The Wing-Friends and Other Books

In Blogger's slideshows images are greatly reduced, so lose much of their impact. And captions added to them in Picasa Albums vanish, so the images shown above are: the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, Earth, Earth with New Zealand circled, New Zealand, Auckland & the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, some native NZ forest, a Fantail and chicks, various doves, etc.

(If you want to see the first ten images in their original size, they are in a posting made on the 24th of November 2011.)

My book The Wing-Friends is an imaginative tale of a small brave boy, a magical adventure, a magnificent Pegasus and the wonderful Kingdom of the Pegasi. It has been given very good reviews, and virtually every reader on Goodreads has so far awarded it five stars. It is available here. Some of my other writings are available as e-books, such as The Lower Deck, which is an over-the-top take on Waiheke happenings--sort of.

Thursday, 31 May 2012


Sexual abuse across all social classes by men and women, boys and girls, well- and poorly-educated, is deeply embedded in New Zealand society, and despite being explicitly outlawed in public places by section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1981 it is everywhere considered so normal and acceptable that any law against it is a dead letter.

If a black man is punched in the head because he is black, that is racial abuse of the physical kind. If he is called a nigger, that is racial abuse of the psychological kind. Everyone understands that. Both are acts of racial abuse, both hit him hard in his mind and heart, and both damage both the abused and the abuser.

Words are powerful. The words we use, the words we choose, express our thinking and shape it. Then our thinking shapes our actions.

What are inaccurately and euphemistically called four-letter words, which Tolkien aptly called Black Speech, is sexual abuse of the psychological kind. It pours black abuse on the emblems and the essence of manhood and boyhood, girlhood and womanhood. Especially manhood and boyhood. Even a term that on the surface abuses women‘s genitals is most often hurled at men by men: the c-- word is the worst insult that can be flung at a man; it says he has no manhood.

The destructive power of the black words is multiplied by the fact that they do double duty as terms of strong mockery. For example, the black word for the penis also means a stupid fool, the black word for the glans penis means a very stupid fool, the black word for the testes is part of a term that means a gross and mindless blunder, the black abbreviation for the scrotum means something disgusting and repellent. Boys and men thus constantly have rammed into them the message that what makes and marks them as male is a disgusting and repellent joke. That is a monumental lie.

Women get off comparatively lightly, but it is small wonder that breast-feeding is rejected by so many when the word used for the breasts also means a stupid mistake. That too is a destructive lie.

The f--- word, when made personal with 'you', is a wish for what is obviously thought to be the worst punishment that can be inflicted. As rape yes, but it abuses the most loving act in human life, a damnable lie underscores the rest of the abuse.

Until New Zealand recognises that it is subjecting itself to a torrent of psychological sexual abuse in its addiction to Black Speech and starts eliminating it the physical sexual abuse that arises from it will continue.

For a start, section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1981 should be rigorously enforced. Which means that police officers must stop using sexually abusive language. Radio and television should eliminate it from the airwaves, and if an otherwise worthwhile programme that includes is shown it it should be preceded by a clip that says what it contains and that it is sexual abuse so must be treated with contempt--in short, the abusive guns should be spiked. The Broadcasting Standards Authority should recognise and fulfil its responsibilities.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which New Zealand has signed, and which it affirmed in our Bill of Rights Act in 1990, lays down the fundamental principle of law as 'recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.' Together with 'recognition of the equal and inalienable worth of all members of the human family' that is *explicitly defined* as 'the foundation of freedom justice and peace in the world.' So in law and in truth whenever we denigrate our inherent dignity and worth we threaten our freedom, our justice, our peace.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says 'disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind'. That is always so. Therefore to eliminate the barbarism of sexual abuse and assault we must eliminate the contempt that leads to them. Which includes the contempt pouring like black pus from countless conversations.

It is simple cause and effect. That which is held in contempt will inevitably be attacked. There are attacks for good and attacks for evil. Evil attacks are caused by evil contempt. To eliminate them, it is necessary to eliminate the evil contempt. How is evil contempt recognised? It shuns the truth.

We recognise the arrant falsehoods of sexually abusive actions and images, but although the country is drenched in sexually abusive language few recognise it and care. The daily barrage of falsehoods about what makes and marks us as male and female, and which constantly drives down our self-esteem, male self-esteem in particulary, must be recognised for what it is and ruthlessly stamped out. We must accept and honour our bodies, not denigrate them.

When we tell falsehoods to ourselves about ourselves we act falsely to ourselves and others.The only difference is a matter of degree. In some the manifestation is extreme: rape and rape-murder. In others it is poor treatment of themselves and others, especially by men of women. Everyone who uses Black Speech is responsible for the damage it causes.

As W.H. Auden wisely observed:

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn.
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Monday, 21 May 2012


There has been a great deal of hype and hoo-ha about Facebook recently, but those of us who have discovered Google Plus know how much better than Facebook it is. Unfortunately, we cannot delete ourselves from Facebook, only render our accounts inactive, but mine has been zapped and I shall never go back.

Google Plus, Google+, G+ has been well named. It is a plus in every way. It has a simple interface that is a delight to use, every aspect is easy to configure (including privacy), and the brilliant concept of Circles fits perfectly the way we arrange our lives.

On Facebook everyone is a 'friend.' That is silly. 'Friend' is a precious word that cannot and should not be applied to hordes of people.

But on Google+ you have Circles. You can call them whatever you please, and put whoever you please into them. You get a few Circles to start you off: Family, Friends, Acquaintances, Following. You can drag people into those ones, you can create new ones, you can rename any Circle any time. You can have oodles of them.

And the people you put in your Circles only know that they are in one, or more, of your Circles. They do not know which one.So you could have a Circle you called Ratbags of the Universe, or Best Photographers in the World, or Rocket Scientists, or Fellow Waihekeans, Sweeties, or whatever is appropriate, and put people there. You just enter names, and drag their pictures into a Circle or Circles (people can be in multiple Circles).

Postings on Google+, unlike on Facebook, can be edited, so if you made a typing error, or just want to change or add something, you can. And you can make them as long or short as you please. You can of course add pictures, videos, text, links.

And there are Ripples, where you see, live, how postings are rippling across G+ as people share them.

Then there are Hangouts. You can get together with up to nine other people on your webcams. You can jump from a posting directly to a Hangout if you want to change from postings to a live meeting about that post. And Hangouts on Air enable you to broadcast to the world on YouTube, which is also part of Google and is integrated with Google+. As are GMail and Google Search and other Google stuff.

When you go on to Google+ that black bar at the top of your browser changes. Your name, with a + in front, is added at the left-hand end. So that is what Google+ means, Google plus You. Everyone on Google+ is Plusser.

I could go on and on. But if you are on Facebook not Google+ you are using a second-rate service. Third rate, or worse.

It has been going less than a year but is already heading to towards 200 million users. It took FB eight years to get the 900 million it claims to have. I hope that does not count my deactivated account...

Google search is used by two-thirds of the 2.3 billion users of the Internet. So which will win? Google+ or Facebook? The best, of course...

To join Google+ click here

Or just click on the +You link at the left-hand end of the black bar at the top of your browser (assuming you have Google as your homepage).


Footnote, made in May 2013. Google+ used to exhibit good design, which made it a pleasure to use. But then to my dismay it did a revamp and ditched so much good design and displayed so much insensitivity to how the human mind works that I ditched it. No more Google Plus. Which is a pity, because the G+ idea is superb, but I cannot stand bad design. And I have far more interesting things to do, things that do not involve being constantly annoyed by foolish shortcomings. G+ is becoming as dictatorial and take-or-leave it as Facebully. So I chose to leave it. My account remains, to be a point of contact, but I do not.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Doves belong to the pigeon family, and 'Putting a cat among the pigeons' is an old saying, often expressed as a bit of a joke. But it is no joke when you find a black cat from somewhere has tried to sneak up on the doves that thought my place was safe.

A sudden loud flurry of dovish wings panicking outside the office caught my attention this afternoon, and I went out, to see a sinister black shape retreating behind a tree only a couple of metres from where the birds had been feeding on the ground.

Now the birds are nervous and easily spooked. They are wary about coming down to the ground, and when one panics they all flee back up to the trees, even though there is no cat..

A few weeks ago there were twenty-three, but two died, a mother and chick, and I think that whole family must have succumbed to whatever it was they had eaten or whatever bug they had caught, or perhaps the father went elsewhere to seek a new mate, so that reduced the flight* to twenty. But now it is a very wary twenty. :-(

The tamest one, the female I call LightFeet, has been getting very, very tame, even perching on my shoulder for and hour or two while I worked. I hope she will not be affected by the coming of the black cat, that the general wariness of the flight will soon dissipate, and that that cat will exit the scene permanently.

(*The collective noun for doves is a flight.)