How to eat a burger bigger than your head in one sitting

The other week my YouTube feed proposed a channel of intriguing title: Beard meets food. I am not sure why this was presented to me, but because I deliberately turn off Google’s surveillance systems (insofar as I can), Google’s algorithms keep coming up with a default potpourri of wildly irrelevant offerings. This was one of … More How to eat a burger bigger than your head in one sitting

Salman Rushdie and author danger: a cautionary tale

Last week’s attack on Salman Rushdie underscored, for me, one of the harder realities of being a writer. You get hated by total strangers. And sometimes they go berserk. Its sad that authors get targeted, physically or otherwise. One might argue that Rushdie was a special case; but on my experience it’s a risk all … More Salman Rushdie and author danger: a cautionary tale

New Zealand’s looming failure to control Covid

New Zealand has a fantastic record of biosecurity. We are the only country in the world to have eliminated microplasma bovis from the cattle population. We eliminated hydatids from the sheep population. We got rid of fireblight from the apples. And recently we also eliminated pea weevil where it had arrived in the Wairarapa. New … More New Zealand’s looming failure to control Covid

What do we mean by ‘left’ and ‘right’?

The idea of a political spectrum defined by ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing views has been around ever since September 1789, when they were invented. The revolutionaries had set up a National Assembly – meeting initially in a tennis court – which they declared indissoluble until they had resolved their issues with the King Louis XVI. … More What do we mean by ‘left’ and ‘right’?

Literature versus science fiction

I am somewhat bemused by the way ‘literature’ is so often assumed to be a superior form of writing, above any form of genre fiction and, particularly, science fiction (‘ptooey’). Authors known for ‘literature’ are, apparently, more talented, competent and intelligent than ‘sci fi’ authors, who by definition are hacks, talentless and ignorant of basic … More Literature versus science fiction