Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thank you America

Thank you America! Thank you for not only electing the right person as President for your country, but also the right President that the world has asked for.

Let’s face it, the past 8 years have not been the best for a lot of people. When Bill Clinton left office in 2000 the world was a good place to be. America had won the ideological and philosophical cold war to come out as the lone superpower. The world was generally prosperous and did not witness any major conflicts.

When George W. Bush came into the presidency in 2001 he had most likely hoped that during his term, he would be able to ride this wave of affluence and be seen as a good president. However, things never played out that way as the September 11 attack changed everything – not only for America for the world.

Bush had the chance to be seen as a great president but he failed miserably with his responses - first the war on Afghanistan and then the war in Iraq whose reasons were questionable. These events conspired to smear America’s standing in the world as a just and honourable power (as they like to show in the movies). Adding the recent events such as the economic crisis which stemmed from America’s financial dealings and the environmental issues that have pervaded the world, there has been a sense of pessimism that enveloped the world.

This election gave America a chance to right those wrongs, to not only bring about change for its people, but also change for the world. In a word, this election could bring back HOPE!

With Barack Obama becoming president, I awoke with a sense of optimism, with hope, that the world’s ills could be righted.

Although I am an Australia, I knew this election would define the course of the world for a generation. I was passionate about this election, because from America, the world takes it leads.

In Obama, I saw a true leader, one who could inspire, one who is thinks about his responses. A person who seeks advice on topics he requires knowledge on. I believe we have found someone who is a thinker, who is eloquent and able to converse with whomever, no matter what their ideologies are.

Afterall, has any election garnered this much attention from the world? Has any Presidential result produced this much positiveness?

This was the result the world wanted! Nearly 75% of Australians wanted Barack Obama as president, and apparently his appeal to most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa were just as high.

Now the world has got they wanted. Now the pressure is on.

Can he deliver what he promised?

More importantly, can he be the leader that we have hoped for?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Most other days my thoughts centre on who will win the US presedential election, when Dubai will buy Liverpool and who Liverpool is playing are in my thoughts. I also sometimes wander about my lot in life, have I done my housework and if I am too much trouble for my wife.

Then you get a day like today. A day that shows you how fragile this existence we are in really is.

See today as I received a note from one of my soccer boys. (Actually I should not call him a "boy" as he is only a few years younger than me but really, anyone that plays for me is considered a friend or "boy" or one of my "lads".) He informed the team that one of our team mates has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and has been in hospital for a while.

This player, (who shall be called JW here) had a operation last week and although they got most of it out there is still something in there. Worse still it is still malignant so this means that he will have to go through some chemotherapy.

When I read the note, I could not believe it. I had to read it a few times to let it sink in. For one of my boys was seriously sick!

This is not a broken bone or a knee injury. This was life-death stuff.

Even now after a day of regurgitating this news I am still emotional about the whole situation. The fact that someone I know and see most weekends is in this situation really gets to me.

You may not know JW but he has an abundance of determination and heart. So if anyone will give his all in this situation it will be him.

He will need help to remain focussed and staying positive, and I know his girlfriend and family will be there at his side.

As his team mates all we can really do is keep his spirits up and letting him know we care and he will be in our thoughts and prayers.

But this just iillustrates how fragile life can be and how we really should not get so caught up in things like work, money, economic crisis because we could one day have something serious happen to us or a family member or a friend. A situation that shows us how fleeting life can be.

i pray that JW gets through this and will be back doing his step overs soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Reds 2 - Sith Reds 1

I have not written anything about Liverpool for a while because frankly, I was disturbed and bemused about what has happened to this great club. Last season we started off with hope but then after reaching the peak of the summit, we proved we had problems maintaining the push and slowly succumbed to challenging for one of the four champions league spots.

Added to this is the debacle that is our ownership. I have said before that the Americans have not delivered on their promises and should leave. I am just hoping that the finance side of things fall though so that they are forced to sell up to a buyer who not only will respect the Liverpool way, but also have the finances to deliver a new stadium and players to return us back to the summit.

But with a new season starting, I was hesitant to write anything until I could see how we performed. After the first three matches of the season, I was not happy with the team. We played pretty average, with no real width and opposition teams just played down our centre. However we nutted out two wins through moments of brilliance through our two best players. Torres and Gerrard both scoring sensational efforts at the death of matches for us to snatch victory.

However, after the tie at Aston Villa, I felt we need to see an upturn in our playing style – more urgency and more desperation, for us to even consider making the Premiership race interesting.

After the come from behind win against Manchester United I felt more relief that anything. I am definitely not one to proclaim we are going to win the title because we have only played 4 matches. But the fact we managed to beat what was essentially our bogey team with our two best players not taking a major part in the game, indicates that we have the potential to challenge.

At the very least this has provided some belief to the players that we can beat the Chelsea’s, Arsenal’s and yes the Manchester United’s even if we are a goal behind. I shudder to think that if we had lost it would have affected our mental state in such a way we would not have recovered for the remainder of the season. Articles would have been written about how Rafa did not select the right players, his tactics were wrong and that Liverpool does not have the players to challenge.

However, Liverpool fans should not get ahead of ourselves too much. We were lucky with the first goal but sometimes you need that to win!

There are still 34 matches to go and we have to continually improve and WIN every match at Anfield. More importantly we need to start winning away at the Portsmouth, Newcastles, Bolton’s etc.

But we can do that with a little more belief than two weeks ago.

The win was satisfying but it is early days. Walk On!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Australian Citizenship Test

Ok, i was very nervous to put this latest post up, but I believe that sharing is caring! As such, I attach a copy of the Australian Citizenship Test that will be given to all wannabe Aussie's! So if you are game, try out the following test:

The Australian citizenship test has been designed to assist people who want to become
Australian citizens gain an understanding of Australia’s values, traditions, history and national

The test is an important part of ensuring that migrants have the capacity to fully participate in the Australian community as citizens and maximise the opportunities available to them in
Australia. It will promote social cohesion and successful integration into the community.

Test Rules

There are some basic rules which you must follow during the test:

- Test is timed - You will be allowed 45 minutes to complete the test (or 90 minutes in
the case of an assisted test). No additional time will be made available.

- This is a closed book test - You must not bring any test resource material into the testing
centre (this includes note paper, the Becoming an Australian Citizen resource book,
study notes, etc).

- Personal belongings may be taken into the test site however these must be stored under
the desk for the duration of the test. Mobile phones and all other electronic
communication/gaming equipment should be switched off while you are within the test

If you do not follow these rules, you may be asked to leave the test centre and may have to sit
the test again.

Test Questions

You may begin writing only once you are advised to do so by the test supervisor.
(1) Do you understand the meaning, but are unable to explain the origin, of the term
“died in the arse”? Explain the meaning:

(2) What is a “bloody little beauty”?

(3) Are these terms related: chuck a sickie; chuck a spaz; chuck a U-ey?
Yes / No

(4) Explain the following passage:
In the arvo last Chrissy the relos rocked up for a Barbie, some bevvies and a few
snags. After a bit of a Bex and a lie down we opened the pressies, scoffed all the
chockies, bickies and lollies. Then we drained a few tinnies and Mum did her block
after Dad and Steve had a Barney and a bit of biffo.

(5) Macca, Chooka and Wanger are driving to Surfers in their Torana. If they are
travelling at 100 km/h while listening to Barnsey, Farnsey and Acca Dacca, how
many slabs will each person on average consume between flashing a brown eye
and taking a slash?

(6) Complete the following sentences:
(a) If the van's rockin' don't bother ________________________________

(b) You're going home in the back of a _____________________________

(c) Fair crack of the ________________________________________

(7) I've had a gutful and I can't be farked. Discuss

(8) Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a wedgie?
Yes / No

(9) Do you have a friend or relative who has a car in their front yard "up on blocks"?
Is his name Bruce and does he have a wife called Cheryl?
Yes / No

(10) Do you or your family regularly eat a dish involving mincemeat, cabbage, curry
powder and a packet of chicken noodle soup called either chow mein, chop suey
or Kai see Ming?
Yes / No

(11) What are the ingredients in a rissole?

(12) Describe the correct procedure for eating a Tim Tam.

(13) Do you have an Aunty Irene who smokes 30 cigarettes a day and sounds like a
Yes / No

(14) In any two-hour period have you ever eaten three-bean salad, a chop and two
serves of pav washed down with someone else's beer that has been flogged from a
bath full of ice?
Yes / No

(15) When you go to a bring-your-own-meat Barbie can you eat other people's meat or
are you only allowed to eat your own?

(16) What purple root vegetable beginning with the letter "b" is required by law to be
included in a hamburger with the lot?

(17) Do you own or have you ever owned a lawn mower, a pair of thongs, an Esky or
Ugg boots?
Yes / No

(18) Is it possible to prang a car while doing circle work?
Yes / No

(19) Who would you like to crack on to?

(20) Who is the most Australian (pick one answer):
(a) Kevin "Bloody" Wilson
(b) John "True Blue" Williamson
(c) Kylie Minogue
(d) Warnie

(21) Is there someone you are only mates with because they own a trailer or have a
Yes / No

(22) What do the phrases “sinkin piss at a mates joint” and “gettin paraletic” mean?
Please submit this paper back to the test supervisor when you have had a fair crack.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Australia versus Team USA - Olympic basketball preview

It is pretty obvious that my disappointment with how Australia played in their opening two group matches at the Beijing Olympics basketball tournament got read by the coaching staff over there, because they picked things up and won the next three matches.

Not only did they win, but they won with intensity and averaging 100 points each match. While beating Iran can be laughed at, beating (and therefore eliminating) the reigning European Champions in Russia and the demolishing Lithuania by 30 points are great results.

For all this hard work, the Aussie Boomers now get to face….TEAM USA! Sure basketball fans have hard of them! You may know a few players – LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh etc etc.


Looks like it will be the playoff for 5th to 8th for Australia!

Forget about the pre tournament game where we just lost to the US by 10 points. It was the final game before the Olympics started! I am sure the US was looking ahead a bit to much and were trying out a few last minute things.

If Australia loses by less than 10 points I would consider that a moral victory. Actually given how they destroyed Spain and Greece, I think a loss of under 20 points is a victory.

If we win….well we can call it the “Miracle on Pine”, who know but I have to echo Australian coach Brian Goorjigan that this should be made into a Disney Movie.

But how can Australia win? Well we definitely won’t beat them athletically so a running game is not the idea. We can beat the Americans by pure hustle, good ball movement, good off the ball movement and shooting the lights out in the gym. We have to shoot like how we did against Lithuania with our big guys making their 3-pointers so it forces their big guys to come out, therefore opening up the lanes for our other players.

Australia also has more big guys that Team USA and we have to hope David Anderson, Andrew Bogut, Chris Anstey and Matt Nielsen get up and active on the boards to limit the fast break of the opponents and get a few offensive possessions for us.

Overall, for Australia to come close and even contemplate beating the USA there are a number of things that need to go our way. But the players in Team USA will not let this happen because they are too focussed on winning and will come into the game with all guns blazing.

I am just looking forward to watching the game.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Australian Mens Basketball at the 2008 Beijing olympics - so far, not good!

For many athletes, the Olympics present the pinnacle of their sport. Winning a medal in swimming, athletics, archery, equestrian, hockey etc signifies that you have reached the pinnacle of the sport. Personally I enjoy the hockey and basketball the most (I have also been intrigued by handball but that is something to discuss later).

Australia is a dominant force in world hockey and both the men’s and women’s team are expected to do well. In basketball, I expect the women to face the USA for gold in what will be a tough and tight match (and I am not talking about the Oplas bodysuits).

Even with the sporadic coverage for team sports on Channel 7, I have been lucky enough to catch a few matches involving the Australia teams and the Amerian men’s team.

However the play of the Boomers has left me disappointed. Looking at the team sheet and seeing names such as Andrew Bogut, David Anderson, Matthew Nielsen, Brad Newley – players who are in the NBA, been drafted by NBA teams or playing for top teams in Europe, I felt the team would do well.

Sadly, in their first two matches against Croatia and Argentina, the team has found itself in double digit deficits too quickly. This makes winning a game tough for anyone. You have to expand a lot of energy trying to get back in the game, energy that would be needed at the end of a close game.

What seems to be ailing the Boomers are the lack of scoring, and their inability to stop opponents scoring. In both matches, Croatia and Argentina got early outside shots to fall which put added pressure on the Aussie shooters to make their shots. When this did not happened, the oppositions lead grew and the Australian players confidence dwindled.

However, I get this feeling that there is no intensity by the Aussies. They do not seem to be pressuring the ball carrier intensively, and making the other four players work hard to get into open space. The Australian defence looks stagnant and a step slower which has lead to easy shots for their opponents.

Also when an opponent gets into the key, they seem to get to the basket area for a shot or assist, too easily. Remember, most coaches say – Defence wins!!

What is most disappointing is that Brian Goorjigan has always been a defensive minded coach and this team is disappointing. I am not blaming him directly because I think he is an excellent coach. I am just starting to question the “fire” within the Australian players. I know they all love to play for the Green and Gold, but they do not seem to be playing for each other and as a team.

On offence, it seems we are looking a bit confused and unsure. Maybe it was due to the various injuries before the games that robbed the likes of Andrew Bogut time to gel with his team mates.

But yesterday we seem to get on track my thumping Iran by 50 odd points. This is a good result as it indicates our offence has stepped up. But the tests are coming. To make the final 8, we need to beat Russia (who were the European champions) and/or an undefeated Lithuania. Talk about tough asks.

Before the games started, I thought we probably had our best team since the 1996/2000 Olympics. We had a great coach, an NBA centre, European All-Star players and a few up and coming guards.

Given the standard of play, the dominance and style of the USA team, and the number of NBA players playing for other countries, the Olympic Basketball tournament is an event to watch. I just hope Australia remains a part of it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coldplay - Viva La Vida and all His Friends

Coldplay first came to my attention with their massive hit "Clocks" back in 2002. After figuring out they were not a one hit single music artist, I determined that this was band I had to hear more often.

Personally, they album X&Y did not do a lot for me. It was their experimentation album and the songs were a tad too long.

However like Michael Jordan in 1996, Coldplay latest offering Viva La Vida and All His Friends, is going to be a hit and a special album at that. Definetly an album worth listening to in this day when the kids are just buying the singles.

When their first single "Violet Hill" came out, I at first thought they had not overcome their experimental urges shown on X&Y. But their latest single "Viva La Vida" screams HIT and is an instant classic.

Amongst other highlights are "Lost" which infuses hip hop beats with an church organ with some amazing lyrics. "42" starts quite melancholic with a tender piano but the lyrics just make it an engaging experience to listen to.

Overall, I would have to rate this album as a fine effort. It engages the listener and reinforces Coldplay as not only one of the biggest and best bands of the 21st century, but also interesting.