Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bill Clinton peacemaker

I have never been backwards in mentioning to people my admiration of President Clinton. I must say that he certainly spent plenty of time working on creating peaceful solutions throughout the world, and was instrumental in trying to get Israel and Palestine to be favorable of each other. I found Bob Harts blog which is aptly named and there is a brilliant video of President Clinton being whipped onstage and asked to sing with 40 Jewish and 40 Arab children. I notice that in the audience was Ariel Sharon, so I guess it was taken sometime last year before he became ill.

You'll need a fast internet connection, but be sure to watch the video it is great.

Bobs blog

Rodney Hide loses 11 kilos

I noticed in the Sunday Star times, that Rodney Hide ACT Leader and MP for Epsom has lost 11 kg recently in preparation for his role on Dancing with the Stars. Good on you Rodney, I think I will do the same (lose 11kg).

Mat (Snapper) Clark comes to LA

A friend of mine from NZ Snapper came up to LA for a couple of days. We did a bit of a tour and yesterday we went to the LAX gun range and hired some 9mm H&K and Beretta pistols. That was fun, Snapper isn't a bad shot although as you can see by the following pictures he can look a bit scary at times... The gentleman running the gun range certainly kept a close eye on him, but we made it out of there alive.

Me with H&K and Beretta 9mm pistols

Snapper with the targets after shooting.

After the gun range we went to California famous In 'N' Out burger which is strategically placed along one of the landing runways at LAX. Managed to snap a 747 at about 100 feet coming in from somewhere far away.

747 coming in for landing

All in all a good time. I just dropped Snapper off to San Pedro so as he can take a cruise ship to Mexico for a business trip. He will be back next week for another night, so I am sure that there will be more stories to tell......

It may have all been a little too much for Snapper?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If you were the President of USA

If you were George W Bush right now, what would you do ( within reason ) in regards to the war in Iraq, the Iranian situation as well as world diplomacy?

This is a subject that I often discuss with my friends up here in Los Angeles, and I am interested to know your opinion, your sitting in the Oval Office, what to do?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rodney Hide jiving to the beat.....

I found this link posted on Rodney Hide's site by James..... It is a great show of Rodney moving to the beat....... He even does the splits I can't believe it...... See for yourself.

View Here

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Larry Ellisons boat

Went for a bike ride with a buddy of mine yesterday from Santa Monica to Marina Del Rey and back. When we got to Marina Del Rey, we stopped at the marina itself and I saw this mega yacht moored called Ronin. This boat is owned by none other than Larry Ellison... I hear that he has a McLaren F1 as well...... The boat was in great condition and it seems to be about 191.9 feet long. I was disappointed to see that there really was no place to put a rod over the side and go fishing....... She'll do 30 knots and is well equipped.... He sold another of his boats Katana which was well over 200 feet long. I wonder what he'll get next?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rodney Hide on the dance floor

I found this on the Sunday Star today....Looking every bit the part in tails and tuxedo, Act leader and Epsom MP Rodney Hide (The Boss) spent yesterday practising his dance moves for the next series of Dancing With The Stars. Looks like it is all go go go...

It is understood the truck driver's son with a love of the limelight will be confirmed as one of the show's stars tomorrow. Either that or he is practicing for the Beehive Ball?

Hide says he is taking the competition seriously, yesterday concentrating on holding his arms just right in keeping with his political stance.

After knocking on the door of nearly every house in his Epsom electorate at last year's election, Hide looks trimmer and ready to again use footwork to impress a voting public. Rodney is looking trim and ready to win. I think he needs to change the photo's on his web site.

Other contestants are believed to include world champion discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina and Olympic double gold medallist Danyon Loader. Well that will be some tough competition for Rodney.... All the best..... Wish I could see the show, someone will have to send me a copy of it ????/

The show starts early next month on TV One and will once again be hosted by Jason "The Ace" Gunn and Candy Lane.

Good luck Rodney...... You can do it.....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Rumsfeld vows NZ-ban review

It looks like US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld has had a meeting with NZ Defence Minister Phil Goff. It seems that Dr Don Brash was also in the vacinity. During the meeting Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that it made sense where we are working together if there is clarity and transparency about the rules in regards to the US ban on military exercises with NZ which was executed in 1987.

Mr Goff also suggested to influential analysts and officials present for his address to the US National Defence University yesterday that NZ would welcome to its shores the return of most US surface ships, since all are conventionally powered except for aircraft carriers.

This is good news, especially if Donald does something about it..... I guess it is common knowledge that the US does not hold nuclear weapons on their surface ships these days. The real nuclear machines are the submarines.

Full story here

Thursday, April 20, 2006

ACT MP joins the NZ Army

According to, ACT list MP Heather Roy has signed up for the territorial army.

And after all the mud-slinging in Parliament, crawling on her belly through muddy ditches at Waiouru holds no horrors for the 42-year-old Karori mother of five, who is to start her six weeks of basic training this weekend. Way to go.

"I thought long and hard about it and have been considering doing it for some time," she said. "It's now or never."

Ms Roy, who has been going to gyms for 12 years, said she passed the basic fitness test with ease and was looking forward to the training "with equal amounts of enthusiasm and trepidation".

"I know it's going to be pretty hard but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Asked if the public would get good value for the salary she was paid as an MP, she said she had timed her army training so she lost the least parliamentary time possible. She had also made provision for her parliamentary work to be covered while she was away.

To avoid any suggestion of double dipping she plans to give her territorial pay to a charity approved by the Returned and Services Association. You can't say that is a bad idea.

"What the taxpayer will get out of me is somebody who has a much better perspective of how things operate at a grass-roots level in the defence force."

She said there was unlikely to be any clash between soldiering and politics, or her role as ACT's national security spokeswoman. In fact it will give her some excellent insight on how the military needs to be built up in NZ.

"I don't expect there are going to be any state secrets." Is there any though?

Military rules will bar her from political activities while she is on duty or in army uniform as you'd expect. I am sure it would raise some eyebrows in the house if she rocked up to Parliament in Military fatigues.

She said there was no argument about her absence from ACT leader and Epsom MP Rodney Hide, the party's only other MP, and she had the blessing of Defence Minister Phil Goff and Speaker Margaret Wilson.

Excellent... NZ needs more people like ACT MP Heather Roy. Good on you.

Question is..... Do YOU think it is a good idea for her to be doing this?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

LA County is the most populous in USA

According to California Association of Realtors of which I am a member... :

Of the 20 fastest-growing counties in the USA between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005, 13 were located in the South, four in the West and three in the Midwest, according to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Flagler County, located along the Atlantic coast in Florida, was the nation's fastest-growing county with a 10.7 percent population increase between 2004 and 2005.

In California, Tuolumne (4.5 percent), Yuba (4.2 percent) and Riverside (4.1 percent)
counties also were among the top 100 fastest-growing counties in the country.

With 9.94 million residents, Los Angeles County (where I live) continues to be the most populous county in the nation, according to the report. Orange and San Diego counties are also among the country's top 10 largest counties, with 2.99 million residents and 2.93 million residents, respectively.

Being more populous than many countries, it looks like there is plenty more folk to buy and sell property then... Woo Hoo

Chinese President hangs with Bill Gates

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Seattle on Tuesday and was warmly received by Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire and Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz amongst others.

A three-course, 100-guest reception dinner was held in Gates $100 Million mansion, hosted by Gov Gregoire. Everyone seemed to have fun.

Hu then visited the Redmond campus and the Microsoft Home of the Future which seemed to impress him.

Although the itinerary appears to be largely trade-based, Hu and Gates seem to have struck an amicable friendship.

During the tour, Hu was greeted by elementary school students from Seattle's John Stanford International School. Hu wrote for the children "Long live the China-America friendship," in Chinese on a Microsoft Tablet PC.

While expressing admiration for what Gates has achieved at Microsoft, Hu also added jovially that, “Because you, Mr. Bill Gates, are a friend of China, I'm a friend of Microsoft," according to The Seattle Times.

"Also, I am dealing with the operating system produced by Microsoft every day," he added, amid laughter. I hope that it doesn't crash too much for the Chinese President?

"I'd also like to take this opportunity to assure you, Bill Gates, that we will certainly honor our words in protecting intellectual property rights," Hu said. That will be the day, but at least they are trying.

In efforts to allay Microsoft’s concerns before setting off on this trip, the Chinese government issued a notice on Apr. 12, to call on computer manufacturers to pre-install legal operating system software in their machines, so that manufacturers and buyers will be less likely to use pirated Windows software.

Recognizing this too, Gates responded: "Thank you, it's a fantastic relationship. And if you ever need advice on how to use Windows, I'll be glad to help."

Hu will only meet U.S. president George W. Bush tomorrow for a “social lunch”, after visiting Boeing plant in Everett for a showcase on the Boeing 787. I suspect that President GWB will be talking about copywrite and privacy laws, as well as Taiwan, Iran and North Korea with President Wu.

Earlier, also on Apr. 12, Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi led the signing of the purchase agreement for 80 Boeing Next-Generation 787 airplanes valued at $4.6 billion, in hopes of easing the tension that the U.S. is feeling against the growing trade deficit with China which I beleive was $202 Billion last year.

I hope George puts on a good old Texas BBQ for President Wu.

Oil hits $74 US per barrel

Oil hit a record $74 a barrel Wednesday on fears Iran's intensifying dispute with the West may hit oil supplies and after U.S. gasoline stocks dropped.

Where does it go from here? Might be time to pump up the tires on the mountain bike.

Donald Trump State Park

According to CNN, Property Billionaire and TV star of sorts Donald Trump is donating 436 acres in New York City's northern suburbs for a new state park that will be named after..... Donald Trump.

The new Donald J. Trump State Park will comprise two separate areas along the Taconic State Parkway, near the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Fahnestock state parks.

Trump and Gov. George Pataki announced the donation Wednesday from the top of Indian Hill, which consists of 282 acres of woods, meadow and wetland straddling Westchester and Putnam counties about 45 miles north of Manhattan.

The second parcel, known as French Hill, encompasses 154 acres in Westchester, entirely within the New York City watershed and about 4 miles south of Indian Hill. It is heavily wooded and has a 20-acre wetland that Gov Pataki said was "invaluable."

The Governor said the donated land was within one of the hottest real estate markets in the world. "I can't put a price tag on the 436 acres, but I can tell you this would not be open space but for Donald Trump."

The Donald mentioned that "People have told me the land is worth about $100 million."

The 59-year-old real estate magnate bought the properties in the 1990s for $2 million and had considered projects including golf courses and a housing development.

There was some local opposition, however, and Trump said he concluded that new golf courses would hurt the one he has in Briarcliff Manor. He said he decided with his family to "do something really spectacular" and donate the land for conservation.

Besides the Trump National golf course, the developer's other recent forays into the suburbs include a Trump Tower in White Plains. His previous gifts include renovation of the Wollman skating rink in New York's Central Park, but that is another story.

Way to go Donald Trump..... Keep up the good work.

?? Fuel prices ??

With fuel priced at more than $1.60 per liter in NZ and hovering just above $3US per gallon in the USA isn't it time that something is done to stabilize the cost of fuel? I still think investing in alternative fuel research now will pay off in the future... Hydrodgen, Ethanol, biofuel.......

George is working on it in the USA and Brazil is nearly self sufficient by means of Ethanol this year.

What is really happening in NZ?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ethanol as an oil alternative?

Over the past three decades Brazil has worked to create a viable alternative to gasoline. With its sugarcane-based fuel, the nation may become energy independent this year. Brazil’s ethanol program, which originated in the 1970s in response to the uncertainties of the oil market, has enjoyed intermittent success. Still, many Brazilians are driving “flexible fuel” cars that run on either ethanol or gasoline and allow the consumer to fill up with whichever option is cheaper – often ethanol. Countries with large fuel bills such as India and China are following Brazil’s progress closely.

The US is taking small steps towards the use of ethanol, but its process, relying on corn, is lengthier and more expensive. In addition, countries such as Japan and Sweden are importing ethanol from Brazil to help fulfill their environmental obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Running cars on carbohydrates instead of fossil fuels may not be a new idea, and ethanol has drawbacks such as high water content can damage engine parts over the long term, and ethanol burns at a higher temp to conventional oil based petrolium therefore creating starting problems in the morning if the temp is cool. The thing is that ethanol offers an attractive alternative as oil prices climb, and it is possible to make the stuff from pretty much anything that you can brew alcohol out of.

New Zealand / USA does not grow sugarcane to my knowledge, therefore the corn option seems to be the best bet although sugarcane based Ethanol is more potent than corn based ethanol. Brazil has got to the point now that they can get about 6000 liters of ethanol from 2.5 acres of land. When they started in 1975 with their project that was at 2500 liters. Brazil is the world leader in this technology. I think that they are going to reap their rewards from now on as the really have everything covered from spending money in their own country to power their vehicles, to excess power generation created by the ethanol plants which in turn sell the power to the local grid..... All very self sufficient.

I think that NZ should take advantage of Brazils knowledge and start producing Ethanol in NZ to subsidise our dependence on international oil. The other option is to do as Sweden and Japan is doing and importing Brazilian Ethanol for the time being until an infastructure can be created. It is not going to be difficult to get flex fuel vehicles produced for the NZ market, and hey.... It is green and good for the environment.

Time that someone within the governement looks into this.

UPDATE: Upon searching NZ and Ethanol, I found out that in NZ bioethanol (petrol ethanol mix) is made as a by-product of the dairy industry. Lactose is fermented in whey with special yeast that converts this sugar into alcohol. The alcohol is then distilled into bioethanol.

In the future bioethanol could be made in New Zealand from waste paper, straw or forestry residues, sugar beets are an option too.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Greg Johnson and Baria Records

It looks like NZ singer / songwiter Greg Johnson has, or is about to sign a two record deal with Baria Records. Greg, Tedd, Michelle and the band have put a lot of hard work into the USA and with massive radio play here, especially the East Coast, it is a natural progression for them to sign with a label.

Good luck and Congratulations.

DJ VMO releases Estimulo

US and Ibiza resident DJ VMO is putting his new creation "Estimulo" to press as we speak. The single will be available on CD or vinyl. As per tradition there will be release party(s) upcoming. I have had the opportunity to hear his latest creation, and I must say, Estimulo works well, especially if you are in Ibiza. Listen to it loud.

Soup Nazi

While I was in Manhattan I noticed an advertisement in the local paper about The Soup Man and the location of his store. I put one and one together and realised that this is the man that was portrayed as the Soup nazi in the Seinfeld series. I promptly took to my feet and went to the shop which was just around the corner from the Helmsley Hotel where I was staying. I was expecting to be kicked out for ordering chicken noodle soup, but alas the staff were polite and nice, and there was no chicken noodle soup. This guy Al Yaganeh who the character is portrayed and the owner of the "Original Soup Man" franshise makes real gourmet soup.

I ordered a chicken curry soup which had a name I cant remember, along with a ham and swiss sandwich. The presentation was great, and they even put a piece of bread, some grapes, a strawberry and a chocolate in to make my soup eating all the better.

The soup was fantastic, no wonder it was such a cult thing on the Seinfeld series....... although I did outlay just over $14US for the opportunity.

A great experience although I was hoping to get into some sort of verbal tussle with the Soup Nazi..... Maybe he was in Argentina?

Soup Man

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Snowing in New York

I was surprised and rather unprepared for a cold snap and snow in Manhattan yesterday. The snowflakes were some of the biggest that I had seen. This was because the lower the flakes got to the ground, they warmed up and stuck together creating a super flake.

New York rocks.

MAC take the Apple to Windows.

I was reading The New York Times today and on the front cover they say that Apple has created a platform for it's intel powered machines which allow you to run on Windows or OSX. You will need to shut down to change between the two, but at least it is a point of difference. Hopefully this will allow Apple to increase it's share of the Personal Computer market from the 5% they are currently on.Apples stock also went up 10% on the news. If you have an intel based Mac, download "Boot Camp" for free from the Apple site.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Going to the Big Apple

I am off again to New York. I will be staying there a week this time, so hopefully we can close a deal on a nice property in Manhattan this time. The weather may be a bit dicey, so best I pack a warm coat. If the opportunity arrises I'd like to see a show on Broadway and do some socialising with the classy NY ladies......

I think I could live in NY.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Happy birthday today Dad. Have a great day.