27 January 2004
In his first test of the Yamaha M1, Valentino Rossi finished only 0.6 sec behind the fastest Honda (Biaggi's). He was also faster than long-term Yamaha no-hopers Carlos Checa (who has had the bike for two seasons) and Norick Abe (who has tested the bike for the last few seasons). Even whizz-kid Marco Melandri - with a full season on the M1 behind him - could not match Rossi's pace.
Can Rossi actually win the title this year on the Yamaha? You bet. Tough job, but I'd feel queasy betting against it.
Biaggi still looks the best bet on paper. He has a mechanical advantage over Rossi and if he doesn't beat him this year he never will. Unfortunately, Max is very weak mentally and falls apart under pressure, so the sure thing aint a sure thing.
The other Hondas? Barros has been promoted to the works team, and actually outpointed Rossi in '02 once he got the RCV. Doing it over a full season, however, is almost certainly beyond him. But, should Rossi's machine prove mechanically fragile, and should Biaggi have yet another meltdown, Barros is in with a shot.
Then there are the two American Honda boys: Nicky Hayden is a future world champion, but he wasn't anywhere near the fastest in the last test session. Colin Edwards could be a dark horse for the championship if he adapts to the bike quickly, but I can't see it happening this season.
Makoto Tamada has the only Bridgestone-shod Honda, and is a real threat for a race win or two, but forget about it as far as the title goes.
You can forget Suzuki, Aprilia and Proton, and you can especially forget Kawasaki, who will continue to finish miles behind everyone else. Why do they even bother?
So, it's going to be Biaggi and Rossi as far as the obvious candidates go. I'll pick Biaggi simply because he has the Honda beneath him, and the task of setting up the Yamaha for each new racetrack may be beyond even Rossi's superhuman abilities.
I can see only one threat to this one-two combination: The Ducatis of Bayliss and Capirossi. The Dukes made a stunning debut, winning a race in their first season and making the Japanese factories (Honda excepted) look very stupid indeed. They also ran away with the prestige of having the best looking and sounding bike. Bayliss' career history is one of learning the first year, and winning the title the second year. This year he'll know the GP tracks, and most likely an even more potent bike under him. Capirossi will show flashes of brilliance, but won't have the consistency.
What of Gibernau? He had a strong showing in '03, winning a bunch of races and generally proving that Rossi is not quite as God-like as his followers would have us believe. He also has a works Honda under him.
Honestly, I can't seem him being a factor: there are too many other guys now with fast Hondas: Barros, Tamada, Edwards, Hayden, Biaggi, plus Vale on the Yamaha and the mighty Dukes. Sete is up for a race win or two, but he can forget the title.
You can safely ignore the Ducati B-team of Hodgson and Xaus. Their modest talents may have looked good in the crap Superbike competition last year, but they won't be worth a lot here.
So, my picks for the 2004 MotoGP season:
1st: Max Biaggi (Honda)
This is going to be
one hell of a season.
Scott Wickstein - probably the only man on earth who can play chess while experiencing alcohol poisoning - is organising a blogbash in Melbourne for the Easter weekend.
No details have been confirmed yet, but easter Saturday (April 10) is looking the most likely day, and the Duke of Kent the desired venue. Of course, we're assuming that the Duke of Kent will be open on that night (in the big-government hell of Victoria, you can never be sure). If it aint, we'll find somewhere else.
Likely attendees thus far are Scott, myself, "Tom Paine" & Sasha Castel. We should also be able to round up Aggers Anderson, Tony "no-longer-a-pisspot" Taylor and maybe even Slatts (yes I know he's in Geelong. He can drive can't he?). Scott and I are currently working on some other OzBloggers, some of whom look good chances to turn up.
Anyway, if you'd like to attend, e-mail me (tex "AT" whackingday.com) or Scott (scott "AT" ubersportingpundit.com) and let us know.
And yes, non-bloggers
26 January 2004
Did very little to celebrate the national holiday, other than eating a big steak and having a pint.
And no, despite the fact that it pisses off people like Phillip Adams, I don't like the fact Steve Waugh has been named as Australian of The Year. Steve Waugh is a great bloke and a mighty cricket player, but I have one simple rule: sportsmen/athletes should not be given this award. Allan Border didn't deserve it, Cathy Freeman didn't deserve it, Mark Taylor didn't deserve it and Steve Waugh doesn't deserve it.
Stop giving this award
to sports celebs, and give it to one of the many unsung heroes in this
country who are working in the fields of community service, military service,
science or medicine. Being well paid and successful in an area of athletic
prowess makes you worthy of attention, it does not make you the Australian
of The Year.
Well, we have to give the loony credit for being honest:
Think about this a moment: this self-appointed defender of third-world poor is openly backing the vicious, murderous remnants of one of the most brutally anti-democratic regimes the world has ever known, who are currently murdering hundreds of people to prevent Iraq becoming a democratic, free society.
Peace and Tolerance,
Pilger-style: murder as many people as you can, so long as you make the
Americans look bad.
I can heartily recommend the beef/beer/stout pie they make in The Braidwood Deli.
Goes great with some mashed spuds and a tall glass of stout.
24 January 2004
Saw the latest Pixar effort on DVD tonight.
Terrific film, and a technical wonder. The best effort from that studio since the original Toy Story, it's a charming tale for all ages and the most visually stunning animated film ever produced.
I'm not joking about the visuals: some of them are breathtakingly vivid, and some underwater imagery looks real. Real as in lifelike.
The supporting cast stole the show for me: Barry Humphries as Bruce the shark, Geoffery Rush's pelican and Willem Dafoe's delusional fish who plans aquarium breakouts are all side-splittingly funny.
And you know the best part about the movie? No fucking songs. Praise the gods for that small miracle.
I wonder if the success of Pixar-style computer animation has spelt the death-knell for traditional "flat" Disney-style animated movies, which are now well and truly light-years behind in visual appeal, wit and sheer energy. Even something as fun as Aladdin now looks painfully dated.
And if you buy the
DVD, you can activate the "virtual aquarium" feature, which
is ideal entertainment for when you are up to your eyebrows in chemical
Some more on the Israeli flag issue. I had an amicable meeting with the powers that be in Human Resources yesterday, and essentially, I'm very happy with the way the university has handled it since it attacted some press attention: the flag is back up, internal ANU procedures for handling grievances have been clarified at both ends, I'm back doing my job, and everybody's happy.
Well, almost everyone. It seems the person who made the original complaint - and a couple of his supporters - have shown up at the ALS forum, claiming I've misrepresented the whole situation, that the whole complaint was really about "visual pollution" in a professional environment, not Israeli flags. A couple of others have asserted I made too big a deal about the whole thing and I should get a life rather than "make trouble for my employer".
If the nature of the original complaint was indeed only about aesthetics, then it is indeed a pity the whole issue became what it is.
Nevertheless, I have some problems with this stated position. First, the "visual pollution" argument does not explain why the Israeli flag was singled out for attention while the motorcycle pictures were allowed to stay (I certainly was not given any explanation of "aesthetic" reasons), nor does it explain why the images were acceptable for five years before the Israeli flag went up. As I have written in one of my replies, the arguments about my new office being a more busy, public and "professional" workspace are nonsense.
It does also not explain why - if the reasons was purely aesthetic - the issue was handled through admin channels rather than a simple amicable discussion. Since I had no idea who made the complaint, there was no opportunity to discuss the matter.
Most importantly, I had no obligation whatsoever to remove the flag under any ANU policy. Yet a couple of discreet discussions with senior university officers strongly suggested that I should remove any "offensive" material in a public workspace. So the quiet, "internal channels" approach didn't do much good.
So, I was made to remove an Israeli flag (dubiously singled out from other "visually polluting" materials) - which I was not obligated to do - and told I had no grounds to refuse. And people are wondering why I went public with this!
Finally, the question
none of my detractors have yet answered: why is an Israeli flag considered
offensive or provocative?
22 January 2004
For your amusement, a collection of fine quotations from the amazing Cantinera:
Nope, but it's still
There's a new Green Left Weekly out. This week's goodies include:
Moaning sociopath John Pilger fearlessly lets us know that the CIA is setting up a gestapo state in Iraq.
Check this out: "Privatising Umm Qasr began the transformation of the Iraqi economy from one based on nationalisation and production for domestic welfare, to one based on ownership by transnational corporations, sending their profits out of the country."
Yeah man, nice old Saddam was so good at domestic welfare. Things have really gone to hell since Starbucks moved in.
Soviet brutality in East Germany was all the Americans' fault.
Nice people these
21 January 2004
The Israeli flag is now back on my office door. I was told unofficially this morning I was not actually required to remove it in the first place and should never have been asked to do so. Sincere apologies were in evidence. I'm still waiting on the official reponse from the university hierarchy. Maybe they're figuring out what to say in response to media attention.
The identity of the idiot who found the Israeli flag "offensive" is still a mystery. I trust they will enjoy looking at it from this day forward.
Oh, I'm also glad to report that imbecile blogger Michael Talismann is very upset about this.
My thanks to all who
e-mailed me with their support during this whole affair. Beer's on me.
Why is the show trying so very hard to make me believe that Forensic units all over the U.S. are equipped with nothing other than "mood lighting" and plenty of glass walls?
20 January 2004
Yes, terrorism is caused by Arab frustration and anger. But it doesn't derive from injustice and poverty. They're frustrated because of failure and incompetence
Possibly the most idiotic and wasteful public works project in Australia history reached it's completion: the Adelaide-to-Darwin railway has been opened.
Here's a crapworthy Guardian sob-story about train-robber Ronnie Biggs and his dickhead son.
Personally, I'd gas
the old fucker and save the Brit taxpayer a lot of money.
16 January 2004
I'm back. Read this
amazing website and shower me with money and gifts.
Being an enthusiastic consumer of booze-enhanced beverages, I tried out Carlton's new brew Cold Shot.
Basically, it's lager mixed with vodka. My verdict?
Take a pissweak lager, pour half of it down the sink and add tapwater to what's left.
Terrible, just terrrible.
Kinda like Budweiser, only better.
After a nice xmas/ny break, the moonbats at The Green Left Weekly have returned with a revamped website. Well, revamped visually anyway.
In this latest issue:
The great idea that asylum seekers should automatically be granted citizenship.
A truly psycho conspiracy rant about the earthquake in Iran being part of a plot by John Howard to exploit to third world and destroy our solidarity with our Iranian brothers. Or something.
An obit for the wretched and unlamented Marxist loon Dot Tunney.
A commie film reviewer going bonkers over Master and Commander:
Hey, didn't the French spend quite a few years killing beloved Vietnamese communists?
More craptastic commie poetry:
And last but not least, a review of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away:
Apart from all the brutal inter-tribal warfare, zero democracy, inherited power of the chiefs, poverty, slavery, short life expectancy, no womens rights and generally crackpot belief systems.
Yeah, sounds great.
Fucking commie idiot.
[Update: this issue was resolved to my satisfaction shortly after I originally posted this]
For the last five years, I've had my own office at the university I work at.
I've always decorated the door (and office) with posters (usually of motorbikes), Dilbert comics, Ren & Stimpy pics, and so forth.
Last week, after shifting to a different office (in the same small building) I put an A4-sized Israeli flag on the door.
On Tuesday, my building manager pointed to it and asked: "what's this flag?"
"It's the Israeli flag" I tell her. Building manager goes away, and I don't think any more of it.
On Wednesday, the building manager pops by again, and tells me I'll have to remove "those things" from my door.
I asked why I had to do so.She said a number of people had "taken offence" at some of my decorative items.
"What" says I: "people find motorcycle posters offensive?"
No, I was told, "it's these two that are the problem"
"these two" that she was referring to are an A4-sized flag of Israel, and a paper shooting target I brought back from Los Angeles.
The target contains a picture of a well-known political leader, and someone apparently took offence at the sight of his head with bullet holes in it.
Ah, you may ask, who's bullet-ridden visage was in this picture that would cause such offence? Ghandi? Martin Luther King? Neville Bonner? Well, not quite.
The face on the paper target belongs to that well-known humanitarian Saddam Hussein.
Yesiree, in an institution where printed material is displayed comparing John Howard and Dubya to Adolf hitler, and where a university-wide mailing list is used to advertise protest marches against our "racist" government (despite a policy stating that they are to be used only for university administrative matters), where conversations over coffee breaks routinely refer to conservative voters as lunatics, idiots and warmongers, I have been asked to remove the flag of a civilised, democratic country and a picture of a mass-murderer with bullet holes in it. All on the grounds of not creating an offensive and discriminatory workplace for my lovely colleagues.
Oddly, the Saddam target had been on display since I returned from the USA back in May 2003. It had aroused no complaint, and neither had any of my other decorations.
Yet days after sticking a Jewish symbol to my door, I'm asked to remove it, on the grounds that it is offensive imagery. It was also perfectly obvious from what I was told that it was the nasty Jewflag that was the most problematic image.
Just think about this: I live in a democratic country, in the year 2004, and a Jewish flag is considered offensive imagery.
I'm not entirely sure what to do about this. I find the institutionalised tolerance of leftist bigotry utterly disgusting. I have not yet removed the items in question, and nor will I.
I don't know what to do. I cannot direct any anger at the building manager: she was simply doing her job in acting on complaints received, and attempting to resolve it one-on-one.
I like my new job, and I'm not keen on sacrificing myself to make some political point. But this shit simply cannot be tolerated. I am not willing to submit to disgusting anti-Jewish, nutjob-leftist bigotry just to appease the bastards who have made these vile complaints against me, especially in an institution which allows - and even encourages - the voices of the crazed left to flourish.
Universities: where free thought and open debate are nurtured.
14 January 2004
Don't feel like blogging at the moment. There has been a very ugly 'political' incident at work in the last few days which I'm in the process of dealing with thru internal channels. Hopefully, I hope to have the persons involved seriously punished.
I'll give you a hint though: it has something to do with people who don't like the name "Goldstein".
9 January 2004
I'm going to shag Elijah Wood dressed as a hobbit. Well, not really, but I want to.
I hadn't heard about this long-running web phenomenon until today:
Needless to say, thousands of people fell for this idiocy. Maciej Ceglowski was not one of them.
Thanks to my mate
Steve in L.A. for the link.
Steve in L.A. also sent me this:
6 January 2004
Never trust a lawyer you can afford
Interesting essay by Mrs. Du Toit
And while you're over there, check out Kim the Grouch's Top Ten Assholes list. Looks pretty solid to me, except for the total absence of John Pilger and Robert Fisk.
Oh Kim? More gun pictures
please. Life is short and there are leftists to annoy.
Frank Sinatra was a tuneless ass
Bryan Brown cannot act
Friends is not and has never been funny
Do The Right Thing was a pile of crap
Hunter S. Thompson is a talentless wanker. A dog crapping on an A4 writing pad could produce better stuff. People who think that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was good are usually the same wankers who think Jim Morrison was a great thinker and poet. Same goes for William Burroughs - page 1: crap, page 2: crap......
has blown chunks the last few seasons. The problem is that it's written
by writers who are too keen to show how clever they are rather than being
funny. Gimme Futurama please.
Straight from the psycho whirlpool of aus.politics: one gibbering looney who blames John Howard for Guy Sebastian losing World Idol and the Australian cricket team not winning the series against India.
Welcome to the Propaganda Matrix.
One thing I love about leftist conspiracy wackos is they can't keep more than one thought in their heads at a time. Just look at their Saddam Capture page. They post one "America are murderers/liars/etc" truth after the other, apparently not thinking too much about the contradictory nature of the links they are posting;
First, it's a case of "It's not Saddam, just some hairy tramp!"
BOMBSHELL!! - Bush met Saddam on November 27!!!! (What, the fake one or the real one?)
So, it really is Saddam after all, but he was captured months before, and we can prove it with FRUIT!!!!
Fake Saddam....Real Saddam....Saddam was captured....Saddam was rescued....Saddam wasn't captured....Saddam is still on the loose....The real/fake Saddam is being pampered by his old friend Rumsfeld....Bush is trying to silence fake Saddam from saying something fake to the world's press....Fake Saddam is a Jew, planted by Dubya!!!...Saddam is really Saddam, but not the real Saddam, because he was killed years ago before being set free then tortured by Americans and trained by Israelis to help Dubya win an election.....or something.....
"We are leftists,
and we have problems"
Kev Gillett gives a well-deserved bollocking to our late and wretched former deputy PM.
Read the rest.
3 January 2004
I bought a brand-new motorcycle today: The Kawasaki z1000. I take delivery in 12 days.
The funny part is, I went out to the dealer to buy some oil and ended up sticking a deposit on a new bike. They were offering the last orange '03 model at around $2000 under the regular price, so I snapped it up about two minutes before another gent came in and said he wanted to buy it. Hah.
There's nothing different in the '04 version except colour. The new ones are red. A bloody nice red mind you, but I wanted the striking orange.
So, come next pay day, I'm settling the balance and riding the thing out the door.
If you're a motorcyclist, take one for a test ride. You won't regret it. Striking looks, assloads of power, very comfy yet very compact, and awesome handling. The bloody thing turns on a coin, and as I found out today to my surprise, it's a great pillion machine too.
I could have gone another way. Suzuki have released their new naked V-twin - the sv1000 - yet Action Motorcycles (the sole Suzuki dealer here) didn't have a bloody test bike available. How do these wankers expect to sell bikes without letting people test them? Well, I guess some people must, otherwise they'd be outta business. But how many other bikes could they sell if only they offered test rides? I've asked for three different test rides there over the last two years (all on new, popular bikes) and on every occassion there's been no test bike available.
The Triumph Speed Triple was another possibility. Cracking engine and striking looks, but was hampered by weird ergonomics: handlebars which were narrow and provided little leverage and a bloody uncomfortable seat.
For a while, it looked like I was going to grab a Honda CB1300. This bike was a real surprise package. The big, heavy retro-naked turned out to have excellent, nimble handling, a great engine and was a fantastic pillion machine (a consideration for me nowdays). But the Kawasaki just has the edge on handling, looks and the sheer "fun factor". So the Kwaka gets my dollars.
12 days. Dammit, I wants it now.
No commie country
could ever give me a machine like this.
Tom Paine details an interesting recent experience with Air Emirates.
2 January 2004
Hope you had a pleasant new year celebration (or lack thereof).
To kick my blogging year off, here's an intellectual comment from a typical leftist pants-wetter in The Canberra Times letters page:
Ahh, where would we
be without idiot lefties?
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