Thursday, February 17, 2011

Towards a pink architecture

For many years, the architectural profession, divided as it is in so many respects, has been united in one common cause: disgruntlement that Barbie has never become an architect. Barbie has chosen many career paths and lifestyle choices over the years, yet the profession of architecture has never been among them. This is particularly troublesome for a profession which is acutely conscious of its rather poor performance when it comes to employing women (protip: that sole woman in the group photograph is probably the office manager; in more enlightened firms she might be an interior designer or even a landscape architect) despite its professed liberalism. Barbie's apparent reluctance to join the profession is also troubling, given her interest in domestic architecture - an interest the Architectural Centre has recorded.

Things went from badder to worstest when Barbie's makers polled Barbie's users on what jobs she should try next. Although Architect was one of the four possible choices, the users chose News Anchor and Computer Engineer; this was much to the chagrin of the profession, which immediately claimed the contest had been hijacked by geeks while muttering under its breath something about the voters being just girls; or men in sweatshirts pretending to be girls - whichever is worse.

But now the wailing and gnashing of teeth is at an end. Barbie Architect has arrived. As you can see, she looks nothing like an architect - architects have a colour range that spans the gamut from grey to black. They do not wear pink. They do not wear their glasses on their heads; besides, those glasses are a bit too hipster-retro for an architect these days: the preferred style is now ultra-light metal. Architects do not use drawing tubes; they don't draw any longer - they download their CAD files to flash drives (although that thing on her shoulder might be a pink RPG, which is more likely). They rarely smile.

On the plus side, Barbie's pink model is ahead of the curve on the much-anticipated PoMo revival.

As it turns out, Barbie is not the first architectural doll. It was Amanda the Architect, one of the Smartees - dolls with careers, the perfect gift for your hothoused little girl. Examine the photograph below and tell which one you think is Amanda.

No you are wrong. The one wearing specs in the houndstooth cardie is Ashley the Attorney, who obviously works for a very progressive practice and (considering that she and her positive role-model sisters arrived at the turn of the decade) is ahead of the hipster curve. Amanda is the hot brunette in red. You can read all about them here and you can read an aunt's appraisal here.

Still, Amanda being the first should not hold Barbie back. There are many arduous and low-paid jobs available. The Fundy Post wishes Barbie well in her new career and hopes that she will develop a more subtle colour range for her designs than her maker.

Heavenly - the birth of the twee:

All gas and gaiters

When Labour's social development spokeswoman Annette King asked about Salvation Army reports of high demand for food parcels, Mr Key responded by saying it was true that the global recession meant more people were on benefits.

"But it is also true that anyone on a benefit actually has a lifestyle choice. If one budgets properly, one can pay one's bills.

"And that is true because the bulk of New Zealanders on a benefit do actually pay for food, their rent and other things. Now some make poor choices and they don't have money left."
That nice Mr Key, when he tires of playing at being Prime Minister, should consider television; not slumping in front of it, but presenting a reality makeover game show (or whatever they call those things - I am not a viewer). I have in mind a show called Ask a Millionaire, in which Mr Key dispenses advice and wisdom to people less fortunate than himself, but not bludgers and time-wasters.

"Sir, what caused the unemployment?"

"Why, that would be global recession and certainly not any of the policies of the government I led so successfully."

"My Lord, why are the poor always with us?"

"That is because some people make poor choices."

But, Your Grace, how can that be so? Surely it is not the fault of the poor that they are poor?"

"I could have you thrashed for your impudence, but I shall exercise clemency and give you an answer. The proof that the poor are so because of their lifestyle choices is that not all people are poor, therefore those that are poor must take responsibility for their lifestyles. QED"
Meanwhile Bishop Brian is at it again. In a story with the appealing title Destiny, cult-watchers in clash over Christ, it is revealed that Bishop has had a revelation (Brian is known to his followers not as the Bishop or My Lord but simply and directly as Bishop, as befits a man who rides a Harley-Davidson; vroom, vroom). As a result of said revelation Mark Vrankovich deems Destiny to now be a cult, a decision to which the obvious reaction is "what took you so long?" It is worthy of note in this context that Mr Vrankovich also thinks the Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult, solely on theological grounds - if your gang don't read the Bible right, then your gang is a cult. Garth concurs.

Me, I don't care. We give all these people too much attention. Brian is a showman who attracts the greedy and stupid to his tent with the promise of salvation and riches. Brian's homophobia is of concern; his theology is his own problem. Before publishing stories and op-eds about heresy, newspapers might like to consider that people are entitled to to believe whatever they like. Given that many Anglicans do not believe in the resurrection of Christ, it won't be long before the likes of Vrankovich are declaring the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to be a cult, when in truth it is just a complicated bureaucracy in which political correctness went so mad that it divided itself into three racially-segregated parts.

I could go on, but I would rather listen to this:

Just one more thing, as Lieutenant Columbo used to say: what about the investors in South Canterbury Finance? They made poor lifestyle choices; yet they do not have to live on food parcels.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feeding frenzy: next exit

FAMILY FIRST NZ's role is to be a voice for families in the public domain, and to research family, marriage and pro-life issues. The following list contains just over 25 family issues and policies. Will you complete the survey for us? Your opinion will shape the work of Family First NZ, so that we can better represent families in New Zealand.It only takes a couple of minutes to complete but we would greatly appreciate your input.

Thank you for your participation.
Gentle readers may wish to participate in the Family First Family Issues Survey. Bob will appreciate it.

In other news:
When it came to naming youthful bridesmaids and page boys - expected to provide unbelievably cute photogenic fodder - Prince William seems to have exercised his royal prerogatives, Vickers said.

"Most of the bridesmaids and pages are very much from William's side, although that's not surprising," he said.

"It was very much the same at Charles and Diana's (1981) wedding."


Having the kiddie contingent so young could pose a logistical challenge familiar to any parent. Could we see tantrums as the ceremony is broadcast live to millions around the world? It's possible, but hopefully not.

"I'm sure the bridesmaids will be kept in line and not allowed to run amok," Little said.
Could we see more twaddle like this published in our newspapers? Alas, I think we could.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boo Radley ate my homework

I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias of Egypt

Now that Mubarak has gone, now that the Egyptian military are
ensuring they will remain the people who run the country, now that the Egyptian people have less representation than before their protests (in fact, none at all), we can look back on the events of the past [however many days it was] and ask ourselves what really happened. How was it that Malcolm Gladwell could ruin his reputation so thoroughly, by the simple act of writing five pages of tosh for the New Yorker?

To put it another way, when was your tipping point? Perhaps it was reading Ari Melber's succinct analysis in the Nation. Or perhaps you developed an awareness of Gladwell's essential toshiness much earlier, before the present crisis. Perhaps, like me, you perceived the overarching theme of tosh in all his work long ago; if so, we can share the satisfaction of watching the world waking up to the knowledge we have have held so long.

Perhaps for you, as for many, it was the Stephen Pinker review:
An eclectic essayist is necessarily a dilettante, which is not in itself a bad thing. But Gladwell frequently holds forth about statistics and psychology, and his lack of technical grounding in these subjects can be jarring. He provides misleading definitions of “homology,” “sagittal plane” and “power law” and quotes an expert speaking about an “igon value” (that’s eigenvalue, a basic concept in linear algebra). In the spirit of Gladwell, who likes to give portentous names to his aper├žus, I will call this the Igon Value Problem: when a writer’s education on a topic consists in interviewing an expert, he is apt to offer generalizations that are banal, obtuse or flat wrong.
Of course, Pinker is like Gladwell in that he is a popular author on subjects of the mind, but Pinker has a job at MIT and knows Noam; moreover, this flaming was published in the New York Times, Gladwell's own paper; moreover still, and perhaps crucially, Pinker has hair which is even more eccentric and bigger than Gladwell's.

Perhaps you tipped when you read the Nation's meta-review by Maureen Tkacik:
The Economist was astute to observe that the sheer obviousness of Outliers' core ideas, which were "unlikely to take even the least reflective reader by surprise," marked a departure from The Tipping Point. But when the magazine described The Tipping Point's chief attraction as its title concept's capacity to lend "the power of apparent inevitability to almost any argument," it failed to mention that the concept was central to Outliers as well--this despite that the purported aim of Outliers was to remind readers that "success," for most of us, is anything but inevitable. Such are the contradictions that seem to riddle not just Gladwell's thinking but the thinking on Gladwell's thinking, and perhaps even the thinking on thinking on that, and it is precisely these slippery but substantive contradictions that have allowed Gladwell to tout his revolutionary "big ideas" without couching them in anything so mundane as a logical, well-supported or otherwise sound argument. In this failing, he is not unique among either media mavens or the intelligentsia, but he is, perhaps, outstanding.
Or perhaps you were an outlier: you read one of the many generic hagiographies of Gladwell published in business magazines and took it the wrong way; perhaps you read something like this from Fast Company
But nowhere is Gladwell's influence being felt more than in business. Starbucks' Howard Schultz publicly attributed his company's success to the tipping-point phenomenon. The public- relations agency Ketchum created what it infelicitously named an "Influencer Relationship Management" database that emulates Gladwell's model of connectors, mavens, and salesmen. One tech company even named itself TippingPoint Technologies Inc. The mere mention of his name to creative directors or product developers results in nouns not typically associated with business thinkers: He's a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud.
Suddenly, in a blink you realised that Gladwell serves the interests of the truly deplorable, the people who gave the world the raspberry mocha chip frappuccino.

Perhaps, like me, you are one of those people who are accustomed to reading literature, rather than oh-wow books that attempt to explain everything in the terms of some simple dictum. Perhaps the Gladwell frenzy passed you by: you were reading Turgenev at the time. But then you read Issac Chotiner's demolition in The New Repubic of Gladwell's interpretation of To Kill a Mockingbird:
Here is Gladwell's analysis of one of American literature's (and American cinema's) most moving scenes. For starters, he seems to be confusing or conflating political passion with personal passion. Must all civil rights heroes yell and scream? Must all southern gentleman be weak-kneed appeasers of racism? And how does keeping silent--as opposed to "brimming with rage"--show a more concrete desire for radical change? What does the disposition of Atticus Finch have to do with a bias toward "hearts and minds" rather than the law (which is a false distinction anyway). It must also be said, again, that Finch is a lawyer.
You have little or no idea who this man is or what he wants, but you find yourself offended that Gladwell speaks as if he has access to some store of knowledge about the book of which we know nothing, that he appears to claim to know more about the motivations of the book's characters than anyone else, including Harper Lee. You think to yourself, this man is an imposter. He is making it up.

Today, gentle reader, you know you are not alone.

I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused

The PM said the Government had been true to its word in not rolling back any of the gains made by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, including the Civil Unions Act.

Radio host Steven Oats invited Mr Key to his stall and asked him whether he would support civil unions if a conscience vote were held tomorrow.

"I voted against it last time. It was a very marginal call. But we're not going to face that again, so ..."

Mr Oats persisted, but Mr Key would not reveal his cards.

"I'm leaving it until my book. I know the answer, but just wait until my book," he said.
That was close. It should be a lesson to us all about statesmanship. You go out for a photo call and suddenly you get hit with a judgement call. After all this time in office and quite without warning, you find yourself being asked to state a principle. Fortunately, for Mr Key, he has an evasion up his sleeve.

Anyway, it is not as if he has done anything bad is it? He hasn't undone any of the good work of the last government, which really is just the same as doing good work, isn't it?

Pic unrelated

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be your own pet

It was interesting to observe that Heidegger was very much present in both Sloterdijk and Latour’s talk during their recent joint appearance at Harvard. For Sloterdijk, it was a matter of building on Heidegger positively, by “explicitating” Heidegger’s notion of being-in. As Latour quipped, for Sloterdijk “Dasein is design,” and explicitation means rendering the material aspects of being human visible. Thus Sloterdijk shows that being-in for humans means living in bubbles, in a world that looks like foam — marvellously refreshing metaphors for facilitating a new way of imagining sociality. A host of biological and evolutionary themes were also evoked, often resulting in startling observations, such as describing women’s bodies as “architectural units” and “apartments” for “interiorising the egg.” Sloterdijk drew parallels between evolutionary biological processes and architecture, claiming that “humans are pets,” i.e. “the effects of the space they create.” He did have a few very funny lines, aided by his deadpan delivery.
In which hiptellectuals Sloterdijk and Latour talk about girls, guided by the shade of philosophy's favourite Nazi.

So, how's that architectural unit working for you? Is is any wonder that Bruno and Peter are the current favoured thinkers of the architectural profession, given architecture's professed progressivism and its actual failure to give women good jobs?

Photograph of the Architecture Faculty at Minsk Polytechnic, from a series that can be found here

Wait, there's more; from a 3 June 2006 Der Spiegel interview with Sloterdijk, translated by Christopher Glazek and published in Harper's, Vol 313, No 1976, September 2006:
Women are gatherers by brith, and man needs them now more than ever, because from the gatherer nature leads the shortest path to the female consumer. Women at this point are much more compatible with capitalism than men. In the consumer we can still see the calm triumphal satisfaction of the gatherer who brings things home in her basket. Here the mysterious feminine universal - the purse - has its roots. A man without a spear - or without a ball - that's all right, but a woman without a purse, that's against nature.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Friday, 11 February 2011, 4:36 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Government

11 February 2011

McCully calls for substantive reforms in Egypt

Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully says a spirit of restraint and moderation will be needed from both the Government and protesters in Egypt if there is to be a constructive ending to the current impasse.

“Clearly substantive and meaningful reforms are required if the administration is to meet the legitimate expectations of the Egyptian people. Equally clearly, that process needs to commence with sufficient commitment to diffuse current tensions.

“It is not yet apparent how today's speech from the President will contribute to that process. But it is already clear that many of the protesters will continue to call for more reform, more quickly.

“We join others in urging the Egyptian leadership to listen and respond, and the protesters to pursue their objectives through means that are non-violent and constructive,” said Mr McCully.

New Zealanders still in Egypt should exercise extreme caution over the next few days given the prospect of continued protests.

In other words, nothing. Here's Wilson, Keppel and Jonathan:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

There's no other way

The Waitemata Local Board has been gagged from talking publicly about a secret deal condemning eight 20th century industrial buildings in the Wynyard Quarter to rubble.

The former Auckland City Council is understood to have done a deal with a private landowner, Viaduct Harbour Holdings, to leave eight buildings out of a list of 17 buildings deemed worthy of protection by Salmond Reed heritage architects.

The deal is so secret the Auckland Council will not even confirm its existence and last night members of the Waitemata Board were brought under the blanket of confidentiality to stop Aucklanders learning anything.

It's happening again. Yet, only a few media releases ago, Mayor Brown - speaking of the Turua Street debacle - said
... he is determined that this kind of issue not be repeated and to ensure the Auckland Plan protects our built heritage.
So what are we to make of this? Not only does Mayor Brown seem unconcerned with what little remains of Auckland's historic building stock, but he also seems to be uninterested in open government. As noted in my previous post, democracy does not seem to be one of his concerns either. I don't know about you but he is beginning to remind me of someone.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Write about love

Ho Hum; another day, another dead horse to flog. Sometimes I wonder why I bother but here goes anyway. Let us start with the lead story in today's Herald.
A dream Overseas Experience has turned to tragedy for three young New Zealand women after food poisoning killed one and left the other two in hospital.

Sarah Carter, 23, died on Sunday, reportedly after eating a seaweed delicacy at a market in Chiang Mai, Thailand - just hours before her mother could get to her bedside.
This is very sad. However, it is not very important. You may think me heartless for saying so but it is true: somebody dying of food poisoning is sad but unimportant. Sorry.

Here is another story from today's Herald:
The unelected Maori Statutory Board will cost Auckland ratepayers $3.4 million a year to run after its budget was rushed through under urgency yesterday.

Councillors were given virtually no time to consider the budget, which has blown out from a $400,000 estimate - by the agency that set up the Super City - to a multi-million-dollar cost.

Mayor Len Brown will have to slash $3 million from existing spending in his first budget or raise rates to pay for the unbudgeted cost.
This is very important. Auckland Council's brief experiment with democracy is finished. The Council committees comprised of our elected representatives will be now be augmented by unelected people, who the power to vote on all matters. Our local democracy has been sabotaged and we shall have to pay for it. The large sum demanded to pay for this travesty was approved by a committee, not by the full Council.

I could go on. Instead, here is a film about Belle and Sebastian, in which everybody is cool, good-looking and very nice. It is filmed in Glasgow which, as this and previous Belle and Sebastian films have shown, is the most beautiful city in the world.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

For those about to rock...

Kids of 88, Zowie, Computers Want Me Dead, Pikachunes, O’Lovely and DJ Andrew Tidball join forces to bring you the ultimate free orientation concert! There will be a licensed bar, so remember to bring your ID. Make sure you keep it under control. If you look drunk and disorderly you'll be sent to the first aid room to chill out!
... keep it under control or you will be forced to chill out.

Dontchajustloveit when the people in charge try to get down with the kids but fall flat on their faces in a mess of bossyness and clumsy slang?
Dont bring your own alcohol to the event. Bags will be searched at the door and alcohol will be confiscated. This is a smoke and drug-free event.
Well, no, it won't be. The one drug allowed, and in fact promoted, will be alcohol. But supply will be controlled by the management, which will hold the monopoly for drug sales on the day.

No wonder they are holding the event in the Business School.

Monday, February 07, 2011

The little book of Bob

So, I am walking along Ponsonby Road this morning, pushing my way through the hordes of yummie mummies and their adorable over-achieving children (and let's not forget their wittily cross-bred dogs), when I came across a poster advertisement for a television show. It is called The Politically Correct Parenting Show and it is presented by Nigel Latta, who looks quite peculiar. Perhaps with this peculiarity in mind, the advertiser has augmented the poster with the reassuring message "he's one of us." I am sure the mummies and the daddies will feel all the better for that. They might otherwise have thought "hmm, a man of peculiar appearance who gives advice on parenting; he must be one of those academic types, one of those coves who holds post-modern views and doubtless leads an unconventional lifestyle which involves practices that have names only in French; not the sort of fellow I would want to have any influence over my parenting."

But it is all right. Nigel is a clinical psychologist, that much is true; but he is, more importantly, one of us. So his parenting advice, which is reassuringly politically incorrect, can be taken. There is no danger of getting any weird continental ideas. In case you are still worried, let TVNZ comfort you:

Just when you could be forgiven for thinking that the beige brigade have won, just when many of us were on the verge of giving up and abandoning the field to the kind of people who really do think it isn't safe for kids to climb trees and poke each other in the eyes with sticks, and just when you thought stimulating after school activities were mandatory, along comes a television show that flies in the face of 'conventional wisdom'.
See, it is safe for kids to poke each other in the eyes with sticks; that flies in the face of conventional wisdom, doesn't it? You won't hear that sort of thing from the beige brigade.

But then the copywriter continues:

The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show is the freshest thing to hit the world of parenting since someone first thought: 'Hey, what about instead of washing cloth nappies all the time, we made disposable ones you could just biff on some landfill somewhere? Sure they might take 10,000 years to biodegrade, but think about the convenience...'
Um yes; well, no. Maybe someone needs a holiday. Maybe someone is letting the cat out of the politically incorrect bag, as it were. Maybe there is slight and unhelpful suggestion in that last paragraph that all this political incorrectness is just selfishness and stupidity. Maybe.

Maybe we should listen to Dr Edwards, a highly intelligent, highly educated, 71-year-old liberal, according to himself. Maybe intelligent, educated people still have something to offer, something like intelligence, and education.

Or we could listen to Bob
Family First director Bob McCroskrie, who worked in schools in South Auckland for 10 years, said some doctors were too quick to diagnose "naughty kids" with ADHD and prescribe them drugs when what they actually needed was "some counselling, therapy and firm discipline".

"Maybe all we're doing is drugging up naughty kids rather than dealing with the reasons why they're naughty in the first place," McCroskrie said.
Drugs, who needs them? Who needs experts? Who needs physicians? We got Bob, and Bob is all we need. You see, Bob knows. Bob knows that these doctors, these specialist paediatricians and psychiatrists are misdiagnosing naughty kids and giving them drugs as if drugs were a reward for being naughty, when they should be giving them firm discipline. Bob's like that. He just knows. He doesn't need medical training; he doesn't need to see the children who are being treated. He don't need no office with certificates on the wall; he don't need no fancy job title, no research, no library, no high falutin' quali-fic-ations. He just knows. Nobody can spell his name, but he knows.

And because he knows, journalists will always go to him for an opinion, while those pesky experts like Dr Julia Rucklidge will be quoted further down the story, where most of the readers don't go.

Experts, who needs them? What these kids need is counselling, therapy and a good kicking.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Nobody's business but the Turks

An Iranian immigrant who was paid just $9 an hour while working up to seven days a week as a waitress has won an estimated $10,000 in backpay.

Zahra Barzegari was employed at the Little Turkish Cafe in Auckland's Karangahape Rd soon after arriving in New Zealand in 2009.

She worked 50-hour weeks, missed just 20 days' work in 11 months of employment, and was paid up to $3.50 less than the minimum wage, the Employment Relations Authority heard.

Two thoughts: (1)given that most of news stories in our media are not really news, bloggers of good will should emphasise those stories that are news, to redress the balance a bit; (2)this blog should have a restaurant guide, one that might be called "Where Not to Eat."

With these thoughts in mind, I bring you, gentle reader, the story of the Little Turkish Cafe, which turns out to be a little crooked cafe where a worker is exploited by the owners, who are not Turkish.

In other news - whiney middle class people:
Neville Waldren, 77, said he knew about the roadworks and had no problem with his Ford Falcon being towed - providing it was returned. "When I went out to get it I couldn't find it. I had no idea where it was. I sent someone out to look for it."

He found it on Friday after enlisting a neighbour's help and had had to use the bus.

So Neville, you knew that there would be roadworks in the street but you parked your car there; and so it had to be removed at ratepayers' expense. And now you are complaining that it wasn't put back and that you had to take a bus. Neville, mate, piss off.

In other other news, man from TVNZ makes really tastless metaphor:
TVNZ commissioning head Andrew Shaw said the call to pass on a second series of This Is Not My Life was due to commercial realities. "It's the hardest thing, which one of your children do you knock off? We have got to get something that works straight away."
Pausing only to note that many of the most successful shows did not work straight away, we conclude with two good shows by the Herald: its reference to Anika Moa and her wife (not civil union partner or lesbian lover but wife) and Deborah Coddington's opinion piece about justice.

Artwork by SITE, music by the Damned:

Saturday, February 05, 2011

What liberal folks like

Transfer vinyl, tape, CD and radio to digital format

This superb music centre includes an amazing six functions – all in one compact and attractive 1930s-style unit.

The stereo gramophone is ideal for playing your 33s, 45s or 78s, and the handy tape deck means you can enjoy your favourite cassette recordings.
Wut? The Guardian, a progressive newspaper, offers its readers a music centre, with a gramophone, in a 1930s-style unit. One surely must ask oneself the question "why, oh why, oh why?" Why take all this modern technology and put it into a unit styled after the most reprehensible tastes of the period entre deux guerres? What is to be gained by having one's hi-fi in an ugly old-fashioned box? Does this decision not suggest that one is afraid of technology, and perhaps of The Now? Is not incumbent upon middle-class liberal people to disparage suburban petit-bourgeois tastes, rather than perpetuate them? It is not as if this thing were retro-cool or ironic or anything, is it?

My only explanation is that it is an unconscious disguise. The Guardian reader who buys this thing will be using it to commit copyright offences, making digital copies of his Slovenian folk dance LPs and his cassette tapes of gigs from the Acid Jazz scene in Rochdale. Despite long hours of self-justification ("people like me are preserving Art for future generations;" "the major record companies are not interested in this sort of work any longer") he still feels tinges of guilt. Hiding his recording equipment in a 30s casing is a subliminal act of camouflage, putting his guilty secret away in a respectable wooden box.

Or perhaps he really thinks the Copyright Police will come round looking for secret recording gear; in which case, they will never think of looking in there.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The long week closes

The Power Balance wrist band is endorsed by sportsmen such as professional NBA basketball player Lamar Odom and professional beach volleyball player Todd Rogers, but has courted controversy because of a lack of evidence that it does anything.

"When the hologram comes in contact with your body's energy field, it allows your body to interact positively with the natural frequency stored in the hologram," the Power Balance Facebook page says.

"They restore optimal electro-magnetic balance and promote free-flowing energy pathways - NO PROMISES, JUST RESULTS." But last month Power Balance Australia admitted there was no "credible scientific evidence" to support its claim that the wristband improved strength, balance and flexibility. It apologised for its misleading promotions and offered purchasers a full refund.

It is unclear if the Prime Minister believes in the benefits of the band, and he did not return calls last night.
Nothing makes sense anymore.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Marriage is not an art project

The students' wedding was condemned by Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, an organisation that represents Christians.

He said: 'They are denigrating the institution of marriage itself.

'Marriage is not an art project, it is the life-long union of man and woman and part of that is the sexual act which is there for companionship and the raising of children.
But then:
Stephen Green wrote a list of his wife’s ­failings then described the weapon he would make to beat her with.

‘He told me he’d make a piece of wood into a sort of witch’s broom and hit me with it, which he did,’ she recalls, her voice tentative and quiet. ‘He hit me until I bled. I was terrified. I can still remember the pain.

‘Stephen listed my misdemeanours: I was disrespectful and disobedient; I wasn’t loving or submissive enough and I was undermining him. He also said I wasn’t giving him his ­conjugal rights.

‘He even framed our marriage vows — he always put particular emphasis on my promise to obey him — and hung them over our bed. He believed there was no such thing as marital rape and for years I’d been reluctant to have sex with him, but he said it was my duty and was angry if I refused him.
There is really not much to say about this story from the Old Country. The man is a brute in public life and it is hardly surprising to discover that he was a brute at home. We can only hope that his reputation is irreparably damaged and that the odious oganisation he heads will recede into the darkness whence it came. It might also be worth noting that Christian Voice spread its tentacles across the land at a time when Tony Blair's gruesome regime was promoting partnership between government and religious organisations.

Meanwhile in New Zealand:
The judge was given a report from the Anglican church in which the bishop apologised to the couple involved and said the actions of Gray and Hall had breached the standards of the church, brought it into disrepute, and created a feeling of distrust in the church.

She noted that a conviction could stop Gray getting more work when he was reliant on Government and local government contacts.

A conviction also had serious consequences in the Maori community for someone like Gray who was appointed upoko - the spiritual and cultural repository of knowledge, handpicked from birth.

She granted the discharge without conviction.
That's right folks, a crook gets away with it, ruining what turned out to be a tragically short marriage, because a conviction would stop him getting Government contracts and because it would have serious consquences in his community.

In case you are still wondering what this marriage business is all about, here is Mr Cholmondley-Warner:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Un-Canadian activities

The bass player with Toronto indie group Holy F--- says it's not right that his band has been held up by the Conservative government as an example of misplaced arts funding.

The Tories cut the PromArt funding stream, which subsidizes international promotional tours of Canadian artists, with one spokesman saying the groups getting the money were not ones the government believes should be representing Canada.

The prime minister's press secretary, Kory Ten-nike, said "the [funding] choices made were inappropriate … because they were ideological in some cases, or the money was going to fringe arts groups that, in many cases, would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive." Among the examples cited by Anne Howland, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson — the Toronto indie band Holy F---, which got money in 2007 to help with a tour of the U.K.

Oh, Canada. As it turned out, Holy Fuck represented you rather well at Laneway Auckland yesterday.