Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Game of John Key Gong

Ritchie McCaw seems pretty smart for a rugbyhead. He turned down John Key's gong. These things are supposed to be earned not won, and a bonus culture demon like King John doesn't get it. McCaw does.

Amongst the hoards of National backers getting their royal blue ribbons handed out are some very good Kiwis. Ralph Hotere is indeed a living treasure. Des Britten is steak tartare among McNuggets. Ian Taylor is a good egg.

So it is with a little nuance and diplomacy that as a proud member of the New Zealand Republican Movement, that I declare a 2012 Resolution to not use any royal title or honorific gong from now on. Hey, it's non-violent protest and as far as I can see, not illegal.

Sir Bob is gone, Mister Jones is back. Dames Susan and Kiri are now referred to by their real names, Ms. Devoy, Ms. Te Kanawa. And if I bump into Charlie and Camilla next year, it'll be Mr. and Mrs. Windsor. Or Saxe-Coburg if they prefer.

This is partly a reaction to the non-news that these bi-annual gongs are solely at the prime minister's whim, partly because these gongs are always so goddamn vanilla. A truly NZ recognition system wouldn't have this rigid glass box in the land of the long tail.

But there's a deeper reason to abandon these airs and graces. It's best said by painter, bongo player, strip club patron, cannabis and LSD taker Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner for his work in Quantum Electro Dynamics. We do things for the fun of it:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

Never mind the Xmas period, here's the Official Summer Solstice anthem for 2011; LCD Soundsystem performing Drunk Girls whilst being beaten up and humiliated by Censorship Pandas:

Have a high solstice and a comfortable recovery position. See you in 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shearer and the Crimson Fleece

Congratulations to the new Labour leader, David Shearer. I look forward to a time I can attend a Labour party fundraiser without getting Beasts of England earwig.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Into the Dojo with Mojo

Today's word of the day is brought to you by Big News alerting the public to the hatred of Deaf people by the Conservative Party, as well as this toxic thread of ignorance over at Farrar's place:
Synesthesia - sensation produced in part of body by stimulus elsewhere.

I can't speak for other Deafs, but I feel sounds on my whiskers and sometimes see body language as colours. And I bet my eyesight is better than half the short-sighted, narrow-minded pricks who proclaim their fitness to lead over others. So put your fingers to the speakers and welcome Mojo into the Dojo:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Election results

The final count for the election has been announced. Congratulations to Mojo Mathers becoming NZ's first Deaf member of parliament, as well as Carmel Sepuloni winning back Waitakere off Paula Bennett.

This year's party vote had some serious swings compared to 2008's election:

Party          2008          2011       +/- swing    % swing

National  1053398    1058638      +5204           +0.5
Labour     796880      614936     -181944          -24
Greens      157613      247370     +89757           +60
NZ First     95356      147544      +52188          +58
Maori         55980        31982      -23998           -43
Mana              -            24168      +24168            -
Act              85496        23889     -61607           -72
UF              20497        13443      -7054            -34
ALCP          9515        11738      +2223           +23

The high tide mark of John Key's National government was a scrawny 5,204 votes more than the 2008 election. Labour lost a quarter of its 2008 support to the Greens, NZ First and the enrolled non-vote. The Maori party lost an almost identical chunk of votes to the Mana party. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is only 1,705 votes behind United Future, which should give the reformers some ammo for public broadcasting allocations next time around.

Boomers in love with Baby Cheesy

Further to my humbuggery post on the Xmas retail period, xkcd has evidence that the Boomers are to blame, as usual:

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christians stole our solstice. We're stealing it back.

Not only do I support the New Zealand Republican Movement to upgrade Queen's Unbirthday to Matariki Weekend, I reckon Xmas should be traded in for Summer Solstice. Not that I'm particularly pagan, but NZers tend to worship the sun more than Baby Cheesy.

Fresh basil, lettuce and tomatoes means more to most Kiwis than the old dogma role of god served with winter trappings. Who cooks a roast in midsummer? Only the morons. Good luck to them. But for the rest of us who would rather be enjoying getting trolleyed in the sun instead of dragging a trolley around a mall, leave it off our secular calendar.

Anything that weakens the Jesus Freaks' Xmas power, or yanks their chain over this theft of midsummer celebration, is alright in my books. Well done Zippy Gonzales impersonator Johnny Depp for featuring in the "controversial" Babybird Xmas song, Jesus Stag Night Club:

And watch out stupid Easter trading laws. Your Fall is coming too.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Undercutting the Unions

I'm glad to see Chris Trotter, David Farrar and John Armstrong agree that unions wield too much sway in the Labour Party. About bloody time. The union poison has been in Labour's veins so long, it's good that someone's finally drawing attention to the infection. From the Book of Trev, the Jim Anderton Chapter:
Anderton went off in high dudgeon and hid himself, while I went to the Pier Hotel with the union delegates and had a thoroughly good evening sharing their booze and arguing with them about the merits of Union support of the Labour Party. I pointed out to them that in fact they were a millstone around our necks and that the average member of the public thought that a trade unionist was just about as bad as a traffic cop or a lawyer.

In spite of unions representing at best a tenth of the workforce these days, the power vacuum left in the Labour party structure by the talented activists and thinkers of the centre-right Backbone Club back in the 90's has led to union dominance ever since.

In ten years, unions as we know them will not exist. Technology and globalisation are wiping out their members' jobs. The EPMU couldn't stop the Telstraclear Kapiti call centre closing down, its functions off-shored to the Philippines. They can't stop the automation of front office functions such as self-checkout supermarkets or automated airline kiosks. And if those staunch union wharfies haven't watched season two of The Wire yet, I suggest they do so pronto.

There are larger changes ahead. The availability of self-tuition has never been more widespread. From Khan Academy to online university papers, teachers' unions are facing competing models of learning. They are no longer the sole gatekeepers of the public good of free education. A monolithic union cannot control the fragmented future of education.

If Labour clings to the unions for their survival, they are truly on a path to extinction. Even tuataras have to shed their skin every now and then. Time to slough off the big-talking under-achievers and wise up.