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Archive for May, 2011

I’m currently watching the French Open on Foxtel. Andy Murray is playing Viktor Troicki, the underdog, and it is two sets all with games on serve in the final set.

Troicki has played a great point and clearly beaten Murray, but one of the ball kids has prematurely run onto the court, thus the point must be replayed. Troicki quietly disputes the ruling, but then goes back to receive the replayed Murray serve.

Andy Murray – you had the opportunity to demonstrate superior sportsmanship by throwing that point. You knew you weren’t entitled to it. You were clearly beaten when the point was played the first time. But you didn’t, did you?

You just lost me and, I am sure, a massive number of tennis-watching people around the world. I hope you lose this match and that your generally unimpressive performances continue throughout the rest of your career.

Unfortunately, you have just demonstrated one of the fundamental problems with professional tennis. It is generally played by people who are absurdly overpaid for what they do, and who, in a lot of cases, lack any sort of grace, humility or SPORTSMANSHIP.

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I dislike Mick Malthouse, the current coach of the Collingwood football side. I dislike Collingwood too, but I’m not in the minority there.

People have claimed I don’t like Malthouse because he’s associated with Collingwood. NOT TRUE! Did you hear that AN (you know who you are)? It’s not true.

I dislike Malthouse because I think he’s a goose. In most press interviews he does, he’ll try and do something quirky to make us think he’s some sort of comedic genius. Not surprisingly, he’s not recognised as such. I’ve never seen his posters up in lights for the Comedy Festival.

I also dislike him because he lacks credibility. Last year, he was accused of calling St Kilda player, Stephen Milne, a rapist. It was actually worse than that, but I’ll spare you the profanity. Malthouse publicly denied the accusation.

And before I go any further, don’t bother coming back at me because Milne is a St Kilda player. It would be the same if it was Fred Blogs from Geelong or Artie Pharnarkle from Fremantle.

It was only when the overwhelming evidence came forth that it was exactly what Malthouse had called Milne that he came out and apologised to him. Where’s your credibility, Mick?

So it was no surprise to find out that Malthouse, while commentating on radio, has accused a player of blatant cheating when he falsely claimed to have scored a goal that was kicked through by an opposition player.

You know what, Mick? What you should have said was “I decline to comment because I have no credibility, as I demonstrated when my side played St Kilda last year”. You are the last person who should be calling someone a cheat!

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Fox Sports in Australia has a program called The Back Page, a reasonably relaxed hour of looking at the week in sport, with different panellists each week. I got to the point where I would have a brief look each week – if Peter FitzSimons was one of the panellists, I’d turn it off straight away. Otherwise, I’d sit down and watch it. I even got to the point of e-mailing Fox Sports about him – his habit of talking over people all the time and making the most absurd, unrelated comments used to annoy me immensely.

So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I bought Charles Kingsford Smith & Those Magnificent Men by Peter FitzSimons, at the Borders “use up all your gift vouchers before we go completely broke” sale. Which wasn’t really a sale at all obviously, given I paid $38.99 for the book, in its paperback form.

I have always wanted to fly as a profession, but the timing just wasn’t right in terms of the scholarships being offered by TAA and Ansett (yes, I am that old), and I was always worried that, if I did it via the RAAF, some idiot prime minister would send me off to get myself killed fighting someone else’s war. It’s certainly no coincidence that I live so close to Moorabbin Airport. Thus, any quality book on Australian aviation is going to be well received by me.

In the Introduction, FitzSimons explains that Ian Mackersey’s book, Smithy: The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, is “outstanding”. While I agree with him on this, I’d found it particularly tough going when I read it a few years ago. Hence I was looking forward to seeing how FitzSimons managed the subject, given my experiences of him on The Back Page.

While the book title clearly references Smithy as its main subject, this book is actually a history of global aviation from the very beginning, in 1894, through to when Smithy disappeared in Lady Southern Cross in November 1935. In fact, Dick Smith, a noted Australian business man, conservationist and aviator says it is “Undoubtedly the best aviation book I have ever read”. And while he has probably read way more aviation books than me, I completely agree with him. This book, even at 610 pages, was a great read.

There are some great sub-plots throughout the book, in addition to the thorough coverage of Smithy’s life. I loved reading about Anthony Fokker; how he was an integral part of the German aircraft production line during World War 1 (in which Smithy was a recognised pilot) and how his life progressed to become a major American-based aircraft manufacturer. I also enjoyed re-visiting the establishment and development of QANTAS, something that might surprise some of you who know what I think about that airline these days.

And what of FitzSimon’s irreverent style that had so frustrated me when he was on The Back Page? For some reason, don’t ask me why, I really found it enjoyable in this book. Perhaps a subject so dry, as demonstrated by Mackersey’s book, needed the odd flippant reference like “the circular filing cabinet” and “Well, hell, Thel” to lighten it up. Thankfully, unlike it did do on The Back Page, it didn’t detract from this narrative of how aviation grew up.

In summary, this is a really excellent, readable chronology of Smithy’s life, from his birth in Sydney in 1897 through to his presumed death in 1935, somewhere between Rangoon and Singapore. The story is interspersed with a myriad of excellent sub-plots that detail the history of world aviation during that period. Thoroughly recommended and definitely worth the $38.99.

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The Australian International Beer Awards have been presented for 2011. Details of the winners can be found here, courtesy of Australian Brews News.

It seems bizarre that these awards are presented to international breweries when their beers are not even available in Australia.

What a great effort by 2 Brothers from Moorabbin. These guys operate out of their brewery in an industrial area, just off Cochranes Road. It really rocks there on a Friday afternoon, with all the tradies from the adjacent businesses sampling appreciating some fantastic beer.

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While visiting a specialist today about my sore back, I was told I needed to get an MRI done.

Me (to MRI booking person): I’d like to book an MRI for my lumbar spine please.
Her: Yes sir, we can fit you in on the 12th of June (today is the 17th of May).
Me: You’re kidding, aren’t you? Is that because it’s lumbar?
Her: No, that’s the delay if you want it to be bulk billed.
Me: How much will I be out of pocket if it isn’t bulk billed?
Her: $295 and we can fit you in tomorrow.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here folks. We are being ripped off blind by the radiology companies. They are holding us to ransom and there is not a thing we can do about it. Bastards!

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St Kilda–That Was Crap

Angry? You bet I’m angry? I, and about 38,500 others who part with a chunk of money each year for our St Kilda memberships, deserve better than the crap that was dished up against Hawthorn at the MCG this afternoon.

I always like to approach things positively though, so with the intent of helping the coaching staff, below is an assessment of the 22 players today and what the club should do with each of them.

Jason Gram (1) – probably one of the least skilful players in the game. Bullock through and kick the thing blindly isn’t really the way the game’s played these days – TIME TO GO.

Aaron Siposs (2) – the single positive that came out of the game – a great debut. But at 189 and 82, he’s only ever going to be a small forward who needs bigger ones around him – KEEP.

Jack Steven (3) – small and slow – needs a trick and he hasn’t got one – has only managed 14 games since 2009 – TIME TO GO.

Clint Jones (4) – if you accept that every side has to have a tagger, then he is St Kilda’s tagger. Can really only be played in that role – does not have the skills to play elsewhere – KEEP.

Ben McEvoy (5) – useless. Would struggle to be the third ruckman at any other club. Didn’t win a tap all day and got outmarked by a Hawthorn rover – TIME TO GO.

Zac Dawson (6) – absolute dud. Hawthorn must have thought it was Christmas when someone agreed to take him. Is it so freaking hard to play the ball and not the man all the time? – TIME TO GO.

Steven Baker (10) – has been a loyal club servant, but is now too slow, has always been too short and there’s always a danger he’s going to knuckle someone again – TIME TO GO.

Nick Riewoldt (12) – magnificent athlete who is having to carry too much responsibility at the moment. The club deserves a lot better consistency in front of goals than what he provides – KEEP.

Adam Schneider (13) – good, reliable (except in grand finals) goal sneak, but you’re not going to build an offence around him. Only has a left foot – how do AFL players these days get away with only having one foot? – KEEP.

Brendon Goddard (18) – needs to change his attitude. Clearly has shit on liver about something and is getting paid way too much money based on the return we’re getting at the moment. Don’t we have any sport psychologists at the club? – KEEP.

Sam Gilbert (19) – one of the key participants in the dramas in the off season, thus owes the club big time. Hasn’t repaid that debt and continues to demonstrate appalling decision making on the field. Gold Coast could probably use another playboy – TIME TO GO.

David Armitage (20) – just a player – KEEP.

Farren Ray (22) – despite limited skills has been fantastic for the club since he came over from Footscray – KEEP.

Justin Koschitzke (23) – would have to be the most useless lump that has ever pulled on a jumper for St Kilda. Seriously, why does he get so much support at the club? With two prolapsed disks and playing from my bed, I could get more kicks at centre half forward than this clown. A complete dud – TIME TO GO.

Sean Dempster (24) – has not played a decent game for St Kilda since he arrived – TIME TO GO.

Sam Fisher (25) – the rock of the back line. I hate to think what the final score would have been against Hawthorn if he wasn’t there – KEEP.

Nick Dal Santo (26) – another one who needs to stop sulking and start paying back. Another one with only a left foot – KEEP.

Andrew McQualter (32) – 90 mediocre games at best. Too short. Too light. What’s the value add? – TIME TO GO.

James Gwilt (33) – one of the success stories from 2010 – he and Fisher are the heart and soul of the backline – KEEP.

Dean Polo (34) – first game for St Kilda – was OK in the first half and unsighted in the second. Deserves a chance to prove himself, but it’s hard to believe an offcast from Richmond is going to be your next champion – KEEP.

Jamie Cripps (35) – Who? Fourth game today – another one who’s too light and too short. Seems to be a trend unfortunately. Needs to be given a chance – KEEP.

Stephen Milne (44) – does not deserve the crap that gets hurled at him by opposition supporters week after week. One of the most successful goal sneaks in the competition, but could be twice as good if he positioned himself front and square at Riewoldt’s feet – KEEP.

And of those that didn’t play today, you can add Jason Blake (unfortunately – great club servant), Ryan Gamble, Michael Gardiner, Brett Peake (another one footer) and Raph Clarke to the list of people to go.

So there’s my response. Time to put the knife through the list and get rid of 14 of them. Let’s see what mealy mouthed response we get from Ross Lyon.

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A few weeks ago, we had a boys’ night out to see Tom Gleeson at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. We were seated in the back row, with four people sitting in front of us who constantly talked through his performance and complained that he wasn’t funny. At one stage Tom heard these comments and did a great job of putting the main protagonist in his place. The second time they were ejected.

Now, am I missing something here? This wasn’t his first performance. He wasn’t being promoted as a brand new comedian who no one had ever heard before. His TV and radio exposure is significant. So why would four people part with just on $100 to go and see someone who they’d already concluded wasn’t funny? Bizarre!

(I was reminded of this when I saw one of Tom’s mini-gags on Facebook this morning – “Will and Kate stay at $5600 a night resort. How much do they pay search and rescue pilots?”)

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