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Living in paradise, why think about a concentration camp?

I have been thinking about an Auschwitz Concentration camp story. It is a true story written by Viktor Frankl, one of the most influential psychotheraptists of the 20th century. I think about it when I sit on the Whitianga wharf, when I stroll the beaches at sunset, when I lay awake in my comfortable bed. Why? In this wonderful environment with so many friendly people there is so much to enjoy. Why spend any time or energy thinking about one of the most horrible episodes of human history. It’s because of my need to find meaning in my life ‘now’. Frankl titled his book “Man’s Search for Meaning’. The...

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Thinking about Watches

I asked what was his brother’s work. He said he thought he traded in secondhand watches. I was incredulous. “How could anyone make a living from trading in old watches?” I asked. My young friend didn’t know. “Maybe I’m mistaken,” he said. The subject was dropped. My interest in watches was again stirred by hearing that apprehended criminals and drug barons often had, ‘luxury watches’ in their treasure chests. Why on earth would these gangsters and drug dealers want watches – not just one, but several of them? Didn’t they know that their phones would always tell them the time? That started...

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To which poor nation, tribe or country would you give $NZ386 million? Tricky!

The project was conceived by Harry Belafonte and driven by Lionel Ritchie. I watched video documentary of the recording. It was mind blowing. The recording took place in Los Angeles (LA) following the American Music Awards night which brought the music stars together in LA.  The session started after midnight on January 28, 1985 and went on until 8.00am. It seemed impossible to form a choir of superstars and enormous egos but they pulled it off. Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Kenny Rogers, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson,...

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Three Hotels In Three Cities

The first two days were interesting in more ways than one. We were not badgered by souvenir sellers. In fact, when I visited a large store, I could not find any staff to serve me. Later our guide told me, ‘They were hiding. They can’t speak English and were frightened you might try and talk to them.” The biggest surprise came on the last day. As instructed, we brought our bags to the foyer of the hotel. We were to be taken on a six-hour tour. The miniature tape recorder I had purchased was still in its box and in plain view on top of my suitcase. I asked the concierge if my bag and my precious...

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Heavy, solid shoe boxes

Somewhere, I’m not sure where, there is a heavy shoebox I carefully packed some years ago. I’m not keen to find it as I don’t want to open it. The shoe box is full of rectangular yellow boxes of colour slides. Forty years ago, they were my treasure. I still value the images. It’s the hassle of viewing them that discourages me. Back then, taking a pic was only the beginning. Then to the Chemist or Kodak shop and waiting 7 to 10 days. It was easy to sort the duds by holding the pics up to the light. But to really view the slides, a slide projector was needed. I know these slides will bring...

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Grumpiness is on the increase for sure?

We had moved into a new location. The neighbours were not welcoming. “We’re greenies’ they said, but not in the environmental energetic committed way.  What they meant was, ‘We smoke Marihuana’. They assumed we were spoil-sports, non-drinkers and non-smokers, neither tobacco nor the other stuff.  One Saturday morning, just after our arrival, a woman we did not know dropped in to say ‘Hello’. We chatted for a long time. She invited us to visit her, spoke of barbeques, and our small son playing with her children. It sounded wonderful. This was a community connection we were missing. But...

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Stan’s Stuff – Catching the fish

My wife and I live adventurously; been a lot of places; met a lot of people. But we never learned how to put up a tent – a tent of any size, two-person to marquee and even though we have owned a variety of fishing rods and fished, we had never really learned how to fish. When quite young, my wife spent a lot of summer holidays on a houseboat in Moreton Bay but these teenagers dived for fish, trapped fish in shallow water and used cray and crab pots. We led safaris – busloads of young people through the Centre of Australia and taught the skills of survival, but tents and...

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Stan’s Stuff – Three things not to do in 202

In 1943 my Dad, living in Melbourne, had enough money to buy some land. He had to choose between a run-down orchard (the owner was away at the war), or an isolated bush block. He bought the bush block because he felt he could keep his family hidden and safe from the encroaching Japanese army. The Japanese never came, and the orchard was subdivided into housing lots. When he sold the bush block it had not increased in value at all. The orchard had increased its value by at least ten times. My Dad used to talk about how much money he could have made. It annoyed him until he died.   I’m...

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