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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Here comes another winter

Conservative party politicians lined up before the general election to promise that they would run a "pro-American regime" and buy more arms from the US if they came to power this year, the leaked American embassy cables show.

Despite British leaders' supportive stance, the dispatches also reveal – in what some will see as humiliating detail – how US diplomats in London are amused by what they call Britain's "paranoid" fears about the so-called special relationship.

One said the anxious British attitude "would often be humorous if it were not so corrosive" and that it was tempting to take advantage of this neurosis to "make London more willing to respond favourably when pressed for assistance". The UK was said to offer "unparalleled" help in promoting America's aims.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Life in the fast lane

When I realised my car had been towed from a busy Auckland city street on a Thursday afternoon, I was not entirely surprised.

In my haste to find a car park, I had absent-mindedly parked in a bus lane.

I confess I am no stranger to Auckland's inner-city tow yards so I knew what to do next.
Where is that whining noise coming from? Oh, I see: it is someone who absent-mindedly parks in bus lanes and is no stranger to tow-yards complaining that her car was missing for two weeks.

That is two weeks in which Ms Irvine could not clog up the bus lanes, so I think this is a win for the city. Perhaps Ms Irvine might have tried taking a bus while she was waiting for her car to be found; perhaps she might have learned what it is like to be stuck in traffic because some selfish yuppie has parked absent-mindedly ("oh, silly me: I am such a dizz") in the bus lane. Perhaps she might figure out that it takes just one dick to make scores of people late for work. But no, she uses her experience for copy. Poor, poor pitiful her.

Of course, she works for the Herald, which will always publish a motormouth. Witness all those letters by aggrieved men, who write to complain about getting speeding tickets, they being experienced drivers who are competent to drive over the limit when the conditions require it. Witness my friend Dan Sloan:
We've all seen irresponsible groups of cyclists riding in pelotons, three or four abreast with little care or sympathy for the other road users they endanger through their recklessness. And Tamaki Drive is rife with them.

A large number of these people also make up what are known as cycling pressure groups, who always have something to say when there is an incident involving cyclists on our roads, regardless of who is actually at fault.
Witness as well Herald motorhead Eric Thompson:
A public road with cars thundering along is no place for a cyclist, no matter how much they bleat about having every right to be in the same place as a car. I'm unsure if it's either arrogance or stupidity that lead various cycle organisations to insist on saying cyclists have equal rights with cars.
And it is not just cyclists who make Mr Thompson's viens bulge:
Listen up all you numpties who ponce along at 60km/h in the outside lane - you don't own the road so move over. It's called the fast lane for a reason you fools, and just in case you can't work out what fast lane means, it's also called a passing lane.
Protip: try driving at 100 kmph in the fast lane and see what happens; it is not pleasant.

Oh well, at least there is one Herald reporter who rides a bike: Martin Johnston. But it is usually the motorists who get to rant to defend their antisocial behaviour and to demand that everybody else get out of the way. One wonders whether other citizens with unpleasant habits and anger-management issues might also get to vent their spleens in the Herald, something along the lines of 'there was this bloke in the pub, right, and he was looking at me funny; so I said, "what's up with you mate' and then I bottled him before he could reply. '

Anyway, get down to Queen's Wharf on Sunday for Ride For Life.

Pere Ubu, with Jeremy Clarkson on theremin:

One for the ladies

Hucknall, who grew up in Manchester, was abandoned by his mother at the age of three and he says that his sexual promiscuity was an attempt to recapture the intimacy he had lost as a young child.
I am grateful to the estimable Mr David Cohen for drawing my attention to this travesty. Mr Hucknall's three-a-day habit may or may not be true, but his telling of it confirms him as a twerp. There was no need to apologise, but sorry does not seem to be the hardest word when it is employed as an opportunity to brag.

I think it was Michael Douglas who devised this particular kind of celebrity apology, when he told the world about the treatment for his sex addiction. Others apologise for the spending habits or their drug habits, but the message is always the same: "I am an alpha person; I get too much of what you can only desire, little people."

Photograph by Jenny Wicks. Next up: David Thomas and the Two Pale Boys perform Surfer Girl.

Another rendition can be found on the Meadville album, in which Mr Thomas tells of the tour in which Pere Ubu supported Kool and the Gang.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Born to be wild

For a 5 minutes travel time saving, the new 18 km motorway would have to be driven in a time of 8 minutes, this equates to a highly unrealistic speed of 135 km/h.
Transport planning consultant Bevan Woodward has done the maths. Yes folks, in order to make Mr Joyce's Freelove Freeway pay, you will have to drive very fast indeed.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Critical analysis for dummies

Mr Joyce denied the Government was out to kill the project, but said the $2 billion plus price tag was part of the reason the project would not get his blessings for a quick start.

"The cost is massive. Given the sheer volume and size of it, we surely need a little more critical analysis," he said.
D'accord; surely, if you were to spend that sort of money, you would want a critical analysis. But then:
The Government yesterday paid $1.775 billion - or $405 for every man woman and child in New Zealand - to take control of failed moneylender South Canterbury Finance's assets.

Humphreys and Keen:

New Leinster

Prime Minister John Key has slammed bureaucratic pin-pricking over the proposed New Zealand financial services hub as "absolute rubbish" and stepped in to put the project on the fast-track.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee has been ordered to produce an urgent paper covering a zero tax rating for the relevant foreign funds which Key wants incorporated in the November taxation bill and passed by April 1 next year.

The Prime Minister's frustration with Ministry of Economic Development officials spilled over publicly during a question session at an Auckland dinner on Tuesday night where he stressed New Zealand needed to be more optimistic and back success.

"There's been a whole series of advice coming from MED which basically says 'if you want to do this, you've got to deliver the Magna Carta of documents'," Key told the International Business Forum audience.
The Herald's headline Key itching for quick action on financial hub evokes rather unpleasant images, but the message is clear: Action Man leaps in, just like he did on the National Cycle Path, and look what a success that has become since his bold intervention. But this time it seems he might be in a position to do some damage:
Craig Stobo - who chairs the Government-appointed group which was tasked with working out how an international funds services industry could be created here - is delighted the proposal has got Government approval.
It is hardly surprising that the improbably named Craig Stobo is delighted - he is, after all, a fund manager. Helpfully, he spells out for the rest of us the liability we face:
Stobo said if a zero rating for the relevant funds (international funds which are not invested in New Zealand but are administered out of NZ) is incorporated in the November taxation bill, "it will be a signal to the rest of the world we are serious".
No it will not; it will be a signal to the rest of the world that we are greedy and stupid, a tax haven for slush fund managers. We can become just like Ireland: corrupt and broke. But look, it has an upside going forward:
Earlier reports to the Prime Minister suggested the administration of financial services could become a billion-dollar industry and create 3000 to 5000 new high-paying jobs.
Yes, 3000 to 5000 people like John Key: suits who get rich with other people's money, people who doubtless will pay the National Party handsomely and secretly to maintain New Zealand's new-found third-world status. And the tax-dollars paid by the suits will help reimburse those who invested their money in dodgy property companies. It goes round and round, never touching the rest of us.

Why would Mr Key bother to listen to the advice of his advisers when he has the opportunity to gamble with the country's money and with our reputation? It is his biggest put option yet. So ignore the Ministry and get Gerry to produce the advice that Mr Key wants to hear. After all, if we are going to be a third-world country financially, we might as well adopt third-world methods of doing government.

Explanation of title here. Traffic here:

It's a mystery

Auckland Council will help restore a derelict downtown building that is described as an eyesore.

The century-old five-storey heritage building on Albert Street has been empty for more than 15 years, is covered in graffitti and has broken windows.

Mayor Len Brown says the building is disgusting but the council can't legally force the owner to maintain it so has come to an agreement whereby both parties will pay for it to be cleaned up.

Mr Brown won't say how much that will cost the ratepayer but says it's well worth the money.
Also sprach NatRad


  • Why won't Mayor Brown tell us how much this will cost?
  • How do we know whether it is well worth the money?
  • Why can we not force property owners to maintain their buildings?
  • Why can we not take abandoned buildings into public ownership?
  • What about the St James?

On the radio (link at bottom of link above, as it were) Mayor Brown spoke of his campaign to clean up the graffiti of South Auckland. I wonder whether this involved paying property owners. The radio report also makes clear that the owner of the building has neglected it because he wants to demolish and replace it. I fail to see why we must allow this anti-social behaviour. We lost the Palace recently because the brothel-keepers wanted to enlarge the basement (perhaps they wanted a dungeon), but at least their plan was to keep the building. Other rentiers allow our civic heritage to decay and we can do nothing to stop them.

Oh well, here's Toyah dancing in her pinny:

Media7 made me do it

At last night's recording of Media7, I was persuaded to join Twitter, the well-known social something-or-other thing; this despite everything I have said about said site and every sneer I have made. My only excuses are that Mr Brown and Mr Brian are very persuasive and I had drank quite a lot.

So, now it is done. You can follow me, if you must. I might follow you. I gained my first follower within seconds of joining. She is a 22 year-old who wants to trade pictures with me. It is good to meet artistic people. I shall offer her some watercolours.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

He's Frank

3. You need to be able to cause a woman to feel sexual tension just being around you.

Creating sexual tension with a woman is like equipping yourself with a virtual “magnet.” Women will respond favorably to you if you know how to create sexual tension with her. Most guys don’t realize how easy this can be, and they also don’t realize that this is one of the most effective techniques that you can use to make a woman want to date you, no matter how good looking she is.

When you know how to create sexual tension with women, then it does not matter how good looking a woman is, she will WANT YOU…
This is rubbish. I found it on a site for sad gits which calls itself New Zealand's online men's lifestyle magazine. I do realise that gentle readers are far too clever and well-dressed to be part of this magazine's demographic. I only mention it because Mr Stratford informs us that the owner of this site uses bloggers' writing but does not pay them. Unlike the dating advice columnist, whose literary skills will never get him a date, the bloggers concerned can write. Yet they have not received so much as a virtual magnet for their work.

Here are the Monochrome Set, who are clever and well-dressed:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christian mud wrestling

In the episode of the TV3 reality series, broadcast at 7.30pm on Friday, 20 August, contestants posed for a female photographer, wearing bikinis and accessories, with their bodies covered in mud.

However, some of the girls posed topless, although their breasts were covered in mud and concealed by steam rising from the pools.

One 16-year-old girl, series runner-up Michaela Steenkamp, said as she prepared to pose topless that though she was a Christian, "I don't think that's going to stop me from a lot of things as long as I have confidence in myself and confidence in the Lord."
Passing over Ms Steenkamp's prediction that her faith will not stop her doing a lot of things, I am impressed by the serendipity of the steam rising from the pools concealing the models' breasts. It reminds me of Pete and Dud:

- You haven’t seen the Rubens? There’s one over there. Yes, lovely, he does all the fat ladies with nothing on. Great big fat ladies, except for a tiny little wisp of gauze always lands on the appropriate place, if you notice that. Always the wind blows a little bit of gauze over you know where, Dud. See it down there, can’t you.

- Of course it must be a million-to-one chance, Pete, that a gauze, you know, lands in the right place at the right time on his painting.

- Of course it is, yeah.

- I bet there’s thousands of paintings that we’re not allowed to see, where the gauze hadn’t landed in the right place, but on the nose or something.

- Well, I suppose if the gauze landed on the wrong place, Dud, you know, landed on the nose or the elbow or somewhere unimportant, what Rubens did was put down his paint and went off to have lunch probably.

- Yeah, or have a good look.

- Of course you don’t get gauze floating around in the air these days, do you, like it did in Renaissance time, there’s always gauze in the air in those days.