Category Archives: Sadness

The Buck Stops Where?

The headline in today’s paper read “Celebrities could be fined for financial endorsement”.  The article goes on to say “Celebrities who endorse financial products could face huge fines, but only if they make false statements in doing so.”  So what has changed?

Three finance companies fronted by high-profile New Zealanders collapsed each owing millions of dollars.

Richard Long a former One News presenter says he researched the company before taking on the voice over (read fronting role).

He says he now regrets his role and says he lost a large amount of money himself in the collapse of the company.

In March Long was quoted :

He believed celebrities would now shy away from such work. “If that’s the intent then probably it will work.”

However, he believed it was “a bit unfair” to hold celebrities responsible for investment losses on products they endorsed when it was unlikely they would ever know exactly how sound the company they were endorsing was.

And with that remark, he tells us much about celebrities who endorse products and their knowledge of the soundness of the companies they promote.

Then there was John Morrison, former New Zealand cricketer who publicly plugged St Laurence another finance company, which sponsored his radio show.

Did he really know enough about the working of the company to front it?

And of course, there was that all time great Colin Meads, former All Black and hailed as “our nation’s most revered All Blacks legend of all time”.  Sir Colin (as he now is)  famously described Provincial Finance as “solid as, I’d say”.

These names may not mean anything to those reading this who do not live in our green and beautiful land, but they are every day, household names to us.  And because of their high profiles I suggest that many people were convinced to put their money in these companies.  I am not in any way suggesting that any of these men had anything to do with the collapse of the companies.  The directors of each of these companies are currently facing court proceedings over this.

While it has been made it clear that the primary responsibility for accuracy will fall on company directors, the planned law targets high-profile individuals who use their status to promote financial products to the public.

So to anybody considering being the front, the voice over or the spokesperson for one of the finance companies, I would say beware.

And there are of course ‘celebrities’ fronting companies other than those in the finance arena, and one wonders whether they could also be caught in some new laws, yet to be enacted, should the company fail or fail to deliver.

The law relating to untrue statements already allows for financial penalties, as well as compensation for anyone who loses money on an investment made on the strength of an expert’s advice.  I wonder just what one has to do to prove that the investment was made solely on the advice of the expert.

“We have to live today by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood.” ~William James
, 1842 – 1910)
pioneering American psychologist and philosopher

Motherlove, Monsters, Mayhem and Maybe Murder

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”
— Agatha Christie, DBE, 1890 – 1976), British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. 

I discovered Martie Hevia and her blog a couple of weeks and I look forward to reading it each day.  It is a gentle blog filled with fun, memories and of course,  Martie’s voice singing her songs.

A couple of days ago the tone of her blog changed and she wrote about Caylee Marie Anthony, the toddler who disappeared and whose Mother didn’t report her missing for thirty-one days.  What kind of Mother-love is demonstrated here?

The Mother has apparently made all kinds of claims to the Police, all of which appear to be lies and now she is claiming that the child drowned in the grandparents’ swimming pool.

Whether this Mother murdered her child will come out in the days ahead.  But her callousness towards that lovely little girl cannot be ignored.

Maslow's Hierarchy

We know that Mazlow determined that the basic needs of any human being included physiological, safety, belonging and love,  and esteem.  Which of these were given to this little child?  A child needs to be loved and cared for.  To know that she is important to her parents and family, to be warm and safe.  Apparently none of these things applied to this little girl.

We can’t get the live CNN feed here but Martie gives it on her blog.

We know that one is innocent until proven guilty but all the signs are there that this Mother is implicated in some way with her baby’s disappearance and death.

I shall leave it there for the jury to decide after they sit through what will  obviously, be a harrowing experience.

And for Caylee –

Teddy bear

RIP Littlre One

One Day – One Tornado and One Earthquake

Map of New Zealand“New Zealand is not a small country
but a large village. ”
Peter Jackson,  New Zealand film director,
producer, actor, and screenwriter, 1961 –

New Zealand is often compared to a village.  Its total land area is 268,670 square kilometers (103,733 square miles), making it about the size of the state of Colorado, with a coastline of 15,134 kilometers (9,404 miles).  So we have friends and family in all other parts of this small country.

On Tuesday 4 May the country was hit twice – a tornado in Auckland in the north of the North Island and an earthquake in Nelson in the north of the South Island.
This wasn’t a tornado of the magnitude of that which hit Alabama last week but it caused widespread damage – see the video from the Guardian UK .
Our immediate thoughts and reactions were for friends in those areas. I phoned friends living in Auckland because the tornado was shown live on TV and seemed to be pretty scary. There were many people injured by flying roofing iron, broken glass, cars being upturned and other things being lifted and deposited somewhere else. One person died who was working inside a building being demolished.
The Nelson earthquake was small – we don’t really get excited about any quake that’s only around 4 on the Richter scale.  We are rather blase about the whole earthquake thing.  We say that we are prepared for the big one .  But can one ever be prepared for such a happening?
Wellington, the capital city and where I live lies within the earthquake-generating collision zone between two of the Earth’s great tectonic plates, and sits on top of one of the zone’s most active geological faults – the Wellington Fault.  It was widely expected that we would get the next big one.
Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral Before 22.02.11

Instead on February 22 a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region in the South Island causing widespread damage and multiple fatalities. This followed nearly six months after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit  Canterbury in September 2010 which caused significant damage to the region but no direct fatalities.
Christchurch Cathedral after 22.02.11

Christchurch Cathedral on 22.02.11

The February earthquake caused much more widespread damage and the loss of life was in excess of 180. And almost every day we hear of more aftershocks in the region.

See the video report from TVNZ here

So our small country took two hits on the same day leaving people in both the north and south island bemused at what is happening here and in other parts of the world.

Gregg Easterbrook, 1953 –  American writer and lecturer said –

“But by showing us live coverage of every bad thing happening everywhere in the world, cable news make life seem like it’s just an endless string of disasters – when, for most people in most places today, life is fairly good. “
So here is something to make you smile –

The rain has gone

 “Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. 
It means that you look beyond the imperfections
and smile.”
Judith Baxter 1938- mother, grandmother,
sister, friend.

Thursday Afternoon Blues

“Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.”  ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross 1926 – 2004, Swiss-born psychiatrist and author.

MPH LogoThursday afternoon always finds me in an introspective mood.  Because this is the day that I serve lunches at our local hospice.  Sometimes Thursday lunch is a joyful experience as I mentioned in past blogs; sometimes it is sad and sometimes, like today there is a general air of disquiet, unease about the place.

There was no particular reason for this.  But smiles met with pained expressions from those going through painful experiences both physical and mental.  Even those patients whom I had interacted with before seemed particularly withdrawn.

So I asked myself, why would this be.  It was like a miasma had descended on the place.  In my reading and learning I know that thoughts can affect not only people but also places.  I clearly remember the feeling that was left in the church when there had been a funeral immediately before I ran a wedding rehearsal.  The grief, anguish and tears felt and shed at the funeral were palpable.  Yes, some of the other people who worked at the church were skeptical when I said this.  But I do believe it is so.

I began to think of myself in this situation.  Coming to the end of my time here on earth.  How would I react?  How would I cope with this smiling person who asks me “How are you today?”  This of course, is the way in which we normally greet somebody.  But this is a far from normal situation.  The person to whom I am speaking is nearing the end of their journey in this life and they obviously are not great.  So I have to rethink my greeting.  If anybody can help me with this I should be most grateful.

I then got to thinking about how I could make my transition from life to death easier for my children.  When my husband died 13 years ago it was very sudden and we really had no idea what he would have wanted, apart from knowing that we had both discussed cremation.  My children took over the planning for the funeral without any real idea of what their Father would have wanted.

Some weeks later, when the dust and the fog in my brain had cleared somewhat, I found a page on which he had written the kind of funeral and the hymns he would like.  Well, it was too late.  The funeral had been held.

So I have put together a file for my children so there will be no question of what I want.

  • I want to be cremated and my ashes placed with Robert’s
  • I want the funeral to be in a church not an undertaker’s parlor
  • I don’t want lots of eulogies – I would rather people said nice things about and to me when I am alive
  • I don’t want lots of flowers and prefer the money to be donated to Mary Potter Hospice
  • I want my son and daughter and my grandsons to be pallbearers
  • I want my friend and organist at Old St Pauls to play a hymn – Jerusalem
  • I want there to be singing as well as the hymn.  I recently attended a ‘joyous’ funeral.  And this is what I want.  For many years my mantra has been “I hope you dance and I particularly want my favorite version  played – “I Hope You Dance” by Leann Womack.

Oh and I really like this poem and would ask my daughter, she of the fantastic voice, who read “Stop all the clocks” by W H Auden at her father’s funeral, to read this:

She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
David Harkins, English author, poet and artist.  1958 – .

I am sorry to be so serious today, but I truly believe that we should all make provisions for our passing out of this life into the next (if that’s what you believe).  In any event, we are going to pass out of this life at some stage.  My children took over all the funeral arrangements after their Father died.  I would like to think by this forward planning on my part, the chore will be easier for them the second time.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. “ 1817 – 1862, American author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister,  historian and philosopher.

My mind is full of Scorpions today

Photo – Jim Parkin

I woke this morning thinking of scorpions.  I don’t know why and where the thought came from.  I have never seen a scorpion and did you know that a group of scorpions is called a Cyclone?


Via Wikipedia

Ugly looking things aren’t they? According to Wikipedia “Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger.”

One of the first blogs I read today was from my blogging friend Val at  I feel for my friend at this time of sorrow.  From there I clicked on the link to and that really got this cyclone of scorpions out of control.

If you do click on Josephine Carr’s post I am sure you will feel as distraught as I did.  I felt this huge rage and guilt that we didn’t know just what was going on in Europe.  As a toddler, I could not have done anything but I still feel the collective guilt.  We can use all the excuses that technology was not as it is today and reporters were not allowed into the camps etc but these scorpions are buzzing.

The next blog I read was on the subject of atheism and I am sorry that I cannot give you the link here.  The post has disappeared into the blogosphere.  But the gist of the post was that the writer hasn’t told his family that he is an atheist and so is being put into the unenviable position of having to say a prayer at a family gathering.  He feels that his family would not be able to accept the fact of his atheism.

In this ‘enlightened age’ shouldn’t people be allowed their own beliefs and be able to discuss these openly with friends and family.  More buzzing from those scorpions.

And a news flash that police are concerned about the safety of a nine-year-old girl missing from her home since 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Her parents and friends searched for some hours before calling the police, but she hasn’t been seen since then. She’s now been missing for about 20 hours and how worried her parents must be.  More buzzing.

So now some good news. 


Photo – Ed Dear

I read Egypt intends to open its border with Gaza permanently to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians under an Israeli blockade but the mechanics of such a step are still being worked out, the Foreign Ministry said.  That has to be a step in the right direction.  No buzzing just butterfly wings flapping.

More butterfly wings with this clip from that Royal Event .  This darling little girl found the noise all too much.

And some more good news.  Watch this video of Dave McCalman and his bionic legs.

And on that note I will finish this very strange post.  I hope I haven’t spoiled your day but I really think some things need to be said – to be brought out into the open and discussed.

So until tomorrow. I leave you with this quote from my favorite book, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol :

“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”