To see ourselves . . .

April 20, 2014

A modern parenting tip from a Facebook friend and father of a two-year-old:

Modern Parenting Tip: video your kid having a tantrum on your phone then play it back to them immediately. They are always distracted by videos of themselves. 100% success rate so far.

 Would it work for kids of all ages?

As Burns said -

. . . O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! 


NZ politics by Austen

April 20, 2014

Jane Clifton looks at New Zealand politics through Jane Austin’s novels:

We have Labour and the Greens, who anyone can see are made for each other, doing a comprehensive Pride and Prejudice. Just like Mr Darcy, the Greens make an overture to Labour, while making it plain that Labour is really a bit beneath their station and would need to remedy certain unsatisfactory traits and sign a pre-nup first, and Labour comes the full Elizabeth Bennet and tells them to naff off – while making eyes at the dashing but unbecomingly experienced Mr Wickham, aka Winston Peters.

Now Labour leader David Cunliffe is being hauled over the coals for his pertness by a patron every bit as formidable as Lady Catherine de Bourgh: the Labour left, who installed him in office and who expect him to know his duty.

At least in Austen-land, dear reader, all would be well for the left in the end. But it seems destined to transfer to more of a Henry James trajectory: elaborate emotional turmoil culminating, though always elegantly, in open-ended misery. Either the left/New Zealand First parties will fail to build a winning share of the vote, in part precisely because of these inept courting carryings-on making them look disunited, and National will stay in office; or the left will scrape in burdened with intra-party ill will.

Admittedly it’s always amazing how quickly a chip on the shoulder can expire the minute an MP’s bum hits ministerial leather. But the past week’s untidy guts-spilling on the left makes it plain there is simply not enough leather to soothe all the bruised and jockeying egos involved. . .

 Sadly this disarray and distrust on the left doesn’t make it any more certain that we’ll have a National-led government after the election.

SENSE AND INSENSIBILITY

This illustrates why MMP continues to bemuse some voters; how can such contradictory propositions be justifiable at the same time? On the one hand, surely voters should know that if they vote for Party X, that will be as good as voting for Party Y as well because, given the chance, the two will buddy up in the Beehive. Voters might like Party X but deplore Party Y, and should have the information on which to weigh their choice.

On the other hand, such advance team-picking has the effect of railroading some voters into voting tactically rather than strictly honestly – most often so as to minimise the chance of getting the party they badly don’t want in Government, rather than to maximise the chances of the party they most fervently support. NZ First is prey to this, in that most of its supporters will have a marked preference for/aversion to either Labour or National, and if they think Winston will go a particular way, that’s going to cost him votes. He is very wise to say, “If you like me, vote for me.” This agnosticism allows him to auction for the best policy deal.

But then voters become uncomfortable with a minor party holding the balance of power, “wagging the dog”, king-making and so on – unless, of course, the kingmaker is the party they voted for, in which case it’s called “keeping the bastards honest”.

Depending on one’s politics, it might seem reassuring to recall that Mr Wickham was run out of town, and that in the modern version, all Mr Darcy had to do in the end was take his shirt off and jump in a lake.

But there, thankfully dear reader, the Austen-ness of it all comes to a felicitous end.

No party is promising the fairy tale happily ever after.

But a government led by National would bring more of the policies which are working and considerably more stability than we’d get from the left.


Sunday soapbox

April 20, 2014

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse, amuse or bemuse.
Wise words.


April 20 in history

April 20, 2014

1303 The University of Rome La Sapienza was instituted by Pope Boniface VIII.

1453 The last naval battle in Byzantine history when three Genoese galleys escorting a Byzantine transport fought their way through the huge Ottoman blockade fleet and into the Golden Horn.

1494 Johannes Agricola, German Protestant reformer was born (d. 1566) .

1534  Jacques Cartier began the voyage during which he discovered Canada and Labrador.

1535 The Sun Dog phenomenon observed over Stockholm and depicted in the famous painting “Vädersolstavlan

1653  Oliver Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament.

1657 Admiral Robert Blake destroyed a Spanish silver fleet under heavy fire at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

1657  Freedom of religion was granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (later New York City).

1689 The former King James II of England,  then deposed, lay siege to Derry.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Siege of Boston began.

1792 France declared war on Austria, beginning of French Revolutionary Wars.

1809 Two Austrian army corps in Bavaria are defeated by a First French Empire army led by Napoleon I of France at the Battle of Abensberg on the second day of a four day campaign which ended in a French victory.

1810 The Governor of Caracas declared independence from Spain.

1828 René Caillié became the first non-Muslim to enter Timbouctou.

1861 American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia.

1862 Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the first pasteurisation tests.

1871 The Civil Rights Act of 1871 became law.

1884 Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Humanum Genus.

1889 Adolf Hitler, German Nazi dictator, was born  (d. 1945) .

1893 Joan Miró, Spanish painter, was born  (d. 1983).

1902 Pierre and Marie Curie refined radium chloride.

1914 Forty-five men, women, and children died in the Ludlow Massacre during a Colorado coal-miner’s strike.

1918 Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shot down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day.

1926 Western Electric and Warner Bros. announced Vitaphone, a process to add sound to film.

1939  Billie Holiday recorded the first Civil Rights song “Strange Fruit“.

1941  Ryan O’Neal, American actor, was born.

1945  World War II: US troops captured Leipzig, Germany.

1945 World War II: Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

1948 Craig Frost, American musician (Grand Funk & Bob Seger), was born.

1949  Jessica Lange, American actress, was born.

1953 Sebastian Faulks, British novelist, was born.

1958  The first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Southern Hemisphere opened in Hamilton.

Mormon temple opens in Hamilton

1961 Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed troops against Cuba.

1964  BBC Two launched with the power cut because of the fire at Battersea Power Station.

1968  Enoch Powell made his controversial Rivers of Blood speech.

1972 Apollo 16 landed on the moon commanded by John Young.

1978  Korean Air Flight 902 was shot down by Soviets.

1980 Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria as hundreds of Berber political activists were arrested.

1981 – Alison Roe won the Boston Marathon.

Allison Roe wins Boston marathon

1985 ATF raid on The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas.

1986 Pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed in his native Russia for the first time in 61 years.

1986 Cameron Duncan, New Zealand director, was born.

1986 Professional basketball player Michael Jordan set a record for points in an NBA playoff game with 63 against the Boston Celtics.

1998 German terrorist group Red Army Faction announced their dissolution after 28 years.

1999 Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado.

2007 Johnson Space Center Shooting: A man with a handgun barricaded himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston before killing a male hostage and himself.

2008 Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.

2010 – Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion killed 11 and causes rig to sink, initiating a massive oil discharge in the Gulf of Mexico.

2013 – Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s - last reactor was shut down at midnight.

2013 – A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck Lushan County, Ya’an, in China’s Sichuan province, killing more than 150 people and injuring thousands.

Sourced from Nz History Online and Wikipedia


Word of the day

April 19, 2014

Antapology – a reply or response to an apology.


Rural round-up

April 19, 2014

Dairy NZ says won’t be water ‘whipping boy’ any more -   Lynn Grieveson:

Dairy NZ says the dairy industry is no longer willing to be the “whipping boy” for any decreasing water quality of New Zealand’s streams and rivers, while Fish and Game has called for a public inquiry into the water quality issue.

Both groups appeared before Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee on Thursday to discuss the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on water quality, which described the problem of nitrogen leaching into waterways.

Chairman of DairyNZ John Luxton, standing in for Rick Pridmore, Dairy NZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Sustainability, said some of our most polluted streams and rivers were in urban areas. . . .

 

China, food and NZInc - Ketih Woodford:

The latest statistics show that New Zealand exports to China continue to surge. In the 12 months to February 2014, milk powder and beef exports each more than doubled, sheep meat sales increased by 80%, and log sales increased by 65%. Overall, exports to China increased from $7.1 billion to 10.9 billion, comprising 22% of total exports.

This overall percentage figure is not in itself a record. Both before and during the 1960s we were much more dependent than this on Britain, and in 1989 our exports to Japan reached 18% of total exports, before declining to the current figure of less than 6%. Nevertheless, the sheer speed of the increase in exports to China is causing concern both to commentators and the industries themselves.

I see no point in worrying about increasing reliance on China as a market destination. It is a simple reality that trade with China is going to increase a lot further yet. As long as the Chinese continue to pay more than other markets, then that is where the products will go. . .

 Good turn-out of forestry conference – Joanna Grigg:

Gray skies did not dampen the enthusiasm of 280 foresters and tree enthusiasts at the recent New Zealand Farm Forestry Association conference in Marlborough.

Field trips were a big part of the four-day programme, organised by the Marlborough Tree Growers Association.

An eclectic group of farmers, corporate foresters, scientists, and plant people had the chance to see radiata pine forests in the Marlborough Sounds, eucalyptus for durable post-production, amenity plantings for farms, and machinery to harvest trees safely on steep land. . .

Lorneville rendering plant commissioned:

LEADING MEAT processor and exporter Alliance Group has completed commissioning the second stage of its $25 million new rendering plant at Lorneville near Invercargill.

The plant produces high quality meat meal sought by pet food manufacturers and for animal feeds, as well as tallow for use in a range of applications from cosmetics to biofuels. The products are exported to international markets such as China, North America, Europe and Asia.

It incorporates the latest technology including a Press Dewatering System, which uses less energy and produces high quality products. The process, is virtually “zero waste”, resulting in high product yields and low wastewater output. . .

Food safety professional development:

AN INCREASINGLY sophisticated food industry stemming from the globalised nature of food production also means more complex issues around food safety and security.

With New Zealand’s heavy reliance on exporting primary produce, this demands robust knowledge and constant up-skilling in the processes and requirements of food safety and security by industry professionals.

Lincoln University, through its Centre for Food Research and Innovation, is now running a series of ongoing professional development courses for those in the food industry. . .

New DairyNZ director appointed:

A new independent director has been appointed to the board of dairy farming industry body, DairyNZ.

DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton says Peter Schuyt has been appointed to replace independent director John Spencer who has stepped down after his term on the board. “I thank John for his excellent contribution to both DairyNZ and to the New Zealand dairy industry over many years.”

John says Peter will be a valuable addition to the board.

“We have three independent directors as well as five farmer-elected members. Peter will bring some broad experience to the table as he is an independent director for a broad range of New Zealand businesses,” he says. . .

Aquaculture New Zealand welcomes Supreme Court decision:

Aquaculture New Zealand has welcomed the long awaited Supreme Court decision clearing the way for three new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

“It has been a long, expensive and uncertain process to get to this point,” said Aquaculture New Zealand Chairman Bruce Hearn.

“Hopefully we are now at a point where New Zealand King Salmon can proceed with their growth plans and get on with what they do best – sustainably producing the world’s best salmon. . .


Saturday’s smiles

April 19, 2014

Charley,  a new retiree-greeter at a shopping mall, just couldn’t seem to get  to work on time.

Every day he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late.  But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their “Older Person Friendly” policies.

One day the boss called him into the office  for a talk.  “Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here;  but your being late so often is quite bothersome.”

“Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it.”

“Well good.  You are a team player.  That’s what I like to hear.”

“Yes sir, I understand your concern and I will try harder.“

Seeming puzzled, the manager went on to comment,  “I know you’re retired from the Armed Forces.  What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning late so often?”

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled.  He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin, “They usually saluted and said, Good morning Admiral.  Can I get your coffee, sir?


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