Tuesday, 27 April 2010


A teacher who bashed a pupil with a weight had warned his bosses he might hurt somebody, a British court has heard.
Peter Harvey shouted "die, die, die" as he attacked the teen with the 3kg dumbbell after he misbehaved in class, reports British news channel ITN.
The 14-year-old, who can't be named for legal reasons, was left with a fractured skull and cuts to his face.
Nottingham Crown Court heard the teacher was "well, happy and in a positive frame of mind" on the morning of the attack last July.

Mmmm. How much does a double bass weigh?

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Sorry old soldiers, to moan on ANZAC Day, but I haven't complained in a while. What really gets my goat at the moment is bloody milk producers' packaging. One would think that in this day and age, with all the so-called advancements in packaging (I would rather have my milk to still come in glass bottles), that that packaging would at least function properly. How many times have you purchased a litre or more of milk from a supermarket and when you get home discover that the plastic top has failed and leaked milk over the other purchases? It seems to happen to me a lot.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


When Hip Hop initially developed it was interesting, not demanding but as any new music form deserving of some respect. Hey! I even had a Grandmaster Flash album in the old days. The problem is that it has continued to go on, with seemingly (to me) very little development. Even that godawful disco music died a natural death. Punk, New Romanticism and even the new wave R&B all had grace to bow out when their time was over but rap, hip hop or whatever other contrived names the genre goes under still bludgeons on.
Whilst cooking tonight and waiting for the 6 pm news I tuned into C4 and got 20 minutes of unadulterated crap. It was like modern versions of the Beastie Boys interspersed with some pseudo-heavy black dudes all singing (?) about shootings, drug deals, bitches, whores (girlfriends?) and cars. This garbage is directed at, and purchased by young, reasonably affluent middle class kids. I assume that street kids with guns and who perpetrate the crimes don't listen to or watch this slick stuff, so why do the young affluents do?


No. It will continue to be blood on the roads as big trucking rigs are both being given more mandates to occupy the roads and being driven on to them due to a lack of a viable alternative by the current government. Our previous government attempted to arrest this shift by investing in Kiwi Rail. The current government is subtly and continually putting into the public perception that rail is bad. Why? They came into power on a mandate of promising to make everything financially better 'for everyone' at a time of global economic crisis. Short term solutions support this mandate. Cutting back on 'bleeding' infrastructure like railway makes sense in the short term. In the long term though it is disastrous. If the current (and recently neglected networks) fall into disrepair or worse, are pulled out, rebuilding them will be completely beyond this country's capability.
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world without a comprehensive rail system. OK, we do have some mountains but we are a long skinny country. How hard is it to have a main line with sensible feeders off that to get to most (if not all) of the important towns and cities?


Jan Pryor has said that she resigned her position as Chief Families Commissioner for personal reasons and not due to any disagreements with Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.
Who can believe that? I certainly don't. Pryor has been working hard for years doing what she considers best for our community. The newbie and upstart Bennett has steamrollered her and criticised the standard of reporting, probably for political reasons. An indication of things to come (railways, education, health services)? I think so.


The Eyjafjallajokull  eruption and resultant disruption to air travel in Europe has brought to the surface the inherent nature of the 'I want it now' classes. Formerly known (in New Zealand and Australia) as 'The Whingeing Poms' they are unfortunately universal and can be found in any country and from any background. It has been so disappointing watching the news over the last week and seeing these WP's sitting at airports and complaining that they cannot go, return or whatever as if the world owes it to them to make it right and then complaining further about the various airlines unreasonable attitude in not flying them, accommodating them or making other travel arrangements! Fuck! What a lot of useless bastards the human race has become. Where is the pioneering spirit, the sense of adventure or, simply, the mature recognition that nature is more powerful than civilisation?


The criticism that has arisen over the release of NZ Football's campaign song 'Stand Up' is mindboggling.
No sooner has it come out than the various news media are chasing around asking dimwitted, ill-informed and generally other stupid representatives of 'the great unwashed' what they think about it. What is the hurry? Why does everything have to be immediately analysed, discussed, adjudicated, and invariably, trashed? How about leaving things for a reasonable amount of time so that 'village level' comment and opinion can come to the surface?


I finally got around to filling the garden planters I assembled some time ago. I had already filled a third of each with the soil that I excavated from beneath the house and today picked up three trailer loads of 'potting mix' which was about 4 cubic metres. The neat thing about living out in the country is that there are all sorts of bulk supply places that sell stuff really cheaply. The 'potting mix' cost $20 a cubic metre - not bad when compared to garden centre prices. It was sold from a market garden place  just two bays away from where I live. I barrowed the lot up the back and filled the planters which are now ready for sowing. Of course I've left it pretty late so the only things worth planting are artichokes, shallots and silverbeet.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


When The Old Girl is away I can indulge in lots of forbidden things (making the house a mess, eating all the wrong food, fixing things, listening to 70's music, playing Playstation etc.). After a couple of days though I get a bit bored and wish she was home. This week she is in Melbourne and is coming back early Monday morning. Normally I leave the clean-up to the last minute but this time I think I'll do it this afternoon in case I don't get around to it on Sunday. A couple of hours of cleaning bath, showers, toilets, floors, kitchen etc. should do it. After doing 'chores' like this I feel sort of good and then feel that I need a reward of some kind. Or, put another way, if I indulge myself after doing something worthwhile I don't feel as guilty as if I had been doing nothing. Why is this? Is it Catholic guilt or some kind of engraved work ethic? Whatever it is I know that it is there. My indulgence this evening will be a Viggo Mortensen Western on TV and one of my favourite meals - Wiener Schnitzel.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain

The opening lines of T.S. Eliot's poem may well have been written for the Southern hemisphere and not the Northern except for the reference to Spring.
Elliot takes the opposite stance of other writers talking about Spring. They talk about birth and rejuvenation. He talks about death.

There is a certain amount of tristesse with the end of Summer and the onset of the colder months although this is not without beauty (I particularly liked Man of Error's reference to it in his latest post .."The sky is clear and blue, and the air a little cool.  Autumn is rapidly doing its work with the trees.").

Tristesse, melancholy, 'the end of the Golden Weather' feeling if you will is a natural part of the cycle of seasons that make up life. The trick is in knowing (and believing) that it is a cycle otherwise melancholy can morph into depression. Who knows what endless Summer would bring? Ennui? A sense of sameness? Personally I love the change of seasons and the challenges they bring.

A TV advertisement  (National Bank?) captures this very well. A geezer locks up the Summer paraphernalia (deck-chairs, paddling pools etc.) in the garden shed and when walking away, glances back over his shoulder with a sad and regretful look on his face.

I've got the wood in for Winter.


We went to Ocean Beach today, a superb big wave East coast surf beach a few minutes drive from where we live. An hours boogie boarding, being lifted up and driven down to the sand by the waves was both exhilarating and frightening by degrees. Sometimes it is great to experience the power of the forces around us that we have no control over. Somehow it puts us more into perspective than the trappings we own can suggest. I am humbled, a bit sore but energised. I feel like a towel or bed sheet that has been dried on the clothes-line and that has been 'oxygenated'.


Well why not since Robert's been banging on about the Catholic Catechism and its virtues even while there's a backdrop of priests, b...