Meanwhile in the Goldfields …

The storm that made our recent stay in Port Fairy memorable did extend over the great divide. When we got home the rain gauge had  22 very welcome millimetres of rain in it. The ground though was dry and the grass is not green but hey we can have a shower this week.

There were three trees down in the driveway. I’ve been busy with the chainsaw, but without this sort of excitement …

A number of issues have been playing on my mind.

Since I wrote about the blue moon, really just a few words to go with what I thought was a nice photo, I’ve been troubled by the exact definition of a blue moon. It rose on the last day of March and set on the first day of April. Therefore to my pedantic mind it also qualifies as the first full moon of April and the next one will also be blue. However the news reader said the next one wouldn’t be until November 2020, naturally I couldn’t sleep.

Further research reveals that there are two definitions of blue moon. Originally it was the third full moon in a season that had four full moons. As we all know the solar year is roughly 365 days long, there is a full moon every 29.5 days so there is room for 12.372881355932203 full moons per year. In other words a calendar reckoned by the moon will be 11 days per year adrift from the solar year. If the first full moon for any year falls before the 11th of January there will be 13 full moons that year, otherwise there will be 12. QED.

Four seasons, 12 full moons, 3 moons per season, all’s well. Thirteen full moons and one season has one too many, seeds planted late, village starves, less than ideal.

Communities in touch with the phases of the moon had names for each full moon such as Harvest Moon. If they had a smart astronomer they could call the extra one a Blue Moon and keep the calendar aligned with the true season.

So why definition number two, these days the one more commonly known, the second in a calendar month that has two full moons? It’s the result of

… an error originally made by amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett (1886–1955). He misunderstood the basis for calculating the seasonal Blue Moon and wrote that a Blue Moon was the second Full Moon in a month in an article published in Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946. This erroneous definition since spread, particularly after it was quoted in a popular radio program called StarDate in 1980 and then appeared as an answer in a 1986 version of the board game Trivial Pursuit.

So remember the name James Hugh Pruett. One day it will be the answer in a trivia quiz.

The question after that will probably be, “What is the common name for Ficus coronata?”

A pommy friend tells me that Cricket Australia is changing the team emblem, no more emu and kangaroo. They are to be replaced by something less aggressive, a botanical entity, Ficus coronata. Read all about it.


Ball Scratching …

… to head scratching.

A friend I was talking to the other day linked the status of the Australian Cricket captain to the status of the Australian Prime Minister. It’s probably true that more people around the world can name Steve Smith than Malcolm Turnbull. Yes, even in the United States where fewer than a handful could name either.

For the first time in history they are equally popular here at home.

There is a difference in sport between playing for great clubs like Manchester United and playing for a country. When you represent Australia you carry with you the blessings and hopes of most Australians. A fine performance enhances our reputation, a poor performance diminishes it. Cheating trashes it. We are all stakeholders.

Club  players represent fans who chose to follow that club. Neither the players or the fans are necessarily associated with a particular nation. Should a team be renowned for poor sportsmanship and rough play we accept that for what it’s worth and call it Collingwood.

And yes, everyone who plays sport breaks rules. The officials are there to police that, there are sanctions usually applied on the spot. But there is a hierarchy of misbehaviour. The taking of performance enhancing drugs is universally condemned. The sanctions are severe. Whilst ball tampering is regarded by the ICC as a relatively minor misdemeanour it is clear that the public at large see it as something akin to doping. Something that Warner was quick to condemn when the culprit was Faf Du Plessis.

The principal offenders are on their way home, further sanctions await. What I’m scratching my head about is that Coach Lehmann is still in place.

Discipline, consistency of behaviour and accountability for performances are all key ingredients that need to improve. And we see that the head coach is ultimately responsible …

Said James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia, in 2013 on the occasion of Micky Arthur’s sacking.

Perhaps Sutherland is convinced that Boof knew nothing of the intention to cheat and is waiting for the inquiry to finish before moving him along for his failure to set a more appropriate standard. He surely fails by the standard set for Micky Arthur.

What of the effects in real life?

I’m off on a cruise soon. I expect I’ll be forbidden to enter the galley in case I interfere with the meat balls. Poms will say “would you like sandpaper with that”.Oh what ignominy.

New Zealanders will want to talk about cricket for the first time in many years – I guess I’ll have to talk about sheep.

Bright Yellow …

and utterly stupid.

I just know from an Australian cricket perspective, we hold our heads high and I’d be very disappointed if one of our team members did that …                                        David Warner 2016

It is an enormous honour to represent your country. And that’s exactly what you do, you represent it. If you do well you enhance its reputation. If you cheat you diminish it.

I’m all for holding a trial before the execution. Steve Smith has pleaded guilty which makes that part of it quite easy. He has sought to share the blame as widely as possible but so far I think we only have his word on that, for what a cheat’s word is worth.

I was obviously nervous about it because with hundreds of cameras around that’s always the risk, isn’t it?

Said Bancroft, what a cretin, bright yellow tape – you’d have thought he would have been smart enough to conceal some carborundum in sticky tape on his fingers.

Leadership group? I doubt that we’ll see the minutes of the meeting. It matters little really, it’s more about the responsibility group. Smith as captain is the one who must ensure that sportsmanship prevails. He should be assisted by his vice captain … if he’s not too busy in a bout of fisticuffs. And the whole philosophy of the team is the business of the coach.

It’s time for the three of them to go. And I do mean go. None of them should ever have the honour of representing their country again.

So much happening …

What a time to be handicapped by lack of access. Enormous strides on every front, action in every arena.

Malcolm died. In the westerns the big question is boots on or boots off. That’s not the question that springs to mind with Mr Fraser.

He died fairly poor. No one seems to have dropped a pig farm or apartment building in his lap. And his investments didn’t do too good. He seems to be the only recent prime minister short of a quid.

He should have asked his little mate, Robert Mugabe, for a handout. Robert owes a lot to Malcolm, he has the best health care money can buy, President for life, a fortune. I wonder if Zimbabwe will be thinking of big Mal as they pop him in the hole.

Malcolm is praised on all sides of politics. The principle is very much along the lines that everyone gives pleasure, some as they arrive, some as they leave. He is much praised by some for his open door policy towards refugees. Few remember that the vast majority of refugees admitted during his administration were assessed abroad and welcomed, with visas in hand, through the arrival halls of our airports. Recent Labor/Green policies can lead only to tragedies on our shores such as this one.

But don’ applaud it may cause anxiety or give offence. Jazz hands is the go. Feminist jazz hands that is. Not sure how you do that …



The climate is changing. Warming is going apace, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, further evidence should any be needed …


Although it does seem to be getting colder in Victoria.

Good news for the poms, the warming alarmists may be wrong about the gulf stream. Their dire predictions that global warming would cause it to weaken and bring about another ice age has not been supported by those actually measuring it. The weather may remain clement long enough for them to practise their cricket. Speaking of which …

The World Cup moves towards a climax. I was reduced to listening to the New Zealand South Africa match on the radio. Kevin Peterson was among the commentators, I guess he’s the only England cricketer still in the antipodes, if they had selected him to play the rest of them might have stayed a little longer. What a game. Shame that one team had to lose. Who will win this arvo?




Ball tampering …

The UK Telegraph had reached a low point on a pretty steep curve with the Pacu article, but just when I thought it safe to go back in the water I read about the ashes.

This is the beauty and cruelty of the five-Test series: there is no hiding-place for a player to flounder ashore, as in a three-Test series … One of those ‘Chinese cuts’ vividly illustrated the latent devil in this pitch … It was not only England’s bowlers who made the ball talk … such was his desire to consummate his life’s ambition. But he swept across the line, and was not bowled, but fulfilled.

Floundering ashore, perhaps without your bollocks, whilst they are back in the water discussing your life’s ambition with a devil of a Pacu or two, an ambition now never to be fulfilled … so sad.

But on a brighter cricketing note, Judge Dharmasena is hearing the case of a man accused of stealing a watch. The CCTV evidence is unhelpful and there are no witnesses. After lengthy deliberation comes a guilty verdict. “I just thought he nicked it”.