Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The fall and rise of Andrew Walker

Dual international, Andrew Walker is on the verge of signing for the Queensland Reds having spent two years banned from league and union and 6 months playing in France.

I distinctly remember his debut for the Wallabies, he came on as a late replacement in the game of the century. He only played 7 tests for the Wallabies before he ran into trouble as a result of an addiction to alcohol. Eventually, he left the Brumbies to rejoin the NRL playing for Manly however he ran into more trouble eventually being banned for testing positive for cocaine.

I read an article about him a year or so back in which he and his wife talked about his struggle with addiction and his attempts to straighten up (including by starting a lawn mowing business). Personally, I'm really pleased for the guy - unlike Wendall Sailor, who comes across as a deluded baffoon, Walker has always seemed pretty frank about his problems. I doubt he'll get close to international selection but it'd be great to see him in the Super 14.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Voldemort's new plan for Harry

Unable to knock him off in the movies, Voldemort's got Harry hooked on drugs.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Nice Dick 2

The press coverage of Cheney's visit has been limited as has the blogosphere's. Small protests have been held in and around the city and we're continually buzzed by Blackhawk helicopters, using the visit as a training exercise for the forthcoming APEC meeting.

I doubt Howard will benefit from Cheney's visit. Cheney's praise for Australia's efforts sounds simply desparate; the thanks you offer a friend who you know is only on your team 'cause they weren't picked by the other side (and who you suspect might be about to fake an injury...). Worse still, the decision to send an additional 70 troops has been overshadowed by the reduction in the UK forces and crumbling of the Coalition of the Willing.

The real interest is in watching how Rudd plays his part. He's clearly not going to concede foreign policy to the Government and he has good reason to feel like he has Howard's measure - not least of all because he has overtaken Howard as preferred PM. I particularly like this comment from Polemica:
"Intelligent people have long since made up their mind on Iraq and the valour of the current United States administration. If you haven’t yet decided the war in Iraq was wrong-headed and morally reprehensible in consequence, you are not likely to. What is important now is whether or not the alternative government in this country can successfully impress itself upon the electorate as retrospective salve to the mistakes made by the conservatives."

Wireless wok-network

Hillary's Everest, Rutherford's atom, Bluebird's rashuns and now Oamaru's wok-network... NZ at the forefront of innovation (or is that adaptation) again.

Hat tip:

Lindsay Knight's timely warning

Lindsay Knight's comparison of the All Blacks with the Australian cricket team is a timely warning.

Having watched the Ashes closely, I was amazed to see the Aussie's fall away so badly - even accounting for the fact that a number of players were missing from the side that toured NZ. NZ rugby has depth the equal of Australia's cricketing community, but take McCaw and Carter out of the starting XV and we might be as vulnerable as Hussey's team was in the Chappell/Hadlee.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nice Dick

VP Cheney's in Sydney. Drumming up support for his pyramid-war scheme no doubt; Howard's a starter, Cossie too. Anyhoo, Dick's secruity means my block's a security risk... no one can get in or out for meetings without endless traffic and who can be arsed... Great stuff, picked up my youngest and had the afternoon off. Cheers Dick!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The case for and against David Hicks

SBS has posted the highlights from the Insight debate regarding the detention of David Hicks (a full transcript is here). This debate includes both prosecuting and defense counsel, as well as his family and the Australian AG, Ruddock. Watching Terry Hicks struggle to calmly respond to the mock concern of Ruddock is quite something.

The Australian government has grossly misjudged this situation.

Over at RoadtoSurfdom there's an excellent summary and analysis of the debate.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

3 nil, 3 nil, 3 nil...

A few years back, Ms backin15 and I travelled up to BrisVegas to see the decider in the last Chappell/Hadlee series... weather meant the game never started and the trophy was not awarded as the series was tied (we went to the Australian Zoo instead).

I'm fully reconciled now.

Macca deserves the man-of-the-series award.

Whinging Aussies 3

A hat-trick of stories this morning featuring Australian sports people having a moan.

The latest is Gilly saying that the Australian's didn't want to tour NZ for the Chapple/Hadlee series ahead of the World Cup in the West Indies.

This seems a bit precious to me frankly - NZ's series against the Sri Lankan's was certainly not as long or as hard as the Ashes but otherwise it appears to me as if most sides in the World Cup have had similar schedules in '07 and few countries have anything like the depth Australia has (had).

Quick vocab test

Hat tip: Spareroom.

Your Vocabulary Score: A
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Whinging Aussies 2

As much as I like to hear coaches and players speak frankly, I've got to say I'm weary of Jones' continual comments about the standard of refereeing. Each week he's been more and more strident in his criticisms, this last week labeling Matt Goddard ""disgraceful", "ludicrous", and "lacking common sense" (never mind that the Australian referee panel said Goddard had performed above satisfaction).

The Reds lost in a boring game by playing boring rugby - rather than slagging the refs, he ought to be apologising for the fact that his side played in the lowest scoring game in the Super-rugby history...

Whinging Aussies

This year's Super 14 is a tough competition. So tough that the pre-match entertainment can influence the outcome of a match according to the 'Tahs. Apparently, a combination of misguided parachutists and an extra two and half minutes at half time was enough to put the 'Tahs off their game...

I thought it was the three tries they gave up inside the first 20 mins.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'd be a filthy traitor too

Hat tip: Tim Blair.

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 98%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Australia to send more troops?

Cheney's on his way to 'Staya to ask for more troops... I wonder what Howard will say?

Hicks home "regardless" of trial outcome

Various media are quoting government sources as saying Hicks will be home by the end of the year apparently regardless of the outcome of his upcoming trial. This remarkable turnaround is both good news and an indictment on the Howard government.

Howard's initial attitude to Hicks was to declare him guilty by geographical association. He repeatedly declared Hicks a terrorist (Costello too, as recently as yesterday), deserving of his inhumane incarceration, despite Hicks having never been tried. In the last twelve months, Howard's battlers have become increasingly sympathetic to Hicks' plight if not his case, causing Howard to soften his position slightly. Recently, he made the claim that he could have had Hicks bought home at any point if he'd wanted but didn't think it appropriate (despite the fact that the UK did).

Now that he's finally realised Hicks will hurt him at the polls, Howard's trying to minimise the damage by saying he'll be bought home regardless of the verdict in the sham-trial that will soon begin. I bet that won't be until after the election - Hicks presence in Australia as either a free man or as a prisoner would severely damage the Liberals electoral prospects.

Blackcaps back from the brink

I've got to admit that when the Blackcaps lost their opening games in the CB series in Australia, I thought they were very ordinary and wasn't looking forward to the World Cup. It was the first time I'd seen Taylor and Fulton though and they looked good however they weren't being supported and even Fleming looked like he was in trouble.

But what an amazing turnaround. Not only did they beat Australia with ten wickets in hand, they then chase down 300+ and win with balls to spare.

Sure there's no Gilly or Punter but the Australian's have to be feeling a little wary going to the Windies and Fleming's got every right to claim that NZ are the dark horse.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rationing toilet paper: damnation without relief

DFAT confirms that David Hicks access to toilet paper is restricted to 30 sheets at a time. If it wasn't so obscene, it'd be funny - in fact, I'm sure Rowan Atkinson had a gag about there being no toilets in hell because, as the Bible says, it's "damnation without relief".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Is it Tim or Neil?

Tim Finn's playing the Enmore tonight to spruik his new album, Imaginary Kingdom. I saw him at a record release last year and I have to say I was a little disappointed - I'm not one of the Finn-fans that seem to need to prefer one Finn over the other and have seen Tim solo on a number of occassions and really enjoyed him.

The SMH story promoting his gig sadly confuses him with Neil - after first saying he is occasionally overshadowed by Neil... check out the little map that accompanies the story.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I wonder if any of the eight subscribers to backin15 will be offended by this site? Vegan bread is particularly funny but there are others...

hat tip: browncardigan

Jonny nail...

Nope; but if you stop-motioned cows or dolphins (my fav) doing it in semaphore, that'd be a little bit cool?

This is my son David Hicks

GetUp is an independent, progressive, political movement.

Their latest campaign is focused on getting David Hicks a fair trial. With their support, this ad, is screening in Australia.

Hicks appalling detention is shaping as a major issue in the coming federal election, I only hope there's more enlighted than reactionary voters?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Better than Keith Quinn's inarticulate grunting...

Actually, I do like that famous Quinn comment as Lomu stormed over the hapless Mike Catt, however this is better.

This is the commentary from the 2002/03 Ashes test in which Steve Waugh performed under immense pressure, pressure to retain his place in the side, on the third day at the SCG (Real Media here).

What I particularly like is the exchange between Kerry O'Keefe, a former Australian test player, and Jonathan Agnew, some English bloke, which includes this:
Agnew: There's a deep square leg, and a man behind from there at deep backward square. There's no one straight back, will Waugh dare come down the pitch and try and hit Dawson over the top?

O'Keefe: I think he's going to run down the pitch. They've had a chat, he and Gilchrist, Hussien's dragging it out. He's got two men in the out-field, but he's got mid-off and mid-on quite shallow.

Agnew: But he could come back tomorrow! He could come back and flick at good old Harmisson, a bit of a loosener on leg stump, pick it off for two...

O'Keefe: Stuff the silver, we come for the gold! Pom's would come back tomorrow, Aussies want it now! We're instant people. Come on Stephen!

Agnew: Now, Hussien's said whatever he wants to say. And Key has gone out to backward point. Oh, he hasn't finished fiddling! Vaughan's coming in. And deep mid-wicket's coming in.

O'Keefe: He's going to play the slog-sweep. All three are going over or he gets his hundred. If Dawson pitches middle-and-off, he's in the frame but so's Steve Waugh because he's just got, you know he's going to play this stroke...

Agnew: Oh this is extraordinary....

O'Keefe: It's death or glory off the last ball of the third day...

Agnew: He's going to block it. 233 for five. Here we go. Dawson comes up and bowls to Waugh who drives... and drives through the offside for his hundred... that is extraordinary... and Steve Waugh; a man of little emotion, can barely restrain himself now. His helmet's off... Alec Stewart shakes his hand... You could not have scripted anything more remarkable than we've seen here this afternoon..."
You can watch it here if you'd like, the commentary's not nearly so good but...

La Sagrada Familia

Chippy's been to Barcelona - I lurve Barcelona, would damn well live there if only I was gorgeous, young and, well Spanish. Anyhoo, Sagrada Familia is the only building I've ever seen in my life that quite literally left me speechless. To me, it seems alive, organic even.

I can feel a pulse

Despite a hiatus of some weeks, I am still alive.

A holiday to NZ interupted blogging and a heavy workload continues to frustrate. Nevertheless, there's a few things on my mind.
  1. NZ internet speeds are woeful - dial-up in Hamilton was better than broadband in Akl.
  2. The Mount is still pretty cool but much more development could turn it into Brisvegas.
  3. Tui are plentiful in Akl - horray.
  4. I watched a compilation of All Blacks games from '96 to 2006; Justin Marshall really was that good, Cullen was as good a Wing as he was a Fullback (but not Centre), Mehrtens had the most sublime pass, what did Alatini do wrong specifically?
  5. Australia are right to rest Gilly and Punter and NZ may still struggle in the Chappell/Hadlee but the Australians are vulnerable as the English have proven (and, weather permitting, the bloody Poms may even win the ODI competition - rain has delayed the current game at the SCG - wish I was there... oh Gilly's gone; bowled, lovely ball that and now Pup too - beautiful seaming outswinger, marvelous).
  6. Incompensurability.
  7. Rudd's advert is very very good and the next federal election will be closer than the last.
  8. Apparently John Howard's angry about David Hicks - what that he's not dead or hopelessly guilty?
  9. Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2006
  10. Parfum is out at the movies soon, it'd better be good...