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Showing posts from April, 2009

The next Einstein wont be British

The next Einstein probably wont be British. Or a Kiwi. OK, so neither was the first, but there have been many famous British Scientists. Maybe not so many in the future though. But before I can tell you that story, I thought I'd mention this one: Angels on a Pin - A Modern Parable by Alexander Calandra Saturday Review, Dec 21, 1968 (pg 60) and from "More Random Walks in Science" by R.L.Weber, The Institute of Physics, 1982. Some time ago I received a call from a colleague who asked if I would be the referee on the grading of an examination question. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed he should receive a perfect score and would if the system were not set up against the student: The instructor and the student agreed to submit this to an impartial arbiter, and I was selected. I went to my colleague's office and read the examination question: "Show how it is possible to determine the height o

Hunters the hunted

"I felt ashamed that in the same edition of the newspaper a variety of guns were going to be on sale...so that men of my generation and younger can go out and shoot small, harmless ducks...such gratuitous violence partway explains why we rank as a country with one of the highest rates of child abuse and animal cruelty in the world" --Kapiti News, Page 16 [Wed 29 April 2009]. So there you have it. Duck hunters are child abusers and are no doubt the culprits behind the recent nauseating stories on cruelty to animals. After sneaking up behind the common duck, they stun the mallard by clubbing it brutally over the head with the gun barrel, and then smack them to death in an equally brutal disciplinary manner, just as they've practiced at home on their children. Or something like that.

This guy's a hero - prosecute him

I have a theory. Big Government types want passive populations. Obviously the more passive the population the easier they are to rule over. Which is why we see people hauled before the courts for defending themselves. If we passively submit to petty criminals we will also be passive in the face of petty government. Here is the next chapter in the sorry saga of people whose lives are turned upside down because they have the temerity to not submit passively to criminality but to fight back. A Tokoroa takeaway owner who shot a masked gunman in the leg after wrestling a semi-automatic .22 rifle off him could end up being charged for defending himself. Aotea Chinese Takeaways owner Zhuofeng "Titan" Jiang, 25, grabbed the rifle as the gunman pointed it at Mr Jiang's 19-year-old cousin and demanded money from the till about 9.45pm on Monday. The gunman had already fired a warning shot into the floor. Another shot went off as the men wrestled with the rifle. When Mr Jian

Puke Alert - BBC grades Obama's first hundred days

No surprises here - overall they think he has done very well . The only thing they mark him way down on is that he hasn't managed to bring peace to the Middle East yet, Iwan Morgan: The US has not done enough to appear an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. and Bipartisanship Iwan Morgan: US politics is more polarised than at the comparable stage of the Bush presidency - though this is not necessarily Barack Obama's fault. Anyway for all you die hard Obama fans out there courtesy of the BBC here is the Obama 100 days quiz    Do the quiz, send it to your friends and see "how they measure up". Somehow the BBC attitude to OBAMA is reminiscent of when my eldest was a hard core Spice Girls fan. That burnt out rather quickly. I rather doubt that the BBC will mature so fast.

Mexican death toll now over 8,000

It's the story the papers don't want you to see. The real numbers. The latest figures show the death toll has climbed to over 8,000 deaths in a very short space of time. That's right - EIGHT THOUSAND dead in Mexico alone. That's a staggering number of deaths, and it's good the world is taking notice. Be very worried. Related Link: Death toll over 8,000 Related Link: Mexico tries to prevent growing death toll

Naked hiking in Appenzell

If wandering naked through the Alps has appeal, then the news it has been outlawed in Appenzell may cause you some grief. On the other hand for most of us it is probably a mercy. The strange thing about those who desire to flaunt their bodies in public is that for the most part they don't have bodies worth flaunting - indeed the spectacle of late middle aged men waving their all in the breeze tends to alarm most folks. Either that or reduce them to helpless laughter. So on balance the good people of Appenzell Inner Rhodes have probably done themselves and us a favor by enacting this ban.

Traffic Light Disease

Green Alert. Orange Alert. Red Alert. It's traffic light disease. The Mexican swine flu appears to be spreading. I've now seen it on the front page of every newspaper, as the lead story on the TV news and occupying large swathes of the World News section. The TV summary provided me with what radio cannot. They showed a picture of a pig, and said "swine flu is something you get from pigs." So that's it. I had always wondered. Adolf had the more reasonable assumption that it came directly from (Labour Party) politicians , but perhaps that is "foot in mouth" disease? Then they showed how the swine flu moves from pig to man. Queue picture of man standing next to pig. Queue green blob on pig. Queue green blob appearing on man. Obviously, the first symptom is some large green mucous blob leaps from a pig to a nearby pig farmer, and from there, the world. I think I'll get updates from the radio. A side effect of any potential epidemic is

A minority of one - a Gay female, Breton/Walloon

Here it is - the token gesture from Statistics New Zealand to deal with public concerns over the ethnicity question in the census. Basically they are not going to change a thing because Ethnicity statistics are used by government, service providers, and communities to plan and deliver programmes, particularly in the health and social services sectors. More likely they will be used by grievance mongers to get a bigger slice of the pie for their group. But if we go down this track why don't we completely tribalize. After all Indians, a recognized ethnicity, are not a homogeneous group nor are those of European ancestry. Now this slightly related story is very funny, a Waikato University political science student is aggrieved because Hone Harawira has lumped Maori in with 'other minorities' such as "homosexuals and Asians". Which goes to show being a minority is not just a matter of race. It is anything you want it to be or not to be as the case may be. Anyw

Gay forced to become straight

In a stunning blow for human rights, a gay man has been forced to become straight. "This is an abuse of my human rights" said Nigel Ipswitch as the court ordered he engage in marital sex with the women he was forced to marry, Susan Gladbottom. It all started when Susan met Nigel at a party, and a strong friendship developed. "We had so many shared interests, and Nigel was very attentive to my thoughts and feelings. One thing led to another, and love developed. I asked him if feelings were shared, and he said yes, absolutely. He then explained that we could never be anything more than friends, because he was gay." "Well, I wasn't prepared to take no for an answer, so I checked gay lobby groups and asked if people were allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex, and they said absolutely not. It was clear that the ONLY reason Nigel could come up with for not marrying me was that I wasn't male." "They built an entire legal case ar

Crying wolf

E ver since I can remember every year or so the media and the authorities have gone into alarm mode over some fell disease that has the potential to decimate (literally kill one tenth) of the population. But in my time this has never happened. We do have a folk memory, I suppose, of the 1918 flu epidemic and it is almost certain that something like this will happen again. But now? Who knows? The authorities will run (are running) around in circles, the media will (are going) go into hype mode and what will be, will be. The trouble is of course we've heard it all before and I have become cynical and complacent over over-hyped disease threats, as well as a little fatalistic perhaps. And I bet I'm not alone in this. Perhaps this is what is behind the complacency that MacDoctor perceives in the response to this latest threat.

Monday movie trivia

To start the week, how about a quiz? Who are the two actors and the actress in this picture? Click on the image for a higher definition version. Although the movie might be obscure and perhaps you have never heard of one of the trio the names should all be familiar .

Obama's "Catholic problem" fueled by the Internet

It seems the internet is causing major problems for governments, but none more so that Obama's newly elected Presidency in the US. A majority of Catholics voted for Obama, and now they are turning on him as they realise just what he really is and what he stands for. But, this realisation is being fueled by the internet, where stories are being blown out of proportion by a few rousing the many . Ah well, it had to happen. We've moved from the sanctioned few (the mainstream media) telling the many what to think, to the unsanctioned few (bloggers and alternative media) letting the many know just what is actually happening. And the many don't like what they are reading. Scary times. Internet clamp-down is coming. Related Link: Few Conservative Catholic Groups Fuel Obama Notre Dame Scandal ~ David Weigel, Washington Independent

Pure Genius

Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall? Well, now you can. Just follow the link to Contra Celsum and you'll be in for a real treat. My favourite bit was the insertion of the equivalent to "peace be upon him" when referring to Helen Clark in the prose. See if you can find it. Brilliant, just brilliant. Related Link: Sauce for the Goose: Flies on the Wall in Ros Noonan's Office ~ Contra Celsum

ANZAC Day disconnection

I really feel really disconnected from the whole ANZAC Day thing, being of Polish ancestry myself. I know the Polish community in Wellington do involve themselves in the ANZAC Day Mass at St Mary of the Angels in Wellington, remembering their dead from WW2 and their own WW2 struggles. There is a whole generation of us living in NZ because our parents or grandparents fought as part of the exiled Polish army and ended up settling here in NZ due to being ex-Soviet prisoners and not in a good position to go home, to say the least. I suppose it really is up to those, like myself, to remember my own military connections on this day. If I don't, no one else will.

Spending Freedom (ANZAC Day)

MacDoctor sums it up for me. "And when the fight was over, We spent what they had made” he quotes from Pink Floyd. And then goes on to say why these words are truly profound. "A war such as the Second World War can bring us the coin of freedom, but we often spend it without regard to how precious it truly is." It was Pink Floyd again in "The Wall" who also said "Bring the boys back home" I wish we could. Lest we forget. Related Link: ANZAC Day

Crime doesn't pay [Updated]

Crime doesn't pay. Literally. Some $790 million is owing in unpaid fines, and the Justice department can't be bothered collecting fines from people that simply will not pay. And if crime doesn't pay, then as far as the criminal is concerned, crime does pay. Punishment is not like a fishing expedition with a "catch and release" policy. If the Justice department cannot do their job, then they need to think of a better plan than a variation of "tax the rich". Surely not paying fines is a crime? If so, the people get arrested and the judge makes them pay for their crimes in ways other than money. I suspect most fine defaulters are those that are unemployed and on a benefit. They may simply not have the resources to pay, and being on a benefit gives them no incentive to stick to the straight and narrow with large fines hanging over their heads. It must be tough. Not as tough being a victim though. So apart from making defaulters indenture

Its climate science Jim, but not as we know it

One of New Zealand's top global warming promoters has been sacked by NIWA . Leading Government scientist Jim Salinger, an international pioneer in climate change research, has been sacked for what he says is talking out of turn to news organisations. Now I happen to think Dr Salinger is wrong about Global warming. However if the facts are as stated this is a worrying development. We need robust debate on matters of public policy. And although in this case the debate has been a trifle one sided, on Dr Salinger's side, firing him in this manner will not enhance the quality of that debate one iota. There has to be more to this than meets the eye. I predict storms ahead.

Echos of 1980

Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins. I was in Canada around that time, and just before this Canadian synth pop band had their one big hit. I was reminded of it listening to Supertramp, which took me back to the same time. Hat tip, Dad4Justice: Supertramp - The logical song

Freedom of religion

Canterbury Atheist (Paul) has recently done a post asserting that the organisation of the Catholic Church is (shock horror) not a democracy, indeed, he claims it to be interchangeably totalitarian and fascist. I think he was serious. If we were to accept his premise that a religious organisation needs to be democratic, it follows all institutions in our society need to be democratic. Businesses would require a CEO to be voted in by workers, families would require a vote from Johnnie on vegetables or sweets for dinner and so on. I'm not going to bore you with more examples that prove my point, I'm assuming that you can see this. I could also spend a bit of time pointing out that we don't really have a classically democratic system. At best it is an indirect democracy, and at worst, something closer to an oligarchy, given we elect members to parliament for a reasonably long period of time, that make all sorts of decisions, supposedly on our behalf but it's rare

Friday night free for all

It's the last day of the school holidays ... back into madness next week. I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. What I'm not looking forward to is hearing how the Government has run out of money, and rather than aiming it's guns at all the layabouts, it's instead saying they're going to keep their promises to them (to not cut "entitlements") and break the promise of a tax-cut (ie sorry guys, we still need you to be putting in just as much as if we were a socialist government, oh wait, I think we are ...) to the poor slobs who work and work and work and end up paying for everything. Maybe it's all a bad dream and I'll wake up soon.

New UN Gender Policing Agency

I'm not sure what the UN gender policing agency is supposed to do (but I can guess, thought crimes anyone?), but it looks like it might be coming soon unless the member countries of the UN manage to hold it off, with staff on the ground in some 150 countries to "promote normative and policy functions" of the entity. NEW YORK, NY, April 23, 2009 (C-FAM) - At a meeting at United Nations (UN) headquarters last week, nations pushed back when UN staff insisted governments approve an enormous new gender-policing agency with scant details on its budget, staffing, or mandate. The UN Secretariat called the meeting to get nations to choose one of four models it proposed for a new UN "gender entity." It is estimated that the new entity will have a minimum one billion dollar annual budget, including non-voluntary funding by the United States (US) and other major UN donors, while giving the new agency free rein to set the UN's "gender" agenda and broad authori

Thought crimes in the USA

Divine coincidence or just ironic? Yesterday I had a conversation with Madeleine over WhaleOil's boycott of the Tumeke blog due to WhaleOil's disapproval of Tim Selwyn's opinions on Israel and the Holocaust. Suffice to say, I will not be joining the boycott. Today, I've been reading the WND articles on a new federal law about to be passed in the USA criminalising thought - the dreaded "hate crime" legislation that typically has chilling effects upon free speech (normally Christian free-speech) in every country it has been implemented in. Critics have said "hate crimes" laws actually criminalize thought because they demand enhanced penalties due to the "perception" of the victim by the perpetrator. A mugger, for example, who attacks a victim while screaming an epithet denoting a race or sexual preference could receive a much more significant penalty than a mugger who attacks a victim but doesn't say anything. Four years ago, in a

Jewish Holy Site vandalised by Palestinians

JERUSALEM – Jews who arrived last night to pray at Joseph's Tomb – Judaism's third holiest site – were stunned to learn the structure had been vandalized, with the headstone smashed in and swastikas painted on the walls. "Only barbarians could do such things. People who pathologically disgrace such a holy place don't deserve to be called human beings," said Gershon Mesika, head of the Jewish regional council in the West Bank. Joseph's Tomb is the believed burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, the son of Jacob who was sold by his brothers into slavery and later became viceroy of Egypt. Following repeated Palestinian attacks, Israel in October 2000 unilaterally retreated from Joseph's Tomb and, with very few exceptions, banned Jews from returning to the site purportedly for security reasons. The tomb area is now controlled entirely by the Palestinians. I wonder if this act of vandalism is connected to the UN Racism Conference. Emboldened by Ahm

Nisi credideritis non intellegetis

Unless you will have first believed, you will not understand. We can only go so far on our own. Faith then brings to completion what reason begins to explore. Fr Z . Goes into the carbon dating controversy, the style of sewing done on the linen (only ever seen from 1st Century Masada fabric), and the wounds of the man on the cloth. Definitely blood, as well. DNA evidence, because of the blood degradation could only confirm a human male. No one knows how the image could have been faked. Issue of the age, how it kept so well over time*. *Holy things tend not to be subject to time in the same way. Our Lady of Guadalupe, for example, was imprinted upon cactus cloth that should have only had a lifespan of 20 years. Instead, it's already survived for 500 years.

Anti-Catholic Fear Mongering in NZ

A recent post by Paul of Canterbury Atheists really deserves a longer comment that this meagre one I am about to give. But, I think that even if I do no more than exposing this sort of anti-Catholic fear-mongering (which pops up so regularly in history as to follow a predictable pattern), then for now I have done enough. Why should the non-Catholics amongst us, grant special privileges, like a tax-free life-style, to a group that wants to play by its own rules, and rejects the very system we ‘spilled blood’ to keep? So why does secular society, like here in New Zealand, allow groups in our midst to operate outside the bounds we consider to be fair, for the rest of us? Allows them to set-up a sepearte schooling system, that selects children on the basis of their parents religion? The N.Z National Front can’t come-out and say “we don’t want none of them Jews n’ blacks”, without facing state sanction. Yet, the same state authorities endorse sexism in Churches up and down the country

How (some) schools hit academic goals

Look in many school foyers and you will notice the school's academic goals are displayed. They will be framed and say something like this: "We will improve our literacy and numeracy rate" or "We will improve our NCEA1 pass rate" This serious document will be signed by the principal as it will be part of the performance goals the Board of Trustees is monitoring. Yet how meaningful are NCEA pass rates and such goals? There are three issues to consider. First, two schools may have the same pass rate but will not have used the same mix of achievement and somewhat easier unit standards to get the same result. Second, schools, in particular principals, are canny enough to change their school's mix of unit/achievement standards over time to meet professional performance goals. Third, schools that don't play the game of changing the standards mix are getting overtaken or devalued by schools that do. What appears to be missing from recent magazine features

Greenie sues her parents for her life

Environmentalist Teresa Green has today sued her parents for causing global warming by giving her life. "I'm the third child of four, and it's quite clear that not stopping at one child is the root cause of global warming. Quite frankly, I should never have been born, and it's their fault." "Indeed, my mother was the second of three, and she should never have been born either, so I've taken the hard step of suing my grandparents also, on my mother's behalf." Given that my grandparents are dead, is no reason to desist. Although the fact they died in a tragic car accident before their seventy second year counts favourably for them, as they have helped to reduce the average life expectancy of the population." In determining the amount of the law suit, I had to take into account that the eldest child should naturally receive 100% of the three million dollar inheritance they left for their children, and I'll be suing myself for my share

Green Abortion

Whilst Trevor Mallard is defending the honour of Wainui homeboys, by ironically implying Aussies are not fair dinkum, the odd Australian does appear rather odd. Perhaps they have relatives who live in Wainuiomata? Come to think of it, I do. Whilst I personally would never disparage a geographical location (unless it deserved it) I am guilty of the occasional disparaging comment about our Greenie brothers and sisters. Except, in this case, that would have to be my point. If they had their way, I wouldn't have a Greenie brother or sister, and they wouldn't be bothering me, so I couldn't possibly make a disparaging comment about them. Isn't it lucky they are alive? Restricting each couple to one baby, as China does, is "one way of assisting to reduce the population''. "It's something we need to throw into the mix," the former Democrats parliamentarian said. More people means more coal-fired electricity, cars, houses, water use and food

Ask a controversial question

And you might get a controversial answer . Update You have to love this. Under the headline " Miss USA runner-up sparks gay rights row " stuff reports The runner-up to Miss USA has stirred controversy at this year's beauty pageant by saying she did not believe in gay marriage. Miss California’s comments at Sunday's pageant sparked outrage, with some audience members going head-to-head with supporters after the show. Surely the last thing Miss California wanted to do was stir controversy. She got thrown a curve ball when "gay pageant judge and celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton" asked her the question. Call me unreasonable but any "gay rights row" that has been "sparked" was surely down so by "gay pageant judge and celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton" who had every intention of doing just that when he asked the question. And for the most part the media has gone along with his agenda. What a nasty piece of work h

Obama getting no mercy from the media

In celebration of NZC's 60th post this month, we bring you a copy and paste job - some excellent satire from the Onion, covering the harsh grilling Obama is subjected to in the media , right wing fascists that they all are. But first, whilst you are preparing your mouse wheel for a bit of fast scrolling, a reminder that to have a quick look at the recent posts for any particular blogger at NZC, simply click the post author's name at the top of the page. WASHINGTON—More than a week after President Barack Obama's cold-blooded killing of a local couple, members of the American news media admitted Tuesday that they were still trying to find the best angle for covering the gruesome crime. "I know there's a story in there somewhere," said Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, referring to Obama's home invasion and execution-style slaying of Jeff and Sue Finowicz on Apr. 8. "Right now though, it's probably best to just sit back and wait for more information

An Unacceptable Insult

Keith Locke said it was "an unacceptable insult" for New Zealand to snub the United Nations Forum on Racism. I think he's right. A more acceptable insult might be to send a shoe to the convention. The reasons Keith Locke and the Greens cite for going to the convention are typical: "There may be some criticism of Israel at the meeting, but surely that is par for the course at UN meetings, and has some validity given the way a number of Israeli administrations have treated Palestinians, particularly those residing in Gaza. Looks like Locke got confused. Even though it's a forum to discuss racism, it's not actually supposed to encourage racism, but look at ways of curbing it. Starting out with a Jew hating tirade shouldn't be "par for the course". Just as it didn't back in 2001. Just think of it as breaking the cycle Keith. "Pulling out of the conference is an unacceptable insult to the UN" The United Nations is a bur

Saving Us From Ourselves

The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills. [Thomas Jefferson] God himself will not save men from their wills. Thomas Jefferson understood this and suggested that the State also, is fundamentally unable to save men from their desires. A democracy allows the majority to vote in a political class committed to keeping the lambs well feed. A democracy also has the capacity to vote the same wolves out if they do not behave themselves. Sort of. Apathy, ignorance and ideological disposition may mean that the majority simply follows the best propaganda. Do we recognise propaganda when we see it? The age of reason heralded in an age of human rationalism that

How tuck shop sausage rolls are destroying the planet

In a landmark study that combines two modern obsessions in one seminal paper, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts have concluded that global warming is linked to obesity . "Population fatness has an environmental impact," said Phil Edwards, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "We're all being told to stay fit and keep our weight down because it's good for our health. The important thing is that staying slim is good for your health and for the health of the planet." It seems fat people emit more CO 2 * than thin people. Who would have ever guessed? * A natural component of the atmosphere recently reclassified by the EPA as a pollutant.

Obama calls on Jack Bauer

The story so far: 0600 to 0659 Iranian Police arrest an American Citizen, Roxana Saberi, and charge her of the serious crime of being a journalist without a press pass. 0700 to 0759 Obama notified. Suggests a pet dog might help defuse the situation. 0800 to 0859 Iranian Courts add new charges - Roxana Saberi is actually an American Spy. The whereabouts of Jennifer Garner become a matter of National Security as the story is checked. 0900 to 0959 Obama addresses people of Turkey. "We are not at War with Islam." He authorises project "Allah Akbar" to rescue hostages of Somali Coast to demonstrate superior military strength. This has no effect on Iranian Judges who find Saberi guilty. 1000 to 1059 Obama responds with awe inspiring speech of appeasement: "We are not at war with Iran" said Obama. "Therefore, even though the evidence has never been published, the trial was held in secret and her father claims she was tricked into making a fa

Tea parties and rude jokes

There are some things I'd rather not know, and the homosexual use of the word "teabagging" (is it actually a word?), falls into that category. Of course now it is seared into my mind and I can't get it out. Related Link: Cooper, Gergen mum on 'tea-bagging' insult Groups call for action over CNN oral sex crack ~ World Net Daily

Making Civilisation Civilised

I was going to speak of Humanism, and how religion is automatically rejected as providing any basis for claiming authority, requiring reason alone. I was also going to discuss Catholic thought, that speaks of the role of both faith AND reason. Topics too big for a single post, so I'll simply make this a part of the whole. So I'll begin this post with some of the problems Humanists have to grapple with, by quoting Clive James (Cultural Amnesia, 2007). He sees the power of reason, and wonders how we can make civilisation more civilised. If humanists have faith, it is in reason. Why are people then, so unreasonable? It was terrible, that age...The full facts about Nazi Germany came out quite quickly, and were more than enough to induce despair. The full facts about the Soviet Union were slower to become generally appreciated, but when they at last were, the despair was compounded. The full facts about Mao's China left that compounded despair looking like an inadequ

Idiot atheists want debaptism

There is a growing movement of atheists that think by getting a certificate of "debaptism", that it will have a real effect on undoing the baptism they didn't consent to that they got as babies. "We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop," said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58. John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be "de-baptised," held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old. The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. "They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette," said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government. So that's what he did -- his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

The face that launched 1000 ships? Not likely

Angelina Jolie has been voted the most beautiful woman in the world. Well she's no Helen of Troy. The Tat in the picture has gone now. It has been replaced by many others since - some of which have also been removed. Normally I don't even read stories such as that linked above - they are mere fluff. But it troubles me slightly that a woman who mutilates herself is held up as the epitome of feminine beauty because it will lead the less favored to imitate, which does little to enhance their place in this world and is something I'm sure they will live to regret. Every generation has its feted beauties of course, most vapid celebrities but a few with more substance, maybe. Here is a young Bette Davis in a soft focus photograph. Far more feminine than the latest epitome of female beauty, few could argue with that. She was a great actress too. Good enough to last in the film industry well into her later years when her beauty had long faded. She is shown on the right in a st

Friday Trains Fiasco - Passengers told to find their own way home.

Make your own way home: that's what passengers were told at Britomart train station this Friday evening. Not a great end to the day, but then it didn't have that auspicious a beginning either for Auckland's rail system.. I wanted to get to the City as early as I could today, being that I had to to hand in a summative for class and I still had a lot of work to do; so, what happens? I get to Papakura and they tell us 'pats' (that's their little nickname for us passengers I presume) that there will be a delay because of an 'oil spill' at Takanini. We get on the train and sit for a good 10 minutes and I wonder why I see one of the train personell opening the fusebox and looking inside it. Next announcement is that there will be no trains departing Papakura and that buses will be laid on. Roughly 20 mins later, buses do arrive and we all pack on and drive from train station to train station picking up more people until we're packed on like sardines. E

Friday Night Free for All

It's Friday. Good Friday for some, so Happy Easter! Drop in and say hello. If I get a chance later I'll update this post with a weekly roundup. In the meantime, let's just get this puppy moving. How about an Obama joke to kick things off? A Christian, a Jew and Barack Obama are in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Barack Obama says, "This joke isn't going to work because there's no Muslim in this boat." [Andy Borowitz]

Today's online reading

Many times when I go through periods of silence online, I end up doing a lot of reading. Here is a smattering of that reading, I thought I would share with everyone. Obama's Unholy War Against Christianity, Not Islam ~ American Spectator, George Neumayr Liberals are far more tolerant of Islam than of Christianity. ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ German Catholics Under the Iron Fist; Bismarck and the Kulturkampf ~ Catholic Answers, This Rock, Matthew E. Bunson A fascinating article on the persecution of the Church during the post-Enlightenment period, and pre-Nazi Germany. ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ The Question of Suffering, the Response of the Cross ~ Ignatius Insight, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger I think I was attracted to this article because of the discussion on the problem of evil, why God allows suffering on M&M . I feel unable to address all the issues involved, but will quote the Pope when he said in the above linked article: Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to

Obama avoids a world war in latest cover-up

Obama avoided a World War today, by ensuring the words "Jesus" were covered in black cloth so they wouldn't be seen on camera at the Catholic University he was speaking at. The University was willing to oblige. "We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock." said Obama in a speech at Georgetown Catholic University, mollifying Christians around the world with a biblical quote. I guess Presidents must be seen to be neutral, for fear of upsetting the strong and possibly violent atheist lobby :-) not to mention starting a war with upset radical Islamic Fundamentalists, who still haven't gotten over the Danish cartoons and Iraq (or are they Democrats?). Some people are a little upset about this White House "cover-up". Questions are naturally asked: Is it that such a backdrop causes offense? Is it that some people cannot figure why it is there? Is it simply easier to squash all religious reference

Bula Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell gives a succinct summary of the current situation in Fiji, and more importantly, how they got there. He could have added a couple more paragraphs on the kind of 'democratic' corruption the Qarase government was engaged in, but you'll get the idea. Some excerpts (large chunks might be more accurate) below: The notion that an election, any election is an over-riding litmus test of political legitimacy cannot pass unchallenged...Qarase’s mandate, and the methods by which he gained it, were always dubious - and addressing the patent inadequacies in the Fijian voting system has been a genuine reason for delay in calling elections. ...Some delay was inevitable, and desirable – because the 2006 election had been no picnic for democracy. The election was hastily called in 2006, the weighting of votes between constituencies .. was unjust, and there were major inaccuracies in the rolls – while the campaign itself entailed the campaign bribes (eg wage rises held