Category archive: Viewpoint

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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Transgender troubles

Laurel Hubbard, the transgender weightlifter who will represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games, appears to be determined to compete yet thoughtful about the concerns expressed by her detractors. She asks them to ‘look at the bigger picture,’ yet seems unsure if the current laws on transgender participation will remain or evolve, perhaps more in line with the perceptions of athletes who look upon her participation as cheating.

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On the buses

When you ride on an  Auckland  bus, there’s no such  thing as a typical ride – not if you’re looking.

The entertainment is  not so much in  the city’s  sport  – that  never-ending version of  upmarket stock cars. A U-turn  perhaps – just in front  of the car speeding towards them? No worries. Drivers  career  backwards out of driveways into busy traffic lanes,  or  exit out of  entrance ways to  shopping centres.  Quite a few fancy  they can beat traffic lights too, often  with  predictable  results.  It’s  Auckland.

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Sunscreen on armpits?

Yesterday I put roll-on sunscreen on my armpits – somewhere that rarely sees the light — forgot the day of the week when looking up the tide times and couldn’t find my phone. I couldn’t call it since I had left the sound turned off after that disturbing movie about billboards.

Today I found the door left open all night (wide open, not just unlocked) and while cleaning out the cupboard discovered a couple of securely packed boxes labelled “jug” and “milk jug”.  I assume I got them for my sister who likes jugs, but, worryingly, have absolutely no recollection of buying them.

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Knocking out hype…

Boxing promoters tend to tag their talent with silly names like The Brown Bomber (Joe Louis), Iron Mike (Tyson),  The Real Deal (Evander Hollyfield), and perhaps the silliest, Tuaman, (New Zealand’s David Tua).  Boxing is a jarring sport  –  our current brown hope, Joseph  Parker, is about to find out just how jarring.

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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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Listening to your inner voice…

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. E.E. Cummings

Listen to your inner self!

During our busy year of meeting deadlines and juggling the demands and expectations of others and self, we can be left with little time for meaningful reflection of our lives.

After all, most of our energy is caught up in just keeping things going.

The advantage of the holiday period is that we get to have more relaxed time on our hands and this in turn connects us more to our inner selves.

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Poverty then – and now…

Sometimes the stuff that spills out of  old box files on their way to the bin, are not only worth  remembering, but keeping.

One  we found  was Windows on Poverty, a 1992 Report  from the New Zealand  Council of Christian Social Services on Poverty in New Zealand.  It was well on its way to pile in  one of those  purges we hoarders  are  told  we must do.  But  caught between  the  need to clear  out stuff – and hoard,   we once more hoarded. Why? So  we don’t forget, so we don’t allow it to happen  again. Not in Godzone.

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“Remember when mum clubbed me with the rock.”

When I was a CYFS social worker I knew a woman who clubbed her ten-year-old son with a rock enclosed in a supermarket bag. It would be wrong to assume she was an ignorant person lacking in moral standards. In fact she was a churchgoer who described herself as a fundamental Christian. And she could hold a decent argument on the matter. However, it is fair to say her housekeeping was not as well organised as her Christian beliefs.

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