The King Edward VII Memorial, erected 1920 in Adelaide, Australia, got a cleaning recently. Compare these before and after views of one of Edward's three girlfriends, Peace, Justice, and South Australia. Source.
David Attenborough has successfully prevented the export of two 18th-century paintings of zoological importance. George Stubbs' Kongouro From New Holland and Portrait of a Large Dog contain the first British depictions of a kangaroo and a dingo. The National Marine Museum rounded up a £1.5m donation to buy the canvasses and keep them out of the hands of an overseas buyer. Read about it in the Independent. What the Independent opts not to mention is that the overseas buyer was the National Gallery of Australia. Read about it in the Sydney Morning Herald. Goddamn English.
Minor planet 5277 Brisbane is shown here against its namesake Brisbane, Queensland. (Brisbane Times.) The city of Brisbane is named after colonial administrator and astronomer SIr Thomas Brisbane, who was born near Largs, Scotland, a connection that recently drew Mark Rigby, curator of the Brisbane Planetarium, to Largs for an interview with the Wee Paper.
Hockey's over for another year ... in the northern hemisphere! Luckily there's sport-crazy Australia and the Australian Ice Hockey League to bridge the gap till '07-'08. "Hockey in Australia!" you object. "That's worse than hockey in Florida! Nobody who calls hockey ice hockey should be playing it!" Except that they've been at it for a hundred years. Ice Hockey Australia, formerly the Australian Ice Hockey Federation, celebrates its centenary in 2008. The AIHL season is at its mid-point, so now's a good time to check up on the Brisbane Blue Tongues, one of a select group of hockey teams worldwide named for a lizard. (The Tucson Gila Monsters played two seasons in the '90s in the old West Coast Hockey League.)
There are two kinds of teams in the AIHL: those that use Australian players exclusively, and those that begin the season with a short bench and hope to pick up some imports as the leagues in the northern hemisphere wrap up. The Blue Tongues are one of the latter group. Consequently they started the season with four straight losses. To make matters worse they were one of three clubs to be penalized points for icing imports before their transfer paperwork was done, which put them temporarily in negative numbers in the standings. The player in question was Finnish goalie Jani Pekkarinen, a former Lahti Pelican. Since April the Blue Tongues have moved up to the middle of the table with the help of scorers Matt Amado and Martin Paquet.
The Blue Tongues don't appear to have any affiliation with Blue Tongue Brewery, which is too bad, because the Australian beermaker has a better logo, and because it would put the Blue Tongues into another select group, teams named after beers, like the Halifax Mooseheads and Moncton Alpines.
I've just discovered the Australian Ice Hockey League. I'd link to their website but it seems to be down. (Look, I resisted the obvious pun.) But here's my new team: the Brisbane Blue Tongues. The blue tongue is a variety of local lizard. Brisbane is the only team out of eight with an authentically Australian nickname, so they get my support. They're an expansion team and wear blue and green. The AIHL season runs from April to September, which means I won't have to spend another summer trying to care about the Blue Jays. Hockey, hockey, hockey all the time. I knew there must be a good reason for living on a globe. There are all sorts of stories in this league. They play for a trophy called the Goodall Cup, which is not a bad name for a championship trophy, and which claims to be older than any other hockey hardware but Stanley and Allan. The Swiss might have an argument with that. I'll check into it. Australia is ranked about 40th in the hockey universe, roughly equal to Great Britain, which means the level of play will be approximately ECHL. Likely half the players will be Australian, the other half imports, mainly Canadians. So there are lots of where-are-they-now stories. For example, Rob Zamuner played for Brisbane last year. There's a 28-game schedule, followed by a quick playoff around Labour Day.
This may be the straw that forces Heather to make me spin off a separate hockey blog.