Thursday, January 31, 2008

Unique yes, but worth copying?

Last year I did a short blog called "What if everyone was like ….": Asking how we would feel if everyone else was exactly like us. And to which I received the following reply:” I don't want anyone to be like me! I like being unique!”

Whilst I think it is a good point to remember that we are all unique in our own special way, and that we should always be uniquely ourselves, I think that at the same time we have to make sure that we are a unique and valuable part of society too. No one can exist by themselves. I know that there are many times when we wish to be alone, but we also need to be part of the wider society too.

All of us should be making a contribution of some sort with our lives to society at large and to those around us in particular. Being unique and unwanted and unloved and unvalued is not fun. Yes we are to be unique, but on the other hand, we do also, knowingly or unknowingly, set examples for others to follow and my point is, what happens if others around us, started copying us fully? Do you really want to be surrounded by people who are exact or even slightly imperfect copies of us?

You may not want to be copied but you will anyway, whether subconsciously or consciously. Many people will see and hear what you say and do and use your behaviour to justify their own, if it is bad; Others may emulate or even try and better it, if it is good. But what if they copy just our bad points?

Would we, would you, put up with it? Yes we can put up with ourselves because we are unique, but doesn’t that also imply that we should also put up with others who are closely similar to us, rather than brush them off, like I suspect most of us do, because, ”They are too like us”? Well I have had my say. What say you? Walter

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Good Are You At Picking up On Hints?

It has often been said that men are not real good at picking up on hints. Now whether that is true of all men or just a generalization I don’t really know, but I do know it is very true of me.

Whether or not I am genetically unable to pick up on hints or whether I just have other things on my mind at the time, I don’t really know, but I do know that it really is not wise to drop hints to me. Not even very broad ones. Basically, if you want something from me, ask for it! Don’t hint about it, just ask. Mostly, if I can, I will help or give you what you want, but please don’t hint. “ I just don’t normally get hints.

Now, what about you? You may be good at hinting or think you have hinted enough, and sometimes it may even work, but mostly hints go over my head as I have been led to believe they do with most men. So what about you? Are you a hinter and then get disappointed when your Hints go unrewarded? Well don’t be too disappointed or take it too personally. It may not be really that people are ignoring you but just that like me, that they just don’t get them in the first place.

So if you have tried hinting in the past, and especially to men, and it hasn’t worked, then try something really, really radical, and ask outright and upfront. That way they will have no excuse not to have gotten the message. Sure they may still say no, but you won’t die wondering if they got the hint or not, will you? What say you? Walter

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big Fish Small Pond - Positives.

In earlier blogs I wrote about the negatives of keeping bigger fish in a small pond, today I am going to mention the positives, using not fish for my example but an old obscure Roger Miller song called, ‘Kansas City Star.”
In that song the singer was offered “a
better job at higher wages, expenses
paid and a car”. All of which he turned
down because although the offer was
good and far superior to what he
already had in many respects.
He turned it down because in the words
of the song, “But I'm on TV here locally
and I can't quit, I'm a star.”
He couldn’t take the better job because
although in the bigger scheme of things
he was only a minnow, in his old place
he was a big fish. He was ‘’The Star”.
It is the same with biggish fish in a
small tank. There they stand out, where
as if you put them in a bigger tank with
bigger fish, they just get lost in the back
Sometimes our lives are like that too,
aren’t they? We all want to swim in the
big tank with the big fish, but when we
get the chance, we often find it is not
what we expected and wish we had
never left our small tank.
Sometimes we just have to be like the
guy in Roger’s song and really evaluate
just what we would have to give up to
get “higher wages, expenses paid and
a car”. Is what we will get, really worth
giving up all that we currently have?
Yes sometimes it truly will be better for
us to be in a bigger tank with more
potential for growth, but often we are
better off where we already are. The
secret is in knowing that fact.
 What about you now? Are you happy
where you are? If so, then stay there.
If not then move to the bigger tank, but
remember often there is no going back,
so do be 100% sure before you move:
(Roger Miller)
 Roger Miller
 Got a letter just this mornin' it was postmarked Omaha 
It was typed and neatly written offerin' me this better job 
Better job at higher wages, expenses paid and a car 
But I'm on TV here locally and I can't quit, I'm a star 
 Hah-ha I come on the TV a-grinnin,' wearin' pistols and a hat 
It's a kiddy show and I'm a hero of the younger set 
I'm the number one attraction at every supermarket parkin' lot 
I'm the king of Kansas City, no thanks, Omaha, thanks a lot 
 Kansas City star, that's what I are 
Yodel-leedle lay-dee, you oughta see my car 
I drive a big old Cadillac with wire wheels, 
Got rhinestones on the spokes 
I got credit down at the grocery store 
And my barber tells me jokes 
I'm the number one attraction at every supermarket parkin' lot 
I'm the king of Kansas City, no thanks to Omaha, thanks a lot 
 Kansas City star, that's what I are 
Yodel-leedle lay-dee, you oughta see my car 
I drive a big old Cadillac with wire wheels, 
Got rhinestones on the spokes 
I got credit down at the grocery store 
And my barber tells me jokes 
I'm the number one attraction at every supermarket parkin' lot 
I'm the king of Kansas City, no thanks to Omaha, thanks a lot 
 SPOKEN: Stay tuned, we're gonna have a Popeye cartoon in a minute 

Monday, January 28, 2008

Are We All Just Too Sensitive These Days?

Today I would like to tell you the story of the three Little Pigs. I would like too, but I can’t! You see, some have now decided that that story is too insensitive to both Muslims and Builders!

A digital version of the story, called “Three Little Cowboys Builders” in Britain, won an education resource award, but was rejected for another award run by the British Government’s technology agency for schools. Apparently the judging panel rejected the story because it was concerned it would offend both Muslims and builders.

They rejected the book because the use of pigs raised cultural issues and that it implied all builders were cowboys; that builders got their work blown down, and that builders were like pigs.

Now I do realise that it would not hurt if we were all a little more sensitive to others, but there is a limit and one has to draw the line somewhere. I mean if Pigs are really offensive to Muslims (As they are also to Jews,) should we not then ban pigs altogether and wipe every single pig off the face of the earth and remove every mention of them from every book and movie etc? I mean that seams to be the only end for their logic to me!

The other point that comes to mind is that as the story of the three pigs and their self-built houses have been around now for hundreds of years, so why is it only now that they are objectionable?

Again, if we follow this logic to its natural end, we soon will not be able to write or say anything about anyone from any other group or profession other than the one we are in, for fear of upsetting someone somewhere. Fair is fair, I know, but don’t push it to extremes, says I. What say you?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Are you Too Sensitive?

A few months, back a tearful person was very upset with me because I had written to their friend twice in the previous week, but not to them, and thus confronted me about my neglect of themselves. However when I explained that I only wrote to their friend rather than visit because I had not been too well, and explained that despite the fact that I hadn’t written to them, I had not only rang but had visited that upset person personally twice in that same time, even once when I was still not really that well, they were much happier.

As well, I explained that I felt it was the person that only got the letters that should have been upset at only getting letters and not personal visits. (Yeah well maybe a letter from me may be preferred to a personal visit!) Anyway, when it was explained properly, the upset person was happy again, realising that there was no real slight but that the perceived slight was only in their own perception and not in reality.

Recently in the papers there was a story about Paul McCartney and his wife having a spat, as she perceived that his expression of “Have a Merry Christmas” was sarcastic and aimed at her. I wasn’t there so can not say one way or the other, but I do think it dangerous to make drastic conclusions on just one or two examples and we always need to see everything in the wider context of things.

In the case of the McCartney’s going through a bitter and prolonged divorce, there may be some strong reasons to see it as sarcasm, but not necessarily. In my own case with the upset person, although they too were extremely upset, when all the facts were known was able to see the truth as it really was.

Forget the McCartneys and my upset friend for now, and look at yourself. Are you too, a little on the too sensitive side? Maybe with some good reason in the past too? But don’t let the past colour or influence the present and future. Before you judge now, even based on past experience, please check everything out according to present realities. Sometimes your first impression will be right, on other occasions wrong. On other occasions, often your initial reaction will make it happen when it otherwise wouldn’t.

My upset friend took the letters as a sign of my rejecting them, when in fact I had given her more than the two letters that her friend received in lieu of my not being able or well enough to visit them. So before you react or make judgement based on perceived slights or rejections, get all the facts, because just maybe it is not them rejecting you, but you rejecting a genuine friends genuine but clumsy attempts to reach out to you. What say you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Second Opinions often Help.

The other day I needed to go to our Kids place to borrow a Drill while they were not home. So I e-mailed them all at work asking if there was anything they wanted while I was there, half expecting a certain result. Which I got from my first-born! (See Safety Restraints.)

However I got one from my son that I wasn’t expecting. They are in the process of re-painting the inside of the house and he had just repainted the joining wall in the lounge Dining Room area and wanted my opinion if the last coat was sufficient on the one wall which had previously been a light blue. He was wondering if the Blue was still coming through or whether that was just his imagination.

Well when I saw it I too decided that that wall at least needed a second coat as I too could see the blue coming through.

Some times we just do need a second opinion because sometimes we are just too close to things to see them in their true colours. (Pardon the unintended Pun!)

Sometimes we will need to do further work on things, but on others it will be fine, and is just that we are too picky and actually seeing things that no one else can or ever will see.

So if in doubt about something, always seek a second opinion from someone whose opinion you do trust and from someone who should actually know about the subject in question. Again, what say you? Walter

Friday, January 25, 2008

Safety Restraints.

The other day I needed to go to our Kids place to borrow a Drill while they were not home. So I e-mailed them all at work asking if there was anything they wanted while I was there, half expecting a certain result. Sure enough the oldest e-mailed back saying, not really, but while you are there you can take the dog(s) for a walk.

So when I got there I tried to put their harnesses on. On all other occasions, they or their mother always put the harness on and so I really didn’t know how to do it and with two frisky dogs jumping all over me I soon gave up and clipped their leads to their Collars and completely forgot about the harnesses, and so off we went, with me wondering how it would go as the little one in particular (George) is a real “Puller” and the other one just likes to keep up! (I have written earlier about “The power of Two Little Dogs.)

However after the first 100 metres or so George must have realised that his pulling so hard against the collar was restricting his breathing too much, and that it was much smarter for him not to pull so hard, and the rest of the walk was a real pleasure.

Since then, my wife and I were up there again and took them for another walk, this time with their harnesses on. Well, they (George particularly) almost pulled my arm off, and I couldn’t help but wish I had him just on the collar again because the Harness was just not correcting his pulling. (The girls use the harness for the leads and not the collars, as this is more comfortable for the dogs!)

As I thought on this, I wondered how many other safety devices there are, that we don’t use because they are not comfortable or restrict us too much. A bit like speed limits and such, we understand why they are there and all, but resent their restrictions upon us and will try and ignore them when we can.

This is just another reminder that these safety restraints are there for our ultimate Good, even if we can’t always see that at the time. So rather than ignore the safety restraints available to you, make the most of them and use them for what they were designed for: Your Safety.

Anyhow that’s my thought for today: have a safe year: Walter

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Little Black Ants

Although my usual policy is live and let live, there are exceptions to that rule. One I have just had to implement. When we moved into this place a few months back, we did notice that there were a lot of little black ants outside. Now as long as they stayed outside, we didn’t bother them. Only when they tried to come inside did we try and prevent that, but otherwise basically left them alone outside, under the theory derived from my Mum during my childhood that little ants did not bite, only the big ones did!

Well that seemed to be true too of our Little Black ants here. Well at least until recently when we discovered that they do indeed bite and are quite painful too.

Well that was the end of trying to live and let live with our little black ants, and so a regime of total eradication has begun. Whether total eradication is really possible remains to be seen, but serious attempts are being made and currently being followed up, to totally eradicate them as a present and possible future threat.

Had they not started biting, then the peace would have continued, but not so now! And I couldn’t help wondering if many of our social relationships are a bit like that? You know, everything is going along fine and people getting along even if not totally connected to one another, and then suddenly one side starts intruding on the other and one side starts fighting back, only to have the bigger (and not necessarily the party in the right) starting a total eradication programme to get rid of the one who started the fight, although often not the original problem.

What is the answer to this situation? I don’t know! I was hoping you could tell me. But something will need doing unless one side is to be completely destroyed or removed! What say you? Catch you later: Walter

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Melbourne Airport. My Reflected Glory.

Was reading recently in the Paper about a $330M revamp to Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine). It will be the biggest upgrade to the Airport since it was opened in 1970.

Ordinarily this would not interest me at all even though I have flown in and out of there a few times in the past. I was interested to learn that it deals with four and a half million International passengers a year. That is nearly a quarter of the whole population of Australia, which is impressive to me!

Otherwise, I would not normally be interested at all and certainly not enough to have even normally read the article! No, not normally, but now my interest there is through my son, who worked as a draftsman for an Architectural firm doing some of the Architectural work there.

So, through my son was only a minor link-peg in the whole chain, I can claim a connection (even if only a very small and tenuous one) with this major work.

Pathetic, isn’t it? But, how often do you do the same? How often do you claim a connection to something you have no real interest in or any real connection too, but just want to share the reflected Glory from whatever connection, no matter how slender or trivial?

It seems we all wish to be connected, albeit ever so slightly, to something big and look for ways of doing that and sometimes neglecting things that what we should be doing, that which we are good at, and that which needs doing, just because we don’t deem them big enough to attract the attention we desire.

Well, sad as it may be, not all of will ever do big things or even one so-called big thing! No we may never do anything big, or even play a part in something big like this, but all of us can continue and do what we are doing in a big way, can’t we? Sure we may never get the fame, glory or admiration of the masses, but we can at least get satisfaction for doing what we can, can’t we?

Remember we may never get the attention of the masses, but if we do our jobs properly people will notice. On the other hand, if we don’t do our jobs properly, many more will not only notice but comment on it too, won’t they!

But I don’t think that that is the attention we really crave is it? What say you?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Newspaper. Home delivered or get it yourself?

Many years ago my wife and I walked quite a lot, but after she broke her ankle in 3 places she had never been keen to do so since. Well until lately that is.

When I worked at the Newsagency, I always picked up a paper at work, but since changing Jobs, we have had to get it from a local shop. It was either that, or get it Home-Delivered, but as we were often out in the car or I would walk to the nearby shop, Home Delivery was never given much thought.

Also, since our move, we have a shop even closer and I started going there for a bit of exercise and the love of a walk and to enjoy the beauty of our new surroundings, However we soon discovered that they often sell out of papers early and we were not always early in going out, so we started going to a nearby Supermarket.

Going the long way and making a circuit of it, it is close to 4 Kilometres and a good daily exercise. Sometimes we even do it when we already have the paper just for the exercise. Since the move, my wife has started to join me in these regular walks. And in fact often they would not be regular walks, if one or the other didn’t encourage the other. Sometimes one just does not feel like going but goes anyway because the other wants to.

That is the advantage of teaming up with one or more when doing something that you might otherwise find hard to keep at by yourself. By yourself it is easy to get discouraged or distracted, but with one or more extra in your team, you build up and encourage one another and keep on at it.

Are you thinking of taking up a new activity or exercise where you feel you may not be able to keep it up? Then look to doing it with others on a regular, even if not daily, routine. Look for a team to both encourage you and to be encouraged by you.

Separately you may all fail or fall away from the task, but as part of a team, you will be more inclined to stick at it even if only to not embarrass yourself by being the first to drop out. So, what team and what activity will you undertake this year?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bubonic plague Is Still Around.

According to my Newspaper, the plague that had devastated medieval Europe hundreds of years back, is now re-emerging and spreading into more countries recently, with fears it will soon move into Africa.

It seems that the Bacteria, “Yersinia Pestis”, otherwise known as the Bubonic Plague or Black Death, has not only never been totally eradicated but is in fact making a bit of a comeback with up to 200 people a year for the last 20 years, succumbing to it.

As well as causing Bubonic Plague, usually spread by fleas and rodents; Yersinia Pestis also causes the more dangerous Pneumonic plague which, is also highly contagious, and spread by coughing or sneezing. Both forms can kill in days if not treated with antibiotics. And thus can spread very quickly, particularly in over crowded populations with poor health conditions to start with.

As it has not made it to Australia to my knowledge, I am not too worried about succumbing to the Plague any time shortly, but I couldn’t help wondering how many other dangerous things there are still out there, that we are just not giving enough care and attention too.

It seems to me that often we don’t start worrying about some potentially dangerous thing or problem, until it is too late and once given a head start, it spreads rapidly like the Plague.

So today’s message is just a reminder to us all, myself included, whilst not becoming paranoid, to re-assess what we are currently doing and how we do it. Checking for all health and safety measures that will hopefully prevent future pain and suffering and possible death. Again, what say you?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dreaming. Good or Bad thing.

In my, “New Palm Tree Discovered in Madagascar” blog told you how this “gigantic pyramid– shaped plant was discovered accidentally by a French family walking in remote north-western Madagascar”. I also mentioned that "as fascinating as the plant itself is to me, I was also amazed that something so large could remain undiscovered for so long”.

Now all this, as well as giving us the encouragement to continue along in our own struggles for recognition and discovery, should also encourage us all to also keep our eyes open to and for the other new discoveries still out there, and not become to self-focused on ourselves.

Remember too, that there are still things and people out there, waiting to be discovered, so don’t give up thinking that there is nothing out there for you to discover too. There is, if you keep looking and have eyes to recognise what you see, when you do see it.

Actually I am jealous of that French family! That could have been me! Not really, but we were planning on going to Madagascar as Missionaries back around mid 1988 to 1989.

History shows that we went to Transkei (In South Africa) in late 1990 instead. Had we gone to Madagascar, it could have been an Australian and not a French family, who found that palm, couldn’t it? Well I can dream can’t I? No harm in that is there?

Well yes there can be, if that is all I do, Dream! It is right and good that we all have our dreams, but those dreams should also be realistic and we should also and always, be striving towards making those dreams come true. Just thinking about going to Madagascar, didn’t get us there did it? (Not that I have any regrets whatsoever, about going to Transkei instead!) But do follow your dreams and not just dream about them! If I may be so bold to ask, what is your dream for the future and how can you help create the conditions to help bring it about?

That is my closing question for today, “What can you do now, to make your Dreams come True.” And why aren’t you doing it?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Palm Tree Discovered in Madagascar.

I have always been a bit of a “Plant Nut”. (Got it from my parents, I think!) Anyway Recently I saw an old second-hand book called “The Plant Hunters” by Tyler Whittle, and all about the collection and later commercial introduction to the rest of the world, of all the then rare plants that we now consider common.

As it was very cheap I bought the book and it is a fascinating read, although rather quaint in some of its language despite being first published as recently as 1970. Reading it I kind of got the impression that most new plants had long been discovered except maybe for a few smaller mosses and such, which may occasionally be discovered from time to time. But it certainly seemed that all the big trees, plants and shrubs had all been long discovered and named.

But not so according to my Herald Sun Newspaper. For on the 18th of January, they had an item about a “Not so jolly green giant,” which turns out to be “a new enormous species of palm whose bizarre life cycle requires the plant to kill itself after it has flowered.

The gigantic pyramid– shaped plant was discovered accidentally by a French family walking in remote north-western Madagascar. The palms trunk is over 18m high and its leaves are an extraordinary 5m in diameter, which would make them the largest flowering plants. …It is not only a new species, but also a new Genus.”

It goes on to say “the plant grows to dizzying heights before the stem tip bursts into branches of hundreds of tiny flowers which become nectar rich fruit. Once it has fruited, the entire tree collapses.”

As fascinating as the plant itself is to me, I was also amazed that something so large could remain undiscovered for so long. This should give us all some encouragement as we struggle along in our jobs and lives looking for recognition and discovery, to just hang on in there. If we are truly unique we will be eventually discovered.

The main thing is to lean from this Palm tree and not die off before we are discovered. It is probably due to its unique feature of dieing after flowering, as much as its remoteness that has stopped it being discovered long before this.

So don’t be like the Palm tree and give up and stop, but keep on keeping on until your true worth is discovered and appreciated and given its true recognition. So even if you are feeling a little down and even un-loved, hang on in there and keep on flowering to your best –even if it kills you! It may take a long time and it may seem like forever but if you are unique then you will be eventually discovered. Again hang on in there. That’s my advice for today and your whole life for that matter. Walter

Friday, January 18, 2008

Canadian Cast Offs.

Reading the Newspaper recently I noticed that many American towns and shopping centres near the Canadian Border were having problems with Canadians leaving their clothes behind. Recently the Canadian Dollar has soared to around parity with the American dollar and so, many cashed up Canadians are going across the Border into the US and picking up some cheap shopping bargains. However there is a problem.

The problem? Well apparently there is a Duty Tax to be paid on new Clothing entering Canada, and so the Canadians are going across the Border into the US and buying the new clothes and then wearing them home. Thus many change rooms, car parks, toilets and shopping centres are being scattered with a plethora of old clothing. So much so that many places are now putting out clothing collection Bins for this used Clothing and the rejected Clothing is getting a new life in Charity shops and the like.

I like this article because it shows a creative response to a growing litter problem while at the same time providing either income for the Charity Stores or clothes for the needy. Kinda what I call a “win-win” situation all around, don’t you think?

I also wonder how often we take the easy way out (like just leaving the clothes anywhere) rather than look for a win-win situation (like the clothing Bins and their subsequent distribution).

So as you look around you at any cast offs you might have, please look for a win-win answer rather than just dumping it anywhere.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Johnny Depp’s Gratitude.

I like stories where people give a little back of what they have received. I like it even better when they try and do it quietly and without publicity. It doesn’t always work out that way as Johnny Depp found out recently.

He recently arrived unexpectedly at a renowned London Hospital that saved his daughter’s life last year. A week earlier he had 5 of their Doctors and Nurses to the premier of his latest film in England. (Sweeny Todd.)

However his most recent spontaneous way of saying thank you, was nearly a Million times better. Yes, unannounced and unwarrantedly, he donated One Million English Pounds to the Hospital. Now that is really saying thank you isn’t it? I mean he didn’t have to give them anything, did he? I’m sure he paid his Bill last time around and therefore there was no real need (Other than genuine gratitude) for him to do what he did is there?

How can we learn from Johnny Depp? Sure, very few of us are ever going to have a spare Million quid or two, hanging around to give away, but I am sure all of us can show our real gratitude to others in a tangible way, even if not with money.

The thing is, in my view at least, is to do it, or at least try and do it, quietly and not for show or publicity like many do. If someone has helped you in the past, even if (like with Johnny’s daughter’s Hospital Bill,) you have paid for it, try doing something extra. Not for publicity or to big note yourself, simply out of gratitude and do it as quietly as you can. What say you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

L. A. & Joh’burg.

On the Night of January 12th there was an armed robbery by a single crook brandishing a pistol at a Gambling joint, which was caught on Security footage. One picture of it made the Next day’s Front Page of the Melbourne Age News paper. And above the picture in very large type was the heading, “ Detroit? L A? Joh’burg? No! Melbourne!”

It wasn’t the sensational headline that caught my attention so much, but the mention of Joh’burg. It was obvious to me that the writer of the headline, had obviously spent enough time in South Africa, if not Johannesburg itself, to feel comfortable in using the local (To South Africa) term for their City, but I couldn’t help wondering if most of the Melbourne Age’s readers caught the connection, and how many would have thought that Joh’Burg was another city in its own right, somewhere.

It reminded me of a similar incident while we were in South Africa. It was at the time that the TV series L A Law was being shown on South African Television for the first time and it was being heavily promoted on the relevant T V Station. It really was quite funny listening to a TV Overhead Announcer come on encouraging everyone to watch” LA(R) Law”.

From these two incidents I couldn’t help but wonder that when we speak or write something, whether other people properly understand or know what we are talking about? Sure we do, but do others? It is not enough that we know what we are talking about. Whilst that is very important, it is even more so to make sure that people are really hearing what we think we are saying.

So this is just a little reminder to us all, myself especially, to make sure that we are always clear in what we are trying to get across, and if we do use Local idioms or slang, to make sure our audience also understands them, otherwise rather than help or enlighten, we will confuse them at best, and at worst come across as total idiots. What say you?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

English Grown Coffee.

A few weeks back I read in our Daily Newspaper (Herald Sun), how English Chef Jamie Oliver was going to dispense from one of his restaurants, about 50 cups of coffee made from the beans of the first coffee ever grown and harvested in England. In case you didn’t know, the cold climate there is not conducive to growing coffee and special efforts had to be made to do so.

This does not prove that it is profitable or practical to grow Coffee in England. Only that you can do it if you set your mind to it and can afford the cost of both money and time to do it.

And for what? 50 cups of Coffee!

Many things are possible in this day and age, but not all are practical or worth the effort are they? What about what we are doing? Sometimes it is good to try and do things that have never been done before but often they have no other value than self gratification and one has to wonder why they are done and to what benefit? (Much can be achieved from initial efforts but I have already covered that in my recent blog on Sir Edmund Hillary.)

So yes, it is quite an achievement to grow Coffee in England, but what good is that going to be, if it is not viably profitable to continue to do so? Doing something to show that it can be done is one thing but to what ultimate end? What long-term achievement, will come out of this achievement? I can’t believe that it will ever be viably economical to grow coffee commercially in England, so apart from proving it can be done, and the immediate novelty value of it, what real benefits will arise from this venture?

I guess time will tell about that, but what about our achievements? What are we trying to achieve and to what benefit? Ours or the communities? Will we do things for the benefit of others or just for our own? Will we do things for their novelty value, or for some real value? Will we waste resources on doing what has already been done or will we try something new? These are the questions that I will be asking myself about all my endeavours for this year. What about you?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary.

The man regarded by some as “the most famous New Zealander in history”, Sir Edmund Hillary, died on January 11th at the ripe old age of 88. In case you can’t remember back that far, on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, were the first people to climb Mt Everest and return alive to tell the world. (For a while no one even knew who was really the first to reach the summit as the two of them made a pact to say they reached it together.) People today still climb Mt Everest, because in the words of George Mallory an earlier climber, (who died trying to conquer it), “Because it is there”.

Many have climbed it successfully since. Some 1,700, I believe, but some still die trying each year. Much money and effort and even lives are spent on trying to climb it again, but to what advantage, other than to say that you have done it? (Which I have to admit is something most of us will never do.)

However Sir Hillary (Or Sir Ed as he was afffectionaly known by his friends,) was different. Not only was he the first to climb it, but also he seems to be one of few, who really cared about the mountain or the people there. Not only did he climb it 1st but later he went back and did charity work in Nepal, including cleaning up some of the mess left by later climbers. He also set up a trust called the Himalayan Trust that established many schools and clinics in the remote Solu Khumba district of Nepal and which also helped establish the region’s two main airstrips.

Sir Edmund was not only the first to climb Mt Everest but one of the few (along with his son Peter, who also climbed Everest many years later,) to do something constructive with his fame and achievements, for the others involved in that endeavour. He never forgot all the Sherpas and local people that helped make his climb possible. And in the 50 plus years since, he had worked tirelessly and largely unannounced, to help them in practical life changing ways. So much so that the people there, think of him as their second father still!

What about us? We may never climb Mt Everest. (Well I won’t that’s for sure!) But there are many other things that we can do, and when we have achieved them, what then? We can either keep all the glory and all the gold, for ourselves? Or we can be like Sir Edmund, who grateful for the help he had received in achieving what he had, not only reluctantly accepted that he was the first but also shared his glory and Gold with others in practical ways.

In what practical ways can you help those around you that have helped you over the years? No matter how many years ago!

New Zealand’s Prime minister said this,” He was a heroic figure who not only knocked off Everest but lived a life of determination, humility and generosity.” We may never “knock off” Everest or any other mountain for that matter, but let people say of you, that you too “ lived a life of determination, humility and generosity”. Life is more than one single achievement, no matter how big; so like Sir Ed, let yourself be remembered more for your whole life, than for just one single achievement. What say you?

Sunday, January 13, 2008


As said in previous Blogs, my Blogger friend Lynx and I exchange e-mails on occasion, and part of the most recent was this: “Between the two of us we've tackled almost every issue there is to tackle, big and small. It's not something two little bloggers half the world away from each other can normally say, but between the two of us, we've tackled it all. You stick to the small stuff normally, which is good cause I'm not so good on that end (part of my personality I guess), and I go after politics etc.”

In my last item I spoke of the importance of the small things. Here I wish to look at the Subject of politics. As I said in my first blog on this e-mail, there is only so much and so many subjects that one person can successfully cover by themselves. So there comes a time where you have to decide what is the most important to you and spend most of your time covering that. Sure if you have time to cover other subjects too, then fine, do that too, but not to the risk of your preferred field.

Thus the reason I don’t normally discuss political things is not that I don’t have strong political view, but that the things I do find time to write about, are more important to me than many other things including Politics. (In fact it is probably good that I don’t write on things political, as Lynx and I are basically at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our personal political views.)

As well, it is not that I have no interest in politics, but that I have seen in my nearly 40 years of voting that, even when the party you prefer wins, they don’t always do what you agree with either, and so unless you are prepared to be really involved and join a party or such, one really has little chance of changing much, no matter who you vote for. (And here in Australia, you have to vote. It is compulsory!).

So rather than waste my time and energies on subjects I have little real influence on, I much prefer doing and taking care of the little things that I can directly influence, rather than comment on something that I don’t have a strong connection too or feel as strongly about.

What about you? Are you directing your time and energies into areas where you can have a direct influence, like me with my little things, and Lynx with her political views? If you want to make a difference and a change in this world, don’t just talk about it but get involved personally and practically, even if only at a small level. So continuing the New Year’s challenge of late, “What Little thing can you do now, whether for a political Party or some other cause?”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Small Stuff In A Big Way.

As said in a previous Blog, my American Blogger friend Lynx and I exchange e-mails on occasion, and part of the most recent was this: “Between the two of us we've tackled almost every issue there is to tackle, big and small. It's not something two little bloggers half the world away from each other can normally say, but between the two of us, we've tackled it all. You stick to the small stuff normally, …” In my last item I spoke of the advantages of Teamwork. Here I wish to look at the Subject of small things.

Some have said that if you take care of all the little things while they are little, then there will be no big problems later. I think that this is great advice having seen what happens when living in a culture where maintenance seems to be a foreign concept. When the first screw fell out of the hinge, nothing was done. When all the screws fell out of the Hinge nothing was done. When the hinge came off, nothing was done. When the other hinge broke, again nothing was done for as while; until someone did do something. They stole the door! This was on a schoolroom used daily and it was without a door for a couple of years after that, so don’t despise or neglect the small things.

Many years ago, shortly after I became a Christian at the age of 29, I bought a wall hanger that resonated with me. It said, “Lord, I may never do any big thing, but help me to do little things in a big way.”

That has always been part of my philosophy ever since and I have found that it works for me.

Oh sure all of us would love to do or to have done, something big that others will always remember, but remember many people also notice and appreciate the small things you do too, and judge you more on them than on any big thing you may do.

So never despise the little things and take care of them before they become large problems. Do the little things as of they were big things and see what happens.

So again as we are starting of another New Year, ask yourself, “What little things can I do this year or even this month, in a BIG Way?”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Teamwork verses Individualism.

My dear American Blogger friend Lynx and I exchange e-mails on occasion, and this was the most recent that intrigued me:

”Oh it's no problem Walter. Between the two of us we've tackled almost every issue there is to tackle, big and small. It's not something two little bloggers half the world away from each other can normally say, but between the two of us, we've tackled it all. You stick to the small stuff normally, which is good cause I'm not so good on that end (part of my personality I guess), and I go after politics etc, and here in the US there's no shortage of that! I'm trying to compose a piece about what's going on in Pakistan right now but I just don't know where to go, it's so confusing. But that just may be where I end up going with the blog.”

Just reading that has inspired me with a few thoughts that I will blog on. The first one will be as the title implies on teamwork.

As Lynx says we hare half the world away on different continents and in different Hemispheres. We are not only of different nationalities but also of different gender and even generations, and even different political leanings; yet we can still work as a team encouraging and inspiring each other with thoughts and ideas for further blogs. As also stated, we cover different topics or fields and thus cover a wider area with our blogs than if we worked independently or competitively.

Not any one person in this world can cover every area that often needs to be covered and so it helps not only the work but you too, if you work co-operatively rather than competitively.

It is not that we have set out to work together or to a certain plan, just that our two styles and general concerns, compliment rather than conflict with one another, and between the two of us we are covering a wider area of content than either of us could individually. And as we are not competitive to each other, we encourage and inspire, rather than contradict or sabotage each other’s inspiration.

By and large our reader market are markedly different too but between us, we are able to encourage one another to continue in our chosen areas of interest and concern.

What about you today? Are you fighting a lonely battle without support and need a little help and inspiration? Well look for and be open to, help from others.

Hopefully you will be able to find similar kindred spirits to you a little closer than the other side of the world, but accept it form wherever and whomever, it comes.

Who can you team up with this year, to both encourage and inspire your present sphere of influence and who can help you spread that present field of influence further? Don’t look for carbon copies of you but for those who compliment and fulfil your present talents and dreams. What say you? Walter

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Weather Swap? No thank you! Change? Yes!

My American Blogger friend Lynx and I exchange e-mails from time to time, and lately the main topic has been about our respective weather. It seems that her part of America is going through another cold spell and we here in Victoria, Australia, are going through another heat wave. Today, as I post this, it is predicted that today and tomorrow will both be 41Celsius! (Far too hot for me!!!!!!!!!!

I did at an earlier stage, ask her to send us some of their extra rain over there, and lately also some of their cooler weather.

She replied, “I’ll trade you ANYDAY... cold hurts!” To which I replied, “I'm not sure I would totally swap but I would quite happily agree to a mix of the two and accepting the common medium of the two.”

What about you? Sometimes when we are up against something and looking for a change we are tempted to go to extreme extremes aren’t we? Maybe I am the only one here but I don’t think so! Do you? Yes often we tend to go from one extreme to the other in the things we do, and often end up little better off, if not indeed worse than we were! And I am not talking about the weather here! Often we are so desperate for change that we make it rushed, unwisely and often foolishly, when in fact what we need to do, is to find a comfortable situation somewhere in the middle.

With the weather, (apart from migrating to a more suitable place,) there is little we can do. But often in our lives, we do have more say, yet still often tend to go to extremes instead of searching for the middle ground don’t we?

What about you now? Are you looking for a change? Well change can be good and beneficial, just be careful in making your choice and don’t fall for one extreme or the other but seek the happy medium, when the choice is up to you. What say you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cousins! 1st? 2nd? & Who removed them anyway?

The other day on the TV, I heard that two of the American Presidential nominees were 9th cousins. Growing up through life I have occasionally come across people who would refer to this or that person as a 2nd or 3rd cousin or some such and some of them even being so many times removed. However I never knew how they worked out this complicated system and why they were removed in the first place!

In fact I had trouble-finding people who could accurately tell me who my cousins children were to me, and what their children were to my children. Various people had various theories and compilations. In the end it seemed too confusing to me and I stopped thinking about it. Until the other day that is when reading a local version of an English Paper (International Express, Australian Edition 1-7 Jan 2008)

Reading their “Questions Answered” Section, I came across this answer: “This third-cousin-once-removed business is not as confusing as it seems. If two people share a grandparent but not a parent, then they are first cousins. If they share a great- grandparent but not a grandparent, then they are second cousins. And so on, adding one for each generation you have to go back to find a common ancestor.

The once-removed or twice removed business comes when the people are on different levels in the family tree, each removal representing one level difference. So your first cousin’s children are your first cousins once removed.”

So now I know that my cousins children are my first cousins once removed and their children, my first cousins twice removed! Likewise my cousin’s children and my children are 2nd cousins. Simple when explained isn’t it?

Yet how often do we go through life confused by seemingly complicated things, when in fact they are very simple and easy to understand once you know the proper rules?

{Now here all I need is someone to come along and complicate things by saying, “Well that’s how they do it in England but here, we do it differently!” In fact I do know that In South Africa the Africans refer to their first cousins as their brothers and sisters, which can make things confusing to us westerners! But back to my blog.}

How often are we confused by simple things that seem confusing but aren’t when eventually checked out? How often do we ignore theses seemingly confusing things and never try and find out properly, because (we feel) it is not worth the bother, and yet still share our ignorance of what we think we know, to others and thereby confuse them with conflicting or misleading information?

So this year why not try to resolve to not pass on information that you are not 100% sure of, and to also check out the confusing things in your life, no matter how trivial or unimportant they may seem to you now.

This year resolve to not be confused by the simple, and not to confuse others with your ignorance or faulty information.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Positive reporting.

Recently I was reading the Annual Report from the Church Denomination (Africa Evangelical Church) that we had worked under whilst in Transkei and South Africa last century and very early this one, and came across the following recommendations:

Look for positive things that will encourage people to pray for you. Sell your Christian life in style as AEC member. Do not be wishy-washy and hanky-panky! Negative reporting turns people away. Share what is worth sharing and keep those things that might be sensitive and handle them with skill.” (Taken From AEC 2007 Annual Report.)

Just temporarily removing the Christian content (and the African Grammar,) for a moment, I thought that it was very good advice for all of us, irregardless of our spiritual involvement, or lack thereof!

· I believe it will do no one any harm if we always look for good and positive things to focus our thoughts on, instead of worrying about all the negative things.

· I also believe that none of us should ever sell ourselves short as valuable members of the Human race, with something genuinely important to give to the world at large. Therefore we should not be unwarrantedly ashamed of ourselves or our place in society

· I also believe many valuable opportunities are lost to the world because we are so wishy-washy that we can’t make up our minds whether to do something or not. We may have the world’s greatest invention in our minds, but it will help no one if we do nothing with it.

· However sometimes we do get involved with Hanky-panky of some kind or another and distracted form our original and beneficial gaols and end up hurting people rather than helping anyone.

· Whilst there is great danger in always looking through Rose Coloured Glasses, there is the other danger of only ever seeing danger and missing the opportunities also available.

· When it comes to sharing, it seems all we ever want to share is the rubbish and the unhelpful, but not the beneficial and helpful. Let us all be more selective in what we share and why.

· Whilst we should always speak the truth, we should do it in love and not in a hurtful or spiteful way. And sometimes we should only share the truth when asked or not at all.

· Sometimes it will have to be said whether you want to or not, and those are the times where you will need skill, tack, patience, and even a thick skin yourself, because often the truth is so painful that people refuse to see it and not only reject it, but you too. But if we truly love or care for them than that should not stop us trying to help.

So what about you this year? Are you going to be as positive as you can? Or do I hear a negative response there?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mt Cook. One Time Too Many.

An experienced Mountain Guide (Anton Woperies) died in a fall on Mt Cook in New Zealand on New Year’s Day. Anton was not new at his job. He had climbed the 3754 Metre Mountain some 28 times successfully before. Just not this time. The paper did not say how or why he fell only that he did and paid the ultimate price for it.

I am attracted to incidences where experienced and expert people have accidents doing things that they have previously done successfully many times before.

This shows me that when ever we do something even slightly risky, no matter how many times we have done it before, we should never become complacent or take short cuts where not necessary. This blog is no reflection on Anton who may well have done every thing right and still had an unseen accident.

However I think it is a good reminder for all of us as we face the New Year not to be complacent about what we are doing, no matter how many times we have done it before. It doesn’t even matter if it is not even seen as normally dangerous, we should always be on the alert for unforseen accidents or situations.

What about you this New Year? No matter how many times you have carried out your occupation before, will you give it it’s due concern, care and concentration required, and not take anything recklessly lightly.

Again this one is truly up to you and you alone. Have a great and safe year: Walter

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Everyone was apologetic; but all suffered too!

Two separate but related stories today. Last Sunday, as we do every Sunday, we headed off to the Hall where we hold our Church services to help set up. The other family (Who do most of it anyway) were already there and were already in the process when we arrived.

As I was (incorrectly it turned out) predicting a low turnout that day, I remarked on the number of Chairs already out. Only to be told that they were not putting them out but putting them (and about 20 long folding tables) away. At the same time they were muttering under their breaths (or was that me?) about other people using the Hall and not packing up after themselves. As well as the 20 or so tables, they had every chair on the premises out, something like 200, whereas we never have out more than 40 or 50.

So there we are a small group going off to the hall expecting all to be as it should be and finding it not so and having to put most of it away before we could set up for our own purposes! I think it fair to say that we were not particularly pleased with this situation.

Next story. Three mornings later I receive a phone call and a voice says, “Walter? This is Perter Sellers. You don’t know me.” Which was true enough, as I didn’t, nor had any idea how he had my number and name until he explained.

It turns out it was his party who had put out the Tables on the previous Saturday. Not for that night but for the following Monday (New Year’s Eve).

Apparently he had been told that no one was using the hall in the meantime and so set it up on Saturday and rocked up on Monday Morning to just throw some table cloths on in readiness for final setting up for Monday night, only to find it all put away again. They also did some muttering to I am told!

At first they were mystified as to what had happened, but eventually found one of my Business cards and a flyer advertising our Church there, and put two and two together and thus he rung up to apologise.

He was very apologetic, and so were we, when we found out the true situation. Had we known in advance we could have made some changes ourselves to accommodate them, but as we didn’t, we all wasted time; either in having to set up twice (for them) or having to put away someone else’s chairs (for us). All because they had received false information in the first place! What about you when you give out information?

Do you take the trouble to check all the facts or do you take short cuts or rely on memory. In our case we have had the hall booked for every Sunday Morn for the previous 15 months and already booked for the next 12. Yet someone still didn’t notice or recognise our Booking. Yet had they done so, no one would have had to feel apologetic and a whole lot of time and energy (In their case 3 hours, each time) would not have been wasted.

So please when you give out any and all information, please do your utmost to see that you are up to date with all the facts so that others do not suffer because of YOU.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Why Didn’t We Check It Out Earlier?

In previous Blogs I have mentioned that we went to a Chinese Restaurant in our local Shopping Centre. As also previously mentioned I had long wanted to go there but had been put off by the word of one person, who said the place was too expensive, snobbish and busy. Well maybe it was a couple of years ago but not so now apparently as we found out for our selves and have since heard from others who have also been there but said nothing until jitney heard that we were going/ or had been there.

As we were heading towards its doorway our girls ran into someone from their church coming out and he heartedly recommended it. As had the Girl’s cousin the night before when she heard that we were going there. She and her Husband both like it as it as the food is good, not expensive and lots of Chinese people eat there, which is always a good sign that it is both good and authentic Chinese food. On top of that, they like it because it is also baby friendly too! (Although that last bit means nothing to me now!)

So when we finally went, we too found that it was not expensive, or snobbish as we had been led to believe; and we only wondered why it had taken us so long to check it out for ourselves.

What about you? Are you prepared to check some things out for your self?

I’m not talking about all things here. There are definitely some things that we should take the word of others for, no matter how small a minority they may be!

However for many other things, where a personal judgement rather than a moral one is being made, it might pay to check it out for yourself.

We deprived ourselves of the benefits of this place on the word of one or two people who were either incorrect or their information was well out of date. I am definitely not saying that you have to check everything out for yourself every time, but there are some things of a subjective nature that it might pay you to check out a little more thoroughly before you decide one way or the other. What say you?

Friday, January 4, 2008

A tale of Two Restaurants.

In recent Blogs I have mentioned two Restaurants that we have been to recently for Birthdays.

For my wife’s Birthday we went to a Mongolian restaurant nearby that has a good reputation.

Though we had heard of this place before, we had never experienced their cuisine before, so we all stepped out of our usual tastes and had Mongolian Barbeque that night. And all enjoyed it thoroughly. Although I think my son aptly summed up everyone else’s, till then unspoken thoughts, with, “Well, that was very nice, but I don’t think I will be rushing back here in a hurry.”

Since that time we have spoken to quite a few people who have also been there and they have all said very much the same as our son said. “It was good, but ….” It was also a little more expensive than some other places although not exorbitant by any means.

Then 8 days later we went to a Chinese Restaurant in our local Shopping centre. It has been there for a couple of years or so now and I have often wanted to go and check it out but was originally told it was expensive and snobbish so never did. However, this time we went and enjoyed it immensely and found that it was not expensive at all and in fact even cheaper than the Mongolian Restaurant.

As for being snobbish? Well that was a myth too, as we found out from a niece and her husband who occasionally go there. They like it too and they also like that it is baby friendly too! We like it too although we are long past The “Baby stage” now. Others also later heartily recommended it as being good.

What I found interesting in comparing the comments by others and ourselves about the two restaurants, is that while we all liked both places and would heartedly recommend both to anyone, all of us would only give immediate return business to one but not the other.

Both were good and commendable, but only one won voluntary commendation.

What about you? Are you basically good and acceptable but not getting repeat business? Maybe it is not really you; just that the market for what you are selling is too small for the supply out there. If there is enough demand for your services then you will stay in business. If there is not enough demand for your offerings, than you will either go broke or have to try something different next time around.

As the New Year is still new, maybe now is a good time to reassess how you are currently doing things and are they still in demand? Maybe you should continue on with what you are doing or maybe you should change your direction and methods. The real question is not which to choose, but that you are aware of the situation and not just ’Blundering and Blustering” along as in the past? Instead, do you actually know your true attractions and distractions and directions?

So in closing which Restaurant are you? “Good, but …” Or, “Highly recommended!” Over to you for now. Walter

Thursday, January 3, 2008

How Do You Choose?

I have told you about my wife’s recent Birthday. Well anything she can do, so can I! So 8 days after she had hers, I had mine. Now anyone who has a birthday close to Christmas will tell you that it is no fun when you are little and gets no better when you are older.

We normally go out as a family for Birthdays but this year mine was on a Friday and so the two younger ones had normal plans for that night which couldn’t be gotten out of. So at first it looked like I would miss out on my birthday meal out, this year. Then Both Girls realised that as it was both their places of employment break-ups the day before, each was free for the whole day and so each independent of the other, offered to take me out.

In the past we had occasionally gone with the youngest to the Pancake Parlour for a late breakfast, and as she felt like Pancakes, she offered to take me there for breakfast, and of course I could not bear to disappoint her could I? Likewise when the older one later offered to take me out for lunch I couldn’t refuse her either, could I? So instead of Missing out altogether, I had both breakfast and lunch with my wife and two Girls.

Now when our son heard that we were going out for lunch for Chinese at Eastland he wasn’t too fussed as he thought we were going to the food Court like we sometimes do. However as it was my birthday I had other plans. A couple of years or so ago a “proper” Chinese restaurant opened there on the top floor. (Ironically right behind the Pancake Parlour!)

I had always wanted to go and check it out but was originally told it was expensive and snobbish so never did. However, this time I thought we should at least try it now for my birthday, even if it is expensive! Besides even if I am the only one who thinks this, “I’m worth it!” Especially when someone else is Paying, hey!!!!!!

Now when our son heard that we were going there he was most upset as he too has always wanted to go there but hadn’t. Like his nighttime engagement he couldn’t get out of his daytime one either and so couldn’t join us. When asked why he was unhappy now and not before, He replied along the lines of, “when I thought you were going to a “Crappy” Place like normal it didn’t matter. But now I know that you are going to a good place I want to come too!”

However He couldn’t come and so missed out, but I was left wondering how often we make decisions based on where the event is being held, rather than going to the event itself.

In my son’s case it didn’t really matter where we went, he was never going to be able to come, but again what motivates us when we consider accepting or rejecting an offer from “Friends” or Family?

Do we really go because we want to be with them? Or is our decision largely based on whether the place is interesting or not? Again, what motivates you most? The people or the Place? Something for you to ponder on.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Mongolian Bar B Q.

Between the 5 in our immediate family, we have a range of tastes in eating, when out. However most of us are happy with Chinese food and so when we go out for birthdays, or other special occasions, we usually settle for Chinese as it suits all of us. However even then some things are usually predictable.

We usually order a few dishes and share them between us all. However when it comes to my choice, the question usually goes something like this: “ And what do you want dad? Your usual sweet and sour pork?” More embarrassingly, usually I do.

Anyhow for my wife’s last birthday it was decided that as we live very close to a Mongolian restaurant that we should try it for a change. So we did. When we all arrived we looked at their menu and then decided to reject the other things on offer (Including S&S Pork) and go for their speciality, the Mongolian Barbeque.

This is where you go up to a cabinet and pick your choice of three different types of meat sliced very thinly (Beef, Lamb or Chicken; or like most, choose a bit of each!) Then you choose from a range of raw salad vegetables, all placed in the same large round bowl. Then you go to another table where there are about 16 or so large glass salad bowls filled with various liquids. Here you choose one of 4 receipts to make your own dressing (Mild, sweet, Hot and something else.) So you make your own dressing by following the receipt and putting in so many measures of whatever ingredient you are told to. Then, when your bowl is almost overflowing with this liquid and your food, you go up to a window on an enclosed Glass walled “Kitchen”.

All it contains is a round hot plate about the size of a largish round dining table and the Chef has two bamboo chop stick like instruments, a little over a metre long and he throws your food (literally) on this hot plate, whacks it a few times with his sticks, swirls it around a few times and then 30 seconds later, he uses his sticks to sweep your food off this flat hot plate, back into another clean bowl, then he does a couple of flamboyant swirls of the bowl in the air and hands it back to you through another window and moves back to the next in line.

So we all stepped out of our usual tastes and had Mongolian Barbeque that night. And all enjoyed it thoroughly. What about you? Are you willing to step outside of your normal and safe known routine and try the unknown, occasionally? If you go to a place, are you prepared to try the speciality of the place or do you always play it safe and go with the known and normal? Even if it is a while if ever any of us voluntarily go back to a Mongolian Restaurant, but if we ever find ourselves at one, we would have no reservations about recommending it to others as worth the experience.

What about you as we face this New Year? Are you going to stick with the familiar and predictable, or are you going to reach out even just a little, and try something new and different? I am not recommending new and dangerous, just new and different. You never know, you just may like it!

Anyway, have a great year! That’s an ORDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!