30 March 2007

Triple J

A small intro as to who I am. Most of you will know who I am but for those that don't here goes. I carry the following crosses beyond the obvious ones. I am the blog owners oldest son, have his raving conservative beliefs (not nearly enough my father would contend) BUT am as my father so lovingly reminds me I am now a suit. I will be turning 32 this year God help me. Never thought I would get this far considering the crazys I am related to. But oh well I am almost there. I work in Sydney, Australia doing as my father has already mentioned SAM work. My biggest contract so far is doing all the license compliance work for Autodesk. Think architects (cad software) and movies like The Lord of the Rings. So if you know of any naughty people in ANZ please let me know. Almost any business is good business. My father of course will be dry wrenching now realzing that his eldest has basically become a suit and WORSE STILL a salesman. Oh well, dad you will cope. That is all from me for now. JJJ

Human Rights is a Communist plot.

Christian morality without the tommyrot!

27 March 2007


I have mentioned Elise from time to time in this newsletter as my friend who has tried for years to get pregnant. She succeeded. She has just given birth to twin boys – Callum and Lachlan. She is now coming to terms with the shock, at age 36, of her first child being in fact her first children. I am sure she will manage. She may not be so sure herself.


On the 13th of January, 1838, at Totara Point on the northern side of the Hokianga Harbour, Marist Father Jean Baptiste Pompallier, first Vicar Apostolic to the newly-created Vicariate of Western Oceania, celebrated Mass. This was on the third day after his arrival in New Zealand and was the first Mass to be said here. On Sunday the 14th of January, 2007 Susan and I – with a number of other persons – went to Mass in the Hokianga. We were actually at a marae near Totara Point due to weather issues. The Hokianga, like the east coast of the North Island, is one of the places where the Māori language is definitely alive and well. The Mass was over two hours long, was mostly in Māori, and was followed by a meal at the marae. My children will be interested to know that we stayed the Saturday night with the Van Boxels who now live in Opononi on the Hokianga, and the Sunday night on the way home with Irene Farrell’s sister in Dargaville. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and if we can, I think we will go again next year.


We bought our house in September, 1984. The front yard had, and still has, a fishpond, with goldfish in it. I must say we have paid it very little attention indeed. Every year or so I take a rake and drag some of the accumulation of weed out of it. Once I think Eddie and I dredged the bottom a bit, to get some of the muck out. Occasionally we look into it. There are fish. Or there is a fish. I was never too sure. Certainly there was at least one goldfish. Is it the same fish, after 22 years? Well, who can say? Goldfish live a long time, they say. Google tells me the Guinness Record is a 49-year-old goldfish. Maybe they are breeding. A few days ago I looked into the pond and was startled to see a black goldfish. Well, I suppose it cannot properly be called a goldfish. Its body, fins, etc match those of the gold goldfish (if that is not a pleonasm), but it is, I suppose, a very dark grey or dark brown. It took several sightings to convince myself (and Susan) that I was not imagining it. The fact that that fish had been there, apparently for more than 22 years testifies to how little attention we have given the pond. Now I must confess that from 1964 until 1968, roughly, I used to have many, many fish – though no goldfish. I raised tropical fish in Berkeley and then in Honolulu. Edna will remember this time in our life with, no doubt, mixed feelings. We had something over 15 tanks for much of that time. I sold fish regularly to the local pet fish wholesaler which at least helped pay for the hobby.

I have bought two more fish and put them in the pond. I hope I haven’t actually overpopulated the pond. One limit on the population of a closed-cycle fish container (e.g. a fish tank or fish pond) is the oxygen level. For a tank without a pump to keep water moving past the surface area, the rule of thumb is one square foot of surface area per body-inch of fish. The pond is about four foot across so I suppose its surface area is on the order of 12 square feet. Those fish look like they are maybe three inches long in the body. Or perhaps a little longer… Hmm… Anyway, with four fish in there, it is much easier now to see one. If they breed, on the other hand…


My children – and those who have been in my home – will know of our cuckoo clock. It was given us as a wedding present in 1972 and lived in our houses in Honolulu, Auckland, Yap, and finally in Pukekohe. Over the years it got more and more difficult to keep going, and finally, about two years ago, it gave up the ghost and went to Cuckoo Heaven. Resurrection is always a hope, however. Adele let it be known that she treasured the memory of the cuckoo clock, and that if we did not get it repaired, she would still like to have it. I did a bit of googling around and found that there was a place in Auckland that repaired such things, so Susan took the clock there. Poor Mr. Laird! He did repair the clock, but it took him 21 months – mostly waiting for parts, but also delayed twice because of two serious accidents he himself had – one involving stepping into a manhole. Anyway, the clock is almost repaired now. It is in our dining room at present and works fine, except that it only cuckoos once on the hour, so Susan will take it back to Mr. Laird next week. I feel sure he will restore it to full cuckoo glory. I look forward to another 30+ years of happy cuckooing.


…has a new job, or at least he no longer has his old job. Yesterday, the 5th of January, was his last day at the old job. His new job does not start for, I think, a couple of weeks, so I suppose one may consider him as in retirement at present. The new company sells software for managing the assets and software licensing for large companies. For some reason not readily comprehensible to us who may be classed as part of the geek class, Johnny finds topics like software licensing interesting. He is rapt about his new job. My son, the lawyer – my son, the suit!

Merry Christmas!

A succession of five years beginning and ending in a leap year will advance the calendar by exactly one week, and so in such a succession, dates on the first and last year of the succession will fall on the same day of the week. This is because a leap year advances the date two week-days. Two leaps years plus four normal intervening years equals seven days. Oh, all right, I will spare you the remainder of the calculations. Suffice it to say that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday in 1995, again in 2000, and again in 2006. The next time this will happen will be in 2017, and then in 2023, and so on in a repeating pattern of 5, 6, 11, and 6 year intervals. That 5 + 6 + 11 + 6 = the number of years in a leap year cycle times the number of days in a week is not accidental, and the wiseacres amongst you may like to point out that the pattern will be messed when passing 2100, 2200, and 2300, but not across 2400 – but I don’t care! Huh? Oh, you were wondering what this had to do with Christmas. You weren’t? Well, you should have been. Only that it was on Christmas Eve, Sunday the 24th of December, 1995 that we (except Johnny, who was in Seattle by then) were received into the Catholic Church, so this year Christmas Eve was the 11th anniversary of that to-us momentous event. This coincidence will not recur for another 11 years. Oh, yes, so what, indeed! But I thought it was amusing to do the maths. Johnny came over from Sydney on the 21st and we had a wonderful 11 days (there’s that number again!) with him, doing lots of things (too many, he and we sometimes thought). On Christmas Day we went up to Eddie’s and Eveline’s house in Helensville. On Thursday the 28th we drove down to Paeroa (world famous in New Zealand - http://www.lp.co.nz/home.htm) to see Radiant Rachel. That’s a family code and Johnny’s siblings will know who I mean. Johnny tracked her down and she is a mother now. On Saturday the 30th we went to the Franklin Zoo and generally had fun whilst he was here.

Happy New Year!

Just so you won't think I have been totally idle since my last newsletter, here is the first of several paragraphs from what was going to be the next one: I wonder when the years will cease to be named as full numbers (“two thousand and seven”) and begin to be named as two two-digit numbers (“twenty-oh-seven”). Maybe never! I think I have a tendency to name the first nine years of the twentieth century (think about it!) by saying “nineteen hundred and seven” rather than “nineteen-oh-seven,” but certainly from nineteen-ten on there is no ‘hundred’ in there. Perhaps in three years we will say “twenty-ten” but there does seem to be something in that locution that strikes one as odd (or even, as you might say). Anyway, happy new year to you all. I am writing this on my mother’s 92nd birthday – 5th January, 2007 – happy birthday, mum! I suppose I do not make a great deal of anniversaries, really – they seem a bit arbitrary, after all – but they do have emotional punch. This is the year I will turn 65, once an iconic age, though no longer. In New Zealand, at least, they cannot require you to retire at any particular age. That would be ageism, you see. They have to demonstrate that you are no longer competent. I am tempted to observe that if that were sufficient, I would have lost my job long ago, but I hope that would only be a joke. Anyway, last year some government department or other decreed that anyone under the age of 45 could not receive full retirement benefits until age 68, so I suppose they are trying to compensate for the terrifying actuarial fact that if people are not going to have children, there will be no one to support the old, so the old had better plan on keeping working. Me, I know how I hope to retire. One day – when I am about 92, I trust – one of my co-workers will go to the boss, and say, “Gerry, jj is lying in the server room under one of the servers. Now he does that from time to time, but he has been there for three days now, and is beginning to smell. I think he has finally retired!” But Susan tells me that when I am 65 I am eligible for a pittance from the government trough, and that I don’t have to quit work to get it. I just have to pay tax on it as regular income so long as my other income is over … well, over some level or other. And I think I get senior citizen discounts, too! 65 still counts for something!

Blog Name

Okay John, I didn't know what you were going to name this Blog. I like it. I like it a lot. I also like the format. I am sitting here thinking of all the people we might reach through this and I am smiling. Maybe some of our kids will also contribute. Susan J.

The Unquiet Heart

"...inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te." - perhaps the most famous quote from St Augustine. "...our heart is restless, until it rests in Thee." I have succumbed at last. You have been liberated. Eight or nine years ago I decided to send out monthly e-mailings, mainly to my now-scattered children, but including a few friends, aimed at passing around family news, the odd commentary on ... well, whatever struck my fancy ... and ending with some attempted meditation on matters close to the heart. Monthly has been a distant dream for two or three years. Busy? Yes. But there has been another reason. The list of spam victims grew. I became increasingly aware that many, perhaps most, had no desire to receive the mailings, but were too polite to say so. Some months ago I decided that I would join the great masses of self-publishers and create a blog. "Everybody's doing it, Mum!" Yeah, well... Anyway, I have. That way those who wished to look (both of you!) could. Those who didn't ... needn't. I have mulled over the name for some weeks. Finally, last night, in prayer out at the Tyburn's Monastery, I thought that I would name it after Augustine's bon mot and call it "The Unquiet Heart." "Oh, but," I thought, "surely the point is that in coming to Christ, my heart has come to rest! That's not such a good name." Well, yes and no. My heart can only rest in Christ. My heart should only rest in Christ. In prayer I had to acknowledge that I am still pretty restless. I had already, at that point, spent a good part of my prayer time searching (fruitlessly) for a passage in my New Testament that was irrelevant to my current prayer time. So - "The Unquiet Heart" it is. And desiring the URL to be nice and Latinate, I thought, "corinquietum" sounded nice. But someone else has it. Well, luckily Latin word order isn't very strict, so it is http://inquietumcor.blogspot.com/ Come and join me. I can't say how often I will post things. If you use an RSS/Atom feed, you can just subscribe. http://reader.google.com is the one I use and very simple. Talk to you later! :-) jj