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

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Florida Blows 

I'm not a religious man but do you think that somebody has been trying to tell the residents of Florida something in the lead up to the elections lately, what with their 4th hurricane this season and all?

Also a question to ponder.

Would you rather be voting in Iraq or Florida?

And another one.

Do you reckon that the insurgents in Iraq will pop off to their local voting station and cast a vote for their local ruthless warlord before driving up the road and bombing everybody else trying to do the same thing?

NRL Grand Final Predictions 

Anybody got any theories?

Price looks like he might be out but the Bulldogs defied my theory and actually did alright with even less intelligence on the park than they normally have.

Ricketson out for the Roosters.

Man it sucks having the two teams you dislike the most contesting the final.

As I hate the Roosters more I'll have to go with the Bulldogs. Also they have more kiwis playing for them.

I reckon the Roosters are the slightly cooler under pressure, title type winning team but as we have seen over the years, the fired up, emotional teams often win these games (not surprising really!) so maybe the Bulldogs will come up with the goods to send off Price and give their long suffering and nasty bastard fans something to celebrate.

I'll go Bulldogs by 8 so long as the Lebanese bandit Al Masri knocks all his kicks over.


PS bluebeardnz I need your writing hand to fill out a form saying what a fantastic teacher I am along with the joker next door to you for my training college application. How does friday night sound (BEFORE we start drinking)? Or do you have a queue of females lined up then?

PPS tell sweatepz to bloody well blog! I've had dc_red pleading since he's hopscotching off to Canada again.

PPPS How many bloody air miles does this blog site run up in a year?!

PPPPS How long should I let the archives list on the right run until I make it a two or three monthly thing?

PPPPPS Did I really attempt to sit on the piano stool as my bride started to walk up the isle?! Christ I could have sworn that's what the minister motioned for me to do. I'll just flick over to the replay on cable tv to check.

PPPPPPS Can I ever get the ruddy pictures of Jeon Ji-hyun and Lee Hyo-ri to appear in the left bar? They work in the preview but not after I publish. Also they aren't that sexy so if you have any pics you like of them bluebeardnz then pass them on.

Paris Kai 

Right so then I have decided I better write some crap on the city of Paris before my sieve like memory clicks into release mode.

So let's start with food. And I'll start somewhere odd. On the plane on the way over (Cathay Pacific) I got to see pieces of the recent doco/film Supersize Me. The one on the geezer who basically ate nothing but McD's until he was fit to burst showering the room with plastic cheese. I watched as much as I could but in all honesty it was a boring pile of turd and I had more fun watching some god awful movies (The Stepford Wives, and that old one with R. De Niro and Nolte where De Niro is nuts and tries to scare the crap out of big Nick and his family) since I'd already seen all the decent ones (Troy decent?, Harry Pothead, Rain Man, and something else I forget).

While I hate McDonalds and even went as far as to boycott McDonalds, KFC and the other similar health food establishments for over two years back in the 90s I still have a hard time understanding how they can get so much abuse for their menu's and people getting fat after eating it. Does anybody complain about the 5 square metres of sweets and ice cream basically over flowing the counter of any corner store you walk into? No.

There are plenty more reasons to hate the bastards that make more sense to me. KFC in Korea making their workers work overtime for no extra pay, none of the stores recycling any of their waste despite making the public break it up into plastics etc before leaving the store and chicken suppliers to KFC in the US being busted for torturing the chickens by throttling them until their heads pop, throwing them alive at walls and various other fun activities for cunts. Then of course there's the deforestation in South America which will probably have a greater long term influence on our collective health as a species than an extra half centimete of fat on our arses. Which can easily be got rid of by doing something called 10 FUCKING MINUTES OF EXERCISE A DAY anyway. And my pet bug bear at McD's ... the mass advertising targeting children. For that the fuckers should burn.

And shamefully this tosser writing still pops into McDs now and then for a Big Mac (which isn't as big as it was when I was 12 years old, in fact it's not really much bigger than an average sized burger from any takeaway bar in NZ).

Back to topic (am I ever really on it?). McD's in Paris is somewhat better than what we might be accustomed to in NZ, Korea or other parts of the world as the stores don't get away with their nasty colour scheme and have to merge into the street scene in Paris with a dark burgundy sort of colour. Their menu has also been touched up just slightly as well to suit the locals.

Anyway, I noticed this article at today. It's basically the story of how a top French chef Olivier Pichot has taken up a position for McDonalds and loves it and blathers on about McDs menu in general.

"For me this is a dream - I am head chef in gastronomy, and when I created my business the first thing I wanted to do was work with McDonald's," said Pichot, 33, whose country is little short of waging war on take-away food and where farmers' activist Jose Bove once burnt a McDonald's outlet to the ground.
If he's not lying then he's a bit odd in the head. But the line about "waging war on take-away food" might be a little exaggerated judging by the continuous queues of Frenchies lining up to get their hands on a burger at the McDonalds 50 metres up the street from our hotel. I suspect that there may be more of a problem with these chain stores in the smaller cities and towns where there's been nothing but a few bakeries, cafes and cute restaurants on the main street giving the locals some sort of snobby superiority complex for 100 years before some yankee scum move into town, play a flute and leave with the minds of everybody aged under 30.

And that's enough of that.

Regarding the local cuisine it was nice as you would expect. For somebody that loves sandwiches and filled rolls such as myself it was verging on bliss. It's bread at the hotel, bread at the bakeries, bread in the supermarkets (along with 20 metres of cold cheeses, 10 metres of yoghurt's and 20 odd metres of other things that came out of cows and needs to be refridgerated. For my other half that wanted spicy pickled vegetables and rice it was a right pain in the arse. Hence two visits to a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and one to an Indian restaurant. Most surreal moment of the restaurant visits perhaps came though when I was sitting at a table on our first night thinking "here I am, a New Zealander who speaks English, accompanied by a Korean, trying to read off an Italian menu with a French accent so the French waiter (who was clearly not in possession of French ancestry) could have a better understanding of what the hell we wanted.

In France tipping is not all that common and not really expected. I read that many locals will tip unless the service is awful but of course us dumb tourists can get away without it. Although I do tip now and then anyway. And basically because people don't tip much in Paris the service is bloody awful. Lazy, sloppy, contemptuous looks type stuff. So word to the wise, don't tip in France unless you actually get service you are happy with.

And that'll about do me because despite 15 hours sleep (broken by watching Real Madrid beat AS Roma 4-2 live at 4am) I still feel a bit knackered.

To come... pick pocketing (the little buggers failed), sight seeing (limited due to laziness and illness), transport (bloody good), and French TV (makes Korean TV seem almost watchable).

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gotta stop being lazy 

Been back in Korea over a month now, and have been spending my time in a holding pattern: watching the American political scene lurch from petty diversion to petty diversion; trying to reconcile the effort I put in to teaching students who have no interest whatsoever in actually learning English with what I get out of it; drinking.

Good to see yamis back - I've been starved of engrossing sporting statistical diversions for too long now. Maybe he could find a reason why Liverpool can't seem to buy a win away from home this season, or how Taranaki went from table-toppers to bunnies in the space of two weeks.

His Paris story has inspired me to tap out a short ranking of the cities I visited while I was in Europe. There were 14 in all, and ranking is based solely on how much fun I had in the brief time I spent walking around aimlessly, overpaying for beer and snapping pictures like a madman.


Not a terrible city, really, just not all that interesting. Could be any city, anywhere. Of course, this is hardly the fault of the local cultural scene, seeing as the city was totally decimated during WW2; only 2 (or is it 3?) buildings survived the siege. The best thing I saw were some apartments shaped like cubes standing on their points. Hence: last place.


Biggest disappointment; my travelling companion had her camera stolen within 5 minutes of being on the subway, which has obviously prejudiced me against Brussels somewhat. The parts I saw - which, admittedly, wasn't much - were quite dirty and run down, and it definitely FELT like the most dangerous, unfriendly place we visited. The center of the city was pleasant enough (a huge square where many young people just sat around, hanging out, was pretty cool) and I think my opinion would be higher the longer I stayed there, but as it is, I'm not hurrying to go back.


My companion loved Antwerp, I was underwhelmed. Has a great selection of cafes and restaurants (to it's credit), but being an architectual junkie, it was a little bleh. It didn't help that we shared a hostel room with a terrible snorer - it was so loud, I kept on having dreams where a phone would start ringing and never stop. The owner of the hostel was cool though; a deep baritone voice and an attitude so laconic, you wondered if he knew where he was half the time.


This is a city with a split personality. On the walk from the train station to the river, it looked almost exactly like Auckland, felt like Auckland. I did not go to Europe to visit Auckland. The other side of the river, though, is where all the good stuff is: a huge, forbidding fortress; dinky little streets and squares with huge chess boards marked out and families playing, a neat market with decently priced touristy crap, and many hostels to stay. Actually got to walk up a forested hill, which I was craving. You can go on a SOUND OF MUSIC guided tour, if you like. I didn't, because I still have self-respect.


Wasps. Wasps. Wasps. Wasps. I hate fucking wasps. They were EVERYWHERE, like houseflies. You could identify locals immediately; they were the ones allowing the wasps to clamber up their nostrils, swim in their coffee. The tourists were reacting like they were being strafed by rogue fighter planes. (Well, I did). As for the city itself: historically meaningful, sobering in many respects, and filled with a residual...I don't know, sadness. It's spread out for miles and miles, so it's no fun getting from place to place. I didn't get to sample the nightlife, which I'm reliably told would shoot my opinion of the city up quite a few notches.


Difficult to rank this. Most of the cities I visited had some sort of major restoration going on at at least one of the major arcitectural wonders; Vienna, it seemed to be occuring at every single one. All these lovely buildings, covered in scaffolding. It did contain the single best museum I visited in any city, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the most impressive palace, the Schloss Schönbrunn. Even as I write this, I'm fearing that I'm underrating this city; it's relatively cheap, clean and I got to get a photo with the ferris wheel from THE THIRD MAN.


Sleepy, quiet, very clean and quite beautiful. Also: kinda boring. Got to see The Girl with The Pearl Earring (actually the museum where it is housed (Mauritshuis) has some fantastic paintings from the Dutch 'Golden Age', including said work by Vermeer and also some by Rembrandt) and there is an intriguing permanent outdoor display of statues and other off-the-wall art works. The girl I was shown around by insisted that a walk through the government buildings is something well worth doing; another friend, who's taste I'm more closely aligned with, called it dull. Guess what? Didn't go. [Interesting Side Note #1: the Dutch, in outward demeanor, are almost identical to the Germans. The only real difference is that they are in no way efficent at all. Interesting Side Note #2: Never point this out to someone Dutch. Interesting Note #3: Dutch overprice beer and serve it in ridiculously small glasses]

More to come soon....feel free to comment on the cities I have mentioned. Due to my short stays in each - sometimes only one day - I'm sure there is more you out there can add.

Forged Passports 

Well I'm back from my honeymoon in Paris which was lovely thankyou. More on France later I reckon. Provided I don't spend the weekend boozing too much (which is usually the primary cause of death to blogging motivation for me).

Anyway I noticed this case about the jokers forging passports while I was away and wondered how some countries (such as ours) can be so concerned about these matters while other western nations don't really give a stuff.

I'm talking about what happened a few days ago in Paris at the primary check point at the airport where they have a look through your passport.

The guy there simply had a half second look at the outside of my passport, without even touching it and said it's ok and to go through.

Considering my passport is so faded from 40 odd flights and much land travel through countries it's hard to imagine he could even see what country I was from. The "New" has disappeared completely and there are only about half the letters from "Zealand" clearly legible and half of the national crest has also long since evaporated from the cover.

So if the authorities in NZ are concerned about fake passports then there's not a hell of a lot of point worrying about them since these crims can simply send them to France, hand them out and walk onto god knows how many planes leaving the country for wherever.

While I'm on the topic of airports. Charles de Gaulle is a shit hole of a place. Especially after coming from Hong Kong and Incheon Airports which are just a few years old and fantastically huge and clean. At CDG it seems as though it's a bus terminal where you can just walk in off the street and if the queues for checkin were any longer they would be going out the door and down the street.

Ah well that's Europe for you. Gonna be left in the gutter by Asia in the next few hundred years. I reckon I'll be about 192 when it happens.

The more I travel the more I like Korea and NZ that's all I've got to say. We really don't rate NZ as highly as we should do.

Taxing it real 

There's been some interesting debate on Just Left about whether the current budget surplus leaves room for tax cuts, and if so, what form they should take. I chimed in with the suggestion that the first tax to be cut should be GST. This relates to some of the earlier musings from Yamis and myself that the cost of living in New Zealand is exorbitant by international standards. With relatively few exceptions, everyday consumer goods from razor blades to spinach and wide-screen TVs appear inflated here (feel free to ignore the right-wing drivel in the second part of the razor blade article). Anyway, my concerns about the steeply regressive nature of GST - and the problem it therefore poses for the Left - went largely unanswered. Perhaps we can have a debate here instead.

In other news, well, it looks like Kerry is toast. It's hard to find the words to express the world's disappointment really. I guess we'll be relying on the North Koreans, rather than the North Dakotans, to stand up to this imbecile and his posturing. I guess the biggest mistake Saddam made was not producing some WMDs to deter the great crusader. One worry is that once the fucker is back in power (GWB, that is, not SH) he won't have to worry about being re-elected, and can really pursue the neo-con plans for world domination ... sorry, full-spectrum doctrine. Under these conditions, you might as well start drinking.

Friday, September 24, 2004

For sale: hell, complete with handbasket 

Iraq is going to hell in a handbasket - are lefty/liberal folks supposed to feel good about this or not? On the one hand it deals a blow to neoconservative ideology, the Bush doctrine, and (presumably) Bush's chances of re-election. On the other, it means a whole lot more pain and misery for peoples who have already had more than their fair share. Well, either way, the good news is that things are looking up for Kerry, according to

Meanwhile, in La-La Land (Occupation: 49.9% of the American public plus one Iraqi - the interim Prime Minister) everything is going along just merrily thanks. According to the NY Times, "Mr. Allawi struck an upbeat tone, pledging that elections would take place in his country as scheduled, and that the people of Iraq would never forget the sacrifices of Americans and others who he said were pacifying and rebuilding the country."

Now more than ever the Guardian website is the place to go for all your Iraq and US election news. Jonathan Freedland argues that the rest of the world should get a vote - something I picked up on a little while back. Sidney Blumenthal is insightful, pointing to the fact that if you're going to tell a lie, you might as well make it a big one. Perhaps something along the lines of "We have liberated the Iraqi people, the rule of law is being established, freedom is being realized, democracy will triumph, all is going well, thanks to me. By the way, those who think otherwise are the enemies of liberty, democracy, freedom and everything we hold dear." Being a Republican Party speech writer must be the easiest job in the world ... you just have to produce a series of platitudinous soundbites that bear no relation to reality.

Yamis is away, so we're a bit short-staffed here at bloggingitreal. Cheeky bugger puts honeymooning ahead of blogging!

Update: I just read a commentary by Bob Herbert at the NY Times. He has some interesting things to say, along very similar lines -

The president said he is personally optimistic and he delivered an upbeat assessment of conditions in Iraq to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. Iraq, he said, is well on its way to being "secure, democratic, federal and free."

If you spend more than a little time immersed in the world according to Karl Rove, you'll find that words lose even the remotest connection to reality. They become nothing more than tools designed to achieve political ends. So it's not easy to decipher what the president believes about Iraq.

This is scary. With Americans, Iraqis and others dying horribly in the long dark night of this American-led war, the world needs more from the president of the United States than the fool's gold of his empty utterances.

Those utterances are what might be known, in less polite circles, as utter bullshit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Bye-bye McMillan 

Well happy days, Bracewell has shown some backbone, and dropped the ineffectual McMillan from the NZ Test team. We've reviewed McMillan's faults a few times at bloggingitreal, noting in particular his failure to contribute to the team in 55% of his turns at bat.

In his most recent 10 tests, McMillan has averaged 36.3 runs (from 16 turns at bat), including four good scores (82, 100*, 83*, 54) but also five abject failures (0, 0, 6, 4, 9). Put simply, this guy does more damage to the team than good - time for someone else to have a go. That someone else is Hamish Marshall, for now.

Unfortunately, McMillan vows he'll be back and made this interesting claim, strangely detached from reality: "I think my tests record is pretty good, and stands up there with the best of 'em. It's difficult to accept - I really think my form and my contribution to the team lately has been quite healthy."

On second thoughts, Craig, you're right ... when picking a World XI it really is hard choosing between Lara, Tendulkar, Ponting and McMillan.

Monday, September 20, 2004

OK they need a sub but, beat this 

Bennyasena's press release of the week:

The F- word has been ok in the work place Friday, 17 September 2004.

Good Bastards

The F- word has been ok in the work place for at least 45 years.

So The Politically Correct Police have said it’s ok to use the F Word in the work place!!!!
“Where have these poor buggars been?” So asks Paddy Sweeney head honcho of the Good Bastards Movement which emanates out of the West Coast.

I’m 58 and its been ok to use the F-word since I started work when I was 13 forty five years ago.” Said Sweeney today.

“Using the f-word among your colleagues may not necessarily be offensive, can even be considered polite and helps to reinforce team morale, a Victoria University linguistics study suggests.” Reported Oska Ally recently.

“Sweeney who says he learnt to communicate effectively using the F word in a sawmill on the West Coast 45 years ago, reckons you can’t get by without it.

“For example, if you tell someone to “GO AWAY” it is nowhere as near effective as telling them to “F - OFF” Or if you say “HELLO THEIR FRIEND” its nowhere near as receptive as saying “HOW THE F- ARE YA, YA GOOD BASTARD?”

When asked what he thought of the Survey which was the first of its kind in New Zealand Sweeney replied “Funnier than a fart in a bottle when ya think about it.

Here we have something that’s been going on for a couple of hundred years and is an intricate part of our culture and the PC people have just found it and extremely excited about it.

For crying out loud next think they will be telling us they discovered that the ‘Water Closet’ is actually a dunny.

Sweeney’s Good Bastards Movement claims to be the front line force in attacking political correctness. “These people should buggar off back to England where it seems all this bullshit came from.

Ya want to talk like a snobby pom, that’s ok, but don’t try and make it part of our culture that a nation has been diligently building for over 200 years.”

Good Bastards have a club ‘The Most Recent Order Of Good Bastards’ which is promoted through their web site

Sweeney remains defiant in his quest to use humour to quash the PC Police and has the last word.

“Who knows they might even decide that Noddy and Big Ears weren’t all that bad either and allow them back into the game.”

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Ah Crap 

Electoral maps combine my interest in representations of space with my interest in politics. Unfortunately this one reveals nothing but bad news (but you can also see how much better things looked in the relatively recent past). C'mon Kerry, get stuck in!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Another blogger for Kerry 

I was pleasantly surprised when I made it into the office today and found the world's media was actually offering me some insight and amusment. Not like yesterday - god, hours of fruitless searching for something of even vague interest. Anyway, lest I digress further, The Guardian has lots to say today. First, a witty and insightful article from John O'Farrell. He really hits the nail on the head when identifying the basic appeal of Senator John F. Kerry:

It is hardly surprising that Kerry has inspired so many people around the world, because his outstanding attributes are plain to see. Firstly, who can have failed to notice that wonderful "not-George-Bush" quality about him? Plus there is that certain "un-Dubya-ness" he seems to possess, not to mention what the French call the "il n'est pas George Bush" aspect of his personality.

Couldn't have put it better myself. This said:

Many of us have been moved to tears by his speeches. "Is that the best the Democrats can do?" we wept. And there is the fact that he served in Vietnam, where he was seriously injured by enemy fire, leaving army surgeons with no choice but to amputate his charisma.
And we've already been there and done that with Al Gore in 2000. But how we wish (especially now, but essentially ever since O'Connor, J. sided with Bush in the Supreme Court) we could have voted for Gore, especially in places like - I don't know - Florida? Arizona? Tennessee? As O'Farrell puts it:

But the tragedy is that while millions of us in Europe and beyond desperately care about who becomes the next president, none of us has any influence over the outcome. The time has come for European liberals to get together and do something about this.
Couldn't agree more, what can we concerned non-US citizens do about this dire state of affairs?

One possibility might be to make commercials of our own to put out on American TV. Obviously, we couldn't let on that we were a bunch of lefty foreigners - we'd have to give our organisation an authentic-sounding alias - something neutral like the American Creationist Freedom Rifle Patriots for Truth.

But imagine the impact of some grainy footage of a young Dubya, with a gravelly voice-over whispering: "Everyone knows that George Bush did not fight for his country during the Vietnam war. This is because he was actually fighting for the Vietcong, leading the infamous Gay Jihad Atheists Squad, who captured American soldiers and forced them to become vegetarians and play soccer."

Never mind that every time we express outrage that George Bush wriggled out of going to Vietnam, we privately think: "Excellent move, George, that's exactly what I would have done." By the time the facts were checked the damage would be done, and Bush would be 20 points behind in the polls.
Exactly, time to fight fire with fire, and stoop down into the gutter to fight the Republicans on their own slimey turf, just as I've been arguing for a while now on this blog, devoted readers. But we're still left with the sad reality that most Americans won't bother voting, especially the poorer and more disadvantaged folk who might really benefit from a change (they'd be less likely to be sent to die in places like Iraq for example). But, lo! Ebay presents a seemingly easy solution:

[T]here is a more direct way that non-American liberals can get involved in the US election. Why don't we just offer to buy the votes of all those US citizens who aren't really that bothered? A majority of Americans won't even take part in the most important election in the world, and I'm sure they'd appreciate the $20 or $30 that lots of us would quite willingly pay to cast their votes for them.

So I call on all apolitical skint Americans to get themselves a postal vote and auction it on eBay. What could be more in the spirit of American capitalist democracy than disenfranchising yourself for the sake of some cash?
I'd be willing to spend USD100 to elect Kerry, so that should be good enough for 3-4 votes, preferably in marginal swing States, thanks. Like Iowa, wherever the heck that is.

Also in the Guardian is a great article by Sidney Blumenthal. I like the opening - Bush challenging the "insurgents" (or "rebels" if you prefer a vaguely Star Wars-esque analogy) to "bring it on", which they duely do, killing 812 US combatants, and injuring over 6000 others. You never were in combat, were you George? Blumenthal then quotes a number of weird lefty types, like instructors at military colleges and former Generals.

Finally, a plug for a blog I've discovered recently, and contributed a few comments to: Just Left.

I must say, for someone who is quite drunk, this has been a legendary rant.

Update: In another interesting case of the Onion's satire being alarmingly and cleverly similar to 'serious' sentiment, check out this story on Kerry's "One Point Plan for America." A few choice excerpts:

"If I am elected in November, no inner-city child will have to live in an America where George Bush is president," Kerry said, addressing a packed Maize High School auditorium. "No senior citizen will lie awake at night, worrying about whether George Bush is still the chief executive of this country. And no American—regardless of gender, regardless of class, regardless of race—will be represented by George Bush in the world community."

In the speech, Kerry offered a solution for the nation's ailing education system.

"Schools do not have the resources they need to succeed," Kerry said. "One million students are dropping out of high school every year. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to ensure that all Americans can make the most of their God-given talents: Get George Bush out of the White House."
This reminds me of another Onion article from, oh, 18 January 2001, entitled Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over. It made an array of 'predictions' that provided alarmingly accurate:

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnationby implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further. [...]

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

Who would have thought? 

Bennyasena's press release of the week:

Community Choice Awards

Active lifestyles and eco-spirit sought by Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is on a mission. It wants to hear about people who are making a difference in their community – either through promoting active lifestyles in young people or through environmental projects.

The first ever Coca-Cola Community Choice Awards will reward and recognise those who are inspiring others to make a positive difference in these two areas. All nominations will come from the public.

“With today’s launch of the inaugural community choice awards we hope to engage community spirited people across the nation. We want to hear about the people throughout New Zealand who are doing their bit to help our environment or are helping to get young people active,” says Alison Sykora, Region Corporate Affairs Manager.

Each of the 10 finalists (five from each section) will receive $500 worth of their choice of Coca-Cola product. Each category winner will receive a $2000 grant for their organisation or project and a trip to Auckland to spend the day with Robert Swan OBE*.

Polar explorer Robert Swan will be in New Zealand as part of a trans-Tasman tour to promote the environment and active lifestyles in co-operation with Coca-Cola.

“My experiences have taught me that individuals can choose to make a difference and I’m pleased to be able to recognise New Zealanders who have done this through the Coca-Cola Community Choice Awards,” said Robert Swan.

Entering is easy and the public can enter themselves and their organisations or other people in their community. All readers have to do is fill out the nomination form on the Coca-Cola website and send it back (either by email or by print the form and post it to Coca-Cola Community Choice Awards, PO Box 62042, Mt Wellington, Auckland). Or call 0800 505 123 and ask for a nomination form to be posted to you.

Coca-Cola is calling for entries now. Nominations close on Tuesday, 5 October 2004. Winners will be announced in mid-October.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dude, where's my innings? 

What's the world coming to when you come back from a couple of quiet drinks to find New Zealand in "deep trouble" at 100/7? No fewer than three top-order players have contrived to get out for ducks. Is there some monster in the pitch of which I am unaware? Oh well, it will be a nice early trip back for the Black Caps - no sauntering about Europe now lads.

Update: I hear on Radio Sport that Chris Cairns was hard done by with a terrible LBW decision, so I guess we can't hold his duck against him. Nevermind, quick 50s by Harris and McCallum will get us back in to the game in no time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

NRL Playoff System 

There's been a lot of talk about the flaws of the current playoff system but the only alternative mentioned is the AFL system with 1 v 4, 2 v 3, 5 v 8 and 6 v 7.

But it's basically flawed in ways as well so I reckon they should just go to an old fashioned system...


with the losers knocked out, see ya later.

That would have seen clashes this weekend of...
Roosters v Cowboys
Panthers v Storm

and most likely a Panthers v Roosters rematch from last year.

As it is we have the Cowboys v the Broncos at Townsville (after everybody agreed to a move there) and the Storm v Bulldogs in Sydney.

Both games should be crackers. The Broncos have never lost in Townsville but if the Cowboys repeat their effort v the Bulldogs I'd rate them a very good chance. While the Storm could quite easily take care of the Bulldogs, but like last year when the Bulldogs were hamemred in week one by the Warriors I would expect them to bounce back and maybe scrape home. Actually last year they beat the Storm 30-0 in week 2 when the Storm had been going really well in the weeks prior to the clash so look out the wounded dogs again.

I think I'll have to pick the Dogs to choke once again, too much flash stuff in their team and not enough smarts when the pressures on.

So I'll go
Cowboys by 8
Storm by 8

Roosters for the title beating the Panthers by 10 in the GF.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Take that ... and that 

There's a great article in the NY Times in which Frank Rich outlines some of the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam, and what they mean for the election campaign. For starters:

Vietnam keeps popping out of America's darkest closet not just because Mr. Kerry conspicuously served there and Mr. Bush conspicuously did not, but because of what's happening half a world away in real time: a televised war in Iraq that resembles its Southeast Asian predecessor in its unpopularity, its fictional provocation and its unknown exit strategy. That war isn't going anywhere by Nov. 2, even as it is sporadically obscured by Florida storm clouds, and its Vietnam undertow isn't going anywhere either. Everyone knows that a Tet offensive, Sunni-style, could yet tilt this election in a direction unknown.

Also, there's a hint that my "chicken hawk" ad campaign to discredit Bush/Cheney is actually in the making:

No sooner did the Republicans leave New York than word got out that "60 Minutes" was poking anew into the president's National Guard stint, a Pandora's box of unanswered questions first unlocked by The Boston Globe four years ago. Now there's a "Texans for Truth" ad campaign trailing him in mimicry of the Swifties.

Excellent, nothing like fighting the phonny fire of Republican stooges with some good hard evidence. Hell, innuendo, bluster, and lies will do the trick. Why not stoop to the Republicans' level?

And lastly, some great observations about Kerry himself, putting his service in perspective, and insisting that later opposition to Vitenam was not somehow unpatriotic. Kerry's views were widely shared by thinking Vets.

You can appreciate why Swift boats in Mr. Kerry's division had casualty rates as high as 90 percent and how grotesque it is that Mr. Kerry's foes savage him now for having served "only" four months. (Would they say the same of those who have been wounded or killed in other wars, including Iraq, within four months of deployment?)

Yes, a telling hypothetical that.

...the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that turned Mr. Kerry into a political star. The young vet's charisma so upset Richard Nixon that he schemed with Charles Colson and Bob Haldeman to counter Mr. Kerry with a pro-Vietnam attack dog: John O'Neill, today the leader of the Swifties and the co-author of their best-selling bible, "Unfit for Command." ...

These veterans do not lightheartedly toss away the symbols of their sacrifice in Vietnam; they struggle with tears and violently conflicted emotions as they do so. They are battered men often wearing the ragtag remnants of their uniforms. Their eyes are haunted. They are willing to engage in self-annihilation, eradicating the record of their own heroism in battle, if that's what it takes to prevent their brothers from continuing to die in a doomed mission. ...

... the young Kerry's antiwar stance was hardly anomalous among his fellow Vietnam warriors by then, those still serving included. By that late point in the war — three years after Tet, L.B.J.'s abdication and Walter Cronkite's public declaration that we were "mired in stalemate" — there were seven desertions and 17 AWOL incidents for every 100 American soldiers. There were more than 250 antiwar newspapers within the armed forces alone. ...

The person who might most benefit from seeing "Going Upriver" is Mr. Kerry himself. "It takes a special courage to speak out against a cause for which you were once prepared to die," Jeffrey Smith, a West Point-trained C.I.A. man of the Kerry-Bush generation, wrote in The Washington Post last weekend.

Nuff said. Kerry - go get GWB. You'll find him in the gutter, slinging mud while reading My Pet Goat.

Friday, September 10, 2004

250th blog - special wedding episode 

Well folks the time has finally come for Yamis to walk down the isle into HOLY MATRIMONY and a lifetime of being reprimanded for failing to take out the garbage, and making a mess of the toothpaste tube. Word has it the fearless Yamis will be blogging live from the marriage bed. What a champion. Stay tuned.

Congratulations Yamis!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Dear John 

From: dc_red
To: Senator John Kerry

Dear John,

I am writing to offer my personal assistance in crafting an ad to respond to the lying, deceitful efforts of the grossly misnamed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Campaign, which has so damaged your reputation and election prospects.

I estimate my costs to be about $100. I will need: one Bush mask, one Cheney mask, two chicken suits, and a camcorder. I will play Bush, the slightly chunkier Bennyasena can play Cheney, and we'll cluck around trying to find ways to get out of Vietnam.

All you need to do is get some of your allies to pay for this fine piece of advertising to be broadcast frequently on primetime TV. I am sure a man of your talents can manage that.


I guess what I am getting at is the same thing captured perfectly in this Tom Tomorrow Cartoon.

An essentially unrelated point I'd like to make is that the right in New Zealand (especially Act & United Future) has been portraying 'liberal' opposition to Tamaki and his blackshirts as intolerant and even fascist (take a bow, Stephen "Blow Hard" Franks). Well, as numerous commentators have observed, it's no more than a case of countering free speech with more free speech, in the classical liberal model: see Hardnews, Grey Shade, and BlogInMouth. Like Greyshade (under " Peter Dunne, David Irving and Brian Tamaki") I haven't heard anyone suggest Destiny shouldn't have been allowed to march, although it would have been interesting for the police to "rough 'em up, and deny 'em any rights", New York style. Oh hang on, we reserve that kind of treatment for wayward pedestrians and anyone to the left of Newt Gingrich.

Spot the Difference, or not 

Remember when you were a kid and you had to look at picture A and then picutre B and find 10 differences, try doing it with these:

Exhibit A: National Party Finance spokesman press release yesterday afternoon:

Michael Cullen must explain potential protocol breach
National Party Finance spokesman John Key says Michael Cullen must explain why he appears to have broken all the protocols surrounding interest rate announcements.
In answering a seemingly innocuous patsy question in Parliament today, Dr Cullen said, ‘the National Bank Business Outlook observes good news in the economy seems to be everywhere. And although the Reserve Bank raised interest rates today it did so because growth is so strong’.
The problem with that announcement is that the Reserve Bank is due to release that highly sensitive interest rate information tomorrow.
“Dr Cullen has admitted he was briefed by the Reserve Bank, and now seems to have let the cat out of the bag, one day early,” says Mr Key.
“This is potentially a concerning breach of the rules which guarantee the Reserve Bank’s independence.
“This also has the potential to cause a major distortion in the market place, as investors take advantage of the 24-hour head-start that Dr Cullen has delivered them...

Exhibit B: extracts from a NZ Herald story this morning covering Cullen's gaffe:

'Cullen jumps the gun and cat jumps out of the bag'

Oops ... the cat was let out of the bag by Finance Minister Michael Cullen yesterday - a cat with the rather formal name of Official Cash Rate.
Tripping over a patsy question in the House, Cullen spoke of growth so strong that the Reserve Bank had been forced to raise rates - today.
That was one day too early.
He then scrambled to stuff the cat back in the bag...
National Finance spokesman John Key spied a breach of protocol.
The gaffe, he said, had the potential to cause "a major disruption in the marketplace" as investors took advantage of the 24-hour head start....

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

NZRFU are a bunch of nobs 

Chris Rattue says it all.

and so does Justin Marshall.

Bored punters and bored players. The worst part is the bored players who in turn become unmotivated players playing in near meaningless test matches.

Fuck it, why don't they just play S Africa and Aussie 20 times a season, That would be fanfuckingawfultastic!

As eddie Jones says, Aussie has won one game in S Africa in 9 years and now we get to see them go there and lose two games a year for the next nine years. Yahooooooo! I just can't wait!!!!

SA 1/9 in Australia
SA 1/9 in NZ
combined away record of 2 wins, 1 draw 15 losses (wow, that's fantastic TV!!!)

NZ 4/9 in Australia
NZ 6/9 in SA
combined away record of 10 wins, 8 losses
yep, we've rocked in the past

Australia 3/9 in NZ
Australia 1/9 in SA
ooohhh wow! 4 wins, 14 losses

This really is an exhilerating and unpredictable competition!!!!

Perhaps I'll take a look at the Super 12 where we can see the same type of home team dominance. WAKE UP!!!! It really is exciting stuff. The rugby powers told me!!!!!


I really don't know why they couldn't have included the Pacific Islands team in the tri-nations and made it three games with just the one game against each team.

If England and France can put up with hammering Italy, Scotland and Wales every year then why can't we do the same to the likes of the PI team and possibly Argentina? You can gaurantee as well that it wouldn't be long before they took the scalps of NZ, Oz and SA on their home soil before long. Hell Argentina actually beat Aussie last time the teams met in Argentina from memory. But apparently that's not good anough for the wankers running the game into zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz land.


The NRL playoff system is being criticised for providing to many mismatches with the Coyboys v Roosters and Raiders v Bulldogs being written of already. As is the Storm v Broncos with the Storm being picked to not give a stuff in the belief that they won't have to win to stay alive.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is an upset though or at least a bloody tight game against all predictions. Hope so anyway.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Rave on... 

We had a good weekend. We went to a beach party down the line in Korea. It was organized by a company that organizes dj's for night clubs. About 300 people went down to a beach on buses on Friday night and then we came back Sunday morning. We got down there at 1am, to the beach, and drank for a while before trying to get the bus back to our accommodation, which was miles away. Finally got to bed at about 7am Saturday morn. There was a major muck up as the bus driver was supposed to shuttle us the 30 min journey from the beach to our room, but obviously nobody had warned him just how bad the road was (narrow, winding, bumpy) and he just decided not to take us! It was a major pain for the weekend but we ended up getting around when he felt like taking us or we'd get taxis.

The beach was totally secluded. It was overlooking a huge estuarine flat and is actually a well-known place in Korea (the whole flat, not our beach) coz when the tide is in the water is really shallow and if you walk out on it it looks like you are walking on water, Jesus-style! At night it was so cool too coz there was bioluminescence going on in the water, so we walked out for ages to the water and then splashed around like kids. So many people had never seen it before so it was pretty funny watching them.

We stayed at the beach all day Saturday (I managed to not get sunburned!) which was nice coz it was very breezy and quite cool. I swam a few times to try and soothe the RAVAGING I got from the biting insects the night before! My mate calls them "noseeums" coz you can't see the bloody things as they bite you. I have so many bites now and have to try REALLY HARD not to scratch them!! It sucks! I have welts everywhere. They were even biting me thru my pants.

Saturday night was good, the music was really good. The food situation wasn't great tho so 4 of our group went to a restaurant for dinner and brought us back some food. We proved that it's possible to survive a weekend almost entirely on potato chips...

We were supposed to come back at 4pm yesterday on the organized transport, but when half our group got in at 7am yesterday from the beach (the rest of us got home at 3am) we all decided to pack up and get the hell out of dodge so we could be home early to get some kip (otherwise we'd be home at 7pm). So we managed to get the 8.30am bus back and were home by lunch time.

The place we stayed in is called a minbak in Korean. It's basically someone’s house with a few extra rooms. We were actually staying in the ladies house, and she was locked in her room. She bloody skipped off early in the morning tho with the hot water control locked in her room! Cold showers all round. Her fridge was so manky and smelly, and we even found a corn cob with about 5 randomly placed kernels still on it - must have been saving that for later, mmmmmm. Saturday night she popped her head out of her room and told us to be quiet coz Chris was having a giggle-fit, so it was just like high school camp again.

In all it was a fun weekend and I have a lovely itchy reminder of it for a few days more. Now there is still a full 5 days of work ahead of me before I can relax again! Work sux.

From Saz

Shame on Robson. 

Well this week's top press release was a lot more difficult to find than lasts.

There were no Freemason open day statements, nor freedom fighting cigarette smokers, just ones from the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards - see, get a life - about how the tedious french flick Irreversible should not be shown in New Zealand - yawn.

I saw Irreversible last year at an Auckland film festival, and it was widely hyped as the most brutal film - rape, murder, - ever shown in New Zealand yadda yadda yadda, so i was surprised that about a quarter of the movie-goers left the cinema by the end.

But all in all it was pretty bloody boring, and wasn't worth the ten bucks or whatever i paid.

So anyways, here's this week's top press release, titled Robson's Reefer Madness and probably deserved more attention that it reaped, although the first three sentences are somewhat boggling, or is that, boggling somewhat boggled? :

Robson's Refer Madness

GreenCross Medicinal Cannabis Support Group
Sadly it is not a new concept for politicians to distorted the truth for political gain. This in itself is a practice that can only be described as somewhat less than honest. When politicians distort the truth in relation to medical issues it is nothing less than shameful.

Matt Robson has stooped to this shameful level of politics. It appears that he has deliberately tried to misinform the public of New Zealand regarding cannabis and mental health problems. When politicians feed our citizens, which include youth, with inaccuracies on cannabis how can we be expected to make wise decisions?

Mr. Robson is reported as saying "Dr Walsh said there is a need for further education about the strong link between using cannabis and mental illness but all such education programmes are undermined by the endless calls for decriminalisation by parties that fail our young and our future.” These comments were later confirmed as an inaccurate representation of what Dr Walsh had said by the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

GreenCross Medicinal Cannabis Support Group of NZ Inc. calls upon Mr. Robson to publicly apologise for this shameful misrepresentation of what was said by Dr Walsh. It is precisely this sort of dishonesty that prevents people who have medical support for cannabis use from legally medicating with it. While some choose to medicate illegally the black-market cost means many suffer as they must go without due to financial reasons.

It would appear that Matt Robson is happy to misinform our youth in regard to cannabis and this can only lead to more harm.

Shame on you Mr. Robson. You have failed our youth.

I'm Back.... 

...and I promise to regulary update this blog with the happenings live from Korea, over what is likely to be my last year before moving onwards and upwards. Or possibly sideways.

Just not tonight. I'm being driven mad by about 1,000,000 mosquito bites, the result of the combination of a Korean beach, a weekend and totally useless bug repellant. Anything I write is likely to devolve into a rant against invertebrates, which is not a big draw in the blogging world.

Monday, September 06, 2004

NRL Crowd Stats 2004 

A record year for the regular season with 14,780 the average crowd. That's 148 more than last season which was also the highest average the league had ever seen at that point. But 8 of the 15 teams had smaller averages than last year and strangely several of them were sides who actually did well this year (Bulldogs, Roosters, Panthers and Storm). You would think that successful teams would have built up strong support bases. Maybe a bit more promotion needed in those spots.

Team Averages
Brisbane 28,667 (+)
Bulldogs 19,693 (-)
Roosters 18,514 (-)
Newcastle 17,259 (-)
Penrith 16,836 (-)
North Qld 16,696 (+)
St Geo-Illa 14,347 (+)
Wests Tigers 13,935 (+)
Sharks 12,489 (-)
Parramatta 11,766 (+)
Sea Eagles 11,203 (+)
Canberra 11,118 (-)
Souths 9,759 (+)
Warriors 9,344 (- about 7000)
Melbourne 8,889 (-)


On another note what the fuck happened to the Super 12?

What happened to a Pacific Island team?

I guess now the Aussie sides will pinch all the good island players.

The NPC is now about to officially become the second division of New Zealand domestic rugby. The second division becomes the 4th division as the current first division teams have all the next best players in their 2nd XV's and the third division becomes the sixth division, incapable of beating an average Auckland club side.

Never mind I'm sure the NZRFU know what they are doing. Muhahaha


In the Bartercard Cup in the weekend Marist Richmond beat Mt Albert 30-22 to go straight into the final while Otahuhu Ellerslie knocked North Harbour out of the title race with a 25-6 victory.

So next weekend Mt Albert will play Otahuhu Ellerslie for a chance at the title v Marist Richmond.

In Auckland here were the results from the weekend...

Mad Butcher Fox Memorial - Preliminary Semifinals
Mangere East Hawks 32 Mt Albert Lions 14
Manurewa Marlins 19 Richmond Bulldogs 10

Mangere East into the final with Manurewa to play Mt Albert for the other spot.

Suburban Newspapers Sharman Cup - Major Semifinal
Te Atatu Roosters 21 Howick Hornets 16

Te Atatu v Manukau in the 2nd division final next week.

Otahuhu 22 Ponsonby 20
Mangere East 32 Otahuhu Leopards 12
Otahuhu Gold 42 Mangere East 24
Otara Blues 16 Bay Roskil/Ellerslie 15
Pakuranga 34 Papatoetoe 30
Open Age Restricted CHAMPIONSHIP
Glenora 24 Mangere East Hawks 20

And in the national secondary school quarterfinals...
Kelston Boys High School 26
Otaki College 14

Northland College 30
Nelson College 16

Aranui High School 62
Rakaumanga School 8

St Pauls were seeded so they went straight into one semi final to be played midweek against Kelston Boys High while Northland College will take on Aranui High School in the other.

As I understand it the final will be curtainraiser to the Bartercard Cup final.

For good league info check out the new nz rugby league website that's just starting to get going.

And these blokes won the Dunedin club title. They are the University student team and they beat the Southern Raiders 14-6 in the final.

And the Marist Dragons beat the Waitara Bears 19-12 to win the title in Taranaki.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Too little, too late 

The Guardian reports that 'Outraged Kerry takes the gloves off at last after Republican jibes' , with the candidate making the point that should have been made loudly, frequently, and vehemently over the last 3 weeks:

"I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have, and by those who misled the nation into Iraq."

Indeed, but unfortunately it's too late, and the mud has stuck to Kerry's trump card (to mix a metaphor). I've read frequently that the Democrats and allied groups have done rather well in the fundraising stakes, so where the hell are the inflammatory ads exposing George and Dick as the chicken hawks they really area?

I think Kerry's lost it (the election that is, if not the plot).


Blueberadnz is the real Korean film expert here but I'll at least tell people about the story of Shilmido. If you don't want me telling you all about the story and film then read no further. I should also quickly say that I'm typing this hard and fast and I'm not bothering to go back and double check facts and names etc as I have to go shopping in Seoul soon. But you can trust that I'm pretty much on the mark with all this.

I'm sure most of you don't know this story as even Koreans didn't know about it until recently as it was covered up like most horrible military incidents in Koreas past. Including student massacres in Gwangju and straight out enormous slaughters on Jeju Island back in the day. Things I'd like to do more research on.

Anyway. Shilmido is the name of a Korean movie which came out relatively recently in Korea. Nothing amazing in that except that it's based on a true story and if you get a chance to see the movie you'll find that perhaps a bit hard to believe. However the real crazy thing is that if anything the real story is even wilder than the movie. It's turned into a blockbuster and there wouldn't be a hell of a lot of the 48 million SOuth Korean movie going population that won't have caught up with it. It's also being distributed internationally at the mo.

Right so let's get into it.

Basically a bunch of convicts and some ordinary civilians are carted off to an island off the north west coast of South Korea (if that makes any sense) to train up as a crack squad of 31 commandoes to go and slit Kim Il-Sungs throat (the North Korean leader at the time in the late 60s). The significance behind 31 was that in 1968 North Korea had sent 31 of their own south to do the same to the South Korean leader. Unfortunately they failed. I say unfortunately because the South Korean leader at the time was a murderous scum bag.

So anyway, off they get dragged and so for the next few years they undergo a brutal training regime.

During this time, one of them drowns, one of them dies through blows received in a fight, two of them are shot after trying to escape, and three are shot after escaping and raping a woman in a nearby town. These things are kind of covered in the film but not exactly the same.

So anyway then we get left with 24. Well, then relations between the North and the South thaw somewhat and this unit 624 get scrapped and in order to cover it up (Seoul doesn't want the north finding out about their attempts to plod north and cut the dear leaders throat) they decide to kill the entire unit. Well I guess the poor lads get wind of this and so they go on a bloody rampage and kill all of their leaders. Only 6 managed to escape alive. In the film the head of their training commits suicide seemingly honorably. However in reality they caught the guy and beat him to death with a hammer and a short sword.

So then off they escape south heading straight for the presidents house. They are reported as being communists by the south who hope to wipe them out and forget all about this business.

Well they hijack a local bus (which had had some teachers from a local high school near me get off it just before it was hijacked because they had forgotten something. They did see the soldiers though). Well they tear south with many casualties along the way. Then finally in Seoul they park up the bus in front of a road block and spray bullets around and get shot at plenty themselves. Eventually they decide to commit mass suicide by pulling the pins from their hand grenades. There were a few survivors who were sentenced to death.

The real story has it that they crashed into a tree with hand grenades at the ready and four of them dropped them and blew the bus to bits. Here it gets cloudy. Apparently there were a few survivors but they were pretty fucked up. I think one of the units three captains died of wounds in hospital. The others were either shuffled off to suffer from mental problems or just plane shuffled off.

So anyway, watch the film and see what you think.

Right I'm off to invade a Seoul music store and book store though I'm attacking the secret way from the south.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The real enemies of entrepreneurship 

Another enterprising New Zealand business shut down, and its owner incarcerated at public expense, all because he ... grew the wrong plant:

Northland man jailed for cannabis growing

03.09.2004 5.00 am

A Northland man who grew cannabis in a cave and a buried shipping container has been jailed for two years and four months.

Robert Alexander Mason, 49, unemployed of Kaitaia, was sentenced in the High Court at Whangarei. Police estimated the value of the crop - had it reached maturity - at $69,000.

Yes, just as well the public is now protected from a man who was able to support himself by supplying the public with a product it demands. A dangerous person indeed, despite the conspicuous absence of any victims. And, let's face it, he employed some relatively ingenious business practices.

Marijuana production is absoutely central to the Northland economy, as it is elsewhere, most notably British Columbia, where a study by the right-wing Fraser Institute found (using, ahem, "conservative assumptions") ... BC’s Marijuana Crop Worth Over $7 Billion Annually.

Presumably a fair proportion of that value is due to the criminal status of the drug (the criminal grower's bonus), but you can read all about it. Some interesting details include the estimate that there are 17,500 grow-ops in BC, and that only 13% of offenders in BC are actually charged with growing cannabis, and only 55% of them serve any time.

So, word up Phil Goff, Tony Ryall, Peter Dunne, Greg O'Connor et al. Your support for prohibition is immoral and a drain on the economy. It's time to cut the red tape of prohibition and set business free from oppressive government regulation ... oh it's fun using the language of the right against their precious Drug War.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Ding Dong the Bitch is Dead 

Not nice referring to Clive Woodward like that is it?!

So he's off to coach Southampton. Well that'll end in tears I'm afraid. Can anybody think of successful coaches to cross sports?

I'm thanking my lucky stars that he's not coaching Newcastle United. Though it could just about be as bad if they sign Gerard "heart attack" Houllier. Bluebeardnz was most happy to see the back of him at Liverpool but you guys still suck so it really doesn't matter I suppose.

If anybody is interested:
On Saturday, Otahuhu Elerslie are playing the North Harbour Tigers at Ericsson in one semi final of the Bartercard Cup at Ericsson Stadium's number 2 ground at 2:30. The winner will take on the loser of the Marist Richmond Brothers v Mt Albert Lions with the winner of that game going straight into the final. It will be the curtainraiser to the Warriors game on Sunday. Kickoff is at 11:35 and it's also on Sky TV.

Meanwhile in Auckland club finals football Manurewa will play Richmond as the curtainraiser to the Otahuhu v North Harbour game and Mangere will play Mt Albert to decide the team who goes straight into the final.

NZ rugby league sure is concentrated in and around the Auckland region still. It's a bit of a shame.

In the 'nationwide' Bartercard Cup 9 of the 12 teams are from the greater Auckland region. And several of those teams have strong sides in Auckland club football as well. Only one of the top 5 was from outside the region (Canterbury) and they were eliminated in week one of the playoffs.

Also on Auckland club football specifically the once mighty Te Atatu Roosters who won the national club title in about 1990 are now in the playoffs in the 2nd division in Auckland. That's a big fall and in fact it's a better spot than they've been in in the last few years. I haven't been able to follow the scene as much as I used to but I wonder if the playing strength is any better than it used to be. The competition sure has changed a lot structurally. It seems to make a bit of sense though I think they should look at two divisions rather than three. I've always liked that system better and I don't see how there shouldor could be 3 levels of ability within one city made up of teams all in ajoining suburbs.

The Bartercard Cup is a good thing for the game in NZ but it's a shame that there aren't say 6 teams from the Auckland region and 6 others spread over the country. Canterbury has just one team when two would be better. And Wellington also has just the one team when they should really manage to have two. The Waikato region also has a team and it would be good to see one other sustainable team from perhaps Otago or the central North Island.

Anyways, let's see what happens after the weekend shall we?

Oh and prepare yourselves. sweatepz is about to fire off his/her/their/it's first blog.

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