Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Snoopy lives to fight anther day - against the Red Baron!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 0

oldbearnews editor
The only two pics I have of my master work - sadly it lasted only about 4 weeks as some idiot decided he needed or wanted this for his own backyard decoration.  He collected at 2.30am . . . . .

Must scan them properly later on . .  (edit - done!)
Snoopy - way to go!

made sometime 1990


Have fun! bear print

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Death by Gun in a school enviroment

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 0
oldbearnews editor

Firstly let me say two things:

1 - Death is a natural part of life!   You get born - you live, and eventually you will die.
Where it gets challenging is, if you die prematurely (from any causes you care to list) versus dying eventually from a natural cause (not even sure how you would define "natural" cause).  A n y   death will be hard and sad for those left behind - your family and friends and especially so if it is pre-maturely end to life.

2 - I took numbers from various 'official' websites and one should always take them with a grain of salt.  I cannot be 100% sure that they are 100% correct (as with all things listed on the Internet) however am confident that the variances are so minor as to statistically have no impact on the message trying to be conveyed here.  I am sure a 3rd year Uni student (studying statistics) will rip this to shreds though. Certainly do not take the numbers here as Gospel in itself!!!

So here it goes

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School featured for all the wrong reasons (17 dead by gun) highly on our news (here in NZ) and of course in the various media in US.  As always this is a distressing event for the families and friends concerned and they have my sympathies!!

One of the memes doing the rounds on Facebook is along the lines of "40 years back everyone had a gun in their pick-up truck and we had less shootings - so what happened???"

This got me digging.
(remember to take the numbers with a grain of salt)

The first recorded "Death by Gun" in a School was - wait for it - in 1760. Yes some 260 years back.
The question raised by the Facebook meme was one of, is there a increase in school shootings compared to historical events and why??

Wikipedia does a decent job of listing the various dates / numbers


Incidentally it does not breakdown (but could be mathematically extracted) on the breakdown of Adults (teachers / support staff) versus children .  The trend though is clear - with earlier killings involving more adults then youth as compared to the last 50 years . . . It does make for sober reading

If you look at that purely from a numbers point then yes 58 deaths in decade of 1980 is 56 more then the 2 people who died in the decade of 1880's.  However I was wondering what as a percentage of all school children that would be and so had to go and visit various websites to find a list of USA population for the various years.  Clearly in 1880 there were less  people living in USA (nearly 50 million) - compared to 327 Million people in 2018 .


The consensus is that about 20% of that total would be children aged between 0 - 18.  I am   n o t   confident that this ratio would have applied across all decades as people had more or less children at various times . . . so just for arguments sake I stuck with 20% across the board.
Thus in 1880 there  would have been around 9 million children (give or take a few 100 000)
With 2 deaths by gun that would have been  0.000020% of all school aged children in USA of 1880.

Compared to the 2010 (and still counting) decade,  that is 160 deaths by gun and at a 0.000259% !
In plain simple English - the chances of someone dying (by gun in a school in USA) in this decade -  is 3 times more likely then compared to 1880.

Clearly an increase

Still that is (think about that) - Nought POINT nought nought nought two five nine percent of the  t o t a l   current (2018) school population within the USA.  That however does not make any easier if it involves your child or your best friend! 

I then decided to look up all deaths by subject and that was a decent surprise to me


One statistic jumped out immediately:

In 2014, the overall rate of death by firearms in the United States was 10.3 per 100,000 people — the same as for death by motor vehicles  (total of 3087) — with suicides ( some 2000) accounting for roughly two out of every three gun deaths.    REALLY?????        
 For the year 2014 – there was one - yes ONE school shooting – resulting in 5 dead  people!!

That goes begging  2 questions but before I go there here are some more stats to consider:

The website lists the 10 most likely causes of "early" deaths (in USA).  They are in order:

The top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.:   
1    Heart disease
2    Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
3    Chronic lower respiratory disease
4    Accidents (unintentional injuries)
5    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
6    Alzheimer's disease
7    Diabetes
8    Influenza and pneumonia
9    Kidney disease (nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis)
10    Suicide

 NOTE - only 2 are not medically related ( Accidents / Suicide)
Wonder what they would be for New Zealand

Nearly 75 percent of all deaths in the United States are attributed to just 10 causes, with the top three of these (Heart /Cancer / Respiratory)  accounting for over 50 percent of all deaths. Over the last 5 years, the main causes of death in the U.S. have remained fairly consistent.                   
The most recent data (2014) reveals that annually there were 2,626,418 deaths registered in the U.S.                   
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for almost 1 in every 4 deaths, and affecting significantly more men than women.

So lets look at nr 10  -   Suicide

Suicide (intentional self-harm) in the USA is the 10th most likely cause of death
total registered for 2008/9 Deaths: 42,773                   
Among adults aged 18 years or   y o u n g e r   in the U.S. during 2008-2009:  
(Not sure if that is a typo and should be 'older')
An estimated 8.3 million adults (3.7 percent of the adult U.S. population) reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year           
An estimated 2.2 million adults (1.0 percent of the adult U.S. population) reported having made suicide plans in the past year           
An estimated 1 million adults (0.5 percent of the U.S. adult population) reported making a suicide attempt in the past year  (remember - under 18 years and what an extraordinary mind blowing number that is)
Percentage of total deaths (by suicide in 2008/2009) : 1.6 percent  w h i l e  the percentage of deaths by gun in school for years 2010 to 2018 stands at  0.000259 percent.

On a personal note - I am told about our Oma who had some thoughts of ending it all while trying to escape the advancing Russian soldiers during the end of the second world war  (marching from Romania to Austria) and my brother - well - yes he too had some 'episodes'.  As a family we also know (of the top of my head) of 2 people who have ended it all prematurely/. Thus yes a case could be made that there is a "motivation" or personal interest in this topic.

I contend though that even for the blissfully unaware person there are TWO questions (as alluded to above) that go begging:

One - why do the main media (and in particularly in the USA) report at  nausea on events that involve guns and deaths and in particular school-events???? 

Two - Why not on the ten leading causes of death???  Or any other reasons.  The notion that a school shooting is a "more sexy/newsworthy" event and makes more "sales" or increase the viewer-ship can be taken only so far and would be morally bankrupt imho!

The Gun lobby does always get a beating over this (and note that I am NOT making a personal right or wrong comment here - just stating a fact) and yet I think (for once) that President Trump had it  right when,  in response to the latest's school shooting, he said that more "effort needs to be made on mental health and well-being". 


Here in New Zealand Mike King is doing his bit and so has been John Kirwan through his www.depression.org.nz/‎  campaign on TV. 
Time to put this into perspective and give less airtime to the mass hysteria and re-focus on some more pressing issues me thinks.

Anyway - if you are still with me here - thanks for reading my rant - and if you need to - seek help or speak with someone . . . . . .

Have fun! bear print

Friday, December 22, 2017

Santa Claus is cleared - Rudolph the Reindeer and his mates blamed for Chem-trails

Friday, December 22, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor

In breaking news!!!!!

Poor Rudolph!  The kid just can't catch a break.
First he's deemed unfit for service and then when pressed into service . . .

Alas = let's begin at the the begin.

As previously reported - ( the-really-true-story-on-how-rudolph-got-his-red-nose )

Rudolph has previously been outed as a grumpy old reindeer, sitting on a beach in the Caribbean beach (and thus getting his red sun-burnt nose)! Now he is being blamed for the chem-trails.  Poor Rudolph! I do feel sorry for him. 
There is no truth to this story - although - although . . . .

Seems to pull this sleigh of Santa's - itself a non-worthy-aircraft of sorts - across the globe you require a certain base line of speed.  It is just a matter of a little calculation of distance versus time!! The further the distance and the shorter of time available to get there - the faster you have to go to cover the distance in the required time slot! Breaking the sound barrier has been solved just after
WWII - no big news there.  Equally the speed required to leave planet earth is a mathematical known equation.  Take size and weight and work out fuel/engine needed to leave terra firma.  It's not rocket science (if you pardon the pun) !  Sleek streamlined rockets to the fore - ok except the space shuttle - well that's more like a lumbering bus . . .
anyhow - to pull Santa's sleigh across the globe (in less then 24 hours) - you do need a good speed and all the reindeer need to work on that.  Ask any athlete - you can't run fast or long if you avoid training of any sort. So training it is - year in year out.  And as any athlete will tell you (particular in the track and field department) all this training does lead to wear and tear - so often there are injuries to consider - which is why Santa Claus has more then the standard 8 reindeer in the stable. There is a
fierce daily competition going on - who can run the fastest / longest / further-est.  Elfs are tasked for record keeping - something made much easier these days with GPS units affixed to the Reindeer's.  By the time Christmas rolls round the Elfs have a good idea which reindeer will be the most fit Reindeer in the stable and will be accorded the honor of pulling Santa's sleigh (although a certain eight - namely "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Thunder and Blitzen still have the inside running and seem to be the most fittest of them all")
All can be seen daily to exercise their legs. 
Which really is a bit of a no-no. 
After all - it won't be much of a myth if the reindeer get regularly spotted .  .

The plan was for a small group of reindeer to do the regular Europe to USA run while another group was taking the Asia to Europe track.  Yet another smaller group can occasionally be spotted going to and from Minor Asia (mostly the middle east) to the South Pacific! In the early 1950's and 60's this was not a problem as only one or two reindeer felt the need to be excising one some occasions - usually after a sumptuous Sunday meal. These days the whole heard is out there strutting their stuff - after all - you never know when you might get called into service.  Rudolph - is one of the many others and a case in point!
And in doing their daily exercises they inadvertently leave a "dust" trail behind.  Sometimes it is very faint and at other times very pronounced. 
There must however be a very very very new reindeer in the stable (tentatively named 'Aurora' - for its speed)  because when it does its training run - it does so pretty much around the world and leaves a very distinctive trail behind.  It  does so only once in a while so if you are spotting it - you would be very lucky.  Then again - it could be that Rudolph has a certain base-line speed already, that the other reindeer cannot match and so feels, that he is not only out of sink with the rest of the team, but will not get a run on Christmas eve anyhow because of his red nose - whence his partying on some unknown beaches in the Caribbean.  So when you spot this particular chem-trail pattern in the sky - it could be Rudolph dashing back  home from the beach - just to let the others know he is still around and the fastest.
Then again - seems some of the  'deers got a bit bored with the daily excessive exercise  regime and decided to have a bit of fun - and in the process almost gave the game away . . . . 

Mum's the word

Merry Christmas everyone!

Have fun! bear print

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Santa Claus is linked to chem-trails . . . .

Thursday, December 21, 2017 0
oldbearnews editorAhhhh It had to happen.  This is legendary stuff.  Most folks might have heard about Area 51 - if  not then certainly about UFO's near Roswell!!  The heavily guarded Area 51, deep in the
Nevada desert, is at the center of many alien-related conspiracy theories.
It is claimed that alien flying saucers crashed on Earth, such as the alleged 1947 Roswell incident, and that the wreckage and even corpses were taken to Area 51 for experimentation and to be analyzed away from public view.
One theory even suggests that USAF scientists have tried to emulate the alien technology to create their own top-secret spy craft capable of traveling into space at the base.  Baa-humbug!!   The US Government did not even admit the base existed until 2013, in a series of documents released as part of a Freedom of Information request, and the Base is naturally heavily protected by armed guards.
Well so far for the myths!!
It is however accepted that the USAF does secretly test new aircraft inside Area 51, with the U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird, and the F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter all developed there.
Another theory is that they have engaged in a top secret cloud-spraying program - also commonly known as Chem-trail.  As well they might have.
From an Aviation buff - building a air-base in the middle of the dessert is a loony idea.  OK the security experts have won this argument (easier to control and patrol), still it does create some problems.  For one there is the shimmering heat of the day - which again - helps with security as no one can take any clear good sharp pictures.  On the other hand - this makes for extreme lousy conditions for the pilots to take off the runway.  It is common knowledge that Air Emirates for example schedule all their flights in and out of their home base - at night!!!  For the simple reason that the desert air at night is cooler and thus denser - thus helping with the required lift and that - folks - is purely a commercial decision as you need less fuel to get airborne.  It has been known that some planes were to heavy and did not get enough "lift" during the middle of the day - when the air-density is at it's thinnest that they had to reschedule the departure till midnight!!
Again - the security experts won this argument - being that if the chem-trail program is successful then A- the spy satellites become useless and B - they can take flight during the day - thus greatly expanding the test flight range window!  So the rumors are partially true and right.

Yesterday UFO hunters Tim and Tracey Doyle have confirmed a astounding new discovery - namely that the spraying program has become so successful that they turned a blue sunny day into yes - virtual night.   This image was taken at 12 noon - and you just can see the armada of planes as tiny dots - the last amount of sunshine reflecting of their air frames.

7 Star General 'Fata 'Morgana (name changed to protect his identity) has given a press conference where he alluded to the success - and claimed that he had orders from higher up - and to reveal the real intend of this.  According to his statement released yesterday - Santa Claus had contacted him directly via a special hotline and they discussed the weight of his sleigh and the usual flight conditions in the desert.  Now it is common knowledge that Santa Claus has to carry and deliver all presents during the night and starting from New Zealand on the 24th and has to work his way eastwards - yes flying with the sun rising and crossing time zones etc.
However there are some very special individual deliveries to be made - here or there - and ONE annual delivery is taking place in the desert of Nevada - and this is most concerning to Santa - especially after his fateful crash in 1947 that took place at 12 noon - bright day-light!!! Yikes.  Even with all the security in place and the shimmering heat Santa Claus might be spotted zipping along doing his delivery (whence the rumors about UFO's - whoever has seen a flying sleigh??!! never-mind Reindeer's)

Fear not - the USAF to the rescue.  With the chem-trail program and the cloud seeding being nearly perfected this year they now have the perfect opportunity to "help" Santa.  The image proved that the USAF can turn day into night.  Of course the Christmas-grinch-cynics will claim that the sole single purpose for the airbase is to help Santa Claus  alone and is a colossal waste of US taxpayers dollars !  As always the truth is somewhere in the middle and and as usual - well - lost.

So if you see more chem-trail's in the sky - at least the USAF has perfected the art of turning day into night.  Our European cousins are still working on that part.  Here in New Zealand we have the technology of turning cloudy days into clear blue skies.  I am awaiting a phone call from all the UFO- spotters and Santa watchers to see if they can purchase a 'license' in order to do a "counter"-spray!! But as usual - Mum's the word!!!

Have fun! bear print

Monday, December 18, 2017

Chemtrails in NZ and the magic password

Monday, December 18, 2017 0
oldbearnews editor

Yikes - seems that the source inside our Parliament has gotten cold feet so to speak.  Still - the cat, as said before, is out of the bag.  The other 4 people involved in the Government controlled program have now been discovered.  One enterprising reporter even went to the great length of plotting holidays and weekends away from home and matching with un-usual weather events in locations where any of us 5 "Guinea-pigs" were supposedly urm - holidaying!  I think from memory (in my case at least) he had a 20% accuracy).

As previously mentioned - our system consists of ringing '0800sunnytourist' and giving and a bunch of dates and gps nr's and voila.   OK - NOT so simple.  Some folks have contacted me and complained this is not working for them.  Of course not!!! What were you thinking???
Why would you think it was THAT simple????   There would have to be a number of checks and counter-checks!! Firstly you have to ring in, in or on about 2 weeks prior to your anticipated travel - in order to give the rest of the system time to swing into action.  It is no easy task to load the planes with the relevant anti-cloud-seeding material (and keep THAT secret)!!  The exact time to ring before hand will not be divulged - except to say it has to be  minutely accurate . . .   Then as some folks have found out - a series of other questions need to be answered or given.  One of them is (of course)  a password - a long and complicated string of characters which are not related to your dogs name or granny's birthday. 
There is this little gadget we had been given that dials daily into the Big Mainframe of a
Supercomputer (supposedly located someplace in Virginia USA)  and downloads a newly generated 150 string password (that still will need to be decoded (firstly) and then translated into binary code (secondly) ) and THAT will then need to be given to our program - all in aid of the fact that every Tom, Dick and Harry will want to try the System and have a cloudless day and of course we want to avoid that!! Imagine if anyone could do that - we would never ever have any cloudy days let alone rain again - ever!!! Should you make a mistake in the trans-coding and miss a single zero in the long binary code you enter - everything will fail, and failures there have been.    Remembers vividly one very wet camp . . . . . *grins*

There was one further attempt to "disguise" this a little bit further - sadly the Pilots at the time got to cute and more or less gave the game away . . . .   they certainly had some fun in the skies.  Rather then diverting the attention it did draw more to it.    Their fate remains unknown

Have fun! bear print

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 1
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
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