The whole country is on the piss. The news is full of people getting shit-faced, fighting, drink driving, getting cancer, going to wine bars, listening to the Veronicas and other ghastly behaviour. What does Rudd do? Raise the price of tart fuel. Typical Labor. Fiddling about at the edges. There's only one workable solution: ban booze outright!
Five years off the piss. Five years and two days, actually. Been off the piss so long, I forgot I was off the piss.
Intemperate slap warrior: "I was misunderstood."
AN altercation between Test teammates Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth has rocked the Indian Premier League.
Off-spinner Singh, playing for Mumbai Indians, slapped Indian teammate Sreesanth, playing for the Punjab Kings, across the face in a bitter aftermath to yesterday's match in Mohali.
Sreesanth was left sobbing after the altercation.
Can't work out which is more bizarre. Rollerboy slapping Shreediot, or Shreediot having a blub.
Where's the rumpus?
Collingwood are playing Essendon in today's ANZAC day match - again!
For me today's game is not so much a highlight of the footy season, but the salient symbol of the inequities of the current football draw... sorry, schedule. Sadly, the publicity, the lure of the equalisation fund, and Collingwood and Essendon fans' sense of entitlement have browbeaten dissenting fans into acceptance.
The schedule's a crock, we all know that, but that sense of entitlement bites just as hard.
Yesterday the boss, a Collingwood fan, asked me whether I was going to the game. He knows I'm an MCC member, that I live across the road, that I can get in for free. "Why should I go? I don't follow either team?" Despite being shocked at this outrageous admission, he pressed on, stressing that it's Collingwood AND Essendon, ANZAC Day, HUGE game.
He's the boss, so the diplomat in me refrained from saying "So what!" But the truth is I don't care. What I care about is the underlying sentiment that he was inviting me to his big day.
Actually, that's not strictly true about the not caring. I care in respect to my tips - this particular match, despite almost everyone tipping Collingwood, is a toughy to pick. I'm also a footy fan, and for all it's attendant hype, today's match is still a footy match.
The first ANZAC day match in 1995 was a draw and a good game, which was nice. But each subsequent clash has been a little less interesting than the previous one. For me, it's currently somewhere between just another footy match and passing interest.
As for the 90,000 supporters who will be at the game today. They are not there because of their burning desire to commemorate the spirit of ANZAC, they are there because of their burning desire to watch their team stomp a traditional rival on a public holiday. It's not as if big teams on ANZAC day haven't drawn big crowds. Richmond Collingwood in 1977 drew 90,000. Carlton Essendon at Waverley in 1975 drew 77,000 when the capacity of the ground was 70,000. Here's an idea. It's Richmond's VFL/AFL centenary. Why not have them play Carlton today? With the same backing Essendon and Collingwood get now, you could virtually guarantee that a Carlton Richmond match would drum up around 90,000 punters.
"There was a fish and chip paper in it."
~~ Gordon Tallis
That was Gordy on Foxtel's Monday Night Post Game show. He was describing a close shave no-try awarded to the Raiders' Colin Best.
You know something? I like the NRL talk shows on Foxtel. I'm not sure why, it's not as if I'm a massive League fan, nor do I get any great insights. And yet there it is. Maybe it's because I haven't had a chance to get sick of them like I have with the AFL shows. I've only really watched league since I've had Foxtel so each new show is capable of telling me something I didn't already know. That's not the case with the AFL shows which have been stale to me since Jesus carved the "pine" at Bethlehem Dome.
Not that they aren't bastions of boof, like the AFL shows. It's just that they seem to be a different variety of boof. League blokes are your more old fashioned fathead, while the Aussie Rules blokes are more smart-arse and smug. Perhaps I've just been craving traditional values.
Been interesting watching recent editions of Foxtel's Before The Bounce on Friday night. It's hosted by Jason Dunstall, who has a few clues but comes across as a hipster fvckwit completely full of himself. Lately, though, the show has featured Gerard Whately from the ABC. Gerard often comes at footy with a sensible perspective. Three weeks ago Dunstall was moved to crack that Gerard ought to "stop making so much sense or they wouldn't let him back on the show". I think he was being sarcastic.
Foxtel, with David Parkin and Liam Pickering have a couple of good footy heads, but that's just two pundits out of a cast of thousands across Ten, Fox and Seven. Therein lies the problem. Eight games every week are covered with a bare minimum of actual, as opposed to spruiked, experts to throw to. There is far to much dead wood and not anywhere near enough talent.
Channel Nine? Well, both the AFL Footy Show and the NRL Footy Show are unwatchable. The AFL Sunday Footy Show sets aside a sum total of two minutes for attempts at analysis, and the remaining forty minutes for the panel to talk over each other. In fact, the SFS is a dead set embarrassment if you've just watched Offsiders, which is not perfect, but is a far sight better than most. Footy Classified is chock with fake controversy, tricked up issues, void of insight, LCD. Typical Nine. How boring is Glenn Archer?!? Don't tell him I wrote that.
Here we have Ben Cousins on the front page of today's Herald Sun. On the left is that photo from two years ago when Cousins was snapped shit-faced at a nightclub. (That's two years ago. The bit in yellow sells a dummy and refers to the small print.) On the right is Cousins this week at the launch of Dutton Direct, an online luxury car trading outfit.
I'm fvcken hopeless at spotting flaws in plots, ideas, themes, concepts. Boynton will often point out a crucial illogicality in a TV show which I've missed. "Canal Road is a stupid name; that's what Americans would call it." Yet, for what it's worth, I'm great at spotting typos and wrong facts and often wonder about how they occurred?
Like in today's Age Sporting Life column.
How did it happen that Chook McLure wrote about the Cleveland Indians' - "all the little kids" - David Ortiz?
AND we liked this line from Cleveland Indians baseballer David Ortiz who is nicknamed "Big Papi" for good reason, as a fan discovered this week. Seeing him in person for the first time, the fan said, "You look a lot bigger in person than you do on TV". Cracked Ortiz (all 193 centimetres and 105 kilograms of him): "I guess it depends on how big that TV is."
They don't come much bigger in Boston than Big Papi. On top of that, right beside the article there is a picture of Ortiz in his Red Sox uniform.
Tuesday on the way to work I caught the AM report about John Howard's speech at that Liberal fund-raiser in Brisbane; the one where Howard made his crack about gun control:
JOHN HOWARD: Part of being in Texas was to go down to College Station which is where the library of the 41st President of the United States, George Henry Walker Bush is located. We had a very pleasant occasion and a gathering of supporters and friends turned up and I was invited to make a few remarks and one of the questioners got up and said would you name three things that, you know, you are really proud of about what you did as Prime Minister?
And I said, well yes. Chronologically, the first thing I'll start with is gun control.
JOHN HOWARD: That wasn't their reaction.
Zing. Take my AK-47... pleeeease!
I must be missing something.
Where is the fake outrage? The wrongeous indignation. The high muzzle velocity criticism. The pot-shots.
The 41st President of the USA is George Herbert Walker Bush.
The IPL Twenny Twenny starts tomorrow. I'm not going to blog every match, I'm not even going to watch every match - is it on telly? - but there ought to be plenty to comment on; if not on the field, then certainly off it. So, for the next few weeks make this here your one-stop ink-blot for everything Quicket.
As usual, everyone is talking rubbish. The cold hard fact is this: West Coast fans would have approved of Barry Hall slugging Staker if he'd done it before the last quarter of the 2005 Grand Final.
Top article from Chip Le Grand in Saturday's Strayan. I've always thought Gary Larson would make a great footy commentator; mainly so that he could use his wonderfully absurd gibberish to expose football's nauseatingly absurd and self-serving gibberish:
"WE fell down in the basics, really, the three phases of the game; contest, pressure and use. It is not catastrophic. It is in isolation but in the context of the season we are two and one, and we play the benchmark team next week so that will really switch us on mentally straight away. We will analyse the mechanics of why that happened and we will train it up on the track."
If you have reached the second paragraph of this story, congratulations.
Not a million miles from Moneyball, which we were talking about here yesterday, is also some stuff on statistics and commentary.
One thing Chip failed to add was something that really gets up my fat side: "football club". A management guru has obviously gone through the league insisting that everyone in footy must imbue everything they say with a sense of gravitas. Thus we get Tim Watson chanting something like the following: "The best way forward for the North Melbourne Football Club is for the the North Melbourne Football Club to get its finances in shape so that the North Melbourne Football Club can prosper both on and off the field. Otherwise the North Melbourne Football Club will have no option but to merge or move elsewhere to become, say, the Gold Coast Football Club." No mention of the Kangaroos, the Kangas, North, or even Norf, as the rest of us know 'em. Familiarity is a no-no. It doesn't help, in Tim's case, that he has a slight speech impediment which turns "football club" into a slightly South Aussie tinged "foopbaw cwlub".
Also, Don Watson. (No relation to Tim, as far as I'm aware.) We all know that Don, speech writer extraordinaire, word guru, Sheik of Syntax, knows big mobs about gibberish. But surely he's not the only person in this wide brown sunburnt constitutional monarchy who knows stuff about words and stuff. Does every article about speech mangularisation have to be pinned on quotes from Watson? I gots nothing against Don, but ain't there someone else out there... here, who can string together a couple of coherent quotes about what footy folks are doing to footy talk?
Not that Chip left out others. The above-mentioned Tim Watson gets a line or two, as does the Coodabeen's Geoff Richardson who goes to the very core of footy coverage:
"How much money is spent on special comments men on the radio and TV who don't make comments which are in any way special?"
My take is that commentators switch on the gibberish because they thing it makes them sound cool. Dermot and his "Yep, good catch"; Dwayne Russell and his "kicking from the paint"; John Casey and his "gets the job done". When Casey said that again yesterday after Luke Hodge had outmarked Stiffy Johncock and played on to kick a good goal, I was left wondering whether, if ever, there was any chance Casey might actually think up another way to describe a bloke kicking a goal.
More from Leapster:
Don't know why they're pushing so hard — you figure that most people who tuned in probably wanted to watch the football anyway — but there it is. Anyway, it seemed that a number of players were "under the pump", and at least one of them was "in the gun", and presumably the mysterious "blowtorch" of latter-day football fame was only a matter of a few kicks away, presuming we ever got the game started.
As... ahem, Don Watson says, sort of: We'll be fucked if ever Dennis Cometti, Tim Lane and Rex Hunt retire. Like 'em, or not.
There's also one thing Chip couldn't really say. While much of the gibberish has a place in the modern professional footy world - in fact, it's not so much that it's used, it's how it's used - asking footy oafs to come to grips with complex terminology is asking for trouble.
Appended below is a glossary included in Chip's article that didn't make the online cut.
GLOSSARY OF GIBBERISH
BALL Formerly a Sherrin, now shorthand for possession. Often used in conjunction with other cliches; i.e. "we had plenty of ball going forward". Related terms include hard ball, loose ball, ground ball, contested ball and kill the ball; when a player deliberately causes a throw-in or ball-up.
BOX A four man set-up of forwards inside the 50 metre arc.
BRAND The style of football a team plays. Also an identifying mark of players that have come into contact with Ray McLean's 'Leading Teams' consultancy.
CLANGER A kick or a handball that goes straight to an opposition player.
COMPOSURE Used to describe a player who keeps his head in difficult circumstances.
Favourite phrase of Seven Network commentator Nathan Buckley, especially in conjunction with "stay in contest".
CONTESTED Catch-all for whenever more than one player is trying to get the ball. Related terms included contested mark, contested possession and contested situation.
CRAB Derogatory term for a player who prefers to move the ball sideways instead of forwards
DOUBLE BACK A leading pattern in which a player runs forward knowing the ball will be kicked to the spot he was originally standing.
EFFICIENCY First used by Denis Pagan to measure how many possessions it took to get the ball to Wayne Carey. Has since been adopted by Champion Data to give a percentage value to
kicking, disposal and scoring.
FAT SIDE The side of the ground which has the most space for players to lead into.
FLOOD TACTIC invented by Rodney Eade to clog up the forward line of an opposition team with extra players.
FOCUS Visual aid for footballers unable to see beyond one week at a time.
FOLD BACK A modern mix of flooding and zone defence developed by Adelaide and used to great effect by Hawthorn.
FRONT AND SQUARE The space in front a pack of players.
HAMBURGER Recruiting term for a young player with the lot.
HARD BODY A player with a strong, athletic build who can withstand physical pressure.
HIGH FORWARD A forward who plays up the ground. Also known as lead-up forward. Can also apply to former Sydney and Brisbane full-forward Warwick Capper, who claims he once played a game under the influence of cocaine.
HOLE The area of the ground used to lead in to by a team's best forward.
KEY BLANKET term for anything considered important; key forward, key defender, key moment, key decision. Can also refer to space between the goal square and centre-half forward.
KPI Acronym used to measure performance and justify the salaries of sports scientists.
NON-NEGOTIABLES Used by Leigh Matthews to describe the minimum conditions of employment as a Brisbane footballer. Includes keeping your head over the ball when at risk of death or serious injury.
PRESS Basketball term adopted to describe tactic of manning up in your own forward line.
Can also refer to a type of zone defence in which players move up and back in set formation.
PROCESS The method by which modern footballers have become as bland as sliced cheese. Rarely used without reference to structure.
OUTSIDE SPEED A player quick enough to run from contest to contest. Players with good foot speed are said to have "wheels".
ROTATION Changing players in the midfield either through the interchange or other positions on the ground.
RUN AND CARRY Running with the ball.
SCORE ASSIST A possession that directly results in a shot on goal.
SLIDING WINGER/OFFENSIVE WINGER See high forward
SPEED HUMP A slow or cumbersome player who arrests the momentum of his own team when he gets the ball.
SKILL EXECUTION Previously known as a handball or kick. Related term scoreboard execution: previously known as kicking a goal.
STRUCTURE The daddy of modern footy-speak. Can be used in plural (structures), or verb (structure-up) without risk of imparting meaning. Frequently used in conjunction with processes.
SWITCH Moving the ball from one side of the ground to the other.
TAKE The ability of a player to handle the ball cleanly.
TALL UTILITY A footballer who can play in a variety of positions on either tall or small opponents.
TANKING Selecting inexperienced teams and manipulating line-ups to reduce the chance of winning games. Used by bottom clubs to improve draft position. Also known as list management, player development and Swann diving, in reference to Carlton and former Collingwood chief executive Greg Swann.
TEMPO Tactic of manipulating the speed of play by retaining possession. Used brilliantly by Sydney in premiership year.
TRADE MARKS The characteristics player leadership groups aspire to after spending time with a 'Leading Teams' consultant. Previously known as 'core-values.'
TRANSITION The movement of the ball from back line to forward line.
UNCONTESTED The less fashionable sibling of contested, though preferred by modern coaches as a means of gaining possession.
ZONE Tactic of defending designated area of the field rather than a direct opponent. Related terms include zone-off; the practice of running away from the player with the ball, and zone-out; the tendency of players to become drowsy and confused during team meetings.
The West Australian's Steve Butler:
In a remarkable off-the-play incident, [Barry] Hall - a renowned boxer - was shown on the stadium's big screen to have nailed Staker with a smashing left hook to the head which left the Eagle physically ill and holding his jaw after he had been helped to the sidelines by trainers.
Staker was left wishing he had learnt the art of the "anticipatory self-defence" that US Government officials have continually claimed was behind the pre-emptive search for weapons of mass distruction. Unfortunately the 23-year-old found one of Hall's when he wasn't even looking for them.
That colourful description is not all Butler served up. Here is the post-emptive last paragraph written after Brizroy stormed home:
West Coast take on Port Adelaide, who have a 0-4 record after blowing a huge lead against Brisbane this evening, next Sunday at Subiaco Oval. Sydney, who had a late scare with a right ankle injury to Jolly, will face a vastly tougher test against in-form regning premier Geelong at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.
Here is the pre-emptive last paragraph written before Brizroy stormed home and before he changed it:
With Port Adelaide showing good form in beating Brisbane at AAMI Stadium tonight, West Coast's plight will not get any easier in facing the Power at Subiaco Oval next Sunday. Sydney, who had a late scare with a right ankle injury to Jolly, will face a vastly tougher test against in-form regning premier Geelong at Skilled Stadium on Saturday.
Recently, a great friend died of MND. He had a terrific sense of humour, and even managed a wry grin when it was pointed out that he'd been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease on Motor Neurone Day. Not so sure his funny bone would have been so tickled had he known there would be a breakthrough soon after he'd died.
AUSTRALIAN researchers have uncovered a genetic mutation that triggers motor neurone disease, giving new hope for treatment of the fatal nerve-wasting condition.
Ever since what happened to my mate, any mention of MND peaks my interest. So after I read the article, I searched around:
A breakthrough in understanding one of the most mysterious disorders of the nervous system has been announced by scientists studying the genetic basis of motor neurone disease.
Now, it's not so much the disease itself I'm on about here, it's the coverage. Did you notice the difference between the two articles? That's right, the Hun talked about the breakthrough coming in NSW, while the Independent never even mentioned Straya.
Parochialism over fatal diseases gives new meaning to The Ashes.
Here's the official breakdown of who did what.
I'm still here.
That, in my judgement, we need to be wary of anyone who proclaims: "Not everyone fully understands my slightly quirky sense of humour."
Next he'll be explaining his jokes; jokes like this one:
"Therefore, there is, in my argument, on the face of it, a natural complementarity between these two philosophical approaches and a complementarity that could be developed further in the direction of some form of conceptual synthesis."
Spoiler! The punchline contains some exploding Muslim pussy.
I resent being characterised as a barrister, banker, bon vivant, businessman, doctor, union organiser, sports journalist, garden designer, wife, father, couple, teenager, trainspotter, speed dater or even a self-confessed football obsessive. I prefer "dickhead with a list".
THE blur of formula one cars flash across the pub's TV screen on one of the biggest days in Melbourne's sporting calendar. But the 40 men and women crowded into the backroom of Fitzroy's Rose Hotel are oblivious. They're getting a sporting fix at a much slower speed.