Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Investigate Literary Supplement

My correspondent NZ Party Babe has drawn my attention to a remarkable piece of writing posted on The Briefing Room, "Investigate Magazine's breaking news forum." It is a polemic inspired by Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men, written by one Philip G Hayward. Unfortunately, Mr Hayward cannot keep to his subject and, affter a promising first paragraph, digresses into a lengthy bout of spluttering over the crimes of lefties that continues for many, many words with only glancing references to the book.

I appreciate that Fundy Post readers are busy people who are probably taking a well-earned rest from their work of subverting the institutions of this country to spend the Summer indulging in acts of debauchery and vile perversion. With this in mind, I have prepared a summary of Mr Hayward's polemic, using his own words in their original order. I hope readers will find what follows to be a useful service.

stooges, plants, and traitors -"Parliamentary Services"- Watergate-esque level of political espionage - Great Leader Helen Clark - sycophants who infest our media - our fine non-partisan Police - Chomsky/Pilger - Marxists - Trotskyites - tall poppy syndrome - media-dominating Left - "long march through the institutions" - leftist propaganda by our institutions - Hager and his ilk - average high school dropout career beneficiary - "proletariat" - neo-Stalinist conspiracy theorist - jobs provided - biased media - Al Gore - biggest confidence scam in history - providing for yourself and your family - paying taxes - valuable contributions to N.Z. society - private hospital - "compassionate Socialism" - Chris Trotter - massive scam - Socialist healthcare - decades of Communism - North Korea and Cuba - the Eric Hobsbawms and the Noam Chomsky's - victims of Socialism - Stalin - Mao - Pol Pot - Kim-Il Jong - control over the minds of ALL the school age youth - public education system - successfully subverted - unreformed featherbedding-ridden structures - teachers unions - Animal Farm - Marxist notions of "income redistribution" and "social justice" - "tear-down-the-rich" -Left-wing control through the media, education, bureaucracy, and other institutions - legislating against the principles of the freedom of speech - legions of full-time advocates - teachers, journalists, bureaucrats - beneficiaries with ample idle time - acolytes- beneficiaries, bureaucrats - vested interest - policies that provide them with their source of income - demographic crisis of unsustainability of Government spending - "liberal" causes - "fashionable" among many of the wealthier categories of people - George Soros, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, the Rockefeller foundation - some kind of "Great Satan" - "command economies" that have killed off millions - Richard Armitage -lefty polemic -American detainment camps for terrorists - murderers, rapists and assorted thugs - dysfunctional post-Christian liberal-socialist-experiment society - gulags for a minority group of religious dissidents - staunch Stalinist - breach of National's privacy - proprietors of modest small businesses - Goebbells tactic - shameful indication of the state of our democratic freedoms - sneaky little totalitarian - Michael Bassett - one real investigative journalist - Ian Wishart - death threats - Police Commissioner Peter Doone - upstanding New Zealander - "Chavismo" - throw the rule of law to the winds - hegemony over the loyalty of the masses. - Dominion ("Pravda") Post - real malfeasance

On the other hand, if you enjoyed Mr Hayward's work unabridged, let me direct you to his letters to the Capital Times, on such diverse topics as Christian Liberal-leftist Quisling revisionists, as well as muslims and not forgetting Atheists, moral relativists and secular humanists.

After all this, you may be wondering if Mr Hayward approves of anyone. He does: Haylee Westenra.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Brethren family values

Following yesterday's post about the activities of the Elect Vessel of the Exclusive Brethren, comes this gruesome story of attempts by Bruce Hales and other Brethren to cover up the sex crimes of one of their senior members.

It is not a pretty note on which to end the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Brethren Family Values

If Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men was your holiday reading, you may be wondering what might have happened had National won the General Election; having invested over a million dollars in their party of choice, what would the Exclusive Brethren have demanded in return?

An indication of what might have been comes from Australia. The Age has discovered that the Brethren met Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock last year, asking him to amend the Family Law Act to suit their purposes, so that a parent who left the Brethren would have no access rights to the children. The Brethren also wanted parenting plans, which normally are arranged after separation to ensure that parents have equal access, to become legally binding agreements that could be used to deny access in the event of a divorce. Fortunately, Mr Ruddock was not moved by the Brethren's pleas. Senator Bob Brown of the Green Party is demanding a Senate enquiry into the Brethren's activities. Watch this space.

The Age has also revealed that Bruce Hales, the Elect Vessel, threatened a 12 year-old girl that she would lose her mother if she saw her father. He also objected to the girl wearing jeans. Readers may remember the case of Vincent Field, the Nelson teenager who was removed from his parents by the Brethren. The Elect Vessel took a close interest in this matter as well, apparently promising that the Lord would arrange for the parents to be killed in a car accident.

Meanwhile The Age also reports that Brethren schools in Australia are reaping a harvest of Government money, as well as raising money through a chain of tyre stores.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Arrows of Desire

The guardians of moral decency often claim that we liberal leftie atheist types are fond of pervese practices such as swapping. It's true. For example, Philosophically Made is trying to arrange a book swap.

If you have a copy of The Hollow Men you can trade it for Bill O'Reilly's "Culture Warrior," which sounds like a good deal to me. As Philosophically Made notes, O'Reilly is a cultural warrior in defence of Christian values. As readers of The Smoking Gun will know, Bill's sword shall not sleep in his hand, so long as he has a loofah.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Fundy Post Newswire Christmas Special

Jingle Tills
We shall overcome.

KISS @ Christmas
Sound advice from Judith Tizard.

The 2006 Scoop Awards
It's that time of year again.

The real schismatics and bigots
Pat Buchanan froths about Anglican girl power.

Episcopalians Against Equality
What all the fuss is about.

Ordination of female priests and bishops in the worldwide Anglican Communion
The full story from Religious Tolerance.

The delicate balance between religion and politics
A Mormon thinks of running for President.

The rape of Europe
All the fault of us secularists, apparently.

Liberals never learn
More rightish rantings.

The Swedish, Norwegian and Scandinavian Branches of the Illuminati
As well as Zionist perverts and Jesuit parasites, to all of which the only solution is Nazism.

Alternative Three
The hoax that keeps on hoaxing.

Hell pizza, condoms and Christians.
Another blog on one of our favourite stories of the year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The return of the Durutti column

Back in the day, when I was Spokesman for the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc), I compiled the Fundy Post Newswire, which provided links to stories about the antics of our fundy friends. It was kinda fun, unlike most activities of the NZARH, which are kinda dull. For that reason it had to go, as did I.

Still, why should that stop us? We can put on the show right here in the barn!

Here are few headlines that might interest you. I can claim no credit, since Craig Young provided them all, but I will crank up the Google News Alerts and try to do this thing regularly. Comments and contributions from readers are welcome.

Brethren member guilty of indecently assaulting girl, 10 Why are we not surprised?

The Church vs the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition? Sin, that's what happens.

Fundamentalist churches in Fiji see links between coup makers and witchcraft That old black magic has Fiji in its spell

Don Brash Writes: Nicky Hager's book A Doctor writes

Court to decide on church-state split Democracy is not a faith-based initiative.

Soy to the World

Soy to the World: Craig Young, one of the Fundy Post's staunchest friends, has written for GayNZ about the revival of Soy madness. According to some Fundies, Soy milk makes your kids grow up peculiar: it is the natural source of queerness in boys and it will make a Lolita of your daughter. And what's more, the story starts with our own Ian Wishart. As Craig notes, it has resurfaced on World Net Daily, where author Jim Rutz makes a number of utterly untrue statements, including the claim that Soy Milk has been banned in New Zealand because it is carcinogenic and that Soy Sauce is perfectly healthy; close, but no cigar: various brands of Soy Sauce where banned in Godzone because they contained carcinogens while Soy helps prevent breast cancer, which, as all good fundies know, is caused by abortion.

Of course, there is lots more on GayNZ to scare the Fundies, such as Peer Sexuality Support at Rosehill College and a story called A whole new breed of Vampire lesbian is evolving: Lesbians, vampires and evolution, all in one bite-sized chunk.

Speaking of Ian Wishart, he too has a blog, The Briefing Room; unlike the Fundy Post, he has munchkins to help him run it. Wishart's latest little helper is Andrei, who writes: "Blogging is not as simple as it looks and is often a fairly time consuming process and Ian who is a busy man does not always have the time to update this blog on a regular  basis. Grammar and punctuation are not as simple as they look either; the wages of syntax is death. Andrei's first real contribution is to insist that The Benghazi Six need our prayers. Maybe they do, but lawyers, guns and money would be more useful.

Andrei comes from Sir Humphrey's where Adolf Finkelstein sees climate change as an economic and racial opportunity (by the way Adolf, it was Diderot, not Voltaire, who invented the phrase esprit de l'escalier) while Zen Tiger has more about Lesbians and Lucyna has proof of God's existence. You read it there first.

Meanwhile, if you really want a strange headline, you could not do much better than World's tallest man saves dolphin. I know it is off-topic but I could not pass it by. What more can I give you, other than bad poetry? With thanks to the magnificent Chase me, ladies, I'm in the cavalry (the Fundy Post does not make hat-tips, because gentlemen do not wear hats indoors) here is the Oxford Cheese Ode by James McIntyre, who wrote about cheese in Oxford, Ontario.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crawling from the wreckage

I would like to apologise for my failure to produce updates to the Fundy Post recently. My only excuse is that I have had a lost week and a bit, which began two Fridays back with the splendid opening celebrations for the Grand Atrium at Auckland Museum and finished in the wee small hours of this morning at a far less reputable place. In between were numerous nights out and my birthday celebrations. I decided all this debauchery had to end this afternoon. The Fundy Post has crawled from the wreckage of its creator's life.

Today, I bring you a miscellany of stuff, since little is going on and so few readers are at work, wasting their employer's time reading this blog.

For your amusement, you may like to read this bollocks from the Apologetics Press. I include it merely as an example of the kind of pseudo-academic tosh that emanates from fundy circles. I didn't bother reading much of it: I have been on holiday.

Speaking of bollocks, here is the latest from Deborah Coddington. Best remembered for her in-depth study of the Yellow Peril for North and South, Coddington has recently read an article in The Spectator about a book called The Improving State of the World . The result of this exhaustive research is a diatribe for the Herald with the snappy title Against the tide of chic climate change gloom.

So, The Spectator saved The Coddington the trouble of reading the book and she saved us the trouble of reading The Spectator. I will keep this chain of indolence alive by saving you the trouble of reading her article. Here is her argument: everything in the world is getting better, so climate change does not matter. Can somebody tell me why this woman has a job?

Meanwhile, the NZ Catholic newspaper has demanded that Catholics abstain from eating Hell Pizza because of those rubber johnnies which Hell was distributing. This is hardly suprising, since the Holy Roman Church (the people who brought you Fascism) would prefer that people die rather than use contraceptives. However, a quick glance at NZ Catholic confirms that the paper and the church it represents are obsessed with sex. For all its glory and gravitas, the Catholic Church is little more than a bunch of creepy, weird old men in skirts who are scared of girls. In case you have any doubts, here is a story from the current issue of NZ Catholic about further attempts by Right To Life to prevent abortions.

Finally, my friend Jake sent me a story about the latest from Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the fundies who made a fortune from the Left Behind series of Apocalyptic stories for cretins. Their new money-making wheeze is a game based on their deranged fantasies, in which fundy kids get to kill non-believers.

I could go on, as there is so much of this stuff out there. However, I shall wait until the War Against Christmas is declared; or was that outbreak of paranoia just for last year? Breaking news: hostilities have begun.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Would you like guilt with that?

So, you are asking yourself, "my fundy friends are coming round for dinner; what can I serve them? Hell Pizza is a no-no, since their pizzas are deep crust and ribbed for extra pleasure. Where can I go for conservative pizza?"

Unfortunately, Domino's is now in secular hands, but it was founded by one of the most conservative Catholics of them all. Thomas Monaghan doesn't own a crust of his old company, but he is using his life savings to save souls.

He funds the Thomas More Law Center, which crafted an anti-abortion law for South Dakota which would have challenged Roe v. Wade, had the state legislature accepted it. His money is also behind the Siena Group, whose founder, Father Paul Marx reportedly blamed 'the abortion holocaust' on the 'shoulders of the Jews.'

Monaghan's latest project is a Roman Catholic town in Florida. He has promised at least $US 250 million for Ave Maria, a community of 20,000 residents to be built around Ave Maria University, which he also founded. The town will have a central square, a huge and hideously ugly cathedral and the tallest crucifix in the United States.

Ave Maria will also be the No Fun capital of the Union. Monaghan is determined that stores will not sell porn, pharmacies will not provide condoms or birth control pills and X-rated cable channels will not be available to the viewing public. Monaghan outlined his plans at a meeting last year, saying "I believe all of history is just one big battle between good and evil. I don't want to be on the sidelines."

Monaghan founded Domino's with his brother in 1960, quickly building a nationwide franchise operation that has expanded overseas, including New Zealand. The success of the company was due to a number of innovations, including the introduction of the corrugated cardboard delivery box and the bag which keeps the pizza hot. Another first was the promise that pizzas would be delivered in 30 minutes or would be free of charge, a policy which led to numerous road accidents involving delivery drivers. After two years, the policy was changed to a price reduction. In 1993, Domino's was successfully sued for $US78 million in punitive damages, by a woman who suffered head and spinal injuries when a Domino's delivery driver ran a red light and hit her car. This action prompted Domino's to abandon the 30-minute promise entirely.

Before founding Domino's, Monaghan had intended to become a priest, but his ambition was thwarted when he was expelled for disciplinary offences, including a pillow fight. Despite this rejection, he has founded a number of Catholic educational and advocacy organisations. After reading CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, Monaghan decided that his life was filled with pride, so he sold many of the luxuries he had gathered and left unfinished a large mansion he was building. In 1998 he sold his controlling interest in Domino's and retired from the company to devote his life to good works. Most of these involve Catholic beliefs and conservative politics. For many years, he has been a financial supporter of Operation Rescue, a group which holds mass protests against abortion clinics and attempts to prevent staff and patients entering buildings. Such is Monaghan's commitment to the anti-abortion cause that he lists the date of his conception as his birthday (I am so glad my parents never told me the date of my conception).

The town of Ave Maria is Monaghan's most ambitious project. Civil libertarians are already expressing disquiet at the restrictive proposals for the town's management. However, at the site's groundbreaking, Governor Jeb Bush, himself a convert to Catholicism, said that it will be a new kind of town where faith and freedom will merge to create a community of like-minded citizens. The Governor's office however, is more circumspect, saying that, "the town, and any restrictions they may place on businesses choosing to locate there, must comply with the laws and constitution of the state and federal governments."

It is not yet known whether the citizens of Ave Maria will be allowed to eat pizza on Friday.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A short diversion into Art History

Here is a review of Tim Clark's latest book from the New Criterion. I include it merely because I like Clark and I like Poussin.

Comments are welcome but not if they are offering ways of making money on the interweb, several of which I have deleted recently.

Dancing with the blue guy

For a change, I am not going to talk about fundamentalist Christians or talk at all, for that matter. Here is a guest article from a friend who has had experience of a different kind of fundamentalism:

Hare Krishna!! 

I suppose it should have struck me as unusual for a bunch of people to call themselves each other’s servants. I also should have realised that it was a bit creepy to be encouraged to lie to my family and skip school to pay visits to a temple; all for the worship of none other than a five thousand year old blue guy that answers to the name of Krishna. 

A bit of background… 

The Hare Krishna movement was started in 1966 by Abhe Charan Bhaktivedanta Swami Praphupada. Just as Christian missionaries go to the East to preach The Word, he went to New York from India to spread the message of Bhakti Yoga, or devotional worship of Krishna/God. Although the movement describes itself as non-sectarian, its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita (which some have coined the Indian Bible) and other Puranic, or old Sanskrit scriptures. The movement has essentially come from the Vaishnavism denomination of Hinduism.  

Put more bluntly however, Hare Krishna devotees are mostly white, middle class westerners who like to dress up in a lot of orange. They are often pale in appearance and wear an excess of clothing garments, even in hot weather, possibly due to a lack of iron in their food. They spread their teachings through sankirtan, or the singing of holy prayers, which they believe will lead them to enlightenment. Part of the philosophy that they follow is that the soul is eternal, goes through a cycle of many births and deaths, and is doomed to return to earth on the basis of previous karma. To escape this cycle of reincarnation we must realise ourselves as a spirit soul, become detached from the temptations of the physical world and fully devote ourselves to worshipping Krishna. They also believe that if you eat meat you will be sent to a special type of hell where you will come back as a cow or a rabbit and experience what they went through to die and end up on your dinner plate. 

I am not going to explain all I know about the religion, as my perspective would probably offend a few well-meaning Hindus, and lord knows we don’t need any more fuzziness when it comes to deciphering religious texts. Find the facts out for yourself, if you are interested. 

However I do want to tell a story of my experience in what I have now realised is a religious cult, full to bursting with propaganda, mistruths, and an unhealthy obsession with feeling unworthy. Hare Krishnas may be a very peaceful bunch, but they are a cult nonetheless. 

For me, it all started when I was fourteen years old. I went with my family to a vegetarian restaurant in Newmarket called The Loft, run by Krishna devotees. With dinner, they also provided a seminar on their teachings and a chance to sing Hare Krishna with them at the end of the night. The food was great (it satisfied my vegetarianism) and the teachings intrigued me. Being a family that embraced different ideas and beliefs, we continued to go every week for a few months. The singing was the best bit, as it seemed to make me ecstatically happy. A psychologist could probably explain why this was, as would someone who regularly enjoys singing about Jesus in church.  

Devotees have a strange practice of offering their food to Krishna first before eating it, in order to purify the food from bringing you bad karma; that carrot felt pain, you know. Food that cannot be offered to Krishna (and most other Hindu gods) includes meat, fish, eggs, anything (including chocolate) with caffeine in it, anything that touches your feet or the ground and, strangely enough, onions, garlic and mushrooms, which are considered ‘dirty.’ Eating Prasadam, or food that has been first offered to Krishna, is a big part of being a devotee, and can count as points towards your spiritual purification. 

The devotees took a special interest in me – I was young, innocent, looking for ‘a reason’ and cringingly na├»ve. I was given presents for my birthday, and invitations to further Hare Krishna events. Eventually the women who ran the restaurant had to move to Wellington, which coincided with my mother becoming more and more reluctant to drive me to The Loft.   

I began to sneak around my family’s back to visit Hare Krishna friends. Being without a driver’s license and monetary income, the devotees would pick me up themselves from designated meeting spots and drive me to meetings and festivals. I kept in touch with them through secret phone calls and email, where I would delete all correspondence, as my mother became increasingly curious and intrusive as to what I was up to. 

I plastered my bedroom walls with pictures of Krishna (the blue guy) and made a type of ‘shrine’ to him. I woke at five every morning to chant sixteen rounds of the Maha Mantra on my string of Japa beads. There were 108 beads on the string, so that meant chanting, 
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
 1728 times each morning. 

Devotees stress the importance of constantly chanting Hare Krishna and being careful to only associate with other devotees. Reading Prabhupada’s texts all the time is also recommended. I think if I had chanted hamburgers all day long I would have developed an unhealthy obsession with hamburgers as well, to be honest. The word brainwashing comes to mind, but I’m sure devotees are well meaning.

Occasionally I would skip school (the first time I ever wagged) to be driven to the Hare Krishna temple out in Riverhead for the day. An Indian girl in my form class let me use her postal address to receive packages from Wellington. I was discouraged from spending time with ‘non devotees.’ 

Their plan was for me to move to the Ashram in Wellington when I turned 16, the legal age for leaving your parents. Hare Krishnas are very conservative – they are not allowed to drink alcohol, take drugs, smoke cigarettes, eat any of the ‘forbidden’ items, gamble or have sex unless for the propagation of children, and even then only once a month. I was given a set of Tulasi beads, which meant I was unable to engage in these things while wearing them - which I thought would be the rest of my life. When I reached the age of about eighteen I would be expected, (if desired) to consult an astrologer and have an arranged marriage with a male devotee. Tough luck if I happened to be a lesbian, of course. 

One of the founders and spiritual leaders of the movement, Devamrita Swami, took me under his wing. He was definitely an interesting man – as well as having written several books, he used to preach in Eastern Europe in the 1980s, until his identity was disclosed to the KGB; although Hare Krishnas probably like the social control of communism, they are against it because of its stance against religion. Devamrita Swami and I exchanged many emails and he proclaimed me to be his spiritual daughter, planning to initiate me formally in the future, name change and all.

In one email he told me: “As long as you actively associate with materialists your consciousness will be coloured by their pollutions.”  I replied:
Dear spiritual father,

I can’t express how much your words mean to me and how encouraging they are.

So I’m not associating with my school friends this weekend (mainly due to an overload of homework), but yes, I will reduce my association with them, especially the ones who are not supportive of me wanting to be a devotee!

When I went to Wellington to stay with a friend from school who had moved there, I ran away to the Ashram in Te Aro. My mum eventually found out and called the police. Apparently they couldn’t do anything. I was collected by my friend’s parents and taken home, where a much tighter reign was put on me.  

I even went to the street and tried to sell books to the public on the occasional weekend, and when I could get out of the house I partook in a bit of song and dance on the streets with them. 

One day I came across an article on the Hare Krishna website that referred to the inferior intelligence of women. The Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam also contain many references (at least, Prabhupada’s translations of them contain these references) to women being less intelligent, and not having the capacity to understand certain spiritual concepts. The article in question said that feminists were ‘polluting’ ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and that the movement’s philosophy should not be changed to suit modern feminists, homosexuals and ‘new-agers,’ whatever that means.  

Devotees don’t often preach this particular aspect of their philosophy, but it is definitely there. Outraged, I replied to the post on this website and got a very interesting reply: 
This philosophy is perfect and does not need to be changed for anyone. It says in dozens of places in Prabhupada’s books that women are inferior to men.  

If you are disturbed by reading Prabhupada’s words then you either need to change your attitude or find another religion that suits your particular ideas. Srila Prabhupada is a liberated soul, and all his teachings are perfect. Therefore if we don’t accept his teachings as they are, we can’t claim to love him. 

Your servant, Sudama Das

My reply (and an example of what a completely different planet I was on at the time) was:
Dear Sudama, 

Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, you are right about Prabhupada’s teachings – they are perfect. And whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant – he is a holy Sadhu. I can’t say that I agree with the idea that women are inferior to men yet. It will probably take me some time to understand that particular part of the philosophy, but I do accept it.

Thank you very much for reminding me of my position. Although it’s hard to accept because it brings my material status down, it is actually quite humbling, and that is very good in devotional service.

Your servant,

Then I received this response:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

As far as the women being inferior goes, it’s really not that big a deal. Nor is it even a bad thing – if you read the books carefully Prabhupada says a lot of other things too, such as the fact that women are MORE powerful than men. In one purport he mentions that Julius Caesar was controlled by Cleopatra.  

Srila Prabhupada didn’t hate women, he certainly saw everyone as a spirit soul. Real intelligent women (such as yourself) will see this and not take the comments about ladies being inferior seriously. My wife doesn’t care about it, she sees it as an advantage. Next time someone tells you you’re less intelligent you can just agree and let them think that – what difference does it make? 

It’s like a child – just because they are less emotionally developed doesn’t mean that we abuse them. Women are similarly unstable at times, no one can argue this point. 

We have talked about this a lot and I think that what it comes down to is whether the girl has a husband that she likes or not. Most of the women who complain the most have been hurt by men in the past so they don’t want to give up their independence and get hurt again. Makes sense doesn’t it? But deep down every girl wants to surrender to a man, that’s the female nature. So hang in there, keep your Krishna consciousness and when you’re 18 you can move into a temple or find a nice devotee husband and get married.

Good luck,  

Your servant 

Sudama Das
Soon after I discovered some of my correspondence on the website that Sudama administrated: 
I love Srila Prabhupada – but I don’t want to follow his instructions!

The following text is an email I received from a young lady. This person claims to love Srila Prabhupada and in the same breath rejects his instructions as ‘non-Vedic.’ No wonder there are so many problems in ISKCON these days…
And on it went. In fact, now that I think about it the whole philosophy of Krishna consciousness is sexist in the way it teaches that God is male, and all souls are female in nature, in the way they all eventually flock back to Krishna. This concept is actually mentioned quite a lot.   

I think I came to a realisation at that point – I agreed with the teachings but I couldn’t agree with that. I was also finding it hard to accept that the one true God is in fact a blue guy who is fond of jewellery and lotuses, none other, no less. And I had been brought up to think that God came in many shapes and sizes; and genders, for that matter. 

I surprised everyone by stopping my meditation, complicated mealtime prayers and temple attendance. My friends and family had begun to accept I was serious by then but I began to have a normal life again. I have since decided that the meaning of life is only what I make it to be, and that religion can be a good thing, but it should never make you compromise your family, your education or your fundamental beliefs of equality.  

And by God, those saris are uncomfortable! 

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Hell is other pizza

with apologies for the existentialist pun

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board has decided that Hell Pizza's distribution of condoms to the masses amounted to gross moral turpitude. The several groups who clamoured to be the most outraged about this campaign are delighted, of course, although Family First has announced that it will not be withdrawing its fatwa against Hell until an apology is received.

This is not the first time that Hell has been hauled before the Board. Concerned citizens have been complaining since the company was established. So, for your reading pleasure, I present excerpts from the Board's decisions.

Complaint 06/057

Complaint: The Hell Pizza advertisement, which was included in a Best Buys mail box catalogue, was headed: WHO SAID HELL IS ONLY FOR THE WICKED?

Below was an image of the reverse side of a 50 cent coin showing the head of Queen Elizabeth II with devil horns and fangs drawn on it.

Text below said:

Now there’s a Hell for everyone … Hell Pizza would like to thank customers whose lust for fine pizza has created an evil empire of 50 stores. And to show our appreciation, if you come in and tell us to ‘go to Hell’- you’ll get 50c off every item purchased; pizzas, chips, drinks – everything, with no limit.

A message at the foot of the advertisement said: 666% MADE, OWNED AND OPERATED IN AOTEAROA
0800 666 111

Complainant, C. Aston-Grieve, said:

“I write to inform you that I find the enclosed advertisement for Hell Pizza offensive.

Firstly, it denigrates the personage of Queen Elizabeth the Second, a well respected monarch. Secondly, it defaces the leader of the Anglican Church with a devil caricature. Thirdly, rewarding people with a price reduction for saying ‘go to Hell’ sends an improper message to youth culture. Fourth, as a Christian the number 666 is also offensive.
The advertisement gave an 0800 number which I rang. A shop assistant answered, who assured me she would get head office to ring me. I heard nothing, so on 24th January I rang best Buys whose brochure it was advertised in, I expressed my concern. They emailed Hell Pizza. I heard nothing. I rang again 7/2/06 to Best Buys who had heard nothing. Hence I write to you.

I would appreciate a prompt response.”

Complainant, M. Ransley, said:

“I’m sending you this cutting which came in my box today. I find this way of advertising very poor taste, my house-hold are shocked to think that anyone would dare deface our queen this way. I have been told that lots of young ones frequent this place, what is it doing to respect and loyalty, has it gone forever. I’m 78 years old and have never seen this sort of advertising before.Please help if you can, it would be nice to see the Queen’s head clear and not disfigured. In some country’s it could be treason.”

Complaint 06/050

Complainant, C. Lotriet, said: ““Hell" is a pizza business that in its slogans and advertisements refers to hell, which is fine because some one stated that hell is the place that every one talks about but nobody wants to go to. They seem to have branches in different places in New Zealand including Browns Bay where I live. I have written to them about their advertisements, not this particular one, with no response. In Auckland they have a billboard in Fanshaw Street at Farmer's car park with these words: How do you know He is listening, at least I deliver. It suggests that He may not be listening (or may be deaf) to your prayers and this is contrary to the Bible. God answers every prayer although some may be negative or delayed. It further suggests that this business is better than God because they deliver and God not. This advertisement in a Muslim country would lead to wholesale destruction and boycotts. It offends against the beliefs of all religions because of their faith in a god and the belief that he hears and answers prayers. Because Christians are peace living we do not react like that but we are very, very deeply offended by the suggestion contained in this advertisement. It is regarded as an insult against the Godhead and clearly directed at Him because of the use of a capital letter in "He". I am convinced that if it is brought to the attention of local Muslims it may release a reaction that will be damaging to this business and other innocents who may be caught in the crossfire. Perhaps it would be a good thing if it is brought to their attention. I await your decision before this is considered. I shall appreciate it if steps would be taken against them to force them to remove this insensitive and infuriating advertisement.”

Complaint 05/321

Complaint: One of the Hell Pizza advertisements on Radio Sport contained a woman saying the following: “Honey, I’ve been sleeping with your brother – and your mother. … Why don’t we get some dinner in and talk it through? … I’ll get some Hell Pizza.”

In another, where they were intending to have pizza for breakfast, several people appeared to have spent the night in the same bed.

Complainant, B. Carmine, said the advertisements were “offensive, containing explicit sexual references that mock serious relationships and promote adultery”.

Complaint 06/396

Complaint: The Hell Pizza website advertisements contained a number of images including a demon and fire, and statements including “Deliverance”, “Can you be saved?” and “Putting the vice in service.”

Complainant, S. Tyrrell, South City Baptist Church Tauranga, said: “…We feel that the whole concept is anti family values and makes fun and diminishes the seriousness of the bible teaching on hell…”

Complaint 06/355

Complaint: The Flyer advertisement distributed to letter boxes was headed up:


Beneath this was a cartoon image of a red ‘child-like’ devil character holding a sling-shot with pizza slices and pizza sauce splattered on and around him.

The Complainant C. Windsor said:

“Yesterday 12 September I received in my mail box a very upsetting advertisement for Hell Pizza, which I hereby enclose.

I don’t think I have seen such a blatantly offensive advertisement ever.

As a country are we not trying to make people aware that children are precious and to have it printed on an advertisement that quote KIDS ARE EVIL is very distressing to me. Haven’t we had enough of our children being mistreated and killed and to refer to them as EVIL is disgusting. …”

Duplicate Complainants shared similar views and also expressed concern at the promotion of a negative message about children and objected to the caricature that featured in the advertisement.

This complaint received a response from Hell's agency, Cinderella, which read in part:

Well, bugger me. I believe that prevailing community standards are such that this campaign has not caused serious or widespread offence. – unless you happen to be a member of the religious loony fringe, or have undergone a total humour bypass. Thankfully, I am reasonably certain that ‘prevailing community standards’ are not yet being set by this small group.-otherwise we most certainly wouldn’t be saying bugger on tellie, ever.

Not surprisingly, the complaint was upheld

You can read these and many more on the Advertising Standards Authority's database.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Book of Ron

Why members of the Exclusive Brethren should not send emails:

because The Exclusive Brethren practice separation from evil, recognising this as God's principle of unity. They shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet. Their charter is 2 Timothy 2:19 "The Lord knows those that are his; and, Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity."

and Their homes and vehicles are free of the pipelines of media filth: television, radio, and the Internet, in accordance with their baptism and commitment to separation from the world.

and people find out.

Interestingly, Mr Ron Hickmott's email to Don and John (which is reproduced in Nicky Hager's book) was sent from Tuatara Flooring at A search of the Companies Register shows that no such company exists or has existed. Did Mr Hickmott invent the company? If he did, would that not make him guilty, not only of using the pipelines of media filth but of bearing false witness?

Whilst on the matter, you might notice that I have taken quotes from the Exclusives' own website, although you might also notice that the site refers to them in the third person, as if it were written by someone else. Besides, being guilty of using the conduits of evil communications this site also commits the sin of having really annoying rollover sounds.

Apparently, the Exclusives also identify the internet with another passage of Scripture: “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh ...” Ephesians 2:2-3. AV.

Does this mean that the Ephesians had access to wireless broadband and internet porn?

P.S: there is another Exclusive Brethren website

We are all just prisoners here, of our own device

From the Washington Post comes news of the conclusions of the Iraq Study Group, which has spent the last eight months trying to find a way out of that horrible mess. Under its recommendations:
the emphasis of the U.S. military presence in Iraq would shift from fighting the insurgency and containing sectarian violence to backing up Iraqi security forces dealing with those problems. This approach would place less emphasis on combat operations and more on logistics, intelligence and training and advising Iraqi units.
Also, a large residual combat force would be required to protect all the personnel involved in those operations and to provide a security guarantee to the Iraqi government.
This could be described as the Hotel California option: you can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yet another modest proposal

Roll up, roll up, for the greatest show on earth: the rugby stadium that has become a political football.

Auckland City Council does not want to pay for improvements to Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup. No doubt they are a little piqued that they voted for the waterfront option, only to be trounced by the mysterious, enigmatic Auckland Regional Council, the body which really holds power round here. ARC wanted Eden Park; ARC also owns the waterfront so Stadium New Zealand could have been a contender but wasn't. Cabinet booted the idea into touch; Stadium New Zealand's coach Trev Mallard came out and told the waiting crowds that the game was over.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Auckland, the choice offered by the Government to our Council was one of which Hobson (not that Hobson, the other one) would have been proud: we will pay for a nice shiny new stadium or you can pay for tarting up the old one. More unfortunately still, although ARC wanted Eden Park, it won't help pay for it.

In the circumstances, it seems appropriate that Auckland City Council shares an acronym with the Accident Compensation Corporation. When all the carnage is over, ACC is expected to pay for clearing up the mess. Although, this time they are more than a little reluctant. It is no wonder; not only does Auckland have far more pressing problems than a football stadium (such as drainage and public transport) but Aucklanders are facing massive rates increases over the next few years to pay for these needs. Besides (and it is a very big Besides) Auckland City Council does not own Eden Park. The Council is expected to hand over its citizens' money to a private trust.

So, what to do? The Government was talking of financing Stadium New Zealand with a bed tax levied on hoteliers (although not, I suppose, on those other providers of beds to sports fans, to whom I referred in my earlier post about stadium politics). The hoteliers were more than a little miffed about this suggestion; they pay their taxes, etc, etc.

Hotel, motel, holiday inn, I have a better idea.

How about a rugby tax? It would work like this: the Eden Park improvements would be financed by the people who are making money out of rugby in New Zealand. The Union can pay; Adidas can pay; so can Ford and Sanitarium and all the other feeders at the trough of our national game. For that matter, the players can pay: after all, whether the haka is performed in the changing room or out on the field, it is being performed by fifteen very profitable businesses.

I am sure all the men in blazers will protest vehemently. They will talk about how rugby benefits the nation, how it is such a good brand for New Zealand; they will talk about how we all win on the day if we give them lots of cash. But let us not kid ourselves. Rugby is a business and a small number of people are making a lot of money from it. Now its time for them to pay. We, the people of Auckland and New Zealand, have more important things on which to spend our money.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Here comes another Winter

Apropos my last post, I could not help but notice that the Maxim website has an opinion piece by Paul Henderson, about charities. I have previously commented about Mr Henderson, formerly Director of Maxim's Centre for Education, whom Old Maxim referred to as "nationally recognised as an expert in curriculum development and values education." Old Maxim also said that Mr Henderson's special interest is in hermeneutics (tell that to Paul Riceour) although New Maxim is a little more circumspect.

Anyway, Mr Henderson has written about charities. In the preferred fake academic style of Maxim he starts with a literary reference:
John Donne’s love poem 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' begins in a strange place. It opens with a deathbed setting and the ambiguity that surrounds a dying person’s last breath. The person is "virtuous."

Quite what this has to do with charities is a little unclear but he goes on to talk about "Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist, who was found dead in the lift of her Moscow apartment...The majority of those who know her work are mourning. Those who have read her obituary, and who dislike injustice, are touched by grief."

Again, what does this have to do with charities? Nothing, nothing whatsoever, except that the leading educationalist and hermeneutician is attempting to tug at our heart-strings. He goes on to talk about Freedom of Speech and Amnesty International. Surprisingly, he does not mention Bono.

Apropos, again, my last post, I mentioned that Maxim is a registered charity. Regardless of John Donne, Anna Politkovskaya, Amnesty International or Bono, Maxim is worried. The Charities Commission is considering an "approach for dealing with requests from charitable entities to restrict public access to certain details about them that normally would be available to the public on the Charities Register." Why should Maxim be worried? I suspect that Maxim and a lot of organisations with which it is associated, do very well out of the current rules about charities. I suspect as well that there is a lot they do not want us to know about.

I said in my last post that I would follow the money. A lot of it is about money. Charities get loads of tax benefits, principally that they do not pay income tax. This is all well and good, if you think about charities as organisations that are actively interested in the common good or particular goods: widows, orphans, small furry animals, that sort of thing. However, the legal definition of charities is very broad and quite archaic. Maxim, after all, is an an educational charity.

But, then again, Bishop Brian Tamaki's odious Destiny Church is also a charity, in fact a series of franchised charities which would give any tax lawyer a headache, albeit a very well paid one. Behind the veil of 'charity' a host of activities are going on, many of which are not in the least bit charitable. The trouble for anyone who investigates these organisations is that you hit a brick wall when the subject of your inquiry is a charity. There is a lot that any normal business would have to declare that a charity can conceal.

After many many years of work, moves are afoot to make charities a little more transparent.

No wonder the hermeneutician and his employers and their friends are worried.

Lets twist again (like we did last Summer)

And we're back. Sorry for the absence of postings last week but the sudden appearance of Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men led to a lot of activity, including meetings in underground carparks. There is a lot about the Exclusive Brethren that needs to be made more inclusive. Yes, dear reader, the Fundy Post shall be following the money and you will read it here first.

But first, the Maxim Institute. As Russell Brown points out on today's Hard News, there is a lot more to The Hollow Men than the Exclusive Brethren and that bunch who wanted a fair tax for racehorses. If you really want to find some hollow men, look no further than 49 Cape Horn Road, Hillsborough, Auckland.

After I had exposed his crony Bruce Logan as a plagiarist, that noisome little prick Greg Fleming said I was obsessed with the Maxim Institute. He said this on National Radio and he went on to accuse me of plagiarism, a defamation which he may still regret. At times, I may have seemed somewhat focused on Mr Fleming and his mates; but then I knew that Mr Logan was not the only fraud at Maxim. I knew the entire organisation was bogus. I couldn't prove it, at least not without betraying a source of information.

Nicky Hager has now shown what many others long suspected: that Maxim is nothing more than a large, stinking pile of horse manure. It not just the cod social science that Maxim spouted in its pompous submissions to Parliament and its endless 'reports' and 'studies; it is not just the fake awards that Maxim always crows about; it is not just the pretensions of erudition and learning. As Mr Hager has shown, Maxim perpetrated a massive fraud on the people of New Zealand.

For the benefit of those who may not have reading at the time, Maxim set up a website called NZ Votes before last year's general election. Surprisingly, it is still there. As the introductory blurb says: is a community service provided by Maxim Institute to help make it easier for New Zealanders to be well-informed when they cast their votes.

The site is non-profit, and non-partisan. All political content on this site is the view of the parties, candidates, and guest columnists, in their own words.

As Mr Hager has now shown, this was all a load of bollocks. I opined at the time that NZVotes was designed to bring home the Fundy vote to National, to stop the God-fearing from thinking about voting for Christian Heritage, Destiny or United Future and give their votes to Don. Christian Heritage's then leader Ewan McQueen (a man for whom I have some sympathy) later complained that his party's votes were taken away by Maxim. What Mr Hager demonstrates, with the benefit of emails, is that National were in on the joke all along.

Of course, NZ Votes was not just a website; it was more a way of life. Maxim commissioned a bunch of fundies to produce a DVD which was circulated to churches; its thinly-veiled message was that, under MMP, a vote for a Christian party is a wasted vote, because those parties would be unlikely to get past the five percent threshold. Meanwhile, glamourous single mother Sandra Paterson (whatever happened to her?) was giving the same message to readers of the NZ Herald. At the same time, Amanda McGrail, Maxim's resident faux-redhead, was organising a network of contacts in the churches "to keep your congregations and constituents up to date on the social/political issues in a timely and relevant way."

Maxim went on the road as well, with a series of "political forums," where candidates were asked the "burning questions." The questions were almost guaranteed to be about burning homosexualists and loose women, because Maxim had decided that the election issues were to be 'moral' ones. The NZ Votes website was slewed towards demanding answers from candidates about conscience issues and apparently the political forums were managed in much the same way. Some friends of mine attended one in South Auckland that began with a prayer, before lurching into questions about gays. Apparently, candidates had to pay Maxim for the privilege of this onslaught.

Maxim did not want just the fundies for National; it yearned for the ex-pat votes as well. Hager mentions some advice given to National by Maxim that their research showed ex-pats be more than likely to be conservative. National made the mistake of believing research from Maxim: no doubt one of the pin-striped sexless dweebs who work at Cape Horn Road had heard that ex-pats in London all go to Church on Sunday.

Anyway, I could go on; and I will later. But for the mean time, I will mention just two matters arising from Hager's revealations. First, the people who really got fooled again are the ones in the pews: Maxim manipulated their hopes and fears to grab their votes, just as the neo-cons did in America. Second, as I have said many times before, this work was done with our money: the Maxim Institute is a charity and so benefits from generous tax breaks. Of course, Maxim will continue to claim that it is "an independent research and public policy think tank" but we all know now what it is really about.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Of Mike and Ilk

I woke up this morning, found a comment on my blog
I woke up this morning, found a comment on my blog

I had hoped that my post about the Dead C would spark a lively debate about avant-garde music, so I was delighted that someone had posted a comment; delighted until I read that comment. Here it is:
Great article on 3rd generation welfare.
now this is a person who actually thinks about the welfare of the nation.
how about you?

How about me? A question I so often ask myself, but we will let that pass. How about 3rd generation welfare? Is that like 3rd generation warfare or 3rd generation cellphones? It is, whatever it is, somewhat besides the point. I was talking about music, not welfare.

So then I read on and find that MikeNZ had commented on some of my other posts. He is one of those random commentators who roam the blogs leaving their traces all over the place. They are the blogging equivalent of taggers. After my bit about Frank Ellis and Antony Flew, MikeNZ made this comment:

Maxim have it about right I think.
More of mum and dad less of steve and helen.
as for intelligent design, you see what you want to see or don't is my observation.

He is at least closer to the point this time, if not quite there yet. I was a bit unsure about Steve; I thought for one moment he might be one half of Adam and Steve, the mythical gay couple who are always invoked by fundies in discussion. "As for intelligent design, you see what you want to see or don't is my observation" is a sentence which deserves many hours of parsing.

Then I found the thoughts of MikeNZ on my post about Maxim's new website:

I wonder what the world would look like if the maxims of this world let you and your ilk have free rein.
Oh yeah anything goes as long as you like it!
What was I thinking, silly billy.

Now I must correct MikeNZ here. I do not have an ilk. However, Sir Iain Moncreiffe of That Ilk had one. He used to be plain Sir Iain Moncrieffe of Easter Moncreiffe until he became clan chief. I don't like to be a pedant but... no, in fact, pedantry gives me immense pleasure, so I shall enjoy telling MikeNZ that "of that ilk" means a place name identical to the family name: the designation means that Sir Iain was Sir Iain Moncreiffe of Moncreiffe. Sir Iain was also Albany Herald of Arms at the Lyon Court. He used to swim wearing a deerstalker.

What MikeNZ means by my ilk quickly becomes apparent in his comment on my posting about Hell Pizza:

Being happily married I don't need a condom as the safest sex is with spouses who are faithful to each other.
But then that's a worldview i don't expect you get is it?

Not at all, MikeNZ; I understand completely. That's my ilk: adulterers and fornicators. You've got me bang to rights, guv. I run with a pretty fast crowd: art historians, aestheticians, even electro-acoustic musicians. Still, my gang were shocked that you should advocate threesomes; but if you want to have sex with spouses, that is your thing. Follow your bliss.

Of course if the likes of Maxim let my ilk and I have free rein, then anything goes as long as we like it. Soon everyone will be into free love, free jazz and even (now that Milton Friedman is dead) free lunch. Of course, Mike, there is one sin we will not tolerate and that is free syntax, so you had better watch your language.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Musical interlude

For your entertainment, here is the only television appearance ever made by The Dead C.

I include it here for two reasons. First, this is my blog and I can post what I want. Second, Alistair Galbraith was a guest on the Playing Favourites section on Kim Hill's show last Saturday. Galbraith is an experimental musician and a very good one at that. One of his musical choices was a Dead C tune called Power; it was probably the first time that they have been played on National Radio. It was a great day for experimental-art-noise-whatever-you-want-to-call-it music.

Not suprisingly, The Dead C do not have a Myspace profile but you can read about them here and about the television appearance here. You can read about Alistair Galbraith here and listen to his music here. For a limited period, you can hear the interview (without the music, for copyright reasons) here.

This post is really a roundabout way of dissauding any reader from thinking that I might like the new Rod Stewart album for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station

My correspondent Anonymous has commented about Frank Ellis, following my recent post about the Maxim Institute. I was about to publish something on Ellis but I was distracted by talk of That Stadium. Now I must write, so there goes my evening.

For those who do not take quite as keen an interest in the work of the Maxim Institute as do Anonymous and I, here is an explanation. Frank Ellis was a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic Studies at Leeds University who was invited by Maxim to speak at its 2004 conference, "Political Correctness: End of an Error?" Maxim also published Ellis' book on the subject, with the snappy title Political Correctness and the Theoretical Struggle from Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault. This book was "a pioneering study" and you can see why. Some may think that the problem with Political Correctness is that it has gone mad; for Ellis, the trouble with PC is that it was always red. It was a "Russian Communist invention, going back to the times and plans of Lenin, and an intrinsic part of the unprecedented system of total censorship introduced by the Bolshevik leadership in the late autumn of 1917." Think of that the next time you refrain from sitting on a table.

Unfortunately for Dr Ellis, Political Correctness and the Theoretical Struggle from Bob and Carol to Ted and Alice has not brought him the accolades that Maxim undoubtedly thinks he deserves. More unfortunately still for Dr Ellis, some of his other opinions have brought him more spare time than he would have desired. Theoretical struggle or none, his employers at Leeds University decided that his views were a little too politically incorrect, particularly those on matters of race, gender and sexuality. He was sent into early retirement, after complaints by other staff .

As I mentioned in a previous incarnation of the Fundy Post, Dr Ellis has been associated with American Renaissance, which keeps company with the Ku Klux Klan and the British National Party. He is also on the advisory board of the Occidental Quarterly, which formerly called itself a "Journal of Nationalist Thought and Opinion" but has subsequently replaced the adjective 'Nationalist' (a shibboleth commonly used by fascist groups) with 'Western.' Dr Ellis has also contributed to the work of the Canadian Heritage Alliance, a murky and unpleasant group, with an essay on multiculturalism and, you guessed it, Marxism.

Dr Ellis was invited to speak at an American Renaissance conference about another of his books, The Macpherson Report: 'Anti-racist' Hysteria and the Sovietisation of the United Kingdom (as his titles show, Dr Ellis sees reds under the bed everywhere). The book is a criticism of the report by Sir William Macpherson of Cluny and Blairgowrie into the Stephen Lawrence case. Lawrence was a black teenager who was murdered by racists in 1993; despite a great deal of evidence, his murderers escaped conviction and Sir William blamed some of the Police's failings on institutional racism. I have not read Dr Ellis' work but by all accounts he seems to be arguing that political correctness is so endemic that even the 27th hereditary chief of the Clan MacPherson of Cluny has been infected.

The gruesome Australian League of Rights (an organisation of which our own dear Barbara Faithfull, guardian of morality and Secretary of the Credo Organisation, is a supporter) wrote approvingly of Dr Ellis in an article, snappily entitled Control and Nature of the Coming World Order, Part 2. The ALOR writer is appalled that Sir William, a former Scots Guards officer and CO of the Artists' Rifles (and thus "a man of impeccable background") should hold such views. Dr Ellis, himself formerly of 22 SAS, concludes that "the forces of Law and Order are a major focus of the Ideological Struggle of the Revolution."

Dr Ellis maybe a prof without honour in his own land but he still has a friend in Maxim; at least they will sell you his book. Regrettably, all other references to his work went down the memory hole before the new Maxim site was launched.

If you managed to work your way through the dense wordscape of the ALOR article, you may have noticed that the preface to Dr Ellis's work was written by Professor Antony Flew. This is the same Professor Flew who was formerly the World's Leading Atheist Philosopher until he decided that Aristotle was right and accepted the Prime Mover into his heart. Despite this lapse of faithlessness, Professor Flew remains an Honorary Associate of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc).

Although he is not known to hang out with the men in the pointy hoods, Professor Flew has conservative views; I once read one of his philosophical works which lurched mid-book from a discussion of the is/ought question to an attack on the concept of anti-racism. Professor Flew is also a contributor to Right Now magazine and a former Vice-President of the former Western Goals Institute, a now defunct organisation which which is worth reading about, if only to see a photograph of its Directorate.

Professor Flew also accepted the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University, a "A Global Center for Christian Thought and Spiritual Renewal". Philip E Johnson is the Berkeley law professor whose own contribution to Liberty and Truth was to invent the concept of Intelligent Design, thus "advancing our understanding of design in the universe by opening up informed dissent to Darwinian and materialistic theories of evolution."

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Hell is other people

Welly Girl has an update on the Hell Pizza condom controversy. I am wondering how many of those who complained to the Advertising Standards Authority had received a condom in the mail and how many simply did what Family First told them to do.

That Petrol Emotion

Pamziewamzie suggested I put pictures on this blog, so here is a photo of where all the cool kids are going.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Ellington Stadium

I apologise for this interruption in your normal service but an urgent matter has arisen. Trevor Mallard wants my opinion; yours as well, if you are an Aucklander. We must help Trevor decide. He has two options for a stadium in which to host the Rugby World Cup - refurbishing the old one at Eden Park or building a new one on the port. You might think that he could use one of the other stadia which litter the Auckland region but apparently not. It seems that none of these are good enough to host the Rugby World Cup, which is so important that we must spend half a billion dollars to provide a suitable venue. We have less than two weeks to make our choices known to Trevor (hint: he wants us to choose the new one).

Refurbishing the old stadium at Eden Park would seem to be a good idea, particularly because Eden Park is already a stadium where rugby is played, while the new stadium is mostly water at the moment. However, Trevor doesn't seem to like this idea. He keeps coming up with reasons not to do it. He says that building a new stadium would cost no more than sprucing up the old one, which seems difficult to believe. He thinks Eden Park is too much an Auckland stadium, so he wants to build a new stadium and call it Stadium New Zealand or Stadium Aotearoa New Zealand (it will probably end up being called the ANZ Stadium anyway - what usually happens is loads of public money is spent on a project and then some corporate sponsor gets the naming rights).

So what Trevor wants to do is to spend half a billion dollars on building a new stadium, which has to be ready in five years. At least it is largely a green field site; well, not quite: it is largely an underwater site. Still, Trevor thinks he can build a new stadium on two wharves separated by a body of water in less than five years for not much more than it would cost to refurbish a perfectly good stadium just up the road.

I think I can claim some expertise in this area. I am not an architect nor an urban planner but I used to play Sim City all the time. If you are not familiar with this area of activity, Sim City is a computer game in which you build cities. If your city is well planned, you attract citizens; if not, they go away: areas of your city go dark and fall into disrepair.

I don't think Trevor has played Sim City. If he had, he would know that spending huge amounts of money on a sports stadium and then putting it in the middle of your port area is really, really stupid. Not only do you break your budget on the building costs and lose revenue from your port but nobody will come to your stadium because it is in an industrial area.

Trevor really, really wants to go ahead with this really, really stupid idea but he says it is up to us to decide. He says we have a choice. We do not. We have a dilemma. Trevor has presented us with two options. One is really stupid but Trevor wants to do it. The other seems sensible but apparently has some problems.

There is a third option which Trevor has not suggested we consider. Here it is:

Do nothing

Radical isn't it? Breathtaking in its simplicity. If you are not convinced, read it again and give it some thought. Here it is again: do nothing.

I have no artist's impression for this option, no watercolour drawings or CGI. I have not done a scoping study, an environmental impact assessment or a cost-benefit analysis. I have not consulted local iwi. I have no projected completion date for this option, because there is nothing to start. I can guarantee that it will not be finished on time; nor will it be delayed. There will be no cost overruns, because there will be no costs.

Now, you might be thinking: "all well and good, but what about the Rugby World Cup?" Here is my second idea of the morning and it is almost as simple as the first:

Stuff the Rugby World Cup

Even more radical, isn't it? In case you think this concept is a little too far outside the square, let me explain it to you. If the International Rugby Board want to hold a World Cup here and Adidas are happy for them to do it, then all well and good. Let them get on with it. They can play at Eden Park or at Jade Stadium, which is almost a hundred years newer and is in Christchurch, which is a nice city in a nice part of New Zealand where rugby is very popular. If this is not good enough for them and none of the other stadia in New Zealand will do for them, then they can play it in Australia... or Argentina... or Canada.

I expect you think you can see a flaw in this plan. You are thinking that holding the World Cup in New Zealand is a good idea because it will bring in lots of money when all those rugby fans go on wild spending sprees. Maybe so, but what are they going to spend their money on? Here is my prediction: food, beer, prostitutes. Not exactly the Knowledge Economy is it? And when they all go home, the spending is finished. Sales of rubber johnnies will return to pre-Cup levels.

If Trevor had his way, we would be left with a big sports stadium which would bankrupt us unless we kept it busy with other activities. I know what you are thinking: we could get the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to play; or Tool. Yes, that would be nice, wouldn't it? Or maybe we could just keep it available in case aliens visit from another planet and want somewhere to address the leaders of the World.

Call me Ishmael but I suggest the best name for Trevor's waterfront folly would be Stadium Moby Dick. The name would symbolise its origins in the sea and how it rises out of the depths to destroy us for our pride and vainglory.

On the other leg, the one which is not wooden, my bold new concept for a non-stadium could be called the Ellington Stadium: "do nothing till you hear from me - and you never will."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Funk and Justice

The previous post that occupied this space has been deleted. My mockery of the inactivity of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (Inc) was undermined when they published a new home page with lots of stuff on it. On closer examination, only one bit of the stuff turns out to be an NZARH activity, but at least the page looks a bit better. The link to the Fundy Post also has been removed to ensure that my work for the Association has gone down the memory hole. However, you can still find it in the bowels of the NZARH site.

I am sure it is just a coincidence, but another website has had a revamp within days of the launch of the Fundy Post blog: the Maxim Institute. The makeover is more Monster Garage than What Not To Wear: huge amounts of useless verbiage have been thrown out to create a new image. New Maxim is caring and sharing, working "towards a more just, free and compassionate New Zealand." Old Maxim talked about Family and fretted about Maori spirituality. New Maxim is not afraid to talk about whanau. Everything has gone green as well: On the What We Value page is the statement:

Each generation is responsible for protecting and sustaining the earth’s natural resources, while cultivating them to enhance people’s lives and the lives of those to come.

Before you start cutting off your dreadlocks and signing up for Real Issues, read that statement again. It is more about resource management than ecology. Maxim seem to be jumping on the organic gravy train without leaving behind their old baggage of free market dogma.

Maxim's new profile requires serious analysis. I would have done that but I was distracted by the teaser for an article by Paul Henderson at the bottom of the home page:

On a recent trip to Canada I was struck by Olivia, the child of a sperm-donor still searching for her father's face.

My mind raced with images of Mr Henderson being beaten up by a girl with a hockey stick, demanding to know if he is her real father. Unfortunately, the story is not that interesting; in fact, it is very dull.

But that is besides the point. We have real issues to answer. Does Maxim really care? Have Murder Incorporated transformed themselves into the Glam Metal Detectives? Will Maxim deliver Funk and Justice for all? Watch this space for the next thrilling episode of the Maxim files.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Some unknown unknowns

I had intended to bring you a Fundy Post Mid-Term Elections Special directly from the media bunker at Absurdist House. Every thing was ready. I had my iBook, a comfy chair and a good view of the television. Most importantly, I had assembled a team of expert commentators. Unfortunately, one commentator thought it would be a good idea to drink Purple Nasties and had brought the ingredients with him.

Rather than posting up-to-the-minute election news and opinion, we competed to make the best associations from candidates' names. It was very funny at the time. I am not sure what happened in the elections. Apparently, the Democrats won.

In an effort to make something of the day, I should say that the televisual highlight was CNN's Blogparty. Some of America's finest bloggers had been assembled in one utterly inappropriate room (fake Louis Quinze furntiture, that sort of thing) to blog. It all seemed beside the point of blogging, which is not a group activity. It was, however, revealing. Such are the divisions in American politics, the Conservative bloggers and their Liberal rivals were at opposite ends of the room. Each faction even had its own CNN interviewer (IMHO, the woman who spoke to the Liberals was way more cute) and stereotypical dress standards: the Liberals wore Gap, while the Conservatives wore blazers and flannels.

Moving on, I shall miss Donald Rumsfeld; not for his incisive leadership and brilliant use of military resources, but for his poetry. Hart Seely is the author of Pieces of Intelligence, The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld. He explains it all better than I could here

Well, that rounds up our election coverage. As always, we are last with the news, although not necessarily least (contents may vary).

Parish News

1. Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, the Fundy Post is now syndicated on Live Journal, which means that Live Journal users can add the Fundy Post to their Friends pages and get regular updates or snippets or something by feeding and polling... you can see why I never became a Technical Writer. Anyway, it's here.

2. Intelligence is always welcome. If you have facts, gossip or clues, send them to the Fundy Post's top secret email address, which I shall write cryptically to prevent spammers finding it: fundypost AT gmail DOT com. Just remember to replace AT with that curly thing and DOT with a dot. If you have a special offer on Viagra, keep it to yourself.

3. My former Kete Were colleage Katie now has her own site, Foreign Correspondence which is all about Spain and other things. ¿Why not visit?

4. Thanks to Jesstastic, I have discovered 3 Quarks Daily. Apart from the literary reference in the title which makes you feel really smart if you get it, this site offers loads of good writing from all over the place. Gold Star Jess also introduced me to Boing Boing

5. That's it for now. I have probably forgotten something I should have mentioned.

Breaking news: after posting this post, I went to the kitchen at Absurdist House. A catalogue of errors occurred which began with the coffee machine and ended with my catching a bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil that was in freefall. This caused damage to my thumb andIseemtobehavingdifficultyusingthespacebar.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pork Scratchings

The blogger known as Piglet has closed down his site. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of his company, Piglet wrote an entertaining blog in which he described his sexual adventures. Now he is concerned that people are finding out his real identity, so the blog has to go.

Is it just me or was it obvious who Piglet was from the beginning? I thought everyone knew. However, just in case anyone in the Auckland blogging community is still in the dark, I will do my best to conceal his true identity. Using a cunning form of name substituton, I shall refer to the man behind piglet as Prescott Vine. This is the sort of pseudonym, after all, that would be adopted by an author of pornography, particularly in paperbacks published in the 1950s.

The details of Mr Vine's writing would be difficult to describe on a blog intended for all the family. Since this is not such a blog, I will do my best to recall the highlights. Mr Vine wrote lists, of women he had encountered. He didn't seem to have much regard for these women, which is a shame. He also wrote about a visit to a certain 'adult' club where, after various activities, he spilled something on his dress shirt; I would have kept that detail to myself, if I had been him. Mr Vine helpfully provided a guide to seduction as well, which did not involve Lust pizza, so far as I can recall. Interestingly, most of his adventures with women seemed to begin at Family, a gay club on K Road, which shows what you can achieve if you think outside the box, as it were.

I am sure he will be missed. What puzzles me is that Mr Vine thought he would be able to conceal his true identity. Apart from some obvious clues that would be noticed by anyone familiar with his other blogging, Mr Vine should have realised that anyone who writes blogs about his sex life will eventually be exposed. This happens because people want to know secrets, because they have a salacious interest in the sex lives of others and because former conquests do not take kindly to their indiscretions being described in detail.

Prescott Vine should also have realised his folly after the experiences of 'Abby Lee,' who writes a blog called Girl with a One-Track Mind (just in passing, I always seem to get involved with a girl with an eight-track mind, but that is my problem, not yours). Mr Vine links to Ms Lee's blog, so he should know about the consequences of sexual autobiography. Her mistake was agreeing to a publishing deal, so her 'confessions' migrated from the relative obscurity of the blogosphere to all good bookshops. She was soon exposed by a grubby tabloid newspaper, the Sunday Times, which used to investigate stories like Thalidomide. The story that outed her was entitled "By day she worked on Harry Potter. But by night ..." Make of that what you will.

In his farewell post, Mr Vine says "I don't want anything I've written here to be a distraction from anything I might do in future." A bit late to think that, you might say, but he is not alone: there is a generation of future political leaders who blog more or less graphically about their exploits, which may come back to haunt them.

I have just realised that I am beginning to sound like David Farrar, so I shall stop here.

How to make an American wilt

From Britain comes an idea that will have the President choking on his grits: scrap nukes and use the money saved to combat climate change.

The Worst Wing

The Neocons are revolting: David Rose of Vanity Fair has talked to the some of the people who created the foreign policy of the Bush Administration and they are very disappointed. Perle, Adelman, Frum, Gaffney, Rubin, Cohen: these are not minor characters. They are the men who brought us Gulf War II. It is all downhill for Bush from here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Please read

In the blogosphere, as in comedy, timing is everything. You have to launch your blog and make your major announcements at the right time, to get maximum impact, to bring in the readers and get the comments flowing.

I chose a different course. I launched the Fundy Post blog the day after Public Address System was revealed to the world. Finally, after years of frustrating libertarian pointy-heads by refusing them the opportunity to comment on Public Address, Russell Brown has created a space where public argument is encouraged. Now the pointy-heads can complain about political correctness and tell everyone to read Hayek, while everyone else ignores them and stays on topic.

As you can see, Public Address System is already popular. The comments are pouring in. Lest it be thought that I made a dreadful mistake in choosing my launch date, you should know that I was fully aware that Public Address System would be launched on Friday. I was one of the Business Class members who were invited to comment early for the soft launch, back in the old days of last week, before the site went public.

I also chose to launch the Fundy Post blog on a Saturday night; not just any Saturday night but Guy Fawkes Night. My launch strategy was not so complex as Russell's: I told my Myspace Friends. I guess they are all out having fun tonight.

My strategy may be the most successful counter-intuitive marketing ploy in the history of the internet; or I may be the George Costanza of blogging.

Quiet round here, isn't it?

Throw your homework onto the fire

It is not all about religion. Here is two minutes and forty seconds of pure, unadulterated joy: The Smiths

Teenage Lust

For a change, the latest outpouring of moral outrage is not about debauched homosexualists or fallen women but a pizza company. As my friend Pam Zie-Wamzie reports on Red Confectionery, Hell Pizza is marketing Lust, its meat-lovers' pizza, by distributing condoms to the masses. Inevitably, the guardians of decency are indignant.

Leading the charge is Family First, a relatively young organisation of which I am sure we will be hearing a lot. They have launched a campaign to boycott Hell, on the grounds that small children may find condoms in the mailbox and read the "explicit" instructions on how to use them. We all know what this will lead to: questions.

Closely behind comes Family Life International. Its Spokesman, Brendan Malone, made the mistake of engaging Hell's director on National Radio's Checkpoint, a debate which can be downloaded as a
podcast. The results were hilarious. Mr Malone claimed that Hell was creating a public health risk because the condom might be damaged by the warmth of the mailbox. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought condoms were designed to be put into warm places.

Mr Malone also condemned Hell for failing to include lubricants with the condoms, which makes one wonder how he thinks they will be used. Then he changed tack and argued that children might be tempted to imitate the instructions they would read on the packet.

Mr Malone's comments also make one wonder what kind of sex education he received. The Catholic kind, of course, where it's all about rhythm: FLI is a Popish plot to prevent all sex, except when it occurs in a Catholic marriage. Mr Malone did not reveal that he is opposed to all condoms, whether in mailboxes, wallets (another dangerous environment apparently) or carefully stored in a cool dark place.

Meanwhile, bringing up the rear (if that is the right phrase) comes Focus on the Family which insists that Hell Pizza are "potentially encouraging the illegal act of under-age sex." FOF is the local franchise of Dr James Dobson's Focus on the Family, the organisation which claimed SpongeBob SquarePants to be part of the vast homosexualist conspiracy.

Dr Dobson also organised a boycott of clothing company Abercromie and Fitch, because its catalogue included "overt portrayals of group sex, lots of teen and young adult nudity, men kissing, and teens/young adults frolicking in a river engaging in sexual activity in multiple group settings." Actually, he had a point there: the catalogue does show a lot of skin although, fortunately, there is little evidence of Abercrombie's dreary yuppie clothes.

Anyway, back to Hell. I cannot help thinking that the fundies' main gripe with the pizzamen is their temerity in naming the company Hell. A while back there was correspondence in the Western Leader about this blasphemy, if that is what it is. One reader complained about how difficult it is for a Christian to buy fast food, not ony because of heretical pizza but also because all those Asians who run the takeaways have their pagan idols on display.

Jesus of Cool

One of the duties of this blog will be to show you examples of fundies trying to get with the kids. A longer article on the abomination that is Christian Rock will follow at some later stage but, for the mean time, enjoy this press release about a festival to be held at the Raleigh Street Christian Centre in Cambridge:
After a wildly successful freshman year, In His Honour is back to rock harder and prove that it's here to stay. The recipe: Take a half-dozen of New Zealand's best bands, chuck them on two stages and cram their acts into one amazing day. Topped with the mother-of-all stage set-ups. Jivin' to your favourite bands cranked all the way up to eleven, this will be a day you'll be sharing with your grandkiddies (just to show 'em you knew how to rock). Just follow S.H.1 to Cambridge on November 11. And the entry fee is next-to-nada.

Rockin'. Note as well, the names of the bands involved: Mumsdollar, Moped, Radiator. You would never guess they were doing the work of the Lord. Perhaps this is the phenomenon known as stealth evangelism or perhaps they are thinking they can just slip into the mainstream, as POD and Evanescence have done. As this discussion on the desperately hip Christian yoof forum Soul Purpose shows, such tactics are something of an issue for young fundies.