Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thanks George

According to CNN. The Bush administration will release oil from federal petroleum reserve to help refiners affected by Hurricane Katrina, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Wednesday.

The move, which was expected later in the day, is designed to give refineries a temporary supply of crude oil to take the place of interrupted shipments from tankers or offshore oil platforms affected by the storm.

The U.S. Minerals Management Service said Tuesday that 95 percent of the Gulf of Mexico's oil output was out of service. Oil prices surged back above $70 in European markets on Wednesday but slipped quickly to $69.56 after disclosure of the decision involving the release of supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Eight refineries were shut down due to Katrina -- half of them producing gasoline.

The government's emergency petroleum stockpile -- nearly 700 million barrels of oil stored in underground salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast -- was established to cushion oil markets during energy disruptions.

It probably wont lower the price of gasoline, but it may prevent it form going higher for the time being.... Way to go George.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Petrol prices are out of control

When I first moved to Los Angeles in March 2002, the average price of gas per gallon was $1.50. With the higher octane fuels it was about $1.85. Everyone was shocked when it went over $2.... Well I filled up my car yesterday at $3.15 per gallon. It is getting out of control. The cost of a barrel of oil is around $71 today... If it gets much higher then I call upon George W Bush to open the US oil reserves and help us all.
The record high price seems to have hit the March 1981 historical high price of $3.08 per gallon (1981 price adjusted for inflation using 2005 dollars). Airline tickets are increasing, wall-mart's bottom line is getting scrubbed, and I dont like paying over $40 to fill my tank. Just as the automotive companies are bringing out some powerful vehicles, this happens.....crap.

Start drilling in Alaska boys.

Who will be the next James Bond?

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond films, and MGM announced that Martin Campbell will direct CASINO ROYALE, the 21st film in the 007 franchise.

This is Campbell's second time as helmer of a James Bond film. In 1995 he directed the hit GOLDENEYE which introduced Pierce Brosnan to the role of 007 with great success.

Martin Campbell was born in NZ and moved to UK in 1966 to begin his successful carreer as a top knotch director.

The question that really begs to be answered is... Who will be the next James Bond?

Monday, August 29, 2005

A political party with some balls. ACT.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005

ACT will end New Zealand’s failed 30-year experiment of being nice to prisoners, ACT Corrections spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

ACT Leader Rodney Hide and Mr Franks today launched ACT’s prison and punishment policy outside Rimutaka Prison, Wellington.

“ACT will deliberately make prisons unpleasant. There will be no more resort conditions. If it takes hard labour then so be it.

“The theory that if we are nice to criminals for long enough they might be nice back to us has failed. Prison is to punish – not cure. The sickness theory of crime buries personal responsibility for the choice between good and evil and right and wrong.

“New Zealand has high crime and high prison rates. Criminals can gamble on there not being enough police to catch them and they know they will get feeble sentences.

“Kiwis are sick of this touchy feely attitude to criminals. ACT will ensure prisons are safe but so unpleasant that no one will want to go back,“ Mr Franks said.

In addition, ACT will:

Reject the UN rule that prohibits hard labour and says that being imprisoned is enough punishment.

Remove voting rights from all prisoners.

Return discretionary authority to staff to allow them to reward and punish prisoners for good or bad behaviour.

Beef up the Police Complaints Authority to investigate prisoner abuse complaints.

Abolish financial windfall awards to prisoners for alleged human rights breaches.

Restore the power to judges to choose punishments to fit the crime, including the type of prison and where, when and how community sentences are served.

Make home detention become home and work detention, confined to people who are in full time work or training.

Reinstate private sector prison managers, especially to establish new youth prisons.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Center right have work to do

The Labour party is still ahead in the polls. It seems that the center right has some serious work to do. It also looks like Winston and Don are reluctant to work together leaving ACT as the ideal partner for National. Problem is that National is seen as the innovator with a lot of these new policies that ACT has been pushing for years, and unsavvy voters think that ACT and National are one in the same. National is taking votes from the oxygen needed to form government. ACT is also having difficulty making the 5% threshold at this stage because of the National vote drive. Now anything is possible and momentum is building for ACT, but if the stratagies have not been planned well between the parties of the centre right, then we may well see another 3 years of Hell-en.

Cartoon cut out

I found these cartoon cut outs on They were created by Murray Web and we are all invited to print them out and use them as necessary. I suggest that to help ACT build profile so as they reach the 5% mark and win Epsom electorate....Print out the cartoon of Rodney and wear it...... WOO HOO.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bob Jones on MMP

This is Bob Jones's idea on MMP and the upcoming election according to the NZ Herald..

Here's what's historically unique about this election. For the first time ever, there's no interest in individual candidates and likely close electorate contests. It's taken four MMP elections to shed the habits of the past. In the pre-MMP era, winning government could sometimes turn on half a dozen closely contested seats - but no longer, which is a pity as it's removed much of the interest from elections.

The only exceptions are in seats where, inexplicably, often high-profile candidates have opted not to go on the list. John Tamihere is a case in point. His Maori Party rival Pita Sharples will almost certainly enter Parliament on the party vote even should he lose to Tamihere.

If Tamihere loses, then not being on the list, he's out. It's quite possibly his best vote-seeking argument.

MMP has removed the former ground-level slog from politics, all of which has led to a plethora of parties.

Produce 500 names, call yourself a party and you're on the ballot-paper and entitled to free television time.

All elections flush up nondescript show-off types. They exchange the humiliation of receiving only a handful of votes for a fleeting place in the public eye, before returning to well deserved obscurity.

The Australians have a term, "the donkey vote" - because even a donkey would receive some votes through voter error or ignorance.

But now, with no media focus on individual electorate contests, that lunatic fringe candidate phenomenon has been replaced by lunatic fringe parties.

I watched in amazement, the one-hour free television time party broadcasts as the last 20 minutes were given over to the nutter parties, all allocated a minute each.

God help me if Social Credit, now calling themselves The Democrats, didn't re-emerge, regurgitating old film of their glory days a quarter of a century ago. Will they ever die off decently?

Still, they provided some comic relief in the 1970s, especially their annual conferences which drew the toupee-topped Waynes and moon-faced Sharlenes from small town New Zealand, turning up in their Crimplene safari suits and Skodas to listen to the demented ravings of wild-eyed monetary reform fanatics.

Then up popped the Alliance malcontents with gloomy film footage of what they represent - namely street protests and striking workers. These Alliance misanthropes don't need votes; they need pre-frontal lobotomies, or at the very least, a damn good flogging for having such a bleak outlook on life.

Next up, a couple of scruffs took turns chanting how they would wipe out the bureaucracy, taxes et al - these being the Libertarians. No lads, you won't do that, or indeed anything with your lives, unless you toss away your Ayn Rand bibles and get on with actually living.

After that, an elderly woman seated beside a piano quaveringly urged support for her 99-seat parliament proposal. Many would agree with her but not with their vote as it would be wasted. This is no way to achieve constitutional change.

Best of all was a Fat Buggers Party, or I assume that was its intended purpose as it consisted of group shots of obese supporters and there was no coherent rationale proffered.

Still, they were happy fatties, which you certainly can't say for the miserable Alliance losers.

They're wasting their time, though, as Parekura Horomia has the fat vote wrapped up for Labour, notwithstanding National's ploy in promoting Gerry Brownlee to deputy leader.

All of this raises a common misjudgment made by single-issue enthusiasts. Whatever their cause - be it hunting, fatness or left-handedness - they pin a naive faith on fellow hunters, fatties and left-handed people to vote for them.

But they don't. If they did, Peter Dunne would long since have started a two-legged people's party and would be Prime Minister by now.

I wish Bob Jones was P.M it would be classic.

What is the deal with ANZ Airpoints?

I am rather chagrined to find out that on my lastest trip to NZ, Air New Zealand decided not to credit my flight with airpoints...... I have been an airpoints member for many years and I am working on getting the gold status, as it is helpful in getting to the front of the line for check in, security and boarding. When I travel as much as I do around the USA it literaly saves hours of time and makes collecting all of the airpoints worthwhile.

I went to Flight centre here in LA and asked my trusty travel agent to please get me a good deal on ANZ to NZ return with airpoints. It was all organised and the flight prices were good so I brought two return tickets to NZ so as I could have my birthday there in November.

When I was in NZ I decided that I will bump myself up to business class back to LA using some of the points I already have. When I rang up the nice and polite lady told me that I am not being credited for this flight and because of the booking fare, I was not eligable to upgrade to business class with my already earned points.

So I am not liking what I hear and I am aware that I have brought another ticket in the same class for November travel..... Rather useless to me when I need a good chunk more airpoints to earn the gold status.

I spoke to my trusty travel agent upon my return to USA and mentioned the delemma. He checked his computer and he said that there was nothing in the computer that says there is to be no airpoints credited...... I rang Air New Zealand again and they said that all ticketing classes above T..... so U,V,W,X,Y and Z would be airpoints tickets and all below would not be...... They said he should know, he said they didnt make it clear. I beleive him, as he has no reason to tell fibs.

So trusty travel agent left a message yesterday to say there is no airpoints for the last flight, but he is in a good position to get me credited for the flight in November. We will see how good he really is...... Air New Zealand should make it VERY CLEAR to travel agents which tickets are and are not eligable for airpoints. I would fly Air Tahiti Nui for half the price again if I knew what I know now.

Looks like I need to make a side trip to London for Howards house warming party, on a T and above class ticket to offset the lack of points for the last flight.....

Thanks Air New Zealand.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Greg Johnson at the Hotel Cafe Hollywood

Located at 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood CA. Come and enjoy the show.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

ACT ramping up

The ACT campaign headquarters for the Epsom electorate in Nuffield Street is getting a bit of a makeover according to Rodney is running for the seat and aggressively campaigning for the party vote. ACT need to win a seat or get 5% of the party vote to stay in parliament. The publics awareness of the party is picking up as ACT is the most logical party to stand side by side with the National party in a clan slate government. Give ACT your party vote and reap the rewards after the election.

Did you know Jerry Seinfeld was 51?

According to CNN today: Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica, have a new addition to the family.

A son, Shepherd Kellen Seinfeld, was born Monday, AP Radio reported. The couple, who were married in 1999, have a 2-year-old son, Julian, and a 4-year-old daughter, Sascha.

A call to Seinfeld's publicist wasn't immediately returned Thursday.

The 51-year-old comedian has in the past worked babies into his standup routine: "Make no mistake about why these babies are here -- they are here to replace us."

Way to go Jerry....

LA Mayor having trouble keeping promises

According to Fox News: Nearly two months since his inauguration as the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in more than 100 years, Antonio Villaraigosa is facing the daunting and expensive task of delivering on his campaign promises.

Curbing crime, fixing public education, planting one million trees and reducing traffic on the nation's most overcrowded highways were hefty promises to make, and they all carry hefty price tags for a city already $300 million in debt.

"I'm never going to settle for mediocrity. I'm always going to set the bar high, as we should. If the leader of the city doesn't set the bar high then, who will? That's what people want us to do," said Villaraigosa, who was sworn in on July 1 as the state's 41st mayor.

While Villaraigosa has lofty goals, political analysts say even small successes will pay off politically.

"Baby steps will do, baby steps forward because a lot of people feel that we've been taking large steps backwards in the past few years. There's a very tremendous disillusionment with government in general," said political analyst Allan Hoffenblum.

But even baby steps don't come cheap, and Villaraigosa has already reluctantly raised the possibility of higher taxes.

"I'm open to that but first I want to continue to find money within our own budget. People need to see we're going to live within our means," he said.

The mayor is definitely still in his honeymoon stage with Los Angelinos. How long it lasts might depend on how many promises he's able to fulfill without raising taxes.

All the while, his successes and failures are likely being watched closely by the Democratic Party, which is looking for a rising Latino politician to place in the national spotlight..... Maybe it will be Villaraigosa for Governor in the near future?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Updated my website

I updated my website with lots of new photo's. One of them is this.....

Check it out.

West LA..... Back home.

I am back in California. It has been a great couple of weeks traveling from LA to NY, over to Denver, back to LA, up to Tahoe, then down to Auckland and Queenstown NZ. From there I thought it was going to be a quiet couple of weeks, but I headed back to LA and then without any notice, I was on the United flight to Denver, and then a 2 hour drive to Beaver Creek. I had a great time in Beaver Creek, and managed to get some work done for the house as well as get back to my favorite restaurant in Vail " The Left Bank ". It really is the best French restaurant out of France. The height in Beaver Creek is over 9000 feet, and I found myself huffing and puffing while climbing the stairs. You really need to get aclimatised before exercising.....and drink lots of water as it is very dry.
On the drive back to the airport this morning Nick and I passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel which is 11158 feet high at it's highest point. There was thunder and lightening right there amongst us, it made for an interesting drive. Glad we were not struck. Would have messed my hair doooo.
So back to the office tomorrow.............

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Off to Beaver Creek, Colorado today

I am off to Colorado with Nicolas in 6 hours. Bit of a spur of the moment type situation, but will be good to get all the business with the renovations of the Beaver Creek house completed.... Hope I dont get jet lag, as I am still on New Zealand time.

Back in LA

Had a brilliant flight back on Air New Zealand 747-400. I slept most of the way, so all is good. I am disappointed that for some reason I am not getting airpoints for this flight, but at least it wasn't too expensive. Thanks to Mum and Dad for the loan of the car, Pablo and Mara for the use of your house, Nick and Amber for the great party and hospitality, and Moo for dropping me to the airport and purchasing a couple of Coronas, and Gregory for collecting me from LAX. Back to the grind now. I will update the website with new photo's soon. Later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Good night out

Had a rather large night out starting at the Auckland Club for dinner. From there we proceeded to Denim Bar in Parnell and I managed to get my Feijoa 42 below with apple juice, a Harvey Wallbanger, a lychee martini, and to top it off a bottle of DOM. It was great to see everyone that turned up and all I can say is that I do have a bit of a headach right now. Pablo is not feeling 100% and Mara Honey was not excited when she had to let me in the front door as Pablo forgot to leave the key out, but thanks MH.
Off to see Big Balls Barham at Coutts now, then my favorite Yum Cha with Pete, and Racie. Moo is taking me to the airport, as he forgot to come to Denim last night...... Back to LA today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stoned Cow

According to the NZ Herald today:-)

Russia's long winter will just fly by for a herd of Russian cows which will be fed confiscated marijuana over the cold months.

Drug workers said they adopted the unusual form of animal husbandry after they were forced to destroy the sunflowers and maize crops that the 40 tonnes of marijuana had been planted among, Novye Izvestia daily newspaper reported.

"There is simply no other way out. You see, the fields are planted with feed crops and if we remove it all the cows will have nothing to eat," a Federal Drugs Control Service spokeswoman for the Urals region of Sverdlovsk told the paper.

"I don't know what the milk will be like after this." Probably very potent and sought after by Green Party voters.

Drug use in Russia took off with the decline of the Soviet Union and police have been fighting drug smugglers -- often shipping heroin from Afghanistan - for years.

Such large hauls are relatively common, although they are normally burned.

I think that there is something to this. They have Kobe beef in Japan, and they now have a different meaning for Pot roast in Russia.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Coronet Peak

I had a fantastic time in Queenstown for Ambers birthday. It was great to catch up with a lot of old school friends and have fun. I managed to grab the airplane microphone on the way down to Queenstown to sing happy birthday to Amber. It was the biggest audience I have had in my singing career 138. HA.

The weather has been spectacular since arriving in NZ. We all went skiing on Coronet Peak on Sunday, and I managed to pick it up after 16 years of not being on skiis. I did bale over twice, but all I did was get a bit of snow on my jacket, so that was fine.

Back in Auckland now. At Pablo and Mara's place about to go out and venture around this fine city. Drinks in Parnell on Wednesday night and back to LA on thursday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Leaders debate

The NZ leaders debate is on tv3 at 730pm tonight. The general election is to be held on September 17th. Rodney Hide of ACT is said to be lucky to have been invited on the show, as ACT has been polling lower than previous elections. Maybe he is lucky, but he is a great politician with credibility, who along with his party ACT, would make an ideal coalition partner for Mr Donald Brash and the National Party. The public will get good idea of what and who they will be voting for after the show. I am looking forwards to the polling results tomorrow. Go Rodney.

Peter Dunne and Uncle Jim Anderton are a bit put out that thay were not invited to the leaders debate. They think that if ACT is there then they should be too. They have taken the matter to court for an urgent decision. I would be surprised if a Judge makes a decision for a private company, but it is creating good publicity for the show none the less.

Omaha, North Island, New Zealand

I arrived in NZ at long last. Pablo picked me up from the airport and Mara Honey was there too. We went back to Pablo's place and I met Hobson Bhatnagar who is the cutest wee West Highland terrier. I got a photo which I will place on the website when I get back to LA.

From there I went to the bank and got stung on the exchange rate, but at least the US $ is worth a bit more than the NZ$, so I came out on top I guess.
I went to my old place of work...Century 21 Remuera and caught up with the team, and had a coffee with boss man David Roderick Jones.... Was good to see everyone.

I was a but dubious of driving here as it is the opposite side of the road to the USA, but I managed to evade an accident yesterday while I drove from Remuera to Massey to see Gino Young, then to Greenhithe to see my brother Ian and Sister in Law Debs, then to Silverdale to see Ambee and Nick, then home to Omaha to see my parents.

Dads is calling out that breakfast is ready now...which is nice, just like the old days.....

Bartley, Riaz, Scott, Greg and their wifes and children are coming up for dinner tonight...Fish and chips... Yummy.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Back from Tahoe... Off to NZ

I had a brilliant trip to Lake Tahoe with Greg. It is about 500 miles door to door from my place, and it made for a interesting 7 hour drive. The house on Shoshone is beautiful and the atmosphere at Squaw Valley was great. Greg was infatuated with seeing a bear or two, so we drove around in the forest but alas, they must have been somewhere else when we were looking. He set out some food hoping that they would come along in the night, but it appeared that Cloe the beautiful black Alsation managed to get it first. We went to Reno NV and managed to win and lose a small amount of money. We had a famous buffet dinner and had a good feed before heading back to the house to continue the bear entrapment, after driving around the city a bit. Reno is not really anything like Vegas........ There is nothing like Vegas. I am now getting ready to go to NZ tomorrow. I will try my hand at skiing in Queenstown, and hopefully I will not break anything.

Party vote for ACT

Lower taxes? More personal and property freedom? A fairer legal system? Give ACT your party vote. If you live in Epsom and you want to have 2 MP's represent you give Rodney Hide your electorate vote too.

Photo of Ground Zero

I took this photo of Ground Zero on July 26th 2005. It is a lot bigger than it looks, and many many people were there on the day. It is hard to fathom what it would have been like on 9-11.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back in Los Angeles

Drove from Beaver Creek Colorado, through the mountains narrowly missed getting struck by lightening, made the plane in time for it to be delayed. Got back to LA 1.5 hours late and I am now preparing to go to Lake Tahoe California to check on a house. Going to take Greg, so he can bring his guitar and practice some songs for his upcoming super album.....