Monday, April 29, 2013
Never mind the odds of lives ruined, just have a bet ...
It's one of the pond's prouder boasts never to have attended a meeting of race horses, not even when a freebie was on offer to attend a Melbourne cup (passing on a freebie is tantamount to heresy, deserving a burning at the stake).
Truth to tell, taking an interest in the relative speed and fitness of horses has never done anything for the pond. Meetings where horses come together to discuss and assess and compare their finely honed skills is sometimes called a sport, but most often it seems like an opportunity for gambling.
Who knows what horses really think about their meetings and their passionate pursuit of fitness and speed?
The urge to gamble is as deeply embedded in the Australian psyche as anywhere else (before anyone gets to proclaiming the land of two up the top dog in this race, remember the Chinese).
Now Melbourne might have the premier race, but the emerald city of Sydney, glittering harbour heaven, has its very own tribe known as the Waterhouses, deeply embedded in the Sydney social whirl, so when things happen between the tribe and Singo, attention has to be paid. (The pond commends Gai's Blog for tales of lunch at Balmoral Boathouse and spending time with Gerry Harvey).
A very Sydney bust-up (forced video at end of link) is the way Tim Elliott's piece is titled, and it's true, because Singo and the Waterhouses are in the warp and weft of the town's fabric - yes, the pond knows someone who worked long and hard to keep Singo in horse flesh and an entitled lifestyle known only to the class warrior rich.
Now before the meeting of stewards this Friday very little can be said. Either Singo will come up with some names and evidence to justify his claims, or he won't, and until that time the gossip circuit - which can make Adelaide seem a place of rank gossip amateurs - will be in full cry.
One of the side issues is the matter of Tom Waterhouse, who in recent months has been plastered all over various television sporting programs, driving casual viewers into a frenzy. He's become a veritable cockroach of the airwaves.
This doesn't trouble the pond, which has never been inclined to gamble or watch the sort of shows on which Waterhouse appears, not even when there's a rich level of irony, as when sports caller Ray Warren pitches gambling with Tom on the Nine network, while elsewhere, in other forums, he's the subject of pieces like Rabs admits: gambling cost me a better life.
Yes, right at the moment, the Nine network is determined to ensure his legacy is passed on, and in due course, children will be able to provide life stories headed Watching the footie on Nine led me to gambling and cost me a better life.
Warren's already been in that post-ironic place before by admitting that remarks made during an NRL final attacking anti-pokie laws were provided to him by Channel Nine management, which was often followed by the tag, Ray Warren, a recovered gambling addict ... (Attack on pokie reform came from 'up top', says Warren, forced video at end of link).
But we digress from the Waterhouse matter, and perhaps there's a reason for that, because Waterhouse is a very Sydney player, hence headlines like Bookmaker calls in the lawyers over comments made by Singleton.
But that hasn't stopped Peter FitzSimons, despite being sued for defamation by Tom Waterhouse, from going on endless rants, a typical one being Belly up? No, that's just the punters doing their dough (forced video at end of link), which contains within it one of the pond's favourite Alice in Wonderland quotations from trainer Gai Waterhouse:
''They should stop criticising,'' she thunders, ''[as that's] all they can ever do, the Greenies and all the rest of them. Bugger the criticism. They want to kill every industry in Australia and then they wonder why they are going belly up.''
Yep, gambling, and perhaps racing horses, is an industry, and it's all the fault of Greenies determined to do it down.
Now FitzSimons himself - always caught wearing a red bandana in public - is a controversial figure and Sydney tabloid phenomenon himself, always willing to tell completely lame jokes and jab an atheist finger at passing religious fundies.
It's another proud boast by the pond that in a long lifetime it has attended only one game of rugby union, a test match between Australia and New Zealand, and only then because it was a freebie and a work-place obligation. Naturally Australia lost, and the pond was forced to endure a New Zealander gloating in the next seat the entire time, and the Conradian nightmare still erupts sometimes in the witching hour ...
So the pond knows very little about Fitzie's prior rugger bugger life, but by golly he's been stirring the pot with Tom, letting fly the day before Anzac day in Waterhouse's submission is a joke that's not funny.
He got particularly upset by this talk of an "industry":
"This type of arrangement by our company, and others," you said, "in this and other industries is vital in keeping TV a viable and relevant medium to promote business".
There's that word again. Bullshit! To begin with, TV has gone fine for 60 years without gambling advertising to speak of, and secondly, your "industry" has only one ultimate wide-ranging product: impoverished Australians.
Seriously, think about it. What else do you produce in bulk, but impoverished Australians? Go on, write the angry letter, add to the writ, but I challenge you to give an answer to that question: What else do you produce in bulk, but impoverished Australians?
Of course they could be producing in bulk seriously contented Waterhouses and network Nine executives, but you catch the drift, and in case you didn't:
In sum, your submission is a joke, your industry is a painfully poisonous parasite on Australia's arse, and I will, I daresay, see you in court.
What's even funnier is that the racing "industry" has delayed a consideration of the Singo matter before them because they're off busy celebrating racing ... thereby ensuring it'll stay a water cooler conversation topic the entire week, at least in Sydney town, where a racing scandal is up there with the Rum Corps ... (yes it's about this moment that the pond feels the need to draw your attention to the Fine Cotton scandal as covered in its very own wiki here).
Now the pond has no horse in this race, or even a greyhound, and it's always pleasing to find something in which it can take a dispassionate interest, and this looks like offering a "view hallooooo" for weeks to come... but which is the fox, and when will they make a sudden appearance?
Never mind, being able to say a pox on the lot of them is so much more pleasing than to have to single out a member of the commentariat, and this looks like providing the perfect holiday break away from the lizard Oz (won't someone think of the gambling children, you cry, but hey there have to be losers and winners in this cosmic horse race, and remember what's good for the Waterhouses and network Nine is always good for the country).
That said, we couldn't let the splash for Dennis Shanahan pass unnoticed:
Yes indeed and Dennis Shanahan and the lizard Oz run the risk of destabilising Gillard and her ministers by talking of the risk they run in destabilising themselves by encouraging talk about the talk about the talk about the destabilisation ...
Put it another way.
When you've got absolutely nothing to write about, absolutely nothing but empty meaningless speculation and gibberish to add to a debate, call on Dennis "the tie" Shanahan.
He's your well-dressed, mealy-mouthed, empty-headed, addle-brained vacuum, but be warned you run the risk of destabilising yourself mentally if you encourage him to indulge in scribbling columns about your mental destabilisation ...
... unless you happen to be a French existentialist in search of meta-discourse on the futility of Shanahan ...
In other news today, only six exclusives on the front page of the lizard Oz. The rag is clearly slipping ... the pond refuses to read anything unless it's a ten exclusives day ...
Perhaps they should label Mr. Shanahan an exclusive. After all he writes exclusively for them, and exclusive tripe remains, by any respectable accounting, still very much an exclusive ...
(Below: the cartoonist really should have found a place for Mr Shanahan somewhere between Lloyd George and Winston Churchill).
Posted by dorothy parker at 4/29/2013 08:52:00 AM