Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dear Leader had not much raw material to play with and I suppose that explains the crap we had yesterday. She had to fill sixty one - sixty one for God's sake - ministerial positions. As there are only about three people in her caucus with a brain capable of saying more than 'Yes, Dear Leader, no, Dear Leader, three bags full, Dear Leader' we were going to be struggling. A few things stand out.
Pondscum is under such stress and has to attend an anger management course so we will make him even less stressed by giving him a couple of new portfolios that he has never seen before. The hypocrisy of Mallard's punishment makes the proverbial wet bus ticket seem like a right royal flogging. Not being Sports Minister is a really severe punishment. 'Mr Bloggs you are found guilty of murder on two counts. I sentence you never to be Sports Minister. A sentence of not being Rugby World Cup Minister will run concurrently.' Does the Dear Leader really think we are all daft? Don't answer that.
Is it right that we have a dental nurse as Minister of both Police and Justice? Answers on a post card to M. Mouse, C/O L. Trotsky, The Kremlin, Wellington.
Comrade Carter in Education ? Pullease. If schools weren't already suffering enough from political correctness they have to try and survive Mr PC himself. Carter's reaction to his 'promotion'? 'I was quite happy with Conservation. Who is going to keep an eye on the Japanese whalers over the Christmas period?' He really said that and we now have him in charge of the education of the nation's kids. The PPTA was understandably delighted to have such a left wing apologist as their leader - they are getting one of their own back. Yuck.. 'He can now go from saving the whales to saving another endangered species - teachers'. We are not talking about people making idle after dinner conversation here, we are talking about running a country. It is pathetic.
All Auckland's problems have disappeared so the ministry set up to sort them out is dissolved. Pouff and its all gone. First, who will notice? Second, Tizard now gets the same money for doing less. North of $150k for carrying DL's handbag - I'd do it for two thirds that. On second thoughts I wouldn't do it for treble - just imagine what you could catch from it.
The bloody woman has a way of humiliating people in such a subtle and cruel way. Bovver Boy, all tough and macho, is being publicly told by a woman (well sort of) to go to anger management. I'm sure our Trev wants to biff her as well but he has to appear for the last week all contrite and looking generally down at mouth. Rodney Hide wants to get a parliamentary privileges complaint up and running. Too late and a waste of time. Helen is doing much more and more publicly than any constitutional body could ever achieve.
So this afternoon we will see Mallard in charge of the Parliaments dunnies, the Dental Nurse elevated to the rank of seraphim (well she doesn't have a Y chromosome and therefore deserves it) and so on. Who cares? Their 'jobs' are only as instruments in the Dear Leader's plan. The don't make any decisions. Well I suppose they are allowed to decide whether to carry out orders on a Wednesday or a Thursday but that will be about it.
Benson Dope was not afforded the Royal Touch a few months ago over his lying like a flatfish - again. He is obviously not only duplicitous but also thick. He failed to take the hint that he was very smelly and had to go and announce he was standing again for Dunedin South. Presumably he got a couple of phone calls from the ninth floor and still refused to back down. Dear Leader gets fed up with all this and tells the President of the EPMU to find a staunch unionist to put his hat in the ring for the Labour nomination. As Labour couldn't lose Dunedin South even if it tried that now means the bloke in the hard hat from the building site we saw on the News last night is effectively now an MP. Swap the smoko room for Bellamies - they'll have to put up a 'No muddy boots' sign at the entrance. And why is all this happening? Because that bloody woman says so.
There is short (mercifully) piece on the opinion page of the Herald this morning that is a classic of the modern New Zealand Wowser genre. A bloke is giving Guy Fawkes day a real pasting. I didn't know you could type whilst wringing your hands. Why should we allow spotty 'yoofs' (his daft spelling ,not mine) to buy fireworks when we don't allow them to buy firearms in Woolworths. Eh? Woolworths don't sell firearms do they? Or have I been missing the Kalashnikovs hiding away behind the yogurt? Life is always better through the rose tinted retrospectoscope but 'Penny for the Guy' and a handful of tupenny bangers in South London in the late 1950's was way better than this surely? I was eight or nine years old, allowed to buy fireworks, enjoyed the hell out of them, didn't die, didn't maim any one and the cat forgave me.
Fireworks should be banned (except by councils who have the necessary permits), anything that is a bit of fun should be banned. It scares domestic animals - well idiots like you scare me.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
One of my pet peeves is State enforced safety. The bloody government telling us we have to be safe. Hard hat regulations in the middle of a field, fluoro safety jackets for the crowd stewards at the cricket. We even have a complete government department to look after us in this regard - OSH.
My beef is not really with OSH or its foot soldiers - especially the foot soldiers. I feel sorry for the sort of being who becomes what my father used to call a 'three pound ten a week man'. They are attired, depending on their particular function, either in a brown dustcoat with a clip board (pencil behind ear) or a cheap suit (a bowler hat is a desirable accessory) or a white coat or a uniform with inordinately decorative badges with pseudo-heraldic pretensions. Nowadays they all have those bloody ID cards in a plastic holder on a piece of ribbon hung around their necks. The Jobsworths of the world. I've long held an attitude of a mixture of scorn and pity for these sorts. OSH is but another department where they can find employment when they tire of the Council, the LTA, the MSA, the library, the Parks Department, the Cracks in the Pavement Department (Compliance Division) etc. No its not Jobsworth's fault. Thes people are delighted to retreat into the safety blankets of their compendium of 'Rules and Regulations'. They are encouraged to have no initiative what so ever and it is, therefore, very easy to enforce the regulations to often absurd lengths. Here is one of the problems - trying to apply 'all or nothing' solutions to situations that can never be solved in that way. You have to wear safety harnesses that would not look out of place on the South Col to stand on a chair to change a light bulb. 1m high or 60 stories, scaffolding is scaffolding, rules is rules, black and white. The Jobsworth can go no further and the whole thing would fall to bits if he could.
No, it's our fault. We are seemingly happy to have in place the structures that allow Mr J to do his work. No one (not even me) would argue that being a bit more safe sometimes is a reasonably good idea. Some one has mentioned commonsense some where. To that I would add trust, reasonableness, responsibility for your own actions and, most importantly, an acceptance of uncertainty.
Everything that happens to anything that lives - blade of grass, elephant, Mrs Smith at No25, me - happens according to the rules of normal distribution. It is likely that most people will be between 5'8''and 5'11' tall. But there will be a few short arses (me) and a few basketball shoe ins. Very occasionally there will be people who are 7 feet tall. Do we then make all door lintels 7'6" on the off chance that Shaq will pop round for a cuppa? Of course we don't. It is vanishingly unlikely (but not impossible) that a NBA star will be in Milford for a cup of Earl Grey and a chocolate afghan and I consequently don't alter my house. If I do get the visit then Mr O'Neill will have to bow his head to get into Obald Towers. That is the way it should be.
With OSH, and many of the other mushrooming Jobsworth employers, we have got this all backwards and as a Society seem quite happy about it. We are happy to let our legislators frame regulations (which regulate) to drown the very probable in the quest to encompass the vanishingly unlikely. We are trying to fit things that have to happen under the normal distribution curve under a square wave. We are unable to accept uncertainty and try and legislate for any eventuality, however unlikely that may be.
As an aside, we only refuse to accept uncertainty when it suits us (well you not me). Competitive sport, one of the things that makes life worthwhile, would be worthless if the outcome was certain.
So, I hate smoking as much as I hate mandatory smoke free public places. Smoke if you want to and I won't go there. I would not dream of driving not wearing a seat belt because it is a sensible way of reducing my chances of dying in a road crash not because someone tells me to. I am supposed to wear I thyroid protector when working with xrays as thyroid exposure to xrays increases the risk of my getting thyroid cancer - which is an uncommon tumour in men in their fifties - a bit. I don't wear one because they are uncomfortable. If I get thyroid cancer - so be it. I know the risk and have decide to take it. I won't sue anyone, I won't expect excessive sympathy and I also won't expect 'I told you so'
So back to the beginning. OSH - sod off.
I first visited the Bay of Islands in 1977 on the way back home to the UK after having spent in two years in Papua New Guinea where I first got bitten by the gamefish bug. I had a copy of Goadby's 'Big Fish and Blue Water' which I had read a squillion times. It was my bible and I taught myself what little I knew from it. Going to the Bay was like a Muslim going to Mecca. I arrived in July and was a little nasally dislocated to find out that there were no marlin within a 1000 miles of Russell in July - I thought you tripped over them going to the dairy all year round. No matter, I chartered a boat for a day and went livebaiting for something called a kingfish, listened to a rugby test on the radio (which I thought was a very bizarre thing to do) and caught nothing. I came back and spent a couple of hours in the Swordy Clubrooms in Russell (don't think there were Paihia ones then) absolutely gobsmacked at what I was in the middle of. One day, one day I would be back standing by a blackboard with the light blue surround, a smile as wide as a mile on my face with a dead marlin at my side.
Fast forward twenty two years. I was determined to do this by myself. I was going to catch a marlin from my boat, by my native cunning (or lack thereof). I'm into my fourth season of trying and nix. I'm trolling off Red Head and we get a strike (had those before) but after a short while it is obvious that I have actually hooked a marlin. Now this is the real deal, it is jumping and tail walking and it is seemingly well attached to my line. Where is Tudor Collins when you need him? We fight it from a book and after about 50 minutes we have it at the side of the boat. It is quite quiet but no where near in the terminal stages of anything and I have the flying gaff ready. I am about to pull a marlin into my boat and the light blue edged blackboard of my youth is only forty minutes away. Couldn't do it. Couldn't see the point - then or now. I realised at that moment in time why I wanted to catch a marlin and it had all already happened. I told Paul to put the gaff away, reached over the side, grabbed the bill without gloves (told you it was the first one), took the hook out and felt the feeling I still feel as it swam away.
Perhaps this may explain a bit why I am so against what appears to be happening around our coast at the moment. It just does not fit, in any way shape or form, into the big picture of why I go game fishing. I try and see things from the perspective of the 'kill and grill' brigade, but I can't. That doesn't mean they are wrong, of course, - I just can't see it. I can't even see the 'first fish' thing.
( Written in February 2005)
Friday, October 26, 2007
National approach to life? You couldn't ask for a greater difference. The Singapore pragmatic, business orientated way of running the country like a corporation and the good of the whole outweighs the rights of the individual. NZ the complete opposite. Ideology to the fore with individual bloody 'rights' paramount over everything. Theoretical ideals hold sway over the practical business of running a viable small country in the real world. Equality and respect are the sacred cows that cannot be touched. The vocal minority hold sway over the silent majority. The answer to any hard question that crops up here is to have a an enquiry involving all stakeholders. This goes on for an undefined period of time (the default unit of measurement is blocks of nine months) and it is hoped that when the report is delivered (this can be delivered in a flax basket to make it more acceptable to more stakeholders) the problem has gone away. If it has not then a second phase enquiry is ordered and we start all over again.
I lived in Singapore when in 1983 it was announced that the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit - underground railway) was to be built. The first passenger was carried in 1987. By contrast Auckland's transport woes are addressed with time lines measured in decades. The four years to build the first bit of the MRT would be taken up with arranging the RMA hearings - not having them but arranging them. We need a second harbour crossing and there might be one in twenty years time. We are destined to be left behind in the real world as this strupid approach pervades everything we do. We need a benign (or not) dictator of my choosing to run this country.
Where does the A380 fit into all this? The first one to fly commercially landed in Sydney yesterday in, surprise surprise, the Singapore Airlines livery. New Zealand is current thinking about extending the runway at Auckland so it might land here at some time in the future.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Granny has not so much died but moved on to a better place.
When I wrote the first piece almost eighteen months ago I never envisaged it growing to be a regular contribution. I came to love doing it but latterly she has started to become a bit of a millstone – I’ve felt I have to come up with something most days. It is also becoming boring. You can only say Keith Locke is a pratt in a finite number of ways. You can only say climate change has nothing to do with V8 motor cars once every three months or so. Granny has become a one trick pony - and they are boring.
For a few weeks I’ve wanted to expand what I do in the Granny thread. I’ve found I really enjoy writing but the old lady in her current format was becoming very stifling. The most fun I’ve had from her was the ‘Granny on Tour’ a few months back. I do this for my enjoyment and I was tiring of it.
You may have seen my plugs for the ‘El Gringo’ thread on the Hull Truth. A few weeks back he decided to move his writings and pictures to a blog and I have convinced myself that is what I want to do. It will give me more scope to do what I want and not be constrained by the confines of just commenting on a second rate newspaper.
So I am in the process of moving all the Granny stuff to the new place. I can also put some of the other scribblings scattered over fishing.net.nz on there and everything will be neat and tidy. Some one kindly suggested I should collect the Granny stuff together and this will be an attempt to do this.
I can also discuss things that didn’t fit into the ‘Granny’ remit. Big changes are afoot in the obald life and I would like to document those in both word and pictures. I can also discuss Enkis without having to look over my shoulder to make sure I am not breaking fishing.net spam rules.
If anyone is remotely interested I’ll post the link to the blog, to be called ‘obald@home’ on this thread when it is fit to look at – couple of days maybe