Americans name-check New Zealanders in UK newspaper alert!

Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D are interviewed in the Guardian’s Film & Music supplement.

6. Choose a nemesis

Black: Right now, I would say our arch-rival is Borat because he’s too fuckin’ funny and his movie’s coming out the same time as ours. That is a source of much fear and dread.

Gass: I saw those new whippersnappers from New Zealand, The Flight of the Conchords.

Black: They’re basically a folk version of the D. And I hear they’re way better-looking than us. Which isn’t saying much. But still.

And “whippersnapper” was used, which is, like, totally my favourite word du jour.

spk englsh plz

The NZ Herald is the source of some great comedy today with http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10409945″>Readers’ views: Text language in exams. Everyone is outraged!

Apparently the New Zealand Qualifications Authority is going to allow txt-style abbreviations to be used in exams. But the important thing is that this won’t extend to English exams.

I’ve sent in the following comments:

People have been abbreviating written language for thousands of years. Many of the English words we write today are shorter versions of older, longer words.

Is it really such a big deal that a teenager writes “bcoz” instead of “because” in an exam answer about, say, population growth?

Being able to write clear English is still a valuable skill today, but surely the way to test this is in an English assessment, not geography or maths.

I feel like I may be set upon by a mob of angry ppl.

High waters everywhere

I’ve been watching a lot of CNN International and BBC World over the last few days, and I’ve seen a lot of coverage of Hurricane Katrina. I soon discovered that in times of emergency, when they suddenly have to say something for a news report, people say the darndest things.

“Hot and bothered by a shortage of water.” – A BBC reporter.

“There ain’t- There isn’t no water.” A Biloxi resident uses her fancy talk for the TV crew.

And my absolute favourite:

“New Orleans is the Venice, Italy of the world.” – New Orleans native Richard Simmons.

By the way, how’s about donating to the Red Cross?

Political

I’m normally interested in politics, but I read an article in the Herald about various members of the National party and was interested in two particular things.

1. The newly appointed deputy leader of the National party, Nick Smith, has taken some time off because he is “suffering from exhaustion”. When someone like an actor or a model is reported as suffering from it’s usually a sneaky way of saying they’ve been rock ‘n’ rolling all nighty, partying every day and have been using stimulants rather than sleep to ward off tiredness. Unless there’s something very sordid going on the behind the scenes of the National party, I suspect this may be the first time a person reported in the press as suffering from exhaustion has actually been suffering from exhaustion.

2. Deposed leader Boow Unglush, oh, I mean Bill English is quoted as saying, “I just want to use my experience, which in National is fairly unique.” See, that’s his problem – he has no confidence. Every good little grammar pedant knows that being unique is like being pregnant. You either are or you aren’t, there are no degrees in between. Mr English’s experience is either unique (i.e. no one else has that same experience) or it’s not unique (i.e. other people have that same experience). But he doesn’t seem to have the cojones to talk about himself in absolute terms. Oh, how I will miss his mangled vowels.

So gay

From the New Zealand Herald:

Teenagers fail to make use of free visits to the dentist because dental care is viewed as uncool, a University of Otago study has found.

So, I read that and it seemed a bit strange. Like, I couldn’t quite imagine a 15 year old saying “I don’t go to the dentist because it is uncool.” It just doesn’t quite ring true as the sort of thing a teenager would say. Then I read on and came to this paragraph:

“Being seen to be concerned about oral health in this contemporary youth culture is considered to be ‘just so gay’, defined as boring, pointless or irrelevant,” the report says.

Ah, that’s more like it. Going to the dentist isn’t uncool, it’s totally gay.

Pomme de terre

I’m impressed with the anonymous sources that the New Zealand Herald uses to spice up its news stories.

A few weeks ago, in an article about a guy who was badly burned during the filming of a reality TV show, a source was quoted as saying that the fellow was “a really unhappy customer”. That’s really masterful understatement. I like it when anonymous sources cop an attitude.

Then in today’s Herald, in an article about Jonah Lomu’s secret wedding, a source was quoted as saying, “I guess it was a nice wedding but I’m not the wedding type.”

Wow, the anonymous source is not the wedding type. I would like to see such snippets of personality come through in future articles. For example:

A source close to the MP said that late night drinking was often common. “After a late night in the debating chamber the vodka would come out. I am lactose intolerant, enjoy the films of Akira Kurosawa and I am an unfulfilled submissive.”

It’s about time that anonymous sources get the recognition that they deserve.

My favourite daily half hour of TV at the moment is Batman, which is on Monday to Friday at 6 pm on Prime. Today’s villain was The Minstral and while Batman was at police HQ discussing the fiendish antics of his latest nemesis, Commissioner Gordon commented that the crook was, “A minstral who is also an electronic genius. What a strange combination!” Like, OMG, doesn’t that just describe makers of electronica. (No, not really, but it’s a good quote.)

It’s funny watching the old Batman. I reckon it’s about halfway through the run. The fresh early excitement is gone. The dialogue is starting to get a little bit self-referential and sarcastic, all of the villains have a sexy woman in their crew of goons, but it’s not quite at the dire final season where Batgirl (almost the Scrappy-Do of the series) was introduced.

“Space” have a weekly feature called “New Zealand Pride”. They pick out little moments from overseas movies, TV shows, etc where New Zealand is mentioned. Months ago I submitted an idea for it and tonight it was used. There’s a scene in the David Mamet film “Heist” where Gene Hackman’s character has acquired two false New Zealand passports. If you look really closely you can see that the city of issue is “New Castle” which is not in New Zealand. See, if I was a customs official Gene Hackman wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I saw “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” today. I’d seen it before in gay Paris, so it was novel seeing it without French subtitles. I also wasn’t sick, so I didn’t cough all the way through it. There were a bunch of giggly girls who girlishly giggled whenever Sam Rockwell’s barenaked buttocks were shown. It’s good film. It’s beautifully photographed (cinematographed?) and I am easily won over by the kind of tricky love that Chuck and Penny have. And it has the infamous “in the ass” segment of “The Newlywed Game”.

Miao Miao’s Last Stand

Poisonous Love
Hong Kong – A primary school beauty killed herself and four of her friends and admirers drank poison in torment over their tangled relationships, reports said yesterday. The 13-year-old girl, known as Miao Miao, killed herself by drinking poison on May 19 because no many boys in the school loved her, according to the China Daily. Three of her admirers and one female school friend then took poison themselves in the days following Miao Miao’s death but were rushed to hospital and saved. – dpa

If only I suffered from such problems.

Fries with this

From today’s Herald:

Nelson’s brothels bylaw to set limits

A new bylaw being drafted by the Nelson City Council will stop brothels setting up in residential areas.

Nelson Mayor Paul Matheson said he and police had met the owner of an inner-city establishment to discuss the prostitution reform laws and how they would work in Nelson.

“I think what we all fear is someone starting up a chain of brothels, like McDonald’s or Burger King.”

Quick! Someone must make a “fries with that” joke! Hurry!

Undesirable

From the New Zealand Herald, 28 June 1999

“Takapuna Grammar, on the Auckland North Shore, has banned students from bringing cellphones, because of fears they will interrupt classes, distract students and encourage contact with undesirable influences, such as drug suppliers.”

When I read it I laughed. I don’t specifically know what the students at Takapuna Grammar are like, but I’m guessing they are probably just normal teenagers. Apparently their school thinks that cellphones are going to mess them up.

So what, the teachers can’t do what movie theatres do and request that students turn their phones off before coming to class? And if your phone does rings during class then your teacher gets to confiscate it for a day or something. Is that too hard?

What do they think, the students are going to take calls in the middle of class with everyone else listening?

And I laughed even more at the “contact with undesirable influences” comment. Ringing up drug dealers? I think someone had been watching too many Hughes brothers films. Like some guy’s going to ring up in the middle of maths and order a vial of crack.

And y’know, when I was at high school I don’t think anyone had a cellphone, and people still managed to get drugs.

Oh wait, it’s not even the buying of drugs on the phone (“Yeah, stick it on my dad’s Visa”) that is the concern, it’s the undesirable influence of the drug suppliers. Like this:

[Ring ring]
Drug Supplier: Hello, Nasty Neil’s 24/7 Drug Emporium. Neil speaking.
Student: Hi, it’s Chris here from Takapuna Grammar. I would like to buy some marijuana cigarettes, please.
Drug Supplier: Drop out of school, do lots of drugs, steal things, scare old ladies, do wheelies in public parks and generally have no respect for authority.
Student: Ok, cool. Thanks.
Drug Supplier: Bye.

The negative effects of cellphones are being highly inflated and the positive effects aren’t even being looked at. Gee, what out of character behaviour that is coming from school administrators!

For a young man or woman, especially one who does not have their own means of transport, a cellphone can be a very useful tool and can offer a certain degree of security and freedom.

And it saves them using the school’s phone which costs the school 4 cents per minute.