Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Service Interrupted

Sorry, due to real-life work pressures I haven't had any decent time to blog in the last few days. I intend to be back with more missives late this week or this weekend including (a) another take on the Iraq situation - courtesy of my brother in Australia; (b) the continuing comparisons between Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, and (c) whatever else catches my eye.

Cheers, and have a good one.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Aarrgh. No posting for multiple weeks. Basically, RL has reared its sorry head and kept me busy (although not at work, thankfully) during weeks and weekends. Normal posting will resume at some point, but don't hold your breath. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

On an Easter Weekend when too much sport is barely enough...

The Crows defeated West Coast by 33 points at Football Park.

Australia (partly thanks to a magnificent 160 from Darren 'Boof' Lehmann) racked up a destructive 576 against the West Indies.

Liverpool held their nerve to see off Everton at Goodison Park.

So, basically, I've been having a good Easter weekend.
Shooting the guys shooting the fish in the barrel

The National Review editorial criticising opposition to the Bush tax cut currently being fought over in the US has been derided as ludicrous by none other than CalPundit, at his bright shiny new blogspot-free location. (Props also to Unlearned Hand for the referral to CalPundit).

Now, there are some serious problems with the National Review article. However, simply trying to deride the article by deliberately missing the authors' point is not going to cut it. The point is simple and obvious - if you want to set a target for the budget, then deviating from it by $1 in tax cuts is equivalent to deviating from it by $1 in extra spending. Saying that there's $2 of new spending for every $1 in tax cuts is not a request for equivalence, but rather a request for a shuffle of the benefits, so that the money goes into the hands of the rich saps who currently dodge^H^H^H^H^H pay more than their fair share of the tax burden, rather than those Lucky Duckies who don't earn enough to pay much to Uncle Sam in tax.

That's not to say that the NR team make a convincing argument. Their other supporting argument for the tax cuts are that they only go partway to stemming the predicted rise in the average tax rate paid. Now, if that was the main concern, then wouldn't these tax cuts be aimed to mainly benefit the middle-class? Wouldn't they involve increases in the middle tax brackets? The NR's argument sounds reasonable for some tax cuts, but trotting them out to support the elimination of personal income tax on dividends and the lowering of capital gains on stock sales just doesn't cut it. At least try to make it look like the arguments are connected - otherwise it won't just be the intelligent centre-left that sees through them.

Speaking of intelligent centre-left: Come on guys, if the NR is that easy a target, at least aim with a real gun - looks like you took to them with a Nerf bat.

(I also hope that the National Review hacks have actually read some Jonathan Swift, and understand exactly what A Modest Proposal is about - or maybe that's actually their plan for increasing incomes for those in the lower tax brackets.)

Sunday, April 13, 2003

The best joke about the Iraqi Information Minister

Is here, on the 9th of April. Click on the calendar, the site doesn't appear to have got the hang of available static links yet.
Why my father and I should both be prevented from betting on cricket

Short answer: We are lousy pessimists who would throw away good money betting against Australia for no reason. Fortunately, neither of us actually have the stupidity to put our money where our mouths are. On the phone with him earlier today he commented 'well, Australia's lost the First Test' and I concurred. Of course, what actually happened was a magnificent 9-wicket win courtesy of a pair of strong second-dig partnerships from Langer and Hayden and then Langer and Ponting. In hindsight, the result was never in doubt and Australia never wavered - Hayden's wicket led to a slow-down in the run rate for a few overs, as you would expect, but nothing much more serious than that.

The reason for the pessimism in my family dates back to quite a few summers ago now. Australia has, in the past 11 years, thrown away all ten wickets chasing small targets (under 200) to lose by small margins on no less than four occasions. These were:

The 1992/93 Adelaide test against the West Indies, which we lost by 1 lousy run. Craig McDermott was given out off his freakin *helmet* to give the Windies that one.

The 1993/94 Sydney test against South Africa, which we lost by a mere 5 runs. Fast Fanie de Villiers (remember him anyone) did the damage on the final day.

The 1997 Oval Ashes test which we lost by 19 runs, dismissed for a mere 104. Caddick and Tufnell provided to be the destroyers (bet you don't hear that that often) in a Test with bowlers picking up big hauls - no less than 3 members of the 7 scalps in an innings club.

The 1998/99 Melbourne test against England, which we lost by 12 runs, out for 162, with Headley taking six.

Now take a look at the circumstances in most of those Tests. In 1997 the Aussies had already won the series, so we lost the typical dead rubber. In 1998/99 we had already retained the Ashes, being up 2-0, so it was arguably a dead rubber as well. So we haven't lost a series-affecting match in this way since South Africa pulled it off in 1993/94. That's almost 10 seasons ago. If you look at the team we sent in to that match there are only 3 still up for Test Cricket - Martyn, Warne and McGrath. (Steve Waugh missed the match). Saying this team should suffer from the same problem is ludicrous.

So, for all those Australians who get worried when we end up chasing small targets, please just get over it. We don't do that anymore.

(Yes, I will go into hiding if we proceed to lose a Test in this series in that manner).

Friday, April 11, 2003

Wisden's Ripoff Monthly

Cricinfo did a nice job of passing me on to the team at Wisden, who it said were offering live streamed video of the Test Series between Australia and the West Indies.

You know what Wisden are charging for the privilege - US$90. That's right - for something that you can watch included in a Sky package with Sports, $90. It gives you a crappy screen size (although the test clip at least looked to be good quality) and middling quality audio, all of which would pale in comparison with a nice big widescreen TV coverage.

I don't have Sky Sports currently - our house currently doesn't get cable. Still, there is no way I'm letting someone rip me off that much for a broadband service I would only be using a couple of nights per week anyway.

So, here's my suggestion. If you are even beginning to contemplate getting a package like this, DON'T. Not even if you happen to live in Upper Slobovia where wearing all white clothing is punishable by death.
Irregularly Scheduled Broadcast - including regular AFL tip

A big welcome to all the Brunchers who have started to come over this way. Yes, this is the weird Warner Brother you've been warned about, and no, I'm not going to tell the Waitrose story again in this particular medium (although if you ask Aussia really nicely I'm sure she'll do it). Reason: This isn't supposed to be an excessively introspective personal blog - it's designed to be a vaguely political, vaguely sporting ex-pat Oz-blog.

Anyway, welcome and hope you find the atmosphere inviting.

In other news, congratulations to Adam on his financially lucrative tips and making me look like a pillock. Anyway, the Swannies are going down - Crows by 4 goals.

Friday, April 04, 2003

This'll get complaints (From Victorians)

After last week's tip (10 points out, not a bad start to the season), here comes the next one:
Crows over St Kilda by 6 goals. Partly because that's the only way I can see Adam not making his bet.
Hopefully real posts will follow tomorrow - too tired now, sorry.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

I play football without a helmet

Tip for tomorrow at Football Park (AAMI Stadium my arse): Crows by 11 goals. For pete's sake, it's Freo and we're at home!