Saturday, July 31, 2010

Visiting Cinderella

Jayne volunteered her services to help with the hair and makeup for the younger sister of a good friend. Katie is the second daughter of Kevin and Kay, long-time friends through the Irish Society. She had two friends, and an escort, who were all going in to the Ball together.
So I said I would take photos for them. There weren't as many good ones as I would like, but there were a few.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More video clips

Last time it was music videos by friends of ours - this time it is clips from the NZ Final of the Rose of Tralee in early June.

There are 2 interviews, with the International Rose, Charmaine Kenny, and with the 2010 NZ Rose, Elizabeth Sara.

As well, there are the 7 on-stage interviews with each of the contestants at the Selection ball on the Saturday evening.

If you haven't read it, the trip is described in an earlier entry.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

One Song at a Time: Shindig

Three of our friends perform as Shindig - an acoustic group with a base of Irish songs and modern American popular standards.
Last November they held a concert for family and friends. I set up the video camera and left it running for most of their performance.
The list below is of links to the songs I have uploaded to YouTube.
Each link will open a separate page in a new window/tab, so you aren't left waiting for a long page with a lot of video players to open.

Back Home in Derry

or tell a friend:

Brown-eyed Girl

or tell a friend:

Dirty Old Town

or tell a friend:

If I Should Fall From Grace

or tell a friend:

I'll Tell Me Ma

or tell a friend:

Star of the County Down

or tell a friend:

Streams of Whiskey

or tell a friend:

Little Old Wine-drinker You

or tell a friend:

Freeborn Man of the USA

or tell a friend:

Gypsy Rover

Shindig: Gypsy Rover

Shindig: Freeborn Man of the USA

Shindig: Little Old Wine-drinker You

Shindig: Streams of Whiskey

Shindig: Star of the County Down

Shindig: I'll Tell Me Ma

Shindig: If I Should Fall From Grace

Shindig: Dirty Old Town

Shindig: Brown-eyed Girl

Shindig: Back Home in Derry

The Internet Never Dies

(although sometimes you wish it had!)
Sarah Rose came across these pages by The Mulligans. How embarrassing! How amateurish, how very much a product of their time.
They were written in 1997, and represent my very earliest attempts to construct web-pages, and to teach myself how to code HTML.
They also reflect an embarrassing focus on animated graphics, usually for no real purpose at all.
Thank heavens we have all moved on!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Armed and Dangerous

A story such as this about a recent shooting in Christchurch is disturbing on several levels.
Of course, there are the obvious ones of injury to police officers in the line of duty, of a police dog being sacrificed, again in the line of duty.
Many will produce the knee-jerk reaction of calling for police officers to be armed. Stuff reports Greg O'Connor thus: "President Greg O'Connor said every officer on patrol should also wear a holster to allow them to be speedily armed if needed, with pistols stored in their cars." An understandable reaction from someone who admirably performs the role of advocate for the police officers.
But it also raises chilling questions about how the risks can be minimised, to police, and the wider community. Consider: Police district commanders can authorise firearms to be routinely carried in cars, but this is generally done only for non-commissioned officers, dog, single-officer and CIB patrols and first-response units. Mr Broad's proposal expands that to include every front-line car, including those on general patrols or going to routine inquiries."
Every front-line car? So we are going to increase the risk of police cars being stolen to obtain firearms? And that will make me feel safer?
One of the more insightful and perceptive observations by one of the investigating officers was that such incidents tend to be 'ambushes'. If this is true, and suspect it is, how will having a firearm in the car an officer has left to knock on a door, protect them from an ambush?
"Oh, you're threatening me with a shotgun! Can you hang on a moment while I pop back to the car and collect my sidearm?" Yeah, right!
What O'Connor, and his like, are proposing is actually an escalation of the risk.
One of the grounds used by the gun lobby in the US is that guns don't kill people, people do. My response has always been that that claim is true with one proviso: they can't if they don't have access to firearms.
O'Connor and others are proposing to increase the pool of firearms present in NZ.
Air rifles are now also under scrutiny, as they are now more powerful than when the current rules were implemented. It is likely that ownership will be restricted to licenced users.
So why stop there? I would like to see much tougher restrictions on ownership, purchase and sale of firearms, and greater use of import restrictions to reduce the supply of firearms into the NZ marketplace. I know all the arguments about creating a black market and that those determined to do so will always be able to get hold of them.
But:restrict the supply, and there will be fewer available for those who might otherwise be tempted to play the heroic.
So, my question becomes: should we concede victory to the criminals? And make guns more readily available?
Thanks, but no thanks.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


One of New Zealand's prettiest birds is the Piwakawaka or Fantail (or again). It's distinctive tail-feather shape is what gives it it's name (in case you hadn't spotted that already!)
We get them visiting the backyard occasionally, and they appear quite tame and untroubled by humans. Actually, they are hunting, as they eat bugs and insects which are often disturbed by humans as they scuff undergrowth or leaf litter.
Recently a visiting piwakawaka was searching for food around our bamboo grove and the flowering cherry beside the deck. Peaches saw what was happened, and, in a burst of feline enthusiasm decided that catching and playing with said piwakawaka would be good fun.

So she launched herself at the erstwhile visitor when it landed on the deck fence and was looking into the flaxbush.

Stopping in time to alight on the (relatively) narrow fence is usually not a problem for Peaches, who is quite agile and sure-footed (in a feline sort of way). But not this time!

In fact she was so focussed on the fantail, she almost flew right over the fence into the midst of the flax! She managed, at the last minute, to hook her hind legs over the top and prevent what would have been an embarrassing mishap.

And what happened to piwakawaka? It escaped Peaches' eager clutches, and then flew about squawking in indignation at the culprit.

Indeed, it had the audacity to perch in the flowering cherry and on the light-string and give Peaches a right-old dressing down!

Peaches was suitably abashed at being humiliated by a mere slip of a bird, especially as Jayne and I had observed the entire escapade.

Clever cat

Tiffany is aging, and spends most of her time sleeping, unlike her sister. (You can meet the full menagerie, if you wish.)
But it appears, you can teach an old cat new tricks!
She joined Desiree at the table recently, to see how to use these new-fangled laptops.

What can I say? She's a QWERTY cat!

Amidst the gloom

Rain. Clouds. Cold. Damp. Lowering skies. Mildew. To work in the dark. Home in the dark.
Winter's wonderful.
And the garden, in theory, has shut down. Leaves have fallen. So how come the grass keeps growing? So that it needs mowing?

Well, some of it is slumbering, but here and there are signs that spring is ahead. When the weather permits, mowing the lawns actually is rewarding.