The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

A crazy Sunday night of sport

Monday 10 July 2006 at 10:03 am

Wow, so Italy won the World Cup. I won’t even try to make sense of the massive outpouring of blog posts on the matter, but suffice to say that I’m not the only person to be suprised.
(With my couple-of-generations-removed Italian heritage, does that make me some sort of heathen unbeliever?)

Also last night: Roger Federer won Wimbledon. Again.

I swear that this man is increasingly looking unstoppable, at least when he’s off the clay. One day I might even be able to say “ahh, back in my day, we watched Roger Federer!” and the young ‘uns will know who I’m talking about.

(Oh, and Amelie Mauresmo did a reasonable job herself the other day, nicely complementing her Aussie Open win …)

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The inevitable reactions

Tuesday 27 June 2006 at 11:50 am

Maybe it’s better, in an ignorance-is-bliss kind of way, that I missed the big game last night ;-)

There’s lots of disappointment, with even poor Johnny expressing sadness (on that note, perhaps we can blame Italian politics?). I can only imagine what vitriol was cast at the referees around this country’s pubs and big outdoor screens.

Indeed, there is almost universal disgust at the refereeing … although it’s probably just blame-shifting for a team that was good but perhaps not great. At least the ride was fun while it lasted.

And as many people have noted, there is an important legacy: ‘Australia’ and ‘soccer’ (‘football’, if you prefer) will never again be two words that look weird next to each other.


Soccer in the headlines, while problems in Dili simmer

Friday 23 June 2006 at 11:14 pm

Aside from a ridiculous story in the Australian and some chatter about Defence procurements, today’s news was dominated by the soccer (see below …!). But there has been some mention of the political situation in Timor-Leste, which doesn’t show many signs of getting better and (I fear) might not be far from becoming much worse.

The momentary crisis caused by President Gusmao’s threat to resign has passed, with protestors begging him to stay, but the problems in the country’s leadership still seem to be simmering. In a stable democracy, ideological conflicts between a president and a prime minister are all good and well (I recall writing something along those lines in my exam last week …), but in a young country in the midst of civil unrest, that kind of conflict can’t be allowed to create a base for bigger conflict, the kind involving angry mobs. So far in Dili it hasn’t, and the foreign troops are a stabilising factor, but I’m fearful that this might not remain the case.

I wonder if the lack of attention from the Western world is making any difference? Aside from a crazy rant by John Pilger and various comments in response to it, the blogosphere is (again) quiet on this issue. The Technorati graph is telling …

Technorati graph of posts matching 'east timor' in May and June

Alas, I can’t resist a concluding paragraph on the soccer, and my shock that the Socceroos did actually draw with Croatia. After that first goal on the free kick I was afraid all was lost, but the Aussies seemed to finally find some form — not a huge amount, but some — by the end of the first half. I went to sleep at half-time confident that my original prediction of Australia not getting past the first round was wrong. The post-match hype shows just how much everyone’s embraced soccer, even to the point of mad-cap ideas. Meanwhile, the poor old Japanese team were walloped by Ronaldo himself in a game that their media are calling “miserable”.


Well, at least it was a decent game …

Monday 19 June 2006 at 1:58 am

So much for the nebulous hopes I had of staying up to see an awesome upset.

Two-nil sounds worse than it actually was. The Aussies lost partly due to bad luck, partly because they stuffed up some crucial shots, and partly because the Brazilians were just better. But they weren’t that much better — there was none of the complete out-classing that used to characterise Australian soccer.

Down a goal at the start of second half, I was half wishing the end of this game would mirror Aus vs. Japan from the other day, and the Aussie team did lift their game a bit … but there were so many opportunities that they just didn’t convert!

And then there was that second Brazilian goal. Biggest fluke ever!

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So much for Cockburn Stadium …

Saturday 10 June 2006 at 3:14 pm

The headline of my community newspaper yesterday: “Stadium bid sunk”.

The Major Stadia Taskforce announced, in its interim report, that its short list of sites consists of Mueller Park in Subiaco, and land near the old East Perth power station.

Never mind that the former is a perfectly nice park (and as yesterday’s West Australian points out, plenty of people like it that way) while the latter is already earmarked for fairly radical redevelopment.

When the Cockburn stadium bid was first announced, I thought it’d be an ideal way to encourage development at Cockburn Central — pubs, restaurants, and maybe a hotel or two — that would give the area a CBD flavour of its own, like a mini-Parramatta. This kind of development, after all, was decided as the most desirable outcome after the Dialogue with the City process (I should know, I was there!) with a stronger Cockburn helping to drive the growth of a ‘networked’ Perth. But the task force seems not to care about that, giving barely three sentences to the bid and focussing instead on fluffy guidelines about “sports entertainment hubs”. Heck, even the Belmont Park proposal is better than the sites in their short list.

P.S. Something else jumped out at me in yesterday’s newspaper: yet another anti-OBE letter, this time from some professor at that so-called university in Fremantle, arguing that “post-structuralism … is just that, a theory”. Now while it’s not surprising for an average newspaper-letter-writer to not understand the formal meaning of ‘theory’, for an academic I’d say it’s no less than inexcusable.