Archive for July, 2007

Pimp my APC

tank4.jpgWANT!

Like a limo, only not.

This APC is availible for hire if you want to go to town in style! Seats 8, plus three crew and comes complete with a champagne filled fridge in the back. I’m a tad dissapointed that it doesn’t have chrome spinners fitted but, on balance, it’s still pimp.

Seems to have no weaponry. How will they debus under fire from the club door? Seems like a shortfall. Maybe they could lob champagne bottles from the crew commander’s hatch. Or just drive through the door and debus directly onto the dance floor. That gets my vote, except the vehicle may suddenly be supporting the floor above and therefore difficult to drive home in.

The fridge is a nice touch, though in Waiouru it’s generally much harder to heat things up than keep things cool, so I can see why they’ve never fitted such a thing to our APCs. Actually, having said that, it gets bloody hot in the back of those things and the new LAV IIIs have AC for that reason. One up on the Aussies there! And they live in a hotter place. Suckers. The LAVs are quite pimp.

Some kiwis may recall a few years back when a couple of soldiers borrowed an M113 APC (since retired from service, uncomfortable bastards of things that they were) and drove it to town. I seem to recall they were boozed to start with, got it to town, continued getting boozed, forgot about it, and got a cab home. The army was apparently phoned by the owner of the bar it was left outside the following morning with a message going something like “I think I may have something belonging to you…” I can’t recall which camp (I seem to recall it being Linton, outside Palmerston North) and I don’t remember if the soldiers in question were actually caught (though I think they were). I know it made the papers, but a bit before the ubiquitous time of google. Details may be up somewhere, but a quick search to refresh my memory yields nothing.

I did hear a great story of the whole unit being lined up and the culprits ordered to step forward, whereupon the whole unit stepped up with the whole “I am Spartacus” motive. Not sure if that one is true. I like to think it is.

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Presidential Polyps

Wrestled wholesale from the clutches of Scott Adams at the Dilbert Blog:

“President Bush recently had some polyps removed from his colon. Sometimes polyps can turn cancerous, but I doubt his are. After all, President Bush hasn’t had much luck finding weapons of ass destruction.

I’m posting this now before someone else thinks of it. I might already be too late.

And allow me to be the first to wonder aloud how the surgeons could see past Condi’s head to see those polyps.”

Fairly straight to the point – that’s pretty much the whole post. He also has some wonderful missives that are much more developed.

If you don’t read that blog, I submit two things:

  1. You should
  2. Do it now

I love watching this guy’s mind at work. It’s like mine, only it spends more time blogging and drawing and is richer.

Dammit.

The Media Circus

dbp.jpgHere’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. It’s been sitting in the back of my mind.

I can’t decide which side of the fence I sit on with respect to the new restrictions placed on the media in Parliament’s press gallery. Particularly since there is now a live stream from parliament so you can see everything.

I’ve been slightly distrustful of tv cameras in the house for some time. I get the feeling it leads to MPs attempting to ‘soundbyte’ their speaches for the news. I’m not sure I like it, but this alone doesn’t quite lead me to call for banning them in their entirity. I think if you are to have them at all, then the rules were actually too restrictive.

The new restrictions allow more freedoms for television cameras (e.g. wider shots and being alowed to show the reaction of MPs) but less for photographers. The rules also prevent the use of any footage or images to be used for the satire, ridicule or denegration of MPs.

As expected, there has been a bitter howl of resentment from the press, and a quite amusing stint of civil disobedience on their part.

I think the disparity between television and print journalisms smacks of inconsistency, and I don’t like it.

What gets me is the new rules for which images can be used. That’s bollocks. It’s now illegal to use them for satire with politicians in this country. Satire is a legitimate form of free speach and should not be trifled with. You are also not allowed to show politicians in the house doing unflattering things like sleeping or picking their nose or whatever.

I can see a point in defence of these rules, which is that MPs don’t like personal attacks based on their habits or appearance in the house. In principal I agree because I don’t see that recent shots of an MP picking his nose in Parliament is especially newsworthy material. Good taste would suggest that the news shouldn’t have shown it anyway, but they chose to. I also don’t see a problem with MPs who pick their nose running the country. If the action allows them to keep oxygen flowing to the brain, hence enabling a clearer thought process, I’m pretty OK with them remaining in parliament.

The point has been made that parliament sits for seven hours at a stretch, and it is quite hard to sit for that length of time under an unflinching recorded gaze without slipping up a few times. I appreciate the difficulty as I wouldn’t like to sit under that scrutiny either. Not all MPs sit through this in any given sitting, however. After a brief period, most MPs are free to leave, with only a small quorum rostered on to stay.

My stand is this: MPs hold the highest offices in the land. They are paid well over double the average wage. I have no doubt they work hard for it. I sympathise that they are sometimes misrepresented in the media. However, even if you are rostered on for a sitting, I will not tolerate you sleeping in parliament. You are there to represent the people who elected you and I detest this level of disrespect. For this reason I will stand against any move to prevent my being informed of this.

I have seen soldiers. They have not slept more that a few hours at a stretch for weeks on end. They have been wet through and freezing that whole time. They have been scarcely and irregularly fed. They are battle fatigued from having their nerves on edge and trying to sustain alertness. They are tired to the point of hallucination. I have seen them lie unmoving in a hole in the ground at 3am and stare into the unchanging darkness for hours looking for an enemy that is not expected to come, waiting for relief that never seems to arrive.

I submit that if you are rostered to sit in the house, you better front up concious. Yet some of our MPs can’t remain awake for a few hours during question time. For better or worse, MPs are public figures and the public should have a right to know how they are being represented in the house.

The banning of satire is particularly insulting.

Fortunately these rules are ‘session rules’ and stand only for the term of the present parliament. They can be moved to a permanent standing order by the Standing Orders Committee.

I don’t think they got this set quite right, but I’m not sure reverting to the old rules is an improvement.

Two letters in one

My brother’s girlfriend is a foreigner, and he asked me to provide a reference letter testifying as to the length and stability of their relationship. After knocking out (quite a nice) letter to that effect, decided an edit was in order to more accurately reflect the people in question. Deletes in strikethroughs, additions is italics.

Then I replaced the original letter with that reprinted below. Lets see if he notices…

Names have been changed to protect the degenerates involved.

RE:
MUPPETLOVER” AND “SAUCE-ON-A-STICK”

To Whom It May Concern Bore To Within An Inch Of Death,

I am writing in support of to crush an application by Sauce on A Stick for a Partnership Visa based on her relationship with my brother Muppetlover. I have no hesitation supporting such an application, as they are both crazy and can confirm that they should have been in a committed and stable relationship to an asylum for the past two and a half years.

Sauce on a Stick and Muppetlover work routinely pee in the snow industry, which requires that they follow the winter seasons. At present they alternate between the USA and New Zealand, spending roughly six months dollars per year in each. It is a stressful and often unstable lifestyle. Uprooting your miserable excuse for a life and transplanting it halfway around the world twice a year is not easy nuts but they do it anyway, and is worse for a couple. In keeping with this lifestyle, friendships and relationships are often fleeting polygamous and frighteningly kinky. That they have maintained a stable relationship for two and a half years should be viewed in this context treated as a complete and total reconstruction of reality. It is quite an achievement being as the laws of space and time are not fully understood yet, and I know of no lots of reasons that it should not continue to last devolve into an orgy of killing and the loss of the bond on their flat.

I have known Sauce on A Stick personally for just over two years. I can vouch for her as a woman of highly flawed judgement – just look at my brother, I mean seriously – look at him sitting there thinking he’s people sound character, a charlatan with heavy dependence on crack, body and mind. She is edumacated and highly industriousal with a penchant for Satanist death metal and rituals, and brings a wide (*wink*) range of life experience with her, as her CV can no doubt prove to you.

I have lived with them both at a previous address in the past, and barely survived and have been pleased blackmailed with my own extensive collection of gelatine pornstar scale replicas into offering them a room at my house whenever they are passing through avoiding the authorities in Auckland.

I would be pleased to make myself available to any hot chicks working there for any further comment on the size of my wang or information you require on said wang. I can be contacted at any time for sex by any of the abovementioned means hotchicks.

Best regards,

Me
Wang 9” and 3/16ths

Can you tell it was the end of the day when I wrote it?

This is the most efficient humour you will read today – two letters in such a small space! You should be able to read the original letter if you look for it.

Moral of the story: if you’re related to me don’t ask for character references…

Balls of Very Old Bronze

vc1.jpgCrimean Bronze!

Cpl Bill Apiata, of 1 NZSAS group, has won the Victoria Cross For New Zealand for an action in Afghanistan in 2004. People may not be aware that New Zealand separated our honour system from the UK’s in 1999, thereby doing away with things such as knighthoods and the Victoria Cross. New equivalent honours were instituted in place, including the Victoria Cross For New Zealand, making Cpl Apiata the first recipient of the VC in its present form. It has not been won by a New Zealander since WWII.

Whatever people think of the Afghan conflict, I’ve always felt that the actions of those involved should be recognised – particularly in cases like this. Rather than paraphrase, I present the full citation:

VICTORIA CROSS FOR NEW ZEALAND (V.C.)

Corporal Bill Henry APIATA (M181550) – Citation

“Lance Corporal (now Corporal) Apiata was, in 2004, part of a New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) Troop on patrol in Afghanistan, which laid up in defensive formation for the night.

At approximately 0315 hours, the Troop was attacked by a group of about twenty enemy fighters, who had approached by stealth using the cover of undulating ground in pitch darkness. Rocket-propelled grenades struck two of the Troop’s vehicles, destroying one and immobilising the other.

The opening strike was followed by dense and persistent machine gun and automatic rifle fire from close range.

The attack then continued using further rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun and rifle fire. The initial attack was directed at the vehicle where Lance Corporal Apiata was stationed.

He was blown off the bonnet by the impact of rocket propelled grenades striking the vehicle. He was dazed, but was not physically injured.

The two other vehicle crew members had been wounded by shrapnel; one of them, Corporal D, was in a serious condition.

Illuminated by the burning vehicle, and under sustained and accurate enemy fire directed at and around their position, the three soldiers immediately took what little cover was available. Corporal D was discovered to have sustained lifethreatening wounds. The other two soldiers immediately began applying basic first aid.

Lance Corporal Apiata assumed command of the situation, as he could see that his superior’s condition was deteriorating rapidly.

By this time, however, Lance Corporal Apiata’s exposed position, some seventy metres in front of the rest of the Troop, was coming under increasingly intense enemy fire. Corporal D was now suffering serious arterial bleeding and was lapsing in and out of consciousness.

Lance Corporal Apiata concluded that his comrade urgently required medical attention, or he would likely die. Pinned down by the enemy, in the direct line of fire between friend and foe, he also judged that there was almost no chance of such help reaching their position.

As the enemy pressed its attack towards Lance Corporal Apiata’s position, and without thought of abandoning his colleague to save himself, he took a decision in the highest order of personal courage under fire. Knowing the risks involved in moving to open ground, Lance Corporal Apiata decided to carry Corporal D singlehandedly to the relative safety of the main Troop position, which afforded better cover and where medical treatment could be given.

He ordered his other colleague, Trooper E, to make his own way back to the rear.

In total disregard of his own safety, Lance Corporal Apiata stood up and lifted his comrade bodily. He then carried him across the seventy metres of broken, rocky and fire swept ground, fully exposed in the glare of battle to heavy enemy fire and into the face of returning fire from the main Troop position. That neither he nor his colleague were hit is scarcely possible. Having delivered his wounded companion to relative shelter with the remainder of the patrol, Lance Corporal Apiata re-armed himself and rejoined the fight in counter-attack.

By his actions, he removed the tactical complications of Corporal D’s predicament from considerations of rescue.

The Troop could now concentrate entirely on prevailing in the battle itself. After an engagement lasting approximately twenty minutes, the assault was broken up and the numerically superior attackers were routed with significant casualties, with the Troop in pursuit.

Lance Corporal Apiata had thereby contributed materially to the operational success of the engagement. A subsequent medical assessment confirmed that Corporal D would probably have died of blood loss and shock, had it not been for Lance Corporal Apiata’s selflessly courageous act in carrying him back to the main Troop lines, to receive the immediate treatment that he needed.”

Actions of the highest order. 70 metres may not sound a great deal, but in battle it’s miles. Soldiers are trained in fire and manoevre in pairs along the lines of ‘dash-down-crawl.’ From a prone position, and with his mate providing covering fire, the soldier will dash, drop to the ground and crawl. He will then provide covering fire for his mate as they move The length of dash varies, but is usually three to five paces. Often it’s simply crawled as fast as possible, a couple of metres at a time. Some assaults can crawl for hundreds of metres. After dropping, the soldier crawls so that he does not reappear in the same spot he dropped. Three to five paces is about as far as you are expected to make it without being hit in those kinds of firefights.

Cpl Apiata stood, threw his mate on his back, and ran seventy metres uphill over loose rock, in conditions where he was probably the only visible target to about twenty heavily armed enemy. He also ran into the fire lines of his fellow troop members above him on the hill, where he would have been barely visible, or silhouetted. That he was not shot by his mates shows the strong fire discipline of these soldiers. It’s instinctive to shoot at anyone coming towards you in those situations.

Also, I believe that Apiata knew what he risked. He’s an experienced soldier, in an elite fighting unit. I believe he knew his odds were zero. But he had also made the correct assessment that his mate’s chances were less than zero by any other course of action. So he went.

That is why VCs are inscribed ‘for valour

Kia Kaha Bill.

UPDATE: I’m getting a few hits on this from some fairy curious looking search terms. For those interested, the following sites might be worth a look:

New Zealand VC Winners – Wikipedia
The Victoria Cross – Main Wikipedia Article including history and many useful links

Newscasting Gold

Anyone else sick of Paris Hilton? We’re lucky down here that we don’t get tonnes of this sort of thing, but we get quite enough thankyou very much.

I actually agree with Scott Adams that Paris might be more than a vacant vapid shell. Her ‘job’ is to be consistently interesting to the media, and she might actually be better at that than I am at my job.

Which brings me to the newscasting part. Out there, there are newscasters that are even more fed up with telling us about Ms Hilton than you and I are with hearing about her.

I don’t know who this woman is, but I salute her for her principals. I love journalists who show some spine. Even if they are very angry at the time:

Bonus points to having workmates that like yanking your chain…

Hat-tip kiwiblog