Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wonderful athletes

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  • Ben Gracewood,

    Courtesy of a fateful IQ test by my father in law years ago, we get screeds of Scientology realspam in our letterbox every week. The quantity is quite amazing. At least one letter and one full glossy magazine every week. Shit about 'Flag' levels and 'Cleansing Cruises' and stuff.

    The content is quite incredible. I honestly can't understand why and how anyone could get scammed by this, and I'm waiting for the day L-Ron comes out and says "Zing! Fooled you all!".

    And the cricket: I turned it off for 30 minutes over dinner, thinking we had a reasonable chance, but then turned it back on to see the credits rolling. Tail collapse of the worst order.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    One of the weirdest biographies you will ever read is online - it's called Bare Faced Messiah, the unauthorised biography of L Ron Hubbard, and I guarantee your esteem for Tom and Katie will soar by the page . . .

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/rmiller/index.html

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Damian White,

    . . . what really grills my gristle is how one-sided the Channel 9 commentators can be. Case of point, Vettori's plumb LBW of Clarke/White at around the 40th over or so.

    Bowling across the line, the ball pitched perfectly on mid-stump, then straightened up completely to rap the batsman just under the knee-roll. Hawk-eye showed the ball's trajectory to take it perfectly on middle stump. Of course the commentators were adding all sorts of conjecture during the replays whilst Hawk-eye was being rendered into a graphic, and then as it did, there was naught but pure silence as one of the beloved was very obviously caught in front. Cue: quick cut back to live.

    No opinion was entered into on this, no comment on how the umpire got it wrong, no comment on how it was obviously plumb. If it were the likes of Warne bowling, you would have veritably heard the steam coming from the like of Tony yes- I'm- South- African- but- I've- got- the- Australian- flag- so- far- up- my- bum- I- hope- that- counts- Grieg's ears . . .

    . . . bring back the off-white, I say.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Gilly's one cunning little man, isn't he?

    He's made such a song and dance about being honest and a walker, that he can get away with anything now, and umpires don't go the 3rd umpire for anything when he's involved. Talk about using a brand to good effet.

    Meanwhile, Comical Braces shows us that he is, after all, a genius.

    http://www.sportsfreak.co.nz/show-column.asp?ID=243

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    The sad thing is that the radio commentary on Radio Sport is a direct from Australia too (the ABC?) and is just as infuriating to listen to. I couldn't believe what Greig & the others were saying about that Gilchrist "catch". Was at the in-laws, and I hope they were all out of earshot when I began swearing at the commentary team.

    Still, that whole graphic thing showing if the ball would have hit the stumps is all abit of nonsense really, isn't it? Fun to look at, but that's about it. Unless there's a GPS in the ball, or it's being laser tracked somehow, there's no way someone estimating the height and position of release and the point of bounce, speed of the ball and the position on the pad where the thing hits can possibly create any sort of accurate representation of the ball's real trajectory.

    I do like that heat-sensor though for caught-behind decisions. Is the 3rd umpire privvy to that piece of technology?

    And why don't we have, at the very least, Smithy over there providing at least some balance (or Wads for Radio Sport). We'll send Waddle to the back blocks of Bangladesh, but not across to Hobart?

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    ^ Sorry - 2nd paragraph relates to McCullums dubious dismissal.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Damien:

    Perhaps... but I don't think anyone this side of the ditch is really on the firm moral high horse when it comes to psychotically partisan sports punditry. Is it really so hard to acknowledge that Kiwi sportsmen lose because... well, the other team was better, and (yes Virginia) umpires often make marginal calls but they're the people who make them, and just because you don't agree doesn't mean they're part of some eeevil conspiracy? And I apologise if I sound like a pompous fogey, but I do appreciate good grace whether you've won or lost.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    In another post, Mr Oil trumpets his refusal to attend blogger drinks with "the enemy", providing further proof, if any were needed, that he is not someone any sane person would wish to sit next to in a pub.

    Um, yes... Sadly, I can't attend (for the non-partisan reason that the better half and I are off to Australia next week, and I've got to make the house fit for human habitation before the housesitter arrives), but it's actually rather nice to get a few political bloggers in the room and talk about everything except politics. Perhaps I'm guilty of false consciousness and ideological impurity, but I remember back in the day in Wellington when most Young Nats and Labour Yoof could occasionally lay down the cudgels and socialise reasonably well. Crap, I feel old.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Um, yes... Sadly, I can't attend (for the non-partisan reason that the better half and I are off to Australia next week, and I've got to make the house fit for human habitation before the housesitter arrives) ...

    Tee hee. That's like the omigod I have to clean the entire house because some people are coming for lunch thing that seizes women. To which the inevitable answer is "Darling, most of them are heterosexual men - they won't notice."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Damian White,

    . . . yip, we deserved to lose that game fair n' square; may the McCullum-as-opener experiment soon lose it's flavour. He's a superb middle-order batsman, both as an end-of-innings high strike-rate hitter and a we're-in-the-poo night-watchman type. Let him develop in that role -- at least for a few more seasons without the added responsibilty of an opener -- the weight of which Astle and Fleming are deserving of. As tail-enders usually see a softer ball when one gets experimentally promoted to opener, they get shown the short-pitched fast bouncer only available in that first spell when the ball is hard and comes on a lot faster. Vettori's trial as opener a few years back only lasted as until McGrath started bouncing him at about head-height . . .

    If Hawk-Eye *is* actually radar-based -- i.e. the graphically rendered trajectory based on a quantitative measurement -- then it deserves reference. Cricket is such a 'particular' game that it deserves that degree of accuracy and precision, IMHO . . . Gilchrist's catch was controversal, but radar showing Vettori's ball being plumb is pretty clear-cut . . .

    . . . however, the brunt of my post wasn't about either of these things, and/or a vent at an apparent mis-adjudication; it was about the polarity of Channel 9 commentation.

    Sure, each commentator is going to be biased toward his or her own team, but still there should be some degree of give and take relative to both teams . . . 'good grace' is about calling a game as you see it; not parading colourfully when your team is doing well, then hitting silent mode when one of them makes a mistake.

    Still, I guess New Zealand commentators are somewhat lucky in that we're on the receiving end of the beating stick relatively frequently, so the likes of Smith need to be in honest appraisal of the other team's performance . . . or else they'll be silent.

    I'm willing to pay money to hear Grieg have to say "the Aw-straalians are reelly struggling hair . . . "

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    The worst thing about the cricket is... every single Australian you talk to feels obliged to gloat about the win. Every single one. :::grumble:::

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    If only it was that simple. It's more the piles of books and newspapers on every surface (you can't actually dine off the dining room table), the dust, and the cat that seems able to shed hair half way up the wall. It's all charmingly bohemian, until you realise someone else is going to be in your house for two weeks sneezing and tripping over things.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's more the piles of books and newspapers on every surface (you can't actually dine off the dining room table)

    I regard that as as a form of high-availability file storage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If Hawk-Eye *is* actually radar-based -- i.e. the graphically rendered trajectory based on a quantitative measurement -- then it deserves reference. Cricket is such a 'particular' game that it deserves that degree of accuracy and precision, IMHO . . . Gilchrist's catch was controversal, but radar showing Vettori's ball being plumb is pretty clear-cut . . .

    Hawkeye comes from this company (warning: tedious Flash-based website):

    http://www.hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk/

    Which is owned by this company:

    http://www.roke.co.uk/

    Which is owned by Siemens. It uses motion analysis and tracking technology - visual rather than radar-based - that I'm fairly sure was originally created for military applications.

    Another use for motion-tracking is digital signage on TV coverage, where the sign has to sit "behind" the players - I think the patents there were developed by an Israeli company, again with a military application originally in mind.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    How about that Shane Bond - when he is not going for 22 in a 9 ball over (which is, like, almost never) he is a champion. Despite the result, I thought Gillespie, Taylor and Fulton acquited themselves really well.

    The look on Symonds' face when Taylor thumped him into the stands for the second time was just priceless. It almost made you wish McCullum was batting at 7. Can't wait for Styris and Oram to get back.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I agree re Gillespie, Taylor and Fulton Weston, but the big issue as far as I can see is that the team, the batting order, and the tactics just seem to be so dysfunctional.

    Compare that to the days where Fleming was basically running the shw, when the total effort exceeded the sum of the parts.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    Well now that both the Black Caps and the English have been thoroughly thumped by the Aussies it will at least be interesting to see who is the better loser tomorrow.

    (Yeah, that's the best I can do. I'm not into cricket and unfortunately the house has been saturated in cricket commentary the last fortnight plus. Please let it be over. Or let us win, that would do)

    On the blogging drinks thing. I'm not going for various reasons, but none of them are along Whale Oil's lines - what happened to us all just feeling that the people on the Other Side are misguided?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Re the cricket: at the moment we field and bowl reasonably well most of the time. So if only we could bat, we'd be competitive. Which raises the question of how we got to this state of affairs. The injury to Styris sure hasn't helped, but you'd think that adequate cover could be provided by McMillan, Fulton, Los Marshalls, and so on. I'm clutching at straws here! Lou Vincent anyone?

    Leg Break: I've always felt that Fleming is over-rated as a captain. Specificaly, he has very little ability to respond to adverse circumstances in the field ... in fact, he seldom appears to try, instead adopting his "stunned mullet" impression. But clearly our current problems don't really relate to bowling/fielding, so leadership when in the field is neither here nor there.

    Interesting stat on the radio yesterday: Ponting has captained Ozi in 126 ODIs in which there was a result. Ozi have won 101 of them. So we shouldn't feel too bad.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Just took a look at the pdf on the Hawk Eye tech requirements. Thanks for the link Russell.

    So it uses 6 cameras to track the ball and plot its estimated trajectory, fair enough, though I do wonder how accurate the plotted trajectory is if the ball has a lot of spin or swing, or if the ball bounces very close to the foot before striking the pads (given there wouldn't be much in the way of post-bounce data collected).

    Still, great fun to watch.

    So the real tournament is between us and England, with the hope that something miraculous happens in the finals against Aussie.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    DC; Fleming’s captaincy (and batting for that matter) has been at its best when he’s had more control over things than he is at the moment (the 3-4 years before Comical B took over).

    I thought he handled things OK yesterday (bringing on Patel early for example) especially given he was a bowler down.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I too watched the cricket yesterday :(.

    Setting aside aussie comentators, which have pretty much always been like that...

    and setting aside lbw decisions that favour the home team - yes I thought White was out but that is cricket for you, it happens here too ...

    and setting aside the cheating of Gilchrist - yes cheating because I'm sorry I don't believe he really thought he caught it - keepers do know the difference between straight into the gloves and on the bounce into the gloves...

    What pissed me off was listening to our after match comments.

    To listen to Fleming you'd have thought our bowlers handed the match to the Aussies and then to read Bracewell's comments you'd have thought the batsmen were fine and it was only because NZ were chasing 290 and not 250 that we lost.

    Well Bollocks

    Our bowlers did a great job restricting Aussie to under 300. In modern ODIs, even in Tasmania, 300 is an average score. Fleming knows that, and Bracewell knows that too. But both of them refuse to identify our real failure....

    Which is of course our batsmen - only 3 of which could find the intestinal fortitude to get into double figures.

    Frankly I'm over the bullshit. NZ does have good players out there playing state cricket, they just never get a chance to step up because Bracewell (and Fleming) can't bring themselve to dump the non-performers. IMO Astle must go, the Marshall twins should be playing state cricket for at least another season and preferably county cricket before they are allowed back in, McMillan has talent to burn but leaves his brain at the rope, MacCullum needs to be batting at 6 or 7 where keepers normally bat. Vettori et al are bowlers and should not be seen at the batting crease if Flemming et al do their job properly!

    Who do you replace them with - why not some young players who have performed at state level and maybe could learn to step up. Some with good young eyes like Jesse Ryder and for gods sake why can't we have a real opener like Craig Cumming open the ODI innings. Or pick someone who has shown guts and brains to play the right cricket for the situation

    Enough with picking players because they save 30 runs in the field when they have fundamental batting flaws eg H Marshall

    And enough of Bracewell isn't four years enough to show that he isn't a good coach!

    OK sorry just had to rant - my wife politely listens to me ranting about our cricket team but I just needed to get that off my chest:).

    cheers
    Bart
    PS Ak play Otago at Eden Park #2 tomorrow - go and see them before it becomes a car park :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    That's like the omigod I have to clean the entire house because some people are coming for lunch thing that seizes women.

    How about:

    "Ohmigod, I have to clean the house because the cleaner is coming tomorrow & it's so dirty it's embarrassing!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Nais,

    "Ohmigod, I have to clean the house because the cleaner is coming tomorrow & it's so dirty it's embarrassing!

    Guilty as charged though in my humble defence, your Honour, it's usually trying to get my 17yr old SON to pick his wardrobe up off the floor, pick up the towels in the bathroom, remove the empty cans, plates of decaying food from the PC desk, so the cleaner can actually clean.....

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    On the whole Hawke-eye thing - I was in Australia during the Ashes and they had some very nifty technology at work, the best being an infra-red camera that would pick up the heat from the ball hitting bat/pad/ground/glove - you could see exactly where it had been by the big white spots it left.

    Re Whale Oil - you have to wonder how long it's going to take for the novelty of annoymous shit peddling to wear thin. You'd think people like him would realise that the internet is awash with rhetoric, and contributing more of it is a bit like through a cup of water into the ocean.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    edit: through should be throwing.. :D

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

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