Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's in the News Today...

Some days I read the news on Stuff and giggle. Some days I want to cry.

Today was a bit of a giggle day.

I can't get into the "Royal Wedding". What a joke! But an even bigger joke is that some women are still trying to cash in on being Princess Diana lookalikes. It seems the whole planet is all in a tizzy about the wedding tomorrow. Given that the only marriage that's lasted in that royal family this century is the Queen's, and that probably because she's so stuffy and dedicated to looking proper, I doubt this one will last.

What is it about the marriage of a stuck up, plastic invention (and you could probably interchange them with that description) to a plain looking twinkie-in-waiting half way around the world that has got everyone so excited? Are some people so dissatisfied with their own lives that they need a little vicarious fantasy to get them through? Actually, I think the media has a hand in it, of course. They've driven a lot of it, and we know how desperate that industry is. Anywhere they can make a buck. The money being spent and made on this stupid wedding would probably go a long way to ending poverty in Prince William's home country. Does he have a plan for that? I doubt it. Like he cares about homelessness, poverty and crime right under his stuck-up nose.

I think I've already alluded to what a JOKE I think the whole Don Brash takes over ACT fiasco is. I despise the way politicians assume joe public is a complete moron and cannot see through their greed and attention-seeking behaviour. Brash was a complete failure as a politician before; what's changed? Except that he's a lot older.

The huge haul of P intercepted at Auckland Airport will stall the trade of the drug in New Zealand by about 30 seconds. As with all serious criminals, they should simply be walked around the back of one of the hangars and shot. Don't care what their circumstances or coercions, shoot them. Get the word out. If you commit serious crime in New Zealand, you get a bullet.

These kinds of surveys, and the conclusions drawn from them really irk me. The "greatest fear" of these people is living in a city apartment? OMG! Who are these people? That's their greatest fear? Yeah...forget being murdered in their sleep; having their children kidnapped and killed; a plague wiping out their posh suburb; or their copy of Avenues not turning up on time. As long as they don't have to live in an apartment, life will be sweet.

What is wrong with this country when the pokies are a valid form of income generation?

Is this the pot calling the kettle black? Ooh...sorry, is that a racist thing to say?

Couldn't you just go on and on. It staggers me, some of the things that go on round here. Sigh.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good God it's Friday

Are we all looking for something?

Of course we are. Love. Fame. Money. Acceptance. Sex. Power. Control. Revenge.

Every little thing we do, every single action and thought, comes from our deepest longing and is designed to realise it. Of course, we'd like to think our deepest longings are noble - love, altruism, peace - but as often as not they are ignoble. Perhaps more often.

It's Good Friday. Not just any Friday. Good Friday. Not sure why they call it that. 'Cause something good happened? Cause we're supposed to be good today? Gooder than we are on other days? I wonder if there is less crime on Good Friday. Less abuse. Less alcohol drunk. Less swearing. Less "illicit" sex. Less violence. Less pornography downloaded. Less money stolen. Less disrespect of parents. Less idolatry.

Someone told me they were going to church. It's Good Friday. Noble? Maybe. It's more of a community thing, they said. Hmmm. Not quite so noble?

It occurred to me a long long time ago that a significant portion of those who flock to church, whether on Good Friday or any other holy day (Saturday or Sunday), are not going there to look for salvation, or God, or anything ethereal. They are, in fact, looking for something a lot more earthbound. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, except there's a whole disingenuous element to it. The premise is inherently dishonest. The premise is I will pretend to believe in God (however much my private thoughts and actions prove otherwise) because that's ostensibly what is required to get in the door. Once inside, however, the goal emerges. The pretense remains, as is required (a going through the motions, if you will), but even in the going through the motions the true desire is paramount.

For some it's attention. Attention is mostly secondary, but it's a good way to pretend we are getting what is primary: acceptance, belonging. If you're preaching, teaching, or playing in the band or singing, the secondary is automatic. You will get attention. Acceptance however, is a lot less guaranteed.

For some it's sex. For some, church is a way to hook up with potential sexual partners. Better than pubs and bars.

For some it's company. Just an opportunity to spend some time with other human beings. But not too much. You don't want to be bothered by these people during the week, but it's nice to gossip a little one morning a week.

Mostly the churches (and by that I mean the church hierarchy) don't care why you're there. It's a numbers game. The more bums on seats the bigger the contribution, pure and simple. And for some of those in charge, more bums on seats also means more prestige in the church leadership community

For some, it's spiritual. I fail to see how something so secular, in such a secular society, can provide anything spiritual, but I guess spirituality is in the eye of the beholder. Its a couple of hours a week of spirituality and I guess for some that ticks the box.

I've always thought if you're going to play church you have to play it 100%. The consequences of playing it 80, 65, or, god forbid, 14.5% are... well, there are no consequences. But it just seems so dishonest.

For some, it's political. Bill Clinton was a faithful church goer. As was/is George Bush. And Graham Caphill. Apparently, the appearance of being righteous gives you some credibility. You don't have to be righteous, you just have to appear to be righteous.

But isn't that the crux of the hypocrisy inherent in playing church.

One of the enduring memories I have of being a preacher in the buckle of the bible belt was how all the men would stand outside after the Sunday service, and smoke a cigarette together. Many times I SO wanted to join that little circle, rip open a Budweiser and talk with the guys about football. Sadly, I never did it. I was very young and too intent on pretending to be spiritual....I mean being spiritual.

(It should be noted that in the South smoking is much more acceptable in Christian circles than drinking alcohol - of course, most of them drink beer too, just not at church)

So many times I had huge arguments with my (then) wife in the car on the way home from church. I'd probably preached about the importance of loving one another. How's that for hypocrisy? But our deepest longings weren't being satisfied, and it took us another few years to realise that.

It then took me a few more years to discover than none of my needs/longings were being satisfied in church, whether I was in the pulpit or the pew. Many of my secondary longings were met...I liked attention even though it didn't bring acceptance; the company was nice but I didn't want too much; there was an element of spirituality to it, but nothing like I felt it should have been. Ask me some time about the merits of living in a commune.  And there was even a little revenge floating around in the mix. Comes a point when the hypocrisy is just too pointless.

Very little of what happens in churches on Sunday or Good Friday or Christmas Eve is about God. We think it is. We pretend it is. We claim it is. But it isn't.

This is the video I started this blog thinking about, but it evolved a little.

Happy Good Friday. Be good, even if it's just for today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Modern Living

Is it just me, or do others (you) have blinding moments of sheer panic, generally speaking about how out of control things are in your life?

To be predictably centrist about it, I guess some do and some don't. I'd love to know the percentages and degrees.

Many people seem to be on full throttle and showing no signs of slowing down or taking a break. Days are filled from 5 or 6 am until 7 or 8 at night or later. There's running here to appease this person, dashing over there because there's something vital to the machine that needs to be done and only you can do it. Then it's back again because you just got a phone call and somebody needs something urgently and apparently no one else is available. So on the way you get a take out coffee and a sausage roll at the BP while you fill up the tank at well over two bucks a litre, and chuckle at the furore created a couple of years ago when gas prices inched slowly towards two dollars. It dropped suddenly to one forty nine, but now it's back well over two dollars and not a single word of protest has been heard.

Same with cheese. Remember when there was an uproar and people stopped buying cheese when it hit, like 13 bucks a kilo? Suddenly it was back down to 9.

Now, have you noticed? It's 12 dollars a kilo and nobody has said a word about the price.

We're so stupid.

In the wake of the earthquakes in Christchurch there is good reason to be even more cynical as many come face to face with the corporate leviathan that is the Insurance Company. Good luck, people.

I love all the ads about how the insurance companies and many other businesses are "here to help" you. Yeah right. THEY DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU! All they care about is getting your money back. If The Warehouse really cared about people in Christchurch, they would have had a FREE DAY! Everything you need to help you recover from the earthquake: FREE!

Yeah right. Well, they are a business after all and have to make a profit. Of course. But don't advertise that you're "here to help" us! Advertise that your back on board and need to get our money again!

But who's got time to go to The Warehouse, anyway? There are too many other pressing appointments. You have to drop the kids at school, way too early, to get to the office through the bumper to bumper traffic on Lincoln Road by 9 o'clock. There you work for the man, busting your hump until 4 or 5 or 6 or 7, then rejoin the commute and snake down Lincoln Road again, with the same people you snaked with this morning!

Hopefully the kids have been at day care, or after school care (not that you could do much if they absconded and went to the mall). Dinner by 8 and kids into bed. Dishes by 9. Then you get to sit down and have a romantic hour with your significant other, watching murder and rape and child abduction on any one of the CSI programmes that seem to be on the tele every 45 minutes.

I'm often tempted to wonder what has changed in the last two, three, four, or nine hundred years. Back then the peasants toiled 18 hours a day to scrape a meager living for themselves while their fat cat landlords got rich off the backs of those tenants.


What's changed? We have nicer toys to play with. We get a "holiday" every now and then (a week or two off from the daily grind - not the kids, the bills, the stress or the murder and rape and child abduction on tele). And we live longer - but that's probably a negative, because what that creates is another 30 years of toiling so the landlord gets 30 more years of graft out of you!

There are a few getting ahead, I guess, and perhaps that's the major difference between now and nine hundred years ago. The chances of getting ahead are greater. But the irony is that, usually, the only way to "get ahead" is to change from peasant to landlord, and get rich on the backs of the poor bastards you used to commute with in the mornings and evenings.

But there's not much of that happening. Most are locked into the 6 til 10 grind with absolutely no chance of ever "getting ahead."

Is it any wonder we're prone to blinding attacks of panic and anxiety? How out of control are we? Are we showing any signs at all of slowing down? Taking a break? Add to that credit card companies calling, and reminding you that, while they understand circumstances in Christchurch may be mitigating - how nice of them - they still want their money. Funny how, in the midst of the debilitating chaos in Christchurch, the bills kept arriving in the letterbox. And don't get me started about taxes due. NOW!

Pull yourself together man.

Quit whining and do something.

I know.

I wish it were that simple.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Don't you hate blog entries that aren't blog entries? I felt, since I updated the site slightly, that now the blog is front page I should probably blog more regularly. Can't have a front page unchanged since march 19. What would that say about me?

So I've made a few changes, and the best thing is there's no ad at the top! Yay!

Thing is, I'm not sure many people are looking/reading anyway. There was a burst of activity a while ago, but that's about it really. And facebook posts don't count as blog entries do they?

The Photo News page will let you know what I've been doing photographically lately. So I'm not completely inactive. I do have one big job hanging over me thats not photographic. So I do need to get onto that. Then I'll be able to breath a bit more.

Catch you soon.