Category Archives: Aussie humour

Munching the Millions

Munching the Millions

Munch’s The Scream

AUSTRALIANS will gamble on two flies. crawling up a wall, they say.

Aussie bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is currently betting on how much Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream will fetch at a Southey’s auction this month.

Waterhouse has previously wagered on the winners of reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars and The Voice to add a bit of zest to mundane wagers on political elections and Academy Awards.

Waterhouse’s mother is leading Australian racehorse trainer Gai and the bookie regularly reports on Monday how punters cleaned him out on Saturday backing Mum’s horses such as great mare More Joyous and unbeaten 2-year-old Pierro. It is always “Mum’s horse” though it is a surprise the trainer does not say, “When I am in a professional capacity, it is Ms Waterhouse to you, sonny boy.”

Tom Waterhouse needs to bet on an exotic event such as the Southeby’s auction to recoup some of the damage Mum’s ponies have reeked on the bottom line. It does not hurt that weird bets attract media attention, something London bookie Ladbrokes worked out decades ago.

I do not know how much Tom and Mum know about art but I would like to think it is a lot. It is comforting to believe wealthy people might slip a few stray bucks the way of artists.

Here is Tom’s analysis of the race to buy The Scream or Le Cri, in the land of the Oo-La-La.

“Sotheby’s in New York is auctioning one of four versions of The Scream created by Edvard Munch and, as the only version owned privately,tomwaterhouse.com is betting $1.90 that it breaks the US$106.5 million record set by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust two years ago.
“Of the four versions of The Scream, the one that’s up for sale is the most colourful and the only one whose frame was hand-painted by Munch to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration.

“Sotheby’s has listed The Scream at $80 million, the highest pre-sale value that the auctioneer has ever put on an artwork but even that figure looks somewhat conservative given the level of interest in the famous painting.”

So here’s the market.

The Scream sale price (including the buyer’s premium)

$5 Less than US$80m
$10 US$80m to US$89,999,999
$9 US$90m to US$99,999,999
$4 US$100m to US$106.5m
$1.90 More than USD 106.5m

I am sure my gambling anti-hero Steele Hill would have a wager after consultation with arty girlfriend Natalie and polymath-bookie mentor, the Gooroo.

As a punter and an art fancier, I think Tom and his crew have got the market way wrong.

Tom admits there are four paintings of The Scream though he fails to mention the brace of Munch lithographs. This contrasts with one Picasso Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.

The prose-poem embedded in the frame is Munch’s reflection on how he came to paint The Scream.

I am not sure how many millions it is worth.

I was walking along a path with two friends –

the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red –

I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence –

there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city –

my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety –

and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

That is my versification, BTW. I am not sure how Munch does it on the frame.

I reckon the best bet is the $5 shot, less than $80 million, though I would make sure the bookie wrote the ticket as fewer than $80 million.

Check out this blog shortly to see who is right.

If you wish to smile about the place of quirky Australia in the Universe buy my book 7 Shouts from Google eBooks or Amazon.

Bernie Dowling
Bent Banana Books

Always Gai and often chatty but Mum’s the word now

Gai Waterhouse clams up though the boys John Singleton Tom Waterhouse and Andrew Johns have their say
Gai Waterhouse was an actor but she was not in this film.
Angelica Huston and John Cusack played Mother and Son 
in this one. 
The young woman on the right was not one of John Singleton’s six wives.

LEADING Australian racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse has been the darling of television media for the past two decades. Put a camera in front of Mrs Waterhouse before a big race meeting, you know you are going to get big smiles and unbridled optimism that one of her horses will win the big. But not this week. Gai Waterhouse has clammed up.
In a double whammy of gloom for the television mob, racing stewards have refused to open up to the cameras Monday’s inquiry into the performance  of millionaire mare More Joyous, trained by Waterhouse until huffed-up owner sacked her – the trainer not the horse.
Stewards opened an inquiry into the poor performance of More Joyous finished second last in Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick racecourse.
But even before the race, an irate Singleton approached an obviously peeved Waterhouse who tried to ignore Singo’s accusation the trainer’s bookmaker son Tom had told three people More Joyous was crook and could not win. Singo later said one of the three was former rugby league champion Andrew Johns.
Tom Waterhouse went to social media to say Singo was mistaken and he was considering suing him. Much older Singo repeated his accusations to old media.
Some might have thought the loquacious Gai would come out swinging in defence of her son. But Mum’s the word.
This is a pity. Players in the drama, radio-station owner Singleton and Andrew Johns, are portrayed in the media as lovable larrikins. But Gai Waterhouse is the most interesting player in this comedy thriller.
Gai Waterhouse, 58, is the daughter of all-conquering Randwick racehorse trainer T.J. (Tommy) Smith. She took up modelling and acting, appearing in the Australian soap opera The Young Doctors. As the young and the restless did in those still-swinging seventies, she moved to London and appeared in the Doctor Who story The Invasion of Time.
Gai figured the odds of a successful career in acting and returned to Australia where she worked in her father’s stable for 15 years.
Her blog sums up those years and what came next:
After a 15-year apprenticeship with her father, the legendary TJ Smith, and a prolonged battle with officialdom, Gai was granted her licence to train thoroughbreds in January 1992.”
She does not expand on the prolonged battle with officialdom, but some sense of injustice, if not gender bias, seems implied.
It was a case of Gai being punished for the sins of the husband and his father. Hubby Robbie Waterhouse and Father-in-law Bill, both bookmakers, had their licences pulled in 1984 for “prior knowledge” of the Fine Cotton ring-in.
Perhaps it was in the genes .and Waterhouse has been a leading trainer for most of the past 30 years.
Gai Waterhouse has not said a direct word about the subjects of Monday’s inquiry. Television cameras were on the pair when Singleton gave her a huge verbal serve before Saturday’s big race. She appeared to not return a word to him.
She is reported to have had a phone conversation with son Tom, after the races.
It seems to have gone something like this.
Gai: “What did you tell people about More Joyous?”
Tom: “Nothing, I told them nothing, Mum.”
Gai: “Okay.”
End of conversation.
She was a guest speaker at the Warrnambool race meeting on Tuesday but she ignored questions on the brouhaha.
Of course, what the former actor did say has been interpreted as if they were Shakespearean references to the affair. “Put your head down, keep your bum up, keep your mouth shut and that’s the key to success,” Waterhouse said.
She also said Tom, as she had done, just wanted to please his father. Wow, was this a reference to the stoush as a tragic challenge to the Smith and Waterhouse dynasties. Well, we all know Singo/ Macbeth/ Cassius/ Iago mainly wants to please himself. In the past he has largely succeeded. Maybe not this time.

Gai Waterhouse have had a great personal and professional relationship for 25 years. They have been seen together at many a garden party…



Iraqi Icicle excerpt

The comic detective novel Iraqi Icicle is being released at Pine Rivers Art Gallery Queensland Australia on December 20 in a multi-art event as part of the world-wide A Big Project.
Here is an edited excerpt. 

It was a week before I saw the cops again. They tried to kick down the door of my flat, which is on the floor below My Cucumber Natalie and not 800 metres from my beloved Brisbane racetracks. I was listening to the latest Go-Betweens album, 16 Lover’s Lane, and letting the sound vibrate through me as I sat in my armchair. Unfortunately I had to get up, or risk the two detectives breaking my door down and claiming I had assaulted their feet.

The next track playing on the sixth Go-Bees album was The Streets of Your Town. They had released it twice –once the previous year when the album came out, and more successfully in June of that year of 1989. The band, which had started in Brisbane in the late seventies, was signed to the major US label Capitol, and fans were saying that the guitar-based pop rockers were going to grab the world recognition they deserved. Clouds inevitably darkened any rock band’s horizon and now, by December, rumours had erupted that The Go-Betweens had broken up. If the rumour of a bust-up was true, it was an inopportune time, when even a deeply unhip copper like Mooney could recognise the chorus of the band’s disturbing but radio-friendly single.
Round and round, up and down
Through the streets of your town.
Every day I make my way
Through the streets of your town.
‘That’s that slag’s song,’ Mooney screamed at the record player, his fleshy lips quivering. ‘That drummer, what’s her name, Morrison. Fucking bitch stole my watch.’ Mooney’s great sausagey fist feigned to slam down onto my record player, then recoiled. ‘I’m not listening to that crap any more. When you’re done, Schmidt, I’ll see you in the car.’ He stormed out the cracked door.
Schmidt looked all around the room, like a Teutonic landlord determined to retain a rental bond, before he approached the record player. ‘Congratulations, Hill. You play the only song not recorded by Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin or Kenny Rogers that Mooney knows. And now I have to hear about her stealing his watch for the rest of the day.’
‘What’s that about? If Mooney’s been to a Go-Betweens concert, I’ll have to throw out my entire record collection.’
Schmidt moved away from the stereo and began to rummage through kitchen cupboards and drawers.
‘It was way back in 1978, before Lindy Morrison was even in the band, as far as I know. You remember, the Premier at the time, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, banned street marches as a form of civil protest.’
‘Vaguely, I was only thirteen or fourteen at the time. The nuns in the orphanage weren’t big on breakfast-table discussions of the political news of the day.’
‘I wasn’t much older myself, but the old coppers tell me the uni students and their crackpot mates would call a demonstration at the drop of a hat. After a scuffle at one demo, Mooney charged Morrison with stealing his watch.’
‘And did she?’
‘From what I gather, his watch came off in a melee and Morrison held the watch in the air as if to say, “Who owns the watch?” And Mooney pinched her. Anyway, she got off at the pre-trial committal stage. But Mooney swears black and blue she got away with trying to nick his watch. If you ask me, he probably only charged her because he did not want to be grateful to a twenty-something girl for returning it.’
Here is the Go-Between’s first single, a deceptively fun song with a lot of depth.

To sex or not to sex


THAT is the question: to sex or not to sex.
A lot of websites are saying no to sex.
On the first page of a Google search of mine, six websites had this exact same bait line: ‘American Playwright David Mamet explains why no play or movie he writes or directs include explicit sex scenes.’
Oh! Calcutta! you are so quaint

To a writer, the funniest thing  about  the websites all having the same sentence is they have it wrong. Re-read the sentence. It should not be “include” but “includes”.

It seems the only “ism’’ the www believes in is plagiarism and sometimes malapropism.  
I stole that plagiarism quip by the way.  While I am on a role, I will paraphrase another jest coined by someone else. Say no to promiscuous sex? We were brought up better than that. Say no, thank you, to promiscuous sex.
Mamet is a playwright and he was saying explicit sex on the stage distracts people.
I would have thought than in the bedroom or outdoors, it tends to focus the actors and even an audience if there is one. Apparently not so on the stage, but books might be a different fetish of fish.
An erotic novel without sex might not sell too well. I am no expert on an erotic literature but some writer in the genre must have come up with a novel without copulation. I wonder how it went.
I am likewise unfamiliar with the ups and downs, the ins and outs, of romance titles but they tell me intertwining bodies are all the go on certain pages.
I do know about detective novels. Sex and greed are pretty much all she wrote is those.
At least, in one Raymond Chandler, Marlowe, despite his fondness for hard liquor, did not bed the femme fatale until she had left her husband.
Dashiell Hammet’s  Sam Spade, on the other hand, tells his faithful secretary he can only relate to women through sex.  Note to author Dash: decline that invitation for a guestie at the Jane Austin Book Club.
In my novel, Iraqi Icicle (2ndedition due out shortly) I have added a funny sex scene. It made me laugh anyway. It’s the longest sex scene in the novel  unless my editor, who has the manuscript in his hot little hands ATM, decides we need some more hanky panky.
Iraqi Icicle has only a smattering of four-letter words, in contrast to J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.  In all other respects our novels are eerily similar and should sell about the same number of copies.
The point is it is the writer’s call on sex, violence and four-letter words. The reader is the ultimate arbiter but some of us recalcitrant writers believe there is more to writing a novel than maximising sales.
Sing-along time, me word-loving maties!

(warning: nudie bit)


On the road to Damascus Paul’s book pummels your brain

IF The Book of Paulwere a music album, a critic might say it had cross-over appeal.
It has a feel of a genre novel but it is hard to classify because of its elements of sci-fi, dystopia, psychological drama and comedy.
I believe its publicity machine  is running with supernatural thriller and that is a good as label as any.
I read not much genre fiction apart from Chandleresque private-detective yarns. While I say ’’not much’ , none at all is closer to the mark.
New York author Richard Long was able to hook me and keep me on the line until the end. That is a good effort as, before reading The Book of Paul, I thought tarot was an Asian root vegetable. 

I figured Hermetics were cosmetics Doctor Frankenstein especially made for his patient Herman Munster. I thought body modification was ‘’hotting up’’ an old car. I could go on but you should have my drift by now.

The Book of Paulis a cleverly constructed thriller, built around a title character who it must be said is not very nice. Sado-masochism  is often a relatively harmless  Saturday night in after a hard week at the office. Then there is a date with Paul.
Like the author, I am of Irish extraction with the attendant light skin so I tend to avoid ultra-violent rays (You might like to re-read that last sentence – or not – it is up to you.) The Book of Paul seemed ultra-violent to me, but maybe I am a shrinking violet.  From now on,  a great American rock band will not be the first thing that springs to mind when I hear the phrase “talking heads’’.
Not that the author  appears to condone violence, except  in the interests of entertainment.
To balance the horror and gore, there is a lot of humour – from puns and slapstick to satirical cultural references and even self-parody of the novel and its author.
There is also a lot of information, mainly delivered in a casual fashion so the reader can chose to investigate further or just read on.  As a journalist, I have been writing on visual art for the past 30 years but this novel first alerted me to the wonderful genre of outsider art.
Various readers will take different things from this most entertaining and thoughtful novel. Me I will remember the pieces of information and the theme that the child is parent to the adult.
If you are engrossed in this novel, there is promise of plenty more to come in sequels and prequels (I think I have the two out of order.)
Even if you just want to dip in your feet in the literary waters outside your comfort zone, you will be rewarded. Did I say I used to think Druids were the dysfunctional youth in A Clockwork Orange?
I thought tarot was this
Not this

I thought Hermetics were cosmetics especially made for this man
I thought these were Druids

Our celebratory song is a no-brainer for anyone who has read The Book of Paul.
– Bernie Dowling Last day of the week-long Book of Paul Blog
That was fun!

Critical readers have their say about 7 Shouts

A fun read June 10, 2012
By Jane.S
Bernie Dowling has a unique voice that really brings his columns to life. I highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys Australian humour. Even if you don’t laugh you will be entertained and informed. My favourite is the Slanguage chapter. For the record I say ‘marown’.
Bernie Dowling has compiled years of journalistic endeavors into one compendium, along with pictures (some of them quite funny), and has thus given readers “7 Shouts”. For the individual with a love of journalism, an open-minded viewpoint on all things living, and often insightful blurbs on life, I highly recommend this book. Love, tragedy, success, and history–it’s all there in the funny, intelligent, and sometimes satirical voice of Dowling. Definitely a getaway read for the nonfiction crowd 🙂
Read to the end
By Lorraine R. Noscov
Not often have I picked up a book to read and wanted to keep reading until I had finished the book. 
7 Shouts by Bernie Dowling is a light-hearted read of historical and some hysterical interesting snippets from the Northern Times Newspaper. It is a pleasant walk down memory lane for anyone who has lived in the Pine Rivers Shire, now Moreton Bay Shire, during 2001 and 2008.
Lorraine R. Noscov
Wonderful appreciation
R. Holt 
Author Dowling has a wonderful appreciation of the issues affecting local people and his witty use of the English and Australian languages enhance the book’s entertainment value. His ‘best of’ columns broadly range between being informative, questioning, educational, and humorous while he has a knack of subtly promoting local events and people. The cover is attractive and the book would interest readers of short stories involving real life events.
Instant classics
H.Pietsch
Easy and relaxing reading with interesting facts along the way. Some of the author’s comments, I like to declare as instant classics.
Customer Reviews
Average 4.0 out of 5 stars
Publisher’s summary
A comic journey from the edge of the city into the heartland of the metropolis passing through the mullet festival, the school fete and the rural show. 
Journalist Bernie Dowling and his readers embrace and defy physical prescriptions such as the Russell Crowe Law of Fame and the Barck Obama Version of Australian Slang.
Before their eyes leap cultural icons such as the french poodles Fi Fi and Fa Fa which enter the sheep-dog trials and the impoverished teenager trying to win a date with pop singer Delta Goodrem
OIympic athletes, a US president, a deposed Australian Prime Minister greet them along strange detours to solve historical mysteries.
Signposts along the way are unusual photos and links to crazy songs and weird facts.
7 Shouts is a classic contemporary doco of a world gone mad, but still a heap of fun.

7 Shouts available as an eBook from 

AND
AND
affiliated etailers
Thank you for 

flying BernieAirDepartures

What’s hot these days?

A MAN who has been dead for 30 years, an 80-year-old car and a teenager are the hottest tickets of the week.

More than 160,000  readers of  British music magazine NME voted John Lennon as the greatest rock icon of the past 60 years.
The top 10 are

  John Lennon
   Liam Gallagher
   David Bowie
   Alex Turner
   Kurt Cobain
   Amy Winehouse
   Jimi Hendrix
   Morrissey
   Noel Gallagher
   Ian Curtis

For the record Ian Kevin Curtis (July 15, 1956 — May 18, 1980) was the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division.
Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. In the 1980s he was the lyricist and vocalist of the The Smiths before commencing a long solo career
Alex Turner[4] is the lead vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter of the English  band Arctic Monkeys.

If you do not know the rest, what are you doing still reading this; Move on to the car yarn.

Cashing in on a car
In 1994, Morrissey had a hit album, Vauxhall and I. 


I would love to say it was a humble British Vauxhall which fetched more than $5 million at auction but I would be lying.
At the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, UK, on Saturday 15th September
An extraordinary an unrestored 1928 ‘S’ Type Sports Tourer Mercedes fetched more than £2.8 million. Type Sports Tourer battleship grey ‘S’ Type was owned by the same family from new and had never been restored, retaining its original blue leather upholstery in its entirety.
Never has the tag “one owner” had so much value. Oh Lawd, won’t you sell me a Mercedes Benz.
A 1929 Maserati Tipo 26M four-seater sports racing car raised £1,681,500.
A1929 Alfa Romeo 1750 SS Competition Tourer went  for a lousy £1,099,100.
What the highest priced Vauchall went for is not recorded. Used to be such a sweet car, too.

Still a sweet girl

Abigail Gibbs, 18, has signed a six-figure publishing deal with HarperCollins for her vampirific novel.
Gibbs is  a sweet girl, and like Morrissey, a vegetarian. There the comparison  ens as the teenager can’t stand blood while Morrissey bleeds from the mouth,mthe ears and the amp.
Ì do wish people would stop writing things like six-figure sume. I have to count ion my figures to some up with $100, 000 or more.
I do hope these bidding wars for indie writers continue. One day they might get down to you or me.
HarperCollins’s publishing director, Shona Martyn, said: ‘I think this book has traction – Abigail’s storytelling is pacey and vivid; her characters and plot are sexier than Edward and Bella.’’
E&B, I presume, are characters in the Twilight series.
 In the meantime, this book has not sold for a seven-figure sum.

But you can buy it as it rushes past 7 reviews.

                  HERE   and HERE

Celia Shorojk film previews

The trouble with ageing

Film reviews by Celia Shorojk
Hope Springs
Alright you baby boomers, you happy now; they are even making films about sex for you.
Kay (Meryl Streep) wants her and hubby Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) to zest up their three-decade relationship with Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones).
For God’s sake buy a Winnebago.
But no, she has to drag Arnie to a couple’s therapist (Steve Carrel). With these three strong leads and directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) you know it is going to work it is bound to work, after a fashion.
You can almost forgive the silly title – hope springs eternal; ooh, that is clever.  But why cast ace comedian Carrel in a straight role. I suspect the answer is this is a serious film, masked as rom-com to avoid the chick-flick tag.
There has to be worse ways to spend a couple of hours – and better ones.

The Expendables 2
Imagine this! A boomer couple arrives at the monies. She goes to Hope Springs and he ducks in to The Expendables 2. That is what you call an open marriage.
Unlike TE1, here is no Helen Mirren in this late-in-life action film on Viagra.
The first film was watchable though embarrassing in its premise you are never too old to blow things up. You know, you could grow too wise for that sort of stuff.
The film makers will be hoping there are enough teenage boys out there willing to tolerate the old farts (Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone Arnold Schwarzenneger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Chuck Norris) on screen for the sake of nostalgia or pyrotechnics.
Stallone co-wrote the script and this whole thing sounds like an expensive joke. Suddenly Hope Springslooks like aging more gracefully.

Dumbo
We even have a geriatric film, born in 1941.
Dumbo could be the pick of the trio reviewed here.
For starters, it is not self-conscious about aging. It helps that it does not a look a day older than when it was born.
The story goes – and it is a tale which deserves to be true ­ – the Disney studio made Dumbo on the cheap to recoup losses from the earlier animation Fantasia.
The animators concentrated on finely drawing the central characters and forgot about the fancy backgrounds. The film came in at about an hour’s runni9ng time. Don’t you just love it when less is indeed more?
No animal is shot or blown up or suffers existential angst. Who says Walt Disney is a cold sort of person, these days?

10 annoying things in fiction

“I know nothing about him,” I murmur.
“…Thank you,” I murmur.
“Um. Actually –” I mutter.
“Raising the ordinary to the extraordinary,” I murmur.
“It’s shrewd business,” he murmurs.
“Very well,” she mutters, then exits.
“Oh I’ll bear that in mind,” I murmur.
– All the above quotes are from Chapter 1 of Fifty Shades of Murmuring and Muttering

10  annoying things in fiction

 10.  A sentence which starts with Then.
  9. A sentence with then in it.
  8. Sentences without verbs except those in this article.
   7. Sentences with many overblown annoying unnecessary florid adjectives.
   6 Characters who express direct speech in any of the following ways: laugh, grin, cry, smile, exclaim, explode, object, sigh, scowl, murmur.
  5. Adverbs which constantly modify how someone speaks, I say scathingly.
  4. Characters who appear for no reason
  3. Characters who disappear without explanation
  2. The word very which is a very bad word.
  1. More than one ante-climax.

Mohamed we adore you

Olympic Rant #18 On the fourteenth day God resumed work

THE squabbles and rancour of this year’s Ilympics were run into the ground on Day 14 as Great Britain, Jamaica and the United States turned in memorable performances.
Britain’s Mohamed Farah was stunning as he held off Ethiopia and Kenya to take gold in the 5000m.

Mohamed Farah

I usually cheer for the African nations in middle distance events as I love their team strategy in running. But my hat and running shoes go off to Mohamed Farahwho won his second gold medal of London 2012 with a thrilling victory in the 5000 metres on the final night of athletics.
Farah was denied any hope of assistance from GB team mate Nick McCormick who failed to make the final.
Here were the other things stacked against Farrah:
# He admitted to tiredness after his win the 10,000m seven days earlier
# He ran 3rd in his heat.
# He was ranked 11th in the world and was competing against seven of those rated above him.
Farah took the front with 700m to go but had little peace. American Galen Rupp sprinted quickly but could not cross the Brit.
Sensing the American might have weakened the leade,r the Africans queued up to have a crack at Farah. He repelled each one and kicked on the home turn.
The fastest runner over the distance this year was Dejen Gebremeskel and he made his move, looking to have Farah’s measure half-way down the straight.
The Brit kicked again and safely held the Ethiopian for a magnificent courageous victory.
             Farah said each of his twin girls due to be born shortly would have a Gold Medal from the London Games. They will be the heroes of show and tell in a few years, especially if Dad is part of the presentation.
USAIN Bolt took his third Gold when Jamaica raced to a world record in the 4x100m relay.
Bolt was a little less certain that Rio 2016 might be beyond him than he was after his 200m win.
I’ve thought about it but I think it’s going to be very hard because Yohan (Blake), he’s just come into the game and he’s running pretty well, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more cats coming up to run.
I’ll take it a step at a time.
THE U.S. captured the women’s 4x400m relay and Allyson Felix achieved her third gold medal.
Felix ran the second leg after a brilliant start by DeeDee Trotter gave her a big lead at the first change. American 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross ran the anchor leg and the U.S. won in 3:16.87 – the fastest time run in 19 years.
 Russia was three seconds behind Jamaica took the bronze.
Russia had its revenge when Anna Chicherova won the women’s high jump ahead of American Brigetta Barrett. Another Russian Svetlana Shkolina was third.

           The Chinese are yet to get the knack of track and field and the Americans comfortably were ahead in the medal count in gold and total.

Leaders after Day 14
Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/onebox/sports/olympics/medal_gold.gif
Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/onebox/sports/olympics/medal_silver.gif
Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/onebox/sports/olympics/medal_bronze.gif
Total
1
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
44
29
29
102
2
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
38
27
22
87
3
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
28
15
19
62
4
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
21
25
32
78
5
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
13
7
7
27
6
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
11
19
14
44
7
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
10
11
12
33
8
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
7
8
23
9
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
4
5
17
10
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
7
16
12
35
11
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
14
17
37
12
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
6
8
20
13
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
4
10
14
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
4
9
18
15
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
3
5
13
16
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
5
3
12
17
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
4
4
12
18
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
3
5
12
19
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
2
6
AT Beijing 2008, the count was
Rank
Country
1
36
38
36
110
2
51
21
28
100
3
23
21
28
72
4
19
13
15
47
China’s fall in medals and CB’s rise tell us that in any sporting contest, home field advantage is real.
So let’s hear the Unofficial Official GB London Games Anthem. Take it away one more time.
Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012

Pirates steal sport

Olympic Rant #17 IOC what you are up to

Pirates of the High-O Sea

REDCLIFFE Musical Theatre rendered the Gilbert & Sullivan musical The Pirates of Penzance as if it were carried on an invigorating ocean breeze.
The large cast of many ages was obviously having fun and it was contagious for the audience.
Pirates, along with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, is the most popular of the 14 collaborations of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Although the play is often called a comic opera, it is far more accessible to a general audience than continental opera which Gilbert and Sullivan sent up.
Gilbert and Sullivan were English and their Shakespearean heritage shines through plentiful plays on words, accompanied by musical spoofs.
Directing duo Madeleine Johns and Gordon Ball work seamlessly with choreographer Meredith Johns and musical director Sheree Drummond to create a delightful musical comedy.
Each act was rendered virtually without set changes with actors hiding behind parts of the set and, to much amusement, plant foliage.
Female lead Annika Hinricks as Mabel was in fine voice and readily accepted the challenge of the occasional musical trick in the play.
Her love interest Frederic was played by Jonathon Sweeper whose clear vocals and expressive visage carried the part well.
Thomas Armstong-Robley stole the show with his Deppesque movements as the sometimes ruthless, sometimes befuddled Pirate King.
Barry Haworth brought out the full humour embedded in his character Major General, of the much parodied song which is a highlight of the play.

Johnathan Johnson as the Sergeant of Police led his officers around the stage with beguiling walks and puppet-like head popping.

Young costume designer/ producer Kara Fisher has done a fabulous job with the clobber. It all looked wonderful with colourful pirates, pristine maidens and quintessential bobbies. Fisher aims to design for stage and screen and this play is a big  early tick in her portfolio.
Sullivan once described his music for Pirates as ‘tunier’ than that of H.M.S. Pinafore.
Tuny is a good a word as any for a score that ranges from the sprightly to the boisterous.
The RMT orchestra, assuredly conducted by Sheree Drummond, who seemed to be enjoying the exercise immensely, was always buoyant but never over-bearing.
The Redcliffe Musical Theatre version of the Pirates of Penzance is based on the award-winning New York Public Theater  adaptation.
All in all, The Pirates of Penzance is a joyous musical.
It continues at Redcliffe Cultural Centre until August 19. Book at www.redcliffeculturalcentre.com.au or phone 3283 0407.
Whenever you see someone being officious or bullying, sing Tarantara! Tarantara! OIC it coming on now!

Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012.

Phoney war on drugs

Olympic rant #16 Journalism 101 Create a furore
THE Bolt v Lewis drug brouhaha was a classic media beat-up. It raced across international television screens and newspaper front pages with a speed worthy of the central characters.
Carl Lewis points the finger
only to have it bitten off

There was little to the yarn and it was hardly news but, by the time the egg-beater had a mish-mash, it came out thicker and messier than chocolate pudding.
A London Sun journo had the most measured report on the story and it is not often you can say that.
Steven Howard wrote in  The Sun
Usain Bolt talked about Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Bob Marley. And those Swedish handball players.
And sex. And drugs. And rock ’n roll.
And how Manchester United should sign Robin van Persie.
And how he thought that the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio would be Mission Impossible.
He even talked about cricket and the IPL.
And he put the boot in on Carl Lewis, which he probably shouldn’t have done.
Yes, Bolt could have left out the bit about the Swedish handball players and should have swallowed the lines about Carl Lewis when they popped up his throat.
The wordy Bolt had come to speak on many things. He felt provoked by Carl Lewis’s assertion that Bolt’s incredible feats might be drug induced.
Wiki says Lewis made his remarks during the London Games. Someone bettere tell them it’s dead wrong. I tried correcting a Wiki article once but getting accreditation to do so baffled me.
Other reports had Lewis makibg the veiled accusations ‘pre-game’. That was more accurate, as I guess 2008, or 45BC, for that matter, is pre-game. Bolt had obviously been stewing over the insults for four years and fired back.
Carl Lewis made his assertions in a Sports Illustrated article after Bolt’s 100m and 200m victories at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Following the international protocols of calling someone a drug cheat, Lewis in http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/arash_markazi/09/11/carl.lewis/
demurred he was not saying Bolt was on drugs.
          
 ‘Countries like Jamaica do not have a random program, so they can go months without being tested. I’m not saying anyone is on anything, but everyone needs to be on a level playing field.
…he’s not going to have me saying he’s great and then two years later he gets popped.

It was all a misunderstanding. Lewis did not say Bolt was on drugs. It was just that Bolt and upwards of 10 million readers thought Lewis was saying just that. Bolt silently did his years of stewing. At London 2012, with back-to-back golds in the 100m and 200m and totally unpopped, he hit back.
Four years down the athletics track,  should have left Lewis alone. It was unfair of Bolt to bring it up as if it were yesterday Lewis said it.  Some articles mentioned Lewis had tested positive three times before the 1988 Olympics. No article that I read added Lewis was exonerated on the grounds the drugs, pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, andphenylpropanolamine were in prescription medication. Whatever you think of that decision, no drug suspensions are against Lewis’s name.
Lewis fared badly on Twitter.
If you are Jamaican I think you should be allowed to slap Carl Lewis in the mouth with a breadfruit.
Carl Lewis’s reputation ko’ed. On the night Bolt achieved what he never could, a bitter man who failed 3 drugs tests gets put in his place
@CharlesRobinson Nobody under 30 knows who Carl Lewis is. They know who Usain Bolt is.
Actually, Lewis’s  Sports Illistrated interview finished with a musical analogy which he should have been spruiking earlier insyead od f drugs in reference to Bolt.
Lewis said:
We get caught up in comparing all the time. I have this discussion with young people. They’ll tell me Beyonce is better than so-and-so. Why can’t we just say that Beyonce is amazing and so-and-so is amazing? I mean Ella Fitzgerald is amazing. Sarah Vaughan is amazing. Whitney Houston is amazing. Why do you have to say that Beyonce is better? Let’s just be happy that we had a chance to celebrate all of them.

Well said Carl. Why could you have stuck to such a line, throughout? When Black women and men become role models, it is unseemly to see them fighting among themselves. Also you have  mentioned Billie Holiday .
For his part, Bolt was at his best in victory interviews when he talked about Bob Marley.
And who was the greatest Jamaican — him or Bob Marley?
Bolt said: “When it comes to Bob Marley, he is one of the greatest ever out of Jamaica.
“He really did wonderful things for the country before me.
“So I’m just carrying out his duty. 
“We’re the same, we have the same goal to make Jamaica one of the most loved and finest countries in the world.

Bernie Dowling, August 11, 2012

Daily Mail arrives every 24 hours

Olympic Rant #15 The Mailman delivers
OLYMPIC coverage by the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail is ranging from traditional adolescent-male nonsense to the downright weird. Extremely talented GB cyclist Victoria Pendleton is physically attractive and this has not passed across the Mail eagle eyes without notice.
The Mail loves pedalling Vicky

Condoms in the athlete’s village were gold for newspapers throughout the world but the Mail brought to the yarn its personal touch – horny adolescent male meets Monty Python.
The story should have been a few pars in length: 150, 000 complimentary condoms are available to 10,000 athletes. But of course, the Mail banged on and on, mainly in pics but with a few choice words, with the stamina born of erecting thousands of innuendoes to their mastheads.
The oh, oh, Ohhh-lympics! As record 150,000 condoms are handed out to a host of super-attractive athletes, could London 2012 be the raunchiest games ever?
·                     Athletes will receive 15 condoms each for the 17-day festival
·                     Victoria Pendleton among the glamorous female stars offered condoms
            
 
The phenomenal outpouring of prophylactics means there will be 50 per cent more available to athletes in London than the 100,000 handed out at the last Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
                     
The Mail loves to re-work information already supplied as simple equations such as 150,000 is 50 per cent more than 100,000. It certainly pads out the story and maybe, for some readers, adds gravitas.
On the internet edition of the paper we next have two sexy pictures of Ms Pendleton and four pictures of coloured condoms. 
Then more basic maths which readers apparently cannot get enough of: 
   It works out at nearly 15 each for the 10,500 competitors taking part in the Games, with Durex ready to deliver more if the sports stars exhaust their ration.   
                                                                                                                                                         
A bit of an interview with an athlete describing randiness in the village. 
Then another sexy image of Victoria Pendleton, this time in evening wear beside with a cycle. The caption reads: Racy: Sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton is one of the most glamorous of the British athletes. She has even posed nude in the past.
Now a photo of cyclist Jess Varnish  beside pic #4 of Pendleton.  This time the caption is: Bicycle babes: Cyclist Jess Varnish said she would pose naked if she was as glamorous as her gold medal champion colleague Victoria Pendleton, right.
A barrage of photos from various sports including what look like two young-teenage synchronised swimmers and a playful photo of two young women which the Mail tagged: Intimate: Jenna Randall, 22, right, tweeted a photo of herself sitting by the pool, with her legs wrapped around teammate Katie Skelton, left.
The readers have not seen any numbers for a while so the next photo is captioned: Splashing: Team GB divers Tonia Couch, left, and Tom Daley, right, are dating. Perhaps they will make use of the 30 condoms they’ll have between them.
Four buff lads attract the caption: Macho: Australian male swimmers Eamon Sullivan, James Roberts, James Magnussen and Matt Targett on Manley beach in Sydney.
How ironic the macho men from the Mail spelt Manly Beach wrongly.
Four Swedish athletes would be the appropriate way to finish this fantastic report and the Mail does not disappoint. Caption: A recipe for romance: The Swedish women’s swimming team will be staying in the same block as Team GB footballers. Let’s hope they all behave themselves.
That was good light-hearted entertainment if you ignore the sinister overtones.
But let’s move on…to Victoria Pendleton.

             

Victoria Pendleton rode tearfully into the sunset last night with her dream of a golden goodbye indelibly tainted by a final clash with her biggest rival. 
                                                                                                                                 
From the first par, the reader can sense a poetic effort rising from the Mail
She failed to trounce her Australian arch enemy Anna Meares – a win that would finally have laid to rest the controversy, competition and cat-fighting between them.
                                                                                                                                                            
Ah, cat-fighting the last of the three Cs.

she was beaten to gold in the next race by a powerhouse performance from the 28-year-old Australian.
Whatever the result, the crowd still adored Vicky, Vicky, Vicky!
                                                                                                                               
And so to the big finish
This was Last Night of the Velodrome, a Land of Hope and Glory for the people and one last hurrah for Queen Victoria.
                                                                
An Australian ran first against Vicky, Vicky, Vicky but Britain did dominate the cycling. The Velodrome had morphed into a Jewel in the Crown of Empire. Well I’ll be a Dutchman. 

The Mail totally lost it in the euphoria of counting almost 40 GB medals before the Games were half over.
I have the feeling this report must go down in the history books of journalism. I am just not sure why.
Here is an edited version because the whole is too much.

Kings (and queens) of the sitting-down sports:

Two thirds of first 37 medals came from ‘sitting down sports

With gold medal contenders including Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy still to make individual quests for glory, Team GB could well be on for its best Games performance in 100 years. 
        

There’s Queen Vic again.

Statistics revealed that of Team GB’s first 37 medals, 66 per cent were in sitting down sports.

Star performances in equestrian, sailing, rowing and cycling have all contributed to Team GB’s impressive third place standing in the overall medals table.
By contrast, the two leading nations, China and the USA, both excel in non-sitting down sports.
At the same stage the two nations had over 121 medals – with a sitting down element of just 7 per cent.
                     
Has anyone out there a clue WTF the Mail is on about?
                                            
Got to be good readin’ because it’s so hard to see.

Bernie Dowling, August 8, 2012.

Winners and sinners

Olympic Rant #15 Third-rate Stuporpowers declare war

THE rivalry for Olympic medals between Great Britain and Australia is difficult to understand if you are not from one of the two countries. It is impossible for the surprisingly large number of Americans who think Australia is a European country near Germany.
Jessica Ennis helps GB leap over Oz
Australia which is my home country was invaded by England in the 18th century to establish a penal colony. Much if not all of the lingering hostility of a nation of guards versus a country of prisoners is a concoction of the countries’ respective media (many owned in the same interests) and is fought over sport.
The most genteel of the British media refers to Australians as colonials when an insult is required. The more brash English papers call us convicts.
In Australia the war is fanned by our media reprising an insult by an English tabloid, preferably on its front page.

For variety, Aussie media relished the rather restrained earlier front page from the Sun: Wanted. Gold Medal. Australia’s Sydney Morning Heralddecided that headline was a screamer but it was tepid because Sun journos knew the gold medals would come for Britain.
Hell, even the Mad Mayor of London went out on a wire to declare Britain could win more medals than Australia. In what passes for a pep talk in Tory circles, Boris Johnson told British athletes before a pool lap had been swum in anger, ‘Can we beat Australia? Yes, I think we can.’
You can see how classical studies have sharpened Johnson’s analytical mind to allow him to predict the host nation would accumulate more goodies than a team of athletes which had travelled across the entire world to compete.
Still it was relief for both countries to win their first individual gold. It seems individual gold is worth more than a team one. That’s capitalism for you.
The feats of both medal winners were insipring.
British heptathlete Jessica Ennis was robbed of a chance for Gold at Beijing 2008 by injury.
By contrast, Australian laser sailor Tom Slingsby went into the Beijing Games as world champion. He finished 22nd at the Chinese Games.
Another contrast was the relative celebrations. In typical Aussie style, Slingsby went to the pub with family and friends.
Ennis and cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins were special guests at a boutique gig by the Stone Roses. Led Zep’s Jimmy Page was in the audience.
Wiggins even got to party with legendary British muso Paul Weller formerly of The Jam, The Style Council and individual projects. Who knew Wiggins wore an mp3 player when he won the Gold?
Let’s all share in the great win by Ennis by playing the Officially Unofficial Great Britain National Games Anthem. 

And let us not forget the phony enemy. Here is the Aussie Games Anthem:
While we are in the mood for congratulations, let us hand out to three outstanding achievements. First Officially Designated Naughty Nation Iran collected its first ever Olympic Gold in Greco-Roman wrassling through Hamid Soryan’s gold in the 55-kilogram class. Iran had collected a swag of Olympic medal in freestyle wrassling but none in Greco-Roman. On Monday, Omid Noroozi made it a double for Iran with   the gold in men’s 60-kilogram Greco-Roman wrassling at the London Olympics. Reports by Tea Party members that Iran wrasslers threatened their opponents with nuclear weapons proved unfounded.
Kirani James, 19, of Grenada won the Olympic 400m in 43.94sec. He is the first athlete from outside the USA to break the 44-second barrier. His gold was also Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal. 
Pavlos Kontides won Cyprus’s first medal at an Olympics when he took the silver on Monday in sailing`s Laser class.
Bernie Dowling, August 7, 2008

Bolts in with the name game

Olympic Rant #12 Fast men are gone in well under 10


THE power of words is more than a casual contribution to the living mythology that is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. He might not go Gaga on Twitter but he is the biggest name in Ol’ London Town as he defends his 100m Olympic title.

Usain Bolt sets the fastest 100m time ever 
in Berlin on  August 16 , 2009

Bolt is no good thing to win. It is three years since he set the extant world record of 9.58s. The field includes the second, third, fourth and seventh fastest men alive – Tyson Gay, U.S. 9.69s; Asafa Powell, Jamaica, 9.72s; Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 9.75s and Justin Gatlin, U.S, 9.80s.
Gatlin is a remarkable athlete who recovered from a four-year doping ban (2006-10) – innocent he says – to run his 9.80s on June 24 this year. Jamaican Blake also set his best time in June, while Gay ran his in 2009 and Powell set his PB in 2008.
Rank
Fastest time (s)
Wind (m/s)
Athlete
Country
Date
Location
1
9.58
+0.9
16 August 2009
2
9.69
+2.0It is three years since he
20 September 2009
3
9.72
+0.2
2 September 2008
4
9.75
+1.1
29 June 2012
5
9.78
+0.9
29 August 2010
6
9.79
+0.1
16 June 1999
7
9.80
+1.3
4 June 2011
9.80
+1.8
24 June 2012
9
9.84
+0.7
27 July 1996
+0.2
22 August 1999

Asafa Powell is a mellifluous name befitting the world’s fastest man from 2005-2008.
Asafa Powell: 3rd fastest time and 2nd best name

Then along came Usain St Leo Bolt. On May 31, 2008, fellow Jamaican Usain Boly  ran a time of 9.72s at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City. Bolt not only had a better time but also a better name.
Usain Bolt sounds like it burst from the pages of a private-detective thriller, but it is his real moniker. I believe the name has added zest to his performance in the track. Coupled with his playful warm-up antics, the name Usain Bolt, the Thor of our times, is revered around the world.
The concept of the fastest man alive helps, as well. It is something of a misnomer in that Bolt would have to be faster than all the dead man, too.
I achieved my only gold medal at the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001. It was through the then Fastest Man Alive, Maurice Greene. Injury prevented star attraction Greene from competing but he was an ambassador.
He gave a media conference and I asked a question which led to my gold medal. I maintain to this day it was a good question. Before me was the fastest man alive, a man with an English surname and a French first name.
I knew Kansas had French settlers before and after the United States acquired most of the territory through the Louisiana Purchase. One Frenchman Ernest Valeton de Boissière was a fascinating homme who came to the U. S. in 1852.
Although he was a former French army engineer, he was of an idealistic bent and, in 1870, set up what he hoped would be a utopian commune in Kansas. He called it Silkville, planted mulberry trees and produced high quality silk. The enterprise hummed along sweetly and Silkville soon had a school, winery, silk factory and a three-story 60-room housing complex.
Cheap overseas silk imports and community members re-joining the rat-race took its toll financially Sticking resolutely to his dream, de Boissiere and his communards diversified into dairy cattle and livestock , but with little success. In 1892, de Boissiere, gave the property to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he sailed back to France, where he died in 1894.
Some might say he wasted the last had 25 years of his life but the utopian commune survived for 22 years. By most comparisons with  similar ventures, the Frenchman did well.
In 1972,  the extant  buildings of the ghost town of Silkville  were added to the National Register of Historic Places. If you are in the area of Williamsburg Township, Franklin County, Kansas, you can  pay Silkville  a visit.
Why Maurice  Greene was given a French name might not be as fascinating as the saga of Silkville. But we would never know unless someone asked. So, at an international media conference, I asked the  fastest man alive how he got the name Maurice. ‘My mother gave me that name,’ Maurice Greene replied. It was not the answer I was looking for, though it seemed to please my media colleagues who laughed heartily.
Six months later, an anniversary of the Games was held in the swank Brisbane Polo Club, a place no one had thought to invite me to, before.
I was presented with a gold medal. I do not remember what the event I won was officially called but it was little doubt it was meant to be for the dumbest question of the final Goodwill Games anywhere in the world. I still maintain it was a good question and a lot better than Greene’s answer which sank my credibility.
After all my years in journalism I have only two small pieces of advice for novices: it is not a popularity contest and never be afraid to ask what you think could be a dumb question; you might win a gold medal from it.
So who will win the gold in the 100m.? Like most of the world, I would like to see Usain Bolt win. But I think the gold will go to Yohan Blake. As soon as I post this rant, I will contact my internet bookie to have a modest wager on Blake.
Yohan Blakei looks for gold 

If I am wrong, that’s alright. You have to back your judgement in life, or wait for others to tell you what you think.

Bernie Dowling, August 5, 2012 

Games people play

Olympic Rant #11 Games reputation on the chopping block

WHEN I heard the IOC had booted out a referee and the coppers had lumbered an Olympic tweeter, I thought it best to turn my attention to an alternative spectacular, the annual Pine Rivers Show.
No axes in the back at the Pine Rivers Show
In the noble sport of bashing, referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan was punted from the London games after he failed to stop a match despite a fighter from Azerbaijan being knocked to the canvas six times.
Amazingly, judges awarded the fight to the Azerbaijani Magomed Abdulhamidov, but that decision was soon reversed amid allegations of a $2 million bribe by Azerbaijan. Wow, who would have thought bribery and match fixing would have crept into the pristine sport of bashing?
Outside the bashing ring, police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting “negative messages” with reference to Olympic diver Tom Daley’s dead father. Wow, who would have thought an offensive message would be posted on Twitter? Police throughout the world are now investigating 45, 762, 811 people over possible similar offences.
Some journos have taken to referring to these London Olympics as the Twitter Games. In my day job, I tweet a bit about the Olympics among posts on more pressing local matters. (I work for what used to be called a suburban newspaper but we have rebadged ourself as a community newspaper.) In these rants, I have quoted a couple of people’s tweets. I am far from an astronaut in the tweet universe but I am not a black hole, either.
On our papers Facebook pages, I posted the discussion point of whether the gun Chinese swimmer was Ye Shiwen or Shiwen Ye. The topic was bubbling nicely when my posts and its attached comments disappeared. Our IT guru assured me the posts were there on the Faceboook page but nobody could see them. This seemed like a great metaphysical conundrum along the lines of “if a tree falls in the forest…” But it curtailed one of my more promising social-media adventures.
One positive thing I will say about my Twitter universe is all the stars in it are rarely negative or insulting. I will just check my Twitter account to see how many stars there are.  I have 22 followers and I follow 30 people. I try to keep parity between followers and followees, but it seems I have slipped up a bit lately.
I read everything I can lay my screen on about social-media strategy. Bent Banana Books is a professional publisher, after all. We need to go into the marketplace and kick arse, ass in America, though I do not get the metaphor of booting a donkey, in the bum, or anyone else, for that matter. I vow to follow hundreds of people hoping some will reciprocate.  But I find it a bit contrived. Then I start getting picky about whom to follow. Those I choose do not follow me back. It’s a mess. One woman – not one of my stars – tweeted anyone with fewer than 100 followers –she actually tweeted less than 100 but I have cleaned her grammar for her – was a cyber stalker. For some reason, her tweet made me feel better.
I believe I should have 2000 followers because what I tweet is really really relevant. Others seem to disagree. They could be right.
After reading depressing reports from the London Olympics, I decided to go to the Pine Rivers Show.

Pine Rivers is a district north of Brisbane. This is its 108th show and the showground is just across the road from where I live.
Pine Rivers has a population of about 130, 000. More than 30,000 people attend the show each year. Per capita, the Pine Rivers Show is far more popular than the London Olympics. No-one watches the show on TV, but.
I tweeted and Facebooked some of my observations to our newspaper accounts. It is my day off, but what the heck, what are a few lousy tweets between friends. I will share some of the tweets and posts, but only the ones which set the scene or demonstrate how wily I am in linking the Pine Rivers Show to the London Olympics.

1. #pineriversshow This is shaping as the best Pine Rivers Show ever. If you like leisurely strolls head down in the next few hours before the burst of the late afternoon crowds.

#pineriversshow Check out 3-month-old alpaca named Short Circuit and 10-month-old miniature long-hair goat Twiggy. They are in the farmyard.

Ugandan drummer Joseph Matovu is conducting free drumming workshops. The kids from Pine Rivers Special School (for disabled students) really pounded out the beat for Old McDonald Had a Farm. “They are fantastic,” Joseph said of the kids. Joseph is fantastic, too.

The variety of food is amazing. You have the old standards of Dagwood Dogs, burgers and chips, as well as the scouts’ sausage sizzle and the Rotary sangers. But there are also wood-fired pizzas, American-style burgers, Teppanyati noodles, Turkish gozleme which is beef cheese and spinach on pita bread and yakitori, Japanese chicken skewers. From the Taste of Greece stall I bought the spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) Yum-eee! The vendor said I pronounced spanakopita so well, he gave me an extra pie free.

#pineriversshow I don’t know what school it was but props for the kids who waited patiently in a 50-metre line to get into the show. They spent the waiting time pointing out to one another all the wonders inside.
                                                     
Pine Rivers was only settled by the White invaders in the mid-1880s and the district only began to become (sub)urbanised 30 or so years ago.  (In 1966 the population was fewer than 14,000). It has nowhere near the rich cultural history of the London and the local council refuses to heritage-list significant sites and buildings in Pine Rivers district. Yet Pine Rivers can host a friendly show of competitions – cooking, horticulture, beef cattle, poultry, arts & crafts, photography, wood-chopping, needlework, school work, colouring-in, show jumping, a rodeo and some I cannot recall – as well as exhibitions and entertainments, many with an international flavour.
I loved it when the Greek man gave me an extra pie for showing the respect to try to pronounce one of his national dishes as best I could.
On that positive message, let’s play the Australian National Anthem for London 2012.

Bernie Dowling, August 3, 2012

Badminton should be good mittens one of my favourite things

Illympic Rant #10 Do those Commie bastards!!!

IN an earlier rant I portrayed the efficiently murderous missiles being developed by a  Russian-Indian partnership as shuttlecocks for the impending Illympic sport of water badminton. Little did I know that badminton would become the focus of a Sino-West showdown at the London Games.
Life follows art in the world of badmimton

These shockin’ awful Illympic Games have become a political nightmare with China accused of progressing from drug cheats to all-round cheats.
It is as if the final medal count between China and the U.S. will be reflective of whether the American or Sino economy rules the world.
Great American author/ essayist/ polemicist/ all-round wordsmith Gore Vidal invariably showed impeccable timing throughout his lifetime. Vidal did not help matters by dying during what will become known as the Chinese Badminton Crisis, named after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Vidal scandalised the U.S by suggesting China would become the new Superpower, sending care packages to Washington, New York and San Francisco. He had the temerity to die in the midst of the crisis, reminding everyone of his prediction.
China was one of the four Asian teams disqualified from the badminton competition. Their transgressions were gloriously oxymoronic: they were losing games in order to win medals. Cheating it was, according to OIC officials.
Now, in most sporting contests, losing to win is a futile exercise. After preliminary contests, the best performing sides are seeded against the worst performing sides. Apparently this is not the case with Illympic badminton and one Chinese side had to throw a game in order to be in the medal fight with another Chinese side.
A casual observer such as me might think the structure of the sport is wrong.
Not so according to the esteemed English popular newspaper the Daily Mail. It’s simply the Chinese are cheats and they have been at it for a long time.

 Chinese players had been scheduled to meet 99 times in 2011: on 20 occasions the game was either not played, or not completed. When China played China, 19.8 per cent of games did not reach a conclusion.

In case you do no get it, 20 out of 99 = 19.8 per cent

Now I suspect, for many badminton competitions, this is the way to work your way through a flawed system when you want to win,
Apparently, the Daily Mail thought it was nefarious, which is obviously evil, being a multisyllabic word you reluctantly have to put in your paper.
China were expected to win every gold medal at the London Olympic Games and all reasonable evidence suggested that the athletes and coaches at the pinnacle of the sport were behaving in a nefarious manner. Instead, a blind eye was turned. Today, the reputation of badminton is in tatters.

I believe that should have read “China was expected to win” but the image of invading red hordes was better conveyed by “were”.
Other reports likened the Chinese selection and training processes to human rights abuse. The best of them have the Buddhist/ Daoist/ Communist medal winners being downright unchristian.

Welcome to the Brave new world of Illympic Games.
Bernie Dowling August 2, 2012.

Pay a wet tribute to Phelps

Olympic Rant #9 Give the pool cleaner a medal
ONE important thing which sets sporting champions apart from the rest of us is they hat3e to lose.
That also sets sociopaths apart from us too, but Michael Phelps is no sociopath.

The Human Medal Detector
Few of us ever have a close relationship with a sporting champ, though we have all worked with a sociopath or three. The one in the corner office is the biggest worry.
Phelps won his record 19th Olympic medal anchoring the men’s 200-freestyle relay. . Fifteen of those medals were of the golden persuasion, including eight gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Some journos intent on enticing tweets asked if he was the best Olympian ever. Of course it is impossible to compare disparate sports and sportspeople. But 19 m4edals are more than anyone else has won. On that objective measure, Phelps is the best ever.
It says something about American hegemony – is that word still in the dictionary – that the previous holder of mist Olympic medals Russian gymnast, Larissa Latynina hardly raised a beep on the heart monitor of popular culture. It is not a case of how quickly we forget because most of us never consciously knew.
Best play the American London Games 2012 National Anthem before we forget that. The vid is not that clear and mostly zoomless but it was recorded en el Elstadio Olimpico de Barcelona el 17 de Mayo de 2012’. If you have to go to Google Translate to decipher the afore typed, you might want to relinquish that dream of learning another language.)

Swimming is a funny sport. In other games such as football or snooker, you can trade physical acumen for guile and experience and play into your 30s or 40s. On swimming once old age of say 27 or 28, you have pretty much had it. It is also a sport which requires inordinate amounts of training from a young.
Australian Olympic swimmer Jessicah Schipper wrote the forward for my collection of earlier rants, 7 Shouts (available from Google eBooks, Amazon and their affiliates: first and last commercial on these otherwise public-broadcast rants).
Jess wrote: ‘I am also guessing he (me) would have been pretty horrified to learn I woke up at 3.45am to go to swimming training and I did that five times a week, as well as training five afternoons a week.’ Horrified, flabbergasted, disbelieving; they were three of the seven stages of gobsmacked I recall going through. I never made it to acceptance.
When I was a young man I was somewhat adept at snooker and pool in a careless wasted-youth, sort of way. I used to frequent a snooker hall owned by a pro. He would spend four hours sinking the colours, in order, yellow to black from the shooting position half-way along the diameter of the semi-circle. I should explain it took him four hours not because age had made him hopeless. It was just that he would do it again and again and again, for four hours. You have probably heard that smashing your head against a brick wall is not madness; failing to stop doing it is. That might be wise advice to live by in many endeavours, but definitely not in sport.
This brings us to the people Phelps must, in all honesty and fairness, share his 19 medals with. There are his support network of family and friends, his coaches and sports managers, all his opponents and even the pool cleaners.
Esteemed Australian author Thomas Keneally (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith) Schindler’s List) modestly declared himself a journeyman, helping to clear the field of literature for creative geniuses to pass through. Jess Schipper will finish her Olympic career with two gold and two bronze as she goes home empty handed from London. Yet, just like Phelps, she is a true champion. I was privileged to see a teenaged Schipper rise from a journeywoman age swimmer in Australia to winning World Championship gold five times.
In between all that swimming and training, she would always give her time to worthy causes in her community.
Jess became a world champ with an iron will embedded in the sweetest of personalities.
Michael Phelps, Jess Schipper and all the journey athletes of the world, we salute you.
Because I have been so nice in this rant, I now have to punish readers with a tribute to the POOs – parents of Olympians. This is the most cloyingly nauseous song I can come up with. Enjoy.

Bernie Dowling, August 1, 2012

Pool brouhaha splashes at the shallow end

Olympic Rant #8 Dopey blasts dwarf win

‘YOU’RE a drug cheat.’
‘No you’re a drug cheat.’
‘You’re a druggie.’
Nah, you’re a druggie; nah, nah, nah.’
Back and forth across the Olympic the pool, the accusations fly like shuttlecocks; it is water badminton.
The latest design in shuttlecocks for water badminton
expected to be an Olympic sport in 2020 

Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye was the catalyst for the first of a barrage of snide remarks when she won the 400m individual medley. It should have been a fairy tale result as Ye easily swam her personal best and snatched a world record. But it turned into a fairy tale directed by Tim Burton as the dark news unfolded that the Chinese schoolgirl had swum a faster final 50m than Ryan Lochte who had won the men’s equivalent and relegated super swimmer Michael Phelps to a medal-less  fourth in the process.
At first no one quite yelled out Ye was a drug cheat: that would be against the Olympic spirit of these carping back-biting Games.
Lochte served up just a hint of suspicion as he told journos the American camp discussed it over dinner. ‘She’s fast,’ he told reporters, just in case any of the scribes had not noticed.
It was wise to help out the world’s media with an indisputable piece of copy. It was not only the swim which had the world’s media declaring there were two Shiwen.  Yes. I am not sure about the exact proportion but let’s say half the world’s media believe her name is Ye Shiwen. I am with the “Shiwen Ye” half because that is all she writes in the official Games website. For those wishing to argue the toss at your own dinner party, Ye is the family name.
Australian swimming commentator and former Olympic medallist Susie O’Neill was known as Madam Butterfly in her heyday. She was more Madam Math as she gave her opinion of the swim of Mademoiselle Ye. ‘Every time we see a good Chinese swimmer….there’s just that .0001 per cent at the back of mind.’
It might have been at the back of Madam Butterfly’s mind but it butterflew to the front of her lips.
The coyness of such remarks failed to impress a former Chinese swimming official who did not confucius with maths or dinner-party banter in returning the water shuttlecock.
Shanghai Chen was the head of the Chinese Olympic medical team in Los Angeles, Seoul and Barcelona. ‘America’s (Michael) Phelps broke seven world records! Is he normal?’ Dr Chen asked.
Before a journo could ask the sensible question ‘what’s your definition of normal’, Chen made it clear drug cheating was abnormal.
‘I suspect Phelps, but without evidence,’ he said. This sounded like the distillation of a conversation at a tea, rather than dinner, party. ‘I have to recognise that we should be grounded in facts,’
Dr Chen said.
That is how you engage in war of drug cheating without either side making an outright accusation against the other.
‘The Americans are very bad; they do a lot of evil,’ Dr Chen said  
Swimming pools are central to geopolitics: with the medico’s unsophisticated diagnosis, all became clear.
Congratulations Azerbaijan
Valentin Hristov, 18, won Olympic bronze for Azerbaijan in the clean and jerk 56-kg weight class) event.
In another upset, North Korea’s Om Yun Chol won the gold ahead of Chinese world champion Jingbiao Wu (or Wu Jingbiao, take your pick).
Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, watched the success of Bulgarian-born Hristov.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised the nation’s record on human rights: especially its treatment of homosexuals and the media.
All may not be forgiven but this journalist is glad to see a nation which is not a household name in the West take home a medal. We applaud you in the traditional manner.
Bernie Dowling July 31, 2012

How the West has lost

              Olympic Rant #7 More surprises than at a Tea Party Geography Quiz

UPSETS are the order of the first daze of the 2012 Games.
Super swimmer  Michael Phelps set the tone when he was unplaced in his first final, the 400m individual motley.
Some thought Michael Phelps swam in a dinner suit

Phelps made amends, of sorts when he able to rub his 17thOlympic medal, but it was only a silver  when the Americans were swum down by the French  in the freestyle relay.   The French? Sure we know they can speak incomprehensible philosophy under water but who knew they could move so fast on top of it. The favourites, the Aussies, came an unimpressive fourth.
In the sabre version of poking-holes-in-people, Hungarian Aron  Szilagyi, ranked only sixth in the world,won the gold.
The victory took those of us with long memories or fertile imaginations back to the glorious 1912 Summer Olympics  in Stockholm.
The 1912 Hungarian poking-holes-in-people team.

The final eight in the sabre poking-holes-in-people were seven Hungarians and one Italian.
Nedo Nadi really took it to the Hungarians and the plucky Italian finished sixth. Jeno Fuchs overcame ridicule, in primary school because of his name, to take the gold.
Jeno and his fellow six finalists as well as Aron, we salute you, although we leave  our sabres in their scabbard.

If these upsets keep up, they will feed the families of sundry academics for generations. Psychologists, social scientists, sports medicos, politico types  and economists will argue whether the upsets mean the decline of the West.
The Tea Party will blame Barack Obama who fixed the Games  to support an African nation. Most Tea Party members know where the country is because they saw a doco on Hungary Africa.
Bernie Dowling July 30, 2012

Shoot and Poke at the Olympics

Olympic rant *6 Asia tops the West 
They like to start the killing sports early at the Olympics.
China’s Siling Yi took gold in the 1om women’s air-rifle shooting-at-things and South Korean Jongoh Jin won the men’s 10m air-pistol shooting-at-things.
Jin wins shooting-at-things
Italian Elisa Di Francisca won gold in the women’s poking-holes-in-people individual foil.
A foil used in the sport of poking-holes-in-people

Italy was also successful in the team shooting-arrows-at-things. Michele Frangilli, Marco Galiazzo and Mauro Nespoli hugged and raised their hands in celebration after the final arrow from Frangilli beat the Americans 219-218 at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Frangilli shot the last arrow of the final for the Italians to win.
Not for profit broadcaster NPR proved it could mix it with all for profit jingoists such as Fox in Olympic coverage with this headline.

 Team USA Wins First Medals Of London 2012 Games
Of course, that is ITS first medals of the games not THE first. This misleading banner will not win the jingo gold but it put NPR on the early leader board.
The Australian team took the gold medal in the women’s 4X100m freestyle relay. NPR did not list the Aussie team or the Dutch who came second.  It did list the U.S. team which came third.
We need to play the Aussie National 2012 Games Anthem. This should not be confused with Advance Australia Fair.

The Aussies were Alicia Coutts, Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger with Libby Trickett, Emily Seebohm and Yolane Kukla also winning gold after they swam in the heats.
China’s Yang Sun set an Olympic record in winning the 400m freestyle and Shiwen Ye won the 400m individual medley. English, American and Australian media are inverting the names to have, for example, Ye Shiwen winning gold, despite their accepted names being readily available on the Games website. As a journalist, I am no expert on the world’s nomenclature, buy would you noi go with the official Games website and blame them if it is wrong? WTF, they are only Chinese.
Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan won the men’s cycling road race, with the favourite Mark Cavendish of the UK well beaten.
Alex puts a spoke in the UK wheel

The 38-year-old Vinokourov had a wonderful if unexpected triumph in his last year of racing. He survived a bad crash in last year’s Tour de France, breaking and broke his right femur.  The best he could do at this year’s your was a third in one stage.
Vinokourov began cycling in 1984 as an 11 year-old, competing within the former Soviet Union. He turned professional there in 1998.
Well done, that man on the bike.

Bernie Dowling July 29, 2012

Shoot off the mouth for gold

Olympic Rant #5 Barkingly mad start to the games
IT was a weird start to Games e competition with American super-swimmer Michael Phelps missing a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley won by teammate Ryan Lochte.
Lochte one, Phelps nil
Phelps described it as a “crappy race’’, presumably reflecting on his own performance rather than the collective effort of the finalists. Still, Phelps missed a medal in eloquence as well as in the pool.
It was hard to know what to make of the performance of senior sports scribe Barney Ronay after the first gold medal of the Games went to China’s Siling  Yi in the sport of shooting-at-things.  The sub-category was the 10m air rifle. Thank Mao; the 10m was not the calibre of the rifle but the distance from which you shoot at things.
On behalf of the guardian .co.uk, journo Ronay wrote, ‘China’s parpingly jaunty anthem was the first to be heard in triumph at London 2012.’ Parpingly? Really, Barney.
The obscure word “parping” seems to mean the sound made by a car horn.
Whether parpingly can be used successfully to modify “jaunty”, I just do not know. What I do know is the word appeared in the online guardian in Andrew Sparrow’s blog on June 16, 2012.
Boris Johnson has arrived in Cape Town to fly the flag for England’s 2018 World Cup bid (and) did give his views on the controversial vuvuzela, the horn blasted deafeningly by fans during every game of the South African World Cup.
Johnson said: ’Certainly the vuvuzela is a very very interesting device…..It’s a great way of expressing yourself in a loud, vehement, parping kind of way. … I think maybe that’s not the effect we’re going to want to see in 2012 [at the London Olympics].’
             
Was it coincidence that Barney Ronay revived the word parping(ly) or was it some sort of tribute to the barkingly mad Boris Johnson?  BTW, Johnson brought little to the lingual table in stating a horn had the sound of a horn and that sound is rarely jaunty.
Enough of this nonsense bring on that jaunty sound.

That anthem could have been written for a Chinese victory in the international sport of shooting at things. The lyric about China facing its greatest danger is a bit dodgy though.  This anthem is likely to be around for centuries so the message for the generations is be on a constant war footing. Grab your air rifle and be prepared.
 I am not sure tourists will flock to that new Great Wall if it is made of flesh and blood; could be a bit slippery. Perhaps I am being too literal.
It is heartening to see the Chinese lyrics pay homage to the French anthem La Marseillaise. The Chinese version has the good taste to ditch that French stuff about fearsome soldiers coming into our midst to cut the throats of your sons and consorts. It is something of a surprise France does not do better in shooting-at-things. I believe the reason is the French athletes try to sell their arms during the competition, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage during the shoot-offs for medals.
During shooting-at-things, athletes are encouraged to only fire at inert objects. Live pigeon shooting had its only appearance at the 1900 Paris Games. It did not take off.
Neither did the 21 pigeons Belgian Leon de Linden shot to win the gold. They do not call them pigeons for nothing, but even the IOC could see the ineffable killing the unflappable was a trifle off.
Crap is the word
CRAP is quick off the blocks in the competition for the golden word of the 2012 London Olympics.
Swim champ Michael Phelps missed a medal in the 400m men’s individual medley and described his performance as a crappy race. Tory MP Aidan Burley took to Twitter to describe the Opening ceremony as “leftie multicultural crap”.
You would have thought that phrase has few shades of meaning, far fewer than 50, but Burley said he was misunderstood. Unfortunately for public figures, the nature of Twitter makes it difficult to bleat the old stand-by of being taken out of context.  The MP then went on to make the bizarre claim the rappers did his head in.
‘We had all these rappers – that is what got me to the point about multiculturalism.’
Burley received little support from his Conservative colleagues. The Mad Mayor of London said it was nonsense, a subject on which Boris Johnson is an authority.
‘People say it was all leftie stuff. That is nonsense. I’m a Conservative and I had hot tears of patriotic pride from the beginning. I was blubbing like Andy Murray,’ Johnson said. Why he had to tie-in Murray’s tears after losing the Wimbledon tennis final was anybody’s guess, if anybody wants to bother interpreting thoughts from the addled Mayoral mind.
Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself
Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!
The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?
It was left up to online readers to stick up for Burley.
This is from a reader of the Independent
johngoode  
Burley was right.
This was not an opening ceremony but an excuse by the liberal elite to pour more of their absurd and defeatist multi-cultural propaganda into the Olympics. Why Danny Boyle, for crying out loud.
Look, next time, why not just have an opening ceremony full of addicts and ravers at a disco and cut the attempts to present the distorted history lessons. Why bother with the athletes at all? This country has lost it.
Most Independent readers took the opposite view: 
Hilarious! An opening ceremony for an event featuring athletes from more than 200 nations, hosted by one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities on the planet branded “leftie multicultural crap”! Where does the Tory party get such prize turnips from? I know they don’t like their MPs to be too clever, but he really takes the gold for ignorance and boorish stupidity. Cameron should promote him to the Cabinet immediately- at least he’s honest about his racism, xenophobia and fascistic tendencies!
Bernie Dowling July 29, 2912
If you enjoyed this rant, please pass it on or  share a link to this blog.

Olympics in song

Olympic rant #4  OIC bans Bond

WHAT were they thinking. giving mad Irish film maker  Danny Boyle $42 million to stage the Opening Ceremony of the London? When the Big End of London goes for the cutting edge, it ends up bleeding badly.
Danny Boy, the Pistols are calling

The Scots bung on the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, and, of course, they are going to put on a Fringe Festival for comedians to ridicule the High and Mighty. Among the English.
(Do not  go down to the comments column to tell me I am an idiot because Boyle is English. You will lose the thread of my dissertation . I have no time to explain why Boyle is Irish so just take my word for it and we will move on.)
But the English should not have fringes, even on their foreheads. Yet Boris Johnson is the Official Games Madman and Boyle is the Fringe Games Madman.
Of course Boyle was going to include the Sex-Pistols’ God Save the Queen in the ceremony. It was only a snippet but Boyle knew we would all usain-bolt to our computers to play the whole damn thing.
The Queen was a good sport in allowing Boyle to put together the great-looking hokum with Her Maj, the Royal Corgis and James Bond. I believe Boyle has offered Elizabeth II a role in the sequel to Trainspotting. I was going to show the You Tube vid but the IOC spolsports tracked it down and banned it. You know how it goes.
This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright groundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube, Yair, we are too.
That vid brought out the republicans and the jingoes among the Youtubers who saw it before the IOC swooped.
good2btheking  commented ‘Thats (sic, commas and Capital Letters are optional for good2b) not fair, she had a parachute on! What a waste of my time.’
I guess the implication is, if China had Danny Boyle, Mao Tse-tung would have opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 
If we cannot watch the Queen/ Bondy/ corgi thing we will make do with another classic which Danny Boyle’s mob covered.
This is 4u, IOC



Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude, a song the former Beatle wrote though it was credited as being by Lennon-McCartney. I have no idea why Boyle did not have John Lennon performing beside McCartney. Hey Jude is a sweet song but not overly inspiring.

McCartney, could have chosen one of his songs which more reflected on modern Britain. You might correctly guess Lennon’s fingerprints are on some of the lyrics of the song McCartney should have sung.

Six young athletes lit the cauldron from a flame carried by five-time gold medallist, rower Steve Redgrave. In a thoughtful gesture, Redgrave’s guard of honour consisted of 500 men and women who built the Olympic Park, specifically for the London Olympics and Paralympics. After the Games are finished, it will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be used as a playground for her corgis.
The Arctic Monkeys covered the Beatles Come Together but the IOC says we are not allowed to watch the replay.  You know the drill:

oundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube.


Yes, it is a bit of a shame as we will not see a song with the title Come Together at the fiscally responsible Ayn Rand Olympics. (Read my previous blog. Or not.) The Arctic Monkeys did a version most faithful to the original. You can catch the sound of Youtube but, what the heck, we will play a cover  from a trio who should have been invited to perform at the London Games.
You cannot finish on a more inspirational note than that.
Enjoy the Games.!
Olympic shorts
Ducking for glory
THE archive of Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce was the top selling lot at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale held on July 25 in London. (See My Olympic rant #1)
The collection included the rower’s two Olympic Gold Medals, letters, photographs and posters.
It sold for £49,250 to an Australian buyer.  The winning bid was at the top end of Bonhham’s expectations
He buyer will be able to tell the story of Pearce’s heat at the 1928  Amsterdam Olympics. He stopped rowing during his heat to allow a group of ducks to cross the course. Pearce went  on to win by 20 lengths.
It would be good if the modern IOC could realise how fireworks terrorise wildlife and domestic parts. I know I am in the minority on this one but I would like to see fireworks replaced by laser light shows synchronised with popular music.
BIGGEST representation
The Cook Islands has the biggest number of national representatives.
Its eight athletes represent the nation at the rate of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants. The greedy nation the United Kingdom (England and those countries yet to win independence) has  a rate of  under 1 for every 100,000 people.
Half the nations  have fewer than 10 competitors, while six nations –  the US, UK, Russia, China, Germany and Australia. –   have  2,720 athletes or  a quarter of all the athletes in the games.


Meet you in Burkina Faso
A HUMBLING experience for Olympic spectators is the realisation that there are countries we have never heard. Be honest: how many of these countries  do you know something about: Andorra, Aruba, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mauritania, Myanmar, Suriname, Tuvalu.
Over the next fortnight, Olympic Rants will feature some of the athletes from these countries. The Olympics is a better way for countries such as these to make the headlines for reasons other than war and famine.
Bernie Dowling June 28, 2012

Rand and rand the Olympic track

Olympic Ayn Rant # 3: The American Anthem

I AM a big fan of political and corporate leaders aligning themselves with arts and literature to the merriment of the general public.
London Louie B. Mayor Boris Johnson did a fine job of commissioning a modern version of the Olympic victory ode. In the spirit of the great producer-performers of the past, Johnson even recited the piece of doggerel himself. A world-wide audience laughed at the ode and its inevitable spoofs.
These delicious moments are far too rare, usually because of an over-educated junior, on the public or private patrol, who objects, ‘You can’t do that.’ Fortuitously, it is from one of these spoiler interventions that we are able to bring the American Games Anthem, as fresh as fresh as Daisy Duck, as thematic of the London 2012 international extravaganza.
American president-elect Ronald Reagan wanted this song performed at his 1981 inauguration. A junior fun-killer declared, ‘You can’t do that.’
Before the launch of the American National Anthem, we need to introduce the patron of the US team. It has to be Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand in training for the Mind Games

The Russian emigrant is a sublime example, of the United States immigrant made good, which has inspired generations of achievers on and off the sporting field.
Like many a heroic role model, dripping fame and wealth, Rand had to overcome adversity hiding beneath the rungs of the ladder of success. Indeed, her first visit to the US almost robbed that nation of the privilege of hosting one of the great philosophical minds of the 20the century.
In the autumn of 1925, Rand first stepped on American soil. Overcome by the splendour of the Manhattan skyline, she burst into tears. A New Yorker, thinking she was distressed, put a gentle hand on her shoulder and asked what was the matter.
Rand was a committed pacifist but she was confused and she kneed the stranger, Al Trooism, in the groin. Police interviews with the two parties would determine the future of Rand and the intellectual life of the United States.
The budding philosopher told the authorities Trooism’s interference dismayed her. ‘I did not want him trying to help me; his attempt at help made me nauseous,’ the police notebook read. For his part, Altrooism declined to lay charges.
Today, no one knows anything about Al Trooism, while many New Yorkers greatly admire the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
On a more practical note, I believe her patronage will give America a head start at the inaugural Ayn Rand Olympic Games, set to come in after the next Global Financial Crisis.
At the fiscally responsible Rand Olympics, all team sports will be eliminated. There will be no relay events and no such things and doubles and triples in the rowing. The atavistic Opening Ceremony, with its sickening coming together of previously noble individuals, will be canned.
Of course, the glorious closing ceremony will be spared but it will be much shortened. Before the gates are open to the public, all the athletes will have gathered in the centre of the stadium. In the unforgettable ceremony, the rabble will disperse into a line of heroic individual athletes. A blonde blue-eyed javelin throw will recite explanations of Rand’s political philosophy, known as fuckupal. The banjo, moonshine jig, chainsaw, rifle and Bible-bashing Tea Party Symphony orchestra will play excerpts from Wagner’s The Ring Cycle.
It will be the best Olympics the modern world has known.
After discussion of this future opus, it seems almost prosaic to introduce the American National London Olympics 2012 Anthem. Nonetheless be ready to upload this classic every time an American athlete wins a medal.

Little known Olympic fact number 2

Philip Morris Atlas was a judge in track and field at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Injury prone British athlete Derek Redmond looked in good shape for the 400m at the Spanish Games.
He posted the fastest time of the first heats and won his quarter-final.
In the semi-final, Redmond was going well until he hit the back straight and did a hamstring.
He fell to the ground in agony but struggled to his feet when he saw stretcher bearers comingfor him.
 The finish line was 250m down the track and Redmond hobbled towards it. 
His father Jim Redmond burst from the stands to help his son. Derek Redmond leaned on his father’s shoulder and they made it the line, the cheers and applause of 65,000 spectators, ringing in their ears.
Chief judge Philip Morris Atlas turned to his junior and said, ‘That’s incredible.’ Wiping away a tear, the junior judge agreed. 
Atlas went on. ‘How dare that man try to set back the spirit and rules of the Olympic Games by helping that athlete across the line? Mark Derek Redmond down as DNF.
The junior judge could not believe it. ‘You are going to reward an inspirational act of altruism with a did not finish.’
Atlas shrugged.

Barbaric threat to modern civilisation

Bernie Dowling, July 27, 2012.

If you enjoyed this Olympic rant, please re-blog or send a link to friends.

Available from Google eBooks and Kindle eBooks




Mad Mayor forgets it is all Greek

Olympic Rant #2: The London Games Anthem

WE all might worry about the London Lord Mayor’s insistence on an Olympic anthem in the style of an ancient Greek ode if we did not know Boris Johnson is a total loop-de-loop.

Johnson delivered his first over-the-top serving of a  of a Pindaric Ode for the London Games  — in ancient Greek, no less — at an Olympic shebang at the Royal Opera House  in Covent Garden on Monday night.

Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet who dished out Olympic victory odes.

An early Pindaric effort set the theme: ‘Let us not proclaim any contest greater than Olympia. From there glorious song enfolds the wisdom of poets.’

Conservative Johnson and I have little in common but we do make a living through the use of words.

The Mayor moonlights as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph. I am moonlighting, after my day job as a reporter, on these election rants from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.

In a July 2009 interview Johnson referred to his Tele salary as “chicken-feed’’. His poultry payment each year was 250,000 GBP. That is 320,000 euro, 387, 000 USD and 376, 000 AUD.

In 2009, in the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, Boris Johnson, future Olympic Hero, declared such sums chicken feed.

For these rants I receive 0 GBP, 0 euro, 0 ISD and 0 AUD and I have a retired racing pigeon to feed. Several months back, the pigeon landed on our back veranda, with indecipherable plastic identification tags on its lower legs and sought asylum from competitive sports. Racing pigeons – even retired ones – do not live on chicken feed. Compounding the expense, the bird, having shunned competition, now allows, without any fuss, wild birds to share its food, my food, actually.

At first I thought the pigeon – which we named Pigeon, with Birdie as its nickname – had turned Buddhist. I was quickly disabused of this notion when I brought home a copy of one of the two newspapers from which I earn my living. I started to read the paper when Pigeon viciously clawed the open pages with both feet. I looked down to see Birdie’s food bowl was empty. Pigeon has done a similar thing on other occasions when I read one of our papers. It is official: I am working for pigeon feed.

I am not saying I am as good a journo as Boris Johnson but I wish I had lucked into his lark of Pindaric verse rather than sharing his unruly hairstyle.

What I have in common with Johnson are  journalism and unruly hair.

The Opera House punters broke into rapturous applause when Johnson spruiked in ancient Greek accompanied by English translation on computerised screens. The neo-ode starts

This new Olympic flame behold,
that once burned bright in Greece of old;
with happy hearts receive once more
these Games revived on London's shore.

Who knew you could garner kudos from doggerel if you tied it to the classics. Me, I am more into the Clash than the classics and every daughter and son of Heroic London must join me there. The Clash provides the English National Games Anthem.

Whenever an English athlete wins a medal, the anthem must be played. Tech-heads will synchronise it with their internet coverage of the Games. I am hoping the most sophisticated will be able to tap into that other British antthem and replace it after a couple of bars. God Save the Queen is fine for hundreds of other occasions but the London Olympics 2012 deserve something special.

London becomes the first city to host three Olympic Games. I am hoping the head of the IOC will introduce London 2012 as the Greedy Games in honour of the thousands of cities which have never hosted one. I suspect it will not happen so I will have to be content with the special games anthem.

 Little Known Olympic Fact #1

The first Asian Summer Olympic Games were to be held in Tokyo in 1940.

They were called off because the world was at war.

Norwegian athlete William Risterspyd and his supporters declared the Tokyo Games should go ahead with the neutral countries competing.

The authorities quickly decided this proposal was absurd but the stubborn. Risterspyd, a discus thrower, was adamant. He and his supporters set up a tent in Helsinki’s Market Square for the entire period the Tokyo Summer Games were scheduled for. It did not matter that it was winter in Norway.

Every few hours, Risterspyd supporters cleared people from the centre of the squares so the athlete could show off his discus prowess.

A jubilant Risterspyd linked his protest to the Summer Games when he gave a press conference to international reporters who flocked to the square on the third day of the protest.

‘Now is the winter of our discustent made glorious summer,’ he said.

Bernie Dowling, July 24, 2012.

If you enjoyed this Olympic blog feel free to re-blog or send a link here.
Become  a member to receive alerts on more Games reports from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.

Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012


Olympic Rant  #1 The Patron
THESE Olympic reports are written from the edge of the city and the jaws of hell.
The city in question is Brisbane where, as in all fair cities of Australia, good drug and  alcohol-fuelled citizens are regularly bashing one another senseless, and occasionally lifeless.  Friday and Saturday nights are the preferred times for  such mayhem but any warm or cool enchanted evening will do.
I am confident the industrious denizens of the western world’s capital cities are similar indulging in random violence to share the terror of life in war zones.
This is why these reports on the noble Olympic games are writ from the jaws of hell. Our patron for the Capital-G Games  is Thomas Hobbes.
London Games Patron

Before we introduce our patron to the enthusiastic international audience we should satisfy ourselves that we indeed live in violent times. Over a long period in journalism I have seen the reality of falling crime rates go hand-in-hand with public perceptions of their increase . Some politicians and sections of the media love to play the crime card: a fearful population are an impressionable lot.
I believe  the perception of violent crime today matches the reality. For a long time, I have toyed with the notion that times of war and lauded militarism create parallel violence in civilian populations.  My days of meandering through the halls of higher learning are long gone but I would like a phD student test my  theory in a thesis.  What the civilian ‘Libyan “liberators”, of the  National Transitional Council, the Gonzoid rants on the London Olympics 2012.

WARNING: This video has been identified as potentially offensive or inappropriate by some viewers.

Most of the assailants appear to be unarmed civilians watched by gun toters in military-style dress.

This was an inauspicious start for Libyan democracy.
Meet our patron
Thomas  Hobbes  is a 17th century English philosopher. I say “is’’ as Tough Tom  is alive in many people’s heads.
Hobbes wrote that you should bash people long and hard before they have a chance to fuck you over. Hobbes went on that, in a sophisticated society, the State could do  the pre-emptive bashing on your behalf. He wrote these things  in my version of his book Leviathan. My version only exists in my head but you can download  another edition here http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3207
The Religious Right owe a great debt to Hobbes. This is why they like to shooy at things while they spread the a-Hobbesian gospel of the free market.
You can see why Thomas Hobbes is an excellent patron for the London Olympics 2012. 
In rant #2, we introduce the Games national anthems of England, the United States and Australia.

Olympic shorts
GREATER London 16-year-old Mahamed Awale recently tweeted: USAIN BOLT IZ A V GD FRIEND OF MINE HIM BCOMIN A RUNNA WOZ MA IDEA.
I don’t know that time line and geographic distance pans out to validate Awale’s contention.
But Mahamed was kicked off one of those reality TV shows in the first round. Being booted first-up from the BBC Series2 of  Young Apprentice gives the lad a lot of cred in my book.
THIS reminds me of when I covered the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001.
American Ted Turner began the Goodwill Games in Moscow  in 1986 in response to the politicisation of the Olympics after the 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
The games were bought from Ted Turner by Time Warner when Turner’s company merged with TW in 1986. TW promised to keep the Goodwill Games alive
The corporation descended from Warner Bros which brought the world, hungry for justice, John Wayne movies. That lineage was interested in namby-pamby sports détente and they canned the games when ratings tanked in America.
At the final Brisbane Games I interviewed reigning  Olympic 100m champion American Maurice Greene who broke down in Goodwill Games preparation and did not compete.
It was at the Goodwill Games that I suggested Greene become a runner. No, wait, that cannot be right. I suggested, as he wasn’t competing at the Games, we go to Brisbane’s best Chinese restaurant and do a runner before the bill came. Maurice declined.
THE Olympic Gold medals and memorabilia of  Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce (1905-1976), will be auctioned at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale on 25 July 2012. The Olympic Games sale will be held at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London, saleroom in case you  wish to pop down. that way.
Rower Pearce went to the Amsterdam 1928 Games and won the Gold from American entrant Kenneth Myers who was said to be so disgusted that he smashed his boat.
 Pearce won skulls gold again at the Los Angeles Olympiad in 1932.
Pearce’s Olympic Gold stuff is expected to fetch  £30,000 – 50,000 ($44,000 – $73,000 AUD and much the same in US dollars). I have Maurice Greene’s autograph on an Goodwill Games cap if the under-bidder is interested.
If you enjoyed the first of this Gonzoid Games coverage please re-blog or a share a link to this blog.
7 Shouts at Google eBooks 
7 Shouts at Amazon 
Bernie Dowling, July 23, 2012.