Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chemtrails in New Zealand working the "other" way

Sunday, December 10, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor

It had to happen – eventually! I told them so– a long time ago! Anyone thinking that they can run a “secretly sanctioned”  “un-official” “totally black” and “off the books” government program is simply delusional.  Ohhhh I sure told them, and there is no satisfaction from saying “I told you so”

Well – I guess the cat is out of the bag now.  Soon the full story will break in the news!  All hell will break loose, ok some media storm anyhow.  Once the secret, and as yet, un-named source inside the NZ Parliament will have done their final reveal.  The media are already circling, sniffing for a good story.  Might as well tell my part here, now.
The reason yours truly owns a campervan is not because we are enjoying the experience (ok, we are) however – it is part of the bigger secret.  See it goes something like this:
Many a year ago the NZ Government decided to engage in some research using Chemtrails! Shockingly! I know!! However it is not exactly what you thinking – rather then using it like our European cousins who are very busy in CLOUDING or better cloud-seeding the sky, the NZ researches were using it to CLEAR the clouds.

An example of the success can be seen here.

Still - I know – weird huh?!?!?!
 Anyhow – seems the reason they went down that particular track is that we have these (per annum) 1.6 million tourists flocking to our shores – visiting what is commonly known as “NZ – the Land of the Long White Cloud”!  Yes – long white cloud – and a long cloud it usually is. Given that we are near at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean we have more then enough of our fair share of clouds!! You can trust me on that one!  It would be much better if we had some clear skies – so that the tourists (and I guess the locals) can enjoy the gorgeous views better! Places where that would be beneficial would be for example: Lake Tekapo (with it’s famous Church) and Milford Sound, along with some places on the Westcoast and of course some places in the North Island – Taupo and Coromandel for example.  Our West coast in particular could do with a break from their long periods of rain! You have never seen rain until you visited our west Coast!!

So anyhow – the thinking went that if we could just clear the skies of clouds– just once in a while – that would benefit the locals and our tourists (better pictures – right?!)! So the NZ Government secretly invested in this new technology.  Seems they got the product right, after a bit of testing, and have now taken it one step further.  And this is where we (and seems five other couples in NZ) come into play. See - they wanted to keep this part very hush hush! They arranged a very shady deal with one of our banks to “loan” us some $$$ so that we can “pretend” to own a campervan.

I mean we are meant to be and present ourselves as just an ordinary Joe Citizen on the street while “owning” our own van.  Then once in a while we can disappear into some camping grounds.  All we have to do, is ring a secret telephone number (which can now be revealed as 0800sunnytourist) and give a date and some GPS numbers (of the camping ground we intend to visit).  The Camping ground would have to be under a (nominal) regular normal flight path. So far so good.

If you look hard enough you can just spot the regular Dunedin to Wellington flight path going from right to left - and leaving its anti-cloud spray behind.

Of course - Lake Tekapo is been flown over (near enough) with a regular Christchurch – Queenstown flight.  Kaikoura (were we currently are) is under the Dunedin and/or Christchurch to Wellington flight path.

Having started that process by ringing the 0800 number, – there would then be a special plane using that normal flight path and ‘dump’ its ‘cloud dispersing’ material into the atmosphere,  for the date as given per previous phone call – and yes yours truly is sitting in the camping ground right now, and can enjoy a clear blue sky!

You can imagine the possibilities with this system – yes?!?!?!  Imagine some tourist operators been given access to this system and time the arrival of their coaches - full of innocent tourists- say once a week at Lake Tekapo with its famous church or at Kaikoura or . . . . . !!! Or near the long suffering West-coast with its glaciers!  Indeed it has been suggested that the coasters could and most likely will make a deal with the Government and continue to have their usual rainy weekdays – but from Friday pm to Sunday afternoon enjoy a dry sunny day – courtesy of the new Government cloud dispersing program!! They do need a regular break from their daily rain! Who could and would enjoy days without end of rain, rain, and more rain????/

Anyhow - of course it does not always work – there still seem to be some glitches in the system.  Like yesterday we had success, while today – there are still white fluffy things to be seen. Something about atmospheric prevailing conditions.  Not sure – am not part of that part of the  project – everything is very compartmentalized.

All of this is meant to be very very hush hush.  Of course – like I said, it would happen eventually – the secret would be revealed to everyone! Trying to keep a secret in parliament is – well like holding back the incoming tide with your bear hands. Impossible!  So here we are – the rumors (and the planes)  are flying – the secret anonymous source is drip-feeding the news  (just wait until I get my hands on that person) and everyone will soon be in a bit of a flap.

All I can say is, that if they think we are going to hand back the Camper – they are dreaming!
Not going to happen.  So if you excuse me – I have to go and lounge round in the sun for a bit and look like a “normal” person – and best of all, all on the Government payroll too!

PS – for those who are wondering – it “might” explain why whenever we are going on holiday we have sunny days!! It could of course just be coincidental . . . . . then again – Mum’s the word!!

Have fun! bear print

Our annual epistle - to quote Lizzie from England --- "Annus Horribilis"

oldbearnews editor

Hello all:  
    We had not written an annual letter last Christmas so thought we better do a full one this year - so here it goes!

   First up I am inclined to borrow a phrase from the Queen who in her Annual Christmas speech at 1992 referred to the year as an “Annus Horribilis” — which means “horrible year” in Latin.    So to paraphrase that --  “2017 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'.” 
Those regular Facebook users will know we had our ups and downs. In fact – lets start with Aug 2016 – after Michael came home from his first OE he fell ill and ended up in the Hospital Bone Marrow Unit  and  he was told he has Leukaemia! 4 months of Chemo therapy followed and by Feb 2017 he was deemed officially in remission. Having recovered from the Chemo he briefly went back to work.

    February 2017  also saw my sister coming to New Zealand (her first ever visit to NZ) and we toured the country and had a great time catching up and exploring! Margit is having her own life challenges with a divorce hanging over her head – so her coming to NZ gave her a good chance to tank up and relax! We managed to see a lot of the South Island and then had a wonderful time up in the North Island.  We ended up with a week in the Coromandel and exploredmany of the beaches and other important sights.  I think (Yes Sis’?) she understands now why we would want to retire up there. 

    One of the things that came out from last years ‘annus horribilis’ was some re-evaluation of our priorities.  With that in mind – Reinhold is easing back from Scouting.  I have attended the national Jamboree in Renwick – 10 days camping and running an Internet style cafe minus the cafe!  January 2018 I will go to a 7day camp near Staveley and run a Photography base.  While still a leader with Venturers I had no special responsibilities other then just turning up on the night.  By Feb 2018 I will have done 20 years with Scouting – and will retire from the Youth Movement.
The other thing that came from the ‘Annus Horribilis’ are some changes at home.  In September 2016 I made myself a work-bench which sits in the garage. I needed to get my head back into some good space after the leukemia news, and, as well, I was sick of and getting to old, to nail/ saw /screw on the concrete floor!  

    Then by May 2017 came the shattering news that the Leukemia had returned and the last roll of the dice is a bone marrow transplant for Michael.  Siblings have a one in four chance of being a 100% compatible donor – after that there is the wide world of donors.  Luckily Jonathan proved to be an excellent genetic match – right down to having the same doctor! Thus the lengthy process of transferring the bone marrow began.  

With that came a renewed passion for woodworking, something I had suppressed while active with Scouting.  The car we had owned for just over10 years has done its dash so we decided to bite the bullet and upgraded to a station wagon.  I have missed the Honda shuttle we had owned several years back – naturally there was an ulterior motive for buying a wagon as opposed to a sedan – the buying and carting home of lengthy pieces of timber/ / pallets for recycling!!!
Amongst all of that happening Pam’s Dad needed more care and was eventually put into Wesley Care rest-home on 23rd May 2017.   He had several falls in the last few years, while living with us in his flat next door and we could see his gradual deterioration or aging as they say.  By June 2017 he was obviously not right and after a short trip to the Hospital the news was that his bowl cancer (which had been operated on 16 years prior) had left a tiny bit in his liver and that after laying dormant for 16 years decided to self-activate itself.  He ended up dying super quick on 18th June and we had his funeral a week later.  That left Pam as the “Matriarch” of the Gurney Family ( a title which does not sit comfortable with her!) Seeing that her sister is not having children and our boys have no sign of having children themselves – let alone a permanent girlfriend  - the Gurney lineage may well cease to exist in the foreseeable future.  
After all of that in September 2017 we went rash and fulfilled a long held dream of ours of owning a camper-van.  Well ok  - so far we own the engine and the 2 front wheels – the Bank still owns the rest!! We have been away some weekends exploring the “camping on wheels” theme.  Trips included a weekend away in Waimate / Hamner / Tekapo (a favorite place of ours) and fingers crossed a weekend in Kaikoura just before Christmas 2017.  Reinhold will take the ‘mobile bed’ with him to the Staveley camp too!
    The other passion for Reinhold is Photography and that got a good workout on the weekly trips to and from the Hospital.  We tend to park in the Botanical Gardens and then stroll a leisurely 20 minute walk to the outpatients clinic.  The car almost self-drives itself there now, between Michael and Grandads appointments / visits there. Yes Peter had to give up driving in February 2017 after his fall and eventually sold his car so I acted as taxi and also as chaperon. Sometimes we went the “scenic” route!!!
This year I challenged myself to expand my pic-snapping skills.  Yes this old chap can still learn a new trick or two. Panoramas (and software stitching) as well as macros were part of the learning curve. Wish the printing would be ‘less’ expensive though!
Oh and I nearly forgot – both our Cat and Dog (both getting on in years) had to have medical intervention and an operation these last 12 months.  Lastly Pam had some misadventures too – wrenching her ankle badly and required ongoing physio and we won’t mention her blood pressure!

    At least Jonathan is doing well – he will be in Japan by Christmas 2017 doing similar work to his Canada experience (ski-lift operator or house keeping)!  Everyone is saying he will come back with a geisha – urm – wife!! Time will tell.
Ironically, we still have two fish swimming in the Aquarium and while they are  T H E  most neglected beings in our home – they seem actually to thrive!! Go figure! Which is a bit of a bummer as I am waiting for them to die, so that the Aquarium can be converted into a Solarium for some cacti . . . . . sighs

    Thus I agree with the Queen of Ol’ blighty – it has been a mixed year – along with the bad news there was some good news.  Well, better sign off now.  Below is a list (some of you have seen this before) that highlights why Pam is no longer looking forward to celebrating Birthdays / Christmas!!!!
    Hope 2018 will be better year for us and that you all have a good year yourselves.  Rumour has it (Michaels health very much depending) that we might be visiting Europe in 2018!!! Might see some of you then.

Our family does nothing normal!!
On Pam's 6th  birthday – her Grandad died in UK
On Michael's 6th Birthday – his Granny died
On Pam's 53rd Birthday – Michael Diagnosed Leukemia
On Jonno's 17th b-day – He has had an Operation
Oh and on Jesus' Birthday (1996 ) we all got a virulent bug that forced bed-rest for 5 days . . .
Is it any wonder we no longer make a fuss about birthdays?????
On the good news front:
On Michael's Birthday – Rachel+ Jeff celebrate their partnership anniversary
On Reinhold's 56th Birthday – we get good news on Jonno being bone-marrow compatible
On Grandad's 84th (would have been) Bone-marrow transplant took place.
At Pam’s 54th Birthday Michael has been released from Hospital for home based care !

Have fun! bear print

Monday, December 4, 2017

Marriage propsals and their silly traditions

Monday, December 4, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor

Ahhhh where to begin with???  Neither of my boys shows any sign of having any sort of relationship let alone a steady one - so probably be safe here to spend a few thoughts on the subject.  I did have a few notions of using this as a speech at their wedding - I F that ever would come to fruition . . . . eventually even . . . .
anyhow - traditions - lets see . . .
As the song goes (Brenda Lee) "Lets jump over the Broomstick" it is an ancient custom in Africa - the prospective female fashions a broom from the twigs and timber harvested from where-ever and the male  builds the tiny hut where the future couple is meant to live - happily ever after - so to speak.  The girl will at some stage, rest the broomstick across the entrance door frame of the prospective groom and when the couple hold hands and literally jump across the leaning broomstick - the rest of the village "knew" that these two are now a couple and us such are "off-limits" from any other love-struck pursuing native.  Said broomstick then fulfills its purpose as a house-sweeping-cleaning-tool and oddly enough also as a tool to keep the perhaps not so suitable hubby "in line".  Being publicly flocked with "that" broomstick was a public humiliating scene.  Lastly - the reverse can happen as well - eg if both hold hands and jump OUT from the hut and over the broomstick, they were deemed to be separated and back on the "market"!
Well - so the story goes.  Seems there is no evidence that this actually took place in Africa - yet was common practice in USA during the slave years (for a variety of reasons.)  One story even has it as a custom from Wales (via Gypsies) as an established practice there!   It is however a tradition that many couples do theses days mostly in the USA as part of their wedding ceremony.

There are of course many many more ways to get to the point of asking or being married - free will or arranged.  In Japan there is the 'Miai' tradition along with all its rituals often culminating into a Tea-drinking ceremony - or was that in China??? It was also very common (and still happens in this day and age) for "arranged" marriages to take place - for various reasons.

In Old Europe - the term "hand in marriage" to signify engagement and future wedding/marriage was commonly used - and there exists a written record as far back as 1200's of having asked THE question.  The term itself was derived from the actual marriage ceremony where the Bride puts her hand on top of the groom and the priest of the time would waffle on about love and commitment and rules and whatnot.  Actually it was a little bit more symbolic then that.  The words " the bonds that tie us" were there for a reason, as follows: 
During the ceremony the priest often would use a lengthy piece of rope and physically tie both hands together  or better - her right hand to his left hand.  Later on in times past - during the wedding ceremony, the rope was dispensed with and the priest would use part of his dress robes-cord to 'lay over' the couples hands - which then progressed to the priest's stoles - which progressed to Gold rings being used - often called the "Band of Gold that ties/binds us together" ! So to ask for a "hand in marriage" was really a statement of intent to "tie the knot"!
What a lot of people no longer understand, let alone know, is that the "actual tied knot" lasted 24 hours!! Seems cruel yet it full filled several important functions.
(one should try this at home at some stage!!) 

With Groom and Bride often still having been more or less strangers to each other - it served to really emphasizing the notion that him and her are now a couple and as such "off limits" (again that term) to the rest of the public.
Further - it literally prevents any other male or female in "cutting in" during the dance that often would follow - thus re-enforcing the 'off-limits' notion! (you should try and do a three-some dance - it just does not work!) Then there are the practicalities - such as eating - or the required teamwork just to get fed (which could be the reason why there is the tradition of the feeding each other pieces from the wedding cake - often turning into a laughable slapstick comedy (pie-in-your-face) action).  Decisions to be made could no longer be done in isolation off each other as you had the "ball and chain" attached to you! This in turn gave you a crash course in communication 101!! (you could not just duck out for a quick loo stop without your partner "knowing" - you had to take the partner with you . . . (the you know - I want to go over there and speak to - no I want go there first . . . .  )
Considerations for "other then yourself" - needed to be learned in a hurry as nothing focused these, while being physically tied together. Later on in the night - the urm "first night of the honeymoon", there could no longer be any shyness about being naked (in front of each other) and I am sure led to a some comical 'undressing' and celebration of the 'consummation'!
The 'bonds that tie us' were often kept, sometimes re-appropriated for other uses.  Sometimes I think that this practice would benefit most couples in our modern times and 'might' lead to less divorce rates - but - as they say - this is another story for another time!

So a "hand in marriage" progressed to the modern western ceremony of kneeling and proposing - along with THE engagement ring - which as shown above, harks back to the times of "tying the knot".
I find it odd that in some countries there is the practice that only one party actually wears a wedding ring - usually the woman.  Often wonder what kind of message this carries . . . .

It is still a common practice for the male (almost exclusively) to "pop the question"!  In Scotland and Ireland, 29 February in a leap year is said to be the one day when a woman can propose to her partner.  Finland has the same custom, with the addition that a man rejecting such a proposal was expected to buy his suitor enough cloth for a skirt as compensation.  As a monarch, Queen Victoria had to propose to Prince Albert.
However proposals by women have become more common in the English-speaking world in recent years, so jewelry companies have started to manufacture engagement rings for men.
In the United States, about 5% of proposals are made by women.  Younger people are less likely to approve of women proposing.  We got a very long way yet to go before we can say we are truly a equal opportunity society. 

In many cultures it is traditional for a man to ask permission from a woman's father, in private, before proposing to her, or if her father has already died and she is still young of a near relation of hers.
In earlier times it was common for fathers to refuse proposals from men whom they considered unsuitable as husbands for their daughters.   Which brings me to my own engagement - yes yours truly still had to ask the question from Grandad. Although to be fair  - it was POST-engagement - it was already a 'done deal', as far as we were concerned, the ring more or less already ordered!!! Still traditions had to be obeyed.  We would have been in trouble had the question been refused . . . . .

Which in a long-winded-round-about-way-waffle brings me to the most famous of all Betrothals -  that of a certain Mary and Joseph.  Traditionally a engagement signaled the commitment by 2 people  to each other with a  view to marriage and the 'wedding ceremony'  was the 'confirmation' or public 'celebration' of that commitment. For  many the 'engagement' part is far more important then the marriage part, and it is a pity that through-out history this is or was twisted into something more sinister (virgin marriage - proof thereof  - poor Marie Antoinette was practically raped in front of the entire french nobility in order to "proof", via bloodstained linen, her 'virginity').
Technically both Mary and Joseph (more her though because of the way the patriarchal society was working at the time) were in a lot of trouble by the time they got to Bethlehem.  One assumes they eventually got married, as the story goes and we find out later, that the 'first born' in the famous stable had more brothers / sisters.  Wonder what kind of wedding celebration they would have had - not a lot is said about that in that book.

Anyhow - boys - so far you are safe from me telling the story although, like a good prepared scout,  I already got the rope organized. . . . . ok - until . . . . . :)

Merry Christmas to all

 Have fun! bear print

Monday, November 6, 2017

Santa Clause and the FAA rules - why he may be late delivering Christmas presents this year

Monday, November 6, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor
It happens pretty much every year.   Santa Claus is a slippery customer - his exact  location is unknown although rumor has it he has some form of abode in the colder regions of the north pole.  The way the ice cap is doing up there (assuming you belief in global climate changes) that would be mostly UNDER the water - or ice pack.  In any case the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA ) is trying to catch up with Santa.

 Reasons - all to do with the health and safety act at various workplaces. some of the issues relate to suitable running lights on his sleigh - or lack thereof / lack of suitable safety harnesses  being mounted on-board (no evidence of a seat-belt) / having non-standard landing gear / no anti-skid systems installed on the sleigh / the annual inspections (WOF) missed  or not reported  let alone passed / the lack of suitable paperwork filed covering a flight plan and risk-management for passengers and goods and services carried  / unauthorized take-off's and landings and especially in areas of high population concentrations - speak towns / rumors of his workforce doing no pre-testing for future planned and newly discovered  landing sites - no touch and go round flight training / lack of post flight reports filed in terms of near misses or other issues that need rectifying or addressing.  Then there is the issue of a non-standard flight suit (some red flowing cape/coat) being worn by an old dude with long white beard!

Further issues not related to the FAA concern animal welfare. Reports are filtering in about mistreatment of some reindeer who have to work despite being in some way handicapped by some enormous red nose. Rumors could not yet be verified that the Reindeer are on a strict vegan diet of carrots only (which could account for the red noses).  The RSPCA is trying to investigate further.

The Ministry for Work and Safety is also investigating other aspects of this operation.  Lacking are documentation for the workshop under the Resource Management Act, its layout and lack of suitable signage (fire-exits) visible .  Missing are also files covering risk management plans for the workforce  (we are told it is a virtual slave labour by minors or other small people and the Labour Department is trying to look further in to this, to see if the workers rights are being honored ).  The Unions have been trying for years to organize the labour force yet failed to get access to the work-site let alone of the workers! Annual inspections never happened as the various Government inspectors could never find the place or make suitable appointments in advance !

Lastly we are sure that the owner (Santa Claus) never uses his sign in /out board, so one can never tell if he is at home or away - presumably delivering prezzies for the children or sourcing the materials needed to make the gifts -  which is against the standard risk practices in business.  Imagine if the workshop should get flooded by the melting north pole ice sheet and no one can be sure if Santa was at home - or relaxing on a warm sunny beach someplace in the tropics.

Thus if any of the authorities finally do catch up with Santa his promise for a delivery on 25 Dec could all be a teeny weeny bit delayed.   Given that we have always tried to capture him when entering our house via chimney and bribe him to stay with an offer of cookies and warm milk - and lately tried a 24 / 7 surveillance via go-pro camera system,  and have FAILED to even capture an image, I am confident that this Christmas will go as smoothly as all other previous  celebratory events.  Thus Santa Claus continues to be a slippery customer - and is probably safe. 


Guess Christmas will happen after all . .. . or at least the gifting of presents!!

Have fun! bear print

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"As you sow so you shall reap" - and please be not be surprised by what you reap!

Sunday, January 15, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor

I came across this article today vie the wonderful world of Internet --->
www.flirting is now a crime??

and could not help feeling that I knew this was going to happen - or be vindicated in that thought!
Let me explain -

Some 20 years earlier - and yes this old foggie no longer can remember the exact date - (I am sure however that some clever brick can dig the relevant date out from the Uk court records) it was reported in the media on a landmark case involving a sales agent (female) who won a court case against a client (of the firm she worked for). Basically she been to this car-garage many times before to sell her company's products - except this time she had to go into the "tea" room rather then the office, as staff where on their tea-break when she called in, and of-course as in so many places at the time, there was a automobile themed "girlie" calendar on the wall - which left her  feeling "uncomfortable" - so she ran off to the courts and argued her case - and won - much to the consternation of the public and lawyers at the time! At the time the comment was, that the courts  judgment was based NOT ON WHAT the law of the land said (as it was not ill-legal to have this type of calendar on a wall) rather it was based on HOW a individual might feel in any given circumstances! That of-course can change from day to day let alone in the mood of anyone at any given time. How can you keep dispensing justice fairly and evenly???  There were dire predictions that if this trend continues it would lead to - a lot of unpleasant living conditions.
Well, it has of course continued and leads us to the above article.
The fear of being sued by American style justice has gripped most of the western world and leads us to being muzzled. We no longer can freely say what we think because we "might" offend someone. How do we know, what we say is ok from one person to another person- or is not ok??

I long for the old playground banter from decades ago where you just ignored a verbal joust or simply told the other person to "get lost" and carried on in whatever game you were in.
Nowadays we have to run of to mummy / teacher / older sibling / or lawyers to "sort out" whatever perceived insult you feel you just received.  It is deferred action and justice for oneself! Further - we are no longer encouraging a self-determination on this as it could lead to fights etc - better to run of to the teacher etc . . . . .  We are shifting the responsibility from one-self to another authority.  

Thus the landmark case in the UK was just the sowing of todays society where flirting and chivalry are an extreme dicey thing to engage, for you never know who might take it as a compliment or an insult. Better not to say anything at all.
Better not to risk anything! After all it might lead you to a court appearance.
And I contend that as a society, we are worse off for it.  We are now reaping for the attitudes sown 20-30 years back.  As a society we almost lost the art of social and verbal engagement (especially if it involves a male/female), of sparring verbally ideas and concepts to a point where we are all becoming well - just bland.

We are indeed reaping, what was sown 20 years back.
There is no easy fix and any fix will take another 20-50 years of ploughing / sowing / weeding the field etc, a time-frame that will be beyond my own life expectancy.  I feel sorry for todays youth though - after all - it is not their fault that we are in this fix.

If you are still with me at this point and tend to disagree with the above written- do yourself a favor and engage in some light hearted flirting at various places and reflect on the response you get . . . . .

"Whatever one sows, that will he also reap!"

From the Urban dictionary

1. Everything that you do has repercussions. It comes back to you one way or another.
2. You cannot escape the consequences of your actions. What you do comes back to you.
3. You will see the long-term effects of your actions.
4. KARMA - The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny, especially, in his next incarnation.
5. What goes around comes around.
6. Your actions all have consequences. Don't ever be fooled into thinking that your actions don't have consequences. Don't think you can get away with bad choices even if you don't seem to get caught. 
Watch the way you live your life because you reap what you sow.
7. We sow in one season, we reap in another.
8. Sow a thought you reap an act. Sow an act, you reap a habit. Sow a habit, you reap a character. Sow a character, you reap a consequence.

snip --------------------------------------------------

The full article here in case they dump the web-page in some near future:

Celia Walden: When did flirting become a crime?

When was the last time a man openly flirted with you?
"There you go, my lovely," says the greengrocer, handing over the sweet potatoes.
"Is the "lovely" for me or her?" I ask playfully, gesturing at my five-year-old daughter. Whereupon an odd thing happens. The greengrocer blanches, swallows and stutters, "I didn't say 'lovely'. I didn't call anyone 'lovely'."
And what was a good-natured little interaction between two people on a bright and frosty Saturday morning has suddenly been warped into something strained, worrisome.
Why? Because the man thinks I'm going to ask to speak to his boss, accuse him of a smorgasbord of 'isms' and demand some form of retribution/compensation for the affront suffered.
Welcome to 2017, folks: the year flirting officially became a crime. Now let me be clear: after reading and running, flirting is one of my top three pursuits. I'd even go so far as to call it an addiction.
Ever since I first felt the peculiar biochemical change that occurs when two people engage in playful banter, at 13, I have scoured pretty much every occasion - social, professional or otherwise - for the pilot light that will allow me to engage in what I see as one of the purest celebrations of life that there is. I flirt with men; I flirt with women.
I'd flirt with a table leg if it had a nice line in badinage. Because it's not about sex. It's not even about seduction. It's about veering off into a little cadenza that may mean everything, or, most probably, nothing at all.
It's about - as Wikipedia will remind you - "a social and rarely sexual activity involving verbal or written communication as well as body language by one person to another, either to suggest interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, or if done playfully, for amusement."
Amusement - remember that? And I'll tell you something that's not covered by that definition; something so deeply off-message that I'm half expecting my keyboard to rise up in PC outrage and auto-delete the following words: when talking to a man, I like to be reminded that I am a woman.

I like there to be an implicit nod to my femininity, an appreciation that I am a different creature - not inferior, just different. Rarely will young men engage in that subtle and sweetly antiquated doffing of the cap now.
It would be inappropriate, the girls warn - before posting pictures of themselves naked and wrapped in toilet paper on Instagram.
And so those tender little exchanges - homages really, to women and womanhood - are left to the men of over 50, who - sentimental fools that they are - will occasionally still be ignorant enough to call a woman "my lovely."
By the time my daughter is a teenager, I'm not sure there will be a cabbie alive who will have the temerity to call her 'love', the disrespect to help her with her bags or the condescension to wait until she lets herself into the house of an evening before driving off.
And I can only hope that she has enough 'impropriety' in her soul to make her own fun in what looks likely to become a very brittle world.

Reports The Telegraph

By Celia Walden

Post script - since then found a video online that literally quotes my point - you know - "the reap what you sow" part - although it talks about the Trump presidential elections!

Have fun! bear print

Friday, December 16, 2016

13 Christmas traditions myths explained

Friday, December 16, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

The real stories behind 13 Christmas traditions
Here are their explanations of some customs we often take for granted.

1. Christmas lights
2. Santa Claus
3. Fruit Mince Pies
4. Christmas Crackers
5. Christmas Cards
6. Christmas Trees
7. Christmas stockings
8. Red and green colour theme
9. Pavlova
10. Christmas Dinner
11. Advent Calendars 
12. Christmas Presents 
13. Boxing Day 


1. Christmas lights
The concept of hanging fairy lights during the holiday season came from the need to have a fire-safe alternative to putting candles in trees.  During the Christmas season in 1880, Thomas Edison strung up his lab with lights on the outside as a stunt to try and win the electricity contract for Manhattan. "Edward H Johnson, Edison's right hand man, had another crack two years later when he lit up his Christmas Tree in New York with the familiar lights.
In 1895 President Grover Cleveland stirred public interest in the budding tradition when he asked that the White House Christmas tree be strung with the lights. "By the turn of the century, a lot of families lost their homes to the flames of Christmas. In response, 15-year-old Albert Sadacas, the son of a light shop owner, invented the tiny safety-conscious bulbs in 1917.They started becoming commonplace from the 1930s."

2. Santa Claus
Santa really starts with Saint Nicholas, a Greek Orthodox Bishop from 3rd century Turkey. "If you ask someone about the true origins of Santa, they'll probably tell you he was invented by Coca-Cola," says Lorna Piatti-Farnell, Associate Professor of Cultural History. "But as fun as that idea is, it's not true at all." "St. Nick was known for his charitable works and secret gift-giving, especially around the time of the year we now associate with the Christmas season. Saint Nicholas as a symbol was eventually picked up by the Protestant church, who merged him with Sinterklaas, a mythical Bishop from Dutch folklore, who would ride into town on a white horse, just in time to celebrate the winter.
"In 15th Century Britain, the English Christmas icon of Father Christmas was born. He was invented as a personification of Christmas itself, and so his attitude and personality was representative of the holiday's traditions and values. Eventually, as American culture began spreading throughout the world in the 1800s, Father Christmas began taking on similar attributes to Santa Claus, an American figure directly inspired by Sinterklaas, Saint Nicholas and even a little from Odin, the Norse God, whose gift giving had been celebrated during the Germanic winter festival Yuletide.
"In terms of his appearance, the image of Santa was popularised by the famous American poem "A Visit from St. Nick", known more commonly today as 'The Night before Christmas', which described Santa in great detail, and included the first recorded mention of his reindeer. It wasn't until the 1920s that Coca-Cola started using Santa Claus as a marketing tool."

3. Fruit Mince Pies
The spicy mince pie itself can be traced as far back as the 12th century, when the Crusaders brought spices back to England from the Middle East.
Centuries later, British MP Samuel Pepys mentioned the pies in his diary on Christmas day 1662. In the 17th century, the filling still contained real meat like minced cooked mutton and beef suet, along with currants and raisins with ginger, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange rind, salt and a tiny quantity of sugar. The mince pie began to get sweeter in the 18th century when cheap sugar arrived from slave plantations. By the 19th century, the Christmas mince pie had adapted to be as we know it today, with most recipes dropping the meat entirely.

4. Christmas Crackers
Back in 1840, London sweet shop worker Tom Smith discovered the French confectionary known as the Bonbon while on a trip to Paris. Tom dropped the sweet and the 'Bonbon' name, calling his new crackers Cosaques, but he kept the love note and added a surprise gift.
"Tom's Bonbon was a sugared almond wrapped in tissue paper, which he started making and selling in his store back in England. Demand boomed during the Christmas season, so Tom added a small love note into the tissue paper of each Bonbon and profits were once again high that following December.
"Still trying to figure out how to make his Christmas treats even more successful, Tom's Eureka moment came when he threw a log on the fire and heard the crackle and pop it made as it burned. After some amateur chemistry, Tom perfected the pop caused by friction when the wrapping was opened. He dropped the sweet and the 'Bonbon' name, calling his new crackers Cosaques, but he kept the love note and added a surprise gift."

5. Christmas Cards
Christmas Cards date back to 1842 to social reformer Henry Cole. The idea of sending well-wishes didn't become commercial until the 1860's when Charles Goodall and Son's cards became popular. Christmas cards were originally flat and square like postcards so that people could scrapbook them or attach to their mantle piece. The amount you had showed how loved you were. By the 1920's the folded card we have today became the norm. Whilst early cards from England had holly and bells, New Zealand cards featured iconic local landscapes that aren't too dissimilar from postcards today.

6. Christmas Trees
This idea really took off in 1846 when a picture of Queen Victoria and her family around a Christmas tree was released. Victoria's husband Prince Albert was German, and in Germany Christians had had the tradition since the 16th Century. The Americans saw the royals' tree and it soon took off there too. They decorated with homemade ornaments. German Americans continued to use traditional elements of apples, nuts and marzipan cookies. While trees are a major Christmas tradition around the world, in New Zealand they are actually considered a pest and a threat to local plant life.

7. Christmas stockings
Some claim stockings were a ritual invented by the Dutch in the 16th century, originally with clogs, filled with hay for Santa's reindeer.
There's no factual history to explain this tradition but there are plenty of theories. Some claim stockings were a ritual invented by the Dutch in the 16th century, originally with clogs, filled with hay for Santa's reindeer. North America also claims cartoonist Thomas Nast invented the idea in his 19th century illustrations for a Christmas themed story by George P Webster. The most common legend though, tells the story of St.Nicholas providing charity for a poor father of 3 daughters. The father, impoverished and struggling, was unable to provide enough money for his daughters to ever get married. Knowing the father would refuse to take any money from him directly, St. Nicholas climbed down the family's chimney in the middle of the night and left a bunch of gold coins in each of the girls' freshly laundered stockings which were drying by the fire. St. Nick swiftly disappeared, leaving the gift to be discovered by the ecstatic family the next morning.

8. Red and green colour theme
Recent research from the University of Cambridge has found that the red and green dates back to panels from churches from the 14th to 16th centuries.
It's likely the red and green were used because they are such contrasting colours, and because of pigment availability at the time. The colours also align with the weather in the Northern Hemisphere at Christmas. Evergreen plants signalled the start of spring and new life and beginnings. Red relates to berries on holly, apples which were used as decorations, and of cause, Santa.

9. Pavlova
The exact origin is still unknown but everyone from New Zealand to Australia to Russia to Germany to America have all laid claim. One thing we know for sure is that it is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. In New Zealand the first recorded proof of Pavlova dates back to 1911, but it isn't the marshmallowy treat we know today. Then, Pavlova was a strawberry based iced or glace dessert that was first found in Auckland and then Oamaru. It went on to be described as a four layer jelly in 1926, so the pavlova we know today definitely isn't the pavlova our ancestors would remember.

10. Christmas Dinner
What we know as Christmas dinner has changed a lot over the centuries. Beef and goose were common meats in the early days and it wasn't until the Victorian era that turkey became common. Initially it was reserved for the wealthy, but the size of the bird made it ideal for feeding large communities of the middle class, making it the dominant dinner mainstay by the 20th Century. As for Christmas dessert, way back in the Georgian era, what we now know as the Christmas Cake may have had its origins in the Twelfth Cake. This fruit and vegetable based dessert was part of a celebration known as the Twelfth Night on January 5th.

11. Advent Calendars
The name Advent Calendar is actually inaccurate. The Advent season, which is an ancient Christian celebration of the weekends leading up to Christmas, usually falls somewhere around the end of November each year, and not necessarily December 1st, which is where modern Advent Calendars begin. In the 18th Century, the advent calendar used to be as simple as painting the doors of houses with the number of days until Christmas, before it was adapted to lighting candles- a tradition that still exists. Then, people began exchanging little pictures or poems or games, then items of food, before landing more commonly on chocolate.

12. Christmas Presents
The obvious answer would be the three wise men, who brought gifts for the baby Jesus upon his birth. But the act of exchanging presents during winter festivities also has roots in pre-Christian Scandinavia, where people would gift each other with food, not just on Christmas day, but all winter long. Giving gifts specifically on Christmas day was established in the 18th century, and popularised by Queen Victoria, along with many other Christmas traditions.

13. Boxing Day
The term Boxing Day dates back to the 1830's when the tradespeople and public servants like postmen or errand boys would be celebrated. As a thank you for their year of service, these individuals would receive a Christmas box of goodies from their masters or customers, usually containing food or money.
However the origins of the Christmas Box potentially go back even further.
In Samuel Pepys' 1663 diary, he mentions an old English custom wherein masters would give their servants a box of gifts to take home to their families, since the servants would have spent Christmas day tending to the masters themselves. More than 350 years later, the concept of Boxing Day has shifted dramatically to the shopping day we know today.

Have fun!

 bear print

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What is your why????

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Haven't posted anything for a while - with good reason.
let me explain - why

Some of us oldies might remember - there was in the mid 70's a classic poster for sale! It was born out from the Anti-war movement and summed up neatly everything the people felt at the time! hmm lets see if I canfind it on the Inter-web-thingie and add here.

Basically it just asked one question - WHY?????
Why me?
Why now?
Why do I have to die - here?
Why was I fighting here in the first place?
Why, why, why

It is a bit easy to ask this question when things go a little bit awry and lets face it - your own premature death is a bit more then just going awry! Right?!  Loved the poster - even If I have not seen it for a long while.


In the book of Job (urm - yes - that book in the Old Testament) Job is a solid character who, not due to his own fault, - gets "tested" by God and passes the test - with flying colours!
Ha - thats a very simple version of what's written.
I do remember one of the main themes being an investigation of the problem of divine justice.  This problem, known in theology as theodicy, can be rephrased as a question: "Why do the righteous suffer?"
The conventional answer in ancient Israel was that God rewards virtue and punishes sin (the principle known as "retributive justice").
This assumes a world in which human choices and actions are morally significant, but experience demonstrates that suffering cannot be sensibly understood as a consequence of bad choices and actions, and unmerited suffering requires theological candour.


as a friend of mine more simply put it - 'why do bad things happen to good people????'

I don't know the answer - I do know that when I took my son into hospital with a fever and Flu-symptoms and after some initial tests was transferred into the BMTU - the Bone Marrow Transfer Unit - and after some more tests, the Diagnosis came back with - Acute Myeloiod Leukaemia (AML) - and our world came crashing down.
I can't imagine what Michael is/has been going through! For us it was a nightmare that lasted the first few days, then the time and days began passing like a ship sailing through thick fog.
Naturally it would be easy to ask the above posted question - why???
Why me?
Why now?
Why my son??
What have we done to deserve this?

It may seem odd - yet neither myself or Mamabear ever actually asked the 'why' question! This, by the way, does not make us some mythical saint or foolish arrogant idiot!
There just never seemed a point to ask that question. After all - what would be the point?
Wailing or railing against the perceived injustice dished out to us does not get us anywhere - and not that we are Angles at the best of times anyhow.

It would be a waste of time.  Besides - I'm with Job on this one - God gives and God takes. Our favorite mantra being - "shit happens - deal with it"!

I must admit that for the first week or so, it was super-hard - or as "Sam" in
Sleepless in Seattle said ---  "Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out... and, then after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while."

So the day after the news came through about Michaels condition, we took a deep breath, got out of bed and put one foot in front of the other - then took another step, and another and so forth.
In other words - we are dealing with the 'shit'!  Not that it is easy - far from it!
The daily nightmare continues . . .  and will continue for some months yet.
The best part is that we have some good friends and with the support from these we seem to cope a whole lot better.  It helps when you know that some people care for you and are offering practical help!
Job also had friends and when they came to support him in his crisis, the sentiments very much was like - 'you must have done something to deserve this!'. Thankfully we have moved on from the retributive justice theology and are more into the 'everyone is loved no matter what' Theology.

Currently there is a advertisement doing the rounds on TV - from Rebel Sport - asking "what is your why?  It highlights the plight of one of New Zealand's Rugby Players and the huge adversity he overcame, to become an All Black.
It then goes on to ask - "what is your Why????"  Meaning - what's your reason for doing whatever goal / achievement you have set? (with a bit of help from the sports store of course)

The other favorite maxim of mine is - "Tomorrow is another day - the sun will rise again and shine!".

No matter how bad things seem today - tomorrow is another day . . . .
No matter to the why, no matter to the how bad - the sun will shine again tomorrow!

Now there is a thought worth holding on to!

So Rebel Sport - I guess - that is my "why"

 - and to toss in another super slogan - I'm with Nike on this one -

Have fun! bear print

Monday, June 6, 2016

Short weekend away in Picton - Day 4 - time to come home

Monday, June 6, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Monday - Queens birthday weekend - a public holiday!

Time to pack up and go home.

At least the front ripped through (again) and we started with a misty and somewhat polluted day! Still it promised to be sunny - all the way back to Christchurch - and so it should eventually proof!

Before we headed back, I tried to take some more pictures of the fore-shore and then stitch them together, later, once back home. (turned out ok - what do you think?!)

The Johanesshof brewery ( modeled on some Austrian / German wine-hof) was sadly closed for the day - so have to miss that (it will keep till next time) and thus we had no local wine to bring back home - oh wait there is the Giesen!!!   yusssss :)

Decided we would visit Renwick - the home of the next NZ Scout Jamboree and have a look-see!!!  Eventually found the location -  after driving through the town and having to turn around - main drag is VERY short.  Boy - this Jamboree is going to be a squeeze (and so it should prove later!!!)

Anyhow - from there we went and found the Omaka Air museum after getting lost a bit among the many roads around the many vineyards! A fantastic place with a lot of WWW I air craft models on display and some interesting stories behind them! We have certainly "improved" our planes since then!!!!

Check out the TIMBER propeller on Snoopy's main enemy!!! Nice Work!!

The ETRICH Taube - modeled by a German chap named  'Etrich' ,  on a specific bird - the Dove.  It was the only large-ish bird in his home town and he spent a lot of time studying the wings / feathers in Bird-flight - so to speak, he eventually modeled his first plane on those studies.  Funny how the war and the need for greater speed and height lead to all modern aircraft we know today.  Guess it is true --
'necessity IS the mother of all inventions!!! "

I was lucky enough
( a - not many folks in the museum - and b - having my camera gear on me) to take a shot of the model behind a extremely large mural, making it seem I flew OVER the battle field and used my camera to get this 3 dimensional shot . . . .

Close-by is the "Wine" museum - a place I am sure the scouts will NOT visit! It is worth it though - you see the history of NZ's burgeoning wine making - its beginnings to current day industry!  Marlborough supplies more then 50% (think from memory it is 73%) of ALL wines made in NZ - and they are still expanding.  A certain Timber-firm that Mamabear is working for is flat out making the posts that hold up the wines etc!!!  

Eventually had to face it and go back home but not before we struggled to find a SIMPLE cafe with SIMPLE sandwiches (in Blenheim) for lunch - so ended up going to Maccas instead! Then the 4 hour drive home.  A weekend well spent relaxing and a change from the last 10 or so year's being with the Scouts camping.  What will I do in June 2017????

Little did we know what the next 6-8 months would hold in store for us!!!!!

Have fun! bear print

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Short weekend away in Picton - Day 3

Sunday, June 5, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Sunday - a day of rest and recreation!!

A day to do things you would normally not do during the week.

A day - hmm to lie in bed for a bit and listen to the rain - again!

The promised 2nd front decided to rip through from midnight to early morning - so no hurry to get out of bed.  Eventually cleaned up post breakfast and got our raincoats and gumboots and trundled down to the Aquarium.  A local place that has many purposes - one being the rescue center for any bird or aquatic life that needs - urm - assistance. Found this little blue penguin who had his foot broken and needed a safe place to recuperate - so he took the opportunity to "sun"-bathe! The place also doubles as a breeding place for Tuatara! Informative lady took us on a tour and let some folks carry the old fossil!  They do not know their "sexes" until they reach about 30 years of age!! Thats a long time for going through your "teenage" years!  Once they safely navigate past those years - then the mating years begin - in slow motion! No wonder they are becoming extinct-ish - ok - an endangered species!!

By the time we watched the old fossil (The Tuatara that is - not Mamabear - just clarifying this :)  ) and the hand-feeding of the other various aquatic - things, it was lunch time - so of we went for urm lunch - Benedict eggs yusss!!! Despite bing Sunday, some shops were open and tried to make a living - including this store that sells a lot of wool - and I mean  a LOT of wool.  Had an interesting convo with the shop-owner about badges - and gave her a contact! Who knows next time we are up there we might actually see a Picton Badge for my blanket?!?!?!?!

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing what one is supposed to do on a lazy rainy Sunday - relaxing.  Eventually watched the rugby round up and caught up with the local news (some say gossip column) on TV and had late dinner.  Home again tomorrow!! At least I don't have to pack much - unlike the scout camp I would have been on!!

Oh and do not tell Mamabear - but we did admire a certain (made of local recycled Kauri) clock and agreed it would make for a good addition to the buffet in our lounge - so secretly went and arranged for a purchase! *grins* - Happy urm pre-birthday Mamabear!!!!!

Oh -- and Happy Birthday Son!!! 

 Have fun! bear print
◄Design by Pocket