Sunday 31 January 2010

Hungry Shahid? Afridi takes ball tampering to a new level.

Pakistan stand-in skipper Shahid Afridi has been banned for two Twenty20 Internationals after being found guilty of chewing on the cricket ball during last night's One Day International in Perth against Australia.

After his suspension was announced, Afridi apologised for the incident.

"I am ashamed. I did it in the heat of the moment as the match was a close one, but I should not have done that, it's a serious offence,'' Afridi said.

"I apologise to all and everyone involved in the match and to the fans around the world. This will never happen again.''

While Afridi's punishment is apparently 'the maximum' for the offence, the question becomes not so much whether Afridi will do it again but - has he done it before?

Either way before the next match Afridi plays for Pakistan, team management should take him to an all you can eat buffet to make sure he doesn't get the munchies late in the game.

How reacted just moments after the incident:

The game isn't even over yet but stand-in Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has sensationally chewed on a cricket ball during the One Day International between Australia and Pakistan at the WACA (January 31, 2009).

This article is as live as it gets. There were just six overs to go in the Australian innings (chasing 213 to win), when Afridi took a bite out of the ball - with the intent (allegedly) to get it to reverse swing quicker in the final overs.

When a photo is available I'll upload it but take it as read - Afridi has a case to answer.

You cannot pretend (allegedly) to breathe on the ball for five seconds when it is CLEAR (allegedly) you're chowing down on the leather... the 3rd umpire saw it on the telecast, alerted the umpires and the ball was immediately changed.

Afridi is in all sorts judging by the vision and the fact the umpires removed the ball from the field of play quickly - so the teeth marks should still be there to analyse.

In a word... gobsmackable.

And to add something to the mix... an over later some idiotic drunk ran onto the field and tried to crash tackle Pakistani opening batsman Khalid Latif. He'll spend the night in jail and never see the green grass of an international cricket field again... the perpetrator that is, not Latif.

Crazy night at the WACA and Australia still need 28 runs from 23 balls to win the game and take out the series 5-0... but that won't be the big news out of this game I assure you.

Post-Script... Australia's Ryan Harris 'won' the game with 3 balls left. He hit the ball straight to mid-off and was easily caught with 1 run to win... but it was a full toss above his waist and ruled a no-ball. Which is 1 run and an Australian victory... WOW what a final hour!

Tuesday 26 January 2010

So what is wrong with this picture? Australia Day 2010

Absolutely nothing.

When a nufty like Ray Martin comes out and says "I object to having the British flag in the corner of our flag. We have well and truly reached the point where we should have our own flag. I think we have to grow up and move on to the next stage."

I'm confident that the Australian Flag will fly in its current form for a long, long time.

Seriously - when you look at our flag are you really disgusted by its immaturity?

It is a strong symbol of Australia and despite what you may think about Great Britain (past or present) - the fact remains without our place in the Commonwealth in World War II in particular - the Japanese advance may have met with far less opposition in the early 1940s.

Australia 'grew up' in World War I and stood up to be counted in World War II, Mr. Martin, and our flag should reminds us each time we see it - of our history and the sacrifices our countrymen and women have made to give us this place to live.

Like the whole republic debate this stinks of the change for change's sake dictum... and how'd that turn out for the Germans in 1933?

That's an extreme comparison sure, but ask yourself one very important question right now, here on Australia Day 2010 - is Australia going that badly that changing our FLAG will improve our quality of life?

Hardly and one thing Australians should NEVER complain about is our quality of life.

We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

I was speaking to a friend who just returned from Africa and he conveyed the disbelief about how lucky we are to have been born into this country... when so many more are born into a position that they most likely can never break free of.

So Mr Ray Martin - get your hair hat out of the microwave, fasten the velcro and go enjoy Australia Day with your friends and family. And if you could - just take a moment to look at our flag and give thanks to all those who came before you and sacrificed so much to give the rest of us even more.

Thursday 14 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes Review... Adventure is back!

Adventure is back and this time the dynamic duo aren't sporting tights.

Now it could have been where I saw the Sherlock Holmes that has me prepared to call it possibly the best movie series to come out since The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but if the first installment is any indication - we're on a winner here.

Yes there has been just one movie, but clearly series will have a sequel and possibly more if the writers can keep Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law's interactions on par with their efforts as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this film. Where I saw the movie no doubt impacts my point of view, as sitting in a small antiquated cinema on the north coast for a 9pm session - I was part of something I've very rarely experienced in the cinema.

The ENTIRE audience enjoying the movie as one.

This is something that the bigger yet sterile cinemas have taken out of the movie going experience... but sadly the quality of films being released has contributed to the insular nature that people view movies with.

Enter Sherlock Holmes and the performances of Downey Jr & Law and you've got yourself an adventure that takes the audience along for the ride. The audience reacted almost as one to the one liners (that were actually funny) and the action was not so beyond the realms of possibility that the audience felt disconnected from what was on the screen.

The companionship Holmes and Watson strike up doesn't seem forced or far fetched in how advanced it is and instead it makes you wonder why this isn't aimed for more often in movies. There's only so many times you can cast the leading man alongside the funny best friend who doesn't get nearly enough screen time to make up for how vanilla the leading man is.

Before I saw the film, I had heard some talk that Holmes was too 'kung-fu' for his own good but that talk was wide of the mark. Downey Jr makes Holmes a physical presence in one scene in particular but at the same time his portrayal humanises the master sleuth by making him fallible in other areas. Sure he doesn't miss a detail when on the case (he's Holmes) but his living quarters are a mess and his weakness around Rachel McAdams (as Irene Adler) is delicious.

Law as Watson is the big surprise for mine. He's not quite in the same pretty boy category as Matthew 'Have I Ever Kept My Shirt On For A Whole Movie?' McConaughey - but I've never been much of a fan. Yet he understates his Watson well, channeling perhaps the relationship Wilson has with House on the successful Fox TV Series. Both are leant on heavily by their best friend yet despite a desire to break free, life is just too interesting with the companionship offered.

Our main villain - Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood - is sufficiently evil with a touch of arrogance that has you wanting him defeated, rather than sticking around which makes him an expendable for Holmes to conquer.

There'll be no spoilers for the plot of the first film (well apart from the last paragraph -as if the bad guy doesn't get defeated!) but as stated further above - there will be at least one more in the series centering on a master villain who we got a small taste of in this film. I have an issue not so much how they worked the character into this film but I fear we may get shortchanged in the sequel from any resolution to this threat - with the plan being to have the master villain taken down in the third installment.

If this is what happens, then the goodwill Guy Ritchie (if he directs the next movie) has built up with this first installment - could be lost if we are expected to wait until the third film for a resolution to Sherlock's nemesis.

But that's just speculation on my part, I am not an avid reader of the Sherlock Holmes books but if they can produce quality like this every second year - I'll be lining up at the box office for this version of Sherlock Holmes every time.


Side note... Thanks to a gross oversight on my part, a Christmas gift from 2008 stayed in the lower drawer of my desk until mid December 2009... it was a movie gift certificate entitling myself to a free movie sometime in 2009. Well the fates conspired against me when I finally found the certificate and with Christmas just days away and the fact I would be heading away from Boxing Day to early in the New Year - getting to use this certificate was basically impossible.
Enter a friendly chat... with a friend, who told me that she had managed to get a one month extension on her voucher one time and that perhaps if I make contact with the cinema in question (Event Cinemas - formerly Greater Union) then maybe I'd get a chance to use the certificate early in 2010.
Well the reason I'm telling you all this is because yesterday - some two weeks after leaving my sop story on their doorstep - Event Cinemas granted my request and extended my certificate to January 20, 2010. As a result I will go see Sherlock Holmes perhaps a second time... or go see this Avatar dribble everyone is going on about.
Because if what they say is true... I get to keep the glasses.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Pretty Brown... and Browner Still. From the Martin-Molloy Audio Archives.

Back in the 1990s - (yes current teenagers they did exist) a radio show called Martin-Molloy was THE show to listen to on the radio (yes radios did actually serve a purpose back then too).

Hosted by Tony Martin & Mick Molloy, they did the drive time shift on 2Day FM in Sydney/FoxFM in Melbourne/etc and entertained almost everyone across Australia from 1995-1998.

They were comedy gold to such an extent that you'd endure the best of the Spice Girls, Hanson, Aqua and (the unforgettable) Ace of Base every 10 minutes - because they were that good.

At the end of their first year as a duo in 1995 - they released 'The Brown Album' a collection of their best work to date. When you consider they had been on air for less than a year - their work had to be brilliant for a music executive like Michael Gudinski from Mushroom Records to package it up as a highly successful CD release for Christmas 1995.

But it wasn't just classic comedy on the CD that is memorable.

Their entire show was pure genius.

When Tony Martin & Mick Molloy launched the album in late 1995 - the James Bond film GoldenEye (the debut as Bond by Pierce Brosnan) was also coming out and in a memorable segment called 'The Brown Event' - they used a very simple formula to produce memorable radio and plug their new product.

For your listening pleasure - here is 'The Brown Event' from late 1995 in .mp3 format.
The Brown Event

Take a listen and then hit me up with your own James Bond titles...

My favourite is surely 'The Man with the Golden Brown'... but as Martin points out - reworking the current release of GoldenEye with the word brown... is well 'more tasteful'.

Friday 8 January 2010

2010 is here... and we'll be covering it.

The new year is upon us and hopefully you've had a great Christmas period with friends and family - and stayed safe throughout. will be covering sport, life and entertainment during 2010 and as we with 10,000 unique visitors last year - this year promises to be even better.

So strap in and come along for the ride.

Find us on Twitter -@wdnicolson and for Rugby League coverage @nrltweet.

Looking forward to 2010 and possibly sometime soon - a 3rd Fletch movie (watched the two originals with Chevy Chase in the lead role over Christmas - classic comedy my friends).

Stanton Boyd: What kind of a name is Poon?
Fletch: Comanche Indian.
For the rumour mill... Could Chuck star Zachary Levi be the perfect fit as the new Fletch?