Opening/closing ceremonies of major sporting events stopped being fascinating a long time ago. I think it was the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics where they irretrievably crossed the boundary into the realm of surrealistic technicolour yawns masquerading as cultural ballets. After Sydney 2000 (the one where Captain Cook discovered Australia on choreographed bicycles) I thought that wanky, over-indulgent sports ceremonies could go no further. Cape Town 2003, the opening ceremony of the Cricket World Cup, in fact proved that.
I watched the Allan Border Medal telecast on Channel Nine on Tuesday night. All two-and-a-half hours of it. That's a lot of cringing on my part.
Congratulations to Adam Gilchrist on winning the AB Medal, and to the other winners - Ricky Ponting, Martin Love, Nathan Hauritz and Karen Rolton. (And it was good to see this year that at least they mentioned the women's award in the telecast, even if the presentation had to be pre-recorded. Was it too hard to set up a live cross to Christchurch, where the Australian team is currently playing?)
If you've seen one, you've seen them all - at least I laughed at "Scary Movie" a bit.
A spoof on "Scream", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and other teen horror flicks of the late nineties. It comes across more often like a satirical review of the hit movies of 1998-99, eg "The Sixth Sense", "The Matrix", Shakespeare In Love" (I did like the trailer for "Amistad II" though). What it is really derivative of is, of course, 1980's "Airplane" ("Flying High" to us Australians) and every other film in the genre spoof line since.
This is the film where Louis Armstrong sings "Jeepers Creepers" to a racehorse of the same name. Ah, great moments in movie history...
"Going Places" is a silly, lightweight, nonsensical comedy-musical from Warner Brothers. Certainly not to be seen for its profundity, or for its insights into the racing industry. Dick Powell as the salesman who poses as a jockey and finds he has to actually ride a horse in a race. Ronald Reagan has fourth billing in this film, and proves yet again that his acting improved after he was elected to the White House.
"The Ashes" is a concept, not a trophy. The Ashes Urn at Lord's is not in a physical sense the trophy of England-Australia cricket supremacy. There is no logical reason to bring it to Australia, even if we have been the series winners ever since 1989.
I found "Shrek" to be a quite charmless movie - in many ways the antithesis of everything a good animated fairy tale should be.
The whole film had a smugness and self-consciousness that made me feel rather uneasy. Eddie Murphy as the voice of the ass was, well, just an ass. The choices of contemporary music didn't gel, as far as I was concerned. The animation was OK, although I am from the Old School and like seeing black borders on all my cartoon characters...
I couldn't help but observe a small item at the end of a UN press release about Iraq on Wednesday. Kofi Annan is currently on a tour of central Asia and the Middle East, and he was in Turkmenistan earlier this week. To quote (source)
The ICC are holding their annual meeting of all the Test captains at Lord's on Monday. Eight of the ten Test captains will be there. The West Indies will be unrepresented, with Carl Hooper apparently unavailable.
More interesting is the fact that the Australian Test captain won't be there. Steve Waugh isn't making the trip, and so Australia will be represented at the meeting by none other than Darren Lehmann!
It's Independence Day... the anniversary of a nation's birth as a sovereign state, free from its colonial rulers. People celebrate across the land. Suddenly, in the middle of a busy market area, a bomb explodes. Some 35 people die, as many again are reported injured. Three other bombs explode around the country - thankfully no one is killed by those.
It's Independence Day... July 5, 2002... in Algeria. The fortieth anniversary of Algeria's independence from France. The violence is believed to be part of a continuing campaign by militant forces, possibly the Armed Islamic Group.
Made-for-television cricket. We've seen a lot of it in the past five years dished out in the name of "globalising" the sport. Televised but meaningless one-day matches dished up for an insatiable market from the "emerging" regions of world cricket. Singapore, Toronto, Kuala Lumpur, Kathmandu, and even a park in northern Los Angeles have all played host to an array of TV-oriented "spectaculars". Add to that list the name of Melbourne.