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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

China's Biggest Export 

Dust blanket: A woman covers her mouth, looking over the city covered by the yellow dust from China at an observatory on Mt. Namsan, Friday. The Korea Meteorological Administration posted a yellow dust warning on Seoul after the worst yellow dust recorded in May hit the nation, advising citizens to take precautions when engaging in outdoor activities. The yellow dust is expected to stay strong over the weekend.

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 30, 2008

Entertainment News 

Here at BIR we aim to please and like to please with our aim, finding those cracks and crevices and penetrate deep into your tingly bits thus entertaining you. Unless we got the wrong tingly bit in which case I reserve the right to remain silent until my lawyers arrive.

And that's why we bring glorious news to you that Axel Foley is BACK!!!

In Beverly Hills Cop 4!!!!!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NRL Week 12 

Broncos v Eels
Broncos by 8
Broncos a bit ordinary at times recently and an Eels team which has the ability to do OK but have to stick with the home town heroes.

Raiders v Sea Eagles
Sea Eagles by 10
A potential upset here. But the Sea Eagles should be pumped to not lose two in a row.

Storm v Bulldogs
Storm by 6
Another game which could throw up an upset especially in SBW looks to really dominate. Hell though, the Storm are legends in their own lunchtime.

Cowboys v Panthers
Cowboys by 10
Strictly going with venue here. If it was in the mountains I'd be going the other way.

Knights v Warriors
Knights by 16
Fuck. Warriors just don't have a very good team. I have to question what the fuck has happened in the off season to take a top 4 team with one more years experience under their belts to a side which now looks like it'll be lucky to be sniffing the 8 late in the year. I know they are missing McKinnon and Price but other teams miss key players at times and they don't concede 31 points a game (the next worst is 25.6 by Souths). Last year they only let in 18 pointsa game and if you look at the figures that count defence is clearly more important than attack in winning you games. The Warriors have scored 7 more tries than the Sharks but are 8 places below them on the ladder.

They need to find that hot streak soon or they'll be pulling out the calculators of doom before long.

Rabbitohs v Dragons
Dragons by 4
I would early love the Bunnies to win this and the erratic efforts by the Dragons could see it. However the white shoed show ponies should have a bit too much class (if you could call being a c*nt 'classy').

Sharks v Titans
Sharks by 4
Another one that could go either way. I have to look at venue though to help me with this one.

Roosters v Tigers
Roosters by 6
A possibly entertaining game here. Roosters were clinical last week albeit a lot from kicks. Tigers responded to rocket from Sheens. Roosters should close it out though (I hope they don't)

Labels: ,

Darth Watch: change is bad 

At least Darth's writing on something vaguely topical and non-Biblical this week: the Kahui case. He makes a few strange observations about the Police (who used to be "honourable" but also fond of "kick[ing] arse"), throws in some vague sexism (these same police now "kowtow to their political mistresses"), and bemoans political correctness (code for anything the right wing doesn't like) as per usual.

Towards the conclusion, he actually defends "two fundamental principles of our legal system - double jeopardy and the right to silence."

"Wow, how enlightened" you might be thinking. Well, err, no: these principles are merely a subset of the old laws Darth supports. Others include the criminal prohibition of abortion, homosexuality and prostitution; refusal of the state to recognize same-sex unions and grant divorces; and the hard-fought right of the wealthy to seek to buy elections.

"We seem to think that by changing the law we can make okay that which is not okay" says Darth.

Some of us can actually appreciate that sometimes a law change may advance the cause of human freedom, while other times it detracts from it. Nuanced I know.


Like fuck I do 

A quick story from my visit to Vancouver a few weeks back. I was in a department store buying a phone card at the electronics desk. Sort out what card I want, the denomination, etc., no problem - the checkout girl rings it up then asks "Would you like to donate a dollar to the Olympics?"

What? Donate my post-tax income to a multi-billion dollar commercial enterprise, awash with corporate sponsorship, lavish facilities, and astronomically lucrative TV rights? I don't fucking think so honey. What other hard-pressed and needy causes do shops think I might want to "donate" my money to? Coca-cola? British Petroleum? Haliburton? The National Party?

FFS ... the very concept of a "donation" implies a worthy cause. Not the fucking Olympics.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wellington Report - Traffic policing 

Since reading a few posts on this site about the police tax being imposed and collected in West Auckland recently, I've been looking out for a police presence in Wellington City. My first report:

Saturday 10:40am
I was driving around Wellington's Basin Reserve. More than being the most beautiful cricket ground in the world, the Basin is also the coolest three lane mega-roundabout in the world for those who enjoy driving.
Recent rain and being Saturday morning made for busy mayhem. As I came to stop at the southbound lights I was in the 'outside' lane, being the one on the inside line around the roundabout. Beside me, the pavement, and just ahead on the pavement, aha, a cop.

She was picking out cars to be stopped by her colleagues just around the bend, presumably for warrant and rego checks. Because she was positioned opposite the Mt Vic tunnel exit I assumed she was also looking out for red light runners, or, at the very least, that if she saw one she would have the car pulled over.

Well guess what happened? My light goes green, I'm off. Suddenly I'm slowing again as a car shoots through the red light and swoops onto the road in front of me. It also swoops onto the road smack bang in front of the cop, who is facing our direction and would certainly see both the other car come through late and my car slow suddenly. What a gift of a nab I'm thinking. He's toast! The car continues past the cop and I'm keeping an eye on her to see that she calls it in. I'm also lowering my window to give her a little thumbs up 'cause I cannot stand red light runners.

Well, guess what happened next? Here's a clue: gross ineptitude. Yup, nothing happened. As I cruised up to and past the cop I made eye contact with her and kept it for about two seconds.
I'm sure my face was easily read in that time. There was the questioning look, then the confused look, which was followed by the angry incomprehension look, which gave way beautifully (I am proud to say) to a look of disgust as I gesticulated with my hand an empty handed wave. Her look only moved from one of idleness to one of annoyance.

Alert to dangers are our cops. Ever open to an opportunity to advance the cause of traffic safety, they protect road users from the dangerous few who drive dangerously and threaten our safety.
Well, I at least thought that it was an easy nab.

The dawning of a new... d'oh! 

New Zealand take an honourable draw from the first Test of their three-match England tour. The senior pro's contribute with some memorable innings and an excellent man-of the match bowling display.
Pretty good stuff...

In the second New Zealand wins the toss and elects to bat.
Our rookie openers put on an 80 run stand, the best in a long bloody while.
Our number four batsman anchors the innings. Having watched a partner get his teeth smashed by a rising delivery he contributes to a century fifth-wicket partnership, a 89 run seventh wicket partnership and takes the Black Caps to 381 with a brilliant 154no.
Stern stuff!

We then bowl England out for 202.
Oh ho ho. This is, like, it. This IS the moment we've stayed loyal for through so many fucking years.
And then...

What the fuck happened? What part of winning don't we get?
You don't get a better match situation. You don't find better form. To lose, to be beaten, from that point, having played that way, beggars belief.

I join my voice with DC Red in again proclaiming "bracewell sucks shit". That said, no coach is that bad that they can do that to a team in a single day. The team needs to answer for this and bracewell has more than enough to answer for already. I think the problem is in their heads...

Kudos to McCullum, he could be a Sangakarra in the making on current form. There's a world of difference between his competent confidence and the others' incompetent rashness, and the difference is in the nature of the confidence. McCullum's confidence seems to be deep-rooted, he honestly believes he is up to the standard of an excellent batsman and he allows opposition players to test themselves against him. I contrast this with the bravado that our other players (and bracewell) call confidence. Bravado is a reaction to insecurity, so it lacks that deep-rooted, clear-headed resolve. Instead it is desperate and it means that our batsmen go out there to be tested, rather than test the opposition.

We can only hope that the boys become men on this tour.



That's the only word that adequately describes being ahead by 180 runs on the first innings, and still conspiring to lose by 6 wickets with 4 sessions remaining. And with "the world's best left-arm spinner" (TM) bowling on a crumbling 4th innings wicket, on which even Monty "I give it a twirl" Panesar had managed to take a devastating 6-for.

Sure, Umpire Taufel didn't do us any favours (e.g., refusing to give the LBW when Vettori trapped Lord Collingwood of Durham in front for 2 in the 4th innings ... to which Brian Waddle responded: "What was that missing? Off and leg?!") and nor did the injury to In Like Flynn, but we didn't do ourselves any either. With crap like this:
77.6 O'Brien to Bell, no run, has he just dropped the Test? slow ball, Bell is early on the shot, pops it straight back to the bowler, he seems to have it covered but drops a dolly, that's as sweet a lollypop as you will get, he's muffed it
Muffed it indeed.

Yours, a very disappointed NZC fan.

p.s,. May I be the first to say "Sack the coach!" ... oh, hang on.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vote Rob Miller for Congress 

A good friend who I worked with in Korea and hear from from time to time (he's American) emailed me today to ask me to vote for his good mate Rob Miller who is a democrat running for congress in South Carolina. I actually remember him mentioning Rob a few times over the years but didn't know he was this into politics.

Here's a little about him from his website:
A new generation of leadership is poised to get America back on track. Rob Miller, home from fighting in Iraq, is a member of this generation and is committed to bringing new energy and new ideas as our representative in Washington. Rob will listen to the voters and work with members of both parties.

A Marine captain who served two tours in Iraq, Rob came back home to realize that what we were fighting for there is what we are fighting for here—safe neighborhoods and schools, good roads and bridges, decent health care, and most importantly, new jobs geared to the high-paying opportunities of the global economy. Rob envisions our community as an incubator of innovation and entrepreneurialism. He also realizes that the long-term protection of our interests must be based on the education and health of our children.
Whilst I and indeed most readers of this fine blog (est. 2004) aren't American we can vote at this website for the dailykos.
So we’re going to put out a list of candidates for people to vote on to receive a Memorial Day Voter Bomb so that we might attract groups like VoteVets to these candidates and allow them to.
You can read about Rob here at his website. You can read about the congressional district he's running in here (South Carolina's Second congressional district). And you can erad about the republican he is up against here. His name is Joe Wilson and wikipedia notes this about him:
Wilson assumed Spence's seat on the House Armed Services Committee where he serves on the Military Personnel, Air and Land Forces, and Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittees. He is also a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce (serving on the Education Reform and Employer-Employee Relations subcommittees), the International Relations Committee, and the House Republican Policy Committee.

Wilson has continued Spence's pattern of conservative voting and strong support for the military. Unlike Spence however, he has attracted attention for controversial remarks. In September 2002, during a debate on the possibility of going to war in Iraq, Wilson called Congressman Bob Filner "viscerally anti-American" and claimed that he had a "hatred of America" after Filner suggested the United States supplied chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein. Wilson said later that he didn't intend to insult Filner.[4]

Wilson won election to a full term in 2002 with 84 % of the vote.[2] [5]

Wilson was mentioned as a possible candidate for retiring Senator Fritz Hollings' seat in 2004,[citation needed] but he decided to run for a second full term and beat his opponents, Democrat Michael Ray Ellisor and Constitution Party nominee Steve Lefemine with 65 % of the vote[2] [6]

In the 2006 elections, he defeated Ellisor again with 62.7 %, and kept his House seat.[7]

However, Wilson's standing in the United States House was reduced to minority status, because of the new Democratic control.
Out with the old and in with the new (unless it's Maurice Williamson and co.).

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I'm being assaulted... so where the bloody hell are you?! 

Seriously, this is but a drop in the teacup.

Just about everybody I know has a story about some dodgy incident where they called the cops who then proceeded to do nothing.

And they reckon they are too busy.

My fucking arse they are. 16 days to deal with this kids case when you see them all the same fucking areas (namely mine) checking peoples warrant and rego, and up and down the highways pulling over heavy vehicles for a 3000 point inspection so they can fine the trucking or bussing company 5,000.

The latest one I heard was a bloke having his large work garage broken into with grafitti there. The cops reckoned the perpetrators would be back so he should sleep inside and call a police number and a cell phone number of the officer he dealt with.

Sure enough during the night he hears them come up, calls the first number, gets told they are too busy, calls the bloke on the cell phone who says, sorry mate, I'm too busy and that's that. He was left to go charging out with a pipe and start bashing the car forcing them into hooning off. The next day the cop shows up to check if everything is alright!!! FFS!!! And then they tell him he's bloody lucky because he could have hurt them and got into trouble himself.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Opportunity seized 

Three years and three days ago, when Michael Cullen last delivered a pre-election budget, I wrote a blog post entitled "Opportunity Lost", criticizing the promise of modest tax bracket adjustments in three years time (i.e., April 2008). I asked:
What kind of election pledge is "vote for us and receive a very modest tax break in 35 months time"??
I still think those adjustments should have been implemented, but that's by-the-by for now. Cullen is considerably shrewder this year, even when he doesn't have a lot of room for maneuver. A rate cut that benefits everyone who earns a dollar, and relatively substantial bracket adjustments on top of that, beginning to take effect at the earliest (pre-election) opportunity.

As Vernon Small has observed:
...if anyone can think of a way to deliver significantly more to those on low pay AND deliver to the struggling households in the middle AND give relief to the $60,000 plus income earners that have been the crux of complaints about Cullen-the-reluctant-tax cutter … oh yes, and not blow the Budget even more … then I’m all ears.
However, the hard-to-please NRT has changed his tune. Compare his 2005 budget comments with his moan this afternoon.

2005: The tax change (adjusting tax brackets for inflation every three years from 2008) represents a lost opportunity - not to cripple the budget with huge tax cuts, but to undermine tax as an election issue. Bracket changes are relatively cheap compared to cuts in tax rates and are widely (and correctly, IMHO) seen as being fair; implementing them ASAP would have been a cheap and easy way of robbing National and ACT of a talking point without significantly undermining Labour's key contention that large-scale tax cuts are unaffordable without cuts in services. Instead, by delaying them, the government has provided yet another rod for their own back.
2008: So the centrepiece of Cullen's budget left me cold. ... All we get is a tax cut which at first glance at least favours the poor over the rich, but still buys into right-wing agenda that the solution to every problem is a tax cut. And this is supposed to inspire people to vote for them?
Needless to say, I agreed with him in 2005, and disagree today. Hopefully that means I'm the consistent one.

Labels: ,

Kahui not guilty verdict 

The only thing that surprises me is that it took the jury all of 10 minutes to report back to the court.

I want his lawyers should ever I find myself in a spot of bother. They established not so much "reasonable doubt" as to their client's guilt, as several large truck-fulls of it.

They made the Crown case farcical. After a few days it was clear there wasn't a hope in hell of a guilty verdict.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Phil speaks truth in shock interview 

Contrary to media opinion, I'm happy to live in a country where incumbent governments aren't guaranteed to win 'elections'.

In fact, I believe there's a word for the kind of country where the return of the party in power is assured, and then regularly rake in, y'know, 99.8% of the popular vote.

Key, who apparently sees recognition of democracy as a sign of Cabinet disunity, can STFU too. Would he prefer Goff go around proclaiming "There's absolutely no way we can lose this election, because I've personally filled in all the ballots myself."

Because that's the alternative. Dickhead.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

National pulling 'policy' out of its ass? 

For a party sitting pretty on over 50% popular support, National is sure making an ass of itself in announcing its quasi-policy.

On tax: "Labour won't be offering you much this week. We'll offer $50 a week for the average person! Have we costed that out? Err, no, not really, how about $40 then? That has to be affordable, right? Now, where were we, that's right, tax relief for those in the top tax bracket are our number one priority. What's that? The average person doesn't actually earn that much? Well, bugger me."

On the emissions trading scheme: "We support this, and need to move urgently on it. Definitely the way forward. Wait a minute, we don't support this anymore. It really sucks."

How much duplicity can 53% of voters put up with from this slippery mob?

I don't have a lot of faith in John Boy to write or maintain policy. If National gets in, methinks some familiar faces with ominous "policy experience" will actually be making the play. Such delights as Ryall, Smith, Williamson, and McCully ... joined by Bill "Successor to Bill Birch" English, and Judith "The New Shipley" Collins.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Real McCain 

Just a quick update on why John McCain is fucking ridiculous:

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 16, 2008

NRL Tips Week: 'no mans land' 

Well, we aren't quite in no mans land really in the NRL, that's probably more like rounds 14 to 19 when State of Origin has finished but the playoffs are still a bit far off to get excited about 8 X 2 point matchups. Incidentally thats the period when crowd averages go from about 16,000 to 12,000 until the pick up at the end as fans try to bring their teams home to glory (ous first round exits in the PO's)

My tips can be found at sportsfreak as usual.

The Blues have probably ended their Super 14 hopes tonight. They needed a bonus point but hell when you have to scrap for every inch to score one try and win by two points then you can't criticise them too much.

They now will have to hope that the Reds beat the Waratahs in Brisbane (very possible) and the Chiefs topple the Sharks in Durban (highly unlikely) or the Lions (or Cheetahs?) beat the Stormers. The latter match will probably be the game that gets jacked up big time with gold watches and rand flying all over the place.

And just in case you are a New Zealander living in Magadan Oblast and are having trouble logging into cricinfo the Blackcaps 222/7. Vettori has 8 runs from 40 deliveries. That's almost a newspaper lead story in itself. People will bitch and moan about our score but of the dismissals I caught up with they were decent deliveries whcih moved off the pitch a touch which is all they need to do (as Hadlee always said, they only need to move the width of the bat) and at the speed these buggars bowl at ANY poor sod would play and miss, or nick them.

Oh, yes and welcome aboard to Chuck Z. The previous missing link. Now we just need a well adjusted South Islander. Small chance.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mary Anne Thompson's credentials 

There's an easy enough way to begin finding out whether Mary Anne Thompson has the MA from VUW and the PhD from LSE, rather than waiting for the institutions to reply. Check their Libraries!

In 1988, she wrote a 49 page report (supervised by Alan Bollard no less) on "The Funding of Higher Education" which can be found in the VUW library. (Permalink not possible - but search for yourselves from here). While well short of a standard thesis in the social sciences, it is not uncommon for Masters degrees to be largely undertaken by course work, with a shorter research paper (in lieu of a thesis) to conclude. This is probably just such a paper.

A PhD without a full thesis/dissertation is rather trickier, to say the least!! And a search of the LSE Library website reveals nada. It's not conclusive, but it is highly suspicious.

I think it might be "Ms Thompson" until proven otherwise. Dr Tibby, on the other hand, is the real deal. Employers really should check this kind of thing.

UPDATE: 6.02 am. Looks like I was right.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rego and Warrant watch Part 17 

Just as well these fuckers set up a check point up the road every two weeks in the exact same location to check my rego and warrant or else I'd probably let them expire a day or two. Given the amount of shit that comes over their radios every few minutes I'd say they have other more pressing business to attend to.

Yet another checkpoint last weekend. I'm beyond being polite, now they get a blank stare and one hand on the wheel at all times in the fuck you position.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bust-up Billary Blues 

This is wrong of me, but blame celebrity culture...

I want Barack Obama to gain the D nomination partly because I want to see what happens to Bill and Hillary's marriage if she doesn't need him to fulfill her political ambitions anymore.
My pick is they will find Splitsville, USA on the road ahead. Surely she loathes him? Surely he isn't over his indiscretions?

Besides, didn't something similar happen after the last French presidential election?

Someday last week
My Living Room

This is not what I intended to write for my first post, but I've just had a great idea that I want to share. I'm watching Fair Go. Some story about stink pay rates for kids with paper routes, sounds rough, poor kids. There's a kid on screen delivering masses and masses of junk mail to homes in Dargaville.

So I'm looking at the ridiculous volume of paper that this kid is lugging around, watching... brain idling... Meanwhile, in another part of my mind there's this guilt I've being carrying around for a few days. I've been bothered since I read an article telling me that I destroy a tree a day by using disposable paper towels to dry my hands in the bathroom at work. Then, all of a sudden - click-bang-clunk-eureka. Lightbulb goes on.

Here it is...

Let's get rid of all junk mail so I can dry my hands with a nicely offset conscience!

Seriously folks, we're all greenies nowadays aren't we? We all accept the inconvenient truth and acknowledge our responsibilities to at the very least try a bit harder to not made make 'the environment' any worse. Why don't we get rid of the freakin junk mail? Let's just ask them nicely to stop. After all, we do not ask for it, we do not want it, and we barely glance at. Despite its almost complete irrelevance and annoyance value masses of this stuff is deposited in letterboxes around the country every week. It is then transferred mostly straight into recycling bins around the country every week. It's a godamn outrage in these days of enviromania.

There are many inconveniences and cost-increases involved in meeting the demands and constraints of 'sustainability'. If we are to make sacrifices, I vote we start by sacrificing uninvited unwelcome glossy advertising mail from The Warehouse. Almost too easy, I know.

At a bare minimum there ought to be a campaign to freely deposit "No Circulars" stickers in every letterbox, to make it very nice and easy for the can't-be-arsed among us. That'd save about half a forest I reckon. If there was a successful movement to ban uninvited mass-market advertising to the home we'd probably save a few forests. Sounds more sustainable than buying from The Warehouse I reckon, and we'd all feel a touch less guilt if such needless waste was eliminated.

In other news, I'm the new blogger on BIR. I had yesterday drafted my intended first post, about my complete avoidance of rugby after the world Cup quarter-final until yesterday, when news of Evans and possibly Carter joining MacAlister, Mauger, Jack, Robinson, Hayman and Howlett in choosing money over the black jersey filtered through my post-cup avoidance mechanisms. My blog was going to conclude that this season's exodus is truly a turning point for the ABs, who will no longer be (arguably) comprised of New Zealand's best players. Instead we will play Tests with Possibles teams, to use the old lexicon. Otherwise first choice, inked-in All Black starters will be playing overseas. I can scarcely conceive it; luckily my sense of hurt is still dulled from the last Test match.

Pretty bad state of affairs I reckon. It got worse. Today I heard that Jerry Collins wants out of his contract early so he too can the join the exodus. Mr "I just wanna play footy" just doesn't wanna play footy for the world's best footy team any more.

I'm not angry, I'm too defeated for anger. Mark it down, tell your kids, this was the day the idea of home-based All Blacks team, a truly national representative team, died.

Takes one to know one 

This letter to the editor appeared in the NZ Herald on May 8.

Morning-after Pill

It is disheartening that the Auckland District Health Board would rather spend $300,000 a year in giving free morning-after pills to teens rather than promote measures reducing teenage promiscuity.

Like compulsory HPV immunisation free pills is simply a way of stating to teens, 'we expect you to be sexually active and we like to make sure we cover the costs now rather than later'.

We need to acknowledge that unplanned pregnancies are not the real problem facing young girls.

More so, it is an ignorance of their own dignity and unique psychological make-up, which is always scarred by engaging in fleeting sexual relations.

Charlotte Hoare, Epsom

Take heed, North Shoreans 

I'm just back from two weeks in Vancouver, thinking it was safe to surf the net again, when what do I find but a North Shore Times exclusive: Nice Shore girls vulnerable to P.

Good grief, say it ain't so. All this time I'd assumed it was just skanky hos from Manukau City and Waiheke Island. I guess not.

Apparently the "Grim Reaper of the drug world" is making inroads to Mairangi Bay, and its time for decent parents everywhere to lock up their daughters. Not in the creepy sense invoked by Michael Lhaws. (For an explanation of extra "h", see here).

The NST proceeds to breathlessly reveal that "attractive" 18 to 22 year old lasses from good Shore homes are at risk or becoming pock-faced, pimped-out P-ridden losers.

I always thought the sign of a slow news day was a story along these lines: 'There's this new drug popular among young people called "Ecstasy", also known as "E" or "X", which is taken at all night dance parties, or "raves". Its calamitous consequences include...'

Now they have "P" instead of a couple of other letters of the alphabet.

Drank some good "B" (beer) in Vancouver I must say.

Finally, I'm pleased to signal the arrival of a new contributor, Chuck Z (pronounced "Zee" not "Zed" he tells me), our Capital Correspondent. Stay tuned for his pronouncements on whatever springs to mind.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bank Wank 

Fucken tell me about it.

My bank has really given me the shits in the last week. I got an unnarranged overdraft (thanks to some money going out for our electricity bill and then me buying a couple of things) a week or so ago and BANG, a $20 over-draft fee is taken out.

I nearly shat my pants, because when you get an overdraft of $38 or whatever it was I hardly think stealing $20 off somebody is justified. So I sent them an angry email and they explained my options (all shit) and then said that they would refund the $20 as some sort of commercial relationship thing or some thing or other. So I do suggest those whinges as they often get results. It's not the first time it's worked for me with these leaches.

Anyway, what really gives me the shits is that I can arrange to have overdrafts charged at a special rate like 0.12% of the amount the account is overdrawn but to do so I have to pay $2 a month for the privelege. So that's $24 annually plus however much on top of that. The other thing which really fucked me off was that in years gone by if there was no money in my account I couldn't get anything out. It would refuse the transaction. That can be a pain in the arse but it's not the end of the world. I have a credit card and can simply use it instead. They say they give you an overdraft to avoid the embarrassment of a declined transaction but I'm more embarrassed to get molested by the bank for $20 than to have to pull out my credit card or use my fast saver account instead of my cheque account. I mean for fucks sakes, don't tell me it's it hailing while pouring sheep droppings on my head.

But to go right back to the beginning, they caused the whole fucking problem in the first place. I get all the bills I can each month taken from my credit card automatically but received a letter from my electricity company saying that my bank was now going to charge a $3 a month service fee for using it so I thought, fuck that and so got them to take it automatically from my cheque account (no fee) and that's made it a shit load harder to know precisely how much money is in my cheque account at any one time (especially in winter). Mind you, with food, petrol, rates, electricity all climbing skyward by the week that's usually about ZERO dollars and ZERO cents so maybe I should know better.

These pricks though seriously need to get robbed more often. This year so far I have paid them $4,065 in interest on my mortgage, plus monthly account fees, overdraft interest, credit card interest, loading fees, overdraft fees, account service card fees and true rewards fees. That will end up at about $12,000 in effectively straight profit for them from me alone and yet they still find ways of ripping me off every chance they get. And I swear they collude with other companies. My insurance company refunded me $22. And despite me giving it to them through a direct debit (meaning they have my account details), they sent me a cheque in the mail. Of course that means I then lose processing fees and bank teller fees plus wasting my time going there. They could have simply deposited it in my account but they no doubt do a cost benefit analysis and work out that people are less likely to bother getting time off during the day and going to a bank and taking the fee hit and banking it so they end up with it sitting in their account earning interest or the customer loses the cheque or can't be fucked and never gets the money.

Seriously. Is there ANYBODY out there that is going to stop ripping us plebs the fuck off?!

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 05, 2008

My 10 yen's worth 

So a Conference system has been suggested for the Super 18? in a year or two.

I wouldn't say I'm totally against the idea, but really I'm actually for the idea that South Africa leaves altogether and joins Europe which is in their time zone and probably a touch closer. They have struggled year in and year out and the Sharks played the Bulls in last years final purely and simply because the Crusaders and Blues couldn't click without their All Blacks and just barely missed home semi spots which would have seen the demise of the Sharks and Bulls rather than the other way round.

Take a look at this year where once again we are back to the norm with the Cheetahs, Bulls and Lions combining for a 6 win, 1 draw and 26 loss record with the Lions one and only win coming against the Cheetahs, the Bulls wins against the Stormers, the Lions, the Highlanders, and the Waratahs, while the Cheetahs only win was against the Reds.

Utterly hopeless in other words.

And it's not like the Lions get big crowds. Just 5,000 showing up to one game.

Where the conference idea works with me is that you will get more 'home country' matches which is what tends to get the media and fans going a bit more. You will get a lot more interest and certainly more spectators at a Blues - Chiefs game than a Blues - Lions game especially given 45 bus loads of Hamiltonians can drive up for it.

Where it falls over though is the idea of teams representing an area that are based outside that area.

There are two main reasons, firstly, the teams will have to be selected on eligibility lines which restricts them somewhat. You can't have a 'PI team' where half of them are whites from Taranaki or an 'Argentinian team' where half of them are from coloured otherwise whats the point? The idea chucked out there recently with AB defections was that we should allow ABs to be able to play for any team in the Super 14, NZ based or not. But then how could we turn around and say that we can have NZers playing in any team EXCEPT the PI team, the Japanese team and the Argentinian team? You can't have two separate rules for different teams. It's a professional competition. It would be like the English Premier League saying non London based teams are allowed 6 imports but London teams are allowed 11.

The second reason is that the suggested idea that Argentina is based in South Africa, and the Pacific Island team is based in NZ will mean that those teams get very little support.

Where would you put an Argentinian team? In a main city with an existing team filled with Springboks? In a far flung outpost with a low population with sod all money? At the Lions ground where they get 5,000 people along to watch their team?

It simply wouldn't work. It's all well and good saying it will rate well on the tellie but what would have to be a very strong Argentinian team does not deserve to be playing such shit teams that the South Africans regularly turn out and base itself on foreign soil in front of piss poor crowds. What would they do? Make them play every single game away from home? They'd need a squad of 50 to cope. And people soon get suspicious of professional sport that is generally well attended that suddenly isn't. When I watch the EPL I expect the grounds to be sold out and when I see big blocks of empty seats at some games I immediately say to myself if this game isn't important to them then I think I'll find something else to watch.

The same goes in NZ. The PI team would surely be based in Auckland and I'd guess they would line up Mt Smart Stadium as the home as it's in South Auckland. Home to a couple of brown people. Unfortunately they don't typically make up much of a paying crowd at a Blues game in a team crowded with PI players. They'd get more along there but how many? 10,000 average? Less if they weren't going well I imagine. At the very least they would have to play one game a year in each of Nuku'alofa, Suva and Apia. But even that probably wouldn't be enough, leaving at least 8 games in Auckland. I say spend some money upgrading the facilities at the PI grounds and make prices affordable (after all it's TV ratings that generate the money we are always told so gate takings should be solely for the local union to profit from). And stick the whole lot of their games there. In fact why not set ticket prices based on the existing crowds. If a team gets 8,000 along like the Highlanders then make adult tickets 5-20 dollars. If Eden Park is less than half full then make ticket prices 15-25 dollars. Get these places full and be prepared to lose a little money in the short term. If people see full houses on the tellie they will want to get involved and want to tune in. Long term you can then increase prices to a money making level. And I'm sure 20,000 paying 10 dollars at Carisbrook, generating 200,000 is enought to cover expenses and make some money. It's better than average prices of 20 dollars with 7,500 there.

I think what I would do if I had a magic wand that I could wave over it all is....

NZ (Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Highlanders, PI team based in the islands, Force, Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies, Japan, and the USA based in either Hawaii or LA OR Canada based in Vancouver).

Twelve teams. Ditch the South Africans.

Play each other home and away meaning 22 games and then have a 6 team playoff system. Teams 1 and 2 get a bye. Teams 3 v 6 and 4 v 5. Losers are gone. Winners play teams 1 and 2 for a spot in the final.

Ultimately I think the goal has to be to spread to at least two other cities so they need to allow a bit of room for expansion and shouldn't figure on the one or two expansion teams being it forever. There needs to be a serious push to get a team based in China. The Super 14 needs to go in there on free to air TV. Believe me, nobody will pay money there to watch it know. The rocket scientists there recently made people pay something like 50 US dollars to get the EPL games and guess what. After the season had kicked off they had something like 25,000 people sign up in a country of 1.3 billion and admitted it was a disastrous ballsup. They should also look at allowing either the USA or Canada in but not both at once. One straight away and the other one needs to develop a bit of penis envy and allow the competition to bed in.

I think a far better option that conferences (which are going to disadvantage some teams far more than others due to travel) is to have teams play each other based on previous years finishing position. ie, 1 v 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 while teams 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 play each other twice. Meaning 19 games followed by top 8 playoffs lasting 3 weeks. that's basically what they do in the NRL right now and I'd say nobody notices because it's done fairly quietly and eficiently and makes sense in terms of fairness.

and I reserve the right to change my mind once a week for the next ten years on all that.


Friday, May 02, 2008

My NRL Round 8 Picks 

Can be found here.

Jesus the City v Country game is ordinary isn't it? The guys are playing for an Origin spot if they are lucky but for all intents and purposes they know who is likely to get what already, and it just means the poor buggars have to play two games in a weekend, hardly ideal preparation for the upcoming Origin series year after year which they have only ever managed to win 50% of the time despite having more player depth since the beginning of time.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

The New
Blogging it Real supports the following sporting organisations