A tree falls in Epsom, and an old man grieves. Trees are down everywhere in Auckland after April’s storm hit with the city. But some trees, like his huge oak, are special, less wood than the stuff of memory. He recalls swings and tree huts for kids now long gone, barbecues with neighbours under its generous shade. Surely nothing as ephemeral as wind could bring it down? He turns as men arrive, doesn’t stay for the backyard funeral, where the only dirge is the roar of chainsaws…

May miscellany

After kiwiboomers contributor Ann Andrews’ story we also wondered about why people lie.

There’s an annual  World’s Biggest Liar  Competition… The website Mental Floss wrote: …held since the 19th century, the World’s Biggest Liar competition owes its origin to a pub owner named Will Ritson, who was known for the fantastic stories he would tell to keep his patrons entertained—and drinking longer. One of his most famous lies was that turnips planted in the region grew so big that people had to “quarry” into them for their Sunday lunch, and afterward, the mammoth root veggies were used as sheds for sheep. http://mentalfloss.com/article/89006/winner-2016-worlds-biggest-liar-competition

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Speaking Out

After much hesitation, because I did not want to offend, I put off for at least a year writing a letter to the Otago Daily Times on an issue that had been offending me for some time.

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Why do people lie?

I’ve been stunned and amazed at the sheer number of President Donald Trump’s lies. Unfortunately for him the New York Times is counting.  It found that in his first 10 months, he told six times as many falsehoods as President Obama.  Trump told 103 separate untruths, many of them repeatedly, said the Times.  Obama told 18 during his  eight year  Presidency. For  some time, I’ve I wanted to better understand why people lie.

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Just a social drinker

We were both ageing duffers with time on our hands, and sunlight on our faces. We had met, as commuters do, at the bus stop, sighing almost simultaneously after just missing the bus into town.

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The Games’ – high and low points.

Although a surprising number of media sports writers appear to be wilfully ignorant, the rest of us know that some results are predictable. In the rugby world cup there are only eight teams who have a chance of winning. It’s not hard to work out why, they are much better than the rest. That Japan beat South Africa in the last world cup was the exception that proves the rule. But it also reinforces our belief that miracles can happen.

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Slip sliding away?

Democracy is under assault and in retreat around the globe, a crisis that has intensified as America’s democratic standards erode at an accelerating pace, according to Freedom in the World 2018, the latest edition of the annual report on political rights and civil liberties, released today by Freedom House.

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Getting back on track

Have you de-railed in your tracks recently? You were going along just fine and then WHAMMO!

Despite all your good intentions, rigorous short and long term planning and solid commitment, you found yourself back in a place you really didn’t want to be. A goal-less, soul-less zone?

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Kiwiosities: Whitebait, Whitebaiting

The traditions of  catching and eating these tiny fish are based on the springtime migrations of the inanga, various native Galaxiid species. The fish are netted about estuaries and tidal  river reaches as they run upstream in their multitudes to grow into adult fish.

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Max’s Dogs – Cerberus

Dog JacketFrom Max Cryer’s book  Every Dog has its Day

 

Cerberus, guard dog of Hades

In ancient Greek mythology, Cerberus is the watchdog chained to the Gates of Hades or Hell. He harasses the spirits of those who enter and devours those who try to escape. In spite of the lack of first-hand reports, it is widely believed that Cerberus had three heads.

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