Tag Archives: New Zealand

The Hobbit goes flying: Air NZ’s epic safety video

New Zealand is and will always be the closest we’d ever get to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Epic!

I can hardly wait for December 17, when the 3rd of The Hobbit movie trilogy, “The Battle of the Five Armies,” comes to our movie screens.

It’ll be bitter sweet — probably our last visit to Middle-earth as the Tolkien Estate has not given screen rights approval to Tolkien’s other literary works beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

H/t GoodNewsNetwork and FOTM’s CSM

~Eowyn

Creation: The Milky Way

Mark Gee is the winner of the Earth & Space category and the overall winner of Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.

This is his breathtaking winning photo — of the Milky Way, taken from Cape Palliser, New Zealand.

Click pic to enlarge. You must! :)

The Milky Way from New Zealand Source: The Guardian

H/t FOTM’s Joseph

~Eowyn

The Left approve of stealing your bank savings

Five days ago, on March 16, 2013, the people of Cyprus were told by the grand poobahs of the Eurozone that as much as 10% of the deposits in their personal bank accounts would be “levied”, in exchange for a $13 billion (€10 billion) bail-out of their heavily indebted country to avoid bankruptcy and a banking collapse.

Cyprus is a small island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to the east of Greece, and a member of the European Union (EU). The Eurozone is an economic and monetary union of 17 EU member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender.

The Eurozone’s levy was contingent on the approval of the Cypriot parliament, but parliament resoundingly rejected the levy. Meanwhile, to prevent a bank run, banks in Cypriot will remain closed “until next week”, euphemistically called a “bank holiday”.

If you need the grave import of what happened clearly spelled out, here it is:

  1. Money in our personal bank accounts is PRIVATE PROPERTY.
  2. The proposed levy, therefore, is THEFT/ROBBERY.
  3. This is not just another “tax.” This bank levy is particularly pernicious because what is proposed is the seizure of privately-owned bank deposits that had been guaranteed by the government, much like the FDIC bank deposits in the United States. What value does such a guarantee have if it can be withdrawn at will without any advance notice?
  4. A “bank holiday” means you can’t gain access to YOUR OWN MONEY.
  5. Although Cypriot’s parliament rejected the levy, the damage is already done. The Rubicon has been crossed: the idea of “wealth taxation,” that is the involuntary confiscation of privately-owned property, has now been breached. Sure enough, faster than you can say “Jiminy Cricket,” the governments of two other countries — New Zealand and Spain — already are making similar levy noises.

In case you’re doubtful about what the Left here in America think of this theft, below are the approving comments made by the elite of the American Left, posted on Twitchy, March 18, 2013.

FYI:

  • Daniel Weston is a hedge fund manager.
  • Robert Reich was labor secretary in Bill Clinton’s administration and currently Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Steven Greenhouse is a labor and workplace correspondent for the New York Times.
  • Jeffrey Sachs is an economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

socialism

American libs support Cyprus-style wealth confiscation scheme, while bailout roils world markets; Update: Cyprus reportedly stalls bailout vote

Posted at 5:45 am on March 18, 2013 by Twitchy Staff | View Comments 13

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Cyprus depositors should take the deal, getting off easy comprd 2 the wealth tax coming on citizens in other over indebted countries ahead.

Daniel Weston (@danielweston83) March 17, 2013

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Robert Reich @RBReich

Why any sensible tax reform should include a wealth tax on the vast accumulations of wealth at the top. http://robertreich.org/#.UQHU3ySLN6U.twitter …

12:42 AM – 25 Jan 13

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Steven Greenhouse @greenhousenyt

To cut deficit, some say U.S. should look beyond income tax to creating a tax on households’ overall wealth http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/business/yourtaxes/a-wealth-tax-would-look-beyond-income.html?_r=1& …

3:37 PM – 10 Feb 13

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Daily Kos         @dailykos

GOP cranks up class warfare again with tax-break plans. Time for a wealth tax http://bit.ly/XG9MVM 

2:49 PM – 21 Oct 12

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A big h/t to FOTM’s Anon.

~Eowyn

North Korea: “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”

big bad wolfMore Porky Pig than Big Bad Wolf: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

The psychotic regime in North Korea has become even more unhinged lately.

After the UN voted to impose new sanctions on Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test, the regime threatened a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the United States.

Then, protesting the beginning of annual joint US-South Korea military exercises, Pyongyang unilaterally declares it has voided the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and warned that the next step was an act of “merciless” military retaliation against its enemies.

Because the Korean War was concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas have always remained technically at war. Voiding the ceasefire theoretically opens the way to a resumption of hostilities, although observers note this is far from the first time that North Korea has announced the demise of the armistice.

Pyongyang’s huffing-and-puffing has inspired The Civilian, a prankster “news” site in New Zealand to post the alarming news that Pyongyang is threatening a nuclear attack on New Zealand, Iceland, and Turkmenistan! (H/t FOTM’s joworth)

So how credible and how effective are North Korea’s threats?

From The Guardian: Although North Korea boasts of nuclear bombs and pre-emptive strikes, it is not thought to have mastered the ability to produce a warhead small enough to put on a missile capable of reaching the US. It is believed to have enough nuclear fuel, however, for a handful of cruder devices. The White House said North Korea’s threats would only lead to Pyongyang’s further international isolation and declared that the United States was ‘fully capable’ of defending against any North Korean missile attack by quickly and easily intercepting any incoming missile.

From Reuters: Even North Korea’s sole ally, the People’s Republic of China, is backing away from Pyongyang. China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said Beijing wanted to see “full implementation” of the new Security Council resolution, which tightens financial restrictions on Pyongyang and cracks down on its attempts to ship and receive banned cargo.

See also my post of Jan. 27, 2013, “North Koreans driven to cannibalism from famine and govt mismanagement.”

Update (March 15):

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today that the U.S. is deploying 14 new ground-based missile interceptors, probably in Alaska. While officials didn’t say specifically why the missiles are being deployed, but the announcement comes as North Korea has been making bellicose threats to void the armistice that ended the Korean War and launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. The U.S. and South Korea began annual military drills this week despite the North Korean threats.

~Eowyn

No kitty for you!

baby

New Zealand environmental advocate launches campaign to ban cats as pets

Fox News: Gareth Morgan has a simple dream: a New Zealand free of pet cats that threaten native birds. But the environmental advocate has triggered a claws-out backlash with his new anti-feline campaign.

Morgan called on his countrymen Tuesday to make their current cat their last  in order to save the nation’s unique bird species. He set up a website, called Cats To Go, depicting a tiny kitten with red devil’s horns. The opening line:  “That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer.”

He doesn’t recommended people euthanize their current cats — “Not  necessarily but that is an option are the site’s exact words — but rather  neuter them and not replace them when they die. Morgan, an economist and  well-known businessman, also suggests people keep cats indoors and that local governments make registration mandatory.

Morgan’s campaign is not sitting well in a country that boasts one of the  highest cat ownership rates in the world. “I say to Gareth Morgan, butt out of our lives,” Bob Kerridge, the president  of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told  the current affairs television show Campbell Live. “Don’t deprive us of the  beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family.”

For thousands of years, New Zealand’s native birds had no predators and  flourished. Some species, like the kiwi, became flightless. But the arrival of  mankind and its introduction of predators like cats, dogs and rodents has wiped  out some native bird species altogether and endangered many others.

“Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach,  kiwis roaming about in your garden,” Morgan writes on his website. “Imagine  hearing birdsong in our cities.”

But many New Zealanders are against the campaign. Even on Morgan’s website,  70 percent on Tuesday were voting against making their current cat their  last.

Morgan could not be reached on Tuesday.

And the science remains unclear. Some argue that cats may actually help native birds by reducing the population of rodents, which sometimes feed on bird eggs.

Morgan’s separate personal blog, in fact, has a separate campaign to raise $1  million to eradicate mice from the remote Antipodes Islands, where rodents are  the only predators.

A 2011 survey by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council found that 48  percent of households in New Zealand owned at least one cat, a significantly  higher rate than in other developed nations. The survey put the total cat  population at 1.4 million.

In the U.S., 33 percent of households own at least one cat for a total of 86  million domestic cats, according to a 2012 survey by the American Pet Products  Association.

Scientist David Winter said cats are indeed a problem in New Zealand, having  contributed to the extinction of at least half a dozen New Zealand bird species.  Writing on his blog “The Atavism,” Winter said Morgan’s campaign appeared  designed to “start conversations.”

Still, he added, “What hope is there for environmentalists in conversation where our side wants to take people’s kittens away?”

There is no conversation to be had if you try and take away my kitties (Baby, pictured above)! Silly man…

DCG

You Know You’re LOTR Obsessed When…

This one is for you my friend. :D Stumbled upon it. This is only first 75 of 388

—————————————– Sam G.——————————————-

Just to get your blood going before battle. Ride for the Fellowship.

Your AOL screen name is Elbereth.

You can pronounce Nirnaeth Arnoediad.

The opponents in your MS Hearts game are named Morgoth, Sauron and Ungoliant.

You have a decided opinion on the question of the two Glorfindels.

You understand #4.

Your thesis was entitled “On the Valar and their Treament of the Noldor”

When watching The Two Towers, you must fight the urge to scream, “THERE WERE NO ELVES, NEITHER FROM IMLADRIS NOR LÓRIEN, IN THE BATTLE OF THE HORNBURG!

But you mourn Haldir anyway.

It’s not “hello”, it’s “Hail and well met.”

You know the difference between Sindarin and Quenya.

You use Shire reckoning.

You can recite the names of all the Kings (and the four Ruling Queens) of Númenor.

You think Ar-Pharazon was a louse.

Your twin sons are named Elladan and Elrohir.

Your baseball bat had a name, too: Narsil. And when it broke and had to be taped up, you re-named it Anduril.

Finarfin is your role model.

Given a map of Middle Earth, you can instantly locate Rivendell, Lórien, Minas Tirith, and Edoras.

Your vacation house is on your private island, which happens to be named Tol Eressea.

You can trace Eldarion’s bloodline all the way back to Thingol and Melian.

When life sucks, you move westward.

You know Gil-galad’s real name.

You know who Nerwen is.

Spock is your favorite Star Trek chaacter.

Your idea for the Big Dig is to rebuild Boston on the plan of Gondolin.

TV just isn’t the same as a palantír.

You have learnt to blow smoke rings.

You have a weed patch.

You own a shipbuilding company named Círdan’s Crafts.

You know you’re obsessed with LotR when…you no longer answer to your real name, but rather, you prefer to be called Elerial, daughter of Bruce, of the house of Smith. (by Shari M.)

30-64 Submitted by Melanie McCorkle

You talk about nothing but LOTR. All the time.

You’ve read LOTR more than once, to the surprise and disgust of your peers. (Note: I think most hardcore LOTR fans have read LOTR several times… – Nevermore)

Your family (who don’t like LOTR) know many of the lines to FOTR from walking past you watching it, or hearing you quote it.

Your favorite CD’s are the LOTR soundtracks, even though you don’t like classical music.

Your teachers even tell you you need to lighten up on LOTR.

When you’re helping your little brother with his himework and it says “The Lord of the Rings” you want to frame that paper when he gets it back.

When that homework paper says “The Hobbit” on the other side you don’t know which side to frame facing out and decide to rotate it every week or so.

When you can’t find your LOTR CD (Heavan forbid) you flip out and start humming one of the songs to make yourself feel better.

If someone likes LOTR they DON’T talk to you, because they don’t want a 3 hour lecture on how Tolkien, not Jackson, was the creator, and how Jackson majorly screwed some things up.

You have read/own 5 or more Tolkien books (counting LOTR as 1)

People are careful not to say LOTR 1, LOTR 2, and LOTR 3 around you, because you’ll yell at them.

When someone says they don’t like it you exclaim: “What?! How can you say that?!” and smack them.

When your “friend” says she’s tired of hearing you talk about it you smack her and continue talking.

When people say you’re obsessed you say: “And proud of it!” the way Frodo does and smack a mug down on a table.

The tiniest things remind you of LOTR, like the way the mirror you got for Christmas that has the lights that reflect all the way back makes your eyes look like Galadriel’s.

Or the way some people have Hobbit-hair (which makes you wonder if they have hairy feet)

When you’re watching TV and they even show a picture of something from LOTR for a nanosecond you can tell exactly where it came from, and what’s going on, even if you only glance up to see it and there’s no sound to it.

When you see that picture you turn the volume WAY up and pay close attention to that comercial from then on.

When you see a word that looks anything like something from LOTR you read it as that word, like when you see Fodor’s Map of the Caribbean (?) you read it as Frodo’s…

You spend your time copying poems from the books.

You have a portion of your bookshelf dedicated to Tolkien, but for some reason Tolkien books seem to be scattered all over your bedroom, and not one is in the Tolkien Shrine.

When you do put your books together, it’s not on your shelf, it’s on your dresser, where everyone can see the 3 and a half foot stack of books all bearing the same name: J. R. R. Tolkien.

You truly wish you had pointy ears, or had a long braided beard, or were 3 and a half feet tall.

You don’t mind Aragorn’s greasy hair (that much)

You know the movie by heart.

If (somehow, and I don’t know how this would happen) your friends see a picture of one of the LOTR actors they cover your eyes till you’re past.

If they don’t catch the picture in time they groan in agony at the inevitable exclamation of “He was in LOTR!” and a long explanation of his life, his character’s life, his part in the movie, what is favorite thing to do in New Zealand was, and the precise location of his Elvish nine tattoo (provided he’s a member of the Fellowship).

You watched the Oscars just to see if TTT won anything.

You almost threw a chair at the TV when it only got 2.

You cracked up when Mickey pulled the Ring out of his pocket, and thought Sean Astin’s face was the funniest thing you’ve ever seen.

You seriously beg your parents for archery/swordfighting lessons.

You want to take a family vacation to New Zealand to see all the places the movie was filmed.

You’ve watched all 16 hours of bonus “stuff” on the extended DVD.

You read every parody you can find and love them all.

You start using words like “atop” in your stories (if you write).

65-75 submitted by KRRouse

You wear a gold ring on a chain everywhere you go.

You are careful never to put your ring on.

You hiss at people and yell “Get away from my Precious!” when they get too close to your ring.

You try to bite their fingers off if they put your ring on.

You scream “My Precious is lost!” if you lose your ring.

You excuse yourself from class so you can read your copy of Lord of the Rings in the bathroom.

You excuse yourself from class so you can work on perfecting your Gollum voice in the batroom.

You ask people for the recipe for Lembas.

You complain about your feet not being hairy.

You always say “Mellon” before you open a door.

You live in a hole in the backyard.

H/T      http://www.lotrspoofs.net/obsessedlist.html

How Peaceful Is the United States?

There’s a neat website, the Institute of Economics and Peace’s Vision of Humanity, with a map of the world which gives the Global Peace Index (GPI) of countries. The lower the numerical GPI, the more peaceful the country. It’s an interactive map because you can put your cursor on any spot on the map and see the GPI of that country.

By “peace” is meant the “absence of violence.” The GPI is derived from a composite set of 5 indicators: violent crime, homicides, incarceration rates, policing, and availability of small arms.

Of the world’s 153 countries, the 10 most peaceful countries are:

  1. Iceland: 1.148 GPI score
  2. New Zealand: 1.279
  3. Japan: 1.287
  4. Denmark: 1.289
  5. Czech Republic: 1.320
  6. Austria: 1.337
  7. Finland: 1.353
  8. Canada: 1.355
  9. Norway: 1.356
  10. Slovenia: 1.358

The 10 least peaceful countries are:

  1. Somalia: 3.379
  2. Iraq: 3.296
  3. Sudan: 3.223
  4. Afghanistan: 3.212
  5. North Korea: 3.092
  6. Congo: 3.016
  7. Russia: 2.966
  8. Pakistan: 2.905
  9. Israel: 2.901
  10. Central African Republic: 2.869

Although peace in the United States has been on the increase, recording an 8% improvement since 1991, our country still ranks only in the middle of the world’s countries in peace and disorder, with a GPI rank of 82 (out of 153) and a GPI score of 2.063.

Even Greece and Egypt are judged more peaceful than the U.S.! Dspite Greece’s bankruptcy and anti-austerity riots, the country has a GPI rank of 65 and a GPI score of 1.947. And in spite of Egypt’s recent massive anti-government demonstrations, the country still scored a GPI rank of 73 and a score of 2.023.

The GPI study found that societies that are highly peaceful also perform exceptionally well in other ways. The most peaceful countries also have higher per capita income, higher levels of well-being, more freedom, perform better at sustainability, and appear to have a more equitable distribution of social spending. The study also found a positive correlation between peace and a collection of other factors — including access to basic services, education, health, and opportunity to succeed.

America’s GPI score will surely worsen, as our national debt piles up even more above the present $14+ trillion, government becomes increasingly insolvent, necessitating more cuts in spending and entitlement….

On the bright side, at least you’ll know which country to move to, if you have the means to bail out of the coming maelstrom.  [bitter laugh]

CLICK HERE for the GPI website.

~Eowyn