Health and safety overlooks the small stuff

"Working for a government organisation, we have health and safety induction courses," writes a reader. "We are told of the escape routes from our building, where the fire extinguishers are located and we have regular fire drills. There are warning signs on the jug saying 'caution water may be hot', signs on the microwave telling us to use microwave-safe utensils because not doing so may 'result in the containers being hotter than usual'. The building has two defibrillators. But I have just cut my finger and there are no band aids in the First Aid kit."

Far-right gets nasty

The conversation around the US election has popularised some new words, some of which have made it on to the Oxford Dictionary radar, like 'cuckservative', a noun: "Among supporters of the alt-right, the neologism cuckservative is used as an insult for mainstream conservatives. The source of -servative in this portmanteau is obvious, but where does cuck" come from? It is shortened from the word cuckold, a derisive term for a man whose wife is unfaithful which arose in English in the 13th century and is relatively uncommon in modern use. As a modern insult, cuck conveys a metaphor of emasculation, but its forcefulness is also enhanced by the fact that it resembles no fewer than three taboo four-letter words in English, and thus carries a strong whiff of obscenity." (Source:

Act of kindness

"Imagine being hospitalised with your 9-week-old baby," writes Ruchika Nayyar from Canberra on Quora. "Finally, you're discharged after a few days. You walk towards your car, exhausted by the strain. As you get closer you notice a parking ticket. Your heart sinks as you reach out to open it. Inside the envelope is a note that reads, "Hi there, I saw your car had a parking ticket on it. I'm sure whatever you're going through at hospital is tough enough, so I have paid this for you." With receipt attached.

Note to council

A reader writes: "The cynic in me says the staff at Auckland Council must spend their time reading Sideswipe, because after your piece pointing out that the T3 enforcement officer always stands in the same place on Remuera Rd, he set up in a new location this morning for the first time in years! He didn't look very happy, but here's hoping his increased returns will bolster his mood. Now how about these missing sun shades at Madills Farm Reserve playground . . . "


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