Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brian Lochore on Political correctness

It may well be the reporting to blame, but can anyone make sense of what Sir Brian is saying?

Brian Lochore: Political correctness destroying NZ -

"We are living in a PC world which is destroying us, where you actually can't put the hard word on people when they have digressed and committed bad blunders," he said.

Um... Just let us know who's transgressed (I presume that's what you mean) Brian, and we'll send a few of the boys around. No sweat.

He said his daughters went to a rugby game at three weeks old, and later played in the mud while their dad downed a jug in the bar after a game.

"In the evenings we went to the rugby parties with the kids, who slept in the back of the car. We can't do that any more because we haven't got rid of the perpetrators that actually destroy our society."

Say what? I kind of get the first bit: people are no longer free to get pissed while the kids play outside in the mud (was the motorway not handy?) and later sleep in the car, bacause the olds are STILL in the club pissing up large. I'm not quite sure who he's blaming for this state of affairs though. Unless by "perpetrators" he means the Gummint.

"The one thing I believe is important in life is respect. They respected authority, they respected teachers, I respected the teachers. We lack a great deal of respect for authority nowadays, there's always someone protesting."

He says that like it's a bad thing. I have little doubt that protesters protested in his day too. But hey, he's free to state his opinion, even if he thinks others shouldn't.

Sir Brian admitted to smacking his children, "but I've never hit them".

"Yes, I smacked other people's children, but I never hit them. But we are not allowed to do that any more in this PC world."

Dear me. And good.

So to summarise:

NZ is being destroyed because people who respect authority are no longer allowed to take vigilante action against those who may have transgressed, parents can't leave their kids unsupervised while they get pissed somewhere else, we can no longer physically "discipline" our & others' children, and too many people are protesting.

It's a disgrace I tell you!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The F-All Plan Diet. And Labradors.

The Kelburn Vet Clinic rang me the other day to remind me (I hadn't forgotten) that Wilma was due for her 12 monthly checkup and vaccinations.

Actually, I had been a bit remiss, I got the reminder a month ago, and only last week I found lump on her side that I thought should be checked out promptly.

My reservation was that Wilma is clearly a little... stout at present, and could do to lose a few kilos before coming under the watchful eye of one of the vets (they seem obsessed with weight & teeth - of your pets of course, although just as an aside, the two primary vets are very svelte and attractive, and have exceptional teeth, so maybe this is some sort of unconscious projection.)

The clinic is a few houses along from our place, but a few houses in the opposite direction to that which Wilma & I take on our daily walks. So she was apprehensive the moment I corrected her trajectory with a breezy "This way." She knows that means to change direction.

She started to get really worried when I shortened the lead as we approached the vet's, she's used to taking a very wide berth past their doorway.

And in we swooped! Wilma spinning slightly as she settled to patiently, and rather optimistically, face the exit.

While no-one was looking, I coaxed her onto the scales. 34.4 kg. Bugger. Fat Bitch. A receptionist appeared at the computer terminal & enquired as to her weight. I was entirely honest.

And I was slightly gladdened in one way, to see that we were to be attended by a new vet who wasn't familiar with Wilma's history. And slightly disappointed that we weren't to see the hot female vet (not that I make a habit of channeling Jon Arbuckle or anything). And then totally disappointed to discover the new guy had a printout of her history.

"ooh. She's put on some weight!"
"Um. Yes."

Wilma was pretty much dragged across the polished floor into the consultation room. Every time she was urged to stand up to be examined, she kind of slid down with her back to the ground, a puzzling but highly effective manoeuvre

Her teeth checked out - we've been keeping her from the macadamia nuts this year. She was led out the back & had a biopsy performed on her slightly worrying lump (fat deposit, nothing to worry about). She took her vaccinations like a brave little dog should.

And then I took the lecture about fat pets. Although this was from the new guy & not so bad as usual, the Fat Pet Lecture from the boss is infamous around Kelburn. You should hear the guy whose lab is 47kg moan about it.

And I learned that avocados are poisonous to dogs.

"They can't be that poisonous!?" I queried, "Wilma has eaten LOADS!"

But anyway, in the interests of regaining her waist, and her preferred upper limit of 30kg, she's now on the avocado-less diet. And the carbo-free diet (aside from whatever is in dog food naturally). And reduced rations of the labrador specific dog food I only bought the day before yesterday. Whatever will they think of next to part me from my money? Although to be fair, I bought it because it came with a free doggy travel bed. They have cool free stuff with dog & cat food now & then.

And it won't take that long to get her down to 30kg, we've done it before.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Phil Lewin

It's fair to say that the death of my sister in March has cast a pall over this year. The pain from the loss of someone close never really goes away, but it does get easier to bear. However, it may be a while before I regain the spontaneous inspiration to post that I used to enjoy. Somehow this year hasn't been as funny as others. That happens, I guess.

And onwards...

Early in 1973, a skinny kid with an angry scar on his face & a funny accent was introduced to his new school and classmates. Among them was a guy with a permanent grin & an irrepressible wit, his name was Phil Lewin & he befriended me.

Phil would march between classes with a merry "Ta ra ra boomteyay, I'll take your pants away, and while you're standing there, I'll steal your underwear." or a version of John Denver's Country Road, into which various gynaecological terms had been seamlessly integrated.

I knew almost no-one, but Phil knew everyone. Like most conservative old schools, it had something of an underground bully culture, there were some kids you just steered clear of. Not Phil though, on spying one particularly feared hulk (who looked for all the world like the bully character in the Dennis the Menace cartoons), Phil would bellow "Duuuuh! MacPhee you moron!". For some reason MacPhee would merely curse & walk away.

I was only at that school for half a year or so, before my family moved into deepest Hutt Valley & I changed college. But as chance would have it, we moved to a place just around the corner from Phil's grandmother & so as the years passed, I'd often see him & other family members on their way to visit.

Later, we caught up at University, he was studying English Lit & French. He told me he took French because there were 300 in the class, of whom 296 were women, whilst the other 3 guys were gay.

A clever guy, he appeared on University Challenge, was a Rhodes Scholar, career diplomat and business lobbyist. I heard rumours that he was being urged to enter politics. He would have been a dream Wellington Central candidate.

It's been a few years since we last spoke, probably shortly after he returned from a posting in Moscow. I always figured we'd catch up one day again. I was wrong.

My sympathies go to his family, his wife & kids, his sister, and his mother. Mothers shouldn't have to farewell their children like that, but it happens.

So long Phil. You went far too soon.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Apostro-catastrophic tornado

Have they outsourced the sub editors already?

"There's only one wall standing at the woolshed and our garage roof was ripped off so it's pretty much a right off."

The family home also suffered extensive roof damage and the Bell's believe the tornado lifted their house off its footings.

Family terrified as tornado rips through home - New Zealand news on

Chainsaw Frenzy

I was starting to get a bit worried about firewood this winter. I mean, we've enough for this year, but it's been getting near time to sort out next year's woodpile. The options were:

1. Cut down a few expendable trees which aren't particularly great burning wood, but which are free, or

2. Buy some macracarpa in, but winter isn't really the best time to be buying firewood.

Anyway, last Wednesday's storm has solved the problem. When we arrived, there were bits of beech all over the front garden & I thought "Cool! Firewood!". It wasn't till an hour or so later that I looked in the orchard... needless to say, I haven't even got to the front garden to clean up the beech yet.

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

Another metre & the berry house would have been totalled.

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

Storm damage

There used to be a young macadamia tree here. Oh well, we had too many anyway.

Storm damage

The neighbourhood was without power for 36 hours. We weren't there, but if we had been, our biggest problem would have been water, we have gas & gas water heating, but we're on bore water & the pump is powered by electricity.

Every time the rain eased this weekend, the peace in the neighbourhood was disturbed by the sound of chainsaws firing up. Not least at SunnyO. There's now a large woodpile weathering away in the orchard, and I should have the fence upright by the end of next weekend - when I get the last of the stump from the big pine tree off it.

I need to think of a back up solution for the water, but I'm sorted for firewood.