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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I Like It! 

Enjoy it while we can folks. A win in the cricket (as likely as house prices in Auckland falling) would probably cause another sporting orgamism in this household.

End of the world is nigh in Oz
30 November 2005

SYDNEY: The Australians are struggling to cope. Life is not the same. New Zealand are world champions at rugby league and top of the planet in rugby union.

Soccer is taking a hold, after the Socceroos won the right to play in next year's World Cup, but the sporting world has ended for many footy fans.

The Wallabies' capitulation on their northern hemisphere tour was predictable enough, and an All Blacks' grand slam rubbed it in.

But the Aussie public wasn't prepared for the Kiwis' win in the Tri-Nations rugby league test final.

The Kiwis' 24-0 was an "apocalyptic vision", writes Daily Telegraph columnist Ray Chesterton.

He can't cope with all the sporting losses, including England's Ashes triumph in the cricket and UK boxer Ricky Hatton's win over Kostya Tszyu earlier this year.

"It destroys nature's balance for New Zealand and England to win at sport," wrote Chesterton.

"Australian sports lovers are on life support, awaiting recovery, but there is little joy ahead. Just an empty grey panorama of sporting devastation."

Perhaps with his tongue making a huge dent in his cheek, Chesterton asks how a country "where being adventurous is rolling up your trousers past your kneecaps to go paddling" beat Australia.

He was talking about England.

"And New Zealand? How could we lose to a country that can swing the poi, but have no poise."

He then veered closer to the truth.

"The whole edifice Australia established over decades of self-congratulations, lies splintered, eaten by the white ants of our smugness."

The Sydney Morning Herald tried to look on the bright side, headlining an editorial: All Is Not Lost.

The newspaper said the Australian 0-24 loss to the Kiwis would breathe new life into international rugby league and the game was in a healthy state domestically.

"There will be Kangaroo victories in the future and they will be all the sweeter for this drubbing."

As for the rugby, the Herald said it seemed that nothing less of a purge would do.

"If (Wallabies coach) Eddie Jones and (captain) George Gregan are sacked, it will be a sad end to two illustrious sporting careers. but it is possible to cry too hard into our beer over the Wallabies' lacklustre performance of late. This is, after all, sport. Performance cycles wax and wane: it is what makes for genuine competition."

And the paper warned that Australia were in dire form two years before the 1999 World Cup, but recovered to win it.

The Australian newspaper said Jones and Gregan had to go.

But in recalling Gregan's past achievements, the paper appeared to stumble: "At 32, his present performance palls against his great achievements, especially the memory of the try-saving tackle in the July 2000 Bledisloe Cup when he stopped the seemingly unstoppable Jona (sic) Lomu, who was on his way to score what would have been New Zealand's fourth unanswered try."

There may have been such a tackle, but the tackle everyone remembers is the one Gregan pulled off to jolt the ball out of Jeff Wilson's hands in Sydney, 1994.

As for dropping the h off Jonah. Sporting grief will do that to you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's good to be a guy 

The NBR recently reported that the Nats have dropped a little support since the election:

A National Business Review-UMR poll says the Nats and Labour are both down slightly since the election, but a new Roy Morgan poll shows them holding steady over the last month.The NBR-UMR poll, published today, is the second NBR-UMR political poll since the September 17 election. It shows both the Nats and Labour have lost a bit of ground with the electorate -- Labour's down three points to 40 per cent and the Nats are down two to 38 per cent.

While molesworthandfeatherston has been harping on about the accuracy of its latest rolling poll of.....whatever.

Now I ain't no political expert, but the election was two months ago, which begs the question: who gives a fuck?

Let it go.

In other news there's outrage that Air NZ and Qantas are going to ban men from sitting next to unaccompanied kids.
Air New Zealand and Qantas are wrong to ban men from sitting alongside unaccompanied children on their planes, Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke says.
"The airlines should be more down to earth and recognise that men are people too.
"This is clearly a breach of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

Can't help but agree with Keith on a few of his points - men are people, and human rights are important yadayadayada - nevertheless one underlying question remains.

Who the fuck wants to be seated next to kids, especially ones that aren't yours, on a flight?

Please Keith, let this gross breach of my human rights slip under the radar.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Saturday, November 26, 2005

A New Tosser and a New Legend 

First up it's the tosser Martin Dunn who apparently speeds through Otahuhu he hates it so much.

And here's why...
Martin Dunn, quoted in the latest issue of Metro magazine as condemning cheap new apartment blocks for bringing "low-lifes" into the city - from their suburb.

"They'll be on the dole," he said. "They'll be people who should live in Otahuhu and never be allowed out of Otahuhu."
Some people don't deserve to be allowed to speak. Pass Martin the duct tape and some snips. He can self censor.

On the other side, Tana Umaga, New Zealand's first ever part Chinese (OK so it's only about an 8th) All Black and league player in his younger days (like Toaiava and Weepu in this weekends AB backline) has decided his body can't handle it anymore.

Well here's to you mate. A bloody good player, leader and nice bloke.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Desperately seeking Wiremu 

Welcome to Bennyasena's weekly media wrap up.

1) Rugby World Cup

First of all good to see bloggers influencing the local media.

Earlier in the week Yamis called it like it is in relation to Aussie voting against us in the rugby world cup bid:
Oh and by the way. FUCK AUSTRALIA for voting Japan. They can spin it however they want but they are a bunch of cunts. Not in a million years would NZ have voted for Japan over Aussie.They voted for them because they are pricks who thought they could scam some bucks out of Japan.

By Friday, NZ rugby's chief executive is following that lead:
"We would be wrong to hide our extreme disappointment and the wounds of that disappointment will not heal easily," Moller said at a pre-test Scotland Rugby Union function today.
"We're going to have to think about consequences of this."

Not quite as forceful as BIR but good to see.

2) Desperately seeking Wiremu

The local contsabulary are searching for a nutter on the loose, out West Auckland way, apparently he's armed, dangerous and "a p-binging fugitive" according to the Herald.
The numerous live crosses to a TV3 reporter standing around in West Auckland with nothing to report on was a questionable lead news item I thought.

3) Stacey, Stacey, Stacey

In other news Stacey Jones is flying from NZ to England to help fuck Australia up in the tri-nations final - yeah:
"I'm only going back to win, not just to play. I wouldn't be wasting my time if I thought that we couldn't really have a good crack at it," Jones said.

There were some harsh questions raised in the blogosphere as to why he needed to come back for his kid's birth anyway...

More importantly, Here's how Graeme Lowe thinks the Kiwis can win.

Last time I checked we were paying $4 for the win and about $5.50 to win 12-and-under $11-13+.

4) Sorry, I got it wong

In Parliament a Labour Minister took the piss out of National MP Pansy Wong's accent then had to call her and say he didn't do it intentionally.

Outraged bloggers can be found here, and here.

Jokes about Asians can be found here.

5) Small World

The designer of fashion label Insidious Fix got nailed by the police this week, twice, for running sophisticated hydroponic cannabis operations. Who would have thought?

6) Thanks Daddy

Some wanker whose daddy gives him $15,000 to pay off his student loan but...wait for it... he decides to withdrawal it from student loan account and stick in an interest-earning bank acc. Haha.

Said wanker then runs to National - "looky, looky there's a flaw in the system that I exploited because my daddy gave me $15,000" - media obligingly pick up story.

7) Justice?

In the good to see news category: the mongrels who beat the shit out of a two-year-old are getting some street justice inside prison. Apparently the gang they belonged to is not particularly happy its name is being associated with the beating and torture of a child.

8) Looking for employment?

A Christchurch policeman's wife helps organise an anti-pedophile mail-drop which leads to vigilante action taken against...the pedophile's elderly, widowed sister.

The pedophile was, and still is, in prison.

The police have now launched an internal investigation to see how the pedophile's information found its way to the hands of the vigilantes....even Chief Wiggum should be able to solve this one.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Just when you thought it was 2005 

It seems the 2006 Qantas Media Awards are over before they began.

This article is simply magic - just when you thought it was safe to toke again, the heavy-hitting Gisborne Herald comes out with this sensational piece of journalism:
It was nothing for young people to use eight to 20 "tinnies" of cannabis — about 16 to 40 joints — per week, Mr Johnstone said. Cannabis was freely available to youngsters who often started smoking at about age 11, he said.
Cannabis had long-term effects on the body and once a level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had been established in the brain, it could remain as a stockpile for up to six or eight weeks — even if the user reduced a habit to one joint per week, he said.
"The greatest shame is the lethargy issue . . . the bright young boy or girl suddenly becomes the young person who loses all motivation and doesn’t feel like doing anything . . . and the negative effect on social behaviour, including caring about the difference between right and wrong," Mr Johnstone said.
Cannabis was more likely the reason for violent crime than P, yet people refused to believe it, he said.
"It is easier for people to believe that P is the reason for crime nowadays, much as they did about barbiturates and other drugs in the 1980s. But back then cannabis was there, in large quantities and with greater regularity. And sadly, it’s still there."
He pointed to the case of the Bell RSA murders that were reported to follow not only P bingeing, but regular heavy cannabis use.

You might be laughing now, but I too used to naively assume grass just made me giggle.

The reporter covers off the the risk this Reefer Madness poses to children too, not just any old children but "the small children", and even manages to go one better:
He referred to a street incident around the time of Guy Fawkes night, involving more than a dozen parents stoned and openly smoking cannabis. Those people completely ignored the dangers to their small children and animals. Neighbourly interference was met with abuse, Mr Johnstone said.

Both stoned and openly smoking cannabis - you make me sick.

This part's the best though:
An often-unspoken tragedy that had accompanied the widespread use and seeming acceptance of cannabis had been the parallel increase in grossly-irresponsible sexual abuse — including that of young children and elderly women, he said.

Surely this is enough proof for ya'll bloggers to stop laying into our moral guardians Peter Dunnehill and Jim Anderton.

Afterall the US government informed its people in a PR campaign in 1936 that:
"One puff and your sons will become stark-raving mad murderers and rapists. Your daughters will become tramps instantly."

You've been warned.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Couple really likes dolphins ... no, really 

The nation's press is on to the story about this couple of lovebirds - or love cetaceans maybe - who met, perhaps not coincidentally, at a karaoke bar in Taradale. They are, as the story explains in excruciating detail, "a dolphin family." Which led one contributor to the Great NZ Discussion Board to suggest that perhaps all weddings could be "written up" as work for journalists.

I suggest the following generic story format:
The day was [sunny/mostly sunny/cloudy/a bit rainy]. The bride wore [white/offwhite/cream/scarlet] and looked [happy/hot/nervous/horny]. The groom was a model of [drunkeness/good manners/a nice suit]. The relatives in attendace noted that it was a nice day and that they were very happy for the couple concerned, although several expressed surprise about [the food/the drinks/the music/the nakedness]. The bride and groom [kissed/fought/shagged like minks] and were very happy to have their [cat/dog/dolphin/parents] in attendance.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday Morning Mellow 

Mother of the Nation Helen Clark listening to some phat beats in Korea yesterday. You can check the back slapping article which accompanies the photo here (It's all about Koreas cutting edge technology). Quite what the article has to do with Bush is beyond me, but then again Korea loves putting the boot into the fuckwit more than most (which means quite a bloody lot obviously).

Hell, it didn't really occur to me that if Labour hadn't triumphed in the election we would have faced the prospect of Donald "what's our policy for that?" Brash bumbling his way through the NZ bid in Dublin. "The World Cup should go to Japan,... um... New Zealand... well anyway... economy, no Maoris in the team... I... errmmm... thankyou".

And on Australia's new found passion for developing their bank account, whoops, I mean developing the game of Rugby Union...

I've been scrolling back through the years and here's all I can find outside World Cups of Australia playing lower tier rugby nations...

v Spain in Spain in 2001 (92-10)
v Samoa in Australia in 1998 (25-13)
v Tonga in Australia in 1998 (74-0)
v Fiji in Australia in 1998 (66-20)
v Samoa in Australia in 1994 (73-3)
v Canada in Canada in 1993 (43-16)
v Tonga in Australia in 1993 (52-14)
v USA in Australia in 1990 (67-9)
v Korea in Australia in 1987 (65-18)

and I'm stopping there, that's quite far enough. Australia couldn't give stuff about developing the game. We should just tell their Super 14 teams to piss off and we can play our own franchise teams againt each other and include a Pacific Island team or two. Then watch Australian rugby sink back down the hole it came from.

Oh, and Armenia beat Bulgaria 57-17 in the latest hot rugby action from Europe last week.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Why the IRB got it Right 

I've been listening to Willy Lose spout his usual crap on Radio Sport and Graeme Hill was also going on a similar track today as well (note that Hill is usually very good).

They both said all along that Japan should get it to globalise the game. Willy is the worst and he's still jabbering on about the same shit even after it's done and dusted and we've got it.

I've been to Japan. And much like Korea it's neighbour it has a certain issue with something called... grass.

There is none.

School grounds are dirt.

Playgrounds are dirt.

Even sports fields unless they are inside stadiums with tens of thousands of bucks pumped into them each year are dirt.

Who wants to play a hard contact sport on dirt?

Japan may have had the infrastructure at the top level for the actual tournament itself, but what could they have done to exploit the opportunity handed to them on the back of a list of massive corporations.

Rugby has been played in Japan for a long time and it's still a very, very, very minor sport. Jamie Joseph who played professionally in Japan said yesterday that it's quite common for them to get 1,500 people along or less in matches featuring four ex All Blacks.

It's a company/university sport.

Like much professional sport in Asia it's about image.

The teams are owned by companies with their names slapped on, in Korea Samsung owns (not sponsors, owns) last years K-League soccer champions. Hyundai own three teams in the same competition. In the subcontinent we all must have seen how the professional cricket teams have names like "Southern Bangalore Peoples Trust Savings Bank".

Well at least people in the latter countries actually play soccer and cricket. In Japan basically nobody plays rugby. It would have the popularity of curling in New Zealand if it was lucky.

World Cup rolls around, stadiums are fairly full (though I can't see them all being sold out like they suggested, Tonga v Romania in a 40,000 seater... hellloooo!!!!".

Then two months later theres thousands of Japanese wondering where to send their kids to play.

But alas, there's nowhere.

No grassroots infrastructure.

Opportunity gone.

Waste of a World Cup.

On South Africa, well here's a couple of reasons they didn't get it.

Andrew Merhtens and Jonah Lomu, who are still playing played in the South African world cup. It just wasn't that long ago.

The administation in South Africa is dodgy. You just can't trust that they aren't going to have years of infighting leading up to the event.

And they are hosting the soccer world cup in 2010. How bloody greedy can you get? 1995 RWC, cricket WC in 200?, SWC in 2010, RWC in 2011. Since when did South Africa become so bloody important?

Oh and by the way.

FUCK AUSTRALIA for voting Japan. They can spin it however they want but they are a bunch of cunts. Not in a million years would NZ have voted for Japan over Aussie.

They voted for them because they are pricks who thought they could scam some bucks out of Japan.

If Japan had won you can gaurantee that Aussie would have hosted Japan in a test and played in Japan in the lead up to 2011.

And whats even more fucked up is that we should be doing that anyway. We beat Fiji 93-0, whats the difference between that and beating Japan 123-0 apart from a few extra shitty tries nobody remembers?

Japan should have to prove that it can get crowds along by enticing England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to their shores BEFORE it gets a World Cup. Show us the crowds, show us the infrastructure, show us the grassroots interest. DON'T simply stand there and say "look, we are rich" and expect to get it.

And if Australia is sooooo concerned about globalising the game then perhaps they can inform us all of how many times they have toured...

etc etc


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Schizophrenic Sunday Star-Times? 

A fortnight ago I was impressed when reading Cate Brett's editorial savaging TVNZ's Susan Wood in the Sunday Star-Times.

It wasn't so much the content of Brett's piece, A dose of reality for TV, that I admired just the venom with which she wrote it:
Taxpayers and television viewers were amazed by Susan Wood's performance on Thursday. She told an Employment Relations Authority hearing that she was "probably" worth more than the $450,000 she used to get as Close Up presenter. And she was "gutted" and "shocked" when her boss Bill Ralston proposed cutting her annual salary by $100,000.
Viewers will be gutted and shocked that the taxpayer-funded television station would contemplate paying her so much. And as for her complaints about anguish and suffering - why, she even shouted at the kids! - ordinary folks will treat them with scorn. Wood is a competent if unexciting interviewer and host. She is certainly not worth more than $450,000, or anything like it.

Shucks, I couldn't comment on Wood's abilities, don't watch Close Up, but Brett really got stuck in to Wood and TVNZ:
This is what TVNZ's lunatic "culture of excess" has led to - and once again TVNZ will suffer odium for it. Last year, it was revealed that Judy Bailey, the mother of the nation, wanted to double her salary to $800,000 - and succeeded. After that, viewers looked at Mummy differently. Paul Holmes' sky-high wages were a continuing source of trouble; Helen Clark called them "obscene", and most sane people would agree. It won't do for TVNZ to say it was merely paying the market rate for TV stars. TVNZ dominated the market and it set the rates. It paid huge sums to autocue readers whose daily screen exposure was minimal. The result was a series of scandals, climaxing in a multi-million payout to John Hawkesby after he had worked for a few wretched weeks.


The Sunday Star-Times' editor was calling it as she saw it, "a laughable shambles" no less, and lambasted the TVNZ freakshow.

So I was surprised to be greeted last weekend by the front-page story - Susan Wood's angry fiance speaks out.
TVNZ presenter Susan Wood's fiance, Kevin Stanley, has attacked the state broadcaster for its treatment of his stressed partner.
Wood, who this month won an employment dispute with TVNZ over its plans to slash her pay by $100,000 to $350,000 a year, was off work last Friday and went away with Stanley for the weekend.
Her lawyer, Mai Chen, said Wood's absence was on doctor's advice and matters relating to her relationship of trust and confidence with TVNZ "remain outstanding".
Wood's future with TVNZ is expected to be decided this week.
After a bad week with the Close Up presenter, TVNZ last night missed out on major awards - including best news - to its competitor TV3 at the new Qantas Television Awards.
Stanley said Wood's leave was stress-related and "these guys have ground her down to nothing. I think her employers have absolutely underestimated the pressure that it has put on her. It has been totally unfair and unnecessary".

What? Seems rather sympathetic doesn't it?

Afterall, aren't the viewers and ordinary folks "gutted and shocked"at her pay demands and treating her "anguish and suffering" with "scorn"?

Which is it?

And how does a story, about a "competent if unexciting interviewer and host" whose dilemma is nothing more than "a laughable shambles" one week, become a front-page lead the next?

Or is it that a story become more newsworthy if your publication has an exclusive?

Here's another question, how many Sunday Star-Times front-page leads in the past year have been related to TVNZ?

And do people really care?

Amazing he can work at all 

What with his drug-addled brain! Yes, that's right the "disgraced" Marc Ellis is back at his job hawking orange juice. I don't know about you, but having seen the USDA ads "this is your brain on drugs" I'd be reluctant to employ this man.

Honestly, the only thing that's disgraceful is the state's belief that it has sovereignty over our bodies, and that it can use its monopoly on the legitimate use of force to punish those who think otherwise. I choose to believe it's no business of PC Plod what people inhale, inject or consume - or to distinguish between legal and illegal funghi - but each to his own I guess.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A wee rant 

I really liked this, which some folks may have missed because it's on the 'guest speaker' page over at public address. The same author has just made a worrying post about the state of science in New Zealand, concluding - I suspect - by pointing to the fundamental contradiction between appeals for more scientists in New Zealand and the lack of actual employment for them.

(Take a bow I Am Dunedin: even locals can't get over the absurd recruitment drive here ... the reason you won't have to worry about traffic when you relocate to Dunedin from Auckland is that you won't actually have a job to commute to. But they don't tell you that on the ads, eh?).

Anyway, back to tipping:
But now, there are 'tipping jars' everywhere. Some of them with passive-aggressive signs saying: 'Tipping is not illegal in New Zealand.' But what in God's name are we actually tipping them for? We're tipping them for doing their job, which we've already paid them for as part of our bill. Why should I pay them twice? Nobody pays me twice - and I can do things like solving differential equations, which is much harder than writing down what sort of coffee people want.

[...] in America you have to tip 15 per cent minimum for anything connected with food. And 15 per cent minimum actually means 20 per cent. So if you order a pizza over the phone, and then you go and collect it, you have to tip the pizza guy 20 per cent. That's just for picking up the pizza and handing it to you. The guy doesn't even speak, he just hands you the pizza and the bill! And guess what, if you go to a restaurant, and the service is really terrible, and the waiter treats you like you've got bird flu - are you allowed to NOT tip him? Nope. You're supposed to tip him exactly 15 per cent, so that when he looks at the bill afterwards, and does the maths, he'll get really offended because the amount is so exact. That's right, you punish him via mathematical accuracy!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wouldn't Have Wanted to Have Travelled the World 

And missed tickets to the Wales test because the travel company several hundred Kiwis purchased tickets through never showed up with them.

Or have purchased tickets to the North? Stand at Landsdowne Rd for the ireland test which has been closed due to a fire in it yesterday and will be empty for the test. That's 7,000 unlucky punters there and no doubt plenty of Kiwis up from london for the match.

Oh well, they could always shoot over to Huddersfield and watch the kiwis take on Great Britain. Once again Stacy Jones has answered the call (couldn't ya just kiss the little bugger?!) and will play in the match.

As far as I can work out the Kiwis can afford to lose by about 25 points and still make the final.

Great Britain would have to win by that much or more and then narrowly pip Aussie to make the final.

Can't see that happening but if they get off to a good start and the ref is a bit of a cheat then they would be a very outside bet. Realistically though we are better on paper and are in good form so it's hard to see us losing at all let alone being flogged. Still, that's the great thing about sport. Ya just never bloody know.

Unless it's the Black Caps playing. They seriously need to rotate players a lot more than they do to create experience and competiton. The reason why any sports team in teh world is good is because their is competition for spots. name me a high performing side in the world that doesn't have players who will be out on their arse if they don't produce the goods?

Our domestic game is adequate in terms of producing reasonable cricketers but it's not a level playing field for those who never get in the Black Caps. the Black caps get to travel the world and face the best bowlers and batsmen on all kinds of tracks in all kinds of conditions. Of course they are going to dominate the domestic scene when they are back in it. Nine months of that versus 4 months of domestic cricket against mediocre players in mediocre conditions means those players who don't get a shot are on a hiding to nothing.

I think the only way the ICC will really lift the standard of international cricket (one great side, one very good side and a bunch of underperforming, inconsistent fucks) is if they set up a proper second tier competition and even involve national teams second elevens.

Have Australia B, NZ B, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, England B etc etc all playing year round.

THEN teams will have REAL competition for the top spots and the game can go forward instead of the woeful state that it's currently in.

Look at the West Indian fast bowler factory of the past. Now it's a bloody run down dairy using spare parts from the local meat works.

Right, I'm off to pick grapefruit for a denmark diet. Yeah I don't know what the fuck it is either.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Drugs & Hypocrites 

A fun article in the Guardian, which illustrates that even the venerable Sherlock Holmes was hooked on a bad, evil drug (admittedly, before big government began to believe it had the authority to make such activities illegal):
"Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction."
Nice work, Sherlock, now put aside your cocaine and tell me: was it the Colonel Mustard in the living room with the candlestick holder?

I particularly liked this part, and its definition of an alcoholic:
We used to think we knew what cocaine meant - it meant a bad, dangerous habit, a short-circuit to pleasure that was indulged in by those on a fast track to ruin. Unless, of course, you indulged in it yourself, in which case you were able to keep your sordid little habit under control and besides, it wasn't sordid, on the venerable principle that an alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you. It has, alone among the pharmacopoeia, the property of turning its users into hypocrites.
Indeed, and as of half an hour ago I was still nursing a hangover. Yes, that's right, 5pm!

Nicholas Lizard is certainly right to claim that a more mature, pragmatic approach to drug use would take us several large steps in the right direction: "many fewer people are going to jump in fright when the government or the tabloids go 'boo' at them." Too bloody right, mate, we've got more important things to worry about, like who is or isn't speeding through South Canterbury as we speak. Finally, it's interesting to hear of someone "coming clean" and eliciting little reaction other than perhaps a telling off from his mother:
Daily Telegraph journalist Sam Leith presented his readers with a list of the drugs he himself had tried: "speed, dope, acid, ecstasy, MDMA, ketamine, amyl nitrate, cocaine, nitrous oxide, magic mushrooms, temazepam, Valium, Salvia divinorum and khat". This was the roster of the "average, middle-class drug tourist", and if Leith got into any trouble for it with any authorities apart from his mother I have yet to hear of it. It used to be said by the Persians that there were four cushions on the divan of pleasure: coffee, wine, opium and tobacco. It would appear now that there are at least 18.
Yes, well, it will be a while before I dabble in the delights of alcohol again. On the other hand, tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Classic Spin 

Rebel National MP Brian Connell has just issued a joint press release with leader Don Brash apologising for the comments he made last week in the Ashburton Guardian:
Rakaia MP Brian Connell has apologised to the National Party caucus, and to party leader Don Brash, for comments made over recent weeks which have been seen as critical of the leader and the party....

Mr Connell says he deeply regrets the way his comments were interpreted.
Hahaha, Brian "deeply regrets the way his comments were interpreted".

Now let's have little lookie at what Brian actually wrote then shall we?

Some exerts include:
I would have liked bigger portfolios and a higher ranking based on my ability, rather than the leader slapping me around because I’m outspoken.

That I am a member of the National Party is absolutely irrelevant to me when I conduct my duties, or form a view. Sometimes - okay, lots of times - this brings me into conflict with the party bosses in Wellington who think my first loyalty is to them. We shall continue to disagree."
Way to tow the party line Brian - then you also wrote that being told you were too outspoken was "a big rat to swallow, especially with the announcement of a PC eradication portfolio".

Speaking of big rats to swallow, just how did you want people to interpret your comments Brian?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Royal bellyaching 

Lewis Holden, one of the more frequent and thoughtful contributors to debates on New Zealand's constitutional future, one I sincerely hope will not feature the Windsors or any other monarchy, has this to say in a recent blog:
[R]epublicanism in the New Zealand context should not be a reactionary path against the Monarch, nor is it specifically anti-royalist. It is possible to be a republican, respect the Queen and even take an Oath of allegiance to Her Majesty without undermining what you believe in. This may seem strange, but it is perfectly plausible.
Already one senses a little too much accommodation between the Holden Republic's Republicanism and the royalist nature of NZ.
Republicans believe in political equality and therefore view the Queen as their equal.
Well yes, they do, this is a very important point, but whether it means a republican can take an oath of allegiance to the Queen in good faith is a rather different matter. I would no more take such an oath to Betty Windsor than I would to any other individual. In a world of equals, it's preposterous.
This means that personal attacks on the Queen are unwarranted.
No, it means that personal attacks on the Queen are warranted under exactly the same circumstances that they are warranted for any other individual. e.g., if the Queen says or does something I think is stupid, I am justified in making a "personal attack" (by which I mean "an attack on the qualities of a person's argument or decision making abilities, etc."). More generally, red-blooded attacks on the monarchy and those who inhabit it can be effective rhetorical tools, sedition laws notwithstanding.
Republicans are critical of the institution of monarchy, but not monarchs themselves. This is in line with the Republican Movement principle that the debate should not be about personalities.
This is correct in the sense that there is a real danger in the debate being about personalities, one the Republican movement is always going to lose whilst Betty Windsor is on the throne. Many people seem convinced by her good deeds, although I'm not.
[...] The other prime example of this outside of the media was the Prime Minister’s refusal to allow a prayer before a state dinner with the Queen, the head of the Anglican Church, and flouting other Royal protocols. Monarchy or republic, such disingenuous dealings put New Zealand in a bad light internationally. And yet, the Prime Minister is quite happy to follow Muslim protocol when visiting Mosques or Maori protocol on Marae. Again, such hypocrisy does the republican movement damage.
At this point I must part ways with Lewis ... the supposed "flouting of other Royal protocols" presumably refers to the PM (a) wearing pants; (b) sitting down and (c) not allowing grace at a state dinner with the Queen ... held on Parliamentary premises to the best of my recollection. You know Parliament, the institution which sought for several centuries to establish its independence from said Monarchy, an independence sometimes paid for in blood. The dinner wasn't in Buckingham Palace for crying out loud. When I'm on someone else's turf, I don't insist on them following my protocols.
However, the tendancy of monarchists to micro-evaluate everything the Prime Minister does with respect to the monarchy is now taken to extremes. There are two examples of the desire for respect being taking to extremes: The bellyaching over the Prime Ministers’ late arrival to greet Prince Andrew because of that other (pressing) need to form a government is one such example.
Well that's slightly more like it, but again why on earth is Lewis accepting of the notion of "protocols" which apply only to the royals and to no one else in this supposed society of equals? As I've said earlier, after Betty was alleged to have suffered indignities on her trip to Canada:
One of the inherent problems of a monarchy is the notion that a small number of people, by virtue of their birth or marriage into one particular family, are somehow worthy of a different (higher) standard of treatment than everyone else. Even those persons who actually have a mandate from the people cannot hope to attain this.
For example, Betty was asked to give a "big smile" by a photographer: something most of us have experienced many times.

I went on to say:
Really, when the largest hardships in this woman's life are minor breaches of supposed protocols extended to her and no one else (like Paul Keating briefly putting his arm around her, or Helen Clark wearing pants not a skirt to a royal dinner) she hasn't got much to complain about.
My friend the Reluctant Leftist has more to say on this theme, and has confirmed my desire to refer to her most excellent majesty in the same way I would refer to any other English septuagenarian: by her actual name.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Top bloke gone 

Green Party co-leader, all-round good bloke, articule spokesperson on environmental issues, conscientious politician, cut down before his time. A sad day for left-wing politics in New Zealand.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The price is right, bitch 

Consumers are entitled to believe that the labelled sale price is accurate. If corporations make errors in their billing which cost them, it's not the consumer's problem I would have thought. But no, PC Plod is getting involved in the case of a gas station which offered petrol at 1/10th the usual sale price, making scurrilous allegations of theft and using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage. You'd think the constabulary would have better things to do. If contacted by Motueka Police, I suggest telling them to fuck off.

Stagecoach wankers 

Just when you thought all was quiet...the rage is back.

It wasn't long ago we here at BIR were musing about Stagecoach and the utter disrespect they show their customers after they hiked their fares by 10%...
Three days notice?! Way to treat your customers like a pile of shit. You have an annual review and then woooshka!!! there it is, straight out of peoples pockets.

Now they're denying kids who are near on blind access to their buses...
“This kind of thing happens constantly somewhere in New Zealand – not an assault, but a member of the Foundation being denied access to a bus or taxi simply because the driver did not believe they were blind or vision-impaired; they did not ‘look like a typical’ blind person because they did not have a guide dog or white cane. This is enormously frustrating for our members. It’s really outrageous that this happened at all, and especially right after Blind Week and after the Human Rights Commission released their report about discrimination in public transport. This has got to stop,” says Paula Daye, CEO, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.....Unfortunately, Stagecoach, who are at the centre of the Monday night incident, have refused multiple approaches from the Foundation over several years to provide blindness awareness training to their drivers.

Hey drivers, time for a little reality check, you've got shit for brains and that's why you drive a fucking bus.

If people wanted your opinions on issues or for you to be making judgement calls greater than deciding when to brake and accelerate, we'd ask.

Do you hear anyone asking?


Didn't think so, that's why we employ you to operate a bus - end of story.

What's more what does some lowly bus driver fucking care if some kid is using a blind pass illegitimately you'll get you $16 an hour regardless?

$16 an hour to drive a bus...that's bloody good money for something a chimp could do.

Speaking of chimps and buses.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yet another Canadian political crisis 

After a brief hiatus stirring up revolution in far away places, I’m back in the B.I.R. loop fresh with heaping political turmoil from Canada.

The neat thing about Canada is that we tend not to distract public attention away from our pressing social issues with war and the like; instead we do it with politics. Over the next two weeks to two months the Canadian press will be hi-jacked with a brewing political scandal, and only in a New Zealand-based blog can one have a fighting chance at making sense of the whole thing as it will impact people rather than politics. Here we go.

Ten years ago, nearly to the day, Quebec had a vote over separation. The vote did not pass, and our federal government created a sponsorship program to promote federalism within Quebec. The problem was that the chunk of change allotted to the sponsorship program got tied up in ad agencies that grossly over billed, and fell into the pockets of sleazy politicians. A judge has just released a report that stems from an extended commission that presents facts and assigns blame. Now the heads start to roll.

No one doubts that this scandal was a shitty thing to have happen, and that some knuckles need rapping. Our current Prime Minister Paul Martin, then finance minister at the time of the ad scandal, has been cleared of any wrong doing. The former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien has been flagged as a dirty bugger. Clean Paul has handed the judge’s report to the Mounties for investigation. Martin has also ordered his party to repay stolen funds to taxpayers. He has also promised an election up to six months after this report’s release. Now for New Zealand, a country that nearly ousted its Prime Minister over a speeding ticket, it may, or may not, seem that Martin needs to bow out of politics and leave a supposedly corruption saturated party to the wolves.

The Conservative opposition leader Stephen Harper wants this to happen in a bad way. Saying that Martin was in on it despite the fact that Judge John Gomery cleared his name and that since 1995 the Martin-Chrétien relationship was a sour and distant one, nearly dividing the party altogether. It is quite likely that Martin was left clear out of the loop of the scandal.

The opposition has been handled a golden egg to cripple the government, and the best that they can come up with, despite the strong likelihood that Martin and his crew had nothing to do with the scam, is that “they’re all alike; they’re the same bunch and deserve to be unseated!”

Stephen Harper is an annoying bugger from the get go. His very manner of speech is bloody annoying. He speaks with an assertiveness that hints at the voting public being a stupid bunch, and that if they do not agree with him, on what he believes to be obvious and outrageous, they should be considered idiots. Moreover, instead of pointing at some of the major follies in the last ten years of liberal governance from military spending to healthcare improvement, from education to social assistance, even in promoting a more lucrative Canadian investment market, Harper can do no more than simply sit there pointing and saying, “You’re all bad people.” Does this guy need a juice or something? Did he miss nap time? Maybe he’s queuing for a fight after recess?

The real tragedy about this whole thing is that it will ultimately make the Canadian parliament less democratic. The debate on whether or not Canadians feel that the Liberals deserve ousting over this will consume media attention and public imagination for months. It will fan political fires in Alberta and Quebec. Most tragic of it all, it will detract from pressing matters such as the status of aboriginal health, Canada-U.S. relations, education and health reforms, and other matters that impact more individuals on the whole than the political rhetoric in Ottawa.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we were to tune out this forthcoming political shit-storm and focus our energies on improving governance so that more people were able to participate in the pressing issues that matter to them as individuals and communities?

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