Friday, 27 April 2012


I've heard it said that there are three levels of conversation. We can talk about people, about things and events, or we can talk about ideas.

You can see it on the magazine stands. There are the women's mags for lovers of gossip, car mags for petrol-heads, and the likes of North and South who claim to be the "Magazine for Thinking New Zealand."

There is obviously a place for all three, but I enjoy talking about ideas. I like asking questions!

Where? when? which? who? where? how? and what? are the easy ones to answer. They deal with facts, on the first and second level.

But, like a kid tugging at his father's sleeve, the most interesting question for me, is Why?
  • Why do I react that way?
  • Why do you believe that?
  • Why were you there?
  • Why did they do that?  say that?  think that?
When training as a budget adviser and as a counsellor, I was taught not to ask Why? because it was too confrontational. But how can you explain a person's actions until you understand their motives? How can you make sense of their beliefs until you recognize their culture? How can you help them change their future unless you first help them to acknowledge their past? What was going on inside their head? inside their heart?

If truth be told, when I go about my daily work, I do use the softer "Wh" questions. I re-phrase the "Why" question so as not to appear hostile. But what I really want to know, is WHY!

I've also heard it said that the questions you ask reveal who you are as the questioner. I'm going to need to think about that one!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A message in the hourglass

"If it were not for the last minute, nothing would get done." So says my good friend, the oft-quoted Anon.

Thinking along the same lines, Mark Twain once said, "If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long.”

I know what they meant. I hate cleaning toilets and showers, and would happily sit at the computer, actively ignoring the niggle in the forefront of my conscience that I SHOULD be doing my chores.

Happy, that is, until I am challenged: Just what have I been doing all afternoon...?

Jesus once described a man like me. It was in the middle of a discourse concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
He continues.... (my paraphrase)
If you hear my sayings and do them, you are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, and when there was a massive storm, the house got through it okay. Kingdom of Heaven? Rock On!
But, if you hear my sayings and don't do them, you are like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and when there was a massive storm, the house crashed down around his ears! Kingdom of Heaven? Forget It!
The question I have to answer is, which of "my sayings" - of which there were many recorded - would He specifically want me to hear and do? What is the "will of My Father" for me?

And, how many more (last) minutes will I get until the sand runs out?

Perhaps I should start listening to my conscience....

Friday, 20 April 2012

Opinionated? Not me!

I used to think I was opinionated. Then in preparing this post, I checked its meaning:
Holding stubbornly and often unreasonably to ones own opinions
Doesn't sound like me at all....

However if, like me, you enjoy sharing your opinion and doing quick surveys, this is a fun and useful New Zealand-based site: Buzz The People

I enjoy it, it doesn't take a lot of my time, AND a charity benefits!

Here's what they say:
What is Buzz The People?
     Our buzzthepeople is a group of New Zealanders who simply tell us what they think by doing the occasional survey.
     In doing so our members go into draws to win prizes, donate their points to charity, raise money for their schools or sports clubs, or redeem their reward points for vouchers.
     We also regularly conduct our Buzz Live studies which are about highly topical events where you get the chance to have your say.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Where to find a good blog, these days...

Being a relative newbie to blogging, I initially found it difficult to find New Zealand blogs on subjects that interest me. In a rare instance, Google let me down.

So, to save you the effort, here are two links that I found really useful, with loads of links:
          Kiwiblog's blogroll
          Open Parachute's siteranking

The following links are for some of the more well-known blogs. They can be a bit incestuous, in that they often comment on each other, or post links to each other, or slag each other off, but they generally make for a good read.

          Whale Oil Beef Hooked
Currently New Zealand's number one blogger, serving up a potpourri of right-wing politics, union-bashing, quirky videos and anything that supports his views on same-sex marriage. He doesn't pull too many punches.

Some of these sites also have a blogroll - maybe I should have Googled that, might try it next...

          The Standard - and their blogroll
          Cactus Kate
          Red Alert
          No Minister

A wee warning to those who haven't browsed the comments sections before: Some of the commenters are pretty nasty, not really what I was used to after having followed political comment and readers' responses in the NZ Herald for the last few years.

I found this blog really interesting, so it's too bad he's stopped updating:
          This guy should have been a sub-editor

Enjoy :-)

Monday, 9 April 2012

Just two online comments

It's been an interesting week in my online adventure. I've started leaving the occasional comment on WhaleOil's blog and, on a "religious" issue, got a rather septic response:

I suspect from his first comment that The Baron expected a different response. I kinda twisted his tail by referring to a "rational conversation", a description by the way, which I wouldn't apply to a lot of the comments on the blog. Nonetheless, it was an interesting dialogue which was more amusing than distressing.

Recently however, there was a personal comment about me on Hawke's Bay Today's site:

My initial response? Outrage! Injustice! I know, I know, I should get a thicker skin, but it's so wrong, it's not even funny: the spite in the final comment, getting their facts wrong - the offence they accuse me of, I don't write stories - and hiding behind a pseudonym, a practice for which I am having less and less respect!

The Bigger Picture:

A lot of the blogs and comments I've seen online are downright nasty.
  • When do they become libelous?
  • What recourse should you take?
  • Is it worth it? Look at the current spat between MP Judith Collins against Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little.
  • How much should blogs and comments be moderated?
    • Is it feasible, given that some blogs attract hundreds of comments on any given day?
  • Why do people have so much angst?
And, what else are people you meet every day thinking but not saying, except behind the anonymity of the internet?