Island Life by David Slack

Be nice to your cats

In a moment, a few political farewells, but first a quick rant or two to set the tone for Monday morning.

There are a great many right wing bloggers who love to declare whenever they come upon an example of government behaviour or language that smacks of authoritarianism or thought-control that "Orwell would have been proud".

No he bloody would not have been, you nimrods. He might have been outraged, he might have been scathing, he might have shrugged his tired shoulders with weary resignation or a knowing wry smile, but he absolutely, without any question whatsoever, would not have been proud. Okay?

Rant the second: when you're looking for a fresh way to describe the kind of apartment that is so small you have to squeeze past the developer's margin to get into the kitchen, you might be tempted to use the words "not enough room to swing a kitten" as a nice twist on the more famous expression.

This would be a logical enough development if you took the view that the original expression described some kind of horrifying domestic habit favoured by - who knows - right wing bloggers?

Perhaps that horrifying scene in 1900 in which Donald Sutherland inflicts the most cruel of deaths on a child has left some people with the vague idea that there lurk amongst us people who would do something comparable to cats.

Mercifully the expression "not enough room to swing a cat" has nothing to do with anything quite so sociopathic. Or to put it another way, it derives from the behaviour of another group of sociopaths, namely those sailors who used to wield the whip known as the cat-o-nine tails.

I think we can say with confidence that any of the aforementioned behaviour is both prohibited by law and probably not physically feasible within the confines of your average Auckland inner city apartment.

So. Nice weekend?

There have been some entertaining responses to last week's Poetry Corner invitation.

To recap: Private Eye's Poetry Corner presents a touching little verse offering good wishes and a fond farewell to someone retired, deceased, fired, incarcerated or otherwise passing by one of life's great milestones. I'm offering a prize or two for some farewell in that form to this election's recent casualties (imagined or real). Early favourites have been Mr Dunne and Mr Tamihere.

Mr D Farrar of Wellington, for example, offers this nice farewell to JT.

So. Farewell

We forgave you
Front bums
Holocaust boredom

But in the end
Not even
A kidnapping

Could stop
The Westies
From giving you
Another golden handshake

Jonathan Ganley also bids him goodbye.

So. Farewell then
The bell tolls for you.

Sharples was more
Than a match.

An electorate weary
Of men's locker room talk
Did not baulk
At your despatch.

All the Front Bottoms
Now behind you.
Tariana too,
Can go with the Nats.

Indeed, 'Think Again'

You've lots of time now
To be nice
To your cats.

The always-dependable Andrew Llewellyn produced this little gem:

Common sense

Are we Dunne yet?

The worm returns.


And a coy reader from Albany offered this very fine effort:

Peter Dunne
United was
Your future.

But now
You are un-Dunne
Your power
Has been neutered.

With common sense
And Christians
You rode a worm
To glory

To be thwarted
At the polls
By evil Greens
And Horis.

More to come, and more submissions warmly invited. If your surname is Gallagher, for example, I have no doubt you could do something sublime. Perhaps a farewell for Steve.