Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Goodbye, Good Morning

Say goodbye to Good Morning.
Television New Zealand is finally axing its long-running (and these days, painful!) morning show.
The TV One slot, which has gradually shrunk to just an hour on weekdays at 9am, will die an overdue death by the end of December.
The ship-of-fools features a varying cast including Jeanette Thomas, Matai Smith and Matt Gibb, and has been home to other well-known faces over the years such as Mary Lambie, Kerry Smith, bizarre metrosexual Brendon Pongia and Steve Gray. [Aaahhhhhh, how can we forget that OTT presenter who led the nation in embarrassing exercise routines in oversized tracksuits...? And also how can we forget his departure, after the bisexual was told by TVNZ bosses to "tone down" his gayness...? Remember the 15-minute mini-drama? I'm still trying to figure out the "tone down" comment!]
Then of course there was Sarah Bradley, ditched at the end of 2011. In my mind, that was when TVNZ crossed the Rubicon, and should have quietly rolled the show up instead of flogging a dieing horse for another four years. Sarah was the show - without her, it was just more drivel-coated advertising-laden pap. Pleased to see that Sarah's gone on to better things...but that's another story.
Good Morning has been on NZ TV screens since 1996. TVNZ's director of content Jeff Latch says it's "nearing the end of its lifecycle and TVNZ has chosen to focus its local content investment in prime time programming." No word yet on a replacement but "it will likely be some form of international lifestyle content".
Hey, here's something novel: why not buy in more cooking crap, renovation rigmarole or tedious tired travel talk?
The ship-of-fools sails again!

UPDATE: 02 October 2015 - TVNZ swings the cost-cutting axe again. Who will be killed off next - Peter Williams? Or Bernadine Oliver-Kerby?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Unt Zen Zere Were Five!

The 'Red Peak' flag will be added as a fifth possible choice in the NZ flag referendum.
Prime Munster John Key says "I'm not wanting to stand in the way of people having some choice."
Bless him - how considerate!
This remarkable mid-week turn-around came after growing support for the design seemed to be ignored, following a petty wee stand-off between the govt and Labour opposition on how it could be added to the designs already selected.
Johnno Key repeatedly said he'd only add Red Peak as a 5th option if Labour supported the process rather than criticising it. Then the Green Party came up with a work-around...which featured them not siding with Labour - at least according to the PM.
However, Greens co-leader James Shaw said the whole process had been deeply flawed from the start, and it was "absurd" that they had to come up with a solution.
Labour leader Andrew Little has accused Key of trying to put the blame on Labour for blocking Red Peak.
Currently, the 1st referendum (in November) will ask kiwis to rank the now-five alternatives. The winner will then run-off against the current flag next year.
New Zealand First has opposed Red Peak being added, in line with its strong opposition to any flag change - in fact it says the design resembles markings on WWII Nazi sentry boxes!
The fact remains that if voters don't want our current flag to change, then in November they should vote for the weakest of the options, to then fight off against the existing flag.
Just don't mention ze vor!

UPDATE: 25 Sept.2015 - Gareth Morgan calls the entire issue a "$26-million dollar folly" that's completely lost the public's buy-in.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gormley Garbage

There's a time and a place for public art.
The post-earthquake recovery period is not the time.
The middle of the Avon River is not the place.
Self-indulgent art excesses have faced public flak in Christchurch before (remember "Fanfare" and "BeBop"?)! Now it seems the city is getting not one but two (TWO!) sculptures by UK sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.
The city's public art advisory group has contributed over $500K to the project. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has helped fund it, but won't say by how much. However Christie's Auction House of London lists a similar sculpture as selling in 2014 for over US$2 million!
This is how the sculpture, called "Stay", will look, standing mid-stream in the Avon in central Chch.
A survey polled residents for their views. People queried why they didn't use a NZ artist's work. There was annoyance at both the cost, and that the money was going offshore:
+ "I think there are still so many people hurting that the money could be used towards."
+ "There are so many other things around Christchurch, to my way of thinking, that could be done, quake repairs and the roading. Some of the roads are shocking."
+ "I don't think we need a man standing in the middle of the river."
A man? Someone thought it resembled a big poo!
Gormley's sculptures are no strangers to the befouling of natural beauty. He has half a dozen dotted around the English countryside. Yet just a week ago, a life-sized cast-iron Gormley sculpture, standing on rocks at a Dorset beauty spot, toppled over into the water after a storm.
I trust that, if this irresponsible expenditure DOES go ahead (contrary to public opinion), this "pile of poo" will last a bit better than that!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Where's A Ninja Turtle When He's Needed?!!!

Give a tourist a selfie stick...and he'll take a bloody mile!
Thousands of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles were unable to lay their eggs along the Pacific Coast in Costa Rica this month, because a mob of dork tourists were crowding the shoreline being fuckwits!
We've seen the amazing event on tv wildlife programmes - every year the sea turtles come to the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Guanacaste,
"Oooo, Look at me! I'm a FUCKIN' IDIOT!!!"
Costa Rica, to nest.
But this year, a wave of bloody stupid tourists swamped the beach, and completely disregarded the fragility of the site! They touched the turtles, some actually sat their children on the turtles' backs for photos, they stood on their nests, physically blocked the turtles' path to the beach and basically did everything to frighten the turtles from their nesting ground. Scared off by the hundreds of tourists, the turtles simply turned around and retreated into the sea.
Mind you, it doesn't help that and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), among others, have on-line maps, showing all the turtle-nesting areas!
The Costa Rican Secretary of Environment is investigating the incident and why authorities were unable to control the eco-idiots who hampered the natural process of turtle-spawning.
To lose a nesting cycle like this can have disastrous long-term effects on turtle populations. With another group expected to lay their eggs on the beach in October, authorities will be tightening security and restricting access.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

For the first time in the 46yr.history of Hamilton Zoo, NZ, a keeper has been killed by an animal.
Last Sunday morning, senior zookeeper Samantha Kudeweh was tragically killed by Oz, a male Sumatran tiger. Investigations continue into the circumstances.
Sumatran tigers are a rare subspecies found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and are distinguished by heavy black stripes on their orange coats. Experts estimate the wild population at fewer than 400. Although protected by Indonesian law and despite increased conservation efforts, a substantial market remains in Asia for tiger parts. Deforestation and poaching mean this critically endangered creature may become extinct in our lifetimes. The Sumatran tiger's future perhaps lies in conservation work in zoos around the world. Latest figures put the captive population at 235 globally – five of those Sumatran tigers reside at Hamilton Zoo.
So the bombshell - dropped by Hamilton City Council CEO Richard Briggs - that the council "has not dismissed euthanising" as a consequence of the attack, is of grave concern.
Sam had worked at the zoo for more than 20 years. She described the live birth of three tiger cubs at the zoo late last year as a career highlight. She loved working with these rare animals, and I believe, if she was alive, she'd be horrified by any suggestion of killing one.
I'm certain that wildlife organisations world-wide would be outraged, should this irresponsible statement by CEO Briggs gain traction. I'm not alone in this thought: a public Facebook petition – to save the life of Oz – already has more than 4,000 likes.
Losing Samantha Kudeweh was tragic. But killing a critically endangered Sumatran tiger as a consequence defeats the very purpose for which she worked with such passion and love.

UPDATE: 21 Sept.2015 - The zoo decides that Oz the tiger will NOT be euthanised after all...methinx in future Mr Briggs needs to engage brain before putting mouth into gear!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Kunlun On The Run Again

An air and sea hunt is underway by the Thai Royal Navy for the 'pirate' fishing vessel Taishan (formerly named Kunlun).
The ship had been detained in Phuket since March, when the crew attempted to offload 182 tons of illegally-caught Patagonian toothfish worth around US$5 million as grouper worth US$414,400. This followed a joint investigation between Interpol, Sea Shepherd, Thailand, Australia and NZ.
A Thai naval officer said Taishan/Kunlun's captain was fined under the Thai Customs Act, however the vessel's unregulated fishing was not illegal under Thai laws applicable to the high seas: "The operator paid the fine and had the right to claim their fish in accordance with the law." Then, at the first opportunity, the vessel eluded local authorities and did a runner!
Peter Hammarstedt, Chairman of Sea Shepherd Australia, has bagged Australia and NZ for not apprehending Taishan/Kunlun earlier in the year: "As the vessel has now escaped with its illegal catch, we're seeing this blunder for what it really is. If the vessel had been arrested by Australia or NZ, the catch would never have been returned."
SS has called on Oz/NZ authorities and international enforcement agencies to locate Taishan/Kunlun, which carries an Interpol Purple Notice.
Sadly, there's no chance of New Zealand doing anything...not while we have that weak womble, 'Muddling' Murray McCully, as our Foreign Munster! The guy is so pathetically limp-dicked that he wouldn't let our Navy board Taishan/Kunlun in Antarctic waters when we had the chance.
If this type of illegal fishing is to be stopped, then NZ must grow some balls when a poaching vessel is intercepted. Waiting for these ships to reach port and relying on local laws has failed to stop Taishan/Kunlun. In fact, the vessel's owners are now laughing all the way to the bank! LITERALLY!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Blood Sports Just Plain Bull***t!

Hundreds of "big brave macho men" on horseback with sharpened spears chased a bull through the streets of the Spanish town of Tordesillas yesterday, in the annual festival Toro de la Vega.
Worked up into a frenzy, the men stabbed the bull as it ran through a meadow and, when it finally collapsed from exhaustion, they drove a spear through its neck. The hunters then cut off the animal's testicles and paraded them around town on a spear, before the man who finally killed the bull was given a medal.
Thousands of furious protesters tried to stop the event but it still went ahead, even though 74% of Spaniards oppose it!
Animal protection charity Humane Society International (HSI) has demanded Spanish officials listen to the people and put an immediate end to 'all fiestas that involve animal cruelty'. HSI calls it a cruel spectacle that causes stress and animal suffering for nothing more than entertainment.
A demonstration in central Madrid last Saturday saw tens of thousands of Spanish citizens march against the event. More than 120,000 people have signed HSI's 'Break a Spear' campaign which calls on politicians to stop all animal-killing fiestas. Claire Bass, Executive Director of HSI UK: "We are sickened by the gratuitous animal cruelty that took place at Toro de la Vega fiesta. It's time for Spanish politicians to wake up to 21st century ethical values and end this barbaric, archaic and perverse form of 'entertainment' for good."
The Toro de la Vega is one of hundreds of violent events globally that cause animals suffering and distress every year.

Monday, September 14, 2015

This IS The Plane You're Looking For

Theme music played and Imperial stormtroopers stood guard as the hangar doors began to open…
Within moments, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner painted with the likeness of R2D2, the loyal little droid from the Star Wars franchise, emerged to a cheering crowd at Boeing's wide-body assembly line facility in Washington USA.
The aircraft belongs to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) and will begin flying paying passengers from mid-next month.
The unveiling last weekend had been eagerly anticipated by both aviation and Star Wars enthusiasts, since plans for the R2D2-themed Dreamliner were announced last April. The jet boasts one of the world's most interesting airline paint schemes, but it will soon have company.
Eventually, three ANA aircraft will be painted
"Not quite the Millennium Falcon!"
a la Star Wars.
One of the other two designs will feature BB-8, a new character to be introduced in the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The movie, No.7 in the series, opens in NZ theatres on 17 December.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Racial Harmony In The Laundry?

If you let your laundry accumulate, a new generation of 'double' washing machines will clean two loads of clothes at once!
No, it's not a stereo speaker!
A new domestic toy - with two drums stacked on top of one another - was unveiled recently at a tech conference in Berlin.
Made by Haier, it's aimed at families and anyone who has 'unexpected laundry needs'. The Duo washing machine allows users to start two different cycles in the upper and lower drum, and run them at the same, or different times as needed.
Haier: "Colours and whites can be washed simultaneously yet seperately, or a selection of different fabrics such as wools and cottons."
The machine is operated using a touchscreen in the front, as well as via a smartphone app, which allows users to start a load when they are out and about.
The unit's 12kg capacity is spit between 4kg for the upper drum and 8kg for the lower. The upper drum can run 12 different programmes, and the lower drum 18. Each is powered by a motor built to last more than 10 years and one water inlet is needed to supply both drums.
Mummy will be pleased! Oh, hurrah!
Haier has not revealed pricing or availability yet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Everest: Doesn't Get Much Better

Upcoming action movie Everest is a star-studded emotional rollercoaster, and a fitting tribute to one of New Zealand's unsung heroes.
Based on the 1996 disaster on Mt Everest, the movie tells the lead-up to and events of 10 May, when the commercial guiding industry on the mountain suffered its first and blackest catastrophe.
Kiwi Rob Hall's Adventure Consultants and American Scott Fisher's Mountain Madness were among those attempting to summit, when a "perfect storm" of mishaps and weather conditions left all their fates in the balance.
Many NZers will remember what unfolded and, according to reviewers who're already rating the film as 'five stars', we'll be left with lumps in our throats when we see the portrayal of Rob Hall MBE.
Prepare to be exhausted by the end of this film, but the effort is worth it to see one of the most entertaining and emotionally draining slices of cinema of the last few years.
Everest opens in NZ on 17 Sept. Do not miss this! Take tissues!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Faroese Turn On Their Own

"Sam Simon"
Last Tuesday (01 Sept.), authorities in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, seized a small boat from the Sea Shepherd ship Sam Simon.
The warrant for the seizure was presented while the vessel was in the Shetlands to refuel. In the warrant, authorities claim there are "reasonable grounds to suspect an offence has been committed under the law of Denmark."
This relates to the small boat's involvement in the defence of 61 pilot whales at a grindadráp at Sandavágur in the Faroe Islands on 12 August.
The seizure follows a legal challenge against the recently-enacted Faroe Islands Pilot Whaling Act. Faroese legal consultant, former police officer and adviser in issues regarding safety, security, defence and emergency preparedness - Henrik Weihe Joensen - has filed charges against the Faroe Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, challenging the law's legality. He claims the law is 'invalid' because the Faroese Parliament does not have the legislative authority to implement new laws in relation to police activity "which concerns action
against persons and objects."
Joensen believes that, if the Pilot Whaling Act is declared invalid, it may have a great impact on the cases already brought against Sea Shepherd, and may also have implications for the political relationship between the Faroe Islands and this space.

UPDATE: 04 October 2015 - end of a tough campaigning season in the Faroes.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Goodbye Sailor (2)

One of New Zealand's best-known rock musicians Graham Brazier died Friday morning (04 Sept.), several weeks after suffering a heart
Brazier came to prominence in the band Hello Sailor in 1975, with iconic songs such as Gutter Black, Lyin' In The Sand, Billy Bold and Blue Lady. Other members were Harry Lyon (guitar), Ricky Ball (drums), Lisle Kenny (bass) and the late Dave McArtney (guitar, who died April 2013). The band's self-titled debut album became the first NZ-made record to be certified gold.
Hello Sailor spent some time in Los Angeles in 1978, going on to Australia in 1979 via NZ, before disbanding in 1980. They made an impression not just in New Zealand but overseas. Tales abound of Brazier being invited to join the Doors after Jim Morrison died. And the guitar solo from The Knack's My Sharona was heavily influenced by Hello Sailor, after they had toured together.
The band was well-known for playing live music in Auckland's pubs and, in his spare time, the erudite Brazier ran a second-hand bookstore in Mount Eden.
Ahhhh, the good ol' days at the Gluepot Tavern in Auckland...
Hello Sailor has reunited for a number of tours since 1980, most recently earlier this year for its 40th anniversary, although those gigs were cancelled after Brazier's August heart attack.
Graham was one of the great kiwi frontmen, captivating and passionate on stage with a great voice. He lived the hard life of a rocker, drank more than most men, lived harder than most men and I suppose his relatively early death was not unexpected - but a sad loss for NZ music nonetheless. He had released three solo albums since 1980 and was just finishing a fourth.
Brazier was 63.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Final Four? Forget It!

The final four designs for a proposed new NZ flag were released this a less-than-enthusiastic response.
The designs were revealed by the Flag Consideration Panel as a new poll shows nearly half of voters are open to a change. A small majority - 53% - do not support a change, and 23% say they do support change 'in principle'. 61% of women want to keep the current flag, compared to 44% of men.
Thousands of design submissions were narrowed down to a long-list of 40, before the final four were revealed:
Woop de doo!
Three of the designs feature the silver fern...the preference of Prime Munster John Key (who's driving this issue as hard as he can!). The 'plain black with silver fern' was not on the shortlist: Key went cold on that, after a similarity to the Islamic State flag was noted.
Now the Great Unwashed will rank the four designs in the first referendum this November. A 2nd referendum next March will pit the preferred alternative against the current flag.
Flag Minister Bill English (Wow! What a promotion!!) says there's lotsa talk about the low level of public turnout to meetings...AND the cost: two referendums + consultation = $26 million!
Prime Munster Key denies Referendum No.1 is deliberately timed to coincide with the jingoistic Rugby World Cup mood *yawn*. No! No! Of course not. Riiiiiigghhtt!!
Meanwhile, it's been revealed that one of the long-list flags was removed after a copyright claim. And BTW, the NZ Rugby Union has made it damned clear that any successful choice involving a silver fern must NOT copy the NZRU design...or else! So, battle-lines are drawn...while most kiwis yawn!
But NZers are urged not to snooze over this issue, or the Republican Attitude of Key's Cronies will sneak by under cover of apathy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Way It Was...or WAS It?

Wow! Check out this 70s advertising for..."the hottest fashion idea of the season..." Ooooo yea, baby!
"Designed for people like you who make things happen" inducing spontaneous vomiting in passersby!
The guy's version is even called The Corvette! So now you too can hang your cool shades through your stretch terry your very own Corvette. Yea, right.
But if this jumpsuit was so damn hot, why was the model - with such an aggro expression - clenching his hands into fists of rage? Maybe he realises that, in the future, we'll be pissin' ourselves at how he sold his soul for such "style"!
Hell, ELVIS wouldn't have been seen dead in even a gold-lamé version of this!