Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Up goddammit

My plan was to listen to the first 10 overs and then go to bed in order to get up early enough to hear the final 10 overs however this plan has failed. First there was a couple of quick wickets and the prospect of an early dismissal/quick win and then there was a prolonged coughing fit of backin15-junior.

Now I'm up, munchy and alert - not so much so that a fifth of bourbon wouldn't suffice but for the fact I've not got one/any...

Bondy's just knocked over Silva LBW ... hang about Cricinfo is reporting an inside edge:
34.3 Bond to Silva, OUT, unlucky! Bond switches to a fuller length, gets it to angle in from outside off stump, Silva gets stuck deep in the crease, jabs the bat down onto it, gets a relatively thick inside-edge back onto the pads - an awkward noise, if ever there was one - and after a couple of seconds Koertzen raises the finger. Unfortunate decision for Silva
Oh well...

Bring on Australia and yet another sleepless night... practice for the Rugby World Cup perhaps?

67 for 2

After 13.2 overs, NZ has Sri Lanka two down for a respectable 67 - 5 an over. The two dangermen are out, Jayasuryia and Sangakara. I might now retire for the night/morning in the expectation/hope we'll win this...

Radiosport and baggygreen have kept me fixated on the game... and Vettori strikes, Tharanga's gone bowled. This must be the break-through. NZ must bowl the Sri Lankan's out for no more than 250.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Glamour boys

Hamish McDouall's post over at publicaddress has got me thinking about what makes a balanced team. You need a couple of dead-set stars, you need a solid group of players who don't get injured and seldom have an off-day, you need consistent selection policy, confidence and form, excellent leadership and a Plan B.

To the extent that he's following my advice, Fleming probably thinks his team exhibits these characteristics and a few more besides. In him, Bond and Vettori NZ cricket has a clutch of players who are at or near the top of their class. Fleming is clearly one of the best captains of the last 5 years and, when he's playing well, he is dominating and elegant, capable of playing all around the park. Bond and Vettori deserve to be second and eighth best bowlers in One Day Internationals. In Oram, McCullum, Styris we have three players who are never intimidated but perhaps a little too injury prone (McCullum excepted). Bracewell's selections have been predictable, perhaps not Tuffey however, and form and confidence are high - particularly for the likes of McMillen and Ross Taylor.

I'm not so sure about whether or not they have a Plan B* however and possibly this explains the loss to Sri Lanka - now a run of four in a row - NZ need to revisit their strategy for Sri Lanka else win or lose tonight, they'll not progress to the final.

*I remember watching NZ play Wales in the 2002 Rugby World Cup where it was clear NZ did not have a back-up plan and Wales almost pulled off an upset win (interestingly, it seemed to me that Justin Marshall took over leadership of the team just after the second half started and Wales scored a try...).

Don't do it John...

Don't coach Pakistan! Why move to Lahore and have to deal with the endemic fraud of cricket on the sub-continent when you could instead take-over England (with its endemic pomposity)?

I'm looking forward to tonight's clash with Australia. Australia will think that the 3-nil loss in NZ doesn't matter since so many of their stars were unavailable and, with both Oram's unavailability and Watson being back, it's a game between very different sides however NZ must feel confident nonetheless. Both teams have form with bat and ball, both are confident.

I've read that the toss has been very important in some of the games with conditions greatly affecting bowling - it'd be a pity if that was the case tonight (unless we were the beneficiaries) however either way NZ can afford no wayward bowling and must not lose earlier wickets - watching England beat Australia in the tri-series, it was obvious that Ponting's team don't have many back-up options (why would you if you were almost always successful with plan A?) and make uncharacteristic errors when under sustained pressure (another reason why the loss of Oram is a real disappointment).

Barrack with your heart but bet the odds...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Eyes on the undercard

In keeping with sporting metaphors, in the fight for the Lodge, keep your eyes on the undercard match-up between Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull.

Rudd and Howard's fight will be oh-so-cautious. Both will keep their distance, preferring the staged and heavily refereed engagements over anything bare-knuckled. Control of the ring is their objective and already Rudd seems to have the upper-hand as Howard's distracted by the constant movements in his corner. Garrett and Turnbull on the other hand are willing and eager - both are used to media attention and used to winning. They'll wade in, confident of their training and tactics and not in the least bit wary of their opponent.

But it's not just the protagonists that make this an interesting match-up, it's also the issue; sustainability. Five rate rises since the last election and doubts about AWAs have the Howard-government on the backfoot. The Liberal party's moves on water, on clean-coal and on carbon sinks are all designed to bloster their bona fides on sustainability without the need for compromise. Howard's constant message on Kyoto has been it'd costs Australian jobs and therefore he'll not sign - Turnbull will struggle with this (witness the disagreement with Stern) Labor's policy is to ratify Kyoto, but this presents problems in a number of key seats where there's a risk of job-losses (remember Latham's* ham-fisted management of forestry policy cost them two Tasmanian seats).

This election will be compelling. It'll go to the judges for sure; expect no knock-out punch this time, no Tampa nor interest rate scaremongering. This will be a close points decision and in the early rounds at least, I've got the ALP ahead.

*Thinking about Latham's post-election meltdown, I'm reminded of Oliver McCall's breakdown in his 1997 fight with Lennox Lewis. Bonus points for other obvious comparisons (no points for rope-a-dope, it's too obvious).

Monday, April 02, 2007

So un-hip it's a wonder your bum doesn't fall off...

Somehow I've managed to avoid being an Arthur Dent in this MotherJones guide to all that's hip in music... fortunately I'm in love Arcade Fire (and quite like Peter Bjorn and John).

Hat tip: whoar

Martin Luther King's Beyond Vietnam speech

In 1967 Martin Luther King gave his Beyond Vietnam speech - I remember studying it as part of some high school course though I don't recall why. I've not thought of it since, but tonight as I gave my father a lift across town, I heard it on the radio - I don't think I've ever heard it before. King's rhetorical style is compelling; he is lyrical and passionate but somehow restrained and calm.

The full text of the speech is here but there's one part that struck me tonight, the part that spoke of the American malady. King could be speaking of current events, his prescience is profound.

First he implores the US to cease its aggression in Vietnam saying:
"If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative that to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people."
Later he states that there Vietnam is a tragic symptom of an American malady, that if the lessons of the 60s aren't learned, the mistakes will be made again and again. He says:
"The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organising "clergy and laymen concerned" committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy..."
King urges us to protest, however we feel we might saying "Every man of man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that suits his convictions, but we must all protest".

Thinking about the debate about the invasion of Iraq and the war on terror, it is impossible not to see the parallels with Vietnam and to wonder what might have been had the advice of King been heeded.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Milestone (of sorts)

I've blogged for a year now, 268 posts, I suspect that puts me in the 90 percentile? I imagine most bloggers quickly lose interest as either their audience or their spare time diminishes. For me its a bit of both. Good blogging is not something that can be done quickly. The best bloggers are good writers and good writing is time consuming.

In this last year, the single most challenging blog post I've read was written by krimsonlake (earlier blog posts no longer appear). Her post about the banality and frustration of life on a benefit was the perfect antidote to the likes of Lindsay Mitchell. It was honest and simple and it was searingly authentic.

I now content myself with a clutch of regular reads, publicaddress, NRT, span, mainlypolitics and the always amusing grabthar and spareroom, plus a few others mainly through their feeds. I still regularly check for when waiterrant, browncardigan, and cheezy have posted new stuff too.

I hope to be able to blog a little more frequently after last months hiatus - regular trips to Canberra mean early starts and later nights (I spent 38 mins waiting for a taxi at Sydney airport last Wednesday night, that's almost exactly how long I was in the bloody air getting there)...

If I could choose just a few posts of my own that I enjoyed writing it would be this little series on migration.

I still don't own an iPod.