Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Whitey's On The Moon

Movie Review: First Man

This biopic of Neil Armstrong has now reached iTunes, and Netflix and Amazon can’t be far behind, so it seems appropriate to take a look at what most people did not see in the theatres in 2018. It’s banked $100 million on a $60 million budget. IMDb has it rated at 75% while Rotten Tomatoes has 88% from the critics and 66% from the audiences. In short, it’s not a great success, but neither is it a critical or commercial failure.

In the opening scene, with no preamble, we suddenly have Armstrong's view from the cockpit of one of his X-15 rocket plane flights in the early 1960’s. The “GoPro” technique works brilliantly here. We feel the bangs, thumps, rattles and terrifying metallic shrieks as the X-15 clings to its B-52 mothership through turbulence and then launch, followed by silence and brief zero-gee as the rocket cuts out and Armstrong cruises into near space. Returning, he “bounces” off the atmosphere and is forced into an all too fast ride and U-turn down to the desert floor where he barely manages a very hard landing.

It's breathtaking, but from that point on the movie is relentlessly grim and dark. Brooding might be the word, which certainly fits Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of the First Man. As my daughter said, a movie about how NASA almost killed three of its astronauts in space comes across as more uplifting than one where they successfully land on the Moon.

Not that it was ever going to be easy to put the story on screen, even using the biography from which the movie takes its name. He was famously reticent and retiring even among his compadres. The biographer Jim Hansen struck this, even as Armstrong “opened up” for the first and only time. Tom Wolfe came close with this concise sketch:
A lot of people couldn’t figure out Armstrong. …You’d ask him a question, and he would just stare at you with those pale-blue eyes of his, and you’d start to ask the question again, figuring he hadn’t understood, and— click —out of his mouth would come forth a sequence of long, quiet, perfectly formed, precisely thought-out sentences
And he was like that to the day he died, eschewing most requests for interviews and other publicity, let alone the money he could have made. Fame quite simply meant nothing to one of the more famous people in history. How do you make a movie about such a man?

Turns out that Hollywood can’t, although Gosling, Claire Foy, director Damien Chazelle and writer Josh Singer, all with success in their recent past, give it a good shot, with a story focus and two techniques that try to force you into Armstrong’s mind.

The first technique is the “GoPro” of the X-15 scene. It works again with the Gemini VIII launch, Armstrong’s first spaceflight in 1966.  We truly get to feel what it’s like to be stuffed inside a little tin can on top of a rocket, within an all-encompassing world of metallic screaming and shaking and only a tiny window to look out of, through which flames are seen. 

But later, when the flight starts going horribly wrong in orbit the technique stops working. Certainly the scenes of earth spinning through the windows are so vivid that had they gone on much longer, I’d have had to look away to not feel sick - and motion sickness is not something I've ever suffered from. But the noise and shaking is also such that you have no idea what Armstrong actually does to save the day in this little known story. The reality of that orbital failure was quiet - and terrifying. Armstrong's coolness, quick thinking and actions saved not only himself and Scott, but likely the Apollo Program as well that day. But you get no sense of that here.

The technique is used again in the Saturn V launch scenes, yet it's not as good as the one in Apollo 13 (1995). It’s in the lunar landing sequence, where it's not only inaccurate but actually works against capturing the tension. All these scenes were better portrayed twenty years ago in the HBO TV mini-series, From The Earth To The Moon, and more powerfully. GoCam goes from being cool to annoying real fast. They even use it when Jan Armstrong walks across a street to comfort one of the other astronaut wives!

The other main technique is facial closeups. They always have a place, but here it’s overused and it doesn’t work with Gosling anyway for the simple reason that he’s trying to portray a buttoned-down man who does not emotionally react in obvious ways. That can be done via body language, which is where Gosling is great. But what’s he going to do with a close-up? A Roger Moore eyebrow? A Clint Eastwood squint? Similarly with the other actors.

Then there’s the story approach. We see everything through Armstrong’s eyes, with only a few occasions where the movie steps outside him to glimpse the world around. Even Mission Control and other astronauts don’t get much of a look. I can see what the movie is trying to do, but the problem is that the world becomes like him, and we’re robbed of a lot of emotions and feelings that were bubbling along at the time. Like Armstrong himself, most everything and everyone around him is flattened into figures of grim and stoic determination, starting with how he copes with the death of his two year old daughter, something which very few people knew about. That death is a fulcrum throughout the movie.

There are two exceptions to this. The first is that his wife Jan, played superbly by Foy (The Crown), becomes the emotional focal point, and as such she’s overplayed. What Foy does is necessary to the movie. In particular the part where, in an angry outburst, she demands that he sit with his boys and explain that he might not be coming back. Same with her turning up at Mission Control to berate them after the near fatal Gemini VIII spaceflight. In truth, no military pilot’s wife ever did that or ever would have.

The second is an approved feeling we get with a performance of Gil Scott-Heron’s obscure poem for a small group of protestors at the Apollo 11 launch, who object to the billions of dollars being spent on Apollo:

I can't pay no doctor bill
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be paying still
(while Whitey's on the moon)

I laughed at that, and at one friend who said he appreciated that it was not “ra ra America” film - as if this age of Hollywood would ever allow such a thing around a traditional American triumph. This scene nails that narrative.

The story approach is also ironic because one thing Armstrong insisted on was the teamwork that made it all possible. One reason he ignored the fame-seekers was that he wanted the Moon landing to be about more than just himself. Stepping on the moon was not a big deal to him, whreas he was immensely proud of the landing, which he always said “we at NASA” achieved. It's hard to reconcile that with the movie's aim of seeing the event largely via Armstrong.

You can see that clearly in the landing sequence itself, as spectacular as it is. It’s true that he took manual control of the spacecraft when he saw the computer steering them into a large, rocky crater, and showed nerves of steel and piloting skills by landing with just seconds of fuel remaining. But the equal drama was dealing with the computer alarms, and in that case the crew had no choice but to wait for instructions from a backroom team in Houston who sweated through the decision to abort or proceed. You would not know they existed here. Once again, From The Earth To The Moon did it better, and took nothing away from the portrayal of Armstrong.

But there’s more at work here than just dramatic licence for one character or one scene. As is so often the case today, the moviemakers simply do not comprehend the past and the humans it contained. So with every astronaut death, the gloom deepens a little more around the survivors. That must be how they reacted to death, no?

Yet these men and their wives had been exposed to frequent, violent death in their line of work for years before the Apollo Project. Tom Wolfe’s famous 1979 book, The Right Stuff, captured it well:
By now the bad string had reached ten in all, and almost all of the dead had been close friends of Pete and Jane, young men who had been in their house many times, young men who had sat across from Jane and chattered like the rest of them about the grand adventure of military flying. And the survivors still sat around as before—with the same inexplicable exhilaration! Jane kept watching Pete for some sign that his spirit was cracking, but she saw none. He talked a mile a minute, kidded and joked, laughed with his Hickory Kid cackle. He always had. He still enjoyed the company of members of the group like Wally Schirra and Jim Lovell.
There is not even the smallest sign of that here. It is simply incomprehensible to the movie makers. And that failure is the driving force of this movie. 21st century technology has enabled First Man to immerse us in a magnificantly visceral experience, but it cannot show us the fully human reactions of the people who actually lived through it, only those feelings permitted to be true by the narrative of modern attitudes.

The result is this dour modernist reduction of America's fulfillment of mankind’s age-old romance of flying to the Moon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Do I Laugh or Cry?

I'm not sure whether to laugh at their stupidity or cry about their sheer ignorance

Hollywood's social justice warriors - the talk a lot but do nothing set - are jumping up and down because two white actresses are short listed to play the role of Cleopatra in a forthcoming remake of the Elizabeth Taylor block buster.

Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga are the two ladies in question.

Image result for gaga+jolie

View image on Twitter

However, the wreckers and haters are demanding that a black person should take the role on account of 'Cleopatra was an African Queen.'

The poor dumb bastards don't realise that the late queen of Egypt actually was a Macedonian Greek who was as white as the driven snow.  She was a direct descendant fo the Greek general, Ptolemy.

I think I'll just go away and laugh.

Now For Something Important

I see some fellow in the US bitterly complaining about his Gillette shaver.   Reckons even with six blades it still lasts only three days.  There's a detailed costing which shows he needs a 3.5% salary increase if he is not to grow a beard.  To cap it off, he makes veiled reference to the public political leanings of the Gillette company, without telling me what they might be.

Reading between the lines, as we are exhorted to do, it seems to me an important question has been missed.

"How long should a razor blade last?"

Some three score years ago there were those black double sided blades you screwed into your heavy Gillette shaver.   One day was the best I could get.  Yet I remember seeing pictures of British POWs in WW2, sitting outside their barracks, sharpening their razor blades on the concrete step.  I never tried that.

To this day, I vividly remember the moment I first used a stainless steel blade.   It was in a motel on an Autumn day in the WA's Eastern wheat belt as I prepared for a presentation to a farmers'conference in 1970.  That shave was like a religious experience.  However, the blades were good for only a week or so.

Fast forward to today and it's a three blade miracle of engineering by Mr Gillette.  The Mach III

Image result for gillette mach 3

Miraculously, each blade lasts  around three months.  (They forgot about built in obsolescence)  Why is this so? (Apology to Prof Julius Sumner Miller)  I really don't know.  Does one's beard become softer with age?  I don't think so.  Could it be because I use plenty of soap?  Just plain ordinary bathroom soap - not that poofy 'shaving cream' rubbish.  I confess in retirement I shave only three or four times each week but that would make little difference.

It is one of life's many mysteries, still to be unraveled.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Still More Fake News

"By a wide margin, more Americans blame President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress than congressional Democrats for the now record-breaking government shutdown,....."

So says this morning's slimy NZ Herald.

Buried right at the end of the story, as an afterthought, is the information that the sample was very small and the so-called 'wide margin' was less than the  margin of error.

Of course, the Herald no longer has journalists on its staff.  Just juveniles whose sole ability is to selectively cut and paste anti-Trump propaganda from the Washington Post.

Most Americans realise it's not a 'government shutdown.  Just a cessation of non-essential services.   The biggest fear the Democrats and their media friends have is that if it goes on much longer, people will realise they can do very well, thank you, without these 800,000 non essential Democrat voting leeches on their payroll.


Is it time for the occupants of cars to be recorded.

With another three dead after an aborted police chase in Central Christchurch last night when the still speeding car ran over road spikes, crashed into a tree and fire finished the occupants in spite of police efforts to free the not very smart young people.

How informative for the police cleaning up another carnage to get a handle as to the behaviour and attitudes of the driver and his doomed passengers.
We're there two innocents killed in this latest tragic sad outcome from fleeing the police who were just doing their job, or were they encouraging the dumb arse driver too continue to place them in mortal danger.

Won't make a scrap of difference to the stupids committing the crass ignorant act believing they are bullet proof great drivers.  but it would be a wonderful informative window for the edification of the mourning parents who will in all likelihood be portrayed as having been deprived of loved children by over zealous Police officers.


While the illuminati daily assault the intelligence of the plebeians with an endless menu of how mankind is catapulting the world to disaster , there is one ongoing very basic activity that to me seems clarity par excellence in its contribution to the hell in a handcart philosophy,.
A activity  that besides clogging landfills is now reported to be  now contributing to the toxic waste from illegal dumping.  Clearly emerging as more young people now travel with toddler age offspring.

Although it is widely accepted that a significant proportion of the "plastic waste" that has given a windfall opportunity to major retailers to increase profits offered by the campaign to outlaw plastic convenience bags ,  the waste mostly enters the ocean from five very polluted asian river systems,  yet what passes for a MsM here in paradise , totally ignore an easily avoided massive modern convenience.

Disposable Nappies!!!
When introduced long after our minimalistic efforts at procreation, the original convenience option was quickly embraced as the answer to a fact of life that created certain disadvantages when travelling and other activities where laundry facilities were limited or non existent. Hell we did not even have access to the now condemned one use bags that are in fact much more used than once and would have been so useful to  contain the soiled linen  until it could be returned home to be laundered, not that as I recall those happenings were very common when we raised children,  mid 21st century

 First born was serviced with 24 nappies that were scraped, placed in a bucket then either washed by hand or machine, dried naturally sans electricity mostly then  folded and placed in the always warm cylinder cupboard, kept at the suitable temperature due to inefficient insulation. Number two used the survivors of that original two dozen supplemented with six new ones. and geeze was it a challenge to get that tiny mite into the massive nappie that had become rather restricted for the by then larger number one. 

I digress, with more abilities for assisted washing facilities, combined with a large group of young mothers choosing state sponsored child raising as a lifestyle option can anyone explain why the disposable nappie is now the overwhelming option, Who can say they have seen a clothesline almost entirely filled with the ubiquitous squares of linen in the last week, month year?

Of course we will entirely ignore exactly what a disposable nappie actually is made from,  the dreaded plastic, artificial fabric, and chemicals, contrast with the entirely natural, sustainable, plant based linen squares recycled until they became almost too worn to be used as cleaning cloths.

In The Beginning

After many years of  commenting on various forums, mainly Kiwiblog, I was surprised and pleased to be invited to join the blogger community at No Minister, so thank you to all who invited and permitted me, to join.

I've been commenting on blogs since they first appeared in the early 2000's, including on Sir Humphrey, the ancestor of this blog. For several years I did so under a pseudonym, and then under my own name after Kiwiblog began registering commentators. I decided to put my name out there as an act of self-discipline; I would be willing to stand by what I wrote. Having no plans or desires for a career in politics or the arts and having retired some years ago I figure that my words cannot be used against me in any forum that could be detrimental to my life in any practical sense. I note with some trepidation that none of the other bloggers here use their own names so perhaps I'm making a mistake in dealing with the nutters of the blogosphere? But in the words of McWatt, "Oh well, what the hell". I've survived a decade in this situation as a blog commentator. How much worse can it be as a blog writer?

Nevertheless, starting to blog in 2019 is curious because even though the MSM has continued in its death spiral as Google and Facebook plunder its advertising revenues and deprive it of the money needed to pay for good reporting and reporters, the same social media forces have also ripped away a huge part of what blogging was circa 2000-2010. In that decade it seemed at times that blogs would take over from MSM sites, being more nimble, "crowd-sourced", and better informed on most topics. The complete and total destruction in 2004 of "Big Three" US news anchor Dan Rather, at the hands of the Powerline blogger team, seemed a future guide.

But it was not to be and now we live in a world of cryptic 140 character Twitter outbursts and Facebook group peer pressure, a world not unlike the high school girl cliques of my youth, absent the loud whispering, the knowing smiles and the hitched up skirts.

A great many blogs, even formerly big ones like Public Address, are very quiet nowadays and almost all seem to be filled with folks aged forty and up.

So..... What to do in the face of the hideous blobs of Zuckerberg, Page, Brin and Dorsey - and their Millennial and Gen Z spawn?

Keep reasoning and see what happens! Ours is not the first age to fall victim to mindless bullshit and it won't be the last. So screw it! I intend to comment on the following, in no particular order:
  • US politics, culture and ... everything US. Having lived in the Second City for a decade and with strong family ties there I cannot deny that the city is my second home and of great, if sad, interest to me. So too the rest of the nation. I don't comment on or watch much sport but when the Chicago Cubs are in the playoffs I'll likely write something about that. I also think that most of the crap that emerges in the US, ends up in NZ eventually, so there's no use being smug and pretending it doesn't matter.
  • Other events around the globe.
  • Science, especially anything to do with space (yes, I'm a nerd).
  • Book reviews.
  • Movie or TV program reviews. I rarely go to the movies and have not watched broadcast shows or SKY TV since 2004, let alone things like ONENews. So We're talking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.
  • History.
  • Whimsy whatever on any given day. 
What I won't be commentating on is NZ politics (much). I've read almost no NZ media since the turn of the Millenium and am therefore often very unaware of what's happening here. There may be the occasional event that's big enough to notice and that pisses me off enough to comment, but basically NZ politics is parish pump stuff. Especially in regard to National and Labour it is - as Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges declared in another context - "Two bald men fighting over a comb".

It's also clear that after two decades of debate, NZ has settled into a comfortably smug world of welfare state crony capitalism, as one look at Peter Cresswell's Objectivist blog, Not PC can reveal ("0 comments, 0 likes, 0 dislikes"). I've voted ACT in the past, as well as Labour in '87 and '99, but have been a "two-ticks Blue" man over the last few elections, more out of morbid fear than anything hopeful. But I'm almost done even with voting in NZ.

Which brings me to the last bit about my blogging here: censorship.

I'm pretty much in the David Farrar world, in that I intend to allow a wide-range of raging, argumentative, informed, occasionally aggressive debate to occur. This is basically because I'm a very lazy person and deleting or banning people is work. My best guidance is to put up some examples of what I won't accept:
  • THE CRETIN. Prime example here is Kiwiblog's Dumbest Commentator. I labeled him thus, several years ago. If you've been around that blog you will know of whom I speak and as with Voldemort I refuse to say his name. Dozens of mindless, incoherent, infantile comments day after fucking day. Deliberately goading everybody with zero contribution to debate. Often mis-reading what people have said, he's even applied his classic lines on fellow Lefties who were trying to support him. Yes! That dumb.
  • THE ABUSER. I rather like the give and take of abuse and there are times when it's justified. I even appreciate some if it's clever. But if I find someone who arrives only to abuse me or others, all in the dullest manner, and with nothing else, then they're gone.
  • THE TROLL. This can vary. Taking a thread deliberately off topic is my personal bugbear. If it moves that way with multiple comments then so be it, but something that pulls that stunt right from the start is out. Hugh Pavletich on KB is a classic: multiple comments of massive cut-and-paste screeds about housing, with links back to his own blog. I even agree with some of his points, but he demonstrates every day that he does not give a shit about others and is simply banging his own drum. Denis Horne (aka "William of Ockham") and Robert Guyton are much the same.
  • THE ASSHOLE: IPrent from The Standard. Admittedly SysOps are of low breeding and lower moods, convinced that their giant brains are the only thing keeping companies afloat above their basement hovels, that everybody else is stupid, and with all the social skills of an autistic eunich. I've fired more than a few and felt immense gratification every time. A full definition of the asshole would take too long: I think we'll all know one when we see one.
Obviously some commentators can fit most or all of these categories, "Kea" from KB is one. Then there are those like "EAD" - a full-blown, Jew-hating National Socialist on KB who really does think Hitler was great. Or Mao/Stalin apologists. They're all rare birds and I'm likely to let them stay and talk, on the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant, but YMMV and my fellow bloggers here may have something to say about it, since it reflects on them too.

So with all that in mind, here we go.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Well, What Do You Know!

Readers might remember last year the headlines surrounding the sacking of one Professor Peter Rid by James Cook University in Queensland.

The poobahs from the Uni went on at length about his serious crimes against humanity (the university faculty) in which he had publicly criticised the quality of research into alleged problems affecting the Great Barrier Reef.  It is noteworthy that the research all pointed to the demise of the reef caused by man made global warming while Ridd himself was sceptical of such claims and, indeed, the whole scam which is Man Made Global Warming.

Today, one reads that one of the Universities leading researchers into the death of the reef is being investigated for fraud.  She cooked the books to get the result she wanted. 

Starck says generations of ­researchers have been schooled in a culture wherein threats to the Great Barrier Reef are an unquestionable belief from which all evidence is interpreted.“She (Lonnstedt) got into the ocean acidification and global warming and the effect CO2 was going to have on the behaviour of marine animals and she started publishing,” Starck says.“Immediately the publishers lapped it up. As a graduate student she managed to get as much published in one year as most professors do in a decade.”

 Why am I not surprised?  BTW, Professor Ridd's legal action against James Cook is set down for June.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Ho Ho Ho


stilton̢۪s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n̢۪ change, trump, border, wall, shutdown, pelosi, schumer


MR TRUMP duly lawfully elected President of the US wants to do something central to his successful election promises,  " Make the Southern border more secure to reduce illegal immigration and curb the flood of drugs that daily bring death and destruction to his citizens" at a cost of c5 billion.

He is being opposed by The Opposition Democrats in the Lower House under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi and the Minority in the Senate by Chuck Schumer.
Of course they want illegals to come into America no matter what they cost in welfare, crime and Jobs as such aliens vote overwhelmingly Democrat.
Of course an additional benefit never promoted could come from the improved "Wall" making life a whole lot more difficult for the People Traffickers who make the Slave trade almost a benign historical aberration as it was in ignorance then   seen as an economic necessity.
Today the barbarism and killing of those lured by hope to pay exorbitant sums of money in these enlightened times seems as, if not a greater sin than that occurring in the centuries before people such as Wilberforce ended the Save trade for so many, to be difficult to differentiate.

Yesterday in a meeting to work out a solution to the Impasse that sees many federal employees facing hardship from frozen wages. Such deprivation, threatened since before Xmas, is only due to actually bite  now when the scheduled payments finally cease,
Trump walked out of the meeting after 14 minutes because he says, the total intransigence of the moronic Dem Leaders.
In addition to the 5 billion requested being a minor figure in the total Federal spend the strangest bit of this somewhat comical saga comes when it is fact that Pelosi, Schumer, and failed Dem Potus candidate,  then a New York Senator,  all voted larger sums from the Federal funding basket under the previous President Obama,  now suddenly  blinded by visceral hatred of Trump they are saying a flat "NO".

Of course nothing ever to be published about such inconvenient information by our Media circus who source all their  "American News and Opinion" from the Fake news Champions of the world.

Hypocrisy is a threatened species in the US of A as TDS and Fake news are basic sustenance to a very biased MSM.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Good old Jim Sallinger , who got hisself fired from NIWA for exceeding his mandate to pontificate now has a new soap box at a Tasmanian higher learning establishment. I for one see a certain Irony in that domicile.
Yesterday he was back on Newstalk ZB telling us again how right he is and those who view the whole money transfer around Global warming,  Anthropogenic Global warming, climate change,  United Nations wealth transfer with varying degrees of belief,  to be enemies of future generations.

This little old planet has had catastrophic periods of tumultuous changes in its environment over the millions of years able to be measured and some influence of mans building of a modern, better equiped, safer,  way of life must have some effect but to suggest that a small release of the vital building block gas, Carbon Dioxide is going to bring civilisation to an abrupt end if taxes and wealth transfers are not  implemented immediately, has a distinct ring of "SCAM" delivering a distinct odour similar to that which accompanies the current economic furore around "Bitcoin".

Just one of the gazillion volcanic eruptions that have been and continue to a part of the planets evolution can deliver a veritable large load of Carbon elements along with so many other now demonised "Green House Gasses that now must be taxed into oblivion.
Think Vesuvius, Taupo, Tarawera, Krakatoa, to mention a very small list of events that spewed millions of tonnes of untaxed, muchly beneficial  basic building blocks for life, Hell I recall the very cold summer Mt Pinatabo delivered in 1991.

If it moves tax it, If it doesn't move still tax it, and now Dr (history) Cullen is going to tax it when represented as value created on paper as more desperate Socialists taking money from those that have created it, saved it or on very rare occasions won or inherited, such wealth.
Baroness Thatcher: Socialism will only last so long as there are taxpayers to fund it then it will end, Venezuela about to be the latest in a long line of failures to prove that fact.
Guess where are Those Venezuelans who could afford to leave are living now as we struggle on here in the prime candidate nation to succeed That South American Disaster.?

The New Normal

Yesterday Adolf accompanied No 2 grandson into town to buy some gadget called a 'phone charger' or some such.

We went to the local branch of a national office supplies outfit in which some fifteen staff were in action.   The phone chargers ranged in price from $18 to $58 and when Adolf asked the obvious question he received the amazing advice 'that one works underwater!'  Eventually the whippersnapper chose the $28 version and we wandered up to the checkout where about ten of the staff were carrying out various tasks.

I remarked to my young friend:-  "You know I could never get a job here."

Why not?

I'm not fat enough.

Yeah, I was wondering about that.

Do you think I should ask them if you have to be fat to work here?


I kid you not.  All of the ladies bar one were walking bundles of adipose tissue whose hearts were striving to pump enough blood to shift them from the right foot to the left.

Here's a suggestion for the firm's national management.  Instead of joining the ranks of PC companies espousing the virtues of climate change and gender selection, what about installing a treadmill out the back of every store and mandate achievement of individual weight loss targets as a condition of continued employment?

Friday's Fulminations

There is mild moderation.  Normal rules of blogger etiquette and courtesy to blog hosts will apply.with serious transgressors being thrown out.

Unfortunately our system does not allow your comments to show up in the blog post itself.  Just in the comments section.

Visitors might consider the wisdom of using moderate language.



Thursday, January 10, 2019


Limited blogging over the next ten days (which will be a blessed relief to some) as I'm in Wellington on grand-parenting duties.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Not all who read  or just casual visitors have any wish to be exposed to the too often vitriolic comments meted out here from some too closed minded to actually address matters in posts and comment with civility so they avail themselves of my email,  available in my profile.

some feed back.

With so many modern vehicles and some  vehicles advanced in years having colour that in gloomy light and even sometimes in better light, blend in to the greys of road surface and surrounds, why do we not have a regulation for all moving vehicles to be showing lights as a minimum
For a while I drove a Saab,  mid eighties manufacture that had some state of the art safety features that included as was the norm for Scandi vehicles,  head lights illuminating with ignition switch.
Most motor cycles  use headlights either on auto or manual to make their presence more visual.
I think around the seventies oil shocks this was mooted for all road traffic but some mentally deficient Nat Transport Minister poo pooed such a move because it would hike the energy requirements by  a minuscule degree, in fact much less than extra consumption from aggressively driven units.
No matter,  since that Saab in the nineties our family and moi  have all adopted headlights on when moving on the road as normal procedure, in fact it is now somewhat deja vu as The "Trailblazer" (cough cough), (Colorado) seven seater tow vehicle has auto lights as standard and  only 30 years post Saab.

Second with so many motorway, expressway and other road upgrades including a practice to place a fence type barrier close to the left hand carriageway that limits , sometimes even precludes emergency stopping on the shoulder. I cant help wondering if smooth verges with safe stopping opportunity for vehicles that inadvertently exit the left lane, would not be a better option.

The third point raised and it is a common problem imho,  plantings on traffic islands and centers of roundabouts that limit visual scanning for entering vehicles, particularly for low slung roadsters etc.  Even Swmbo's nearly 20yo Xantia has ones behind close to the road surface.
Of course there will always be the impaired drivers who still have to come to understand what that dinky little lever is behind the steering wheel, the one that clicks in a nice rhythmical metronome like sound that could give an indication of possible manoeuvres by that other vehicle.


The Labour Party, to their everlasting discredit, signed off on the biggest rort ever of our electoral system by giving NZ First 3 billion dollars of taxpayer money in a political slush fund designed to maintain their electoral support and hopefully buy an electorate seat.

Winston First have re-defined 'pork barrel' politics and taken it to a new level.   In doing so they have entrusted taxpayer money to the Jones' boy; someone with an ego that rivals that of Trump and so consumed with his own importance that he has taken to referring to himself in the third person and all this from someone who thought nothing of charging off pornographic movies to his ministerial credit-card.

Fortunately voters are not stupid and have seen through the charade with NZ First's support halving to just 3% in the polls ... not helped by their breaking of several key manifesto pledges.

But I'll finish where I started.   It was Labour who set them up and it's Labour who deserves everything coming their way from giving Winston First the tools to try and rort our electoral system.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Good Memories

It's a long time since I heard the song 'Po Atarau' or its melody but you'd be amazed where things pop up.

Last Sunday at church, a recorded piano solo of 'Now Is The Hour' was played during communion and I confess it brought a tear to the Adolfian eye.   As children at a Northland Maori school during the 1950s, I and the other 100 or so pupils sang this and other Maori and Pakeha songs many many times.  I'm ashamed to say I have forgotten the Maori words so I'm hard at it, leaning them again.

What was surprising about last Sunday is that the Dean of the cathedral chooses the music and the Dean is a South African.  When later I asked him if he knew the melody was from a famous NZ Maori song of farewell he was flabbergasted.  Anyway, I went away and investigated the song's history and it is attributed to one Maewa Kaihau who produced the version known today in 1920.  Earlier versions where used to farewell troops departing for the First World War.

Which brings me to an associated story.   About fifteen years ago, one Sunday just before Anzac Day, a retired Presbyterian minister stood up in the congregation and told of the time when, as a small boy in the 1930s, he asked his mother why he had so many doting single aunts.  His mother replied:-

"Darling, it's because their husbands and sweethearts went off to the great war and did not come back."

As an aside, the fact these ladies did not remarry tells us something of the moral fibre prevalent in those days.

Anyway, here for your enjoyment are two recordings, one is archival (1930) and of poor quality while the other is excellent.

Lyrics: Po atarau E moea iho nei E haere ana Koe ki pamamao Haere ra Ka hoki mai ano Ki i te tau E tangi atu nei Now is the hour For me to say goodbye Soon you'll be sailing Far across the sea While your away Oh please remember me When you return You'll find me waiting here

Monday, January 7, 2019


Have to say one of the few 'left' blogs I read is Chris Trotter's Bowalley Road.    Many see him as the conscience of socialism in New Zealand.   His contributions are thoughtful and thought provoking even though I disagree with many of them. 

The latest post by Chris has him postulating his wet dream scenario under which Trump resigns the Presidency to be replaced by Vice President Mike Pence who suffers a heart attack to be replaced in turn by the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, thus becoming the first US female President.

Leaving aside that rather crass comment about heart attacks what Chris is suggesting has the potential to destroy democracy in that country.  Under the Constitution and if a President resigns the Vice President, on assuming the presidency, gets to nominate a new Vice President.  His choice is subject to confirmation by the Congress (House and Senate).     Were the House (controlled by the Democrats) to block the nomination and with no Vice President in place Pelosi would indeed become President were Pence to become incapacitated.   The Republicans would see this as a coup d'etat by stealth ... electoral/political mayhem would ensue.    The fabric of society would be ripped asunder. 

Chris also runs the scenario that were Judith Collins to become leader of the National Party this would result in National voters defecting to the 'New Conservatives' (currently registering zero in the polls) and to NZ First with Labour and the Greens together managing to garner 60% of the vote.

FFS, Collins supposedly represents the conservative wing of the National Party.   She would take votes from the right rather than lose them while the New Conservatives, so called, are nothing more than the kooky remnants of Colin Craig's mob.    As for NZ First and they have become alienated from much of their voter base having walked away from their promises on key issues.    Allied to that are the internal rumblings within the NZ First caucus and the desire of WRP to promote his Deputy, Fletcher Tabuteau, into cabinet.   That could only come at the expense of one of the three other NZ First Ministers ... the word is that 'Medals' Mark is not a particularly happy chappy these days.    Bottom line ... NZ First has very little appeal to those occupying the political centre ground.

History tells us that it is the minor players in a coalition government that tend to suffer splits (last time it was the Maori Party) ... not the opposition.     What is far more likely here is that moderate elements of the Green Party demographic, alienated by the Green's increasingly radical co-leader, fold their tent and establish a new environmentally focused 'New Green Party'.   That in my view at beats Chris Trotter's wet dream scenario hands down.

Hate to say this but the summer heat has got to Chris (along with the 'Mary Jane' laced Kool aid). 



An inquiry into the whole field of road safety, crash causes , mechanical failure and driver error.

With two intellectual heavy weights in charge and a pledge from the Melon one to have the road toll at zero by 2020 as a visional target road toll reference,  the current  measure just hit a high spot to embarrass her.

Twyford mired in a swamp of his own creation around home building and ownership, that has more holes than would seem necessary to effect drainage and Genter seeming to have abandoned hope there are two very serious subjects that need addressing.
One, the stark figure of those who die on roads is so misleading. I think it was c1973 that a record was set  at over 800, then fuel price escalation reduced vehicle trips and kilometers travelled , on to another peak c1989 when significant vehicle safety systems began reducing deaths in crashes.
Two, find more appropriate measures of crashes per Kms travelled
Now the trend is again on the increase but safer roads and vehicles are in combat with marked increased trips and Kms travelled.

There are some spectacular crashes for sure where speed is a primary factor but driver error remains a constant cause in most crashes, note so far I have avoided the misnomer 'accident 'as a very small number of injury and death resulting crashes can in any way be described as an accident.

In the last seven weeks I have travelled over 5000 Kms between Sth Canterbury and Waikato via West Coast, Marlborough, Wellington, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Taupo and Bay of Plenty, mostly towing a mobile home and if I had a dash cam fitted there would have been a trove of footage of seriously stupid driver activity inviting self destruction.

Pleas for slower traffic to pull over ignored, Yellow lines acting as a challenge even better when double, delaying an overtaking opportunity until much of the safety margin is exhausted and the hill or bend is too close,  one or more following vehicles happy to stay behind my 16 meter rig doing the  90 kph regulatory limit thereby  increasing the need to overtake out to some thirty meters or more, without even mentioning the total idiocy of the stupid increasing speed on passing lanes because the wide road encourages, instead of slowing to allow many more to pass.
Allied to some rather heavy holiday traffic numbers, many grossly overloaded with people and gear,  the amazing thing for me is how more crashes do not eventuate. 
One Blessing since Christmas eve many long haul and Log trucks are parked up, but now that is all about to change.

It is apparent to me that revenue driven collection points both manned and unmanned, parked strategically at the bottom of hill slopes, the end of passing lanes or hidden in shade to trap someone who has crept over the limit by a few percentage points and setting up road blocks to catch an experienced driver with higher tolerance of small amounts of alcohol in their blood stream while totally ignoring the increasing numbers who drive drugged by illegal substances just doesn't cut the mustard.
Then there are the numbers of unregistered , unwarranted and seriously unsafe vehicles , along with unlicensed and poorly trained drivers that abound.

Some serious study as to where, why, how and could avoidance have mitigated needs investigation as the world has moved on from the deadly 1970s where current thinking seems mired in at NZLTSA.
Something better than white and yellow paint, cheese cutter barriers and a vexatious constabulary is so last century.

Road safety and policing needs a massive rethink.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Very Droll