AmeriNZ 106 – The Tyranny of Distance

Today I talk a bit about a car accident that my sister was recently in. It’s a good reminder that people who live a far way from home—or overseas—have to be prepared for this kind of thing. Although many don’t think about it, they should. I’m now planning on talking about comments from only the past two weeks.

Links for this episode:

The blog post I wrote about this, also called “The Tyranny of Distance”

The Democratic Party-sponsored site on possible Republican VP candidates: The Next Cheney

The Democrats’ site where US Citizens living overseas can go to sign up to vote is called

The BBC Panorama programme I mentioned on Episode 105 is “Daylight Robery”

Please leave a comment, ring my US Listener Line on 206-339-8413, or send an email to arthur{at]

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8 thoughts on “AmeriNZ 106 – The Tyranny of Distance

  1. Arthur,

    Man, did I hate to hear the news about your sister’s wreck, and I’m also glad she’s doing fine. It would suck to be half-way around the world when something like that happened. I’ll be sending good thoughts to you and her and the rest of the family.

  2. So glad to hear your sister is doing well.

    I disagree, a bit, about getting the old(er) cars off the road. For a couple of reasons. A) Forcing people to get into anything is too much government regulation. B) MANY people can’t afford the newer “safer” or “energy efficient” autos…which is why they’re driving their old crappy cars. C) REALIZING there is a HUGE difference between vintage and “crappy” cars, there are a lot of people who prefer the look and feel of the older classics. Until I had kids I had a 1965 Mercedes that I loved. Folks in the “vintage car” frame of mind spend a LOT of time maintaining their vehicles to make sure they’re road ready, safe, and efficient. Vintage enthusiasts spend a hell of a lot more time performing vehicle maintenance than someone who just drove their brand new car off the car lot. And some “vintage enthusiasts” even upgrade their older model cars with modern “conveniences”, such as anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, etc. (SACRILEGE)!!! My ’65 was not “safe” by any of today’s standards. It didn’t have seatbelts, nor was I required to retrofit. It didn’t have defrosters for winter-time driving. It was a tank. BUT, it was (mostly) well-maintained!

    Now, THAT SAID, I DO agree that something needs to be done about older cars that aren’t maintained. Rather than taxing the shit out of people, I feel there should be more enforcement of maintenance and inspection rules to get these poorly maintained vehicles off the road. ADDITIONALLY, and this is totally off-topic, I think cell phone use in cars should be COMPLETELY banned while a vehicle is in motion. (Yes, even hands free!) I’m not a huge fan of radios, cd players, iPods, video monitors, or other “distractions” in cars too, but I don’t want to piss too many people off!
    I feel like I’ve rambled and strayed a bit here, but so as to not get too far off topic, I’m thrilled your sister and brother-in-law are better.



    P.S. A trip to New Zealand sound FANTASTIC!

  3. Sorry to hear about your sister, but I am glad to hear she is going to be OK.

    If you really want to meet some of your listeners I will be in Auckland in the beginning of October. I would be great to meet you!

  4. David: Thanks so much. It was hardest at first because that’s when you don’t know fully what’s going on. As time passes and things settle down, it’s not as bad. I guess that figures. But as a general rule I try and keep level-headed in the early stage so I can make more rational decisions, and that helps.

    (F)reddy: I agree that vintage cars are different than cars that are simply old. If I’d gone into more detail, I’d have added that I can see a point in exemptions for classic cars. My main point was about using the stick side of things to get people out of older cars, though the lower taxes on newer cars might provide a carrot. Tax policy could also be used to provide huge incentives for people to buy newer and more fuel-efficient cars, like hybrids or electrics.

    But the most important thing is that all cars—new or old—should be safe. In New Zealand, all cars must be inspected and carry a current “Warrant of Fitness”, which attests that the car is in safe working order. Trucks and trailers (including car trailers) have similar requirements.

    Cellphone use while driving is about to become illegal in New Zealand, though hands-free sets will still be allowed.

    Okay, start planning your trip, then!

    Archerr: Thanks. The album art was something I created for Episode 106 because I though it kind of illustrates the topic of distance. I’m not as organised as other podcasters who change their art for every episode, but I’d like to do it more often. This particular artwork will, no doubt, be back—but not for Episode 107…

    Kelly: I’m always up for meeting listeners, schedules allowing (and let’s be real: For me they almost always do…). Email me with more of the details, dates, etc.,and we’ll set something up!

    Roger: Ask, and ye shall receive! I’ll talk about that, um, piece, next week along with the broader topic of marriage equality, including how that all fits in with New Zealand.

  5. As I left you a voicemail I was really moved by this episode in so many ways. The fact that your sister and brother in law were hurt in a car accident and how it made you feel knowing you are on the other side of the world. I know I would be feeling the same way. I feel weird when my folks are in Texas for the winter and worry that someday something will happen and I will have to struggle to get there to be there for my family.

    I can’t agree with you more regarding the vehicles that are not maintained especially this week while in Chicago there are way to many. The other thing is that I was almost in three accidents yesterday as well and two could have been very scary if I hadn’t been more alert.

    The bottom line is I love your show and wish you and Nigel all the best!


  6. Pingback: It’s a very long way « Washington to New Zealand

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