Saturday, August 28, 2010

Heading for the land Down Under

Well ROUTE 1 readers, this blog is going on hiatus until Sept. 7 (or so), while I am away in SYDNEY.
Take a look at the links on the right side of this page: I do plan to chronicle the trip on my "FETCH ME MY VEGEMITE" blog.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Vacation begins at home -- sort of

Sure, I could have slept in on my first day of VACATION -- and the day before I leave for SYDNEY.
If I had slept, though, I would have missed today's NRL FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL match at the SYDNEY FOOTBALL STADIUM.

So, I woke up an hour *earlier* than usual instead.
That meant I could hear all of the CONTINUOUS CALL TEAM'S coverage of SOUTH SYDNEY beating PARRAMATTA, 24-16, on 2GB 873 live online.
Rhys Wesser, Isaac Luke, Ben Lowe and David Taylor scored the second-half tries that helped vault the Rabbitohs from 10th spot in the standings to eighth -- the threshold for reaching the post-season finals.

The sides were sloppy in the first half, playing to only the third 0-0 halftime scoreline this season (Parramatta have been in all three).

Souths came out stronger in the second half, with Wesser opening the scoring after four minutes.

The next time these two sides line up against opponents, I should be in Australia.
Just think: I could actually listen to Friday Night Football on a Friday night, instead of ridiculously early on a Friday morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And the crowd shouts back something nasty

Have you ever heard people chanting in between verses of "MONY MONY?"
There was a time when you couldn't hear that song at a bar, wedding reception or other social gathering without the crowd chanting something about sexual relations. According to Urban Dictionary, the exact words of the "Mony Mony" chant varies by geographic location.

I learned yesterday about a similar phenomenon Down Under, concerning the song "AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN" by THE ANGELS.

Whenever lead vocalist Doc Neeson sings the words: "Am I ever gonna see your face again" the crowd shouts back: "NO WAY, GET F*CKED, F*CK OFF."

I find it funny that two continents -- across the world from each other -- have similar situations concerning iconic songs.

I'll have to find a pub in SYDNEY with "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again" on the jukebox, play it, and listen for the response.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Deacon Blue classic on the (online) radio

The girls demand that we listen to the CHRIS EVANS BREAKFAST SHOW on BBC RADIO 2 online each morning as they prepare for school -- "It's the only thing all four of us can agree on," Kerstin once said.

The show just played a classic track I hadn't heard in some time.

"REAL GONE KID" was a 1988 single by Scottish band DEACON BLUE.

Singer/songwriter RICKY ROSS reportedly penned the song after seeing former Lone Justice singer MARIA MCKEE onstage.

It's a classy song -- one of the best from the 80s -- and I think it has aged well.

It was great to hear this morning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The early bird gets the worm but must wait for his shower

"Wake up honey, it's time to get ready for school."
I haven't had to say that for so long, it actually sounded strange saying it just now -- waking up KERSTIN for her first day of high school.

"First day of high school?!"
That sounds even weirder. I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday!
I am officially back to EARLY BIRD STATUS.

Here's how the system works:

5:05 a.m. -- My alarm goes off and I stumble down the steps to let out our dog Rory.

5:30 a.m. -- I wake up Kerstin.

5:45 a.m. -- I wake up ANNIKA (who would sleep until 11:30 a.m. if we let her).

6 a.m. -- I wake up JILL.

Some time after that, I'll get to take my shower and prepare for work. I have to be patient -- I live in a house with three females

Ahh... I can overhear them now, preparing for school in the bathroom, while the pets follow the girls around.

It's official: Summer is over and I am an early bird. So where's my worm?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The importance of NOT being idle

A glance at today's ASTON VILLA team sheet hinted at problems to come, I thought, as I prepared to watch a live PREMIER LEAGUE match on television. Who was going to score Villa's goals against NEWCASTLE UNITED?
John Carew? He epitomized Villa's wastefulness when he blasted a penalty kick ridiculously high in the 10th minute.

Ashley Young? He might be the worst judge of an offside trap in the English top flight.

What about second-half substitute Emile Heskey? We all know he's not going to score.

Instead, it was Newcastle who feasted at their ST. JAMES'S PARK home, beating Villa, 6-0, thanks to a hat-trick by Andy Carroll (pictured).

Taking nothing away from Newcastle, but Villa looked awful. The home side were first to almost every ball, and Newcastle's running off the ball left the Villa defense hopelessly befuddled.

There have been several 6-0 scorelines in the opening two weekends of Premiership action. Today's drubbing demonstrated the importance of NOT being idle, in thought and in action.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garrett retains his seat; Rest of election too close to call

I didn't sleep well overnight, so it was relatively easy to wake up early to listen to AUSTRALIAN ELECTION coverage on 2GB 873 online.
Despite the right-leaning commentator ALAN JONES' protestations to the contrary, the result is too close to call, and might not be decided for a few days -- as both the LABOR PARTY and the LIBERAL/NATIONALS COALITION court recently elected independents. One Labor MP who did retain his seat was PETER GARRETT, the former lead singer of MIDNIGHT OIL.
Garrett retained his seat in the Kingsford Smith electoral division. Garrett took a swipe at Jones during his victory speech. Jones and other 2GB commentators have long targeted Garrett with their ire.
In a week, I can see for myself what all the fuss is about. For now, I'll listen to some Midnight Oil.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Question? Goo-dawn-yer-mite!

I think the dog is trying to help me prepare for the time difference between DUBUQUE and SYDNEY -- she just woke me up at 4:15 a.m.
That's thoughtful. There's only one problem: I go to AUSTRALIA *next* weekend, not *this* weekend.

No worries. That just means we get to this week's FRIDAY QUESTION shot through like a Bondi Tram.

"What do you think when you hear 'Australia?'"

RICK T. -- Kangaroos.

JOHN S. -- Beaches and the Outback.

SANDYE V. -- I think "Kangaroos!" And then I think of Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburnt Country," which is especially hysterical if you listen to the author read it on tape/CD.

BEKAH P. -- I think beer and Ayers rock... I don't even drink beer, but somehow the two of those seem like an ideal pairing.

INGER H. -- Pretty much just a sea of fuzzy weird looking animals: koalas, kangaroos, wallabies. I bought a book on Aussie wildlife to at least get a handle on what some of the birds are, and the funniest thing is that pretty much 90 percent of the descriptions for the mammals in the book begins with, "A (small, large, medium-sized) rodent-like animal, with..." The description for Koalas was, "If you see a teddy bear in a tree, then you are likely looking at a koala".

ELLEN B. -- Kangaroos and a cool accent.

KERI M. -- My sister. She went there for six months a couple of years ago. And Crocodile Dundee, of course.

KERSTIN H. -- Dirt. Red dirt and snakes and that guy that died 'cause he was stung by a sting ray.

SASKIA M. -- The following keywords pop into my head: koala,kangaroo, sun, desert, beach, Aborigines, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Heath Ledger,Sam Worthington, Mel Gibson, Simon Baker, Natalie Imbruglia, Missy Higgins, Sia Furler, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney Opera House, The movie "Australia"

JIM S. -- It sounds like a great place to visit, but one that I unfortunately may never see because there are so many other, closer places in this world that I'll likely end up investing time and money into visiting.

LISA Y. -- "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich," from the 80's song by Men at Work, kangaroos, fairy bread (try it, it's yummy), coral reef and Ayer's rock, didgeridoos....Wish I was going, too! Have fun!

ERIK H. -- A place where Santa comes in the summertime, some of the mammals lay eggs like a lizard and the conservatives are called "Liberal."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mad as a cut snake

I'm listening to "BUSES AND TRAINS" by BACHELOR GIRL, an AUSTRALIAN hit single from 1998 that used metaphors to equate falling in love to walking under a bus, getting hit by a train and other disasters.That reminded me of Australia's own love affair -- with metaphors and similes.
Here is a sampling of Aussie similes found in the LONELY PLANET GUIDE TO AUSTRALIAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE:

(To express anger)

"Mad as a cut snake."

"Mad as a frilled lizard."

(To express dryness)

"Dry as a dead dingo's donger."

"Dry as a pommy's towel."

(To express fullness)

"Full as a goog."

"Full as a footy final."

(To express happiness)

"Happy as a dog with two tails."

(To express sadness)

"Happy as a bastard on Father's Day."

(To express weakness)

"Weaker than a sunburned snowflake."

I'm looking forward to hearing more Australian metaphors and similes when I get to SYDNEY.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birdman and the rising tide of excitement

"Radio Birdman did it first, did it harder, and broke up sooner, than any other Australian band. They were too much too soon, and their legacy has been felt, through a slew of 80s pretenders right down to this day."
-- Alex Wheaton in Adelaide's dB Magazine.
With 10 days to go before I leave for SYDNEY, I have been listening to the legendary Sydney band, RADIO BIRDMAN. Formed in 1974, Radio Birdman produced a pair of brilliant albums, "Radios Appear" and "Living Eyes," before splintering into various other bands in 1978. Don't let the short tenure fool you: Radio Birdman combined raw American rock like the Stooges and the MC5 with surf instrumental music and a touch of the Rolling Stones to form the template that Aussie independent music would follow for years to come. Even today, there are bands that sound like they have worshiped at the hard-rockin' altar of Radio Birdman. I'm listening to Radio Birdman as I drive to several assignments today. Their exciting music matches the nervousness and excitement building within me as my Aussie trip nears.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm late to the "Arrested Development" party

Michael: Okay, guys, um... they are going to keep Dad in prison at least until this gets all sorted out. Also, the attorney said that they're going to have to put a halt on the company's expense account.
(His family members all gasp)
Michael: Interesting. I would’ve expected that after "They're keeping Dad in jail."

Time for a mea culpa: I never watched "ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT" while it was aired on broadcast television.

That's partly because I rarely watch broadcast television, except for soccer and the occasional rugby game and nationally televised Giants' game.

Jill and the girls run the remote in our house, and because they never watched "Arrested Development," I never did, either.

That grievous mistake ended this weekend, when I began watching the show online, on HULU.

I can't believe the quality. Headed by JASON BATEMAN, the cast was tremendous. The plotlines and little details combined for a very funny show about a corporate criminal (George Bluth, Sr.) incarcerated for fraud and other crimes.

His level-headed son Michael (Bateman) tries to keep his family of eccentrics together while rejuvenating the company, too.

If you're like me, and you never saw "Arrested Development" while it was on television, tune in on Hulu or check it out on DVD.

If you were lucky enough to enjoy the show first-run, then you'll know why I'm apologizing for missing it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The album cover that made me look up "obstreperousness"

One of my favorite examples of album packaging comes from my vinyl-collecting days in high school.
I loved gazing at the back cover of the American debut for AC/DC, "HIGH VOLTAGE."
I was reminded of the back cover yesterday, exploring the background to the album (a compilation of the band's first two Australian releases) while reading "AC/DC: MAXIMUM ROCK & ROLL" by Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Dureiux in preparation for my upcoming trip to SYDNEY.

The back cover consists of snapshots of the band members and (one hopes) fictitious letters concerning Bon Scott, Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd and Mark Evans.

I spent many a day looking over that cover and laughing, thinking: "What a great way to introduce America to this band from Down Under."

Here's what the letters said:

1. Dear Mark;

Thank you for your letter of the 24th. We are in full sympathy with your request, but unfortunately must refuse permission for you to perform at the Shakedown Club next month.The last time you were here, you will remember, you were not a member of AC/DC, but a member of the public and your behaviour caused no little concern among both patrons and staff. I understand your antics have only become worse.
Rocky Mungo, Manager
P.S.: The bouncer thanks you for the pansies you sent him. He should be out of hospital in another month or so.


2. Dear Mr. Rudd;

Enclosed please find the remains of the drum sticks you broke over my daughter's head last Friday. Or was it a billiard cue? She's still a little uncertain. My solicitors will be in touch with you concerning the charges I am filling [obscured by drum stick] you on her behalf.
Thomas Barton


3. Dear Bon;

My dad says that under your leather trousers there lurks something mean and terrible. I'm sure it's only a ["hard" is crossed out] heart of gold. My dad also says if he ever sees you face to face he will erase your tattoos by pulling off your arms. But don't worry, he's the Mayor of our town, so he won't do anything that will lose him votes.
Love, Helen XXX


4. Dear Mrs. Young;

I am writing to you yet again to complain about your sons' behaviour at school. All of their teachers have come to me with a range of complaints from abusive language to obscene gestures to obstreperousness verging on violence.
Malcolm is a certainly old enough to know that his constant humming is neither amusing nor impressive. The few times a day he puts pen to paper it turns out he is writing what appears to be poetry of some vile sort.
Angus does not stop eating chocolate bars and Smarties long enough to pay attention to his teachers and his work. His uniform is filthy, his knees are constantly bruised, his eyes blackened, his nose running.
Won't you please, Mrs. Young, have a talk with Malcolm and Angus to help us try to make them into responsible citizens.
Yours very sincerely,
R.K. Lanning, Headmaster

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Drogba lends dose of reality and goals to Premier League opening

I love the opening day of the PREMIER LEAGUE season.
It's like opening day for baseball -- at least for a short while, every club has the possibility of being champions.

BLACKPOOL supporters must have had that impression, after Marlon Harewood scored twice as the Tangerines opened their Premier League account with a 4-0 away thrashing of Wigan.

Later, Jill, the girls and I watched live on television as reality set in quickly: CHELSEA 6-0 WEST BROMWICH ALBION.

West Brom might be the top-flight's poor relations, but Chelsea certainly looked like champions fully capable of repeating the feat.

Didier Drogba scored a hat trick and Florent Malouda added a pair of goals to light up Stamford Bridge.

So, after the first day, a familiar name sits atop the standings -- Chelsea.

There's still some romance, though, thanks to Blackpool, the thoroughly unfamiliar name in second.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

We all hate Monday, right? Well, unless we have that day off for a three-day weekend. We all love Saturday, right? Well, unless we end up working that day.
ROUTE 1 readers take a look at the days of the week by answering this week's FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What is your favorite day of the week and why?"

BEKAH P. -- Saturday, no question. I can sleep in. My husband and I always use that day to go to brunch, browse a bookstore or two, or take a trip somewhere. And the best part of Saturday (other than that it's the first day off in a week, and therefore, in my opinion, relished the most) is knowing that there's a whole other day off coming...

RICK T. -- Every day. I'm retired!

KERI M. -- Right now, any day that is a day off. When school on in, Saturday, or any day that is a day off.

JEFF T. -- It seems odd, but I have always liked Thursdays. Schedules seem to loosen towards the end of the week, and for some reason, "looking forward" feels as good or better than living the weekend sometimes. Plus: I work weekends now!

SASKIA M. -- Saturday! I take care of everything that I (have to) put off during the work-week on Saturday. After that I feel content plus I have a hopefully lazy Sunday to look forward to.

KERSTIN H. -- Friday, 'cause it's the last day of the week so I can just go ahhh when it's all over.

MIKE D. -- I used to tell my wife that it was Monday. Specifically, Monday night. The garbage was curbside and we had a well-stocked cupboard and refrigerator from a weekend of grocery shopping. Eat up!

ERIK H. -- Usually Saturday, when I can watch British soccer and relax. However, my absolute favorite day is a Sunday when I have the next day, Monday, off. I love middle days of three-day weekends!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Typically atypical Aussie tale

I'm listening to 702 ABC SYDNEY online and scratching my head.
The top news in AUSTRALIA is one of those stories that demonstrates how little we really know about the world.

A PSYCHIC trying to help find a missing 6-year-old girl instead discovered a woman's torso in bushland in Sydney's west.

The dismembered body was found near the edge of Eastern Creek at Doonside is not believed to be KIESHA ABRAHAMS (pictured) -- missing for the past two weeks from her home in nearby Mount Druitt.

Instead, police believe the body is that of missing Sydney woman Kristi McDougall.

The authorities can't adequately explain the discovery. Detective Chief Inspector Pamela Young told the Daily Telegraph:

"Well, it's quite interesting that there's a woman and she had a sense or feeling it was worth her while to come to this particular part of the park."

These types of stories seem to occur all the time in Australia -- a sometimes mysterious place where some of the mammals lay eggs and the conservatives belong to the Liberal Party.

We just never hear about these stories, because the land Down Under is so far away.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's a six-way tie at the top

Is it acceptable to have a six-way tie for favorite AC/DC song?
I pondered that question last night, while watching some of the SYDNEY band's videos on the "FAMILY JEWELS" DVD and while reading the first chapter of "AC/DC: MAXIMUM ROCK & ROLL" by Murray Engleheart and Arnaud Durieux.

I believe it is acceptable, so here are the six songs topping my list:

1. "BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" The band's first single is memorably presented on "Family Jewels," with an appearance on the Australian television show "Countdown" featuring vocalist Bon Scott dressed in drag.

2. "IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP (IF YOU WANNA ROCK 'N' ROLL)" Another song memorably rendered on video, this time with the band miming on a flat-bed truck traveling down a Melbourne street -- accompanied by bag pipers.

3. "PROBLEM CHILD" This classic song shows up on a pair of my AC/DC CDs -- "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and "Let There Be Rock" -- but it is so good, it deserves to be heard twice.

4. "WHAT'S NEXT TO THE MOON" There's something different about this tune from "Powerage." In the last verse, Scott, bassist Cliff Williams and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young sing in distinct voices. I'll always love this AC/DC oddity.

5. "TOUCH TOO MUCH" I never fail to sing along to this track from "Highway to Hell."

6. "SHOOT TO THRILL" The opening has been described as "the best introduction to a rock song... ever." Who am I to disagree?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday I have "Friday on My Mind"

I have been listening to THE EASYBEATS lately, in advance of my SYDNEY trip later this month.
They were an interesting group, with a history that includes fan hysteria, major hits in their homeland and an international hit that continues to resonate today.

Here are five interesting things about the Easybeats:

1. All five original members were children who had migrated to Australia from Europe. singer Stevie Wright and drummer Gordon "Snowy" Fleet were from England; guitarist Harry Vanda (born Johannes Hendricus Jacob van den Berg) and bassist Dick Diamonde (born Dingeman Ariaan Henry van der Sluijs) were from Holland and guitarist George Young was from Scotland.

2. They triggered a fan hysteria similar to "Beatlemania," called "Easyfever."

3. "She's So Fine," "Women (Make You Feel Alright)," "Come and See Her," "I'll Make You Happy" and "Sorry" were among their early, Australian chart hits. The band moved from Sydney to London in 1966 and recorded their first major international hit, "Friday on My Mind," with famed producer Shel Talmy.

4. As the group matured, it dealt with a series of problems, too, including tragedy. Vanda's wife Pam took her own life on the eve of the band's move to London, reportedly distraught that she could not accompany him to England.

5. Young and Vanda continued their musical partnership after the band's demise, with side projects such as Flash and the Pan and mentoring Young's younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus, as the siblings formed AC/DC.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Community Shield leaves me hungry for more

The WORLD CUP FINAL was less than a month ago, right?
So why was I so thrilled for today's televised COMMUNITY SHIELD match between CHELSEA and MANCHESTER UNITED?

Probably because the Community Shield always signifies the *start* of the season, not the conclusion.

United were the best side today, running out deserved 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia and substitutes Javier Hernandez (a hilarious debut goal -- he kicked the ball off his own face and into the goal) and Dimitar Berbatov (deep in stoppage time).
Salomon Kalou scored Chelsea's goal in the second half.
So, onto next weekend and the start of the PREMIER LEAGUE season.

The Community Shield has lived up to its role as the first taste of the season to come. I am hungry for more.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cold Chisel classics highlight "training" day

The COLD CHISEL classic song "You Got Nothing I Want" is playing, I'm eating VEGEMITE on my toast and I'm about to wake up the girls so we can attend today's CRICKET match.
Where am I?

I'm still in DUBUQUE, my trip to AUSTRALIA is still a couple weeks away.

You might say I am "in training."

Cold Chisel are simply one of the best rockin' bands from anywhere, let alone from Down Under (the band originated in ADELAIDE).

Pianist Don Walker wrote the songs and Scottish-born singer Jimmy Barnes belted them out.

It was formula that resulted in a string of hits that sadly never made much of an impact on this side of the Pacific.

No matter. Cold Chisel will provide my soundtrack for what shapes up as a busy day. I work the Noon to 9 p.m. shift. Then, I might complete my training session with an Australian beer.

Friday, August 06, 2010

On the radio: Very interesting

ROUTE 1 is currently listening live online to CONTINUOUS CALL TEAM radio coverage of the rugby league match between the PARRAMATTA EELS and the GOLD COAST TITANS.
That's interesting, eh?

Here are some other recent radio moments, brought to us by readers answering the following FRIDAY QUESTION:

"What was the most interesting thing you heard on the radio this week?"

JOHN S. -- I heard someone refer to Ragbrai as a race.

BEKAH P. -- Sadly, nothing! With a commute that lasts only a few minutes, I often forget to turn on the radio. That is the one thing I miss about my 90 minute commute -- uninterrupted learning via NPR.

MIKE M. -- On NPR, novelist Gary Shteyngart wondered about the futility of seeking happiness in today's endless stream of information. A few minutes later, a reviewer claimed that fragmentary scenes from Henri-Georges Clouzot's unfinished 1960s film "Inferno" are much more memorable than whole, current movies.

RICK T. -- Sox Win, Sox Win, Sox Win! (Chicago White Sox that is!)

KERI M. -- Everything I hear on the radio station that I listen to is interesting (

SANDYE V. -- I heard on NPR that the country we get the most oil from is Canada! And it is extracted laboriously and expensively from sand, using lots of water and natural gas to process it. Crazy.
ANNIKA H. -- I have no idea!
MIKE D. -- It was a joke from the Bob & Tom Show that went something like this:

Two women meet in the afterlife. The first asks the second how she died.

"I froze to death," she said.

"Oh, that's terrible," the first woman replies.

"It wasn't so bad," the other says. "It was cold at first, but then my body had a rush of warmth and I fell into a deep sleep. How about you?"

"Well, I died of a heart attack," the first woman said. "I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early one day to find him sitting in front of the TV set with a beer. I thought he was hiding something, so I ran all over the house -- upstairs, downstairs, from room to room, checking closets, the pantry, under the bed, ... until I was so exhausted I finally keeled over."

The second woman replied, "Duh, if you would have just checked the freezer, we'd both be alive today."

ERIK H. -- The Eels lead the Titans, 12-0, at half time, and one of the Parramatta stars is Tonga-born New Zealand international Fuifui Moimoi, whose name is pronounced "Foo-ee Foo-ee Moy Moy." It's an interesting name, and it's delightful to say.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Scientists' influence spanned oceans, eras

It's funny how music works -- how it can cross oceans and borders and even generations.
How a band like THE SCIENTISTS, from the most isolated big city in the world, PERTH, could influence so many other bands all over the world.

I am listening to an early 1980s incarnation of KIM SALMON and his band now, and I am reminded of MUDHONEY and bands from the 1990s and beyond.

The guys in Seattle must have been avid record collectors, combined with the fact that The Scientists' music seems so timeless -- not quite 1960s garage rock, but with echoes of that music wedded to the energy of punk.

I want to listen to the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS tonight, but it's hard to turn away from The Scientists.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Campaign talk Down Under

I am listening to 2UE 954 this morning online.
It's night in AUSTRALIA, and discussion on the SYDNEY news/talk station is dominated by the country's upcoming election.

Australian voters will choose a government Aug. 21, with LIBERAL LEADER TONY ABBOTT aiming to dethrone LABOR PRIME MINISTER JULIA GILLARD.

A recent poll suggests voters divided along regional lines, with Labor holding Victoria and South Australia and Liberals leading in the rest of the country -- although the Liberal lead in New South Wales, the biggest state, is a mere 51 to 49 percent.

I am still trying to keep up with all of the issues in the campaign -- that's why I will keep listening to the radio stations as the vote nears.

I want to be able to understand the current events once I get to Sydney!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Remembering Bobby Hebb

Has there been a more joyful song than "SUNNY" by BOBBY HEBB?
I am asking myself that question while listening to the 1966 classic upon hearing of the passing of Hebb, age 72.
I have always been fascinated by Hebb's background. He grew up in NASHVILLE -- not exactly a hotbed for black R&B.
Indeed, Hebb grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry and served as a sideman for five years in the band of country icon Roy Acuff.
Hank Williams, Sr., reportedly befriended Hebb, telling the young musician:
"Son, when you write a song, write it as if you were writin' a letter. Just tell the truth, just like it is. If it hurts you, just tell how it hurts."
Hebb must have followed the advice. He became a great songwriter.

Monday, August 02, 2010

"It's like having a nap without losing consciousness"

I'm re-reading "IN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY" by BILL BRYSON, in preparation for our upcoming trip to SYDNEY.
I had to laugh this morning, as I read Bryson describing "THE SURREAL AND REWARDING WORLD OF CRICKET ON THE RADIO."

I have loved listening to cricket on the radio since first hearing it 30 years ago, during a trip to HOLLAND (where we had easy access to British radio).

Describing it to friends, I have termed cricket on the radio as like a very lengthy rain delay during a baseball game.

Here is how Bryson describes it:

"There is something incomparably soothing about cricket on the radio. It has much the same virtues as baseball on the radio -- an unhurried pace, a comforting devotion to abstruse statistics and thoughtful historical rumination, exhilarating micro-moments of real action -- but stretched across many more hours and with a lushness of terminology and restful elegance of expression that even baseball cannot match. Listening to cricket on the radio is like listening to two men sitting in a rowboat on a large, placid lake on a day when the fish aren't biting; it's like having a nap without losing consciousness."

I love that thoroughly apt description. I think that's why I love cricket on the radio!