Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I am a news junkie. Habitually, my whole life,  I want to know what’s going on. Narrative and information, news and views,  jostle for attention. When I was young my mentor was Pop my grandfather. Up early he’d milk the cow before walking to the shop to buy the ‘The Press’ brought out early by the morning train. It didn’t run on Sunday, nor was ‘The Press’ published. Pop read the paper as he ate his breakfast. It was a ritual. He also listened to the BBC news on the radio. ‘This is London Calling’.  It was war-time - how were we doing?

When I started teaching at Morrinsville in the Waikato I boarded with a butcher and his family. He had subscriptions to the ‘Herald’ morning delivery and ‘Waikato Times’ evening delivery. He read them both as I did.

Now we have the ‘Dominion Post delivered during the week and the Sunday Star Times on the Sabbath. The alarm goes off on the radio clock so the National Radio station comes on air in the morning. So before I read the day’s paper I’ve heard the news and usually seen the headlines of ‘Stuff’ for I look at my emails and blog first thing. If I have time I usually browse the New York Times. Later in the day I often check out Economist, Time, Guardian, New Yorker etc. In the evening I usually watch Prime news, followed by either TV3 or TV1. The ranking order of coverage is in itself interesting. Ask the politicians and their spin-doctors about the importance of this one.

You can see I don’t do ‘talk-back radio’ or face-book. I do surf the net a lot.

Especially at present with with our TV set away at the repair shop. I’ve three DVD lined up waiting for its return. Still, we probably would not have watched the news last night. We had further visitors with birthday gifts. Gene and Kristen returning to Arizona have given me a red (my favourite colour) azalea. David and Ali’s present is a pot of tulips – too soon to say what colour but the red ones that Anne planted in our pot are in that blowsy last-legs stage of flowering. So to have tulips fresh off the bench is a coach's bonus. Jen and Barry our next door neighbours came over with a spray of forsythia and a large bunch of hellabore, (mixed colour) Not surprisingly, the bottle of Bowmore malt became empty.

Today’s copy of the Dom Post has the usual amount of information and trivia.  But four items in particular captured my attention.

The first was changing bird song. Scientists in the Karori Bird Sanctuary, (stupidly I believe renamed Zealandia) have established that blackbird and thrush are singing there more like bellbirds and that the tui also under the same influence are making that raucous throat-clearing sound less often. Fascinating!

Second: the vanishing ice floe means that walrus are resting on the Alaskan shore. Imagine the pong. It’s a scary signal of global warming. The world wiould be a less interesting place without walrus. Such strange creatures.

There is a frightening article about poverty in America. The global experiment of the ‘trickle-down theory’ is still not being seen as a failure. In some quarters there is a clamour that it’s Obama’s fault for not allowing it to run its course. As far as I can see few are advocating a reverse course. The theorists still argue despite the obvious failure that we need to advance further and quicker down that street. We will see.

The new Health Ministry boss has made a name for himself slashing services in Scotland. Fewer doctors and nurses! Well as our health problems rise from increasing poverty here it’ll be cold comfort to say I told you that’s not the way to go. Both Merv Wellington and Lockwood Smith were under pressure to cut teacher numbers, especially trainees. Thank goodness they didn’t. But I read in today’s ‘Dom. Post’ how the outgoing chief executive of Capital and Coast Health Board claims we cannot afford more health cuts.

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