Word of the day

September 21, 2011

Germinal – relating to the nature of a germ cell or embryo; the earliest stage of development.

Minto for Mana in Manukau East

September 21, 2011

John Minto has announced he’s standing as theMana candidate in Manukau East.

He’s good at protesting and getting attention but translating that into votes for him and his party won’t be easy.

Scottish govt, Shadbolt advocating for piper

September 21, 2011

Scottish piper and rugby fan Matthew Strachan who’s trying to get the ban on bagpipes at Rugby World Cup games overturned has got some high level support – his own sports minister and Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Scottish sports Minister Shona Robison has written to Rugby World Cup organisers asking them to overturn the ban on bagpipes at matches.

The move follows a complaint from Scotland fan and piper Matthew Strachan, 32, who has also written to John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand.

Mr Strachan, a GP from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, said: “After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country, I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums.

“I’ve played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received. Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?”

He added: “At least pipers should be allowed to play up to the start of the game and afterwards. What is a touring piper supposed to do with his pipes when refused entry to a stadium? I would not have bought as many tickets to other games had I known, because as a piper, rugby games to me have always included my pipes.”

Tim Shadbolt is also supporting the piper:

Invercargill is the official host city for the Scotland Rugby Team.

Shadbolt attended both games involving Scotland at Rugby Park Stadium and says pipe bands playing outside the gates added to the atmosphere.

He says he also heard bagpipes playing during the game and people spontaneously started singing Scotland’s national anthem. . .

Rugby World Cup spokesman Mike Jaspers said earlier in the week that there was no specific ban on bagpipes, but a range of musical items, such as drums and vuvuzelas, are not allowed in because they can interfere with others’ enjoyment of the game.

He was not aware of anyone bearing bagpipes being refused entry to any grounds, nor of the Scottish minister’s request.

RWC organisers are no doubt concerned that everyone is able to enjoy the games without disruption and that letting one man and his pipes in to a stadium sets a precedent for other people and their instruments.

Blame the bias from my tartan genes if  you will, but I think there is a special case for the piper. Bagpipes  are at least as significant to the Scots as the haka is to New Zealand.

Providing the piper undertakes to restrict his piping to before and after the game and in appropriate breaks it would enhance the match experience not detract from it.

I[‘m not alone in that view – the  Facebook site supporting the campaign has 1002 members .

In other RWC news: Italy scored a bonus point with a  53-17 win against Russia last night.

This evening Tonga meets Japan in Whangarei.

Bring on ultra fast broadband

September 21, 2011

We’ve recently upgraded our internet and it’s supposed to be 10 times faster than the old system.

It is fractionally faster for watching video clips but we’re not noticing any appreciable difference in accessing websites even though the Telecom broadband speed test tells us we’re downloading 324 3.24 mps which ought to be a considerable improvement on what we used to get.

Slow internet connections aren’t confined to home.

I had to buy a Tstick for mobile boradband today. It took nearly 45 minutes because the store computer was taking so long to download.

 How many other people are wasting how much time hanging round because the internet is slow?

What’s the cost of that in lost productivity and time?

Bring on ultra fast broadband.

Where’s Happy Feet?

September 21, 2011

Let’s not let the fact that penguins and polar bears usually live at opposite ends of the globe get in the way of a grin.

Seventh successive slide in gDT milk auction price

September 21, 2011

Prices paid for milk in Fonterra’s globalDairyTrade auction slid list night for the seventh successive time.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes


The trade weighted index dropped 2.1% though it is still above the long term average.

Whole milk powder was up 1.1% to US$3,345/MT; skim milk powder was down 6.2% to US$3,230/MT; anhydrous milk fat was down 11.2% to US$3,846/MT; butter milk powder was up .2% to US$2,985/MT; rennet casein was down 7.6% to  US$8,828/MT; milk protein concentrate was up 6.7% to US$6,692/MT and cheese was up .6% to US$4,049/MT.

Laugh for peace

September 21, 2011

Three years ago I did a bungy jump from the bridge across the Kawarau River.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed the experience but it has had a positive impact on my life.

Now when I am faced with something challenging I think, if I can throw myself off a bridge then  I can do this.

What’s more as a result of that jump I now deliberately do something outside my comfort zone at least once a year because I know I can and feel better for it.

I tackled this year’s challenge last weekend. It was a Laughter Yoga workshop which though challenging in anticipation was not at all challenging in the doing.

The premise behind Laughter Yoga is that anyone can laugh for no reason without relying on or resorting to comedy, humour or jokes.

In a LY session laughter is initiated through laughter exercises then with eye contact and childlike (but not childish) playfulness it soon turns into real and contagious laughter.

Its called LY because laughter exercises are combined with yoga breathing, bringing more oxygen into the body and brain which boosts energy, health and well being.

LY is backed up by science, including the fact that the body can’t differentiate between fake and real laughter if it’s done willingly. Whether you’re faking it or laughing for real you get the same physiological and psychological benefits.

LY was started by a medical doctor, Dr Madan Kataria, with just five people in a Mumbai park. There are now thousands of laughter clubs in more than 65 countries.

Last weekend a dozen learners and two facilitators of us gathered in the Otago Pioneer Women’s hall (a gem of a building in Moray Place which I must have passed by hundreds of times without ever noticing).

We learned about the four stages of LY through doing – starting with clapping, then deep breathing and stretching followed by laughter exercises and relaxation/meditation.

I did a short session by myself on Monday which wasn’t as much fun as the groups ones had been, but still gave similar benefits afterwards and I went down to Dunedin for a Laughter Yoga session  last night.

It didn’t feel physically demanding at the time but I’m noticing stomach muscles I obviously hadn’t used for a long time.

I’m also feeling more relaxed, energised and in control than I have for longer than I can remember.

Laughter Yoga isn’t magic but it’s cast a spell over me and I’m loving it.

One of the exercises you can do is laughter arguing. You sit in pairs back to back, tell each other exactly what you think – at the same time, in gibberish with an Italian accent.

I defy you to stay angry after that which shows that LY isn’t only good for individuals but for relationships.

A smile is the shortest bridge between two people, if smiling and laughing work between individuals why not groups, communities and even countries?

Why not laugh for peace?

Today is the International Day of Peace (Facebook page here) and this post is a contribution to Save the Children’s blog for peace. There is more on their Facebook page.

Blog for Peace website badge

You can read more about LY at Laughteryoga.org on Facebook and YouTube.

Other blog posts for peace:

(I’ll update this as I come across them, please feel free to leave links in the comments).

My blog for Peace: From Battle Parent to Peace Parent in the Autism World at Autism and Oughtisms.

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