There’s no ‘just’ about nine dishes

17/11/2009

The average British mother relies on “just” nine meals to feed her family.

Just? There’s no “just” about nine different recipes.

I cooked lunches for our staff for 20 years and thought I was doing well to have five variations on soup and something in winter and salad and something in summer.

The somethings were pizza, quiche, roulade, cheese toasties and pasta. I tried very hard to serve something different each day in a week but didn’t even pretend to try to vary the diet from week to week.

My dinner staples were even less imaginative – grilled meat (usually chops, lamb rack or rump) served with salad or steamed vegetables and potato. The potatoes were boiled with mint in summer and baked in their jackets in winter (because if God had wanted me to peel potatoes he’d have called them oranges).

Occasionally the lamb was replaced with steak or blue cod and every now and then we had a roast. When the fussiest eater in the house grew up  and time and energy allowed I got a bit more imaginative. But then as now most meals I cook regularly are those I can make on auto pilot as quickly as possible.

I enjoy cooking when I can choose to do it or not. But every day meals are a duty which I aim to do in the shortest time with the least effort possible.

Families with a mother who serves nine different meals should count their blessings.

P.S. Did anyone ask how many meals the fathers have in their recipe repertoires? Or is Ex-expat right that cooking is still women’s work?


Whose problem is it?

03/12/2008

Phil Goff was crying crocodile tears on Breakfast  this morning over the New Zealanders stranded by the occupation of Bagkok airport and saying he’d ahve been happy to give John Key the benefit of his advice.

He didn’t, however, admit that he was the minister responsible when both the Air Force’s Boeing 737 passenger planes were sent for maintenance at the same time which restricts the government’s options.

Nor did he explain just why getting people out of Thailand was the government’s responsibility anyway.

There didn’t appear to be any risk to life so why wasn’t up to the people themselves, the airlines which were to fly them out, their travel agents and/or insurance companies?

It’s not as if Thailand is an island. Cactus Kate  helpfully provides a map for the geographically challenged.

As it turns out it seems the occupation is over and the Hercules the government planned to send since the Boeings weren’t available won’t be needed anyway.

Update: Ex-expat  thinks it’s a beat up and offers some travel advice.

Inquiring Mind  thinks the’crisis’ is a media fiction.

And Annie Fox  reckons socialism has sapped Kiwi initiative and Whale Oil  expresses a similar view.


Tumeke! rankings for October

22/11/2008

In response to a comment on the Tumeke! blogosphere rankings Tim Selwyn admits he counts the number of posts and comments manually.

That’s a huge task so it’s no wonder it takes two or three weeks for him to do it.

The results of his work show one new entrant in the top 20 – New Zeal moves up 7 to 16 which puts Homepaddock back one to 17.

Kiwiblog retained its first placing and was also first for the average number of comments.

Homepaddock was third for the number of posts – a place I don’t expect to maintain because I’ve been writing fewer posts since the election.

The biggest gain in the top 20 was No Minister which went up 6 places to 4th.

Among my other regular reads Roarprawn gained 2 to 11; Dimpost  dropped 1 to 13; Inquiring Mind  was steady on 15; Poneke  went down 1 to 18 but was 5th for the highest average number of comments (and second in that category for blogs done by individuals rather than a number of contributers.) If I was judging the quality of comments, Ponke would rate highly – he manages to attract mainly intelligent and often witty comments with few which confuse personal invective and debate.

Keeping Stock dropped just 1 to 19 in spite of a decline in the number of posts while cruising for a couple of weeks; and the Visibile Hand in Economics also dropped 1 to 20.

 The Hand Mirror was steady on 22, NZ Conservative was up 1 to 23 and also did well with the average number of comments, due in part to their popular Friday night free for all; Big News leapt 16 to 26;  Anti Dismal gained 8 places to 29 and Something Should Go here gained a couple to 34.

In a Strange Land was down 3 to 52; Monkeywith typewriter gained 1 to 56; exexpat dropped 6 to  59;  goNZo Freakpower  gained 9 places to 87, Cicero made a first appearance at 65 and Macdoctor debuted at 71.

I couldn’t find John Ansell on the list, I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t look properly or his blog is too new to register.


Can a blog and its blogger have different personalities?

21/11/2008

The Typealzyer reckons Homepaddock is ESTP – the doers:

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

 The letters are from Myers Briggs personality types and stand for extroverted, sensing, thinking and perceiving.

But I’ve done the test three times and always come out as INFP – introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving, though I haven’t come across any blogs which come into this category.

David Farrar reckons Kiwiblog’s ESTP is about right. Anti-Dismal is INTJ – the scientists –  and so is the Visible Hand in Economics.

Exexpat   discovered that, like me, she has a different personality from her blog – it’s ISTP – the mechanics – and she’s INTJ – the scientists.

I also tried Homepaddock with gender analyzer which guessed the blog is written by a man (56%), but said it’s quite gender neutral.

I guess that means that pop psychology should be rearded as entertainment rather than science.

Keeping that in mind you can do an on-line personality test here.


But Miss . . .

26/09/2008

The esteemed poet lauretae Jam Hipkins has lost is heart to the teacher who is moonlighting as a prostitute:

I love your lacy algebra

You ease my present tense

I regard your pleasure’s syntax

As a meagre recompense

For the poetry you’ve taught me

Writ on scented, satin sheet

In our one-on-one night classes

Where we shared our rhyming feet.

If my woodwork is improving

If, perchance, I top your class

It is you, sweet Cupid’s tutor

Who has shown me how to pass

Small wonder, then in Flaxmere

With no teacher of the night

That lonely boys’ testosterone

Can fuel a fiercesome fight.

But do not give them homework

Save love’s lessons just for me

You are the moon’s curriculum

You are my chemistry

If I’m A plus in the boudoir

Then I thank your lesson plan

I went in in short trousers

And I staggered out a man!

“Well, what do you think?” the laureate pleaded. “Will it work?”

“Perhaps,” I said sadly.

“But you may have to pay her to listen.”

You can read the rest of Jim Hopkins’ column here.

For other views on the issue:  Read the rest of this entry »


Policy for woods not just trees

23/09/2008

The Korean Society says there is a misperception that Koreans are only interested in immigration policy.

“We are very concerned about law and order, we are also worried about health, education, etc, . . .” says Kenneth Jeong, from the Korean Society.

This comment was made at an electoral forum in Auckland attended by hundreds of Koreans.

It’s a very good point which political parties over look at their peril. While every individual and group has issues which are of greater interest or impact on them more than others, the most important issues are those we have in common.

It is also something voters should consider because if what appears to be in the best interests of us as individuals or a group to which we belong is not in the wider interests of New Zealand then it probably isn’t something worth persuing.

We need to know about policy that affects our trees and our individual corners of the wood, but that is of secondary importance to the policy which impacts on the whole wood.

Ex-expat  looks at the same story from a different angle.


Passing on the brillante baton

18/09/2008

How exciting and heart warming it was to check in to Homepaddock yesterday morning and discover I’d been blessed with a Brillante Blog award.

It was bestowed by Deborah who’s In A Strange Land  where she writes intelligently and thoughtfully on feminism, motherhood, parenting, work,  politics, life . . . and occasionally posts on food with photos that cause weight gain if you look at them too long.

Once you get a Brillante you’re invited to spread the happiness by passing it on to blogs you enjoy.

The rules are simple:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominator on her/his blog.

So after a day of contemplation my nominees in alphabetical order are:

Annie Fox the nom de blog of Anna Wolf whose posts are warm, witty, passionate, frank, down to earth and full of life which is all the more remarkable because she’s writing about dying.

Phillipa Stephenson at Dig-N -Stir . There is on-going discussion about the difference between journalism and blogging. Pip does both supberbly, writing concise, well researched posts which reflect her knowldege and interest in the subject matter, her ability as a wordsmith and, where appropriate, her wit.

Dim Post for showing you can take a dig without getting dirty; and because every day is improved by humour.

Ex-expat who makes me think with posts that are educational, enlightening and/or entertaining.

Will de Cleene at goNZofreakpower whose posts aren’t frequent but point me to places I wouldn’t find by myself.

Adam Smith at Inquiring Mind  earns the award for the quotes and cartoons of the day by themselves. But there’s more: well reasoned posts on a variety of topics with special mention for not confining himself to New Zealand.

Inventory 2 at Keeping Stock for the quanity, quality, consistency and variety of his posts with extra points for his enthusiasm and sense of humour.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog because I can’t go past the godfather of the NZ blogosphere. It helps that I share many of his views, but even when I don’t, I admire his well written, researched and reasoned posts. He’s open about his bias but never bigoted.

Dave Gee at Life from Right Field because we southerners must stick together and with special mention for originality and pictures.

Macdoctor if he employs the same wit, intelligence, reason and compassion in medicine which he displays in blogging I’d be very happy to be his patient.

Monkeywithtypewriter , not just a token primate, he’s also got perception and a sense of humour.

The team at No Minister because they often amuse, sometimes shock and enable me to feel moderate. They get a special mention for visuals too.

Not PC for the art and architecture.

NZBC goes for quality rather than quantity and gets bonus points for humour and orginality.

Poneke for the quality of posts in which he uses the skills that made him an award winning journalist. Besides, you’ve got to admire a bloke who’s besotted with buses.

Busted Blonde at Roarprawn because she’s upfront, sassy, witty, in the know and shares it with style.

Bernard Hickey at Show Me The Money because he takes numbers and adds words that make sense of them.

Queen Bee at The Hive : she’s got contacts, she gets the facts and she’s the miistress of succinct posts with sting.

The team at Tumeke! for variety and originality. Tim Selwyn deserves an honourable mention by himself for doing the monthly blogosphere rankings.

Well the rules did say at least seven.

P.S. I have an aversion to chain letters or anything resembling them and I can do the maths: if seven people send something to at least seven people who send it …. it won’t be long to run out of blogs which haven’t got it. So should any of you on whom I’ve bestowed a Brillante want to change the rules or ignore them altogether, I won’t be offended, you won’t be courting calamity, your family and pets will be safe and the sky won’t fall in.


Sticks and stones

07/09/2008

Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me; when your’re dead and in your grave you’ll suffer what you called me.

That takes me back to the playground but it was a serious issue which reminded me of the schoolyard rhyme – whether or not it’s appropriate to use the term “gang rape” as an analogy for attack by words.

A post by Chris Trotter in which he used gang rape as a metaphor for the media coverage of Winston Peters led to an eloquent post by ex-expat and several heart felt comments at The Hand Mirror.

Today Deborah Coddington also used the expression:

… those bandwagon jumpers who used the article to excuse their media equivalent of gang rape. 

The Dim Post picked up on that and said:

A new cliche is trying to force its way into our political discourse. Now, as my readers know, I’m not in favor of hysterical hyperbole at the best of times. . . – but cheerfully throwing accusations of gang-rape around really is a bit beyond the pale and should be reserved for those who really are demonstrably guilty of this hideous crime.

I’m not going to go in to the difference between verbal, psychological and emotional abuse which are all serious matters and rape, gang or otherwise; nor am I going to discuss why employing the term rape in this way is offensive because I don’t think I can add anything to what the ex-expat has already said so well.

I’m going to confine myself to language and the point that a metaphor should not get in the way of what it is being used to express and the term gang-rape does. It offends and upsets people so that it obscures and distracts from the point being made.

To illustrate this look at this sentence by Karl du Fresne:

I squirmed at the brutal mauling Coddington got from people who were plainly unaware that she was present.

Gang rape versus brutal mauling – the first becomes the talking point, the second expresses clearly the strength of the attack without distracting from it.

If the purpose is for the writer to get attention then hyperbolic metaphors work. If the purpose is to add colour and clarity to a piece then it is better to employ a less offensive, less emotive but far more apt and effective turn of phrase.


No means no

04/09/2008

A British MP  has taken issue with Dame Helen Mirren for saying that women couldn’t expect to take a man to court for date rape if they’d voluntarily gone to his room, started having sex then asked him to stop.

The Queen star admitted she was the victim of date rape on several occasions in her youth because she didn’t have the courage to stand up to men who wanted to have sex with her.

Mirren added she never reported the incidents to police because the men had not been violent with her.

The actress also stated in the candid interview with British magazine GQ that it would be hard for women to press charges against someone they had planned on being sexually active with.

She told the publication: “I was (date-raped), yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will.”

“I don’t think she (a female rape victim) can have that man into court under those circumstances.”

And the star has been heavily criticised by rape victim supporters who say her comments only make it harder for victims to get the judicial system to take the crime seriously.

British Home Office official Tony McNulty brands Mirren’s comments “profoundly disappointing” and “very unhelpful”.

He adds: “No means no, means no, and that needs to be the message as clearly as we can in terms of rape.”

The idea that anyone – male or female – can’t have a change of mind and be safe from rape is an appalling one. Mirren contradicted the good she did by admitting she’d been a victim of date rape with her suggestion that it might not be a matter for the courts.

Ex-expat has more to say on the matter here.


Lost way lost support

31/08/2008

Invercargill MP Eric Roy has a shearing handpiece on the book shelf in his Wellington office. It’s to remind him where he comes from, why he’s in parliament and who put him there.

MPs who forget those things lose their way and that’s when they lose their supporters.

The Ex-expat  expresses this in a letter which would be instructional reader for all politicians. I don’t agree with all her points, but I am copying it below without comment because it’s a message from the heart which crosses political boundaries – give us something to vote for, not just something to vote against.

A Letter from a Labour Voter

Dear Labour,

I have confession to make, I don’t want to vote this election. You have no idea how much it pains me to make that admission not only because I have a number of friends who will contest this election under the Labour banner and I want them to do well, but because I genuinely believe that the best chance New Zealand has to succeed as a nation is through the re-election of a centre-left government. It’s just right now there doesn’t seem to be a party out there articulating a centre-left vision for the country.

And that’s what is missing from your constant bluster about ‘slippery’ John Key and his band of evil Hollow men with no policy, a vision for me and other left wing voters to vote for rather than a dystopia to vote against. Because the attacks, while fun and politically necessary on occasion, are hardly rousing stuff when that’s all you talk about and I must confess that I don’t bother reading your blog, The Standard, much because of it. It’s a shame because the Standard has interesting analysis on there from time to time but any lucid points are diluted by the sheer number of posts that attack John Key and National in even the most ridiculous of circumstances.

I suppose this negativity is likely a reflection of MPs and Ministers in Wellington who are probably scratching their head wondering why, after nine years of hard-fought funding increases and liberal reforms to New Zealand society, people aren’t dancing in the streets about all that you’ve achieved.

And to be fair to your administration, the New Zealand I returned to last year is a very different country to the one I left in 2002. The place seems so much wealthier than when I left. Not the kind of wealthy where millionaires live in secluded compounds just a few kilometers away from the kind of poverty and hopelessness that made me cry in so many parts of Asia. But a wealth that sees most of our population well fed, mostly healthy and highly educated, and most importantly working in real jobs rather than pretend work in order to receive an unemployment benefit. What I found the most amazing was how many large public infrastructure projects, like spaghetti junction in Auckland, which had been started in the 1970s and left to stagnate in the 1980s and 1990s have been slowly been completed in the past few years thanks to your administration. Likewise you get a thumbs up from ex-expat for concluding a huge number of significant treaty settlements and Free Trade Agreements.

But thing is, I and other voters still want more. The reason we want more is because we didn’t elect you to maintain the status quo, we elected you to build a better society and we know that there is still so much work to be done. I want to know why I’ve spent 18 months being dicked around by the health system for elective surgery I can’t afford to pay for privately and my health insurance policy won’t pay for either. I want to know why broadband in this country is so hideously slow, expensive and in many places non-existent. While we are at it, how come you haven’t gotten around to reforming our heinous abortion laws despite having a supposedly all-powerful women’s caucus?

Most importantly you started your tenure in office with a vision to use a politically incorrect term, ‘close the gaps’ between various sectors of New Zealand society. Sometime during your term in office you stopped talking about the vision even though you and the people who voted for you still believe in it. And while it has taken you nine years in power for that rich poor gap to close for the first time in twenty years, there are still huge gaps that need to be closed. Perhaps the most gaping is in education where we have a system that fails half of the Maori Boys that go through it. I don’t need to lecture on what happens to those boys later in life. But the thing is, the people who are voting for you need to know that reason we need to put money and new ideas into fixing this problem is not because it is ‘politically correct’ but because it is the correct political principle.

At the moment the other side seems to have large numbers of your voters convinced that tax cuts are the way to go to make their lives better. So much so you that you performed a political harikiri, a tax cut of your own, in order to do so. But as you rightly point out to National, you can’t cut tax without also cutting the government services that will hurt your voters the most. What happened to that vision and connection that filled us with such hope in 1999? I’m not sure about the others, but you lost me when the principle of ‘sustainability’ became the political issue that we were willing to burn so much of our political capital in order to achieve.

I hope that I’m wrong about all this and there’s a grand plan in Heather’s top drawer for the next three years that will inspire me and other people to vote you because we want to. Because right now I feel like I am casting my vote on the basis of loyalty rather than inspiration and that’s not really much of reason to drag myself to the polling booth at all.

Regards,

Ex-expat.

PS. You overuse of the ‘slippery’ tag is right up there with the right’sLiarbour‘ for sheer irritation value.


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: