Chicken salt or normal salt: the great food debate part 2

A while ago I wrote a blog commenting on what I described as the “great burger debate”. In that post I spoke to what I consider to be the best hamburger around and challenged my readers to tell me what they thought was there best burger because, really, when it all comes down to it, everyone has their own perfect burger.

Of course, it is not just about burgers that people have closely held opinions. One of the biggest dividers of people in my opinion when it comes to food rests in the question “would you like chicken salt with that?” I mean, who hasn’t gone to their local fish and chip shop and asked for an order for chips and had that question asked to them? Further, who has not had a difficult decision to make when asked that question because of the disputes that would arise at home if the question is answered incorrectly.

When I was growing up the answer to this question was a real problem: my mother and I were fans of chicken salt and my father and sister were fans of plain salt. So it was always a fight when, on the rare occasion there was takeaway on the menu, as to what we had sprinkled all over our chips.

To me there is only one answer to the question “would you like chicken salt with that?” … YES! A thousand times yes! I love nothing more than making a hot chip with chicken salt sandwich on fresh white bread. Without chicken salt a chiko roll just doesn’t taste right and without chicken salt a large dim sim just tastes like cardboard and cabbage. It would be fair to say that I am I fan of chicken salt.

The funny thing is: I do not season anything else I eat with normal salt. I do not put salt on steak. I do not put salt on my dinner. I do not even put salt in the boiling spaghetti. For me it is chicken salt and nothing more.

In fact I would go further than suggesting I am fan of chicken … simply I just love chicken salt. I will not countenance that there is any other appropriate option with takeaway from a fish and chip shop.

What do you think? Is there a fight in your family when it comes to collecting the fish and chips? Where do you stand on the on question “would you like chicken salt with that?”

Nearly a new month and time for a revamp: more content and less adhoc

To say that this blog has been become fairly unfocused and, it would be fair to say, an afterthought in recent weeks would be an understatement. I have started a new blog to trace my weight loss and lifestyle project and I concede I have been a bit too focused on it to the detriment of this site.

I have given a lot of thought over recent days about how to remedy this because, frankly, I love writing and don’t want to let this blog become even more of an irrelevancy than it is at the moment.

So, that being the case, I am going to put a bit more of a structure in place around when I am going to post on this blog. Each week will see posts come out on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from today as a minimum. The posts will be a mix of musings from me with no set agenda or limited topic stream.

I write a lot about sport and, in particular, cricket and that will not change but I am also alive to the fact that many of my readers are not as nutty about sport as I am so I will be coming back to the original roots of this blog and writing about anything and everything that happens in life.

Of course if the moment takes me I will write more but as a minimum look out for posts here on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays.

If you are so minded please check out my other site: for everything related to the Operation 100 project I am now on. Also, I will again be writing for the excellent for this Super 15 Rugby season so look out for my posts starting there in coming weeks.

Of course, any feedback is most appreciated.


What is the NSP doing (part 2)? Australia’s T20 Squad announcement / ODI debacle

This morning Cricket Australia’s National Selection Panel announced it’s squad for two T20 games against Sri Lanka on 26 and 28 January 2013.  The squad is:

  • George Bailey (c)
  • Ben Cutting
  • Xavier Doherty
  • James Faulkner
  • Aaron Finch
  • Ben Laughlin
  • Shaun Marsh
  • Glenn Maxwell
  • Mitchell Starc
  • Adam Voges
  • Matthew Wade
  • David Warner

There are few ommisions  from and inclusions in the team that stick out like the proverbial and warrant comment.  First let me be clear: I have no cavil with the selections of Bailey, Warner, Starc and Wade and make no comment on their lack of form or otherwise in the BBL because they either did not play in it or did not play enough for a good guide to be found.  I would have replaced Wade with T Ludeman if I had my choice but he is the incumbent and has earned  his spot.

I am delighted that Shaun Marsh has received a second opportunity having, seemingly, been in the wilderness after his test form left him and I am also delighted Messrs Finch, Faulkner and Laughlin have received call ups after an excellent BBL season.  There my delight ends.

The failure by NSP to select either of Luke Pomersbach or Ben Rohrer who, along with Shaun Marsh, were the stand out batsmen of the tournament for mine is just incomprehensible.  Rohrer’s performances for the Renegades were every bit as compelling as those of Aaron Finch and drove them to only being one game short of the final and the efforts of Luke Pomersbach were second only to those of Shaun Marsh in the run scoring takes.  In their place are Adam Voges and Glenn Maxwell.  Voges is a fine player but at nearly 34 one must question the longevity of his selection.  Maxwell is so out of form at the moment he can not make the, in must be conceded, below par Australian ODI team and is coming off a seven game stint for the Melbourne Stars where, again, he failed to take a wicket and only got past 20 once.

Surely this was an opportunity to reward an excellent BBL summer from two players who have been on the fringes for a long time with selection.  In going with an older player unlikely to have a long stint in the team and a player out fo form and out of answers yet again the NSP is sending the message that, on the one hand whilst they say they are preparing for the future they actually are not, and, on the other hand, if you are one of their “project players” it matters not what form that player is in.  These are ubundantly the wrong messages in my opinion.

Of course there is also the problem that the team that won the competition again appears to be underrepresented.  I am an unabashed Queensland (Brisbane) fan I concede however it remains incomprehensible to me that a team that wins both the Sheffield Shield and the BBL can only have one player worthy enough for selection in this nations teams in red ball cricket, ODIs and T20.  Forget the argument about whether Chris Hartley is the best wicket keeper in the country; Burns and McDermott are also stars of the future that, if the NSP is genuine in its alleged remit to develop the teams of the future, then surely they, along with the many other young players knocking on the door, should be in the frame for selection rather than seemingly forgotten. 

Innings of 170, 74 and 9/220 (off the back of our number 10 batsman) should be the wake up call that the NSP needs to look hard the top six and truly select a top six that they see representing Australia at the next World Cup in 2015.  Of the current top six can anyone genuinely see, on current form and noting age, the names Bailey, Hussey and Maxwell in that team? Surely now is the time to genuinely plan for 2015 and blood players like Finch, Khawaja, Burns and Lynn (if a spin bowling batsman is needed) with an eye on the future rather than using one day internationals a forums for centre wicket practices for the Ashes as the NSP appears to be. 

Don’t get me wrong, selecting any sort of team is a tough job.  As a fan of the game though, I crave consistency in selection and at present the messages being given by the selection panel, being the failure to select based on domestic form, the continued selection of “project players” and dropping players after a single opportunity, could be nothing further from consistent.

What is the NSP doing? The selection of allrounders is indicative of a deeper problem

It was a case of another day, another selection storm for the National Selection Panel of Cricket Australia yesterday. For those who missed it Aaron Finch was replaced by David Warner, Steve Smith was replaced by Michael Clarke and Ben Cutting replaced by Moises Henriques. Kane Richardson was also left out with Mitchell Starc again fit.

Of all of those changes the one that sticks out is the replacement of Ben Cutting with Moises Henriques. In his one opportunity Cutting came to the wicket with Australia in trouble at 6/83 and scored a solid 27 runs in partnership with Brad Haddin and then with the ball took one of the two wickets Australia took against the resurgent Sri Lankans. All things considered it has to be said that Cutting did his job and, indeed, did it admirably.

In response to this he has been replaced in the squad by Moises Henriques because, to quote John Inverarity (the chairman of selectors) “we need allrounders” and “we were looking for a seam bowling allrounder to suit the conditions at the Gabba”. The other allrounder who remains in the team is Glenn Maxwell who has remained in the team despite not taking a wicket in his first six games for Australia and barely worrying the scorers in this competition so far.

The astonishing part about all of this is that the player excluded from the allrounder hunt in the favour of Henriques is a seam bowler whose home wicket is at the Gabba and who is in the form of his career this year. That is not to say that Henriques is not in form; the short answer is that he is but surely it is incongruous to suggest that you want a bowler who is going to suit the conditions at the Gabba and then drop the Gabba based player in the team?

On the one hand Cricket Australia have selected, and continue to select, a player who is clearly a “project player” for them with an eye on the Indian tour (Inverarity admitted as much in his interview) in Maxwell whilst on the other hand they have dropped a player who did his job when asked to and despite the next game being at the ground at which he is most comfortable.

All this leads one back to a point that even 24 months would have been ridiculous to consider; viz., that the Australian one day set up is nothing more than a Petri dish into which Cricket Australia is seeking to grow players for the long term and, it seems, for future involvement in four or five day cricket. This in turn shows the folly of Cricket Australia’s focus on the Big Bash League rather than the Sheffield Shield Competition which, previously, would have been the place that “project” players would have learnt their craft rather than in international one day cricket.

This is international cricket not a centre wicket practice like Cricket Australia seems to think it is. The players punished and, no doubt, confused by the regime are those very players (save for Glenn Maxwell) that Cricket Australia should be trying to nurture: Khawaja, Smith, Finch, Cutting, Richardson are all on the precipice of international careers and yet find themselves again jettisoned. Wouldn’t you be confused?

Surely it is better for cricket in this country for the Australian team to be the best team available for selection every time it plays and for “project players” to develop through the Sheffield Shield and Ryobi competitions. If I am wrong on this and, in fact, it is better for the development of the players in this country for the remaining one day fixtures this summer to continue to be the centre wicket practices they seem to be then I will happily concede the point. Until Glenn Maxwell scores a hundred at international level or takes 4 wickets in one innings no such concession will be forthcoming.

Shumpty’s Punt: it’s back!

Well I am sure some of you will say “I told you so” and I concede that I threw the toys out of the cot last year when I stated that I would not be publishing a tipping blog again after a run of terrible form. A new year means a new start and after a couple of nights of study I think I have come up with a couple of bets on the weekend as well as a sports multi-bet that I am confident about.


It is Magic Millions Day on the Gold Coast on Saturday and whilst I will not be down there I will have an interest in a couple of races:

Race 5:

Really like the Waterhouse horse Driefontein in this. Not sure the other fancies have much chance from the gates they have drawn and Driefontein has the plum gate of number 3. I expect Tommy Berry to salute here.

Race 6:

In the 2 year old classic no matter how much I look at this race I keep coming back to the mount of L Birchley: Missy Longstocking. Four starts for four wins is the best form you can get and from the 5 gate will get a plumb ride. The money has been for it on having shortened from $7.50 into $6.50 in early betting.

Race 7:

The Magic Millions Cup is a much tougher race for mine than the 2 year old classic. In this one I have always looked for form at the track as a guide more so than in the 2 year old classic. Combining good form at the track and a good gate is the Hawkes horse Stratford. I think it will win and at $6.50 at the moment is pretty good value.

Race 8:

A shorty in the last for the “get out stakes” I’m Cool. Just can not see anything beating it in this field but if you like this horse I would lock in the $2.60 about it you can get on sports bet right now as I expect it will shorten on the day.

Sports multi-bet

I have a four leg multi for the weekend that I reckon is right on the money and will reap a good return for punters without being spectular.

Leg 1: This evening kicking off at 4pm Brisbane time India at home to defeat England in their ODI fixture at $1.67.

Leg 2: On Saturday morning, in the NBA the Atlanta Hawks to cover the line (-4.0 points) against the Utah Jazz at home at $1.92.

Leg 3: On Sunday morning, in the NFL finals the San Francisco 49ers to cover the line (-3.0 points) against the Green Bay Packers at home at $2.05.

Leg 4: On Monday morning, also in the NFL finals the Atlanta Falcons to cover the line (-3.0 points) against the Seattle Seahawks at home at $2.02.

All up this multi will return $13.28 if it gets up.

Good luck and good punting to all.

A night at the cricket … or was it? My first BBL experience

I have been a fan of cricket for as long I can remember and have always watched every possible game I could. I have also been in a privileged position to watch more games than I can count live at the home of the game for me: the Gabba. Those facts alone probably make it a bit out of character that I had not set foot inside the Gabba for a Big Bash League fixture until last night. Indeed last night I attended my first Twenty20 game live since the very first one at the Gabba a few moons ago.

The fact is that I have never really warmed to the shortened form of the game and thus, I concede, have probably been a bit dismissive of it. Aside from watching it on TV, because I will watch any sport on TV, and aside from following the Brisbane Heat (the Queensland team after all) I have not really gotten into.

Last night, I have to confess, did little to increase my warmth for the concept. I know I will be considered to be an “old man” here but I did not like the “extras” that seemingly form part of the performance that is a BBL game. I did not like the “dance cam” or the “kiss cam”. I did not like ground announcer shouting at me between every ball and I found the “Brisbane Heat dancers” nearly as bad as the Queensland Reds before game entertainment.

All that said, there was still a cricket game on and I am more than happy to say that the cricket was pretty good. Fast bowlers charging in, another mystery spinner from the sub-continent and a viewing of some of the young batsmen who might find themselves on a plane to England were all pleasing to the cricket purest in me.

So to recap: I enjoyed the game but hated the performance that was BBL. Why stop there though? With me was a very good mate and his son (aged 8) neither of whom had watched a game of cricket live before much less picked up a bat. This is one of the target markets of the BBL, introducing new fans to the game, is it not? Surely these guys had a great time?

During the game it was clear to me that the only things that were keeping the interest of the 8 year old were the “extras” in the performance. He was enamoured with the hovercraft at half time, he liked the music (I weep for the children of today’s devotion to the cults that are Gangnam Style and One Direction) and thought it was pretty cool that there were police officers in the crowd. When it came to the cricket he was, to quote him, “bored and hungry” and if I heard the question “how long to go?” once I heard it 200 times.

In the car on the way home I steered the discussion around to how my mate enjoyed the game. His feedback was that whilst he would have preferred a comfier seat and a bit less noise he was pretty happy with the night. However, he also said it was unlikely that he would be back given the 8 year olds lack of interest in the game. Indeed when pressed further by me, the 8 year old when asked by me “do you want to play cricket now?” was fairly resounding in his negativity: well as much as an 8 year old could be.

All of this raises an interesting point for me: if BBL is designed to get people into the game of cricket is the glitz of the “performance” overshadowing the cricket to the extent that it is not succeeding in that goal. I wonder: how many people who are introduced to cricket through the BBL remain fans of the game? And how many of those people are also going to attend a test match or ODI fixture? These are questions that Cricket Australia will need to consider (if they are not already).

One final comment: the price of tickets of $30 for an adult and $10 for a child is very good and clearly is a selling point. Makes me wonder though: should that also not be the pricing for a ticket to test match cricket? I sat in the same class of seats for the test match this year and paid $68.50 for the same seat. The amenities are the same, the cost of food and drink is the same and the staffing is the same (save it is a longer day). Surely the way to get more people in the test match gates is to lower the price? Maybe that is too obvious.

Anyway, I am not sure if I will be back to watch the third instalment of the Big Bash League next year. I still can’t warm to the game if I am honest and watching the comfort of my lounge without a ground announcer shouting at me between balls certainly has some merit right now.