Monday, December 21, 2009

Welfare in Christchurch

The thought struck me that the Christchurch family which featured extensively in the CHCH Press today needs that $1000 a week to meet their mortgage payments on the collection of properties the are reported to own.

Mealtime in the Shrub

A few days after my last post HeShe dissappeared and there is something suspiciously like a spider's leg caught in the web .... well that's what the female of the species do, so I guess HeShe was a He.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HESHE alive and spinning

This morning I looked for the corpse of Heshe when I took my shower and it was gone and a few inches away was this small spider hanging out on its web .... wunderbar!

I know female spiders eat their mates but I hope this is not what happened and it is Heshe alive and spinning :-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Spider in my Shrub

A few days ago I encountered a very small spider crawling around my shrub. Not a 'money' spider, a bit bigger than that but only as big as my little finger nail with legs extended. I don't love spiders but I don't hate them. Generally speaking I pick them up with something and take them outside, the bigger ones anyway. I've had one on me when drying myself ... it had been hiding in the towel on the rack ... I didn't exactly like that.

Anyway this spider a few days ago was crawling around the edge of the shrub and we managed to avoid each other as I showered and heshe was still going well and I left heshe to it. Next morning heshe was part way up the wall in a corner fairly close to the shower rose and seemed to stay there, apart from crawling out of heshe's hammock to hide in the corner an inch or two away.

I was fascinated how it could climb the smooth wall of the shower and complete with safety rope when heshe slipped and fell an inch or two ... really amazing capability ... I thought of my son and DiL who go rock climbing.

Today I was looking for heshe but couldn't see anywhere hanging on the wall so assumed had found somewhere else to hang out. After washing I noticed a small black thing floating in the water and thought "Oh NO!" .... but without my glasses I can't see very well but I put my finger under it and it seemed to cling to it and I raised it to the shrub ledge and gently shook it off. Even with my glasses I still wasn't sure and it wasn't until I got my trusty Nikon 5700 complete with 2 dioptre CU lens out and had blown it up in my editing programme [ PSP] was it clear that it was the corpse of my freindly spider .... I felt rather sad at my carelessness in not seeing heshe on the floor of the shrub and helping heshe to safety .....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today's Photo ---

One of two shots I took about the time that 'The Walking Bus' was being proposed and the in thing. I guess all these children belong to Mum and maybe not going to school but to a form of 'home education' :-)

Hasan's PTSD

Some people are quite sarcastic as to how a guy who hadn't been there could be suffering from PTSD. I'd suggest that it is quite possible for somebody who is a sensitive character to be inclinded to the Medical profession to get the disease second hand from listening to all the terrible stories of those already suffering from PTSD. Add in the fact that he is of the Muslim faith living in a country where quite a few of the hot blooded rightwing consider the situation on a par to the old saying about the American Indian " A good one is a dead one" it is an impossible situation for the man to live under. Shackled to the army becuase it paid for his medical education ...a possible senario my son was considering way back ... I thank everything that is good that he made it without selling his soul in that manner.

I commend a NYT Op-Ed ...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

An egg at 18 Miles

NYT 8.11.2009 ....“What have the Americans done in eight years?” asked Abdullah Wasay, 60, a pharmacist in Charikar, a market town about 25 miles north of Kabul, expressing a view typical of many here. “Americans are saying that with their planes they can see an egg 18 kilometers away, so why can’t they see the Taliban?”

Trouble is they can see the egg but not inside to see if it is addled or not.

Another quote ....With less certainty about America’s continued commitment, there is a growing sense that the only sure way to peace is through negotiations with the Taliban. “They are the sons of this country, it is right to negotiate with the Taliban,” said Mohammed Younnis, a shopkeeper in Charikar who sells tea, sugar and grains.

“This government is Afghan, and the Taliban are Afghan; they should build the country together,” he said.

Out of the mouths of the not so young?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Denver's "Main Street"

There is a suggestion for Wellington to close off Lambton Quay, Manners Street through Counrtney Place to traffic. I guess likely traffic would cross it at various places. I think it is a great idea and is what I found in Denver Colorado where I was able to travel into the city centre using light rail, parking my car next to a railway station in the suburbs and then found buses running up and down the "Main Street" which were free.
The first two at nearby Boulder.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Damm Lies or mis leading statistics

Currently there is a hell of a beat-up going on about Rodney Hide taking his partner on an overseas trip at the tax payer's expense.


I could well be wrong since I don't have the imternet skills to be sure of how to find the official info and if I found the whole truth at

>>>UPDATE ... I have had a horrible thought that the Parliamentary sites strictly record MP expenses but ignore those of spouses/partners ... so maybe the journalist who wrote the original story is a hell of a lot cleverer than me and deserves my apology.<<<

However there I found simply $26,872 as Cabinet approved overseas travel. I found no confirmation that a similar amount had been spent by the taxpayer for Rodney's partner ... so suggestions of the trip costing $52T is creative accounting/journalism [ of the worst sort].
Rodney has apparently spent $9920 on accomodation in Wellington
$12015 on Domestic air travel
$26233 om surface travel for Minister Spouse [Partner?] staff.
making a total $48865

Disclaimer ... I used to be a vocal member of the Act Party about a decade or so ago but gave that away around the turn of the millenium. I also once had a drink with Rodney though since I don't normally shout drinks Rodney's drink was paid for by another Act member, I paid for mine and my wife.

I also think it quite reasonable that a hard-working minister should have a perk or two to compensate him for the stress of ministerial life without petty bizibodies jumping up and down. So good on you Rodney.

The American Right -- a whacky cult

I think this quote from a NYT Op-Ed sums up my feelings about the American right and their supporters elsewhere.
>>>The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true.<<<

I have been accused of having no principles becuase of my moderate approach to subjects ... but without moderation how can the differences between right and left be resolved. I am happy to be in the middle becuase I can see merit in the NZ context in both the policies of ACT and the Alliance .... the parties which I choose between over a decade ago. Both seemed to be plugging for the 'Responsible Society' I believe in. It was a case of which was more likely to succeed. Time has shown neither making it but the Alliance is history while ACT plugs on and is part of Government ... admittedly a small part which happilly for me means that their more extreme aspects of policy cannot proceed.

'The Respopnsible Society' is an expression I found many decade ago in a book by Dr Bill Sutch, a supposed Communist and Russian spy/agent. What didn't appear in the book I think was the problem for the RS is that for it to work the populace must be also responsible. Society [ the Government structure ] cannot carry the whole burden without help from its members.

I think I do have an underlying principle and that is a utter disgust of the extremist in the mirriad of forms they appear.

Central Otago Railway --- 130 years

At Labour Weekend the Taieri Gorge Railway celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Central Otago Railways openning. The TGR runs a daily tourist service on the remaining sixty miles it owns of the 240 original miles of the COR. This enables walkers and cyclists to connect with the Central Otago Rail Trail which is the beof the railway and enables one to walk/cycle to Alexandra.

RM57 crosses the Hindon Road/Rail Bridge

The TGR ran special trains over the weekend with the return of Railcar RM57 after a thirty year absence. I remember being part of a group from the Otago Model Engineers who made one of the last trips the railcar made thirty years ago. My wife and son were with me.

Helping RM57 with the runs was the Pacific 4-6-2 'Sharon Lee' making one of her quite frequent trips to Otago although for the first time being able to make the trip on the TGR through to Middlemarch with the restoration of the turntable there.
Here she hauls out of Dunedin Railway Station.

A woman's burden --- PTSD

As women join men in the 'War on Terrorists' and the nature of the struggle means the 'front line' is where you happen to be, and women experience traumatic scenes which remain with them after demob to upset and disturb their civilian lives. But are not readilly recognised by civilians who stayed at home. I found this story quite disturbing and worth reading for my education on the matter.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Omnivore and Global Warming

It depends on what you eat rather than turning vegetarian that makes you responsible with regard to global warming. An Op-Ed from NYT.

The 'do-gooders' are at it again

This report tells of a new requirement coming into force in the United States which requires all toys to be tested for harmful content ... a result of the lead scandel of a year or two ago. Consumer Groups are pushing the law despite the harm it will do to backyard producers and stores selling their products who use safe products.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mixed Gender Juries

From Heather Roy this piece ...

On October 26 1942 the Women Jurors Act came into effect. This meant for the first time, women aged 25-60 could be included on the jury list on the same basis as men if they so desired.

Driven by the demands of war on the country and the fact that so many men were serving overseas, this Act was one of a number of historic milestones achieved for New Zealand woman during the 1940s. It was only a year before - in October 1941 - that New Zealand's first female police officers completed their training.

Despite the passing of the Women Jurors Act, however, very few women actually added their names to the jury pool. This lasted until 1963, when the Act was amended so that the names of all adult women were added by default - however they still had absolute right of refusal.

Over subsequent years the jury responsibilities of men and women have been equalised. Today everyone enrolled on the Electoral Roll, aged 20-65, and residing within a specific distance from a court is required to attend if summoned. If they wish to be excused, they must prove that sitting on the jury would cause them hardship or serious inconvenience.

It's a far cry from the statement of New Zealand's first ever female juror, Miss ER Kingsman, who suggested that one day New Zealand might even have female judges - an idea considered completely outlandish at the time!

Single's Advert .... Atlanta Times

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy, I'll be waiting....
Please scroll down ....

[[[[[[[ If I could copy it you would see a beautiful black labrador bitch but sadly I can't copy it off the email I got.]]]]]]

Over 150 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society.

If you don't pass this along, a dog
Will come out and pee on your computer

[[[Well I did try .. sorry doggies :-) ]]]

Over 150 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society.

If you don't pass this along, a dog
Will come out and pee on your computer

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's Photo -- Dazzle

RIPA for Big Brither

I dreadful case of official powers and how it was missused, though of course the authorities say is was perfectly kosher .. they would wouldn't they.

A woman';s activities surveyed covetly for three weeks in connection as to if she and the family were living within the 'school district' for entry by her daughter.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today's Photo -- Chips Flying

Festival Week and the centre of town is closed off for demonstrations

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today's Photo --- A bug

This poor fellow was happilly asleep in the garden until I dug himher up in mid winter and brought himher in to be photographed ... at the time I was dead keen on getting juicey close-ups of the natural world. Himher is a cicada I believe.

Child suspended from school for drawing a gun

Crusader Rabbit reports a 12yo boy 'doodled' what looked like a gun so the school suspended him.

When I read reports like this I am more and more convinced that we as much as the schools have lost the plot with regard to punishment. A strap or two, the cane once or twice and the school has expressed its disaproval of whatever the child has done ... but suspension interupts the child's schooling, and that is what a child should be getting, discipline not freedom to play the streets.

Schooling is an essential part of growing up and it is immoral to interfere with it.

The teacher with sense and concern for the welfare of the child would encourage the child to improve on the drawing until it was better 'than just a doodle' and the child has learnt a skill.

That teachers are in the main female these days and may not have the ability to physically discipline a child then a solution could be to employ a 'school marshal' to maintain order and administer punishments. The way communities used to have marshals and sheriffs before our modern law enforcement system was established.

Crusader Rabbit of course goes on about the weak and wippish left wing teachers but we should remember the abuse that rightwing teachers inflicted on their charges. Common sense determines that we shoukld aim for a middle path with this as with anything. Extremes are the bain of our civilisation.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today's Photo -- "Brighton Beach'

Brighton is down along the southern coast from Dunedin. Used for horse training and walking. Maybe some surf fishing not that I have seen that taking place on my visits. Rather different from the UK Brighton which is stoney gravel beach if I remember from my youth.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Today's Photo -- "Beat the Clock"

An annual event as part of Festival Week here in Dunedin is a race around the Octagon as the Town Hall clock strike ten of a morning. The idea is to do the circle before the clock finishes the chimes.

An effect of the Israeli blockade

On the Gaza Strip there is a Zoo which wanted a zebra. However the cost of smuggling one in through the 'tunnels' is prohibitive. So the zoo painted stripe on a couple of donkeys. It is not as far fetched as you might think becuase in the local lingo a zebra is a 'wild donkey'. One can only hope that somehow in the not too distant future sanity will prevail to give the Gaza residents free access in and out of their country so that proper zebras can join the zoo along with lots of other benefits of living in a free country that the rest of us experience. Gaza is Israel's concentration camp. Sad that a race which suffered so much from such things imposes one on others these days.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The cost of drop-outs to the Nation

A report published and reported by the NYT suggests the cost to the nation of young Americans dropping out is nearly $300,000 each with blacks much more likely than whites or hispanics.
I wonder what the figures are here in New Zealander and for pacific islander/maori?
The potential for un-skilled workers is drying up. People worry about the situation but surely the answer is to send them back to school, not regular schools where they are likely to be the dummies in class but special schools designed to cater for their needs and potentials. Better than putting them in the crime university ... prison.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blogged and Sold

That is the title of an Op-Ed at NYT which reminded me of a period in my past.
The Link ...

Back when I joined TVNZ my mentor was Don Montgomery and he used to get quite worked up when the numerous 'stringer' cameramen happilly included a firms name or advertising sign in their shots. TVNZ had but one cameraman in those days and relied upon casual cameramen around the country for coverage. Our job at Head Office News was to re-arrange items from around the country, there was no network in those days, for distribution to the centres that had not already seen it 'last night'. We also received items from around the world for use on NZTV. Now the point to Don's irritation was the fact that in his earlier life when working for Pacific Films his livelihood depended on only showing things in the background which had been paid for in some way. I remember one shot Pacific had in a sequence at Trentham Racecourse in which a Tip Top truck slowly arrived at the main stand, nothing to do with the story of course.

They Rave On

From the UK via Crusading Rabbit ...
A jobsworth ambulance boss refused to allow his staff to enter six inches of water to treat a man with a broken back - because it breached heath and safety.
Stricken Brian Bendle, 45, suffered the agonising injuries as he stood in shallow water at a leisure lake in Somerset.
He was waiting to take his £10,000 jetski out onto the water when he was hit by another rider travelling at around 50mph.
......They floated the dad-of-three in the six inch ankle-deep water, where they supported him until an ambulance arrived amid fears moving him would aggravate his back injury.
But they were stunned when a paramedic arrived and refused his pleading staff to enter the water - because they weren't trained to deal with water rescues.
They had to slide a spinal board under him themselves and carry him to ambulancemen, who were stood on the bank just 6ft away.
One onlooker said: 'The paramedic wouldn't treat him.
'Two colleagues arrived in an ambulance but he stood in their way and told them, 'I'm incident commander - you aren't getting into the water.'
'The ambulancemen were pleading with him. I reckon a good ten or more minutes were wasted.'
Steve Cox, 47, who runs the Middlemoor Water Park in Woolavington with his wife Julie, said: 'The first bloke insisted they had to wait for the fire brigade.
'He kept saying, "Health and safety won't let me get in".'
......A spokesman for the South West Ambulance Service said only fire crews were trained for water rescues.
He said: 'The incident was managed in accordance with procedures.'
CR comment ....
"in accordance with procedures"...that bland, meaningless, gutless response of bureaucrats the world over.
This, in a country where ordinary people once tore through the rubble of unstable and dangerous bombed buildings with their bare hands to rescue survivors....
What have we come to?

But what CR ignores are the reasons why these people are scared to NOT follow procedure... becuase somebody will complain and expect damages to compensate them for not following procedure. There is nobody to blame but ourselves for the way we have screwed up the system in our desire for SOMEBODY to look after us.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Healthcare should be a moral consideration

"A healthy body can be a more rugged individual"

Another view of the American Right

From Paul Krugman ....
The key point is that ever since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has been dominated by radicals — ideologues and/or apparatchiks who, at a fundamental level, do not accept anyone else’s right to govern.

Anyone surprised by the venomous, over-the-top opposition to Mr. Obama must have forgotten the Clinton years. Remember when Rush Limbaugh suggested that Hillary Clinton was a party to murder? When Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those Medicare cuts? And let’s not even talk about the impeachment saga.

The only difference now is that the G.O.P. is in a weaker position, having lost control not just of Congress but, to a large extent, of the terms of debate. The public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern.

The whole article

Sky is not 'free to air'

It is quite wrong for Maori TV to go for the World Cup becuase for all the Minister for Maori Affairs says Sky is not free to air ... you cannot pick it up with a regular TV set like I have .. you need extra gear to do so. Not that I will be wasting my time watching the silly games, likely by then I won't be watching any TV becuase I don't see any point in spending money on something which I watch just half an hour a day. ... but it is a mis-use of public funds.

Originally I only bought a TV as it was the cheapest way to get a monitor when I bought a video camera, and it is several years since I last used that thing too :-)

Paul Krugman on the American Right

Commenting on rightwing comments about 'America loosing the Olympic Games for Chicago'

"So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.

But more important, the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America."

It also is an apt comment on the likes of Crusader Rabbit who deleted a comment from myself .. something they crit the leftwing blogs for doing but apparently are quite capable of doing themselves.

My comment was "America has not lost the Olympics, it has just gone south"
America is more than just the United States and it seems fair to me that it should go to a continent which has not previously hosted the games ahead of one which has hosted it three times already.

Those Poor Animals

I believe that it is very painful for cows who are not milked and have to retain the milk in their udders[?]. I can understand that human life is important but surely the answer is to provide bodyguards for farmers to milk their cows. Bringing in extra police or the army. Could also be a problem with farm storage tanks being full and then the problems if the milk is run onto farmland and polution of waterways. Altogether a complicated situation. Compounding all is the practice of people saying "Why didn't they do SOMETHING" when a farmer gets shot by the person being searched for ... which is what this thread is doing of course ... but those poor animals depending on us humans.

Update ... at lunchtime Tuesday I heard a report from Fontera that Police had escorted farmers to milking last night, while I had heard earlier in the day, perhaps a dammed provocative advert for one of RNZ 'news' programmes where a farmer was complaining at the lack of help to milk his stock.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The United States popularity in the world

This article from the New York Times starts with a quote about how unpopular, the least popular nation actually, the states were in 1926. That was despite coming to the rescue of France in 1917 to end WWI.

This unpopularity is repeated in 1943 in the UK and perhaps can be summed up by the popular Briutish quip of the time "Ove Paid, Over Sexed, Over here". Perhaps heaven forbid that the States should retreat back into isolationship.

I have thought for some time that the very struggle to make a place in their society and the character it develops is the problem. The successful tend to strut about with a superiority complex, justified by their success which permits them to travel the world, but which makes them unpopular.

The article points out that people prefer to be givers rather than receivers. Perhaps if we provided free travel and hospitality to Americans we would like them more.

I have American family members and like them a lot, have travelled quite a bit across the States and met very few with who I didn't get on, but it doesn't alter my reserve about America and my intense dislike of the American accent on radio and TV.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Smudge's Operation

Smudge has a problem with being a white cat and having me as a caregiver. Firstly she is likely to get cancerous growths on her ears and I don't see how it is possible to apply sunscreen as suggested by the vet. Little do the vets know how difficult an old lady she is at 13 years. I was supposed to give her anti-biotics and no way husay will she permit this. Put it in her food and she ignores it ... remove other food and she is prepared to starve for at least 24hrs until my conscience pricks me and I give in. The Vet gave me tablets and then there was another $33 as we tried liquid .. squirt it into her mouth using the eyedropper ... you're kidding lady! Anyway she appears to be recovering well without and simply eating her biscuits.
"So Much For YOU! "

This is the second time she has needed to have her ears, just the one ear this time, due to growths.
"You KNOW I don't look good and YOU Take PHOTO's of me in THIS CONDITION! Humans! "

Today's Photo -- "The Start of a Dream"

My memory is like a sieve but I know it was south west of Colorado Springs across the mountains you can see in the background. It suggests to me that the pioneering dream of a place of one's own is still alive and kicking in the States with this tiny house on what in New Zealand we call a landscape block [ I think :-) ]. Behind the house is the road north to that fascinating natural phonomenum[?] of a sand dune in the midst of fertile [relatively so anyway] country. I happened to past this house three times during my stay in the States and finally got this photo. Nearby I experienced an interesting aspect of American driving. Most places on the open road you find the posted speed limit ignored. But just east of this the heavy truck and trailer unit which had overtaken me WELL OVER the limit slowed to the restricted speed through a small township. I guess, and my son who lives in the States confirmed my impression that likely the local cop would be witing to catch a speeder to help pay his wages. Speed all you like on the open road and through cities, but WATCH IT through small townships :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rationing Health Care

There are various ways of doing this. In the United States which spends twice as much on health care as the next they still have around 20% of the population without insurance, and even those with it have to fight an industry determined to not pay unless they really have to to make profit for shareholders. In countries with government schemes it is rationed by the need to wait for care. They allocate certain resource and that is it, with wastage on beaurocratic rivet counting to ensure there is no wastage, with an army of bean counters wasting resources which would better be used getting people better or teaching people to lead a healthy lifestyle.

In all countries if it is an accident or emergency you get it fast, but it is elective surgery that gets pushed back.

I think the problem is largely the selfishness of people who are not prepared to pay through their taxes to provide the money needed to run a full and speedy service. They would rather get all hung up about terrorists and weapons of mass destruction and go off on wars, recently, Iraq and Afghanistan instead of looking after their own people. Or within the nation want more road and other non-important things built and paid for.

Then when rationing occurs we have conflicts between peoples objection to dying before their time and doctors desire not to 'loose' a patient, beaurocrats conflict over 'wasting' money of the terminally ill to keep them alive a few more days or weeks. A question of quality or quantity. Really if people where more pragmatic and accept that their number had come up. But to do that they need to have had a satisfying life. Personally I have had a very good life, it could have been better in some respects, but generally I'm not complaining. If I had to take drugs to cope with unbearable pain I would wish I had the option of quietly and painlessly going to sleep for good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today's Photo --"The Committee Disaproves"

A grumpy lot this crowd!

Why have we been forced to pay all this money?

We have a problem here in Dunedin. The stadium being built at a cost of $200million, plus interest, and with little likely custom when built, is supposed to be built in time for the World Cup games. It had to be built becuase the House of Pain was unsuitable. However if the new stadium is not complete we are assured the WC games can be held at the HoP. Makes me wonder why we need to spend the $200Mplus in the first place.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My one and only speeding ticket [to date]

Back in my young tear away days, everything is relative, when I worked for Television New Zealand and was in the Head Office [Wellington] Newsroom [ Bowen Street opposite the Reserve Bank] [ Richard Prebble's swimming pool at a later stage] there was a ceremony at Government House and later around lunchtime the Gov Gen was to visit the actual Station WNTV-1 [ or was it WNTV-2 ... long time ago 1964 or so ] Dowling Street rings a bell.

Anyway the idea was that as the editor responsible for cutting the film I had to go out to the National Film Unit in Miramar [ Where I gather Peter Jackson enterprises now hangs out ] and pick up the film and bring it back to TV News next to Parliament Buildings. Of course things ran late and I had been given a false early deadline by my damm fool supervisor, no names no pack drill,so I was in a hurry. Actually innitially I was doing 60 in a 60 area and approaching an intersection at the end of the runway. In front of me was a cop car indicating a left turn so I charged past him across the empty intersection. Clear visibility in all directions. [ If you cannot trust a B&W to go where he was indicating who can you trust? ] Of course my car was a TV one and the other younger tearaways [reporters] were always speeding on news stories etc so it was a red rag to the traffic cop. [ In those days TVNZ had just two staff cameramen, one doing doco's and one for News, I was part time cameraman too when not editing] He came after me and I foolishly, or maybe in the long term sensibily, kept my speed at 35mph until the Haititai [?] Tunnel when he pulled me over. Gave me the option of dangerous driving across the intersection or speeding at 45mph. I took the latter and went to court, never thinking to get a lawyer and perhaps having the cop on.

Judge Scully on the bench, his daughter had worked for HOTV News with me before going on OE, and I listened to a lawyer defending a truck driver with ten years driving experience and first time up. My turn came and I started that I had more years experience and Judge Scully quipted " But not the first time you have gone over the limit ". Obviously correct and I didn't know what to say.... Jeez! ... the Court had a good laugh and I then made my excuse of not wanting to keep the Gov Gen waiting to see the film of him and was fined three pounds and thirty shillings costs.

Pretty light I guess but I think I earnt about 20 pounds a fourtnight in thos days.

Traffic fine whingers

Crusader Rabbit complains about getting a speeding ticket returning from a shopping trip.

I do not subscribe to 'speed kills' either but neither have I ever had so much money to waste it on paying fines. After all it is the 'Stop that kills' not the actual speed. Unfortunately the modern car is easilly capable of going over the limits designed for the average incompetant and in-attentive driver. But of course that isn't you, or me, just the other guy :-)

But I remember driving in the States [Denver] doing 15 MILESph over the posted limit in evening rush hour traffic and a cop on the side of the road waving his hand up and down ... so everybody pulled back to 10mph over :-) When in Rome etc. It was scarey and fun to be doing 90mph on a two lane motorway in the little Honda Accord lent to me by my daughter-in-law. Or through Denver doing 70mph and have a truck and trailer unit overtake on a four lane cross town motorway.

It is an attitude to life. Gone are the free wheeling days when the world had a 'small' population and everybody could do what they wanted, if they could get away with it, like Alexander marching through Turkey and Persia and Pakistan where he got a bloody nose and the like. There are too many people on earth, for us to survive, there have to be guidelines and the intelligent person obeys them out of self discipline rather than because there is a black and white around the corner.

Another less noble reason for my record* is that I generally speaking have never had vehicles which wanted me to exceed the limit by any great amount. I remember getting the 120Y up to 130K overtaking but I have always been happy to cruise within the '10 plus' of the speed limit and my current SUV is happy to be in the 'under 10' until she warms up on a long trip. Just as my son visiting from the States [ I paid the fine for him, his mother didn't want to open the letter after he had returned :-)] did 41K at the wrong time so you did 42K I guess for a similar fine.

What does get my goat is the stupid cop behaviour of giving tickets for two or three K over the limit. So far I have not encountered that thank goodness.

It is not a question of 'civil liberties' but rather of self discipline and many these days seem to think solely of ME and MY wants.

*60 years of driving with one speeding ticket and five parking fines, the last one about 25 years ago maybe further back, hard to remember when. Wife was in hospital and I forgot it was friday night and meters went till 9pm. I'll post separately about the speeding ticket and fine.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's photo -- Say ARRRGH!

This character was a grumpy old male with a harem and was a bit annoyed at this dam fool homo sapien who got too close to him.

All alone on one of Dunedin's beaches and of course the tog had his digital camera set to give a one second review of the shot just taken.

So it was a considerable shock to see him lunging for me. Fortunately he wasn't that keen and I managed to get out of reach, though it was close!

But despite the stupidity of the tog it is a nice shot and the best he's got apart from another where the animal was asleep just a few meet away from a busy path across the sand down to the beach with HSs passing every few minutes.

"Curves" gone to top of page for some reason Grrr!

Cyclonic drain

The link which Blip gives us doesn't explain why the direction of rotation changes with the depth of water in the shrub.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Student riots

I have been disgusted with the amount of broken glass and burnt patches on the roads around the 'student' area of Dunedin when I have needed to travel though it. The shortest route I used to take. Firstly the burnt patches destroy the road surface and need to be patched at expense to ratepayers of whom I am one directly, though renters pay through their rents too.

We have our Mayor going on about drink, and the Police saying without the Christchurch visitors it wouldn't happen ... both obvious and valid arguments. But what of the argument that visitors to the city spend money.

Not knowing much about the law I assume that if there is a congregation of people drinking and organising bonfires on public streets the Police have to do something about it. There is also the safety aspect of fires spreading to houses, though I don't think that is a very serious and likely problem. So lateral thinking suggests to me that the Council should arrange the closure of sections of Castle Street for the weekend. They often close off the central portion of the Octagon. So it is not a public street, the police do not need to don riot gear and approach students, the fire brigade can simply watch from a distance, and the students can drink and burn and other activities to their heart's content.

The other proviso is that the student organisers organise a bond to pay for cleaning up and resurfacing the road. Media could also be required to pay to cover the 'event' becuase I'm sure their presence helps to inflame the situation.

The student organisers should think up a better place than the Edgar centre for a concert becuase I am not suprised the centre management declined to have a drunken mob spoiling their carpet and other likely problems.

My cyclonic shrub

In case you don't know, though I guess you do, in the Southern Hemisphere wind, and water, circle around a low pressure area in a clockwise direction and in an anti-clockwise direction around a high pressure area.

My shrub must have its own peculial pressure system as when it is say 35mm deep after a shower and I remove the plug it quickly adopts an anti-clockwise rotation. Then when the water is down to about 10mm it stops and adopts a clockwise rotation.

I am pretty sure this is a daily demonstration to me of the cyclonic principles. When the pressure of the water trying to exit through the drainpipe is high there is the anti-clockwise swirl and the pressure difference changes as less water remains.

It puzzled me for ages until I hit on this explanation. If I swirl the water around in a clockwise direction I can upset the natural effect but otherwise this happens every day ... fun eh :-)

Friday, September 11, 2009

United States Health battle

How terrible it would be to live in a country where for all the other benefits you could be one of the 46.7million without health insurance. That is 15% of the population. Where one side, the current government is trying to do something about it, while the opposition engage in lies and hysteria trying to scare folk away from what should be a common right in any civilised country ... the right to be brought back to health if and when one falls sick or has an accident. Without crippling bankrupting cost. I doubt if many would argue against the principle of spreading the risk through car or building insurance yet the 'right' argue against applying the same principle to health.

At least with Medicare the aged and Medicaid the very poor are cared for and there are state and city run programmes but insurance should be, though often isn't, a guarantee of care in times of need. So that 15% is simply the proverbial tip of the iceberg. How fortunate we are in New Zealand to have universal health care despite our problems of access to elective surgery at times ... I guess that I am lucky that to date I have been looked after when I needed it, which is different from wanting it. We have a very good health system though without doubt it could be better.

Today's New Yor Times editorial

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Undemocratic System --- Wards

It is socialistic tripe that the ward system is best for the little person. Do we really want the unsuccessful 'little person' to run our councils? I have lived with the ward system for a good number of elections here in Dunedin and it is a frustrating dis-enfanchising system. Originally I was in a ward with two members, then I moved to another with just one. This means that really voting in council elections is a complete waste of time becuase even if my candidate won they would be just one of twelve. It stops me helping to elect across the council the prospective councillors who think the way I do. It is a complete socialistic lack of democracy. Amazing that a National government proposes it for the new Auckland Greater Council.

The Right's FEAR of Socialism

Aparently President Obama is going to give a speech about the importance of education in the coming week, at a school and available to any school that wants it.
But the 'right' is afraid that he will spout socialist stuff in it and are trying to stop children from watching. I guess the 'right' in their ignorance simply don't want future generations to be knowledgable, to make up their own minds between the common sense of the right versus the socialistic twabble, that is when the 'right' do talk common sense instead of bigoted twaddle and outright mistruths that the extreme right , like the extreme left, are so fond of. Because they cannot win their argument with the truth.

NYT link =

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gasoline $4 a gallon

Bearing in mind that the American gallon is a little less than four litres and the exchange rate ... oh the poor souls ... that's about, or less, what we are paying today. But of course most of us have reasonably sensible cars rather than the typical American gas-guzzler, and maybe for some of us the distances are shorter.

Drivers to distraction

A frame from a four minute video that you can watch on YouTube to see with all the horror of the young woman texting on a two lane road, drifts across the road into oncoming traffic, crashes, anather car hits the mess and full of horrible scenes.
After seeing 'District 9' the other night, first R16 film I have been to see in years, I wonder if the viewers are getting the message or rather looking for some 'good' gore.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It is fun [crazy] running a blog

Indeed ...I try to answer somebody who has grace to visit this blog and felt enough to contribute ... thanks :-) ....but when I try to add my bit to their comment it turns out that it doesn't recognise the password that I sign in to start a thread with .... MAD!

I'm not too worried about getting spam or junk mail ... I seem to recognise it and just a click and it is gone off my e-mail. While the 'No Junkmail" sticker on my letter box seems quite efficient ... perhaps too much so ... I rarely get either of the two free newpapers in my area.

The only thing which IS bugging me slightly is the Wine Society. I spent up prior to last christmas on presents for family and some people who had done me a big favour [ they towed me and my yacht to safety from moderately rough seas ] and so the WS think me a greatpotential. Only I'm not and quite happy to dilute my case red with tonic. Principly to keep my intake of alcohol within the drivers' limit ... quite like the taste too. So since I am ruining the taste why spend up on it :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let's bash the Muslim lover Obama

Happened upon Crusader Rabbit complaining about Obama speaking favourably about the Muslim in the United States ... suggesting he was a left wing extremist or a covert Muslim. really they are just so foolishly one-eyed you have to laugh at them. Well I do anyway.

As to if a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian , a 'whatever religion you like to insert', is good or bad largely depends on the human being involved. The major religions have a commonality of goodness but it is the way the human interprets their religion or uses it for their person benefit or depravity that warps the basic concept.

It came to me that todays crusaders are using their strength in a similar way to the Christian knight from western europe who went to palestine. The English got their noses blooded, then the Russians tried with similar result, and now the Americans are trying in Afghanistan with I suspect equal waste of energy and lack of result, thats from the western point of view. I suspect the only successful invader of that region was Alexander the Great and he just passed through ... sensible man.

Another thought on that country ... the people need an income ... they grow poppies ... instead of burning the crops why doesn't the 'west' let the crops grow, be harvested, and then buy the finished product. That way the Afghans have an income to buy western goods, improve the standard of living, be lesser a prey for the extremists ... and the west can destroy the poppy product if they don't want it to destroy their culture by turning them into a nation of drug users. I think it is called lateral thinking.

Shopping Bags .. the Plastic ones

Oh the innocence of people … “I’ve never been charged for plastic bags!” … you have been paying for them, and the paper bags, when you bought the groceries. They are part of the overheads which contribute to detirmine the retailers margin. The 5c or 10c is simply a penalty for being lazy in not bringing your own bag to the shop, like we did in the old days when we had a wicker shopping basket et al. I have four green bags and a bluegrey one given to me by Rockgas when I bought some equipment. They are very useful for carrying things around quite apart from groceries, such as tools and library books.

Somebody suggested holding up the queue by refusing to pay for bags .... I doubt if that will happen because just as when I only took one bag with me and bought large I was permitted to take the balance of my purchases, un bagged, out to my car on the trolley. Out at the car I packed my groceries into the other bags which live in my car along with all the other stuff I carry around.
I thought it rather nice of New World to give me five bonus flybuy points becuase I brought my own bags last month.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Message from a concerned American doctor

Fear and Loathing in America: How to Sell Health Care Reform

I wonder if anyone has considered shifting the focus of the healthcare reform debate? It might seem to those of us who support health care reform that pleading the case of 47 million uninsured Americans and the many millions more who are underinsured or bankrupted by previous illnesses is sufficiently heart wrenching to rally people to the cause. The problem is that the demographic who watches Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh without recoiling are reflexively persuaded that these uninsured are mostly "ne’er do wells” and “illegals" who are living off of their taxes (even if they, like their spokesman, Joe the Plumber, have failed to actually pay the taxes whose ill use they lament). A much more compelling sales pitch can be made for the other major components of the proposed healthcare reforms, i.e. cost-containment, preventive medicine and improved outcomes. Even the most hardcore conservative can support a reform that aims to find the cheapest, safest way to give granny the best treatment. None would support a system that instead gives granny the treatment which is most lucrative for the doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical company or insurance company. If Bubba realized that this is what we currently have, he could more easily be rallied to the cause.
So why aren't we rousing the granny loving masses with true tales of the endemic dangers in our current healthcare system? Fear and anger are remarkably effective mobilizing tools. Fear based tactics have worked well for Republicans on many occasions, even when used inappropriately -- it is what got us into Iraq without weapons of mass distraction or links to Al Qaeda, allowed too many of us to accept torture and wiretapping as okay sometimes, and it is what has undermined healthcare reform efforts as far back as 1915 when opponents were able to sabotage the establishment of a national health insurance with claims that this was a plot by the German emperor to take over the U.S. Visceral fear invoking rhetoric represents the single greatest threat to health care reform today if those of us who know we must reform don't get our act together and focus Americans fears on genuinely terrifying stuff. It will not avail our cause to simply whimper about the disingenuous fabrications from the likes of Fox News or about certain Republican Congressmen’s refusal to disavow propaganda and entirely untrue rumors. Of course, the Conservatives are attempting to “Swiftboat” the effort. This is what they do, this is their best opportunity to hurt Obama …and it will work if our only response is to cry foul.
The sad truth is that there are many real reasons for Americans to be afraid of our current healthcare system. We are killing grannies every day and we are bankrupting our country doing so. Proponents for reform need not resort to cruel and dangerous misrepresentations such as depicting efforts to encourage end of life counseling via physician remuneration (something every sane and caring physician supports) into death panels which incentivize doctors to suggest that granny snuff herself. The debacle we call US healthcare offers no shortage of real horror tales. Most tragic amongst its shortcomings is that our “healthcare” system infrequently delivers health-- We rank last amongst Western nations on nearly every measure of quality and yet our system costs twice as much to operate and the cost is rising by over 7.7% annually. For all this, our outcomes are deteriorating across nearly every disease category. Rates of diabetes and obesity, the two diseases placing the greatest financial strain on our healthcare system, are rising at alarming rates in both adults and children. Our children are projected to have shorter life spans than we currently enjoy secondary to tripling obesity and diabetes rates over the last 30 years. If nothing changes, the only thing projected to slow this process down is genetics. One analysis reckons that the only reason that the 30% of 6 to 11-year-olds who are obese has not risen further in the last few years is because every six to 11-year-old with the genetic propensity to be obese is obese. This is a disgrace and a true pandemic. Diabetes and obesity are nearly 100% preventable with diet and exercise. Surely in this advanced day and age, there is some way to design a healthcare system that incentivizes all of us from doctors to government and insurance administrators to patients and employers to figure out how to get up off the couch and eat more vegetables? Shouldn't this be the focus of our efforts to improve health rather than idiotic gadgetry driven diagnostics such as correlating expensive pictures of atherosclerotic plaques to risk for heart disease? Would not a an old-fashioned, thorough history about lifestyle habits such as exercise, diet and chill out methods be just as predictive, less dangerous and about 20 times cheaper? Equally illogical is to continue spending enormous funds on pharmaceutical development to treat diseases for which we already have a perfectly adequate arsenal of drugs and for which we know that no drug regimen will be nearly as safe and effective as dancing and eating some beans and broccoli. When the solution is so simple it seems hard to believe that we can all be so sick and getting sicker. The problem is that we have a "healthcare system" that incentivizes sickness care more than health care. The financial rewards for increased medicine (MRIs, procedures, dialysis, surgeries…) are much greater than the financial rewards for performing good medicine such as preventive counseling or adherence to state-of-the-art protocols. It is for this reason that there is an estimated 17 year lag between a new medical discovery and implementation unless this discovery is a lucrative procedure or medication. Keep in mind that this implementation lag results not only in failure to utilize helpful treatments but failure to cease utilizing harmful treatments. This distorted system results in too many situations in which granny receives treatments that are neither the cheapest, the most effective nor the safest. For instance, if granny goes to the hospital following a heart attack, even if she is one of the patients for whom evidence-based protocols recommend a relatively cheap and safe regimen of medications followed by cardiac rehab rather than an angioplasty; in many parts of this country, she is likely to undergo the angioplasty with its related risks, because this procedure will pay the hospital on average 40% of $20,000. By contrast, opting for the evidence validated safer protocol of medicines and rehab will cost the hospital approximately 11% of its expenditure on granny. It is this reality about which people should be enraged and afraid --not Sarah Palin’s imagined death panels.
As physicians and other concerned citizens who genuinely care about granny it is our responsibility to join the effort to pass meaningful health care reform. This means reform that achieves better health with minimal harm along the way. Since this route usually also involves the lowest tech, most lifestyle based interventions it is also the cheapest. Our current healthcare system is terminally ill—it has become so distorted as to lose track of the only truly relevant outcomes. Number one --do the patients undergoing the intervention feel and function better without a pharmacopeia so obtunding that motor vehicle operation ought not be allowed. Number two -- are the patients who underwent the intervention less dead than those who got no treatment or other treatments. Reform can be accomplished in a highly sustainable fashion. Furthermore I believe that making these changes will reinvigorate physician’s commitment to their craft. Few of us would object to working in a system which supported good medicine and thereby, happier, healthier patients-- even if this meant slightly less pay. Believe it or not, most of us love medicine more that money and lament the formers demise.
Virtually no other business model would tolerate the lack of quality or quality controls seen in our healthcare care system. If a widget making company was spending more and more on R&D and its widgets were becoming increasingly wonky, somebody would look into the data to figure out what was working and what wasn't and thus produce less wonky widgets. The only thing that would interfere with such a logical course of action would be a situation in which multiple powerful industries had grown up in the capacity of maintaining wonky widgets beyond their wonkily shortened life spans. If the various spring makers, ball bearing re-surfacers, lubricant specialists and so on stood to lose significant revenue on less wonky widgets which required less maintenance for longevity, then they would do everything in their power to sabotage the creation of high endurance, low maintenance widgets. This is, unfortunately, where we are in medicine. A few very powerful players—Big Pharma, some procedurally oriented physicians and hospitals, surgical instrument and other gadgetry makers –have a very strong interest in keeping us wonky. The studies of treatment efficacy proposed in the reforms are not in their best interests. In the meantime, the rest of us are literally dying to know what works.
Our current disaster management model of medicine is the least effective, least kind and most expensive way to do things by every assessment. Without reform, the economic viability of our nation and the viability of our people are imminently threatened. Americans should be afraid, but their fears should be of real bogeymen not socialist rationing, death panels or fascist takeovers. To paraphrase my hero, Jon Stewart-- while the language in the health care proposal may be complicated and open for interpretation; is it the least bit realistic to believe that the interpretation which would be chosen at the impetus of the government, would be the one in which doctors are compelled to push euthanasia on elderly folks?! Perhaps under a Cheney administration, but otherwise this is absurd!
So let’s get our troops in order and make sure that healthcare reform passes and that that the reforms transform our sickness care system into a healthcare system. Let’s stop whining about the misuse of fear and anger and appropriately focus these emotions. Fear and anger mobilize people whether aptly or illegitimately used. We have legitimacy on our side. So let’s all collect factual anecdotes and data illustrating the dangers, costs and glaring inefficiencies in our current system and inundate the people with this information. Let’s rally influential, well respected celebrities from all walks of like to the cause. Healthcare reform is arguably the most important issue facing this country. The system must change. We have the technology. So let’s go and scare the hell out of folk’s in the name of good medicine, good living and good healing. In a properly reformed health care system granny would get the colonoscopy she needs, be spared the colonoscopy that's more likely to harm than help, and if she is diabetic she would be treated early with diet and exercise counseling. That way, if she likes them, she'll get to keep her kidneys and feet. Oh, and for the gazillionth time, if she likes the current insurance administrator that stands between her and her doctor she can keep him too. And we'll all live healthily and happily ever after.

Lisha Barré, M.D.

A Little Train Show

Last weekend, after an 'absence' of several years, I helped run one of the Model Railway layouts working at our Little Train Show. Over the years I have travelled with layouts, my own and club layouts to Invercargil, Timaru and Christchurch to help provide a better show than just what the 'local guys' can come up with. Layouts which because of the originator's own ideas are a little different.

I do this principly to help raise funds for the host club but the thing I remember most is the happy faces of children as they are introduced to the idea of model trains, the sheer enjoyment as they either stand on chairs to look at layouts wrongly designed for the operator's convienience, or else held in the arms of Dad or Mum, or often this year it was grandma and grand dad, I guess mum and dad working to make ends meet or just to have a little rest from the kids.

One of the problems of course is the wish all children have to TOUCH and this is a NO NO as far as modellers are concerned, the trains are expensive and easilly de-railed, the layouts the result of many hours of painstaking work. Some years ago our club was given a sheet of plywood onto which a scale image of a railway had been pasted. I organised legs and edging and laid three rings of track to match the image. Other clued up members built a triple control system with separate timers for each circuit. The first few years we ran this we charged/asked for a 50c donation with total proceeds going to a child charity. These days, years, it is just open slather as the kids roll up.

As far as touching most children are pretty good and understand the 'no touch' rule. Perhaps they have not learnt to dis-obey their guardians. I remember one little boy, happilly standing taking in the layout I was running. I was obviously just a little nervous and kept an eye on him, out of the corner of my eye etc. But he didn't touch UNTIL! Grandma came back and in his enthusiasm he pointed to something on the layout ... WHAM ... grandma's hand came down on his. I was very sad at this un-needed smack.

Another time I was running a railway at "Santa's Cave" and an older boy put something on the track .. silly idiot he didn't look around to a few feet away I was keeping an eye on things. I just coughed, or something like that, and he looked up at me and promptly removed the stick or something he had placed on the track.

But these are isolated cases from hours of running.

While a lot of club members come along every week to run their trains on club layouts, clubs do not have many or any trains of their own, for others it is the creating of a miniature piuece of railwayania which is the main point of their interest and keep on adding to layouts until there is nothing more to do, whereupon they start building another. I guess I fall into that later group and only run for the benefit of the Club.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baby Farms and Nit-pickers

I followed a link to Crusader Rabbit and found one comment which rang a bell with me. Basically it ran that Maori have all 'this' money spent on them in the way of welfare and housing etc [ in the main they are the underdogs of our society] they are being given huge sums of money as redress for their treatment by early white settlers and yet they still want more. I guess that they really are no different from poor whites.

The problem is that when you believe in looking after the less fortunate you just have to do that. Reading a breakdown of support given to one family the largest amount was to look after the children and while at first glance $1250 a week for a deneficiary family seemed 'easy' money I think it is what we just have to do to protect the younger generation until one can educate the less skilled to be more than baby farms.

In this socialised age there is absolutely no need for a couple to have a large number of children. The original concept which still applies in countries without social security is for the children to look after the parents in their old age.

A side but important point is that the world simply doesn't need all these extra mouths to feed and use up its resources required for a good standard of living that we know in 'the west'.

Another thread was by some woman critisising the Obama 'machine' in the extravagent way that it operated when Obama came to a small town ... She is right wing and blamed it on the left. But it struck me as I read that she sounded exactly like some of our left-wing nitpicking nutters on blogs like 'The Standard'.

Link for last post

The disgusting carry on one sees on some website suggests to me that a number of talented people have pretty low and crude standards. The NYT today runs a story about the woman who slagged another woman

The Venom of the web

The disgusting carry on one sees on some website suggests to me that a number of talented people have pretty low and crude standards. The NYT today runs a story about the woman who slagged another woman

Monday, August 24, 2009

Officially it is closer to 6.7%

Which is a bit larger than I originally worked out .... more fluff on the tail wagging the dog.

She Who Must Be Obeyed -- SWMBO

"The Devil in Me"
She has her own webpage at

The desire for the Veto

When the United Nations was set up after WWII the five major powers decided that they needed to have veto powers in the Security Council so none of the upstart wog nations could over rule them when they were pushing their barrow. To my memory only once has a country missed out, when Russian Minister Gromyko was out of the country, when North Korea invaded the South and the rest of the world, unhindered by the Soviet Veto went to her aid. Though I seem to remember the Soviets as the ones who most used their power I also remember the other countries have exercised their vetos not infrequently. So my feeling is that the Veto is an undesirable tool used by the powerful to go against democratic principles to further their own ends.

Listening to Pita Sharples saying how Maori have been consulted but never getting their way suggests to me that he would like Maori to to have reserved seats in not only the future Auckland Council, but every council in the country, and likely the next stage would be for the minority Maori councillor[s] to have the power of the veto over the other councillors. It is simply not what should happen in any democratic country.

That is the problem for minorities and I'm usually amongst them with my voting, submissions to the RMA etc, but its democracy, the will of the majority. It has its faults but there is nothing better as I believe Winston Churchill said.

Instead of bleating around Maori should get themselves organised, instead of relying on the 'people of the land' argument, make good and valid points relevant to the 21st century in such a way that the majority find for them instead of whinging on about the whitey monied class running over them. I call that racism but of course that term is only applied when comments are made about coloured peoples. That may happen with a conscience vote in Parliament, if so then so be it, democracy has worked and Rodney Hide can withdraw from Ministerial office. I hope he doesn't becuase there are other situations apart from Auckland that need his attention.

The tail wagging the dog

I won't go on about the smacking business becuase I have said enough on other blogs and likely will continue to do so but here I would mention a thought which came to me after hearing the dismissive Green's spokeperson saying the ref was pointless becuase only 54% participated. Maybe a goodly number were spooked by the damm fool political leaders rubbishing it .... pity.

However if you relate the 11% of 'yes' votes to the 54% of voters you find that they comprise just under 6%. From the enthusiasm of the 'yes' camp I'm sure a greater proportion of them voted than the disinterested and 'no' camps. So it is all rather telling. Truely a vocal tail wagging the dog.

Visitors to this site

Thank you for bothing to let me know that you visited BLiP and Patricia. I note your baseline Patricia and one of my continuing hobbies is Model Engineering which started here in Otago with OO trains. Built an 8x4ft layout for my son and my wife said it had to be capable of being operated by him and his best freind. So I was dumped in from the start with double pole switches to assign sections to a pair of controllers and then reverse loops. But because my lawyer invited me up to his home to see his layout I got a thing about being as close to scale as possible and I found that the Darjelling Railway, 2ft gauge, has a 50ft radius curve, which is quite possible when working in OO9. So I am I guess a 'narrow gauge nut' from the '70's:-)

Otago Model Engineering of which I have been a member for thirty years plus now has three basic groups and to break the 'monotony' of one discipline members do other things so I have a workshop and owned for awhile a 5" gauge electric loco ... carefully modelled on a shunter from the East African Railways ... so far away no rivet counter could see what I had done wrong.

At the same time I am also 'into boats' with various successful and not so succesful radio controlled craft. Awhile back the Boat Group made a 'run' of 22 quarter-scale jet boats. Each participating member had a job to do 22 times. Not being very skilled I spoke up quickly and got the job of making the motor mountings, first making jigs to ensure each of the 8x22 bits were standard. Others has much more difficult jobs such as converting the air cooled weed-eater 30cc petrol motors from air to water cooled. Another job was casting in aluminium the actual jet drives. Subsequently some have added a working reversing shell like the prototypes have to reverse the boat. This drops down and sends the thrust of water forwards under the boat. The completed boat has driver and co-driver modelled and dressed appropriately

Currently I seem to be back into OO9 and N gauge. The advantage of being in a club with numerous layouts is that one doesn't have to find room to have one at home. There is a fixed OO/HO/S scale layout, The latest N layout which fits a 6x4ft trailer with it's storage frame to hold the three sections. We are having a 'Little Train Show' next weekend 29-30 August and other layouts have been modified from our OO and N portable layouts. We also have a drive yourself for the children of any age.

That N layout used to be a 26 module to international standards and toured around the country ... originally parts seen in Auckland but other times normally in Invercargil and Christchurch. Supposedly NZR in 1/120 scale [ NZ120 ] inspired by the late John Rappard but with his passing it is just an N layout.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I've been banned --- yet again

I'm not sure that I am actually been blocked from the Queen of Thorns site but in her usual manner she has told me to f... off. One of her favourite words sadly which to me in my old worldly thinking shows a certain lack writing ability and limited vocab.

So this is the fourth or fifth site that I can remember. The first was years ago when discussing one of my hobbies of the time 'G Gauge model railways' and answering a post from an Australian I said something about convict decendants. The Site owner told me not to answer back after the Aussie protested, I did in the most innocent way, pleading it was meant to be humourous, and was banned. These days I make sure to insert " :-) " hoping that will soften the reaction.

About that time my interests moved from model railways and other engineering subjects, I'm a Life Member of my local Model Engineering Society, to digital photography and I became really enthusiastic about the new medium. This got on the wick of a very successful American running a MSN site. He was a professional getting upwards of US$5000 a wedding most weekends, such is today's wedding photography, when I did it I usually just got a pound to cover my expenses in getting there and commission on sales, but that was decades ago. Anyway he got very upset that I promoted the advantages of digital over film, probably I was a bit carried away though I had too shot film for several decades professionally and for home use and welcomed the new option. So he banned me. Organising it so MSN blocked me from his site. So I invented a 'new' me and returned to the site and contributed a comment or two. But the funny thing was that inbetween banning me and my return he too had picked up on digital for his work and was waxing on about how wonderful it was ... oh well, what the hell :-)
I left the site then becuase I was sure that by expressing my views he would tumble to me becuase a leopard doesn't change his spots.

Years ago as part of my english training as a photographer the class went to see the annual exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society. This was 1952 and it showed soft fuzzy 'artistic' work which to the class's eyes was very poor trained as we had been for the commercial world of crisp results. So I had a certain 'thing' about Photographic Societies and the people who take part. I related this on a NZ photographic website and raised the wick of a rather pompos gent from Tauranga who asked why vermin such as me should be permitted to infest the site. I was a personal aquaintance of the site owner and respect his work and I resigned before he could push me.

Banning or telling somebody to f... off if you don't like their opinions is really rather childish though I could see the point of a site owner with few members concerned that others would leave becuase of one member's comments. There are so many sites, and so many individuals, that wandering off is common as muck with the internet. One Aussie site used to boast it had grown from 700 to 7000 members during my membership before a new owner started to cull the membership, becuase of the 7000 I doubt if more than a hundred participated. the other 6900 had visited once or twice, most just to look, and moved on.

Crisis in the operating room

Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times relates the position of an Indian woman at child-birth.
I don't know how to give you the link but it was pretty easy to find, if you search with my title above. It tells of how the 'old women', the woman's in-laws who control her in Indian society, stopped her going to a hospital following her waters breaking. The cost was $3.75 for a taxi fare which for a family barely alive is a considerable sum .... but hardly much for a government subsidy to provide free transport to maternity hospital. Eventually the woman is taken to a local clinic and then the $3.75 is finally paid to take her on to a maternity hospital where it is found becuase she was too small the baby couldn't get out and she was operated on, saving her life because by then the baby was dead. An interesting twist was that the baby was a boy and if the 'old women' had known this the money would have been found.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Drinking a Russian under the table

My Grandfather was the champion drinker of the British Royal Navy Eastern Fleet. This was sometime between the Boer and World War One as far as I can work out. His ship was on a courtesy visit to the Russian Naval Base, maybe Vladavostock, more likely Port Arthur. The Russians had recently been clobbered by the Japanese and lost much of their fleet. Anyway it was decided that the champion Russian drinker and he would have a drinking contest. The last person to fall off their chair, each at the end of a long table, would be the winner.

The drinks to be the national drinks of each country in the world so one can image a hellish concoction going down their gullets .... whisky, gin, vodka, and others I simply don't know the name of.

Grandfather was rather nervous because the Russians have a name for holding their drink so he organised a plate of raisins and between each drink he ate a few raisins. This worked well becuase as he told my grandmother on his return to the UK he just remembered seeing the Russion fall off his chair before he joined him on the floor. He suspected that the raisins had absorbed enough of the alchohol to reduce the effect long enough to see out the Russian.

The sad tailpiuece to this story was later when in hospital with alchoholic poisoning and in considerable pain the Ward Sister organised a bottle of whisky to help him with the pain. But sadly it had no effect becuase he was completely pickled inside.

Binge drinking leads to women being raped

Picked up from Kiwipolitico or could well have been Cactus Kate ....CK writes a very good post on the subject, but originally from the DominionPost.
The Wellington Police spokesperson talking about women binge drinking and unfortunately then getting raped. Of course women should be able to walk down any street and not get attacked, but that is hardly likely to happen in the real world we live in and pragmatically women of all ages should take reasonable precautions to avoid such happenings. I certainly wouldn't walk some places at night cold sober, it is just common sense precautions.

Alchohol reduces our inhibitions and sometimes we make indiscrete actions ... likely sooner with a smaller female body than a large male with more bodymass to hold drink. So there is a double jeopody in the situation when the woman gets blotto in the company of a drunken male with inhibitions reduced, sexual desires enhanced, and she is simply being very foolish and asking for trouble.

It is pragmatism or common sense to take basic precautions and simply not put yourself in that position. It is tough when your peers are not using their noddle and you want to hold back but don't want to be different. But I think it is worth the effort to avoid the consequences, a baby, STD, or AIDS ... maybe all three.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Recently there has been the story about the Hamilton Council officials fining householders who sat on their own house roofs to watch the car races ....I though that only happened with Football in Dunedin "Scotchmen's stands" .... It seems to have blown over with horrendous fines being withdrawn and that disgusting situation you couldn't argue your case until you paid the fine ... talk about getting you be the short and curlies ... but to my theme :-)

Every time something bad happens there is the inevitable cry "Why didn't somebody do something to prevent it" .... forget about one or more fools jumping off the earth and getting their cum upance ... so the poor affected officials rush around thinking up yet more by-laws or laws to further hem us into the Nanny State.

It is our own fault becuase we ask for it every time, and so the obliging officials present new rules to their councils and parliamentarians. So next time ... DON'T COMPLAIN

My son got very annoyed when I didn't smack him

Many years ago when my son was about 7yo and he and I were at Coronet Peak I had a problem with both of us. He's now in his forties. We both used bad language and I felt this was undesirable so we agreed that when he used a swear word he would get a smack on the bottom and when I swore he would get five cents.

This worked well for a few days until on reaching the bottom of Happy Valley{?} he really tore into me saying I was a cheat and dispicable bastard. This was amongst a crowd and I was extremely embarrased. I'm sure that he picked his time for the outburst because he is a brainy so-and-so taking after his mother.

The problem was that I had been working a sort of profit and loss account in my mind, balancing my swear words against his. This meant that he was missing out of the five cents for my words.
I guess when you consider his mother had made him some very ample ski-trousers a smack through them was not to be bothered about but missing out of numerous 5 cents was a serious matter.