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

Friday, September 30, 2005

[General] Making up for lost blogs

Look at how fucking slack I have been.

That is to say I have slack at my blog. In the real world I have been working my arse off.

Wellington Vs Auckland this weekend in the NPC is being billed as a “try fest”. Usually when two high scoring flamboyant teams come together the result is a low scoring affair that is decided by defence. That is what I am predicting. You want a try fest? Watch Northland Vs Southland.

The NRL grand final is showing what the NPC can only dream of. Two heavily underrated teams have made it (West Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys) and the contest will be amazing. Legions of fans are wetting themselves with excitement and most of all, the whole thing is interesting! It’s not just “Oh that team will win, they always win”.

Like Fucking Canterbury!!! Yes, I hate Canterbury. Because you win all the time! And when it looks like you might not win you start to buy players off other franchises so that you will. Fucken’ Hell let the Bay keep Kevin Senio! What do you need him for?

Rant over, for now…

And here is more proof that sports make you nuts

Also here is some stuff I was supposed to post a long time ago but forgot.

In this artist rendering provided by Destination Grand Canyon, a glass skywalk is shown extending from the Grand Canyon. An American Indian tribe with land along the canyon is planning to build a glass-bottomed walkway that will jut out 70 feet from the canyon's edge. The skywalk, expected to open in January, is part of the Hualapai Tribe's $40 million effort to turn 1,000 acres of reservation land into a tourist destination that will also feature an Indian village and Western-themed town. (AP Photo/Destination Grand Canyon)

The New York Liberty's Becky Hammon, in front, guards the Connecticut Sun's 7-foot-two-inch center Margo Dydek, of Poland, during the second half of their WNBA game at Madison Square Garden in New York Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

[Sport] Football Hi-Jinx

The Jets are down to the bottom of the barrell. They have rehired Vinnie Testaverde and have got another guy waiting at third. And man, considering this article, they were lucky.

Yeah, that WAS a joke.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

By Grabthar's Hammer...what plagiarism!

Many have asked "why are you called Grabthar's Hammer?"

The answer is that it is my favourite catch phrase in the NFL column of Gregg Easterbrook (Tuesday Morning Quarterback). Yes, to those who are poised to complain it was also an hilarious theme device in the movie Galaxy Quest as well, delivered dryly by Alan Rickman ("By Grabthar's Hammer...what savings!").

But the quote below is a good example of why I like the phrase and use it as my blog's title.

In other NFL news, Eli Manning winced on national television when he was chosen first overall in the 2004 draft by the San Diego Chargers. He hung his head like he'd been stood up by his date for the senior prom. Eli Manning had been chosen first in the NFL draft yet felt sorry for himself -- because every single little thing was not exactly precisely the way he wanted it! Only in America could someone who has just been chosen first in the NFL draft feel sorry for himself. Anyway, on Sunday night, the Chargers, shunned by Manning, hosted him and his Giants and pounded the stuffing out of them, 45-23. By the Hammer of Grabthar, they were avenged!

Monday, September 26, 2005

[General] Off-topic

So this is STILL not what I promised from last week.

My solemn vow is tomorrow.

But here is what I have for you today:

The worlds funniest photo of Hurricane Rita

Friday, September 23, 2005

[General] In the news...

This is the second coolest story I have ever read. The best was a story about a circus monkey who escaped and destroyed a women's toilet in a German pizzaria.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

[General] The Idiot Conspiracy

Wow! Hate mail! And lots of it! Thanks Metafilter.

There are some angry people out there. And some none-too-smart ones either.

I’m of two minds as to whether or not I should address the issues raised about my post (there are more here). My gut instinct is to reply, but that feels too defensive. So instead I’ll be more constructive:

  • To those who understood that it was a bit of a laugh: “Thanks for dropping by”
  • To those who thought that I was creating a serious conspiracy theory and thought that I didn’t realise it was a posed photo: “Thanks for dropping by, but keep your FUCKTARD views to yourself”.

There, I think that’ll help.

However, there were a couple that I did want to reply to…

Anonymous said:

More like you hate black people you racist.

Racist? Moi? [ED: joke omitted so as not to offend] . Ho ho ho. That was a joke (and fuck you for making me spell it out) but seriously, I’m not racist. And don’t send me any of that “ethnocentric” bullshit either.

Anonymous said:

You lie-beral Demon-crat scum just hate the fact that… [Blah, blah, blah]

(With a tired look on his face the author writes) Dude (or possibly Dude-ette), I live in New Zealand. Our "liberal" party is the right wing ACT Party. If I lived in America I probably would vote Democrat, because you only have two parties and I don't like Republican policies. HOWEVER, I live in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and if we had the democratic party here I would not vote for them either.

But what about my dodgy statistics? Yeah, what about them?

I was slightly incorrect in my description. When I said:

…each black player has a 10 in 33 (or 30%) chance of being selected for the first position…

I actually meant that the first position has a 30% chance of being a black player. The equation was still correct. I did assert that this was only the case if the player were being selected for the positions randomly.

I don’t think that any photographer would have said: “Ok, all you darkies, up the back, all the Aryan Ubermensch up the front by Herr Bush.” I imagine that it was a self-arranged photo. The owner, the coach and the QB have to be at the front, everyone else can stand where they want, and as JoKeR said:

… the black players didn't want to be any closer to Bush than they had to be.

Or perhaps more eloquently by troybob:

…it's balanced by a 0.4% chance that a black person would want to stand next to george bush at a photo-op

Some people said that the tallest people were at the back. Well let’s see if we can’t find an example to refute that claim…how about Tedy Bruschi (6’01’’) at the front and Superbowl MVP Deion Branch (5’09’’) at the back? Hmm, that was easy.

How can anyone read my blog, write a comment about it and STILL not get the point? Do you guys angrily comment to the Onion or Whitehouse.org as well? Read the post, stop, have a little think. Then comment if you must.

Like srboisvert did:

Bush hates poor people. I can tell because there isn't a single one in that picture. Can someone break it down by salary?

I’ll use Superbowl MVP Deion Branch and Tedy Bruschi again if you don’t mind. In 2004 Bruschi had a salary of USD$4,204,600 and Branch had a salary of USD$384,200. Dum-Dum-Duuuummmmmm!!!! Srboisvert you may be onto something there.

God it’s happening, I’m actually replying everyone…arrrgghhhh

b_thinky said:

There really aren't any black stars on the Patriots (or any stars besides Brady)

I’m no Patriots fan, but even I can list: RB Corey Dillon, S Rodney Harrison, DE Richard Seymour, LB Willie McGinest and, of course, Superbowl MVP Deion Branch.

Yeah, this is fun (and a little cathartic), bring it on! Bonzai questioned my science:

Let's see. .4% that one photo-op can produce these events? (That percentage has already been called into question. But let's just take it as a given)

How photo-ops does a president do anyway? If it's 100, the odds of 100 iterations not producing 1 example of .4% probability, is around 67%. So about a 33% chance of it happening at least once. 200 iterations would be 45% chance of it happening once.

The sample size is one. Can we draw on a larger sample set? How do you eliminate bias when deciding who is "close" and who is "not close", are these precise measurements?

This doesn't seem to be good science.

The president does 100 photo-shoots with football teams? Fuck, does he do anything else? Also are you sure you did your sums right Bonzai? Seems slightly off to me.

What I did wasn’t good science, not at all. What Bonzai did was bad research. Do what I did and go to the White House photo gallery. You’ll find that the 2003-04 Patriots photo had a lot of black players near the President. Why do I have to find my own counter example?

And then…from the mash of idiots arose a genius (there is no sarcasm in this sentence).

is all the outrage and analysis expressed here for real?

I'm pretty sure this is a joke folks...

posted by hellbient at 10:48 AM PST on September 19

Actually two geniuses, um, genii, um…you get the idea.

Structure is not the result of random chance. A recognizable pattern or design is evidence of an intelligent designer. To suggest that the positions of each person came about either by chance or evolved through trial and error over a long period of time in order to ultimately create the best balance of physical height and relative importance is to deny God's hand in all things. God made the Patriots superbowl champions. God made Bush our president, and God made the black players stand in the back. Nothing happens by chance.

posted by wKen at 11:21 AM PST on September 19

Any how it’s about time to knock off, so happy reading and have a good rest of the day.


  • How George Bush caused Hurricane Katrina with secret government weapons because he is actually a member of al Qaeda, and
  • I swear I will get onto the list of stuff I promised.

Addendum (

This is the last thing I will say to our visiting defenders of freedom. I really hope that you don’t think that your politicians are telling you the truth. For example.

[Sport] Take me out to the ball game... The MLB report

Bush entertains members of the World Series winning Boston Redsox.

Okay now we really are getting to the business end of the regular season. Ive been spending the last few weeks sitting perched on the end of my seat watching as the teams battle for the (so few) places in the MLB playoffs and it really is going to come down to the wire. This wont be a long post. A lot of teams have been knocked out already so we’ll concentrate on who’s left.

American League

Eliminated so far out of all play-off contention including wildcards are: Texas, Toronto, Baltimore, Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Kansas City.

Tampa Bay were never in it but have posted one of the best records since the all star break and have upset the Yanks and are now giving Boston a good ole thumpin. This race will come right down to the final weekend when Boston host New York in a winner take all three game series. Right now the Yanks are only a ½ game back on the Sox and are enjoying a series against the Orioles, while the Sox are battling the upstart Devil Rays. In a perfect world, The Cleveland Indians (88-62) will keep winning, along with the Chicago White Sox (90-69) and will both qualify ahead of the Boston (87-63) who will get caught and overtaken by the Yanks (86-63).

The Angels of Los Angeles (84-65) sit 1 1/2 games ahead of Oakland (83-67) and look a little too strong at this point and should come out on top of one of the most unpredictable AL West races in history.

National League

The fight is definitely still on. Only four teams Los Angeles, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Colorado have been ruled out of post season play. Cincinnati and San Francisco are next closest to being eliminated and indeed their fate should be decided by Thursday. But the rest are fighting a very close battle for the wild card. The Cardinals (95-56) wrapped up the NL Central several days ago. And Atlanta (85-65) are unlikely to be caught. San Diego (74-73) are rubbish but are unlikely to be run down by the Giants (69-80) though with Barry Bonds’ return the Bay area team are a totally different unit. Bonds hit 2 Home runs in his first four games, the guy is incredible. Houston (81-69) leads the battle for the NL wild card but the Phillies (80-70), Florida (79-71) and Washington (77-73) are all still in the hunt. My early season prediction was for Florida to win the NL East. That failed but I’m confident they can perform an Ocean’s 11 and steal the wildcard prize from under the noses of the Phillies and Houston.

I’ll do a season write-up later, but following in the vein of recent postings, I’d just quickly like to say a big thanks to all those African-American, Latino, Hispanic, Dominican, Cuban and Asian players for really coming to the MLB party and supporting all those talented white guys. I can’t think of any of your names but I’m sure some of you are good enough to play at the same clubs as the likes of role-models Jason Giambi, Kenny Rogers and the plethora of other white stars. God bless America.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

[General] In the news

Yeah, yeah, I know this wasn’t on my list (below) but I had to put this in when I saw it.

Retards in Australia want to kill sharks

An Australian shark attack survivor wants Australia to lift its protection of the Great White Shark. In fact he wants Australia to start culling the sharks.

"It's time they started controlling the numbers. Controlled culling – they kill our national emblem, the kangaroo, they kill elephants in Africa," [attack victim Jake Heron]

So the argument is: There are now too many sharks in their natural habitat where we want to go swimming and surfing.


Why don’t we just go the whole hog? Coral reefs munch surfers something awful and way more often than sharks do, I think we should start a controlled cull of coral. What about mountain bikers being hurt by rocks and trees? I suggest a cull of rocks and trees as well.


Alright, the stuff I actually promised IS coming.

PS. Do "they" actually kill elephants. I suppose Africa is pretty big so maybe somebody did.

Monday, September 19, 2005

[General] Holidays move too quickly

I’m back!

First let me say thanks to José for filling in with that crazy series of photos.

Just a week went by and yet there is so much to talk about. I have the following to get through:

  • A recap of my holiday from Saturday the 10th of September through to Sunday the 18th. Including the election and all the craziness that went with it.
  • A review of the last Fly My Pretties concert in Wellington
  • A review of Madden 2006
  • A review of Kayne West’s latest album, Late Registration
  • A round up of the NZ Rugby NPC (more off the field than on it)
  • And my thoughts on the first few weeks of the NFL

So, all in good time. I hope to have the whole lot up plus a bit more by the end of the week. Considering that I’m overloaded at work this cold be interesting.

Monday, September 12, 2005

[General] I is Making Content

He doesn't seem to have notified his adoring public, but Hadyn's away on holiday this week. In his absence have a gander at some photos I found on my hard drive.

Seriously, if Sergeant Cock Knocker here doesn't quit fooling around she'll screw over the Army like she did to the Air Force. That'll show him.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you couldn't pay me enough to go to Iraq.

Together at last.

This is the first time I've seen my cat with anything but a "the insignificance of your existence leaves me momentarily stunned" look on his face.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

[Sport] Conspiracy theories

As many of you know I am a fan of the New York Jets (Kia ora to Bassett and the team at Jets Blog). As such I am NOT a fan of the New England Patriots.

So when I was browsing NFL.com yesterday (for the ninetieth time that day) I scoffed when I saw this photo of the SB Champion Patriots meeting Monkey President George W Bush. Then I noticed something, have a look and see if you see it too…

All of the black players are standing at the back, no where near the President. Maybe Kanye West wasn’t just guessing.

(Note: Offensive Coordinators Charlie Weis and Defensive Coordinator Romeo Cremmel are also not in the photo).

Then I thought I must be crazy. George seems like a nice guy, right? Tedy Bruschi seems to think George is hilarious (but why is he holding that other guys hand?).

Yeah, the arrangement of players must have been random. Let’s put my honours degree in mathematics to work and figure out the probability that the order was random (yes this IS a statistics problem, but that guy from Numb3rs does it all the time).

There are 33 players, and management, whose faces are in the shot. Of those 10 are black. There are roughly 12 positions “near the president (see picture). So what is the probability that if each of those 12 positions were selected randomly they would all be white players?

First: each black player has a 10 in 33 (or 30%) chance of being selected for the first position; each white player has a 23 in 33 (or 70%) chance of being selected for the first position.

Then: each black player has a 10 in 32 (or 31%) chance of being selected for the second position; each white player has a 22 in 32 (or 69%) chance of being selected for the second position.

Etc…until: each black player has a 10 in 22 (or 45%) chance of being selected for the 12th position; each white player has a 12 in 22 (or 55%) chance of being selected for the 12th position.

So the formula for the probability is this (I am rounding the percentages to one decimal place):

[70% x 69% x 68% x 67% x 66% x 64% x 63% x 62% x 60% x 58% x 57% x 55%]

The (rounded) answer is: 0.4%

So there is less than a one percent chance that all the white players were randomly the closest to the George Bush.

I could weight this. I could say that Coach Bill Belichick is guaranteed a place in the 12. I could say a similar thing for QB Tom Brady. But what about RB Corey Dillon? He should be weighted higher because of his excellent performance. Oh and what about SUPERBOWL MVP Deion Branch? Shouldn’t he be there automatically?

On Bush’s left is Coach Belichick, on his right is Patriots owner Bob Kraft, or if you will the rich white guy. Nah, that’s being too cynical.

Or is it....?

In other news, I just got call from the game store and Madden 2006’s New Zealand release date has been pushed back to September 15! Aaarrrggghhhh!!!!

[Politics] Dude, this is pretty F$%ed up right here

Yeah, I know, not every coincidence is proof of something. But one guy says that his group has been working on a campagn for more than 18 months (not 10, not 27, but 18). Then another member of the group says he met with Brash 18 months ago and had a chat about the evil Labour party. That number again.

If you were a bible reading person you would know what all this means. 18, 18, 18. That's right.

18 = 3 times 6. Three sixes... 6 6 6. The number of the Beast!!

OK, so enough of the cult speak. After all, I have not got between $500,000 and $1,000,000 to send my lies to every mail box in New Zealand. So my opinion is only as valid or useful as its ability to entertain or be true.

Some truths to ponder:
Don Brash is an atheist meeting with religious dudes to talk about how evil Helen Clarke is. This is the guy who complained a church let an agnostic (Helen Clarke) speak. Who converted from Christianity to the Right.

The guy who rudely interjected (as did Helen) during the leaders debate on TV1, then said he lost cause he was polite!?!

Who accused his own party (accidently) of running a vicious campaign. Freudian slip?

But I have met the National voters. One said he was voting to get rid of that old Chestnut, a PC government. The other was voting to get rid of Maori scholarships (does Hadyn have a link to that quiz about Maori issues, which contains facts about Maori scholarships and Treaty issues?). [Ed: I will dig that baby up]

Don is like his cousin George. It doesn't matter if they are stupid. If they lose TV debates. If they are a subset of their opponents' abilities. Or even if they don't know their own partys' policies. Money talks. If you can cheat, it can talk real loud. And people will believe a lie, if repeated often enough.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

[General] Old Joke

I have been searching my Gmail account for this cartoon. I came up with the words and it was drawn by my good friend Jose for a local gig guide (we had a run of strips in one). The "gag" is that Magic Chair has magic powers that allow him and his friend Kow to travel through space and time (usually with humerous results).
For those of you who don't know, Charlotte Dawson was a local celebrity who was snapped (at various times) in compromising positions. Naturally we were not allowed to have this one go to print. As I said above I finally found this and thought it needed to see the light of day (so to speak).


Jose was lucky enough to get to interview the mighty Roots Manuva (link has sound) last night for Real Groove Magazine and so this cartoon is in tribute to his fine work (Jose's not Roots').

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

[General] New Orleans again

Why you should always check first. I swear that this is my last post on the issue (unless something really ludicrous happens).

The Dom Post has a sideboard on the front page of its World section today. The sideboard is titled: Who’s To Blame? It is a series of questions and answers:

Could the disaster have been avoided?

No. Category 4 storms carrying 230kmh winds are acts of God. New Orleans would have been very badly damaged regardless of human intervention.

Blame: No one.

<>Would better flood defences have made a difference?

Maybe. The governments of George W Bush and Bill Clinton, with the backing of Congress, have been cutting flood defence funds for years. More money might have saved New Orleans, though the tidal surge which breached defences might have breached higher barriers.

<>It goes on but I’m not typing out the whole thing. It’s really these two pieces that I would have to disagree with anyway.

The disaster was not just the hurricane it was the complete destruction of the wetlands in order to get the oil (which is now all busted up, how ironic). It was the construction and terrible up-keep of the levies around New Orleans. Read the Wikipedia entry (good god is there nothing that can’t be found on Wikipedia).

Dom Post please read stuff before putting it in your paper please. The storm was no ones fault but the fact that the storm caused so much devastation is. So “Could the disaster have been avoided? YES

Graham Reid has a nice piece over at the Public Address. Although given this:

In this city of cemeteries dating back centuries the graves are constructed above the ground, because flooding lifts buried bodies. God knows what is coming up out of the ground right now.

I wonder if the death toll will become over inflated.

Also the paper had a photo of National Guardsmen in the French Quarter. They were wearing berets. Ho ho ho

And finally (because I have to go) the US government has a site that tells you how to spot misinformation. WHAT THE…?

Monday, September 05, 2005

[General] By Singstar’s Hammer, we will be avenged!

So what did I do in the weekend?

We held a cocktail/karaoke party: to be specific a “Singstar Party”. Never before has a computer game crossed the boundary into social event (and by this I do not include those late night sessions where guys called B0dyKount_005 try to shoot other guys called Tim-inator_988).

We gathered a few close friends and made them sing some of the sugary-sweetest pop songs ever. And moreover we kept score.Names changed to protect the innocent

See Singstar keeps points of how well you sing compared to the original artist; it’s karaoke’s evil twin.

Tom got onto the cocktails. His newest creation came from the random selection of alcohol and mixers available. It’s called the Sherr-imon™:

Here are the precise, official measurements:

  • A big splosh of your maiden aunt's sherry
  • A little splash of that weird cinnamon rice wine stuff
  • Rather too much dark rum
  • A squirt of lemon juice

Shake with ice, strain, hold your nose and chug it back.

“That weird cinnamon rice wine stuff” was brought by a friend who was given it and had no idea what to do with it. It was very, very cinnimonny. And there was apparently more than one hangover the next day.

Now this all stemmed from last year’s Christmas party where I sprung Singstar on people during dessert. We had a prize (a star-shaped wand filled with lollies) for the winner. The eventual champion was a roading engineer who floored all of us with a rendition of Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now. Certain competitive people were out for revenge and so this weekend’s party was devised.

Turns out that the same guy won (and took away the coveted star-shaped satin wand), but this time with Hoobastank’s The Reason. But all in all we had a grand old time.

We also turned on the rugby at 8.45pm. It was good that we did. It was weird, however, to note that a large group of people were in my house to watch delayed coverage of the game on TV3. It felt strange watching our good old haka and feeling like “Oh, we want to see the new one”. The Aussies looked like they felt the same, until we beat them (ho ho).

I have just learned that there is a new incarnation of Singstar coming out: Singstar 80’s. So there may be another party to report on soon.

[General] State of Disbelief

First a serious post and later a lighter post about the weekend.

New Orleans. What a complete fuck up.

So much time to prepare and yet the National Guard, Army, Navy, Airforce and Search and Rescue teams were nowhere to be seen for a week. Russell Brown writes:

So much here is troubling - the inadequate response at local, state and federal level, the alarmingly thin membrane of social order, the desertion of their posts by so many policemen. In the New York Times, David Brooks sees a "bursting point" that will transform political culture as much as America's sense of national failure did in the 1970s.

Kanye West said what I have been thinking for a while now: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. Follow the link for a video of his statement during a national telethon (his comments were removed when the show was rebroadcast to the west coast). It will never be really answered but it is far from impossible that the relief efforts are stalled because
New Orleans is predominantly African American. African Americans make up 67.3 percent of New Orleans (city) population, the only other major city that comes close is Atlanta (61.4%)*.

[*Note: Jackson, Mississippi has 70.6% but has a much smaller population size; 184,256 compared to 484,674].

Secretary of State Condelleza Rice said:

That Americans would somehow in a colour-affected way decide who to help and who not to help, I just don’t believe it”.

<>On Kanye West, don’t believe most of the news reports on the matter. Watch it yourself. West says how disgusted he was that he went shopping before he donated money. Oh, and if you think he’s lying when he says

“You see a black family [in the media] and they’re looting, you see a white family and they are looking for food”

then please read this link.

I’m not going to start a conspiracy theory here, but it is bloody strange. Tsunami victims on the isolated Andaman Islands got aid in the same amount of time it took residents of downtown New Orleans to get aid. AND WE ALL KNEW THE HURRICANE WAS COMING**!!!!!!!

[**Caps are for “incredulous disbelief” not “rage”]

Just watch this report by, of all people, Fox News. They keep saying that there are no answers to simple questions like “Why can’t aid get to these people?” “Why do people not know where to go?” and even “Who is in charge?” The reporters refuse to let the hosts tone it down.

The Dom Post has an article today (it’ll be somewhere here) in which it outlines that the Bush administration is blaming the local and state authorities for all of the problems. All the while National Guard troops sit around “playing cards” while police and firefighters (those that are left) run the rescue operation.

The US Army corps of Engineers has estimated 80 days to remove the water from New Orleans, that’s once the levies are repaired. So expect mob rule very soon. Already gangs are roving committing murders and rapes and other gangs are finding the perpetrators (or people who look like they might be) and killing them.

What next? Disease. Hundreds of thousands of people have to defecate in the streets. The stench is taking over many of the news reports. I’m expecting Cholera outbreaks in the least, and especially because there is no medicine.

Then there are the people who are really trying to help. Sorry that was sarcasm. There have been a number of people who have commented that Katrina was an act of a vengeful God; all have different reasons for the vengeance.

The Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that the hurricane and flood that followed in New Orleans were “two catastrophes” that presented and unprecedented challenge. What the fuck? Am I the only one who reads National Geographic? They have had numerous articles about the south over the past few months including the (short) article on what would happen if a hurricane like Katrina hit New Orleans (finally found the link). Basically everyone will die and the city will be a write-off.

That was from Nat Geo. But the Dept of Homeland Security (which is still at an “Elevated” Alert Level for terrorism) had no idea what to expect? In the ultimate irony the DHS is promoting on it’s website that this month is National Preparedness Month.

The last thing I would like to note before I finish on this topic is for you, the people who (I assume) are not in New Orleans. Over the next few weeks (or maybe already) you may receive emails regarding the hurricane. These may be asking for donations, they may be stories about the event itself.

Please, before you act on these, think.

Does it look suspicious? Has it been forwarded from 100 other people? If it looks even slightly dodgy (“Mermaid washed up after hurricane”) go to Snopes.com (also added to the sidebar). Search their site, if it is a fake it will be there. There are a lot at the moment on their “What’s New” page, take a look.

Just read this article about New Orleans Saints Wide Reciever Joe Horn visiting with the survivors at the Superdome. It's a strange article and I imagine that Horn will be quite affected by some of the things people told him.

A middle-aged man pushed through the crowd and approached Horn with a picture of his missing wife. He asked Horn to hold the photograph while he snapped a picture of the player and said he was confident he would find her...Horn held babies, kissing them on their cheeks and making them giggle. He sat down on cots and talked to the elderly. He tossed a football to a young boy and played a board game with another

Friday, September 02, 2005

[General] Tech-wonders

We live in the golden age of technology. Every day new discoveries are being made that will improve ours lives.

Like the ability to grow breasts in a lab

Computers that alert lifeguards to save drowning children

Or a device that triggers an automatic orgasm (BTW this guy needs volunteers)

In other news, New Orleans has gone “Gotham” (to quote Dom). Looters are shooting at helicopters. Flooded streets filled with dead bodies, sharks and ‘gators. The lower States are without gas. 95% of oil production is locked down and a large number of oil rigs are MISSING. Fun times ahead.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

[General] Brash, Katrina and Drag Queens

The above picture is pretty much on the ball. I was asked what I thought about the recent moves by National Party leader Don Brash’s (who knew he had a Wikipedia entry?) to makeover Mäori organisations (by makeover I mean “gut”). I was asked by someone who knew that I worked at one the institutions named by Brash for a short time (although not long enough to offer any real in depth knowledge). So what do I think?

Well first let me officially recognise the work of Ross P Kettle whose cartoon I have “borrowed” without permission. Go here and here to see more of his work.

What’s left to say? (I tend to wait until well after the event to see if anything has been left out once an issue has been thrashed by the local blogosphere). Tze Ming points out, in her last two posts, that Brash’s ideas on this seem to be basically made up on the spot to gain the “unthinking vote”. [By the way, Tze Ming’s blog “Yellow Peril” is in general a very good read and I suggest for those who have yet to discover it].

Brash’s policies lack internal consistency. When asked on Campbell Live about the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, Gerry Brownlee (National’s #2, Brash wouldn’t show because of the email controversy) said that it would be subsumed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What? That doesn’t sound like a plan.

I think the best example of Brash’s campaign has to be the forestry decision that happened last week and was then disappeared. Talk about flip-flopping!

National’s Forestry Spokesman: “We’ll cut down native trees on the West Coast”

Don Brash: “What? No we won’t”

National’s Forestry Spokesman: “But you said…”

Don Brash: “Never mind what I said then, this is now!”

As a quick aside, TV One had footage of National’s Forestry Spokesman (whose bloody name I’ve forgotten) talking about how he once threw a cat in the fireplace. “The fire had gone out…” was his defence, PSYCHO. Seriously check the list (numbers 5 and 8).

Brash’s whole campaign (screw the Mäoris, screw the environmentalists, screw the immigrants, screw the poor people and, naturally, screw the people who sit in the over lap) is aimed squarely at the unthinking vote. Strictly what is happening NOW ! He has also tended to argue both sides, sometimes in the same sentence (ie. Labour is too family oriented, National does more for families than Labour).

Now don’t underestimate the “unthinking vote” (also called the “knee-jerk vote”). A study done a short time before the last US Presidential election showed that most voters make their decision on the day. Some will unconsciously be more likely to vote for a particular candidate because it is raining/cloudy/sunny or the person looks taller/happier/more confident.

I always like to think of the Simpsons Halloween episode “Citizen Kang”. The two aliens Kang and Kodos take over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole during the 1996 Presidential election. Kang (or was it Kodos) announces “Abortions for all!” and is booed. He then tries “Abortions for none!” again to boos. He thinks and then “Very well: Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!” Everyone cheers.

To put it bluntly Don Brash is Kang. He just keeps talking until everyone cheers. And then Stuff.co.nz (or the Herald) does a poll to confirm that everyone cheered.

What’s his latest scheme? To remove the Mäori seats from parliament. ::sigh:: It’s almost sad.

I expect Scott will wade in soon.

Here is an extract from Brash’s Wikipedia entry.

Shortly after becoming leader of the National Party, Brash outlined five main policy areas:

1. Dealing with declining New Zealand incomes

2. Education - dealing with too many people leaving school with poor literacy and numeracy

3. Welfare dependency

4. Security - law and order

5. The drift towards racial separatism in New Zealand

He’s got number 5 well sorted. The drift has now become a steady undercurrent. Of course billboards that separate all of New Zealand into Kiwis and Iwi will do that? Ever thought to ask which one you are? Ever thought how to explain to a Mäori child which one (s)he is?

Look New Zealand, Mäori organisations like Te Mangai Paho and Te Puni Kökiri work very well and do some very good things (just look at Mäori TV). Pacific Island Affairs, I imagine, also do well. What was that other one National would scrap…? Oh that’s right Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

National not only see no difference between Mäori and non-Mäori but they also cannot tell the difference between men and women. This may be why there are no Mäori or women in the National party top 10 (that is unless you include Katherine Rich, and we don’t).

Given there is still a massive gender disparity (please send angry emails while I go look for the evidence to send back to you) a Ministry of Women’s Affairs seems like a good idea. [Caution: blog about to go off-track again] A Ministry (or at least a Department) of Men’s Affairs is also a good idea.

See the MMA would have a completely different tack to the MWA. The MWA’s work has three areas:

  • economic sustainability – improve women’s ability to independently provide for herself and her family
  • work-life balance – help women achieve a greater balance between paid work and life outside work
  • well-being – improve health and social outcomes for women.

The MMA would be looking closer to “the root” (education and early development) and so should be more realistically called Male Affairs (just to denote that it means everyone with a penis and not just of a certain age). There is substantial evidence to suggest that we need to be helping men (and boys) achieve at higher levels than they are currently. So an MMA is a good idea.

Sorry went off track a bit there.

We have a thing called the Treaty of Waitangi. Like it or not your ancestors (assuming you are Mäori or Pakeha) signed the Treaty for us to get along. Setting aside the different wording in the different versions, there is still the underlying message of partnership between the two parties to develop a nation.

Scrapping the Treaty and removing its reference from particular policies may actually be in breach of international treaty law. So basically Brash’s promise may actually be nothing more than an election lie! Dum dum DUMMMMM!!!

Brash is a penis, so if you vote for him (even a knee-jerk vote) expect to get dicked.

Thank you.

Now, what else has been happening in the world? Something happy no doubt.

Oh look, the USA is the largest supplier of arms to third world (and developing) nations. The weapons themselves are probably better at removing arms…and legs…and eyes…

Wouldn’t it be a good idea, just to state the obvious, to NOT arm countries so that we don’t have to worry about another “Iraq” or “Afghanistan”? Let’s move on.

Water was up to 6m deep in parts of New Orleans. A shark was reported in one street (but there is no picture to be found). This is a pretty big tragedy, but, as always, it could have been much, much worse.

In last month’s National Geographic (August 2005) there was a piece about what would happen if a Force 5 Hurricane hit New Orleans (there is no online version of the piece on New Orleans but there is an article and an interactive piece). The estimates for death and casualties were in the millions and property damage so severe that New Orleans would be uninhabitable, basically a write-off.

Thankfully when Force 5 Katrina came along the city had time to prepare. Death tolls currently sit in the hundreds, as to the property damage…we’ll have to wait until the water subsides to see, although many levies have broken and New Orleans may be reclaimed by the sea.

President Bush was nice enough to call off his holiday a few days early (that’s four days out of 32). He flew in a jet over the city. “Very low” over the city apparently, however, “very low” is still not landed and pitched in. “Very low” is not “called off holiday when the first warnings were came in and flew straight to Washington to prepare for disaster”.

However something was being done, something that feels pretty creepy somehow to me.

To make more fuel available in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration said Wednesday it will waive certain air pollution regulations for gasoline and diesel in all 50 states.

How does waiving air pollution laws make more fuel available? Seriously, if you know please write in, because I can’t figure it out yet. And will these laws be put back?

The Dom Post today has (in large print) somebody saying “[the hurricane] is our tsunami”. Um, while the hurricane was bad and while there is going to be a large clean up bill, this is no where near the magnitude of the Boxing Day Tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. Also New Orleans had a lot of warning, which actually saved millions of lives; the people in the Indian Ocean had none. I’m not detracting from the devastation, just putting things into perspective. In fact just yesterday between 600 and 1000 people died in Iraq in the Al-Aaimmah bridge stampede. Perspective, that’s all this is.

Now finally about “Katrina the bitch”, and this is least important thing but we also blog about football here, the New Orleans Saints may have to journey to other cities to play their home games due to the damage done to the Superdome.

The last thing I want to mention is one of those crazy coincidence things. My partner was devising a script for a short film in which a group of drag queens go all “Ocean’s Eleven” in order to steal Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz. Well, this morning I came across this article that says that the Ruby Slippers have indeed been stolen and that nobody knows who took them or how!!!! I suggest searching the local revue bars and cabarets.

Not quite life imitates art. More like life imitates the rough-first draft of what would have been art in a month or so. Needless to say Amy had to screw up her script. Doh!