Just a Minute


Once upon a time before there was a television in almost every home people listened to the radio which offered several comedy gems from Britain, including Just A Minute.

The object was for one of the four panelists to speak for sixty seconds on a given topic without repetition, hesitation or deviation and withstand challenges from the other three if they repeated, hesitated or deviated.

It’s a lot harder than it sounds but the clever meanderings of the speakers and witty interjections from the challengers made for very amusing listening.

One of the regular panelists was Sir Clement Freud who died this week.

Hat Tip: Liberty Scott who posts a tribute  with links to obituaries.

First mouse of autumn


Something moved beneath the desk then there was a muffled clunk.

The first mouse of autumn had been caught but unfortunately not killed.

I’ve already confessed I’m not keen on mice and like Busted Blonde I take no prisoners so I dropped the trap and its victim into a bucket of water.



Owen Marshall is the master of the short story. His gift for economy of word and phrase works well in poems too.

Today’s contribution to poetry month is Marsha’lls Ingratitude  one of 50 poems in his book Occasional, published by Hazard Press, 2004.



I hesitate to look the gift horse of existence in

the mouth, aware of all who have sack shuffled

into perpetual darkness, paid the ferryman his

coin, and those ova and spermatozoa impatiently

queuing on the chancy waiting list for the golden


interlude of life: that great oncer. Yet now I’m

old enough to have been around the traps, seen

the unheroic flipsides of this world’s flats, I

hear an inner voice, Oliver’s sad twin, which asks

not is there any more, but is there something else?


                 – Owen Marshall –

Less is more expensive . . .



. . . for bikinis.

But what’s happened to the recession when women are snapping up bikinis  for 2000 pounds which amounts to around 100 pounds a centimetre?

IQ test skewed towards men?


IQ Test
Free-IQTest.net – IQ Test

 Kiwiblog is smarter than I am.

Quote Unquote  is brighter too.

I bet it’s the number sequence that I got wrong.

If two men score better than one woman do I have sufficient evidence to accuse the test of  gender bias? 🙂

UPDATE: Oswald Bastable  beat me too.

I haven’t noticed any women confessing to their scores – but maybe they’re too smart to waste their time on the test.

UPDATE 2 : Kismet Farm scored better than me too.

Otago manufacturering shrinking most


Summit Woolspinners, one of Oamaru’s largest employers, is moving to a nine day fortnight in an effort to safeguard jobs in the face of declining orders for carpet yarn.

The March manufacturing index shows they’re not the only Otago manufacturer facing tough times.

Otago-Southland manufacturers are suffering the worst of any in the country by a wide margin, according to the latest BNZ-Business New Zealand performance of manufacturing index (PMI).

The Otago-Southland index slipped to 37.6 points in March – its lowest recorded reading.

A reading above 50 shows manufacturing activity is expanding and below 50 shows a contraction.

In March last year, the regional index was 46.3.

Nationwide, the index indicated some ongoing problems in the country’s manufacturing sector.

The seasonally adjusted national PMI increased 1.8 points in March from February to 40.7, but it is still the third lowest since the survey began.

Meanwhile, the consent process grinds on  for Holicm NZ which has applied to build a $400 million cement plant near Weston.

If it goes ahead the plant would provide about 120 fulltime jobs.

Give the reporter a dictionary #1


 Smashfest proved to be smashing success

Smashfest ’09 was recently held in Auckland, and rather being just for teenage boy racers, the event transcended all walks of life.

Transcend, v.t. Be beyond the range or domain or grasp of (human experience, reason description, belief, etc); (t. & i) excel, surpass.

EU reducing intervention in ag


Don’t bother putting the champagne on ice yet. 

It’s far too soon to celebrate, but there is a glimmer of hope in the European parliament’s budget for the new financial year.

The budget commits €54,834 million (A$10.2 billion) to agriculture and rural development – a 2% increase on the previous financial year budget. While more of these funds will be spent on direct aids and rural development, expenditure on intervention (including refunds, aid for storage and exceptional support measures) in agricultural markets has been reduced by 15%.

Reduced spending relative to last year’s expenditure is expected on beef export refunds and exceptional support measures, however, more is anticipated to be spent supporting the pork industry (including export refunds and intervention such as aids to private storage). Direct aid spending to support the sheep and goat industry is expected to fall 5%, reflecting the contraction in the EU breeding flock (EU Market Survey).

It’s a start.

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