October 30, 2015

Horse 2019 - Fragments III: The Umpire Strikes Back - A No Hope

Just like Fragments I and Fragments II, this post is made out of the detritus that has built up on my tablet computer. These are the posts which get index numbers but never get properly written. These are the posts which will never become proper pieces but still deserve a life of their own.

It seems to me, you lived your life like a sandal in the bin.


A14 - The Flu

And so it was that in the years 2026 to 2028, that almost four million Australians died. They were not the victims of war and conflict but of simple influenza, brought on by institutional neglect.
How did we get here? What can we learn from this tragedy? What actions might have been taken differently? This book attempts to examine the causes and conditions which led to the single greatest disaster in Australian history; both in wartime and peacetime, so that the loss of some four million souls might not be in vain.
It is my hope that by shaking the ghosts of the recent past, we can hope to avoid the spectres of tomorrow. 
- Brian McClymont , 17th July 2030.

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C52 - Anachronistic

This sign indicating that unauthorised vehicles will be towed is not the worst example of an anachronistic sign that I have seen. The car being towed does look like a small sedan or coupe and although there aren't that many, they still do exist even though they are relatively unpopular. A small car is likely to be a hatchback rather than a sedan though.
What you will see on road signs are some incredibly anachronistic things. Railway crossing signs frequently have pictures of steam trains on them even though steam was driven off the rails by diesel more than fifty years ago. High Wind signs tend to have pictures of cars that look like they were popular in the 1970s, towing caravans which also look like they date from about that era, even though the car most likely to be towing a caravan today is a big four wheel drive. Even signs for telephones are starting to look a bit old hat, as most of us carry mobile phones around with us and the old style receiver is mostly only found in businesses and the few remaining houses of people who still feel the gentle tug of telephone cable. Gone are the days when the only phone in the house can with its own piece of furniture and your conversations were the public drama which all in the house gathered around to hear one side of.

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D13 - The Childishness Of The Private Sector

A client of ours spent a great portion of our meeting on Friday afternoon complaining longly and loudly about how much they were paying out in school fees for their child to go to a private school. Their little darling had just entered Year 7 and the jump in fees from the year previous was considerable. The obvious thing to do would have been to send their child to the local state high school (which by the way, still has a history of producing excellent results) but rather than blame themselves for this self imposed economic burden, they chose to blame the government for taxing them so much even though they easily clear more than five times AWOTE.
Halloween, the 31st of October, truly is the date when all the ghouls come out to play. They aren't little children who go from house to house demanding sweets though, they go to their accountants to haunt them before the imagined tax deadline approaches. (Are you tucked up safe and sound in beddy-byes? If you lodge with an accountant, your usual lodgement date will be 15th May next year.)
School Fees are one of those things where the expenses paid by government are submerged. If St Uppington's School For Priggish Children really did put the values of how much government subsidy was received per child, would parents begin to feel grateful? I imagine not.

One of my most favourite things to do in the year, is on Boxing Day when the temperature outside begins to approach triple digits Fahrenheit, is to lie as still as possible on the couch watching cricket on telly and boats on Sydney Harbour just after lunch. The Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race is possibly one of the biggest cases of conspicuous consumption of the year. In addition to the multi-million dollar yachts that make the run to Hobart; which are decked out in the names of high end watch companies and insurance firms, are the playthings of the 1% who have their own toys. One could say that such an event is capitalism at its finest but this totally ignores the fact that it is the Bureau of Meteorology who provide the data to tell the crews where the winds are and it is the Royal Australian Navy and teams of volunteers who have to fish people out of the water if it all gives wrong. Never even once, including when in 1998 some of the most massive squalls ever seen turfed 55 people into the angry blue nothingness, did any private firm even lift a finger to help. Where were you Prudential? Where were you Rolex?

If that sounds extreme, ask yourself how many private companies did anything in the wake of the Lindt CafĂ© siege. What about in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. There were plenty of firefighters who risked their lives but how many people from say, the Chase Manhattan Bank, or Lehmann Brothers, or AIG? None. That's how many. Yet when these firms run into trouble, they come crying back to governments like a bunch of little babies, waah waah waah. 
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J60 - Boo!

I think that it is demonstrably different to when Hawks fans booed and continue to boo Buddy Franklin. In fact I'd say that it's almost the responsibility of Hawks fans to boo Buddy Franklin. In the case of Buddy Franklin, he moved from Hawthorn to Sydney and that's a bit like becoming the Dread' Pirate Roberts - if you inherit the costume of the Dread' Pirate Roberts then you become the Dread' Pirate Roberts. Buddy moved to Sydney and became a Swan. As far as Hawks fans are concerned, Buddy Franklin is a traitor but this is a specific case.
It's also different to say, when Sydney FC fans boo Berisha. There is a pointed and deep rivalry between Sydney FC and the Melbourne Victory (and I think one that's even deeper than the Sydney FC / Wanderers rivalry) but the second that Berisha happens to play for Sydney FC, the booing would stop. 

This is what I don't understand about the booing of Adam Goodes. He has stopped playing for the Sydney Swans and so in the context of on field rivalry, booing achieves nothing. Booing at Adam Goodes in the context of being a brand ambassador for a top end department store makes even less sense unless you are under the employ of another department store and even then that's not normal.
The only possible explanation that makes any sense is that the people who continue to boo Adam Goodes are fundamentally racist.
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N8 - What Are You Doing, Troy Aikman?

I happened to be watching the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Dallas Cowboys when I was waiting in line at the bank and who did I hear doing commentary than none other than former Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman. In the eleven minutes that I was in the queue, Aikman must've reminded us at least a dozen times that he was once the quarterback for the Cowboys and kept on telling us about the style of football that he played.
I'm sorry Aikman but I kind of feel that the only reason that you achieved meteroric fame, as opposed to the other players is because you were the quarterback. I also kind of feel that the only reason that you still have enough brain capacity to be able to run all those Ford, Mercury and Lincoln dealerships is also because you were a quarterback and because you had a line of Nose Tackles, Tight Ends and Corner Guards standing in front of you, making sure that you weren't wiped out by some other hulking 300 pound monster coming through. Part of the reason that you are a successful businessman and own half of Denver is because American Football is a team sport and there were ten other players on the field at the time. When you talk about playing style of a highly organised team, then that style is usually imposed from above by the managers and coaching staff who work out how to run plays and spend their time analysing what does and doesn't work. 

Sometimes ex-players of various sports do make excellent commentators and this usually happens when they can anticipate what might happen or they can describe what's going on at a more intimate and technical level because they've been there. People like Alec Stewart, Richie Benaud, John McEnroe, Chrissy Evert, Martin Brundle and David Coulthard all fit into this category. Then there are the commentators like Murray Walker, John Motson, Martin Tyler, Phil Ligget and Henry Blofeld who themselves weren't renowned as players or competitors but they lived and breathed the sport they described to such an extent that it flows through them and into the microphone.
Aikman will be an excellent commentator because he has a voice which suits the job quite well but he needs to step back and remember that this is a different skill and that the audience doesn't need to be reminded every 38 seconds that he played the game, or that he owns a stack of car dealerships and half of Denver.

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