Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Front deck 'lightens' up the neighbourhood!

Call me 'happy, slightly obsessed or any other 'endearing term,' but you can't take away my delight at sitting under my solar lights. Must be the 'fairy' in me!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Who says tofu is boring--take a look!

Many people say that tofu is boring; the realm of hippies or health freaks. I don't give a stuff about those labels: all I know is that it is a healthy, tasty dish and hey---it's so damn cheap--that's got to be a plus. So---how does one cook it so that it is -----appealing?' OK---slice it into slabs as pictured and marinade it for an hour or so in your favourite sauces. I used, Sweet chilly, black bean and some extra oil. Now, while that is marinading, chop up some veggies. It so happens In had some mushroom, red pepper and some yellow courgette from my garden. Add some slat, pepper, sesame oil and herbs from the garden (OK--sue some dried herb mix). Now---light the BBQ and stick the veggies in a little tray and let them cook. Cook the marinaded tofu in the marinade on the BBQ--I used one of those Teflon strips. Look at the pictures---words are not needed!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chocolate covered ice-creams on a stick can be a pain in the arse--hello summer!

Picture the following scenario: You have had a wonderful day, walking the dog, a bit of house work,(OK, I am lying about that one!) cooked a nice dinner, or reheated yesterday's creation and you decide to have one of those ice-creams you were hiding at the back of the freezer; you know ones--those delectable chocolate covered gold mines of creamy sensationally flavoured dollops on a stick. You pull the wrapping paper gently open and take your first bite. You are focusing on the TV as it relates the days events and carry on, not noticing the large chunk of chocolate coating that fallen off, depositing itself on your lap, only to be noticed later. Yes, you do catch on that half the coating has disappeared and utter a few favourite expletives. Later you see the stain from the bit that escaped; the bit that left a nasty stain on your nice new T-shirt. Damn I hate the way this always happens. Was this always so, or am I just a little bit more wayward in the way I consume the said product? Is it that I eat it differently--faster, slower--who knows? This dilemma needs immediate research. This conundrum of satiety not realized, simply because half the coating drops off---is a research project in the making. Put the effort into that instead of trying to win the America's Cup, New Zealand. Use our resources sensibly and bring about the peace we so surely desire! Now--I better chuck the T-shirt in the wash. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

Onehunga Bay stingrays pay a heavy price for tide gates that are not functioning?

On my morning walk around the 'bay,' I was met with a very sad scene. I am sure many of you have read my blogs and seen news reports about 'the Ray at the Bay,' swimming freely, delighting the visitors and locals as it frolicked on the mudflats. It was a point of discussion; for families, for the regulars, who varied in their opinions as to how safe it was for their dogs and kids, but for the most part, the ray was seen as a 'positive.' My first big shock was the actual death, but it was not one ray---it was at least four, stranded and helpless, dying a slow death, as the water receded. WHY now? OK, there are several theories but the commonality is that the water was at a King Tide last night, meaning that the balancing low tide was equally extreme. The water was still going our=t when I visited this morning and it is not often that nearly ALL of the mudflats are exposed. It is my belief (and that is open to challenge) that the Council is able to conation an amount of water in the bay, whenever it wants. It does so for special events but with the work going on, in the bay and on the other side of the motorway, it seems that this has not happened. This is not a blame game, but the question needs to be asked---could this 'vision of nature at its best,' not been saved? Did these creatures have to die, simply because 'people' who brought about a system where the gates controlled the water flow and natural tide ebb, need to die because this situation had not been foreseen? The feeling this morning was one of sadness. Very few people were silent on the matter. I loved the way families explained to their children about these magnificent beasts, about the obvious connections to Steve Irwin and how there is always an other side to 'viewing' these animals, about nature in general, the wider 'big picture,' that nature represents. For the future--well more rays will come, seeking the 'rewards' of the bay and delight us again, but how about we make sure they have access--in and out of the bay. I have enjoyed the last few months and had many conversations with people. I hope we see new arrivals very soon, but please Council, sort out the 'gates.' www.authorneilcoleman.com

Saudi King's 'younger' brother takes the throne---he's only 79!

So the King is dead, to be succeeded by his younger brother. Apparently there are quite a few more siblings, lining up to take their turn, once his 'new' majesty succumbs to the inevitable. The former king and now his replacement are aligned to the West, yet we often hear of rumblings within the kingdom, whereby various groups operate in a manner that is decidedly 'not pro-western;' not that I see that as a negative position. One suspects that things are not as simple as the likes of the USA and its allies would wish. For sure, the last of the 'Father of this nation's son,' will leave the scene too as they slowly 'leave this earth. What happens then, in this kingdom that has public beheadings, flogs its citizens for any utterances that are seen a against the 'religion.' It is on first appearances a 'modern nation,' but one with deep divisions and the potential to become the next 'basket case' Middle Eastern failed nation, for the moment held together by a vast security system that represses any opposition, and one that still keeps women very much in the background. As for foreign workers, especially those from poorer countries---well---they won't get a look in and they better keep their mouths shut! Guess I am not going there anytime soon. BUT---one wold hope that the people of Saudi Arabia gradually assert themselves, in ways that are sadly missing in its neighbours.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Orere Point, a new regional park and rainbow dolphins sighted on Onehunga Bay!

What a day!---so far, and there are quite a few hours to go. I started with a morning walk down at the 'bay, then off to pick up my sister, before heading off to check out the Orere Point Top Ten Holiday Park, with the view to assessing whether it could be a possibility to have a caravan; one which could include Perdy on my visits. We stopped at a little park in Clevedon, so Perdy could have a stretch and a swim in the river. She loved it and was ready to take on the world after her cool dip. We arrived at the Orere Point Holiday Park in the tiny settlement of Orere Point. In the past my brother and his partner had a caravan there and I have some fond memories of that, along with going to the 'Point' as a younger guy to visit my old mate, Phil Goff. I met the friendly 'Camp Mother,' Stephanie, who made me feel really welcome. It transpired that one needs to buy an existing caravan along with the attached decking and little extra building and pay a fee for each year. It is 'DOABLE!' I took Perdy for a walk around the well established grounds and visited the water hole. Perdy can swim there, except for January (and XMAS). I am very attracted to taking the next step. The beach is great, fishing and nearby attractions--all fit well with me, but I am a bit concerned that there is no cell phone signal that is reliable in the camp, but that will not stop me from going ahead. There is a net café, for want of a better word, so one doesn't need to feel totally 'separated.' I do need such services as I wish to spend a good deal of my 'down time,' wherever I go, writing and blogging. There may be ways around those issues. Here's hoping that the area gets a 'connection.' OK---time to take ,'her majesty,' Perdy not my sister, who has never claimed royal connections, to the beach. Perdy took one look and was off into the water, chasing he ball that I had not even thrown. However, events did eventually synchronise, and it was all on for a manic few minutes. She took a few dips in the fresh water in the river mouth and demanded I throw and cast until she said---'enough!' Time to leave. We said goodbye to the Point" and time will tell whether it is right for me. It is not yet decision time. On the way back to town, we stopped for lunch at Kawakawa Bay to have the packed lunch Janice had brought. Delicious! Then, on to discover a new Regional Park, just over the hill from Kawakawa Bay. What a 'picture in the painting;' fabulous views over the gulf. When it is finished, if ever such a work of nature is possible, then it will be a real jewel in the crown, of regional parks. We were back in he madness of Auckland before we knew it; the crazy motorway and then---tranquillity again, down at MY bay. The tide was fully in and yes---Perdy was once again playing 'mer-dog,' chasing her ball and the incredible rainbow dolphins! Don't believe me?--=-check out the picture. Go figure. What a wonderful world--if we se let it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to work soon, but Kakamatua did it for Perdy and I today.

I am thinking that the Kakamatua Inlet is my place--just that bit different from my Bay. For starters, it is clean and isolated, with a clean stream running into the horseshoe bay, that faces the notorious Manukau Heads. Once Perdy and I headed through short bush walk, we felt we had entered another world; just a few people with their families----and dogs, strolling along the valley and bay. If you think dogs don't smile, just observe them at this fabulous place and I am dammed sure the answer will a resounding--YES! Today, we walked right to the end of the bay and crossed over the shoreline, that seems so close to the other side of the huge harbour. This is almost its narrowest point, the blue water Chanel probably hiding denizens of the deep. Once on the other side of the bay, we walked along the fresh water stream. By this time, my shoes were hanging around my neck and I was reminded of the fact that this was the closest I had come to a real swim. Hurry up and come back, Doug---we need to take some real dips! For Perdy--this was doggie heaven. She mixed it with a huge, but very young Red Nosed Pit-bull and made sure she was the boss. It was only when the big dog sat on her, which meant Perdy was under water that I saw the jack Russell hissy-fit taking place. All good---no issues and peace was immediate. I trudged along the shallow stream, the water was warm until we came upon slightly deeper pools. Perdy ran, swam, jumped, drank and chased the orange ball--the one she hates to lose. My thoughts strayed to the end of the week---work is just around the corner, but days like this are enough to recharge me, enthuse me and give that balance, so sorely needed to make it through another year. I love this place! I love it even more when I can share it with friends and family.

As part of my obsession------

I try to write at least one blog a day---=yes it is an obsession and I am sure you will agree that there are those that are far worse than mine. This is therefore my blog for what has been a perfect day with friends and family. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Zealand's navy totally incapable of stopping the fish pirate/criminlas---- or being 'careful?

It seems that the three ships fishing and plundering the Toothfish' stocks near Antarctica are the spawn of criminal elements, possibly connected to Spanish interests. The NZ navy has 'backed off,' preferring to leave the issue to be sorted in the 'courts.' The fact is that our navy does not have the 'oomph' to take these low lifes on! It seems that the Sea Sheppard is going to take them on, putting itself in danger. This is a terrible state of affairs. We must have a navy that is capable of taking on these crooks, because one thing is for sure-----we are going to see more of this sort of activity. NZ is in the spotlight--the message will get out there that it is 'free for all'---'come and get it folks,' because no one (except Sae Sheppard!) Our navy ran out of fuel! What the F was it doing there without support? All power to Sea Sheppard! OK, maybe the law courts may have an effect but a bit of 'direct' action is also needed. If not---a flood gate will have been left open for the pillage of Antarctica!

Solve the world's problems---easy, just read my 2225 blogs!

So I have written 2225 blogs over the last 4 years! Using a very crude guess, that is more then 500 pages---a book indeed; one in which so many topics are covered, from those that a silly, angry, political, sad or WTF! I love writing blogs. Yes, I know many of them contain typos, errors, terrors and outright stupid mistakes, but I make no apologies for that. It is all part of a process whereby I use the theory that 'practice makes'--approaching --oh I cant say perfect, because that would be the lie of the century. Above all I do it--because I can and yes, to push whatever book I am have written. Has it helped? Yes, a bit, but nothing beats the 'professional,' paid for services of using a publicist. However, in a sense, I am my own publicist. I try to make my won opportunities and if there is anything 'trending in the news,' I jump on it, if it has anything that connects to my books, primarily ROSKILL. Some of you may have noticed that if there is an item in the news about Methamphetamine (P) I usually follow it up with a commentary and then link it to my book. That was the advice form one of the publicist. I had sort of figured that out myself. I have also noticed and appreciated the backing , support and comments, links and discussion some of you have entered into. I accept the criticisms and sometimes rebuke for my statements. I don't apologize for them, because I have deliberately 'provoked at times, in order to start a discussion. If that causes 'issues,' then I ask those who have been offended to---look within!. I have changed my mind on issues, simply by reading some of your responses and I think you for that. When I can NOT change my view when presented with the opinion of others, it is time to biff out the keyboard! I have had about 133,000 hits on my blogs and they are all linked to FB and Twitter, so God knows how many people are actually reading on a regular basis. look forward to continuing my 'epic-bog-novel' and invite you to comment and hey---join me. Have fun! www.authorneilcoleman.com

Nigerian Government seems incapable of dealing with Boko Haram.

Without a doubt Boko Haram is running amuck in Northern Nigeria. It seems that the government is either incapable or unwilling to take on this dangerous and barbaric group or both. WHY? Now that the situation is back in the headlines, we are seeing images of total destruction in the north, combined with massive losses of civilian lives. What possible 'electoral' gain does the government see by its lack of effective action? Reports that the BK armed groups are better armed and trained than the forces the government puts up against the terrorist group are very worrying. Does the government have a plan to simply 'cut the north adrift,' and go it alone? That would not of course stop the BK as they have an avowed ain of establishing Sharia Law on all of Nigeria. In the meantime, we see and hear that the Government forces are putting up little effective resistance to BK, leaving civilians in the north feeling unprotected against the kidnappings, murder and destruction of property by BK. The Nigerian Government is reluctant to accept offers of military assistance. Are we missing something here? Perhaps it is a reaction to past 'colonial' experiences. What is certain is that the people are losing confidence in the central government; a situation that does not bode well for the future of the nation state of Nigeria.

Sons of Orpheus---what's going on.

I am not sure what is going on re my unpublished book, Sons of Orpheus. I have been putting up some chapters to see what would happen. I must say that it is in a format that is not pleasing. I was intending to 'fix' that but didn't get around to it. Those of you who have been reading it probably get a little exasperated by the lack of formatting. Most of the hits have come form the USA, so am wondering if it has garnered some support form there. I would dearly like to have it severely edited but I can not afford that or to put t through the self-publishing process. It is a huge book of somewhere around 700 pages. I try to reconcile the situation by claiming that it was part of my 'learning process,' a naïve attempt to enter the world of 'writing,' or as I feel now---story telling.' Of course, if Roskill sold thousands of books, both as a hard-copy version or as an EBook format, the situation could change. I will put up a few more chapters and please---feedback needed. IN the meantime, you know what to do---help me to get the word out there, re Roskill. Yes, they are very different books but here's hoping. It was great to get an order from a NZ distributor the other day for Roskill. Sure --only ten books, but hey---who's complaining? not me! www.authorneilcoleman.com

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stingray causes a stir down at Onehunga Bay. Leave it alone!

Opononi had its dolphin and until someone killed it, it enthralled thousands. Now, Onehunga Bay has its very own stingray, causing a different kind of 'stir.' Today was a perfect example how something so simple can bring people together, cause excitement and teach people about the more simple things in life---for free. Watching the stingray is free and so should be the 'beast of the bay'---free to roam and cavort in the shallows, entertaining the people and the 'dogs.' Today I sat in the shade of a tree at the far end, watching as this 'submersible dreadnought' ploughed through water and then disappeared----momentarily. It's ghostly shadow, flew beneath the surface as gulls, Terns and Shags dived to retrieve silvery treasures. Yes, the bay was alive. People talked---they seemed happy to show their kids and it was so easy to just--- hang around, beneath the Pohutukawas , the beautiful New Zealand Christmas tree that has now shed its glorious colour, leaving us to wait for another 'showing' in 11 months. There is a darker side though. I talked to a gentleman who has concerns about the 'safety of the dogs.' He was worried that one of them, or a child might stand on the ray. I do not know if his concerns are valid. I know that Perdy watches the ray as it flaps close to where we were watching the action. She turns her little head in that quizzical way that dogs have, as if to say---what the hell is that? Kelly Tarltons say that the ray will leave when it feels like it. The council has put up signs asking people to leave it alone. I know dogs can be unpredictable and that kids if left to their own devices are also capable of putting themselves in danger. It only takes one stupid action to bring about a crazy and unnecessary reaction from a 'well-meaning' member of the public. The man I spoke to said that he wants to catch it and let it go on the other side of the motorway. Will it not just find its way back into the bay because it has discovered a rather lucrative little hunting ground? Tine will tell, but I hope that we can enjoy Mother Nature for a while yet. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ISIS, Boko Haram and their like---what really gets me about them is------

Without a doubt 'most' people in the West and a good deal of the rest of the world have negative views about the two groups, ISIS and Boko Haram. There are other groups that follow similar pathways. We see from time to time, commentary that tries to explain or paint these groups as some sort of 'spawn' from the intervention of the USA, with the CIA, FBI and other organizations being blamed for the rise of the aforementioned groups. Western Colonization has also been blamed. OK, wherever the truth sits--let's leave that aside for the moment and examine the 'practice' or reaction of these groups. Leave aside the quasi-religious 'justification' for their actions and look at what is happening on the ground in the areas they operate. How can they say their cause is 'just' and that the kidnapping, murdering, enslaving and torture of those who happen to be in their way, or who do not follow the same 'faith' or version of that faith as they do, is justified? It seems to matter little whether their victims are young old, male, female--the result is the same. It has been said that they hope to divide a wedge between the nations who oppose them and that by creating such suffering, people will turn to them, out of desperation. Perhaps they have overestimated the efficacy of their policies and underestimated the anger and fear they sow as they go about their slaughter. Instead of 'driving' people to their cause they are more than likely bringing about an 'alliance of nations,' and people, many of whom have been opposed in the past----together. Russia, the EU, the USA and even China and India have been on the receiving end of the actions from these groups or their allies. Look back into the past and it is not hard to find 'temporary alliances,' formed out of necessity, in order to defeat a common foe. The reasons behind discontent in the regions where these groups have formed will be lost as the attention falls upon the barbaric acts of ISIS and Boko Haram. Whatever message they had that had any validity, would have been shot down by the very nature of the way they force that message. The sad fact remains, that the inequalities that breed extremism, will still be present, because the goal posts have changed and the same old forces who have controlled the wealth of regions and nation states, remain as they always have. The poor will remain so and dispossessed people will still have no place to call a nation state. There will be other ISIS and Boko Harams and they will continue to 'wax and wain' as history repeats.

Monday, January 12, 2015

US Central Command's Twitter account hacked. Makes one feel confident.

So an ISIS Hacker or someone close to them was able to hack into the Twitter account of the US Central Command. OK, I am not sure as to what that august body actually does but it does bring up the question that if such an attack occurred, what the hell else are these groups able to do? Are they also capable of 'entering' really sensitive military industrial complex sites and wreck havoc on a scale we have never seen before and enact pathways that are truly dangerous. I am sure there will be many who have a rather wry expression on their faces as they think only of the 'embarrassment' that the said actions have caused and have not thought through just how serious the ramifications are, so hate filled are they re anything to do with the USA. If the proverbial shite hits the fan, they too will suffer as yet more bombs, suicides 'going to heaven' actions are perpetrated in the name of 'religion.' I do not trust the 'targets' of the actions of these attacks to any degree that leaves me feeling comfortable, but I feel a dread as to what the hackers and their backers are possibly capable of. The 'skills' needed by them are no longer 'owned by the forces they oppose; indeed even the Kingdom of the Dear Leader has the skills to play the game as it now exists. There is no longer a Nuclear Umbrella to hide under, no certainty that vast military assets will keep a nation safe. The 'playing field is not only on a more level basis but totally unpredictable expect in the fact that 'all bets are off!' Extremism in all of its forms will be the winner! It will take more than 'millions on the streets of the family of nations,to bring about real change. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Is it just me---or is there a real issue re the power dumping aspect of my nearly new Samsung 5?

Yeah, here we go gain. Many of you know about my issues with my Windows 8 or is it 8.1 or is it somewhere not quite 'either?' let's put that conundrum aside for a moment and introduce yet another 'Neil' issue with technology. My Samsung S% is only a few months old and it has developed this maddening quality whereby it suddenly 'dumps' the charge---it goes from about 45% charged to stuff-all. Yes, I understand about my Jack Russell and kids having hissy-fits but this is an extremely annoying quality that I would be most happy to have resolved! Am I doing something wrong? OH---it gets hot too and I don't understand that. For what has been labelled a quality phone, one would assume that issues should few and resolvable. If any of you kind readers of Roskill, my blogs and other utterings on FB have an idea---one that will forestall my proposed visit to Vodafone tomorrow, then bring it on. OK--I expect a few 'insensitive' remarks re my lack of knowledge about the described issues, but hey---give me credit for attempting to be part of this new, sometimes unkind 'techno world.' I do not wish to return to the world of 'smoke-signals' or using two cans connected by a long piece of string. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Aeropress makes a bloody good cup if cofee if you do it right!

How many of you have spent a lot of money on an expensive coffee machine, maybe over $1000? Then you have to get it serviced quite regularly or it just doesn't do the right stuff. Maybe you brought one of those cheap ones from a discount store an sure---its makes good coffee for a while, but then gives up the ghost after a year or so. Perhaps you just get sick of cleaning it all the time and keeping it in good order. I have an Italian model and I no longer use it. I am going to sell it on Trade Me for a very small reserve. WHY?---that's easy ---I brought a Aeropress for about $70.There is nothing inherently wrong with my flash machine, it's just that the cheep AP one does the job just as well, with of course the addition of a frothing machine for those lovely 'Flat Whites' or Cappuccinos. Wanna know more abut an Aeropress?---just Google it. You can buy them at Cafes or get one off the net. You can also check out how to use one by watching the sites on the Net, but I have been taught by a friendly barista, how to get the best out of the machine. Firstly---the AP only has a few moving parts and it is all plastic, apart from the paper filters or the permanent mesh ones, if you choose that. It is simple and easy to use. People say they cannot get a 'crema' using it. Well that is wrong. I can! Not having a crema does not affect the flavour anyway! Here's how to get the best coffee. Heat water to just under boiling point. Place your espresso ground coffee (note--it is not a plunger that uses a coarser grade--it must be fine!) in the 'Press' not the actual container that has the filter. Drip the hot water in and slowly add the rest of the water--to the strength you want the coffee--single or double and only make one cup at a time---better result. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, while the milk is frothing in the machine of you want the milk. Then--pout the coffee into the container and push slowly down with the plunger-pod. This replicates the action of an espresso machine. You will see a think crema coming out at the end. Sure it dissipates quite quickly, but a crema it is! Add the milk and the result is as good as and often better than many coffees from cafes and it is a lot cheaper. If you like a 'long Black,' just add more water. I bet this post pisses off some of the manufacturers of the flash coffee machines. That's OK, they don't live in NZ! I love my little Aeropress machine. Easy cleaning, easy storage and bloody good coffee. Make sure you use good beans though. I get mine form Eden Coffee and Tranz Café in Onehunga. www.authorneilcoleman.com

France represents a pivotal time in the history of this endagered planet.

France has been deeply affected by the events of the last few days. The murder of the employees from the magazine and of other hostages taken as terrorists 'make their point,' is not going to cower the French people. Whether their reactions are totally based on a just cause will no doubt be debated, in many countries, most of whom are watching closely as the French respond to the attack on their country. France sees itself as being at war. They see their cause as just and will push aside some of the contributing factors as to why things have come to this sad state. French Muslims will be feeling particularly uncomfortable as they hide away, in the vast suburbs they inhabit, ones full of despair---one reason for the tension that France feels. However most the 'underlying causes will be put aside as France unites, to try to understand, but above all, rally to a clarion call from the very base from which their 'Republic' was formed. 'Freedom, Fraternity and Liberty,' will be the cries, albeit in French. The terrorist have not gathered support they would have hoped for, for their cause; indeed they have 'pricked' something very basic in the French Psyche, something just as powerful as any dogma promoted by the killers of innocent people. That is not how the terrorists and their supporters see things of course. They hark back to the 'insult to the prophet,' and to the murder of innocent peoples in the countries from whence they arose; countries or parts of countries equally under the collective 'yoke' of despots, criminals, clerical fools and big corrupt business and Royal families. Sadly, we are going to witness more, not less, war or peace, more destruction, retribution and the lessening of freedom within the countries under attack, as Governments try to find a away forward, to identify the terrorists, using means that affect the freedom of other dissent voices. We are all the losers in this epic battle. It is about greed, control, perverted religious dogma, capitalist underpinnings and human failings---the biggest of which is the 'lack of tolerance---on both sides. Is this a negative and overly pessimistic posting?---YES IT IS! I fear for the future of human kind and that does not even bring other environmental battles that are being lost. It seems that humans are concentrating their failings in massive ways; violence,repression and ignorance being the weapons of choice! If there was ever a more pivotal time in our collective history, then this must be right up there. www.authorneilcoleman.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Attack on 'freedom of the press' or on somehting that is not right. France bleeds!

The attack on the magazine in Paris with the resulting deaths of at least 12 people has caused a massive reaction around the world, even within Islamic society. This magazine has been around since the French Revolution and it is well known for its satirical style, one much loved my many, for generations. The attack has struck a deep chord within French society and much of the world. It seems that this process is picking up speed as the world awakens to the tragic news. It may well spur the French to take measures that will not appease sectors of the French population. It is for this reason that I have fears for Muslims in France, the vast majority of whom do not support the actions of the 'attackers.' The attack will play into the hands of extremists in France--on the right and from other groups who do not like the 'New France.' The belief in France that 'freedom of speech,' is paramount is not one that Islamic groups can live with. Any writing, art form or 'political espousal' that is seen as demeaning the 'Prophet,' is given as reason for such actions we have witnessed in France. To the majority of French people and those of other countries, portraying religious or political figures in a less than positive light, is seen as 'part of the jewel that is freedom of the press.' That other religions, including that of the majority of French people, Catholicism, also come in for ridicule at times, and those who are uncomfortable with this, can hit back---in appropriate and legal ways, does not have acceptance from extreme Islamic groups. Examples of other 'intolerances' of criticism of religion, can of course be seen in other countries who follow other faiths--Thailand, Burma etc. It is the 'inability of other groups to 'not accept' any form of criticism that leads to these acts. One wonders what will transpire in France as a result of these attacks. There will be a reaction; one that asks some basic questions about just how far 'freedom of the press' can be taken. How much responsibility must magazines and other media forms take for 'how far they go' in their 'expressions of freedom?' Is there a balance. It seems that the editor of the magazine has often said that 'I would rather die than bow down to groups trying to curtail my right to speak out.' I am concerned that now that he has achieved that status,' he will have awoken a feeling amongst French people of all persuasions that 'enough is enough.' The 'right' will respond and use this for their own political aspirations. We do not have to look far to find other examples whereby politicians have used angry public opinion for their own ends! I watch this space, in this time with a great deal of apprehension! www.authorneilcoleman.com

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Lizard Cafe in Whatawhata--a good place to stop.

New Zealand's 'café scene' is no longer the realm of the cities and tourists areas. It seems every small town or village can boast a reasonable café these days and about time! If you are off on a trip to the 'out of town' places and you feel like a 'hit of caffeine,' then give in to it and find a nice place to take a break. Get out of the traffic and help to reduce that road toll. We don't need more deaths so take that break. If you happen to be driving towards Raglan or places further south, then why not make that place The Lizard Café in Whatawhata. The blokes there are friendly and make a nice coffee. Explore just beyond the back door and you will find a lovely secluded and shaded garden area. It used to be the Garden Bar I suspect, but it makes for a very pleasant space where you can smoke if you so desire or let the kids stretch out. Better ask the owner first though! I didn't eat but one can get a good breakfast and the counter food is fine. I hope that we as Kiwis and you very welcome tourists take advantage of these 'hospitable places.' You will be pleased and feel like continuing your journey. Just be careful of that huge 'Lizard' in the entrance. I suspect it is from the 'Island of Dragons' in Indonesia! www.authorneilcoleman.com