NO LITTERING                                                                                   W.S. McCallum


Stupidity: The condition of having one's faculties dulled by dint of being slow-witted, foolish or unintelligent


    Stupidity is one of the human race's hardy universals. This page provides an ever-growing list of everyday examples, drawn at random from the detritus of the world's mass media.


8 April 2008


Regarding the topic of boycotting the Beijing Olympics, New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark states to the BBC that sports and politics should be kept separate. This is the same Helen Clark who was an executive member of HART (Halt All Racist Tours) in the 1970s, and campaigned against sporting links between New Zealand and the apartheid regime in South Africa, including the 1981 Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand. Rugbyheads back in those days used to pontificate at length about how sports and politics should be kept separate. It is strange that we should now be hearing the same words from Helen Clark, of all people, but it is indicative of how far the NZ Labour Party and its parliamentary leaders have come since they veered to the free-market right in the 1980s. Don't worry about the oppression of Tibetans - we want free trade with Beijing and lots and lots of Chinese money instead.


7 April 2008


The appointment of the new US Ambassador to Slovenia is announced, taking over from a temporary substitute. In July 2007, Washington had appointed Vincent Obsitnik, a Virginian with a very Slavic sounding name who is of... Slovak origin. By September, someone woke up to the fact that Slovenia is not Slovakia and he was reassigned to Slovakia. The new US Ambassador to Slovenia is Yousif Boutros Ghafani, who is of Lebanese Catholic origin - go figure.


18 March 2008


Radio New Zealand news announces that the Inland Revenue Department has misestimated the New Zealand Government's tax take by 600 million NZ dollars. The IRD's original calculation for January 2008 was that there was a deficit of $400M. Now, upon second thought, IRD has decided that there was actually a $200M surplus. New Zealand taxpayers can rest assured that the IRD would never make such a mistake with their tax returns. Or would it?



March 2008


In its "27 European countries - Multiple stopover options" brochure, Air New Zealand relocates various European cities:



Dublin has moved to Dundalk.

Manchester has moved to Chester.

Copenhagen has moved to Roskilde.

Billund has moved to Herning.

Aalborg has moved eastward, and is now slightly south of Hals.

Aarhus has moved to Fredericia.

Gdansk has moved to Elblag.

St. Petersburg has moved to the east of Narva.

Leipzig has moved to the Czech Republic.

Dortmund has moved from western Germany to eastern Germany.

Frankfurt has moved to Karlsruhe.

Luxembourg is now part of Germany. (Somewhere on the Donau River?)

Nuremburg has moved to Heidelberg.

Geneva has moved to Basle.

Basle has moved to Geneva.

Berne has moved to Besançon. (Sorry Switzerland, you've lost a city to France!)

Toulouse has moved to Langon.

Nice has moved to Toulon.

Marseille has moved to Fos-sur-Mer.

Bourdeaux has moved to Marmande.

Lyon has moved to the Lozère.

Innsbruck (in Austria) is now in western Switzerland, not far from Geneva (sorry, I mean "Basle").

Graz has also foresaken Austria and is now part of north-eastern Italy.

Salzburg, which was also a city in Austria, has been renamed as a mountain ("Salzberg") and is also now Italian, having moved to Brescia.

Verona, which is actually to the east of Brescia, has moved to Pescara, on the Adriatic Sea.

Trieste has moved from the north-eastern corner of the Adriatic over to the other side of the Adriatic and is now at Rimini.

Bologna has moved to Ancona.

Turin has moved to the north of Genoa.

However Genoa has moved to La Spezia.

Florence has moved south to somewhere between Gavorrano and Grosseto.

Venice has moved to the vicinity of Ravenna.

Pisa has moved from the western coast of Italy over to the eastern coast and is now a twin city of Bari.

Sarajevo is now in Montenegro.

And Belgrade now looks like it is on the Romanian border, if not in Romania itself.


Here's hoping that Air New Zealand never tries to redraw the map of the Middle East....



25 September 2007


On New Zealand TV1's nostalgia show "What Ever Happened To", Don McGlashan and his old band Blam Blam Blam perform their 1981 song "There Is No Depression In New Zealand" as part of a segment about the anti-apartheid protests conducted against the South African Springboks rugby team that toured the country that year. How incongruous to see Blam Blam Blam, and in particular Mr McGlashan, who in 1985 cowrote a song  calling for the halting of a New Zealand rugby tour to apartheid South Africa, getting all chummy in a chat with the show's host Paul Holmes. That's the same Paul Holmes who, in 2003, referred to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his "news" show as "a cheeky darky". Silly old Blam Blam Blam - what were they thinking?



August 2007


Russia: President Vladimir Putin announces that he has resumed long-range flights by Russian strategic nuclear bombers. Russian bombers are now on permanent stand-by to attack the United States in the event of nuclear war, a practice which was abandoned by President Yeltsin in 1992. Putin's move is widely interpreted as Russia's response to US plans to install anti-missile installations on the national territory of countries adjacent to the Russian Federation, now that Washington has abandoned the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missiles) Treaty. Congratulations President Bush, you've restarted the Cold War!


July 2007


Wellington, New Zealand: The Black Seeds announce that they are going to record the poems of ten 12 and 13 year-olds who won a national poetry competition as accompaniment for their music. It's always difficult to come up with coherent words when you're a Wellington reggae band...


16 February 2007


In response to complaints about New Zealand veterans experiencing delays in compensation payments for exposure to US Agent Orange defoliant during the Vietnam War (with a ceiling of NZ$40,000 per veteran claimant), a spokesman for the Defence Minister, Phil Goff, says that the New Zealand Ministry of Defence is still working on a system for processing claims, but "if someone was dying and wanted the money now, came in today and provided a copy of notarised materials, then there would be a payout". Gee guys, you're all heart!


13 February 2007


Probably in response to the entry below, a Turkish hacker tries to vandalise my Website, which just goes to show how broad-minded and tolerant people are in Anatolia...


29 November 2006


Pope Benedict XVI visits Turkey, stressing peace as one of his watchwords. During his time in Turkey, he visits the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and a major instigator of the Armenian genocide, in which approximately one and a half million Armenians were killed in the name of Turkish nationalism.


9 November 2006


It was announced in Wellington that telephone texting language will now be accepted by the New Zealand Ministry of Education in NCEA high school exam papers. A Ministry spokesperson stated that it was not so important for pupils taking exams to express themselves in correct English; what mattered was that they could get their ideas across.


6 October 2006


A Vatican advisory board called the "Commission" declares that unbaptised babies will not end up in limbo but will instead probably go to heaven. Hitherto, the Catholic Church's teachings on the matter had stressed that all unbaptised souls will go to limbo, not heaven, even if they lived good lives. However, to guarantee the arrival of dead babies into heaven, parents really should have them baptised. By the Catholic Church of course...


August 2006


At Chicago's O'Hare Airport an Iraqi was charged for claiming he had a "bomb", according to a female security guard there. What he actually had was a penis pump. As a native speaker of Arabic, a language which does not have the letter "P", the Iraqi was unable to pronounce the word "pump" properly. Arabic speakers pronounce their bilabials as "Ps", meaning that "pump" came out as "bumb", which the bumbling security guard heard as "bomb". Any flaccid male Arabic speakers intending to travel to the US with penile paraphernalia should take note.


14 July 2006


Whilst visiting New Zealand, Bob Geldof berates the New Zealand Government for only spending 0.27% of Gross National Income on foreign aid, when New Zealand, along with other developed nations, pledged to increase its aid level to 0.7% of Gross National Income over 30 years ago. The NZ Labour-led Government's response is to cough and splutter, hmm and haah, play with the figures and do its very best to avoid admitting anything. The truth is, at a time of record budget surpluses, they're too damned stingy to cough up the extra $700 million. And will they live up to their promise to meet UN development goals and raise their aid level to 0.7% of GNI by 2015? Don't hold your breath.


8 July 2006


Ron Don, a member of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union's Council, which was responsible for inviting the Springboks to New Zealand in 1981 at the height of international opposition to the Apartheid regime in South Africa, is asked by the NZ Press Association if he has since had any second thoughts about this. His response: "Like almost every rugby person, I was pro-tour and nothing that has happened since has altered my opinions. If we had those days again, I wouldn't withdraw anything I said or did in 1981." [...] "The stupid protesters didn't know what they were talking about; many hadn't even been to South Africa." 15 years after the collapse of the racist white supremacist regime in South Africa and Ron Don still has his head in the sand. Surprise surprise...


7 July 2006


At the 90th anniversary celebrations of the New Zealand Labour Party, Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark states: "Our role is not just to put things right, but to keep them right". Well Helen, it's certainly true that there's not much that's Left-leaning about Labour these days...


June 2006


Over three years after invading Irak, the US Army establishes its doctrine for fighting armed insurrection. Among other things its states that soldiers must be capable of both "throwing grenades and shaking hands". 31 years after the fall of South Vietnam, it seems they still have a lot to learn in the Pentagon.


26 June 2006


On Radio New Zealand, Maxine Hodgson of ParentLine proposes giving a fish & chip voucher to poor people who dob in their neighbours or anyone else they suspect of committing child abuse, because the underprivileged feel unwanted and such a reward will give them a warm inner glow: "Let's try and tap into that unloved child" who has now become an adult, she stated.


12 June 2006


Following the suicides of Mani Shaman Turki al-Habardi Al-Utaybi, Yassar Talal Al-Zahrani, and Ali Abdullah Ahmed, three prisoners at the US military camp at Guantanamo Bay, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, the camp's commander, states "I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us."


4 May 2006


Wellington, New Zealand. In response to a tsunami alert issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, New Zealand's Civil Defence fails to issue any public statement at all until some time after the tsunami would have hit the east coast of the North Island. Fortunately for towns such as Gisborne, the tsunami did not eventuate.


April 2006


Landfall, the venerable old New Zealand literary magazine (published by Otago University Press and edited for this issue by Tze Ming Mok) publishes an article called "O Poetry, My Shadow" by one Ahmed Zaoui, the Algerian FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) leader who entered New Zealand on a false passport and has been fighting a court battle with the New Zealand Government ever since in an endeavour to stay in the country. The strange and sick irony of the  leader of an Islamist political movement that was linked to assassinations of men of letters, scholars, singers, playwrights, TV producers, teachers et al. in Algeria in the 1990s singing the praises of the healing power of poetry seems to have passed unnoticed among the literati of Landfall.


25 April 2006 (ANZAC Day)


TV1, New Zealand. The nation was informed by a girl reporter who probably wouldn't remember the first Gulf War that  the Gallipoli campaign in World War I took place in "1925".


TV3, New Zealand. News report about the only New Zealand Army horse to have survived through all the NZ campaigns of WWI. There is a monument to it near Palmerston North, and much to the TV3 journalist's surprise "there is even an inscription in Arabic, the language of the enemy".  Hopefully some day, someone will tell the fellow that the Arabs were the British Empire's allies in WWI.


September 2005


At the Yad Vashem Museum of the Shoah, Jerusalem. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Douste-Blazy stops in front of a map of Europe showing two columns for each country with the figures for their Jewish communities "Before" and "After" World War II. Mr Douste-Blazy asks: "Weren't there any Jews killed in England?" Somewhat ruffled, the museum's curator replies:  "But Monsieur le Ministre, England wasn't occupied by the Nazis." To which the French Minister of Foreign Affairs replies:  "But weren't any Jews expelled from England?".


18 August 1988


In Article 17 of its Covenant, Hamas declares war on Freemasons and Rotarians:

[...] lackeys who are infiltrated through Zionist organizations under various names and shapes, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, espionage groups and others, which are all nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs. These organizations have ample resources that enable them to play their role in societies for the purpose of achieving the Zionist targets and to deepen the concepts that would serve the enemy. These organizations operate in the absence of Islam and its estrangement among its people. The Islamic peoples should perform their role in confronting the conspiracies of these saboteurs. The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated.


                                                                                                                                                                        W.S. McCallum

"Bob, you know I've got cancer..."    "Ted isn't around any more"








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