Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fletch Ten Great Songs You May Not Have Heard

Myself and a friend were talking the other day about songs we like that no one's ever heard before. You know the ones; obscure songs off albums that aren't hits per se, but that you always jump to when you put the CD on, or maybe bands you've never heard of. Anyway, here are 10 such songs on my iPod that I like which people may not know of. Got any recommendations of your own?

Something Sad, by Timothy B. Schmidt

Timothy B. Schmidt is, of course, one of the Eagles. He joined the band just in time to record The Long Run album, after which they all split up (although they are back together and touring again, sans Don Felder). This song is from Schmidt’s solo album ‘Tell Me The Truth’ released back in 1990. It’s reminiscent of the Eagles ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’ with beautiful harmonies. Yes, it’s pop, but nice pop.

Skeletons, by Rickie Lee Jones

The live version from her album ‘Naked Songs’. It’s just her singing while playing piano in front of a crowd. I’m not sure if the song is ‘true’ or not, but she sings it like she’s choking back tears – you can feel the emotion in her voice. If this doesn’t make you bawl your eyes out (or at least shed a tear) then you have a heart of stone.

Aubrey, by Bread

One of the most beautiful, melancholy melodies I’ve ever heard. I’ve played this for people often on the guitar. I remember seeing Bread years ago when they came to New Zealand on tour. At the time, Chris Knox reviewed their greatest hits album in the Herald and called this song, “sheer, seamless genius”. He was dead right. David Gates wrote the song after seeing ‘Breakfast At Tiffanies’.

Night Vision, by Suzanne Vega

A great song from Vega describing the world at night, and finding objects “through the grain” by feel and shape. A goose-bump inducing song and better than ‘Luka’ IMHO.

Prospero’s Speech, Loreena McKennitt

I first heard this song in an episode of Due South. McKennitt is Canadian but her influences are very Eastern. Prospero’s Speech is from the end of ‘The Tempest’ by Shakespeare, which she puts to music. Very beautiful and haunting.

Old and Wise, The Alan Parsons Project

The APP is best known for the pop of ‘Eye in the Sky’, but the pop description (and the joke about their name in Austin Powers) isn’t really fair on them. With their first album ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’ they put music to the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe with guest narration by Orson Welles. This song, from a subsequent album, is probably something I’d like to have at my funeral (although I’d replace the ‘shadows’ bit). ‘Bitter words that tossed and blew me/Like Autumn winds will blow right through me […] and the sadness would be lifted from my eyes/When I’m Old and Wise’

I Get Along Without You Very Well, by Diana Krall

Ok, so the song is a standard, off her album of standards, ‘The Look Of Love’. It’s not the vocal that makes this song though, it’s the strings by legendary arranger and conductor Claus Ogerman. They take your breath away.

Transatlanticism, Death Cab For Cutie

I got turned onto these guys from one of the soundtrack albums to The O.C. Transatlanticism is their best album IMHO and this title track is a great kind of anthem. It’s to do with separation and starts with the protagonist decrying the flooding of the planet because now he can’t walk to the door of his beloved because he cannot cross the Atlantic (finding it “less like a lake and more like a moat”). Sounds strange but it’s a grand track that starts off with piano culminating in a huge final chorus.

Say Goodnight and Go, Imogen Heap

This is from Imogen’s excellent album ‘Speak For Yourself’ from 2005. I have bought at least three copies of this album and have given some as gifts. I don’t know why the album is not more well known; those in the know rave about it. Imogen’s style is a bit hard to describe. The music is modern but unique; she has her own sound – a modern beat with digital noises that make an appearance and leave; tracks packed with washes of orchestral and breathy background harmony vocals; the vocorder used in a different way by itself (Hide And Seek). I would say that if you bought Speak For Yourself (which is pretty cheap at The Warehouse now), you won’t be disappointed. Jeff Beck contributes a guitar solo to this track.

The Sire of Sorrow (Job’s Sad Song), Joni Mitchell

The version of the song from her album Travelogue is best where she plays with a live orchestra. Yes, it’s Mitchell putting music to the Biblical book of Job, although she does paraphrase (“the janitors of shadowland flick their brooms at me”). It’s very well done, as Job pours out his heart to God accompanied by an almost cinematic orchestral score.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucia John Key and wife on the cover of the Aussie Women's Weekly


Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but when I saw the above magazine when I was waiting at the checkout at Woolworths yesterday, I thought to myself the picture of the Keys was chosen to elicit a specific response from women. And that response was not the one that I had, which was to think to myself that John Key is being made into some sort of Jamie Fraser character (many NZ women will know who Jamie is).

The image didn't work on me because I tend to notice body language rather than what the body language is supposed to convey.

I don't know, just having John Key running the country should be enough. Trying to let himself be made into someone NZ women swoon over is just too much.

ZenTiger Blog Verification Words

ATEIST

An atheist from Whanganui?

Monday, September 28, 2009

ZenTiger Maori Party Play the Blame Game


The Maori Affairs Select Committee today approved a request from Maori Party MP Hone Harawira to hold an inquiry into “the impact of tobacco use on Maori”.

“Tobacco kills 5,000 Kiwis every single year, more than 100,000 New Zealanders in the last 25 years alone. It’s time we held those people responsible for these tobacco deaths, accountable for their actions.

How can we if they are dead?

“This inquiry is New Zealand’s opportunity to have Tobacco companies explain their actions of promoting and maintaining tobacco addictions which lead to these painful deaths.

Oh, I see.

“We will also be taking this inquiry on the road to make it easier for whänau to attend, and I have no doubt that by the time we finally get the tobacco company execs in front of the committee, we will have gathered enough testimony to really take them to task.

Because it wouldn't be peer pressure that created a pressure to smoke? It wouldn't be the strong role modelling from their own whanau that could be considered part of the reason Maori choose to smoke?

“To be brutally frank I’d like to lynch these bastards,” said Harawira. “I’ve watched too many people die horrible deaths because of their addiction to tobacco, and I’ve seen too much pain and heartache in those left behind to want to be objective about this.

So, not an enquiry looking at all the reasons, just part of the blame game approach to curing "Maori problems".

And next, sue the beer companies because some kids father was a drunk? How about the Ministers of Parliament for not banning this drug 50 years ago? Where does it really end?

Role models, Harawira. Role models.




Update: Lindsay Mitchell has more of this madness very interesting idea around prohibition (in the "don't knock it until you've tried it, and no, I'm not aware of this approach having ever been tried before" classification), with a direct interview between Holmes and Harawira.

Harawira definitely thinks making the production and sale of alcohol and tobacco illegal is going to solve this problem once and for all. I'm a bit worried that he's forgotten gambling. Surely, banning pokies and horse racing would make it the winning trifecta?

Maybe he could just ban the sale of tobacco to Maori, and see how it goes?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fletch Nuclear Iran

YEAH RIGHT

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lucia Friday night free for all

The school holidays are here!

None too soon, really. I'm completely worn out this term. On reflection, it's most likely because at no point were we interrupted by illness or injury, and therefore were able to work, work, work.

Apologies to everyone that is waiting for an email reply from me - I needed brain space this week as well. Hence the lack of blogging as well.

How has everyone else been? Looking forward to putting the clocks one hour ahead on Saturday night? I'm not, getting to bed early is difficult enough as it is already. And I don't get to sleep in on Sunday mornings.

*Sigh*

[UPDATE] Just read an article on children being able to write text better using a pen rather than a computer. Something to do with the brain working in a different way. Hah! I am not surprised. My mind engages in a different way when I write with a pen. I find I can do quite a lot of thinking that way as well. So the trend to allowing children to use computers as part of normal learning will create even dumber students over the long term. That will most likely suit the politicians, but won't be so good for the children.

ZenTiger So long Sue

Sue Bradford is resigning from the Green Party. They seem to be a shade greener than they ever were already. This could be a good thing for them. It certainly makes me hopeful for the future.

Hattip: Home Paddock and NotPC

ZenTiger It's not carbon trade - it's carbon tax

At the most basic level, free trade has done much for civilizations. It gives people a reason to work towards peace rather than war. Free trade provides opportunity and with opportunity flows prosperity.

Governments regulate free trade so they can take a cut on the value of the trade and ensure reasonable standards (minimise unethical behaviour and prevent collateral damage). Those reasons are, in moderation, right and proper. Sometimes though governments interfere with trade simply because they are driven by other ideologies. Ones that do not connect trade with prosperity, but simply sees trade as unfair transfers of wealth on the backs of underpaid labour and incorrectly priced resources. Rather than looking at the terms of the trade though, some come to see trade itself as the great evil. Anyway, no time to go on a rant down that particular path.

Carbon "Trading" is really just carbon taxing, a new way for government to overly command and control what helps Nations prosper. Watch as the world leaders get together to promise a new era of trade, one where tax and regulation becomes the commodity, at the expense of creating real wealth. Watch protectionism soar, under the guise of this carbon taxing and the damage that will do to economies. No doubt, such damage will justify an increase in the same measures.

How will they get away with this nonsense? It's all in the pitch. Their mantra is designed to obscure this latest assault on a fundamental right of people to associate and trade with one and other: "We do it to control the weather. It is for your own good."

In the old days, it was "Your money OR your life". Now they want both.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fletch Czech President's Speech to the UN

As Andrei talked about in his recent post, the President of the Czech Republic gave an excellent (if hardly reported) speech re: climate change. I thought it worth reprinting the whole thing here. Sorry about any formatting issues.

Notes for the speech of the President of the Czech Republic at the UN Climate Change Conference *
Václav Klaus

Distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
As responsible politicians, we know that we have to act when it is necessary. We know
that our duty is to initiate public policy responses to issues that could pose a threat to the people
of our countries. And we know that we have to form partnerships with colleagues from other
countrieś when a problem cannot be confined to national boundaries. To help us doing it is one
of the main reasons for the existence of institutions such as the United Nations.
However, the politicians have to ensure that the costs of public policies organized by
them will not be bigger than the benefits achieved. They have to carefully consider and seriously
analyze their projects and initiatives. They have to do it, even if it may be unpopular and if it
means blowing against the wind of fashion and political correctness. I cońgratulate Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon on organizing this conference and thank him for giving us an opportunity
to address the important, but until now one-sidedly debated issue of climate changes. The
consequences of acknowledging them as a real, big, imminent and man-made threat would be so
enormous that we are obliged to think twice before making decisions. I am afraid it is not the case now.


Let me raise several points to bring the issue into its proper context:

1. Contrary to the artificially and unjustifiably created worldwide
perception, the increase in global temperatures has been – in the last years, decades and centuries – very small in historical comparisons and practically negligible in its actual impact upon human béings and their activities.

2. The hypothetical threat connected with future global warming depends exclusively upon very speculative forecasts, not upon undeniable past experience and upon its trends and tendencies. These forecasts are based on relatively short time series of relevant variables and on forecasting models that have not been proved very reliable when attempting to explain past developments.

3. Contrary to many self-assured and self-serving proclamations, there is no scientific
consensus about the causes of recent climate changes. An impartial observer must accept the fact that both sides of the dispute – the believers in man's dominant role in recent climate changes, as well as the supporters of the hypothesis about their mostly natural origin – offer arguments strong enough to be listened to carefully by the nonscientific
community. To prematurely proclaim the victory of one group over another would be a tragic mistake and I am afraid we are making it.

4. As a result of this scientific dispute, there are those who call for an imminent action and
those who warn against it. Rational behavior should depend on the size and probability of the risk and on the magnitude of the costs of Its avoidance. As a responsible politician, as an economist, as an author of a book about the economics of climate change, with all available data and arguments in mind, I have to conclude that the risk is too small, the costs of eliminating it too high and the application of a fundamentalistically interpreted "precautionary principle" a wrong strategy.

5. The politicians – and I am not among them – who believe in the existence of a significant
global warming and especially those who believe in its anthropogenic origin remain divided:
some of them are in favor of mitigation, which means of controlling global climate changes
(and are ready to put enormous amounts of resources into it), while others rely on adaptation
to it, on modernization and technical progress, and on a favorable impact of the future
increase in wealth and welfare (and prefer spending public money there). The second option
Is less ambitious and promises much more than the first one.

6. The whole problem does not only have its time dimension, but a more than important
spatial (or regional) aspect as well. This is highly relevant especially here, in the UN.
Different levels of development, income and wealth in different places of the world make
worldwide, overall, universal solutions costly, unfair and to a great extent
discriminatory. The already developed countries do not have the right to impose any
additional burden on the less developed countries. Dictating ambitious and for them entirely
inappropriate environmental standards is wrong and should be excluded from the menu of
recommended policy measures.

My suggestions are as follows:
1. The UN should organize two parallel IPCCs and publish two competing reports.
To get rid of the onesided monopoly is a sine qua non for an efficient and rational debate.
Providing the same or comparable financial backing to both groups of scientists is a
necessary starting point.

2. The countries should listen to one another, learn from mistakes and successes of
others, but any country should be left alone to prepare its own plan to tackle this
problem and decide what priority to assign to it among its other competing goals.
We should trust in the rationality of man and in the outcome of spontaneous evolution of
human society, not in the virtues of political activism. Therefore, let's vote for adaptation, not for
the attempts to mastermind the global climate.

Andrei Looney tunes at the UN

Big talk fest at the UN this week as I am sure you know.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon organized a climate change summit to break the ground for Copenhagen in December when everybody will get together again to set new greenhouse gas targets.

One lone voice of sanity from all of this - Czech President Vaclav Klaus who said
"It was sad and it was frustrating," said Klaus, one of the world's most vocal skeptics on the topic of global warming.

"It's a propagandistic exercise where 13-year-old girls from some far-away country perform a pre-rehearsed poem," he said. "It's simply not dignified."
His remarks don't get widely reported of course - he is drowned out by the babble of posing politicians issuing platitudes about getting together to address this problem.

And back here in New Zealand Nick Smith is pushing through the new ETS that will "better protect jobs and the environment".

And surely no one in their right mind can believe any of this hockum? There is no real way of reducing 'emissions" without reducing peoples standards of living back to pre-industrial levels. All an ETS can do at best, or is it at worst, is accomplish a transfer of wealth from the productive to the unproductive. Which of course explains its attraction to politicians.

So whats going to happen next - an agreement at Copenhagen? Targets that wont be met because they can't without substantial human cost and the growth of big Government?

Thats my guess and despite all that the posers do or don't do my pick is that we will still see snow on the Rimutakas in September from time to time, it might even have become a common occurrence for all I know.

But if you think the UN can do anything about what may or may not happen 100 years from now when they cannot even sort out the Southern Sudan today you need your head read.

Andrei Nanny Roundup

HP has a post about a guy who was refused service at McDonalds - for his own good of course.

KG notices a poll in the Herald in which the majority of respondents would like to see tobacco sales banned.

Lindsay Mitchell comments on a Garth George piece, also from the herald, in which proposes raising the age at which a drivers license may be issued.

Here is my contribution, a small town mayor in South Carolina who has banned the local police force from chasing suspects on foot after a policeman hurt himself, tripping and falling while chasing a suspect.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ZenTiger Tax money does grow on trees

There will be many examples of Carbon Tax insanity as the world runs like lemmings towards the high cliffs of Global Warming. Here's a new one that results in taxpayers spending an extra 800 million dollars in TAX PENALTIES on top of the cost of working to improve our forest land. This tax is payable because Department of Conservation decided to cut down what it thinks are bad trees so that good trees might grow in the same place.

The incentive to stop carbon pollution must be working. They've decided just to leave the bush alone. Pretty soon, we'll be paying fines if we pull up weeds to allow other plants to grow. This is what DOC are effectively being penalised $800 million dollars for. Although, it's not DOC's money, is it? It used to be ours.

The Department of Conservation battles every year to push back the spreading tide of wilding pines, spread as seedlings from poorly-located pine plantations. A lot of them are pinus contorta, written off years ago as not even useful for timber. They encroach on regenerating native forests and other ecosystems such as tussock lands and left alone can completely dominate. The problem is widespread east of the Southern Alps, from Southland to Marlborough, as well as in the Kaweka Forest Park (near Napier) and the Central Plateau. As well as threatening native biodiversity and iconic landscapes like those around Aoraki/Mt Cook, it has economic costs too. It reduces productive values of grazing land and, unchecked, will reduce the volume of water entering our hydro lakes.

However, controlling wilding pines on the 210,000ha of conservation land that is at risk is turning out to be an expensive job for DOC. On top of the cost of staff and transport and chainsaws and herbicide, they are now being charged a deforestation carbon penalty by MAF. Control of these weeds for the public benefit is being hit by the same rules as private companies who convert forestry to dairy.

For the first six months of this year, this cost DOC $811,000 – a large amount for a department that has already had its budget for this year cut by $13.5 million.
So where does this tax payer money go? And how many organisations take a margin or increase a cost as it flows past their window?


Related Link: Wild and perverse incentives not to manage the environment

Note: Ironically, perhaps this might turn out to be a good thing. A strong case can be made for DOC to not worry about Wilding Pines anyway, as they can be helpful in rebuilding the land. That still doesn't excuse the obvious unintentional side effects of the ETS scheme.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Andrei The world's a noisy place - get used to it

Little Marcus isn't using a click track to synchronize his drumming in the picture to the left.

No - those things over his ears aren't headphones, they are ear muffs to protect his hearing from the "excessive noise" he is making.

This picture comes from one of those "you have got to be kidding me!" type articles.

This one has the headline "Preschoolers suffer from excessive noise - survey"

What I don't get is how generations of Kids have survived preschool without maximum noise level limits being set and protocols for monitoring of them to ensure that they are adhered to in place as recommended in the article.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ZenTiger From Hiroshima to Warsaw

August 6th - Hiroshima Day. A great day for America to sign an agreement with North Korea dropping all trade sanctions over DPRK's nuclear weapons program and missile testing programs. "Go for it" says Obama.

September 17 - The Invasion of Poland by Russia in 1939. A great day for America to scrap the promised missile defence system in Poland and to open up negotiations with Russia to help arm them. "Do widzenia Polska" says Obama.


Just one of the above insults is true this year. Which one?

Can we think of other similar acts of un-diplomacy? It's free to play. Leave a comment below. A no-prize if you can match reality.

Andrei Burning down the house




Is anybody surprised that the so called House of horrors has been burned down?

No - I don't think so. That this would happen was as inevitable as the sun rising in the East.

The house is a semi-detached property and reading between the lines the people in the other house had moved their property out and were not staying there when the fire occurred.

And who, realistically, would want to stay in either house anyway?

A bit of huffing and puffing is going on - if the authorities knew it was going to happen why didn't they put a police guard on the place and so forth. Gee how practical is that? How long would you be prepared to see a police officer or officers tied up for guarding a doomed house that everybody wants to see the back of anyway.

I'm not a rationalist - I believe there is evil and evil visited that house and that most people want to see that evil cleansed in some sense.

I think instinctively just about everybody feels the same way. There is tsk tsking over this "arson" to be sure - but that is just the form of it.

My guess is deep down everybody has a sense of relief that the deed has been done, though few will admit it - probably not even to themselves.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Andrei Charming

Patricia Carol Toia who was born in New Zealand but who was taken to Australia as an infant is back.

I guess Australia didn't want her and no wonder given her crime record. The thing is of course she has no connection with this place other than she was born here.

Did you know she is so bad that no airline would agree to carry her across the Tasman so a plane had to be chartered especially for her - which doesn't bode at all well for the future.

So now she has disappeared from the hotel where she was placed and is on the loose somewhere.

But not for long I guess and what was Australia's problem has just become ours.

Andrei As called by Oswald


Further reading

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lucia Friday night free for all

I've just finished reading Odd Thomas. It's kept me up the last few nights, being of an unputdownable quality. It's only with force of will that I managed to wrench myself out of it every night until today, to put myself out of my misery, I spent all afternoon finishing it off.

And now, I have started reading the next book, Forever Odd, which quite possibly means a very late night for me ...

ZenTiger Bigger than an H

Wanganuians around the country have been shocked with the discovery of a genuine Maori document (actually, a Maori wood carving) being found in a small Maori Pa on the edge of Wanganui. It dates back to the earliest days of the settlement and clearly indicates that the site of Wanganui was originally called Auckland.
[Photo:Pa of Geodetic Surveys and Moa Tax, 1885]
It also turns out that this particular Pa was the Pa in charge of Geodetic Surveys and has a full tribal register of chiefs who paid Moa Tax. These tax records confirm the site of Wanganui should actually be called "Auckland".

"It's important to use the correct names, and really, the issue is bigger than one letter, and it has always been bigger than one letter", said Michael Laws, Mayor of Auckland (Wanganui).

"Obviously, there is a potential for confusion once we rename Wanganui to Auckland because, according to these genuine wood carvings, Northern Auckland has stolen our name. This same document suggests Northern Auckland should be renamed to Bloody Big Harbour, or Whanganui-nui.

"If it is important to get names right, then I guess we just have to get on with it and call the place "Auckland".


Source of Artwork: Bloody Big Harbour Gallery.

The history of the Maori Written Language

Ozy's View: Wanganui, Whanganui or Satan's Armpit?

Lucia European Missile Defence System Scrapped

September 17, 1939, Poland was invaded from the east by a second totalitarian power, the Soviet Union. That power was finally ousted in 1989, but still thinks it has control over regions it used to dominate.

September 17, 2009, on the 70th anniversary of that invasion, Obama let Poland know that US plans for a missile defence system on Polish soil have been scrapped.

Coincidence? Or a message.

Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, blasted the move as "seriously misguided" and said it would fray ties with Eastern European nations that "are increasingly wary of renewed Russian adventurism."

John Bolton, a leading hawk during the Bush administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said it was "just unambiguously bad decision. Russia and Iran are the big winners. I just think it's a bad day for American national security."

House Minority Leader John Boehner echoed those views. "Scrapping the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic does little more than empower Russia and Iran at the expense of our allies in Europe,” he said in a statement. "It shows a willful determination to continue ignoring the threat posed by some of the most dangerous regimes in the world, while taking one of most important defenses against Iran off the table."

The Bush-era system was to have been built in the Czech Republic and Poland. Obama phoned Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer on Wednesday night and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Thursday to alert them of his decision.


Related Link: Obama scraps Bush-era Europe missile shield ~ MSNBC

Fletch Oh Good Grief! Climate Change Celebrity Song

What else can I say?

GENEVA — British rock group Duran Duran and heavy metal band Scorpions are among 55 world celebrities who have joined in recording a song to draw attention to the global warming crisis, organisers said on Monday.

The song is part of a mass media campaign on the threats of climate change organised by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum, headed by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

The song entitled "Beds'r Burning", which was originally recorded by the Australian group Midnight Oil in the 1980s, can be downloaded from the Internet for free and will be presented to the public at a launch in Paris on October 1.

"If we do not stop the (greenhouse gas) emissions today, global warming will be still be with us in 40 to 50 years," warned Walter Fust, director of the Forum, at a press conference in Geneva.

The media campaign featuring the song is aimed at putting pressure on world leaders to reach an agreement on tackling climate change at a UN-sponsored conference in Copenhagen in December.

Some of the other popular artists who add their voices to the anti-global warming song include French 'Piaf' actress Marion Cotillard, Senegalese star Youssou N'dour, Irish singer/composer Bob Geldorf, Chinese singer Khalil Fong, and even a Nobel peace laureate, South African archbishop Desmond Tutu.



I guess they'll be a lot of arm waving - but not lighters in the air - that would only contribute to the emissions, yes?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Andrei What are we - a nation of shrinking violets?

What the hell is wrong with this picture?

What is wrong is that the guys in the picture are being sent home as a punishment for being in this picture.

The girly men in the Defense Department who clearly have been emasculated after nine years of Helen Clark have taken a dim view of this photograph.
Irrespective of the investigation into whether the acts contravened military law, the NZDF sets and expects very high levels of professionalism and behaviour from its people - this is especially the case in an operational theatre where the protection of information is vital to the overall security of New Zealand interests and activities. On this occasion those standards have not been met and as a consequence these three soldiers will be returned to New Zealand at the earliest opportunity."

"Let me be very clear that this is not about a group of young soldiers just taking a photograph of themselves; soldiers have been doing this since the availability of cameras. These three are returning to New Zealand because of a series of actions and errors of judgment on their part that did not meet the standards we expect of our people."
What's that all mean? Its just double talk to hide that fact that they are being punished for being in this picture.

These guys are in a War Zone for ....s sake, I know that there are some in parliament, far too many IMHO, who think they shouldn't be there and if we are to send anybody at all it should be kindy teachers to teach little Afghanistani kids that playing with guns it not nice and we should talk through our differences and so forth.

Like talking through our differences with the Taliban has ever worked.

This has to be a joke, though strangely enough I'm not laughing.

Related Post: Monday Evening Trivia

Andrei Wat its W(h)anganui -

No surprise here - the utterly politically correct New Zealand Geographic Board has decided that Wanganui is spelled Whanganui.

Government appointed nobodies exercising their power telling people how to spell things, particularly when they know their decision will get right up the noses of the majority of people who live in Wanganui.

What a crock

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lucia Contraceptive Climate Thoughts

In order to reduce undesirable population, the Communists of old either worked people to death, used them as cannon fodder or just starved them. Today's Communists are far more sneaky.

We are told that there are too many people on the planet, that it's doomed unless we do something. Such as pay more tax and reduce our population via contraceptive means. Voluntarily of course. At this point.

We are told that health costs too much. Not everyone can get the treatment they want. Except abortion, there's always enough money for abortion. And free condoms. But real health spending costs too much. There's always a crisis in health. Not enough money for government health systems, too many patients want too much treatment. Not enough beds, never mind that health bureaucrats most likely outnumber doctors, in a sense helping create the crisis in the first place.

We are told there will be too many old people for the younger generations to support, that in the future government superannuation will either bankrupt the country or will eventually disappear. Too many old people needing too much money and healthcare, the subtext being that old people are a drain on the economy. And the economy must be reduced to save the planet.

For the gain has to be financial, in order to be worth doing. Old people just cost money, and the older they get, the more useless they are.

Children are useless too. They cost money and time to raise and take up their parents valuable time and make it difficult for their mothers to work. Far better to prevent too many from being born. That way the earth can be saved from climate change, and those who are young and healthy can enjoy it's bounty in the future. And people are always going to have children anyway. Just not too many.

Better spread the idea that children should be wanted and planned for. But don't mention the need for married parents, and be very quiet on the recent realisation that planned children are more likely to be abused. Just increase government intervention in this area.

Except, that if not too many are born, who is going to pay for all the old people?

Darned old people, using up scarce resources. Each one contributing to climate change, thus dooming us all. If only they would die quicker, but they seem to be living longer instead.

There is a way of reducing the old people - getting them to voluntarily euthanise themselves, or have their loved ones euthanise them. It needs to be sold as a solution to a problem - the problem being suffering. Suffering is undesirable, therefore death is the best solution if a person's suffering is too much for them to bear. Or too much for someone else to bear.

And in the meantime, as society is not quite ready for the idea of old people killing themselves for the common good, government health care services will do it for them. Under the guise of preventing suffering speeding up the inevitable.
According to a new report, more than a quarter of U.K. families are not told when their loved ones are taken off of life support, reports the Daily Mail. Researchers from the Royal College of Physicians and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute in Liverpool conducted an audit of 4,000 patients put on the Liverpool Care Pathway, the end-of-life care plan that has brought 'slow' euthanasia into Britain through the back door.

The Pathway, approved by the National Health Service (NHS), allows doctors to deny "treatment," including food and water, to patients they deem incurable and put them in continuous deep sedation until they die. According to the Daily Mail, this protocol is used in 300 hospitals and 560 care homes across the country.

According to the report, 28 percent of the patients' relatives were not told that their loved one had been put on the pathway. In fact, doctors are not required by law to consult patients' families - Britain's 2005 Mental Capacity Act has given them the power to make decisions on behalf of patients who they deem mentally incapable without requiring them to heed the wishes of patients' families. Social services and police have even been called to intervene in certain cases where families attempt to save the lives of their loved ones.
Might also have the other positive effect of ensuring that old people don't try to get into the hospital when they are sick, just in case someone kills them early. Brilliant!


Related Link: Many U.K. Families are Not Told When Doctors Deny Loved Ones Treatment, Report Has Found ~ LifeSite News

Andrei An exercise in utter futility

This is a TVNZ picture, ie taken by State Owned media of Greenpeace wackos boarding a ship to stop it going about its lawful business of landing stock food in New Zealand.

There actually no point trying to reason with these morons - the stock food in question is Palm Kernel Extract (PKE) which is the residue after Palm Oil is extracted from the fruit of Elaeis guineensis.

Indeed the majority of PKE is burned, in situ as it has little economic worth.

But entrepreneurial types in the third world developed a market for it as stock food, thus providing additional revenue to the under developed (UN speak for poor) regions where Palm Oil is grown.

Make no mistake about it, the reason why these cretins are doing this is not because PKE wrecks the planet. It is rather that these spoiled brats hate free enterprise and entrepreneurship, most especially when it has the potential to raise the poor from a state of poverty.

Its a crying shame that the penalty for piracy on the high seas, which is what this amounts to, is no longer hanging in chains - If we dealt to a few of these greenpeace wackos that way then the world should be able go about international commerce without further interference from these dolts and poverty in the third world might be reduced.

Andrei For confused beltway types

Pollution in China

Pollution in New Zealand

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lucia I'm sad

Patrick Swayze is dead.

On an unrelated note, so is my Ipod. It's not even a year old.

Related Link: Stars pay tribute to Patrick Swayze ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Emission Trading Tribute Scam

IN times gone past, conquered nations would have to pay sometimes quite exorbitant tributes to their conquerors. Probably in exchange for being mostly left alone after being conquered. In current times, that tribute will translate to tax. I suppose we should be thankful we are not being asked to offer up our first born.

Which brings me to the emissions trading scheme which seems to be the world's biggest con going on right now. Who exactly have we been conquered by and what are they going to do to us if we don't pay?

What's interesting is how the public is starting to become aware of the massive price increases coming for no apparent purpose and how the man on the street is going to react to that. At least if we were conquered by an invader who demanded our money, it could be seen to be going somewhere reasonable. But in this case ... where's it going?

Public to pay the tab for polluters ~ Stuff

Monday, September 14, 2009

ZenTiger Spotless Minds

Researchers are claiming that they may have found a drug that wipes bad memories. At least, if you give it to rats it makes them forget that a beep is associated with intense pain, and they take the hit all over again.

My goodness, they've synthesized a treatment for socialism and the taxation system.

That's not the only flaw in their logic though. On the other hand, logic might not be a problem if they've already administered the drug to their financial sponsors.

Andrei Monday evening trivia



A great photograph from another time.

Questions

  1. Who is this man?

  2. What is he doing?

  3. What might be the media reaction to this photograph in these enlightened times?



A possible clue in answering (3) may lie in this Oswald Bastable post

ZenTiger Nanny Goff

Nanny Goff has apologised on behalf of Nanny Labour for Nanny State politics. No more light-bulb and shower head legislation at the National level. It will now be delegated to local government.

So, for a whole day Labour was sorry and NZ was Nanny free.

It only lasted a day.

Already Goff is suggested extra taxes (what a capital idea), because extra taxes help fund extra government, and extra government helps nanny us. Goff will also need to raise extra taxes to pay for free condoms, another Nanny knows best initiative released only a day after being Nanny free.

Thus, Labour have redefined the Nanny State (in their tiny minds) - more tax and the government will only give you free stuff, which you don't have to use if you don't want it, although you have to pay for others to use it if they want it.

They really are clueless.

Fletch New Anti-Global Warming Website/Petition

A new website Climate Realists has been launched by some beef and cattle farmers off the East Coast of the North Island. There is a petition form there that you can download and post. Ian Wishart, author of Air Con and editor of Investigate magazine has launched a new 'freezine' called Climate Reality.

I'm sick of all these climate change believers. Now they've defaced statues around Wellington with their 'Sign On' cast, including Three former Prime Ministers, a giant Buzzy Bee, John Plimmer (and his dog) and even Ghandi.

Perhaps they think this is helping save the world but it just leaves me shaking my head.

Idiots.

[Correction] The new website above was mentioned in the TGIF editorial by Wishart, but it was not launched by him as I first posted. It was in fact launched by a couple of sheep and beef farmers farming off the East Coast of the North Island of NZ. Apologies for the error. I confused the two as being related (thanks Zen).

Andrei What's new kids, can be a pain in the ass sometimes

I see John Key has joined the bleating about the undie 500.

Get a grip people, students are young, they let some steam out from time to time. Its a nuisance that's for sure but not much more.

Its not as though its a new phenomena either - in my days at Otago we had sky rocket fights, launching them at each other with vacuum cleaner pipes. Its ancient history now. It caused much hand wringing from the authorities and in the media back then.

And they were having 'student riots' at Oxford back in Elizabethan times - the remedy back then would have been the birch applied to the naked posterior of the worst offenders I believe, ouch!

Anyway fines will be meted out, life will go on and twenty, thirty years from now the magistrate dishing out whatever penalties apply to rowdy students then will be being handed out by someone who is an Otago student today more than likely.

So it goes.

ZenTiger School Girls and Michael Laws

Some school girls were very angry with Wanganui Michael Laws. So they poked him with a stick. They said things like "I am angry with your ability to challenge this serious subject." and "I am a child from the Otaki school, whom is very angry with what you are saying." Whom indeed.

He was accused of theft: "We as Maori strongly advise you to put the letter 'h' back.

Another student pointed out the historical precedent: "As you are the mayor of Whanganui (sic) you need to uphold the Treaty of Waitangi by ensuring the change is made to the name."

The student was of course speaking of the mythical 4th article of the Treaty of Whaitangi that many believe exists. It mandates use of the letter H in all New Zhealand place names, as well as other provisions, such as the letter a at the end of all sentences, e.g. "You going to Whellington, a?

Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Employment and quite appropriately, Youth Affairs, has come to the unexpected aid of the Wanganui H stealer, Mayor Miceal Laws. Ms Bennett released the marks these students received for the last three spelling tests, and all marks were allegedly well below the NCEA rank of "comparable to their peers" which is a mark of about 50% on the old system.

The media congratulated Paula for turning the tables on these young politicos, something National thinks they should expect if they enter the political domain. Said Bennett: "It's interesting that they are accusing Mr Laws and most of Wanganui of being unable to spell, when, according to our government database, they themselves confuse the future and past participles and struggle with proper nouns.

In reply to the students Mr Laws suggested their teacher be sacked for prompting them. "Rubbish", responded their teacher. "Whomever is accusing me of this makes me quite angry, especially with ones ability to challenge this serious subject. As a teacher from the Otaki school, whom is very careful not to lead the children, I confirm they are expressing the views of whomever they choose, which is theirs. (or theres or is it they's?)"

With the fight to add an h to Wanganui, some people are puzzled that the battle has been launched by students. Most of them now only communicate via text, and in txt speak, Wanganui is written simply as w.

Said one student. "tbh, idc. w or wh tmlnae - bfd" which translates as "To be honest, I don't care. Wanganui or Whanganui the most ludicrous non-abbreviation ever - big fricken deal."

BFD indeed.


Michael Laws accused of treating students as he treats adults

Michael Laws owes us an apology - only we can be angry and get away with it

The Wikipedia: SMS Language Guide

Put Up Thy Sword: A racist decision

Some prefer to focus solely on Laws

Important Note:
The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views I might express in a different post about the importance of good manners.

Also, to my knowledge, Paula Bennett didn't really publish the school marks of these students, who (AFAIK) have not failed any spelling tests. Although, I'm obviously still not quite over the last time Ms Bennet tried this trick and was wondering if the public would treat this example with as much approval.

Finally, this isn't really about the students. They've been used as a political football by others to attack Michael Laws.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lucia Michael Laws on Politics in NZ

Michael Laws has written a very interesting opinion piece in today's Sunday Star Times, on how the real battle lines in politics are not in the right vs left spectrum, but fought on liberal vs conservative lines.

Of course, this is something that yours truly figured out a number of years back and hence the title of this blog. But to have a political commentator bring this way of thinking out into the mainstream - this is is good, very good. Because once what is happening politically is identified as liberal vs conservative, liberals will not be able to hide behind either aspect of the spectrum. Their activities will be more out in the open. It will be more obvious that voting in a different Government doesn't stop the liberal advance, because liberals are strong in the whole spectrum of economic politics.

Anyway, Michael, if you're getting a hammering now, you haven't seen anything yet. Identifying yourself as a conservative either gets you ignored or jumped on from all sides. But then, I have a feeling you're up for it, if the recent battles are anything to go by.

Related Link: Go on, hug a liberal but not for too long ~ Sunday Star Times

Crusader Rabbit: Liberal Laws

Contra Celsum: Give that man a beer

Andrei Rewriting History 2

History, as they say, is written by the victors.

When we look back at the past we are reliant on the written records of the period and upon later interpretations of these by people whose views are colored by the times in which they live and their own personal agendas.

Case in point - This apology issued by Gordon Brown to Alan Turing which I learned about from this post by DPF.

DPF writes
What I did not know is that Turing was gay, and he was effectively castrated in 1952 for being gay. Turing had a brief consensual relationship with an Arnold Murray, who then broke into his house with an accomplice and robbed it. The Police investigated and when the homosexual relationship between Turing and Murray became evident, charged Turing with gross indecency.

He was convicted and given a choice between imprisonment, or chemical castration via oestrogen hormone injections. Two years later he killed himself.


Right from the get go this story seems implausible to me. I do not think this really happened. I have spent some time in the library doing literature searches to try and verify any aspect of this sorry tale and can find no supporting documentation what-so-ever.

Were gays treated with oestrogen or any other hormone in 1952? The only indication that they were is the Alan Turing tale - nothing else and that is circular we are trying to verify the plausibility of the Alan Turing story. And if "hormone therapy" was not a common treatment for gays at that time, in fact there is no record that anybody had even considered it, how can we seriously believe an English judge or magistrate ordered someone to undergo it?

The earliest reference to this story I can find is a 1983 book - Alan Turing: The Enigma written by Mathematician and Gay activist Andrew Hodges.

The story has grown and become more lurid in subsequent publications and now with Gordon Brown's apology it has become indisputable fact apparently.

But that doesn't mean it actually happened - in fact on the balance of probabilities it almost certainly didn't.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lucia Rewriting history? How about correcting it.

Apparently, new understandings of how to interpret the way the Soviet Union acted in the world from the perspective of mostly those acted upon is considered "rewriting history". Well, all I can say to that, is if the history that is written down is dead wrong, then maybe it needs to be rewritten!

I grew up knowing that the Soviet Union was a major aggressor during WW2 and beyond. Having a Dad who was deported to Siberia by the Soviets in a railway cattle car, during winter, when he was a child, along with his whole family, tends to cement a certain finality on this perspective. Moreso, even, when you know you may have known your Grandmother and a number of your Uncles and Aunts, if they had not starved to death in Kazakhstan, courtesy of the the same Soviets. Trying to tell one such as I that the Soviets were the West's allies tends to elicit a certain incredulity, at first, that a person should be so gullible. Unfortunately for me, the extent and the sheer number of gullible individuals seems to be an extraordinary number, that quite honestly has taken me by surprise.

So I read such an article as this with barely repressed, outraged anger. If it was on paper, I would tear it into little pieces.

Related Link: This rewriting of history is spreading Europe's poison ~ Guardian

Thanks to Psycho Milt for pointing out this abominable article to me. Putting on my new makeup helped elevate my mood enough so that I could write something more other than just wanting to rip the writer's head off.

ZenTiger Attempted Murder? Judge says try harder

A man breaks into a house with a hammer, smashes his way through the doors, including a barricaded bedroom door, and uses the hammer to target an attack on the victim's head.

Grindrod pleaded guilty to the [lesser] charges when a charge of attempted murder was dropped.

So, what exactly does it take to be charged and found guilty of attempted murder? A death? Maybe the judge thought he didn't try hard enough?

A premeditated visit with a weapon.
An hour long walk that failed to diminish his rage.
Breaking down the front door.
Breaking down the barricaded bedroom door.
Deliberately targeting the head with a claw hammer.
Ripping out a bathroom vanity and attempting to crush the victim's head with it.
Repeatedly yelling "I'll kill you" or words to that effect.
Only failing to kill the man because the Police got there in time.

Not a bad effort, surely?

Trevor Grindrod threw everything into his rampage against a man he saw as a rival for his former girlfriend's affections.

First he used a claw hammer and then he ripped a bathroom vanity unit off the wall and tried to hit the victim over the head with it.

The High Court at Wellington was told yesterday that Grindrod, 35, a Wainuiomata panelbeater, had already been on an anger management course when he smashed his way into the Moera house early on January 11.

Justice Warwick Gendall said Grindrod had ample time to calm his inflamed passions on the hour-long walk from Wainuiomata to Moera, but did not.

Instead he smashed holes in doors to get to the victim, who had barricaded himself into a bedroom to phone police. Grindrod attacked the man with a hammer, hitting him about the head, face and body and kicked him when he was on the floor, all the while threatening to kill him.


The final insult to the victim is that the "$3,269" worth of damage on the rental property must be paid (but I doubt will ever be) when the attacker gets out of jail, in several years time. I guess he loses his bond then.

[Update] Perhaps I should be making some kind of point with this post? I thought it obvious, but one can never tell. It seems that if people are not even being tried for obvious "slam dunk" crimes (and I fail to see how the above case could not be construed as attempted murder), then pleading out on lesser charges means lesser penalties. The anger management courses that this criminal went through that failed to have any effect are in all likelihood arising from previous charges.

I'm suggesting here that our current approach of "going light" on offenders isn't working. So all calls (by the Chief Justice) to let people out early to avoid overcrowded prisons isn't really a solution, and these prisons are overcrowded even though we seem to discount sentences, offer early parole, do the requisite anger management course and moan that we have the second highest rate of incarceration in the world (countries using capital punishment and the lash might be cheating you think?).

This was a case of attempted murder, but the law decided not to push. Let's hope that this gift is appreciated by the criminal, and whatever time he does finally do is enough to make him change his behaviour. I'm not left feeling like that's a strong possibility.


Related Link: Anger Management Course Didn't Help

Lucia Thatcher and the Berlin Wall [UPDATE]

So Margaret Thatcher did not want the Berlin Wall to come down and even pleaded with the Soviets to do all in their power to prevent it. Well, colour me not surprised. I wonder what other dirty little secrets exist of this nature.
Two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Margaret Thatcher told President Gorbachev that neither Britain nor Western Europe wanted the reunification of Germany and made clear that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it.

In an extraordinary frank meeting with Mr Gorbachev in Moscow in 1989 — never before fully reported — Mrs Thatcher said the destabilisation of Eastern Europe and the breakdown of the Warsaw Pact were also not in the West’s interests. She noted the huge changes happening across Eastern Europe, but she insisted that the West would not push for its decommunisation. Nor would it do anything to risk the security of the Soviet Union.

Even 20 years later, her remarks are likely to cause uproar. They are all the more explosive as she admitted that what she said was quite different from the West’s public pronouncements and official Nato communiqués. She told Mr Gorbachev that he should pay no attention to these.

“We do not want a united Germany,” she said. “This would lead to a change to postwar borders, and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security.”

Related Link: Thatcher told Gorbachev Britain did not want German reunification ~ Times Online

UPDATE (9 April 2013): Archived Article on Google Wayback Machine

I'm going to post the rest of the article here as well, just in case.

Andrei Some people are clueless

Eight years ago today I awoke to the news 2993 had been killed in an atrocity without precedent in modern times. It was a "where were you when you heard" moment.

So how does the New Zealand Herald choose to remember this event?

With an AP story titled: The date all US Muslims dread.

Today is not about Islamic grievance politics it is about the 2993 innocent people going about their daily business murdered by Islamic terrorists.

Unbelievable.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lucia Friday night free for all


Polish Hussaria, used in the Battle of Vienna, September 11, 1683. This battle marked the beginning of the decline of the power of the Ottoman Empire.

Andrei So Castor's a Hermaphrodite

The issue of Caster Semenya's gender is back in the news.

Previously I posted on her stunning performance in Berlin at the World Athletics championship which aroused suspicions that she may in fact be a male.

She did indeed have testosterone levels more in keeping with a male than a female and now it is being reported that she has testes and not ovaries.

A sad outcome.

How this will be handled remains to be seen but the precedent set at the Asian games when Santhi Soundarajan suggests that she will be stripped of her medal.

Of course had she been born a male and have completed gender reassignment surgery she could compete as a woman under current rules which has always struck me as odd, so if a genetic male can compete as a woman why can't Caster Semenya who has apparently always lived as one?

Andrei Is Paris Hilton a saint?

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

John Lennon - March 1966

This is a question posed by Stuff this morning in the lede to an article based on an interview with a visiting Sociology Professor.

Chris Rojek is Head of Department and Professor of Sociology and Culture at Brunel University in the UK.

His thesis is that since most of us no longer look to the Church, that would be organized religion in sociology speak, celebrities have replaced the saints as our role models.

This is a concept that has some merit, I suppose, but it is sad to think that the heroes of the church many of whom were martyred for their faith have been replaced by utterly banal celebrities in modern public consciousness.

You have to wonder though how many people actually give a damn about the stories reported in the entertainment sections of media. So Ellen DeGeneres is to be the new judge on American Idol, it is who cares as far as I am concerned.

Anyway the professor reckons
"We always need someone to look up to. If we don't believe in a god, who else is there to look up to except celebrities? Politicians are so mired in bad press, in letting the people down and every five years we get rid of them. Our business leaders have lead to the current collapse in the western banking system.

"The celebrities offer us hope for a better future and even when they are not doing that, they are showing us how not to be, how not to get involved with drugs and alcohol and wild women. Celebrities give us that constant message," said Rojek.

"And maybe society needs people like that. We need people to make us feel better because if we don't have those people, we're reliant on nothing really," he said.

"When you look at Michael Jackson's life you can see certain aspects of his life that you would want to emulate and certain aspects that you would feel are not good to copy and celebrities in general, I think, do that for us. They are role models; they give us standards of behaviour."
Really?

I can't think of anything in Michael Jackson's life I'd want to emulate but then again I have something far more worthwhile to look up to I suppose.

And when you look a the Church, its history over the past 2000 years and the enormous cultural impact it has had modern celebrity culture is shown to be what it really is, utterly vapid and ephemeral.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ZenTiger Smack No, Kill Yes.

Front page on the Dom Post is a plea to let a frail old man off from killing his wife. Apparently, a murder/suicide without the suicide.

The Green Liberals think there is no such thing as a loving smack, and it must be made illegal. Yet they suggest a loving kill is a fundamental right.

Go figure.

Andrei Cultural Suicide

The lunatics are truly in charge of the asylum.

A report issued by the prestigious London School of Economics has concluded "Contraception is almost five times cheaper as a means of preventing climate change than conventional green technologies"

The logic is impeccable the less people there are the less impact people with have on the environment, with the obvious corollary - no people, no environmental impact.

Its bonkers of course, while the purpose and meaning of life maybe obscure, the old "why are we here" question, it is clear that we have a drive to procreate, to leave a legacy of children and grandchildren to carry on when we have gone. Put it down to Richard Dawkins' selfish gene if you will or take it from the Biblical injunction "be fruitful and multiply" but whatever view you take the only reason you, me and ridiculous pointy headed professors are here is because our ancestors procreated.

The silliest thing of all, and the most worrying if you care about Western civilization is that we are not having enough children. But nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, and the next generation is being born as we speak.

It is being born in places like Burkina Faso, places where they don't have over educated fools telling them they are destroying the planet, where they don't have much of anything actually.

And these are the people who will inherit the earth, people who do not share liberal sensibilities and certainly do not give a damn about the ultimate fate of polar bears.

For the time being their major concern is just day to day survival.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fletch Police Set For Greater Powers?

According to the Herald today, Police in the near future may be given more powers for minor crimes to free up court time and expenses -

Police officers would become prosecutor and judge, dispensing on-the-spot punishments for minor crimes under plans to turn patrol cars into "mobile stations".

The proposal - an attempt to reduce costs and manpower, save time and free up police stations and courts - is one recommendation to be presented to Government in the police Fit for the Future project.

Well, that sounds a bit like comic anti-hero Judge Dredd, whose favourite phrase was "I am the LAW". The Judges (in comicbook 2000AD) were the law-enforcers of the future - judge, jury and executioner.

I'm in two minds about this. On one hand, maybe it will free up time and money, but on the other it opens up a HUGE opportunity for corruption in the Police force, doesn't it? Especially if the powers they may be given are expanded as time goes on.

Lucia Rubbish is not art

For those that want proof of a recent degeneration of culture, I offer the above as representative of this trend. This pile of rubbish won the Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award 2009. A number of people are naturally outraged.

For $15,000, I might try entering a half eaten bowl of mushroom soup next year and see if the judge of the competition is silly enough to award me first prize. The odds are probably better than winning Lotto.

Peter Cresswell has written a post on the apparent purpose of pretending rubbish is art. In summary, he believes that this type of art only exists to provoke reaction. Getting back to my bowl of mushroom soup, how about flooding art awards of this type with rubbish entries? Think of the reaction that would provoke ... and some lucky sod might come away with a sizeable prize.

I think the purpose is more sinister. Pretending rubbish is art is a way of degrading man, changing how we think of ourselves. If all we can do is produce rubbish rather than things of beauty, what good are we? We may as well be no more than animals, and in the communist mindset, to be disposed of as such when no longer necessary or in the way of progress.

Whenever art is discussed, I think back to Pope John Paul II's Letter to Artists. In it he explains how creating art images God our creator.

[...] The opening page of the Bible presents God as a kind of exemplar of everyone who produces a work: the human craftsman mirrors the image of God as Creator. This relationship is particularly clear in the Polish language because of the lexical link between the words stwórca (creator) and twórca (craftsman).

What is the difference between “creator” and “craftsman”? The one who creates bestows being itself, he brings something out of nothing—ex nihilo sui et subiecti, as the Latin puts it—and this, in the strict sense, is a mode of operation which belongs to the Almighty alone. The craftsman, by contrast, uses something that already exists, to which he gives form and meaning. This is the mode of operation peculiar to man as made in the image of God. In fact, after saying that God created man and woman “in his image” (cf. Gn 1:27), the Bible adds that he entrusted to them the task of dominating the earth (cf. Gn 1:28). This was the last day of creation (cf. Gn 1:28-31). On the previous days, marking as it were the rhythm of the birth of the cosmos, Yahweh had created the universe. Finally he created the human being, the noblest fruit of his design, to whom he subjected the visible world as a vast field in which human inventiveness might assert itself.

God therefore called man into existence, committing to him the craftsman's task. Through his “artistic creativity” man appears more than ever “in the image of God”, and he accomplishes this task above all in shaping the wondrous “material” of his own humanity and then exercising creative dominion over the universe which surrounds him. With loving regard, the divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power. Obviously, this is a sharing which leaves intact the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature, as Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa made clear: “Creative art, which it is the soul's good fortune to entertain, is not to be identified with that essential art which is God himself, but is only a communication of it and a share in it”.(1)
He talks about the special vocation of the artist:
In producing a work, artists express themselves to the point where their work becomes a unique disclosure of their own being, of what they are and of how they are what they are. And there are endless examples of this in human history. In shaping a masterpiece, the artist not only summons his work into being, but also in some way reveals his own personality by means of it. For him art offers both a new dimension and an exceptional mode of expression for his spiritual growth. Through his works, the artist speaks to others and communicates with them. The history of art, therefore, is not only a story of works produced but also a story of men and women. Works of art speak of their authors; they enable us to know their inner life, and they reveal the original contribution which artists offer to the history of culture.
After reading how a "work becomes a unique disclosure of [an artist's] being", I wonder about a person that would present rubbish as art. Is there nothing more than rubbish within that person, or do they think they are not capable of anything more?

Ultimately, I think that a society that produces rubbish as art, is not only trying to degrade man and destroy culture, but, is trying to separate man from God. Trying to make us forget that we have been called to eternal unity with the divine, through making us forget how to live that promise. In other words, this type of art calls human beings to death, not life.


Related Link: Is this award-winning creation art or trash? ~ NZ Herald

Side trip: ZenTiger - Why Define Art?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ZenTiger Laws last longer than promises

Prime Minister John Key today released Terms of Reference for a review of policies and procedures used by the New Zealand Police and Child, Youth and Family around the issue of smacking.

"That's because smacking is against the law, as is all discipline, said Sue Bradford."

This review will look at the policies and procedures of the Police and CYF, including the referral process between the two agencies, to identify any changes needed to ensure good parents are treated as Parliament intended,” Mr Key says; although the obvious law change that is needed will go unheeded.

Sue Bradford was quick to interject that good parents are not those that smack. Those that smack are by definition, and by law, criminals and child abusers. Those types of parents will be dealt with harshly.

John Key was quick to assure parents that he would probably change the law in some way if he had absolute proof that good parents were unfairly punished for breaking the law.

Sue Bradford explained that John Key wouldn't be Prime Minister forever, and police would certainly go easy on law breakers until such time as Key could be ousted. "The beauty of this is that the law makes any form of discipline illegal. We can enforce that how we like once Key moves on."

John Key was quick to assure parents that he would probably run for parliament for re-election should he be ousted, on a campaign to change the law in some way if he had absolute proof that good parents were unfairly punished for breaking the law, should that happen after he is ousted. "I can run a campaign on the fact that 87.6% of the people will vote me back in to do what I could have done when I should have done, and would have done, if only I could have done."

Unfortunately, laws last longer than a politician's promise.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lucia Impressed with Anne Tolley

Wow, Anne Tolley travelled to America to visit the radical shaker upper of schooling in Washington DC, in order to get some idea of how to fix NZ's schools. I'm impressed. I wrote about Rhee back in December last year. While I don't think public schooling can be fixed, it can certainly be improved. Paying good teachers more and firing the bad ones would be a great start. Fast tracking new aspiring teachers with Master's Degrees ... mmmmm, just get rid of the need for a qualification altogether.

In my opinion, the biggest thing the Government could do would be to leave schools alone and let parents decide which schools are worth supporting and which are not. Get rid of the odious reporting that the Government requires, let teachers teach and not be bureaucrats. Give principals the power to approve pay rises for teachers they want to keep and the power to fire those they don't want. Let them hire who they want, without any need for teaching qualifications (thus destroying the power of the socialist collective). Remove the restrictive zoning laws that prevent parents from supporting the good schools. And throw out the mandatory curriculum for primary school. Let each school decide what they will teach and let the parents decide if they want to support what the school teaches. Just provide an end of primary school basic skills test in maths and English to ensure that there is a minimum standard guide for high-school. In other words, stop interfering with education, stop asking for nth level information from the teachers and education will improve itself.

Update: The biggest thing would be to do away with compulsory schooling altogether. Making schooling mandatory, when everyone knew it's value anyway, was the beginning of the end of any decent sort of education. It's almost as if the Government has a poisoned touch, whatever it turns it's attention to falls apart over the long term.

Fletch Referendum on MMP

Yes, according to today's news, cabinet is looking at holding another referendum on MMP.

Cabinet has started discussing the referendum on the electoral system that National promised it would hold, Prime Minister John Key said today.Under the campaign pledge a referendum would be held before or at the same time as the 2011 general election, asking voters whether they want to change from MMP to another system.If a majority want a change, a second referendum would be held offering options to replace MMP.


OK, I have to ask, will they take any notice of the results though? John Key really came through on the last one, didn't he?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ZenTiger Greens and mercury and nuclear waste

Green MP Sue Kedgley, said "There is no safe level of exposure to mercury."

And yet there obviously is safe levels of exposure, because the mercury contained in CFL light bulbs is, according to Sue, apparently safe, even if broken around children (an occurrence not uncommon in a child's bedroom).

So I agree with Sue's first statement, that there is no safe level of exposure to mercury. I disagree with her second press release that there is a safe level of exposure to mercury. Maybe one day, they will campaign against CFLs?

Meanwhile, some 50,000 protesters including many Greens are protesting in Germany against nuclear energy. Seems that the government may not be in a position to mothball the nuclear power plants by 2020. Any such switch will also imperil Germany's committment to reducing greenhouse gases. Seems that nuclear could be the new clean green - but this is a price too high for many. Maybe they need to refuse to use any form of energy whatsoever as a protest? Just imagine 50,000 people making do without, even before they are forced to by their own policies? Now that would send a message worth noticing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lucia Sex education is a communist invention

"[Attacks on marriage and family] include promotion of sex education at schools. We have to remember who was the first to introduce the idea of sex education. It was communist ideologue Gyorgy Lukacs in Hungary, who thought promiscuity was the best method to fight the institution of marriage, in order to fight Christianity."


Related Link: Polish Bishops Emphasize Catholic Pro-Abortion Politicians Excommunicate Themselves ~ LifeSiteNews

ZenTiger Blog Stats for August 2009


The stats for August.

Page Loads : 13615 (9171,9800)
Average per day - 439 (296, 327)

Unique Visitors : 6819 (5182, 5982, 6387, 6241)
Average per day - 220 (167, 199, 208, 206)

Posts : 79 (64, 47, 71, 90)
Comments : 621 (391, 429, 472, 524)
Most comments for one post: 60 (43, 36, 77, 47)

Technorati Authority : 22 (20, 35, 44, 45)
Alexa Ranking : 364270 (344000, 302376, 294661, 335135)
NZ Alexa Ranking : 622 (610, 593, 644, 475)

Here's my calculation for the Tumeke NZ Blogosphere Statistics based on the following formula:

+ 220 (Daily Unique visitor traffic from Statcounter)
+ 22 (Technorati Authority)
+ 18 (Posts: 79/31*7)
+ 44 (Comments: (60+46+36+35) /4)*

= 304 (230, 278, 306, 312)

ZenTiger Blog Stats for July 2009


The stats for July.

Page Loads : 9171 (9800)
Average per day - 296 (327)

Unique Visitors : 5182 (5982, 6387, 6241)
Average per day - 167 (199, 208, 206)

Posts : 64 (47, 71, 90)
Comments : 391 (429, 472, 524)
Most comments for one post: 43 (36, 77, 47)

Technorati Authority : 20 (35, 44, 45)
Alexa Ranking : 344000 (302376, 294661, 335135)
NZ Alexa Ranking : 610 (593, 644, 475)

Here's my calculation for the Tumeke NZ Blogosphere Statistics based on the following formula:

+ 167 (Daily Unique visitor traffic from Statcounter)
+ 20 (Technorati Authority)
+ 14 (Posts: 64/31*7)
+ 29 (Comments: (43+27+24+21) /4)*

= 230 (278, 306, 312)

Lucia More liturgical abuses in Wellington

I really shouldn't read Wel-com, the official newspaper of the Catholic Dioceses of Wellington and Palmerston North. Not only are many of their articles heretical (like this recent one about the priesthood), but they give an insight into the workings of the Dioceses that is frankly, depressing.

The impression I get is that Wellington and Palmerston North do not agree with Pope Benedict on anything, and whatever direction the Holy Father is trying to move the universal Church, they are right there actively undermining him in this tiny section of the globe.

Communion on the tongue? Icky. While as addition of Maori chanting to the elevation of the host, never mind that adding or removing words from the liturgy is expressly forbidden - yes, let's go for it, because it highlights our country's difference from the rest of the world!
The karanga takes the place of the traditional ringing of the bells at consecration. The caller rises to proclaim the call: ‘Haere mai e Hehu e… ou tinana e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei taro e...’ The response spoken by the congregation is then: ‘Nau mai, haere mai’. The call translates: ‘Welcome Christ, your body concealed within this bread’. The priest then replies, followed by the caller then singing: ‘Haere mai e Hehu e. ou toto e noho e huna nei i roto i tenei waina e.’ (Welcome Christ, your blood concealed within this wine) and the congregation answers as before.

The incorporation of the karanga acknowledges the Maori language and the country’s cultural heritage at this significant part of service. ‘Our Maori population is what makes us different from other nations, and this should be honoured.’
But, maybe I'm wrong and this has been fully approved by the Vatican and I'm doing the Diocese a great disservice by making out that the addition of the karanga to the elevation of the host is a liturgical abuse. Except, the actual Maori words used giving the impression that Christ is "hidden with this bread" sound heretical to me as well. He's not hidden, He is the bread.

Does anyone know?

Related Link: Hutt parish welcomes the karanga into its Masses ~ Wel-com

Lucia UN trains activists to agitate for sex education and abortion

Wow. I shouldn't be surprised, but still I am.

The United Nations is currently holding a conference in Berlin to train 400 activists to agitate in countries worldwide for more explicit sex education to be targeted at children.

Does New Zealand have any representatives at this conference, or are we to gain immigrants in the near future that will push for 5 year old to be taught how to masturbate? The mind boggles.
BERLIN, September 4, 2009 (C-Fam.org) - The same week that UNFPA pulled its name from a graphic sex ed guide that came under criticism, the organization is holding a conference in Berlin to train 400 activists to demand countries fund and provide similar sex ed programs and abortions.

Concerned Women for America's President Wendy Wright and C-FAM's Director of Government Relations Samantha Singson are at the conference on "sexual and reproductive rights" sponsored by UNFPA and the German government.

Sessions focus on training activists to agitate for more money from countries and foundations, pressuring governments to provide sex ed and abortion, and training youth to advocate for abortion and sexual rights. Materials entitled "Ensuring Women's Access to Safe Abortion" and "I Need an Abortion" are distributed to attendees.

Thoroya Obaid, Director of UNFPA, told the conference "Unlike us at the UN who are held accountable by intergovernmental mechanisms, you as NGOs have more freedom and space to push the agenda ahead."

The New York Times reported today on a UNESCO sex ed guide that advocates teaching 5 - 8 year olds about masturbation, ages 9 - 12 about abortion and orgasms, and by age 15 about "advocacy to promote the right to and access to safe abortion." CNSNews.com broke the story on UNESCO releasing the "International Guidelines on Sexual Education" in June with UNFPA. Facing public criticism over the guide, UNFPA told the New York Times it will remove its name from the publication.

The "age-appropriate" framework is identical to guidelines from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). One of the authors is a former employee of SIECUS.

A statement to be released at the end of the conference tells countries:

- Provide abortions through public health systems.

- Guarantee sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.

- Eliminate parental and age restrictions for youth to access the full range of sexual and reproductive health information and services.

- Increase funding for non-governmental organizations to expand advocacy.

Samantha Singson stated, "In the same week that UNFPA backtracked on putting its name on the sex ed manual, it trained activists to demand 'comprehensive sexuality education' and access to abortion for all youth."

Wendy Wright said, "UNFPA tells people to 'create a need' for reproductive health care. Now we can see that UNFPA creates the need for abortion, HIV/AIDS treatments and other health care by teaching kids as young as five to be sexually active."


Related Link: UNFPA Pulls Name From Graphic Sex Ed While Training Activists to Agitate for It ~ LifeSiteNews