With apologies to the original author, was it not current Herald columnist Richard Prebble who wrote a book I've Been Thinking in the 1990s? Well Richard, you don't have that on your own. I have the same affliction. Here's what's atop my mind:
1. Personal freedoms: Yes, there's a fair debate to be had about vaccine mandates, but surely the Ukrainian situation puts personal freedoms into perspective. At the time of writing, we weren't quite in the Cuban Missile Crisis scenario of 1962, when the entire world held its collective breath for 13 days, waiting for the end of the world.
However, Putin, armed with a nuclear code, makes for a very volatile and lethal cocktail. With the exception of butter (and good on Fonterra for taking a stand), our exports to Russia aren't that substantial, should the sanctions extend permanently to food. But this has gotten messy for the global economy.
And China entering the fray, or taking sides, doesn't bear thinking about. That would be catastrophic.
2. Protesters: It's all kicking off in Wellington. I'm sure there are some sane and sensible people on the Parliament forecourt with a fair argument to make, some good people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods. But there's a minority of seriously unhinged ones as well. They're easy to spot because they're the ones wearing the tin foil hats.
So we're in a global pandemic. You're in a confined space with a lot of other unvaccinated people. None of whom are wearing masks. You're singing and dancing. You're shouting at the top of your lungs at the police. You feel sick. What's your natural conclusion? It's obvious. The Government is zapping you with electro-magnetic radiation. What else could it possibly be? Duh!
3. Long Covid: A lot of us, myself included, are guilty about taking a bit of a short-term view on Covid. Get through the Omicron wave and then get on with life. Not so easy if you're elderly, have an underlying health condition or, worse still, contract Long Covid. Heart disease, stroke and cognitive issues. A life sentence. You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, with the possible exception of a pint-sized Russian megalomaniac bully suffering small man's syndrome.
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4. Jacinda Ardern: Talk about going from Penthouse to the Outhouse. Despite still being the most popular politician in the land. She is now the most polarising PM since Rob Muldoon. Her Covid cautiousness was rewarded with an unprecedented MMP election landslide in 2020. That same caution is looking more and more like her undoing in 2023, when the election is likely to be fought on the health of the economy, rather than that of its constituents.
5. ETS and RTS: I'm still as confused and bemused by the Emissions Trading Scheme as I was way back in 2003 when it all kicked off with the Fart Tax protest on the steps of Parliament. Remember Shane Ardern and Myrtle the Massey Ferguson? He knew when to go home. And I just threw Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in there for fun because I like the parallels with the acronyms. Besides, Roger's a bit like the ETS. A very difficult thing to tackle!
6. Carbon farming: It's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. In a world short of food, it seems nonsensical to grow exotic pines (that will never be harvested) on land better suited for food production. There are plenty of places in this country to grow trees for carbon mining. I hope Ardern, Parker (get well soon) and Nash can see their way clear to see it. Right tree, right place, right reason!
7. Scott McLaughlin, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous: I don't know the front end of an Indy race car from the back end. Ditto for back-to-back 1080s or 1620s. But I do know there's something completely intoxicating about the competitive element of sport, even if you don't necessarily understand the complexities of it. As a sporting nation, we punch way above our weight. It unites us. Oops, I forgot about Sir Russell.
8. Bruce Cotterill and Paul Muir: Without wanting to state the bleeding obvious, prostate cancer and suicide are killers. Men, by default, own the former and tragically dominate the latter.
Bruce, a high-profile business leader and Herald columnist, and his mate Paul are doing something about it. They're cycling the length of the country to raise awareness and funds (in excess of $200,000) for charities that support men's health.
Today they're making their way from Ohakune to Marton. They'd welcome some company. Or better still, some money at bikeforblokes.co.nz.