Monday, December 31, 2012

When the Cav's Away

While John Key is awarding an equestrian coke fiend New Zealand's highest honour, the summer team at NatRad are much more down to earth. Signs of free will from Friday's Matinee Idle:

12.35pm - 1pm

Title: I Smoke Two Joints
Artist: Richard Cheese

Title: I Got Stoned and I Missed It
Artist: Dr. Hook

Title: Johnny Got a Boom Boom
Artist: Emelda May

Title: Guitar Pill
Artist: Henry Phillips

Title: Gin House
Artist: Amen Corner

1pm - 2pm

Title: Here Comes the Nice
Artist: The Small Faces

Title: Chug-A-Lug
Artist: Roger Miller

Title: An American Trilogy
Artist: Mickey Newbury

Title: Jilted John
Artist: Jilted John

Title: Who Needs the Peace Corps?
Artist: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Title: Bring Back the Trains
Artist: Jimmy LaFave

Title: I'm Straight
Artist: Jonathan Richman

Title: Alabamy Bound
Artist: Jonathan and Darlene Edwards

Title: Who Needs the Peace Corps?
Artist: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Title: Bring Back the Trains
Artist: Jimmy LaFave

Title: I'm Straight
Artist: jonathan Richman

Title: Tell Me Tomorrow
Artist: Sierra Hull

Title: Cigareetes, Whusky and Wild Wild Women
Artist: Red Ingles and The Natural Seven

Title: Oh Well
Artist: Fleetwood Mac

Title: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Artist: Colin Blunstone and Dave Stewart

2pm - 3pm

Title: Love is the Drug
Artist: Kylie Minogue

Title: The Old Dope Peddlar
Artist: Tom Lehrer

Title: Poontang
Artist: The Treniers

Title: Nowhere Man
Artist: Natalie Merchant

Title: Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs
Artist: Austin Lounge Lizards

Title: Asprin
Artist: Seka Aleksic

Title: Surf City
Artist: Dunny Lida

Title: Legend of A Mind
Artist: The Moody Blues

Title: Cocaine Habit
Artist: Old Crow Medician Show

Title: The Complete Banker
Artist: The Divine Comedy

Title: Sam Stone
Artist: Swamp Dogg

3pm - 4pm

Title: Who Put the Benzadrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine?
Artist: Harry the Hipster Gibson

Title: Papa Oom Mow Mow
Artist: The Rivingtons

Title: Pretty Vacant
Artist: Flores

Title: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Artist: Seasick Steve

Title: The Hobo and the Rose
Artist: Webb Pierce

4pm - 5pm

Title: Angelina
Artist: Neil Innes

Title:  Let It Be Me
Artist: George Harrison

Title: When I Get Low I Get High
Artist: Ella Fitzgerald

Title: I'll Get Along
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka

Title: I Can't Think Straight
Artist: Gilbert O'Sullivan and Peggy Lee

Title: Lithium
Artist: Polyphonic Spree

Title: Nothing Rhymed
Artist: Burton Cummings

Title: So Long Cruel World
Artist: Blanche

Title: My Girl Lollipop
Artist: Bad Manners

Title: Georgia on My Mind
Artist: Ian Moss

Infinite Monkeys on Typewriters

I'm flattered to share a similar monkey brain with David Mitchell, who channels my Balls to 2013 post with a trifecta of SPCs (Statistically Possible Cliches) in his latest Guardian column.

Forecasting 2013, check. Emperor's New Clothes analogy, check. Use of the word "comeuppance" (a term that no-one under 40 years old ever uses. Do they use the Oxford English Dictionary at Cambridge University?), check.

My brain has been in worse circumstances of serendipity. I had occasion to hassle John Ansell about his Iwi/Kiwi schtick for the Nats in 2005. I had used an "Iwi of Kiwi" reference on Kiwiblog some months prior, arguing for a citizens' assembly. The Iwi/Kiwi launch inverted the spirit of this sentiment into a divisive parsing of race relations.

Ansell assured me that he had not been influenced by my blog comment, and that superpositions and coincidences such as this happen all the time. You don't need Jungian collective unconsciousness in a random and meaningless universe.

Still, it's a kick kindling a light of meaning, even if it's an illusion.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Balls to 2013

After the political omnishambles of 2012, a wiser man would say it's all bets off for 2013. Uncertainty prevails. But where's the fun in that? Here's my predictions for 2013.

Safe bets

The Eurozone will continue its bullet train collision at Matrix bullet-time camera speed. The Germans will continue to stick with it, as the thought of a rapidly appreciating Deutchemark completely wrecking their manufacturing sector sinks in.

The situation in the Middle East will remain desperate, as usual (HT Tom Robbins).

The US and international finance circuit will continue to avoid any serious comeuppance.

David Farrar will continue to neglect updating his blogroll, which is stuffed to the gills with extinct blogs and dead links. It seems that no housekeeping has happened there since 2008. You know what geeks say about untidy directory structures; messy filing, messy mind.

David Farrar will also continue to be a false ping on gaydars, partly because of his lisp and NZ's narrow cultural stereotypes. e.g. Everyone different from the norm is gay.

There will be yet another budget blowout. Bill English will continue to hide new taxes by the Fees, Fines, SOE Sums method.

Even odds

Cameron Slater will succeed in weaning NZ Truth off adult ads for revenue by convincing Truth's owners to buy out Rod & Rifle magazine. The newly merged publication will be called Rod & Rifle & Truth, and will rely on cash from church ads, survivalist personal listings and Investigate magazine tie-ins.

Members of Crown Law and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will join the GCSB, Police and SIS in the witness stand in the Kim Dotcom saga.

Not only will the emperor be shown to be wearing no clothes, the entire royal court will suffer wardrobe malfunctions.

The Financial Markets Authority will investigate another suspected Ponzi scheme involving metric fucktonnes of NZ dollars.

There will be at least one faith school of dubious character funded under the Charter Schools program when the winners are announced.

Same odds as winning Lotto

The NZ Labour Party gets its shit together.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Great Samoan Dream

A Raumati Xmas

The Great Samoan Dream, on some elemental level, is much like the Great Korean Dream, the Great Indian Dream, the Great Abbo Dreamtime (and so on). Peace without war. Harmony without authority. Security without guns or fear. And beach cricket.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Solstice Break

Although the Balls to 2013 post might pop up before then, or not. It's so hot, I'd rather be contemplating Raumati Beach as a large vodka tonic and pretend I'm a slice of lime by jumping in it to cool off. Here's the unofficial soundtrack for summer solstice 2012:

Friday, December 14, 2012

LOKI Awards 2012

Foreign Policy is at it like everyone else, writing up their end-of-year lists now the news has dried up and everyone is frankly sick of politics for the year, let alone the first dirty dozen years of the 21st century.

Their list of Top 100 Thinkers for 2012 bears a squizz, although there's more than a couple of choke points. Paul Ryan at Number Eight, for example. Even old man Biden could beat the tar out of that pseudo-intellectual. But there's some heft in there too. F'rinstance, I've got some respect for ex-Mossad shit-stirrer Meir Dagan.

On the International Circuit, my six of the best thinkers of 2012 are (in no particular order):

danah boyd. On FP's list, and well deserved. Translates the Zeitgeist into consequences and implications for digital natives, adopters and ignorami alike. Big ups to Russell Brown and the Great Blend for getting her to Wellington for a yak all those years ago.

Tyler Cowen. Reliable sources have told me that the Chicago School of Economics is a bunch of mad bastards, and always has been. If the Chicago School of Big Data is anything to go by, those mad bastards might be onto something.

Nassim Taleb - Long may his black swans Mandelbrot.

Nouriel Roubini - The realists' pessimist. My kinda guy.

George Soros - I'd rather have this bastard behind or next to me in the trenches than a Koch or even a Buffett.

Elizabeth Warren - The n00b senator promises to be sand in the vaseline of the Old Boys' Club in Washington.

But what does this insular land care of offshore wonks? Here's my League Of Kiwi Intellectuals for 2012 (again, in no particular order):

The Smartest Guy in Government Award goes to Peter Gluckman. Nice Spock, shame about the Kirk.

The Guerrillas in Our Ship Award goes to the Fabians, Scoop and Public Address for getting Bernard Hickey, Rod Oram, Selwyn Pellett and Rick Boven into Poneke harbour for a gig. I'd upload the vids, but the data cap would screw me.

Top Feminist (Or Whatever Her Preferred Taxonomy Is, I'm Not Going to Split Infinities) Award goes to Emma Hart; for shit-stirring above and beyond the strict borders of feminism and into the cultural landmines of bisexuality.

The Unintentionally Weaponised Greenie Truthsayer Award goes to Mike Joy, for upsetting the Hobbit with a months-old interview for the International Herald Tribune released on a delayed fuse.

The Best Current Affairs Show goes to Campbell Live for advocacy journalism at its finest, beating 7 Days by one length (the third placegetter, Close Up, died on the track. Good riddance).

The Top Political Guru Award goes to Colin James. Rolls dice on a megawar as much as I do. Respect. And fear.

The Cleaning Up After Keystone Cops Award goes to Judge Helen Winkelmann, the last best chance for a fair go. Because you won't get one from the range of government tools shown to be sub-standard in the last year.

Politician of the Year - Kim Dotcom.

Interviewer of the Year - Rachel Smalley on The Nation.

4:20 News; Too Big to Jail edition

Matt Taibbi puts together a screaming indictment on the US "coke-and-hookers for Wall St good, shakedowns for everybody else" morality of the War on Drugs. A wafer thin taste of fear and loathing:

On the other hand, if you are an important person, and you work for a big international bank, you won't be prosecuted even if you launder nine billion dollars. Even if you actively collude with the people at the very top of the international narcotics trade, your punishment will be far smaller than that of the person at the very bottom of the world drug pyramid.

Back here in NZ, I can't think of a single bank or financial institution that has ever been prosecuted for laundering black market money. Yet according to the Law Commission's Controlling & Regulating Drugs Report, the domestic cannabis market alone is worth an estimated $116.2 million a year (2001 figures. Yep, the latest stat is 11 years old).

Yet the police seems more concerned with entrapping garden centres and trying to take the home off disabled political activists. That is, when they're not shaking spare change out of home growers and dope fiends under the new Proceeds of Crime Act (written by Labour, stamped by the Nats).

Taibbi states articulately what I was groping for back here, comparing the persecution of harmless dope fiends to the religious inquisitions of yore. The War on Drugs is a class war, and unless lawmakers change the rules of this bent game, they make themselves complicit in this corruption of justice.

Vive la 2013.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


What a dangerously strange forelock-tugging blighted world we live in. A nurse is dead after failing to save the honour of the unborn alleged future head of state of New Zealand from a couple of shock jock Aussie yahoos. You wouldn't get these messed up circumstances if you had a secular head of state, and not some pompous anachronism that gives its citizens the heebie-jeebies if they fail to live up to the myth.

An appropriate lullaby for the Royal Jelly:

Friday, December 07, 2012


It's good to see that Ngati Toa has come to a settlement with the Crown, with a full & final agreement including a $70 million package and acknowledging the rights to Rauparaha's Ka Mate haka.

The tribe has, like every other tribe, had a long history of getting screwed over by greedy white men. In their particular case, this meant pretty much everyone from the New Zealand Company (1839 version) through to the confiscation and non-return of land during wartime that would become Noel Robinson's Pram airport (and licence to print money).

The signing comes after the landmark Tuhoe settlement, a crowning achievement in itself by Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson. What a difference a competent minister makes, as David Farrar's OIA on Treaty settlements shows.

To a point, anyway. Yes, Margaret Wilson was mediocre, Mark Burton was useless. Cullen picked up the slack a lot, but too late. However, process goes a long way too. Way back at the Treaty Lectures in 2006, Geoff Palmer and Judge Joe Williams pointed out half the hassle comes with the protocols of dealing with each iwi and hapu. In typical Kiwi vernacular, these obstacles were overcome first by "Template", followed by its newer version, "Amended Template". I wrote it up here, before revisiting the subject a year later here.

I tell ya, if you want to get a grip on Rauparaha, have a read of Edward Jerningham Wakefield's Adventure in New Zealand. It also helpfully lists what Wellington was sold for (pg 34):
The goods paid for the Wellington lands were -
100 red blankets     120 muskets     2 tierces of tobacco
48 iron pots     2 cases soap     15 fowling pieces
21 kegs gunpowder    1 case ball cartridges 1 keg lead slabs
100 cartouche boxes      100 tomahawks      40 pipe tomahawks
1 case pipes      2 dozen spades      10 dozen pairs scissors
1 dozen pairs shoes     1 dozen umbrellas      1 dozen hats
1 dozen razors     6 dozen hoes  1 dozen shaving boxes and brushes
1 dozen sticks sealing wax   50 steel axes      1,200 fish hooks
12 bullet moulds     12 dozen shirts   20 jackets
20 pairs trousers     60 red nightcaps   300 yards cotton duck
200 yards calico      100 yards check      2 dozen handkerchiefs
2 dozen slates    200 pencils     10 dozen looking glasses
10 dozen pocket knives     2 pounds beads      100 yards ribbon
1 gross Jews harps     10 dozen dressing combs
2 suits superfine clothes      1 dozen adzes

By the values of those days, these goods represented about 400 pounds.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

4:20 News - Law & Gardens Edition

After two months of court time, the jury has reached their verdicts in the Switched on Gardener trial. Two long months of intermittent court news stories and tongue biting is over, and the results of Operation Lime are finally in:
The owner and the general manager of the Switched On Gardener chain of hydroponic stores have been found guilty of supplying equipment for cultivating cannabis but have been acquitted of being part of an organised criminal group. Their senior staff, who were also charged, were found not guilty of all charges.
It looks like SOG got Dotcommed on"supplying equipment for cultivating cannabis". If SOG is a one-stop shop for cannabis growing, then so is the Warehouse, Mitre 10, Bunnings and Palmers Garden Centre. Dress fertiliser up as Budzilla and you're a criminal. Dress it in Yates or Monsanto clothing, you're legit. Yeah right.
I'm keeping an eye out for any court paperwork for this long trial that turns up online. The judge's summing up would be keenly read, that's for sure. Anyone wants to anono-dump me related files in discretion can message me on FB or email me at zippy3gonzales1@gmail4.com2 (Email munged. Subtract the four pieces of pi).

My trilogy of SOG posts got a lot of look-ins along the way. And if any appeal is lodged, I've got a few more ideas for the Defence to play with. I call the main one the Hudson & Halls Defence. Law wonks call it Grundnorm. No judge trumps Lord Cook of Thorndon. He's a good joker.

The SOG verdict comes almost ten years to the day since the cops first woke this sleeping dog:

The cops neglected to mention the rosemary, basil and saffron that was also growing under the lights in my south-facing mortgaged isocube. Those innocent herbs and valued spice died the night they took my lights.

Still angry. Still fighting. But not immune to the deep and bitter irony of denial that runs through this self-flagellating nation and its idea of justice and a fair go. Here's a Switched on Gardener ad as old as some of today's drinkers (circa 1994):