December 30, 2010

Colt 1134.1 - Mount Druitt

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit:,_New_South_Wales 
The 2001 City of Blacktown Social Plan identified that a high portion of Mount Druitt residents are bogans, and that they tend not to work at all. These statements are backed up by the 2006 census conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It states that 46% of Mount Druitt's 13,583 residents were stoned, more than double the national average, with 10.6% just high, 3.3% sloshed and 3.2% were hammered.

December 22, 2010

Horse 1134 - East London Sesame Street

Rainy day,
Keeping the sun away
On my way,
To where the air aint sweet
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street?
How to get to Sesame Street?

OK, you know how it should sound but what would happen to the eponymous street if the TV show was cast not in an idealised New York City, but in a more dreary place such as East London?

For a start you can recast most of the human cast as Cockneys. Instead of having happy jobs like teachers and doctors, they could spend a great deal of time down at the Post Office collecting their dole payments on Giro Day.

Hooper's Store is now the Lamb & Flag. The Fixit-Shop becomes a Pawnbrokers, Ernie and Bert are "them dodgy geezers" and Oscar would live in a Dustbin, surrounded by empty cans of Skol and Tennants Super. No wonder he's so grouchy all of the time - so would you be if you lived amongst a pile of dustbins.

Cookie Monster is obviously some sort of heroin junkie with an attack of the munchies. No-one walks around yelling "Cookie, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie!" unless they were on something. This does however explain why there's a 10 foot pigeon and a hairy elephant living down the street though.

Grover who's had more jobs than I've had hot curries, would be recast as an Eastern European migrant without a work permit. He's had many jobs as a waiter, a pilot, doctor, elevator operator, detective etc. and the reason for this is to evade the immigration officers.

About the only character whom I'd see any improvement in though would be Don Music. He'd most likely be playing songs on his piano after doing gigs at the Hackney Empire. I can very easily see him mining the repertoire of Chas and Dave and inserting those immortal words "Have a Banana" into everything. I can even picture Bill Bailey taking the part.

December 15, 2010

Horse 1133 - This Post Stinks

Usually when I travel into the city (and out the other side) in the mornings, train carriages are filled with commuters who have freshly pressed clothes, have showered and the vast majority of them have decided to do something with regards their odours. A morning train journey is filled with its own unique set of smells.
Likewise an afternoon train journey from the other side of the city, through it and back home again, is filled with the malodourous smells of slightly disheveled people who have had a full day's work beaten out of them. Collectively the trains and buses do not smell as crisp as they did in the morning, however this is still the general smell of humanity as it goes about its business.

Over the past fortnight, I have been ungoing physiotherapy sessions following knee surgery. This has meant that I need to depart from my usual travelling times and travel in that mysterious period known as "off-peak". I have discovered that in terms of smell, this is a highly variable period indeed.

After 9am public transport generally and trains especially carry mothers and baby carriages. Suffice to say, babies themselves are a factory of random smells, producing anything from the smell of puke, to the smells of whatever they have lovingly made in their pants.
It's not just babies though, after 9am people feel as though they now have the ability to eat things exotic and ambrosial. These smells range from the sickeningly sweet, through the spices of the east and to the smells of things rotting.
You can also find a class of people who are slightly shady from about 10am. These people tend to have a habit of smelling either like stale tobacco or perhaps the new fragrance from the House of Jack Daniel's: Sour Mash Old No.7.

Trains themselves have a distinct smell. The smell of brakes on Sydney Trains is like nothing in the world. No doubt that the smell probably causes cancer, for the simple reason that everything causes cancer. Then there is the vague smell of burnt dust if you happen to be sitting in that little alcove next to the electric units directly below the pantographs.

But the scariest smell of all which can be found on public transport, are those smells floating on the breeze that you're not entirely sure of. Are they sweet? Do they smell like poo? Kebabs even? Who knows? What is certain that if you do smell them, you spend the next 25 minutes trying to work out a) what the heck they are and b) if you should be offended or not by them.

December 14, 2010

Horse 1132 - Wikileaking Everywhere & Not a Drop To Drink

Whilst the United States is baying for the blood of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks man, perhaps a little bit of perspective is in order.

Spying for want of a better term, or perhaps more generally espionage, is the obtaining of information that would otherwise be secret; can be done against an individual or an organisation, and even against a nation.

The general problem with Wikileaks is that they themselves aren't the ones doing the smuggling, but are the recipients of secret information. In some respects, Wikileaks is equivalent to someone who receives stolen goods but in this case the goods aren't tangible. Whilst it might be very easy indeed to bring charges against Wikileaks for receiving stolen information, it poses the question as to how so much information was able to be leaked in the first place. It also poses a second yet far larger issue.

If you do manage to prosecute Wikileaks for receiving stolen information and then publishing it, should you then go on and prosecute the world's media for their complicitous attitude and re-publishing it in a far more widely seen arena? It's all very well to have a symbolic villain but when that information is not only re-published across daily newspapers, magazines, television, internets and pad-pod-handheld devices; for a profit no less, what gives them the right to make money with impunity? In Australia s.153 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 refers to literary proceeds and that The commercial exploitation may be by any means, including: publishing any material in written or electronic form.
I would suggest that if Mr Assange is ever brought to trial and is convicted, then there is justifiably a huge target to go after, namely every print, broadcaster and publisher who has even made more than a cent in profit out of this.

Of course they could argue that they have a right to free speech and that it is in the public interest to know about these things. Maybe, but to hold Mr Assange guilty and the media itself guiltless would be a hideous travesty of justice.

December 07, 2010

Horse 1131a - Sometimes That Story Has a Happy Ending

Swann got 5 wickets, Pietersen's 227, Cook made 148, and Australia have had their first innings defeat since the West Indies hammered them in 1993.

To sum up - England win by:
- 1 inning
- 71 runs
- 5 wickets
- 11 players
- 1 country
- hundreds of alcoholic beverages
- a quarter of a flag
- and an entire language.

And CricInfo are too craven to acknowledge the result:

Horse 1131 - Test Cricket is a Story

As we head into Day 5 of the Second Test between Australia and England at the Adelaide Oval, England need 6 wickets to either claim victory (or to score the runs if Australia score another 137) and Australia need 137 to make England bat again. This is what makes Test Cricket more than anything else so delightfully delicious, that on Day 5, the whole thing can be all for naught if the weather dictates.
Back in Horse 241 I wrote a piece which said that Cricket is Delightfully Stupid. Test Cricket is therefore the height of this delightful stupidity.

The thing about most long distance or endurance sports of which undoubtedly Test Cricket must surely be one, is that instead of something all being over in a flash and largely a test of either strength or speed, they all are more a test of character. All long distance or endurance sports are more about the story of the event rather than a 30 second highlight reel.
The Le Mans 24 Hour Race can often result in multi-million dollarpound teams having a 15 pennycent component fail at the 22 hour mark; thus handing victory to a lesser and not as well funded team. For some teams even just making it to the end is an achievement.
Even if you don't remember the names, I think we were captivated by the struggle between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut who fought a very long and tiring 6-4 3-6 6-7 7-6 70-68 match at Wimbledon this year. We even collectively felt relief when this epic battle of wills finally came to a close.

So it is with Test Cricket. Unlike the decidedly undelightful stupidity of T-20-Twenty, and the whole One Day nonsense, a Test Match evolves and changes almost like a painting with every stroke. Pietersen's 227 is an obvious stand out in this match, but it wouldn't have even been possible without the gallant efforts of Cook, Trott, Collingwood and Bell. Anderson's thumping 4/51 with the ball in Australia's innings really sliced them to pieces but even Hussey showed some ticker and valiantly hacked away for his 93.
Katich must have wanted to crawl into a hole after being left stranded on a Diamond Duck, but his knock of 43 in the second dig still shows that sport is one of the few theatres where if you fail once, you can stage a fightback and show your colours on the nest attempt.

With clouds looming over the horizon, even Mother Nature herself can affect the outcome of a match. If this were a football match, teams might be pleased to pick up a point for their efforts, but over five days you can either see all your hard work dashed to pieces like so many discarded bits of pottery, or be saved from having your face dragged through the mud, if the weather decides to declare everyone's innings for naught.

Of course the other thing about cricket is that because it does lend itself to being broadcast on the radio, it has formed the soundtrack to many a summer in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Long may it continue!

BBC Coverage - With Aggers

ABC Coverage - Also with Aggers when he's not on the Beeb

Test Match Sofa - Not with Aggers, but a right hoot.

December 03, 2010

Horse 1130 - My Scorn Against FIFA

I have held the opinion for at least 10 years now that there is a very strong degree of systematic bias against the English speaking nations within FIFA.

As a result, every English speaking nation must be forced to dodgy refereeing decisions to the point where it costs them any chance of ever winning anything. If you don't believe me, let's just quickly have a review of this year's World Cup in South Africa:
- England's disallowed goal against Germany, when ALL the ball had crossed the line.
- Australia having Cahill sent off against Germany, and thus losing their only striker.
- Italy being awarded a penalty against New Zealand (when it wasn't even inside the area)
- Referee Koman Coulibaly disallowing a USA goal against Slovenia for no apparent reason at all.
- Ghana scoring against the USA in the 94th minute when there were only supposed to be 2 minutes of added time.
- Ireland being knocked out of the qualifiers against France when Thierry Henry handballed a goal.

Every English speaking nation at the 2010 tournament at critical moments was forced to suffer bad refereeing decisions. I assume that this must be some sort of unwritten FIFA policy. If there was only one or two it might be seen as unfortunate, but against all of them? Come on.

Of course there is a fairly obvious reason why FIFA would hold such a resentment. The International Football Association Board or IFAB which determines the Laws of the Game, is made up of 8 members. Four being representatives of each of the home nations (namely England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales), and four members from FIFA.
It seems to me that because FIFA don't happen to control some aspect of the game (much like their resentment towards UEFA for having a shiny, glossy European Champions League that's worth so much money) then they feel the need to retaliate.

Now if you apply this to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, then the results which we have seen this morning should have been fairly predictable.
On paper, the best bids should have been England and the USA. There is a minimum requirement that the host nation has 12 stadiums that can hold at least 40,000 people. England being the home of football not surprisingly has 56, and the USA which hosts American Football at both national and college level has more than 200. Russia currently has 3 and Qatar which has a total population of less than half of Sydney, only has 1 at the moment.

The fact that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups went to two nations whose bids are backed by oil money, and given that only last week there were allegations of bribery by the BBC's Panorama program, doesn't really do much to dissuade my suspicions that FIFA really are a bunch of corrupt bastards. It also makes a mockery of the banner that FIFA bring out before most international matches. It is perfectly alright for them to have a "Say No To Racism" because discrimination on the grounds of the language you speak isn't actually racism.

Actually the best thing that the USA, England and Australia could have done in their campaigns would have been to just give up before they started because they were never going to win. That truly would have been the best thing according to FIFA's own motto "For The Good Of The Game".

The final results of this morning are: Corruption and Bribery 2 - Football 0.