Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time Traveller Caught On Film?

Here’s something spooky for you on Hallowe'en...
This YouTube video assembled by Irish filmmaker George Clarke has gone viral, claiming to show a cellphone-toting "time traveller" at the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus.
Now, remember this was filmed in 1928!
Look at the video, to hear Clarke wax long about the clip...and see it replayed over and over, closer and closer. This clip comes from a DVD extra from the film and shows a woman ambling by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, hand to ear, talking!

What was she doing? Clarke is convinced the figure's holding something slim and a mobile phone!
In 1928??? Who knows?
*...and roll theme from The Twilight Zone...*

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cost Of Sport

Now that the $6-BILLION Delhi Commonwealth Games are but a memory (and did you actually see $6-billion worth of facilities, attendance or competition?), questions remain. Transparency International (TI) reports the perceptions about corruption in India have actually increased in the wake of these scam-tainted Games.
There's been a drop in India's integrity score (ie: can ya trust 'em?), from 3.5 in 2007 and 3.4 in both 2008 and 3.3 now. TI's scale runs from zero (perceived to be the most corrupt) to 10 (low levels of corruption). India's rank on TI's list of corrupt nations is 87th out of 178 countries this year, indicating a serious corruption perception. And surely this will have a flow-on effect for India in terms of international trade and trust.
Sadly there will always be some administrators who cannot resist temptation when that amount of money comes into play. At least here in NZ, we simply could not run an event of that size. In fact, the World Rowing Championships (starting this weekend on Lake Karapiro) and next year's Rugby World Cup may be the last global sports events we can afford to host: the passion, skill base and knowledge is here but it's just too expensive to put them on.
The rowing is expected to break even (after costing about NZ$16 million) while the rugby organisers anticipate a NZ$40 million loss, which will be covered by the government (ie: taxpayers) and NZ Rugby Union.
Auckland recently withdrew its bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games after the government said it would not underwrite the costs. We simply don't have the commercial organisations sitting here saying they can bankroll it, or indeed enough population to support increased taxation to pay for it.
Still, I guess at least that means a proportional plunge in pinching possibilites in our sporting events...and that's gotta be a good thing!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Double Blue

More good movie news: Fox has revealed that James Cameron's next two films will be...
Avatar 2 and Avatar 3.
Avatar 2 has a prospective release date of Christmas 2014, while the studio is hoping that the third film will be finished in time for a December 2015 release.
Apparently Cameron will begin working on the scripts for the (currently-untitled) sequels early next year, hoping to start production later in 2011. He'll make the decision as to whether they will be filmed back-to-back after he has finished the scripts. This means of course that his plans to make Cleopatra are on the back burner for now.
Avatar has made almost $3 billion (!!!) since its release in December 2009, and it’s likely that the second and third films in the trilogy will build on that. Personally, I enjoyed it for its effects – I felt the storyline was simply a re-working of a tried-and-true concept - but I’d be happy to see more stories set in the same world, especially if Cameron can improve on the first film with more original storylines and new characters.
You may/may know that 95% of Avatar's special effects were done by NZ's Weta Workshops: hundreds worked full-time on it for three years. This'll mean that, following The Hobbit resolution, Weta will no doubt be hiring more staff... and so the good news continues!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Hobbit: Full Speed Ahead!!!

The Hobbit movie is on again... and it will be made in Noo Zuld!
The Prime Minister has just announced that Warner Bros has agreed to continue making the Peter Jackson films here in Godzone. This follows two days of heavy face-to-face negotiations between senior politicos and movie execs about the flick, which was in doubt following union action.
a very happy John Key...and rightly so!John Key is "...delighted we've achieved this result. Making the two movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of NZers but will also allow us to follow the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in once again promoting NZ on the world stage." Part of the arrangement will see new legislation fast-tracked into parliament tomorrow to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees. Key said this would relate "only to the film production industry. This clarification will guarantee the movies are made in NZ. We will be moving to ensure that NZ law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Bros the confidence they need to produce their movies in NZ."
This is brilliant news! And despite opinions about who was responsible for the mess that nearly cost us the whole ball game, it's now time to move ahead positively. Everyone involved has learnt some painful lessons, and now the whole country can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
And although I generally have little time for the parliamentary talking heads, or the current regime, I send a big "thankyou" tonight to John Key.
(OMG! Did I really say that??!! Eeek! Cast me into Mount Doom!!)

Cruising For A Bruising...

Well, the actors' union sufficiently pissed off Warner Bros that they jeopardised this country's film industry.
And most of NZ is pissed off over the delays for the construction of Party Central, Auckland's waterfront social venue for the *yawn* Rugby World Cup 2011.
Now, who else we can piss off? Oooooohh, I know - how about the cruise line industry...? They've been waiting patiently for some years now, while central and local government fumbled the pass over Party Central.
The original Rugby World Cup plan (now, which one was that again?) incorporated a passenger terminal, for the cruise liners that want to base themselves in Auckland to cater for the South Pacific cruising routes. But this week, final plans were released for the definitive (*trumpets please!*) Party Central temporary structure and Queen's Wharf upgrades... lo and behold, the passenger terminal idea has been deleted!
Which means of course that, if a permanent berth isn't built soon, Auckland may well be dropped as a cruising destination: the industry is fed up with the current inadequate facilities on Queen's Wharf as an arrival lounge for inbound passengers.
Next season, the cruise industry will be Auckland's third-biggest source of tourists, bringing in 200,000 people. Ports of Auckland calculate that the 70+ cruise ship visits annually each generate on average economic benefit of $1.1 million. Can we afford to piss them off as well?
Hmmmmm, tough question. Let me think...
Hey, let's drag the chain even more, push 'em to the brink, bring in some overseas mouth, then overplay our hand and - as they steam off to fairer shores - we can bleat "this wasn't our intention"..."we really are nice people"...and "if you come back, we'll be very very good"...sound familiar, thespians?
Jeez, when things have such huge economic impact on such a small country, why can't NZ get its act together quickly and decisively, to make the most of the finite opportunites that come its way?
PS: 10 June 2011 - Mayor Len Brown, without public consultation, has announced a $ terminal will be built on Queens Wharf...
PS: 13 Dec.2011 - Auckland is still in the dark about Lenny's big cruise terminal plans, the cost of which is now over $27m!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Silver Screen Saved

the opening of the restored Victoria Theatre
While the proverbial was hitting the fan last week over The Hobbit debacle, the Victoria Picture Palace Theatre re-opened in Auckland's seaside suburb of Devonport, 98 years to the day after it was first launched as a cinema.
The restoration was celebrated last Saturday with pipe bands, vintage cars, and admiring crowds pouring in. The wooden flooring and ornate plaster ceilings upstairs remain and the early brickwork and strong oregon beams are still sound.
the original opening of the Victoria, 1912
...and then.
This is the oldest purpose-built cinema in NZ...possibly in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1912, it opened as Benwell’s Model Picture Palace with a 40 piece band, free children’s matinee and seating for a thousand people. In 1990 it became a twin cinema complex, with the large single auditorium separated into two large cinema spaces.
Ownership changed several times and it faced being turned into apartments but, following the efforts of a theatre trust, the North Shore Council bought the building in 2006 and the Historic Places Trust gave it a 'Category 1' heritage status. The trust won the tender to lease the building for 33 years and has refurbished it: leaks and water damage have been repaired, new projectors, seating, ventilation and heating systems installed and much of the interior painted.
The Victoria will have three cinema spaces: The Victoria Theatre (a 180-seat theatre which will be a combined cinema and performing arts venue), the Albert Cinema (an upstairs 120-seat cinema) and the Benwell (a 44-seat electronic cinema). The trust’s long term plan is to complete a full historic restoration and seismic strengthening.
Cinemas were an important part of Auckland’s early life - most suburbs had one, many now demolished or not acknowledged for their heritage value. It’s wonderful to see such an important landmark not only saved but revitalised.
(...many thanx to AKT)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Air-tight Recycling Tip

Ever wondered how you could seal a bag and make it air-tight... without mucking around with rubber bands? (yeup, I'm sure this problem has kept you awake many nights, right?!!)
Well, someone's devised a simple idea that's also good for recycling.
(1) Cut up disposable water bottle, and keep the neck and top.

(2) Insert plastic bag through neck, and screw top down to seal.

The bottle's air-tight to stop water leaking, so it'll also work to seal bags of produce. Obviously the size of the produce in the bag will be limited by the neck size of the bottle.
Whoever thought of this deserves an award for ingeniousness!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Google: "Big Brother" Update

When your pal is not necessarily your friend...
Google has admitted for the first time its "Street View" cars have collected more personal data globally than previously revealed, including complete emails and passwords! At this stage it's unknown just how many people may have been affected.
The disclosure comes just days after Canada claimed Google had collected complete emails, and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of its citizens. France, Germany, USA and Spain, among others, promptly opened investigations.
In May this year I posted that Google's "Street View" cars collected data from unsecured wireless networks in over 30 countries. At the time, Google said the information was limited to only "fragments" of unencrypted data, because its cars were always moving and because their wireless equipment automatically changed channels about five times a second (back then, Google also said that it was sorry - which of course makes it all ok, right?).
Google wants to delete the captured data as soon as possible: it has already deleted it in countries where regulators gave permission. Investigations in six countries including New Zealand have closed - but continue elsewhere, so Google can't delete the data until those conclude. 
This accidental (unproven) collection by a "benign" operator is a good illustration of how vulnerable unsecured networks can be. Imagine what information could be collected by a malignant hacker!
PS: 14 Dec.2010Google apologises to NZ for privacy breaches.

Friday, October 22, 2010

There And Back Again...

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land at the bottom of the world, there lived a filmmaker called Peter who thought it would be fun to make a big movie about little folk and a powerful ring.
The government of this MiddleEarth land thought so too, and gave huge concessions to the overseas moviemakers, to film here and bring jobs and properity to the movie industry. And so it came to pass that everyone was happy: the movie was outstanding, the orcs had work, the country's beauty was praised overseas and the possibility of a prequel looked very strong indeed...
But from across the sea came dark rumblings of discontent - ozzie orcs wanted a piece of the pie. Though it had nothing whatsoever to do with them, they waved their spears and stirred up the kiwi orcs to make excessive demands.
Filmmaker Peter warned the orcs that everyone might lose, if they tried to grab the Ring. But they did not listen - yes, the orcs were bound together in the darkness by the evil of greed.
The overseas moviemakers decided this beautiful land had a foul heart and was no longer the ideal film-making venue. So they took their mithril coats and sailed away to the Grey Havens on the other side of the world, where they made their prequel without any nasty unionised orc demands and lived happily ever after.
Meanwhile back in beautiful MiddleEarth, a long black cloud fell. The movie industry slumped from its wonderous golden peak: it had gone "There And Back Again", and everyone lost out because some had selfishly tried to snatch the Ring for themselves...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TV3 Going Mainstream

It was bound to happen.
With the loss of TV1's Paul Henry trump-card from Breakfast, hungry eyes've been viewing the lucrative 25-54yr.old demographic currently dominated by TV1.
Well, yesterday Mediaworks announced major changes to both its TV3 and C4 tv channels, aiming to get themselves a bigger slice of that pie. C4 (currently targeting the 15-39yr.old audience) will refocus on the current TV3 key demographic of 18-49. It will be re-branded as FOUR, and broaden its appeal to attract a wider more mature audience. And in turn TV3 will go head-to-head with TV1 for the 25-54s.
Just when this will happen is unclear: Mediaworks' statement said both "the FOUR change will be immediate" and "commencing in early 2011" in the same sentence. Confused? And, just as nebulously, the TV3 changes will happen "over time".
It'll be interesting to see what fresh programming TV3 will source to please the 25-54s. It should be good news for viewers and serious competition for TV1/TV2 as, in theory at least, competition spurs greater excellence...
And it'll even more intriguing to see in time if any channel will target the growing "Baby Boomer" balloon (say, 35-65). That demographic, with a more current outlook than its predecessors, its disposable income, healthier lifestyle, more varied interests does not seek re-runs of "Mrs.Marple" or "Steptoe & Son". And it's certainly not a demographic that feels on the fast road to oblivion.
So the challenge is there - I wonder if any channel feels confident enough?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


While reporting on the misconduct of bars selling alcohol recently, english-speaking Finnish news anchorman Kimmo Wilska was fired for this stunt…

Despite it being obviously a joke just to make the behind-the-scenes crew laugh, his bosses were not amused...
Fans have now set up a Facebook page showing their support for Wilska, described as the 'Barry White of Finland' for his distinctive and deep tone of voice. The page has already attracted more than 49,000 supporters from around the world.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Is Hone's Problem NOW?

Hone Mad-Dog Harawira...we've had a gutsful of his shit too!The Harawira knickers get twisted regularly these days...seemingly by anything involving "whitey" that Hone doesn't agree with (and frankly, he doesn't agree with anything "whitey"!).
The amendments to the Foreshore And Seabed Act are ready for signing-off, but they won't get Hone Harawira's support...because of one teeny-weeny word that the ACT Party was able to add. That word is FREE: the law will spell out that access to NZ beaches will be free for all.
The Maori Party says the word is not needed, because the legislation makes it clear that access is free. The Prime Minister also accepts that the word adds nothing. So why is Hone Harawira spitting the dummy? He's refused to speak to "white" journalists today (what a blessing!) - and refused to speak in English at all. On a maori radio station however, he said: "We've had a gutsful of this shit."
Precisely what is he referring to? Is it the same "shit" that the majority of NZers (of all colours and races) have had a gutsful of? The excessive bending-over by "the establishment" to favour one small ethnic political partner at the expense of the majority of the country?
It's EVERYONE's beach...
It's everyone's beach...
If so, then the majority will be very pleased to see the insertion of that one tiny little word. It'll mean everyone is on the same page. It is totally clear to all that no-one can block beach access, to solicit koha. No-one can approach someone, waving a stick, and tell them to bugger off coz they're the wrong colour to be on that particular beach.
And please don't call me a racist for those illustrations...because you know as well as I do that this has happened. It wasn't too long ago either that the road to Cape Reinga was blockaded, to solicit right-of-passage koha from tourists.
So now - even though it's being legislated thus - we all understand that everyone has free access to our beaches, without any hassles. Free is the way it always should be. Free helps to appease worries, and enhance enjoyment. Free assists in the growth of one happy nation, and it surely must also ease racial tension.
So again I ask: what is Hone Harawira bitching about now?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Judge, Please Explain...

Name suppression has been a very hot issue of late, with a certain blogger (possessing a judge-and-jury attitude) being found guilty of suppression breaches.
Last week Minister of Justice, Simon Power, announced stricter criteria for granting name suppression - those changes don't come into force until the end of the year.
So now a marriage guidance counsellor, with two convictions for male-assaults-female and injuring with intent, can happily continue his life under the cloak of anonymity...even though he threw his wife into a door frame (in full view of her child), split her head open, then dragged her down the hall by the neck!
Oh, don't worry - I'm not revealing anything that's in breach of the court's wisdom. I'm merely questioning Judge Semi Epati's decision, in view of the violence of the situation, and the fact that this toe-rag (the counsellor, not the judge!) who professes to be a Christian is allowed to basically walk free, albeit wearing a home detention anklet. As his counselling is home-based, he will essentially suffer no financial pain, no embarrassment, no social down-side at all from his actions - while she wasn't even allowed to read her victim impact statement in court!
I'd be fascinated to hear the judge's reasonings on this case...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bob Barker's Back!

Bob Barker undergoing sea trials this weekSea Shepherd's vessel Bob Barker left Hobart, Tasmania, this week to undertake sea trials.
The sea trials ended eight months of refit and repair work to BB. You may recall from this blog that in February, just a month after the deliberate ramming of Ady Gil, it suffered hull damage on the starboard mid-section, when it was rammed in the Southern Ocean by the Japanese whaler Yushin Maru 3: that collision opened a 1m.gash, luckily above the waterline.
In addition to structural repairs, the 1,200-ton Norwegian-built Antarctic harpoon vessel BB has been refitted with new navigation and communication equipment and has had a complete rebuild of the main engine.
Until now, the top speed of the BB had been around 17-18 knots and, with the top speed of all three Yushin Maru vessels and the Shonan Maru 2 at 22 knots, it's been frustrating for Sea Shepherd not to be able to catch the whalers except by stealth. Now the BB is faster, more efficient, and 100% ready to return to the Southern Ocean for its second year of interventions against illegal Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Look out, nasty Nippon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"Who Killed My Parents?"

Arthur Allan Thomas: then and nowEveryone likes a good murder mystery book.
NZ's biggest "whodunnit" has fed conspiracy theories for 40 years. The unsolved murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe in 1970 saw Arthur Allan Thomas lose his freedom and reputation in not one but two trials (he was finally pardoned after nine years).
This week the Crewe's daughter, Rochelle - just 18 months old at the time of the murders and a central feature of the story - asked the government to re-open the case, to resolve the burning question once and for all: "who killed my parents?"
But Pat Booth - who revealed the police corruption in the case - thinks that's unlikely and expects the Govt will take a cautious approach similar to 1980, when the Solicitor-General opted not to prosecute the officers responsible for framing Thomas. Prime Minister John Key is making similar noises.
However Police Commissioner Howard Broad is considering it after receiving Rochelle Crewe's plea. While he thinks it's a very long shot to expect any court action to transpire, many people want answers and some may be gained from such an investigation. Police Assn president Greg O'Connor agrees the case has been a black mark against police and should be re-opened.
Ian Wishart's latest book, Arthur Allan Thomas: The Inside Story, debunks the commonly-held belief that Jeanette's father was the murderer, and provides more fuel for the fire by fingering a now-deceased cop.
Even Thomas's ex-wife wants the case re-opened: she feels she too has been tainted by findings in the first trial.
Perhaps the last word should go to Arthur Allan Thomas - the innocent man framed for double murder because it was easier than pursuing the truth. He was exonerated by the Royal Commission, but feels Rochelle has not had any justice at all. He supports any move to see justice done.
I'm definitely in favour of a full and final Commission of Enquiry - New Zealand wants it. New Zealand needs it.
It's too late now for convictions but it's never too late for the truth.
PS: 21 October 2010 - Police have now decided to review the case. They stress it's not a re-opening or re-investigation, but a modern look at an old case.
PS: 09 April 2011 - Thomas' ex-wife Jeanette has died after a short battle with cancer.
PS: 15 Oct.2011 - Police are now appealing for any new information.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Iceland's Future Pivotal On Whales

Icelandic butcheryWhen Iceland's 2010 whaling season closed at the end of last month, 208 whales were dead - two more than last year. The 148 fin whales and 60 minke whales are estimated to generate more than 1900 tonnes of whale products, based on calculations used by the Icelandic government.
Despite the gradual demise in popularity of whale meat in both Japan and European whaling nations, Iceland's whalers took their highest catch since 1985. This has raised questions about what's actually planned for the mountain of whale products produced since last year.The Hvalur fin whaling company has tried to get around falling domestic demand by exporting 1500 tonnes to Japan, as well as promoting new uses for whale products. It's even gone so far as to use whale oil to fuel vessels to then hunt more whales. And despite limited returns, the company has vowed to continue whaling next season...
However Iceland's bid to join the EU may be dependent on it closing this barbaric industry. The EU Parliament is insisting that Iceland cease all whaling and drop all the reservations it has lodged with the International Whaling Commission, if it wants to join.
Icelandic whaling is a thorny issue, because there's no national consensus on whether to continue whaling or join the EU. Iceland suffered financial meltdown last year, and applied to join the EU during a national panic attack, desiring the security and benefits of 'Big Brother'. Since then, national sentiment appears to have cooled.
But if Iceland's desire for EU membership is in earnest, the 2010 whaling season could be its last.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is White The New Brown?

Jacinta - too kiwi to be Indian?Is this a case of "the pot calling the kettle black"?
Or at least, not brown enough?
A blonde blue-eyed Wellington woman is at the centre of a new racism storm after winning a Miss IndiaNZ beauty contest... and then being accused of not looking Indian! Jacinta Lal was booed and has been the subject of complaints to organisers from Indian spectators who she says are no better than the dearly-departed TV presenter Paul Henry.
Jacinta - who won the central district Miss IndiaNZ back in April - has a Fiji-Indian dad and a NZ mum, but festival organisers received complaints questioning her eligibility for the pageant. Jacinta said she had heard people saying that she didn't look Indian enough to win!
The rucus has only now surfaced after the Henry incident. She says: "The Indian community seem to have taken great offence at Henry's comments but when I attended that beauty pageant, I saw huge offence coming back the other way. There's no difference between what Paul Henry and those select few Indians were saying."
Jacinta also raised eyebrows when she came to Auckland for the national Miss IndiaNZ pageant in August.
Organisers strongly emphasise that this event is not an Indian event but a Kiwi-Indian event, so entrants must have NZ residency, NZ citizenship and some sort of Indian background. It would have been nice if some of the spectators had kept that in mind...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Womanly Ways At Te Papa

Museum of's for EVERYONE!Astounding news from the Museum of New Zealand (y'know, the one in Wellington with the token indigenous name?).
Te Papa is advising pregnant or menstruating women against attending one of its tours "for their own safety." WTF???
An invitation for regional museum staff to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of Te Papa next month includes the condition that women who are either pregnant or menstruating are unable to attend. The museum says the policy is because of maori beliefs surrounding the maori collection included in the tour.
There are items in the collection that have been used in sacred maori rituals. Their belief holds that each item contains its own spirit, and that pregnant women are sacred and should be protected from those spirits. Te Papa insists the request is not an outright ban: "If there are pregnant women who want to go on the tour we won't stop them. But we do prefer they respect the belief."
The policy will not be in place when the exhibition opens for the public...and I should think not! I'm stunned this policy has been condoned at all! Can't help but wonder what magic wand will be waved to make these spirit-possessed items miraculously ok for viewing by pregnant women in the public exhibition, but not behind-the-scenes!
I don't have an issue with any culture adhering to their own beliefs, but to impose them upon others - especially concerning such a personal aspect of womanhood - is gobsmacking! And also, let's not forget this is a taxpayer-funded public museum for everyone of any culture to fully enjoy.
What might be next? An area of a museum containing artifacts from - say - Egypt, that's closed to anyone not Egyptian? A display of condoms from the last few centuries that can only be seen by men? Ceremonial church robes that are out of bounds to agnostics?
Part of being in a multi-cultural society is respect for all cultures without imposing one over the other. Whoever authorised this condition has gone way too far!
PS: 15 October 2010 - A Nelson Mail editorial sums this up rather well...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chilean Miners: The End Is Nigh!

A flag of solidarity at the Chilean mineIf all goes to plan, the first miner from Chile’s San Jose copper-gold mine is expected to reach safety early Wednesday morning (Chilean time), more than two months after the accident that left 33 men trapped 700m underground.
The rescue shaft reached the miners’ cavern on the weekend, and final preparations are now being undertaken. The miners are deciding the order in which they will be hauled up the rescue shaft: several have expressed a desire to be 'tail-end-Charlie', in what’s been called "an admirable show of solidarity." However the real reason they want to be the last one up the shaft…is to be listed in the Guinness World Records for the longest time a miner has been trapped underground! That’s hopefully a record that will remain unbeaten.
Above ground, an estimated 2,000 journalists wait to beam the moment of freedom around the world. Once the miners are top-side, a team of doctors, nurses and psychologists will begin a 48-hour evaluation of their mental and physical health. Only then will they be allowed to return to “the real world”.
Over the next weeks, we'll hear all about their “underground reality” and marvel at their endurance. They in turn will hear how so many people globally have sent prayers and wishes of support for their deliverance. I’m reminded of a similar situation back in 1970, when Apollo 13 nearly didn’t return from its aborted lunar mission. I have a very clear memory of Pope Paul VI, urging all to church to pray for their safety.
In situations like these, it’s easy to dismiss prayer as providing support only to those who are actually doing the praying…that the real success lies in the efforts of the rescuers at the minehead (or back at NASA 40 years ago). Who knows? I guess it all comes down to your own personal beliefs, but there’s alot to be said for the power of positive thinking, and there’ve certainly been millions doing plenty of that over the last nine weeks...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paul Henry's Final Fall

The giggling jackass Paul Henry and retiring NZ Governor-General Sir Anand SatyanandLive by the sword – die by the sword.
This is how the final week of Paul Henry’s TV career played out…
Monday 4 October:
Issue 1 - PH makes flippant comment about retiring Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand. PH asks Prime Minister John Key on live tv: "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a NZer this time?" (Sir Anand was born in NZ of Fiji-Indian parents).
TVNZ news and current affairs PR manager Andi Brotherston quickly releases statement defending PH: "The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he's prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud."
Tuesday 5 October:
TVNZ broadcasts PH’s apology over Governor-General comment.
Ben Gracewood, TVNZ Breakfast's gadget reviewer, quits in protest at PH’s comments.
Issue 2 - Indian media in heated debate over his joking last week about the surname of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Public protests outside TVNZ premises in Wellington and Auckland.
TVNZ suspends PH for two weeks without pay (approx.$8000).
Wednesday 6 October:
PH replaced as host of this weekend’s This Is Your Life programme.
PH’s suspension called a "token" punishment by NZ’s Fijian-Indian community: "he needs counseling".
The Green Party calls for PH to be sacked.
TVNZ news and current affairs PR manager Andi Brotherston emails apology to staff for "horrendous error of judgment" in her response to PH's Gov-Gen.comments, offers resignation - TVNZ declines to accept.
Thursday 7 October:
In Australia, Seven Network’s Sunrise show asks whether PH was indeed correct in his pronunciation last week of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's surname:

Communications Minister Steven Joyce says PH is "becoming a liability".
PM John Key describes PH’s comments as "inappropriate".
Friday 8 October:
PH's comments bring a record 600 complaints to TVNZ and make headlines in India.
Diplomatic fallout: formal protest from India over PH’s "dick-shit" comments.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully describes PH's comments as "gratuitous and insulting".
Saturday 9 October:
Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples calls for PH sacking.
India's NZ High Commissioner writes to broadcasting minister Jonathan Coleman to protest.
Opposition leader Phil Goff says Mr Key can not afford to deflect the PH situation by downplaying it.
TVNZ's chief executive considers PH's future this weekend as pressure mounts. Rick Ellis suggests PH's future far from certain, despite earlier saying the opposite.
Media in India widely cover the "dick-shit" issue, including reports that Indian ministers boycotted a dinner with Sir Anand, who is in India (despite he himself being a recipient of PH’s ill-conceived comments).
Sunday 10 October:
Paul Henry resigns from TVNZ.

How ironic that all this exploded just three weeks after PH was named the "People's Choice" at the Qantas media awards! But he's had so many opportunites to reform, so many chances to read the writing on the wall.
Is there anything more to be said?
PS: 11 Dec.2011 - TVNZ spokesman Andi Brotherston has quit, saying she's sick of the huge amount of flak.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Whale War Of Words

aggrieved ex-campaigner Pete BethuneNZer Pete Bethune, one-time owner and last skipper of Ady Gil (deliberately rammed by the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru II in Antarctic waters last January) is waging a web war of words with Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson. Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson
Bethune claims that after the ramming, Watson ordered him to sink Ady Gil, even though he felt it could have been salvaged. He says the order was covered up, to "garner sympathy with the public and create better TV" (for the forthcoming Whale Wars series). He also claims "lies, deception and dishonesty" surround his parting of the ways with Sea Shepherd. But Watson says Bethune was expelled from the organisation because evidence from his trial shows he colluded with the Japanese (who were really out for Watson’s blood), in order to gain leniency.
On Sea Shepherd's website are sworn testimonies from crew members, and actual film footage, which seem to completely contradict Bethune’s claims. Have a look – you decide...
Whatever the truth (which so often lies somewhere between two opposing arguments), it saddens me that those who once joined forces to stymie the efforts of the marauding Nippon whalers are now nipping at each other. This sort of animosity only undermines the good that Bethune and Watson did together, and plays into the hands of the morally bankrupt Japanese whaling industry.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dearly Departed Dude

Kiwi muso Ian Morris passed away this morning in Napier: police say there were no suspicious circumstances.
The 53-year-old was a founding member of the iconic Kiwi band Th' Dudes and worked as a producer and record engineer with many musicians during his career.
Morris, Peter Urlich and Dave Dobbyn were schoolmates at Sacred Heart College and all shared the dream of becoming musicians. After leaving school, Th' Dudes began rehearsing in the summer of 1975 and went on to have national and international success. Morris had a hand in penning many of the band's hits, including the party favourite Bliss, Right First Time and Walking in Light...

Morris left Th' Dudes in 1980 and continued to sing in Hawkes Bay in recent years. He also found success as a solo artist under the name Tex Pistol, with his cover of the Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders song The Game of Love topping the NZ charts in 1987.
A collaboration with his brother Rikki Morris on the song Nobody Else also reached No.1 in 1988.
In 2006 Th' Dudes reformed for a national tour: those lucky enough to see them will treasure those memories. He was married to Kim Willoughby, singer with When the Cat's Away.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Trojan Hoarse!!!

Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!My apologies to regular readers of my blog, for my lack of posts over the last few days. This is not from lack of inspiration or subject material - in fact, there're plenty of items worthy of comment.
However my computer has been hit by a Trojan Win32, and I'm having great difficulty in getting rid of it. I've been screaming in frustration, til I'm hoarse!!! Why any bastard out there wishes to create these damaging viruses and trojans escapes me!
And coupled with that, I've discovered a faulty bearing in the CPU fan which requires minor surgery.
So bear with me and please keep checking in now and then - I value your following and WILL be up and running soon...