What’s the best  drama series anywhere? The Donald! He’s holed up in the White House;  teams of prosecutors arrest and charge his associates and   Fake News reveals more  about the chaos presidency each day. There's hush money pay-offs, a  safe  stuffed with  secret documents, a  White House staffer’s anonymous   Op-ed in the NY Times. He wrote he was part of ‘The Resistance,’ which reins  in  the President. ‘TREASON!’ tweeted Trump. Unfortunate. Trump's  campaign is under investigation for collusion with  Russia…But it’s Spring, with flowers like this so  who needs drama? 

 

The Games’ – high and low points.

Although a surprising number of media sports writers appear to be wilfully ignorant, the rest of us know that some results are predictable. In the rugby world cup there are only eight teams who have a chance of winning. It’s not hard to work out why, they are much better than the rest. That Japan beat South Africa in the last world cup was the exception that proves the rule. But it also reinforces our belief that miracles can happen.

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Slip sliding away?

Democracy is under assault and in retreat around the globe, a crisis that has intensified as America’s democratic standards erode at an accelerating pace, according to Freedom in the World 2018, the latest edition of the annual report on political rights and civil liberties, released today by Freedom House.

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Getting back on track

Have you de-railed in your tracks recently? You were going along just fine and then WHAMMO!

Despite all your good intentions, rigorous short and long term planning and solid commitment, you found yourself back in a place you really didn’t want to be. A goal-less, soul-less zone?

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From summer with love…

The radio broadcasts warnings: leave home early, traffic will be heavy. Perhaps even think of leaving on Thursday. But on Good Friday, in a small bay deep in the Marlborough Sounds only bellbirds and tui and fantails in the beech trees, fill the airwaves.

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Hooked on… jigsaws

I am embarrassed to admit that I am hooked on jigsaws. I have always thought them ridiculous. A picture is cut into small pieces that are then laboriously put together, briefly admired then broken up and returned to the box. (No wonder, after all that effort, that people sometimes frame them). This seems to be the occupation of lonely, bored, unimaginative, and rather odd people.

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1984 on a sunny Auckland day…

It’s  2  o’clock on  a day so sunny that it confounds Aucklanders accustomed to their city’s moodiness. There’s not a cloud to be seen and on the Waterfront Viaduct, families stroll, gorge on takeaways or just sit and, over a drink, watch the passing parade. Not far  away something much darker is on show in the stunning ASB Theatre. It holds  680  –  and is close to capacity.

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Milking Obama…

Crass materialism leapt brazenly out of the closet in New Zealand the 80s.   Money-making was elevated to high social status beyond public service. An American import, the dominance of the mighty dollar had already taken root in other countries. Business finally reached the pinnacle of prestige. Business books proliferated: business management, business leadership, how to succeed in business and, of course, business-speak.

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Alcohol kills nerve cells

Alcohol is a neurotoxin which means it kills nerve cells. Some of these cells are in our brain, and so alcohol kills these too. This is not good news once we already have dementia – we want to preserve as many brain cells as possible. Even without a dementia diagnosis, excessive alcohol has a range of effects on cognition, from mild to severe.

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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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