Thursday, April 30, 2009

Further Experiences With Magpies In the Croydon Area.

In my Blog about “The Magpie tree” I told you of discovering a few magpies who had begun to gravitate around our back yard. Then one or two of them began to come closer and closer to the backdoor including a couple of smaller ones, of whom my wife started to feed with bread and Meat scraps and even porridge and pretty soon word must have passed around because we have at times counted up to 20 Maggies there. (& a couple of Indian Minors and even a Crow, along with a jay, and a couple of Doves – strange combination that!)
Sadly the smaller Magpies started to get bossed about by the bigger ones and one big one in particular. Also now, one cannot even go out into the backyard with out attracting a hovering crowd of flying black and white feathers. That or else having them perching on the roof and fence, looking menacingly at you, hoping you have something for them, even when you haven’t.
This too is a common occurrence in the human world too isn’t it? One starts to help out the real needy and soon the program is swamped by many others, often nowhere as needy, who begin to take over the whole program.
So what do you do? Do you give up on all completely? Do you try and restrict the bossy, greedy ones? Do you try and provide a safer alternative for the needy ones, like my wife tries to do by throwing some basic food for the greedy ones far away, while feeding the more needy ones up close with better quality food?
Yes, what do you do? Give up completely? Or try some alternatives? Your thoughts please?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Magpie Tree.

We had been living in this house for over a year when one day early this year, I went out into our back yard to take some compostable material to the compost Bin, hidden in a small triangle area behind a garden shed and in the vee of the back and corner fence. In this rather confined area a tallish privet tree/bush has grown up rather tall and shades the whole area. Because of the smallness of the Yard at this point, there is only about an 18inch entry point into this small area and so one tends to keep ones head down to make sure one doesn’t trip over the empty flower pots I also store in this “dead; area”. Anyway, as I was putting the compost material in the Bin I heard Magpies overhead singing. Having finished what I was doing, I looked up and saw one about 6 feet away sitting on the fence. Then, looking up I saw one bird sitting literally an arms length above me. I then counted 6 others in this tree. Normally Magpies hang out in tall Gum trees and not in small privet bushes; but there they were!
I think that it was not I, or even the tree, but the worms in the compost bin below it, that was the attraction. Whatever! . Henceforth it has become known as “The Magpie Tree.”
What about you? Do you have a tree or object in your yard that attracts birds or animals it would not normally be attractive to? And Why?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Earlier Experiences With Magpies In the Croydon Area.

During our brief stay at our then recently acquired flat in South Croydon in 1999, our adjoining neighbour had some tamish magpies that used to come and be fed out of his hand off his small porch. I thought that this was cool and wanted to do the same, but our oldest daughter kinda frowned on that. Which was fair enough, as, while we would be leaving shortly after to go back to South Africa, she was going to remain there and thus did not want, not only the job of feeding them, but the problem of them hanging around and messing up her washing when it was hung outside and they perched on her small outside clothes line.
I still think it would have been great to have befriended some Magpies there and then, but do realise that it would not have been fair on our first born, nor the magpies, to start something she did not either want, nor intend to finish or even carry on, especially when we did leave it was in the winter time when extra food would have been extremely scarce, making it hard on the magpies too.
What about you? How much thought do you give to the future or long-term results of things that you can start now, but often will not be able to finish? Do you start on the anyway, without any thought to the consequences that will follow? Just something to think on for now. b

Monday, April 27, 2009

Earlier Experiences With Magpies.

I grew up on a small farm on the outskirts of Melbourne and so grew up with magpies always being around. And especially watching out for the males in Breeding Season, “swooping” on you. Mostly this was a bluff and they usually miss, although when they do hit they leave a bloody reminder of their ever-present danger. So much so, that many people wear helmets if they have to go regularly near a magpie nesting area. That or a big stick and continually turning to check your back. I can’t actually remember any of us Kids being actually attacked, but all of us had been swooped more than once then.
Despite being aggressive during mating/nesting the birds do have a beautiful song and can become quiet if fed, so they were never seen as a real problem or a problem to chase away.
In fact many times a baby magpie would be found having fallen out of its nest and abandoned by its parents, and Mum would take it in and feed it on porridge. Thus they became quite tame and followed us kids everywhere. That actually became the problem, as they were quite tame and following everywhere, they had a habit of getting stepped on or a cat or dog would get them. I can’t remember how many actually survived to adulthood, but mum always named each bird. However for some reason that escapes me now, they were all called George.
All this just explains my sense of comfort with magpies, and that no matter how hostile some may be a mutual living arrangement between us can be accommodated.
So, who around you that you are more naturally enemies than friends, whether human or animal, can you get along with, with a bit of cooperation and accommodation from you? And will you try? More to come later on magpies...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Australian Magpie.

The Australian Magpie is a largish, black and white bird, but the plumage pattern varies across its range. Its nape, upper tail and shoulder are white in males, grey in females. I’m not an expert on “Maggies”, but according to an article from the Web, across most of Australia, the remainder of the Maggies body is black, but in the south-east, centre, extreme south-west and Tasmania, the back and rump are entirely white. The eye of adult birds is chestnut brown.
Although I have only heard them referred to, as Magpies or “Maggies” apparently there is an uncommon alternative name for them as the “Flute Bird”, which refers to its loud musical flute-like song, often performed as a duet or by groups.
Another article described this song as “a beautiful "Warbling Carol" (carolling) which is heard across Australia every day in the bush, on farms and in Urban backyards They call for partners, and also to warn other birds this is their territory The notes become shorter when distressed, and a young magpies "begging for food" call is most insistent.”
They are common and conspicuous birds, found wherever there is a combination of trees and adjacent open areas, including parks and playing fields. They are absent only from the densest forests and arid deserts. Groups of up to 24 birds live year round in territories that are actively defended by all members of the group. The group depends on this territory for all their feeding, roosting and nesting requirements.
The Magpie walks along the ground searching for insects and their larvae. Birds will also take handouts from humans and will often venture into open houses to beg for food.
Although the “Music “ from these birds is beautiful and they can become tamish, they are also quite aggressive at breeding season, and especially males who fiercely defend their nest and territories by basically dive bombing any perceived threat whether in the air on the ground including humans, sometimes resulting in a jab to the back of the head, or at the very least a huge fright. They prefer to wait until the quarry is not looking, so often the first you know of it is when wings are beating beside your ears.
Now you can get fuller and more complete information on our magpies by checking out the Web for yourself. All the above is for, is to try and set the scene a little for you if you have no idea of what a Maggie is, so that I can tell a few stories of our own backyard and magpies, in subsequent blogs.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Whose Fault Is It Really?

Another inspired by a “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has the two boys playing outside watching water gushing out of a drainpipe. One says, “Lotta water Mike. You really going to stick your hand under there?” To which Mike does. And the first boy says, “Neat! Try the other Hand.” When Mike does, the first boy says, “Why don’tcha take a drink?” And of course Mike does. And then the first boy says, “ Put your Head under. Ha. Go right under.” And of course Mike does.
And at this point Mike realises, “ I’m soaked. Mum’s Gunna kill me!” And then Mike says: “AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”
Ever been in a similar situation where you have allowed another to egg you on to do something foolish, while they have remained safe, but leaving you to bear the consequences? In a sense it is all partially their fault. But the full responsibility still remains with you for your own actions. So what past foolishness to you have to stop blaming others for, face up to your own responsibilities?
Sure, they may have egged you on, but it was still your choice to proceed or not to proceed.
Maybe even now someone is egging you on to something that they themselves won’t do, but want you to. Well, stop blaming others and start taking responsibility for your own actions. And stop letting others dictate to you if you don’t really want to do what others want you to do. Start taking responsibility for your own actions and let others take their own actions.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What The Heck Is A Heck.

Was reading in the Melbourne Herald Sun Newspaper an article on April 23RD about Heck cattle being introduced to England from Germany and so I started to wonder what the heck a Heck was.
Looking at some on line Dictionaries, I found that a heck was a lot of different things. According to the “Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper” it is a euphemistic alteration of hell, first recorded 1865.
As such it is used as an interjection like:
1. (Used as a mild expression of annoyance, rejection, disgust, etc.): What the heck do you care?
2. Something remarkable of its kind (usually used in the phrase heck of a): That was a heck of an impressive speech. Have one heck of a good time.
3. As heck (used as a mild intensifier): I say he's guilty as heck.

Then according to “Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.” It can be: Heck\, n. [See Hatch a half door.] [Written also hack.]
1. The bolt or latch of a door. [Prov. Eng.]
2. A rack for cattle to feed at. [Prov. Eng.]
3. A door, especially one partly of latticework; -- called also heck door. [Prov. Eng.] --Halliwell.
4. A latticework contrivance for catching fish.
5. (Weaving) An apparatus for separating the threads of warps into sets, as they are wound upon the reel from the bobbins, in a warping machine.
6. A bend or winding of a stream. [Prov. Eng.]
Half heck, the lower half of a door.
Heck board, the loose board at the bottom or back of a cart.
Heck box or frame, that which carries the heck in warping.
1. Then according to the “Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.” It Is: A comblike attachment on a loom, for guiding the warp threads as they are dressed for the warp beam.
2. A device that guides yarn onto the bobbin of a spinning wheel.
3. A gridlike arrangement of glass or metal rods below the hooks on a Jacquard loom, used for lifting all harness eyes equally or evenly.

So after reading all that, I learnt a heck of a lot more about heck than I previously knew; but still didn’t know what the heck a Heck cow was. For that I had to leave the On-line Dictionaries and go back on Line where I found the following about Heck cattle. And found that their name had nothing to do with the other heck, except in their spelling.
Heck cattle were developed in the early 20th century by the Heck brothers in Germany in an attempt to breed back modern cattle to their presumed ancestral form, the aurochs, Bos primigenius primigenius. Heinz Heck working at the Hellabrunn Zoological Gardens in Munich began creating the Heck breed in about 1920. Lutz Heck, director of the Berlin Zoological Gardens, began extensive breeding programs supported by the Nazis during World War II to bring back the aurochs. The reconstructed aurochs fit into the Nazi propaganda drive to create an idyllic history of the Aryan nation.
Heinz Heck crossed Hungarian Grey Cattle, Scottish Highland, Murnau-Werdenfels, Angeln, German Friesian, Podolic cattle and Corsican breeds. In Berlin, Lutz Heck crossed Spanish and French fighting cattle with other breeds. The resulting animals’ configurations were largely similar. The Berlin breed was lost in the aftermath of World War II. So modern Heck cattle are descended from the Hellabrunn breed. At the end of the 20th century, other so-called primitive breeds were crossbred with Heck cattle to come closer to the aim of creating a cattle breed that resembles the extinct aurochs in external appearance.
Characteristics: A typical Heck bull should be at least 1.6 m (5'3") high and a cow 1.4 m (4'7"), with weight 600 to 900 kg (1,300 to 2,000 lb). Heck cattle are twenty to thirty centimeters shorter than the aurochs they were bred to resemble. However, cross-breeding efforts continue to increase the size and weight of the breed, particularly in Germany.
The Heck bulls were not much larger than the bull of most breeds of domestic cattle, while wild aurochs bulls are believed to have often exceeded 1000 kilograms (2,200 lb), half the size of a rhinoceros. So the African Watusi cattle were then brought into the herd. The result was a somewhat larger animal, but it also caused infertility among the cows, a sign of the genetic divergence that had occurred between these populations of Bos over the millennia. Heck cattle were first bred outside of a zoo in 1980. There were 88 registered at that time. Continued crossbreeding with these animals resolved the infertility in the cows.
Distribution: There are about 2000 Heck cattle in Europe and few elsewhere. Although there are now 13 In the Devon countryside of England too!
Controversy: Even though trying to bring back extinct species may seem commendable, "breeding back" is a controversial procedure in the scientific community (see also Quagga). The general consensus among biologists today is that the Hecks' original methodology used to "recreate" the aurochs was flawed: once a genetic lineage is gone, it cannot be "bred back". Some go as far as to consider it outright deceitful. For example, Professor Z. Pucek of the Bialowieza Nature Preserve has characterized the Heck cattle as the "biggest scientific swindle of the 20th Century. Professor Pucek has devoted his life to the conservation of the surviving native Wisent (European Bison) which is seen by some as competition to Heck cattle development.
On the other hand, Heck cattle are considered by some the most suitable cattle breed for low intensity grazing systems in certain types of nature reserves, due to their ruggedness and lack of need for human care. Heck cattle today are propagated in some places to fulfil the role of extinct megafauna in the ecosystem. However, there is uncertainty as to what ecological niche the aurochs itself filled. Dr Frans Vera claims that the aurochs lived in open parkland and supports their inclusion in nature reserve management. Cis van Vuure, however, in his book, Retracing the Aurochs: History, Morphology and Ecology of an Extinct Wild Ox suggests that the aurochs dwelled in dense forests and marshes while the Wisent dwelled in the open landscape. Wisent supporters claim that Heck cattle landscape management is a public relations ploy in order to illegitimately garner support for Heck cattle at the expense of a genuine native species, the Wisent.
Nevertheless, in view of today's farm breeding programs (primarily to increase milk and meat production), the Heck cattle represent an important source of vital genes. Since a single breeding bull with good genes can be a sperm donor for a hundred thousand offspring, inbreeding becomes a serious problem in modern farm animal management, potentially resulting in diseases that rarely affect Heck cattle and other old farm breeds.
Now you may be wondering what the heck all this has to do with you today? Well all I can say is, that a heck of a lot of people went to a heck of a lot of trouble, and expense, not to mention spending a heck of a lot of time, to bring these Hecks into existence. Whether it was worth it may be never known, but I can’t help but wonder what our own heck cows are?
In other words, is there something that we too are spending a heck of a lot of time, effort and expense on, which is also controversial in whether the end results are really worth the time, trouble and expense? Or would we and the world, be better off if we spent all that time, expense and effort on more purposeful projects?
Oh, what the Heck! Your thoughts please?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Strange Incidents – Accidents: 1.

In my recent, “Flying Ducks, Posties And Me! Blog, I asked, “What is the strangest accident or incident that you have experienced?” To which I received the following reply:
“Hi Walter: In 1966 I was working during the summer at Tidal River for the National Park Rangers. One job was picking up and dumping the garbage. Once when coming back from dropping a load I was sitting on the trailer being towed by a tractor when a seagull flew over head, dropped his load which landed splot on the skin on the top of my sternum having missed both my head AND the vee of my shirt !! Clean as a whistle. ***”
Now that reminded me of when I was odd jobbing at an Orchard at Warrandyte just before going overseas in 1990. On this particular occasion I was about to do some painting from a 4-litre paint tin, and before I started, I held it in front of my chest and shook it vigorously, to mix the paint. So vigorously in fact that the Lid came off and paint spurted out. However when I looked, I couldn't see any paint anywhere. Not on the floor, nor on my clothes. Then I felt it!
It too had gone cleanly down my chest inside my clothes without touching them or my face neck. Both I and the person witnessing this, thought it both amazing and hilarious. Fortunately for me, there was a shower there and I had a change of clothes in the car.
Now that you have heard these two stories, what is your most unusual accident or incident?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flying Ducks, Posties And Me!

In the Melbourne Herald Sun on April 16 was an article about the sort of problems and injuries suffered by posties in the carrying out of their duties. Along with the getting ran over by cars backing out of driveways (178), dogs (50), wasp and bees (16) overhanging trees (10 and even Spiders (2), was one unusual incident where a Postie got cleaned up by a flying duck coming into land at a pond near us in Mooroolbark.
Now I have not been on a Motorbike when hit by a duck, but I was driving the then Boss’s van back from the warehouse over in Burwood on the Burwood Highway, when a duck hit it very forcibly. All I can say is that fortunately the driver’s window was up; otherwise I would have been hit, smack full in the face. And at even 80 Kms an hour, on a busy highway that would not have been good, I can tell you. So, unusual it may be to be hit by a flying duck, it does happen, and not just to posties either! I know!
So just because a collision with a flying duck is not as frequent as an attack by dogs doesn’t make it any less serious or dangerous does it? So do be careful out there?
What is the strangest accident or incident that you have experienced?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Horsing Around; Short And To The Point.

As mentioned in my “Horsing Around, Or Thinking Outside The Box?” blog, The Melbourne Herald Sun on April 11 had a medium size photo of a young Muslim woman with a small pony and the following words: “ Blind Michigan women Mona Ramouni can’t have a guide dog because her Islamic parents consider dogs unclean. So miniature horse Cali is being trained to help Mona.”
That was it. No more no less. Obviously there was much more to the story than that, but that was all that the paper needed to get the story across. Personally I would have liked more information than that, but never the less, even I concede that that has enough to get the story across.
Now that is an area I perhaps can learn from, as some people think my blogs are too wordy and take to long to get to the point. How about you? Do you have the same problem too? Never use one word when a hundred will do? So in closing, how long does it take you to get to your point? Before or after everyone has been bored to sleep?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Horsing Around, Or Thinking Outside The Box?

In the Melbourne Herald Sun on April 11 was a picture of a young Muslim woman with a small pony and the following words: “ Blind Michigan women Mona Ramouni can’t have a guide dog because her Islamic parents consider dogs unclean. So miniature horse Cali is being trained to help Mona.” I find it interesting that rather than either try and force her and her parents to accept a dog against their heartfelt beliefs, nor to just exclude and forget about her altogether, the authorities have looked outside the box to come up with a suitable alternative.
Are we always so willing to look outside the normal box or boxes, or do we cling doggedly (unintended pun) to ‘the one size fits all’ solution?
Now I have no idea how feasible/practical a miniature horse will be for her or for others, but at least the people responsible there, are prepared to look outside the normal box and try other possible ideas and sources. Again are we willing to step outside our own comfortable little boxes today?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sand In Everything.

Another item inspired by For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnston. This one has 7 frames of a little boy playing in a sand pit and getting sand absolutely everywhere, with the final frame of His mother washing him saying, “How can so little sand get into so many places?”
Ever noticed how laziness and bad habits are like sand in a sand box? They look like harmless fun and are quite enjoyable at the time, but like the sand, they often find there way into places you just don’t want them to be and just like the sand in your hair and clothes, takes a lot of time and effort to get rid of them later so that they don’t interfere with the rest of our living, don’t they?
A little fun and a little sand is not necessarily a bad thing, but we do all have to be careful that we don’t overdo it don’t we, and ruin many other good things that just don’t work with “sand” in them?
Sand in the right time and place is fine, but please don’t overdo the sand usage and get it everywhere and particularly in places where it will cause extreme damage. Over to you now while I go and get my bucket and spade!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Susan Boyle’s Got Talent.

Someone sent me a You Tube site about one Susan Boyle who was a contestant on ”Britains Got Talent” Show.
Checking it out, I found that at first glance there was not much appeal about her. She looks a lot older than her 47 years, a little overweight and frumpy, with shocking dress sense and a strongly accented speaking voice.
A first look that did not go over well initially with the Judges or the audience. And in fact as one of the Judges said later, when she said at the beginning she wanted to be like her idol Elaine Page, everyone was laughing at her.
And they were laughing at Her. Laughing right up till she started singing. Then the laughter stopped and pretty soon, long before she finished her song, the laughter became a standing ovation.
Now whilst I do think that there was probably a bit (a lot) more, she could have done in previous personal presentation, ultimately, she let her talent do the talking for her. Rather than be deterred or put off by the ridicule of everyone, she followed her dream and showcased her talents when this opportunity occurred.
What about you today? Do you have a hidden talent that others don’t know about? A talent just waiting to be revealed to an appreciative audience? If so, do take and make the most of whatever opportunities that come your way and present your case, no matter how much laughter or ridicule you have to put up with. A lot of people with minimal talent spend a lot of time on their presentation and do all right out of it. While others, with greater talent do nothing with their talent, and everybody misses out on enjoying it. So what talent do you have today that is hidden away, when it can be revealed and appreciated by others?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tree Growing In A Strange Place.

I was once told that the official description of a weed was, “Any plant growing in a place where it is not wanted. Well this incident reported in The Melbourne Herald Sun on April 16, definitely classifies as a WEED with capital letters.
Doctors in Russia removed a 5 cm fir tree growing in a man’s lung when they were operating on him for suspected lung cancer. It would appear that he must have inhaled a seed, which germinated and started to grow inside his lung and started causing him complications similar to Lung cancer.
Very strange indeed, I think! What is the strangest object that you have found where it was not ever expected to be?
P.S. According to the TV News, this is now being suspected of being a Hoax as a tree should not be able to grow without sunlight. I guess that this is further proof that you should not always believe what you read in the paper or in a Blog, Hey?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Would It Take To Make You Happy?

If you have been following my blogs for a while you will know by now that I took up swimming about 15 months ago, at the initial suggestion from my then physiotherapist. That and the invitation of a previous employer of mine to join him in swimming once a week. You will also know that while I have finally been able to get some distance in and swim around 1 km each time, basically I suck as a swimmer, and am as slow as a wet weekend.
Last year our son decided to go scuba diving in the Whitsunday passage for a week with some of his friends and so went for His “Basic Diving licence” before hand. Despite not having swum since he left school and not even much then, he was soon doing the required 200 odd meters required before I was even doing 100.
Then a couple of months back our last born started swimming once a week with her friends and thought she would get some extra practice in with Dad. Well her mother decided she would come too, so the three of us went swimming. By the second week my wife was doing 600 metres and our last-born was doing even more, and much more than me, and much faster too!
A fact that I lamented to our first born, who replied, “ Well dad, what do you want me to do? Come swimming with you too, and drown in the first 50 metres, just to prove that you are not the worst swimmer in the Family?” (Now somehow, I rather suspect that rather than drown in the first 50 metres, it too would not be long before she would be swimming as far as the rest of us, if not better than me.)
However her comment made me wonder if sometimes we do focus too much on what we can’t do, or on what others can do better than us. Rather than on focusing on what we can actually do, no matter how poorly compared to others. After all, many have drowned simply because they could not swim, even as poorly as me.
So the lesson for today is, to be happy with what you have and with what you can do, and not to worry about what you don’t have and can’t do! So, get out there and enjoy your own achievements, no matter how limited they may seem to others and ENJOY the rest of your life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Further Correction and Fuller Explanation OF Jewish Calendar In Regard to Passover/Easter.

Further Correction and Fuller Explanation OF Jewish Calendar In Regard to Passover/Easter. 13/4/2009
In response to my Blog about “ Easter” I received a response from a fellow Blogger pointing out a mistake in the material I had originally taken from another blogger. So in response to that, I wrote another blog correcting this mistake using his new material. To which I received the following response from the blogger who corrected my Easter Blog.
It reads: “Mockingbird has left a new comment on your post "Correction To Use Of Jewish Calendar In “Easter” B...": I've put up a blog post about this matter over at my blog. My comment on your blog turns out to need some qualifications of its own.”
Now I am not going to paste his blog here. If you wish to check it out for yourself, I will attempt to attach the appropriate Link for you.
It is a good comment. Rather long but very detailed. And that is the problem when it comes to my blogs. They are not meant to be long or detailed, but rather short and interesting little stories, with just enough information to get whatever point I am trying to make across. I feel that if you really want or need more information on any particular subject I blog on, you will go past Bloggers and go to an online Encyclopaedia or Dictionary etc. In other words, if you want thorough information, go to the original or correct sources and not some online blogger like me.
Trust this helps?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Significance?

Just received the following e-mail from a friend: “Hi Walter: I was just looking on an old web site where they ask you questions and the question was: 'Does Easter have any Religious significance fro you?' The result was that just over 50% said 'yes'. It just goes to show how this country has slid into self-indulgence. I would hazard a guess that if you had asked the same question twenty years ago the answer would have been more like 80%. I'm not sure how we do it except by praying, but it all reinforces the view that the end is near and we had better be ready for it. For a change; what say you? ****”
I say, poor old Easter is copping it hard at the moment it seems: from both inside and outside of the Christian Community.
For many non-Christians, it has just become another occasion for a holiday, with no religious significance at all except an excuse to have an extra long weekend.
For many, who still nominally observe Easter, it has lost it’s Jewish origins and become little more than a Christianised version of a former pagan Spring festival, where the emphasis has fallen on the accruements of the event and not on the Christ events supposedly commemorated at this time.
That is, the emphasis has fallen on the Easter Bunny, Eggs and Hot Cross buns, instead of on the Death and resurrection of God’s holy Messiah. Instead of the Cross on the Buns reminding people of Christ’s death, the buns themselves have become an object simply to enjoy. Instead of the Egg symbolising the empty tomb of Christ, it too has become an object of desire itself and morphing from an ordinary decorated egg to one of either Sugar or Chocolate! In like manner, the Easter Bunny, (like the chicken,) instead of symbolising new birth and a new life, again have become an item just to eat at this time of the year.
It is for the above reasons that some Christians would like to see Easter stripped of all its external symbolism and made not a secular Holiday but rather only a Holiday for those who genuinely remember the Easter/Passover Christ events.
To further emphasize the decline in religious significance, The Melbourne Herald Sun on the Easter Monday, in their “Vote Line” section, had the following response to their question, “Has the true meaning of Easter been overtaken by commercialism?” The response was a massive 90.3% to the affirmative.
However more telling to me was in the number who bothered to vote. While some questions do get below 100 responses, most are around the 400 to 550 mark, with some going up to 4000 votes, if it is seen as very relevant. Well the Easter question only received 228 votes, which shows yet again that Easter is fast becoming irrelevant to the greater majority.
I will leave it with you to decide whether that is a good thing or Not.
To many it would be far better to scrap it as a general event and only reserve it as a specific and meaningful Christian remembrance, rather than just a general long weekend with Chocolate eggs and hot cross buns!
Myself, although I too do not like how it has been overly commercialised and the accessories becoming the main items of celebration, I still think it great that we have this opportunity each year, as true believers to point others past the buns, bunnies and Eggs, to the true meaning off Easter. If we as Christians do not want the true meaning of Easter to be lost then, we Christians and not the world, we have to use this annual occasion to tell and tell strongly the true and original and only meaning of Easter.
Well you have heard my friend and my thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Received the following reply to my Blog “What’s the Motive?” “Hi Walter: It’s an interesting question isn’t it? I suppose most people would immediately think ‘What has he done wrong?’ This is most likely due to the fact that we become cynical from the workplace. I always remember I was doing a big quote for a Defence Dept. contract and one of the fellows asked me if I would like him to help me by photocopying the various pages and my first thought was, ‘What favour does he want?’
The poor guy in that article you quoted was probably only trying to be helpful but then so often if we do that, we are told that we didn’t do it right,(which is probably right because we don’t think the same way). When that occurs we tend to think, ‘well I’ll leave it for her next time.’ CYNICAL? You bet it is and there lies the problem. That’s my say, ****”
The above reply inspires two different thoughts doesn’t it?
1. Are we in fact too cynical? And, 2. Do we only want free help if they will do it our way and not their own way?
I am not going to comment on either just now, but will leave this with you for a while for your responses. Are you in fact too cynical, or simply cautious after having been burnt before? And, are we right to both reject offered help that doesn’t reach our standards, but still complain that no one will help us, when we rejected their previous offers?
Your thoughts please? Walter

Sunday, April 12, 2009


"Issumagijoujungnainermik" is another word for “forgiveness.” It is in fact an Eskimo word.
Yes, Moravian Missionaries to the unreached peoples on the edge of the icy northern polar region searched for a word for forgiveness in the local Eskimo language. That's when they discovered issumagijoujungnainermik, a genuine 24-letter tongue-twister which literally means 'not being able to think about it any more.'
That is what ‘Genuine forgiveness’ is all about! It is much more than just saying 'I forgive you', it's about moving on, refusing to think any more about what happened and in time forgetting about it completely.
It's easy to forgive someone who accidentally stepped on your foot, but what about those who meant to hurt you? . Genuine forgiveness is about moving on and refusing to think any more about what happened.
Have you ever witnessed a friend who continually has an issue with someone and just thought 'they really need to get over it'? Holding onto old hurts just makes you bitter. Paul says, 'Forgive...because the Lord forgave you.' Get over it before it turns into hatred!
So today if there is someone you do need to forgive, please do so but do do it within the full meaning of Issumagijoujungnainermik and give them full forgiveness, forgetting about it fully, and moving on never to revisit that spot again.
Remember, "Issumagijoujungnainermik", may sound foolish to you, but true forgiveness doesn't mean foolishness, not in any language.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Correction To Use Of Jewish Calendar In “Easter” Blog.

I am fast learning that all that one finds on the net is not always 100% Correct. I am also learning that fortunately, there is also always someone out there, even if unknown to me, willing to correct my mistakes. So here is a correction to my recent Blog on “Easter” from another Blogger called, “Mocking bird.”
Mockingbird wrote: “You wrote in your post: "Because first century Jews used a lunar calendar, every month was twenty-eight days long, beginning with the new moon and having the full moon on the 14th of the month."
Not quite. A month of the moon's phases is twenty-nine and a half days long, so a lunar calendar--such as the Hebrew Calendar--that tracks the moon's phases will have 30-day and 29-day months, not 28-day months. If the first day is defined by the visibility of the new waxing crescent, as the ancient Babylonian (and probably the 1st century Jewish) calendar defined it, then the full moon will, as you say, occur around the 14th day. The Gregorian lunar calendar, used to determine Easter, attempts to approximate this scheme at the present day, though it is based on averages, not on the actual visibility of the new crescent.
In a calendar that begins its lunar months on the day of the lunar conjunction, however, as the present-day Chinese lunar calendar does, and, with some qualifications, the present-day Hebrew calendar does, the full moon will tend to be closer to the 15th of the month. So, for example, today, Thursday, April 9th, 2009, was the 13th day of the moon by the Gregorian lunar calendar, but the 15th day of Nisan (the 1st day of Unleavened Bread, popularly called "Passover") by the modern Hebrew calendar. This situation often occurs, when the Gregorian lunar calendar is a day or two behind the Hebrew calendar. So just because a calendar is a calendar of lunations doesn't mean that the full moon is associated with the 14th day. But it does mean that most of its months will need to have more than twenty-eight days.”
The above would also help explain why Passover and Easter do not always appear on the same dates too. Well hope this correction helps further enlighten you. And thanks Mockingbird for the correct information.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Well today is Good Friday, the start of the Easter events of the Crucifixion and resection of Jesus Christ. Now some may well ask: ”Isn’t Easter a pagan rather than a Christian holiday, as shown by its very name by the fact that its date is determined by the full moon after the Spring equinox?”
A good question that Jim Akin, has answered already, with: “- Anyone making this charge shows a total lack of comprehension of global Christianity. In fact, only a person speaking English or German could even possibly make this charge. First, let’s deal with the date. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following March 21 (historically, the Spring equinox). The reason, however, has nothing to do with paganism. It has everything to do with Judaism and with Christ’s Resurrection.
Christ was resurrected on Sunday — the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1) — thus since the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 all Christians have celebrated his Resurrection on Sunday.
Prior to that, most celebrated it on Sunday, but some, known as Quartodecimians (”Fourteenth-ers”) celebrated it on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, when Passover occurred.
At First Nicaea, all Christians agreed to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on first Sunday after 14 Nisan because that was the day Christ was Resurrected in the first century — the Sunday after Passover.
Because first century Jews used a lunar calendar, every month was twenty-eight days long, beginning with the new moon and having the full moon on the 14th of the month. Nisan, being the month in which the Spring equinox occurred, always had Passover — the 14th of Nisan — falling on the first full moon on or after the Spring equinox.
Thus since Passover was always on or after the first full moon after the Spring equinox, and since the Resurrection was the first Sunday after Passover, Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21 (historically, the Spring equinox). There is nothing about a pagan lunar celebration in here. It has nothing to do with paganism, but everything to do with the Resurrection of Christ in its Jewish-Passover context.
Now let us deal with the name of Easter. The fact is that there are only two languages in which the name has any pagan associations whatsoever – English and German. This, of course, is a problem for King James Only-ites, since the term “Easter” appears in the King James Version in Acts 12:4 as a translation for the Jewish holiday of Passover. In English, of course, the name is “Easter” and in German “Ostern.” These are related in name to a pagan spring festival, whose name, if you check a dictionary, was derived from the prehistoric West Germanic word akin to the Old English term east, which means, simply enough, “east,” the direction of the rising sun.
It has nothing to do, contrary to what you will hear from some anti-Easter-ites, with the goddess Ishtar. But in virtually every language except English and German, the name of Easter is derived from the Jewish word Pesach or “Passover.”
Thus in Greek, the term for Easter is Pascha, in Latin the term is also Pascha. From there it passed into the Romance languages, and so in Spanish it is Pascua, in Italian it is Pasqua, in French it is Paques, and in Portugese it is Pascoa. It also passed into the non-Romance languages, such as the Germanic languages Dutch, where it is Pasen and Danish, where it is Paaske.
Thus only in the highly Protestant countries of Germany (where the Reformation started) and England (where the intense persecution and martyrdom of Catholics was the harshest), does the term “Easter” have any pagan associations at all. So perhaps in these two Protestant countries paganism was not sufficiently stamped out to use the Judeo-Christian term for the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection that was used everywhere else in Europe.”
Well I hope the above, taken off the Net, enlightens you a little about Easter and again puts the emphasis back on Christ himself and not just on the festival around the Christ event.
Have a blessed Easter: Walter

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What’s The Motive?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, we find the Husband down on his knees scrubbing the floor when his wife walks in. She says, “Good grief! …. Can I believe what I’m seeing?” Her husband looks up sees her and replies, “ The floor was dirty … So I’m washing it”. To which his wife replies “ we’re always been honest with each other haven’t we John?” And then continues, “ Are you doing me a favor or trying to make me feel guilty?”
Now there are so-oooo many ways this blog could go, especially about always having people question your motives whenever you do or try something different. But today I wish to explore how you react when in the Wife’s shoes?
Do you immediately question everything? Do you say nothing, not even a thank you, but wait to see what happens next? Or do you, without making yourself to vulnerable if it is a con job, give praise where praise is due and move on and let the Chips fall where they will? Or, as a variant of the last one, thank them if it is genuinely a good job and correct them gently but firmly where it isn’t?
Again, how do you react when someone does something pleasant/nice when unexpected?
Do you get suspicious, or accept it gratefully if correct and correct it if it isn’t, and then simply move on? What say you now?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quitting While I Am Behind.

It has often been said that one should quit when one is ahead, rather than keep pushing and risk losing everything. Pretty good advice too, I believe! But on some occasions, like this one with me, I am going to quit while I am still behind. Because it seems the more I try to resolve this little problem, I get further and further behind.
This is now my 3rd blog attempt to correct a stupid spelling mistake in an earlier blog, between angel and angle. Below are two responses to my obliviously failed, last attempt to resolve my error.
The first from my first born: “Ok ok so I didn't correct you last time, but did you deliberately spell angles wrong this time "I recently made a glaring mistake in distinguishing between angels and angels," or was it a mistake.”
The second is from my friend who had pointed out my original mistake in using the two words when I should have only used “angel: “Dear me, It would make more sense if you had actually put 'angels' and 'angles' as on the original blog.
Then there is 'curtesy' rather than 'courtesy' - it almost sounds like the bob ladies do before the Queen!!?? Peace, my friend.***”
My response: Peace? Peace?????? It is driving me crazy. The more I try to fix the problem, the worse I seem to make it. So here is what I hope is my last comments on the Subject.
This is what I wrote to my Big Girl, “I will swear on your life that when I originally wrote this two days ago, they were two separate words, but somewhere along the way, the spell check must have automatically changed it without me noticing, but originally they were definitely spelt differently by me. Believe me I did double check at the time. Not just today unfortunately.
Thanks for pointing that out. Now I will see who else does too! Love dad.”
And as shown above, the only other response came from my friend who also pointed out another spelling mistake. So now I am quitting even while behind because it is not worth trying to catch up anymore, so take care there. More care than I have here too, please!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Human Nature.

On my Collins Desk Top Calendar for April 1st, (April Fool’s Day), I found the following relevant quote by one Anatole France. “ It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.”
It was very pertinent to the day when people deliberately and with more leniency and freedom, act in an absurd manner. But what about on other days too? Do we, when we do think wisely, also act wisely? Or is Anatole, more right than wrong about you with his rather astute observation?
Put another way, do you (and I) always act as wisely as we think? I once heard a riddle that has stuck with me ever since, even if I don’t remember it word perfect. The Riddle was/is: “ What is the easiest thing to Give, but the hardest to receive?” And the answer is????
Good advice! It seems we always find it easy to think wisely about other people’s problems, and give them sound advice, but when it comes to our own situations, we no longer act wisely, even if we think wisely initially, but often act in an absurd fashion, to again use Anatole’s words.
So today and every day from now on, let us all try to not only think wisely, but to act wisely too. And prove old Anatole wrong. What say you?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Do You Bother To Correct The Mistakes Of Your Friends?

There have been a couple of e-mails floating around recently saying that it does not matter how you spell a word, as long as you have all the letters in there, and the first and last letters in their right places. My son says that isn’t true of all words though! However, it seems most of us can either read slight spelling mistakes without problems, or maybe simply don’t see them in the first Place.
As told in my recent Blog, “Do You Really See Things?” I recently made a glaring mistake in distinguishing between angels and angels, in an even earlier blog item sent out to many People. However only one person either noticed or bothered to extend me the curtesy and opportunity to correct my mistake.
What about you? How quick are you to notice spelling mistakes? And if you spot them from friends and associates, do you notify/correct them, so that they in turn can both correct them and not repeat them again? Or do you leave them in their ignorance. Thankfully my friend took the trouble to correct me, (for which I am very grateful) but what about you? Do you make the effort? Or were you like me and never even picked up the mistake, and maybe even passed it on to others, mistake and all? What say you?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do You Really See Things?

In a recent blog of mine, “Do You Really See Things As They Really Are?” I repeated an e-mail about angels and then went on to add my own comments to said angels. Sadly I went a little astray and off on another angle, so to speak. Yes, sad to say, as much as I was aware of the problem in the past to distinguish between angel and angle, I made the same mistake again. Even when I had the right word before me! So even though I thought I checked it, this mistake still slipped in and I would have been none the wiser had not a good friend wrote the following to me, after reading it:
“Your story starts off saying 'ANGEL' but later, if you look, it becomes 'ANGLE'. So do YOU really see things as they really are? ***”
So, it seems I too do not always see things as they really are either. Nor, in this case even see the difference of spelling in the same article, even though I did specifically look for it.
Again in closing, “do you really see things?” Or do you, like me, sometimes just see without really seeing?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Doesn’t Bother You?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, the Husband has been batching and looking after the two small children while His wife was away. Now she is back and the Husbands female assistant at work asks, “Well Doc … I see you survived being a house husband. So …. Aren’t you going to rave on about the dishes, the laundry, the floors & the Mess” To which her boss replies, “That stuff never bothered me, Jean.. I left it all for Elly.”
Is that why little bothers you? Because you always leave it for someone else to do? Even if it has to stack or pile up for a week or two?
Many people are experts at handling the small stuff, simply because they never do. They simply leave it for someone else to clean up. Is that you? Or do you clean up as you go and leave no mess behind?
Just something to think on for today.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Family Time, or FAMILY TIME?

Yet another inspired by a “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston. This one has the family sitting on the couch checking out the TV guide and watching a “Bang-bang shoot-em up” movie. Then when it is over a science special comes on and the parents decide to send their little ones to bed. After which the Husband yawns and turns to his wife who is stuffing her face with Chips and looking in the TV guides. He says to her, “‘Yawn’ I really enjoyed spending time with the family tonight!” Then adding: “I thought we had forgotten to communicate!”
Is that what you too call communicating. Being there, and talking but not really connecting? And even then only talking about the trivial stuff and ignoring the more important stuff? Many people talk to each other but very few really talk “with” each other. What about you to today? Are you really communicating with those around you? Or are you still talking to people and not with them?
Perhaps you too need to rediscover the art of Communication? If so, don’t ask me for advice! For as our youngest is fond of saying, ‘You never listen to what I say!”

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do You Really See Things As They Really Are?

I received the following lovely moral tale in an e-mail; so have no idea who wrote it.
“Two travelling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, 'Things aren't always what they seem.'
The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole
income, lay dead in the field.
The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him, she accused. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.’ Things aren't always what they seem, the older angel replied. When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it.'
Then last night as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife. I gave him the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem!”
Where do you see yourself in this story? Are you the wealthy people, obsessed only with getting more wealth, and barely tolerate others.
Are you the poor farmers, happy with what you have and happy to share even that with others in more need?
Are you like the older angle, and see all and keep your own counsel? Are you like the younger angle? Only seeing a little, but prepared to pronounce that to one and all without checking the facts?
Or? Or are you a combination of the poor farmers, the older and the younger angles? Yes! Are you prepared to keep your own counsel until you have all the facts and then share both your knowledge and your wealth and possessions where needed?
Try not to keep people in the dark more than necessary and thus avoiding others going off half cocked, but also try not to be too intrusive either and poke your nose in where it is not wanted. Again, always, before you speak, make sure you have all the information you can get!
For: Things aren't always what they seem!”

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do You Just live Here Too?

In this “For Better or For Worse” comic Strip by Lynn Johnston, the Husband is batching and looking after their two small children while his wife is away. Here we see him rummaging through the cupboard, asking, “ Where does mom keep the spaghetti Michael?” Then he asks, “Where did mom put Lizzie’s clean Pants? “ And finally asking in exasperation, “How am I supposed to know where her bottle is?” Before adding, “I just live here...”
How many of us are like that Hey? Me? Well!!! I’m almost afraid to send this blog to anyone who knows me and especially my family, as I'm sure they will say that this lady was talking about me.
But seriously how many of us live or work in situations where we know little of what else is going on around us and if we ever have to step in or step up, we are completely out of our depth?
I am not suggesting here that we all start sticking our noses into other people’s jobs, but maybe, just maybe we can learn a little more about the simple things that go on around us.
Having said that I will probably not rush forward to work out either the DVD Recorder, or the Micro wave, in a hurry. What about you?