Hang on a minute. Did I touch that door handle? Must have, but just to be sure I’ll wash my hands, the way the specialists in hand-washing told us. But now that I’ve slid my other hand down the banister should I do it again with an antiseptic wipe? And the car! What if the steering and handbrake were contaminated after I touched them? Up the stairs again to get some wipes to remove any possibility of COVID-19.  We remember what the doctor said, but can’t rely on memories of what you’ve just infected in that most familiar place – home. Time to surrender, time to remember the days when you touched all things without a second thought.

Miscellany – April

 “Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.” ― said  President  Herbert Hoover  nearly a century ago.   It was if he was addressing his present day successor Donald Trump’s inadequate response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Remember radio  when it was – King?  

Before television, families gathered each night around the essential piece of lounge furniture – a stylish floor level radio console (perhaps branded Atwater Kent or Gulbransen) – or faced the ornate mantle model (Philco), waiting with expectation for the crackling  radio valves to warm up.

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Be kind she said…

At first  they nodded and smiled as usual on our daily walks. Nothing unusual there, it’s our neighbourhood.

But then the pandemic arrived and didn’t  leave.  For a few days  we were confused and offered the same  greetings, though we all knew nothing would  ever be the same.

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Democracy’s malaise…

The Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University recently  stated that: ‘Democracy is in a state of malaise.’  It’s not been like this since the 1930s.   Now, Facebook refuses to police its political ads which aid and abet  liars. And the world’s democracies are not seen to be doing much about it.

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Don’t mention the war!

Indian students with their awards for education excellence.

It was John Cleese who made the above comment famous in regard to German guests in the 1960s television show, Faulty Towers. The theme; attempting to keep silent about guests whose behaviour or history you think deplorable is universal, which is what made the show so brilliant.

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Kiwiosities: The Spanish Influenza

Excerpts from Kiwiosities, a book by Gordon Ell on the traditions and folklore of New Zealand.

An outbreak of Spanish influenza killed some 6716 New Zealanders late in 1918. The worldwide epidemic took millions of lives elsewhere. Some believed the disease was brought into New Zealand by the passenger ship Niagara that also bore Prime Minister William Massey and Finance Minister Joseph Ward back from a First World War conference.

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Superstitions – Impotence

If they have faith in an old superstition, men who are concerned about their sexual vigour should eat a generous amount of rabbit kidneys. Rabbits are known to very procreative, by why their kidneys were regarded as the seat of their rampant passions has never been explained. (Nor is there any suggestion that another part of the male rabbit might provide a more logical encouragement.)

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Ghosts…

Outside it’s sunny, a hot, muggy Auckland day. A plump Tui swings on the untidy flax bush by the bedroom’s open window; slothful clouds drift past in a china-blue sky. But inside the bedroom it’s cold, chilly enough to raise goose-pimples. Despite the golden light outside, the room is shadowy, its corners dim and blurry.

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Once upon a Charter

A very long time ago when I was an NBR media commentator, a senior Treasury official asked me what I  thought about the  future of TVNZ.  I told him that its hyper-commercialism was  driving viewers away; that people were  sick and tired of ads and much of the network’s ratings-driven  programming.

He paused, stroked his chin and looked into the distance.  “Hmm” he said.  “Here, we would call that a long term strategic loss.”

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