Friday, March 29, 2013

Pope Francis

The election of Pope Francis is hailed by some as the beginning of a new era for the Catholic Church.  But a number of questions need answering before we can support this assumption.

1.    Will paedophile priests be brought to justice, and the conditions that support their existence be removed? Perhaps priests should be allowed to marry – this might remove the ‘need’; many of them feel to get their sexual needs met through boys. But given the church’s unwillingness to change on this matter, and former Pope Benedict’s apparent confession of his gayness, it appears the church’s prudery will continue unchallenged and unabated
2.    Will women ever be treated with equality and dignity? Allowed control over their own fertility? Allowed access to ordination and the priesthood? The continued focus on the rape of the virgin Mary by god suggests that women’s inferior position in christianity in general is not likely to end soon. I’m also guessing that god’s punishment of all women for the supposed ‘sin’ of Eve is not going to change any time soon, so equality and dignity are pretty low on the church’s agenda
3.    Will the church’s vast wealth and political clout ever be diverted towards truly helping the poor? As this is unlikely, perhaps the church – governed as a political entity from a city state – should have its tax-free charitable status removed. Perhaps church members should vote with their wallets, and stop giving huge amounts of money to the church – at least this way they might be better able to take some responsibility for their own situations
4.    Which raises another question: Will christians of any stripe EVER learn to be self-governing individuals, responsible for their own lives? Were they to do so, they would have no need for dependence on a murdering, raping sociopath (god) and his meek, timid ‘yes daddy’ flunky (jesus). Emotionally mature, self-responsible adults don’t need to cling dependently on either of these images

Somehow I doubt it. So what solutions are there?

One solution might be for disgruntled catholics to rise up against the misuse of power evident within the church. But this is unlikely to have much of an impact on the existence, behaviours and theology of the catholic church. Hundreds of years since the reformation have shown that the church will continue.

Of course people do have the right to believe what they want. If individuals freely consent to the beliefs and practices of any church, that’s their choice. But they can’t then complain about the situation while sitting passively in their pews every Sunday and thanking god for being so damned good to them. If they stay passively yet freely in an abusive situation they can’t complain about it. It’s no longer abuse at that point.

Just leave me out of it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Customer service

When I'm dealing with retailers or service providers, nothing irritates me more than crap.  Whether it's crap attitudes, products or customer service doesn't matter, and many of us can tell stories of crap in the marketplace.  There's no excuse for crappy retail, and if businesses want to deliver crap they have to live with the consequences. If I'm dissatisfied I can take my money and custom elsewhere, and that's the power customers have - everywhere.

Businesses can make all the claims they like about their products and services.  They can have all the pretty faces and slogans available.  But it means nothing when customers are angry and considering moving to the opposition.

I could name names here, but don't think it would affect much.  You all have your own stories.  But what I am doing is writing an E-book entitled 'How to Provide the Best Customer Service on Earth'.  Watch this space.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


The Auckland super-city has been in the news again, for the wrong reasons.  Rates are being increased, sometimes hugely, to a level often unaffordable for the ratepayer.  In spite of promises made before the last round of local body elections, costs are not being kept under control.  None of us should be surprised at this – Mayor Brown is, after all, the head of a council made of up left-leaning politicians.  Like all politicians of their type, they are known for their ‘tax and spend’ policies.  And Aucklanders are paying the bills.

One solution is to address the costs associated with public libraries – white elephants that are a costly drain on ratepayer funds.  These are not used by many people in their communities.  In addition to staff that is poorly qualified and has a poor customer service ethic, these libraries are hugely under-resourced and unresponsive to client needs.  Funding constraints mean that they are stocked with outdated books, and have limited availability and long waiting lists for popular items.  And yet residents are still forced to pay for this.

There are 3 possible solutions to the problem of public libraries.
1.    Existing public libraries could be placed into community ownership via Trusts.  This way, communities will have control over management and resourcing of libraries.   The venture could be financed through community initiatives, including fundraising and philanthropists, and donations of items and money could be accepted. 
2.    Private libraries, owned by individuals or community groups.  These may be specialist in nature, focussing on a particular subject or group.  Some already exist, such as the one located at Rationalist House in Auckland..  Membership and hireage fees could be charged, and donations of items and money accepted
3.    They could operate as a profit-making business.  This model already exists in the form of video/DVD stores, so it wouldn’t be a big stretch to open libraries specialising in the written word.  Again, these could be specialist libraries, catering to specific interest groups.  Membership and hireage fees may be charged. 

How might these libraries work?  Instead of being a never-ending sinkhole for ratepayer funds, these libraries would be better managed financially, resulting in more accountability to their members owners and the local community.  Membership and rental fees could be charged to help cover costs, meaning a potentially lower cost per user (some fees already charged at public libraries in addition to ratepayer funding, so this would not be a challenge to implement).  Freedom from council and government influence means libraries would not be forced to try being all things to all people – they could be more responsive to user requirements.  Feedback from users and owners could be more easily obtained and implemented without having to work through bureaucratic processes.  Monitoring of each item's usage could assists with cost control as low usage items are removed from circulation.  Staff who wish to may volunteer, especially in community-owned libraries.

Any of these options is fairer than the current rates-funded system.  Ratepayers are not forced to fund what they don't use.  This keeps rates bills lower, freeing up people’s money to be spent on whatever they wish.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


The coroner’s verdict is in.  Azaria Chamberlain was, according to the coroner, killed by a dingo at Ayers Rock.  But I’m at a loss to understand how this decision was reached.

A body was never found.  For all we know, Azaria Chamberlain is still alive, somewhere.

But assuming she did die, I’m not convinced a dingo was the cause.  Her mother Lindy saw a dingo leave the tent.  She didn’t see a baby with that dingo, and only knew the baby was missing when she went into the tent.  The aboriginal tracker who claimed to see the dingo footprints also said there were indications of a baby’s body being dragged, but can’t seem to explain how she knew it was a baby.  And she didn’t see blood stains.

 see blood stains.
nto the tendd only knew the baby was missing when she went into the tendQuestions remain about the dingo that supposedly killed Azaria.  Why would a dingo go into the back of the tent, past two sleeping boys, to where the baby girl lay?  Why take her?  How did a dingo later get the matinee jacket off the body, without totally destroying it in the process?

Somebody knows what happened to Azaria Chamberlain.  Did Lindy, in a fit of post-natal depression, kill the baby?  As a good Christian woman, she was supposed to be happy in her role as a pastor’s wife, but who’s to say she was totally miserable and saw no other way out?  She got little or no support from the church she belonged to.  And what about the person/s who disposed of the matinee jacket at the dingo’s lair?  What do they know about the fate of that we girl, and why haven’t they come forward with the information?  Is it out of guilt?

Easy to blame a dingo for a crime that may or may not have happened.  But those responsible for a murder, if one occurred, need to be held responsible.go footprints also said there were indications of a baby'had a ?

Friday, May 18, 2012


Once again the annual Mother’s Day propaganda has hit the media.  Famous people and sports stars coming out to say ‘thanks mum’.  TV and radio talking about mum’s yearly day off.  And plenty of advertising of gifts – things for doing the housework, or things that everyone in the family can use.  Restaurants telling dad he should take mum out for dinner today.

What a scam!  It’s patronising to women, and just more meaningless anti-women tokenism.  Mum is supposed to feel grateful for this?  Wouldn’t she appreciate the attention more often, rather than one day a year?

If you really value her
*      Show it every day.  Don’t patronise her by doing something nice once a year.  If you can’t value her and treat her right every day, don’t bother doing it on Mother’s Day.
*      Don’t buy Mother’s Day gifts for housework.  Try some perfume rather than a blender or microwave.  Something to make her work easier?  What about something special and personal, without work strings attached.
*      One day off a year?  Gee thanks.  The assumption here is that she works every other day. It seems women haven’t come far at all.  Try doing your share of the housework, daily. But don’t act as though you’re doing her a favour by doing her work for her
*      Take her out to dinner more often.   It doesn’t always have to be expensive.  Just do it!

Remember when you first met her?  It wasn’t too hard to treat her right then, was it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


It’s May.  New Zealand Music Month.  The annual opportunity for the New Zealand media and music industry to slap themselves on the back and say what a fine job they’re doing promoting New Zealand music.  They play lots more New Zealand music than they normally would, including crap that would otherwise not see the light of day.

But you gotta ask why.  What’s the point of this cynical wankery?  If Kiwi music were good it wouldn’t need propaganda like this.  People don’t want New Zealand music much otherwise.  They don’t listen to it, or buy it, to the same degree any other time of year.

Seems like just another chance for the talentless losers who make crap music to get heard.  Give me a break!  I’ll just spend the month listening to stuff I like, in my CD collection, regardless of where it comes from.  Kiwi or otherwise. 

And that’s the real solution to New Zealand Music Month.  Leave it to market forces.  Let the customer decide what they like, rather than forcing them to listen to rubbish no one wantw.


The ubiquitous sorry!

We live in a culture of apology.  People apologise all the time.  They feel the need to apologise for everything, even stuff they have no control over, or stuff they could not possibly have predicted in advance.  Then they’re sorry for being born a particular way e.g. white.  Or apologise for what they’re about to do anyway. 

I hate it when people say things like
*      'I'm sorry but.....'
*      'I don't want to upset you but...'
*      'I don't want to appear rude but....'
*      'I'm not a racist but...'
*      'I'm not being nasty but...'
*      They’re sorry for what they’re going to do. 
Basically they are liars. They’re not sorry, they’re just trying to cover their sorry arses. 

Apologising for everything – the weather, other people’s behaviour, the fact that we live and breathe and take up space on the earth?  This has two effects:
  1. 1It demeans us, shows our low self-esteem and the belief that we are lower than low 
  2.  It can make people begin to feel that maybe we are responsible for stuff, whether we are or not. 

‘When individuals know they were wrong, rude, or in anyway not nice or proper about something to someone they feel guilty and their conscience tells us to apologize for what we have done to be granted forgiveness. It makes one feel better and even though there may be times that sorry is not enough the offer of an apology is looked at with strength, courage and respect for others. It is always best to say sorry but you have to mean it’.

Sorry is often meaningless.  Have you ever stopped to wonder why people say sorry? I think it's one of the most meaningless words us humans have invented. It's a word that people use like a Get out of jail free card. I did something wrong, all I have to do is say sorry and it'll be okay again’.