Saturday, 24 January 2015

COAST TO COAST USA

From sea to shining sea; from Pacific to Atlantic
Here is a free sample read from Highway America – the Adventures of a Kiwi Truck Driver, by Peter Blakeborough. Available as an eBook from Smashwords.com

At 4pm Tuesday I departed on my first coast to coast run. Four hours later I rested up for the night at a rest area in the Mojave Desert where the outside temperature was still over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to radio reports some localities reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit that day. All praise to Old Bluey for its air conditioning and fast idle facility. The heat of the desert must also take a toll on the highway sign-writers; in the Mojave Desert I found a sign for a Zzyzx Road.
The nearby settlement of Zzyzx (pronounced Zikes) was established by one Curtis Springer in 1944 when he set up the local Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa on federal land. He created Zzyzx so that it would be the last word in the English language and everything went fine for Springer until he was sprung by the Federal Government for misusing government land.
On Wednesday morning I awoke to a beautiful desert sunrise and spent a few minutes taking photos before departing for Las Vegas, a TA breakfast and a flutter on a roulette wheel. By mid-morning Old Bluey was heading up Interstate 15 again through Nevada, a corner of Arizona and into Utah in brilliant sunshine.
At Fishlake National Forest I turned east onto the I-70 and started climbing towards the Rocky Mountains as cumulonimbus clouds gathered overhead. An hour later an enormous thunderhead hung menacingly over the landscape and triggered the most spectacular lightning displays imaginable. All around fiery, lightning bolts shot down from the sky, some striking the ground a mere fifty yards from the truck as I proceeded cautiously. The noise of the thunderclaps and torrential rain was deafening.
A few miles on the sky suddenly cleared and the only evidence of the storm was the steam rising from the still hot road and a few minutes after that the desert had the appearance of not having had rain for a hundred years.

I pulled into a rest area and took some more photos before going on to the West Winds Truck Stop at Green River, Utah, having completed 551 miles for the day.
A narrow strip of cultivated land on both sides of the river to the north of the town gave the locality a welcoming oasis appearance in spite of the uninviting surrounding desert. In the fading light I walked the main street, talked to some locals, and had a beer and a dinner and walked back to the truck where I studied the Rand McNally Road Atlas and the USA Rough Guide and wrote up the diary before putting the light out.
Green River is 4,000 feet above sea level and according to the Rand McNally Road Atlas a climb to over 11,100 feet (almost the height of New Zealand’s Mount Cook) was in store for Thursday and I rose early to prepare for one of the great adventures of North American motoring.
The sun had just risen when I crossed from Utah into Colorado and headed for Grand Junction (the junction of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers), the largest city in western Colorado with 44,000 people. From there the I-70 follows the Colorado River through rugged gorges and settlements with names like Parachute and Rifle to Glenwood Springs which boasts the world’s largest outdoor hot springs pool. I’m not sure if Rotorua qualifies as part the ‘world’ or not. A onetime famous resident of Glenwood Springs was Doc Holliday, a dentist, gambler and gunfighter (lead fillings?) who retired there at the ripe old age of 35 and died a short time later in 1887. The local graveyard also holds the remains of Kid Curry, a member of the Butch Cassidy gang.
Continuing east the interstate enters Glenwood Canyon and makes numerous crossings of the Colorado River as it flows in the shadow towering mountain peaks all around. The road climbs steadily to 8,000 feet at the modern ski resort of Vail where President Gerald Ford was living in retirement. East of Vail the I-70 climbs quickly to an initial high of 10,666 feet at Vail Pass where I pulled into a rest area for another photo stop. It was July and the weather was mostly fine and hot at lower elevations but at Vail Pass there was still plenty of snow above the interstate and the air was thin and cold. Even though the hair spray load weighed in at only 19,000lbs. I was surprised at how well Old Bluey performed on the steep grades. Two years later when I hauled ice cream over the same mountains it was a different story. More about that later.

From Vail Pass the interstate descended again to below 9,000 feet at Silverthorne before climbing again to the Rockies summit at the entrance to the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel at 11,125 feet above sea level. Then it plunged again to 7,500 feet at Idaho Springs and leveled off for a few winding miles before making a long descent to the busy mile-high city of Denver.
Driving the western Colorado section of the I-70 in a big rig started as a daunting challenge but it quickly became a fascinating experience and the most memorable of all the highways driven during my time in the USA. From the old gold mining hamlets to the modern ski resorts and retirement towns, some dull, others interesting, the road over the Rockies is hard to beat for scenic views on grand scale.
Driving eastward from Denver across the flat, featureless and sparsely populated prairies was an anticlimax at the end of a wonderful day and with another 491 miles covered I was pleased to see Exit 438 at Burlington, Colorado, and Amack’s Amoco truckstop.
Another 498 miles on Friday took me across the plains of Kansas and to a TA truckstop at Concordia, Missouri, for another night. On Saturday the ride across the Great Plains continued for 573 miles with an overnight stop in a rest area at Summerford, Ohio, between Dayton and Columbus.
On Sunday another 514 miles took the hair spray through Pennsylvania and to the TA truckstop at Bloomsbury, New Jersey. I had just got parked in a long line of trucks with origins and destinations in every part of America when another CalArk truck pulled in and I recognized behind the wheel the whiskers and cheery grin of Fred Gulliver from Christchurch. For five days Fred had been following me from Fontana, California, and he had hair spray too for the same company in Fair Lawn. We had a beer and some dinner together and caught up on the news from Little Rock and New Zealand.



HAPPY TRAVELS WITH THIS BOOK





Thursday, 22 January 2015

CYCLE SAFETY



Grounded!
Cheryl Stearns was on a mission to collect her
20,000th skydive, until things down on earth got complicated

BY MICHAEL GRAFF   PHOTOGRAPHS BY LOGAN CYRUS   CHARLOTTE MAGAZINE
On November 12, 2014, a warm Wednesday with one of those storybook Carolina blue skies overhead, the greatest female skydiver in history lay unconscious on a patch of hard blacktop just west of Charlotte. Her head, nose, elbow, and mouth were cut open, her glasses were smashed, and she was bleeding inside her skull. It was just after 1 p.m. The only witness to the accident told police she couldn’t tell who was at fault. No camera crews came to the scene. There was no press conference at the hospital later. But when the police officer returned the skydiver’s mangled mountain bike to her house that evening, he made sure to feed her cats.

In the weeks leading up to the accident, I’d been following Cheryl Stearns as she made her final push to an unfathomable record—20,000 career skydives. Only a handful of men before her have reached that number. She was to be the first woman. She was preparing for a skydiving competition in Dubai, scheduled for just after Thanksgiving. The previous weekend, she made 11 practice jumps, each time falling under the cover of a red, white, and blue parachute with “U.S.A.” spelled out in the middle.
Her biggest worry that week had been shoes. She was considering switching to a new pair of Nikes. She’s an accuracy skydiver, so when she lands, she’s scored on how close the heel of her right shoe lands to a nickel-sized dot on a mat. For most people who jump out of a plane, landing safely is the only important thing. For Stearns, who won her first world skydiving championship in 1978 by landing on the exact same spot in a field in Yugoslavia 18 consecutive times, landing even a centimeter to the right or left of that dot is failure. The Nikes were producing mixed results.
Few people on the planet are as precise as Stearns. She spent 15 years in the Army and was the first female member of the elite parachuting team the Golden Knights. She’s jumped out of a plane in 35 countries and 32 states. She’s won 30 women’s national skydiving championships, five world military championships, and two overall world championships. And in November 1995, she jumped 352 times in one day, setting a world record that still stands for jumps in a 24-hour period by a woman.
She once jumped out over New York Harbor and curled around the crown of the Statue of Liberty with smoke streaming out of canisters on her shoes and an American flag tied to her back, landing in front of hundreds of people. Another time, she steered her parachute underneath the St. Louis arch. Another time, she jumped out of a hot-air balloon and into a pool at Sea World.
The numbers and places add up to an amazing life story, but 20,000 could be her most impressive, and defining, number. Most people who skydive do it only once. They pay for video and photos, evidence of their moment of courage for YouTube or an office desk. Stearns, who is now 59, is nearly 20,000 of those moments packed in a 5-foot-6, 128-pound frame and dressed in a red, white, and blue jumpsuit.
She’s revered in the aviation community. But at this age, even Stearns knows that she’ll come down someday. She may not have a 30,000th jump, or a 25,000th jump.
This might be her last big, round number. 
She wanted 20,000 to be special. She wanted it to happen in Dubai, and on the winning jump. So she spaced out her training in October and early November. She’d get three or four practice jumps in Dubai, she knew, and then 10 competition jumps. A skydiving accuracy competition is like golf; the lowest score wins. On each landing, a sensor measures the jumper’s distance from the target. One centimeter off target equals one point, two centimeters equals two, and so forth. The points are added together after 10 jumps. The best score is zero.
“What I really hope happens is that I get to 20,000 with a dead center to win the meet,” Stearns told me the Saturday before the accident. 
In order to make that happen, she needed to schedule her training so that her last practice jump onto Carolina soil was number 19,986 . . . . .
SHE AWOKE BRIEFLY on the side of the road and saw her twisted mountain bike next to her. She saw a car stopped in the street a few dozen yards away. An officer asked for her name and address, and she was able to give them to him, but then she started mumbling and slurring. An ambulance rushed her 11 miles to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Medics stopped blood from flowing. At CMC, doctors put eight staples in her head and stitches in her arm and ointment on her face. She refused painkillers. Miraculously, nothing was broken. But she’d suffered what doctors said was a moderate traumatic brain injury. 
In her day job, Stearns is an on-call pilot for US Airways. Nineteen days a month, her shift starts at 9 p.m. and runs until noon the next day. If the airline needs someone to fly, her phone will ring, and she’ll pick up her travel bag and drive eight minutes from her home to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. She has more than 21,000 flying hours without incident. 
On her off days, she drives to Shelby to fly her private plane, a Cessna, which she uses as a member of the Civil Air Patrol. The day before her accident, she flew a young boy and a photographer around for a few hours before sunset.
In the few moments of her life that she’s not flying, she goes on hikes or rides one of her two bikes. That Wednesday, because she was training for the Dubai competition, she hopped on her mountain bike, which gives her a better physical workout. Her standard ride is a 25-mile route that travels through neighborhoods and past a lake and on the trails at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It should’ve taken two hours and 15 minutes, exactly.
Later that evening, though, she awoke in the emergency room. Her longtime friend and roommate, Lindy Leach, was there. Stearns told Leach she couldn’t remember anything. That night, she caught brief blinks of sleep in between the throbbing headaches. The next morning, she tried to call home to tell Leach she was being moved out of intensive care, but she couldn’t remember her home number.
JUST BEFORE 1 P.M. on that blue-skied Wednesday last fall, Stearns strapped on her Camelbak water pack, rolled her mountain bike out of the garage, and went off down a route she knows by heart. She was thinking about Dubai. She was thinking about how she’d ended her last practice jumps that Sunday. She was thinking about those Nikes. Twenty-five miles. Two hours and fifteen minutes. Around the whitewater center. Around the lake. Then back through a new neighborhood called the Vineyards.
“I like to ride where it’s quiet,” she says.
At the heart of the Vineyards is a traffic circle. If she doesn’t see a car coming toward the circle on the left, she’ll cut across. If she does see one, she’ll stay right and go around the circle. She remembers almost cutting over this time. But at the last moment a red car came into view on the left, so she went around.
Spinning off the circle, she pedaled up the hill on Amos Hill Road, then over a bridge that crosses railroad tracks, and toward an intersection with Old Dowd Road, a fairly busy two-lane road in western Mecklenburg County. As she approached the intersection, the bike lane ran out. Stearns hugged the right shoulder. She doesn’t remember looking back. A police report lists various accounts of what happened next. A witness says Stearns was on the white line, but in the lane. Stearns believes she was over far enough. The driver of a 2010 Nissan, an 83-year-old named Mary who did not return phone calls for this story, says in the report that Stearns swerved into her lane. Mary also says that Stearns was wearing headphones. The report, which includes charges against Mary for failing to reduce speed, says that only the Camelbak and bike were at the scene, and that there were no headphones.
Mary’s right-side mirror struck Stearns in the left side of her back at 30 miles per hour. Stearns doesn’t know when she was knocked out, but she was, and more than the broken glasses or a cut lip or pending court cases, that’s the damning part of all this. 
Her head, doctors tell her, can’t handle abrupt changes in altitude. 
The most accomplished skydiver in the world is grounded.
Sitting in a chair in her home a week after the accident, Stearns broke in conversation several times, wincing while explaining what happened. She couldn’t bend over because blood rushed to her head. 
“Even sneezing hurts,” she said. 
Federal Aviation Administration guidelines dictate that a pilot who has a concussion can’t fly for at least six months and must go back through a flying school before returning to the cockpit. Stearns’s concussion was so severe, she’s already been ruled out for a year. She also can’t pilot her private plane. 
A neurologist initially told Stearns it would be six to eight weeks before she can even ride in an airplane again, let alone jump out. In the best-case scenario, they told her the earliest she could skydive again would be April. 
To download a free sample of
this eBook, click here
Even Stearns, who’s built a career around possibilities and optimism, couldn’t prevent a thought from creeping into her head, if only momentarily.
“I guess there’s a chance it’s forever,” she told me in December. “I can’t have that, though. I don’t know what I’d do if I can’t go up.”
One thing is certain: Stearns says she’s never riding a bike on the road again. The 2003 bike accident in Raeford left her without use of her left arm for six months. This time, the brain injury has her grounded for at least that long. That’s a year of life for someone who keeps track of every minute. She plans to install a bike rack on her car, and she’ll ride only on trails or on her stationary bike upstairs. 
“I’ve told her to stay off that damn bike so many times,” says Guy Jones, her former boss with the Golden Knights. “You’re safer in the sky.”
Cheryl’s full story is available from Charlotte Magazine at:

Peter’s Piece

What an amazing person Cheryl Stearns is! But her story tells us a lot about accidents involving bikes and motorized vehicles, in fact about all accidents. They mostly happen when everything is going fine and having an accident is the last thing we expect.

Cheryl Stearns is obviously an exceptionally safety-conscious person in everything she does, but even that wasn’t enough. No, I’m not about to say when your number comes up there is nothing you can do about it. That is just an excuse for not feeling obliged to take care of yourself and others. That attitude is just a wheel’s turn away from a death wish.

This accident, like all accidents, happened because people made mistakes. It could be Mary or Cheryl and it may be possible that both made mistakes, but that would certainly be out of character for Cheryl. We know less about Mary. Mistakes could have also been made by people not present at the scene; the people who certified Mary as safe for driving, the people who designed and maintained the road. In most accidents more than one person is at fault, some just more at fault than others.

Sometimes it is easy to dismiss a danger sign because the other person has seen you and will stop or give way. Few people seem to appreciate that if that other person fails to yield, then the responsibility is transferred to themselves.

Just this morning, a few minutes before reading the Charlotte Magazine article, I was out near the road cleaning our car and motorhome. A yellow courier van came along the street and veered across the street to park on the wrong side. I heard a thump, looked up again to see that there had been a collision between the courier van and a car backing out from a driveway.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see you,” the car driver said.
“I thought you would have stopped,” the courier driver said. “You could put this through your insurance company, because mine is too expensive.”

The courier van had a small amount of panel damage from the car’s tow bar. The car appeared not to be damaged. They exchanged details and the courier left to continue his round. The lady driving the car was convinced that she was entirely at fault because she was reversing. So I pointed out to her that reversing a vehicle is not illegal and it is normally still insured while reversing. But because of restricted visibility one must take extra care while reversing. On the other hand the courier driver was illegally driving on the wrong side of the road, admitted that he saw the car reversing, and failed to take evasive action.

I suggested to the lady that she should insist that any claim should be through his insurance and that she should deny all liability, although ultimately a ruling could be made apportioning blame 90-10% with the courier driving on the losing side. Perhaps his insurance is expensive because he has an expensive claims history, and as a result of that he now has a store of ready answers.

But to return to Cheryl and Mary, our sympathy must be with both driver and rider, but ultimately it would seem that Mary must carry the greater proportion of the responsibility. The bike was in front of her and she struck it. Bikes have as much right as any other vehicle to be on the road, unless restricted by signage, and all drivers are obliged to do everything in their power to avoid collisions, regardless of who may initially be at fault.

Cyclists must always remember that bikes can be hard to see, and do everything possible to stay visible and safe. Car, bus and truck drivers need to be constantly on alert for cyclists, remembering that they are hard to see, and that with bikes, there is a higher possibility of an accident being fatal.



Monday, 19 January 2015

FACING GLOBAL WARMING


Seven things you didn't know about climate change affects
January 18, 2015 Written By Starts at Sixty Writers in Living

A great deal of us argue and bicker about the existence of climate change, with some fiercely contesting the existence of the phenomenon, and others insisting that it is indeed true.

What we don’t think or talk about is how climate change affects us right now. Many of us appear to think that the impacts of a warmer earth won’t be felt until decades down the road, perhaps when the ocean is suddenly washing up at your (once) hillside residence.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are already some very real impacts being each day by global warming. Some of which may surprise you.
1. Food prices
Our shifting climate is causing food prices around the world to increase as the maintenance and growth of crops becomes a whole lot harder to do. As the air gets warmer, larger and more frequent storms are beginning to smash crops worldwide.

Remember the famous banana shortage caused when Cyclone Yasi devastated Queensland banana plantations in 2011? Well this is could just be the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine if we had four Cyclone Yasi’s hit Australia in one summer. Prices would surge for a whole variety of groceries, and not just on your sweet little bananas.
2. Wine and general alcohol production
Even worse than food price increases has to be a rise in alcohol prices.
If it’s the end of the world, you’re going to want a drink, but you’re favourite Sauvignon Blanc may become too expensive to afford when the cost of harvesting grapes increases.
Similarly, beer will be affected as climate change endangers clean water, quality barley, and ample hops. This means that the small craft beer you love and crave may be in danger of shutting down when hops and barley become more scarce. These will truly be dark days indeed.
3. Fresh water
You need another expense like you need a hole in your head – water is going to increase in price.
Severe droughts, increased evaporation and changes in precipitation patterns are impacting water levels in streams, rivers, dams and lakes worldwide.
Continued below . . . . 

Warning!
Stay out of the sun.
It's safer indoors with a good book!



To download a free sample read, click here

You may think they’re just being unfair, but this is largely what caused your local council to increase the water rates in previous years. Bet you’re starting to feel a bit guilty for that rude letter you wrote.
 4. Power
You know what else is going to get more expensive? Your power bill… sigh.
As the planet heats up, it’s going to become more expensive and harder to ship fuel across the world. Non-renewable fuel sources will then subsequently increase, forcing power company’s to increase electricity prices.
On the other hand, if the world continues to adopt renewable power sources, then this problem has a great chance of being fixed (hint hint to the government). 
5. Allergies and asthma
This one is going to bleed your money indirectly.
A warmer climate will impact on those who are prone to allergies and asthma as the air will become denser with pollution, dust and water vapour. As your allergies and/or asthma worsens, think about the increased costs when you’re refilling that asthma puffer or buying more tissues and nasal sprays.
6. Coffee
If you’re not a morning person, this may bring a tear to your eye.
Arabica, the most-consumed coffee species, could go extinct in the wild in 70 years, due to increasing temperatures and a climate change-charged deadly fungus. This would also put roughly 25 million coffee growers and distributors out of business, and drive coffee prices up substantially. 
7. Jeans
Is nothing sacred? Even our jeans are under threat from a changing climate. Water shortages and drought are having an impact on cotton production, causing price fluctuations and even a shortage in denim. So for those looking to go out and start the double denim craze again, you may be plum out of luck. 

Peter’s Piece

Whoever wrote this article appears to be a member of a group with so much time on their hands that they've taken to assaulting the world with reams of wordy waste . . . .  Ooops! That could be me too. I’m the blogger and author, who writes about every subject under the sun . . . . There I go again, the sun . . . . The sun is the problem. There’s just too much hot air, and some people should understand that they can be harmed by standing out in it too long.

But, seriously, the above article cannot be taken seriously. It is loaded with generalities, popular catch-cries, and emotive claptrap, while lacking authoritative references or sources. It’s just a collection of popular myths, aligned with one side of a divided scientific community. Incidentally, no one pays me to write about global warming/climate change and, unlike Al Gore, I don’t live in a mansion on a hill, burning enough electricity to run a medium size shopping mall.

The fact is that weather, climate and sea levels have been constantly changing throughout the entire span of traceable history, but our memories of past weather and climate is severely limited. Firstly, because some of us have not yet lived through very many years, but also because we tend to remember only some of the most recent events in our lives. Yes, we all know what the weather was like yesterday. The day before that is a little harder to recall, and the weather of a week or month ago, is pretty much forgotten. What about the weather in the year 2005? Was it wet or dry, windy or calm, hot or cold?

It is our short term memory that makes it easy to be led into believing that extreme weather events and their regularity are increasing. However, meteorological records tell a different story and, so far, the 21st century has yet to claim a new record for any kind of weather event. The 21st century is also yet to claim a new record for floods, tornados, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, famine, disease, war, terrorism, or any other catastrophes, natural or man-made.

There can be little doubt that man can wreak havoc on the planet, but change the weather or climate? No. In fact during the 20th century man spent millions of dollars trying to change the weather, and failed every time. Remember when cloud seeding with dry ice was popular in the hope that it would bring rain?  And do you remember when Green parties said that nuclear weapons could bring on a nuclear winter? If man could change the weather, there would be no need to close airports due to fog or wind. Icy roads could be a thing of the past too. If man could do all these things there would be no need for a bad year on the farm, or in the orchard, because it would just be a simple matter of selecting the climate and pressing Enter.

‘Starts at Sixty Writers’ have got some things backwards, and in other areas they contradict themselves. Take their view on food production. They claim that food production will suffer because of more frequent storms but, if storms did become more frequent, which is unlikely, then new strains would develop that were storm resistant. That’s how nature works; each species adapts to change. Others say that food production would suffer due to higher temperatures, but that would help expand production, because crops could be grown in areas that are currently too cold to produce food. Who knows, at some time in the future bananas may be grown in Siberia or in Antarctica.

Then they write about a shortage of water, but once again they are wide of the mark. Water cannot be destroyed. It can only be recycled. However, the amount of fresh water can be increased by treating sea water. Water is also easier to transport from place to place than ever before. Water is not a problem.

Cotton is going to be scarce and jeans will be expensive, they say. So what? If the climate is warmer, go without clothes, save money.

When one looks at all the claims about global warming (sorry that’s the old catch-cry) it’s called climate change now, you have a lot of contradictions. We are told that the weather will get wetter and drier, hotter and colder, windier and calmer, but that’s just what the weather does when everything is normal. Forget about it. It has been going on for millions of years, and long before man could have an effect, accidentally or intentionally. And all the time sea levels have been rising and falling, and the sun has been rising and setting.

But don’t be alarmed about global warming. When Icarus is reincarnated, with his wax wings, he’ll push the sun further away. Man can do anything.



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

BLOGGING ALONG

Conspiracies, fallacies, crime, politics, opinions, and things you didn't know

BLOGGING ALONG
The most popular posts on Peter Blakeborough's Blog, judged by readers in over 120 countries.

Here’s my latest eBook, uploaded today to Smashwords.com, and available for preview and pre-order now. Delivery will be from the publication date on February 2, 2015, for the princely sum of only $1.99 USD. Winning price! Winning eBook!
Here’s the link to Smashwords: Blogging Along

AVIATION DOWNUNDER - How WW2 entrepreneur pilots changed New Zealand farming
Ever since the Wright Brothers made the historic first successful flight at Kitty Hawk pilots have never tired in their efforts to find new and revolutionary uses for aircraft.
To download a free another free sample,
click 
here
At first aircraft were used to set duration, distance and altitude records and that was quickly followed by revenue earning flights for sightseers and thrill seekers. Then along came the Great War of 1914-18, and aircraft became fighting machines. With the peace that followed, labor markets were flooded with returning servicemen including former pilots, many of whom would rather have stayed airborne.
The entrepreneurs among them quickly found new ways to keep flying. Using crudely designed and built machines they started hiring out their skills as joyriding and charter pilots and eventually as barnstorming, flying circus operators. As pilots gained more experience and aircraft designs improved the sky was the limit. Suddenly there were continents to cross, oceans to fly over.
Soon aircraft were being used for scheduled air services, moving urgent and perishable freight, aerial photography and mapping, science and exploration.
In New Zealand a little known event in 1906 paved the way for commercial agricultural aviation to start almost half a century later. The event involved John Chaytor and a hot air balloon. Chaytor spread seed over a swamp at Wairoa. In 1936 Harold McHardy used a de Havilland Gypsy Moth to sow seed on his farm in Hawkes Bay . . . .
Continued in Blogging Along.

WORLD TOURISM - France again the most-visited country in the world
Are you surprised that France is world number one for tourist arrivals? I was, so I checked with the United Nations World Tourism Organization website and found that France is a long way from top when it comes to tourism receipts.
In 2013 there were 1.087 billion tourist arrivals worldwide with growth up 5.0% on 2012. The top ten for arrivals were France, United States, Spain, China, Italy, Turkey, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia and Thailand . . . .
Continued in Blogging Along.

BLACK DEATH AND CLIMATE CHANGE - Global warming may be better than the Black Death plague
It is time for the global warming alarmists to step down from their soap boxes and look at the history of climate change and how it affected earlier generations of mankind. History tells us that human well-being and population growth go hand in hand with warm climatic cycles, while cold cycles wreak havoc on mankind. But it is typical of human behavior to be unhappy with the status quo, especially when control of the status quo seems beyond our reach. When it is winter we wish for warmer weather and when it is summer we wish for cooler weather . . .
Continued in Blogging Along.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES SAFETY - Is Malaysia an airline to avoid?
Two total aircraft losses, along with all on board, within four months are frightening to say the least. Airline passengers are avoiding Malaysia Airlines like the plague, but is that a reasonable and logical response?
Let’s look at some facts about Malaysia’s national carrier.
The seeds for a national airline in Malaysia were sown in 1937 when two Australian brothers, the Wearnes’, started an air service between Singapore and Penang using an eight-seat de Havilland Dragon Rapide aircraft . . . .
Contunued in Blogging Along.

NOAH'S ARK / GRAND CANYON - The Grand Canyon was created 3,500 years ago as Noah sailed by
Some religious groups must be desperate for followers and seem prepared to do, or say, anything to boost flagging flock numbers.
For thousands of years they have claimed that God instructed Noah to build a boat large enough to carry one male and female of every species on earth. That would be some boat! God promised to drown the whole world with rain for forty days and forty nights, in an exercise we would now call ethnic cleansing or genocide.

But what God didn’t understand was that rain-drops are like money; they are made round to go round. The rain comes out of the sea and is carried over the land inside clouds where it falls on the landscape, flows down the rivers and returns to the sea. The world has a fixed amount of water and that amount cannot be increased or decreased. It can circulate and move from place to place. But it would be physically impossible for rain to inundate every place on the planet at the same time . . . .
Continued in Blogging Along.

NAMELESS IN TENNESSEE - A town that shall remain nameless
Place names in America can be odd, mysterious, wacky and even humorous, but 80 miles from Nashville in the hills of eastern Tennessee is a town with no name, or at least it was without a name until they called it Nameless.
Nameless is quite shameless about being nameless. The locals in Nameless are quite proud of their nameless status. After all, sticks and stones may break your town, but names will never put a shirt on you.
The name Nameless really is unique . . . .
Also continued in Blogging Along, along with lots of other interesting blogs

Preview Blogging Along at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/510063 now, and have it delivered on publication day – February 2, 2015. Yours for only $1.99 USD. Winning price! Winning eBook!

HAPPY READING.



Friday, 9 January 2015

AN EXTREMIST MIND

Something serious must have happened to Bernard Gaynor’s head in Iraq 
  
Poor Bernard has been fired by the military, when everyone knows that they should have compensated him for allowing him to leave, in a foreign land, his ability to reason calmly. He has returned home uncontrollably angry with Islamic terrorists, all non-Christian religions, bureaucrats, homosexuals, do-gooders and wimps, and now promotes almost every extremist platform under the sun. Perhaps that’s it; the sun got to him in Iraq, or maybe since returning home he ran out of water fifty kilometres from Coober Pedy.   

One thing is certain about Gaynor. He will seize on any opportunity, and use any tragedy, to garner support for his outrageous tirades against minorities. Gaynor is a disgrace to his country and his irrational outbursts will do nothing positive for anyone. He can only create more hatred. But, then, he will say that people like this blogger are part of the problem.

Bernard Gaynor
 The following is from his blog and was emailed to me by a frequent source of matters controversial. If you struggle to read his rant through to the end, please be patient and remember that he was out in the sun without a hat. There is a most commendable reply at the end.
  
Written by Bernard Gaynor.

Australia has woken to the devastating news that two hostages died in the Lindt Cafe this week. Like all Australians, my thoughts and prayers
are with the families of those now grieving, but I am not going to join in with the mob in perpetuating the myths that are already being circulated as a result of this completely preventable tragedy.

And it was completely preventable. It was the entirely predictable outcome of the decision to allow a violent culture with a superiority complex and an itchy trigger finger to take root in Australia. So expect to see more Islamic flags and more grieving families. This war has only just started and it's not going well.

And here are five things the mainstream media is spinning wrong about the Islamic addition to Christmas festivities in Australia over the last 24 hours.

1. We couldn't see this coming

Apparently, we could never see this coming. This was an attack we thought we could never see in Sydney.
That’s what the Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, said this morning.
Hello! Mike! Is there anyone home? Australians aren't goldfish.

We can remember things for more than three seconds.
Like, for instance, the fact that 800 police descended upon Sydney just a few weeks ago to prevent some peaceful follower of the religion of peace from peacefully severing some random Aussie's head.
In Martin Place. Right where the Lindt Cafe stands.

Anyone who couldn’t see this coming has had their head in the sand and their backside pointed skywards, almost as if they have already embraced Islam.
I’m guessing, however, that most people would not have expected the news that the deranged gunman was actually on bail, for a multitude of sexual offences and in relation to his wife’s murder (she was peacefully set on fire).

Or that this bloke had a habit of sending abusive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

Who needs to worry about the Islamic threat when our own legal system holds the safety of Australians in such contempt that it would let this guy run free?

But I can think of no better advertisement for the actual truth of Islam than the fact that a murderous sexual deviant would stroll into the heart of Sydney for his last stand under the most famous words of Mohammed.

2. Don’t worry! It’s just a lone wolf Dont worry Australia.

Mr “Allahu Akbar” is a ‘lone wolf’.

This is a ‘one off’! Just like the one-off lone wolf who stabbed two police officers in Victoria in the name of Allah earlier this year.

Just like the one-off lone wolf who shot a Canadian soldier and then stormed that nation’s parliament in the name of Allah a few weeks ago.

Just like the one-off lone wolf who went on a rampage at Fort Hood in the United States killing 13 soldiers in the name of Allah a while back.

Just like the ........., by now you should be getting the picture. I could go on all day talking about the ‘lone wolves’ out there who all seem to operate in disciplined unison.

There is an army of ‘lone wolves’. That makes the ‘lone’ part redundant. And the guy responsible for the death of two Australians in Sydney yesterday wasn’t all that alone anyway. He had over 14,000 followers on Facebook.

So expect this to happen all over again. Because the one thing that these people all have in common is an ability to read the Koran, and a commitment to following its bloody message.

3. Don’t worry, it’s not the Islamic State

Keysar Trad was on Sunrise this morning waxing lyrical about how this was not the work of the Islamic State. And Kochie was nodding along with him.

I didn’t know these two men were spokesmen for the nation that is NOT a nation and that we are at war with.

But anyway, apparently this means we can all breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t really know why I should have to point this out, but if the Lindt Cafe siege had nothing to do with the Islamic State then it only proves that it is not just the Islamic State that we should be worried about.

It is proof that it’s not the design of the flag that’s the problem, but the words that are on them. And those flags all carry the same Islamic words and have the same Islamic meaning: Total global domination.

The simple fact is that the Sunni-Shia Islamic split is nothing more than an argument over who gets Mohammad’s loot.

They still haven’t worked it out 1,400 years later, but they pretty much agree on everything else of importance,

i.e. The non-Islamic world is a bunch of heathen scum who should be subjugated, raped and pillaged.

The flag in the Lindt Cafe overshadowed the ‘Merry Christmas’ for a reason, It was an arrogant message of contempt and it signified a murderous intent to enslave us all.

4. Islamic leaders have condemned this violence.

Apparently Australia’s Grand Mufti has condemned the Lindt Cafe siege and with that, the media went running on their way to talk about how Muslims fear for their lives, living in such a racist country like Australia.

But the truth is that Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed has a ‘lot of Hide’ to issue such a statement.
This is the same man that sent a statement to the Federal Senate in October claiming that new anti-terror laws inhibited his religious freedom.
You read that right. Nothing further needs to be said.
The Grand Mufti’s statement says it all; it is an open admission that Islam promotes terrorism.

The real question is this: Why has the media barely reported this at all?

5. The Islamic Community suffers from this

The last 24 hours are wreaking a terrible toll on the Islamic community, if you believe the media.

Give me a break! This is the ultimate ‘good cop/bad cop’ routine.
Some dude walks into a cafe and kills two people. In return the Islamic apologists are given huge air time.

The Premier of New South Wales convenes video conferences with the bloke who claims new anti-terror laws impinge religious freedom and inter-faith prayer services are held at mosques around the nation.

Politicians are jumping over themselves to promote Islam. And it’s all because, under the Islamic flag, two Australians were gunned down.
Like I said, give me a break!

And, of course, the social media numpties have gone nuts.  # “I’ll ride with you” has taken off. It is, of course, a completely empty gesture designed only to reinforce the arrogant feelings of moral superiority held by those who promote tolerance at the expense of our nation’s safety.

And nothing shows the vacuous nature of the moral do-gooders than the fact that they don’t do any good at all. They just ‘Twitter’ good ‘like gods from on high’. Apparently, that is even better than actually doing anything at all.

If you support the idea of Islamic rule and Sharia law, the last week has shown that murdering two Australians is pretty much all it takes to get everyone who is anyone to show deference and submission. 
It’s not exactly a great deterrent. So expect more violence to come!

BERNARD GAYNOR


And the reply:

DEAR BERNARD
An open letter in response to Bernard Gaynor's open letter in response to Mia Freedman's open letter in response to Bernard Gaynor's tweet in response to the indoctrination of our children by homosexualists.

Dear Bernard,

I am writing this open letter because, as I am sure you know, open letters are how we get things done in this country. I myself am currently running for prime minister, and I can assure you that when elected I will be pursuing a very open-letter-heavy agenda.

As I was reading your letter to Mia Freedman, I couldn't help but notice that you are extremely stupid, and so I wondered if you had any advice for me as a parent. My children are still too young for any definitive conclusions to be made, but early testing indicates they are at risk of being stupid as well, so I was wondering whether you have any tips about how to live a fulfilling life as a stupid person: what sort of obstacles and prejudices have you faced, and what kind of strategies do you put in place to overcome your stupidity? I hear that meditation is good - do you meditate? Probably not because meditation is a bit gay, but maybe if we meditate about karate movies it would be all right.

Your views on homosexual teachers are quite interesting and merit further examination. Like you, I once went to a school and was shocked by the amount of penetrative sex that goes on in the average classroom. While I understand that there will always be times when curriculum requirements necessitate sexual intercourse between teachers and students, I, like you, am worried that if homosexuality is normalised, this sexual intercourse may cease being strictly heterosexual, as is traditional in Australian schools, and begin to be homosexual, which is a bit gross, isn't it? I read a book once about homosexual intercourse and I was shocked at the things those people do to each other. As Catholics, you and I know that some things should not be put inside other things. You wouldn't stuff a turkey with a ferret, would you? No.
To download a free sample of this
eBook, click here


But likewise, as a good Catholic I am sure you will agree there is no need to actually ban penetrative sex in classroom environments: we must be careful that the cure does not become worse than the disease, causing our children to grow up having no idea what sex with teachers feels like at all. We just need to find a way to stop our kids becoming "gay". By the way, did you know your name has "gay" in it? That's pretty funny isn't it? Did kids make fun of you at school and call you Gay Bernard? Or did they mainly make fun of you for being stupid? At my school we made fun of stupid kids mostly, but if we'd had a boy with "gay" in his name things might have been different.

Why does "gay" mean "homosexual" anyway? Wouldn't it better if we went back to "gay" meaning "happy", and came up with a new word for homosexuals, like "Demoncocks"? I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe you could come over to my house and watch karate movies with me and we could talk about it. I promise not to let the evening progress beyond some light kissing.

Most of all I want to throw my support behind your desire to allow parents the right to decide who teaches their children. Personally I would like my children to be taught by boxing legend "Aussie Joe" Bugner, but as yet the Department of Education has been stypically stiff-necked and refuses to allow even an hour a week of Bugner lessons, let alone the full-time Aussie Joe curriculum that I would prefer. Bureaucracy, huh? It is very gay.

I'm not saying that you should also let your kids be taught by Aussie Joe, of course. I think that you should be allowed to select whichever former boxing great you like to teach your children. I hope you choose wisely, as I'd hate to see your children be hindered in their development any more than they already have been by the unfortunate circumstances of their birth.

I guess what I'm saying, Bernard, is keep up the good work. If you would like to get in touch with me, I have disconnected my telephone and deleted all my email accounts, as from now on I will be communicating only via open letters, but feel free to drop me an open letter any time, whether on your own site, on Mamamia, on The Punch, or on Aussie Joe Bugner's official fan club Facebook page. Explicit photos of yourself can, as always, be dropped in my home mailbox.

Yours in Christ,

Ben Pobjie (future prime minister)