We don’t know how lucky we are


In the depths of the 1980s ag-sag the Oamaru Mail decided it had a duty to cheer people up and announced a policy to put only good news on the front page.

That didn’t last long because it soon became obvious that it was more than a wee bit silly to give the front page lead to a story of little substance because it was “good” news and put stories of far more substance and importance on page three because they were “bad” news.

Highlighting the positive should be left to censors and propoganda merchants not the media, but that doesn’t mean they should go to the opposite extreme and be prophets of doom.

Alf Grumble has declared war on sad sacks  and I think he has a point – and not just because I was flattered when he saluted me as the bearer of glad tidings   and quoted from my opinion piece  in the ODT (though I don’t think he realised that  it was written by me).

Commentators, analysts and others whose opinions are sought by the media are painting a very gloomy picture and while there is no doubt we are in troubling ecomomic times, out here in the real world things aren’t that bad.

And maybe that’s part of the solution – the doomsayers are breathing the stale air of the big cities but if they got out into the provinces they might realise there’s no need to get depressed.

It worked for Colin Espiner who’s returned to work with a positive outlook after a few weeks out of Wellington and what he’s saying is a fairer reflection of what’s happening in rural New Zealand than the bad news stories which are making the headlines.

A small town retailer told me he’d had the same turnover in the six weeks to mid January this year as he’d had in the whole three months of last summer; the milk payout is down from last year’s record but Fonterra’s $5.10 is still the third highest yet; sheep and beef returns are well up; interest rates, fuel and fertiliser prices are dropping  . . .

I’m not saying we should break out the champagne but like Busted Blonde I can play Pollyanna and see plenty to be happy about so maybe what’s needed is a bit of balance in economic and social reporting so we don’t get talked into a depression.

And maybe we need to remember Fred Dagg and appreciate that we don’t know how lucky we are.

That was the day


It’s 50 years since, in Don McLain’s words, the day that music died.

That was the day a small plane crashed in Iowa killing rock ‘n’roll legends Buddy Holly, JP Richardson and Ritchie Valens.

I wasn’t quite one at the time but their music survived and was still popular when I was old enough for school dances and university hops in the 1970s.

Thanks to You Tube, here’s Holly’s band, The Crickets,  with That’ll Be The Day

Correction: I’m a few days early, it wasn’t January 28th it was February 3rd.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition


Winston gets sillier by the day.

Several blogs have mentioned his speech to a Grey Power meeting in which he compared the priviliges committee hearing to the Spanish Inquisition.

My pick of the posts is from  Keeping Stock  who found a clip on You Tube which puts the comment into context.

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