Saturday, December 27, 2008

Suitable for Kids (apparently)

I was fossicking around through some of my old books today and came across something my parents gave me when I was quite young. It's called "Coles Funny Picture Book" and was a reprint of a childrens' book that was first published back in 1905. It'd be fair to say there was definitely a much different moral imperative back then - well compared to today anyway.

I give you:

A Deed of Horror - By J.W. Lloyd.


The night was dark,
The rain came down.
Amidst the loud
And roaring wind.

There stood a man
With look as though
Some heavy weight
Was on his mind.

With fearful stare
He gazed around;
He starts and from
His lips then come

These fearful words,
With anguish wild,
"The deed, it must,
And shall be done."

With hurried step
He onward glides,
And soon he reached
The cottage door.

Forth from his pocket
Drew a key,
He enters 'midst
The thunder roar.

He gropes his way
Across the room,
For all inside
Was dark and glum,

Again he groans
Those fearful words,
"The deed, it must,
And shall be done."

He strikes a light
Then round the room,
With stealthy step
Does slowly creep.

He reached the bed,
And thereupon
Three little children
Calmly sleep.

He fondly gazes
On their forms,
Then turns away
Quite overcome.

"I willingly
Would yield, but, no!
The deed, it must,
And shall be done."

He then drew forth
A hideous knife,
And roughly roused
The sleeping babes.

Who all shriek loudly
With affright,
Yet neither one
For mercy craves.

He drags the children
Cross the room,
Again those fearful
Words did utter,

He raised the knife
And cut - for each -
A nice thick slice
Of bread and butter.


Somehow, as much as we might like it, I don't think we could quite get away with this today.

Pity.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Since It's Christmas

Political Musings for 2008

After a year of playing poli' chaser I guess it's time to sit back and reflect on the highs and lows, as well as the fuck ups, achievements, and happenings of the year.

George W Bush Award for Dumbest Statement:


Winston Peters for his "no" comment on receiving donations from businessman Owen Glenn.
That, along with all the finagling and hypocrisy over NZ First's party funding, effectively killed Winston's 30 year political career - oh, and his party.


Balls of Steel Moment:

National Leader John Key for refusing to do a post election deal with aforementioned Winston Peters.
It could have blown up in his face had Labour run a better (or even slightly intelligent) election campaign.


Most Misguided Campaign Approach:

Labour wins this hands down.
When you're defending the actions of NZ First the last thing you should do is base your strategy on trust. It's about as intelligent as DIY circumcision.


The "What the fuck is this person doing in Parliament" Trophy:

Lots of competition for this award this year with some perennial favourites in the running. (ie Judith Tizard, Ashraf Choudhary, Colin King, Allan Peachy, Gordon Copeland, Barbara Stewart).
However the winner has to be .... Ashraf Choudhary. In the face of complete non-achievement, invisibility, and general all around lack of ability he's back in Parliament thanks to a relatively high position on Labour's Party list.
(how on earth do they work their selection system? - it sure as hell can't be based on talent or ability).

Unluckiest MP:

Labour MP Damien O'Connor. Just 40 more party votes and he'd have been back in Parliament. He never recovered from the disaster that was his stint as Minister of Corrections and lost his West Coast seat. He also had the misfortune to be the subject of a nasty and false smear campaign run by certain right wing members of the blogosphere - he should have sued them.

Paris Hilton Award for Blatant Self Promotion:

Act Leader Rodney Hide. That godawful yellow jacket. (and other publicity stunts)
Need I say more?


Darwin Award for Sheer Blind Pig Ignorance and Complete Lack of Brain Cells:

The Labour Party staffers who were dumb enough to try and flog 37 bottles of wine from the Press Gallery's end of year Xmas Party.
How can anyone work in Parliament and not know that the security cameras are everywhere and see everything? Congratulations to Mr Aidan Smith and friends - your public service careers are now terminally fucked.

The Keystone Cops Medal for Services to Political Investigations:

No contest here. Soon to be ex-Labour Party President Mike Williams is the hands down winner here.
What on earth possessed him to fly to Australia to trawl through thousands of documents trying to find dirt on National Leader John Key only he will know. Mikey, Mikey, that's what you have party flunkies for. Let them handle the shit storm if the efforts come up empty - at least that way you can have some sort of plausible deniability.

And letting reporters know exactly what you were up to was overwhelmingly dumb too. What exactly did you think might happen if you came up empty? That they might forget about it??


And finally - Politician of the Year:

Nope I'm not giving it to John Key for winning the election. It was his to lose after all. Nor am I going to give it to Helen Clark for the consummate way she handled the election defeat and the leadership succession - there can be no rewards for losers.

Instead I'm giving it to Maori Party MP Hone Harawira.
Why? Well I'll say one thing for Hone, unlike many of his peers you're never in any doubt about where he stands and what his opinions are. personally I find that rather refreshing.

Also anyone who says he wants to kill Trevor Mallard and tells Jim Anderton to go and jump in the lake can't be all bad.

Can he?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mistletoe and - Oh Shit - Some Bugger's Pinched Me Wine!

These boys are in the shit.

And deservedly so.

Yes in the wee hours of this morning - around 2.30 am to be precise - they were nabbed making off with 37 bottles of wine from the Press Gallery's annual Christmas Party. Three boxes worth actually - and they'd even had the cheek to pinch a chilly bin and pack it with ice so they could keep the chardonnays and sauvignon blancs nicely chilled.

To be precise one was caught and referred to police but his colleagues will be as well. The wonderful thing about Parliament is that it has security cameras everywhere and today the security staff have been collecting all the shots they need to identify the three that weren't picked up. Not that it really matters as it is known who they are.

Now had they made off with a couple of bottles I suspect the Gallery members would have required they return them and left it at that (this has happened in the past with a certain gentleman that made off with a case of bubbly).

But to take over three dozen is beyond the pale. Especially given the culprits had been merrily drinking free booze all night.

A brief four line apology was sent to the Gallery Chair this afternoon via Parliament's internal mail from the person arrested. I suspect had he come down and fronted in person it might have been taken a little more seriously.

Of course the fact a note was sent might be because he's already been given the arse from the premises. I'm reliably informed there are a number of senior Labour MPs who'd happily throttle those involved.

Other than that it was a damn good party - kudos to the organisers.

Good Behaviour Bond

In the past the Radio Awards have been known for, shall we say, moments of colourful behaviour. It seems steps have been taken as next year the event has a code of conduct.

Anyone care to place a bet on whether it'll be breached?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Breaking a Trend

Now I'm normally the sort of guy that adopts a "bah humbug" approach to Christmas - yes I am a grinch and proud of it - but even a sour old bastard like me finds this pretty damn cool.

Apart from the soppy beginning. Meh!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

People Who Deserve a Smack.

Today was the day of the annual Thorndon Street Fair. Now I'm not normally one to bag a good cause (and it is a good one), but I do feel the need to vent my spleen at some of the idiots who attended this year.

Particularly the friends of humanity who thought it would be a good idea to come onto our property and tip the contents of their curry lunches all over one of the landings. Cheers for that - and leaving the empty containers strewn across our carport was also a nice touch.

You are the type of people that could only be improved by being loaded into a catapult and fired into a concrete wall at point blank rage.

Mind you a special mention must be made of the intellectual genius who thought it was a great idea to discard a brick in our driveway. Discovering it by driving my new high performance car (bought less than 24 hours previously) over it so made my afternoon.

It is my considered opinion that the culprit should have his/her knees nailed together.

PS.

Why is it on the day you buy a car and take it for a test drive it sounds perfect and everything seems all hunky dory. But then the next day (after the money has been paid) all of a sudden it starts to make all sorts of funny sounds??

(please dear God let it just be that the brakes are rubbing slightly - Captain Paranoia's insisting it's a dodgy wheel bearing)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Karma

What follows is, for me, the best story of the 2008 election campaign. Unfortunately I wasn't there to witness the occasion but quite a few people that I know well were there so I can vouch for this tale's authenticity.

In the last moments of the campaign, as matters were reaching their frenetic conclusion, a group of reporters were camped outside National Party Leader John Key's Parnell residence in the hope of catching a quick stand-up interview with him. A semi-functioning member of society driving by felt the need to wind down his window and hurl some abuse at the esteemed members of the aforesaid fourth estate.

Unfortunately for this news critic he made his colourful outburst in full view of a member of the Diplomatic Protection Squad who dutifully took down the registration details of the man's car and made some discreet enquiries.

It turned out the critic was on company time and driving his company car when he was expounding his opinions on the media. It also turned out his boss was less than impressed with his behaviour and not at all happy about finding out about via the agency tasked with protecting the Prime Minister and the man aspiring to her job.

So a little later that same morning our hero had did walk of shame, returned to the scene of his verbiage, and made a humble apology to the assembled reporters.

As a reporter I like the way it all panned out. In this job abuse is frequent, praise is rare, and apologies nigh well unheard of.

So big ups to the DPS, and the lesson to be learned: don't f**k with them.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Right Banker

It's a funny old thing this credit crunch. Especially the way it appears to have tightened the sphincter muscles of certain banking types.

A little over a year ago, when the property boom was in full swing, I approached my bank to see how much they would lend me should I consider splashing out and buy myself a home. As it turned out they were happy to lend me something in the vicinity of a quarter of a million dollars.

However the market was manic and obviously heading for a fall so I said thanks but no thanks and waited for the real estate bubble to burst.

Which it duly did.

Anyway now the market's in free-fall and property prices in our fair capital are finally approaching something vaguely resembling reasonable my partner and I thought we'd approach the bank again and see how much we could borrow on our combined incomes.

That is; roughly twice the income that I had when I approached the bank solo last year.

Well the man at the bank did what bankers do best. Took details, crunched numbers, hummed and harred etc etc. In fact he even managed to find the banking details my partner had when she banked with this bank back in 1983.

WARNING - even after a quarter of a century these bastards will still have something on you lurking somewhere within their networks. My mind boggles at the fact they went to the trouble to:
a) move it from a paper record to an electronic one (computer records weren't the norm in 1983)
and;
b) hold onto the records of the banking behaviour of a seven year child.

Right I'll get back to the point of this rambling.

So our grey little banking man finally did all his sums and informed us of the sum the bank would be prepared to lend us in exchange for our life, liberty, happiness, and eternal souls.

It turns out it was only 30K more than what they were prepared to lend me as an individual 14 months ago.

So it seems it's not just been the finance companies that have been guilty of loose lending. I can't imagine them getting this tight, this quickly, unless some pretty bad calls were made in the not too distant past.



Actually it reminds of an old joke that's now been completely destroyed by the European Union and single currency.

Q: Why do the Irish call their currency the Punt?
A: Because it rhymes with banker.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Get a Grip

I note a few of the Kiwi political blogs, particularly those with right of centre leanings, have decided to up sticks and call it quits now the election is done and dusted.

Fair enough.

But for those who are claiming that their efforts in some way influenced the outcome of the election ... Please. Give me a break!

You (like me) are really that not special and your efforts, while no doubt impressive to yourselves, don't really add up to much in the grand scale of things.

In fact I suspect I influenced the election more than you lot did when I farted in a polling booth on election day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back Soon

Once this whole figuring out the Government thing is sorted.

(probably next week)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sudden Impact

So there I am having a quiet moment at home after a frantic week of chasing politicians and 15 hour days and all of a sudden there's this almighty crash from outside.

I look out the window and, lo and behold, the demon intersection has struck again.



It's kind of a regular occurrence. People trying to get onto the motorway are forever running the lights and coming of second best. As this businessman has now learnt.



Still it keeps the local panel beaters and emergency services gainfully employed.



For what it's worth no-one was seriously hurt.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Prefer Our Staff Clothed.

Apparently they do.

It's a bit of a worry that the employees need reminding though.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tax Cut Theory

Just a theory based on a bit of random supposition - feel free to explode it if you like.

But ....

If National's looking at ways of covering the cost of its tax cuts package and alterations to KiwiSaver are in the mix, then what's the chance of the $1000 Government kick-start contribution being the part they alter??

Logically the employer tax credits are unlikely to be in the mix. Targeting that would seriously piss off employers and the business community which, lets face it, are a National Party constituency.

So far over 800,000 workers are signed up to KiwiSaver and have claimed the $1000 contribution. That's 800 million dollars. Now looking at the Department of Statistics workforce figures they say there are over 2.1 million people in the workforce. On that basis there are around 1.3 million workers left that potentially could sign up to KiwiSaver.

So ... if National removes the kick-start contribution it has $1.3 billion dollars of previously committed money it can set aside for its tax package.

And there is a way they can sell it too. If a tax cut is $50 a week then the one off $1000 payment that would have been in KiwiSaver is covered in 20 weeks, and the tax break accrued every extra week becomes an added bonus as far as the taxpayer is concerned. Potentially money that can be saved for retirement.

As I say it's just a thought and it probably has holes you could drive a truck through.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Grandiose Delusions

When it comes to the relationship between bloggers and journalist I notice some bloggers seem to think that journalists feel threatened by them. In their view they think reporters see bloggers as competition in efforts to communicate with the public. Based on that the bloggers assume reporters hold some antipathy towards then and are "out to get them" - as it were. Some even believe journalists refuse to follow stories published by bloggers because they're part of a system designed to suppress information and stop the real truth being told.

Now far from it be for me to prick this little conspiracy bubble, but, it's a complete load of crap.

The reason journalists largely ignore the efforts of bloggers is because most of the time the said efforts are complete shit. Generally the research is lacking, fact checking non-existent, and understanding of defamation laws completely absent. Suppression orders are rarely understood, and the rules of court reporting escape them completely.

Basically most bloggers have little, or no, understanding of the rules and ethics that professional journalist follow. And, generally, it shows in the work they do.

And don't even get me started on the ones that subsist by ripping off screeds of work done by working reporters and then adding on a comment or two and passing it off as some work of creativity.

That isn't writing, it's plagiarism and it has no merit whatsoever.

Now I realise I'm being a bit tough on bloggers (which is a bit unusual given I sort of am one myself) but I don't hate them all. There are some true creative geniuses out there who are responsible for some very fine work which I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy.

It's just the wingnut, conspiracy addled, defamatory, fuck-knuckles that I can't stand. They know who they are.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stop Bloody Cribbing John

In his closing speech to Parliament today John Key was quoted thusly;

Mr Key says Labour's a walkman in an iPod world.However he says the walkman batteries have gone flat and the music's stopped playing.
Now normally I wouldn't have a problem with this as it's not a bad metaphor. A little glib maybe, but not a bad turn of phrase.

Except ....

In 2006, in his adjournment speech to Parliament shortly after taking the National Party leadership, John Key said this:
As we saw from Michael Cullen's speech, their days are numbered. They are a Walkman Government in an iPod world. They are dinosaurs, that is what they are. They are gone. That member does not know what an iPod is, that is the problem. He should plug it into his ears.
C'mon John, how hard is it to come up with some new material??? I mean, given recent events, there's been some A-grade material to poke fun at.


The Truth Hurts



Visit this guy. His stuff is fantastic.

And, if the whole credit crunch/sub-prime mortgage crisis has you confused then I strongly suggest you visit here. It's international finance made easy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Not to Market

A small word of advice to Investigate Editor Ian Wishart.

If you're touting for business and trying to get paying subscribers to sign up to your online publication try checking exactly who you're sending the email to.

I can't see many journalists signing up after reading this little missive which forms part of the email. And believe me I know I'm not the only one that got it.

I would make the point that if you believe New Zealand needs an independent media voice, then please support us. A columnist in one of the British papers yesterday made the point that democracy in the West is effectively dead because of the liberal-left stranglehold on the media – so many newsrooms are staffed by liberals that no matter which political party takes power, unless they meet the demands of the left wing media they are effectively dog tucker after a while.
Mr Wishart, I know you only by reputation and you certainly don't know me or my politics. So can you kindly take your sweeping generalisations and stick them up your arse.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And You Thought You Were Having a Bad Day...

No sound - it really doesn't need any


Rhyme Time

I've come to the conclusion most political stories/scandals can be summed up in terms of childrens' playground rhymes.

For example:

The Winston Peters/NZ First funding scandal.

"Liar, liar. Your pants are on fire."


The tiff on who can we trust between Labour and National. John Key and his Tranzrail shares vs Helen Clark not letting on about her knowledge of Winston Peters' funding arrangements.
"I know you are, you said you are. But what am I?"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Politically Incorrect Joke of the Week

A bloke goes into a bar and says to the bartender "I'd like a Winston Peters".
The bartender's perplexed having never heard of such a drink before.
"Come again? What was it you were wanting?"
"A Winston Peters" says the customer.
"Look" says the bartender, "I'm sorry I have no idea what that is"
To which the customer replies, "A Lion Brown".

[with apologies to the office of the race relations conciliator]


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Game Time

OK things are set to be very hectic over the next couple of months as I gallivant all over the country chasing politicians in the build up to the election.

Depending on how riveting it is (and if there's any decent goss') I may post on it from time to time. Though I suspect work commitments will be the over-riding priority.

It'll definitely mean no time for exercise which will be real bummer as Wellington's weather seems to have turned the corner. Today was just the perfect day to do this. Not a long ride, but has a couple of hefty hills, and I must be getting fit as for once I was actually overtaking people on the climbs.

Not bad for a dirty smoker.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Quick Prediction

Based on Owen Glenn's testimony today and comments subsequently made by the Prime Minister here's how I think the rest of the week will play out.

Winston Peters will give his evidence tomorrow night.

Helen Clark will consider it.

And on Thursday, or Friday at the latest, Winston Peters will be ....



And why do I say this?

Well the Emissions Trading Scheme, for which the Government needs and has NZ First's support, is set to pass tomorrow night before Winston Peters Privileges Committee hearing is due to finish.

The Government has its keynote law in the bag. The PM can give Mr Peters the right of reply and observe due process.

Then she can give him the boot.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It Really Ought to Happen to Someone Else

When you're a bloke you tend to go through much of your life under the impression that you are indestructible. It's about the time you pass 30 that you start to find out this assumption no longer stacks up as much as one would like it to.

For example; any medical issues relating to the lower gastrointestinal tract are supposed to be solely reserved for the drooling, wrinkly geriatrics in the over 50 age group. The whole concept of something going wrong "down there" is, generally, so far removed from any conscious thought that it might as well not exist.

Which means when such a problem does crop up it can come as a rude shock - in every sense of the word.

Take it from me there is nothing quite as disconcerting as having to undergo a medical procedure that involves a TV camera entering one's body via orifices a TV camera was plainly never meant to go. It's even more disturbing when one finds out after the procedure that the sedation was supposed to have been such that recall of the event should have been impossible.

In my case it wasn't.

And you can take it from me seeing and feeling sections of your lower intestine being biopsied is not something you need, or want, to remember.

BTW the nurses are bloody fantastic but all those fantasies about potential romantic entanglements go right out the window.

It's hard enough looking them in the eye after they've helped ram a camera up you nether regions. Hitting on them is simply right out of the question

Now to finish on a lighter note.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Evolution of Winston.

(or a three line political history)

1993 - THE GREAT REDEEMER



1996-99 - THE GREAT PRETENDER



2008 - THE GREAT DECEIVER??

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Doublespeak, Evasions, Fibs, and Downright Lies.

I'm talking about you Mr Peters.

Administrative error my arse!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Things That Piss Me Off

Number 1 (in a series of hundreds)

- companies that put out video press releases instead of fronting for interviews.
Cadbury NZ you can fuck right off!

- media outlets that use said video press releases (you know who you are)

- wingnuts that think New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters deliberately put himself in a position where he could be investigated by the Privileges Committee and the Serious Fraud Office just so he could play the underdog and then, hey presto, pull the rug out from everyone's feet and prove he was in the right all along.
Seriously, do you think anyone (particularly a politician in election year) wants to be in a position where they might be perceived as being a duplicitous and fraudulent S.O.B??

But on the positive side ....

Apparently I'm part of dark influence on New Zealand politics and part of a hidden agenda to destroy a political party.

How cool is that???

Though I must say being a dark influence doesn't pay that well and if there's a pot of money on offer I'm buggered if I've heard of it (let alone seen it)

PS I know I've not been blogging a lot. Truth be told I can't be arsed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pain

It started with a slight itch behind a wisdom tooth. The itch became became a burning feeling. Just a tiny ulcer was my thought, a salt water gargle and all will be well.

The burning became a dull throbbing pain and I steeled myself to look inside my mouth. A bit puffy, definitely red - not good.

Decision time. To see the dentist or to tough it out? Do I confront my phobia about being poked, prodded, injected, and (God forbid) suffering an extraction from a masked and white coated sadist? Or do I hang on, swig copious amounts of whiskey, and hope like hell things sort themselves out?

Deliberation. Prevarication. More pain, in fact lots more pain. Sod it, the dentist it is then.

Scene: A Dentist's Surgery

Dentist: Hmmm, been a while since you had your teeth checked eh?

Me (with mouth full of dental torture implements): mmph itf bin abouf hore yers ( it's been about four years).

Dentist: That doesn't look good (translation - this is going to cost you a packet boyo)

Me: ogh hulloghs (oh bollocks)

Dentist: Yep, an abscess behind your wisdom tooth. Looks like I might have to pull it (kaching there's a quick $400)

Me: aarggh, ho uerkin ay unhine (no fucking way sunshine)

Dentist: Was that a no? (please let me use the pliers)

Me (spitting out aforementioned instruments of pain): Damn straight, I want drugs. Lots of drugs.

Dentist: Well that is an option (a cheap one that won't help me repay my 100k student loan you tight bastard!)

Me: perfect.

Dentist: But first just let me do this .....

Me: Wait, no, gerroff, oh you absolute c**t!!


Yes dear readers to cure an abscess it seems lancing and iodine are required. So too are antibiotics but not, so it would seem, any decent painkillers.

When your jaw is swollen up like a pumpkin, it's leaking blood and pus, and is getting regular swills of antiseptic wash .... well .... let me just say Nurofen doesn't quite cut it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Accidental Policy

Here's an interesting theory for you; what if the immigration rant from New Zealand First last month was a balls up in a way you would never expect?

What if Peter Brown's position on future Asian population figures was never supposed to happen?

It requires one hell of a suspension of belief but the weird thing is the theory might just have some legs.

Let me explain. It involves a convergence of different events occurring within the party.

The thing is in recent months NZ First has seen some pretty significant changes within its Leader's Office. The main one being the departure of Winston Peters SPS Graham Harding and the retirement of Ernie Davis. That left a pretty large hole that needed to be filled quick smart. Because the party needed someone with campaign experience it saw the return of one Frank Perry. Now Frank was a stalwart press secretary for New Zealand First during the 1990's and earlier this decade and we all know what that period was famous for as far as immigration and Asians are concerned?

Don't we?

So here's the scenario as it's been explained to me by someone who is in a position to know. Frank Perry saw the figures in the Department of Statistics release and automatically treated them the way he always had. He saw the immigration angle, pumped it for all it was worth, and sent out the release with Peter Brown's name on it. We all know what happened next.

Ok, that's one part of the theory. Part two is the contradictory statements made by New Zealand First MP Dail Jones who pretty much immediately defended Asian immigrants and the role they have in New Zealand. He made a speech to that effect in the house and then went around the Press Gallery the next day handing out copies of it. If New Zealand First had deliberately chosen to play the race card why was one of its MPs (and a former Party President) challenging it?

To me it suggests they had no policy whatsoever, or even a tacit strategy not to use immigration as an issue this election. Or at least not yet.

Here comes the next part of my theory - The China Free Trade Deal.

New Zealand First opposed the deal on the basis it wasn't good enough. If you look at the arguments put forward by Peters they were based on economics, trade, timing of tariff reductions, and dealing with a low wage economy. You'll note immigration and the labour clause, while mentioned, was pretty much skipped over. It'd be fair to assess New Zealand First as choosing to oppose the FTA on dollars, not race. At least that was the position Peters seemed to take.

Now if we take this at face value (and given the Party had predetermined its stand on the FTA some time in advance we almost have to) wouldn't deliberately embarking on an Asian immigration bashing crusade just a week or so previously seriously undercut the arguments they'd later make against the FTA?

Consistency might not be Winston's strongest point but he's not a political idiot.

The immigration statements from Peter Brown got the party labelled as racist, and that perception carried over to its stand on the FTA. Winston Peters is savvy enough a political operator that you can bet your life he would have moved heaven and earth to avoid such a situation.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Still Taking the Piss (literally)

This time a look at the debate last year on raising the legal purchase age for alcohol.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Actually ....

While I'm on this audio tangent here's a little blast from the past. A taste of New Zealand politics in late 2006.

What Goes Around Comes Around.

Well I guess if you get in the business of using musical ditties to take the piss out of others it's kind of inevitable someone will return the favour.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hypocrites and Whining Bitches.

First the hypocrites.

Take a bow Labour you win this award over the so called parody song aimed at National Party Leader John Key. For the moment let us set aside the relative merits (or lack of) in the song itself. Suffice it to say the tonal quality was somewhat reminiscent of hearing a feral cat having its entrails extracted via its nasal passage.

We should be truly thankful backbencher Jill Pettis wasn't part of the group.

Anyway, to get to the point, what annoys me so much about the whole thing is the pious line senior Labour politicians took when politicians tried last year to impose new rules on the way the media were allowed to cover proceedings in the debating chamber.
"Parliament," declaimed Finance Minister Michael Cullen, "is a place for debate, not theatre".

Oh I see.

It's bad when we the media do it, but somehow it's OK when members of your own Cabinet are having a swipe.

A word of advice. Leave the parody and satire to us. We're much better at it.

Now on to the whining bitches section of this post. Naturally I'm giving this tag to National and its leader John Key.

So you got picked on. So what, It's life, it happens, build a bridge and get over it. Or even better - learn from the words of Aussie icon Mark "Chopper" Reid.
"Harden the fuck up John!"



John, trust me the general public didn't need to be told that the song was an insipid piece of shit and those behind it talentless gits. They can actually figure that out for themselves and it's sort of condescending (and patronizing) that you and your caucus colleagues feel the need to jump up and down about it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Question of Sport.

What happens when a bunch of media and communication types, along with other assorted malcontents, decide to give an account of their sporting efforts?

Here's the answer.

(Disclaimer: the author of this blog may be involved with aforementioned malcontents.)

Oh and if you're feeling a little frustrated with your job/career/immediate supervisor then I heartily recommend that you go here to vent.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Back in Training

Now that the disaster that was the cricket season is over (3 wins, 12 losses) I'm back on the bike again. I had been thinking about doing one of those 100 km events but on the basis of how I feel after today's effort there's no way in hell I could make the distance.

For your edification here is the route.



And here's the height profile.



65 km and I'm absolutely poked.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"ACT"ing Out

When I read this I really couldn't help myself.

So in the interests of bad taste, poor humour, and generally taking the piss I give you this.



Actually while I'm taking the piss I must add this cartoon as well.



Blame these chaps.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some Days

You know it's a bad day when you have higher blood pressure than your boss who is 20 years your senior.

You know your day is even worse when a 71 year old's blood pressure is lower than yours.

All I can say right now is "what the fuck?"
(and potentially question the quality of my paternal genes)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Blank

Just to explain it's not a lack of inspiration that keeps me from blogging, it's more a lack of motivation. Currently I have a severe case of can't be arsed syndrome.

Anyways what have I learnt lately:

The resumption of my cricketing career proceeds apace (though it will be curtailed by the end of season next week) and it is now official - I am so shit at this game. The talent of my youth has slipped through my fingers and now is just a blurry memory.

Staying with exercise. If you go to the gym for the better part of a year and then take a break for 6 weeks you're going to find getting back into the routine really hard. Also you lose all your muscle mass and end up even lighter so really, when you think about it, going to the gym is kind of self defeating.

I can prevaricate and prognosticate with the best of them (anything to stay out of the gym)

Late night benders involving scotch, bourbon, and red wine are much harder to get over in your mid-30s than they were when you were in your mid-20's

And,

Sooner or later, if you work in journalism, you're likely to have a bust up with a former colleague and friend who's now in pr.

Enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bus Trips From Hell



A word to the wise from one who knows.

If you're about to take a 12 hour bus trip and you're feeling a little peaky then think long and hard about delaying your journey.

Do not do what I did in Turkey last month. While eating dinner an hour before an 800 km trip from Istanbul to Goreme I started feeling slightly nauseous. Not wanting to be a big girls blouse and go through the hassle of rebooking bus tickets I decided I'd tough it out. After all how bad could it be??

As it turned out - very.

An hour into the trip I developed the worst case of food poisoning I have ever had in my entire life. Frantic gesticulation to the bus attendant saw paper towels delivered. Even more frantic miming of being sick finally got what I was after - a bag to be sick in. And only just in time too as I was literally handed said plastic bag at the exact moment my stomach decided it was time to blow the ballast. Thus began the 12 most miserable hours of my life.

Imagine, if you will, sitting in a superheated bus (for some reason Turkish buses are kept at about 30 degrees) while your stomach is tying itself in knots and you feel as if your intestines are trying to crawl up your throat.

Then, as you sit there in abject misery dry retching because there's literally nothing left to come up, you feel a deadly twinge in an area located just below your stomach and grimly realise that you're about to be running at both ends!!

Dear God please kill me now.

All I can say is I'm truly thankful that intercity buses in Turkey do make frequent rest stops. If it were not for them I believe - no know - an already gruesome situation would have been far worse.

And far messier.

I do have an extreme amount of sympathy for my fellow passengers. Especially the poor woman behind me who ended up being sick in sympathy, (the trend of one person chucking setting off others holds true) and the endangered soul in front of me who may have got a bit of carrot splatter from my first outburst. To those who suffered while I spewed I heartily apologise.

Actually there was a weird sort of symmetry to the whole occasion. You see the last time I was really ill from food poisoning prior to this occasion was on a bus, in Turkey, travelling to Goreme, exactly 11 years previously.

Spooky.

Suffice it to say I won't be doing that trip again ... ever.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Low Down Dirty Shame.

I've learnt a valuable lesson in travelling. Not matter how much you love a place it's probably best not to revisit 10 years down the track. Odds are it'll have changed and potentially for the worst.
That's what I discovered when I was in Turkey last month. Overall it's still a great country but tourism has, and is, harming it.

For example Istanbul is a lot more touristy than it was 11 years ago. In 1996 Sultanahmet had only a bare handful of hostels. Now it has dozens and is becoming very like Khao San Road in Bangkok. The character of the area has changed. What was once a nice slice of urban life is now overrun by bars, cafes, hotels, and tacky markets.

Prices are also much higher than they used to be. The Turkish Lira has stabilised and that's good news for the locals who now have some certainty about the value of their wages. But it's not so good for the budget tourist. A decade ago you could comfortably travel Turkey on about $US25 a day. Beers were 60c, a kebab would set you back 75c, and a 800 km bus trip would probably cost you under $20. Today travelling in Turkey costs about as much as it does to travel in NZ. It's cheap compared to most European countries but it's not the bargain it once was. This is also causing problems for the locals. One businessman I spoke to said the new strength of the currency and the higher prices is resulting in a major downturn in tourism.

On the subject of tourism, Turkey's certainly made a few changes. Sites that used to be free, such as the Yerebatan Cistern (below), now have a flat 10 Euro entry charge.



Some places, and Goreme is a good example of this, haven't been overly harmed by the impact of tourism. It remains a beautiful place to visit and is relatively unaffected by pollution. The cave dwellings and rock formations are as dramatic as ever.





However even here there are problems. The owner of one hostel I stayed at told of how unscrupulous operators, trying to make a quick buck out of tourists, are converting thousand year old cave dwellings into hostels. Historical relics that have been preserved intact for hundreds of years are being destroyed so certain people can make a profit. There are penalties for such activities - seven months in jail to be precise - but that's no deterrence given the amount of money people can make out of tourism.

For me the worst thing I saw in Turkey was Pamukkale. 11 years ago this place was the highlight of my trip and was, potentially, one of the most amazing sights I had ever seen. Below is how it looked then (and incidentally how they are still marketing it today).



But the reality is much different. Because local hotels have drawn off much of the mineral water that created the travertine terraces the mineral formations are now dry and dusty with barely a trickle running over them. Bathing in the mineral spring at the top of the cliff, near the ruins of Hierapolis, was once described as swimming in warm champagne. Alas the myriad carbonate bubbles are now gone and the ruined Roman columns in the pool are now clotted with algae and slime. But what's even worse is the impact industrial pollution in the general area has had on the mineral formations themselves. It's become so bad in the past decade that the terraces, once white and pristine, have become yellow and stained.

This is how they look now.



It's a crying shame that this has happened and the Turkish Government should be kicked soundly for letting a place, that is an international treasure, be defiled in this manner.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Travels and Travails

As a part of my recent overseas trip I spent a week and a half in Turkey. It'd been 11 years since I was last there and I was really looking forward to going back as I'd absolutely loved the place and have spent the last decade urging almost everyone I know to make sure they went there.

Suffice to say it's changed a lot, and not all of it has been for the best. More on this shortly.

Firstly let us muse on the dubious benefits of flying Easyjet. This was a first for me and I can honestly say if I can avoid it in the future I will. I guess the adage pay peanuts get monkeys rings true because there was a lot of monkey business on my flight. This was mainly, no solely, due to a group of Turks and their English girlfriends who were making the most of the inflight bar.

Suffice it to say one gentleman over-indulged and ended up giving one of the stewardesses some aggro. He didn't take kindly to being told to stop being so passionate with object of his affection. As a result of his outburst he was greeted at Sabiha Gokcen airport by the police who informed him of the error of his ways. This didn't do a lot for his temper which was then further inflamed when he learnt his girlfriend and other companions had abandoned him at the airport. Nothing like being spurned like a rabid dog to get the emotions to boiling point.

The next thing you know he storms onto the airport shuttle bus demanding to know where his girlfriend was and who had shopped him to the police. The fact that the airline had done it failed to cross his alcohol addled psyche. Labelling all on board the bus a bunch of racist c**ts he stumbled off the bus, clasping his duty free cigarettes, and disappeared into the night.

Then he came back five minutes later and did it all again.

A couple of policemen duly arrived and hauled him off for another talking too. All in all he was having a bad day.

And that's how I arrived in Turkey.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pondering International Travel

I just got back this week from a lengthy trip around various parts of Europe. I'll write something more meaningful in due course but for now I'd like to make a few observations.

Britain; why is it, in a nation where cooking shows run 24/7, that no-one cooks and supermarkets are dominated by disgusting frozen heat and eat meals?

Foxes in Marylebone central London?! What the hell?

If ben Nevis wasn't adjacent would anyone ever stay in Fort William?

Why is it that Parisians have a fearsome reputation for dealing with tourists when the reality is they're actually very nice. It's Londoners that are the cantankerous ones.

Frankfurt - why do I always get stuck there?
And what's with the toilet paper at Frankfurt Airport? I know Germans are an austere lot but that bog paper is beyond a joke. It's like sandpapering your colon.

Thank God for Changi Airport in Singapore. The internet is free (as opposed to the 20 Euro/hr you get stung for in Europe), and it even has designated smoking areas in the terminal. Some even have their own bars. It gets my tick of appreciation, all the way from the bottom of my black little lungs.

Oh and another bonus. No barbed wire sandpaper there either.