After damp December who can believe January’s first week.  It recalls summers past when the weather was so predictable.  Now, in the midst of a man-made crisis confirmed by 97% of climate change scientists, deniers flourish. Yep, all the way to the Oval office - where facts go to die. Elsewhere, active communities nurse our wounded planet. Just look at (or rather inside) this beached fish. Imagination and action – they’ll always set us free.

Pushing back ageing…

If you shop for birthday  cards  you’ll find the funny, the odd and the entertaining.  But among them there’s a surprising  number for those who make it  to  their 100th  birthday.

So how many Centenarians are there in  New Zealand?  Based  on  the 2013 Census, Statistics New  Zealand puts the number  at  561.  Five years on  and given the fact that for nearly 200 years mankind has been pushing back  ageing, that number is  likely  to be higher  in the 2018 Census.

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Sunscreen on my armpits…

(From the archives…)

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.

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The typewriter rebellion is here!

Now here’s something an old hack would never have dreamt could happen: A typewriter revolution – typewriters reverentially dusted off from their obsolete past, and ushered into a welcoming  present, wreathed with terms like  the  ‘typosphere.’

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Miscellany – Of words and oranges and lambs…

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.

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Max’s Dogs – Search and Rescue Dogs

Dog JacketDogs can be invaluable in search-and-rescue, and can assist in ascertaining if fire damage was deliberately caused (by seeking hydrocarbons).

After familiarisation, they can also detect allergens (such as peanuts in food) and alert people for whom such things are dangerous. By the process known as biodetection, dogs can be trained to recognise the very slight odour caused by chemical matter in the early stages of various cancers: breast, bowel, uterine, bladder, prostate, lung and melanoma.

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Kiwiosities: Gabriel’s Gully

Gabriel’s Gully and Gabriel Read

On a branch of the Tuapeka River near Lawrence, Gabriel Read discovered gold on May 23, 1861.  ‘At a place where a kind of road crossed a shallow bar I shovelled away about two and a half feet of gravel, arrived at a beautiful soft slate and saw gold shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night.’

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A sleepy lagoon, a tropical moon…

Absent-mindedly listening to ‘Radio NZ National’ some years ago, my attention was suddenly focused on the words of an elderly caller.

She was reminiscing with then afternoon host, Jim Mora, about her favourite music. Apparently, she’d grown-up in the King Country milling settlement, Rangataua, just south of Ohakune.

The woman remembered fondly a band that used to play the occasional Saturday night in the local hall in the late 30s. Two things stuck in her memory – the small woman who played the piano, and the large Maori man who played the drums. Apparently, the woman had a ‘great sense of rhythm’.

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Another day in Auckland…

Another day in Auckland and another tree falls. No, not just one but three – all native Puriri.

“Where will the wood pigeons go now?” an anguished neighbour asks as the chain saws roar and a wood chipper finishes the job, grinding once proud trees into garden fill.

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