Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Travelling Gravely

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  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Meanwhile the 'Medical Matters' thread here at PA has swollen to twenty-something pages, for little purpose other than providing a playpen for a single obsessive trollfoetus.

    Shhh! leave him there.Don't invite him to move on over.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    With respect to PAS vs talkback, I've always tried to keep in mind Gordon Dryden's entreaty to his listeners back at the dawn of talkback radio in New Zealand: "Don't give me your opinion -- give me your experience."

    In other words, talk about something you know, rather than just shooting off at the mouth. That's what bugs me whenever I hear talkback radio: most of the time, no one knows fucking anything. Compare and contrast to Matthew Poole's contributions to the police/crime thread here this week.

    Every now and then someone like Slarty (who IRL has a really interesting job) will swing by and disgorge some experience. James Green can always be relied on to say something useful about medical statistics. Peter Ashby's stuff on conception and development in the Medical Matters thread was really useful to me. Others, like Emma, bring minds honed by life experience.

    The downside is that this erudition can rather dauntingly raise the bar for new entrants.

    OTOH, the guy I mentioned on the talkback, who wanted the police state: did he really want police resources tied up with arresting and processing anyone who looked at them sideways? Did he really want to live in a country where that happened? Of course not. He just hadn't bothered to think about it, and there was no one to tell him to have another go at his stupid idea.

    But let's remember, that's Leighton Smith's slot. His listeners are the most biddable morons of all. They really are the first people who'd line up for a fascist state. I know Kerre tends to be fairly shocked by them when she has to step in to that slot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __Meanwhile the 'Medical Matters' thread here at PA has swollen to twenty-something pages, for little purpose other than providing a playpen for a single obsessive trollfoetus.__

    Shhh! leave him there.Don't invite him to move on over.

    What do you reckon? He has trollish spells of commenting on his own comments, but then someone responds and I'm unwilling to cut off the exchange. I could just ban him, but it doesn't seem quite right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    What do you reckon? He has trollish spells of commenting on his own comments,

    He's harmless and I congratulate anyone happy to bother to respond. Maybe he finds comfort in being able to communicate with someone,__anyone__ actually responding (even te one in his head):-)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Who is this guy you keep talking about?

    ...

    :D

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    The downside is that this erudition can rather dauntingly raise the bar for new entrants.

    To be all intellectually snobbish, is that such a bad thing? :P

    On the police state thing, remember that most of these people actually do want these rules. But only for other people. I cannot recommend enough Corey Doctorow's Little Brother (free download). It's yoof fiction, so it's a very light read for most people with moderate reading levels. I polished it off in about six hours of reading time. It's a very good exploration of just where some of the shit that's currently going on in the world could lead. And it talks about some pretty funky very-near-future ideas in technology.
    Whenever people demand extreme measures in response to some particular recent outrage, I'm reminded of two quotes. The first is Ben Franklin's timeless "Those who would sell essential liberty in exchange for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." The other is from Pastor Martin Niemöller, the classic "First they came..."

    First they came for the Socialists, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn't a Jew.
    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak up for me.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    And PS: The Preview button is still b0rk'd

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    What's good about PAS:
    - There are fairly few wingnuts.
    - Almost all of the comments are thoughtful and literate
    - The volume is enough to retain interest while not overwhelming.

    To which I'd add:

    - diversity of writers/topics
    - consistently high quality of writing
    - tolerance

    To which I'd add:

    - a far higher class of idiot
    - rational responses to rabidly repulsive rednecks
    - and heaps of other stuff

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    What's good about PAS:
    - There are fairly few wingnuts.
    - Almost all of the comments are thoughtful and literate
    - The volume is enough to retain interest while not overwhelming.
    To which I'd add:
    - diversity of writers/topics
    - consistently high quality of writing
    - tolerance
    To which I'd add:
    - a far higher class of idiot
    - rational responses to rabidly repulsive rednecks
    - and heaps of other stuff

    To which I'd add:
    -The actual layout's not half bad.
    -The linking tradition's, that expand our Internet.
    -and the occasional theater, that clears house.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Antiques aren't something one carries home on the bus.

    Indeed not -- but our one adventure in antique buying incolved the owner offering, if we would wait until the weekend, to drop our item off on his way to an auction. Unquantifiable amount of good will and positive word of mouth earned that day.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I cannot recommend enough Corey Doctorow's Little Brother (free download).

    Indeed. Though while Doctrow deserves oodles of kudos for sharing his toys with others, how about rushing out and buying a couple of copies for 'young adults' who need something a little more stimulating than Girlfriend or Harry Potter.

    There are pathches where the 'getting down with the kids' is painful, but they're pretty far and few between.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    but our one adventure in antique buying incolved the owner offering, if we would wait until the weekend, to drop our item off on his way to an auction

    read: "he liked the look of you".

    but assuming he was above board, that's exactly the kind of customer service you need. not, "i need a parking space 30cm from my front door, so customers can fall out of their suv and land in a pair of boat shoes".

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    What do you reckon? He has trollish spells of commenting on his own comments, but then someone responds and I'm unwilling to cut off the exchange. I could just ban him, but it doesn't seem quite right.

    It's a fairly stationary brick wall, if people choose to bang their heads against it, so be it. If it became the sort of brick wall that keeps jumping out in front of you, then it might be time to break out the jackhammers.

    Others, like Emma...

    Ha, you wait until we get into a situation where Renaissance Drama is of core importance. Your arses will be so pwned.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Okay, rabid post-backers of PA - here's a real life incident of street violence - how would you handle it?

    My almost-18 son was in Palmerston North last Saturday night, minding his own business, walking with 3 friends to pick up their car. Two young guys approached them (there were two more in their car parked down the road) and asked for directions. A moment later, they laid into my son and one of his friends - no provocation. No serious damage to my boy - stayed on his feet, but was concussed, very sore head. Police were called, but they weren't very interested (fair enough).

    Now, do I advise him to take up boxing?? Not to walk the streets at night? The son & friends should have gone for gold while they outnumbered the two aggressors?? (That's what has been suggested by fathers of other boys and one or two male acquaintances). He's not at all aggressive, BTW, they're muso boys from Feilding.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    3 suggestions Kerry (this matter is dear to my heart because I have nephews in that age-group):

    * know how to use a stick (totally legal, helpful in all kinds of situations, and a very good fighting weapon; there are good teahing schools for joduko/taiaha;)

    *carry a nice little spray bottle of ammonia mixed with chilli powder
    (this is not illegal and is very good against aggressive dogs too; actually, I'd reccommend this for *everybody*-

    *if you are fraught areas, make sure your cellphone is permanatly on & recording (some will also have alert/alarms-)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    read: "he liked the look of you".

    Wounding as it is to my ego, I think the small stack of fifty dollars bills was more enchanting. :) (OK, that sounded even worse -- but paying cash on the nail does seem to make small retailers so much more obliging.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    My almost-18 son was in Palmerston North last Saturday night, minding his own business, walking with 3 friends to pick up their car.

    I'm always suspicious of any story that is along the lines of "I was just minding my own business when, out of the blue, a complete stranger did something horrible to me, totally unprovoked."

    I once read a blog of funny ER stories, and one doctor observed that all foreign-object-up-the-bum explanation stories always start with "I was minding my own business..."

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I could just ban him, but it doesn't seem quite right.

    I suggest participants in that discussion treat him like the palm oil guy was treated - ignore him, don't fuel his fire. He ain't never gonna change and similarly he isn't going to change anyone's opinion.

    Eventually he will turn his energy elsewhere.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    My almost-18 son was in Palmerston North last Saturday night, minding his own business, walking with 3 friends to pick up their car.

    on the other hand robyn, i was in palmie a few weeks back, and saw a van swerve to the side of the road and two thugs jumped out to chase a bunch of skaters, who ran like fck.

    probably history there. but still, just that kind of town.

    personally i've always relied on being big and scarey. but if you're in a situation where you're being assaulted for no sane reason, then the queensbury rules go out the window.

    in short, fight dirty.

    nothing like a decent squirrel grip or a plain old kick to the goolies to calm a bloke down.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Che:

    in short, fight dirty.

    nothing like a decent squirrel grip or a plain old kick to the goolies to calm a bloke down.

    What about spraying menthol in the offender's eyes? It's legal to purchase over the counter at the local pharmacy.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    just minding my own business when, out of the blue, a complete stranger did something horrible to me, totally unprovoked."

    Actually happened to me once (long time ago) when I was also 18.I saw a group of guys punch for no reason,(I could see) another guy walking in the opposite direction, so, me in my infinite wisdom, decided to do something about it. As the guys approached me, I let loose with a stream of invective . I expected back up from others who were witness to this also, only to be educated about such whimsical fancy then and in the future. I was promptly king hit to the ground. As I lay bleeding, and many tourists walkin' on by, a thought occurred. Sofie,your dad did warn you to give "the Cross" a wide berth!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    I'm always suspicious of any story that is along the lines of "I was just minding my own business when, out of the blue, a complete stranger did something horrible to me, totally unprovoked."

    Happens all the time. Last time it happened to me I was having a quiet drink with a mate from work in a generally decent bar, some bloke comes up to the bar and starts shouldering me in the back repeatedly. I ignored him, eventually my mate said, "Hey, do you want to cut that out", the other bloke starts abusing me and demanding i step outside with him.

    It was pretty clear he was looking for a punch-up with me for whatever reason. I sure as hell didn't know him from Adam.

    Police were called, but they weren't very interested (fair enough).

    Not fair enough at all, unless it's because your son and his makes can't actually take down a number plate and provide descriptions. i would go so far as to describe it as a bllshit attitude that was worth escalating up the police food chain.Or are the Palmie cops waiting until the thugs in question chuck together a good manslaughter or rape before they can rouse themselves to action?

    Now, do I advise him to take up boxing?? Not to walk the streets at night? The son & friends should have gone for gold while they outnumbered the two aggressors?? (That's what has been suggested by fathers of other boys and one or two male acquaintances).

    Ordinarily I'd have said giving people a good kicking is a bit much, but if the local polds aren't interested, yes, I'd be inclined to give them an absolute fucking hiding.

    I took up Judo a few years back and enjoy it, but that was more to be able to "manage" difficult people without giving them a hiding. YMMW.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    carry a nice little spray bottle of ammonia mixed with chilli powder
    (this is not illegal and is very good against aggressive dogs too; actually, I'd reccommend this for *everybody*

    You're sure about that? I'm pretty sure I read that the police would treat someone who carried oven cleaner (which is not a controlled substance) and used it in the event that they were attacked as having been carrying an offensive weapon. It has no place in your handbag (yeah, try convincing the cops that you were on your way home from a late-night house-keeping party), so the fact that it's not ordinarily illegal won't save you.
    I cannot see any honest (see below for "honest" defined) use for ammonia and chilli, unless you've got some seriously fucked-up tastebuds, and the cops will likely take a similar view. Even if you don't get convicted, you really don't want the hassle of facing fairly serious criminal charges.

    The "police recommended" defensive weapon is a can of hair spray. Stings like buggery if you get it in your eyes, and it's something that'd be entirely legitimately (for values of "legitimate" that equate to "for the purposes of saying that you weren't armed") carried around. Aerosol deodorant is another one.

    It's all very well to say that one has the right to defend themselves, but having things on you that have no purpose but defence in the event of being attacked is treated as carrying a weapon. There's a reason that people are advised to use their keys to enhance their punches.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    can of hair spray.

    Oh shux, Still don't think it would have helped me but. Might have made him hit a bit harder though.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Kerry
    It was a set up. Those two were out for a fight & your son was a 'soft' target. If you know he's not aggressive, they saw it too and sized him up before they approached.

    Runnings better than fighting. If you think you can win the fight - do you think you can win the court case - in my experience cops charge the winner of a fight, if for no other reason than the loser takes better photos with a face covered in blood.

    A life lesson, don't trust the bastards.
    I don't recommend boxing lessons, then if he wins. The cops have a trained fighter (intent) to charge, same with anything that might count as a weapon (shows intent).

    Option B - stay with your mates (as he was), be a bit weary, & prepared to run & if the cops show up - always, always, leave quickly.

    If he's a muso he doesn't want athritis in his nuckles from punching the bag.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

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