Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gordon Brown the mucky bugger. lol

If you like to see clips of politicians that they don't want you to see then check out this clip from youtube. It really shows his human side. After all - everyone likes to pick their nose don't they!

Malinga the Slinger

After watching the Irish I caught the tail-end of South Africa and Sri Lanka's Super 8 match. South Africa appeared as if they were coasting to victory till Malinga struck. 4 wickets in 4 balls! His hat-trick delivery dismissed Kallis who had already made 80 odd. Then with 9 wickets down South Africa, needing 2 runs to win, faced about 10 dot balls till Robin Peterson edged a boundary to attain what should have been a comfortable victory. Still - what a performance from Malinga. And what a finish to a match!

The Home Nations and Euro 2008 qualification.

Four wins and a loss for the home nations this morning.

I was up at 6.30am to cheer on the Irish against Slovakia. Kevin Doyle's goal did the business. Duff had a great game though sometimes a bit aimless with his crossing, and the game was an enjoyable affair. Keeps the Irish in with a shout of qualification - but with the Czechs also winning against Cyprus the Czech Republic and Germany are still in the strongest position to do so. Its getting nice and close though. Come on Ireland! We've only qualified for one out of the last 6 major tournaments (ie out of the last 3 euro champs and last 3 world cups we only made 2002 and a heart-breaking loss to Spain on penalties that turned out to be as well). Prior to that though 1990 and 1994 had seemed to herald good fortunes for Ireland. Bring back Jack Charlton - brilliant ex Leeds and England centre-half of the 60s/70s and legendary Irish manager of the early 90s!

Wales had a 3-0 win over San Marino. But then everyone beats San Marino. Wales don't really have any realistic chance of qualification but its still nice to see them do well. Hopefully they can help the Irish by thwarting the Germans and Czechs whenever they next may play them.

England beat Andorra 3-0 and if they hadn't won it would have been a huge shock. Andorra are after all over 150 places behind them in the rankings I believe. It took until the second half to get any goals as well. Russia and Croatia are in the best positions to qualify from this group but it would be foolish to discount England - despite the fact that Steve McClaren is a bit of a useless turd.
Northern Ireland had a fantastic 2-1 win over Sweden. That's 5 goals in 2 games for David Healy. He can't seem to replicate his form for Leeds but that could either be because our shower of shite don't link up and play him in very well, or maybe he's just more motivated for his country. Come on David - you've got 7 games to fire us to survival - please do it! Northern Ireland have never been much cop, and their current team aren't exactly fantastic but David Healy really is the toast of Northern Ireland - and qualification practically rests on his shoulders. They are in a pretty good position to qualify but don't expect the likes of Spain to give up the fight yet - qualification could still easily implode for the Northern Irish.

Scotland had a 2-0 loss to Italy leaving them in a bit of a vulnerable position. They are on 12 points alongside Ukraine and France, with Italy just behind on 10. But Scotland have played one more game than the other 3. This group should go down to the wire.
Come on the Home Nations - lets see Ireland, N. Ireland, Scotland and England qualify. Would be bloody nice for a change. But reckon only 1 or 2 at the most will end up making it.

Only time will tell.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Confidence in the police?

If there is any group of people we need confidence in, it is the police. When I was young I was always taught: if you are lost a policeman will help you find your way home, if you have a problem the nice policeman will help you etc.

But would you want that message drummed into your daughter if Brad Shipton was the policeman? I certainly wouldn't. Engaging in group sex with young females while on duty is bad enough but reading about his sex tape it's a lot worse than that. Biting on them till they bleed? Strangling to the point of black-out? Baton inserted vaginally and anally? Controlled rape role play? To name but a few.

This is suggested to have been a regular occurrence, revealing a police force with a disgusting pack mentality. It appears sexual activity often took place with girls who thought they were just being given a friendly lift home. There have also been a few allegations that quite a bit that has happened between police officers and young women has actually been rape but the females often haven't wanted to seek out the justice of the courts.

This whole story sickens me.

It might be consensual but by god it still undermines confidence in the police and their ethics.

Black Caps hit by injuries; bad news for The Chin.

Oh dear. What is happening with the Black Caps? Will World Cup 2007 derail? Or can we cope with the ever widening injury problems?

We now have 2 players coming back to New Zealand - their World Cup dreams in shatters.

One of them is Darryl Tuffey who's re-injured that bothersome knee of his. But that's OK, Tuffey's not much of a loss; many would argue he shouldn't be there anyway. But what of his replacement Chris Martin? Well he doesn't inspire me with confidence.

The second one is a much bigger concern: Lou Vincent. Now I know I've been a big critic of Lou's from time to time but the CB series in Australia made me have a bit of a rethink. He'd finally got rid of that ridiculous urge to play the ridiculous forcing shot and getting out early. He had started to show some maturity and class. And what is more - we are weak in the opening position. Lou wasn't exactly what I want in an opener - but he's as close as we're realistically going to get right now. Shane Bond cracked him on the wrist in training. I hate those kind of injuries. They make me angry.

And so who has replaced him in the squad? Hamish freaking Marshall. I thought we'd seen the back of him, only for him to rear his ugly head again. Marshall aint no opener - so who is going to open? Experiment with McCullum again? no thanks - he's too valuable down the order. I'd give Fulton a go at opening - but I bet the selectors don't try that. I'm not quite sure who they're going to put there but the fact is no-one is ideal. We should have got Astle out of retirement. I'm deadly serious about that. Don't get me going on a bitter Astle rant. I'll bend your ear all day!

Taylor's got a strain, Gillespie is getting over a virus... who's to bet that Shane Bond breaks down next? God I hope not.

Can we win the World Cup? You bet we can! But not if Zeus et all continue to conspire against us like the Gods have conspired against me and my family since eternity.

Aussies pummel South Africa; Ireland back in business in Euro 2008 qualification!

I can't believe that on Saturday night I made the decision to not watch this game and instead just get up for the Wales - Republic of Ireland Euro 2008 qualifier at 3am. However thankfully I did end watching from the start! A text message woke me up at about 1:15am - being too busy chewing the fat to go back to sleep I decided to get up and watch the start of the match, only to see a brutal opening stand by Hayden and Gilchrist set up a huge total of 377-6. Hayden, although riding his luck on occasion, was simply sublime scoring the fastest ever hundred in a world cup (beating John Davison by 1 ball thanks to an emphatic six down the ground). To think that 18 months previously he appeared on the outer of the Australian side!

At 3am I did switch over to watch the football (flicking back to cricket now and again naturally) !With Ireland being my favourite international football side (behind the All Whites of course!) I'm always very keen to watch them. Of course it also helped my frame of mind that Johnny Douglas was selected in the team. Douglas is of course a Leeds Utd midfielder who recently became captain after the messy Nicholls saga. He's not much of a player but he's tenacious and useful. And its nice to watch a fairly good international side employ a player from the start who plays for the Championship's bottom club (by god it pains me to say that!). Unfortunately his playing on Saturday against Wales and then on Wednesday against Slovakia is not good for Leeds as our game against Preston is on Friday. So it would be nice if he didn't start on Wednesday! Anyway - the Ireland Wales game wasn't the most rip roaring affair but it was satisfying to see Stephen Ireland score the winning goal. It keeps us in with a shot at qualification. With Germany beating the Czechs, we now see Germany top with 13 points with the Czechs and us on 10 (although we have played the extra game). And then we have Slovakia only one point behind us, and with the game in hand! This makes our match up with Slovakia huge! As the match wound up it was great to hear the commentator inform us of a late Scotland goal to take a 2-1 win over Georgia. Hopefully the Scots can avoid defeat against the Italians, keeping them in good shape to secure a surprise qualification.

Who finds it strange that I'm referring to Ireland as us? Well although I'm English I do have a smidgeon of Irish in me. My Mum's Dad's Father was Irish so I guess that makes me 1/16 Irish. And as I feel great affinity with my grandfather on that side, and my mum's maiden name, I feel a strong pull towards Ireland. I feel more patriotic towards them than I do England. I feel a pull towards England but I guess that's more directed towards Yorkshire where I was brought up. Anyway - when I found out that England Israel had been a draw, I wasn't overly concerned and certainly managed to see a bit of the funny side. Steve McClaren is useless by the way. The sooner the FA see that the better for England. I support all the so called home nations! I love Ireland and want to see Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do well! I do support England too although its hard to support a football team that containst the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville!

I didn't watch the South Africa innings. Bed came a calling. If the unbelievable game at the Wanderers a year before was anything to go by then the match certainly wasn't over. And the opening stand of 160 odd proved that. However a collapse eventuated and although South Africa made a very good 294, this was still an 83 run loss.

And thankfully I could have a weekend without the stress of Leeds Utd playing!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Nugent call up for England.

David Nugent, the very talented Preston striker is in the England squad for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifier with Israel. This is the first time since 1999 that a player outside England's top leagues has been selected. He is also the first Preston player to be selected for England since Tom Finney almost 50 years ago. It makes me remember the wonderful days of the late 80's/early 90's when Steve Bull spent many loyal years at Wolves (who were outside the top league season after season) and was selected for England a number of times. Hopefully Nugent will get some gametime and do very well.

I can't see him staying at Preston much longer though. He'll no doubt be courting the big money signs of the Premiership come summer.

NCEA or Cambridge?

School examination systems have been in the spotlight recently. Closeup on Wednesday had an item discussing the fact that 37 schools offer Cambridge exams (International GCSE's). This included an interview with Christchurch Boys' High School principal Trevor Macintyre who is very much against the mediocrity that NCEA promotes.

There are a huge number of problems with the NCEA system. One of these days I'll write a big post on why I believe this to be the case. This will probably include some solutions to make NCEA a whole lot better.

The Cambridge system offers a very challenging qualification. My brother has been (and still is) involved with Cambridge English and Maths, and when I look at what he's doing in comparison with what the same year level does at NCEA, the gap is significant. Tutoring students at school I regularly get to see the lackadaisical approach of NCEA, and the lack of intellectual rigour of the system.

Cambridge offers something that can be recognised internationally and teaches a number of more difficult concepts. I am right behind those parents who are going down this line with their children.

So for once I agree with a Libertarianz spokesperson on something! (That is until he starts spouting off about how all schools should be within the private education market!).

This is only a brief post for me to sound off that I'm not a fan of NCEA, and that I do like Cambridge. Sometime in the future I will go into a lot more details on this!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yay. I'm off to Sydney!

Roughly last August I applied to go on the Liberty and Society conference in Sydney after hearing how good it was from Andrew Falloon who went in April. Unfortunately they did not accept my application but said I was on the next round of candidates to invite.

Thinking nothing more of it, even considering that I had already heard of a couple of people who were going, I received an email from the organiser Jenny Lindsay on March 5th asking if I would like to be considered again as she still had my application from last time. The cut-off date to apply was March 19th - so a couple of days before that I thought I might as well flick her an email and tell her they were free to consider me.

A couple of days ago I received an email to say I was accepted for the conference! (Dates: April 13-15). We get accommodation, meals and flights paid for (apart from a $50 contribution we are expected to make). Guess that means I'll just be paying $50 plus transport to and from the airport, and probably a few beers! Sounds like a sweet deal :) We will be hearing from a number of experts and indulging in a lot of discussion with the ideas of classical liberalism as a framework. I expect to have a thought-provoking weekend.
And no doubt will check out the Sydney nightlife as well :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Other World Cup titbits.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has passed away at the age of 58. This is very sad news for the cricketing world.

Since then Inzamam-Ul-Haq has decided to retire from the one-day game after the world cup, and to relinquish his position as test captain (though still be available for tests).

Flintoff's drunken misdemeanours after England's loss to the Black Caps has resulted in him being stripped of the vice-captaincy, not picked for their win against Canada, and no doubt the heaviest fine of the 6 men involved. Flintoff is renowned for his drunken antics!

A day of shocks follows a Black Caps win.

First off I must note that I was happy to watch the Black Caps record a comfortable win over England. The team picked was the right one, with the possible exception of the harsh decision to leave Fulton out. However my theory to have him in ahead of an out of form Styris wasn't a great one considering that Styris continued his excellent record in the West Indies, with both bat and ball. Bond was fantastically economical and dangerous in his bowling. But it was a pity we couldn't quite finish the English batsmen off as Nixon and Plunkett starred in a large tailend partnership. Still - crucial points for us to take through to the Super 8!

St. Patrick's day motivated the Irish to a fantastic victory over Pakistan in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. Strangely enough I had almost thought it half possible in Pakistan's current malaise for this to happen. Having drawn against Zimbabwe and beaten Pakistan it is amazing to think that Ireland are now in the box seat for qualification to the Super 8!

On the same day Bangladesh also beat India! This is an upset but not so much as you might think. I have always maintained that Bangladesh had a chance in this group - they have progressed a lot over the last few years and are always in with a chance.

Leeds Update

Not much has changed with last weekend's games. We managed to salvage a point against Southend with Healy scoring an 88th minute equaliser. We were also denied a blatant penalty, and created enough opportunities to score plenty more goals. So we are still in the battle for survival but could really have done with a win. Luton's loss means that we are now equal bottom in terms of points. QPR's victory over Leicester moves them out of the bottom 3 and makes things just a little tougher for us.


Burnley 41 (37 games) Goal diff: -5
Hull 41 (39 games) Goal diff: -17
Barnsley 41 (39 games) Goal diff: -24

QPR 40 (38 games) Goal diff: -14
Southend 39 (39 games) Goal diff: -19
Luton 36 (39 games) Goal diff: -20
Leeds 36 (39 games) Goal diff: -25

Come on boys!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Zimbabwe Ireland thriller!

A draw! Not very often this happens in cricket, and a great shock. Pity Ireland couldn't quite pull it off properly. Plus I reckon if you get the same number of runs, the team with the least wickets down should win. And if that were the case - Ireland with 9 down would have beaten the all out Zimbabweans.

It's a bit of a disaster how bad Zimbabwe have become thanks to the corrupt regime of Mugabe. They used to have a solid team with the likes of Flower (x2), Vermeulen, Campbell, Strang Olonga etc.

Black Caps England Preview.

The Black Caps get their world cup game underway with a crucial game against England. Both teams have injury concerns going into the match - yet both may well end up playing all their big guns, despite fitness concerns. James Anderson's broken finger may not keep him out of the starting line-up, McMillan has supposedly got through training OK with his bruised toe, and Fulton is set to play despite his finger problems. The so-called longer term casualties of Oram and Pietersen, both of whom were expected to make comebacks later in the tournament, are both likely to start! What this indicates to me is that there are many people (all teams inclusive) who are being rushed back - desperate to help their teams to the holy grail of the world cup. This is good to see - as long as it doesn't backfire on anyone with longer setbacks a result.

Both the Black Caps and England are incredibly inconsistent. Both can be bloody brilliant. And both can be dreadful. And both can be anywhere in between. Let's hope for a Black Caps win so we can take the points through to the Super 8 (as one would assume that both NZ and the mother country will qualify!)

I can't exactly talk...

Yes I know Leeds are very likely going down, but I might as well revel in a little misfortune of one of my most disliked clubs! What a great song to the tune of the Hokey Cokey! (Anyone who doesn't know the Hokey Cokey by the way must be shot!):

You put your Argies in,
Took your Argies out.
The Iceman comes,
And your manager's out.
You're selling Reo-Coker
and your're going down,
Thats why we like to shout...........

Oooooh Wanky Wanky West Ham,
Oooooh Wanky Wanky West Ham,
Oooooh Wanky Wanky West Ham,

Misfits, Has-beens HA HA HA!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You've gotta laugh.

Found this on a Leeds Utd message board. Whilst we are often involved in mutual hand wringing and anxiety, this is a great bunch of fans with a dark sense of humour. Which without it, we would surely cry instead!

Congratulations Taito Phillip Field!

His delaying tactics of introducing 50 last minute amendments will delay the passing of the controversial anti-smacking bill. This will mean more time for Labour and Maori Party MP's to be put under pressure. Lawyers have lately come out saying it is a badly worded law, and that parents who simply lightly smack their kids could end up in a police cell over night.

Unfortunately Chester Borrows amendment failed which would have actually defined reasonable force, and was a good middle ground.

NZ injury situation.

Bond bruises McMillan's toe with yorker putting him in doubt. Fulton broken finger, may play. Gillespie virus. Oram still with finger problem. It's never easy as a Black Caps fan - let's just hope for a good result in the game against England during the early hours of saturday morning. Any injuries for any team in a world cup piss me off!

Fantasy Cricket

To keep me vaguely amused throughout the world cup, I have a fantasy team in the competition. The worst news for my team is that James Anderson has just broken his finger and is in doubt. But at least I have Ricky Ponting! I recommend others to create a team, you'll only start a couple of games behind the play. If you know me feel free to join the provate league "one and all", key: 1172660625

New Football rule suggested.

The Football league is considering a proposal to scrap draws, and make them go into penalties instead. This is completely ridiculous in my view, and to even consider it is a farce. The draw is a sacred part of football. When two teams can't be separated, giving them 1 point each in the league is perfectly fair, instead of throwing up every game to the lottery of the shootout.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Down Down Down.

Well I've been checking out this morning's full round of Championship action, and thanks to a 1-1 draw with Leicester we've now picked up a win and a draw in our last two games. Unfortunately this unusual event of actually doing OK for a change is not as good as it looks. This is because of the excellent form of some of the teams around us. Southend have picked up 2 wins in a row after beating Ipswich on the weekend, as have Hull. We only seem to have made real ground on Luton, and perhaps QPR. We've been having a lot of bad luck this season, combined with the fact we've actually been really shit at times. But 4 points out of 6 and still bottom is not good.

I think God doesn't like us.

8 dates with destiny to go. Including a MASSIVE game against Southend this weekend.

I think we'll be relegated with a couple of games to go. In which case I will be crying like a baby :(

Current Table:

Burnley 41 (36 games) Goal diff: -3

Hull 41 (38 games) Goal diff: -15

Southend 38 (38 games) Goal diff: -19

Barnsley 38 (37 games) Goal diff: -23


QPR 37 (37 games) Goal diff: -16

Luton 36 (38 games) Goal diff: -18

Leeds 35 (38 games) Goal diff: -25

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

World Cup gets underway!

It's here and I'm excited. Except for the fact I'm already rather behind in my uni work and won't be able to dedicate myself to the cup as I would like. I could pretty much watch all the live games if I had the chance but unfortunately it seems like the highlight packages might be getting a pounding instead! Tonight is West Indies v Pakistan to set the tone for an exciting few weeks.

Go the Black Caps.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dwayne Leverock is my hero.

Dwayne Leverock is a member of the Bermuda side competing at the 2007 cricket world cup. He has also topped 21 stone (about 135 kg). Simply put: he is one helluva big lad. Yet he's one of the team's stars. In his sides friendly against England he managed an excellent 2-32 from 10 overs (easily the best figures of the team), including the prize scalps of Pietersen and Collingwood. His slow left-arm orthodox bowling is very accurate, and quite dangerous. As Michael Vaughan noted: "He bowled very well. Any spinner that drags Kevin Pietersen out of his crease and does him in the flight, it is a good delivery". It is quite a sight seeing him stagger in to bowl but he obviously has some quality.
Good luck to him for the World Cup. You are my hero. And obviously have created a bit of stir already if some of the British Press is anything to go by!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Frank Haden dies.

Sad to hear of the death of Frank Haden. I used to really enjoy his columns in the Press regarding the use of the English language. I even emailed him once (while I was in seventh form I think) about two things, and lo and behold he included both my comments in his next column. One was that these days students are not taught grammar, suggesting that practically no-one would know what the past pluperfect tense was (don't ask me what it is either!), the other was the annoying habit of certain cricket commentators (Ian Smith) using the word connotations when he actually meant permutations during the VB series round that time. Haden also used to write articles on political issues in the Sunday Star times, usually with a centre-right perspective.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A little Green on the inside.

I've always been someone deeply concerned about our environment, and in this regard have held some sympathies towards the greenie protestations coming from the Green Party. Unfortunately their few iotas of sense are mixed up with the likes of scaremongering (peak oil, and even more so an almost fanatical opposition to the wonders of Genetic Engineering) and their other extreme political viewpoints that are completely non-environment related, and often completely at odds with my perspective. Examples would include their considering the Treaty of Waitangi in almost gospel like proportions, leading them to positively discriminate towards maori - a concept that has gained in popularity with the emergence of the maori party as a force, their seemingly unmitigated desire to perpetuate the cycle of welfare dependency, and an addiction to increased social spending.

However, at the risk of being accused of authoritarianism or being a 'filthy filthy tory', I have found myself in the rare situation of agreeing with Metiria Turei and Hone Harawira. They back up the Cancer Society and OSH's desire to ban point of sale displays of cigarette and tobacco products. It's a very nanny statish call but it's one I would be in favour of. Smoking is a disgusting habit which leads to a plethora of health problems such as lung cancer, never mind the cigarette companies making huge profits from the addictions of the populace (especially from the lower socio-economic groups who are over represented in these statistics). These companies will naturally exploit any means of marketing their product (even at times in breach of legal regulations) - and no doubt these above the counter visual images increases their sales. Check out the Cancer Society article for further discussion upon this point. Smoking really is something we need to encourage youngsters not to take up, so we should do what we can on this score. Plus if there's anything we can do to drastically reduce the number of cigarettes people smoke we should try and do it. If something as simple as product placement even might make a difference then it's worth a go. It is rather ironic though that the Greens are strongly against cigarettes and yet would decriminalise (or even legalise) Marijuana - and have an avowed pot smoker amongst their ranks.

Another idea coming out of the Green Party ranks shouldn't be completely dismissed. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has suggested that those who sign up to Kiwisaver should be given a 'socially responsible' option as to where to invest, citing that "the New Zealand Superannuation Fund has investments in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, destroy the environment and breach labour and human rights". I don't know the validity of his claims, nor how he defines destroying the environment - chances are he's spouting some extremist propaganda - but his comments do raise a question in my mind: when looking to invest - do we just look for simply the best financial return or should we try and balance this out a little with our moral and social concerns? I suggest the latter. Life shouldn't just be about more money at whatever cost.

Having stood up for the Green Party a little here, readers should be clear that overall I think their set of policies is one of the crazier in parliament, and one of the most out of tune with my perspective. But sometimes, just sometimes, there's a smidgeon of sense hidden away somewhere. Most of the time this is where conservation is concerned - but occasionally, sense crops up elsewhere!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Not Guilty!

Rickards, Shipton and Schollum have all been found not guilty on historic sex-charges...again. Is it just me or does something stink about this? I usually make it a policy of mine that I don't comment either way on court charges because you can never know the truth.
But everyone knows their guilty. To me it is just bloody obvious. This decision is enough to make anyone bitter. Those poor women who have tried to fight their case in court and failed because of the smarmy lies of Rickards and co.
Not happy.

Compulsory Savings

Recently Winston Peters has been espousing his much loved ideas on compulsory savings. There is some merit to his ideas as it is important that New Zealanders try to save healthy chunks of their income rather than just using it irresponsibly. A lot of New Zealanders have no idea of the concept of savings. Many people like to spend their full quota of income, perceiving it as somehow wasted if it's sitting accruing interest in the bank. New clothes must be bought, or expensive restaurants dined at, or the latest gadget bought for their 9 year old boy.

It's disappointing that many people don't know the meaning of savings. My family is in a comfortable financial position because they worked hard, and scrimped and saved a vast majority of their earnings. If 10 pounds was left over at the end of the week it wouldn't just be spent on luxury items, it would be added to the savings. We have family friends who earn a lot but spend it all, and hence can't afford it when an unexpected bill comes along. This is a nonsense. Savings must be encouraged. People, especially lower earners, should be encouraged to spend only on what is necessary, in the long-run it will be good for them.
But regardless of the excesses of many people, compulsory savings shouldn't be the way to go. There are lots of pressures on household finances as it is that many may not afford it. Plus it is everyone's personal choice as to how much they save. In a sense though, if it were compulsory, there could be an opportunity for relieving government spending in the area of superannuation, giving a top-up to their compulsory scheme. Again, whether this is a good thing or not is easily debatable.
We haven't heard much from Winston on this since the 1997 referendum when the voting public were strongly against it. Savings is an important part of life but we shouldn't legislate for it.