Miscellany – September

Spotted: Not  the sort of thing you’d expect in a suburban Street.    Certainly not in a nobby Epsom avenue.  But things   change.    After  another day’s  downpour in this waterlogged Spring,  a Gypsy woman  emerged from one of the  street’s impeccable   gardens.  She  turned on her  CD player by the roadside and  began to dance, long red dress swirling, arms held high and twirling to her music.

“Tai Chi?” we ventured. Her tanned  wizened  face  – much like  American Indians – broke into a  smile at us innocents and  then she danced on  outside the, ahem, very very Epsom Tennis Courts…..

But then the place has changed beyond all recognition  –  gracious  villas and  ordinary bungalows have been  trashed or carted off to less restless destinations out of Auckland. Replacing them is the new  modish, infill  housing  for  new immigrants.  No quarter acres here, not  even enough room  to  swing a cat – but enough perhaps for a  slow dance in the moonlight,  on  the limited decks outside.


When the US President Donald Trump tells cheering audiences  over and over that the  media, are ‘dishonest, horrible people’, he does it to undercut their credibility.  Two months ago  350 media groups including  the nation’s  leading news outlets,  banded to together to  push back.

Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” today with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press — and, not surprisingly, Trump didn’t take it silently.

The Boston Globe, which set the campaign in motion by urging the unified voice, had estimated that some 350 newspapers would participate.

They did across the breadth of the country. The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald said a free and independent press is the best defense against tyranny, while the Honolulu Star-Advertiser emphasized democracy’s need for a free press.

“The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger,” wrote the Des Moines Register in Iowa.

But it seems as if  Trump’s words had consequences.

A man who allegedly threatened to shoot and kill reporters at the Boston Globe following its highly publicised effort to promote the free press has been arrested in California, officials say.

Robert Chain, 68, of Encino, was arrested Thursday after an investigation linked him to specific threats against the media outlet, which had called for a nationwide response in newspaper editorials to President Trump’s rhetoric labeling the media “the enemy of the people.”

Federal authorities say Chain left 14 threatening message for the Globe between August 10 and 22. “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f—ing one of you,” he said in one of the calls, according to a report in CNN. He also allegedly threatened to kill journalists “later today, at 4 o’clock,” prompting police to guard the Globe‘s downtown Boston headquarters. Chain is charged with a count of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce. See: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2018/08/30/man-arrested-threatened-boston-globe/












One of the  best magazine reads is also the most unlikely for those not at home in the world of science.  It is Science  Illustrated  which explores in images and text some fascinating  subjects – along with  an informative quiz.   ‘Nobel prize  winner Marie  Curie famously died as a result of radiation exposure in 1935’ the magazine reported. ‘Her daughter Irene Joliot-Curie also won  a Nobel Prize for Chemistry – what did she die from? Also radiation poisoning’.


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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.