Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back again

Long time, no see, huh? My last months of '07 were spent online at a mate's Facebook (no link, sorry - 'invitation only' to avoid trolls & weirdos) discussing moteatea (laments) & haka. It was great to spend time with really keen, enthusiastic people who are so passionate about Maori oratory. It was humbling to be among such learned company; folk who are knowledgeable about kapa haka (performing arts), tribal histories, genealogy, linguistics, poetry and literary analysis. I learned HEAPS and was glad to share some of my own experiences and insights. Kinda makes that student debt and years of study at Tairawhiti Polytech and Waikato Uni seem worthwhile after all :-)

Welcome to the Other Side

On Monday, 13 January, 2008, the NASA probe MESSENGER snapped this photo of Mercury, the first time in history anyone's seen this hidden side of the planet. Because of its rotational peculiarities and proximity to the sun, this face of Mercury has never before been photographed.
"More unprecedented images of the tiny planet are expected as the MESSENGER craft completes three flybys of Mercury before settling into orbit in March 2011."
MESSENGER is the first spacecraft to visit Mercury (messenger of the gods in Greek myth) since the Mariner 10 probe in the 1970s. Awesome! Go NASA!

Monday, August 20, 2007

It aint over...

... 'til the fat lady's stabbed?
Heather MacDonald in a long, depressing essay on the phenomenon of Regietheater (director's theatre), an unwelcome development in Europe where operas are debased with all manner of gratuitous violence, explicit sexual acts and debauchery, including orgies and massacres. The 'modern' restaging and reinterpretation is completely at odds with the composers' original intentions. An example from The Abduction from the Seraglio:

"neither the streetwalkers nor the whippings, masturbation, and transvestite bondage are anywhere suggested in Mozart’s opera... the leading soprano, Constanze -who has already suffered digital violation during a poignant lament - is beaten and then held down and forced to watch as the pasha’s servant, Osmin, first forces a prostitute to perform fellatio on him and then gags the prostitute and slashes her to death."
This is cultural vandalism of the highest order, especially given Europe's gargantuan musical legacy and centrality to Western (and world) high culture. Monumental masterpieces that have given untold pleasure to millions the world over are mutilated beyond recognition. Rejecting such abasement (quite rightfully, imo) current generations are robbed of the grand opera experience. Not just the staggering technical virtuosity, or the unparalled divinity of the music, but the timeless and universal appeal of the underlying stories, themes and morals - love, passion, despair, intrigue, tragedy - that transcends generations and geography.

No doubt the operas themselves, the musical scores and libretti, will outlive this current crop of nihilistic, barbarian directors. But the unfortunate trend may persist for some time as many European opera houses are heavily subsidised, so the profanity will continue despite audiences abandoning performances in protest. Singers and musicians, mindful of their career prospects, fear being blacklisted as troublemakers should they object.

Yet there is hope. An unlikely saviour for Europe's artistic demise could be America, in particular New York's Metropolitan Opera. Because the arts receive so little federal funding in the U.S. (at least by European standards), Americans - a sensible and pragmatic people - would never patronise en masse such depraved, debilitated opera. Regietheater could never survive the harsh commercial realities of the U.S. marketplace; only the most excellent, most elite productions can prosper. It seems almost paradoxical that the Land of the Free, the driving force of global pop-culture, could now become the curator and guardian to one of the pinnacles of European cultivation. We can only cheer them on.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nanny says...

The Sunday Star Times has an editorial scolding us for using the term 'nanny state'. Defending the draconian anti-smacking law, it claims:
"It is right... that the government should support [parents] in finding other ways of correcting their kids"
But the govt hasn't 'supported' parents, it has coerced them against the will of the overwhelming majority. Coercion isn't support. Such semantic distortions are typical of self-righteous authoritarians, completely dismissive of the wishes and opinions of those whose wellbeing they claim to champion. The editorial reckons:
"The "nanny state" is a cliche and an obstacle to clear thought."
Yet the article is filled with unproven or unsupported assumptions muddying the debate, e.g.: obesity is a serious public health problem; obesity 'victims' will cram hospital wards in 20 years (is nanny state clairvoyant? do people never decide to join gyms or go on diets?); the average smoker starts at 14 1/2; adults rarely begin smoking (many do, funnily enough, to help keep the weight down); the activities of tobacco companies are immoral (is profit-making and satisfying consumers' demands immoral?); 14 year olds are incapable of making rational choices; the new anti-smacking laws won't criminalise good parents.

On banning junk food from schools, the author insists (in typical nanny-speak) that the Govt "must do what it can to prevent.. harm" and that it "is justified in trying to save adolescents from themselves." It assumes teens and parents are hopeless at decision making and incapable of self-help. The article rightly notes that many agree, "The government is treating its citizens like babies." Indeed. Only an arrogant, paternalistic Govt believes its people can't be trusted to make choices without the meddling hand of officials and bureaucrats.

The author claims the phrase 'social engineering' is empty abuse, and that: "It's time to drop [the term 'nanny state'] from the political lexicon." Such linguistic censorship is a favoured tactic of nannies: futile attempts to silence critics, or frame the debate on their terms. Regardless of the label, people recognise the nanny-state at work, unnecessary & unwelcome government intrusions that curtail liberties.
[PC has a fine list of examples of our "nanny state gone berserk"]

All in all, it's unsurprising that the Times publishes these feeble justifications for the Left's plans for complete despotic control of NZ. Editor, Cate Brett, is an avid Labour supporter who never fails to (ab)use her to position to promote Helen Clark's brand of socialism, particularly near election time. This is but one reason I never buy the Times: it might encourages her to print more pro-Labour garbage, and I'd hate to think I helped fund those who'd wish to muzzle my freedoms.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


"Ma te whakama e patu"
Let shame be your punishment ~ Maori proverb

Remember this face!
This is sex pervert, Chris Campbell, an ex-district councillor whose convictions for possessing child pornography were overturned on appeal because of a technicality. Judge Raynor Asher ruled an affidavit appended with a search warrant was not well prepared.

So a child predator goes free. Disgusting! Very little outrages me more than sexual offences against children. Manufacturers of kid pornography, and the consumers who enable them, deserve odium without mercy. They're death penalty candidates (in my remorseless opinion). So remember this face and the name, Chris Campbell, so he may be cursed, spat at, and abused in the streets. Let him feel shame as retribution for his crimes.

The other 'criminal' in this case (imo) is Justice Asher. I've never understood society's reverence for judges. Few hold lawyers in high esteem. Their job is to interpret statutes. In everyday terms, we'd call them spin-masters; deceivers & liars. Judges are mere lawyers who've been promoted; I hold them both in contempt.

The appeal judge chose a very pedantic interpretation of the law. It may he been legally correct, but justice was not done. How many other serious criminals may walk free because of marginal infractions?: a spelling mistake or a minor detail wrongly recorded; basic human errors allowing human monstrosities to go unpunished.

So remember, too, the name, Justice Raynor Asher. May he also be widely vilified as a protector and enabler of child-rapists. And let shame be his punishment.

[photo/Alan Gibson]

Monday, June 11, 2007

finnicky food fanatics

We're becoming more entangled in the ever-encroaching tentacles of nanny-state with the education ministry's decision to ban 'unhealthy' food from school tuck shops. The govt fat-phobics' feeble excuse is their priority to educate students about making healthy food 'choices'. But having regulations forced down your throat is no 'choice'. A shame the govt doesn't give the same due attention to 'educate' pupils in reading & writing as our nation's literacy rates decline.

Their anti-obesity position might hold more credence if MPs themselves were paragons of sleekness. There's more than a few plump pigeons and hefty heifers among nanny-parties, Labour & Greens. Sue Bradford is certainly no catwalk model, and Parekura Horomia won't be attending Anorexia Anonymous meetings anytime soon. The next election can't come soon enough to toss these scraps and leftover zealots into the compost.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sack the lot of them!

Between 50 - 60 jobs to be axed at TVNZ's news & current affairs section as the broadcaster faces a 15.5% drop in net profit. But if cuts are due to a loss in (advertising?) revenue which is directly linked to declining ratings, then the news-makers have only themselves to blame. TVNZ news is rubbish.

Their political bias gives me indigestion, in particular the revolting adulation of Helen Clark. Previously the press nick-named her "Teflon Helen," because scandals and bad news never sticks to her. Why? Coz the very same journos who coined the term are too cowardly to challenge 9th floor spin, or too clueless to investigate any incriminating leads. John Tamihere, who's seen & worked with her up close, describes her as 'highly emotional' and 'someone who falls to pieces easily'. Yet our hacks ignored him, instead repeating the "strong leader" mantra.

Elsewhere the political news is fluff. E.g. The prime minister goes to Washington & the big scoop is prez Bush complimenting a kiwi journo on his suit. Or a minister makes an unsavoury or unwelcome comment about a journalist. Or an MP is angry at a journalist's slant. Our fat-headed hacks have come to believe that they themselves are the story, not the messenger.

In domestic news the lies du jour are reiterated ad nauseum: the obesity epidemic; global warming; policemen are rapists. These are interspersed with cute & cuddly lifestyle stories better suited to women's mags. Do we care about grandmothers riding Harleys? Or opera singers aspiring to become rock stars? Or some floozy's drink/drug/sex scandal?

Our imported international news clips are equally as vacuous. We know that "Bush is Bad" because CNN, ABC, NBC and other lefty American outfits keep telling us. We know that "America is Bad" because the BBC keeps telling us. And we need to keep flushing our taxpayers dollars down 3rd-world toilets because the U.N. keeps telling us.

If the news content is bad, the presentation is abysmal. In an hour's broadcast, you'd think every second is vital. But so much time is wasted on:

* Promos for upcoming news segments, reports or TV programmes.
* An anchor summarising the bulletin then cutting to a reporter who repeats the same info.
* Interviewing non-entities on the street. Asking random strangers such pearls as: "How would you defrost a giant squid?"
* Overuse of contrived puns and word plays to introduce or wrap-up stories.
* Reporters telling us their names and TV network. We already know this; we can read your name and the everpresent TV logo.
* Chummy, contrived chit-chat between anchors.

Face it, the news is near plain unwatchable. So TVNZ can fire their entire news crews for all I care. For info & gossip I'd rather read bloggers who are at least honest about their quirks & biases.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who's surpised?

The Christchurch Health & Development Study says young women (15-21) who have abortions attain higher educational achievements, and show improved outcomes in employment, welfare dependence and relationships. I haven't read the research (and the msm are notorious for spinning an entire article from selectively extracted tidbits) but the reported results don't surprise me. One sentence stands out.
"Women who had abortions had similar outcomes to women who did not become pregnant before the age of 21."
It doesn't mean abortion makes you smart, but simply that childless women make better students/employees than mothers. Anyone astonished, given the enormous costs of parenting? Non-mothers can focus on study/career goals without the distraction of newborns who require enormous amounts of time, effort, attention and MONEY. Broken sleeps, exhaustion, unrelenting drudgery, and 'enslavement' to baby's whims ensure that motherhood's demands are never conducive to study, work (& economic dependence), or romance. Thus it's unsurprising that employment, welfare & relationship conditions are worse for mums than non-mums.

The research merely affirms common sense and observation: if young women wish to achieve well academically or careerwise, they shouldn't get pregnant. That's what folks (both pro- and anti- abortion) have been saying for years.

It's an ongoing longitudinal study. I wonder if the same cohort will be interviewed again in 20 or 30 years? Wonder how the mums & careerists will feel then, reflecting on their earlier life choices. One thing is certain, and the researchers make clear, that many more studies are needed to address these issues.
Hmm. Don't researchers always say that about their pet topics? :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Cop this!

The politicisation of the police force continues. A new process makes it easier to fire 'unsuitable' cops. The current Police Tribunal, which demands a standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt before sacking errant cops, will be replaced by a system "based on the balance of probability, and fairness." Margaret Bazley, a wildly overpraised bureaucrat who is neither an employment lawyer nor judge, and has no policing experience, much less as an investigating officer in Internal Investigations or Internal Affairs, says:
"the standard of proof was too high for dealing with employment matters such as poor job performance or misconduct."
It was one of the recommendations in Bazley's report, but the move was signaled long before the report's release. This (imo) was Helen Clark's intention all along. To be able to sack 'non-compliant' officers without fuss. Eventually we won't get a good police force, we'll get the cops that Labour wants. We can expect more instances of Clark's malfeasance going unchallenged because it's "not in the public's interest" to investigate despite there being any prima facie case to support prosecution. Who'd risk Helen wrath? The descent into corruption continues unabated.

This won't help police recruitment shortages. Standards will drop further. Who'd risk becoming a cop (getting regularly abused, spat at, assaulted, bitten, stabbed) when all your career efforts can easily come to nought when you're deemed unsuitable by an MP with a grudge?

And don't expect the biggest police bashers, our media, to champion the employment or legal rights of cops. Released quietly in the Easter Break, without fanfare, this disturbing development might overshadow the msm's lionization of their new hero - the lying exhibitionist slut, Louise Nicholas.

In many countries deprived of free-speech, journalists risk imprisonment, torture, and death to expose govt wrongdoing. Here in NZ, our ignorant hacks through omission and collusion, are actually abetting the slow death of law, integrity and govt transparency.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Oi oi oi!

If American, Michael Phelps, is swimming's "Boy Wonder," then surely Australia's Libby Lenton deserves the title "Wonder Woman." In the 2007 world champs in Melbourne, the Aussie swimming sensation collected the 50m & 100m free, 100 butterfly titles plus 2 relay gold medals. Incredibly, as lead off swimmer in a 4x100m mixed relay between US vs. Oz, she showed grit, graft, and God-given gift to clock a record time of 52.99 seconds (cracking the 53-sec mark) and became the fastest woman swimmer in history. Woo-hoo!

Sadly, her time (legitimate, in my book) may not be be duly recorded because of fuzzy rule interpretations by the officious officials of international swimming. But if the FINA pedants won't honour her feat, let's hope the Guiness Book of World Records will give Ms Lenton her due. There's no doubt in my mind - and anyone who witnessed her stunning achievement - she's truly the Fastest Woman Swimmer Ever and should be recognised as such. Go, Libby!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Where have all the young men gone?

Jan Peeters, a visiting 'expert' tells the Early Childhood Council's annual conference that NZ is one of the 'worst' developed countries regarding men working in early childcare.
"NZ has 13,609 women & only 132 men working in its free Kindgartens, childcare centres & in homebased care. (2005 figures) Since the early 1990s the percentage of men.. has halved from 2% to less than 1%"
The clouds of the Peter Ellis scandal still hang heavily over the sector. His legacy shows men risk complete ruination when accused of molesting children in their charge. They face media hysteria, an unrelenting prosecution, a hostile justice system, plus a host of virulent psychologists & 'specialists' with a dim agenda. It's a gamble.

Imo, early childcare must be a vocational calling; men must first be passionately driven, committed and temperamentally suited. Very few fit the bill. Then there's the accelerating political correctness such as shunning war games & boisterous physical play, and the overwrought concern about giving cultural offense. E.g., some centres won't use play dough containing flour (food) as it allegedly aggrieves Maoris (rather odd; during my time helping at Kohanga Reo, no one ever objected to using flour for play dough or paste.) How many men are prepared to work in such a gingerly environment?

By contrast, Mr Peeters says 30% of Kohanga workers are men, but I doubt the comparison is valid. The kaupapa (underlying philosophy) of Kohanga is very different & unfashionably un-PC: men & women ARE intrinsically different; relationships are hierarchic not egalitarian; spirituality, often a curious blend of Christianity & Maori paganism, infuses the curriculum; plus the strict divisions of gender, age & seniority at rituals such as powhiri (welcome ceremonies) are inapplicable to mainstream institutions. Also, many (male) workers are themselves, students of the language. There's a saying: if you want to learn to speak Maori, go to Kohanga where everyone, regardless of age, is a student.

Ultimately however, new questions arise. With no legal impediments barring men or women in their job choice, do gender disparities across various career sectors really matter? Who else, apart from utopians & social engineers, cares about the skewed distribution of men & women in any given field? One can insist on equal opportunities, but can one always expect equal outcomes?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Just say "No"

A "Purely Girls!" Christian camp to be held to promote chastity among young women. I applaud this move and endorse celibacy and monogamy for all single youths, both as a corrective to promiscuity (there's no sound, practical reason to promote sluttiness) and as a preventative health measure: physical, psychological and social.

I've become more conservative as I've aged. The heady promises of the sexual revolution seem empty and false given the disastrous results of abandoning traditional morality. The sexual liberation movement is barely 50 years old. Our mindsets may have progressed but our emotional reactions are mired in a primordial past, our physiology stubbornly entrenched in instinctual urges below the subliminal threshold and beyond conscious control. Nature is obdurate and doesn't defer to liberal well-wishing or social engineering. The casualties are many: diseases, unwanted pregnancies, the ill-effects of single-parenting, etc. We are yet to fully pay the social costs of our sexual experimentation.

Our easy, breezy sexual climate was promulgated by (possibly) well-meaning, but ultimately deluded, adults. Grown ups who at least had some maturity, wisdom and life experiences to deal with the problems and pitfalls of sex. That's partly why I resent many public school teachers with their cavalier expectations that students will engage in responsible, carefree, consequence-free coition. Their recklessness has condemned and endangered younger generations to untold needless hurt. For once I agree with feminists; it is young women who are most vulnerable, for they alone bear the burdens of pregnancy (and abortion). It's imperative to protect them from adult folly. So the chastity movement has my blessing.

You might think the "Purely Girls!" initiative might enjoy the cautious approval of anyone concerned about NZ's alarming rate of teen pregnancies (2nd highest globally). After all, abstinence has 100% success rate in preventing unwanted children, STDs, and all sorts of post-coital 'remorse.' Alas, the Family Planning Association, somewhat predictably, are quick in their condemnation. FPA chief, Jackie Edmonds, claims most (biased?) studies prove abstinence education a failure that does nothing to alleviate teen pregnancy and STDs. Maybe it's the church component that has her spooked. She says:
The abstinence movement in the US had "been dressed up to be a public health message but actually if you dig down it pretty much comes from a religious background."

FPA are also openly hostile to Catholicism's stance on pre-marital sex, although remarkably silent about Islam, which is likewise prohibitive (maybe because Catholics don't riot and kill people who criticise their faith?) Perhaps it's a turf war? Are they threatened by alternate viewpoints despite similar aims? Does FPA want to be the sole authority on sexual advice? Never underestimate the 'territorial jealousy' of specialists and knowledge brokers.

But who cares what the FPA think, anyway? Abstinence can benefit all teenagers, not just the religious: secular girls have unplanned pregnancies, too; atheists also suffer post-abortion trauma; agnostics contract STDs, as well.

My default advice to anyone outside a monogamous relationship is: "Keep your pants on!" I'm not a prude. You can regularly indulge in orgiastic excess; whatever talkes your fancy. I won't recoil with shock. But I fully concur with the libertarian maxim: "Freedom with responsibility." So you're free to shag whomever, wherever, whenever...

BUT... if you feel like trash the morning after.. if you get the clap.. if your reputation's sullied.. if s/he breaks your heart.. if your one-night stand starts stalking you.. if you're haunted by that abortion for years to come.. if your x-rated video gets posted on the internet.. if you're fired for bonking the boss' spouse.. if your partner deserts you because of adultery and your messed-up kids need years of therapy..

...if there are ANY nasty consequences, then: Hey! You didn't listen to my advice, did you? Oh, well...

just awful

No week is complete without a customary jab at the tripe merchants who call themselves journalists. Political writer, Audrey Young, obliges with a featherbrained forecast about Beehive life in the year 2011. Oh, Audrey, this column is just plain silly. Parliamentary prognostication? Have you combined your politics column with the horoscope section? Please return to your usual one-eyed style: recycling Labour Party press releases, blind worship of Helen Clark, and irrelevant nit-picking about National. That's the NZ Herald's warped, dishonest rubbish to which we're accustomed. And leave the humour to Jim Hopkins who at least knows he's a satirist.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mr Tumeke

Michael Phelps is Superman. Swimming's a really exciting spectator sport, imo (even though all they do is go up & down). I'm frellin' awestruck by this young fullah from Michigan, USA, smashing world records left, right & centre. He could very well end up being the Best Swimmer Ever in History. I can't find words enough to express my gaping astonishment. Beyond praise, he's stupefying and intimidating. So dang good he's frightening! (tumeke). Go, Mikey! You are The Man. And your name is Mr Tumeke!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Support our police! (shoot a journalist!)

Good news for our Police. Research shows they're generally well esteemed by the public. No details about the study's methodology (in this article), but they're given an average 'score' of 68/100. This should be a morale booster on the eve of the release of Dame Bazely's report, which is sure to send TVNZ & the NZ Press Association into dyspeptic do-gooder delirium.
Groups that gave police lower approval ratings comprised 18-25 year olds, younger Pacific Islanders, Maori, new migrants, and Aucklanders.
Their antipathy isn't too surprising.

1. 18-25 yr olds - Rebellious youths? Defiant, disaffected and immature.
2. Maoris - No shock to anyone familiar with crime, conviction & imprisonment statistics.
3. Young PIs - A combination of #1 and a variation of #2 perhaps? Think: "Sth Auckland"
4. New Migrants - In many Asian, African & Middle East countries, cops are rife with bribery, brutality and corruption. Perhaps they've imported their own ethnic prejudices?
5. Aucklanders - Lot's of Maoris, PIs and new migrants in Akld. Bigger cities beget more impersonalised institutions. More crimes means overstretched, under-resourced urban coppers give less attention to non-urgent offences. Thus victims of burglaries, car thefts & petty crimes feel ignored and become disenchanted.

Anyhow, given the broad support for our police, our very left-wing msm should reconsider their own childish, churlish animosity toward cops. Especially as journalists themselves are routinely disliked and mistrusted by the public. They should wonder:

1) Despite a concerted, continued attempt by news media to disparage our cops, they still enjoy public approval. Can news media REALLY alter ingrained civic attitudes? And should they even try? Does the msm have a duty to report news or engage in some weird liberal grudge against a noble profession?

2) Do falling ratings and circulation figures correlate with the increasingly bombastic, negative reporting about our police. Personally, I've vowed NEVER to buy another copy of either the NZHerald or DomPost while editors Murphy & Pankhurst are at the helm. Journalism is a business and like all others the bottom line is profit. But if the journalistic jeremiad continues, surely others will join the boycott.

Hell hath no fury...

Chuckling over a Maori Party delegate in court charged with threatening behaviour after confronting a woman playing hanky-panky with her man.
[Ms] Karu went to [her] home.. after she found out the woman was sleeping with her partner.. knocked on the front door and became "highly aggressive and agitated".. saying 'come out here you f***ing b**ch, come out here, I'm going to kill you'
LOL - 'Marae justice' anyone? I do feel naughty laughing about it, yet Ms Karu has my support: adulterers are pond-scum beneath contempt. I'm also quite partial to the traditional kanohi-a-kanohi (face to face) method of dispute resolution. I can easily relate to her as all my female relatives are feisty, fiery, fighting femmes. Lord help anyone caught cheating with their husbands!

Anyway, wonder what Tariana (unavailable for comment) will make of the 'youth' and 'women's' delegate for her very own electorate? Any form of violence is completely anathema to The Maori Party's principles, yet Mrs Turia is also very loyal to her troops. Moral of the story: be careful who you f**k with!