(First published in the Curmudgeon column, The Dominion Post, January 19.)
VITAL QUESTIONS for our times (the latest in an occasional series):
Had a gutsful of silly cooking programmes on prime-time television?
Has there ever been a less flattering male fashion than three-quarter pants?
Does John Minto’s haranguing of a lone Israeli tennis player mark the final phase of his gradual descent into terminal obsessive-compulsive protest disorder?
Tired of being bombarded with heartrending images of forlorn-looking polar bears apparently marooned on ice floes?
Why do birds make a point of defecating on newly washed cars? Have they got something against us, or what?
Had enough Jane bloody Austen to last a lifetime?
Tired of things being “rolled out” and “signed off”? Whatever happened to words like “introduced” and “approved”?
Still waiting for Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch to apply some tough critical scrutiny to Radio New Zealand?
Has a single life been saved by all those expensive road safety ads on television?
Where is this New Zealand city referred to by radio and TV reporters as Nowson?
Is this the only country in the world where people say “yeah no”?
When did the comedian known as Te Radar last say something funny?
Seen enough alarmist images in the media of ice breaking off glaciers and icebergs, as if this confirms impending climate catastrophe?
How many Fulton Hogan trucks does it take to mow a highway verge? (I recently counted four. Can anyone top that?)
Would you feel your life had been wasted if you died never having seen an episode of Outrageous Fortune?
Geoff Robinson and Sean Plunket on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report – the classic good cop-bad cop combo?
Ever get the unsettling feeling that Treaty claims are rubber-stamped rather than subjected to rigorous testing?
Shouldn’t we all be grateful that New Zealand was colonised by poetic folk who left us a rich heritage of imaginative names like the North Island, the South Island, Northland, Westland and Southland?
Had enough of Susan Boyle?
Does anyone in New Zealand really have discussions around the water cooler, as frequently claimed by various commentators?
Has anyone calculated the increased likelihood of a child dying young if it has an unpronounceable, bizarrely spelt name that no one has heard before?
Was there ever a more lightweight foreign correspondent than TV3’s simpering Kim Chisnall?
Is the Nobel Peace Prize now so politicised that it has lost all credibility?
Has anyone been able to keep track of the 137 options (at last count) for new highway routes though the Kapiti Coast?
Now that summer has joined spring as a season of vilely unpredictable weather, why would any overseas tourist risk coming here?
Is bowls the only sport, apart from sumo wrestling, in which overweight men can hold their own?
Why doesn’t the letter “u” come straight after “q” in the alphabet, just like it does everywhere else?
Given that passenger aircraft are now so sophisticated they barely need a pilot, how come none of them have decent PA systems?
Who is Health Minister Tony Ryall’s fashion adviser, and why do they hate him so much?
Can anyone think of a good reason why the head of the Transport Agency, arguably one of the least impressive government departments, should be our highest-paid public servant?
Come to that, can anyone think what 221 other Transport Agency staff have done to earn annual salaries of $100,000-plus?
Global warming – a modern form of religious mania?
Is there any crime more reprehensible than stealing family pets and using them for dogfighting? (Well, of course there are – but not many.)
Ever found yourself grappling in a hotel shower with a slippery shampoo sachet that was impossible to open, other than with your teeth?
Can’t Americans accomplish anything without whooping and hollering?
Tired of TV news bulletins crossing to tongue-tied journalists reporting “live” from a scene where something happened several hours before?
Does anyone still own a waterbed? More to the point, are they prepared to admit it?
Eaten in a snooty restaurant lately where the waiting staff behaved as if they were doing you a favour by serving you?
Still sitting on a stockpile of Tamiflu?
Is Hamilton the world’s most boring city to drive through?
What would Ena Sharples make of the current inhabitants of Coronation Street?
How come a polo shirt doesn’t have a polo neck?
Isn’t it time the silly expressions “gobsmacked”, “blown away” and “to die for” were retired?
How come so many sickness beneficiaries are fit enough to assault people and break into houses?
Who on earth buys those expensive watches with faces cluttered by so many dials and numbers that it’s impossible to tell the time?
Why do so many upper-class Englishmen stammer? Do they teach it at Eton?