Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Gullible Gourmands And Other Pretensions

The world's most expensive ice cream, according to a television programme I recently watched, earns its title due to the fact that its ice is sourced from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The appropriately named Absurdity Sundae made from this ice cream is a mere 'snip' at $US 60,000 per serving.  Just how pretentious is that, and how jaded must be the appetites of the nouveau riche!

The Absurdity Sundae
Mind you, the sundae in question does come with a first class ticket and a souvenir t-shirt.

In keeping with these these gourmet pretensions I thought I would suggest a couple of equally far-fetched additions to the menu:

  • The Salty Caramel Surprise -  using sea salt scooped up from the depths of the Mariana Trench by a replica of Jules Verne's Nautilus.
  • Roar Coffee  - forget the Vietnamese weasel coffee, kopi luwak, made by collecting coffee beans eaten & passed  through wild civets.  My version is made from beans eaten and excreted by a reverse engineered chicken-to-dinosaur.
What all of the above goes to prove is that some people have more money than sense.  I would suggest the super rich try a good New Zealand hokey pokey ice cream.  It even tastes good when served in a private jet.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Confessions of an Armchair Golfer

I used to be asked by friends & colleagues “What is your golf handicap?”  To which my usual, response was one word “Golf”.

My earliest recollections of the game were accompanying my father, as he and a band of other hardy stalwarts transformed a large area of North Taranaki sand dunes into a playable 18 hole links.  So as a youngster I equated the term ‘golf’ with gorse & thistles, wild rabbits and exhausting toil.

In truth this impression has never left me. When I look at what LPGA professionals have to endure on a weekly basis I am amazed that they do so well – choking local haze, travel fatigue, lost luggage, fractious fans & family commitments.

My father was a good amateur golfer and had the build to make it so. His height helped him master a better than average swing and he did reasonably well in tournaments. I by comparison, inherited the worst physical attributes of both my parents.  Short in the arms, middling in stature and built like the rugby forward I later became, any chance of a good golf swing was born to fail, quite literally.

Junior golf tournaments started for me at age ten and fortunately terms like ‘cut’ at that time did not enter the local vocabulary. By age thirteen I knew everything I needed to know about replacing divots, getting trundler wheels out of sand and hacking through lupins in search of my ball.  My adolescent study of poetry also found me agreeing with Wordsworth when he uttered the immortal words “Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness”.

In short, by the time I was ready for high school I was also ready to pack away my clubs for good.
So what you may well ask is giving me a renewed interest in golf?

Put simply, a chance twiddling of the TV remote a couple of years ago drew me to a young Lydia Ko winning her first pro tournament in Taiwan.  It was one of those rare free-to-air showings on New Zealand television and my interest was piqued.

After watching the Swing Skirts tournament unfold I was hooked; and I have been following the LPGA tour ever since.  In particular, we Kiwis admire Lydia’s rapid rise to the top of women’s golf.

In a country that is dominated by male sporting achievements – principally rugby – having a woman world number one is a great source of pride to many Kiwis. It is her demeanor on and off the course as much as her golfing prowess that impresses us.

We shouldn’t under estimate the impact of this success on the growth of, and interest in, the game in New Zealand.

George Harper of New Zealand Golf is quoted as saying that the ‘Ko Effect’ has had a real impact on the growth of the Junior Women and Secondary Women’s game.

Junior women have seen an increase of nine per cent since 2013 and secondary women has risen 17 per cent.

Given golf's raised sporting profile I am almost tempted to go out and buy a new set of clubs…..almost

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Today's Art Work - Discovery

Print on Canvas
Roger Smith
Copies available here.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Three Poems Set To Music

Here are three of my poems set to auto-generated music using an online generator.

Poem 1
Poem 2
Poem 3

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Homage To Tony - Art Work

Homage To Tony
Roger Smith
Print on canvas

Copies available here
In the 1980's when I was the Exhibitions Office at the Robert McDougall Art gallery in Christchurch, I used to hang the large canvases of the later New Zealand artists, Tony Fomison.

His was a deeply personal vision and this print on canvas is my homage to him.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Today's Art Work - Abstract 1411

Abstract 1411
On Canvas
Roger Smith
Copies available here

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Red Peak Is A Red Herring!

This late inclusion of a nondescript piece of cloth into the new New Zealand flag debate is more about political one-upmanship than national identity.

A flag (Canada's is an excellent example) is about an immediately recognisable design that has a key recognisable element.  This so-called 'red peak' design lacks any immediacy or national identity.

There are really only three design elements that resonate with all New Zealanders:
 - The Kiwi
 - The Koru
 - The Silver Fern

It is the latter, the fern, that is by far the obvious choice and is already widely recognisable as 'New Zealand'.

I'll be voting for a design that includes it.  If for some bizarre reason 'Red Peak' is chosen as the preferred alternative I will then vote for retaining the existing.  

But perhaps that is the outcome that 'change the flag' critics & red peak supporters have been hoping for anyway?