The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Sod it 

Damn you Fleming with your piss arse 39 runs in the test, and Papps the sapp with his 7.

Well disappointingly I was right, and SA ground out the win and Vettori finished with none for 53 off 18 giving him series figures of 146 overs, 26 maidens 4 wickets for 454 runs. Averaging 113 and striking every 219 balls.

Tits on a bull.

Meanwhile its as well I'm not in NZ this year and buying season tickets to the Warriors as they are obviously staring down the barrell of a rough ride. No doubt they will get better but I can't help but feel that they are letting some of the best talent in NZ slip through their net and into opposition teams.

There is going to come a time when a full half of the comp is made up of Queensland and NZ born players. Cos NSW'men are a bunch of pansies.

The K-League (domestic soccer comp) kicks off in Korea this weekend. I'm starting to look forward to it. I supported the Anyang LG Cheetahs last season quite closely and even contributed an article for the Korea Times about the comp (albeit slightly critical). However LG in their infinate wisdom decided to relocate the team to Seoul as they did not have a team. Anyang were one of the best supported teams in the league and the fans were gutted. There is so much more that's wrong with the move. The team is now called Seoul FC and they have 1984-2004 on their logo. What the hell is that all about?! It's a brand new club but with the same owners (LG Corporation, who have earnt themselves a life long boycott from yours truly). They are crediting themselves with three titles which were won when this team was in different cities playing on different home grounds. How the hell can you mislead people by saying you have been around 20 yeas and won three titles when it's your first season?!

So I have no team to support now really. I'll go to some Incheon United games but it may well be easier to just sit back and watch without worrying about results so much. I'm contributing to a website on the comp and keeping stats for the K2-League (which is sort of a second tier comp but they haven't established promotion/relegation yet).

By the way, did you know that dc_red is a bit of a Celtic supporter. No not the ones who play in Boston, the ones who play in fookin' Glasgow. And they have been flogging some blue arse this year.


Well, OK, Vettori's 5 wickets never eventuated and NZ were soundly beaten.

Vettori's series figures were a pretty crappy 146.2-26-454-4.

That's an average of 113.5 runs per wicket, and an economy rate of 3.1 runs per over. The economy rate is about the same as that of Cairns and Styris in this series, but the strike rate is worse.

On a vaguely more positive note, Vettori did average 22 with the bat - better than Papps, equal to Richardson, and only just behind Fleming.

Speaking of Fleming, here's a record of his dropped catches from the good people at cricinfo commentary.

Test 3, Innings 2: "27.2 Vettori to Gibbs, FOUR, down the pitch, lofted to the on side, Fleming jumping gets two hands to it, goes through the hands another chance for Gibbs."

Test 2, Innings 1: "122.5 Martin to Terbrugge, no run, outside off, great tailenders ball, drives, OH NO Fleming puts down a dolly at 1st slip."

Test 1, Innings 1: "118.2 Wiseman to Pollock, no run, flighted, drives, edges, dropped by Fleming at slip."

Test 1, Innings 1: " 123.3 Vettori to Ntini, no run, forward, pushed at it, into the hand, low down of Fleming at silly point, put down."

In fairness, cricinfo also records that he held on to a couple of sharp chances.

The other drop off Vettori that I was thinking of came in Test 1, Innings 1: "125.5 Vettori to Ntini, one run, can not resist it, goes after it, scoops it high to mid off, Cairns under it, OH NO puts it down."

There were also drops by Oram (2), McCullum (2), Papps (1), and "Gully" (1 off a no-ball),

The age of Vettorius 

My colleague said:

"lets compare him to Boje (who doesn't chuck and is not regarded as one of the great test bowlers) for a moment in the current test series.

Vettori: 136.2 25 418 4 at an average of 104.50 striking every 204 deliveries
Boje: 75.4 11 248 9 at an average of 27.55 striking every 50 deliveries

These guys are bowling on the same pitches aren't they?

My colleague may disagree but I think the chances of Vettori bowling NZ to victory in a test match are what they have always been. Slim to anorexic."

--- Certainly some food for thought in there. My long-standing concern is that Vettori's figures have been adversely affected by the captaincy of one Stephen Fleming, who has a tendency (most recently exhibited in the First Innings of the Second Test) to either not bowl his spinners, or to only put them on once the horse has bolted, and the opposition is something like 189/1 or 254/2 etc. A number of commentators have noted this with respect to Wiseman, but it's true for Vettori to a lesser extent.

It's interesting to see that Boje, generally considered a workhorse at best, is out-performing Vettori in this series. I guess Vettori could take 5 quick wickets in the fourth innings, win the test for NZ, and his figures would look a lot better than they are now, though still worse than Boje's. In fairness, if Fleming hadn't miraculously lost the ability to catch, Vettori would have at least 2 or possibly 3 more wickets in this series.

136-25-400-6 would look a fair bit better, though not stellar.

I agree that the onus is on Vettori to take wickets in the fourth innings, and to take a lot of them, *quickly*. Please!

Update: I see a certain Sri Lankan spinner has again been cited for a suspect action - aka chucking. In other cricketing news, how would you feel if you were a captain who contributed 6 runs to a team score of 675/5? Perhaps you'd feel pretty annoyed with yourself, while celebrating the efforts of your teammates? Or perhaps you'd declare with your historical rival poised on 194 n.o.? Yes, I'm sure the 5 minutes that India gained from this declaration was absolutely vital in the context of the game. Not.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Flemings "Coming of Age", Vettori's "Never Had Nor Will Have an Age" and Cairns "End of an Age" 

It's time to start blogging it real.

This from Flemings profile at cricinfo: "Fleming confirmed his greater batting consistency with a career-highest 274 not out against Sri Lanka in the first Test of their 2003 series. He followed that an equally impressive 192 at Hamilton against Pakistan later that year." In Lynn McConnell's defense he had no way of knowing that Fleming would fall back into his old inconsistent ways after that innings.

274*, 69*, 0, 33, 1, 8, 30, 192, 0, 0, 24, 27, 4, 31*, 30 and 9

Since that 'watershed' test in Sri Lanka where he scored the magnificent 274* and 69* he has played 8 tests for 389 runs at an average of 30 (he averages 38.08 following his two 'knocks' in the 3rd test against South Africa). But in one dayers he has been much better since his century against South Africa in the World Cup. In the 25 matches since then he has averaged over 37 and scored more than 20 runs in 17 of his 24 innings which in one day matches represents a decent contribution. Check it out.

As for Vettori. He has played 52 tests for NZ and only managed one 5 wicket bag in a test match that NZ has actually won and it happened about seven years ago in his second ever test (5/84 v Sri Lanka). I went through his stats and of the 18 test victories he has been part of he has only taken 5 or more wickets of the 20 to fall on 5 occasions.

True enough that he doesn't often have the best conditions to bowl in in NZ but even on the sub continent...
India: 5 Tests 330.3 overs 876 runs 17 wickets BB:6/127 ave: 51.52
Sri Lanka: 5 Tests 198 overs 466 runs 20 wickets BB:6/64 ave: 23.30
Pakistan: 1 Test 40 overs 178 runs 1 wicket BB:1/178 ave: 178.00

For a combined 11 Tests, 1520 runs, 38 wickets at an average of 40. Fantastic stuff.

Bowling in the second innings of our opponents in all tests: 42 innings 2264 runs 60 wickets BB:7/87 ave: 37.73, 3 five wicket bags, 1 ten wicket bag

His stats in the second innings of the opposition is actually worse than the first innings. Whats that all about?!

I don't want to compare Vettori to spinners from other countries as somebody like Warne is a freak and Muralitharan is a cheat along with several other chuckers. He is a left arm finger spinner and there are few of his kind around. But all the same...

lets compare him to Boje (who doesn't chuck and is not regarded as one of the great test bowlers) for a moment in the current test series.
Vettori: 136.2 25 418 4 at an average of 104.50 striking every 204 deliveries
Boje: 75.4 11 248 9 at an average of 27.55 striking every 50 deliveries

These guys are bowling on the same pitches aren't they?

My colleague may disagree but I think the chances of Vettori bowling NZ to victory in a test match are what they have always been. Slim to anorexic.

So for gods sake take 4 wickets at the Basin and prove me wrong! As a side note, this will only be the 15th time in Vettori's 53 tests that NZ has been bowling in the 4th innings (obviously due to the toss, rain, innings defeats and victories...) Also for an interesting article/defense of Vettori check this out from a couple of months ago. One of the rare occasions when Joseph Romanos has decided to cover something other than tennis (yawn). Christ in the lastest issue he even managed to slip in the prize money earning stats for all tennis players all time (double yawn). Tennis has got to one of the most over-rated spectator sports in the world. All the evidence you need is when you have some massively rich European event with three quarters of the reasonably small arena empty with two of the so called biggest name players in the world on court.

Back to the cricket.

I see Cairns was dismissed for 41 in what may be his final test innings if the rumours are true. He hit one six and I think he now has 82 or 83 sixes in his test career. Some guy called Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards hit 84 sixes in 121 tests and Cairns hit his 82? in just 58 tests. Does this mean that Cairns has consistently been the biggest hitter the game has ever seen?

Viv Richards was a far superior batsman, no question about it. He averaged over 50 versus Cairns 33.5 and scored 24 centuries and 45 fifties versus 5 and 20 from Cairns. But for shear hitting power, Cairns seems to be peerless?

Perhaps there is somebody who can compare favourably but I certainly don't know who.

Meanwhile SA need 198 more runs with 8 wickets in hand. Both teams have scored 3 centuries and hit 10 fifties in the series which would indicate that it's been pretty even. New Zealand has held themselves together a little better though and the Afrikaners have capitulated several times against the new ball. but I can't help but feel that they will grind this one out and level the series.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Headline of the year? 

Check this out, I thought they were taking the piss

Hell even the sub heading wins an award.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Mullet Strikes Again 

Commentary from

"27.2 Vettori to Gibbs, FOUR, down the pitch, lofted to the on side, Fleming jumping gets two hands to it, goes through the hands another chance for Gibbs"

Is anyone keeping tally of how many catches the Mullet has dropped this series? If I recall correctly this is at least #4. Bad, bad, bad - especially considering Vettori actually had Gibbs caught behind a few overs earlier, but the umpire didn't give it:

"19.4 Vettori to Gibbs, no run, on the leg side, sweeps, looks like a top edge, McCullum takes, de Silva gets it wrong, big piece of the bat, Vettori can not believe it."

Thursday, March 25, 2004


Top work from nz saram in finding pictures of the stadia, but what on earth is Ericsson stadium (the NZ one) doing bathed in sunlight?!? That never happens! I suspect someone's been at work with photoshop. More seriously, there's a question about how many stadia Auckand needs when half of the existing ones aren't finished ... North Harbour, Eden Park, Ericsson. I'm not sure what the new downtown monstrosity and the Waitakere Stadium will look like, but there's a good possibility neither of them will be properly completed either, I'd wager.

While I'm on the topic ... what's with the seating at Eden Park? Even a person of modest dimensions (e.g., 5'8") finds their knees jammed into the nasty plastic of the seat in front, and their elbows in the midriff of the person next to them. Pretty uncomfortable when you're settling in for a day's cricket. People are getting larger, not smaller, and even smallish people aren't accommodated by the seats at Eden Park. Now, if only I could get started on airline seating. Air Transat, I'm looking at you....

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Sport and Spit 

I see the Breakers will be moving home to the new $26 million Waitakere Stadium from next season.

Good news for me as the home I purchased recently is only about a 15 minute drive away. I don't think I'll be getting season tickets but I'll probably pop along for a few games.

Season tickets to the Warriors though me thinks, especially once Ericsson Stadium looks like this. It'll be great to have the Carolina Panthers playing there as well. It's a big move relocating an NFL team to New Zealand and they will certainly clock up a lot of air points.

Hang on a minute, think I got the wrong Ericsson Stadium there ;) This is more like it.

I was trying to find a link to some design pictures of the new stand they are currently building (though it's on hold by and large during the Warriors season I understand). The Ericsson Stadium web page is not loading though so maybe later.

But just as I was about to give up I found a pic!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Oh boy...

and if that's not enough then how about maybe the quotes of the year: "Mr Christie said the man was difficult to control because he was strong, covered in slippery baby oil and appeared to be under the influence of was a very, very awkward situation. This young guy went nuts. He had baby oil on, he had no clothes and he didn't stop".

Thought for the day 

Have you ever noticed how all western countries complain about a 'brain drain'?

Maybe you haven't but you'll have to take my word for it that they do.

Well surely if all these people are going to other western countries, as they invariably are, then there is no real brain drain.

NZ particularly goes on about all those uni grads we lose to Britain. But there are so many South African doctors, British teachers, uni grads from Asia and so forth that come to NZ that we really should just shut the f**k up!

Unlike most of our smarty pants mob off having a look see and who will return at some stage, most of those who come to NZ are going to be staying for the long haul.

NZ has a net migration gain of one NZ resident every 13 minutes and 56 seconds (note this is subject to change and neither batteries nor steak knives are included).

That works out at something like 103 people a day net gain (so if 200 NZers leave on any given day then 303 people arrive from abroad to live in NZ). I'm sure they are not all mindless zombies.


Steading it real... 

Well, whaddaya know, one of the most informed commentaries on the Auckland mega-motorway proposal comes not from a planner or urban functionary, but from a novelist, CK Stead.

In the Herald he writes:

Never unwilling to make themselves ridiculous, Mayors Banks and Curtis predict land-value rises. Are we to expect real-estate advertisements reading "Come and live by the motorway"? What is most likely is the development of a wide ribbon of low-grade living and industrial degradation, a no-go zone.

Those of us who prefer to use the car (and I include myself) must be disciplined, or at least learn the facts of urban life, one of which is that if you live in a city of a million or more and insist on using your car during rush hours, you must be prepared to spend some time going nowhere.

If billions of dollars are wasted in an attempt to defeat or disprove this basic fact of modern living, the relief will be short-lived, the cost and the damage enormous, and in a very short time the problem will have re-created itself.


It has recognised that motorways solve nothing and that there are values and qualities to be preserved for the future. Vancouver has spent money on public transport, including its excellent skytrain services, and is reaping the benefits.

To the south is Los Angeles which preserves a few havens of comfort and beauty for the rich (Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air) and is otherwise a network of clogged motorways, with their attendant smog, low-grade commerce, dingy housing and industrial wastelands.

These are the futures Auckland must choose between. Our two mayors are pointing us in the wrong direction.

Lots of good points there. The first one is incontrovertibly true: no matter how large and expensive the new eastern expressway, the problem of congestion will recreate itself, and the expressway will become a parking lot.

It is true that Vancouver lacks motorways as Aucklanders know them. There is one real highway, and it doesn't go downtown, or even that close to it really. There are a number of other roads that are called highways, but have traffic lights every couple of hundred metres, and speed limits of 60-80kph. And what do we see along these "highways": strip malls, marginal industry, redundant warehousing, abandoned offices, etc.: precisely the "low-grade commerce" that CK Stead talks about. Can't think of a better description for it.

I will say however that Vancouver's Skytrain is hardly a panacea. For a start it covers only a small proportion of the total urban area. Secondly, it takes a long time to get anywhere on it. For example, I live 8 minutes walk from a Skytrain station, but it would still be a lot quicker for me to drive to my usual destinations than to take the Skytrain, notwithstanding the absence of motorways. Not owning a car precludes this possibility. Then there's the freak show aspect of public transit, which reaches its zenith in Vancouver.

p.s. anyone know if Fleming dropped any more catches?

Spying it real... 

I wonder if anything like this goes on in Canada? I wouldn't be surprised.

Come to think of it, I recall reading on several occasions that the Echelon international spy system screens *every* email and international phonecall. Whether there's a computer system out there powerful enough to handle so much data I don't know.


London, March 21: British universities have been doubling up as spy networks
to keep an eye on foreign students from so-called "red flag countries" like
India, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Israel and North

The scheme, quietly set up following the September 11 attacks in the United
States, is aimed at helping MI5 keep potential terrorists under
Students from these countries are likely to have their emails intercepted
and cellphones listened to in an attempt to ensure that terrorists do not
use universities as cover for their activities.

Scotland Yard special branch officers monitor these emails and calls, and
universities are expected to pass on information on suspicious meetings,
activities or absences. Several students are believed to have been ordered
to leave Britain as a result of such monitoring, after it was discovered
that they had links to extremist groups.

The special branch and MI5 are running the vetting operation in cooperation
with most of Britain's universities, which goes much further than the
controversial voluntary vetting system that was introduced in 1994 to
prevent the transfer overseas of technology related to Weapons of Mass

Under that scheme, some universities agreed to contact the UK government
when assessing applications from potential students from certain rogue
states. Since September 11, however, the institutions have been asked to go
further and secretly gather and assess information on foreigners studying at
their institutions.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

In response to my comrades query below:
I was at Wellington Backpackers (and as I understand it people can come in off the street after it opens at 5pm).

It's located virtually opposite the railway station on the corner closest to the harbour. Fantastic location. Right between downtown Wellington, the caketin, the railway station, the beehive and the harbour.

I see Vettori has bowled an over and hasn't taken a wicket. The pressure has come on my comrade! [I can't resist to update this, being a bastard and all, Vettori with match figures now of 24 overs, 0 for 69, hardly match winning type stuff, but maybe he can mop up the tail with the new ball tomorrow].

Right now I'm about to take off to go play some soccer for my expat team on an artificial pitch. We are playing a good team so we'll see what happens. Then it's dinner with the future in-laws. What should I be more scared of? [and I should update this too. We lost 10-2. The team that beat us has been together three seasons compared to our three games and they did win 10-1 last week and 9-1 the week before so we can at least console ourselves with those facts. Yours truly was tits on a bull up front.]

Putting a career in perspective 

Truly great work by the NZ team yesterday. Maybe Vettori can post a quick half-century this morning, putting NZ over 600, and our lead over 300. Then we'll grind those buggers into the ground. Gary Kirsten is facing his last test innings (#174 in his 100th test), and while of course I hope he is dismissed quickly, he's a prolific run scorer. His 21 test centuries compare favourably with the 25 scored by the entiire current NZ team (including the two scored in the last innings). Boy I wish I was at Eden Park yesterday!

When you add Kallis' 16 test centures, and Gibbs' 13, you can see what an accomplishment it is for NZ to play well against these guys. Hell, even Smith has scored 6 centuries, and he's only played 23 matches. He ties Fleming (6 centuries in 81 matches) and McMillan (6 centuries in 50 matches).

We're also outgunned in the bowling department. The entire NZ team has taken 519 wickets (and yes I'm including the 1 by Mark Hunter Richardson). Pollock alone has taken 332 (or 64% of the NZ total), and he's joined by Kallis (162) and Ntini (160).

Note to Stephen Fleming (affectionately known as "the mullet" for that blank look he has on his face so often): bowl Vettori today. He's your best bowler. He takes wickets. He takes them at Eden Park. 'Nuff said.

Note to my esteemed colleague: what bar were you at in Wellington? I'll be there myself in a month's time, and want to both avoid the speed trap and enjoy a beer or 3.

DC out.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Gotta love this kind stuff 

Gone are the days of 90 overs and 160 runs (well they are pretty rare from NZ teams anyway).

Aussie started the trend by smacking opening day scores of over 300 with monotonous regularity beginning in the 90s and NZ has followed suit along with several other countries.

"Chris Cairns's ballistic half-century lit up Eden Park as New Zealand built up a strong lead in the second Test at Auckland...Styris lunged forward in defence and Pollock latched on to the edge, diving low to his right (285 for 4). It ended a magnificent innings, one characterised by fearlessness under pressure, and included 24 fours and two mighty sixes.

Smith took the new ball immediately after the dismissal. But the new-ball bowlers were attacked with venom...Cairns began that job with a flourish. Pollock was hammered for four fours in one over as square-, cover- and straight-drives were all on show. The short stuff was carted to midwicket and Cairns raced to 40 off just 24 balls. All the other bowlers were bludgeoned too and South Africa didn't know what had hit them......"

Isn't it nice to have a decent cricket team once again?

On another sporting note, is this actually a national trend or an aberration?

Rugby crowds seem to be shrinking ever so slightly, while populations in the cities hosting the big games certainly are not. We even saw the astonishing sight of an All Black test match with empty seats a year or two ago in Christchurch.

Obviously the biggest games will always be packed to the rafters but what of the next tier down which always enjoyed huge support?

Auckland frequently draws criticism for it's meek following of it's sports teams (like it's a law that everybody in the world must be interested in their city's sports teams), but are we now seeing other cities following the trend?

More on this later...much later as I taught 38 classes this week and have about the same next week. Completely mentally shot last night. Even now after 8 hours sleep I am pretty shattered.

I see though that the 'no fun' police made a nice bit of cash last night.

Seven cars impounded in boy racers sting
20 March 2004
Seven cars were impounded and almost 300 traffic tickets issued during an overnight operation against boy racers in south Auckland, police said today. The operation took place in the Smales Rd and Harris Rd area of East Tamaki, a popular venue for off-street racing. A police spokesman said officers went through 200 cars, issuing about $100 in fines. Seven cars were impounded under legislation passed last year to combat boy racers, while 291 tickets were issued for a range of offences."

That's 'about' 30,000 dollars if those figures are to be believed (although due to the fantastic journalism perhaps it was 291 fines totalling $100 so it was an average fine of 34 cents).

I'm sure the motivation is all to do with that 'broken windows' type stuff. Tinted black windows in this case.

Personally I've never once had any troubles with a 'boy racer' and I was wondering what it is they do that's so naughty apart from leaving tire marks in interesting places. Anybody else able to enlighten me? I have more problems with men in the 40-60 age bracket driving massive, high powered 'Bathurst' style cars at 140+ km's on open roads right up my arse.

And back to the police making money...I was in Wellington a few months ago there was a speed radar check point a couple of hundred metres from where I was having a beer. They were hauling cars over faster than they could ticket them. Love to know how much they made there. I'll excuse them though as that was quite entertaining for yours truly.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Quality Journalism 

As pointed out by my brother, this is another inspired headline by the NZ Herald, I mean nearly 6 out of 10 ... so approximately half think their "liberation" has made things worse???

Most Iraqis prefer life after Saddam


BAGHDAD - A year after United States and British troops invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, most Iraqis say life is better than it was under the former dictator, say results of an extensive poll released yesterday.

But many have little faith in occupying troops and the US-led administration - and nearly one in five say attacks on foreign soldiers in Iraq are justified.

Asked whether their lives were better now than this time last year, nearly six in 10 Iraqis said the situation was somewhat better or much better than it was, according to the survey of 2500 people conducted for a group of broadcasters by Oxford Research International.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Well, it turns out that Jacques Kallis can hold a bat, although it appears as though South Africa were determined to hold on for the draw, rather than give themselves or New Zealand a chance of victory. I recall seeing Kallis' first test century at the MCG back in 1997. A useful player all right. Still, good on Vettori for getting his 6th test 50.

I was going to criticize MacMillan for failing to contribute, again, but a quick check of the cricinfo statistics revealed he's contributed a fair bit to the test team of late. His average for his last 20 matches is 41.24, including 2 centuries, and 6 half-centuries (from 31 innings). Included in this were 6 not outs, and 10 dismissals for under 20 runs (i.e., failures). Hmm, a top order batsman who fails in every third innings??

He's much more vulnerable to criticism based on his ODI record. His last 20 matches have produced 18 innings (incl. 4 not outs) with an average of 33.57 (higher than his overall ODI career average). This includes 4 half-centuries, but also 9 dismissals for under 20 runs, 3 of these being ducks.

There's some pretty cool stuff on the website. Did you know, for example, that there have only been 2 ties out of 1685 tests?

And also, a suprising number of players have taken more wickets than they've scored runs, especially in ODIs, where tail-enders seldom get much of a go with the bat.

To of the list, with a qualification of 50 matches, is Glenn McGrath, with 284 wickets but only 94 runs from 185 matches. Allan Donald (95 runs, 272 wickets) is close to him. Bruce Reid is in this list too: 49 runs, 63 wickets. New Zealand's own Ewen Chatfield scored 118 runs but took 140 ODI wickets. Korea 

I was asked to get up in front of about 40 students today and say a little about myself to them.

I could see it was being filmed on a small camera on a tripod by a 12 year old.

Glad I didn't realise at the time that it was being screened free to air in every class in the school on the massive tv's each class has.

By my rough estimates over 1,000 students were watching. This was confirmed later when I taught half of them and they already knew my name, age, country and how long I'd been in Korea.

Meanwhile I guess some of you would have heard that the Korean PM, Noh Moo Hyun has been impeached in a shambolic display of wankerism by the conservatives, who constantly try to haul Korea backwards through time and refuse to let go of power and move forward.

73% of the people in surveys taken since the vote in parliament took him down have said it was wrong. Did you know that you are actually not really supposed to start a sentence with a number?

So much for democracy, and rules about sentences not starting with numbers.

Hopefully these dickwads (whose parties have taken a bitch slappings in the polls) disappear from Korean politics soon.

You can follow all of it here if you are interested.

Also I spent three days in Kyoto, Japan a few days ago. I'll write about it another time. Way too many classes to teach and things to do though at the moment.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

You know what they say, "big nose, big (I can't say it can I?!)" 

So this afternoon I'm just starting a new class (with a mere 45 students in it) and one of the Korean boys (they're all Korean since I'm in Korea) starts telling me I have a big nose (like I haven't noticed).

Has anybody ever used three sets of brackets in one sentence before. Should I have included that sentence in the first sentence in brackets?

Anyway, at the end of the class the Korean co teacher said a couple of the girls (they were all aged 8-13 I might add) were asking me if I had had a nose operation. At first I was a bit bemused as I thought they were wondering if I had had it enlarged to this size (it's really not that big). But then I realised they were wondering if I had got it bridged more in the middle as it is fashionable in Korean cosmetic surgery fields to make noses look more European.

It is also common for females to get an operation on their eyes which removes part of the eye lid so they have larger looking eyes (and again look more European). When I say common I mean massively common. Both of my girlfriend's older sisters have have had it done and my girlfriend often wishes she could do hers as well (well she's damn well not going to). One of the reasons for surgery being so big here is that it is extremely cheap. A couple of thousand dollars max to do your eyes.

The obsession with beauty is leading to so many stories like this though.

More of the same and more again.

That's actually the first time since a Korean taxi driver became fascinated in my nose a few years ago. I spent a while trying to tell him his eyes were narrow before my girlfriend shut me up. Hey, he was probably a good christian man so he would understand "an eye for a nose"! Besides he didn't get it anyway.

Cosmetic surgery will probably pop up (like my nose) here again so stay tuned.

yours big nosedly

PS Here's something on the state of Korean music.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004


"On a completely unrelated note, if you're up early on Sunday mornings in Vancouver you can watch a K-Pop show on Channel 20. The nice V-jay speaks English and smiles a lot."

would this be who you are talking about there? soy I believe she is fairly fluent in Chinese as well as English and Korean.

To get back to the argument about "historical disadvantage". As my esteemed colleague says, there are so many other races, ethnic groups blah blah out there, that there is a case for all of us I am sure. Look at the treatment of the Scots by the English for example.

What the hell did all those Brits come to NZ for in the first place? What would motivate somebody to jump on a timber vessel and sail for several months to the other side of the world with nought but the clothes you are wearing? That's right, complete and utter poverty with no hope of a better life from where you were leaving due to "historical disadvantage" (otherwise known as the class system and racial difference).

Of course there were those who were more well off who made there way in our direction but there is a reason why you find Presbyterian churches from one end of NZ to the other.

The way Maori were treated by Pakeha virtually pales into insignificance when compared to how Koreans have been treated for hundreds of years by the Chinese and Japanese. And yes the Koreans are kicking up a hell of a fuss in order to get Japan to acknowledge what it has done, but as for priveleges and financial compensation.....well hello! Perhaps Japan could let Korean car manufacturers have first dibs on lucrative foreign markets...yeah right.

I'm not trying to make light of how certain groups in New Zealand have been treated but Maori in particular do tend to lose sight of the painful histories of other people as well. My father speaks fluent Maori and is well placed within the general Maori community and it is he that tells me much of these things.

I'm so tired. it's 3 am and if anything I wrote above seems like bollocks then it probably is and I'll change it later.


What's discrimination? 

Well the 'debate' goes on and on, with much bluster, and the occasional controversy. It's interesting the extent to which a 'race preference' discovery will be made, and attract the headlines for a couple of days, and then disappear when further investigation reveals that all is not as it seems, and the initial reporting was inaccurate. Maybe that will happen with the "Work & Income" scandal too, we'll see. I have been worried for a long time about the degree to which the NZ media - the Dominion Post being a prime culprit - reports National Party press releases as unproblematic truth.

Interestingly, the SST story about Work & Income made me remember something I heard about from numerous inside sources in the early-mid 1990s: a system of preference for Maori and Pacific Islanders at Student Job Search. Instinctively, I think, many people will say that one unemployed student is as deserving as the next, irrespective of ethnicity.

I guess an argument could be made that agencies which seek jobs for the unemployed need to work extra hard to find places for those groups who are discriminated against by employers. I guess Donny Boy Brash pretty much said he would discriminate against Maori employees because they might take prolonged Tangi leave (a claim that made the headlines, and then disappeared when it was found out that Maori really had no more rights to leave than anyone else).

Still, I think many NZers will find it hard to disagree with the point that Dutton makes in the Herald that - with regards to historical disadvantage - what is being complained about is that one side of a person's family treated the other side badly.

I would add that another problem with "the claim to special treatment on the basis of historical disadvantage" is that every nationality/ethnicity/'race' has its own tale of woe. The Irish, for example, have a pretty good claim under the whole "colonial oppression" line of argument. The French have been invaded *twice* in the last century. The Russians have hardly had an easy go of things either, with oppression coming from the inside and the outside.

Just for the sake of argument, is there any real reason a New Zealander of Irish, French, or Russian heritage should be treated differently by state agencies than one of Maori heritage (Treaty rights not withstanding)?

I must say, though, that Khylee Quince made the best defence of affirmative action-style university admission schemes that I've ever read.

On a completely unrelated note, if you're up early on Sunday mornings in Vancouver you can watch a K-Pop show on Channel 20. The nice V-jay speaks English and smiles a lot.

Monday, March 08, 2004

NZ Music on CNN 

New Zealand music is choice (wo)man.

Just finished watching a 30 minute feature on NZ music on CNN World (or Global or whatever the flunk).

Anyways, it was great to see NZ culture on the tellie here 5,000 miles away from home. I also managed to see clips of several videos I wasn't able to catch back home (since my family can't get C4 where we live).

King Kapisi, Scribe, Nesian Mystik, Che Fu, Neil Finn, Haley Westenra, Brooke Fraser (daughter of former All Black Bernie), Bic Runga, Salmonella Dub et al featured in one form or another with several being interviewed.

Got a nice warm glow going and there wasn't even much bourban mixed with my coke. Maybe it's also from the ice cubes which came straight out of the Kyeonggido domestic water supply (they can say all they want, but I am yet to find a Korean who drinks it).

Don't get me started on the Korean music scene though. They have some talented hip hop and rock acts that are right up there with much of what we have in NZ but the stuff that passes for music here, overwhelming the mainstream is the most turgid bollocks you could ever have the misfortune to listen to.

Actually I will get started on Korean music sometime just to prove I am balanced with my views on it.

Take Popstars and multiply it by 100 and that is more or less what we are dealing with 24/7 here. Perhaps once a day of channel surfing you will catch a song with any artistic merit (though taste is individual of course, a Korean song that sounds like s**t to me might sound like complete and utter damn s**t to you).

Until then lets just both go our separate ways shall we? HEY, just keep walking buddy! That's my eye on you...

Sunday, March 07, 2004

I told you so 

Here's what I wrote a couple of weeks ago...

"The anecdotal evidence suggests that they are being favoured in areas of health and unemployment over and above other sick and unemployed people (yes that comes directly from my mother who works at Work and Income). To me that kind of favouritism is wrong. An out of work (insert race here) is just as deserving of help as a Maori in my opinion."

and now the truth comes out... or some of it mixed with maybe a few 'non-truths', and then some more here.

Now if Sione Luauki would just become an All Black I could trust my parents more often.

If I happened to be an unemployed white man or woman, or teenager or whatever, then how would I feel after finding that out. I assume that not every Work and Income in NZ has adopted such a reward scheme but there must be some others.

People are now going to be walking through those doors and setting alarms off because of the colour of their skins.

Trying extra hard to place a Maori or Pacific Islander in employment is one thing, but actually rewarding people for doing it (thus indirectly telling them to not put so much effort into other races) is just plain crap in my opinion.

Whatever way you look at it it negatively impacts on other races. As far as I am aware Work and Income hasn't taken on a lot of extra staff to help this initiative. They are simply telling those they have got to focus more on one group and as result (naturally) less on other groups.

And whether true or not, it is going to result in much more of this.

Human nature baby.

And this comes from a bleeding heart liberal.


Bugger me sideways, Ireland beat England at Twickenham and the entire rugby world (outside England) cheers.

Guess I should have gone to my local afterall. Although that was a pretty massive upset. Considering England had won 22 straight at home and if you think that the All Blacks have never lost to Ireland and England are currently better than the All Blacks it was definately a result out of left field. I guess you can see how important Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson are to their team.

The English lineout was woeful, reminding me of another international team. And their ball-handling was terrible at crucial moments. Well done to the Irish lads though. They looked hungry with the ball and actually showed some skill and did the business on defense. O'Driscoll was rubbish and O'Gara was brilliant. What's that all about?!

Meanwhile in NZ the Chiefs upset the Blues at Eden Park. Out of all the NZ teams I don't mind losing to the Chiefs because they have been so rubbish for so long and it's hard to see why when their NPC team is generally so strong year in and year out. Though why did a guy from my Waitemata club (Sione Lauaki) in Auckland have to score the winning try? My father has seen a lot of him at the club and predicts him to be a future All Black. You heard it here first. Well, unless you heard it from my father earlier.

Oh, and big props to the NZ cricket team for thrashing the Africaners 5-1. After watching us lose to them in the first game I thought we might get walloped but the wheels fell off the Proteas big time and the battle of the mind games went our way.

I know Scott Styris was complaining that the team doesn't get enough respect from the public which is true in many ways. Especially considering we used to get bigger crowds when the team wasn't as good. I think that is as much to do with heavy handed security at the venues though as it is to do with a lack of support. The terraces at Eden Park are a much tamer (and emptier) place these days and I'm not sure why they have to be since it's all yobbos beating themselves up in there and the families are in the other stands watching in amusement.

And I almost forgot to mention. It's been a little snowy in Korea in the last few days. Forced us to cancel our footie game on Sunday since the pitch was covered in 3 inches of crushed snow and ice.

anyway, anybody reading this? Give us an email and prove it!

Night Fever 

So my mate gets woken up at about 2am by all sorts of banging and smashing sounds coming from his apartment (my old one) and goes down two flights of stairs to see what all the fuss is about.

He comes upon three adult women sledge-hammering a door handle and trying to use a pair of bolt cutters to um.....well who knows! Now this is kind of strange (read: COMPLETELY NUTS), as any locksmith could get in much easier, and what the hell were they doing in possession of such things? I mean, I can't think of any reason to own any of those things in Korea. Although due to a shortage of scrap metal on the international market, metal sign boards, fence railings and school gates have been going missing in Korea recently!

So he stands there un-noticed whilst scarcely believing his eyes. Eventually they spied him and apologised profusely.

Then the same night the school kids who are living in one of the apartments on the 2nd floor (without their parents) come home screaming and yelling as they often do in the middle of the night. Another friend of mine went out and told them at the top of his lungs something I can't repeat here. These guys are students at a nearby drama/music school and so are a of themselves. This school looks totally nondescript yet has produced a massive number of Korean television stars and famous singers and musicians. It's like a little concrete star making factory........weird man. Here's one of them named "sea" (or "pada" in Korean). She likes Oranges and I just ate two. Wow. But I must ask, is it common for 24 year old women to weigh 47 kilograms?

Then of course there was the guy who was playing a xylophone which stretched right across his room at all hours, until aforementioned guy had a word with him.

It's just one of those buildings really. Though sums up the attitude of Koreans towards their neighbours in many respects.

Meanwhile in the world of sport we have this , this (accompanied with comments like this) and this.

What's with these guys?

I mean even if it all turns out to be a string of false allegations it seems that the general behaviour of so many pro athletes is bordering on inhuman. Lets save the gang-banging for porn-stars shall we guys?

I have to give the NRL some credit though. They never dodge negative issues in their sport. The official NRL website always covers all aspects of their sport including the scandals and criticism of the organisation, judiciary etc. Whereas another similar code I know does it's best to avoid all contact with the public and is the only club sport in the world which does not release it's crowd figures (more on that another time).

Right, I'm off to watch Ireland play England on the tellie. Could have gone to watch it in our local bar with my Irish mates but after being there until 4am last night I think I'll give it a miss. I mean it does kickoff 1am local time and I've watched England win enough on the big screen there in the last year. There's only so much a man can take. They are a mighty team though dammit.

Thursday, March 04, 2004


But I'm back again.

I finally managed to actually get a free day where I could stay home long enough for the internet guy to come to my house and chuck it in. My english only keyboard and onscreen programs pose a wee challenge for any poor Korean who happens to have to deal with it.

Had a few dealings with the immigration department in the last few days, and things worked out as planned (just took several days of my time) so I'm off to Japan next Thursday for three nights before returning to the land of the morning calm once again. The bizarre/extremely flucking annoying thing in this country is that if you complete a contract at one school and wish to stay longer to travel, or sign a new contract with a different work place at any time you must first leave the!

All it becomes is an unnecessary financial burden on those involved and puts another hundred bucks in the pockets of the government...............oh now I see.

Anyhow, in Korea buses don't actually stop for you at the bus stops (like Tuesday night when I was waiting to go to soccer practice in 0 degrees) so the problem of stopping and starting/lane changing is greatly reduced. Black smoke though.....hmmmmmmmmm.

But my team did manage a 1-1 result against a team that probably should have cleaned us up on Sunday so we are off to a good start.

until later (when I have woken up properly)

A case in point... 

Very interesting, here's an article that picks up on the polluting potential of buses. Do I get this right - vehicle emissions will *increase* if buses replace cars, in the absence of emission standards for the former??

Right of way for Auckland City-to-Newmarket busway


A dedicated Auckland City-to-Newmarket busway is a step closer despite Grafton residents' fears that a procession of noisy, polluting buses will destroy their inner-city suburb.

Auckland City's transport committee voted yesterday to go ahead with the $20 million to $25 million busway from Britomart to Newmarket, passing the university in Symonds St and the hospital in Park Rd.

The project involves closing Grafton Bridge to cars and commercial vehicles.

But to address Grafton residents concerns, the committee decided to limit the closure of the bridge to weekdays from 7am to 7pm.

It also decided to introduce minimum vehicle emission standards for buses. Without them, vehicle emissions would increase along Park Rd near the hospital.

New carparking also has been recommended at the Park Rd shops in Grafton. Other carparks will be lost along the route.

The project involves landscaping and tree planting to encourage cycling and walking, and new bus shelters will be built at main stops.

The busway would initially be used by 1350 buses on weekdays; by 2011, it would be used by 1500 buses, or one every 30 seconds at peak hours.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Bussing About 

A couple of questions I have about public transport. Does anyone out there have the answers?

1) Do buses actually help to reduce air pollution IF cars are well-maintained, and buses continue to belch black diesel exhaust. Maybe it would be better to have 20 clean cars on the road than one dirty bus? (just a hypothesis on my part).

2) Do buses actually help to reduce congestion? In Vancouver they might not always do so, because they make the middle lane chroncically f*cking congested. They pull in and out of this lane once every block (into the curbside bus stop), and cars always have to yield to them, making the middle lane essentially inoperable. Meanwhile the inside lane is reserved for parking, and the outside lane is held up by cars trying to turn against traffic (legally, but annoyingly).

A better system would be what they did in some parts of Auckland (e.g., Mt Eden) where they got rid of on-street parking and made the very inside lane (traditionally reserved for parked cars) a green "bus only" lane. The bus can stop and start as much as it likes without interfering with others. Now if only we could eliminate their emissions....

Monday, March 01, 2004

The Power and the Passion 

Rejecting the Gospels?

By IAN COLEMAN Friday, February 20, 2004 - Globe and Mail, Page A20

Edmonton -- Among GĂ©rald Caron's complaints with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is that it is historically dubious. But how could any movie about any portion of the life of Jesus be anything other than historically dubious when all the Christian Gospels contain descriptions of events that could never have happened.

One example of many: In the Gospel according to John, Jesus turns water into wine. Wine contains carbon atoms, and water does not. To produce carbon atoms from the oxygen atoms in water, Jesus would have had to split two protons from each oxygen atom.

Doing this to the oxygen atoms in a gallon of water would have caused an atomic explosion that would have destroyed most of Roman-held Judea.

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