Much fun has been had at the expense of the US Republican Party candidates for the presidential nomination over the fact they're all bonkers.

We can afford to treat this lightly because clearly no one whose views are so out of touch with the basic workings of the universe has a hope of being elected.

And then we remember Ronald Reagan. Twice voted into the presidency and now revered by some as one of the greatest presidents ever, Reagan was not just crazy but dumb with it. It was his friend Margaret Thatcher who observed he had nothing between the ears. His enemies weren't so kind.

Leaving aside his dangerous beliefs that fell within the normal range and whose legacy we are continuing to endure, such as faith in the efficiency of trickle-down economics, Reagan had many more of the craziest ideas you could ever hope to find. They ranged from amusing to potentially world-ending:


• "All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk."

• "Approximately 80 per cent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation."

• "The day of Armageddon isn't far off ... the enemies of God's people ... will be destroyed by nuclear weapons."

And he was running the show.

But Reagan served two terms and the nuclear lightning did not strike.

Which is not to say we shouldn't be concerned that someone with the extreme beliefs of the Republican candidates could potentially be President of the United States - no matter how remote the possibility of a Republican victory.

On the contrary, it is to say that we shouldn't expect lightning won't strike twice.

Let's hope the US electorate is as realistic.

It happens every year as Waitangi Day approaches, and 2016 was no different. In the days leading up to the event, the whiners start to pipe up, an army of malcontents griping about their perceived grievances and, in particular, the ways in which Maori are going to spoil their peaceful enjoyment of their national day.

These moaners say that on February 6 we should "put aside our differences and celebrate that we are one nation", by which they mean they want Maori to shut up and not spoil their party.

I think they have it the wrong way around. We have at least 364 other days every year in which to tell ourselves how great we are and generally frolic around basking in our unique New Zealandness.

The anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, on the other hand, is the perfect occasion on which to acknowledge the number of ways in which race relations in this country have been stuffed up since then.

It has been another week of my fellow baby-boomers throwing themselves around in social media and moping through their days at work as they have absorbed news of the deaths of their entertainment idols, as well as someone called Terry Wogan, whose function has never been entirely clear to me.

I have bad news for the boomers: statistically there is a well-established correlation between advancing age and death.

The older people get, the more likely it is that they will die. Particularly around the age of 70 and older, ages reached by those recently not-so-cruelly taken from us.

Many prominent people are now entering the danger years and this will only continue, so everyone had better harden up and get used to it. There is only so much moping around the office your much younger bosses, who couldn't care less about Paul Kantner, can tolerate.