Sunday, August 28, 2011

I am reluctant to politicise, moralise or dramatise.
Blogs are generally oversubscribed by clever political commentators and moral reformists,(probably have been guilty of same) My plan was to come up with an amazing piece of original script, have it down and dusted in double quick time, grab the fly rod and catch the evening rise. That was my goal!
Goal setting. We all have great intentions but who actually grabs a sheet of paper at the age of consent and writes down their life goals? We know we should, if we want to be wealthy and have a go at life,we should put pen to paper look into the future and make plans. Personally I have trouble figuring out what I am going to do the day after tomorrow, let alone jotting down my one year, five year and twenty year goals.
You could say, I have happily joined the camp of, ‘let’s fire an arrow into the wall and draw a target around it’, fraternity. And why not, I say. Where is the fun of knowing what you will be doing this time next year. I hate organized but embrace spontaneity.
I am aware of a well known proverb that advises, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. So maybe the answer is to have a foot in both camps and be ‘spontaneously organized‘. So for a change, let’s say, ‘go to it, you spur of the moment people’. Yes, I am going against the grain, perhaps even starting a revolution of non-conformists. Today, I say to these well organized, goal setters, ‘Yes I am revolting‘.
No one can deny that spontaneity has in a global sense proven to be, at the very least helpful, often miraculous and sometimes tragic.
Reality television is the ‘in thing‘. We, the viewer, are led to believe that everything happening in a particular program is off the cuff. The fact is that these, mainly American, shows are chock full of ‘planned spontaneity’, without which we would all be bored to death and switch channels.
Once, a long time ago I did attempt to set a goal. When the kids were very young I made the decision to go around Australia and pick fruit. They have their own families now and take great joy in pulling my chain regarding the pending apple picking trip. Needless to say, as yet it has not eventuated but we live in hope.
The problem about setting goals is that for them to be achievable there has to be a date attached. If I had said to my kids, ‘April 20th next year we are going to be picking fruit in Australia‘, well, we would probably still be there today.
With me, things just sort of happen. Like everyone there have been ups and downs, some negatives but oodles of positives. Maybe if I could start all over again I would give the goal setting a go.
So to the younger generation I say think on this; Imagine you are a soccer player for the Manchester United team, it’s a cup final, at home at the Old Trafford grounds. You run onto the pitch to the cheers of a 76,000 capacity crowd. The whistle goes….kick off, …but what has happened…. Someone has removed the goal posts. Result, absolute chaos, you have no idea what to aim for.
So maybe I should try and set myself some goals…. hold on a minute, I believe I did just that …… Now where is that fly rod.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Disappearing Frogs...what’s causing them to croak?

Ladies...have you thought about finding a prince and settling down happily ever after? All you have to do is kiss a frog. Sadly what is happening in NZ is not a fairy story. Frogs might not be that easy to find.
True there are still one or two puddling around in the bush blocks, but most folk have noticed a definite lack of the once robust species.
We used to see them hopping across the country roads after a healthy rain fall, naturally many were unfortunately squished flat but we didn’t care, after all we argued, there would never be a shortage of frogs. We heard them croaking in the garden, in the creeks and parks, sometimes they made such a din we wished they would go away or croak once and forever. Our kids thought it a great adventure to catch a few tadpoles, put them in a jar and watch them transform into adulthood.
Let’s forget about the puns and frog-kissing for a moment and ask a serious question that at first glance does not sound at all serious...Where on earth have all the frogs gone?
I realise that by writing about the apparent disappearance of the humble frog it appears that I have joined the happy band of tree-huggers. Frankly, I don’t give a damn because the greenies are right in so many ways and after carrying out my own research I realise that there are some things we need to be concerned about.
I am alarmed about the blatant use of dangerous substances. Killer chemicals endanger our wild life and have the potential to harm everything from the bottom of the food chain upwards, to you, me, our children and grandchildren.
Is the apparent decline of the frog due to these sprays, was a question that warranted some detective work. It prompted me to read a few of the operator’s instructions on readily available herbicides.
Apart from making sure to wear protective clothing, tantamount to being encased in full body armour plus face mask, to use said herbicides; you have to be a licensed operator, watch for wind drift, keep away from crops used for human consumption and the weirdest instruction of the lot... ‘When using herbicide sprays on drains or river banks, make certain you are not spraying near water!’ In other words you can spray the sides of drains when they have dried up. (How ridiculous)
What, you ask, has this got to do with frogs or the lack thereof? Well for a start Mr and Mrs Frog like waterways and their preferred habitat is under attack. A herbicide spray called ‘Atrazine’ which in this country is often camouflaged through the use of numerous other product names, is banned in Europe but still available here as a broad leaf weed killer.
I have no doubt that any toxic spray will kill small insects and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that frogs eat small insects and by so doing come into direct contact with such sprays.
I could show you reports that claim Atrazine causes the development of prostate and breast cancers and worse in laboratory rats. These reports, readily obtainable from the internet, warn that humans could suffer similar carcinogenic problems as displayed in laboratory tested rodents.
But we are talking about frogs and hold on to your hat because it is not a pretty picture. Apparently, a visiting American scientist studied the effects of Atrazine on New Zealand frogs and came up with a real frightener. Long term exposure to low levels of Atrazine, ... 2.5 parts in a billion of water,... were found to have emasculated nearly 75 % of laboratory frogs. Of these, at least 10% turned into functional females who mated with males unexposed to the herbicide and produced viable eggs, (how weird) the remaining 90% showed fall in libido, lower sperm count and decreased fertility.(how sad)
Is it any wonder they are disappearing!? Look at it this way, what these reports are intimating is that Freddy Frog is not into mating because he is either flaccid or has become Freda Frog.
All this is scary stuff especially when you consider that the four types of New Zealand indigenous frogs are now endangered species. If this deadly product Atrazine and similar herbicides are so lethal that they can chemically castrate male frogs, turning some of them into females, we had better do something about making sure our children live happily (and safely) ever after. Oh! Sorry ladies, you can forget about the Prince idea, after all, how will you know whether you are kissing Freddy or Freda?