Junk Free June joins the trend of coaxing people on a monthly mission. Here are some for the suggestion box.
With the first deluges of winter, this week also brought the debut of Junk Free June.
Junk Free June, I gather, is not about decluttering, emptying your garage or scavenging the inorganic waste.
Nor does Junk Free June oblige its participants to abstain from Chinese sailing ships, or heroin from the 70s, or indeed the lumps of oily, fibrous tissue in a sperm whale's head.
Almost certainly Junk Free June does not relate to the colloquial American use of "junk", and urge men to embrace the liberation of the boxer brief.
No. Junk Free June, brought to you by the excellent people at the Cancer Society, is about shunning bad food, and raising money along the way. It's not all that hard, either. On the JFJ FAQ page, the answer to "What is junk food?" begins: "We let you decide what junk food is." Great. I hereby decide junk food is brussels sprouts and Road Cops. Let's do it.
Junk Free June is part of a burgeoning fundraising model for the age of austerity. Back in the day, all we had to endure was the 40 Hour Famine - or, as we regarded it, the 40 Hour Barley Sugar Binge. Now the abstemiousness lasts a month.
The Cancer Society is right into this month-themed malarkey. They're behind the alcohol-free Dry July (see also, Febfast and Australia's Octsober), too, for which the promotional drive has begun already.
If it seems cruel to run these carnivals of restraint consecutively in the most sodden and sunless of months, consider at least that the temporary teetotallers of July can at the same time stuff their gobs round the clock with deep-fried chicken and K Bars.
June's junk-food refusers, meanwhile, can collect cash for a very good cause between sips of ouzo and cooking sherry. After all, try saying Junk Free June 10 times fast. Go on. It's just a bibulous slurring away from Drunk Spree Drone.
And after all that ascetic virtue in the middle of the year, who can blame you for swimming in booze and Burger Rings during Movember, the tache-sculpting festival in the cause of men's health?
Good luck to the Junk Free Juners. Meanwhile, for the Cancer Society and other enterprising charities, here are some other month-based ideas.
Slowdownuary. Holiday drivers commit to one month - just one month, for the love of God - during which they will not rapidly accelerate from snail-pace to just over the limit when a passing lane pops up.
FrankFeb. Enrolled participants in FrankFeb pledge to respond to the question, "how are you?" by actually telling the other person how they are, at length.
Middle March. We all dress up as Hobbits every morning, to delight and terrify tourists.
No-Troll April. The New Zealand media pledge to ignore everything that Brian Tamaki and Michael Laws say about anything. Journalists who use the phrase "took to Twitter" will be subject to a fine and have their positions rescoped.
MayBeLabour. In MayBeLabour, the Labour Party caucus and membership concertedly avoid internal fighting and foot-shooting.
No Jolt June. A month without any earthquakes or eruptions or other seismic activity at all anywhere in the country.
I appreciate this may be a longshot, and I've no idea which authorities need to be lobbied, but it has at least as much chance of successfully happening as MayBeLabour.
Lazy July. A month so lazy even its name is a bit shit. No enrolment process for this one, just general idleness.
This is an opportunity to recognise the contribution, however small and probably sitting in front of the television eating chips, of all the not-especially-hardworking Kiwis up and down the country.
Ignoregust. A special for 2015, this one: with just a few months 'til the first referendum on changing the flag - probably you're nodding off even reading those words - we take four weeks off. No talking about the flag. A blanket banner ban. Importantly, this includes a complete prohibition on sharing "joke" flag designs and discussing where the money for the whole process might otherwise have been spent. In Ignoregust, we will also stop giving a toss, albeit temporarily, when foreign media mention us.
Septeremember. In a month-long amnesty, politicians, public figures and journalists pledge to undergo brain-fade-reversal therapy that allows them to suddenly remember their meetings and text message exchanges with fugitive internet moguls and scurrilous attack bloggers.
Poketober. In which participants take a sabbatical from all forms of social media, chiefly to enjoy a break from the sanctimonious bores blathering on about their arduous month of deprivation giving up something-or-other.
November. Just like Movember but no mo.
Dumb-down December. Because Christmas is coming, a month in which we stop worrying about unentertaining issues such as post-quake Christchurch, child poverty and the surveillance state, and cease all grown-up daily current affairs television. What? Oh.
Rarely, if ever, have the Labour parties of the Anglosphere been so thematically united.
Headlines in yesterday's papers in New Zealand, Britain and Australia tell a story about the state of the parties, all now in opposition.
From the New Zealand Herald: "Labour told it risks oblivion - review warns if party cannot boost coffers it will continue to experience electoral failure."
From the Guardian: "Labour's shattered dream - the rows, tactical errors and Tory traps which left party stunned on election night."
And from the Australian: "Rudd was a bully; Gillard betrayed me: old wounds reopened."
There are no headlines for the Canadian Labour Party - probably because it last contested a federal election in 1926.