Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who Will Win The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa?

Who will win the World Cup being held in South Africa in two weeks time? And does anybody care? I'm not sure what is going on this time around but normally all the water cooler talk in the weeks leading up to the World Cup revolves around who will win. Hardly a word is spoken at work and it doesn't seem that too many others are interested either. Is it because we've just seen the IPL finish the season and the T20 World Cup having been played and won (by England if you missed it)?

Or does it have more to do with the fact that news emanating from South Africa appears to be focusing on the negative aspects of the country - law and disorder, violence, terrorist threats, Robert Mugabe nearby, the shanty towns, the governmental mismanagement, dictatorial leadership, etc? That would be a real shame as I believe that FIFA had great intentions of bewstowing the World Cup on Africa, with its host of developing nations, for the betterment of football (soccer - it's so difficult to get my head around that term). It could so easily have been awarded to a developed nation/s but the long term future of the game will be better served by allowing those less fortunate than first world countries to host it.

I do hope that South Africa hosts a successful tournament. It is the largest competition, along with the Olympics, so deserves to be held successfully. And I'd like to see an African nation make it to the final. To play Australia that is.

Tournament Schedule (Fixtures list)

For what it is worth I think the winner will come out of Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain and Italy. Dark horses would include Ghana, Cameroon and South Korea.

I don't think that Germany can win it without Michael Ballack. I'd hate to see Italy do well after they cheated Australia last time around. Spain usually wilts in the big tournaments. Oh, I haven't mentioned France. Brazil will be there or thereabouts. Argentina will do well.

Let's do a more in-depth study and be a bit more methodical, shall we?

Group A - South Africa, Mexico, France and Uruguay. Can't see South Africa or Mexico going through to the second round.
Group B - Argentina, Greece, South Korea and Nigeria. Looking at past form I'd see Argentina and Nigeria booking places in the second round. South Korea will battle for second place but the surprise could be that that is against Argentina and not Nigeria whom I'd expect to do well on their home continent.
Group C - England, Algeria, Slovenia and USA. I see England and Slovenia advancing.
Group D - Germany, Serbia, Ghana and Australia. I'd love to pick the Aussies to go through but see a somewhat vulnerable Germany lacking their captain being most assured of advancing with perhaps sentimental favourite Ghana. Serbia and Australia should make a good fist of this so it really is the group of death.
Group E - Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and Cameroon. I'd expect the Netherlands and Cameroon to be playing 2nd round football.
Group F - Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand and Slovakia. There is a place in my heart for Slovakia but I see Paraguay going through with Italy. New Zealand should put a scare through the opposition as they have a bit of striking force and Italy may actually miss out as they are notorious slow starters.
Group G - Ivory Coast, Brazil, Portugal and North Korea. Hmm, Brazil. Obviously. Ivory Coast and Portugal to battle out the other spot with Ivory Coast getting the nod.
Group H - Honduras, Chile, Spain and Switzerland. Spain and Chile fairly easily.

Round of 16 (2nd Stage)
1A vs 2B - Uruguay vs Nigeria. Nigeria to win.
1C vs 2D - England vs Ghana. England.
1E vs 2F - Netherlands vs Italy. Netherlands.
1G vs 2H - Brazil vs Chile. Brazil.

1B vs 2A - Argentina vs France. Argentina.
1D vs 2C - Germany vs Slovenia. Germany.
1F vs 2E - Paraguay vs Cameroon. Cameroon.
1H vs 2G - Spain vs Ivory Coast. Spain.

Nigeria vs England. Bye, bye England.
Netherlands vs Brazil. Brazil. Just.
Argentina vs Germany. Argentina.
Cameroon vs Spain. Cameroon.

Nigeria vs Brazil. Brazil.
Argentina vs Cameroon. Argentina.

Third Place Playoff
Nigeria vs Cameroon. Cameroon - better play in the group qualifying stage.

2010 World Cup Final South Africa
Brazil vs Argentina. Toughie. I'm gonna stick my neck out and say Argentina. I dunno why as they finished as the 4th best team in South American qualifying and Brazil finished on top.

There. I've said it. Argentina will win the World Cup in 2010. Now watch them tumble out in the first round. If the game isn't on too late where you are. Most of the Aussies matches are late starts (10:30pm) or early mornings (2:30am). Not sure how many I will see. C'mon Aussie.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Breakdancing and Corkscrewing Portuguese Millipede

I wanted to video a jumbo jet coming into land near our house and whilst I was waiting I noticed a Portuguese millipede nearby. If he was rolled over with a stick then he did some sort of breakdancing on his back and I thought that it might be funny to video him. He was quite a mover. That is until his dancing career was brought to a premature end.

Breakdancing Portuguese Millipede

More Breakdancing from a Portuguese Millipede

Corkscrewing Portuguese Millipede

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Something Has To Be Done About Richmond Football Club

The AFL needs to make a stance regarding the future of the Richmond Football Club. They've played nine games this season and are yet to win a match. There is a need to return some credibility to the Tigers by evening up the competition. What concerns me is the fact that they have a playing list of youngsters and have removed the older stalwarts. My main worry is if, or should that be when, they win a match will they be able to sing the club song? Who from the playing group would know it as the last rendition would be from so long ago?

How's this for a classic song - it's the Bordertown Roosters club song.

Come on boys,
Make a noise,
We are red hot savaloys,
We are the boys from Bordertown,
You can bring on your locals,
Bring 'em to the top,
'Coz Bordertown is coming,
A-coming on the hop,
Are we good?
Are we good?
Are we any bloody good?
We are the boys from Bordertown.

Bloodshed Predicted for 2010 World Cup in South Africa

Everyone has a prediction for bloodshed and fighting, acts of terrorism and vandalism, racism and horror for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Well, I will join them in this prediction. But I'm not worried about the ghettos or street violence. My concern is on the football pitch. This comes after seeing the absolutely awful tackles carried out by the Socceroos on the All Whites in a "friendly" international last night. Tim Cahill and Vince Grella tackled Leo Bertos with hideous studs-up tackles and he had to leave the pitch on a stretcher. If this is what takes place in a friendly then I expect plenty of blood to be spilt in South Africa. The players don't need to worry so much about unhappy locals as playing the Aussies might be that bit more dangerous and life-threatening.

Quiet Morning - Lots To Listen To

Yesterday I left for work a few minutes earlier than usual. It allowed me a more leisurely walk to the bus stop and I was able to take in more sounds surrounding me in the cool (7C), still air than usual. It is slightly difficult when you are jogging I must say.

There were at least three overhead powerlines that were buzzing. I think that's a pretty good indicator that we should have underground power. From hundreds of metres away (I measured close to 1km on the map) I could hear rainbow lorikeets, a type of parrot, chirping away. They are such noisy birds. Don't forget that this was over an hour before sunrise. And they're not to be confused with Parrots Hilton (another noisy bird). Tonight I went for a walk just before 8pm trying to capture them on video. Couple of results below.

Lots of rainbow lorikeets making heaps of noise.

Parrots Hilton - another very noisy bird but not to be confused with the rainbow lorikeet. - (source -

Lots of lorikeets flying around within the tree.

Other sounds that appear reasonably pleasant in the early morning air where the sounds of cars far off in the distance, jets that had just taken off and the squelching of a few snails underfoot. Maybe I should leave for work a little earlier to make the most of nature's music.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bejeweled Blitz 2 Video - My Highest Score

Does anyone know how to download a copy of the posted video of your scores on Popcap's Bejeweled Blitz 2 on Facebook? The best I can come up with is the following link but I can't keep a copy for myself.

Frugal Bastard's Bejeweled Blitz 2 high score video.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Miss USA Was a Strip Contestant

So, the headline goes, "Miss USA won 'Stripper 101' competition". Rima Fakih, the first Arab to win the title of Miss USA, had held the title for only one day went somebody dished out the dirt from something that happened a couple of years back. Cor blimey. I don't see what the big deal is myself.

So she entered a pole dancing competition and didn't even remove her clothes. Let's face it, the Miss USA contest states that "The delegates who become part of the Miss Universe Organization display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who seek to improve the lives of others."

Let's not kid ourselves - it's a beauty contest with a touch of popularity. Do we think that women who enter The Miss USA / Miss Universe contests are beautiful but shy and retiring? No way. They have to be confident and attract your attention. What better way for miss Fakih to obtain some publicity early in her modelling career, if that's what she planned to do, than earn some money in a dancing competition, utilising a pole, that shows off her assets? She'll become more widely known and more people will back her.

The days where people like Claudia Schiffer, who was discovered in a disco, are plucked from obscurity and go on to become world famous are gone. To be a well known beauty these days takes a lot of careful management. Saving yourself and keeping out of the public eye until you plan to enter Miss USA isn't going to win you any popularity. These ladies must raise an enormous amount of money just to win their state contests. How do you do that without a public profile. And how do you enter a beauty contest as large and serious as Miss USA if you haven't done anything to show off your beauty? You wouldn't even get a look in.

It's not as if the competition was illegal. I think people need to get off her case. It's a matter of doing what you have to do to get to where you want to be. And nobody was offended by her behaviour, were they?

Frugal Bastard's Tips To Combine Dieting And Frugality

I realise that there are those of you who struggle with excess weight. I know that there are those of you who struggle because you spend too much money. Allow the Frugal Bastard to bring you some tips to combine dieting and frugality.

1. Don't use Windex like Kim Kardashian as an appetite suppressant. Windex is a name brand and costs more. Save money and go with a store brand like Woolworths or Black & Gold.

2. Go to a gym. Don't make the mistake of paying for an expensive membership though as you would be missing the frugality point. Just ensure that you live at least 10km (6 miles) from the particular gym and you'll be quite tired upon your arrival. The more frugal of you will have ridden a bike rather than driven. Those on the path to frugality will have walked. Bare feet will slow you down and mean that your shoes won't get worn out so quickly either. Less time for eating, you have to go home as well remember, will assist in the dieting aspect.

3. Don't wash your dishes. Not only will you save dish washing liquid, if you are extravagant enough to use it in the first instance, but you'll feel like eating much less food if there is mould on your plate.

4. Brush your teeth before each meal. When you are enlightened enough to realise how expensive toothpaste is you won't feel like wasting it by dirtying your teeth by eating thereby saving food and your waist.

5. Eat soup with a fork. To make this work more effectively don't eat thick, chunky soups but more broth-like soups. This is an acquired skill and will have the added benefit of making you the talk of your work colleagues.

6a. If you're good with cutlery try switching to chopsticks to slow your eating down.
6b. Once you become proficient with chopsticks try eating with only one chopstick. This will not only save on the amount of food you consume but also the washing up.

7. Drink water before every meal. This acts most effectively as an appetite suppressant if you drink a decent volume, e.g. 4.55L (1 gallon [1.2 US gal]). Your stomach won't be able to handle a great deal of food after that.

There you have it. Seven simple tips to enable you to lose weight and fatten your wallet.

Disclaimer: Information and advice provided by Frugal Bastard is not intended as a substitute for proper nutritional advice. It doesn't take your particular circumstances into consideration and may not be suitable for you (or anyone else for that matter). Please take the advice with a pinch of salt (a rather extravagant mineral when combined with food preparation).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wasps Versus Humans - Round 3

We thought that we'd gotten rid of the wasps outside of our house with our last assault using water guns. But it would appear that we were mistaken.

Last weekend I decided to spend a leisurely few hours, not the whole weekend (nearly) as it turned out, to install some guttering at the front of the house as it was certainly past its use by date. It involved moving a few tiles and cutting the new guttering to size. One thing that I wasn't too happy about was the fact that the internal and external corners were the same size as the gutter so it needed a bit of a bodge job to be done to get them to fit. How dumb is that? I'll be having a work to the manufacturer regarding that.

Anyway, back to the story. The Boy decided to have a look from atop the ladder as boys are wont to do. I know when I travelled around the world I like to visit the tallest building and have a look see. As he reached the top of the ladder he spotted a wasp nest right where I had been working. I had been too busy to even notice. And there must have been 25 or 30 of the little buggers at least. I hadn't even seen any of them flying around at the at stage either.

Out with the tennis racquet for a nice backhand into oblivion. Never did find the remains of the nest but had to put about eight of them out of their misery shortly afterwards. Get the feeling that the won't be coming back any time soon. If they know what is good for them that is.

Wasp nest.

Wasp swarm - heaps of the little buggers.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Kevin Rudd Is A Nation-Destroying Socialist Who Needs To Be Stopped

Kevin Rudd, Krudd, is a nation-destroying socialist who needs to be stopped. When the media is stating that he's more destructive than Gough Whitlam ever was that's saying something. Gough Whitlam, as you may or may not know, headed the only Australian government in history that was dismissed by the Governor-General.

What has Kevin done this time to upset me? Well, it's actually taken a week for me to calm down enough to write something that's not as likely to have me charged with libel or sedition. He's called for a Resources Super-Profit Tax, RSPT, which is capable of ruining our great nation. This RSPT kicks in when miners earn more than the 10-year government bond rate of about 6%. Six percent people! This communist, socialist, fascist bastard obviously doesn't know anything about capitalism and profit. What about the risk and return model? Anybody worth his salt knows that a company needs to make 15-25% return to be profitable. I don't think Shell likes to have any assets not performing at at least 18% profitability. Wesfarmers looks for around 18% and I know that they had an asset (Wesfarmers Transport) producing about 15% and that was divested. What sort of a joke is this idiot?

Krudd claims that the miners aren't returning the money to Australia and are taking it all for themselves. He wants to ensure that all Australians share in the returns from our non-renewable resources. Ha! Why don't they invest in the shares of these companies? I think the fact that the states can obtain royalties from the miners and I don't believe that the federal government can do so is one reason to introduce this tax. Krudd wants to cut the states out of tax revenue altogether.

Krudd claimed that 40% of BHP Billiton and 70% of Rio Tinto were owned by overseas investors in his defence of introducing this new tax. I read today that there are over 3.3 billion shares listed for BHP Billiton. Well, 60% of 3.3 billion shares is an awful lot of money still which affects Australians directly so there are no faceless sufferers. Krudd actually thinks that this won't affect Australians and it's just some faceless foreigner who will cop it in the arse. Almost every Australian will be affected as those that have superannuation invested in shares will probably be affected as BHP and Rio will be in practically all superannuation funds. How much did the miners drop last week? BHP went from a close of $40.75 on Friday the 30th of April (the RSPT proposal was released on Sunday the 2nd of May) to $37.50 the following Friday. A drop of 8%. Rio went from $72.10 to $64.98 in the same time frame which was a drop of 8.75%.

The RSPT will lead to a considerable drop in foreign investment and Australia has long required foreign money to build infrastructure. Today is no different. And it's not only the foreigners that will limit investment as Cape Lambert Resources announced, almost immediately, that it would not invest in Australia but would look overseas. I mean, wouldn't you if the tax rate was going to reach approximately 57% and become the highest in mining in OECD countries? No wonder the Canadian Finance Minister is rubbing his hands with glee fully expecting miners doing business in Australia currently to turn their attention to his country.

One thing mining companies consider when investing overseas is sovereign risk. They want to be fairly certain that the rules of play don't change once they have started the game. I see this RSPT as something akin to nationalisation whereby a sovereign government takes some or all of a company's assets. Looks like Krudd and his crew are trying to nationalise the resources industry in Australia. Even Kim Jong-il is looking better than Krudd in turns of a popular socialist at this point in time.

Talk about killing the golden goose. Resources are returning billions of dollars annually in the form of taxes and royalties. Companies are taxed at 30%, still high by OECD standards, and workers, thousands of them country-wide, pay greater rates of income tax than that. Stopping many projects in this country is not going to increase revenue nor create wealth for our workers. It'll certainly put a halt to a two-pace economy though. More mining leads to greater employment, more training required for workers and more tax payments from wage earners.

Krudd has had five months to look over the Henry Tax Review, from Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, so how could he be so blind as to what the reaction from resources companies, and the stock market and foreign investors, would be? What is Krudd's modus operandi here? If he's so worried about inflation what better what to combat it than ruin the value of a major section of the Australian people's capital - the stock market. If he wants to sell this country off to his Chinese mates then why not destroy the value of all major business so that the Chinese can come in, all cashed-up, and take what they like at bargain prices?

What about boom and bust? Sure, the resources sector is booming at the moment. It's a once in a lifetime, not generation, boom with China (and India to follow) growing amazingly. Not even the rebuilding following World War II comes close to the super requirements of commodities that we currently have. There'd be no money to invest in a bust anyway. Why bring that forward by 20 years?

It's time for Kevin Rudd to go. He's hit the self destruct button but unfortunately it's not on a five second timer. We have to wait until the next election. Obviously Kevin wants us to all live on kibbutzes but where is the money to build them coming from? Everything he has touched since coming to office, if you'll pardon my French, has turned to shit. Household insulation installation - bit lump of expensive shit. Laptop for every secondary student - costly, not totally effective lump of shit. Stimulus Package - massive, almost completely ineffectual waste of billions of dollars we don't have - constitutes a dump of momentous proportions. Where are the nation-building stimuli that would benefit this country after having a war chest built up by the former Liberal government?

It's time the Governor-General came a-knocking on Kevin Rudd's door. Before someone with more evil intent does. Don't worry as that won't be me. I don't think he's even worth a bullet.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

West Coast Eagles versus Fremantle Dockers - Derby XXXI

Today I was lucky enough to have been invited to watch Derby XXXI between the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers. Was a bit lucky to make it nearly on time as there were no trains running on the Armadale line as there was a body of someone who had died at the Carlisle station still on the tracks underneath a white blanket. Not sure what the story is because I can't find anything on the news. Police everywhere and TransPerth had to put replacement buses on. I don't think that I've ever been on such a crowded bus before. The game included a Captain's Club Luncheon in the Bill Walker Room prior to the match. There were guest speakers, a raffle and some nice food. Must have been some 300 people in for the lunch. Speakers included Michael Thompson, Sam Butler, Glen Jakovich, Andrew Strijk and Ian "Serge" Miller.

Took our seats after lunch and we were only six rows back from the fence on the northern wing. Not a bad spot really although we were in the Eagles Members area. Not that that stopped quite a few Dockers supporters getting in. I'd never attended a Derby match before so it was a bit of a buzz.

Good game for the first one and a half quarters then Freo dominated. After that is was a great game. I'd tipped the Dockers to win and was very pleased to see them playing to their potential. There were some big hits during the game and you could hear the bodies of men smacking together. I think that I got a few decent photos as well.

WCE vs Freo Dockers Photo Album on Facebook.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Movies - New Moon and Terminator Salvation

Last weekend we went to the video store. I thought that it had been a while since we last borrowed a movie and found out that our last hire was way back in December. Grabbed Twilight - New Moon and Terminator Salvation.

It was my missus that wanted to watch Twilight originally. It was a long movie but kept our attention very well so viewing of the sequel was eagerly awaited by all. I tell you what, they could have cut half an hour out of the first sixty minutes in the sequel and not missed anything. There wasn't much to keep our attention. But after that the action was great and the story came alive. Little bit too much teen angst and slow. and. painful. dialogue. for my liking. Didn't live up to the hype but we'll probably watch the next movie when it comes out on DVD.

I saw Terminator 2 before the original Terminator. The missus and I saw Terminator 3 at the cinema but didn't see much advertising for Terminator Salvation. I wish we had because this would have to be a great movie - absolutely tailor made for the big screen. Brilliant. True to the genre and the Terminator formula. I loved this movie and will be happy to watch this again when it's on TV. The movie studio must be making a bucketload of money as the Terminator movies are on channel 10 nearly every second week. Ok, maybe every third. They're a popular filler though. Almost perfect action movie and definitely a Terminator movie. Watch it. Or Arnie will get you.

Tax Hike On Cigarettes - It's About Time

I don't know about you but I abhor smoking. The smell is horrible, the health effects and the cost on the hip pocket all disgust me. When I was growing up our house was a smoke-free zone except for visitors who were deemed too important to offend by telling them to go outside. This was only one visitor from memory. It's been drummed into me from being a toddler that smoking is unacceptable.

Finally Kevin Rudd's government has done something that I can agree with. They upped the price of a packet of cigarettes by 20% by way of a tax increase. Very few smokers that I know (actually I don't associate with a great deal of smokers) would be put off by the price. They all know that it is detrimental to their health, which should be the biggest reason for quitting, but they still can't bring themselves to do it. Once they're hooked price doesn't really come into the equation. Finance 101 talks about supply and demand and the association with price. I don't think that the price hike will deter many hardcore smokers but long term there will be less smokers as youngsters will be able to afford to smoke less and less. If the young can be stopped from taking up the habit initially there will be much lower demand for cancer sticks. And that bodes well for society in my opinion. I feel that the effects of this will pay off in the long run but not create a significant change in the attitude of current smokers.

Another initiative of the government is to ensure that cigarette packaging is plain. The ghastly photos of gangrenous toes, cancer-ridden mouths and affected eyeballs obviously hasn't done the trick. There has been some response that the plain packaging won't have an affect but I'm sure it will. Cigarettes won't catch the eyes of the young and impressionable. I reckon it will see real benefits in the years to come.

I wonder how much money the government reaps from taxes on cigarettes and how much medical care actually costs the community with regards to treatment for smokers. If there was more to gain by getting rid of cigarettes then laws would be passed for them to reach $50/packet or ban them altogether but methinks that the revenue stream is too hard to ignore.

I can see Australian tourists returning home trying to bring more foreign cigarettes into the country. Why aren't they banned from the duty-free list? That would help a little bit. I don't see smokers getting their wages docked for taking smoko breaks when non-smokers can't.

Of course the tobacco industry is none too pleased by the decision taken by the government. Why would they be? I don't have any time for those who (knowingly) deal in death. I'm sorry to see that they can't find an industry that I find so personally offensive to make money out of.

Well done Kevin - 1 out of 7239 right is getting back on track.