Consider these two unexpected propositions: a leading contender for the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America is ambushed by a competing conservative candidate for putting profits before people; and one of the richest men in America, a quintessential capitalist, is demanding that the nation's top earners pay higher taxes.
May God bless and keep you always May your wishes all come true May you always do for others And let others do for you May you build a ladder to the stars And climb on every rung May you...
It wasn't so much the bare, urine-burnt patches of grass at the bottom of the wide garden steps that offended. No, that could be put down to sheer sloth on my own part, shooing the dog down in that direction late in the evening instead of taking him for a regulated constitutional stroll - to do his dirty work elsewhere, or kill some wild weeds on a roadside verge.
Traditionally, at this time of year, we look backwards and forwards - and sometimes sideways - to reflect on the world around us, and our part in it.
Hindsight has the potential to make fools out of the supremely confident while turning silent naysayers into sages.
There is no doubt, as Prime Minister John Key is fond of pointing out, the mixed-ownership model that he and his party are proposing for their partial sale of state assets can work extremely well.
The hostel was an old 1950s prefab building. I'm picturing it as a jaded yellow but that may be simply the sepia fade of memory. It was, after all, 38 years ago.
I am a member of a privileged lot, too young for rock'n'roll, too old for punk, a subset of the fabled and fabulously self-absorbed babyboomer generation.
Alan Joyce, the chief executive of Qantas, in the news over a shock lockout of airline employees and grounding of the fleet thought to have cost the airline millions of dollars, has trimmed the Aussie carrier of more than 1000 workers this year. His ostensible reason?
Some time in the mid-1990s I met Commander Robert Green (retired), a former British Royal Navy commander who had met and married a New Zealander and moved to Christchurch.
Here we go again. No sooner do the elections appear over the horizon - a horizon amply obscured by the Rugby World Cup, it must be said - than does the issue of what is and isn't an election advertisement raise its persistent head.
Someone asked me the other day what I thought about the Rugby Haka Peepshow in the Octagon and I had to confess I didn't have an opinion. I didn't have an opinion because I hadn't then had a chance, or taken the time, to have a look.
On behalf of you, the taxpayer, who - after all - is footing at least part of the bill for this great international festival which, allegedly, has something to do with a game played with an oval ball (I'll leave the salient details to the sports department), I have taken it upon myself to venture out in to the wide blue yonder.
Ah, the young! Where would we be without these yelping pups, these wanton purveyors of licentiousness, these brawling, mewling, puking specimens of underdone humanity?
And so the debate on the British riots rolls on. At the weekend, former British prime minister Tony Blair put his two bob's worth in with an Observer article, reprinted on this page yesterday.
On occasion one has to wonder whether it is in the water. I'm all for the idea of an engaged, informed and - yes - even argumentative society.
Big Stevie Williams has done it again, carrying the bag right up the leader board and on to the winner's podium at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. This time for top Aussie golfer Adam Scott.
One of the enduring echoes of the Murdoch affair in the United Kingdom arises from the extent to which politicians had become "too cosy" with the media. Too cosy is a euphemism: it's code for a relationship in which influence may have been peddled. I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine.
Skipping town on a balmy evening late last week, a passing glance at the early-flowering camellias and more than a hint of vernal equinox in the birdsong, it was possible for a moment to imagine the winter had passed us by.
Is anyone else out there getting a little weary of the cynical, destructive know-the-price-of-everything-and-the-value-of-nothing approach to life promulgated by some of our politicians?