Thursday, May 31, 2012


In my younger days I often heard the term CRUSTY OLD BUGGER! I didn’t think much of it and in the glow of my joyful love of life; I dismissed it and laughed at ‘inappropriate’ times. Time flowed like a flood under a wooden bridge and all of a sudden the term has taken on a real meaning.
Do you remember when you had skin that was almost battle resistant? Nothing could harm or cause injury (OK---slightly exaggerated).
Now that I have left behind the wonderful days of my youth, I have begun to understand the now what I see as the ‘horrible’ term.
Spots have started to appear and I am sure that my skin is thinner, making me less resistant to attack form a range of enemies. I could really get down to gory details, but I have probably lost all of my younger readers by now and utterly put my blogging at risk, but I must continue. Don’t take me too seriously though and if you can’t laugh at yourself, then carry on being a miserable old bugger as well as a ‘crusty’ one.
Yesterday, I had to go to the eye clinic at Greenlane. I didn’t know that it had moved and changed its policy about walk-up appointments--- well actually not having an appointment at all. Now you are supposed to get your doctor to refer you. However they will still see people (yes it’s free in NZ and it is an excellent service) but there is usually a waiting period. I was lucky---- a wonderful nurse who is the most qualified nurse in NZ for her particular position (sorry—I can’t spell her title) knew me from past visits. She saw me straight away and all I had to do was endure a trainee having a look at my weird eyes. Actually, I didn’t mind at all--- hey, anything to help with training new doctors!
What was my eye complaint? Well, it seems that I secrete (it gets yucky here, so turn back now my friends, if you feel faint) a bit more oil form some glands in the eye near the lids--- Hell,  that is a terrible description, but you can see where I am going. These ‘oils’ form a CRUSTY crystal-like build-up that feels like sandpaper in your eyes.  There is a name for this condition---Blepharitis---wow---- bet you are wondering how I knew how to spell that one---- I can copy silly.
So how do I fix this condition? Why--- I massage my lids and place hot compresses to melt the crystals and I can use Johnson’s baby shampoo (diluted of course) to wash out my eyes.
Oh well--- now I am truly understanding of the term CRUSTY.



I love my idiot-proof crockpot (slow cooker)

I have had a crockpot and two slow cookers for many years. I won’t get into the difference other than to say that I think the crock pot is a true slow way of cooking--- we often put our one on for 12 hours and the food is magnificent. The slow cooker does a similar (almost) job in half the time.
 There is no better cure for the Monday blues, especially on a cold day, than to come home to a soup that has been cooking all day. You can make some toast or scones (biscuits in the USA) and the blues will disappear once you sit down to a wonderful nourishing and cheap soup.
Here’s a recipe that is idiot-proof! The quantities are almost irrelevant. There are only three ingredients. For the more adventurous amongst you--- add whatever else you wish.
Take 3-5 bacon bones (more if you wish). I microwaved them for 3 minutes first, but you don’t have to.
Add them to the crockpot along with a cup of yellow split peas (once again any sort will do) and a couple of cups of deskinned pumpkin,  chopped up into cubes.
 Now just add as much boiling water to take the mixture to its maximum level.
 Let it cook all day while you are at work. Don’t add salt until you taste it later as the bacon bones tend to be quite salty.
If you don’t like the scum, just place paper towels on the top, lift and the scum is gone. I do it twice.


HEADLINES---NZ is invading Austrlaia--- backwards!

It has often been said that ‘THE WORD IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.’
We are about to find out. Are we to believe that a strange outflow of skills from Australia are about to become NZ’s? Is it true that many Australian jobs in the newspaper world are going to shift to NZ?
Hell, fellow Kiwi’s---is this our chance to even up the playing field? Just think of the possibilities. We will be in charge of editorial policy and all that this entails. The Aussies will learn the truths and realities of the world--- one centred on NZ
 I can smell the fear from here, safely ensconced in my lounge.  The idea is a panacea for my ills today. Yes I am not well, but I rose to read the papers and --- oh my goodness!
My feelings go out to those Australians who will lose their jobs.
Yes I don’t really believe my words as printed above. What a tosser of an idea. What monetary driven idiot thought that one up? I am completely behind the objections of my Aussie coussies. I suspect that editorial policy has for ages been driven from outside NZ, but this latest proposal takes the cake. Wake up and smell other than the mining fumes my Aussie friends and DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! Hell--- if you lose, we in NZ don’t necessarily gain--- not at your expense I hope!

We must stop this government's attack on education

The worm has turned. We are now seeing in unbelievable clarity the aims of the Government when it comes to education. Nothing is more important to them than the ‘fiscal underpinning’ of a wide scope of their policies.
We know that we are in tough times, but to cut and bend and God knows what else the very basis of what can lead to an economic recovery--- that is a good education system is in itself fiscally irresponsible.
 The end result of this will be an increase in the outflow to Australia. The only good thing about that is that there will be a dilution of the Australian accent. (Sorry, Aussie friends--- but you have been making too many sheep jokes lately)
WE are already losing many of our best ‘brains,’ but now we will see ‘those who grow and extend’ our young brains joining the exodus, namely our teachers.
BUT---- teachers will not give up. This time (Usually their ire is prodded, re conditions and pay) they will have a large group of parents on the side of the teachers.
Just where the hell does the government think that they find these so-called super-teachers’ who can handle a class of 29 plus. They do not exist in the numbers needed to lend any credence to the claims made by the government. I am not using a capital ‘G’ for government because they represent a ‘small-minded ‘g’overnemnt)
Once again, I challenge the government or anyone else to try out teaching--- OK We will let you observe, because, I wouldn’t expect a non-trained teacher to enter the classroom in a teaching role--- a six hour teaching role--- not just one period. I would be worried about their mental safety under conditions other than that of an observatory role.
Mr Key, English and Ms Parata, you have unleashed a ‘spirit’ that will not be contained. Think again--- Ooops--- you are doing that, but each time you come up with a policy that is even more short-sighted or stupid.
Go the NZEI, Parents, Principals Associations and PPTA!

'Headlocking' ---a potentially fatal game!

From time to time, we hear of a ‘game’ that is doing the rounds with our young people. These ‘games’ come and go and most are part of what it means to be a teenager. Most are possibly fairly harmless and apart from the occasional injury, no harm is done, other than to the nerves of the teachers on duty in our schools. However, every so often we hear of a game that is potentially fatal.
The report in today’s NZ Herald about a young boy from an Auckland Secondary school is an example of what can go terribly wrong. He is lucky to be alive and the ‘headlocking’ game must be stamped out. It is another example of the more extreme risk taking behaviours that teenagers like to be involved in. They may even be pressured to take part, in order to earn ‘kudos’ and gain acceptance.
How we handle issues like this is crucial to their being eliminated from our playgrounds and schools. Do we make a big fuss of it in assemblies and other mass gatherings? Do we highlight it in the media? A similar argument can be made for the problem of how much we discuss suicide. So there is a continuum about how we handle sensitive and dangerous issues.
One of the best ways to get any message through with teenagers is for them to take some ownership. Firstly, gather a group of ‘influential’ or ‘in-group’ young people. You may be surprised as to whom the students are in such a group--- the best way--- ask the kids.
Take this group and present them with the information around the issue, in this case, ‘Headlocking.’ Let them have a discussion with minimal adult interference. I am not saying --- leave them to it. They will know who they want to be the ‘adult’ convener. You may get a few surprises there. (That person can also have some ‘supervision’ to make sure things go ‘safely and appropriately.’
Encourage this group to do some research and then invite them to come up with ‘how they wish to get their collective message across about the issue.
If the school has a radio station (yes some do or are planning such a venture) or any other way of selling the message, then use it. Don’t forget that the group will become ‘ambassadors’ of common sense on a lot of issues.
I believe that such an approach will be far more effective than the ‘force-feeding’ we so often use, with the less than good results.
An example of such an approach is the PSSP programme in Auckland schools.
I shall write about that in another blog.

More chapters coming, but---

I am waiting for readers to catch up on the earlier chapters of my books before I release more. You may need to roll back quite a few blogs to get to them. I shall fix that problem at some stage. There must be a way fo organizing my blogs to make it easier for you, but I don't know of it. Perhaps one of you can tell me