Monday, December 15, 2003

Ace of spades
The US have captured Saddam Hussein - they shaved off his beard (see pics), and did a DNA test on him, just to make sure it really was him, not one of his body doubles. Back Stateside, Rumsfeld tells Bush, but they hold back from announcing his capture, one, to make sure that its confirmed, and two, so that it can come from Iraq, not the Whitehouse first.
Salaam Pax's reaction is on the Guardian's site, he was amazed that Saddam was hiding in Tikrit, as that's such an obvious place for him to be.
What I'm curious about is when did the US Government start collecting DNA samples of world tyrants? Who else have they got on file? Do they have Bin Laden's DNA?

The hut near where Saddam was found "consisted of one room with two beds and a fridge containing a can of lemonade, a packet of hot dogs, an opened box of Belgian chocolates and a tube of ointment. Several new pairs of shoes lay in their boxes scattered around the floor." Livin' large.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

What a waste
He had 88 previous convictions. Hello? A warning sign?
"Fired up on the methamphetamine drug P, Steven Williams battered his six-year-old stepdaughter Coral Burrows to death when she complained she did not want to go to school.... Just a few hours earlier Williams had finished a night-long P smoking session in Featherston... He punched her unconscious and later fractured her skull hitting her with a tree branch...
When later interviewed, police said Williams demonstrated the sound Coral made when he put her down, but claimed that he thought that she was dead although he said he wasn't certain. He claimed that he hit her on the head with the piece of wood because he "didn't want her to suffer"."


on a lighter note...
"Godfather, I hereby appoint you secretary of soul and foreign minister of funk." United States Secretary of State Colin Powell to James Brown. First duty - bring the funk to Iraq?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Pet Rock
After going out for ramen noodles the other night, we did a walk round the old QEII Square at the bottom of Queen St. Its now called something else like Britomart Transport Courtyard, and there's some fine public art there.
The Maori warrior that used to be there before rennovation has been returned, and is no longer towering over passerby,as he's been taken off his pedestal and is now planted with his feet on the ground. He's still 12 foot high, so he's no less imposing, and this was the way the artist Molly McAllister originally wanted him installed. Back in the dim distant past, someone at the Council thought they knew better and put him on a pedestal. Now the late artists wishes have finally been met.
There's also a new sculpture, that's a large chunk of rock, cut out roughly into a rectangular shape, that is taller than it is wide. It has Maori motifs carved into the side, and water running down it form the top, which has been cut off flat. There's a pool of water around its base, with yellow and red coloured lights under the water, pulsating on and off. The best part; every two minutes or so 4 foot high flames shoot out of the top of it! How cool is that? Its like a sculpture that wants to be dance party.
If you're near Downtown of an evening, go and check it out. Its outstanding. If anyone reading this knows who the artist is, let me know.

UPDATE.
from Suzanne Sinclair, Britomart Transport Display Centre ...
"The concept of the fire rock comes from the Britomart Architect, Mario Madayag's original design for the project and the carving was done by Ngati Whatua O Orakei stone carvers.One of the design themes of the station represents Auckland as a volcanic region and there are 11 light wells shaped like volcanoes in the roof of the station.The 12th, outside is a real (gas fired) volcano, the fire rock." Nice work.


I'm with stupid.
From the Waikato Times newspaper...

Safety and security procedures at a Taupo bungy operation will not be stepped up after a man threw himself off the platform overlooking the Waikato River on Sunday.
Taupo Bungy marketing manager Keith Lewis said the man, Carl Goodwin from Hawera, had jumped over a locked gate while staff were taking a break during a lull in jumping.
The waist-high gate restricts access to the end of the platform for jumpers and staff only.
Mr Lewis said a 2 metre tall gate on to the platform would not be locked to prevent the same thing from happening again.
He said staff, who did not realise the 30-year-old had jumped until the recovery crew heard him hit the water, would not be required to guard the platform either.
"Osh (Occupational Safety and Health) have told us it is a police matter," he said. "We have had no problems since opening 12 years ago."
Osh Taupo and Eastern Bay of Plenty service manager Murray Thompson said Taupo Bungy had taken appropriate measures to ensure visitor safety.
"If someone wants to do these things and climb fences then they are going to suffer the consequences," he said.
Mr Goodwin was flown to Rotorua Hospital. It is understood he has broken ribs.
Mr Lewis said Mr Goodwin was lucky to have survived the 47 metre drop into the Waikato River.
Taupo Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen said police had investigated the incident and decided to take no further action against Mr Goodwin.
Mr Goodwin, who had been drinking, had been in a small boat on the river with two friends before he decided he wanted to jump.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Screw you, CNN
CNN reports.... WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters) - "Thousands of ecstatic fans cheered "The Lord of the Rings" at the world premiere of the final installment of the award-winning movie trilogy."
How did 100,000 people on the streets of Wellington become thousands? Oh hang on, its from Reuters. Oh. Misplaced rage.

I went out to buy the new Missy Elliot album yesterday - official release date in NZ was Nov 28, out overseas on Nov 24, and do you think I could find it? No. Oh, the inhumanity.

And some more reasons NOT to eat McDonalds (like you need em), from the forums at hiphopnz.com. Of special interest to Akld fast food addicts.

"Grey Lynn McDees...
They suck!!!! We got escorted by the police out of the drive-thru cos we wouldn't leave because they overcharged us and didn't give us one of our combo's!! fuckers..........
Anyone else had fast food drama's?"

Another poster responds....
"is grey lynn maccas the one on gt north rd?
if it is...last weekend my friend and his g/f went there for a feed, come back here and realised theyd left their bag there (the bag had like 4 weeks rent in cash in it) so anyways they go back to get the bag and the first employee they talk with describes my friends bag to her and goes to get it...then another employee comes out and says they dont have it.

Bullshit went on for like an hour or so (she got told other tales such as someone else claimed the bag) so our friend rings us and a carload of us threaten to lock all the doors block off the driveway untill the bag is given to us...and whaddaya know they come out with the bag in like 2 minutes...even after all that the managers were not at all apologetic and acted all smug so i showed my digust by spitting all over their window....oh long winded ass story "

and another...
"My mates girlfriend got a cheeseburger combo and it was cold so she took it back to the counter and said it was cold. The girl behind the counter goes 'it's not' this goes on for a little while till the manager comes over , he takes a fucking bite of the burger and then says 'it's not cold' and gives it back to her. She wrote a letter or 5 and ended up with a truck load of mcdonalds vouchers. "

Convinced? What, you STILL want to eat that crap? Good luck to you and your stomach. And then I found this gem....

Dictionary Definition of 'McJob' is Slap in Face, says Angry Burger Boss
10/11/03 . By Rupert Cornwell . The Independent . UK

Poor old McDonald's. Just as the world's largest fast-food chain is trying to spruce up its image (and its profits) it has been dealt another blow - this time lexicographic.
Welcome to the world of "McJobs", defined by the latest Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as "low paying and dead-end work". The entry is one of 10,000 additions to the latest version of the dictionary.
McDonald's is furious. Jim Cantalupo, the company's chief executive says in an open letter sent to US news organizations, that it is "an inaccurate description of restaurant employment" and a "slap in the face to the 12 million men and women" who work in the restaurant industry.
As is often the way in America, the lawyers may shortly be involved. A McDonald's spokesman said the word "McJob" closely resembles McJobs, the company's training program for handicapped people. "McJobs is trademarked, and we've notified them that legally that's an issue for us as well," he added.

Read more great stories like this one at Mcspotlight.org.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Lost without the autocue.
One conclusion that I came to after watching the Lord Of The Rings premiere coverage on TV One and TV3 - star-struck tv reporters come out with the most banal comments when they don't have a script to follow. The poor wee things are lost without an autocue. There's Paul Holmes down on the red carpet, interviewing the stars, and one of them walks up. Paul says into his microphone "Who's this?" Someone tells him on-camera 'It's Hugo Weaving', and then he starts interviewing him. Meanwhile there's Kate Hawkesby and her amazing cleavage. Who knew? Maybe she rented it for the night.
Over on TV3, John Cambell was his excitable self, telling us "a few moments ago Sir Ian Mckellan was introduced by Peter Jackson, and he thanked the men of Wellington". Now why couldn't we have seen that? And the pressing question - did he thank them all by name?
TV3 also gave us ace reporter Whena Owen, who has followed the previous premieres, both here and overseas. She filed a report covering the leadup to monday nights event. And yet, when faced with Viggo Mortensen on the red carpet, her best question was this stinker - "Viggo, you're a bit of a sex symbol now." Hang on, that's not a question, it's a statement. What was she thinking? Viggo was very humble, shrugged it off, said something about just enjoying the work, etc.
Every second word uttered was either 'wonderful' or 'fantastic'. By the stars or the reporters. Its hard not to be bemused by the hype surrounding the film. Just have to go and see it for myself, I guess.
BFM's Damien Christie managed to blag a pass, and decided to get drunk at 8 in the morning, to avoid being legally responsible when signing the offical press waiver. That's dedication for you.

December 1st was not only big movie day (as we emerge as a nation from post-world cup gloom - which reminds me, how did some All Blacks manage to get tickets to the premiere? Pity?), but also World Aids Day. 8,000 people die every day from Aids, and 40 million people now have the disease.

and something to cheer you up, from The Joint, on Chch's Radio RDU....
"The Man From G.A.L.A.X.Y. appearing on the show today he was able to tell us the worst joke of 2003:
Q: How many MCs does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Not many, if any..."

Monday, December 01, 2003

The good, the bad and the ugly.
"We were expecting Nicholas Cage or Shania Twain". US Army soldier at thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad, on Bush's unannounced appearance at dinner. Bummer, dude.
Bush managed 2 and a half hours in Baghdad; Hilary Clinton flew in the following day and spent two days in Iraq.

Last drinks ....
The Muse Lounge has gone out of business. Kinda sad, really. I've enjoyed reading Chad's musings on writing, music, life, and related ephemera. I'm not surprised that he's found blogging too distracting from his own writing - William Gibson called it a day on his blog earlier this year for similar reasons. He also notes that the tone of our local media has become ear-splittingly shrill in recent months. To my ears its been like that for the last year. Its one hell of a painful noise to try and block out on an ongoing basis. But what can you do?
UPDATE ... and now Debra Daley announces she's closing up shop too. Sad.

Friday, November 28, 2003

A Slow News Day
How can you tell? Read this. Damien Christie wrote some more about it over at Public Address. Storm in a teacup, anyone?

Bruce Springsteen told a crowd of 50,000 New Yorkers on October 4th to "shout a little louder if you want the president impeached"... didn't work... now Moby is having a go....

Team New Zealand need the paltry sum of $150 million to go to the next America's Cup in Spain - they've signed up $100 million worth of sponsors so far... Just Say No...

a 19-year old Rotorua man pleaded guilty to a dangerous driving charge yesterday, for driving around a roundabout the wrong way. He claimed he had been under the influence of the energy drink V, which he said had put him in a "hypo mood"... again, Just Say No...

But hey, on the upside, Missy Elliots new album This Is Not A Test is totally dynamite. She disses skinny girls with no butts. That's educational.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Pushing the envelope
Some little bastards broke into our car last night - smashed a window, rummaged through the glovebox, coin tray, and the boot, and stole a torch and some clipon sunglasses. Ggrrrrrr! What a total pain. Still, at least there's Newsboy and his outrageous takeoff of Target, which will surely have a sea of complaints flooding TVNZ. It was truly the most twisted thing I've seen on TV for a long time. Talk about pushing the envelope.
And then we had Otis and Slave taking Mo Show viewers off to Coney Island. Look, its a music festival, and there's the Datsuns, rocking out on Coney Island. Nice piece of advice from these touring vets (25 countries in two years) - you may think that getting signed to an overseas label means you've finally made it, but that's just the start.

What about George Dubya, trashing the Palace. What a lousy guest..

The Queen is furious with President George W. Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace.
Royal officials are now in touch with the Queen's insurers and Prime Minister Tony Blair to find out who will pick up the massive repair bill. Palace staff said they had never seen the Queen so angry as when she saw how her perfectly-mantained lawns had been churned up after being turned into helipads with three giant H landing markings for the Bush visit.
The rotors of the President's Marine Force One helicopter and two support Black Hawks damaged trees and shrubs that had survived since Queen Victoria's reign.
And Bush's army of clod-hopping security service men trampled more precious and exotic plants...
The Palace's head gardener, Mark Lane, was reported to be in tears when he saw the scale of the damage.
"The Queen has every right to feel insulted at the way she has been treated by Bush," said a Palace insider.
"The repairs will cost tens of thousands of pounds but the damage to historic and rare plants will be immense. They are still taking an inventory."

The Guardian has an obituary for Chic's drummer Tony Thompson. He also played with Madonna, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin...
"Tony Thompson, who has died of cancer aged 48, was among the finest of all pop/rock drummers. Although his name is frequently absent from the pantheon of the greats, as an original member of Chic, his playing betrayed an elegant simplicity that perfectly fitted the stately dispassion of their New York grooves..."

Monday, November 24, 2003

Bring the noise
Flavor Flav has teamed Ecko Unlimited to produce the Flavor Flav Talking Alarm Clock. The clock is a miniature replica of the animated rapper & comes with wake up messages "Fight The Power," "Yo, G, Yo," "Yeah Boyeee," "Bass For Your Face," "Get Up a Git Git Git Down" & "Rock That Sh*t Homie." The alarm clock retails for $US85. (From allhiphop.com)

Newsweeks Digital IQ test is fun, give it a try. I got 89.

Justin Marshall was interviewed on 20/20 last night. He talked about the All Blacks loss in the semifinal, and the resulting fallout. He summed up the nation's mood, saying that "at the end of the day, people have got to realise that sh*t happens".
I turned to my partner and said "Did Justin Marshall just say sh*t happens?" And she said "I think he did". Go Justin Marshall; thats a much more amusing comment than 'full credit.'

I bought some great records at the Grey Lynn Festival, including a record by Bob from Sesame Street, for $2. Later, I saw Chris Macro from Dubious Bros on Juice TV, who'd been filming at the festival. He scored Stevie Wonder's 'Songs in the Key of Life' for $2. That is a wicked find. Damn!

Friday, November 21, 2003

He got the Ghostface
Ghostface Killah is the mean sounding name for a fella who is part of hiphop crew the Wu Tang Clan (real name: Tony Coles), but he's on the level. Check this story from allhiphop.com...
"Ghostface Killah will hand out 1,000 sleeping bags donated to homeless people by the Troop apparel co. Ghost & Troop's owners, will hand out the sleeping bags & initiate a "Hat & Glove" drive at The Bowery Mission in NYC on 11/24. Fans are being asked to bring hats & gloves in exchange for an autographed photo of the rapper."
I got a record of his recently, doing a mean-ass rap over Dawn Penns reggae tune No No No. Nice.

While flicking thru the latest catalogue from the Warehouse (and another Brazilian rainforest dies), I spied mention of "thousands of retro jazz vinyl LPs for only $2.99". Not the usual place I'd go record hunting, but hey. So I checked it out this afternoon, and its a small pile of new vinyl - I thought retro was shorthand for scratchy and old, but no. They're new pressings of jazzbos like Count Basie, Anita Day, Tommy Dorsey and more. I picked up LPs by Oscar Peterson and Blind John Davis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Moby Dick
"If you hope to have a career in music, you might want to get involved in porn—it’s the one place music is consistently used."
—Moby, on the music-business slump.

Over at Public Address, Chad Taylor has succumbed to the endless stream of home renovation tv shows and taken to blogging about rehinging windows. Should we be worried? I guess one can't be a internationally reknowned author 24-7.

Jeremy Newsboy's TV show Eating Media Lunch debuted last night - he's droll lad, is News. Its a highly amusing look at local media. The celebrity Stock Exchange was brilliant, but the footage from Oz, highlighting the way their voicover people plug their upcoming shows - over the closing titles of the Hitler miniseries, detailing the horrors of WW2 - was truly unbelievable. Our tv may be crap, but hey, it could be worse.
Then Slave and Otis returned for another jaunt around the planet doing wacky stuff. Last night they arrived at Disneyland and the first thing they heard was the D4 blasting from the PA. Episode one closed with the boys in Central Park, with Otis saying 'F*ck I love new York'. In the opening credits they slipped in something about 'the return of the award winning Mo Show' with footage of Otis going 'Yeaahhh!' at the TV Awards. Nice.

Last week my new tune 'Tag team act' by Dub Asylum Vs Word Perfect (local hiphop mc I've been working with) was sitting at number one on the national Alternative Top Ten, compiled from the BNet radio stations. That is pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Your silence is appreciated.
Australian magazine editor Sue Smethurst flew to the US last week, intending to interview Olivia Newton John. Instead "she was treated as a threat to national security and deported back to Australia after nearly 15 hours of interrogation at Los Angeles airport." When she asked why she was being held, she was told "We will tell you when we have a problem and your silence is appreciated."
Her lipliner and makeup was taken from her, as it was deemed a national security threat. She was fingerprinted, had mugshots taken, and was refused access to a lawyer; "They said to me you don't understand, you have no choice, no rights here under American law," Smethurst said. They also denied her request for a cup of tea. The brutes.
Earlier this year, six French journalists suffered similar treatment, when they arrived in Los Angeles to cover a video games trade show. They were held at the airport, searched, fingerprinted, handcuffed and held for 24 hours, before being forcibly sent back to France. Is this how you win the War on Terror?
I visited the US when I was a kid with my family, and I'd like to go back there one day, but not any time soon.

Cursor.org reports that "an Independent newspaper article on Bush's interview with David Frost, notes his dodging of a question about whether he believed British intelligence reports that Saddam could deliver chemical or biological weapons within 45 minutes, first saying "I believed he was a dangerous man." And when asked a second time: "Well, I believed a lot of things."
But remember, he doesn't believe anything in the media. He gets his news from reliable sources, like his own advisors.
"I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news," says Bush. "And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."

Well, that distracted you from the rugby for a whole five minutes. Right?