Monday, 29 October 2007

Never rely on the Germans...

This tv advert doing the rounds about a newbie German coastguard made me laugh...

Now I know us english-speaking people aren't really no good at attempting to speak other languages [sic]... but I think the moral of the story in this case is, "Never trust the Germans" ;-) (awaiting hate-mail...)

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Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Y cnt kds lrn 2 spl prpr?

This little video's for all the lamers who insist on using the most extreme versions of "text speak", can't/won't use real words in their text messages, or can't use apostrophes properly...

(As one Facebook group notes, "If You Can't Differentiate Between "Your" and "You're" You Deserve To Die!")

Buy Lynne Truss's excellent book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation here, through Amazon UK or USA...

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You've gotta love his commitment...

I'll bet this was the last time they tried selling this product on TV...

Check out the dwindling enthusiasm of classic american Infomercial salesman Harold McCoo, as he demonstrates just how "easy and safe" the amazing Flex-o-Ladder is... Honestly, it really is "easy and safe"!...

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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Goonies are good enough for Sequel

The long talked about and highly anticipated sequel to the classic 80s movie The Goonies could finally be back on the slate. Actor Sean Astin believes the sequel is now an "absolute certainty".

Astin points to the success of the original Goonies movie on DVD, which has been heavily promoted by Warner Bros. He believes they're "softening up the ground for their animated show" that was mooted a few years ago.

But he's hopeful that will be proceeded by a new generation movie sequel. A number of potential scripts for The Goonies 2 have been written over the years, but for some reason the studio has never had the confidence to go ahead with the project.

Astin (who played Mikey in the classic movie) and co-star Corey Feldman ("Mouth") is keen to see a sequel involving the kids of the original Goonies, and most of the original cast have indicated they'd be interested in reuniting for a new movie.

(They last reunited just before The Goonies DVD was released, to record the bonus commentary).

Original Goonies director Richard Donner is said to be keen to return for The Goonies II, along with Steven Spielberg as an Executive Producer.

Fans are hoping Warners opt for a live action sequel to the classic film, before spinning the franchise off into an animated series. (Check out these concept drawings made last year by cartoonist Stephen Silver)...

Warner Bros have also been licensing the Goonies logo and characters recently for a range of "retro" t-shirts, games, toys and movie memorabilia.

They also recently signed a high profile deal with American car maker Jeep, who have launched a new website Return to Astoria and a playable online game featuring all the popular Goonies characters (and of course, the new Jeep Wrangler vehicle ;-)

"It's been more than 20 years since the Goonies found One Eye'd Willy's treasure in the quiet coastal town of Astoria.

Now, join them one more time on a new adventure in the all new 2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited as they evade the wrath of the recently released Fratelli family, and follow a new adventure by seeking the lost second treasure that's wrapped in a story of pirate betrayal."
You can also download a cool Goonies - Return to Astoria desktop wallpaper at the site, plus a few original songs. The site even asks fans to vote on whether they should make The Goonies 2! - Hopefully the studio is watching the results closely...

And for a real retro experience, fans should download a great remake of the classic 8-bit Konami The Goonies video game... It's freeware, remains true to the original MSX version of thgame, and was created by the Brain Games crew for the 2006 Retro Remakes competition.

(And btw, go and see Sean Astin's latest movie The Final Season, if you spot it playing in a cinema near you... The "inspirational baseball movie" is based on a true story, and stars Astin, Tom Arnold, Powers Booth, and Rachel Leigh Cook. Sean's also an Executive Producer, so is keen to see positive numbers ;-)

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NZ Property attracting Overseas interest

While many New Zealanders are finding it tough to get into the property market with the huge boom in recent years, prices here are still very attractive to investors and prospective new residents.

New Zealand's "clean green" image and more relaxed way of life is proving a drawcard for many workers in the likes of Europe and the United States, keen to get out of the daily grind of the big cities.

A new site has recently been launched in the UK, aimed at helping people research the new zealand real estate market and discover what's on offer, with details of the newest property developments around the country.

Property New Zealand has buying guides for most regions, including what they describe as "Iconic NZ" type locations overlooking mountains and lakes. NZ property prices are still very reasonable when matched with the buying power of Pound or the Euro.

New Zealand has the added benefit for many overseas buyers of having no land tax, property purchase tax, wealth tax or death duties.

The new site is aimed at more than just regular property investors though, with good information for people looking to become permanent residents... with topics like Finding work in NZ, Emigration, Shipping your belongings overseas, the country's weather, and New Zealand's Government, schooling and healthcare systems.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Who do you think you are kidding, Mr Cullen?

It was revealed late last week that the Labour-led minority coalition Government is sitting on a massive operating surplus of $8.7 billion.

But still Finance Minister Michael Cullen continues to act like a spoilt child with too many toys, blatantly lying to uninformed journalists about the benefits of a huge tax package unveiled this week by Australian Treasurer Peter Costello.

Cullen claimed "there was nothing in the Australian tax cut package for those earning under $30,000 a year".

Either he is seriously misinformed, or seriously mathematically challenged. For most low income workers in Australia, their first $20,000 of annual earnings would effectively be tax-free once the full package is implemented. (The tax-free income level for senior citizens is higher again).

David Farrar over at Kiwiblog
has calculated that someone earning "$30,000 a year" (whether single or married, and with or without children) will pay just $1,500 in tax... which translates to an average tax rate of just 5%. (A NZ worker on $30,000 currently loses $5,730 in income tax each year!!)

A generous tax-free threshold is something New Zealand's next Government needs to address as a priority. Forget the arguments from the left that "tax cuts benefit the rich"... introducing a 0% tax rate on the first portion of income means every single workers start off on the same footing.

A 'Personal Tax Allowance' is common overseas... in the UK the tax free amount is currently £5,225 (~NZ $14,000). Even the Green Party (at the last election at least) are in favour of a 0% tax rate for all New Zealanders... for the first $5,000 of income at least.

On top of the tax-free allowances and lower tax rates, Australian workers also get an extra 9% of their gross salary (minimum) paid by their employer directly into their personal superannuation plan (by contrast, New Zealand workers enrolled in KiwiSaver can look forward to a whopping 1% contribution from next April, rising to 4% by April 2011).

Again, check out Kiwiblog where David Farrar has done a great breakdown and analysis of the relative potential tax bills between New Zealand and Australian workers, based on Costello's plan...

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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Auckland dicks Dick; NZ steers right

The Cereal King's reign at the helm of New Zealand's highest profile city has ended, with Dick Hubbard being well beaten by the man he deposed at the last election... John Banks.

Former mayor Banksie has promised an all-new gentler style this time around, including consultation with ratepayers and new policies.

Hubbard was upstaged early on in his term by grumpy Deputy Mayor Bruce Hucker, and was forced to work with the big spending City Vision/Labour team, and the opportunistic Action Hobson councillors, who together achieved massive rates increases and spent big on overseas junkets.

In Christchurch, former Mayor of Banks Peninsula (and TV host) Bob Parker has scored a solid victory over the left's candidate Megan Woods, with another TV personality Jo Giles (CTV) in a creditable third place. Woods' left-wing grouping Christchurch 2021 also failed in their bid to regain dominance of the city council, with just two successful candidates.

STV voting again meant very slow counting at HQ for Wellington and Dunedin elections. In Dunedin, Mayor Peter Chin comfortably retained his job ahead of nearest rival, outspoken former councillor Lee Vandervis.

Two main groupings tried to bring back party politics this election - Greater Dunedin and Open Democracy. The latter was headed by the high profile Lee Vandervis, but the group failed to get anyone onto council, with even Vandervis losing his seat by just 4 votes (after special votes were counted) to longtime Greenie campaigner Fliss Butcher).

The Allied Press/ODT-funded ticket Greater Dunedin meanwhile succeeded in winning three council seats, including TV personality Dave Cull.
The proposed new "Carisbrook" stadium was billed as one of the big election issues in Dunedin, but unfortunately there really weren't any strong candidates willing to campaign on the bold idea of cutting council spending, and offering residents a lower rates bill.

(I see the North Shore has a new Mayor in Andrew Williams, who scored an upset win over George Wood after campaigning under the banner of "Don't Waste the Rates".

Williams claims to be against "wasteful council spending, red tape and bureaucracy, mounting council debt, and ballooning council staff numbers and consultants". We need a few more of these types of candidates!)

As Kiwiblog's David Farrar notes, that leaves New Zealand's five main centres in the hands of Centre/Centre-Right Mayors.

Congratulations also to former ACT MP Penny Webster, who is the new Mayor of Rodney... while another former ACT MP, Gerrard Eckhoff, picks up a spot on the Otago Regional Council. And I guess the opposite is due to sitting Labour MP Di Yates, who failed to even pick up a council seat in Hamilton East ;-)

* NZ Herald: Banks ousts Hubbard

* Dom Post: Local election results summary

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Friday, 12 October 2007

Back in Dunners, Back to Blogging...

I'm back home in Dunedin again, after my month-long vacation to various spots in the UK, Sweden, and the USA. Worked a 9-day stretch as soon as I got back (hence the lack of posting), and having to reinstall Windows this week after a few drive hassles hasn't helped :-{

Got home to not much food in the house, so it was probably a good thing that I've mostly been working out of town... altho this little cartoon neatly sums up this evening's menu... ;-)

Am aiming to process the photos from my trip over the next few days, and will post some of the pics up here over the next week or so (and a wider range over on Facebook).

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They won in 1987, Will that do?

Okay, now that the All Blacks have failed to win the Rugby World Cup for fifth time in a row, can we please stop having to refer to them as "the best team in the world" and "the hot favourites" to take out any particular rugby tournament.

They apparently won the cup back in 1987 - Isn't that enough? Let's give some other New Zealand sports teams a bit more coverage instead.

(* Hat tips to Clint Heine and Whale Oil respectively)

(On the good news front, the Breakers won their first home game of the season, and Kirk Penney looks like he's nearly back to form after his injury...!)

My favourite All Blacks/World Cup joke of the day came courtesy of email newsletter Popbitch...
Q: Did you hear about the new All Blacks bra?
A: It's got great support, but no cups!
[ Right now I'm listening to:
^ E-Type - Eurofighter (produced by Max Martin)
^ Cast of High School Musical 2 - I Don't Dance ]

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A pixel a day for Internet TV

The Million Dollar Homepage was one of the first to do it, and since then many other sites have tried to follow in that website's success. English university student Alex Tew came up with the idea of selling 'blocks of pixels' on his website (to advertisers and other sites) to help pay for his education.

The idea proved a massive success, and now a new website is trying to update the concept for 2007. Video content is now the biggest thing fueling the huge growth in internet use, and the website Million Dollar Web TV is banking on that trend for success.

Most casual browsers will understand what the site is about - and how it works - as soon as they land on the homepage. The website is targetting advertisers with internet video sites, and surfers looking for video content. It claims to offer advertisers 10 years of exposure to hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.

New advertisers need to register before buying advertising space, but the owners also promise a 'profit sharing' incentive if the site takes off.

A site blog encourages people to Join Our Web TV Ad-venture at, and will update interested advertisers and browsers on the growth of the website, and report back success stories from 'pixel advertisers' on the new site.

Focusing on the growing market of web video is a new twist which could help this site avoid being just another pay-per-pixel page. However, it remains to be seen whether people will still be attracted by the familiar "pixel block" style layout, or whether a new design or concept is needed to capture the attention of savvy surfers. Mark it as a site to watch.

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