Friday, October 30, 2015

Eleganza Soul

Those who grew up in the '70s have certain movies and tv shows burnt into their memories. Bruce Lee, Starsky and Hutch...and all that great music!
Smooth mutha-****!
With so much black funk running through the grooves, it was a sound we weren't familiar with here in NZ...but man, was it cool!
At the start of that decade came the Isaac Hayes' chart-topper Shaft, with shock-horror lyrics like "He's a bad mutha...shut your mouth!" Young white teens, adding new phrases to their lexicons, never had it so good.
Shaft of course was really The Theme from Shaft - one of the first blaxploitation films. It starred Richard Roundtree as the ultimate in suave black detectives. John Shaft was like the James Bond Of Da 'Hood.
The US blaxploitation scene saw numerous clothing outlets selling what today looks so naff but, back then, was top-funk clothing for the debonair black man...opps, African-American.
We saw the groovy gear in movies and wondered if it was all just prop-clothing. No, bro...if y'all wanted to strut the streets, the turned-out turkeys would check out ads like these...!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

US Nuke Spanish Clean-up

The good ol' US of A has finally agreed to clean up its own mess... namely a nuclear spill!
The southern Spanish coastal resort of Palomares was the scene of the worst nuclear accident in US military history nearly 50 years ago.
Death from above
On 17 Jan.1966, a B52 bomber with four nuclear bombs collided with a refuelling aircraft in mid-air. Three bombs fell near Palomares, failing to explode but contaminating the soil with radioactive material, and the 4th fell into the sea, lieing undiscovered for more than 2mths.
USA and Spain said last week they 'intended to...clean up the Palomares site and organise the storage of the contaminated soil at an appropriate site in the United States.' The contaminated soil is expected to be buried in a secure area in the Las Vegas desert in an 2yr.operation. A Spanish Govt spokesman said the agreement was a "...symbol of friendship between the two countries, who are allies and partners who trust one another and have lots of things to do together." What - even it takes 50 years???
The mayor of the nuked area claims he's not been told a damn thing about the deal: "I'm annoyed we haven't been officially informed. We're the victims, the ones who've suffered this for the last half-century and the ones who now have to suffer the clean-up." He said he'd continue to fight for proper compensation, and funding for a tourism campaign to protect its image while lorries carrying radioactive material warnings roll through the area.
The area where the bombs fell, in the province of Almeria, SE Spain, has been dubbed the Costa del Armageddon. In the aftermath of the crash, the US and Spanish tried to convince the world there was no danger. US Ambassador Biddie Duke even joined a Spanish minister for a swim off Palomares in front of cameras, saying: "If this is radioactivity, I love it!"
Environmentalists have accused the two govts of secrecy about residents' health checks. The Spanish govt claims only small levels of radiation have been detected, though in several cases plutonium has reportedly attached itself to bones.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Flossing: Little Benefit?

The importance of flossing is sold as an essential step in getting rid of harmful plaque, the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
But what if flossing wasn't so important after all - what if it made no real difference to dental health?
That's the suggestion emerging from a new body of research.
Flossing is aimed at helping rid our mouths of bacteria. Just 1ml of saliva is thought to contain about 100 million microbes. The mouth is a warm, acidic environment that's perfect for them to flourish. While some of these bacteria are bad, turning food sugars into tooth-eroding acid, others actually prevent tooth decay by releasing chemicals that counteract harmful acid.
But the latest evidence suggests flossing has little impact on reducing tooth decay or preventing gum disease. British Dental Association researchers looked at the long-term effect in people who brush and floss and others who only brush, and found no difference in terms of reducing plaque, bleeding or subsequent gum disease.
A recent review in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology concluded that 'despite being widely advocated...the majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal and in reducing gingival (gum) inflammation'.
So although flossing may be good for removing food from between teeth, it's not successful in removing the biofilms causing problems. Researchers believe the best way to overcome biofilms and prevent tooth decay is to master your brushing technique.
They are confident that most people with normal teeth and normal gaps do not need to floss at all!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Force Is Too Strong For Internet

The Force has awoken...and crashed the internet.
Tickets went on sale for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 10am yesterday. Within minutes, Reading Cinema's website crashed due to heavy demand, and other NZ cinemas were nearly sold out for midnight sessions.
As has been a tradition dating back to 1997, Star Wars will debut at a special midnight screening. Sales for all sessions were going well prior the crash, but the midnight shows were proving the most popular.
Reading Cinema's spokesman says the last time he remembered demand for a film peaking this high was in the run-up to Avatar.
Twitter was glowing like a lightsabre, post-ticket release, with some twits gloating about seeing the movie in New Zealand before the rest of the world (due to the timezone difference).
But one indigenous twit seemed dissatisfied: "Given all Star Wars clones are maori actors, why can't we have lightsabre taiahas?" (a maori weapon) "And just imagine a clone army haka!"
Oh puh-leez, talk about being trapped in a space vortex. Next there'll be a maori claim for intellectual property rights!
The 7th installment in George Lucas' much beloved and obsessed-over franchise will premiere in NZ at 12.01am on Thursday, 17 December.
Maori stormtroopers - yea, right!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Free Pub - A Dream?

An historic pub deep in the boonies of East Otago could be yours... for nix!
Stanley's Hotel, in the town of Macraes Flat, is available for free lease to the right person, after failing to attract a lessee over the past
People have until this coming Monday (19 Oct.) to register an expression of interest in leasing the property.
The property is owned by the Macraes Community Trust, and has been attracting interest from all over NZ and as far afield as Oz.
Stanley's Hotel was built in 1882. Tom Stanley, Kentish-born son of a sea captain, took over a ramshackle hotel at Macraes Flat, and decided to rebuild. He quarried stone from the hill behind the Catholic church, and engaged a Hyde stone-mason called Budge, to "build me an inn that will last." Budge, noted for his craftsmanship... and his huge capacity for beer, erected an inn fit for a king. It took him five years - on some days he did not face a stone, succumbing to an invitation to "come and have one" before he put foot on the ladder. His payment was wholly in beer and, when the building was finished, it was estimated he'd consumed 72 hogsheads' worth (a hogshead being 54 gallons/250L)!!!
The single-storey schist hotel remained in the Stanley family until 1960. Nearby Oceana gold mine bought it in 1997, and gave it to the community. It's been an institution for many years and locals are very keen for that to continue, beyond the looming closure of the goldmine in 5-10yrs.
The hotel is one of the few illustrations of the type of C19th hotel that used to be common in goldfields Otago. It is the only surviving hotel from that period in Macraes, and is the most substantial building in Macraes Flat. It now has a Heritage NZ Cat.1 listing.
Mind you, although it's a mainstay of the local community and travellers, some backpackers found the previous host less than endearing, so whoever takes over the lease should consider the quality of service for what could be a valuable tourist opportunity.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Whale On Food Festival Menu

When tourists think of Japan, images of dramatic landscapes, futuristic cities and world-class sushi may spring to mind.
But one Tokyo district is hoping to reel in outsiders with one of the country’s more controversial traditions: slaughtering whales.
Ebisu, a Tokyo gastronomic hub, is hosting an annual food festival aimed at introducing foreigners to the culinary delights of whale meat.
But few tourists visiting the district seem willing to tuck into the dark meat, with some saying the concept put them off visiting the festival entirely.
Japan's culinary relationship with cetaceans is both controversial and complex. The nation has hunted whales for hundreds of years but the commercial industry only took off after WWII, to help feed a hungry country.
In recent decades it has used a legal loophole in the international ban on whale hunting that allows it to continue catching the animals in order to gather scientific data. But it's no secret that the whale meat from these hunts ends up on dining tables, even though consumption has fallen sharply in recent years.
The country’s influential Japan Whaling Association has given the festival its blessing. Chairman Kazuo Yamamura: "If foreign visitors actually see the food being served at restaurants, I hope they say it may be all right to use it as resources as long as the animals are not endangered."
Around 30 Ebisu restaurants are serving whale dishes throughout the festival, which closes on 18 October.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Eyes Peeled For New NZ Banknotes

Our long-awaited new $5 and $10 banknotes will be in circulation from next week...but we may not see them for a few weeks.
That's because the Reserve Bank distributes banknotes only when it receives orders from banks. Orders for replacement $5 and $10 notes come in less frequently than other denominations, as they tend to circulate much more between retailers and consumers.
"Where can I get a few billion more?"
So meanwhile the old notes are still totally legal.
Currently about 345,000 of the new notes have been sent out to banks - that compares to about 45-million existing $5 and $10 notes currently in circulation, so they may take a while to filter down to our wallets!
The new notes still feature legendary adventurer Edmund Hillary and suffragette Kate Sheppard but also include more Maori designs. The rest of the new notes ($20, $50 and $100), will be released in April 2016.
Personally, I think they look bright and interesting (although the image of the Queen does show her advancing years perhaps a bit too realistically).
But not everyone is happy...and, par for the course these days, those who are moaning are our indigenous brethren!
A certain tribal group is complaining that a design (on the new $10) from a Maori meeting house has been used without their permission. And the bros have even rolled out their lawyers to battle for their intellectual property rights.
The fact that the meeting house was confiscated in 1867 after the Maori Wars, and has been on public display in a national museum for many decades since, seems to have escaped them.
It appears they're just focused on a fast compensation opportunity. Now there's a thought: just wait until the current notes are no longer legal tender, and then give the brothers the entire NZ supply. They can wallpaper every whare in the land with 'em if they like! A great recycling initiative...

UPDATE: 10 Nov.2015 - Ha, the joke's on bro! Turns out that the decorative maori panel on the $10 note - subject of legal action to stop its use - was never actually part of said maori meeting house at all! Oh dear, how sad, no compensation!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Doomsday Downunder - How Is It At Your Place?

Er…um…well, this IS embarrassing!!! We're all supposed to be DEAD now. Aren't we?
According to a Christian group, you shouldn't be able to read this blog because the world is due to be engulfed and destroyed by a great fire on 07 October!!
Chris McCann, leader of the eBible fellowship and all-round God expert, recently predicted Doomsday was upon us.
McCann delivered his warnings via podcast. He reckons that 07 October will be the day God has spoken of. It's The Big One. The day the Earth passes away. The day we should be gone forever. Annihiliated.
McCann: "God destroyed the Earth with water, by a flood, in the days of Noah. And he says he'll not do that again, not by water. But he does say in 2nd Peter 3 that he'll destroy it by fire." However, just to cover his self-righteous arse, McCann adds a disclaimer that "there's an unlikely possibility that it will not end." He had previously claimed the world would end 21 May 2011 but had to revise that date.
So while New Zealand may have lived to see another day, perhaps
we should keep our fingers crossed for our Northern Hemisphere friends who are still waiting to live through 07 October…or not!

Friday, October 2, 2015


In a few years from now, scientists will try to push an asteroid off its orbital path.
It's not a case of "because they CAN"…it's actually a practice run for
saving the world!
So the joint US-European AIDA (Asteroid Deflection and Assessment) mission will crash a probe into a small asteroid called 65803 Didymos. It's only 160m wide, but the test will show if in principle a much larger asteroid threatening to wipe out human civilisation can be deflected the same.
Two spacecraft, one kamikaze and the other to monitor the effect, will be launched in October 2020. They'll travel about 6million km and reach the target mid-2022.
Dr Patrick Michel, lead investigator for the European Space Agency: "To protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts, we need to understand asteroids much better - what they are made of, their structure, origins and how they respond to collisions."
Planet Earth has had a couple of near misses in the last few years: an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier wizzed by - closer than the Moon! - in late 2011.
And let's not forget that on 13 April 2029, an asteroid called 99942 Apophis will miss us by a mere 35,000km, a hair's breadth in astronomical terms. Apophis is the size of a football field, enough mass to cause widespread devastation should it ever collide with Earth. It too will be well within the orbit of the moon. That's damn better to be safe than sorry.
After all, if/when the situation is for REAL, Bruce Willis will be too far into his dotage to save us!