Hard News by Russell Brown


Grateful for 'Rain'

Many people said fine things about the late Sir Ed while I was away from connectivity (apart from John Key, who said something vacuous), so I won't write at length, but simply observe that he embodied -- flawlessy, so far as I can tell -- many of things we aspire to, or want to believe about ourselves, as New Zealanders.

Amid the hubbub of prepared-for-the-day media coverage, I think I enjoyed Radio New Zealand's the most. In the documentary about Hillary's Antarctic adventure, it was pleasant to hear the bold, authoritative, younger Hillary, rather than the kindly old chap we became used to.

And this morning, we farewell another great old man. I can't claim to be an expert on the life and work of Hone Tuwhare, but I've always found his poetry sensuous and approachable, and, years ago, when one of my schoolteachers read us 'Rain', I distinctly remember the excitement of hearing language used in such a way. It stayed with me, and I'm grateful for that.

TVNZ ondemand has a nice 15 minute profile of Hone, including readings. His website has several well-known poems. The home page quotes Bill Manhire on Tuwhare's "code-switching effects … He can sound within the space of a couple of lines as if he’s both at church and down at the pub."

In other news, I am a psychic! Well, I must be, because I correctly picked five out of six in the sample test provided as part of Tony Andrews' Sensing Murder Psychic Invitation. I mean, what are the chances? Andrews is putting up $20,000 of his own money to lure the TV show's seers into a challenge.

Stephen Judd has some more on the topic.

Cameron Slater, aka Whale Oil and, more recently, the less attractive face of the anti-EFA lobby, has long struggled to meet conventional standards of behaviour in his blog. In the past he has threatened violence and mused about using his gun, photoshopped a teenage boy's head into a gay porn picture as some weird act of revenge against the kid, trumpeted his refusal to attend blogger drinks with "the enemy" and generally sprayed hateful invective on a daily basis. (He is occasionally amusing: as when he demanded the Commerce Commission investigate mobile roaming charges because he can't read terms and conditions without a grown-up to help with the long words.)

His latest jape? Driving around photographing the houses of people he doesn't like: first up, John Minto, who stands condemned of, gasp, home ownership in Auckland. Minto's offence was to say in the Herald "Property rights are there to benefit the wealthy and the middle class. They mean much less, if anything, to people in poverty." What Cameron seems to miss is that Minto would presumably regard himself as middle-class. I disagree with a lot of what John Minto says these days, but Mr Oil has, yet again, crossed the creepy line. Worse: he says this is the first of a series of such posts.

Update: Oh, hang on: it's not Oil himself but a new playmate on his blog, the inevitably pseudonymous "Steady Eddy".

Frankly, I'm more concerned about John Key's holiday house. It looks miserable.

Via No Right Turn: perhaps time to hold that talking point about how global warming can't be real because the Antarctic ice is expanding.

Reader Andrew Hubbard noted The Guardian's Tom Hodgkinson going postal about Facebook and its backers.

And do want. It's even green.

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