Word of the day

November 17, 2012

Lucubration – a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or overelaborate one; that which is composed by night; that which is produced by meditation in retirement; laborious work, study or thought, especially at night; the act of studying by candlelight; nocturnal study; meditation.


Saturday’s smiles

November 17, 2012

Apropos of things Victorian, some riddles from that era:

Why is a dog like a tree? Because they both lose their bark once they’re dead.

“See here, wait, I’ve found a button in my salad.” “That’s all right, sir, it’s part of the dressing.”

Marriage is an institution intended to keep women out of mischief and get them into trouble.

Why are circus horses the slowest breed? Because they are taught horses.

Who is the greatest chicken-killer in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.

If William Penn’s aunts kept a pastry shop, what would be the prices of their pies? The pie-rates of Penn’s Aunts.

Why should the number 288 never be mentioned in company? Because it is two gross.

“There’s a man at Camberwell so fat that they grease the omnibus-wheels with his shadow.”

HE: “I am a millionaire. Haven’t I got money enough for both of us?'”
SHE: “Yes, if you are moderate in your tastes.”

Doesn’t it make you dizzy to waltz? Yes, but one must get used to it, you know. It’s the way of the whirled.

WIFE: “You loved me before we were married!”
HUSBAND: “Well, now it’s your turn!”

Pawnbrokers prefer customers without any redeeming qualities.

Moving in unfashionable circles: wearing a crinoline.

Why is a manuscript always called a MS.? Because that is the state in which the editor finds it.

If all the seas were dried up, what would Neptune say? I really haven’t got a notion.

A lady wrote the following letters at the bottom of her flour barrel: O I C U R M T.

Why is the devil riding a mouse like one and the same thing? Because it is synonymous.

“I have the best wife in the world,” said the long-suffering husband. “She always strikes me with the soft end of the broom.”

SERVANT: “Ma’am, your husband has eloped with the cook!”
WIFE: “Good! Now I can have the maid to myself, once in a while.”

This, however is my all-time favourite Victorian joke:

What is the difference between a tube and a foolish Dutchman? One is a hollow cylinder and the other a silly Hollander.

Hmmm – I wonder of this was the level of humour which prompted Queen Victoria to say, “We are not amused.”?


Did saving some jobs cost more?

November 17, 2012

The loss of 90 jobs from Dunedin’s Hillside workshop is a blow for the workers, their families and the city.

The union is blaming the government, but should they be blaming themselves?

An informed source told me that efficiency measures which included the use of improved technology were proposed by management but opposed by the union because it would have cost some jobs.

If that is true then saving some jobs has cost a lot more.


6/10

November 17, 2012

6/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.


Victoria rules

November 17, 2012

Prince Charles has been getting attention further north, but in Oamaru this weekend it’s his great, great (do I need some more greats?) granny who  rules as the town  celebrates its Victorian heritage.

Charles Dickens is the them of this year’s celebrations which began on Wednesday.

Activities and events today include a vintage car swap meet, a street parade, a military black powder camp, high tea at Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Widow Corney’s Workhouse Shindig and Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol.

Tomorrow celebrations conclude with the Victorian fete from 10am.

A day jam-packed with superb entertainment, dozens of stalls showcasing their unique and individual wares, exquisite Victorian costume, competitions to test strength and skill, street performers and children’s entertainment around every corner with food stalls and refreshments to whet every appetite. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Highlights this year will be Beyondsemble, just back from their world tour with their most exciting, energetic and enchanting acoustic music to come out of NZ in recent times. From gypsy to jazz, rocksteady to Celtic, Congo to bluegrass and beyond. Music to move you and make you move. With a strong improvisational edge, Beyondsemble perform an incredible mix of styles sourced from all over the world as well as their own original compositions.

And the incongruous Bikes for Fun. Over seventy bikes and scooters for the young and the young at heart which defy gravity and any thoughts of Victorian staidness! Fabulous fun!

Legend, humour and fiction surround the origins of Wellington perfumery Fragrifert which is coming to Oamaru for the Celebrations. But the fragrances are real and Fragrifert (pronounced frah-gree-fair) will delight visitors with live performances in the Harbour Street theatrette.

Watch out for Fagin and his mischievous band of rascals – they’ll burst into song and instead of picking your pocket, might leave a treat for you! You too could dress up as your favourite Dickens’ character and join in all the fun of the Fair!

The  celebrations started a couple of decades ago by a small group of enthusiasts  who wanted to showcase Oamaru’s Victorian heritage.

They’re now an annual fixture which attracts visitors from around New Zealand and further afield.

You can download a full programme here.


November 17 in history

November 17, 2012

284 – Diocletian was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers.

1183 – The Battle of Mizushima.

1292 – (O.S.) John Balliol became King of Scotland.

1511 – Spain and England allied against France.

1558 – Elizabethan era began: Queen Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.

1659 – The Peace of the Pyrenees is signed between France and Spain.

1777 – Articles of Confederation are submitted to the states for ratification.

1796 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Arcole – French forces defeated the Austrians in Italy.

1800 – The United States Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C.

1811 – José Miguel Carrera, Chilean founding father, was sworn in as President of the executive Junta of the government of Chile.

1812 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Krasnoi.

1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer became the first American to see Antarctica.

1831 – Ecuador and Venezuela were separated from Greater Colombia.

1855 – David Livingstone became the first European to see the Victoria Falls.

1858 – Modified Julian Day zero.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Knoxville began.

1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was inaugurated.

1871 – The National Rifle Association was granted a charter by the state of New York.

1876 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s Slavonic March is given its première performance in Moscow.

1878 – First assassination attempt against Umberto I of Italy.

1903 – The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party split into two groups; the Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).

1905 – The Eulsa Treaty was signed between Japan and Korea.

1919 – King George V proclaimed Armistice Day (later Remembrance Day).

1922 – Former Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI went into exile in Italy.

1925 Governor-General, Sir Charles Fergusson, opened the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in Dunedin.

NZ and South Seas International Exhibition opens

1925 Rock Hudson, American actor, was born (d. 1985).

1937 Peter Cook, British comedian, was born (d. 1995).

1938 Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer, was born.

1939 – Nine Czech students were executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal.All Czech universities were shut down and over 1200 Czech students sent to concentration camps.

1947 – The U.S. Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain observed the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th Century.

1950 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was enthroned as the leader of Tibet at the age of fifteen.

1953 – The remaining human inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, Ireland were evacuated to the mainland.

1957 – G-AOHP of British European Airways crashed at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport after a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy dedicated Dulles International Airport.

1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, US President Lyndon B. Johnson told the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”

1968 – Alexandros Panagoulis was condemned to death for attempting to assassinate Greek dictator George Papadopoulos.

1968 – British European Airways introduced the BAC One-Eleven into commercial service.

1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States met in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

1970 – Vietnam War: Lieutenant William Calley went on trial for the My Lai massacre.

1970 – The Soviet Union landed Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon – the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world was released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.

1970 – Douglas Engelbart received the patent for the first computer mouse.

1973 – Watergate scandal: US President Richard Nixon told 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook”.

1973 – The Athens Polytechnic Uprising against the military regime ended in bloodshed.

1974 – The Aliança Operário-Camponesa (Worker-Peasant Alliance) was founded in Portugal, as a front of PCP(m-l).

1978 Zoë Bell, New Zealand actress-stuntwoman, was born.

1979 – Brisbane Suburban Railway Electrification. The first stage from Ferny Grove to Darra was commissioned.

1982 – Duk Koo Kim died unexpectedly from injuries sustained during a 14-round match against Ray Mancini prompting reforms in the sport of boxing.

1983 – The Zapatista Army of National Liberation was founded.

1989 – Cold War: Velvet Revolution began: a student demonstration in Prague was quelled by riot police. This sparked an uprising aimed at overthrowing the communist government.

1990 – Fugendake, part of the Mount Unzen volcanic complex erupted.

1997 – Luxor massacre: 62 people were killed by 6 Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut.

2000 – A landslide in Log pod Mangartom, Slovenia, killed 7, and caused millions of SIT of damage.

2000 – Alberto Fujimori was removed from office as president of Peru.

2004 – Kmart Corp. announced that it was buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion USD and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.

2007 – Brian May of the rock band Queen was appointed Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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