After some doubt, it now looks like the Third Test between the Black Caps and India will proceed as planned, at Indore between 08 and 12 October. For the Black Caps, for whom the series is lost, this match is about putting into practice what has been learned from the first two Tests towards the goal of winning some respectability.
The Black Caps have not been poor on this tour. Far from it. Barring a disastrous Day 3 in the 1st Test and Day 2 in the second, they have been India’s equal.
In Kanpur, the Black Caps looked well ahead at the end of Day 2. In reply to India’s 318 they were 152/1. Day 3 was a disaster, losing 9 wickets for 110 and then letting India get to 159/1 by stumps.
Likewise in Kolkata. The Black Caps had India at 239/7 at the end of Day 1, but a horror Day 2 saw India put on 77 for their last 3 wickets and then get the Black Caps 128/7 at stumps. Although the Black Caps lost by almost 200 runs they did take 20 wickets, which is a good sign for a visiting team in India.
If the Black Caps can get through this third Test without such a horror day they could well win.
There’s a solution to the Martin Guptill problem. It’s called Nathan Astle. The dashing ODI opener was not even considered for a Test opening spot, despite being good enough to score 16 centuries in the shorter format. Astle began his serious Test batting career at 5 and stayed there.
Guptill has been unlucky because positions 3, 4 and 5 have been sewn up for years and so the only realistic option was to open. Now with Brendon McCullum no longer with the side, there is a gap at 5 that Guptill could potentially fill. Not only will an older red ball will behave a lot more like the white ball that he is used to batting against, but he is simply far too talented a batsman to leave out of the side just because he was not a great success as opener.
With a Test average of 25, Henry Nicholls probably hasn’t done enough to cement the No. 5 position, and with several impressive young bats coming through he might not get much of a chance. Nicholls’s technique might be more suited to the opening position, and his 76 against Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander with essentially a new ball in South Africa recently suggests that he has enough potential there to be worth a look.
With Trent Boult fully entrenched as The Black Caps’s premier paceman and with Neil Wagner, who at a bowling average of 29.63 has much better returns, it appears that Tim Southee is now competing with Matt Henry for that third seamer spot.
Matt Henry may rightly be ahead of Tim Southee now. One match with six wickets at 17.50 could be written off as lucky, but anyone watching the Second Test might well have remarked that Henry’s pitch map was much better than Southee’s, forcing the batsman to play much more and without the regular boundary balls.
Tom Latham seems to have difficulty concentrating past a certain point. He is building a Flemingesque record with an average of 38.38, 9 fifties and 5 centuries. Whether or not he can overcome this will determine if he can become a great opener along the lines of Richardson or Turner.
BetFair does not consider the Black Caps to have much of a chance: they are paying $6.20 to win at the exchange, compared to India’s $1.60 (the Draw is $4.60).
The most absurd thing I ever saw in my life was in Brisbane in mid-December, 2001. On a sweltering Queensland summer day I walked to the corner dairy to buy a soft drink. The neighbourhood I was staying in was having a competition; the object being to best decorate your house for the season.
What the season apparently meant to Queenslanders was evident by the piles of fake snow, strings of bright lights and plywood sleds replete with papier-mache reindeer and a Santa in a thick red coat. It’s no better in New Zealand, because the core problem is that we celebrate Christmas in entirely the wrong season.
Christmas is known as Yule in Northern Europe, from where we inherited the cultural tradition. The Yule festival is celebrated at the same time of the calendar, which is of course the middle of winter in Northern Europe. The reason why this festival evolved in the cultures of the North is because, on the 24/25th of December in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun noticeably begins to climb from the nadir it reached a few days previously at the Winter Solstice.
This means that Christmas has a spiritual meaning that makes perfect sense to a Northern European in late December: the time of peak darkness has passed, and now light returns to the world. This is why the Yule festival is characterised by lights. The lights symbolise the human spirit that burns brightly in even the darkest times. And now that the darkest times are over, it’s time to rejoice.
The reason why Christmas is the “season of good cheer” is precisely because it represents a point in the natural cycle of the seasons at which the most difficult period, as measured by length of the day, has been overcome. It’s also the natural time for people to come together because it is very cold. Coming together in the cold to celebrate the return of the light in the days after the Winter Solstice has probably been a tradition for thousands of years before Abrahamism came to Europe and called the festival Christmas.
Therefore, celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer playing cricket and drinking cold drinks at the beach while stinking of sunscreen makes no sense at all. If anything, midsummer is a time of mourning in the European North.
Likewise Easter. The reason why we celebrate Easter with chocolate rabbits even today is because Easter is a fertility ritual (the word Easter is connected to the word estrogen, the female fertility hormone, and is celebrated at the full moon, the Moon being also a symbol of the feminine).
Celebrating a fertility ritual in early April makes sense if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. It is, after all, the advent of spring there, and after a long and dreary winter people are coming outside again and noticing how nice the girls look with less clothing in a bit of sunlight, especially if you’ve just spent a long winter with nothing but your sisters, mother and grandmother for company. In Northern Europe this is still commonly celebrated with a dance around the maypole (although this happens on Midsommar in Sweden and not early May), an obvious phallic symbol.
Halloween is another example that makes no sense. Although this is not a public holiday and is not likely to be, the theme of it suits the Northern Hemisphere and not the South. The last day of October is also about six weeks after the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and therefore marks the day when the warmth begins to follow the light into the depths of winter.
This is why it is themed with symbols of death and foreboding. The point of the ritual is to treat the small death of winter as something fun and light-hearted, in order to lessen the sorrow one feels towards one’s inevitable big, and final, death. One enjoys Halloween to the degree that one is unafraid of death – this is why it is usually celebrated mostly by the young and by the old.
In New Zealand it feels ridiculous to drive down a street in late October when the evenings are just becoming very bright and to see young people in dark clothing trying to look spooky. We ought to celebrate Halloween on the last day of April, when the shadows are becoming long and the trees are red and yellow. This would make sense as the approaching winter would provide the right backdrop for a ghoulish festival.
My conviction is that New Zealanders of all cultural heritages must accept that if they are loyal to this country then they are Polynesians first and any cultural traditions from ancestral lands must be adapted to Aotearoa. The penalty for failing to do so is cognitive dissonance and a deeply unfortunate disconnection from the spirituality of the natural world.
In so far as we celebrate British seasonal events in a Southern Hemisphere country it appears as if our hearts are still back in Britain. The first thing we should correct in order to fix this is to celebrate our public holidays on days of the calendar that make sense for New Zealand, not for London.
After all, if there’s one thing that New Zealanders of all ancestries can agree on, it’s that New Zealand is dark in June and cold in August, and bright in December and warm in February.
Suggestion for a 14-day public holiday schedule:
(1) 01 JAN – New Year’s Day.
(2) 06 FEB – Waitangi Day.
(3) Some weekend in late March to serve as Queen’s Birthday Weekend (we don’t actually celebrate the Queen’s Birthday on the Queen’s Birthday so can change this).
(4) 25 APR – ANZAC Day.
(5) 31 APR – A Southern All-Souls Eve along the lines of the Northern European Halloween.
(6) Matariki in late May/early June – this is extremely important as it represents the first efforts of anyone in New Zealand to associate a time of spiritual practice with a regularly occurring natural phenomenon (the rise of the Pleiades cluster when viewed from NZ).
(7, 8, 9) 3 days over winter to replace Christmas, probably the 24 – 26 JUN. This would mean we have time off to celebrate having survived the winter with our friends and family.
(10) 09 AUG – This is the day that George Nepia played his last All Blacks Test. The point of a national holiday on this date would be to celebrate New Zealand’s sporting achievements in all disciplines and to celebrate how sport has broken down barriers of class and race in New Zealand. It would also break up the period between Christmas and Easter.
(11, 12) 2 days for Easter – the Friday before the weekend closest to the first full moon immediately after the autumn equinox in late September and the Monday immediately following that. This sounds complicated but it’s literally the reverse of what is done now. This would therefore fall in late September on most occasions.
(13) 4th Monday of October – Labour Day.
(14) 31 DEC – New Year’s Eve.
This book uses mnemonics to teach Spanish vocabulary as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of the mnemonics are weird, some sexy, some cheerfully obscene, but all are memorable.
The system offered in this book not only presents 3,000 of the most common words and a mnemonic for each, but also organises them into a heirarchical system for maximum ease of encoding.
Where to buy Learn Spanish Vocabulary With Mnemonics:
This is a book for people interested in cannabis law reform. It consists of three parts.
The first is an examination of the steps necessary for founding, building and maintaining a cannabis law reform party, such as core values, membership, fundraising and media.
The second is a discussion of the arguments for cannabis law reform and how to counter the arguments against it.
The third looks at how to take your party into battle to fight against cannabis prohibition.
Note: this is not a book about buying, selling, producing or consuming cannabis. It is only for those interested in changing the failed policy of cannabis prohibition.
Where to buy the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook:
A book about honest ways to accrue faith in the modern religious marketplace. The Book of Faith is a necessary companion to the scriptures of your religion.
In this book you will learn how many things generally considered bad are really good once the power of faith transforms your perspective. Wife-bashing, psychological abuse of children, neglecting the poor and disadvantaged, even lying, theft and murder can all be wholesome, family ways to strengthen your religious conviction and to grow your faith.
The message of the scriptures can become corrupted over time. This book sets things straight, providing a faithful and reasonable perspective on issues such as chastity, temperance, justice – all of which may require a re-evaluation of what you thought you knew!
Help fight for love, peace, tolerance, and the total annihilation of the faithless by reading The Book of Faith, an essential companion to true believers everywhere.
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From somewhere deeper than the unconscious, something stirs.
Whatever it is, its shifting is eternal, as ancient and restless as the churning galaxies. You have always felt its presence when you are still, which is precisely why you keep yourself distracted with trivialities. It cannot be named because words are now merely the primitive tools of an insignificant context.
Much like dreams, these stories do not pretend to answer our gravest questions – they only invite consciousness beneath that mantle above which the waking mind finds tenuous asylum. Do not outstretch your hand for guidance, because no-one else can explore here but you. In this indefinable space, even the assumption of your own being must be called into question.
His Master’s Wretched Organ is a collection of short stories that probe themes of disconnection, self-inquiry, spiritual ascendancy, awe and horror.
Where to buy His Master’s Wretched Organ:
After most of humanity was wiped out in the Mindvirus Plague, the world’s foremost superpower in 2072 is New Australia. As this nascent Southern empire struggles with a series of murders called the Moneybook killings, the machine cultist Jonty Gillespie is trying to stay alive and out of trouble until his team can win the nation’s premiere virtual reality fighting championship.
Acting on the belief that machine cultists are behind the Moneybook killings, the XSA agent Richard Nordmark coerces Jonty into an adventure that encounters exotic drugs that open dimensions he’s never imagined, mind doctors who live to crack the minds of other men, a communitarian technocult balancing between triumph and oblivion, and technology that forces him to reevaluate his understanding of what it means to be human.
Jonty’s developing involvement with the remote mind control device called the Verity Key gives him more power than he could ever have dreamed of, and with it the responsibility to confront the violence in his past and in the hearts of other men.
Critics enjoyed Vince McLeod’s portrayal of protagonist Jonty Gillespie, who begins the story a hedonistic nihilist but who finds within himself a purpose to keep fighting even when all seems lost.
Where to buy The Verity Key:
Although a glance at the BetFair market for November’s US Presidential election looks, on the surface, to be a comfortable win for Hillary Clinton, there are some facts that go against this simple conclusion.
There has been a lot of discussion about Hillary Clinton’s health. Much of the mainstream media, though, seems willing to write this off as an alt-right conspiracy theory.
But at an appearance during a 9/11 memorial Hillary left because she was “overwhelmed with emotion”. Later, the story was corrected to “overwhelmed with heat” (the day was not especially warm). Even later still, the story was changed to “pneumonia”, so we can rightly suspect that there is a major political secret about Hillary’s health that could define this presidential campaign.
The odds of Hillary winning the Presidency blew out when this was reported, from $1.45 to $1.61. It went up and down after that with low volumes being placed, as the market started to suspect that she might be forced to drop out of the race.
There are Democratic replacements for Hillary at short odds, but this is not the same for Republican replacements for Trump. The difference between the two gives us some clues about how much the market suspects Hillary might drop out.
After the 9/11 medical event, Bernie Sanders was paying a mere $38 to win the Presidency, reflecting the belief that, as premiere challenger to Hillary during the primaries, he would be the obvious choice to take over should Hillary’s health fail.
Joe Biden came in to $30 on rumours that the Democratic party had conducted polls suggesting Biden had a 20-point lead over Trump in a head-to-head election.
Tim Kaine came in all the way in to $95 from $1000, reflecting the widespread belief that, for some reason, it is too late to change the candidate and so the Democrats would have to go with Kaine should Hillary become incapacitated.
Using VJM Publishing’s Draw Arbitrage Finder program we can calculate that the BetFair market considers $16.65 to be fair value for any candidate other than Clinton and Trump. Considering that the odds of the closest challenger to Trump, Paul Ryan, are $610, this equates to a roughly 6% chance that Clinton will drop out of the Presidential race.
Also of interest is that Trump is doing much better than Brexit was at any stage of that campaign, including, crucially, the morning of the vote itself. This suggests that the apparent advantage that Hillary has is well within the range of possible outcomes that could be the result of Establishment manipulation.
Pete Rainey needs to stop crying about Hone Ma Heke and support a policy that will actually benefit the people of Nelson. What Nelson needs isn’t to raise a lynch mob and go after a protester – it needs to legalise cannabis.
In few places on Earth does cannabis have more popular support than among the people of Nelson. This is a hugely pro-cannabis area, with the sentiment only getting stronger the further West from Nelson one goes. Almost everyone here smokes it – young, old or in between. You can see Bob Marley posters in several stores and a handful of others openly sell cannabis paraphernalia.
So a mayoral candidate that promoted such a thing would have the support of the locals.
Also, we need the money here in Nelson. It has been estimated by the Treasury that cannabis law reform would make the country $330,000,000 per year, roughly half of that savings from not enforcing cannabis prohibition and the other half from taxes. If the Nelson area has 1.5% of New Zealand’s population, it stands to reason that we would reap 1.5% of the savings of cannabis law reform.
This amounts to almost $5,000,000 per year.
With the proceeds from cannabis law reform alone, Nelson would save, in ten years, enough money to build a gondola that rivalled the biggest gondola in the world!
That’s the sort of vision Nelson needs – not petty hatred aimed at a guy already at the bottom of the ladder.