June Miscellany

oth 4jpgSince 2001 JAFAs have quite rightly called it None Tree Hill. Some even grew accustomed to the sight of the shorn iconic cone in their midst. Most people assumed that a tree would be planted soon after the Monterey pine was attacked for the second time in 1999 by Maori activists. Not so. All it took was a mere 15 years of PC tip-toeing over protocols and types of trees. But Ngati Whatua and Ngati Council finally came together and planted a selection of trees. Star of the replanting that day wasn’t the nursery of trees, but a spectacular laser beam caressing the clouds. Fingers crossed, it may even spread joy – and arboreal harmony.


Good news for men with  small feet…

You know what they say about a guy with big feet? Not that much, as it turns out. After researchers at the University College London measured the length of 100 penises and compared them to their owners’ shoe size, they found no significant correlation. Jyoti Shah of St. Mary’s Hospital in London told the BBC, “The ability to predict the size of a man’s penis by observing his shoe size is a common misconception.”


HopNow repeat after me…

How to introduce us old folks gently into a new life with the AT HOP card. In the promotional material which comes with this communion (sorry) commuters’ wafer, we are reminded if we travel before 9 am – not once, but ten times, that it will incur a (discounted!) cost.


Hate and hate groups

After Orlando, after the killing of British MP Jo Cox, the loathing of hatred seems not only just, but timely.  And then we discovered how much hate of different kinds is channeled into groups in just one country – America. The Southern Poverty Legal Center says there are now 892 hate groups operating in the country. Interestingly,  groups representing extremist views of both blacks and whites almost match each other while the usual suspects are fewer by comparison. Here’s the breakdown of the groups and their targets:

Anti-immigration – 12

Anti LGBT – 48

Anti-Muslim – 34

Black separatists –  180

Christian identity – 19

General hate groups – 19

Holocaust denial – 10

Klu Klux Klan – 190

The Centre defines hate groups  as:  ‘those who have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable (unchangeable) characteristics’.  

 Read more at:   https://www.splcenter.org/

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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.