Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Aussies in the Majors

Aussies in the Majors back cover description
In his latest book, Nicholas R.W. Henning moves from baseball fiction to a true journey of discovery. Through American contacts developed over the years, the author tracks down Australian players currently honing their talents and aiming for the Majors; he also meets a fascinating range of people connected with professional baseball: players, administrators, broadcasters and fans. Henning’s meetings with Australian players reveal how they adapt to living far from home and playing in the back-blocks of the country, always hoping that their big day will come. The author’s interviews provide insights into the motivations and backgrounds of these talented and determined young players.

In the final section of the book, the author takes a critical yet affectionate look at Australian baseball today and how it might develop in the future. He acknowledges the largely unsung giants of the local game, including those pioneers who were the first to play professionally in the US. His analysis includes a number of practical suggestions for nurturing a game which has endured too many booms and busts in its long history in Australia. Through the accounts of his travels and his critical but constructive survey of the local game shines a constant theme: Henning’s deep love for the game and his remarkable knowledge of it.

Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Aussies in the Majors and also available from United States Amazon

Boomerang Baseball

Boomerang Baseball back cover description
Trent McKnight grew up dreaming that baseball would take him all the way to “The Show” - the Major Leagues in the United States. Instead, baseball and a love of sport in general gave him an anchor whenever his life needed stability, even when he had turned his back on the game he loved. He grew up in affluence, part of a close family and attending good schools. Yet Trent discovered that life has ways of challenging the comfortable lifestyle and calling into question easily-held beliefs. When the dreams fade and you resort to lies in order to hide your shortcomings, where do you turn? For Trent, the answer lay in the foundations he laid at school and in baseball: his friends and mentors.

In Boomerang Baseball, Nicholas R.W. Henning explores in autobiographical style the trials and triumphs of Trent’s life. It is an insightful and honest story of obsession, disappointment and determination. As he grows up, Trent’s belief in himself is challenged by bullying, self-doubt and failure. But his life is also shared by family and friends who support him in darker moments. And always close to the centre of his life is baseball, the sport which wounds him but also provides him with the opportunities to succeed. On the surface this is a simple story of growing up, but Trent McKnight’s experiences will resonate with many readers, sports fans or not.

Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Boomerang Baseball and also available from United States Amazon

The Tourist

The Tourist back cover description
Alexander Nicholson had it all, yet he had nothing. His life had been one of privilege and opening doors, of love and comfort. Much was expected of Alex Nicholson, but there was little to admire about him. He enjoyed all that a man could desire, but beneath the smooth, confident sheen, he lived by lies. And when the good life began to disintegrate around him, Alex knew that only when he discovered himself could he really be at peace.

So began Alex’s odyssey. His journey would take him around the world and deep into his own past and his soul. And, despite his shallowness and self-indulgence, his travels produce glimpses of a better man.

In The Tourist, Nicholas R.W. Henning draws a stark portrait of a man whose failings are astonishingly apparent, but whose struggle to face down his life of deception and betrayal and uncover his past draws the reader into a desperate and revealing world.

The shocking and painful truth behind Alexander Nicholson is unravelled by a sharply observant author, whose spare style creates vivid images of both characters and places. From Saigon to Barcelona, Alex struggles with his own hollowness. His experiences are confronting but finally, in a Pacific paradise, he begins to understand some essential truths. However, it is only at home that he can really come to terms with his own mysterious past. So begins the most shattering stage of Alexander Nicholson’s journey.

Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Tourist and also available from United States Amazon

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento back cover description
Meet Damian Hughes, an Australian with real talent in the American game. Meet his formative years, meet his loves, his hopes… his dreams. In lots of ways, the boy Damian has a pretty normal upbringing in suburban middle Australia. However, he finds out that he has more than just the blessings of living near the beach, an active childhood and a caring, stable family. Spotted by a US baseball talent scout, this young man is thrown more money than he’d ever dreamt of, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento documents the memoirs of this determined and grounded man, as he seeks to make it to the Major League, the pinnacle of baseball. He encounters many special people on his journey, all of which add to the tapestry of his tale. These people and the various situations that Damian finds himself in may draw smiles and tears alike. Meet Damian Hughes and this story that will resonate with those who dream dreams, and indeed, those who chase them.

Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento and also available from United States Amazon

Brennan Cooper

Brennan Cooper back cover description
Stock market trader Brennan Cooper discovers that the dating game is an investment, which is a volatile risk. Well-intended towards meaningful relationships he is presented with circumstances which at times throw into question his own values. Tempted by lust, the distinction between deep and shallow relationships becomes an indistinguishable proposition. The gradual decaying of Brennan’s self-confidence clouds his perspective towards life, and alcohol abuse presents itself as a means to dilute the elements of his life he cannot bear. Standing precariously between ruin and a path to recovery his life must go on, but which way will it go?

Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Brennan Cooper and also available from United States Amazon

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a drama fantasy film enriched with an enchanting story of love and adventure. It is a unique account of reverse aging where Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) is born with elderly characteristics and comes to know Daisy Fuller (Cate Blanchett) at the nursing home he lives at with his adoptive parents who are on the staff there, and where Daisy visits her grandmother who is a resident. Pitt and Blanchett have inherent screen chemistry which sees them teamed up again having previously starred together in the 2006 film Babel. The narrative is multilayered with both Daisy and Benjamin having their own tangents yet they come together and shift apart at several junctions in the movie. It is a unique film that is very satisfying with a masterfully constructed story. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Descendants

The Descendants is a comedy-drama genre film where the lives of the King family is shoved into a state of disarray following the critical injury of Elizabeth King, who is the wife of Matt (George Clooney) and mother to Alex and Scottie. The tragedy of Elizabeth's injury brings the King family together and suddenly Matt has to urgently reassess his priorities. Despite their mother's injury the children like any youths are experiencing a confusing stage in their lives and Matt is forced to find caring and leadership skills, which he for years has avoided. Matt already has his hands full as the sole trustee of a family trust, which has ownership of 25,000 pristine acres of land on the island of Kaua'i and also his normal job as a lawyer. The narrative is very much focused on a collective path of discovery and transition for Matt King and his daughters, which is at times tragic, humorous and satisfying for the viewer. Matt's ultimate decision regarding the family trust is influenced by his grief experience, but more so by the clarity he receives after assessing his life. George Clooney provides a solid performance as Matt King with a convincing screen presence and the entire cast present as unique and interesting characters. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Descendants.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a captivating drama thriller film centred on solving the Vanger Family secrets. Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a journalist and magazine co-owner who is disgraced by a dubious unfavourable court ruling, but despite negative headlines he is hired by Henrik Vanger, after a process of meticulous due diligence, to try and solve the disappearance of Henrik's niece Harriet whilst masquerading as writing Vanger memoirs. Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is presented as a highly troubled young adult, but is actually a talented investigator with special computer hacking and research skills. Her demeanour is icy cold and at times vicious, yet this is simply a shield of protection from the abuse she has suffered. At first Blomkvist learns of her as a faceless person who hacked into his life at the request of Henrik Vanger's security advisor, yet Salander and Blomkvist come together as research partners. The mystery of Harriet becomes their project and they uncover the shocking truth at the risk of their own safety. Rooney Mara gives an explosive performance as Lisbeth Salander, and Daniel Craig is warm yet quite steely as Mikael Blomkvist. The entire cast present unique and convincing characters. The film is at times graphic and contains themes which may dislodge some viewers from their seat, with a sensational narrative that engages the viewer in a search for the truth. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter follows the story of three friends who volunteer to join the U.S. Army and serve in the Vietnam War. Michael Vronsky, played by Robert De Niro, is the central character of the film and of the trio he is the only one to return home to some normality. However, Michael is a different man to the one that left for war. It is the shattered lives of these men that provide a moving and tragic narrative. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Deer Hunter.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The World's Fastest Indian

The World's Fastest Indian is the story of speed record breaking motorcyclist Burt Munro. Anthony Hopkins was well cast for the role of Munro and his New Zealand accent was reasonably convincing, which is often regarded as a difficult accent to impersonate. Munro's tenacity to ride on the Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week in Utah was inspiring as just getting his Indian Motorcycle from New Zealand to America was a massive effort. His improvisation of his Indian appeared crude to safety inspectors, yet his ingenuity made it a record breaker! The film contains many enjoyable and humorous scenes and it is pleasing Munro's achievements are well documented in this movie. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The World's Fastest Indian.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America is the story of neighbourhood friends who take a youthful interest in crime to adulthood. As a unit they are loyal and formidable, but it is greed and ruthlessness which causes great treachery, yet the perfect plan to take all doesn't fool the most astute of the group. It is the realisation that David "Noodles" Aaronson has been outplayed which provides for a surprising conclusion.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

They Died with their Boots On

They Died with their Boots On is a positive depiction of George Armstrong Custer and many of his military exploits. Errol Flynn represents Custer with natural exuberance and appears in his element as the famous cavalry commander. Historically there are some mixed opinions of Custer's character and military strategy. This film does convey him as at times taking some reckless risks and not respecting authority, but on the other hand he is displayed as a determined leader, with initiative in battle and a gentlemanly disposition towards people regardless of their status. It is important to acknowledge that in war decisions are made where the odds of success can be slim and whilst the unnecessary loss of life is tragic, history proves that it is human nature to sometimes take excessive risks for the sake of battlefield victory. This film certainly confirms that duty and camaraderie is the most valuable currency in war.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Terrific Travis Blackley

Australian left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley (pictured above) has capped off his 2012 regular season with a win against the hard hitting Texas Rangers. The Aussie pitching duo consisting of Blackley and Grant Balfour are off to the playoffs as members of an Oakland A's team, which has proven that massive team payrolls doesn't buy wins, and the potential of wise Moneyball is no fluke. Both Aussies have made valuable contributions toward the success of the club, yet Blackley's season has been enjoyable and inspiring to watch. He finished the regular season with six wins and four losses and an earned run average of 4.10, pitching a total of 107.2 innings. Blackley has confirmed that he is right at home in the Majors, and his confidence appears to grow with each challenge he is presented with.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Liam Hendriks wins

West Australian right handed pitcher Liam Hendriks (pictured above) has recorded his first Major League win. The Minnesota Twins starting pitcher claimed his maiden victory against the Cleveland Indians, at Progressive Field, on September 19. He pitched six quality innings, giving up two hits, two earned runs, and he struck out two batters. The final score was Twins six Indians four, and Hendriks has further confirmed his potential. Since going toe to toe with Seattle Mariners pitching ace Felix Hernandez, on August 27, where Hendriks pitched a complete game, his confidence has grown which has helped provide him with a well deserved win.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Matthew Nable

During the late 1990s Australian actor and writer Matthew Nable (pictured above) came to my attention as the older brother of former Balmain Tiger super utility Adam Nable. After playing some stints of first grade rugby league Matthew put his sporting skills towards boxing, and it was a public announcement by Adam that Matthew was competing for an amateur title, which etched Matthew to my memory. He would prove to be a forerunner in a trend of rugby league players to make a transition to boxing, yet it was news that Matthew had written and would be starring in the 2007 Australian Rugby League film The Final Winter, which came as quite a surprise to me. I would later learn that Matthew had given up a steady sales job to concentrate on writing, and he has since had books published. The Final Winter was a decent first major offering, but it has been Matthew's evolution as an absorbing actor on Australian drama programs such as East West 101, Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms, and Underbelly Badness, which has confirmed him as a notable rising talent. He also appeared in the action film Killer Elite. Matthew's journey to date demonstrates that the pathway towards establishing a career in film, television or as a writer can be achieved with an unfaltering desire to bring creative works to life, and to learn from every opportunity. His success is a shining credit to his determined will and continued efforts.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Simon Whitfield Olympian

Canadian triathlete Simon Whitfield (pictured above) was his nations flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, participating in his fourth Olympics. Whitfield's London Olympics came to an unfortunate end when he came off his bike and was unable to complete the event. Yet Whitfield's contribution to the sport is highly commendable as he won the first triathlon gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Whitfield has Australian heritage and he attended high school in Sydney. He lived for a time in the suburb of Hornsby, and he graduated three years ahead of me at Knox Grammar School in 1994. We also lived in the same complex of town houses on Cecil Road in Hornsby for a short while. Whitfield was a natural athlete then and trying to compete with him in sport was always a one sided result to him, but it was still fun testing my sporting skills against his even if it meant always losing. He said to me with earnest back in 1994 that it was his goal to win gold in triathlon at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and to see him do it was inspiring and magnificent. Whilst Whitfield's London campaign didn't go as planned, he is a four time Olympian, and he'll always be a sporting hero to me and many others.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oranges and Sunshine

Oranges and Sunshine is a drama film based on the work of English social worker Margaret Humphreys who discovers the practice of British child deportation to Australia and Canada. Many of the children were sent to Australia following World War II and up until the early 1990s. These children often came from single parent homes or circumstances where their parents had difficulty supporting a family, and the children were placed in temporary government care, but unknown to their parents and relatives the children were sent overseas. This practice became known as the "Home Children" scandal. The narrative exposes the misrepresentation of a new and wonderful life that the children were promised in Australia and how both the British and Australian Governments coordinated the activity, which wasn't disclosed to the public whilst the deportations were taking place. The film draws attention to the lives that the children faced in Australia and the tenacious efforts of Humphreys to help them try and find resolution. It is a quality movie with an impressive cast of British and Australian actors. Emily Watson (Margaret Humphreys), Hugo Weaving (Jack), and David Wenham (Len) provide a moving performance. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Oranges and Sunshine.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Brad Thomas makes history

Left handed pitcher Brad Thomas (pictured above) has become the first Australian to have played: Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, to participate in the Korean Baseball Organization, and Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League. Thomas is currently on the Brother Elephants team in the CPBL. He also played in the ABL during the 2011 / 2012 season for the Sydney Blue Sox. Thomas has a wealth of experience and with the 2013 World Baseball Classic approaching he could certainly complement Team Australia's pitching staff.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liam Hendriks has record breaking potential

Australian right handed pitcher Liam Hendriks (pictured above) could break every Australian Major League Baseball pitching record. Hendriks made his major league debut on September 6, 2011 at the age of 22. He started 2012 on the Twins major league roster and is currently playing AAA, yet it is clear that his rating as one of the Twins best pitching prospects is well deserved. Within two seasons Hendriks went from the Twins High A Ball team Fort Myers to playing in the majors. Proof that Hendriks is continuing to develop at a fast rate is clear when comparing his AAA statistics from 2011 to 2012. In 2011 he had four wins and four losses, with an ERA of 4.56 over 49.1 innings pitched, and he only walked three batters. So far in 2012 he has three wins and no losses, and an ERA of 2.93 over 30.2 innings pitched. Hendriks' ability to continue to adapt to higher levels of baseball certainly indicates that it is just a matter of time before he finds his feet in the majors. Whilst many Australian baseball pitching records have been set by relievers Grant Balfour and Graeme Lloyd, as a starting pitcher Hendriks could set many new records for Australia, and his career is one which appears to contain enormous potential.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Travis Blackley: Aussie Oakland A

Australian pitcher Travis Blackley was selected off waivers from the San Francisco Giants by the Oakland Athletics on May 15, 2012 making him the fourth Aussie to appear on the A's active roster for 2012. He made his debut for the A's on May 18 against the Giants in the Inter-league Bay Area Series. In six innings of work between May 18 - May 22 he didn't concede an earned run. He made his first pitching start for the A's on May 28 against the Minnesota Twins where he pitched five innings, struck out three batters, and gave up one earned run for a non-decision. Blackley is certainly making a good impression with the A's and his start against the Twins further confirms his ability to make a valuable contribution to the team. Given the number of Aussies within the A's Organisation it is possible that more Australian Baseball History could be made as the season further unfolds. One exciting thought is Blackley starting on the mound, relieved by Richard Thompson, and Grant Balfour closing out the game, with Luke Hughes playing on the infield.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds is a fictional World War II film. To date it is Quentin Tarantino's highest-grossing movie. The film narrative boldly shifts away from the norm of factually based WWII pictures and presents a story where the war could potentially end by aiming to assassinate the entire German High Command. The story is multilayered and represents several points of views. The cast is loaded with personalities who are absorbing and Christoph Waltz's portrayal of SD Colonel Hans Landa is marvelous. On one hand Landa appears gentle and compassionate and on the other he is cold, ferocious and without a glimmer of mercy. Some viewers might be unsettled by a few violent scenes but any true admirer of Tarantino's work will feel right at home. Shot in France and Germany the cinematography is fantastic and it is a unique movie loaded with great scenes. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Inglourious Basterds.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a comedy-drama film with an all-star British cast. The story follows seven retirees who are drawn to an Indian hotel that accommodates the elderly, and most of the group is single. They all have their own reasons as to why they are departing Britain, and as the narrative unfolds it becomes clear that they are seeking new beginnings and resolution from the past. The characters have well defined personalities which are strongly conveyed by acclaimed actors. The cast includes: Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, and Dev Patel. The movie allows the viewer to appreciate that the challenges of life can push people out of their comfort zones, yet it is still possible to find a place that is peaceful and enlightening by daring to search for it. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Welcome back to the show Travis Blackley

Left-handed Aussie pitcher Travis Blackley (pictured above) has earned a major league roster spot with the San Francisco Giants having last played at this level with the Giants in 2007. Since then he has pitched in the minors within the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Mets, and Athletics Organisations. He has also spent time south of the boarder playing in Mexico and back in Australia for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League. In 2011 he pitched for the KIA Tigers in the Korean Baseball Organization and it is possible that the stability of spending the whole season with the Tigers has contributed to Blackley having some of the best form of his career. He entered Giants Spring Training fresh from the ABL and it certainly appears that he is in fine touch with an ERA of 0.39 whilst pitching for AAA team Fresno. Blackley’s return to the majors is a credit to his pitching skills and baseball tenacity. I wish him great success.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Aussie Oakland Athletics

During the last week the Oakland Athletics Baseball Club has gone from having one Australian on their major league roster to three, as the A's General Manager Billy Beane is playing some wise "Moneyball" with Aussies. Richard Thompson joins the bullpen from the Angels and Luke Hughes comes to the team from the Twins, and is a possible contender for the starting third base job. Grant Balfour joined the A's in 2011 and he is currently the closing pitcher for the team. This will result in the total number of Australians to have played for the A's, to date, to be four with Chris Snelling having played there for part of the 2007 season. The A's will certainly be followed closely by the baseball faithful in Australia.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Moneyball

Moneyball is based on true events, and provides valuable insight regarding the on-field and off-field dynamics of the Oakland A's Major League Baseball Club. This film has the capacity to engage viewers who are familiar or unfamiliar with the sport, based on the avant-garde approach to managing resources that is utilised by Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), which any person in business can appreciate. The narrative is also inspiring, as the viewer is presented with what seems like impossible circumstances for the A's to be successful, yet through innovative thinking high performance is achieved. Brad Pitt provides a solid performance, as does the entire cast, and the viewer is entertained with plenty of humour and quality drama. This movie is a win for baseball, as it has the capacity to introduce new people to the game from all over the world. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Moneyball.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Week with Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn is a biographical film that focuses on Marilyn Monroe starring in the movie The Prince and the Showgirl, which was shot in England. The story is based on two books by British filmmaker Colin Clark (played by Eddie Redmayne) who had personal interaction with Monroe, and much of the film's narrative is from the point of view of Clark, who is warm and likeable. Michelle Williams is exceptional as Monroe, and she presents with shining glamour and captures the vulnerability of Monroe's personality with poignant authenticity. It is a credit to director Simon Curtis that he chose to make a film about Monroe, which focuses on an extract of her life and career, yet he was able to capture so many facets of the Monroe brand and persona without attempting to make a movie of her whole life. This is too often an overambitious target of filmmakers to pack a life into one film, but the selection of a set period of time was a masterstroke by Curtis, which allowed for deeper immersion of Monroe over a short period of time. The viewer is easily enchanted by the beauty and complexity of Monroe, and Clark is a faithful friend and servant to her, who gets to see the person behind the star. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of My Week with Marilyn.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sex Tourism


A book review by Ella Campana.

Sex Tourism is a topic which does not sit well with the average Australian. The idea of readily undertaking costly and time consuming travel for the expressed purpose of sleeping with exotic foreign prostitutes is not one which most people would like to admit they have considered, let alone done. This is in stark contrast to commentators such as Shane Brown of the website "Have Pack, Will Travel" who point toward the growing number of western "Sex Tourists" and "Sex-Pats" and their insatiable appetite for easy, cheap, no-strings-attached sex which is driving the booming sex trade in Asia and beyond.

Enter Nicholas R.W. Henning's book, "The Tourist". Upon reading the initial premise of the book I was sceptical that such a novel could hold my interest without leaving a slightly sour taste in my mouth. The idea of a man who "redeems himself" by sleeping with often unregulated, almost underage street prostitutes sounded implausible at best and at worst propaganda for illegal sex trafficking. I am happy to say my initial misgivings were completely and utterly misguided.

"The Tourist" tells the story of Alexander Nicholson, a man thrust into extreme privilege by his own mysterious adoption shortly after birth. Nicholson proves to be an antihero in the truest sense and we are privy to both his blessed early life and the often selfish choices which ultimately lead to his downfall and redemption. Henning's characterisation is masterful and the reader is left with a sense of warm fondness towards a man whose actions should make him for the most part universally despised.

Henning's real strength lies though in the way he is able to tactfully and vividly describe the reality of Sex Tourism. Not only are we brought into the rich world of each exotic location but through Nicholson we are able to gain real insight into the psych of the Sex Tourist. Nicholson's feelings towards the women he beds and what is stirred in him towards those he has left at home prove to be equally compelling and humanise what could have been a one dimensional character. In a sense sex is secondary to the bleak emotional reality of Nicholson's self-made situation.

What is perhaps most surprising about "The Tourist", however, is the way in which each strand of the narrative intertwines. We are equally invested in Nicholson as a guilt driven son, antagonistic husband, failed lawyer and careless father. It is through his world journey that we are able to unpack each failing along with Nicholson to repair each relationship towards establishing the startling truth about his biological heritage.

I strongly recommend "The Tourist" for casual readers who enjoy interesting character driven narratives but more so I recommend "The Tourist" for those readers who might be initially repulsed by the subject matter. This is not your ordinary take on sex tourism and what you lose in inhibition you may just gain in understanding. I know I did.

Please refer to these links to purchase a copy of The Tourist, cheapest seller.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baseball Culture

Baseball is the same game wherever it is played around the world, yet it is local brands of baseball culture that make it unique internationally. Culture is the foundation of any civilisation and baseball games often present fans with unique game day experiences, which can include: war cries, team songs, club history, and local popular music. The Australian Baseball League has completed its second season of its new format, with the Perth Heat winning back to back ABL Championships. From season one fans of ABL club's across Australia quickly developed their own war cries, but what is missing is team songs. It would be fantastic if the ABL started a competition to encourage fans to write lyrics for team songs, and fans could vote for their favourites. ABL culture continues to grow with each season that passes, and this is an attribute of the game that helps give baseball in Australia its own brand.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snowtown

Snowtown is a film adaptation of the South Australian Snowtown / Bodies in Barrels murders. The narrative mainly follows the perspective of teenager James Spyridon Vlassakis (played by Aaron Viergever), who comes from a broken and abusive home. Vlassakis and his mother are befriended by John Justin Bunting (played by Daniel Henshall) who at first appears friendly, but is a sadistic psychopath who maintains the trust of James Vlassakis, which contributes to James becoming an aid and witness to the spree of murders. The mood of this film is continuously morose with murky cinematography that perpetuates an unhinged perspective, and the film music is disconcerting, which adds to the feeling of bleakness. The narrative to this film may cause some viewers to feel disorientated by its at times unprompted flow of events, yet this allows the viewer to understand that Bunting and Robert Joe Wagner (played by Lucas Pittaway) are driven by views and emotions that are perplexing to those of rational mind. Daniel Henshall's performance as Bunting displays ferocious energy with misplaced smiles, and looks of satisfaction as life departs from the bodies of tortured victims. Viewers should take some caution before watching this film to ensure that they are prepared for a movie that might knock them off their seats with shock and uneasiness. However, it is the story of twelve brutal murders and the viewer is certainly taken there by this film. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Snowtown.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stuart Beattie: Australian film director and screenwriter

Aussie Stuart Beattie (pictured above) has established himself as a notable film director and screenwriter. Over the last 15-years he has accumulated many impressive credits for screenwriting, which includes: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Collateral, Australia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Tomorrow, When the War Began, which he also directed. Beattie delivered a polished and exciting adaptation of John Marsden's novel Tomorrow, When the War Began. The excellent shot selection and cinematography captured so much beauty of the Australian landscape, and the performance of the entire cast delivered a strong and authentic screen presence. It was also pleasing that the Australian persona was accurately conveyed with local terms and slang as part of the film dialogue. The action and adventure narrative is presented with dazzling colour and quality special effects. It is fantastic that a world renowned Australian novel has made it to the screen, and I commend Beattie for supporting Australian Literature and the Australian Film Industry with this great movie. Please refer to this link to purchase a copy of Tomorrow, When the War Began.

For all my books please refer to these links:

Brennan Cooper

The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento

The Tourist

Boomerang Baseball

Aussies in the Majors

Aussie Baseball Musings

Henning's Story from 1979 to 1999: A Memoir of Ideas and Inspirations

Aussie World Baseball Classic Experiences from 2006 to 2017

All books also available from United States Amazon