Somewhere between  deep sleep and  waking to  another sullen, soggy Auckland dawn, my  brain began playing word games.  That’s okay  an artist told me later.“I wake up dreaming  images and  shapes”.

Mine  though was  dominated by The Word. Its tentacles  reached out to  those who were judgemental and who carried old  grudges. And suddenly there it was, this  pre-dawn creation. Born of  grudges  and  judgements,   let us introduce you to:   Grudgement (noun). Also  Grudgemental (adj.), Meaning:  judgements born of grudges. Just don't hold it against us...

 

 

Grandma lost her purse…

Grandma has lost her purse. She’s hurrying from one room to another and back again, opening cupboards and lifting cushions. Wispy white hair works loose from the floppy bun at the back of her neck, her hands twist together, her faded blue-grey eyes dart.

“I know I had it yesterday, where can it be, oh dear, oh dear, I know I had it yesterday.” Her litany of distress is on repeat and winding up.

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Pressure is starving children and much worse…

Pressure, according to Sonny Bill Williams, told The Listener, is not about being an All Black.  Pressure is starving children, a single mother raising three kids, atrocities faced by refugees, and racism. The sneering response from three media worthies, Mark Richardson, Duncan Garner and an unnamed Herald columnist, was telling. Richardson and Garner are famous for making rational people change their minds if they find themselves agreeing with anything they say.  But pressure was evident in the week between the Bledisloe Cup games between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.

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Among his souvenirs.. new shoes

To say he had a beard would be an understatement- his whole face bristled with pepper and salt whiskers so thick they looked like an uncut hedge. In one of Auckland’s coldest winter spells, he wore a coat which had seen too many winters and was at least two sizes too big for him. And then there were his shoes, or perhaps one of  them. It  remained  staunchly unflappable while  the other had  clearly given up the pretense of being a shoe,  and its uppers flopped open with every step he took.

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Democracies in retreat…

Last year Freedom House, the much respected freedom watchdog issued one of its most compelling reports:  Democracy in Crisis. The global report warned that democracy faced its most serious crisis in decades.

So what was its call to arms this year?  Democracy in Retreat.

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Two men, two wives, six daughters and…

Two men, two wives, six daughters between them.   So in their conversation, a liberal  sprinkling of domestic chit-chat –  the kind you’d also  imagine women having over a cuppa. Except  that these were two  old blokes  who’d notched up a  century of marriage between them.

And blokes  talk about sport, who should have won the one day cricket final at Lords,  politics –  and of course the good old days. There’s a pause between  all this chaff and then this:

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Loneliness in Godzone

Picture this: An 80-year-old grandfather of four children – three boys and one girl – is picked up from his central city flat by his only son every Sunday. He drives him through suburban streets which he can now barely recognise. The once lush avenues of bungalows and villas seem gap-toothed here and there. Or they sport towering new townhouses which block sunlight from their neighbours.

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Kiwiosities: A Great Place To Bring Up Kids

New Zealand’s open-air environment and a raft of social measures gave this country the reputation of being ‘a great place to bring up kids’.

The post-war baby-boom generations in particular enjoyed their overseas experience, then came home to have their families. Homes were readily available then, on quarter acre sections, with room for children to play.

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Max’s Dogs – Scrufts…

The Crufts Dog Show in Britain features only pedigree  purebreds, and generates enormous interest from dog owners and breeders. But in 2000, The Kennel Club recognised that dogs can also be fun and a source of pride and companionship, regardless of how random their family tree might be. So a second show evolved, entitled Scrufts.

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When was the first time you felt old?

When was the first time you felt, umm… elderly? Well okay – old? It’s not as if it’s something that  happens often because we live in a self-made reality, now and in the past.

But it’s right there if we bother to look: on the car radio Magic FM specialises in music for the ‘oldies’ – that same music which revolutionised the music world when we were in the Swinging Sixties, is now a commercially viable lullaby for early baby boomers.

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