November 30, 2010

New neighbours

I have moved and with that, comes new neighbours. Now, these ones aren't your usual neighbours - they rarely are, right? No, these ones are pigeons. I knew a Frenchman once who referred to these little critters as "rats of the sky" and ever since then, I have not thought too fondly of them either - until now, that is. Maybe it's because I have no choice to see them differently, especially as they perch right outside my kitchen window most evenings and gather, right on sunrise, for a communal chat. Noisy little shits! I haven't named them yet. Doesn't seem right especially as I haven't quite made that universal jump into telling them who I am - but they know I am here. 

Last night, I walked around the back of my large apartment block which is where these birds also live. I could hear them before I saw them... it sounded like a mammoth gathering yet no one knew who the guest speaker was: "Who who?...Who who?" As soon as I ventured around the corner, in full sight, the cluster of birds all shut up shop, clumped together like statues - only their eyes moved, following my direction. They were sussing me out. Was I going to do what others have done - turn the hose on them, have a major tourettes moment, and tell them to all bugger off?  I know I have been advised to do this. No one seems to like these birds very much but I aren't like most people. I can't put these birds into a pest category simply cause there are a lot of them and they pooh randomly and always without remorse. I might change my mind after living here for a while, when I can no longer see outside my window due to their ablutionary habits and constant amnesia - who, who?...who, who?

For now (looks at calender),  they seem sweet and adorable - not in a "let's take one home" kind of way but as in a close encounter with a wild animal from a distance kind of thing. If you get my drift. I'll keep you posted...humm, that one definitely looks like he could be an "Arthur".

November 28, 2010

Old and New

Yesterday I sat with a young man - in comparison to me that is - at a bar for a quick drink. My shout. It was a "thank you" for shifting a rather large motley couch which, I bought off an on-line auction. It's not a pretty couch but it has history - lots of it, so it would seem; oozing out of every historical stitch like a cloud of relentless dust. But at $21 dollars, who can complain right? 

This young man, whom I shall call Dave, could very well be my son - in age, that is. He's tall, slightly tanned, and, when he gets talking, is surprisingly knowledgeable about all things old. He proved it when a short old geezer turned up. At first glance, this man looked to have frequented this establishment on a very regular basis - the lines on his face spoke of years filled with anguish yet he was finely dressed in a cream suit, matching shoes, and a swish forward hairstyle - that too one of his lasting habits, so it would seem. He spoke to the floor mainly as his false teeth struggled to release words and his left hand was missing two fingers - a slight infection was creeping in and it distracted me. 

"I tried to sell come Enid Blyton books on-line once," he explained. "Waste of time. No one respects the classics any more. They're hardback and all."

I looked at Dave and waited for him to give me the sign - the one that said, we should move tables, away from this drunken oldie who didn't look like he was going to shut up any time soon. But it never came. Instead, he engaged in conversation with him like he was some long lost uncle. They talked about old books, the word 'gollywog' and 'blacks' came up (again, I looked at Dave, a strikingly handsome Maori boy, for hints of offence and again, nothing.)   

"There were four pakeha kids in my school when I grew up," the old man said, "we never knew anything about racism in them days. We were just kids, together, growing up you know?"

Dave smiled. "Yep, know what you mean eh bro, it's all changed now, for sure man."

I sat and listened to these two men engage in a conversation that knew no age. To me, they looked like two mighty bookends supporting an entire history between them. Sure, they were at opposite ends from each other but that was only because of age. What bound their conversation together so nicely was the subject matters that stood between them and in that, there was no comparison to be seen, nothing but a genuine expression of mutual respect. 

It was nice seeing this because too often we see the 'young ones' parade around the country as if the world owes them a living, as if their life is the hardest. So often they show no respect for those that went before them like the old geezers in pubs on a Saturday afternoon. The young ones are too busy getting prepared for taking over that same pub later that evening, and I bet my bottom dollar, most of them will not be so finely dressed or talk about subjects outside themselves. 

It was nice to see...for a change.

November 14, 2010

Free at last....

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi (65), was freed after her latest period of house arrest expired and was not renewed by the military government. 

Ms Suu Kyi has been detained for 15 of the past 21 years. Her release comes six days after the political party supported by the military won the country's first election in 20 years - the ballad was widely condemned as a "sham."

Supporters gathered at her house which is also the headquarters of her now-disbanded National League for Democracy (NLD) party for news of her fate. The crowd swelled to three or four thousand before Ms Suu Kyi, in a traditional lilac dress, finally appeared, about 30 minutes later, on a platform behind the gate of her compound. 

She took a flower from someone on the crowd and placed it in her hair before addressing the crowd: 

"I have to give you the first political lesson since my release. We haven't seen each other for so long, so we have many things to talk about. If you have any words for me, please come to the [NLD] headquarters tomorrow and we can talk then and I'll use a loud speaker.
There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk," she added. "People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal."
She then went back inside her home for the first meeting with NLD leaders in seven years.

November 13, 2010

Lynne Pillay tightens grip on Weasel

Lynne Pillay
Bless her heart... she's at it again folks. Just when you thought the ACC Review was all but done and dusted, if not shoved under the Weasel's bed (Minister for ACC), along comes this sweet little lady to yank his bits back into action. 

Standing in 'House,' she asked the following:

"Has a monitoring group been appointed to oversee the implementation of the Independent Review Panel’s Recommendation for the Sensitive Claims Unit and if so when and who are the members, what payments will be made to them and what are their terms of reference?"

Let me translate: Where's this group you bragged about? Who the fork are these people and how much you paying them?  Now, these don't seem like hard questions to the average Joe Blogs but, apparently, Nick Smith needs some time to think about this one. Um, not that he hasn't had any time. It's been quite a while since the whole ACC SCU was exposed as a crock of shit, a little less time for some officials to come in, take a look around, and agree - yep, it's a crock of shit, and a while since those same "officials" made some sound recommendations. It really is procrastination in the extreme. 

Nick Smith is "expected" to reply by 17 Nov 2010. My money is on more dodgy political wrangling - there's no way he'd actually come up with an answer on this. Gee, guess we'll just have to wait and see huh? (Pulls up lazy-boy chair, orders a month's supply of chips and dip)

November 9, 2010

Smith & Jansen - Lost in Space.

Good lord, look what I found - an old photo of Dr Peter Jansen and Nick Smith, back in the good old days when, lost in space, was just a harmless television show and not an actual ACC procedure. Amazing what Goggle pops up with these days but... seriously... this does explain a few quirky features of our infamous tax-funded-insurance company.

For example, whatever happened to that infamous Review? For those not in the know, in June 2010, submissions were asked from about everyone on the planet on just how we could get these two plonkers to come back down to earth and help clients unfortunate enough to be "processed" through SCU. 

Now, many fine-minded earthlings made over a dozen mighty fine suggestions and one, thus far, has been implemented - the reinstatement of 16 counselling sessions for those suffering from sexual abuse. (Holds hand up to ward off all those still yet to see that happen!)

Now, okay, Nick Smith (pic: right) did say, back in September and in front of cameras - albeit blushing like a shafted raccoon - that he was setting up some 'group' of peoples unknown to implement the other changes and that he would, kind of, let us know who they were in "due course." Well now we know. He's actually running the ACC reviews like that derelict spaceship many moons ago -all thrust and no throttle.

Oh come on Nick, show us the Daleks you've got working on this review... we know they exist. There's been a very unusual manufacturing surge in silver coloured latex jumpsuits, so something is up! 

And just out of curiosity, would one of those people, in charge of implementing those "improvements" be the same Dr John Collier who is  ACC's "preferred" contracted Independent Psychiatrist and one appointed initially to assist in "exiting clients from the system"? Hey, I'm just asking, that's all....

June 2010:

Sept 2010:

November 8, 2010

ACC refuses to comply with review

Accident Compensation, you make me sick! Yes folks, they're at it again... I can't believe it was only a week or so ago that I posted of another couple fighting, and winning, against ACC and now, here we got again. You know it doesn't sound that bad until you realise our population is only 4 million!

So here it is again that the survivor is the one that has to crawl through the gutter, do the usual complaint letters etc., before seeking a Lawyer. You see, ACC wanted her to go through ANOTHER assessment - we all know what those are for and some of us, know the real life stories behind some who perform them....burrrr! 

Yes, but the Court didn't say, give the client another assessment and then decide to reinstate your services. In Nike's infamous words, it said JUST DO IT!

But what did they try and do? Well pull a swifty, that's what - anything that would make those rape injuries, playing havoc with the stability of her mind, go into overdrive and push her under the nearest rock. Well good on her for giving ACC the finger. 

Goes to show, DESPITE a Review Panel. DESPITE those publicity shots of Nick Smith claiming to change things... what is really going on is more client shafting. There is almost an element of re-victimisation every time a sexual abuse victim has to go through another assessment ... yes, but that's what ACC rely on! 

ACC refuses to comply with review | "

Supreme Court quashes conviction of man accused of assaulting son

For those overseas readers, here in New Zealand, we have a Law that says you cannot hit your children. You can pretty much do anything else but hit, you must not! 

Look, don't get me wrong, I think assaulting a child - in fact, assaulting anyone - is deplorable but this case (the first of its kind in New Zealand) might be pushing that envelope just a little too damn wide in my view. 

Here is a father, out with his son on an otherwise uneventful day. The son spots a ramp and thinks "Cool, I shall have a crack at that, just me, the bike, and death-defying gravity." Now, his father, somewhat older and perhaps wiser than his son, does a quick calculation in his head and decides best not let son purposely kill himself. A decision I think most parents would also assume. I am gathering, at this stage, that none of that "logical talking" stuff worked on the determined young offspring cause he went off and did it anyhow. Upshot was, father has a near fatal heart attack and "clips" his son around the ear hole. 

Now someone in their wisdom saw this and reported this to the Police. The father, James Mason, was convicted of assault and sentenced to nine months supervision and an "order to undertake programmes as directed by the Probation Service." To be fair, there was another allegation that he "punched his son in the face" and if that were true, then, yeah, can kind of see where the jury is going on this one. In any event, Mason took his case to the Supreme Court and the conviction was overturned. 

I am sure (surely) that the evidence the Police had must have been substantial for the case to even see the inside of a Court. Well, I'd like to think so, put it that way. The fact that the conviction was overturned, like most Court cases, doesn't really tell us about guilt really - some cases are thrown out on technicalities that would make your hair curl. Doesn't mean the accused is innocent, just means the systems is faulty. 

Whatever the case may be - and I am sure we will never really know - it does beg the question of how extreme our Country seems to be getting where we get all this publicity cause a father "clipped" his son and there are kids out there, right now, this very minute, being brutally abused and a Legal system that seems reluctant to punish criminals. With the case mentioned above, Mason was sentenced to supervision. It might seem lenient until you hear of cases of child sexual abuse convictions been given the same sentencing. There seems to be an extreme upwards focus on public displays of physical abuse and a downward slight on anything sexual as if it's just too dirty to look at.