Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sir Paul Holmes--he said what we wanted to say. RIP.

Sir Paul had a way with words. He also had a strong sense of what ‘should be.’ He was not afraid to speak out and often went way beyond his job as a reporter or newsman. Sometimes he let his passion get in the way and ended up in hot water, but we loved him for that too. He was never afraid to say ‘sorry’ when he stuffed up, but it was in those moments that he made us laugh too; both with him and at him.
He had human fallings but he ‘owned them.’ He set things right when others would have dived for cover. He had the ‘fears’ we all have about ‘what is to come,’ after death and he put those out there in a way that we can relate to them.
Sir Paul was a part of our life; on TV and radio. That special way he had of reporting the days’ issues sometimes put him on the wrong side with his employers and maybe with some of his listeners and viewers, but isn’t that what a good reporter should do, if that person is seeking the truth.
Sir Paul---- you made a difference to the lives of many. You made us think, laugh, cry and you brought out the compassion we are all capable of feeling but are very good at hiding.
Thank you Sir Paul, for your gift of living and being as one with us. You will be remembered.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I am about to start the process re surgery

The waiting is almost over along with the non-diet foods. Yeah I k now, I have gone on about this for ages. My purpose in sharing this stuff is about getting people to focus on their health before it is too late, particularly males. How many ‘men’ do you know who actually go to the doctor for regular health checks.
I have done all that and embarked on numerous diets, only to put the weight back on and then some, so it’s the ‘knife’ for me. Actually it’s more like three small holes and an implement or two entering me while I am asleep and I wake up with a much reduced capacity to indulge my wildest gastric cravings. If I do the price will be swift and embarrassing. This process has meant a mind-shift about my future of gigantic proportions, except that the end result will be less about gigantic and more about a ‘new me.’
I am ready! My first date is with a psychologist next week. That will be an interesting experience for me, considering that’s the line of work I am employed in. Then it’s onto the Dietician who will walk me through the ‘restrictions’ and fluid diet that I must maintain for a month before surgery. If I don’t achieve the goals associated with that, all bets are off. Naturally I am determined to make that part work.
One more appointment after that--- with the surgeon and then I will take a month off to get with the new programme and recover from the surgery. That all should coincide with the school holidays so there is less need to eat into my sick leave.  Now it’s onwards and upwards to a better and healthier future.

Schools put 'tablets'on their 'to buy' list!

The gap between the ‘rich and poor’ cannot do anything but grow if the trend by some schools to put tablets on their stationary requirement list continues. Even in so-called middle decile schools, the burden on parents will be that one step too far. How then are those schools where simply getting the kids to have a breakfast in the morning going to cope?
We are going to have huge gaps between the schools in our nation. There is going to be a significantly large cohort missing out. There are no signs that the Government is going to step in and make a difference by providing free tablets and I am not even suggesting that it does.
I am questioning the need for tablets to be a compulsory part of a young person’s ‘tools for learning.’ There will be much debate but the bottom line is that we need our kids to be able to read and have good numeracy skills before we totally embrace other forms of ‘techno learning.’ Until we achieve that, all of the techno paraphernalia will be just that—an expensive add on. If our education system is changing so much that it requires these ‘tools’ then there needs to be a level playing field; one that gives all students equal access to those tools that are considered necessary for learning. The debate has a long way to go, but we cannot ignore it.
 I am just saying that---let’s work towards narrowing the gap.

I see a massive spike in the number of hits from the USA!

For quite some time the USA has been the country that hits my bloggs the most; this in spite of the fact that I writem in New Zealand, a country of little matter to the USA. Don't get me worng; I am most pleased to see those numbers. It's a pity that Google banned me from the ADsense site because 'friends' thought they were helping me out by clicking on the adveerts. I may have inadvertently encouraged this and with all things, there are 'consequences.' Oh well-- such is life.
Another factor re my blogs is that I don't always go along with 'mainstream' thinking, especially in regard to many of the issues in the USA. Perhaps I am being read by those with alternate views about how things should be. Take the 'gun laws;' that is something I have been going on about for quite a few blogs becuase for the life of me, I can not et my head around why Americans love thiier guns so much. In the end I have decided that there are some issues that NZ and the USA take very different stands. Of course some would say that it is the USA's issue to handle and that the rest of the world should butt out. Well, it's not laike that folks. IF A NATION SETS ITSELF UP TO BE THE 'POLICEMAN OF THE WORLD, AND ONE THAT HAS PROFOUND INFLUENCE IN EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE IN SO MANY COUNTRIES, THEN THAT COUNTRY MUST EXPECT A 'REACTION' TO THAT WHICH GOES ON THE WITHIN IT'S BORDERS. Much  has been copied and envied about the USA and as such it's influence has held sway for a good deal of the last 100 years.
So---carry on reading my blogs, but I would love more feedback.
 Go well USA!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Those nasty paperwasps! Yeah I know---they're all God's creatures, but!

Every time I look out my kitchen window, I observe a paper wasp nest as it gradually increases in size. It is in a position that makes it difficult to attack during the darker hours. In the past I have easily disposed of the nests by spraying them with fly spray and running like hell; not a sensible move, I am informed.
This particular nest and others close by are going to be a lot more difficult to eradicate. I rang Rentokil but their prices were quite high ($175) so I have decided to tackle the nests myself, despite the difficult terrain. Perhaps I can spray them a strong weed killer as I will be once again attempting to get rid of a plant that keeps invading that section of my garden. I have done this before and it worked. I just have to make sure that I shut the kitchen window real fast.
If I don’t post a blog in the next few days, then you know what happened; the wasps got me before I got them! I am not a killer of insects normally, but these critters are not a native species to NZ and of there are kids and pets around, one should make an attempt to free the area of them. There--- that’s my rationale---my method--- well that leads something to be desired! MMM--- I may yet bite the bullet and pay the $175.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My sister's big clean out---don't ya love it!


I am not big on decluttering my house and storage shed, but after my sister’s recent experience in doing just that, perhaps I should change my mind. Over the years she has ‘collected’ quite a bit of ‘this and that,’ leading to quite an interesting look. Books and bric-a- brac were in abundance and Perdy just loved visiting her house of treasures.

Perhaps my dear sister just decided that getting rid of a few things would be a good move. Once she had started it was all on. You wouldn’t believe the things she found and how much local hospices and church shops have benefited. Yeah, we tried to sell a few things on ‘Trade me’ but everyone wants something for virtually nothing and the ‘effort’ is not worth the gain, so the ‘give away’ mode ended up as being the most suitable for her decluttering exercise.

Something quite wonderful is happening. I’m not talking about the lovely old oak tea trolley she gave me, but I am indeed thankful for it as it fits with other ‘real wood’ items in my humble abode. My sister made a discovery that will give us pleasure until the last drop.

She discovered some wine (10 bottles) she had ‘stored’ some time ago. On making this fabulous find, she decided that we would open one each time she visited for one of our famous dinners (while I still can—pre bariatric surgery). The first offering was a vintage (1997) Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne. Now I know that for some of you that’s probably ho-hum and nothing to call home about, but we are not snobs and we really appreciate something just that bit ‘up there.’

We opened the wine, wondering if it would just give a little puff, rather than a full blown pop of the real thing. We were not disappointed and although we love our NZ bubblies, we were most satisfied with this French offering. Next on the list is a great NZ red from the Colerain (Te Mata ) wineries. We can’t wait to see if it has weathered the years.

Can Labour and the Greens (maybe with NZ First) rise to the top?


John Key must be looking over his shoulders and be wondering just what he can do to head off the rising fortunes of the opposition parties. Those parties associated with his Government are in crisis and risk being lost off the political field altogether. His own ministers are also shooting themselves in the foot too. This is often the fate of second term Governments, no matter what the colour of their flags, so it is not surprising that he is looking around for new initiatives; ones that the opposition parties have been proposing for ages.

Take ‘housing and apprenticeship schemes for example; have not the two main opposition parties been putting out sensible polices; ones that the electorate seems quite happy to support? Key can only say, ‘us too,’ but in a much watered down form. He even seems to have moved away from strictly austerity type’ policies in an attempt to turn the polls.

Next year (if he lasts that long) will be interesting. In a sense it is ’be careful time’ for Labour and the Greens. It is easy to shove out policy, but that act must be matched by a ‘balancing’ so that we are not clutching at political chaff. How often have we heard opposition policies announced and then have them shoot way above what is possible and make promises that are nothing short of lies? Labour may think that they will benefit from the possible demise of the Maori Party, but they should not discount the flow on that Hone and Mana may have amongst former Maori Party supporters.

Mr Shearer needs good advice over the next 18 months and learns from past mistakes. We do not want a Labour green coalition that is bereft of real answers to the problems facing us as a nation. The ebbs and flows of political fortunes are something that needs to take into account the reality of the world New Zealand now lives in. Anyone can make brash promises, but not everyone can follow through. Think before you offer please, Mr Shearer and your newly found friend, Mr Cunliffe.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just because you are bigger than me, don't go getting ideas eh!

So you're are a big bitch--so what---You forget my breeding--I'm a Jack Russell! No one---yes, no one bullies me. I can get you from all directions, all at once, so there. I get you when you least expect it, in areas you didn't know existed; parts of your body that you havn't even sniffed. As for your size---what a laugh. That just means there's more for me to bite. Of course there's the other issue that I am quite shy about admitting---my Jack Russell brains.

I sat on my reading glasses---damn!

Don't sit on your glasses. They are meant to go on your head not your butt. However, there is an upside to the fore mentioned act of destructive sitting; firslty i can really get away with bad typing, because I cna't see what I am doing and I have an excuse to go and buy a new pair. Let's face it, I have had these glasses for 20 plus years and I don't think 'Humpty Dumpty' can be put together again.
It really is time to move on and at the same time, get two pairs of glasses. The pari I have been using at school was either from the Two Dollar Shop or the Warehouse, plus it onbly had lone arm--- not a good look. I suspect my clients think I am underpaid.
I have booked an appontmnet at Spec Savers in New Lynn andonce I mentiomned I was over 60, I was told there is a discount. Being a member of AA also attracks more discount so I'm on to a winner. I shall therefore take Perdy for a walk, then head on donw to my apponment with amnore appropriate and probably more correct form of vision. See--- adversity does lead to new pathways!
YOu can all do the speelcheck. Stuffed if I know what I wrote. Perhaps Perdy can proofread it.

I got a good deal from Spec Savers. Free test plus discount---2 pairs of dual stage glasses for $369. I went for 'function not fashion.' Well pleased with service and product.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The students go back to-----

This week and early next week sees the students of New Zealand going back to school. Their teachers are a pretty resilient bunch of people, but they must be wondering where things are heading in this very important sector of our nation.
We have the continuing debacle of the NovaPay system of paying teachers and support workers continually missing the mark. Many principals had their holidays badly interrupted as a result and teachers were left on a knife edge, wondering if they were going to be paid correctly, if at all.
We also have the continuing saga of the Charter Schools initiative. Despite a good deal of research; both here and overseas that points to a less than satisfactory outcome, the Government is hell-bent on pushing the first of the Charter Schools onto us. Many teachers, other groups and individuals are making submissions to the Select Committee, but that is not going to change this Government’s mind. It is locked into an agreement with its coalition partner, Act, and come what may, that is what is driving this move.
Our students have probably not taken much interest in the debate; one that will affect how our precious resources are carved up and therefore the students, and everything will carry on as planned. We need to ask ourselves as a nation---‘is it good enough that in the face of such determined opposition, that we have a Government that sees only one pathway? They are developing a suspicious ‘wobble’ that has all the hallmarks of a Government that is not listening to the people. By the time they are thrown out, the damage will be done and a huge amount of money will have been wasted---all in the name of ‘holding on to political power,’ no matter what the cost is to New Zealand as a whole-----short term gain, long term damage.
So students, do your thing and do your utmost to gain your qualifications. Maybe you won’t be tainted by the stupidity of a ‘non-hearing’ Government, and maybe when it comes to your turn to make the decisions, you may do it differently.

60,000 hits

No, that's not 60,000 different readers. I don't have any way of knowing that figurre. Some of them are automatic 'sends.' I met my target for the start of school and that is quite pleasing. Please send on my link to your contacts.
Cheers
www.authorneilcoleman.com

Ratana and the Labour Party--are they 'on' again?'


Up until recently the Labour party and Ratana had close ties, but that all soured for a couple of election cycles. It seems that the National Party and John Key in particular have lost their ‘new love’ and a return to the past ‘special relationship’ is underway. This time, the Labour Party cannot take for granted that such loyalty and support can be taken for granted. It is a ‘balancing act’ that will take upfront and honest expressions of intent and follow through. Although the Ratana movement does not represent the majority of Maori voters, they do however wield influence that is ‘noticed’ by all. This time, Labour, don’t assume that ‘she’ll be right mate.’

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vietnam---fantastic to see you!

Soon, the whole of South East Asia will be reading my bloggs. Great to see you, Vietnam. Wish I could visit, so I can eat to my hearts content, your wonderful healthy food. Check out my books on my website and buy them. Cheers
 Neil    www.authorneilcoleman.com

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nikki Kaye---actually, I never thought I would say it, but I quite like her

Yeah I know---me saying something nice about the National Party is sort of strange. Well don't get your nickers in a twist----it's Nikki Kaye I like and I believe she is in the wrong Party. I am sure you can say the same about quite a few Labour MPs too so I am making a balanced statement. Sometimes one needs to look beyond the limitations of party politics and see the 'person.' When you do that you may come up with a similar stance to me, re a range of our politicians. What I am also saying is that we have sme good politicians in all parties. It just so happens that for me, most of the ones I like tend to be in just a few parties. OK, so go for it Nikki and perhaps we can change your stance on Charter Schools, 'retirement age issues,' and making sure our hospitals remain in 'the Peoples' hands.'
We shall watch your 'progress' with interest, Nikki.

Obama's next four years---will we now see some 'action?'


As I was putting together a fabulous recipe for a meatloaf, I had an ear and the occasional vision of Obama doing the rounds for the inauguration balls. Yes, I know, Michelle looked lovely in her ‘once again choice’ of Jason Wu’s creation. Oops, I am in danger of becoming a little frivolous, so I better get back to the ‘main game.’

President Obama has a chance to really challenge Corporate America and bring a little more balance into the lives of Americans. Perhaps the ‘little guys and girls’ can have a chance to share the wealth. Perhaps he can make a real difference so that the vast majority of Americans can have access to decent medical care.

Dare I say it, but it is absolutely necessary that he brings about more ‘sensible’ gun laws. I suspect that even the President knows that he cannot take guns from all Americans but he can pull back the tendency for Americans to own military style guns and the worst aspects of unfettered gun ownership. He will never please or gain the support of what the rest of the world calls ‘red-neck wacko’ individuals who hold to a section of the Constitution that does not take into account the changes brought about by technology and population growth.

Mr Obama has other challenges too and now he can ignore that pathetic excuse for a news network, Fox Television (but I do enjoy some of their ‘Extra’ segments) and get on with the job of focussing on improving the lives of the vast bulk of Americans. Maybe he can set the pace for a ‘return to greatness,’ and the USA can hold its head high again. Of course he may have to curb the tendency of the USA thinking that it is the ‘policeman’ of the world.

Give it a go, Mr Obama. I am sure you still retain the goodwill and trust, both in the USA and the world as a whole that will support you in your endeavours. JUst ignore the baying wolves from the Republican Party as they seek to find a 'scapegoat' for their own failings.

'Cats must go,' says Dr Gareth Morgan.


Wow--- that statement from Dr Morgan will have thrown the cats amongst the pigeons. With 48% of New Zealand households owning at least one cat, I can hear the clarion calls for Gareth’s blood. He is adamant that cats kill many native birds and that we must begin to eradicate these ‘pests’ by not letting them reproduce and keep them in doors permanently until they die. He even wants them all to wear bells. Is that our future in NZ; a nation with the sound of indoor twinkles gradually diminishing as our feline friends die out?

'Outrageous!' cat owners will say and the argument on the danger to our environment from our moggies is going to rage from North Cape to Stewart Island. Is there any middle ground or are we going to scratch ourselves to oblivion?

OK, some sanity. Maybe we do need to look at making our native birds and other small animals ‘safe’ from cats. Surely there is a clever person out there who can come up with a Kiwi technological/ gene-altering breakthrough that can lead to manipulating our cats’ natural instinct to hunt and kill.

I am sure you have all seen how a cat seems to take pleasure in hunting, playing with and finally killing their ‘prey.’ No doubt you were horrified when your gentle, loving ball of fur, who was one second sitting by you on the couch and then the said ‘family’ member morphs into a nasty sadistic brute. Would it not be so much better for your sensibilities if that didn’t happen? Of course your rat and mouse population may increase as a result and I doubt whether you could all handle a Jack Russell to fill the void!

Now, to avoid any accusations that I am a cat hater, let me state that I too have a cat. I am actually on to my third one in five years because there are other predators out there that kill cats, especially black male cats----yes I am talking about cars and other vehicles that do the killing. I know what it is like to lose a beautiful cat and how hard to was to bury them. I am in the process of seeing my latest (much more sensible female cat) slowly withdrawing from our house; only visiting now, rather than living with us. Can you guess the reason? Yes, you are correct--- my Jack Russell delights in chasing my cat, leading her to consider moving house. She has found an elderly neighbour and now the best I can say about my cat is that she is a ‘shared cat.’

Is ‘our’ cat dangerous to birdlife? Yes she is. She may be quite portly, but she still manages to chase and catch (and eat) any bird that decides to come within a cat’s paw. If she was anywhere near the bush, I suspect that we would be on the receiving end of countless ‘gifts,’ just like she delivered to us when she and her departed brother used to hunt in unison.

So Gareth Morgan is not wrong about the tendancy for cats to destroy birdlife. The problem along with ‘out of control’ dogs in our native forests is not an imaginary one. It is a problem that we all need to discuss rationally. That 48% of us have cats means that we must take away the emotion we are feeling with this debate and contribute to a study that sets out to explore the full nature of the issue and one that attempts to find a solution, no matter how hard that seems right now. In the meantime, we must not set out cats on to Gareth? He knows (and I suspect you do too) that there is truth behind his claims.

OMG--- my cat is looking at me strangely, on one of her rare daytime visits.

 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Help!


Yes, I unashamedly ask for you to pass my website on so that I can sell my books. Self-publishing is so hard. I am competing against the ‘big boys and girls’ and breaking into the mainstream sales mechanism is all but impossible. I am selling a few through Wheelers books and some library suppliers here in NZ and Australia. If you have read any of the three books; ‘Coastal Yarns,’ ‘Roskill’ and ‘Talk To Me,’ and you enjoyed any of them, please put my contact links on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Then of course I repeat my plea for you to ask for my books at your local library. I suspect a few sales have happened that way.

Am I embarrassed about making my plea for help; heck no! What have I got to lose apart from a few people who have hated my books? I really want to put out my next ones, but that will have to wait. The bank overdraft can only go so far-----at my age!

www.authorneilcoleman.com    Get your fingers working and feel free to contact me through my email.   neilcolemanauthor@gmail.com

Fireworks on a dry hot summer night----bloody crazy!


Last night there was a serious fire on Mt Eden, which threatened nearby houses. It is thought it may have been caused by fireworks. We already know that for the days around Guy Fawkes Night, there are the inevitable fires and danger re injury, but at this time of the year the potential risk are much more serious. Public displays are the only way to go, whether it is for Guy Fawkes or other celebratory occasions.

Surely during a dry hot summer it is absolute madness to allow individuals to let off fireworks. The inherent danger to people and property is obvious. We do not need bush fires and there is enough to raise the danger level, without the human element re idiots who do not take necessary precautions to prevent ‘accidents.

Have we not arrived at a time where the need for fireworks should be limited to ‘public display’ only? We now have Guy Fawkes, Diwali, Chinese New Year and Matariki and I am sure there are other ‘festivals’ that will assume importance as NZ becomes even more ethnically diverse. It is great to have celebrations but we have to consider the greater need for public safety. We can still celebrate with beautiful fireworks, but lets be a bit more sensible and have those ‘who know what they are doing’ create the display. Unfortunately, all one needs for a ‘disaster in the making is, weather conditions, alcohol fuelled stupidity and ignorance re safety features to all combine and we are all the losers. We also have the days of loud explosions, casing mayhem to our animal friends.

 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kim Dotcom--Are you doing it legally this time?


Kim Dotcom is no doubt a dramatic and publicity seeking person. That in itself is not bad or illegal. His massive launch tonight of his new site; one that apparently acts like a ‘cloud’ system and allows people to upload information and data, without his company’s ‘knowledge, will be one to remember.’ Apparently he is not the first to go down this route but the difference is that he comes with ‘history’ and a story.

People are naturally attracted to his style and while there are still unanswered charges, I suspect that he is going to do well. KI may even check it out and see what happens.

We all know he exposed a very inefficient attempt on the part of a ‘collusive act’ by our police (Government) and the FBI to call him to task. That they failed (so far) and caused a great deal of embarrassment to their reputation is a moot point. I cannot make a call on who is right or wrong in the continuing saga, but one thing is for sure----KDC is not going to lie down and wait until the matter is resolved. He is going to have a huge ‘bash’ tonight at his mansion outside Auckland and the world’s media will be there lapping it all up---like ‘lapdogs.’ Who really are the ‘suckers’ in all of this drama?

Algeria--- is this what we can expect to see even more of?


Algeria is an example of what we can expect to possibly come for many nations in the Middle East and beyond. Any attempt on the part of ‘Arab Spring’ nations to implement real democracy will be impinged by fanatical jihadists. These disparate groups don’t want to see peace in the region because it does not equate to their vision of extreme Sharia Law.

The educated middle classes will be targeted, because it is this group that represents the biggest threat to their plans return the ME to some sort of throwback to a feudalistic past. The other losers will be the women and girls of the region; education will be an impossible dream other than that that serves males and a strict adherence to a narrow perception of the role ‘Islamic Women’ play.

There is a shining example (although women do get a better deal in the UAE nations) outside of the Middle East and that is Indonesia (and Malaysia--- but that is not a strictly Islamic nation). Indonesia’s transition to democracy has not been without difficulties and it has had to balance the impetus of an influential fundamentalist minority that has power beyond their numbers and one that works against the wishes of the vast number of Indonesians to achieve a safe and tolerant future.

They have a way to go and the bourgeoning middle classes are making their mark. This vast archipelago is making huge economic gains and it is a nation that is going to make its mark on the world, with increasing influence in the region. Perhaps it really can be the ‘example’ how things could be. However, they must be looking over their shoulders to the events in the Middle East and hope to avoid the terrible social chaos that exists there.

For Algeria, hope is paramount. Their response to the current crisis was harsh, perhaps necessarily so. Most Algerians too want a peace that includes all of its citizens. The minority that uses kidnap and murder as its way of pushing an agenda will be difficult to defeat.

Austria 'likes' my blogs?


When I saw Austria joining the list of countries reading my blogs, I misread it as Australia. Later I corrected my mistake and wondered if that happens a lot. Perhaps it’s just me; something like my typing---fingers faster than my eyes!

I am of course most pleased to see yet another new country and I send my best wishes for the new year. I hope you get to read my books too. Just go to www.authorneilcoleman.com

Oxfam says that the world's 100 richest people could wipe out 'extreme' poverty!


Really--- the world’s 100 richest people could wipe out ‘extreme’ poverty?’ Wonderful, you say. The world’s problems are over. Well I don’t think you will hold to that first reaction once you think about it, except those of you who hold to the viewpoint that people are basically good.

Think for a moment about how those top 100 individuals or families attained that massive amount of wealth. Such people are a combination of the industrious and many other ‘qualities.’ They are driven to seek power and riches; indeed some would say they are obsessed. Once they reach a certain level many of them are them are determined to win at any costs yet more wealth and power. They reach a point where power and wealth go together, even political power. They have no intention of releasing any significant proportion of power once they have achieved it.

Yes, there are examples of philanthropic people who give away a great deal of money to causes they believe in. We saw an example of that in New Zealand a few years ago when one of our own (Morgan) gave away the majority of his ‘well earned’ wealth. However, such individuals are in the minority.

The very idea of giving up the majority of one’s wealth is totally repugnant to most extremely wealthy persons. They will go to great lengths to ‘hold and increase their positions, so don’t expect anytime soon to see the top 100 divesting themselves of their power and wealth.

Let’s pretend though for a while, that these individuals did have an epiphany; one that that leads them to see the plight of the World’s suffering masses and then genuinely see a need to ‘help the extreme poor. Oxfam is naive if they think that simply giving away money to the extreme poor would make any long term difference. Any massive relief effort must take a longer term view and take into account the reasons for extreme poverty.

Those ‘reasons’ are multiple; including, endemic corruption, long-held beliefs based on culture and religion re the size of families, natural disasters like drought and floods, and political systems that do not allow for shifts in power sharing, just to name a few.

Poverty will never disappear so the best we can do is to alleviate the worst aspects of this. I do not think that the world expects these 100 individuals to give up their wealth, but if they ever did see a place for them to take action, then ‘some difference’ could be achieved. Having said that I have absolutely no confidence that even a small portion of the 100 would come to the party. They no doubt think (those who even care) that they have given enough. Perhaps my view of the ‘goodness’ of human kind is a bit jaded, but time has taught me that humans predominantly still play the ‘survival game’ and that building up wealth is ingrained in our psyche and that once attained at ‘extreme’ levels’ such a stance is as difficult to fight as that of ‘extreme’ poverty.’

So are we going to see a reaction to Oxfam’s statement? I doubt it, except one that tries to deflect attention from the top 100, and that they can continue to build up their power and positions.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sugar Plum Kitchen in Tuakau, New Zealand.

Tuakau is a tiny but growing town, about 40 mins south west of Auckland. It is off the main route, but the trip to the area is well worth it. You will meander past green fields filled with contented cows and then a few clicks further on, you will see the market gardens that provide Auckland with its fresh veggies.
Once you enter the town, you will notice that a good deal of 'reinvention' has been going on. Tuakau is no longer the 'little town, locked in a time warp;' it has morphed into a trendy little town. The iconic hotel has been transformed into a modern and atractive establishment, with yet a another new one almost next door. The main street of Tuakau no longer looks doudy; it too has had a make-over.

Across the railway line, take a right turn and you will come upon a new row of shops, the first being the Sugar Plum Kitchen. When you enter the clean modern cafe, you will meet Aimee, the owner. She and and her co-worker will make you welcome. For those seeking a gluten free option----not a problem. Aimee seemed to be well versed in the requiremnets for gluten-free food. The cafe represents a nice break in the journey to distant destinations. Check it out---you won't be disappointed.

Website terrorism! My site was hacked from Russia.


I was wondering why my website---  www.authorneilcoleman.com   was not showing much action. I contacted my ‘host’ and was informed that it had been hacked by some, low-life in Russia. I suppose that is the price that one can pay when you are trying to put yourself ‘out there,’ whether it be for books or blogs. I have been assured that it will be up and running again soon and that it will have extra ‘protection.’ I guess no one nation has a monopoly on having citizens who can only make a living through dishonest means. I also come to the realization that then world is not a nice rosy coloured place where b ad things don’t happen. I also place a great deal of trust in the mantra, ‘what goes around comes around.’

www.authorneilcoleman.com  well I hope it is!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jihadists will rule Syria and Sharia law will prevail.


Syria is about to go from a nation ruled by a despot to one where Jihadists will be the prominent force, simply because they are the more fanatical fighters, believing that their place in heaven is assured by giving up their lives for their  ‘cause.’ Who can fight against such zealous beliefs?

The West will stand by and watch as Syria plunges into a new Dark Age. That the majority of the people do not necessarily wish for this scenario to play out is a moot point. Syrians are in a position where anyone promising peace will gain their support, even if the long term future will look something like an even more sectarian Iran. Syria is at a crossroads and the majority may not have their wish for a democratic future, because they have been worn down by the events of the last 18 months.

When Syrians finally wake up to a new Islamic nation and all that entails, we wilI  see a huge numbers leaving their country of birth, putting yet more pressure on their neighbours and of course on Israel as the new Government seeks a ‘scapegoat’ to bend the minds of their people.

The West may wish to intervene, but they too are weary of these never-ending wars that do not deliver governments friendly to the West. History has made that inevitable as modern Crusade arrive at the same end point of those from the distant past. Some things never change.

Winston Peters Gets a bit miffed at the prospect of Aussies coming here to work on a mystery project.


It seems that Mr Peters has found another ‘band-wagon’ to jump on, this time in the form of Aussie workers tasking New Zealand jobs. Is it not a bit of an overreaction for a number of reasons?

Firstly, we don’t know the facts and no one is admitting to such a scheme, to bring in highly paid Aussie workers. Then we need to consider the fact that NZ workers are able to travel at will to fill those so-called high paying jobs across the ditch. We can’t have it both ways; making rules that suit us but not applying them across the board.

Of course some may say that the ‘there,’ or ‘here’ issues are not always equal. One only has to read about the on-going debate about the access to various conditions and benefits that NZers do not receive in Australia, but those same benefits are available to Aussies coming here.

Perhaps this proposed development is the start of a ‘game change.’ Maybe the tide is turning and Aussies are about to come here in numbers. Maybe it is time to see the Trans-Tasman labour market as being just that---one big market. Once we iron out some obvious discrepancies, than let it rule.

One last point: What about the much vaunted Christchurch re-build? Is that not going to take up the slack on unemployment for skilled NZ workers? Should you not wait, Mr Peters, until we know the ‘facts;’ and then make your announcements, with the full picture to take into consideration? New Zealand ‘first,’ maybe, but, just wait a tad.

 

New Zealand wine 'appreciated' in France.


I was watching a French film on Sky last night, called ‘The Big Picture.’ When the main character produced a bottle of wine for his soon to be divorced (he murdered her lover) wife, he made quite a play of the fact that it came from New Zealand. The wine turned out to be CLOUDY BAY (I loved the way he pronounced it. I doubt I would have recognised it if it hadn’t been for the sub-titles). His wife noticed the screw-top but once she tried it she pronounced that it was pretty good. The main character later brought two cases of the wine to take to a disastrous dinner party, but the wine featured yet again. One wonders if Cloudy Bay had to pay for such publicity. If they didn’t then they should send a few boxes to the film makers. What wonderful publicity. The film was made in 2010. We know CB is a good wine and it is good to know that many countries now acknowledge this. Now All I need is for my books to feature in a few films and I shall be happy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Coke Boss (George Adams) takes a swipe at Kiwi's attitiudes to big business!


Mr George Adams thinks New Zealanders have less than good attitudes to ‘big business;’ this at a time when a ‘big business Government’ rules the house and from the head of a company that helps to feed the ‘unwellness’ of New Zealand residents. His company pushes a range of products that directly affects the health of so many young people. His company sells a product that is often cheaper than milk, a product that kids have taken as a viable breakfast on the way to school, then to have teachers deal with ‘sugar-high’ kids. Is it any wonder that his products and others are contributing to the fact that this generation is not going to live as long as their parents and grandparents?

Mr Adam’s company pushes his company’s gut and teeth rotting product at every opportunity. Some would say that such products (not just his company) rank right up there with alcohol and tobacco as to the damage they do.

So some New Zealanders have an attitude to ‘big business’ and Mr Adams waits until he is leaving the job, that he makes this claim. Why, Mr Adams, have you not been more forthcoming in your protestations? Were you concerned that New Zealanders may take umbrage at your questioning of how ‘we’ think about your company and others?

Like an ‘opinion’ on any subject, New Zealanders have a range of beliefs, the subject of ‘big business,’ no different to any other. You can be sure that you have your supporters too, so other than holding some ‘political’ agenda re pushing for greater access and freedom to push your product even more onto a ‘na├»ve’ public, all in  the name of a ‘free market,’ then I fail to see an validity in your claims. I guess your friends in the National Party will continue to attend your ‘lobbying- focused gatherings’ and drink from your generous but poisoned chalice.

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

China fuels the demise of the Elephant and Rhino.


Yes. It is a strong claim to say the China fuels the demise of the elephant and rhino. Unfortunately one side effect of an ever increasing middle-class and rich sectors in Chinese society is that the long held belief amongst Chinese is that the horns or tusks of the two animals are thought to have much desired ‘health’ qualities. However in the past, only the rich could afford these ‘products,’ meaning that the overall effect on the animals was less. Now it seems that it is open slather on the animals of Africa as demand increases along with China’s influence in the area.

Latest figures claim that nearly 35,000 elephants were slaughtered last year and only the tusks were taken, leaving the remainder of the carcass to rot in the hot African sun. Kenya particularly suffered huge losses in its elephant population, leaving the prospect of the elephant being extinct in the near future.

Kenya and other countries have fought this illegal trade but their resources are limited and it appears that they are losing the battle. Even China has made the trade illegal but as with many moves by the Chinese Government to curb ‘illegal actions’ (take ‘rip-off copies of a large range of products for example) they have a long way to go. China is also increasing its reach into Africa and it is not hard to find Chinese traders buying up many ‘threatened’ products, right under the nose of African officials. No doubt money changes hands to smooth the process.

What needs to happen is that the ‘market,’ therefore the need for such products needs to be curbed at the point of delivery---the huge and growing market in China (and other predominately Asian countries).There is an ever increasing Green movement in China and it this that the Chinese Government needs to tap into. There would be a vast number of Chinese how find the trade in ivory repugnant.

The question needs to be asked---‘what will China think as a nation when and if the time comes where the only place we will be able to see the elephant and rhino will be in a zoo?’ Of course I am not so narrow-minded to claim that the ‘West’ in beyond criticism re the disappearance of other animals from the wild. My hope is that China joins the move to retain our animal ‘co-inhabitants of this place we call ‘earth.’

Monday, January 14, 2013

USA has plans to attack Chinese Nuclear assets--RT says this!


RT (Russian TV) is saying that the USA is planning to attack Chinese nuclear assets. I find this hard to believe and if it was true, an absolutely stupid action on the part of the USA. China and the USA are now economically connected at the hip. Why would the USA take such a damaging action; one that would place world peace at risk.

Where does RT get its information from? I see no other news outlets (So far, that is) making similar claims. For RT to make this claim is both confusing and dangerous. I am indeed looking for the USA to react to the claim and lay it to rest. Any other action is beyond even our wildest nightmares.
When RT 'explained it's headlines, it stated that the USA has laways had 'plans' to attack Chinese assets. I see their other headlines (the ones that drag accross the bottom of the screen) as alarmist and dangerous; ones that I had not associated RT with in the past. It seems that somethings never change!

Fellow hoarders---Do you find it hard ot get rid of 'stuff?'


I am pretty sure that I am not alone in the desire to ‘unclutter’ my house. It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ one collects over the years, ranging from household goods, collectables (well you might think they are!) and old shoes. It can become so bad that the word hoarder comes to mind. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but I do have one huge amount of ‘stuff’ to rid myself of.

Where do I start and how do I achieve a state of blissful minimalism? Anyone who knows me will be throwing up their hands in shock. What, me getting rid of his beloved Crown Lynn amongst the other obvious junk I have collected? The latter includes the ‘As seen on TV’ rubbish, because there is not much I have purchased in that manner that is any good.

I started with the obvious and stuck it on Trade Me. Things like the bread maker went for a good price and it wasn’t so hard to rid myself of that as I won’t be eating enough bread once I am on my vastly reduced ‘intake.’ It was a bit harder to sell a really good quality Klinox pot as it had been a present for a birthday from my dear mother. I couldn’t see a use for it, so I managed to overcome the ‘nostalgia’ aspect and I believe that my Mum would have agreed with the concept of ‘decluttering.’

The next step was a little harder; going through the cupboards and giving items a ranking on my newly developed ‘if you don’t use it, then out it goes scale.’ Many items fell in the ‘out she goes rank.’ Sometimes an item would go to the ‘photographic department’ ready for imminent posting on Trade me, only to be returned to the dark spaces from whence they came; then back again. Once the ‘reserve’ had been met on Trade Me, it was ‘get over it time.’ Oh the pain!

I have a long way to go, just for the ‘stuff in the house’ division of my cluttered existence. Then it was onto the outside; you know--- the stuff in the shed. Opening the door had become a problem and OSH (out health and safety PC thingy) would not have been pleased to see me covered with all sorts of bric-a-brac as it tumbled out to meet me. I am sure if these things could speak, they would sing, ‘Please release me to a better home.’ (Sorry Engleburt or was it Tom Jones? --- probably for the spelling too).

I was amazed at the plethora of items from my past and ridiculous ability to collect useless things; useless to me of course but no to other more adventurous souls. Some of it, including shoes that had not been worn; God knows why not, but for those examples of my obsession, I thought the only way forward to ‘uncluttered Nirvana’ was to give them to hospices and the SPCA shop. Others however most definitely had a value to a mystery future owner.

Out came a ‘smoker. I had used it twice and I succeeded in setting fire to the BBQ table on which I had conducted the said operation. One does learn the hard way and I subsequently discovered that I could achieve a safer and most excellent result re smoking fish etc., by using my BBQ. Perhaps I can still sell the damaged table too.

Delving deeper into my shed, I discovered that there was a virtual treasure trove of Aladdin’s delights. I pulled out some fine examples of my past flutters with garage sales and yes, Trade Me items that I had never used. Out they came and I quickly bypassed the emotional phase I had for other more nostalgic possessions.

Where to from here? I wish to attain my spiritual breaking of the bonds by halfway through this year. I have one heck of a way to go, but at least I have started; just so long as I don’t buy more ‘stuff’ in the meantime. Maybe e there is the possibility that I am beyond redemption!

 

 

 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

That great 'underarm bowl.' Guess what---it's still happening.


Any Kiwi who is over a certain age or a lover of cricket will know what I mean by that famous ‘underarm’ bowl.’ Well in a sense we are still being served that bowl, on a daily basis. Am I stirring up that which needs to be forgotten? Hell no. New Zealanders are being treated like second-class citizens by a system that is most one-sided. I better get to the point of my angry words.

I am talking about those New Zealanders, who for whatever reason have decided to try their luck in Australia. They need to take much closer look at what can happen if they have not made plans to support themselves and their families. For a start they will not have access to the generous provisions made for Australians, re education, health and other ‘support benefits.’

A new underclass is being created; one that is becoming desperate and possibly turning to crime in order to live, when things go wrong. For those who see the ‘lucky country,’ across the ditch (Tasman Ocean) as a way out of ‘difficulties’ in New Zealand, it is time they looked long and hard at any move to find a new life. They may be heading to a life far worse than the one they left behind.

What gets me is the fact that this doesn’t happen to Aussies coming to New Zealand.  They quickly gain access to the full range of what New Zealanders enjoy in the way of support. It is a very one-sided situation. Aussies get far more from the ‘system’ when they come to New Zealand. I suppose they say that the figures speak for themselves and that the flow is one way anyway; that is, far more New Zealanders go to Australia than Aussies to NZ. It was not always so.

There have been several times in history when the reverse was true. That will happen again. One only has to look at the long term future for Australia re bush fires and extreme flooding; all the result of global warming, to understand that the time is coming whereby New Zealand will be seen as the ‘kinder option.’ Latest trends re predictions around climate change suggest that this time is not so far in the future.

Perhaps my statements will be seen as extreme and that any suggestion that New Zealand will become some sort of ‘life boat’ for Australia are just fanciful predictions. Time will tell.’

OK, in the interest of balance re my protestations, I should say that for many New Zealanders, the above scenarios are just a bad dream; for ‘someone else.’ It is true that for a sizable number of the New Zealanders, the ‘dream comes true. They have jobs already organized and enjoy the higher wages and faster lifestyle. Their kids quickly adapt and see themselves as Australians. It is only when they need to access some of the ‘Aussie support systems,’ that the dream sours. Think carefully, Kiwis, before you jump the ditch! The grass can turn an ugly colour, so if you are thinkking of taking your family to Austrlia, read the articles in the herlad, today, through to Wednesday. We don't need out kids living inan environment where in places, youth unemployment and school drop-out rates excede those in NZ.

Go to flixbox.co.nz


Have you seen those DVD dispensers in the entry to some of the big supermarkets? Perhaps you just did what I have done for the past few months; walked past them and not really realised what they were. Well, today we stopped and took a good look and then went home to look them up online www.flixbox.co.nz   After checking out what movies were available, we returned to the scene and checked out a latest releases; ‘Prometheus’  amongst them. The ‘dispensers are easy to use and a bit cheaper than some of the video outlets. I have decided to get rid of Sky TV films (except for Rialto). I figure as long as I share the cost with my partner I shall save a bit of money so long as we limit the films we takeout to about one a fortnight and share the cost. I was watching far too much crap on Sky anyway and most of the films come on TV 1, 2 and three eventually. I will record them and just flick through the ads---yeah, nice move Flixbox.   Mmmm--- I think will get rid of Sports on Sky too. Hell cricket is a bit of a downer at the moment eh. I can always get the rugby on later if I want.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why do we need guns in the city?


A young person died as a result of a combination of drinking and guns yesterday in Manurewa. This is not the first time that this deadly combination has brought about the needless death. It poses several questions.

Why do we sell these high-powered airguns in NZ?  What purpose do they serve, especially in a city? Why not are the same rules applied as we have re storage and use for other guns in New Zealand? We do not want a situation that is anywhere near as crazy as the one existing in the USA.

Guns if we must have them, should be registered and stored in a manner that makes such ‘accidents’ less likely. I can see no valid reason at all for them to be kept in the home, in a city or town. They cannot be used in the back yard; even so-called airguns. These guns are not like the ones we had many years back. Those, that I remember didn’t even hurt when we got shot, if we managed to hit one another. I well remember a few good ‘boots up the arse’ (yes I know---spelt differently and possibly a different meaning to that in the USA!) when caught, back on the farm, but in the city---hell, think about it.

Unless in a rural or hunting situation, guns have no use---OK I will admit that gun clubs are OK, but under very strict controls. In NZ, I can never accept that guns have a place in the homes of our cities. Only the criminals have them generally and thank God, that has not permeated to the extent that it has, to the point of a ‘right’ in the USA.

We are going to have ‘hunting’ accidents from time to time in New Zealand, but generally that sector of our population is responsible in how they use and store their guns. The death just reported in Manurewa was both avoidable and tragic. One does wonder what supervision was practised around those two guns. (There was also a handgun present.) The facts will come out about this death and it should serve as a timely reminder that we have a long way to go around the ownership, use and storage of guns. If alcohol is present of course, all bets are off.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thanks---you have helped me to 58,000 hits!


Thank you to all of my many readers. I know my blogging is only small-time compared to those who number their readers in the millions. (Mine is only about 58,000 as of January 12, 20134)  I think that what I enjoy most is the fact that so many people from numerous nations are reading the blogs.

I know that much of what I say is a bit controversial and sometimes written when I am pissed off about an issue (for example---the on-going, ‘forever’ debate about ‘gun laws in the USA). I know that my words can offend, but if it stimulates debate, then all is well. I have to admit that I deliberately go out on a ledge in order to stimulate that debate a bit like a ‘devil’s advocate.’ It is interesting to note that people don’t make comments on my blog, but they do where I have ‘pasted’ the debate to Facebook.

Help me to get my blog out there even more, by sending the link to your contacts. Yes, if that helps me sell some of my books, I owe you a big thank you. However, that is not what has happened. I have made virtually no sales that way. It’s a hard yacker, trying to sell self-published books! I think I have to get my books on Amazon etc. If you can pass on my website that would be great too. www.authnorneilcoleman.com.

Don’t forget (especially if you are in NZ and Australia, local libraries may have my books, so ask them and they may buy them. Just a reminder—all you need is the title and my name.

1)    Coastal Yarns  by Neil Coleman

2)    Roskill  by Neil Coleman

3)    Talk To Me  by Neil Coleman

 

Pass them on and ask for them at your library----Better still, buy them from me.

 

Student loans in New Zealand. Could someone please explain!


The figures used in for Student Loans in the Herald today seem almost beyond belief. That someone can owe One million Dollars by 2040, all for quite a small initial ‘loan’ seems quite ridiculous. If the figures quoted are true, one only needs to extrapolate that and we would have a generation (or more) of citizens who see no reason to ‘try’ to pay back the ballooning loan.

The ‘loan’ as reported is reason enough to take a long hard look at the system of student loans in New Zealand. There has to be a better and fairer way. We do not want a generation of angry, hopeless students going on to spend their whole lives paying back the loans.

I have heard other examples of course, whereby students have found high- paying holiday jobs and managed to avoid the whole process of the student loan debacle. I would say that’s almost the same as saying that---‘Hey, I’m a multi-millionaire, so if I can do it, anyone can.’ Those jobs quoted do exist but not in the numbers needed to allow students to have no or very small loans.

We often see young people pointing the finger at those of us who came through a kinder regime saying, ---- ‘You guys had it easy. You virtually received your tertiary education free, so don’t tell us we are selfish.’ There is quite a ring of truth about that statement. The only difference was that back then, it was actually harder to gain entry to a university education.

The term ‘tertiary’ has expanded and now covers a far wider spread of entry requirements as the ‘Industry’ has ramped up to put ‘bums on seats,’ for funding purposes. Successive government have encouraged this, may I say somewhat cynically, for reasons of disguising youth unemployment as much as a real need for a better skilled and changing workforce.

We must review the whole system and employ the age old method of ‘bonding’ young (and older) learners so that the State pays the majority of their education and then receives a varying amount of time spent in NZ as a return. (A combination of both systems may even work.) That time would depend on the amount spent for the education. It would also break the current trend for the ‘richer’ to achieve those higher paying and traditionally difficult to attain qualifications, like being a doctor or lawyer. Teaching was a good example of ‘bonding.’ Bring it back.

Apprentices in the old sense of the word were more often than not ‘trained on the job,’ with a component of the training undertaken in short ‘block courses.’ Nurse training was also undertaken in a similar way, but I would be the first to admit that the complexity of modern nursing now demands a higher level of training; one that is primarily achieved through our well set up tertiary institutions.

Businesses seem to have shied away from the old fashioned ‘learn as you work’ approach. They say they are too busy to do that now. The plumbers, builders and other trades, all seem to be trained in technical institutes now. There have been attempts to play around the edges re training ‘tradespeople,’ but would it not be a good idea to return to that which we know worked well? It would take a mind shift on the part of prospective trainers/businesses though.

In the end it is all about money and the willingness of employers to take on young people and nurture them. If we wish to have a skilled and happy workforce, we all need to think about where we are going and not leave it all to the politicians to fiddle while ‘Rome burns.’ It is step-up time.’

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Joe Biden takes on the NRA.


Joe Biden has come up with some sensible moves that ‘may’ make US gun laws a little more sensible. He was tasked with coming up with legislation to curb the rampant ownership of guns, particularly the semi-Automatic and military style ones. That would include I assume, the multiple cartridges that go along with these guns.

I don’t think many redneck ‘mid-west ‘ type whackos would read my blog because that is probably beyond them, but for those more liberal citizens, who won guns and act sensibly, nay diatribe had never been intended for you, so put your hat on tightly and listen to what is essentially a ‘world view’ on gun ownership and the USA.

Ooops, that would have gotten right up the craw of many of my American readers (and let’s face it, you make up by far the majority of my readership) and I expect that I shall receive some ‘rocks’ on my Facebook pages as a result. Before you do post replies, try to see how the rest of the world views the USA and ‘care for a change.’ It is so easy to say---‘stuff the rest of the world!’  and ‘This is the good old USA and we don’t give a rotting blind rat’s ass about what you think!’

OK, I have had your hissy fit for you, so you can go back to your huntin’ and fishin’ and target practising with your automatics (maybe you are just rotten shots and need to send a barrage of bullets at your targets in the hope you will hit something---Damn Daniel Boon wold be croaking in his grave) and let Joe get on with working out some sensible legalisation.
Apart from the portion of the world where there are mostly failed or semi-failed governments, the rest of us actually already have good rules around gun ownership. Yes, the criminals get hold of guns and do their thing from time to time, but not in the proportion that happens in the USA. Your new laws need to have better ‘background checks and ban the ownership and use of ‘working’ military- style guns. There is also the ‘storage’ of these weapons. Many countries insist on ‘safes and separate storage of ‘parts’ of the guns. We also have lengthy interviews with people wishing to own guns. I know--- that is all too much for many gun toting Americans. If the majority of Americans who are now against unfettered gun ownership take offence at my words, I genuinely apologize to you, but not to the other ‘frothing at the mouth’ deadbeats who we are seeing ion TV lately. Come on America---wake up to reality. You are not so different to the rest of us! Take a lead you ‘silent majority types’ and BECOME LOUD!

This is a good story--share it. People do care!


This is a good story; one that you should pass on. It represents something that negates all the sad ones we read all the time. Of course it involves Perdy in an indirect way but more importantly, it brought a group of strangers together, all because a dog got lost down at the Onehunga Bay.

I decided to take Perdy for a midmorning walk, before it got too hot and because I knew the tide was in. As it turned out, Perdy didn’t quite get the swim she wanted. As we were walking on the far side of the bay, we met up with Ise and Choko. Perdy loves Choko’s energy and despite the fact that Choko is fast becoming a larger dog, Perdy seems to be the ‘leader.’ That od course means mischief in a big way. As we were walking along, the two dogs play fighting and general having a good old doggie time, we heard that there was a stray dog and that someone had been trying to catch it over an hour.

We then observed a lady on the other side of the lagoon, trying to get out attention. We could just make out that she wanted us to catch and hold the dog. This was going to be quite a task but Perdy and Choko came to the rescue by involving the dog (it looked like a part Pitbull and something else) in their play. This worked and for a while we were able to hold the dog but he got away. We then told out dogs to come with us and the other one followed and eventually we met up with the lady, Julie and slipped temporary lead around the ‘escapee.’

Other people showed some concern but others were probably put off by the ‘rep’ that these dogs have. I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew this dog. I think he may be one that I have met several times. He had obviously escaped from nearby. The trouble with positively identifying him was that he didn’t have a lead. Julie looked a bit tired, but there was no way she was going to stop her endeavours until the dog was either with his owner or Animal Control.

We managed to lead (Lets call him ‘Brownie’) Brownie back to the car park where we decided that we should call the council and be put in touch with animal control. Once again I had trouble even reading the facia on my phone. These damn modern LCD screens are so hard to see in bright sunlight. Yeah I know, someone is going to tell me there is a ‘setting’ for this. ‘Smartphones’ need ‘smart operators!

A really helpful guy came to our rescue and he rang the council who put him through to Animal Control. In the meantime I had to put Perdy in my car, with all the windows down of course, because she was getting a little jealous about me holding on to Brownie who still wanted to play. Julie made sure all the dogs had water too.

Animal control finally arrived and Julie once again came to the fore by ensuring that the very nice lady from AC knew about Brownie’s lovely temperament. She also offered to help place Brownie, if the owner didn’t come forward. We all expressed a wish that Brownie had been ‘chipped.’ Brownie is a lovely dog; friendly, well socialized and calm He just wanted to play, hence his ‘great escape.’

I want to say that good it felt working with Julie, Ise and the cool guy from Advance Couriers. (If Julie reads this---please put his name in the comments section) Everyone helped and made the experience an enjoyable one; that is once we had secured Brownie. Our hope is that Brownie can be reunited with his owner or find a good home. I also enjoyed meeting people who care. I will no doubt meet them again. What a cool adventure. I am feeling like one of the characters from ‘The Secret Seven.’ How many readers will relate to that? What other adventures will Perdy and I have for the rest of the holidays? Final point----PEOPLE DO REALLY CARE.

 
'Brownie'--Dont worry mate--you will find your owner or go to a good home!

Novapay--'beyond a joke' is a terrible cliche!


It is about time that the Government considered cancelling the contract they have with Novapay. I obviously do not know the contents of the existing contract signed by the Ministry and OK’d by Labour (is that correct?). The constant reports of stuffups, underpayment, non-payment and over payment beggars the mind. I suspect that a great deal of energy is put into retrieving those overpayments but not enough into fixing the problems that cause these events.

Our hard-working principals and key support staff have had their much needed holidays interrupted as they have had to return to school to sort out the mistakes for their staff. The staff affected are in a position of dreading their pay days; wondering what has been done to their accounts by the Novapay system.

Is it not time to look at alternatives to Novapay? I am assuming that the move was made as a money saving measure. How much research was done in regard to how effective this organization is? I have heard anecdotal reports that the same company has a bad name in Australia; unconfirmed of course. Do the media have to do the work for the Ministry; because we are hearing little from the Government and Ministry? What gets me is that Minister Parata has had little to say on the matter, especially since Parliament went on holiday.

The bottom line is that Novapay is causing a great deal of angst for many teachers, support staff and principals. The whole debacle has reached the point where the Government must consider returning to the system that Novapay replaced. I know that it is possibly very naive of me to suggest such a solution given the reality of ‘contracts and law,’ but surely signing a document has ‘safeguards’ that recognise a course of actions for when things go terribly wrong. How much time and how many more people need to be forced through the ‘mill of Novapay’s incompetence before some action is taken?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Perdy met her match today, down at the 'Bay.'


Perdy being a normal manic Jack Russell loves to run and then some. She will run about, chase her mates and never give up. Even on a hot day (like today) she will bound around and only take a few seconds break. Then she is at it again, demanding I throw the ball for her to retrieve, in between warding off the ‘advances’ of her much bigger friends. Sometimes I have to physically hold her so that she drinks and has a little rest. I often wonder if she would ever slow down. Well today she met her match!

It was in the form of a machine; one of those battery operated low slung mean machines, about 18 inches long and powerful enough to travel at 70kph according to the friendly operator, Nick. When we arrived at the park, Nick was entertaining his kids by letting loose his machine. Of course Perdy was intrigued and she set about chasing it as if it was a rabbit.  I never knew she had it in her. She was off in a world of her own, totally ignoring me. For the next ten minutes and joined by her friend Patch, (who seemed content to chase Perdy, not the machine) she became obsessed by the rampant little machine. Even when it jumped and fell over she still could not get near it.

Who was going to win this? I thought. Who would either run out of battery power or doggie power? I hate to admit this about my lively little Jack Russell, but she finally gave up and returned to me and she was completely bushed. I have never seen her so stuffed. She just watched it as it continued to attract the attention of other dogs. Wow, I didn’t need to walk around the bay in the hot sun. Ten minutes of mad chasing, floored Perdy. I very much hope Nick brings his mean machine down to the Bay again. Still--- I must not use that for an excuse for non-walking on my part. Nice one Nick.

 Oh---I tried to take a vid flow with the help of Nick’s partner, but when I arrived at home to place the vid-flow on the blog, there was no sign of the snip. It is so hard to see the screen on bright days. Someone needs to invent a much better screen. God knows what I had done, when I was fiddling with the phone---probably rang Mr Key or someone equally forgettable.