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July 24, 2008

To the theatre

I'm not much of a theatre or show queen, you know all that. I couldn't get worked up about the recently finished live stage show of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: I passed the theatre where it was playing just before curtains up and all I could see were beige gay men and women of a certain age going in. I'm the wrong demographic, obviously.

But now I came across this arresting promotional poster for a play at the Auckland Maidment Theatre. Which pushed all my buttons. So maybe I should buy a ticket to go see it.

From the press release:
"Andrew loves Jeremy. Jeremy loves Andrew, but won't admit it. Jeremy likes to fool around with Kevin. Cheryl thinks she loves Kevin, and is having his baby. Kevin loves himself. Then along comes Denis to f*ck it all up..."
Sounds like a familiar slice of life to me.

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July 23, 2008

Fullers ferry service

Time to fire off another letter to Fullers for their abominable ferry service:
A sign on the Jet Raider said that during the survey period for Quickcat my Waiheke service would be provided by Jet Raider. A similar sign said the same thing when Surperflyte is on survey. Why do I cop the Jet Raider for both surveys? Why can't the 7.20am ex Matiatia and 5.30pm ex Auckland people get the unsurpassed Jet Raider service for a change? What have I done wrong to deserve these 6 weeks of choice between diesel fumes upstairs and methane fumes downstairs every year?
UPDATE: This is what I got back from Fullers:
Thank you for your recent e mail enquiring about vessel allocations on our Waiheke services.
As you are probably aware, Jetraider is a back up vessel to both Superflyte and Quickcat on Waiheke services.
The 7.20am ex Matiatia and 5.30pm ex Auckland are our busiest services and we will reschedule vessels to provide the maximum space and comfort to the majority of passengers wherever possible, which will mean changes to the allocation of vessels from time to time.
Your comments concerning diesel fumes and methane fumes on the Jetraider are noted and acknowledged and while we cannot remedy the outside smell of diesel fumes completely, we have had positive feedback on the improvement to the odour within the vessel since it has returned from it’s own survey. I will ensure our maintenance team investigate further your feedback on methane fumes within the cabin.
So the answer is: Yup, another six weeks of Jet Raider for you, matey.

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Gay Snickers, or just boring straight nuts?

There has been some kerfuffle about "homophobic" advertising on American television by snack bar company Snickers. One advert, played during that man-love fest, the Superbowl, featured two guys nibbling on each end of a bar then meeting in the middle (Lady & The Tramp spaghetti eating style, if you remember that) for a snog and inevitable ending in an assertion of heterosexual chest-hair ripping masculinity:

Then there is the recent one featuring Mr T shooting up a mincingly speed-walking athlete, encouraging him to "get some nuts":

All a far cry from the Snickers ads down under, which I have always liked because of their quite homo-erotic scenarios involving those surfer boys. Here's one of the Australian versions:

How come a company like Snickers approves such diametrically opposed imagery in their advertising in different countries?

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July 17, 2008

Mid-winter rugby

We like to ignore rugby matches, unless they involve horny after-match scrums in 5 star hotel bedrooms, or student traditions. Now Mark Simpson found an American newspaper report about naked beach rugby in Dunedin. It completely erroneously states that the players were members of the ABs or Bok squads. But the men in the pictures are certainly far better looking than any of the current NZ alpha rugby males.

It's a wonderful Winter cold tradition we have discussed before and long may it continue.

UPDATE: There is an amusing report on the match in the Daily Telegraph. Who knew a crusty Tory paper could have a sense of humour?

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July 15, 2008

The new Immigration Bill

The new Immigration Bill [PDF, 9MB] needs your disapproval.
No Right Turn canvasses the arguments against it.
As an immigrant myself who had a relatively easy entry into New Zealand, I have heard of horror stories under the current regulations - which seem to change almost at random every few months. For a country dependent on migrant labour and vibrant foreigners, NZ should make it an easier, more streamlined process. Of course, joining the European Union would solve a lot of those problems - plus make it easier for Kiwis to get out of New Zealand!
Sign the petition here.

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July 14, 2008

Dicks on butts

From the Detroit Free Press:
Flint Police Chief David Dicks pats down a man who was stopped Monday in Flint for his sagging pants. The unidentified man was warned and released. Dicks said his officers would start arresting people wearing saggy pants that expose skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms. "Some people call it a fad," Dicks told the Free Press this week while patrolling the streets of Flint. "But I believe it's a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years."
Terrible fashion and so deservedly a crime, but seeing a cop padding down a shirtless twink in the street is totally hot.

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July 09, 2008

Roskilde Festival nude run

The Danes apparently are the happiest people in the world. It's not surprising to see why. Happy as pigs in shit!

A slide show from this year's run here. Why can't out local newspaper run a photo essay like that, instead of endless pictures of wife beaters?

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Porn and rugby, but not quite sporno

We have been vindicated again in our never ending fascination with sex and sport when even mainstream channels have put both together in a weekend afternoon schedule. Prime TV screened a few minutes of porn during its "grassroots" rugby show, as technicians got the wiring wrongly linked up for Sky's pay-per-porn channel Spice:excess.
But instead of going all ga-ga over it, what a great opportunity for fathers and sons, who were already bonding over a game of "grassroots" rugby that afternoon, to make it easy to have a chat about the other facts of male life, amply illustrated with visuals courtesy of your pay TV subscription.
Perhaps Sky TV should go off on a new marketing campaign promoting its sex and sports channels in one easy male bonding package.

And isn't it interesting that all the "male" channels on Sky (Sports, Movies, Rugby, Porn) are only available when paying through the nose on top of your basic subscription, while Sky has been hastily adding channels aimed at females to its basic package (e.g. Vibe, Fashion TV). It's hard to be a guy!

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July 06, 2008

Honk if you want to subsidise them

What the No Right Turn man said.
The trucking industry indeed protests too much. They demand that we, taxpayers, subsidise not only their profits but their (often shonky, sole-operator, scandalously long hours, P-fuelled dangerous driving) business model. They only pay just over half their fair share in national roading costs, so the Government should up their charges.
Perhaps 4 July could become National Trucker Day, when all those redneck talkback honkers can celebrate the fact that from that day, for the rest of the year, it will be them only, as taxpayers, that will pay for truckers to use the roads gratis.

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July 03, 2008

Our new head of state

Well, if the New Zealand republican push for a homegrown head of state fails, we could do worse than getting Britain's spare.

I have said it before and will bang on about it: Prince Harry is still the only member of the royal family I would consider sleeping with.

Picture via LA Rag. Don't you just love the tan line!

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Drop your pants, Dan

What is it with these journalists wanting sports people to pontificate about things they are barely qualified for?
It's rugby player Dan Carter's turn again to blabber on about fashion in the Herald.
Being a fully paid up model for an underpants company should automaticallty disqualify him from commenting since his opinions are bought.

He should stick to looking pretty, a rare talent indeed.

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June 29, 2008

Sex in the sports news

It's not often that the subject of sex crops up in the sports pages, apart from such unfortunate instances as (real) rape cases in the past couple of years (Tyson, for one). Their relegation to the sports news made me feel sick.
But it must have been a slow day at the Herald when they let a jock sniffer like Steve Deane loose in their Sports Section on Friday and let him look at a few sexual shenanigans by sports "stars" which ended up in tabloid newspapers in recent times. Take it from the top, Steve:
"One minute you're streaking away for an intercept try against the All Blacks, the next your world has been Topsyed upside down by unflattering public revelations and potentially criminal accusations.
Whether enjoying a quiet post-match spit-roast with mates, or choosing between an overweight, balding 55-year-old man and a stunning young brunette with an unquenchable thirst for fame and questionable morals for your personal assistant, the world of the high-profile sports star is full of pitfalls."
Our Steve has obviously no idea what a spit-roast is, otherwise he wouldn't have used it in such an unfortunate turn of phrase. If you don't know what a spit-roast is, let either the Sunderland footballers or the Flight of the Conchords boys explain it to you.
But wait, there's more unintentionally (we think) but wickedly funny reporting by our Steve:
"Ashley Cole (pictured left), the Chelsea and England defender, was portrayed as the ultimate love rat for cheating on popstar wife Cheryl. Having already taken a battering after leaving Arsenal to get a slice of rival Chelsea's Russian lucre, Cole's reputation hit rock bottom when 22-year-old blond Aimee Walton also decided to chase the cash herself, selling the story of her one-night stand with the footballer to a tabloid.
Walton revealed that Cole slapped her bottom so hard his platinum wedding ring left a mark. He later paused midway through intercourse to vomit. Every inch a consummate Premier League pro, he resumed shagging."
Everybody knows heterosexuality makes a lot of men heave, so it's unsurprising our Steve skips lightly over that poignant, significant and outrageous detail. It confirms again that it's a nasty business, even though his bravery of actually going back in after made me spill my coffee. No wonder those footballers are hero-worshiped by millions of hooligans. But our Steve was more concerned about her post-coital commentary than the lack of control of his gag reflex:
"She also offered this somewhat painful overall assessment of his performance: "He knew exactly what he was doing and was pretty good, despite not being very big."
Ouch."
Perhaps that's where the real schadenfreude for jocksniffer reporters comes in: thank heaven for slags who dish the dirt on the sexual quality of our heroes.

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June 26, 2008

The Campaign for Real Olympics continues

We're not far from that quadriannual "sports" fest called the Olympics, but again, in Greece, they have held the Nemean Games, in honour of the original Olympics Games as they have been held before the Christian Victorians took over and turned them into the current showcase for corporate apparel, pharmaceutical innovation and sorry jingoism.
Watch the BBC video of the Nemean Games.
Some attempts are being made to bring the spirit of individual, nude sport and glory back to its roots with the Nemean Games, a worthy but only partial successful attempt: the athletes wear clothes, and female competitions take place too.
From SFGate.com:
"The Olympics are returning to their original home in Greece but not to their original dress code.
"This may be the most obvious and striking difference between today's athletes and the ancient Greeks," UC Berkeley archaeologist Stephen Miller says in "Ancient Greek Athletics," his new book on the ancient games.
So embedded was competing in the nude that our word gymnasium comes from the Greek gymnos for "naked," Miller notes in the book, an in-depth account of a culture that loved to watch the well-proportioned bodies of young men, their skin glistening with olive oil, compete not for medals but for a sprig of olive or bunch of wild celery.
On a deeper level, Miller said, nude competition helped foster one of ancient Greece's best-known contributions to posterity -- democracy. Nudity, he said, erases marks of rank and privilege.
"It came to me that the locker room is inherently one of the most democratic places in human experience," he said, "and that -- at the very least -- Greek athletics provided an environment in which democracy could, and did, prosper."
"We do not know the origins of competition in the nude," he writes in the book, but we do know the custom helped doom the Olympics to disfavor when Rome took over the Mediterranean world."
In my opinion, the dear professor is completely missing the point of locker rooms and nude athletic competition: they do not promote democracy but foster competition and establish a hierarchy between males. Naked males are never equal. And that is the point of the nudity: you cannot hide any imperfections, so it steels you and spurs you to work and train harder. Democracy has nothing to do with it! But what it does do is encouraging bonding between males. Something every locker room still does today for team sports.
The Gay Games have missed the opportunity to go the whole way and recreate and non-Roman, non-Christian and completely pagan version of the Olympic Games: no clothes, no women, no teams.
A Campaign for Real Olympics anyone?

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June 25, 2008

The freedom of speech and the freedom to propagate

Aljazeera English's TV programme Listening Post is always worth a watch. It handles television news and current affairs as media issues but in an amusing non-specialist way.
This morning's broadcast was exceptionally about Aljazeera itself, and its lack of coverage and reach in the United States: only two cities, Toledo and Burlington, have the channel on their city cable systems. If you want to watch it in America you either need your own satellite dish or watch it online. Now Burlington is in the middle of a public spat over whether to let Aljazeera continue broadcasting on their cable, with high-spirited public meetings arguing for and against a ban. All very much fun and games, especially the ban proponents' argument that it is anti-Israel and anti-America, to which the ban opponents reply that Aljazeera is one of the most watched stations in Israel.

You can watch the show here on YouTube.

By sheer coincidence, that other paragon of American journalistic quality, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, ran an item last night about the American Government-funded Arabic channel Al Hurra and its lack of impact it is having on Middle Eastern public opinion about America, despite its massive funding.

Links: Transcript and video.

It's fairly obvious that the men at IBB, who run all the American "propaganda" channels (not Fox News TV!) like TV Marti, VOA or Al Hurra, are still fighting the media war as if it was a cold one. Radio Liberty may have contributed to the fall of the evil Soviet empire, but I can't see Al Hurra do quite the same thing to Iran or (Allah forbid because they're our mates) Saudi Arabia. Perhaps they should subcontract Al Hurra wholesale to Fox News to give those Ayrabs a taste of America.

Personally, I'm quite proud to have been involved in bringing VOA and Aljazeera to New Zealand without busybodies interfering - although they have tried!

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June 24, 2008

A guest post

Dear Blog Reader,

My name is Andrew Cushen, and I am conducting a survey of New Zealand Political Blog Readers. This survey is part of my research toward a Master of Arts in Political Studies at the University of Auckland.
As the reader of a blog that features postings related to political news, discussion and debate in New Zealand politics, I invite you to participate in this survey.
Please follow this link.
This link will take you to the survey and also provide you with further information on how and why this research is being conducted. If you would like to ask me further questions about the survey or about my research in general, you will find my contact details listed on this page also.
I would appreciate it if you would complete this survey by Friday the 4th of July.

Thank you, Andrew Cushen

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