Friday, April 29, 2005


Yet another Tv heaven review of a masterpiece.


I was too young to watch this the first time around, when the lightbulb started swinging to that lugubrious theme tune, I was sent to bed.

But I recall an article somewhere at the time (the Listener?) that compared David Callan to James Bond, point by point.

It was replayed in the early 80s I think, on a Friday night. And for a while there, I was actually at home on Fridays before the pubs had closed.

Just & utterly brilliant.

About time too...

Lazy blogging today...

STUFF : ENTERTAINMENT - STORY : Cinemas may buy phone jammers

If this ain't true, it should be

David Farrar: The dumbest hacker ever

Great score!

I mean... what a lovely couple...

I'm not planning to make a habit of reporting salacious gossip. But I'll make at least one exception given it involves the babelicious Katie Holmes. By all means see The Gift for confirmation of her er... winning form.

Way to go Tom.

And in other breaking entertainment news... DON'T PANIC! It seems early reports that the Hitchhikers Guide sucked like no other film of its type ever sucked before... may have been exaggerated.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Anything but elementary


I loved this series. Just as I loved the stories & novels from which it sprang. And this TV Heaven review is right on the money, the character of Dr John Watson was never supposed to be a sidekick buffoon. He was a man of action.

I'd never heard of Jeremy Brett before this series aired. Although later I came across a screening of My Fair Lady & recognised Eliza's spurned suitor as the young Sherlock. Cripes, he sang!

And some time later, I searched the web for the cast details of an old UK series based on the Three Musketeer books - I believe they might have done all five of them (I read them all while travelling through France once), but I know for sure that they adapted the first and also the Man in the Iron Mask. I could remember that Brian Blessed played Porthos, but I wanted to know who played D'Artagnan.

Eventually, I did come across the information I wanted - D'Artagnan was played by none other than the dashing, young Jeremy Brett.

BTW: If you're looking for faithful adaptations of the Musketeer books, the best are certainly the old Richard Lester movies starring Michael York. The only quibble I have is that when they adapted 20 Years After, they changed Milady de Winter's murderous son into Milady de Winter's murderous daughter & cast Kim Cattrell from Sex & the City in the role.

Ratfinder General

Following the great mouse-in-the-house-hunt, Wilma surprised us all in the weekend by catching a rat.

She was lolling in the sun in the garden, doing pretty much nothing as I wandered past out to the paddock to check on a bald sheep.

When I returned just a few minutes later, she was in the same spot, but had a freshly killed rat!

We have no idea how she caught it, or where it was when she did.

And then a few days later, as in earlier this week, she was on her morning walk through the Bot Gardens, and she suddenly dashed into the bushes (not far from the Cable Car), scrabbled around briefly, and emerged with another rat!

We used to call her the Applefinder General, because she can spot an apple from 50 metres, but now she clearly has the scent of far more interesting game.

Although we let her eat the apples.

Baghdad, 1991.

The thin, weatherbeaten man raised his head & squinted into the morning sun. The foot traffic near the Al Khadimiya Mosque was heavy. Mostly refugees, a few traders on their way to market, and a scattering of miltary police looking for excuses to harass the refugees, particularly any Kurds looking for passage south.

"Allah saves!" he called out. No-one paid attention.

"Damn this heat", he thought to himself. He never really got used to it, but always managed to get the Middle Eastern jobs because as Albert, his old comrade, pointed out, the Agency knew he could "do" Arab. And Jewish come to that. And it helped that he was fluent in several local dialects.

"Mohammed sees your soul!" he offered to the throngs.

"Poor devils" he mused, regarding the passing crowds, "Most of them are more concerned with where their next meal is coming from rather than their mortal souls. Still, the preacher gig had served him well over the years. He was quite a well known figure actually, excepting that ironically, no-one ever paid him any attention. The odd person might wonder about the long absences from his traditional spot now & then, but they probably thought he was travelling, maybe on a street corner in Basra, or elsewhere spreading the word. And indeed that was the truth, except that "elsewhere" was further than they could imagine. "And best not to mention the lengthy vacations in Vegas" he thought to himself.

Baghdad had its attractions though, enough hashish palaces had survived the bombing to keep him occupied in his off-duty hours. And he knew a small group of compliant bellydancers who helped keep him warm in the cold nights. His favourite was a voluptuous woman called Panta, "And by Allah she certainly is at times.", he would muse.

He was here at the behest of his country's allies. While the US had baulked at invading the city & unseating Hussein, they were keen to have someone on the ground, someone unknown & unconnected directly with any American interests, on the lookout for potential insurgent movements. The manic street preacher guise gave him the freedom to travel pretty much unnoticed anywhere he liked. And talk to, or at anyway, a wide range of people.

A jeep full of journalists drove by. "On their way back to their hotel for luchtime gins, I expect." How he wished he could and join them. They had some very good contacts with some of the female aid workers & red Cross nurses... but breaking cover was out of the question.

it looked like it was going to be a long, hot and boring summer.

Just then, a man came running down the street pursued by police. It was his Shi'a contact, code named "The Fez". He'd only met him the week before, the Fez had been looking out for him & had clearly been observing for several days before approaching with the code-phrases.

"Looks like we're in for a snow-storm" said the Fez, guardedly.
"How do you know that's YOUR camel?" replied the preacher.

"Heads up," the man thought, as the Fez ran past, giving him a sideways glance that had desperation written all over it. He reached for his leather bound copy of the Quran, in which was concealed his service revolver, throwing knife, and several thousand dollars of various currencies... "'s trouble."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

For Michelle

Right below the link in the previous post...

My 3 Sons

The eldest son got married off & left to become a... psychologist...

A Martian Blog

Today's (affectionate) WTF? post

Barzoomian of Mars

I came across this during my daily visit to David Farrar to see if he's linked to me yet...

Makes me wish my dad was alive to see it, he was a big fan of Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom books.

A lot of useful information here, if you're for instance, doing a school project on Martians... and he looks nothing like Ray Walston.

OK, I cheated & looked it up

Written by the legendary Addrisi Brothers

"Soft and sweet, wise and wonderful

Oooh, our mystical, magical Nanny

Since the day that Nanny came to stay with us

Fantastic things keep happening

Is there really magic in the things she does?

Or is love the only magic thing that Nanny brings?

You know our Nanny showed us

You can make the impossible happen

Nanny told us

Have a little bit of faith and lots of love

Phoebe Figalilly is a silly name

And so many silly things keep happening

What is this magic thing about Nanny

Is it love....or is it magic?"

Nanny and the Professor

All this... because John Mills died this week & he appeared in a couple of episodes as Nanny's father (he really was her father).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Best quote of the weekend

Following M's week away familiarising herself with all that is best on TV such as Shortland St, Neighbours, Home & Away...

SunnyO: Good Morning America!


"And don't get me started on McLeod's Daughters!"

The things you see when you're out without your camera.

Tradition has it that the best views of Kapiti, The South Island, Mts Ruapehu & Taranaki... will occur those weekends I have neglected to pack the camera.

And in all truth, Saturday evening was a Graeme Sydney evening on the Kapiti & South Island fronts, but low cloud obscured the distant volcanoes.

However, my forgetting tha camera does mean that you are spared the sight of a bald black sheep.

Not bald, like just shorn, but bald like Friar Tuck, but not her head, just pretty much all along her back!

I had loads planned on Friday, but ended up spending most of the morning penning the sheep so I could get a closer look at this problem.

First of all it was a dead sprint back to the house to get the small farming bible. And read up on ovine ailments. Fly strike seemed most likely. Although the sheep in question didn't look ill. Apart from losing a lot of wool.

And in fact she was surprisingly full of beans as it took me two hours to get her penned. Then Master Tim joined us & we had a good old look through her wool. Her skin was unbroken, there was no sign of flystrike, although I trimmed the wool back around the edges & liberally sprayed with flystrike medication.

Then, I consulted a vet, who told me that if it wasn't flies (and it didn't at this stage look like it was), that it could be a number of things. None of which I could really do anything about. But it is a good sign that she is not sickening.

So it's keep an eye on her now, make sure she's fed & watered & has shade & shelter and hope the wool regrows.

I might get them all sheared again soon. before the worst of winter hits. At least then she'll look even.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Who uses wireless technology?

I know a couple of visitors do... but care to share how well or otherwise it works? Been giving it consideration for home use (and T's business trips).

Either comment, or email me at if you're so inclined.

And while we're at it - I have managed to get agreement "in principle"... to buy one of these or similar.

"In principle" means "when I find the money, or win lotto". But I may as well start to think about what's going to be in the business case. By then they should have dropped in price considerably.

But one of the main benefits will be that we can retire the (quite new, but unreliable) VCR & the remote that came with it.

One less remote! - hard to assign a cost benefit to that, but I'm figuring the concept will be attractive.

Good Morning America!

Tip for fellow bloggers wanting to vastly increase your hit rate:

Mention "Joe Ratzinger" or "the pope's new name".

Honestly, I've had hundreds of visits from the US google searching those two phrases over the last few days.

Well we're off to Sunny O tonight for the duration of the holiday weekend. We have a few people to see about some "plans" or possibly some other "plans". A fair bit of weeding to do around the feijoa trees (now actually relegated to undergrowth below a lot of very tall weeds...)

And I daresay we'll finish watching Holy Smoke. WHich has been most impressive so far. I suspect the ending will truly suck since so far, I don't think it's deserved the rancid reviews it got at the time it was released.

I imagine there will be some Anzac themed movies to avoid on TV...

Actually, that reminds me. M has been on a horse riding camp all week (school hols). it's just up the road from Sunny O, so we'll pick her up tomorrow night. She's been feverishly texting her mum between 7pm & 7.30 each night, because, we discovered, the family who run the camp diligently watch Shortland Street.

I said that it's always good to experience new things & I asked if Nic was still on the show. Have not got the answer yet.

But please, dear reader(s), that was a rhetorical question. I don't really need to know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

New Pope. Meanwhile, in Sunny O...

In a startling break with tradition, the Papal Conclave dispensed with nearly 2000 years of tradition & today elected to take Russell Brown's advice, to trust in God's wisdom and draw the name of the new pope out of a hat.

As the white smoke billowed above St Peter's Square (actually round), Vatican officials announced that Cardinal Tom Williams from New Zealand (100-1 odds) was now officially Pope Victor Hilarius the First

Catholics around the world rejoiced as the new pope stepped out onto the balcony & said "Gidday.".

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Price of Milk

How come this Kiwi movie hasn't been released on DVD (although it IS available through Amazon)?

Went looking for DVDs this lunchtime - decided to buy Stealing Beauty. But it doesn't seem to be available.

Almost bought Before Sunrise & Before Sunset... then changed my mind for now. Then ALMOST bought A Man & A Woman and Lone Star.

Then reflected on the length of the queue & the parlous state of my finances & decided to get out quick before I came across the Godfather boxed set.

I am so tempted...

Shall compile a list of impending family birthdays...


Ratzinger "The Real Communion" #1 > Fan Club T-Shirts! > Ratzinger Fan Club Shop | CafePress

meanwhile, my money is literally on Cardinals McCarrick (US), Rodriguez (Dom Republic), and Agnelo (Brazil), since I drew these outsiders in the office sweep today.

Monday, April 18, 2005

The Good Life: Dead Duck

The Good Life: Dead Duck

Terrible! But I laughed...

The Incredibles

Brilliant! See it.

I particularly enjoyed the little (Edith Head inspired?) superhero costume designer (voiced by the director, Brad Bird no less). "Don' make me beg!" And her secret workshop:

1. Palm print
2. Touchpad combination
3. Retina Scan
4. Voiceprint "Edna Mole..."

Large gun drops from the ceiling & points at Elastigirl

"...and guest"

Gun folds back up & disappears.

Just priceless.

BTW: Bird also directed a movie called The Iron Giant, which is an animated movie that will keep adults & children alike occupied quite nicely. The giant is voiced by Vin Diesel.

Update: Brad Bird was interviewed on National Radio last night. He said he ended up with the Edna gig because voice casting is the last thing they do - up until then, the crew voice all the characters for the first cut & Brad voiced Mr Incredible, Syndrome & Edna. The consensus was that no-one was ever going to do a better Edna & so his voice stayed. They also played an extended piece (cinema on the radio) where Edna explains the properties of the diverse suits:

"Able to withstand 1000 degrees! Bullet-proof of course" ratatatat!! "And machine washable - that's a new feature."
"What on earth do you think the baby will be doing?"
"Luck favours the prepared..."
"but he has no super powers!"
"Oh... well he'll look great anyway."

Friday, April 15, 2005

God, what a day #2

Saw Albert & his son on their way somewhere today. I don't think the boy likes me.

If only he knew what Albert & I have been through... I keep telling him...

Got home, couldn't concentrate on Dr Phil at all. Damned steel plate seems to be tuned to Wayne Mowatt.... hated it when National Radio went FM...

"Oh, them golden slippers,
Oh, them golden slippers,
Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
Dum de dum de dum de dum de"

I love show tunes.

That Doris day hoohah!... reminds me of a nurse I knew in 'Nam... talk about heavy artillery...

Street Preacher Man

: Ms Behaviour - NZ Raver : Sticks it to Nike...

: Nike Admits Worker Abuse:

Word of the day: Puritanism

The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

God, what a day...

Met my Dad at lunchtime, picked him up from out front of the Big Department Store & we strolled down to the Bull & Bear for a few quiet ones.

Had my satchel with me today, because Winston caught me in the Beehive lobby yesterday & asked me to pick up his weekly duty free Gaulloise package from the Diplomatic bag, so needed something bigger than the briefcase.

Dad was in fine form. He's OK during the day mostly, the flashbacks don't kick in till later in the evening. Drives Mum spare when he crashes out the window yelling "Incoming!". Especially as they live on the third floor. And she's getting tired of having to apologise to the Asian neighbours, they shouldn't have to endure some of the things he does when he gets carried away... I keep telling him to get over it. The Tet Offensive was a long time ago. You lost, live with it.

Just wish he'd change out of that stupid coat & hat before we go anywhere. Feel like I'm escorting a fucking leprachaun. But he's feircely proud of the store. And to be honest, I'm a bit afraid of what he might be wearing (or not wearing) underneath the coat to press the issue.

And as for that stupid preacher mate of his we passed on the way... that steel plate they put in his head after the Burmese Operation went wrong doesn't seem to have infused his mind with any sense. Still, dad loves him. They get quite dreamy when they have a session reminiscing about the old days. Or what they can remember of them. Dad sleeps well for a few days after that. Although that could be down to the drugs the Preacher seems to have a neverending supply of...

But as usual, dad doesn't know when enough is enough. OK, that guy at the pub shouldn't have called him a poofter. But after inflicting a broken arm & beating him unconscious, dad should know when to stop. I'd have grabbed him, but I was busy fending off his 5 mates. Only 4 of them will require hospital admittance. I tried to warn them. I just managed to take out the last 2 of them in time to administer an emergency tracheotomy to Dad's guy with a broken Bellamy's pen.

I expect as usual, the Store will spring for the damages, they're very good to dad. And the Department will, as usual, see to it that word of the incident doesn't get out. They do it for me, plus, there are still a few old warhorses around that remember the work Dad did for them in the 50s, and they wouldn't want anything about that to get out.

So it was a bit more peaceful than the last few lunches we've had. The unfortunate capper was though, as we were leaving, I slipped on some guy's blood, sprained my ankle, and broke the zip on the satchel.


Yours... The GC

The Strangest thing...

Coming back from lunch today I saw The Government Courier entering the MFAT building. He was dishevelled, limping, and toted a satchel hung over his shoulder instead of the usual briefcase...

The satchel was open, and papers were poking out, just about flapping around in the wind!

what can it mean?

The end is nigh!

A few things to fret about over the weekend...

Guardian Unlimited | Life | What a way to go

Thanks to Younger Brother for pointing this out.

Eavesdropping on the hired help

And I found out that the feminine form of "piker" is "pikelette" (I'm assuming the spelling, so don't add it to your spellcheck just yet.

And Caroline... if you're reading this, "Piker" is Kiwiese for someone who gives up, goes home, doesn't see the job through.

Braveheart hunter..

Wilma caught a mouse this morning.

I thought something was up when I saw her with her nose jammed behind the big basket that holds our vegetables in the kitchen. Then later with her nose behind a big wire basket that holds noodles & pasta.

So I moved the basket, and a mouse quite casually swung out into the kitchen, through the door to the hall, past two very bored looking cats who were waiting for their breakfast, and into the lounge.

Wilma looked at me for a second & then raced in pursuit, causing the bored cats to have to snap out of it & get out the way or be trampled in the rush.

So then Wilma had her nose jammed behind & underneath the three big & very heavy couches that adorn our newly painted lounge.

T told me just to leave it & set a trap later. So I forgot about it. I was thinking "Please God, don't make me have to move the piano again!" I only moved it back yesterday & it wasn't pretty. But I had visions of it infested with mice & us having to sing "Silent Night" - subtle musical history reference (TM) - forever more.

Until I looked out at Wilma sitting on the back porch playing with a dead mouse.

WTF do those cats think we have them for?

I guess I'll be spending part of my weekend closing off the suspected gap that exists behind our dishwasher - or whatever it is that causes a huge draught, and presumably lets mice in.

Oh and T found a weta in her shoe this morning. So it's been a big day for uninvited critters. She wanted me to pour boiling water on it to kill it, but I sneaked it down the back garden & set it free...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Power chip is this year's Mag Lite...

New toy alert!

V2 Power Chip

Every "season" brings new developments in flashlight technology (and barbecues). And it's important to keep up with the latest.

So I'll be retiring the year before last's puny LED flashlight. And last year's 3 mode Kathmandu model - 2x LED, 1x neon mini lantern & 1x normal torch light, will become the spare.

Bring on the dark ages (when it is dark by the time I get home at 5.30pm.)

My bit for cross-generational relations

I'm cool, hip, charming & able to relate to anyone...

So when a 15 year old boy came to stay, I was ready.

"So Ricky... what're you planning to do when you leave school?"
"Grunt... lawyer"
"Cool, so you like your school?"
"Grunt... my school sucks. They don't teach me anything useful. I don't play their game."
"Excellent.... which school are you at?"
"St Grunt-ards"

I try safer ground...

"What's your favourite movie?"
"Kung Pow"


"OK... time for some music. How about everyone chooses a CD & we play them all on shuffle?"

Rick hands over the CD from his portable that he's been plugged into since he arrived. After about 3 wide ranging tracks... the stereo issues a sound that brings to mind a jet engine winding down, at about 3 times the volume of all previous tracks. Furthermore, there may well be a team of men trapped within the engine, trying to get out using jack & sledge hammers.

"So Rick... this will be one of yours?"
"WTF is it?"
"System of a Down. Grunt"


"So what else have System of a Noise done?"
"Grunt. System of a DOWN"
"Right... don't know why I said that..."


"So what else have System of the Down done?"
"System of A Down"
"Of course"


Whisper to M
"I'll keep watch, you change it for any old rubbish"
"Right. Tee hee..."


"Hey. Grunt. Been a while since I heard MY music!"
"Funny how random play goes sometimes."

Must be duck season too

As there are truckloads of ducks camped in all parts of the gardens. (Very bad for a dog's concentration & adherence to obedience principles).

Leaving the way clear for hunters to shoot at each other, in time honoured fashion.

On drugs?

Public Address | Hard News

This post reminds me...

It must be "shroom" (love that) season, as the Bot Gardens are again being frequented by quite a few "irregulars". Usually in long army surplus coats, although sometimes just anoraks & hats. They appear to be aimlessly wandering, especially around the pine tree areas.

I only assume that they're looking for magic mushrooms. I have no idea what magic mushrooms look like, but I suspect they're not the red capped ones with white spots because these don't seem to get picked.

Shroom & Nos cocktail anyone? Reminds me... Tennis Club is at our place tonight.

Breaking news from the Vatican City

Heard on the radio this morning:

German Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger leads the race."

A few years back, Pope John Paul II was visiting the USA. He arrived
at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to be greeted by the
chauffeur of a large & fast looking cadillac Limousine.

The Pope was impressed, and he said to the chauffeur:

"You know, I've always wanted to drive a Cadillac, what's the chance
you will letme take the wheel for the journey to the White House?"

The chauffeur wasn't very keen on this, who knew if the Pope had a driver's licence even? But he was a respectful man, and who was he
to turn down a request from God's man on Earth? So he reluctantly
agreed to sit in the back & let the Pope drive into town.

So away they went, with the jubilant Pontiff at the wheel.

However, the Pope, used to Italian roads & speed limits, got a little
carried away. And several miled down the road, the chauffeur heard
sirens approaching at speed from the rear. He respectfully notified
the Pope & asked him to slow down and pull over.

The Traffic Policeman that was chasing them pulled over in front of
the limo & dismounted from his motorbike. He warily approached the
driver's window & motioned for thje window to be wound down.

he did a double take when he recognised the driver, stepped away from the car & radioed his captain.

"Captain", he said, "I have just pulled over a speeding limo & I have a big problem"
"What is it?" asked his chief.
"I've pulled over a Very Important Person & I'm not sure what to do"
"Who is it? Barbra Streisand?"
"More important than her" said the nervous cop
"The mayor?"
"No, much more important than that!"
"The... the... President?"
"No, not the president"
"Then who is it man? Who is more important than the President?"

"Captain" said the now babbling cop "I think it's God, because he's
got the fucking Pope for a chauffeur!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hold the front page!!! etc

We interrupt this afternoon's scheduled transmission (My successful attempt to rationalise the Theory of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics - the Grand Unified Theory!) to bring you important breaking news.

That Subway place does a pretty impressive lunch!

Spotting a 20 minute gap between meetings on what has turned out to be a very busy, meeting filled day, I dashed down the Quay to grab something that will later on today become dinner.

That successfully accomplished, I turned my thoughts towards lunch. I usually don't do Subway - the queues put me off, and on the one occassion I came upon a queue free Subway branch, they gave me a different sandwich to the one I ordered.

But today, queue free (relatively), I decided to give them another try. I ordered the Steak & cheese sandwich. And I must say, the production line way they construct these things... disturbs me a little, it's no wonder they gave me the wrong one last time. Half the time I don't know which of the seven attendants lined up I'm supposed to be listening to & answering.

I have a traditional strategy for times like this though - I just say yes to everything (which to digress for a moment, is how I ended up with an Edinburgh pub lunch once, consisting of roast beef, yorkshire pudding, gravy, chips, baked beans, pickled gherkins & peas. delicious!). So it was yes to onion, lettuce (attendant 1), tomato (attendant 2). Then determined to stamp my individuality on the process, I turned down the cucumber (although it IS possible I turned down cucumber for the guy next to me), but accepted the capsicum & gherkin (attendant 3). I gave the nod for the steak on top of all this - actually just thinly sliced beef - if you want a "real" steak sandwich, there's a place in the BNZ arcade which does a pretty hedonistic rib-eye steak burger. recommended - (attendant 4), and smearing a very generous quantity of jalapeno chillis. My individuality was again expressed, when I identified not one, but two sauces to go on top - dijon mustard & barbecue sauce (attendant 5). Attendant 6 took my cash.

And by golly, the whole thing was rather tasty.

It's a 50/50 chance whether I'll enjoy another in the next year or so, but you never know...

BTW attendant 7 appeared to be in charge of cookies & they weren't on my horizon today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who comes here?

Like many, if not all bloggers I watch who comes here... problem is, the visitor data isn't very specific.

But some of you come from some very interesting places.

Which is why you won't see much political comment from me in election year especially.

And some of you come from anonymous IP addresses that mean nothing to me.

So if you're shy of making a comment in the nifty comments thing... by all means, if you want to say something to me (and I'd love to hear from you all), feel free to email me at the address just beneath the photo of Snowflake the sheep (hint: that's her in the top right hand corner), after making the appropriate edits.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Speaking of The Godfather...

1 & 2 are IMHO, two of the greatest movies ever made. Just hearing the haunting theme tune causes the hair on my neck to stand on end. I get goosebumps.

When The Godfather first came out, I was too young to go & see it. And indeed, had little interest in what I assumed was a generic gangster film.

The newspapers at the time it was released (in the UK anyway) were completely taken with the whole mafia business, giving screeds of copy over to Al Capone, Lucky Luciano & the like as background info to the movie.

Indeed, I was reading a grisly tale of one guy getting "whacked" & bleeding all through his pasta whilst in the back of a hot & stuffy car touring round Scotland with my dad & a mate of his called Bunny Evans. At the time I was trying to drink from a plastic bag filled with warm milk (how they were selling the stuff at the time in Scotland in 1972), and all I could think was that this warm liquid was about the consistency & temperature of blood.

Years later I saw Godfather II at the Naenae picture theatre - they had Sunday night double features that ranged from the sublime (G2) to the utterly rancid (The Chinese Connection). But my mates & I were there generally without fail (which is how come I have seen ridiculous films such as The Carpetbaggers (loosely based on the early life of Howard Hughes & starring the ever-wooden George Peppard), and a bizarre spinoff of that book called Nevada Smith & starring Steve Mcqueen). Not to mention countless crappy kung-fu movies & old westerns starring, of all people, Dean Martin.

Godfather II utterly transfixed me, so that in short order I read the Godfather novel & then caught up with the earlier movie too.

And The Godfather is one of those rare occasions that the film surpasses the book in quality. The book, IMO, is pulp trash. The film is magnificent, ignoring most of the sub-plots & focussing square on the Corleones.

Oddly, the Godfather II is one of those rare occasions where the sequel surpasses the original. I will state categorically now, that this movie is the greatest ever made. It also differs from & contradicts the novel.

Both movies, all three really, sport much the same basic structure. A crisis threatens the Corleone family, attempts are made on the Don's life, traitors are exposed & the whole thing wrapped up at the end with retributional multi-whackings.

How simple can it get?

I once read that the first two had been recut into a mini-series tracing the Corleone saga in chronological order. I wonder what that would be like?

I now look forward (following many subtle hints) to receiving the 3 film, Godfather DVD Boxed Set for my birthday.

"Girls dressed in plastic"

Brilliant! I am 4th in the google listing for the above phrase.

Google-s�kning: "Girls dressed in plastic"

So who watched Godfather 3 last night on Sky?

A deeply flawed film. Could have been as great as the others (Godfathers 1 & 2), but for the presence of Sophie Coppola in the lead role.

She's flat as a pancake (presence-wise). I cannot see the film without wondering what it could have been with Winona Ryder (at the height of her powers - or just starting the slide anyway) in the role. And it depresses me.

Anyhow... it still has some attention grabbing moments - like when Michael makes his first confession in 30 years - "I am beyond redemption!", to a Cardinal who is about to become Pope John Paul 1.

In fact, it's a very topical film to be screening right now, they showed the Conclave selecting a new pope. Presumably both JP2 & Joe Ratzinger were present.

And the film follows the events (some speculation) involving the Vatican bank, certain Sicilian & American "families", and the corruption that led to the (speculated) murder of the new pope.

Michael tries to save him. And then avenges in spectacular & operatic (literally) fashion.

Great stuff. They should have killed off Sophie's character a lot earlier though.

And we also watched an odd little film in the weekend called Rodger Dodger. It's about a completely reprehensible ladies' man (a reptilian Campbell Scott) teaching his 16 year old nephew all about women (and how to score them).

And this guy is butt squirmingly awful, wracked with bitterness & guilt about his family, and pretty much consumed with misogyny.

Has an interesting cast - Isabella Rossellini, Jennifer "Flashdance" Beals, & Elizabeth Berkley (who keeps her clothes on).

Finishes on a slightly optimistic note of redemption... worth a look. Some barbed & barbarous dialogue (kind of like In The Company of Men, but not quite as bleak).

I landlord

Spent much of the weekend showing prospective tenants around our old house, which, given it has inexplicably refused to be sold, will be tenanted out again for a few years when we will try again to sell it.

SunnyO: Make me an offer I can't refuse...

I say inexplicably, because houses have sold all around it during the marketing period, worse houses, for lots of money. These houses were being sold by a different agency... so maybe there IS an explanation...

Anyway, we got two offers, both were below the GV. How often do you hear of houses selling for less than their GV? We had the place valued too, and so we had an idea what a fair price would be. it's not less than the GV.


Put an ad in the paper saying there'd be a viewing time on Sunday & to call for the address... nearly everyone couldn't make it on Sunday & so I was persuaded to spend some time there on Saturday instead. gave me a chance to do some gardening there & refamilarise myself with a place I didn't expect to have to maintain anymore...

Oh well. Had a few families through, some I can see it won't suit because the section is unfenced for dogs, and access is a bit steep for toddlers & elderly etc...

Everyone raved about what a nice, spacious, sunny place it is.

I had some stereotyping notions realigned by some groups.

Group #1: 4 "female professionals". Party girls looking for a base close to town. They checked out the bedrooms, glanced briefly at the kitchen, didn't even look at the garden. They love it.

Group #2: 4 young guys, mix of students & tradesmen. Loved the place, especially the kitchen. One guy mused rapturously about it at length. They love it.

Group #3: 4 more "female professionals". Quite a bit more professional than the first lot. A lawyer, a sharebroker, a TVNZ hotty , and something else I can't remember (brain surgeon I expect). They looked more the dinner than headbanger partiers & the kitchen did impress them a little bit too. They love it.

A few more to show around tonight...

Meanwhile, T laboured on the lounge at home & has it (re) painted - one of the colours didn't make the grade & has been replaced with a shade only imperceptably lighter than the first coat. But she's happy, and therefore, so am I.

Friday, April 08, 2005

How will Hollywood handle the Phillip Pullman books?

Here's the worst case scenario for the upcoming His Dark Materials movie adaptation... highly amusing.

The Pantalaimon Perplex - Here be spoilers.

BTW: I have just finished the 2nd of the trilogy (The Subtle Knife) & eagerly await M finishing the third book (The Amber Spyglass).

And I notice that there is a fourth in the trilogy now - Kind of - Lyra's Oxford. And a fifth coming soon (The Book of Dust).

They don't make trilogies like they used to.

A few of the leading candidates...

If the web did the voting, it'd be Dubya, and here.

I bet though if I had done this a few years ago, it'd be Bill Gates.

Although there is a rank outsider....

And if you take this highly informative quiz (hint, the Antichrist is only mentioned 4 times in the bible, and not at all in Revelations, and when he, she or it, is mentioned, he's already appeared & isn't necessarily one person anyway), you'll find that she is actually a little old lady called Mrs Jones (if you're reading literally that is, otherwise it might be you.)

And then I got sick of the whole exercise, especially the pages suggesting the recently deceased Pope might be the man (although there is evidence that JP2 thought it was Dubya too - I mean, you've all seen the Omen films right? Oh yeah... that'd make it Sam Neill...)

And now for a public service... I (will) bring you the Antichrist.

In these painful days of papal upheaval, SunnyO has decided to do the world a service by unmasking the Antichrist.

You know s/he's out there - striding the world's places of power (momentary cliche blank - you know what I mean), or maybe sitting at home listening to Linda Clarke & having a cuppa.

I thought I might make it multi-choice (eg 1. Paul Holmes 2. Joe Ratzinger 3. Paris Hilton etc) but then I decided that to do the job the justice it deserves, and to continue in the recent vein of Interactive Blogging (TM), I'd call for nominations.

So what say you!

Oh - and while it IS attractive to think that the AC is a very powerful & prominent person, it might pay to remember that in fine Hollywood movie tradition, it just might be the very last person we expect (or if a TV show, the most famous guest star that week). So keep an eye on Nelson Mandela - and say Michelle, you got him on your list?

So I will accept obscure personages, especially if accompanied by an imaginative description. For instance, there used to be this Wellington City bus driver....

BTW: I meant to mention this before, but having all sorts of (supernatural?) problems with Blogger. But if you've read The Revolt of the Angels by Anatole France, you will be aware that Satan is actually a retired gardener living on the outskirts of Paris. That being the case, why should the Antichrist be any more prominent?

And further... this link takes you to the online translation of the entire Revolt of the Angels

*michelle, on-the-deathwatch reporting from italy*

Funny how people squander a really good post on someone else's comments

Here's Michelle on the line from Rome. Lifted from a comments field.

I'll tell you what Llew, it's a beautiful day here in the Holy City and the crowds of people waiting to view the Pope are creating quite a festive atmosphere as they queue for up to 8 hours outside St Peters. With the soaring unseasonal temperatures, the decision to not embalm the Pope is beginning to seem like the wrong decision as his body begins its slow journey into decomposition with the visible leaking of plasma from his popal cuffs although the Faithful believe that the liquid is actually Jesus Christ's tears from his crucifiction.

Although it wasn't a huge surprise that the Pope died this year, only 4 of the 9 deathwatch participants had him on their lists. That gives them a margin of 16points in front of the rest of the contestants and that is a very good start considering it's only April. I'm hoping that Luciano Pavrotti is the next to kick the bucket to project me out into the lead even further as no one else has picked him as shirking his mortal coil during 2005. Back to you in the studio, this is Michelle reporting for SunnyO News from the Vatican, Rome, Italy.
Michelle | Homepage | 04.07.05 - 6:14 pm | #

Should I settle for only slight dementia & skip the run?

STUFF : WORLD NEWS - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website: "Fend off dementia with sex, crosswords and a run "

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club: Homepage

Did he not used to play Cliff the postman on Cheers?

The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club: Homepage

OK... I'm just about done with this stuff...

Continuing our papal theme - putting the smackdown on heresy since when?

I have to agree with Sarah, that Ratzinger looks a bit suss....

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Saving souls in cyberspace: "Supporters can purchase T-shirts and hats declaring support for the cardinal, branded with the phrase: 'Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981.' "

I love the phrase "who heads the Vatican department once known as the Holy Inquisition"

What's it called now?

And since when? Surely since... since... well let's say the 12th century. (Looks like Ratzinger could have been there).


My papal advisor reliably tells me that the Institution Formerly Known as the Holy Inquisition (IFKATHI) is now the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Smacking down (burning at the stake) heresy since 1542.

The new pope's name

Apparently the newly elected pope gets to choose his own name.

According to Sarah in the comments to this recent post, all the cardinals will be preoccupied with dreaming up names right now, just in case (like the rest of us would be dreaming up acceptance speeches).

SunnyO: The next pope?

So I'm inviting the three of you who read this to submit some suggestions. I'm interested in 1) likely names, 2) names they probably won't choose, but should, and 3) names they definitely won't be using.


1) Pope John Paul III
2) Pope James Dean
3) Pope Michael Jackson


Paul Hester, the Pope, Rainier, Saul Bellow...

Where will it end?

how're your deathpool points looking today Michelle?

The Jamjar: April 2005 Archives

The next pope?

One of the things I didn't mention about my letter from god... is that he informs me that the first black pope will be the Anti-Christ.

I see that the Nigerian candidate fits the bill... although I remember seeing a very comprehensive arguemtn on Cheers once, that the Coyote from the Roadrunner cartoons was the Anti-Christ.

watch this space....

Personally, I think Italy will be looking for a local lad to fill the position.

And when do we find out what the new one is going to be called?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

SunnyO - As seen on TV!

James very kindly pimped my blog (and others) on national TV!

How cool!

Cheers Noizy!

Knew I should have baled Ralston up....

So I'm at home right now...

T's in Christchurch, M is at school... and just as I was about to head off to work - after several days off - I really should show my face now & then... a frickin' cat got into a hole left by an electrician in the bedroom wardrobe & is somewhere in the lining of the house between the top & bottom floors...

I can't leave, because I can't turn on the alarm as he'll trigger it when he comes out. I can't lock him in the cupboard - it's where all Trelise Cooper's sold stock resides... and a few of my cheap suits...

So... it's a waiting game....

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The very best exchange of the evening...

Man! Thursday morning in Welly sucked. Well... it blew & persisted actually. Great day to be driving North in an unfamiliar car.

But drive North we did. And the loaned Skoda Octavia was an admirable car to drive, I have to admit. Once I familiarised myself with a manual transmission again. Only stalled it 3 times in the entire weekend...

The weather cleared around about Waikanae. Our first stop was the Arctique Kennels, where we left Wilma for the duration. She was really happy to get into the place, but had a very cross & confused look on her face as we tootled away, waving goodbye through our watery eyes...

Our next stop was the Windmill cafe in Bulls. Sub-Eurovision song contest music (imagine a medley: Olay Olay & What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor), awful food & coffee, and the place is crowded with kitsch, including those horrid rustic clay figurines which would give you nightmares. You know the ones - bulbous faced leprechaun looking things. My advice to anyone is to keep driving.

And Taihape was the place we stopped for lunch. The much over-rated Brown Sugar cafe. Although there was nothing wrong with my cheese & bacon on toast.

We stopped briefly again in Taupo & amongst other things, bought a very cheap micro stereo from Noel Leemings (ultimately to grace our bedroom at home). Very cheap. As evidenced that we used it once, played one CD, went to dinner and next time we tried to turn it on, it wouldn't work...

Then it was onto Tirau, which IMO is a very pleasant little town to spend a few hours in. Or even a night - I can recommend the OK Tirau Motel very highly. And the cafe next door, which did an excellent steak, the first of several in the weekend.

By now, the weather was positively summery! The next day's drive was a doddle, through the lovely Waikato to Thames & lunch. Then, our first mistake (not counting the Windmill cafe in Bulls), instead of driving back to the Whitianga & Tairua turnoff, we believed our roadmap which showed the much shorter route was North, and over a pass to Coroglen. 29 km of metal & dust & winding road took us an hour & a half... Resolved not to come back that way. Although it would have been fine if we'd had our high clearance Touareg (we would have been able to say we'd taken it "off-road"!) & not a road hugging family station wagon.

Whitianga seems to be undergoing some major redevelopment, since we were last there 2 years ago... although the main township seems pretty much the same, there are large tracts of land outside town being prepared for residences & retirement homes. Our motel turned out to be about a 100 metres from the wedding venue, but the accommodation was very small. I can recommend the steamed mussels & the porkribs from a cafe called Tuatuas, and also the venison from Salt cafe.

The wedding itself was at a place called Ohuka Lodge, which has just been built (by the groom). It's on a convenient shelf of land (presumably a "raised beach") on the hillside overlooking Mercury Bay. It is a million dollar view, and once the landscaping is completed, it will be a million dollar place to stay - and presumably much cheaper.

There were some 300 guests, including TVNZ guy Bill ralston & his wife Janet Wilson. There was a bit of a queue to genuflect, so Bill & I did not get around to discussing my TV career. Although I did compliment him on his hat.

We partied till late, I met a lot of interesting people, and to refer back to the title of this post, the very best exchange of the evening came from a woman who had just been telling us about her job in some "male health" clinic - the brand name "viagra" cropped up a lot in the conversation - another guy came by & overheard a little of the topic, he stopped, stared at the woman (who was quite tipsy), and asked:

"What are you?"

and she looked up, and said:

"I'm a... I'm a... I'm a.... (pause)... I'm a really great fuck, Nigel"

Just magnificent IMO (her response, not her self professed talent).

Oh... and the food! There was a rowing boat, filled with ice, and then topped with a huge mound of seafood, oysters in the half shell, crayfish, prawns, squid, mussels... It was quite something. And on top of that, there were curries, sushi, a major barbecue... we gorged. And we drank...

And lo! We were actually quite healthy & rested the next morning. We drove South, stopped for lunch at the Fine Swine cafe in tirau, where coincidentally we ran across a well known blogger, author & speechwriter (honestly David, I am not stalking you!) on his way North.

Spent the night in Tokaanu, as is our habit on our way home from the Coromandel, soaked in the mineral pool, had the best rib-eye steak I've had in years at a place called The Poachers, in nearby Waihi beach. I can't recommend this restaurant enough actually, 3 minutes drive from Tokaanu. Try it.

And home the next day, a dream ride, weather turned as awful as we'd left it around about Porirua... stopped & picked up a very happy Wilma on the way...

The wedding was great!

More on that later, as a busy week unfolds... or what's left of it.

it's still summer in the Coromandel actually.

But just a quick update on the car situation...

How I imagined it would go:

"OHMIGOD! You drive a PORSCHE!!"
Me: "Yeah, we picked it up specially for this weekend."

How it actually went:

"OHMIGOD! You drive a fucking SKODA!!"
Me: "It's not ours..."

Actually, they seem to be rebranding skodas, it was a cut down (basic) Audi station wagon with a skoda badge on it. Ran really well.