September 30, 2008

Horse 920 - The Big Ship Sails Through the Ally Ally O?

The big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh
The ally-ally-oh, the ally-ally-oh
Oh, the big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh
On the last day of September.

The captain said it will never, never do
Never, never do, never, never do
The captain said it will never, never do
On the last day of September.

The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
The bottom of the sea, the bottom of the sea
The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea
On the last day of September.

We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea
The deep blue sea, the deep blue sea
We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea
On the last day of September.

I've tried to do some research on this little skipping rhyme and the best that I could come up with is somewhat surprising.

The most likely explanation has to do with the Manchester Ship Canal which runs from Manchester to Birkenhead. It was opened in 1894 and at the time it was estimated that only about half a dozen ships in the whole world were unable to use it. On completion it held two records - it was the biggest canal in the world at 38 miles long and to pay for it, a cheque for £1,700,000 was the biggest cheque ever presented to any bank in the world (or £234 million adjusted for inflation).

So impressive was the canal, that the city adopted as part of its crest a ship denoting the canal. In turn both Manchester United (1970) and Manchester City (1997) would also both adopt a ship as part of their crests.

In regards to the question as to why it sails on the last day of September, I can't find anything of any import that actually happened on the last day of September except for the beginning of BBC's Radio 1, 2, 3 & 4, Jack the Ripper killing four people, and those dang cartoons of Mohamed appearing in Danish newspapers... but nothing about a supposed big ship.

Maybe the big git's name is Dallaglio?

September 26, 2008

Horse 919 - Tell Me Why

I'm going to show you a picture and I want you to think long and hard about it. Here goes:

Now what I want you to do, is search this picture long and hard to find... the point. Because I've been looking for nigh on 20 minutes and I still haven't found it.

This is the Peugeot 207 Touring. By Touring they actually mean a station wagon; by station wagon they actually mean why bother?

Firstly I don't understand why this car exists. It could be argued that the increased capacity of the bootspace from 270L to 337L could be an advantage, but considering that Peugeot itself offers the 307 at a cheaper price and the boot in that is 341L and that's before you even consider the 307 Touring, with the amount of money you have to play with, it would make more sense to buy a 307 in the first place, consdering that a base model 307 is only $25,490 as opposed to the 207 Touring which is less car for $29,790.

Then there is that dang awful styling on the rear of it. Admittedly they're trying to keep the family resemblance with the 407 Touring which by the way also looks dog ugly, but at least the 407 Touring can fit more than a couple of poodles in the back.

If anyone can find a point to this car, please let me know what it is. Or perhaps if you are from Peugeot and just happen to stumble across this page, then by all means give me one. I'm not so proud that I wouldn't accept a free car.

September 23, 2008

Horse 918 - The Road Tolls For Thee

The M2, M4, M5, M7, Cross City Tunnel, Lane Cove Tunnel, Warringah Expressway, Falcon St ramps, Eastern Distributor can all collectively jump as far as I'm concerned.

Coming home from a camp, I again expressed the opinion that I was denied from using the M7 because I didn't have an e-tag. It would appear that people think I'm crazy and should just go out and get one. However, articles like this one published in today's Sydney Morning Herald, just prove to me that the good and fair people of NSW are being taken for a ride and then forced to pay for privilege.

MILLIONS more taxpayer dollars will be poured into the M5 East tunnel for a computer upgrade after yet another glitch closed the tunnel yesterday, forcing more than 20,000 motorists into back-street gridlock and embarrassing a Government under siege.

Um who was that again? Did you say Taxpayer Dollars? I think I'm a taxpayer... yep, it appears so. Does that not mean that I'M PAYING FOR A FRIGGIN ROAD I CAN'T DAMN WELL USE. I'VE NEVER PAID FOR NOTHING BEFORE!

Last night the Roads and Traffic Authority was threatening to "tear up" the operating contract for the $800 million tunnel, awarded to Baulderstone Hornibrook Bilfinger & Berger, and foreshadowing it may take over the road itself.

Good. Do it. NOW. I don't see why my tax dollars should be used to prop up any private enterprise at all. It was a buisness decision for those poor poor sould to build their precious road, and if they can't turn a profit by screwing the motorist, then they should just suffer. The government doesn't bail out the local hardware store or the record shop when they go broke do they. Why should they even lift a finger just because someone is richer.

The road has been so overwhelmed by demand the Government has to pay regular penalties to BHBB, totalling as much as $13 million by 2011. The Government last year paid $25 million in compensation to Connector Motorways, the operator of the Lane Cove Tunnel.

Boo hoo hoo, have a cry. Poor Connector Motorways. I feel soooo sorry for them. Perhaps they should have a little lie down and a cup of cocoa.

That $25m is going to go to directors and managers anyway, in payments like golden handshakes. Why the heck should the taxpayer compensate a business when that business actively lobbied for a denial of service in the first friggin place. Epping Rd through Lane Cove has been but back to a single pathetic lane in either direction, and the traffic jam which used to extend all the way up the M2, now goes around the corner of the M7 as well.

That's progress for you aint it?

The new Roads Minister, Michael Daley, was talking tough yesterday: "My message to the CEO and the motorway company on behalf of motorists will be a very clear one. If you can't run this motorway properly, we will find someone who can."

Good. Let the State Government do it. I have a little sticker on my window which I pay a pretty penny for every year. Here's a thought - how about using that amount called "Motor Vehicle Tax" in actually providing a service for... Motor Vehicles. Now what do Motor Vehicles drive on? Roads. Ahah!

The Herald has been reliably informed that a key problem with the forecast was the Carr government's introduction of Cashback on the M5, which pays back motorists the cost of their toll.


September 17, 2008

Horse 917 - You Can Judge A Book By It's Cover

You're supposed to.

Penguin Books have even gone to the effort recently of retrofying their covers so that they again look like what they did in the 1930s. They were supposed to look vaguely art deco and cheap just so people standing around in train stations would buy them.

Serious text books aren't likely to have pictures of UFOs, Giant Eyeballs or Dragons on them are they? Period books are likely to show people as they dressed in that era; and likewise Mills and Boon, and Harlequin books are deliberately styled so that people who buy that sort of thing know whats inside.

Labelling things and judging things at a snap helps cut down on time and effort. Added to this is the simple fact that when applied to people, people dress a certain way deliberately to look like their peers and thus gain acceptance. Even goths who dress in black do so to alienate society at large but be accepted by other goths.

Is the clothing or wrapping something comes in a valid form of self-expression or not? What about communicating what we wish to be? Police and Fireys dress that way to be recognised and respected and also to be identified.

Even my style of stymied and continual arguing about petty crap in a blog instantly tells you that I'm a cynical bum who thinks that this could be vaugly funny but in reality fails miserably... so stick that in your non-judgemental pipe and judge it.

September 16, 2008

Horse 916 - Baked Beans, Jam Sandwiches and Back Benches
Copy and download the MP3 - it's a lark!

In what will surely go down as one of the most memorable speeches in parliamentary history, Federal Opposition Leader Dr Brendan Nelson has condemned the Government over its refusal to increase the rate of the pension before May next year. He plans to introduce a private member's bill into Parliament to increase the base rate of the single aged pension by $30 a week, but he has not yet revealed when he will do so and accused the PM of failing to help older Australians and forcing them to live off "baked beans and jam sandwiches."

Yes, the state of pensions is shocking. Currently the single aged pension stands at a pathetic $273 a week. If you bear in mind that I pay $290 a week in rent, then it's very easy to see why something should be done yesterday if not sooner; quite frankly I slam both the Government for not already delivering on an election promise and the Liberal Party who whilst in Government had 11 years to think about it.

Updated 21 minutes ago
Malcolm Turnbull has seized the Liberal leadership from Brendan Nelson after winning this morning's party room ballot by 45 votes to 41. Julie Bishop was unopposed and will remain as deputy leader.
Dr Nelson called the spill late yesterday in a move designed to surprise Mr Turnbull, who had been on holiday in Italy last week. Dr Nelson has held the leadership since last November, when he won the job in a vote against Mr Turnbull by 45 votes to 42.

Now I ask all sorts of questions. Was Dr Nelson playing a bit of self-serving? Now that he moves from being Federal Opposition Leader to completely out of the Shadow Cabinet, does that now mean that he himself will have to decide whether to have baked beans or jam sandwiches for lunch? Perhaps he could be indulgent and have both.

September 14, 2008

Horse 915 - The Slime's Coming Home

Liverpool 2 - Manchester Utd 1
Tevez 3, Brown (og 26), Babel 77

The most heated affair in the English football calendar ended with a Liverpool victory for the first time in 8 years, this encounter was quite different to those in the past for this was not a battle to two giants but a tale of three howlers.

The first of which happened just three minutes in when Carlos Tevez was allowed to remain unmarked and unchecked within the six yard box; one can only wonder where Arbeloa was if anywhere.

The second howler was really quite strange. Xavi Alonso made a half-witted strike that in all honesty went nowhere near anything remotely useful, but somehow it took a deflection off of Evra, and Van der Sar pushed into an unwitting Wes Brown. Spaniard Alberto Riera had the intent of following it in, but ultimately Brown's touch was the final one before it dribbled across the line.

And this is where the catfight started...

Carrick was tackled in a cynical piece of skull-duggery from Mascherano who probably deserved to be sent off or at very least shown a yellow card, but mysteriously unlike last year, earnt nothing and Carrick hobbled off and was replaced at half time by a sheep (Giggs).

After the half Keane, Benayoun, Scholes and Gerrard all lined up to take shots as Liverpool started to assert themselves but it was Ryan Giggs volley perilously tipped over the bar by Reina which took the wind out of Liverpool's sails.

On 77 minutes, Liverpool's pressure paid off. Mascherano battled his way down the right and to the line, Kuyt took up possession and played the ball across for Babel to crack home.

From here the remaining 13 minutes sort of fizzled out which was a good thing as for the first time for 8 years, I was able to walk away from an evening without feeling bad about the encounter. And for about 180 minutes, Liverpool were top of the league which was made all the sweeter because to do so meant stuffing one up Man Utd.

September 10, 2008

Horse 914 - Making up Stuff

I had intended to write a piece on the failed Sydney Metro Link and how there wasn't enough money in kick for the project, so I checked out the website to do some ferreting:
Fair enough, the website was still up despite the whole project being dropped on its ear.

Then I found this:
Nathan Rees was making no promises as he made his first bells-and-whistles tour of Sydney's troubled train system this morning.
He listened closely to a dozen commuters, mostly students, as they detailed their experience of getting in to Sydney from his local station, Wentworthville.

I have a few problems here:
1. Nathan Rees did not catch the train this morning.
2. Today is not September 11 but September 10.
3. This does not appear in today's newspaper.

Does this mean to say that the Herald has published an article inline before the event has actually happened? Does the Sydney Morning Herald have access to time-travel? Have they published an event based on a press release rather than actual journalism (because if they don't have access to time-travel, then they could not possibly have sent anyone to Wentworthville Station this morning)?

Admittedly I am not surprised by the axing of the project:
You think they can fix the roads/trains/buses by the time I get back? I love not having to worry about transport over here, it’s awesome :) I don’t think once have I seen a ‘peak hour’.
Considering that the railway line to Castle Hill promised by the Dibbs government in 1891 still hasn’t been built, don’t hold your breath waiting.

This still does not however excuse the Sydney Morning Herald for publishing news before its happened... do the words "making it up" mean anything?

September 09, 2008

Horse 913 - Expand the AFL to 20 Teams, not 18

I have been doing the look around at the various plans for expansion teams in the AFL, and come up with four jerseys and four teams that I think should be installed by 2012. If I was grand high poo-bah then this would be the plan of attack:

Gold Coast 17
GC 17, the Gold Coast’s bid for the 17th licence in the Australian Football League, tonight officially launched its name, logo, colours and mascot. Unveiled at a Gala function on the Gold Coast the club will be known and marketed as the GOLD COAST FOOTBALL CLUB or GCFC. Club colours will be red, gold and blue and the club mascot will be an iconic Gold Coast surf identity know as "GC ".
GC 17 will deliver its formal submission to the Australian Football League on October 13 for the 17th AFL licence. The group must satisfy the AFL it has met a set of key criteria including community and business engagement and the development of a football department.

This is the most serious proposal I have seen. There is a decent website, and from what I've seen is fairly sound. The QAFL is starting to gather momentum, what with the Brisbane Lions winning a couple of flags and what not.

If I were going to set up a team on the Gold Coast, I think I would call it Gold Coast 17. Hey? 17 was for many years the number of Queensland's favourite son, Dick Johnson; actually calling the club this would be a nice little quirk.

West Sydney Celtics
THE AFL is considering a radical proposal to launch an Irish-dominated team in Sydney's western suburbs, which would perform before an international audience under the Celtic brand name. Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick confirmed last night that the Irish option was being explored as a possible basis for the competition's 18th team, to debut as early as 2012.
The "Sydney Celtics" plan was first put to AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou 18 months ago by Gaelic Players Association executive Donal O'Neill. It has gained momentum in recent weeks following player agent Ricky Nixon's talent-spotting tour of Ireland. Nixon has contacted Demetriou and Fitzpatrick in recent days and put forward a revised template for the AFL's 18th licence.

Whilst the idea of deliberately placing a club with "Irish" heritage is seen to be possibly counter-racist, I don't necessarily see this as a problem because it would probably be conveniently ignored like the Celtics of Boston.

As far as expansion teams go then in Australia, Sydney itself is the ur-example. The Swans shifted from South Melbourne to Sydney in 1982 and for a while were the darling child before fading into the doldrums, regaining fame with the Premiership in 1996 and again going on the slide of late.

The inherant problem is that although Sydney is Rugby League territory, there isn't a natural rival for them. West Coast has Freo, the Crows have Port but Sydney and Brisbane don't really have anyone. The Gold Coast and the Celtics provide those rivals albeit artificially and given three or four years this will flourish ala Adelaide and Perth. Green is also a natural opposite to red.

Tasmanian Devils,22884,24111247-5016971,00.html
Tasmania dream of entering the AFL big league is nearing reality with the announcement yesterday of multi-million-dollar backing for a future state team. The State Government has clinched a $4 million sponsorship deal with confectionery giant Mars.
In an unprecedented move in Australia, Mars is going to rebrand its main line of confectionery from Mars bars to "Believe" bars to help garner nationwide support for the Tasmanian push.

The following two are really me dreaming a little, though not without cause because it would appear that far richer people are also dreaming about this. Tasmania actually already exists in the VFL... ok so they finished dead last but you know fair suck of the sav. If Tasmania were to play in the AFL proper, then the money would in theory exist to at least bring the standard up. Tasmania already play out of Aurora and Bellrive Oval which means that their venues are decent.

This is such a pipe dream, it aint funny. I would personally like to see the AFL run a team in the Northern Territory. The reasons are twofold:
1. The Northern Territory currently has no teams in any national sporting competition.
2. Since the Territory has provided so many top-class players over the years, it is only fitting that the AFL reward the state, even if it never makes a profit. Since AFL is really the only sport that's actually played up the top end save for a few paltry One Day cricket matches and the V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley, the state would actually have something to get behind.

As for the number of weeks to play out four extra teams - if they abandoned this whole NAB Cup rubbish, then that would give another few weeks at least. Playing through one and a half times like they do now brings the regular season to 29 weeks, which means if you had a four week finals series like they do now, means staring the comp in the last few weeks in February, which is currently about when the NAB Cup starts anyway aint it?

September 05, 2008

Horse 912 - Additional II

The Hon. Nathan REES, MP

The Hon. Nathan REES,  MP
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly
  • Member for Toongabbie
  • Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Water
  • Member of Australian Labor Party

Oh my goodness. The member for Toonie IS the Premier of NSW...


Jack Robinson

Told ya!

Horse 912 - Additional

I wish the Prawn's posts were time-stamped because it appears as though we were pretty much looking at this as about the same time. I find this afternoon that he made this post:

The links provided herein:
Brian Robins
September 5, 2008 - 10:48AM

Alexandra Smith and Brian Robins
September 5, 2008 - 12:52PM

This makes me wonder about the value of traditional media, especially when you consider that because of the internet, amateurs like myself are going push-button publishing at rates faster than traditional print media. Even before people had bought today's SMH it was already out of date, and even then if you'd managed to get a rolling copy of the paper, by not long after midday it would still be out of date - but not us in the blogosphere. We were there reporting and making sense of the news even faster than you could say Jack Robinson.

Horse 912 - Give Me The Job!

Oh what a truly wonder state of confusion we live it, Victoria may have had Jeff Kennett bt at the moment we aint got anyone.

Last night, Michael Costa was politely run through by Morris Iemma and it was expected that Iemma was going to annnounce a cabinet reshuffle. Guess what? He did. Not less than 18 minutes ago, Morris Iemma shuffled himself out of the top job of NSW.

"You told me to throw myself into the role."
"OK, throw yourself out of it now."

Of course it's likely that Neville No-one Nathan Rees will take over the job, but given that he's only been an MP for 18 months, goodness know who's going to be Premier.

Look, I'll do the job if it comes down to it. Sure, I haven't got any experience at all at running a chook lotto at the pub, but if it comes down to it, I'm perfectly capable of sounding half-intelligent, making a total ass-hat of myself, getting paid $225,000 a year for doing jack squat, and then quitting after 9 months. I mean could I honestly do any worse?

Horse 911 - Please Hate US
Pakistan has condemned an alleged raid by foreign troops based in Afghanistan which officials say killed at least 15 villagers in a north-west tribal area.

The South Waziristan raid would be the first ever ground assault into Pakistan by foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Pakistan says the raid was a violation of its sovereignty. On Thursday a US missile killed at least five people in nearby North Waziristan, officials say.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said Pakistan will not allow any foreign power to carry out attacks on its territory, inciting a wider uprising in the border area.

This "War on Terror" might be an coverhead for all of this but surely this is starting to rank as a point of insanity.

To review:
Iraq was presumed to have been developing Weapons of Mass Destruction and a "premptive war" was declared despite no evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction ever being found before or after the war. In the five years subsequent, Iraq still remains politically unstable with military insurgence and civil disorder frequently breaking out.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks the United States launched a military campaign to destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan. The US military also threatened to overthrow the Taliban government for refusing to hand over Osama bin Laden and several al-Qaida members. The US made a common cause with the former Afghan Mujahideen to achieve its ends, including the Northern Alliance, a militia still recognized by the UN as the Afghan government.
In late 2001, US Special Forces invaded Afghanistan to aid anti-Taliban militias, backed by US air strikes against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets, culminating in the seizure of Kabul by the Northern Alliance and the overthrow of the Taliban, with many local warlords switching allegiance from the Taliban to the Northern Alliance.

There is still a lot of sabre rattling with Iran because since 2005, Iran's Nuclear Program has become the subject of contention with the West because of suspicions regarding Iran's military intentions. This has led the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran on select companies linked to this program, thus furthering its economic isolation on the international scene.

Now we find that the US this morning has decided to strike the western provinces of Pakistan after the Pakistani government started taking a blind eye to any Taliban style exercises within its borders.

It should be noted that Pakistan differs from the above nations on two main counts:
1. Pakistan is a relatively democratic country and after Pervez Musharraf stood down, there were elections due to be held this Saturday Sep 6. However because US forces unilaterally decided to strike, the outcomes of those elections is almost certainly likely to produce a hostile set of circumstances.

2. Unlike Iraq which never had Weapons of Mass Destruction, or Iran which is presumed to have them, Pakistan is known to actually possess nuclear weapons, and given that they've just been attacked, is it really going to acheive anything by stirring up a hornet's nest? One sure fire way to make someone hate you is to punch them in the nose, which given what's happened this morning, is just not sensible.

I just don't think that strirring them up is a particularly wise idea, and inadvertantly have have already changed the course of an election to a state of direct hostility. Honestly, are the US deliberately trying to make everybody hate them?

September 03, 2008

Horse 910 - What Happened to Adrian

Between the films Rocky V and Rocky Balboa, we are led to believe that Adrian has died through some sort of natural cause in the eighteen years between the films. Notwithstanding the fact that in Rocky V, Rocky suffers brain damage and is forced to retire from the ring, so we can't exactly guarantee that his memory was all that brilliant to begin with (and certainly his acting wasn't).

Having said this, the above newspaper goes in part to suggest the previous untold story what happened to Adrian and what a gruesome tale it is. All those years of Rocky eating raw eggs must have left him with a Biotin deficiency. What we do know is that somehow, the Daily Express got hold of this article and ran with it - living with Rocky's rotten egg smell can't have been great.