Last weekend I was cleaning out my room; having an early spring clean. For me, having a clean out is both cathartic and painful. Cathartic in the sense I can dump some old treasure and trash, so I can make way for the new lot of treasure and trash I’m bound to accumulate in the coming year. Painful in the sense, in that, unlike some blokes I actually do associate memories with objects. Painful in the sense, I also associate objects with practicality; so when I look at a pair of thread bare undies I start to wonder whether I can get one more wear out of them, or find another use for them!
Take holey socks! When Maddie was younger I used to use holey socks as sock puppets to entertain her. Some crafty people spend hours making fancy pants sock puppets. Not me – ‘get ’em while they’re still warm is my motto.’ Off the feet and onto the hands – the smell simply adding ambiance and atmosphere.
You tell me – which of the above puppets have more character and depth!
Anyway, so I used to put on my holey socks and hide behind the couch and put on a monstrosity of a show called Pecky and Peke Peki. Pecky and Peke Peki were Pukeko’s (NZ Swamp Hens – a very handsome bird indeed – I think) .
In every town, in every city, in every swamp, lake, pond or stream in NZ you are likely to find these delightful birds. However, like many people, their looks are are just a fascia, as underneath their handsome exterior they are the nosiest, messiest and snobbiest bird you would ever want to cross. But I like them none the less.
Pecky and Peke Pecki were brothers; Pecky the eldest, a bully, evil and cunning who used to terrorise his younger, kinder more placid and gentle younger brother Peke Peki. It was a kiwi Punch and Judy show with violence and language to boot (age appropriate of course). Pecky tormented his younger brother relentlessly, Maddie quickly moving to protect Peke Peki; cradling, cuddling and protecting the cowering little bird.
Despite Maddie loving them; almost as quickly as the shows started they stopped. I just couldn’t do them anymore. They were wrong. Like Punch with his big stick – they were against everything I stand for. There is no place for bullying, even in silly 5 minute sock puppet shows. What had started out as fun quickly grew into something I detested. I never told her the reason (I will today) and Maddie was genuinely disappointed when I made excuses not to put on another show.
So, last weekend as I picked up some holey socks and wondered how I could recycle, re-purpose or re-use them, the memory of Pecky and Peke Peki came back to me. Then, I decided I would recycle, re-purpose and re-use Pecky and Peke Peki – and ditch the socks.
Maddie loved the characters so why wouldn’t others? Why couldn’t I change Pecky from being mean and nasty, to being naughty and unthinking? Why couldn’t I change Peke Peki from being a placid and weak bird to a bird who was full of common sense and kindness?
Today, I will talk to Maddie about possibly co-authoring a children’s book for Joe, her nephew and my Grandson, to give to him as a Christmas present. I hope she agrees and helps me turn something that was painful for me into something cathartic and treasured by others.
Is their sexual attractiveness and abundance of natural talents being taken advantage of?
Do they unintentionally objectify women?
Yeah – no – maybe?
Yes,and of course they bloody do!
But me thinks too that many of these young women simply take any opportunity to work that they can. There must be thousands of part time models out there trying to get a break and make the big time. There are thousands more studying who need part time income. In these days of fickle employment you grab what you can get, right?
And, so long as men remain men, they will always be titillated by a pretty face and good body. Advertisers and marketers aren’t stupid – its the men that are.
I’m not gay but promo just girls don’t do it for me.
Not boxing girls
Nor wrestling girls
Stunning though they are, beautiful indeed, not even pit girls don’t do it for me.
No – I like my women classy – I like my women stylish.
Watching Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia this morning was the inspiration for this post, as once again I fell in love as I do for every stage of the Giro, ‘le tour’ and every other cycling classic around the globe.
I love professional cycling, love love love! And despite the sport being riddled with questions of drugs and cheating, there is one thing they do so much better. And that’s there use of promo girls. They call them podium girls for a start!
In my opinion cycling celebrates women rather than just titillate men. Yes, the models are beautiful and nearly always young, but they are fully dressed, usually in the latest designer apparel. They do not wriggle and giggle their bits, their cleavages usually offer a sliver or a hint, not a grand canyon of opportunity. Yes; they do adorn and attach themselves to the winners, smelly and knackered riders – but they do so with grace, style, poise and panache.
Are they being taken advantage of?
Is their sexual attractiveness and abundance of natural talents being taken advantage of?
Do they unintentionally objectify women?
Yeah – no – maybe?
Yes, and of course they bloody do!
For intents and purposes the difference between Promo and Podium girls are nought.
However, if it is necessary to flaunt your natural attractiveness then you may as well be well dressed and maintain a modicum of class.
I suppose I am being naive and offering dreary double standards, but anything goes when an overweight 50 something falls in love with every single podium girl to grace my screens. I guess I could always become a spandex weekend warrior and get my kicks on the road trying to make my own podium.
Please note: If any podium girls wish to contribute to this story then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Like a freak; this week, I have been examining eyes. Not in the way of an Optometrist or Doctor, more like a Scientist or an Artist. I have asked family members, friends and work colleagues to let me look directly into their eyes. Weird I know, and I did receive some funny confused looks. But this study has has been incredibly valuable.
You should try yourselves.
Here’s what I learnt.
Legs, chests and bums are very attractive and appealing of course, but they have nothing on eyes. Eyes seem to stimulate my heart, tickle the blood and trigger a deep emotive response. Eyes scream intimacy and purity.
My personal favourite colour is brown, very closely followed by green then blue. But really, any coloured eye is fine by me.
This week I focused on eyes only; not hair, eyebrows, facial expressions, makeup or skin. I learnt eyes are great levelers – even the scuzziest people can have lovely eyes. And some people deemed good looking can actually have only pretty average eye attractiveness.
Green eyes – dangerous and exciting
Despite romanticists claiming eyes are gateways to the soul (I also used to genuinely believe this), I did not sense or receive any personal revelations or deeper understanding into the person I was studying. Afterward, I did not feel I knew them any better, however, on one or two occasions, my heart did momentarily flutter even though I had not previously found that person attractive.
So what is it about eyes?
One of my colleagues had her eyes checked earlier this week (which actually triggered this silly exercise and investigation). The thing is though, I had already checked out her eyes and they appeared perfectly fine to me.
Eyes perform many functions, they dress and balance the face, they capture images, provide information and convey emotion. But perhaps the most underrated function is that they reaffirm and advertise the natural beauty of all of us.
Brown eyes – deep and warm
Someone once suggested many years ago in a very famous book that we are created in God’s image, and if that is the case, then one day I will look forward to gazing into God’s eyes and studying them too.
But before then, I am going to give eyes a lot more attention here on earth. Because to me they are like fine works of art, and you can never get sick of looking at them.
I bet you focused on the eyes – he he he
(Gauguin – my fav – and my eyes did divert from the face)
I think Fantails get a bad wrap. Yes I know, I know one of their kin was responsible for Maui’s death, I get that. Every Kiwi knows the score – Fantails bring bad luck – and if one flies inside your house then someone is about to die.
But how many Kiwi’s know that the ill feeling toward Fantails is actually based on the legend of Maui- and how he met his very strange death? But c’mon Kiwi’s, how long can we hold a grudge?
And to be fair, it was a pretty daft idea of Maui to turn himself into a worm and scurry up and inside the sleeping Hine-nui-te-pō (Goddess of the Night). I would have laughed too! Who hasn’t laughed at an in opportune time? Even now as I write I am smiling, thinking to myself – ‘Maui, what were you thinking?’
To me and my uneducated mind, that legend seems more a wonderful allegory of mans foolishness in seeking immortality – rather than dissing and forever condemning the poor old Fantail for having a sense of humour. So let’s get over it and move on.
Over the summer and now into autumn I have been busy outside. So far I have
Cleared a whole bank, full of gorse and scrub.
Planted close to 100 native plants on the bank.
Cleared and built secret paths and walkways
Dissembled a dilapidated and unsafe car port (a decent 6 earthquake would have brought it down and saved me the job).
Build Maddie a Club House (with an amazing view of the bay) with the re-cycled timber and iron from the Car port.
Starting clearing more scrub (on borrowed land – shush) so I can plant a mini orchard in the spring.
This week a compost bin gets built (the last of the recycled materials).
Next week a herb garden goes in.
The above list is not to show nor prove how good I am – far from it! I am a reluctant gardener and handyman at best. But recently I haven’t minded getting outside on the weekends and getting stuck in.
My daughter Maddie has been a regular companion and helper. I enjoy her company immensely. She sings, she chats, she asks a million questions, she tells jokes, we laugh and we talk about writing and stories. She really is the apple of my eye!
But my most constant companion has been Frank!
Please note that this is not Frank
Frank the Faintail has worked with me almost every weekend over the last 5 months. His familiarity and trust in me has got to the stage where he now waits outside the front door for me in the morning. He follows me around the garden! He follows me into the garage, he tries to get into the house – he actually succeeded once! (God I hope no one dies!)
He is a handsome young bird – with a beautiful orange chest, a lovely tan coloured neck and a tail as white as cotton wool which flicks into an amazing fan; seemingly every 5 seconds! He chirps, he sings, he flutters about me (often within a few centimetres of my head) and thoroughly entertains me. Work doesn’t feel like work when Frank is about.
Every handsome young man has a beautiful wife – and Franks wife is called Frankie. She is a little more timid, a little more reserved, hanging off and fluttering amongst the branches a few metres back. She rules the roost though – often going crook at Frank when she feels he is getting to close to me or the action. When Frank flies into the garage Frankie gets cranky – chirping loudly, no doubt telling him to get the hell out of there!
Maddie and I will be buying a bird feeder this weekend to hang off her Club House, as this is close to where Frank and Frankie have their nest. So when winter bites and I cant venture outside as often; at least I will know that my two new friends will have food and shelter.
I cant wait for spring!
The fantail has 20 or 30 different Māori names. As well as tīwaiwaka, it is commonly called pīwakawaka, tīwakawaka or tīrairaka. In one tradition, it was the fantail that caused Māui’s death, so it is a harbinger of death when seen inside in a house. A fidgety person is described as a fantail’s tail, because of the bird’s restless movements.
So Kate, in my best school boy french – which you know is pretty bad – this post is for you!
La vie en rose?
Non, c’est une longue nuit de noir et de pluie!
Le week-end à Paris s’est terminé trop tôt. La promenade romantique autour de Montmarte est maintenant une longue mémoire, s’effritant comme un vieux pain. Beurre de croissant Rancid, une pâtisserie sans flocons.
Mais les oiseaux continuent à chanter le long des Champs Elysées et les amants continuent à marcher main dans la main. La lumière du soleil goutte des ombres ludiques sur le trottoir, les rayons du soleil dansant par des arbres feuillus.
Et un jour, je vous ramènerai à Paris mon amour. Et nous allons marcher dans le bras comme des amants, aller dans les clubs de jazz et trouver ce que nous avons perdu toutes ces années entre les deux.
Heureux anniversaire de mariage
La Vie en Rose
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast This is la vie en rose When you kiss me, Heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose2
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
I thought that love was just a word
They sang about in songs I heard
It took your kisses to reveal
That I was wrong, and love is real
Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose
When you kiss me, heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom
And when you speak
Angels sing from above
Every day words
Seem to turn into love songs
Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La vie en rose
They’re just not nice to look at; thin skinned hairy parcels which wrinkle and contract at the slightest sign of cold or fright. Membranous tissue which seems to stretch a mile before snapping; no, there is not a lot going for them.
Ugly; I readily concede, but they do hold important bits.
Bits men want to keep and protect, although unfortunately scrotum’s afford scant protection as I’ve often found out playing contact sport.
I’ve played in dozens of games of rugby where I wished I had a titanium protector instead of my flimsy sack. I’ve been kicked, punched, grabbed and kneed in the knackers more times than I wish to remember.
But it’s a numbers game; it’s like surfing, hopefully the shark will bite the guy next to you, not you. Now I’m retired from rugby, I reflect that the only comfort I ever took in this, is the times I watched, guffawed and giggled at many dozens of my team mates and opposition who grabbed their balls, sunk to their knees, closed their eyes and screamed. Some have cried, some have impersonated Edvard Munch, some have even writhed on the ground for extended periods wishing to be put down..
You would think that men; knowing the agony created by a low blow below the belt would take sympathy. But, no – we find the howling, the grimacing and rolling lolling about hilarious!
However, there are exceptions to the rule.
I played in 2 games whether players have suffered serious scrotum injuries. On one occasion a testicle was ripped straight out of the scrotum and was left dangling against the upper thigh of my team mate. Thankfully a quick trip to the A&E, a gentle guiding hand, a few well placed sutures and the testicle was safely re-inserted and stitched back into place.
On the other occasion, the poor severed testicle had suffered significant damage and could not be saved. Although the player was in the opposition, there is no comfort there. The poor guy had his testicle removed.
You can rest assured that on both of these occasions there was no giggling, smirks or jokes. Gathered players simply standing in silence, hands on hips with heads down. All of us thinking, thank God it wasn’t me.
Its no laughing matter when your knackers are knackered! Pain is fair game, testicles sacrosanct.
They say New Zealand men are tough, the All Blacks especially so. Many years an All Black Captain suffered a cruel blow between his legs. physically knackered, his knackers knackered, he still managed to find a way to play on. His name was Buck Shelford.
Bring back Buck!
Here is his story:
Buck (Wayne) was a victim of the infamous “Battle of Nantes”, which was one of the most aggressive games of rugby ever played and witnessed. During the game a French boot found its way into Shelford’s groin, somehow ripping his scrotum and leaving him with one testicle hanging free.
Shelford was caught at the bottom of a ruck 20 minutes into the game, losing four teeth, and sustained a large tear to his scrotum courtesy of a stray French boot.
Incredibly, Shelford had his injury stitched on the sideline and played on until deep into the second half, when a knock to the head left him concussed and unable to continue.
The Daily Telegraph.
The aggression of the French rugby team was unprecedented, and many of the All Blacks suspected foul play. It would later transpire that many of the French players were pepped up on amphetamines, a reasonable explanation for their violent physicality.
“When I came out of the tunnel and I saw them, I looked into the eyes of many of the players as I walked past them, and their eyes did not say that they were going into a game against the All Blacks,”
“Their eyes just looked like they were on something, and I could not prove it.”
The French team doctor at the time, Jacques Mombet, much later explained that the Nantes Test was the most obvious example of French players using amphetamines.
He said New Zealand realised their opponents were “loaded” and made a complaint to the International Rugby Board, which eventually led to a clampdown and ultimately drug testing.
Now, I have played in some testy games before, but I recall this Test Match vividly and I am so pleased I was not within 1,000 miles of the sideline, such was the aggression and violence.
I have genuine respect for French Rugby, my pecking order has always been All Blacks first, then France and then any other team playing England or Australia. But on November the 15th 1986, the spirit of French rugby suffered a blow as painful as any blow to the groin, and it was no laughing matter.
Right; let me make myself perfectly clear – OCD is no laughing matter! And this post is not intended to poke fun at anyone who has OCD, or offend anyone who knows someone who has.
People living with OCD generally have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, sometimes both, and these symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships. It can be a crippling condition.
As an Employment Consultant specializing in placing people living with disability I thought I knew a little bit about OCD and how it can effect people in the workplace. But last weekend I learnt a very valuable insight into the work life of someone living with OCD.
It was a cloudy Saturday morning and my family and I were driving from Nelson to Hanmer Springs, an alpine village famous for its beautiful hot springs.
Its about a 3.5 hour drive and we were driving down to meet with family and stay for the ANZAC Day Holiday weekend. ANZAC day is a day of national importance for NZ and as a family we try to spend ANZAC weekend together.
To learn more about ANZAC Day please check out my ANZAC post from 2 years ago:
Also, here’s Maddie singing ‘Lest we forget’, also from 2 years ago (she was 8)
About an hour and a half into our journey (just past Murchison) we were required to stop for Road Works. Being stopped is a bummer on any journey, but on a holiday weekend, and keen to catch up with loved ones, it seems especially so. luckily though we were the first vehicle to be stopped, giving us a clear view of the road works ahead of us.
Graders were working furiously, clearing and tidying up the edges of the road as quickly as the could. Lollipop people holding stop go signs were stationed at either end of the road works, heads down, their eyes averted, trying to avoid contact with seething drivers (why do they do this on the weekend?)
But in the middle of this all this – amongst the activity and noise Cone Man was placing cones to create a one lane passage way for cars to pass through.
Please note this is not the real Cone Man
Cone Man was bloody good at his job. Bloody bloody good! As in the picture above the road works were close to a bend, but this didn’t stop him lining up all the cones so they were perfectly in line. And when they weren’t in line he would make microscopic adjustments to them – one at time. He was precision personified. He would start at one end and then work his way back along the line to the other. Only then to find out the cones in the middle had mischievously moved out of alignment. So he would go back to sort them out, only to find that either beginning or end of the line was then out.
After ten minutes waiting and watching, I could see the importance of such a task, and in the spirit of generosity I genuinely wanted to get out and help him. If I had a theodolite, level and rod, even a simple measuring tape – I would have gladly gifted it to him. Even, Kate and Maddie joined in too, shouting words of encouragement.
‘to the left a little,’
‘to the right,’
‘no the other one’
‘go back, go back!’
Alas, with our windows closed, he couldn’t hear us.
After 15 minutes of waiting, it was our turn to proceed along the one lane passageway, past the Lollipop lady, who once again averted her eyes, past the graders, and as we approached and passed Cone Man, Kate wound down her window.
‘You’re doing a great job‘ – she offered, but all to no avail. Cone Man had his head down and was busy adjusting the cone in front of him by a few millimeters.
This week this little encounter has had me questioning my assumptions about suitable jobs for people living with OCD. And I know I am going to be more judicious about what might work and what won’t. I’m not sure being a Road Man does.
In New Zealand, before 1970 men were men and women were grateful.
Pakeha New Zealand was barely 100 years old, the blood of the pioneers persisting, pumping thick and strong. The land was still being tamed; work needed sinew and muscle not fingers and pens. Apron strings were still heavily tied to the Mother Land but ultimately swiftly cast aside upon Mothers entrance into the Common Market.
It was a mans world.
Rugby, racing and beer. Sweat and toil. Men hunted, they provided, and so did women, either in the kitchen or in the bedroom.
New Zealand was and still is a land of contradictions. She was the first country in the world to give women the vote, but the first also to throw them the dish cloth and tea towel. There was genuine affection toward Maori, but this manifested itself in condescension. New Zealanders were generous, yet unthinkingly stole land they had no right to steal. At will they bastardized and and mis-pronounced the beautiful local tongue.
Within all this hubbub though, a national identity slowly started to emerge. A strong independent stand alone culture. A rugged, ‘sort it out, she’ll be right’ attitude toward life.
Peter Cape was a first generation Kiwi born to an English family and was the most unlikely minstrel of our early cultural emergence. Although through his music and cleverly crafted lyric he captured the essence of what it was like to be a kiwi man.
But what about the women you ask?
Well no need to worry about them, the sheila’s will be in the kitchen cutting the supper.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like Peter Cape’s folk music. I believe his life’s work is seriously underrated; while musically simple, lyrically it’s clever, and historically accurate – painfully so. His body of work is of significant importance to NZ – so on that count give me Peter Cape over Lorde any day.
It’s nostalgic to look back. But to appreciate it best you need to look back in with corrective lens of context not romance.
As for the man himself, Peter Cape was the perfect kiwi man. A complete and utter contradiction. Unusually for a singer he had a speech impediment which you can quite clearly hear in his vocals. He was Kiwi born to an English family. A man new to NZ but one who captured the essence of being a kiwi man perfectly. He was an ordained Anglican Priest, yet thought nothing of leaving his wife and children to follow the arts and crafts movement evolving in Nelson.
So what do I think of Peter Cape?
As a Musician I believe he was a talented man and I enjoy his music.
As a recorder of history – he was absolutely brilliant with perfect insight into the psyche of the Kiwi Male.
As a bloke, well I think he was probably a bit of a bastard.
But then again I think most men were back then.
It was all part of being a kiwi.
PS: When I hear Peter’s music – I hear the song of my father’s life.
I’ve just had a three month break from social media!
And it’s been wonderful.
So, to all my old blogging mates, ‘hello again’, to my new friends, ‘Haere Mai’ and to the 1,000 Twitter followers who have deserted me over the last 3 months – ‘Haere Ra’ (plenty more where they came from!)
Over the summer I’ve been swimming and practicing on my trombone, I’ve been in the garden. I’ve continued trying to live a more healthy lifestyle.
And, in between all these pursuits and luxurious time invested with family, I’ve been reading and exploring such random concepts such as:
the essence of evil, and
Blogs focusing on these themes will be a feature of 2017.
I’ve not been writing over the last 3 months, although I have been thinking, thinking a lot.
So I have re-launched my blog page with a fresh new look and a brand new tag.
‘Take note’ – is a call to arms and a nod to my musical ambitions for 2017.
During 2017 old favourites will return and you will meet some new characters. Stories not yet finished will be finished, and new ones begun.
Its going to be exciting and fun, I hope you join me and also enjoy my first post back.
He was only 15, maybe 16, but he looked older. He could easily pass for an 18 year old.
He wore a pencil thin Errol Flynn moustache. It suited him, sitting proudly on top of well formed lips and beneath a shapely nose. His complexion pure and unblemished. This guy was handsome. His skin appeared soft, full of stretch and fresh. He was the perfect specimen.
This guy had attitude. He had it in spades. Set perfectly within his beautifully formed face were brown eyes of steel.
His head didn’t lift when he saw me coming, just his eyes. They looked at me with total disdain. Pure arrogance and attitude. I looked at him, I looked into his eyes and immediately thought to myself,
‘I’m going run you over you little shit!’
But please, first let me give you some context before you judge me too quickly.
The teenage turd was immaculately dressed in a shade of blue someone between petrol and royal. He stepped onto the road in front of me, that’s when he lifted his eyes. With nonchalant grace he sauntered right in front of me, silently telling me, silently challenging me;
‘Man I’m a Crip, I own this road, and I don’t give a shit. You wont have the guts to honk your horn, abuse me from a wound down window, or run me over.’
But he was wrong!
Here’s a tip!
Never ever get in between me and a meal. I was on the way home for lunch, I hadn’t had breakfast that morning, I was hungry and I wanted to run the bastard over. I wanted the next words he uttered to be ‘hello God.’ I wanted him to die with his boots on. I wanted to send him to uncertain glory on the roadside dead opposite Pizza Hut.
But I didn’t.
He can thank his lucky stars my mind is a very random and strange thing. Instead of giving myself the green light, putting my foot down and starring in my own version of the charge of the light brigade; I started thinking about Errol Flynn and Captain Blood. I’m weird, we all know that. So it will come as no real surprise that I started to imagine Errol Flynn as a Crip and being asked to play Captain Blood. Wow, what a mind flip!
Errol Flynn – what a man, what a story.
But what’s he got to do with this particular story anyway?
Well everything and nothing really.
Over the next few days I thought more and more about the young man and I actually started to like his attitude. He was a cocky little git unquestionably. But I actually liked that. Not only did this young man look like Errol Flynn, he acted like him too. It’s great to be young, it’s great to feel invincible and not give a stuff. These are things I remember about my youth and miss. Responsibility and sensibility are things that will come later and therefore can wait.
Now, Errol Flyn was no angel. He treated women terribly, he treated his body terribly. He trashed his body with women, wine, and song and tobacco so badly that he died at the tender age of 50. But by God was he handsome though, and in my view, considering the type of roles he played, and the times in which he acted, he wasn’t a bad actor either.
But he was also a bit of a shit too, I remember holidaying in the pristine Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and being shown Errol Flynn graffiti. It was at Nara Inlet and there in amongst the tranquil beauty Errol Flynn had the audacity and nerve to vandalize the environment! Bastard!
My mind leaped.
I focused on the young man’s motivation in stepping out in front of me. I imagined him on dawn patrol searching for his own Olivia de Havilland. I imagined his thoughts being a million miles away’; ‘thinking, ‘I adore you, please never say goodbye.’
Being in love; well it’s a great feeling isn’t it? And if your partner is as stunning as Errol Flynn or Olivia de Havilland, then, well its worth stopping traffic for isn’t it?
Do you remember the fun, the energy, the optimism and the innocence?
I bet we all do!
Every writer worth their salt has written about the transition from child to adult, the rites of passage, the coming of age, journey’s of discovery.
Very few though write about the unbridled joy and sheer loveliness of being young. Of a time in our life when the only worry we had was the Maths test on Friday. When we could have a fight with our best friend in the morning and be bestie mates again by lunchtime.
Is it the fear of being labelled a sacchariney children’s author, the fear of being a niche teen writer that stops of us? Or is it because we have become so cynical we know for most; the innocence, the generosity and the love will disappear as soon as the horrible hormones kick in? At any age, there are always a good stories, and here’s one of them.
Maddie and one of her besties, Sally, wanted to raise money for the Earthquake Victims in Kaikoura. So on Wednesday they set up a Lemonade and Cookie stand at Tahunanui Beach. They raised $53.70 to be given to the St John’s Earthquake appeal.
I asked Maddie how she felt inside afterward. She said, she felt so good, she said she felt so joyful in that she and Sally could actually do something to help. When she spoke her eyes lit up, a smile came across her face and I could actually see and hear the love from the way she spoke and moved.
I will let the photo’s do the talking.
The following song is called ‘Feel Inside’ it was written by The Flight of the Concords and used to raise money for ‘Cure Kids.’ It ’tis a sweet song but what’s best about it is that all the lyrics were taken from Children.
I took the VCR tape from his grey shaking hands, his nails clipped but chipped; yellow. Veins protruding standing proud beneath the saggy skin of his hands, lower arms and neck. Visually working my way up, I studied his face, the sockets of his eyes sunken and dark. His eyes themselves, red, not bloodshot red, more a dull crimson. They looked dry and painful.
‘How long have you got?’ I asked more out of interest than concern; years of war reporting and hard nosed journalism dulling and hardening my sensitivities toward death.
‘Not long,’ he answered without emotion, ‘maybe a couple of days, a week max.’
‘That’s a shame, I said, ‘I’m sorry.’
Aldric nodded slightly, Sailor Vee, he said, immediately selling me a beaming smile transforming him from a dying old man into a charming charismatic dandy.
He really would have been something in his day I thought, somewhat alarmed and uncomfortable he still had the ability to turn on the charm and draw people toward him.
‘You mean, ce la vie?‘ I corrected.
‘Oh no,’ Aldric answered with a thin smile, lisp and twinkle. ‘Sailor Vee, always asked how long I had? But he knew the answer well enough. He was such a lovely lovely man, a Chief Warrant Officer at the Naval Base on Treasure Island. But I used to call him my own personal Rear Admiral (lower half). He’s gone now, like all the others, all gone!’
His eyes still looked parched and sore, but above his wounded smile I could see a tear welling in the corner of his right eye. The tear was yellow, his liver playing one last indignity on the old man.
‘This tape, this cassette,’ I asked, it tells your story?
‘Oh yes, it tells my story. It tells the story of all my friends. It tells of our demise, both here and in New York. I had friends and lovers in both San Francisco and New York. And before the 80’s we had a blast. Lived the high life! The colour, the creativity, the gentle souls and the free love. But then Aids came. It ravaged the community we fed on. Then it ravaged us. It decimated us, one by one we expired, we dried up and turned to dust.’
‘So what do you want me to do with this tape,’ I asked.
Aldric looked at me, his face open and calm. ‘I want you to tell our story. I want you to play this tape on your Television program. I want the world to know that Vampires existed. That we lived, we killed, we loved and we died. That we were not mythical! I have given my Executor instructions you are to be notified upon my death. You are not to permitted to play the tape before then – understand?’
‘Yes of course,’ I re-assured, ‘but Aldric one thing I don’t understand is that HIV, is and was, largely contained within the gay and drug communities, how did you and your friends contract the disease?
‘Oh come on Lester,’ Aldric scorned, ‘you are not that naive. We are, or at least were, creatures of opportunity, we were creatures of convenience, we targeted those who may not be missed. The addicts, the young gay men who may have of run away from home. And Lester my darling, I may be old and close to death, but only a moment ago, I sensed your loins stir! We are androgynous, we are bi-sexual, we are vampire and very soon we will gone.
‘There are very effective treatments these days’, I responded, ‘drugs that suppress the virus. Why don’t they work on you,… didn’t work on your friends?
I’m not a doctor, nor scientist, but the Viral Suppressants kill us quicker than the complications of HIV. Our choice was simple, die almost immediately by taking the drugs, and believe me many chose that option; or linger until we dried out, until our organs stopped working and eventually our hearts stopped completely. After I contracted Aids, I had nothing to live for, except that is to tell our story. And this is where you come in Lester.’
Aldric attempted to stand, his elbows struggling to lock as he pulled himself out of the chair. His arms shook and he wobbled. I rushed over, bending over to support him. He lent foward, his arms embracing me, pulling me close. I smelt his cologne, I felt his breath on my throat. I wasn’t afraid.
‘You would have been easy,’ Aldric whispered in my ear. ‘Very easy!’
Kia Ora Roly
Ps: The idea of this story has been floating around in my head for some time now. I hope one day to turn it into either a short story or novella.
I’d run out of Daivobet and I needed to get it sorted.
Summer was coming and I wanted to look my best down at the beach. No scabby scales for me, just a wobbly splodgey tummy and splotchy pink skin sprouting patches of thick pig like hairs.
It took me weeks to get everything together and when I did, I drove straight down to my local Church.
‘I think I’ve got everything we need,’ I said to the Pastor.
‘I’ve had to compromise a bit. Wasn’t sure what Hyssop was so I’ve brought along some Italian Herbs, hopefully they’ll do the job?
Now,…the crimson stuff, I wasn’t sure what that was, or how much I should bring; so I’ve brought along a few crimson things. You can decide on what’s appropriate. Personally, be good though if I can get my wife’s bikini bottoms back – she doesn’t know I’ve pinched them, and she looks pretty hot in them down the beach, if you know what I mean.
Here’s the oil and cedar wood,’ I added, passing them across to the Pastor.
He looked at me strangely.
I wondered whether he was pissed because I hadn’t brought everything in.
‘Oh, I’ve got the lambs in the ute in the carpark, and I’ve brought a pig and a couple of dogs as well, just in case. You just tell me when you need them. I tell you what, that grumpy old bastard at pet shop over the road refused to sell me 2 budgies when he found out that one of them was going to be killed; so I had to catch a couple of pigeons. What a fucking performance that was, feathers and shit everywhere, oops sorry Pastor, forgot where I was. They’re in the Ute too!’
Now with the water; I’m thinking that we could use your tap in the kitchen. Hopefully that’s okay, after all I guess it’s close to being holy water coming from a Church Kitchen and all.
We ready to go then?’
The Pastor still had a funny look on his face, he scratched his head. Ever so slowly he started to smile.
‘Are you on day release from the Unit?’ He asked in a soft calming voice before stepping away.
‘Hell no, I shot back,’ I’m here to get my psoriasis fixed. I know you guys are experts about these things, do you have time to do it now?’
Ancient Jewish oral tradition dictates that I don’t deserve to be alive; that I should be dead. And the reasons I need to be outcast into the desert and left for dead is that I am poor and afflicted with Psoriasis. That’s what you get for being an unclean sexually perverted deviant. And the fact that I have patches of psoriasis on both elbows must mean I’m doubly perverted.
Now all you readers can stop sniggering about my fate right now, because if you’re poor, blind, or childless then we’re all in the same boat. A boat full of poor sexually depraved people with impaired vision and skin conditions. Bloody good trip I reckon! Who needs the Titanic?
The Roman Catholic Church has played a big part in my life. My family, my upbringing, my education, all playing their part in teaching me about Christ and the ultimate uniting force of the universe – God. However, I gave up Catholicism many moons ago, and these days I would consider myself a very reluctant Christian. However, that does not stop me from living my life trying my utmost best to adhere to Christian values. So, for all intents and purposes, I am a Christian – but just don’t do the Christian God thingy! I believe in a supreme being, but in my view, generations of pompous (not Pious) fat Italian cross dressing men with vested interests have warped the true meaning of Christianity and our view of God.
Pope Leo – Fernando Botero
When I did call myself a Christian, I was a New Testament man! A renaissance man, a man of forgiveness, of hope and faith. Faith, in that I believed there was a man called Jesus, faith in that he was a leader, a teacher and freedom fighter. Faith in the fact that was crucified, faith in that many of the events in the New Testament actually did happen and much of the teachings Jesus gave were real, deep and meaningful. For all these things I have no doubt.
Son of God? Ergh not sure about that one sorry.
When I called myself a Christian I always struggled with the Old Testament. I appreciate that the first 5 books of it form part of the Torah and I understand that the Quran regards the Old Testament as a valid and authentic spiritual record. Me, well I think its all make believe fantasy, jelly beans and bullshit.
And you see this, and what I do with my ‘willy’ are the reasons why I have psoriasis! This week Bishop Brian Tamaki of the Destiny Church reminded me of that.
Image source – Wiki
Bishop Tamaki is a prominent Christian leader and advocate of the gospel. He has appeared on all major Prime Time News and Current Affairs broadcasts and tabloids defending and upholding the faith and traditional Christian values. He is a man of Christ, a man of love, a smart man who clearly understands the will of a loving and forgiving God. He has built his Destiny Church on the following beliefs:
We believe there is one living God, the God of creation, who exists eternally in the three persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God. We believe in His virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, His second coming and eventual eternal kingdom.
We believe in the Divine inspiration and authority of the Bible. It is the Word of God.
We believe in the spiritually lost condition of mankind and the need for every man to repent and be born again of the spirit, which is essential to enter the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the sacraments of baptism by immersion in water, and the Lord’s Supper – communion.
We believe in the person, ministry and baptism of the Holy Spirit, with signs following.
We believe in the resurrection of the saved and the lost, one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting damnation.
We believe the church is the body of Christ and His corporate expression of Christ on the earth, and represents the manifold wisdom of God.
He is the head. The church comprises of all people who have been saved and born of the Spirit. The church is God’s only hope for the human race.
We believe it is the believer’s privilege and responsibility to bring the tithe and offerings in to the local church.
While mainstream churches would never dare to wallow in the murky waters of the Old Testament, Bishop Brian has no problem immersing himself and extolling and validating it’s teachings. He sprays it’s teaching the way a shower head does water without a curtain – all over the bloody place! Like most fire and brimstone preachers Leviticus is one of his favorites, his go to. There is certainly some profound stuff in there and I encourage every reader to give it a crack (not).
It’s from Leviticus that I learnt my sexual depravity caused my psoriasis, and that as a result, I deserved to die (Leviticus 12 thru 14). It’s just amazing and incredible that a book written by a legendary (but not historical) figure called Moses, circa 1400 BC (but collated in Persia 500 years before Christ) knows more than modern medical science about the causes of psoriasis. It certainly has nothing to do with my arthritis, or that it can be traced through the generations of my paternal lineage.
Leviticus even knows what causes the earth to spew up thereby creating earthquakes. Its amazing! Honestly why would anyone want to waste their life and time studying seismology?
Please, please please check this out – go on – its under 2 minutes long.
Subsequent to this sermon:
Brian Tamaki has defended saying that gays, sinners and murders are responsible for earthquakes, saying he actually meant anybody indulging in illicit sexual behaviour, adultery, child abuse and more.
“It’s about adultery, morality, it’s about any type of extra-sexual behaviour,” Tamaki has told Willie Jackson in an interview on RadioLive.
Tamaki has refused to apologise to anyone and said he did plenty of good in the community and should not be judged as a monster.
He blamed the media for not giving him a right of reply, despite turning down the Herald earlier when he was asked to defend the Sunday morning sermon.
Tamaki said since news of his sermon broke he and his family had received death threats and threats to burn down Destiny Church.
He said it was important for people to remember this was God’s view, not his.
Source NZ Herald
What I think
Well Brian I would like to quote some scripture at you too. And once again this comes from Leviticus.
Brian you need a haircut
Letting your hair become unkempt (Leviticus 10:6)
“You will die” and God will be angry at everyone!
Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the Israelites, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire.
2) Leviticus 35-37
If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.
Destiny Church demands more than tithe, former members say
By Heather McCracken
4:00 AM Sunday Mar 7, 2010
Former Destiny Church members claim families are pressured to give “love offerings” and other cash donations above the expected 10 per cent tithe. The claim comes as TV3 confirms it has sold broadcast time to the church – funded by Destiny’s new “Give It Heaps” campaign which asks families to give $2000 over seven months.
The church came under scrutiny last week after the walkout of Brisbane pastor Andrew Stock and a number of his members. Replacement pastors were sent across the Tasman to take over the church and church leader Brian Tamaki said that members who did not give money were “robbing” God.
Former Destiny Taranaki member Randolph Pratt said members came under pressure to contribute to the fundraising drives above their 10 per cent tithe.
“There’s a lot of people in Destiny Church in low-income families,” he said.
“How can they afford to give that sort of money?”
Pratt said he left the church after four years because it became too focused on money. He gave $1500 a month above his 10 per cent tithe.
“There are good things happening in Destiny, but just taking money from people all the time is wrong. There’s just no need for it.”
Pratt said he expected “a lot of flak” from Destiny members for speaking out: “I don’t care because it’s the truth, and it’s got to come out.”
Another former member, who did not want to be named, said members were expected to fill in tithe envelopes with their names, how much they were giving and any added donations. Offerings were used to fund church buildings, even though the buildings were owned by a separate company, which the church paid rent to.
“It’s the tithing and offerings that are paying the buildings off, and then they’re paying rent on top of that,” he said.
Another former member said they were told they would be “blessed by God” for giving their pastor extra “love offerings” – a cash donation given directly to the pastor.
In a statement, Destiny Church said Give it Heaps aimed to raise $3 million for the Destiny School in Auckland. It would also pay for producing and screening the TV programme.
“What members decide to contribute towards this goal and how they wish to contribute is purely their choice.”
In a statement, Destiny said “honorariums” received by pastors were at the discretion of the local church.
TV3 has defended its decision to allow Destiny to buy a 30-minute segment on Wednesday mornings at 6am.
Spokesman Roger Beaumont said the critical coverage of Destiny Church by current affairs show Campbell Live had no impact on the network’s commercial decisions.
Herald on Sunday
For all the people of Kaikoura and surrounds, for all the victims of Natural Disasters throughout the world (and there are millions of people suffering), I urge you to judge this clown as he has judged you!
Brian, are you a homophobic bigot exploiting people’s faith and bank accounts? Are someone who likes to hide behind obscure scripture from 3,500 years ago? Or, are you just another in a long line of pompous (not Pious) rich, well dressed men with vested interests who have warped the true meaning of Christianity and our view of God?
There, I told you I wasn’t much of a Christian!
I wrote a similar post last year. If interested please check out the following link.
They say Oklahoma in the USA is Earthquake Alley – and supposedly it’s a result of fracking!
Well tell me, who the hell is fracking around with our Terra Firma?
Last night we received an unwelcome reminder about why Kate, Maddie and I left Christchurch in August 2011. Evidently New Zealand’s South Island shifted two metres last night. So the earth certainly moved for us in the Shaky Isles – what about you?
Words fail me today – so thank you Bob Seger who of course wrote the original music and crafted far better lyrics in his song Old Time Rock and Roll. Sing along, or dance if you want (that’s if you can stand).
Just watch those records fly off the shelf
I’ll wait till morning and pick’em up myself
Tonight the ground ain’t got the same soul
Don’t miss that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Don’t try to take me back to Christchurch
Can’t dance there, just hangon an’ lurch
After ten minutes just standing is the goal
Don’t miss that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Don’t like that old time rock ‘n’ roll
That kind of shaking just kills the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
Before that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Liquidation’s sticky as a mango
Three years of cleanups taking their toll
There’s only one sure way to get me to stay
Stop playing that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Call me a relic, call me what you will
Say I’m old-fashioned, say I’ve gone over the hill
Today’s land ain’t got the same soul
I hate that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Still hate that old time rock ‘n’ roll
That kind of shaking that kills the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
Before that old time rock ‘n’ roll
Kia Kaha Kaikoura, Seddon, the Hurunui, Blenheim, Wellington, Christchurch and of course Nelson and everyone living in the top of the South Island and bottom of the North.
Please also be wary and heed the following from Geo Net NZ:
There are very different probabilities for each scenario; some of these are more concerning than others. We recognise that while these scenarios may increase anxiety the best thing is to be prepared. Remember: If you feel a long or strong earthquake and you are on the coast, evacuate immediately.
We’ve developed three scenarios based on what we know so far but be aware that our understanding is evolving as we do more analysis and receive more data.
Scenario One: Very likely (80% and greater) A normal aftershock sequence that is spread over the next few months. Felt aftershocks (e.g. M>5) would occur from the M7.5 epicentre near Culverden, right up along the Kaikoura coastline to Cape Campbell over the next few weeks and months. This is the most likely scenario.
Scenario Two: Likely (60% and greater) In the next month, it would be likely that rupture of earthquakes of about an M6 in the North Canterbury and Marlborough regions will occur, as well as potentially offshore in Southern Cook Strait and offshore Kaikoura.
Scenario Three: Unlikely (less than 40%) The least likely scenario is that in the next month, (it is unlikely but still possible) there would be rupture of longer known faults (with earthquakes of about M7), in the Marlborough and Cook Strait regions.
Within this sequence, aftershocks will most likely occur anywhere in the box on the map (see image). It is this geographical region for which the modelling is done. It is important to understand that earthquakes can and do happen outside this box but the box represents the most likely area related to this sequence.
Aftershock Probabilities for the area outlined in the box shown on the map below:
one or more
one or more
one or more
Within 1 day
7 – 21
0 – 4
0 – 1
Within 7 days
18 – 39
0 – 6
0 – 2
Within 30 days
28 – 53
1 – 8
0 – 2
Forecast from 8am, Monday 14th November. These probabilities are for the area within the box outlined on the map below (coordinates -40.7, 171.7; -43.5, 171.7; -43.5, 175.5; -40.7, 175.5).
Please be prepared, Christchurch experienced Scenario Two and still experience pretty sizeable aftershocks.
Now to cheer everyone up – here’s the man himself with a very very special guest!
It was a hot Sunday morning so I decided to venture into town. I walked down the Hill to Black Cat so I could buy an Ice cream and catch the bus. Sitting under the shady canopy of the bus stop was an old man. I smiled as I approached him and said ‘Gidday.’ I took the seat beside him.
‘Ice creams; pretty young women wearing short skirts, musk and pearls. These are things I should have had more of. Things, I wish I had had more of,’the old man said without warning.
‘Er…okay, I replied awkwardly, turning to the old man who was now sucking air and looking skyward.
‘It’s too late for many more pretty young things; although the dreams remain. But ultimately they are just memories and sighs. They are just the lusty chains of regret haunting my mind. The rattling and clanking reminding me that once I was not an ageing man with a paunch and dirty mind. That once upon a time, pretty young women would like being caught in the gaze of my eye. Now, mostly I just frighten them.’
I felt uncomfortable, unable to think of anything to say, I licked my ice cream and nodded.
‘Morals, loyalty and respect. They are values to be cherished for sure, tenets to base one’s life upon. But by jeez, just once, wouldn’t it be good to be released from these lusty chains,to be freed to over indulge and give in to the temptation of a new flavour, or to try a waffle cone?’
‘I guess,’ I shrugged, wishing he would shut up.
‘Gelato!’ He exclaimed slapping his knees with enthusiasm, ‘now that’s something, I’ve always wanted to try. The fruitier the better; the sweeter the juice, the more succulent the flesh don’t they say?
I pretended I didn’t hear, looked at my watch and wished the bus would come.
‘I like em fit, with a good body, they gotta have some body to them, something to grab a hold of.
That was it for me.
‘That’s enough Dad.’ I said firmly. ‘You’re a disgusting filthy old man, there’s something innately wrong with you! And what Nenita see’s in you besides your money just befuddles me. And what, prey-tell would possess you to bring over a 21 year old Filipino mail order bride?’
‘I know you were lonely after Mum left, and I know we only live once, but don’t you see, people are laughing at you? They think you’re a pervert. She’s younger than me for fuck’s sake.’
‘Son,’ Dad interrupted, his hands gesturing, trying to placate me. ‘Son,’ he said. ‘Your ice cream is melting all over your hand. Too much talking, too much judging, perhaps you might need to get another one – this time maybe try another flavour.
They drive a red Toyota sedan and I see them come and go all the time.
Always smiling, always waving, always coming and going. I know not where.
It seem’s the Martians keep to themselves, but at the same time trying their best to assimilate into the Nelson community.
I imagine that on occasion’s they would cause quite a stir, eg: checking into Hotel’s.
‘Hi, we’re the Martians.’
Joining the Boy Scouts, ‘Hi were the Martian’s, take me to your leader.’
Iv’e seen them at the Airport occasionally, oh and okay I did yell out once, ‘Look out the Martians have landed.’
Now, I’m not allowed to ring the Police or the Military anymore and tell them about the Martians at number 42. In fact, I’m not allowed to go within 200 metres of the Martian Family or ring them either.
But that’s okay.
You see, I’ve seen a removal truck pull up and drive into our lane. Evidently there’s a new family moving into number 27, they’re the Crapper family and I can’t wait to meet them and ring the plumber.
This week disability, disabled toilets and morals have been significantly show cased in the NZ Media. I guess you could put this down to just another news week. But I don’t think so. You see, I’m getting irked, very irked by peoples expectations placed on those in the public eye. The Press/Media doesn’t help, reporting news for the lowest common denominator is rife. It seems to me the Press/Media have no idea, nor concern with what is really in the public interest; whipping up into a frenzy anytime there is an indiscretion or slip up by someone in the public eye.
Journalists, please go back to Journo school, go back to Journalism 101, and re-examine and explore the difference between:
At the moment all you Journo’s seem to lump and roll these terms into one. But they are not the same thing. In fact, they are quite different. All Blacks aren’t Role Models, they are not even heroes, they are simply celebrities.
So this week there has been plenty of news, some good, some bad and definitely some ugly.
On the good news page has been Liam Malone. And for the record, I believe Liam is a hero!
To support my point, here’s an abbreviated extract from Scott Le Barge on the nature of heroes from the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics – Santa Clara University .
The term “hero” comes from ancient Greek. For them, a hero was a mortal who had done something so far beyond the normal scope of human experience that he left an immortal memory behind him when he died.
Many of these Greek heroes were benefactors of humankind: Hercules, the monster killer; Asclepius, the first doctor; Dionysus, the creator of Greek fraternities.
But people who had committed unthinkable crimes were also called heroes; Oedipus and Medea, for example, received divine worship after their deaths as well. Originally, heroes were not necessarily good, but they were always extraordinary; to be a hero was to expand people’s sense of what was possible for a human being.
Today, because of the media, it is much harder to detach the concept of heroism from morality; we only call heroes those whom we admire and wish to emulate. We need heroes first and foremost because our heroes help define the limits of our aspirations. We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals – things like courage, honor, and justice – largely define us. Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy.
A couple years ago the administrators of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes polled American teenagers and found only half could name a personal hero. Superman and Spiderman were named twice as often as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Lincoln. It is clear that our media make it all too easy for us to confuse celebrity with excellence; of the students who gave an answer, more than half named an athlete, a movie star, or a musician. One in ten named winners on American Idol as heroes.
So what must we do? How should we address the problem? Part of the answer is personal. It never hurts us to remind ourselves who our own heroes are and what they represent for us, and to ask ourselves whether we are doing all we can to live up to these ideals.
For those of us who are teachers – and all of us are teachers of our own children at least – have a special opportunity to introduce heroes to those we teach. And teaching about heroes really isn’t hard; heroic lives have their appeal built in, all we need to do is make an effort to tell the stories. I assure you, the reason those students didn’t choose Lincoln and King and Gandhi as heroes was not that they had heard their stories and dismissed them. It is our job to tell the stories. Tell your students what a difference people of courage and nobility and genius have made to the world.
Heroes can help us lift our eyes a little higher. Immanuel Kant said that “from the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” That may well be true. But some have used that warped, knotted timber to build more boldly and beautifully than others, and we may all benefit by their examples. Heaven knows we need those examples now.
The Good -Liam Malone
He’s just a goofy dude from Nelson who just runs in circles and reads books – well at least that’s what he say’s. Well yesterday that goofy dude was given the keys to Nelson City – but not before filling up his Dad’s truck with diesel instead of petrol.
This presentation was of course because of his exploits at the Rio Paralympics. After winning two golds and a silver medal, he is arguably be the fastest man in the world with no legs.
Liam is a Nelsonian through and through, Kate, Maddie and I were delighted to be part of the thousands who went along to the civic celebration to show our admiration, our thanks and support to this outstanding young man. It was wonderful to listen to Liam and even better, Maddie our daughter got to briefly meet him. Humble, and grateful, Liam graciously thanked Nelson for the $20,000 it raised to enable him to purchase his first set of running blades, saying that if it were not for that, then he would never have made it to the Paralympics. He told us that the medals belonged to Nelson, as much as they belonged to him.
Don’t even dare play the disability card! This guys a champion, disabled or not. He would have been a winner legs or without legs. Resilience, tenacity, dedication, and desire combined with a great deal of self belief, makes Liam an outstanding young man. Sure, his disability may make things harder for him, but overcoming difficulties through strength and depth of character sit aside from disability. As someone who works in the disability sector, I wish many more people would see people as people, not as able bodied or disabled. But we like labels – which bring us to – the bad!
The Bad -Aaron Smith, or is it us?
Who hasn’t had sex in a public place; in a car, car park, garden, under a bush in someone’s garden, in the bathroom, the garage? The list could go on. I’m not afraid to say – that I have had sex in weird and quite wonderful places. Often the chance of getting caught adding excitement and thrill to the encounter.
Public outrage – astonishment – disgust!
Come on NZ, we do not live in Victorian times. People have sex, some people have sex outside of relationships and some people even have sex in public places. Whether this is right or wrong, whether this fits within your own moral’s,personal view on sex and relationships is beside the point. Just like rugby, not everyone plays by the same rules.
Ministers of Faith have sex, GP’s have sex, postmen and women have sex, accountants, bankers, lawyers, factory workers, shop assistants all like to get their leg over and imbibe the juices of the carnal fruits.
Oh my God, you can’t be serious! Do rugby players have sex, does that mean even All Blacks have sex?
If anyone thought otherwise they need a bullet. And if anyone thinks that this is news, and Smiths activities are of interest to anyone else other than him, his girlfriend, his tryst partner, then they need two bullets.
Sure he was on Company time. Sure, it is an employment issue and needs to be dealt with as such. But please do not tell me Smith and every other All Black or famous person is public property for issues of morality. Quote me brand damage, quote me marketing and sponsorship, but do not quote me morals because I know what you do when the curtains are drawn and the lights are turned down!
This brings me to who is whipping (excuse the deliberate pun) up all this repressive moralistic role model horse poo.
The Ugly – The NZ Press/Media
Global statements! I hate them. Hate them, hate them, hate them. Judy Bailey – mother of the nation – my arse!
She is not like my mother in anyway, nor is she like any of the 300 or so other mothers that pick up their children from Tahunanui School – not that I’ve seen anyway.
All Black’s as role models, my hairy arse!
Surely, if I wanted a role model I would choose my own? Not select who the media tells me too. Yes, kids love the All Blacks, and yes I loved the All Blacks as a Kid, but it is not for their personality, not for their charm, not for their morals, not for their social standing. No, it is for their rugby prowess, their ability to kick goals, to score try’s, tackle and knock people over. If people don’t get that – then I feel sorry for them.
Yes, in my opinion it’s high time for a national discussion on
And the expectations we place on them.
The should be led and conducted in the media/press. But it won’t be, because Conrad Hurrell getting a blow job is far more exciting and sells more advertising.
This is the transcript of a speech I made at my Grandmothers funeral service.
Dr Seuss once said, sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’
He also said plenty of other stuff , but, ‘one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish’ and there’s a ‘wocket in my pocket,’ don’t really seem appropriate in this setting, here today.
Nan was a woman of her times; born in the 1920’s, a time when New Zealand was still recovering from the horror of the Great War and the ravages of the following flu a few years later. New Zealand was a stoic, austere but resilient place, it cherished good old fashioned values, it valued hard work and toil. Money was tight and words were few. The words that were used were unusually short and economical. There was no need for embellishment and no money for luxury.
We have all had our moments with Eunice, Mum, Nan, Nana Hanna, we all have our own memories, some private, some shared. Some will be special, while others are more perfunctory, more matter of fact. But rather than memories today I wanted to share with you some of moments I shared with Nan and some of the qualities that Nan possessed.
When I think of Nan, I think of Eunice the sportswoman; the Golfer, the Lawn Bowler. It always seemed to me that while she was never a lydia Ko or Millie Khan,she was a battler. She was hard working, determined and dedicated. She took up bowls much later in life than one might usually do and this was and still is an inspiration to me today.
When I think of Nan, I think of Eunice the ‘Gourmet’ who lovingly cooked tripe and onions for my Grandfathers lunch for as many years as I can remember. The boiled tripe and onion smell wafting and lurking through the house like the smell of Johnny’s damp dirty rugby socks. I remember Eunice the ‘gourmet’ eating Cous Cous for the first time at my house. She was 90 and she loved it. She told me she had always wondered what Cous Cous tasted like and she really seemed to enjoy it. When I asked her what she thought of the Falafel, she shot me a look which suggested it would be another 90 years before she tried Falafel again.
There’s a cold wind that blows down the Grey River Valley toward the sea. The people in Greymouth call the wind the ‘Barber,’ – because it can cut right through you like a razor; cut you in two! Eunice also had the ability to do that with either a single glance or a short spatter of words.
Gambling…,Eunice loved a punt. She loved a flutter on the Gee Gee’s; a session on the pokies, an hour or two at the casino. Believe it or not, she was also an adventurer, one time trekking 2km up a narrow, rocky creek, boulder hopping, getting her feet wet, criss-crossing from one bush covered bank to the other just to get to a gold claim I had shares in. The sandflies were as big as helicopters and hungry as Paddy and Liam Hanrahan, but nothing was going to stop Nan from having a go on the Rocker Box and having the chance to find an ounce of two of gold, or even a nugget.
Eunice gave things a crack and to me that was an outstanding part of her character.
They say a good measure of someones life is not what they have achieved but what they have left behind. Eunice, the love of your children, grand children, and great grand children is what you have left behind and what a wonderful measure and legacy this is.
Thank you for the moments Eunice, alas there will be no more and I will miss them
As Dr Suess said, sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’
Tonight the All Blacks play the old foe South Africa.
And this week I have had a very small taste of what it might be like to be the All Black’s coach Steve Hansen.
This week I have had to deal with last minute injury, nerves, tears and the fear of the unknown.
This week my wife Kate and I have had to prepare, not for one but for two Tests. A tough ask in any circumstance.
The New Zealand Association of Modern Dance (NZAMD) and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) don’t muck around when it comes to examinations, and preparing our daughter Maddie for these was an exercise in extreme Man Management (or young girl management – which to me seems far harder!)
I jest of course, because all of the hard work had already been done by Maddie herself and her amazing tutor Lucy Moignard, Principal of A Star Academy of the Arts .
Sunday – Last minute run through’s. Ballet gear and bag sorted. Early to bed as the NZAMD exam was being held in the morning. I observed, nothing much for me to do here.
Monday – Up early, usual dis-agreement s between Kate and Maddie about Make-up, hair, costumes etc. I observed, nothing much for me to do here, apart from go to work, sit at my desk and wait for news.
News came through – Maddie had done well – I was pleased. I smiled, all my hard work had been worth it. Job done.
Tuesday – Maddie had an inter-school sports tournament where she played Hockey and Ki o’ rahi. Unfortunately she sustained a foot injury which threw the rest of the week into uncertainty and chaos. After 35 years playing rugby I knew exactly what to do. RICE! Rest, Ice (frozen chips – Kate’s idea) Compression and Elevation. Pain, tears, and an early night.
Wednesday – Maddie hobbling about. Maddie watches from the sidelines at the Ballet practice for Fridays RAD exam.
Thursday – Maddie still hobbling about. Maddie excused from Ballet practice.
Friday – Up early, usual dis-agreement s between Kate and Maddie about Make-up, hair, costume etc. I observed, nothing much for me to do here apart from go to work, sit at my desk and wait for news.
News came through. Maddie mucked up her first dance. Tears, devastation and despair.
Lucy Moignard being a seasoned professional told Maddie to pick herself up and dust herself off and to go back in and nail the next three dances. Maddie did – big smiles, laughter and an amazing feeling of satisfaction. Maddie told me she felt the same way too!
Apart from the hours upon hours of practice at A Star and home. Apart from the hours upon hours of listening to the same music. Apart from all the hard work, the tears and the injuries, there is one thing that really stands out to me.
I asked Maddie after her exams how she felt about it all? She told me she loved it, she loved to dance, loved hanging with her mates, loved the costumes and learning.
I asked her again, what was the one thing that she liked about it most?
It’s fun she answered, it’s really good fun.
Job done Lucy
Job done Kate
I smiled, nothing much for me to do here. Steve H and I have more in common than you might think.