Sunday, July 15, 2007

Transformers - More than meets the eye

As a kid, I loved Transformers. They were better than GI Joe, they were better than MASK, better even than Voltron. Not quite as good as Lego, but hey - what is? My brother and I had a whole bunch of Transformers between us - he had Optimus Prime, but I had the five Aerialbots who combined together to make Superion, a much bigger robot. They were technically both Autobots but as we didn’t have too many Decepticons our battles were basically an Autobot civil war.

I must admit, when I heard of a Transformers movie I was sceptical. When I heard that it was to be live action rather than a cartoon, I was incredulous. So it was with some trepidation, and minimal expectations, that I went to see it tonight.

I was blown away.

This is the best movie I’ve seen since Revenge of the Sith - and, if I am to be perfectly honest, outdid even that movie in terms of its general excellence. Sith relied far too much on the green screen, and it showed. Transformers makes a huge use of CGI as well, but it is so seamless and realistic that you often forget that what you are seeing is the result of months and months of painstaking work, moving thousands of individual components on each robot to effect the transformation.

Bumblebee’s metamorphosis into a Camero rather than a VW Beetle was something I lamented, but having seen the movie I now agree that it added to his value rather than diminishing it. I’m still not sure about Megatron - the traditional Walther P38 into which he used to transform was a favourite of mine, whereas the new Cybertronian jet design will take some getting used to. And no Soundwave? Okay, they have Frenzy who fulfils that role, but I always liked the dynamic where you had the ever loyal Soundwave reporting on what the other Decepticons were doing to Megatron, and the rebellious Starscream who is always positioning himself to take over. Optimus Prime was awesome and probably the one who most closely resembled the traditional model.

Unlike the old toys, which as robots still looked very much like their pre-transformed forms, the Transformers in this movie look very robotic - perhaps a little too robotic, for my taste, but that is a purely stylistic and aesthetic thing.

Oh yeah, and Megan Fox? More like Mega-Fox if you ask me. Very nice.

Overall, however, the movie was extremely well done and I think that most of the 80s generation who loved the original Transformers will appreciate this film. We - and those who are being introduced to Transformers for the first time - will unite in our eager anticipation for a sequel - perhaps with Galvatron to lead the Decepticons this time?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Down and Out - and on Top of the Heap!

I wish I didn’t have a job.

I wish I couldn’t afford to rent my own place.

Then I could do whatever I wanted, confident in the government’s willingness to give me dole money AND a house.

I am always interested to see how many of the ‘assisted housing’ projects have Sky satellite dishes on the rooves. I can’t afford Sky - and if I could, I’m working too hard to get to watch it, other than the occasional rugby or cricket highlights if I was lucky. Yet somehow the bottom rung of society lives a better life than I do.

Now, apparently, not only do they NOT have to get jobs and actually contribute to the society which looks after them, but they can also do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want, without fear of being thrown out of the house which the state has provided them.

The Auckland Tenancy Tribunal decided that Sharon Salt and her family, who were accused of terrorising the neighbourhood, can stay in their state house. Apparently, there was ‘not enough evidence’ to enforce the eviction sought by Housing NZ.

Somewhere, some loose connection is ringing out. Oh, yes. At least one of the suspects from the recent terror alert in London had previously been investigated, but not held ‘due to insufficient evidence’. Trial by jury, habeas corpus, and all that lovely ‘innocent until proven guilty’ stuff was all very well for a while, but now it is destroying our society. Unfortunately, until we have an impeccable and incorruptible police force and judiciary, we can’t get rid of it.

Back to the Salts. (And if any decision was an ‘assault’ on reason, this would be one!) Apparently some good has come of all this - Mrs Salt now no longer allows the worst of her nine children (NINE? Where are we, the African jungles in the 12th century? Population control, people - this planet isn’t big enough for us all to have NINE children!) to live in the house, and apparently the family’s behaviour has improved. Some say, however, that this is the result of media scrutiny - so maybe the NZ Herald can permanently employ a photographer to stand out on the public footpath and monitor the family for the next two decades, just to ensure some peace?

Oh, and this HAD to happen - Mrs Salt's lawyer (I can’t afford a lawyer! How can people who can’t afford a house somehow afford a lawyer? Oh, I forgot - Legal Aid. We’re paying for her lawyer as well. Isn’t life grand? No, apparently they are not using Legal Aid - so WHERE is the money coming from?) indicated that they were thinking about seeking compensation for police harassment, and considering action to recover the costs of fighting the HNZ eviction. A lawyer specialising in humans rights issues (therefore costing MORE money than a normal lawyer) has also been asked to review the case. (Where have they found all this money if they are not using Legal Aid? And if it was that easy to find, why can’t they rent their own house rather than a State House?) And we all know what this liberal ‘I feel so guilty for being well-off’ lawyer will come out with.

Would anyone else like to join me in seceding?

New Zealand's (in)Justice System

What do people have to do to be permanently removed from society?

Ask Roger Kahui, who was convicted yesterday on 26 counts stemming from his repeated rape of a Pukekohe woman in her own home - less than a year after his release from an eight year sting in prison.

Kahui (yes, related to THOSE Kahuis) had already racked up an astonishing 140 convictions, including rape and indecent assault, before appearing in court on the latest charges. And, surprise surprise, he claimed it was not rape - no, Your Honour, it was consensual. According to his statement, the ‘devil’ came out of him when he went to the woman’s home to get money to support his P habit. (What another surprise - are there any criminals left that DON'T have a P habit?) He also expressed regret for the consensual sex which he claimed to have ensued - and maybe I’m doing it wrong, because I didn’t realise that while having consensual sex with someone you have to put a pillowcase over their head, and afterwards you have to make them take a shower to remove DNA traces. How romantic.

"I'm not a rapist," he said. "I don't care about these chicks, I'm not worried about them."

This prince of a man will be up for sentencing soon, and the Crown will be asking for preventive detention with no definitive parole period. Let’s hope the presiding judge shows that he has some balls and actually gives this scum what he deserves.

Oh, and ask yourself what is more inhumane - the death penalty for repeat serious offenders, or releasing them back into society so they can inflict more pain on more people?

The only sentence which guarantees a 100% non-recidivism rate - Death. Think about it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Terror in London

Trouble in the Mother Country - a wave of terror has narrowly been averted, but who knows what may occur in the coming days and weeks?

On Saturday June 30 two men slammed a modified SUV - modified into a bomb, that is - into Glasgow Airport’s entrance doors, less than two days after two car bombs were found in London. (Apparently Thursday night is ‘ladies night’ at Tiger Tiger, the bar outside which one of the two cars was parked - while some authorities suggest it shows the disdain of the bombers towards the supposed promiscuity of Western women, I think it is actually because they were sexually frustrated ugly bastards who couldn’t get a date because none of the women liked their beards.) The attempted attacks came almost two years after suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in the ‘Tube Bombings’ of 7/7, and amid heightened awareness of the threat which is present in today’s world. All of this coincided with the first days of Britain’s new Government, under Gordon Brown (aka ‘that Scottish Git’) - the final end of English independence. Could this have been an unknown group of English Nationalists at work to destroy the foreign government?

No. Not unless English Nationalists wear turbans and shout ‘Allah, Allah’ as they are struggling with police.

The United Kingdom is now on a critical threat level - another attack is thought to be imminent - and once again those of us in the Western world have to ask ourselves why some people in the Middle East and Islamic World hate us so much as to constantly attack civilian and metropolitan areas. What can we do about it? We can only thank our lucky stars that the people behind these attacks were rank amateurs who couldn’t follow instructions from the internet adequately enough to make the bombs go boom - which any Year 12 Chemistry or Physics student here would be able to manage within half an hour.

Interestingly enough, none of the five who have been arrested for the attacks so far are British citizens - which is part of the reason for why MI5 and police were taken so completely by surprise. There are over 2000 British residents under surveillance to prevent or bust a home grown terror plot, but it is hard to keep an eye on every single foreigner that comes into the country.

It does make you wonder how many of the 2000 are natural born British citizens though. I can’t help but think back to Omar Khyam, who went on trial while I was over in London at the start of the year for planning to kill thousands of people with a 590kg fertiliser bomb in a shopping mall or a nightclub. He, apparently, was British born, yet that did not stop him from taking full advantage of the benefits free society had to offer, exploiting the freedoms he sought to destroy with such evil purpose, and betraying the country that gave him every advantage in life (as said by Mr Justice Astill as he sentenced Khyam and his cronies to life in prison two months ago).

Astill also spoke of the “spiral of contamination” which began with “the teachers and preachers of hatred and revenge who so often lurk in the shadows”. And he was right. We allow fundamentalists - not just Muslims - to poison our people with hatred and bigotry, and then wonder why they want to destroy us.

Our free society is working against us. All the freedoms which we give our people are being utilised by those who hate us, and yet we pander to foreign cultures with our political correctness and unwillingness to offend anyone for any reason whatsoever. These people laugh at the notion of freedom. They willingly risk and end their own lives to bring about international traditionalist sharia law, ending all of the freedoms which we enjoy today.

The next time a Muslim woman claims the right to wear her hijab, ask yourself if non Muslim women have the freedom not to wear them in those countries. Last month Malaysia’s highest civil court ruled that Lina Joy did not have the right to convert to Christianity - and therefore prevented her from marrying, as Muslims are not permitted to marry non-Muslims unless the non-Muslim converts. And this is in a supposedly secular country! Compare Malaysia to Iran, where you could face the death penalty for converting from Islam.

The problem is, the West still needs oil and much of it is in the Islamic world.

I actually think the oil crisis is the best thing that can happen to us, and I urge everyone out there to figure out how to create and use alternatives to oil. Not for any environmental reasons, although this would be a great side effect. Simply, if we no longer need oil, we no longer need the Middle East. And once we no longer need it, we can demand that the governments there control their people - or we won’t give them any aid. Europe needs to act now my three step programme to end the War on Terror.

I) Widen the Bosporus to at least 30 km wide (this will mean the destruction of either East or West Istanbul, and believe me as an historian I am mighty upset about that, but we’ll just have to make the sacrifice and live with it), and then either dig a 50 km canal from the Black Sea to the Baltic, or build a massive wall and keep the next 50km on the eastern side completely uninhabited and desolate, with underground microphones all around the place to detect tunnelling.

II) Ban ALL flights from the Middle East, Northern Africa and South East Asia into Europe, the UK, the Americas, Australia, and NZ - and ban anyone coming from anywhere else in the world if they have been there or were born there. (If South and Central America don’t tow the line here, then it will be a lot easier to dig a canal along the Mexican-US border, and a wall is already being built in places anyway!)

III) Accept the fact that religious freedom comes at a price - extreme fundamentalists of ANY religion will either be exiled or executed for their beliefs. We cannot live in a safe society while people within the society want to destroy it.

If Russia, China, India and other parts of the world want to remain a part of the proper world, they will have to adopt the same measures. Unfortunately our consumerist society still depends on a lot of the Third World to fuel the production of cheap and useless consumer items, so we are going to have to make a few sacrifices - and the big companies will just have to stop exploiting poor countries so that we can get cheap stuff. We have enough lowly educated people here to do all the donkey work which we normally import people from those countries to do for us (and, let’s face it, we already have more than enough over qualified taxi drivers!) - and we’ll see how the rest of the world likes living without the capitalist democratic society which we enjoy so much.

I know, I know, I should be the UN Secretary General …

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