Every death is an absolute goat song

Tragedy - goat song

Next time you call someone’s sudden death a tragedy, you may be delving into the wholly inappropriate territory of comedy.

Because funnily enough, the word tragedy is Greek for ‘goat song’. The actual Greek word is tragoidia. (Tragos = ‘goat’. Oidia = ‘song’.)

Tragos oidia - goat song

You see, ancient Greek plays were semi-religious affairs. And since religion seems to go hand in hand with death, naturally this meant a goat had to be sacrificed. (To the god of wine, of all people.)

Then the chorus would sing a song of sacrifice.

A ‘goat song’.

Some actors would act the goat too. Or half the goat anyway. They’d dress up as satyrs. These were men from the waist up, and goats the rest of the way down.

For a reason that’s now lost in the mists of time, the main event took on the name of the curtain raiser.

Published in: on December 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

WoW – how disappointing

STOP PRESS: It appears Paula Rowan had received WoW’s
approval to base her entry (right) on the painting (left).
See UPDATE below. I didn’t know that when I wrote this post.

Looking at the above double-take, there’s a pun I’ve always liked that seems to fit.

Bubonic plagiarism.

Cute, huh?

As a wordsmith, I’d love you to think I dreamed that up myself.

But if I let you believe that, I’d soon be in deep schtuck.

That’s because a lawyer called Murphy would make me pay dearly.

Under Murphy’s Law, one of you dear readers would be seized with the urge to re-peruse your 1973 edition of Austin Mitchell’s Half-Gallon, Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise.

And when you got to the lower reaches of the first paragraph of page 82, you would see it.

I’ll quote the whole passage for political reasons — the 39 year old subject matter sounds eerily current!:

The National Party pays for opinion polls so it knows the result in advance and judges its policy accordingly.

When it is certain it is going to win (as in 1966) it will denounce all Labour’s policies in advance of the poll and then implement them quietly afterwards.

When more doubtful (as in 1969) it will go in for really bubonic plagiarism and either implement Labour’s policies in advance or include them in its manifesto.

Some things never change, do they? :-)

But this post is about plagiarism, not politics.

As soon as you laid eyes on the words ‘bubonic plagiarism’, your opinion of my originality would plummet.

You would forever more think of me as, well, a bubonic plagiarist.

And that, sadly, is how I will now think of Paula Rowan.

Paula is the Wellington designer I praised to the heavens on this blog not three weeks ago for her stunning, yet curiously unplaced, entry in the 2012 World of Wearable Arts Awards.

I thought she deserved better. And said so.

Kiwiblog’s David Farrar had already said so.

And 814 Dominion Post readers went on to say so, by voting Paula’s Velluto Rosso their WoW People’s Choice by a wide margin.

But sadly, the brilliantly simple idea that anchored Paula’s creation was not Paula’s.

She’d found it in a painting by Vladimir Kush.

And so, she was forced to hand back her prize or be disqualified.

Perhaps Paula Rowan is not dishonest.

Perhaps she genuinely believed that she was allowed to copy an idea from another medium and adapt it for the catwalk.

But to me, while her execution was beautiful, the real beauty of her creation was the idea — Vladimir Kush’s idea.

I’ve judged advertising awards, and people who are caught pinching others’ ideas rarely live down the shame.

Maybe the WoW judges knew what they were doing after all.

UPDATE: A friend of Paula Rowan’s has commented as follows:

“As you have said, yes, Paula is a wonderful designer and one to be highly looked upon.

However, what you have written is not the full story.

Paula ran her idea past the judges before she created it, with a copy of the painting.

The WOW committee said that it would be fine and to go ahead with it.

A few weeks into making her garment, she did it again, just to be sure.

And once again, WOW said to go ahead.

Paula is not in the wrong here. WOW is the one in the wrong. WOW was the one who made the mistake, Paula did nothing wrong.

WOW is the one who should be in the spotlight, NOT Paula.”

If that is indeed the case, then I feel for Paula. I have had a similar experience recently with a certain Rotary club. :-)

I would say, though, that while it appears as though Paula acted with absolute integrity, it would have been nice if the catalogue had mentioned that the human purse idea originated elsewhere.

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 2:12 am  Comments (33)  

If only the WOW judges shared Farrar’s and my good taste

On Friday I lucked into a free ticket to World of Wearable Arts — on awards night!

Out of a blizzard of jawdroppingly dazzling entries, these two velvet and gold characters ‘WOWed’ me the most.

Clinging together like limpets doing a kind of shuffly waltz, gilded domes entwined, the point of it all was at first a mystery.

Then they shuffled into the spotlight, untwined their necks, leaned back, and became…

…a human purse!

In the ad world, award judges tend to bypass irrelevant complexity and honour the surprising and the simple.

So with complexity abundant and simplicity scarce, I thought Velluto Rosso by Wellington’s Paula Rowan, would clean up.

And so, I read on Kiwiblog, did David Farrar. And 3 News too, who showcased this entry on their website.

How telling that three amateur pundits should all recognise the power of the big idea.

Yet the judges did not.

They plumped for the complex, and the human purse was out of the money.

David describes the rest of the spectacular night well — an astonishing achievement for our small city.

I’ve always giggled at the tag ‘Coolest Little Capital’, since the only other ‘little’ capitals are Canberra, Reykjavik and Suva.

But with WOW, the Sevens and the breath-defying creations of Weta Workshop, Wellington must surely be the Fancy Dress Capital of the Universe.

Published in: on September 30, 2012 at 1:59 pm  Comments (10)  

Molten mahogany masterpiece — exorbitant to good home

Back in the 90s, I used to make radio commercials. (The amusing kind, ideally.)

I made them in a weird and wonderful studio called Padded Sell.

Being a creative type, I wanted my dream studio to be distinctly and delightfully abnormal.

Hi-touch, not hi-tech. A place of beauty, surprises, and smiles.

My brief to designer Mike Ting was to create “a Victorian gentlemen’s club on acid”. Which he did, superbly.

Burglary was never an issue for us. That’s because Mike’s waiting room had no doors. The route to the studios was via bookcases that  swung open.

The reception desk looked like a fireplace. Clients waited for their bookings in old green leather hairdryer chairs.

Cloudscapes adorned the ceiling, where cherubs wore wispy
vestments that looked as though they were being sucked into the air-conditioning vents.

Adorning the walls were surrealist paintings, like this one, Swans Reflecting Elephants, by the greatest and looniest of artists, Salvador Dali.

But my favourite Padded Sell artefact was the custom-built desk on which our recordings were lovingly crafted by my master sound engineer Evan Roberts.

(Evan had been Dick Weir’s sound man, and is now creative director of The Gunnery in Singapore.)

Evan agreed that we should avoid the typical recording studio ‘cockpit of the Enterprise’ look.

He suggested a long floating table, with a stack of books under one end, and nothing under the other.

This is a good case study in how ideas evolve…

I called in woodworking wizard John Calvert, and regaled him with my love of Dali and Dr Seuss and smoothness and symmetry and  silliness — and Evan’s idea.

John’s brief was to create a working work of art. A piece of furniture so breathtaking that when people asked me what kind of work we did, I could answer, “the audio equivalent of that.”

His response was this molten mahogany masterpiece. Above is the only photo I have of it in situ. Below is the floating table today, reassembled and temporarily propped up in the basement.

I wish I could present it to you more elegantly, but I won’t be Mr Popular if I Ramset the back support frame through the carpet!

When the frame’s in place (covered with a curtain), the table seems for all the world to be suspended in midair, with no back legs at all, and two absurdly muscular amputated front limbs that rested implausibly on oversized wine flutes.

I closed my dream studio in 2000 when a new landlord decided to turn The Breeze Plaza into flats.

(I’d tried to get naming rights, but for some reason the name Padded Sell Plaza didn’t find favour.)

As you can see, back then I had more money than sense. Now I’ve got just as little sense, and a lot less money.

And since I need money if my Treatygate/Colourblind State campaign is going to work, I’m reluctantly prepared to let my beloved table go if someone values it highly enough.

Without the back bracing to hoist the table up, the wine flutes don’t quite nestle underneath. But you get the idea. And don’t you love those beautifully-scalloped drawers?

The table has spent the last twelve years lovingly wrapped in crinkly cardboard, so it’s pretty much ‘as new’.

I just love John Calvert’s design and craftsmanship. Use him if you can. I think he told me he was having an exhibition at The Dowse. (Open to both sexes, I hope. :-)).

I’m not letting my table go lightly.

After a costly divorce, a studio sabotage, and my habit of walking away from political campaigns, I suspect it’s the most valuable thing I own.

But if you’d like to own this highly unusual piece of furniture, I’d be happy to consider your offer.

I’m offering it here first, in the hope that it may go to one of my loyal readers.

If there are no takers after a few days, I’ll list it on TradeMe and E-Bay — in case a Neil Finn or a Billy Joel is looking for a new workbench.

The shelf is an optional extra. I can’t seem to find the support struts, so I’ve propped it up on bottles.

The shelf is an optional extra.

If you think my old table should be your new table, write to me at john@johnansell.co.nz.

If you have any well-to-do friends who might fancy it, send them the link.

Published in: on September 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm  Comments (7)  

Rising interest in this blog

I’m not sure what passes for a well-read blog round these parts.

All I know is that the visitor numbers to this one have been growing every day for the past week.

The horizontal lines on this Visitor Stats graph represent 500, 1,000 and 1,500 visits a day.

Yesterday’s total was 1,485 — the most visits I’ve had since my first day of blogging in 2008, when 1,676 tuned in (thanks to a welcome link from David Farrar).

I’ve been an irregular blogger over the years. When I do nothing, I average about 200 visits a day.

Since beginning my Treatygate/Colourblind State posts, those numbers have at least quadrupled.

We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s good to see evidence of rising interest.

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 10:03 am  Comments (12)  

Mindbloggling!

Blog visitors - countries of, Feb-Aug 2012

For an irregular blog obsessed with things New Zealand, this one certainly gets around.

I’m gobsmacked to learn that, in the last six months, readers have come from 159 countries, from Jamaica to Gibraltar to Djibouti to Japan, from the Bahamas to Botswana, from Nepal to Senegal, from Ghana to Guyana, and from Thailand to Greenland (where lives Qivioq, my Eskimo filmmaker friend).

(Yes, Eskimo is what she calls herself, even though Inuit is more politically correct. She was amused, rather than repulsed, to learn that New Zealanders eat Eskimo pies.)

Other ‘lands’ I’ve accidentally conquered include England, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Scotland and Switzerland.

(But disappointingly not Swaziland, the only African country where I actually have friends — albeit at the Taiwanese Embassy.)

I’ve made inroads into Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan, but not yet made benefit glorious nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan or Turkmenistan.

Given my right-of-centre leanings, I’m delighted to be re-educating comrades in communist China, Myanmar and Vietnam, but less surprised by my lack of a following in North Korea, Cuba and Iran.

I didn’t realise till I scanned the reader stats how many countries end in ‘ia’.

Those on my list of intermittent indoctrinees include Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, French Polynesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Namibia, New Caledonia, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, St Lucia, Syria, Tunisia and Zambia.

No contact yet with Ethiopia, Macedonia, Mauretania, Somalia or Tanzania.

It’s ironic that Oblivia (I mean Bolivia) is the only major hold-out in South America, since that happens to be the South American country in which I’m most interested.

Griever Maori like Margaret Mutu and Nin Thomas hold up Evo Morales’ pro-indigenous Bolivian constitution as a template for New Zealand, so a post on that nightmare scenario ought to mop up that pocket of resistance.

My weak areas are clearly Central Africa, Central Asia and Central America — but then I never was much of a centrist. :-)

Anyone know anyone in the grey countries? What about dropping them a link?

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 12:45 am  Comments (8)  

‘Marks-ism’ leads to classroom warfare

An economics class insisted to their professor that Obama’s socialism worked.

Why?

“Because there’ll be no poor people and no rich bastards. At last we’ll all be equal,” chorused the students.

So the professor said:

“OK, we’ll run an experiment on Obama’s plan. I’ll average all your grades.

“You’ll all get the same grade. None of you will fail, and none of you will get an A.”

After the first test, the grades were averaged. The whole class got a B.

The students who’d studied hard were upset. But the students who’d mucked around were over the moon.

The second test rolled around. The students who hadn’t done much work the first time did even less this time.

And those who’d studied hard for the first test now decided they wanted a free ride too. They put down their books and went partying.

The second test average was a D!

No one was happy.

In the 3rd test, the average grade was an F.

The tests went on, but the scores never did improve.

The classroom had become a snakepit of bickering, blaming and name-calling. No one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, at the end of the term the professor failed the whole class. (He’d never before failed a single student.)

The professor told the class:

“Socialism is also bound to fail. Because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great. But when government takes all the reward away, no one will see any point in working.”

It couldn’t be any simpler than that.

Remember, there is a test coming up: next Saturday’s election.

Now here are five of the best sentences you’ll ever read. They all apply to the above experiment:

  1. You can’t legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
  2. What one person gets without working for, another person must work for without getting.
  3. The government can’t give anyone anything that it doesn’t first take from someone else.
  4. You can’t multiply wealth by dividing it!
  5. When half the people figure out they don’t have to work because the other half will take care of them, and when the other half figure out they’d be mad to work because their pay will be given to someone else, that’s the beginning of the end of any nation.

Thanks to the excellent Foundation for Economic Growth for sending me the original (which I tinkered with for effect).

Published in: on November 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm  Comments (12)  

Should we fence all rivers to protect toddlers from slack parents?

The Dominion Post devotes half this morning’s front page to the bleatings of a drowned toddler’s uncle that the council should have fenced the river in which his 2 year old nephew drowned.

A family hit by a drowning tragedy had repeatedly pleaded with the council to build a fence where a toddler died.

Sukhraj Singh, 2, died and his cousin Archilles Kaui, 3, remains in hospital in a critical condition after the pair wandered into Gisborne’s Taruheru River on Thursday.

“I’ve been asking myself all night, would this have happened if the fence was put up in our neighbourhood? And the answer is no. Because those toddlers would not have been able to get past the fence”, Sukhraj’s uncle Hemi Jahnke said.

And why were the toddlers able to get anywhere near the river? The Dom finally reveals all in paragraph 10:

Before the tragedy, Archilles’ mother, Diana McIntyre, had been visiting Sukhraj’s mother, Jamie Taewa, at her home in Atkinson St. It was thought about 10 to 15 minutes passed before the women noticed the two toddlers had wandered off.

Well sorry, but any mother who lets a toddler out of her sight for 10 or 15 minutes near a river has no one to blame but herself if the child drowns.

That’s a hard thing to write at this sad time, especially as the poor mother may well have arrived at the same conclusion and does not necessarily share the uncle’s view.

But for the uncle to blame the council (ie the rest of us) is outrageously unfair.

Members of the family were part of community group Kia Kaha Mangapapa, a charitable trust started to try to make a positive difference in the area. The idea of a fence at the reserve was brought up at several hui called with Gisborne District Council last year. Archilles’ parents, Ms McLean and Frank Kaui, attended one of the meetings.

Mr Jahnke said the council had agreed to put up the fence.

“They did have a plan for the fence but because the fence was going to cost too much it started getting smaller and smaller. Eventually it turned into just a fence around the culvert.”

He was angry with the council.

“How many lives have been lost in river accidents because the council says they haven’t got enough money?

“And them listening now is not going to bring back Sukhraj. It’s not going to bring back a baby boy. But someone needs to be held accountable.”

Damn right. And I think most of us have a fair idea who.

Gisborne District Council acting chief executive Nedine Thatcher-Swann said it was “inconclusive” whether fencing the reserve would have made a difference at this stage.

Fencing every waterway into which a poorly supervised toddler could wander would certainly make a huge difference to the amount of public money available for other services. Or to Gisborne residents’ rates bills.

In my view the Council did exactly the right thing in refusing to assume the role of parents.

“Around the country and the world it is very unusual to find our natural environments – rivers, lakes or ponds – fenced.”

And so it should be. Do we really want to turn our country into an unsightly baby-prison, just so we can protect our toddlers from slack parents?

I grew up in a house near the Waiwhetu Stream in Fairfield, Lower Hutt. The Stream got a bad press for being badly polluted down the industrial end, but the suburban reaches were and are a delightfully meandering waterway that greatly enhances the ambience of the area.

It remains unfenced, despite being bounded by houses for miles, and is dotted with reserves, also unfenced.

Presumably, parents who choose to live there, like mine did, also take responsibility for watching their children.

I hope the Dominion Post will reflect on the message their story sends, and provide some balance in the coming days.

Published in: on November 5, 2011 at 10:50 am  Comments (26)  

RIP Viv Ansell (1919-2011)

After a determined bid to defeat medical science, Dad breathed his last on Monday, exactly four weeks after his stroke.

This is my first experience of losing a close family member — a prospect I’ve been dreading for years — and I must say I’m feeling better than expected.

Perhaps it’s knowing that Dad is free of pain after living a long and happy life. Perhaps it’s the relief of seeing Mum coping so bravely with the loss of her husband of 55 years.

Or perhaps it’s the long period of adjustment that a bedside vigil affords you.

Whatever the reason, the experience has drawn our family closer together and we look forward to giving him a good sendoff on Friday.

Despite my earlier reservations about the pill that cost him his life, it’s been a privilege to witness the dedication of the doctors and nurses at Hutt and Wellington Hospitals, who cared for him like he was one of their own. 

That’s all you can ask for in the end.

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 8:53 am  Comments (13)  

What the ‘wonderdrug’ is doing to my Dad

You may have seen this article in the last Sunday Star-Times about the lethal side-effects of new blood thinning ‘wonderdrug’ Pradaxa (AKA dabigatran).

In today’s edition, there’s another story of a Pradaxa victim in Tauranga fighting for his life.

Sadly, I have a good idea of what this man and his family are going through. 

The reason I haven’t been blogging is that for the last three weeks, my 91 year old dad has been fighting the same fight, after taking the same drug. 

A couple of nights ago, a doctor told us he’d be surprised if Dad had more than a few hours to live.

There’s only so much battering a 91 year old body can take from the combined effects of a bad stroke, pneumonia, blood loss, incontinence, bed sores, and the repeated invasions of various body parts by various tubes.

All caused by a ‘wonderdrug’, taken once.

While the transfusion machine pumped the fresh blood of some generous unknown donor into the repeatedly punctured veins of his purply-black arm, we called in the family, gathered round his bed, and waited.

With insight gained from his wife who nurses the dying, the young registrar predicted that the life or death call would be made by Dad himself.

Luckily, some time in the wee small hours, he chose life. Late the next morning, oblivious to our anxiety, he awoke refreshed from the deepest sleep he’d had in weeks.

Another bullet dodged.

I told him the doctors were surprised he was still with us. His raspy, oxygen-assisted response was inspirational and unforgettable.

As himself, my father was not the gloating type. He was a gentle man in every sense.

But of late, with his slim reserves of expressive energy, he’s learnt to cut to the chase. With all the force he could muster, he grunted majestically (and somewhat Muldoonishly):

“Heh … heh … heh … the … doctors … don’t … know … me!”

Some med students trooped past his room. I explained to Dad that he was now in a teaching hospital (Wellington, having been transferred from Hutt in an ambulance the previous day).

Screwing his face into a wink, he muttered:

“We’ll … teach … the … doctors!”

Dad started teaching doctors about the will to live in 1919. For him, the Twenties were more wheezing than Roaring.

It was by no means certain that his weedy, sunken-chested, asthmatic body would make it through to enjoy the Great Depression.

He first listened to his beloved All Blacks on the radio in 1928 — a ritual I was to repeat at the same age in 1967, propped up in his and Mum’s bed.

To suggest in the 1920s that this sickly kid would one day watch his team contest the 2011 Rugby World Cup would be to invite admission to one of Her Majesty’s lunatic asylums.

Yet for the best part of 91 years — until 6.30am on 5 September 2011 — Dad was true to his name: Vivian — full of life. 

On his 90th birthday he invited everyone back for his 100th, and fully intended to keep the appointment.

His gym-going was as religious as his church-going.

This past summer, he came second in the over 90s section of a Hutt Valley bowls tournament. (The other entrant was just too good.)

As he recently wrote in a book about his 43 years with the BNZ (originally written just for family, but now happily purchased by 400 past and present bankers), “I may have had to discard my rugby ball and tennis racquet, but I’ve still got my marbles.” 

And he did. A few months ago, he published that book. Now he can’t read one.

Two weeks ago, he managed to watch half of the All Blacks-Tonga match before drifting off, but not before confidently asserting that the final score would be 42-9.

(He was wrong. It was 41-10.)

Last night, he couldn’t be bothered watching the All Blacks play France on the TV staring him in the face.

One little dose of the ‘wonderdrug’ was all it took. One pill.

On the Wednesday, he was taken off his warfarin. At 5.30pm, he swallowed his first and only dose of dabigatran. By 9.30pm, he was feeling so weird and disoriented that Mum had to call an ambulance.

The next day, his doctor put him back on his warfarin, but by then the ‘wonderdrug’ had done its worst.

At Father’s Day dinner on the Sunday, he told me he’d “had a bit of a setback”, the first I heard of the above.

The next morning, Mum awoke to the thump-thump of Dad hitting his head on the bedside furniture, and his body flopping on the floor. 

He’d had two small strokes in 1998 and 2005. But this was a biggie. Into Hutt Hospital by ambulance, fortunately to the Wellington region’s only dedicated stroke unit.

And the staff are dedicated too. They just can’t be there all the time. Neither, sadly, can we.

He can’t swallow, so has to be fed through a tube. In the delirium brought on by the stroke, he keeps trying to pull the tube out, and all too often succeeds.

For the last few days we thought we had him tamed, but this morning when the watching nurse was distracted, he yanked it out again.

Each time he does this, he has to endure having a long plastic tube inserted up his nose and down his throat into what we hope is his stomach, but is sometimes his lungs. Then they have to do it again. Once it came out his mouth by mistake.

Every time they put the tube back in, he has to be X-rayed to check the food is going into the right cavity.

I’ll spare you the details of the other orifices. Suffice it to say that, at times like this, it’s a shame we have so many.

We don’t know how this story will end, or when.

If you can spare a thought for a 91 year old man who’s led a good life, his sub-conscious would, I think, be pleased to hear from you.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 12:17 am  Comments (11)  

Douglas points to why youth unemployment doubled

Youth Rates

This graph from ACT’s Roger Douglas illustrates John Key’s duplicity in first helping to cause, then pretending to care about, youth unemployment.

National, Labour and the Greens — all parties bar ACT — voted down Roger’s bill to reinstate youth rates and get kids off the couch and into work.

By refusing to allow kids to be paid less than adults, Key deliberately allowed the number of young unemployed to double.

Now he’s offering a dollop of your money to any boss who pays a kid an adult’s wage.

Why not just let the boss pay the kid a kid’s wage, and let the kid work their way up — the way most of us did?

Excellent graph, whoever did this.

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 10:20 am  Comments (15)  

Ad that Dom banned cleared by ASA

My ACT ad that contained 40 statements of fact has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority.

MAORI RADICALS ADVERT NOT IN BREACH – ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about ACT’s controversial “Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?” newspaper advertisement.

Twelve people argued the advert was “misleading, offensive, racist, in breach of the requirement for a due sense of social responsibility and likely to play on fear”.

The ASA said a political party advocating a robust view on matters of public interest allowed the public to see the party’s position. There was no breach of codes and no grounds for the complaints to proceed, it ruled.

Yet the Dominion Post refused to “allow the public to see the party’s position”. 

As a private company, they had the right to ban the ad. (Whether they had the right to charge ACT full price for the space is another matter.)

But the public also has the right to know that the capital’s daily newspaper is politically biased against ACT.

This is the ad that the Herald ran, and the Dom banned:

What sort of democracy do we live in when a monopoly newspaper can be so cravenly politically correct as to ban a question that most of its readers would answer Yes to, backed by 40 true statements?

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 10:51 am  Comments (5)  

The Evans Bay Turtle

What is it about Wellington and its circular landmarks with eccentric nicknames?

The under-50s won’t remember when the twin-domed Welsh Dragon Bar in the middle of Kent and Cambridge Terraces used to be a public toilet block, known by all as the Taj Mahal.

At the far end of the same dual-dragstrip is the Basin Reserve, so named after the 1855 earthquake turned Basin Lake into a swamp, which the council then turned into a sports reserve.

Over in Thorndon there’s the parliamentary Beehive, which Sir Basil Spence designed on the back of a serviette. And the Cake Tin, named by yours truly in response to a call for a nickname by the Evening Post’s Angus Morrison.

(Note: popular rumour has it that the Cake Tin was named by an Auckland talk show host, which is why it wasn’t popular for a long time with Wellingtonians. Still others say it was Andrew Mehrtens. Being a rather obvious name, it was probably all three of us.)

And now we have a new stadium to name: the Kilbirnie Indoor Sports Centre in Evans Bay. It’s not quite circular, but near enough.

The Dom Post’s Hank Schouten is calling for nicknames, so I sent in this letter:

Like the Cake Tin, the new Kilbirnie Indoor Sports Centre is a good example of smooth, single-minded design.

Now, what to call it?

I worry that the architects’ favourite, The Limpet, while anatomically accurate, might be a bit, well, limp to catch on.

So what about the Saucer (as in flying), the Clam, the Oyster, the Stingray, the Flounder, the Slater or the Frisbee?

(Had they built it where Councillor Andy Foster wanted, it could have been the Downtown Indoor Sports Centre — DISC.)

A friend of mine argues noisily for The Trilobite, a creature I had not heard of, but which it clearly resembles.

But the nickname with the best combination of stickability and seaside relevance would have to be the Turtle.

What do you think? Feel free to suggest a name of your own. I may run a poll of the best of them.

But to me, if I squint as I drive round the bays I see a beached, bleached white turtle shell whose occupant is wisely staying indoors.

(As well he might. When I drove past on Monday, there was thick snow just around the corner in Shelly Bay.)

How we make the news in Aussie these days

The Tasman wage gap, which John Key once pretended to want to close, is also a poverty gap.

Here’s how it’s being reported in Australia. 

Of course, setting the poverty line at 60% of median income is a typical lefty linguistic trick. 

Poverty is starvation. Being only 60% as rich as the averge person is envy.

Still, relative to 30 other First World nations, New Zealand’s performance is shameful:

20th for children living in poor households

21st for infant mortality

29th for measles immunisation rates

29th for child health and safety

3oth for teen suicides.

Thanks Ross for sending me this clipping.

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm  Comments (2)  

Putting it bluntly — a police chief speaks his mind

I dedicate this post to Garth McVicar.

It’s a San Francisco police chief giving the bedwetter media a bollocking for making a big deal of the speed one of his officers was travelling when he was killed chasing an armed felon.

This guy would make a great politician. He knows people despise the liberal media’s warped sense of justice, so doesn’t hesitate to get straight on the front foot.

Why do most public figures lack this instinct and resort to weasel words and apologies?

We should celebrate people who speak plainly. They’re islands of truth in a sea of deceit.

Thanks Digby for sending me this video.

Published in: on August 15, 2011 at 1:36 am  Comments (3)  

Out of the frying pan into the fridge: the hysterical record of climate change

Since Queen Victoria’s time, climate “scientists” have been telling us climate change was going to kill us. But they keep changing their minds on whether we’re going to fry or freeze.

The media, of course, are happy either way, as long as they can scare us into reading all about it.

Read this timeline and weep — or steam. (Blue you freeze, red you fry.)

It’s nearly all from the interesting site But Now You Know — The Search for Truth in Human Action .

The Ever-Changing Climate Change Timeline

1895
 Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again 
New York Times

1902
Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with
a persistency that means their final annihilation…
scientific fact…surely disappearing.
 
Los Angeles Times

1912
Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age
New York Times

1923
Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada
Chicago Tribune

That scientist was Professor Gregory of Yale University, the US representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress.

1923
The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the
southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given
rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age
 
Washington Post

1924
MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age 
New York Times

1929
Is another ice age coming?
Los Angeles Times

1932
“If these things be true, it is evident,
therefore that we must be just teetering on an ice age”
The Atlantic
This Cold, Cold World

1933
America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776;
Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise
 
New York Times

 So now they claim global warming’s been going on for 25 years. Yet for that whole 25 years, they were warning of an ice age.

1933
“…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward
warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” 
Federal Weather Bureau

1938
Global warming, caused by man heating the planet
with carbon dioxide “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind
in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”

Royal Meteorological Society

1938
“Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago
is in the front rank of thousands of cities throughout the world
which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward
warmer climate in the last two decades.” 
Chicago Tribune

1939
“Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they
were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that
the world at least for the time being is growing warmer.”
Washington Post

1952
“…we have learned that the world has been
getting warmer in the last half century.”
New York Times

1954
“…winters are getting milder, summers drier.
Glaciers are receding, deserts growing.”
U.S. News and World Report

1954
Climate – the Heat May Be Off
Fortune

1959
“Arctic Findings in Particular Support
Theory of Rising Global Temperatures”
New York Times

1969
“…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that
the ocean at the North Pole may become
an open sea within a decade or two”
New York Times

1969 
“If I were a gambler, I would take even money
that England will not exist in the year 2000″
Paul Ehrlich

(Erlich now predicts doom from global warming, so this
quote gets an honorable mention, even though he was
talking about his crazy fear of overpopulation)

1970
“…get a good grip on your long johns, cold
weather
haters – the worst may be yet to
come…
there’s no relief in sight”
Washington Post

1974
Global cooling for the past forty years
Time

 Huh? But for just about all of the previous forty years (whizz back to 1934) they’d been saying the earth was getting hotter!

 1974
“Climatological Cassandras are becoming
increasingly apprehensive, for the weather
aberrations they are studying may be
the harbinger of another ice age.”
Washington Post

1974
“As for the present cooling trend a number of leading
climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed”
Fortune
(Winner of a Science Writing Award
from the American Institute of Physics
for its analysis of the danger)

1974
“…the facts of the present climate change are such that
the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty
to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation,
and probably anarchy and violence.” 
New York Times

1975
Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing;
A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable
New York Times

1975
“The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside
nuclear war
as a likely source of wholesale death
and misery for mankind.”

Nigel Calder
Editor, New Scientist

in International Wildlife

1976
“Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend”

U.S. News and World Report

1979
The Cooling of America

Time

1981
Global Warming “of an almost unprecedented magnitude”
New York Times

1988
“I would like to draw three main conclusions.

“Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than
at any time in the history of instrumental measurements.

“Number two, the global warming is now large enough that
we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause
and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect.

“And number three, our computer climate simulations
indicate that the greenhouse effect is already large
enough to begin to
effect the probability of extreme
events such as summer heat waves.”

Jim Hansen
Testimony before Congress

(For context, see His later quote
and His superior’s objection)

1989
“On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound
to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must
include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts.

On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human
beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world
a better place, which in this context translates into our working
to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change.

To do that we need to get some broad based support, to
capture the public’s imagination. That, of course,
means getting loads of media coverage.

So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make
simplified, dramatic statements, and make
little mention of any doubts we might have.

This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find
ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.

Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest.
I hopethat means being both.”
Stephen Schneider
Lead author 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Discover

1990
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue.  Even if the theory
of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing –
in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”
Senator Timothy Wirth

1993
“Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall
patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain
consequences for agriculture.”
U.S. News and World Report

1998 
No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . .
climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity
to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart
Canadian Minister of the Environment
Calgary Herald

2001 
“Scientists no longer doubt that global warming
is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact
that humans are at least partly responsible.” 
Time

2003
Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been
appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-
makers were relatively unaware of the global warming
issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil
and tar sands were receiving strong consideration”
Jim Hansen
NASA global warming activist
Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?

2006
“I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation
of factual presentations on how dangerous it is,
as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to
what the solutions are, and how hopeful
it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”
Al Gore
Grist

2006
BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED.
Climate change isn’t some vague future problem — it’s
already damaging the planet at an alarming pace.
Time

Now: The global mean temperature has fallen for four years in a row, which is why you stopped hearing details about the actual global temperature, even while they carry on about taxing you to deal with it…how long before they start predicting an ice age?

The actual Global Warming Advocates' chart, overlayed on the "climate change" hysterics of the past 120 years. Not only is it clear that they take any change and claim it's going to go on forever and kill everyone, but notice that they often get the trend wrong...
 

The actual Global Warming Advocates’ chart, overlayed on the
“climate change” hysterics of the past 120 years. Not only is it
 clear that they take any change and claim it’s going to go on
forever and kill everyone, but notice that they even
sometimes get the short-term trend wrong.

Of course NOW they are talking about the earth “warming for
the past century”, again ignoring that they spent much of
that century claiming we were entering an ice age.

The fact is that the mean temperature of the planet is,
and should be, always wavering up or down, a bit,
because this is a natural world, not a climate-controlled office.

So there will always be some silly bureaucrat, in his air-
conditioned ivory tower, who looks at which way it’s
going right now, draws up a chart as if this is permanent,
realizes how much fear can increase his funding, and proclaims
doom for all of humanity.

2006
“It is not a debate over whether the earth has been warming
over the past century.
The earth is always warming or cooling,
at least a few tenths of a degree…”

Richard S. Lindzen
Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology
MIT

2006
“What we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary
school science.
Climate always changes. It is always…
warming or cooling, it’s never stable.
And if it were stable,
it would actually be interesting scientifically because it

would be the first time for four and a half billion years.”
Philip Stott
Emeritus professor of bio-geography
University of London

2006
“Since 1895, the media has alternated between global cooling 
and 
warming scares during four separate and sometimes
overlapping time periods.
From 1895 until the 1930′s the media
peddled a coming ice age.
From the late 1920′s until the 1960′s
they warned of global warming.
From the 1950′s until the 1970′s
they warned us again of a coming ice age. This makes modern
global warming the fourth estate’s fourth attempt
to promote
opposing climate change fears during the last 100 years.”

Senator James Inhofe

2007
“I gave a talk recently (on fallacies of global warming) and
three members
of the Canadian government, the environmental
cabinet, came up afterwards
and said, ‘We agree with you,
but it’s not worth our jobs to say anything.’
So what’s being
created is a huge industry with billions of dollars
of
government money and people’s jobs dependent on it.”

Dr. Tim Ball
Coast-to-Coast

2008
“Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated  NASA’s
official
agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did
not know enough to forecast
climate change or mankind’s
effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by
coming
out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his
testimony before Congress”

Dr. John S. Theon
Retired Chief of the Climate Processes Research Program 
NASA

Next time you see the usual "global warming" chart, look carefully: it is in tiny fractions of one degree. The ENTIRE global warming is less than six tenths of one degree. Here is the Global Warming Advocates' own chart, rendered in actual degrees like sane people use. I was going to use 0-100 like a thermometer, but you end up with almost a flat line, so I HELPED the Climate Change side by making the temperature range much narrower.

 
Next time you see the usual “global warming” chart, look
carefully: it is in tiny fractions of one degree. The ENTIRE 
global warming is less than six tenths of one degree.

Here is the Global Warming Advocates’ own chart,
rendered in actual degrees like sane people use.
I was going to use 0-100 like a thermometer,
but you end up with almost a flat line, so I HELPED
the Climate Change side by making the temperature
range much narrower, and the chart needlessly
tall to stretch the up-down differences in the line.

JA: I made this other picture as a variation on the one at the top:

 
Published in: on August 13, 2011 at 1:24 am  Comments (8)  

What would Maggie have done with the rioters?

After the pathetic response by British authorities to the riots, I can’t help wonder what Margaret Thatcher would have done in David Cameron’s shoes.

A lot more than talk tough, I bet.

She’d have had those watercannons and rubber bullets on the streets faster than you could say Arthur Scargill.

This is what she said at the time of the miners’ strike:

“What we have got is an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law, and it must not succeed. It must not succeed. There are those who are using violence and intimidation to impose their will on others who do not want it. The rule of law must prevail over the rule of the mob.”

And again, casting the miners as unpatriotic:

“We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty”.

By the way, did you know Scargill’s strike was funded by the KGB?

After his Wellington talk, Lord Monckton was telling us about his time with Thatcher, and how the government were tracking Scargill travelling round the Soviet Union collecting money and instructions.

Published in: on August 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm  Comments (4)  

New London Olympics logo

    

Thanks Mike for sending me this. Wish I’d thought of it!

 

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Well done, DomPost

After hammering the Dominion Post on Close Up for banning my ACT ‘Maori radicals ad’ that contained 40 statements of truth, I’m pleased to be able to congratulate the paper for yesterday making these two letters their lead and second letters of the day:

Where does that ‘science’ definition leave Al Gore, then?

Lorna Sutherland’s comments (Letters, August 8) highlight an interesting attitude to democracy and proper science. 

(That’s meant to say August 8. Of all the eccentric habits of WordPress, automatically turning the number eight followed by a close bracket into a smile takes the cake!) 

Does she agree that her denial that Lord Monckton should be permitted a platform to discuss climate change extends to former United States vice- president Al Gore, who is similarly lacking expertise and experience in science?

Is she aware that Dr John Abraham’s comments on Lord Monckton are subject to critical comments about misrepresentation and falsehoods ?

By what measure would we ever give the Greens, Niwa’s Dr James Renwick or anybody else the right to decide what may be presented by any person on any subject in public?

Real science is proven by sceptical trial and debate. False science has hidden data, insufficient record of proof, and protection from open query and dissenting opinion.

Real science isn’t proven by so-called consensus, authority or taking someone’s word for it.

Is Ms Sutherland aware no peer- reviewed scientific proof appears to exist that climate change, warming or whatever is driven by human-induced carbon-dioxide emissions, and the theory is supported by conjecture only?

I suggest she take tuition on what it means to live in a democracy.

GRAHAM CLAYTON
Taupo 

What have these people to fear?

Our climate change scientists and, maybe, politicians, seem to be running scared. They have refused to debate climate change with Lord Monckton because the matter is now agreed upon and settled among scientists. Really?

It was also said that to debate with him would give Lord Monckton and his unscientific ideas credibility. If our scientists’ views, which cost a lot of money, are so right, what have they to fear?

IRENE FAGAN
Island Bay

Well said, Graham and Irene.

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm  Comments (1)  

Monckton, Greenpeace, NASA and Nazis

This is a good video to watch if you want a quick insight into the sceptic side of the global warming debate.

You’ll see clips from The Great Global Warming Swindle, the movie featuring Greenpeace founder-turned-sceptic Patrick Moore, NASA scientist Roy Spencer and other eminent sceptics.

Then in the middle you’ll see Lord Christopher Monckton completely monstering (with logic) a noisy gang of young Climate Scientologists who were silly enough to  disrupt his Copenhagen meeting.

Seizing upon the parallel with the bullying tactics of the Hitler Youth in the same city, he quickly gained a global audience by describing them as such.

When a Jewish member of the gang objects, Monckton front foots like a true Thatcherite. He tells the offended heckler that if he and his mates ares going to behave like the Hitler Youth, he’s going to keep calling him that.

(What a shame Monckton isn’t the Lord Mayor of London right now.)

This is all great sport, but in amongst it all is Monckton’s point:

Although these young hecklers are rude rather than murderous, There is a very real parallel between the green movement and evil regimes like the Nazis.

And that is the huge number of deaths from starvation being caused by food shortages, caused by rising food prices, caused by the conversion of food crops to biofuel.

The greenies never have an answer to that one. I made this little ad about it:

This is the way to defeat the Left. Tell the graphic truth about how their pathological stupidity invariably hurts the people they make such a play of pretending to care about.

I want to start a ‘teach tank’ to put ads like this in front of the public.

Right-wing politicians have tried to bust the media blockade, but failed. Ads like this will  cut through. If the media won’t run them, we just plaster them on poster sites.

They needn’t be big ads, but they do need to be plentiful, and regular. There are so many issues to cover. 

Such a campaign, from a brand that becomes trusted for its clarity, will change the polarity of politics.

Now, who wants to fund it?

If the IPCC was a corporation, its leaders would be in jail — Auditor

This interesting comment from auditor Mervyn Sullivan on the blog But Now You Know– The Search For Truth in Human Action. I’ll soon be posting my version of their Climate Change Timeline.

But for now, read this (I’ve bolded my three favourite lines):   

As a professional auditor, I’m forever obtaining and evaluating evidence. I became interested in the climate debate because of Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth”. So I decided to examine the evidence.

I have spent thousands of hours researching… to understand both sides to the climate debate (e.g. I went through the IPCC’s AR4 report, but I also went through the “Climate Change Reconsidered report by the NIPCC; I read books, blogs, magazines, research papers, authoritative web sites, and more).

Sounds like a thorough kind of guy. And what did he find?

I have come to the firm conclusion that nothing about our weather and climate is unprecedented. I have come to the conclusion that climate scientists still need to learn so much more about earth’s complex chaotic climate system before they can be so bold as to claim that CO2 is the key driver of catastrophic man-made global warming and climate change, or that certain weather events have been caused by man-made global warming. I have also learnt that predicting weather beyond say a couple of weeks is too difficult, and on that basis, predicting future climate is simply impossible.

Climate is average weather, is it not? 

I have not found any persuasive evidence that proves CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming or even driving climate change as claimed by the IPCC… there is no empirical evidence supporting this view. 

I have come to the conclusion that the evidence is stronger in support of the idea that our climate is driven by numerous complex factors involving, for example, solar magnetic activity, cosmic rays, cloud formation, lunar position, and ocean currents.

Just as the sceptical climate scientists have been saying. 

I also think the Central England Temperature record is probably a reliable temperature proxy record to work off. It shows no evidence of any runaway global warming since the mid 1600s.

I wonder if this news has reached East Anglia. (As in the University of). But here’s his killer finding: 

If I had to issue an audit opinion on the IPCC AR4 report, it would have to be a disclaimer opinion. In fact, I would go so far as to state that if the IPCC AR4 report were subject to the same standards of accountability as under corporations legislation, the IPCC members would probably be facing jail sentences for releasing misleading information to the public, and grossly deceiving the public by claiming its report was based only on peer reviewed scientific literature (the best science) when in reality, approximately 30% of the 18,500+ citations are now known to have related to “grey literature” such as articles by campaigning organizations like WWF and Greenpeace… which are not even close to being peer reviewed scientific literature. 

Surely the United Nations wouldn’t really parrot left-wing propaganda? And surely — despite one of its head honchos being Helen Clark — it’s not really using eco-catastrophism as a pretext for socialist world government?

What I have also learnt from my research is that the climate change debate has become over-politicized to the point that it now overrides real climate science. It’s now all about regulating and taxing ‘carbon’ to fix an imaginary future problem. To even think that certain people could assume that humans could tame and control the weather and climate, Mother Nature, demonstrates the madness on the part of some, in relation to this debate over man-made global warming. 

Comment by Mervyn Sullivan | February 9, 2011  @ 06:48 |

Now at this point, of course, our resident warm-mongers Judge Holden and David Winter will immediately leap in to somehow blacken this auditor’s name. (The Green Party Black Ops Manual on the Flaming and Defaming of Heretics offers a host of plausible smears.) 

And I can’t defend him, because I have no idea who, where, or how good an auditor, Mervyn Sullivan is. 

Nonetheless, I thought you might find it interesting to hear from a man who spends his life sifting truth from lies.

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm  Comments (6)  

To socialist-pessimists from capitalist-optimists: Cheer up!

A word to all you red-green (and, of late, yellow) malcontents who infest the comments section of this blog with your relentless nit-picking and overweaning planetary pessimism.

Whether you like it or not, guys, (and I know you don’t), you are members of a species with a stellar record of problem-solving.

I’m very sorry to have to say that, but the optimists among us (AKA capitalists) just keep dreaming up ways to make our lives better and better.

Including yours. Have you noticed? I guess not. It’s not really in your interests to look.

Despite the best efforts of communism and socialism (which I call Applied Pessimism), not to mention eco-pessimism (Applied Pessimism for Profit), things are getting better on this planet all the time.

If you think it’s not, ask yourself: which time and place in history would you like to be transported back to? (When some clever capitalist develops the inevitable time machine, I’m sure that can be arranged.)

When you’re back there in your colonial house or pre-colonial whare, liberated from annoyances like electricity and motor cars and vaccines and flush toilets — as you contemplate your new-found squalor and imminent demise — you may start to feel that life in the 21st century wasn’t so bad after all.

You may be forced to concede that all those gizmos you used to take for granted came to you via the evil capitalist Industrial Revolution and the fertile minds of geniuses with incentives.

As we speak, all over the Third World, that same reprehensible system of market capitalism is lifting millions out of poverty in former socialist-pessimist societies like China and India. 

Like it or not, capitalism has been doing this now for 200 years. Have a look at Hans Rosling’s beautiful moving graph of the Health and Wealth of Nations and you’ll see which nations have gone ahead the fastest — and which haven’t.

And you’ll see that all nations are healthier than they were in 1800. And all but a few corrupt African basket cases are wealthier.

You can’t stand the idea of that, can you? Especially as all your doomsday prophesies never quite complete the journey from wishful theory to reality.

The history of Western civilisation in recent times has been one of relentless, inspiring and beneficial progress.

Yet always you gloom-mongers would have us believe that all we hold dear is about to collapse.

Either it’s our economic system, or our health, or the computer system, or the climate and life as we know it.

The disgraceful thing is how you’re quite happy to frighten the children to further your goals.

But you don’t frighten the grown-ups. That’s because people who’ve been round the clock a few times recognise your tactics. We’ve noticed how most of these scares can be avoided with the payment of a large amount of money to some socialist cause.

Meanwhile society, fueled by capitalism fueled by optimism, advances regardless of your wishes. The rich get richer. And so, as long as their governments aren’t corrupt, do the poor.

So how about dropping your absurd addiction to socialism-pessimism and drink to the good times (ie the last 200 years)?

Your latest crisis of convenience is global warming. Sadly for you, many, if not most, people now agree this is an eco-socialist-pessimist plot to transport us en-masse back to your colonial house.

That’s because, despite all the efforts of the socialist brainwashing factory that purports to be the state education system, these people have somehow retained the capacity for joined-up thinking. You should try it.

Instead of creating diversions and parroting the party line about whether Monckton is qualified to make the sense he makes, how about doing the unthinkable and thinking for yourselves?

Yes I know it sounds an odd thing to suggest.

But how about actually watching his debate with Tim Lambert and making up your own mind?

You can do it in the privacy of your own home, so the Church of Climate Scientology doesn’t have to know.

And you don’t have to worry that Tim doesn’t hold your end up, because he does. He argues his case well. You may even conclude that he won the debate. Or you may be persuaded by Monckton. That’s what an open mind is for.

So have a look. Assess them both on their merits. With your eyepatch off.

And afterwards, if you feel like it, tell me what you thought.

Meantime, I’m raising my glass (which is a lot more than half-full) to my ingenious species and the continued success of capitalism-optimism. 

Tip for right-wing political marketers everywhere:

Our philosophy of freedom and free markets is, above all, the philosophy of optimism. So: own it. Move voters 5% to the right by embracing optimism and optimists as the antidote to socialism and pessimists.

(Note to Nats: optimism does not mean managing socialism with a smile. :-))

The real reason the Greens chickened out of debating Monckton

You may have heard the Greens trumpeting their principled decision not to debate global warming sceptic Lord Monckton. 

You may not have heard that they discovered their principles only after seeing this video of Monckton debating scientist Tim Lambert in a more tolerant land called Australia:

Before they saw this video, they were happy for their climate spokesman, Kennedy Graham, to accept Monckton’s challenge.

After they saw it, they were not. They pulled out.

Not because they didn’t want to dignify him. (Ever heard of a politician turning down a chance to humiliate a high-value opponent – especially one so supposedly inept?)

No. They pulled out because they knew they weren’t going to win. They were either going to lose or — just as damaging to their claim that the science is settled — draw.

It wasn’t his showmanship they were afraid of. It was his facts. 

And what was the fact they were most scared of exposing to the light? What was the truth they were terrified of the public finding out?

That Monckton is clearly not the nutter they’ve been pretending he is.

When you see the debate, you’ll see that his grasp of the science is every bit as credible as that of the scientist he’s debating. You might even think moreso.

But the point is, to make his point he doesn’t have to be more credible. Only as credible.

The proposition before us is that the science is settled.

Settled in favour of global warming being a huge crisis that we need to rectify immediately by diverting trillions of dollars from otherwise productive activities.

That’s the line we’ve been fed. That’s what the Greens would have us believe. That’s why we’re saddled with an ETS.

And that’s why the poor are struggling to cope with higher food prices and higher petrol prices and higher most other prices.

That’s the sacred gospel of the Church of Climate Scientology that gets non-believers branded deniers or denialists — modern-day heretics.

And that, I think you’ll agree after watching this debate, is a myth. One that Monckton, among others, has busted.

I suggest you watch it from start to finish. It’s 1 hour 53 minutes — 15 You Tube videos — but worth it.

The moderator is sceptic and former Wallaby coach Alan Jones. He occasionally makes his bias clear, but is otherwise fair.

I think it’s a good scrap. Lambert is less polished than Monckton. (Aren’t we all?). But after a nervous start, he makes his points well.

Monckton, when challenged, is assured in his rebuttals, and both men answer each others’ probing questions pretty well.

It’s a debate everyone should see. It’s just a shame that New Zealand’s red-green-yellow politicians, scientists and journalists do not possess the courage of their convictions to allow the public to examine both sides of this supposedly crucial issue.

How disgraceful that a government would steal people’s money to avert what they claim is a crisis, then refuse to debate its reasons in public. 

Not only that, but it empowers its employees to brand anyone who asks it to do so as the modern equivalent of a witch.

(Thank Gaia for the blogosphere!)

Published in: on August 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm  Comments (13)  

STATE MOUTHPIECE MUZZLES MONCKTON: Is TVNZ the new BBC?

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post about TVNZ banning climate sceptic Lord Monckton, it so happens that I myself have been invited to appear on Close-Up tonight to talk about race issues. Should this drive more visitors here, I’m promoting this post to the home page so it’s the first thing they see! I saw and met Monckton today in Wellington and his accounts of similar attempts by the Left to shut him down and smear him were chilling. I’ll be posting on the experience soon. Now on with this post of two days’ ago…

You may recall the recent Close-Up interview with global cooling-warming (take your pick — he does) proponent James Hansen.

And do you recall which sceptic our government TV channel brought in to debate with him to provide balance?

Me neither. 

That’s because they didn’t make him debate anyone.

(The science is settled, remember?)

Now fast forward to this week. Same programme. Same channel. Same issue.

Only this time, the visiting climateer is a sceptic — with a flair for political incorrectitude.

He’s none other than Margaret Thatcher’s former science advisor Lord Christopher Monckton, here for a few days after a rip-roaring tour of Australia.

Now whatever else Monckton may be, he’s not boring. He’s articulate, amusing and opinionated, in the great tradition of British celebs.

In other words, he’s great television. 

So why won’t TVNZ let him on?

Because they can’t find anyone to debate him.

Huh?

Seems at government TV, only the sceptics get challenged. Warmists — even confused ones who used to be coolists —  just get believed.

We’ll come back to TVNZ’s obvious bias later.

But isn’t there something fishy about not one of our loud, proud warm-mongers being prepared to defend their position on this supposed crisis?

After all, the government has just conspired to ratchet up the price of your food and petrol and most everything else.

Why? Because of the supposed desperate need to impose a carbon trading scheme on our already struggling economy.

So wouldn’t you think Nick Smith would be itching to get stuck into the guy who’s been telling him for years that the climate crisis is a hoax?

Or John Key, who used to agree it was a hoax — till he figured there were more votes in saying it wasn’t?

Or any number of Greens, those brave eco-warriors whose relentless pessimism and loathing for their species got us into this mess?

Or one of the eleven experts at the so-called Victoria University climate debate I went to and blogged about — all of them clustered courageously on the same side?

Why doesn’t even one of these ‘believers’ have the courage to defend their position against the man they like to dismiss as a ‘potty peer’ and a ‘swivel-eyed loon’?

Seems Monckton is a man the warm-mongers love to hate, but hate to debate.

Why?

Seems that after all their huff and puff about the science being settled, Messrs Key, Smith, Norman, Trenberth and co. are decidedly unsettled by the thought of being found out.

(As, of course, was Al Gore.)

Of course, they’ll say tangling with Monckton is beneath them. He’s a nutter. Must be. Listen to that posh voice! Get a load of  those big bug eyes!

(The result of an hereditary condition, oddly enough unconnected with the ability to think.)

No mention of why Margaret Thatcher would choose him out of thousands to advise her on matters scientific.  They didn’t dub Maggie the Iron Lady for being soft in the head.

If these climate sages are so sure of their case, why not front up and use their superior logic to shut Monckton up once and for all?

Isn’t that what a real expert would do?

What does their mass no-show tell you about the honesty of our nation’s climate scientists and cabinet ministers?

And prime minister?

And anyway, why does TVNZ feel the need to have anyone at all debate Monckton? Why not apply the same standards to the sceptic as they applied to the scaremonger/warmist/coolist?

Is TVNZ trying to outdo the Biased BBC?

New evidence of eco-exaggeration

How ironic that Close-Up’s attempt to close down the climate debate should come in the same week as the Daily Mail ran this story:

Climate change far less serious than ‘alarmists’ predict says NASA scientist

This is, of course, another NASA scientist, not Hansen: 
Dr Roy Spencer, who works on the space agency’s temperature-monitoring satellites, claimed they showed ‘a huge discrepancy’ between the real levels of heating and forecasts by the United Nations and other groups.

After looking at the levels of radiation in the atmosphere over the past ten years, he believes the Earth releases a lot more heat into space than previously thought.

In other words, the computer models were wrong — just as thousands of sceptics (sorry, deniers; sorry, denialists) have been saying.

Now, come to think of it, this is not the first time I’ve heard about global heat escaping harmlessly into space. I first heard a leading sceptic bring it to light about two years ago.

And which sceptic would that have been?

You guessed it: the apparently not-so-mad Monckton.

I’ll be at his Wellington talk on Friday. I hope to see you there. (Whether you see him on state telly is another matter.)

For details of how to see Lord Monckton in Auckland on Thursday, Wellington on Friday and Whangarei on Saturday, hurry to the Climate Realists website.

Warm-mongers pressure PRINZ into pulling plug

Neil and Esther Henderson have been doing an excellent job bringing a dose of sanity to the climate debate — and Lord Monckton to New Zealand.

But one of Monckton’s scheduled events lost its original sponsor thanks to pressure from our brave eco-exaggerators.

Rest assured, though, Neil and Esther have saved the day.

Read this excerpt from their latest newsletter to see what they’ve been up against:

PRINZ, having volunteered to host two of the public events, has received an overwhelming barrage of negative publicity for their gall in allowing someone whose opinions are perceived as being ‘outside the politically correct mantra’ to speak in public.

PRINZ hunted far and wide to find someone to oppose Monckton in a debate and was unable to find anyone willing to front up.

Funny that.

PRINZ was prepared to continue and turn the debate into a ‘discussion’, but the vitriolic hatemail continued to such an extent that PRINZ has now made the decision to pull out of the Auckland event, and we, the CLIMATE REALISTS have taken over the arrangements.

Well done, that couple.

(And a brickbat to PRINZ for being cowed — but a bouquet for still going ahead with their Wellington event.)

The organisers of the business luncheon with Lord Monckton on Thursday have also received some very strongly worded correspondence questioning their integrity in hosting Lord Monckton and urging them (pressuring them!) to cancel.

Are business people are made of sterner stuff than communication people? Surely not!

Neil and Esther continue:

People, this is horrific!!!

What has happened to free speech in New Zealand?

We would like to urge every single one of you who is concerned about what is going on here, to contact Close Up closeup@tvnz.co.nz and challenge them about their decision not to interview Lord Monckton.

Do it now. I sent them this:

Your bias is showing

Mark and team,

 I was going to say I can’t believe your cowardice in canning your interview with Christopher Monckton.

 But then I guess I can.

If any of you at TVNZ still believe in free speech, I urge you to reconsider, stop being brainwashed by socialist liars, and let the man be heard.

Otherwise be prepared to incur the wrath of the blogosphere – a not-insignificant challenger to your supposed omnipotence.

John Ansell

Back to Esther and Neil:

Did Jim Salinger, Gareth Morgan, Rod Oram, Martin Manning, James Renwick, Kevin Trenberth, James Hansen….(think of anyone else you’ve heard prating the AGW mantra) need someone to present an alternative perspective before they were reported in the mainstream media?

We strongly believe Lord Monckton has a right to be heard. And we believe the public of New Zealand has a right to hear him and make up their own minds. There are an amazing number of accusations flying around the internet about Christopher Monckton. Here is a quote from one of our members who shall remain anonymous:

  • “Until this week, I thought Christopher was a rather obscure eccentric Englishman, with a keen interest in mathematics and climate change and a talent for entertainment. “Now, after dredging through endless pages of biography by Greenpeace, Bickmere, Abraham, etc, I’ve discovered that he is an international celebrity of huge importance. “Whole libraries havebeen written about his exploits; newspapers and bloggers record his every move and mood; scholars minutely analyze his spoken word, correspondence, logo, status, etc; activist groups mobilise at his approach.Seldom does little New Zealand have the opportunity to hear directly from an orator capable of generating such controversy and excitement on the world stage.” 

For my money, Monckton did more than any other single person to inform the world about the Climategate scandal and the shonkiness of Al Gore’s movie, and to neuter the Copenhagen talkfest.

I confess I believed Gore at first.

I was wowed by the slickness and clarity of his PowerPoint show.

I loved the way he got up in that cherrypicker to highlight the hockey stick graph.

And I had no reason at all to doubt his facts. (Like the fact that his hockey stick graph was bogus.)

It took brilliant communicators like Monckton — and Bob Carter and Ian Wishart and Jo Nova — to alerted me to the depth of my own gullibility.

Never again.

Neil and Esther:

We need to get out there and let people know that we have a right to doubt —  we have a right to be skeptical about everything we are spoonfed by the media, and having just witnessed what manipulation goes on behind the scenes, we need to call the media to account and demand balanced reporting and open debate.

Damn right we do.

The real deniers are the scientists and journalists who try to deny us our right to be sceptical about scientists and journalists.

I know from personal experience that the media are far more interested in entertaining than informing. And if the facts aren’t entertaining enough, they just make up facts that are.

They need to be exposed every time they do that. Which is almost certainly many times a day.

I am, of course, rather sensitive to press bias, given that less than a month ago the Dominion Post refused to run ACT’s 40 true statements on the race issue.

What has happened to free speech indeed.

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm  Comments (44)  

The Ballad of Brave Sir Russel

[With apologies to Monty Python and The Holy Grail, and especially Brave Sir Robin.]

Bravely bold Sir Russel
Did love to scam a lot

He was not afraid to lie
O brave Sir Russel!

He was not afraid to claim
We’d be killed in nasty ways

Due to climate change
Brave Sir Russel!

He was not in the least bit scared
To make the children cry
With tales of terrible drought
And polar bears drowned
To exaggerate the threat
For the votes that he could get

And put us deep in debt
Brave Sir Russel!

And then the man he loved to hate
Did challenge him to a debate
To see who’s global view was true
And what did brave Sir Russel do?…

Brave Sir Russel ran away
Bravely ran away, away!
When Monckton reared his ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled
Yes, brave Sir Russel turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the brave, Sir Russel!

NOTE: Sir Russel is really an amalgam of John Key, Nick Smith, Russel Norman, Al Gore and all the courageous climate scammers who insist the science is settled, yet refuse to debate the facts.

The Climate Con is one of 4 Big Cons being perpetrated upon the people of New Zealand — the others being the John Key Con, the Maorification Con, and the Education Con.

I’ll be doing my best to expose them all as clearly as I can.

Dan should’ve gone for the drop!

The end of last night’s test against the pretend-Springboks was a case of deja vu all over again.

The dreaded 2007 quarter-final against France, I mean.

Did you notice?

80th minute. Scrum inside the Springboks 22. Right in front. All Blacks put-in.

Try or drop goal?

Answer: both, actually. They should have tried for a drop goal.

It would have been the perfect chance for Dan Carter to test his drop kicking in a live test pressure situation, as he’s apparently been doing in practice. Maybe one of his last before the World Cup.

(Dan may have a record 1200 test points, but only 6 of those have come from drop goals.)

And of course, it was the ABs’ failure to go for the three pointer when down by two against France in 2007 that made us fans despair about the state of our boys’ top two inches.

Last night’s failure to do the same was not exactly reassuring.

Now I know what you’re thinking. What pressure? Last night they were up 40-7. Not down 18-20. What difference would another 3 make? 

Well, a bit, actually. In fact, it would have made history. If they’d known their history.

You see, the record winning margin in the 90 years of tests between the two countries is 36 points. (NZ 52, SA 16 in 2003.)

And 40-7 is a margin of 33 points.

See what I mean?

If the All Blacks staff had studied their history — and going into a test against the weakest Springboks team in history they should have — they could have used the goal of matching the record to simulate the pressure of a tight World Cup match.

But no. They did what they did in 2007. They tried for a try. And failed. 

It doesn’t augur well for what they might do in a tight final in November.

Am I being too grumpy after such a massive win?

Probably. It’s late.

But Aussie next week will be a whole nother story.

UPDATE: It’s now next week, and Dan’s just dropped a goal! — his first in five years. Good to know he can take expert advice.

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 2:36 am  Comments (2)  

Pastafarian infects Austria with humour

 
Driving licence of Niko Alm
 
The BBC reports that an Austrian atheist and member of the the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (AKA Pastafarians) has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”.

Does this mean the birth nation of that other Führer (is that really the ideal first word for an official document?) has suddenly unearthed a hitherto unknown Austro-Teutonic strain of humour?

Possibly. A friend who lived there says Austrians are like the Irish — known for their sense of humour. (Though only, I fear, by the Germans.)

Actually that may be right: they have a town in Austria called Fucking (a sister city, I dare say, of Intercourse, Pennsylvania), where the Brits — and no doubt the Irish — keep nicking the signs.

But last I heard, the Austrians were not amused.

Before we conclude that Austria is undergoing some sort of post-Pythonesque renaissance of rib-tickling, the story goes on:

After receiving his application the Austrian authorities had required him to obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive.

Clearly the bureaucracy remain untouched by the new craze.

But I do like the sound of this religion, which is, predictably, American.

The group’s website states that “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma”.

I like that. Do I detect a subliminal message in all this for our Islamofascist brothers? Not necessarily…

In response to pressure for American schools to teach the theory known as intelligent design, which some Christians favour as an alternative to natural selection, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote to the Kansas School Board asking for the pastafarian version of intelligent design to be taught to schoolchildren.

Seems their religion-ridicule is non-denominational. And fair enough. So is mine.

(Though I do reserve the right to gently poke fun at moronic, medieval, misogynistic Muslims for their discourteous bombings, beheadings and unsporting insistence that all their pretty girls dress like Darth Vader.)

The next step, Mr Alm told the Austrian news agency APA, is to apply to the Austrian authorities for pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.

I may join. Better still, I wonder if they have a New Zealand diocese? If Brian Tamaki can be a bishop…
 
I particularly like their religious artworks.
 
 
 
And also the HateMail section on their website where godawful Goddists can abuse His Noodliness for mocking their imaginary friends.
 
Like this guy.
 
Peace and light.
Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm  Comments (3)  

When are we going to start catching Australia?

Apologies for the lack of recent posts, but I’ve been busy making posters like this for Sir Roger Douglas.  

This one highlights the government’s distinct lack of ambition for New Zealand relative to the country it said it was committed to  catching.

Even an Australia under a Labor government is a fast-moving target for NZ under a National one, so granny steps in the right direction won’t cut it. 

As the 2025 Taskforce’s second report said, “We can catch Australia, but we have to start.”

That, I think, is Brash-speak for, “My former colleagues are as lily-livered as ever.”

And because we’ve yet to start, we now have to grow at 2% a year faster than Australia grows (up from 1.6% faster) — hardly likely under a PM who takes his policy direction from Lucy Lawless.

Will post more posters and have a general catch up soonish.

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 9:05 pm  Comments (15)  

Success — for now

Good to see John Key appears to be having a rethink.

John says the billboard is inaccurate. Really — which bits? 

Does he mean iwi will no longer get

  • ownership rights
  • development rights
  • mining rights, and
  • veto rights

over the foreshore and seabed, and that all New Zealanders will continue to have 

  • free access to all beaches (including those declared by iwi to be ‘culturally significant’)?

Because if he doesn’t, he should apologise to the Coastal Coalition, who are getting mightily sick of being painted as liars.

And if he does, then why is he going to the trouble of renouncing Crown ownership?

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  

I’ve been ‘Granted’

Seems Grant McLachlan thinks I’ve got big eyebrows.

Grant sent me this as a parting gift after we collaborated on a couple of projects.

I can’t remember meeting anyone with so many  talents packed into the one brain.

Can you believe that the guy who whipped up this caricature is also a lawyer, an architect, an historian, a screenwriter, a political campaign manager and an inventor?

(Is that the full list? Somehow I doubt it.)

Thanks Grant — fun working with you.

Published in: on August 15, 2010 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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