The New Zealand Herald ran a nonsense item from abroad re horoscopes and specifically, which star sign category individuals are most likely to be a serial killer. Turns out I am. Well, like the Mikado’s Lord High Executioner I admit “I have a little list and none of ‘em would be missed.”

Obviously Putin would be at the top. I’d pay serious money to bang a bullet through his tiny porcine-eyed head and likewise the barrel of lard sycophant in neighbouring Belarus. However, as also would hundreds of millions of others I don’t think this desire constitutes a confirmation of horoscopic truth vis a vis my alleged serial killer propensity.

As I’ve recounted before, one of the most enjoyable writing tasks I ever had was discovering back in the late 1970s that our then biggest circulation newspaper Truth’s horoscopes were written by its then large journalist staff, in rotation. Being journalists and thus lazy buggers they happily agreed when I offered to take this role over. My God it was fun giving the nation’s females and fairies increasingly outrageous riding instructions for the week ahead.

So too a dozen or so years back when some prominent Hutt citizens started a glossy Hutt magazine, and I became Socrates Arawa, the prominent maori prophet. A highlight was a letter from a woman, complaining about the distress I’d caused her mother, I having prophesised that anyone who’s birthday was a particular day would be dead by Christmas, the date I’d arbitrarily chosen apparently being that of her mother’s birthday.

I told the editor to ignore it. Then in late January the woman wrote again, this time complaining because her mother was still alive. It’s unbelievable, although perhaps not on reflection, nature designing women to be trustingly gullible, failing which the population would die out.

Anyway, as I was abroad a lot I eventually forfeited the role to Lower Hutt’s then senior lawyer who thoroughly enjoyed indulging his creative whims.

So back to the Herald’s original story, which is an all too common classic example of irrational thinking. Taking serious killers as the example is good for two reasons, first for its dramatic impact, but more important, because there’s not many of them. And therein lies the flaw. Had the sampling topic been something applying to say a million individuals, the result logically would have shown no difference from month to month, otherwise it’s simply chance.

Illogical thinking is common-place. For example, a John Watkins of Greenlane had a letter in the Listener defending the absurd British monarchy, on the grounds that Russians would gladly prefer that nonsense to the “Putin thug.” That “logic” reveals why Watkins isn’t a Remuera resident, namely he’s a dumb bugger otherwise he’d be a perfect target to sell the Auckland harbour bridge to. To explain; Many Russians doubtless would agree to a weekly caning if enduring this got rid of Putin. But that doesn’t mean they’d welcome the caning.


Socrates Arawa – I actually laughed out loud! By the way, I have read a wag claim that you were Tory Whanau’s Spiritual Advisor in the mayoral election, due mostly to her astonishing resemblance to Carmen, haha.

    Its still hard to believe how someone like Tory Whanau can be elected to lead the biggest business in Wellington…Her experience (or lack of) is akin to Jacinda Ardern’s, and what a train wreck that has turned out to be…

    While there wasnt much else to chose from, she must have captured all the female and/or useless public servant votes.

    Dont expect much progress to be made in Wellington in the next 3 years, other than money spent on more committee meetings discussing minor stuff which is largely irrelevant.

Tarantara ! Tarantara !

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