Cool with a capital c

From today’s Dominion Post:

Move over London, Rome and Paris – Wellington is the world’s coolest ;capital city.

Lonely Planet has named the capital the fourth best city in which to travel in the world, behind New York, Tangier and Tel Aviv.

It is the first time a New Zealand city has made it into the annual Best in Travel publication – a collection of the world’s best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences.

In the sixth edition, released today, the publication refers to Wellington under the banner of “coolest little capital in the world”.

Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said sharing the top five with cities such as New York and Tel Aviv was priceless recognition.

“To have Lonely Planet – a global brand respected for frank opinions and having its finger on the pulse – come out and refer to Wellington as the `coolest little capital in the world’ and among the top 10 cities you must visit for 2011 is quite simply incredible.”

It is perfect timing for the city as businesses prepare for an action-packed calendar in 2011.

About 85,000 international visitors are expected in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup.

Other highlights include the third Visa Wellington On a Plate in August and an extended season of the Montana World of WearableArt show, which will lead into the World Cup kickoff. In November, the city is hosting hundreds of writers for the Society of American Travel Writers conference.

Prime Minister John Key said Wellington was a great place to live, and even put a positive spin on our notorious wind.

“Actually I thoroughly enjoy going around the harbour when it’s blustery and windy. It has a kind of New Zealand feel to it.

“For all the hard time Wellington gets about its weather, I think it adds to the dimension of the place that it has quite a good feel to it in that regard.”

However, asked if he preferred it to Auckland, he replied: “That’s a big stretch.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who moved to Wellington from Britain in 1983, said she thought Wellington’s strength lay in the combination of “wilderness” and city living.

“You don’t have to choose arts or sports, or between culture or wilderness, because it’s all there.”

10 gallon splat

Well the first game of the World Series was a suprise:

Cliff Lee picked the woprst time to have his first bad game in the postseason. Lee, who entered the game 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in this postseason, allowed seven runs (six earned) in 4 2/3 innings and surrendering eight hits as San Francisco pounded Texas 11-7.

Freddy Sanchez went 4 for 5 with 3 RBI; he also became the first player in Major League Baseball history to double in his first three World Series at-bats and the first to pound three doubles in Game 1 of any World Series.

Vladimir Guerrero proved he can’t play right field by having a two-error performance which led to 3 San Francisco runs.

Still all is not lost- Game 2 tonight! Go Rangers!

Humble Hamilton

I have seen the Rangers play in Arlington when i spent a month in Dallas during the start of the 2001 baseball season and i wear my cap on occasion.

That is why i am stoked the Texas Rangers are in the World Series. I am rooting for them…and especially so because of Josh Hamilton.

Jon Acuff over on Stuff Christians Like lists Five reasons Josh Hamilton is the Christian athlete of the century

1. Redemption

His story is one of tremendous redemption. He was the number 1 draft pick in 1999. He was a five tool player, equipped with other planet abilities. But then he threw it all away on drugs and alcohol. Professional sports are virtually impossible to play for more than a few years. The average NFL career is 3.2 years and major league baseball players come and go. It’s crazy that Hamilton came back from his pit. When asked he how he did, he replied, “Giving glory to God is the reason I am where I am.”

2. David vs. Goliath

The team Hamilton plays for, the Texas Rangers collectively as a team makes less than A-Rod and Derek Jeter. Let me rephrase that, two guys on the Yankees make more money than all the other Texas Rangers combined. That is wild. What a David versus Goliath story. The Yankees were going for their 28th World Series too, and that’s approximately how many I believe the Philistines would have won as well.

3. Josh fell

Josh stumbled. He relapsed. He didn’t just need a second chance, he needed a third chance. And how did he deal with it? He was honest. I heard him discuss his relapse with me and roughly 13,000 other people at the Catalyst Conference. Then he threw a football into the crowd and almost snapped someone’s sternum clean in half. Both of those events were awesome in their own way.

4. Parade of God

Rappers always give a shout out to God. In the midst of enjoying a nice jolly rancher flavored sip of “Drank,” they’ll say, “Shout out to God.” Josh? What did he say? When asked about the game, he referenced Joshua. The book of Joshua. You don’t casually bust out some Joshua. Watching the post game interviews with Hamilton was like seeing faith in 3D. It was awesome.

5. Ginger Ale

When they won the game, the Rangers bypassed the famous champagne shower and instead pour ginger ale on each other. Why? Because they love Josh and as someone who struggles with substance abuse they don’t want to do that to him.

When they talk about locker rooms and guys who are “cancers” to them and the bad chemistry that can exist, you get a sense of how much politics are alive and well in professional sports. But on the night they won a trip to their first ever World Series, the Rangers completely rewrote the play book and busted out some ginger ale. That’s a huge testament to Josh’s impact on that team.

So i will be cheering extra hard for Josh when he comes up to bat…

John joins the Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have named John Farrell their new manager.

Farrell, the pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox for the past four seasons, will replace the retiring Cito Gaston, who was in his second stint as Toronto’s manager and led the Blue Jays to a record of 85-77 this past season.

Prior to Farrell’s tenure with the Red Sox, he served as Cleveland’s director of player development from November 2001 through the 2006 season. He has never been a manager on any level.

Farrell was a big league pitcher for the Indians, Angels and Tigers from 1987-96, posting a record of 36-46 with a 4.56 earned run average in 116 games, including 109 starts. After his retirement as an active player, Farrell spent five years as an assistant coach and pitching coordinator at Oklahoma State.

Word on the street is that he is widely respected in the game; i guess next season will see what he is made of!

Hilariously inappropriate

First it was naked staff. Then it was naked old ladies. Then it was blow up dolls. And the latest campaign from Air New Zealand to promote its new 777-300 planes, which take flight later this year, is also a bit raunchy, featuring as it does a budding travel author/furry lothario called Rico who has an entertainingly poor grasp of English and a talent for unintentional innuendo.

Air New Zealand’s head of creative shop Jules Lloyd says Rico was a collaboration between her team, 99, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Curious and “our very talented puppeteer Tyler”.

“The Creature Shop were truly fantastic to work with – from the first meeting I had with them at the Henson’s Lot to discuss the initial concept, to the design and build phases, to their involvement here in New Zealand at the film shoot. They are a very talented, passionate, yet down to earth team – that are masters in the world of puppetry.”

She says Rico is a “charming but fairly unlikely ambassador for an airline”. And, once again, the content is all about capturing the imagination of travellers by pushing a few boundaries “with a series of quirky and distinct online videos” (they even require a warning for their suggestive language and themes).

“Rico is a well-meaning, budding travel author, who discovers and shares the many joys to be experienced on board the new 777-300’s. Unable to contain his enthusiasm for life, Rico lets his passion rub off all over his fellow travellers through sharing some intimate moments with them—with awkward, amusing results.”

Its probably wrong that i found them hilarious but if you want to watch them, then feel free. But you have been warned!

Happy Hour

The Intimate Art of Touch