Once upon a time in a land to the south of Auckland there was a small and plucky team called Counties, who attracted the support of folk like me who liked to support their local team, and liked to support a battler. They gave us a lot of fun over the years (NPC win in 1979; two Grand Finals in 1996 and 1997) , and also a lot of heartache (demotion; relegation; last-minute Ranfurly Shield losses) but never a Ranfurly Shield win.
And then, at the start of the professional era, our team was taken away from us. The dismemberment began between that Grand Final of 1997 and the Super 14 final of the next year, when the Auckland Blues played Canterbury’s Crusaders, a final which ended with eight Counties players on one side and seven on the other, and a stand full of Counties fans with no idea who to cheer for
This classic post that Michael Spencer wrote in 2004 tells the intimate story of a father’s depression and a boy who finally understands.
When I was twelve years old, my father bought a small aluminum boat, just enough for two people to use for fishing in the local lakes. He put it in our backyard. It had a tiny motor that sat in our shed. He bought the boat so we could go fishing together, father and son. It was his dream, a father’s dream…
My father had never been like other fathers I knew. By the time I was a teenager, he was unable to work, but before that he’d done all sorts of things: worked as a flunky at car lots, made tools at a tool and die company, made change at a car wash, ran errands at local automobile race tracks, worked in the oil fields, rented boats at a lake, janitored. He liked to fish, hunt squirrels, pick up pecans, hunt arrowheads, go to ball games and races. My father was a collection of contradictions and mysteries…
Rise, and speak wisely, man—but hark;
I see thy rug, as woven i’the Orient,
A treasure from abroad. I like it not.
I’ll stain it thus; ever thus to deadbeats.
[He stains the rug]
Sir, prithee nay!
Now thou seest what happens, Lebowski, when the agreements of honourable business stand compromised. If thou wouldst treat money as water, flowing as the gentle rain from heaven, why, then thou knowest water begets water; it will be a watery grave your rug, drowned in the weeping brook. Pray remember, Lebowski.
Thou err’st; no man calls me Lebowski. Yet thou art man; neither spirit damned nor wandering shadow, thou art solid flesh, man of woman born. Hear rightly, man!—for thou hast got the wrong man. I am the Knave, man; Knave in nature as in name.
Ben Myers has written an entertaining piece on those subtle and magnificent houses of erudition and subversion, and their unassuming but beguiling facilitators:
The library is the most solid and enduring item in the whole apparatus of intellectual life. In time our academic fads and fashions, our schools of thought and indeed entire disciplines, will pass soundlessly into the abyss of history. But the library endures – in fact it grows only stronger, driving its roots down ever deeper while the wreckage of history piles up around it. The library’s sheer material presence testifies to its ontological priority in intellectual life: ideas are fickle and intangible, they occupy no fixed location, but the library fills space and time with an imposing materiality. It is the mind’s anchor holding fast beneath the storms and currents of time.
The statement that the laws of nature are written in the language of mathematics was probably made three hundred years ago [It is attributed to Galileo]. it is now more true than ever before … Surely complex numbers are far from natural or simple and they cannot be suggested by physical observations. Furthermore, the use of complex numbers is close to being a necessity in the formulation of the laws of quantum mechanics. It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them. The closest explanation [for this mathematical universe] is Einstein’s statement that “the only physical theories which we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones” … the concepts of mathematics have this quality of beauty.
It is indeed a pity we do not learn history at school. In my day we learnt of the Dane-geld, the tax imposed upon England to raise money to buy off the Danes, the Vikings, but which inevitably had the effect of encouraging the Danes, once they had seen how profitable this extortion was, to return again and again, breaking their word not to, to demand yet more tribute; and which led, eventually, to Danish invasion and subjection of all of England, which ended not all that long before 1066. Buying people off seldom works. Kipling wrote a poem about it, which a wiser generation often learnt by heart.
Dr. Muriel Newman: A Radical Agenda :Margaret Mutu – who holds a position of respect as a Professor of Maori Studies at Auckland University – is calling for the supremacy of Maori over non-Maori. By proposing that Pakeha become servants to Maori, Margaret Mutu is essentially promoting apartheid and in doing so is abusing the respect demanded by her academic position. She should not only be removed, but the Race Relations Commissioner should be investigating her racist calls.
This situation, where a whole community (which includes many retired pensioners) is being intimidated by radical Maori bullies – who have stated that they intend to destroy the value of their properties – is completely unacceptible. Instead of pandering to such radicals by officially recognising the tino rangatiratanga flag, John Key and his Government should be drawing a line in the sand and sending out a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
TVNZ OnDemand: Recent episodes of Marae
M and M : Sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi
M and M : View “Marae: The Great Waitangi Debate” here
M and M : Tune in to Marae tomorrow
M and M : Maori and Pakeha are not partners to the Treaty of Waitangi
Not PC : Why the Treaty is Holding us Back
Not PC : February 6 Should be One Law For All Day
NZ Conservative: Obligatory Waitangi Day Post
Stephen Franks: Is the Treaty good for New Zealand?
David Round: National has No Mandate for Promoting Racial Separatism
David Round: Is the Treaty of Waitangi Holding New Zealand Back? (yes.)
How did we get to be so distracted, depressed and helpless? Where exactly did we misplace our true capacity to act intelligently with foresight, to be creative, fulfilled and content? How did we get to believe that money, possessions and power would take the place of these things? Why do we measure a man’s worth by how what he has, by how much power he wields over those around him? Because of this belief we have for thousands of years been locked in a vicious game of ‘beggar thy neighbour’, now massively amplified by oil and technology, and ultimately played to the point where the outstanding, the primal reality of this world, is that the top 1% of people control more wealth than the bottom 90% … we have been robbed of our birthright to be decent, wise, loving and happy, but for fear of losing the meagre fragments of these things left to us … the voice remains silent.