18 June 2006


Normally, soccer is about as popular here as in America. It's all right for kids, but real men play rugby, AFL and cricket. But with Australia qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in thirty two years, it's huge. Of course, it also helps that Sydney has a large number of international residents who are following their home countries. But this past week, everyone has been bleary-eyed from staying up way too late to watch a soccer match. I'm expecting a higher than usual number of absences tomorrow due to the Socceroos 2:00 AM game versus Brazil tonight. While trying to find a pub to watch Game Four of the NBA Finals Friday night, I kept hearing "What time is the game over? Soccer goes on at 10:30." The Socceroos weren't even playing. Movie theatres are charging five bucks to watch games on movie screens with a couple hundred other fans and they're packed.
Yes, the team name is the Socceroos. Most national teams here have a nickname. A full list can be found here, but a list of notables would include the Wallabies (rugby union), Wheelabies (wheelchair rugby), Matildas (women's soccer, from Waltzing Matilda), and the Mighty Roos (ice hockey (?!?)). I can't think of a nickname for any American national teams, largely because we don't get too involved in international competition. I find this unfortunate--I've enjoyed international comps for rugby and cricket in our time here. There has been a push to rename the Socceroos, however, due to the effort to start calling the sport "football" like the majority of the world. There is similar resistance to this here that is found in the US since people informally refer to rugby and AFL as football or footy. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment--I'll pass it on.

12 June 2006

Fun with anagrams

Found a website called Brendan's Online Angram Generator. The hidden truth will now be revealed.
Chris Taylor--A lyric short. (So that's what was wrong with my various musical efforts.)
Mavericks--Mark's vice
Pat Riley--Real pity
Miami Heat--Can't hit a free throw (kidding) --I emit a ham (?)
Follow the link above and see what you come up with, and leave a comment if you discover any hidden truths, too.

11 June 2006

The Queen's Birthday

Monday is The Queen's Birthday. You say, "Oh, Queen Elizabeth was born on June 12?"
Wrong. This is a national holiday in Australia and most of the other Commonwealth countries. However, Queen Elizabeth was not born on June 12. The date is variable to create a long weekend. So you say, "Fine, everybody likes a three day weekend. But Lizzy was at least born in early June, right?"
Wrong. She was born on April 21, 1926. "That's odd. But all the Commonwealths honor her birthday on the same day, right?"
Wrong. Monday won't be celebrated as The Queen's Birthday in all participating countries. It won't even be celebrated then in all of Australia--Western Australia celebrates it in September or October, depending on the mood. In most of Australia, it is on the second Monday of June. In most other countries it is some time from April to June. "So why the June date?"
Wrong. (I know, not a "right/wrong" question, but we've got a pattern here. Ask a better question.) It goes back to King George III, who was born on June 4, 1738. New Zealand has done the best job regarding accuracy with their "first Monday in June" date. Your next question: "I bet you will really get into the spirit of the holiday and honor King George/Queen Elizabeth."
Wrong. I got no problem with Lizzy, but this is the same King George who had a beef with American independence. Remember "taxation without representation"? That's him. Unless I am mistaken, he is also responsible for Transportation--the sentence handed down to English criminals shipping them off to Australia. So I protest. That doesn't mean I'm going to work, though--this is my only chance to watch the NBA Finals live (Go the Mavs!). Besides, what did you do for President's Day this year? "Good point. So when Lizzy shuffles off her mortal coil and the reign of Charles begins, we'll celebrate The King's Birthday, right?"
Of course.

03 June 2006

Mavs win

What an exciting game--and that was just watching the scoreboard on espn.com. I can't imagine what it was actually like to see on a real live TV. One benefit of watching the score on the internet--I was the first person to vote in ESPNation's Finals poll. Mavs-1, Heat-0. I should have taken a screenshot because two minutes later there were 2000 votes--and the Heat led with 51%.
My prediction for the Finals? Mavs in six. Just when everyone figures out the Mavs can play some defense, they are going to show they can still run, too. Shaq and the Heat's lack of depth out are going to get run out of the gym.
Either way, the NBA will have a new champion. This will be the first time since 1986 the champs have NOT been from San Antonio, Detroit, LA, Chicago, or Houston. If you add Boston and Philly to the list, you can go back to 1979. And if it wasn't for the MJ Baseball Experiment, Houston could be dropped from the list. A new era has begun?

02 June 2006

Iron Chef

Heather and I saw a guy making
sushi rolls on an Australian cooking show a few weeks ago, so Friday night I thought I'd give it a try. I got a sushi mat and the proper ingredients and had myself a cultural experience. I went with rice, carrot, cucumber and salmon. I cooked most of the salmon because raw fish isn't my favorite. I did leave a third of it raw. If your going to eat raw fish, salmon is definitely the way to go.
The verdict? I thought I had a nice presentation. The roll actually came out round, the stuffings were contained in the middle, and it sliced cleanly. Probably a little too much rice and not enough salmon. But it was pretty good. I'd do it again. I need to look around and find a place that sells eel--that's good stuff. Most of all, it was fun (and easy) to make. I think I've got a new item to add to the dinner menu.