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It’s now Tuesday April 25 2023, Anzac Day. Kia ora!

April in Māori is Paengawhawha! Isn’t that wonderful?

Yesterday I went to my exercise class at the Ngaio Union Church.  I felt very guilty about not having been there the last few weeks, but claimed my autumnal asthma as an excuse.  It’s also a hard place to get to!  But it was lovely, of course, and I enjoyed coffee and an Anzac biscuit afterwards. I must admit I prefer Anzac biscuits as they traditionally were in the Edmonds cookbook, unadulterated with chocolate, or cranberries, and not too thick. Chocolate and cranberries are fine, but Anzac biscuits are special, and don’t need them. They have no eggs, either!

After a cold, wet start yesterday it became fine and warm if rather windy. I caught the train back from Ngaio and JD picked me up at the Johnsonville Library. I was very tired after the exercise class.

Last night we watched the film Children of Men on Prime Television.  It’s a very dystopian vision of a future where women are infertile; the frequent advertisements were mostly for McDonalds. I found them extremely annoying.

On Sunday night we watched the film Vice on Eden. As if we needed reminding if just how awful Dick Cheney is.  While he doesn’t want to see Trump as president again, he helped create the conditions that led to Trump’s appeal to millions of Americans.

Yesterday the Covid 19 report came out, and I didn’t even notice!  It wasn’t quite as bad as the previous week’s one.

I actually slept well last night. I woke up to the news that Tucker Carlson has left Fox, and CNN have got rid of Don Lemon.  CNN have got rid of/failed to renew the contracts of several people lately, all on the liberal side: Fareed Zakaria, Bill Smerconish, Don Lemon, someone else who’s name I can’t remember right now (I think it was Brian Stelter).  CNN videos regularly came up on my Youtube feed; they don’t now. I have to work quite hard to find Jake Tapper or James Acosta, even. Erin Burnett, female and white, comes up quite often.

This morning I listened to Charlie Sykes’ Bulwark podcast, but evidently when it was recorded the news about Tucker hadn’t broken – it wasn’t mentioned. Will there be more emergency podcasts, I wonder? It’s being discussed on Nicole Wallace’s Deadline Whitehouse. How will politicians like Ron de Santis and Donald Trump react? I’m wondering in particular how Ron de Santis will react. What a delicious quandary! Where will Tucker go?  His evil work was done, perhaps, or was he too much of a risk to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire?  Did Trump ask him to get rid of Carlson? Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and now Carlson have gone, and the rather wonderful Chris Wallace and not so wonderful Shep Smith but Rupert Murdoch remains, and the Fox news no longer claims to be “fair and balanced”; rather, it’s gotten worse and worse.  So what’s Murdoch after, other than more power and more money?  What if he were to support left-wing liberal outlets?  But Carlson has gone, he’s already presented his last program, and he doesn’t get to say goodbye, not on Fox, anyway.

Rupert Murdoch has made some odd moves lately, leading some to wonder if the nonagenarian is losing his reasoning powers: he’s divorced his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, by text; he was engaged, and then broke it off, after buying a very expensive engagement ring; and he didn’t settle earlier with Dominion, who were suing Fox for $1.4 billion USD  The Guardian had an interesting story about him recently, reminding us of how much damage he’s done:

There are lots of stories about him, but I was horrified to learn how Margaret Thatcher had abetted his moving his media empire into the UK, before his US move. It all seems incredibly cynical. 

I recently answered a Labour Party questionnaire, about how the coming election campaign might be effective. It was nice to be asked, but I felt increasingly out of touch with concerns that younger people might have. But I did answer it, and of course the main issues remain: child poverty, the need for comfortable, affordable housing, the climate, of course: and just being a kind and decent human being, with opportunities for all, not just the privileged few.  While many people may be tired of a Labour Government and long for a change, I think many have forgotten what a National Government is like. If they’re in coalition with Act, it will be even worse.  Anyway, there’s been a change of Prime Minister, and Chippy seems to be doing just fine, while Luxon seems unable to say anything effective. I miss former Prime Minister Ardern so very much, but some of that toxicity that she aroused in protesters has gone, although Chippy was at her side as Covid Minister. Ah well, what it is to be a male, albeit a separated one. I don’t even know what his religious affiliation, if any, is.

With regard to Ukraine, there’s some news.  Putin has cancelled commemorations for the Russian victory over Nazi Germany in what it calls The Great Patriotic War. This is huge: the commemorations are enormous, as is the propaganda; (I recently found out that the great tank battle at Kursk came several months after the Battle of Stalingrad).  It’s said that Putin fears that there may be protests against his special military action in Ukraine, and also fears upsetting Russian citizens about the deaths of their men, and the cost of this action. It has also transpired that the Wagner group have been ordered to shoot any Ukrainian forces that surrender, rather than taking them prisoner. That, too, is shocking news.

We return now to Carlson’s exit from Fox – not a dignified one. Journalists and comedians are already having great fun with this, in particular, Seth Myers and Desi Lydic on The Daily Show. I can’t resist including links:

Jimmy Kimmel was very funny too, with his “Mother Tucker” piece:

Tucker’s manic giggle will long be remembered, hopefully more than the crazy things he said.  One will also remember his fawning interview with Trump after Trump was indicted, and of course Tucker’s texts: “I hate him passionately”. Well, Trump was certainly good at destroying things, as Tucker noted, in fact he may also have destroyed Tucker’s so-called career, as well as any credibility he may have had.  It’s hard to feel sorry for Tucker. In fact many people are feeling maliciously happy.

Evidently the jury members are to be chosen on Tuesday (that would be tomorrow, in the US), in the E. Jean Carroll rape trial; there’s no news of that. However Fani Willis, District Attorney of Fulton County in Georgia, has announced that she will announce charges in the coming northern summer. Ho hum, a lot of American excitement is over something that may happen in the future, if the Georgia state government don’t get rid of Fani Willis in the meantime.

It’s now Wednesday April 26th.

This morning I got up early (after quite a good night) to go to hymn singing. I should mention that last night we watched the latest episode of Succession on Neon. The three younger dastardly Roy siblings (plus their hangers-on, Tom, Shiv’s ex-husband, and cousin Greg) and their business team go to a Norwegian retreat to bargain with the seriously rich and seriously weird dude who would buy Waystar Royco.  There are scary scenes of gondola lifts and impossible heights, and other general weirdness, somewhat countering the pathogen that is (or rather was) Logan Roy, as Gerri puts it. Kendal Roy seems to have lost his coke habit and become a serious person, quite a change in his character. He now makes his brother Roman and his sister Shiv seem less than his equals, not that that’s setting the bar very high.

Anyway, hymn singing was lovely, as always. Afterwards I caught a bus into town, where it was drizzling quite heavily and it was quite cold. I got out my hat and gloves, and wished I’d worn a warmer jacket. I walked along Abel Smooth Street, crossing Cuba Steet safely, to the Southern Cross. I had good memories of this establishment, but it was pretty dark. I had to ask someone where the gallery was. I found my way there, “past the chandelier”, but it was tricky to see the paintings, which were hard to see because of a long table in the room. Still, I enjoyed seeing them. I knew two of the artists, Helen Wilson and John McConnell, and I’d heard them speak about Judy Langham. I enjoyed seeing them all. I could have stayed at the Southern Cross for morning tea – they had plenty of scones – but it was so dark and unwelcoming that I walked away. Outside it was still cold and wet, and I made my way down Cuba Street to the Manners Street bus stop. I caught a bus to Willis Street, and went to one of my favourite cafés, Smith the Grocer, and had a toasted cheese scone and a long black coffee. They do the best cheese scones ever!

After this I went to Wishbone in the James Cook Arcade, and bought sandwiches for lunch, a chocolate slice and an Afghan biscuit, and a risotto for dinner. Then I went to Strands to check out the luggage. They are having a sale until 14 May, but even so, it’s bewildering. I decided, wisely, that I’d have to think about it. I’d really like some new luggage, but I feel guilty, having suitcases already, although they’re well used, and I did give one to my daughter. Further thought is required.

This afternoon JD and I completed our vaccinations. I had my Covid 19 jab – the fifth one, I think – the co-valent one, and JD had both that and the flu vaccine.

Yesterday I was sent some photos of my daughter and friends at the Clive War Memorial and the Taradale War Memorial. I know the Taradale one, having driven past it many times, but I have never been to the Clive one, I’m ashamed to say. But I was struck again by the enormous sacrifice made by New Zealand in both wars, sending young men (and women too, as nurses) to battle grounds and trenches far far away. 135 men or boys went from Clive to the First World War, and 25 of them were killed in action. In the Second World War, Clive sent 136, two of whom were nurses. Of these, 15 were killed. And this is just Clive, not Napier, Hastings, Havelock North, Taradale, and other outlying towns, of which there are many. The Hōhepa folk had made a beautiful plaque for a memorial.

In the US, Joe Biden is they say running for re-election as President in 2024. They say he’s running, but it has to be metaphorical, at his age! I think I’m pleased, but I just hope nothing happens to him.

The pundits are still wondering just why Tucker Carlson was fired – defenestrated by Fox.  There is speculation that the Abby Grossman legal action is responsible; that disclosures made as part of the Dominion lawsuit were upsetting; that he was too rude to his bosses; that his general work environment was disgustingly disgusting; and that the members of his team rejoiced at his departure.  Misogynistic, racist and antisemitic as he was, he was not bigger than the network. I still wonder if Trump was responsible. And what is Kevin McCarthy to do now? Didn’t he give hours of January 6 insurrection tapes to Carlson, who minimised the terrible nature of this riot. One commentator noted that other Fox hosts did not follow in acquiescing with his interpretation. What happens to these tapes now?

And Trump’s rape case against E Jean Carroll continues. What to deal with first?

That’s it for now. Slava Ukraini! Ngā mihi nui.

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