“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.
Category archive: Miscellany
In the 13th century Marco Polo reported from China that Kublai Khan of Cathay had two kivichi or Masters of the Chase, each commanding 10,000 men assisting the Khan to command a total of 5,000 dogs in tracking, hunting, and killing wildlife. Marco Polo didn’t mention how big the kennels must have been.
King Henry III of France (1575) was a devoted dog lover – perhaps a bit too devoted. He owned 2,000 dogs, so perhaps it is just as well that he had several palaces. He liked to have 100 dogs within patting distance, and he went walkabout with 20 at a time.
Bushfires still burn in Oz; Brexit vexited the Brits, and in America a new King was crowned by Republican Senators. You could sense an uprising to the elevation of President Donald to King Donald. Tears flowed and jeers echoed on both sides of the Atlantic, courtesy of television. These were passionate issues and sometimes you had to pause to wonder who, or what, lay behind them.
But no worries, because Down Under the Aussies showed that their sense of humour couldn’t be extinguished….
Wit – the first casualty of political discourse
Contributor Chris Horan put his finger on the dreary state of political oratory in this country now that cameras and mikes are everywhere. The last memorable orator was David Lange – trouble is, his comedy masked the dismantling of a Kiwi society many of us loved.
The rains were coming, unusually, and the peaches we’d been monitoring in the burning sun for weeks were flushed and ripe on our neighbour’s tree. She invited us to take as many as we liked because she didn’t want the birds to snaffle these delights. Neither did we, and so in her backyard Griff welcomed me and watched as I took to a loaded branch with a six foot bamboo pole.
Feel like some wordplay for the festive season? Well try these from the Washington Post for a giggle. The newspaper published a contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternative meanings for various words. These were some of the winning entries:
Negligent, (adj.), describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightie
Lymph, (v.) to walk with a lisp.
Balderdash, (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.
Testicle (n) a humorous question on an exam.
Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.
Pokemon (n.) a Jamaican proctologist.
Circumvent (n.) the opening in the front of boxer shorts.
Willy-nilly (adj,) impotent.
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.