Most writers south of the Waitaki have been strongly influenced by the blood department at Dunedin Hospital. While European writers find their muse in the south of France, and Americans sit on the piers of Cannery Row or the banks of the mighty Mississippi, us indomitable southern writing men and women are drawn time and time again to our hospital's blood bank.
Post offices? I am tempted to say ''don't get me started'', but I have always run as fast as my legs could carry me from cliches, and saying ''don't get me started'' would just be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Most rational etymologists agree if you want a word that seriously addresses all that is important in the layered depth of life, that word is heavy.
Man alone. While the rest of the family and extended family revel and wallow in the Ida Valley, I remain in Dunedin trying to clear up after the damage wrought by Christmas hordes. I made some calls, got some quotes. Six people spread over two to three weeks, was the typical response, somewhere around $7000. Plus personal liability insurance.
When I was a child, we had no fridge, no telly and no car. This was neither here nor there; we had our health. We were not like the people in Monty Python who lived in a bag on the road.
Christmas Day was yesterday. This was written before Christmas Day. Who knows how that went?Well, I know. Because I am organised, and totally enslaven to ritual.
Down the foggy ruins of time, three things have received universal loathing: phone help desks, war, and John Stape from Coronation Street. We certainly don't need a fourth with a list as damnatory as this. But I would nevertheless like to fiercely, stubbornly, offer one more - the button fly.
Most rational thinkers hurled themselves behind the couch when New Zealand's Got Talent was announced. We do as a nation, after all, maintain a ludicrous dichotomy of believing we are superior to everyone else in the world and our television entertainers are no more worthy than landfill.
With the dinner table temporarily sagging beneath the intellectual weight of two tiny but highly verbal American children, the nature of our conversation has changed so dramatically, I often wonder if I have stumbled into the wrong house. We are at present operating on a level which is quite simply beyond anything I can muster.
The first gift I ever gave my wife was a sewing machine. Used. Thirty dollars. Green. You could buy a car for thirty dollars back then.
The grandchildren are here from Chicago, one at school already, oy vey. And as the wise grandfather who has bobbed and weaved successfully through all of life's arrows and nunchukas, so far, it has naturally behoven me to educate them appropriately.
Many eyebrows were raised a couple of months ago when I mentioned the dog Schmeichel was my favourite Coronation Street character.
Wheyou get right down to it, golf is just hitting a stationary ball into a hole with a stick. Nothing more. Yet it is probably the hardest sport of them all. And none suck the obsession tic out of man, that witless stubborn crazy-eyed irrational obsession when trying to play better, more destructively than golf.
Most us carry around stuff in our heads we feel should be kept in there, stuff that needs time to breathe before it is released to the outer world. This, despite our consistent immorality in all other things, is information for which we keep the lips pursed because we don't want to hurt anyone. Or embarrass them. Or have them drag us into court with a phalanx of litigation lawyers primed to bleed every living razoo from our ethically worthless bodies.
Balance. Every journalist has to have balance. When I first entered the venerable Evening Star building and its even more venerable lift - that Dotcom fellow would never fit in this lift - a man with silver hair put his hand on my shoulder and told me about balance.
The Forty Minute Farewell. This topic is such a monstrous cliche, more overdone than a carbonised barbecue sausage, that it is really pointless to add my thoughts.