Sunday, May 31, 2009

Iggy Pop on Twitter

The June issue of The Word has an interview with the much cleverer than his carefully maintained image would have you believe Iggy Pop. Asked whether he Twitters, Mr Pop replies:
No-oh-oh. Eurrrrghh (makes noise of utter disgust). Yeuurgh! No, one does not choose to Twitter. Damn no!
The magnificent Mr Pop is 62.

Friday, May 29, 2009

29 May sentence of the day

From my all-time favourite comedy blog, Private Secret Diary:
I do not know at what age children’s brains fully develop and they start realising that ‘go back to bed’ are the four best words in the English language alongside ‘fancy a quick pint?’ and ’shall I wear boots?’
The full post is here. It’s not one of his best, to be honest. Scroll down a bit for the bowls and chickens ones to get the full benefit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sentence of the day

Karl du Fresne on the Rankin frenzy:
We shouldn't forget Winston Peters either, though Lord knows I want to.

Could I try the heart?

Beat this, Governor-General Anand Satyanand:
In a display that a European Union spokesman called “too bizarre to acknowledge”, Governor General Michaelle Jean gutted the seal and swallowed a slice of the mammal’s heart late on Monday.

Mrs Jean’s bold action came after an EU vote earlier this month to impose a ban on seal products on grounds that the seal hunt is cruel.

Hundreds of Inuit at a community festival gathered on Monday as Mrs Jean knelt above a pair of seal carcasses and used a traditional ulu blade to slice the meat off the skin. After cutting through the flesh, she turned to the woman beside her and asked: “Could I try the heart?”

After swallowing a piece whole and deeming it tasty, Mrs Jean, whose post is largely ceremonial, defended the hunt as a traditional hunting practice that is not inhumane.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Country life sentence of the day

My sister-in-law Laughy Kate on her brother:
Bit like the time he chased through my bedroom with the freshly shot dead rabbit.
There is much, much more in this vein here. This, readers, is what I married into.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Obama shafts the Waikato

In today’s Waikato Times, Nikki Preston reports that the new US export subsidies on dairy exports could cost the district’s dairy farmers $180 million.

It’s great reporting – in a 467-word article she quotes five good sources, from the PM to a Morrinsville farmer. And here is the money quote from Waikato Federated Farmers president Stew Wadey:
It’s a serious concern. The US is going to subsidise 92,000 tonnes of export product. In perspective, New Zealand only produces 105,000 tonnes, so it’s the equivalent of almost subsidising all New Zealand’s production.

Happy birthday, Miles Davis

Born 25 May 1926, died 28 September 1991. This is his second great quartet – with Wayne Shorter, sax; Herbie Hancock, piano; Ron Carter, bass; and Tony Williams, drums – in 1967 performing “Walkin’”. Williams was 22.

And here is something he prepared earlier: “So What” from Kind of Blue in 1959 with John Coltrane, sax; Wynton Kelly, piano; Paul Chambers (I think) and Jimmy Cobb, drums. All together: “Aaaaahhh.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grammar Moses

Today’s lesson: dangling participles.

A participle should describe the grammatical subject of the main clause. When it doesn’t you get a dangling or misrelated participle. Fowler gives the example: “Recently converted into apartments, I passed by the house where I grew up.” There’s also this one quoted in Private Eye in 1988, “Being a vegan bisexual who’s into Nicaraguan coffee picking and boiler suits, you could safely assume that I vote Labour.” You get the idea.

There are some fine examples closer to home thanks to Barney McDonald, who reviews movies for the Sunday Star-Times and is an absolute master of the dangling participle. In his 17 May review (not online yet) of Philippe Claudel’s I’ve Loved You So Long, he writes:
A phenomenally talented actress, [. . .] Thomas’s fluent French and world-weary eyes are undeniably compelling.
Which is to say, her fluent French is a phenomenally talented actress, as are her eyes.
An acclaimed novelist, his film embraces. . .
His film is a novelist.

Elsewhere McDonald he tells us of the film’s “impenetrable tone”, and about a man who buries “his own head” in a book. His own head, you see, not anybody else’s.

I’m told they have sub-editors at the SST, but you’d never know it.

Sentence of the day

Libby Purves in the Times:
The best form of food safety is the ability to look the butcher in the eye.
Monitor: The Week

Happy birthday, Richard Wagner

Born 22 May 813, died 13 February 1883. This is Waltraud Meier singing Isolde’s Liebestod from Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde, in a 1999 production in Munich conducted by Zubin Mehta. Seven minutes and 25 seconds of sheer beauty.

Appointment listening: on Sunday at 3pm Concert FM will broadcast a live performance from New York’s Metropolitan Opera of Siegfried.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sex, sleep, eat, drink, dream

Believe it or not, King Crimson released a single (what were they thinking?) in 1995, called “Sex, sleep, eat, drink, dream”. The song was from their album Thrak. This YouTube clip (link only as embedding has been disabled) made by a mad German lets you hear the song, though unfortunately you don’t get to see a performance by Messrs Fripp, Belew, Levin, Gunn, Bruford and Mastelotto, the celebrated double-trio incarnation of the band.

Last week the Economist published the slightly related graph above (click on the image to enlarge) showing how many hours a day people in various OECD countries spend eating and drinking (vertical axis) and sleeping (horizontal axis). There is no mention of sex or dreams, though these may occur during or after the other three activities:
Enjoying a leisurely meal or just getting enough sleep can seem like luxuries. But not so in France, where people spend more time dining, imbibing and snoozing than anywhere else in the mostly-rich countries of the OECD. Americans also get a lot of shut-eye, but (fond of fast food) probably suffer indigestion along with neighbouring Mexicans and Canadians. South Koreans and Japanese reportedly survive on an hour's less sleep than the French.
We can take pride in the fact that New Zealanders score so closely on both measures to the French. All we need now is something like their sense of style.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keeping pigs safe

The most sensible comments on the Sunday programme about the pork industry come from a pig farmer (who doesn’t support sow crates) suggesting at Kiwiblog that Mike King and the SAFE people don’t know much about pigs. The whole piece is worth a read but this is the money shot:
Two points about Mike King’s “disgust”. Firstly – yes the pigs were screaming. Why? It was the middle of the night or early morning. The pigs had been left alone and were suddenly woken by human activity. What does this usually mean for them? Quite simply – feeding time. Free range pigs have EXACTLY the same reaction. If King and his companions had fed the pigs the screaming would have stopped. Guarantee it. Secondly – the chewing of bars and frothing of the mouth? Again, it is completely standard across all pigs. They chew things. Free range pigs it’ll be tree branches etc, for pigs in stalls or crates it’ll be bars. And yes, they froth. Christ, you should see them when they mate!
UPDATE: More sensible comment from Home Paddock:
If pig farming in New Zealand breaches animal welfare standards it will have to change. But if higher – and more expensive – standards are imposed on the industry here nothing will be achieved if imported products from countries with lower, and cheaper, standards are permitted to compete with local produce.

Stopping imports or imposing higher standards on them is fraught with politics. Anything we require of imports must be based on facts or we’ll open ourselves up to chrages of imposing non tarrif barriers.

That won’t help the New Zealand pork industry and it will harm our efforts to free up world trade.
UPDATE II: Further sensible comment from Farmgirl here, and, of all people, Brian Rudman here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

NZX and CPL update

John Drinnan reports in today’s Herald that:
Fairfax Magazines New Zealand, publisher for some of this country’s biggest titles, is inviting staff to go on to a nine-day fortnight so it can avoid job losses.
Staff were told yesterday but it was not linked to a Standard & Poor’s surprise move to downgrade Fairfax Media’s credit rating. [. . .]
Fairfax Magazines is not alone among media companies stung in a dramatic advertising downturn. All media are having to adjust.
But corporate management at Fairfax Media in Australia faced another disappointment yesterday when Standard & Poor’s lowered long-term corporate credit and debt ratings for the media company to BB+ from BBB-.
The decision adds $10 million to the interest bills for Fairfax in the coming financial year.
Standard & Poor’s said that this and another rating action reflected ongoing deterioration of Fairfax’s advertising earnings.
Earlier this week, Fairfax warned its fiscal 2009 underlying earnings would fall by 27 per cent to about A$600 million due to a sharp deterioration in advertising revenues.
This result is less about New Zealand than it is about Fairfax Australia, which merged with Rural Press in a $A9 billion deal in May 2007. (Though this report from Crikey suggests that the resulting company is really Rural Press trading as Fairfax.) Still, the precipitous drop in advertising has hit all media hard on both sides of the Tasman.

Which brings us to NZX’s new publishing arm CPL, which like Rural Press aims its publications at farmers and other rural readers. Its stable includes Farmers’ Weekly, Dairy Exporter, Deer Farmer, Country-Wide North and South, the excellent new Young Country and more. They are all solid, respected magazines. But they are very dependent on advertising as they are generally sent out free to rural readers.

According to CPL’s website, in the 16 March ABC survey (I couldn’t find this on the ABC website to confirm it), Farmers’ Weekly has 596 paid subscribers and 84,754 on the free list. Healthy figures – but that huge free list tells you that the magazine is a giveaway and dependent on advertising for its revenues, since it makes next to nothing from sales. Dairy Exporter is less vulnerable with 7726 paid subscribers and 13,479 on the free list, but then Country-Wide North has 498 average net paid sales and 56,676 on the free list. For Country-Wide South it’s 306 and 25,586.

What is happening to Fairfax – and to APN and News Corp – makes this a very odd time for NZX to invest in print media, and especially in magazines that are reliant on such a shaky source as advertising for their income.

Cactus Kate has more on NZX’s core business here and here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pet Airways

Only in America. As this ad shows, Pet Airways is not a joke – it’s for real. There really is an airline dedicated to transporting pets – or “pawsengers” – who travel in the main cabin, not downstairs with all the luggage. The introductory fare from Los Angeles to New York is a very reasonable $US149. A pet attendant checks the animals every 15 minutes and gives them regular “potty breaks”. Much more information here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wolfram Alpha

It seems to be still in beta, but Wolfram Alpha is a hugely promising web-search tool that will complement Google and Wikipedia. It’s based on sorted, verified data, and will never tell you what Britney is up to or what the current hot starlet looks like naked, but it will give you graphs and charts of, you know, facts. So it’s maybe of more interest to journalists and writers/researchers than ordinary Web users, but maybe not. As the New York Times reports:
For starters, it does not gather data from the Web. Instead, its “knowledge base” is made up of reams and reams of data — ranging from the kinds of facts you would find in a World Almanac, to highly specialized data from physics and other sciences — that some 100 employees at Wolfram Research have gathered, verified and organized over several years.

When a user types in a query, WolframAlpha tries to determine the relevant area of knowledge and find the answers, often by performing calculations on its data. If you type “LDL 120,” it will return a graph showing the distribution of cholesterol levels among the United States population, and display the percentage of people above and below that figure. If you type “LDL 120 male 33,” it will adjust the results to focus on that gender and age group.

In response to “how far is the Moon from Earth,” WolframAlpha will calculate the exact distance based on an algorithm that computes the ever-changing distance between the two bodies.
There are some screenshots here that give a preview of what will become available. Call me kinky, but those charts and graphs are dead sexy. I’ll be using it a lot. It will be great for any queries based on statistics whether weather, housing, unemployment, crime, you name it. Here, for example, is what it gives (click the image to see a larger version) in answer to the query “internet users in Europe”:

For authors in search of a character

Having trouble populating your next novel?

Need someone to help out?

Mary McCallum has found just the man for the job. His name is Karl, he lives in Wellington and Mary has his number.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Luxury shame

The Economist reports that:
some shoppers are embracing austerity not just out of necessity but also as somewhat of a fashion. Ostentatious parsimony is the new conspicuous consumption. . .

Ryan Vinelli at New York’s Yeshiva University noted in a recent paper the emergence of what he calls “luxury shame”. Mr Vinelli reckons that outrage against the public handouts to rich bankers and businessmen has turned sentiment against eye-catching displays of wealth. Although his analysis applies to luxurious items such as designer handbags, similar behaviour may now begin to affect the grocery till. IGD’s research has found that whereas purchases are plunging for organic foods (seen as a personal indulgence for rich consumers), they are holding firm on fair-trade and locally sourced products (also sold at premium prices but seen more as a way to do good to others).
The paper is here as a 199KB PDF. Money quote:
“Luxury shame,” or the anxiety felt by consumers for buying luxury brand products, is a radical departure from attitudes displayed just a year ago. There is increasing evidence that this anxiety, either in the form of guilt or shame, is forcing consumers to either forgo purchasing luxury products, or to completely change how they purchase them. For instance, the CBS Early Show aired a segment about women avoiding purchasing luxury goods in stores (i.e., in person) in favor of purchasing via exclusive websites that mail the goods in discreet packaging (i.e., anonymously). Exclusive online merchants such as Gilt Groupe (, and Ideeli ( profit from the luxury consumers’ shame and guilt by offering luxury shopping away from the public eye.
I don’t know – this is not my world. Sounds like a chick thing, really. I’ll have to ask the guys at Bunnings how they deal with it.

Gillian Whitehead for NZ Music Month

It’s New Zealand Music Month so everyone has been posting clips of pop music – me included (with this link to the heavenly “Tears”) but see Homepaddock for loads more and links to mega-loads more. But there is more to New Zealand music than guitars, drums and a four-four beat. Possibly there is jazz. What interests me more is contemporary classical, for want of a better description of what our composers are doing. My favourite is Gillian Whitehead.

Here on YouTube (link only, sorry – embedding has been disabled) is her six-minute piano piece Arapatiki performed by Stephen de Pledge. The composer writes:
Arapatiki, which translates as “the way of the flounder”, is the name given to the sand flats in the Otago Harbour in front of my house. Material suggesting the inexorable ebbing and flowing of the tide and the call of the korimako (bellbird) are the basic ideas propelling the piece.
Do stay till the end for the bonus interview.

Sentence of the day

Lady Diana Cooper, quoted in the Times:
The secret of a good dinner party is too much to drink – and a chocolate pudding.
Monitor: The Week

Monday, May 11, 2009

NZX-CPL comment of the day

Further to this post and then this one here at QUQ about NZX’s, ah, unusual purchase of rural publisher CPL - unusual because magazine publishing is nearly as sunset an industry as newspapers are - Cactus Kate has a new, insider-informed and very detailed post raising more issues here. Do go and read the whole thing, but this is the best comment at her blog so far, which sums it all up nicely:
It is clear the purchases of rural publications is to influence farmers to ultimately allow Fonterra to list which is the NZX’s end game. Hey, means more fees for them which is where one conflict exists.

You are correct: you cant be a regulator and be in business at the same time. If Weldon wants to be in business then fine, give up the regulatory function.

If Jane Diplock has any integrity on this whatsoever she would question it and ask the same hard questions you have here. Based on current form I doubt this will happen.
Meanwhile, more Mark Weldon news – he’s having a good day:
The share price of stock market operator NZX has shot up as much as 10 percent today.
According to Cactus, he is the third-largest shareholder in NZX, owning 6.51%. Talk about incentives.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Novel of the year

So far, my vote goes to The First Touch of Light by Ruth Pettis. It is her second novel – her first, Like Small Bones, which I haven’t yet read, was short-listed for a Commonwealth Prize – and sadly her last, because she died last year.

Mary McCallum, a fine novelist herself, said in her review:
It’s 1940 and George enlists to go and fight in North Africa and Italy in WWII. First he marries Ellen and this is the small misstep on which a tragedy unfolds. George is traumatised by the war - written in superb detail by Pettis - and doesn’t write home. Ellen suffers from this and the four years he’s away devastates their relationship. Ten years on Ellen leaves George. Fifty years on, the daughter Beth goes to Italy to see where George spent the war and try to understand him better. The novel is about the terrible tensions in a marriage and inside an ordinary man, and the extraordinary circumstances that caused them. There are three voices: George, Ellen and Beth’s, and the reader moves seamlessly between them and the three different times.

Pettis’ writing in the novel is sublime; from the first word you know you are in accomplished hands. Every word is purposeful, polished, translucent.
Yes, exactly. And here is a brief note from Vanda Symon about the launch back in March. If you see The First Touch of Light in a bookshop, pick it up, read the two-page prologue and you’ll be hooked.

New Zealand as an obese outlier

Catherine Rampell writes in the New York Times:
On Monday, in posting some of the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Society at a Glance report, I noted that the French spent the most time per day eating, but had one of the lowest obesity rates among developed nations.

Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Here I’ve plotted out the relationship between time the average person in a given country spends eating and that country’s obesity rate (as measured by the percentage of the national population with a body mass index higher than 30).

There does seem to be some correlation (although, as we all know, correlation is not causation).
Generally, it seems that the more time you spend eating (OK, a population does), the less likely you are (OK, a population is) to be obese. New Zealand - which eats nearly as slowly as slim France but is nearly as obese as the UK - is a striking outlier on this graph. (Click on it to see a bigger version.)

Is it because we eat fast food slowly?

Monitor: Marginal Revolution

Sentence of the day

Noel Gallagher of Oasis on his brother Liam, whom he calls “the angriest man you’ll ever meet”:
He’s like a man with a fork in world of soup.
Monitor: The Week

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

12 terrifying pieces of furniture

Fast Company asks:
Fancy a desk that looks like it’s puking its guts out? You’re in luck! Plenty of the world’s most buzzed-about designers will happily sell you furniture that will make your children cry.
This rocking chair by David Pompa, in a style he calls Surreal Minimalism, is one of the least disturbing:

See the other terrifying 11 here, and the rest of Pompa’s collection here. He outlines the concept:
Why is the situation in an office such a stereotypical scene? I think that this is the reason why people don’t feel as creative in their office environment as they feel in many other places.

Our consumerist society has brought us into the position that it’s not any more about designing one more chair or one more table, it’s about designing a unique experience.

I am convinced that our lives are driven very much by the relationships we have to objects all round and I think that as a designer I want to design the basis for these relations.

Interaction is often reduced to a functional basis; this collection is an approach that objects and humans can interact on an emotional level with the aim of stimulating creativity.

The surreal minimalism collection consists of objects which can be randomly combined to a series of office chairs. These chairs are a response to mental and physical needs of people in their office environment.

The visual language centres on personal speculation about the sources of ‘inspiration and creativity.’
Not in my office, you don’t.

Monitor: Marginal Revolution

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More on the strange case of NZX and CPL

Further to this post on the Stock Exchange’s baffling – to me – purchase of the rural publishing company CPL and Cactus Kate’s conspiracy theory which seeks to explain it, Jenni McManus is also on the case in Stuff’s Business Day. She quotes Adam Fricker, managing editor of Rural News, as saying, “Can the stock exchange operate the market and also operate commercially? How does NZX fit with owning a media company?” Two good questions.

Cactus Kate adds in her latest broadside:
I am still in disbelief that New Zealand can have a regulator that has to participate in the market to return profits to shareholders. Any offshore jurisdiction that I deal with that had such a set-up would be chastised by the OECD and FATF for such a conflict, New Zealand must be getting away with it for its perceived "first world" status. It would be the equivalent of the newly heavily regulated and reviewed Cook Islands Financial Services Commission setting up their own trust company to compete against the six licensed companies. Banana republic time indeed and of course the six licensed companies would complain, with good reason.
There may be a lesson for NZX and its CEO Mark Weldon from across the Tasman. Few New Zealanders will be following the upheavals at the Australian current affairs magazine The Monthly, in which the highly regarded editor, Sally Warhaft, has walked because of interference from Robert Manne, chair of the advisory board, but there’s a quick overview by the SMH here, an update by Caroline Overington after the deputy editor also walked here, and an excellent critique of the mag by Guy Rundle at Crikey here. While the story itself may be of interest only to media junkies, there are some astute comments about magazine publishing in general which Weldon could consider - in particular, Rundle's key line:
To go into the magazine trade now is like starting a stable just as the first Model T Ford rolls off the line.

Encarta R.I.P.

Microsoft’s encyclopedia Encarta has given up the struggle against Wikipedia, Google and, well, the entire Internet. When information really did become free, no one would pay for it. Randall Stross, a professor of business at San Jose State University, writes in this obituary in the New York Times that Encarta’s launch price in 1993 was $US 395; recently it was selling for $US 22.95. Stross observes:
Fifty people — editors, fact-checkers and indexers — were on the team in 2000, at the peak of Microsoft’s editorial investment in Encarta. . .

That investment, however, seems to have gone unnoticed by Encarta’s users. Tom Corddry, a senior manager at Microsoft from 1989 to 1996 who headed up its multimedia publishing unit, said, “The editors overestimated the way students would say, ‘This has been carefully edited! And is very authoritative!’”

Sentence of the day

Charles Moore in the Spectator on Gordon Brown:
I recently met a man who entered a room containing the Prime Minister and found himself ducking to avoid a mug Mr Brown had hurled not at him, but at an official who was just leaving.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jeans: a powerful force for evil

Yes, I know, we don’t wish to take advice on sartorial matters from an American. But Daniel Akst makes sense:
Never has a single fabric done so little for so many. Denim is hot, uncomfortable and uniquely unsuited to people who spend most of their waking hours punching keys instead of cows. It looks bad on almost everyone who isn't thin, yet has somehow made itself the unofficial uniform of the fattest people in the world.

It's time denim was called on the carpet, for its crimes are legion. Denim, for instance, is an essential co-conspirator in the modern trend toward undifferentiated dressing, in which we all strive to look equally shabby no matter what the occasion. Despite its air of innocence, no fabric has ever been so insidiously effective at undermining national discipline. . .

Although a powerful force for evil, denim has achieved a status that will come as no surprise to fashion historians. Like camouflage fabric, aviator sunglasses and work boots, blue jeans were probably destined for ubiquity thanks to an iron-clad rule of attire adoption. “The sort of garments that become fashionable most rapidly and most completely,” Alison Lurie reminds us in The Language of Clothes, “are those which were originally designed for warfare, dangerous work or strenuous sports.”

Meme me up, Scotty

My annoying sister-in-law has tagged me with this meme thing:
because it will annoy him about as much as it does when I get my nieces say to ask, ‘Daddy, where are you going to build the stable?’
and insists I play along. Sigh. Here we go. I have to start with this, from her post:
1) Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog.
2) Write the rules (I don’t what they are, they must be these five points)
3) Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you.
4) Tag 6 persons adding their links directly.
5) Alert the persons that you tagged them.
So here we go.

1. I’ve met Bo Diddley and you haven’t. It was in Hollywood in 1989 on the set of a terrible vampire movie, Rockula, in which he played Axman. I also met his co-star Thomas Dolby and watched him do take after take responding to the line, “Drop the hambone, Stanley.” Meeting Mr Diddley was a bit overwhelming; meeting Mr Dolby wasn’t at all – he’s a lovely chap. The next time I saw him was in the DVD of the cast-of-thousands performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Berlin, a year after the wall came down. Thomas played the Teacher and looked alarmingly like David Benson-Pope. It is worth watching to see Cyndi Lauper as a schoolgirl (talk about whooarr) but also for when Thomas kicks in as David B-P at about 3:00:

2. In the 70s I played guitar in a band with Les White (bass, later of Th’Dudes and seen here in leather trousers in “Be Here Tonight”) and Jenny Morris (later of the Crocodiles and after that a big star in Australia). Positioned directly behind Jenny every night, I had the best seat in the house.

Here she is with Bruno Lawrence (yes, that Bruno Lawrence, drums), Peter Dasent (piano), Tina Matthews (bass), the always amazing Tony Backhouse (left guitar) and Fane Flaws (right guitar), aka the Crocodiles, performing “Tears”. Greatest NZ pop song ever, and as it’s NZ Music Month, this is my response to HomePaddock’s challenge:

3. Of the dozen or so books I’ve published, there’s one I have never seen – the cookbook (it doesn’t have my name on it, for all the obvious reasons and then some). It was a contract job for a major multinational so I have no idea how well it sold (you only get sales info if you get royalties and thus royalty statements, but I usually write for a fee, which is much tidier), but they told me it did all right. It involved muffins, and I have never made a muffin in my life. Apart from the occasional T-shirt incident.

4. In the index to Bill Manhire’s essay collection Doubtful Sounds, there are more references to me than to Christian Cullen. Three to one, from memory. Which would be impressive if he was referring to Christian Cullen the Paekakariki Express, but no, it was Christian Cullen the racehorse.

5. Did I mention that my sister-in-law LaughyKate is the most annoying sister-in-law in the world?

6. And I am too boring to have as many as six “things or habits of no real importance” worth mentioning.

Now I’m supposed to tag more suckers. OK, Chris, Mark and Rob of NZBC, you’re it.