Wednesday, April 14, 2010

UnReal Estate

Like many people, I hang onto every word spoken by a real estate agent as though they were spoken by the lord god above.

Sorry - I drank a bottle of Tui an hour ago, and it went straight to my head.

The thing is this: I was listening to Morning Report this morning, and Geoff Robinson (the good cop) was interviewing some character who is, apparently, the Head Blowhard of the Real Estate Institute. They were having a Krispie and a quiet cuppa with their conversation - or so it seemed - when the Head Liar for the Real Estate Insurrection said something strange. They'd been banging on about the Chinese desire to buy 70 North Island farms, and the Chief Dissembler said - I'm paraphrasing here - that "there are a lot of New Zealand buyers out their who want these farms."

Robinson's fangs bared a little. "Really? So why aren't they, well, buying?"

The Wily Spiniard said "Well, they can't get the finance. The banks won't give them the money. What we need is New Zealand lenders to front up with the credit so these buyers can ... buy."

I think even he realised how stupid he sounded. I'd like to buy a Jaguar S-Type, but no-one's going to be stupid enough to front up with the dosh for me. Just because I want to buy something doesn't make me a buyer. It makes me a wannabe.

So when a Real Estate Liar tells you that there are dozens of buyers out there who want to pay top dollar for your house, farm, or second-born child... ask yourself: is the Real Estate BS Artist simply identifying anyone who breathes as being a buyer, or is the truth a little further from that?

LISTENING TO: Fiona Pears, "Fire & Light." It deserves lots of listens.

READING: "The Reluctant Hero", by Michael Dobbs. I think Dobbs might have spent some time as a real estate shonk-artist, because his hero is a politician with principles.

WATCHING: Tonight? The Legends of the Seeker. because I think that I might be on it. Look! Second peasant to the left! Um - I forgot to watch last week, when i was definitely on it. Yep - the one cowering behind the lady with the great arse....

More Paper Heroes.....

Blunt was already too weak to keep hold of the sword, and the last thing he saw before a darting bayonet found his eye was the puzzled look on Sean Whistler’s face as a knife sawed at his broad Irish throat.

11.37am, 30 November, 1987

John Prester murmured the same eight-word mantra over and over as he delicately pressed and moulded the fine, fluttering gold leaf onto the brow of the huge Buddha.
The statue stood 112 feet tall, and had been discovered in the Thai forests only two years previously. When he had heard of it, Prester had felt his call home.
For too many years now, Prester had railed and raged against the demons that tormented him. After his years of insanity Back Home, during which time he had nearly destroyed a small town and done four years hard labour in a high security federal prison, he had gone back to the Land of Bad Things to rescue men who had been held in P.O.W. camps for ten years after the cessation of hostilities between the USA and Vietnam. His mission had been made easier by the fact that the Vietnamese had, in fact, been glad to get rid of the P.O.Ws; they’d been an embarrassment, and a hindrance to any future hopes of trading with the Western world.
Prester was a man who had been bred to soldier. His hardscrabble early life had given him the flinty instincts necessary to survive as an infantryman at times that would have killed most other men. His reaction times would have put a fighter pilot’s to shame, and he had been blessed with extraordinarily good eyesight, and an innate ability to judge ranges accurately, out to a thousand metres.
John Prester had trained harder, worked harder, and achieved more than any of his Special Forces contemporaries. He had been pure soldier, a man who had sublimated his soul to the art of killing and survival. He could snatch the life from a man with gun, knife, rope, and hand. He had used a throwaway ballpoint pen to kill, and a Playboy magazine was a lethal weapon in his hands.
He was, in short, a highly refined killing machine. He had been taught and trained not to think about the consequences of his killing, and so he had taken life without regret, without concern.
And then he had been wounded badly while in Cambodia, and had been nursed back to health by an old Buddhist monk. Prester’s Cambodian was fluent, and he had talked and listened to the old man during his seven month long convalescence.
When Prester had made it back to his headquarters in the Cumh Ran valley, he found that he had been posted as KIA.
There were no relatives to be informed – he had simply been a journal entry in the Brigade’s books. The regimental records has been corrected, and he had been sent home, to try and survive in a country that was, if anything, even more hostile toward him than the Viet Cong had been.
After his subsequent adventures in Viet Nam and Afghanistan, Prester returned to the jungles he knew and loved, to find sanity and reality in the simple day-to-day life of a monk. So it was that now John Prester was sweating under a humid, metallic blue sky, painstakingly applying micron-thin gold leaf to the massive brow of a cheerful, fat, and very tall Buddha. It was possibly the first time in his life that he had been content.

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