The Lineup
B.I.R. Column Of Fame
Man of Steel... Wood... and Mud: Bear Grylls
Rock Legend: Tom Morello

League Gods: The Emperor and Alfie

Str-8 Shoota: Malcolm X

Str-8 Shoota: Zack de la Rocha

Super Bad mofo's

Comrade Hillary

Saturday, July 31, 2004

The NRL run home to the playoffs… 

This is how they shape up as far as I am concerned. I’ll see how I go as things roll along and edit or re-post any necessary changes as my prediction fuck ups occur.

Roosters (32) v Storm (a) win, Sharks (h) win, Panthers (h) win, Raiders (a) win, Warriors (a) win, Eels (h) win
Predicted points and ranking: 44 points; FIRST

Bulldogs (34) v Cowboys (h) win, Broncos (a) loss, Storm (a) win, Knights (h) win, Warriors (a) win
42 points; SECOND

Broncos (32) v Warriors (a) loss (yeah I’m serious), Bulldogs (h) win, Tigers (h) win, Rabbitohs (a) win, Panthers (a) loss
38 points; THIRD

Panthers (26) v Sea Eagles (h) win, Roosters (a) loss, Cowboys (h) win, Eels (a) win, Broncos (h) win
34 points; FOURTH

Dragons (22) v Storm (h) win, Warriors (h) win, Knights (a) loss, Sea Eagles (a) win, bye
30 points; FIFTH

Storm (24) v Roosters (h) loss, Dragons (a) loss, Raiders (a) win, Bulldogs (h) loss, Sharks (a) win, Sea Eagles (a) win
30 points; SIXTH

Raiders (22) v Sea Eagles (a) win, Knights (a) loss, Storm (h) loss, Roosters (h) loss, bye, Rabbitohs (h) win
28 points; SEVENTH

Knights (18) v Rabbitohs (a) win, Raiders (h) win, Sea Eagles (a) win, Dragons (h) win, Bulldogs (a) loss, Tigers (h) win
28 points; EIGHTH

Cowboys (23) v Bulldogs (a) loss, Rabbitohs (h) win, Panthers (a) loss, Tigers (a) loss, Sharks (h) win
27 points; NINTH

Tigers (20) v Rabbitohs (h) win, bye, Broncos (a) loss, Cowboys (h) win, Knights (a) loss
24 points; TENTH

Sharks (20) v Roosters (a) loss, Eels (h) win, bye, Storm (h) loss, Cowboys (a) loss
24 points; ELEVENTH

Warriors (16) v bye, Broncos (h) win, Dragons (a) loss, Eels (a) win, Roosters (h) loss, Bulldogs (h) loss
20 points; TWELTH
If they can beat the Eels away from home in a few weeks they will avoid the wooden spoon and with one upset from the other games should finish in a slightly more respectable position on the ladder. However they have no easy games left and could quite easily lose the lot if they don’t give 100% from here on in.

Eels (16) v Tigers (h) loss, bye, Sharks (a) loss, Warriors (h) loss, Panthers (h) loss, Roosters (a) loss
18 points; THIRTEENTH

Rabbitohs (15) v Knights (h) loss, Tigers (a) loss, Cowboys (a) loss, Sea Eagles (h) win, Broncos (h) loss, Raiders (a) loss
17 points; FOURTEENTH

Sea Eagles (14) v Raiders (h) loss, Panthers (a) loss, Knights (h) loss, Rabbitohs (a) loss, Dragons (a) loss, Storm (h) loss
14 points; DEAD LAST

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Thanks to 

Well the site is sorted out again after some technical glitches at

And we should thank the friendly folk there who do a great job of improving the system and also reply to all my ruddy emails about how to do this or that, or what's going on ? blah blah blah.

Now I'm off to watch Barcelona play against a Korean team (Suwon). Well that is if we can get tickets. 28 bucks for the cheapest seats. Na-e-seu (that's 'nice' in Korean).

I also can't resist linking to this.....
Get ya motor running...head out in ya scooter!!!

My favorite line being:
"I'm not a boozer, I like my three gins and a beer and that's not drinking is it?" asks Mr Stewart.
If I'm eighty and can knock back three gins and a beer without considering it drinking then I'll be one hell of a happy eighty year old. A pretty drunk one as well.

Very Evil 

So the New Zealand Herald now has its own Jayson Blair: Renee Kiriona.

Kiriona apparently cut and pasted large sections of a Waikato Times journalist's story on league star and recent amputee Tawera Nikau and then filed it as her own. 

Whether or not Nikau directed her to a website where the story was run in full and unattributed it seems somewhat lazy to just cut and paste anything verbatim off the net doesn't it?

I can't find the apology on the herald's website nor the story in question,I think it was called "The Power of One".

Much was made of Blair being an ethnic minority when the story broke, I haven't met Kiriona but her name suggests she is Maori, I wonder if that's where the story will go?

But lets compare apples with apples this is,  as far as i know, a one-off whereas Blair had filed dozens of false reports.

The New York Times to its credit ran a 14,000 word story on how Blair had fooled them and how they would prevent from it occuring again, I wonder if the Herald will do similarly or if the plagiarism will remain a one-off, albeit pg3, apology.

Continuing on the NZ Herald I read these comments from Whangarei Distrcit Court Judge Thomas Everitt in the paper today:

"He was intending to contaminate his fellow employees with a very evil substance that makes people behave in a criminal way."  

A man had been pulled over by the police eating a cannabis cookie which he said was just to help him through the day, we can all appreciate that. A further search of the car revealed 17 tinnies - value $20 each - in addition to more cookies.

The man, a labourer, said he was going to sell the tinnies to his colleagues. The judge also remanded him in custody until August 11.

OK the guy had $340 worth of weed on him that he was intending to sell - but "contaminate his fellow employees with a very evil substance" - umm hello Judge it's Whangarei ain't it?....

"Very evil" huh? The only weed I've ever smoked has been more or less neutral in terms of spirituality or good and evil, although there was that one time: "Bennyasena come join the
darkside," it hissed as my bong bubbled.

"that makes people behave in a criminal way," by very definition of marijuana being illegal
people enjoying a toke are behaving in a criminal way but that ain't what the judge meant.

I enjoyed a smoke at a party last night and didn't feel any more or less criminally inclined than normal, come to think of it nor did any of the people I was smoking with appear to.

Then again I'm just a smartarse with a keyboard I'm sure the judge is much more learned than I.

Don't Smoke the Blue Dope!!! 

You have been warned!  Well kind of.  Now the cops are gonna go about looking for people coughing up blood.

In other non-related news it's 73 degrees celcius in Korea and at night no less.

And in further non-related news, the Democrats are having a wee convention in Bostin and with the election coming up had better not fuck it up! 

We are relying on you guys to shave Bush from the White House.

Although it may be a little hard judging by the coverage it's getting on the free to air networks.  Today on CNN World Wolf Blitzer was hosting a discussion group from inside the convention centre and the subject came up of how the mainstream networks are basically absent and only showing about one hour from the centre each day.

Seems a bit sad when the future of the World is at stake.  Maybe all the potential viewers are off at the cinema watching fictitious American Presidents saving the world from alien infested asteroids which are about to crash into the sea just off the coast from California.  Where the president has paddled his cayak and is now machine gunning down the dirty Arabs, whoops I mean aliens as he surfs a 400 foot wave.

Also during the day Micheal Moore was actually allowed inside it appeared and was being interviewed by what's his face from the Today Show.  How can I forget his name, he's so ruddy famous and I see him everyday when I get home from work?!  He's the one that annoys the crap out of me by 'interviewing' all the celebs (read sucking their $#$$%%^).

Anyhow Moore mentioned that he polls are very misleading as even though most Americans don't usually (EVER) vote that this time around things are far different than in the past due to Sept. 11 where something really bad happened I take it.  He thinks that everybody has been politicized and that since the polls are only recording likely voters rather than everybody that there may be a swing to the left if more people can be convinced TO DO THERE BLOODY DUTY.  Moore reckons he is on a mission in the lead up to the election to get as many people as possible to vote.

And on a thoroughly pleasant note, Stereogram have been nominated in four categories at the mtv awards.  All four are for the video titled Walkie Talkie Man which you can view if you follow that link.  It's a fantastic video and hopefully nabs them something.

and did I mention it's really hot in Korea?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Referees Gone Hard !!! 

With all this referee beating that's been going on in NZ recently I thought I should link this article as a fine example of what referees in NZ may wish to do.

What do you reckon?

I mean a glock would be fine for picking the odd culprit off but if the whole team has been giving you lip then an AK-47 might be more to your liking.  And at the after match function if your name fails to get mentioned in a positive light then a stinger missile would be the go for sure.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Map This! 

The NYT has a great interactive map offering a state-by-state breakdown of voting patterns in advance of the Presidential election (you can also look at Senate, House, and Gubernatorial races if you're really keen).

It's worth registering (if you haven't already) just to have have a look at this map. At first, things look grim for John Kerry because of so many dark red (safe Republican, using the US back-to-front colour coding system) States, especially in the centre of the country. However, when you adjust the view (hit "View map according to Electoral Votes") the size of the states is adjusted to reflect the electoral college votes at stake, and things look a bit better (thanks New York and California).

It occurred to me that every poor share cropper, cotton picker, and retail clerk in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee etc. votes with their class interests, we'll still see the back of GW. Getting them out to vote might be something of a challenge, though. As was the case in the recent Canadian election, including in my own relatively impoverished riding, where the bastard Tory snuck back in.

C'mon blue! (ironic, I know, given the normal colour coding of politics). 

The last time a fair number of states voted for a Democrat was in 1964 for LBJ (e.g., Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota)! Safe to say they're Republican strongholds. Of course there are no comparable list of Democratic strongholds, given Reagan's near-clean-sweep in 1984. The only comparable state is Minnesota, the one Mondale held in 1984 (by 0.18%!), and which last voted Republican in 1972 for Nixon. Fucker.

Interesting, Minnesota is now listed as a swing state which is a bit depressing, as are Washington and Oregan. Hell if they voted for Dukakis in 88 (as they all did) they can goddam vote for Kerry now.

I know I've bored my friends with this point a few times, but given the influence the U.S. President has over all our lives, I feel we should all have a vote!


Nibbling Satire 

"Biting Satire" heralds Eating Media Lunch's New North Rd billboard.

While I would definitely label the show's first season, 2003, as flesh-tearingly humorous I felt the impact of its second season could be likened more to the pressure of an octanarian's toothless gums salivating on your forearm.     

Week-after-week my flatmates and I have sat through tedious, long-winded and frequently unfunny epsiodes of this much anticipated second season.

The show is supposed to "reveal the best and worst of the media from broadcast to broadsheet". 

In one of the less interesting episodes this season the show visited a West Coast community paper where the local reporter was doing vox pops.

This was conveyed to viewers as something extraordinary, as if the local readership was getting unprecedented coverage; as if similar vox pops don't feature in countless other publications throughout New Zealand.

I missed the point of that story and wonder why it was even covered?  

Similarly mundane were the show's interviews with journalism students and its Fieldays coverage.   

It also seems to me that the show's host, Jeremy Wells - Newsboy - is a little too aloof to do consistently interesting interviews.

His off-the-cuff interview questions - infamously, he once asked one of the Lord of the Rings cast members what they thought of New Zealand pussy - have become somewhat predicable.

I finally sat down last Tuesday night with pen and paper ready to do an in-depth review on an episode and was mildly annoyed.... it was bloody funny.   

It was this season's final and Newsboy did a classic pisstake on the SuperSize Me  - McDonalds doco  - and solely ate Middle Eastern kebabs for a month and gradually turned into a Koran-toting terrorist, however his cholesterol levels and overall health had improved considerably.       

But i think a Simpson's episode last week might sum up a little of how i feel about Eating Media Lunch.

In it Krusty the Clown's ratings are plummeting - due to the failings of the Itchy and Scratchy cartoon - and ratings showed three quarters of watchers would change the channel when the cartoon appeared.

I wouldn't be surprised if Eating Media Lunch's cartoon, Media Dog, had the same effect.

Its reliance upon crass humour - weekly scenes of Media Dog masturbating, or eating the ass of another character all while pretending to muse intelligently - has become tedious and the mutt seems to keep trying harder to be more "shocking" so as to get a laugh.

Boring not biting satire.

I thought Well's conclusion in its 2004's series illustrated the show is resting on its' laurels.

In its first season the show concluded with a sensationally funny pisstake on presenter Paul Holmes' national television apology - Holmes had labelled the head of the United Nations Kofi Annan a "cheeky darkie".

The apology was mimicked sincerely by Wells' word-for-word until the final word when instead of saying sorry Wells let out, what was by anyone's standards, an excellent burp. 

In 2004 Well's just finished with an seemingly unrelated fart.
(I acknowledge I could be compromised here, I once applied for a researcher's job at Eating Media lunch and although I was told they'd be in contact asap they never did.

I don't know if acknowledging a potential bias is even still required in the media: "The Opinion" newspaper gets by, by saying "always an honest opinion", and doesn't mention its contributor's are all right-wing politicians/spokepeople/lunatics)

Sunday, July 25, 2004

NRL Expansion 

Sticking with league tonight.  I'm sure most sporty heads out there have heard whispers that the NRL is considering three expansion bids for the 2006 season.

Now the word on the street recently has been that they will not accept any new teams into the league and will look again at the possibility in 2006.  Citing financial reasons and also playing strength as barriers to expansion at the moment.

However there have been much smaller whispers in the last week or so that there may be another outcome of all this thinking going on at HQ which I believe may well happen.  Especially given that a decision was supposed to have been made in early to mid May but was then put off until late July which is nearing an end without many hints [and I now hear mid august being mentioned].  If there really was going to be no expansion or changes made then surely something would have been said by now.

So then drum roll please for my idle speculation.....

The Melbourne Storm will be relocated to the Gold Coast (one of the three bidders).  The reason being that they have very poor home crowds.  Despite sitting pretty in 5th spot and boasting the best attack in the league with almost 30 points averaged a game they are attracting the worst crowds in the league at just 8,638 per game.  That's around 1,000 less than the Rabbitohs (known for having small crowds), 2,000 less than the Warriors this season (and we know how bad their crowds have been) and 3,000 less than the Sea Eagles who haven't been much to write about on the field this year.

People will argue that it would be bad for the regional expansion of the game but after several years in the city and by and large very good results by any standards - any especially considering they are a non-rugby league area historically - the crowds are woeful and really not up to scratch in a league which is averaging 14,500+ a game this season.  How long can those at HQ sit on their hands and let a team play before largely empty stands despite producing good results?  I'd say that even if they escape for the time being that if they don't get those crowds up and up in a big way then they will be shuffled off to the Gold Coast a few years from now.

By comparison North Queensland sit a few spots below the Storm on the ladder and have a much smaller population base in Townsville than down in Melbourne yet they average a sizeable 16,157 per game this season.

The reason why I suggest they would relocate to the Gold Coast rather than the Central Coast is that the latter would play in Gosford where 20% of Express Advocate Stadium is owned by North Sydney Leagues Club and any team there would have to be called the Central Coast Bears (for legal reasons).  This basically shuts out the possibilty of any relocations by current teams.

I reckon that the Wellington bid is also a very outside chance of being accepted but if it isn't don't be surprised to see them running around in the NRL in 2010 if not earlier.  The main worry is ... will they get 10,000+ week after week regardless of how they are travelling?  Which is really the minimum that the league should be accepting given the growing popularity of the league in recent years.  Mediocrity should not be accepted. 

Looking back at a couple of teams from that general area who played in the NRL in the 1990s...

South Queensland had a team which averaged a very good 13,386 people per game (although they were losing support with 21,029 in 1995, 13,016 in 1996 and 7,003 in 1997).  They finished dead last in the NRL half of the competition in 1997 when the Super League had set up it's rival competition.  People knew that the two sides were making peace and that the Crushers wouldn't be involved in any new competition so they unsurprisingly abandoned them in their final year. 

Gold Coast averaged 7,272 per game which is pretty awful though they did under achieve quite a lot and the population in the area is growing rapidly and the profile of the game has also risen enough to suggest that they could get that over the 10,000 mark week in and week out.  Given that they averaged 5-7,000 from their first season in 1988 to their last in 1997 I would say that they are probably the weakest of the three bids though in terms of bums on seats.

The Central Coast bid looks like it is probably the strongest given the backing by a rich geezer who has said he will fund them out of his own pocket even if they have shortfalls and they don't need any money from the NRL (new teams get 2.5 mill from the league). 

This season they hosted a pre season game between the Tigers and the Rabbitohs I think which drew a little over 10,000 and they drew the same figure for the round 15 clash which the Bulldogs played against the Raiders so they have a little more ammo for their bid there as well.

While the Wellington bid would probably draw decent crowds with folks from up the Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata driving down every weekend.  And of course the latte sipping brigade from just down the road coming along when the team is doing well or fashionable at least.  Of course Helen Clark (being a Mt Albert Lions (bastards) fan from way back) would probably pop down now and again as well.

Actually thinking about the weather down in Wellington for the recent rugby test perhaps the Wellington Storm wouldn't be such a bad sounding name either!

My dirty money is on the Central Coast bid to be accepted this year with the team entering the comp possibly in 2005.  Then in 2006 or 7 the Storm will be shuffled off to the Gold Coast and then in 2008 the Wellington team (Southern Orcas) will be accepted into the competition.

And ahhh stay tuned for my playoff frame analysis in the next day or two.  It's been written, just waiting for the right time to shove it down the pipe.  And if you are wondering howcome I've written so much in one day it's because I bought a couple of bottles of cheap French wine (trust me at the supermarket I went to there was nothing but cheap wine) and my fiance got hammered on it.  This has mean't any possibility of leaving the apartment was dealt a severe blow.  And here was me wanting to head down to Suwon WC Stadium to watch some Korean soccer.  Never mind, still 20 games left in the season.

Technical Difficulties... 

Dear Readers ... our apologies for the current look of the site. Our template has been scrambled for reasons we cannot fathom. Anyway, we're still posting (well, some of us are), and the latest contributions remain vaguely legible, so don't despair. Between this and the fact that 3/5 contributors can't view the site, we're experiencing a few setbacks, but nothing that will knock us down for too long.

Warriors Nonsense 

What the hell is all this about?!

The Warriors can ill afford to be falling out with the few media organisations that actually give them and league in general any coverage so they'd better sort it out fast.  I imagine that the NZ Herald would be quite happy to not worry about covering league but they sure as hell need Radio Sport onside. 

In the case of Radio Sport, the heart of the discord is a number of incidents with the club over the last 12 months following what the Warriors deem to be unfavourable on-air comments by hosts.

On Wednesday the station's long-time league commentator, Alan McLaughlin, was phoned by a club official and told he would not be welcome at training. The call followed on-air comments made on Monday afternoon by host Willie Lose while in conversation with a talkback caller. 

The former Tongan international union player said Pacific Island rugby was better off without the involvement of the Warriors parent company, Cullen Sport. It was a reference to a failed attempt by Cullen earlier this year to put together a Super 12 and test side of island players.

Personally I can't see what is wrong with Lose's comments.  I mean maybe the Pacific Islands venture would be better off and maybe they wouldn't but it's a simple matter of opinion and Lose and other hosts shouldn't be gagged simply because there is a commercial arrangement between the Warriors and Radio Sport.  I'm sure dozens of sports have commercial arrangements with them so does that mean that none of the hosts can say anything negative about any of those sports.  And besides Willie Lose is a nice intelligent guy so chill out Watson!

Moving on to the AB's test.  For a very long time there I thought I had seen a complete reversal and was watching the same team that played Australia in last years WC semi.  They looked quite clueless in up against in your face defence and it was a stern talking to at halftime that whipped them into shape.  Unfortunately again hands let them down at crucial moment.  Meeuws knocked on three times in attacking positions int he second half by my count.  Also Marshall had a very mediocre game and Spencer was diabolocal in the first half and merely ok in the second.

The forwards really guts it out though and eventually a pretty average Springbok team couldn't hold out any longer.  The AB's are definately benefiting from the very weak standard of international rugby at the moment though.  They hit an English team that has passed it's best, an Australian team that has nothing up front at all, and a youngish Springbok team who really lack serious leadership in the pack and in fact have stuff all to offer except 100% committment and a bit of pace when they can actually get their hands on the ball.  If possession had been 50/50 we would have been staring at a defeat a fair way out from the finish.  But denying the opposition the ball takes skill and at least that's one part of our game that we can't have any complaints about this year.

Oh well, rack up the easy wins when we can.

And the Warriors are up 22-18 after 54 minutes in their round 19 clash with the Raiders.  Could this be a true sign that the club has actually started to make forward steps?  I have a nagging feeling we will fold late in the game and the Raiders will sneak home at home but even Raiders fans are complaining about their team not having enough talent across the field and Mark McLindon has to do too much work for them.  Though I notice that Clinton Schifcofske leads several statistical categories this season for metres gained in the competition and that Matthew Gafa has scored 14 points today, not to mention they have a bloke called Ruben Wiki as well so they can't be that hard up.

Warriors - Raiders games have a habit of being close.  Last time they met the margin was 6 points in favour of the Warriors while before that the margins were 1 point (W), 8 points (W), 8 points (R), 16 points (W), 8 points (R), 12 points (W)...  All time it's nine wins to the Raiders and eight wins to the Warriors before todays game.

The top 8 looks like it's almost sorted itself out.  Roosters (32), Bulldogs (32), Broncos (30), Panthers (26), Storm (24) all certainties, with the Dragons (20), Raiders (20), Sharks (20), Cowboys (19), Knights (18) and Tigers (18) left fighting for the other 3 spots.  I reckon you can write the Cowboys and Tigers off and pencil in the Dragons and Raiders.  So that leaves it down to the Sharks and the Knights to duel for the last spot.  I hate the Knights so I'll be backing the Sharks to keep the lads from Newcastle out of the playoffs for the first time since 1996 when they finished one spot out of the playoffs (9th) in the days of the 20 team comp.

[and so we lost by a point in extra time.  Stupid rule.  The Raiders (22) got payback for when we beat them by one point in the playoffs the other year.  Also the Cowboys (21) beat the Knights (18) in Newcastle also in a Golden point game to throw the cat amongst the pigeons a bit.  Dragons (22) took care of the Sharks (20) this avo' so things are getting real interesting.  If the Warriors had won they would have been sitting on 18 points after next weeks bye but that loss has extinguished any slim playoff hopes completely.

All this is going to force me into going over the remaining fixtures to get a better handle on who we will see running around come September.]

Saturday, July 24, 2004

I felt great until the Tequila 

OK since the site has gone nuts with the formatting for now apparent reason I'll try reposting this post and deleting the one that is all over the place and see what happens.  Not that I can view the page to see the result mind you.

And that's enough about my Friday night.   Very briefly allow me to give you June's Entertainment News.  Recently I saw Shrek 2 which Bluebeardnz hated but I thought was ok.  The Day After Tomorrow which was absolute crap but better than a few of those other "the President is the last to leave and the hero" rather than reality - where he ran like a screaming sissy (September 11) - movies.  And then a few days ago I saw the third Harry Potter movie which was a great big 130 minute yawn festival.  The extent to which Rowling ripped off the Lord of the Rings books is becoming quite amazing.  But I reckon if you were really stoned the plot could have done just enough to confuse the fuck out of you and make it quite entertaining.
Kind of like the time I watched Memento and didn't realise the plot was playing backwards until about 20 minutes from the end.  Fantastic stuff.  

Anyhow onto boring sport.  The AB's played well except for their ball handling which was abysmal.  The Aussies on the other hand were absolutely, pathetically... useless.  They may as well have not even bothered coming.  Dry field and that would have been a massive win to the ABs.  Unfortunately the ABs took the wrong option a few times or spilt the ball when it felt like a try wasn't too far away.  They should have really scored three tries at least and hit the 30 point area which would have summed up the game better and made you wonder how many it would have been if we ever had decent weather in NZ winters and STOPPED PLAYING STINKING NIGHT TESTS ALL THE TIME!!!  

The game was horrible to watch and I'd like an apology from somebody for having to sit through it.  Anybody will do, you can email me and apologise if you want.  Just make it sincere.  Thanks.

The Warriors have now started to get a degree of normality back into their scores.   20-10 win over the Eels. 14-22 loss to the Sharks. 34-20 win over the Rabbitohs.   But they lie 6 points outside the top eight with just 14 points remaining.  If they beat the inconsistent Raiders next week in Canberra and then pick up two points for the bye they would give themselves a slim chance of making it but they have a nasty run home and it would be a decent sized upset winning next week.  So lets pass on that for the moment.  

On to a totally different sport.  The World Pool Championships has been live on TV from Taiwan everyday for the last week or so and the final is on tonight.  By "Pool" it means nine ball because if they played what we know as pool they would walk through the racks with their eyes closed.   The two finalists are a Philipino bloke representing Canada and a local Taiwanese lad.  The greatest moment of the tournament had to be this American tosspot named Earl "the pearl" Strickland being eliminated.  He really needs to see a psychologist.  I've seen him playing a number of times before and he throws wobblies over anything and everything.  I recall him telling the referee to shut up at last years world champs but he fires barbs around at his opponent, the audience and the ref like he's an American gunner with a civilian population in his sights (video to follow).   

And I'm sure that there were seveal other things I wanted to blog about but my brain is in the middle of the weekend (where it switches down a few gears) and still a bit 'water logged' with some evil poison from a couple of nights ago.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Dunedin short-changed! 

New Zealand cricket has just announced its schedule for this summer.

The first thing to note is that it has axed the Boxing Day Test in Wellington, effectively killing what might have become a great tradition, akin to that at the MCG. The obvious motivation for this is that it can instead play a ODI at Eden Park on Boxing Day, charging ODI prices to 40,000 people. Martin Sneddon doesn't say that though, instead proclaiming that moving tests to mid-late summer will offer better chances of good weather:

Snedden said the new format would allow test cricket to be played at a time when weather was likely to be more settled.
He might have a point - but let's be honest here Martin, your real motivation is money. And I find it hard to believe you'd prefer to have a ODI washed out (even with a reserve day) than a test.

The second thing to note is that Dunedin will see not a single day of international cricket this season!

Auckland (popn 1,200,000) gets 11 days
Christchurch (popn 358,000) gets 7 days
Wellington (popn 363,000) gets 12 days
Hamilton (popn 179,000) gets 7 days
New Plymouth (popn 49,500) gets 1 day
Napier (popn 56,700) gets 2 days
Queenstown (popn 20,000) gets 1 day

Dunedin (popn 113,600) gets nothing!

*updated popn counts (2003 estimates) courtesy of StatsNZ and BB.

Here's what Martin has to say:

Unfortunately Carisbrook will miss out on an ODI match against Australia.

"The venue authority had been offered a mid-week match but would not agree to a condition that rugby not be played on the ground for a period of five days before the ODI match.

"The lack of a drop-in pitch at the ground presents too much risk to NZC should rugby be played at the ground before an ODI.

"This issue highlights the ongoing difficulty of utilising dual purpose grounds once the Super 12 rugby series begins."
Well, OK, I can understand that, but why then does NZ's fifth largest urban area not host a single game during the entire international season? I don't think Super 12 is played in December or January (yet), so how about a one-dayer against Sri Lanka (at least!). You've got a lot to answer for here, Martin, and I'm not just talking about the time you conceded over 100 runs in a ODI.

I guess I could drive to Queenstown and/or Christchurch to see some of the games, but I don't know if I want to drive that far, and spend so much of my own time, just to line the pockets of NZ Cricket.

Yours, Pissed Off in Dunedin.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Kentucky Fried Murderers 

I wonder if any of these workers have recently come back from Iraq?  I won't be going to KFC for a fair while I reckon.

Got mould growing everywhere in the apartment at the moment, so have to peel up the lino and turn the floor heating up to dry the floors out.   The servicemen reckon it's a combination of the boiler having problems, all the rain we have had (and hot temps causing 95% humidity) plus my apartment being a basement (dungeon) apartment.  Basically everything is wet from the air.  Blankets, paper, walls, water, me.  I can't remember what percent of humans is supposedly water but it's definately gone up in these here parts.

Also I'm going to start a band and call it Lucy the One-Armed Chimpanzee, except I'm too lazy to recruit members or write songs.  And I can't play an instrument nor read music or sing.  But I can play ping pong quite well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Boys in (Black and) Blue 

Now this is what I call fine police work.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Analysing Sport 

I was doing a bit of browsing and I noticed that we seem to be getting some slightly conflicting write ups in the media regarding the AB v Wallaby test match in the weekend.
Now of course when you have sport you are always going to get differing opinions but some of it seems to indicate that either a) people saw different games or b) people just didn't really watch it that closely.
Here's what David Long wrote in about Xavier Rush (note I generally find Long's player ratings to be ok but I would probably disagree significantly with about half of his comments and score every time, I'd like to know how long he has before publishing deadlines):
Tackled non-stop all night and revelled in the style of game played because of the poor weather. Was even better in the second half and arguably had his best game yet for the All Blacks. 8 [/10 rating]

Now I agree that Rush did play a good game.  Certainly better than many of his team mates but according to Tracey Nelson's statistics from the match he only made two tackles in the second half after making five in the first.  Certainly two tackles is hardly a lot and an average of one tackle every 11 and a half minutes doesn't seem "non-stop" to me, but then again the ABs dominated possession so much that he wouldn't have had to make many.  Also number 8's are supposed to drop deep to field kicks very often and if you drop deep and the opposition make a few hitups you again are not in much of a position to be scoring tackling points.
Anyhow where I thought Rush had a good game was with the ball in hand.  He made some decent runs and seemed to be getting right in there in the second half.  It's a shame that Tracey Nelson doesn't record the number of times a player handles the ball in the match as we really need to know that to see how much a player contributed and also how many metres they gained.  But that would take her an eternity to do on top of the other stats which is why we need somebody out there helping her!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If we had kept stats on ball handling and metres gained we could have seen that Ruben Thorne received the ball from the ruck 23 times in a game for a net loss of 33 metres :)
One other thing I'm confused about is how the "first 3 to breakdown" is counted.
For instance Marshall is recorded as being in the first 3 to the breakdown twice despite making 4 tackles in the match.  Now obviously when a player is first to the player with the ball and then tackles them then they are FIRST to the breakdown.  In fact they are causing the breakdown.  I'm not sure why it wouldn't include those statistics but I suppose she doesn't want to give players credit twice for one act.  But IMO tackles are generally more important than merely turning up in the first three and there are relatively few of them in a game.  Take a look at Hayman's figures for example, he made a mere three tackles in the match but was in the first 3 to the breakdown 36 times, a big effort from a big guy.
Anyhow, the statistics she provides are pretty informative all the same.
It's quite amazing that in the year 2004 there aren't far more comprehensive statistics kept by the footballing bodies themselves.  LAZY ARROGANT PRICKS pure and simple. 
Check out the NRL for how it should be done.
I can see that in 2004 Richard Villasanti has made 254 tackles this season.  The AB's combined for 50 tackles against Australia while making 114 against the Pacific Island team , 104 against Argentina, 95 in the second test v England and 87 in the first test for a combined 450 in 5 tests.  So they average having to make 90 a game.  The Warriors made 288 in the game v the Rabbitohs in the weekend as a comparison of the codes.
Back to Villasanti he averages 16.9 tackles per game and has made 15 offloads, assisted for one try, made 2 line breaks, 161 hitups for 1381 metres gained for an average of 8.57 metres per carry, made 5 dummy half runs, comitted 19 errors and missed 31 tackles.
Oh to have a few statisticians recording that type of thing in NZ and making the information publicly available.
Hell while I'm at it here are the league leaders from the NRL this year...
POINTS: Hazem El Masri 194 (Bulldogs)
TRIES: Amos Roberts 18 (Panther but signed for the Roosters for 2005)
GOALS: Hazem El Masri 79
TACKLES: Matt Hilder 600 (Sharks)
OFFLOADS: Clinton Schifcofske 61 (Raiders)
KICKS: Kurt Gidley 229 (Knights)
TRY ASSISTS: Matt Orford 29 (Storm)
LINE BREAKS: Willy Tonga 20 (Bulldogs)
HITUPS: Clinton Schifcofske 342
METRES: Clinton Schifcofske 2945
Right back to the rugby test.  One review I did like was this one at the haka website.  In fact it's damn near perfect as far as I am concerned.
My favourite lines coming at the beginning.  His straight shooting style reminds me of somebody...
The conditions have been called "very, very tough" (Nathan Sharp), and "atrocious" (some dumbass journalist) [Tracey Nelson referred to the conditions as being "atrocious" actually muhahaha], but in fact what we had was an averagely cold winter's evening with some rain. What we didn't have was the mud of a badly drained footy pitch, heavy kit, and a heavy leather ball of yesteryear. So don't talk to me of "atrocious", that's complete bollocks, and no excuse for some of the crap passing and catching (or lack of it) going on in our backline. The phrase "couldn't catch a cold" came to mind, especially when Rokocoko gifted the Wallabies an ill-deserved try from a fuckup under an aimless high ball from Giteau.

and then he/she later nails the perfect comparison...

So, it wasn't at all clinical the way, to take an example, the All Blacks of 1996 were in their 43-6 demolition of Australia at Athletic Park that year in what has been rightfully dubbed The Perfect Game. Also played in "atrocious" conditions (this time with the mud), the Australians were left in NO doubt who was second best on the scorebaord. In this test we have more or less 80% territory and struggled to put the game away. The effect was the Wallabies were in with a chance of winning the test for some 76 minutes.


Sunday, July 18, 2004

A Balmy Wellington Evening 

Watched the game last night, in which NZ dominated throughout, but had trouble scoring. In the first half the team seemed to be under the distinct impression that they wouldn't be able to catch the ball when it's wet (unlike, say, most players over the age of 13), and so they tried to slog it out, with "runners" receiving the ball from a standing start right next to the ruck. I was reminded of what Yamis wrote after NZ's predictable loss to Australia in the WC: 

Aussie didn't even  have to defend that well because we simply didn't even  test them. Guys were getting the ball 4 metres wide  of the ruck standing still and trying to set up second  phase ball, but it was pointless because we were  getting belted backwards and they didn't have to  commit anybody to the breakdown. Hell any good club  rugby team would have clobbered some of the runners we  saw last night. Fuck even my team wouldn't have  believed their eyes at the sight of a bloody great  forward getting static ball right in front of them and  barely raising a jog into us. It's meat and drink defensive work.

It's just that on this occasion the Aussies weren't really up for "belting" our forwards backwards, or in fact doing anything that might gain them some territory and some advantage.

The second half was a different story, with both teams - but especially NZ - realizing that they could string two or more passes together without necessarily spilling the ball. For heaven's sake, it's a winter game people.

More generally, I got to thinking about "what are the qualities of a good sport" ... a few suggestions applicable to most "running with a ball/puck and try to get to the other end" sports:

1. There should seldom be any incentive to give away possession
2. There should seldom be any incentive to put the ball/puck out of play
3. If a ball/puck does go out of play, it should be quickly reintroduced
4. Where stoppages occur, the game should restart quickly and simply
5. There should be few occasions on which the ball/puck is static for any length of time
I'm afraid on all these counts, rugby union is often severely lacking relative to sports I enjoy watching, most notably league, hockey, and soccer.

Compare the method of restarting the game in soccer following the ball going out of play (overhead throw from the touchline) with the often torturous process of setting up a line out.

Compare the relative simplicity of the NHL face-off with the cumbersome rugby union scrum ... after 3 or 4 attempts to get the scrum to set properly, and the associated waste of 60 seconds or more, I'm reaching for the remote control. While the commentators harp on about the NZ forwards' dominance (not evident in any metres being gained during the scrum, btw) I reach for the remote control. 

The words "paint" and "drying" spring to mind...
I guess basketball meets most or all of the criteria I mention above, and in light of this I'd like to propose a 6th: scoring a goal, point, try or touchdown is something that should require considerable effort and skill - not something that occurs every 25 seconds.



Friday, July 16, 2004

Commuting thoughts 

"How long does it take for you to get this into your thick skull?" was a question I was bombarded with many times during my education.

However all them school lessons must have finally paid off for now I am even noticing grammatical mistakes as I commute to work.

I was driving down Ponsonby Road today when I noticed an interesting billboard, for an emergency 24-hour clinic, which goes something like:

"Worried about the baby at 2am in the morning? Don't lose sleep over it."

You would like to think that sign-writers had a bit more of a grasp on the old English.

Secondly, if you were worried about your child at 2am and decided to take them to the 24-hour White Cross clinic, wouldn't you still be losing sleep?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Still don't give a f*ck 

Well, returning to New Zealand means that sooner or later you encounter the woeful evening news. I historically watched TV3, so I gave it another go last night.

That was my first mistake. I should have kept reading my book, and only turned on the TV in time for the Simpsons at 7.

Anyhow, the lead story - if you can call it that - concerned the failure of a small-to-mid sized business venture launched by Suzanne Paul. Only in NZ could this woman be a celebrity somehow worthy of our attention. For the uninitiated, she made a decent sum of money as the "host" (if you can call it that) of infomercials. A voice like a hacksaw going through a lead pipe. Anyway, she set up some company in Auckland catering to tourists, and it failed. Big deal. I believe creditors were seeking the grand total of $150k. We're not talking Enron here. The reporting into this non-event went on for what seemed like eternity, and I was considerably dumber for having watched it.

I forget what the second story was, but in third of fourth place was another total POS about some Art award, in which NZ was going to be represented by a long-drop toilet and a braying mule. I kid you not. Anyway, TV3 had dredged up a few people to complain about this "art", although if you ask me it represents the standard of NZ TV journalism pretty well.

Well, at least Shrek (the sheep, not the animation) isn't the lead story anymore - he dominated the headlines for weeks last time I was back.

My advice to the populace: whatever you're doing at 6pm in NZ, don't turn on the TV.

Inject this  

So, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that Cycling Australia is to be "rocked" by the latest allegations of doping in the sport? Yeah OK.

"Sean Eadie and Cycling Australia are expected to be rocked further today by confirmation that Customs officials intercepted a second drugs package addressed to the cyclist."

Have professional athletes really sunk to the depth where they would use illegal stimulants to artificially enhance their performances? Say it ain't so.

These allegations of drug use in cycling must really have caught Cycling Austrlaia off-guard.

What next? Drugs in athletics?

I say let athletes use whatever they choose, the wealthy western athletes - Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones etc - are always going to be a step ahead of the testing methods so it's only ever the poorer/dumber cheats who will be punished.

But one of the dumbest drug-cheating athletes of recent times didn't even get punished: Mark "have a line lover then put on the saddle" Todd. The New Zealand Olympic Committee did a good job of upkeeping our nation's sporting integrity there. NOT.

League players can't even turn up to training hungover or they get dropped from the team.

Although, I must say, gross drug-abuse has certainly helped me endure the Warriors abysmal season to date. Unfortunately for my employers it doesn't seem to enhance my productivity come Monday.

But look out next year with Ruben Wiki and Steve Price on the way they will be back to their best next season, roll on 2005 is all i can say.

I'm a little perplexed at the decision to keep Monty Betham on as captain however, to me he seems like to much of a scrapper to offer solid leadership.

Perhaps giving the captaincy to Wiki would help lessen the pressure on Monty and allow him to concentrate on keeeping his tackles down during the Golden Point period.

Rabbitohs at $2.60 aren't bad money against the woeful Warriors $1.40. Raiders at $2.70 to beat the Panthers $1.42 - who are back to full-strength - is also an outside chance.

But if I had $100 bucks to bet this weeekend it would go squarely on the Bronco's to outclass the Newcastle Knights this weekend at $1.60.

In other news the controversial Fight For Life is heading back to Auckland at the end of the month.

The annual celebrity boxing evening helps raise funds for children's causes; this year meningitis, in previous times anti-suicide measures.

A relative of mine went to the first ever Fight For Life charity event a few years ago and memorably described it to me as the "best night ever in my miserable fucking life" which I just can't forget.

This year former league star Tawera Nikau - who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident - is fighting and it should be extremely interesting, I wonder what its like to beat up a cripple?

Don't get me wrong he'd kick my ass but it should make interesting television.

The show's got me thinking who would I like to fight the most; for a good cause that is.

After giving it quite some thought - Police Association spokesman Greg "roll a joint and go-to-ground" O'Connor (he's everything I hate about public relations and the police just rolled into one)came runner-up - I've come to the conclusion it would be the little shit-stirring, p-smoking, celebrity-trailing, rat-on-ya-mates, wannabe-tabloid-journo Jonathon Marshall.

Now that would be more satisfying than a run-on sentence.

This guy is damn funny 

His name is Mitch Hedberg and here are many of his best lines with the rest here.

Laughed my damn arse clean off over some of these...

Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier than helping someone move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.

I wrote a letter to my dad - I wrote, "I really enjoy being here," but I accidentally wrote rarely instead of really. But I still wanted to use it so i crossed it out and wrote, "I rarely drive steamboats, dad - there's a lot of shit you don't know about me. Quit trying to act like I'm a steamboat operator." This letter took a harsh turn right away...

...and then at the end of the letter I like to write "P.S. - this is what part of the alphabet would look like if Q and R were eliminated.

I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That's a bad place for an argument, because then I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zip it up real quick?

I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry. And that's extra scary to me, because there's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run. He's fuzzy. Get outta here.

I have an underwater camera just in case I crash my car into a river, and at the last minute I see a photo opportunity of a fish that I have never seen.

One time a guy handed me a picture of himself, and he said, "Here's a picture of me when I was younger." Every picture of you is of when you were younger. Here's a picture of me when I am older. You son of a bitch, how'd you pull that off? Let me see that camera...

My roommate says, "I need to shave and use the shower. Does anyone need to use the bathroom?" It's like some weird-ass quiz where he reveals the answer first...

Sometimes I wave to people I don't know. It is very dangerous to wave to people you don't know, because what if they don't have a hand? They'll think you're cocky. "Look what I got motherfucker, this thing is useful...I'm gonna go pick something up"

On a traffic light green means go and yellow means yield, but on a banana it's just the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead, and red means where the fuck did you get that banana at...

I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.

If carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be fucked up.

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughtnut...I don't need a receipt for the doughnut - I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this. I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend, Don't even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here...

I was walking down the street with my friend and he said "I hear music." As though there's any other way to take it in. You're not special. That's how I receive it too...I tried to taste it, but it did not work...

I use the word totally too much. I need to change it up and use a word that is different but has the same meaning. Mitch do you like submarine sandwhiches? All-encompassingly...

I played golf...I did not get a hole in one, but I did hit a guy. That's way more satisfying...

...You're supposed to yell 'fore' but I kept thinking there ain't no way that's gonna hit him.

I have a friend who is a juggler. When I go to his house I don't like to take food from him if it is in threes. "He has three apples left...I guess I can't have one"

My lucky number is four billion. That doesn't come in real handy when you're gambling. "Come on, four billion! Fuck. Seven. Not even close. I need more dice."

I love blackjack. But I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.

If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptible...

I don't own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time. If someone needs to get ahold of me they just say, "Mitch," and I say, "what" and turn my head slightly...

I opened up a container of yogurt, and under the lid it said Please Try Again because they were having a contest I was unaware of. But I though I might have opened the yogurt wrong...or maybe Yoplait was trying to inspire me, 'c'mon, Mitchell, don't give up. Please try again. A message of inspiration from your friends at Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom, hope on top.

I never joined the army because at ease was never that easy to me. Seemed rather uptight still. I don't relax by parting my legs slightly and putting my hands behind my back. That does not equal ease. At ease was not being in the military. I am at ease, bro, because I am not in the military.

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much I play, I'll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They're fucking relentless.

I think Pringles' initial intention was to make tennis balls. But on the day that the rubber was supposed to show up, a big truckload of potatoes arrived. But Pringles is a laid-back company. They said "Fuck it. Cut em up."

An escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You would never see an "Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order" sign, just "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience."

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

I went to see a band in New York. The lead singer got on the microphone, and he said "How many of you people feel like human beings tonight?" Then he said "How many of you feel like animals?" And everyone cheered after the animals part. But the thing is, I cheered after the human being part because I did not know that there was a second part to the question.

People teach their dogs to sit, it's a trick. I've been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.

Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.

I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammible and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.

When you go to a restaurant on the weekends and it's busy they start a waiting list. They start calling out names, they say "Dufrane, party of two. Dufrane, party of two." And if no one answers they'll say their name again. "Dufrane, party of two, Dufrane, party of two." But then if no one answers they'll just go right on to the next name. "Bush, party of three." Yeah, what happened to the Dufranes. No one seems to give a shit. Who can eat at a time like this - people are missing. You fuckers are selfish....the Dufranes are in someone's trunk right now, with duct take over their mouths, and they're hungry. Bush, search party of three, you can eat when you find the Dufranes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Playing with numbers 

I see in they have this story about how "nearly one in three New Zealanders want it [the death penalty] back".

Justice Minister Phil Goff says the government has significantly toughened sentencing and parole laws, but that is not enough for the 28% who want to bring back the death penalty.

The poll found 67% do not want the death penalty and 5% don't know.

Now forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't 28% closer to 25% than it is to 33.3%?

So surely they should say that "just over one in four New Zealanders want it back".

Anyway, it seems about right. I mean I dislike 28% of everybody I meet, I don't mind 67% and I don't know about the other 5% worth of shifty buggers I come across.


Mental note to self. Think of something cool and funny to blog about.

Still can't view the site from within Korea. Censorship gone completely crazy.

bluebeardnz is off galavanting around the world for several weeks.

dc_red has just completed an ardous moving experience from Canada to ............

I have just got my computer back working again after it decided to pass out for a few days.

sweatepz are yet to stride out to the wicket to take guard in their debut test.

bennyasena has just signed for the Bulldogs in a straight swap for Steve Price. I hope they realise he likes going on drunken orgies in the off-season. I'm sure they can accomodate him though.

The Bulldogs fans (thugs when they play Parramatta) are sad as hell that Steve's going. Who's going to babysit their team now?! A couple of them have been slagging the Warriors on the league message forums. Fortunately my skillful use of facts beats their arguments quite nicely.


Thursday, July 08, 2004

Spectator Numbers for Rugby League and Rugby Union Globally 

This isn't supposed to be accurate to the minute and completely comprehensive but it's good enough to give you a decent impression of what is going on out there.

It may also surprise you a little as well. I should point out that this is supposed to be a look at the popularity and growth of the games as spectator sports at grassroots level in the smaller countries, but it includes the top competitions as well. In terms of international crowds Rugby Union blows Rugby League away as we already know. But that's not what I wanted to look at.

I got the stats from a very good website worldfootballrankings. Check it out. It has all the crowd averages for many 'football' playing teams in the world. Well that is except the Super 12 teams, the European teams in the Heineken Cup and the NPC teams or any of the Australian rugby sides. I remember emailing the guy who runs the site a couple of years ago and asked him why he doesn't include the figures for the NPC teams? He replied that he had tried everything to get the NPC statistics but had only received nasty replies from the relevant rugby authorities in NZ. Gee that doesn't sound like them does it?! He said that they were the only organisation that he had had any trouble with and you will see below or by visiting the site how many organisations he has obviously contacted.

Anyway here are the statistics from 2003, with the increase or decrease as a percentage in brackets.

Note that all the rugby league attendance figures ARE IMPROVEMENTS on 2002 figures
(32 Competitions included across 23 countries)
(the '*' indicates a higher average than Rugby Union, a '+' indicates a lower average. If there are no statistics available for Rugby Union then I have assumed that the Rugby League crowds are higher).

* NRL (Aust) 15,287 (4%) (up to round 17, 2004) It is the highest it's ever been.
+ Super League (Eng) 8,041 (18%)
* National Championship (PNG) 3,919 (2%)
* First Championship (Russia) 2,331 (47%)
+ Bartercard Cup (NZ) 2,290 (24%)
+ Elite 1 (France) 2,118 (25%)
* National League One (UK/East) 1,435 (34%)
* Queensland Cup 1,375 (19%)
* Jim Beam Cup (Aust) 1,224 (48%)
* National Rugby League (Fiji) 1,061 (11%)
* New Caledonia R XIII 1,019 (24%)
* Japan Rugby League 1,009 (10%)
* First Championship (Moldova) 978 (52%)
* CDRL (Aust) 904 (7%)
* AMNRL (U States) 820 (77%)
* Kazakh Rugby XIII 791 (10%)
* Ukraine XIII 762 (10%)
+ National League 2 (Eng/East) 638 (60%)
* National Rugby League (Lebanon) 576 (5%)
+ Irish Rugby League 563 (26%)
* National League 3 (UK/East) 563 (61%)
+ Scotland Rugby League 541 (4%)
* Maroc Rugby XIII (Morocco) 525 (12%)
+ National Division One (France) 401 (76%)
+ Rhino Cup (S. Africa) 386 (58%)
+ Welsh Conference (UK/West) 383 (92%)
* WA Rug Leag (Aust) 311 (8%)
+ Canada Rugby League 302 (29%)
* Serbian Championship (Serb & Mont) 257 (5%)
* NRL (Finland) 237 (3%)
* Ulster Bowl (UK/NIR) 132 (6%)
* NRL (Latvia) 120 (11%)

(24 Competitions included across 15 countries)
OK, now here I have either painstakingly averaged all the results I could get, or else taken other peoples averages for the Super 12, Heneiken Cup and NPC.

Super 12 (2003)
South Africa 27,219
Australia 26,607
New Zealand 24,653 (Blues 35,500; Hurricanes 25,833; Crusaders 33,200; Highlanders 22,667; Chiefs 15,000) *I think the Blues figure included the semi and final

*NPC 16,000 (that was a straight up rumour. Wellington averaged 25,000 in 2002 while Taranaki were getting crowds of 8,000ish I heard. In 1999 Counties Manukau were getting about 4,000 I read). And those are all the figures I have come across in a couple of hours of searching the internet. If anybody knows any other specific stats then let us all know. I'd really appreciate it.

*Currie Cup (S Africa) 11,433 (I think this is going up a fair bit since they revamped their comp and cut the weaker teams out)

Heineken Cup (Europe) 8,194 pfffft
*Zurich Premiership (England) 9,000+ (approximately after averaging 57 games) (10%)
*UK Celtic League (North) 5,869 (down 27%)
*France Division 1 4,082 (down 48%)
*UK Celtic League (West) 4,065 (6%)
*Eircom League (Ireland) 2,378 (down 45%)
*UK Celtic League (South) 2,300 (down 40%)
*Division 2 (France) 1,451 (down 49%)
+National League UK (East) 1,408 (26%)
*Super League (Canada) 1,296 (down 18%)
*Welsh Premiership 1,277 (down 27%)
*Super 10 (Italy) 987 (down 23%)
*Spanish Rugby Union 939 (21%)
+Fiji Cup 858 (down 10%)
*Currie Cup 1st Division 852 (down 80%)
*Division One UK (South) 518 (down 7%)
+National League 2 (UK/East) 428 (down 6%)
*Division Two (UK/South) 374 (20%)
*First Division (Romania) 332 (down 17%)
*Division Three (UK/South) 304 (down 33%)
+USA Rugby Super League 236 (down 46%) (less than Finnish Rugby League??? What the f**k?!)

Now it's worth mentioning countries that don't appear to either count their Rugby Union crowds nor make them public (aside from the ones I mentioned earlier). I assume they have club comps, I know for a fact a few of them do.

Australia (club Rugby)
and all the other Pacific Nations for that matter excluding Fiji.

who else?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Trivia Question 

We constantly hear about how big Rugby Union is becoming globally and see snippets on the telly of Romanian kids running around in rugby jerseys and talk from the coach about how the kids love it yadda yadda so anyway...

Trivia Question of the week

Are domestic Rugby Union competitions attracting more or less spectators globally?

Out of the 21 largest domestic rugby competitions in the world (excluding the NPC, Super 12, and European compettions because stats for the former are not released and the other two are regional competitions) a total of 16 of them saw falling crowds in 2003 from the previous year.

The NPC is not included as the NZRFU are basically the only footballing body IN THE WORLD who steadfastly refuse to fully release their crowd statistics. They only mention specific crowd figures when they are good you may have noticed.

If you don't believe me I challenge you to find them (and then please share them :)). I know a few figures from 2002 but that's about all I could get.

Also unavailable are Australian rugby stats (club comps I am talking about). And Japanese rugby crowds are either non-existent as well, or else they don't want people to know what they are. When I was in Japan recently there was a game on tv. The crowd was pretty abysmal, maybe a thousand or two. The teams are owned by large corporations and are advertising vehicles for the owners and have little or no local support nor following of any significance (rather like the soccer and baseball leagues in Korea). Although I did hear from one of the New Zealanders playing in Japan that they have had crowds of up to 25,000 for finals games.

Meanwhile the 32 largest Rugby League competitions in the world ALL INCREASED their spectator numbers in 2003 from the previous year. Some of them aren't exactly big but it seems to highlight a trend in what locals want to watch when they haven't been brought up on a diet of Union their entire lives and decide what to watch based on visual appeal perhaps?

I'll give you all the juicy stats and comparisons later.

I grew up watching club league in Auckland and it was the highlight of my week. It was fast, open and their were plenty of tries and tackles, breaks and so forth. While rugby also possesses this it really is not the same as a good game of league in my opinion. It's a shame that it's always been thought of so badly by much of the NZ public. Ah well, that's life I guess. Just make sure you don't get too brainwashed by the doomsayers who pop up talking about the death of league or whatever. They seriously know nothing whatsoever about the sport.

I still can't view the site after publishing so you may want to email any comments here:

Otherwise keep on trucking and go watch a club game of league wherever you are. There are competitions all over the country. Or a club game of rugby for that matter. It's all good.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Will the Warriors Beat the Sharks? 

It was good to see the Warriors knock the Eels off in the weekend of course. And the scoreline was reasonably convincing as well, with the Warriors having a solid lead for most of the match. Now after that, and the potentially huge news that the Warriors may sign Steve Price [wife has been looking at properties in Kumeu and Hunua apparently] from the Bulldogs and could possibly get Ruben Wiki and Logan Swann into the side for next season you could be forgiven for thinking that things were looking up. In fact you could almost do something dumb like expect the Warriors to have a chance of making the playoffs.

But we all know better than that, don't we?

Looking at the Warriors results this season...

After dropping their opening three games they followed up with a comfortable away win over the Sea Eagles (28-10). They then proceeded to lose to the Knights and the Bulldogs.

Things were getting desperate (one win, five loss record) by this stage so they pulled a home win out against the Storm (20-14) before once again showing not much had changed by losing to the Cowboys and getting hammered by the Sea Eagles.

And so once again they had their backs to the wall (two wins, seven losses) and managed to beat the Rabbitohs in a scrappy game 26-12.

This was followed by a absolute massacre by the Roosters 58-6 and it was goodbye Daniel Anderson. They bring in Tony Kemp and scrape out a 20-14 home win over the Raiders.

But low and behold this is followed by a 50-4 loss to the Tigers, 28-26 golden point loss to the Cowboys and a 42-6 hammering to the firing Storm.

And how do they answer these results?

By beating the Eels 20-10.

So what do ya reckon will happen away on Saturday night against the Sharks?

Well the Sharks have eight wins and eight losses this season and are coming off the back of a good away win over the Knights.

They have been inconsistent but my bet is the Sharks by 26 points (but something strange tells me that the Warriors have a decent sniff so long as the ref doesn't kill them and they get a bit of luck).

I reckon that if the Warriors win this game then they WILL beat the Rabbitohs the following week, MAY beat the Raiders away and will DEFINATELY get two points for the bye the week after.

Eight points in four weeks would put them right on the fringe of the top eight with an awful run home against the Broncos, Dragons, Eels, Roosters and Bulldogs.

What will happen though is this...
Get done by the Sharks, beat the Rabbitohs, lose to the Raiders, and win one of their last five games giving them 18 points for the season, thus finishing just off the bottom of the ladder barring the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles getting a few upset wins.

We can always dream though.

On to something else.

I was looking at the number of points that various teams were scoring this season as there have been a lot of cricket scores run up recently. To my surprise when I checked last season there were about the same number of 40 point floggings then as well. Last season the winning team knocked up 40+ points in 34 games. While this season (17 rounds completed) there have been 23 games where a side has racked up that many or more (like 66 for the Storm over the PANTHERS muhahaha last friday night).

The Warriors though have been awful in the point scoring department. The season average for all teams has been 23.59 points while the Warriors sit with the worst points per game tally of 17.13. Hell even the Sea Eagles below us on the ladder average 22.94 and have run in 65 tries compared to our 49. The Storm have scored an amazing 86 tries, which is THIRTY SEVEN more tries than the Warriors up until round 17 and they have played one less game than us!!!

The Warriors defence isn't much to write home about either. They are conceding 27.50 on average per game which puts them with the 3rd worst defence in the competition.

And all this point scoring leads me onto this...

The season needs to be shortened by about 4 games. Play 20 matches with no bye rounds (accomplished by allowing one or three of the new teams) and have the State of Origin games played in the weekends with no NRL games. Instead play rep games like New Zealand A v NSW Country, or Bartercard Cup teams, or Great Britain tours New Zealand over the same period of time, or New Zealand has our own 'origin' series between North and South (Wellington in the south), or a combined Pacific Island side plays tests. We could have SOO on Friday night, the test(s) on Saturday and other rep games as curtain raisers or stand alone games.

What needs to happen though is the World RL body needs to sit down with the Australian chiefs and realise that the standard of the NRL and the game in general can only be lifted in a big way if the players are given a shorter season and then we can open up windows for other players, rep games and the expansion of the game internationally. It's all about media exposure in the shop window. The grassroots support has always been there and the sport is growing slowly but significantly at international level.

I think change is inevitable and I'll go into more detail in the next wee while when I look at the growth of the game internationally.

For those who didn't know, New Zealand A defeated NSW Country 36-18 last Sunday at North Harbour Stadium. They were out in NZ playing a few games along with their youth team.

You can find out about the tour here.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

search engines 

before I start you might want to help us out and sign this online petition.

I see that our site shows up in a yahoo result list after searching for v*deo of the Korean who was k*lled recently (merely because of the article I posted about the whole case).

This means I'm going to have to go back and blank his name and any other related words. I really don't want losers coming here.

I also notice that somebody found us after a search for "naughty female dentists". Let us know if you have any luck buddy.

And mad props to our netballers who have run over the top of Australia in a series for the first time in 15 years.

I don't follow the sport too closely but given the amount of money and players in Aussie we are obviously doing something right. Plus Australian women are vicious scary creatures.


Well well, now Russell Brown is having a bit of go at downtown Auckland: "Town might be a shabby strip full of Net cafes, food halls and Asian students, but it's really quite close to my 'hood, with its open spaces and summer beach."

I'll assume that he's being at least partly ironic in his complaints over the ubiquitous "Asian student", but let's have a look at this shall we? Would it be appropriate to say something like "Rotorua is a nice spot, but there are too many young Maoris hanging out on the street." I don't think so: at the very least such a comment would raise eyebrows. More likely, you'd be accused of racism. Why, then, is it appropriate to say that a large number of young people from Asian backgrounds on Queen Street (and thereabouts) are a problem? And I'm not criticising RB in particular here ... his comments are far more muted than those of the Garth George letter-writing brigade.

But where should these Asian students be? Is there something particular about downtown Auckland that makes young Asian people out-of-place? Would be prefer that they were elsewhere ... and where exactly would that be? They want to learn English and other skills, and they've got the money to do it, so why wouldn't we want them spending their money in Auckland? Would we prefer they spend it in Sydney, Vancouver, or London?

And what exactly about the presence of Asian people is so worrying? Sure, they don't speak much English when they're hanging out, but that's beside the point ... most of them are in NZ to learn English. Their limited skills don't exactly allow them to engage in free-flowing conversation with the hostile locals. And are critics similarly annoyed when they hear French, Portugese, or Samoan being spoken on the street? Honestly, who cares?

Asian students occasionally bother me on the "smoking and spitting on the street" front ... but if that's the worst you can say about a large group of relatively diverse individuals, then I say they're welcome. I've never felt threatened by an Asian student, and on the few occasions I've interacted with them, I've found them very polite.

And let's look at the big picture ... the fact is that there are people on Queen Street again! There are stores and shops open after 6pm. Your lunch options now go beyond McDonald's or a warmed-over meat pie (thanks Yamis for making this point to me earlier). When walking through the area after dark, you're not constantly looking over your shoulder for what used to be Queen Street's sole night-time occupant: the glue-sniffer.

As far as I'm concerned, Asian students are a useful and welcome addition to the city. Last night I ventured into downtown Vancouver to meet some friends and check out the Canada Day scene ... there were more young Koreans per square inch than anywhere outside of Seoul, and it was great. A couple of them even put on a break-dancing performance.

This was only my second trip to Downtown Vancouver in the last 3 months, and this brings me to my last point. Most people don't have much reason to go downtown unless they work there. I live 30 minutes Skytrain ride from central Vancouver - generally regarded as one of the more interesting cities in the world - and I simply have no reason to visit it frequently. I don't work there, my friends don't live there, and I have no shortage of eating and drinking establishments in my inner-suburb (New Westminster). Yamis lives pretty close to Seoul, and despite his fearsome reputation for partying, doesn't go down there too often either. The way some people carry on you'd think a central city was a 'failure' unless every occupant of the urban region wants to visit it at least once a week. I don't think that's how cities work.

Friday, July 02, 2004

The Warriors 

Still can't open the main page to actually view what I am writing but...

doesn't stop me from posting in the meantime. Hopefully the idiots who believe that the Korean public don't deserve a free internet where they can make their own choices about what they do and don't want to look at HURRY THE FUCK UP and unblock blogspot sites from viewing in Korea. Christ that was an ugly mouthful.

Anyhow I see that Steve Price looks like he is about to sign for the Warriors. That would be a huge buy in my opinion. If they also got Wiki and then Logan Swann came home (as is rumoured he might want to) and they picked up a couple of decent backs the Warriors could be on for a tilt at the title next season.

There's more I want to say but it'll have to wait until some plonkers sort their shit out.

Feel free to email them at and tell them what you think of blanket censorship which effects everybody because they are too lazy to simply target specifically what they don't want people to see.

They arrested something like ten Koreans early on in the piece for showing the v*deo, and why they had to block tens of thousands of basically foreign websites is beyond me. If people want to see it then they will eventually see it.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

What the...............?! 

It is exactly as I had suspected... complete and utter ignorance is at the bottom of the Korean internet blocking. I just sent a hell fire and brimstone email to the Korean Ministry for mind control which should see me tracked down and executed within days. Read on...

Link to the article beneath

Beh**ding V*deo Fallout Casts Wide Net
MIC orders large swaths of Internet domains blocked to 'protect public morals'

A preemptive ban by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) on whole domains hosting sites that contain or actively seek out the K S-I beh**ding v*deo has entered its second week, amid protests of censorship from bloggers and concerned citizens.

Thousands of netizens are being denied access to sites including,, and, among others. Many domestic and foreign users have protested, saying they have no connection with the distribution of the v*deo and are being punished for acts of a voyeuristic few [read: freaks].

Affected netizens argue that the Korean government is undermining its long touted superior Internet culture and the nation's image as a bastion of freedom of speech compared to the restrictive policies of neighboring China.

An MIC official said the blanket ban would be in place "until things stabilize." The ministry's English Web site, however, makes no mention of the embargo.

The ministry ordered domestic Internet providers including Hanaro Telecom, KT and Thrunet to block access to sites hosting or soliciting the v*deo.

The v*deo of K S-I's beh**ding first came to light last week just hours after Seoul confirmed his body had been found some 35km outside of Baghdad. Koreans who had waited anxiously over the course of three days for word of his safe release were devastated.

The macabre public nature of a downloadable v*deo of the Korean translator and missionary's m*rder prompted an internal MIC ethics committee to meet in an emergency session. It ordered the ban in order to "protect" Korean citizens from further "anguish."

Korea began a 24-hour monitoring of all traffic and blocking access to tens of overseas sites that host the v*deo. Some bloggers in Korea complain that their sites are being blocked for simply commenting on the incident and offending others, who in turn reported them to the Korean authorities.

Much of the information on the dissemination of the v*deo, which is being compiled into a site blacklist, is being forwarded by concerned Korean netizens, who alert, formerly the Cyber Harmful Information Report Center.

The ministry said it is also looking into targeting the search engines of portal sites - making it impossible to utilize search terms related to the v*deo.

More than a dozen Koreans have been arrested by the cyber crime division of the National Police Agency for distributing the v*deo...

Outrage from the blogging community here was vociferous, with blog headlines ranging from "Mr. Roh, tear down this wall!" to "Major censorship in South Korea." The tight-knit community maintains that it is not interested in viewing or transmitting the video.

Blogger Jeff Harrison compared the "Korean cyber wall" to the 1961 Berlin Wall.

"(It's) to keep the Koreans isolated from the alleged corrupting influences of freedom, the truth about what happened to K S-I, the beh**ding v*deo, and what the rest of the world is saying about it," he told OhmyNews in an email.

He pointed out that by blocking entire domains, the government is fuelling curiosity in the v*deo, enticing people who otherwise would not seek it out.

"The government is sending a very strong message that they do not trust the Korean people to think and behave rationally and reasonably," Harrison warned. "They have stopped thousands of people from sharing their ideas with Koreans. Korean citizens should not stand for this. Koreans should be outraged."

On Sunday, an OhmyNews reader going by the handle "Sugar Shin," wrote:

"The government is now taking action, cause they think a majority of the Korean populace would agree with the sites blocking. And I think most South Koreans don't see the danger of future governmental censorship stunts. ... The government tries to soothe the rightfully angry soul of many Koreans about the disgusting murder of Mr. K S-I, but (politicians, with their) background struggle for more democracy and freedom of speech in the times of press-censored dictatorships should have shown more democratic maturity and liberal wisdom in dealing with the beh**ding v*deo matter."

The government has been severely criticized for not acting on a telephone call from the Associated Press pointing out a v*deo of a detained Korean called K S-I, which it received in early June.

We were joking about the soju 

I wonder if it was bluebeardnz's description of the after-affects of soju that angered the Koreans??:

"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.”

It's quite a shame about the censorship though; perhaps our Korean correspondents could relive that old stunt of Rage Against The Machines and stand naked outside their local Government representative's office with tape over their mouths.

I've always liked the Koreans I've been fortunate enough to meet too, although my first question when they announce their nation of origin: "oh really, do you come from the North or the South?" always seems to rankle them for some reason unbeknown to me.

Or perhaps one of the head-honchos in Korea is a fan of New South Wales coach Phil Gould and can't tolerate our criticisms.

I was perplexed when I learned Newcastle Knights winger Timana Tahu had been dropped from the NSW side to play in the third State of Origin, I mean Christ he scored twice in Game 2 what more did he need to do?

Look out Cronulla this weekend in the NRL is all I can say, with Gidley and Tahu both having been dumped.

Then I read this on the Sydney Morning Herald:

"The normally measured Queensland coach, Michael Hagan, described NSW's sacking of his Newcastle three-quarters Matt Gidley and Timana Tahu as "appalling".

"I just think that the way they've been treated, based on how well they've been playing, has been appalling at best and they probably deserve a bit more than that at this stage. They're both Test players . . . we'll certainly take them back with open arms and I'm sure they'll play well for us [Newcastle] on Sunday."

Also for anyone looking for a punt on the league this weekend I suggest the Parramatta Eels $1.80 are good money to beat my beloved Warriors $1.95.

And an Origin-depleted Penrith are not too shabby at $2.60 to beat Melbourne Storm ($1.45) although Melbourne's night match/home record is something to factor into account. As mentioned Newcastle to beat the Sharks - Tahu to score - Raiders to beat the Tigers, Roosters over Cowboys, Bulldogs over Manly and lastly Broncos over Rabbitohs.

You know the odds, now beat them.

Censoring it real 

Well, with 2 of our 4 regular contributors based in Korea, where access to the blogosphere is now severely restricted, it's fair to say that bloggingitreal might be a little quiet for a while. Perhaps we'll set up a parallel site on a different host that our South Korean contingent can read and access. We'll let you know.

In the mean time, those who followed my occasional reports on the Canadian federal election may be interested to know that I live in the most closely-contested riding in the country (not bad, considering there's 308 of them). The incumbent Tory is ahead by 45 votes based on the election night tally, so a recount is automatic. I can't say I'm especially optimistic that the result will be reversed, ridding New Westminster of a useless long-term bench warmer (Canada's answer to Clem Simich!), and giving the leftist NDP a richly deserved 20th seat.

Speaking of which, the NDP received about 15.5% of the vote, and so far has 19/308 ridings (or 6% of all representatives). Not too fair, is it? I wonder if the stalwart opponents of MMP in New Zealand really want to go back to those halcyon days when so many people's vote didn't count. Bastards.

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