The Return of the Snake Oil Salesman

2 Aug

snake-oilThe thing about humans is that we always need answers. We need a reason.  Even when there isn’t one.

Religion is a popular medium in which people engage in to protect themselves against the unanswerable questions. Often they find comfort in, ‘well it’s Gods will’, ‘the lord works in mysterious way’, ‘it is a message from God to test our resolve’ and my personal favorite (usually when the priest can’t explain anything), ‘just have faith’ .

This has worked for thousands of years and for millions of people and still works for many today. But with the ever-changing world the faith in the church has begun to wane and people are seeking answers elsewhere.

Psychics have always had a place in society but in the last few years have enjoyed a resurgence. I never saw this coming. But I am sure Sinbad the psychic did.

Educated people are visiting psychics . In a desperate attempt to find answers they seek the help of a person that can see into the future. All for a small sum of $150. Bargain!  If I was the psychic the first thing I would predict is that this person has trouble saving money. If he/she is willing to pay $150 to be bullshitted to then I  would predict that this isn’t their first foray into this kind of nonsense. What is even more relevant is, that if this person could really predict the future (with even a 50% accuracy rate) I am sure they wouldn’t be dressed in hemp pants sitting in a dimly lit room in the back streets of Newtown, charging $150 bucks.

The thing I love about psychics is as soon as you ask some real questions like, ‘what are the lotto numbers going to be’ all of a sudden their psychic reception becomes cloudy.

 ‘Oh it doesn’t work that way’.  

Where have I heard that before? Sounds exactly like the local priest.

The reason it ‘doesn’t work that way’ ‘is because it is absolute bullshit. You can’t get definitives because if they give a definitive then they stand a huge chance of being wrong.   Highlighting just how far from reality they are.


Throughout history there has been elixirs and potions that have’ cured what ails you’. Some legitimate and most, simply sugar and water. Accounts of snake oil salesman in the western parts of the United States have always amused me.  I can’t believe how gullible people were back then.  But how far have we really come?

Naturopaths are the current day ‘snake oil salesman’. There are a flood of these quacks that push alternative treatments to the sick and incurable. Now I am sure there are some responsible Naturopaths that don’t prey on the hope of desperate people but who is regulating the industry?

This is from the

‘Australian Naturopathic Website’ FAQ’s section.

Can’t anyone start a “professional association”?

Yes, but rationalism applies here.

Can’t anyone call themselves a Naturopath?

At this point in time there is no legal restriction on use of the term Naturopath – so basically anyone can hang out a shingle and use the term to refer to themselves.

Is there any form of  statutory registration for naturopaths?

Naturopaths are not statutory registered practitioners in Australia.

Isn’t naturopathy just a placebo?

The role of the mind in the control and cure of illness and disease is the subject of some research. It is generally accepted that the mind can definitely play a role in an individual’s health. We believe that the time a naturopath takes to listen to a patient certainly aids the healing process.

The answers to these questions are laughable! Genuinely sick people come to these people for help. All I gather from this is that they are a bunch of unlicensed bullshit artists that try to convince you that alternative therapy is a solution to your problem.

But they must know what they are talking about, they are wearing a white lab coat after all!

‘Oh I see your problem’. This is common. Just buy these 5 or 6 bottles of bullshit for an over inflated price. Don’t eat bread and stay away from dairy. That should sort it out.

‘If it doesn’t work, come back and I will sell you another set of placebo related pills that won’t work either. Oh and here is the card to the psychic I go to. He is amazing. He predicted that I was going to come into money and ever since then I haven’t gone wrong.’

Steve Jobs is a guy that is currently reaping the benefits of natural therapies.

Jobs refused surgery after diagnosis and for nine months after, favoring instead dietary treatments and other alternative methods. Isaacson says that when he asked Jobs why he had resisted it, Jobs said “I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” His early resistance to surgery was apparently incomprehensible to his wife and close friends, who continually urged him to do it.

But there seemed to be more to his resistance than just fear of surgery.

“I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something,” Isaacson told CBS “if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking.


Jobs was a brilliant man and a visionary which probably made him susceptible to this kind of thinking but who was the person enabling this nonsense? Michael Jackson’s doctor has been jailed for over diagnosing prescription drugs that killed Jackson. Where is the bloke that prescribed the juices and bee sting therapy to jobs? Isn’t that person just as responsible?

I have heard Naturopaths are great at giving out dietary advice. I will give you the inside word. Book an appointment with a Dietician/nutrionist and you will far better off.


If these psychics, naturopaths or alternative medicines give people hope or comfort then why do I care? I care because it only serves to dilute the person’s reality and in turn takes them further away from real healing.  To be able to understand your problems physically or emotionally and face them will serve you better in the long run than hiding behind witch doctors, tarot card readers and snake oil salesman.

At the end of the day people want to be lied to. It is easier that admitting the truth or dealing with reality.  The reality is there will always be the inexplicable, shit just happens and you just have to put one foot in front of the other keep moving forward until that day comes.

Next time you think about visiting a psychic or a naturopath, take the money you were going to spend and donate it to the homeless or even better donate it to the cancer council. I can guarantee that money will be well spent.

Don’t smoke, drink in moderation, eat in moderation and exercise.

How is that for a definitive?


Rant on,




21 Jul
15 minutes after Game 1

15 minutes after Game 1

It was June 5 on the evening of the first State of Origin. Our party of 8 had come from all parts of Sydney so we decided to meet in a Surry Hills bar before heading out to Homebush. The mood was upbeat and there was a feeling in the air that we just might win this one. With every beer the confidence of a NSW win grew.  But then the ANZZZZ mood killer kicked in. With time slipping away we quickly grabbed a final beer and started the painful journey to ANZ stadium. A train ride and forty minutes later we arrived at Homebush. Every passing minute on the train had sucked the exuberance from our souls. The vibe had dropped and all we wanted to do was get to toilets and take our seats.

Once we entered a staff member dressed in heavy duty trekking boots and an oxygen cylinder around his neck offered to take us to our seats.

‘He smiled, placed two tampons in his nose and said right this way’.

My confusion was quickly replaced with complete understanding as we began making the ascent. When we finally arrived at our seats, some of us were suffering from altitude sickness, nose bleeds and the acute side- effects of sobering up. Since leaving Surry Hills our experience had been painful, only to be compounded by having to summit Everest to take out seats.  Obviously I have taken a bit of poetic license in the previous paragraph but the truth is our seats were so high up that you literally couldn’t make out the players on the field. We were forced to watch the big screens to make out what was happening.

Regardless the blues played like champions and due to the latest  advancements in LED big screen technology we didn’t miss a second of it. Despite all of this a win is a win.

Our tyres pumped again we made our way out of the stadium on high, only to walk out into a sea of nothingness. Tumbled weeds rolled past and apart from a few shouts of triumph the place was completely soulless. The home side had just won the first origin in convincing fashion and it seemed everyone was looking for a way out. The one bar closes an hour after the final whistle and nobody wants to be stuck in Homebush after closing.

But I wasn’t beaten. Just like big Gal I wanted to put in a whole 80 minutes.

So I joined the huge queue for the train to make my way back to the city. Trying to stay positive I was told by a few punters in the line that I would be lucky to make it into the city within an hour.

My mate looked at me and said,

‘My mum said she could pick us up if we needed it’.

It was over. Even Big Gal has to concede to injury sometime.

So three grown men between 35-40 years of age piled into the back of mum’s car and we made our way out of the stadium.

‘Mrs. Johnson can we stop at McDonalds?

With that sad but unanimously supported request I knew our night was over.

As I ate my McChicken in the back seat, I reflected on past origins and grand finals I had attended at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The excitement started when you would meet after work for a beer at the Captain Cook, Bat and ball or any number of other bars near the stadium. Banter would start with friends and foes and continue until 10 minutes from kick off.  Everyone would stream out of the pubs and filter into the stadium without concern.  Even if you had the worst seats in the house they still had a great view of the action and you didn’t have to rely on the big screen.

Regardless of the result there would be a flood of supporters walking across Moore Park and into the nearest pubs and restaurants with the atmosphere of the game still in the air.

Having our major sporting arenas located in the City is a no brainer. Look at Melbourne and Brisbane. Attending sporting events in these cities is a pleasure because they are convenient. You leave Suncorp Stadium and walk straight onto Caxton Street. You leave the MCG and it’s a short walk or tram to the city.  They are  located in the city and egress is simple. ANZ has none of this.

I have not met anyone that actually enjoys the trip to and from ANZ. ANZ is the ‘Canberra’ of football arenas. There is no vibe, no soul and it isn’t close to anywhere. Melbourne and Brisbane are known for their sporting faithful.  I don’t believe it’s because they care more about sport it is just because their experience is more enjoyable.

I loved the Sydney Olympics but the down side is that we are now stuck with facilities that we are being forced to use. Homebush will never be convenient. Period! It doesn’t matter how much the NSW government put into redevelopment of Homebush. You simply can’t polish a turd.

Why wouldn’t you redevelop Moore Park? I tell you why.  They over invested in ANZ stadium and now we are all suffering.

I will not attend another sporting event at ANZ stadium anytime soon and on the eve of Origin 3 I will be watching from my living room safe in the fact that I am not missing out on a brilliant experience. I will be content to stay at home and I don’t think I am alone in this thinking. In Australia’s best city this shouldn’t happen.

The NSW government should bite the bullet and redevelop the Sydney Football Stadium. Increase the seating capacity, put a roof on it and bring the crowds back to the City.

Enjoy the game tonight and Go the Blues,

Rant On

No Stinks, STINKS!

27 Jun

Origin Handbags

State of Origin is Gladiatorial. We ask 26 men to take the field and put their bodies on the line with no regard for personal  safety. We put the expectations and the pressure of each state on their backs. We match size with size, aggression with aggression and we try to intimidate. Then once we have sent them out to do this job we somehow expect 100% restraint. How stupid is that?

If you take the risk of violence out of the game then where is the intimidation? The whole game is balanced on a knife-edge where both teams know that if they step over the line then there will be no backwards step. Who wants to watch a tight rope walker with a net underneath him, or a trapeze artist doing tricks while connected to a safety wire? State of origin is a game without a safety net or a safety wire and that is why we love it. The unknown, the anticipation and the eventual spilling over of emotion.  Whether a fight eventuates or not we know that pride, passion and winning for our state is put above all else. All the players know this, as do the commentators and the fans. As a result you can feel the tension and you can feel how passionate the players are. If you impose harsh penalties for fighting then you take away this atmosphere.  It is a battle and weakness equates to a loss.

Now I don’t want to see fights all over the place, I want to see rugby league. But if I see my team being intimidated, bullied or on the receiving end of a reckless act I want to see them stand up for themselves  and this is what I expect from the 17 men selected from my state. I never want to see a NSW player  or a Queenslander take a backward step  and that is how I want it to remain. This arena is one of the last places you can really witness a good battle.

I admire it, I love it and it is a shame that we are losing it.

All you hear is what example does this set for our children. Well you tell your child that you can only ever  throw a punch when playing a state of origin game. If that child is lucky enough to grow up and represent the state then good luck to them.

I would rather that be the example  than soccer where pretending to be hurt in order to deceive the Umpire is acceptable. What message does this send our children? A game where deception is rewarded. That isn’t sport. I see this creeping into the NRL and it is wrong. If someone steps over the line then they should be held accountable, firstly by the players and then by the referee.

How is violence in the state of origin an issue when shows exist like ‘Geordie Shore, Jersey Shore  and the Kardashians. We allow our youth to watch this filth on television where they drink to excess, urinate, defecate, misogynise, fight, confuse moral fiber with clothing fiber and hold fame above all else but somehow it’s a couple punches once a year that is the issue.

Just watch MTV

The irony is we that allow this awful shit to infiltrate our world and yet we try to destroy a contest like the State of Origin.

As a society our moral compass is completely off.


Finally I want to sidetrack this rant and direct my attention to the NSW born commentators. You all are bunch of lily livered traitors. State of Origin is the one time a year that you get to be one-eyed and staunchly back your NSW team. Phil Gould, Sterlo and the other NSW Cronies are always praising QLD and condemning NSW. Listen fellas when it comes to NSW players committing penalties, infractions or other tactics, WE ARE NEVER WRONG!!!. Look at the Queensland commentators. Lewis, Vautin and Tallis. They are so one-eyed it is sickening. But that is how it should be.  Last night Vautin was watching the fight and asked ‘why did Hodges get sent off? All he did was put a guy in a head lock’. He said this while Hodges clearly threw 2 punches. What did the NSW commentators say in response to this ridiculous and non sensical statement. BLOODY NOTHING!

Gus Gould you used to be a NSW coach! Get your head out of all the Queensland’s arses and start supporting your side. Sterling start to defend your team.  Disagree with the Queenslanders. Throw out objectivity and join us on the blue side. Right now you a bunch of fence sitting ‘yes men’.  Traitors to the blue jersey. The worst part is you all used to wear one.

GO the blues in Game III

Rant on

Josh Dugan: Why he shouldn’t play Origin

12 Jun

Josh Dugan

“While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stephen Covey

Unless you are a Rugby League player.

Josh Dugan has always had an X factor. He can manufacture something from nothing, an ability only few players have. He has previously represented NSW and apart from a few positional errors he performed quite well.  But I want to make it clear that I think Josh Dugan should not be considered for any games in the remainder of the 2013 State of Origin Series.

For a number of years Josh Dugan broke club rules at the Canberra Raiders. Like a petulant child he would breach club policies regarding drinking, late training infractions and curfews. The raiders always knew he was a talent but unfortunately so did Dugan. He was fined several times, stood down from games and called before the board throughout his career at the raiders. Constantly testing the resolve of the club and always knowing that there would be little to no repercussions for his actions.

But after a very public display of defiance  and his absence from training the Raiders were at breaking point. Instead of approaching management and dealing with his issues, he sat on his roof, picked up a breezer and took to instagram. A display of behaviour befitting a 16 year old girl who wanted to get back at her parents.  After a complete ‘no show’ at a disciplinary hearing the Raiders had no option but to terminate Dugan’s contract. To prove that Josh Dugan hadn’t learned a thing from his sacking he took to twitter weeks  after he was fired. Once again behaving like a child and insulting people in a public forum. The result of this was that the Broncos withdrew their interest but it simply was opened the door for St. George.

In short, the Raiders sacked Dugan in March 2013 after a number of disciplinary infractions, he had a rest for 5 weeks, gets resigned by the Dragons for the remainder of the season and is now is being considered to play origin.

Wow Josh must be hurting! What price to pay! (insert sarcastic tone)

I might try this on Monday instead or turning up to work.

I will just send a picture to my boss of me sitting on my roof, getting blind and giving him the one finger salute. Then following this I won’t make an appearance offering any explanation or apology.

Going by what happened to Dugan. I will get fired. Have 5 weeks off. Then get rehired by another company and offered a promotion in the middle of the year.

Sounds brilliant! But somehow I don’t think it is very likely. The reason being, is that this kind of behavior is not tolerable.  It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, it is never acceptable.

Rugby League officials are always encouraging the players to be role models. Well how about they show some leadership and make players like Josh Dugan accountable for their actions. The Canberra Raiders refused to tolerate his poor behavior and drew a line in the sand.  Sending a clear message that no player is above the rules. The NSWRL and the NRL need to show the same fortitude and support club these actions. But instead they keep Dugan registered and continue making money off his name. It is a disgrace.

In his last 4 weeks Dugan has performed well at club level and there are a few people calling for his inclusion in the origin side to replace the injured Jarrod Hayne. With reporters like Phil Rothschild stating that because he hasn’t been a dickhead for 4 weeks and is playing good football then he has learned his lesson. Further to this the NSW coach Laurie Daley stated that he would have no problem including Josh Dugan in his roster.

Has the world gone mad?

His performances on the field have no reflection of his behavior off it. This is the problem. Dugan has the ability to continue carrying on like a dickhead and still play well.  The only thing  Josh Dugan has learned from this ordeal is that as long as you keep playing well , you can keep writing your own cheque. Just like when he slices through a poor defensive line he  has managed to do the same through the disciplinary minefield.

If we are genuine about setting examples for children then players need to suffer consequences for their actions. These aren’t working as a ‘labourer for a week’ or making a ‘twitter apology’. They have to mean something. Dave Smith should have made Josh Dugan ineligible to play the remainder of the year with any NRL club. This would publicly support and vindicate the Raiders decision to fire him, appease the fans and set an example to all players that actions have consequences.

But at the very least not being considered for Representative Football would be a good start. The word ‘Representative’ says it all. He doesn’t deserve to ‘represent’ my state and further to that ‘represent’ my country. Honour, Loyalty, Pride and Passion are words associated with the jersey. None of these can be used to describe Josh Dugan, for now at least. Everyone deserves redemption but you can’t absolve someone of their sins without making them work for it. If he finishes the season without any problems then he can resume his representative career in 2014. A small price to pay for the turmoil he has caused.

But who knows maybe Josh is onto something. Towards the end of the season he might slip out to the shed, grab a ladder, a case of breezers, his phone and climb his way into an Australian Jersey.  He might as well. It worked out pretty well the first time.

I am in the quoting mood and I found this one that I think sums up Mr Dugan.

Too great a preoccupation with motives (especially one’s own motive) is liable to lead to too little concern for consequences’ 

Katherine Whitehorn

Rant On,


Selective Loyalty: The Curse of the New South Wales Blues

27 May

NSW Gidley

Nepotism: favouritism granted to relatives regardless of merit.

Following this year’s series the New South Wales selectors need to be sacked.  I have had enough of the politics involved in NSW origin selections and the absolute rubbish that is used to justify their decisions.

The simple fact is that NSW origin selectors practice what I like to call ‘selective loyalty’. Over the past few years there has been two main benefactors; Mitchell ‘the myth’ Pearce and Kurt ‘ the bench’ Gidley.  These individuals are a part of the  Rugby League Mafia, The boys club, The Rugby League family. Being constantly shielded and protected by former players and some sections of the media.

Pearce and Gidley,  have under performed at origin level for a number of series and have always managed to get re-selected. I don’t know who Mitchell Pearce is paying but he is the Teflon man. Last years series he was completely out of his depth. He provided little attacking options and his kicking game was so inept that I felt embarrassed for him. The only positive that anyone could muster  is that he is a solid defender. Brilliant! A defensive half back. The most attacking position on the field and the best thing we can up with is, that he is a great defender. Hmmm I must have missed his amazing defence last year when Jonathon Thurston stepped around him, leading to Queensland  running 80 metres to score a match winning try. This may be a crazy concept but I want my half back to be creative and have the stability of a good kicking game. Both of which Pearce does not possess.

Mitchel Pearce is a mechanical footballer. He doesn’t read what is in front of him. He simply executes the play he has decided to do prior to receiving the ball regardless of what the defense is doing. Everything he does is premeditated and in turn is extremely predictable.

He doesn’t have a football brain. Nothing is intuitive. It is all rote learned.

The Sydney Roosters finished the 2012 season in 13th place (4th last) . How is this possible with the NSW half back at the helm? South finished 3rd  and were 1 win away from the grandfinal. Halfback Adam Reynolds was influential in making this happen.

After last years performance I thought it would have had to take an incredible  start to 2013 for Mitchell Pearce to retain his NSW origin spot. Apparently not.  I have watched every Roosters game this year and he hasn’t improved at all. His kicking game is woeful and passing game is premeditated.  The only thing that has changed is that the roosters have built a team around Pearce to accommodate for his lack of creativity.  Just like in Formula 1 it has become more about the performance of the car than the actual drivers ability. Currently Souths are leading the competition, with Reynolds polling Daly M points in 4 games as opposed to Mitchel Pearce having polled points in only  1 game.

Incredibly Pearce was assured of his spot in the NSW 2013 side very early in the season regardless of his form. With coach Laurie Daley quoting that NSW have to stay loyal to the past players.  Laurie is the kind of guy that would keep relying on a car that constantly breaks down  instead of buying a new one. “well this car isn’t very reliable and rarely does the job but I am used to it”. Pretty familiar rationale don’t you think?

But due to loyalty Pearce is selected. Ok a bit of loyalty I understand and I can even appreciate it, but I fail to see any consistency when it comes to this so-called, ‘loyalty’.What happened to Todd Carney and Tim Grant’s loyalty? Is NSW loyalty finite? Does NSW only get allocated a certain amount of it?  Carney hasn’t set the world alight this year but I don’t believe his form has been any worse than Pearce’s, yet all of a sudden his selection is performance based. If we use’ Daley’s method of selection’ that applied to Mitchell Pearce then shouldn’t Carney also be selected. After all, it was the combination we used last year.

Further to this debacle, the biggest reason given for not selecting Adam Reynolds over Mitchell Pearce  is that he doesn’t have origin experience.  Well how much experience does James’ Maloney have???? Absolutely none! Then why was he selected over Carney? It is one massive contradiction. I find it hard to fathom. All I hear is that Adam Reynolds doesn’t have any origin experience. Have we all forgotten that Jamie Soward played 3 origins? If he can play I am sure Adam Reynolds can handle it.

What about Tim Grant? He had a solid series last year and was one of the only forwards that manned up against Queensland. He hasn’t been afforded the same loyalties as Mitchell Pearce. Simply pushed aside for another debutant. It seems the only person who cannot be pushed aside for a debutant is Mitchell Pearce.

Then Daley comes out and says that he selected Maloney because he has a ‘calming influence’ on Pearce out on the field. Well that will do me! Not only have they built the Roosters team around Pearce to accommodate for his lack of ability, now we are selecting players to baby him at origin level. If I was Cooper Cronk and Jonothan Thurston I would be laughing my head off. You never know, Thurtson might start pushing for his team-mate Robert Lui to get start next year just  to make him feel more comfortable on the field.

Is this a joke? Are we in under 7’s? Little Mitchell can’t play with kids he doesn’t know?

If we are being fair dinkum and picking team based combinations then surely John Sutton and Adam Reynolds are top of the list. I am not a huge fan of Sutton but using the ‘Laurie Daley method for Selections’, then isn’t this logical?

The whole thing reeks. There is no loyalty in origin selections. Only favouritism.

If I am Queensland player I would be extremely happy with the selection of Pearce. Billy Slater should be expecting to receive a lot of kicks on the full and if they watch just one Roosters game they can figure out how his whole game plan.

Now to Kurt Gidley. The man who is not good enough to play any position and that is why he plays them all. How does the saying go?

‘A jack of all trades and an expert in none’

Gidley is a grafter and I admire his attitude to the game. He is passionate, but he isn’t good enough and never has been. The only captain I have ever seen that has started from the bench. That says it all! Forwards can sacrifice skill with determination, unfortunately Gidley is not a forward. It doesn’t matter how much he wants it he is never going to have it.  But Andrew Johns and the other cronies have manufactured a place for Gidley in the NSW team. His inclusion in the last 3 origins has been a detriment to the side. His series last year was terrible and typified by missing vital conversion attempts

But once again Gidley was selected. In origin you are looking for impact off the bench.

Gidley has the impact of a sponge hammer.

I doubt Queensland would even care that Gidley was entering the game.

Why the hell would we select Gidley for this series? Why wouldn’t you look to blood some new players?

Put Adam Reynolds on the bench and give him some experience. He could cover positions 6,7,9 and he possesses a great general play and goal kicking game. This is how NSW should be recruiting for the future. Queensland did it with Cooper Cronk and ensured the succession  of another capable half back. In Gidley, all NSW has done is provide a band-aid player in case some one get hurts with no regard for next year.

If not Reynolds, what about Terry Campese? If we are talking loyalty, this guy is owed the world. For every game Pearce is selected Campese must shudder. He was given 1 game in 2009 that NSW lost 28-18. It  was actually 24-18 with 10 minutes to go before a Gidley handling error 2 minutes from halftime let Queensland in for a final try.

The irony.

But my point is, that against the best Queensland side to ever play origin, Terry Campese on debut, played in a side that were within 6 points of challenging for the game.  He didn’t have a stand out game and was relatively quiet but for a debut it was acceptable. But in a ridiculous turn of events he was dropped for the second game after it was stated that NSW were looking to blood players for the future. How does this happen? Especially when year after year Pearce and Gidley produce very little and keep getting selected. Terry  Campese can play 6,7,12 and 13.  He provides structure and direction in attack and his kicking game is brilliant

If I was a Queensland player and saw Campese or Reynolds warming up to take the field I would take notice. If I was a Queensland coach and saw Campese or Reynolds selected on the bench I would be concerned, not only for the present but for their impact in the future.

Loyalty: is a word NSW use to justify a poor selection

Form: is a word NSW use to justify a unjustified omission

Favouritism: is how NSW  implement disgraceful selections.

The fact Mitchell Pearce has played 9 origin games is a joke. The biggest joke is that he is been given another 3 chances  to play.

I watched the NSW halves  play against Cronk, Smith and Slater over the weekend. God help us.

Go the Blues

Rant on

Potential versus Performance. The Social Media Effect on Australian Sport

1 Apr

The Daily Telegraph has always been the main culprit for branding people ‘champions’ before it was warranted. They once referred to  Jarred Hayne as the ‘Don Bradman’ of rugby league when he had a 7 week streak of ‘Man of the Match’ performances back in 2009. Jared built his career on this press, believed their words but since then, has produced very little.

Now there is a bigger threat and it is Social Media. Due to the impact of social media, a player can have a couple of good games and instantly become recognisable to many in the public eye. With the introduction of Twitter and Instagram, it gives a sportsman the ability to write their own press. The opportunity for self promotion presents itself any time, anywhere. Who needs a reporter or a photographer? This is a dangerous precedent. The problem is once you invite people into your world, you invite their judgments, criticisms and opinions. Being recognised can bring just as much hate as admiration and being connected 24/7 to social media offers no respite. Little by little, these sportsman orchestrate their own demise by building the pressure of expectation through posts and tweets. It isn’t uncommon for players to post or tweet hours before a match. This is a perfect example of sportsman bringing undue attention and pressure to themselves and their team through social media. Immediately fans are concerned that a player’s mind isn’t on the game and therefore if he (and the team) don’t perform, there is an immediate backlash. Pre-social media, if a player wanted to bring undue pressure to themselves they just wore different coloured boots. This excerpt is in reference to Rugby League legend Graeme Langlands and ‘the white boot affair’

‘Making matters worse, his white football boots were worn as part of a sponsorship deal with Adidas. At the time, black football boots were the norm. Langlands’ white boots were unique on the field, highlighting every mistake he made to the fans. He was originally planning to retire at the end of the Grand Final, but the humiliating experience spurred him to return in 1976, where in the few early-season matches he played his performance was mediocre.’

Just replace the white boots with Twitter and I rest my case. The irony is that nowadays you never see a black pair of boots. Or, is that just a perfect metaphor for the current situation?

Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Quade Cooper, Josh Dugan, Jared Hayne, Mitchell Johnson, Phil Hughes, Digby Ioane, Mitchell Pearce, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja are just a few Australian sportsman that have an over-inflated opinion of their ability. They all have amazing potential but overexposure in social and mainstream media severely impacts their ability to evolve as sportsmen. As a result they struggle to convert potential into performance

This was no more evident than with Former Canberra Raiders player Josh Dugan. He decided to use social media to air his grievance with his club over Instagram and pictured himself with a Breezer in one hand and giving the bird with the other. This was a breach  of team protocol and was followed up with Dugan not showing up to training. Now, he wasn’t exposed by a paparazzi, outed by a disgruntled player or caught in the act. He posted this photo himself. His ego is so huge that he believes a $600,000 contract and club that has looked after him since the juniors is nothing compared to the greatness that he possesses. The reality is, is that Josh Dugan is one injury away from holding a stop/go sign on the side of the road as people laugh at point at the guy with a tattoo of Ray Lewis on his leg. It is a tragedy because he could have been great, but he is in a world where he can’t be humbled. If he plays badly or is warned by his coach to pick up his form he will just seek validation from others – and where better to find that but on social media.

(Side note:I wrote this article before Josh Dugan’s latest indiscretion)

Then we have James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale.

James O’Connor refers to himself as a brand. Are you kidding mate? You play in team that stinks and you can’t even get a regular start in one of the worst Wallaby teams to ever exist. But this doesn’t affect O’Connor. He will take to social media and keep building a ‘brand’ based off his under-performing and his unimpressive career. He is a like a Ferrari that keeps breaking down: excellent in performance but far from reliable. Mr O’Connor, until you have played solid Rugby for over 5 years and have been a part of a team that consistently produces wins, maybe you should house the brand and get back to developing as a player.

Please refer to James O’Connor’s website

Is that ‘Blue Steel’ he is trying to pull off? The only thing he is successfully pulling off is himself.

On a tour with the last-placed Melbourne Rebels, Kurtley Beale had an altercation with two of his playing group while being heavily intoxicated. Apparently he didn’t want to wear the team shirt while socialising. Wow, there’s a surprise! Probably made him look too much like the rest of the team. How would anyone notice him if he looks like everyone else? One of the problems is that Kurtley Beale believes he is better than he is. I have a tip for you Kurtley: leave your hair alone. If you have seen your head there is no chance for a modeling contract so you should use your ‘hair style time’ more effectively and develop your rugby skills. Worse than that, Adam Frier, a Melbourne Rebels spokesman, referred to Beale as ‘one of the greatest indigenous sportsman to play rugby’. Before the Ella brothers can respond, I thought I might on their behalf. What the hell has Kurtley Beale done? Since he came from school boy rugby he has done very little to impact Australian Rugby. In contrast, the Ella brothers changed the way world rugby was played. To group Beale in with these actual legends is ridiculous.

The latest trend from our errant, ill-disciplined sports stars is to claim social issues as a reason for their poor behaviour.

I call bullshit.

Hollywood stars have used this excuse for years to justify their socially inappropriate behavior and to escape public scrutiny. They realised that once you claim you have an “issue” then the public and press will back down. It seems  Australian sportsman have caught onto this technique and are choosing to hide behind real social problems to escape the wrath of the Australian public.

The only problem these sportsmen suffer from are huge egos, a lack of discipline and skewed realities. Going out, getting pissed and carrying on like a prize dickhead doesn’t constitute a problem. Further to that, tweeting where you are drinking or socialising invites the wolves to your door step.  Broadcasting your location is like stitching on a tracking device for the media. Is it any wonder that their every indiscretion is captured?

Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Quade Cooper, Josh Dugan, Jared Hayne, Mitchell Johnson, Phil Hughes, Digby Ioane, Mitchell Pearce, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja are all pretenders. All of the teams they play for are performing terribly. If these are the marquee players then why are all their teams losing? The problem is exacerbated when they are brought together to represent their Australia in their respective codes. They come together as ‘a group of individuals’ and not ‘a team’. As a result there is no cohesion, no team work and no symmetry. They are all there to represent themselves, looking for that solo piece of magic that will set twitter alight and make the highlight reels. Could it be a case of too many brands spoil the broth?

The problem is they skipped the step where they have to develop mentally. They have all the physical attributes but no mental fortitude to apply them.

Whether it be Cricket, Rugby, AFL or Rugby League these players all have the same traits. I thought it was because they were Generation Y but I have since realized that this isn’t the case. They all think they are champions and they maintain this delusion by means of social media. With every tweet, post or tag their bubble grows bigger, stronger, more impenetrable and ends up halting their professional development.

The drop in performance of young Australian sportsman isn’t talent related, it is ego related. When Kim Kardashian and Kanye West do something stupid or attract negative press it impacts them as individuals  What these faux sports stars don’t realize is their negative press implicates a team. Not only that, it breeds discontent in the playing group and results in people like Kurtley Beale being punched in the face by his own team mates.

If you want to be an individual switch to boxing.

Australian sportsman: stop wasting your talent and start applying it. Having the potential to be the best doesn’t mean anything until you are the best. Take a good look at yourself and stop seeking false validation through overexposure. Put your phone down ,forget ‘checking in’ to the ivy pool bar, limit your twitter posts to a minimum , drop the Instagram selfies and apply yourself. You never know, one day you might be great.

Getting Fleeced at THE EASTER SHOW

27 Mar

The Royal Easter FleeceI apologise if the title of this rant led you to believe that this is going to be a piece on the Agricultural side of the Easter Show. As a matter of fact, the Agricultural section of the show may be the only part that remains true to the show of yesteryear.

As I was walking past one of the agricultural marquees my niece asked me;

‘Uncle Johnny what is fleece?’

Hmmmm I thought.

(I am about to be one of those annoying writers that puts dictionary definitions in to make a point but I thought this was quite apt)





a. The coat of wool of a sheep or similar animal.

b. The yield of wool shorn from a sheep at one time.

c. To defraud of money or property; swindle.


In one definition, the Easter Show has finally been revealed. Like a freshly shorn sheep it has been exposed to the world as  ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’.  Ok ,Ok enough of the analogies and euphemisms.

The Easter Show has always been a bit of a rip off but now it has become a complete joke.

I will start with the rides. They sell tickets in bundles and you use these tickets to go on rides. Now they market the most expensive tickets (75 tickets for $70) as the best value (of course it is).

You walk in and soon discover that anything worth going on is 8 tickets and the crappy stuff is 6 tickets. This means the kids can go on about 4 rides each for $70. Awesome! The kicker is you then have to accompany them on the ride if they don’t meet the height restriction. There goes another 8 tickets. In one ride we did 24 tickets. I stupidly thought that a parent or guardian would ride for free if they had to accompany a minor. No way, it wouldn’t be the Easter Show without the fist. Just like a good Easter egg hunt you have to search around the Show and see how many hidden charges you can find.

So within 20 minutes your allotment of tickets are gone, you have to rebuy and you find yourself $140 down. That’s just on rides!

All for the experience of jumping on a shitty looking ride that is manned by a bloke who has just had a shot of methadone to subdue the cravings. If I wanted this experience I would just pop the kids in the car and drive like a maniac through the streets of Campbelltown. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure the guy that was running the ‘crazy spinning coaster’ has a regular spot at the lights on the corner of Parramatta rd and Liverpool rd.

It all makes sense now.

Every time he cleaned my windshield he would lean in, check my seatbelt tension and tell me to keep my arms and hands inside the vehicle. I always found that strange until now.

Apart from this you have to deal with the spruikers trying to get you play their rigged games. It has reached an all new level. It’s like walking through Kings Cross where they are trying to lure you into strip clubs. The only difference is the strip club is probably cleaner.

At one stage we were walking through the show and this man stumbled up to us. Missing his front teeth and looking disheveled I took pity on him. Clearly homeless, I handed him the change I had in my pocket.

He looked at me and demanded another dollar.

I thought, wow this bloke is a bit pushy but he looks like he needs it more than me. I searched my pockets and found a dollar. I went to walk away, happy I had helped the less fortunate, only to be stopped by him once again. He handed me an oversized mallet and said ‘top hit wins a prize’. This guy actually worked on one of the games.

Embarrassed, I made a poor attempt, grabbed the kids and scurried away.

Walking through the games section was like being on the set of the Walking Dead. Expressionless looking people, missing teeth and looking for victims.

With the sun beating down and few trees in sight I longed for days of the Moore Park Easter Show. Homebush is so sterile.  It is soulless. You know you are here to be churned through and spat out the other side. In Moore Park there was a sense of history and nostalgia. In Homebush it’s baron and cold.

Hot and bothered we stopped for Lemonade.  $5 for a small cup.  As he filled the cup ¾ full of ice I asked for no ice in the second cup.

I was met with,

‘Oh sorry sir we must put ice in’.

I was sent reeling from that knocked out punch.

What? I said

‘We must put ice in the cup’, he said again.

“Listen mate I know your boss told you to fill the cup with ice so you don’t use as much lemonade but I am paying for a cup of lemonade not for a cup of ice.”

This went back and forth until he caved. Jesus, it was like trying get a release from my Vodafone contract, only harder. Shitty service, no coverage and not getting what I paid for. It was all too familiar.

I walked away and considered that a win and yet I still paid $10 for 1 ½ cups of small lemonade.

As the walking dead began to close in and the kids focus started to wane we headed for the biggest fraud the Easter Show is renowned for… the show bag section.

Actually the show bag section is so bad that a nickname spawned from it and has cemented itself in Aussie vernacular. Blokes that go by the name ‘showbags or showie’ usually are given this nickname because they are ‘full of shit’.

The showbag section has always been a bit pricey but for children it is like a poker machine den to a gambling addict. Bells, whistles, colours and games that excite the senses and lure them into a purchase. I hadn’t been to the show in over 10 years but I have noticed a massive decline in the quality of show bags. The ‘Snake’s Alive’ bag is half of what It used to be and double the price and the ‘The Greatest Show Bag In The World isn’t even the greatest show bag in its section. But it became apparent to me just how much the showbags have slipped when I saw the gag bag. One of my staples when I was a kid but when I Iooked at the gags and the quality I was shocked.   I noticed the supposed fake dog poo. It was the size of a 50 cent piece, had square edges and looked like a piece of Cadbury’s chocolate. If I saw that placed in front of me I would be more inclined to taste it than be shocked by it.

The fake dog poo of days gone by actually looked real and would always fool unsuspecting adults. It also had a foul odour to it but I am not sure whether this was intentional and or it was some toxic byproduct from the chemical in the plastic. Never the less it worked.

This was my final straw. You can’t even get a good piece of shit at the Easter Show anymore! We gathered our things and headed for the exit.  The final goodbye was the $20 dollars for parking. I put my credit card in the machine but it wouldn’t accept it, thoughts flooded into my head;

Maybe I hadn’t spent enough to be released from the show yet or was this a result of the great lemonade debate but just as I was losing all hope the gate swung open and I made my escape.

As I drove home happy to leave the show behind and $450 lighter in my pocket, my niece said from the back of the car,

‘That was the greatest day of my life so far’.

A bitter sweet moment as reluctant acceptance washed over me.

I guess I will be seeing you again Easter Show and we will see what depths you can sink to next year.

Happy Easter Everybody!


Here is a list of the top ten bags and the ridiculous prices

  1. Sesame Street $25.00
  2. Moshi Backpack $25.00
  3. Cadbury – Big Bite $10.00
  4. Dora The Explorer #1 $25.00
  5. Angry Birds Blue $25.00
  6. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure $22.00
  7. Disney Princess $25.00
  8. Coca-Cola Back Pack $25.00
  9. Bertie Beetle Bonanza $10.00
  10. Triple M $20.00