His Master’s Voice?

Gromit has a sense of history. Click for a laugh (image: BBC)

Cameron Brewer — a fresh face

Not your average aspiring local body politician.

I had the pleasure of Cameron Brewer‘s company at a looong lunch at the Auckland Club a while back — a gaggle organised by David McEwen. (Thanks again, David.)

He’s an ebullient, engaging guy — and pretty clean-cut, it seemed to me. Just like his well-designed billboards, one of which I spotted yesterday.

I may or may not share his politics (I don’t know). But if local body politics is what he wants, good luck to him, I say. We could do a lot worse.

Blimey! Lucky.

University of Canterbury, Christchurch — earthquake damage. Just two of the shots …

Imagine if it had struck at 4.35 PM instead of 4.35 AM. Imagine if that was your workstation. So lucky.

Photos: University of Canterbury, via NZ Herald (click for more).

Take 4 minutes …

This is so good…

Rhian Sheehan - Standing in Silence - Part 3 (Niva's Tune) {click to watch video}

… just take the 4 minutes and 8 seconds to watch and listen to this. What a great use of bandwidth.
Thank you Rhian Sheehan. Thank you for giving your gift.

Watch the video below the foldContinue reading →

New blossom springs from old tree

New blossom from an old tree (click to enlarge)

I just wanted to share this pic from a walk yesterday.

The sight of new blossoms springing from an old, severely-pruned (hacked?) tree near Macleans Reserve spoke to me.

Not in a melancholy way — although it was my second Father’s Day without one, which I felt — but in an encouraging way.

That gnarled old tree, moss-covered and chopped back so heavily (but with good roots) was doing its bit for Spring. Putting it out there. Great.

Now that I write this, it reminds of the line the BMX kid tells Frosty Man

You’re never too old, bro.
You’re never too old.

– P

A gift

To quote Robbie Burns:

Scotland's favourite son, poet Robbie Burns, 1759–1796 (image: guardian.co.uk)

Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.

With appreciation to Steve Goodey for offering me a gift this week. I mean it. Thanks for the feedback.

Steve still hasn’t published my 31 August comment in reply to his ‘smear smite and bash’ post about thePaepae.com … a full five days later, it’s probably a lost cause.

So I guess in Steve Goodey-speak “I’d really like to hear your opinion” … translates as “I’d really like to hear your opinion unless you’re Peter Aranyi (or you disagree with me)”?

That’s a pity — and contrasts with the approach I try to take with critics (even ‘Anonymous 3.27am‘ and ‘Slapper’) — which has no doubt been influenced by my background and experience. Refer to my former ‘Morning Report’ colleague Kim Hill’s comments about public disagreements quoted in this post. – P

The truth can be harsh

Respected business journalist/commentator Rod Oram’s assessment of the collapse of the HUGE South Canterbury Finance and supremo Allan Hubbard’s role in the demise is less confrontational than Bernard Hickey’s Please say sorry and thanks ‘open letter’ piece — but in its way, just as scathing.

Ask Allan Hubbard if he thinks 'ALL publicity is good publicity'. It's not really true, is it?

Failing to respond to criticism has become one of the themes of this blog, and Allan Hubbard’s story could serve as a salutary lesson (yes, I know that’s a ciché) to those whose response to awkward questions is to pull up the drawbridge.

As I said earlier, I don’t know enough to make a judgement about Allan Hubbard — and anyone who has been in a financially tight situation, with cash flows turning against you and pressure building MUST sympathise with the circumstances he found himself in and the heavy personal cost. I certainly wish him no ill.

Hubbard was chairman of South Canterbury Finance until earlier this year; his board was small and made up of local business partners and friends; a high proportion of its lending was to related parties; its auditor was a tiny Timaru accounting firm and its trustee was Hubbard’s second employer as a young man.

Hubbard’s fierce loyalists say that’s how business is done locally. Sadly, that’s true. That might be OK for a small business owner when he’s on personal terms with all his lenders and borrowers.

But it was no way to run South Canterbury Finance, even back in 2000 when it had only $400m of assets. And once it began soon after to aggressively drum up deposits [Comment: SPRUIKING, in other words?] and seek ever-riskier investments, it started down the slippery slope to failure. Continue reading →

Te Radar’s Eating the Dog — well done

Last night I was packed into a school hall with a bunch of my neighbours — not because we’d been evacuated from earthquake-damaged homes like the afflicted of Canterbury, although they were on our minds — as part of the audience of a very clever, well-written and well-delivered ‘romp through the pages of our history’.

Very funny, and I learned something. A night well spent. (click)

Te Radar’s Eating the Dog show was a delight. Packed with wit and banter, oozing with quirky facts and wry observations, this show really did have something for everyone. Raconteur and satirist Te Radar was wearing his full ‘likeable twit’ persona (and historical costume complete with #1 Shoe Warehouse women’s boots [$49.95] he revealed), skilfully navigating a multi-media show that was funny, informative and thought-provoking … and good history.

Being a sickly white liberal myself (to reclaim Winston Peters’ term as a badge of honour), I enjoyed his obvious respect for the Maori dimension of this country’s short recorded history. He weaved an honourable, fair-to-all-sides picture of some the events he discussed in his exploration of ‘the bumblers and the near-do-wells [sic], who personify the archetypal “she’ll be right” spirit that epitomises this country’.

Good on him. Get along to a show if you can. You’ll enjoy it. He’s currently on tour as a fund-raiser for Scouts, which is what last night’s gig in Howick was. There’s a Tour Schedule on his website cunningly disguised as www.radarswebsite.com

Nice job.

Celebrating quirkiness

I’ve just set up an album on The Paepae’s Facebook page to collect and display those quirky error messages etc.

Collecting -- click to visit the album at Facebook

Feel free to contribute any more!

The worst stuff isn’t even in there?

Wow, I thought the ‘It came from Wasilia’ profile on Sarah Palin by Todd Purdue was eye-opening. She also came off pretty badly in that book I hoovered up over a wet weekend Race of a Lifetime … but read this piece from the current Vanity Fair – ‘Sarah Palin: the Sound and the Fury’.

Carried forward on a tide of deceit? (image: Vanity Fair - click)

The writer has already come in for attack for his account (what’s new?) and said, that as a Christian who really tried to keep an open mind about Pailn, figuring she’d had a bum ride with the media, he was shocked at the repeated and confirming testimony from people/witnesses who described how she has operated.

Michael Joseph Gross said on “Morning Joe” Thursday. “I couldn’t believe these stories either when I first heard them, and I started this story with a prejudice in her favor.

I have a lot in common with this woman. I’m a small-town person, I’m a Christian, I think that a lot of her criticisms of the media actually have something to them. And I think she got a bum ride, but everybody close to her tells the same story.”

In the profile, Gross paints Palin as an abusive, retaliatory figure with an extreme ability to lie. “This is a person for whom there is no topic too small to lie about,” he said. “She lies about everything.” — Huffington Post

Other quotes from the profile:

There’s a long and detailed version of what they had to say, but there’s also a short and simple one: anywhere you peel back the skin of Sarah Palin’s life, a sad and moldering strangeness lies beneath.

Interesting comment about her ‘team’ protecting her from criticism and questions on a ‘Conservatives4Pailn’ discussion forum: Continue reading →

A denial and a clarification … well, not really

Just as well some people have such a GREAT sense of humour!

It all relates to my ‘A little backlash?‘ post here on www.thePaepae.com … where I suggested a possible interpretation of some innuendo-laden bloggings by property spruiker Dean Letfus about holding back dirt on a ‘white knight’ was that they referred to me. [Or maybe it doesn’t.]

Yup, it’s not absolutely clear, but a statement today by Dean Letfus seems to indicate (maybe, if I read it right) that there’s another side to this whole thing.

Apparently I wasn’t even on Dean’s mind when he wrote that bizzo in his blog about ‘supposed white knights’ in ‘the industry’ ‘spreading lies’ about him and how he was holding back ‘information’ which had ‘come into my hands’ which he could ‘expose’ to ‘retaliate’ … nope. Not me.

Seems he was talking about a DIFFERENT white knight that he has ‘information’ on that he could expose to retaliate. (Well, if you recall, I did say I couldn’t think what possible ‘dirt’ he could have on boring ol’ me, didn’t I?) Continue reading →

The future?

image bookgalaxo.com (click)

I saw Andrew Kirtzman’s book BETRAYAL at Wellington airport recently. Striking cover.

We’d already discussed Harry Markopolos’s frustrating experience in Tall poppy syndrome: last refuge of the scoundrel?

Gee, I thought, what has Madoff had to build inside himself to handle this level of opprobrium? (Assuming he IS ‘handling’ the ignominy OK.)

I wonder if any local ‘personalities’ are going to face this kind of attention and pressure as a result of their own downfall.

Seems pretty tough. Actions have consequences, though. I guess.

Please say sorry, and thanks …

I don’t know enough to make a judgement about Allan Hubbard, and I point to this only as an example of a journalist, in this case, publishing his (strong) personal opinions … I find that refreshing and encouraging because it’s clear he’s based them on his own considerable research and experience.

Good on you Bernard. (Although, to be fair, I sometimes detect a faint whiff of anti-Capitalism in some of your stuff — just saying. It’s an impression I get. Sometimes.)

Click for video

Watch the video below the fold.
Or read Bernard Hickey’s extensive open letter to Allan Hubbard.
Continue reading →

And then a bug flew in the window(s)…

ATM: ‘Welcome’. Card in. PIN typed in. Oops, instant BLANK SCREEN. Keypad doing nuttin’. Hmmm.

Looking, looking, then up came the NCR logo white on black. For a loooooong time.

‘Have I broken it? I muttered. I went into the bank and explained my plight.
A teller went and had a look: ‘Oh it’s just re-booting, it won’t be long.’
Um, OK. Re-booting?
Waiting, waiting — held hostage because my card was in the machine. Then, to my surprise, look what I saw:

We apologize for the inconvenience but Windows did not start successfully. A recent hardware or software change might have caused this. ...

Windows! Er, not my skill set.

I went into the bank again and said, ‘Hey, look, I know people who use Windows… I haven’t got that sort of time to waste. Can you open the little hatch and get my card for me?’
Sure thing.
I walked away, leaving the bank to get their machine working again. Maybe. Good luck with that. NMP (Not my problem.)

Life’s too short to wait for a computer, eh? (Did you know those things ran Windows? I didn’t.)

See comments for more examples. Add yours, if you want.

Breathtaking, powerful writing: Put up or Shut up

Read this blog post from Roger Ebert. Wow.

Click to read this excellent article

In part, discussing the hateful manipulation of segments of the public by so-called ‘moral leaders’ Ebert refers to the billionaire who said closing tax loopholes was like invading Poland. Hyperbole and exaggeration are good indicators of a ‘con’.
Seriously, read it here.

One of the best lines:

Our political immune system has only one antibody,
and that is the truth.