Playing Ball at Sydney’s Field of Dreams #openingseries

The biggest weekend in Sydney’s baseball history is currently underway.

Since the announcement in June 2013 that the MLB was heading Downunder, Australia’s baseball fandom has eagerly awaited the arrival of the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks to its shores and it’s finally time to play ball. The hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground has been transformed for the weekend into a baseball pitch, with 250 tonnes of San Diego clay being flown in for the occasion. Our very own field of dreams.

field of dreams

Sydney Cricket Ground tuned into a baseball field for #openingseries

It’s no secret I am a baseball tragic. How fortuitous then that the MLB chose to open its 2014 season away from North America in my hometown. As this is only the sixth time this has happened in  MLB history and the first time for Australia, there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for the event.

Each of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers play Team Australia (sometimes also known as Southern Thunder, but not by many) in a warm up clash and then it’s on to the main game Saturday night to be followed by a game on Sunday. That’s at least 36 innings of prime time A grade baseball.

Last night saw the first of the four games with Team Australia taking on the Dodgers. The above photo shows our view of the game. The Dodgers managed to win 4-2, but it was less about the score and more about the spectacle. The national anthems, the US flag flying alongside the Australian flag, a home run, the seventh inning stretch and classic baseball food. Like the nutritious meal below:

Pulled pork on lattice chips 'n' sides

Pulled pork on lattice chips ‘n’ sides

Scrumptious in a baseball helmet kind of way and almost resembling real food. None of that matters though, this is the MLB.

We sat behind the Dodgers dugout trying to spot baseball celebs like Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly. How close does an Aussie usually come to a $253million sports contract?  There were plenty of Dodgers fans in da house along with plenty of others dressed in their baseball kit. I am proud to say that the Boston Red Sox were proudly represented by more than a few fans in the fashion stakes (including moi) and it seemed like one big fancy dress party. As you can imagine there are usually not a whole lot of places in Australia an adult can wear their baseball kit.

It was a great night and a terrific lead in to the real deal tomorrow.

The whole event has been a long time coming for us Australian baseball fans. And when it’s all over the memories will linger and we will regale each other with stories from the great MLB opening series of 2014.

So a big thank you to the MLB, ABL (Australian Baseball League and owned by MLB), the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks for bringing the spectacle to our town. For at last Australian baseball fans can shout:

PLAY BALL!!!

No Nuts Please We Are British

No doubt you have seen the latest reports from the News of The World phone hacking trial about HRH (aka the Queen) and her nuts. This is a priceless little piece about alleged pilfering by police of HRH’s nut mix and HRH’s displeasure at her finest “scoffing the lot”. Google “The Queen and Nuts” and you will find pages of articles reporting this juicy salty morsel. If you missed the story you can read about it here.

CrownNow, I preface the comments I make about this story with a statement that I am rather fond of HRH and the monarchy in general. Whilst we Australians flirt with the idea of becoming a republic, we haven’t quite succeeded in breaking the monarchical apron strings. Our head of state is still HRH’s representative although she (presently, anyway) is an Australian. So this piece is not about that particular debate and nor is it intended to bash the monarchy.

But really, how can this story go past without comment? It is just too precious.

We learn that HRH apparently prefers savory over sweet and that to meet this need, staff leave out cashews, Bombay Mix and almonds in the hallways of Buckingham Palace. Although some outlets have reported that the nuts were left out in advance for wedding guests of Charles and Camilla, it seems they were firmly intended as a permanent, rather than an event driven, fixture to satisfy HRH’s salty tooth. We also learn that HRH sensing something was amiss marked the level of the bowls with a marker to determine their levels.

One can’t help but applaud HRH’s sleuthing skills and scientific approach. Not for HRH is sitting and waiting to catch the thieves. Clearly HRH understands the merits of forensics and one can’t help but wonder if HRH is a fan of NCIS. And all of this done with a degree of stealth that not even the police detected. One wonders how HRH eliminated the corgis as suspects.

However, one can’t also help but wonder whether the corridors of Buckingham Palace are really so large and long that Bombay MixHRH’s nut cravings have to be met mid transit. Does HRH not have a passel of ladies in waiting and butlers who could bring HRH fresh nuts in her private chambers so the constabulary would not be tempted? And what of hygiene generally? One can’t get past the visual of a row of tiny tables, each 100 metres apart and sporting a lace doily upon which sits an open bowl of Bombay Mix strategically placed down the Palace corridors just in case HRH had an urge for nuts.

Further just how many hours of phone tapping did these journalists have to sift through to find this little morsel? And what about what ended up on the journalistic cutting room floor? Perhaps more would have been revealed about whether HRH would actually use the word “scoffed” or whether she would have used words such as “consumed”, “ingested”, “gobbled”, “gorged” or “devoured”.

Tell me more, I’m going nuts here!

Any way you slice, dice or roast this story it should be digested.

At least I now know what to bring HRH next time I visit England. A bag of Bombay Mix and a finger print set awaits gifting.

We are seriously amused.

The Boston Red Sox, Victory and Drawers #NaBloPoMo

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged about baseball. Some might say that’s a good thing.

Boston emblemAs a diehard Boston Red Sox fan living Downunder, I can’t let the year end without acknowledging the humongous achievement that was the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. From bottom of the ladder in 2012 to top of the totem pole in 2013, we Red Sox fans rode the roller coaster with our team. Clinching their first World Series since 1918 at Fenway Park and their third this decade, it was six games of riveting, hairy baseball. The hair came from the lengthening beards of several Red Sox players who in a sign of solidarity and strength grew their whiskers as the play offs progressed and looked more like pirates than ball players.

Boston and Red Sox fans will be talking about the 2013 season for decades. In a year where the city was left reeling in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Red Sox’s dismal performance in 2012, this World Series win represents tenacity, focus and kinmanship. Something that we won’t tire telling any Yankees fan. Apart from the win itself, there were many amazing moments – from Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2, Victorino’s three run double in Game 6 and Kuji Uehara’s closing dominance – all will be remembered, all were uplifting.

Being so far from the action and on the other side of the world, I found out the result from my good friend, Cricket who is also a passionate baseball fan and American citizen transplant to our fair shores. She sent me a text at about 2.30pm our time, which I managed to peek at between work meetings. And this is what is so great about the Boston Red Sox win, because it is more than just baseball, more than just a game, it is a bonding experience. Cricket, a fellow blogger who blogs at Cricket’s Corner of Australia, is a huge Chicago White Sox fan. So huge that she also live blogs most White Sox games for an audience through MLB.com. And that’s quite a commitment from our Australia time zone! Cricket’s technical knowledge of baseball is vast and puts me to shame, but I definitely regard her as my own Cricketpedia on the topic. So during the course of the year, we have been swapping baseball stories, sharing the victories and the defeats in what we have termed our own Battle of the Sox Drawer. She of the white, I of the red and with a cross over pitcher in the form of Jake Peavy who was traded from white to red mid-season, we have shared in the fortunes of our respective teams. Cricket of course donned the red sox in the post season in what became the year of the drawer.

Apart from this little bonding experience the win gave me an opportunity to contact a friend in Boston, also a big Red Sox fan, to share in the spoils. We had lost touch for a couple of years, red sox victorybut thanks for the Sox we have now renewed contact. That opportunity itself is worth its weight in gold. And finally, there was the play by play post mortem with my eldest son and husband and watching the games on delay after our work days. It brought us together and made us reminisce about our trip to Fenway, about hearing the crack of the bats and roar of the fans.

The big news for Aussie baseball fans is that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the LA Dodgers are heading to Sydney for their 2014 season opener next March. Our whole family will be there for both games and we will be hosting Cricket and her hubby for game two. We will be decked out in all of our Sox gear and will make the very most of this unique opportunity. I will be adopting the Diamonbacks as my team for those games as I take in an MLB baseball game on Australian soil.There was an MLB photo teaser this week with representatives of the teams standing before the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is about to get real!

So thank you Boston and thank you Red Sox. You have brought me more this year than just a world series win, you have brought me friendship and connection. And that’s a home run right there.

This is the last of my NaBloPoMo posts. I didn’t quite achieve the Challenge, but I posted more often that not.

Thanks for joining me on the journey.

I’m No Turkey This Thanksgiving #NaBloPoMo

If you are a turkey in the United States of America and are currently reading this then congratulations not only have you achieved a level of intelligence that is most fowl, but chances are you will survive the next twenty four hours.

As I write this most of you are catching your final moments of peaceful rest before Thanksgiving preparations begin in earnest and the feasting begins. And then when you finish saying thanks there will be yet more feasting and probably some football watching and/or discussion. At least that’s what Thanksgiving to a non American who is far, far away seems like.

Australians don’t have a Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to let that stop me getting with the programme.

So here are my tips for a trouble and calorie free Thanksgiving:

1. Purchase only fresh, quality ingredients

turkey in a cab

2.Be sure to review the nutrition information panel to ensure that you have bought the best for your family

turkey can nutrition panel

3. Examine the produce and verify its freshness and suitability

deflated turkey

4. Toil away for hours weaving your magic to create a memorable feast that your family members will remember for years

front on turkey

5. Admire your handy work which looks even better in profile

turkey side view

Enjoy. And don’t forget the accompaniments like I did. Next year, I’m definitely scouting for inflatable potatoes, gravy and the odd vegetable or two.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.

Somewehere Over The Rainbow Blue Cars Drive #NaBloPoMo

Ah, the smell and excitement of a new car, there’s nothing like it. Or so my childhood recollections tell me, since it has been more than a little while since I have driven a new vehicle. The feint lingering of car paint odour mixed in with a hint of faux leather topped off by a smidge of detailing fluid. Just enough to lull you into a false sense of luxury, unless of course you have purchased a luxury car in which case please let me know if the smell lingers for just that little bit longer.

I remember growing up that new car adoption in our family was a momentous occassion. We would stand on the street admiring the new acquisition from every angle, exclaim over its beauty, sit in it acclimatizing to the new sensation and then finally take it for a spin. We would puff with pride at the showroom shine and the immaculate tyre black knowing they wouldn’t last beyond the first month. The paper foot print mats that came in the vehicle would also remain for some months until my parents would finally concede that paper was no match for dirt stuck to our shoes and that really they didn’t need a sign post of where to put their feet.

lego carMy mother was a fairly groovy car chick. She would always pick the best colours in vehicles. All the women in my family knew without any verbal form of communication that the only two important things about a new car behind the smell was how well the radio sounded and the colour of the paint. And so she never failed to deliver. Her first car was a metallic green, sporty number with black trim. A stick shifter and with an AM band only radio perpetually stuck playing classical music or Perry Como. Yeah baby!

Her next car was a bright orange number, one again with a stick shift and black trim. It looked like an orange on wheels on a sunburned day and only had two doors.  You know who was always was the one who had to climb in the back, but by that time FM radio had made an appearance and when I could wrestle Perry Como off his perch, I had the wonderful strains of Abba to listen to.  We had this auto until the doors failed to open from the inside and dad had to finally administer last rights.

The point was though that you could see this baby coming from miles away because of its colour. My mother passed on her wonderful taste in car colour to moi, when I purchased a bright yellow hatch notwithstanding that the sales guy was a condescending misogynist who asked me why I was enquiring about the tachometer and was hell bent in showing me the make up mirror behind the driver’s sun shade. I mean really, didn’t he know the radio was far more important?

Roll the film forward and we now have more cars on the road than ever before. It seems however that our innovation in car colourscar-colors stopped somewhere around 1985.  As I survey our roads all I can see is a never ending sea of white, silver, black, charcoal and beige. The homogeneity is occasionally broken up by the odd splash of navy blue, burgundy or red, but generally not a green, yellow or orange vehicle in sight. And nary a psychedelic purple on the horizon.

Have car consumers become more conservative and pragmatic as time has worn on? Has safety and the cost of a paint job overtaken the desire to make a personal statement?

Now, dear readers a small mea culpa. My current vehicle is not colourful. But in my defence, I have had it for more than a decade and when I bought it there were not many other cars on the road of that colour. So it was seriously rad or bad or whatever back in the day, but now it is one of the crowd.

Oh, how the wheels of progress have turned to mute us all down. Bring back the colour on our roads.

New car ma’am? Certainly, would you like that in white, off white, cream or oatmeal?

Have you noticed a blending of the car colours where you live? What car colour would you choose if money was no object?

 

Relevance Deprivation, Politics and Parenting #NaBloPoMo

Australia is buzzing with the news today that former prime minister (x2), Kevin Rudd has resigned from both the parliament and politics.

Kevin Rudd, who was deposed as Prime Minister in 2010 from within his own party by Julia Gillard, recently lead the Labor party to an election loss. Essentially, Kevin Rudd was reinstalled as Labor leader and Prime Minister six weeks before the election to mitigate the election carnage that was a sure thing if the party was led by Julia Gillard.  Labor came out of the election with the inevitable loss, but surprisingly performed better than most expected in Western Sydney and Queensland. And they attribute this success to Mr Rudd’s campaigning and leadership.

Mr Rudd, had quite the reputation of being a controlling narcissistic perfectionist. Whilst he could turn on the charm when he had to, the Government was often paralysed by Mr Rudd’s inability to make a decision and his cabinet members often surprised by Mr Rudd’s failure to consult them. Certainly, Mr Rudd’s concession speech on election night looked more like a victory speech and contained not an ounce of humility. I will say no more other than I am glad he is going.

There is some great commentary coming out of the Australian press on his leaving. This morning I heard a reporter ask a Labor strategist whether Mr Rudd was going to suffer relevance deprivation now that he was stepping out of the lime light. Relevance deprivation for a reputed narcissist should truly be a fate worse than losing an election. The strategist replied that this was unlikely given that the international stage loved Mr Rudd and no doubt he would find a gig somewhere which put him back on the international stage.

I love this expression “relevance deprivation” and it is the first time I have heard it.

It got me to thinking that relevance deprivation is the perfect expression to also describe what we are going through as parents of keep calm and regain relevanceteenagers. Now that “separation” has begun, our opinions and advice no longer have the same gravitas to our teens. On many days it feels we are fighting for relevance beyond the provision of a roof, internet connection and home cooked meals. We have been voted out and our views automatically discounted simply because of where they are sourced.

In short, I very much feel relevance challenged.

I have absolutely no issue with my children seeking opinions and advice from others. In fact, I think its vital that they have trusted confidants beyond their parents they can turn to discuss things and gain different perspectives. I also don’t believe that as parents and in the absence of a critical situation we are automatically entitled to give our teens unsolicited opinions on their lives.

But it sure would be nice to be asked every now and again.

I sincerely believe that some of what we discuss does get though even though the teens would rather not show or acknowledge this. The situation will right itself eventually, provided that we retain respect for each other during the process. It is up to us parents to lead the way on this and make sure we don’t deprive ourselves of a place of relevance in our teens’ life. We need to let go and not fight it and embrace the future and our teens for all they are worth.

In other words, keep calm and regain relevance.

How Much Is A Child’s Year Really Worth? #NaBloPoMo

More on the parenting teens theme today given this is what is taking up most of my head space at the moment.

At this time of life when asked my age, I often jokingly answer in dog years. This not only paves the way for further discussion, but also serves as an ice breaker and a youth elixir of sorts. My recent parenting teens experiences leads me to question whether 18 years of a child’s life today has the same equivalency as 18 years of a child’ life, say growing up in the 50s, 70s or 80s. Or is it like dog years and equivalent to something less so that ageing in the new millennium like the value of money is decreasing in effectiveness over time?

I met a wonderful woman today in my Zumba class who also happens to be the mother of two boys. Her boys are older than mine, adult clockaged 19 and 22. We were of course sweatily comparing parenting experiences, have just shaken our wobbly bits on the dance floor for the last hour during class. She was exclaiming how both of her boys were now just starting down the tertiary education road after having travelled for a while and taken bridging courses to gain entry into university in this country. She was very proud of her boys going down this road, as she herself had not done so and wished that she had. Anecdotally she advised that most of her sons’ cohorts had also not started university straight after finishing school, but had chosen to travel, work or taken a gap year.

In the ehemm…three decades (or 4 or so dog years) since I was 18, there seems to have been a shift in how an 18 year old sees the world. We often hear that life for children is more complicated today – faster paced, more competitive and just more. There is no doubt the information age has brought with it an array of options for an 18 year old that were not available to us at that age, or not as easily accessible. For example, many 18 year olds place a premium on seeing the world and are more well travelled than most adults. Through those travelling experiences, the world of living, working and loving in a foreign land is now a reality for our 18 year olds.

But does having all these options mean that the timeline for 18 year olds have been pushed out? Is 23 the new 18 and is 18 the new 15, but with drinking, voting and driving rights thrown in (note in Australia the legal drinking age is 18)? At what point should a person get down and get serious about their life path instead of behaving like human flotsam and jetsam? And is this really necessary now anyway given that home affordability no longer seems a reality for most 18 year olds and there is no guarantee of employment after university graduation?

Am I creating a rod for my own back by insisting that my children study ahead of playing computer games and that they strive towards something other than just living for today?

life path signageI certainly don’t believe that the life path I chose is necessarily the best one for my children. We are all unique and each person should be free to choose their own path. But I can’t help thinking that perhaps we are asking our children to make their choice before they are properly equipped to do so. Are these decisions that should be postponed until my children are 21 or 22 after they have acquired a bit of life experience? Life experience that had they grown up in the 50s, 70s or 80s they would more likely have had by now?

I still have more questions than answers at this point, but I can’t help thinking that it just a different world with different challenges to when I was 18.

They say you can’t put an old head on young shoulders, but maybe it’s possible to put some old shoulders under a young head to offer support and guidance pending launch time.

Any feedback you wish to provide on these issues will be most gratefully received.

Low Hanging Fruit and Horse Race Wrap Up #NaBloPoMo

Thank you for all of your wonderful tips from the Horsing Around With A Race That Stops A Nation post.

The race has now been run and the winners and losers sorted.  Champagne has been drunk and bunions have been formed. Time to put the fascinators away for another year.

After the resounding Tres Blue backing from the blogosphere, I placed a small bet on the horse. You’ll be happy to know he finished 22nd out of a field of 24. So I guess the trainer and owner are now Petit Blue.

But fear not, dear readers for that is not where the story ends.

After a more thorough analysis of the form guide and deciding that the pink stripe on the jockey’s fabric of Fiorente was more purple than pink if you squint hard enough and look at it in a tunnel, I placed a bet on the favourite.

AND SHE WON!!!

In addition to that I drew another horse which came second in the office sweep, so a somewhat profitable day all around.

low hanging fruitWhere things get a bit murky is the somewhat predictable love note I found from the local council placed under my windshield wiper when I returned to my car after my hard day at work. After running a little late for work that morning, I went through my usual routine of parking my car near the bus stop.  The bus stop happens to be near a racecourse. Parking is usually tight, but on Melbourne Cup day it is at a premium. Lucky for me I still scored a spot in the morning. The kicker is that parking in this street is two hours only for non-residents. Normally, I run the gauntlet and park there anyway as the street is seldom monitored. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Being late it only occurred to me that my parked car was really low hanging fruit for the parking police when I was half way into work. Plump, juicy and ripe for the picking on race day. And plucked it was.

The state of the ledger is therefore:

  • total family winnings on Melbourne Cup  – $152
  • total payment to NSW State Government for the privilege of going to work – $101
  • funds available for the Curtain Raiser retirement fund – $51

My family has kindly donated their winnings to the fund which will be used to increase parking restriction awareness in its members and avoid any more contribution to the low hanging fruit crop.

There was a sad postscript to the race. One of the horses, a mare, was put down immediately after for a broken leg. The decision for the horse to be euthanized was not without controversy. To get the fully story, click here.

RIP Verena.

Horsing Around With A Race That Stops A Nation: #NaBloPoMo

The first Tuesday in November is only days away and dear readers I need your help. I am desperately hoping your wisdom and good horse sense will see me through this important day.

fuggedaboudittNext Tuesday is Melbourne Cup day here in Australia. The Melbourne Cup is a $6million horse race which literally stops the nation. So good in fact that all of the lucky sods living in Melbourne receive a public holiday to head out to Flemington Race Course. The rest of us schlep to work and watch the event on television amist an eerie phone and keyboard silence. Which means that I have to issue this public service announcement to my international readers – if you are trying to phone Australia next Tuesday afternoon, local time between 2.45pm and 3.15pm, you might as well just stay in Brooklyn and Fuhgeddaboudit.

It is traditional for this one-day-a year punter to place a bet on the Melbourne Cup. Nothing huge, let’s just say if my horse won, the winnings would just be sufficient to purchase an upsized fast food take away meal or a taxi ride home. So fear not, I am staking the farm on your feedback.

Being a one-day-a year-punter, I’d like to say I study the form guide intently in the days leading up to the race, along with the weather conditions and race commentary. I’d like to say that, but neigh, that would be like saying that Phar Lap was just a horse. Instead I rely on a highly secret and scientific formula to choose my horses. This formula involves the intricacies of design, onomatopoeia and poetry, along with some mathematics as length and weight are taken into account. It is of course vitally important that the name of the horse one backs rolls effortlessly off the tongue and that the jockey’s stripes are beautifully colour co-ordinated. Surely, there are no other factors that determine the winner of a 3200 metre horse race?

It therefore must be patently obvious by now that I have no horse sense when it comes to picking a winner.

My general criteria for choosing the worthy candidate for my once a year flutter is a name that resonates in conjunction with a pleasing colour combination both on horse and rider and absolutely no:

PINK

 

So here is a link to the form guide for the race, dear readers and I need your help in choosing which horse is worthy of my once a year flutter.

My thoughts so far:

  • Simeon (19) and Red Cadeaux (3) are definitely out – too much pink
  • Super Cool (13), Masked Marvel (14) and Hawkspur (18) have great names – although is 13 an ominous sign?
  • I like the fact that Green Moon (2) and Sea Moon (4) might be related on the ethereal plane, given the commonalty of last name
  • Fiorente (6) and Tres Blue (23) are contenders because they are trained by one of the few female trainers in this country. Fiorente also happens to be the favourite, but has the disadvantage of carrying a pink stripe. (You see my dilemma?).
  • The best jockey stripe award goes to Dunaden (1). Love the whole polka dot effect and yellow is my favourite colour.

I therefore place my confidence in the blogosphere to assist with resolving this quandary. Please help a once-a-year punter out and place your suggestions in a comment below. All feedback will be gratefully considered and acknowledged and taken back to the stable without any expectation of those kind enough to contributed of having studied the form guide or having any horsey expertise.

And here’s a little something to get you all in the mood for the important task ahead.

champaignfascinator

 

 

It’s Unofficially Official: Feeling The Love In Australian Politics

Forgive me WordPress for I have sinned, it has been 41 days since my last post. Suitably repentant, I await your pronouncement.

Just popped back to share the political love.

You may remember, we used to have a female Prime Minister. Now we don’t. She didn’t get voted out by the people, no siree, that would be far too democratic. She got voted out by her party only to be replaced by the guy whom she knifed in a similar leadership spill about 3 years ago. The same guy whose senior party colleagues pronounced that his methods of leadership were unworkable and lead to a paralysis in party and Government decision making. Our first female Prime Minister went out in a blaze of orange haired glory amidst an onslaught of blue tie wearing men, cries of misogyny against our male politicians, most notably the leader of the Opposition and visions of knitting yarn and crocheted kangaroos (for the royal baby of course).

All of this because Australia must hold a federal election this year and the governing party got jittery over its serious slide in the polls. So, in a back to the future move, it reinstalled the campaigner and got rid of the governor.

Are you with me so far?

In short, we have been swamped by politics and received little governance. Democracy in this country has taken a hit.

men in blue tiesWithout a wiener or a sexting in site (our politics are simply not that colourful, especially not after all the male politicians starting wearing blue ties) the question on everyone’s lips is when will the new Prime Minister call the election? This is important because it will be held in Spring. In Spring people start to stir from their winter hibernation and they have wedding vows to exchange, holidays to take, gardens to tend and lives to lead.

Being the good organised governor she was, our former female Prime Minister set the date for 14 September 2013. In an unprecedented move she set this date in February so that the ever dutiful populace could clear their diaries. The new guy wants to keep us guessing.

So we are having an election, we just don’t know when and the Opposition can smell blood in the water.

It’s unofficially official, we are NOT in election campaign mode.

Except no-one told my local candidates, who have suddenly woken from their slumber after two decades of hibernation. I’m feeling so much love, I can’t tell you.

Let me digress with a little background. Australia is divided into 150 electorates. For the purposes of determining which party governs, we each get to vote for our own local member who sits in the lower house. Whichever party has the majority in the lower house governs. Unlike the United States we do not vote directly for our Prime Minister, unless he or she happens to be our local member and is the leader of the party who wins. I live in a safe party seat. The details of which party has reigned supreme doesn’t matter, suffice to say that to lose the seat would have required a swing of between 8-13%, a huge margin in Australian politics. So no attention for us, after all the prize has always remained in the bag. The prize for us being a bald-headed, former high profile rock star local member who only turned up to attend school annual prize giving ceremonies.

Now, however, there’s a real contest here because the popularity of the Government at the hands of our female Prime Minister has suffered greatly. And that’s not because she’s female, rather because of

Do you think they know it's a battle of the polls, not a battle of the poles?

Do you think they know it’s a battle of the polls, not a battle of the poles?

her inability to connect. And suddenly, our Opposition candidate has popped up in the electorate with a physical and media presence. A couple of weeks ago he was standing on a median strip in the middle of a six lane road during morning peak hour waving cheesily to passing motorists. He wasn’t standing at a traffic light, so couldn’t talk to anyone, but just stood there waving. What he was hoping to achieve other than a death wish was anyone’s guess.

Posters have popped up everywhere bearing his image, trucks are driving around on the weekends bearing yet more posters and love letters are coming in the mail.

Better yet, his office is phoning asking us what we think are the three most important issues facing Australia today and asking who will we vote for. A personal call, with a real voice, caring about what we think. Such love, and we have only just begun, well not really, because it’s not official yet.

Ever had one of those friends who only come around when they want something? Especially one in a blue tie? Yeah, me too.

Sort of officially unofficial friendship if you ask me.

Have you ever felt the love from a politician? Do long political campaigns hold your interest? What do you think of blue ties?