Word of the day

August 23, 2019

Floccinaucinihilipilification – the action or habit of estimating something as trivial, worthless or unimportant; to establish or state that something has no value.

(Thank you Andrei).


Friday’s answers

February 19, 2016

Andrei posed the questions and has already told us that Teletext got them right.

However, I await question 5 with interest.

Apropos the theme, my first car was a mini – mustard coloured which is a clue to how long ago it was.


Friday’s answers

November 20, 2015

Andrei, J Bloggs and Teletext get my thanks for posing the questions and educating me in the process.

If they’ve stumped us all they win a virtual jelly sponge which can be collected by leaving the answers below.


Interesting or important

April 17, 2014

Don Brash posts on Facebook:

What intrigues me about media reaction to the book so far is that almost all of it has focused on either (a) my personal life (which occupies a very small part of the book) or (b) my relationship with John Key, and what he and I may or may not have agreed in a motel room in Blenheim late in 2004. Oh yes, and Kim Hill spent quite a bit of time in her interview with me talking about the Exclusive Brethren.

I have seen no comment at all on my views on drug policy; or the importance of treating all New Zealanders as equal before the law; or the importance that we should attach to all immigrants signing up to key aspects of the New Zealand way of life (equality of men and women, access for girls to education, freedom to worship God or not to worship God, etc.); or my worries about religious fundamentalism; or my views on our relationship with China; or my concern that a very high rate of immigration in recent decades may be contributing to both our slow rate of growth in per capita income and our over-valued real exchange rate; or my overall assessment of the Key Government; or indeed my concern for the future of democracy.

It’s a slightly depressing reflection on what the media think interests the general public.

Only slightly depressing?

We do get some good analysis in the media but too often, as Brash observes, what might be considered of interest gets attention and what’s really important is ignored.

Andrei left this comment yesterday:

Good Lord – this is inane.

We are on the brink of the Third World War, perhaps the only hope of staving it off is a conference in Geneva due to take place
tomorrow and as we speak any hope of that conference taking place is being sabotaged by evil men

This is Holy Week and very unholy it is, blood is being spilled to advance the cause of darkness and chaos.

Apologies for the threadjack.

If you pray, pray for peace.

How many of us know what he’s talking about?

How many of us understand the issues?

How much coverage and analysis are we getting on them?

 


Fathers matter too

February 5, 2014

Andrei left a comment on a post a couple of days ago which warrants further discussion.

He wrote:

A young man gets a young woman pregnant. In days of yore he would have most likely married her and taken financial responsibility directly for her and their child. If marriage wasn’t possible for whatever reason the child would have most likely been adopted – a sad situation.

But today the most likely outcome is for the young woman to go onto the DPB and if the young man is at the start of his working life and on low wages it is a financial no brainer for her to do this, she’ll get more money and retain “her independence” – well sort of, not really but it will appear that way.

But the young man – well he is in deep do dos. See he is wacked by the IRD for the upkeep of his child and the mother of said child cannot maintain a romantic style relationship with him without breaking the law and risking her benefit and therefore must distance herself and child from him.

And in a great many cases that young man is now better off not working because the reward for his labours is so low, and the money taken from him while in principle is for his child, his child who he might never see, is no better off no matter how hard he works or doesn’t.

And young men caught this way find themselves in a poverty trap with no way out except perhaps absconding to a place where the IRD can’t find them.

I know three young men in this position and there is no way forward for them – and no chance of ever starting a regular family.

If I understand the system correctly, if a couple goes through WINZ, the amount the liable parent pays is based on how much s/he earns but the custodial parent gets a set amount based on the number of children, not what her/his former partner pays.

If the earner gets a pay rise, s/he pays more but the payment to his/her family doesn’t change.

That’s the bind the young men Andrei writes of are in.

But there are ways out.

When friends’ marriage broke up they were advised to settle payments for their children between themselves.

That way the mother, who in this case was the major breadwinner, paid less, and the father received more than if they had gone through WINZ.

This will only work if the working parent has a better than average income and the care giving parent can trust him or her to pay the agreed amount when it is due.

If the earning parent is on low wages or can’t be trusted, it would be safer for the caregiver to go through official channels.

The young men in  Andrei’s comment obviously aren’t earning much.

However, there is a way out for them too.

If the children’s mother starts working, as they are being encouraged and assisted to do, the benefit abates and so, presumably, does the amount the liable parent has to pay towards it.

The focus for assistance has been on the caregiver, but non-custodial parents, in this case the fathers, matter too.

Andrei’s young men are at least as much in need of encouragement and help to find work as the mothers.

If they are on what were called unemployment benefits, they should be getting assistance to find a job and possibly up skill so they can get a better one which will pay more and ensure they can start getting ahead.

Not only they, but their children, will be better off for having parents in work, and not just in financial terms.

The answer to the difficult situation Andrei describes isn’t a handout.

It’s a hand up so both parents can help themselves and their children and neither will have to worry about any agency concerning itself about their romantic arrangements.


Issues that matter

January 28, 2014

He’s referring to Labour MP David Clark’s suggestion that the government bans Facebook.

Perhaps Andrei is right and Labour is trying to throw the election.

 


Friday’s answers

June 21, 2013

Thursday’s questions were provided by Andrei and Rob:

(1) Who wrote “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”.

And what book is this quote taken from?

(2) The ubiquitous “Wedding March” by Mendelssohn was part of his Op 61 written as incidental music – what was this written for?

(3) It is novia in Spanish, sposa in Italian, mariée in French and Невеста (nevesta) in Russian.

What is it in English?

(4) Who wrote the musical “Kiss Me, Kate” and what earlier work does it reference and mirror?

(5) The author of the quotation in the first question also wrote
“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.”

Agree/disagree – do you have your own recipe for marital bliss?

1. What is a ‘brass monkey’ and why are its appendages used as a temperature gauge?

2. What is an ‘oodle’ and where and how did the plural of this word become a term for a lot of things?

3. What is a ‘great wadge’ of something and is this a measurable amount?

4. For the agriculturally minded (and completely unseasonably): hay turner, hay tedder or hay rake?

5. June 22 1982: what did Robert Muldoon do?

(nb: I only know the answer to one of these questions)

They both win an electronic sticky date pudding for stumping us all.

They can be collected by leaving the answers below.


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