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Showing posts from December, 2007

Snail in the machine

I had a feeling that not keeping the washing machine lid closed was a bad thing. Today my inability to keep the lid closed created pulverised snail over white sheets. Looks like a quick wash to take advantage of the warm sun before dinner time has backfired. I am officially grossed out right now and need a gin.

Divinity Code Hot Seller

I am just getting started reading Ian Wishart's new book now, but I have to say it appears to be selling very well. It took me ages to find any place that had a copy. First stop was Borders in Sylvia Park who had sold out. Next I tried both Whitcoulls and Paper Plus from my local Westfield Mall and it had sold out both places there as well. Eventually I found a Whitcoulls that had a copy, although it took some hunting around to find it (they also told me it had been selling very well). Looks like it's going to do as well as Eve's Bite, or maybe even better!

EverNote Portable - Full Version FREE today

Just a little public service announcement. The FULL version of EverNote Portable is FREE today only from . You have to download AND install it in the next 12 or so hours. If you've never used it, it's similar to Microsoft's OneNote - you can save snippets of text and data from just about anywhere. This version can be run from a USB stick. EverNote does produce a free version as well, but this download is the FULL version


It is in the child Jesus that we see most clearly the defencelessness of God's love. God comes without weapons, because he does not want to conquer from the outside but to win us over from within and to transform us from within. If anything can conquer the arrogance, the violence, and the greed of man, it is the utter vulnerability of a child: and God has taken on this vulnerability in order to conquer us in this manner and to lead us to himself. ~ Pope Benedict XVI, The Blessings of Christmas

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[This post is satirical in the year 2007] NZ Labour, via the Electoral Commission, are about to release new voting forms in preparation for next years election. "We have done extensive research and we believe this is what the public are demanding", said Helen Clark from her bunker last Tuesday. "I'm particularly pleased with our new "auto-subscribe" option that revolutionizes voting and makes it affordable (time wise) for the masses, proving once again NZ Labour has the interests of the less fortunate in mind." Helen added. "And based on our surveys, we know exactly who the less fortunate are. Us." The new forms look something like this: 2008 Ballot Paper This Ballot Paper proudly sponsored by NZ Labour, democratic leaders of the free world etc. (Approved by H Simpson; Paid for by Parliamentary Service) Name: _________________________* Address: _________________________* * I realise that for transparency reasons, we should not vote an

An inside job

On May 24, within two days of coming on board, Curran was able to report to Comms Manager Neal Cave that the ministry's work had the feel of the "big issue of our time". It required careful stakeholder management. The ministry had to anticipate challenges, bring stakeholders up to speed and be "ultimately marginalising the ones who were intractable"... The coalition "could obstruct" the success of achieving the strategic objectives. The debate needed to be reframed to position the Government's response as "sensible" and isolate the coalition and similar groups. "A dismissive response makes them seem like radicals." Curran suggested how to explain away the fact that a review of climate change policy was "being done in secret", how to offset questions over New Zealand's growing liabilities under the Kyoto protocol and much more in this vein. So, third parties can only spend $120,000 in an election year. That's n

Marketing an Invention

The 11-year-old Auckland boy beat 600 other inventors to take the grand prize in this year's Let's Get Inventin' programme...Toby's Choo Choob invention - a device which makes an asthma inhaler look like a train and therefore appealing to children - earned him a $10,000 prize package which could see him become one of the youngest manufacturers in the country. Good on Toby for cleaning up in a strong field. But, (you knew this was coming, didn't you?) I'm left wondering if Toby has simply invented a marketing campaign. Kids don't like Asthma Inhalers, paint it up like a train. Add a 20% premium, new packaging, run an advertising campaign, and bam! a career in marketing. Personally I thought the other finalists had items that reflected "inventions" more than marketing. Am I being too harsh here? What do others think? The other young finalists were: Melanie Ansell, New Plymouth, with the Gyminator, a device that harnesses the power generated by b

Mangled Carta

In the past 12 years, $14.3 million has been paid to the Crown. In comparison, New South Wales [Pop. 7 million - Zen] has seized more than $100 million in the past 14 years. The law has been criticised as too weak, requiring proof that assets were acquired by crime profits. The Government is introducing new powers to up the stakes, lowering the threshold for proving the assets were obtained through criminal activity. The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bill, now before a select committee, will allow courts to seize property even if a suspect is not convicted. The onus will be on the criminal to prove it was legally obtained. The onus will be on the person found 'not guilty' they mean. Technically, they aren't a criminal if they weren't found guilty. But hey, it's a Labour Government. Subtle distinctions like that may be beyond them. Anyway, there are many opportunities for abusing this new power. Maybe we should be a little concerned? I'll just throw one id

Labour spend 5 million on 34 billboards

Now that Labour have pushed through the Electoral Finance Bill limiting third party spending to $120,000 they immediately launch a $5 million dollar billboard campaign. Helen Clark defended the campaign expense: "These billboards are mobile. Therefore they will reach more New Zealanders, and as such, represent value for tax payer money" When asked what messages the mobile billboards delivered, Helen was quick to reel several campaign slogans off: 1. One law for the peasants, another for Labour. 2. A tax cut would mean a reduction in services. Limousine services. 3. Tougher Emission Standards. You, not us. 4. Tougher Emission Standards. It gets your car off the road so we don't queue. 5. My other car is a Ferrari. 6. If you don't like it, plant a tree. 7. Nothing retrospective validation cannot cure. 8. Uses less fuel than a jumbo jet. 9. Uses less fuel than a Ford Fairlane (when air conditioning is off). 10.If you can read this, I'm already at the rugby. Relat

Harawira Speaks True

Third Reading of the Electoral Finance Bill – Tuesday 18 December 2007; 4.30pm Hone Harawira, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau Over these last few months of intense and passionate debate about this Electoral Finance Bill, one email stood out for me, because it said a lot about who we are as a Maori Party. I paraphrase part of that email here: - We are not members of the Exclusive Brethren. - We are not members of the ACT party. - We are not members of the National party. - We are not members of John Boscawen’s team as Helen Clark scathingly, and incorrectly, called those who marched in Auckland against this Bill. Madam Speaker, we are the Maori Party, and I welcome this opportunity to set the record straight on our party’s position on this Bill. We are the Maori Party, and contrary to government’s claims, this Bill is not being attacked only “by those New Zealanders who are able to pour thousands of dollars into electioneering campaigns to buy influence in government”. We are th

FNFFA History and Code of Conduct Rules

A couple of years ago when I started the Friday Night Free For All, it was a Friday night and I was bored. Nothing much was happening online and I was looking for conversation. So I posted an, does anyone feel like chatting? comment and Murray responded and the rest is history. Over the years, I've seen the FNFFA develop into a chat for regulars. Every once in a while I'd put out the call for new commenters, and occasionally someone I'd never seen commenting before would pop in. This was good. I had been hoping that the chat could attract people from the other side of the political divide as well, but it seemed the ambiance was just too "right-wing" to make the others feel comfortable. But that seems to be changing now and this too is good. When it comes down to it, the FNFFA is where you leave your politics and weapons at the door and engage in a Friday night chat with others whom you may not like normally or may attack on sight (via comments) if given h

No hard feelings mate

An Australian, a South African and a New Zealand cricket fan are all in Arabia, sharing a smuggled crate of booze when, all of a sudden, Saudi police rush in and arrest them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe offence in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of consuming booze, they are all sentenced to death! However, after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they are able to successfully appeal their sentences down to life imprisonment. By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day, their trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheik decided they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes each of the whip. As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik announced: "It's my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you one wish before your whipping." The South African was first in line, he thought for a while and then said: "Please tie a pillow to my back." This was done, bu

Pope Benedict's message on climate change and world peace

Looks like the Pope has caused a bit of a storm with a whole range of people. Andrei has a good post up on the details . Not PC is a little surprised , but then he puts it all down to the advisers the Pope must have. I'd just like to highlight a couple of statements that stood out to me. ... fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering . The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement . This has been my position on climate change all along - I'm so glad I don't need to reconsider! ... the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind. Yes! All those people that are so worried about whales or giant snails - are they at all pertur

EFB a bit of a wake up call for NZ

I'm not going to comment on the details on the EFB as a number of other bloggers (and the media) are doing a brilliant job already. The only thing I want to say is that after the anti-smacking bill, this one has to be a real wake up call for New Zealanders. The anti-smacking bill was not just a blip. What we are seeing is a democratic consolidation of power by the ruling party. While Lindsay Perigo is talking coup ( as pointed out by AJ Chesswas ) - I don't think we are at that stage - yet. Everyone needs to stay calm and see if the bill passes. If you pray, pray for NZ. If you never have prayed before in your life, now would be a good time to start. I don't think it will be enough, but it's worth a try. No, the real test is, will NZ vote the current lot back into power next year? And if NZ doesn't, will the new lot repeal not only the EFB, but also the anti-smacking law? And my personal bugbear, is the Care of Children Act which redefines parents into car

I need air-conditioning!!!

It's 29 degrees in my kitchen right now. Probably hotter right next to the stove. And my kitchen faces west. I'm just too hot. I used to have air-conditioning in my Sydney apartment, not to mention fly-screens. It's like slumming it out here just north of Wellington. Ah well, at least we are close to the beach and I could see the sea from my kitchen window if I had the blinds up and wasn't blinded by the setting sun. Brief respite from cooking ...

Compassion leads to the gas chamber

A couple of years ago when I was deep into the history of the German occupation of Poland during WW2, a German document from that period calling for a humane death for undesirables really struck me. How could people that were in charge of the mass killings of millions talk about being "humane"? Was it a way of assuaging guilt, or maybe it was an attempt at pacifying conscience and making the person feel better about themselves. I was reminded of that document today by an article sent to be by Ignatius Insight on Compassion leading to the gas chamber. The article is based on the following quote: "In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber." For a logical walk through how compassion could lead to the gas chamber, read the article. It certainly makes sense to me. Related Link: Compassion leads to the gas chamber ~ Ignatius Insight

Mayweather prevails

Paul Flynn, the veteran Labour MP, tried and failed to get boxing banned with private member's bills in 1998 and 2005. As a former boxer himself, Mr Flynn acknowledged that boxing has a glorious past but argued it had become an ignoble art and a "degrading spectacle of gratuitous violence that exploits the least advantaged people". They both had impressive records, but Mayweather had the reach over Hatton, and perhaps the psychological edge. Awesome stuff. So obviously, some-one, somewhere wants this carry-on banned. Mayweather has won this fight, but the real battle over personal freedom is by no means over . Are we going to fight for it? Careful that even as the government punishes people for fighting for their lives ; working to ban fighting ; that they are also keen to curb free speech. When we can no longer use words to fight for our rights, you can bet the alternative will not follow the Queens Rules. Meanwhile, back to the match: Mayweather remained unbeaten

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us. God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us. Holy Mary, pray for us . Holy Mother of God, pray for us . Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us . Mother of Christ, pray for us . Mother of divine grace, pray for us . Mother most pure, pray for us . Mother most chaste, pray for us . Mother inviolate, pray for us . Mother undefiled, pray for us . Mother most amiable, pray for us . Mother most admirable, pray for us . Mother of good counsel, pray for us . Mother of our Creator, pray for us . Mother of our Savior, pray for us . Virgin most prudent, pray for us . Virgin most venerable, pray for us . Virgin most renowned, pray for us . Virgin most powerful, pray for us . Virgin most merciful, pray for us . Virgin most faithful, pray for us . Mirror of justice, pray

Immaculate Conception

Nearly 150 years ago, the young girl pictured above was visited by the most beautiful lady the girl had even seen in her life. On the 16th visit, when asked if she could say who she was, the beautiful lady said: "I am the Immaculate Conception." Just 3 and a half years earlier, in the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854, Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary "in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God , in view of the merits of Jesus Christ , the Saviour of the human race , was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin ." ~ Catholic Encyclopedia The Immaculate Conception of Mary became a dogma , something Catholics must believe. The beautiful lady that visited the young girl in Lourdes, France 150 years ago was presumed to be the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today is the Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception. The young girl pictured above (Saint Bernadette Soubirous) did not

Razing the Standard

Insolent Prick (IP) says it like it is. The poor guys at The Standard and their commenting comrades, have no meaningful comeback to IP's extensive, well reasoned and referenced commentary. Then Peter Cresswell (PC) steps in to pick them apart on another issue. Sometimes, both sides make good points on a long debate. In this case, it is all one way traffic. I could have called this post "A Hanging Offence" but I think I prefer "Razing the Standard". Here's a snippet from the thread, one of many comments by IP: I didn’t spend five years at law school, and a pretty decent chunk of my career interpreting law, to come to the view that a political party that: a: rejects a public consultation process on a fundamental constitutional change b: rams it through the House ignoring the overwhelming majority of submitters c: rejects the key recommendations of the expert officials d: has the Law Society and the HRC saying the Bill is irretrievably bad that it need

Knights of the Realm

I caught some of the debate from our Ministers of Parliament today. They were discussing the Electoral Finance Bill. Rodney Hide spoke well, as usual, proving he understands the value of freedom and the respect due to the voting public. Winston Peters and others spoke of the need to stop the Exclusive Brethren, or any other group, from supporting National in future elections. It was mostly petty and small minded. But it wasn't the worst thing they said. They attacked John Boscawen for having the temerity to spend his own money to publicize the effect of the law changes the Electoral Finance Bill will have on the political landscape. This fact enraged them, and seemingly justified every-thing they said the bill sets out to achieve - stopping him from organising political dissent. The Greens issued a press release playing the bogeyman card . “It is no surprise that a member of the Business Roundtable would pay someone to organise marches against campaign finance reform. Around

A plan for every child

The Children's commissioner is well known for wanting a ' plan for every child '. This involves a massive database, with regular 'interviews' and assessments on how fit parents are to act as parents, with the full force of the State ready to step in and provide that lovable nannying that only a state can provide. Meanwhile, the UK are reeling with personal details continually being lost as they post DVD and CD's around the postal system until they finally manage to lose them. But more importantly than that is the death of a newborn after the mother was discharged from hospital 5 hours after a 30 hour intensive labour. This was on the same day one of the Health Boards suggested $100 grocery vouchers to convince mothers to discharge early. Rather than a 'plan for every child' here is an opportunity for Dr Kiro to drop the bureaucratic posturing of appearing to be doing something, and focus instead of real and meaningful action. A plan for EVERY child?

The law is working

Should Mallard have been dragged into court? Of course. Sue Bradford declared that when Police come around and investigate a parent for an alleged smacking incident, and the parent goes to court and gets found “not guilty” then the law is working. The fact that they get dragged away from work and the social stigma of being accused as a child abuser is irrelevant. The fact that time and resource is wasted compared to working through the backlog of serious offenses is irrelevant. The law is working. Let’s get Mallard in front of the court for hours on end for his alleged abuse. In the words of Sue Bradford: “The law is working”.

Pope Benedict XVI's 2nd Encyclical just released

ROMA, November 30, 2007 – The encyclical on hope "Spe Salvi," which Benedict XVI signed and published today, the feast of Saint Andrew and just two days before the beginning of Advent, was motivated by these factors described in paragraph 22: "A self-critique of modernity is needed in dialogue with Christianity and its concept of hope. "In this dialogue Christians too, in the context of their knowledge and experience, must learn anew in what their hope truly consists, what they have to offer to the world and what they cannot offer. "Flowing into this self-critique of the modern age there also has to be a self-critique of modern Christianity, which must constantly renew its self-understanding setting out from its roots." In this twofold "self-criticism" of modern culture and Christianity, the pope continues, "reason and faith need one another in order to fulfil their true nature and their mission." Related Links: "In hope we were sa