Joe Bennett

Joe Bennett gets apology over cupcake

Z

OPINION: Last week's column about a cupcake led to the petrol station's CEO calling me up to apologise.

Stick your cupcake up your petrol pump

Z Energy

OPINION: A birthday card from a petrol station wanted to thank me for being one of its "most loyal customers" - an endearing little lie.

Should we ditch towel rails?

Towel rail

A warm towel's a nice indulgence but towels dry perfectly well on a washing line and a heated towel rail is a luxury that costs the world.

Hail the sandbags

Sandbags in Christchurch

Human life may depend on water, but a human house depends on its absence. Water and soft furnishings don't mix.

Joe Bennett cannot bear to hear music

Musical notes.

I play no music at home. If music comes on the car radio I turn it off.

Heading back to class

Air New Zealand generic

OPINION: Tomorrow I'm going teaching again. Partly because I will be paid but mainly because I miss the classroom.

Missing the ballpoint pen

Fountain pen

I stopped in a country town to stretch my legs and eat a heavyweight pie. Standing in front of a junk shop window I was fingering a blob of meat and cheese from my shirt, when I caught sight of a big glass bottle and my mind flew straight to a primary school classroom.

Eco-warriors in thrilling jihad

Steve Irwin v Yushin Maru

OPINION: Young men have loved going into battle since our species evolved, but enjoy it all the more when they feel they are fighting on the side of the angels.

Joe Bennett: My friend's lonely death

Justin Bieber

OPINION: I was going to write about the arrest of Justin Bieber. But I've just learned how an old friend died.

Peacocks parade Lyttelton

Peacocks

OPINION: When I stopped smoking, peacocks arrived. There are five of them, and one lone hen. The five boys follow her as sad souls follow sports teams.

My friend's lonely death

White crosses, death, road toll, grave

OPINION: I was going to write about the arrest of Justin Bieber. But I've just learned how a friend and former teacher died, and Bieber has shrunk from view.

Unsure if you dropped a bombshell? Take a test

Writing

OPINION: The US Air Force disclosed last week that 34 officers have been removed for allegedly cheating in a proficiency test.

Survival of the flitted

Butterfly

OPINION: Butterflies have survived for over 50 million years, a hundred times longer than people, yet we are their biggest threat.

Cruelty of that passport picture

Joe Bennett

OPINION: It happens perhaps half a dozen times during a life, and every time it's like a mini death. It happened to me last month. My passport expired.

2013 - a year in bad rhyme

POPE FRANCIS

OPINION: It's the week after Christmas, it's holiday time. And I've chosen to knock up a column in rhyme.

Eternal youth would ruin everything

Mice

Without ageing, the tensions that give life its piquancy, its irony, its unique bitter-sweetness will simply disappear.

Celebrating unspoken man love

burgers strap

OPINION: Fifty years ago a florist tried it. Now it's the turn of a fast food outfit. To compare the two is to see how far we've come in half a century.

Happy as a dog with a jandal

trout bohemia grzelewski

OPINION: I asked myself when I was last as happy as the dog was now. And the answer was Wednesday.

How did you feel about Nigella?

Nigella Lawson

OPINION: There's nothing like the shaming of the great and good to put a spring in the step.

Excuse moi while I speak Franglais

France

OPINION: Should we stop pronouncing French words and phrases in regular use in English as if they were still French?

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