new short story collection. Out now!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Few of my Favourite Things

Near the dawn of a new year, and with apologies to Julie Andrews, I would like to present a few of my favourite things in 2012: the best of what tickles/tickled my fancy.

Best music: The much anticipated release from the legendary POD, Murdered Love ticked all the boxes and was definitely worth the wait. Despite lacking a killer signature track like Boom, it delivers hunger satisfying flavours from punk rock to reggae with nice chunky crunchy bits, and passionate poetry. A work of art from the Boys from Southtown.




Best in Sport 1: As the leading runs scorer in test cricket in 2012, Australian captain, Michael Clarke, astounded cricket fans with four double centuries and a triple. He finished the year with another 100 in the massacre of Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day test in Melbourne. A craftsman with the bat, and an aggressive captain, Clarke may well lead Australia into a new Golden Age.

Best in Sport 2: The Canterbury Bulldogs splurged on a new coach and he proved to be the buy of the year. Turning the Bulldogs from inconsistent underachievers to competition heavyweights in the blink of an eye with a revolutionary style of forward play, Des Hasler led the team to the Grand Final without a specialist halfback. The Bulldogs may have lost the decider but they will be the team to beat in 2013.

Best Movie: It's hard to remember a whole year of movies, so one of my all time favourites, and arguably the greatest move franchise of all time, James Bond gets the nod. Skyfall is classic Bond delivered by the director with all the panache of modern film making. It was everything I hoped for: cars, guns, chases, locations, stunts , a sicko villain and the best on screen explosion I've seen since The Matrix.

Best book: I only read one five star book in 2012: Perry Angel's Suitcase. I stumbled across it by accident and although it is a children's novel, it moved me deeply with its simple yet powerful prose. An inspirational and delightful story.
I thought it looked like a nice story for my daughter when I saw it on the shelf at our local library, but I'm pretty sure I enjoyed more than she did.




Best Blog post (by me): This was 
really hard: easily the most difficult decision I had to make. Finally, after perusing my posts for the year, and making a shortlist, I elected The Death Penalty Upsized (September 28). If I was famous and had millions, even hundreds would do, of followers I would put it to a vote. But I reckon this one is a beauty and it did provoke some passionate comments. http://dacairns.blogspot.com.au/2012_09_01_archive.html

And so ends a successful year for me professionally. The release of my debut novel, Devolution, in paperback, 15 short stories accepted for publication, and a publishing contract for my second novel, Loathe Your Neighbour. I wish you all success, however you define it, good health and happiness in 2013.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Note to Party Poopers

Christmas Day is only four days away. What's your party count up to? How many Christmas functions and gatherings have you attended? Are you loving it? The eating, the drinking, the Christmas cheer, the exchanging of gifts and good wishes? I hope you are enjoying every minute of it. I hope you can put aside the feeling that it's all a bit much. I hope you aren't whining about the necessity of showing up at "another Christmas party", the busyness, the crowded malls, the searching for and purchasing of gifts, the drain on the budget, the effort, the hassle. I hope you aren't grumbling about the commercialization of Christmas or the forced congeniality of family get togethers. I hope you aren't writing Christmas off as only being a magical time for children. I hope you aren't wishing it was all over and bah humbugging everything to do with the festive season. I hope you aren't a mean spirited Scrooge. I hope that's not you.

If that it is you, then snap out of it! Even if you don't believe that forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ is the greatest gift any of us has ever been given, and I absolutely believe it is, then at least acknowledge that Christmas is a time when we can focus on what is good. It's a time of hope and thanksgiving. A time to be treasured. Randy Stonehill sang in one of his songs, "Christmas isn't just a day, and all days aren't the same." Actually I'm glad we have a Christmas season rather than just one day.

So you've been to a hundred Christmas parties and you're full when you arrive and stuffed when you leave. Big deal, you credit card's in the red and you're not getting enough sleep. So what if it's all getting a bit much. Get into it! Celebrate! Love life and be thankful. Spread a little Christmas goodwill and don't forget to thank God for sending Jesus to save us. Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tongue Tied

If you speak and/or are literate in a language other than the one you learned from your parents when you were a child - then you will understand. If you are monolingual then you won't. If you were pulled out of school after only a few years, or never even started because your parents could not afford to have you not working, or because there was no school due to a marauding militia burning it to the ground and murdering your teacher -then you will understand. If  you started school around the age of 4 or 5 and completed at least 10 - 12 years of uninterrupted education, then you won't. If you fit into the first of those categories, you will understand how difficult it can be to move to a new country,  learn the language and find employment. If you work in a government office in one of those nations which receive refugees and asylum seekers, then you won't.

In Australia, one of the services we provide to migrants is English language training. The government operates two main programs. The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP). The AMEP focuses on new migrants and offers 510 hours of free instruction. The LLNP focuses on employability skills and the hugely important role of literacy. It offers 800 hours of free instruction in four 200 hour blocks.

In order to progress from one block of training to the next in the LLNP, students have to demonstrate improvement in two different macro skills. For example, reading and writing. For each of these outcomes students must supply two pieces of evidence from two different text types. In other words, to show that they can write, they might have to write a recount and a letter. To prove they can read that might have to read a description and an information text and answer questions on both.

This can be incredibly hard work both for the student and their teacher, especially for older students who have never been to school and who are not literate in their native language, but also for students with learning disabilities. Throw in a range of medical problems which result in memory and concentration problems, as well as frequent visits to doctors. Add some attitudinal problems related sometimes to culture and other times to personality, and you will begin to get a clearer  picture of what goes on in English language classrooms around the country.

The system, the LLNP, is quantifiable results based and driven by the bottom line: you guessed it, money. It is largely incompatible with the needs and abilities of low level English learners. It is apparently run by bureaucrats with little understanding of people, nor of any principles of language learning. The fact is that no matter how adept the teacher is or how hard the student tries, anything more than extremely modest improvements in English language skills will remain elusive for a large number, even a majority, of refugees. The insistence on a certain level of improvement is a denial of reality.

Friday, December 7, 2012

But for the grace of God

Last night I watched a great piece of television drama. Episode 227 of the multi award winning cop show, Blue Heelers. The episode called "The grace of God" focused on the murder of a police officer while on duty, the reactions of his family and his colleagues, and the subsequent hunt for his killer. One of the reasons Blue Heelers was such a popular series is that it was a very realistic portrayal of the lives of a group of police officers in a country town, but as real and as intense as this show and especially this episode were, in the end it was only fiction. Made for entertainment.

Two days ago in Sydney a feud between neighbours about a  bird aviary allegedly caused a violent altercation which resulted in the death of police Inspector Bryson Anderson. The 45 year old veteran was well known and well respected in his local community where he was heavily involved in charity work. Described by NSW police chief, Andrew Scipione as an excellent officer and a damn fine bloke, Anderson responded to a phone call about arrows being fired into someone's backyard by their neighbours. Within moments of arriving at the scene he was struck in the back of the head with a knife and died a short time later.

I feel incredibly sad and heavy hearted as I write this. These kinds of stories are shocking and depressing. However, I am not the wife of Inspector Bryson Anderson, who kissed him goodbye as he went to work but never saw him alive again. Nor am I one of his children who will have to grow up without their father because of a completely unjustified act of violence. I'm not one of Inspector Anderson's friends or colleagues, the latter saying to themselves that it could have been them, but for the grace of God.

When those whose job it is to protect us are killed in the line of duty, we all feel vulnerable. Police don't simply maintain order in society, they represent it. They do not merely enforce the law, they symbolize it. More than doing their best to keep our streets safe, they personify security, they epitomize safety. I don't know how they do it but I'm glad they are there, and they have my undying respect and gratitude.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fearlessly Fragile

I feel strange today. My senses are a knife with a dull blade, my eyes peer out through foggy glass, my tongue tastes shadows of flavour, faint aromas fail to arrest my attention. If I really knew what, or who myself was, I would say that I am not feeling myself today.

I'm achievement oriented; a big fan of 'to do' lists, a planner and a thinker. My down time from work is often filled with reflection and imagination. I envision the future I want, and I spend considerable energy trying to figure out how to get it, how to make it mine. I guess I am not unusual in my desire to maintain some degree of control over this crazy messed up thing called life.

Some days it's a piece of cake. I'm well organised and energetic. Decisive and productive. But in the words of Chris Cornell "Some days it ain't so easy." Some days I really flounder. Some days I feel like Samson, other days like a dandelion. The slightest puff  of a breeze can destroy me, the most insignificant of obstacles or distractions can render me useless.

I am okay with my weakness. Really. In fact, I believe that the strongest people are those who admit their weakness, who acknowledge their faults and who ask for help. As I Lay Dying wrote a song called Upside Down Kingdom. The chorus says:
"Simplicity is not a curse where strength is humbled and the powerless rise. This is a kingdom born upside down. This is a kingdom where the broken are crowned."


Have you embraced your weakness and accepted the fact that control is an illusion? 

Broken Egg in Nest photograph by Brian J Krummel http://scannography.org/artists/krummel.html

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lost in the Twittersphere

I thought Facebook was addictive but it pales in comparison with Twitter. Twitter isn't new, but I'm always behind the times. The only cutting edge I am a familiar with is my MiracleBlade knife, (it slices beautifully without undue force.) I am a newly hatched chick discovering the Twittersphere, hopping around, tweeting, and learning what I can about how to use this terrific communication tool: social media. What a modern wonder.

As a writer, I am told by those who know, that if I am not tweeting then I am barking mad. What do I say and how often should I say it, and to whom? And who should I follow? How do I make Twitter work for me instead of enslaving me with promises of popularity? There are lots of people offering advice on how to get the most out of Twitter. How do I decide which pieces of advice to heed and which to reject? If I encounter conflicting nuggets of wisdom, how do I choose between them? How many people need to say the same thing before I can accept it as gospel? Fumble, bumble, somebody turn on the light please. Credibility is an issue. Authority is an issue. I need to consider what I want to achieve - that's a piece of cake but how do  I get there? Which ferry will take me to the other side? Or do they all travel to the same place but use different routes? I just don't know. It could be me. My lack of technical nous and my paucity of social media experience has me floundering in the Twittersphere. How am I going to break through the noise and be heard?

I know one thing for sure: popularity is not necessarily a refection on quality. Whether my writing is popular has very little to do with how good it is. It is very good actually, in case you were wondering. An average singer came second on X Factor and won a recording contract while better singers were eliminated from the show because they didn't receive enough votes. People get more likes on Facebook for pictures of their bellybuttons than they do for saying something intelligent or thought provoking. Sometimes Facebook makes me despair for humanity. There's a YouTube video featuring ducks crossing a road which has been seen by millions of people. Popularity is a weird beast, and in the Twittersphere, excellence does not seem to count for more than a hill of baked beans which give you gas. I may be lost but I'll keep trying to find my way through the maze. I am a work in progress. Tweet! Tweet!

A final thought, a question: Who Tweets more? People who care about what others think, or people who don't?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Penis is the Dark Knight

I went to buy some boxer shorts recently. I like to sleep in boxer shorts for obvious reasons. Also for obvious reasons I am not especially concerned with their appearance. Very few people get to see me in my boxer shorts so it doesn't really matter what colour they are or what slogan is printed on them. What I should say is that it shouldn't matter what is printed on them, but apparently it does bother me. Some of the words I have read on boxer shorts (in stores and on line, not on bodies) disturb me. Here I am blogging about it, so what does that tell you? That I'm a prude who is obsessed with trivialities?


Maybe I don't have a sense of humour. 
Let's try some out, what do you think?
Rise and Shine (giggle). Handle with care (titter) Yes, I'm happy to see you (snicker) Go ahead make my day (tee hee) I've got a Big Banana (chortle), Danger Big Load (guffaw) Satisfaction Guaranteed (rolling on the floor), and my favourite, The Dark Knight Rises.(hysteria)

Is it just me,or are there too many double entendres here? An oversupply of references to penises and erections? I mean, I do get erections but I don't feel the need to advertise them, and although I have a penis, I am not going to start calling it the Dark Knight. It's all a bit much, isn't it?

What do you think? Double entendres on boxer shorts? Comical or crass? Amusing or embarrassing? 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Families and How to Survive ThemFamilies and How to Survive Them by Robin Skynner, John Cleese
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting and different book on psychology which is aimed at the average reader rather than the psychology student or medical expert. It takes the form of a conversation between English funnyman, John Cleese and his psychologist, Robin Skinner. Much like actual conversation, it tends to ramble at times, but it is quite witty. I could hear Cleese's voice in my head as I read. It also features cartoon illustrations which add to the "not too heavy" feel to the book.

As Freud blamed all psychological ailments on penises and patients' poor relationships with their mothers, so "Families and How to Survive Them", tends to, in my view, oversimplify some of the issues. Conversely, and a little paradoxically, it does explain and demonstrate quite clearly the complexities of human personalities and relationships.

Interesting, thought provoking, perhaps somewhat controversial especially with respect to the views expressed on homosexuality, funny and worth the read.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Make Money Online

Before I begin, I am not going to tell you how to make money on line. I don't have amazing secrets, guaranteed schemes, easy sure fire steps to follow in order to get rich from home, with your computer, using the internet. I brought you here under false pretenses. I'm sorry, and you are free to leave now, if you want to but I would like you to stay. Please stay.


The world wide web must be the most competitive market in the world, ever! Googling "make money on line" will give you 941 search results. All of these sites will promise you ridiculous success with little or no effort. Most of them will charge you for their secrets, tips and advice, and thus make themselves rich while seducing you with promises of potential cyberspace goldmines. Apparently, there are many people in this world who are interested in getting rich quick, and as Jason Robards' character, Frank Buckman, said in the film Parenthood, when defending his youngest son's latest idea to hit the big time, 'What's wrong with getting rich quick? That's the best way to do it!"

Nothing has changed. Why do you think the prizemoney for lotto is so huge? People want to win, so they pay money for the chance to get rich quick. The bigger the jackpot, the more people buy tickets and so the bag of money gets fatter and fatter. Picking a set of numbers and hoping they are selected by a machine is about the same sort of wishful thinking that is applied to internet marketing. I'm sure that some people are making a lot of cash on line, but I reckon there are many more who are not.

My desires are more humble, if that doesn't sound too immodest. I want people to visit my website. To read my blog, to follow my blog, to share it and then to check out the links to my books, and buy them, or just tell other people about them. I am trying to make money, but I am also attempting to escape the obscurity which is the domain of most of the world's writers. I need to attract people to my website so naturally I search on line for how to do this. I won't overwhelm you with my staggering stories of success because I don't have any. What I do have are stories of hours of fruitless web surfing, investigating sites, reading articles, watching videos, choking on jargon (traffic, SEO, syndication, affiliates, backlinks, spinnable whatsihoosits) gagging on false claims of simplicity, and getting frustrated. It's all about marketing, and I suck at selling things. Always have.

This article you are about to finish is just one more pathetic attempt by me to advertise myself and my writing Would you like to buy my book?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bleeding to Death

In a recent survey, a majority of Australians said they were in favour of the Federal government taking control of the health care system. The current situation is that although significant amounts of funding are supplied to the states to pay for hospitals, doctors, nurses etc, by the commonwealth government, it is the various state governments who determine how that money is spent. This arrangement is a primary cause of  the sickness afflicting the health care system in Australia.

The federal and state governments waste time and money arguing about these inefficient funding arrangements. They blame each other, instead of doing something to get it right. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sought to overhaul the system during his relatively brief and tempestuous reign. In trying to negotiate a new deal with the states he went so far as to threaten a take over if the states did not sign up for the new arrangements. I was excited by the prospect, but unfortunately Mr Rudd did not follow through on his threat and we were left with a weak compromise. We do have a different system, but it still sucks.

According to AHCRA*, we have poor access to care for many Australians, consumer frustration with problems navigating an overly complex system, a disturbing health care gap between indigenous and non indigenous Australians, increasing out of pocket expenses for services, an insufficient focus on primary and preventative health care, an inefficient allocation of resources caused by current state/commonwealth funding structure, and a severe shortage of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

These are serious issues which are getting worse. While the government keeps reaching for Band-aids, the health care system is bleeding to death. It needs radical surgery to save it's life, but the government is too busy arguing about who should pay for it, and who should be in charge of the operation.

*AHCRA (Australian Health Care Reform Alliance)




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Underage X Factor

This will be the most fascinating and mind blowing blog post you will ever read. Fans of the television show, The X Factor, are used to this kind of ridiculous hyperbole: the beautiful looking people pictured below, give us a healthy dose of it every week. Ronan Keating is the worst of the lot, or the best, depending on your point of 
view. I mean they are doing exactly what they are paid to do. Entertain us. I enjoy the X Factor but it's a love hate relationship.

There are a number of things about the show which disturb me, like pepper in my nostrils. One of them is Shiane Hawke. It's a good thing no one reads my blog because I could get into some trouble here.

This girl can sing. I'm not questioning her ability, although it will be a few years before she hits her peak and learns to control her God given talent. She's got a good voice. It doesn't particularly float my boat, but she can sing. My problem is she's 14 years old, and I cannot escape the feeling, every time I watch the show, that she is winning votes, and avoiding the harsh criticism of the mentors, because of her age. Nobody wants to see a 14 year old girl fall apart in front of their eyes. My daughter is 14 and she can sing too, but I wouldn't want her on television, and under such intense pressure and scrutiny. It just makes me feel uncomfortable. Even watching her sing sometimes makes me cringe. Adult songs loaded with deep 'life scars' issues being sung by a child who has no experience. I don't like it. If I could vote to kick her off, I would. For her own good.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Whatever it Takes

In the film, The Big Year, Owen Wilson plays a world champion, (of the United States), birdwatcher, or birder as these fanatics call themselves. His hobby has cost him three or four marriages and seriously threatens to derail another one in the film. Jack Black and Steve Martin also play birders who become friends on this mutual quest to break the record for most birds seen in one calendar year in North America.

The film explores the idea of sacrifice. How much do you lose when you pursue one goal with relentless passion? If you want to be the best, what does it cost? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your goal? Think before you answer...how much are you prepared to do, how far are you prepared to go to get what you want? How do you define success? What are your priorities?
As in life, the characters in the film face very difficult choices about what to do with their time and money, and how to balance competing demands.

Those few who reach the pinnacle of their chosen field of endeavour know the answers to these questions. They've already done it, lived it. Given up things, missed out on things, lost time, lost childhoods, lost relationships, and sometimes even lost themselves in their persistent and single minded hunger for success.

I have never wanted anything that badly. I have never burned sacrificial offerings on the altar of my dreams. I am a writer and I would love to escape the confines of obscurity, but I won't do whatever it takes. I have already put my family first on numerous occasions.  I have put my physical and mental health first. I have had other priorities. Perhaps I will never make it as a writer, never be successful because I am not prepared to do whatever it takes. Then again, maybe that means I am already successful.

I highly recommend the movie by the way. Funny, clever, thought provoking and heart warming. Romantic, in an unconventional way. Beautiful locations and if you like birds, it's a no brainer. I was worried the presence of so many stars might be masking a dud script, and I considered the fact that it was released straight to DVD. However, I liked it a lot.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Spoiling Trailers

Apparently, I have too much time on my hands because I've just spent half an hour watching movie trailers. I've had a very strong feeling for some time now that movie trailers are getting longer. I feel like when I watch a trailer, I am being shown the whole film very quickly. All the big explosions, all the major scenes, the chases, the arguments, the settings, the costume changes, and all the secrets revealed. What is left to see? At the end, I often think to my self...well I've seen that movie now. Is it just me, or are these trailers annoyingly over the top? And worse, in the sense of being longer than they used to be?

 To answer this most perplexing question, I watched the trailers of some of my favourite movies. Ben Hur is the greatest movie of all time. It was made in 1959 so if my theory is correct then the trailer should have been very short, and not have given too much of the film away. Fail. Four minutes! I know it's a 3 hour long movie but still...



Terminator 2 (1991) is unquestionably one of the greatest science fiction action movies ever made. The trailer is only 2 minutes long but still reveals too much of the film. Snippets of all the best bits. Well, I hear you say, isn't that what trailer is supposed to do? Whet your appetite for the main course? T2 had a teaser released before the trailer. The teaser ran for 1:21 and showed you nothing from the film. Brilliant! To me, that is what a trailer should be.

Parenthood (1989) likewise has a teaser which lasts 1:30. It shows you all the main characters, names the actors and has a scene of the family setting up for a photographic portrait which isn't in the movie. Perfect. 
Bruce Almighty(2003) too long, The Matrix (1999) too long, Speed (1994), Scarface (1983) and Die Hard (1988) all too long. I watched these trailers and after 30 seconds, I thought, "That'll do! Don't tell me anymore, don't spoil it. I'm hooked already. When does it open in cinemas? Please don't ruin it for me with a turbo charged condensed version."

Why are they called trailers anyway,when they are shown before the feature film and are actually advertising for the film. I reckon they should be called teasers and they should be short. If you can't sell your film to me in under a minute, preferably in 30 seconds, then your film must suck.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


No RegretsNo Regrets by Ace Frehley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anomaly was the name of Ace Frehley's most recent studio release. The title of his autobiography, No Regrets, strikes me as very anomalous. It defies belief that someone who has lived the kind of life described in his book, regrets nothing.

This riveting and at times revolting account of the life of Ace Frehley, (and the birth and rise of one of the greatest bands of all time, KISS) is both entertaining and disturbing.This rock and roll memoir is a literary cliche. Sex, drugs and rock and roll are all here within the pages of No Regrets.

The "Spaceman" (Ace Frehley's character in KISS) seems to have spent most of his days on earth lost in space, and it appears to this reader that despite being a recovering alcoholic and sober for many years now, he is still lost.

Highly recommended, and not just for KISS fans.



View all my reviews

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chocolate Sauce and Flatpacks

I was going to rip into stingy transnational companies like McDonalds for being so mean with the chocolate sauce on their sundaes, and international sporting venues, like the State Sports Centre at Homebush for making my wife stand outside and finish her Boost juice before allowing her to enter - not to mention the fact that they force you to buy tickets on line and charge a service fee per ticket instead of per transaction - but I decided to go with a positive. Yesterday, on the same day that the aforementioned tragedies occurred, I had my first encounter with another internationally acclaimed company. IKEA.

The Swedish legends of homewares and flatpack furniture are new arrivals on the Australian scene. There are only five stores, and they are only on the east coast but like all new arrivals we have welcomed them with open arms. The nearest store is roughly an hour an half's drive from my place, and was, until yesterday, an undiscovered country.

We had some time to kill between competition and presentation at the NSW Gymnastics championships where my daughter was competing. We went to Rhodes shopping centre and via an inconspicuous shop front we were transported by an escalator into a wonderland. Wow! That's the best I can do. Seriously,we were only window shopping but the range of products, the low prices, the sheer innovation, the brilliant colours, the unique styles...blew us away. Admittedly, after an eternity of following the arrows around through the entire store we were physically exhausted and emotionally drained, but it was inspirational and we spent a bit of money too. Irresistible is a word that comes to mind when I think of some of those amazing products. 


I have heard the cliche about shopping being an experience but until yesterday, I had never experienced it. At the risk of sounding like a commercial for IKEA, I have to say, and you may have picked up on this already, we were super impressed and we will return to spend some more of our hard earned dollars. I saw my dream office there and as I soon as I finally get the book deal that I have been chasing, I will march back into IKEA, and make it mine.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Death Penalty Upsized


Nearly a week after Jill Meagher was reported missing, police arrested a man who led them to her body which was buried in a shallow grave 50km outside the city of Melbourne. Adrian Ernest Bayley has been charged with the rape and murder of the 29 year old Irish born ABC employee. Her family and friends are devastated, and the Australian community shocked and angry.

Talk of retribution naturally arises as people struggle to understand what drove a seemingly normal man to commit such a heinous crime against a beautiful and innocent woman. Details of this crime will follow in the days to come but the full story will not be known until Bayley's trial, and perhaps not even then. Inevitably the perennial discussion about capital punishment re enters public fora. There are those who want this rapist and murderer to be executed but is the death sentence a just punishment?

An eye for an eye sounds appealing as a fair punishment, and is the Bible verse most often quoted when it comes to the death penalty debate, but I don't believe that capital punishment, state sanctioned execution, is ever justified. The argument goes like this, "He took a person's life so he should have his life taken." What about a mass murderer? How many times should Martin Bryant, for example, be executed for murdering 35 people in the Port Arthur massacre? What punishment could atone for the loss of those lives, not to mention the ongoing trauma suffered by the 21 survivors, and all the friends and families of the victims? Adrian Bayley raped Jill Meagher before he murdered her, so should we rape him before strapping him down on the lethal injection table? Who would volunteer to be the state's official rapist? The victims of the disturbing Snowtown murders were tortured in extreme and unusual ways before they were killed. To be fair, shouldn't we do the same thing to the convicted murderers in this case? If so we need a state sanctioned murderer, rapist and torturer  Any volunteers? The money will probably be very good.

I understand the anger people feel, I feel it too, but we mustn't allow our actions to be dictated to by our emotions. Who wants to live in a society where life is so cheap? Where someone decides that someone else's life should be terminated? Where the punishment exactly fits the crime? Think about what a society that would be. Ultimate justice is in the hands of the only true and righteous judge, the perfect one, the God of Heaven. We may never see perfect justice in our life time but we may be sure of its reality.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Destruction by Video Referee

One of the innovations introduced to the game of Rugby League as part of News Corporation's attempt to take over the game in the mid 1990s was video referees.
 


In order to remove human error, or at least reduce the number of incorrect decisions regarding the scoring of tries, an additional referee was employed to sit in a box at the ground and watch video replays of the action. If the onfield referee could not decide whether it was a fair try according to the laws of the game, then he would refer it upstairs. The point was to reduce the number of incorrect calls and to provide excitement for the crowd as they waited, tension mounting, for the decision of the video referee.

To score a fair try, a player must force the ball down, on or over the try line with at least one hand on the ball. That's the way it should be anyway. Now we have referees awarding tries to players who "force" the ball with their fingernails, their elbows, their chests, or worse, to those who appear to drop the ball. They use a term called "benefit of the doubt" which means they still aren't sure if it is a legitimate try despite looking at thousands of slow motion replays and holding the game up, but they award it anyway. They don't know, but they give the player the benefit of the doubt. This rubbish is ruining the game.

I do not understand why the video referees continue to award tries which Blind Freddy can see are not tries. Perhaps I could give the video referees themselves the benefit of the doubt and say that they are only interpreting the rules. If that is the case then the rules suck. And what about the on field referees? Professionals, fast and fit who position themselves perfectly on the field to see what happens, but are too afraid to make decisions? And the touch judges who don't raise their flags even though they are standing right next to a player who steps on the sideline? Do your damn jobs! Stop destroying the game with gutless officiating.

We now have more errors and worse errors than we ever did under the old system of the one referee and his two eyes. Right or wrong, we accepted the referee's decision, or we blew up about it, but it stood. Now we wait and watch endless replays which clearly show "no try" only to be told that our eyes have deceived us and the player did not drop the ball, and it is a try. This insanity must stop. The Commission must make this a priority when they review the game in 2012. I want the video referee abolished.

You can read more detail about the war here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_League_war