Friday, February 28, 2014

Chicken with a 'crunch.'

No, I haven't gone out and picked a chicken off the road after it had tried to cross-over, in every sense of the words! I mean---I feel like chicken tonight and I think it should be at lest a bit healthy. I can roast it, maybe bathed in some herbs and oil. That's nice, but I want something different. I could smear it with a spicy Indian mixture or one from South East Asia. NO, I don't feel like that tonight. I know---over the last week, I have been playing around with grated potatoes and onion, mixed with oil and butter and miso mix. I bake that and the result is more than pleasing, but once gain, I don't specifically feel like going with that. So---what to do?
And into the oven--please don't burn.

I smothered the butterflied chicken (the guys from New World--yeah---leave that other crowed alone until they change their anti-NZ producer policies!)with American old-style mustard sauce mixed with a little hoisin. The placed the grated potato mixed with olive oil, slat, pepper and mixed dried herbs on top. My aim is to bake it slowly, hoping that 'crust doesn't burn before the chicken cooked through. I shall let you know how it goes.
It worked---crunchy and tasty

Putin is exibiting naked agression--pure and simple!

First it was Georgia, now it is the Crimea and Ukraine. We have seen it before when Germany invaded the Sudetenland, prior to WW2 and what we are witnessing now is the 21stCentury expansion of the Russian Empire. The USA has stated that their will be consequences but no doubt the UN, USA and the rest of the world will allow Putin to increase his influence and it goes without saying, his corrupt personal wealth. Let's face it, the Putin was never going to let Ukraine escape from his clutches. He will claim that Ukraine has been historically part of Russia, just like China makes similar claims about Tibet.
We are in for unstable times as the  violation of Ukraine's sovereignty plays out. Who's next?---I think---the Baltic states and maybe even Georgia. It matters not whether it is under he Soviet flag or that of the new Russia. Just like the past, one man, Putin, rather than Stalin is the leader of the new 'gang,' on the block, one that has just changes its name! Make no mistake---Putin's Russia is invading Ukraine.

AeroPress coffee---yes, I brought another machine!

'Oh no!' you say. 'Surely he hasn't been sucked in again.' Well, yes. Yes I was influenced by the 'good words' of another, this time  not from 'As Seen On TV.' No, a colleague told me about some reports done about cheaper version of coffee makers and getting a good quality coffee without breaking the bank. The one that met that goal---the AeroPress machine, retailing with extra filters and postage for about $NZ75. You can go to local cafes and get one for $59. Mine came from Ozone Coffee Roasters and it was on my doorstep within 24 hours. pretty damned good in my books.
For a change I read the instructions and watched the online video. That is very different from my usual 'rip-shit-and-bust' approach! The verdict?
If you are looking for a crema-rich espresso-style coffee, then maybe the maker's claims could be a tad exaggerated. BUT---it produces a really good tasting coffee; smooth to the gates with a lovely after-taste that I associate with a good cafĂ©-brewed cup of coffee and it is really easy to use and clean up. I can still taste the warm glow of the coffee, minutes after the final drop. I make mine with frothed milk. I use my La Favona machine to make that but I think that a cheap frother would be fine. Not for me the so-called American coffee that is little better than the nasty filtered stuff that has been sitting around for ages.
OK, I am not going to throw away my nice Italian machine, but for ease of use and consistent good coffee, I am sold. Yes, I love my crema, but you know what---there is little difference in taste. And---once the silky milk is added, you still get that thick brown ooze that hangs around the edges, making it quite similar to my flash coffee from the big machine. Well done Alan Alder---the inventor! I can see myself getting one for work. Finally, I have purchased something from online, for which I have no regrets. This one ranks right up there and beyond---- my 'solar oven.'

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Share this and help this guy out. These guys must be caught!

Snapped: Thieves' brazen break-ins

Weymouth 'fortress' targeted four times in 18 months.
Kelly Ashley. Photo / Dean Purcell
Kelly Ashley. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Ashleys have five security cameras surrounding their home, an alarm, dead bolts on the doors and locks on all their windows.
They have turned their home into a fortress because they've been burgled four times in the past 18 months - and they're sick of it.
"I'm angry. I don't know what else we can do," Kelly Ashley said, following the most recent burglary of his South Auckland home on Monday. "I'm over it."
The latest burglary was captured by the family's security cameras, and they have given the footage to the police.
Do you know these two burglars caught on CCTV on Monday at the Ashley home in Weymouth? Photo / Dean Purcell
Do you know these two burglars caught on CCTV on Monday at the Ashley home in Weymouth? Photo / Dean Purcell
The Weymouth home was burgled three times in eight weeks around late November 2012, not long after they moved in. They got through last year without a repeat, before being hit again this week.
The family have lost cameras, mobile phones, laptops, an Xbox, a flatscreen TV, a guitar, power tools, more than $12,000 worth of jewellery, an e-reader and even meat from the freezer.
After the second burglary in 2012, they decided they needed security cameras. But while they were shopping for them, they got burgled again.
The burglars took all the electronic goods the family had only just bought after the first burglary.
"It's pretty much like a fortress, but they still get in. What else can we do? We shouldn't have to live like this," Mr Ashley said.

The footage of Monday's incident shows the burglars arriving at the house and walking nonchalantly up the drive before setting to work on the front door.
A camera easily visible above the door recorded them taking turns booting in the door.
Inspector Zane Hooper, prevention manager for Counties Manukau central police, said the burglars were clearly "motivated".
"On the face of it, Mr Ashley has taken good preventive steps to secure his property, and motivated offenders, irrespective of that, have victimised him."
The 2012 burglaries were part of a spate in the neighbourhood, he said.
The Ashleys received a $2000 grant from Victim Support for deadbolts and window locks. They've also just bought three more cameras to add to their system.
But despite their extensive preventive measures, their insurance fees went up.
"Our excess went up from $250 to $2500 overnight," Tracey Ashley said. "We're out of pocket big time on this one."
Insurance and Savings Ombudsman Karen Stevens said customers burgled many times were a high risk to their insurers.
Police statistics from 2012 show that a home is 18 per cent more likely to be a targeted again after being burgled once and 33 per cent more likely if burgled twice.
Anyone who recognises the men from the CCTV footage should contact Detective Sergeant Gareth Brown on (09) 261-1300.
Police advice on how to protect your home
* Always lock up.
* Lock the front door if you're in the back garden.
* Lock away tools and ladders because burglars could use them to break in.
* Lock garden sheds and your garage if you can.
* Install sensor lights.
* Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.
* Keep windows secure.
* Don't leave house keys with your car keys when your car is being serviced.
* Never leave notes on a door stating that you are not home.
* When you go away, make sure your home looks "lived in''.
To see security camera footage of the burglary, visit

Qantas takes a quantum leap---downwards, while Air New Zealand flys like a bird without a sting in its tail.

No, I am not being or trying to be ‘funny.’ Qantas is in deep trouble and the loss of 5000 jobs is a devastating blow. This comes on the heal of other bad economic news for Australia as China struggles to regain the momentum re economic growth back to double figures.
New Zealand seems to be more resilient and even though we are heavily dependent on both China and Australia; somehow we are missing the ‘hits’ that the other two nations have received. Maybe it is just that the ‘flow-on’ affect is taking longer to work through our economy, but perhaps it is that the products we sell to the word are those that are most needed, namely food, particularly protein.
We should be looking over our shoulders though as we surge ahead and be prepared for a similar round of cuts to spending or a lessening or our burgeoning exports figures.
What these events signal is the fact that New Zealanders are leaving our shores in smaller numbers for destinations across the ‘ditch,’ and one would have to be thinking dangerously if the expectation of a job and housing will leap out, simply by arriving in the ‘lucky country’ is paramount in their thoughts. Unless you possess skills that are still needed and that pay well, the economic paradise is no more; temporary maybe, but certainly not as apparent as it has been.
This begs the question: are we going to see an influx of Aussie ‘jobseekers,’ along with returning Kiwis? Will we still treat them as equals, allowing them access to the services we enjoy as new Zealanders, after a fairly short qualification period, that is?
I say---NO! Not until Australia reciprocates and returns to a level playing field. Perhaps the PM, whoever that may be over the next few years will draw a line in the sand. That won’t be John Key, if he survives the next electoral round. His opponent, David has made it clear where he stands; hopefully not going the way of some of his predecessors and changing policy once elected.
 In the meantime, my heart goes out those employees at Qantas who have or are about to lose their jobs. I also hope that out Government does not sell of any more of what has clearly become a ‘cash cow’ in terms of State Assets. Perhaps it should be seen as a reason not to sell that which is left of the ‘family silver!’

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This blog does not have a hint of violence or political intrigue!

Sometimes you don't see what is 'just under your nose! Every day I take Perdy for a walk at her favourite place, mainly because she enjoys meeting her friends there. Yes, dogs do have friends; the doggie kind, and people they like. You just have to watch their tails when the afore mentioned meet to understand that.
The round trip to the 'Bay' is about 10kls, meaning that I probably travel an extra 70 kilometres  a week, not an insignificant cost when one is looking at the not too distant future when 'retirement' will mean a curtailment of expenses. (See my older DIJATC--blogs)
Today I took Perdy to the beach that is less than one kilometre away. It even has an off-the-leash area, where I can legally let her loose. We parked the car in the upper car park and I let her out, whereby she bounded down the path to the grass area. She waited impatiently while I caught her up. I can do that  a lot quicker these days! Being 45 kilos lighter makes one hell of a difference to the speed one operates at.
I threw her ball, down the hill sloping towards the beach. She was off in a flash, diverting slightly to chase some cheeky magpies and then let it bounce once before grabbing it between her trusty teeth. We repeated the exercise for a few minutes before heading on down to the actual beach.
The tide was way out, leaving an expanse of slippery /mud/sand. Normally I would have avoided this combination, especially when I was heavier. I hate to think what would have happened if I came a cropper by slipping and twisting something. I very much doubt I would have been popular if someone had to help me back up to the distant car! But now---- no issues at all.
This time we ventured far further than we had in the past. I threw the ball along the mud, but stopped when I realized that there were sharp shells. I did not want Perdy to cut her paws; mind you---she wasn't complaining.
I followed Perdy down to the waters edge. In this part of the Manukau Harbour, the channel is quite close to the shore. Perdy jumped into the water after the ball, faithfully returning the orange orb and asking for more!
On the way back we met a guy heading for the channel with two fishing rods. It had not entered my thoughts to try fishing there, especially at low tide. The guy informed me that he caught good sized Snapper and Kahawai. Mmm--- I just know who is going to accompany me fishing very soon.
Later, back at the car park, I had this cool feeling--why always travel when something this good can be had, oh so close to home. PLUS---with the new ME, it isn't hard to skip on down the path. I almost feel like a kid again.

Come on Dad---throw the ball!
Hahaha---you can't
It's so 'Perdy' eh Dad!
see me!

Russia will find an excuse to invade Ukraine!

Russia has put its forces on alert on the pretext that Russians living in the Crimea are in danger and that it must protect its Black Sea Fleet. These are merely excuses for what it has intended for a long time---to reclaim what it once had as part of the Soviet Empire. While it is true that there are a large number of  Russians living in the Eastern part of Ukraine and that they favour stronger ties with Russia and indeed may even wish to return to the Russian fold, that does not excuse a military intervention on the part of the 'back-to-the-past, Russia.' 
Russia is going down a road very similar to what Hitler did when he invaded Poland at the start of WW2, using the pretext that German citizens were endangered. History does repeat and I sincerely hope that the result is not a conflagration that could draw in the armed forces of Europe and the USA. Step back before it is too late, Russia (and the USA need not make inflammatory statements) and enter a dialogue to find out what the Ukrainian people wish, even of that means some sort 'partition.' This is not the time for 'big power bullying, from 'any' source! There must be a peaceful resolution because the alternative is just too terrible!

It's election year---2014. I am going to blog my thoughts! Take this as Part One!

2014 has been called a ‘bloggers heaven,’ particularly if they are observers of politics. It’s is election year in New Zealand and I am going to join the group of people who regularly contribute their ‘unbiased’ thoughts. I admit to favouring the slightly ‘left of centre in NZ,’ and I openly own up to having joined the Labour Party; however if that means that I come in for some stick for criticising party policy or individuals, then I fully expect to earn some rebuke or even to get tossed out of the party. Being in a party has never sat comfortably with me; if that means following the party line, so maybe I have sown the seeds of my own expulsion by admitting to these ‘serious political failings.’
I am not going to sit by and watch stupid games that are so often played by members of all political parties, especially at election time. I am not going to take as the ‘truth,’ utterances from party leaders or minions, just because that is ‘their policy!’
When I hear or read about ‘policy’ that resonates with me I shall say that I like it, be it from Labour, the Greens or anyone else. Where I see stupidity I shall also highlight it. If I find that I have said something that is wrong, re policy or any other comments I have made, I shall say I am wrong or have changed my mind.
New Zealand is at a crossroads as to what we want for our future. We have sold off much of what is valuable re our State Assets. We have gone down a pathway that is driven by economic theory that claims ‘Trickle Down’ as its basis. I believe this to be a misnomer; it should have been called ‘Trickle Up,’ because that is what has happened. A smaller tiny group at the top now owns about 85% of the wealth in NZ. I find this abhorrent. The gap between rich and poor has never been as large, in my lifetime that is.
With the above statement, I think you can see where I am at the moment, and I admit to having that colouring my viewpoint. But, once again, when I listen to some of the statements by some politicians on the Left/Green alliance, I am sometimes not in agreement. Equally, occasionally, I hear and read policy from the National Party that is not totally divergent from my own beliefs. That does not make me a National Party supporter. Let’s face it: much of the legislation passed in parliament, is supported by both major parties!
NZ First also holds true to a few policies that, due to my ‘age’ feel comfortable for me. Hey I want to be able to use my Gold Card in a few years so watch out any political who meddles with the gains that Winston has helped to bring about!
OK, the scene is set. Take this posting as NUMERO UNO!

111111 yip all the ones for the number of hits on my blog site.

Sure, it's a long way from my goal of one million hits on my blog site, but it pretty cool anyway. Thanks for all the support. Watch out for the relaunche in the next few days of my website---

The 'season of plenty and promise,' is nigh in New Zealand.

March is nearly upon us in New Zealand and I always feel the abundance and promise of a wonderful ‘harvest,’ of all things good that NZ produces at this time of the year. Sure, apples and other fruit have ben available in their delightful tasty freshness for a few months now, but it is the flush of harvest at this time of the year that delivers so much promise. It seems that everything, from wine to whisky and the crispy offerings from the soil are now in abundance. It times gone by, housewives (that’s how it was then folks) were busily engaged in salting, preserving and later freezing the abundance from the backyard gardens and orchards. That still happens to a degree, hopefully with the help of the ‘partner,’ in whatever form he or she may take, but the source of the sheer profligate produce may be from places other than the urban garden.
Still, one cannot help noticing the displays in our fruit shops and supermarkets as well as the stalls on the roadsides. We should dip our fingers into our pockets or bring out the ‘cards’ and celebrate this incredible time of the year. It is a time that ‘shows up NZ as truly being 100% pure,’ despite the detractions we had in the past year.
May we all enjoy the benefits of living ion this wonderful country. Go forth and sample the delights; be it from a bottle or the gardens.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Being a bit 'ugly' can be beautiful! You better read on.

It is not always the prettiest or the best presented that wins the day. The best cover does not always carry deliver the promise of a great story. The dog with the best 'papers' doesn't always turn out to be the most loyal friend. 'Where's he going with this?' you ask.
No, I am for a change not talking about my little Jack Russell, but I can of course at the drop of a hat.
I am thinking of something so much more simple, something that may be near you; in your drive or hanging over the fence between you and your neighbour.
How many of you have walked past that funny looking fruit, that is not at all as pretty as those 'beauties' in the fruit shop? You know, those huge delectable golden queens that seem to go by several different names now and variations on a theme. You get them home and they are hard, so you stick them in the fruit bowl, waiting for them to reach that perfection you associate from your youth. Yes they taste---OK, but there is often a tinge of disappointment when you bite into the flesh.
'Oh well; that's just how it is you say,' accepting yet another example of modern day life.
Now, take another look at those smaller and possibly slightly deformed fruit, some of which may even have the spots that appear, tending to discourage you from capturing their less than promising taste. YOU ARE MAKIN A HUGE MISTAKE!
Take the plunge---pick a few, leaving some for your neighbours. If they are not quite soft, they only take a day or too and they really do live up to their promise, small and less than pretty though they may be. The hidden treasure is within and the taste lives up to and exceeds your wildest dreams. Expect a taste explosion and maybe you will take better care of that ugly old tree, lichen-covered though it may be. Give it some love, care, some pruning and possibly a light spray of the 'natural' care brands. You will be surprised at how you will be rewarded. Golden Queen from the little old tree---you are indeed royal.

Our State (peoples') Assets are all but gone!

One day we will look back at the time when successive governments sold off New Zealand’s valuable State Assets with anger. We will rue the day when from Rogernomics to the present Key Government, the very best of our collectively built up and owned treasures have been sold off, sometimes for a price that is less than their real worth. What for? To pay off debt we are told.
We have seen the same pathway followed by Conservative Governments in the UK, then only to see the buyers flog off the   some of the assets, run them down and then need the State to come back in to support them; name the railway system.
IN New Zealand’s case the driving force has been to reduce the amount of money owed by the state and to take the State out of ownership, selling to those who can afford; namely overseas and local investors. Either way, much of what we had taken a century to build up has been sold off, to make friends of the Government richer and reducing the investment by New Zealand as a whole in strategic assets.
We are going to rue the day of this repugnant selling of our assets as overseas owners begin to exert an influence in our economy that leaves us without the power to make important decisions about our future. All that is left now are smaller remnants of what was once a ‘public portfolio ‘ of assets and the only one left is the water that falls into our rivers and lakes. There have even been moves in that direction too. We must not let that happen.
I advocate a buying back process, much like we saw re Air NZ. We should wait until these companies face pressure re profits and then watch their price fall. We used to balance that out between good times and bad under the State ownership model, but in a profit only driven model, there comes a time when we can buy back the assets. Let’s do this and keep them where they belong. 
Under private ownership there is no moral or social conscience behind the running of these assets. NO account is taken about providing services to all NZers or employment for NZers.  We have entered a time whereby NZ is carving itself up to be made available to the highest bidder. Is it that we are going to be charged for the very air we breathe because there is precious little left to sell?

Mugabe's minions name the 'top 200,' Homosexuals.' Shades of Nazi Germany here, me thinks!

Even if that silly old fool,’ Mugabe, dies very soon, I very much doubt that the evil policies he has overseen re a number of issues will chnage, but his treatment of gay people in Uganda comes to mind most. That he has overseen the ‘naming of the top 200 homosexuals,’ is paramount to a death sentence in his Uganda. He has made his nation a pariah nation, far worse than anything emanating from Russia, where at least the opposition still has a tenuous hold re social issues. Opposition to Mugabe and his policies is becoming weaker by the day and the party that supports him will not give up the reigns of power once he departs.
No amount of policy statements from the UN and other world leaders seems to be making any difference, and the call for sanctions will not be effective unless there a way is found to shield the person in the street from them. Unfortunately those at the top always seem to be immune to economic sanctions. They still manage to put food on their tables and have access to what we take for granted in New Zealand.
Of course Mugabe is not alone in his anti-gay actions re gays in Africa, but he is by far the worst. Nigeria comes close second. We cannot let these ‘evil’ policies remain unchallenged and world leaders need to step up and bring the offenders back into the fold.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dominion Rd Cycleway---yes and more please!

Yes please---we need more of this. It is death on wheels at the moment. The fact that the proposal is about taking the cyclists to safer streets makes it even better, but will they use it?


NZTA approves $3.2m for cycleway project

Auckland Transport said the funding decision is an important step for the project. Photo / Michelle Hyslop
Auckland Transport said the funding decision is an important step for the project. Photo / Michelle Hyslop
The extension of the cycling network along the busy Dominion Road in Auckland has come one pedal rotation closer, with the New Zealand Transport Agency's approval to spend $3.2 million on the project.
The route will be built on less busy suburban streets that run parallel and adjacent to Dominion Road, one of Auckland's most crowded arterial links.
The agency's contribution makes up 53 per cent of the $6.1m project led by Auckland Transport to provide 5-and-a-half-kilometres of cycleway.
Key considerations behind the agency's decision to provide funding included the benefits the project would deliver in terms of safety and travel choices for people, NZTA Planning and Investment Group regional manager Peter Casey said.
"The Transport Agency is committed to reducing traffic congestion by providing options so that people don't have to rely on using cars," he said.
"The new routes will encourage more people to cycle. They will be available for less confident cyclists as an alternative to the more challenging Dominion Road, and by the large number of children living in the area."
Auckland Transport said the funding decision is an important step for the project.
"It's great that we can get work started on this project," Auckland Transport's community transport manager Matthew Rednall said.
Construction was due to start later this year.
The project included safety upgrades at intersections, improved lighting and signage, and construction of speed humps and islands to slow motorised traffic.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dog agility classes for Perdy?Is she up to it?

Today was Perdy's big day out;  no, not  'Big Gay Out; that was last week, but she certainly had an old fashioned gay old time. We were invited to my cousins house way up in the Waitakere Ranges (1200 metres above sea level, I am told) where the trees meet the sky. In all the many years I have known my cousins, I had never been to their home. Yes, we used to visit a lot when we were kids and they lived in Whangarei, but as we became adults, we only saw one another at weddings and funerals. Once our parents died, it seems that we are doing what the afore mentioned loved ones always wanted; we have started to rebuild the contact and I am so glad that we have.
Today was just wonderful; it was about us and equally about finding out whether Perdy would make the grade re 'agility training.' It seems that she does, with a capital 'D!'
Once we had taken a walk through the surrounding native bush, past the huge Kauri Tree and after a quick dip in a tiny but crystal clear stream, we tried her out on a few basics, with my cousin showing us the way. (They have all we needed in the form of their own agility course in their backyard) Yes, she was on  a lead and we didn't have rewards but she certainly indicated that she is ready and willing to try. Her tail wagged the whole time and the only glitch was the tunnel; that is going to take encouragement and a building of confidence and we shall achieve that by joining a nearby 'agility club.' Watch out for the reports that will no doubt come from this source as to her progress. Right now she is zoned-out on the couch! Way to go, Perdy girl. You are an awesome Jack Russell.
The Kauri tree that 'launched a thousand ships, but now endangered. Not by Perdy though!

Ukraine----please 'make it happen!'

his is your chance. Levels heads must rule and the USA, Russia and the UE---stay out of it! The Ex PM is out of prison and the incumbent must step down and get out of politics. His opulent mansion is open for Ukrainians to see what he has spent precious resources on. There is a real chance that Parliament can lead. Take this opportunity to rebuild your proud nation, Ukraine, free of dominance from the two power brokers (maybe 3). To those extremist on the streets who would use violence to achieve results that are not wanted by the majority: pull your heads in. Your actions are not needed and it was never clear where your actions were leading other than for a violent future, possibly driven by those outside your country who wish only to destabilize Ukraine and then use that as an excuse to 'intervene' for their own purposes.
Take this chance Ukraine and may you have the peace you so desperately need. To the old president----get out and stay out. Go to your 'friend,' to the East!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Chicken and Corn Soup (part 2)

I hope you read 'part one' re my lovely soup. After the chicken necks mixed with the ginger and garlic had cooked all night, I let it cool for a while and then strained it through some kitchen paper and a sieve. I left it in the fridge while I took Perdy for a morning walk, explaining to her that I had saved the necks for her and I had only 'borrowed' them for the stock.
Back home after a very humid and sticky walk, I put the clear stock back into the crockpot. I added one red capsicum, sliced up, along with two finely chopped spring onions. (I think other countries call them green onions or scallions) I added two boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced evenly into bite-- sized pieces. I season the mixture very lightly, preferring to add that at serving. I put in four cloves and a dash of paprika. Of course, you can add your own favourite 'extras.'
Time to put my feet up, but that was interrupted when the techie came , yet again to resolve my ongoing issues with the internet connectivity. I remained calm as he went through the usual stuff, but this time he brought in his own flash modem and it  was apparent that things were OK. He tweaked some of the work the previous techie had done and the computer has worked since then, but he did say that he couldn't guarantee it. Man, they owe me some reduction on my account, I reckon!
Time for another walk with Perdy as the soup simmers gently in the crockpot, on low. Just before leaving for the walk, I added one can of corn kernels and one of creamed style corn.
When I arrived back from the 'bay,' I could smell a wafting slightly savoury odour. A few hours later, I mixed in some cornflour and just before serving I dribbled in two well mixed eggs.
The end result---a huge pot of beautiful 'as-good-or-better-than-you-get, 'restaurant' soup. No, I won't eat it all. I will give some to my mates In am seeing tomorrow. Now, go cook your own. If you want to reduce the already reasonable cost, just use cheaper cuts of chicken and let it cool if you want to skim off the fat. Yes, I did give Perdy the soft cooked necks and she munched away on them with a glint in her eye that indicated she was well satisfied with our 'deal.'

What can I say--cost about NZ$13 and enough to feed about 8 people.

Len Brown and the so-called 'majority' of Aucklanders who want him to go!---wouldn't think so.

Having heard all the hype about a 'huge' march by those opposed to Len Brown, I expected to also hear about massive numbers of people marching up Queen Street to show their displeasure. Well----it did not happen. A few hundred are reported to have 'beat the feet,' and bothered to show their indignation about the antics of our Mayor. If opposition is so deeply felt, then should there not have been many more people out there. NO---I suspect that they are at home, preening themselves to get up and go to see the Proud'  Parade later in the day along Ponsonby Road. Get the perspective, people! Let's move on and get on with making Auckland a better place. OH, I know, there are so many moralistic judgemental and 'never having done a bad thing in their lives' people out there who just will not let this go. Hey, this is Auckland, not Ukraine or Thailand. Are things that bad, and if they are, at least we do have elections; it's more about whether people bother to take part in the democratic process.

Hanging gardens found in ancient Hillsborough. Anthroplogists clamouring for details!

Whilst exploring an ancient archaeological site, believed to predate the arrival of Europeans in a Midwestern Auckland suburb, a major find has surfaced. It appears to be part of a huge interconnecting garden, supplying the needs of the original inhabitants. Scientists are baffled at the ingenuity of the structures, but have agreed that using the methods observed, a large population may have lived in the Hillsborough area. There has even been some discussion that 'aliens' once visited, because such structures could never have been accomplished by the 'ancients'. No---this is not the first time such theories have been espoused; yes you have heard them about the 'lines' in South America.' Police have thrown a cordon around the whole suburb, waiting upon 'experts' to arrive from Ukraine, well that is once they sort themselves out!. In the meantime, just one picture has been released. Make up your own minds.
Note the accompanying barrels, believed to be bio-pits where power was produced to heat the gardens!

Indoniesia moves to protect the endangered Manta Rays---good on you neighbour!

I was delighted to see an item on AJ news about Indonesia banning the hunting (and selling to the Chinese and others for medicinal purposes) of the much endangered beautiful Manta Rays. They have a huge task ahead of them, because much like any other move by the government of this far flung massive group of islands, it is almost impossible to maintain surveillance. Then of course it is the ability of their navy and other Government departments to muster the number of vessels needed to achieve the result that we all want. They have acknowledged the difficulty of the task and made the transition re 'hunting and selling' to using the same resource to lure tourists who's only weapon is a camera. Yes, there are jobs in this for locals. What Indonesia continues to fight of course is the corruption that would defeat the purpose of this most welcome law change. I hope that Indonesia accepts any help offered by various world bodies, including that from its sometimes bullying southern neighbour, the same one that treats NZ as a 'little brother.' Let's all support Indonesia, especially its neighbours, even the one quite far to the South east---NZ. Kia kaha, Indonesia (be strong)

Chicken soup made from Perdy's dinner! (part one)

Proof that I am feeling so much better tonight, after a nasty virus that saw me lose 3 kilos of weight that I no longer need or want to loose, comes in the form of this chicken soup, made of course in my crockpot. Perhaps not so indicative of my high moral standards is the fact that I am going to use Perdy's  (my Jack Russell) dinner, a large packet of chicken necks, to make the stock. It's OK, I am going to replace them on the way home from her favourite walk at Kakamatua Inlet.
I boiled the jug, threw the chicken necks in with the water and roughly chopped some fresh ginger (heaps of it) and a whole head of garlic. That will simmer all night and while it cools in the morning, I shall take Perdy for her first morning walk, so that she doesn't' crap on my section! (It's double OK, because I always have poo bags in my back pocket.) OMG, I almost needed them for myself over the last few days. OK--- TMI.  Look out for part 2, tomorrow, along with pictures. Food for the soul.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Zealand's armed forces are number one re integrating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

wow! aint that incredible. I suspect it may earn a few comments from the leader of our Conservative Party, but not many people pay much heed to him these days. I am also most pleased because it will mean that our wonderful service people won't be welcome in the Middle East or most of Africa. Not a bad outcome in my view! Let us stay in the Pacific/Asian region. That's where we belong!  Read on my friends.


NZDF world's most LGBT friendly

Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'. Photo / NZDF
Members of NZ Defence Forces' Overwatch at the 'Pride in Defence Conference'. Photo / NZDF

The New Zealand Defence Force has been ranked number one in an international study assessing the integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members in armed forces.
The LGBT Military Index was compiled by Netherlands thinktank the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.
New Zealand Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said the ranking came as a pleasant surprise.
"We are an equal opportunity employer and we have always valued the diversity of our workforce.
"The NZDF values diversity and recognises the benefits to the organisation of having a diverse and inclusive workplace."
The diversity of the Defence Force reflected the composition of New Zealand society as well as the openness and respect that New Zealanders have for people of different backgrounds, General Keating said.
"We believe that a diverse workplace promotes equity and enhances productivity. Having an inclusive environment that embraces people's individual differences provides opportunities for our personnel to achieve their full potential."
Last year, 10 uniformed members of the NZDF and 15 civilian members of Defence Force LGBT group Overwatch marched in the Auckland Pride Parade.
They were publicly supported by the then Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Rhys Jones.
This year's Auckland Pride Festival ends this weekend with the Pride Parade on Ponsonby Rd and closing party at Victoria Park tomorrow.

Bulgaria--great to see you!

Welcome to my new reader in Bulgaria. I am pretty sure I haven't seen you before. Keep reading and share my website and blog with your friends. As I have said many times about new countries reading my blogs---how did you find me? My 'friends' tell me it's by chance alone. I suspect that they may be correct, but I want to believe that it is the start of a beautiful relationship, stretching across the globe, attaining new understanding between cultures and individuals. Well doesn't that sound a lot better than the craziness we hear about other nations not so far from Bulgaria. May you remain peaceful and increasingly prosperous. I hope the shadow of Putinist Russia does not cast its ugly shadow across your fair land.

Colin 'Sue' Craig---get real---you are playing with the big boys now!

'I'm gonna sue you, because you are saying mean things about me,' he said. Well not exactly, but please, Mr Craig---if you really want the public to take you and your party seriously, grow some clangers and address the issues. YOU don't make the rules and those that exist are there for a reason. Politics is a robust exchange of ideas, prior to putting g them into practice. All you are noted for is your whinging about what 'others' have said about you. I hear you even take exception to what bloggers are saying about you. That takes the cake. Even the PM is a little aghast at your response to Russell's little asides about you.  Come-on---let us see 'policy---what are you going to do about gaining a better future for NZers? At the moment we think you will run the country by the results of whether your latest attempt to sue your opponents has been successful. That is heading in the way that some middle Eastern countries have gone. Hell, once Winston gets onto your case, are you gonna sue him? Fat chance there, dude! The stance you are taking is pathetic and NZ will NOT take you seriously. Unless you change and do so real fast---you are doomed to political oblivion, much like KDC. Toughen up man!

State owned supermarkets? I say---do it. Now listen for the cries of indignation from those ripping us off!

Finally, somone has said it--Government owned supermarkets. It doesn't have to be lkke the daus gone by when 'State-owned could be equated with 'badly run,' or many of the other easy to fling insults at anything run by the State. I say we now have good models for efficient and well run State institutions, so if we want to break the stranglehold that the mostly Aussie owned supermarkets, then it's about time we looked at some new ways of doing things. Read the article below!
It represents a damned good discussion start-point!

In My Opinion

Dita De Boni is a Herald business columnist

Dita De Boni: We need Govt-owned supermarkets

Instead of raging against the supermarket mafia, why not tackle them head-on?
Illustration / Anna Crichton
Illustration / Anna Crichton

It's a week in which one longs to stick it to the supermarkets, to be sure. If they are not making outrageous demands of their suppliers, they are banding together with "big food" to lobby pliant politicians to stay well clear of effective (read: costly to them) anti-obesity measures.
They pump cheap alcohol into communities with gay abandon, and essentially hold the food-buying public to ransom by dividing billions of dollars in grocery sales between them.
But what to do? Families can frequent farmers' markets, speciality marts, even grow their own veg, but avoiding the big-brand supermarkets is impossible for most. Instead, we've collectively developed a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, believing 40c off a tin of baked beans or tray of chicken thighs makes everything fine and dandy.
Well, today I present an idea that would not only irk the supermarkets but also cause much foaming at the mouth among free-market advocates - a combination of outcomes that makes my proposition almost unbeatable from the outset.
The idea is this: government-owned supermarkets. Wooo! that's got a few of you going, no doubt. It could be the last straw if state-subsidised solar panels have already put you in the hypertensive danger zone. But while the idea sounds outlandish, I beg you to consider a few of its positive facets.
First, New Zealand suppliers would get a better deal. There's no doubt that some supermarkets deliver bargains for consumers, but it's not the supermarket that takes the hit when prices are low, it's the poor supplier. The same supplier whose order can be changed, augmented or scrapped at any time, and who can be billed for all sorts of extra costs. A government-run supermarket, with transparency as part of its modus operandi, would be required to foster consistency and decency with suppliers, as well as its customers and staff - a genuine ethical choice for consumers.
It would also be required to ensure local food gets a fair run alongside cheap, nutrient-deficient imports.
The way I see it, a government-owned supermarket chain (KiwiShop? GovtShop? Godzone Grocer?) would need to pay its way, but not necessarily turn a profit - no more rorting of the poorly paid Kiwi workforce to placate shareholders.
Freedom from profit would also give the government room to enact some of its anti-obesity ideas without upsetting those who believe it is their God-given right to scull Coca-Cola, scarf pies, and ignore that "5+ a day" nonsense. You could sell fruit and vegetables without GST added, for example; you could even provide food coupons as part of a benefit payment. Plain-packaged cigarettes, restrictions on soda sales to minors - it would be a great market testing ground.
By God, there'd be objections. But in a "free market", shouldn't the Government be free to compete against big Australian interests in ensuring a reasonably-priced supply of quality foodstuffs to the populace? It's already happening in banking, after all, and competitors have not collapsed in a screaming heap.
Many other countries regulate their supermarkets heavily; ours seem to be largely left to their own devices, getting a few wet bus ticket-slaps only when it's unavoidable. The best solution to this situation can only be more competition - ideally provided by a party with the people's best interests at heart.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Telecom--you are always so nice when I ring up about my 'issues.'

No---I don't ring Telecom to discuss the various facets of my life---I just bog them! No, I ring them because of the continuing connectivity problems I am having with my internet. It is quite frankly a pain in the ass, and the only up-side is that I am learning some new techie-talk, because I seem to be ringing them everyday and I get to talk to people who 'try' to help me. It is a bit like an onion; you know, peeling off layer upon layer of skin, but in this case we have so far not reached in core of the problem
Today, I was home with a virus (not the best choices for days off---quite shitty in fact!) and when I wasn't sleeping I tried the internet. Not only did that crap out, but the phone line went down too. Eventually the phone came back on and I rang Telecom, dreading the procedure that I know I have to go through. Well, that didn't happen. Maybe they know it's me ringing and they put me through to a 'helper,' immediately. OK---to the point of this blog---it's about the fact that the people I talk to are so bloody nice. How can I jump up and down (like so many of you suggest I do) and lose my rag? It would be so much easier if the call-centre staff were rude---but they are damned good at their job.

POSTCRIPT!   Unbelievable------the outage of the phone was because Telecom had sent the excellent technician around to check things and he had taken the line down. That coincided with the outage. I was asleep (remember, I was home a bit under the weather!) and even though the dog barked, I didn't notice him outside. It was only when he came back that we got to the bottom of today's little episode. I had rung them and they were doing things back at whatever they call 'Telecom Central.' So----I am not going to assume that my trouble are over. Once again, I will bite my tongue and sharpen my fingers, ready for the next big 'drop-out.' Heck---it's not as if they are not trying. I shall put things in perspective and think of Ukraine, Russia, Syria and other places where shit really does hit the fan!

UPDATE!   The techie came back today and tested and tested and fecked around but he did get a stable signal, but----he can't guarantee that it is fixed. When it is stable more than a few days, I shall be asking for a nice credit. Damn---don't I deserve it?

Dark days ahead for Russia as yet more 'repression,' takes hold in Sochi.

I fear for the future of the vast number of Russians who have resisted the actions of the State and it's cronies. An example of this was exhibited on the streets of Sochi, yesterday. Pussy Riot members were assaulted by a group of  'officials' and Cossacks, a group that was once widely used by the old Czarist regime. Now it appears that this group is acting on its own,  but no doubt sanctioned by the oligarchs and Putin's backers.
Freedom is receding at a fast pace in Russia and no amount of glitz or staged public outings by Putin will change that. Any move he makes is merely to divert attention from what is becoming widespread in Russia.
You can be sure that his heavy hand is behind the events in Ukraine too. It is only a matter of time before that country is swallowed up into the 'New Empire.' After tat has been achieved, look north to the Baltic States, indeed :Poland will be looking nervously towards the East.
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union and the underhanded passing over of state companies to the oligarchs and friends of Putin, we are witnessing a transition from one kind of repression to the model we see now. Ordinary Russians are the losers and ultimately, regions far beyond the borders of Russia.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kim Dotcom----It's time Kiwis took a good hard look at him!

WE read reports in the NZ Herald today about creditors wanting to be paid money they are owed by the ‘big man.’ They are reportedly annoyed that he continues to lo live in an opulent manner in huge mansion, yet they do not get paid. OK, people have money issues from time to time but usually they take steps to tone down their spending; not for example continuing to live like a king or an ‘oil prince.’ That is hardly apparent in KDC’s place, although who am I to know what drastic budgetary cuts he has made to his lifestyle---you know the scene, whereby he receive the silly politicians to his mansion to be served up the party-mood stuff and to have ‘conversations’ about where NZ is going with his ‘callers.’ Really---do you believe that this is so or is he just like some of his callers and playing his part in the game of survival?
New Zealanders from many sectors of society have put this man on a pedestal and claimed all sorts of visionary qualities for him, even to the point saying that he is NZ’s salvation.’
What a lot of rubbish. Can they not see beyond their immediate noses and look a bit deeper at what we ‘don’t know about him?’ Get real NZ and move on to your search for real politicians and ‘movers’ who can influence NZ on a ‘broad band’ of issues that matter, in the fields of education, health, creating jobs, boosting exports and looking at narrowing the gap between the rich and poor, because if we do not do the latter, we are sitting on a time bomb.
Your vision of who you think KDC is and what he can offer will vanish at the first sign that things ‘are not going his way.’ Now---go pull your heads out of the sand! The parties at the mansion are about to come to a screaming halt.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Len Brown---you get points for trying even if you are 'trying' at times.

Len has his detractors and they possibly number as the majority after his silly escapade with the pretty lady, but---he does have lots of ideas. It would be easy to dismiss them as being merely distractions from the other stuff he got up to---but those ideas should be seem for what they are---about making Auckland a truly international city; one that makes the most of it's wonderful harbour and one that 'moves' people around efficiently. That the Government does not see his vision as one that suits them---well that's another story. So---Len, keep pressuring and keep the ideas coming---better still make them happen. Then, you will be remembered for something that actually matters!

I shall cross my fingers and hope that the connectivity issue has-----gone!

After my plea to send a techie around to fix the damned connection, one came late tis afternoon. Talk about patience---he went through the set up and moved the location of the modem, doing that he needed to do. He checked, re-checked, went up on the road to see if there were any issues there and   so far---it's all going. If it craps out again, he said call them back and start by saying it is a 'noisy line,' because if that's the case, then the internet will also be having trouble connecting. Time will tell. The techie told me that if I hear a noisy line, then it's back to square one. The cost?-----Free.
It's still working

    It's still working----no red lights.   Can I say it's----fixed?

It's still working!
    I learnt some 'stuff' today.

News flash! Lord Craig to meet his 'detractor, Norman, the 'commoner,' at dawn in the sacred shadow of Parliament!

‘Thou needs to be chastised, my foulest of enemies,’ cried Lord Craig.
‘How have I offended you, mate,’ replied the very canny Norman.
‘Cast your thoughts back to the most foulest of utterances you issued a week back at that abomination of a festival you attended,’ Lord Craig hissed.
‘Oh, you mean the Big Gay Out,’ Norman said, with a knowing smirk on his face.
Lord Craig sauntered towards his enemy with that loping unusual gait he exhibits when anywhere near a camera and reached into his vest, producing a bejewelled glove with which he struck the unsuspecting Norman across the face.
‘I challenge thee to meet me in the sacred shadows of Parliament, to which I shall soon be a member,’ Lord Craig screamed in a manner that bespoke terrible consequences.
Norman recovered. After all he had been a member of that august body for quite a few years and well understood the attraction that such an institution held for the person who had so viciously struck him, but being of a forgiving nature he simply replied, ‘Lord Craig, you do me a disservice; surely you understand the rules of the ‘game’ better than to reverting to times gone by, I which one relies on naked violence to resolves ones pain.’
Lord Craig was not to be calmed; indeed his anger merely increased.
‘You will meet me or I shall have you dragged before the ‘King’s Council, upon which time you will retract your ghastly accusations.
Norman considered his response, not a state of mind that he always achieved, but he had learnt from previous experiences re the unhappy ‘Lord.’
‘I’ll tell you what,’ Norman said somewhat mischievously,’ You choose the weapons, although I hear there is a really good sword maker over at Weta Workshops, who may be able to help, or perhaps you would prefer something from Star wars?’
Lord Craig seemed a little perplexed at the very helpful reply from his opponent and stepped back, just a little before replying.
‘I shall do as you suggest and bring my ‘second,’ Johnnie. You must choose yours and we shall meet within the time it takes for the moon to rest for the day on the morrow.’ He struck out his shoulders and left the bemused Norman to consider his options.
Norman took only a few seconds before calling out, ‘Lord Craig, if I am not there, just start without me---is that not a state that you are truly familiar with?’
Lord Craig did not respond. He was far too busy planning his next encounter with the man who would expose him as yet another ‘friend’ of Johns; the man whom he trusted---well sort of.
Norman chuckled to himself as he too pondered upon his recent dalliances with the ‘big man in the mansion.’

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Colin Craig and the Conservative Party cry 'foul.' Maybe he's like KDC!

Have you heard the phrase, 'if it's too hot in the kitchen, get out,' Mr Craig. It seems that the remarks the leader (Russell Norman) made at the Big Gay Out about Craig's views about women and gays were too much for this fledgling and wannabe politician. Listening to the remarks on TV tonight made me laugh. They were hardly strong enough to warrant any form of legal action. Collin Craig needs to toughen up or does he perhaps realize that Norman's remarks were actually true? Maybe Craig has a real problem re his views about gays and women. What would we expect though from this right wing party? He is desperate to gain a foothold on  the NZ political spectrum, a bit like Kim Dotcom but for different reasons. I will say that at least Craig espouses what he believes to be a 'moral stand' rather than one that focusses on one issue and one person! So, a message to both aspiring MPs---you need to be thinking of a wider range of people if you ever wish to succeed in gaining a place in that most august of institutions-----Parliament. If not---then be consigned to the pages of history alongside other wannabes.

There was a 'party' near Eden Park on Saturday night. Things got out of hand---surprise!?

Yes, Auckland had a great weekend with very little trouble. The only real stand out (maybe the boat that crashed into a jetty was a bit crazy too—but) was the sad beating up of a ‘friendly’ gate-crasher to a part held very close to Eden park. As the headlines in the NZ Herald said---‘it need not have happened.’ Apparently, there were multiple attempts to enter the party by people leaving the ground after the very successful two days of sport at the ‘park.’
Even some party-goers were shocked at the violence of the attack on the ‘crasher.’ Witnesses said that he was not causing any problems. Of course, those who were responsible for the party organization, had every right to eject unwanted people, but they took a few steps too far.
They also made a really stupid decision. Surely they could have ‘partied’ on a night when there were less people around. Come-on people----isn’t it pretty obvious that party is going to be like a ‘beacon’ to those leaving the ground? Have you not learnt from history about such things?
Now, you have the consequences of a serious assault about to be laid at your door. 
This was all totally avoidable!