Category archive: Miscellany

Max’s Dogs – four legs good…

Dog Jacket‘The more I see of men, the more I love dogs’

This worthy philosophy has been attributed to many different people, depending on  which book of  quotations  you pick up. Its origins appear to be French. In the late 1600s the Marquise de Rabutin-Chantal, better known as Madame de Sevigne, wrote in a letter to her daughter: plus je connais les hommes, plus j’aime les chiens – the more I know of men, the more I love dogs.

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Miscellany – October

Doesn’t seem to matter where you are in the world, there’s often another Kiwi close at hand. Even in the ‘60s long before mass travel a friend arrived in London and, walking down Earl’s Court Road one day, bumped into the last person he expected to see – a high school classmate.

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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.  

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Yey! It’s official – we’re a happy lot!!

Good news for  Enzed: we came eighth in World Happiness, one ahead of Australia and Sweden, according to the  Sustainable  Development Solutions Network for the UN.

Happiest  country  of all was Norway,  followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.

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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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Miscellany April

First an editorial confession. We’ve been in Oz, but no, there’s no ball tampering copy here, just this:

Condom machine graffiti: ‘ For refund, insert baby here’.

Aussies are not so much a weird as a witty mob at times. Where some residents with dogs might put up a sign saying ‘Beware of dog’, others choose to let passers-by know with much more precision. Take this for example:  ‘My dog can make it to the fence in 2.8 seconds. Can you?’

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Miscellany – February

Artificial intelligence

“We’re a species that… can study our own ability to be manipulated,” said Tristan Harris, a former ‘design ethicist’ at Google.

“We have to talk about the advertising-based business model, which, paired with artificial intelligence, poses an existential threat. We have to get really serious about this. If you think about where are the most powerful AIs in the world located right now? Arguably, at two companies: Google and Facebook. The most powerful AIs in the world.

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Christmas on the Coast

9 a.m. and the mercury is racing up to 30 degrees. “Better watch out” locals tell us. “It’s going to be a ripper”. They’re right, so we retreat into the air conditioned world which reminds us of home and  what temperatures at Christmas should be.

But then we’re on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and it’s a cloudless Christmas Eve. Still, Christmas is Christmas and though the Mooloolaba Beach is scattered with bodies, the radio station plays – rather incongruously – White Christmas.

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Miscellany – September

Say what you will about Jacinda Ardern but we’ve rarely seen a polly who slips  so easily into disarming self- deprecation. It’s part of the appeal of the new Labour Leader who can rally supporters to come to the Labour launch at the Auckland Town Hall while adding: “There’ll be a special musical guest – and I’ll be laying out my relentlessly positive vision (is this getting annoying yet?”)

And then after a PS urging supporters to volunteer,  a PPS saying: “Hey Mum… this is me checking you’re reading all of my messages!”

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