Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Duncan Garner steps out in style

Everybody's favourite political reporter, TV3's Duncan Garner, was in the news himself this week... thanks to a compliment on his wardrobe from US President, George "Walter" Bush.

Following the pre-lunchtime meeting between Bush and PM Cluck, the media were told the President 'might' answer two questions from the media.

That didn't happen, and when Duncan Garner tried to throw GWB a question, the southern one remarked on how well dressed Garner was (in his pin-striped Escena suit), and suggested the American media take note. (Disclaimer: George "Walter" Bush was wearing a blue suit with shin-high Texan cowboy boots at the time...)

Garner's been having an interesting time in Washington. He and his cameraman were frisked by the over-zealous American Police on day one, after filming too close to the White House.

NZ Herald journalist Audrey Young also reports that most of the press gallery are staying at a "pretty central and pretty cheap" hotel, recommended by TV3's Garner. Apparently there are renovations going on at the hotel at the moment, with jack-hammers going from 8 in the morning until 4pm. And guests have to keep their curtains closed all day.

Meanwhile Stuff's Colin Espiner reports in his blog that at the posh lunch following the PM's meeting with GWB, the media were given a table without food or coffee... just iced water.
The quickfire Duncan asked if the kiwi journos could order in Domino's Pizza instead? Unfortunately, the Americans (who don't get sarcasm) simply responded with a "Sure, that would be fine".

Here's a tribute to TV3's best-dressed-political-reporter-of-the-week- named-duncan, courtesy of "Dan News"...

* TV3 News: Clark comes away empty handed from meeting with Bush

* Stuff: Colin Espiner's Washington blog
* NZ Herald: Audrey Young's blog

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Sunday, 25 March 2007

You didn't Fail... Try again... and again... and again...

The Herald on Sunday has today picked up on just how corrupt and useless the NCEA education system really is.

The NZ Qualifications Authority is encouraging schools to let students re-sit tests as many times as they want, and allowing teachers to add up marks from different failed tests to produce a pass. ?!? What The?!!

What's more, the NZQA has slammed the actions of two quality schools, because they preferred to keep things on the level.

Tawa College was ordered to review its policy of not allowing students to resit tests or exams they have failed... while Karamu High School was told its policy of only letting students take a test twice was too strict and "contrary to national practice".

Labour's Education Minister, Smarmy Maharey continues to defend NCEA, and is dismissive of outside examinations like the Cambridge exams adopted by many good schools.

This of course is a continuation of the long downward trend in education standards (and not just in New Zealand). Unfortunately under today's "new age" theories in schools, students should never be exposed to failure, and their work should never be criticised.

As David Farrar points out over at Kiwiblog, the NCEA record does not record failure, so a potential employer cannot tell the difference between someone who passed on their first go, and someone who took ten times to pass... possibly even by combining a couple of "failed" test results together ;-(

* NZ Herald: NZQA accused on tests
* DPF's Kiwiblog: More NCEA nonsense

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Who needs a Conscience when you've got power?

"Green" MP Sue Bradford's anti-smacking bill was supposed to be a conscience issue. However, Labour don't like their MPs having consciences, and decreed all their members would have to vote in favour of the bill.

Its understood a number of Labour MPs are personally opposed to the bill, which would make criminals of parents who discipline their children, and has been described by some as "a home invasion". However, they have been told on no uncertain terms they have to tow the party line.

Meanwhile, NZ First allowed its MPs to vote with their conscience, but the party's president Dail Jones is now threatening to demote MPs Brian Donnelly and Doug Woolerton come the next election, after their support for the controversial bill.

* Stuff: NZ First rows over 'anti-smacking' bill
* Whale Oil: NZ First having a smack up over smacking
* DPF's Kiwiblog: In defence of NZ First MPs

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A meeting of two Lizard Aliens

Some out there might not be aware of this... but Planet Earth is currently ruled (for the most part) by multi-dimensional lizard aliens called Annunaki.

Many of the world's political and business leaders are actually shape-shifting twelve-foot lizards from the fourth dimension.

These reptilian aliens like to brainwash humans, need to encourage negativity to help survive, and have an arrogant disrespect for normal human conventions.

Author, journalist, and former UK Football star David Icke believes that George Bush Snr and current US President George "Walter Bush" are in fact lizards and drug dealers. (In fact 33 of the USA's last 40 presidents were apparently Annunaki). It's also been suggested that NZ PM Hillin Cluck is one of these beings, given her normal demeanor and behaviour.

This week, Cluck and Bush met for lunch in Washington DC...

* Join in the Photo Caption fun over at NZ Herald...

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Saturday, 24 March 2007

Funny Video Clips in one place

The best thing about the internet since I switched from dial-up to Broadband is all the video clips available now on the web.

Pretty much everybody's heard of the massive YouTube site, which has thousands of new videos online every day. There's some great stuff on there, but the problem can be sorting through the mountains of clips to find the best ones.

CoolVideoClips.com is a site that does that searching for you... scouring the web for the funniest, strangest, and most interesting new video clips from thousands of sites including YouTube, Daily Motion, Yahoo Video, Google Video, Broadcaster, and many other video sites.

The site regularly adds new funny videos and interesting clips, sorting them into simple subject categories. Save yourself time searching, and just enjoy watching the good stuff!

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Mad Mary on The Price is Right

This clip has been kicking around for a while, but somehow it's just shot into this week's Top 10 viral video web charts.

Watch and laugh as Larry Emdur, former host of Australia's The Price is Right gameshow, comes face to face with the craziest nervous wrecking ball in Aussie. Meet the hysterical "Mad Mary"... ;-)

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Sunday, 18 March 2007

T-shirt folding made Easy ;)

Packing for a holiday, or just looking to get your drawers a bit neater?

Check out this video by an American teen named Ben Zweig, known as the "Folding expert" by his friends...

In this Queer Eye style makeover clip, Benny demonstrates the "Simple" tshirt method, the famous "2 second Japanese method", and his quick and easy "Cardboard t-shirt folding machine"...

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Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Helping Vistors find your Blog

Promoting your website or blog is a challenge for any webmaster/ blogger. With millions of sites on the internet, how can you make sure yours is noticed? I've had a personal website since the late 90's, and been blogging for the few years. It takes time to build up traffic and readers, and to get noticed by the search engines.

The trend towards RSS feeds is helping build regular regulars for blogs. I recently signed up with Feedburner, which helps consolidate your site feed in one place, improves the look of it for readers, and offers detailed statistics and other helpful features.

Exchanging links with other similar sites is also a great way of building your site, as is getting your site listed in the many online Blog Directories.

One website offering free Blog submission and other Webmaster resources is ManhattanService.

Run by a Search Engine Optimization professional, this site offers free submissions to hundreds of Web Directories... many of which were new to me, and will keep me busy for the next few days submitting to all those that are relevant to my sites ;-)

Rusak also offers more advanced Web Promotion services for a fee (tailored to your individual budget), like Competitor Analysis, Link Building, Traffic Building, and Search Engine Optimization. He also operates a good SEO blog, and seems to have a lot of experience in this important area for webmasters.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Maori MPs set to make Criminals of Parents

The Maori Party's four MPs have decided to support Sue Bradford's private members bill, which would make it illegal for parents to discipline children. Their support is likely to help the bill become law, and make criminals of tens of thousands of caring parents.

The Green Party MP's anti-smacking bill has split Parliament, with some parties divided on their support, although most of the "Gumment" (as Sue calls it) will vote in favour. (Labour MPs have no choice, their party doesn't believe in democracy. That means even the likes of Muslim MP Ashraf Choudhary are being forced to vote for it).

Family-friendly United Future leader Peter Dunne will support Bradford's bill, but his other 2 MPs will vote against it. At least two New Zealand First MPs including former school Principal Brian Donnelly are also supporting the anti-discipline bill.

Interestingly, former (?) corporal punishment practitioner, school teacher David Benson-Pope is backing the move to ban the use of smacking or other force against children.

National Party MP Chester Borrows was hoping to win the support of MPs including the Maori Party, for an amendment which would allow parents to use limited force (like a light smack). However, Sue Bradford said she'd withdraw her bill altogether if that amendment looked like succeeding.

New Zealand's Popular and Competent PM Hillin Cluck is expecting the bill to pass. She claims she was only smacked once as a child, and remembers feeling "resentful" afterwards.

As a few commentators have noted, perhaps if Sue Bradford had been disciplined a little more as a child, she might have turned out a nicer and more reasonable person. Bradford wasted many hundreds of thousands in taxpayers' money during her years as an "official protester" and activist for unemployed workers (she's been arrested at least 40 times).

Christchurch broadcaster and father of four, Simon Barnett, has described the anti-smacking bill as "a home invasion". Barnett says it would criminalise caring parents, meaning parents could not smack or restrain their child for corrective purposes, or even forcibly send them for a "time-out".

Saturday's Hutt News reported that a rebellious Upper Hutt teen has already called in CYFS, after his mum tried to get him to go to school by threatening to smack him.

Apparently the mother told him he had five minutes to get ready or he would get a whack. She has hit her two children around the back of the legs, but never beats them. The CYFS social worker who visited the home said that her son decided not to press charges, but that the mother could have been prosecuted.

* See also CYFSwatchNZ...

* NZ Herald: Smacking bill now almost certain to pass

* ACT: Parliament to Ignore Public on Smacking Bill
* Andrew Falloon's Diary: Rodney Hide + Epsom against smacking ban

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VOIP Cutting Costs; Trimming Profits for Telecoms

VoIP services like Skype are seen as the main threat to revenues from fixed line phone operators, according to a new survey.

Fixed-line and wireless service providers are being encouraged to build up new revenue streams, with telecom executives predicting voice calls to drastically decline over the next six years, as Voice over Internet Protocol services (VOIP) become more common.

VOIP or Internet telephony allows both home and business users to make phone calls over the internet or similar IP network.

Cisco's VoIP - IP Phone

Companies like Cisco are offering businesses IP Telephony systems which can save them big money on their phone costs, by combining all office and mobile calling, tele-conferencing, and other communications services into a unified network that is cheaper and more productive.

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Monday, 12 March 2007

Eating the Pies not all bad

Former Sri Lankan cricket skipper Arjuna Ranatunga copped his fair share of "Who ate all the pies" jokes in his later playing years.

But for this year's Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, the title of "Most Well Rounded Cricketer" has gone to Bermuda's Dwayne Leverock. The 121kg (19 stone) part-time spin bowler is normally a full-time policeman at home.

Leverock's fuller figure has helped attract more interest than normal in cricketing minnows Bermuda. However, the team's skipper Irvine Romaine (normally a school teacher) has called on fans and the media to stop focusing on the size of his player's waistbands.

Despite Leverock's apparent lack of fitness, the left-arm spin bowler did impress commentators in Bermuda's warm-up game against England last week, when he claimed the wickets of Kevin Pieterson and Paul Collingwood.

New Zealand's closest entrant would probably be Craig "Macca" McMillan, who was recently recalled to the Black Caps (yay!) and uses his frame to slog massive fours and sixes for the kiwis (altho Macca's former "golden arm" abilities with the ball haven't been used as much since his return).

Death to all the naysayers who weren't jumping for joy on his international recall.

* Check out Macca's World Cup Diary here...

* NZ Herald: Cricket: No mirth about girth begs skipper

* See also: Barnsley Bill's blog for his theory on why Macca didn't play in NZ's loss to Bangladesh

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Napier pot grower calls Police for help

Ha ha... this is funny...

A 45 year old Napier woman called Police last Friday to report an unusual burglary... Thieves had stolen three maijuana plants, which she'd been growing in pots (how appropriate) outside her house.

The woman (surely a "sickness" beneficiary? ;-) broke down in tears as she complained to Napier police that this was "the fourth year in a row" someone had sneaked onto her property at night and made off with her cannabis plants. She said she was "a good person and was sick and tired of "low-lifes" stealing her things".

Police thought the whole saga was very amusing, but warned the woman about her gardening habits when a community constable visited to take details of the theft. ;-)

* Stuff: Help, my dope's been nicked, police told
[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ Scooch - Flying the Flag for You
^ Annette Heick - Copenhagen Airport ]

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Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Diet Coke & Mentos is Old Skool ;)

Now unless you've been sleeping under a rock for the last year or so, pretty much every savvy web surfer has seen the fun you can have by mixing Diet Coke and Mentos mints.

But have you ever wondered if you can have the same fun by mixing other types of candy with Soda and other drinks? The guys from Nobody's Watching were keen to find out too!...

[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ DJ Bobo - Vampires Are Alive
^ Sanna Nielsen - Vågar du, vågar jag ]

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Thursday, 1 March 2007

Dave in Bris-Vegas...

Me on discovering the man-made "Streets Beach" in the middle of Brisbane City... I was well impressed ;-)

They even had Palm Trees. And real Sand!

My great hosts in Brisbane... Former Dunedinites, Mark & Mel Beilby, + kids Lauren and Jessie

The Fennessy family (also ex-Dunedin) are doing great in Brisbane

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Ouch!... Livingston... That's Gotta Hurt!

Even good basketballers can have bad luck... Check out this video clip of Los Angeles Clippers guard Shaun Livingston, landing badly and dislocating his left knee on a fast break against the Bobcats this week. (Make sure you've finished your lunch first ;-) ...

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