Word of the day

November 20, 2012

Pyrrhic – a metrical foot of two short or unaccented syllables;  (of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor; won at such a devastating cost that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately lead to defeat.


Letters and germs

November 20, 2012

Discussion with Jim Mora on Critical mass today was sparked by:

Letters to the Editor of the Telegrpah which didn’t get published.

I especially enjoyed:

SIR – One is, of course, delighted to hear that the Greek economy is to be saved –once again.

On a recent visit to Crete I asked for the recipe for a Greek salad. There came the not entirely ironic reply: “First, you borrow some feta…”

Christopher Rodda

Boscastle, Cornwall

And:

SIR – My family home, Compton Castle, built in the 14th Century, is open to the public.

For the convenience of the visitors, my father had a sign saying “Lavatory” placed on a door. One day, my mother overheard a young man say to his companion, “What’s a lavatory, dear?” To which she replied, “That’s medieval for toilet.”

His Honour Judge Francis Gilbert, Q.C.

Bovey Tracey, Devon

The other link was hygiene hotspots wich shows how clean your house is – or more likely isn’t.

Hat tip for the latter to: Monday Micro at Infectious Thoughts which will lead you to is the toilet seat really the dirtiest place in the house.


Rural round-up

November 20, 2012

Crown needs to be good neighbour too - Richard Strowger:

I was chatting to another local last week and we got on to the often debated topic of the financial impact of Crown ownership of land in districts like Waitaki.

There are a fair few of us in the district who have Crown-owned land as our neighbour and we wonder, like all good neighbours, just what role the Crown plays in our community.

A classic example of this is getting access into Department Of Conservation land. It takes a fair bit of expense on behalf of ratepayers in the district to maintain local roads that lead into Department of Conservation-administered land, but we do not haul in any rates off that piece of dirt for the purpose. . .

Federated Farmers: quality comes first – Matt Harcombe:

The debate over water and agriculture is a tangled web of interlinked policies, on-farm actions, science, emotion, perception and economic and cultural factors affecting its use, availability and quality.

Some factors are well understood, others are not. The biggest issue in the public eye is quality. But access to water and its use, irrigation and storage are also vital.

Although most farmers are working hard to adapt and evolve alongside changing public expectations of water quality, they are also trying to keep up with the demands of the Government and regional councils, while working out what it means to their farm.

The farming community wants to play its part in ensuring everyone has reasonable access to clean water but there is no clear consensus on what pathways should be taken to reach that goal. . .

We all own our agricultural story . . .  that’s the problem - PastureHarmonies:

The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.

That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.

Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge. There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable. If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’. . .

Bid to drown-proof Maori children:

Water Safety New Zealand has launched a five-year programme to boost the swimming ability of young Maori in rural areas.

Over the past six years 22% of drownings were Maori.

Portable pools will be rotated around rural centres, catering for up to 40 students at a time based at the kura. . .

New Zealand Winegrowers release Vineyard Register Report:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has released the 2012 Vineyard Register Report today, which presents the most accurate statistics in the last decade on the sector’s vineyard productive capacity. The report includes data from 1,841 vineyards with a combined producing area of 34,269 hectares in 2012, which is anticipated to increase 683 ha in 2015.

The Vineyard Register is an initiative from the New Zealand Winegrowers Strategic Review, and replaces the previous Vineyard Survey which was conducted annually. “The 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategic Review emphasised the importance of accurate data as a prerequisite for understanding future production capability, infrastructure planning, biosecurity management, disaster response purposes, and pest and disease management. The Vineyard Register now provides this vital information and is a significant step forward for the industry” says Philip Manson, General Manager Sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers. . .

Preston’s Gold sets up for a summer of good meat:

Preston’s Master Butchers have been awarded a Gold Medal at the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition for its Turingia Bratwurst.

“Our customers have been telling us for a while that this is a fantastic sausage”, says General Manager Andrew Preston.

“A win in a national competition is reinforcement that we’ve got it right. Our Anytime Turingia Bratwurst is a traditional pre-cooked German Bratwurst. It is flavoured with marjoram and parsley and a touch of pepper and garlic. . .


How low will he go?

November 20, 2012

David Shearer has called David Cunliffe’s bluff.

Today’s leadership vote is almost certain to give Shearer 100% support.

But what does he do with it?

If he demotes Cunliffe to the back benches with no hope of redemption, the aspiring leader will have nothing to lose and will continue to destabilise caucus.

If Shearer allows Cunliffe to retain his portfolio or at least gives him the hope that he could return to the front bench, there will still be no certainty about his behaviour.

Either way, questions over leadership will rumble, at least until February when the next vote will take place.


Who will buy?

November 20, 2012

APN has announced it is to sell its South Island titles and Wellington community papers.

Among them is the Oamaru Mail where I started my journalism career.

. . . In a memo to staff, APN describes the decision to quit the twice-weekly giveaway Christchurch paper, The Star, the Oamaru Mail and a clutch of other small, community titles in the South Island and Wellington as a “strategic decision to consolidate its publishing business in the North Island.”

The Star, published Wednesdays and Fridays, has an audited circulation of 71,644, while the Oamaru Mail is one of the country’s smallest, with a circulation of just 2,883. . .

The Mail was an evening paper when I worked for it, 30 years ago, and circulation was dropping then.

Competition from TV and more recently the internet and give away papers has further eroded its circulation.

A decision to make it a morning paper put it head to head with the Otago Daily Times which has fewer of the local and parish pump stories the Mail covers but a lot more other news and features.

There’s no mention of a price in the media release but APN will be dreaming if they’re asking for much.

Who would want to buy it?

There might be an entrepreneur out there looking for a challenge, and this would be a big one.

The Mail still provides a service for locals but a paper with low and declining circulation won’t be an attractive business proposition.


If they can’t run a conference . .

November 20, 2012

Quote of the day:

“Let’s face it, the Labour Party can’t even run a conference, how on earth could they run the country?

“What they’re demonstrating is they just fundamentally do not like each other and it’s no great surprise that a lot of New Zealanders don’t like what they are doing,” he said. John Key.

The polls show a Labour/Green/New Zealand First/Maori Party/Mana coalition with a similar number of seats as National and its potential coalition partners.

But the public usually waits for a party to perform well in opposition before it’s trusted in government.

Labour has been overshadowed by the Green Party and NZ First in opposition. Now it’s disunity is on display, and will continue to be so at least until February, it’s shown it can’t even run itself.

“I always treat whoever the leader of the opposition is with respect … but the simple bottom line is if you go and have a party which is going to be internally consumed, which will be the case whoever wins, in the end it’s a really bad news story for Labour.

“The only winner out of this will be [Greens leader] Russel Norman.”

It certainly won’t be New Zealand which deserves politicians who put their energies into serving their constituents rather than mismanaging themselves.


November 20 in history

November 20, 2012

284 – Diocletian was chosen as Roman Emperor.

762 – During An Shi Rebellion, Tang Dynasty, with the help of Huihe tribe, recaptured Luoyang from the rebels.

1194 – Palermo was conquered by Emperor Henry VI.

1407 – A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans was agreed under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry.

1695 – Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in Brazil, was executed.

1620 – Peregrine White, was born – first English child born in the Plymouth Colony (d. 1704).

1700 – Great Northern War: Battle of Narva – King Charles XII of Sweden defeated the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.

1739 – Start of the Battle of Porto Bello between British and Spanish forces during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.

1765 Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval captain, was born (d. 1819).

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacked the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).

1841 – Maketu Wharetotara, the 17-year-old son of the Nga Puhi chief Ruhe, killed five people at Motuarohia in the Bay of Islands.

Mass murder in the Bay of Islands

1845 – Argentine Confederation: Battle of Vuelta de Obligado.

1889 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer, was born (d. 1953).

1900 – Chester Gould, American comic strip artist, creator of Dick Tracey, was born.

1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-born journalist, was born (d. 2004).

1910 – Francisco I. Madero issued the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1917 – World War I: Battle of Cambrai began.

1917 – Ukraine was declared a republic.

1923 – Rentenmark replaced the Papiermark as the official currency of Germany at the exchange rate of one Rentenmark to One Trillion (One Billion on the long scale) Papiermark.

1925 Robert F. Kennedy, American politician was born (d. 1968).

1936 – Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange, was killed by a republican execution squad.

1937 Parachuting Santa, George Sellars, narrowly escaped serious injury when he was able to sway his parachute just in time to avoid crashing through the glass roof of the Winter Gardens during the Farmers’ Christmas parade.

Parachuting Santa crashes in Auckland Domain

1940 – World War II: Hungary becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.

1942 Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1943 – World War II: Battle of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic) begins – United States Marines land on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns.

1945 – Nuremberg Trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1947 – Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.

1952 – Slánský trials – a series of Stalinist and anti-Semitic show trials in Czechoslovakia.

1956 – Bo Derek, American actress, was born.

1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ended: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.

1969 – Vietnam War: The Cleveland Plain Dealer published explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre.

1974 – The United States Department of Justice filed its final anti-trust suit against AT&T.

1975 – Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain, died after 36 years in power.

1979 – Grand Mosque Seizure: About 200 Sunni Muslims revolted in Saudi Arabia at the site of the Kaaba in Mecca during the pilgrimage and take about 6000 hostages. The Saudi government received help from French special forces to put down the uprising.

1984 – The SETI Institute was founded.

1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 was released.

1989 – Velvet Revolution: The number of protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.

1991 – An Azerbaijani MI-8 helicopter carrying 19 peacekeeping mission team with officials and journalists from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan was shot down by Armenian military forces in Khojavend district of Azerbaijan.

1992 – Fire broke out in Windsor Castle, badly damaging the castle and causing over £50 million worth of damage.

1993 – Savings and loan crisis: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issued a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his “dealings” with savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating.

1994 – The Angolan government and UNITA rebels signed the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war.

1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declared accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 – The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.

2001 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicated the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.

2003 – A second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings destroyed the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.

2008 – After critical failures in the US financial system began to build up after mid-September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level since 1997.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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