On-line livestock sales launched


PGG Wrightson has launched an on-line livestock selling site.

Agonline started today with dairy cows. Sales for beef cattle, sheep, deer and other stock will follow later in the year.

Xtra spam problems getting worse


Ever since Xtra changed to Yahooxtra some months ago we’ve had on-going problems with its spam filter.

Several times a week legitimate emails go into spam and almost every day several spam messages get through to the inbox.

If I don’t check the spam every day or so there can be 100s of messages so it’s easy to miss a few bona fide emails among the many I don’t want.

Today when I checked the spam there was a relatively modest total of 64 messages but 33 of them were legitimate. A few were press releases which go to multiple addresses which can trigger a spam-alert but most were messages sent only to us.

How offers of cheap watches, fake degrees and sex aids get through when killing sheets from the freezing works, an Air NZ  boarding pass, Federated Farmers newsletter and ministerial press releases don’t is beyond me.


Vegemite victim of Aussie food police


If anyone suggested I ate the same thing for lunch and dinner day after day I’d rebel.

But if I’m at home my breakfast hardly varies: two pieces of toast (Burgen soy & linseed or Vogels sunflower and barley) with a scraping of vegemite, topped by cottage cheese and tomato in summer and in winter I forgo the vegemite and replace the tomato with kiwifruit.


It’s just what the dieticians order and one of the reasons I dislike hotel breakfasts is because I find it difficult to get something with the same mix of low fat, low sugar, some fibre, vitamins, protein and a tiny bit of calcium from anything they offer.

Vegemite is a peculiarly Australian and New Zealand phenomenon and not to be confused with marmite which is also found in Britain but different from and inferior in taste to the antipodean spread.

So I read with concern that the Aussie food police  have their sights set on vegemite because of it’s high salt content.

A meal with an 8% salt content would be bad for the health and probably unpalatable too but vegemite is used in tiny amounts. I doubt if I use a teaspoon in total on two bits of toast and 8% of less than a teaspoon is nothing to worry about, especially when a blood test a couple of years ago showed I’d been taking the low salt, lots of water advice to the extreme so was low in sodium and advised to add salt to my food.

And that’s what’s wrong with so many of these well intended but misguided attacks on people’s eating habits. It’s not just what we eat but how much, how little and how often we eat and drink combined with how much or how little exercise we do that matters.

As Jim Hopkins  puts it, there’s no junk food only junk diets and small amounts of vegemite do not a junk diet make.

Hat Tip: Pundit

Mars and Venus


If proof was needed that men and women come from different planets it’s the posts and comments on yesterday’s Herald editorial  at The Hand Mirror  and Monkeywithtypewriter.

Apropos of that I offer an illustration of the comprehension void between men and women which came in an email, I’m not sure who to credit as the author though some websites attribute it to  Dave Barry.

The Difference Between Men & Women


Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts, they have a pretty good time.


A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.


And then one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine and without really thinking she says it aloud: “Do you realise that as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”


And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by out relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.


And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.


And Elaine is thinking: But hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward … I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading towards marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?


And Roger is thinking: … so that means it was … let’s see, February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s which means …lemme check the odometer …Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.


And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from out relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.


And Roger is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a goddamn garbage truck and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.


And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.


And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90 day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumballs.


And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centred, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.


And Roger is thinking: Warranty. They want a warranty? I’ll give them a goddamn warranty/ I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their …


“Roger,” Elaine says aloud.

“What?” says Roger, startled.


“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says. Her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have … Oh God I feel so ….” (She breaks down, sobbing).


“What?” says Roger.


“I’m such a fool,” Elaine sobs. “I mean there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight and there’s no horse.”


“There’s no horse,” says Roger.


“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine asks.


“No!” says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.


“It’s just that … It’s just that I … I need some time,” Elaine says.


(There is a 15 second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work).


“Yes,” he says.


(Elaine deeply moved, touches his hand).


“Oh Roger, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Roger.

“That way about time,” says Elaine.

“Oh,” says Roger. “Yes.”


(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eye, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.


“Thank you, Roger,: she says.

“Thank you,” says Roger.


Then he takes her home and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul and weeps until dawn whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV and immediately becomes deeply involved in a return of a tennis match between two Czechoslavakians he’s never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it. (This is also Roger’s policy regarding world hunger).


The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyse everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.


They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it, either.


Meanwhile, Roger, while playing squash one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s will pause just before serving, frown, and say: “Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?”


BYO loo


Rural emergency service personal who spend a long time in remote locations can be caught short when wanting to spend a penny.

But a BYO loo has brought relief for emergency workers in the Upper Waitaki Valley.

They’ve purchased a port-a-loo  that can be towed behind another vehicle which will be used by the Omarama Fire Brigade, Waitaki Rural Fire, Civil Defence, the Omarama Co-response unit, Upper Waitaki Search and Rescue and Victim Support.

$3030 and rising for cast-off cast


The latest bid in the TradeMe auction for John Key’s cast is $3030.

The cast has been signed by several of the leaders at last week’s Pacific Island forum and will be signed by John when it comes off next week.

The winning bidder will also get morning tea with the Prime Minister and the money raised will go to the Fred Hollows Foundation.

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