Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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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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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The Age had a story this morning on another Tiger Airways debacle. Why anyone would fly with these clowns is a complete mystery to me.

If you dig down into the comments in the article, you’ll find this.


Bravo Make A Wish Foundation!

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I hate Qantas!

That may not come as too much of a surprise to those that know me. I concede I get carried away sometimes with the adverse way I rate Qantas when compared to Virgin Blue, an airline which I consider to be a vastly superior domestic carrier in Australia.

However, on this occasion, let me try and strip the emotion away and explain why Virgin Blue is better. The scenario is this. I am scheduled to travel to Perth from Melbourne with Qantas (not my choice) on an Airbus A330. The aircraft on which we are supposed to travel is 40 minutes late arriving from Sydney. Something to get upset about? Not really. After all it is Boxing Day with half of Australia travelling it seems, there is adverse weather all around the country and this particular aircraft originates from Sydney, notorious for causing delays.

However, 30 minutes after the revised boarding time for out flight, it is apparent that something isn’t right. 40 minutes after the revised boarding time there is finally an announcement. There is a problem with the flaps on the aircraft and we would be kept informed. Do I have a problem with Qantas being 100% certain the aircraft is airworthy? Absolutely not. Do I have a problem with having to wait 40 minutes to find out what’s going on? Absolutely.

Issue 1: Failure to keep the customers informed.

To Qantas’s credit, they have done a couple of good things I haven’t seen before. The flight attendants have come into the lounge to hand out drinks, nibbles and ice creams. Also, one of the flight crew is present in the lounge to deal with any customer enquiries.

After another period of time (I must admit, I don’t remember how long), we are advised the aircraft is unserviceable and they have arranged a replacement aircraft. This will leave from a lounge at the other end of the terminal at 3:00pm, 2 hours 25 minutes after the original scheduled departure time. We can present our boarding pass at a food outlet to receive a meal to the value of $10 (wow, that gets you a lot at Melbourne airport). We also need to present our boarding passes at the service desk, because there is a change of aircraft, to a Boeing 767 with a different seating configuration.

Issue 2: It took around 40 minutes to give everyone (approximately 250 people) a new boarding pass, with the queue stretching a very long way through the terminal. Seriously Qantas, you’ve already screwed people around. Couldn’t you actually plan for these events and organise for some more people to be available?

So, having been informed by the Qantas staff members at the service desk that the food voucher was actually $20, off we toddle to get some lunch.

Issue 3: The people at the food outlets have been told the voucher value was $10, while the customers have been told it’s $20.

Back to the lounge now as we don’t want to miss our 3:00pm departure. At 3:10pm, still sitting in the lounge, it is apparent we are not leaving at 3:00pm. Then there is an announcement from one of the flight crew that, because of the different aircraft type and the delay, catering needs to be re-done for the flight and sourced from the Qantas kitchens. There will be a further delay and we are not expected to leave until 4:30pm, a smidgeon less than four hours later than the original scheduled departure.

Issue 4: Why does Qantas get so hung up on feeding people? Even for a 4 hour flight to Perth, surely it’s possible for people to forego feeding their faces. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve experienced delays with Qantas because of “catering requirements”. Also, the appalling quality of the food just doesn’t justify the more expensive fare. I don’t care if it’s inspired by Neil Perry. It’s still crap.

Issue 5: As a much younger airline, Virgin Blue has the benefit of having one type of aircraft on its major routes, the Boeing 737. Qantas has a mixture of 737s, Airbus and Boeing 767 aircraft. Thus when problems occur, Virgin has much better flexibility to make changes to aircraft with a minimum of inconvenience.

In summary, you’re always going to get emotional, almost religious wars, about which is the better airline. Customer service, good or bad, is pretty subjective. Did they smile at me? Did they keep me informed? Was the captain there to wave me goodbye as I left the aircraft?

But when considering Issues 4 and 5 above, there is no good reason why you would seriously consider flying Qantas domestically in Australia. It’s dearer than the competition (generally speaking), its customer service is choppy, and operationally, it is in a much worse position than the competition to react to unexpected events. And that’s mainly why I choose to fly Virgin. And they smile!

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Jeff Kennett

I can’t believe the contradiction that is Jeff Kennett.

As much as I hated his politics, I admired him because he was one of the few politicians in my lifetime who have made it perfectly clear to the electorate what they stood for, and then governed to deliver on those objectives. Others in this category were:

  • Whitlam
  • Keating
  • Bjelke-Petersen

Where have all the politicians with convictions gone? But I digress.

Kennett also has to be admired for the work he does as Chairperson for beyondblue, a not-for-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, anxiety and related substance misuse disorders in Australia.

On the downside, if some of the press reports and stories from inside the Hawthorn football club are to be believed, one of the biggest challenges is keeping President Kennett in check, and then worrying about how to get the next AFL premiership. The appearance is that it’s all about Jeff initially, and the club comes second.

He then manages, on occasions to come out and make some of the most absurd comments one could ever imagine, including this week’s, where he has announced that Kool Mints were ideal for disguising booze on your breath because "they absorbed the alcohol" (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/not-kool-jeff-kennetts-booze-bus-beater-20101118-17ylk.html).

What a clown!

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I thought this was a great article by Greg Baum in The Age this morning, on the state of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

If Sydney wants it, let them have it I say.

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Now That Doesn’t Make Sense

Bought a train ticket today and handed over the plastic.

Metro train person: “PIN or sign?”

Me: “PIN thanks.”

Metro train person: “You need to sign it anyway.”

Me: “That doesn’t make sense.”

Metro train person: “I guess it’s just a double check.”

Me: (rolled eyes)

Metro train person: “I guess it’s just a double check for your benefit.”


Oh, and have a Merry Christmas, Metro train person.

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Sydney Airport – Fail!

I flew into Sydney Airport this morning. Never been a big fan of Sydney, especially flying into / out of there.

We were advised in Melbourne that the flight was delayed due to single runway operations in Sydney. We ended up leaving 20 minutes late. Ah, I thought. It must be because there’s a westerly wind blowing and they can only use the east-west runway.

After an eternity of holding and circling, we finally entered the circuit and landed on one of the two north-south parallel runways. As we were getting off the plane, I asked the captain if they had changed runways during our flight. His answer staggered me. No, they were only using one runway because of Air Traffic Control staff shortages.

You have got to be freaking joking! This is the busiest airport in the country, during the morning peak, and we recently spent billions of dollars to build a parallel north-south runway, and they’re not using it because we can’t get enough people to keep it going.

What a joke! Get me out of this damn city!

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I’ve admired Les Twentyman’s work for quite a while and am delighted that his health is on the improve. I certainly hope that he was misquoted, or his quotes were taken out of context by The Age this morning.

The Age reported on a police report that showed that the majority of the violence in the city is carried out by people from Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs. Twentyman is quoted as saying ”Safe Labor seats never really get money spent on them. It is always marginal seats that get the money tipped into them.”

Give me a break! What has money got to do with the fundamental fact it is not OK to be knifing people and belting the living daylights out of them? It’s got nothing to do with money. It’s got everything to do with being decent citizens.

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The back page of the latest The Big Issue has an advertisement for a photo competition, sponsored by the City of Sydney. Nothing remarkable about that you might think. Except that, one of the categories for the competition is people who are homeless – photographers are being encouraged to take photos of the homeless for financial gain.

I’m really in two minds about this. One’s immediate reaction is to be repulsed and to think that the City of Sydney should be spending its time and dollars on eliminating homelessness, rather than appearing to be glorifying it. Maybe it already is – from here in Melbourne, there’s not much visibility of local government in Sydney.

On the other hand though, by not doing this, are we actually discriminating against the homeless, more so than what they are discrimated against now? I’m just not sure.

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