Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas and Boxing Day

We had a lovely New Zealand style Christmas yesterday all afternoon at mum's house.  My husband's family tradition is a huge lunch buffet, then open presents, then have lots of pudding (dessert). 

This year I brought a Pumpkin pie and some warm artichoke dip and crackers.  Both were yum.  Shane's sister, nieces and mum made garden salad, rice salad, potato salad.  My niece's beau brought turkey and stuffing he had made.  Besides turkey, we had sliced ham, sliced chicken.  Mum made a big bowl of orange fruit punch with lemonade (soda). She put out a plate of nuts and dried fruit.  It was a good spread.

We brought our 2 dogs with - Lady the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Kiki the Basenji.  My husband's sister brought their 2 dogs - both Shitzoos: Merlin and Guenivere.  Mum has a large black Belgian Shephard named Ruby.  We got their first and brought three dogs downstairs to mum's outdoor patio and closed the glass ranch slider so they could have a romp and go pee if needed. 

My husband and I brought in our food and presents to add under mum's tree. We open presents downstairs which leads to the outside patio - and we have lunch upstairs in the open plan large kitchen, dining room and lounge (living room). My husband's father (who passed last year) built  their family home from scratch back in the 1960's when they moved to Titirangi NZ up from Taranaki. The home is built on a small hill so you drive in from the street, park in the carport and enter the house on the top floor where the kitchen is.  Down the hall from the kitchen is 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom.  The downstairs has a 2nd large lounge, laundry room, 2 adjoined bedrooms and a 2nd full bathroom.  They raised 2 girls and 1 boy in this large family home.  The upstairs has a beautiful macro carpa wood ceiling.  Kitchen and bathroom have lovely polished wood floors and carpeting throughout the rest of the home.  It is a big house just for my husband's mother on her own.  But she has her large Shepard watchdog and my oldest niece is living there, too for maybe another year or two. 

After we had lunch - with the 3 small dogs Merlin, Guenivere and Lady - we all headed downstairs for present opening.  We let in, from outside, Ruby and Kiki - and the present opening began.

I got some hand made soap, some clothes, pajamas, cement garden goose, cooking oil dispensers, mortar and pestile, plexiglass flower decorated cutting board and 3 flowering plants to plant in my garden.  We gave a couple doggie toys so those were unwapped so the dogs had something to play with. Our 4 year old niece got quiet a few activity toys so she started playing with those right away. We gave my 22 year old niece and her fiance a camping radio and rock climbing coupon for an indoor climbing place they like.  We found batteries and got the camping radio playing songs plugged into my husband's iPhone - a Brooke Frasier album sounded nice on this little player.

We all opened our presents.  My brother-in-law, a skilled auto mechanic and motor cycle enthusiast enjoyed a book we gave him which has lots of antique car pictures.  He enjoyed his presents, then took a nap on the couch where he sat.  After 1-2 hours of present opening by the group, this always tires him out and he falls asleep,  My husband joined in with my 4 year old niece playing a little mechanical fishing game.  After a bit, my husband wadded up some used Christmas paper and threw a wad or two from across the room trying to wake up my brother-in-law.  I think he beaned him on the head and he finally awoke. 

We all started filing back upstairs ready for pudding.  NZ calls dessert pudding - you may or may not get actual pudding.  Mum made a trifle and a pavlova.  Someone brought a big bowl of fruit salad. I made the pumpkin pie.  Mum also made blue, purple and red striped jello.  We also had a container of vanilla custard and mini bite size custard and strawberry pies. My niece made chocolate and marshmellow hokey-pokey.  We all had a plate or two of dessert and retired to couches and chairs to play some card games, watch TV and have a chat - or nap.  I fell asleep for a few minutes with my Cavalier Lady sitting on my lap.  Kiki and Ruby tired each other out playing chase up and down the stairs.  Merlin is blind so he was carried up and down the stairs a couple times so he could go potty outside. 

The weather for our NZ Christmas was grey all day and bit drizzly at times.  It was very humid - and we have the same weather today on Boxing Day.

We are heading out soon to hit mum's for a leftover lunch and go shopping for a present for ourselves - we've been saving up to get a new barbeque.  My husband is keen to get one that has a glass panel to see how the insides are cooking.  I just want one that won't rust after 5 years.  But it rains a lot here, it is a rain forest so I think 5 years is average lifespan for a bbq in NZ.

That was my Christmas this year.  I sent packages to Chicago and Paris where various family members live.  They didn't send me anything, but they did email me so they remembered I still exist down here in the South Pacific.  We have a summer Christmas here, but we have a great time sharing the day with our NZ family. 

While the world is always in strife, I wish peace and love to you and yours and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season no matter where you are.

native Pohutukowa "Christmas" Trees on NZ beach - they bloom in Dec

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nugent on why America likes guns

As shared on Facebook today, I found this - it is clear enough for anyone, even if you prefer not to defend yourself - Mr. Ted explains the right to defend yourself aka why Americans like guns:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

anger, morality, nihilism, right, wrong

So many topics, so little time...

I have been thinking a lot this week about Anger.  There seem to be many instances last few years (decades?) where humans aren't handling their anger very well.  One of my sisters has worked herself up into a self induced anger directed at me - she is so mad she's not speaking to me.  (well, its a long story on how it got this bad, but so far her not-speaking thing works for me)

Has anger changed much since the human species began walking upright on the planet?  Naah, probably not.  All human, all animals experience anger.  Animals go on instinct so they really don't get "angry"... But humans sure do - and they then act on it.  A moral person might act on their anger when believing they are morally justified.  Is the definition of moral justification for acting out in anger these days changing?  When is it justified?  If you are cuttoff in a car by another, no, sorry, you are not morally justified to rage in anger or shoot that person... it is just traffic for pete's sake.

After the school shooting this week in Connecticut, the left wails and gnashes their teeth demanding more gun control and more 'gun free zones' from their favorite nanny government.  "Do something!" they cry... but what "something"?  Take away American guns?   Why punish law abiding citizens by depriving their rights to protect themselves when a crazed person commits some crime? 

In Guns, Guns, Guns, Daniel Greenfield points out you cannot stop a mentally deranged person from killing another person - you have to kill them first.  Goes back to a bible story ya'll: Cain and Abel - one brother kills another - no guns used at all.

Good article in NRO has some Facts About Mass Shootings.  Author John Fund points out:

"In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.

The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning.
Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.

Almost all of the public-policy discussion about Newtown has focused on a debate over the need for more gun control. In reality, gun control in a country that already has 200 million privately owned firearms is likely to do little to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. We would be better off debating two taboo subjects — the laws that make it difficult to control people with mental illness and the growing body of evidence that “gun-free” zones, which ban the carrying of firearms by law-abiding individuals, don’t work."

Anger fuels a crazy person - they do things society isn't happy with.  Go postal. Have road rage...

Mass killings?  That concept sure seems CELEBRATED by the Islam cultists.  Suicide bombings and killing innocents for Allah is their jihadi way, isn't it.  They prove THEY do not have "morals" the rest of the modern world supposedly has. 

However, millions of babies are killed legally in the USA by abortion - thousands every day.  The LEFT promotes this killing.  So WHY would they be SO upset a few 5 year old kids are killed?  They surely wouldn't be upset if their parents opted for abortion 5 years ago, would they?

Who can best explain the whole "justified anger" thing?  Jihadis think their anger is justified - they are angry at anyone who isn't muslim - anyone who isn't muslim offends them so they get angry.  Goes back to crazy person wants to kill you: you will have to kill them first.

About that morality thing and anger - I enjoyed the comments on this article - the very first one by Nate13 who says:

"I hate to become a one-trick pony on these message boards, but I'm going to bring up an old theme I've been harping on lately: nihilism.

We live in an age of moral relativism that, having no foundation on which to stand, is rapidly descending into nihilism - the absence of morality or any justification for it. I'm going to leave the shooter's intentions alone for the time, as I'm sure those will be discussed at length for weeks.
I'm talking about nihilism not just in the shooter, but in the broader culture that attempts to understand these horrific events without a moral reference point. In the aftermath, we attempt to get more and more legalistic, bureaucratic, and technocratic to solve problems that can't be legislated away.

These events are products of sick, evil people in an increasingly sick culture that has no stomach for "outdated" concepts like absolute right and wrong. We believe if we could just pass enough well-worded laws, we could eliminate this behavior from society. We treat these tragedies as outputs, thinking that we can just tinker with the inputs enough to get our desired results.

For God's sake, the bodies were still warm and we were already talking about piles upon piles of statistics, as if the problem of violent gun crime could be solved mathematically with some study or Congressional inquiry. I'm afraid that, absent the presence of morality in our discussions of these murders, we have no tools to solve the underlying problems except legalism and policy making. People will keep fixating on the problems with guns because we've become woefully inadequate at talking about problems inherent in humanity.

It always amuses me in pitying way when I hear people retreat even further into nihilism after an event like this by making that old appeal to the "Argument of Evil" which asks, "If there truly is a good god, why does he allow such evil deeds?" As if the very presence of evil invalidates the possibility or under-pinning for good!

Forgive my frustration, but what right do we have to even speak about evil in our society? We are so immersed in violence, greed, sex, instant gratification, and materialism that we've lost all sense of what evil even looks like. To know evil, you must first know good. And while we work ourselves into a righteous huff over "evil" for 2% of the year when these disgusting acts occur, for the other 98% we desperately try to rebel against all forms of conventional morality - that cramps our style, doesn't it?

A child one minute before passing through the birth canal can have a pair of surgical scissors put through his or her brain without society batting an eye. A fully formed, breathing, crying, desperate, helpless baby who is the result of a botched abortion has no entitlement to life in parts of this "enlightened" Western world. And we talk about "evil"?

Government officials pass guns to cartels to slaughter civilians, and we get to talk about "evil"?
Corrupt businessmen get to use their connections to the power brokers in Washington to access public funds to bail out their billion dollar corporations (who went broke in part due to unbridled greed), and we sit here and talk about evil?

We can start talking about "evil" when we as a society find our lost sense of "good". But we can't relegate morality to the fringes, then demand to know where God was."

I'll end this with an observation - I was defending the American gun culture in my office lunch room today to a British individual and New Zealander (kiwi).  They both think Americans are crazy to have so many guns.  I say teachers and principals in schools should have guns available to them - the CT shooting was over in 2 minutes. If an armed teacher was available right there when they saw an armed person enter the school with guns and start shooting: wouldn't that have made a difference?  Could a few children been saved?  Of course.

I think its crazy NZ police don't carry handguns on their hips.  I think its crazy British still have a monarchy sucking up millions of dollars in resources - which could probably be more beneficiary to the citizens.  What is the relevancy of inbred monarch system in a modern world?  I don't get it... but then again, I'm an American. 

America was started by fighting off tyranny... with guns.  I don't have a problem with guns or with all law abiding, responsible citizens owning guns. Crims already have guns ya'll...duh.

My American culture relies on individuals - not the government - to assist each other.  As they saying goes "When there are seconds to spare, the police are 2 minutes away". 

I believe in the right to defend myself and my property from a gun wielding bad guy.  That is the American way...  Individual responsibility... and it makes me angry the USA leftist government want to take away those rights.  I'm moral and right.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Whittle: USA needs some serious people

Where is Mr. Whittle wrong? 


He's accurate and correct.

USA will not survive until some serious people are found.

Are you one of 'em?!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Unlikely to exercise any influence on future climate

Open letter to head of UN today in the Financial Post from group of scientists.

"Policy actions that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to influence future climate. Policies need to focus on preparation for, and adaptation to, all dangerous climatic events, however caused"

Hattip Watts Up With That :

"November 29, 2012

Mr. Secretary-General:

On November 9 this year you told the General Assembly: “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal … Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to … even larger climate shocks … and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 … This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.”

On November 13 you said at Yale: “The science is clear; we should waste no more time on that debate.”
The following day, in Al Gore’s “Dirty Weather” Webcast, you spoke of “more severe storms, harsher droughts, greater floods”, concluding: “Two weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States. A nation saw the reality of climate change. The recovery will cost tens of billions of dollars. The cost of inaction will be even higher. We must reduce our dependence on carbon emissions.”

We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions. " ...

... "Based upon these considerations, we ask that you desist from exploiting the misery of the families of those who lost their lives or properties in tropical storm Sandy by making unsupportable claims that human influences caused that storm. They did not. We also ask that you acknowledge that policy actions by the U.N., or by the signatory nations to the UNFCCC, that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to exercise any significant influence on future climate. Climate policies therefore need to focus on preparation for, and adaptation to, all dangerous climatic events however caused."

I seriously doubt it - there is BIG MONEY involved with keeping people fooled about "man made" global warming - TAXES.

Gubmits TAX CITIZENS in guise of 'saving the planet' when all that does is LINE THEIR POCKETS!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ukrainian Parkour Staffordshire

A Staffy otherwise known as a "pit bull"; check out this awesome dog with extreme climbing skills:

Chelsea sugar banana muffins yum

I haven't posted much with the tag "Yummy people food" but banana muffins are yum.  I just made some using the Chelsea recipe.

Chelsea sugar refinery near downtown Auckland on shorline - pix from flickr
Chelsea sugar is a NZ brand - a company which has been in business since 1884.

They have catchy commercials and sponsor a yearly show called NZ's hottest home baker.  I've seen it the last 2 years.  It is a really cute show and the contestants whip up all kinds of baked goods featuring Chelsea sugar products (of course).  I get the urge to make muffins or cakes when I watch it - so the show is dangerous to your mid section. 

I suppose that is exactly why cooking shows are so popular - people go out buy the ingredients and start bakin' up a storm...  :)

Going to eat a muffin now - go bake somehing now yourself and have a good day...