Another month, another funeral of a close friend – and for our generation another loss - author, broadcaster and poet, Clive James. The ABC reports that before he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, he was world-weary. “Those feelings vanished overnight as soon as I got sick… I just wanted to live” he said. He went on write eight books, columns and collections of poems. At our humble, but heartfelt remembrance, that sense of urgency was almost palpable. James had, as always, left us with a lesson.

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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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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Shattered….

‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.

But I’m still feeling shattered.  And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.

There’s a lot going on in this book.

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Partisanship on the rise…

Decades after the damage was done, it has finally become acceptable for economists to admit that neo-liberal economics is a politically manipulated means of ensuring that the rich and powerful become more rich and powerful. But with that madness in decline, another has sprung up.

This one is harder to define,  but  people are angry. Intolerance, and partisanship are on the rise. Hard-won laws of justice are threatened. I believe the New Zealand media’s response to US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is our small contribution to a growing hysteria.

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