After the gold rush by Trevor Plumbly

‘Helpless, helpless’ (Neil Young) Neil was scarcely boy-next-door material; he looked like someone had abandoned him in a doorway: overlong hair and a face that charity would describe as ‘lived in’. But the guy could write! He was the high priest of the folk/druggie followers (see ‘The needle and the damage done’). Vocally he wasn’t much, but then neither were the others; the message was more important than the melody. They were heady times with newly discovered drugs, rights, sexual freedom and social wrongs to identify with, from racial discrimination to nuclear… Read More

NZ farmers’ protest by Susan Grimsdell

Taking to the streets Hundreds of farmers recently took to the streets in their expensive tractors.  The vehicles are big bullying things, and that makes me think the drivers are too.  Sitting way up high, big wheels, the whole rig shouting – “I’m big and powerful and rich so get out of my way.” As far as I could make out, that was the essence of their protest – “This government is telling me what to do.  I won’t have it.  It’s my land, and I’ll say what happens to it.”  Farmers… Read More

Common expressions often misspelt by Angela Caldin

It’s not baited breath; it’s bated breath. It’s not that your breath has some kind of bait attached to it; the idea is that your breath is held or restrained. Bated is a shortened version of abated which means to lessen. It’s not free reign; it’s free rein. This is a straightforward misinterpretation and an understandable mistake. We have a notion of reigning kings and queens doing as they please, that is, having free reign. But the rein in this expression is the strap used by a rider to control a horse…. Read More

A sorry state by Trevor Plumbly

Confessionitis It’s getting more and more difficult to find a blog topic these days; there’s too much heavy stuff out there and lots of folk waiting to spread a bit of grief. Take out politics, religion, racism, sexual identity and there’s not much left to debate about with much hope of a result. We’ve become inundated with thin-ice sensitivities; down here in God’s little acre, the days of carrying stoicism to the point of walking rigour have all but disappeared in favour of orchestrated outpourings. As soon as Mea Culpa became an… Read More

Skin cancer in NZ by Susan Grimsdell

We all know that skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in New Zealand, and that we have the highest incidence of melanoma – the worst, most deadly kind of cancer – in the whole world. We slip slap slop on ourselves and our children, we use the top level of SPF, renewing it every two or three hours, as per instructions.  We do our best to protect ourselves and our families. Sunscreen fraudster However, what we didn’t know was that there is a man in the USA, Gabriel Letizia Jr, who… Read More