Entries "October 2006":

Saturday, October 28, 2006

He is our Peter Jackson from New Zealand - the world's highest paid director for King Kong!


He is our Peter Jackson from New Zealand - the world's highest paid director for King Kong.The Guiness world record for the biggest paid fee paid to a director. That's a lot of money for some great writing.It was also the biggest film budget too - US$207 million for King Kong.

If Peter Jackson doesn't like what studios offer him, which includes 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures profit share offer for the yet unmade HALO - he backs off and looks elsewhere.He can afford to - THE LORD OF THE RINGS made US$2.7 billion at the box office alone -with 20 Oscars from his films he can do what he likes.There are more movies, a partnership with Microsoft for new kinds of video games, and even ideas for a television mini- series.

Don't get the idea that Peter Jackson is some sort of big- head - he isn't! He's lost a lot of weight and has replaced those horn rim glasses with contact lenses, but at heart he is still that big overweight young man who started his professional life making a low budget gory comic zombie movie BAD TASTE, on weekends around the Wellington region for three years or so.

He was self- taught and was involved in just about everything in that film - the $10,000 cost coming from his weekly wage as an engraver for the local paper.Twenty years ago this very month, the New Zealand Film Commission finally relented and agreed to financially back an unknown young film maker from Pukerua Bay just a few miles outside of Wellington City.

He said he used to save up and buy four or five rolls of film, shoot them all up in a day, store them in the fridge until his next pay cheque and get them processed.When he had to pay the lab bill he couldn't afford film until the following week.

He was living at home with his parents at the time, and when he got his first $5,000 from the film commission he resigned his job as an engraver the very next day.

Today Peter doesn't have to store film in his fridges in his homes, offices or jet. He can afford as many rolls of film he wants, whenever he wants, in a jiffy,and get the film processed in a multi- million dollar facility that he owns in Wellington. He no longer has to go cap in hand to anybody to get money for his films. Now the world's biggest studios come to him! He is Mr Peter Jackson, and the world is his oyster!

»5:43 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Thursday, October 26, 2006

Spending too much time on your mobile phone could make you infertile - could you handle that?

 Spending too much time on your mobile phone could make you infertile - could you handle that?

If you are a male your cellular/ mobile phones could make you infertile, if you use them often!

If you spend four or more hours a day on your phones your sperm count could be reduced by 30% in comparison to a male who doesn't.

Is this a devious scheme to reduce the world's population? Sires may be on the decline!

Males who use their phones for more than four hours a day could produce fewer and poorer sperm, according to results from a study released by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference in New Orleans recently.

London's Daily Mail reported that doctors think that electro- magnetic radiation emissions might damage sperm counts.

The Independent said that the case study suggested that microwaves from mobile phones appear to reduce the number, mobility and quality of sperm by up to 50%, to the point that males may become infertile.

The findings come at a time when many countries are concerned about a drop in male fertility rates. Almost a billion people use mobile phones, and in some cases increasing by 30% a year.

The Guardian said the study was too preliminary to prove an unequivical link between mobile usage and declining sperm counts.

However, scientists wanted to look at other factors such as age, weight, smoking, stress and whether people have sedantary jobs. It has not been proven and more research is needed.

»6:33 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Monday, October 23, 2006

Methamphetamine use in the Asia - Pacific region among highest in the world - Australasia in top eight!


Methamphetamine drug abuse in the Asia-Pacific region is among the highest levels in the world, with Australia up among the top eight countries who have named it as their most abused drug.

Experts were given some real education to the extent of the methamphetamine drug use at the inaugural Australasian Amphetamine conference in Sydney, Australia, recently.

Launching the 2005 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime regional report on amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS)abuse, the regional director,Jeremy Douglas, reportedly said Australia was at the world's amphetamine core.

Robert Ali, who introduced the latest report from the Australian National Council on Drugs, said the size of the problem was daunting!

It is not only the socially disaffected who use the drug, but also the middle class of developing countries who are aspiring to greater wealth and prosperity, to the lifestyles and customs of developed countries.

When China can manufacture ecstacy tablets for eight cents each, and are producing them in quantities way beyond demand consumption, the drugs are moving like wildfire throughout the region. The drugs are sold in New Zealand, for instance, at up to NZ$100 each. That gives you some idea as to the profits that can be made in this drug trade.

There are, reportedly, 25 million people worldwide who use ATS, and eight of thirteen countries in the East Asia/Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, who nominate it as their most abused drug.

In the Philipines, 23% of the population reported a lifetime abuse of drugs, and eleven labs were uncovered in the past year. Last year 15.8 million amphetamine tabs were seized in Thailand, 4.7 million in Laos and 2.7 million in Myanmur(Burma).

A New York drugs expert pointed to the successes of the methadone programme in tackling the heroin abuse over a number of decades, and called for a similar "harm minimisation" approach to replace the zero tolerance attitudes to drugs.Methadone has been given to heroin addicts to wean them off the heroin drug.

An Australian parliamentary health secretary, reportedly,said the government was open to exploring substitution drugs, but would not relax its zero tolerance stance.I believe that would be the opinion of the New Zealand Government as well.

The increase in what is called "P" or methamphetamine use in serious assaults and muurders in New Zealand in recent years has alarmed both the public and the government; it should concern the rest of the western world!

»2:53 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Spanish Lady danced to a macabre tune - the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 in New Zealand.


The supposed bird flu epidemic revived the memories and fears of another which was a reality in 1918.There were terrible costs to humanity, when the Spanish Lady danced to a macabre tune.

In October of 1918, the last year of the Great War,the 75,496 occupants of Wellington, the capital of the then numerically small Dominion of New Zealand - about one million people - were attacked by a different enemy to that which its young men had flocked to join the New Zealand Army to fight for the British Empire against the dreaded Hun.

This rather insidious enemy apparently had some intriguing names - Plague of the Spanish Lady; La Grippe; and the Spanish Influenza.

The intrusion of this disease at the end of 1918 resulted in days when Wellington resembled a ghost town.

This particularly virulent and extremely contagious strain of influenza landed in 1918 and apparently set in train, what was described as,an unrelenting series of hammer blows to the city's solar plexus.

On a week day afternoon there were no regular trams running,no shops open, and the only traffic was a van with a white sheet tied to its side with a big red cross painted on it - serving as both an ambulance and a hearse, whatever was needed at the time!

It was reported that stores,schools,factories, theatres and offices shut their doors. When trams did run, they were on a vastly reduced service - drivers and conductors were not spared in this little city of death!

The medical services were already short staffed because of the war effort - doctors and nurses being funnelled off to Europe. Wellington Hospital became swamped with patients.

Victims received rudimentary and basic relief for fevers, hacking coughs and lung infections, which in the worst of cases made breathing an agonising struggle, before choking and finally dying - their corpses reportedly taking on a bluish hue.

Church halls were commandeered and tents were even pitched in the hospital grounds. Thousands of residents stayed home behind closed doors, only venturing out for essential items. Some daring folk gamely visited government inhalation centres to obtain atomised concoctions which when ingested disinfected breathing passages - though it was doubtful what thrived more in there?

Indoors, many residents pinned the traditional camphor bags to lapels and burned sulphor to disperse the invisible intruders, it was claimed.

At the beginning of the epidemic Wellington had 75,496 inhabitants, by the time it waned in December, the city had counted a terrible cost of 1406 dead,thousands severely ill and many more battled and finally succumbed to the influenza by summer's end.

In that small nation of 1918, the pattern of the influenza's spread mirrored transmission elsewhere. It knew no bounds, urban poor living in unsanitary conditions fell like ninepins, and just when the more affluent felt safe and thought they had escaped - they too fell!

The epidemic is thought to have followed the main lines of communication - spreading on a north- south axis, probably through the main trunk railway line from Auckland to Wellington, after the "carriers", returning servicemen from the war, for example, crossed the wharves on their way home.

Some ships that arrived in Auckland had brought a number of influenza victims home, and symptoms were also evident in that city as well before the troopship Niagra arrived from San Francisco, with New Zealand Prime Minister Massey and a number of his cabinet returning from meetings in London also aboard.They were keen to get back to the business of running a country under attack from a different more insidious foe.

The Niagra had signalled that it had reportable sickness aboard, one crewman had already died,with another hundred ill and getting worse, and a further hundred,all passengers needing hospital care.

Instead of being quarantined as was normal under similar circumstances, the Niagra was permitted to berth - a most negligent decision in hindsight.The Spanish Lady performed her deadly dance, as later events would show.While there were conventions on how to handle Smallpox, the make-up of the Spanish influenza was not understood. By the time the influenza had worked its way through New Zealand society, more than 6,700 people had died - 5,516 Europeans and about 2,160 Maori, mostly in rural areas.

Later figures, however,suggested the death toll could have been as high as 8,600 - in a population of only 1,000,000 at that time.It was was still a developing country growing from a former frontier -type origin. No explanation was given or has been given since,why Maori death rates were seven times as high as European.

There was one positive spin-off from the deadly epidemic - a health department division was created for Maori hygine in 1920.

There was little more that could have been done at the time, considering the known drugs of that time,in 1918.

It has been accepted, that there were 21 million fatalities in a total world population of 720 million.The supposed bird flu is considered to have potential for similar fatalities, because of modern transportation abilities, but modern medicine may curb such fatalities.One hopes that the descendants of the Spanish Lady will not be able to dance to a similar macabre tune.

»3:51 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Friday, October 20, 2006

The Red Baron finally returns home - modern Germany reclaims its war hero!


The Red Baron finally returns home - modern Germany reclaims its war hero!

Germany is about to break, what has been described as a 41 year taboo, by celebrating the life of one of its greatest war heroes - Manfred Von Richthofen aka "The Red Baron".

A film depicting the daring exploits of Von Richthofen who shot down 80 allied pilots during the First World War,will be released in German cinemas next year.

It should create a furore; since 1945 German soldiers, airmen and sailors have been portrayed as heel-clicking fanatics, underground freedom fighters or reluctant victims of the Nazi regime.

There have been a number of films made that did not show the German military in good light.

The Red Baron has been a cult figure overseas for decades, including a Peanuts comic- strip which portrays imaginery battles between Snoopy and the Red Baron - there are also Red Baron computer games, and even pizzas.

But now German society has evolved from its era of shame and has decided to embrace its heroes from the past - and reclaim their First World War flying ace and turn him into a truly modern hero - and the world will share and celebrate him with this new Germany.

As German troops have been drawn into potential combat missions - senior officers are looking for new regimental role models, untarnished by Nazi history.

In the film, the Red Baron will be played by a young German actor, Matthias Schweighofer, who presents him as a 21st Century icon: first as a young happy go-lucky pilot eager to get into the air - then as a swaggering figure bloated by success - and finally as a person manipulated by the Imperial German propaganda machine.

A brief background of Manfred Von Richthofen:

He was the son of a Prussian nobleman, who trained first as a cavalry officer at a time when mounted troops were becoming obsolete.He made the move to flying aircraft and actually crashed in his first solo flight after 25 training hours.He flew a Fokker triplane and after twenty five air victories ensured legendary status by being awarded the Pour Le Merite (The Blue Max) and became The Ace of Aces with his 80 victories over allied pilots.

The demise of the Red Baron:

The first person to claim victory for downing and killing him was a Canadian pilot,Roy Brown,after a dogfight. But historians believe he was actually killed by ground fire from an Australian soldier.

On April 21, 1918,Manfred Von Richthofen followed a British Sopwith Camel, flown by Wilfred May into British territory further than he had done previously.Perhaps he sensed that this might be one of his last hunts - the once invincible German squadrons were now inferior to the new faster and more agile British aircraft.

He was killed by a single bullet from behind, passing diagonally through his chest.He was killed instantly, and his aircraft ploughed into a field alongside the Corbie to Bray road. His body was recovered by British soldiers and buried with full military honours.

Manfred Von Richthofen was just 25 years old.He wasn't necessarily the greatest of pilots,but was an extremely accurate shot.

In acknowledging the British role of cherishing him as a hero, his great-nephew was appointed as German Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1989-93.

Now Germany can acknowledge and celebrate him as their own hero and icon. The Red Baron has flown home for the final time. Rest in peace!

»8:11 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Sunday, October 15, 2006

The recent death of Australian icon - Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin - a repetition of 1939 death of 18 year old New Zealand woman!


The recent death of Australian icon, crododile hunter, Steve Irwin, is a repetition of that of an 18 year old New Zealand woman in 1939.

The records of a young New Zealand woman who was stabbed through the heart by a stingray barb have recently been discovered since the death of Australian icon, crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin.

An entry in the 1939 Medical Journal stated that the death of an 18 year old woman was "an unusual bathing fatality", and that she had collapsed while bathing in three feet of water in the Hauraki Gulf (Auckland).

An autopsy report found the cause of death was haemorrhage from a wound to the heart caused by a Stingray barb.

The article said the victim's body was found alone on the beach and police would no doubt have suspected a "murder of the sexual pervert character" as the wounds looked like those made by the sharpest of knives. Such was the reaction of our law enforcement authorities in that era.

»4:50 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tuataras return to mainland New Zealand - protected lizards from the dinosaur age!

After an absence of 200 years on mainland New Zealand, Tuataras have returned, with 70 of the protected relics from the dinosaur age making their new home at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington.The greeny yellow lizards were flown in to the New Zealand capital from outlying Stephens Island.

The sanctuary also protects the rare North Island Saddleback and the Little Spotted Kiwi.

A Victoria University( Wellington) reptile expert,Charles Daugherty,reportedly said Tuatara were once abundant on the New Zealand mainland until the 1700's - not standing a chance against introduced mammals such as rats.New Zealand did not have any native mammals.

The Tuataras managed to survive on 32 offshore islands. The recent translocation of 70 of the lizards could see other releases in the future.The Tuataras future appears to be guaranteed for many years to come.

a href http://www.writingup.com/trackback/3365trackback/3365 original post</a>

»7:15 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Monday, October 9, 2006

Like the flower, we cannot always choose the spot or season in which the Creator planted us to bloom...

Like the flower, we cannot always choose the spot or season in which the Creator planted us to bloom...

I recently read this true short story and would like to share it with you here:

Nearly 150 years ago, the New England philosopher Henry David Thoreau penned an observation about something small that,in turn,left a huge impression.It was just a tiny flower on an old country road.But this flower spoke volumes to him and perhaps to us as well.

Thoreau mentioned," I saw a delicate flower had grown up two feet high,between the horse's path and the wheel track.An inch more to the right or left had sealed its fate, or an inch higher; and yet it lived to flourish as much as if it had a thousand acres of untrodden space around it,and never the danger it incurred.It didn't borrow trouble, nor invite an evil fate by apprehending it."

Like the flower, we cannot always choose the spot or season in which the Creator planted us to bloom. Neither can we necessarily control what heads our way down the road of life.

Sadly, many people never get beyond the spot of that seeding. They simply look around and say," Is this it? "

Then they proceed to slowly wither in despair. They didn't have a choice where they started, but they made a choice as to how to grow from whence they were planted.They chose to be bitter, not better. And that, my friends, is a choice before us all.
Yes, we all have choices in our lives.We can decide to tread water in the shallows, or get out and swim in the deep.Stay at home and wither or get out and explore the world - vegetate or mature!

Peter Petterson
October 2006

»4:14 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Sunday, October 8, 2006

No apple for your teacher - give her a sweet onion!

No apple for your teacher - give her a sweet onion!

A New Zealand Crop and Food Research geneticist has discovered a gene that controls sugar levels in onions,but can't guarantee to sweeten up onion breath.

What it could do is give growers the opportunity to develop better tasting and better storing onions.

Although its too early to assess how much the research was commercially, it was likely to boost New Zealand's $61.6 million in onion exports.

The new research is likely to be highly sought after by growers interested in consistent characteristics.

By controlling the sweetness level in onions, it may encourage more people to eat them raw; after all they are are packed full of nutrients.

The same gene could dictate storage time as well. The research which took 5 years to complete was funded by the Foundation for Research, Sciences and Technology, and involved collaboration with researchers in the US, Japan and the Netherlands.

No girls,Huttriver is sweet enough!

Trackback URL for this post:


»2:35 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
The perils of becoming old and dependant on others!

But its to Aussie we go for this little story about the perils of becoming old and dependant on others.I don't look forward to it and don't have too many more years myself.

Many elderly hospital patients may suffer from malnutrition because they are actually unable to get to their food, because nurses are too busy doing other tasks to help them.

The head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, and another colleague initiated a study which observed mealtimes in the acute care facility.

They found that 20% of patients aged 65 yrs and older could not open food packaging and over a third struggled with cutlery.

Nurses who could have remedied the patients problems were unavailable to help, because they were busy elsewhere.Some patients actually waited a long time for help that never arrived.

The findings of this study will appear in the next issue of the British Journal of Clinical Nursing. It will make for some interesting reading.

The researchers said nurses could and should do more to help patients eat, It is actually about priorities - but while it doesn't take much to help patients it does take some thought and planning by administrators. Yeah right!

Trackback URL for this post:


»2:29 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries
Sunday, October 1, 2006

Now just who are the Exclusive Brethren - a church or a hypocritical and dangerous sect with secret agenda?

Now just who are the Exclusive Brethren - a church or a hypocritical and dangerous sect with secter agenda?

Just who do they really represent? Their people, their church or some other entity?




I have been reading about the Exclusive Brethren a fundamentalist Christian sect, who are causing some problems in the upcoming Victorian State Elections in Australia.

They actually caused a furore with their involvement in the New Zealand parliamentary elections last year - spending NZ$1.2 million dollars in propaganda publicity. I call it propaganda because the pamphlets they created and distributed were over the top personality attacks against the governing Labour Party and the Greens.

These were actually hypocritical attacks from a so-called Christian organisation whose members do not vote, watch television,listen to the radio,use computers or socialise with people outside of their membership. They have some strange ideas about which I won't elaborate here.

The leader of the New Zealand Opposition National Party, Dr Don Brash( a subject himself of one of my recent posts )has publicly denounced the Exclusive Brethren because of their tactics in last years elections, and stated that his party doesn't want any future contacts with that fundamentalist sect.A bit late considering he had actually met with them at least twice since our elections, and denied it!

I'd be interested hearing from any of our Aussie friends who may have some news in relation to the coming state elections in Victoria, Australia.

»7:27 AM    »Write comment     »Send entry    

Posted by: kiwipete    in: My entries