Monday, January 26, 2009

Dokic Dokic Dokic, oi oi oi.

Not much of a tennis fan, me. I like to play the occasional game, and I don't mind watching a 5 set classic between, say, the Fed and Raffa. But I have to admit that Jelena Dokic's next game is in my diary.

There's not much I can say here that hasn't been said by people who are more astute students of the game than I. But speaking personally, I didn't much like the girl the first time around. I wouldn't have booed her on Centre Court, but there was something about her that made me queasy. Her father, mostly, who is, by any estimation, a first class, bona fide, dyed in the wool dill-whacker. She hit 3,000 balls a day on the practice courts for him. She made unpopular comments in press conferences for him. Then she left Australia and changed her national allegiance for him. And now he wants to come back and play happy families. Someone tell the the customs guys - he should be stopped at the border to preserve the collective Australian IQ.

But all of that personal crap forms the backdrop to what is an astonishing and well-documented story. Getting to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam after several years out of competitive tennis is amazing enough. But to do it in front of a crowd that booed you the last time you played in front of them, and to turn them around until they cheer for you, and then to use that support to go so far is gob-smacking. I truly hope she can keep going, and if Damir does turn up at her hotel room, I hope the Brothers smack him in the chops and tell him that Jelena doesn't live here any more.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


All right, so by the dictionary definition of the term it's not extortion. But it's still stupidly expensive.

Here's the thing. We took the family to the cricket last night. It was the Twenty20 final between NSW and Victoria, which ended up being a thriller, decided on the last ball by the third umpire's decision on a run-out. So in terms of script, it was a bit like the Mighty Ducks. In other words, as good as you could ever ask for, and doubtless a lot of the 17,000 spectators were converts to the newest and rock'n'rollest form of the greatest game in the world.

In the interests of saving even more of the hard-earned, I made sandwiches and went shopping for snacks and a big bottle of drink. However, in our rush to get out the door I forgot the drink. 'Never mind,' said Frou-frou, 'we'll buy drinks there.'

I bit my tongue. But mentally, I was checking my wallet to make sure I had enough. And here's why.

Not counting petrol and tolls, here's what our four hours at the cricket cost us in incidentals alone:
Parking: $20
4 x 600ml bottles of soft drink: $18
2 x 600 ml bottles of water: $7.80
4 x hot chips: $18
Total: $63.80

$63 doesn't sound too bad, except when you look at what we actually got for our money. It's not a meal, it's snacks.

Casual staff have to be paid, yes. Caterers have to rent the space, yes. Spectators can bring their own food and drink, that's true. But what parent wants to refuse their kids an ice cream because Daddy's too tight to spend another $20? 'Come on, Dad, we're at the cricket! It's a special treat!'

While I'm on the topic, let's talk about the movies. Considering that prices are driven to a large extent by what people are prepared to pay, when did we agree that paying $10 for a large box of pre-popped corn and a big paper cup of post-mixed soft drink was good value? Here's a rundown on a typical afternoon at the movies:

Movie tickets (2 adults, 2 kids): $50
2 x 'value' packages of popcorn and drink: $20
2 x small post-mix drinks: $7.60
1 x packet of Maltesers (for the grownups): $4
1 x packet of Starburst (kids): $4
Total: $85.60

It's expensive, but when you compare it with the humiliation your kids claim to feel when you produce a bag of microwave popcorn, it's still a small price to pay. God, I'm never doing that again...

But wouldn't it be really cool if everyone boycotted the candy bar at the movies? If, when the lights went down, the only sound was that of Black and Gold Choc-malt Balls being opened and counted out, value-pack chips and microwave popcorn being distributed, and mothers pouring soft drink into plastic cups held between their knees?

Who am I kidding? You can't go to the movies without having a choc-top. You just can't.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's all downhill from here...

It's been some time, but this one I couldn't leave alone. From the Yahoo Answers site, I now cut and paste this gem, from someone called Carly H:

she i give girls dress codes checks everyday?

im an 8th grade teacher and theres alot of girls who wear shirts when they put there hands up there stomach shows or they have there belly showing without there hands up should i crack down on this if your a teacher do u crack down on this stories please
OK, where to start? Maybe at the beginning. 'She I give girls dress codes checks everyday?' It seems that Carly actually believes that when asking a dinner host how she might contribute to the meal, she's actually saying: 'She I bring anything?' or 'What she I bring?' Considering that literacy is partly dependent upon the osmotic effect of actually seeing stuff written down, has this 8th grade teacher (hopefully not of English) ever read a book in her life? Or maybe she's only read from that vast literary canon in which the word 'should' never appears?

So those are my thoughts on the first line. The rest u can work out 4 ur selfs.

PS: Mark Taylor, commentating the cricket, just misused the word 'bought' 3 times in one comment, ie 'The captain only just bought up that man from square leg.' This error is disturbingly common.

Here endeth the rant.