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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tinnie madness 

So the police are cracking down on young brown people buying their tinnies in Otara ey.
Police wanting to show how they were harassing drug sellers in the south Auckland suburb of Otara did not have to go far – deals were being done just 800 metres from their station.

But what concerns me about this is the folllowing:
Police would inform employers of arrests, as they believed purchases were being made in work time by people whose job safety would be affected by the drugs, he said. "Some people are visiting tinnie houses during the day and are in company vehicles when making their purchases.

I can't but wonder if this is legal?

For a start isn't it the court's job to decide how offenders are punished and the severity of that punishment?

Is it any of the police's business when you're buying your tinnies?

What if they contacted your employers before you'd been through the courts surely that would be illegal if you hadn't been convicted if the crime?

If only the police responded as quickly to rape complaints against their own officers as they did against tinnie buyers - then you'd have 20 years to get away!

(And try proving it then)

Anyways, on to happier things.

Actually, no, we're not going anywhere happier.

The Tigers performance against the Sea Eagles last week was the worst I've ever seen in the NRL - how hard is it to catch the fucking ball?

They were truly shit, embarassingly shit - unfortunately I can't find a match report to link to that accurately describes just how terribly they played.

But I see the gambling community is just blaming it on the rain. (Whatever Millie)
The return of Nathan Hindmarsh should cure all of Parramatta’s woes. Well, Eels fans and his team mates will certainly be hoping so. They have been woeful over the first two rounds, and their current form has them primed to contend only for the wooden spoon. The Tigers, themselves, were no better last week, but an expected dry track this Friday night gives them a much greater chance to hold onto a little football. If any team is not suited to wet weather football, it’s the Tigers, and they played accordingly against Manly in round 2. I’m finding it an awful lot easier forgiving the Tigers of last weeks error riddled effort than I am of Parra for either of their early season performances, and on the small amount of form we have seen, I am surprised that such a pronounced favourite has been made here, and hence I am taking some of the plus.

Anyways, here's my pics for the weekend, and in all bar one game - I'm going with the away team.

Broncos - Panthers: Broncos
Eels - Tigers: Tigers
Dragons - Cowboys: Cowboys
Sharks - Rabbits: Rabbits
Storm - Warriors: Warriors
Bulldogs - Titans: Titans
Roosters - Sea Eagles: Sea Eagles
Raiders - Knights: Knights


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NRL Week 2 wrap up 

Before I start, I'm slightly nervous about the future of the NRL. For two reasons basically. Firstly, their isn't a shit load of really good Aussie talent coming through into the competition. Secondly their are increasing numbers of NZ born and trained players coming into the competition, but league numbers in NZ are plummeting. They have nearly halved in the past few seasons thanks to that awesome organisation of fucken dumbo morons known as the NZRL. Anyway...

Cowboys 43 Roosters 6 (21396) ****
Dragons 12 Newcastle 16 (12,326)**
Penrith 40 Bulldogs 10 (16,652)*** Put this result in our What the Fuck?! Category
Souths 31 Parramatta 6 (15,165)***
Raiders 16 Melbourne 32 (9556) **
Titans 18 Cronulla 16 (17,946)****
New Zealand 24 Brisbane 14 (16,700)***
Tigers 8 Manly 19 (15,185)***

This weeks games further confirms that the Warriors WILL make the playoffs. There are so many mud sides in the comp this year. The Titans have weakened a few teams with their buys but not the likes of the Warriors who lost no players to them and in fact the Warriors are on the improve.

The Cowboys will piss in to the 8, the Broncos will make them but won't go near the title this year, the Storm will also walk in and may well go all the way. the radio commentators were suggesting on Sunday afternoon that the Warriors v Storm clash could be the clash come grand final day. I think it will be between the Storm, Warriors, Cowboys and Bulldogs. But there is plenty of water to pass under the bridge between now and then. The Bulldogs have had a pretty awful start to the year but you win competitions in September, not March.

Stat for the week. Nigel Vagana now has 133 tries in the NRL. Just 5 behind Phil Blake. Still 32 behind Andrew Ettinghausen though. Steve Price has now got himself 29 tries.

Oh, one other stat for all the freaks in the house. Out of the 38 points scored at Mt Smart in the weekend NZ players got........ none.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Countries Wot We Have Visited 

Hat-tip: randominanity.


create your own visited country map


create your own visited country map

Friday, March 23, 2007

NRL Round Two 

Alrighty ladies and gentlemen have we got a weekend of league lined up!

So far I'm sitting on 6/8 which puts me up with the leading league expert in the Rugby League Weekly - Paul Harragon.

And ahead of Mark Geyer 5/8 (huh, whattayou know about league chump)

Bennyasena's tips for round two are:

Dragons vs Knights - Dragons
Panthers vs Bulldogs - Bulldogs (fuck how crap were the Panthers last week!)
Tigers vs Sea Eagles - Tigers
Raiders vs Storm - Storm
Cowboys vs Roosters - Cowboys
Warriors vs Broncos - Warriors
Rabbits vs Eels - Rabbits
Titans vs Sharks - Titans

Although I figure those last two games could go either way.

I reckon the best analysis that can be found on the web is at onthepunt so check that out!

Bet of the week Tigers $1.57 to beat the Sea Eagles.

Go the Warriors.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NRL Week One 

Bit hard to comment too much when you only saw the Warriors game plus highlights of most others. Although that reminds me. You can watch all the games on the website about a day or so after they are played. I also saw the Warriors highlights on the website only a few hours after the match which was awesome.

Results and crowds I can find are below with the crowd figure included where I can find it and the stars are for the crowds and indicate:
***** Outstanding
**** Strong
*** Average
** Weak
* Pathetic

They are relative to what you would expect for that team. ie 20,000 for the Broncos is crap but for the Warriors would be awesome. Plus I factor in form, time, weather and location of teams ie two Sydney teams will get more along than a Sydney v Storm or Raiders game).

Broncos 16 Cowboys 23 (50,416) *****
Storm 18 Tigers 16 (13,535) ***
Warriors 34 Eels 18 (13,587) **
Sea Eagles 32 Raiders 6 (13,533) ***
Knights 25 Bulldogs 24 (18,791) ***
Titans 18 Dragons 20 (42,030) *****
Sharks 18 Panthers 0 (9,032) **
Rabbitohs 18 Roosters 6 (24,127) ****

Good wins for the Cowboys, Warriors, Sea Eagles, Dragons, Sharks and Rabbitohs. the Storm should probably have won a little more convincingly. The Knights were lucky as hell and Brian Smith said as much. The Roosters side looks truly awful on paper so the Rabbitohs should have beaten them. I didn't realise the Roosters were so weak. They shouldn't get within a country mile of the playoffs.

Sharks end 10 game losing streak
Panthers kept scoreless for first time since 1999
Warriors win first season opener since 2002 where they had a bye first round and won in round 2.
Warriors opening home game crowds...
1995 - 29,220*
1996 - 17,246*
1997 - 20,300
1998 - 9,500 (super league aftermath plus playing Souths)
1999 - 20,268
2000 - 20,546
2001 - 11,134 (ownership debacle)
2002 - 14,378
2003 - 16,291
2004 - 16,425
2005 - 13,682*
2006 - 10,035*
2007 - 13,587

*=counting me! A combination of not being in the country and being thousands of dollars in debt has kept me from the others.

The Warriors crowd was shit. I was expecting something in the ball park of 17-20,000 and I even heard rumours of a sellout. Don't know who started them, perhaps the club itself?

The Warriors barring injury and suspension should comfortably make the playoffs, possibly even making the top 4. Famous last words perhaps but they are a better team than last year and they probably would have made the playoffs then had they not lost 4 points to start the year. On top of that there are several teams who should struggle. The Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Titans and probably the Rabbitohs, Tigers and Sharks as well when push comes to shove. You can probably throw in the Dragon also since Gasnier is gone for so long although that may galvanise them to a solid season. But that doesn't leave too many fighting for the playoff spots. In fact I've pretty much eliminated 8 teams from the reckoning so we may as well start the playoffs now. There will be a couple of surprises though in terms of crap teams on paper becoming ood teams on paper and good teams on paper folding like a piece of one.

Anyway, it was the highest crowd aggregate for a round in the history of the comp although that was largely down to the 8 games which is one more than previous seasons and the massive Broncos and Titans crowds...
NRL records highest crowd for a round
The opening weekend of the NRL has attracted the biggest aggregate crowd ever for a round of top-flight rugby league in Australia. A total of 185,051 fans turned out to the eight matches, eclipsing the previous record, 171,526 in round 22 of the 1995 season. The Brisbane Broncos pulled in the round's top figure, 50,416 at Suncorp Stadium for Friday's Queensland derby at Suncorp Stadium. Suncorp also accommodated 42,030 for the Gold Coast Titans' first ever match, against big drawcards St George Illawarra. The league's foray back into Monday night matches attracted 24,127 to a wet Aussie Stadium for the local derby between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney on Monday night.
Some other good news for the Warriors. Their new reserve grade side beat the Parramatta Eels reserve grade team 28-6.

Now, for a mindless diversion 


Monday, March 19, 2007


Oh fuck, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...
The United States has reminded New Zealand that it is a "close friend'' but not an ally, dashing any hopes Prime Minister Helen Clark's visit may result in a resumption of military ties.

My hopes are truly dashed.

Who will protect us from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction now?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Breaking News... 

Nobody at can spell.
Ruapehu lahar alert activated
By | Sunday, 18 March 2007
BREAKING NEWS: Police are moving to close the Desert Road after alarms on Mr Ruapehu suggest the crater lake is close to overflowing.

Radio New Zealand reported that three electronic devies that meausre water levels at the summit have gone off a number of times this morning.

Omce weather clears helicopter will be sent up to monitor the situation and Civil Defence authorities have put a lahar emergency plan into action.

Scientists studying the crater lake say the warnings may have been set off by heavy rain, but the lake could be close to overflowing.
How many mistakes can you fit into 4 sentences?

Friday, March 16, 2007

I have a solution for parents like this... 

It involves an axe, a shotgun and a flame thrower...

Mum threw toddler headfirst to the ground
An angry Timaru mother dropped her 18-month daughter to the footpath 10 or 11 times and then threw her headfirst to the ground, a court has been told. The mother, Maraea Puawai Gray, 31, pleaded guilty in the Timaru District Court yesterday to two counts of assaulting a child. She was remanded on bail to April 18 for sentence. Gray's children are in care while a report from a pediatrician is sought. Police said on October 3 last year the defendant was involved in a domestic dispute on Wai-Iti Road in Timaru. She had the girl with her. Police said Gray had her daughter by one arm and repeatedly lifted the child up to between her hip and shoulder and dropped her to the ground. Each time she landed on her side and screamed. Each time Gray's partner walked away the child was dropped again, the court was told. As the dispute continued Gray stood with the victim in her arms and then threw her head-first onto the footpath. The victim's chest hit the footpath and her body flew forward, causing her legs to fold up behind her. When the victim lay hurt on the footpath Gray turned away leaving the child screaming. The child was picked up by Gray's partner. Soon after Gray and her partner walked down Wai-Iti Road taking the victim with them. Gray was swearing at her partner. As they got to a roundabout Gray stopped and her partner walked on. Police said Gray sat on a fence and held the child at chest height and then threw her onto the pavement. The girl hit the ground and screamed. Gray sat back on the fence and made no attempt to console the girl. Her partner returned and picked up the girl. The victim was admitted to Timaru hospital but there were no outward signs of injury.
And then after I've murdered the mother I'll start with her partner.

Meanwhile another New Zealander is injured in action serving our great country...
"MAN DOWN: Heat took it's toll on the Guard of Honour at the Governor General's review of Fleet Divisions in Devonport".

NRL round 1 

Alrighty, my picks for this week.

Broncos - Cowboys - Cowboys
Storm - Tigers - Storm
Sea Eagles - Raiders - Sea Eagles
Sharks - Panthers - Panthers
Warriors - Eels - Warriors
Knights - Bulldogs - Knights
Titans - Dragons - Titans
Roosters - Rabbits - Rabbits

Although I wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers ran close or caused an upset and the 11.5 points start the TAB is offering on them @$1.90 is very tempting.

Likewise, while they've had a crap few trial games I think the Penrith Panthers are good value at $2.15.

There has been some serious money unloaded on these games in Australia:

$22,000 @ $1.90 ON MELBOURNE (-11.5) V WESTS TIGERS
$20,000 @ $1.90 ON ST GEO ILL (+4.5) V GOLD COAST
$20,000 @ $1.90 ON NTH QLD (+5.5) V BRISBANE
$10,000 @ $1.90 ON BULLDOGS (-2.5) V NEWCASTLE
$5,000 @ $2.65 ON NTH QLD V BRISBANE
$5,000 @ $1.90 ON ST GEO ILL (+4.5) V GOLD COAST
$5,000 @ $1.90 ON ST GEO ILL (+4.5) V GOLD COAST
$4,000 @ $2.35 ON ST GEO ILL V GOLD COAST

Oh, and by the way, I may have thrown some shit at the NZ Herald in past season's for their shit league coverage but today's league bonanza is sensational!

Keep it up, and I just loved this tale from Graham Lowe this morning:
New Roosters coach Chris Anderson suggested recently that modern players are lacking the basic skills that players of earlier eras had.
I agree the emphasis has gone on to the power game, often at the expense of the deft touches, soft hands, and brain plays that the truly skilful players bring to an otherwise brutally physical contest.
The problem is exacerbated by coaches who want hitting power in defence and attack, and are also so focused on reducing the error rates that they drive players into their shells, too frightened to express themselves on the field as they did in years gone by.
Each pre-season I'm reminded of a player I had at the Cowboys during my year there as caretaker coach. This player, who was a forward from New Zealand, worked very hard in the gym doing a lot of extra training on his own. I'd sent him to the trainers and conditioners with a request for an assessment of his skills and strengths, so that I could get a measure of where he might fit into the team. When the report came back from one of my assistants, I knew I had a problem. He told me the player was as big as a gorilla.
Great, I said.
"And he's as strong as a gorilla."
Fantastic, I thought.
"But there's a problem," said the assistant. "Unfortunately, he's not quite as intelligent as a gorilla."


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Needed like a hole in the head 

Brits look to NZ for first step on property ladder

Oh joy, lots of property investors looking to join the New Zealand real estate market with the strongest currency around.

The current median sale price is already a fortune for your average New Zealand family, but for the Brits of course it's comparatively under-valued. Not due to any particular merits on their part, but because of the difference between the New Zealand peso and the Pound (take a New Zealand price, and subtract two-thirds to work out the equivalent in pounds!)

Something to bear in mind next time we hear bleating about the "over-valued New Zealand dollar." Over-valued relative to what, I wonder? Some farmer's opinion of where it should be in order to maximize his profits?

Bring it on 

Did someone just scream sex scandal?

Well, you know what that means - the 2007 rugby league season must be about to start!
Less than two weeks out from the season kick-off, the National Rugby League has been rocked by another off-field incident with Gold Coast front rower Anthony Laffranchi charged with sexual assault.

While the pre-season allegations against Laffranchi aren't stopping him from playing this weekend in his club's debut against St George Illawarra he's following on the fine pre-season tradition of bringing rugby league into disrepute just before kick off.

Laffranchi follows Penrith captain's Craig Gower's rather public indiscretion a few months before last season:
At the centre of the controversy surrounding Gower is the allegation that he groped the daughter of league legend Wayne Pierce at a presentation dinner for the Jack Newton Celebrity Golf Challenge on the Sunshine Coast....Gower is also accused of damaging a golf car, walking around naked at a Sunshine Coast resort, being kicked out of an official function and harassing the partner of a high-profile journalist.

And, of course, the "we play dirty" Bulldogs big night out the year before.

So anyway, onwards and upwards - NRL 2007 round 1.

And what a season we've got - two games on a Friday, a new team in the comp, and lets not forget the greatest thing of all...our weekends will become a day longer!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, we have Monday Night football.

So girlfriends everywhere, you can stick that "there's no reason to be drinking on a Monday night" theory right up your ass.

We've got the league expert's seasons predictions up at onthepunt - bear in mind in 2006 he lost more money than he won...

But the analysis makes interesting reading.

While he rates the Storm, the Broncos and the Cowboys he predicts mid-table finishes for the Warriors -"Brent Webb is a massive loss" - the Bulldogs, the Dragons, the Knights and mid to top for the Eels .

But then he proceeds to rip the shit out of the Tigers, Roosters, Rabbits, Panthers, Tigers, Titans and especially the Sharks:
On paper, they challenge for the worst line-up in the NRL, with only Kimmorley and Gallen having the ability to continually play at a level higher than a regular first grader. There is no doubt that Kimmorley needed a shake up to his playing style and enthusiasm for the game. The arrival of new coach Stuart may be just the tonic, but there still has to be a massive chance that these two dominant characters with large egos will not end up combining satisfactorily, and this season could be an absolute blow out for the Sharks until Stuart gets to put his own mark on the squad through player recruitment and retention at season’s end. Even given a harmonious coach/captain relationship, Cronulla will need a fit Ben Ross, and repeats of good ’06 seasons from Thompson, Gallen and Dykes as well as a lot of luck. Their home ground advantage has evaporated over the past couple of seasons, and I can see the Shire’s winless streak almost certainly reaching 41 years. In summary, the Sharks are an ordinary looking side with lots of negative questionables, leading to them being my standout Wooden Spoon tip.

Take that you lowly rats.

The Raiders he suggests may surprise:
For Canberra, the first grade hopes will be pinned on teenagers and rookies like new halves combination, Todd Carney and Michael Dobson. Add some of the best young forwards in the game like Weyman and Leahroyd-Lahrs along with a number of Alan Tongue style role players and defenders, and I am certain that Canberra will upset many sides. One thing is for sure though, they will be outsiders just about every time they go around (which is just how they like it).

The TAB has even kindly posted its odds early for this weekend's clashes.

Round 1 we have -

Broncos - Cowboys
Titans - Dragons
Sea Eagles - Raiders
Storm - Tigers
Knights - Bulldogs
Sharks - Panthers
Roosters - Rabbits
Warriors - Eels

Check back later this week for Bennyasena's Round 1 tips!

Afterthought: this blog was supposed to be solely focused on league - but then I read this on the web and felt I just had to comment: I mean come on kids, this sort of behaviour is just shit.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Maori Achievement at Schools 

This topic is worthy of thousands of words but as usual I have time for few. Pita Sharples has criticised schools for the lack of improvement in Maori achievement despite knowledge that it isn't up to scratch and decades of effort to improve it which has ranged from token to serious efforts.

Call me biased though but I have to say that rather than criticise schools why not wind things right back to where they begin. At home.

Because believe it or not I have atrociously behaving kids at school, who do no work, don't give a shit and will end up sitting in prison, on the dole or maybe in some dead end job. And they are as white as the snows of Antarctica. And guess what? They don't come from nice homes with middle class parents, happily married with a picket fence just waiting for a drunk to drive through. They come from broken homes, with a whole heap of mental baggage. My kids who come from stable homes and who have absorbed the basics over the years do very well at school. Damn near every last one of them.

A lot of our Maori students have no expectations that they will do well coming from home and no expectations of themselves. I bend over backwards encouraging ALL students to have a go at the work but when you have students who will make no effort whatsoever to even attempt an assignment, or will skip the test or assessment then what the fuck can you do? there is this talk that many Maori students don't feel a connection with what they are studying but then how come I can get kids coming from Afganistan, Fiji, Korea, Zimbabwe, Iraq, and you name it we've got them and they do make a solid effort at doing the work and getting the results?

Answer: Expectations.

Sure teachers have to have high expectations but on their own they don't amount to jack shit. When I was a student I had decent expectations of myself, my parents did as well and I also wanted to please my teachers. It's a puzzle where studies have shown you need more than one freakin piece of it to get an achieved.

And one other thing which is really giving me the shits.

Why the fuck do teachers have to baby sit other peoples kids at school sports?

Basically I can deduce from over a years experience that I care WAY THE FUCK MORE about your kid than you do Mr. or Mrs. Parent.

In 18 games of cricket from the school team I am coaching I have seen 2 parents. One came twice, one came once. I give up roughly 80 hours of my FREE time a year for other peoples kids who give up 0 seconds.

My mate has been coaching school volleyball for 4 years and he has NEVER SEEN A SINGLE PARENT COME TO WATCH THEIR KID PLAY.

These games are outside school time either in the evenings or the weekends.

Not enough parents give a stuff, and kids know it, and then the schools get the blame.

Go have sex with yourself.

Here's a picture beyond a thousand words 

So, just before I take a break from the political commentary, and let my colleagues tackle the sports, I just had to put this photo up.

Fuck!! I guess that Latin America isn't quite as ready to tell Bush to piss off as I thought. Well, at least not eight fingered Brazilian President Lula, at least. Now Chavez (Venezuela) and Correa (Ecuador) can hear them crying "fuera gringo " for miles.

Fuck Lula!! You've changed man. You've fucking changed!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

¿A que coño esta Bush? 

Oh man, when Le Devoir gets it right, they get it right. Today’s front page contained the following two photos. A venomous critique on George Bush’s tour of Latin America.

Sr. W. is visiting parts of Latin America to make a better image for America. Good fucking luck! You see, since America decided to take over the title of the hemisphere for itself (I mean doesn’t America constitute the space between Nunavut and Tierre del Fuego?), things have kind of sucked for north – south relations.

For a while now, Latin America has been so incredibly tied to the United States it’s almost sickening. If the U.S. sneezes, the south catches cold, kind of thing. All of the countries in the hemisphere….except one…has stronger “trade relations with the U.S. than they do with each other. It can often be more convenient to fly from Lima to La Plaz if you connect in Houston than it is to fly direct.

But only a small slice of Latin America gets to sit on planes. Most eat, sleep, suffer and sweat it out in crippling poverty. And this is why I’m really baffled that Bush would go to Latin America. To do what? Win hearts and minds? There aren’t many left to win over buddy. “Not embracing America will create more poverty?” Latin America has embraced the U.S. platforms for quite some time now, you dumb shit, and poverty abounded faster than bananas grow!!

The devils that they are in the eyes of the northern media, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the ex-President (l’ancien président; presidente anterior; Ex-presidente; Ehemaliger Präsident; De voormalige president; Прежний президент; 前主席) of Cuba, Fidel Castro (sorry, I had to put that in as many languages as I could, because the world is just not getting the fact that the man is finished with governing the country), are heroes to many who live in Latin America. Just as those two have been tarred in the north, Bush, and most U.S. presidents for that matter, are painted black south of the rio grande. Again, your speeches, Bush, don’t count for shit in Latin America…no matter what comes out of your pie-hole!

For the elite, the U.S. has put in place wicked immigration restrictions. Sure if you’re a doctor come on through, but anything shy of that won’t guarantee free passage. Canada is also painfully restrictive when it comes to Latin American migration, and I don’t see the tide turning there either.

And then of course is the hysterical culture that goes with letting in immigrants. Bubba Beer-nut camped out on the Texas border with binoculars in hand. Nothing better to do in Texas I suppose. So, restrictive immigration, and delirious red-necks, of which Bush is supposed to be akin to. Doesn’t quite make for the warmest of impressions.

Then let’s take the overwhelming majority of Latinos who have been fucked as hard as possible by social and economic inequity over the past century or more. When political leaders came to power offering policies to create social change the U.S. usually knocks them off, or greatly aids local networks to do the job (Torrijos – Panama; Allende – Chile; and Aguilera – Ecuador). With every American airlines flight into Latin America comes businessmen destined to take over local resources; economists determined to convince governments that with economic growth among a minor elite comes happiness for all; and of course missionaries bound to convince the locals that in the next life shit won’t suck as much.

Why is Bush in Latin America? To improve America’s image? No chance. I’m guessing that the wife probably wanted a nice trip somewhere exotic to buy fancy hats and to try new food. Because I’m pretty sure that while the war on terror has been going on, Latin Americans started thinking that maybe, just maybe, it should be time to start ignoring ideas, policies, and people that come out of Washington. Maybe its time to listen to ourselves?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Solving Auckland's traffic woes, part XXVIII 

And not through another infernal tax to pay for the electrication of trains.

This morning my bus crawled all the way along from the Royal Rd on-ramp to Lincoln Rd, averaging perhaps 10 kph over this stretch. What manner of calamity has struck the city's transport network this morning, I thought, trying to scan the road ahead through weary eyes reflecting the earlyness of the hour.

The answer finally appeared a few metres before the Lincoln Rd off-ramp city-bound. A cop had pulled over 2 young kids (boys of about 17 max), one driving a Skyline and the other a turbo Pulsar. They were well-off to the side of the road.

But thousands of motorists had stopped for a good rubber-necking.

Once we were 50 m past the scene of all this drama, the roads were free of congestion and we were going 90 kph in no time. For fuck's sake, people!!!!

A few other notes on news of late:

Why shouldn't Falun Gong participate in a parade through public space? Why should portrayals of matters Chinese be completely depoliticized? There's no harm in their actions, other than pissing off a few Chinese government officials who, thankfully, have no right to dictate what happens in public space in New Zealand.

And lastly, who would have liked to first on the scene at this crash? That's a stash that would keep even the hardiest of stoners going for a while.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

And Bobert is bored shitless in the airport....again 

So, I'm stuck in the airport waiting for a delayed flight to take off.

Before I go back to people watching, here's my question of the day:

Who do you think gets more dates? The tallest girl in the world? Or the fattest girl in the world?

Friday, March 02, 2007

I'm a Nigga 

That's right ladies and gentlemen. They may be trying to crack down on this disgraceful term in New York, by denying African American Negro Niggas from calling each other "nigga" much like the rest of us call each other "mate", "bro", "homeboy", "fool", or "dogg".

But today, in New Yauckland one of my Maori students called my white ass "nigga". I'm so proud. My street cred has skyrocketed.

Now if I could just get my second eleven cricket team to win tomorrow with our entire pace lineup missing I'll be shizzle to tha mizzle.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bilingualism, eh? 

So, living in Québec has been a great experience. Fewer bullets to dodge than Ecuador and fewer power outages than Cuba. It’s been more than ten years since this province nearly broke away from the country. Only by some text-book definition of a miracle under the sleepy federal leadership of Jean Chrétien, did Québec manage to stay in Canada. Yet, in 2007 language is still a major divider.

Montréal is a city of cities. There are English parts where French cannot be found, and French parts where English is as alien as Swahili, and yet there are Swahili parts where passable French and English are a bit rare.

Coming here to a Francophone university to master the language (or at least bring it up to newspaper readable speed) garners piles of respect. Many Francophone graduate students realize that at some point they will likely have to familiarize themselves with English in order to survive in academia or policy circles. But few Anglophones really need to master French to get through the whole of their lives. Translation services in Ottawa abound for both parliamentarians and the civil service. Anglos still have it pretty easy.

So, I’ve been wondering what the hell bilingualism really is. Is it a draconian policy to shove two languages down the throats of every kid in Canada, where the result, through public education, is generations of students leaving school with piss poor understanding of the other language? Is it something that is reserved for Ottawa? Is it something that can never be achieved, considering that many pure laine Francophones look on in disdain when any Anglo square-head fumbles on French grammar and misses Québec slang?

A good fracnophone pal of mine and I discussed what the hell bilingualism is. We were having fondue and wine in Québec City with a few toasts of caribou thrown in. We figured that the vast majority of Canadians can get through their lives without need of the other language. Just as in Switzerland those from Geneva never have a pressing need to master Swiss German. Sure. But those who might be in positions of leadership, and in positions to influence leadership, should certainly bring themselves to understand the language. Only we figured that the real issue is not to just understand the language, but to understand the ideas going on within its culture. The language divide between Québec and Anglo-Canada is a big thing, but the ideas embedded and separated between them is even bigger.

Reading a French and English newspaper, everyday, I’ve come to realize that our biggest challenge with bilingualism is the lack of translation of ideas and attitudes between the Anglo and Franco worlds. French media and English media in this country might as well be covering the happenings of the opposite sides of the moon. Seriously, what counts for news in English Canada gets a full miss in Québec, and vise versa. Sure a few pundits cross over, and sure, we all take notice of big issues, but the day to day happenings are really lost in translation.

So, my friend and I have come to conclude that bilingualism is really more about transferring those happenings between the two solitudes to realize that we really have more in common than we think.

In the 1995 referendum Québec really had no idea what Anglo Canada was thinking, and Anglo Canada really didn’t see the heart of the matter as to why young radical Québécois were taking to the streets chanting out “screw the world.” It was a dangerous time, and we nearly tore ourselves apart because while we may have taken notice to what the other side was saying, we didn’t understand what they were really thinking.

This is the goal of bilingualism, as I see it. To ensure that ideas, desires and hopes are expressed openly, in whatever way possible. The mechanics of how and Francophone and Anglophone communicate with each other, are just mechanics. The idea of bilingualism being forced action to help build resumes is far too pedestrian. And if we keep up that attitude, rest assured, it will come back to haunt us once again. But if we see bilingualism as a vehicle to share and communicate our ideas, I mean at street level, not just in politics, and then we may stand a fighting chance.

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