Friday, May 4, 2012

TALK TO ME chapter 6


    When I arrived at the studio, I noticed a few extra cars in the underground car parking lot that were assigned to visitors. Jean’s and Peter’s cars were both there and the others looked familiar—I couldn’t quite place them. I soon found out.
    As I crept passed the busy receptionist, trying to avoid a conversation, she called me over. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her, but I preferred to miss the usual drawn-out chat we usually had. My priority was to get a few things organised and to read up on some stories that were bound to come up on my shift.
    ‘Are you miffing out on me Garry?’ June said. The glint in her eye was the one I recognised when things were up and she was the recipient of ‘knowledge.’ I quickly changed my mind.
    ‘Nah---- my head’s elsewhere lately—what with all this crap going down.’
    ‘Guess who’s in the meeting room?’ Oh my God--- she’s gonna play that game. That’s all I need. Now I’m not going to get anywhere until I’ve played her silly game.
    ‘I’m not in the mood for the Katherine Tate Show June. Just spit it out.’
    For a second or two I thought she was going to go into that pouting thing she does so well, but she didn’t. She motioned me closer, as if the news she was about to share was world-breaking and I’d be the first to hear.  I shimmied over, bringing a barely suppressed giggle.
    ‘Shush--- they’re right next door,’ she said.
    ‘You’re the one making all the noise dearie.’ I said. Damn--- now I really do want to hear what she knows.
    ‘It’s all the Shift managers, plus some of the executives from the main office. The head money crunchers is here too and he’s got one hell of a smile on his face. I took coffee and muffins through about twenty minutes ago--- guess what they’re talking about?’
    ‘Ah--- maybe the latest automated receptionist robots,’ I ventured with a semi-straight face.
    ‘Oh you---- stop teasing me.’  Her face turned serious for a split second---- but then--- back to the possessor of great knowledge.  ‘They are talking about you Garry.  Just as I was leaving, I overheard something about the show going viral on the internet. Hehehe--- you should ask for a raise honey bun.’
    ‘Thank God I haven’t got face book then,’ I replied.
    ‘You should Garry---- everyone will be hitting it if you do.’
    ‘And when the hell would I find time to respond to them all--- Have you thought about that?’
    ‘You wouldn’t have to Garry--- the station would hire someone to do it for you.’
    ‘What a load of bollocks--- that’s so dishonest.’
    ‘Do you really think that all those stars do their own thing? It’s all about money Garry.’
    The buzzer went on June’s desk. ‘Yes Peter?’
    ‘Is Garry in the building June?’
    ‘He’s just come in--- do you want me to send him in?’
    ‘yes June-----‘   June left the switch on----- ‘Right when he comes in--- don’t lay it on too think---- we don’t want the bugger thinking he’s God’s gift do we---- shit the fucker will be asking for more money then---- and he doesn’t k now we’re bloody rolling in advertising revenue----‘  June belatedly cut off the conversation. Her face was bright red or was it from trying not to giggle too much?
    ‘You did that on bloody purpose didn’t you June?’
    ‘What--- me----- do that? ---never,’ she said, unable to stop laughing. ‘It’s not often we get one over on them eh?’
    I went through to the meeting room, which is a rather pretentious name for what serves as a kitchen and lunchroom and the occasional use as a sick room. An old couch that someone had thrown out long ago served as a resting place for anyone needing a quick lay down. Of course the very nature of the set-up did little to encourage regular use; they either soldiered on or took themselves home.
    The remnants of muffins on paper plates and cold coffee dregs were scattered around the table, where six people sat. They looked up at me----- I knew their little secret. I would use that knowledge when and if it suited me. For now, I sat at a vacant seat.
    ‘Here’s the man of the moment,’ the number-cruncher said. God--- he looked like one too. His balding head, cheap suit and beady eyes fulfilled all of my prejudices. The other simply smiled, apart from Jean, who had this other unexplainable look. Was she going to be a bitch? I thought, or would that other almost caring side be in ascendency?  No---- she looked like someone had told her to go easy on me. Maybe I could rark her up later.
    ‘I believe you wanted to see me before I hit the air-waves,’ I said in my most professional manner.
    ‘Yes---- we wanted to see the man of the moment,’ a middle-aged lady said. Her voice dripped of money and old-school. A few years back, I would have called her one of the ‘blue-rinsed brigade.’   Now, I guess she would be more ex-yuppie.’ and definitely Botox material.  Bottom line---- watch out for her. Peter came to the fore.
    ‘We all, think you are doing remarkably well. It seems that with every hour you are on, our audience out there increases. They seem to find out really quickly, once you start.’
    ‘The marvels of instant communication Peter,’ I replied. My friends have told me that the lagoon is even on Utube---- gosh someone even took a few shots of the ladies and our dogs. I’m not sure they are very comfortable with that.’ Jean seemed to have sat on a stone or something, or was it a bundle of notes she had just counted from the revenue boost.
    ‘So you are coming under the spotlight a bit then Garry,’ one of the other guys said. He was younger--- stuffed if I knew what his ties were to the station. He had this smug look and screamed----‘just keep the money rolling in boyo.’ I decided a little drama was in order and put on a stressed look. That entailed a little wringing of my hands and moving about in a pseudo-nervous manner.
    ‘I think if you had to listen to the crap that prick throws at me, you would be asking for a new BMW and extra stress-leave, somehow---ooops I’m sorry I don’t know your name.’
    There was a distinct moving about of multiple bums as they took in my response. Man that made me feel better. Maybe, I should push it further.  ‘Damn--- I’m hardly sleeping and everywhere I go, I seem to be looking over my shoulder.’  
    ‘Ah, I’m Jonathan Taylor and this is Camilla Sternbrook--- I believe you know the remainder of our team, Peter Jean and Eugene, our ever suffering shift managers---- oh and our Advertising executive, Tom Nottingham.  I must say you are doing a sterling job Garry--- keep this up and I’m sure there will be a little something in it for you.’
    There--- he had said it--- but little? He needed a bit more prodding. ‘Actually my doctor is worried about the stress-level--- he wants me to take some time off, until the police get to the bottom of this.’
    That hit the spot. The room’s temperature seemed to have gone Arctic. The looks on their collective mugs was almost comical, except I hadn’t made a joke. Well it was funny for me though. I guess they could see their golden goose flapping off for greener pastures and the station’s income going decidedly miniscule.
    ‘Garry--- is there anything we can do to make this work?’  Jean--- my caring wonderful Jean. I couldn’t tell if she was genuine. Let’s face it--- our stand-offs are so regular, it’s hard to know whether we’re fighting or playing a silly game.
    ‘Look--- I haven’t told you this –yet---- But I arrived home to find an envelope with what I can only say is a threatening note in it from our lula caller.’
    ‘Garry--- you can’t speak like that about our callers.’  It’s the yuppie talking.
    ‘Would you like to swap places then, Princess?’ I said scathingly. Jean sent a look that should have curdled the milk, but said nothing. Camilla on the other hand, almost froze. She held her tongue--- for a second or two.
    ‘I’m sure you are exaggerating Garry. You don’t even know if he is the one who killed that poor man. All you need to do is keep him talking. It can’t be that difficult.’
    ‘Perhaps you should come and talk to the ladies I walk with. Believe me--- they are starting to feel it too. I’d love to know how you’d respond if you found out that every move you make is being observed.’
    ‘You are been most unreasonable Garry,’ Jonathan interrupted. He didn’t follow through; indeed he looked decidedly uncomfortable. He seemed to have caught Camilla’s butt problem.
    ‘I think I can hear a cash register banging away in the distance---- oh its jammed.’
    Peter tried to suppress a grin, but I saw it. The others didn’t know where to look. Maybe I had riled them enough for one day, but I think I had made my point.
    ‘Look--- you may not have much to do, but I need to prepare for my shift. You don’t want me talking shit on air do you?’  Without even a hint of a backward glance I left them to it. I could feel their eyes boring into my back. Oh they wanted to fire me,’ I’m sure. If they can play the money game, then I would join them. I hoped like hell the bugger would ring in again. I had some ideas about how to handle him, but boy---- was I nervous--- and a little scared.

ROSKILL-- chapter 5


    When Joe left an hour later, John had still not returned. Now at six thirty, Moana began to wonder if he had gone with his mates for a drinking session. She was not pleased.
   James and Lucy sensed their mother’s displeasure and decided to help out preparing dinner.
   'How about I make curried sausages like you taught me, Mum?' James offered.
   'And I’ll make that instant pudding mix up?' Lucy chimed in.
   'That’s nice of you both, but it won't get your old man out of trouble if he’s been on the piss again,' Moana replied, and then went into the lounge with her cup of tea to watch the rest of the news.
   Moana didn’t really watch the TV, even though it was louder than usual. There had been a Tsunami warning all day for the East Coast of New Zealand, but she hardly registered. Her thoughts were very much on her husband. She couldn’t get the thought out of her mind that something was not quite right. John was due to start his job, full time next week but here he was, going off with his so called friends; doing God knows what. He most definitely had some serious questions to answer.
   When James and Lucy brought in a tray with her dinner, she sat up and attempted to take an interest in their efforts.
   'That looks so nice--- and you’ve even dished it up beautifully,' Moana praised her children.   'Where’s yours?'
   'We had ours in the kitchen,' James said. 'We were hoping you and Dad could have a nice dinner in the lounge together, but when he didn’t come home, we decided to bring yours in so it doesn’t spoil,' Lucy said. 'Are you and Dad going to have another argument, Mum?' Lucy added, her face betraying her discomfort.  
   'I don’t intend to, hun, but he is pissing me off lately with his shenanigans,' Moana replied.
   'You didn’t used to fight, Mum,' James said.
   'Yeah well, things change, don’t they.'
   'Can I play on the computer, Mum?' Lucy asked.
   'Yes, but don’t spend too much time in those chat rooms you seem to like. You know what I think of them.' Moana said.
   'Come-on Mum------ how else am I gonna keep up with my friends in Christchurch and my new ones here?' Lucy whined.
   'Just stop that tone young lady. I have enough to worry about without you getting into trouble, so be careful---OK?
   'All right Mum,' Lucy responded in what she hoped wasn’t that tone her Mum and James disliked so much.
   Moana sat at the kitchen table with her bottomless cup of tea thinking of the last few days and how her husband had changed. She thought back to the time in Christchurch when he had associated with a group that nearly ruined their marriage. It was only when his parents had intervened and pulled him back to his senses, that the marriage was saved. She was unaware to this day what they had said or done but now she felt alone. Maybe she should let them know what was happening. A big part of her refused to do that. It felt like an admission of defeat, barely days after they had arrived in Auckland. No,------she must dig deeper and find a solution herself. The problem was that she didn’t know what she was dealing with. John had admitted to a few drinks, but something didn’t fit. He didn’t appear drunk. If anything, he seemed to be wired up, jumpy and extremely short fused. Moana resigned herself to another argument. She also worried about what the affect would be on James and Lucy.
   In the lounge, Lucy logged on to the computer and quickly found the site where she loved to chat with her friends. She giggled to herself at her Mum’s ignorance of how the site worked. Her brother was not so ignorant, so Lucy was careful to only chat with her friends when he wasn’t around. Lucy looked out through the lounge window onto the backyard where James was hitting a tennis ball against the concrete block wall of the garage.  'Hehehe.  I wonder how long it will be before the sound drives Mum a bit nuts,' Lucy Mumbled as her fingers flew around the keyboard. 
   Lucy began chatting with one of her friends in Christchurch and within a few minutes she was updated with all the latest gossip. Lucy was particularly interested in how one of her friends had met a cute guy in the chat room. She wished something like that would happen for her. There seemed to be something magic and a little forbidden about the idea of meeting a total stranger online and then hooking up with them later.
   There were several new members in the chat room, one of whom was from her new school.  She had joined the same chat room that Lucy always used. 'Mmmm--------she was quick to use my number and profile,' Lucy thought.
They chatted for a while and then promised to meet up at school the following week. Both of them were year nines and were starting the same day.  It would be nice to have someone she knew in the school; both of them feeling the uncertainty of being new at the school.
    Lucy became aware of someone trying to buzz her. 'Bad Boy' was asking if she wanted to talk privately. Lucy was a little uncertain at first, but then gave in. Surely no harm would come from just chatting.
   'Who are you? ' Lucy typed, still in the main chat room.
   'Go Private------too many nosey buggers here,' Bad Boy replied.
   'But I don’t know you,' Lucy returned.   
   'Maybe I’m too much for ya, then,' Bad boy teased.
LUCY ----Sez who?
BAD BOY       Maybe yusz  chicken.
LUCY               How old?
BAD BOY       14
LUCY              same
BAD BOY      what ya look like?
LUCY             my frenz say I’m cute-------brown hair, 1.60 and slim. --------U?
BAD   BOY    islander, league build. All da chiks like me eh?
LUCY         lol-------they all say dat. Hey, I gota go----- my nosey bros coming inside--- chat   another time.
BAD BOY      sure doll—catch ya------sweet.

   Lucy signed on to her Hotmail account and read the messages from the inbox.
   'What you doing, sis?' James asked, not really interested. 'I wanna check my messages.'
   'You mean someone actually sends you messages?' Lucy said sarcastically. 
   'You are such a bitch,' James replied. Maybe next time you get in the shit, I won't help uh?'
   'Suit yourself. I was doing all right anyway,' Lucy said half-heartedly. She was genuinely thankful for her brother’s intervention but would hardly admit it to him.
   'Lucy-------it’s your brother’s turn,' Moana shouted from the kitchen. The last thing she needed was an altercation between her two children.
   'You always take his side,' Lucy said petulantly, and then stormed off to her room, leaving the computer to James. She had forgotten to sign out.

BAD BOY       you still there doll---- I thought ya brother was coming.
   James stopped signing in to his Yahoo Messenger. 'What’s she been up to then?' he thought.     'Maybe I should check up on my little sister.'

LUCY (James)    Naah----he’s gone again.
BAD BOY         Good, cause I wanna get to know ya.
LUCY (James)   same------you sound kinda cute.
   'Shit----- I better be careful. I don’t know what they been talking about,' James thought.
LUCY (James)   what school you go to anyway?
BAD BOY         I’m in the south.
LUCY (James)   south what?
BAD BOY         you stupid or something?   South Auckland.
LUCY (James)   who u callin stupid--------- arsehole?
BAD BOY        Just kidding-lol
   'Mmmm, I better be careful,' James thought.
LUCY (James)  Oops he really is here now—see ya.
BAD BOY        outa here------- next time
   James wondered about who BAD BOY was but then again, he didn’t really want to get too involved in his sister’s stuff. God knows what he would do if he found her doing what he had just done. But he was the oldest, so just maybe he would do it again. He looked at his watch.
   'Eleven-----his Dad wasn’t home yet. Mum would be really pissed off. Perhaps it was best he went to bed early. Too bad----- wasting a Friday night--------pity, what with school starting next week; Friday nights would be important in his social life.'
   In the kitchen, Moana looked at the clock on the wall. It seemed to be the only sound in the room, ticking away, reminding her that John was still not home. She pulled away from the table and stood up, straightened her hair, locked the back door and wandered off down the hall to the bathroom, forgetting to turn off the light. Moana looked at the worried face in the mirror.
   'Why do you do this to us?' she pleaded, tears beginning to stream down her face. She washed her face and crept passed the children’s’ room, hoping that they hadn’t heard her distress. Moana didn’t bother to undress; simply falling onto the bed, pushing her face into the pillow to lessen the sounds of her crying from her children. She did not hear the sound of gentle knocking on James’ window.
   James was lying on his bed, watching the tiny fifteen inch TV, which he could only tune into three channels. If he wanted to get the music channel, he would manoeuvre the aerial until he managed to get a semblance of a picture. It was either a clear picture and no sound, or sound with a crappy picture. At first he didn’t hear the knocking but on the second attempt by whoever was trying to attract his attention, he turned the TV off and went to the window.
'I hope it’s not those bastards again,' he muttered, but this time he felt that he could take them on if he needed to.
   James pulled the curtains aside and looked into the yard under his bedroom window. Sione waved at him, all smiles. James opened the window.
   'Do you want the cops to pick you up or something?' James said a little annoyed.
   'Come on out-------my brother wants to make peace, Sione whispered, well aware that the lights were still on the kitchen, despite, Moana’s departure.
James thought for a moment, and then announced, 'What the hell. I’m bored stupid and if it’s OK for my old man to not turn up, then why the stuff not-------but you better not be playing tricks Sione, or I will beat the shit out of all three of you.'
'It’s just me and my Bro,' Sione said, indicating his crouching brother in the yard.
   James jumped nimbly out of his window, landing beside Sione.
   'This is my older brother, Corey,' Sione said as the other boy came forward, a little sheepishly.
   'I hope you’re not gonna try to jump me this time,' James said as he put out his hand to greet Corey.
   'Naah-------lets peace it man. I’m in enough shit to last me years,' Corey replied, taking James’ hand in a tight grip.
   'Cool------let’s get the hell out of here before my mother notices us or my old man gets home,' James suggested.
   The three boys jumped the fence and headed out into the park.
   'Hey--------where’s that other dude who was with you the other night?' James asked.
   'Things got too hot for him so he pissed off down the line,' Corey replied. 'Not just for what we did to you, but for far more bad stuff.'
   When they were about five hundred metres into the long narrow park near the school, the boys stopped by a playground.  Corey pulled a packet of smokes from his pocket, offering them to James and Sione.
James reused, saying he didn’t smoke.
   'Pussy,' Corey teased.
   'I’m not wasting what stuff all money I have on these,' James said.
   'What makes you think I pay for them?' Corey laughed. 'Just do over a few houses and I have smokes for a month-------booze too.'
     'Aren’t you scared of getting caught?' James asked.
Corey laughed.  'They don’t do nothing------just another Family Group Conference.'
   'Yeah, but you’re seventeen now, and they’ll chuck you in prison next time you get caught,' his younger brother said fearfully.
   'Fuck them-----they gota catch me first,' Corey boasted.
      'So what do you do-------you go to school?' James asked Corey.
   'You're kidding me?' Shit--------I dropped out of that when I was fourteen,' Corey replied condescendingly.
   'Yeah------that’s why you’re so dumb,' Sione let slip.
   'Watch ya mouth kid,' Corey replied, cuffing Sione across his ears. There was no real force in his slap and James detected a fondness in Corey’s relationship with his younger brother.
   'Let’s go and get a drink,' Corey suggested. 'I’ve got some stored under that sports shed in that school.'
   'What if the kids at the school find it?' James asked, thinking of the trouble it would cause if the kids had a few drinks.
   'If that happens and I find out who took it, they’ll regret it, I can tell you that,' Corey said threateningly.
James had a distinct feeling that he had made a mistake joining the two boys. It wasn’t Sione he was worried about----but his older brother had serious problems------ones that James thought he would be better to avoid being part of.
   'I think I better get home now,' James said uncertainly.  'If I’m not home before the old man, I’ll be in deep shit.'
   'You’re such a poof, James. Who gives a shit what your Dad thinks? From what you told me before, he couldn’t care less about what you do,' Corey said accusingly.
   'I know he’s not the best lately,' James said, feeling a twinge in his stomach at the meaning behind Corey’s words.
   'Come on------just one drink eh? Be one of the boys,' Corey taunted.
   James relented and followed Corey and Sione over the fence into the school grounds. Once again, he had the feeling that Sione wasn’t really a willing partner in Corey’s adventure. James wasn’t sure if Sione was awed by his brother or just wanting to be part of the group. When they retrieved the booze, they went to a quieter part of the school grounds, where they found several of Corey’s other friends.
   'Damn,' James thought. 'Now it’s going to be a lot harder to get away.'
   'Corey, ya dog----who’s that with ya?' one of the boys called. He was obviously well on the way to being drunk. However, on closer inspection, James realized that the boy had been sniffing something, judging by the mess around his face and the bag he was carrying. James remembered seeing the same scene several times in Christchurch. He also noticed that Sione was sticking closely to him, seemingly distancing himself from the other boys.
   Corey passed the bottles around and when James took a swig, he discovered that it was strong sprits, probably vodka or whiskey. He hated the burning sensation it caused when he swallowed it, so he pretended to drink and the others were unaware that he spat out most of the fluid. There were about six boys in the group they had joined and they were making an increasing amount of noise; surely enough to attract the attention of one of the neighbours near the school.
   As the boys drank more, they began to look for more stashes that Corey had boasted about. This entailed moving around the school. It wasn’t long before one of the younger ones decided to smash a window and enter one of the classrooms. James grabbed hold of Sione and whispered to him.
   'Let’s gap it out of here. That idiot probably set off an alarm.'
   Sione didn’t need any further encouragement. He was becoming more and more concerned about his brother’s antics. When James made his suggestion, he readily agreed. While the others stepped into the classroom, James and Sione quietly slipped away. They retraced their steps towards the fence line on James’ property. As they jumped over the fence they heard the sound of police sirens.
   'That was close,' Sione remarked, relief clear in his voice. Then he thought of his brother back at the school.   'He’s gonna be pissed when he sees we aren’t with him,' Sione said.
   'Well, I’m damned sure I don’t want to be part of his stupid gang,' James said.
   'I wish it was that easy,' Sione said quietly. 'He gives me a hard time if I don’t follow him. 
   'Mmmm-------I think I may be getting a hard time too. I see Dad’s home,' James said a little fearfully.
Although John wasn’t one of those parents who regularly beat their children, he still had a way of making it perfectly clear that he was not happy when either of his children broke his rules.
   At first James was going to try to climb back in his bedroom window, but he realized that it was a little too high. He decided to go through the back door.
   'I’ll come with you,' Sione offered. 'Maybe he won't go off his nuts if I’m there.'
   'Some hope,' James replied.

9300 and heading ever up

Thanks for all the hits. It took two years to get the first 1500 now its more like 1500 a week---  lets hit 1,000,000

dont forget to click

hi ya Nicky--- Brunei welcome to the club

Maybe I am making an assumption, but I reckon my friend in Brunei has joined us-- I do hope she makes some comments and tells me off for not sending the book. I am so pleased to welcome you all.

Hello there portugal

Welcome to my world- I'd love to know how you hit on my blog--- Hope you enjoy it and of course read my three books online--- free. Click on the adverts to keep me on line.

Do social workers get performance pay?

Is that a silly question? ---Social worker on performance pay? I come into contact with social workers quite a lot in my job as a school counsellor and they are a great bunch of people to work with to keep our kids safe. Sure there has been a great deal of bad publicity about incidents where the system has not worked in the best way, but I believe that is more about funding than bad practitioners.  Just like teachers, there can always be found a bad apple, but they are not common. Then system has a way of weeding them out.
Now I ask you--- should the Social Working profession be on performance pay? This is where I really do need one of you reading this in NZ (or elsewhere--- just to keep the debate real) to make a comment or two. Would it work? What would it do to the collegiality of the office? How would you measure performance and then reward the ‘winners?’
Transfer that argument to the classrooms in our schools and I think you can find an answer. I do not want to work in a school, where you need to look over your back, and not share resources, because if you did, it may hinder your chances of making the ‘lucky list.’
For those of you who have not worked in a school recently, then don’t’ say you have observed and you know what you are talking about. Being in a classroom, day after day, handling some of the problems that our friends in the Social Worker office also handle, then try to talk to someone who really does know—not a tame lackey of the system but one who is at the chalk face or who is in a position to closely observe and hear the goings on in a classroom.
The Minister of Education must have had someone whispering in her ear, as I said in my last blog on this subject, so it is interesting that she has slowed down and said she is concentrating on ‘appraisal matters.’  I hope her colleagues are listening. If not--- goodbye my dear MS Parata. Your heart is in the right place though.  Do we actually have a Minister of Education who is listening?

The French face the same choice most of the 'democratic nations--

The French face the same choice that most of the democratic nations face. I use that term, knowing that there is of course a great deal of variation about how much and how free elections are in the so called democratic nations. I very much doubt that there is a nation in the world that does not have ‘forces’ acting against true democracy. Yes it is all there on paper, or in the constitution but it is money and pressure groups that have an influence on the final result.
France has some hard choices to make. It has an economy that is at risk and while it is a strong player in the European sphere and indeed in the world, it faces  a similar crisis to that Greece faced and still faces--- debt, debt and still more debt. Some of this has originated from a desire to curry favour with the electorate and keep living standards high--- a subsidized economy and large public service.
I am not saying those things are bad. Indeed, now that we are facing cuts to our public service, I am a strong critic of that road to economic salvation.
 The candidates in the French election could not be more different in style, personality and policy. One wants to spend and one wants to cut. One is flamboyant and the other more demure. One will try to steal the far right vote and appeal to the racists fringes, whilst not admitting it, while the other will present a picture of tolerance and unfortunately he will be fighting a growing trend all over Europe to bring in the race card.
The election this weekend will not solve the underlying problems--- it will just be a changing of the guard, assuming that the polls have correctly picked the winner. I would not want to be in the shoes of the winner. As with NZ, unless politicians can act in a way that is not totally tied to the ballot box, then we will get the same old, same old.
Good luck France.

At least Taiwan can read me--what--

Welcome Taiwan-- at least you can read my blog--- what does that tell you about your big neighbour? If anyone wants to make a comparison of 'freedoms,' then there we have it. I dearly want China to enter a world where their citizens can take for granted the rights that your country has so strongly developed over the last ten years.  Maybe you are headed for a reunification of sorts and it may take the form of the model we see in Hong Kong. Well, I must say that they read my blogs so there is hope yet in 'big brother China.'
I would love to enter inot dialogue with you my new friend(s), so get your fingers going and 'Talk To Me,' ---- hehehe that's the title for one of my books--- read it for free online in my blogs and click on the adverts so that I can continue to publish my books via the internett. I have an enormous way to go yet.

SkyCity thinks we are stupid! ( and Update at bottom of page)

Maybe they are correct--- we are stupid if we believe their latest defence of their non-compliance with the requirement for them to reach out and ban ‘problem gamblers.’
Of course that is not going to happen. Why would they bar money coming through the door? Why would they bite then hand that feeds them? The reports on TV were laughable if it wasn’t for the harm that problem gambling causes. I regularly see the damage it causes to families in NZ.
The Casino says that they have identified more problem gamblers than ever in the last year, but they don’t say that the numbers they have not ‘helped’ has gone up by a far larger number. The numbers quotes are probably far smaller than the real figure--- let’s face it--- how many people are going to be admitting that gambling is a problem for them
The problem gambler is no different to other people who have some sort of compulsion, be it food, drugs, alcohol or any form of addiction. The ‘source’ may differ but similar brain patterns operate. All cause damage to families, but much more is known and accepted as problematic than with gambling. Shame is the key factor. The results for non-gambling are more obvious than the damage gambling inflicts, for a while at least.
As with smoking and alcohol, the Government reaps the tax dollar (in other words the rest of us) and to an extent can then help with the downstream damage; pouring resources into social services. Other non-governmental agencies will probably receive ‘guilt-money from SkyCity and will no doubt make sure we all know.
Imagine what could happen if the Government put massive amounts of money into publicizing the down-side of gambling in all of its forms? There is nothing n new about the comments being made by those who see the ‘evil affects’ of gambling. The same voices have been with us throughout our history.  What is different about the SkyCity fiasco is that the debate is so much more public.
I predict that the furore will bounce around until it dies for a while. That’s what SkyCity wants. Look out for some more crazy and baseless announcements. All aimed at protecting their bottom-line----- PROFIT. Am I against profit--- not---- just the bullshit that goes with it to justify their right to wreak havoc in our community?

Each time I write a piece on SkyCity, amnother article appears in newspapers on or TV. All that does is to make mtore angry at thier cynical, money first, stuff the affects on our clinets approach. Do yu realllt think that a bit of 'blood money' is going to make iota of difference? I think I am talking myslef inot quite a state. The power of the pen is greater than the sword?  Doubt it--- maybe we need a modern day Jesus to go in and smite the money-makers--- just joking--- am I?

New Zealand for sale--- come and get it

In the last fifty years New Zealand has thrust itself forward as an ‘offering’ to the highest bidder. Yes, NZ is for sale. Not just the present Government, but previous ones have also put us on the blocks.
We have a massive public debt and we must pay that off or face dire consequences. The spectre of Greece and other European nations hover just beyond the financial horizon. It seems that the only way out of this dilemma is for us to sell ourselves. New Zealand and its docile labour force is up for grabs.
What will we offer our future masters? Hey, why not put the lot up and then we can sleep at night knowing that our benevolent overlords will take care of us. At least we can rest in peace, because the debt will no longer be ours. That debt itself can be bought and sold; tossed around in a sea of selfishness.
Imagine our power production, fisheries, minerals, prospecting rights and our land--- oh--- go the whole hog. Why not chuck in our hospitals, education services and all of our financial institutions. Oops, I forget--- aren’t they basically already owned by overseas interest? The Trojan horse has been and gone long ago. We have lived for quite a while, thinking that we are a sovereign nation. The old colonial set-up simply changed its name and assumed a different guise.
It seems that the process is way too advanced to respond to public disquiet and by the time we collectively punish the politicians of the day, it will almost be too late. When we attempt to renationalize our assets we will face a different type of enemy in the new war. Those who we thought were our allies will be actively involved in putting down any opposition to their aims to swallow up the remainder of our dwindling assets.
We will be modern day slaves in a low wage economy, where the profits will depart our shores. A new class of local lackeys will arise and serve their foreign masters.
‘But what about our mates across the ditch in Australia?’ you may ask----- Too late my friends. They will also have succumbed to the new order. Do we just give up?
Of course not! That is not the New Zealand way. It means we have to take a long hard look at ourselves and what we want as a nation and how we share our wealth. It may mean a different way of living--- one that is sustainable and one that has entrenched in law that New Zealand is not for sale. We will most definitely need to return to the more caring nation we were once known for around the world.
I am not being simplistically nostalgic. I believe we face many real challenges. We must end the flow of cheap imports and a return to a locally owned manufacturing base. It may mean that we won’t be able to live in the ‘see, need and buy,’ mode that we have made our own.
What I have briefly presented is most surely a naive piece of economic non-reality and one that will be shot to pieces from every quarter, but we cannot shirk our responsibility to keep as much of our economic heritage for those  following and not give in to short-term gains. If we cannot reach across the political divide then we are doomed to a very uncertain future.
Slow down Mr Key and listen to the people! Keep our assets in New Zealand hands.