Friday, January 31, 2014

'Ladies, do we really care what jackets you are wearing in Parliament?! Well---NO!!!!!!

Women have come a long way in politics in NZ. We have had two female Prime Ministers (one elected, the other the result of a 'political blood-letting) and NZ was the first country in the world to see women voting. There have been many fine Cabinet Ministers from broth major parties (I can hear howls of disbelief from the more biased of you) and the balance re female MPs in Parliament is amongst the highest in the world.
Some of the said fine female politicians played into the hands of those who have a different view of women in politics, when they entered into the 'mother of all bitch-slapping behaviours we have seen for quite a while. A Green Member of Parliament decided to wear a colourful jacket into the chamber and all hell broke loose; all visible to the few who bother to watch the proceedings on TV. Of course, it made the 'news' that night.
Two Government women politicians decided to take the Green MP to task and it was nothing short of pathetic, ugly, and unfortunately funny to some, but damaging to both Parliament and the progress of women in Parliament. Out came all the clichés, but mostly unspoken from those within Parliament. I doubt any 'man' would dare to comment; choosing instead to watch from the sidelines.
Come on ladies---get on with the business you were put into Parliament for--working for a better NZ. You have done yourselves nothing shirt of indulging in petty meaningless actions. Find something else to play out your passionate beliefs, or would you prefer Parliament to have a new Minister for Jackets!? BUT---I did laugh at the comments. It sounded like something that drag queens would be involved in prior to going on stage. At least they have 'tastes'! They don't usually wear jackets though. Of course the whole affair did take the pressure off the men who have behaved badly for many years!

King tide at Huia today.

Don't let the picture deceive you. The table we are sitting at is merely inches away from the tide. If there had been a wind of any sort, I suspect that the high tide would have swamped the little picnic area. The day was so beautiful and after a nice walk at the nearby Kakamatua Inlet, what better place is there, just across the road from the Huia Shop and café, for a rest?  The 'west' is growing ever closer to my heart. can't you see why?
Perdy, Kay and me!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bariatric Surgery support group may be walking 'Round The Bays.' Join us.

I was talking to the latest addition to our support group today and he brought up the idea of us walking the 'Round The Bays,' in about 5 weeks. Given that he only had the operation last week, he is indeed brave. As long as he gets the 'all clear' from the doctors, then I have no choice: I will join him! I therefor throw out the challenge to our friends and supporters to join us, if not in actuality, then at the end for a smelly sweaty' picnic. OK we can change and maybe jump into the sea first. I am not talking about some mad running tortuous crazy activity; more something like a gentle 'sojourn around the beautiful Auckland  bays, avoiding of course all the spit and God knows what else that 'those who wenteth before,' left behind. Sound good? Let me know.    PS  I can 'feel some special printed T-shirts coming on.

It's so good to see my fellow bariatric Surgery mates doing so well!

I had my operation about 10 months ago and it seems that I have stabilized around 76.5 kilos. That is more than what I thought I would achieve and so far, it is not hard to maintain that weight. The walking and having a crazy Jack Russell can only be good in that respect. I have also had the support of family and friends; that cannot be overestimated as it is hard to do this on one's own.
Now I am happy to report that two friends who have undergone the same operation are also doing really well. Mel, who has ben on her journey for about 4 or five months now and Doug who had his operation just over a week ago; both are showing real determination to have a better future. It is so good to see their new 'zest for life, as they come to terms with the direction they need to take. They have both grabbed this opportunity with both hands and even if they have the odd  'down time,' they always see the light and the end of the tunnel. In my view they are already out the other end and rushing to the next 'station;' a space that is full of hope and new promise. Well done both of you. We will celebrate our collective success with family, friends and supporters very soon. Hugs all around! (you may even be able to access the suite again soon.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Huia Cafe and Shop---worth the trip.

Today was the last day of my holiday. From tomorrow on, it will be back to the hurly-burly of a large secondary school, working with the students, teachers, families and the wider community to help our students achieve the very best from their school years.
 I decided to head out west and take Perdy to the Kakamatua Inlet for a blast because it may be a while before we are able to enjoy that fabulous place again. I have already described and shown just how wonderful Kakamatua is, (in previous blogs) for doggies and for humans. I decided to end the trip by having lunch (with my sister) at the café we had seen at the tiny Huia village, which is just over 3 kilometres further to the west. I am so glad we did.
We were able to select some gluten free options and for me, a smaller version of a couscous salad. We enjoyed our meals and had the feeling that rushing belonged to another world, somewhere back in the city we had escaped from for the day. The coffee was also excellent.
So, if you are looking for a beautiful little hideaway for a few hours, head west like we did. You will not regret it. I love the 'west' and wouldn't mind being called a 'Westie.'  (being relaunched in a few weeks)

Sochi--- a very real problem for Russia.

I genuinely wish that the Sochi Games go forward without any problems for the Russians. The last thing we wish to see is the senseless loss of life due to actions taken by extremist Islamic groups. Yes, there are issue re Gay inclusion and how that pans out in the rest of Russia but bombings do not solve that. May peace reign in Sochi!

NZ flag debate==it suits Key to have that around the election time, because it takes the pressure off him.

I am not saying that the debate about whether NZ should look to finding a new flag is an important one, but I am saying that Keys is cynically using the issue ton fog other issues that we should look at first---the real direction in which NZ is going. Should it be under his leadership or Cunliffe's. That is the real issue. The flag can wait and taken on it's own through  well thought out and inclusive discussion, followed by a referendum. Some of course would say it is even more important than the election, but lets separate the two. So, Mr Key, leave off until after the election and concentrate on the future direction of NZ; one that includes all NZers, and not just those who gain from your vision---your mates! Perhaps it is good that the issue of the flag came up now, because that gives 'thinking' NZers more time to reconvene the discussion about 'where we are going from here as a country.' Yes, the flag can wait, even though it is an emotional issue. (site being reworked and up again a in a few weeks from today---29/1/14)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I think I need to 'cull' a few blogs!

I know I have more than 1500 blogs so I thought I should go through them and cull many of them. That's what one does when a species is at a level of unsustainability!)That will make it easier for people to go back and look at some of the earlier ones. There seems to be a natural grouping of blogs re certain subjects. (for example the earlier 'weight loss' ones and the Bariatric surgery journey) I know that Martin Taylor, my 'digital advisor' and a man of many skills will be sorting them out too, so expect some big changes on my blog and my soon to be relaunched and made-over website. That should be up and running in a few weeks, all going well and having wrested it back from the 'hackers.'  (well it will be again, soon!)

'Our' Lorde had a hard time with the media srcum and made sure we all knew.

Lorde has made most New Zealanders feel pretty damn proud with her marvellous scooping of two Grammies a few days ago. We already know she is just that little bit different to many other 'stars,' quite a number of whom start behaving in quite bizarre ways once they hit the 'big time.' I don't need to list names here. What Lorde is now finding is that she has 'become the property of the nation,' and in a sense the media scrum she quite rightly criticized in some later to be deleted tweets, is just part and parcel of her new fame. Lorde is going to need to dig deep from here on because she can't have it both ways. The adulation attracts less than positive 'other factors' and how she handles them will be the measure of her deeper qualities.  However, it must be said, that no one can blame a person, be they famous or not, after having endured  the mad whirlwind of activity in the USA, followed by a long flight to NZ and then having to face the 'media, for maybe being a bit cranky. I think Lorde knew that she may have 'dipped-off' online, judging by the rapid withdrawal of her comments about the media, but no doubt she will take it in her stride as she learns to deal with the massive amount of attention that is now hers whether she likes it or not. We will see a stronger, more resilient Lorde, and yes---give her a break in the country she calls 'home.' Let's keep it that way and make NZ her safe haven. It's OK to serve a few hits at the media, Lorde. Well done---keep it real.
(Website is undergoing a redesign and will be back up in a few weeks, with a 'new look.')

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tempe with veggies and black bean(home made) sauce.

The ingredients (onion, red peppers, mushrooms and Tempe)
Fry the onions, add the mushrooms, then the pepper and finally the Tempe. Stick in two spoons (you decide which sort!) of the black bean sauce (see previous blog for recipe or cheat and add the one you buy in a jar!)  The finished product---enjoy!
Fry the onions first in oil and add mushrooms, peppers and finally the Tempe

Reasons why Australia needs to treat Kiwis better!

1)      Aussie needs us to buy their 'goods' once China goes belly-up.
2)      If anyone can reverse their stupid Government's decision not to support Holden, it is us,        because we love Holdens.
3)      Who would pretend to laugh at their 'sheep' jokes?
4)      Would any other nation  understand them when they speak?
5)      What other nation has their back when the 'chips are down and we become 'one?'
6)      Who will teach them how to win back the America's Cup?
7)      When they get sick of Tony Abbot, who else will let him visit, without any conditions?
8)      Who will drive their trucks trains busses and God knows what else?
9)      What other country will help them win so many medals at the Olympics, simply by giving them serious competition when they really need it?
10)    What other country will be their 'bolt-hole' when climate change finally makes most of Australia unliveable?

Yes, your Kiwi cousins have much love for you, but that has to be a two-way process. Now---people---add to my list and keep it going. Share the love!

I was bored so I made some 'black bean sauce.'

I regularly buy black bean sauce, in a jar and keep it in the fridge. It is a useful addition to many dished I cook, some dreamed up on the spot. It is often merely a matter of using what is in the cupboard.
OK, here's my take on a version of black bean sauce. You can of course substitute some of the ingredients and cook it from scratch by buying the black beans from  the 'bulk bins' and soaking them overnight, discarding the water and then cooking them in a slow cooker or on the stove-top on a gentle heat until they are soft, but not quite falling apart.

Take a can of black beans, chop up some garlic (I used 5 cloves--but hey, if you like garlic, bust ya butt!) and fry the garlic before adding the beans. After a few minutes, add a teaspoon of sugar, two tablespoons of any vinegar and the same of  soy sauce. From there, the sky's the limit. Add paprika; a half teaspoon,  star anise, cinnamon and if you like that extra punch---stick in as much chilli as you desire. It is all about taste, but remember, once you put it in you can't take it out! Do things slowly, checking the taste as you go. You don't need to make it too complex; if you wish just add the first 5 or 6 ingredients. Who am I to tell you what you like?
Cool the mixture off and store it in the fridge. With the vinegar in it, it should last a few weeks.
ENJOY---with fish, Tempe or lots of your other favourites---stir fried veggies are great with a slosh of the sauced added at the end of cooking!

My 'take' on black bean sauce.

Kakamatua inlet---a doggie heaven--and not too bad for humans too.

What a way to spend part of the final day of my holidays. Kakamatua Inlet is a great place at any time of the year, but today it was sublime, with lots of dogs for Perdy to chase, when she got tired of her ball. Travelling west to get to this lovely little 'westie secret,' is well worth the drive and reminded me where my heart is increasingly heading. I would love to wake up each just a little bit closer to this off the track hide-away.
I can fit in the grotto behind me now.
Looking out towards the Manukau Heads.

About time we had some 'tit-for-tat re Australia's treatment of Kiwis. Good on you David Cunliffe1


It was with a sense of justice that I read the following statement from David Cunliffe, something well overdue from one of our leaders.


Cunliffe: Kiwis in Oz should be treated the same as Aussies in NZ

As Leader of the Opposition, David Cunliffe's pay will rise from $262,700 to $268,500. Photo / APN
As Leader of the Opposition, David Cunliffe's pay will rise from $262,700 to $268,500. Photo / APN

Labour leader David Cunliffe has told an Australian audience that it was time that expatriate New Zealanders were treated the same as Australians who had moved to New Zealand.
In a speech this evening at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney, he said it was Government's job to lobby for New Zealand citizens who lived overseas.
"The fact is, for all sorts of historical reasons, New Zealanders living in Australia are not treated equivalently to Australians living in New Zealand."
A law change prevented New Zealanders who arrived in Australia after 2001 from accessing most government support and welfare programmes.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that his Government was unlikely to remove discrimination against expatriate Kiwis after Prime Minister John Key raised the issue during talks in Canberra last month.
Mr Cunliffe said that Australians living in New Zealand were able to access student allowances and loans after two years, but New Zealanders were denied similar payments when they moved across the Tasman.
He said that New Zealanders had to pay public disability insurance despite not being able to access the disability scheme. Australian expatriates, on the other hand, could access the ACC scheme.
The Labour leader was also concerned about the obstacles to citizenships for the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who had moved to Australia.
"Australian nationals who come to live in New Zealand and wish to become New Zealanders, who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to the community can eventually be full participants in New Zealand life.
"But many New Zealand nationals who come to live in Australia, and who wish to become Australians, who work hard, pay taxes and contribute to the community have no equivalent path."
Mr Cunliffe said there was a widespread misconception that Kiwi expats had limited skills and were more likely to become unemployed.
"The reality is very different," he said, emphasising that most New Zealanders who left for Australia were young and skilled.
"In many cases they bring with them the benefit of years of investment from the New Zealand education system, including at tertiary level."
Mr Cunliffe said he was committed to working with Australian counterparts to make sure that the ANZAC tradition of equality and respect was strengthened.

The dumb arse Mayor of Sochi say, 'we don't have any gays in Sochi.'

Even Putin is making a cynical attempt to paper over his position re gays in Russia by saying that 'all are welcome to the Sochi.' Even he knows that there are many gay people in his country but  it seems that the mayor of Sochi is totally out of touch or just plain dammed ignorant. That he claims there are no gays in his city is beyond belief, unless he has been conducting some sort of clandestine policy to reject gays from his city. The world is watching; at least the part of the world that wants an inclusiveness that values all people. Unfortunately, many parts of the world especially Africa do not enjoy such openness. Russia should be shamed for its draconian attitude; one that is led from the 'top.' God forbid what will happen after the 'games.' I guess it's back in  the closet for at least 10% of Russia population. Maybe other countries will benefit from them leaving Mother Russia and for its gay citizens travelling to places where their skills will be valued. As for that stupid mayor--I suppose he will join Putin's inner circle of cronies, sucking Russia dry and bringing back the worst of the old regime.

Once again the Manukau Harbour is going to be turned into Auckland's dumping ground for---yes--shit!

There is no way that I want to be polite when I read about a proposal to spend nearly a plan to spend nearly a billion dollars to dump crap into what has become a 'cleaner harbour in the last few decades. Why should this wonderful harbour take the waste that normally would have gone to the 'other' harbour---you know---the one that 'sparkles.' As Madonna sang---'I'm not your bitch, so don't hang your shit on me!'
Surely there is a greener option! Why the hell would we spend a huge amount of money on the Onehunga foreshore and then turn it into a new sewer! Crazy, flawed and crappy thinking on the part of our 'planners.' Let us all get behind the growing opposition to this proposal and contribute to the fighting fund. I am sure you will hear about the fight that has started.
Perhaps this is a time to look at just how big we should let Auckland become. How about some meaningful policies that will bring about more balance in the growth of population in NZ; to the regions for example. Come on Greens---come up with a plan and I am sure the people who love the Manukau Harbour will listen to you for the first time. Labour, you too need to look seriously at these plans. I will never vote for a party that comes even close to contributing to the demise of our huge western harbour. Think more deeply, planners. You have areal battle on your hands, you faceless pack of environmental terrorists!

Bid to scupper huge sewer tunnel

Manukau Harbour Protection Society incensed at having to take Waitemata wastewater.
Onehunga Bay Project.
Onehunga Bay Project.
Groups promoting Onehunga as a seaside town and the Manukau Harbour as a haven for recreation and wildlife are raising $140,000 for a court appeal against a $950 million sewer tunnel project.
"Come to our bake sale," said Bronwen Turner, of the Manukau Harbour Protection Society.
"It's a huge responsibility for a non-profit community organisation to take on but people are aghast when told about the project."
Last month, Auckland Council-owned Watercare Services was granted resource consents to start boring for the Central Interceptor Project in 2017.
Watercare said the council's hearings commissioners' approval showed its plan for the 13km storage tunnel from Western Springs to the Mangere treatment station was the best way to serve a growing population and reduce sewer overflows and construction nuisance.
However, Ms Turner said an appeal had been lodged with the Environment Court by her society, as well as the Onehunga Enhancement Society and the Mangere Bridge Residents & Ratepayers Association.
The groups could not stand back and let the Waitemata Harbour and its beaches be cleaned up by Watercare bringing more wastewater over to the Manukau Harbour instead.
"They don't have any similar initiatives within the project to clean up the Manukau.
"Where is the full discussion on alternatives to this combined sewer-stormwater tunnel? We were just told that this was it."
Ratepayers' Association spokesman Roger Baldwin said the project's costs would pass to those who had already paid in their rates for their areas to have separation of sewage and stormwater pipes.
"It's a crazy process when it is the applicant's boss [Auckland Council] granting resource consent."
About 700 submissions opposed the project.
The commissioners imposed additional conditions on Watercare's insistence on the tunnel having an emergency overflow device, which harbour society chairman Jim Jackson said had the potential to undo years of improving harbour water quality.
Watercare Services resource consents manager Belinda Petersen said it would not appeal against any of the conditions. She said the commissioners had agreed the Central Interceptor was the best option.

Lorde---you really are 100% NZ pure---2 Grammys!

New Zealand is so proud of the girl from the North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand. Please try to stay the wonderfully down-to-earth, fresh-thinking young woman whom we all love. No doubt Universal  will get the utmost from you before you break away and form your own label. Learn while you can and have the very best of legal support you can afford. Everyone is going to want their 'pound of flesh.' You have a strong, loving family and lots of fans who want to be there for you. Don't forget them.
I doubt we will see you 'twerking' or shaking your butt like a certain other 'young lady; nor will you be chucking eggs at your neighbours like the spoilt brat from Canada. Of course, Australia will try to claim you as their own, but somehow I suspect that your 'Kiwiness' runs far too deep within that 'soul' to ever let that stick. May you and your fantastic co-writer continue to work together and produce many more memorable songs. You are already a Kiwi icon!

Tunisia---you have a chance to be the 'shining light' in the Arab Spring!

We have seen chaos in all of the countries that have had 'revolutions' or struggles to rid themselves of despotic leaders, since the 'Arab Spring' began a few years ago. The streets of Cairo, Damascus and other Middle eastern cities have witnessed violent opposition to the new rulers as the 'people' realize that little has changed; one corrupt Government  simply replaced by another that represses or ignores the wishes of those who believed that a new 'order' was about to bring relief from decades of inequality and shattered dreams.
Tunisia today passed into law a constitution that at least on paper promises equality between the sexes and the seeds of a democratic future. What is good is that the passing of the law that gives birth to the new constitution was ushered in by 'consensus,' something much lacking for Tunisia's neighbours.
If Tunisia achieves a peace and an acceptance of the new constitution, without the need for guns on the streets or bombs outside mosques and markets, then they will have truly achieved something special; something that we take for granted in New Zealand and something that must be zealously guarded. Tunisia---be strong and hold on to the spirit that guides the will of 'all the people.'
The world holds its collective breath as it seeks a sign that corruption of spirit is not the norm. You have a difficult road ahead, but travel it you must. Variance from the path you have chosen does not bare thinking about--we have seen enough of the alternative, in many regions of the world. Go well!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beach Cafe in Browns Bay--a really friendly welcome for you and your dog---and great food.

With all the 'Poms' living in Browns Bay, it comes as no surprise that when one takes a walk on the beach, there are many dogs and their happy owners. It is obvious that the humans are very happy that their pets have taken them out and it goes without saying that the reward for such service and love is for the said dogs to take their owners for a well earned breakfast at one of the many cafes just off the boardwalk across from the beach.
When we approached the café area we were immediately welcomed by a friendly waitress who offered Perdy, our clever Jack Russell that somehow had managed to steer our car to the beach, a tasty 'treat. She seemed to have them in her pocket. We sat down at an outside table and it quickly became apparent that all of the people outside had at least one dog under the table, trying to hide from the stiff breeze that had spring up. We shivered for a while before deciding to take Perdy back to the car so wee could move to an side table. On a nice day, the café would suit us mighty fine; Perdy would have been happy watching then other dogs and the 'action' on the boardwalk.
We sipped out coffees (well made and good quality) as we waited for our food. As many of you know, I can't eat much since the bariatric surgery, so it was good to be able to order a smaller meal, although even if I had gone for one of the bigger options, I am sure that Perdy would have helped me out later, if I had wrapped up some for her. I didn't need to; we both ordered the 'one soft poached egg, with a gluten-free chicken sausage, toast (which I took home for, lunch) and a tasty rosemary flavoured potato 'rosti;'  not one of those cheaper fatty 'things' that you so often get. The amount was just right and the service was friendly and professional. We left happy, despite the inclement weather. We were reminded of how much we like Browns Bay and the journey across the 'bridge' is well worth it when you visit a café as good as the Beach Café. Well done Beach Café and thanks for making Perdy so welcome. She told us in the car later that she wants to go back---but on a nice day. I think she had her eye on this blond dog at the next table.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hey Aussie, mates---give Kiwis a break. Where is that famous ANZAC spirit? Is this the ultimate 'under-arm bowl?'

How do you look at yourselves in the mirror my Aussie friends? How do you manage to keep your breakfast down each day, knowing that your good friends, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis, who have stood beside you in war times, helped out during the bush fires and paid their taxes are denied some very basic rights of living in the 'lucky country.'
We are very close as neighbours, culturally and even more so on the sports fields. Yet---you have this absolutely cruel anomaly in that you do not let a large group of Kiwis become citizens, some of whom have lived and worked in Australia for 20 or more years, contributing in many areas of your economy. You also bar us from receiving many benefits that you bestow on other arrivals soon after they land on your shores.
Kiwis are far from being 'bludgers' despite the fact that you have highlighted a few who have done so. Kiwis have excellent reputations as hard-working and productive individuals. Kiwis fit in as no  other group, yet you treat us as second class 'non-citizens.' This has to stop!
New Zealand treats you with respect when you arrive here, even though we give you a 'bit of stick,' much like you do at our expense in Aussie. Is that not what friends and family just 'do?'  You receive all of the benefits of being a Kiwi when you join us, including voting rights and the support that you deny us re health, social services and other 'rights that we take  for granted.
The tide will turn if you do not change this situation. We already see a flow back to NZ as your economy seems to take a turn as China doesn't buy quite so much of the 'wealth that you 'dig from the ground.' Hell, you may have to do the jobs that so many Kiwis do or take 'others' who you don't seem to like, although you are more generous to them.
 If our leaders grow some 'balls' and actually challenge you on this important issue, then, will you still expect to receive the kindness and support that we give you? I sincerely hope that our historical 'special relationship' is not tainted by this very unfortunate time in our history. We belong together, not as unequals, but members of the same 'caring and sharing family.' Until then, many NZers are seriously thinking about the basis of our shared history. This should not be so! Look into our collective past and see it within yourselves to return to that mantra that we also share...... 'Everyone should have a fair go!' That's fair dinkum mates!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A gap of five or more years between contacts with old friends is no more than a day!

Is it not a 'truth' of this world that even if you do not speak or see an old friend for a few years, it just doesn't matter; you just take on from where you 'left off.' It's a wonderful feeling when you get a blast from the past; that unexpected call, that brings back warm fuzzies as you remember how you used to connect. That happened today and the person knows I am talking about her. Bet that's got some of you thinking---well don't==just do the same for someone you have 'drifted' away from. I'd like a few more days like today---priceless.
PS   The website will be back and running next week. with more protection from those naughty hackers! Check it out after Thursday.

You get so much more for your money in Hamiton.

I often wonder why so many of us struggle to keep ur heads above water, living in Auckland. What you see in the picture, along with a renovated townhouse can be brought for around NZ$320,000, If the employment is there,make the move to the 'City of the Future.' Think of the extra money in your pocket and.....would you really miss the 'rat race' that is Auckland?

You really need to employ your bull shit warning sign when you watch ANY channel re the news.

I have sometimes gone on about the 'freshness' of the approach of some of the 'newer boys on the block' re news availability in New Zealand. I have always assumed that the NZ services have been generally upfront and free of bias. Of course that is at best a rather naïve potion because someone pulls the strings in  various strengths no matter who is 'in control,' be it a career manager or Government leaning. However, I would say that we are on the fairly gentle side when it comes to governmental pressure, because as a small nation that values the freedom of information, we are able to exert a certain amount of pressure on would be 'media bullies.' I am not saying that the are squeaky clean though. In fact many in my country take a much more strident view of openness of the media.
When I watch overseas 'feeds' it is an entirely different matter. I have given up on ever getting a balanced view from Fox and I have come to the point that apart from some interesting documentaries and a 'fresh' view of events in the USA, RT (Russian TV) is no more than a mouthpiece for Putin. Yes, RT takes a very open position when it comes to events and policies  or a different view of USA politics and other issues, but it does not use the same 'wand' when it comes to what is happening in Russia. RT takes great delight in shoving it at the Americans but it is really obvious that they do not do so for most Russian issues, unless it suits Putin and his cronies (read--hangover from the old regime political and police systems.) No RT reporter would risk going out on a limb to criticise Putin's policies and actions without putting themselves at the risk of at least losing their jobs or in some cases, their lives.
I acknowledge the fact that Fox TV can and does criticise Obama at every opportunity, mainly because they represent the 'old guard' that is solidly opposed to any real change in the USA, be it gun law or medical insurance.
 CNN and the BBC are better if one wants a wider view of the world, but once again, I would never say that they are not influenced by pressure groups or political manoeuvring.  We also have Aljazeera, informing us from another point of view and I put them in the category somewhere between RT and the BBC. I like many of their programmes but I watch with my filters on when it comes to reporting  issues that are about Islamic issues. They dare not go too far in their reporting of some of the events in the Middle East. Lets face it, they have 5 of their employees in Egyptian  prisons facing God knows what, so they are at least prepared to make an attempt to get the news out there. One just wonders how far they are prepared to go, if it comes to reporting 'clashes between Israel and the nations determined to 'push that country into the sea.'
So I finish where I began: no news outlet is totally free of pressure from political masters, but some have a bit more leeway to report the 'truth.' The rest is up to us as 'news consumers.' Always question the validity of what you are watching and hearing. We will never all agree on what we are witnessing and its ramifications for the world and when political bosses are in the mix---well, you know the rest.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Justin Bieber--are you becoming a boring spoilt prat or are you just like most other young guys---with money?

My heading begs the question. It must be hard for Justin to stay out of the headlines. Let's face it---a large number of young people follow his every move. Just how much this thrusts a responsibility on him to act in ways that are at least 'civil' in nature may be up for discussion. Does his 'fame' give him the right to act in a manner that is damn right stupid, against the law or above the law if one looks at his reactions to being 'reined' in by angry neighbours. Of course there is always the possibility that he is being 'targeted' every time he lets his hair down. But---he can not except to fly free of the charges that have been put on him re driving dangerously etc.. No one  should be driving with an expired licence or in a manner that endangers others. Lots of people do it but they eventually get their come-upance. Justin should expect no less. Yes, he is only about 19 years old and he is doing what many of his cohort do---acting out and just being a young person, enjoying himself. But---his actions are looking like those of an arrogant young twit who thinks he is above the laws that most of us follow. Send me hate-mail, Justin's followers, if you feel aggrieved for your 'favourite son,' but get a hand on reality. Your 'favourite' is going beyond normal behaviours and cannot hide behind his 'stature.' If he does, then he has joined the list of other 'badly behaved' stars and we have  become very bored with them too! Learn before it gets too late, Justin. It is your 'talent' that should shine, not your bad behaviour!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is this a White Heron (Kotuku) visitng the Onehunga Bay?

Sorry about the terrible picture---it is from my cheap 'smart phone.' Up close, this heron looked very much like the rare ones from the South Island of NZ. Whatever it was, it was a gift to several of us walking our dogs. We have seen 'Spoon Bill' herons in the past, but this was different. We felt very special having seen it. Play around with the picture and see what you can find.

Welcome, if you are over 50, to a new apartment building in Auckland.

Before the building is even finished, we are hearing that the proponents of the said establishment may be risking the attention of the Human Rights Commission. Why, because the plan is to only have residents who are over 50 (younger partners and pets are welcome though). To those seeing a quiet, possibly more genteel place to live, why is this a problem? Many older residents do not want the sound of booming music or noisy parties and the hangers on that these parties attract. There is of course no guarantee that the older residents would not cause their own list of 'grievances,' but that could be handled b y an energetic managing body. So this proposal is against the rights of those younger who wish to live in such a building. Poppycock. Why should a group not be 'choosy' in whom they have as neighbours? Am I being a snob? Well, I can't afford the fees, so I wouldn't be moving in anytime soon. There are other examples of 'living rules' that already exists in Auckland so why should this be so off the planet? If it was based on race, I would be more concerned, but this proposal is a good idea and I hope that it goes ahead. Go for it 'prospective oldies. I'd join you if it wasn't for the $7000 body corporate fees. So, moaners---Shut TFU!---oops=====such language would not be welcome, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A special friend is starting the next phase of his bariatric surgery journey today.

I am on tenderhooks today as I wait for news of the progress of an operation a good friend is having. He is undergoing the same procedure  I had re weghtloss surgery, nearly ten months ago. I wish him the same or even better results than I experienced. I have no doubts, issues or regrets. I miss nothing about the way I was and look forward to seeing a 'great deal less' of my friend but actually enjoy more of his company; doing much more of what we used to do.... walking along pathways in the bush, talking through the problems of the world, laughing as we possibly enter areas of conversation that are 'for our ears only,' before we head home to a 'good feed' of home-grown' and other delectable offerings. Yes, the portion size will be much deminished but our outlook for the future will be one filled with promise. I am thinking of you my friend as you are about to wake up as a completely transformed man.

Now it's connectivity. I seem to have the 'God of all things technica' firmly alligned against me.

My damned modem just won't stay in the loop. It keeps cutting out, so and I decided to ring Telecom. Once I got hold of a nice guy (Sam) he talked me through my options and offered another free new one. The problem was about getting the courier to deliver it when I am actually at home. I have to say that Sam tried hard to find a way but their courier service is quite beyond his control. He offered me a deal where I went and picked up the modem from St Lukes Telecom and he would credit me for it. Great service, Sam. You were very patient with me. Now all I have to do is install it---I may wait for someone to come home cause even when I read instructions I usually find a hook. .Great service, Telecom.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Egypt---is there no 'middle way' for this country?

Egypt seems to have either had a despotic military Government or an extreme Islamic version (albeit for a very short time) during its recent history. Prior to that, it was a colonialist rule that dominated daily life. Apart from a very short 'Arab Spring,' when the majority of Egyptians dared to hope for a better future with a real stake in a democratic system, the people of this ancient land have suffered fools, megalomaniacs or narrow-minded religious zealots; hell-bent on maintaining the status quo or thrusting a way of life that disenfranchises vast numbers of people.
Egypt faces a dilemma; having to endure one of the above forms of governance. It goes without saying that the military will never let an Islamic form of Government threatens their stranglehold on the treasury benches, or a democratic government supported by the majority of the people, if that means they do not have control as they always have. It is a 'truth' that those who have power will do almost anything to retain it and those who answer to a 'higher being' will always justify their actions as coming 'from above,' thereby imposing their will on a population in the 'middle' who do not have the same impetus to fight for their beliefs. 'They' just want to get on with life, caring for their families, much like those of us lucky enough to live in  nations where the transfer of power is an accepted 'pillar' of our beliefs. Egypt will continue to suffer those would be and righteous-minded leaders, until the 'people' find it within themselves to hold on to even small gains. All power to the people of Egypt.

'How's your day been, sir,' he said , meaning every word of it1

I know it's just words, but it does make you kind of feel good, even though they say it to everyone. It is one hell of a lot better than getting a complete ignoring of your presence in a shop. Of course,. one must say that the day has been good---who the hell wants to now that you are sick of seeing chaos in the Central African Republic, Syria and the myriad of nation s around the world who, let's face it, don't enjoy the relative 'wonderfulness 'most Kiwis enjoy.
So, yes my day is good and I wish all shop attendants the best too as I contemplate going back to work for the year. It sure is a good feeling knowing that we can leave our places of work and not worry about actually making it home without being in the 'wrong place at the wrong time,' facing bombs or terrorists. When ever will intolerance in all of its guises leave us---religious, political or just plain greed, because that is what underlies most of the ills of this world. Spread the wealth a bit more and some of that will go the way of the bombs! 85 of the richest people in the world own as much as the poorest 3.5 billion. AND we wonder why the world's fecked!

Roskill----download kindle version from Amazon whlie my site is down.

Until I get my 'hacked' site back up and running, please download Roskill by going to Amazon and putting in Roskill by Neil Coleman.
Thanks for your support.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Al Jazeera reports Putin's causitic comments!

When a leader of one of the world's most powerful nations comments that 'homosexuals can be equated with paedophilia,' then one has to wonder at other aspects of his thinking. That he says that gays should have no fear when they visit Russia during the upcoming Olympics is just a temporary phase re the treatment he would like to 'serve' to gays. No doubt many gay athletes will send him a message when  they compete at the games; one that he will not hear and hopefully one that will not rebound on them. We expect much more from this proud nation; not something more akin, albeit  on a lesser scale, than what we are witnessing in Nigeria and other parts of the world where being gay can attract long sentences in prison.
Mr Putin; we all know you love power, but must it be at the cost of human dignity and the marginalization of a significant portion of the population!? Must Russia always suffer at the hands of  'power-hungry-at-all-costs' politicians, where every opponent is somehow made to 'disappear, be fired, or imprisoned? We can do little about the ignorant policies followed by despotic leaders in 'developing nations,' but one expects so much more from a leader of a country that stands so highly in  so many aspects of cultural achievements. Russians will unfortunately be bullied into accepting his stance!

I had withdrawal symptons---not having a computer for over a week!

Yes, it's true, I felt like a teenager being punished for over-use of the computer or not putting pout the rubbish, cleaning my room or some other 'parent-imagined' misdemeanour. I did try to put up a few blogs using my trusty cell phone, but that was so slow. Mind you, it didn't help that my website had been down because the 'bandwidth' has been exceeded. I have been told by my website host that the site was hacked by sources in Russia and China. Maybe I pissed off some Russian woman for not responding to her efforts to 'meet' online (like they hadn't worked out that I play for the other team!') or perhaps Mr Putin ordered the remnants of the KGB to deal to me for making anti-Putin statements. Hell, can't he give me the same dispensation that he has given Gays during the Olympics! We all know the tender loving gloves will be off once that is all over. God knows who did the deed from China! I suppose I should be thankful that it wasn't from Nigeria but they are way too busy at the moment with 'issues 'of their own in that wonderful country!
 I have been absent form Facebook too and that has taken a different toll on my psyche. I have missed reading about what you have all been up to. Yes, I did have limited access but the people I read so much about on FB have not come through. Oh well, I am back now and love me or hate me,----I have returned---big time. Now I shall get back into pushing the Kindle and my books.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

RT(Russian TV) provides an 'alternate' viewpoint....but

No doubt many of you have watched RT from time to time (unless you believe that Fox News represents the 'truth') and have possibly ennoyed seeing another way of digesting the 'news.' Watch RT for longer than a few hours and it would soon become apparent that RT is also in the pokets of the power brokers in Moscow, having the same biases but from a different perspective as the reprts we see on the 'other' newschannels (CNN, Fox, BBC et al) . Just ask often do you see serious criticism of Mr 'untouchable' Putin. Do we see indepth insights into all aspects of modern Russia, other than what suits the current Russian leadership. I like RT but it is no different to other mainstream media in that it employs journalistic ceativeness to describe events on the USA and then neglects or fears to use the same approach for 'internal' Russian issues. In that sense, Western media still has a narrow (but decreasing) edge on freedom of the press.Once the Winter Olympics are over we shall see more of the growing repression of opposition to Mr Putin. In the meantime of course the citizens of the USA will continue to be spied upon and that 'fact' reported avidly by RT as if no such similarities exist in Russia. Oh well... nothing is really new. Hell, if the government of my country (NZ) could do it here, other than the pathetic attempts already happening, they  would do the same. In the meatime I shall still partake in the viwing of mnay of the excellent programmes on RT and merely classify the others as a from of comedic political satire. Damn, it's slow doing blogs from my old phone! Maybe my computer breaks down because the NSA has hackedit. lol. Just I?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Will Obama be at Omaha, I was wondering?

Who knows after that 'iconic' picture of 'President' Key playing Golf with 'Prime Minister,' Obama in Hawaii the other day. For the life of me, I could not fathom how Key got that invitation. Maybe Obama was discussing whether NZ should become the next state of the USA; stranger things have happened, and John Key has probably spent a good deal of his time, living in the USA.
So, imagine the scene as I stroll along the pristine white sands of Omaha Beach, North of Auckland city, the home of the rich; yes Key has a beach house there, along with God knows where (Hawaii, of course). Can't you just see the 'silent' helicopter, hovering menacingly overhead as the two 'leaders' talk sweet nothings to one another. John will be looking around nervously, to make sure the press captures his moment of fame and inquiring about his Green Card. Obama will try not to act too bored; knowing that at a moments notice he can be whisked away from his boring companion. Hell, one can only talk about money and investments so much. Omaha will cement its position as NZ's premier beach for the rich and famous while the rest of us let out a collective ---yawn. Damn, I will have to behave today and watch my P's and Qs, just in case the beach has 'ears.' Now, what shall I wear? I wonder if I should take some pictures.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Beautiful succulents---great for those who hate watering plants.

One has to be very careful with 'containerized' gardens---they require a lot more attention than their 'in-ground' cousins. They are however, more 'accessible' and easy to get to. No climbing up banks or needing to hose them from a distance. However, you can lose all of your hard work in a matter of days; indeed on one very hot day. Containers can dry out. Thank God, I don't live in Aussie (and I bet they are saying that too!) where temperatures of 40c plus are possible. Hell, forget about bush fires, just worry about the scorched containers and dead plants.
There is a solution---switch to succulents; those hardly little critters of the plant world; all forgiving of neglect and lack of watering. In fact, if you water them too much, they won;t thank you. Another great plus is that you do not have to spend lots of money on them; just snip off bits from your friends or gather those hanging parts that droop over the footpath (OK, I did venture slightly beyond the bounds of the FP on my walks). Stick the treasure of your sojourns straight into their new homes; you know---the boxes you have brought from the garden-centre or ones you cleverly made. Water them in, just a tiny bit and leave them to do what they do best---they replicate and spread and before you know it, they start to fill the box, creating their own unique 'pictures.' As an aside, check out a 'succulent garden when there are garden festivals in your area. They are a sight to behold. I have along way to go re my succulent journey.
The start of my succulent garden. It was really hard getting one that looks like a dog!

I would love to know who is reading my blogs in China and how you access them!

It is wonderful to know that people are reading my blogs in China. I would also like to talk with you. You can follow the links from my website and make contact that way. I wish to visit China one day The changes that are happening so fast that things are just not like they used to be. I am happy that a 'green movement' is slowly gathering momentum there. It seems to coincide with the massive growth of the middle class. No doubt other changes are on the horizon too. China is now New Zealand's biggest 'trading partner,' so it is very important to NZ.  Let's face it, most of the textiles and various other items in my house, come from China. You could say---'I wear China,' or 'I cook with or process things with products' made in China everyday. 

It's 'diet time,' folks--now get sucked in and go watse your money! NO---------DON"T!!!!!!!!!!!

Every year, just after a 'Happy Xmas,' many people make New year resolutions to lose that extra weight they put on over the break. All those little indiscretions have settled about various parts of your body. I am an EXPERT is such matters; the putting on and the constant battle to take it off. I got sucked into countless 'diets, fad and many that doctors say are 'acceptable,' like Weight Watchers, Sure Slim, just to name two. I also tried a few 'fad ones, like 'Low Fat, High Fibre,' journeys.
Of course they were very successful---for a while. It is the maintenance of these diets,' or as I came to call them---'Life styles,' that is so difficult. Anyone who has read much about the claims made by so many of these 'proponents' (read those who stand to gain by pushing such 'facts' on us) will eventually find out about the body's natural 'fight-back' against the attempts we make to starve us of what we most need---sustenance. We are geared to eat when food is available and when we make cuts, after a while, our bodies fight to regain what we have denied it. Sorry, not very scientific , I know, but look hard enough at the literature--and look widely!---and you will see the same message coming through loud and clear, a message that has been around in various mediums for quite some time.
I expect that my words will ring true for some but uncover a sense of absolute anger from others, either directed at themselves or at me for making such claims, who have invested in time and money on so many attempts to get back that 'body of their youth'. For the huge majority of us; that is, those of us who do not have that 'compulsion,' that entails living every moment in the gym, monitoring what goes in and pushing aside the other aspects of our lives that may take time away from the main event---losing weight and keeping it off. Most of us do not have the time or the totally obsessive personalities that such a road entails.
Do we give up in our attempts to 'turn back the clock or do we re-define what it is that we are doing. Yes, self-image and confidence drive many of us to the extremes described above but the real driving force is one of living a healthier lifestyle, hence I do like the attitude and direction magazines like 'Healthy Food Guide' take; one that is 'doable' and can possibly be maintained. Even then, however, one has to remain vigilant and the line between success and failure is indeed a fine one.
For most of us, the journey is an ever downward spiral. Just look at your word mates after a long break. Many of them have piled on the pounds and so begins the battle of the bulge---yet again!
You will read about psychological explanations nit once again, be careful about taking those 'revelations' as being the whole story. The bottom line should always be your health and for some---it gets to the point whereby, if you don't take stock and arrive at the terrible conclusion that your weight gain had reached the point of  'fix it or say goodbye to tour pension days.' The world is getting fatter and counties like New Zealand have reached a position that 33% of its population are over-weight or obese. Just extrapolate that out re the implications for the health system.
For me, the message was clear! For many people, it is the same. I chose a dramatic solution; one that is not right for everyone who is overweight and not one that I advocate as being the 'cure-all.' or holy grail of weight loss-----but it worked for me. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about the rising line of health issues and expanding waistline that is you. If you have the accompany health issues: type two diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea, just to name the main players, then that 'talk'  should happen soon.
I lost about 36% of my body weight and went from a BMI of 43 to 26. Yes, I had to pay (about NZ$17,000) because I am too old for the  'freebie.' See it as an investment in your life if you and your doctor (not me, telling you you should!) and add an extra dozen or so years to our life. NO----it is not for everyone---but BARIATRIC SURGERY CAN BE A USEFUL TOOL FOR YOU TO GET BACK YOUR ZEST AND THE POSSIBILITY OF A WHOLE NEW JOURNEY.
Yip, I spent money, just like you have been doing on these 'diets for years. Add up the cost of these and you may be surprised.  Hell, if you are a smoker the savings in stoping that would pay for the operation after three years. (Figures based on an an average smoker in NZ---$7000 a year)  That of course is another whole story on  its own!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Solar oven 'induced' ice-cream. Yeah, your eyes haven't deceived you!

Just when you thought I had left off with my countless blogs re my solar oevn---well--here goes again; this time my wonderful process for a fruity and slightly naughty ice-cream. No, I didn't make it on the oven. That is scientifically impossible because no matter what I do, I can't make the temperature go to freezing pint--funny that, eh.
OK, I shall remove those thoughts you were having about how dopey I am! I didn't make the ice-cream in the solar oven but I did sort of cook up four packets of strawberries mixed with a little sugar, for about three hours. It is still possible to buy them really cheaply--but not for much longer so get on and replicate my experiment.
The mixture went all syrupy and gooey. The flavour was intense. To make the ice-cream, I brought a popular NZ brand,  (Tip Top) French Vanilla  to be exact.  I let it get a little soft then added a large pottle of unsweetened plain yoghurt. To this I mixed in the cooled strawberries, saving some for when the mixture became a little firmer when I put it back in the freezer. Now the 'evil part! You don't have to do this and I suspect that it affects the freezing qualities of the finished product. I accidentally slipped in a large measure of Kahlua and brandy! The possibilities for varying this recipe are endless, so use your imagination. Hell, you could even add ginger-nuts or your other favourite biscuits (cookies, for my USA readers) of lollies etc. You need to take it out of the freezer every 20 minutes or so and remix it so that it freezes evenly. I think that you need to let it soften a bit before you serve it, if your plan is to use it the next day. Personally, I like it a little soft. Try it and lap up the praise you will receive. You can make ordinary ice-cream that lifts it above the ordinary and as long as you don't ea the whole damn container, it is healthier than the full-cream ice-cream, with the addition  of the yoghurt and berries. ENJOY! 

Brave New World?---Don't think so.

I wonder if the authors of that famous phrase, 'Brave New World,' envisioned the world we see today; a world in which nearly every continent is at war with itself, sometimes having their strings pulled by the major 'players,' who have always been behind the scenes. The names have changed in some cases and the extent  of influence  according to 'pull-power' are with us today, thriving in a world of one-upsmanship and political intrigue. Sometimes the games play out in religious terms, but look deeper and there will be nothing more than naked greed for the control power and resources. 'Good books' are used to justify certain stances, children and women paying the price for the machinations or misuse of the said books.
Whether it be the Middle-Age Crusades or the expansion of empire, it all comes down to the same base causal factors.
Take a look at the myriad of 'failed-states' or about to be, and you will get the picture. Look at the swath of countries in Central Africa and the terrible power-plays in the Middle East and the vista of sadness becomes clearer. Take the fringes of Europe and last bastions of drug lords in South America and you uncover yet more instances of disenfranchised populaces and large proportions of the citizens missing out on a life that we in New Zealand take for granted, despite out protests about those who would rule us. At least we have it within our  means to make changes, if we bother to take up the cause.
It is the apathy in our own country and similar democracies and the lack of an expression to legally and effectively change regimes in  much of the world that leads me to to my dismal view of the world in 2014.
Maybe I am just watching too much news on the many channels on offer. Therein is another group of 'players,' usually backed by the same forces that feed the chaos thus described. Try not to get sucked in by the Fox News establishments of the media world. Read within the words of RT or CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and our own news and come to your own conclusions. Use social media but make sure you hold fast to the touch-stone of; 'don't believe everything you read and hear, see or observe.' No source of 'factual reporting' is without its particular biases, meaning he/she who pays the piper probably controls the slant of the news.
'Brave New World'---did you ever exists in anything other then in our imaginations? We don't give up of course. There will always be inspirational figures who take the edge off our despair.  I shall leave it to you to name them.

Damn---why can't lightening strike when you need it----Windows 8!

I have still not resolved the issues I am having with my 'new' computer; this after even clever people have had an input. I would like to thank the people who have kindly offered suggestions, on-line, all of which have been considered by my 'helpers.' I have had quite improbable thoughts re the reasons, sometimes blaming myself for my lack of computer 'savvyness.'
I have heard from a few of you who have also had issues with Windows 8 (don't even think about downloading Windows 8.1!) and it seems that there are quite a few people out there who are bashing their heads against the wall. I am trying not to overreact but I have reached a level of frustration that should not be apparent when one is supplied with a new computer, post Jack Russell attention of the older one.
OK, so it comes down to two questions: Is it the Windows 8 platform or is it something to do with the Samsung computer itself? I do not want to think that it is something to do with what the firm delivering the insurance work (installation and supply of the computer)
What is it that is happening you ask? The main issue is the one where the clock keeps losing time and it feels like I am in a 'time reversal warp.' No matter how many times we reset the time, (having followed all of your suggestions) it just keeps happening. I am not sure how this affects other aspects of the computer; maybe it's merely a foible I have to get used to!-----NO! On Monday I shall follow through and ring the insurance company and demand---yes, demand satisfaction, pistols drawn and 10 paces later one of us will hit the dust! After-all, there is something in NZ, called the Consumers Act. I am well over feeling like a dumb-arse later middle-aged technically challenged 'gentleman.'  Where's that feckin lightening! Someone please forward this to Samsung and Windows 8 designers. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Obama plays golf with Key in Hawaii. 'Asset-selling' Key has little in common with Obama.

I wonder what Key and Obama talk about during their gold playing sojourn in Hawaii. Let's face it, they probably have little in common ideologically. I am sure that Obama isn't an asset-selling' majordomo and  probably has differing views on public health or education. But---who knows. The Democrats are not necessarily aligned closely with the left of politics any more, despite what Fox TV and the Republicans would have us believe. At best (and I have to admit that it is a good one) it is a publicity seeking stunt on the part of Key and a 'pleasant little side-act' for Obama. That the two get together is in itself sends messages about where the relationship between NZ and the USA is going and that is not bad in my view. We need to keep our options open re relationships with all countries and despite some of my more base thoughts about Key, I do not try to portray the meeting as an attempt to garner political advantage alone---yeah right! Is that trade deal with the USA any closer, Mr Key? Did Obama put some subtle pressure on you re our closer ties with China et al? Perhaps he can put in a good word for you re a 'Green Card,' come later in the year!
Hey JK---do you want a Green Card? 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Why would you not like one of these little beauties!---and electric bike.

ON today's walk at the Bay in Onehunga I came upon the two people riding the bikes showing in the picture. I was wondering why Perdy was a little reticent about going to get her ball that I had 'thoughtlessly' (yeah right) thrown into the water, Usually she jumps in straight away and retrieves the ball. Given that it was a hot day---hell, I was doing her a favour. Not so---she was distracted by the two people on the bikes. Obviously the bikes were somehow different because she is not fazed by people riding bikes---she just  moves out of the way as she should. The bikes must have been giving off some sort of subliminal sound that only dogs can hear---I don't know for sure. Anyway the guys stopped and I couldn't help asking about the bikes. I shall be blogging much more about them as I was blown away by how good they are. I gave the guy my card and hopefully he will contact me so I can have a go--and yes---oops I think I shall get one. I thought they would be much dearer than he told me. About $1600 and they are from Australia. Once I have the specs ect. I shall put them up on a blog and take it from there. Watch out for more information. This is what we need using those bus lanes---get people out of cars and you can still peddle for exercise too. A bloody good compromise in my humble opinion.

Has Colorado let the cat out of the bag, re legalizing the sale of marijuana to anyone 21 and up?

The debate about marijuana has gone on for decades, around the world. There has been 'experiments' with legalization in several countries and some states in the USA. About the only aspect that is generally agreed on is that the heavy use of this drug on minors, namely teenagers, does have negative effects on the healthy development of young brains and bodies, more than probably contributing to early psychosis. There is little doubt that the education of young people is compromised and increased levels of 'other; at risk behaviours is a common outcome. Yes, the same can be said for alcohol use and many would say that the latter is still the major issue for young people.
The question becomes a lot more complicated when it comes to adult use of marijuana and the arguments for and against have not resulted in a major rapprochement between the two sides. I still sit squarely in the middle. Marijuana as with alcohol, affects people in different ways. We all know that people 'hold' their booze' differently and that for some it is not a problem, ( that is, not immediately apparent), especially for moderate and low use, but for others, even a small amount can be detrimental; affecting relationships, employment and general health, so, there is no one answer to the dangers of alcohol use.
We are seeing the same debate re the use of marijuana; some would say at a more extreme range. What is most definitely needed in the Colorado case is that the move towards liberalization must be carefully researched and if need be, a reversal may have to be considered.
We all know that denying those under 21 years of age access, does not mean that they will not be ale to get their hands on the product. The hope that gangs and other criminal groupings will be marginalized is pie-in-the-sky stuff.' They will always find ways of influencing and controlling parts of the world of drugs. It is merely a question of how they will achieve their goals.
I am sure that wee in New Zealand will be closely watching what happens in the state of Colorado, because there is a push here too to go down that road. We also know that there is significant damage done by marijuana to our young people and the last thing we want is to exacerbate this problem in our own society. If only the answers were more readily apparent! I have seen the damage to young people, through the work I do with young people as a counsellor. It would be abhorrent to me to see this become even a bigger issue, all in the name of the right of some to be able to access a questionable drug. The right to free choice must be balanced against the need for the greater good of society at large. A vexing question, indeed.

Kiwis may love this even though it's a bit UN-PC....check it out!

Click Me!
Loved this one so well done.
-------Original Message-------
Aussies will laugh because they love Sheep jokes, Kiwis will understand it and well---the rest of the world---you won't have a clue, but have a laugh anyway!

Date: 1/1/2014 9:55:56 PM
Subject: FW: : On a North Island Farm

Turn up the volume, kick back and enjoy. 

                             Only a KIWI could understand this one!!!!!!!!!
On a North Island farm
Check this out, all the fun of on the farm....

The Artichokes - WAIWHAKAMUKAU


An unenviable task for the police in Christchurch as dumb-arse youth riot!

New years eve went by relatively calmly for most of NZ. People had fun and yes, there were arrests for those who 'went too far,' but overall, it could be said that we have seen years when it was a great deal worse. The stand-out case' of the 'one that got away,' in Christchurch is the exception. A group of young flatters, either naively or stupidly let a party get out of control. By the time people had restored some sort of order, the flat had been damaged to the point that it was uninhabitable. The young people living in the flat try to blame the carnage on Facebook. Get real guys. How come someone young and probably FB-savy could be sucked into thinking that anything else would be the result of their invites to 'friends.' In the old days, such things happened too and that was just through word of mouth and the resulting 'gate crash' criminals arriving at the scene. I cannot believe that they were unaware of the ramifications of their party like it was the end of the world.
The police were hampered by a stupid law that did not allow them to enter the property because they did not have a permit until someone in the property complained. How stupid is that. The party could have been clamped down much earlier, preventing the craziness that followed, if only they had acted faster. Have we learnt nothing from previous experiences of parties that have been fed by the FB pages and other social media platforms? Lets look at the laws around preservation of a reasonable level of peace in our communities that so that we are all safer. I am not advocating some sort of puritanical regime re parties, but I am looking for a balance, whereby we are all the winners. Fun---with responsibility and of people can;t act themselves, then let the law do it for them! I hope these young fools have learnt. No doubt the 'daddy' of the flatmates, who owns the property will have his 'say!'

Any move to curb smoking should be supported, along with moves to fight obesity.

I support the latest move by the Counties Manukau Health to offer $300 worth of vouchers to pregnant mums as an incentive to stop smoking. The costs are more than made up for by the savings in medical expenses, both during the pregnancy and after. For those who say it is a waste of money, then perhaps the monetary benefits would be enough to sway their thinking.
The same could be said re efforts to change the ever-growing issue of obesity in our population. When figures of around 30% plus of our population falling into an 'over-weight, right through to morbidly obese categories,' it is worrying enough and has huge ramifications, both for the health of NZers and the costs on our health system. Combine effort re smoking cessation programmes with attaining healthier weights for NZers and we would make a significant dent in the overall costs to the tax payer. Smoking and 'over-eating' (and lack of knowledge about what constitutes, healthy eating) are fed by similar  stimuli, be it advertising, image or 'possible disorders' within the individual, related to inherent compulsions or additive type behaviours. A great deal more work needs to be done to address these two serious problems for our country.
 I do not condemn those who smoke or over eat. After all, I have been in that category for most of my adult life and it was only after a pretty dramatic intervention in the form of bariatric surgery that I finally felt I was winning and heading towards a healthier life-style. I wish there was a similar procedure for those choosing to stop smoking. We would all be the winners as Government funding could then be switched to other areas of concern for our beautiful country---like roads, public transport, regional development, just to name a few---or lower taxes for those who think purely in those terms.Good on you Counties Manukau Health!

Real 'home-cooked' French food now available in New World stores. Great!

I love French food. When a company launched a ready-made food product into New World stores around the country, I was delighted. Not that I would eat the serving in one sitting, but having something 'a bit different' to the usual fare, most definitely tempts my taste buds.'
The proof will of course be in the eating and I shall get back to you with this 'supposedly taste just like French food, cooked in the home,' offering.

Read the article, below, in the NZ Herald. 

French food firm tastes success

By Christopher Adams

5:30 AM Thursday Jan 2, 2014
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Small Business
Founder of French cuisine company says business-friendly New Zealand key to achievement.

Thomas Dietz' ready-to-eat French meals are now sold in supermarkets and groceries all over the country.
Thomas Dietz' ready-to-eat French meals are now sold in supermarkets and groceries all over the country.
Global surveys often rank New Zealand as one of the easiest places in the world to run a business, and Frenchman Thomas Dietz would be inclined to agree.

The 37-year-old founded Tomette - a ready-to-eat French meal company - in Auckland in 2012 and the firm already has its products stocked in supermarkets across the country.

Dietz reckons his chances of success would have been pretty low had he established the business back in his home city of Paris.

"It would have been very difficult," he said. "It would have required lots more money and a lot more time."

Dietz was amazed by the ease with which a company could be set up here.

"It's really super-easy, whereas in France you have so much administration and everything is very complex," he said. "Here in New Zealand you just pay $167 and you're registered. Everything is set up to help you."

Dietz said his start-up had received a lot of support, both from the Government-run Food Bowl food innovation centre in Manukau and Auckland business incubator The Icehouse, which owns a 6 per cent stake in the firm.

Tomette's fresh (unfrozen) meals - which include beef bourguignon, chicken basquaise and lamb provencale - are now stocked in more than 30 New World supermarkets and specialty grocery retailers from Kerikeri to Dunedin.

Dietz said the meals were based on his late grandmother's recipes.

"It's not complex French cuisine," he said. "What we want to do is make French cuisine accessible - you can eat French food that is like made at home."

Dietz said ready-to-eat meals were a growing segment because people were "time poor".

Tomette's aim was to not only provide good-quality food but to take people on a "tour de France of gastronomy" in the two and a half minutes it took to prepare a meal.

Dietz said sales of Tomette meals had grown rapidly over the past year.

"In the second month we were selling four times as much as we were planning for after eight or nine months."

Dietz previously spent 10 years working for cosmetics company L'Oreal - a job which brought him to this country six years ago to work in the giant French firm's New Zealand division.

He is married to Jennifer Zea, a Venezuelan singer who recently produced an album with well-known Kiwi jazz musician Nathan Haines. The couple have a 6-year-old daughter called Obaya.

Read more by Christopher Adams Save
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