Links on Friday

Tennis racquet abuse – a top ten

Things get cooking at number four. McEnroe, the master, smashes a racquet, then argues he hasn’t smashed it. Then a guy smashes all his racquets and has to abandon the game, while number one smashes about nine in a row, not even bothering to get them out of the plastic. It’s hardly Pete Townsend smashing guitars-level rock ‘n’ roll, but still satisfying action.

Let’s face it – sports fans are bloody nerds hey. This Power Rankings list for NBA court markings shows just how easy it is to succumb. At first I was all ‘this is a shit list, just for nerds,’ then I was all ‘HOW can they put the magnificent Memphis Grizzlies court markings at a lowly 17 ???!?” You were warned.

Here’s a tremendous profile of Andrew Jennings, the English TV reporter who thoroughly investigated and exposed FIFA corruption.

“I know that they are criminal scum, and I’ve known it for years,” he said. “And that is a thoughtful summation. That is not an insult. That is not throwing about wild words.”

Hockey player gets sent off, has a ‘mare trying to leave the ice.


Links on Friday

Like many New Zealanders of a certain age, my memories of the Benson and Hedges Series are nothing but golden. The moustaches, the Beige, us having a great team and doing pretty well, all enjoyed at fantastic viewing times during long, humid summer nights on the couch. Even The Underarm, it warms the cockles of my heart how angry we all were (are?) together. Russell Jackson looks back:

We should always remember the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup – fondly glorifying it, misremembering how slow the net run rates actually were, perennially overrating some of the ropey touring sides who made up the numbers against Australia and the West Indies and convincing the generations below us that it was cricket nirvana because occasionally, it truly was.

This is the great man Dimitar Berbatov with a ‘did I leave the oven on’ touch, before immediately ordering those not fit to be on the same pitch as him about. Read the full list of first touches you can only dream of. wholeheartedly endorses skipping stones as a legitimate sport.


Manchester United’s Gary Neville asked Manchester City fan and dad rocker wag Noel Gallagher to sign what looks to be a very nice guitar. Hilarity ensues.


Links on Friday

Get behind the scenes with the All Blacks – in the 80s! At the time, The Good, The Bad And The Rugby was a revelation, for presenting ‘All Blacks as people,’ at a time when they usually appeared in our living rooms either smashing Frenchmen in the face or advertising Jockeys. It was a simpler time of mullets n larfs n guitars and a bloody joy to watch.

In-depth analysis of world cup arm-folding better than it  sounds. Like a night out with John Terry, there’s a lot that can go wrong. GIF3b

And if you’re missing the world cup, here’s the New Yorker’s most memorable moments, complete with video.  And this is why Germany won.

I’m not entirely sure who Tom Brady is, but the bloke cannot get a high five from, well, anyone. Think he’s like an American Jimmy Cowan.


World in motion


There’s no doubt there’s the twin whiffs of a deathly unimpressed host nation and murkier-than-usual FIFA corruption hovering over this World Cup. Brazil seems as enthusiastic about hosting the tournament as hosting an attack of boils – watch John Oliver for an entertaining / depressing run down, or  this photo essay gives you an idea. It’s not great, and the folly of building stadiums like the Arena Amazonia stadium in Manaus (with a pitch that’s a bit shit) in a country where new hospitals would be handier, seems like, well, folly. 

I’ll leave the pat explanations there. Reality is, once we get underway tomorrow morning, most football fans will be too busy finding ways to manage work, family and responsibility in general to be in front of televisions or posting animated GIFs of tremendous goals and fouls on Twitter to worry.

That’s because, with respect to the other World Cups, this is *the* World Cup. Football, as we’re allowed to call it, brings the whole world together to play a game that’s easy to understand and, when done right, can move you to tears.  I mean Arjen Robben, who plays with hipster-football-fan’s-choice Holland, can dive about like the best, but he can also do this. Let’s face it, hating the villains is as much fun as appreciating the heroes. That’s, well, sport. And life really, innit?

For my sins, I will support England, as per usual. The golden generation is managing, modelling and boring people on the telly these days, so now we have a team that most people haven’t heard of, Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard aside. It could go really well, as the crushing pressure *should* be less. It’ll go right back up again if they get to the knockouts though, of course.

I know this is hipster-football territory, but if I can support a player, it’ll be Pirlo. My soft spot for passing midfielders with time on the ball is deep (one, two), and Pirlo is the current master. Pour a nice chianti and wallow:

Get excited

Steve Braunais has a galaxy of pundits picks – it looks like he’ll write through the tournament has had comprehensive previews of all the groups, and will cover the tournament no doubt

Kiwi freelancer Ben Stanley is over in Rio, he’ll be worth following

Hadyn Green came out of semi-retirement to write a sort of  anti-World Cup World Cup preview

If you’re feeling generous, the Ockers are our closest to taking part – here’s a typically awesome guide to watching the cup in our timezone with @rustyjacko

App wise, just get the official FIFA one, and the strangely mesmerising Score!, for pretending you’re Pirlo on the bog

Grantland has had some cracking articles and videos already – check out this tactics 101 piece. It may be aimed at the supposedly non-football-aware, but I definitely learned a thing or two

FiveThirtyEight says Brazil will win. I think it may be Spain or Argentina, but 538 is much smarter than sportreview, in fairness

For day to day tournament coverage, I tend to go Guardian. I think they’re ace. Here’s their writers’ predictions, and a ‘which world cup team are you?‘ quiz. I am Spain, just FYI



Links on Friday

Footballers. They’re generally into Page Three models, Essex nightclubs and flash motors. Innit. But, it turns out that plucky title-challengers-Liverpool are sheltering the EPL’s only hipster footballer Daniel Sturridge, the “Kanye West of the Northwest”. It’s a fair call, and Vice asks valid questions about why footballers are so uncool generally (remember when George Benson was every player’s fav musician in Roy Of The Rovers questionnaires?), but I say Sturridge is number two hipster – doesn’t get more street than Andy Carroll off his tits at a festival wearing a flouro vest, does it?


Further ‘Scottish football managers are generally angry’ news:

Baseball fandom get the New York Times data journalism treatment. Interesting, nerdy stuff – but it seems Oakland Athletics have  no fans. Kind of like sportreview. Ahem.

American Football team logos designed as proper football logos. Some of these are awesome.


Ten years of Links on Friday

This week marks the ten year anniversary of this blog making the internet worse. Cue a series of unprecedented navel gazing posts – thanks for reading, team.  Ten years: Banners / NEWSDESK / Cartoons / Links on Friday

This is the 127th post tagged ‘Links on Friday’ – hopefully the extensive yet sporadic coverage of Roy Keane, Kevin Keegan, own goals and  Zombies has made your Friday log-on a little more entertaining. Here’s some of the best YouTubeage from over the years.


Links on Friday never really bothered getting to know the cavalcade of mustachioed, grimacing, gum chomping Aussies that tormented the Young Guns through the 80s and 90s. Luckily, Russell has all you need to know about top order tormentor David Boon with The Joy Of Six David Boon moments – it’s a sprawling run through the innings, the songs, the short leg magic, packed with links  and clips like the definitive tomb on the 52 cans saga, and the great man doing Talking Heads’ Once in a lifetime, would you believe.

Jon McAfee is best known for designing anti-virus software that ALWAYS needs updating, and going on the run and a bit bat shit crazy in Belize when wanted on a murder charge. Unexpectedly (or expectedly), his interview with a nerdy tech site on the hardware and software he uses to get things done is quotation gold:

“I change phones every two weeks to avoid being tagged by the NSA or some other agency, so I favor hardware systems that allow for quick and easy data transfer between phones.
“I also do my most productive security designs while having extended sex. I apologize if you think I am pulling your legs but, God’s truth, these are the facts.
“My favorite real-time software is the XM153 remote control software that comes standard with the XM153 50 caliber machine gun.”

Long read: It turns out all the credit for the LA Kings being any good and getting Wayne Gretzky and that goes to Alan Thicke. Yes the dad from Growing Pains. He schmoozes, he sings, and winds up best mates with Michael Jordan. 

If you Wikipedia ‘celebrated too soon’ and ‘you look like a tool, mate’, you will find this clip. Kind of like a thriller with a telegraphed twist at the end, but fun all the same.


Links on Friday

So this is the kind-of return of Links on Friday – as long as you don’t expect links *every* Friday it’ll be sweet.

This is magic. Some guy creates one video game American football team that’s awesome and aggressive and puts it up against another video game American football team that’s feeble. Along the way he raises money for charity and makes some hil-ar-ious GIFS – but then something really freaky happens.

Some poor / heroic bugger has taken up the task of  going through the fabbo Alternative Commentary Collective archives and compiling some best-ofs. Here’s the first edition, get in there.

The mysterious Inky comes back with an email newsletter after about, oh, five years away. It’s a fabulous ramble through Ted, Steve H and All Black coaching cycles, dark hints about what he wants to say but can’t and somehow Hillary Clinton is mixed in there as well. Get on board.

BMX as conceptual art via


Sport from the future

According to the Usbourne Book Of The Future, the EPL over the internet thing is just the start – in a few short months, we’ll be enjoying sport like so:

This vision of the future promises an air of effortless sophistication, characterised by a robot butler serving drinks, fridge-sized headphones, just ONE remote control (preposterous) and, disturbingly, a houseguest monitoring your neighbours with a video camera.

The only thing that hasn’t changed in this scenario is sport itself – this is a 70s-style-eyebrows-and-sideburns game with disturbing-goings-on-in-the-background. No sign of goal line technology or isotonic drinks here.

So what will sport in the future be like? Popular culture dictates future sport is characterised by tight clothing  and space-age fonts (which we’re not too far off in fairness):


Future sport can also be retro, if you consider Running Man‘s relaxed atitude toward participants’ health and safety, which feels like a throw back to the have-a-go 70s:

 Could be a Stihl branding op there. 

With the rise, and then full scale takeover of modern TV programming by reality TV, the Running Man premise feels a lot less surreal and depressingly conceivable, and could easily take place weeknights at seven in the very near future.

Future football is a dystopian affair, taking place on a ship (presumably all the land and that fell into the sea years ago, and is probably Winston Peters’ fault), where former highly paid stars of the Champions League are forced to score goals for bread and survival, presided over by a clearly even-more-insane-than-usual Eric Cantona (that’s pretty insane). I’d buy a subscription to that, for sure.

Charmingly, future cricket appears remarkably similar to today, if a little more pastoral. Green grass, white clothing, wickets. No dramas. The only concessions to modernity appears to be the addition of a few new lines on the outfield, the use of six new balls (building on recent developments there), and players being confined to a box during play.


For now, the sport that seems like its been beamed-in from the future is arguably the All! New! America’s Cup.

 Oracle get fully extreme to starboard or something.

Once, the Cup had a charmingly shambolic vibe of sunburn, rum and mad scientists in back sheds devising super-kebab-ed keels or turbo bowsprits that would crush those dastardly Americans in their own back ocean. But Russell Coutts’ America’s Cup seems more X-Games than Newport, more Tron than Sailing Away. It’s a Simpsons-esque  attempt to modernise itself, and not one that’s captured the public’s imagination, beyond mouthing ‘fuck that’ while watching it on the sports news.

One possible path for future sport is where new, grassroots sports spring up, in a move away from the globalised path we’re on, like in Baseketball:

A possible Kiwi version of this would be BBQ-Melee, where contestants arm themselves with gas bottles and tongs, and chase each other through suburban backyards. The player with the most garages at the end of 14 days is declared the winner. It would be compelling viewing, as long as a passing game doesn’t requisition your satellite dish for a weapon.

But more likely, future sport is going to be about robots, whether it’s camel racing:



 “The name’s Iron Mike.”


 This robot will not only out-surf you, but schmooze more girls at the beach than you.

…or ice hockey.


As this study shows, robots can already kick Rory McIlroy’s arse at golf, and probably chess too.

In any event, non-carbon based players could be a real game changer. Any robot All Blacks will have the mongrel calibrated to 11, be able to detect when they are off camera and commit atrocities on Australian robots at those precise times, and can be programmed not to go to Japan. says we should welcome our new robot overlords. Any future that has Alien taking on Predator at Swingball like a suburban idyll is one this website wants to live in.



There’s no question Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira was one of the *coolest* footballers ever to stroll onto a pitch. He died at the weekend, and being Brazilian, a thinker and a drinker, he’s right up the Guardian’s alley. They pushed the boat out to play tribute to the great man, with Richard Williams chipping in, exhaustive-world-cup-chronicler Brian Glanville writing the obituary and Gavin McOwen’s yarn about getting on the razz with him. There’s also a photo gallery.

Kiwis will remember this, a match from ‘our’ 1982 world cup. The blaring horns, the Tango ball, the overly colourised grainy footage, and those wonderful Brazilians (from when Brazil really were Brazil) that cheerfully humiliated the All Whites and Scotland, before going out to Italy. Socrates scored though – he even appears to run. Sorry Graeme!

One more goal.