Monday, February 27, 2006

Reagan Presidential Library

I went to the Reagan Library again yesterday. I had not been there for nearly 2 years and the place hase doubled in size.

The most interesting exibit other than the Oval office is the Boeing 707 with tail # 27000. This plane was used as Air Force One from February 1973 with President Nixon aboard. It continued to be used by Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton and Dubya until the Reagan Library received it in a decommissioning ceremony on September 8th 2001.

The plane was disassembled, trucked to Simi Valley, and reassembled, put together by Boeing and released to th public on October 4th 2005.

It is beautiful, and I must say as I boarded the plane and walked through, I certainly felt that it was a lot smaller than I had expected. It was fantastic to have the opportunity though. If you are ever in LA and you are a fan of President Reagan and or airplanes, this is the place to go.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I just went to Fox studios with a friend of mine that works there and watched the movie directed by Steven Spielberg called Munich. It is set in the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the story follows a secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and kill the 11 Palestinians suspected to have planned the Munich attack. The personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it is right up there, but it is a BRILLIANT movie. If you have not seen it, I strongly recommend it. One of the better movies I have seen.

Friday, February 24, 2006

London Mayor suspended

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

Mr Livingstone was suspended from duty for four weeks from March 1 after being found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute. This is rather weird. Maybe the reporter was being unreasonable, so the Mayor made an unreasonable comment, but it was not like he threatened to kill him. People are too sensitive. I would of thought that Prince Harry wearing a nazi uniform to a party a year or two back would have been more off color than the Mayors comment. Did the Mayor know the reporter was Jewish? Even so it was a comparison not a accusation.

The three-man Adjudication Panel for England unanimously ruled that Mr Livingstone had been "unnecessarily insensitive and offensive" to Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold in February last year.

David Laverick, chairman of the disciplinary panel sitting in central London, said: "His treatment of the journalist was unnecessarily insensitive and offensive. He persisted with a line of comment likening the journalist's job to a concentration camp guard, despite being told that the journalist was Jewish and found it offensive to be asked if he was a German war criminal."

Mr Livingstone was not present at the hearing.

Since Mr Livingstone lost the case he must pay his own costs - estimated at more than £80,000. He can appeal the decision at the High Court.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone later said of the tribunal result: "This decision strikes at the heart of democracy. Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law."

I think that it is proposterous that a Mayor of anywhere let along London can be suspended for any amount of time for something said that really doesn't have anything to do with his job at hand. I am not condoning his comment, but what a waist of time and money to appease a journalist with hurt feelings.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

William J Clinton in Auckland

Number 42 ( as GWB #43 calls him ) rolled into Auckland last night after a brief flight on a private jet from Australia. President Clinton had a bout of the flu and was forced to cancel a press conference in Australia yesterday. It seems that he was visiting India and Pakistan before arriving in Australia and may well have picked up a form of Delhi Belly, possibly the shits. He managed to get himself sorted out and checked into Sky City just after 120am today.

President Clinton first came to NZ for APEC held from September 9-13th 1999. He seemed to befriend Jenny and Burton Shipley, and I will be interested to see or hear if they manage to catch up on this particular visit. Who cares what side of the fence you stand on politically, most people would like to have a chat with #42.

Business leaders have paid up to $2400 a ticket to hear President Clinton speak. He is a particularly charasmatic speaker, and I can see the validity of the cost to see him, especially if it is tax deductable. It also seems that for that fee, you get a bonus. Prime Minister Helen Clark will be on stage during his speech. Hopefully he wont get distracted with her there and ruin the speech.

Other speakers at the SkyCity event include former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Police protection is being paid for by New Zealand taxpayers which is causing a bit of a stir. Having said that, every EX President is allocated a secret service detail that protects him for life..... If they were allowed to pack heat I am sure they would not need to much help from NZ's forces. But when in Rome....... NZ would not like to get publicity because an Ex President was hurt or killed because of a security breech, so I can justly understand why NZ Police and the NZ govt are protecting President Clinton.......

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

#3 Paritai Drive part 2

Further to part 1, here is part 2 of the trials and tribulations of living on Paritai Drive, Orakei in the begininning of the 21st century.

Gary ( an Australian ) was there at the same time as Daniel and I on the first day, so I will call him a founding co-tenant of the house. Daniel and Gary had met on many of occasions in town, at Mama Rosa Pizza, at the Waterfront Bar when we went out for a 12 hour spree to welcome President Clinton to town, of which I nearly got accosted by the Auckland City Police for singing the American National Anthem outside the Stamford Plaza but that is another story. What I am trying to say is that I was of the opinion that Gary and Daniel would get on well, so that was the least of my worries.

I was wanting to make sure that the landlord did not try to lunge out of the bushes or through the front door with some sort of weapon at a most un appropriate time, as well as filling up the spare rooms so as I didn't need to sell off my AMP shares to pay for the shortfall.

Daniel has advertised in the local paper and managed to scape up some characters to call #3 Paritai Drive their abode. The first was a lady who I will call "Teeth". Teeth moved in rather quickly after a rather hasty vetting by Daniel and myself. I thought to myself that there was something a little off about her, but hey.... Those AMP shares were staying uncashed...... All was good with Teeth until her cheese went missing out of the fridge, but I will explain that later.

Then there was a friend of a relative of someone we knew. He had a successful business, was a nice guy, but had a penchanse for illegal weapons and pot. He did have a collectors licence for the guns, so I guess they were legal in his hands, it was just when we had a party and he pulled out some potent pot and started declaring his love for his weapons that I was wondering if we had the right person in the house..... A bit like American Psyco, only he never had an axe under his bed that I knew of.... He paid his rent and was not at the place much, so I told him to pipe down a bit and he stayed for well over a year.

Then there was the married Doctor who had a house way out of town and wanted a place to crash when he was on call.... He was at the place more often that the gun man, and seemed to be level headed.... He had a really beautiful wife whom I really wished visited more often, but anyways...... The rent was paid.

That was 3 rooms, along with Daniel's room and my room. That still left us another 2 rooms. Problem is that when the place has so many people, there is likely to be dis agreements and arguments. There is likely to be some crazyness, and some bitchiness, and there is likely to be a shortfall of rent some way or another...... Where do I start??????

The first day we arrived we decided to light one of the wood burning fires in the kitchen..... It turned out that the chimney had not been properly sweeped, so we really had to get her roaring to burn off all the cob webs. Once the smoke had cleared from the downstairs part of the house no one was keen to leave the fire on while retiring to bed so we had to wait for it to burn out to allow a somewhat comfortable nights sleep. I was glad that I was on the top floor with the best view of the harbour, as it was also the furtherist from the front door if the landlord decided to break on through.

It was all mellow for the first few weeks....... Then things started to get exciting.


End of part 2

Guns N' Roses about to release?

According to today. Guns N' Roses fans went into frenzied overdrive when three studio-quality tracks from the mythical "Chinese Democracy" album were leaked onto the Internet. I have not managed to hear any, but I did hear a new song on KROC the other day that seemed to have the voice of Axl attached to it?

The leaks came just weeks after frontman Axl Rose ended his hermit-like lifestyle by venturing out to a Korn tour launch party in Los Angeles and to trendy nightclubs for some post-birthday bashes (his 44th) in Manhattan. I can remember when he played in Auckland on the day of his 30th birthday....... Getting on a bit we all are.

Asked at the Korn bash about "Chinese Democracy," which has been in the making for a decade, Rose told Rolling that "people will hear music this year." I must say that Mr Rose has been saying that every yer, but fingers crossed.

The tracks leaked Wednesday take a different direction from Rose's traditional raunchy Sunset Strip-style rock. "Better" has emo/industrial touches mixed with Rose's trademark vocals and hard rock backdrop. "There Was A Time" is a rough studio mix of a power ballad with similarities to GNR's classic "Estranged." "IRS" is closer to the sound of yesteryear, with powerful guitar solos and classic rock flavor.

Rose's manager, Merck Mercuriadis, ordered the Internet sites to remove the links, but declined to comment on them. Fans also sent one of the leaked tracks to radio stations. Mercuriadis said cease-and-desist orders were sent to the stations, but some, such as WAAF in Boston, still had "IRS" in heavy rotation Monday night.

News also surfaced Monday that several music festivals, such as the Rock in Rio-Lisboa and the NovaRock festival in Austria, had booked the band to play in May and June, respectively.

Lisa Reed, wife of keyboard player Dizzy Reed, said on her husband's web site that "all signs point to (the album) getting closer and closer," and she pleaded with fans not to leak the rest of the album.

"It's like shaking all your Christmas presents on the 23rd of December," she wrote, "and figuring out what they are."

Release the album Axl.... It is about time.....

Execution halted.

According to the LA Times. California officials are unable to meet a judge's demand that a lethal injection be overseen by a doctor. Effects on the death penalty are unclear.

Capping a dramatic legal battle that raised questions of medical ethics and the future of lethal injection, California prison officials late Tuesday called off Michael Morales' execution, saying they were unable to comply with a judge's conditions for putting the convicted rapist-murderer to death.

The state's decision means that the execution will be delayed at the very least until early May, and more likely for many months, while the federal court in San Jose conducts a formal evidentiary hearing on the constitutionality of the state's execution procedures.

Although it is unclear whether the continuing legal saga will have a broad effect on the death penalty in California, the U.S. Supreme Court has never found any method of execution unconstitutional. Several experts said the controversy will probably prompt a reexamination of how executions are conducted here and across the country.

Morales was sitting in a prison cell with his Los Angeles attorney, David Senior, when San Quentin spokesman Vernell Crittendon brought them the news that the execution had been called off.

"He was quite relieved to find he was not being executed," Crittendon said. "He smiled and nodded and thanked me." Surprise...The convict gets another couple of free meals on the State and gets more opportunity to try and wiggle out of the death penalty.

It is highly unusual for a death sentence to be stayed in the final hours because of a legal challenge over the method of execution. The May hearing is expected to be the most detailed court examination of the state's execution methods since the switch from use of the gas chamber to lethal injection in 1996.

The Morales furor began a week ago when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel declared that California's three-stage drug cocktail of a sedative, paralytic drug and heart-stopping chemical (the same protocol used in 37 of the 38 states with lethal injection), could mask, rather than eliminate, an inmate's pain during execution.

Fogel said the state would have to modify its execution procedure or he would hold a full hearing on the process in May.

To address his concern, prison officials elected to go forward just after midnight Monday with two doctors on hand to ensure that the sedative would be sufficient to deaden the pain of the heart-stopping drug. Just before the execution, however, the two anesthesiologists balked, saying the procedures forced them into the role of executioner, in violation of their medical ethics. I can understand that the Anesthesiologists backed out of the procedure, as the method was changed putting them in a different position than they expected....

Fogel then said officials could go forward later in the day with a lethal dose of the sedative alone — administered by a licensed medical professional stationed within the execution chamber rather than by the usual "unseen hand" delivering the fatal drugs from another room.

But just two hours before the new, 7:30 p.m. time for the execution, a deputy attorney general told court officials that it had been called off.

San Quentin spokesman Crittendon said the state "was not able to find any medical professionals willing to inject medication intravenously, ending the life of a human being." Surprise Surpirse.

"The warden felt it was not ethical to approach an individual who would potentially be putting their license in jeopardy," Crittendon said. "How would it affect their careers by being involved in the execution process in the manner we've been discussing?"

Tuesday's outcome was applauded by attorney Natasha Minsker, who directs the death penalty project of the American Civil Liberties of Northern California. "We think this is appropriate," she said. "There will be a hearing so both sides can present their evidence. It is a serious issue that needs careful consideration."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which favors the death penalty, said he thought Tuesday's outcome was "an unfortunate result. It is based on a very remote possibility that there is a problem with the procedure. It is unfortunate that this is being done at the last minute."

But he said the delay, while highly unusual, was merely temporary and predicted that it would have no long term consequences on capital punishment.

Crittendon said Morales spent the day in a death-watch cell 15 feet from the execution chamber. At 3:20 p.m., he visited with his lawyers. Then, at 5:45 p.m., he was returned to the more distant death-row cell he had occupied until Monday.

The halting of the execution comes as challenges to the constitutionality of lethal injection are spreading across the country. First adopted by Oklahoma when it enacted a new death penalty law in 1977, lethal injection is now the predominant method of execution across the nation.

Maybe it would be easier to have a shooting squad? A bullet may well be quicker for these criminals than an injection. Either way. This guy has been sentenced and his time is up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Download free Greg Johnson song here

Download this song free from Greg Johnson and spread it around to your friends........


Sunday, February 19, 2006

An interesting name for a Liquor Store.

This photo was taken in Beaver Creek Colorado......

The house in Beaver Creek

This is the house in Beaver Creek. It is over 7000 sq feet and is now in the process of a massive renovation. It will have a different roof, different exterior colour, copper downpipes and guttering and will be very inviting when it is finished. They day I took this photo, it was 1 degree F outside, or -17 C..... CHILLY. The snow is very very powdery.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Greg Johnson making it happen in USA.

Greg is starting to really take off. Link valid for a week.....
Excellent news.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Going to Beaver Creek Colorado

I am off to the airport shortly to fly to Eagle Vail Colorado. I am going to the house in Beaver Creek. We are renovating it, so I need ot whip up there and make sure everything is running smoothly and maybe just maybe get a day in of skiing. The temperature there tonight is expected to reach a low of -11F which is just under -24C. That is going to be a bit rough considering I have the air conditioning on here at the moment in LA.

Blog with you in 5 days or so.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cruising with Lee

This is a bit bad taste, so if you get offended with off color stuff don't look. This is some satire sent to me by my friend Sharon in the light of Lee Tamahori's muck up on Santa Monica BLVD at the beginning of the year........ Bit like leasure suit Larry, except it's Lee. Here

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Iranian President going to Cuba

It appears that Iranian President Mahmoud AhMADinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from President Fidel Castro, in gratitude for Cuba's support of Iran's nuclear program, the official Granma newspaper said on Tuesday. Fidel really must have lost his mind to be siding up with AhMADinejad.

AhMADinejad accepted the invitation in Tehran from Cuban Ambassador Felipe Perez Roque. During his visit, the Iranian leader will attend the September 11-16 Non-Aligned Summit in Havana, the daily said. What an horribly APT time for the Iranian President to be on this side of the world.

On Saturday in Vienna, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria voted against a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over a nuclear program the West suspects is weapons-oriented. SURPRISE SURPRISE.

The Iranian President recently publicly thanked Cuba for its "dignified and principled" position during the IAEA's special meeting, which ended in a 27-3 vote in favour of reporting Iran to the UN council.

Separately, Granma announced that Iranian Parliament President Ghulam Ali Haddad Adel has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from Cuba's National Assembly.

Cuba just doesn't get it...... You'd think that they would use some commom sense and try to prevent dangerous weapons from getting in the hands of what seems to be a rationally unbalanced person.

Governor Schwarzenegger proclaims Feb 6th Ronald Reagan Day.

This is interesting. On February 6th 2006 (Ronald Reagans 95th birthday) Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed that in the State of California Feb 6th will be now known as Ronald Reagan Day..... The proclamation can be seen here on the Governors web site.

Did you know that the first trip that Bill Clinton took when he was President Elect was to California to see President Ronald Reagan to ask for his advice, and show his respect for the former President?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super bowl half time entertainment.

If you viewed the half time entertainment at the super bowl, did you think that the Rolling Stones performance was horrible?

Stephen Harper sworn in as Canada's 22nd PM

According to Stephen Harper was officially sworn in as Canada's 22nd prime minister at a ceremony in Rideau Hall Monday morning, two weeks after he led his Conservative Party to a minority victory over Paul Martin's Liberals.

Clutching his personal Bible, Harper was sworn in by Alex Himelfarb, clerk of the Privy Council, and was presided over by Governor General Michaelle Jean as he took the oath of office.

After keeping news of his cabinet a closely guarded secret, Harper has named a 26-member cabinet (which includes six women) streamlined from Martin's 37.

The most surprising news was the appointment of David Emerson as minister of international trade. Emerson, former industry minister under Paul Martin's Liberal government, crossed the floor to join the Tory cabinet. Interesting, Harper must have pulled out a convincing move for Emerson to do that. He may not be too popular with his constituants who voted in a Liberal MP. Good for the Conservatives though.

Emerson, an MP for the B.C. riding of Vancouver Kingsway, was considered a leadership candidate for the Liberals. He took a prominent role on the issue of softwood lumber in the last government. His acquisition gives the Tory party its only MP in one of the country's major cities.

Emerson received a loud ovation after he swore his oath on Monday morning.
"It is a big score for us, no doubt about it," Tory strategist Tim Powers told CTV. He played down the ethical implications raised by Emerson's party switch, despite the fact that Harper harshly criticized Belinda Stronach when she deserted his party for the Liberals.

As expected, Harper has dropped the post of deputy prime minister. His cabinet includes 10 members from Western Canada, nine from Ontario, one from Manitoba and three from the Maritimes. There is no cabinet member from P.E.I. since no Conservative MPs were elected in that province.

It is interesting to see that there is no Deputy PM, something that I have not heard of before. I guess that Stephen Harper is trying to make changes. Maybe the Deputy could be a threat to his position, so he dropped it.

Good luck Stephen Harper.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl Sunday.

It is superbowl Sunday here in USA. It is nearly a national holiday with people planning who they will be with and where they will be the watch the big game. Advertising is actually watched during the game as the companies put out their best ads of the year at a cost of about $2,500,000 for 30 seconds.

Today the Seattle Seahawks play the favorites the Pittsburgh Steelers in Detroit. I am hoping that the Seahawks win.

The Rolling Stones are entertaining at half time and there is bound to be a few budweisers consumed throughout the country.

Go the Seahawks.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

MacGyver is back

Richard Dean Anderson is back as MacGyver......... Except this time it is for a television credit card add. Anderson will use his credit card to buy everyday products to save someone or something I am sure.

If only they made the tv show again...... Guess he is getting on a bit now, it has been over 20 years since the original show came out.

Air Tahiti-Nui to fly from NY to NZ

According to the NZ Herald today, tourism officials are hoping a new, direct air link between Auckland and New York will help increase the flow of American visitors to New Zealand - this time via tropical Tahiti.

Air Tahiti Nui, the airline of French Polynesia, is about to start using its new long-range Airbus A340-300 aircraft to fly between Auckland and New York, landing only for a short refuelling stop at Papeete.

Travellers previously had to endure a day-long stopover in Tahiti before flying on to the United States. Now touted as the fastest way to travel between New Zealand and New York, this Air Tahiti Nui flight will take 18 hours and 40 minutes.

It takes about 5 1/2 hours to fly from NY to LAX. It takes 12 1/2 hours to fly from LAX to AKL. That means that by the time you change planes and get your luggage it is better to catch the Air Tahiti flight.

New Zealand tourism promoters are getting in on the act, joining forces with Air Tahiti Nui to get New Yorkers, already seduced by Air Tahiti Nui's advertising of beaches and swaying palm trees, to include a New Zealand stop on their holiday.

Airline founder and chief executive Nelson Levy, in Auckland recently to promote the new service, said tourists visiting Tahiti also wanted to make another stop, with New Zealand and Australia popular. He said the shared Polynesian culture between Tahiti and New Zealand was one marketing angle that was used to attract visitors to both countries.

Levy expects the flights, which begin on March 26, to be popular with New Zealanders, who will no longer have to change aircraft and airlines in California, although the lure of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills still appeals to a lot of people.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the Air Tahiti Nui flights were a welcome addition to services connecting the country with the US east coast, the second biggest catchment of American visitors to New Zealand, after California.

He said 20 per cent of US visitors also incorporated a Pacific Island holiday into their trip.

Tourism New Zealand had been speaking to Air Tahiti Nui executives about different promotions combining New Zealand and Tahiti. This was likely to include bringing US-based writers to New Zealand on the flights.

Meanwhile, congestion at Los Angeles is one of the reasons Air New Zealand is finding its flights to San Francisco increasingly popular. In June, it will move to a daily service between the two cities.

LAX seems to be fine every time I fly in and out. I watched the Air NZ 945pm flight leave LAX last night and it was great to see the 747 in its glory on it's was back to Auckland.

Air NZ began flying to San Francisco in June 2004, in part to provide a "second gateway".

Air Tahiti will fly from Auckland three times a week, leaving on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, returning on Monday and Wednesday.

Air New Zealand should try and compete with Qantas and have a flight that goes to NY. Having said that United is ANZ's co share partner has USA covered, although it is nice to have the ANZ service and stay on one plane. I am not sure that there is any direct flights from NY to Hawaii, maybe Air New Zealand could pick that one up although it will still be quicker to take the Air Tahiti flight.

Way to go Air Tahiti-Nui.