11 November 2017

Viva Peru!

Peru fans congregate at the Wellington Stadium for this afternoon's World Cup football qualifier against the All Whites, in traditional capital spring weather - sunny with chilling gales.

08 November 2017

Colour separation

John Fortune was once in a TV show with Irene Handl. It involved colour separation, a technique then in its infancy, and the enthusiastic young director thought he should explain the process to Miss Handl at the outset.

Swathed in a fur tippet and carrying at least two Pekingese, the dumpy old lady listened patiently while he embarked on a lecture about electronics. Eventually she interrupts: "Excuse me, dear, but I think you're confusing me with one of those actresses who gives a fuck"

- Alan Bennett, Writing Home (1980 diaries), London, 1994

31 October 2017

The death of American compromise

[Former US Speaker of the House of Representatives John] Boehner worries about the deepening fissures in American society. But he sees Trump as more of a symptom than the cause of what is a longer arc of social and ideological alienation, fueled by talk radio and Fox News on the right and MSNBC and social media on the left. “People thought in ’09, ’10, ’11, that the country couldn’t be divided more. And you go back to Obama’s campaign in 2008, you know, he was talking about the divide and healing the country and all of that. And some would argue on the right that he did more to divide the country than to unite it. I kind of reject that notion.” Why is that? “Because it wasn’t him!” Boehner replies. “It was modern-day media, and social media, that kept pushing people further right and further left. People started to figure out … they could choose where to get their news. And so what do people do? They choose places they agree with, reinforcing the divide.” [...]

Boehner believes Americans are ill-informed because of their retreat into media echo chambers, one of two incurable causes of the country’s polarization. Another is inextricably related: the unwillingness of lawmakers to collaborate across the aisle, for fear of recriminations from the base. Boehner says the fact he and Obama golfed together only once—and agreed that it was usually better for him to sneak into the White House—speaks to how the two parties punish compromise. He doesn’t foresee this toxic political climate improving, ticking off potential fixes—term limits, redistricting reform—that he says won’t make a bit of difference. “It’s going to take an intervening event for Americans to realize that first, we are Americans,” he says. An intervening event? “Something cataclysmic,” he responds, gazing upward.

- Tim Alberta, 'John Boehner Unchained', Politico, Nov/Dec 2017

29 October 2017

New resident in old timbers

A sparrow guards its nest amidst the teak timbers of the museum ship barque Edwin Fox (1853), in Picton this morning.

15 October 2017

Homeward bound

Wellington tugs Tiaki & Tapuhi return to port, 15 October 2017

12 October 2017

Four gentlemen of Amman

I was wandering through the middle of Amman, the Jordanian capital, on my last day in town some nine years ago (6 November 2008) when these four chaps noticed my camera and asked me to take their picture. I can't remember how extensive their English was, but they liked the picture. Didn't spot the naughty cigarette no.2 is rocking! Wonder what they're up to now? (That was a great trip, by the way).