No gym on Monday for Otago Anniversary Day.  I stayed at home for most of the day.  The weather was fine so I spent some of the morning on the porch outside the front door of Manono House reading Absolute Midnight, the third book of the Abarat series by Clive Barker.  It was enjoyable enough that I wanted to finish it in one attempt.  In this title the baby-murdering Empress of Midnight wants to plunge all the islands of the Abarat into eternal darkness.  I don’t know where Barker can take this series after this one.  There are two more titles to follow it.  The first I imagine will be a couple of years away as he is quite involved painting illustrations for the series.  He has already given the fantasy world that he has created for the series quite a battering.  I wonder if he can rebuild the world after this book?  And in what shape?

Later that day I visited the Warehouse to buy a new electric jug.  I took it back the next day for a refund because it leaked.  Since then I thought it would make better sense to use up my loyalty points and order one online.  I’m waiting for the chain of shops the loyalty card goes through to get one in.  They will contact me.  The plastic jug I’m using is so old the spout is beginning to crumble.  I’ve probably ingested enough plastic from it for the good of my health.

Lenten Study was in the evening and we were discussing ‘church’.  There is a general agreement that there is a difference between ‘the church’ (negative, institutional, external, isolated, physical) and ‘church’ (the work of the people).  The discussion was lively.

Politics in the New Zealand government is have sanity issues, i.e., it’s not showing any.  On Infotainment Tonight (commonly called any News programme on television) today it was reported that the majority of our diplomats around the world have signed a letter critical of the government’s plans to cut spending on foreign affairs.  They claim it will reduce New Zealand’s credibility in international diplomacy, and it affects opportunities for looking at foreign affairs as a career choice.  This has come in the same week as one minister of government told the opposition leader that his choice of Finland as a model for New Zealand to follow was country of criminals, suicides and abusers of women.   This is not a verbatim quote.

It seems in New Zealand Home for left-wingers is no longer England, but whichever part of Scandanavia they favour at the moment.  The minister (on the right-wing of government) who made the quote says it was meant at the expense opposition in good humour, and not at the Finnish people.  Finland doesn’t seem to see it in good humour, at least in one comedian’s reply.  It strikes me as funny as Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson’s comments on which to do with strikers, also claimed in be in good humour.  Even as we speak I imagine Nokia Black-Ops Agents are planning to irradicate the minister’s thoracic cavity with radiation from his cellphone, ‘the little bit of Finland he keeps next to his heart’.