Prof Flannery has been under the (parish) pump lately for speaking his mind in a TV commercial about the perils of global warming. Today's Advertiser has a brief report (not online) saying that the allegedly offensive commercial has now been approved for screening.
Now that one battle has been won the next one looms: the Sunday Times reports that an impressive coalition of (the willing?) researchers have identified another endangered species. The head honcho Prof Manning is described as "a specialist in evolutionary psychology at the University of Central Lancashire": how long does it take for university staff to produce enough inbred progeny to sustain a chair?
The Pakistan Daily Times reports that President Bush, when asked in an interview with Indian journalists how he would choose between a cricket match and a Bollywood movie, replied "I'm a cricket match person...I appreciate it. As I understand it, I may have a little chance [presumably on his forthcoming visit to the sub-continent] to learn something about cricket. It's a great pass-time."
It's odd that Mr Howard, our self-confessed cricket tragic, doesn't seem to have mentioned, let alone encouraged, the President's interest.
Update 1 March: The London Daily Telegraphreveals more about the President's reported preference for cricket. He apparently knows what cricket is but isn't aware of what Bollywood movies are.
It's also worth noting how many of the Zimbabwean cricketers seem to be of European descent: even the new, hastily appointed captain Duffin (who did vindicate his selection by making some runs in his first one day international).
The one day interstate cricket final was played today in Adelaide and it turned out to be as good an advertisement as you could wish for for 50 overs a side cricket. NSW crept over the line to win by one wicket, after it looked as if SA had surrendered to some tight NSW bowling but had got back into the game thanks to Shaun Tait. For the full score see here.
It was also the last match of the season televised by Channel 9, so it gives me a reason (not that I really needed one) to give my opinions on some of the TV and radio cricket commentary this season.
Channel 9 TV: comments on the best three
# Mark Nicholas
Gradually easing into the role of Channel 9 front man, and rightly so. He is extremely polished in his presentation and, as I noticed during both test and one day internationals when I was present at the ground, is able to run an al fresco (ie with music and ads blaring in the foreground) discussion with three or four of his colleagues and to keep them focused. Appearance isn't everything, but he could do with a new hairstyle (or hairdresser) so that the gentlest zephyr doesn't ruffle his hair and distract his audience from what he is saying.
# Richie Benaud
Remains a very perceptive commentator who is able to read a game well and communicate his reading succinctly. Gradually becoming commentator emeritus, though I'd like to see him around for a while yet. # Simon O'Donnell
Wasted on the lunch show during the tests; constructively forthright when he gets a chance to comment on matches being played. Today he gave two examples of this:
(1) Criticised Brad Haddin (NSW Captain) for ostentatiously spitting the dummy when a player dropped a difficult outfield catch. Anyone who has played cricket at any level knows that if a catch is dropped you shouldn't abuse them but say "don't worry, catch the next one" to the erring fielder. (2) Stated that Jason Gillespie has lost a metre of pace even though he's still bowling quite well.
The others are all in their way competent, as you'd expect from people who've been doing the job for many summers.
Jim Maxwell and Glenn Mitchell are sound but not flashy and are supported by generally good comments from Peter Roebuck and, in his folksy way, Geoff Lawson. Kerry O'Keefe is sui generis though some of the other "experts" tend to see the game through spectacles of their own tinting eg Damien Fleming is apt to recall his test hat trick every time a wicket falls. Peter Walsh is able to call and comment on several sports knowledgeably and is invariably enthusiastic and his dress flamboyant, as the photo of him above dashing onto the field at the end of the first one day final shows.
He, Maxwell and Mitchell are quintessential ABC people, and there's not the slightest hint of left wing bias about them (unless they are calling one of the football codes and the play moves in that direction). Even Piers Akerman last week described Jim Maxwell as "sagacious".
Jack Schafer in Slate has produced a "slide-show essay" on US TV newscasters , or the "Aryan sisterhood" as he calls them (somewhat inaccurately, as he does discuss "male outliers"). Worth a look and a read of his snappy text.
Update 27 February Today The Independent publishes a piece by Arifa Akbar which may shed a little more light on theabove.
Today's Australian has a magnificent photo which captures a moment of happiness shared by some Aboriginal children in a pool at Jigalong in Western Australia with Shane Gould and Fiona Stanley. It would be nice to think that such scenes could be replicated, or might in the near future be replicated, elsewhere in Australia Update 25 January:
When I went to check the link to the photo today I was surprised to see a picture of the PM, also captured in a moment of happiness, looking relaxed and comfortable. I can't find the photo on the Australian's website though it must be somewhere as they're selling copies for 40 bucks, but the story in words is here.
Original post 23 February: Should someone have saved our gracious queen?
The front page of today's Australian has a photo of Germaine Greer addressing the Queen of Australia, who seems to be taking what looks like an earbashing with very good grace. Any suggestions for a caption? And who is the woman in the middle? And one more: is the male in the background facing the camera Clive James?
Recently, in its report of the Kerry Packer memorial service, The Australian listed all those who attended. Can we have the same for Her Majesty's reception or does new money trump always trump old in these matters?
Update 24 February:
Ms Greer has given her version of her visit to Buckingham Palace inTheGuardian . Some of this is reprinted in The Australian's "Cut & Paste" section though for some reason it is omitted from the online version.
Once you have decided to go, you are honour-bound to accept the house rules. Or so it seems to me. So once I crossed the gilded threshold of Buckingham Palace I didn't kick off my shoes, sit on the floor, light up a cigar or complain about the stinginess of the hospitality. I didn't buttonhole the Queen and ask her what she meant by serving wine from Chile and New Zealand at a reception for Australians working in Britain. And I did curtsy. Sort of. More of a bob really.
Before entering mosques, mandirs and gurdwaras I take off my shoes. This is not because I believe in the God of the Muslims, the Hindus or the Sikhs, or any God, but because my hosts will be offended if I don't.