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, July 31, 2006

Pure as the driven snow 

What is it with Kiwis thinking they're the shit, and everyone else is ripe for a quick put-down or more trenchant criticism.

First there's that Don Brash, articulating New Zealand "bedrock values" ... values which are not actually shared by some of his most ardent supporters, and which actually allow for such things as, umm, freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That includes the freedom to be different from Don's imaginary "white bread mainstream". Idiot/Savant at NRT has a killer post on this. Among the many comments, my favourite is: "What Brash wants to say, but doesn't dare to, is that Muslims should not allowed into New Zealand."

Methinks therein lies the truth.

On another issue of New Zealanders being high-n-mighty: let's look at overweight/obestiy shall we. At home, my significant other brought my attention to the frequency with which the media, both local and internationally-based, fixate on "Americans being fat ... ha ha ha", before pointing out that, in her opinion, New Zealanders are pretty damn fat too.

And the answer to that is a big "hell yeah"! The current US figure is around 65% of the population being overweight or obese.

Ten years ago, a New Zealand nutritional survey found:

NZ men: 40% overweight; 15% obese
NZ women: 30% overweight; 19% obese

That's around half the population: and you can guarantee things haven't improved since then. Indeed, a 2002/03 survey found overall obesity rates had increased to 21%, with particular contributions to that coming from Maori (27% of men; 27% of women) and Pacific people (36% of men; 47% of women).

So how about we shut the fuck up about "THE OBESE AMERICANS!" (it's usually said in a exclamatory tone) and take a look in the mirror. This goes for pretty much all developed countries of course, including, say, Canada (23% obese based on self-reported BMI), and pretty much everywhere else.

And before we get all high and mighty about something else to do with America (say: Iraq) let's remember that America's two staunchest supporters in that ill-fated expedition were Australia and Britain. And most Kiwis seem to think the sun shines out of the arses of both those countries, and don't give their tourists or immigrants shit. Especially the Brits, who seem to be well-loved here.

Update for those who like visuals, courtesy of the MSD:

Prevalence of obesity, total [New Zealand] population aged 15–74 years, by sex, 1977–2003

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The bloody haka 

For fucks sakes, ditch the cut throat gesture in the Kapa O'Pango haka.

I'm sick of it being the only thing talked about in the lead up and aftermath of the games. If we are still doing it in 5 years we will be having the same conversation. If we are still doing it in 50 years we will be having the same conversation.

And would the NZRU and AB management stop saying that the public needs to be educated about the haka.

Unless you plan on spending hundreds of millions of dollars on global advertising campaigns or employ thousands of teachers to travel the world, or have the guy leading the haka wear a T-shirt saying "this gesture that looks exactly like a cut to the throat is in fact about drawing energy into the lungs despite looking nothing like that" then we should shut the fuck up and either ditch that gesture or else have the motion of the hand and thumb go DOWNWARDS from the mouth to the lungs [prize for longest sentence of the day?].

Last time I looked I didn't breathe through one side of my neck and out the other.


Meanwhile there is a presidents grade rugby team in the North Harbour comp called the KKK Cowboys. How do you get away with that one?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dirty Immigrants! 

New immigrants to New Zealand must share our values, dc_red, blogger, said today in a blog of little consequence.

For too long the Helen Clark-led government has failed to discriminate between good immigrants who are willing to embrace a safe kind of diversity - perhaps, opening an ethnic food shop while in all other respects acting like John/Hone Q. Public - and bad immigrants who instead bring actual diversity, which your average Orewa retiree finds a bit threatening.

Monolingual New Zealanders everywhere should join me on insisting that new immigrants speak flawless English either on arrival, or soon thereafter - if yous gonna love in NewZild, yous need ta speik luke ass.

And they should dress like us too, goddamit. I'm talking Waikato rugby jersey, old stained blue rugby shorts, and gumboots (white or black, the choice is theirs!). No bloody French or Italian fashions here ... sweatpants are more than acceptable for local shopping trips, like to the Warehouse.

They should also be narrow-minded, uncritical of claims that New Zild is the greatest country on earth, think a trip to the Gold Coast is the high-point of any decent person's year, happy to live in the ridiculously over-priced wooden tents we call houses, and willing to accept that coal is an acceptable form of home heating (Dunedin migrants only). They should be prone to gross generalizations about other groups, especially minorities, and willing to comment at length on the Maori underclass of this country.

And they should understand the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Yee gads 

In the wake of the Kahui disaster, there's been a lot of reporting like this. Not entirely dis-similar from US-style "underclass" reporting circa 1995, but with somewhat less emphasis on crime, and somewhat more sympathy towards both those involved and (non-carceral) state intervention. There's plenty of home-spun "solutions" being offered:

When parents take their children to school or preschool, he would like them to be able to see a Plunket or public nurse, a dental nurse, a social worker, a budget adviser, a drug and alcohol counsellor or a kaumatua, and state agencies such as Work and Income and Child, Youth and Family.

"For example, get Work and Income to help with school uniforms. Families will come in who are entitled to a Work and Income allowance but they have to go to the middle of town to get it paid. They need to have offices that are smaller and more community-oriented."

On the first point, a school is not a one-stop shop for every state-provided social service. Nor is it a panacea for all of society's ills (as some in the left would have it). Nor is it the cause of those ills (as some in the right would have it). It is a place that tries to teach children skills and values deemed necessary for them to be economically productive members of society.

On the second point: really?? If you can't be assed to get off your chuff and go from suburban Rotorua to central Rotorua (we're not talking Papakura to Auckland Central here!) to collect the social entitlements you're eligible for (i.e., those things provided by others, basically for free) then you probably don't deserve them. Who knows if this is urban legend though. Sooner or later the prospect of an entitlement will get most people off the couch, one presumes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moving slowly in the right direction? 

Michael Cullen and friends seem to be taking our criticism seriously, and are at least beginning to think pragmatically about tax issues. OK, we can't claim any credit, but it would be fair to say Cullen & Dunne were making "encouraging noises"

But again, their "conservatism" is stifling - we *might* do something, *possibly* in time for April 2008. I don't know about you, but April 2008 seems a long way off. Decisive action is preferrable here: indeed, while I was in Canada, the Federal Liberal government on one occasion (2003 I think) announced an income tax cut to take effect almost immediately, in the middle of the tax year, with Revenue Canada to sort it out retrospectively, in combination with taxpayers completing their annual returns (i.e., most people were in for a slightly larger-than-normal rebate at the end of the year, as they would have been taxed at a slightly higher-than-required rate for half the year). The same thing would be possible here ... or if it's just too much effort for the mandarins at the IRD, how does April 2007 sound?

For god's sake Scrooge, National has gained (and is gaining) considerable momentum on this issue, and you're content to wait for 2008!? Why not say: "We'll cut the rates by 2% in 2007, and a further 1% in 2008" (or vice-versa if you prefer) just to take some wind out of the windbag's sails? Fuck this maybe-I-will-and-maybe-I-won't business. Get on with it! (And the same goes for the Spaghetti Junction re-alignments and connections ... construction now into its sixth year by my reckoning!)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Damn stupid webmarshal 

Stupid fucking webmarshal is blocking my ability to slack.

I can't help but have noticed that without access to hotmail, gmail, norightturn or trademe my productivity has increased, oh by about say, one million per cent.

It seems webmarshal only blocks the most popular sites yet strangely -- bloggingitreal is not off limits.

Speaking of strange, there's been a few things lately that I've found odd.

1) At the corner of Bond Street and New North Road in Kingsland is the large "take another look at intersections" billboard, from the Land Transport Safety Authority, warning motorists about the dangers of turning at intersections.

That intersection is governed by wait for the green and proceed.

Way to go to target your campaign advertising at irrelevant intersections.

2) Got a work e-mail this week saying "sorry, the assertiveness skills workshop is now full".

Please god, tell me that there's somebody out there besides me that finds that funny.

3) Stop press: George Bush said shit.....................................................who gives a fuck?

4) What I've learned from the international news lately is that while the state of Israel is allowed to take prisoners - Palestine and Lebanon are not.

When they dare do the same as the Israeli's they are slaughtered in their hundreds.

How lucky were new Zealanders then not to be bombed and murdered by those pricks when we arrested these Israeli spies who were stealing the identities of Kiwis?
The prime minister of New Zealand angrily denounced Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions on it after two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for six months for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport.
The plot, which involved obtaining a passport in the name of a tetraplegic man who had not spoken in years, provoked a furious reaction yesterday.
"The breach of New Zealand laws and sovereignty by agents of the Israeli government has seriously strained our relationship with Israel," said the prime minister, Helen Clark.
"This type of behaviour is unacceptable internationally by any country. It is a sorry indictment of Israel that it has again taken such actions against a country with which it has friendly relations."

Anyone aware of what action our Government is taking over the bombardment of Lebanon?

The government "expressed concern" after Israel started starving civilians and generally terrorising Gaza and arrested the democratically elected leaders of Palestine (how gallant) but can't find any reaction so far to the murder of 250 Lebanese civilians.

The Sunday Star-Times is sending roving reporter Jon Stephenson to the frontline!

5) I wouldn't say I know him well but I've had a few beers with journalist Matt Nippert and he seems a pretty decent guy, so I thought it sucked when I read this last week.
In the days leading up to this wardrobe disaster, I had taken to fortifying my usual breakfast of coffee and cigarettes with the undeniably healthy trio of orange juice, bananas and yoghurt. However, with fatigue and headaches steadily compounding, I had been driven from my normally stoic “she’ll be right” reverie to seek out the medical profession – a nurse – for the first time in a year.
That night, I slept the satisfied sleep of the self-righteous and – as it turns out – the deep sleep of the dangerously anaemic. My telephone rang at the unseemly hour of 8.55am. It was the nurse, who had my blood test results in front of her. “Don’t move, “ she said. “We’re sending an ambulance.”
Chest scans had revealed that my lungs looked like those of “a 40-year-old hobo with HIV”. My kidneys had already sustained permanent damage and were in danger of collapsing.
In hospital, it is far better to be a zebra than a mule (no fewer than eight specialists offered exotic theories as to what ailed me), but I suspect that both look the same coming out of a glue factory.
Modern medicine has yet to design a pleasant medical procedure and local anaesthetic is a half-measure at best. One afternoon at St Lukes stretched into five nights in an isolation ward.
Diagnosis, when it finally came, sounded like a high-class knacker’s yard: Goodpasture’s Syndrome. My antibodies were attacking my internal organs. Cases develop at the rate of one in every two million. Half my kidneys were gone for good, but with drugs for Africa and a fortnight hooked up to a blood-spinning machine (based on a milk pasteuriser), the rest might be saved.
For the unwell, Google is a Pandora’s box. Confined to my hospital bed, I used a purloined wireless internet connection to make a search. The first result told me that: “The majority of cases progress rapidly to end-stage renal failure.” (From this point on, I limited internet use in my hospital room to productive purposes, such as pirating recent episodes of The Sopranos and South Park.)

6) I was listening, briefly, to Radio Sport this morning, and in the unending pre-match analysis/guesstimates/hype before tomorrow's rugby test I heard the host say, that because the South African's had been written off by the public, it was a lose/lose match for the All Blacks.

Perhaps the TAB better revise its odds?

From go to woe 

A couple of things I was surprised to see: actor Haley Joel Osment ("I see dead people") drives a 1995 Saturn (amazingly, he crashed it and lived); Jonah Lomu is playing rugby for Massey (the Western Leader reports he managed 25 minutes and then walked off injured).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Where am I going, and why am I in a handbasket? 

Sorry to go all Darth George on y'all, but this country is facing some hard times right now. Lower middle class battlers everywhere are staggering under the weight of petrol price increases, house price increases, mortgage rate increases, and local authority rates increases, not least of all in Massey!

While some remain obsessed with which 73 players will represent the All Blacks this week, others point to things rapidly turning to shit in the less sulubrious suburbs.

And, like our old friend Darth, I need someone to blame: and that someone is Scrooge McFuckin Cullen -- Dr Low Wages, High Taxes. There's barely a pragmatic bone in this guy's body (the only exception I can think of is that his last budget finally allocated all petrol taxes to roading). The three year wait for a tax bracket adjustment being a case in point.

This guy is an albatross around the government's neck. Roll him now, put Phil Goff in the Finance Ministry, get moving on some tax relief for low-to-middle income earners, and stop criticizing us for our pathetic 3-4% pay increases when you're being granted 8%.

In honour of the Dishonourable Deputy Prime Minister, he is awarded the title "Tosser of our Times" (taking over from our hero, Darth).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From the Racial Ignorance Files 

Tonights episode of Without a Trace has a "Korean" family who own a deli. I know they are Korean because they are the Kim family with daughter Sun, along with Hye-Sung (all Korean names). Not to mention they have a Korean flag on the wall behind the counter. Or the investigator's reference to them BEING KOREAN.

Only problem is they are Chinese actors and were speaking to each other in Chinese *.

It's a bit like casting a French family to play some Russians only they stand round speaking French to each other with a bottle of vodka for a prop.

For fucks sakes, how hard is it to either a) find some Korean actors in the US or b) have Chinese actors playing Chinese roles.


* [OK, now it just gets dumber. My wife and I just realised that they were in fact speaking Korean. Or to put it more accurately were trying desperately to speak Korean. Their efforts were so bad that my wife, who is Korean, and I, took until 45 minutes into the programme to realise what was coming out of their mouths was Korean. But we are not alone. They even have the caption service confused at teletext as well. Whenever they speak Korean it pops up "[speaking Cantonese]". Fer fecks sakes]

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Holiday Options: Ranui or Glen Eden? 

Rates increases you say?

I few months ago Waitakere City Council sent out a decent sized flash looking questionaiire on what services we think they should provide, how important things are to us, what our priorities are, would we be willing to pay more etc.

Well it looks like they have taken the results and run a fucking marathon with them because they are set to go up astronomically which is going to leave this household eating stale bread and muddy water.

Here's the budget at the moment:
Monthly Income after tax (for someone with 6 years of tertiary education in a VERY IMPORTANT JOB - namely a secondary teacher a few rungs up the pay ladder)
$2650 (minus retirement scheme and PPTA fees)
minus mortgage repayments
minus power bill
minus phone
minus internet
minus food
minus petrol
minus house/car insurance + rates (Waitakere City and ARC)

So we have 42 dollars to see us through the month assuming the car doesn't need fixing and the house doesn't have repair 'issues'. So roughly $1.40 a day.

It sounds like one of those ads on TV for sponsoring a child. Of course that's after we have laden our table with fine foods like spaghetti, toast and refresh drink mixes.

Our rates bill at the moment is $1210 annually and the prediction is that the bottom level by about 2010 will be $2,700 in Waitakere City with the upper limit being around $4,100 (a mere 14% or so of your average wage after tax in New Zealand, remember you have already paid 12,000 tax and have to pay regional rates on top of that, so that hypothetical NZer would be paying over 16,000 of their 42,000 to the government to run the country). But back to us because after all I only worry or care about myself. Basically we will be losing money and in debt without much choice, forget about not saving and not being disciplined and all that crap. We won't have a choice.

I pity all those young folk out there who are educated (or not) and have got decent jobs and have been working hard for years. Basically if you are buying in the Auckland market (or other main centres) you are, to put it mildly absolutely screwed financially. I was able to buy a cheap house by Auckland standards in a good wee deal, and put quite a lot down as a deposit after saving IN KOREA (I, in my wildest dreams could not have saved 10% of the same amount in New Zealand) so our mortgage isn't too huge although it will take 22 more years to pay off, but when you tack on the repayments to the ever increasing rates you can forget words like 'disposable income'.

I was going through my documents at home and here's a nice summary of what the bank has sent me in the past two years

Dear Mr and Mrs $%&@%#$$!

We wish to advise you of a change in the interest rate charged on your term loan.

New interest rate 7.75% p.a (effective 31 May 2004)

2 months later another letter saying it's up to 8.00%

1 month later another letter saying it's up to 8.25%

2 months later another later saying it's up to 8.50%

1 month later another letter saying it's up to 8.75%

A 5 month reprieve before a nice letter says it's up to 9.00%

A 7 month rest (they must have run out of paper for letters teling customers of interest rate hikes) before a letter saying it's up to 9.25%

Now fully stocked with stationary again they send out another letter in January informing us that the rate is now up to 9.55%

I'll keel over dead when we get a letter in the mail saying that interest rates are dropping.

So quick summary.
Wages are piddling up at speeds of 3.3% (artifically inflated by the likes of Cullen and CEO's no doubt) (And Cullen, prepare yourself for a teacher strike next year old fulla).

Meanwhile rates are set to go up by over 100 dollars a month
and petrol has gone up by about 50 dollars a month

You would need an average wage increase of about 4.35 merely to cover those two alone let alone all the other increases in electricity, regional rates and water rates.

Not that I'm complaining or anything (oh yes I fucken am). I'd rather be living this life than life in any of the other 20 odd countries of been through.

But just for good measure in the herald:

Middle-New Zealand feels pinch
Sunday July 16, 2006
By Miles Erwin

Skyrocketing household costs are squeezing even comparatively wealthy New Zealanders out of their homes.

One Auckland debt advisory service said it has been inundated with enquiries following rises in household bills and petrol prices. And it's not just people on lower incomes struggling to make ends meet.

Pam, of Auckland Central Budgeting, told the Herald on Sunday she is seeing people on $100,000 a year. "We have people on $2000 a week who can't survive. They're definitely feeling the pinch with the increase in petrol and energy bills."

She said some middle-income families have only $40 a week left after paying their bills[ah that would be bliss I tell you], . Increased power prices council rates and fuel are the main culprits.

According to Statistics New Zealand, energy bills have gone up 4.6 per cent since last year. Fuel costs are a whopping 23.5 per cent higher, and local authority rates are 7.6 per cent up on last March. Households charged for water face a bill 13 per cent higher than last year.

This compares with overall wage increases of only 3.3 per cent.

The high cost of housing is part of the problem. Ms McKenzie said many families have recently bought expensive houses and are juggling a hefty mortgage with the ever-increasing costs of running a home. She describes these people as living on the edge of their finances [is there such a thing as an inexpensive house anymore?].

"People have over-committed themselves. A marriage break-up or redundancy can really throw people. Because of the value of the house, you can keep borrowing against it - now a lot of people don't have the equity because it's all borrowed."

Mortgagee sales are on the rise - a trend noticed by real estate agents. Paul Humphries of Barfoot and Thompson said top-end mortgagee sales are becoming more common. "We are seeing more higher-value houses in mortgagee sales this year and a decrease in cheaper houses. That's been really quite noticeable."

Bank of New Zealand chief economist Tony Alexander said there has been a significant increase in the number of mortgagee sales. He said the main problem for middle-income New Zealanders struggling to meet budget is local authority rates.

"People are getting especially concerned about rates because there's nothing you can do. You can drive less, you can eat fewer anchovies, you can buy fewer CDs. But with local authority rates there's nothing you can do but shift house."

Escalating household costs leave less for the finer things in life. Restaurant patronage is down, pubs are short of drinkers and hotels are struggling to fill rooms [restaurants? pubs? hotels? what the fuck are they?!].

Bruce Robertson, chief executive of the Hospitality Association, said the industry is down about 10 per cent on last year. And the "churn rate" - the number of people leaving the industry - is at a high, around 22 per cent.

"There are more properties turning over and that's because people are finding it tough. We've seen a lot of money disappear into the petrol pump and power bills," he said.

Alistair Rowe, chief executive of the Restaurant Association, agrees. "What we are hearing from industry is it's pretty quiet. If you're putting $90 into the petrol pump instead of $50, something's got to give.

"They won't go for a coffee and they won't go for brunch. People just don't have the disposable income to spend," said Mr Rowe.

And if it wasn't for big hit New Zealand films such as The World's Fastest Indian and Sione's Wedding, the country's movie industry would be suffering, too.

Joanne Watt, chief operating officer at Village SkyCity, said the movie audience was about the same as last year, with the Kiwi films giving the industry a welcome boost.

The big squeeze will have serious economic effects on families who will face the choice of cutting back on expenditure or watching their savings whittle away.

But with a reported household savings rate estimated to be minus-18 per cent - the lowest among developed nations - Mr Alexander said there's only one likely outcome.

"If people's income are being squeezed, they will look at cutting back their casual spending - or they'll dis-save. That's the New Zealand way," he said.

Family sick of living in the rat race

It's been a hellish 12 months for the Barretts - mum Dawn had a skin cancer operation, then a car accident. Last week dad Mark had an operation on a carcinoma.

Dawn's brush with cancer forced the family of five to re-evaluate what's most important in life. "It was a bit of a struggle. We got in such a rut - just to pay bills and work," she said. "We weren't putting anything aside and just felt we were sick of living in the rat race," said Mark.

So Mark cashed in his 20-year super scheme to reduce the mortgage and have a holiday. "We thought: 'let's not be a slave to our mortgage and spend more time with our kids'."

Dawn's illness pre-empted the changes. "We considered downsizing the house. Or we might have gone back to Christchurch, where it's cheaper."

Most of the Barrett earnings go on the kids - Felix, six, Max, four, and Toby, two. Mum and Dad's only indulgence is takeaway pizza once a week.

Mark works in insurance and Dawn works part-time at Auckland Hospital. Their combined yearly income is about $85,000. The super scheme helped cut the mortgage bills from $1000 a fortnight to $300. But even then it's a bit of a struggle - they still don't put any cash away. The latest round of bills has cost the family $1301. And Mr Barrett's policy? Close your eyes. "They all seem to be about the same from rates to water to telephone. You don't look after a while."

When Dawn crashed the car, Mark paid $2000 for an older model car just to get him to work. "But I still pay $77 a tank - I don't know where it goes."

The family has been able to supplement its income, though. They now have a German exchange student, paying $200 a week, which helps pay the bills. "It's also nice for the kids to have someone from a different culture around," said Dawn.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Korea vs Japan 

Somebody Is A Liar 

Zidane says Materazzi insulted mother and sister
7.00am Thursday July 13, 2006
By Pierre Serisier
PARIS - Zinedine Zidane today confirmed on French national television that Italian defender Marco Materazzi insulted his mother and his sister during the World Cup final against Italy.

The French captain reacted to the insult by head-butting Materazzi's chest in the second period of extra time of the match. He was sent off.

"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said in a live interview on French television channel Canal Plus.

Zidane offered an apology to all children and to all fans for his behaviour but he said he did not regret it.

"This was not something to do. I want to make it clear because it was watched by two billion people and by millions of kids," Zidane said.

"I want to apologise to them but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said."...

Zidane denied Materazzi called him an Islamic "terrorist", as was reported by a Paris-based anti-racism group...

FIFA decided on Tuesday to open a disciplinary investigation to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident and Sepp Blatter, the chairman of the soccer's ruling body, hinted that Zidane could be stripped of the tournament's best player award.

"Materazzi also said that he would never insult someone's mother because he thinks a mother is sacrosanct".

This is a bit like Wayne Rooney saying he didn't deliberately step on his opponent when he was sent off.

Somebody really needs to take that boy aside and help him grow up like a normal person. It was so obvious that it was deliberate that it's not funny. Yet another pathological liar in world sport? We've already got enough thanks.


And what's with all the elderly people being mugged and/or raped and/or murdered in New Zealand? Nice healthy society we have isn't it when we target the most vulnerable.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Prosecute Jerry Collins 

As many a Dunedin student can attest, public urination frequently results in prosecution and conviction under the Crimes Act in this country. Jerry Collins should, therefore, be tried under s. 125 (indecent act in a public place), in the same way as any other New Zealand citizen (especially a young male) might be. One law for all, right? No reasonable expectation of privacy s.125(2) could apply in the middle of a sports stadium, one thinks. "Maverick Te Awamutu lawyer Jim Parlane", as the Waikato times calls him, is "quite right", as Don Brash might say.

While we're at it, how about proscuting the Mad Butcher for stealing Yamis' pie all those years ago? No lawyers have yet been in contact to take up this historical case. Our email address is to the left of your screen.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Beautiful Game 

Well, yeah it turned pretty ugly in the end.

How is that fifa can have the sides championing fair play and regular anti-racist messages when in the final we get a guy slam his head into an opponent allegedly on the back of some dodgy sledging and then he gets red carded, to go with an earlier tournament suspension and he winds up winning the player of the tournament award.

What a fucken joke. And the message to all the kids out there is..... ???

I thought the final was bloody good until being ruined in the last quarter of extra time by the French, and possibly Materazzi. They shouldn't have taken off Ribery or Henry and Zidane should have kept his head on his shoulders and not tried to implant it in an opponents chest.

France were the better team over the 120 minutes but soccer is one of those sports where dominance does not always translate into victory. And in the end I have to say that Italy were worthy victors (despite wishing they would fall over and die earlier in the tournament). They could have capitulated against the French attack but they held them out and showed balls of steel when it counted. Given they have a shit arse record with penalties it's only fair they should win one of them.

But how's this for the worst write up of a match you've ever seen:
Soccer: Cynical Italians blight World Cup final

1.00pm Monday July 10, 2006
By Mike Collett
BERLIN - The most schizophrenic soccer World Cup tournament in history ended with its snarling cynical side triumphant after Italy's penalty shootout victory over France today.

This tournament will now be remembered for the second worst final in history, littered by the phony grimaces of pain and anguish on the faces of players as they dived for fouls and feigned one injury after another. [what the?! That's the least I've seen an italian team dive and play act in my life. And the second worst final ever? The commentators were saying it was the best final since 1986 and it's certainly better than the last 4 non-events I have seen].

The smiling, laughing fans who created a party atmosphere that transformed Germany over the last month deserved better than to see the competition settled by a shootout that followed a final in which only one team - France - attempted to play anything approaching decent football [well if you ignore Italy's goal, the clearance they forced France to make off the line, the header onto the cross bar and the disallowed goal for a marginal offside then yeah... whatever].
The fact that Zinedine Zidane, playing the last match of his career, was sent off nine minutes from the end of extra time for what appeared to be extreme provocation from Italian defender Marco Materazzi underlines Italy's approach to the game [yeah, just completely ignore what he did and pin the whole lot on the Italian, these guys sledge constantly, Zidane must have heard plenty before].

They served notice of their intent in the first minute when Thierry Henry was clattered to the ground by Italian skipper Fabio Cannavaro [no, it was an innoucuous challenge where Henry was equally at fault and didn't absorb much contact at all]. He needed an ice-pack and smelling salts before he could continue [whoopdy shit].
Italian players rolled on the ground, feigned injury [this is soccer right? if you don't like it then get a job at fifa, it ain't an isolated occurence], passed balls 60 metres back [they did that once] to goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and saved their best performances for when they were dancing around the stadium with the World Cup trophy in their hands.

Buffon was at the centre of the game's most controversial incident when he ran some 40 metres to bitterly protest to a linesman about the off-the-ball incident involving Zidane and Materazzi, ironically the two goalscorers [fuck, wouldn't any decent player who had seen the incident? Gee it's so rare to see a soccer player running over to remonstrate with an official, somebody cut Buffon's hands off as punishment].
TV replays showed Zidane, with a thunderous look on his face, approach Materazzi and butt him powerfully in the chest.

Materazzi had been lying prone on the pitch for some time before Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo took any action and showed Zidane the red card [and?].

It was a record-extending 28th red card of the tournament, and the fact it marked Zidane's last ever act as a player was poignantly sad in the extreme [cry me a river].

The night had started in total contrast for Zidane and France when he chipped home a seventh-minute penalty off the crossbar to give France the lead.

It was only the second goal Italy had conceded in the competition, and meant that Zidane joined Pele, Vava and Geoff Hurst as only the fourth man to have scored three goals in the final of the World Cup following his two headers when France won the title in 1998.

Ironically he was denied a second goal just seven minutes before being sent off when Buffon made an outstanding save from a superbly executed header. It would be far better to remember that as his last contribution to his side than his dismissal.

Although they took an early lead, France never took a firm grip on the game and Italy pulled level after 19 minutes when Materazzi scored with a powerful header, but apart from a Luca Toni header that hit the bar after 36 minutes, Italy never created another chance in the opening half.

France, meanwhile, continually came forward in search of another goal although Henry and Franck Ribery were continually frustrated by the Italian defence.

Only the 1990 World Cup final has been as bad a spectacle, ironically when West Germany won in the Italian capital.

Italy reserved their worst display of the finals for the German capital and somehow emerged victorious on a night the French will want to quickly forget ["somehow"?].

Substitute David Trezeguet, who scored the golden goal winner when France beat Italy in the final of Euro 2000, was left forlorn after blasting his penalty against Buffon's bar.

Italy ended the night as world champions for the fourth time and the victory will do much to appease the anguish being felt back home before judgements in the Serie A match-fixing scandal are expected later this week.

Italians will long celebrate this success and its players will be accorded hero status for the rest of their lives.

The rest of the world will be forgiven for taking rather a different view of things. [nah, mate, just you and a few other people with heads up arses]


Warriors still going good. That's 6 good performances in a row even if they did win just 4 of them.

A win over the Eels this Saturday night and the bye points will see them move back into an extreme outside chance of the playoffs. They can really only afford one more loss for the rest of the year though because teams 6, 7 and 8 are all on 20 points and teams 9, 10 and 11 are on 18 points. At least three of those teams will surely win at least 4 or 5 of their remaining 7/8 matches.

Problem for the Warriors is that they can beat the Eels and over take them, get the bye points and then beat the Panthers and possibly overtake them, beat the Sharks, beat the Cowboys, but then it all turns to shit.

They have the Storm away (a near guaranteed loss as the Storm could well be needing that game to wrap up the minor premiership), the Roosters at home which they should win but then the Broncos away.

We could go close which is probably all we can ask for but the next two games will dictate whether it's a decent season or a crap one. Remember, despite our recent run of good form and the fact we were docked 4 points, we still have lost more games than we have won this year. Nothing to russell crowe about.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Zack de la Rocha 

Wondering what Zack de la Rocha (former front man for Rage Against the Machine's) latest musical offering has been?

Live at the South Central Farmers solidarity show last November.

In terms of 'album' music he has recorded bits and pieces towards a solo album over the past few years but it seems as though it will never be completed.

If you want to check out something from the direction he was heading try downloading Centre of the Storm where Roni Size drops the beats and March of Death where DJ Shadow does the same.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ah yes, the weather forecasts 

Further to my earlier bitch and moan.

It was forecast that the second half of this week would be fine after some Tuesday rain, but low and behold last night they are saying "nup, sorry, it's going to rain today, tomorrow, and Friday".

But what do we get so far today in Auckland? Glorious blue skies without so much as a fucking hint of rain.

I am doomed to never paint this house roof thanks to a series of forecasts which turn out to be not only a little wrong but are completely and utterly fucking wrong.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Apparently JK Rowling is planning on killing off one of the main characters in the final Harry Potter book much to the horror of fans who are inundating her with hate male.

I say they reach a compromise and kill off one of the fans instead.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sports Roundup 

Brazil gave us all a timely reminder of how the best side on paper can crap out at a big event. It ain't a round-robin baby, it's straight knockout.

Easily the most talented lineup at the World Cup the Brazilians looked absolutely clueless in the face of an enthusiastic, skillful opposition. I couldn't believe how they could barely string together any passes, gain any field position, vaguely threaten the French goal or even appear that interested. If you don't have it mentally as well as physically over your opposition you are screwed in the era of professional sports.


Warriors going great guns at the moment. On Saturday night they won a game that they would have lost most of the time. I'd be surprised if they can beat the Bulldogs in the weekend, but if they beat the Eels at home they should be sitting only 2-4 points outside the top eight with 6 games left.

What's with the Warriors crowds this year?

They are averaging 8,558 per game at home and aren't attracting many across the Tasman either. There were 6,597 for the Souths game and 6,806 at the Roosters game. Their home average is the worst in the NRL by about 500.

The 6,240 for the game v Newcastle was the lowest crowd in the competition this year. In fact you have to go back to round 18 of last year to find a lower crowd.

I'm going back through the record books to see when Newcastle have played in front of a smaller crowd and I'm back to round 5 in 1999 v the Magpies at Parramatta (neutral venue), 192 games ago.

I think the Broncos played in front of a smaller crowd than the 7,746 in the 1990s v the Sharks.

But seriously those crowds are truly atrocious. A sad indictment on how piss poor the management of the club has been over its existence and also one of the fans who as I've mentioned before just aren't that loyal. Given the number of freebies that are given away to Warriors games as well you are really only talking about 5,000 or so diehards in a city of 1.4 million. Feeble.

unless it picks up it will be the lowest yearly average in the clubs history, surpassing the 8,858 from 1998 when they finished with a 9 win, 15 loss record, averaging less than 18 points a game conceding over 21. Compare that to this year when they have the third best attack averaging 25 points per game (only Newcastle have scored more tries) and the fifth best defence averaging 19 against.

If they hadn't been docked those 4 points they would now be sitting in 7th spot.


In more shocking and unbelievable news the English cricket team sucks, professional cyclists are drug cheats, and it's cold in winter.


The All Blacks will play their first test match of the year on Saturday.

Prediction, it will be cold, the ref will blow his whistle a lot. Dan Carter will whack over a few penalties. We will score a couple of tries. Aussie will get a couple. We will win by about half a dozen. I will be blogging sometime after the game about how I was completely wrong with all my predictions.


And what's with the fucking weather forecats being wrong all the time?! I realise it's not an exact science but when they tell me the night before that it's going to be wet in the afternoon so I don't bother getting on the roof to paint and it's gloriously sunny all day, then FUCK! I was looking to tomorrow when they were saying it will be fine. But oh, know, it's supposed to be bloody wet now tomorrow.


Bugger this, I'm off for a run/walk/walk/stop/walk/lie down.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

blah dee blah blah 

Soccer players really do have their heads buried up their arses...

We’re still standing tall. We outclassed them and we can go home with our heads held high.

Carlos TEVEZ (ARG)
Naturally I’m very angry - we’ve just been eliminated. The fact that we played well doesn’t make it feel any better either. They attacked twice and scored a goal but Argentina were the better side.

Gabriel HEINZE (ARG)
It hurts a lot to lose like that. We didn’t deserve it but we gave it all we had. I really don’t know why we lost.

We tried to play and represent the country as well as we could. I’ve got nothing to say because if you watch the game you’ll see that we were the better team. We showed we’re up there with the best teams in the world, and in my opinion there’s no such a thing as justice in football.

Leonardo FRANCO (ARG)
They kept their heads better than we did in the penalties. We missed out and there’s nothing we can do about it now. All the same, we have to keep things in proportion because they weren’t better than us.

Julio CRUZ (ARG)
Although we know we lost, Germany weren’t better than us. They just had more luck in the penalties, that’s all.

Much as I marvelled at the 6-0 win over Serbia and Montenegro the Argentinians can fuck off. Hopefully the Italians join them.

I picked Germany and Italy to win. lets see how I go from here.

Portugal over England 3-1 on penalties with Rooney sent off
France over a pathetic Brazil 1-0

Germany over Italy 1-1 on penalties
France over Portugal 2-0

Italy over Portugal 1-1 on penalties

Germany over France 2-1 in extra time

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