Any serious historian will tell you that the pinnacle of Australia’s cultural achievement was when Liz Hurley agreed to marry Shane Warne. Finally we had something we could genuinely be proud of.
There are countless reasons why their love has captivated and inspired a nation, ranging from the superficial to the deeply spiritual. Firstly, obviously, it’s a matter of aesthetics. You only have to take in the bee-stung lips, accentuated cheekbones and thick luscious hair to know that you are looking at one of the world’s great beauties, and it’s fair to say that Liz is pretty good looking too.
Secondly, it is a deep emotional connection. Nothing whispers true love like sending sweet messages of longing to your betrothed for their precious eyes alone, assuming one’s other one million followers are all doing something else at the time.
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Welcome back, Shane. It was like watching the Warnie of old on Sunday night as he let that carefully crafted veneer of calm, cool and collected respectability drop and showed us the competitive animal beneath.
Watching Warne gesticulate wildly at opponents and umpires alike, drop the F word, grab Marlon Samuels’ shirt and then aim a ball at his body was genuinely entertaining stuff.
I haven’t had so much fun watching a quasi-sporting event since Wrestlemania XVI where Triple H defeated The Big Show, Mick Foley and The Rock in a four way elimination match for the title.
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There’s talk today that Shane Warne may return for the Ashes. It’s all speculation and hype, of course. Or is it???
The Punch has today conducted a hard-hitting analysis of photo evidence, and can reveal exclusively that Warne is right on track in his preparations for his midyear assault on the English.
Canny as ever, Warne has undertaken his exhaustive Ashes training in a manner which disguises his true intent. Just as batsmen never knew if he was bowling a leggie or a googly, many people will be fooled and mistake these photos for staged PR shots, paparazzi snaps and twitpics. Not us. These are all evidence of an Ashes training regimen like no other.
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This is not your typical rant of a cyclist against senseless, inconsiderate drivers or a driver against arrogant, lycra-clad cyclists. But don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to rant at the end.
I find myself in a unique position. I cycled a lot – for many years while I was an Olympic rower then a few as a competitive cyclist. I ended up winning the 2009 Tour of New Zealand, then I became the National Time Trial Champion a year later.
But due to a head injury I sustained through a fall at a cycling race at last year’s Tour Down Under, I no longer cycle. And I had to surrender my car licence. I’ve recently been through the medical and practical driving test and have got it back after nine months of not driving.
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Australia’s favourite middle-aged spin bowler proposed to England’s favourite middle-aged model and actor, at a restaurant at the famous St Andrews golf course in Scotland in November. Thus was born the name “Shurley”
OK, so there were bigger, more important issues this year. But in terms of issues that set tongues wagging, both on this website and across Australia, this was a biggie.
The engagement came after just 10 months of dating, and confirmed that Shane Warne is today just about the most famous Australian in any field of public life. Women’s mags completely crapped themselves at the news, while hair replacement therapists and slimming pill suppliers booked expensive holidays in anticipation of years of revenue to come.
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Tiger Woods is one contradictory cat. There’s a human being inside that shell, a living, breathing, joke-cracking, thoughtful guy with all kinds of normal human feelings.
But there’s also a mercenary. A man who this week privately played golf with anonymous Chinese millionaires for huge sums of money. A golfing enthusiast who will rave about Australia’s world class golf courses, and how he wishes America had more courses like ours, then greedily pocket three million for the privilege of playing here.
But if you think Tiger is ruthless in the way he subjugates all dignity in his endless quest to accumulate money, that’s nothing on the way he suppresses his own emotions. At his Tuesday media call at The Lakes Golf Club, which The Punch attended, he didn’t once acknowledge the effect his marital break-up and sex scandal had on his golf game.
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Earlier this week, Liz Hurley tweeted about the nation’s obsession with the movements (or lack thereof) of Shane Warne.
“FYI Slender Shane ate very rare steak and chips for dinner. Hold the Front Page,” she wrote, while totally not attention-seeking at all. She did, however, have a point. Why do we still care about the various boring things Shane Warne does?
No doubt it’s the same obsessive curiosity that saw him land a chat show late last year for no particular reason whatsoever. We seem completely unable to discard our celebrities once their usefulness is at an end – and it’s killing Australian television.
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Matthew Hayden says 50 over cricket is as cooked as a BBQ snapper. In the mind of Shane Warne, it’s as over as his marriage, though he believes it should be resuscitated every four years for the World Cup. 50 over cricket, that is.
Even Cricket Australia is reducing next year’s domestic one day cricket program, after tinkering heavily with the format this year, in the surest sign yet officialdom is downgrading its commitment to one day cricket. That, after it did away with the 12 match triangular series two years ago in favour of a more streamlined summer international 50 over program.
The fact is, 50 over cricket is a game being squeezed out of existence.
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There’s something about Warnie.
A strange thing has happened in recent days while the Australian public has been on Shane Shag Watch, like some pervy roommate busy listening for the tell-tale squeaks of suffering bed springs.
Slowly, disturbingly, the realisation has dawned – we like Warnie. We love Warnie. We LOVE Warnie!
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Is the end nigh?
After all, 100,000 fish have washed up dead in Arkansas; 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell from the sky on New Year’s Eve in the community of Beebe, northeast of Little Rock; 500 dead birds were discovered in Louisiana; 100 jackdaw birds were found lying dead in the street in Sweden; several hundred birds found dead in Kentucky; 100s of dead snapper wash up on a beach in New Zealand; 40,000 dead crabs wash up on the beach in the UK; an estimated 200 fish wash up on the shores in Maryland; 100 tonnes of sardines are found on beaches in Brazil.
Finally, in possibly the strangest turn of events of recent times, North Korean state television broadcast the first ever Western movie to be shown in the dictatorial state- and chose Bend It Like Beckham.
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The third cricket Test starts today. But whether Australia recovers, England continues to stomp its foot on our throat, or a huge meteorite crashes into the WACA, there’s really only one sports story in town.
It’s a story which has spilled well beyond the sports pages, and it shoots off in an exciting new direction each week, enlivening an otherwise flat sporting summer.
The story is of course Shane Warne.
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Shane Warne, bless him, has more than a quarter of a million followers on Twitter, and Liz Hurley just more than 41,000.
Presumably they also have email accounts, mobile phones, postal addresses and numerous other ways to contact each other. But in a generous gift to the public, perhaps inspired by the new openness a la Wikileaks, they carried on their flirtation in full view of anyone with an internet connection.
The day celebrities work out that when they write stuff online people can see it will be a sad day.
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Whether on the cricket field or at the poker table, Shane Warne has never been short of swagger. But last night, in the debut of his chat show “Warnie”, his customary strut was largely missing.
That’s not being harsh. Warne himself admitted “I’ve never been as nervous” at the start of the show. Then at the end, in an out-of-character plea for approval, he asked the studio audience “Did you all enjoy it? Did you have fun?”
For the record, there was indeed fun and enjoyment to be had. But only in patches. The Sheik Of Tweak didn’t reek. But he wasn’t brilliant, either. Let’s break down a few of the main segments in no particular order.
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It’s an analogy that’s been used before but is worth using again, chiefly in the interests of promoting that landmark cinematic work The Naked Gun as an analogy for public life.
One of the best lines in the film – apart from the scene where, during a raid on a sex shop, the lady behind the counter looks at Lieutenant Frank Drebin and says “Oh, Hi Frank” – involves a wayward ballistic missile hitting a fireworks factory and igniting thousands of catherine wheels and flame-spewing rockets in the night sky. As the crowd gathers to watch this marvellous scene Lieutenant Drebin stands in front of the rubber-neckers and says “Show’s over folks, move along, nothing to see here.”
Some years ago when Eric Roozendaal was the state secretary of the NSW Labor Party he suggested that there was an inordinate level of media interest in a story involving Illawarra Labor identity Neville Hilton, a man who can best be described as morally dubious, who when not defending the rights of the working man in the ‘Gong was also the proprietor of the Southern Belles knock-shop in Port Kembla.
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It’s often said journalism is a mirror to the society it serves. Most cricket fans know which of these papers they would prefer to be reading this morning.
At the start of this Ashes series I set out 10 reasons to love the English and said at the time they would take some comfort from being classed as underdogs. But surely, the underdog tag is too kind this time. Beedogs, perhaps.
Anyway, below are some links to previews from English and Australian commentators on this deciding Test, including Shane Warne’s. But if England’s hopes rest on Andrew Flintoff playing a blinder in his final Test match and Australia are counting on Ricky Ponting, I know which side I’d prefer to be on. Share your thoughts, predictions, and sledges in the comments.
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Mitchell Johnson is having a bad month at the office. It happens to all of us, even Australian representative cricketers.
But when the rest of us let the side down at work, we usually can’t get away with blaming our mum.
Kim Hughes and Shane Warne have both said Johnson’s woeful bowling figures of 8 for 331 in the first two Ashes Tests are partly because of his upset over the embarrassing public spat between his mum Vikki Harber and his fiance Jessica Bratich. Oh please.
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From the Budget papers:
The Government is committed to retaining the [Extended Medicare Safety Net]. This demands that the safety net remain sustainable. There is evidence to suggest that excessive growth of fees for obstetrics and other services, such as Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), hair transplants and varicose veins is putting this sustainability at risk.
(I need to be clear that this is not in any way making light of the fact that treatments like IVF are facing a cap. You can read about a child who probably would never have been born had the cap been in place here.)
Step forward, Shane Warne. You have clearly encouraged men of Australia to seek out hair replacement treatments in a way that provides an opportunity to publish this picture again. Warney videos for your viewing pleasure below, too.
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