Saturday, 31 May 2003

Good News/Bad News

Good news: Melbourne finally won a last quarter
Bad news: We were getting flogged by ten goals at three-quarter time anyway.

End result? Sack Daniher. More reasons later. I've actually lost my voice from whinging at the TV so much.

Friday, 30 May 2003

More Eurovision controversy

Russian duds TATU and some TV station are contesting the results of Eurovision.

The channel claims that Tatu's performance in Riga received "unlikely low points" from certain countries and their position in the competition was further contorted by a voting mix-up in Ireland.

Telephone voting by the Irish public was not taken into account because of a technical hitch, and was therefore replaced by national jury voting, Igor Burenkov, spokesman for Channel One and a member of Russia's Eurovision delegation, was quoted as saying by Echo of Moscow radio.

For the record Ireland's non-public votes went like this,

12 - Norway
10 - Belgium
8 - Estonia
7 - Iceland
6 - Croatia
5 - Netherlands
4 - Germany
3 - Malta
2 - Portugal
1 - Greece

I'd like to make a challenge to the results too. How did Estonia not finish above 21st? Good to see that the almost sensible Irish (where was Austria) did give them a decent vote though. Not sure what they were doing giving a point over to the Greeks though - they must have been as mesmerized by her enormous cleavage as the rest of us.

So, did Tatu get rorted? Maybe. Did they deserve to win? Not in the slightest. And what's this BS about recieving an "unusually low score" from several countries? The song was awful. A Russian teenage lesbian victory would have just proved that Europeans have no taste.

Down with shonky journalism!

From this afternoon I'm boycotting the shithouse free newspaper MX that gets handed about in the city every night. It's a fairly cheap and nasty read as it is but after a pair of cheap shots levelled at the Melbourne Football Club and Melbourne fans this afternoon I won't be reading their scrap paper again. I'm sure this won't exactly hurt them as half a million people read the thing every day 'cos it's free but it must be done.

The treeswingers who write their football section dare to say that "even Melbourne fans won't bother to watch" the game against Brisbane tomorrow night and that we're the team that "nobody in Melbourne cares about, not even their fans"

Let me tell you second-rate journalistic hacks that there are still some of us who do care. When I opened the paper this morning and saw that they'd dropped Ryan Ferguson instead of Brad Miller and preferred the completely inexperienced Mark Jamar ahead of Darren Jolly I uttered an obscenity that was heard across most of Camberwell Station and was so distressed I refused to read the rest of the paper until lunchtime.

We're going to get absolutely hammered tomorrow night, but it doesn't mean we're not passionate (the guy behind me at the Fremantle game was in danger of having a massive coronary) and it doesn't give some $2 tossers from a free newspaper who probably support whichever team are the Premiers that year ("I used to love Essendon, but now I'm right behind those Brisbane Lions!") to take the piss out of us.

How ironic that the front page of one of those wanky "personal weath" magazines this month has the story "Rene Rivkin tells us how he does it!" and a huge picture of the (no longer) alleged insider trader giving the big thumbs up. I think the answer to that question was pretty well summed up in court yesterday.

Thursday, 29 May 2003

There's been plenty of whinging, including front page newspaper stories, over this in the last few days.

THE Australia Council has given a Melbourne jeweller almost $9000 to make jewellery to hide in rubbish bins and laneway grates as an artistic statement on consumerism.
Impressed by the concept, the council's visual arts and craft board gave Caz Guiney an $8750 grant to make her "precious graffiti".

Guiney yesterday "installed" a finely tooled 18-carat gold ring in a rubbish bin in Melbourne's City Square as part of her "cityring" project, which is designed to make people question attitudes towards jewellery. "Often people hoard jewellery away in a bank vault or a jewellery box," Guiney said. "I want people to question what is precious and why it is so."

She has hidden 14 gold, silver and diamond pieces in laneway grates, on busy footpaths, in scaffolding and other gritty city locations. "I want to rattle the expectation as to where you might find precious objects," she said. "I hope it will get people thinking outside the normal constructs of jewellery."

Conventional wisdom is that this is a waste of money, a leftie wankfest etc.. etc.. along the lines of giving money to that guy who sat in a cage drinking milk but I, generally skeptical to these sorts of things, can actually see some sort of sense amongst all the madness.

I'm not sure of what her motives really are (something to do with the destruction of capitalism and saving the Swedish Elk I'm sure) but to me there's definately a point to it. It's performance art on a grand scale. What is art supposed to do? Get people talking. And this has certainly done that, it was even featured amongst much snickering and "what is the world coming to?" outrage on A Current Affair last night. Mission accomplished. The artist has achieved her aims already, and good luck to her I say.

It's called interactive art. You can go to a gallery in Fitzroy and look at paintings that give you clues as to where in Melbourne's CBD you can find the remaining $600 pieces. Now tell me that's not more interesting than looking at sculpture or something? I'd much rather see $9000 of my tax money going to this than to funding some of these shithouse Australian movies that are coming out at the moment (Horseplay? Ned? Fuck off!).

She might also be making a point about how greedy people are. I await with bated breath the video footage of cheapskates going through garbage bins looking for the rest of the booty.

Wednesday, 28 May 2003

I didn't see it but apparently Neale Daniher was on Talking Footy Monday night trying to justify just why we're doing so badly this year.

When the obvious question of why Chris Lamb can't get a game was asked his excuse was that they're trying to convert him into a running half-back at Sandringham. That's all very lovely, but is it the smartest decision to make when our backline is getting absolutely slaughtered every week? He beat Alistair Lynch convincingly when we rolled the Lions last year yet it looks like he'll be still be running around in the two's this week. Richardson, Stafford and Justin Longmuir have all destroyed us in the last few weeks and if Tredrea could kick straight he would have done the same yet we persist with Brad Miller who frankly isn't up to it yet and Ryan Ferguson who is a rookie.

Daniher does have a decent record of changing players positions (Nicholson, Bizzell, Bruce and Luke Williams come to mind) but surely this isn't the time to do it. He's obviously got a lot of faith in the board too, because if we finish in the bottom three this year he probably won't be around to reap the rewards of his experimentation.

What I wouldn't give for a Seecamp, Ingerson or Shanahan in our backline at the moment.

Oh, and we've got no fans either in case you didn't hear it somewhere else. To quote the Sex Pistols "And we don't care"

More Eurovision fallout (it will never end you realise),

Eurovision failures Jemini have claimed they hoped to receive no points in the competition.

Gemma Abbey says during the final rounds of voting they decided they wanted to stand out rather than finish with an indifferent score.
In an interview with London radio station LBC 97.3 Gemma said: "When it got towards the end and we didn't get points we were praying: 'don't give us any points, don't give us any points'. We'd rather have nothing than come half-way or get 10 points."

Complete madness really.

Tuesday, 27 May 2003

Internet gambling good for some,

Don't bother calling Hollywood. Not even Ripley would believe this story. Chris Moneymaker (that's his real name!) started playing poker three years ago after seeing the movie "Rounders." Working two jobs to make ends meet, the 27-year-old accountant entered a $40 satellite tournament online and earned a spot in the most prestigious tournament on the planet, the $10,000 buy-in Championship Event of the World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas.

Playing in his first "live" tournament (all his previous experience was online), he worked his way through a record field of 839 entrants, knocking off former champions along the way. At the final table, he made every right move and walked away with the $2.5 million first prize early Saturday morning.

Monday, 26 May 2003

Eurovision 2003
Riga, Latvia.

Number of people watching it with me: 5
Number of them distressed by the fact that I was actually taking notes: All of them.

For the want of a real pre-game show (because you'd hate to spend a fortune sending somebody halfway around the world to cover it and then not having him do anything) we watched the Big Brother eviction rubbish. Some bimbo got kicked out. Who cares? The only semi-attractive women I wanted to see were shonky Croatian folk-singers and a pair of teenage Russian lesbians.

And so, with a zany opening sequence and the voice-over of a man who clearly had no idea what he was doing the contest began. SBS bogan even had the audacity to make fun of the Latvian hosts for cracking pissweak gags after he'd spent five minutes doing comedy that Skithouse would reject as poor.

1. ICELAND - Birgitta "Open Your Heart"

We kicked off with the absolutely babelicious entrant from Iceland. The song was really good too, the sort of thing that they'd play on yuppie FM stations like Nova and MixFM all day if Eurovision was trendy. Sadly it's not, so we'll probably never hear the song again. A definate contender.

2. AUSTRIA - Alf Poier "Weil Der Mensch Zählt"

Enter the great man to a standing ovation (from me). SBS idiot dared to make a public prediction that Alf would finish last but that was never on the cards. All of Europe must surely unite behind a man whose backing band consists of two middle aged women and some cardboard cutouts of animals.

Suffice to say that the song was absolute genius. I couldn't understand a word of it but it was awesome anyway. I stand by my prediction that it would be the biggest song in the history of western civilisation if it was ever recorded in English. The best bit about it was the rocking solo that suddenly appeared right in the middle and caused Alf to dance like a nutter. It totally ruled. You must watch the video.

Incidentally right after the contest we tried to inform ourselves on his homepage and got a "server overloaded" message. I think the world has found a new hero.

3. IRELAND - Mickey O'Harte "We've Got the World"

Despite his cynical attempt to win votes by having attractive backing singers it was clearly never going to happen for Mickey. The song sounded like it had been lifted straight from Ronan Keating's "rejects" file. Compared to Alf it was like following the finest wine with a brown paper bag whiskey. Next.

4. TURKEY - Sertab Erener "Everyway That I Can"

Broke with tradition by being the first Turkish entrant ever to sing in English. Didn't make the song any less shit but it's a smart commercial decision. The fact that SBS idiot sung it's praises at an embarassing length beforehand is enough to convince me that he did the voiceover well after the competition had actually ended. Cheating bastard.

5. MALTA - Lynn Chircop "To Dream Again"

A fairly pedestrian ballad made interesting only by the fact that she had about 326 backing singers on stage with her. Not a patch on last year's Maltese tilt which featured a woman whose clothes came off and was shamelessly robbed out of first place.

After the genius of the first two entrants we're rapidly degenerating into Eurotrash now.

6. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA - Mija Martina "Ne Brini"

I couldn't understand what the hell was going on with this song, but that's not surprising considering I don't subscribe to the concept of Balkan techno. My early selection for last place (though in hindsight there was much worse to come). A total dud.

7. PORTUGAL - Rita Guerra "Deixa-me Sonhar"

Another poor effort in a language that 13 people speak. A note for the next Portuguese tilt - If Brazilians can't vote then your language = Eurovision death.

She looked like Shakira too. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing actually.

8. CROATIA - Claudia Beni "Vise Nisam Tvoja"

You can tell that I was starting to get very depressed about the quality of entrants at about this time. Since the genius of Iceland and Austria it was all downhill for a while. This was ANOTHER ordinary effort. At least she made the effort to sing half the song in English whilst wearing extremely skimpy clothing that she was removing rapidly. That had to be worth a few votes.

9. CYPRUS - Stelios Konstantas - "Feeling Alive"

Finally something decent again. The act was only tainted by the SBS arsehole doing the "Billy Ray Cyprus" gag he'd been saving up ever since he got to Latvia. I liked this entry, but that might have been only because it compared more than favourably to the last six which were complete shit. Good stuff.

10. GERMANY - Lou "Let's Get Happy"

Wacky German techno by the Krauts failed attempt to counterpoint Tatu's teen lesbianism by introducing a MILF to the competition. Very disappoiting because these weak Europop Whigfield-esque songs are usually average at worst. This unfortunately was poor. Sample some of the lyrics,

Dub du dubn da dap da
Dub du dubn da dap da
Dub du dubn da dap da hahhh - ooh

The Eurovision drinking game on the net actually says to take a drink every time the German entry mentions something about being happy. Let me just say that you would be going home in a bodybag if you actually adhered to that rule during this performance. Another failure I'm afraid, and the crop of 2003 Euro entrants is starting to look a bit poor.

11. RUSSIA - Tatu "Ne Ver, Ne Bojsia"

Just when things were starting to get dull in come the lesbians. And what a disappointment they were - singing some shonky Russian language song and not engaging in any Hot Lesbian Action whatsoever. Sadly the fact that they're famous would ensure a top 5 finish even if they showed up and sung a song about the Pope engaging in a threesome with George W Bush and a donkey so let's move on.

12. SPAIN - Beth "Dime"

This is where a real commentator would have pointed out that it was the shortest Artist/Title combination in the entire contest. Unfortunately we had the dickhead from SBS and he spent his time blowing his strides over her. Not entirely sure whether it was the song or Beth herself he was excited about. They were both fairly useless. I was instructed by the guy sitting next to me at the time to "take points off because she has small breasts", which just goes to show the kind of classy Europhiles I was viewing this contest with.

13. ISRAEL - Lior Narkis "Words for Love"

SBS man was noticably quiet for this one. I think he was still cleaning himself off after seeing the Spanish entrant. He did, however, promise us some R-Rated action which was not forthcoming. This one was good, never a contender to win but very jolly nonetheless. He danced around with some schoolgirls (where were Tatu?) and sang his song for the full three minutes before disappearing into obscurity again.

Incidentally I had the great mystery of how Israel qualify for a European competition explained to me last night. Apparently they're a member of the European Broadcasting Commission and that automatically gives them the right to put in an entry. The question of how they managed to get into a European TV federation remains sadly unanswered.

14. NETHERLANDS - Ester Hart "One More Time"

This was more like it. Sure, it was no Iceland but it was definately one of the standout performances of the night. Ludicrously attractive singer + good song = Definate championship winning material. A far better contender for Eurovision's official MILF than the German.

15. UNITED KINGDOM - Gemini "Cry Baby"

Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear. Somebody said they wouldn't win because all the European hippies would vote against them due to the war. I thought it more likely they'd lose because they were awful. It was almost like that episode of Father Ted where the Irish pick the two priests to sing their song "My Lovely Horse" just so they won't have to host the competition next year. The excuse given was that they were "nervous". Talentless might have been more appropriate. I did think they were going to get it on at one point though, which would really have livened things up.

At the time I said that no matter what happened they were at least better than Gina G. I cheerfully withdraw that comment now.

16. UKRAINE - Olexander "Hasta La Vista"

Unfortunately the dream of a Schwarzenneger-style Terminator themed rock number was shattered right from the start when it turned out to be a mad Russian techno-ballad. He did have a zany contortionist on stage with him at the time though, which put some interest into it. Some of the high notes he was hitting showed definate evidence of a childhood testicular injury. The Bee Gees (those who are still alive) would have been proud.

17. GREECE - Mando "Never Let You Go"

Right, well I have to admit that we were taking absolutely no interest in the song because of the dress she was wearing. SBS idiot made his one good call of the evening (probably stolen from somebody else) in that the dress was a "major feat in structural engineering". Damn straight, she was packing Mount Rushmore on her chest. It ruled.

Unfortunately I became EXTREMELY pissed at this point and stopped taking coherant notes ("20. POLAND - In Polish. Go away"). Everything after this point has been compiled with the aid of a videotape. So it's probably going to be 300 times more coherant than what preceded it. I watched the brave Austrian tilt again too. The pure genius of it is more apparent to me every time I view it.

18. NORWAY - Jostein Hasselgard "I'm Not Afraid To Move On"

*Snooze*

I almost fell asleep watching it sober, so you can imagine the effect it had on me at the time. I seem to recall talking up Egil Olsen Day (July 1st, sports fans) at some length while this was on. It was your traditional slow ballad. Cue much weeping, slow dancing and picking up. He'll get the female vote too - a prettyboy singing about how great women are is always going to do well.

19. FRANCE - Louisa Baileche "Monts Et Merveilles"

Having recovered from his earlier Spanish-induced "accident" SBS re-blew it over this one. He promised to bring her around to all our houses of proof of how beautiful she was. She can visit if she wants but the only SBS personality allowed to come with her is Les Murray. The Frenchies amongst us quite enjoyed this song but it went right over my uncultured head.

20. POLAND - Ich Troje "Zadnych Granic"

SBS bogan offensively says something about Latvians having red hair due to a disease. So his house will probably be burnt to the ground when he gets home - and rightfully so. Song was nothing. The male half sounded like Peter Harvey and the backing singers were dressed in tinfoil. Absolutely mystifying but they're apparently very big in Poland if that counts for anything.

21. LATVIA - F.L.Y "Hello From Mars"

You can tell that SBS is in top form now. He apparently asked them where they got the inspiration for the song title and couldn't understand why they looked at him funny, pointed to the sky and said "Mars?"

I quite liked this song. It was average but stood out quite well in comparison to some of the other dross on offer. They're apparently some kind of Latvian "supergroup" so you would have expected some kind of decent performance. Apparently they met on a golf course as well. Which is nice.

22. BELGIUM - Urban Trad "Sanomi"

Zany Belgian hippies straight from the forest singing in an invented language. No really. The song both sucked and blew at the same time but you've gotta give them credit for originality. Apparently they sacked one of their band members during the week because she was a right-wing extremist. Maybe they're not hippies after all. I couldn't get into this one.

23. ESTONIA - Ruffus "Eighties Coming Back"

Now, this is more like it. Definate top 5 material. Like a Baltic cross between rock and lounge music sung by a bunch of guys in really wide ties. Cue a thousand gags about how Estonia haven't even been through the 80's once yet.

24. ROMANIA - Nicola "Don't Break My Heart"

I liked this one too. And not just because it involved the removal of clothes and some oversized props. The background music did sound suspiciously like "Freestyler" by the Bomfunk MC's for anyone who wants to see some controversy. And the singer looked like the woman from Batchelor Girl, but I won't hold it against her.

Another one that would definately crack the charts if it was realised here.

25. SWEDEN - Fame "Give Me Your Love"

A snoozefest duet by a model and a pilot (not in uniform sadly). SBS makes a point of telling us how they're definately not a couple, which presumably meant he was going to have a crack at her during the after party.

I must say that the Scandanavians have been incredibly dull. It's lucky that they always vote for each other because at this rate without rorts like that they'd all be going down the Finland road and disappearing off the face of the Eurovision map.

26. SLOVENIA - Karmen "Nanana"

And finally, after all that we have a funny looking Slovenian singing the sort of song that Collette would have rejected in 1991. It was a step up from the Birdcage style drag queens they sent last year, but not by much. SBS speculates that going last greatly increases your chances of winning; I disagree. Everybody knows who they want to vote for by the time the last couple of songs roll around. It's best to be right in the middle somewhere to benefit from when people are watching with an open mind.

That's it for the songs. Let it be known that my votes (on behalf of the Hawthorn East jury) would have been as follows,

12 points - Iceland
10 - Austria
8 - Estonia
7 - Romania
6 - Netherlands
5 - Israel
4 - Cyprus
3 - Latvia
2 - Belgium
1 - Greece

So, to the voting. And it must be noted at this point that unless I'm very much mistaken SBS bogan must have been equally as pissed as I was because he stopped doing his commentary (a good thing). Of course we weren't treated to the traditional BBC commentary either so it was an hour of Latvians rather unsucessfully talking to Bosnians in English.

Rather than a blow by blow description of the voting process let's take a look at the leaderboard instead.

1 - Turkey (167 points)
2 - Belgium (165)
3 - Russia (164)
4 - Norway (123)
5 - Sweden (107)
6 - Austria (101)
7 - Poland (90)
=8 - Spain (81)
=8 - Iceland (81)
10 - Romania (73)
=11 - Ireland (53)
=11 - Germany (53)
13 - Netherlands (45)
14 - Ukraine (30)
15 - Bosnia (27)
16 - Greece (25)
=17 - Croatia (19)
=17 - France (19)
19 - Israel (17)
20 - Cyprus (15)
21 - Estonia (14)
22 - Portugal (13)
23 - Slovenia (7)
24 - Latvia (5)
25 - Malta (4)
26 - United Kingdom (0)

Suffice to say it was an absolute thriller with the Belgian hippies only shafted by Slovenia with the second last vote of the night.

The Winners:

Turkey - Obviously.

Belgium - Hippies make up their own language and almost win. That would have been a front-page story.

Austria - Tipped to run last but shocked the world with his zany shenanigans. Will be bigger than the Beatles.

Bosnia - How the hell did that song manage to score 27 points?

The male audience - When the Greek woman showed up.

The Losers:

Russia - Tatu were red-hot favourites and judging by some of the rubbish that got high scores should probably have won.

Spain - The second favourite. Another glorious failure.

United Kingdom - They'd never finished in the bottom three before, let alone scoring "nul points". There are even conspiracy theories surrounding the dud performance.

The SBS commentator - What an absolute cockup he made of the event. Hopefully when the Latvians burn his house down he'll be in it.

I'm still mystified about how the Estonians didn't do better though. Clearly they're too far ahead of their time for the Eurovision audience to appreciate it.

So, that's it. I have no idea how Turkey and Belgium managed to fill the top two places but it was a thrilling conclusion so I'll cop it.

This is TSP's Eurovision exclusive coverage (from half a world away) over and out.

Sunday, 25 May 2003

And yes, we lost the Inaugural Phil Gilbert Challenge Cup at the MCG yesterday afternoon. I've forgotten most of what actually went on (except for the fact that we were SHIT and got crucified by the umpires on numerous occassions) so I've come up with this simple equation to explain exactly what happened.

M -sd +su xPC = -30pt

For those of you who don't understand these sorts of things (like me, cos I just made it up) that means Melbourne minus skill and determination plus shit umpiring multiplied by pathetic coaching equals a thirty point loss.

We'll get flogged by Brisbane next week. Then Collingwood. Then somebody else. I sure hope the number one draft pick is going to be an exciting player this year.

I bring you (belated) news of an important cultural achievement. No, not Eurovision - I'll be covering that in ludicrous depth tomorrow. After a year of trying I finally beat my Nokia mobile phone Snake II high score. 2093 is the new mark, set somewhere between East Richmond and Richmond stations at about 6:50pm on Friday night.

Sad? Very. But at least I didn't stand up and do a victory lap around the carriage at the time.

There's been a massive plunge on the brave Austrian Eurovision tilt with Centrebet.

I took $151 for the win earlier in the week and he's down to $81 now. It's like one of those Brownlow Medal leaks you see every year, or something. I'm sure the entire world will be informing themselves on his homepage when there's a shock victory. I swear, if 99 "f'ing" Luftballoons can be a worldwide hit in German then so can this.

Friday, 23 May 2003

Channel 10 Cockup Alert!

Score another point if you saw them run last nights report of the Annika Sorenstam golf-frenzy tonight when they were supposed to be showing the highlights of the first round.

Somebody obviously realised what they were doing halfway through and it suddenly got yanked off the air. No bloody wonder they're losing the ratings.

I've Never Been There

A weekly look at countries they didn't bother teaching you about in school.

5. Surinam

Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally brought about a democratic election. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically elected government returned to power in 1991.

Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana

Population: 433,998

Ethnic groups: Hindustani (also known locally as "East Indians"; their ancestors emigrated from northern India in the latter part of the 19th century) 37%, Creole (mixed white and black) 31%, Javanese 15%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian 2%, Chinese 2%, white 1%, other 2%

Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%

Languages: Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is second language to others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese

Capital: Paramaribo
Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 13
Television broadcast stations: 3
Internet Country Code: .SR
Railways: 166km
Highways: 4,530km

International Disputes - Area disputed by French Guiana between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa); area disputed by Guyana between New (Upper Courantyne) and Courantyne/Koetari [Kutari] rivers (all headwaters of the Courantyne)

1667: Dutch colony (Dutch Guiana)
1804 - 1816: British rule
1828 - 1848: united with Netherlands Antilles as Dutch West Indies
25 Nov 1975: independence (Republic of Suriname)

What an incredibly dull day it's been. Nothing blogworthy of any note has happened. The only half exciting thing I saw all day was an old man standing outside a newsagent looking at the 'funny' signs and desperately trying to work out what it all meant. He was literally staring straight at one that said 'No root, No ride' with a "What does that mean?" look on his face. And when THAT's the most interesting thing that happens to you all day you know it's going to be a bad day for blog.

I'm still not over that Eurovision debacle yet either.

Thursday, 22 May 2003

SACRILEGE!

According to today's paper SBS have decided to chuck the Eurovision Song Contest's world-famous "You're all shit" sarcastic commentary this year in favour of special comments from some jabrone who hosts the cult movie to an audience of 15 every week. IT'S A BLOODY OUTRAGE. The SBS spokesperson said this idiot would provide an insight into the "cultural significance of the event". FUCK CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE! We want commentary that alerts us to fat Russians, old and ugly Germans and completely incomprehensible Macedonians and we want it NOW. I will only accept pre and post-contest reports from this cult movie tosser, and nothing in between. Though sadly it looks as if there's little that can be done about now that he's blagged a free trip halfway around the world.

This is just as bad as when they had it hosted by Effie and a bunch of stereotype foreigners. And they had the gall to run an ad ripping the piss out of that Effie debacle promising that they wouldn't stuff it up this year.

How come some nobody can score a free trip to Latvia but the god of Australian TV Les Murray has to host the FA Cup Final from a studio in Sydney. THIS COUNTRY IS STUFFED.

Wednesday, 21 May 2003

Yeah, THIS is really going to work...

The White House is asking Congress for $62 million to be spent on founding the world's first 24-hour Arab-language satellite news TV network. According to a State Department spokesman: "We're just going to present clear and objective news, uncensored. We won't be a spokes-entity for the U.S. government but a means to present U.S. policy and the debate around it."

So wait with an awed hush for the debut of Super USA George Bush Happy TV Network anytime soon. And then there'll be no more conflict in the world, ever.

Making fun of things in the Green Left Weekly is just too easy,

Check out the letters from the editor section of their latest issue.

If, for example, one admires the many stunning achievements of Arab civilization and deplores the Nazi tactics of the state of Israel, one is not anti-Semitic.

Nazi? Israel? An attempt at irony that even Alanis would shake her head in disbelief at.

Great Moments in Politics

"The Hero vs The Zero"
Victorian Legislative Assembly, Melbourne
October 28th, 1993 (Those were the days...)

Mr BRUMBY (Leader of the Opposition) -- I refer the Premier to his comments in the House last week when he said that he has not been involved in the running of KNF Advertising since 1981. Is it not a fact that when the Premier was Leader of the Opposition he would ask his government driver to collect art work and bromides for KNF Advertising clients from the Burwood KNF office, have the material brought to Parliament House where he would personally check it, ask the government driver to deliver it to KNF clients and then bill the clients for the costs, including transport costs?

Mr KENNETT (Premier) -- The answer is absolutely no! Say that outside the House. The Leader of the Opposition is the most gutless politician I have ever known!

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER -- Order! The House will come to order.

Mr KENNETT -- That is like my saying in this place that I know the Leader of the Opposition sleeps with boys! Do you? Do you?

Honourable members interjecting.

The SPEAKER -- Order!

Whoops! He probably didn't mean to put it quite that way.... We all know what he should have done - yep that's right, claimed to have slept with Brumby's mother.

5 days and counting till Eurovision and hasn't there been some controversy?

Tatu have been threatened with the boot from Eurovision after they tried to quit rehearsals for the show.

The girls abandoned their on-stage practice today when singer Julia Volkova complained of a sore throat.

But producers of the programme said the pair would be disqualified unless they continued.

Volkova and bandmate Lena Katina reluctantly carried on with preparations for the contest which is being held in Riga, Latvia.

The girls are favourites to win the contest which takes place on Saturday.

A member of the audience who was at today's rehearsals said: "Julia refused to carry on with the rehearsal because she said had a bad throat and she wasn't doing any more.

"There was a real hoo-ha and they were throwing a strop but the producers told them that if they didn't get back on stage they would be out. They eventually returned."

At a press conference the girls were booed by journalists when they complained about conditions for the show.

"The stage was awful, the lights were awful, everything was awful," said Katina.

Event bosses are preparing to show rehearsal footage during the live event on Saturday if Tatu's performance becomes too sexually explicit.

I love how the world takes a singing contest so seriously, it's what makes it so great.

Don't know why they bother really, it's clear that the Austrian tilt is right on course for victory.

Tuesday, 20 May 2003

No wonder Disturbing Search Requests have been way down recently. The treeswingers have found a new craze to hang onto,

The Internet is riveted by a video of Ghyslain, a 15-year-old boy in Quebec who filmed himself wielding a double-bladed light saber in the manner of Darth Maul, the bad guy from "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace."

In the video, Ghyslain brandishes a golf ball retriever in a series of maneuvers that are both painfully awkward and unmistakably joyful. Wearing khakis and a button-down shirt, Ghyslain, who is heavy-set, plays his character with great intensity, glaring into the camera and making sounds to accompany his moves.

Since it was released on the Web late last month as a prank by fellow high school students who discovered the clip, the video has been downloaded more than a million times. Also in circulation are several "remixes," adding special effects to make the stick glow like a light saber and setting the action to music.

Short videos of embarrassing, funny or illicit moments are common Internet fare. But this one, known as the Star Wars Kid, has traveled farther, faster and commanded more attention than any in recent memory. It seems to be serving as a Rorschach test for geek self-perception.

Many of the comments on Web sites that showcased the video are simply nasty, making fun of Ghyslain, who is not identified in the video, for being overweight or, as one comment put it, "dweeby." But others applaud the un-self-conscious display of physical enthusiasm by someone who is not captain of the football team.

I mention this here only to give this special message to anyone who happens to venture onto this page by way of Google searching for this bollox. YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT. First Bubb Rubb, now fat kids piss-farting about. Who said it would be the Internet that made life worth living in the 21st century? Not me, that's for sure.

Great Moments in Politics

"Worst Premier ever?"
Tasmania
November, 1981

Spare a thought for Harry Holgate, possibly the most useless State leader in the history of this great country. Launching a coup to unseat Tasmanian Premier Doug Lowe must have seemed like a great idea at the time - Holgate was a fervent pro-dam MP (something to do with the union s who told him that turning the whole island into one would be a good idea) but the Premier wasn't so keen on them.
Unsurprisingly the union heavyweights pulled the right strings and his challenge was successful. On November 11, 1981 he was sworn in as the new State Premier. The only thing he'd failed to consider was that if the man he had shafted jumped ship the Parliament became hung, and when Lowe devotee MP Mary Willey joined him in exile the ALP no longer had the numbers in the house.

In a mad attempt to avoid a no-confidence motion he kept the Parliament from sitting for as long as he could possibly manage. After seven weeks it started to look quite ridiculous and he was forced to front up, where the motion was immediately moved and passed.

His Parliamentary career as Premier had lasted one day.

Labor were gutted at the May State Election and the Liberal Government of Robin Gray took office. Harry's term of office lasted from 11 November 1981 to 26 May 1982 - a total of 156 days, and he was lucky to get that. Holgate remained in Parliament until 1992 and passed away on March 16, 1997.

Harold Norman Holgate - we salute you.

I was going to write a scathing post on what a debacle the Footy Show had become, but I've been beaten to it. I echo all that has been said in that post and add that nothing of any excitement has happened on the show since Allen Jakovich showed up and started hosting it when rumors were going around that he was dead. I literally fell off my chair in surprise when he walked on that night. It was what I imagine the second coming of christ would be like for Christians.

Another shite performance by Melbourne the other night. Don't believe the hype in the papers that we were 'gallant' in defeat. Richmond were good, but Melbourne let them get away with murder. Every time you looked up there were five Tigers running around on their own while some decent but clearly outclassed players sprinted around like headless chickens trying to find an opponent. I was even moved to audible profanity early in the last quarter (when we were still winning) which I haven't really gotten into since I was a mere child.

It was another victory for the "Richo plays his one good game a year against us" conspiracy theorists (I might be the only one) but it doesn't help when the entire defence stands a foot shorter than him. More about that later.

And didn't I hear about the result from every bogan on the face of the planet while I waited for somebody outside Richmond station? I've got nothing against Richmond but it had to pointed out to most of them that actually making the finals will be a fairly new experience to anyone under 30.

We've got Fremantle in the Phil Gilbert Memorial Cup* this Saturday at the MCG. The pressing questions, for me, are how much the Dockers will win by and if we'll crack a 15,000 attendance. Well known Freo fans will be delighted with the way their side has played this year, and rightly so. If we don't make the finals (which is looking even more likely as the injury toll mounts to Second World War proportions) I want them to win. Mainly because I'm the only person outside Western Australia who appreciates their theme song and can see the point to a team playing in purple.

* Phil probably isn't dead, but when he is they'll surely name the game after him.

Back to our defender dilemma,

Dear Neale Daniher,

This is Chris Lamb. You might have seen him hanging around the club.

He's quite good, and we've got a massive shortage of defenders, so why can't he get a game?

Yours faithfully,

Frustrated Supporter #543

Monday, 19 May 2003

No posting in the last couple of days because Telstra are fixing my absolutely FARKED phone line. I kept getting crossed lines with other people in my block of flats and if I'm lucky enough to actually manage a connection to the net I can't get a half sensible speed. I'm on at 7,200bps at the moment. I thought my 1996-1999 modem of 14,000 was slow but this is absolutely ridiculous.

I also get booted every two or three minutes thanks to the ear splitting amount of line noise going on. Telstra told me yesterday afternoon that it would be fixed by "close of business" Tuesday. So presumably I'll still be out of action until September.

Apologies are owed to Iprimus for blaming them the other night. They're owed, but I'm not going to give them.

Update - I got booted before I could post this and now I've cracked 24,000bps. It's like stepping up from 1986 to 1996. Now, let's see whether I can open Blogger and post this before I get disconnected again.

Update 2 - Erm, the answer is no. Bootage within a minute. Back to 4,800bps as well.

Sunday, 18 May 2003

Well, it looks like I owe a certain Colonel a public apology. Due to unforseen technical difficulties (i.e the fact that I can't read a calendar) it turns out that Colonel's Day was today.

By the time I made it down to one of their fine family restaurants (Can I have some free chicken please?) all the festivities were over but eyewitness reports from those there earlier in the day mentioned face-painting, the handing out of expired coupons and a man piss-farting around in a chicken suit. I must, of course, question the morality of promoting a fast-food outlet with a jolly character representing the animals your food is made out of, but that's just me.

Of course you could be nasty and say that it's the closest thing they've had to a real chicken in KFC for years (there goes my free food) but that'd probably get you sued. So don't.

Friday, 16 May 2003

Don't forget that this year's Eurovision Song Contest is on Sunday night at 8 on SBS. I can't quite understand why but I'm always excited when Eurovision time rolls around - maybe it's the promise of seeing some fat Russian boy-band belt out an absolute shocker of a song like last year ("That's got the ugly vote sewn up" to quote the commentator) or laughing at shockers from Macedonia sing in a language nobody else understands and then fail to score a single point.

The reds have picked a far better contender this time. A pair of alleged teenage lesbians called Tatu who you might have heard of. They started ludicrously short favourites (you can bet on this. Really) but the Spanish entrant is rapidly mowing them down in the punting stakes. They'll probably still win, there's enough perverts across that continent to make sure of that - Belgians would vote early and often for thinly veiled kiddy pron I'm sure.

Personally I'm going for the zany Austrian who Centrebet have as the rank outsider. Just look at him,

Who wouldn't vote for somebody like that? Sample these lyrics too,

I like most animals on this earth
But I really prefer little rabbits and bears

Soon all birds and beetles will die
But Adam's in bed with Eve busy reproducing

Rabbits live in the woods
Cats in the meadows
And cockroaches
Live under tiles

Little rabbits have short noses
And kittens soft paws
And Mother Holle likes her wool
From the african dromedary

The difference between animals such as apes and primates
Is no bigger than between noodles and pasta

But whoever wants to know more about animals should study Biology or inform himself on my homepage

Some animals have wings
And others have fins
Some live outdoors
And others in cans

Small rabbits...

Inform himself on my homepage? THIS MAN IS A GENIUS. Sadly he performs it in German and therefore he'll also finish stone motherless last but that's not the point. I think I'll have a very minor wager on him just in case wackiness is the in-thing across Europe this year.

I'm also looking forward to these highly fashionable Estonians,

with their song "Eighties Coming Back". It's ok to look like a tool if you mean it. Or maybe that's how Estonians really dress, I don't know. They had some black guy who sounded like Snoop Dog representing them a couple of years back so obviously anything goes in the Baltic states. That was a good song though, unlike when the British stole Australia's own (alleged) ecstacy takin', live song fakin' tart-with-a-heart Gina G and her rancid "Ooh ahh Just a Little Bit" song as their own a few years back. Not surprisingly the experiment failed and they went back to discovering new and exciting new acts like, erm Katrina and the Waves (winners in 1997).

True story - Jeff Kennett once half-seriously suggested Australia should enter the Eurovision song contest. When it was pointed out to him that a vital component of the entire process was to be a European nation the idea died fairly quickly. Why then are Israel in it? I know they can't play in the Middle Eastern sporting competitions because half their opponents want to kill them but under which bizarre rule are they considered Europeans for the purposes of singing competitions? Is there a "Arabvision" Song Contest that they're banned from or something?

Anyway, make sure you tune in on Sunday to see just how well the zany Austrian tilt stands up. You can be sure that by Monday afternoon I'll have a full dissertation on the contest and it's implications for the fragile world situation posted right here.

I'm tremendously impressed by the way that the petition being bandied around on the Socialist table that sets up on Swanston Street every day has gone from "don't start the war" (pre-war), to "stop the war" (during war) to "end the occupation of Iraq" (immediately post-war) to "stop Howard's War budget" (now). Pick a cause and stick with it.

Much fun was had tonight when some pisshead starting taunting them. It was a nil-all draw for intelligence but somebody has to do it.

Well, wasn't Colonel's Day a complete dud? I must have gone past 10 KFC's and not once did I see a man dressed as the famed Colonel throwing free pieces of fried chicken to the waiting masses.

What a cheap bastard.

The terror hotline is still going apparently. Not that they've got anything but 11,000 prank calls yet.

"Hello Terror Hotline"
"Good evening, is your country running"
"Yes it is"
"WELL YOU BETTER GO CATCH IT THEN!"

I've Never Been There

A weekly look at countries they didn't bother teaching you about in school.

4. Central African Republic

The former French colony of Ubangi-Shari became the Central African Republic upon independence in 1960. After three tumultuous decades of misrule - mostly by military governments - a civilian government was installed in 1993.

Location: Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Population: 3,576,884

Ethnic groups: Baya 34%, Banda 27%, Sara 10%, Mandjia 21%, Mboum 4%, M'Baka 4%, Europeans 6,500 (including 1,500 French)

Religions: Protestant 25%, Roman Catholic 25%, Indigenous beliefs 24%, Muslim 15%, other 11%

Languages: French (official), Sangho (national language), Arabic, Hunsa, Swahili

Capital: Bangui
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 3, shortwave 1
Television broadcast stations: None
Railways: None
Highways: 23,810 km

International Disputes - None

13 Jul 1894: Haut-Oubangui
29 Dec 1903: Oubangui-Chari
15 Jan 1910: Part of French Equatorial Africa
27 Oct 1946: French overseas territory
1 Dec 1958: Autonomy (Central African Republic)
13 Aug 1960: Independence
4 Dec 1976 - 20 Sep 1979: Central African Empire

Thursday, 15 May 2003

Friends, I bring you news of an important new festival that has been added to our already crowded cultural character. According to the windows of every KFC in the Melbourne CBD tomorrow, May 17th is Colonel's Day.

I have no idea what this festival actually involves (not giving away any free food I'm willing to bet) but I like the idea anyway. So, if you see this man, make sure you pay him the appropriate tribute. Full report tomorrow of any Colonel Day festivities I come across.

Tuesday, 13 May 2003

I don't profess to listen to, understand or take any interest in most of the musical acts in the charts (such an old man) so can somebody explain to me what is going on in that Robbie Williams video where he walks around in little more than a clearly stuffed pair of underpants?

And more importantly why hasn't he done a decent song in three years? Are the two connected? Such are the wonders of the music industry.

What in GODS NAME is going on at the AFL? Michael O'Loughlin escapes scrutiny for pushing the umpire out of the way AFTER he'd kicked a goal yet almost every other player (I think one got off) who has touched an umpire this year has been suspended. Jeff White got a week when the idiot ran into him! What a disgrace.

Given the fact that the letters to the Football Record are incredibly rigged every week ("Dear AFL Record, I love the AFL. Please tell me why Wayne Jackson should be voted Pope") I doubt they'll ever print my contribution (even though I've sent it in) so I suppose I'll have to post it here.

Dear Footy Record,

When will the AFL remove their lips from the KNOB of the Sydney Swans? You've engineered a Premiership or two for Brisbane. Is it going to be Sydney's turn this year?

Adam
Melbourne, Victoria

It turns out that the Tim Webster/Carpet Snake interface at the Logies wasn't a fix at all. The very smart creature actually bit him. There's about 300 "biting a dick" jokes to be made here, but I'll remain content in the fact that it was actually legit. Pity the snake wasn't venomous really.

Monday, 12 May 2003

An absolutely sensational site is the Football Club History Database. It's an archive job on thousands of sides to have played senior football (soccer) in the UK.

A few of my favourite team names found so far,

Abergavenny Thursdays
Birmingham College of Food
Birmingham Corporation Tramways
Black Lane Temperance
Derby Carriage and Wagon
Folkestone Invicta
Gascoine Estate Crew
Giffen Wheathampstead
Hawker Sidderley Dynamics Hatfield
Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association
Little Bloxwich Strollers
Middlesborough Ironopolis
National Smelting Company
New Brighton Tower
Number 23 PTC
Parliament Street Methodists
Post Office Telecoms
Rank Xerox
Washington Chemical Works
Wiltshire County Mental Hospital

An awesome piece of historical reference. Even if only to highlight team names that entertain me. I'm such a sucker for these sorts of things.

Get your Stereotype on:

A WOMAN prisoner is still at large after fleeing from the Geelong Hospital on Saturday afternoon. Carolyn Munyard, 21, of Tallis Street, Norlane, was in a room at the hospital's birthing unit when she escaped, possibly down the fire escape into Myers Street.

Munyard is 165cms (5'6") tall, of slim build, had long blonde hair and at the time of her escape was wearing blue track pants and a light blue crop top and no shoes.

She also has no front teeth.

Some of those weak sketch comedy shows could write entire episodes on this incident alone if they weren't such bogans themselves.

Yesterday at the football I realised just what I miss after the death of the Ponsford Stand. When Melbourne were playing another team with no fans (effectively everyone except Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon and Richmond) you could stand right up the back of the top deck and be as much of a prick as you wanted without having to worry about offending anyone else. I can just imagine having been the only person for a hundred metres amongst the blockbusting crowd of 12,000 there yesterday. There was far too much banter with my fellow supporters, I didn't think much of it.

Of course the flip-side to the equation is that when the team finally wins some kind of competition you want as many of your fellow supporters there as possible to celebrate with. Unfortunately when you follow Melbourne there's not much danger of that happening.
Against my better judgement I tuned into most of the Logies tonight, for want of anything better to watch until the soccer came on and while it was a pretty ordinary affair there were a couple of things that screamed "classic moments" at me.

The first was when Steve Irwin showed up, but in the midst of his pissy dialogue with Eddie McGuire he tripped off the stage and almost took a sick bump right through the Sports Tonight table with a deadly enough looking snake in hand causing Tim Webster to nearly shit himself live on national television. Now, I'm always suspicious that these sort of things might be rigged but in this case I'd rather believe it was all unplanned because anything that makes that idiot Tim Webster look like an even bigger fool than usual is alright in my book.

The second moment of inspiration was when Don Lane was doing his Logies Hall of Fame acceptance speech and suddenly went into a verbal attack not seen on an Australian awards show since, well never. He said that the producers had told him to make it quick but because it was his Hall of Fame induction and because "You had women singing out here earlier with 12 guys dancing, and three of them couldn't even dance and you didn't tell them to hurry up" that he'd do as he liked and then added "Up yours buddy, I'll take as long as I like" to the clear bemusement of the producer wanker on the floor in front of him and the utter joy of the two thousand pissed to the eyeballs television 'celebrities' in the room. It ruled! Sadly they didn't bring up the thorny issue of his coffee table shenanigans or attempt a long-lost reconciliation with his old sparring partner Ernie Sigley. But you can't have everything.

Rove McManus won the Gold Logie which was a surprise to me. His show is amusing enough (even if I forgo it most weeks for more intellectual programming) but if he's the next Bert Newton or Graham Kennedy then I'm the second coming of Jebus. I remember seeing that show he did on Channel 31 years ago called "The Loft" and it was pretty ordinary. Nothing in comparison to community TV's greatest ever show In Melbourne Tonight anyway. The people who did that should rightfully be claiming awards at crappy ceremonies now.

And how completely PISSED was Sam Newman when the Footy Show won it's award? When they were leaving and the dais did it's miraculous 'disappear into the ground' thing he was staring and pointing at it in complete amazement. Sensational.

We also voted several times for the great Les Murray from SBS Sport as the best dressed person at the ceremony (even though we can't be sure he was even there), sadly this attempted stack went the way of our campaign to get him the Gold Logie a couple of years back and the prize went to Delta bloody Goodrem instead. The conspiracy was obvious there. I'm still in the running for some pointless TV Week magazine prize though. If I win it'll be dedicated to Les.

Ingenuity

Remember flash mobs? Wasn't that a craze that did even have it's fifteen minutes of fame. Well I've thought of a way to bring it back into the public focus and have a bit of fun as well.

It's called Flash Rioting. Now the 'mob' people might come up with crazy things to do like mass pointing to the sky in a comic fashion outside Flinders Street but my plan is far more simple than that.

Pick a Saturday night. Any Saturday night. Send our an SMS to the mailing list early in the afternoon announcing where and when the meeting is going to happen. Then your eager punters save all their empties before converging on a suitable public landmark at the appointed time - go somewhere everybody hates and nobody goes to - like Federation Square. At an appointed signal everybody hurls their cache of VB Stubbies at the target and then run off.

Sounds like fun to me. The law? Never heard of it.

Sunday, 11 May 2003

Well, it was a satisfying day today. Melbourne beat Port Adelaide - despite giving us all a fright by turning a 47 point lead ten minutes into the last quarter into 21 before sealing it. There's was some more fairly inspid play (although some of the Port players might be enjoying a week in the SANFL next week - especially that cheating bastard Pickett) but players like Leoncelli and Green who were under pressure to retain their spot played really well.

There was this whinging Port fan sitting behind me rabbiting on about how it didn't matter what the result was because Melbourne were going to go bust and/or merge with the Bulldogs (or move somewhere else, the old tart couldn't quite decide which). When I started talking about people who follow teams that have been in the league for five minutes being arrogant pricks she started shrieking "But the AFL has only been around for five minutes!" I chose to point out that without the Melbourne teams she'd be watching Port Magpies vs Norwood in the SANFL but she didn't want to respond. Just sat there bagging her own team out for four quarters.

Sadly she ran away before the final siren and avoided the massive verbal spray I had planned. But didn't she almost blow a valve when the attendance of just over 12,000 come up? So, we've got no fans. Who cares? We're financially secure and that's all that matters. People who follow teams with shite colors and the worst theme song in the league can FOAD as far as I'm concerned. I've never had anything (colors and song aside) against the Power before, but I have now.

We've got Richmond next Saturday (a night game, thank god, which means I can go). I'm not too confident, the Tigers have been surprisingly good and Richardson always plays his one good game against us every year.

Saturday, 10 May 2003

Pretty much the last place I would have anticipated spending my Saturday night was at the Hell on Earth Dome watching a St. Kilda game, but these are the kind of bizarre things that happen to me.

As much as I'm trying desperately to engineer a rivalry with the criminals (and heckling Powell every time he touched the ball was a start, even though nobody could understand why I was doing it) I've got to admit that they've got a potentially great team going around at the moment. I picked them to run fifth this year, but without much confidence. It was more a case this season of picking all the teams that weren't good enough to crack the eight and slotting the rest in after Port Adelaide and Brisbane. The Saints have won three in a row now, and it's looking increasingly like they'll be the breakout side of 2003. Which would be hurting me if they didn't have such an attractive side (Powell excluded).

They've still got some problems though. Fraser Gehrig is so crippled that when he lined up on Mick Martyn we joked that they'd need to have an ambulance parked in the forward pocket to cart them both off to hospital halfway through the first quarter. He kicked 2.5, both goals coming from tap-ins and all the points from set shots. He's also cultivating an absolutely shocking 'balding head with mullet' look (the Bruce Doull as it shall henceforth be known). They also benefited from a few shocking Carlton skill errors and a couple of mystifying umpiring decisions.

On the whole though I'd have to give the "Shut the fuck up" award for crowd participation to the Carlton bogans tonight. Every decision that went against them was greeted with a five minute speech on how biased the entire league was against them, what a conspiracy it was etc.. etc.. Some old guy sitting in front of me was on the verge of having a stroke halfway through the first quarter. Reminded of that great game in 1997 when Melbourne snapped the massive losing streak by beating the Blues (Schwarz with 4) and some Carlton psychopath started yelling in my face "THE UMPIRES GAVE IT TO YOU!" and I was like "Yes, they did. And we appreciated it".

So there you have it, I'm going to praise both St. Kilda's style of play and behaviour of their fans in one night. You may never see this again, so savour it. Next thing I'll be praising Manchester United and paying tribute to the excellent fiscal policies of the Bracks State Government. Or maybe not.

And, in tonight's special edition Telstra Dome whinge, it took almost an hour to get out of the ground. What dickhead decided to build it so all the exits funnel into just one or two places? Compare this to the MCG where at least 75% of the gates, if not more, lead straight into open space meaning the crowds can disperse in quick fashion. I thought it was bad at Telstra when you were trying to go home in the midst of a 20,000 crowd, but there were 45 thousand there tonight and it was an absolute nightmare. People were actually looking over the edge at a 20 foot drop with that "I wonder how much it'll actually hurt" look on their faces. One day some pisshead is actually going to take the leap after waiting 90 minutes to get to the train station.

I'm off to the MCG tomorrow to see Melbourne against Port Adelaide. Theoretically we shouldn't have a hope but I've got a feeling that some of our supposed 'stars' (*cough* Travis Johnstone *cough*) might have to play their asses off to avoid a trip back to the reserves next week.
The bizarre life of an African mass-murderer,

Sierra Leone warlord Sam Bockarie will be remembered for allegedly advocating a particularly horrific tactic of war: the deliberate and widespread practice of hacking off the limbs, lips and ears of his victims.

Mr Bockarie, who died aged 40, was wanted by the United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal for his alleged part in the atrocities.

What a bastard eh? But just to prove that there's a human side to every psychopath...

In his time, he was also a disco dancing champion, diamond miner, hairdresser, electrician and waiter.

Puts a new spin on that song "Murder on the Dancefloor" doesn't it? Those zany Africans.
I've Never Been There

A weekly look at countries they didn't bother teaching you about in school.

3. Aruba

Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986. More recently the islands have achieved notoriety for being mentioned in the Beach Boys song "Kokomo"

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela

Population: 70,007

Ethnic groups: Mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%

Religions: Roman Catholic 82%, Protestant 8%, Hindu, Muslim, Confucian, Jewish

Languages: Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English dialect), English (widely spoken), Spanish

Capital: Oranjestad
Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 6
Television broadcast stations: 1
Internet Country Code: .AW
Railways: None
Highways: 800km

International Disputes - None

1634 - Dutch colony
1805 - 1816 British domination
1828 - Part of Dutch West Indies
1848 - Part of Netherlands Antilles
1 Jan 1986 - Separation from Netherlands Antilles

Wednesday, 7 May 2003

Something I never grow tired of is the elevator music you hear in Melbourne's City Loop train stations. Presumably it's being played to stop marauding gangs of teenagers congregating but sometimes it crosses the line from deterrant to laughing stock.

Usually you get the kind of middle-of-the-road stuff you'd hear on what cocaine-snorting executives term "Adult contemporary" radio. A decent example for Melbourne viewers would be 3MP. It's all Neil Diamond, The Carpenters and Carole King. A bit of Roger Voudoruis or Rocky Burnette would be nice too, but you can't have everything.

Today they raised the bar to an all-new record by playing what seemed to be an entire CD of Abba instrumentals. I was down there for 10 minutes waiting for my train home and I got Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You and a couple of others, complete with xylophone solos. Now, I know it's sad that I could actually identify these tunes without the words but that's the kind of person I am ok?

Anyway, that was my entertainment for the afternoon. I'd like to be the person who selects what they play so that just as I was going to quite I could spin some tunes like "Cop Killer" and "Fuck tha Police" for comedy value. It's good to have an aim in life isn't it?

Tuesday, 6 May 2003

The Retro hits just keep on coming here at TSP. Consider this pre-2001 election rant directed at everyone's favourite failed former Democrats leader (and there's a huge selection to pick from). Note the failed assumption that Tash would ignite the youth vote and have a long and successful reign as leader of her party.

Laughing at....
Cheryl Kernot

How the golden girl has hit the skids. First thing after jumping ship from the Demo's to the ALP she cracks up under the pressure of doing nothing, wins her seat by the grand margin of 0.1% and is continually shuffled around the Labor front bench as she proves totally inept at being an MP. Now she's totally flipped it in an attempt to defend her tiny margin in the Brisbane electorate of Dixon, two days in a row she upstaged that bloke who runs the opposition.. Lets take a look

* Shezza claimed to her electorate that she was there for them because she lived in the area and shared their concerns. Funny that she'd claimed to the Tax Office that a flat in Surfers Paradise was her prime place of residence. Even funnier that by doing that she managed to save herself $50,000 in Stamp Duty - that's convenient!

* Best of all, in a bizzare interview she questioned her Liberal opponents past employment performance by saying "Why don't you ask him why he left the drug squad". He responded to this attempt to smear his name with allegations of corruption by pulling out the commendation he'd been given by the Police Commissioner when he left the service. Good one Cheryl!

Understandably the leader has backed old Nutbags Kernot fully, after all why would you admit that by stealing her away from the Democrats that they effectively set it up for Natasha to steal the majority of the youth vote? Furthermore he's subscribing to her wild conspiracy theories about it being a plot against her. How can you label it a plot when you've been caught out for being stupid? That's like a criminal, and the Queensland ALP know a lot of those, standing up in court and saying it was a huge conspiracy against him that the cops found a bloodied dagger in his fridge and a note in his handwriting saying "I did it, my phone number is 93242355. Call me for more details"

We salute Cheryl for being a subscriber to our credo of "Loose talk and foolish behaviour" Bravo!

Monday, 5 May 2003

Maybe it's my natural aversion to theme restaurants (see previous diatribes against the All-Star Cafe) but there's not really anywhere else in the world I'd less rather eat than the Hard Rock Cafe.

I walked into the Melbourne version once, took one look at the ludicrously high price and another at what could best be described as slop being served allegedly as food and left again. You can't justify charging $8 for a hamburger just because you've got a couple of gold records sold by the Teen Queens for drug money hanging in the entranceway.

The worst thing about it is the slogan they have in neon over the doorway, I see this everyday and I still can't work out exactly what they're trying to get at. "No drugs or Nuclear Weapons allowed inside". I've been mulling over that for a few weeks now and I can't find an appropriate way to describe it, the best I can do is that it's just so... lame. To use my favourite word in the entire English language, it's a wankfest.

Ignoring the obvious irony of drugs and rock not being allowed to co-exist that slogan is just so weak on so many different levels it almost bursts my tiny little brain trying to work it out when I see it. Can you quite confidentally stroll in there with a shotgun and order an overpriced plate of slop? As long as it's not nuclear you should be right. Packing a vial of deadly Anthrax? You're laughing!

If I ever profess a desire to actually go there (after having sold my kidney to finance it) and a have a meal please shoot me.
Rejoice fans of terrible television. If, for some reason, you're up at 5am you can now enjoy (if that's the word) ye-olde repeats of the worst game show in history - Keynotes, hosted by Richard "f'ing" Wilkins.

I really can't write anything that would do justice to how terrible this show is, but if you didn't see it in 1991 just let me tell you it contains mullets, people with mullets singing, mind-bendingly confusing rules, music that makes MIDI seem highly technical and, of course, more Richard Wilkins than you can shake a useless TV presenter at.

Do yourself a favour (as the man in the hat would say) and set the video for tomorrow morning. It's well worth another viewing - just the one mind you.
Retro Rant
August, 2001

Let's celebrate the fall of Hussein with this 'cancelled due to potential legal problems' rant from a couple of years back.

5 Murderous Regimes

Iraq
Since coming to power in 1979 Saddam Hussein and his gang of madmen have killed dissidents, Kurds, Kuwaiti’s, US Soldiers, Shi’ites, Iranians, dissenting family members and anyone else they could get their hands on. Most of his original allies are now dead, more often than not on the orders of the President himself.

Achieved a record breaking 100% votes in the last Presidential election, not a great surprise considering he was the only candidate on the ballot and the voting was conducted at gun point.

China

Punished for their oppression of Tibet, crushing of dissidents with tanks and continued aggression towards Taiwan by winning the 2008 Olympic Games for Beijing.

While the IOC continually push the line that the games will open Western-style democracy to the Chinese people their leaders are currently celebrating this great coup by murdering members of harmless religious groups and executing car thieves by the thousands. Not to mention stealing American spy-planes. What bastards!

North Korea

According to the official party line President Kim Jong Il was born somewhere on the Chinese border, where - "At the time of his birth there were flashes of lightning and thunder, the iceberg in the pond on Mount Paekdu emitted a mysterious sound as it broke, and bright double rainbows rose up." This isn’t the stupidest thing you’ll hear from a man whose refusal to deal with western democracy or Chinese dicatatorship has plunged his country into one of the world’s worst food shortages. Designated to succeed his father, who was equally nutty but had far less impressive hair, in 1980 but didn’t ascend to the top job until 1997, three years after Kim Il Sung’s death.

Zimbabwe

The up and coming stars of international dictatorship. President Mugabe has oppressed gays, rigged elections, killed his political opponents and given so-called 'war veterans' the green light to occupy and take over white owner farms. Still treated like royalty by dozens of the insignificant countries that make up the Commonwealth.

Phillip Morris

No, we didn’t say that - really.

Saturday, 3 May 2003

We're all ashamed of the music we used to listen to when we were kiddies - and rightly so. I found a cassette single of Skyhooks "Jukebox in Siberia" under my bed tonight. That could possibly be the worst song in the history of the entire world and I actually payed good money somewhere between 1989 and 1991 for it.

In the same haul I discovered an inordinate amount of tapes featuring monstrosities like Technotronic and Snap. The only one (of about 20) that I'm not embarassed to admit I own is "Tom's Diner" by DNA featuring Suzanne Vega - that song kicks seven different kinds of ass. It had an awful video though, which is probably why you never saw it anywhere on TV when the song was in the charts.
I never thought it was possible, but the AFL have actually redesigned their website to make it even less user-friendly. You used to be able to access the full stats of any game within a couple of hours of it ending, now they're nowhere to be found.

And the less said about the template 'club' sites they've been imposing on us the better. I can't remember reading the Melbourne site once in the past year until I went looking for today's game stats there just before. I finally found them buried inside this site.

But you can watch highlights of last weeks games if you pay them $100! Will technological wonders never cease?
"We're testing a new version of Blogger. Interesting in learning more?"

How about we get the old one to work first?

Friday, 2 May 2003

I've Never Been There

TSP's weekly look at countries they didn't bother teaching you about in school.

2. Burkina Faso

Independence from France came to Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) in 1960. Governmental instability during the 1970s and 1980s was followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s. Several hundred thousand farm workers migrate south every year to Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana

Location: Western Africa, north of Ghana

Population: 11,946,065 (July 2000 est.)
Ethnic groups: Mossi over 40%, Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo, Mande, Fulani
Religions: Muslim 50%, Indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian (mainly Roman Catholic) 10%
Languages: French (official), native African languages belonging to Sudanic family spoken by 90% of the population
Capital: Ouagadougou

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 17, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)
Railways: 622 km
Highways: 12,506 km

International Disputes - None

1904 Part of Haut-Sénégal-Niger
1919 French colony (part of French West Africa)
1933 partitioned between French Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Niger
1947 French territory
1958 autonomy (Republic of Upper Volta)
1960 Independence
1984 Renamed Burkina Faso
Well, the war is officially over. Officially according to the winners anyway. If the Afghanistan conflict is anything to go by the two sides will be slaughtering each other wholesale for another couple of years yet.

Media wankers rejoice, you can all take junkets to Iraq without (much) fear of being blown up!

Thursday, 1 May 2003

For those of you who are excited by that sort of thing, Happy May Day! For those of you who aren't I hope you were as excited by the scenes of pissed unionists making idiots of themselves in your particular city this afternoon as I was.

Glad to see that the people who are putting all those buildings together are handling their raging alcohol problem so well!