Monday, June 25, 2012

Football Football Football!!!

It has been a little while between posts so I thought I would start back with the European Championships currently on in Poland and Ukraine.

The Euros are often considered to be a better tournament than the World Cup. With the exception of Brazil and Argentina the sixteen teams competing are generally the best teams in the world. You don't have any of the rubbish teams from Asia or North America (or the All Whites). There are few dud matches and it throws up amazing groups like Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark.

For some inexplicable reason UEFA have decided to increase the number of teams competing to twenty after this years tournament, so it is one to be cherished. Another reason to cherish this tournament is the participation of a Spanish side right up there with the greatest sides in history and a young German side going from strength to strength.

So far things have been going to plan. The Spanish have been passing their opponents into submission while the Germans have been beating teams with speed and vigor. Not wanting to disappoint the English went out on penalties this morning with Wayne Rooney again failing to perform in the knock-out stages of a major tournament.

This first tournament in Eastern Europe was littered with potential problems and apart from a few instances of racism (and the expectedly weak response from UEFA) it has gone well. Human Rights campaigners who have tried to draw attention to their cause by exposing their breasts may have picked the wrong tactic for the alcohol fueled mainly male fans.

On Thursday (NZ time) Portugal take on Spain in the first semi-final followed by Germany versus Italy the following day. And all things being right in the world we can hopefully look forward to a European classic between Spain and Germany on Monday morning.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Week That Was

It has been a wee while between posts and plenty has happened in that time.

- Elizabeth Windsor celebrated sixty years as the head of state of the United Kindgom over the weekend. I have decided to refer to her as Elizabeth Windsor in the future as hereditary titles are disgusting and have no place in the 21st century. Some people want New Zealand to wait until Elizabeth Windsor passes before moving to a republic, but I say bugger that, it's time to remove this archaic institution. It would have been a great moment to start when...

- John Key met with Elizabeth Windsor this week. He gave her some Kapiti Cheese and she asked for a status update on the ChristChurch Cathedral, but didn't care to ask about the 200,000 children living in poverty in New Zealand ,the thousands deciding life is greener on the other side of the Tasman or the changes to the welfare system (You might think the world's largest welfare beneficiary would be interested in that sort of thing but I guess not).

- The Green Party had their AGM and celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Values Party. As they go from strength to strength in the polls they are preparing for a future in which they will be part of the government and not on the outside and how this will effect the consensus decision-making the have practiced.

- Education Minister Hekia Parata has been forced to back down over planned class size changes after practically every man and his dog came out against them. It has been one big embarrassment for the government and the questions now is will she stay or will she go?

There were some other small bits and pieces going on:
- Bronwyn Pullar was cleared of blackmail by the police and now ACC has some serious questions to answer.
- Philip Mountbatten was appointed to the Order of New Zealand. WTF???
- Robyn Malcolm tested over the legal limit at a random breath test.
- Vodafone wants to buy TelstraClear.
- In an attempt to deflect attention away from Hekia Parata, Paula Bennett announced the sterilisation of abusive parents (That may be a slight exaggeration).
- Christchurch got snowed on.
- and my man Julian Savea got named in the All Blacks' starting line-up for the first test against Ireland.

Lastly, its economy might be going to hell in a handbag but it's good to see Greek politicians are not letting that get in the way of an open and reasoned discourse: