Sunday, 30 November 2014

Boys become men-a Rite of Passage

I just got back from a 'Rite of Passage' event where young men are initiated into the circle of men. No 21st yardglass, no meaningless key to the door that's long been opened, no first beer, no car accident and funeral-no 'self initiation' that is commonplace in this country and the 'civilised world' generally. No, we took boys gently through a loving, supported, but difficult experience that acknowledges their transition from the world of the boy to the world of men.
We acknowledge birth, birthdays that are important, marriage and death. We mark these transitions in rituals built up by our group-our culture.But we have forgotten how to bring girls and boys into the world of women and men. We must therefore journey it alone in confusion and 'hunger games' -like sacrifice to the gods of the marketplace. They show the way. For boys that way is the way of the eternal boy-exterior displays of power over others, bravery and machismo that are rarely felt within as true sources of power, Witness these on the internet and the news media. Uninitiated men look to uninitiated older men, who themselves are still boys, for guidance, reassurance and encouragement acknowledgement and acceptance. They find almost nothing and they become the vacuous spirits of today's men.
Contrast this to the full strata of men being present to the boys dreams, struggles and demons. Contrast this to the honest sharing of stories from the elders and the youngers, themselves ceremonied into the men's circle in earlier ceremonues. Men from 16 to their 70's taking them through a major and difficult mental, emotional and physical challenge that will push them to the limit; but not alone. They will be held in the arms of many fathers (usually with a ratio of 4 men to each boy). These men and boys are taken from their homes and families in ceremony and reality; taken to the place of men and mentored and then returned to the family, the community and the world.
This is no secret handshake ra ra ra funny hats stuff.
It was a moving, powerful, exhausting, exhilarating 5 days. it takes everyone to the edge of their comfort zone. I took a young man through with me-I stood in for his father who was not available. When I first wanted to take my son through this transition I sought knowledge from other cultures who still keep these rites alive. A friend was also looking for something for his son. I was relating our journey to a friend, when he said Oh you mean like Tracks? I said Tracks, whats that? That was the beginning of a connection with an organisation that has been doing these rites of passage for girls and boys for over 10 years. It came from the men's movement- groups of men who freely chose to enter into a hallowed space of shared experience, encouragement, belonging. When I first went with my son to his own rite of passage 5 years ago, my experience of meeting with men was limited, like many men, to the pub, the sports dressing room or clubroom-culturally acceptable ways men tried to get together. I had had some experience, through the Catholic church, of groups of men getting together, but it was always filtered through our shared Christianity and so missing some of the grime and reality of our patchy lives. And not fully concious of the value of men getting together.Or able to accept men regardless of beliefs.So it was with great relief, comfort, grief that I was able to be a part of a group who supported the boys through the transition. I felt great sadness both because of my own extremely poor transition and also for letting go of my son,I found other men with similar stories; some much worse and sadder. How we initiated ourselves then.
My life partner has just returned from a similar journey with our daughter
My hope and dream is realizing this vision for all our youth. It is part of my desire to reform the village with it's humanity and it's sanity!
Pink Transformer by Duncan Hill-a painting about aborted rites of passage and the aftermath
Oil on canvas (for sale POA)
Over the week you notice a change in the young man's way of  what I call 'standing in their own presence'-which is the best way I can describe a certain look in the eye which does not hide itself in the grass, a straightening of stature, a confidence in the voice. you notice a joy and peace that you normally associate with older men.
The organisation Tracks is open to applications to take boys through the Rite of Passage for men, as is its sister organisation, Tides. Check out www.tracks.net.nz 

Monday, 24 November 2014

God is a blog

Ive had everything lately
Sneaky and full
of events
There's been opportunities
So much more to do
closer I come

The spider sprinting across the log in the fire
Means it can feel pain
I thought it too small for nerve endings
My impending dont say it

Don't start writing about Death
It makes bad reading

I've had everything lately
It keeps getting better, thats my world
Can't unsee what I've seen
they are still there, as ghosts

Maori, awaken

Just wait until Maori (and other subjucated peoples) wake up from their trance and keep their kids at home and on the land. Bring back their health, abscond from failure that dogs them, take charge of their destinies. Hallelujah for that day! I just saw the current homeschool stats and note that only 7% make up Maori. You'd think it was the ones that it doesn't work for that would wag the system. This taniwha (protective monster) will awaken soon.It will be a marvel to witness.
footnote: Not another white guy telling Maori what to do!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Beware the Opportunity Ghouls, lift your head

Beware the Opportunity Ghouls. They wait in unsuspecting emails, they prowl the empty streets saying "the streets are full and here is the key" that turns out to be a fake cardboard key that wilts in the rain of the tears of my sorrowful culture. Beware the Opportunity Ghouls who do not value what you do but gain your confidence and trust-they have no trust in either you or themselves. They have made this world, yet complain about it.
Instead view everything as a gift from the Beloved (substitute your word for this ). Yes, even your suffering. It is this view that has the joy in it. You create your joy with this view.
Value everything you do, say or think. This is a powerful force that creates worlds. Then, when everyone values themselves and others we will have real opportunities which recognise, support, enrich, create a sense of belonging, meaning, capacity, and power,

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

To vote or not to vote

A friend of mine doesn't vote, citing that voting secedes your ability to be free and instead gives others permission to rule you.. Before this election, many years ago, I have also chosen not to vote, wanting to concentrate my energies into real power and real change. I understood this as the world around me; the people I move with, my 'sphere of influence' so to speak.
Low voter turnout is pandemic in the western world. People keep saying that if only the most affected voted they would institute huge changes for their own benefit. If that were so, why don't we see it happen? We are quick to say voter apathy is the cause, without understanding that that state is almost inevitable. Low voter turnout of the poor and disenfranchised reinforces their belief that this world is not made for them. Synonymously it strengthens the status quo or the majority view (who also surprise surprise happen to be very good voters). Minorities don't do well in elections-a representation in Parliament doesn't stop you from being railroaded by the majority into laws and decisions that are alien to you. Democracy can be a cruel joke-one person one vote- if you are not on the receiving end of society's privileges. You just keep voting or not- and keep losing.
Politics is seen as 'not for me' by non voters. I went to hear Hordur Torafson from Iceland, the country that went from prosperity to ruin during the financial meltdown 2009- 2011.If you remember the people threw out the government literally, by surrounding the buildings and calling for resignation of the whole government.One abiding memory from that talk was that post the 'revolution', people are talking politics, everyone is talking politics!And the politicians know they are watching them. 
I really like that story; political involvement; making sure that politicians do not overstay their mandate to govern. I'm still thinking about my friend, who questions our need for governance at all. I may well head down that road myself. Sure we need to work things out together, but that doesn't imply centralised government. I guess most people want someone who will save them, feed them, give them jobs etc. And then when that inevitably fails- someone to blame. And that in a nutshell may be the foundation of our ghastly reality show we call the elections.

The birth of the Us Party

The Us Party
Manifesto.
·         We are against Them. They got us in trouble didnt They.
·         We will take responsibility for your life. We will make it our job to keep you safe, to give you jobs, educate you and to feed you. We call this healthy dependence.
·         If we fail then its ok to hate us.
·         You can use us to project onto. This means at first you can idolise Us, thinking that we will save you, and then, when it inevitably fails, we will take the blame as to why your life is still shit.
·         We stand for adversarial politics. Basically We are right and everyone else is wrong.
·         We understand that voting for Us is a Wasted Vote, as we are a minority; so we suggest you going for one of the Big Two parties
·         We won’t be put off by side shows such as the present widespread moral distaste for the spying on us, but instead focus on talking about the real issues that are affecting New Zealanders, such as Health, Education and Jobs.
·         One of our important responsibilities is to shuffle money around and make it look like we are creating more money for needy causes, the poor etc

Jobs
·         We will promise to bring about new jobs, thus eliminating guilt and indifference for you to get together as a community and looking at meaningful work which remunerates and satisfies at a social, psychological and environmental level.
·         We don’t believe we have much clout as a nation, so we will follow trends and fashion such as growth, global positioning etc even though we’ re not really sure what they mean.
·         If you identify yourself as a Hardworking New Zealander, then vote for Us. If you identify yourself as a poor loser who is trying hard but nothing seems to change no matter who is the Government, then vote for the Greens, Labour, Conservative.
·         We simply hate minorities. They never get anywhere do they?

Education
  Our Education system is failing so we plan to give it CPR. We have a Bums on Seats policy in place.

We believe that Education should be forced upon everyone, not just the 12 or so years it is at present. 

What that means is railroading people from birth till death into Education. We see that a dying persons last words should be “Did I get Merit or Excellence?”

 Education should continue to be a really unpleasant experience to get people used to the ‘Real World’ of joblessness, misery in the workplace, and general slavery.

Health $
·         We put a dollar sign next to health to remind you that it’s all about bucks. More health equals more bucks and vice versa.
·         We will buy more machines to keep you alive when you’d rather be dead, and add the cost to your taxes.
·         We will use the increased police force to monitor alternative practitioners and stop these weirdos from giving people false hope by curing them.
·         We promise to back huge companies who are selling drugs legally to our citizens.

Environment
·         Let’s face it, bad evil mo’ fo’s kill whales, mine, and destroy rivers. If we eliminate the cause, then it’s all going to be dandy. You know what I’m saying eh.
·         We promise not to link any issues with a structure that makes plunder inevitable, such as massive debt.
·         We are against global warming and other nasty things happening to the planet, but jobs are way more important than a dying planet.

Police
·         Oh and of course, we will get tough on criminals, such as most of the Maori population and black people in general.
·         We will eliminate gangs, and increase the number of police. And no, the Police are not a gang which serves property owners and the majority. That’s just an accident that they appeared in the same sentence.
·         Crime happens because bad mo’fo’s do bad things ok? Don’t give me that bullshit about the cause being an unfair society which increasingly marginalises people, or the fallout from colonial domination of another group of people or economic hardship. We promise to cleanse society of bad mo’fo’s, even if that means jailing whole towns. (Link this to more jobs)

Defence
·         We hope to recruit more young na├»ve guys who want camaraderie, the attention of male role models and general messing around with guns. It’s better than gangs. We just hope that when they have to follow orders and shoot a mama in a village that they don’t waiver.
·         We hope to recruit guys who at present are involved in sensless slaughter on the internet playing those games you’d rather not have in your house but have given up arguing about.





Friday, 15 August 2014

Poem for dad

My dad died.I hope you will forgive my use of the blog for this poem. I hope you find it some benefit, especially if you have lost someone close. Goodbye dad. You are here with us in the now. Loving you always my father

Composing a poem for dad, for me

Composing a poem for dad, for me
For my sadness, the tui, bright and flashy
as a black diamond
doesn’t care.
Preludes rising like your joy
and diving into anguish

Sometimes the Hutt breaks its banks in grief
and its tears anoint statehouse porches
Othertimes you see it has lazy acceptance in esses
You see it confined, know it swathed stones once, forming this valley
We sensed your restriction pulling away at the covers and tubes
And things they said for your own good

Mum dreamed of you at her back imitating her S shape in sleep
I wake with Chopin aching three mornings
The left hand is the carrier and the right plays its own tune
Mum woke and thought you were there
The right hand clasping left, her own.  

And there you are in the lament of right and wrong in my brothers,
the song, a great oneliner, an empty lazy boy and lifeless widescreen

We wound up following the Hutt River to that field where earth says welcome
Black granite, cold as dark suits, stabs up out of the ground
My friend Hugh tells me that the Books of the Dead tell what it’s like
My family like the idea that Christ himself mentioned
No inkling here so far, though faith be our torch with which we look
-except for the Monarch against the white hearse and
again, like a lolly against Mt Holdsworth fair and stark, sheeted and silent


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Demanding sorry

I hear alot in the news and elsewhere about apologies being demanded and withheld and so on. Recently I heard, more than once, that an apology was need to give 'closure'. I am saddened to hear that the apology has become a requirement of the process of an error and restoration of relationships. Before I am misjudged let me say that if remorse is felt -it usually is although our brutal pasts have cut us off from empathetic connection to others- then it can be expressed.It is wonderful when it is. I'm talking about a knee jerk automatic 'sorry' that comes, often under duress, from our mouths, which has nothing empathetic or any other feeling attached except resentment. Will an apology undo or lessen the pain that happened? Will a prison sentence undo the crime? I would love to get an apology for every time that I was abused or misjudged, but in truth, if I give someone else that much power i have left myself open to a long and painful wait. Especially if it is withheld. I have relinquished my locus of control, my ability to heal,  to somebody else.
Is it possible to understand that the 'event' had a lesson for us? Not "let this be a lesson to you" type of lesson, but one which  brings out some thought (strongly held ones are beliefs) you have about yourself. Such judgements like  "He treated me as worthless" and "I was abused" and "She abandoned me" suggest a judgement about an event in which we are clearly defined as victim. Under those lie thoughts which we don't even think of as thoughts; we mistake them for reality. I am useless, I am unlovable, I am worthless, I don't count etc or variations on those themes. That's the lesson-to bring into the light those condemming self judgements which I say are lies we believe to be true. And its the believing that does the damage, because those thoughts (beliefs) have a resonant 'negative' feeling state that goes with them, just as thoughts like' I am beautiful' and 'I am lovable' have joy and serenity with them.
I discovered a new way to forgive known in a book by Colin Tipping as Radical Forgiveness, in which the 'perpetrator' and the 'victim' are see as performing a kind of unwitting dance together. Instead of searching for blame and punishment it seeks to help me to consider a wider and more far- reaching story.It makes way for compassion, and real forgiveness-of yourself.It lets feelings be truly felt and opens the way for healing.

Anzac Day; Lest We Forgot and we believe in war

Has it all been said about Anzac Day? No, I've got some more! I heard a Gallipoli vet talking about his experiences.He talked about a field of daisies that constituted a 100 yard dash across heavily machine gun protected open  space. In his words the first lot of 30 to 40 men ran and they 'dropped'; followed by the next lot who also 'dropped'. The  language was such that I at first thought he meant they ducked for cover. What he was saying was they were killed. So he witnessed 90 to 100 men crossing this flowerbed to their deaths in probably around a minute. My friend Lucy from England said that there have been studies made of the type of language used in war-I'm betting in any situation where the reality was too much to bear. You get words like 'dropped' and 'served' and 'fallen' and 'in a bit of trouble'and so on. All to make it bearable which I sort of understand; however a part of me says perhaps naively that if we called it what it is then we would be truly conscious of the reality and revisit our firmly held views on war.
I had an argument with my partner Alice on Anzac Day about the way I criticise the commemorations.She said the people remaining need a way to remember them. I acknowledge that.It is very important.But if that's the case how come we are just remembering soldiers who died? Are civilian women and children the 'Glorious Dead'?I keep chuckling cynically at the 'Glorious Dead'-and getting iry over it. There's nothing glorious about it.They were bloody blown to bits!
And its too easy to say they "gave their lives". Is it martyrdom or a murder/suicide pact?I say its a convulsion and a belief in violence as a means of solving problems of resources, land. I will stop when we stop using war as a legitimate solution to problems.When parents, when schools, when society believes force is the answer to solving problems, how can you expect anything different on a 'macro' level, between nations?
People I know people I respect; who are well informed,church going Christians speak of war as if it is an inevitable conclusion. That's what makes me mad.
And what is behind youth's newfound interest in Anzac Day? I do know that schools force their students to represent the school at such events. I'm guessing its seen as a patriotic event for the community and to not be there is the thing you don't want to be noticed for. On the positive side, I think curiosity, perhaps compassion, the desire to stand for something so missing from our youth also make it attractive.
I don't believe that Anzac Day actively glorifies war. Some of my friends do.To me though, it is a great opportunity to look at these deeper questions. It is big on sacrifice (so is the Taleban) and repeats the Christian paradigm of "I died for you" that Christians are in to. Guilt? We owe them?   We all chant "Never Again!"; the plainly dumb mantra of an ill- informed populous. What with Pol Pot in Cambodia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and other genocides we clearly need to drop "never again" like a hot spud. Perhaps what we mean is "never again" for us.
I'm for revolution, I'm for evolution too. We need a revolution so that we fit our world and all its inhabitants. I'm talking beyond religion -the people based organisations- to actually mutual recognition of our place on the thin skin we call Earth. I'm talking learning a new language of mutuality-one that recognises we share hundreds of deep yearnings, a language which we share with every stone and every plant. I'd like to see it supplant our current language which is the language of domination developed by our minds, where we believe in war,and in my win equals your loss.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Toby flying

My son Toby doing some aerials with our wind generator in the background

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Judgement Day

Yes that's right; people who put their own name on their number plate and men who wear pointy shoes are not to be trusted! Let it be said!
Factually
Duncan

Sunday, 20 April 2014

What I had for lunch (just joking0

I had nothing.
Signed
Most of the majority world

Building a community



A few guys who can build meet up with young guys who are keen on building to show them a few skills, talk shit as only men can do; talk real stuff also. Pay them some dosh, get paid ourselves, treat everyone right, use local and recycled materials. Don't poison anyone by sticking to natural materials, and there you have it, the EcoWhare is born. The Ecowhare is a small building which can be used as a sleepout,an office, a studio, a chapel to name but a few uses. The buildings have a mezzanine floor for storage or sleeping, rimu tongue and groove floor, a verandah to enjoy sunny Saturday morning coffee.They can be slipped into your backyard on a truck and put on skids or plonked on 6 piles-either way you won't have to do any council hanky panky and they are entirely legal as they are just on 10 square metres.
Have look at progress on ecowhare.nonprofit.org.nz










Complete whare, on location


Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Black Chrysler (Illuminazi 911)

The Black Chrysler  (Illuminazi 911)
(the background of this poem is my family used to go walking together and we would invariably see this black car.So we got all paranoid and this poem came out of it. Children seem to like it. 


The fbi glide idly by the fizz factory
In her black chrysler
What you doing here myo bizz
Forboding plate code
With Too many ohs
We've seen your taillights bright braking
At peculiar addresses
With nondescript fences and blue tv faces


The lipstick seems plastic
Like a horizontal taillight
The smile quiet and gliding those lips around town
Perfect eyebrows set to cruise
Circuitry raucous under perfect skin
With her driving gloves and death ray under the bonnet
The strange extra aerial like a stainless needle
Same as the one on Dodi's black mangle   
Slowing at the Christian new life centre
Checking out for some decent stem cells
Mother ship overhead
Keeping an eye on her shiny black beetle

The ace of spades is checking out the crumbly graves
Under airline chemtrails like the entrails of spies
The last retail remains ply their trade
She glides by the Chompers crates of chicken mince in the matrix of shops with hitching posts for the ghosts of horses now bearing the bloody scrapes of mazdas

She will meet the contact at the designated point
Where murdered houses disappear into paddocks
And his suspect confident pointy shoes
The exchange
Gone wrong
Struggle muffle carboot shuffle

She Slows again 
to interpret the war memorial spire
Pointing to heaven and the mother ship
The stone carvers slip, the glorious dead
And the watching eye of the town camera

Has no one watching

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Stag Dos, Hen Parties and Wedding bells

A friend of mine said his friend had a Stag Do recently.I rolled my eyes and groaned O no! But before I could start raving about outmoded rituals of ownership etc etc he said no, wait-they got together, no booze, and talked about the changes that were to take place in his life and prepared him for the change.They also told him what he meant to them.I felt a wave of awe and respect and admiration. Contrast that with the drunken and often cruel, out of control booze-fuelled party that happens and the 'last night of freedom' sentiment that does with it.
I've never been a fan of weddings; even my own. I hate the pretence, the shallowness, the rites of ownership including the name-change stuff. The younger-generation -than- mine goes for weddings big time-perhaps as a reaction to the loose arrangements of their parents and their disastrous statistics of breakup and their own need for security and desire for permanence, trust and respect.I know a group of people for whom weddings bear great meaning and they go at it with serious intent. It is a change of life and good to mark it as we do birth and death.
I've been through a rite of passage to manhood with my oldest son Ben. It was meaning-full, powerfully felt, and its effects will last a lifetime for me and my son.In contrast I know of fathers who have taken their sons out for a beer to mark the occasion, with no connection at all.Welcome to the club, son, this is all there is.I also got married; I would have been happy not to, but it seemed ok to make it legal as at that time there wasn't legal parity with couples who lived together.We had gone through the thing about 'commitment' and agreed to go one day at a time. We didn't commit to a lifetime-that is insanity to predict the future, in my opinion.Having said that, please don't misinterpret me - I don't mean that we would cut a track as soon as we hit an obstacle.I don't do that with any relationship.I still think that this very point places pressure on couples and puts them off. Tomorrow I will be different and so will you.As the hymn goes "One day at a time, sweet Jesus!"
Plus we wanted to make public our relationship and celebrate it.
It is good to honour change and I would be for the shift in emphasis toward celebrating/embracing change in a wedding ceremony.It is a change when you go from living singly to living with someone. You are not going from your father to your husband;he doesn't own you; therefore there is nothing to give away. You have been flatting for years; you have been living together for years; you have a child together! Come on!!!
The cheesy song floats along in the car "Will You Mar-ry Me?" Like its a question. Isn't it a discussion that needs alot of time and energy? I mean its not a yes/no thing.
As for divorce......................... we could have another Stag Do where we all get pissed again and do abusive things to celebrate our 'freedom'. And the Hens-well, they are free to lay more eggs surely!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Do what you love-Not on your Nelly

Do what you love if you're rich. I did have the thought that the "do what you love" mantra is coming out of the Wealthy West. Do we want the people making our stuff for very little to do what they love? Not on your Nelly. Is this just another choice for the elite? Like diet fads.You only have diets where you have choice.The more choice, the more diet fads.
 A fairer world (which we all say we want) would necessarily involve a substantial decrease in our circumstances. Oh shit,.maybe we need to rethink that....... Now at the other end, I believe in doing what you love.it is intrinsic to being human, as I've said in an earlier blog.Its really really important. You feel better, that's why it's important.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

DO THEY KNOW IT'S XMAS TIME AT ALL.-a poem on the big day

I'm in the house of my sister- in -law
Van Gogh is fading on- the- toilet- door
Tears of colour drip from my eyes
The glare of paper bled from Chinese palettes
Crumpled like its author before its time
Joy arises in me like death
White in the face
Christ is not at the front door
His fading plastic bones
The sucked chicken thigh
A world religion based on guys
Mark on barby on unhunted meat
Silence in the lounge from the over-eat
Catches us for a moment
Whose mouth will be the first to blink?
Auntie Christine is sleeping satisfied upright, hands clasped

We have decided to admire the trifle and pretend presents mean nothing
The endless coming of Christ
Hope without end amen
My consumer confidence returns with each thought of the poor;
"DO THEY KNOW IT'S XMAS TIME AT ALL????!!!!" for the poor blacks
"DO WE KNOW ITS RAMADAM TIME AT ALL????!!!!" for the poor whites
"WHEN THE BARON CRIED OUT " MERRY XMAS MY FRIEND!!!"
You can have fun during war
Let us pray for the Buddhists and Muslims
Lord hear us

Love yourself or else!

I'm once again pondering the way we have been taught to ignore ourselves. Many people I know are looking for a sense of belonging, of participation, of meaningful use of their particular talents.They want to offer these to the their communities.The payment is obvious-no less than satisfaction, joy peace excitement, fulfillment,not to mention exchange in terms of services, money or 
in kind.this isn't peculiar to "religious people", it is what you and I want. It's what leads you into a gang, a church, a club, a community,and sometimes a job.we probably had the least expectation of the last one; a job that would do all these things.
Many of us were taught that work was going to be onerous; that you had to 'knuckle down' (shut down?) and suck it it in.That you had no right to demand satisfaction or the use of your talents.There were things that had to be done; the requirements of the Industrial Empire. So therefore you had to ignore yourself (ie your feelings, desires, values and so forth) if those things were contrary to the goals of the empire. And this in turn requires you to deal or not with the internal conflict. In his ground breaking work developing a new more compassionate 'language', psychologist Marshall Rosenberg observed that wherever needs weren't met, feelings like depression, anger, resentment, indifference, apathy, fear were present. These and many other so called negative feelings, are prevalent in modern Industrial Age humans.

Oh shit I may have fucking offended someone

This cartoon was refused publication- not because of the obvious association with Roundup- but because it may offend people with disabilities. Ummmmm......

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Toothbrushes and evolution

I bought a bamboo toothbrush. I remember buying one before and being disappointed with its brushing power, but I can't bring myself to use a plastic one-I keep having flashbacks to the Himalayas where I saw them embedded in the ground, a revolting talisman of my Oil Dynasty. Anyway I had the thing in my back pocket as I got into the car.When I felt a crack! 
Boo hoo for bamboo but the birth of a new and improved toothbrush!
I love the waves of fashion that toothbrush makers create. Remember the bent handle? The one that somehow allowed you to brush in places and ways you never thought possible. The computer graphics which showed close up versions of Dante's hell in your mouth. The myriad of bristle shapes which all superseded one another. The nonslip handles. Imagine if you slipped while brushing your teeth! OMG! Surgery to remove the toothbrush from where it is embedded in your brain. Then the bend in the brush (which I just created in the Peugeot) got out of hand- it started to get a sort of shock absorber to no doubt reduce the impact of hard brushing. Pan to computer generated animation of seismic activity of the earths crust. I'm eagerly awaiting nanotechnology to enter the toothbrush wars. "Nano-particles to make a protective shield around your teeth" - switch to CGI animation of an army of soldiers holding shields and spears and swords and warding off glancing blows(representing bacteria) The same goes for razors. Looking at the packaging in Foxton New World last week, I saw "titanium technology" on one and all sorts of bullshit written over others.
Do we really need toothbrushes? Can we survive or evolve without them?Did humans evolve without toothbrushes?Where are all my used ones? I reckon, if we use one every 6 months,that makes around several million toothbrushes from New Zealand per year going somewhere, probably into a hole in the ground.I walked on several in the Khumbu Valley, Nepal, last year.
Apparently our dietary reliance on grains rots our teeth. Phytic acid. Raised blood sugar levels. I always thought that grains were once a survival food for the cold winter months in the colder regions now turned into a staple thanks be to barrels of cheap oil. My theory is that brushing introduces as much bacteria as it purports to wipe out. What with your scabby brush (zoom to CGI microscope view of festering battalions of bacteria) sitting out in the air all day........It's probably wrong but it pales in comparison to the bollocks and pseudo science that's on TV commercials.
We'll, I'm off to bed. After I brush my teeth of course.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

YODO

Last night we got a late call.The after 11pm call.The time of day when you instantly think: something's happened. Alice's dad was taken to hospital with a painful leg, possibly a blood clot,this morning.
Next morning I get a call from a Margaret Jones from Henderson, sister of Carl Sim, Foxton's Goldie art forger. She has seen my profile in Organic New Zealand magazine where I have recently been added as a contributing cartoonist. She thought she would phone me to tell me she used to live in Himatangi from where she biked to and from school in Foxton every day, a round trip of 40 km probably.And on a heavy one speed bike. "I don't know how I did it" she says, "I was such a skinny little thing" she says wistfully- "still am!". She tells me the story of one day, how she and a friend swam across the then Manawatu river while it was in flood.(It used to pass through the town) She adds, almost nonchalantly, that her friend had lost 4 of her 5 sisters by drowning. The town 'madmen' (who was mad?) received them on the other side, took them in and fed them and then returned them by dinghy, after a dam good scolding!
"I don't know what we were thinking" she reflects.
By contrast, let's witness the cutting down of trees in the nation's school playgrounds for safety reasons. I witnessed, at a school outdoor camp, a young person walking across a low suspended log, supported on either side by two other young people! We are seeing whole cultures of people waiting for life to happen.
You only die once.
This isn't a 'lesson'- its a celebration of life and the indomitable human spirit. Be afraid and do it because you will feel amazed, satisfied, terrified, confident, joyful, electrified.