Wanna hear a Stand Up comedian? Then listen to James Sleep and laugh at his silly politicking

January 31, 2010

Alf has just had his attention drawn to some nonsense published in the name of the Youth Union Movement.

The fledgling lefties – who operate under the name Stand Up – are squawking about the Government’s plans to screw a few more bucks out of issuing driver licences.

The New Zealand youth union movement, Stand Up, is calling on the Government to consider young people, especially young workers, before increasing the cost of driver licences.

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IHC fraudster should still be locked up or – worse – sent to Christchurch to await sentencing

January 30, 2010

Too many bloody judges have gone soft on the crims, as we all know.

This applies to the judge who has allowed a former Wellington restaurateur to await sentencing at her Ohakune lodge – described on Stuff as “plush” – after she admitted stealing almost $600,000 donated to disabled children.

She has been bailed to live at the lodge until sentencing in March.

Well turned out in a black dress, former IHC national fundraising manager Lynn Fiebig, 56, stood impassively in Wellington District Court yesterday. She pleaded guilty to 74 counts of fraudulently using documents, and one of laundering money.

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Forget about safety helmets – let’s get back to the days of red warning flags

January 29, 2010

Safety kit for pedestrians...how many lives would be saved if we had to put gear like this on before strolling down to the pub?

Alf despairs at the persistent attempts to pamper us, cosset us and turn us into a nation of wimps.

Today his list of mollycoddlers is enlarged by the addition of those who demand helmets be made compulsory for board riders after a Marlborough bloke was killed in a motorised-skateboard accident.

Tom Lawrence Kenny, 41, of Havelock, near Blenheim, died about 8pm on Wednesday after he lost control of an electric skateboard and fell, hitting his head on a concrete driveway.

He is the second Kiwi in two years to die after falling from a motorised skateboard. At least five people on non-motorised skateboards died between 1999 and 2008.

Shriek. Two deaths in two years.

A bloody epidemic.

Well, it is in some lunatic quarters.

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Nah, you don’t have to plead with Nick Smith to ignore a public clamour

January 28, 2010

They must be a sheltered breed, your South Canterbury farmers.

Alf makes this supposition on the strength of a Radio NZ report today that such a farmer is warning Environment Minister Nick Smith not to be swayed by public opinion on applications for large-scale dairy farms in the Upper Waitaki region.

Why should he be worried that a politician might be influenced by public opinion?

Sure, we pollies pore through the newspapers and keep tabs on what people are saying on TV and the radio. And we spend heaps of money on polls to keep tabs on the public mood, and when we have measured it, we blissfully ignore it.

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Power play in the Waikato – Steve Meier is not the only farmer Transpower must settle with

January 27, 2010

Alf sympathises with farmers in the Waikato who are warning that an $824 million pylon project due to start next month may lead to standoffs between farmers and Transpower.

He’s not so sure about Matangi farmer Steve Meier, who single-handedly seems to have kept thousands of people without power the other day because of his run-in with Transpower.

As the Herald reports today –

A fire in a shelterbelt of about 50 of Mr Meier’s pines on Monday, believed to have started when lines above them arced, cut power to more than 50,000 homes from Waikato to Cape Reinga.

When Alf first saw him on the TV news the other night, Meier looked decidedly bellicose – rabid, even.

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The rebuff of Ratana’s ultimatum – but when did Labour start building its list based on merit?

January 26, 2010

Alf reckons the NZ Herald is giving good advice to the Labour Party this morning. Because it is good advice, of course, he is confident Labour will ignore it.

The advice is tendered in an editorial that notes the Ratana Church has given Labour an ultimatum. It wants four Ratana candidates for winnable seats on Labour’s list at the next election in exchange for its continued support.

It is a demand the party cannot meet. If it was quietly disposed to do such a deal before, it cannot do it now. The very public demand, issued as a challenge at Ratana Pa on Sunday, will compromise any new Maori candidates Labour might put high on its list next year.

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The undermining of confidence – or why Radio NZ should try poking around in chicken guts

January 25, 2010

The buggers who produce the business bulletin for Radio NZ’s “Morning Report” had good news for us about employment growth when they kicked off their new year.

Then they found some stuff published by the Institute of Economic Research last year and fed that to their listening audience as if to say the more cheery expectation should be ignored.

The outrage is that Radio NZ cherry-picked their data and by-passed the optimistic stuff tucked away in the tables in the NZIER report.

Alf, who believes pessimistic economic news undermines business confidence and exacerbates recessions and slowdowns, was dismayed.

Did the wankers at Radio NZ have a bad Christmas holiday or something?

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In Tauranga they don’t turn frogs into handsome princes – they turn them into make-believe Maori

January 24, 2010

Alf wonders if it’s racially and/or culturally offensive for a Maori to accuse other Maori of being lazy.

He poses the question after reading the highly entertaining story in the HoS this morning about the tour operator who has been using fake Maori to attract tourists from cruise ships docking in Tauranga.

Discovery Heritage Group has been banned from Port of Tauranga land after rival companies complained it hired foreign workers to wear traditional Maori dress.

Company director Terina Puriri said she employed a range of nationalities, including French and Israelis, because local Maori were not willing to promote their heritage.

“Some of our Maori are too slack to promote themselves. Some of our Maori are too lazy to get out of bed to do that.

“They don’t turn up and it’s a known thing for Tauranga Maori to do that.”

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Oh no – not another bloody inquiry into what Paul Henry said about Susan Boyle

January 22, 2010

Alf sighed with exasperation on learning that an outfit called the Broadcasting Standards Authority has been nudged into activity.

He supposes this gives the buggers on the authority something to do and keeps them off the streets.

At the same time he wonders why they can’t find something better to do. And if they can’t, then perhaps they would be more socially useful doing nothing on the streets.

If they must do their thing for the BSA, at least they could do it in a timely way.

But no. Several weeks after the event, the Herald tells us, the authority is investigating Breakfast host Paul Henry over comments he made about singer Susan Boyle.

The authority has received five complaints following TVNZ’s finding against Mr Henry, last month.

The Breakfast presenter referred to Ms Boyle as “retarded” in November last year, sparking complaints.

“Here’s the really interesting revelation: she is in fact retarded … and if you look at her carefully, you can make it out,” Mr Henry said on his Breakfast show.

The Herald goes on to point out that Ms Boyle was born with minor brain damage and has learning difficulties.

Yep, she sings well enough. But it happens to be true that she is backward.

You could say retarded, if you were uncharitable.

So what’s going on here?

TVNZ upheld the complaints on the grounds of “good taste and decency” and Mr Henry issued a written apology.

But five complainants were not satisfied with the apology and have appealed to the BSA.

BSA head Dominic Sheehan said some of the complainants have also appealed on the grounds that Mr Henry’s comments were discriminatory.

“We’ll be looking to see if [the apology] was sufficient in this case and if it wasn’t, of course we might order something within our powers to occur. The discrimination complaint is a brand new thing and we’ll be looking to see if [TVNZ] should have upheld that,” Mr Sheehan said.

This is bloody preposterous.

How can broadcasters not discriminate?

They do so every time they broadcast this bit of news and throw some other bits of news into the waste-paper basket.

They do it every time they go to John Key or Phil Goff for a quote about this, that or the other, but don’t ask Alf what he thinks.

And so on.

Anyway, Alf is a strong believer in the right to be discriminating.

But here’s the thing.

The bloody BSA can be punitive on this stuff and fine TVNZ up to $5000 or take advertising off the broadcaster if they find in favour of the complainants.

The Herald goes on to tell us today –

The TVNZ complaints committee found that although Mr Henry meant his comments to be “humorous”, they found that the language and manner of Mr Henry would have offended a “significant number of viewers”.

Well, boo-hoo.

Mr Henry has previously been taken to the Broadcasting Standards Authority when he made comments about a Greenpeace spokeswoman having facial hair.

She did have facial hair.

The complaint was not upheld by the BSA who found that TVNZ had already taken sufficient action.

Quite right.

And anyone who finds Paul Henry bothersome, tasteless, boorish or whatever can exercise their right to disciminate by turning the bloody TV set off or switching to another channel.

Cheers – and if a pint a day keeps cancer at bay, what will two pints do?

January 21, 2010

Alf is giving some deep thought this morning to the pros and cons of changing his drinking habits.

Before he decides if he should drink less Scotch and more beer, he will do a bit more research. But the way he understands it –

Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg have discovered that beer contains a powerful molecule that helps protect against breast and prostate cancers.

Found in hops, the substance called xanthohumol blocks the excessive action of testosterone and oestrogen.

It also helps to prevent the release of a protein called PSA which encourages the spread of prostate cancer.

Wow. Sinking a pint of beer would be like taking out an insurance policy to preserve your prostate without pickling it.

You would have to have your prostate in good nick to deal with the problem of disposing of the beer after if passes through your system, of course. Prostate problems notoriously make emptying your bladder a time-consuming chore, or have you clambering our of bed regularly through the night to go for a pee.

At least, that’s what afflicted mates of Alf tell him.

But what goes into beer that enables it to keep cancer at bay?

Scientists have long known that substances in hops help to block oestrogen. This is the first time, however, that they have been found to also inhibit testosterone.

‘Research is still early but in trials we hope to further demonstrate that xanthohumol actively prevents prostate cancer development,’ says Clarissa Gerhauser of the Heidelberg centre.

If successful, xanthohumol may one day be developed as a cancer-fighting drug.

So which brews are likely to be richest in xanthohumol?

The Mail in Britain helps answer that by consulting a beer authority.

‘Hops give beer its bitter flavour, so traditional bitters and ales will contain far more of this substance than light lagers,’ explains Ben McFarland, author of the World’s Best Beers.

Beers highest in hops, he says, are India pale ales such as those made by the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, South-East London. First brewed in the 1800s, these ales were made with high levels of hops to act as a natural preservative for export.

Ales such as Sharp’s and local bitters will also be hop-rich, containing around three to four times more than a typical light lager. Drinks such as Guinness owe their dark colour to malt and contain moderate levels of hops.

Inevitably, the wowsers are having their say.

Alcohol Concern warns you should only drink beer within recommended limits – two to three units

Yeah, Alf can go along with that. He was always one for preaching moderation.

But how big is a unit?

Alf will be recommending to the Eketahuna Club management committee it be defined as a gallon.