Is this the wettest drought on record? How can we be conserving power because our hydro lakes (and are there any other kind?) are too low when it hasn’t stopped raining for days.

Days!

What’s that all about?

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I don’t know

May 5, 2008

There’s a Scottish comedian (Danny Bhoy) who was through New Zealand a couple of years ago and did a nice piece on the Kiwi way of life. My favourite bit was hearing him talk about the way Kiwis say “I don’t know.”

Not only don’t you know, he says, but you don’t know why you don’t know.

“I don’t know!”

You have to imagine it being spoken by a Scots Indian chap putting on a bad New Zild accent. (I can’t find it on YouTube so you will actually have to imagine it. Revolutionary, I know. It’ll never catch on).

There are plenty of things I didn’t know including anything at all about Colin Murdoch who died this week aged 79.

According to The Timaru Herald, Colin was one of those quiet Kiwi inventors who changed the world but didn’t tell anyone.

No, not by flying first and dying in the attempt.

From the Herald:

Colin Murdoch, 79, the creator of the disposable syringe, the tranquilliser gun, the childproof bottle cap and the silent burglar alarm died yesterday after a long battle with cancer.

Murdoch was born in Christchurch, but for more than 50 years lived in South Canterbury.

Holy Crap! The disposable syringe! Can you imagine what modern medicine would be like without that? Seriously. And the childproof bottle cap. I’m assuming it’s the press-down-to-turn type that lock so many hangover sufferers out of a bottle of aspirin. Nice one, Colin.

And what spy movie would be complete without someone getting shot with a tranquiliser dart? He invented it. Seriously.

How is it that so many good stories like this go untold in New Zealand? How can the man who invented the disposable syringe manage to not get talked about constantly on the telly and live quietly in Canterbury for half a century?

I know, the easy answer is: “The Listener thinks your science column is too pro-science” but that’s like shooting fish in a barrel really.

This place amazes me.

Our growth as a nation, independent and free, has turned a corner.

No longer can we hold our heads up as a nation of the future, of growth, of forward thinking people.

Why is that, O sage one, you ask? Is it because of the impending recession? Because IRD can’t count? Because we’ve lost Sir Ed or because we still have “issues” around whether Russell Crowe is a Kiwi or an Aussie?

No, it’s because Dr Ropata is returning to Shortland Street.

What is it with TVNZ and its return to the halcyon days (that never were) of yore? First they bring back Jim the Weather Man, now this. What next? Dig up Angela D’Audney and roll her out again? Bring it on, Selwyn Toogood. We’ll have gardening shows on in prime time (actually, they do that already), shows where minor league celebs dance for our pleasure (“Oh how I like to see the monkies dance!”) and shortly I’m sure they’ll dust off Ollie Olsen:

and probably we’ll see Radio With Pictures, the Goodnight Kiwi:

and no doubt University Challenge will be exhumed.

It’s the 21st Century. Can we have something new, please? All I can say is, I’m a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.

Actually, I’d probably watch Radio with Pictures.

This one’s for you, David

February 21, 2008

aka Cricket Revisited.

Aka The Day the Story Died.

Here’s the video. I … can’t … say any more.

OK, just a wee bit more. Here’s my original rant and I have to say I see no signs of journalism in New Zealand recovering from it. The malady, not the rant that is.

The David Bain release was bad enough as far as journalism goes (nobody, not one of the country’s leading reporters, even hinted at asking “Why did you kill your family, David?” or even “Did you do it?”. Not one) but I feel the final nail was driven into the straw on the camel’s back with Cricket.

As it were.

Anyway, all I can really say, David (Slack, not Bain) is I went to join the revolution and all I got was a nasty case of sunburn! What’s that all about?

Christmas scalpers

December 29, 2007

So we’ve been away in Rotorua (not so affectionately called Rotovegas) and we’ve been doing the tourist thing. That’s right, sue me.

For some reason I forgot it was the week between Christmas and New Year’s and we decided to go up the gondolas and ride on the luge. Woe betide, came the cry. Crowds. Queues. Hordes. Hoards. The great tide of humanity. Etc.

We went anyway and the queues weren’t too bad (I’ve been to St Lukes mall (aka the Hellmouth) on Christmas Eve: this was a walk in the park, quite literally). However at the top of the gondola I was accosted by a strange man in a hat.

Here we go, I thought.

“You want free ride on luge?” The word “free” alerted me to his real purpose – to disconnect some hard-earned cash from my wallet. Fortunately, like the queen, I never carry cash. I prepared my spiel, girded my loins and readied myself for unpleasantness.

“My group has finished and we’re heading back down but I’ve got a spare ride on the luge. Please, it’s yours. ” and with that he thrust a ticket in my hand.

“Oh, erm. Thank you,” I riposted. I shook his hand and he broke into a broad smile before waving and shouting “Merry Christmas” as he disappeared towards his group.

I took the ticket to the booth and bought three more. Yes, it was valid, and not just a rubbish dump on his part.

We had a blast on the luge – junior daughter rode down with me and number one daughter went with her hoon of a mother. The ride back up is on a chairlift which was as much fun as the ride down for the younger members. Even that queue wasn’t so bad (They were rebuilding the base area so it was a bit muddy and roped off but OK).

We had lunch and then went out for another go and another man approached me. “We’re heading back down – y’all want another ticket to ride the luge?”

This is what passes for scalping in New Zealand. People giving you free tickets because they genuinely don’t have a use for them and won’t see them go to waste. The two guys I spoke to were both foreign but I’ll claim it as a win for New Zealand.

I joined in the game, passing on our spare at the end of the day to a startled looking man with a funny hat and a large group of teens charging about the place. Then we rode all the way down on the gondola, rode back up just because we could, got off and Grandma bought us all ice creams and then we rode back down again and went home.

A Merry Christmas to all.