Do snakes make you nervous?


Seems like the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in New Zealand gets a little nervous when we talk of snakes, especially as New Zealand doesn't have any!

This week it was an 80cm boa constrictor curled up in a shipping container of ornamental palms from Guatemala, discovered by Auckland port workers.

In July a 19-year-old man was jailed for smuggling in two brown and cream mottled corn snakes from Bangkok in his pants.

And, in May 2008, the stowaway was a 55cm ground boa from Indonesia or Papua New Guinea which made its way to Tauranga underneath an empty shipping container from Vanuatu.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says it is no longer unusual for live
 snakes to make it to New Zealand. Quarantine inspectors from around New Zealand are being sent each year to a snake catcher's course in Adelaide, South Australia, as the frequency of such discoveries increases.

Inspectors are equipped with snake hooks, tongs, gloves, goggles, catch bags and first-aid gear. Detector dogs trained to scent reptiles are available if required. When discovered the snakes are put down immediately.

The Ministry seems nervous about these incursions and perhaps with good cause. New Zealand already provides a damp, temperate climate conducive to snakes.

"Snakes are excluded by law from entering New Zealand. There are no exceptions which is why they are not found in zoos, research establishments or accompanying visiting entertainers," says Jaimie Baird, a quarantine inspector in Nelson and one of 24 Biosecurity New Zealand staff trained to deal with serpent trespassers.

Smugglers face hefty penalties: a maximum of five years in jail and fines of up to $100,000.

Mike Mullany, who was 18 when he smuggled in the two corn snakes in his back pockets on his return from a holiday in Thailand, was sentenced to three months in prison but got out this month after serving only six weeks.

If snakes were to become established in New Zealand, they could wipe out many of our native frogs, birds and reptiles. According to Mandy Tocher, a Department of Conservation 
herpetologist (snake expert) based in Dunedin, New Zealand's native animals could be vulnerable because they have not evolved to deal with such predators. And the snakes could also transmit parasites and disease to native reptiles.

"And they bite," she says. "And it costs money to have anti-venoms ready to go and the experts trained to deal with snake bites."

Kevin Hackwell, from Forest and Bird, agrees. "New Zealand's fauna has evolved over millions of years in the absence of mammals and snakes," he says. "They are not adapted to avoiding predation by these animals and are therefore particularly susceptible to their introduction."

But why not in put them in zoos where at least our Kiwi kids could get a chance to see the real slithery slimy thing? "In case they escape," says Tocher. "The risk is too high."

Where's my dinner?
The parents of little Shaiunna Hare didn't hear a thing. The snake moved silently through the house while they were sleeping. When they rose in the morning and checked the 2-year-old's cot, she was not breathing. A 2.6m-long albino Burmese python lay wrapped around her body.

The southern stretches of the United States are home to dozens of native species of snakes. Many, like the corn snake, are harmless. Some, like the venomous rattlers and water moccasins, are more dangerous. Love them or loathe them, they all belong and have their place in that ecosystem.

The Burmese python does not - it hails from Southeast Asia. So how did a python come to be in Shaiunna's Florida bedroom last year?

The python, along with a boa constrictor named Dixie, was a family pet.

That same week, thousands of miles away in Bristol, United Kingdom, a 4-year-old tabby cat was killed by a 
Burmese python as it wandered outside to a neighbouring backyard.

"We don't know whether 
Wilbur stumbled across the snake and it was an opportunistic kill or if the snake was actively hunting him," says owner Martin Wadey on his website. "But either way, we heard the python's strike from the terrified scream that came from Wilbur and the subsequent blood-chilling cries as he fought for his life." It was over in less than a minute. Wilbur was consumed whole. His killer, a 4m-long 80kg snake named Squash, had been left outside unattended in an unsecured property while his owner reportedly tended to his laundry.

Stupid snake, he got caught!

U2's Set List from Zurich, Switzerland









U2 Zurich Set List Switzerland


U2 played on the ignominious date of September 11, 2010 at Zurich's Letzigrund Stadium. The show was notable for the inclusion in the set of new song, Every Breaking Wave which will possibly be included on the expected U2 album, Songs of Ascent. The song was debuted on this leg of the tour in Helsinki. Only four songs from No Line on the Horizon were played.



Set List:

Return of the Stingray Guitar, Magnificent, Beautiful Day, Get On Your Boots, Mysterious Ways, Until the End of the World, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Every Breaking Wave, Elevation, In A Little While, Miss Sarajevo, City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, I Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On


Set Encore: One, Amazing Grace/Where The Streets Have No Name, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me, With or Without You, Moment Of Surrender

Check out a you tube video of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for which has an amusing introduction of Bono interviewing the rest of the band on what they like about Switzerland:


Lady Gaga pioneers the meat bikini for Vogue

Nice to meat you, Gaga

Music's biggest thing since Madonna stuck a pose, Lady Gaga has again stirred up the critics, punters and most importantly, that most obnoxious of lobby groups, Peta by posing in a meat bikini for Vogue Magazine.

You may recall how Pink once gotta caputured by Peta's ideology - not Lada Gaga, she takes her meat seriously and was happy to pose for a Vogue Magazine cover. Hold the Telephone, this is actually a PSA add!  Let's face it, she's actually doing a public service, inspiring young women all over the world to eat meat to get their iron levels up.

Anyways, PETA's all round gimp Terry Richardson said of the Vogue cover, saying "meat is something you want to avoid putting on or in your body," and that "no matter how beautifully it is presented, flesh from a tortured animal is flesh from a tortured animal."

What's all the fuss about really? Let's face it, Gaga is a publicity whore. It's actually part of her charm and appeal. In terms of the celebrity meat market, she's like Paris Hilton but is actually interesting. We know she'd make a better sex tape that's for sure...

But  let's get real, Gaga isn't the first person to come up with the concept of wearing a meat bikini. After all, the celebrated Bacon Bikini has been around for years:


Gaga has already done an awesome cover for Rolling Stone Magazine where her breasts seemed to support the 'big guns':


But there was the time where the Bad Romance singer decided she would pay homage to Marilyn Munroe but her stylist misheard the request and thought she asked for Marilyn Manson:



Let's not forget the 'bloody show' incident either!


But we can't forget Gaga's appearance at Lollapalooza a couple of weeks ago where she let the fans grope her and basically wore the most see through top she could find:


Burmese Albino Pythons and Britney Spears: A perfect combo


big breasts selma  heyak snake
A reason to buy Dusk till Dawn......
Burmese Pythons are light-coloured snakes with many brown blotches bordered in black down the back. Albino Burmese Pythons are often found to be  white with patterns in butterscotch yellow and burnt orange. If you have any difficulty telling which is which, ask Salma Hayek.

If she's too busy saving her beard off, check out out these pictures. Turns out albino pythons love to pose for the camera. Their, 'I can't be fucked with this photo shoot' attitude is so hot right now:



Check out Blue Steel, or more properly Yellow Steel.


See this bruva below? That's not his tongue. It's the tail of a rat. That's right, albino snakes eat rats just like normal snakes eat rats. Sometimes pythons are known to eat electric fences. Those ones are just a lil too kinky if you ask me. 


In the wild, Burmese pythons generally grow to 3.7 metres on average while specimens of more than 4.5 metres have been found. There are also dwarf forms of these pythons on Java, Bali and Sulawesi but they don't attract such wonder. Also, if they are albino, the other snakes won't play with them. Kids huh?


What's a his favourite song? Coldplay's Yellow?
Burmese Pythons are often sold as pets - this is probably due to their attractive colours and apparently easy-going nature. However, these scaly animals have a rapid growth rate, and will often exceed 2m in length in a year if fed and cared for properly. By age 4, they will have reached their adult size, though they continue growing very slowly throughout their lives, which can be longer than 20 years.

Pythons also consume large amounts of food. Apparently many owners believe if a snake acts hungry, then it should be fed baby seal. I personally don't know how a snake can act hungry other than biting or eating someone whole. None-the-less Burmese albino pythons are opportunistic feeders, they will eat almost any time food is offered. Unwise owners may then overfeed their pets leading to obesity related problems.

But what would a responsible python owner feed their beloved Python molurus bivittatus? Baby seals are nice but difficult to come by so Jessica Rabbits are always a tasty treat:

Hmmm, I love that furry feeling in my mouth.

I should have stewed this rabbit. At least it could have had some seasoning.
Sorry Kids, Easter is cancelled. My bad. 

Albino Pythons sure are more popular than other snakes. They are more greatly sought after because they just look freaking cool when draped around your neck. Don't believe me, ask the womansizer herself, Britney Spears:

Womanizer
I dunno what it is with celebrities enjoying having giant yellow pythons hanging round their necks but it's gotta have some appeal otherwise Angelina Jolie wouldn't have done it:

Brad's is this long!
Crickey, I think this just ate a dingo!
Even bloody Steve and Terry Irwin both got in on the act and tried to share wearing one to the opening of a zoo somewhere. The fashion critic in me laughs at their matching outfits but applauds Terri's attempt to accessorize.

Seeing celebrities get in on the wear an albino snake craze, the fashion industry has figured out they can go further and show off the latest sexy bra and panties combos by using the snakes. It's some kind of Adam and Eve guilt complex, I'm sure. I tried to ask model Ana Hickman (below) about it and she simply stole my fags and said 'Jimmy Jangles, who the fuck let you in here?' and stormed off in her pink bikini, with one fucking lucky snake in tow:


Does this snake make me look fat in this? Seriously guys, could I lose a few pounds? Maybe the snake should be a different colour to match my eyes? 



According to
National Geographic, habitat depletion, continued demand for Burmese albino pythons in the pet trade, and hunting for their skins and flesh have landed these python on the threatened species list. So who's fault is that? Consumers? People who like nice hand bags? Yes. And Britney Spears. 

Or maybe Rachel Wiez:


Catches win matches but dropped catches bring cash.

I was delighted to hear the stories coming out about the Pakistani cricket players being a part of a scheme to cheat during the Tests between them and England. While the actual alleged action of a deliberate no-ball seems minor, it shows that the Pakistani are willing to cheat and potentially affect the outcome of matches. 

I haven't been this happy since that cheater Hansie Cronje was outed as being a big fat cheater cheater. Why am I so happy? Because it provides the slim possibility that the NZ Black Caps are just not as shit as I thought they were.

Martin Crowe comments on a NZ team's performance quite sanely for once:

"That's what makes me think something could have been up in that test. It was the most pathetic display of catching I had ever seen. We talked about it [the fielding ability] on air [Crowe was commentator for SKY TV] at the time."

Crowe is referring to the second test match at the Basin Reserve in December 2009 where NZ got their backsides handed back to them despite some 'odd' fielding by the Pakistani team.

So how is dropping a catch cheating? Doesn't that cost you the game? Well yes, dear reader, it does. You could for instance bet on your own team to lose. This once famously happened when some Aussies bet against themselves and Ian Botham delivered for them. Or rather in the case of the Pakistani cricketers they'd be paid by the Bookies to lose. What is more likely is that the dropped catch would be part of a time period where bets are taken. e.g. you could bet on the next catch being dropped in the next 10 overs. Genuine punters would have no idea - but the bookies would and set the odds accordingly. 

Catches win matches but dropped catches bring cash. 

You'll probably never find the Black Caps being approached to cheat by this betting market as you don't need to pay them to throw their wickets away or drop catches. They just do. Probably because they are wondering what they might do with all their IPL earnings.

In a moment of true Karma, Hansie Cronje's plane crashed into a mountain. Karma is a bitch Pakistan Cricket so remember that next time someone burns an effigy of your captain, the mountain might be that little bit closer to you.

Remember Halo 3

Epic

So with less than two weeks left till the release of Halo: Reach and to avoid all the crazy spoilers that can now be found cluttering up and generally making a mess of the internet, I've done a run through of Halo 3 on legendary mode.

It's been some time since I did a full run, I did a Combat Evolved sprint earlier in the year, did some Halo 2, mucked around with a few levels from Halo 3: ODST and generally dropped in and out of multiplayer. Which is all good fun and it's all better than any Gears of War shennigans as good as those games are, but playing Halo 3 is almost a spiritual experience. It's the closer to a story that has spanned the eons and we are but lucky to participate in what amounts to the last minute of it all.

But what a minute Halo 3 is. Some games get called epic because they are long, Halo 3 is epic because it redefines that very word. It surpassed the ordinary. In fact, it redefined the Xbox gaming world and others attempted to match it. It was almost like a call of duty was placed on every game developer; this is the new standard so beat it.

The campaign was varied in scope and range. At times it was reflective and gave a gracious nod to whence it had came and then leapt further than was probably thought possible when CE was released.

Worlds apart were brought together. The Flood was defeated and the Prophet of Truth finally had a sharp blade put through his weak body. We believed in the Chief and came to accept that the Arbiter was an ok guy after all.

We had a love story between an augmented giant and a piece of binary code. We had the bravery of Sergeant Johnson and the balls of Miranda Keyes. Justice was Swift. At times it was brutish:

Something wrong with your eye bro?
So if others passed the standards of gaming as set by Halo 3, Bungie have again stepped up to the plate and said, we knew we were good, and mate you've had a nice crack at being number one but we are the king makers in this realm, and if you wanna take us on, you're gonna have to Reach for the stars...

A golden opportunity to buy Optimus Prime

So like check out this Trade Me auction for a Golden Optimus Prime that's been been listed as part of a charity drive for Starship Hospital (it's for the kids man!)






This Prime is 1 of only 88 world wide and the awesome donators, Hasbro, have provided a certificate attesting to that.


Want to participate in the charity drive? Visit the Starship page on the Trade Me site and the instructions are simple as:

"All you need to do is clear out your cupboards or garage, list your unwanted items, pledge to donate the proceeds to Starship, and we'll (Trade Me) refund your success fees when the items sell! Find out more here, or check out all the auctions at the Starship store."


Anyways, if any one wants to buy me the Prime..... I'd send you a Christmas card every year for like, ever. 

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