Posted by: jkirkby8712 | October 1, 2011

Friday, 30th September 2011 – September races to a conclusion, and Spring storms threaten the football finals!

I was thinking the other night that daylight saving must be coming up shortly – well in fact, for the participating states, it begins this weekend in Victoria, the ACT, New South Wales and Tasmania as we move our clocks forward one hour. And there I was getting used to heading off in the mornings in the early daylight, now back to pre-dawn conditions for a few weeks! Some states like Queensland and Western Australia have consistently refused to move with the times [no pun intended]  and have not joined the daylight saving program, so for the next six months or so, we end up with a whole new collection of times zones in this country. Unnecessary!

There is a campaign, and proposals at present in the community for restrictions to be ‘imposed’ on gamblers in regard to poker machines in particular, and not surprisingly, the people and businesses that profit from those gambling proceeds are fighting a vigorous counter campaign. The GetUp organisation claims that without reform, pokie machines enable a social problem to continue, that can ruin individuals, families, businesses and marriages.  They suggest, that clubs on the other hand, say they need problem gambling profits so they can give back to the community, but most clubs receive more in tax breaks, and spend more on advertising than they give back to their local communities. Sadly, the reality appears to be that the numbers make a case which is hard to ignore, and reveal a depressing story.
– A problem gambler can currently lose $1,200 in just one hour on high-intensity machines1
– 40% of pokie losses come from problem gamblers; that’s $5 billion of the $12 billion Australians lose on pokies each year2
– A study in Victoria found that 1 in 10 problem gamblers say they’ve contemplated suicide because of problem gambling3.
GetUp tells us that Australia has the greatest number of dangerous high-loss pokie machines in the world. These machines have been called the “crack cocaine” of gambling – and for good reason. They are designed to be highly appealing to addictive personalities, making them unique compared to other forms of gambling.  While Clubs executives are spending millions playing fast and loose with the facts, Australian families are dealing with the harsh reality of problem gambling. It’s time for reform that limits the prevalence of high-loss machines and gives problem gamblers a way to choose how much they’re willing to lose on the slots before they get carried away in the moment.   Clubs that profit from gambling losses are doing everything they can to preserve their pokie profits, but GetUp believes we don’t have to let them get away with it. But I have to wonder how the problem can ever really be overcome, because there seems to be an inherent gene in a certain proportion of the population to risk everything with a ‘bet’ or gamble of some description.

On a brighter front for this football fan, who on a wet and predictably cold grand final weekend, has some serious ‘couch potato’ viewing to undertake, lol, I see that the news from the Carlton Football Club is what I had been waiting to hear. This is what the Club had to say.

‘The Carlton Football Club has acknowledged the marked improvement in the performance of its playing group, in reappointing Senior Coach Brett Ratten for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The Board of Directors ratified the Club’s decision at a meeting at Visy Park last week, in the aftermath of a campaign which had seen Ratten coach his players to fifth place and complete their first finals victory in AFL competition since 2001.Carlton President Stephen Kernahan said the board was united in its resolve to retain Ratten, who had commandeered the team to one of its best seasons in more than a decade.  “We discussed with Brett at the beginning of the season that the team needed to continue to develop and show widespread improvement for him to be reappointed,” Kernahan said. “Brett has worked extremely hard on improving in all areas, not just footy-related, and we commend him on his achievements. We look forward to what possibilities lay ahead in the years to come.”
 Ratten, a 255-game Carlton premiership player, triple club best and fairest and dual All-Australian, was first appointed caretaker coach in July of 2007, before signing on as Senior Coach for two years.\  In his first full season at the helm, Carlton finished eleventh with 10 wins and in his second seventh with 13, only to be eliminated by Brisbane at the Gabba in the first week of the 2009 finals series. The 2010 season again ended with a narrow elimination final loss, this time to Sydney by five points at ANZ Stadium.  With the inclusion of three new Assistant Coaches, Ratten took the team to fifth place, culminating in its 62-point elimination final victory over Essendon at the MCG before the heart-breaking three point loss to West Coast in the semi-final in Perth.
 “We have continued to provide feedback to Brett during the season and both he and the Club have stuck by the timeframe to wait until our season was completed before making a final decision and announcement in regards to our senior coaching position,” Kernahan added.  Ratten is obviously delighted to be continuing as the senior coach of the Carlton Football Club for the next two seasons. “I appreciate the confidence the Carlton Football Club has in me to continue in this role and to ensure the ongoing improvement of the team. We look forward to taking the next big step and ensuring a top four finish in 2012,” Ratten said.  “The Carlton Football Club’s foundation is built on success and that is what we must achieve.” ‘   Meantime, Carlton will have a presence on the ground at the MCG on Grand Final day.  Ryan Houlihan, who announced his retirement after 201 games for Carlton, will be joined by other retiring players and coaches in a special pre-match presentation on Saturday. While it is not the action Carlton supporters want for the Blues on the big day, it will have to do for at least another year as we wait to see Carlton in action in the AFL Grand Final.  Houlihan has always been one of my favourite players – a steady contributor for the team during a lean decade of success while never really reaching the heights of a champion.  A  job well done.

Australian author, Thomas Keneally, writing in an article in the Limelight Magazine this week, had what I thought was an interesting comment about ‘church’ music, and I quote that paragraph here.  He said ‘I first heard secular music, Mahler and so forth, in Australia in 1952, thanks to a high school teacher at St Patrick’s Strathfield, a Christian Brothers school. He’s still alive, and nudging a 100 now. All his students remember him and love him for his honesty and compassion – things the Christian Brothers weren’t necessarily known for. I recently went to a reunion of that 1952 class, and naturally because it’s a Catholic school there was a mass. And God they sing crappy stuff in church these days! Nondescript, low-church schlock. Old lapsed catholics like me believe we ought to be able to go back into church and hear the good old stuff. Because if you were a working class kid back then,  hearing the mass was the most solemn experience – and probably the peak cultural experience – of your week. Especially if it was a sung mass. It’s sad it’s not like that anymore’.  Strangely, I felt similar thoughts when I went down to Neil Street at the end of August, though on that occasion, I got what I was missing, the mass choir, magnificent organ music, and a large church packed ‘to the rafters’
Just a thought.

Rugby World Cup update:  South Africa defeated Samoa  13-5

Early night, feeling tired!!


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