The Australian Open rolls on into the second week of play, and the old woman Slow and Pretty continue their marathon interest in the TV coverage. Of course, neither one of them has been able to follow the complicated arrangement  ESPN has worked out with the Tennis Channel this year and the invariable question of “which channel is the live coverage on” has to be answered every time one of them picks up the remote. Sweet Chrissie Evert.

The Red Man has by now totally mastered the schedule and is quite bored with the daily remote routine but then nobody asks him so why bother to tell them. Don’t ask. Don’t tell. If they don’t ask, I’m not interested in telling. Hm…I wonder how well that strategy works as a rule.

I digress. Well Amigos, last night was a big night for the ladies. The Russian Maria Sharapova played a quarterfinal match against the American Serena Williams. It was one of those matches the announcers LOVE (get it, The Red Man sneaked in  some tennis lingo) to hype and predict and long for at the beginning of the tournament when the draw is posted. If somebody beats somebody and somebody else miraculously loses to somebody and the moon is in its seventh sun or something else equally ridiculous, then Maria will play Serena in the quarterfinals. The planets must align themselves in perfect order, and so they did.

As Mars would have it, here they were facing off last night in the “match of the tournament” on the women’s side. Bring it on. All the big announcers on both channels chatted about it endlessly. Martina, Chris, Cliff, Pam, Mary Jo, Lindsay – even Darren Cahill weighed in on the big rivalry between Maria and Serena. There’s just one Tiny problem with the Big rivalry. Serena leads the series 18 to 2. In case anyone is confused by this, The Red Man will explain that of the last 20 times these two women have met during the past 12 years, Serena has won 18 times.

Well yes, the tennis experts acknowledged in advance of the match, that was certainly true but THIS year Maria was sailing through the Open and had corrected the one ongoing problem with her otherwise outstanding tennis career: her serve. Maria was serving well in this year’s Australian Open and that would be the key to a really great match against Serena…or possibly not.

The Red Man counted six double faults by Maria in the first two games of the very first set. It was an ill wind that blew no good for Sharapova’s chances in the 2016 Australian Open. In fact, the announcers tried valiantly to find an explanation for the complete free-fall. Was her toss too high? Was her toss too low? Was her racket speed too fast? Was her racket speed too slow? Blah, blah, blah…until finally Pam or Lindsay or somebody said it could have been because of the smoke blowing through Melbourne earlier that afternoon from…and this is where the fun started at Casa de Canterbury last night.

Pretty was downstairs scrolling through Facebook after the match while Slow went upstairs to watch Roger Federer play Berdyche from the convenience of their king-sized bed. Apparently she was mentally still trying to grapple with Maria’s disastrous service game because she called down to Pretty, “Where did they say the smoke came from that messed up Maria’s serve? I can’t remember.”

To which Pretty replied, “I think they said Tanzania or some place like that.  Why do you care?”

To which Slow said, “I’m trying to understand how smoke messed up Maria’s serve and didn’t seem to bother Serena…and I just wondered where it came from.”

To which Pretty said,”Well, it was definitely from fires in Tanzania, if you must have an answer.”

Hm.  Fires in Tanzania. So Slow went to the source of all important weather information, the computer, and looked up the fire situation in Tanzania and in the process found that Tanzania is located in Africa which is a very long way from Australia so that smoke from there would have very little affect on anybody’s serve in Melbourne.

However, the old woman discovered there were forest fires in Tasmania which was an island 150 miles south of the Australian mainland and smoke had evidently drifted toward Melbourne from there that day.

Now, The Red Man is not one to make fun of the food sources at Casa de Canterbury, but really and truly, these two lesbians could stand a geography course. Maybe several. Once you get them past Texas, their international borders might as well have fences.

Get me outta here, Percy…I think I smell smoke…heh, heh.

Happy Australia Day, Mates!! We love our Australian Amigos!!