The Price of Fish. There's a bit of a thing on the wireless and tele right now. Apparently the Teflon-clad commentators have just realised that there's a bit of a rort being visited upon the wallets of the consumers. The average Snapper earns the fisherman $4.20, and earns the "distributor" (read: supermarket) $35.80. Guess who doesn't eat Snapper any more? There are, however, plenty more fish in the ice. And if we stopped buying fish from supermarkets, and bought it from, gosh, fishmongers - the price'd be a lot lower.
Coastline: New Zealand's coastline is, apparently, a little longer than the continental United States of America - excluding Alaska. Actually, if Alaska's going to vote for people like Sarah Palin, then the world should exclude it. Anyway, I digress. If we have such a long shoreline, how come our fish is so expensive? The USA has a few more mouths to feed that we do. Hell, a New York suburb has a few more mouths to feed than we do. And it seems fish is relatively easily obtainable there. And, apparently, they have supermarkets over there. True.
Al Bloody Qaeda. What a bunch of worthless syphalitic savages these murdering morons are. Poisoning the minds of children so they blow themselves up, dying in order to kill for some meaningless god. Actually, of course, the god thing is an irrelevancy as far as the rabid Al Qaeda pi-dogs are concerned. They only use the god story as a disguise to hide their venality. What they want is power, and they don't care how many children they have to kill to gain it. If there was a god, they'd be meaningless smears of blackening, rotting, meat on an Afghani mountainside right now.
Where do they get them? Those peculiarly dull-looking people on those generic TV commercials, I mean. Supposed regular NZers, showing us how to use cling film, or soap powder. They all look loike slightly animated Barbi and Ken dolls. The ones of the pharmacy commercials are little better - and I know and have drunk beer a couple of them (Mark Perry and Anji Foster. Anji may well wish to forget the experience.). But I swear the household products spokespeople are smooth between the navel and the knees.
LISTENING TO: The Killers, "All The Pretty Faces". Cool! Loud! Why has nobody told me about them beforer? Oh... yeah. You did. I allowed myself to be put off by their name... Sigh.
READING: "Keeping It Real", Justina Robson. Hilarious. The woman's beyond clever.
WORD OF THE DAY: Forgive. When it comes to Al Qaeda, don't.
She’d spat into her palm, and held out her hand, and he’d spat in to his own hard palm, and clasped her hand, sealing the agreement.
The mortar had taken him nearly a year to make. It was squat, ugly, and it sat outside the General Store’s front door. After trying to carve the thing out of a billet of solid steel on his lathe, Gerald Smith had turned his thoughts to casting it in bronze. He studied the lost wax method, and set to work. The first two attempts had split – Jayne and Gerald decided that the bronze had been weakened by a small air-bubble. “That’s what be-devilled Napoleon’s gun-makers. It’s to be expected, Miss Francis,” he’d explained.
The third casting was the charm. The barrel was no more than eighteen inches long, and the bore was just wide enough to accept a cricket ball. Smith had offered to make a flint-lock for it, to make the firing of the mortar easier, and Jayne had politely turned him down. So, the touch-hole had been carefully carved and drilled out of the bronze, and a steel choke wedged in. Jayne made her own fuses, from waxed paper, tallow, and diluted gunpowder. She had the formula down pat – it burnt at an even inch per second.
And, every November 5th, for the past thirteen years, Miss Jayne Francis, self-pronounced Callithumpian* and life-long liberal, rolled her little mortar out into the middle of the square, aimed it with precision at the Dog Star, and – surrounded by excited schoolchildren and their bemused parents - had carefully dropped the precisely measured and weighed package of gunpowder down the barrel. Next came a small hoop of twine, and one of her cricket balls, stinking of kerosene and gunpowder. Another coil of twine followed the ball, the whole being solidly tamped down. Then Jayne Francis, spinster, would summons the school’s oldest girl, and show her how to insert the fuse, ramming it into the touch-hole so it pierced the package of gunpowder in the tube. Then the foot-long fuse was lit, and everyone rushed back.
Twelve seconds later the flame reached the charge, which exploded with a surprisingly quiet and flat bang. The cricket ball, spitting flames and sparks was lofted into the air, soaring up to at least fifteen hundred feet (according to the school’s Mathematics, History, English, and Science teacher, who had worked it out with triangles and guesswork) before plunging down into the river, accompanied with cheers, huzzahs, laughter, and applause. Repeat, five more times, with five different school pupils being given the honour of setting the gun off.
Old Man Smith nudged Arthur in the ribs, and said “You know that young Emily Williams there stayed in school an extra year so’s she could get to shoot that thing off?”
“She wouldn’t be the first, Grampa.”
* Being a Calathumpian was easier to be than spell, she’d say, should anyone ask.