Friday, December 28, 2007


That Morthos Stare writes:

Well, I'm spent. Nothing more to say. Well, stuff to say but not Stab. In. Head. stuff. So I'm off. I'm bound to come up with a witty and entertaining post as soon as I click on send, but maybe not.

It's been fun, but now the fun has gone to ground.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Josh writes:

A few things:

1. The other day, we passed our three year anniversary here at Brain Stab. I'd have posted on the day, but I was in Prague at the time.

2. Yeah, I'm holidaying in Europe at the moment. Having a White Christmas, but not in the racist way.

3. I'll be back, but not to write here for a while. I'm surprised I lasted this long, frankly - my normal routine has been to write somewhere for about a year, get bored, quit, then find myself with the urge to write again about three months later.

4. See you in about three months, or, if my extended time here is the start of a new trend, about nine months.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Right, you fucks are on your own until the New Year I think. Couple of things before I go...

School finished with less of the traditional running around getting last minute things done, and more using the New School’s broadband to stream Def Poetry, which is work, because I’m an English teacher.

Hoodrat, on the other hand...

Well, let’s see... There are five English teachers at the school – four of them left effective last week. Out of four Social Science teachers, three of them have left. One of the two Art teachers is gone, as is one of the two full-time Computer teachers. Two of the four Drama/Dance teachers have left, and one is cutting back to two classes a week. The Head of Science is taking a year off, and those do have a tendency to turn into resignations after the fact. Maybe it won’t... I’m not sure about Maths; I’ve heard rumours that a couple of them have sought employment elsewhere, but that their general crapness has prevented this from becoming a reality.

Now, if the Principal of Hoodrat was a real human being and not some kind of cartoon character, he would look at all of this, and ask himself what he’d done. This has not happened. He has, however, spent a lot of time berating departing staff members and asking them “What have you done?” (Disclaimer: Not me. I put a two-line resignation letter into his pigeon-hole on my way out the door one evening, and responding in passive-aggressive kind, the boss refused to discuss my departure, not even announcing it to the staff... But several others have received the “I’m very disappointed in you.” speech from the same man who undermined them at every turn and refused to support them in their attempts to actually teach the Hoodrat children something.)

A fortnight ago, I went to the Graduation Dinner for the Hoodrat Year 13s. I won’t even try to convey the emotion – I just don’t have the words. I will mention the ego-stroking point that the Head Girl thanked me specifically in her speech; a point that’s doubly flattering because she didn’t know I was coming to the dinner when she wrote it – she just wanted to acknowledge me to the staff and students, whether I’d hear it or not. I have mostly pruned myself of the guilt over leaving, but I know how many of my Year 13s left the Classics exam early – all of them – and I know I did them wrong.

Anyhoo, to change tack slightly...

I like Frankie Boyle’s description of comedians as “semi-autistic”, because it describes me as well...

“[W]e go out and sort of make people laugh and then pretty much go home and curl up in a ball in a cold shower and have two hours of crippling self-doubt.”

I never sit back and think “Yeah, I’m alright at this whole teaching lark...” I pendulum wildly (sometimes several times in the course of a day) between believing my own press – thus loudly proclaiming myself a Golden God of teaching – and panicking that people will see through the flimsy reputation I’ve built and realise what a complete fraud I am.

That having been said...

I threw my toys and left Hoodrat in too much of a hurry to properly investigate the place I was applying to. My tragicomic interview at the New School went a little like this:

“So why do you want to teach at a Catholic school?”
“A what school now?”
“This is a Catholic school.”
“Really? That explains all the pictures of Jesus. I just though somebody was doing a thing...”
“And do you think it will be a big change teaching only girls?”
“Why wouldn’t I be teaching the boys?”
“This is a girls’ school.”
“The hell you say...”
“We’re impressed with you. Would you like to be assistant HOD?”
“What? No! Leave me alone!”

A few months later, the Creator went for an interview for a baseline English teaching job somewhere else...

“So why do you want to move from a decile three, secular, co-educational school to a decile ten Catholic girls’ school?”
“I drew a circle on a map indicating how far I’m willing to drive in the mornings. Every school in that circle has my CV. Oh, and just before you ask, I know that taking extra-curricular activities is a condition of the job, but I don’t do that, so don’t waste either of our time by asking.”
“We’re impressed with you. Would you like to be assistant HOD?”
“Yes. Yes I would.”

When that school’s HOD left soon thereafter, the Principal made it clear that the Creator would be heavily involved in picking the replacement.

Then I got my New School to headhunt the Preserver to fill that assistant HOD job we still had going.

I’ve known for a while that it’s good to be king, but you know, it’s also good to be kingmaker.

Teaching at Hoodrat is like being bitten by a radioactive spider, or hit by a gamma bomb or something: fairly unenviable at the time, but it turns you a fucking superhero. The three of us: striding South Auckland like gods, backlit by haloes as we save the education system from itself.

But that’s just me believing my own press again. Hell, I’ve been treating the latter part of this year as a holiday, and only using about thirty-percent of my brain and energy, so I really shouldn’t get that impressed with myself...

To end, a reminder to the other Brain Stab people that our three-year anniversary is on Friday, so one of you write something pithy, and a poem called Southern Heritage, which appeals to my love of all things redneck, and to my love of rage.

Have a good Christmas, you weirdos.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Year 9 “What do I have to do to get into Classics?”
Me “Well, Classics is a Year 13 subject, so you’re a good couple of years away from that being an issue.”
Year 9 “Yeah, but what do I need to get into it in Year 13?”
Me “Well, you have three years in which to not make me angry – basically, that is the sole entry requirement.”
Year 9 “I’m a good student, and I never make you angry.”
Me “See, that’s a lie, which makes me angry. You haven’t gotten off to a good start...”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Every so often someone says I should write something proper about the pros and cons of NCEA. I haven’t made a serious go of this because, you know, it bores me, but this might do as a taster...

While overall I don’t hate NCEA, one of the problems I have with it is that, well, it just doesn’t work in English. Oh, for the most part it’s fine, but NCEA marking schedules are quite remarkably proscriptive documents. They need to be to ensure nationwide consistency in marking. But when it comes to, for example, creative writing, a rigid set of guidelines isn’t always conducive to getting the best result.

At Hoodrat we had a policy of making allowances for the ineffable – writing that didn’t conform to the checklist of “Excellence” criteria, but that we knew deserved such a grade because between us we had read tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of books and knew good writing when we saw it. It is accepted wisdom among English teachers that many, maybe most, modern classics would not have passed NCEA level 1 creative writing, because the use of language and narrative that made them so revolutionary, so acclaimed, would fall outside the inflexible boundaries of the marking schedule. It was deemed necessary to occasionally mark according to the spirit of a standard rather than its letter.

One such example: We do a reading standard at level 2 which requires the students to read a bunch of stuff, then write about it. Specifically:

[A]t least nine written texts from at least three different categories - categories may include contemporary novel, pre-20th century text, collection of short stories, drama, poetry anthology, extended magazine articles, biography, reference books, website

To translate: when they talk of “different categories”, it’s basically a nice way of saying “Don’t do all short stories you intellectually lazy bastards! Read something of some weight for a change, dammit!”

The word we’ve been giving to classes for years is: you must have a bunch of different types of texts, unless you read nine novels, because reading nine novels in the course of a year is impressive when you go to the school with the lowest literacy rate of any decile three school in Auckland, so go with God, my child.

I caught up with one of mine last night at a dance performance. A perennially enthusiastic girl who came top of fifth form English last year by dint of a fair amount of natural talent and an obscene amount of hard work. She wrote on nine novels.

Only to be told by the new Head of the English Department that she would not pass this standard because her work did not meet the requirement of “different categories”. (And of course she was told this the day before it was all due in...) Of course she got it all done: She stayed up late, read a bunch of poems and magazine articles, handed it in, and passed.

Now, the HOD was entirely within her rights to do this – in fact, she was correcting a fairly gross (if entirely intentional) “error” on the part of me and the other two of the Triumvirate. However, in doing so, she was essentially telling this student: “No, don’t read lots of books! Only read shorter, easier, lower-level texts! Get dumber! Don’t have high expectations for yourself! Have the same low expectations that I have of you!”

This standard is designed to get students to read. I had Year 12s who hadn’t read nine books in their lives, let alone in the space of a year. This girl was trying to do well; trying to improve herself; trying to impress her teacher. But because The New Sheriff In Town is more interested in dotting the “i”s of the bureaucracy than in developing young peoples’ passion for reading, this kid now sees it as nothing more than a wasted effort.

Sometimes, there’s so much anger that I just don’t know what to do with it...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

The last installment of Beard Week - and what a week it has been - brings you bearded scribe Warren Ellis. Although there is better footage of his beard out there than the bellow clip, this is him telling an anecdote about yesterday's subject, Alan Moore, so I thought it worthy of inclusion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Penultimate beard - for certain values of penultimate, because writer Alan Moore has a beard that defies description. Here it is for a minute-long excerpt of him talking about some of his works.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Here, in the next installment of Beard Week, is Scroobius Pip, with the latest from his collaboration with Dan Le Sac, called The Beat That My Heart Skipped, the bearded romantic...

Chestnuts; Hoary Old

Josh writes:

It seems that so tiresome are accusations of "Political Correctness" these days, that the standard response of "Political Correctness doesn't fucking exist anymore -- as a phrase, it's so overused that it's become meaningless" is becoming equally tiresome. Nevertheless.

Today's Herald contains an article about Stephen Fry's new pantomime, including a digression into how "PC" pantos are becoming (can't find a link to the article -- it's not on the Herald's site, and I'm buggered if I'm going to hunt it down on whatever news agency it originated from). So what counts as "PC" today?

Avoiding Hansel and Gretal, with it's references to child kidnapping -- I suppose you could make a case that this is the sort of prohibitionist, cotton-wool-wrapping that has been a staple of PC claims in the past.

Avoiding Aladdin because of its stereotyped Arabian villain and Snow White because of its comical portrayal of dwarves -- again, pedantic attempts to avoid offense are, I guess, typical of what gets called PC.

The abandonment of the old panto tradition of having the male (child) lead played by a girl, on the grounds that it seems a bit like lesbianism, given his/her relation to the female lead. Hang on. Avoiding spurious racism = political correctness; avoiding spurious height-ism = political correctness; pandering to homophobia = political correctness? And precisely what the common thread between any of this and the Hansel & Gretel thing is is beyond me, too.

Could it be that maybe, just maybe, "political correctness" really is just used as a stand-in for "lefty/liberal/postmodern stuff I don't like"?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Continuing with Beard Week, The Management are proud to present Liam Finn. Sure, he's not to all tastes, and that second single he's released gets pretty boring after you realise it's not going to get any faster, and don't even start me on Betchdupa... However, since going solo, Finn has been rocking a beard you could use to trap a large mammal. So here is his very catchy first single, Second Chance:

Monday, November 26, 2007

This! Is! Sparta!

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
So, my friends JSR and Annette have started up a podcast, wonderfully called Is It Nap Time. You can listen to it here, and I wholeheartedly recommend you do so…

One thing they mention that is of grave concern to me, and indeed to the world, is that recent research suggests that only seven percent of women find beards attractive. Now, there’s no great secret as to why this is the case; it’s simply that ninety-three percent of women are wrong about what is attractive.

However, just so that there’s no confusion on this serious issue, here begins Brain Stab’s Week Of Beards. What is involved in this is Beards.

Here, to begin, is Burning Beard, by Clutch, where the lead singer, Neil Fallon, possesses a beard you could get lost in, and levitates through the holy power of rock.

Bearded rock.

That’s right.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Read A Book

Apathy Jack writes:

It is good that my students show me this:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Constructive Discourse

Josh writes:

OK, look, it's good that you don't like the Electoral Finance Bill. It's good that you want to voice your opinions and protest against it. But please, for the love of God, please, stop using the word "fascist". When I hear people complaining about someone or something being "fascist" outside of the context of WWII Italy, this is all I can think of:


You do yourself no favours.

(Incidentally, it'd be nice if people stopped comparing New Zealand to Zimbabwe or Cuba or whatever, especially while protesting on the streets and conspicously not being sprayed with water cannons, beaten up, locked up, or you know, fucking machine gunned to death.)

UPDATE: One exception: I am fully in favour of the word "fascist" when combined with the word "junta", but that's just because I like the way it sounds.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Seniors have left...


“Remember, in the candle-lighting ceremony, you’re to burn all of your classmates that I don’t like.”
“Right. Should I start headfirst, or at the feet?”
“Hmm, good question. Start with the feet; burning longer is funnier. Of course, there are a lot of them, so if you run out of time, move to the heads.”
“Yes Sir!”

I don’t know these ones as well as I knew my old ones, but it’s nice that I have a few who understand me...


Chatting with a couple of my Year 12s who were back to do some study.

Year 12 “It’s not fair that the corrupt classes got the top three places in English.”
Me “What do you mean? Second and third places went to people in this class.”
Year 12 “Yeah, a corrupt class where the students are feral and don’t do enough work, like the class of the girl who came first. I mean, look at (and here she named Josh’s partner) – she’s like, the hardest working English teacher, and the students in her class always do heaps of work. It should have been someone from her class.”
Me “There’s some merit to that thought. Of course, you lot didn’t need the same approach as hers. You’re all halfway on the road to being geniuses, so you could be afforded some leeway; you didn’t need to have your heads down at every point.”
Year 12 “Hey, we’re halfway to genius!”
Me “That’s no guarantee you’ll get there, of course.”
Year 12 “But if we’ve gotten halfway already, we can get the rest of the way.”
Me “Not necessarily. Have you heard of Xeno’s paradox?”
Year 12 “No.”
Me “Get comfortable...”


It was this same couple of Year 12s who read the (to them) bizarre message in the Christmas card given to me by a departing Year 13, and said it didn’t make sense. I pointed out to them what, the more I think about it, is one of the most important lessons I have found in The Teaching:

“She makes perfect sense. She just doesn’t make the same sort of sense that everyone else makes...”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Student (to her neighbour) "Fuck you Priya!"
Me "Oi! Language!"
Student "Fudge you, Priya, you bitch!"
Me "Better."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 34 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff

I was in a coma for ten days. I woke up in a darkened hospital room with a television playing somewhere nearby. Tom Cruise was talking about a priest who’d died giving last rites to a fireman at Ground Zero. Then Mariah Carey started singing that we all have a hero inside us, and I thought maybe I’d died, and this was hell. But the show went on, with more celebrities coming out to sing and tell stories, and there were calls for donations, and eventually I realised I wasn’t in hell, I was just in America.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 33 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Nightingale’s Lament by Simon R Green

“Hold everything,” I said sternly. “A disturbing thought has just occurred to me. Who’s looking after things in my expensive new Nightside office, while you’re out cavorting and carousing in dubious drinking establishments?”
“Ah,” said Cathy, grinning. “I got a really good deal on some computers from the future. They practically run the whole business on their own, these days. They can even answer the phone and talk snotty to our creditors.”
“Just how far up the line did these computers come from?” I said suspiciously. “I mean, are we talking Artificial Intelligence here? Are they going to want paying?”

Friday, November 09, 2007

Just to reiterate

Josh writes:

Why we love Warren Ellis:

Hi. I'm your host, I'm out of my brain with
exhaustion, and I'm going to be seriously
polluting your inbox for the next few days.
Think of this email as a vast ethereal Mind
Penis, spasming like a dying pig and hawking
up great steaming discoloured bucketloads of
Brain Semen into the tender womblike cavity
behind your eyes. And when it gets too much,
it will leak out of your tear ducts, and your friends
will say, how is it that you are crying Warren's
Brain Semen?

And you will just fucking throw up right there.

Apathy Jack writes:

I am become Death, shatterer of worlds.

I am the Lord of Tears; I am the howling of storms and the father of the winds; I am the Great Fear; the upraised thunderbolt whose anger makes even the gods tremble; I am the past, the present and the future; and if I stop paying attention, even for a second, the world will be plunged into darkness.

Happy Diwali, you fucks.

(Oh, and for those of you with broadband – or the patience to wait five minutes to upload a forty-second news clip – your actual Indian goddess-girl.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


That Morthos Stare writes:

So, I can no longer, in good conscience, vote for the Labour Party. I'm not going to cross over to the Right, so that leaves out National, ACT, the Libz, New Zealand First, United Future, Gordon Copeland's Untitled Party of the Future Christian Heritage of Latter Day Saints and Vicars, Destiny and the others.

I like a lot of the Green MPs but don't like the actual party, and Jimbo is, I think, dead and simply put on display by the current Government (has he done anything recently?). The Maori Party voted against the Civil Union Bill (and as a Civil Union Minister that offends me)...


Who am I going to vote for next year?

Bloody Labour Government abandoning its principles and clinging to power. Believe me, if National get in next election I'm blaming the Labour Party.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 32 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

This Is Not A Drill by Paul Carter

The drive back was incident-free, apart from one road block where we had to stop as some rocks had fallen onto the road from an overhanging cliff. Everyone had their fingers on triggers and shifted nervously in their seats, scanning for a threat. I noticed a giant old billboard by the road. Left over from the Soviet occupation, it depicted two hands, one full of opium, the other full of money, and on the opposite side figures handing over a rocket. It was the international sign for ‘We’ll give you drugs and money for stinger missiles’.


This book is the follow up to the brilliant Don't Tell Mum I Work On The Rigs - She Thinks I'm A Piano Player In A Whorehouse, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hang 'em higher

RSJS writes:

So on this ball of rock with the gooey caramel centre we have a billion-odd (and I do mean odd) strong god-squad of Bible-brainwashed bigots all wearing wee crosses, symbolising that admirably-simple method of torturing people to death, the crucifix. Akin to the fad of baseball caps and badges bearing the slogan "I shot J.R." or those punky wee scamps the Sex Pistols wearing swastikas.

Jokes abound about the son-of-himself dude not returning until everyone packed away their torture devices and laid out oh, I don't know, myrrh and Frankenstein, or milk and bickies perhaps? And after he's killed off again one assumes unless he gets strung up on crossed sticks again (and given the gaping stigmata holes in his appendages he'd probably just slip off the nails this time, it seems highly unlikely) we'll have to replace the symbols with his new murder weapon.

Which is where "bling" comes in.

From my rigorous surveying of comedic Mr T types pulling up their pants on MTV and sporting far too many neck-danglies and grilles and rings and diamante iPods and all that crap, I noted three recurring images hanging where once laid civilised crucifixes and clocks. They are diamond-encrusted guns, spinning tyre rims, and marijuana leaves.

I think it means that Jesus has already returned and was shot in a drive-by by some drug-dealers in some Los Angeles suburb.

The fact that this didn't make the news adds weight to the argument that Jesus was black.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 31 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

The Brief History Of The Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

It was hot in the office, a terrible, parching heat that lifted the smell of ink from the mimeograph machine and filled the air with it. For a long time Luka sat at his desk fanning the fumes away from his face. Then he opened the window and pulled the vines out of the way, waiting for the breeze to come blowing through. The quiet outside was nearly transcendent. There were no cars idling at the stoplight, no children running past with balloons. There was nobody down there at all. The air tasted like granite and river grass. He took a few deep breaths and returned to his stencil.

He was working on the latest edition of the Sims Sheet. The headline read ALONE IN THE CITY, and the subheading, in a slightly smaller type, EDITOR WONDERS, IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? That was as far as he had gotten.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Jack is emo and needs to grow some coping mechanisms. Details follow after cut.


So, having spent more of 2007 at the New School than I did at Hoodrat, I’ve just about managed to get over the crushing sense of loss. It’s helped by things like the texts I received last night: one of mine told me she is writing a book for NaNoWriMo, and another asked permission to name the teacher in a story after me. So yes, now, rather than feeling an unbearable weight of sadness All The Fucking Time, it just hits me – like a god damned wave – now and again.

Like tonight. Watching the Hoodrat performance of On The Razzle. I mean, for starters: On The Razzle. I may not miss the corrupt mismanagement or the lack of resources, but I miss a philosophy (even if it was only shared by some of us) that pushes sixth formers to perform Tom Stoppard – miss it so much it feels like a phantom limb... But specifically: one of the musical interludes inserted by the Drama Teacher, a couple of students dancing. One of them, five-foot-nothing of fluid grace. In Year 10 this one was teaching all the juniors in the dance competitions Hoodrat entered. By Year 11 she was teaching everyone. Watching her perform complex twists and twirls with more ease than I feel walking down the street, and I was overwhelmed by a memory:

Last year’s Stage Challenge rehearsal. I was sent to the Staff Room toilets to check on her. I went into the women’s toilets, for what you may be pleased to know was the first time in my half-decade at the school, to see if she was alright.

She hadn’t had breakfast. She never had breakfast. This wasn’t her choice; it was a symptom of her less-than-stellar home life. At school well after nightfall, having spent hours contorting her body over and over – her system had simply rebelled.

I didn’t want her to be alone, but it wasn’t talking time either, so I sat against a wall in the dark, listening to her dry-retch.

Obviously, this was by no stretch of the imagination a good night. But it was an intense night. A real night. One of many.

I’ve been leaving school at three-thirty a lot in the last few months – and God alone knows I deserve it – but walking out of Hoodrat at half past nine, in the middle of a group of students hollering abuse at each other, mock crump-battling, loudly reminiscing about the faked fight from earlier in the week... Laughing with a pack of people I know well enough, have been through enough with, to really laugh with.

Jesus I miss that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 30 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I swear to you that to think too much is a disease, a real, actual disease. For ordinary human life it would be more than sufficient to possess ordinary human intellectual activity, that is to say, half or quarter as much as falls to the lot of an educated man in our unhappy nineteenth century, and especially one having the misfortune to live in St.Petersburg, the most abstract and intentional city in the whole round world.


It’s a bit of a worry how much of myself I see in the narrator of this one – especially as he is a wholly unsympathetic character. I’ve got to admit that I winced when I read: “I had grown so unused to ‘real life’ that I could hardly breathe for the oppressiveness of it.” Yes, I know it’s emo, and I know I need to grow some coping mechanisms, but, hell, that can’t be a surprise to anyone reading any of my posts, can it...?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Today’s video is Bring Me To Life by Evanescence. It’s become fashionable (and easy and fun) to mock Amy Lee in recent years, but this is a very nice video, and Amy Lee ledge-walking in a city that looks like it could have been designed by Alex Proyas or Tim Burton back when he was making Batman movies certainly goes with the overblown angst of the song. And of course, there are brutalising little touches like the girl in the clown mask that give it just enough of a kick.

By the by - Sound's a bit muted on this one, but it's all there if you turn the speakers up a bit...

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Been a while since I whored a music video at you. Today you have Go With The Flow, by Queens of the Stone Age. I have no real idea what’s going on here, but it looks awful purty while it’s happening. A true piece of psychedelic weirdness.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

You'd all better be dancing naked around a golden statue of me, I swear to god...

Apathy Jack writes:

Turns out today is international Teachers' Day.

Shower me with praise, you dicks!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 6 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
Nemesis the Warlock by Pat Mills and Various, but notably Kevin O’Neil

Remember the optimistic picture that Gene Roddenberry put forth in the Star Trek mythos: the moment humanity had a close encounter of the third kind, all racism, sexism, homophobia, would end. All of the internecine squabbles that have held mankind back would simply fall away with the humbling knowledge that we were not alone.

Nemesis the Warlock has that as its core message as well: when humanity encounters alien life, it sheds its petty differences and unifies as never before.

To purge the galaxy of weirdoes and deviants in a terrifying new dark age where the word “human” is synonymous with “bloodthirsty religious fascist”.

I remember the first Nemesis story I read – part of a serialised story read out of order in purloined issue I got from somewhere: The story of two humans trapped on a terrifying planet of giant spiders. They were engaged in a desperate struggle to stay alive (a struggle which one of them failed in a spectacularly gruesome way) and to end the nightmarish rule of the arachnid overlords.

I had to read the story several times; I knew all of those tropes, but they were upside down. That story (a pretty bog-standard sci-fi idea by even my ten-year-old standards) just didn’t make any sense if the spiders were the good guys. The more stories I read – where the hero was a demonic figure who breathed fire, and his main lieutenants as the story wore on were a gang of kill-happy robots with an undisguised loathing of humans – the less sense it made to me.

It was great stuff. Still is. The second volume of The Complete Nemesis the Warlock has just been released.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Me “Back from the Nurse already?”
Student 1 “There was a queue, she told me to come back in ten minutes. And Sir, on my next note, could you not write that I have leprosy?”
Me “Hey, you’ve learned a valuable lesson about reading things when they’ve given to you.”
Student 2 “Sir, what’s the difference between moral and immoral?”
Me “Moral is doing something good, immoral is doing something bad.”
Student 2 (leaning over to the student next to her) “See, Julie!”
Me “For example, you could say it was immoral to ask me a question, and, when I answer you, lean over and say ‘See Julie’ in order to make it look like you already knew the answer but were proving it to your friend; as you’ve done the last five times you’ve asked me something.”
Student 2 “I know... See, Julie!”
Student 3 “Sir, did you find my rough copy?”
Me “No, but to be fair, that’s probably because I haven’t looked yet.”
Student 3 “I asked you about it two days ago!”
Me “And I’m sure I’ll find it the very moment I start looking. You know it will be in one of these piles somewhere. It’s just a matter of going through them.”
Student 3 “You’re lucky you’re such a good teacher, Sir.”
Me “How do you mean?”
Student 3 “Because a teacher who wasn’t so good would probably not be able to cope with the mess you generate. Also, we’d be less likely to forgive you for things like losing our drafts.”
Me “That’s nice of you to say... I think. But your draft isn’t lost. It’s here... Somewhere.”
Student 4 “Sir, do you have any stories by Maori authors that we can read to finish this reading log?”
Me “Not on me, sorry.”
Student 4 “What about that pile of books by Witi Ihimaera on your desk? Isn’t he a Maori author?”
Me “No, he’s a crap author, and in order to become a teacher I had to sign a piece of paper saying I wouldn’t abuse any children; I’m not going to violate my contract by making you read Witi Ihimaera.”
Student 4 “But didn’t he write Whale Rider?”
Me “Yes, which is possibly the best movie to come out of this country; and almost certainly the worst book to do so.”
Student 4 “But can we read him for the reading log?”
Me “Yeah yeah. Alright everybody, listen up: If you still need a Maori author to fulfil the requirements of this reading standard, I have a pile of short-stories by Witi Ihimaera you could read. As far as I’m concerned, that counts as self-harm, but if you’re desperate, you might want to consider it.”
Student 5 “Why so much hate, Sir?”
Me “My hatred of Witi Ihimaera’s writing comes from reading Witi Ihimaera’s writing. Wait and see; it’ll happen to you.”
Student 1 “Sir, can I go back to the Nurse now?”
Me “Sure, here’s a note.”
Student 1 “Than... Sir, I don’t have Tourette’s Syndrome!”
Me “Ah, you’re learning!”

Monday, October 22, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 5 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
The Exterminators by Simon Oliver and Tony Moore

The tagline on the first Exterminators collection likens it to the HBO of the comics world, and, unoriginal though it may be, I can’t think of a better comparison (especially as it was originally thought up as a tv series). The Exterminators is like one of those quirky normal-people-but-hey-look-at-this-spin-which-
makes-it-interesting shows. (So, yeah, if you think those’re played out, this might not be your thing...)

The three collections so far released; Bug Brothers, Insurgency and Lies Of Our Fathers, follow Henry James immediately upon his release from prison, as he gets a job at his mother’s boyfriend’s pest-control firm, Bug-Bee-Gone. However, as James acclimates to his co-workers (driven peculiar by their work with bugs, or did they choose to work with bugs because they were a wee bit funny in the first place...?) he starts to notice things, and it begins to look like the bugs have a plan of their own...

The above link also has directions to a pdf of the first issue, in case you’re interested.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Culture of violence

Apathy Jack writes:


Me “Ow! Ow. Why would you hit me?”
Student “Because I’m seventeen now!”
Me “So?”
Student “So I’m a big girl now!”
Me “All that means is that you can get tried as an adult for what you just did!”
Student “What, do you want another one?!”


Student “Sir! Jasmine hit me with her jandal!”
Me “Now, I’d like you to think about the almost seventeen years you’ve been alive, and your behaviour during that time. Are you saying that this is the first time you’ve been hit with a jandal?”
Student “Well... No.”
Me “So surely you’re used to it by now and can stop complaining to me?”


Student interviewing me for the school magazine “Where were you before you came here?”
Me “Everyone already knows that.”
Student “Right, Hoodrat High. What’s your highlight at this school so far?”
Me “Not being beaten up by any of the girls.”
Student “Haha!”
Me “Why you laughing? That’s a serious concern!”


Chatting to two students; one in my class, one not.

My student (to her friend) “You should see him when he gets angry; he goes all pink.”
Me “That’s not me angry. This is me angry. That’s me enraged.”
My student “How can this be you angry? Isn’t this you normal?”
Me “Yes. Anger is my normal state. Anger is what keeps me upright and ambulatory.”
My student “I think you might have a problem with anger, Sir.”
Me “I’m going to hit you with a chair soon.”
My student “A chair?”
Me “Yeah, back at Hoodrat I’d often walk around with a chair slung over my shoulder. It was my Hitting Chair. I used it for hitting.”
My student “You hit people with a chair?”
Me “Hey, you still have that friend who was in my class at Hoodrat don’t you? Ask him.”
My student “No, I believe you. But I think that just proves my point.”
Me “Right, that’s it, come ’ere!”


Student “Sir, you can’t hit us anymore. We’ll go to the police.”
Me “You’ve got to reach the door first.”
Student “But there are more of us than there are of you.”
Me “Doesn’t matter – you’re going down.”
Student “You couldn’t stop all of us.”
Me “I’m not talking about stopping everyone. Just you. I have no idea how the group en masse would fair; many would doubtlessly escape, they may even bring an end to my reign of terror. But you are going down. Still seem like a good idea?”
Student “Not anymore, no.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

If you drink and drive, you're probably a Climate Change Denier

That Morthos Stare writes:

There is a scene in 'The Critic' where Jay Sherman reads out an essay on the nature of American film-making on 'English for Taxidrivers' because it guarantees him a larger audience than he would get through traditional channels. In a like manner I'm going to direct you to this article here. If you have (recently) been made to think that the court case in the UK showed that Al Gore's documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' contained factual errors then you probably need to read it, because you have been misinformed (the article also contains a list of other misinformed people; you can probably join a club or something). If you are true of spirit and mind (or some other such guff) then reading it will make you happier nonetheless.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Slippery Slope

That Morthos Stare writes:

So, on Monday morning the news was 'Peace activists arrested.'

By Monday lunchtime it was 'Terror suspects arrested.'

Monday night: 'Suspected terrorists arrested on firearm charges.'

Today the phrasing is 'Suspects arrested on terror-related charges.'

Terror-related charges?

There is nothing funny to say.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Assault with a deadly sleeping bag

RSJS writes:

So New Zealand has terrorists, eh? Jolly good. Our emulation of America continues, we're one bucket o' fried cheddar away from being the fifty-second state. We even have drive-through (thru?) doughnut (donut?) shops. Bring forth the schoolyard shootings and NAMBLA.

I suppose that given the American's spot o' hazing to introduce them to the wide world of nothing-is-safe-motherfuckers (henceforth referred to as the 911 plane-parking debacle) was done with box-cutters, that masked coppers seizing rucksacks and greasepaint as offensive weapons makes sense. And I guess my sadly-deceased grandmother, were she still alive and sober enough to slur out a platitude, would note "it's better to be safe than sorry", but really this whole matter is quite shortly going to be publicly shown to be about as sensible as the Mooninite fiasco in Boston, Massachusetts.

I don't mean to demean the hard-working anarchists hemping it up in squats and teepees nationwide with a fistful of discarded food and a rag to wash windows with, but this country is pretty dreadful when it comes to fringe radicals changing the world around us. We don't have the numbers for the positive feedback needed to produce a chain reaction. I doubt we could even muster a Springbok riot these days. Witness the recent muddled Damn the Man dozen-man-march designed to show America that hijacking anniversaries for political ends was only good when carried out by a shrill besom wearing a megaphone and push-up bra. So a vast conspiratorial gang of bomb-chucking lefties, Tangata Whenua terrorists and tofu-chugging dissidents just smacks of the wet dreams of politicians, rather than the more likely gaggle of special-interest groups with ambitions and stoner kids with bong-smoke dreams.

What pisses me off the most? The fact that the shrilly anti-authority types touting big-business-powered plots and grassy-knoll-gunmen in the Government trying to disrupt everything from green activists to treaty claimants, might be right in this instance. A good but o' raiding shows the justification for stabby-proof coppers vests, bureaucratic fact-finding missions, a suspension of habeas corpus and probably a cause with a ribbon. I mean, I'm the biggest corporate stooge you're going to find, a greedy fat-cat lapping up the cream squirted from the multinational teats and all sorts of other gruesome mixed metaphors. And to think that my team are so desperate, and worse so stupid as to be caught out behaving like brute squads for their own ends? Fucking annoying. I expect more from my team, I really do. I'm going to write a sternly-worded letter to my MP demanding they get with the program and do a better goddamned job at vilifying their victims before sending the black-clad bovver boys in so the struggling masses yearning to be free can be shut the hell up and we pinstriped wage-slaves can have a few extra percent come Year End. I mean, what am I paying my taxes for?

So, for now, we must watch as yesterday's excitement gets watered-down into tomorrow's defensive posturing, and finally dissolves into next week's thing-the-government-won't-apologise-for and next month's nothing. And watch for panhandling aplenty as a whole bunch of dreadlocked fuckers are going to have to go replace their cargo pants at Doyles Army Surplus.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shoots, Roots and Leaves

Josh writes:

PM: I'm the devil you know - if ever a headline called out for the addition of a comma...

Whichever copy editor let that one pass unmolested is made of stronger stuff than I. Even if I actually liked Howard, the shining comedy value alone would make it more, much more, than I could resist.

UPDATE: From a copy editing blog I frequent: More missing commas.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 4 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

from hell
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell

You may remember the movie version of this Jack the Ripper tale, where Johnny Depp played psychic detective Abberline in a racing whodunit, leading to the big revelation at the end.

Well, the prologue for the graphic novel establishes firmly that all psychics are hoaxers, and by chapter three (of sixteen) we are told who the Ripper is, and we spend much of the rest of the story following him as he dispenses his murderous task.

Paraphrasing a comment Moore once made concerning this movie, he said he was pleased: thousands of movies are made every year that aren’t based on his work, and he never sees a cent, however; the producers of the Depp film made a movie that wasn’t based on his work, but wrote him a huge check...

Warren Ellis once said this of From Hell (wherein; for all you fans of modern sci-fi, he references the old Battlestar Galactica):

When you talk about movies, there’s always that which bookstores live by; the book is almost always better than the movie. You could have no better case in point than FROM HELL, Alan Moore’s best graphic novel to date, brilliantly illustrated by Eddie Campbell. It’s hard to describe just how much better the book is. It’s like, “If the movie was an episode of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ with a guest appearance by the Smurfs and everyone spoke Dutch, the graphic novel is ‘Citizen Kane’ with added sex scenes and music by your favourite ten bands and everyone in the world you ever hated dies at the end.” That’s how much better it is.

This six-hundred-odd page beast of a thing is exhaustively researched – there is a forty-two page appendix explaining story and art references - and it weaves together Masonic conspiracy theories, British history, and compelling pieces of Ripper-lore to build a complex and remarkably compelling read.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 3 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

the stamp collector
Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
Death By Chocolate/Less Than Heroes by David Yurkovich

Yurkovich’s oeuvre is of weirdness in just the right amount, and his two major works have been collected. Death By Chocolate tells tales about, and related to, Agent Sweete, a man made of living chocolate who works for the FBI Food Crimes Division. At turns weird and funny, it also has the truly disturbing story “The Metabolators”, proving that weird and funny can also creep you the hell out.

Related is Less Than Heroes, the story of Threshold, the most boring super-heroes in the world; who live in Philadelphia – not the super villain capital of the world, so spend a lot of their days eating snacks and indulging in their various hobbies. Yurkovich followed this up with The S.H.o.P – Super Heroes of Philadelphia, a surprisingly dark tale about It All Going Wrong.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 2 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
Love and Rockets by Jamie and Gilbert Hernandez

This series is somewhat famous for being a bastion of alternative culture in the eighties and early nineties – especially after a band named themselves after it. Definitive collections have just been released.

The most popular are the works of Jamie Hernandez, chronicling the life of Maggie Chascarillo, a Mexican-American hoodrat living on the proverbial wrong side of the tracks. The early stories are Jamie throwing all of his influences at the page to see what sticks, so, in addition to Maggie walking the streets with her punker friends, she also works for a world-famous mechanic and has adventures with dinosaurs and professional wrestlers. After a while, it (mostly) settles down to Maggie dealing with everyday life. Which (oddly, given my proclivity for wrestlers and dinosaurs) makes it even more compelling. The two “Maggie” collections out so far are Maggie the Mechanic and The girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S.

Despite Maggie’s popularity, I’ve always preferred Gilbert Hernandez’s Palomar tales. Set in the fictional Mexican village of that name, Gilbert’s stories travel back and forth across decades telling the stories of the inhabitants. It is simply a soap opera, but it is moving and affecting, and you come to really care for the characters. I still remember being unemployed, sitting in the public library reading Love and Rockets and my clearest memory is of reaching the end of Human Diastrophism – the final major Palomar story – and sitting there stunned. Magical realism isn’t generally my thing, but I still care for all of the characters from Palomar – they’re realer than many of the real people I know. (Disclaimer: I do hang out with some awful caricatures of humanity...) The complete tales of Palomar are currently available in two volumes: Heartbreak Soup and Human Diastrophism, with a volume of Gilbert’s post-Palomar stories to be released at the end of this year. Go read them.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Not Dead in Any Significant Sense

Josh writes:

Gracious, it's been more than a month -- sick, tired, lazy, having more fun elsewhere on the Internet, etc.

I suppose I should start by saying that I care more about the games of Facebook Scrabble I'm currently playing than anything to do with rugby. I realise that saying this after the All Blacks lost makes it sound a bit like sour grapes, but I assure you it's been my attitude all along. I was actually a little offended at the article in the Herald a few weeks ago that breathlessly informed us that there are actually people in this country that aren't interested in the World Cup, with advice for how these poor afflicted souls can occupy their empty lives while the rest of humanity camps in front of the TV for the next few weeks...

What else? Politics? Look, I know no-one really gives a shit about local body elections*, but for Christ's sake -- the reason Hubbard was voted in last time was the bare fact that he was not John Banks, please God no, anyone but John Banks. Are memories really that short?

And it's been linked to far and wide, but just on the off chance you hadn't heard, Stephen Fry has a blog, in which he provides further evidence that he is the Perfect Human.

That'll do for now.

* I personally only give as much of a shit as is required by the fact that my wife is running for a community board, and even then, I dare say that's more of a shit than most of you combined.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 29 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

The plane banked easy, stepped over the cloud deck, and leveled for Columbus, an hour’s run.
An older guy in a short-sleeved shirt with bloodstains on the front sat in the aisle seat next to mine. He gave me a secret little smile. “You know,” he said. “You know. If you drink whiskey. And I don’t mean a lot of whiskey, just enough to keep the little engines in your head alive. If you drink a bunch of whiskey, you can piss in a cup before you go to sleep. And in the morning all the alcohol will have risen to the surface of the piss. And you can drink it off the top of the piss with a straw.”
“I’ll, um, I’ll certainly bear that one in mind.”
He made a happy noise and stuck out a big hand with caked blood all over the fingernails. “Excellent. I’m the pilot.”


If you remain unconvinced by the above excerpt, the publishers have offered the first chapter free as a pdf document here and there is another chunk up on Warren Ellis’ livejournal here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Health is bad for you.

RSJS writes:

I have been pondering great imponderables this past day, sparked oddly enough by the unexpected demise of a jogger in front of me when I was walking to work on Thursday. Chap keeled over from a heart attack some twenty paces ahead and I got to him in time for his death rattle. Thankfully some passing cyclists stopped to help me with half-remembered resuscitation techniques carried out while screaming abuse at the ambulance dispatch monkeys (thump-thump-thump-breathe-what-do-you-mean-you're-sending-an-ambulance-from-Mt-Wellington?-thump-breathe), but rush hour is unkind to emergency services and between the ambo's delay and our ham-fisted CPR, this poor chap's heart wasn't pumping under it's own steam for about half an hour. The paramedics did eventually coax a faint pulse out of this cadaver thanks to fun with defribulators, enough to risk carting him off in the truck to the nearest hospital. I have no idea who he was, didn't leave my details with any of the paramedics, and honestly don't remember the names of the two cyclists who stopped to help me/him/us. Given the lack of tangible evidence (aside from a bloodstain on a shirt I used to clean up the guy's face, and blood on my clothing is pretty ambiguous, let's be honest – that same shirt now has an eagle-pattern in blood in the shoulder from yesterday's tattoo appointment for example) this whole affair may well end up a half-remembered dream as so much of my twenties are.

Okay, so that's my quite-interesting thing that happened to me this week. And when edited down to a concise paragraph, makes me sound competent and humane. And it is something that when presented in this fashion I'm quite proud of.

But what's interesting to me is how I reacted to a guy expiring at my feet. It's well-documented that people don't like being the first on any scene for fear of making a social faux pas – we seem to fear our own embarrassment more than other people's suffering. But my issue with interfering with others actually extended to wondering the appropriateness of CPR: The gent stopped breathing, and neither I nor the cyclists could find a pulse, but when we started trying to get his systems moving again I had the quite vivid thought "Is this proper? Is this how one should treat a perfect stranger? Just start pounding on his chest and blowing down his throat?" I actually looked at him and hoped he would ask for assistance, so that I would feel comfortable invading his private little walk-towards-the-light moment. No request was forthcoming of course, and so the next fear: being th' dude who just watches someone die and gets maligned in the media for being heartless kicked in, and on with the tit-punching.

The other thing I remember was my initial reaction to seeing the chap, well decked out in running gear, his Italian spectacles cracked on the ground nearby, was that he was a retard. A voice in the back of my head screamed "Down's Syndrome!" and it has been bugging me why I'd think that. And it finally clicked into place: it was his expression, the eyes rolling and dilated looking for all the world like those of a dog fearful of a beating. An expression of animal fear as his body betrayed him. That and his tongue pressed up against his teeth gave him the appearance of someone lacking all higher brain function. I know this sounds harsh but it's true: as this guy kicked off there was no indication of intelligent concern in his eyes, just a base mammalian horror. And I wondered what he saw: his eyes were on me but could he see me? It was bright enough for me to have aviators on, but his irises were fully overrun by his pupils, no wonder people might see walking into a white light...

Which brings me to the next point, does he remember me? I don't know who he is, I might never unless I ring around local hospitals and I don't know I'd benefit from that. But does he remember someone calling to him, asking sir if sir is having an asthma attack? Does he remember the paramedics and the squeeze-my-hand routine? (which elicited no response, but at that point it was the least of their worries – guy's system was so shut down they couldn't even find his veins, which made for a gruesome game of pin the tail on the donkey with a drip) I wonder how one appears to someone whose mind is going to mush, eyes on stalks and soaking up the sunlight, a stranger over you offering assistance – what did I look like? Alien? Angel? Devil? Or was he checked out at that point and having the internal monologue some neurologists think occurs as the body collapses? I guess the metaphysician in me wants to ask him what he saw, what was he looking at, but it's bad enough being the total stranger huffing into his gob and thumping him in the middle-aged spread, but discussing eternal mysteries with him? That just seems... rude.

Anyway, that's what has been giving me pause for thought this week. For those wondering yes, I'll go back to bitching about stuff shortly. As you were.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Apathy Jack doesn't write:

That Morthos Stare writes:

Today’s video is 'The Mesopotamians' by They Might Be Giants. It combines Ancient History and Pop with a charcoal animation style; points everywhere for everyone involved. It's the latest video (the fourth) from TMBG's latest album 'The Else' which feels like an odd follow-up to 'The Spine,' probably due to the professional polish given to it by the Dust Brothers. I've learnt to love it, and you will too, if you know what's good for you.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding. Or just because.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Richard Burton Effect

That Morthos Stare writes:

Let me get it out of the way first. I did go see Jeff Wayne's latest version of his only hit, 'War of the Worlds' and, yes, I was a little disappointed. When the holographic ghost of Richard Burton is a better actor than the main cast and the singing (with the exception of the Parson's Wife) is terrible-bordering-on-dire then you know something is wrong in the world of stageshows.

And no, I didn't attend the V Movie Marathon. I'm sure it was grand but I had a prior engagement. And I'm not so keen on sleep deprivation anymore.

And yes, I do know the identity of Anika Moa's lesboid ex-lover.

Which is why I want to talk to you all. I'm sure most of you realised that the article was just a PR puff piece designed to get Moa back on the musical map. What was bizarre was that it really did read as if Moa was hitting on the interviewer.

'I like men... but I prefer women,' Moa said, sliding her hand up my thigh and winking like Rowan Atkinson in that Shakespeare sketch he used to do in the days when he was edgy.

Which really sums up the Herald at the moment. A few months ago we had the credulous story that low-level vibrations cure smoking addiction and the week before last the preview of the new play 'Murder by Chocolate' ended up being an advert for Cadburys.

Contentiously, languages shape reality (just as some notion of reality shapes languages) and the discourse within languages feeds back into how language will change and shape our future concepts. That puff piece about Anika Moa (and wasn't it huge and strangely focused on what she was and had been wearing) shows that our standards aren't just slipping, critically, but sliding sideways into a world where such discourses as Climate Change Denial aren't just an affront to good science but seemingly credible spin.

But I digress. Surely the most important question now is whether 'Fall in Love Again' is going to be re-released with the following lyrical changes.

There's a girl in every town
No wonder I get around
I'm seeing me for the first time


After such a cheap joke Brother Morthos was promptly shot in the head until certified dead. The executors of his estate wish to proffer their apologies and promise that Zombie Morthos will not transgress such social mores again.

The preceding paragraph is, of course, a lie.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Today’s video is Through Glass, by Stone Sour. Song is bog standard, and the video has very little worth bothering with for the first minute or so (except the truly beautiful beard of what appears to be Stone Sour’s Unabassist) but after that it kicks itself into a very slickly done comment about Hollywood culture. Well deserving of three and a half minutes of your time.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 28 Of A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

Gold by Dan Rhodes

Miyuki smiled and watched as Septic Barry headed to the other side of the pub, where he walked past the Children from Previous Relationships and sat with Blind Billy and Blind Billy’s wife. Miyuki had seen them coming in. She remembered Blind Billy from some of her previous visits. One evening Septic Barry had told her all about him.

It was clear that the child’s eyes hadn’t developed as they ought to have done, and when the doctors confirmed that there was nothing they could do to put them right, his parents made a decision. They had been planning on Richard for a boy, but instead they called him William. ‘It’ll be nice for him to have a nickname,’ the proud father explained to all and sundry, as his wife nodded her agreement. ‘I’ve always enjoyed having one. Jonesy, they call me – it really lifts my spirits.’ When they sent the announcement cards, they read:

7LB 2 OZ

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

“Mr! I need u 2 b a reference 4 my cv. U can brag on wata gr8 and honest student i was?”
“Of course.”
“Yay! Can u use a teacher as a reference on a cv?”
“Sure, It’s a bit weird if you’re, say, 25, but you’re less than a year out of school.”
“Thats sweet as! Thanx mr. I owe u one, il hook u up wit a nice asian lady oneday.”
“Well, I already have one, but thanks for the offer.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Today’s music video is Take Me Back To Your House, by Basement Jaxx. Bears, Cossack dancers and Beards set to just the right amount of ukulele. (Actually, that’s a lie: it’s never enough ukulele.)

Also, to those who wanted pictures during my Hoodrat stories, if you pause the clip at 4:19, you get the spit of The Preserver.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Anthem For The Disappeared

Apathy Jack writes:

Here, you should all watch this:

The finest electro-industrial-darkwave band in Tauranga (shut up, I'm serious!) The Mercy Cage have released a video for their catchy-as-all-hell track Hymn_01. The Mercy Cage are responsible for one of the most depressing songs I've ever heard, the mentally-bruising Needle Marks (& Scars), but have now come up with lyrics almost as depressing, for example:

I never said that all was well
you know it scars like hell
man it hurts like anything
time to piss another useless lie away
we pray
to the church of the cathode ray

only managed to fit them into a really rather dance-able track.

The video's a bit baby's-first-hipster-communist-lookatmeimalternative-iconography, but it goes with the song, and the song is just damned catchy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Helpful Hint #41

That Morthos Stare writes:

When seeing people you know socially but not musically at the Silver Scrolls you should not admit to being responsible for '1 + 1 + 1 It Ain't 2.'

Monday, September 17, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

"Hey Sir, you know we’re not going to be at Classics today, right?"
"Oh yeah, you’re going on that field trip. Where are you off to again?"
"Rainbow’s End."
"What? For what subject?"
"That’s got nothing to do with Physics! There’s no educational merit to that!"
"Well what would we be doing in Classics if we stayed?"
"Watching 300."
"Hey, that’s about ancient Greece!"
"Yeah, and roller coasters are about physics. Gravity and stuff."
"That’s not the same thing at all!"
"Whatever lets you sleep at night, Sir."

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

So, on Monday the new series Flight of the Conchords, starring the titular music duo, starts at the user-unfriendly time of 10pm.

You should watch it because it is good. I've seen the odd snippet here and there, and, of course, these guys have been performing around the country for years now.

By way of a taster, here is one of my favourites; the Hiphopapotimus VS the Rhymnoserous in a rap battle...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Comics You Should Be Reading Number 1 Of Probably Not Many; Comics Are For Children And Retards

Apathy Jack writes:

Originally uploaded by Brain Stab
ABC Warriors: The Black Hole, by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley

Remember 2000AD? I read those as a kid, and they were nuts. Total craziness. I couldn’t get over not only the weirdness, but just the sheer volume of the ideas.

Just finished rereading a childhood favourite; The ABC Warriors story The Black Hole, where, basically, a group of robot soldiers have to travel through an unstable time-tunnel to shut down a black hole.

Total craziness. Nasty, nihilistic, and the most fun I’ve had reading on the bus in ages.

Here, the thoughts of the commander, Hammerstein, as he’s undergoing his military programming:

Signals go back and forth between my master and secondary programs.

Contradictory signals.

It’s alright to kill humans in battle. But not in camps.

When they murder civilians, it’s an atrocity. When we murder civilians, it’s tough retaliatory action.

Rebels on our side are freedom fighters. Rebels on their side are terrorists.

It’s good to love animals. Then kill and eat them.

But not children.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

“Mister, this article you gave us to read is wrong!”
“In what way?”
“Where it says here ‘Look around you; you’re probably surrounded by diversity’ – that’s not true.”
“Fair point. That having been said, most people aren’t sitting next to their identical twin sister when they read the article.”
“Yeah, but still...”

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Books You Should Be Reading Number 27 OF A Bunch

Apathy Jack writes:

The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie

Rayner, I estimated, was ten years older than me. Which was fine. Nothing wrong with that. I have good, warm, non-arm-breaking relationships with plenty of people who are ten years older than me. People who are ten years older than me are, by and large, admirable. But Rayner was also three inches taller than me, four stones heavier, and at least eight however-you-measure-violence units more violent. He was uglier than a car park, with a big, hairless skull that dipped and bulged like a balloon full of spanners, and his flattened, fighter’s nose, apparently drawn on his face by someone using their left hand, or perhaps even their left foot, spread out in a meandering, lopsided delta under the rough slab of his forehead.
And God Almighty, what a forehead. Bricks, knives, bottles and reasoned arguments had, in their time, bounced harmlessly off this massive frontal plane, leaving only the feeblest indentations between its deep, widely-spaced pores. They were, I think, the deepest and most widely-spaced pores I have ever seen in human skin, so that I found myself thinking back to the council putting-green in Dalbeattie, at the end of the long, dry summer of ’76.
Moving now to the side elevation, we find that Rayner’s ear had, long ago, been bitten off and spat back on to the side of his head, because the left one was definitely upside down, or inside out, or something that made you stare at it for a long time before thinking ‘oh, it’s an ear’.


Three things I have learned from reading Hugh Laurie’s book:

1) Hugh Laurie wrote a book! I know, who’d’ve thought...?
2) His second book is due for release at the end of this month. I may even buy it in hard cover, because I don’t want to wait.
3) Speaking as an English teacher with an interest in words and the use thereof, the simile “He was uglier than a car park” is going to get me through a few long, lonely nights. Seriously, if it was possible to make sweet love to language feature...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

It occurs to me that I’ve never mentioned the mannequin they replaced me with at Hoodrat. While he seemed relatively inoffensive the one time I met him, I could certainly think of better uses for eighty-five kilograms of meat. His teaching is best exemplified by my old Year 13 class. Wagging is as bad a problem as it always has been, with, as an example, the Creator’s thirty-four strong English class having up to a dozen absences every day. But my Classics class (comprised of most of the same kids) has been down to single-figure attendance for weeks now. I got three texts today during what would have been Classics, bemoaning the state of the class. This isn’t unusual.


One of mine accidentally hit ‘send’ to my old number instead of my new. My old number which you may recall was a school phone. Which is why in the middle of some rant or another barely connected to ancient Rome, the puppet’s phone beeped, and he read:

Sir clasikz is deteriorating without u... We have an exam next week and no one thinks theyl pass at all. Its madness! Any chance you can help?

My new colleagues wanted to know why I burst out laughing in the middle of the staff room. I’m not sure “so I don’t cry” was the appropriate answer...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Today’s video is Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge. I’m not quite sure what’s going on in this video, but there’s a faintly creepy narrative, and the song has one of the more disturbing choruses I’ve heard.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Just because I've been thinking about Henry Rollins since he was mentioned in the last post (he was mentioned by me. I think about him a lot...) here is part of his show in Israel, where he talks about the work he does with the USO.

Get your anger on.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Generic Music Rant

Josh writes:

I don't know music, but I know what I like. I just don't know why a lot of the time.

I mean, apart from the usual trouble I have formulating a reply when people say "What sort of music do you listen to?"* -- "I dunno, a bit of everything... um" -- I'm not even sure what it is about individual songs in some cases.

The collected works of Timbaland for example -- there are very few numbers he's had a hand in that I haven't hated instantly, then grown to really like after repeated airplay. While my sense of grammar recoils at "The Way I Are", and its lyrics are at best questionable ("Don't have a motor boat but I can float your boat" -- that's just bad) I can't get the fucker out of my head, and I find myself not minding at all. See also Regina Spektor's "Fidelity" (the "it breaks my hea-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-art" one) -- bugged me at first, but it ended up on the playlist at my Civil Union, right alongside Timbaland-produced "My Love".

And then there are the ones that go the opposite way: like it on first hearing, get sick of it right quick after a few more. I actually liked "Hey There Delilah" for a while -- the lyrics were abysmal, but the melody had a nice old school Simon and Garfunkel feel. It didn't take me long to lose interest though -- maybe the lyrics just got the better of me. Current offender is "Konichiwa Bitches" -- I liked its moxie to begin with, but somewhere around the fourth time I heard it on C4/Juice in a single Saturday morning familiarity started to breed some serious contempt. And there should be a comma in the title.

Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" though, is utter shit and always will be. Always.

* And seriously, who really does have a succinct reply to that question? How many people would really classify their musical tastes as purely "hip hop/R&B" or "Future Industrial EmoPopWave" or "FUCKEN METAL \m/ \m/"?

Monday, August 27, 2007

If you have sex, you WILL get pregnant and YOU WILL DIE!

Apathy Jack writes:

Okay, the last abortion thing was a bit ranty. It wasn’t because I was any angrier then (well, not much more) but just because I was channeling RSJS for no reason I can logically explain.

I did, though, write two things on the topic. Here’s the other one. I think you’ll find it sounds a bit more like me.

(Oh, and by the by, this was written three or so years ago, so some of the references to politics, my age etc are out of date.)

“Sir, every time my baby hears your voice he kicks.”
“Good – I’m training him! In thirteen years when he gets to my class, every time I yell at him, I want him to flinch!”

Y’know, back when I was deciding to be a teacher, it’s amazing the number of conversations it simply never occurred to me that I’d have...

This is why I feel strongly about the issue of contraception – I Know More Pregnant Teenagers Than You Do.

And, sadly, when talking about the idea of contraception as it relates to my students, I find it disappointingly expeditious to shortcut straight to abortion.

There has been a lot of talk recently about this issue. Here in New Zealand the government debated changing the Care of Children Bill with an amendment that would force doctors to inform parents if their child needed an abortion. In America (where such a statute already exists) George W Bush is tightening the regulations in such a way that some commentators are saying will lead to an overturning of Roe vs Wade (which, as I understand it, is the eternal debate on the best way to get across a river).

I’m actually quite anti abortion. Frankly, the idea that at the stroke of the final midnight of the first trimester a motley collection of parasitic cells quicken like a reverse Cinderella into a precious human life has always seemed pretty arbitrary to me. Fundamentalists will tell you that quickening occurs the moment sperm and egg fuse, whereas, if I’m remembering my history correctly, some theories once saw the foetus as part of the mother’s body until such point as it was completely removed during birth.

I don’t like the idea of abortions simply because they are too grey an area.

However, they are necessary.

I have seen fourteen year olds out of their minds with fear at missing their periods. I can’t approach this scientifically, because I have seen the panic, the worry, the tears. Over and above the fact that children should not be having children, it’s a safety issue; First of all there’s the physical impact on a young girl who has to give birth. The birth process counts as pretty major trauma, and before a certain age is reached the human body simply is not physically ready to go through it.

But hey, what do I know about biology? Maybe I’m talking bollocks. But I do see the social side of things; how their families react. One of my girls had to move cities to escape the negativity of her mother, understandably upset at becoming a grandmother in her late twenties. (This is another reason I can’t be too detached and objective – I occasionally wonder if I am mature enough to teach kids, without even considering having any of my own. The idea that someone a year older than me could be a grandparent is too much of a headfuck for me to approach clinically...) I remember having to deal with a mother who thought her daughter was pregnant, so came down to the school to try and confront the supposed father. I was in the office when this woman – who was known for not being entirely stable – started ranting and raving to the point of being quite threatening. And that was to the office staff and me – God alone knows how she had been treating her daughter when she found out. And that doesn’t even look at the cultural issues. In the same way that Catholic Girls schools always top the stats for teen pregnancy, we have enormous issues with our Tongan and Indian girls. (Well, you know what happens when you tell teenagers they can’t do something...) I’ve seen too many of these girls the week after their boyfriends were found in their rooms, come back to school with black eyes, yellowing bruises and a note saying they were away for a few days because they had the flu.

Of course, everyone reading this is currently scoffing, saying “Well, teenagers shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.”

Yes. You’re right. What a stunning insight.

They are, though. It’s what teenagers do, given half an opportunity. Certainly, not all of them do, but, short of dressing them in wetsuits with boxing gloves taped to their hands and locking them in hermetically sealed rooms being monitored at all times by crack teams of Security Eunuchs™, there’s not a lot we can do to stop them if they’re determined.

“But surely they’re taught about safe sex and the like?”

Yeah yeah. Do you actually remember your high school sex ed?

I remember mine. The school guidance counselor took us for a few lessons in fifth form. This poor doomed bastard blushed the colour of beetroot whenever he said the word ‘sex’. In front of a room of bored sadistic teenaged boys, he didn’t stand a chance. Our sex education consisted of asking the unfortunate sap to repeat the word hymen over and over again because we “didn’t hear it properly the first time sir”, and pointedly not listening to two thirds of the lesson lest your peers catch you paying attention and discover that you didn’t actually know the intricacies of female reproductive biology at the experienced and worldly age of fifteen.(As an interesting aside; those students in the accelerate program, working a year ahead of the rest of us proles, didn’t do this course – I guess it was assumed that the nerds in the smart class would never need to know about the complexities of having sex with an actual human girl.)

It taught us the important stuff, such as condom use, and that abstinence was the only form of truly safe sex.

But here’s the thing: We were teenage boys - We didn’t care. We wanted to engage in the human sexing. (That wasn’t an option for some of us of course, but, y’know, the intent was there...) The specific details of the whole thing didn’t matter to us, so we didn’t really pay attention to the video that had some youth TV presenter from the eighties putting a condom on a banana.

The biggest problem with the blanket solution of “The dirty animals just shouldn’t have sex” is: Try convincing them of that. I mean, they shouldn’t be. I’m all about the little bastards being thrown into convent schools with the hair shirts and the cold showers and the threat of eternal fire for the sin of lust, but (and trust me, I’m less happy about this than you are): Teenagers have sex. And in the cultures that come down harder on it, they have more.

So how do we make sex ed better? Well, for a start, we’ve got to start thinking outside the box we’re currently in.

Recently, Exeter university pioneered a study that said sex education for girls under the age of sixteen should encourage oral sex as an alternative form of ‘intimacy’ in order to lower the teen pregnancy rate. Early trials suggest very strongly that this is working.

Now, here’s the thing: Clinical trials back this up, but I’m still hugely unhappy about the idea of this being taught to my girls – and I admit that they’re having sex. Can you imagine how parents would react if the school ran it past them...?

One of my friends says that the key is to teach girls the difference between having sex and letting some guy fuck you. The idea being that if girls knew that sex was for them as well, about them getting satisfaction, something they could take power in rather than just something that made their boyfriends like them, then it would be easier for them to have some control and be safer.

Like the Exeter study – Great idea, but I just don’t see a way of effectively putting it into the class (not without my fragile little brain doing the explodo, anyhoo...)

Realistically, the key is for parents to take a certain level of responsibility. The proportion of teenagers who are pregnant matches pretty closely to kids who are raised with sex being a taboo subject in their household. (That’s a generalisation, but, y’know, it’s also true.)

Hell, I don’t know. My job is to teach the little incubators what an adjective is; I don’t have the solution to this – just a lot of sadness at the position some of my girls find themselves in, and anger that politicians are turning my kids’ real lives into some abstract moral crusade.

Here’s the best plan I’ve been able to come up with thus far: We line the girls up in the hall every three months and give them a contraceptive injection.

"What's the needle for, sir?"
"I'm inoculating you."
"Against what?"

As for dealing with the boys, well, I imagine working some manner of castration joke in here would be fitting, but frankly, after I’ve beaten the horny little bastards to death, castration won’t really be necessary...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Apathy Jack writes:

Today there are two pieces of video goodness. Actually, goodness is entirely the wrong word, given that we’re dealing with The Aphex Twin. I thought for a while about how to describe his music, and the best I can do is that it is your worst. Fucking. Nightmare. Ever. In musical form.

The first video is Come To Daddy, without exception the single most disturbing song/video combination that I’ve ever seen.

Also, the “sequel” of sorts (in so far as it uses the same tropes, so makes more sense if you’ve seen Come To Daddy) Windowlicker, which isn’t so much a music video as it is a short film about Aphex Twin. Basic concept: What if your worst. Fucking. Nightmare. Ever. Was also a hip-hop video.

(As per usual, linked to rather than embedded because of the drop in quality that comes with embedding.)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Burning hatred for men in scrums and the beer they drink

RSJS writes:

Hearts and minds, eh? The somethingorother sporting wahoo is coming to New Zealand in 2011. That is so far away, I'll have left the country, returned, got married, been defiled by pagans and sold to white slavery in Borneo before a single ball of indeterminate shape is kicked or smacked or thrown or wotever.

And there are plans afoot for laws to stop streaking, scalping, and "ambush marketing" which is the term for getting too close to an event when you're not paying for it. To combat this heinous matter, the papers state:

The law will create "clean zones" around stadiums and "clean transport routes" along railways and state highways.

Okay, blah blah freedom to blah blah fucking blah advertising skippidedee free country etceterfuckingra. Don't care, frankly.

What pisses me off is twofold.

ONE: The advertising psychopaths wielding ultimate cosmic power in their scarily-fascist tournament (I used that term advisedly as the governing Sport Billy organisation apparently wants internal unity and harmony without dissenting opinion, and the state's interests put before those of the individual) want to control all input experienced by the idiot fans with their coloured scarves and bloated livers. I'm in no mood to be overly dramatic and scream "mind control" but this smacks of keeping people on-program and trying to limit outside ideas from getting in. Sort of passive control by limiting options – makes the poor dears being herded less confused, more docile, and easier to fleece of their funds and yes, their very souls. Okay, so me not being overly dramatic isn't happening. Bite me. It's not the control that rankles so much as the fact they think it works, that by funnelling fans down hallways advertising only one brand of beer, cola beverage, weight-loss program, sock, condom, shoe, prostitute, political party, religion, sexual orientation... sorry, side-tracked... anyway, they think that controlling the input will make them money. They will have experts who dedicate their lives to finding semi-legal ways of duping people to hand over their dollars based on stunts like these. They fear and plan against opposing fiends with military discipline. They seem to imagine if someone walks down a row of signs saying Lion Red Lion Red Lion Red Lion Red then up pops "Steinlager" before the return to Lion Red Lion Red Lion Red, the poor viewer will somehow be confused and either buy the wrong beer, or get too confused, soil themselves then not drink ANY beer and capitalism as we knows it grinds to a halt.

They think that. They fear that. That's what they think of us, they see us as retarded wallets on legs able to be suckered into spending up large by mind-numbing repetition and the beatings of the ideas into the heads and fuck me running they really do think we can be programmed like a fucking computer. Data goes in, cash comes out. Forward the zombie consumer army. THAT'S what Big Business thinks of you.

Which brings me to annoyance TWO: For the most part, they're RIGHT.

I hate that we share genetic code. Hate hate hate.

...of course right now I share my genetic code with a rolled-up sports sock. But that's a story for another time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Foetus Not Into Temptation

Apathy Jack writes:

Pretty quiet around here lately. I blame society.

Anyhoo, in lieu of any new stuff, I present something that I wrote for a zine my friend Lily Petals was planning a while back, about, from memory, women’s health issues. Zine was shelved because, I don’t know, she had a life or some similar reason, and the things I wrote fell into a back corner of my hard drive, where I recently came across them. For your reading pleasure (alright; for your skimming indifference) I present something nominally about the politics of abortion:

“Abortions for everyone!”
“Very well. Abortions for no one!”
“Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!”

Abortion on demand, I tell you! Set up a drive-through window and have a clown with a coat hanger asking if you’d like fries with your womb-prodding.

Sure that may seem a touch rough, but here’s the thing: We live in a permissive society that gives people the choice to do as they will, and, as God learned when he gave the monkeys free will: nothing good can come of that. People will have sex – specifically unsafe sex, because apparently it’s too much effort to put a condom on and you know you can’t really feel anything with one anyway because half a millimeter of rubber may as well be some kind of scratchy wool mitten even though your average horny teenager could get off by rubbing themselves through a pair of steel plated asbestos long johns the filthy little fuckers – and they only way to stop these rutting animals is to go back to a puritanical law code that forbids people from having sex standing up because it might lead to dancing.

And do you really think we’re going to repeal all of those nice, rights-ensuring laws? Of course not. (Casual dismissal not valid in America, where, even as you read this - hand shoved down your trousers, no doubt, because I’m talking about reproduction, and that means sex doesn’t it you dirty, dirty little pervert - George “SPUC ‘em if they can’t take a joke” Bush is currently scaling back all of those rights to make the country safe for God-fearing heterosexual slave owners.)

So, with no law change to corral the perverts, certain truths must be made self-evident:

1) It’s a vagina, not a clown car! If these Russian dolls stopped squatting out smaller and smaller versions of themselves every half a generation the stats on abortion wouldn’t be significant enough to upset anyone.

2) It’s not an abortion, it’s a necessary surgery procedure to have a tumour removed. Surely these right-to-life monkeys (who don’t even believe in evolution – you want proof we’re descended from primates, look in the mirror you ridge-browed hominid scumfuck) wouldn’t begrudge a dying cancer patient the right to treatment? Well these tumours are more insidious: rather than killing the victim, they use the victim’s own bodily resources to grow to full size, then excise themselves and become perambulatory! These malignant growths then spend eighty odd years walking around polluting the atmosphere, funding McGlobalcapitalism, watching reality TV, voting for George W Bush, and otherwise fucking up a serviceable planet that we were ruining perfectly nicely without their help thank you very much.

So, in conclusion: You suck. Let’s not make any more of you, alright?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More or less looking out for me

Apathy Jack writes:

So, one of my Lost Ones left Hoodrat at the same time that I did. I ran into her a week ago, and got her new number. Got a text tonight:

How’re you?
I’m well. I’ve had a cold/flu, but it’s getting better. You?
Rather sick, actually. Fever. It’s horrible.
Probably the same as I had.
Maybe near-tackling you and making you carry me made me sick.
Well, no good comes to those who attempt to harm me – karma is on my side.
I’d hardly call that an attempt to hurt you, sir. It was an odd way of showing affection.
True, but karma gets confused sometimes.
You think so? I reckon it was misdirected karma as my friend was rude and stayed quiet. I need new friends.
You know where you could find a bunch of new friends? School. You still wagging?
I hate school. I hate my current school and its pupils. I don’t get along with the majority of them. So chances are... I’m not going to make any friends.
You need to find people with common interests.
I suppose so. But I can’t see that happening where I am now.
Are you sure? I’m pretty sure it could have happened at Hoodrat.
Hoodrat is, and will always be a terrible school with a few decent teachers and pupils.
You’re exactly right, but you’re missing my point – there were people with common interests there, and there may be at your new school.
My new school has what... 3 Caucasians. And I really disliked Hoodrat, to the point where I didn’t want to be there. That must say something to you.
I felt the same way about Hoodrat eventually... And you don’t need Caucasians – they make brown emos; you’d get on with them. (Yes you would.)
LOL. I guess so. But this is South Auckland.
Even my school has half a dozen – it’s about as far south as you, and has exactly one white student.
Holy shit! Are you serious?!1?!
Yep – exactly one palagi.
Shocking. Do you like your new school?
Yes, I do. I liked Hoodrat, but the New School is better.
What’s so good about your new school?
Better management – less corrupt and inefficient.
Sounds ideal.
It makes my life considerably easier.
Still no girlfriend, sir?
Mind your business.
LOL you know me. Nosey as hell.
True. To satisfy your curiosity: Yes, I have a girlfriend, and no, you don’t get to find out all about her.
Congrats, sir! She better be nice or I’ll have to have a little chat with her. Mnk?
She’s very nice, don’t worry.
Good. I would give her the mean beatdowns if she didn’t treat you well.
So far, she’s safe from you.
Pfft I’ll get her.
I’d really rather you didn’t...
I know, I know. More or less looking out for you.
I suppose that means I’ve got it better than some people.
Indeed you do. You have a student army, you know.
I used to...
Still do. Plenty of students you’ve befriended have your back.
Well, that could come in handy if I ever decide to take over various things.
Indeed. Heil Mister.
That’s right. Mister Prevails.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Anti Child Abuse; Pro Multi-Car Pileups

Josh writes:

You can't be serious. Stop your car on the motorway and perform a meaningless gesture that does nothing to actually combat child abuse? Is Christine Rankin on the crack or what?

No, hang on.

*chants to self "Principle of Charity, Principle of Charity, Principle of Charity"*

So what did she actually say? Well, I'm not sure. Here's the quote from that article:

"If they have the courage and they stop wherever they really are at that time then that is fantastic, go for it."
There's no actual indication that she said this in response to "What? Even if they're driving their car down the motorway?" so it's possible that the implication is being drawn without her actually explicitly stating it. But in any case, it's a stupid fucking idea -- one that will likely cause more harm than good, as people think "right, stood for three minutes, that's my bit to stop child abuse done" and do nothing more productive -- so she's full of crap, Charity or no.

I am getting a wee bit sick of contextless quotes in the media -- and worse, contextless partial quotes. I would love to see the full transcript where Helen Clark supposedly called John Key "it" for instance. Did she actually say "We hates the Leader of the Opposition. It is a foreign exchange dealer and it stole our precioussss"? Or was it more like "The biggest threat facing New Zealand isn't gangs or dogs -- it is a foreign exchange dealer who thinks he knows what's best for us" or something equally politically-bitchy-yet-not-actually-dehumanizing? I guess the Herald doesn't think we need to worry about such trifles.

Mmm... trifle...