Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to us

"We're only here," says Russell Brown, editor of Planet, at 32 the father of two and no longer a youth, "because of new technology. And a sense of community."

The potential of this new technology is such that Brown expects to have portions of Planet available "on-line" within a year, giving computer users access to sections of the magazine on-screen through Internet, an information superhighway with an estimated 40 million patrons. One day, he would like to move into CD-ROM technology, allowing Planet punters not only to read about music but to listen to it and even to watch video extracts on screen.
From Computers, Coffee, Contacts - an article in the October 1994 issue of Metro by Andrew Heal. You will note not only Mr Brown's prescience but also the correct form for the word Internet.

In other news, the Fundy Post is now two years old.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The boys are back in town

Nothing would happen to them, because they would not be allowed to be a part of our society. Homosexuals, like Marxists and other undesirable elements whose lifestyles or beliefs are unnatural or contravene the goals of our community, will not be permitted to reside within the borders of this new nation. We don’t care where they go, but they will have to leave.
As reported by the 100 word blog, the National Front are back; and they are new and improved.

Meanwhile, the National Democrats seem to have sold out.

Update: The National Democrats are gone.

The tide is high (except for viewers in New Zealand)

A reader from Morningside (an area of Auckland which contains at least two Fundy Post readers and therefore could be considered a demographic cluster for this blog) draws my attention to the latest utterance from Owen McShane, prompting the question "why does the Herald publish this crap?"

Mr McShane's intent is to to discredit Brian Rudman, one of the few remaining Herald commentators inhabiting a mental space this side of barking, for his opinions about climate change. Mr Rudman made the modest suggestion that it is hardly necessary for Parliament to revisit the emissions trading scheme, given that the scientific questions are settled. Not so, says Mr McShane. You see, global sea-level rises are no more than a statistical artifact, an offing that does not apply in New Zealand, where tectonic plate and earthquake movements (apparently, these are not the same thing) are more important. What's more, "local sea levels are falling rather than rising."

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but does not the world 'global' mean global? And does not water always find its own level? Allowing for the differences caused by tidal pulls, is it not the case that, if sea levels are rising, they are doing so everywhere? What I mean to say, if I have not made myself clear, is that all the seas are connected and that any increase in the amount of sea will be distributed throughout the seas. Of course, I may be wrong; I am but an humble architectural historian. But something tells me, something connected with those school science experiments with beakers of water, that Mr McShane is talking bollocks again.

Or do local conditions mean that New Zealand is exempt from global changes, that our local conditions mean we can continue to have beaches and baches while the rest of the planet drowns? This is an important question, particularly if the Maori Party wants Parliament to revisit the Foreshore and Seabed legislation. After all, if global conditions prevail, there may be a lot less Foreshore and a lot more Seabed before too long. However, if Mr McShane is correct, we will still have a lot of coast to argue about.

Of course, there is a lot more to Mr McShane's argument than water. He notes that carbon credit trading was invented by Enron. It is important to note in this respect that margarine was invented by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. Moreover, Hedy Lamarr invented frequency hopping.

Mr McShane also notes that the previous Climate Minister relied on the evidence of "a small beltway group that controls climate issues within Niwa, the Royal Society of New Zealand, and most of our country's input into the UN's IPCC;" a small beltway group of climate scientists, that is. The Minister disregarded the evidence of independent climate experts, by which presumably he means such men as the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Incidentally, I was at Prep School with the 3rd Viscount's younger brother, a fact which almost makes me an independent climate expert.

Given my new-found status, I feel I should report to Mr McShane my own observations of local sea-levels. Although they do fall every day, they always rise again. However, I find I am still unable to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this paper: why does the Herald publish this crap? Perhaps I should ask a critical thinker.

Mutton Birds:

Have your party on TV

While online viewers watched a police officer prodding the Florida teen to see if he was alive, their chat comments ranged from OMG to LOL.
From Wired, a story of online suicide and its responses, which are less than profound. Meanwhile, Wired also reports the macabre case of a teenager driven to suicide, by adults.


Monday, November 24, 2008

New Zealand, a boxing fish

John has managed to reiterate the importance of global free trade and not re-implementing restrictions because of the global downturn. He is meeting leaders as the new prime minister of New Zealand and trying to seal some relationships. New Zealand is a fairly small fish in the scheme of things although we have always had a reputation for being able to punch above our own weight on the world stage, take sports for instance.

You can't blame John for being enthusiastic in shaking George Bush's hand, he was one of the most powerful figures in the world. He is networking and that's what it is all about, pressing palms. Like they say, much business has been done on the golf course. Networking is the key !
New Zealand Herald readers comment, in a feast of mixed metaphors.

The man who nearly was

I went to National's website today, to try to find out more about Cam Calder, the man who was a list MP for a week, before the counting of the specials gave the Greens one more seat and National one fewer. I obtained this result, a page that can be read in so many different ways.

The truth about Dr Calder can be found on Te Waha Nui. He's a dentist, you know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ma non troppo

Sorry about the lack of blog this week. I have been busy marking exam scripts and discussing chickens and other matters with Giovanni, for whom I bring Monty Python:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates

From the New York Times, via George:
Thirty miles to the north, in Salt Lake City, adherents of a religion called Summum gather in a wood and metal pyramid hard by Interstate 15 to meditate on their Seven Aphorisms, fortified by an alcoholic sacramental nectar they produce and surrounded by mummified animals.
And you thought it was just the Mormons.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blast off for kicksville

"It's just their supplier, Pete. And his number one chick. And a new guy looking for kicks. Forget it, man and get with the countdown. Shake this square world and blast off for kicksville."
From Cracked, via my Facebook Friend Brad Schmidt, some public service announcements.

Thought for the day

Yes, the public may one day come to rue the change they sought on Saturday. But if and when they do, there is no guarantee that a paternalistic Labour would be the only, or best source of relief. The Greens, now that they are finally free from any structural ties to Labour, will be trying hard to supplant them as the most effective opposition party on the left. On industrial relations and beneficiary issues, the Greens have already been making much of the running in recent years. If Labour remains intent on projecting a kinder, more efficient brand of centrism, they could well be overtaken significantly on their left - and the risk will be increased if Act does manage to pull National further to the right.
So says Gordon Campbell on Scoop, which apart from providing some of the best commentary on the Election, seems to be the only news outlet on the web still taking an interest. After a brief flirtation with serious stuff, the Herald has now returned to questions such as whether Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian.

Modern Life is Rubbish

So, where were we? The Charlatans played the Power Station last night, as will the Headless Chickens and Spiritualized. Such delights as Gerry Brownlee, Lockwood Smith and Maurice Williamson are in power. Yes, that would be it: we're in the Nineties.

Despite the election of engergetic, vibrant Nikki Kaye as the Moppet for Auckland Central, despite The Minister for Tourism's new suit and winning smile, National cannot keep its monsters hidden in the attic (or the closets) for much longer. They are angry and they are hungry. The Minister for Tourism might be able to placate Maurice by making him Minister for Newness (with special responsibility for maintaining the Government's Bebo profile) and doubtless Lockwood will get the sought-after Hairdressing portfolio, but Gerry Brownlee (living proof that John Donne was wrong: here is one man who is an island) needs to be fed. The Tragedy of the Commons is that they are Gerry's lunch. And look what is first on the menu: the Waitakeres.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slave to the rhythm

A few nights ago, a friend suggested that a really good way to get back at the Tories would be to send them images of coffins. After I explained that such an action would be a death threat and thus (strictly speaking) illegal he modified his proposal. I suppose I should have added that, in order to comply with the Electoral Finance Act, a death threat would probably have to bear the name and address of its authorising agent. Nevertheless, this idea got me thinking.

So, what should we do? Here's one idea: let's beat our Greens. This offer applies to registered voters in electorates such as Auckland Central and Ohariu-Belmont, where the combined votes of the Labour and Green candidates are more than those of the winning candidate. You are smart people, so I don't need to explain this much further, but the people in these electorates are either not so smart or have some sort of death wish. If you know any of these people, sit them down with a nice cup of chamomile tea in and tell them "you voted National, you idiot."

You might then like to club them with something heavy and with a huge carbon-footprint, like a truck axle. They might protest that do not like Judith Tizard or Charles Chauvel; they might complain, in relation to the former, that they do not like Section 92a of the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008. Don't let these objections stop you.

You might also add that the Green candidates did not want these people's electorate votes. They asked for Party Vote Green, not "vote for me and ensure a Labour loss." Of course, it may be that some people who vote Green would otherwise vote Tory, if it were not for Hector's Dolphin. It may be that some people really believe Nikki Kaye's claim to be some sort of Green Tory. Or it may be that they just don't understand how the electoral system works. They vote Green because it makes them feel good. It is now our duty to make them feel bad by explaining that they voted Tory.

Still at least they tried. On Sunday morning, I met a man - a father of three - who not only failed to vote but did not know how the election had turned out. I suppose I should respect his democratic right to be stupid but, frankly, I felt like clubbing him to death like a baby seal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad company

Sometimes I worry about the company I keep. Tonight, I staggered home from the recording of Media7 (where the back of my head sometimes is shown in the closing titles) to find that our host, Mr Russell Brown, is the Seventh worst New Zealander, and has been so since February 2006.

I suppose I should console myself that Mr Brown is not man-hating, anti-family, and hostile to marriage, as is the worst New Zealander, Margaret Wilson. And at least Mr Brown is a better New Zealander than Helen Clark and Tim Barnett. But then, Judith Tizard is a worse New Zealander than Mr Brown, although not quite as bad as Ms Wilson.

I suppose I should also seek consolation in the fact that this is not August 1968 and I do not know Gale Olson, Playboy Playmate of that Month, whose mother was from New Zealand (according to Wikipedia, which, of course, does not exist in 1968). This brazen hussy is possibly a worse New Zealander than any of the above. Frankly, I think I had a lucky escape.

Who me? Look, I am just trying to promote New Zealand on a world stage. It is my duty, now that our Prime Minister is also our Tourism Minister.


So yes, we face challenges. But we will rise to them, because as a country we have tremendous advantages.

Our capacity to produce food for the world, our landscapes, and scenery, and maybe most of all the incredible Kiwi ingenuity.

So we must make the most of our advantages. Because the state of the global economy and the global financial crisis means the road ahead may well be a rocky one.
At least we have Rocky Road. I quote, of course, from That Nice Mr Key's Victory Speech, a menage of mixed metaphors which exhorted us to work together and show "a willingness to use our smallness to our advantage, to be nimble, sure-footed and flexible." There may be trouble ahead, so let's face the music and dance. At least he has Rodney on his team. In addition to being fleet of foot, we must be on top of our game and also pull in the same direction. The future will be athletic, nay gymnastic. I am exhausted already.

I hope we will have time to enjoy the landscapes. I expect Mr Key owns several: local scenes depicted by local artists in a post-post-Impressionist style. I expect Mr Key enjoys them while listening to Brooke Fraser's Albertine.

Anyway, enough of this day-dreaming; back to work. Mr Key has made himself Minister of Tourism. Fusty old Helen Clark was Minister for the Arts, promoting all that Modern Dance and those modern artists whose landscapes that do nothing to promote New Zealand on a world stage. Mr Key will have none of that; he will be in charge of scenery. I hope they give him a cap and a badge.

And with our kiwi ingenuity, there are new opportunities, such as cake-growing. As Mr Key told the Tourism Industry Association, his being Minister of Tourism "is a tangible way of showing New Zealanders that their new Prime Minister is truly going to be focused on growing the cake rather than just on different ways to hand the cake out."

Far be it for an humble blogeur to critique a man who has realised his childhood ambitions to be a millionaire and the Prime Minister, but I think Mr Key has neglected one industry that shows real prospects for growth: satire. Within days of his election, huge resources of Lulz are being found everywhere. The Fundy Post will strive to be a market leader in this growing sector. We shall strive to produce world-beating satire. We have landscapes, scenery and cake. We have Mr Key as Prime Minister. What more do we need? Let the smirking begin.

Human League:

Somewhere to hang your coat

An art gallery will not face any legal action over claims it displayed an indecent statue of Jesus Christ.

The artwork was part of an exhibition at Gateshead's Baltic Centre featuring several plaster figures with erections.
From Craig


The Campaign to Save MMP will be an independent, non-partisan effort to inform voters of the benefits of MMP and show them the downside of other electoral systems. Our first meeting is at Auckland University Students Association executive chambers, 7pm Thursday the 13th of November. Anyone who wants to get involved with this campaign is welcome to come along, or contact Stephen Cooper at or on 0211072520.
Whilst we wallow in despair, the estimable Mr Cooper is first off the block with a campaign that might just make a difference.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Revenge of the nerds

The Fundy Post ( has great Battlestar Galactica news, photos, videos and more
This is what happens when you mention Sci-Fi on your blog: you get assimilated into the Borg, or something like that.

Do they read this crap? The Fundy Post does not have great Battlestar Galactica news, photos, videos and more. The Fundy Post hates Battlestar Galactica news, photos, videos and more. The Fundy Post has been savaged on teh System for its forthright opinions about Battlestar Galactica.

I do not refer, of course to the original Battlestar Galactica which was ridiculously camp and quite enjoyable. I refer to the new and improved Battlestar Galactica, which is ridiculously kitsch (there is a difference between camp and kitsch, which we must discuss later) and quite dismal. Please don't read any further if you are an easily offended geek, but I have more than a few difficulties with this programme.

For a start, it is so serious, while its model was so flippant. The story is much the same (I realise that somebody will tell me I am quite wrong here: sosumi) but the treatment is so different. The original knew it was just a fantasy; the copy takes itself seriously.

Which brings me to my second point: the new Battlestar Galactica is an allegory. And we all know, or should know, that allegory is the worst form of fiction: This goes with That; look folks here is a hidden story that is not so hidden. You can Learn from This.

Which brings me to my third point: the allegory is about America (the Beautiful) finding itself; correct me if I am wrong but I think you will find I am not. There are good guys and there are bad guys, who used to be with the good guys and are not so bad anyway; and anyway the good guys are not so good (I take it you are still with me, so I will continue).

Which brings me to my fourth point: it is a Western. Nothing wrong with that but, in Westerns, chaps should be wearing chaps. Like many sci-fi, space opera, whatever stories the setting may be some distant galaxy but the format was made for the Old West. Don't get me started on Firefly. No, get me started: I saw both Battlestar Galactica and Firefly at the behest of a particularly literal-minded and semi-educated former friend who did not know enough about narratives or the history of Cinema to realise he was watching nothing more than reworkings of Wagon Train and Stage Coach. I suppose he got some childlike pleasure from hearing an oft-told story told once again.

Fifth point: constellations are not real, they are optical illusions. If you found a rock with a plan of the constellations on it, you could not navigate your way home by it.

Sixth point: the hot chick with the arrow. Now, I may not know much about art students, but I know what I like; and I know that art students, the really keen ones who carry their work around with them in the hope that somebody will take an interest in it or them, carry said work around in plastic tubes just like the one in which the hot chick carries her arrow. What I mean to say is that the makers of this programme spent gloads of money on special effects but, when it came to choosing something in which to put the magic arrow which is apparently so important to the plot, they went to their local stationery warehouse and fought their way through hoards of fourteen year-old girls to grab a plastic tube which ought to contain delicate watercolours expressing the artist's inner turmoil.

I suppose I could go on but it's just a song about cylons. Besides, I am really only writing this because I am so depressed about the incoming General Election results. Judith lost, Nikki Kaye is my MP and I am out of wine. Feck.

Feck, feck, feck.

Sneaky Sound System:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Over being over

McCain also was reluctant to use Obama's incendiary pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a campaign issue. He had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military. McCain balked at an ad using images of children that suggested that Obama might not protect them from terrorism; Schmidt vetoed ads suggesting that Obama was soft on crime (no Willie Hortons); and before word even got to McCain, Schmidt and Salter scuttled a "celebrity" ad of Obama dancing with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres (the sight of a black man dancing with a lesbian was deemed too provocative).
While you try to figure out the black man-lesbian thing, I will announce formally that the period of the Fundy Post being over Obama is now over. Your blogeur spent Election Day #1 lurking in the Public Address epic thread, which continues yet, long after the party ended (although it must be noted that the conversation has been diverted to Battlestar Galactica, a children's sci-fi adventure that is surprisingly popular with people whose views I normally respect). Anyway, this blogeur is now back on-message and has rejoined the hivemind to be wildly enthusiastic about Obama, at least until the Great Disillusionment (date to be confirmed). I know you will be relieved.

The blockquote above comes from the Huffington Post and is a teaser for Newsweek's Special Election Project. It shows that John McCain is a man of integrity, as we all knew. Other news shows that his running mate is an idiot, as we all knew.

Herewith follows what might be the silliest music promo ever made.