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Oranges at Halftime Linky

Yes, everything extremely hectic right now as a major project comes close to launch.

The project is Oranges at Halftime: Rugby and the Kiwi Experience, a travelling exhibition hitting the road around NZ on August 9. It’s going to be a fun attraction, using our national game to explore NZ social history. Nothing too serious, and plenty to interest anyone I reckon! Come see us on Facebook, too…

Also of significant note: the Ennies awards, the biggest awards in role-playing games, are up for vote now, and ICONS what I worked on is up for recognition in several categories. Nice one! So go vote if you know one end of a D20 from the other. Several friends have work nominated in other categories, too. It’s a good-looking slate this year. Lots of cool stuff happening in RPG-land.

Anyway, I’m loath to go two weeks without linky, so here are a few that have caught my eye. Only short ones because there is much work to be done!

Stephen Judd wrote this excellent piece about the prevalence of antisemitism in NZ. Since then there’s been a big flap about !1potential Mossad agents in the Christchurch earthquake!!1 – worth reading that chatter with this in mind. (Yes, Mossad have a painful track record of farming NZ passports for their agents. Yes, there were a few odd things about the actions of the Israelis who survived the quake. But.)

Phil Hartman is only known in NZ via The Simpsons. His SNL audition is worth a watch…

Mahna Mahna – the original version!

Can’t remember which of my wrestling nerd friends shared this: a discussion about 10 wrestling events and whether they were real or staged. Wrestling is one of the strangest, most post-modern entertainment forms in existence. I have fairly little interest in the actual thing itself, but find the way it tells stories and the collision between fiction and reality to be endlessly fascinating.

Star Wars: speeder bike. Or is it meant to be something else? [It seems so! Bat Pod! Cheers to Mr D Ritchie of Hamiltron.]

And finally, via Ivan, the apotheosis of the weird alignment chart trend: Batman alignment chart

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Stephen | July 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks morgue. I haven’t wanted to analyse the spy flap in that way, since I’m hardly an objective figure and it’s definitely in a grey area.

    If you’ll forgive me for reworking comments from a couple of other forums, my take on it is this:

    This has all the hall marks of urban legend. There are lots of rumours circulating. For example, I saw a claim from a commenter on the Dim Post yesterday that an Israeli team was armed and had a confrontation with NZ army personnel, yet not ONE person who was present has come out in the media with what would be a shocking story if true.

    It is not surprising that at a time of great stress and disrupted communications, people will leap to conclusions and rumours will start — rumours that the SIS would of course be obliged to investigate. It’s their job. It’s also not surprising if having investigated, they found nothing and dropped it, leaving disgruntled informants who then went to Tulett.

    There is nothing suspicious about leaving the country quickly. If you had no friends or relatives here, and you had the opportunity to go, why wouldn’t you? A lot of Kiwis bailed from Chch straight away too — how suspicious! And of course while there was a long queue for civilians to get a flight out, somebody has to be the first. The Air Force evacuated many tourists to Wellington as soon as the airport was open, so this is not odd either. The crucial issue that would make the passport thing damning, namely whether they comprised different identities for the same person has not been mentioned, which I find very odd — if I were a leaker I would be sure to include this vital detail. Meanwhile, lots of Israelis have multiple passports in that immigrant and mobile society.

    A very notable thing about this story is that not one detail that would support it comes from a named first-hand witness. It is all either from anon sources, or speculations from 3rd party “experts.” Meanwhile, most all of the claims made have plausible alternative explanations.

    My guess is that in his first encounter with the press on this topic Key was caught flat-footed, knowing nothing of a minor incident that never reached his level, and flailed for a way out. It’s nice to see him so unable to cope without minders or briefing and hopefully that will have been an interesting lesson for the media.

    At best, Tulett went off half-cocked, without the kind of fact-checking that would have made his story more credible, and other media were so excited with this juicy spy story that they didn’t bother either. At worst, this is prejudice-fuelled rumour creating a smear which most people will remember as fact long after the debunkings have quietly dribbled out in the following days.

    Actually, if you’ll forgive me again, I might rework this comment into a follow-up post…

  2. morgue | July 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Stephen – great comment. I think you’re absolutely right. The detail that stood out to me was that the Israeli evacuees went to see the Ambassador before leaving. Um, people? If the dodgy covert action spies go and have a public meeting with the ambassador from their country? They are not very good spies.

  3. morgue | July 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    But in regards to the anti-semitism aspects of the coverage – I think it bears up your general point. We’re not a particularly anti-semitic society, but there are such elements out there, and there is also simple careless thinking/phrasing/replication of negative stereotypes. I might have done my intended point a disservice by juxtaposing your post with that event as I did.

  4. michael | July 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    The single best piece of trivia I know is that the guy who wrote the song that became Mah Na Mah Na on The Muppets also did the massively famous whistling on the soundtrack to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

  5. michael | July 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh shit, I mean the guy who sang on the original version is the whistler from The Good The Bad & The Ugly!

    From memory the song was first called the “Mah Na Samba”, but this is all from a TV show I watched in 1999, so I may well be completely wrong.