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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

[Sport] Got Chips?

See if you can find the quick reach-around tug given by Gil Brandt to an NFL sponsor in his annual Superbowl Statistics column.

Some interesting numbers:

More than 130 million people will watch the game in the United States, of which 55 million will be women. The Super Bowl drew 42 percent more women viewers than the Academy Awards. More people watched Super Bowl XXXIX (133.7 million viewers) than voted in the 2004 presidential election. More than 1.5 million television sets will be sold the week leading up to Super Bowl. Sales of big screen TVs show a fivefold increase during Super Bowl week.

There are 7.5 million parties on Super Bowl Sunday with 43.9 million partygoers. It is estimated 14,500 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday.

Of the 32 teams in the league, 26 of them have participated in a Super Bowl: 13 from the AFC and 13 from the NFC. That's perhaps another sign that the competitive balance in the NFL is very good
He doesn't mention a thing about facial hair.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Breakfast of Champions: Part 1

Tom is on a mission to have a drink in every Wellington bar this year. He is on another stangely similar mission to drink and rate a martini in any bar that serves one.

I don’t have a mission. Or rather I didn’t. This weekend a voice spoke unto me and said: “Hey Hade, why don’t you do a review thing of big breakfasts?”

It was Amy, and she was right. During the holidays we ate a lot of brunches and at every place there was a “big breakfast”. I usually picked it (mainly because all of the other dishes were subsets of the Big Breakfast but for too much money).

So starting this week I will attempt to eat and rate (and sometimes even photograph) a “big” breakfast at one of Wellington’s many eateries. I hope you all appreciate the clogging my arteries are going to take.

Amy said that she might chime in from time to time with non-big-breakfast breakfast reviews (i.e. pancakes etc).

The criteria:

  1. the dish’s title must have the words “big” and “breakfast” in to be considered
  2. if there are vege and non-vege options, I will take the non-vege (only for consistency)
  3. if eggs are served I will have them poached (if I am asked)

The dish will be ranked on:

  1. size (because big is an adjective about size)
  2. contents and contents comparison (i.e. button mushrooms versus flats)
  3. taste (naturally)
  4. leftovers (what remains when my heart says: “enough”)

This Weeks Breakfast: Epic

Epic is listed by Rhombus in the sleeve notes of their latest album and proclaims to have the “best breakfasts in Wellington”. This is quite the claim.

Epic is located on the corner of Will St and Ghuznee diagonally opposite the motorway exit. As such sitting out on their deck seemed more of a hazard to my health than the mammoth breakfast I was going to eat.

I ordered the “Dusties Big Breakfast”. I didn’t think to ask about the name so you can do that if you choose.

Price: It cost $16 and certainly was big (well I thought it was)

Contents: Two eggs (poached, though I wasn’t asked); two hash browns; bacon; half tomato; one mushroom (flat); three kransky sausages; two pieces of buttered ciabatta toast.

Leftovers: Half a piece of toast and half the tomato

Kranskys are the kings of the breakfast sausage and shall, in my opinion, always remain so. Getting three was awesome, if not a little worrying for my arteries. The eggs were covered in hollandaise, which I don’t think was on the menu. I would have preferred them without. The breakfast came with a side of relish (which was some of the best relish I have ever eaten) and mayonnaise!?! I steered clear of the mayo as much as I could, maybe I was supposed to dip my kranskys in it?

I don’t like cooked tomato and so me eating half of it means that it was good. I didn’t even mind the lack of mushrooms because one flat is enough. Bacon = average.

What really is the sign of a quality breakfast though is the hash brown. You know you’re in for something when it comes out and is grated potato held together with egg (and possibly some spices or herbs) and pan-fried. But when it is taken out of the packet and dropped in to the deep fryer it detracts from the rest of the meal. Such was the case at Epic.

Overall Rating: 8, Good, but the best…?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

[Music] Top Six List

Yesterday I was thinking about what my top 5 6 songs of 2005 were. I decided that the only criteria I would use would be: I liked it. So in the interests of taking up room on the internet and in no particular order:

  1. Juicebox by the Stokes (First Impression of Earth)

I have liked what the Strokes have done in the past but never enough to buy the album. This song, which is a very late entry to the 2005 list (so late in fact that it might actually be 2006), is just amazing. The big dirty bass riff that you can’t help but strut to does it for me. This song makes me want to learn bass.

  1. Goldigger by Kanye West (Late Registration)

I loved Graduation Day and so when Late Registration came out I was quick to snag a copy. And then Kanye released Goldigger as a single. Man, that was nuts. It’s a brilliant dance song as well and perfect for singing in the car.

  1. Dimension by Wolfmother (Wolfmother)

The opening of this track is a scream and then it gets better. The lyrics involve rock classics such as horses and deserts before the fall “into another dimension”, cue awesome guitar riff. These three Aussie guys are the reincarnation of Led Zeppelin and are part of the latest attempt to save rock and roll from the likes of Kelly Clarkson and those shit pop punk bands. Like Juicebox, this song is just the best to walk (strut) to and, again like Juicebox, it is a very late entry. Other Wolfmother songs considered: Collosal and Woman.

  1. TKO by Le Tigre (This Island)

I was trying to remember what I was listening to at the beginning of the year. How could I forget the lesbian electro power pop trio Le Tigre? After hearing their stuff on C4 for Big Day Out 2005, I went straight out and bought their album. TKO was the main single released from the album but also became my favourite (which is usually not the case). It is a little more “poppy” than the other stuff but I like it. The final track (Punker Plus) is another good ‘un. Note: Don’t confuse the band with the clothing label of the same name.

  1. November Has Come & All Alone by Gorillaz (Demon Days)

Every track on this album is a single! I have been cheeky and chosen two because they are both my favourite. All Alone has the great dubby voice of Roots Maunva and November Has Come features the mysterious MF Doom. Gorillaz second album is just so damn good! I bought it after a five minute listen at one of those CD store listening posts. Even the “spoken word” track, Fire Coming Out of a Monkey’s Head could be released as a single. All Alone is great for the dancy dub beat with Manuva’s made-up-word lyrics over the top (I am SO pissed off I missed him live). MF Doom must have been over the moon to work with cartoons (he’s already worked with DJ Dangermouse, who also features on Demon Days) and his crazy comparative lyrics merge beautifully into November Has Come without overpowering it.

  1. Wandering Eye by Fat Freddy’s Drop (Based on a True Story)

What are you? Nuts? I couldn’t leave out the Drop! First off my partner would slap me and then I would have to slap myself. Wandering Eye was always our favourite from the boys down the road (we live above Lyall Bay and are always seeing the guys at the fish and chip shop). Roady is a close second but, again, a slap from my partner means that Wandering Eye takes the prize. Surprisingly I have yet to see Freddy’s live (apart from the Cuba St Carnival in 2002). But I will and very soon at the Jackson St Party and Splore.

I did buy a lot of music this year and I could go on for ages (or at least to 10) but I’ll leave it there. Other tracks that could have made the list: First Time by Hollie Smith (E.P.); Flight of the Owl by Fly My Pretties (The Return Of…); O Baby by Charlie Ash (no album, yet!); Benzi Box by MF Doom and Dangermouse (Danger Doom); Werewolf Tries To Get a Date by Teenwolf (no album and another late 2005 entry) and probably a whole boatload I have forgotten.

Feel free to add your own picks in the comments, because I know you’re thinking about what you’d pick.

[General] If you can't drive it, give it to me.

Last night (or it may have been the night before) there was an article on TV3 news about an Auckland business man who crashed his brand new car. Normally this wouldn’t be news except that recently some other rich idiot crashed their Lamborghini Murcielago rather spectacularly in a busy part of the city (see photo).

This time around the car was a brand new Ford GT (see awesome photo below). The driver said that he had to avoid another car but he also “was not prepared for the power of the car”. Here are the specs of the new Ford GT; note the DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, supercharged V-8. What kind of a retard do you have to be to be not to realise that this might be a powerful car?

I imagine that this idiot just bought the car because it is fucking cool but didn’t take the time to try to learn to drive it properly. If Jeremy Clarkson can drive so can I. Idiot. Did you think it was just a more expensive version of a Holden? The best part about this is that you didn’t drive your VERY powerful new Ford GT into some children. I mean…by the way this is turning into an angry rant…the original Ford GT40 (upon which this new version is based) was the car built specifically to be better than the Ferraris!!!

By the way if looking at photos of rich idiots with their dream cars in ruins is your type of thing try Wrecked Exotics. And I’m sorry that there is no link to the actual story but it doesn’t seem to exist, if some one out there in the Hive Mind can find and leave in the comments then that would be awesome.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

[Sport] The 'Tache Bowl

As promised, the world’s first, and possibly only, Superbowl predication based solely on facial hair!

The AFC champion Steelers are the full representation of hairiness while the NFC champion Seahawks are more at home with a razor and a hot towel.


Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher sports a splendid Tom Selleck-esque ‘tache on his upper lip (actually the photo to the right could be Bill at last year’s Probowl). This glorious piece of facial hair (Cowher’s not Selleck’s) has been in place since well before the Steelers last Superbowl appearance in 1996 (when they lost). The moustache, however, does get usurped sometimes by “the chin” which will can, if the Steelers are performing poorly, extend to roughly 3 feet from Cowher’s face.

Mike Holmgren of the Seahawks has the nickname the “Walrus”. Actually, I don’t know that for sure but if he doesn’t then something is seriously wrong with that franchise! (This is the same team that let Darrell Jackson call himself “D-Jack”) Mike’s ‘tache is not as pronounced as Cowher’s but is rather subtler and softer. It does have a good bend down past the bottom lip giving him the appearance of a trucker.


Backing-up his coach is “Big” Ben Roethlisberger. (Quick note: Big Ben may be the only player in the NFL with the letter R on each shoulder of his uniform.) Ben has been sporting a scraggy beard for nearly all of the play-offs and prior matches. However, he looked practically clean shaven next to “Mountain Man” Jake Plummer (also known as “Big Mistake” Jake, right).

Matt Hasslebeck has a smooth chin and upper lip. This would possibly make him a favourite with the ladies (I have been told that facial hair is annoying and scratchy). But Matt has gone beyond the call of duty to try and de-hair his face by going bald. Bald coaches are one thing but bald quarterbacks are something completely different.

Running Backs

2005/06 MVP Shaun Alexander (see photo of him and Matt below) is clean shaven to an improbable degree. This is possibly an attempt to lessen wind resistance. Or maybe to slide through defences. Or possibly because he lied about his age and is actually 11years old.

The Bus (“if you want to get to Detroit, just catch the number 36”) has a neatly trimmed beard. The Bus doesn't care about "wind resistence" or "friction". He just plows through regardless. Warning to Seattle linebackers: watch out for beard rash!


Ben and Bill may want to shave (or at least have a trim) before the big game. As previously mentioned here (exclusively) hairy coaches and hairy QBs tend to lose Superbowls.

Over the last 10 Superbowls (XXXIX to XXX) moustachioed coaches are 1-4 (assuming that Holmgren hasn’t grown his moustache recently or that no coach randomly grew a beard or ‘tache for the Superbowl). This year may be the first occurrence of a Superbowl where opposing coaches both have moustaches. No wonder this is Superbowl XL!

Further analysis reveals that over the last 10 Superbowls bearded (or even goateed) quarterbacks are 0-3 (I don’t remember Kurt Warner having a goatee when he won the Superbowl, but he definitely had one when he lost. If I’m incorrect please tell me).

So to gain an instant advantage Ben Roethlisberger and Bill Cowher MUST shave.

Running backs (also called half-backs and tail-backs) are something I hadn’t considered before. I have yet to do an in-depth analysis of the trends surrounding this position but I am going to err on the side of the smooth face for this one. Why? Well, I can remember that Corey Dillon and Antowain Smith were both clean shaven when the Pats won. Jamal Lewis and Mike Alstott sport goatees. But a clean shaven Marshall Faulk tips the balance for me (can anyone remember if the Bronco’s Howard Griffith had a beard or ‘tache when Denver won?).


Well history seems to like a clean shaven team and with that (and only that) in mind I’m picking the Seattle Seahawks to win Superbowl XL. It pains to say (because I want the Steelers to do it) but the “stats” never lie.

Friday, January 20, 2006

[Sport] He's more Mangini than Man now

Everything you need to know about new Jets coach Eric Mangini is here (free NY Post registration required). Thanks to Bassett at Jets Blog for the link.

In other Jets news: Donnie Henderson is gone as defensive coordinator.

Then there was this article about the last Knicks game.

"I witnessed my wife being threatened by a man that I learned later to be intoxicated," Davis said through a spokesman. "I saw him touch her and I know I should not have acted the way I did, but I would have felt terrible if I didn't react. There was no time to call security. It happened too quickly."

That was the statement from Antonio Davis after he ran into the stands to protect his wife from a heckler. She then had to restrain him from going after the guy (who was turfed out by security). Ron Artest punched a fan last year after a cup of beer was thrown at him. Since then there is a strict no-tolerance policy for entering the stands. Davis could be suspended for 10 games.

There is more here including a video for you voyeurs. I’m unsure what I would do if I was the NBA in this situation. Still 10 games is only (roughly) 5% of the regular season. It would the equivalent of suspending an NFL player for 48mins of one game.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

[Sport] Starting 'em Young


Is that a hard G (as in golf) or a soft G (as in giraffe)? I haven’t heard anyone say it yet (because I can’t get my sports podcasts at the moment due to internet difficulties) but it has to be soft right?

Well Eric Mangini (or is it Mangini?) is the new head coach of the New York Jets. He is also the youngest head coach in the league at 35 years old. Not the youngest ever though that goes to Harland Svare of the LA Rams who took over in 1962 at 31 years of age. Hell, even John Madden was 32 when he took over the Raiders (Madden went on to be the winningest head coach ever and the namesake of a hell of a good game).

Mangini took the current youngest crown from Mike McCarthy who was only signed a short while beforehand to the Green Bay Packers.

And for your viewing pleasure here is a picture of Steve Smith's touch down celebration against Chicago last weekend.He's sliding down the goalpost, honestly.

[Sport] Face Value

GM Doug writes:

Regards Superbowl indicators follow the rule of QB Fisherman Beards.

When taking the Steelers to the bowl Neil O'Donnell started to look as if he was lost at sea 6 days out of 7 and then was lost on the field in the big game.

There's a few others similar who grow a beard during the final weeks and play off push. But I think a check of Superbowl winning QBs demonstrate that a clean shaven (or only slight stubble) QB wins more often if not always.

He may have something there. Though in the last round of play-off games Bearded Ben beat Hairless Peyton and Jake the Hairy Snake beat Tom “I play in a stadium named after a razor so I had better shave” Brady.

So the rule of QB Fisherman Beards applies only to the Superbowls. The reason could be that Superbowls are generally played in warmer climes where a beard just becomes scratchy and annoying.

But now, as with the rule of ‘tached coaches, we face the possibility of a bearded QB (Ben Roethlisbeger or Jake Plummer) winning the Superbowl. Though they can’t both be there, it will be a Superbowl of the wild and woolly QBs of the AFC versus the clean cut smooth chins of the NFC.

Exciting times! I expect that following the championship games certain coaches and QBs to run to their local barber and request the closest possible shave available. But with the bye week there's plenty of time for players to grow all kinds of crazy facial hair.

After this weekend I will make the world’s first ever facial hair-based Superbowl prediction! Be prepared!

Also for those wondering why this blog is called Grabthar’s Hammer, here is the roll call of the Pantheon of Football Gods created by Gregg Easterbrook and his readers:

Set and Hut, twin Egyptian gods of pre-snap cadence and false starts.

Lambo, god of cold games, who wreaks vengeance upon teams whose coaches over-dress in ridiculous K2 parkas in bad weather.

Mozen, god of balanced attacks -- the word means "balance" in Chaldaean

Nike be the god of marketing. Nike communicates her commands through commercials during the Super Bowl, her feasting day.

Nortia, goddess of quarterbacks. "She is depicted as a vain young woman always with a mirror close at hand." "Nortia is popular because of her beauty, and does not like to admit she depends on her brother Bardok, god of offensive lines. Bardok is a forgotten god with few followers."

Fumblius, bumbling little brother of the football gods: "Even though no one invites him when the football gods gather, he always seems to show up anyway."

Tundra, spirit of frozen turf. He empowers teams with strong running games and is locked in eternal struggle with the capricious Westcoast, who smiles occasionally on pass-wacky teams, but whose favor is tenuous.

Fielding, god of clumsy tactics.

The chorus of the football gods is headed by John Facenda, deep-throated narrator who was known as "the voice of god" in the old NFL Films productions that dominated the era before ESPN's NFL Primetime.

The cheerleader deities are the sisters Sheer and Micro.

Quetzalfootbatl, pronounced "qwatch-EL-football," god of wide receivers. Quetzalfootbatl is bigheaded, prone to stunts and actually believes he is open on every play.

Lambasthor, god of halftime tirades by coaches.

The chief god of the football gods is Grabthar, who looks down with disdain on practically everything that's happened to the game since he ascended.

“By Grabthar’s Hammer you will be avenged” is also is also a line from the very under-rated Galaxy Quest which I recommend you see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

[Sports] This is important…this means something (Updated)

A brief discussion with Dom this morning got us both thinking about previous Superbowls. Then we noticed some things. These are maybe just small details but they are almost certainly important.

1. Names are important.

Dating back to 1998 the Superbowl has been won four times by a coach named Bill (or whose name contains the word “Bill” and often gets called Bill by mistake), three times by a coach called Mike and once by a coach named John.

Looking at the current play-off contenders, if they make the Superbowl the Steelers (Bill Cowher, top left) have the edge, followed by the Broncos (Mike Shanahan, bottom right) and the Seahawks (Mike Holmgren, top right) and trailing well behind is the Panthers (John Fox, bottom left).

If both Mikes make the final game (which could happen) bet on the Broncos. Why? Two of the three recent Superbowl victories for Mikes were from Mike Shanahan.

However, should either of the Mikes or the Bill meet the John in the final game, you know who to pick.

2. Location

Until Alaska or Hawaii gets a team, the largest distance between two possible teams in a Superbowl would be the Seattle Seahawks vs the Miami Dolphins. Of the current hopefuls the largest distance between teams would be if the Steelers played the Seahawks. The smallest distance would be Steelers vs Panthers.

The largest distance between teams (DBT) in the history of the Superbowl was …(I’m inserting a gap for the more knowledgeable readers to make a guess)…Superbowl XIX (1985) San Francisco vs Miami. The 49ers won 38-16 but the game was played in California (so the 49ers just drove down the road).

In the game with the second largest DBT, Superbowl XXXVII, Tampa travelled to San Diego to play Oakland (who just had to drive down the road) and won 48-21.

The smallest DBT for a Superbowl was Superbowl XXV when the NY Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19. This is also the only Superbowl between two teams from the same state, but they played the game in Florida, so Buffalo had just a little bit further to travel.

3. The NFL is still the (second) greatest league in the world!

The “second” had to be added because of the gem that is Australia’s NRL (I’m bored by the game but love the league).

No matter which of the four hopefuls wins the Superbowl, it will be a different winner to any other this century. The Broncos were the last of the current contenders to win the championship, in 1999 against the Atlanta Falcons.

If we get rid of the Broncos (only for arguments sake) we have to go all the way back to 1980 when Pittsburgh beat the LA Rams in Superbowl XIV!

4. Top tacklers are top tacklers for a reason

Finally, and this has nothing to do with the Superbowl or the play-offs, I just noticed that the four of the top five tacklers came from teams that sucked this season. Only Donnie Edwards from the Chargers was on a good team. You have to get down to Shelton Quarles from Tampa at #8 before you find a player from a play-off team. Though it does say something that last placed Houston’s first tackler shows up at #21.


It occurred to me that there might be another indicator of a team’s possible success in the Superbowl. It was right in front of my face, so to speak.

5. Coaches with moustaches.

<>This may be the highest correlation ever! Just looking at games where a moustachioed coach played one who was clean shaven over the last 6 Superbowls; the bald-faces beat the hairy-men 2-0 and losing by an average of five points. Due to constant coaching changes I won’t go back too far into history but Pittsburgh also lost the big one in 1996 with fur-lipped Bill Cowher at the helm.

If this year’s game is between Pittsburgh and Seattle then we may see the first ever championship winning coach with a ‘tache.

If anyone can remember a moustachioed coach winning the Superbowl please write in.

Monday, January 16, 2006

[Sport] The First Annual Hammer Awards

Ladies and Gentlemen this is moment you have been waiting for: The award ceremony for the first Annual Hammer Awards (the Hammies).

The list of nominees has been up for a while and a few of you have cast your votes. So without further ado here are your winners!

Best Team (international representation)

Nominees: All Blacks, Kiwis, Silver Ferns, Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell, Rugby Sevens team

Winner: The All Blacks (Rugby).

There has been SO much bitching in the news that the Kiwis have been snubbed by the Halburg Awards. Well crying about it wont help win the Hammer Awards either. The All Blacks finished the season 11-1 including beating eight of the world’s top ten teams (they didn’t play France or Argentina*). They dominated the game in 2005, created a generous media buzz during their northern hemisphere tour and even created a new tradition (Kapa O Pango).

* Samoa are a new addition to the top ten

Best Team (national representation)

Nominees: Canterbury Crusaders, Waikato/BOP Magic, Auckland Blues, Bay of Plenty Steamers

Winner: Waikato/BOP Magic.

The Magic dominated the National Bank Cup and did well enough to score home court advantage in the final. Their big venue (Hamilton’s Mystery Creek) was already booked and their back-up (the QEII centre in Tauranga) was unsuitable for a final (see below). They flew the length of the country to play the reigning champs in the champs’ home town…and destroyed them. Wiped the court with them! 65-39 Fuck yeah!

Best Team (non-New Zealand)

Nominees: Chicago White Sox, Liverpool FC, England cricket team, New England Patriots, West Tigers.

Winner: West Tigers.

This was actually a pretty hard contest. I was going to go with the Patriots but decided on the Tigers for the reason that their success shows how good a tournament is when every team has a shot a winning. Another team of note was the Northern Cowboys who used to suck but have now made it to the play-offs and a Grand Final in consecutive years. Liverpool are the runners-up for winning something while not being Arsenal, Man U or Chelsea.

Most Entertaining Series/Tournament

Nominees: Chappell-Hadlee Trophy Series, Fisher & Paykel Cup, British and Irish Lions Tour, The last Super 12 ever, Wellington Sevens

Winner: British and Irish Lions Tour.

The People chose the tour. “I was going to go for the Chappell-Hadlee series, but it was only two of the three games that made that exciting. The entire Lions tour was great - especially being in the UK at the time and standing around English pubs as the pride of the British Isles was being sunk!” and “Any tour that got my head out of [tabloid magazine] NW and into a sports pub has got to be special” Though the Wellington Sevens did get a mention as the best sports tournament where no one cares about the sport.

Sport of the Year

Nominees: Rugby, Netball, Rowing, Rugby League, Cricket

Winner on the day: Rugby.

Sport-you-could-seriously-not-give-a-sh*t-about of the Year

Nominees Yachting, Kick Boxing, New Zealand Basketball, New Zealand Soccer, Super 12 Rugby

Winner: Yachting.

Why did we even care about it in the first place? Oh that’s right; Peter Blake seemed like a nice chap. Then we all found out that they were all just rich ****s in boats. Like Russell Coutts.

Best Female Athlete

Nominees, Valerie Vili, Nicky Coles and Juliette Haigh, Kate McIlroy, Marina Erakovic

Winner: Nicky Coles and Juliette Haigh.

Winning the world champs after falling out of their boat at the Olympics. That is true grit. Also they won a world title without being twins.

Best Male Athlete

Nominees: Michael Campbell, Stacey Jones, Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater, Mahe Drysdale

Winner: Mahe Drysdale.

Just kidding, it’s really Michael Campbell. Duh. (I wonder if they’ll make the same joke at the Halburgs?)


Hottest Man in Sport

Winner: Dan Carter.

As proposed by Jenny. For increasing the demographics of rugby watchers to the other 50% of the population and for selling a boatload of undies to guys who desperately want to look like him. Dan also gets the international vote with a least one (but probably more by now) computer screen at the World Banks in Washington DC being decorated with a Dan Carter wallpaper. An honourable mention goes to Richie McCaw who gets the most searches that include the word “naked”.

And for parity

Hottest Woman in Sport

Winner: Danica Patrick.

Not only is she hot she has taken over the last true bastion of testosterone in sport: motorsport. She is also fiery and we here at the Hammer like any woman who tells F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to f*ck off. Honourable mention goes to Maria Sharapova, who lost points for being too skinny at “game weight”. Danica also recently topped Xtra’s poll of Sexiest Female Sports Stars of 2005 beating Maria Sharapova again.

Back to the “regular” awards

Best Performance inside Aotearoa

Nominees: Black Caps successful record run chase of 332 over Australia, All Blacks whitewash of the British and Irish Lions, Silver Ferns whitewash of Australia, Black Ferns whitewash of England

Winner: Black Caps.

It was a world record set against the world champions. You do not get better than that. Yes the series was dead but good God the game wasn’t!

Best Opponent

Nominees: Australian cricket team, Springboks, English rugby team, British and Irish Lions, Alinghi

Winner: Springboks.

Someone said “I'm not choosing any of them because they are w**kers”. And that person is right they are all w**kers, but someone has to win this and it only makes sense that the only team that managed to put a tick in the “L” column for the All Blacks should be it.

Best Haka

Nominees: Kapa O Pango, Ka Mate Ka Mate, Cibi, Manu Siva Tau, New Zealand Maori Haka

Winner: Kapa O Pango.

This was easily the most controversial thing to happen in New Zealand sport this year. People were either bowled over or enraged. Outside our island nation people were just shocked. Americans loved it for its showiness and brutality and the British hated it for the same reasons. We were watching the Springbok game that saw the first rendition of Kapa O Pango (the team in black) in a pub downtown. The place was packed and when the players went down on one knee (which is different to the original Ka Mate Ka Mate) the place went nuts. Kapa O Pango is only used on ‘special occasions’ but I am quite happy for the All Blacks to keep using it.

Retiree of the Year

Nominees: Matt Te Pou, David Dixon, Stacey Jones (late addition)

Winner: Matt Te Pou.

The winningest international rugby New Zealand has ever had and all around great guy. I had the pleasure to meet the man at a function last year before his teams’ historic victory over the British and Irish Lions. Even though he was the great man at the table he was still full of praise for the work of others. Humility is what makes great men into legends.

Note: Tana Umaga was too late to make the list and he wouldn’t have won anyway.

Now for the night’s most popular award

Photo of the Year

Nominees: Here (Scroll Down)

Winner: "Header" Racing Lens' Eric Carriere grimaces as he heads the ball during the UEFA Cup first round first leg soccer match against Groclin Grodzisk.

“...the type of photo that all photographers aspire to”

And finally the grand award for the Hammies…

By Grabthar’s Hammer They Were Avenged (international version)

Nominees: Black Caps successful record run chase of 332 over Australia, All Blacks beat England with three men sin-binned for questionable offences, New Zealand Maori finally beat the British and Irish Lions, Chicago White Sox win World Series, England win the Ashes

Winner: The Waikato/BOP Magic.


As I said above: The Magic gained home court advantage for the final but their back-up venue (the QEII centre in Tauranga) was unsuitable. Well actually that was a big lie. Tauranga had hosted a number of the Magic’s regular season matches but Netball New Zealand decided that the venue was too small to host a final. This was even after the venue had been remodelled to NNZ standards. Former squash world champ (and BOP resident) Dame Susan Devoy went on television and swore at the director of NNZ and then pleaded for a neutral venue but to no avail. The Magic were forced to fly (I assume at their own expense) to Invercargill, home of seven-time champions, the Southern Sting. But then the Magic rose above the controversy and instead of sulking (as many NZ teams do) they kicked ass. Like the netball version of Chuck Norris! They won the match 65-39 and by Grabthar’s Hammer and the Sons of Wothan they were avenged!!!

Well that wraps up the 2005 Hammer Awards. I hope you’ll tune in again next year when we’ll see who will the 2006 honours.

[General] Conversations on the bus

<>Part of an actual conversation heard on the 23 bus to Houghton Bay between two kids of high school age.

First kid: …so when we were living in Australia and we said that we were moving to New Zealand all the other kids gave me shit, and when I moved here and the kids found out I was from Australia they gave me shit.

Second kid: Yeah, because you can always tell an Australian you just can’t tell him much.

First kid: [pause] What?

Second kid: Dude it’s not funny if I have to repeat it.

First kid: Nah, C’mon

Second kid: Ok. You can always tell an Australian you just can’t tell him much

First kid: [pause] Nah, still don’t get it

Second kid: Dude! You can always tell when someone is an Australian, you just can’t tell that person very much! See it’s not funny when I have to explain it!

First kid: Nah dude, it IS funny because I didn’t get it.

Haka: Part two

Before I jump into updates, here is another haka video. This one is apparently the pre-game ritual of a college (university) team that was started by a student whose father is an ex-patriot New Zealand Maori.

This haka is Ka Mate Ka Mate; the mainstay of nearly all of New Zealand’s international sports teams.

[Thanks to Kung Fu Monkey for the pimp.]

ps. If anyone can tell me the name of the team I would be grateful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

[Sport] Kapa O Pango

I get a lot, A LOT, of people who come to this site after searching for:

  • Kapa O Pango video
  • New haka video
  • All Blacks Kapa O Pango video
  • Richie McCaw naked
  • etc...

And so I thought that I would help (though not with the last one) and finally put a video of Kapa O Pango (the New Zeland All Blacks new haka) here on the Hammer. And with Google's new tools I can put it right on the blog and not just a link. Hooray. (Note: AllBlacks.com also has the video but this just SO much more user friendly).

This was the first time Kapa O Pango (which is Maori for "The Team in Black" or "The All Blacks") was used. It was at Carisbrook in Dunedin in the All Blacks second tri-nations match against South Africa (in the video you can see a very worried Brian Habana) in 2005.