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 30, 2005

Close the fridge door on your way out 

Learnt on a recent tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory: chocolate melts at around 32 degrees celsius - therefore it is generally necessary to spend a lot of money refrigerating it. Not in Dunedin, nature's refrigerator. They just store it all in a big metal warehouse, with the doors open and a bit of insulation under the ceiling. Unfortunately, the residents of this town are stored in much the same way.

The World Health Organization recommends an indoor temperature of at least 18 deg C to avoid respiratory and circulatory health problems. In a 2004 study, most surveyed living rooms did not reach 18 degrees over two weeks in June and July, and more than half did not reach 12 degrees. The average living room was 3-4 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperatures (of 6-8 degrees), while bedrooms were only 2 degrees warmer.

Might as well be living in tents.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Warriors Win Two Straight!!! 

What a momentous occasion.

The first time they have won two straight since the playoffs in 2003. Pretty aweful bloody stat that is, or was.

I went there and finally witnessed a team I support winning. I think I'd seen about 15 straight draws or losses spread over 18 months across 4 teams. The rain on the stand roof was so deafening that you couldn't actually hear anything at all and they felt so sorry for all the folk in the open stands that they let them go sit in the covered areas which was a bloody nice touch. I'd like to see that happen at Eden Park. bbiirrrrttt.

Still it was a bit of a culture shock for me to be surrounded by so much common muck from the cheap seats. They breed us snobby out in West Auckland ;).

Stacy Jones had an excellent game, running the ship nicely and Clinton Toopi did more very good things than dumb things for once. Francis Meli is still looking bloody awful though. How did he go from busting the line and running 50 metres almost every game to doing it never... ever, anymore? And he once again gave away a try completely unneccessarily by leaving his man unmarked when there was plenty of cover coming across.

Ah well, two points in the bank, now just two outside the top eight and with nearly the best defence in the league and an attack that is not what it needs to be but not that shit either. If they could just get Meli to hit some REAL form and Toopi to get on a roll they could start to make a push up the table. Don't go counting on it though.

Some stats:
Warriors made 20 errors which is pissporr even given the conditions and they did their best to lose it in the first 20 of the second half. If they had been playing a top side they would have gone behind at that point.

Missed tackles was only 10 from 270 which is excellent and the Tigers never looked like scoring or cracking the line really.

Sione Faumuina and Jones both made 4 mistakes each though I can only recall one from Jones and Faumuinas were crap. Ball security mate! Byrne made 3 apparantly though I can't remember any of them. Byrne also apparently managed to go 80 minutes without making a tackle which is quite the feat. Good on ya mate. No need doing anything you don't need to.

Louis Anderson topped the tackle count with 29 and Faumuina had 28.

Toopi made the most metres with 129 from just 13 runs.

And Price looks to be out for a while so....... fuck!

And the table after round 12 looks like this.

20 Broncos +101
18 Sharks +60
18 Sea Eagles +57 (not finished)
16 Cowboys +50
16 Eels +15
14 Roosters +27
14 Raiders -18
14 Storm +119
12 Warriors +39
12 Dragons -8
12 Tigers -30
10 Bulldogs -45
8 Panthers -16 (not finished)
6 Rabbitohs -167
4 Knights -182

* The Warriors are only one point away from having the best defense in the comp (208 from 11 games) which must come down to Campion running that side of things. Less than 20 points a agme average compared to nearly 30 last season.

** Their attack (247 from 11 games) is only better than the Rabbitohs and the Knights though which is a bit grim.

Have the Sea Eagles got enough points and momentum to achieve the unthinkable and NEARLY make the playoffs??!!

Will Sonny Bill fire the Bulldogs to get them surging up the ladder?

Can the Roosters threaten the Broncos for the minor premiership now that they have sorted their shit out?

Sharks to finish in the top 4 and get knocked out immediately like they always do?

Panthers to do a Warriors and barely make the playoffs before falling apart and taking their rightful place at the bottom of the ladder for the next 5 years?

And looking to the near future the Warriors are heading into a long hard patch.

v Dragons AWAY
v Storm HOME
v Eels AWAY
v Broncos HOME
v Cowboys AWAY
v Bulldogs HOME
v Roosters AWAY

No many easy points there are there?!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Beating people makes them compliant! 

And we value compliance above all else, especially in the young. That seems to be the message from this case, simultaneously disturbing and bizarre (yet not without numerous precedents in New Zealand). A jury took 70 minutes to acquit a mother who "admitted giving her son 'six of the best' with a cane for misbehaving at school, and striking him three to four times with a horse whip". Again, good old s. 59 of the Crimes Act proves to be a successful defence for parents charged with assaulting their children.

The difficult child in question had allegedly damaged school property, and been assigned a punishment he refused to accept. The mother arrived, took him home to administer said thrashing, and then returned the boy to school, after which "he was more willing to get on with his punishment" according to the Deputy Principal. Really, you don't say? I think you'll find beating people - irrespective of their age - tends to make them compliant. But the old saying about ends and means springs to mind.

Let's save canes and horsewhips for consenting adults in interesting leather costumes, shall we?

NRL Round 12 

Time for the world famous Bennyasena versus NZ Herald's Peter Jessup rugby league tipping competition: Jessup did more than close the gap last week and is sitting on 40/76. Bennyasena collected another soul-searchingly dissapointing 2 and is on 39/76.

Bulldogs vs Cowboys: Jessup Bulldogs Bennyasena Cowboys

Broncos vs Rabbits: Both Broncos (uh duh)
Roosters vs Raiders: Both Roosters
Cronulla vs Eels: Both Eels

Warrios vs Tigers: Both Warriors
Storm vs Dragons: Both Storm
Manly vs Panthers: Jessup Manly Bennyasena Panthers

Anyone wanting a punt - onthepunt says the Eels ($2.35) to beat the Sharks ($1.55) is the bet of the week.

Media Musings 

The New Zealand Herald can barely contain its glee reporting on its rival's- the Sunday Star-Times - battle with Helen Clark:

Fairfax "broke the code" by outing Helen Clark as a source of untrue claims to cover its corporate butt in a defamation case launched against the Sunday Star-Times (SST) by former police commissioner Peter Doone. Fairfax is off the hook while Doone turns his sights on the PM. The company's journalists are confused. Those shocked by the outing point out that the Watergate scandal would never have been exposed if Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee had revealed Deep Throat's identity.

Interesting the Herald couldn't point to a great investigative story of its own ain't it?

A quick search of its archives suggest neither could the Herald suppress its competitve delight when a recent inquiry found a Sunday Star-Times story, suggesting the Maori Party was being bugged by the SIS, was incorrect and the paper had been led astray.

What gets on my wick here is that the Herald does not even attempt investigative journalism - it occassionally has good news features but never throws awe-inspiring ball-grabbing journalistic punches.

Sure, its easy to mouth-off from the sidelines but at least one paper here is attempting to look between the lines and behind the scenes and bring Kiwis news that hasn't originated from a fucking press release.

The Herald's constant "they made such bad mistakes, we would never have done that" attitdue is really starting to grate.

I'm surprised by the shear number of its attacks considering the Sunday Star-Times left well-enough alone after the Herald's Renee Kiriona dissapeared off the face of the earth - something the pubic may have found considerably interesting.

Hey but I'm all for criticising when criticisms due - and two editions ago in the NBR Deborah Hill Cone simply slaughtered the SST for its refusal to comment on the above stories and others.

Journalism exists solely because people allow news organisations to repeat their words/arguments/thoughts, argued Hill Cone, as she slammed the paper's editor Cate Brett for double standards - what the SST demands of others they are not willing to do themselves she says.

Good call.

My other issue with the media currently is the simply weird law surrounding the reporting of suicides.

Normally if the police find a suicide victim (I guess you're not really a victim if its self-inflicted ey) you'll read in the paper or hear on TV that "the circumstances were not suspicious, there was no foul play, or, police are not looking for anybody else in relation to the death".
The body was found by the cadaver search dog in bush about 450m from where Mr Goodwin had last been seen, Mr Jeurissen said, and needed to be identified. There was no suspicion of foul play.

New Zealand has a ban on reporting a suicide as a suicide out of fear that kids will hear how someone topped themselves and say hey that looked like a neat trick - I might try that myself.
Mr. Anderton believes the World Health Organisation (WHO) has provided clear leadership on the need for media guidelines for suicide reporting. In the WHO resource in 2000, the organisation states:"Reporting of suicide in an appropriate, accurate and potentially helpful manner by enlightened media can prevent tragic loss of lives by suicide. Overall, there is enough evidence to suggest that some forms of non-fictional newspaper and television coverage of suicide are associated with a statistically significant excess of suicide; the impact appears to be strongest among young people." Jim Anderton also noted that the review’s findings highlight that development of protocols in consultation with the media could be incorporated into codes of practice.

I ain't no expert but this argument that youngsters could be so easily influenced by a newspaper report that they'd kill themselves looks a little dubious.

Surely bullying at school would be a factor say, a million times more relevant?

What's more interesting though is that New Zealand's blanket ban on suicide reporting goes out the window if someone overseas tops themselves.

Writer Hunter S Thompson Commits Suicide the NZ Herald told its readers.

I guess we'd better just hope New Zealand's yoof don't read the world section huh?

Too precious 

Betty and Phil Windsor's recent trip to Canada was generally greated with breathless enthusiasm by the Canadian press, who are particularly lickspittle when it comes to matters royal. In contrast to the healthy disdain shown by many Australian reporters, for example, Canadian TV and print media are awash with stories of her good deeds, hard work, radiant appearance, and rapturous reception.

However, being born into a family that just so happens to have a monopoly on being the Head of State for 20-some countries comes with its hardships, you know (in addition to such things as maintaining your palaces and dealing with errant children who have no purpose in life).

But the final indignity is that Betty was asked to give a big smile by a portrait photographer. You know, like everyone else is.

One of the inherent problems of a monarchy is the notion that a small number of people, by virtue of their birth or marriage into one particular family, are somehow worthy of a different (higher) standard of treatment than everyone else. Even those persons who actually have a mandate from the people cannot hope to attain this. For example, a photographer asking the PM of a country like NZ or Canada to give a "big smile" might be considered a bit cheeky, but would not be accused of acting inappropriately.

As for the other "indignities" Betty is alleged to have "suffered" on her trip to Canada - "almost being poked in the eye by an umbrella" (like everyone else on a rainy day in a big city anywhere in the world - she was lucky it was almost) and "Alberta Premier Ralph Klein keeping his hands in his pockets" (so the guy's a slob, what's new?).

Really, when the largest hardships in this woman's life are minor breaches of supposed protocols extended to her and no one else (like Paul Keating briefly putting his arm around her, or Helen Clark wearing pants not a skirt to a royal dinner) she hasn't got much to complain about. And what is it about New Zealand and forcing women to wear skirts ...?

Really, it's enough to make you go home a give your kids a good horse-whipping (not illegal in this country!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A leaf and a worm 

“Let’s get to the point: Nandor and the Greens - the only party that opposed making P a class A drug - want cannabis legalised any way they can get it. This United Future-driven amendment is a setback for them and their aims, which frankly don’t have an iota of principle behind them.
“And in terms of Nandor talking about our supposed ‘fetish’ with cannabis, this is a little rich coming from a man who has built a political career on the single issue of a green leaf.

United Future deupty leader Judy Turner is really sticking it to the Greens - who dare to question the wisdom of the clearly effective war on drugs - here.

Interesting that UF trys the single-issue line, coming from a party that piggy-backed all its politicians into Parliament on the back of a telegenic worm.

Not too sure what to make of the Government's front-page 'crack-down on asylum-seeking immigrants' press release in the Herald this morning:
He [immigration minister Paul Swain] said there was a feeling the balance had shifted away from "New Zealand’s right as a sovereign state to determine who comes or goes". He wanted "firm, fast and fair immigration processes". The multi-layered appeal regime for some overstayers and spontaneous refugees - who, like Mr Zaoui, seek refugee status at borders - should be much simpler and faster.

Is this a political move to hit back at the authority that allowed Zaoui to stay or just an attempt to minimise the impact of Winston Peters' speech this Friday?
Whichever way, Labour's spin doctors must be chuffed its announcment got such prominent coverage - it even shared the front page with the infinitely more interesting Roscoe.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Living in our own filth 

Or in other people's filth, in the case of walking through the detritous left by this weekend's scarfie parties ... burnt-out couches (which attracted the firefighters, who were in turn pelted with bottles, etc), broken glass, vomit, garbage and broken garbage bags. Where they get all the couches for burning is something of a mystery ... like everything else, second-hand couches are expensive, and we're looking forward to selling our own dunger for $350 when the time comes to leave.

On to the slightly more important topic of global warming: before watching the upcoming documentary featuring "former environmentalist" David Bellamy, decrying wind farms, it might pay to read the following Monbiot articles Junk Science and A Different Kind of Revolution. Bellamy now promotes the kind of patent nonsense and misinformation normally associated with creationists.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Cuba's right to say "no!" 

The western media is telling us that Cuba is banning foreigners, considering that it told two Polish citizens to go home yesterday. These two guys were asked to leave Cuba as they were participating in an anti-Castro demonstration. This demonstration was principally organized by foreigners for the sole purpose of generating discontent against the Cuban government. Let’s put this in perspective. A group of foreigners come into a country and attempt to generate discontent for the purpose of overthrowing an elected – that’s right – an elected government.

What would happen if tomorrow a group of Iranians protested on the doorstep of the Capitol in Washington D.C. demonstrating for the overthrow of the George W. Bush? Would there be a reaction? Damn right there would. So before the western press barks that Cuba is banning foreigners, maybe they should consider the reality of the situation. Let's get this straight, when foriegn protesters show up in Cuba calling for "democracy," it equates into the removal of their head of state, and the upheaval of their civic infrastructure so that it would promote western business interests before local interests. It is blatant disrespect for Cuban nationhood.

Perspective matters a great deal when discussing issues such as this. From the perspective of the western media these people were “working to oppose the Castro regime.” And yet, from the perspective of Cubans they were “attempting to oust the government.” Important that difference in words, from “Castro regime” to “government.” When we picture Cuba as the Castro regime, we drum up false images of an abusive state, and some sort of repression. But when we acknowledge that Cuba has a working civic government, we are forced to approach it as a normal nation-state, something that the western press is incapable of doing.

Why the world fails to acknowledge that Cuba has a functioning government, one that is elected, has a judiciary, and enjoys a democratic bottom up system, is beyond me. Instead the west, self-loaded with confidence in its own system and vices takes every opportunity it can to dream up radical accusations at Cuba. This small nation has been under consistent bombardment from the U.S. – politically and militarily. And yet as Cuba makes every effort to promote human security in Latin America and Africa, the west can only find time to overlook these accomplishments with twisted accusations of human rights abuse and a totalitarian state.

When foreigners come to Cuba and start preaching that Fidel Castro should die, and the socialist state be absolved, it is no different than a group of Americans coming to Canada urging for absolution of parliament, or say a pack of Aussies going to New Zealand crying for succession.

Friday, May 20, 2005

NRL Round 11 

Apathy is sapping my interest in providing an in-depth quality blog of this round of the NRL - that and because this round's action is severely altered by next Wednesday's State of Origin.

The NZ Herald's Peter Jessup is on 36/70 while Bennyasena has lost the magic touch and is struggling on 37/70.

The good news is the Warriors ($1.20) will pick up another two competition points tomorrow - which will keep them in touch of the top half.

Sports TAB in Australia yesterday had $93,000 placed on Warriors compared to $180 backing the Rabbits.

The Rabbits ($4.20) haven't won a game at North Sydney Oval in 12 years - and their best four players are out.

OK here are the six games and the world famous Bennyasena versus Jessup picks for this weekend:

Eels vs Sea Eagles - Jessup Eels Bennyasena Sea Eagles

Storm vs Bulldogs - Jessup Storm Bennyasena Bulldogs
Knights vs Dragons - Jessup Dragons Bennyasena Knights
(I know the Knights are hopeless but the Dragons are without three of their key players)
Souths versus Warriors - Both Warriors

Tigers versus Raiders - Jessup Tigers Bennyasena Raiders
Panthers vs Sharks - Jessup and Bennyasena Panthers (Sharks are without Kimorley and without him they can't play)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Opportunity lost 

Modest tax bracket adjustments in 2008!?! Who the f*ck cares about 2008? It's almost like Labour's trying not to get re-elected. I'd expected that the tax breaks would apply either (a) immediately or (b) from the start of the next financial year. You know, sensible stuff like that. Moving quickly on this issue (admittedly, after 5 years of moving in the wrong direction) would have taken some of the sting out of Opposition attacks. What kind of election pledge is "vote for us and receive a very modest tax break in 35 months time"?? You'd think after everything that's happened over the last month or so the Cabinet might have instructed old money-bags Cullen to offer us something meaningful.

Update: My initial reaction seems to be shared by some on the right, while some on the left make a case for there being no room for tax cuts (& the Don agrees with them??)

Update #2: Norightturn thinks along similar lines, in terms of the likely electoral cost for the Labour Party:
The tax change (adjusting tax brackets for inflation every three years from 2008) represents a lost opportunity - not to cripple the budget with huge tax cuts, but to undermine tax as an election issue. Bracket changes are relatively cheap compared to cuts in tax rates and are widely (and correctly, IMHO) seen as being fair; implementing them ASAP would have been a cheap and easy way of robbing National and ACT of a talking point without significantly undermining Labour's key contention that large-scale tax cuts are unaffordable without cuts in services. Instead, by delaying them, the government has provided yet another rod for their own back.

Sad but true.

Best Political Theatre. Ever. 

George Galloway's effort to roast the Senate Subcommittee hearing is just brilliant, his rhetoric unlike anything most Americans would ever have seen I'd wager. Now, leaving aside debates about whether George's a nasty character, or whether he's telling the truth (whatever that means in these tangled webs) just sit back and enjoy this, courtesy of The Guardian.

"I know that standards have slipped in Washington in recent years, but for a lawyer, you're remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice," he told Norm Coleman, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the senate investigations committee, after taking his seat at the front of the high-ceilinged hearing room, and swearing an oath to tell the truth.

"I'm here today, but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question."

The culture clash between Mr Galloway's bruising style and the soporific gentility of senate proceedings could hardly have been more pronounced, and drew audible gasps and laughs of disbelief from the audience. "I met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him," Mr Galloway went on. "The difference is that Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns, and to give him maps the better to target those guns." [...]

By condemning him in their report without interviewing him, the senators had already given Mr Galloway the upper hand. But not everything was in his favour. For a start, only two senators were present, sabotaging Mr Galloway's efforts to attack the whole lickspittle lot of them - and one of the two, the Democrat Carl Levin, had spent much of his opening statement attacking the hypocrisy of the US government in allegedly allowing American firms to benefit from Iraqi oil corruption.

Even so, Mr Galloway was in his element, playing the role he relishes the most: the little guy squaring up for a fight with the establishment.

For these purposes, Senator Coleman served symbolically to represent all the evil in the world - the entire Republican party, the conscience of George Bush, the US government and the British government, too: no wonder his weak smile looked so nauseous.

"I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq ... senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong," Mr Galloway told him.

You tell 'em. My first reaction upon watching the various videos of this performance were to wonder whether there's still a few of us out there who wished the Democrats had nominated someone willing to adopt, fully, the case against the War, and state it without fear or favour. Sure, he might have lost, but then that always looked likely, didn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Hey Lady! 

It doesn’t take much for Belinda Stronach to catch the Canadian public eye. Cameras flock to Conservative MP, who formerly ran for party leadership, any time she wears something just off of the knee. But now, when Canadian politics couldn’t get any more exciting – no seriously, they just physically can’t, Stronach strode across the House of Commons to score a position in the cabinet. Other Conservative and NDP politicians have done this stunt in the past, but never quite like this.

Two significant events come out of this spectacle promenade. First, her move across to the Liberals may just be what it takes to save the minority government from collapsing under a non-confidence vote scheduled for Thursday. With Stronach flying the red flag, it all comes down to full attendance of the conservative party on Thursday, and the decision of three independent MPs. This would ruin the chance of spring election which likely see another minority government installed, but with a good chance of the NDP making its way to the official opposition place considering that many disgruntled Liberals would support the NDP before the Conservatives. So indeed Stronach may just save the Liberals.

And this gets into the second point of this being an amazing attention grab. Under the gaze of every reporter and television camera in the country Stronach may build a reputation as being the Liberal party savior. At one of the most fragile moments in Canadian politics in years, everyone is keeping a close eye on the house. Stronach just bought herself at least three days of free wall to wall press coverage. Good move. Also, she is assumed to be the most charismatic politician in the house, other than Jack Layton of course, who when he gets fired up exhibits the characteristics of an aggressive terrier dog.

She’s a single mom that has heaps of money, a social conscious, is easy on the eyes, and is just plain popular in the eyes of the media. Sadly, the media’s love for her is greatly weighted in her appearance. Even referring to her by her first name from time to time gives her that “girl next door” persona. Come now, the only other politician to pull off the first name bit is Fidel Castro, and trust me he makes for a rough date.

At the end of all this, Stronach finds herself in the liberal cabinet and just a stone’s throw away from the Prime Minister’s office. When you consider that there are no other clear successors to Paul Martin, Stronach may very well muster enough fervor from this stunt to be in the running for leadership in the next election – whenever it does finally come.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cost of Living in New Zealand Part XVIII 

Went to the movies last night with my wife because we had one of those vouchers you get on the back of your supermarket receipt. Two for the price of one deal.

Anyway, I handed over the voucher and a twenty dollar note and got back a five dollar note a one dollar coin and a fifty cent coin and thought, what the fuck?! just for a second. Then I remembered that in NZ it costs $13.50 for an adult ticket to the movies and that's why I don't go unless I can scam something.

Anyway, we went in to the movie (xXx 2) and were accompanied by... nobody.

That's right ladies and gentlemen. If my wife and I hadn't made a last minute decision to go see a movie it would have played to nobody at all. And judging by the number of people in the building before we went in I'd say you could have filled a small car with their entire audience for the 8:45-9:15 starting sessions.

Surely nothing to do with paying 27 dollars for two people to sit through what often turns out to be dreary shit.

xXx 2 was OK but if I'd forked out full price I would have been fucken miserable sitting through it.

Oh and that prick who reffed the game better not set foot in West Auckland next time he's over hear to ref the Warriors cos somebody might bump into him and give him a right slapping. If the Roosters tacklers had laid on the Warriors any longer they would have been charged with rape.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

New Legend, Tosser 

New Legend: Ed Broadbent, a fine example of what a left-wing MP can be, restoring some civility to the increasingly fractious Canadian Parliament (about to dissolve itself after less than a year), and all round good bloke. And by "civility" I mean not being willing to take political advantage of the illness of another.

New Tosser: Matt Robson, a fine example of a hack MP with few detectable principles, other than a desperate "please re-elect me" populism. You, sir, are insufferable. Lots more about this on the Discussion Board.

As Yamis notes, we could ban alcohol altogether if we are worried about drunks causing accidents and getting up to mischief. Then we could ban cars and insist that everybody walk or get public transport everywhere because people die and get injured on the road everyday by an irresponsible few.

Then we could ban all fatty food.

And, continues Yamis, there are more people dying from tobacco related illnesses each year than there are from accidents caused by 18 and 19 year olds. So we ban the smokes as well.

Just to add to my two cents on the absurdity of all this, one of the major arguments (perhaps the most significant one?) seems to go ... some children (under 18) have trouble with alcohol, and we need to educate them more before they get their hands on the rotten stuff, so we're going to take rights away from people older than them (who are, in all other respects, adults) to further this aim.

Unfortunately, few MPs are "courageous" enough to speak out on this ... identify the absurdities, insist on principle. Nandor and Phil Goff to date, the rest rushing to be seen as "family friendly" whatever that means.

The pettiness and lack of informed debate in this country (first on the "iraqi immigrant" bollocks, now this) is pathetic ... MPs make decisions based on the most half-arsed, illogical crap fed to them by a few big mouths and some compliant media willing to run sensationalist headlines.


Two topical examples of New Zealand's finest cheapskates ... well, OK, only one of them is topical really, while both relate to our interest in the cost of living in New Zealand. As Ms_Red just put it, "everywhere is designed to, like, totally rip you off and give you the shaft."

1) Stagecoach not wanting to pay its Auckland bus drivers more than they'd get for walking off the street to stack shelves at the Warehouse. And pleading poverty in refusing to meet the union's demands. Sure you're poor. Auckland buses are ridiculously expensive ... $4.20 each way from a relatively central suburb to the city (approx. 30 mins journey - supposedly "four zones") and more if you live out Yamis' way. And that's before a recent price increase. Contrast that with, in Vancouver, $2 (NZD2.20) to explore the entire City or $3 (NZD$3.30) to travel between that City and an adjacent one, and that is for a 90 minute transfer that can be used on the bus system, sky train, and even the ferry. When you're fleecing the public transit user each and every day, how can you not afford $16/hour? Eat shit, cheapstakes.

2) Dunedin retailers, including those that occupy large red and yellow sheds, respectively, failing to heat their premises, such that the poor consumers - in addition to paying up to $5.80 for a single avocado - freeze their arses off, and walk around the stores wearing gloves, hats, coats and scarves etc. One of these fucking stores - the one coloured red - even has the temerity to have a sign up saying that the absence of heating is for "the benefit of the environment" - i.e., to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ahh, well that makes it all right then ... lousy bastards. Surely employers are required to ensure that their *employees*, if no one else, are in an adequately warm environment? I would have thought 18C would be a minimum in this regard. Turn the heat on you fucking cheapskates.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Yeah, what they said! 

Well I hate to bump the good work of Bennyasena and dc_red down the page a bit but I got home late after a three hour lecture and popped into a cd shop to buy The Used cd. Apparently Seo taiji (who my wife worships more than me, I know, discraceful huh?!) thinks The Used are musical geniuses so she was hanging out to listen to them.

Anyway, I'm glad dc_red put some of my views on Robson and that absolute fucking bullshit he's trying to get through parliament below. How can those wankers think at night when they try to turn society back into the dark ages that it's struggling to get out of? Drinking age of 20?!, twenty?!, TWENTY?! Jesus christ, may as well make it 50!!

Right, onto my picks for the weekend and some analysis...

I'm on 33 out of 63 so sandwiched in between Bennyasena and Jessup (ooohh baby!).

Dragons v Panthers
This one is real hard to call. The Panthers are the better team and are playing at Illawarra and came off a shitty home loss to a out of form Raiders team BUT the Dragons are the Warriors of Australian teams. In other words they look good on paper and are always touted as being dangerous etc etc but invariably manage to find a way to fuck things up. They've had two good wins which means they must be due to fall over. 50/50 game though. That probably means the final score will be 50 v 50.

Bulldogs v Manly
The Bulldogs are depleted with injury and probably not happy about their standoff looking like he's about to swicth codes. The Sea Eagles have been the real surprise packet of the season and everybody has been waiting for their bubble to burst, including me. This is a crucial game for both sides. The Bulldogs to get their season moving in the right direction and the Sea Eagles to move one step closer to a playoff spot (long way out but it's these games they need to get there). I'll pick the Bulldogs because of venue (It ain't at Brookvale).

Cowboys v Broncos
The Cowboys were absolutely murdered last week by the shit Eels so I'm relying on the bounce back factor plus they are playing in front of 20,000 odd fans and will want a bit of revenge after their opening round loss to the Broncos. But the most important reason why I am backing the Cowboys is because in Graham Lowe's latest article in the herald today he waxes lyrical about how great the Broncos are which means they will lose since Graham Lowe never has any idea what the fuck he is talking about. He always let's emaotion get in the way of sense.

Rabbits v Storm
The Rabbitohs are the biggest joke in professional sport.

Warriors vs Roosters
I scored more free tickets for this game so I'll be there but I have no expectations whatsoever. It's a game the Warriors can win and possibly even should win but they let people down more often than not and they have a horrible home record. And I've been to see them play about 8 times in their history and they've only won twice I think. I'm a curse.

Knights v Tigers
Surely the Knights have to win sometime and I reckon this is the game. I've played in the odd team that has really been weak and lost several games to start the season but eventually you come up against an average sort of team at home and you really target the game as one where you can take it out. The othersides invariably know this and slightly capitulate. I'm picking this to be the case on Sunday.

Raiders v Sharks
Could go either way but the Sharks will probably be a bit relaxed after stealing the two points last week out of their arse and the Raiders had a solid away win and maybe about to get their season back on course after a bit of a wobbly patch.

And just for the hell of it...
Crusaders to beat the Hurricanes
Blues to beat the Waratahs (god know's how)
Highlanders to beat the Chiefs
and who cares about the rest.

Health and rugby league 

The Greens launched its school food saftey campaign this week:
We want our National Administration Guidelines changed, so that only healthy food and drink can be sold in our schools. Schools are a unique setting. Parents entrust their children into schools’ care. Schools need to do more than teach nutrition. They should practice it. All schools should have a policy that ensures all food and drink they sell:
is healthy and nutritious - will promote the health of all children
will help develop healthy eating patterns - will not contribute to obesity

Fair enough too, if schools are willing to all but hire thugs to coerce childrens' parents into paying voluntary school fees then they can damn well take more responsibility in ensuring their kids eat well.

The Greens also had a children's food awards where they named and shamed companies they percieve as promoting crap food and - suprise surprise - McDonald's took out the top award!
‘Pester Power’ AwardWinner - McDonalds: For the company with the most manipulative marketing ploy to seduce children into wanting its products, e.g. collectable toys, contests, catchy jingles, or using sport, music and film heroes to promote unhealthy fatty, sugary, additive-laden or salty food.

It seems not everybody is "lovin' it". Why can't the world's most recognised corporation spell loving?

Recently Green health spokesman Sue Kedley debated the merits of McDonald's food with McD's public relations whore Liam Jeory on Campbell Live.

Kedgley stumbled and tripped over her words throughout the interview and constantly resorted to grabbing her coke bottle prop and was completely outfoxed by Jeory.

He argued that the Green awards made out McD's out to be bad when in fact an organic cheese that had won a "good" award in the Greens food awards had a higher fat content than a McDonald's hamburger.

How did Kedgley respond? Time for some multi-choice.

A) By arguing organic cheese companies don't actively lure kids to their products?
B) By arguing that the other shit that accompanies hamburger's in the uncannily child-friendly happy meals greatly increases the amount of shit they're putting into their system?
C) By grabbing her coke bottle prop?
D) By admitting organic cheese has a higher fat content but that portion sizes (i.e you don't eat a whole organic cheese segment at once) make a mockery of Jeory's comments?

If you hadn't worked out multi-choice by now - the answer, like it always was at school, is C.

Interestingly, frog-blog didn't pick up on the piss poor performance of the minister.

Then the McDonald's spokesman argued something along the lines of this press release on the topic.
Obviously fact checking is not a strong suit of these award organisers when the information is readily available on McDonald's website, its regularly updated nutrition brochures and on the back of 15 million McDonald's traymats.

I would have thought the obvious reply to this would be: who the fuck reads the back of their traymats? Do car companies stick their operating manuels underneath their cars?

Anyways, enough of this onto the league.

NRL Round 10

With the New Zealand Herald's Peter Jessup and Bennyasena both collecting 4/7 last week Jessup sits on 32/63 while Bennyasena has hit 35/63.

Unfortunately management forgot to by the Herald today so I'll have to update with Jessup's picks.

This week we've got:
On Friday
Dragons versus Panthers Bennyasena Panthers

Bulldogs versus Manly Bennyasena Manly
Cowboys versus Broncos (it's going to be great) Bennyasena Cowboys
Rabbits versus Storm Bennyasena Storm

Warriors vs Roosters Bennyasena Warriors
Knights versus Tigers Bennyasena Knights
Raiders versus Sharks Bennyasena Raiders

Man how big are these guys' balls?

Cost of Living in New Zealand Part XVII 

Just saw a single, medium-sized avocado for sale in Dunedin for $5.80. Yes, that's right, a single avocado. No wonder people here eat out of cans, just like during the depression. I wonder if David Benson-Pope is responsible for this sorry state of affairs?

The insufferable Mr Robson 

Finally found a couple of minutes to blog about Mr Robson's "recriminalization of adult drinking" bill, aka raising the drinking age from 18 to 20. Yamis and I have had a bit of a chat about this over at the Discussion Board, and while both of us had a bit of time for Matt Robson in the past, his moralizing (and that of his Dear Leader) is becoming ever more insufferable.

Robson:"Raising the drinking age was vital to limiting access to alcohol and providing public health authorities with time to educate teenagers about its dangers".

Yamis points out he was "fucking 17" when he started univeristy: "What had I not been told by the health authorities (presumably at high school in the 4th form cos I never met them anywhere else) that I was miraculously going to learn from that point on??? I well remember having to spend 2 and a half years at university and not being able to legally drink."

University students are not children in need of "education" about supposed health risks. Like other *adults* most of them drink responsibly most of the time, and most of them are irresponsible once in a while. Which it might be said is quite a lot of fun.

If you're old enough to attend higher education, make your own way to and from the city each day, decide when to study and when to party, study political ideology, etc. you're old enough to drink. You're not sitting at your desk in the compulsory education system any more, under threat of detentions and the like.

It really appears that Anderton and Robson are unable to distinguish between adults and children, and in their desire to protect the latter from harm (or rather, to use the power of the state to do so) they fail to acknowledge the rights of the former. Anderton was on Campbell live last night saying that cannabis use should never be decriminalized for adults because it is a problem in schools. What's the connection there, moron? We don't think children should do lots of things which are generally morally unproblematic for adults ... like driving, getting married, and killing Iraqis (sorry, serving in the military).

We should agree on a uniform age at which one assumes all or almost all of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood (and 18 seems about right to me), including sovereignty over one's own body, and what one may wish to put into it. The likes of Mssrs Anderton, Robson and Dunne don't own the livers or lungs of such adults, and should kindly stay out of them. I wouldn't mind if this wasn't 18 ... 17 or 19 wouldn't bother me a great deal, but consistency in such matters goes a long way. Plus, as Yamis notes, "I could have sworn I was 19 once," and despite the obsession with multiples of two, there isn't "a law or something that says things must be at 16, 18 or 20 years of age"

Please, good people of Wigram, hold your noses, vote for Mike Mora, and rid us of these Regressives once and for all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Smell that, honey? It's power. 

Further to my earlier story, the man who would be king (right), and the man who would be ... well, who knows exactly what the Bloc wants ... the man who would be le prince du Québec (left).

Staying on the theme of Canadian politics, the CBC has a great site up about insults traded in the House of Commons during question time, most of them (not altogehter surprisingly) centring around the former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps.

"Pass the tequila, Sheila, lay down and love me again."
– John Crosby, minister for international trade, repeating a line from a song to Liberal Opposition MP Sheila Copps in February 1990.

– What Tory backbencher William Kempling called Sheila Copps in 1991.

"Sheila, that a was a shitty thing to do and confirms you are one bitch."
– Ian McClelland, Reform MP for Edmonton Southwest, to Sheila Copps during a debate in April 1997

Plus there's an election in BC this weekend, after four years of radical neoliberal government (of the late 1980s / early 1990s variety). Would be nice to see them cut down to size - last time, first past the post delivered them a handsome 77-2 victory on the basis of about 40% popular support and almost unbridled power.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Not seeing the wood for the trees award 

Canada's minority government is in serious danger of being brought down, less than a year after it was elected, by a coalition of the main opposition parties, the Conservatives (who smell power for the first time since Mulroney), and the Bloc Quebecois (who smell complete electoral domination in Quebec for the first time ever). While the politicians work themselves into a fervor, and many in the population express what I suspect is something between irritation and indifference, the Canadian Monarchist League focusses the nation's attention on the big issue: the government may fall during a visit by Betty & Phil Windsor. Yawn! Who cares? If the government falls, the Prime Minister will go to the Governor General and ask her to dissolve Parliament and call a fresh election. Which she will.

But no, the monarchists insist, this is potentially a calamatous state of affairs:
If the federal government collapses during the May 17-25 royal tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan forcing a snap election, Prime Minister Paul Martin and Opposition Leader Stephen Harper should agree to "de-federalize" the visit, according to League chairman John Aimers.
MPs should be removed from the formal schedule, Mr. Martin should limit his comments at the Government of Canada black tie dinner in Edmonton on May 24 and allow Mr. Harper to be equally visible to the royal couple, he added.

"It is uncharted territory: a government falling in the middle of a major homecoming," Mr. Aimers said. "But it need not be disruptive."

Get a life, fool, Betty Windsor's home is in England. She is not a Canadian. She maintains a home in neither Saskatchewan nor Alberta. That's why she's paying a visit. If the federal Government collapses during this visit, it will have no effect on her, other than perhaps further diverting the public gaze from an event unlikely to capture much attention in the first place.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Auckland Airport Review 

“Auckland International Airport rates as one of the better airports in the world” reads the byline in this story:
The top 10 in the latest airport championship league is, unsurprisingly, dominated by Asian airports, with Hong Kong taking top spot for the fifth year in a row, closely followed by Singapore's Changi Airport. […]

Both airports process passengers with incredible speed and efficiency, have marvellous facilities and terrific transport links, and are also very cheap. Auckland has quite a way to go to reach that standard. […]

The best airport in the Pacific region, according to the survey, is Sydney, which actually came in 10th out of the 150 airports looked at around the world. That, I have to say, is a mild surprise. I've always thought Sydney Airport was okay without being anything really special.

But, then again, the competition is not amazingly tough. Of the 17 airports in the region which were surveyed, Brisbane was second and Auckland third. […]

Personally, I would have thought Auckland's weakest point is its access. It has poor public transport links, difficult road access and expensive parking.

On the other hand, I've always found the airport itself quite user-friendly, with reasonable lounges, acceptable check-in facilities, good immigration and customs processing - except for the odd occasion when there's a logjam of planes arriving - excellent shopping, adequate eating and drinking places and good sign-posting.

But it could always be better. And, considering that we pay the airport company $20 a head via the departure tax for the privilege of using the place, it probably should be. [Editor’s note: too fucking right].

For a while, I considered buying shares in AIA, largely on the basis that they have a licence to print money, as the gateway through which a couple of million kiwis (and an equal number of foreign visitors) must pass. But I think it has some problems too.

1) The most obvious (glaringly obvious, I would have thought) is the lack of integration with the domestic terminal. What sensible airport, instead of connecting their international and domestic airports directly (Vancouver; Christchurch) or by regular underground service (Pittsburgh) keeps them 1km apart, and offers a “free bus service that runs, on average, every 20 minutes”. Yeah, like I have time to wait for that kind of service. Instead, I do the 900 metre dash through carparks and an industrial storage area, sometimes (as when on my way to/from North America) with 60 kg or so of luggage. Nice one.

2) It is the one airport in the world where I’ve consistently experienced check-in line-ups of well over an hour. Air NZ in particular, but Qantas to a lesser extent, seem to think that three half-trained chimps are sufficient to check in a jumbo-jet worth of economy class travellers (with another 3-4 other employees fluffing about in the background, doing sweet fuck all in full view of 300+ frustrated travellers). Moreover, the employees who are responsible for the check-in have no sense of moving people on in an efficient manner when they do make it to the front of the line. Joe and Jill Sixpack get to the front, only to engage in a 4, 6, 10 minute “conversation”. What the fuck’s to discuss … it takes about 45 seconds to check in your two bags each, get your boarding passes, and fuck off. On one memorable occasion, it took me even less than this upon making the front of the queue, as the woman forgot to ask the usual silly questions, or even look at my passport. “Here’s your boarding passes, have a nice flight.” “Thanks, love. Muhahahahaha.”

3) Distant from the downtown, with poor (almost non-existent?) public transport links, and traffic exacerbated by a dubious commercial property development scheme on what was until recently adjacent farmland. Like the Whenuapai billboard above Mangere Bridge said, “If you were flying from Whenuapai, you’d be there by now.” By contrast, Christchurch is a fairly pleasant airport, with what seems to be great bus connections to the city (under big red signs clearly stating “$5 bus to central Christchurch” … couldn’t be clearer for travellers). Parking at both Airports is exorbitantly expensive, especially at Christchurch: $55 a week for the privilege of parking in your gravel lot? Fuck off!

4) Additional line-ups associated with NZ Customs/MAF policy of screening everything in the possession of international arrivals, right down to the bottle of bourbon they just bought up in Duty Free.

5) Customs has never been a problem for me at Auckland, although those of us who travel with folks on other passports know the lengths of time they can endure in the other line up. No “G’day” or “welcome back” for them. For Ms_Red it’s regularly 45 minutes or so, while I’m malingering near the baggage claim and eventually attracting Customs attention myself. Pick up your act!

Now, to make a contrast with Christchurch Airport, where the seemingly under-unemployed NZ customs officials subject sunburnt middle-aged couples back from a week on the Gold Coast to harsh grillings, before conducting a thorough investigation of me upon return from 3 days business in Brisbane. After half an hour in the line up, and an exciting game of 20 questions, in which my ticket etc. was carefully inspected, I proceeded towards the baggage claim, where a customs woman barrels on up to me and proceeds to ask the same questions, again, in the same “how dare you leave the country and come back again 3 days later?” tone. Not being the brightest spade in the tool shed, and despairing in her attempts to make me incriminate myself, she resorted to “do you have any weapons or illegal drugs in your bag?” A cunning ruse indeed. Now, a three day trip to Brisbane doesn’t necessitate a large bag, and mine barely had room for a change of clothes and pair of runners, but nevertheless I resisted the urge to respond “yes, I’ve got two machetes and a pound of hash, what do you think?” I did see a few hapless travellers, including a backpacker (naturally), getting the full “open your luggage and show us everything routine.”

Friday, May 06, 2005

NRL Round 9 

Time to regain the competitive edge after picking only a lousy two out of seven matches last week.

Bennyasena is on 31/56 (55%) matches while the NZ Herald's Peter Jessup is on 28/56 (50%).

Nothing to write home about but at least everybody's having a hard time of it.

This week the Warriors ($2.55) take on the top-of-the-table Sharks (1.47) in Perth which puts it at the convenient kick-off time of 11.30pm for New Zealand viewers.

Aussie punters reckon the Warriors could do it.

Here's where the Aussies are throwing their cash in round 9:
$16,000 @ $1.75 ON NTH QLD V PARRAMATTA
$30,000 @ $1.95 ON NTH QLD TO FINISH TOP 4

Anyways the rest of the matches and the world famous Bennyasena versus Peter Jessup tipping competition:

Saturday May 7:
Dragons versus Rabbits - Both Dragons
Panthers versus Raiders - Both Panthers
Sharks versus Warriors - Jessup Sharks Bennyasena Warriors

Sunday May 8:
Broncos versus Bulldogs - Both Broncos
Eels versus Cowboys - Both Cowboys
Roosters versus Knights - Both Roosters
Manly versus Tigers - Jessup Tigers Bennyasena Manly

Anyone keen for a punt: chuck five dollar multi on Manly to win, with Warriors to win with a +6.5 start, and the Cowboys to roll the Eels.

Here's what the TAB is saying about the Brisbane Bulldogs clash:
Brisbane have strung together 4 wins on the trot, whilst the Bulldogs have also succeeded in their past two clashes. This shapes up as an absolute blockbuster and a possibly prelude to the Grand Final. Whilst the 'Dogs are weakend in the forwards through injury at the moment, one feels they have the ability to rise against class opposition. Suncorp Stadium has held no fears for the men from Belmore in recent seasons and the $2.90 looks an attractive price.

Yeah right.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Come one, come all, just leave your apples 

The incumbent New Zealand Government is quick to highlight its contribution to this country's biosecurity.

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton will often point to our $200 instant fines at our international airports - for not declaring plant or animal products - and which have caught out several rather high-profile tourists.

How you like them apples Hillary?

I was watching Border Patrol the other week and a 19-year-old Spaniard coming to New Zealand to learn English for a year was searched at, I think, Christchurch Airport.

As the search progressed the young Spaniard got increasingly pissed-off but Customs was onto him and managed to find.........crumbs of cannabis in the crevasses of his back-pack.

The camera dramatically zoomed in to focus on the specs of pot as the Custom's officials eagerly swept the crumps into an evidence bag.

The kid fessed up and said that he smoked spliffs regularly and, stupidly, admitted to an immigration official that he would probably have a toke if offered one while in the land of the long white cloud.

That was it, he would commit an offence while in New Zealand, and the student was put on the next flight home.

Top work New Zealand customs/immigration, the public is much safer for your work.

Yet while immigration and customs are busy detecting specs of cannabis in tourists' bags former senior members of Saddam Hussein's government are being waved through the nothing to declare isle.

Well no, that's not exactly true, it turns out he did declare his Iraqi connections but immigration just fucked it up.
He [Winston Peters] described the man as one of the jailed Iraqi dictator’s Government ministers. Immigration Minister Paul Swain yesterday revoked the man’s visitor’s permit and said he must leave as soon as possible. He admitted the man had arrived on an Iraqi passport in the middle of last year and applied for permanent residency soon after. The man also had his visitor’s permit extended during his stay, meaning officials had two opportunities to examine his connections. The man declared on his application form that he had been a diplomat for Saddam’s Government, but this was overlooked by the Immigration Service. Mr Swain would not name the man for privacy reasons but it is known he arrived in New Zealand with his wife and has family already living here. He is thought to be living in Auckland.

Enough said.

On the brighter side of things, this guy deserves a DB.

Monday, May 02, 2005

NRL week 8 results and some other stuff... man. 

Brisbane 38 Manly 12 27514
Canterbury 30 Parramatta 16 24957
Melbourne 10 Cronulla 30 8372
North_Qld 38 Easts 18 22476
Warriors 14 Penrith 16 10989
Newcastle 10 Canberra 14 15868
St_Geo-Illa 40 Wests_Tigers 32 17567
Souths Bye

2005 season average: 17,943
2004: 14,836
2003: 14,632
2000: 14,446
1994: 14,215
1999: 14,005
1995: 13,918
1993: 13,654
2001: 13,329
2002: 13,157

Passed the 1 million mark from 56 games

And on a totally different note I'd like to emphasise what Tze Ming Mok touched on in her latest post which dc_red linked to below and I do here.

Asians have about as much in common as a Frenchman and a Greek do so to constantly lump them into the same pot is a bit pathetic. I mean what kind of takeover could it be when most of the Asian faces out there would have more trouble communicating with each other than you or I (assuming you are a honky) would with any of them.

My wife is Korean and she has about as much in common with any Asian outside her country as a goat does with a hippopotamus. I mean they both have 4 legs and eat grass and other shit but they don't speak the same language, eat often very different food, probably fought and killed each other at some stage and have very different clothing and customs. Actually I'm not sure that hippos and goats did ever kill each other but they do definately wear different clothes.

I also feel a census posting coming on soon enough too.

Myths, Legends and Dumb shit 

What's with people (usually selling tickets or talking up the tour) saying that the Lions tour is "a once in a lifetime opportunity/event". I must have heard that about 20 times from as many different people.

They have actually been to New Zealand 11 times in the last 117 years. Now admittedly there probably wouldn't be more than a couple of people on the planet who could claim to have been alive at the time of the first tour but hell there's plenty of us that were alive for more than one of them!

I was born in 1976 and can vividly remember seeing John Kirwan score a try in the corner against the Lions at Eden Park in a game for Auckland which they won 13-12 in 1983? A year after my birth the Lions toured New Zealand and played 25 games. Then in 1993 I remember watching them lose to Hawkes Bay on TV and us lose the 2nd test but triumph in the 3rd. So here I am about to 'witness' my 4th Lions tour to NZ at the ripe old age of 28. Should be another one when I'm 40, 53, 64, 76 and hopefully 88, 100, 112, and through the miracles of modern (future?)science 124, 136...

Realistically though your average Kiwi will be alive for at least 6 tours and possibly up to 8 or 9. My father is not yet at 60 and he is about to sit through his 8th tour.

So shove this once in a lifetime promotional/robotic crap up your arse.


Another one is the Warriors being "hard to beat" in New Zealand. They have now lost 4 of 5 this year in NZ on the back of losing their last three last year so that's 7 from 8... I'd say that's probably the worst record in the comp over that period of time apart from perhaps the Rabbitohs. Their all time record at Ericsson is 68 wins and 52 losses with one draw. And they have lost about 6 and drawn one of other competition games in NZ so it's about 68-2-58 in the country. Only North Queensland and the Wests Tigers have a worse alltime record with Parramatta and Penrith having similar sorts of win/loss ratios. The other ten sides have vastly better home records.

So when they win 3 out of 4 games at Ericsson consistenly then say they are hard to beat. Not when it's about 11 out of 20.


The Highlanders crowds are poor. Well yeah, compared to places like Jade Stadium, Westpac Stadium and Eden Park they are pretty poor but if the 12,000 they apparently got for the Waratahs game came from a population ten times bigger like Auckland then 120,000 would seem like a reasonable turnout wouldn't it? Let's face it, the city is made up of students who don't have that much cash and often aren't even in town, old people who can't go cos they have no money or it's too cold (why is every fucking game at night?) and rural folk who probably can't be fucked travelling into town for every bloody game. A bloke on the radio now is talking about how the night games is hurting them a lot with the cold miserable weather. Anybody want to add to that?

And I've forgotten the other stupid myths that are getting a lot of mileage these days. Does anybody have any they want to add in the ruddy forum??

Visualizing NZ 

Amusing to see images from New Zealand appearing in this recent edition of FoundPhotos. It had to happen sooner or later I guess. The sign pointing to NZ's first cheese factory (or, in fact, to a field with sheep in it) is from right here in shitty old Dunedin. As is the fourth photo down with the woman on the beach.

Oh yes, and for a nice response to the latest deranged ramblings from Winston Peters, whose party seems to be beginning its inexorable pre-election rise (please, someone open the oven on this souffle), check out Tze Ming Mok. Wow, who'd have thought that Asians are a diverse bunch, some of whom own stores selling interesting food. Still, I imagine our Winston and his army of supporters are "meat and two veg" types.

It would be interesting to identify a NZF supporter and ask them the following question: name a NZF MP other than Winston Peters. I'm guessing you'd draw quite a few blanks. Maybe Ron Mark would get the occasional mention, but apart from that...

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