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

Monday, May 31, 2004

Dentist and Teacher Blogs Part V 

Dentist line of the day: "I'm going to stick a cord in your gum, it will hurt a little". My response was to laugh, though not too hard as I had contraptions in my mouth. The days damage was severe (416 NZ dollars) but I think that might cover me for my 6th and final visit as well.

Well after being on the verge of a mental meltdown over the weekend, crushed by the sheer weight of my classes, I have recovered somewhat (if only in spirit). The day started as they often do with me lately ... with a trip to the dentist at the arse crack of dawn. Losing your sunglasses doesn't help much when it's radiantly beautiful weather and you have pretty blue eyes like mine. Though not as pretty as bluebeardnz's. But after getting home around lunchtime, catching a cheeky 15 minutes sleep and then hauling my arse to school before I would be late things got better. Firstly I managed to talk my school into letting me out of the nine morning classes spread over three days (I was teaching them as a favour anyway) that I have to do every second week. Secondly my two teachers classes scheduled for tomorrow morning were cancelled after one of the teachers took pity on me (or rather saw how well I was grovelling) and invoked the mercy rule on my behalf. Also my class tonight was cancelled at the last minute when it was discovered I'd already taught them 8 times this month and that's all they want me to do.

So I'll only have 24 classes this week which is verging on bliss compared to what I've been doing lately. I asked today how many classes regular teachers at public primary schools do here. The answer was roughly 20 classes if you are a specialist teacher such as English or P.E. while the regular 'form teachers' do about 25-30 depending on how many specialist teachers come in and take their classes for them. The classes are 40 minutes long. Though they do have to handle 42 students to their credit. Though they can actually speak the same language and therefore discipline them easily to their advantage. Though they are usually female while 60% of the students are male. Though they ... dunno anymore though's.

But since the vast majority of my classes are 50 minutes to an hour I was scheduled to do the equivalent of 39 classes this week (last week I did 39 equivalent classes in 4 days!!) and now it's down to the equivalent of 32 classes by friday before I race out to Incheon Airport to go to Tokyo for two nights before coming back on Sunday around midday. When you work so many classes you can't plan, can't rest, can't think coherently and can't control your students. Basically the kids get away with murder, learn no english and you are left wondering what the fuck you are even bothering for?! When you have something equating to freetime you can plan, get refreshed, pull a convincing impression of a fascist dictator in your classroom and walk out the door feeling satisfied that you have accomplished something positive in this world. And for a few fleeting seconds you almost feel like you actually like children. Actually I like the kids always, even the naughty buggers (and I hate them as well).

Elsewhere in the News, Russell Brown is on fucking fire as usual. The SST (Severely Shitty Trash) being manhandled before the NZHerald gets bitch slapped on outta here.

And here's a nice picture of Seoul (the capital of Korea with 10 million inhabitants) thrown in just for fun.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Talk is cheap 

Warriors believe they can match Roosters

28 May 2004
The New Zealand Warriors did not think there was much of a gap between top and bottom when they were flying high in the National Rugby League, halfback Lance Hohaia says.

They have not changed their opinion now that they are lying near the foot of the table and their next opponents are competition leaders the Sydney Roosters.

"When we were up there last year or the year before, we were always wary of the sides down the ladder," Hohaia said.

"They could always bite you if you took them lightly. We've got nothing to lose this weekend and we'll give it our all."

The Warriors, second last in the NRL, face the Roosters at Aussie Stadium in Sydney on Sunday.

The Roosters, with eight victories in 10 matches and on a five-game winning streak, will start as warm favourites.

But they will be missing three frontline players through NRL and club bans, and will have four others backing up from Wednesday night's first State of Origin match.

"The Roosters are going to be a bit ripe this week, with a few players back from Origin and a few on suspension," Hohaia said.

"But we shouldn't be looking at it that way. We'll be going into the game knowing the sort of team we are. If we perform how we know we can, we'll have a fair chance of winning."

Hohaia said he enjoyed acting as first receiver and getting a greater opportunity to direct play. In the 26-12 win over South Sydney last Sunday, he produced a man-of-the-match performance, with his tactical kicking leading to four of the Warriors' five tries.

"We've some really good jumpers out wide," he said. "If you put the ball in a spot where it's 50-50, they've got a good chance of scoring."

Final Score: Roosters 58 Warriors 6
11 tries to one. 44 missed tackles. Two linebreaks from 120 hitups with 6 offloads. I wonder where exactly we matched them? Perhaps they ran down the tunnel faster than the Roosters.

They may as well throw the ball around with gay abandon because this back to basics bullshit doesn't suit this team. They have no 'basic' players.

counting down the days to Andersons exit (not that it's all his fault mind you).

Saturday, May 29, 2004

NZ's Test Batsmen - An In-Depth Analysis 

Yamis and dc_red undertook a detailed statistical analysis of the careers of the NZ Cricket team's regularly-selected test batsmen. We were particularly interested in evaluating their consistency, and the percentage of the time they actually contribute to the team. The key points and commentary are here: you can access the underlying numbers by clicking on "Comments" below.

Yamis developed two broad categories to assess each batsman: 'Not doing his job' (scores of 0-29 in an innings, excluding not outs) and 'Doing his job' (30+ runs in an innings, including not outs).

Craig McMillan
Doing His Job = 36 innings (45%)
Not Doing His Job = 44 innings (55%)

Nathan Astle
Doing His Job = 47 innings (47.5%)
Not Doing His Job = 52 innings (52.5%)

Stephen Fleming
Doing His Job = 66 innings (46.2%)
Not Doing His Job = 77 innings (53.8%)

Mark Richardson
Doing His Job = 32 innings (60.3%)
Not Doing His Job = 21 innings (39.7%)

To analyse it a bit further, Fleming has a career average of 37.79 compared to McMillan's 40.75. Fleming gets a few more starts (because he's a better player than McMillan technically). But he gifts his wicket away by pulling out his classic fall over on-drive which sees his stumps removed or else he's plumb in front, or his other favourite, the slashing aerial cover drive at a lifting ball a metre outside off stump as soon as he thinks he's set. It is worth adding though that The Mullet (as dc_red affectionately calls Fleming) has got himself out for 30-34 on a total of eleven occasions as well.

McMillan either tries to get to 20 in the space of a dozen balls or he pokes around for bloody ages to see if that works. He really has never had a consistent temperament at the start of his innings. It should be something that he works on for the last half of his career. The feeling of dc_red and Yamis is that he does not contribute to the team regularly enough and has probably contributed to as many losses if not more as he has done to wins. The first test against England being a good example where we came up about 30-40 runs short in both innings where he made 6 and 0.

Astle has been a mixture of the two but he has had too many scores between 30 and 70. You could accuse him of getting a start like Fleming and then trying to 'light it up' with not too much success. He's only been past 70 a total of 14 times in 99 digs (1/7 innings). That's pretty piss poor from one of the more talented cricketers in NZ history. Fleming is even worse though with a woeful 18 times past 70 in 143 innings (1/8 innings) but McMillan has done well in this respect with 17 from 80 innings (1/4.7 innings). Already Richardson has past 70 on a total of 16 occasions from a mere 53 knocks (1/3.3 innings). Note that those innings only included dismissals below 30 and all other innings above it.

Richardson's just a bloody legend and he'll be going up on our sidebar as soon as he gets near the end of his career. He bats the same way right through his innings and shows tremendous patience. Obviously we would be no good if we had five guys who batted like Richardson because it would take two days to get 400 team runs but if a few of the other guys just pulled their heads in a little bit and they batted in partnerships a bit better they could probably all scrape their averages up a few runs.

DC_Red thought another interesting criteria would be how frequently do they have abject failures, being dissmissed for single figures?

Here are the totals (with the innings total representing all scores of ten or more, and all dismissals under 10):

Fleming: 40 failures from 143 innings = 28%
McMillan: 21 failures from 82 innings = 26%
Astle: 24 failures from 101 innings = 24%
Richardson: 9 failures from 54 innings = 17%

The really amazing thing about Richardson is that he always opens the innings, and it's very much expected that in test cricket openers are occasionally going to get an unplayable ball early on, and be dismissed cheaply. He's the guy who has to go out there to face the new ball being slung at him at 150kph on the green seaming wicket under overcast skies by a fresh and enthusiastic quick bowler --- conditions Craig McMillan almost never sees.

Meanwhile, our esteemed captain, darling on the local press, contributes essentially nothing to the team every third innings. Nice one, mullet.

And one final thing. We were really just looking at their batting which is what they are primarily selected for but all the same...

Astle has taken 36 test wickets at 47.52 he strikes every 129 deliveries and his economy rate is 2.2.

McMillan has taken 28 test wickets at 43.89. He strikes every 88 deliveries and his economy rate is 3.

Both useful efforts. Hell, Vettori only strikes every 85 deliveries so McMillan is about as effective in that regard and Vettori goes for close to 2.7 an over as well. Whoops now Yamis is bashing Vettori again. Time to call it quits.

Friday, May 28, 2004

The Exorcist 

The exorcist re-enacted in 30 seconds by bunnies no less...

Mark Richardson's Career Scores 

Overall test stats: 32 tests, 55 inn, 3*, 2510 runs, HS 145, ave. 48.26, 4 100s, 18 50s

[0-9] (10) 0, 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6*, 8, 9,

[10-19] (5) 10, 13, 13, 14, 14*, 15

[20-29] (6) 21, 23, 25, 26, 26, 28,

[30-39] (4) 30, 30, 32, 37

[40-49] (6) 41, 41, 44, 45, 46, 46,

[50-59] (4) 55, 55, 57, 59,

[60-69] (2) 60, 60

[70-79] (4) 71, 73*, 75, 76, 77,

[80-89] (4) 82, 83, 85, 89,

[90-99] (3) 93, 95, 99

[100+] (4) 101, 106, 143, 145

Stephen Fleming's Career Scores 

Overall test stats: 83 tests, 144 inn, 10*, 5065 runs, HS 274*, ave. 37.79, 6 100s, 34 50s

[0-9] (41) 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5*, 6, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9

[10-19] (22) 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 12, 12, 14, 14, 14, 14, 15, 16, 16, 16, 17, 17, 18, 19, 19

[20-29] (14) 21, 21, 21, 22, 22, 24, 25, 25, 25, 27, 27, 27, 27, 27

[30-39] (16) 30, 30, 30, 30, 31, 31, 31* 32, 32, 33, 34, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 39

[40-49] (9) 41, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 48, 48, 49

[50-59] (9) 51, 51*, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 56*, 57, 57, 59

[60-69] (8) 60, 61, 62, 64*, 66, 66, 66, 66*, 67, 67, 69*

[70-79] 71, 73, 75, 78, 78, 79

[80-89] (2) 84, 86

[90-99] (3) 91, 92, 92* 99

[100+] (4) 105, 129, 130, 174* 192, 274*

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Nathan Astle's Career Scores 

Overall test stats: 60 tests, 103 inn, 9*, 3705 runs, HS 222, ave. 39.41, 9 100s, 18 50s

[0-9] (26) 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1*, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7*, 8, 8, 9, 9

[10-19] (21) 10, 10, 11, 11, 11*, 12, 12, 12, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14, 14, 15, 16, 16, 18, 18, 18, 19, 20

[20-29] (5) 21, 22*, 26, 26, 27, 27

[30-39] (9) 30, 31, 32, 34, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39

[40-49] (11) 40, 40, 41, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49, 49

[50-59] (4) 51*, 51*, 52, 53, 54, 56

[60-69] (6) 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 69, 69*

[70-79] (2) 74, 77

[80-89] (1) 86

[90-99] (2) 93, 96

[100+] (7) 101, 102*, 103, 103, 114, 125, 141, 156*, 222

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


It may seem socially irresponsible when describing Korean culture to start with a look at the country’s most potent method of attaining rambling, retching drunkenness, yet the fact remains that soju is one of the first pieces of pure Korean culture that foreigners get to experience first hand. It also acts as a vital social lubricant among the Koreans themselves, bearing witness to business deals, family get-togethers, birthdays and first dates, as well as making teaching English to kindergarten kids fitfully bearable for foreigners. So what if it happens to be one of the worst tasting alcoholic beverages ever consumed by rational human beings - Canterbury Draught, all is forgiven – and you wake up the next morning a few IQ points lighter? Koreans are proud of their indigenous drink, and justifiably so. Where else in the world has the issue of industrial pollution been solved by bottling it and selling it back to the populace as a dinner accompaniment?

This from the esteemed Lonely Planet Guide to Korea: “[Soju is] a robust drink distilled from rice, yams or tapioca, and potent as toilet bowl cleanser.” And how. Yet at first sight, soju has such an unassuming appearance. It ranges in hue from crystal clear - like the purest spring water, though should you mistake it for water, do not expect to survive through the night - to milky white, depending on the brand. Soju has been served to non-discerning Koreans since around 1300 AD, after introduction from mainland China. Actually, it appears that in the early years after its arrival in Korea, soju was used mainly for medicinal purposes, probably as a powerful anesthetic. However, it is easy to imagine the nervous Koreans turning to soju as a liquid form of stress relief after yet another invasion from the Chinese or Japanese hoards. After all, if your country has been invaded over 900 times in 2000 years of recorded history, a stiff drink is never going to go amiss, is it? (A funny side note: during the Chosun period of Korean history, soju had become so popular that it was suggested to the king that distillers be taken away from the commoners because they were using too much of their rice to make soju, and did not have enough left to eat.)

Soju is generally served straight, either sipped or shot from a 50ml glass. It has a 24% alcohol percentage, though some traditional, expensive brands can reach 45%, and it is usually sold in bottles of around 330ml, though you can get it in 1.5 litre bottles. After some days teaching, alcohol poisoning is the only answer. Now, the popularity of soju today in Korea cannot be overestimated. Walk past any restaurant - and Korea has thousands upon thousands of eating establishments per city - and you will find tables littered with soju bottles at varying levels, and the restaurants littered with customers at varying levels of intoxication. Add to this the curious phenomenon of soju tents, which are quite literally tents along the side of a city street that serve soju with a variety of food, and you have a country very much dedicated to the consumption of this liquor. And it comes down to one thing (okay, one thing not counting traditional and cultural factors, but let’s keep this simple): it’s cheap. You can get a 330ml bottle of soju for just over 1000 won, which to put it into a NZ context, is like being able to buy a bottle of wine (12% alcohol) for around 2 dollars. It is more than enough to make you reassess your idea of what tastes “good” or not.

There seems to be a distinct difference in opinion between the sexes about soju in Korea. Korean men appear to love the stuff, and will take any opportunity to knock it back. Many of them claim that soju increases stamina, but as a Canadian friend of mine pointed out, throwing up in the street and then falling asleep in the back of your car can hardly be mistaken for stamina. However, this is not to say that Korean men are soft touches when it comes to drinking. Far from it. After all, this is the country that has just passed legislation allowing all alcohol-related accidents to be covered by workplace insurance. It is particularly unwise for a foreigner to attempt to match Korean men shot for shot on soju, especially if you want to keep your dignity. Or your pants – there has been a distressingly high number of incidents involving grown Western men parading around sans clothes after a night on the soju.

Mention the word soju to most Korean women and the response you get is something approaching a mild panic – an explosive squeal of disgust, a deeply pained expression, head shaking, hand waving. That’s not to say they don’t drink it – I have personally witnessed many of my female colleagues suffer the effects, both during and after, of drinking copious amounts of soju. It’s just they don’t seem particularly like it, even as they pour it down their throats.

And the foreign opinion? I am yet to meet anyone who professes love for it, though there are a few who don’t mind it at all (there was a guy - who shall remain nameless - who worked at one of my schools - again, nameless - who regularly went to teach his class stinking of the stuff). Most, however, merely see it as a necessary evil, or to put it another way, a cheap way of getting absolutely smashed. Soju to me tastes similar to the worst tequila I have ever tried, except a good deal worse (of course, good tequila is an oxymoron, so maybe that is a bad example). It manages to give the impression of what it would be like to drink ethanol mixed with water, a streamlined, no-frills form of alcohol appreciation. However, even though I was a tertiary student for six years, I have never tried ethanol and water, so this comparison is purely instinctual. But, if you want to recreate the soju experience in your own home, I suggest you go out and buy some ethanol from your local friendly chemical laboratory, mix it with water until it is 24% alcohol, and consume. Repeat until you experience a sudden urge to argue with inanimate objects, or you fall over.

And here is the funny thing. I had always thought that the traditional preparation methods and ingredients were still in use today for all types of soju. Not so. I was discussing this with one of the Korean teachers at dinner one night, and she casually remarks that the most popular, and therefore cheapest, brand of soju is actually made from, to use her delicate word, “chemicals”. Suddenly, the fact that soju tastes a lot like ethanol mixed with water makes sense, because chances are that it actually is ethanol mixed with water. The city where I used to live is significantly industrial, and many of the factories there would produce ethanol as a waste product. Now I can put two and two together as well as anybody (it’s four, right?), and suddenly the reason why soju is so cheap is clear. It’s an industrial waste product, as if the taste didn’t already give that away. And we drink it like there is no tomorrow – drink enough of it, and there will be no tomorrow. Of course, this is just a theory of mine, not based on any thing approaching a hard fact, although that I assume the Korean teacher is better informed about how her country (and alcohol) works than me. But if it is true, it may prove to be the greatest example of pro-active waste management ever seen. Now if only they can think of a way to convince us that the thick blanket of low-lying pollution that we hack our way through each morning is good for our lungs…..

Just quickly, if you should come across some soju, here are three additional things I have discovered. Firstly, traditionally made soju - remember, that from rice, yams or tapioca - tastes worse than the industrially produced soju, if that’s possible. Secondly, soju is best consumed with takalbi, a fiery dish of chicken pieces and vegetables in a chilli sauce. Your taste buds get so battered by the chilli that they barely notice the liquid you throw over them. And thirdly, having an in-depth discussion about the merits of the new Radiohead album with a padded sofa and falling over are actually the least of your worries with drinking soju. There is also the hangover. I discovered soju, much like you “discover” being hit by a bus, a week after I arrived, in the heat of summer. Here is an excerpt from my diary the day after:

“I have found that, while the actual drinking of soju creates quite a bit of a glow and generates a convivial bonhomie amongst those partaking at the time (as long as you can get past the taste), the next morning feels like the local monsoons have taken residence in the lower regions of your stomach, and your head is about to spontaneously explode, or implode, or at the very least cease to remain a functioning whole, and the room has taken on a cubist quality, where you cannot quite identify where the ceiling stops and the walls start – and the heat, you cannot shake it off and you lie there, eagerly awaiting death, hoping that heaven has air conditioning, or at the very least a fan.”

In conclusion, some people swear by soju, some people swear at it, but the most important thing to remember is…um...ah….I forget. Too much soju.

Craig McMillan's Career Scores 

Overall test stats: 51 tests, 84 inn, 10*, 3016 runs, HS 142, ave. 40.75, 6 100s, 19 50s

[0-9] (22) 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3*, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 6, 9

[10-19] (13) 10, 13, 14, 15, 15, 15, 16, 17* 18, 18, 18, 19, 19, 19

[20-29] (9) 20, 22, 22, 22*, 23, 23*, 24, 24, 25, 26, 26

[30-39] (6) 30, 31, 31, 31*, 34, 39, 40

[40-49] (4) 41, 41, 41, 45

[50-59] (7) 50* 51, 54, 54, 54, 54, 55, 58

[60-69] (0)

[70-79] (4) 70, 74*, 78, 78, 79

[80-89] (3) 82, 83*, 84, 88

[90-99] (2) 92, 98

[100+] (4) 100*, 106, 107*, 139, 142, 142

I'll do Astle and Fleming some time soon ( to speak). In the meantime I have to put up with screaming mothers in my neighbourhood yelling at their kids like they are rounding up cattle. They need to take lessons from us teachers who have to teach anything between 10 and 45 of them in a classroom without shouting at them like that and we don't even speak the same language. Dupdup hae yo!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Shame on you 

So when rugby league players make an obscene phone call they are bringing the game into disrepute and tired journalists bring up stories as recent as....1999, when Brad Fittler got pissed and had to be pulled out of the gutter (like that hasn't happened to all of us!) and was described as "the drunkest human ever".

Tales like this are being dragged up and published throughout New Zealand (especially in the NZ Herald)at the moment, and undoubtedly in Australia too.

However, when a rugby union player smashed the front teeth out of a fellow patron at trendy inner-city Coast Bar last weekend - yeah thats you Troy '11 stitches in my hand' Flavell - it barely makes the briefs. Fair enough Troy, I mean the kid did bump into you when you were carrying drinks.

Similarly the tale of two Waikato Chiefs players who brawled with one another last Thursday after an end-of-season wind-down at a local winery. I guess the local "I'll say you're Loyal too" media wouldn't like to spoil the upcoming All Blacks trial.

Go Josh Blackie in the Possibles is all I say about that; I can still remember our racist bitch of a Standard 4 teacher trying to force him to run the school cross country with his recently broken arm because he hadn't brought a note from home excusing him.

Regarding the other good news in conservative old New Zealand; we are still able to prosecute under-16s for engaging in sexual activities; and not necesarrily just intercourse, wicked.

Normally consensual sex between two under-16s is not prosecuted anyway but the affect of the latest uproar is that its still up to the whim of your local - undoubtedly competent - police constable (aka state-hired thug) as to whether or not you are charged, which is just ideal.

Fuck that, I say, charge each and every one of these meddlesome law breakers, coupling them with all the people up on possession of cannabis charges I reckon the local district courts will soon be so packed they'll acquire a real festive atmosphere.

It doesn't get any worse than this 

It's 9:02am, I have eight classes today starting at 10am and finishing at 8pm. I got four hours sleep last night and need to leave in 20 minutes and I've had no breakfast and still have to shower ...

and then George 'lean on the lecturn to look cool' Bush has come on CNN to talk to a bunch of morons at the Army College who would probably make Bush seem almost smart.

Regrading the SST, it's straight to the sport section for me. The letters were always a laugh though. I found one that forced me to reply one year because some old git was complaining about all the immoral thugs in Rugby League (note he was specifically targeting league arguing that it was the worst sport for that type of thing) (as though they are any different to those playing Rugby Union or any other sport or working anywhere for that matter).

My personal favorite was that racist sports radio host a while back (forgot his name). He made all sorts of derogatory comments one afternoon about the Warriors that almost had me choking on my own saliva. I wonder if anything did come of that letter I sent to the broadcasting standards authority? It was the guy that used to be on with 'Doug do lightly' or however you say his name. He was a classic example of an ignorant kiwi who would say something along the lines of "I'm not racist but those darkies sure fall apart when the pressure comes on".

[adding to this, dc_red kindly sent me an email he had saved which I sent to him before we got this site up and running. Here's what I wrote:
Speaking of the herald there was a hilarious letter to it yesterday. The guy started it by saying "I'm not racist but New Zealand is being overrun by Pakeha" They stand on street corners not mixing with non-pakeha (if they're so unwilling to adopt our culture why didn't they stay in England). Some got caught up a mountain and had to be rescued using tax payers money, there were articles about how one got caught embezzling money and how they are all moving to the beach and pushing house prices up. And a friend got in a taxi the other day with a pakeha driver who couldn't even speak a word of Maori...

I remember that my father knew who the guy was who wrote it but I forget now. Classic writing though all the same]

oops, Bushie just got his first round of applause. I wonder if there's a guy standing there with an applause sign because I doubt most of the audience can understand a word he says.

and fuck it I've gotta go earn some bucks to pay for my mortgage ...

A View From Afar 

I used to buy the Sunday-Star Times all the time when I was at university, and I still can't for the life of me figure out why. It had an atrocious lay out, the articles were sloppy and hit-and-miss, and the Arts and Entertainment section was something that you may expect from the school paper of a primary school in Taihape. Probably the best thing about it was the letters section, because it enabled you to keep up-to-date with the crackpot fraternity of New Zealand.

I have only been in New Zealand 9 weeks of the last three years, so obviously I am not the best judge of the current mood or status of my country. But going back once a year does provide a clear little snap-shot of what's going on that residents may be to immune to to appreciate. I went back to NZ for 6 weeks in July/August 2003, and I was surprised at just how whiny and petty some New Zealanders were. I remember sitting down to the Saturday edition of the NZ Herald, and reading the letters page with absolute horror and shame: there was a guy bemoaning the influx of Asians because eventually they would get into positions of political power and turn New Zealand into a dictator state "just like all the Asian countries" (I assume he was the Press Officer for New Zealand First or something). Another guy who had moved to NZ from England was complaining bitterly about the Government - which, in and of itself, is hardly a bad thing - claiming that it was too compassionate and soft, and that it should stop trying to improve things like Social Welfare or minority rights; that the prostitution law (which had only just passed at the time) was a sign of the Government's lack of morality....and so on.

(As a sideline, during the height of the debate about the legalizing of prostitution, many of the detractors argued that legalizing the world's oldest profession was only going to entice gangs into the "business". I wondered, and continue to wonder, who the hell the detractors thought were running massage parlors before the bill was passed)

It stunned me to see that New Zealand had such a propensity for an Us vs. Them mindset, that people were so willing to blame everyone else but themselves. So it comes as no surprise that National os surging in the polls with their narrow, divisive policies: it's what many of our countrymen have been looking for, a line in the sand to stand behind. A team to play for, with all the other bogeymen (Asians, Maori, environmentalists, poor people etc) on the other side. Suddenly there's a political vessel through which people can stand and point their finger at others, and it's a sad sight to see. Hopefully Brash has some actual ideas about what to do for the country if and when he becomes Prime Minister, rather than his current raft of things he's not going to do.

I love my country, but I don't love some of the people I share that country with. When I go back to New Zealand in July (for only a week!), it'll be interesting to resample the vibe and guage exactly where our country - full of potential, full of vitriol - is heading.

Boycott the Sunday Star-Times 

I was going to write something about the atrocious piece of reportage that was the Sunday Star-Times' lead story, with particular reference to the fact that the government's proposal mirrors the situation here in Canada, but Russell Brown over on Hardnews beat me to it. Great work, RB!

I am never going to buy that paper again, or at least not until it stops running National Party press releases as "truth". As Bennyasena pointed out a couple of posts ago, that's a dangerous business, given National's inability to, um, add.

I really like this point: me a pedant, but I think that if you only have something in the criminal statutes if you actually believe it's desirable to prosecute that offence. That it is unwise to pass laws that you can't or won't enforce. And that you should put what you actually do want to do in your law - not leave it up to faceless and unaccountable prosecutors.

This is precisely the same argument that is being used in Canada to oppose the criminal status of marijuana ... no one really wants to throw 1/3rd of the population into jail for possession, and the police enforce the law (or not) in a completely arbitrary fashion. Of course morons, like the SST writer(s), would argue that this "sends the wrong message (especially to children) that marijuana is bad." Wrong again, assholes. The purpose of the criminal law is not to send "a message" to anyone, but to forbid those activities which cannot be tolerated in a just and democratic society. Smoking weed, like two 15 year olds having sex, can be tolerated. I don't want to pay taxes to imprison either pot smokers or horny 15 year olds. Do you, Tony Ryall?

Yep, I'm mad, and not only because the NZ cricket team lost. It's bad enough that an Opposition party with the grand total of one ill-thought out policy ("no racial preferences" ... except where we think they might work, or can be justified, or in areas we haven't discussed yet) is riding high in the polls, the last thing the country needs is flea-bitten hacks doing the National Party's dirty work for them. And yes, the Dominion-Post is just as bad in this respect, running utter bullshit along the lines of "New Zealand economy lagging, Brash says" on the front page, without paying any regard to - oh - low unemployment, low inflation, a budget surplus, economic growth, and so on. It must be true, because chicken fucking little (aka the national party) says the sky is falling!

Like Lisa used the sole-remaining indpendent media outlet in Springfield to say to Mr Burns, media magnate, on the Simpsons last night "Drop Dead".

Yours truly,

Fucked Off in Vancouver.

Anyeong-hi kaseyo, Houllier... 

What a way to begin a blogging career - finally, after two years of bumbling and dour, defensive football, Gerard Houllier has been shown the door at Liverpool, the first time a manager has been sacked there in....oh, a good long while (I'll look it up eventually, and report cold hard statistical data prepared, as I'm sure this will be long-running habit of mine). No replacement has been announced as yet, but the front-runners so far appear to be Alan Curbishly (currently plying his trade at Charlton, who aren't too bad unless they happen to be playing the last third of a season...), Gordon Strachan (who couldn't handle the pressure at Southampton, of all places, and is now in the hunt for a job that gave the last manager a heart attack), Rafael Benitez (who led Valencia to the domestic league/UEFA Cup double) and Jose Mourinho (who had a go at Alex Ferguson and then acted like a lunatic when Porto beat Man U in the Champions League, making him by default the preferred choice of the long-suffering Anfield faithful).

Houllier was a decent enough guy, but for me, there were two major strikes against him: his style of football was atrociously defensive - the kind of stuff THE SIMPSONS made fun of in the episode where Homer got a gun ("...this gun had a hold on me. I felt this incredible surge of power, like God must feel when he's holding a gun") - without the mitigating factor of actually winning; and he was probably the worst post-match interviewee in the history of the known universe (and this is a universe where Mike Tyson was routinely asked to talk). This season, we have had to listen to how Liverpool didn't lose because they were outplayed, or they just plain sucked, but because of:

* the referee
* the ground
* travelling
* injuries (Milan Baros broke his leg, and Houllier bemoaned his absence for 2 months. Upon his return from injury he was relegated to the bench and not used)
* the wind (I kid you not)
* lack of support
* a gypsy curse (okay, this is a lie, but it would have come next season, for sure)

I have been a Liverpool fan since 1989, when my metalwork teacher was a die-hard Arsenal fan, and so I picked a team to root for that was challenging them at the time. Of course, Arsenal won the Premiership at Anfield that year with a last minute goal, and set the precedent for my the following lean, lean years. This past year, i could barely stand to watch my team play, which is never a good sign. Hopefully, by the time the next season rolls around, we will be ready to play some decent football and stop Arsenal from sauntering around England like a average looking Western guy in Korea.

Monday, May 24, 2004

And the award for underachievement goes to... 

Good to see Craig McMillan making his usual contribution to the fortunes of the New Zealand cricket team ... absolutely nothing. If you could bet on which player was going to do the least for his team, McMillan would always be a safe investment. I'd have Yamis in the team ahead of McMillan ... at least he doesn't try and slog-sweep the second ball he faces. Heck, even Chris Martin scored 7 runs ... a new high score for someone who previously had 15 runs in 15 innings.

In non-cricket related news, there's an interesting report on Michael Moore in the Observer. I'm not sure why there is such a widespread assumption among journalists that just because Moore is left-wing, he has to be a "nice guy". Fuck, who cares? Judge him by the quality of his work ... apparently Faranheit 9/11 is bloody good, with more attention to detail and careful editing than Bowling for Columbine.

Also, there's a good report on the Simpsons in the NY Times (regn reqd): season finale tonight, so no calling me between 8.00 and 8.30. The phone will be unplugged.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

2004 Super 12 Final 

Well I bloody well enjoyed that game. As I mentioned a few blogs back, the competition needs a kick up the arse as it doesn't really reach any great heights unless it's a tight final. Well the final wasn't that tight I suppose but the Crusaders almost made it that way.

It's was interesting to see how the Crusaders responded after being 33-0 down after 19 minutes. I'd love to see them playing like that all the time. It was the coming together of two different styles as Chris Rattue wrote about before the final alright. The Brumbies able to score very early in their phases because of their rapid strike ability, while the Crusaders used their 'ground the opposition into the dirt and then score technique'.

I thought the match served as a fantastic lesson to all sides as to how the game should be played. Obviously it's not easy to do what those teams were doing last night as they are comprised of about half of the best players that NZ and Australia has on offer (doesn't bode so well for any upcoming All Black tests does it?!) but teams should aim for that style of rugby nonetheless as the whole point of having professional rugby and sport in general is to entertain people. Of any television audience watching a game only something like 5-20% of them will actually be fans of any one of the teams so they may be praying for a win in any manner whatsoever but the vast majority of viewers want to see exciting football. Remember these games are viewed by millions in Australia and NZ alone, then you add in tens of millions more in South Africa, Europe, Asia and wherever else and it makes the few hundred thousand Crusaders supporters the minority big time.

Another thing worth mentioning, I know I actually wanted to see the Brumbies kill the Crusaders by a big score (for reasons mentioned earlier), but forgetting that for a moment ... I thought the last try to the Crusaders after the final hooter was one of the best rugby tries I have ever seen in my life.

And one more thing. Did Andre Watson refer to the judiciary as "arseholes"? Maybe it will come out in the media a little later, I'm not sure. Remember the incident near the end where Marshall resented a slightly high tackle which spilled over the touchline into a bit of a melee for which Marshall was later penalised. Then several minutes after the game Watson was talking to Marshall in one of the tv shots and for some reason they turned his microphone on and I heard him say "what you did was entirely acceptable, but not to some arseholes out there". Or words to that effect. It's possible he was just referring to fans who get all huffy about a little rough play but I thought he was referring to the judiciary. Interesting anyway.

Goodbye money 

so my money is gone, bennyasena's is gone and dc_red's is looking like it's going the same way.

Amazing since I went through all my possible options and some of my closer calls that I'd written down on paper like the Storm to win by less than 12 and the Dragons to beat the Eels have come through. As did my call for the Brumbies to thrash the Crusaders (well it's 38-14 shortly after halftime) so maybe I could be wrong.

Oh well, I'll have to wait for my final dental bill I think. But this betting business is probably best left to others perhaps.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Naming rights 

I've got a few requests for names for Korean kids - firstly have you considered giving a class load of the all names of a particular sports team? You could have little general Stacey Jones, Sione Faumauina etc etc.

But seriously how about some of the following Dirty Harry, Hannibal Lecter, Carlos the Jackal, Rob Zombie, Zak de la Rocha you could have heaps of fun!

I've thought about it long and hard and I've decided to follow my initial instinct and bet my entire $416 dream fund on the Raiders to beat the Storm tomorrow night.

However, here is the catch, I'm going to back them at Centrebet in Australia at $2.90 where the Storm are paying $1.42 not in New Zealand at the TAB where the Raiders are $2.60 and the Storm $1.45.

I've said it before I'll say it again the TAB sux. I blame you Ken Rutherford wish I'd never read your stinking book.

A sporting chance 

Well, good to wake up to see the NZ Cricket team hasn't completely surrendered any chance of winning the test match on the first day, and in fact is making a decent showing in the first innings, currently 237/4. That score sure looks different from such historical favourites as 44/4. Mark Richardson has a stoic 77 off 231 deliveries, and that includes two boundaries in the last over. Craig McMillan contributed his usual score of "something between 0 and 10".

Now I don't know anything about this Mark Gasnier, but isn't this another case of a professional sports person being disciplined for something that has basically nothing to do with their job or ability to play the game? e.g., if an accountant makes an obscene phone call, or goes out and gets drunk and then passes out by the gas station pumps, no one suggests that he should be fired or even disciplined by his employer (assuming the phone call wasn't work-related, and the drunkeness wasn't during working hours).

Why do we expect sports people to be so different from the rest of us when it comes to acting stupid from time to time? I for one want to protect the right to get pissed on the weekend without my employer poking his snout into it ... otherwise we're back to the days of company towns, with employers regulating all aspects of personal life, including when we go to bed, whether we go to church, and whether women are out unaccompanied by a male chaperone, etc.

Update: Darn, Richardson dismissed just before his century. As for my $416, I'm not sure if such a category exists, but I'd like to bet on Vettori taking a maximum of 2 wickets in this test. If not, put me down for Tuffey to take a 5-wicket bag in the first innings.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

NRL Title odds and ... 

Before I get into it, what in gods name has Bill Harrigan been smoking?!

Looking at the teams in the NRL and the odds the TAB has on them winning the title I see the teams basically split into four categories.

The 'no-hopers' (to win the title)
The 'minor miracles' (would be very lucky even to make the last four)
The 'surprises' (might well make the final four, but outsiders for the final and title)
And the 'no surprises' (will probably make the last four and should go one or two steps further)

Here are the teams put into my categories as I see it with their odds to win the title and what I think after it.

'no surprises'
Roosters ($2.85) – hard to see past them. Got the players and motivation after last year.
Bulldogs ($5.50) – motivated but can they keep it together or will they choke once again?
Panthers ($5.50) – very good team but I doubt they are good enough to repeat.

Broncos ($7.50) –always competitive and when they make the semis they usually do well but don't quite have enough top class players to win it.
Knights ($16) – without Johns they can't go all the way but have finally got used to life without him recently, and if he did come back in the playoffs (like I heard he might) then who knows?

'minor miracles'
Dragons ($9) – $9 bucks?! Pull the other one! Especially with dorks like Mark Gasnier in your team.
Storm ($16) – yeah right, try $30.
Warriors ($22) – you must be joking! I wouldn't bet on them if they were paying $50.
Raiders ($30) – start praying.
Eels ($40) – read above.
Sharks ($50) – read above the line where it says "read above" (no, not this line you idiot!).

'no-hopers' – under no circumstances should you even consider the possibility that these teams could make it past 7th spot on the ladder. The $1,000 dollars the Rabbitohs would pay out should really be the odds on them making the top 8.
Cowboys ($60)
Tigers ($60)
Sea Eagles ($100)
Rabbitohs ($1,000)

Looking at the Brumbies v Crusaders game two days out, it's hard to see past the Brumbies. You have to give the Crusaders a fighting chance I suppose especially given their track record but for the sake of the game it would be nice to see an open match with plenty of tries. Stuff what that scrotum Steven Jones thinks. It seems like the guy must cry in pain everytime a team crosses for a try.

Looking at the poll conducted in I see that 65% selected the Crusaders to win and 35% for the Brumbies.

While the poll at has recorded 2359 votes with 61% favouring the Crusaders v 39% for the Brumbies.

From these two polls we can deduce that slightly dumber New Zealanders visit the website.

Remember people, the Brumbies ran away with the round robin and are playing at home. And as bennyasena pointed out the Brumbies are paying $1.50 to the Crusaders $2.50.

I wonder if these same people will put their money where their mouth is?

I'm going to put $416 (1/3rd of my dental fantasy betting fund) on the Bulldogs to beat the Tigers at $1.45. My associates here are more than welcome to bet the same amount on whatever they choose. We are going to be fantasy rich I tell you!!!!

And if anybody would like me to name a Korean child after them then let me know at Seriously I have to give the kids English names all the time and I'm getting sick to death of having to come up with decent ones. There's only so many times I can use "Jenny, Mary, Sally, Jane, Sue, Suzie, Mike, John, Jason, Nick, Steven, Tom ...".

And in the cricket New Zealand is 80/1 at lunch.
MH Richardson *32 85 balls 5 boundaries (we need a 100 out of him)
NJ Astle *8 15 balls 1 boundary (get your eye in Nathan and we should then see a few runs)

SP Fleming c Strauss b SP Jones 34 72 balls 4 boundaries
From cricinfo [Jones bowled a wide, full delivery outside off, which Fleming tried to wallop through the covers. But he instead leant back too far and skewed the ball to Andrew Strauss, the debutant, who took a good head-high catch at point].

[update, Astle made a rollicking 64 of 77 deliveries before Styris made a 3 ball duck. 162/3 at 3.31 an over.]

Punting galore 

Now this weekend is offering some amazing odds.

The Raiders are back to full strength (Wiki returning from suspension and Crocker from injury) and paying $2.60 to beat Melbourne $1.45 who are depleted through injuries and Origin duties.

Whats more the Cronulla Sharks are paying $1.95 to beat Manly at $1.80? Huh?

The Bulldogs are paying good money $1.55 to beat the measly Tigers at $2.40. Even the Rabbitohs at $2.35 look ok against the Warriors at $1.55 in what promises to be an even match and with home advantage I think the Rabbitohs could sneak through.

Apparently there's a rugby union match this weekend too where the certain victors the Brumbies are paying $1.50 to beat the Canterbury Crusaders.

I went to New Zealand's rural heartland yesterday and did some vox pops of farmers at a stock sale. One of the questions asked who they would vote for in the next election. Intriguingly there was a wide arrray of hypothetical votes cast.

Of the 14 I surveyed 1 said New Zealand First (its local MP in my area has a billboard which says he's outraged about something or other but then instead of having his picture on it its his charasmatic leader Winston Peters...which I suppose is fair enough seeing its really a one person party).

About 5 said National, 3 Labour, 1 Green Pary - which really surprised me - and several refused to comment. Good to see some political variety in the traditionally conservative rural heartland.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Restrictive Marriage Policies 

I was reading over who NZers can't marry.

Here's the list:
You may not marry your ...
grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, grandfather's wife, grandmother's husband, son's daughter, daughter's son, husband's grandfather, father's sister, son's son's wife, father's brother, son's daughter's husband, mother's sister, daughter's son's wife, mother's brother, daughter's daughter's husband, mother, wife's son's daughter, father, husband's son's son, stepmother, wife's daughter's daughter, stepfather, husband's daughter's son, wife's mother, brother's daughter, husband's father, brother's son, daughter, sister's daughter, son, sister's son, wife's daughter, husband's son, son's wife, and you daughter's husband.

It doesn't say anything about dating and marrying your students but even that is a no-no at both universities and primary schools.

I can't believe how harsh those restrictions are. I mean that list encompasses just about everybody I know well. Are they saying I have to meet and marry a total stranger?

Lucky for me my Korean fiance doesn't fall under any of those 'categories'. I suppose I should check but as there is currently no Korean blood in our family she's probably not related to me. We can never be too sure in this global world though can we?! I'd better get a private eye following her right away.

Also apparently it is quite ok for you to marry your doctor's brother's daughter.

Ridiculous double standards. I mean how are you going to even meet this person in the first place?

Then if you ever do meet them just make sure that you know what you're supposed to do.

New Zealand's Population 

Reading this talk ("reading this talk"? what the hell does that mean?!) of NZ somehow joining Australia (whatever the hell that would entail) has got me wondering about the size of NZ relative to other countries in the world.

This is the type of chat that's got me interested ...
Some commentators have suggested that New Zealand is not large enough to be viable and should become a state of Australia.

Helen Clark responded saying that ...
she took "umbrage" with those who questioned whether a country of four million was viable.

"We are very, very viable and I don't think most kiwis would want to lose the uniqueness that is New Zealand..."

And yours truly responds thus...
Go fuck yourself "some commentators"! New Zealand is roughly the 120th ranked country in the world in terms of population out of 227 countries.

Hell, we've even got more than the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined and look how much media attention they get!

And what's more New Zealand has more people than the smallest 47 countries in the worlds populations combined!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a look for yourself at a few countries I've selected. There's some pretty well known and thriving ones that are not much bigger than us or even smaller than us. Take Ireland for example. Should they just throw their history and future at the mercy of Britain? Because they have even less people than we do.

1 China 1,298,847,624
2 India 1,065,070,607
3 United States 293,027,571
21 United Kingdom 60,270,708
24 Korea, South 48,598,175
44 Iraq 25,374,691
48 Korea, North 22,697,553
52 Australia 19,913,144 (mostly NZers anyway)
100 Israel 6,199,008
109 Denmark 5,413,392
111 Finland 5,214,512
115 Norway 4,574,560
116 Croatia 4,496,869
119 Singapore 4,353,893
120 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4,007,608
**121 New Zealand 3,993,817**
122 Ireland 3,969,558
123 Costa Rica 3,956,507
124 Puerto Rico 3,897,960
125 Lebanon 3,777,218
127 Lithuania 3,607,899
128 Albania 3,544,808
129 Uruguay 3,399,237
137 Jamaica 2,713,130
138 United Arab Emirates 2,523,915
139 West Bank 2,311,204
141 Kuwait 2,257,549
144 Slovenia 2,011,473
152 Gaza Strip 1,324,991
157 Fiji 880,874
159 Cyprus 775,927
176 Bahamas, The 299,697
177 Iceland 293,966
178 Barbados 278,289
188 Samoa 177,714
192 Tonga 110,237
209 Greenland 56,384
214 Monaco 32,270
215 San Marino 28,503
227 Saint Pierre and Miquelon 6,995

Source: US Census Bureau

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Dentist Part IV 

Nearing the end of the tunnel now.

Todays damage came to $147 so the betting fund is now up to $1,249. I'm reckoning the three of us can split it three ways on the bet of our choice. Any winnings are divided up evenly for the following week. And if we each lose well then we will have to wait for my next and final bill which I am told will total between $415 and $555. It's the cost of getting a tooth capped in either a)metal with gold in it or b)porcelain with metal and gold underneath. Porcelain is the more aesthetic choice but there's something appealing about gold as well. Especially as I want to move into the pimping industry later this year.

I was thinking about the Zimbabwe v Australia fiasco in waiting today and I thought the solution for the ICC is going to be made simple.

Test status is granted on the basis that a country is able to compete competitively (strange wording) on the international stage. Or against other test playing nations to be more precise. Well quite obviously Zimbabwe can no longer do this so the ICC can revoke their test match status. Doing so would have no political links whatsoever.

Zimbabwe would probably be worse than countries like Scotland and Kenya and a few others right now so what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I'm not sure what the Zimbabwe cricket board would do once that happened but I imagine they would have little choice but to sweet talk a few decent cricketers into rejoining the ranks.

Cricketing it unreal 

Well, Sri Lanka just beat Zimbabwe by an innings and 254 runs, having knowcked up a handy 713/3 decl. in their only turn at bat. Cricinfo describes the Zimbabwe team as "second string" but even that is generous ... their normal first-choice test team is made up almost solely from the 15 sacked white players, but even they are just who is left after a string of early retirements and people having to leave the country to ... stay alive.

Anyhow, the prospect of every test cricketing record being obliterated when the shameless Australians take on the hapless Zimbabwe team (i.e., the 3rd XI) seems to have spurred the ICC into action, and there's talk that perhaps the series will be abandoned. Still, we shouldn't be complaining, perhaps the shame of having the lowest innings total in test match history - a stunning 26 runs - will finally be lost by NZ. God knows we've held onto it for 50 years.

I'm not sure if the TAB is taking bets on this farce, but if they are, you might want to consider putting a few dollars on Ricky Ponting to score a double-century (and possibly beat Brian Lara's new record of 400), and for Australia to become the first test team to score 1000 runs in an innings - the previous highest being 952/6 declared.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Don't fall over in Korea 

Firstly, welcome along to anybody who has stumbled or straggled their way through the computer door into our little site. Been going a few months and things have been slowly coming together. We are looking to make a few more adjustments in terms of appearance and there are a couple more bloggers coming aboard shortly to fill out our ranks completely.

Aside from that I better get on with the story suggested by the title. You see about every Sunday in Korea I play soccer ('football' to many people) for a team of expats in a competiton for expats. There are 14 teams in all and we have been together for several months without a break. Back in NZ I was a football player as well only it was rugby there. In Korea though rugby is pretty miniscule and is only played at some universities really. The reason for this has something to do with the title of this blog.

You see in Korea grass doesn't really like to grow all that much. This has to do with a climate where in winter it can get down to minus 20 and counting and in summer 35 degrees is quite common in many parts with over night 'lows' in the 20s for July and August. And most places where grass does grow are fenced off to the public because if they go and touch it, walk on it, or puke on it after a night (or morning ... or afternoon) on the piss then the grass fast disappears and where it once was you soon find dust.

About 99% of schools I have ever laid eyes on in Korea have dirt fields for the kids. They have dirt playgrounds, dirt basketball courts and pretty much dirt everythings. I remember seeing a university in the middle of the country which had a brown grass field for rugby and on a small island way south of Korea (though part of the country) had a school with about half it's play yard in grass. I'm sure there are others but I'd love to see them.

And when you fall over on hard, concrete like dirt, you don't look very good on the parts of the body which made contact with it. When I say dirt I should add that most fields have a good deal of gravel, stones, rocks and a few nails and other sharp objects as well. The pitch my team often uses is made up of crushed sandstone and it is responsible for the nasty infections I have had on both knees for almost ten days.

I got opened up pretty bad and after showering (you have to be careful not to get tap water in the wounds here as it's 'un-drinkable') I washed them out carefully with bottled water and put some bandages on. The next day I was seen by the school nurse who put 'expensive' bandages on and away I went thinking it would be a couple of days and I'd be right as rain. Well I'm not going to describe what they have progressed to or else I'll put you right off your lunch but it's not pretty. I suppose I 'fell down' about 20+ times every game of rugby over 15 years in NZ and never really recall having badly infected leg cuts, and fall down between 0 and 3 times playing soccer each game and seem to get them everytime.

The only people who get to regularly use grass pitches in Korea are players from the professional soccer teams (that's after they get signed by somebody, so they grow up playing on dirt like everybody else) who you would notice if you ever saw them, do not slide tackle so well, in fact many of them do not attempt to slide tackle at all.

And now you know why.

And then there's the Warriors who by the sounds of it didn't want to fall over in the literal sense of the word on Sunday but sure as hell have done in the metaphorical sense in terms of their season.

Boy is Peter Jessup putting the boot in. Here and here.

Warriors Crowds in 2004
16,425 v St George Illawarra
15,781 v Penrith Panthers
14,409 v Newcastle Knights
9,637 v Melbourne Storm
10,929 v Manly Sea Eagles

anybody want to make predictions for the game v the Raiders on the 6th of June?

It's three weeks away and there are away clashes against the Rabbitohs and Roosters in between so there could be a slight chance for redemption, but if they lose those two games then I'm guessing 7,992. All bets are off if they win those games mind you.

Mathematical equations?? 

Now maths has never been my strong point however, my initial calculations indicate that the news media has uncritically been running some blatantly untrue claims by National's Housing Minister David Carter.

Here is an extract of his press release - which was run verbatim yesterday on all the FM radio station news bulletins - regarding the ongoing leaky homes saga:

(Latest figures released by the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service show that there is still no end in site to the leaky homes crisis, says National’s Housing spokesman David Carter.
"Figures just released by the Service show that 87 out of 1821 claims have been resolved.
"The Government told homeowners that their disputes would be resolved in a 'speedy, flexible and cost effective’ manner, but 18-months later just 5% of claims have been resolved,” says Mr Carter."
“At this rate, it will take over 100 years for all claims to be sorted out. Who in the Labour Government is prepared to call that ‘speedy’?”)

Now if they have published 87 claims in the last 18 months that works out at 4.83 homes a month right? That works out at 377 months that it'll take them - one would assume the process will become more efficient the longer it runs? - now 377 months is 31 odd years ain't it?

Or 5% at 18 months = 100% at 360 months = 30 years. I guess the spelling of his "no end in site" comments were intended to be a joke? Who nose?

Good work Yamis with those dream dollars on the Bulldogs.

By the time I went to bet on the Bulldogs they had dropped to $1.57 so I held off and instead unloaded on Manly to beat the Warriors at $3. I figured the game could go either way so it was well worth a punt.

I didn't go to the game instead I went to Karekare Beach for a day of community horse racing. It was excellent and I met truck-loads of people I knew and had a few good games of frisbee. The only betting there was a blatantly unfair sweepstake where 1) you couldn't pick your own horse and 2)it only paid about 2:1 if it did come in.

The last race of the day was excellent. Instead of it being a straight out speed race it was more of an obstical course with the horses having to negotitate their ways around cones and their two relay riders having to do tasks like getting apples from buckets on the way.

My associates had backed unlucky horse no.3 - unlucky because its two riders had a combined age of about 18. When finally our poor horse rounded its final cone we cheered...the horse which had obviously never recieved so much as a clap reared up dismounting its jockey and sending us into hysterics and a poor 12-year-old girl face first into the turf.

Friends at the Worriers match left early in disgust which was unfortunate for Stacey Jones who recieved his award for having played his 200th match for the team. In my opinion the team is still reeling from the loss of Logan Swan.

Now I see the total hits on our blogsite is far from satisfactory: if I have to resort to getting hits by insulting Hard News's Russell Brown I shall. I mean if it works for NZPundit?

Anyway what is he thinking with both two ss's and ll's in his name...

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Northern Eagles 42 Warriors 20 

Given that the match was played at Ericsson Stadium and that the Eagles were dead last going into the game, I would say that that is the worst results in the Warriors history. And that barring some sort of miraculous turn around Daniel Anderson will be looking for a new job sooner rather than later.

Two linebreaks (both from Brent Webb) in 128 hitups!!! So much for the explosive attacking qualities of the Warriors. Their completion rate was high, but as I've said before you need to stretch teams with the ball or else they can dictate. Teams train to run for 80 minutes and make tackles so you need to take them outside their comfort zone.


Super 12 Semis 

So last night both Super 12 semis were screened live on satellite tv in Korea (which I have).

And here's what struck me about the games:
-The Crusaders are still playing that incredibly boring yet effective football that they have been for several years.

-That when they really want to prevent teams from scoring they can flick a switch and good luck getting through them.

-That the game was a horrible advertisement for the Super 12. Those were supposed to be the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the competition to that stage of the season. Instead we see a Stormers team that we knew would lose trying their best and looking decent in parts but really not that fantastic losing to a Crusaders team that just play reasonably tough football.

-Semi finals are supposed to be a step up in terms of quality and intensity from regular season games. But it was so hard to see any difference. The first half just looked like any other game. The second half picked up a gear but this was as much to do with the expressions on the players faces looking more determined than anything that was actually taking place during play. Also the commentators were trying to talk it up a bit. Unlike the NRL playoffs the Super 12 just doesn't really reach any nerve tingling heights unless the final is very tight. It's very much like a cartoon competition that needs a real kick up the backside.

-That there were 5-10,000 empty seats at Jade Stadium. Come on Canterbury people. Support your teams ;) On a side note guess which is the only 'football' organisation in the world which does not officially release crowd figures (well unless the crowd is big)??? That's right, the New Zealand Rugby Union. Want to know why? Because the figures are lower than everybody would think. It's something else I am saving for a later blog when I can get a lot more info.

-Why are big games played at night? They may rate better but they sure look worse. I suppose it's like drinking when you go out. The more you drink the worse you start looking but the better people think you look. Perhaps the same thing is happening with night games. People drink, pay no attention to the game or what little they do concentrate on looks much better through their beer goggles.

-That the Brumbies are a good side to watch and hopefully for the sake of the game they beat the Crusaders by 30 points so the Crusaders will learn a more expansive game for next season. I shouldn't really say that as a kiwi but fuck it, I don't watch football to waste 80 minutes of my life just to see the higher number in 'my teams' column.

-That the Chiefs looked like a bad version of the Crusaders. They were very determined and certainly looked much better in the forwards than past years but their backs were tits on a bull. Injuries wrecked what slim chances they had but if that was the 4th best team out of 12 than ouch, it's ugly!

And enough of that.

Thanks to my tipping advisor (bennyasena) I placed $580 dream dollars on the Bulldogs to beat the Dragons (which they did 38-12) rather than the Broncos to beat the Knights (which they didn't 16-17 in 'Golden Point' time).

That means a return of $1,102. I'm off to the dentist on Monday once again and probably again later in the week so the pot is going to grow and shall be placed all on one option next weekend. I'll be looking for some advice again :) Perhaps we can rename this "bennyasena's fantasy dental tipping fund".

Regarding celebrities who can think ... well Schwarzenegger, Jessie "the body" Ventura, and Ronald Reagan all apparently could think according to the American voting public, but as the rest of us know ... they can't/couldn't. Well I suppose "the body" isn't so bad.

I'd throw in perhaps Susan Sarandon's hubby - Tim Robbins, Chuck D, and my mind is a blank, though I know there are many others.

Celebrity challenge... 

Most celebrities are dumb as posts (stand up, David Beckham) but a select few have some smarts ... let's make a list:

- Sean Penn - Clint Eastwood - Marilyn Manson - Tom Morello - Susan Sarandon

Feel free to add to the list or email us at

Friday, May 14, 2004

Comings, goings, goings and Lowe-ings 

Coming (back) is Noh Moo-hyun, the Korean president who was impeached by the majority opposition controlled congress in Korea a couple of months ago. The public reacted angrily and the opposition party were whipped in the recent elections and now the nine man Constitutional Court has voted to re-instate him. Shame you GNP dicks.

First to go is Motu Tony, who I can now scratch off my list of Kiwis in the NRL. It seems he left of his own accord to a larger bucket of money but who ever really knows with these things.

Second to go is another $154 at the dentist putting me up to a $580 which I am now putting on the Bulldogs (well in my dreams anyway).

And for once Graham Lowe is talking an entire column of sense. What's that all about?! The Warriors had a fantastic season when they made the grand final, really tearing the competition up during the course of the year. Last year they played a more boring style which still worked reasonably well but not as well as before, but this year they have taken it to an even more boring/conservative style which is working even less. Instead of continuing with the theme of how the team was playing Anderson decided they could only go to the next level if they eliminated their mistakes altogether. But when you make it easier for the opposition to be comfortable in the field you allow them to mess your game up. Maybe they simply don't quite have the team to win the competition, so it's therefore the coaches job to get them as far up the ladder as they can. The greatest coach in the history of the game couldn't win a premiership with the current Rabbitohs even if he had 15 years to try.

It's simply not in their nature to cart the ball up like several of the weaker Aussie teams do. The Roosters, Bulldogs, Broncos, Knights all play attacking football on the back of a couple of solid hitups by their good props. They don't cart the ball up 5 times and then kick it which is what we are trying to do, thinking it will actually win games. That's so one dimensional that opposition teams can just belt you and force mistakes. It also means they have gas in the tank later in the game. The way to beat teams is to stretch them and run them off their feet. It's THE TOUGHEST COMP IN THE WORLD FOR GODS SAKE ;).

Iraq & Cricket 

There's a great aritcle by Jonathan Raban in The Guardian entitled Emasculating Arabia. It critiques some of the U.S. "thinking" on Iraq:

What was clear from reading the English-language Arab press over last weekend was the truth of the old saying: "American viciously humiliates Arab" is not news; only when the terms are reversed are headlines made. To most of the Arab editorial writers, and perhaps to most Arabs, the digital photos merely confirmed what they had been saying since long before the invasion of Iraq took place: America is on an orientalist rampage in which Arabs are systematically denatured, dehumanised, stripped of all human complexity, reduced to naked babyhood.

Well, ok, but I don't think decapitating someone for the cameras is exactly the same thing as humiliating someone for the cameras...

Defining the orientalist project, Edward Said wrote of how occidentals feminised and infantilised Arabs, crediting them with "feminine" traits like intuition and an incapacity for reason (so Arab magicians figure large in the mythology, but Arab mathematicians not at all), and rendered Arabia as pliant, sensuous, passive, awaiting penetration by the rational masculine west.

In classic orientalist fashion, Iraq was brutally simplified before it was invaded. Because of the way that the British, operating on the principle of divide and rule, had cobbled together three profoundly dissimilar Ottoman provinces to make a nation, Iraq stands alone in the Arab world in its complex rifts of religion, politics, tribe, race and class. For 80 years, Iraq has been an immensely tricky spiderweb of social and cultural lines and intersections. None of this was recognised by the invaders. As recently as last January, so we are told, George Bush was cheerfully ignorant of the deepest, most conspicuous fault-line in Iraqi society, the division between Sunni and Shia. The Bush administration rhetorically homogenised the several peoples of Iraq by endless iteration of the phrase "the Iraqi people", or, when speaking of Saddam, "his own people".

When Saddam's gang of Tikritis gassed Kurdish villages or drained the water from the Marsh Arabs' swamps, they were decidedly not dealing with their "own people", but with people they regarded as dangerous aliens: tribally, racially, religiously, politically distinct from themselves. [...]

The Iraqi people were pictured as yearning, femininely, childishly, with one voice, for a pluralist free-market democracy, and (bad taste though it is to recall this detail) they would greet their liberators, femininely, childishly, with flowers. In the early autumn of 2002, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, warned that a western invasion of Iraq would "open the jaws of hell", but the orientalists listened to no one from the region, preferring to trust the Middle Eastern expertise of Paul Wolfowitz, who blithely represented Iraq as a comely bride, trapped in a dungeon by her wicked stepfather.

OK, you get the idea by now. Pretty interesting I thought. There's no such thing as a single Iraqi voice or viewpoint. Some in NZ may be interesting to know there's no such thing as a single "Pakeha" or "Maori" voice or viewpoint either. As Kierkergaard said, "If you label me you negate me."

Anyway, on a lighter note, how about some cricket. Actually, it's not a lighter note, because Ricky Ponting and friends are complete morons. As this commentary explains, it's one thing to say you're going to tour a country regardless of the political situation, and another to say you're going to play against a team which is selected on a fundamentally unfair and racist basis. In Zimbabwe, it's not like cricket is somehow insulated from the political machinations:

Cricketers are entitled, should they wish, to turn a blind eye to rape, torture and murder: these comprise a valid but by no means overwhelming justification for cancelling a cricket tour of Zimbabwe. But Ponting has a "duty" to consider this. Had he grown up in Bulawayo or Harare, not Launceston, he'd have been sacked as captain last month because of the colour of his skin.

The most fantastic NRL related website ever 

That is if you like statistics as I do. I damn near had an orgasm when I found it and am still tingly all over my body!

I stumbled across it purely by chance but have no idea why I had never found it earlier given the countless searches I have done for Rugby League related sites. Perhaps it's only been put up recently. It also had similar stats for one day cricket, test cricket and Australian Rules. If anybody knew about this site before and didn't let me know it'll be a gruesome death for them.

Check it out.

It has all the teams records, all the crowd stats right back to 1957. Match scores back to 1908. All scorers listed back to 1980. You can click on players names to get their career scoring stats by the season or by every single game they have ever scored in (well since 1980 at least, hopefully whoever is doing it works their way back).

Anyway just go there and see for yourself.

Although here's something useful if you are a Warriors fan. All teams with an asterisk next to their name are still operating. Note how successful they were against now defunct (or distorted?) teams. Only one (Cowboys) out of the top nine teams is still operating as they originally were when the Warriors joined the comp (well two if you count the Rabbitohs who were kicked out and then reinstated after large protests):

Opponent P W D L Win%
South Queensland Crushers 2 2 0 0 (100%)
*Northern Eagles 6 5 0 1 (83.33%) +actually they are now going by "Manly Sea Eagles" again
*South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 7 0 3 (70%)
Western Suburbs Magpies 6 4 0 2 (66.67%)
Gold Coast Seagulls 3 2 0 1 (66.67%)
*North Queensland Cowboys 16 10 0 6 (62.50%)
Illawarra Steelers 5 3 0 2 (60%)
Balmain Tigers 5 3 0 2 (60%)
Manly Sea Eagles 7 4 0 3 (57.14%)
*Sydney Roosters 14 8 0 6 (57.14%)
*Melbourne Storm 12 6 1 5 (54.17%)
*Cronulla Sharks 15 8 0 7 (53.33%)
*Bulldogs 17 8 2 7 (52.94%)
Hunter Valley Mariners 2 1 0 1 (50%)
Western Reds 4 2 0 2 (50%)
*Canberra Raiders 16 7 0 9 (43.75%)
*Wests Tigers 7 3 0 4 (42.86%)
*Penrith Panthers 15 6 0 9 (40%)
*Parramatta Eels 13 5 0 8 (38.46%)
*St George Illawarra Dragons 8 3 0 5 (37.50%)
Adelaide Rams 3 1 0 2 (33.33%)
*Brisbane Broncos 16 5 0 11 (31.25%)
*St George Dragons 4 1 0 3 (25%)
North Sydney Bears 4 1 0 3 (25%)
*Newcastle Knights 14 2 1 11 (17.86%)
Totals 224 107 4 113 48.66%

Incidentally, I checked all the teams official names and the Bulldogs are the only team that have completely ditched their earlier name. No mention of "Canterbury" or "Bankstown" anywhere in their web pages regarding their present day status.

I'll put a permanent link to it over in our links section, though it'll be bookmarked on my comp!

It also has a link to a downloading site where you can drag and drop any game from the last few years. The NRL website uses streaming so it needs to buffer a lot and can get annoying. So if there are ever games that you really want to keep because they were classics you can download them to your comp. The quality is better than the NRL website and once they are downloaded they play cleanly right through (although the one I downloaded wouldn't allow me to jump through it in mediaplayer and then it stopped after ten minutes saying there was something wrong with the file, but you can try your luck).

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Form guide 

Based on current form I'd say the Raiderettes over the Mermaids, with the Warrior(ettes) a distant, distant third. Which actually mirrors the performance of the teams thus far this year.

A while back I happened to catch the U.S. highschool cheerleading national competition, which actually involves males as well as females. Some of those females had abnormally large smiles, of the sort seen on beauty pageants and in American infomercials. The competition was held in Texas, I believe, and most of the schools represented were from the capital-S South. It was a serious sporting endeavour, and some of the athleticism on display was impressive.

New Zealanders in the NRL 

After a few hours of painstaking research this is what I have come up with. It doesn't include the Warriors who I can get to later. They have 25 eligible 'NZers'. There are eight Australians in their team including Richard Villasanti who has declared his allegiance to Australia.

I've split it by teams. Basically their are two categories. One is players who have, or can represent New Zealand and the other is players I'm not totally sure about (+). Place of birth and (junior clubs) are stated where known. It's a bit of a spot the honky game.

It's also worth noting that not all of them have come into the test frame so there may be a few who are eligible to play for Australia and would choose to do so.

I count at least 40 who are eligible simply because of birth place or the fact that they have already represented New Zealand. Add that to the 25 at the Warriors and you have a total of 65. Also there are five I'm not sure about so potentially there are up to 70 eligible New Zealanders in NRL teams!


Bulldogs (6)
Roy Asotasi b.Auckland (Marist)
Jamaal Lolesi b.Auckland (Aust. junior club)
Hutch Maiava b.Auckland (Mangere East)
Reni Matua b.New Zealand
Matthew Utai b.Auckland (Aust. jc)
Sonny Bill Williams b.Auckland (Marist)

Cowboys (3)
Paul Rauhihi b.Porirua (St George/ Wellington)
David Faiumu (Randwick & Wainuiomata/ Wellington)
Hale Vaasa (Otara & Mt Albert)

Dragons (3)
Henry Perenara b.Auckland (New Lynn)
Edwin Asotasi b.Auckland
Stacey Katu b.Wellington (North City Vikings)

Eels (5)
Nathan Cayliss b.Sydney (Aust. jc) but has played tests for NZ
Fuifui Moimoi (Mt Albert)
David Vaealiki b.Christchurch (Sydenham)
Aaron Cannings b.Auckland (Aust. jc)

Knights (1)
George Carmont (Otahuhu)

Panthers (5?)
Joe Guluvao b.Auckland (Manurewa)
Frank Puletua b.Auckland (Aust. jc)
Tony Puletua b.Auckland (Aust. jc)
Paul Whatuira b.Wellington (Wainuiomata)
(+) Frank Pritchard b.Aust but has represented NZ & NSW at youth levels

Rabbitohs (4)
Davis Faalogo b.New Zealand (Mt Albert)
Mark Leafa b.New Zealand
Filimone Lolohea b.Auckland (Ellerslie Eagles)
Mark Meredith (Aust. jc) but has represented the Junior Kiwis

Raiders (2)
Tyran Smith b.Auckland (Aust. jc)
Ruben Wiki b.Auckland (Otahuhu)

Roosters (1)
Jason Cayless b.Sydney (Aust. jc) but has played tests for NZ

Sea Eagles (2)
Kylie Leuluai b.Auckland (Papatoetoe Panthers)
Dallas Rennie b.Wanganini (Suburbs/ West Coast NZ)

Sharks (3)
Andrew Lomu b.Sydney (Aust. jc) but has played a test for NZ
Nigel Vagana b. Auckland (Richmond)
Jason Williams b. Auckland (Marist Richmond)

Storm (7?)
Alex Chan b.Auckland (Taupo Hawks, Taupo Broncos)
Stephen Kearney b.Paraparaumu (Kapiti)
David Kidwell b.Christchurch (Hornby Panthers)
Robert Tanielu b. Christchurch (Sydenham)
Glen Turner b.Christchurch (Linwood)
(+) Fifita Moala b.Tonga (went to Kelston Boys High)
(+) Antonio Kaufusi b.Tonga (but his idol was Zinzan Brooke hmmmmm)

Tigers (4?)
Benji Marshall b.Whakatane (Aust. jc)
Dene Halatau b.Invercargill (School and junior football in Aust.)
(+) Bronson Harrison b.Auckland (school in Aust., also represented Queensland and Aust Schoolboys)
(+) Gray Viane b.Auckland (Junior Kiwis but also represented NSW Under 19s)

Others worth mentioning
Tony Carroll (Broncos) has played tests for NZ but wanted to play state of origin so quit NZ test side.
Karmichael Hunt (Broncos) born in Auckland but has stated he is too young for test football and wants to play for Queensland and Australia??? Not sure there.
Willie Mason (Bulldogs) born in Auckland but wanted to play for Australia
Solomon Haumono (Sea Eagles) born in Auckland but played origin in the late 90s

*Also Motu Tony and Ali Lauitiiti have both left for England in the course of the season.

One day I may even elaborate on who has actually debuted in the first grade teams. Pretty much all of the above players have made it on to the field either regularly or just recently though.

But do not ask me to do the Super League in England!

Right then! 

I'm thinking of supporting the Raiders instead of the Warriors for some reason...

Meet the Raiderettes

or maybe the Sharks?

Hello Mermaids

And while I wouldn't kick many of them out of bed, there are still some scary looking 'women' in the warriors cheerleaders!.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


What a shit start to my morning. I got out of bed to the beautiful sound of rain pelting on the roof, however I didn't realise then that the abovementioned beautiful rain was pouring into my car through my smashed window after some bastards broke in and stole my stereo.

Fortunately under the rarely-mentioned Section 951 of the United Nations Children Charter I believe parents are responsible for covering the costs of damages to vehicles through theft until their offspring reaches 30 years of age??

Or thats my interpretation of it anyhow.

I'm not sure whether to be relieved or insulted that the mongrels who broke into my car left all the clothes that were sitting on my back seat - I thought they were trendy. A neighbour came out and told me how it had happened to him a while ago and how he felt "violated" by it...come on its only a car stereo.

Still I would have liked to see it happen and grab a carving knife and go and cut the thief some respekt.

Anyhows with the $426 from the dentist on the Bronco's this Friday night you would get a 45% return on your "investment" providing they won and get $617 back in ya pocket.

However I think the Bulldogs ($1.90) to beat the Dragon's ($1.85) would be a smarter bet, also 3 of the bronco's have been struck down by a virus apparently.

Warriors are $1.35 favourites to beat Manly ($3), go figure, this sunday and that's a 50/50 game so attractive odds if you can stomach betting against the Warriors.

The Storm are also paying well ($2) to beat the lowly Eels ($1.75).

Anyhows thats about all I've got to say about that.

Know Your Enemy 

A clever little expose of GWB, still the preferred candidate of 49% of likely American voters.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

OK, maybe you don't need to take a pill 

I sent Steve Davie an email pointing out that a lot of what he had picked on had come out of Durban. Personally I can't vouch for the rest as I've searched all the internet news sites I can find and can't find anything else that he may be referring to. I checked the Sunday Star Times site, the Herald, the tvnz site and Does anybody know of any I'm missing out on? He's a good bloke though all the same. Here's his email back to me:

Just had your email to Panda sent on to me.
Thanks for the feedback - always appreciated.

Haven't seen what was printed in the Herald. I wrote that
article late on Sunday night, having viewed several New
Zealand-based web sites which gave no reference to Reuters or
having originated in South Africa.

And it certainly wasn't a case of Auckland-bashing, rather a
crack at the headlines which were myopic in the extreme.
Hopefully the Herald, through Wynne Gray, would have been more

There is no doubt the two best performed NZ teams got through
while the Blues should have done better keeping in mind their
talent, the Hurricanes were at their erratic best (or worst),
and the Highlanders were simply awful.

Thanks again for your comments.

And I went back to the dentist today.

Another 183 dollars escaping from my wallet. I think I have to go two more times. Some weird shit got put in my mouth today. There was some electronic device that kept beeping away when it made contact with my genitals, WHOOPS! I mean teeth. You'd have thought I was in an American prison for Iraqis if that was the case.

So I'm sitting on 426 dollars down and counting. I'm not a betting man like Bennyasena is here but I sure wish I could put that money on the Broncos to beat the Knights this Friday night at Suncorp. I'd probably get a return of at least 7 dollars from the TAB.

Round Nine brought to you bloody-eyed Bennyasena  

Bar the Warriors/Cowboys match which was embarrassing even to watch the ninth was an intriguing round for rugby league fanatics, and spelled a return to form for bennyasena's punting.

My goal for the weekend - to help compensate for the lack of booze during my self-imposed moratorium - was to watch league until my eyes bled. I started the weekend poorly missing the meaningless Country/City match but from then on in Rupert Murdoch and his minions had my utmost attention.

I started with the West Tigers versus Roosters which was agonising as the Tigers blew chance after chance after chance in the firt half of their 22-0 loss. The Roosters dwarfed the opposition and pounded the Tiger's fullback mercilessly in punishing tackles. He just kept on going back for more though.

Funnily one of the Roosters got temporarily knocked-out by team mate Adrian - hit-ya-round-the-head mongrel - Morley then got up and shoved a Tigers player. The ref told him to piss off and that Morley had hit him.

Next the Warriors...Lauititi may not have had the "desire to wear a grand final ring" but at least he didn't drop the fucking ball every set. In the first half the Warriors completed 9 of their 22 sets which amusingly league journalist Alan Mclauchlan calculated as: "that's nearly a third of sets not completed". Stick to the journalism Alan. SeuSeu and Faumuina were repeat offendors. It was 2 all at half time but I forget the result.

Missed the Sharks/Storm game which the Sharks won 36-26 and I'm picking could threaten the Roosters this weekend. Appears Kimmorley is playing sensational footy and its a shame I have an irrational hatred of the man or I could offer more intelligent analysis of the game.

On Sunday I unloaded on the Bronco's to beat the favoured Raiders and at the end of the first half I was sitting pretty - bar them kicking the ball out on the full from the start then conceding a try immediately afterwards they didn't put a foot wrong - and lead by about 16 points at half time.

Brent Tate was sensational and quick as a wippet. I was looking through some old copies of the Rugby League Weekly last night and Tate was in doubt to play at all this season and was doing light boxing work to try and recover from a shoulder injury as late as round 4.

I can't help but feel that the chip over the line and chase tactic - that the Bronco's employed time after time against the Raiders without success - is a waste of time when you're up against a quality fullback such as Clinton Shifcofske who is simply too good.

However fortunes reversed in the 2nd half and the Raiders played the best footy I've seen in the last few rounds. With about 3 minutes to go - with the Bronco's having held them out for as many as 6 sets of 6 - the raiders trailed by 6 and my heart was in my mouth as they created chance after chance. Then the Bronco's got a break and headed up the paddock when the ref amazingly made a shocking strip-call which gave the Bronco's a penalty and a get out of jail free card. They kicked the penalty goal and then scored a meaningless try with about 5 secs on the clock.

The Panthers predictably pasted the Rabbitohs of which I saw the first half - that Panther Amos Roberts is bloody quick. The other upset of round 9 was when Manly beat the Dragon's which is ominous for the Warriors match against them this week at Ericson.

Is it a problem or a gift that as of about Monday 3pm my thoughts are concentrated solely upon the impending Wednesday morning release of the TAB's rugby league odds?

Monday, May 10, 2004

Take a pill 

That's my advice to Steve Davie. He's a sports broadcaster from down Otago way. Whilst I like listening to his cricket commentaries and find him to be good at that side of things he should engage his brain a little more when he decided to start tapping out things on the internet.

He goes off the rails here describing Auckland's sporting media:
It seems the Auckland rugby media has – like its rampant Ranfurly Shield side of 1985 to '93 – forgotten how to win or lose graciously. Why else would the Stormers' last gasp qualification for the Super 12 semifinals be described as 'sneaking in' and 'stealing' a top four place from the defending champions, the Blues?

One story out of Auckland yesterday suggested the Stormers' place in the top four (they finished third) was courtesy of the bonus point for scoring four tries in the 31-24 eclipsing of the Sharks in the last match of the preliminary series. Conveniently forgotten is the fact the Stormers won seven of their 11 games while the Blues won six.

If either of that pair was going to 'sneak' into the semis by virtue of the bonuses on offer, it would have been the Blues, who finished one point shy on the ladder.
I believe what he is referring to is this from the website. The same story also appeared online in The New Zealand Herald.

Where it states:
The Stormers won a frenetic South African Super 12 derby against the Sharks 31-24 on Saturday to sneak into the semifinals courtesy of the bonus point for scoring five tries ... But the Stormers, needing to score at least four tries and win the match to pip their nearest rivals, the Blues, for a playoff spot, kept their hopes alive with two first-half tries of their own.
I'm not quite sure what the problem is because quite simply if the Stormers had not scored their fourth try about 13 minutes into the second half and then hung on late in the game with a two point lead and The Sharks attacking them they wouldn't have made the semi-finals. The statement is true and a perfectly reasonable one to make. It's also a fact that The Blues went into the game 4 competition points ahead of The Stormers so if The Stormers scored 5 tries and secured the game in the last few minutes then they DID pip The Blues.

I think Mr. Davie is seeing things that aren't there. Another chapter to add to the Auckland conspiracy theories that abound in one of New Zealand's islands.

He goes on:
Another article described the Blues as able to 'consider themselves unlucky after their 50-22 victory over the Highlanders, completing a maximum 15-point haul from their last three matches'.

Yes, the Blues had put together a very fine end to their round robin – the very best possible – but they were still short of the ultimate requirement because of a sluggish start.

No mention of that.

Perhaps this is what you are looking for, in today's NZ Herald (which doesn't come out on sundays so you have to give them a chance I think).

Wynne Gray writes:
As his television beamed in live from Durban until close to dawn yesterday, Sloane begged for a Sharks win, which would have let the Blues sneak into the semifinals.
So now The Blues are doing the sneaking.

And probably the funniest thing about all of this and kind of my punchline at the end of the blog ... It says "-REUTERS" at the bottom of those articles. Does he live in Auckland? Where did he grow up? It sure is an odd name.

Here, you can even read the original report ... which came out of Durban in the South African Reuters online site.


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