Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sporting teams - degree's of favouratism

Regardless of what sport you follow, you generally have a favourite team and then degree's of teams that you like or dislike. So for me, who doesn't follow all sports closely, I'll tend to think regionally....I'm in Sydney so I'll support The Swans in AFL, The Waratah's in Rugby Union, the now defunct Sydney Kings in Basketball and Sydney FC in 'Football'......out of proximity as opposed to passion. It's good when they win, but I'm not going to wake the kids with the celebrations.

But when you like one of thise sports more than the others and follow the details, you generally start to operate in more chunks of demarcation, with clearer lines.

So, if I used this on the NRL my teams would look like:

1: Parramatta.

2: Cronulla.
3: Wests Tigers.
4: Penrith.
5: Souths.

6: Auckland.
7: Newcastle.
8: Canberra.
9: Nth Queensland.
10: Melbourne.
11: Gold Coast.
12: Sydney City.
13: St George.

14: Manly
15: Brisbane.
16: Bulldogs.

Totally subjective, totally biased.....but that's how I roll.

How do you break your teams down?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Real blokes

I think it's a fair question to say "What constitutes a real man"?

It's easy to measure it on performance, like who works the hardest, who goes the hardest, who scores the most points etc.

But does that cut it? Is that the benchmark. I mean, can you charge 30 foot Waimea and still be a self centred little boy?

The answer is yes. There's plenty of "successful" men who have never sacrificed for others.

So maybe a real bloke has to have other attributes.

Like, putting others before self.
Like, being willing to die for a cause....maybe not literally most times (maybe we need to die to self ) but sometimes, like the guys that defended the Islands above Australia in WW2 it is literal.

So, my list of "real" blokes. Some real, some fictional.

But they are all men I look up to.

1. Jesus Christ.
2. The Phantom (Yes, as in the comic's).
3. Jack, out of Titanic.
4. Oscar Romero (Catholic Priest).
5. Brother Andrew (Open Doors)
6. Ghandi.
7. The apostle Paul.
8. W. Stanley Fisher (Sacrificed life to find Lester Stillwell in the 1916 Matawan Creek shark attacks that inspired Jaws).
9. Hawkeye out of 'Last of the Mohicans'.
10. William Wallace (Brave Heart).
11. The team from 'The Invisible children.
12. Brett White (Pastor, grace under pressure).
13. Rocky Balboa.
14. King Arthur from the most recent movie.
15. Losh Matthews (Boxing trainer, generous beyond....anything I've seen).
16. John Eldredge and team.
17. Chuck Norris, or at least what he represented in "Missing in Action".
18. Leon Munro. (Do you need to ask)?
19. Clyde Thomas (Quadruplegic and more capable and giving than anyone I know).
20. Perry Boyd, gave up his life to look after his brother for the last 20 years.

and finally, Callard Prestoe......that's a man I want to be like in faith and action.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jarryd Hayne

I'm feeling good.

Firstly, I was at a boxing match tonight where I was the cornerman for Craig 'Crusher' Guerin and my friend told me that the Eels were signing my daughters jersey and Jarryd Hayne was signing her Eels bear, which is....amazingly....known as Jarryd Hayne.

Thanks Carlee, you are a legend.

Then I came home, to find the Tigers 8 points ahead of Eels. I was feeling anxious. This was a pretty important stoush for the Eels, and they both had the golden boys (Marshall and Hayne) on red alert.

But by the 80 minute mark, with a 26-18 score in favour of the Eels, something amazing had happened.

My daughter and I had bonded in a new and very noisy way. Never in this house has louder noise been heard. And most of it as an amazing young man named Jarryd did what amazing young men do. They stir stuff up, they bust the status quo and they redefine excellence. In 1992 Kelly Slater did it. In the early nineties Tiger Woods did it. Michael Phelps is doing it in swimming. And back in the early 80's a bespectacled Bill Gates did it in IT.

But only Jarryd is signing the bear. So this post is all about the excitement of the Eels coming from the back of the pack and looking like a potential GF contender. And it's not all Jarryd. There are so many cracka-lackin players in the Eels right now. But watching Hayne chip the ball in the second half and retrieve it and put it over the line.....almost effortlessly...was like watching Kelly Slater surf switchfoot in the Hot Buttered/O&E Pro Junior in 1992 in the final.....history was being made and the old guard was being ushered out.

Thanks Jarryd and the Eels for a great night. Go all the way boys.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Interview with the Paranormal Pastor Robin Swope


With a booming interest in all things paranormal in the world today, one man stands out as a Christian Minister with an unusual witness...he's right in the thick of the paranormal realm with his blogs and websites, which recieves thousands of hits.

He's Robin Swope, the Paranormal Pastor.

So I thought the Bazfiles could get a scoop interview and Robin was kind enough to oblige:

Robin, what did you you want to be when you were growing up?

I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote a lot of plays in Grade school, and constantly played around with writing until I started to take it serious a few years ago. I have a novel I've been wanting to write for years but keep putting off because of my Fortean writing. I also had a deep desire to work in movies, at writing or directing. I did some Machinima and use it now in presentations of various unexplained tales, like my "Tales form the Vampires Crypt" on my Youtube page.

And you became a man of the cloth - what led you to become a Pastor?

I came to know Christ as personal Lord and Savior May 11th 1983. Before that I was a nominal Roman Catholic. When I experienced my first Missionary meeting and the Missionary gave a call to enter service forthe Lord I felt God was calling me to full time Christian Ministry. So within a year I entered College for my B.A. in Biblical Literature.

I read the Omega Men article with great interest. How easily do you think the average person buys into an urban myth?

We all have our preconcieved ideas of what is plausible, so when you come across 'evidence' like the Omega Men markings in the tunnels along with others that talk of satanism and the history of bodies found in the area you draw your own conclusions. Some Urban myths have been told to us from childhood, and when we are inclined to believe the myth instead of the truth. I remember in the 80's there was the rumor that the moon and stars symbol for Proctor and Gamble products were a satanic symbol. It was told among Christian circles that the president was on the Phil Donohue show and verified the myth and mocked Christians because they were unable to stop such a big company. But it never happened, even when debunked in the early 90s many simply would believe the myth than the truth. It affirms your preconcieved world views. I think all Urban Myths at thier core bolster our hope for belief in the fantastic and unexplained.

You are known as the Paranormal Pastor. What experiences led you to take on that moniker?

Odd and unexplained things seem to follow me wherever I go. In the mid 80s I was leaving a prayer meeting at my College, which is on the Hudson river outside of New York City. It was the middle of the famous flap and I saw the triangle going down the Hudson. I actually pointed it out to people passing by and they just shrugged and walked away! I was stunned, it was a UFO! I witnessed bizzare phenomena firsthand while on Mission trips to Africa, from the demonic to cryptids. And of course as a trained deliverance minister/exorcist I have seen quite a bit of strangeness. Even in secular jobs that I have had over the years for secondary income I have experienced hauntings, cryptids and abductees.

How has the flack been, considering some of your views may not line up with the average American evangelical position on the supernatural?

I have been called a heretic, rebuked for 'distorting Scripture' and considered 'backslidden' because of my views. But historically the church has never been shy about exploring the unexplained. In the last 150 years Christianity has taken a harsh tone with anything paranormal. With the advent of Revivalism in the USA happening at the same time as Spiritism, the unexplained has been considered evil and occult. However I always try to view any unexplained topic I explore on a spiritual level in line with a cultural and contextual view of Scripture. It is the same method used by Theologians and Ministers that my critics hold in high esteem, however when you use the same method in a topic they find uncomfortable, they attack. I think a lot of Christians are afraid of evil. They are so stressed with thier own imperfections that they are afraid of the devil and anything that could be demonic. When I get requests for help with the demonic across America I try to contact local ministers to see if they can interceed. It never fails, whatever the denomination, with most of my requests I either get no response or a note telling me they cannot help. It speaks volumes of my national church leaders spiritual health. We are more than conquerers, we need not be afraid of the dark, but be a light in the middle of the darkness.

Do you think that the 'surge' in paranormal investigations that has been generated by TV shows such as "Paranormal State' by novices is dangerous?

Yes. There are groups popping up all over the place and many have no real training. I have run into many that use divining devices or fortune telling means like Oiuja or Tarot to try to talk to entities. They have no idea of the danger that they put themselves in with no training. Even the Cartoon Network is getting into it. I think in the next 5 years we are going to see a lot of these untrained investigators develop mental health problems. Entities can harass, oppress and manipulate the ignorant novice to a point thier mental well being can be put in jeapordy. Many weekend investigators open themselves up to spiritual oppression, and unless they have a spiritual life or are around clergy who know what to look for, they can go around for years and have the darkness slowly swallow them up with addictions, depression, or a deteriorating self image.

Now we want to know about the everyday Robin. In Australia we are sports mad. In fact, I personally recommend you support the Parramatta Eels in Rugby League. In return I will gladly support your teams. So who do you follow in NBL, Football, Baseball and other sports. And do you prefer college over professional? (Please, please say Denver Bronco's!!!).

Unfortunately I never have followed sports much, except for local college basketball when I was dating a female basketball player! My son is much more of a sports fan, and he is a huge Pittsburgh Steeler fan. I love participating in sports though; football, volleyball and martial arts.

What other hobbies do you enjoy? Hiking, Gardening and Martial Arts. Any last words?

Wherever you go, there you are.

Thanks Robin - Baz.

Can you take the Westie out of the Shire

Charles Cook and always laugh about it. He grew up at Mount Druitt. I grew up at Parramatta (Dad's)/Bowen Mt (Mum's). I thought Mt Druitt was the city, compared to where I lived - I mean it had the waterworks. We were fully fledged Westies. I lived out west from 1972-1988. Charles was close to the same (he's a little older and moved in the mid eighties). When I hit the M7 heading west, I feel like it's the way home. Charles says the same thing.
For all you westies, we know where the Heights Pub is and the secret of magnetic hill.

Then we both ended up at Cronulla, the absolute epicentre of the Shire.

Funny thing is, I have been here for 21 years...but I can't let go of the inner westie.
I was in boardriding clubs for 10 years. For goodness sake, I met Brad Whittaker because we were both sponsored by G&S. I have surfed in four countries. So why did I publicly dump the Cronulla Sharks in October last year to come out of the closet as a passionate Eels supporter.

The inner westie.

Why did I stop surfing in 1996 to take up hunting.

The inner westie.

Why do I have to refrain from spitting on the sidewalk when I walk up the main street of Caringbah.

The inner westie.

I lived in the western suburbs of Sydney for 16 years. I have lived in the Shire for 21 years.
Don't get me wrong - my biggest blessings have been in the Shire.

But I still married the girl next door - from out west.
And we both know all the lyrics to the Radiators songs that we heard at Windsor skatel.

And only you westies will understand the cultural impact that has.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Former champions say Eels will make NRL finals series

Former champions says Eels will make NRL finals series
By Dean Ritchie
From: The Daily Telegraph
August 11, 2009 12:00AM

Tipped for the finals...the in-form Parramatta Eels. Source: The Daily Telegraph
MIGHTY Parramatta, the team that has set alight the NRL with four successive victories, are ready to barnstorm into this year's Telstra Premiership finals along with rivals and neighbours Penrith.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday polled five former champion players to reveal which teams would finish in positions five through eight given St George Illawarra, the Bulldogs, Gold Coast and Melbourne have all but sealed top-four places.

Parramatta received four votes from the five, as did Manly, Penrith and North Queensland.
The panel of Glenn Lazarus, Steve Mortimer, Bradley Clyde, Paul Langmack and Terry Lamb, collectively, could not find room for Brisbane, Souths, Wests Tigers and Newcastle. The Tigers did, however, attract three votes. Souths and Newcastle were completely friendless.
Seven Sydney teams remain in contention for this year's NRL title.
But it was the Eels who were the shock finals choice, given the club is still in 11th place.
Start of sidebar.

"Parramatta is playing with a lot of confidence and they have momentum," former Canberra, NSW and Australian back-rower Clyde said.
"Teams that have momentum use it well at this time of year.
"I think Parramatta has a good mixture of youth and experience and they are all playing for one another and for the jersey."

Lamb, the former champion Dogs player, also supported the Eels.
"Parramatta are on a roll," Lamb said. "They have a good halves combination and Fuifui Moimoi is the key. They also have Feleti Mateo to come back.
"Wests Tigers are too flamboyant for me. They throw the ball around too much although they have a great second-rower (Gareth Ellis)."
Langmack, who won three premierships at Canterbury, likes the Eels and Tigers, but not premiers Manly.

"Wests Tigers have improved their defence," Langmack said. "Earlier this year, their defence was dreadful. Gareth Ellis has shown the way. He is smashing people.
"I think Parra has momentum too. Daniel Mortimer, he isn't an athlete - he's a footballer.
"Manly should have won their last two games. They have lost momentum. I think they will go down as a side that won the premiership but couldn't make the finals the following year."
Mortimer likes what he sees in Daniel Anderson's Eels.

"Wests Tigers have a tough draw and have been too hot and cold this season," Mortimer said. "They can't afford a slip-up. Parramatta is on a roll. They look like a side building toward the finals."

Lazarus was the only former great to omit the Eels from his final eight.

"Parramatta have a lot of momentum but I think they have left their run a little too late," he said.

"They are in the unfortunate situation of having to hope for other teams to lose."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bazza's favourite 10 sportsmen

Ok, I'm not your average sports nut. I'm fairly specific in terms of range and shallow in terms of experience, light on in terms of statistics, subjective in terms of analysis.

But I have an opinion and a blog, so that's all I need. This is not a list of quantitative results, these are people 'I like' but I probably like them because of what they have achieved.

So without further ado.

1. Kelly Slater (Surfing).
2. Muhammed Ali (Boxing).
3. Ray Price (Rugby League).
4. Mike Tyson '85-'89 (Boxing).
5. Mark Schwarzer (Soccer).
6. Les Darcy (Boxing).
7. Andrew Johns (Rugby League).
8. Mark Occhilupo (Surfing).
9. Tony Hawk (Skateboarding).
10. Jeremy McGrath (Motocross).

Your list will be totally different, but it has equal value to anyone else's, because it's your opinion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Churinga stone: Aboriginal Poltergiest at Bowen Mt

My friend and fellow Pastor, Robin Swope has the best paranormal blog on earth.
Check it out at:

The latest story is a true one that my wife experienced growing up and it will certainly make you think twice about bringing religious or cultural artifacts into your home.

Check it out, let Robin know what you think.


Bull Sharks and Bronze Whalers at North Richmond

Reported by Steve Prott, Hawkesbury/Nepean Bass Anglers January 2006 newslettersSmorgas Board Bonanza Boat ramp are buzzing with talk of plenty of bust offs happening around Wisemans Ferry by what are thought to be big mulloway. With plenty of rain over the past few months, the usual jew spots around Wisemans haven’t disappointed anglers keen to land a mulloway. The fish causing havoc haven’t been sighted, but have left little line on reels as they have taken off without showing any respect for anglers attempts to land them.Another species that are likely to cause similar chaos and destruction are sharks. Whaler sharks have been caught in the Hawkesbury for as many years as old timers can remember, and I know some of them who can remember sharks being seen at the North Richmond bridge when the steam train ran to Kurrajong.Next time you see a skier flying past you on the river, think of them as doing some super high speed trolling. There are no known shark attacks that I have been able to find anywhere, but people have been attacked in rivers around Sydney, with injuries and death resulting.More recent stories of the past few years have been of a whaler shark caught at Wilberforce, and another angler I spoke to who saw a huge spray of water erupt as a shark took a duck near the Putty Road bridge at Colo. The boys from Southern Bass also lost a nice sized bass to a shark and were left with nothing but the head.Whalers are known to move into freshwater reaches way upstream from the more traditional saltwater habitats, with these sharks having been seen well above a sets of rapids in freshwater of some of our northern rivers chasing mullet.Tailor are still about as anglers trying for different species are finding out. Tailor are lovers of lures and plastics, which gives those chasing flathead and bream are real surprise at times.Wisemans Ferry and around Lower Portland have been likely locations for an encounter with tailor. It pays to have a reasonable trace on if tailor show up, because they make short work of light line.

The black panthers of the Hawkesbury

If you go to Pastor Robin Swope's 'The Paranormal Pastor' blog you will see a story of high stangeness that occurred when we were growing up in the Hawkesbury. But slightly more tangible, yet equally as mysterious is the black panther phenomenon. There have been more sightings than vegemite on toast for breakfast around Grose Vale and Bowen Mt (and the surrounding area's including the Agricultural College grounds near Hobartville, adjacent to Southee Road).

The funniest story I heard was a skeptical friend who stayed at a relatives house on Christmas Eve 2004. The family talked about all the panther sightings in the street (Carters Road, Grose Vale) which was laughed off over a couple of wines. The next morning as the skeptical relatives drove home, a black cat as big as a german shepherd dog ran in front of their car just before St John of God hospital, jumped the fence into the North Richmond padddocks and took off.

There are so many stories like that, it is only a matter of time before we accept that we have a big cat population in Australia.

David Haye: Next world heavywight boxing star?

With his movie star looks, and a solid record with a number of world titles in the Cruiser weight division, David Haye is looking to make his mark on the heavywight division of boxing. Long gone are the glory days of what has always been the most exciting division in boxing. In fact, the last 'star' of the division was probably Haye's British counterpart Lennox Lewis.

If David Haye can do what he says he will - take out the Klitchko brothers and unify the division (which will never happen at present as the brothers won't fight each other) there could be exciting times ahead for boxing as an antidote to the massive market share taking by UFC.

I for one say "Go the Hayemaker" and can't wait until he pulls it off.


When I was staying at the Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs this year I found a fantastic book by Rob Bell and Don Golden in the bookshop. Called 'Jesus wants to save Christians: A manifesto for a Church in exile'. I devoured it in one sitting and then got the audio book on I tunes.

In a nutshell:

'Jesus wants to save us from making the good news about another world and not this one. Jesus wants to save us from preaching a Gospel that is only about individuals and not about the systems that enslave them. Jesus wants to save us from shrinking the Gospel down to a transaction about the removal of sin and not about every single particle of creation being reconciled to its maker. Jesus wants to save us from religiously sanctioned despair, the kind that doesn't believe the world can be made better, the kind that either blatantly or subtly teaches people to just be quiet and behave and wait for something big to happen 'someday.'

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can the Parramatta Eels do it again?

The mighty Eels - or at least they were from 1981 - 1986. That's when I was a kid from a broken home, and Dad lived at North Parramatta. I watched as a kid in year 3 all the way to a fourteen year old in that dingy green fibro house of Nan's as the Eels continued their onslaught, with names like Price, Ella, Cronin, Grothe and Sterling dotted the star studded ranks.

Then I moved to Cronulla and under immense pressure caved in to my ex-girlfriends father - I started to support the Sharks. Half heartedly for years and years until a mide life crisis on my 36th birthday slapped me to my senses. I immediately purchased that Eels football that Dad promised me in 1983 but was never forthcoming. Then came the Jersey, the keyring, the car deoderant, the dvd's........The Eels were back like never before in my life. But it was a different team, a different era.

And then.....Jarryd Hayne suddenly became the poster boy of all that is fantatstic in NRL.

The question is.....can the Eels do it again in my generation?