The Best Cricket Betting Sites for 2020 - UK´s Top Online ...
Read a post recently about how good the social media handling of the Xbox brand is and Xbox UK proved it too. This is making rounds in the cricketing world and I can't wait for Archer to get his hands on a new Xbox. For context, Joffra Archer took on Xbox's bet to get David Warner out and followed t
FIRE and Kids – The cost of raising children in Australia
This post has been inspired by this recent podcast featuring three of the biggest names in the Aussie FIRE blogging community, and the follow on discussions in the Aussie Firebug Facebook group about how much it costs to raise kids in Australia. As all three acknowledge they don’t have kids so it’s not something they really have any experience with. As someone who has two young kids I thought it would be useful to write about it from my perspective. Obviously my situation isn’t the same as everyone else’s, there are plenty of people who would be horrified with how much we’ve spent, and others who would wonder how we manage to spend so little. Everyone’s situation is different, so what works for my family wouldn’t necessarily work or others. My oldest child has only just started school this year so I can’t really speak from experience beyond the 0-5yo age range, but I’ll talk through some of the typical costs, what we have and haven’t spent money on so far, and what we’re anticipating in the future. The costs people actually talk about The first two things that almost always come up when people start talking about the cost of babies are prams and carseats. Yes, you can spend a lot of money on these things if you want to, prams in particular. From a quick look at Baby Bunting the most expensive pram there is nearly 3 thousand dollars, and I’m betting that with a few accessories you can easily get over that mark. No, you do not need to spend that much on a pram. Yes you can probably pick one up on the cheap from Kmart or Target etc for well under a hundred bucks, but it’s probably not going to be as sturdy or hold much of the gear you take with you. Happily a pram is also the sort of thing where you can pretty easily and safely pick one up secondhand or get a hand me down from someone else. We bought a Babyzen Yoyo, which is basically a small sized pram although it still has enough storage room for us. It folds up so that you can take it on a plane as carry on luggage, is quite light, extremely maneuverable and very sturdy. I’ve taken it running plenty of times, it’s even got a Parkrun PB of 22:06! This thing is absolutely gold. Unfortunately it’s priced as though it’s made of it as well. There wasn’t an option to get one second hand because it had only just been released so we had to pay full whack. I think we spent over a thousand dollars on it including all the accessories and the lie flat and sit up seats etc. It was worth every cent. It’s been going for 5 years and 2 kids and is still in great shape, we’ve never had a problem with it at all. My wife tells me it is one of the best things I have ever bought her, although we both use it obviously. And at the end of the day a one off cost of $1,000 for us as a family is going to have basically zero impact on when we hit FIRE. Plugging the numbers into a compound interest calculator and using 7% annual return over 30 years I miss out on $8,000, which is about a month worth of returns on my target portfolio. I can live with delaying retirement one month for about 5 cumulative years of having a really good pram that works great for us. Similarly you can spend a fair chunk of money on car seats. This is one of those things that I wouldn’t want to get second hand because you can’t see if they’ve been broken or not and safety is a huge priority for us and presumably everyone else. Happily car seats don’t tend to cost that much, you can pick one up for a couple hundred bucks or less pretty easily. If you do that it tends to be one for a much shorter age range, say 0-2yrs whereas I think you can get ones which will take your kid from 0-8 but they cost a lot more. In any case per kid you’re probably looking at a thousand bucks total, and this could easily be a lot less. Again it’s not going to make any appreciable different to us reaching FIRE. So as easy as it is to point at this sort of stuff as being ridiculously expensive and over priced etc, it’s really not going to make much of a difference to most people. Sure you don’t want to spend any more money than you have to, but you also want to make sure you’re getting something that works for you. The other one off costs There are also a bunch of one off costs for babies and young kids like cots, beds, mattresses, baby carriers etc. From what I’ve been told you want to buy a baby mattress new, but that’s only about a hundred bucks at Target, potentially cheaper elsewhere. We have an Ikea cot which cost about the same, you could easily get one second hand or likely for free just by asking around your friends who will probably be delighted to get it out of their house. Some people do co-sleeping in which case you don’t need the cot and mattress although you may like to kid yourself that your baby will actually sleep in their own bed, maybe even through the night. It’s nice to pretend sometimes! As kids get older you’ll need a proper bed for them, again you can probably pick this up second hand pretty cheap and a mattress can be easily had for a couple hundred bucks. So none of these things are really going to have much of an impact so long as you’re a decent saver already. The big costs you see When you don’t have kids it can be great to live in a studio flat or one bedroom apartment in the inner city close to all the bars and restaurants and all the rest of it. You can stay in your local area and have plenty to keep you entertained, there is probably a supermarket nearby and plenty of public transport so you may not need a car either. Once you have kids, it’s likely going to be a different story as your priorities change. It may be that you’re happy renting with kids, but lots of people tend to prioritise stability and security when they have kids and that means owning your own home in most cases. I’m not saying everyone will want this, but a lot of people will. So now that you have kids you almost certainly want a second bedroom and if you’re planning on having more kids maybe a third or fourth etc. Obviously kids can share bedrooms for a while at least but sooner or later they will probably want their own space, as will you. You’ll also be wanting parks with playgrounds nearby and somewhere you can easily take your kids for a walk or kick a football around, ideally in a good school district which can add a couple hundred thousand dollars to the cost all by itself if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne. And if you want to live somewhere cheaper but send the kids to a good private school, well that can cost anywhere from the low thousands to multiple tens of thousands per year. Similarly if you didn’t have a car before, you will very likely want one now. I’ve mentioned before that we drive a base model Corolla which works just fine for us so far, but you’re still probably looking at $20k plus if you buy one new, mid teens if you want one used. If you want an SUV or a luxury model car, be prepared to fork out a lot more. In the same vein if you were previously going on lots of holidays and plan to keep doing so, well you now have at least one more plane ticket to buy, might need a bigger hotel room etc. As I talked about in this post about big ticket items, that all comes at a real cost. We bought land and built a house, so I can say that we spent roughly $100,000 more on that than we would have otherwise. The ongoing costs There are also a bunch of ongoing costs for kids as well. They need to be fed, they need clothes and shoes, they need medicine, and a bunch of other stuff that costs money. I wrote here about a bunch of things that we do to keep costs down, but the reality is that you still have to fork over a decent chunk of change. On top of all that contrary to what you might have been told public school is not free, there are a bunch of things that you have to chip in for here as well. We’re not at the stage that we’re forking out a fortune in extra utility bills etc but we certainly use the washing machine a lot more than we would if we didn’t have kids, there are extra lights and tvs etc on so there are extra costs there as well. There are also a bunch of extra items that you don’t really need to spend, but probably will. For us this includes stuff like swimming lessons, some sports like AusKick (AFL) and Junior Blasters (cricket), occasionally taking them to a theme park or zoo etc. They also get birthday and Christmas presents, and if they get invited to other kids parties they take a store bought gift with them. The above is about what I think our 5yo costs us at the moment based on our spending, our 2yo is probably about two thirds of that due mostly to her not eating as much and not getting swimming lessons yet, as well as not being in school or doing sports. I’ve left the holiday line blank because this is hugely variable. Last year we did a trip to the UK and it probably cost us about $3,000 extra between the two of them, next time it will be another couple thousand dollars more because the youngest one will need her own seat rather being on someone’s lap for the flights. So our spending for our eldest is about two thirds of the costs quoted in this article for a 6yo girl, I would assume that apart from a boy maybe eating a bit more the costs should be fairly similar. The main difference compared to our costs seem to be education and transport. Also, it was somewhat shocking to me just how expensive swimming lessons are! This is actually at our local council aquatic centre and is the cheapest in town. We do get to use the pool whenever we want, but that only tends to be once or twice a week at most. At least the lessons will hopefully only be for a few years for each child, although after that we may be forking out for something else instead. The hidden cost of kids The biggest cost is often actually one that doesn’t show up as an expense, the opportunity cost of one parent giving up paid employment entirely for a while or doing part time hours (I’ve used the phrase giving up paid employment here because looking after kids and a house is definitely work!). If we say that you’re giving up a full time paid job that’s at minimum wage of roughly $20 an hour for 40 hours a week, 48 weeks a year, then that’s $38,400 a year ($33,605 after tax and medicare levy) that the family is giving up for however long this goes on for. If you’d otherwise be earning more than that, then the opportunity cost each year is even higher. On top of that there is the hit to your career and future earnings, because those are definitely going to be impacted as well. If you’ve got two kids that are separated by two or three years and you as a family want a parent at home until they go to school, well that’s 7 or 8 years of missing out on that money which works out as around $250k based on a full time minimum wage job. I’m pretty hopeful that my wife would be earning more than minimum wage as well so for us it’s even more than that. On the plus side, she gets to spend more time with the kids although that probably feels like a mixed blessing some of the time! Alternatively if both parents want to keep working then there will likely be childcare costs for the first 4 or 5 years and then before and after school care, as well as missing out on spending time with their kids. Because we haven’t gone down this route I don’t know exactly how much it costs, I do hear plenty of stories about it being $100 a day minimum around where I live and it’s a lot more in capital cities. There are subsidies available for this, but you can pretty easily be spending tens of thousands each year on childcare while they’re young and then once they’re old enough before and after school care. You may be lucky enough to have grandparents or other family nearby that are happy to help out with this if they live nearby, but that won’t apply to everyone and it’s unlikely to reduce the cost entirely. The costs that are yet to come At the moment our kids are still young and fairly inexpensive. Between the two of them they tend to eat roughly what a grown adult eats, but from what I’ve been told that will change fairly dramatically as they get older. They’ll need new clothes more frequently, more shoes, potentially play more sports, go on more school excursions, you get the idea. Education could be another factor. There is a public high school that will be built in the next few years quite close by, and assuming that it’s decent our kids will likely be going there. But if it’s not, then we’ll have to look into private schools which can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. There will be extra curricular stuff as well. Given my wife and I are both horrible at music it seems unlikely that our kids will be doing extra lessons there, but there are plenty of other areas like sport or extra educational activities that we’d be considering. I know a few parents who have kids who are in elite sports programs (as in regional or state teams) and the costs here can very quickly add up, likewise if extra education is needed or wanted then that’ll be an extra expense. Government and other assistance I know that depending on your circumstances that there can be government assistance in the form of Family Tax Benefit, childcare subsidy and possibly other programs as well. We don’t get any of these which is fine, we don’t need them and they are presumably meant to be for those who do. If you’re not sure if you should be getting any of these then Centrelink does have this payment finder. We did get the one day a week Kinder program for 3yos and 3 days a week Kinder program for 4yos, although these both also came with costs of roughly $1,500 a year so it actually cost us money, again this is fine, just a reminder that it isn’t actually free. Depending on your employer you may also be able to get parental leave for a while, and there is a minimum payment which they have to make so long as you’ve met some requirements. Some employers may also have some continuing support with subsidised childcare and the like. None of this was applicable to our situation but at least some of it will likely be available for others. So what’s the bottom line? For us the biggest actual one off cost so far has been the bigger house and land that we purchased because we wanted our kids to be able to have plenty of space inside and outside the house. That cost about a hundred thousand dollars more than we would have paid if it were just the two of us. All the other stuff like a pram, car seats, cots/beds, mattresses and all the rest of it have been maybe $5,000 total, which is tiny by comparison. The opportunity cost has been bigger than this though. When we had our first child when we were in Hong Kong my wife wasn’t working much anyway as there just weren’t that many jobs she could do and my wage easily supported both of us so she was doing some very casual part time work and so not doing that work afterwards didn’t impact us much. In Australia though she probably would have been earning at least $40,000 a year after tax, so we’ve foregone almost $200,000 on an after tax basis there. Which as I’m sure you can imagine has a pretty big impact on when we will hit FIRE, particularly given we’ve got another few years or her not being in paid employment at all and then likely only working part time after that. So I would guess we’ll be looking at forgone earnings of at least $500,000 by the time all is said and done, and it could quite easily be a lot more. The actual ongoing costs of the kids so far haven’t been too bad. Between the two of them it’s about $8,000 a year at the moment, although we would anticipate that this will go up a fair bit over time as they start eating more and getting into more extra curricular activities. I get that this is spending that isn’t a necessity, but do I really want my kids to miss out on a bunch of fun stuff so that I can retire a year or two earlier? No, no I do not. So far the total costs look something like this. You can see that by far the biggest cost has been the earnings that we’ve missed out on because my wife has been at home looking after the kids and doing the household stuff (yes I do some of it because I think it’s important that we share the jobs and to role model stuff for the kids, but the reality is that she is at home a lot more than I am and does more of it). Buying a bigger house and land is next, and the actual costs of feeding and clothing and all the other one off stuff for the kids is a tiny proportion of the actual cost. All up I’m hopeful that we can keep the ongoing costs to somewhere between $125k and $150k per child from birth through to age 18, although if private school is necessary then that will push up the costs a fair bit. This is less than half of what this article suggests, so although it sounds like a lot of money it’s actually fairly frugal by comparison. To put it in perspective, it’s basically spending about 7 or 8 grand a year on each child. There are plenty of people out there who spend more than that on food alone, let alone the rest of their living expenses. As I said earlier travel costs are on top of this, and this can increase the costs quite a lot! Travel is a huge part of the reason we’re pursuing HIFIRE, and we want to be taking the kids on plenty of holidays while they’re growing up. That’s obviously discretionary spending to a large extent, but we do have close family living overseas who we want to see every couple of years or so, and it’s not fair to expect them to always be the ones travelling. I would guess that we’ll be looking at about $50k per kid in travel costs by the time they turn 18. That’s about 3 grand a year, which doesn’t sound wrong based on the cost of international travel. It may be less than that which would be great, but could also be a fair bit more. So all up for the two kids we’re looking at about a million dollars from birth to age 18. About half of that is the foregone wages from not working, which is by far the biggest impact. The actual cost of the kids is about another 30%, then travel is 10%, another 10% for the bigger house and land. And then right at the end is less than 1% for the one off stuff like prams and baby seats and cots etc. How could we spend less? Obviously there are other things we could be doing instead to keep the cost down. The biggest expense is the wages that aren’t being earned because my wife is looking after the kids and the household stuff. We could have chosen to have her work and instead pay for childcare and after school care etc. If we did though then she wouldn’t get to spend as much time with the kids (which she tells would be welcome some of the time!) and there would be a lot more house work and shopping that would need to be done after work or on weekends for both of us, we’d potentially eat out more often as it’d be more of a hassle cooking meals each night, as well as a bunch of other tradeoffs. So having her stay at home was our preferred method, and thankfully we’re in the financial position where we can afford to do it that way. Other people make different choices, or they’re unfortunately not in a position to make a choice, they need both partners working or if they’re a single parent have to do it this way. We could have also gone with a smaller house and less of a backyard. I shared a bedroom with my brother for part of our childhood and we both managed fine. It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly doable, and we could have saved a lot of money by having a smaller house. Again we chose not to because we wanted a bigger house and a decent sized backyard for them to be able to run around in and we can afford it. We don’t have to travel, although it’d be a bit rough expecting family to travel overseas to see us every year or two and then not reciprocating. Still, that would save a fair amount of money. It’s pretty hard to say how things will work out with the actual costs of raising the kids. I know roughly what we’ve spent so far, but it’s pretty difficult to know what we’ll be spending in future as they get older. They’re likely to be eating a fair bit more food, s they grow they’ll need new clothes and shoes, they’ll presumably be playing sport and doing other extra curricular stuff which will all cost money. $150k per kid from 0 to 18 seems like it’s a lot less than what it costs most people, but then we already live a fair bit more cheaply than most others so maybe it’s about right. At the end of the day we’re happy with the choices that we’ve made so far, but there has certainly been some room to have spent less money than what we have, or to have had more money coming in through both of us being in paid employment. Obviously it has an impact on when we will hit our FIRE number, but I’d rather take a little bit longer to get there than to make different tradeoffs along the way. Have you got kids or are thinking about having them? How do you think it will impact on your FIRE journey? Original post with pretty charts, pictures, tables etc is here.
Reposting due to the beloved u/skinkerdoodle taking a moderation break and a shuffle of the staff team :) If you haveANYquestions after finishing this guide, feel free to ask below and I, or someone else experienced, will try and answer the question for you. We also have twodiscord serverdiscord serverwhere you can ask questions and chat! If you're too embarrassed to post, feel free to PM me. I want this to post to be a safe space for beginners to ask questions and learn! The FAQ section may also answer some more "advanced" topics even if you're not a complete beginner. Thinking about getting aleopard gecko? Awesome! They make great pets and owning them is a very rewarding experience. You may be scouring the web and start to think "where the heck do I start"! In this guide I'll be giving detailed advice to prepare you for your first gecko. What to buy before you get a gecko: This is a checklist of everything you need to buy BEFORE purchasing your gecko. It's important to set up before you get your new friend just in case some items, like the heating pad, end up not working. THE ESSENTIALS
Tank (20 Gallon long or equivalent terrarium/tank/tub)
20G long is the accepted standard tank for an adult. You can go bigger but you'll have to provide adequate cover and heat sources. Also that whole "baby geckos can't be in a big tank" thing is completely untrue! You are perfectly fine buying an "end game" tank for your gecko. Babies can still be kept in a 10 gallon tank (if you are currently short on space, etc), but should be moved once they're starting to grow older and larger so that they can be more comfortable. I always recommend to buy your adult tank right off the bat. You'll save more money in the long run. If you're okay waiting for awhile Petco has a 1$ per gallon sale a few times a year. It's a pretty good deal.
Contrary to popular belief, leos can see most colors of light (even red). Albinos are especially sensitive to bright lights. Natural room lighting is acceptable and will not mess up their day/night cycles. Your heating pad should cover 1/3rd of your tank. You want a temperature gradient. I personally use the Zoo Med brand 30-40g size for my 20 gallon long tanks. This goes under the tank. Make sure your tank is slightly raised to provide air flow. You can also use deep heat projects, radiant heat panels, etc to heat your tank. Just keep in mind these will also need to be temp controlled to keep your leopard gecko safe. IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE LOOSE SUBSTRATE (depending on how thick/deep it is) YOU WILL MOST LIKELY HAVE TO USE OVERHEAD HEATING. This will ensure accurate surface and air temps. YOU CAN USE LOW OUTPUT (5% or less) UVB LIGHTS. Just provide plenty of cover if your leo is albino and watch to make sure they aren't too stressed. They are optional if you are supplementing properly.
Heating sources get HOT. I mean up to 120F unregulated just for heating pads. You need to control the temperature! I personally use this thermostat. You want the floor of the tank to be 90F. Keeping it this temperature will make sure you have a happy, healthy gecko. Lower temps can cause your gecko to not eat and digest properly. This is also a good thermostat.
NO CALCI-SAND/COLORED SAND. I cannot stress this enough. These can cause impaction which can lead to death. Good beginner substrate include: Paper towels, mixed naturalistic substrate (play sand + top soil is a good starting base, you can also add in eco earth, clay) mixed with tile (on the hot side works the best) or just plain tile (no linoleum tile and it must be textured). Eco earth by itself is not a good substrate and can get too dusty/dry. Reptile carpet is just a pain to clean and your leopard gecko can get claws and teeth stuck in it. * Three hides (Hot, moist, and cool) You want three hides in your tank. One for the hot side of the tank (positioned over the heating pad). This will be the place your gecko spends most of it's time. Geckos tend to like very secure hides, so you want to have a hide that provides as little visibility as possible. I have found my geckos really like this hide as their hot hide. You can pick out whatever you like though! For the moist hide you want a container that can hold in humidity. This hide is to help aid shedding, so it's of the utmost importance! Many people use tupperware containers with holes cut into it. The smaller the entrance the better, as to keep the humidity in. This hide should be at least partially on the heat mat and have moist paper towel, moss, or eco earth. The cool hide should be on the complete opposite side of the hot hide. Your gecko needs somewhere to escape to if it gets too hot. * Infrared Temp Gun You want to double check your temperatures and make sure they're accurate and an infrared temp gun is the best way to do it! I use this one. * Bowl for calcium/food/water Your leopard gecko needs a source of calcium (without d3) in the tank. They'll lick it up as they need it. This is a key component of warding off MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease). Just place it in the tank and leave it be. Refresh it every once in awhile. Food bowl is self explanatory. Water bowl should be near the middle of the tank or the cool side. I recommend buying something similar to this if you want tap water to be reptile safe. * Multivitamin & Calcium (with and without d3) These are essential to a healthy, happy leopard gecko. These are used for dusting food. There are plenty of brands to choose from. Repashy and Zoo Med make both. Either are good! ADDITIONAL * Decor Most up to you! You want the tank to have enough decor that your gecko doesn't feel exposed. Plastic plants are great for this. If you're using craft store plants make sure they do not bleed/rub off dye. File down sharp edges. Places like Petco will match their online prices, sometimes saving you a lot of money. Amazon also had good prices sometimes, so keep an eye out. If you're crafty you can always make your own decor. Just make sure you use reptile safe products. * Leopard Gecko Emergency Kit It should contain: betadine (for sterilizing wounds), neosporin without pain relief, q-tips, olive oil (to aid pooping if your gecko is impacted), coconut oil (to aid shedding), flour or a clotter (to stop bleeding), and tweezers. All of this should cover basic medical emergencies like minor scratches, etc. > [This critter keeper (size depends on how many geckos). Repashy grub pie, extra supplements, uni heat (or reptile) heat packs, a fleece blanket, digital thermometer, heat tape (or maybe a mini size heating pad by zoo med as they can be used with plastic), two bowls. In some cases where you have multiple geckos, create separated areas in a larger fauna box. Credit Sybilestial ! * Plastic container with lid Great for saunas if your gecko is having trouble shedding and for holding your gecko while cleaning the tank! * Tongs If you're iffy about touching insects, this may be the way to go. Plus your gecko may be scared for your hands at first. * Scale This is a good way to track your gecko's weight, especially if they're young. Even for adults getting a base line weight is beneficial. I just use a food scale. Most people measure geckos in grams! I usually weigh everyone once every two weeks. * A Journal/Calendar Might sound a little nuts but keeping track of gecko feedings, last time they shed, etc. will make your life so much easier. I personally record the last time my geckos shed, ate, weights, pooped, etc. I also jot down any notes about their behaviors or any changes to their health. It's good to keep track of these things in case your gecko becomes ill and needs to go to the vet. PICKING OUT YOUR GECKO My personal recommendation is to buy from a reputable breeder or from a breeder at an expo. This generally ensures you are getting a healthy, happy gecko. Buying from a pet store is risky business as many geckos from chain stores carry parasites or have health issues. You could end up paying a hefty vet bill or with a short lived gecko. Unfortunately there are still some shady breeders too. I'll list a few warning signs: * can't answer questions about their geckos (parents, genetics, hatch date, weight, etc) * can't tell you the morph * won't show you pictures of the gecko * improper husbandry * skinny, sickly looking geckos (metabolic bone disease, stick tail, lethargic, etc) There are plenty of places where you can get honest reviews of breeders like the Board of Inquiry on Faunaclassified as well as a few groups on Facebook. Don't always trust facebook reviews as they can be censored! Get an opinion from actual customers. Do research. [Here's another guide I wrote on this subject. I generally do not recommend enigma morph geckos to beginners. This is my personal opinion. There is always a chance your gecko will end up with enigma syndrome somewhere down the line. Enigma syndrome is a neurological disorder tied to the enigma gene. This leads to: balance issues, circling, stargazing, seizures, death rolling, coordination issues, and more. Feeding can become extremely difficult and I consider enigma syndrome geckos a little more advanced care. White and Yellow morphs can also exhibit a similar syndrome but it's much rarer, *as it can be bred out*. It's not tied to the W&Y gene. Lemon frosts, a rather expensive morph, has been known to grow tumors. Their health issues are so severe that many breeders have stopped producing them entirely. I don't think many beginners have 2.5k to drop on a gecko but just in case you were thinking about it, don't! Babies can be much more skittish than adults and a little bit more delicate. If you want something more hearty go for a slightly older gecko! Babies also eat a lot of food so if you're looking to spend a little bit less money an adult is also the way to go. Babies change in color A LOT so if you are looking for a gecko of a certain color an adult is your best bet to get exactly what you want. Leos are able to be temperature sexed and many breeders will label them TSF (temp sex female) or TSM (temp sex male). Keep in mind this is not a 100% guarantee you will get that sex. There is still a chance they will turn out to be the opposite sex. Snows are notorious for having a lower accuracy rate when temp sexed. If you want a guaranteed male or female you will have to buy older. DO NOT PLACE ANY GECKOS TOGETHER! DO NOT COHAB. Geckos are solitary creatures and thrive when housed alone. Keeping geckos together can lead to fighting and serious injuries, and usually ends up stressing the animals out. Behavior that may look cute, like cuddling, are actually signs of aggression and dominance. Here is an example of what happened to a leo that was housed together with another gecko. Don't risk your animals. Here's a great read from one of our sub members 410cs: It's common knowledge that Leos are territorial, regardless of Gender, they're tolerant to a point until they snap. It can be 3 minutes together, it can be 10 years. Eventually they will snap and something like this will happen. It's quite clear that, even if the cause of the break wasn't due to a fight, you need to separate them. Let's go through some of the most basic and obvious reasons why: * Competition for the, poor quality, of food. * It seems like you're feeding those vacuum-packed locusts, or at least some sort of dead variant. These hold next to no nutritional value. * The food there, although dusted, is going to be fought-over and dominated, regardless of if you've ever seen this happen. The girl in the picture is awfully thin, I have no doubts that this is a major factor of this. * 100x Easier for parasites and disease to spread. * They eat, sleep, poop and live in the same area. This is a huge no-no when it comes to a lot of reptiles. Considering some breeders have been wiped out over using the same equipment, (tongs), I'd seriously not be surprised if every Geck in that tank has some sort of parasitical load; either a worryingly large load of Pinworm or ever worse, (Geckos can be crypto-positive even if they're not rapidly losing weight). * The male is going to, eventually, breed with the females. * Sometimes males just don't breed successfully when they're in-season, which might be why you haven't experienced any (Fertile) eggs yet. When they are they act like a dog in heat. The breeding stress is going to be awfully harsh on your females, it's not uncommon for females to die as a result of over breeding. * General dominance over heat, hides, etc. * Are your Geckos sleeping together? Are they "cuddling"? I wouldn't be surprised. You can have them in a 75 Gal with a hundred hides and there still is a chance of them doing this. * It's not a case of if they fight, it's when they fight. * They don't always show warning signs. They can be fine one minute and, before you know it, one won't have a limb. Please, for the sake of the Geckos, house them individually. If they go off of food it's due to change of environment, they don't have the emotional capabilities to miss each other. I don't care if they're in 10Gals for now, just do it. For the sake of your pets. It's borderline animal cruelty. SETTING UP YOUR NEW FRIEND & THE FIRST WEEKS Once you have acquired your gecko and placed it in the tank LEAVE IT ALONE! You should wait at least 5-7 days before handling or messing around with your gecko. Your new friend is scared and adjusting to a big change. It can be tempting, especially as a beginner, but hold off. If you can I would wait until your gecko is eating as well before handling. You want to keep your interaction to a minimum like cleaning up poop, giving your gecko food, etc. Covering the tank with a blanket is also a good way to make your gecko feel safer. Choose a quiet place for the tank. Observe your gecko and make sure it's not exhibiting signs of illness. If your gecko seems lethargic, isn't pooping after eating, bloated, walking irregularly, losing weight rapidly, etc go to the vet! Don't wait! Taking action as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for your gecko. Also watch for your gecko's first shed to make sure they are shedding properly in their new environment. TAMING AND HANDLING Patience is key to taming your new gecko! It can take awhile for them to trust you, especially if they are younger. Adolescent geckos tend to be more skittish. You want to start off by putting your hand in the tank, within sight of your gecko, for at least ten minutes a day. This is to get your gecko used to your hand and scent. Once they seem a bit more receptive (walking around, licking your hand, looking curious) you can start to try picking them up. Always scoop up your gecko from below, working your hand underneath their stomach and supporting their legs. Grabbing from above triggers their prey instinct and will scare them. Hold them over the tank at first, in case they leap or skitter off your hand, to prevent injury! Once they seem calm in your hands, then you can start taking them away from the tank. Hand feeding is also a good way to bond with your gecko and make sure they associate your hand with positive things (aka food). Congrats! You tamed your gecko! FEEDING Feeding is a subject I see a ton of topics about in the subreddit so let's go over the basics! Acceptable feeders include: * Mealworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal in the fridge) * Superworms (can be kept in oats/bran meal DO NOT REFRIGERATE) * Crickets (kept in normal container, DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN THE TANK THEY WILL BITE YOUR LEO) * Dubia Roaches (kept in normal containetank/whatever) * Hornworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week, 1 worm) * Waxworms (Treat, optional, fed **rarely**, only 1-2) * Butterworms (Treat, optional, fed once a week or less, 1-2) * Here's a nutritional feeder insect chart Remember, variety is good for your gecko. Do not over feed treat foods! They should be a rare occurrence and you should only feed 1-2 per week or less, especially for waxworms (which can be addictive). Do not feed treat foods to sick geckos, very young geckos, or picky eaters. Only feed treat foods to healthy geckos who are eating regularly. Feel free to mix and match feeders! GUT LOAD YOUR FEEDERS. Gut loading is feeding your insects prior to feeding them to your gecko. Carrots, lettuce, etc should be fed 12 hours ahead of time. You want to give them time to eat the veggies or fruit. I usually feed them once a week besides gut loading to make sure they get the moisture they need from the food. Dusting is also another key part of feeding. Make sure the insects are lightly dusted with calcium or multivitamin. Babies should eat every day, as much as they can eat in 15 minutes. "Teen" geckos (6-9 months) should be eating every other day. Usually teen geckos will decide this for themselves and start refusing food every day. Adults (1 year and over) should eat every 2-3 (or longer) days depending on weight. FAQ MY GECKO HAS STUCK SHED/IS HAVING PROBLEMS SHEDDING AHHHH First of all, DON'T PANIC! Stuck shed happens. The easiest way to loosen up stuck shed is a gecko sauna! Take your plastic container and fill it with paper towels, soaked in warm water. Place your gecko in the container for 10-15 minutes. Then you can attempt to rub the stuck shed off with the q-tip from the gecko first aid kit. Be gentle but persistent. Your gecko may get a bit upset but this is okay. Stuck shed can lead to lost toes, tail tips, and other various problems. A little bit of stress is better than losing a toe! If this still doesn't work you can use a bit of coconut oil on the tip of a q-tip and gently rub the shed skin with it. MY NEW GECKO ISN'T EATING AHH New geckos are stressed out and this can lead to them not eating, so be patient and wait. Sometimes it can take over a week and even then they may still eat a bit irregularly for awhile. If your gecko seems lethargic, sickly, or is rapidly losing weight while also not eating, a vet visit is in order. Try to find a reptile vet. *ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TEMPERATURES!* Low or irregular temperatures can cause a gecko to not eat. Geckos may also delay eating if they are about to shed or have just shed. Female leopard geckos can also go off food if they are ovulating (producing eggs). Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. Here is an image. All you can do is wait it out until the female eats again. Males may also go off food during breeding season. If you change around your gecko's tank or move their tank to a new location this can also cause them to get stressed and stop eating. Consider any small (or large) changes you've made to your gecko's environment when trying to figure out why your gecko won't eat. My gecko just threw up its food! What's wrong with it? Sometimes geckos regurgitate food when they've eaten too much too fast. Low temperatures can also lead to regurgitation. Check your temperatures and make sure your heating pad is working properly. Parasites can also cause geckos to throw up their food. If you suspect parasites, call a vet. Do albino leopard geckos have any special care? Their eyes are very sensitive. They may not like bright light at all or require more cover in their tank to protect their eyes. Other than that they are normal geckos. It's cold where I live and I can't maintain the necessary temperature. What can I do? You can buy a ceramic heat emitter. This is a bulb you put into a lamp that gives off no light but produces heat. You can hook this up to a dimmer to control the temperature or another thermostat. I've found a 45w or a 60w does the job pretty well. It should boost your temps up to an acceptable level. What should my tank look like? What are some examples? Here are some examples: (https://i.imgur.com/JDpedEy.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/1NUjJ1z.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/WUxiXaD.jpg), (https://i.imgur.com/UL7C9i7.jpg) I have other reptiles blah blah QUARANTINE YOUR GECKO! Quarantining for 60-90 days is the preferable option, especially if your gecko is showing any signs of sickness. Use separate tools, etc. If you purchase another gecko don't switch around decor between the tanks, etc. Be safe and save yourself a possible heartache and cash. My female is ovulating. What do I do? Look for white oval shapes in your gecko's lower stomach. If your female has eggs you can make a lay box. A closed container with eco earth will do. If she lays them, they will most likely be infertile and can be thrown away. Leopard geckos can lay many eggs during breeding season. Make sure you're supplementing a bit extra, as egg laying is quite taxing. Leopard geckos can also reabsorb their eggs. Females can ovulate pretty early (think 8 months or so) depending how large they are. My leopard gecko is waving/shaking it's tail! Tail waving means your gecko is scared and you should leave them alone. Tail shaking is pretty common when hunting and just means they're excited. Loud tail rattling is a sign a male wants to breed. Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl? See this [image]. Males will have visible pores and two hemipenes at the base of their tail in comparison to females. Leopard geckos can usually be sexed around 4 months of age, though males may take longer to mature. At 5-6 months you should be able to tell for yourself. Place the gecko in a clear, plastic container and take a look! My leopard gecko won't eat from a bowl! Some geckos don't like bowls. They like the hunt! You may have to tong/hand feed. You can try starving them out until they eat from the bowl, if you're really adamant about it. Or as sybilestial suggests: >If the geckos aren't eating from bowls, try clear ones. You can find a set of clear candle holders (that do not come with a candle) at dollar stores. How long can my gecko be left alone? Most adults can be left a few days since their feeding schedules are spread out. Babies will need someone to watch them if you need to go somewhere, as they need to eat every day. If you can get your baby to eat out of a bowl, you can probably leave them as well. If your gecko is about to shed or looks dull, make sure you thoroughly dampen the moist hide. I never seen my gecko! Why? Leopard geckos nocturnal/crepuscular. They come out at night. You may not see your gecko out during the day at all. Don't worry, this is normal. My power went out what do I do?! There are reptile specific warmers, usually used for shipping, that you can buy and use as well. They come in different hour intervals like 40, 72, etc. Make sure you follow the instructions! If you live in an area that is hit by storms and loses power often, be PREPARED AHEAD OF TIME! If you live somewhere relatively warm year round, your gecko will be okay without heat for a day or two. Just make sure you don't feed them during this time. What should my tank's humidity be? 40%! If your humidity gets too high I suggest a dehumidifier for the room your leo is in. If your water bowl is large, switch it for a smaller one. Don't put the water bowl on the hot side. Putting a sock filled with rice into the tank can help a little bit too. My gecko looks pale. IS IT DYING?? No, it's just about to shed! Leopard geckos usually shed once every 2-3 weeks. In the days beforehand they'll get very dull looking. The day of they usually turn white. Shedding usually takes a day or so. Make sure you keep your moist hide damp! Leopard geckos eat their shed as they're peeling it off themselves so don't be alarmed if you don't find anything afterwards What is MBD? You mention that a lot. MBD is Metabolic Bone Disease. This happens in geckos who are not supplemented properly with calcium and multivitamins. Here is a good article about it. Proper supplementation is important! My gecko is sick what do I do? Find a reptile vet (there's a vet link in the sidebar)! In order to ensure your reptile gets the best care possible you should always use a vet experienced in reptiles. I recommend you find one ahead of time near your area. And, as always, have a decent amount of cash tucked away somewhere in case your reptile gets sick. Exotic vet care is expensive and you never know when an emergency will pop up. Where can I find pictures that illustrate the conditions and sicknesses you talk about? Lizardbeans on tumblr has a great guide as well, with a bunch of pictures of different leopard gecko conditions. How do I use Betadine? If my gecko gets a minor injury what should I do? Let's say your gecko manages to hurt it's toe. It's bleeding a little bit but otherwise it looks pretty minor.
Soak the reptile in warmish chest deep water to which Betadine (povidone-iodine) has been added to color the water to a deep medium tea color. Leave in the tub for 15-20 minutes, refreshing the warm water and Betadine as necessary. If the wound is swollen and crusty, carefully pick off the scab/crusty exudates. Note that if the reptile defecates in the tub, it must be washed out, disinfected and another Betadine soak set up. Flush the wound area with fresh water before being placed back in the new bath.
Remove the reptile from the tub and flush the wound with fresh dilute Betadine.
At night, top the wound with triple antibiotic ointment (original ointment, pain relief free). Repeat for a week or until the wound is healing over.
If there is any sign of swelling which occurs after the bathing and treatment or such swelling does not abate after a week, the animal must be seen by an experienced reptile vet.
I have found antibiotic ointment works wonders for small wounds. Nose bumps/scrapes, etc! My gecko can't seem to shed properly. There's always stuck shed. What's the deal? First off, make sure they're using their moist hide right. Make sure you spray it consistently, especially when they start to get dull in color preparing to shed. Keep the moist hide half on, half on the heating pad at the very least. Hot and humid is far better than cold and humid when it comes to shedding! Also make sure you are supplementing your leopard gecko properly with multivitamins. As stated by BovieVei her gecko had problems shedding due to a Vitamin A deficiency! >Repeated bad sheds can also be attributed to vitamin a deficiency. My Leo recently had to go to the vet for it and got a vitamin a booster shot and it was so weird last time he shed because the skin came right off where he got the injection before anywhere else. (the rest of the shed was much better than usual too). Either way you need to get this poor baby to a vet. >Vitamin a deficiency can include lethargy and reduced appetite, bad sheds, lizard smegma (ew), and eye ulcers. So keep up those vitamins, folks! My gecko is big... is it a giant/super giant? Most likely? No, it is not. If it is not labeled as a giant/super giant or is from a pet store those chances are even lower. Giants are only giants if they hold the giant gene (which is specifically bred for and highly desired). Otherwise you just have yourself a large, impressive gecko which is pretty awesome anyway! Here's a good article written by member Professional_Gecko. What morph is my pet store/whatever gecko? Without genetics we can only give you a guess, especially with albinos. Albino strains are impossible to 100% positively identify through just looking at them. My gecko's eyes are different from a normal gecko's eyes? Leopard geckos have many different eye types other than the standard grey on normals. There's [full eclipse eyes](https://i.imgur.com/VBnqmv8.jpg), which are pure black, commonly seen on [super snows](https://i.imgur.com/rNI3fdJ.jpg), galaxies, and other eclipse morphs. Pure red eyes, commonly seen on morphs like [Raptors](https://i.imgur.com/0uxvGOH.jpg), [Radars](https://i.imgur.com/6sII6ur.jpg), and other albinos. There's [snake eyes](https://i.imgur.com/SeFd6JF.jpg) which are a variant of the eclipse eyes but they are eyes which have some solid pigment but are not completely solid. There's also [brown-reddish eyes](https://i.imgur.com/I0WAREx.jpg) that are common with enigmas. The albino strains (Tremper, Bell, Rainwater) have a wide variety of eye colors. What kinds of albinos are there? Tremper is the most popular albino strain. It is abundant compared to Bell and Rainwater (also sometimes called Las Vegas). Bells and Rainwaters tend to be more pricey because of this. Many have albino strain specific morphs. Raptors are Tremper specific while Radars are Bell specific. Firewaters are a Rainwater specific morph. Can I breed my two pet store geckos? I wouldn't recommend it. Mixing unknown genetics can be a risky business as there's so many genes you shouldn't cross. Gem, tug, and mack snows should never be crossed. Certain eye types should not be crossed. Albino genes cannot be crossed. Plus you don't know what other hets (genes) the gecko is carrying as they don't exhibit this outwardly. Not to mention selling the babies will be much harder (and you're going to have a ton of them. If you are going to breed, do it right by buying to geckos with known genetics!
Clarkson's Columns: The McLaren GT Review & Britain Loves to Grouse, Gripe, and Moan
All you need now is a matching headscarf The Clarkson Review:McLaren GT By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times; London (UK) [London (UK)]20 Sep 2020: 50. Last month in Wiltshire a car crashed into the side of a house, rolled over and caught fire. All four of the young men inside died. Naturally there was a terrible outcry among the locals, who say the stretch of A4 on which the young men were travelling is often used as a "race track". Some now want the speed limit on that section reduced to 30mph. And soon the road safety charities will emerge to demand that the legal age at which a person can drive should be raised to 58. Me? Well, while I have no idea what caused the crash in Wiltshire, I think we must accept that young men will always drive too quickly. The figures are grim. Young people make up only 7 per cent of UK licence-holders but represent more than 20 per cent of drivers killed or seriously injured in crashes: 279 young people died on Britain's roads in 2017; the same number again in 2018. If you are male and aged between 17 and 24, you are the most at risk. You are also the least likely to look at those numbers and imagine, for one moment, that they mean you. Telling young men to slow down is like telling them not to make a mess of their bedsheets at night. It's a waste of breath. I know this because I was one once. I drove everywhere flat out. Every other car was either a competitor or a nuisance. And the A40 into London wasn't a trunk road, it was a drag strip, where I could prove to my mate that my Volkswagen Scirocco was faster than his Vauxhall Chevette HS. The powers that be could have imposed a 20mph limit and it wouldn't have made any difference. I still would have gone down there at 110mph. Only when we accept the simple fact that teenage boys have no sense of their own mortality can we sit down and calmly decide what's for the best. Which is to encourage them to drive much better cars than they do at the moment. A teenage boy is always limited by whopping insurance premiums and a shortage of funds, so he has to tool around in a rot-box that was designed long before any of the recent advances in safety came along. As often as not, you, the parents, will actually buy him a car such as this. Which means you're putting a person you love, and who is genetically programmed to be an idiot, into a car that has the crashworthiness of a carrier bag. You may as well lace his dope with strychnine and stick pins in his condoms. All of which brings me on to another dreadful case that was in the news recently. An 18-year-old boy crashed his BMW 118d in Buckinghamshire and, sadly, one of his passengers was killed. Interestingly, the judge, who handed the driver a six-month suspended prison sentence, blamed the parents, saying: "The buying of that BMW was the crassest decision that any of us will ever witness. The defendant had only just passed his test and the decision to buy him a BMW … for a new driver of his age, was a crass one, to put it mildly." Of course the newspapers picked up on this, describing the BMW as a "sports car". But it isn't a sports car. It's a diesel hatchback. A G-Wiz is more of a sports car. So is my frying pan. A 118d is exactly the sort of car young men should be driving. Modern, so it has all the right safety features; a diesel, so it's slow and cheap to run; and a BMW, so the young man can get his leg over more often. I wish to God I had bought my son a BMW 118d instead of a Fiat Punto. And I hope if the judge has boys heading in a monosyllabic haze towards the age of 17, he too considers the Beemer. Because having the option to do that and choosing instead to go for a clapped-out Vauxhall Corsa? Trust me. That's not crass. That's moronic. Ordinarily I'd now find a neat link from this rather sombre point to the McLaren GT, but there isn't one, so let's just plough on. GT stands for grand tourer and if you're in the business of writing about cars or preparing the showroom brochures, you'll know this means a car that is capable of driving in sublime comfort, at high speed, across a continent. It's a lovely idea. All Chanel and headscarves and stopping off at the Villa d'Este hotel. But no one actually does it any more. If you want to go to Lake Como now, you charter a jet and then get some Italian Herbert in a Mercedes S-class to meet you in the general aviation terminal. McLaren, however, weirdly believes that grand touring is still a thing, and, what's more, it also believes that the people who do it want an alternative to the Bentley Continental GT or Aston Martin DB11. It reckons that, instead of 2+2 seating, a big engine in the front and rear-wheel — or perhaps four-wheel — drive, people want a grand touring supercar. This is niche thinking. So what it's done is tinkered with the supercar format and made an engine that isn't as tall as usual. This means there's space on top of it, in a compartment between the explosions and the sun-blasted rear window, for some golf bats or skis. There's also a small trunk at the front for underwear and toothbrushes. Inside there are two seats and a cab that is not daunting at all. Unlike the interior of a Ferrari, which is ridiculous, the McLaren GT feels like … like a car. This is a good thing. It drives like a car too. There are no histrionics. The exhaust doesn't crackle and pop, you don't graze the nose every time you run over a pebble and there's never a sense you're about to hit a tree. That said, it's not boring or ordinary. The steering system is about as beautiful as any I've experienced and the speed is immense. But then it would be, because this is a car weighing less than 1½ tons, with a 612bhp twin-turbo V8 behind your left ear. There is a problem, though. Ever since the template for mid-engine two-seaters was laid down by the Ferrari 308, it's been nigh-on impossible to make one that is anything less than stunning. Yet, somehow, McLaren has managed it, and got the front end all wrong. It looks limp. There's an even bigger issue if you own one, because history has taught us that McLarens do not hold their value terribly well. But, hey, if you want a grand tourer that doesn't have four seats and that has its engine in the middle rather than the front, and you have a problem with Bentley and Aston Martin, for some reason, and you still drive every week to the south of France, and you don't mind a bit of eye-watering depreciation, the GT could be just what you're after. At the very least you'll be able to watch its stablemate doing battle at weekends with the Racing Points. Which is more than can be said of Ferrari. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Britain already has a rule of six: grousing, griping, moaning, groaning, whingeing and wailing By Jeremy Clarkson (Sunday Times, Sept. 20) In the run-up to the last general election we were all assured, many times, that the Conservatives had an "oven-ready" deal on Brexit. But it seems that, when they opened the packaging, they found that actually it was full of mould, subterfuge and razor blades. Like everyone else in the world, I cannot get my head round the detail of the issues, but, also like everyone else in the world, I'm aware of the fact that to solve it, Britain says it may have to break international law. And, naturally, this has caused all sorts of wailing, with everyone explaining that if we openly go down this road, it will shatter our reputation around the world for fair play, cricket and decency. Ha. I think we probably shattered that when we established concentration camps. Or when we tricked the Germans into believing they'd captured a high-ranking American general when in fact they only had a corporal called Cartwright Jones. Or when we torpedoed the Belgrano. Around the world, the British are not known for fair play and decency. We just like to think we are. What we are actually known for is Diana, Princess of Wales, and Manchester United, and if we are not very careful we will also become known for moaning. Every single person I spoke to last week has moaned about the new rule of six. They want to know what happens if they bump into friends in the pub and why they can't go on a family picnic unless they bring some guns to shoot grouse. If you stand back and think calmly for a moment, you can see that Boris Johnson has rather cleverly created a new rule that limits social distancing but allows you to go out with a couple of mates and, better still, keeps the rural economy going by allowing the shooting of airborne food. What he's actually saying is, "Don't be an arse", and that makes sense to me. It's the only rule a country needs. But absolutely everyone else sees the rule of six as the perfect opportunity to lean over the garden fence and have a good old moan with their neighbours. And when they've finished with that, they can start to moan about how London's bridges really are falling down and how no one's doing anything about it, and then, of course, they can toast the going-down of the sun with a good old whinge about how they had to drive 40 miles for a Covid test. This month a decent man won a million pounds on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and I thought this might make people happy. Fat chance. Instead, they all moped around moaning about how "it's all right for some". Literature and history would suggest that, in the past, British people didn't behave like this. I once made a military documentary about the near-suicidal raid on the port of St Nazaire and I recall one of the interviewees said of the battle: "I remember Johnny Proctor lying there, leg blown off, cheering us on ... " That's what we like to think of as British. Stiff upper lip. Keeping calm and carrying on. But I wonder — is that an illusion created by the fact that history has recorded the views and achievements only of those in charge? People who had usually spent their childhood being buggered and birched at a barbarian prep school, in readiness for the day when their leg exploded? If you hadn't been to a school like that, it's possible you would have been extremely upset about your limb becoming detached, so you'd lie there, sobbing and begging for your mother and saying: "Why me?" But no one was listening to you. You were unimportant. We all know that, on HMS Victory, Nelson was standing there with his missing eye and his stump, making all sorts of stirring speeches about how England expected every man to do his duty. And we sort of assume that, below decks, his men were cut from the same cloth. But were they? Maybe they were actually moaning about how the cannon balls were too heavy. Likewise, in the Second World War, we've been told about Winston Churchill's rousing rhetoric and we imagine the bomb-ravaged East End was full of cheery Cockneys shaking their fists at the Heinkels and singing uplifting songs about how Hitler had only one ball. Certainly the clipped newsreel commentators of the time suggested that this was so: "Here's a plucky chap digging for victory and carrying on." But maybe the chap wasn't digging for victory. Maybe he was actually digging through the rubble of his flattened house to find his dog. Maybe he wasn't feeling at all plucky, but we'll never know because, back then, no one was recording the views of what we must now call Britain's hard-working families. Today, though, things are different. Television reporters love conducting a vox pop and, without fail, every single person they approach will find a way to moan about whatever's being discussed. Everything is "disgusting". And then we have Twitter, which is a constant downpour of fury, misery and complaint. You almost never read a British person on there saying what lovely weather we've been having or what a tremendous pub lunch they've just had. It's all just Tripadvisor one-star gloom. Doubtless, thousands objected to Isambard Kingdom Brunel's proposal to build a railway from London to Bristol, and I bet it was the same story when plans were unveiled for the M1. But this complaining would only ever be heard, quietly, in the saloon bar of the Dog and Duck. Whereas now, with Twitter and 24-hour vox pop news, we hear every squeak of complaint about the HS2 high-speed railway. Could it be, then, that the Australians have been right all along? We really are a bunch of whingeing Poms? I hope so, because then we can ditch this fair play and decency thing and do what the Greeks are doing. We can put our masks on so we can concentrate fully on ignoring everything the EU says. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And here's the Sun column: "A task force to fix a bridge? Why can’t this Government ever do anything?"
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Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Okay, look, here's the deal. The obituaries, as sad as they are, contain some of Dave's best work. But good lord, they are looooooooooong. And they never contain anything newsworthy that is relevant to 2002 or anything. But they're always super interesting from a historical perspective. But last week, Dave wrote a brief obit for Lou Thesz (only 5,000 words, ahem) and promised to go into more detail this week. So this week, we open with a 16,000+ word obituary for Lou Thesz and I just can't. Sorry. It's really good though, you should all go read it. But I've got, like, a family and a job and responsibilities and stuff. I can't recap this. It's an incredible piece of work though.
The World Wrestling Federation is no more. On May 5th, the company unveiled its new name, World Wrestling Entertainment. Dave recaps the history of the company briefly (was originally called "World Wide Wrestling Federation, or WWWF, until 1979 when it was shortened to WWF, which is has remained for the past 23 years). But as of this week, the company has been rebranded to WWE. The website domain was changed to WWE.com and all references to "WWF" were changed to "WWE." The scratch logo was also changed, with the F being removed, so now it simply looks like "WW" (which, honestly, never really did make much sense to me. Even though the logo has changed, it's still "WW" to this day). Anyway, this all stems from the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit over in the UK, in which the WWE lost every court case and appeal. They were planning to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court, their final last-ditch effort to save their name, but the reality is, they weren't going to win that case. Vince McMahon and the company blatantly and repeatedly violated the agreement they signed in 1994. It was 1000% obvious they were in the wrong here and they had gotten spanked by every single court before, often losing their appeals by unanimous decisions. So they weren't going to win this final appeal either and they knew it. So they dropped the appeal and threw in the towel and finally agreed to just change the name. The WWE has until May 15th to remove all references to "WWF" from their shows and merchandise. Any merch with "WWF" on it can no longer be sold after that date. All video packages and posters will have to be changed and any "WWF" mention or logos after that time on television or in past footage will have to be censored. Last year, during the court case, the WWE claimed it would cost them more than $50 million to change their name and to deal with all the legal and rebranding headaches that come with it. But this week, they backtacked on that and said it wouldn't be that expensive after all. Who knows if that's true, but the idea of this costing $50 million was enough to make the shareholders shit themselves, so Dave says they claimed it won't cost that much in order to keep the stock from plummeting. Anyway, none of this had to happen. In 1994, Vince McMahon and the Wildlife Fund signed an agreement that the wrestling company would not use the "WWF" name for promoting itself outside of the U.S. (since the Wildlife group is based overseas) and that worked well for a year or two. But then Vince McMahon apparently decided, "Meh, who cares about agreements?" and began repeatedly and blatantly violating it, constantly, for years, at which point the Wildlife group finally got upset enough to file a lawsuit. Anyway, on the first Raw since the name change, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler repeatedly stumbled over the new initials, accidentally saying "WWF" multiple times. Gonna take time for everyone to get used to calling it the new name.
The buyrates for Wrestlemania 18 are in and it appears the event will have to settle for being the #2 biggest money show in wrestling history after it came up short and failed to surpass Wrestlemania 17. Final numbers aren't in yet, but latest estimates put it somewhere around the 800,000 buys range (ended up being about 880,000) which is quite a bit down from WM17. It was also #2 in total revenue from live gate and merch. Internally, it's actually being seen as something of a disappointment because with the power of the Hogan/Rock dream match, they were hopeful this show would top 1 million buys but unless something drastic changes with these buyrate numbers, it looks like the final total will be a good bit short of that.
NJPW's latest Tokyo Dome show is in the books. The show drew a sellout crowd of 57,000 fans, there to see the Masahiro Chono vs. Mitsuharu Misawa dream main event (which ended up going to a 30-minute draw). It was the biggest non-Jan. 4 crowd NJPW has drawn to the Dome in 2 years. So that's the good news. The bad news is that the show flopped in the ratings on TV. A big part of that is because the Chono/Misawa match didn't air as part of the show (due to the Asahi-TV/Nippon TV network issues discussed in past issues) so the televised show was built around the Shinya Hashimoto/Naoya Ogawa vs. Scott Norton/Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and man, the fans sure didn't seem to give a fuck about that. In fact, the rating was so bad that there's concern that this will be the end of pro wrestling on prime time TV in Japan for the foreseeable future. But there are justifiable reasons for the rating. The show went head-to-head with the Kirin Cup soccer tournament, which was a huge deal and did more than double the rating the NJPW show did. Unlike the U.S., wrestling and "real" sports in Japan have a major crossover audience, so having real sports competition severely hurt NJPW's show. Also, while Ogawa is a draw as a singles star, putting him in a tag match against Norton and Tenzan isn't exactly setting the world on fire. The show lasted 6 hours, which was way too long and the crowd was burned out before Misawa vs. Chono even started.
Other notes from the NJPW show: it opened with an hour long 30th anniversary ceremony. They had a 10-bell salute for Lou Thesz and brought out a bunch of legendary NJPW names from the 70s and 80s. Then they did an angle where Antonio Inoki came out to give a speech, but he was attacked by Tiger Jeet Singh. But then Chyna made the save, attacking Singh, running him out of the ring, and challenging him to a match. Inoki's ex-wife, famous Japanese actress Mitsuko Baisho then made an appearance, getting a huge pop, and she and Inoki did his famous catch phrase to kick off the show. Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase (who started with NJPW as a pro wrestler) was also there. Jushin Ligher and Minoru Tanaka won the IWGP Jr. tag titles and then Liger challenged several NOAH wrestlers who were at ringside (most notably KENTA) and they all jumped in the ring and it ended with a staredown. The Steiner Brothers reunited to face Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki, with Chyna as the special referee. Tanahashi was working hurt, but he still worked. They did a spot where Tanahashi ran into Chyna and he went down off the bump instead of her and Dave seems annoyed by this since Tanahashi is a guy they really need to be pushing who can be a huge star for this company. Dave doesn't like him selling bumps for Chyna. Anyway, decent match but the Steiners basically steamrolled them and Tanahashi was pinned by Scott Steiner. Chyna then challenged several All Japan Women at ringside as well as Scott Steiner, Tanahashi, Sasaki, and even IWGP champion Yuji Nagata, saying she wanted a title match. Dave thinks this company has lost its damn mind. Speaking of Nagata, he retained his title in the next match. And then, of course, the main event. Usually during interpromotional matches, the crowd is always super pro-NJPW but this time, they went insane for Misawa and it was clear there were a ton of NOAH fans in the building. Chono did some Inoki moves and Misawa did some Great Baba moves, to kinda have a spiritual "Baba vs. Inoki" tribute in the match I guess. Ended in a draw and by the time it was over, no matter how big the dream match was, the crowd was burned out and weren't as hype for the match as you might expect once the entrances were done.
Goldberg has received a full buy-out of his WCW contract from Time Warner and as of this week, he is now an unsigned free agent. Goldberg did not request the buy-out, the decision was made by the Time Warner side after the most unprofitable quarter in their history. The company was looking to cut expenses, even at a loss, just so the books can look better in future quarters. Goldberg reportedly received almost all of his remaining salary (more than 90% of the nearly $3 million he was still owed) in order to get him off their books. When Goldberg realized he's going to be a free agent a year earlier than expected, talks with WWE started up. But as usual, they went nowhere. WWE (I feel like I'm having to get used to typing that all over again. Really does feel like 2002 again) has interest in him, especially given the way ratings continue to plummet lately. But Goldberg has always wanted more than WWE is willing to pay. Plus, they're feeling burned right now after signing Hall and Nash to big money, long-term contracts for part-time work, only to have Nash get injured and Hall likely to get himself fired at any moment (that moment is coming sooner than you think), and neither of them really getting over in any meaningful way. Even Hogan, who is also making big money for a reduced schedule, was hot for a minute and boosted ratings and buyrates. But after only a few months, that train already seems to be out of steam and TV ratings are back to floundering with Hogan as champion leading the shows. So WWE is kinda gun-shy on opening the checkbook and paying out the ass for these big stars, futilely hoping that one of them is the quick-fix that can stop the bleeding.
There's also the question of how Goldberg would fit within the WWE locker room. He hasn't been shy about his dislike for Triple H, dating back to WCW when Triple H trashed Goldberg in a radio interview and saying that even if Goldberg was available, they wouldn't want him (which, at the time, when WCW was still alive and Goldberg was the biggest star in the company, is just about the dumbest thing he could have said. In 1998, WWF would have gladly traded 10 Triple H's for Goldberg). Anyway, Goldberg took the comment personally and even confronted Triple H face-to-face at the Toy Fair convention in New York a couple of years ago, in a bit of an ugly scene where Goldberg was yelling at him and Triple H and Stephanie kept their heads down and said nothing. Goldberg also has a lot of dislike for Scott Hall, which is another of Triple H's good friends, so ya know. The latest on Goldberg is that he's considering working some in Japan but he's just fielding offers right now. Word is he's interested in working with PRIDE as well as NJPW. Of course, if he's looking to maximize his money potential, WWE is still the place to go if you want to make big bucks. If promoted right, matches against Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others could do huge buyrates. And if they keep Goldberg and Austin apart for a year and build to a match with them at Wrestlemania, well, needless to say, that show would set records. Dave talks about how Goldberg got nuclear hot in 1998 and even in 1999, he was the biggest drawing wrestler in the business. But by 2000, the company was dying, Goldberg was injured, and "Jesus Chris with an Etch-a-Sketch" couldn't have drawn in WCW. Dave again does the math and talks about how WWE should have brought Goldberg in for the Invasion angle. Yes, it would have cost them a lot of money and upset the salary structure, but he would have more than made up for it with the kind of buyrates he could have drawn with those dream matches and the Invasion angle might have had a chance. But alas.
And of course, who's to say how WWE would use Goldberg? They already have Brock Lesnar and they're currently giving him the unstoppable monster push. Lesnar is bigger, younger, and a more legitimate athlete (for whatever that's worth). And WWE probably isn't going to give Goldberg an endless string of jobbers to beat. In WWE, he's going to be expected to work longer matches, sell for people, etc. They won't book him the way WCW did so who knows how he'd get over in WWE? If they wanted to build to an Austin/Goldberg match, it would make sense that Goldberg first has to plow through guys like Triple H, Undertaker, etc. And politically, that just ain't gonna happen. Dave doubts NJPW can afford him for anything more than one or two big shows. As for PRIDE, he could probably make a lot of money there, but the problem is.....PRIDE is a shoot. They haven't had "worked" matches in a couple of years and doing so now would kill their credibility. Which means Goldberg would have to go into a legit shoot and one embarrassing loss there would severely hurt his future earning potential. In the end, Dave thinks it's inevitable that Goldberg will end up in WWE, but probably not any time soon. But he's certain it will eventually happen. There's too much money on the line for both sides and WWE's ratings woes are making them desperate, so it'll happen some day (yup, less than a year from this).
And the moment is here! For those of you who had "under 3 months" in the "How long will Scott Hall last?" pool, come collect your prize. Scott Hall was released by the WWE this week due to misbehavior on the European tour. Firstly, he went on a drunken binge during the entire tour and was even worse on the plane ride home (much more on that in a bit). Dave says this was inevitable. WCW fired him. Even ECW stopped using him when he got arrested at one point. And even though he was seemingly behaving during his Japan tours, even NJPW cut ties with him shortly before he went back to WWE because they were fed up with some of his antics. And now WWE has fired him. Dave talks about how Hall made a drunken spectacle of himself in the locker room on his very first day back in WWE, before the NWO even debuted on TV, then he showed up in Toronto for Wrestlemania in no condition to perform (later came out that he was hungover from the night before), which caused Austin to insist on ending their feud at WM (which was the plan, but Dave says Austin has continued working with Hall afterwards simply because they don't really seem to have any other credible opponents for him). Hall's match with Bradshaw at Backlash was an embarrassment and the night before that show, agents had to help him back to his hotel. Just endless incidents like this. In Europe, Hall was such a blatant drunken mess that even the other wrestlers were calling for him to be fired. Hall was 45 minutes late for the bus they all took to London and then passed out in the locker room during the show. On the plane ride back, he was starting fights with people and eventually passed out and it got to the point that people were worried about his health. When they got back to the U.S. for Raw, they literally had to wake him up from a drunken stupor backstage to send him to the ring to do his segment (and yes, he wrestled). After the show, they fired him. No one came to his defense, and even Hall's closest friends are now admitting that he simply can't handle the pressures of being on the road and being released is the best thing for him right now. Dave talks about how a lot of wrestlers have been fired in the last couple of years for drug and alcohol issues and that's all well and good, but the big problem is why hire them in the first place? Scott Hall's issues were not a secret. It wasn't like he cleaned himself up before he came to WWE. He was getting in trouble and collecting arrests like Pokemon all the way up until the day they brought him back. Anyway, Hall had a 2-year deal, believed to be worth $600,000-per-year downside for only 10 dates per month. So a really sweet deal, but it's gone now.
Hey, speaking of that European tour, turns out there was a bit of trouble on the flight back to the U.S. Perhaps you've heard of it. Most of the trouble wasn't even due to Scott Hall. Turns out Vince McMahon didn't make the trip and lots of people decided that was a good reason to cut loose and have fun. Plus, since everyone has seen Hall get away with being drunk 24/7 for the last few months, they figured nobody would get in trouble. So....folks got DRUNK. Among the various incidents on this flight: Goldust got on the speaker system and began drunkenly serenading his ex-wife Terri with love songs. Terri was extremely uncomfortable and begged him to stop and then Jim Ross had to go sit him down. Ric Flair also "started to get wild" but Jim Ross calmed him down as well (Dave doesn't seem to know just yet exactly what Flair "getting wild" entailed, but if you don't know, it involved getting totally naked except for his robe and started helicoptering his dick at flight attendants. And it gets worse if you feel like researching it. The flight attendants later filed a lawsuit against Flair and accused him of sexual assault). Curt Hennig was spraying people with shaving cream and he kept trying to get Brock Lesnar to fight him. Lesnar, being a newcomer, didn't know how to handle it and didn't want to get in trouble, but he ain't gonna let Hennig talk shit to him either. So anyway, Lesnar got up and basically annihilated Hennig, repeatedly taking him to the ground and embarrassing him because, well, of course he did. It's Brock Lesnar. At one point, Lesnar slammed Hennig up against the side of the plane, right into the emergency exit door, which freaked everybody out for obvious reasons. Michael Hayes got into a scuffle with Bradshaw and then tried to pick a fight with Hall (although everyone on the plane said Hall had it coming). Anyway, Hayes was apparently obnoxious as hell and annoyed everyone. But then he made the mistake of falling asleep and someone (believed to be X-Pac) cut his hair off. When Hayes woke up, he was furious and tried to fight several people. The next day at the Raw tapings, his entire mullet was in a plastic bag, pinned to the wall of the locker room for everyone to see. Gerald Brisco, Arn Anderson, and Hayes all caught a ton of heat from Vince afterward since they were the people who were supposed to be in charge. Anderson and Hayes especially, since their jobs are to keep the boys under control, but they were apparently having just as much fun as everyone else. Everyone's waiting to see how Vince is going to handle this situation. As noted, Hall was already fired and Hayes got an earful from Vince, Stephanie, and JR at Raw the next day, but there will likely be more fallout. Undertaker was also said to be furious over how out of hand everything got (I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this).
Anyway, while they were in Europe, WWE presented its latest UK PPV, Insurexxtion. As usual with the UK PPVs, this was little more than a glorified house show. They announced the show as sold out, but there were empty seats everywhere. RVD vs. Eddie Guerrero for the IC title was the show-stealer according to every report Dave heard, and was said to be far better than their Backlash match. Brock Lesnar teamed with Shawn Stasiak (lol wut) and lost to the Hardyz. Brock beat up everybody after the match. Triple H beat Undertaker in the main event and Dave doesn't know why since Undertaker is the one challenging Hogan for the title at the next PPV. The top rope broke during the match when they did an Irish whip into the corner and when the rope snapped, a metal piece broke off from the corner and flew into the crowd and barely missed hitting a small child in the face.
Smackdown on 5/2 drew the all-time lowest rating in the history of the show. Dave says that's the scariest thing to happen to WWF in the past 5 years. It was also the 3rd lowest rating for any Smackdown or Raw dating back to 1998. The rating was a full 18% drop from the week before, which was already scary. The rating was even lower than previous holiday episodes. So what was the problem? Well, it was headlined by Hogan defending the WWF title against Chris Jericho (as it turns out, the final time the "WWF" title was ever defended). Dave says the title has been meaningless for years now and Hogan's steam is running out. And Jericho hasn't recovered from spending the first part of the year being emasculated and playing second fiddle to Stephanie McMahon in the Wrestlemania feud. Add all that together and you've got a recipe for a shit ratings night. Among other things. Dave isn't blaming this all on Hogan and Jericho by any means, there's a lot of problems with the company as of late, from bad storylines to failing to make new stars, and it's all starting to come home to roost.
Keiji Muto wrestled a match in AJPW under his alternate gimmick of Kokushi Muso. Turns out "Great Muta" isn't his only other persona. The Kokushi Muso gimmick is basically like Hakushi in WWF, where he's covered his entire body in Japanese writing. He originally debuted the gimmick in Michinoku Pro last year, when teaming with....Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki, who occasionally brought back the old Hakushi gimmick in Japan). Anyway, same thing here. He teamed with Hakushi for this match, while using that gimmick (Muto would use that gimmick a handful of times throughout the years, always when teaming with Hakushi. It's like that was only his gimmick for that team. The last time he used it was in 2009, also in a tag match with Hakushi).
Former NOAH Jr. champion Naomichi Marufuji underwent knee surgery this week and should be out around 6 months (ends up being 9 months).
NJPW is doing an angle (according to Dave) similar to the Vince/Flair angle last year where Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are battling over control of the company. Although it's more realistic. Inoki is in the press talking about how many of NJPW's shows aren't doing well and is pushing for them to use Naoya Ogawa more, while Chono doesn't want to. Inoki is also saying Chono needs to retire from wrestling and focus his energies on managing the day-to-day business of the promotion full-time. Dave says this is an angle, but it doesn't sound like much of one to me, and I think later years have kinda proven there was a lot of blurring between fiction and reality here, because there was a ton of behind the scenes turmoil in NJPW during this period.
Will Smith appeared alongside Antonio Inoki at the Japanese movie premiere for the film "Ali" based on Muhammad Ali's life. Crowd went absolutely insane for Inoki (I've tried like hell and can't even find a picture of them together. But then again, I can't find a single pic from the premiere at all).
When reviewing the recent Dos Caras Jr. shoot fight in Japan, Dave talks about the guy's potential as a wrestler. He has a strong amateur background, legit shoot skills, and a famous name. Dave thinks, if he's even halfway a decent worker, he can almost be a guaranteed star in Mexico (based on his name alone) and probably Japan too, if he decides to pursue that career (indeed he did, and indeed, he was fairly decent at it. Of course, he later became Alberto Del Rio, accused rapist and pretty much confirmed all-around piece of shit).
Former long-time WCW referee Randy Anderson passed away this week after a long battle with testicular cancer. Back when WCW was still around and he first got diagnosed, they did an angle out of it where Eric Bischoff fired him and then laughed at his wife and kids when they begged him to give Anderson his back. Of course, he was later re-hired when Flair became on-screen commissioner and continued to referee until 1999 when the cancer forced him to retire.
Random news and notes: Bobby Heenan is said to be in good spirits and is especially excited because WWE recently contacted him about doing a WWE Magazine feature on him. Verne Gagne's wife Mary passed away from cancer this week. Goldberg will be appearing on this week's Wrestling Observer Live show to be interviewed. Mil Mascaras is releasing an autobiography (in Spanish of course) and man, I'd love to find an English translation of that because I bet it'd be interesting. Chyna appeared on "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" this past week.
Bruno Sammartino turned down an invitation to attend the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in New York (yes, that HOF existed and still does, in a different city now). Bruno did an interview with the local paper and said "Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it's over. I don't want anything to do with it anymore." Bruno managed to turn the discussion to the WWE, despite them not having any affiliation with this HOF and grumbled about how Vince McMahon blocked him from being inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. However, the new MSG owners have apparently promised Bruno he'll be inducted this year, since he sold the place out 200 times (Dave jumps in here to correct it and says the real number of sellouts is closer to 45. Bruno only main evented the Garden 127 times and by no means were they all sell-outs. But it's one of those myths that has been perpetuated for so long that Dave begrudgingly recognizes that people are always going to believe the 200 number is true, but it's not even close. He compares it to the claim that Andre The Giant was 7'4, which also wasn't true but people repeated the lie so often that it became accepted as fact).
Afa Anoa'i Jr., the son of the legendary Wild Samoan, is a star football player at his high school and is being recruited for Penn State. He also sometimes wrestles on his father's indie shows (that would be Manu, who was very briefly part of Legacy with Orton, Dibiase Jr., and Cody).
Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson will be doing commentary for Jerry Jarrett's new promotion, and Bob Ryder is said to be in a major front office position.
Jarrett has put out a press release saying that his new promotion has had talks with Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior. Word is Warrior wanted a 15% ownership stake in the new company, which pretty much ended those talks right there. They're also apparently interested in Scott Hall now too, with the idea that since they're only doing 1 show per week, he won't be a screw-up here. Dave is skeptical. Anyway, currently Road Dogg and Brian Christopher expected to be some of the company's top stars and Dave's not optimistic.
XWF wrestlers were told last week that a television deal should hopefully be finalized this week. But Dave has been told no chance it's happening that soon. The rumors are that the deal is either with the FX or Fox Kids networks. Ted Turner had inquired about buying this promotion a few months ago, but when he learned how much it would cost to get them off the ground and make them competitive, he lost interest (TV deal never materializes, company is already dead, etc. etc.).
The Scorpion King slipped to 2nd place this week, falling to the new Spider Man movie which did a record breaking $114 million opening weekend. Randy Savage has a small role in that movie.
Speaking of, The Rock worked his first match in about a month at a Fort Lauderdale house show, teaming with Hogan to beat Jericho and Angle. After the match, Hogan tried to get Rock to pose with him, but Rock wouldn't do it. Rock thanked the fans for the success of Scorpion King and said it would likely be his last match for awhile. There was a ton of local media there, but Rock didn't talk to any of them. Basically, the house show was in his neck of the woods and he simply decided to show up and work it just so he could see his friends and hang out with the locker room, he had no interest in doing interviews. He was just there because he wanted to be. Backstage, Rock was telling people that Hollywood higher-ups have told him he has to leave the wrestling business if he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Those in the company feel it's a certainty that Rock really is leaving and he's likely going to break out of wrestling into Hollywood and actually become a rare success story (yeah, you could say that).
Look how long this is already. Imagine if I had covered that Lou Thesz obituary in full. JUST IMAGINE!
Notes from Raw: Dave compares it to an episode of Thunder, with the crowd half-dead for everything. Also, the roster was exhausted after just returning from the Europe trip (and the plane ride shenanigans) and that was apparent too. Brock Lesnar won his match via pinfall instead of the usual ref stoppage and Dave says that word is Triple H got in Vince's ear and convinced him to end the ref stoppage gimmick for Brock. Sure, why not? Hogan was supposed to ride off on Undertaker's bike at one point, but then the motorcycle wouldn't start. It was one of those awkward live-TV moments where time stood still and nobody knew what to do. Flair finally turned heel on Austin, to a shocking lack of heat from the crowd. Nash returned, etc. Dave recaps the rest of this show and it sounds like a lot of bad WCW stuff, coincidentally enough with a lot of the same people.
The man who played the effeminate gay guy applying to be Vince McMahon's secretary on Smackdown a few weeks ago was new creative team member David Lagana. He recently joined the company and has written for several other TV shows, including "Friends" and has a strong knowledge of the industry (Dave says if you've been reading the Observer closely for the last few years, you're probably familiar with him, he's written in to Dave a lot over the years).
Dave goes on a brief rant about how to use older stars. In the past, everyone, even Vince McMahon, talked about how you should use guys like Hogan and Flair in small doses and how WCW's reliance on older stars like that is what made them less special. Dave talks about back in the day in Memphis, Jackie Fargo would come back once or twice a year and he was always the biggest star in the company when he did. Because he was used sparingly. But WWE has pretty much built its company around Hogan and Flair (and to a lesser extent, Vince and Undertaker) over the last few months and they've been totally overexposed because of it. Just 6 weeks ago, Hulk Hogan was getting some of the largest crowd reactions in the history of the business. Now, he and Undertaker are practically hearing crickets during their on-screen interactions.
Lita underwent neck surgery this week and isn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 months. Scotty 2 Hotty also had neck surgery and is expected to be out for about a year. Both are expected to make full recoveries though.
Jesse Ventura admitted this week that he received WWF stock options as partial payment for some work he did with them. Dave doesn't know if it's related to the Summerslam appearance a few years ago or the XFL announcing gig. Ventura says he has 10 years to exercise those stock options but wouldn't give any further details.
Scott Steiner told WWA he will work their next UK tour but after that, he's going to WWE. Dave is skeptical. Reports are that Steiner was in horrible pain after every match he worked on the last WWA tour and there's significant doubt that his body will hold up to a WWE schedule.
The new Steve Austin "What!" DVD has a lot of WCW footage, including the full Austin vs. Steamboat match from WCW Bash at the Beach 94. Dave doesn't say so, but I believe this is the first time WWE used any of the WCW library for commercial release after they purchased it the year before.
Someone writes in and asks Dave to stop spending so much time writing about steroid use in wrestling and instead says he should write a story about racism in the business. This person writes about the allegations from years back of Dusty Rhodes using the N-work with impunity, or the time DX parodied the Nation by wearing blackface. The WCW discrimination lawsuit, the embarrassing angles they've done with Mark Henry such as Sexual Chocolate, etc. This guy is asking why is it white wrestlers outnumber black wrestlers by 35-to-1 ratio in the U.S. (70-to-1 in Mexico and 80-to-1 in Japan). He wants to know why Dave isn't writing about that stuff. Dave responds and agrees that the blackface DX promo was racist, and it was racist when Buff Bagwell did it in WCW and when Roddy Piper did it in the 80s. Dave says wrestling, especially from the 70s through the 90s, had a horrible history of exploiting stereotypes and/or saying and doing racist things. You can argue it's gotten better, but no doubt the problem still exists. Dave lists some examples but he also pushes back on some others. For example, he's heard people complain that Booker T isn't being used properly due to his race and Dave disagrees. It's true that Booker T probably deserves a bigger push, but you can make the same case for guys like RVD and Jericho and Raven or DDP (when he first debuted, at least) and that didn't happen either, so Dave doesn't necessarily think Booker's lack of top-star push can be blamed on his race (we're less than a year away from Triple H definitively proving otherwise).
There's also 2 letters about the Rock/Hogan match at Wrestlemania and they couldn't be more different. One guy writes in and he can't understand why people are praising that match because if you put aside the hot crowd, it was awful, everyone's moves looked bad, it was embarrassing, etc. and says Hogan should have retired afterward. Then someone else writes in and says he was there live and, taken as a whole, Rock vs. Hogan was the greatest match he's ever seen. Basically the same "love it or hate it" opinion people have about that match to this day. Also, someone else writes in about the recent Low-Ki vs. American Dragon match from an ROH show and puts it up there among some of the greatest matches of all time (listing off several classic WWF matches like Shawn/Razor and Owen/Bret at WM10 for example). So there ya go.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:more fallout from the Plane Ride from Hell, more on the beginning of Jarrett's new NWA-TNA promotion, more on the NJPW Tokyo Dome show, and more...
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