Sunday, September 22, 2013

Marvelous Malta: Crossroads of cultures

A Christian country with traces of an Islamic past.

Like many of the countries of southern Europe, Malta has layers of civilization. The Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish, the Knights of St John, the French and the British have all been here, and left something of their cultures in this Mediterranean melting pot.

The Maltese language, called Malti, is descended from Sicilian Arabic, which developed in Sicily and Malta after the Arab conquests of the 9th century. Although the language died out in Sicily, where it was superseded by Sicilian Italian, it survived in Malta and can still be understood by people in North Africa.

In the country's old capital, Mdina (from the Arabic madinah), people still walk along Triq Miskita — a street that owes its name to the Arabic tariq (way) and the Spanish mesquita (mosque). Today, the mosque has long gone, and seven churches and a monastery testify to the eventual triumph of Catholic Christianity.
Mdina's labyrinthine streets reflect the Arab influence.

Another town that is popular with tourists is Mellieha, whose parish church is shown in the top picture from — Malta's online community center. But these are only two of the historic places and cultural attractions that draw 1.2 million visitors to the islands south of Sicily every year.

For more information, you are invited to chat with maltese at, and to read some of the website's many articles written by enthusiastic local residents. In addition to recommendations on places to visit, these offer advice on local products, services and events. And in every case, they come with a collection of photographs that convey the feel of the locale or social occasion.

Wikipedia is another invaluable source of information. Interestingly, it reveals that, according to a 2010 Charities Aid Foundation study, the Maltese are the most generous people in the world, with 83% contributing to charity. It's yet another good reason to make Malta your next holiday destination.

Friday, June 28, 2013

DealDash: Join today . . . and start winning

A computerized telescope worth $700 for only $2.99? Yes, if you'd like to see stars — in more ways than one — take a tour of DealDash, via one of its introductory videos at YouTube. These explain how almost everything you ever wanted, from a Nikon digital camera to an Apple iPad, can be picked up for as little as a dollar, and shipped to you free of charge.

The videos will talk you through the penny auction bidding process, and show you how you can't lose. Even if you don't win an auction, you can buy the item for its regular price — and have all your bids, which cost 60 cents each, returned to you. You can then use the bids again, and try to win another auction.

In no time at all, you will find that shopping has never been such fun.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

RCO's Cars for Cash will put a smile on your dial

It will be thumbs-up for you, too, if you sell your car to RCO's Cars for Cash in the New York Metropolitan Area.

Since 2005, when it established itself as New York's #1 cash for cars service, RCO has been paying top dollar for cars, trucks, and SUVs within minutes — and without the hassle you invariably encounter elsewhere.

To get a cash quote, all you have to do is fill out the online questionnaire.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: The 10k Challenge Income Builder

May 12, 2013: Today I signed up for this program, which promises personal assistance as you progress towards a monthly income of $10,000. Check back to see how it goes.

May 13, 2013: What can I say? Anyone who can persevere with a program like this is a better person than I am. After only one day, and after joining only about six safelists, the whole thing was rapidly becoming a nightmare, as I struggled to cope with the flood of emails into the two Gmail accounts I had set up to receive them. I shuddered to think of the number I would receive after signing up with the 20 to 30 safelists I was required to join. Yet another problem arose when one of the safelist's verification emails failed to arrive, and I had to open a support ticket (which wasn't answered). In the end, I closed the two Gmail accounts and blocked the email address of my mentor. Frankly, I'd almost be prepared to pay $10,000 a month not to have something like this dominating my life.

May 15, 2013: I've picked up a few comments by Adam Waller, who knows a lot more about the 10k Challenge than I do: "35 Minutes a Day? Really? . . . after one month in I was spending 3 to 4 hours every day on it. The majority of that time was clicking for credits in safelists . . . You basically pound away at the safelists and text ad exchanges blindly hoping for a sign-up . . . It just didn’t work for me. I really believed in it initially. I even went so far as to purchase a domain name specifically for it . . . I was getting poor results and they [my team] were getting poor to no results. I would get emails from them and they would ask what they needed to do to get sign-ups. Honestly, I didn’t have the answer . . ."

Need I say more? I'm glad I'm not spending hour after hour pounding away at those safelists.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The dollar is mightier than the sword

A reference to the Chinese interest in buying New Zealand farm land. The cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of April 26, 2013.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Will Thatcher privatize the Pearly Gates?

Admission process less than entirely satisfactory: Cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, from the Manawatu Standard of April 10, 2013.

Christchurch's worries over

Prime Minister John Key get a great idea while on his recent visit to China. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of April 9, 2013.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Foot-licking festival

Last month, Rio Tinto's loss-making aluminum smelter, which uses one-seventh of New Zealand's electricity output, was offered a short-term government subsidy to keep it operating. The company rejected this over Easter weekend, saying it needed a long-term deal and was returning to talks with its supplier — Meridian Energy.

The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of April 1, 2013.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Go Man Plus: It's not rocket fuel

Anyone expecting the sparks to fly after taking Go Man Plus "libido support", from Go Healthy NZ, will probably be disappointed. Unlike ThunderHard, which I reviewed on February 24, its effects are negligible, possibly non-existent.

The problem, of course, is that the effectiveness of ThunderHard comes at a cost — a cost that I was not prepared to pay. There's no point in being able to perform like a rabbit if, after a few days, you are flat on your back with nausea and exhaustion.

That's why I thought I'd give Go Man Plus a go. I took one capsule a day for three or four days, and sat back and waited for at least a tingling in the nether regions. But nothing happened, as far as I could discern.

Should I press on? After a while, I'll probably try taking the capsules for a week to 10 days. But I have to say that I don't expect to be able to report anything exciting.

Book Depository: Simply the best

I last wrote about The Book Depository on November 14, 2010. At the time, I had bought only two titles through this service, but had already found that it was both fast and reliable.

Since I wrote that first, brief review, I have bought many more books, and have continued to be delighted by my purchasing experience. I almost never go to Amazon, which charges for postage, and almost never go into physical bookshops. The latter have little of interest on their dwindling shelves, and can no longer survive without also selling toys, DVDs and stationery.

Of course, I feel sorry for the owners of traditional bookshops, but not sorry enough to pay from $5 to $10 more for a book.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cash for Cars makes everything easy

Few things are more frustrating than trying to sell your car, and having no luck.

That may be because you haven't heard of cash for cars — the New York-based service that promises instant cash, highest payout, no DMV, no paperwork and no obligation.

It all adds up to an offer that has never been bettered; so instead of banging your head against a brick wall, head over to cars for cash ny now.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

NZ Gov't redirects the 'traffic'

Only a slight detour is needed on the economic superhighway, thanks to Prime Minister John Key. Cartoon by Tom Scott from The Dominion Post of February 26, 2013.

Messrs Shakedown and Get Stuffed

Good news for the "struggling shoppers" of New Zealand. Or is it? Cartoon from The Dominion Post of February 16, 2013.

All Biggles' exploits to no avail

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of January 29, 2013.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Put your best foot forward with TrainingPro

Flexibility is the keyword at TrainingPro. Anyone interested in training to be mortgage broker will find that, whatever their circumstances, there is a learning method to suit them — online, online instructor-led, or live/webinar classes.

The prospective student can also be sure of receiving instruction that is second to none, in a suite of programs that have been designed and developed by industry experts and tailored to the requirements of each state.

This high standard and comprehensiveness of its training has earned the company an A+ from the Better Business Bureau, and led to its becoming the preferred provider of training for loan officers and mortgage brokers in small to large companies and state associations.

"We have the knowledge, resources and capabilities to constantly monitor the industry and stay on top of state laws and continuing education requirements, allowing our clients to focus on growing their business," TrainingPro says on its website, underlining the importance of keeping abreast of developments in this constantly changing field.

Judging from the glowing testimonials that TrainingPro has received, it has been doing its job to the satisfaction of its many clients. Some have remarked on its excellent customer service and on its ability to customize programs to meet individual needs. But mention should also be made of the ease and speed with which, on one's first visit to the website, one can select the most appropriate course and, with just a few clicks, be on one's way to a brighter future.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Does ThunderHard work?

The first question that everyone asks, when a "male performance enhancer" is mentioned, is "Does it work?"

The question becomes even more pertinent in the case of performance enhancers, like ThunderHard, that are advertised as 100% natural, and which are therefore available without a prescription.

As someone who has used ThunderHard, I can assure my readers that it does, indeed, have the advertised effects. Perhaps I should qualify that statement by saying that it had the advertised effects for me.

I did not, however, find these effects altogether pleasant. In fact, after taking only two of the pills — on the mornings of January 17 and 18 — I felt as though I was undergoing a second puberty — a somewhat bizarre experience for someone aged 72.

I will spare my readers an excursion into intimate detail, and say simply that they put me into a state of constant semi-arousal that lasted until the afternoon of January 21. I was thus all set to go, if only in the bedroom, for a total of four and a half days.

Then I crashed. For about two days, I was totally exhausted. All I could do was flop on to a sofa and wait for my energy to return. I had a dry mouth and feelings of uneasiness and nausea — classic symptoms of withdrawal from an addictive drug. And needless to say, I had absolutely no appetite.

So after my recovery, I threw the rest of the pills away. I hate to think what they would have done to me if I had continued to take them at the recommended dose of one a day. One a week might have been more appropriate, if I had felt I really needed a boost "down there".

All in all, it was an expensive experiment, as the bottle cost me more than $NZ50.

NOTE, March 2, 2003: I have edited this post to remove all words that could result in this site being given an "adult" rating.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cash for your car . . . within minutes

Want to know how to sell a car?

The answer is simple. Fill out an online form, click a Submit button, and stand by for a cash offer.

Yes, that's all you have to do to get a quick, no-obligation free quote from RCO Cash for Cars — New York's premier car-buying service.

But that's not the only reason to opt for RCO. Its service also comes with an assurance that "nobody gets you cash faster than us". There's no hassle here. You will have your money within a matter of minutes, not hours or days.

You will also get top dollar for your car, while avoiding all the time-consuming paperwork that makes a private sale such a headache. And finally, by selling your vehicle to RCO Cash for Cars, you will completely eliminate the risk of fraud.

Small wonder that RCO's customers give it such glowing reviews.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Zealand's cats in the doghouse

The statement on Kiwi businessman Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go website reads: "New Zealand is the last refuge of a huge range of bird species, we’re famous for our claim to be clean and green, and some of us have recognised the huge economic benefit, let alone the ecological dividend, from achieving a Predator Free New Zealand. But the vision is flawed. Almost half of Kiwi households have a cat (or two) making New Zealanders the world’s biggest cat owners. Cats are incredibly effective hunters and are wiping out our native birds..."

The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of January 23, 2013.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The rich are always right

The rich, whose activities invariably have a greater impact on the environment than those of the poor, nevertheless see the poor as criminals. The cartoon, by Malcolm Evans, is from the Manawatu Standard of January 14, 2013.

Proud hunter reduced to poop-scooper

Cartoon by Malcolm Evans from the Manawatu Standard of January 10, 2013.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Today's camper: tomorrow's capable citizen

Scenes from the Best New York Camps

At Camp Chateaugay, just getting there is part of the adventure.

Set on the north shore of one of the Adirondack lakes, in upstate New York, it's easily reached, yet remote enough to kindle the imaginations of the young campers who make the exciting journey every summer.

Would your child or teenager benefit from an opportunity to pursue a wide range of sports and creative activities in a captivating wilderness, while under the watchful eye of caring, professional instructors and counselors?

Of course, any child would benefit from such an opportunity, for there is no greater spur to personal development than participation in a program that poses a range of new challenges. At Camp Chateaugay,
these are both assigned and elective, and are designed to foster the self-esteem that arises from a feeling of real accomplishment and a sense of growing responsibility.

Those concerned about the quality of camp accommodation will be pleased to learn that all the cabins, which are built to a traditional design, have electricity, screened windows, smoke detectors and full bathrooms. Other facilities include the Big House, where the campers gather, play, relax, celebrate and eat, and the Pill Box or infirmary. The latter has a staff of nurses and a resident doctor.

All campers, who come from around the world, receive personal attention and support from the staff, thanks to a 2.5:1 camper-to-counselor ratio. And in the various sports on offer, which include swimming, sailing, rowing, canoeing, rock climbing and mountain biking, they can look forward to coaching and encouragement from experts in their respective fields.

Unsure about the suitability of a shy child, or one who has had difficulty in finding his or her place in structured social settings? At Camp Chateaugay, you don't have to worry. A buddy system for first-time and younger campers ensures that no one is left on the sidelines.

In this way, every effort is made to help today's young camper to become tomorrow's confident and capable citizen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Wellness Challenge: It's delicious

"Do you suffer from inflammation and its related health problems?"

That's the first question asked at the Nopalea website, and one that invites the response, "Who doesn't suffer from some form of inflammation at some stage in their life?"

It's one of life's great banes, for which medical treatment is often little more than a palliative. So it's good to know that help is at hand in the form of a natural "wellness drink", sourced from the fruit of the Nopal cactus, that helps the body to reduce inflammation, detoxify itself, achieve optimal cellular health, and protect itself against premature aging.

Even better is the news that Trivita, which has sold more then 7 million bottles of Nopalea, is giving away free 32oz bottles of the product. All you have to do is call 1-800-206-0086 and pay only $9.99 shipping.

So take the Nopalea Wellness Challenge today. Drink 3-6oz of chilled Nopalea every day until the bottle is empty, fill out the Nopalea Challenge form (included in your shipment) to track your progress during the Challenge, and review The Secret Killer — a booklet (also included) on the dangers of inflammation and how Nopalea can help.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The wild weather of Wellington

This cartoon by Tom Scott, from The Dominion Post of December 29, 2012, is a good illustration of the changeability of Wellington's weather — and, indeed, of the weather of New Zealand. Even in summer, a southerly can send temperatures plummeting in a matter of hours.

Camping grounds now home to many

This article is from the Manawatu Standard of December 29, 2012.