G’day again Goodnight Kiwi

November 30, 2008

Once upon a time, not so very long go, there were just two TV channels and neither of them went 24 hours a day.


To signal the end of the day’s transmission, TVNZ (or whichever of its predecessors was in existence then) played the Goodnight Kiwi settling down for the night to the tune of Hine E Hine.

The excitement with which the announcement TVNZ is bringing the Kiwi and his cat back to our screens has been greeted is a sign of the affection in which they’re held. However, the sad state of current programming means there’s little if anything worth watching to keep us up to see them.


If you can’t wait to see the updated version, Youtube has the original.

Just two half glasses

November 30, 2008

As the designated driver for our party of five I took a precautionary approach to alcohol at Friday’s wedding.

I accepted a glass of bubbles when we arrived at the reception and nursed it over the next couple of hours until we sat down for dinner. The glass was still half full but I abandoned it in favour of a still white for the toasts and drank about half of that with the meal.

After just two half glasses of wine over several hours, accompanied by food, I should still have been in full control, but that didn’t stop me tripping over en route to the dance floor.

I fell on my left hand and am now sporting a compression bandage, a sling and relief I hadn’t drunk more because if I can do this much damage on two half glasses, I hate to think of the mess I’d be in had I emptied them.

St Andrew’s Day

November 30, 2008

If there’s such a thing as genetic memory, it kicked in when we got to Scotland eight years ago.

It wasn’t a feeling of coming home, that’s definitely New Zealand, but there was a sense of familiarity and recognition.

The prosaic explanation for this could be similarities in the landscape which made me realise why the Scots felt at home in the southern South Island. But the romantic in me put the sense of connection down to the knowledge that this was the land from which my forbears came.

My mother’s grandfather and all her great grandparents were Scottish. My father was born and brought up there and although he moved to New Zealand in his late 20s and spent nearly three quarters of his life here and loved the land he chose, he also retained a close affinity to the land of his birth.

In many ways he became more Scottish as he aged. The kilt which was worn only when he went to Scottish Country Dancing when my brother and I were children, became a staple part of his wardrobe and his clothing of choice for semi formal and formal occasions. Even now, nearly nine years after his death I meet people who tell me they remember Charlie in his kilt, greeting them at the church door on Sundays or addressing the haggis on Burns night.

For all the great inventions and distinguished people that have come out of Scotland, St Andrew’s Day doesn’t get the recognition that St Patrick’s Day does. While I’m quite happy that it hasn’t been commercialised my tarten genes called for a post in recognition of Scotland’s patron saint.

Saturday’s smiles

November 29, 2008

In sympathy for the people marking NCEA exams, here is a collection of metaphors and similes supposedly collected from school essays:


Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.


His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.


She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.


The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.


McMurphy fell 12 storeys, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.


Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.


Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.


Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.


He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.


The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.


Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 pm travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4.19pm at a speed of 35 mph.


The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.


John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.


The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.


The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.


Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.


The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of Family Fortunes.


Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.


The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.


The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.


“Oh Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a student on a 31p a pint night.


He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.


Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.


She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.


It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.


The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Glenda Jackson MP in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Robin Cook MP, Leader of the House of Commons, in the House Judiciary hearings on the suspension of Keith Vaz MP.


The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.


The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cash point.


The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.


It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.


He was deeply in love. When she spoke he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.


She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.


She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.


She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.


Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.


It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Hagar: PR threatens democracy

November 29, 2008

Pupblic Relations can do as much to hamper communication as to enhance it but this is a bit rich  coming from Nicky Hagar:

The manipulation of public opinion through sophisticated public relations techniques poses a threat to New Zealand democracy, Wellington investigative journalist Nicky Hager warns.

Mr Hager gave a keynote lecture, titled “Imagining a world where the PR people had won”, at the Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand conference at the University of Otago.

Public relations methods had long been used to influence public opinion, but in recent years there had been “a really huge and important change” which now posed “a threat to democracy”, he said in an interview.

I don’t necessarily disagree with his view, especially given the blow out in communications staff in the public service. But there is an antidote to the PR poison and that’s free and intelligent media which delves beyond press releases.

And isn’t there more than a little of the pot calling the kettle black in his proclamation when he wrote a whole book using selected emails to prove his foregone conclusion?

John Ansell showed how he operates here and Hager’s response is here.

Wedding Song

November 28, 2008

This Friday’s poem was chosen because as the earlier post tells, today friends are being married and it will be the first of five weddings we’re attending in three different countries over the next couple of months.

Wedding Song by Jenny Bornholdt is from My Heart Goes Swimming edited by Jenny Bornholdt and Gregory O’Brien, published by Godwit.

Wedding Song


Now you are married

Try to love the world

As much as you love

Each other. Greet it as your husband,

Wife. Love it with all your

Might as you sleep

Breathing against its back.


Love the world, when late at night,

You come home to find snails

Stuck to the side of the house

Like decoration.


Love your neighbours.

The red berries on their trampoline

Their green wheelbarrow.


Love the man walking on

Water, the man up a

mast. Love the light moving

across the Island Princess.


Love your grandmother when she tells you

Her hair is three-quarters ‘café au lait’.


Try to love the world, even when you discover

there is no such thing as The Author

any more.


Love the world, praise

God, even, when your aerobics instructor

is silent.


Try very hard to love

your mailman, even though her regularly

delivers you Benidicto Clemente’s mail.


Love the weta you find on the path,

injured  by alteration.


Love the tired men, the burnt

house, the handlebars of light

on the ceiling.


Love the man on the bus who says

it all amounts to a fishing rod

or a lightbulb.


Love the world of the garden.

The keyhole of bright green grass

Where the stubborn palm

used to be,

bees so drunk on ginger flowers

that they think the hose water

is rain   your hair tangled in



Love the way,

when you come inside,

insects find their way out

from the temporary rooms of

your clothes.


– Jenny Bornholdt –

Surviving tractor accidents

November 28, 2008

Pique Oil left a comment on an earlier post about seatbelts in tractors saying:

I work in the OSH industry and one of the most frustrating things is seeing a seatbelt done up to activate the sensor, but operators sit on top of it.
Here is a youtube link that shows a forklift fatality. Not gory at all but a seatbelt would have stopped him being thrown out the back and crushed to death.
seatbelts save lives. Anyone who thinks that they are a nuisance or inconvenient or Fred would have died if he had worn his etc. etc. should ask themselves whether their widow would have preferred they wore a seatbelt.

I agree, my earlier post wasn’t arguing seatbelts shouldn’t be worn, it was to say it’s difficult to convince people to use them (and other safety equipment).

The photo below is a tractor after it rolled five times and finished on its wheels, facing the opposite direction from which it had started.

It had a seatbelt but the driver wasn’t wearing it. At one stage he remembers his legs going outside the cab and thought “this is how people die”. We think he then hauled himself back in by the steering wheel.

He ended up with a bad gash in the head (possibly done by fire extinguisher which hadn’t been secured) and fractured five pedicles on his spine. He’s made a full recovery but could very easily have died.



Farmer Baby Boomer also left a comment on the earlier post:

Was listening to newstalkzb’s Danny Watson discussing this yesterday. A guy rang up and talked about ’springbelt’ – a belt for tractors which is in the way unless you do it up. He claimed it is positioned so that it is quick and easy to do up.
It is on the web at
May be interesting to get on a trial see if it is convenient or just adds frustration to the ” in and out of the cab ” type jobs you mentioned.

If it works that could be the answer because no matter how often people are warned of the dangers, it’s too easy when you’re busy and not aware of any dangers, to ignore simple precautions.

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