There’s a universal acceptance that the art world is the undisputed world champion when it comes to bullshit, (and of course fraud). A canvas painted black with say a single red stripe down the middle, if by a name artist, will have critics swooning. Many famous artists have either financially exploited this or alternatively sent it up. With the latter sending-up category I own a small painting by one of New Zealand’s greats, Michael Illingworth, who died three decades back. It’s titled ‘the art opening’ and shows a couple chatting away, wine glasses in hand while behind can be see the “works”, all canvases divided into two, one half painted say yellow, the other black, significantly, all bearing red sales stickers.


The latest Pew Research American statistics at first light make grim reading. It appears that over the last decade in all traditional news outlets, that is newspapers, radio, television and cable, total employee numbers dropped by 25%.

But analysis shows the employee numbers in radio, television and cable in fact pretty much stayed the same and the drop was almost entirely attributable to newspapers which lost 47% of their staff in the past ten years. For those of us interested in quality and substance in their news consumption, which television and radio cannot provide, this is alarming.


Since I wrote about the RAM, mug “investors” looking to blame the ANZ for their stupidity, it’s come to light that the instigators of this action, such as Wellington lawyer John Strahl, are not acting in their professional capacity. Instead, unbelievably they’re acting as “victims” on their own behalf.

For God’s sake, John has half a century of commercial law practise at a top level under his belt. How could he and his fellow complainants have been so bloody dumb as to blindly buy into this genius investor (Ross) blarney, passed about by word of mouth?

They would surely have been aware that Ross had form, given his 1980s listed public company having gone belly-up. After that happened I received a telephone call from a Singapore based executive on behalf of a large international bank. He told me his bank just wanted to clear the matter off their books and would accept virtually any sum I’d give them for Ross’s defunct company’s alleged $100 million Auckland commercial property portfolio, this a division they’d created late in the piece.

We popped up to have a look. Plainly Ross and his co-principal had no idea what they were doing for they’d been fitted into, from memory, about 10 developer dogs. One building on the list didn’t actually exist. We concluded getting involved could embroil us in unknown contingencies and stayed away.

Those plaintiffs blaming Ross’s bank the ANZ, for their stupidity are now trying to rally up other Ross victims support.

They should be mindful of this. Put your name to the action as a plaintiff and you will be obliged to testify. And do that and you will be subject to cross-examination. I know which side I’d like to be on if I was a barrister.

Did these aggrieved plaintiffs buy their homes without first thoroughly inspecting them, off-the-rack jackets without trying them on, cars without a test drive, and so on? Blindy “investing” with Ross on hearsay equated to religious superstition based solely on faith and now, as sadly is the New Zealand way, they seek to blame others for their personal negligence.


Almost Daily Wellington’s Dominion-Post newspaper hammers readers on the wickedness of plastic.

And daily the newspaper is delivered to subscribers sealed waterproof in plastic. Hypocrisy? Yes, but the Dom’s dilemma epitomises the problem facing so many users of this wonderful product.

Plastic is not in fact the problem, rather the issue lies with its disposal and it’s that where research should concentrate. Ban the Dom’ from machine wrapping the neatly folded in half newspaper and it will be left with only one option, namely hand delivery to letterboxes.

That simply means extra delivery staff when it can no longer be hurled onto a drive. But in the context of things that’s not a massive expense. Unlike many other commercial activities reliant on plastic, it surely befalls the newspaper to either do this or stop writing about its wickedness, and by implication, the wickedness of its users.


A friend of mine, academic Dr Melissa Derby, for whom I have a high regard, is a University researcher and promotor of literacy.

Being of Maori ancestry she cops cowardly abuse from the small coterie of Maori purported academics, mainly located at Waikato University, for not playing the game and her taking a Don Brash approach to special treatment for Maori students.