Christopher Plummer 13.12.29 – 5.2.21

06/02/2021

The man who played the hero in The Sound of Music, Christopher Plummer, has died:

Christopher Plummer, who was among the greatest Canadian actors ever to grace stage and screen, has died.

Plummer died Friday morning at his home in Connecticut with his wife, Elaine Taylor, by his side, said Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager.

“Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humour and the music of words,” Pitt said in a statement to CBC News. “He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots.

“Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us.”

In a career that spanned over six decades, Plummer was nominated for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards three times and won once at 82 for Beginners, a film about a widower who begins to live life as a gay man while dying of cancer.

He also captured two Tony Awards among seven nominations, and took home two Emmys. He earned a reputation as one of the great classical actors of modern times — without attending a prestigious theatre school. . . 

Born Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer on Dec. 13, 1929 in Toronto, he was a descendant of John Abbott, Canada’s third prime minister. 

Plummer’s parents split up not long after his birth, and he was raised in relative privilege in Montreal by his mother and her extended family. He saw his father on only one other occasion years later.

A love for acting onstage was cemented by playing Mr. Darcy in a Montreal High School production of Pride and Prejudice. He would further develop his stagecraft at the Ottawa Repertory Theatre, and learned how to harness his baritone voice in CBC Radio plays.  . . 

I doubt there’s anyone of my generation who didn’t know Plummer as Captain Von Trapp, am I the only one who didn’t know he was Canadian?


Yes Sir Humphrey

05/02/2021


Yes Sir Humphrey

28/01/2021


Word of the day

26/01/2021

Incarnadine – a bright crimson or pinkish-red colour; having the pinkish color of flesh; red especially blood red; to colour (something) a bright crimson or pinkish-red; to tinge or stain with red.


Sowell says

23/01/2021


Sowell says

19/01/2021


Are we ready?

13/01/2021

How serious is the infection rate for Covid-19 in the UK?

This serious:

That tweet is from a doctor in the USA.

In New Zealand we are in the very fortunate situation of having no community transmission of the disease – at least none we’re aware of.

Is enough being done to ensure that continues and is enough being done to keep border workers safe?

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen overseas, the National Party warns we’re exposing people to a “totally unacceptable” level of risk at the border. 

Four new cases were announced in managed isolation on Monday, and with the threat of two new strains of the virus looming, Judith Collins is telling the Government to start vaccinating now or consider closing the borders.

She’s accusing the Government of playing fast and loose with the new, more infectious strains of COVID-19, and agrees with epidemiologist Michael Baker, who told Newshub on Sunday it’s time to consider closing the borders to some countries.

“I think we are being a bit slow in response to these new, more infectious variants. I think now we have to be very proactive again and take decisive action,” he said.

“At one extreme, unfortunately, I think we may need to look at suspending travel from countries where this new variant is circulating very vigorously.” . . 

The government has already announced stricter conditions for returnees:

On Tuesday, the Government announced it will give the Director-General of Health the power to require a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test from all New Zealanders returning to the country – and he will soon do so.

Arrivals from Australia, Antarctica and some Pacific Island nations will be exempt.

Currently, just those returning to New Zealand from the UK or the US have to test negative prior to departure. . . 

Now all returnees will have to remain in their hotel rooms until they can be tested on their first day back in New Zealand. . . 

These measures will increase the likelihood of catching anyone who is infected and quarantining them sooner, but is it enough?

Citizens always have the right to come home.

Does that mean the government doesn’t have the right to require anyone coming from countries where the disease is rampant to be disease-free before they board a plane to return?

Even if they can, it would take time to to set up and in the meantime highly infectious people are coming home.

Is our border secure enough and are we ready if it’s not?


Sowell says

04/01/2021


Yes Sir Humphrey

30/12/2020


Word of the day

21/12/2020

Doomscrolling –  doomsurfing;  the act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news, to the detriment of the scroller’s mental wellness;  the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing; the practice of obsessively checking online news for updates, especially on social media feeds, with the expectation that the news will be bad, such that the feeling of dread from this negative expectation fuels a compulsion to continue looking for updates in a self-perpetuating cycle.

This is Public Address’s word of the year.


One rule for councils

21/12/2020

Contrast  this:

Floods, seawater and “fatbergs” will increasingly spew sewage into our homes, streets and waterways as the planet heats up, a new research paper warns.

With droughts intensifying, low water levels in our pipes and treatment plants will cause stinky, sulphurous fumes to waft from our flushed waste.

Because many of our towns and cities rely on old and often degraded pipes, we face a choice between expensive upgrades or poorly performing services in future, said Niwa coastal scientist and research co-author Rob Bell​. . . 

With this:

. . . Kaimai Dairy Farm Limited, the farm owner, and Glen John Ashford, the director of Kaimai Dairy Farm Limited and manager of the farm, both pleaded guilty to an offence of discharging dairy effluent onto land in circumstances where it may enter water.  . . 

The first story refers to councils and talks about choice even though failure to upgrade will cause pollution.

The second refers to a discharge that may cause polluiton.

Failure to do something when that will result in pollution would appear to be a far bigger problem than doing something that may pollute.

Why is there one rule for councils and another much tougher one for farms and other businesses?

If we are to improve freshwater councils must be held to the same standard as everyone else.


12 hours in Oamaru

15/12/2020

Neat Places has a guide for what to do with 12 hours in Oamaru.

It’s not exhaustive but does include Tees Street for breakfast and Cucina for dinner which would be a delightful and delicious way to start and finish your day.

Both are owned by Pablo and Yanina Tacchini who have just opened Del Mar:

Opening the doors to their newest restaurant was a bittersweet moment for Yanina and Pablo Tacchini, who could not have family with them for the special occasion.

Del Mar Eatery and Beach Bar opened to the public this week and was already fully booked for tomorrow night, Mrs Tacchini said.

The couple signed the lease on the former Portside restaurant building in September and have been flat out ever since, with the goal of being open for the summer.

Mrs Tacchini, who is from Argentina, said her parents should have been here for the opening, but because of Covid-19 it was not possible for them to travel to New Zealand. . . 

The plan for Del Mar was fast, simple fresh food and gelato that could be enjoyed on the premises or taken down to the beach.  . . 

We were at a pre-opening function last Monday and will definitely be back – often.


Word of the day

12/12/2020

Holystone – a soft and brittle sandstone used to scrub ships’ wooden decks; to scrub with a holystone.

Hat tip: David Hill


That was then

07/12/2020

Cast your mind back a few years to when a National Minister sacked Environment Canterbury councilors and appointed a commissioner.

What was the response from the Opposition?

The Labour Party has complained to the United Nations over the continuing denial of democratic elections for Environment Canterbury (ECan) councillors.

“The National government took away the right of Canterbury people to elect councillors on ECan and in doing so denied them their democratic rights contrary to international agreements we are party to,” Labour MP for Port Hills Ruth Dyson says. . . 

Ms Dyson is no longer an MP which may be just as well because Labour is now now in government and look what is about to happen:

Nanaia Mahuta, the Minister of Local Government, has revealed she plans to appoint a Commission in response to governance problems at Tauranga City Council.

The deeply divided council has recently been slammed as being made up of “petty politicians” in “desperate need of progressive thinking”, by Tauranga’s outgoing mayor Tenby Powell. . . 

“I have been closely watching the conduct of the Council for a number of months. I have grown increasingly concerned at the governance issues, and the impact this has on Tauranga ratepayers and significant investment in the region,” she said. . . 

What’s the difference between National sacking ECan councillors and replacing them with a commissioner and Labour doing the same to Tauranga City Council?

That was then, this is now.

This isn’t the first time Labour has done what they criticised National for doing. Labour in opposition had a prolonged protest against the planned Trans Pacific partnership. In government they signed up to, albeit by a slightly different name.

There’s a lesson in this – Opposition MPs should be very careful in choosing which cars to bark at lest they find they catch them in government and have to do with them what they were so critical of their opponents doing when they were in the driver’s seat.


Milne muses

29/11/2020


Sunday soapbox

29/11/2020

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see live differently, but life itself would come to be different. – Katherine Mansfield


Saturday soapbox

28/11/2020

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

It is of immense importance to Lear to laugh at ourselves. – Katherine Mansfield


Why stop there?

26/11/2020

The Public Service Commissioner is recommending employees include a pronoun in email signatures to signal their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Pronouns are words used to refer to people (for example, she/her, he/him, or they/them). An easy way to normalise the use of pronouns is to include them in your email signature. There are a few reasons why this is beneficial:

  • When cisgender people include pronouns, it normalises it for everyone and protects trans and gender diverse people when they include their pronouns.
  • Having pronouns in an email signature signals you as an LGBTQIA+ ally.

Why stop there?

Why not include a reference to all groups and individuals of whom you are an ally?

Including pronouns in your email signature is a quick and easy way for cisgender people to have a powerful and positive impact. This is harder and riskier for transgender and gender diverse people because it leads to longer conversations and asks them to educate people. . .

There are all sorts of ways all sorts of people can have a powerful and positive impact but is it appropriate to do this in business correspondence?

When does teaching become preaching and when, if ever, are either appropriate in an official email or letter?

Is this a valid way to promote inclusion or will it promote division?

. . . The effect that bringing racial, ethnic, or sex differences to the forefront of our consciousness will have on social interactions is not hard to imagine. Seeing and immediately judging strangers by the innate characteristics of their group, will conjure out-group hate, strip people of their right to be seen as individuals, and sever bridging social connections in precisely the same nasty way, regardless of whether these people are vilified by racist bigots or sanctified by open-minded progressives. . . 

Gender has become another vehicle for proponents of identity politics which dissects and divides and in doing so emphasises differences rather than reinforcing our common humanity.

Hat tip: Lindsay Mitchell


Set back policy ‘bizarre’

23/11/2020

The Timaru District Council draft district plan seeks to increase the size of setbacks from roads, boundaries and neighbouring houses for dairy sheds, stock yards and “intensively farmed animals.

Hort NZ South Island environmental policy advisor Rachel McClung describes TDC’s proposal as “quite extreme” and believes it would have a major impact on farmers and growers’ bottom lines. . . 

It would also reduce production and thereby put upward pressure on food prices.

Federated Farmers senior policy advisor Angela Johnson shares similar concerns.

“We have never seen in a district plan anything so unnecessarily restrictive for animals on pasture – particularly given we’re talking about farm animals in the rural zone,” she told Rural News.

Johnson says that, typically, this type of setback relates to intensive farm building structures. However, Timaru’s proposed approach restricts where on paddocks farmers can have animals on their farm.

“It’s significantly more restrictive than any government Essential Freshwater regulation rule,” she adds. “It’s worse in fact, as it doesn’t relate to intensity, or environmental effects.

“There’s no logical connection between district plan considerations and grazing animals or feeding animals on winter crops or irrigated land.”

Johnson says matters that relate to environmental impacts on waterways etc are dealt with through regional council plans.

“So, this really does fall under the ‘bizarre’ category.

Bizarre is the appropriate word.

As proposed, the TDC district plan would mean any cattle or deer grazed on irrigated land, or break-fed on winter crops – as well as any pigs, dairy cattle (cows, calves, bulls, dry or in milk) – would all need to be set back 100m from a road, 100m from an internal property boundary, 400m from houses on adjoining sites or 100m from named zones.

“This would mean that farmers would lose a massive amount of productive land for no environmental reason,” Johnson explains.

“It’s effectively the Timaru District Council saying that the very sight of cows or deer in the countryside, within 100m of a road or 400m of a house is repugnant and unacceptable.  . . 

The farmers and growers who would be affected will be justifiably angry that their rates will have helped pay the wages of the people who came up with this mad scheme.

Whoever it was probably doesn’t get the irony that it would devalue rural land and thereby shrink the rating base that funds their salaries.

Farmers everywhere have serious concerns about central government’s environmental policies. They’ll now be worried that if this bizarre proposal from one local government body, others will follow their made example.


Shane Reti Nat deputy

10/11/2020

Shane Reti is National’s new deputy leader:

Judith Collins has been reconfirmed as Leader of the National Party, with Dr Shane Reti selected as the party’s new Deputy Leader.

Both were selected unopposed following a Caucus meeting in Wellington today.

“It is an enormous privilege to be reconfirmed as Leader of the National Party,” Ms Collins says. “I’m looking forward to leading a strong, united and focused Opposition that will deliver for all New Zealanders.

“I’m delighted by Dr Shane Reti’s appointment. He is a hard-working, intelligent MP with all the skills needed to be an effective leader. His detailed examination and prosecution of the Government’s handling of Covid-19 helped improve the response for New Zealanders.

“Dr Reti’s knowledge and history working in the health sector will be an asset as Parliament deals with the impact of Covid-19. His experience will be invaluable to me as deputy leader and I’m looking forward to working closer with him.”

The National Party Caucus also voted on two Whips, with Matt Doocey selected as Senior Whip and Maureen Pugh selected as Junior Whip.

“The Whips have an important role to play in helping ensure all our MPs are focused on holding the Government to account,” Ms Collins says. “I’m sure Matt and Maureen will do a wonderful job.

“National’s MPs are energised about the term of Government ahead. We owe it to the people of New Zealand to provide a strong and effective Opposition as we navigate the difficult economic and health issues ahead of us – and this is exactly what National will do.”

WHO IS DR SHANE RETI?

· Politics is Dr Reti’s third career. He first practiced family medicine and dermatology in Whangārei for 16 years.

· He was appointed for three consecutive terms to the Northland DHB, has published research that won literary awards, completed his first Masters in 2004, registered with the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants and was awarded a QSM for Public Service in the 2006 New Year Honours List.

· He was awarded the NZ Harkness Fellowship to Harvard and went to the United States in 2007 to gather experience to bring home. While at Harvard he completed his second Masters and was promoted to Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

· His work over the following seven years also included an appointment with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in an economic development role as Beachheads Advisor to the New Zealand consulate in Dubai.

· Dr Reti has held a wide range of portfolio. He has been National’s spokesperson for Health; Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment; Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations, Data and Cybersecurity; and Disability Issues.

· Dr Reti’s has been deputy chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee; deputy chair of the Health Select Committee; co-chair of the NZ/US Parliamentary Group; chair of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Disarmament and the parliamentary facilitator for Arthritis New Zealand.

· He served as MP for Whangārei from 2014 to 2020.

If you want to learn more about Shane this interview with Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford is a good place to start.


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