crossword in The Age. Astle is reviled by all for his idiotic clues, but this one pilfers the baked confection.
By the way, people who do cryptic crosswords do the crossword. On the other hand, people who do quick crosswords just do the crossword. They are oafs. There are crosswords and there are crosswords, as I’m sure you are aware.
Update! Some good eggs in comments. It turns out Astle's so-called answer was "If you want to make an omelet you have to break some eggs". That's a bit rich for me. The Phrase Thesaurus version is closer to how things should look; "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." It's ridiculous to butcher a phrase to fit the crossword. And since when do us Strayans (Astle is one, too) spell omelettes sans te? Next we'll be changing tires and picking our favorite colors.
And it's not just me. Here's a letter to The Age. Mind you, it's a wussy affair, what with the self-esteem whine. Better to grab Astle and force-feed him the crossword page.