Friday, May 31, 2013

Relentless They Be!

Off the back of its most successful campaign to date (Operation Zero Tolerance that saved 932 whales), Sea Shepherd has launched Operation Relentless.
Like last season's campaign, Op.Relentless will be managed and led by SS Australia. It'll be SS's 10th Antarctic whale defence campaign in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. During the past nine seasons, SS's direct actions have - by its own calculations - saved more than 4,500 whales and exposed illegal Japanese whaling to the world.
Dr Bob Brown, SS board member: "Australia is now the focus of the biggest whale saving operation on Earth...these whales are Australia's responsibility. Sea Shepherd is acting where governments have failed to intervene in the illegal slaughter of these magnificent creatures."
Sam Simon, Bob Barker and
Steve Irwin docked in Melbourne

Last season, Japan stated that its whale hunt in the Antarctic whale sanctuary was abandoned due to "relentless interference" by SS. The eco-warriors liked that relentless accusation, and they like being relentless in the pursuit of whales' safety - hence the name of the upcoming campaign...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Price Of A Tattoo

It pays to think before you ink.
Claire Nathan has missed out on her dream job of air hostess, after Air New Zealand declined her because of her maori tattoo: "I thought they'd be quite proud to have someone with a ta moko representing NZ. But it was the total opposite."
She was told tattoos that couldn't be covered by the uniform were unacceptable, but she feels its a double standard from an airline whose logo is a koru. [Ahhh, but then many global travellers would see the logo as a stylised fern frond, not necessarily anything from an indigenous culture...]
Claire points out that heavily-tattooed NZ singer Gin Wigmore has appeared in Air NZ ads, as have numerous tattooed All Blacks.
However Air New Zealand says tattoos are seen as frightening or intimidating in many cultures: "We want all of our customers to feel comfortable and happy, and this has been a key driver of our grooming standard which, like many other international airlines, prevents customer-facing staff from having visible tattoos."
Naturally, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has chimed in, calling the airline's policy a 'contradiction': "Ta moko is part of our culture, and our national airline which uses the koru motif in its brand should respect our art form." [But Pita, as is typical of someone too close to this subject, you forget that YOUR art form is not necessarily that of the entire COUNTRY. 'Respect' is far different from 'crawling through broken glass to accomodate every nuance' of a particular culture...]
Note to Air New Zealand: please don't back down to the bleaters! There WILL be fall-out from this decision. You KNOW the maori politik backed by the PC Brigade will give it all they've got.
But it's YOUR image being portrayed to customers, YOUR cash being paid in wages, YOUR choice to lay out conditions of employment.
Stay strong - or (if I'm ALLOWED to use a maori term): Kia Kaha!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"We Knocked The Bastard Off!"

"It's not the mountain we conquer but ourselves" 
- Edmund Percival Hillary 1919-2008

Sixty years ago, a beekeeper from New Zealand, Edmund Hillary, and a Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of the world's highest peak.
After climbing with British teams in the Himalayas in the early 1950s, Hillary and another New Zealander, George Lowe, had joined John Hunt's 1953 British Everest Expedition. Today in history, at 11.30am on 29 May 1953 – four days before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – the chosen pair of Hillary and the experienced Tenzing, reached the 8848m.high summit of Mt Everest via the south-east ridge.
From the moment Hillary advised Lowe that they'd "knocked the bastard off", his life was public property. He was knighted and fĂȘted around the world, and went on to become the most famous NZer ever to have lived...
The men and the mountain
Sir Ed got his first taste of the mountains while on a school ski trip to Mt Ruapehu. After graduating, he worked in the family beekeeping business. He joined the RNZAF in 1944, and began mountaineering, ascending 16 of NZ's tallest peaks. In 1950 he toured Europe and climbed peaks in the Alps.
The following year Hillary was in the first all-NZ expedition to the Himalayas. He then joined British expeditions in 1952 and 1953. Although they explored several Himalayan mountains, Everest was the goal. During the 1953 expedition, Hillary and Tenzing Norgay formed a tight team: as other mountaineers fell back, these two forged on. They reached the summit on 29 May, gaining worldwide fame...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dubai Police Tell Porky-Pies

If you can't trust the police, who CAN you trust?
Dubai's police force has been busted, over claims its supercar patrol car fleet now boasts a Bugatti Veyron!
A few days ago Dubai's chief of police tweeted a photo showing the NZ$3 million-plus vehicle decked out in police colours, but that's now been exposed as mere Photoshopping creativity! Veyron owner Afzal Kahn exposed the fraud: he thought the car looked very much like one of his...and then discovered it actually was!
You'll recall I blogged last month that Dubai police force had added a Lamborghini Aventador to its supercar patrol fleet (that also includes a Ferrari FF and an Aston Martin One-77). Those ones are legit! THIS one ain't!
Dubai officials have admitted faking the image but in their defence, Your Honour, are claiming that a Veyron is likely to be added in the near future.Yea. Right.

Monday, May 27, 2013

School Food Hides The REAL Issue

The Government announces a "food-in-schools" scheme tomorrow... with YOU paying a chunk of the bill!
What's more important:
THIS? Or feeding
the tamariki?

Prime Minister John Key says it targets the "most-in-need initially" and will involve the global milk giant Fonterra and Sanitarium (breakfast cereal manufacturer).
Johnno says that while most New Zealanders believe parents should provide breakfast for their children, this could leave some children out: "And that's right, it IS the parent's responsibility. But the issue is if the parent doesn't give the child some breakfast, then will they learn at school?" Key says it makes sense for a scheme to target the most-needy, and says it would start by targeting lower-decile schools. The govt already contributes cash to the fruit-in-schools programme, which delivers about 11 million pieces of fruit a year. So...
+Most NZers feel parents SHOULD feed their kids, that its their DUTY as caring adults to put food in their children's mouths.
+But because the "most-in-need" supposedly CAN'T fulfill their parental responsibilities, their kids go to school hungry, and their education suffers because they can't concentrate.
+Therefore WE, the taxpayers, end up paying to feed these children of inadequate parents.
To simplify a not-simple issue, assuming (and it's not at all in the realm of fantasy) that the majority of these families are of indigenous origin, then surely taxpayers have already paid, repeatedly, through endless Treaty of Waitangi settlements?
Does the educating of parents in the finer points of BEING parents, not fall under the Tiriti payments' raison d'etre?
"To hell with puha - I want KFC!"
Correct me if I'm wrong...but these full-and-final payments were meant for the betterment of those who claimed colonial victimisation. So where are the Tiriti-funded education and self-advancement programmes for the "most-in-need" - the ones to cover stopping drinking, smoking and gambling; the ones to teach budgeting, nutrition, child care; the ones to retrain and advance employment prospects? Why aren't they working? Isn't THIS the real issue?
As usual, mainstream NZ pays for the inadequacies of some who don't want to lift their game. And as always, children are the victims.

PS: 28 May 2013 - Here're the details: $9.5million from govt, matched by the corporates. So that's $19 MILLION to help ignore parental failures! Hone Harawira WILL be pleased...

Friday, May 24, 2013

GIF...or JIF?

If you say GIF is pronounced as JIF, then you're right!
The man who created the popular animated images file format, Steve Wilhite, settled the long-running debate this week, saying he's frustrated by those who pronounce the file name like the word GIFT: "The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a 'soft G', pronounced JIF. End of story."
World-shakin' stuff, criticising the Oxford but then, Wilhite was honoured this week with a lifetime achievement award for his I guess he CAN! He invented the Graphics Interface Format back in 1987 and, in the last few years, the format - known for its ability to support animated images - has enjoyed a comeback.
Last year, when the file format celebrated its 25th anniversary, it was noted that Wilhite was known for pronouncing the name as JIF and correcting those who did otherwise. And so the debate reignited...
The Oxford English Dictionary's chief editor John Simpson made it clear that whatever the word's roots, the fact many people used the 'hard G' meant that option WAS acceptable: "The pronunciation with a 'hard G' is now very widespread and readily understood. A coiner effectively loses control of a word once it's out there."
Even The White House got involved, announcing President Obama used the "hard G". So there!
But why JIF and not GIF? I mean, it's a "graphical" interface format, not a "jraphical" one, right? Well, Wilhite is often quoted as saying "Choosy programmers choose GIF" (a reference to an old US tv ad for JIF peanut butter that said "Choosy mothers choose JIF."). So less to do with logic, and more with Wilhite's peanut butter preference?
Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, JIF conjures up images of a household cleaning product...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Return Of Big Blue

The biggest creature on the planet seems to have taken a liking to New Zealand waters.
Scientists studying the blue whale say the massive mammal may be feeding locally, rather than just passing through while migrating to and from Antarctic summer feeding grounds.
NIWA marine biologist Leigh Torres: "In the Sthrn Hemisphere, there're only four documented foraging grounds outside Antarctic waters, so if this IS a blue whale foraging ground it's quite exciting."
Most of the whale sightings are near the oil drilling platforms off Taranaki: the whales are feeding on plankton, abundant in the area.
Sighting blue whales in the Sth Taranaki Bight is not new (although the abundance of sightings is). In 2008, it was reported that migrating blue whales had used oilfield construction materials off Taranaki for their personal preening!
But the protection afforded to blue whales in NZ waters may need to be increased. Dr Torres says the blue whale is classified as a migrant species, meaning they're not given the same level of protection as other large whales in NZ coastal waters. So more work is needed to determine the significance and scale of the Sth Taranaki Bight foraging ground.
The Bight is also our largest offshore natural gas and oil exploration area, with seven production platforms, seafloor pipelines, and plans for expansion in the near future.
Shipping and seabed mining have been shown to impact blue whales directly - altering their behaviour and degrading their habitat through acoustic disturbance and ship strikes. We need a greater understanding of how and when blue whales forage here, so possible impacts can be avoided.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Houston, We Have A Whitney Problem!

Now and then, we hear of radio stations marking a musical milestone by repeating a song over and over all day...(WHY they think that's a great idea escapes me: after listeners tire of the repetition, they hit the 'off' button.)
Imagine the living hell of being stuck on an plane with no 'off' switch, while one passenger constantly sings I Will Always Love You!
The solo performance began on a recent American Airlines domestic flight. A federal air marshal on board put the woman in handcuffs... but she kept on singing! The pilot changed course halfway through the 6hr.torture session for an unscheduled stop, so police could remove her.
Despite passengers being told they couldn't take photos, we hav ze pictures! WARNING! This video could be dangerous to your health!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Closest Of Friends. Again.

Pete Bethune of Earthrace Conservation, and Sea Shepherd have reached an agreement, following arbitration in their long-running legal dispute.
Bethune and Watson
The aggro between SS and Bethune arose after Ady Gil was damaged in the 2010 Sthrn Oceans campaign, while trying to stop Japanese whaling. It was rammed deliberately by Japanese security vessel Shonan Maru 2 and, after a period of towing, was abandoned. Under signed 2009 agreements between Bethune and SS, if the vessel was lost or destroyed, SS would make certain payments to Bethune: the arbitration was regarding the amount.
Bethune: "I'm happy the case has reached its conclusion and am pleased with the result. Fighting between individuals and organisations fundamentally working towards the same goals is a waste of time, money and effort, that could be better spent protecting marine life and environments."
Bethune and Sea Shepherd are both now focused on working together for the good of the oceans and, as part of that endeavour, Bethune's been helping Watson to avoid extradition to Japan, pursuant to an Interpol red notice issued against Watson at the request of Japan.
SS will continue its various campaigns to protect endangered and threatened marine mammals and fish. The organisation would like the red notice against Paul Watson lifted before the 6th season of SS's hit docu-reality TV show Whale Wars airs later this year.
Pete goes 'commando'
Meanwhile Bethune and Earthrace Conservation are about to deploy their tactical unit to Africa, to film a TV series documenting illegal fishing by foreign vessels. Two episodes have already been filmed, and another six will be filmed from July-Oct.this year.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Palmie...or Manawatu City?

Jim Quixote
Palmerston North deputy mayor Jim Jefferies is publically jousting with his own personal windmill again.
In 1998, Jefferies - not even a councillor then - suggested the city should change its name to better reflect its identity. He proposed Manawatu City, and has restarted the debate as deputy mayor this year. Jefferies says that, as Lord Palmerston never even made it to NZ, the city shouldn't feel any loyalty to him: "I've lived here since 1982, but the name of this city has never endeared itself to me."
Manawatu City. Yea, right.
His sentiments are shared by Monty Python comic John Cleese, who described his time there as "thoroughly bloody miserable." Conversely, motoring man Jeremy Clarkson said if God had got it right, then "Jesus would have been from Palmerston North."
This ain't the first time a local political minnow has opened his/her gob and fallen in. How can we forget Otaki Community Board member Jackie Elliott, who revealed a penis fixation over the new Kapiti District logo?
Jim, if it ain't broken, why fix it? Palmerstonians have been happy with the name for over 140 years, even if you're not! The large clearing where it was established was Te Papaioeafar too monolithic a mouthful for daily use. Meanwhile Manawatu (the district) got its name from maori explorer Hau. While chasing his wife and her lover, he came across a wide river. Fearing he may not be able to cross, he cried: "Ka tu taku manawa." ("My heart stands still.").
So, if Jimbo Jefferies has his way, the city will either be named after the utterings of a cuckolded hubby...or perhaps be known as 'the home of the heart attack' ("My heart stands still")!
I can't see either suggestion pleasing John Cleese!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Iceland Hunts Fin Again

Some Hvalur lads preparing lunch
It WAS too good to be true.
In May 2012, I blogged that Iceland had stopped killing endangered fin whales. Well, it's now resuming that disputed commercial hunt next month.
That's the word from the horse's mouth - or rather the horse's arsehole - Kristjan Loftsson. He's CEO of Hvalur, the only Icelandic company that catches whales: "The quota is 154, plus some 20% from last season possibly."
Loftsson's company caught 148 fin whales in 2010, but none in 2011 and 2012, due to the collapse of its only market in earthquake- and tsunami-hit Japan.
Loftsson: "They're just fish."
The Icelandic appetite for whalemeat is minimal (International Fund For Animal Welfare says only 5% of Icelanders regularly eat it), so most of this year's catch will be exported to Japan, where Loftsson claims the whalemeat market is improving. This is despite International Whaling Commission resolutions requiring member states to use the meat domestically.
In 2011, US threatened Iceland with economic sanctions over its commercial whaling, accusing it of undermining international efforts to preserve the ocean giants...but later suffered erectile dysfunction, not having the balls to carry through with the political pressure...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hong Kong's Lame Duck

Duck Fever gripped Hong Kong this month, with the arrival of a 16.5m.tall artwork, conceived by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.
Tens of thousands of visitors flocked to see a giant bright yellow inflatable rubber duck, bobbing on Victoria Harbour. But those who came for a view last Wednesday only saw something resembling a floating fried egg!
Organisers say the duck was deflated on Tuesday evening as part of scheduled maintenance work but struck a few problems - they don't know when the duck will be re-inflated.
Hong Kong has taken the bright yellow inflatable bird to its heart since it was towed into the harbour on 2nd May to cheering crowds. Stalls and shops throughout the city are selling replicas and restaurants have created special duck dishes. But this week, visitors resorted to having their pictures taken with smaller rubber ducks on show nearby.
Since 2007, the duck has travelled to 13 different cities in nine countries ranging from Brazil to Australia in a global journey. The artist hopes the duck, which is due to leave Hong Kong on 9th June, will act as a catalyst for connecting people to public art. a giant floating duck really ART, or merely the artist reliving his childhood bath-time experiences on a gigantic scale?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Love: The Final Frontier

A love of all things Star Trek might not make you the captain of Starship OKCupid, but who cares what those lesser lifeforms think... now that is here?
Yeup, that's right, and just in time for the next movie too!
Someone or some THING out there in the universe SOMEwhere is waiting to love you. The webpage headlines:
'Set Phasers to stunning... and if that doesnt work, set them to stun! Our matching system for online daters helps improve your chances of finding a relationship. If youre a Sci-fi fan and want to meet your Borg Queen or Captain Kirk, try it now!'
Intergalactic hottie?
"Star Trek fans are nerds," says Oliver Gough, owner of "They know what they're looking for." He reckons sites like are too broad for the kinds of hyperenthusiastic people who use his service. After all, these are people who "nine times out of 10 post pictures of themselves photoshopped on the Starship Enterprise!" And there's nothing wrong with that! I myself have a pic of me in Starship costume on the Enterprise bridge - but that was the REAL thing (well, a real replica), NO Photoshop. Truely! It WAS!
So beam aboard Trekkies, and Klingon for the ride of your lovelife - the next gen Love Boat is about to depart! You have the con, Mr Sulu!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stand Aside, Sting!

A message in a bottle has turned up in Christchurch - not floating in on the tide, but beneath a house in Fendalton.
A former Christchurch woman Sarah Turbott hid the message in an empty Gilbey's Gin bottle in 1958,
when she was 12yrs.old. Her little time capsule has been discovered during earthquake repairs to her family home.
The note instructed the finder to "give this to a museum and tell them to look for me if under one hundred years has passed since 1958".
The bottle was discovered by a labourer when the house was being repaired. Sarah was tracked down, now living in Auckland. She said she often thought of the secret message and said the discovery gave her a great buzz: "I'm so thrilled. I vividly remember putting it there with my brother. I've been back to look at the house a couple of times in the last few years, and every time I've been there I've thought of the bottle and wondered if anyone would find it."
The letter also states: "This is the year the Americans launched their first successful sputnik (satellite)".
Cuurent house owner Jeremy Richardson says it's touching to find a piece of his home's past: "It is a wonderful piece of history. We have always loved older houses and we've been restoring this house to its former glory, so it was rather touching to find this message in a bottle from a little girl."
Turbott lived in the home from when she was 3 until she married at 21. She'd like her children to see the time capsule.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Aaron Gilmore Is Gone. Aaron WHO?

Andy Warhol alloted everyone 15 minutes of fame.
Well, disgraced National MP for Christchurch East Aaron Gilmore used up all of his...and a bit more. By tomorrow most will be saying: "Aaron
Gormless Gilmore:
don't we care who you were?

Gilmore first came under fire earlier this month for verbally abusing a waiter who refused to serve his boozed-up dining party more wine. He pathetically big-noted "Don't you know who I am?" (well, until this incident, virtually NO-ONE did!) and also name-dropped Prime Minister John Key.
Gilmore ducked and dived, spun a few yarns, then later publically admitted he was a bully and "a dickhead" - but too late: his 15 minutes had run out. He had to sharpen his sword and fall heavily on it. However, true to his past form (that the media has since dug up), he first fired off some spiteful little childish texts threatening revenge on those who took him down. Oooooo, Aaron, we're quaking in our liddle iddle boots!
Furthermore, in his final speech, this big-talking tough guy even had the audacity to blub his eyes out in Parliament! What sort of a man is/was he? A prize dickhead, for sure! Gilmore seemed the type to want to blame others for his misfortune when he should really have been looking in the mirror. And as for turning on the waterworks, jeez!
Be a real man, Gilmore. Take the hit firmly on the chin. Walk away. Learn your lesson. Do not darken our doorstep again. And please... grow up.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lady In Red

Regret that bet?
He may be one of the most powerful men in the world, but Sir Richard Branson can still have a good laugh!
Last weekend, the 62yr.old billionaire entrepreneur donned a skirt and a full face of make-up on a public flight to Malaysia.
Branson had lost a bet with fellow airline owner, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandez, two years ago. He'd put off fulfilling the bet until now, due to his heavy work schedule but, true to his word, he donned a hostie uniform and wig and carried out the responsibilities of a flight attendant.
The funds from the flight went to the Starlight Foundation for ill children, but as to how far Sir Richard would go for charity...? He said he'd keep his famous beard. However, he did shave his legs for the flight, served drinks and pledged to clean the toilets onboard, all while sporting the red AirAsia uniform.
Pulling his blonde locks back into clips, Branson completed his fresh new look with a sweep of red lipstick and a fetching set of false eyelashes: "Have you not seen a stewardess with a beard before?" Branson laughed: "I've done some outrageous things in my time but this will be up there with the best of 'em! I had to practice walking in high heels first!"

Monday, May 13, 2013

May The Force Be With UK

Great news for the British film-making industry...
Filming of the new Star Wars movie will take place in England. This might not be the most surprising news of the day but, after the three prequels were largely shot in Australia, it's good to see the franchise returning to its original roots. The six previous Star Wars films were all partly filmed in the UK at famed studios including Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton.
In Oct.2012, Disney announced three new Star Wars films, when it purchased George Lucas' Lucasfilm company for US$4.05 billion.
Star Wars: Episode VII (due out in 2015) will be made by director JJ Abrams, and will further boost the British film industry that has been regenerated by the likes of the James Bond and Harry Potter film franchises. It'll continue the story where Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) left off. The Star Wars franchise has grossed more than US$4.4 billion worldwide since we first met Yoda in 1977. 
+ All signs point to Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher reprising their roles of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. In March, George Lucas said they "had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison - or were pretty much in the final stages of negotiation," though he refused to confirm that the negotiations had been successful. Then in April, Harrison Ford said he was "excited about possibly returning." Later that month, Carrie Fisher said she was happy too  "because they're sending a trainer to my house so I can get in really good shape." So everyone'! We can safely assume that all three actors will happily appear. But will Leia's ghastly 'croissant-head' hairstyle be back? Will Skywalker still whine like a spoilt brat? Will Solo need a zimmer frame?
+ And the iconic Star Wars music has been voted the third best orchestral piece ever! The John Williams theme bagged an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe, as well as three Grammy Awards. Now BBC Radio 2 listeners voted it ahead of works by Grieg and Tchaikovsky!! Riiiiiigghhtt!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Benetton’s Bangladesh Bungle

Global clothing giant Benetton admits it's linked to a Bangladesh garment factory that collapsed last month, killing almost 900 people.
However, rather than being shamed into finding more ethical clothing suppliers, Benetton still plans to stay in Bangladesh (thus supporting sweatshops)! 
The death toll from the factory collapse reached 892 – it's not known how many more remain buried under the rubble. More than 2,500 were dug out alive in the days following the disaster. CEO Biagio Chiarolanza said one of their Indian suppliers had subcontracted two orders of about 200,000 shirts to the death-factory. But he says the solution to the safety issues is not to abandon Bangladesh: "I really believe international brands can help these countries improve their condition. But we need a safe and happy working environment and better conditions."
Benetton was heavily criticised after the collapse and accused of paying sub-poverty level wages. It says it'll now add more checks when assessing factories. The owner of the building only had permission for a 5-storey structure and there's speculation that his exceeding that by three stories was the cause of the collapse. Bangladesh has closed 18 clothes factories in recent days for failing to meet work and safety standards.
This is not the first time global garment giants have been embroiled in third-world debacles (see Dec.2010: Dieing To Work For GAP)…and they seem all too willing to remain there – NOT to improve standards, but to milk the dirt-cheap labour costs for all they're worth!
The 'safe and happy working environment' wanted by CEO Chiarolanza cannot be bought by the blood of impoverished sweat-shop workers.
Surely only a withdrawal by these big companies will force the bar to be raised, and make the Bangladesh govt enforce higher standards on its clothing industry, if it wants global investment to return.
As we know, money always talks loudest...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Diamond In The Rough

Indiana woman Christi Hansen is one lucky lady.
Nearly five years ago, she lost a half-carat marquis diamond from her beloved engagement ring, while she was at work.
"Oh lordy!"
She searched frantically for the jewel (which had been sitting on top of the ring with channel-set baguettes on all four sides), and her colleagues joined in the hunt as well - but to no avail.
Christi: "We basically tore my whole desk apart, on our hands and knees going over the floor. I even went through all the bathrooms."
She went so far as to load her car up with full rubbish bags from the office, took them home, laid a tarpaulin out in her garage and literally with rubber gloves went through every piece of trash, hoping to find it in there!
When it was clear the diamond was nowhere to be found, Hansen's hubby bought her a replacement engagement ring.
Man of the hour
But four and a half years after the diamond disappeared, Wayne Sutton, an office printer technician, found it! He was servicing the printer at Hansen's workplace, thought a lodged object was a piece of paper that wouldn't voila!
Christi Hansen couldn't believe her eyes. She plans to keep wearing the replacement ring, make the recovered diamond into a necklace...and go on a diet to return to her engagement days weight.
But as legendary Mae West once said: "I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

007: M's Real Name

She was the fierce MI6 boss known only by the codename M.
But now the true identity of James Bond's mentor has finally been revealed - after a bit of sleuthing that even 007 himself would have been proud of!
An eagle-eyed fan watching the latest Bond movie Skyfall managed to freeze-frame a single camera shot lasting just a split-second...and discovered that M's real name was Olivia Mansfield.
I say "was" (past tense) because as you'll know, if you're a diehard 007 fan, M - played by Dame Judi Dench - meets her demise in Skyfall.
Post-funeral, James Bond is handed a box containing a Royal Doulton bulldog draped in a British flag, which is usually kept on M's desk. If you look really REALLY carefully and quickly, zooming in on the box's inscription, you'll see the words 'From the Estate of Olivia Mansfield Bequeathed to James Bond'.
Since the revelation, internet forums have been filled with speculation about the significance of the name. One theory is that it's a tribute to Mansfield Smith-Cumming, first head of MI6 who started the tradition of the organisation's director signing letters with a single letter – in his case C. Others have speculated it is a portmanteau of 'man's field', alluding to the fact that M worked in a male-dominated industry.
Since Dame Judi Dench became Bond's first female spymaster in 1995, producers have dropped a series of hints about her character's name. You'll recall in Casino Royale (2006), 007 tells his boss: "I thought M was a randomly assigned letter. I had no idea it stood for *****." To which she interjects: "Utter one more syllable and I'll have you killed."
So now you know what your favourite secret agent has kept secret for the last seven years!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Which Hairstyle Shall I Eat Today?

Japanese teenagers seem unafraid of pushing fashion boundaries outside the norm. Either that, or they have no fashion sense at all!
Could this be Japan's most ridiculous craze yet?
A Japanese hair salon is rewriting the meaning of 'cutting edge' after being the humble tomato.
This innovative design is already spreading across the internet.
Stylist Hiro says the hairdo, called 'Ripe Tomatoes' or kanjuku tomato in Japanese, is his masterpiece.
Sections of hair have been dyed green to look like the stalk, while the rest is bright tomato red. The look involves cutting the hair into a rounded crop before dying it bright red. Sections from the crown are then shaped and coloured green to resemble a tomato's stalk.
However, just like the fruit, the style has a shelf life. The colours fade quickly and the 'leaves' are difficult to reshape after being washed.
'Ripe Tomatoes' is one of a raft of bold designs to emerge from the Osaka salon Trick Store, which also came up with these creations including a half-ladybird style, animal print, and dyed pink numbers shaved into the back of the head. Ooooo, that's so ME!! Riiiiigghhtt...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Wanganui Mayor Shot Dead By Police

Mayor Mackay

Over the years, the town of Wanganui has seen more than its fair share of controversial figures. And back in the 1920s, not many tears were shed when one of its more colourful characters met his demise.
Charles Ewing Mackay, disgraced former mayor of Wanganui, was shot dead by Berlin police today in history, 3rd May 1929. But what of his history back in New Zealand? And what of this 'disgrace'?
Mackay was born in Nelson in 1875, son of the headmaster of Wellington College. A brilliant student, he graduated BA in 1895 and LLB in 1900. He was called to the Bar in New Plymouth in 1901, and the following year established his own law firm in Wanganui. There in 1904 he married Isobel Mary Agnes Duncan, from a prominent Wanganui family.
That same year, he entered local politics: he was mayor 1906-1913, again in 1915-1920, and stood twice for Parliament, unsuccessfully.
Mackay was a controversial and energetic mayor, responsible for much of the growth and development of Wanganui between 1906-1920. His projects, often expensive, were always farsighted - he advocated an electric tramway system; improved the town's roading, water supply and fire services; was instrumental in having the Dublin Street Bridge built; worked hard to encourage the development of the port and local industry.
Wanganui's Sarjeant Gallery
His principal project from 1915 was the construction of an art gallery for Wanganui, using the bequest of benefactor Henry Sarjeant. He tirelessly solicited artworks and reproductions from overseas, and even persuaded the army to delay the overseas posting of one of the architects, until the gallery's working drawings had been completed. During WWI he promoted the construction of a library and museum to complement the gallery, and also begun investigating the possibility of a power station for the borough.
But 10 May 1920 was to change his life dramatically...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Equality Or Favouritism?

You can't please all the people all the time, daaaaaaarling.
A Tui Beer billboard in Wellington taking the piss out of same-sex marriage has been labelled "offensive".
The billboard reads "Dad's new husband seems nice", followed by Tui's famous tagline "yeah right". (The Marriage Equality Act comes into force on 19 August, allowing same-sex couples to marry.) TVOne reports mixed reaction online - some call it 'narrow-minded' and 'shameful', while others say people need to 'chill a bit'.
Surprise-surprise: a Facebook group's been formed, calling for the sign to be removed. Chanel Roulton, creator of Take Down the Tui Ad on the Hutt Motorway, says - using a tired and overused line - the ad is "so wrong in so many ways": "I will no longer be drinking Tuis because of this! Time to take a stand and take this crap off!"
DC Sheehan posted there: "There will be lots who say 'get a sense of humour'. I think Tui needs a lesson in what constitutes 'funny'."
And a mixed reaction on the Gay Red Shirt Day Facebook page...
Kerry Harpur: "A bit like their beer, lacking a certain taste."
Carlos Cordero: "...offensive".
Conversely, Laura Richardson: "Hell, I'm queer and thought it was good. They make fun of everyone. If we can't laugh at ourselves what can we do? Lighten up. It is just a billboard..."
Donna Riddell: "I think it's the best equality we could all ask for. Tui take the piss out of everyone. Why shouldn't the gay community be any different. Surely that's what the fight is for...equality in everything."
Campbell Orr: "We wanted equality and we got it! Including Tui jokes!"
Nice to see some people have their priorities in order. Now, if only we can take the piss out of maori, without a precious complaint being lodged with the Human Rights Commission...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Harping On About Rena

When will the impact from the Rena stranding subside?
We hear little in national news any more but, for Bay Of Plenty locals, Rena's presence is still the form of tiny 2.5mm plastic beads.
These beads still wash ashore from the Rena container shipwreck, a year and a half after the stranding on Astrolabe Reef, 12nm off the Tauranga coast. Changing currents and wind conditions have been spreading them along the coastline over the last fortnight.
The hunt for these annoying and non-biodegradable plastic pests will be intensified this week with the addition of a 'beach harp'. This giant sieve enables beads to be separated from large amounts of sand. Modifications will also be made to allow it to work effectively in both wet and dry conditions.
Rena project spokesman Hugo Shanahan reports the 24hr operation continues to make an impact, helping clear much of the seaweed deposits mixed with plastic beads between Mount Maunganui and the Kaituna Cut.
On the weekend, a 50-strong team focused on the ongoing clean-up along Papamoa Beach, while specialist teams worked on Motiti Island recovering light to heavy concentrations of beads. Specialist vacuum cleaners capable of working in sandy environments are also being used in areas where there're concentrations of bead deposits.
Last Sunday, divers from the US salvage company Resolve were able to re-enter Rena's No.4 cargo hold in the sunken rear section of the ship, and start removing debris from the partially-intact bead container, located before severe weather hit. Very brave!