Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Never Too Late

It is not who is right, but what is right that is of importance.

-Thomas Huxley

Visitors to our lovely shores here would most definitely be dropping their jaws of late, as this piece in the NZ Herald suggests, with the national psyche up for review (once again), this time not as a result of a rugby match or yachting exploits, but from the far more revealing dark underbelly of society. The scourge that is child abuse exists almost everywhere; yet in idyllic New Zealand, it somehow gets lost in the effusive declaration of ourselves as innovative, caring and adventurous folk. Not quite. We have an apalling rate of youth suicide, and the statistics around the care of our young are almost unbelievable when taken in the context of how fortunate we are to be living here.
Twin infants were murdered in their own home, and the non-stop analysis with socio-economic, political, and racial underpinnings have gone on for almost a month. I have to admit I was a bit shocked, and yet the recipe has certainly been there for some time, with similiar type offensive behaviour emerging (publicly anyway) every year or so. Former Listener editor Finlay Macdonald has a well written piece here that is able to mix common sense with outrage.

Children, for heavens sake! What more can you say?

My daughter meanwhile, has taken a month off from her hectic life in the fast lane for Auckland creatives in order to soak in some warmth and culture in the U.S and Canada. Amongst the endless goodbye drinks, dinners with colleagues, shooting a music video, and painting the house, she did get the old man off the island to make good on his promise of a decent digital camera. Duty free was definitely the way to go, with a great little 7 MPixel camera and all the extra memory and accessories (normally extra) for under $500. The relatives are ecstatic to say the least, as she rarely gets up that way. The list of gigs, museums, galleries etc she has earmarked will take a well organised schedule to fit in. Yeah right. One of her Grandmas is in a place called Bullhead City, near Las Vegas. It's Air Conditioned entertainment, Wild West style, as they cruise the casinos and stay out of the 45 deg C heat. Anyway, other than the film festival, July is certainly a good month to head up to the northern hemishphere. The little island that could is fairly quiet, thanks.

So, what do you do if you owe $100million, have been convicted of fraud as the ringleader in one of the highest profile corporate collapses in U.S history, and you are awaiting sentencing? Why, hang out in your Apen holiday home, of course. That is, until the stress gets to you, as it does, and the heart stops. That is apparently what has happened to Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron. And when you think of how many people are still behind bars for something as harmless as cannabis, it makes you realise how it really is the best justice system money can buy.

A few more morsels of astonishment from the "only in the U.S. file" include a remarkable revcovery of sorts for a man who has been termed in a "minimally conscious" (now there's a term for the ages) state for 19 years. Apparently, his brain is starting to heal itself. Go for it dude! Then there is the city of Seattle, long a favourite of mine, deciding they have had enough of the winos and drunks vomiting all over the streets, and so they have bought them all new apartments, no strings attached.

Finally, one of my favourite things about the iPod, (and there are plenty of things that are not), is listening to books whilst commuting or on the tractor. The publishing industry likes the idea as well, as they are gearing up to meet the demand of more and more people who like audiobooks. And whilst on entertainment, (and where else should we be?), Johnny Depp, one of my alltime favourite actors, has hit the jackpot with his Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and good for him. His selection of offbeat and quirky roles over the years has culminated in this success, where he has adopted the mannerisms of one Keith Richards for the outlandish character Captain Jack Sparrow. I am not much on sequels, but the word is Keith is up for a cameo role as the Captain's father in the upcoming episode. That is, if he stays out of Fijian coconut trees long enough to play another tour first with what's that band?..


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