Monumental Crossing: Thursday, 25th August, 1977

It was nine degrees Celsius at half past six, on what has been another virtually perfect day.

This evening from six o’clock we watched another in the documentary series, “The Wild, Wild World Of Animals”, with this offering focussing upon the elephant. At 7.00, “Willesee” is presented by the show’s resident jester, Paul Makin. Bill Peach’s “Peach’s Australia” — another series of documentary programmes — from 8.00, recounts the resultant savagery which transpired after the Dutch sailing ship, “Batavia”, was wrecked among the Houtman Abrolhos Islands off present-day Geraldton, in Western Australia, in 1629.

“The Garry McDonald Show”, which is hosted by the Australian actor and comedian, follows at half past eight, and, at nine, “Pacific Challenge” describes the crossing of the world’s largest ocean by three, manned rafts, which had been constructed of balsa. In total the journey took one hundred and eighty-five days. It had begun, in 1973, from Guayaquil, in Ecuador, and finished in Ballina, in the north of New South Wales. The rafts, authorities decided, had to be towed for the last eight miles, for it had been deemed that the craft represented a hazard to shipping.

 

Gains And Losses

I heard it claimed the other day that the world is experiencing less wars than at any time in its history. Whilst this might or might not be the case, it does not mean that losses and gains in the global environment aren’t afoot.

Not all of these are in Europe and the Middle East. It is well documented that China has effectively assumed control of the South China Sea although shipping, in general, has not been hindered to any marked degree.

While the administration of President Trump works on ‘putting America first’ and adopting a policy of isolationism, China has been steadily spreading its influence in Australia and the South Pacific.

A couple of years ago, our Liberal/National Party conservative government, in its wisdom, allowed China to lease Darwin’s harbour for a term of ninety-nine years. Not even the then President Obama was made aware until after the fact, when he expressed his obvious surprise — and perhaps privately, his dismay.

Just last year the independent Tasmanian M.P., Andrew Wilkie, stated that the Labor Party of New South Wales — currently in opposition — had been ‘bought’ by the Chinese government. A claim to which the party did not publicly respond.

This claim could have current relevance as the federal Labor Party has chosen not to give its support to the government of P.M. Turnbull and its desire to sign a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership — brokered since America’s much-heralded withdrawal from the original pact — with ten other countries; none of which is China.

More recently it has become evident that China has reportedly invested some three-quarters of a billion dollars in our closest neighbour, Papua-New Guinea, and perhaps half that in Samoa and, from memory, the Solomon Islands.

Australian authorities have voiced their concern that should these loans be ‘called in’ the countries’ economies would be found to be wanting and, therefore, each nation could be asked to provide a ‘favour’.

By the way, Samoa is about half an hour’s flight from American Samoa, which possesses arguably the finest deep-water harbour in the South Pacific.

In January of 2018 the United Kingdom’s leading military advisor asked the government of P.M. May to provide for a meaningful increase in its spending on defence, as he was of the opinion that the country would not be capable of repelling an attack from Russia.

Some three years ago, I expressed my belief to an American that the Western World could not afford to continue its usage of the internet. After he had looked at me as though I had suddenly sprouted a second head, all I could offer him in support of my statement was the fact that so many Australians were — and still are — being duped of their savings. In addition to me recounting of how I had witnessed footage on one of our local news bulletins that purported to show large rooms filled with Russian women busily typing…on typewriters.

Just last month I observed an alleged expert state that crime via the cyber universe is predicted to increase threefold in the next decade.

As if this isn’t disturbing enough, last year, a medical report claimed that due to the excessive and obsessive usage of modern technology, newborns could expect to be declared legally blind by the time they turned fifty years of age.

Back From The Brink Of Defeat: Friday, 26th August, 1977

It has been another delightfully fine day. This morning “Australia” defeated the Swedish yacht, “Sverige”, by fifty seconds after Alan Bond’s boat had trailed by a sizeable three minutes and fifty-four seconds at one stage.

At 6.00 p.m., on Channel Two, we watched the final edition in the series, “Wild, Wild World Of Animals”, which is about the elephant seals of the Argentine coast. At seven o’clock, “Willesee” has Paul Makin as its presenter. “The Muppet Show” followed, after which I retired to bed at half past eight. Tiki awakened me as she came to bed after having watched the British comedy, “The Admirable Crichton”. The film was produced in 1957 and includes Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Sally Ann Howes and Cecil Parker among its cast.

England is 9-181 at stumps on the second day after play on the opening day was completely washed out. Australian paceman, Mick Malone, has the impressive figures of 5-53, in this his first appearance in a Test.

 

It’s Just Not Test Cricket (As We Knew It)! So Why Keep Pretending That It Is?

Here we go again! Commentators of the sport comparing another batsman, in the same breath, to the feats of the legendary Donald Bradman. Currently it is the Australian captain, Steve Smith.

In the early 2000s it was Matthew Hayden who was the ‘new’ Bradman and, somewhat later, Michael ‘Mr Cricket’ Hussey when his average in Tests had risen to a lofty eighty-seven, yet still short of Bradman’s 99.94.

Hayden’s average upon his retirement was approximately fifty-four and Hussey’s fifty-three. I can’t be anymore precise than that because, in the last two decades, I have virtually lost nearly all of my interest in the game that has changed so much within the last twenty years. When I do watch it, it is because Tiki has a genuine interest in it.

Changed sufficiently, to mean that batsmen’s statistics that have been accumulated in this century should never be compared to those of Bradman’s era or even the 1980s and 1990s. Nor should the centuries scored because of the official changes that have been inflicted upon the game. A century scored today doesn’t even equate to one scored twenty or thirty years ago, never mind in Bradman’s time as a player. The commentators and statisticians would believe such centuries do, however, purists of the game know otherwise.

The reasons for me stating this are varied. Some that readily come to mind, but not in any order of particular significance, are:

1. The fact that in the early decades of Tests, the matches were of a timeless duration. Teams would play until a result was achieved.

2. There are now three forms of the game: five-day Tests, one-day (50-overs per side) matches and the considerably more frenzied T20 (20-over) matches. Whilst I recognise that ‘one-dayers’ have existed since the early 1970s, they weren’t played in such profusion. It is my belief that today’s batsmen who play regularly in one or both non-traditional shortened versions of the sport become ‘schooled’ in the handling of the different situations that arise during Test matches.

3. Bradman played thirty-seven of his fifty-two Tests against the paramount opposition of the time, namely England. He did not get to play on the postage-stamp grounds of the West Indies nor was he afforded the opportunity to play against what have been referred to in some quarters as ‘minnows’. At the close of 2017, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa defeated one such ‘minnow’, Zimbabwe, in less than two days.

4. Prior to the relatively recent advent of professionalism, players, such as Bradman, had to work at jobs to support themselves and any members of their respective families. When the Australians would tour England to contest the Ashes, teams would have to spend six weeks aboard a ship in order to reach that destination.

5. Not only was Bradman a part-time cricketer he had to forgo playing the sport at an international level from 1939-’45, due to the outbreak and continuance of war.

6. While I stated that my grievances against cricket as it is today are not in order of their significance, should I be doing thus the introduction of the usage of ropes as boundaries would definitely be at the top of this list.

What a ridiculous and needless adjunct to the game this has proven to be!

I particularly recall tests held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when the boundary rope was perhaps thirty to forty metres in from the actual fence. From memory, Matthew Hayden was very much the beneficiary of this when he amassed what became a record score on Australian soil. As if such a boundary didn’t distort his score sufficiently, his record innings was made against none other country than Zimbabwe, a nation whose sides would struggle to defeat a grade side in Sydney.

When ropes were introduced to international cricket in Australia, I remember it was stated to be deemed necessary because a few players had slid into the fence feet-first and injured themselves. However, since the introduction of the rope it appears to me that the number of injuries has increased quite noticeably. I attribute this to the fact that a fieldsman has less time in which to stop the ball, therefore, more often than not this results in him diving headlong at the rope, whilst he is still moving at at full speed.

I remain unconvinced that injuries brought about the drastic change to boundaries. Instead, it is my belief that the real reasons were twofold. Firstly, Bradman’s average for batsmen who have played a minimum of fifty Tests had stood, and still does, head and shoulders above the others and after more than half a century plans were afoot to hopefully make this to be no longer the case. After all, the mantra in sport is that records are made to be broken! Secondly, once rope boundaries were just that, ropes, now they are a means of advertising sponsors’ products. There are even hoardings erected which display advertisements between the actual former boundary — the fence — and the ‘rope’. This not only benefits the advertisers, it gives the illusion that the ‘rope’ is closer to the actual “real” boundary, i.e. the fence, than it is.

Previously, to score a six the ball had to clear the fence which was a metre or more in height. Now the ball only has to clear the ‘rope’ that is placed on the ground, as previously stated, usually at a distance that ranges from between five and twelve metres inside the field’s actual perimeter. The difference between the scoring of a “real” six and the modern variety could require a differentiation in the actual distance required of up to fifteen to twenty metres, dependent upon a ball’s trajectory.

7. Nowadays, the meticulously mowed fields are more akin to a green on which to play bowls than cricket. Balls move across their surface as if it were glass.

8. Pitches weren’t always covered as they are now. Who can remember that last day at Perth’s W.A.C.A. in December, 2017 when the result of the Test hung in the balance and several men with blower-vac’s were attempting to dry it to England’s satisfaction, as time ebbed away and Australia was the only team with a hope of victory.

9. Don’t get me started on the difference in bats, to those used in the time of Bradman. They are as thick, as half of the width of the one’s that were at his disposal!

The situation became so farcical that even some former players of quality called for a reversion to make them appear more like the bats of even twenty years ago.

Added to this, of course, there were no such things as computers to assist in determining the ultimate so-called ‘sweet-spot’ in the construction of a bat.

 

In summary, there may never be a true equivalent to Bradman, that masterly batsman who once scored more than three hundred runs in a day’s play against England, in England, in the early 1930s. The man who still managed to score a century in the infamous series of ‘Bodyline’, when the bowlers in the English side deliberately aimed at the bodies of the Australians, while their captain, Douglas Jardine, employed a packed on-side field. Interestingly, they possessed none of the armoury that batsmen are equipped with today.

Is it any wonder that past outstanding performers of the game, such as Sachin Tendulkar, and those aspiring to be champions of the game, come to pay homage to the great man at the museum established in his honour in Bowral, New South Wales?

Update

Thank you to all of you who have found my publishings to have been of interest. Even to the gentleman who took the time to give them a rating of “B+”.

I attempt to read each and every one and I don’t mind admitting that one comment was so glowing and so heartfelt that I choked up half of the way through when I chose to read it aloud to Tiki.

Thank you to the gentleman who expressed the view that I “ROCK” and to another for stating so unreservedly that I am an “intelligent man!”.

At a time when people are being trolled to the point of committing suicide, I’m sure you can appreciate just how much I appreciate such comments.

Thank you to the gentleman who informed me recently that he found that my posts were becoming “stale”. Since then I’ve attempted to vary them.

No thanks to the person who told me that he/she lamented the fact that I didn’t have a ‘donate button’ and since its installation, at my expense, still regrets that I don’t have one.

Presently, entertaining and attempting to inform you is my top priority and whilst glowing comments inspire me, it does deflate me, somewhat, that besides the gentleman who installed the ‘button’, and a friend who donated to ensure that it was still operational, not one other have I received.

I would consider no such donation to be too small. If you wish my contributions to continue as they are, it is up to those of you who can afford to contribute a little to make the effort.

“She Loves Me?”: Saturday, 27th August, 1977

We awoke at 6.30 a.m. but, as Tiki felt tired, we lay in bed for a further two hours. “Mum” rang just as Tiki was entering the shower and I would like to think I entertained her, by talking about the actors Kenneth More, the late Gary Cooper and the late Walter “The Real McCoys” Brennan, until her daughter re-emerged. We agreed to meet her at ten o’clock, in Miranda Fair, on what was another gloriously sunny morning.

I immediately prepared to take my shower, but not before Tiki had warned me that should I not be out within ten minutes I would have a basin of cold water thrown over me. Whilst I complied with her instruction, I still had cold water thrown over me. Twice! Before she told me of how much she loved me.

Once we had returned home from shopping, I set out to walk to her parents’ via the drive-in at the Caringbah Inn where I purchased two bottles of Tooth’s KB — beer is supposed to assist in the lowering of one’s cholesterol — for one dollar and fifty-four cents. Tiki clipped her white poodle, “Fifi”, prior to her also giving me a haircut.

The news on Channel Seven, from half past five, was followed by “Seven’s Big League” at six, which featured the replay of this afternoon’s major preliminary semifinal between Eastern Suburbs and St. George. Eastern Suburbs played poorly, and to add to its woes Arthur Beetson was sent off, ten minutes after the break, because he had elbowed Ted Goodwin. Eastern Suburbs will now play the winner of tomorrow’s minor preliminary semifinal between Manly-Warringah and Balmain.

Veteran actor, Buddy Ebsen, tracks down a murderess — played by the British actress, Pamela Franklin — in this evening’s edition of the series, “Barnaby Jones”, from half past seven. “Mum” drove us home, at 8.30, along with two old chairs she had donated towards our kitchen table, together with the nice indoor plant that she had kindly bought for us today. Its leaves resemble those of a monstera deliciosa.

I watched Bob Willis and Mike Hendrick add thirty-three runs at The Oval before England’s first innings came to an end with the total on two hundred and fourteen. Craig Serjeant was trapped l.b.w. for a duck and Australia was 1-6 at lunch, and 1-11 at tea; after which there was to be no further play. Australia defeated South Korea by two goals to one, at the Showground, to keep alive its hopes of qualifying for soccer’s World Cup.

“A Wee Caravan!”: Sunday, 28th August, 1977

I arose and left the house to buy a copy of “The Sun-Herald” from the paperboy. It cost me fifteen cents. The day was to remain overcast, but there could be few complaints for it has been the first without copious amounts of sunshine in weeks.

This evening we watched the replay of this afternoon’s minor preliminary semifinal between the Balmain ‘Tigers’ and the Manly-Warringah ‘Sea Eagles’. The latter’s handling let it down badly and the team could have considered itself lucky¬† to have trailed by just five points to seven at half-time. Manly’s Terry Randall injured a knee and did not return to the field for the second half. Although a try by Lindsay Drake levelled the score at ten all, the star of the match, English five-eighth, David Topliss, kicked a cheeky field goal to snatch back the lead. From that point on, Balmain, with a glut of possession from the scrums, went on to win comfortably by twenty-three points to fifteen.

Lindsay Wagner portrays Jaime Sommers in the series, “The Bionic Woman”, from half past seven. An hour later, on Channel Nine, the film, “Stand Up And Be Counted”, which was produced in 1972, is screened. Jacqueline Bisset, Gary “Follow The Sun”/”The Lieutenant” Lockwood and Stella Stevens are among its cast.

Tiki informed me that on her parents’ first trip around Australia “Mum” developed such an aversion to having to leave their caravan of a night, in unfamiliar surroundings and go in search of caravan parks’ public amenities, that “Dad” devised the idea of purchasing a large funnel and more than a metre of hose. He drilled a hole in the floor of a cupboard, connected the hose to the funnel and poked the remainder of its length through the hole in the floor. Problem solved!

Articulate English: Adverbs

Adverbs, as the name would suggest, add to the verb in a sentence.

Many people incorrectly use the adjective ‘real’ — which can mean genuine — when they should use the adverb ‘really’.

The sentence ‘I feel real good.’ should read ‘I feel really well.’ The adverb, ‘really’, adds emphasis to the verb, ‘feel’.

‘He is a real good player.’ becomes ‘He is a really good player.’

In this instance the adverb, ‘really’, adds to the verb, ‘is’.

Many adverbs end in ‘-ly’ e.g., The bird flew swiftly. She ran quickly (not ‘quick’). He boxed cleverly (not ‘clever’). The runner finished the race strongly (not ‘strong’). The aeroplane landed safely (not ‘safe’).

“Too Much Like Hard Work!”: Monday, 29th August, 1977

I signed a blank cheque so that Tiki could fill in the remainder of it when she purchased our new lawn-mower from Gillespie’s in Rockdale. “Dad” had noticed the store’s advertisement in the local paper last Saturday and had drawn our attention to it.

In the meantime I bought a weighty, grey crowbar from Nock and Kirby, in Miranda Fair, at a cost of nine dollars and fifty cents. I had already made the decision to carry it home and as I descended the pedestrian ramp an elderly gentleman commented, “That’s hard work, mate!”

He certainly wasn’t wrong! For after I had given the earth around the tree stump I intended to remove, about forty stout blows the sum of my progress was the creation of a blister on the lower section of my right thumb.

Having perused a repetition of the British series, “The Saint”, I turned the dial to Channel Ten and the local pop show, “Right On”. It is hosted by the young, buxom Kobe Steele. Today’s edition included footage of veteran rock star Cliff Richard singing “My Kinda Life”, from his current LP, ‘Every Face Tells A Story’. Kobe remarked on how ‘brilliant’ and ‘professional’ Cliff’s recent Australian concerts were this year. Smokie performed “Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone”, and The Electric Light Orchestra, “Telephone Line”: an outstanding sound, which is reminiscent of the 1960s.

“Dad” and Tiki arrived in his red ute, which contained our new Victa ‘Contessa’. It had cost us one hundred and sixty-nine dollars.

“Flashez”, another Australian pop show, hosted by the singer, Ray Burgess, airs for half an hour from half past five on the ABC-TV’s Channel Two. Today’s programme features the extremely popular local band, Sherbet, performing its current hit, “Magazine Madonna”.

James “Maverick” Garner appears as the private investigator, Jim Rockford, in the series, “The Rockford Files”, from half past seven. Swedish actress, Camilla Sparv is a guest star in this evening’s edition in which the task is to determine which statuettes of the cormorant are genuine. Jim Rockford’s home is that of a caravan at the beach.

Having washed the dishes, I decided to retire early at half past eight. Sydney’s maximum temperature reached a pleasantly mild twenty-two degrees Celsius.

Faye Adams

Faye Tuell was born in Newark, New Jersey, in May of 1923. Her father, David Tuell, was a singer of gospel music and, from the age of five, Faye joined two of her older sisters in the singing of spirituals.

Faye married Tommy Scruggs, in 1942, and under her married name performed in nightclubs in New York. In 1952, she became the vocalist in a band led by Joe Morris. It was to be her recording of the song, “Shake A Hand”, under the name of Faye Adams, that was to give her her initial and largest hit. “Shake A Hand”, Joe’s own composition, spent ten weeks atop the rhythm and blues chart, in the latter half of 1953.

Before the year had ended, “I’ll Be True” had followed it; also bound for No.1. Almost a year later, “Hurts Me To My Heart” spent five weeks at No.1. In 1955, Faye Adams appeared in the film, ‘Rhythm And Blues Revue’.

At the time of writing Faye is ninety-four years of age.

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