Back story

December 27, 2012

The opposition has a propensity for sneering at John Key’s back story.

Labour even tried to find some skeletons in his cupboard.

I have never heard or read any criticism from the right of David Shearer’s back story.

That could be a reflection on a fundamental difference between right and left – the former generally celebrates and appreciates success in any field while at least some of the latter are suspicious and/or envious of it.

That doesn’t mean any back story should be accepted without question.

Over at Bowalley Road, Chris Trotter has done some delving and come up with the back story to Shearer’s back story.

I think this answers the question I asked at the end of this morning’s post on the numbers – the cry of rage from Labour’s grass roots is still fomenting.





December 24, 2012

Just back from my last trip to town before Christmas and keeping to the spirit of our keeping-it-simple celebration managed to get round the supermarket with only a basket.

There’s just a bit of tidying up to do at home then tomorrow with extended family to look forward to.

Thanks to all of you who read, extra special thanks for all who leave a comment which adds to the interest of the blog, and blogging.

May your Christmas be happy and may 2013 be kind to you and yours.


If you want some pre-Christmas reading, I commend Remembering the Night: Christmas Story 2012 at Bowalley Road.

Word of the day

March 26, 2012

 Immanence – remaining within; indwelling; inherent; restricted entirely to the mind; subjective.

Hat tip: Bowalley Road

On Being A Star

December 24, 2010

I don’t remember where I found this nor do I know who wrote it.

But the words helped me the first Christmas after my son died and I offer it in the hope they might help someone else.

On Being A Star

There are                                                

hundreds of stars 

New ones                                                

each day                                                   

and all of them                                       

lead to                                                     

the manger   

We begin                                                

small and                                                


like a                                                        

little piece                                               

of clay                                                     

but we grow 

The potter                                               

works at                                                 

the wheel      

The potter                                               

wants us to                                              

become stars        

We become stars                                     

by following stars   

In the eyes                                              

of those                                                    

who cannot see                                       

you are a fool                                           

to follow                                                   

any star

But for those                                                 



you are wise

The potter works                                       

at the wheel

The potter too                                          

is a star                                                    

But we aren’t

used to stars                                      

like that

We aren’t used                                   

to stars who                                        

are born                                             

in a stable                               

and hung                                           

on a cross

We aren’t used                                  

to stars                                            

who proposed                                    

things that                                        

don’t make sense                               


losing your life                         

and turning                                      

the other cheek                                 

and being poor                                  

for the sake                                    

of some kingdom                             

out there

I hope a star                                  

comes out                                       

for  you                                          

on Christmas Day

A new one                                     

and one                                  

you’ve never                                  

seen before

I hope it’s bright                             

and kind

And shines down


and long                                     

and well

To help you see                           

the things                                   

you’ve never seen before             

Allow yourself

to see

and you are



poured into

a Christmas-form

It takes

a long time

longer than

any season

Being born

is not easy

but it’s good

Bless me


with your birth

It heals the

scared in me.

Vision upon


and of  His


we have all


Why else       

did He come


to be a star                             

a gift  


to heal

the scared

in us

To light our path

To help you see

the things

you really

need to see

I hope

it touches

you with


and runs


beside you

all year long

Oh, how I hope

it comes






in your life

And when

the year

is through

Well, just because

it’s you

I hope

this star


shining on

 in you.

Because you see

 you are


I’d like to give

a star.


If you need more inspiration, you’ll find it in No Vacancy (A Christmas Story) at Bowalley Road.

Open season on dairying

July 12, 2010

It’s open season on irrigation and dairying.

At Bowalley Road Chris Trotter waxes lyrical about drought-stricken landscapes and mourns the conversion from sheep and crop farming to dairying.

When I was growing up the hills and paddocks of North Otago were the colour of a lion’s hide. The constant easterly blowing inland off the sea kept them dry and brown through most of the year. It was mixed farming country: wheat and barely on the flats; sheep on the hills.

Not any more.

The last time I travelled along the coast road between Oamaru and Waianakarua I was astounded to see the countryside had changed colour. Its once tawny coat was now a vivid green. The sheep were gone and everywhere I looked I saw cows, cows, cows.

There has been a big expansion of irrigation since Chris was a boy, but most of it is in the Waitaki, Waiareka and Kakanui Valleys. There is little irrigation on the paddocks along the coast road. If the pastures were green most of that would be due to recent rain.

At Pundit Claire Browning laments grass stains on the Mackenzie:

. . .  the burnished Mackenzie hills and basins are turning poison green. 

I haven’t seen any irrigation on the Mackenzie hills, they’re generally too steep so again if they were green it would have been because of rain.

 As for the flats, some of us see green not as poison which kills but something which is productive and life giving.

 And Robert Guyton seems to be concerned because one of the reasons Fonterra gives for supporting a power upgrade in Southland is that milk would have to be dumped if there was an outage.

“Fonterra’s submission says the upgrade to the power grid is necessary to protect against the potential environmental impact of dumping milk during a power outage”

That’s a statement of fact. Cows can’t turn milk on and off. If they’re not milked at regular times they will be in agony and susceptible to mastitis. Once the milk is harvested it can be stored for a short time before being taken for processing. But if a power outage held up processing there would be no other option but to dump the milk.
The company is just being open about the risks it sees. That has to be better than saying nothing until there’s an outage and milk has to be dumped.
The rapid expansion of dairying has resulted in environmental problems but farmers, and regional councils, are addressing these issues.
Criticism of  any particular decline in water quality or other environmental degredation is valid. Opposition to irrigation and dairying in general is a point of view based more on nostalgia and emotion than fact.

Did you see the one about . . .

July 4, 2010

New Zealand and Uruguay as sporting equivalents – Pablo at Kiwipolitico compares one small country where sport and agriculture are important with another.

Don’t admit them to hospital then – Macdoctor on the smoking ban for prisoners.

Star the second – In A Strange Land has a star chart to help her stay dry for July.

What makes us happy? Rivetting Kate Taylor on what really matters.

Sparks in the universe – Stellar Cafe on the bright ideas that get away from you.

What determines productivity? – Anti-Dismal on attemts toa nswer the big question.

Biology isn’t destiny but it affects your saving throws – Offsetting Behaviour on nature vs nurutre.

Trio – Quote Unquote on tree planting and muttering and purring.

Mines railways or jobs – Liberty Scott on unintended consequences.

Happy Birthday to us – Gooner at No Minister on the blog’s third birthday.

TraeMe hints – Oswald Bastable knows something but he’s not telling much.

Farewell to the Independent – Liberation bids the paper goodbye with a parody of Chirs Trotter’s writing.

Apropos of which is The Independent 1992 – 2010 at Bowalley Road. He also discusses the redefinition of protest in Russel’s tussle.

Did you see the one about . . .

May 8, 2010

A new literary genre – Quote Unquote on reading matter for the more mature.

Feliciy Ferret – Quote Unquote disects a media rodent  – prompting Cactus Kate to Bow to the Master.

I guess we’ll never know then – Something Should Go Here on the worst thing about censorship

Return of the Wowser – Bowalley Road diagnoses the alcohol problem.

RIP Fair Go – Brian Edwards has good reason to be in mourning.

Last Words Nana – Craft is the new black on living, and laughing, until tomorrow.

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