Here is a holiday quiz for when the patience runs out, the scrabble is scrambled and the crosswords are crabbed.
1. Where have the British gone?
We’re all tangata whenua now, Trevor Mallard said (sort of). Which eliminates the British. But where did all those colonisers go? What will keep the Treaty alive if there are no British here any more? And who will defend the Union Jack and God Save the Queen?
2. Are students still revolting?
In the 1960s thousands would be out, no problem, to demonstrate revulsion at the Vietnam war or to revolt against a visit by President Lyndon B Johnson.
Nowadays the only half-pie decent wingdings are about fees and loans. Maybe they are practising to be nice middle class suburbanites or apartment dwellers clamouring for tax cuts.
Or maybe they are just nice middle class suburbanites’ kids doing what comes naturally, defending privilege. How can that be revolting?
3. How do you get a tui to change its tune?
Quite a nice pair drop by my house most days and give voice to the most beautiful notes. But it’s the same song line, hour after hour. Where’s DoC when you need it?
4. Are we Australians?
Around 650 of us go to live there each week. So are we actually Australians who got displaced at birth? Certainly, we’ve been practising to be Australians this year by learning to win, even over the Aussies.
Which raises this question:
5. How do we get Maori and Pacific islanders to play cricket?
Golf, rugby, netball, league — in sport after sport Maori and Pacific islanders are the stars. Get them into cricket and Ricky Ponting’s history.
And maybe it’s time to ponder this: Do we need a White All Blacks team to recognise the minority?
6. Why should future oldies privatise the extra years?
Statistics tell us life expectancy grows two months every year. That means today’s 55-year-olds will live 22 months more after they reach 65 than today’s 65-year-olds will.
Why should today’s 45-year-olds pay them pensions for that extra time? Or today’s 35-year-olds pay for nearly four years extra leave from the workforce today’s 45-year-olds will have when they pass 65?
7. Which is our top red wine grape?
Once it was Waiheke bordeaux (cabernet sauvignon and merlot-based). Then it was pinot noir. But syrah is coming up fast. Watch out, Australia’s blowsy big-sister shirazes.
8. Will the police discover intersections?
Go 111km/h on a dry road, brakes in fine order, visibility clear and not a car in sight and you are a killer. Speed up on the orange and into the red at a city crossroads and you’re a fine fellow. Or so it seems at those I traverse most days.
9. Will Auckland City discover people?
Cars, cars, roads, roads, vroom, vroom. Misfits who walk just don’t get the city’s message.
10. Which country invented the pavlova?
Before you answer, know that whole academic treatises have been written on the topic.
11. Why are we going moany?
TV and radio reporters say it. Even Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro said it on radio last week: testi-MOAN-y. Then there’s cere-MOAN-y. And, while we are on the subject, how come we now get hurri-CANE-d?
12. Why isn’t Wellington getting its fair share of global warming?
Maybe politicians scared it off with the carbon tax. Well, the carbon tax is gone so surely the southerly fronts should lay off.
Or maybe it is divine punishment for Wellington having better coffee than Auckland.
13. What is a book?
Seriously. Ask your kids.
14. Are banks more dangerous than lawyers?
Now that banks judge staff by how much further into debt they can lure the already grossly indebted, are you safe with anyone?
Ponder this: foreigners own the banks. At least most lawyers are local.
Which leads to…
15. Where have all the conspiracies gone?
The left used to uncover seriously elaborate conspiracies. But the left is not what it was. Now we must make do with tinpot conspiracies plagiarised by the right from foreign sources about the “sisterhood” and gays.
There are the Greens, who live in perpetual doom but also in perpetual hope. But Greens are far too decent and clean living to conjure up really good conspiracies.
16. Why is silence bad for us?
Deep thump pounding in cafes, restaurants and bars — anywhere where people’s voices might be heard and suggest humanity.
And jangly music in aeroplanes to jar the nerves. Silence, it seems, might suggest emptiness.
17. What is a nimby?
A really good bloke if a farmer blocking Transpower’s pylons in the Waikato bringing power to Auckland. An enemy of progress if anyone else.
18. Who was Ian Fraser?
No clues. And while you are at it, explain your need for a Minister of Broadcasting when you have Sky and dozens of channels and the internet and downloadable movies and much, much more to come. And who is the Minister of Broadcasting?
19. Is George W Bush Christian?
And is Tony Blair? And John Howard? And is this a Christian question?
Peace and joy to all, at this special time of the year.
20. What’s the rush?