Being a Grammar Nazi, I chose 'Champing at the bit'. Apparently the correct answer is 'Both are acceptable'.
Well, not to me.
Just because people who do not read books think the phrase is 'Chomping at the bit' and they say it often on television, it doesn't make it correct or acceptable. Sorry, but no.
What if the question read; Which version is correct?
- Shouldn't have
- Shouldn't of
- Both are acceptable.
Addenda: I accept opinion is divided on champing vs chomping, but the dispute arises out of ignorance on one side. After a little internet research I concede both versions are acceptable these days; but still not in my neck of the woods.
A by-product of the cordonning of buildings and things in the Wellington CBD after last Monday morning's severe earthquake - a critique of a public artwork achieved in less than one word. My feelings precisely.
I attended an event at Te Papa this morning - 'A Bold New Direction' - in which Charlotte Davy, Te Papa's Head of Art, announced plans for a new art gallery space to be created within the Cable St building, replacing the gallery space currently available and much enlarging it. There was a good turnout of arts-type people at this 8.30am function, many from out of Wellington and probably here for the Cindy Sherman exhibition opening, starting about now. (Denise and I are headed over there in a minute, so this will be brief.)
The news media was conspicuous by its absence this morning. No journo from the Dominion Post (as far as I could see, and there's no mention on Stuff), no TV camera crew. But isn't this news? Oh, no. I forgot - it's the arts. Maybe they could've arranged for a couple of second-string Warriors or non-selected All Blacks to be present, then it'd get coverage.
Earlier this week there was several minutes TV news coverage of an event at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. My jaw hit the floor in surprise, and stayed there. Maybe that was enough arts for one week.
So, how about one day a week, instead of 20 to 25 minutes of sports news, the time could be spent covering arts-related events. Wednesdays would be good, I mean, WTF happens in sports on a Wednesday that couldn't wait till Thursday?
Just putting the idea out there. What about it.
(Please pardon the crappy phone photos. I wasn't there in my capacity as a photographer.)
Walked along the Wellington waterfront this morning. It was still, calm, misty, warm and somewhat womb-like. You could see several metres down into the water.
Swimming slowly near the wharf was the largest jellyfish I've ever seen. Its orange crown was 25-30cm across and below that was a dense mass. In the water around it were what to my untrained eye appeared to be hundreds of its spawn. They were almost transparent but with a small opaque centres. They were elongated, a few cm long, and some were joined in trains of 10 or so and swimming with a snake-like motion. There was a trail of them close in for some distance along the waterfront.
It was all rather beautiful and entrancing. Alas my attempt at photography with my phone was unproductive. Here's a couple of seconds of video.
I wrote this as something of a respite from last night's US election result, but now I am struck by the thought of this jellyfish being approximately the same colour and size as Donald Trump's head. Dammit!
NZ used to have the same problem with the old 'First past the post' electoral system, which was unfair because a minority of voters living in marginal electorates (read Swing States) would determine who would govern. Meanwhile, safe seats would be won by majorities of 10,000 or more, which meant your vote didn't much matter if you lived in a safe seat.
Our proportional representation system is not perfect but it can be tweaked to iron out most of its wrinkles. It is inherently fair because each person's party vote counts equally regardless of where they live.
The USA needs to move (with the rest of the civilised world) to a proportional representation voting system. However the probability of this is close to zero, for the same sort of reason they've failed to adopt the metric system - innate conservatism mixed with pig-headedness. There are just too many forces preventing change for the better in the US, as President Obama found out.
Today may turn out to one of those days when you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.
For posterity, here's my Facebook post from 21st January, 2016:
"We can mock Donald Trump and his supporters, like Sarah Palin, all we like, but for all that it's starting to look dangerously like he could actually become President of the USA and thus the most powerful person in the world.
What kind of world will we be heading for if that prospect eventuates?
This is no time for complacency of the "surely the voters couldn't be that dumb" variety.
So if you're a US voter with an IQ over 70, the rest of the world is depending on you to do the right thing. We outside the US will all be affected by your choice of President."
Walking past the corner of Majoribanks (pronounced Marge-banks, if you're a local) and Roxburgh St, Mount Victoria, Wellington, I'm exposed twice daily to the progressing demolition of this century-old commercial building. It fills me with sadness.
It's not just this one site. Older buildings in general are integral to the texture of a city - the sense of being and belonging in it. We don't have much built history in New Zealand and we do not cherish and preserve what we have.
I know it probably doesn't make short-term business sense for the new owner of such a property to do something really cool with it; but the site's proximity to Wellington's leisure quarter suggested uses other than yet one more characterless apartment block - something you just slam together for short-term profit. Too late now.
Anyway, as some compensation, the CD of 'The Hawk is Howling' (by post-rock band Mogwai) turned up in the post today. Played through large speakers at a volume that is aurally and physically overwhelming, and accompanied by sufficient red wine, it serves as an uncompromising soundtrack to dissolve away the sense of loss (or almost whatever else you want it to, for that matter).
(Here's the methadone version, for your computer. But it's far better on vinyl or CD.)
And here are some more photos of said demolition-in-progress, from last week (DSLR) and this evening (cellphone cam).
9/29/2016 0 Comments
This century-old commercial building in lower Majoribanks St started coming down yesterday. It was owned by various Chinese families and was a laundry until the early 80s, when it was sold.
I tried to get permission to take photos inside, but to no avail. I think developers and demolition contractors are pretty wary about photographers, in case we're trying to save the building or something. Just wanted to record some history. Never mind.
I walk past the old place 12 times a week and shall miss it.
One day a month or so ago, I noticed the building suddenly abandoned. The front door was open, so I wandered upstairs, expecting to find someone there. There was no one. I took a few photos on my cellphone and left, locking the door behind me. Here they are.
And here's a bit of historical info, kindly sent via a recent tenant of the building.
It's a shame that all the beautiful old timber in the building, the floorboards and stair treds in particular, couldn't be recovered; but demolition methods these days don't seem to allow for that process to take place. People who're interested in doing that can't seem to get a look in due to regulations, insurance requirements to operate and suchlike. The big digger just smashes the building down, loads it into a dump truck and that's the end of its story.
Anyway, I'm about to pass the building, on my way home, so will see how demolition has progressed. Might add another pic or two.
While I support the aspirational policy to make New Zealand predator free by 2050, I also quite admire the various little predators we're trying to banish. The other week our cat Leo cornered a rat in our kitchen. It proved to be such a feisty and personable little creature that I couldn't bring myself to bash its brains in with the fire shovel, as I should have. I caught it and released it outside instead. This was probably a bit soft, since we currently have tui and other birds nesting in or near our garden. It's probably planning to raid their nests as I write, if it hasn't already done so. But I couldn't help admiring the little chap.
So, springboarding from that experience, I plan to establish the New Zealand Predator Protection League. The idea is to protect an area of land with a rodent-proof fence, to keep the rodents, mustelids and feral cats within rather than without. Post 2050, visitors to this reserve will be able to get a sense of how their land was before the rodents were eradicated.
Initially I'll be starting small, seeking funding to erect said fence around our 800 square-metre suburban property. This will allow existing predators, such as the rats that seem to be established in our bush and garden compost bin, to live their lives unthreatened by traps and free of busybodies. They will, of course, be expected to watch out for each other, as we yet have no way of preventing inter-species predation among the predators.
Prior to the establishment of the NZPPL Charitable Trust, I would like to attract some seed funding to get this worthy project under way. If you're interested please contact me and I'll give you my private bank account number in expectation of your generous donation. A significant proportion of this seed fund will be aimed toward securing a large Lotto win, with the hope that developments can begin sooner rather than later. The remainder will be used for 'operational expenses'.
Once we have a board of trustees and the trust fund reaches a certain level, the aim is to acquire a significant block of undeveloped land, fence it and create a Predator Reserve. This should prove a popular tourist attraction as well as provide an educational and research facility, admission to which will be an income stream. One idea is to look at purchasing the Gilberd Bush Reserve - an otherwise-useless, bushy gully in Newlands, kindly gifted to the city by my father's uncle Ted. Failing that, a block of private or public land in the triangle of Ngauranga-Raroa-northern Khandallah would suffice, as there is already a healthy population of stoats, rats and God knows what else roaming around in there.