Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

[Sport] Sport-tards

Randy McMichael, Tight End for the Miami Dolphins, was arrested for hitting his wife. He was not charged in June last year for a similar incident. McMichael had been charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant woman, a second-degree felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison (but these were later dropped by the prosecutors). The similarity with Shaun Metcalf is eerie.

Is it the drugs and testosterone these guys take that makes them extremely violent? This NFL off-season has seen a large number of players arrested for assault (quite a few for assault on their wives and partners). Other player are arrested for carrying illegal firearms, a large number are caught DUI, they deal drugs, and every now and again they murder (or attempt to murder) someone. You may think I’m talking about OJ but I’m not.

I should point out that for some players crime does, in fact, end their careers. Third string safety for the Dolphins was cut after being caught drag racing and DUI. It was all the Dolphins needed to cut the guy loose.

Today, in New Zealand, two sports “celebrities” have been arrested in a drug distribution racquet. The duo has name suppression but we here at the Hammer know who they are because we are, as Russell Brown says, “Connected”. Let’s just say we are not surprised.

In other “what the fuck” news:

Ricky Williams
Ricky Williams is coming back to the Dolphins. He will still have to sit out four games because of his drug (marijuana) suspension though. And he will have to apologise to every one of his old team-mates after the Dolphins slumped to the second worst record in the NFL last year. But he will most likely be back as a mentor for Ronnie Brown who the Dolphins picked up at number two in the draft and then Ricky will be traded next year (or even this year, although no one is looking for RB’s any more).

Dom mentioned to me the other day how he thought it was funny that male golfers (such as those who battled for the British Open) play for a purse. “Tiger is three under par and already has one hand on that purse”. Heeheehee.

Here’s a nice NFL story; idiot’s such as Randy McMichael take note. NFL player agent Drew Rosenhaus performed CPR to save a young boy pulled unconscious from a swimming pool at a Disney World resort hotel. He dropped his phone and ran straight over. He later said “it was nice to be a good guy for once”. Good on ya Drew.

This was going to be longer but I actually have “paying work” to do (which is also the reason for my absence sorry loyal readers).

PS. Please take a gander at the new link on the sidebar. It’s Tom’s Urban Wellington Blog. It is VERY urban too.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

[Sports] MLB post All-Star season update

The All-star game has just been played and for the eighth time in a row now the American League (AL) stars have come up trumps. While this means bragging rights as the best league for another year it also means the AL secure the all important home field advantage for the World Series.

The season is rattling along now as we have crossed the hump and are now heading to the final stretch and the play-offs. Here are my mid-season breakdowns for Major League Baseball.

From the top;

AL EAST: WHOOOOO baby is this gonna be a trench fight. Early in the season I confidently predicted an easy Yanks victory here. I might still be right but the standings suggest otherwise. The Orioles (47-40) bolted out of the blocks and at one point had a 7 game lead over the whole division. However, as predicted by a comrade the roll didn’t last. Baltimore has begun the slippery slope to post-season obscurity, despite having some extremely solid batting support with Brian Roberts, Sammy Sosa, Melvin Mora, and All-Star MVP Miggy Tejada. The division will once again be all about Boston (49-38) and New York (46-40). However, while over the last few years we have seen one securing the top spot and the second grabbing the wildcard I don’t think that will be the case this year. The Sox lead so far by 2 games over Baltimore with the Yanks a further 0.5 game back. While the Jays (44-44) are hanging in there, they just can’t hope to match it with the big two. As for Tampa (28-61) hurricane season is just beginning to hit so it just keeps getting worse for them. The Yanks have settled and are putting together some winning streaks. The Big Unit Randy Johnson is into his stride and the form of Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, A-Rod and Derek Jeter has been irrepressible. Yanks/Sox begin a 4 game series tomorrow (NZT) at Fenway. To really put my borls on the line, I’ll say the winner of this series will take the ALE Title. I just noticed that the Yanks have a tough series following with the Rangers, while the sissy Sox have a holiday in Tampa Bay. Predicted finish: Yanks, Sox, Orioles, Jays, Rays.

AL CENTRAL: I still stand by my call that the White Sox (57-29) stellar season won’t last. Despite leading the majors with 57 wins at the all-star break for the first time since ages ago, I just can’t see them edging a steadily improving Twins (48-38) unit. Plus they lost their last three coming into the summer break. The Sox did supply the starting pitcher for the AL All-star team in Mark Bheurle (12-2) and John Garland (10-2) played as well, but the AL bats are heating up and the Sox pitchers will run out of run support. And besides, I like the Twins. Cleveland (47-41) is only two games back of the Twins and still has plenty in reserve. The battle between the Tribe and the Sox for the Wildcard will be one for the ages. Detroit (42-44) keep trying in vain, and the Royals (30-57) are making up the numbers again. Predicted finish: Twins, White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals

AL WEST: The little old division that could. Los Angeles (52-36) is leading here. I’m a bit peeved that they changed there name from Anahiem. It seems really stupid that essentially they are called the Los Angeles Angeles. How dumb is that? Still it isn’t hurting their performance as they continue to stretch the lead over the chasing pack which essentially is made up of only Oakland (44-43) and Texas (46-40). Realistically only Texas has a chance of playing for this div title. Oakland haven’t got the pitching and my early season prediction of Seattle (39-48) taking it out was definitely made with the heart rather than the head. Predicted finish: Rangers, Angels, Mariners, A’s.

AL Wildcard: Chicago, Angels, Boston, Baltimore and maybe Cleveland.

NL EAST: This race just gets better and better. The Washington Nationals (52-36), essentially the Montreal Expos, plus a bunch of draft picks and cast-offs are tearing up the opposition. Think the ACT Brumbies or the Hurricanes both from 1997. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, they have been posting great numbers with understated leaders all over the field. With their former team in brackets, Nick Johnson (Yankees), Jose Guillen (LAA), Vinny Castillo (Atlanta), Livan Hernandez (12-3, Mont, won ’97 WS with the Marlins) have all made major contributions to the success of this club.

They lead the Atlanta Braves (50-39) by 2.5 games. They Braves have a the depth in hitting and pitching to steal the lead but when your playing with the passion and reckless abandon that has been highlighting the Nationals game, its anybodies guess. Florida (44-42), Philly (45-44) and the Mets (44-44) are so close that this division will go right down to the wire. The NL East is the only div to have all its teams on or over .500 winning percentage. Predicted finish: Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Phillies, Mets.

NL CENTRAL: The Cardinals (56-32) have stomped out to a commanding 11.5 game lead. I picked the Cubs (43-44) and while they are not out of it, it’s pretty hard to see anyone catching the Cards. They appear to be the most complete team in baseball. They have incredible batting talent (Edmonds, Rolen, Pujols, Eckstein, Walker) and Pitching up the Wazoo (Carpenter, Suppan, Mulder). It’s hard to pick anyone but the Cards heading back to the World Series from the National League. In my earliest post I noted the disappointing position of the Astros (44-43). Houston have since started to offer their ample pitching staff with something resembling support and the Astros now find themselves fending off the Cubs (43-44) and Milwaukee (42-46) and to a lesser extent the Pirates (39-48) for second spot behind St Louis. It appears to be yet another disappointing year for the Cincinnati Reds (35-53), despite finally having Junior healthy and reasonably fit. Predicted finish: Cards, Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Pirates, Reds.

NL WEST: Still the division I like the least, and easily the most disappointing division in baseball with only one team with a winning percentage over .500 in division leaders San Diego (48-41). This division is so uninspiring that I really don’t want to talk about it. I’m gonna make a call now and say that I don’t think the NL champions will come from the NL West. Arizona (43-47) no pitching, Dodgers (40-48) no hitting, Giants (37-50) no Barry – therefore no offence, also no defence and no pitching, and the Colorado Rockies (31-56), think the Giants, but worse and they don’t even have a Barry Bonds to come back (Toddy Helton – please leave and go somewhere good, your immense talents are wasted on these guys). Predicted finished: don’t care, but I guess, Padres, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies.

NL Wildcard: Florida, Washington, Chicago or Houston.


Monday, July 11, 2005

[General] London RIP?

Before I dive into sport I would like to extrapolate on the London bombings now that I’ve had some time to reflect.

I like the way the British have dealt with the whole thing: with black humour, a pint and a dash of realism. If the rain can’t beat Londoners, bloody terrorists won’t. They seem to have given the bombers the old English “two finger salute”. Look if the Romans, Germans, French, Spanish and various Barbarian hordes couldn’t defeat the Brits (in any long term fashion) I don’t expect these bombing chaps will have much luck.

The British also didn’t start flailing around with “how dare they do this to us” and “what did we ever do?” etc that certain other countries tried. Scott pointed out that they also never tried to blame the IRA. Or did they? (Reader help on this appreciated). When looking at suspects round up the usual ones first. I first read about the bombings on Stuff and a caption under one photo seemed to imply the IRA but nothing else.

No one blamed the French either despite the coincidental timing. The French discovered that someone actually sucks cock better than them, and it’s the English. Of Tony Blair has been doing a lot it recently with his new American friend and may have to turn professional when his turn as PM is over. But sucking the IOC is in a whole other league. And the IOC is French to start with!

On a different note: Yay! Mike is ok!

Boo! Mike had a lovely time in Paris! (And we were just in Wellington).

I spoke with Brother Scott on Sunday and he said that people had been suggesting “anti-globalisation terrorists”. He quite rightly pointed out that no such thing exists. [Moreover, as pointed out by a Dr. N Chomsky, “anti-globalisation” is a misnomer given to these protesters by the people they are protesting against]. Scott and I rationalised over the phone that even the most radical anarchistic protester is unlikely to blow up a bus or train filled with their constituency: namely disaffected workers trudging to work to earn enough to live (or save for a weekend to Ibiza). Nope, my money’s on the crazies that blew up the trains in Madrid.

I will say this though: LEAVE THE BLOODY MOSQUES ALONE!!!!

These are the “people” who aren’t handling things well. Of course you just know these retards had the paint and the bricks at hand just waiting for the next slightly bad thing they could pin on the “ay-rabs”. Then again given what has actually happened in London since the bombings maybe "London R.I.P." meant "London: Recovering in Pubs".

Scott said he saw some posters up in Hamilton proclaiming some rather suspicious things (i.e. lies) about the prophet Muhammad and Islam in general. They were accompanied by an equally dubious literature reference. Freedom of speech = good; Spreading lies = bad. I do not repeat the lies here because that is how you stop spreading them, by never repeating them.

I will stop here and start writing a sports post.

Have a good rest of the day!

Ps. Really the Gorillaz new album is awesome. Go get it and listen to Dennis Hopper on Track 13, Fire coming Out of a Monkey’s Head

Friday, July 08, 2005

[General] Terrorists Ruin the Day for Everyone

Bloody terrorists.

I am very pissed off at these dicks for two reasons. For taking life but also the lives that they took. Not those of the politicians, who are conveniently all in the same place at the moment. But lives of just regular workers. 9-5 people. I understand that this is the nature of terrorism. You can’t spell “terrorism” with out “terror”. Perhaps I am most disturbed by the fact that I have just got off a bus and my friends are travelling by train. If you think about it you begin to realise that work really isn’t worth it. Actually, if you are in London, or indeed anywhere in England, screw work. Go home and hug the ones you love, it'll make you feel better and it is a damn sight more important right now.

I have got a couple of friends in England at the moment. One’s travel blog says he’s in Oxford at the moment (which is apparently quite far from London). The other was staying in London but he possibly wouldn’t be commuting at that time of the day. Paul and Mike sing out if you are ok.

The other thing I’m pissed off about is the fact that now (conspiracy theorists, be at the ready) the G8 have a new focus. Those bombs killed more than 37 London commuters. They may have also sealed the fates of millions of Africans who were looking forward to a whole big bunch of aid.

US President George W Bush, speaking at the G8 summit, told reporters: "The war on terror goes on".

"We will not yield to these terrorists, we will find them, we will bring them to justice," he said.

See anyone, Bob Geldof included, who says “Hey remember Africa?” will be frowned upon and told “All those people in London died”. For those aforementioned conspiracy theorists who would have the motive to halt talks on giving aid to Africa? It doesn’t help that a lot of Africa is “Muslim Country”.

Just to fuel the conspiracy fire, here is a quote from Stuff.co.nz:

"We are clearly shocked but we are not surprised by what has happened," assistant deputy commissioner of London police Brian Paddick told reporters, adding no warning had been received.

"Not surprised"? Did they know this was going to happen?


Summing up:

  • Terrorists = despicable
  • World leaders = bad
  • African aid = good
  • 37 dead & ~700 injured people = fucking terrible

PS. I had intended to write a humorous piece about London winning the Olympics. Glad I didn’t.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

[General] Lost: as always

Re: The Lost season finale


::Here be Spoilers::

Well the last episode of Lost was on last night. Wooo Yay Lost! Wooo! Or so I thought. The finale was more cliff than hanger. I found myself thinking: “Oooo they must be building up to something huuuuge, because so far all of this backstory–while slightly interesting–isn’t revealing jack shit”.

  • Mike (the black guy) didn’t really want his kid
  • The Others actually wanted Walt (the kid) and not Aaron (the baby)
  • Artz (the science guy who showed up two episodes ago) blew up (someone had to die, it was the season finale)
  • And inside the hatch was…a ladder

Let’s talk about this. For the last half of the season we have only wanted to know what the hell was in that hatch. Remember when Lock (the bald survivalist) saw the light inside? Wow, we all really needed to know so badly. And we finally saw…a ladder.

So there was a way to get in and out of the hatch? Who would’ve suspected that? Instead of the revealing what had been elusive for the entire season they instead made us listen to Lock and Jack (the doctor, but everyone knows who Jack is) arguing again about the same stuff they always argue about.

Has anyone else noticed that Jack shakes his head a lot and finds it hard to look people in the face? E.g. Kate: “Jack I need the gun.” Jack: “Pfff (Jack shakes his head in disbelief and looks off at a spot above him to his right) Kate when are you going to tell me the truth?”

Yes I will be watching the next season. I might watch the DVDs for the special features but that is less likely.

Hurley (the fat guy) remains my favourite character after retaking his mantle as the “straight man”. Artz, who died, took that role away while outside the Black Rock (actually a boat, not a rock) when he talked about how “you six” (meaning the main characters) only look after themselves even though there are 40 other castaways. Then Hurley regained the straight guy crown by saying it was kind of a stupid idea to transport the dynamite while carrying fire-torches.

Here is a short piece to chew over that I found on one of all time favourite websites (not just blogs) Kung Fu Monkey. The comment was left by Amandarama:

Here's my breakdown around why Walt may be more responsible than he seems. Be warned, it's kind of lengthy. Hopefully it's coherent.

For additional background, review episode 1x14 "Special" - which is about Michael getting custody of Walt.

Here goes:

My theory is Walt's always wanted the attention of a parent to himself. He didn't want to share mom with stepdad (stepdad thinks he's creepy). Mom dies. Stepdad gives him to Michael. He overhears Michael asking Walt's grandmother to take him. Plane goes down on island. Ok, we're stranded on the island - I'll make Dad jealous by hanging with Locke. Dad just gets pissy and controlling ("You can't see him"). Walt wants dad to prove his love: he miracles the crisis with the polar bear. Boat nears completion - getting off the island means possibly getting sent to grandma's; Walt burns the boat down. Michael is accidently poisoned by Sun; Walt realizes he needs to get Michael out on the ocean, away from the majority of other survivors - sure Dad didn't die, but why risk any more accidents? "We have to get off the island!" They launch the boat. Walt and Michael have a nice moment where Walt "learns to drive" and finds out that the rudder is the boat's tool that will get them to civilization. Suddenly, the rudder falls off. Sawyer (with the help of Michael and Jin) saves the rudder. That night, they encounter "The Others" - who wreck the boat, kidnap Walt, wound Sawyer and strand Michael (the x-factor here will be Jin): subtext - "Come save me Daddy. Prove your love. Don't leave me."

In other Lost related stuff: I found this website which is fun as the Memento one was, but just as infuriating.

Also, this website here lays out spoilers for Season 2. That’s right at the recent Lost convention the shows creators released some details about the next season. I only read the first one and then stopped, feel free however to read the whole lot. Just don’t tell me what happens or else. Throat Punch.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

[General] Africa aint that big...is it?

Hi kids!

Haven’t done this in a while. Some people were worried that I had become quite angry.

There were reasons for this. Work related ones. Those close to me have all had to sit through the long whinging session that I created after just a few days back at my old work. (I have just finished a secondment for those not in the know). But a lovely weekend filled with All Black goodness has cheered me up no end.

What shall we talk about then? How about George Bush? I swear no throat punching will occur in this post.

We are currently 184,400 or so days away from when the end of the world will conceivably come about. Seems like a long time but it’s not. We could all jump to help out but I have a feeling that this won’t work either, no matter how much fun it looks.

Well, what does this have to do with GWB? He has told Tony Blair that although they were big buds during that whole Iraq war thing, now that they have both been re-elected (Bush by more, Blair by less) he won’t be scratching Tony’s back. Basically, if I may paraphrase R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, George Bush is the kind of guy that’d f**k a person in the ass and not have the goddamn common courtesy of giving him a “reach around”.

The sticking point? Naturally, the environment (pun intended). A new study has found that pollution is spreading. North American pollution is now polluting the air in Europe, European pollution is polluting Asian air and Asian pollution is just starting to cloud the skies of America. Campbell: Live had a nice, if dumbed down, article on e-trash (computers etc) which is great for leeching heavy metals into the ground.

Mr Bush is in that group of global warming deniers who has turned a blind eye and now will not support the embattled Blair over environmental issues. “Screw Kyoto” I believe, was his actual quote. Thanks Bush, for vindicating my position that we should just sit back and enjoy the end of the world because no amount of evidence will help. By the way the AA suggests keeping your petrol tanks full because prices are going up again.

Sticking with the environment for a while: Ever heard of “peak oil”? It kind of needs to be called “oil peak” instead. Here’s a run down.

Bush may be lucky. The whole Live 8 thing may have taken a lot of the attention off the environment and onto the human atrocity in Africa. Africa is a pretty bloody huge place but we always refer to it like it was another country and not the second largest continent behind Asia, (just a small piece of trivia, Africa and Asia combined make up half of the world’s land mass). Good on Geldof and friends I suppose, but let’s wait and see. I imagine we will see a lot of these: “we promise to double our aid to $20b by 2020”. Which means: “we are going to do jack all but look at the large amount of money we will be giving in 15 years time!”

America has already done this. They set up a fund in 2000 to send money to Africa (again Africa is a big place, so where in Africa exactly?). By 2005 they had sent roughly 1% of what they promised (I’m sorry I can’t find the link to this info). Don’t hold your breath Africa.

By the way calculate your fat National Party tax cut here. Then you can use the same (fun and work-friendly) tool to calculate what government spending can be cut to fund it [Note: this tool does not take into account any overseas borrowing (ie become in debt to other countries) that would be necessary to fund the cuts as well]

Have a good day.

PS. I got the new Gorillaz album Demon Days on the weekend and it’s really good for those who were wondering.

PPS. I saw a little bit of Independence Day the other night on TV and in it there is a newscast showing the movement of the spaceships before the attack. The map showed ships over "London", "Moscow", "Bombay", "Paris" and "Germany". Couldn't the film makers think of a single German city?

PPPS. I had to do my taxes last night. Never again. I am going to hire an accountant. The form said things like “fill in the value in the ‘non-deductable tax’ box”, but there was no ‘non-deductable tax’ box! I have created an armoured compound in which I intend to hole-up (hold-up?). Come and get me IRD! I’m ready for you! Hahahahahahahaaaa aa aaa aah

Monday, July 04, 2005

[General] Weakend

Here it is.

New Zealand sports blog that doesn’t have time to talk about the All Blacks emphatic victory over the British and Irish Lions. Nope I am much to busy to mention the 33 points scored by Dan Carter (a record number apparently but no one will say what the record was. Perhaps it was “the most points scored by Dan Cater against the Lions”).

Nope, I am way too busy to mention that. I am also too busy to mention that Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick (again) to take the Wimbledon title (again). Way too busy to congratulate Venus Williams on winning the women’s tournament after a recent slump in form (we here at the Hammer enjoy seeing players come back from the brink to being great again).

No I’ve gone back to my old job and I am quite busy (well not with actual work but with the business of changing jobs). I am way too busy to continue the draft screenplay for the Paul Campion short film project: “Death Hamsters from Hell” ™. So I am currently still stuck on page 10.

I had a great night on Saturday. Wellington sure does know how to throw a party. We were able to get a spot in Hope Bros. and afterwards a friend got us a sweet table at Boulot on Blair St (note: the name may not actually be Boulot, I can’t quite remember). We ate and cocktailed and were merry. I fully recommend the Rude Boy and the Jacob's Ladder cocktails (Jacob's Ladder is a version of Matterhorn's Falling Water).

That’ll have to do for now due to the aforementioned busy-ness.