Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sticks and Stones

Apparently, the fans of Rolling Stones concerts aren't exactly what they used to be, and for sure, not what I remember. Hard News has as usual, a good synopsis of the event here. I chose to stay on the island, attend the Jazz Festival which was, as far as I could tell, somewhat under appreciated. We heard a generous, soulful performance by Elana Stone, who simply had her band, as well as the audience, under a "spell". The festival was all very well organised, with a marquee set up on the waterfront and a jam session next door at the pub into the wee hours. Brilliant, if you are a jazz fan, which I must say is becoming decidedly possible for me.

Friends and relatives in the States talk about the horrid state of both weather and politics back there, with Hawaii and California getting rain like they haven't seen in years. They could visit Auckland in winter if they want, but then they might never come back! As far as politics goes well, there are plenty of bloggers out there with their keyboards humming on that front, so I don't need to enter the fray, aside from pointing out some interesting views not often heard in mainstream press.

On a completley different note (no pun intended), my guidebook on Birds of the New Zealand Forest (which is a very handy reference from my office window), states the colonial origin the name of my longtime favourite the tui, as a "parson bird", due to the tuft of white feathers on the neck. Whatever. Once a tui, always a tui to me. I was not aware of this history, but the authors description of its most transcendent song, was very accurate:

"...one of the great delights of the forest - it is mostly of fluid melodic notes, sometimes
intermingled with short coughs and clicks".

It is very hard to describe, but not at all hard to miss. They light up the bush with their song, and are a delightful conversation partner during walks. Very rapid flyers, they defend their feeding territory quite vigorously. I am fortunate with the kind of bush around my house offer them a vast and seasonally adjusted diet, one in which many landowners need to plant in order to attract. If one had told me I was to become a birdwatcher a decade ago, my reaction would have been somewhat muted I suppose. Great creatures they are.

It was great to see those with vision within the Venture Capital Industry are beginning to see signs of real opportunity for green industries and start ups. Nothing like a bit of cash available to get that next sustainable industry off and running. Good article here from the NRDC site.

And another interesting sidenote for all those active Baby Boomers here, which begs the question once again concerning our desire to do more, be more, and generally have more than any other generation. At what cost? It reminds me of an old Taoist saying:

"The Great Way is not difficult,
If you have no preferences".

That would, ahem, make it easier for sure.

Speaking of which(was I?), it is time to mail in my monthly payroll tax for the wonderful folks I have working for me, and for whom I diligently deduct a certain amount every paycheck for our government to do something (anything!) with. Right now, roading is a big concern in Auckland, because gee, I mean, we need to drive somewhere! Near a meeting hall I attend, they have decided ( for umpteen million dollars) to extend the motorway another few kilometres, so it now ends in another neighborhood, creating a backlog there. Go figure. Not complete the motorway, just extend it. Kind of like the bridge to nowhere. Which is where my postbox is located down the road. Excuse me, there is a strange clicking and coughing sound interspersed with melodic notes calling me out to play...

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