News and fake news by Susan Grimsdell

Never before have we been so deluged by words and pictures masquerading as news.  It comes at us from every direction, huge quantities of it, all designed to grab our attention, entertain us and capture our interest. Most of it is thrown out there by people whose deliberate intention is to influence what we think.  There are even people who make a living in a new job called “influencer”. Demise of fact-checking The difference today from, say, even ten years ago, is that very little of what we see and read has… Read More

Vegan saving the world by Susan Grimsdell

We’re hearing every day that we need to stop eating meat as one important step towards preventing catastrophic climate change. But even as the people who promote vegan diets speak up, rainforest is being cleared at a rate equivalent to the area of a million soccer fields every year or nearly 2,000 hectares every single day, day after day, and it’s not stopping any time soon. Beefeaters rule The trees are being cut down to clear the land so that crops can be planted to feed cattle, so that we can kill… Read More

The golden past by Susan Grimsdell

It seems to be a human tendency to look back on the way we were in the past somewhat fondly, through rose-tinted glasses in fact. A variation on the age-old “things were better in my day!”  can be heard wherever and whenever a group of oldies gets together.  This enhancement of memories of how good we were compared to how ghastly the current generation is, has been going on since the beginning of recorded history. Back in the day In the 8th century BC  Hesiod said: “I see no hope for the… Read More

Aunt Sally or violence condoned by Susan Grimsdell

A crossword puzzle clue led me to discover a 17th century game still played in pubs in England.   A model of the head of an old woman is put on a metal spike and players throw battens or sticks at it.  The object is to knock the head off the spike.  In France the game is called jeu de massacre (game of carnage), in England it’s known as Aunt Sally. With the blessing of the PM In 2011 the inaugural Aunt Sally Singles World Championship took place in West Oxfordshire, with the… Read More

My dream parliament by Susan Grimsdell

Sometimes we have to dream.  My dream is that members of parliament would show up in the House with one purpose in mind:  to work out a way to make New Zealand a better country. Bad behaviour By that I mean all of them, not divided into parties who in reality spend most of their time and energy trying to tear down each others’ ideas and make fools of one another.  Anyone who has listened to Parliament Live comes away shocked at the stupid level of so-called “debate”.  They’re like school kids,… Read More