Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Past Was A Dream

Large swathes of my past are totally disconnected from the present. There are no people, no buildings, no businesses, that thread their way through time, back to when my life had a future.

QEC is totally different. Gone is the two-storied block of classrooms out the front, gone are the tennis courts, gone are the bike sheds… and, to a scruffy middle-aged man, it is not an inviting place to go and reminisce.

Pierard’s Plumbling was just down the road – not only is there no trace of this once-thriving business, local DJ Gerhard Pierard blasting down Rangitikei Line on his Laverda (3C, Jota?) seems like a dream.

What about the pubs? The Family Tavern, with it’s log-lined lounge bar and booths, on the corner of Rangitikei and Featherston is now a MacDonalds.

The Commercial Hotel on The Square, where we listened to Woodwind and where Jesse Kokaua and I later did a mean version of “Light My Fire”, with Jesse on Congas…. is totally erased.

Of the Movie Theatres, only the Regent is still recognisable. The Odeon is now Harvey Norman,  and The State is all but forgotten.

We went to see Split Enz at the Municipal Opera House, which is now The Farmers Dept Store.

Priscilla used to work at the Dept of Social Welfare in Queen Street. I used to work as a storeman at Motor Traders.

The Japanese Bath House is now a restaurant.

Tim Gibbes Yamaha is now Anza, Pink and Collisons is long gone, as is its successor, Co-op Honda.

The PDC is now the Plaza, the Post Office in the center of town has gone, the Library is now a coffee shop, and the DIC is now the Library.

The streets are different, the bridge has changed, the buildings have disappeared, the businesses have faded, the people are gone. It never happened.

Ages of Man

0 – 6 (1961-1967) protected

8-14 (1968-1974) School, traumatic

  • North Street
  • Kopane
  • Tennis
  • QEC

15-21 (1975-1981) Possibilities

  • Yamaha AG175 & Wayne Davies
  • JD Archers
  • Honda CB350
  • Clausens
  • Premier Foods/Watties
  • Yamaha RD400
  • 6th form
  • Soccer
  • Sophie
  • Yamaha XS400
  • Night school

22-28 (1982-1988) University

  • Squash
  • 1982ish CX500
  • 1983 Captain
  • 1985 Hazel

29-35 (1989-1995) PEC

  • 1995 Trip to South Africa
  • Trail rides with Hannah

36-42 (1996-2002) Jane?

  • Cycling: John Marshall, Mike Lane
  • 1996ish BMW R100RS
  • 1996ish Silver Bullet
  • End of Squash

43-49 (2003-2009) Awahuri, Hannah

  • 2005 Hannah

50-57 (2010-2016)

  • The hundred acre wood

God did it!

  • Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers
  • Honk If Your Religious Beliefs Make You An Asshole
  • Too Stupid to Understand Science? Try Religion.
  • Gods Don’t Kill People. People Who Believe in God Kill People.
  • “Worship Me or I Will Torture You Forever. Have a Nice Day.”­ God.
  • Praying is begging
  • I Wouldn’t Trust Your God Even If He Did Exist
  • The difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate controlled.
  • God Doesn’t Exist. So, I Guess That Means No One Loves You.
  • “Intelligent Design” Helping Stupid People Feel Smart Since 1987
  • Every Time You Play With Yourself, God Kills a Kitten
  • If God Wanted People to Believe in Him, Then Why Did He Invent Logic?
  • I Forget – Which Day Did God Make All The Fossils?
  • JESUS SAVES….You From Thinking For Yourself
  • How Can You Disbelieve Evolution If You Can’t Even Define It?
  • Religion requires faith, science requires thinking.
  • Religion: the original pyramid scheme.
  • The Family That Prays Together is Brainwashing the Children
  • Another Godless Atheist for Peace and World Harmony
  • Jesus may love you but everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.
  • Good does not require religion, but it is threatened by it.
  • A fool is guided by religion; the wise question it, and politicians abuse it.
  • Believers made God in their image: violent and irrational.
  • Jesus, save me from your followers.
  • Have You Threatened Your Children With Eternal Damnation Today?
  • Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.
  • A religious war is like children fighting over who has the strongest imaginary friend.
  • Don’t want to go to hell? Become an atheist.
  • Honk if you understand punctuated equilibrium
  • Religion is for people who don’t understand science
  • Stop Lying to Children, Break the Cycle of Religion
  • Jesus has risen! Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Jesus saves sinners and redeems them for valuable cash prizes
  • Jesus SAVES! The rest of you, take half-damage.
  • There’s a Sucker born every minute, but the real money is made from those Born Again.
  • Jesus saves, Gretzky gets the rebound and SCORES!
  • Jesus saves, by shopping wisely and using coupons.
  • Don’t pray in my school, and I won’t think in your church.
  • Q: Why did all the chicks dig Jesus? A: (Stand and spread arms wide) Because he was hung like THIS!!
  • Atheism isn’t a religion. It’s a personal relationship with reality
  • I want Jesus to come inside me
  • Jesus is coming — look busy!
  • It’s your god, they’re YOUR rules, YOU burn in “hell”!
  • Darwin Athletic Club: Survival of the Fittest.
  • Jesus Loves Me … But I Make Him Wear A Condom
  • Atheists Do It Unsupervised

We’re probably richer than we think we are

Over 100,000 NZers in world’s top 1%

According to figures compiled by Credit Suisse, 123,000 New Zealanders can say they are part of the exclusive one percent, which owns 48 percent of the world’s wealth.

To be part of that group, a person needs just over $970,000 in assets once debts have been subtracted.

Also, Linda Tirado (who writes for The Huffington Post),  on Nine To Noon

“People who are working class, who have two and three jobs  and feel disrespected and feel that they are never going to get ahead, those people never talk out loud, because we know we are supposed to be properly ashamed of ourselves and we never talk about what it is to be constantly in servitude to other people in a capitalist economy.”

Try The Global Richlist – and make sure that you keep scrolling down…

Yes, there are two sides to the story. None of this is meant to be taken seriously, in the respect that any of these figures or statements are exactly right. It does, however, seem like an interesting place from which to start examing our own lives.

From The Left….

Comment 953905:  The Left – we actually like people. That’s what I see as the main difference with the right. They like people like them, which is sort of like kissing a mirror.

…and from The Right

Comment 762163: It must be depressing being a leftie. No aspiration, glass always half empty, always the victim, poor me, it’s not fair….. You can pick someone who votes left as soon as they open their mouths


Schools demand obedience

Lets talk about America’s education system

2) In large part due to my first point, schools are no longer about providing students with an education. They are about creating good corporate citizens. Think about your average salaried office employee. They have a college degree (though their job duties may not actually require advanced education); they complete a lot of tedious, repetitive tasks; they are expected to adhere to arbitrary rules regarding appearance, demeanor, etc.; they are expected to spend their day quietly sitting in a chair at specified times; and work outside these times is both expected and not compensated. Unquestioning obedience to superiors is a fundamental expectation. Meaningless or minor rewards are used to incentivize employee compliance- small raises, the occasional promotion, “employee of the month” or other public recognition.

Any resemblance to your average school day is not coincidental. Schools now are actively teaching students how to behave well while performing unexciting work, and to be obedient to the authorities who assign this work without questioning the purpose or value of the work. Grades- which have no real purpose and do not accurately measure student progress- are transformed into a gatekeeping device in order to incentivize compliance and learning

 When Is a Good Day Teaching a Bad Thing?

Unfortunately, our Hidden Contract allows what is seemingly a good day teaching to mask an authentic deficit in student understanding.

Growing Up

Why Growing Up Is Hard to Do (But Why the World Still Needs Adults)

When people say they don’t want to embrace adulthood, what they really mean is that they don’t want to be a grownup themselves, but they want to live in a world where everyone else is […] They want the world to be stable, predictable…so they can afford to be erratic and irresponsible. They want to be kids, but live in an adult world, where grownups are at the ready to take care of their every need.

Traits associated with maturity

  1. Personal responsibility
  2. Embracing the role of creator, rather than simply being a consumer.
  3. The ability to delay gratification
  4. self-control
  5. Critical thinking skills
  6. A good degree of self-reliance
  7. Responsibilities not only to oneself, but to others as well.

Why it’s harder to grow up today…

  1. The veneration of youth. Thus, the first obstacle to growing up is a fear that embracing an adult sensibility will turn us into close-minded, unoriginal dolts.
  2. Rather than gradually being initiated into the world of adults, we’re often expected to take on mature responsibilities all at once
  3. The abundance of choice. It’s hard to leave behind the feeling of being special, to admit one’s limitations, and to choose a course for one’s life, knowing that doing so may shut the door on other options.
  4. Isolation and the Loss of Tribe. The weight of adulthood feels hard to shoulder when you’re carrying it alone, instead of with a tribe.
  5. A Culture of Consumerism. There exists a large gap between the experience we gain in creation growing up, and the amount of creation required of us as adults.
  6. The Negative Portrayal of Adulthood in Popular Culture: it’s depicted in popular culture as grinding and miserable.

Economically ‘worthless’ but emotionally ‘priceless’

American kids in the Age of Oil

Farm and craft work gave children practice for supporting themselves as adults, teaching them valuable skills and a work ethic that gave them confidence.


Instead of workers expected to contribute to the family business according to their abilities, kids morphed into mere adornments — something like pets with a promising future.


Today, the American nuclear family gets its education from school, its entertainment from movies and TV and its advice from social media. That leaves old people with few economic roles in the family outside of cheap babysitters and providers of (hopefully) expensive gifts at birthdays and Christmas.


In contrast to most of American history, today both the elderly and children are free-riders in the family economy. But while parents lavish adoration on even the brattiest kids, those same parents are more likely to show annoyance to their own elderly parents who may need help.


But whether comfortable or poor and lonely, today’s older Americans know that expecting their adult kids to support them merely out of affection or duty promises about as much security as planning to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Young Minds

Could Do Better: Why we must set young mind free

How should he lay plans for a life-path into a future characterised by ecological disintegration and loss, and by sporadic, violent societal convulsions as the sickening realisation that our species has conspired to destroy its own habitat sinks in?

What line should he follow in order to gain skills and knowledge that might facilitate some meaningful contribution to this world-on-the-brink, while keeping himself fed, housed, possibly even happy?

Blah Blah

The apprenticeships are unashamedly geared to vocations in the “industrial world” – a world that depends on cheap energy, lax pollution legislation, an abundant, never-ending supply of minerals and fresh water, and an infinitely large landfill hole in which to dump billions of toxic, obsolete products each year.

[…] Even if it offers careers in the short term, the long-term is considerably more shaky, to say nothing of soul-destroying: where is the satisfaction in working for the pointless, hopeless goal of contributing to consumption rates until the planet can’t take it any more?

Blah Blah

proof of competence comes from feats of memory, and modernity and growth go largely unchallenged.

Blah Blah

The unstated assumption is that the conveyor belts are all working fine, and a cheerfully unquestioning outlook of hard work and compliance will bring fulfilling working lives for all.

Blah Blah

Being grateful for having one of the least bad jobs in a system of accelerating destruction and inequity is neither individually nor societally empowering.

Blah Blah

I want them to know, before they get strapped into debt and career ladders and blinded by business bullshit, that the world out there is theirs and that they must grasp it.

Blah Blah

“That would entail resetting the global economic system so that young people are largely employed in locally-focused, eco-restorative livelihoods!”

Blah Blah

I didn’t need to tell [my youngest son] that school is a factory; he knows that. He knows how it feels to have to ask permission to move. He knows that much of the natural world is dying. He knows that his teachers can’t see what he sees. He understands that they are no longer aware of the bars behind which they go through the motions. He indulges them in their world.

His childhood is not their childhood. Unlike many kids, my son knows all this consciously and can articulate it. His adjustment to high school could well be slow and difficult. I pray that it is incomplete.


Against Productivity

From the pen of Ran Prieur

ran-prieur-favicon November 14. Against Productivity. The author writes about going to Puerto Rico with the plan of having lots of free time and being productive. Instead he did nothing useful, felt guilty and depressed — and yet looking back he can see that the experience made him a better person with better habits of viewing the world.

Most of the article is a social critique of productivity that’s less interesting than his personal story, because this has been written thousands of times over thousands of years, going all the way back to the Tao Te Ching, and it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. Here’s an article with a similar message, Top five regrets of the dying, and people are going to read it, agree completely, and then when they die they’ll have the same regrets.

This makes me wonder how much of my own writing is a waste of time (except where the writing itself is fun). Clearly the forces that make us work too hard exist on a level deeper than language. Telling people to be less busy is like shouting at a football game on TV. So what are these deeper forces? For most people they appear to be economic: the only way to be less busy is to be homeless. But even this economic arrangement is rooted in culture and politics. In his important essay on the phenomenon of bullshit jobs, David Graeber explains how much of our work is economically wasteful, and blames the elite who fear that massive free time would bring social changes. I’d be surprised if that issue is even on their radar. It’s more like some of the rich, and some of the poor, and most of the middle class, if they see people living comfortably on very little work, are full of rage covering their own grief at how much worse their lives are than they could have been.

Another way to look at it is that we feel the need for our lives to have meaning, and the customary source of meaning in the modern age is doing stuff for money. So if we get an unconditional basic income, and doing stuff is separated from money, then people will suddenly feel that their lives are meaningless, or they’ll have to change their whole idea of what makes life meaningful, and that’s really hard.