Posted by BE on April 28th, 2014
Archive for April, 2014
Posted by BE on April 22nd, 2014
In a remarkable coincidence two Essex district court judges are arrested on the same night for riding their bicycles without lights. On the following morning they turn up at court to answer the charges.
“Well, this is bloody embarrassing,” says Judge Brown. “How are we going to handle it?”
“Oh, I don’t see any problem at all,” says Judge Green. “You can hear my case and I’ll hear yours.”
“Brilliant!” says Judge Brown. “I’ll judge your case first.”
Judge Green takes his place in the dock.
Judge Brown: You are charged with riding a bicycle at night with no lights. How do you plead?
Judge Green: Guilty, your honour.
Judge Brown: Very well. Fined five pounds. Stand down.
They change places.
Judge Green: You are charged with riding a bicycle at night with no lights. How do you plead?
Judge Brown: Guilty, your honour.
Judge Green: Very well. Fined ten pounds. Stand down.
“Hang on,” says Judge Brown. “I just fined you five pounds for the identical crime.”
“I know,” Judge Green replies, “It’s a deterrent sentence. There’s far too much of this going on. This is the second case we’ve had today.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 20th, 2014
My name is Brian and I’m a TV addict (not in recovery). I thought it was time to let you in on some of the better flat screen drugs currently available on the market. You’ll note that there are NO cooking programmes on the list. I still have some pride. You’ll also note that there are no movies. This is because movies are unwatchable with commercials and Sky’s movie policy seems to be to recycle the same movies for as long as humanly possible. This at least has the advantage that you don’t need to worry if you miss one. It’ll be back!
So here we go.
Game of Thrones (9.30 Sunday Soho)
I suspect I’m a typical viewer in that I haven’t the slightest idea what’s really going on. Judy has read the book and does understand what’s going on, but has given up trying to explain it to me. Can you enjoy a TV drama whose plot-lines defeat you? Well yes, if it’s essentially a morality play in which the forces of good and evil wage war – big time wrestling against a massive canvas. The baddies are so bad and the goodies so beautiful. What more could you want? Well sex, violence and lots of nudity to name but three. Plenty of that too. From the stunning title-sequence to the cliff-hanger conclusion of each episode it really is unmissable stuff.
[Since posting this my old school friend Ivan Strahan has reminded me that I was remiss in failing to mention that Game of Thrones is filmed largely in our home town of Belfast. His son Jules plays a barbarian guard.]
The Paul Henry Show (10.30 weeknights TV3)
Yes, I know, the guy you loved to hate on Breakfast, got the push here, bombed out in Oz, came crawling back and now has his own late-night show on TV3. Who would watch it? Well, in spite of him saying I’ve been around longer than the Pope, I would. And I do. Henry is all the things he was before – outrageous, disrespectful, rude, iconoclastic, vain, egotistical, potty-mouthed, chauvinistic, a right-wing prick and very, very funny. So what’s made the difference? The time slot. At 10.30 Henry can be all of those things and it’s really enjoyable. His side-kick, the gorgeous Janika Ter Ellen, has grown on me and the duo seem to be working well. Not so entertaining is the uncomfortable ‘9 in 10’ segment where pub patrons are asked to name nine items in a category in 10 seconds in order to win the sponsor’s product, a Kia car. And Paul’s bottom obsession is showing. If he doesn’t like something it’s ‘not a something’ s bottom ‘ or ‘not a something’s bum’ or ‘not a something’s arse’ or ‘not a something’s backside’. Potty training I suspect. But The Paul Henry Show is a pleasant surprise and a good watch.
Posted by BE on April 18th, 2014
If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know that I have in the past written some pretty scathing posts on Labour’s Shane Jones. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve dismissed him not only as a future leader of the Party, but as a worthwhile Member Of Parliament and a decent human being.
Then, yesterday, I came across this video on the Herald’s website. And I had no choice but to radically change my previous opinion and to do so with a degree of regret that it had ever been expressed. I’d had a preview of Shane Jones’ debating skill and facility with words a week or two back when he was interviewed on The Nation by Paddy Gower. But this was something different. It was an extraordinary display not only of oratory and the art of persuasive communication but of subtlety of thought and intellectual depth, leavened with humour. It was theatre. One need not go far to look for a reason. Jones is equally fluent in Maori and English. But his impact when he combines the two is nothing less than extraordinary. Well, he is also a man who provokes strong feelings of approval and disapproval, a high-risk candidate for the highest office in the land. But as I watched and re-watched this speech, I thought I could perhaps see a future Leader of the Opposition and a Prime Minister to boot.
Decide for yourself:
Posted by BE on April 15th, 2014
I suppose dishonestly reporting that someone else has behaved dishonestly could be regarded as a wonderful example of irony. But if the dishonesty of the reporter is transparent then it’s also a wonderful example of crass stupidity.
Either way, this is precisely what Cameron Slater has recently done. In a post on Whaleoil published a couple of days ago, entitled Manufacturing Clark’s History, Slater refers to a television interview the former New Zealand Prime Minister gave to Australia’s Channel Nine programme The Bottom Line and to a subsequent report on the interview, entitled ‘Helen Clark reflects on life as a leader’, which appeared on Stuff.
The Stuff report of the interview contains numerous quotes of things Clark said. You can tell they’re quotes because they’re all in inverted commas.
At one point in the interview Clark is asked how she pitched for her current job at the United Nations.
She replies: “So my pitch was, ‘This job needs a leader, and I am that leader’”.
That reply is directly followed in the Stuff report by this sentence:
Having led the Labour Party without barely a whisper of a coup for six years in opposition and then nine years as Prime Minister, human resources at the UN could hardly argue that credential.
Note that there are no quotation marks around the sentence. That’s presumably because Clark didn’t say it. Everything else she said in the Channel Nine interview is reported in quotes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 11th, 2014
I recall a meeting in the Leader of the Opposition’s office some time in 1999. Present were Helen Clark, Heather Simpson, Mike Munro, Michael Hirschfeld (then President of the Labour Party), Judy Callingham, Brian Edwards and possibly some others. Among the topics for debate was whether Labour should enter into a coalition agreement with Jim Anderton’s Alliance Party. The view of those in favour prevailed.
Under MMP, Labour won the election taking 49 seats in parliament, while the Alliance took ten. Fears that the Alliance’s more left-wing policies would damage Labour were proved to be unfounded.
In 2014, Labour Leader David Cunliffe has declined Russel Norman’s invitation to enter into a pre-election coalition agreement with the Green Party, while conceding that, should Labour win the election, an unspecified number of senior Green Party MPs could expect to be part of his Cabinet.
Though it can be defended – a la Winston – as an appropriate reluctance to enter into coalition agreements before the votes have been counted, it’s hard to see Cunliffe’s rejection of the Green’s marriage, or at least ‘engagement’ proposal, as anything other than a snub. At the very least, the Labour leader is making it perfectly clear to Norman/Turei just who will be running the show, should National lose the election. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 3rd, 2014
We had some pretty good news today: the PET scan which Judy had a week ago suggests that her chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment has dealt to her oesophageal cancer. I say ‘suggests’ because we can’t be absolutely certain. Judy’s brilliant (and lovely) radiation oncologist is pretty sure that what may look like residual cancer on the scan is in fact inflammation resulting from the dilation treatment she’s having to widen her constricted oesophagus. All good.
Not so good is the fact that Southern Cross, to which we have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years, won’t pay for the PET scan. They only pay out on one PET scan per claim year, from 1 August to 31 July, and this was Judy’s third in the current year.
I’ll come back to this, but first a little background.
Posted by BE on April 1st, 2014
The following report by TV3 political editor Paddy Gower appeared on the channel’s 6pm bulletin last night. Setting aside as best you can your political prejudices, please answer the following question: Is this journalism or a party political broadcast on behalf of the National Party?