Saturday, January 28, 2006

lamb for A-Day?

WE'VE been underestimating the power of lamb, news reports suggest.

Sydney's racial violence, the loss of the Ashes and model Michelle Leslie's drug hassles in Bali apparently all could have been solved by a healthy dose of one of Australia's favourite red meats.

In another politically incorrect battle cry to get more chops on the nation's barbecues, former football star Sam Kekovich has delivered another 90 seconds of TV satire in the Australia Day lamb promotion.

"Australian models holidaying in Asia would get into a lot less trouble if they carried a couple of lamb chops in their handbags," Kekovich says in the ad which went to air a few days before Australia Day.

"Lamb could have prevented the boofheads perpetrating violence on our beaches - it's bloody hard to bash someone with a cutlet.

"And we might not have lost the Ashes if our cricketers picked up lamb chops instead of mobile phones. Why on earth did they dispatch lurid text messages to English trollops when plenty of Aussie sheilas would gladly target their middle stump?"

The former North Melbourne player has been enlisted for a second year of red meat ranting in Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA) annual push to drive up lamb sales for the national day.

His 2005 debut came close to derailing the marketing campaign when he said failure to eat lamb warranted capital punishment.

The Advertising Standards Bureau investigated but, after an unprecedented equal amount of criticism and praise, later dismissed the complaints and allowed the commercial to air.

It also was the first time the regulator received complaints that an ad had vilified vegetarians after Kekovich pilloried "long-haired dole bludging types" for rejecting lamb in favour of "all manner of exotic, foreign, often vegetarian cuisine".

This year, Kekovich insists that lamb and barbecues are at the core of our national identity.

"To be as Australian as I am, don your apron - mine says 'Chop Gun' - whack some nice juicy lamb chops on the barbie, invite everyone over - if you can't pronounce their name, just call them mate - and celebrate living in the best bloody country on earth."
MLA hopes this year's promotion would be taken in good humour and not result in more complaints to the advertising watchdog.

"There'll always be a couple of people out there that take grief at listening to Sam Kekovich, but it wouldn't be Sam without that. We'll wait and see," marketing chief David Thomason said.

MLA is hoping for another big rise in lamb consumption, with Kekovich's 2005 invective pushing up the number of lamb serves sold nationally by more than one million.

The car is booked to go in to the garage on Monday. That seems a while to wait, but with the holiday on Thursday it's a short week this week.

So it's my sister's turn to do the motoring in the family this week. What was that old bus slogan - "Leave the driving to us"?

Dropped in to the Chickenfeed discount store on Wednesday to look over their new stock of DVDs and movies. I was particularly interested in the Jacques Cousteau set; I found #1,2,4 and 5 without any trouble but #3 necessitated a bit of rummaging around. There's nothing more irritating than looking for that one missing episode.

Also picked up a boxed set of Sherlock Holmes movies from the 1930 and '40s, plus a double feature of two favourites from the 1960s Mr Ed and Petticoat Junction (the latter was a surprise - it features a beatnik poet played by guest star Dennis Hopper!).

It's a constant series of surprises just what turns up on DVD nowadays.

The soft-voiced bell of the Temple clock was telling out the hour of seven in muffled accents (as though it apologised for breaking the studious silence) as I emerged from the archway of Mitre Court and turned into King's Bench Walk.

And who should we find at Number 6A? None other than Doctor John Thorndyke, one of the most famous medical sleuths of detective fiction.

In The Red Thumb Mark [1907], R. Austin Freeman introduces us to his no-nonsense medico-legal consultant. Appearing for the defence at the Old Bailey, he demonstrates that finding a man's fingerprint at the scene of the crime is not an infallible indication of guilt.

There are some very effective descriptions of the grimy courtrooms and unprepossessing prison cells which have the ring of authenticity. (Freeman once worked at Holloway Prison).

Many of Freeman's novels can be downloaded for free from websites like Blackmask Online. If you have a taste for classic whodunits, they're still quite readable.

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