It’s so bad, it’s a winner

June 30, 2009

Alf is miffed after yet again failing to win a prize in the annual bad writing contest.

The prize has gone to a shambling sentence about screaming seafarers on the sturdy whaler Ellie May during a storm.

David McKenzie, 55, of Federal Way, Washington state, won the grand prize in San Jose State University’s annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest with this:

“Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin’ off Nantucket Sound from the nor’ east and the dogs are howlin’ for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the ‘Ellie May,’ a sturdy whaler Captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin’ and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests.”

Nah. Alf’s worst effort was nowhere near as bad.

But he could pluck a convuluted sentence or two from some of the departmental reports that flow his way and submit them, with a good chance of taking the prize, if only they were fictitious. Come to think of it, sometimes they are.

Heads roll to make ministry more effective

June 30, 2009

Hmm. Wonder how many sackings it would take for the Ministry of Social Department to gain optimum effectiveness.

The question is raised after the ranks of the ministry’s 9500 employees (including the Child, Youth and Family service) were pruned today.

According to Stuff –

Child, Youth and Family head Ray Smith said it was closing 12 administration service centres, and cutting a team of 18 child abuse education social workers, with a total of 80 jobs to go.
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He should take his wails to Wales

June 30, 2009

Alf is bemused by aspects of the month-long civil disobedience campaign plotted by a stroppy bunch of Maori sovereignty campaigners.

The campaign – it seems – will be led by an uncle of MP Hone Harawira, a bloke called Tass Davis.

Mr Davis, a 75-year-old former Auckland police constable, said he expected between 300 and 400 Maori would be involved in the non-violent campaign.

“Successive governments conspired to rob Maori of their birthright, leaving many feeling disconnected, poverty-stricken and disadvantaged,” he said.

Robbed of his birthright? A bloke with the surname “Davis”?

What bollocks is this all about?

Alf would have thought Tass should take his birthright wailing to Wales.

And if Tass has no link with the Welsh, then they should be complaining about him for misappropriating and misusing a proud Welsh surname.

Mallard v Mason should be fun to watch

June 30, 2009

The political path taken by the much-publicised Christchurch father of six who assaulted his young son will be fascinating to observe.

Here’s hoping he gets the chance to sit in Parliament and – all going well – to become embroiled in a difference of opinion with the likes of Trevor Mallard.

Musician Jimmy Mason, 50, has vowed not to change his parenting style after escaping a jail term for punching his four-year-old son and yanking his ear on the Bridge of Remembrance in central Christchurch in December 2007.

Mason, who says he did not punch his son but only flicked his ear, did not rule out an appeal against the sentence, which includes an order to attend counselling and anger-management classes.

“I’m deciding whether I should appeal or not. Everyone says I shouldn’t, but I know what I did or didn’t do,” he said.

Alf was delighted to learn –

Mason said he was considering a career in politics.
“I’m seriously thinking of running for Parliament. I really do think we’re run by a bunch of idiots,” he said.

Mason said he wanted to stop teenagers turning to drugs and alcohol.

He also hit out at the “anti-smacking law”. “To bring in a law that says smacking children is wrong is ludicrous,” he said.

He’s spot on with the anti-smacking law. But Alf can’t agree we’re run by a bunch of idiots. There are some, idots, true, but voters know who they are and ensure they are given Opposition seats.

Voluntary membership won’t stop fraud

June 30, 2009

Student association membership should be voluntary, and ACT’s Heather Roy is to be applauded for championing this cause.

Another thing: these associations do seem to be curiously prone to being ripped off.

Roy refers to a ‘Press’ newspaper report of a woman being jailed for 22 months after defrauding the Christchurch Polytechnic Students’ Association (CPSA) of $175,000, of which $125,000 was unrecoverable.
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Having your say on the ETS and all that

June 28, 2009

For those with strong views about climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and all that stuff, here’s your chance to have your say.

The Government will be holding public meetings, meetings with business groups, and hui on New Zealand’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target next month.

Trouble is, the meeting sites are not very user-friendly from a farming point of view.

Maybe if we cut out the hui, and replaced them with more meetings in rural areas, we could all be happy. Maori can bowl up to the public meetings like the rest of us and relish in the experience of being treated equally.
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Collateral damage from an off-Target direct hit

June 28, 2009

Admitting to making a mistake is all very well for TV3’s Target show, but something much more is needed from the smug snoops. In a case hgihglighted today, their blunder has left a Ponsonby cafe – according to its owners – on the brink of bankruptcy.

The June 16 edition of the consumer show featured a hidden camera segment assessing the hygiene standards of eight Auckland cafes, and claimed chicken from Cafe Cezanne contained high levels of faecal coliforms.

There was shit in the tucker, in layman’s language.

This week TV3 released a statement on behalf of production company Top Shelf Productions admitting food samples from the cafes were incorrectly coded and they were unable to confirm which one had produced the contaminated food.

The statement said the employee in charge of labelling the samples had been sacked.
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Quality education? They’ve gotta be kidding

June 27, 2009

The NZEI Te Riu Roa is one of those outfits that camouflages its purpose in life behind a name that means nothing to most Kiwis. Actually, it’s a union in the education sector, and it’s banging on about government Budget cuts to professional development programmes for early childhood teachers.

It contends these “will undo years of work and undermine quality education for our youngest children.”

But kids of that age don’t need a “quality education” – they do require good care and someone who can change a nappy, and a flash degree isn’t a prerequisite to deliver the goods.
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Uh, oh – Vanda’s back in the headlines

June 27, 2009

Names weren’t needed. Alf knew immediately which one was involved when he spotted the headline: Deputy quits after clash at museum.

He was right. It was the Auckland Museum. And yep – the story revealed yet another contretemps involving its director, Vanda Vitali. The woman has a remarkable flair for whipping up trouble.
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Unionist gripes about fast-foods jobs scheme

June 27, 2009

It didn’t take long for the sad-sack socialist nit-pickers to complain after Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the agreement between WINZ and McDonalds that will provide up to 7000 unemployed workers for the fast-food chain’s growth plans over the next five years.

The Maritime Union is accusing the Government of acting as a compulsory recruitment agency for McDonalds.

Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says the scheme has two beneficiaries – a Government with a failing jobs policy, and a global corporation that will suck profits out of New Zealand.

He says the scheme is condemning working class young people to a dead end future.
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