Category Archives: Ramblings

Finally, A Trump Whisperer

It’s getting very noisy in the whispering department. There are a lot of them about.

The President after a good whispering

You know, whisperers… as my friends Merriam and /or Webster define, “a person who excels at calming or training hard-to-manage animals using non-coercive methods based especially on an understanding of the animals’ natural instincts.”

Extensive and exhaustive research (ok, five minutes on Google) revealed a rather eclectic selection of people and businesses all purporting to be “whisperers”, and we’re not just talking animals. I suppose there are no qualifications required, there’s no whisperer governing body to deem people worthy to describe themselves as a “whisperer”. Australian singer John Farnham had a gazillion-selling album called Whispering Jack, but I don’t think he would describe himself as a “whisperer”. Not with a voice like that anyway, but I digress.

My curiosity in these whispering types was aroused by recent media reports by a bloke who was described in the venerable Daily Mail (obviously) as the “Vagina Whisperer”. Apart from conjuring up interesting and hard-to-manage mental images, I was quite intrigued by the word – “whisperer”, not the other one.

My research uncovered a veritable collective noun of whisperers. There’s The Dog Whisperer, The Original Dog Whisperer, Bull Whisperer, Terrorist Whisperer, Lawyer Whisperer, Thesis Whisperer, Horse Whisperer, Teen Whisperer, Stock Whisperer, Chicken Whisperer, Bra Whisperer, Bro Whisperer, numerous Ghost Whisperers (which is probably quite appropriate as I can imagine ghosts being fairly hard to wrangle). I discovered a Ghost Whisperer jacket, which I’m not sure is mandatory while grappling with ghouls. The picture of the jacket is slightly spooky.

Other whisperers include the App Whisperer, various Child Whisperers, the Water Whisperer, Breast Whisperer, Jeans Whisperer, the Wood Whisperer (who may or may not be connected to the Vagina Whisperer) and a Flube Whisperer. I have absolutely no idea what a flube is and why it needs whispering.

The standout however is the Trump Whisperer. If he can calm or train that hard-to-manage tangerine White House resident using non-coercive methods (I’d be happy with coercive),
he will be doing us all a huge favour.

©Steve Williams 2017

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Rugby League — Greatest Memories of All

Australian rugby league fans have a passion that can’t be dismissed.

It’s a game we played, grew up with, watched on the telly and listened to on the radio.
We still do. It’s our game.

Here are a few random memories from when I was a kid growing up in Sydney.

The greatest team in the history of sport ( and Melba Studios)












*Getting splinters in your arse from those wooden seats at Cumberland Oval. The exuberant Eels fans that torched it after the 1981 premiership win did us all a favour.

*Running onto the ground as the fulltime siren sounded to try and grab the black and white striped cardboard corner post. I was successful a few times.

*Listening to the great Frank Hyde on 2SM. When people still listened to 2SM.

*The halftime entertainment malfunctions that have plagued Grand Finals — the busted TV allegedly to promote Optus Vision (which was actually quite prophetic), John Williamson serenading an inflatable rubber tree with “Rip Rip Woodchip” after loggers had threatened a blockade of the SCG, the cast of “42nd Street” standing forlornly in the centre of the ground waiting in vain for their music to start, and more recently, Billy Idol’s hovercraft cutting the power, which was a good thing.

*The sensational prizes bestowed on guests of TV’s “Controversy Corner” — including a Pelaco shirt, vouchers for a Viking Sauna and Kevin Junee’s Run For Your Life sports store and the piece of resistance — a bottle of Patra orange juice.

*“The Theme From Shaft” used over the closing credits of Channel Seven’s Sunday night footy coverage with Rex Mossop. Not sure what a “blaxploitation” film had to do with footy, but there’s probably a parallel. “Chips and eggs” was the standard Sunday night fare in the Williams household.

*The Chook Army (diehard supporters of Eastern Suburbs) singing “We hate Ray Price and we hate Ray Price / We hate Ray Price and we hate Ray Price / We hate Ray Price and we hate Ray Price / we are the Ray Price haters”. One actually threw a grapefruit at him while he was in his petrified praying mantis pose — he didn’t budge.

*The “sand boy” running on with a small bucket of sand to for the ball to sit on before conversions and penalty shots at goal.

*Scanlen’s footy cards — that sweet smell of the thin pink strip of bubble gum lingering on the cards… and still lingers with me. Some bastard kid knocking the cards out of another kids’ hands in the school playground yelling “Scramble!!!” which meant a mad free-for-all.

*Having a birthday party with a few mates when I was about ten at Lidcombe Oval for the Chooks v the Magpies, we were sitting behind the try line and were captured in mid-try celebration mode in a photo on the back page of the next day’s Daily Mirror.

*The arse falling out of your meat pie at a brass monkey-inducing Sydney Sports Ground.

*The trainer scurrying on to the field with his “magic sponge” dunked in a bucket of water, mopping up a horrific head gash, then redunking it in the same bucket, primed for the next injury.

*One of my most prized possessions — the autographs of the entire victorious Roosters 1975 side (on an Easts Leagues Club wine list — thanks Uncle Pete).

For all its faults — and there are a few, it’s a bloody good game. It’s our game.

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia
The Good Old Days When Rugby Was In A League Of Its Own

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Hide-and-seek for Olympics? Coming, ready or not

I am somewhat looking forward to the “medaling”, “podiuming” and gold medal Zika Virus avoiding at the Rio Olympics, however I am far more excited about Tokyo 2020.

A hide-and-seek gold medallist in action

The games of the 32nd Olympiad will not only be a shot in the arm (calm down Lance Armstrong) for the Japanese economy following the Fukushima nuclear f*ck up, but more than that, the Tokyo games look to be a gamechanger if one Professor Yasuo Hazaki has his way.

In case you missed it, the good professor, a graduate of Nippon Sport Science University, has been pushing to introduce competitive hide-and-seek as a demonstration sport at the Tokyo Olympics.

No, he hasn’t been sampling the sake, he is deadly serious. Professor Hazaki established the Japan Hide-and-Seek Promotion Committee back in in 2010 and claims to have over 1,000 members.
This is obviously a guestimate, a lot of members could have been hiding and / or seeking during the headcount.

Apparently baseball, softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing (whatever the hell that is) are being considered for Tokyo, so we need a concerted Olympic effort to get behind the professor and lobby for hide-and-seek, if we can find him.

Maybe he is out playing that interesting variant — “hide-and-seek by yourself” which is also known as hitori kakurenbo though that sounds a little too strange, even for the IOC, and would be awkward to commentate.

The sporting chaps of Monty Python made an official and obviously hilarious bid for hide-and-seek to be included as a Olympic sport over forty years ago, however the IOC aren’t known for their humour.

Hide-and-seek isn’t the most bizarre sport to be played / contested / laughed at in the Olympic Games, far from it — club swinging had a couple of rotations from 1904 — no, nothing to do with leaving your car keys in a bowl, this was artistically waving ten-pin bowling apparatus-like clubs around.

Live pigeon shooting (as you do) was thankfully blasted from the roster after the sole appearance
in 1900, following the invention of clay. Then there was rope climbing — what a thrilling sport for global television — that sadly thudded to the ground in 1932.

My all-time favourite however was “distance plunging” (1904) where you basically jumped in a pool and didn’t move for a minute. Not dissimilar to when you played “floating corpse” as a kid.
You didn’t?

Speaking of which, for reasons best known only to a select few, the Olympics still offer up synchronised swimming, which as we know is basically drowning to music in full makeup.

You shouldn’t laugh — as you know, in a mind-numbingly staggeringly ridiculous decision,
golf and rugby have been added to the program for the upcoming Olympics in Rio, so why not hide-and-seek in 2020?

I say bring it on… coming, ready or not…

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post Australia:
Hide-And-Seek At The Olympics Could Be Coming, Ready Or Not

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You’re un-Australian if…

To celebrate Australia Day, one gazillion rainforests have been slaughtered creating weighty tomes of “what it means to be Australian”. Bugger that.

As a Wattle-waving Aussie, I reckon you’re un-Australian if…

If you don’t know who this bloke is, you’re un-Australian

*You don’t use “yeah, nah” regularly in a sentence.

*You know the mysterious second verse of the Australian national anthem.

*You don’t return from a Bali holiday wearing a Bintang beer singlet and / or braided hair.

*You use the word “sheila”.

*You don’t know what Wattle is.

*You don’t know what “wanker” means.

*You don’t drown your meat pie in tomato sauce.

*You don’t eat meat pies.

*You prefer a Sauvignon Blanc with a melon and ripe gooseberry nose to a stubbie you’ve opened with your eye socket.

*You don’t know what a stubbie is.

*You don’t think Kylie is bunging on that pommie accent.

*You don’t know what “bunging on” means.

*You drink Foster’s beer.

*You call a “prawn” anything other than a “prawn”.

*You’ve never had a bindi stuck in your foot (not the Indian forehead decoration or Steve Irwin’s daughter).

*You like the song I Still Call Australia Home even with Peter Allen bunging on that crap American accent.

*You prefer to sit on the grass at the beach rather than the sand.

*You take a soccer ball to the beach.

*You call a soccer ball a “football”.

*You don’t think the lead singer of AC/DC is still “the new bloke”.

*You don’t return from overseas bitching about how everything is better / cheaper / tastier / bigger / less crowded / less smelly / less foreign than here at home.

*You don’t think Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh should be the national anthem.

*You respond when some bogan chants “Aussie!, Aussie!, Aussie!…”.

*You don’t know what a “bogan” is.

*You think it’s ok that our head of state is a member of an English family.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2016

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FFS World, It’s Zoolander, Lighten Up

Sadly, I have suspected for quite a few years that the world has entirely lost its sense of humour, and it was confirmed this week.

An apparent non-non-binary Benedict Cumberbatch

I was reading one of the furious flood of online news articles screaming in outrage about a scene in the new Zoolander 2 movie.

No, correct that, a scene in the trailer of the new Zoolander 2 movie. So people are taking umbrage at a movie that hasn’t even been released yet.

FFS world, lighten up.

Apparently some (and our emphasise some) of our LGBT friends and outraged kindred spirits supposedly acting on their behalf are frothing at the mouth that the new film is sexist and transphobic. Really? The pitchforks and flaming torches are being aimed at a ten second scene involving Benedict Cumberbatch playing an apparent androgynous-looking model being asked if he has a hot dog or a bun.

That’s it. You’re losing your mind and clambering to the moral high ground over that? Seriously?

In another article, some earnest and no doubt well-meaning type was rabbiting on that a non-binary model should have been cast to play the Cumberbatch role. I have no idea what “non-binary” means. Is it algebra? (I was probably in the sick bay feigning death when they taught that bit at school)

As I said, all this is over a ten second scene in a movie nobody has seen. The Champagne corks would be popping in the Paramount Pictures marketing towers thanks to the gazillion dollars in free publicity. There are even petitions to ban the film. Now that’s hilarious.

It’s been a fairly shit year. The heartbreaking plight of refugees fleeing the Middle East and Africa resulting in dead children washing up on beaches, commercial planes being blown out of the sky, ISIS goons throwing people off buildings because of their sexual preference, a Sydney police accountant being shot in the back of the head by a fifteen year old as he left work, not to mention the recent events in Paris that killed 130 people whose only crime was going out on a Friday night.

We could do with a laugh. If Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Benedict Cumberbatch can provide a few in a light comedy, offending a few easily-offended in the process, then so be it.

As a kid, I was brought up on a healthy diet of comedy — English imports like Monty Python, Dave Allen, The Goon Show, Fawlty Towers, Derek and Clive, and brilliant Australian productions including The Naked Vicar Show, Paul Hogan, Blankety Blanks, The D-Generation, Doug Mulray, Andrew Denton etc, etc. Yes a lot of it was crass, immature, challenging, totally politically incorrect and simultaneously f*cking hilarious. Maybe they have all affected my moral compass Bermuda Triangle style, but I doubt it.

What happened? When did we lose our sense of humour? When was a jihad waged on satire and comedy?

Today people want to be outraged. They want to be angry and vent on Twitter and Facebook and violently hammer the keyboard creating cranky online petitions.

All of this is totally fine. You just need to make sure you’re angry and outraged over the important stuff, not a ten second bit in a movie trailer.

©Steve Williams 2015

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Spa Anxiety – When Sandalwood Attacks

My spa anxiety kicked in while filling in the form — I was handed a cup of hibiscus unicorn tears tea or something. I shouldn’t drink it because I’ll have to sprint to the toilet halfway through.

I felt nothing like this after my spa treatment

Then the change room. What do I need to take off? Everything? Just for a back massage?
So why are those useless disposable undies there? Am I supposed to wear them?
If yes, which way do they go? And why are they so see-through?

Which way does the robe go on?
Remember that time it had to go on backwards Hannibal Lecter style?

Do I have to wear these thongs? (Australian footwear usage)
Who wore them before? What if they had tinea / leprosy / the Black Death?

Ok, so far so good, I’m face down with my head poking through that furry toilet seat thing.

I’m only having a back massage, so why have my undies been simultaneously rolled down and aside to give me a pseudo Sumo / Bondi lifesaver style wedgie?

What if the therapist cracks something and I now have the communication skills of an artichoke?

Shit! I need to go to the toilet again. Bloody hibiscus unicorn tears tea.

Why are they pressing so hard on my kidneys?
Feels like they’re going to burst through my scrotum.

Why am I oiled up like the last meal Elvis Presley ate?

What are you doing near my arse?

“How is the pressure?” I want to scream “You’re f*cking killing me!”, but don’t want to sound weak.

It’s over. “Yes that was wonderful, thanks.” I lied.

A massage in a spa is like a physiotherapy session at a demented dentist — accompanied by mystical rainforest music.

Great. Now I have post spa anxiety stress disorder.

Think I need a massage…

©Steve Williams 2015

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Smokers’ rights? I call bullshit

Two words I always find amusing when used in the same sentence are “smokers” and “rights”.
It’s dead simple, they don’t have any.

Shazza enjoys a post-rant smoke

I remember a hilarious comment in response to a story about the NSW government in Australia banning smoking in commercial dining areas. I can’t recall the author’s name, so let’s call her “Shazza”.

Her erudite contribution was: “Non-smokers have all the inside space…”. What, in the world?
So us non-smokers should just shut up and never leave the lounge room? Why should smokers have territorial rights to a restaurant terrace with a panoramic sea view or even an outside table near a random pot plant? At least Shazza did suggest allocating a separate outdoor seating, eating and drinking area. They already have — it’s called your home.

Unfortunately, outdoor smoking areas have one major design flaw — smoke by nature is fairly unpredictable. I recall seeing a large yellow rectangle painted on the ground in front of a city office building complete with the words “Smoking Area”. I like to think they were taking the piss.

Just yesterday my wife and I wanted to enjoy lunch in a rather pleasant outdoor area of a cafe. Once we heard the click of a cigarette lighter we knew our enjoyment would be zero, so we left. Why should we have to? I wanted to breathe the cool garden air, not secondhand toxins from the pits of tar-filled lungs.

I’m unaware of any studies linking smoking to spelling and a morbid fear of apostrophes,
but another reader (“Trevor”) who commented on the same story would make a worthy study:
“This is rediculous arent smokers banned from enough places, but drinking alcahol and getting blind drunk is totally acceptable? If you dont like it dont stand near us…”. Trev may have imbibed the odd vat of beer before hitting return.

Love the old “dont stand near us”, with an “alcahol” comparison chestnut being fired up.
At least “alcaholics” don’t have the potential to give me cancer. Vomit yes, fruity aromas, possibly violent assault and / or inappropriate displays of unwanted affection and / or slurred, off-key renditions of an Elvis classic, but not a potentially terminal illness.

Of course smokers have rights — in their own house or car or similar totally enclosed box
where I can’t smell it or them.

I realise it is a potentially tragic addiction for a lot of people,
but(t) there is absolutely no way it is a “right”. That is just a smokescreen.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Cash For Corby — Schapelle It Out

Unless you have been living on the far side of the Sun, you would know that Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been released after serving nine years in Bali’s Kerobokan jail.

The beauty school dropout (had to use that) went from cell to sell, allegedly signing a contract with the Seven Network rumoured to be around $2 million. There has been a lot of anger and moral navel gazing about rewarding a convicted criminal, including outraged comments from one of the network’s biggest stars, David Koch.

Schapelle auditions for Downton Abbey













I think the criticism is extremely harsh, considering the enormous benefit Schapelle can bring to the network and the viewers of Australia. The sit-down “tell-all” interview with a weeping bonus may be on hold, but she could be better utilised across Seven’s other programs.

For starters, Deal Or No Deal, Smugglers, The Price Is Right, An Idiot Abroad, Reef Wranglers and Border Patrol are far too obvious — I’m thinking Schapelle could bust a few Balinese Barong moves or a boogie on Dancing With The Stars, then there’s Home Shopping and Pawn Stars.

Other programming options include My Kitchen Rules — I’m sure Schapelle could plate up a nice caramelised onion tart — with some added greenery, and what about Million Dollar Minute
Apparently that would only take her about two.

Surf Patrol is a no-brainer given Schapelle’s experience with aquatic equipment and Better Homes and Gardens given her apparent green thumb. With her reported experience with mules, she’d be a natural for RSPCA Animal Rescue. I can also picture Schapelle’s mum on Cougar Town or World’s Strictest Parents, and the entire klan method-acting on Swamp People — Keeping Up With The Korbys. 

On second thoughts, I shouldn’t give them any ideas…

©Steve Williams 2014

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Robot Rugby League – No Dramas

Hugh Jackman got me thinking. Well, he is the “thinking man’s sex symbol.”

You won’t find this fullback doing a thing in Schlossy’s shoe

Remember Real SteelHugh’s futuristic movie featuring robot boxing? With the rugby league season about to kick off, I believe Australia’s National Rugby League should run with this concept immediately — simply do away with human players and replace them with robots. Think about it. No more alcohol-fuelled 4am Kings Cross incidents. It really will solve all the off-field dramas,
as there will be no off-field, you just hit the off switch.

How good will it be? No more nightclub groin-groping and flashing, no shady betting scandals,
no delightful alliteration of “I just shat in Schlossy’s shoe”, no mid-season inter-club or other code defections, and an end to on-field proctology examinations, which apparently have even spread to the netball court.

For once, the only rugby league stories on the back and front pages of the newspaper will be solely about what happened on the field — the skill, the drama, the match-winning sideline conversion as the full-time siren sounds, the edge-of-the-seat 90 metre intercept try — with no mention of steroids, peptides, sports scientists, gazelles, or moron players scrawling sexually offensive aliases in a school visitors’ book.

Okay, you may be concerned the play could become a little bit, er, robotic — I am across that — occasionally you could program a bit of rogue robot action, just like when Yul Brynner went all random in that classic film West World. It would be quite easy to ramp up the “bring back the biff” setting for State of Origin, or fire up the “traditional softening up period” program for Grand Finals.

The league and TV bosses would love it, Kings Cross police would love it, and Schlossy’s shoe would forever be empty.

Thanks Hugh.

©Steve Williams 2014

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