Did you see the one about . . .


Show Time at In A Strange Land – old crafts and new junk at the Adelaide Show.

Post election polls for new governments at Kiwiblog.

Why all the talk about a new currency at The Visible Hand.

 Accidental Rape? at Macdoctor  who says ACC isn’t the right place for rape cliams.

Referendum Madness from Andrew Geddis at Pundit.

Lazarus a real nowhere man  at Inquiring Mind – we can but hope and in a similar vein Out of the ashes I rise . . . at Dim Post.

Hit Me Baby – Laughy Kate shows how low a blogger can go when driven to compete.

No photos it’s x-rated – at Kismet Farm where there’s no privacy in the horse paddock.

The Artist’s New Rubbish at Opinionated Mummy a rewrite of an old story for modern times.

Apropos of the art is rubbish issue this issue see also:

Rubbish? Art? but I repeat myself  at Not PC

Art that isn’t  at Lindsay Mitchell

Rubbish is not art by Lucia Maria at NZ Conservative


Modern Art is Rubbish  at Quote Unquote.

Bits on the Side for Sale at Bits on the Side – another blog bites the dust.

Top 10 songs or tunes


National Radio’s Afternoons asks listeners to come up with the best song ever written.

That’s a difficult choice to make when there are so many variables – a song or tune might be best at one time or place but beaten by another at another.

However, since we’ve had the top 10 quintessential Kiwi songs and the top 10 Beatles songs, I thought it was time for the top 10 songs from anywhere by anyone, and why:

1. The 23rd Psalm.

I remember it from Sunday school, High School. I also associate it with the big events in my life: our wedding (because me farmer like the rural connotations, at which the minister suggested we could sing We Plough the Fields and Scatter . . . ); the funerals of my mother in law, father, and both our sons and at my mother’s we sang The King of Love  which is based on the 23rd Psalm.

2. Pokarekare Ana. 

We may not know all the words, but it’s the song by which Kiwis recognise each other all over the world.

3. Pachelbel’s Canon.

I don’t remember when I first heard it but it’s been played at lots of celebrations I’ve attended. The last of these was the wedding of our nephew in Argentina when his mother, sister and cousin played it on violins as the bride entered the church.

4. Killing Me Softly.

We were skiing on Coronet Peak and had paused where the chairlift passed close to the trail. A skier reached out and waved his mitten close to my friend’s face. She immediately started singing Strumming my face with his fingers. . . ”

5. Handel’s Largo from Xerxes.

Another tune associated with celebrations, although it was several years after I first heard it that I learned it came with words.

6. The Skye Boat Song.

Partly because of my Scottish genes and partly because it was on the CD the surgeon chose when our first son was delivered.

7. Danny Boy

Our son was Dan and we sang this at his funeral. But I first came across the tune when I was in a Bible Class choir and we sang The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended  to it.

8. Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary.

Another one associated with celebrations and we chose it for the recessional at our wedding.

9. The Great Pretender.

Any list of songs has to have a soppy one.

10. Hine E Hine

With or without the Good Night Kiwi.

11. Rock Around The Clock

A list has to have a good dance tune too.

12. When You Walk Through A Storm;  Do you Hear the People Sing;  Time to Say Goodbye;  First Time Ever; Nessun Dorma; Red, Red Wine; All My Loving, Let It Be, . . .  who said I had to stop at 10?

Mid-Week Music


In recognition of Harry Secombe’s birthday which was yesterday –  This Is My Song:

Can’t count can’t cope


Maths lecturer Peter Hughes is right to be concerned that secondary school pupils are innumerate.

If you can’t count you  can’t cope properly with many functions in every day life.

I’ve often quoted the witticism that there are three kinds of people in the world, those who can count and those who can’t and then said I’m one of the latter.

But I was always joking because although I wouldn’t even attempt complicated maths I’m of the generation where the basics were taught and I can still cope with them.

That means I can add, subtract, multiply and divide, understand rounding,  compound interest, fractions and percentages and the other concepts which we need every day.

It doesn’t mean I always get the sums right, but it means I usually realise when I’ve got them wrong and can work out why.

It’s no use saying we don’t need the basics when we have calculators, unless you have a general idea of what the answer is you can have no idea if you’ve made a mistake.

If you can’t do the basics you’re at sea when you shop because you can’t compare prices properly and have no idea if there’s a gross error in the total you’re charged.

If you can’t do the basics of maths you’ll never cope with finance and as Huges says you’re then at risk of getting “bluechipped” .

If you can’t do the basics of maths you’re worse off than if you can’t spell. If you get the odd letter wrong when writing you can still get your message across. But a minor error with a number can be a major mistake.

If you follow the link above you can try your mental maths skills. I ‘ll confess I got only 4/5 – because I made a silly mistake which goes to show even when you know the basics, it pays to check your calculations.

P.S. Kathryn Ryan  interviewed Hughes on Nine to Noon this morning.

MMP will have to change


When MMP was introduced we had 60 general electorate seats, five Maori seats and 55 list seats.

Every six years electorate boundaries are changed to take account of population changes and every six years proportionality decreases.

We now have 70 electorate seats and 52 list seats. Two of those list seats are overhang ones because the Maori Party won more electorates than their party vote entitled them to hold as a percentage of the overall parliament.

Calculations on boundaries start with dividing the South Island population by 16 to give the number of people in each electorate and then dividing the North Island population into areas with that many people, plus or minus 5%.

The North Island population is growing faster than that of the South so every six years the North Island gets at least one more electorate.

Maori also get a change every six years to say whether or not they want to be on the Maori or general roll and if enough opt for the Maori roll another electorate is formed.

The number of seats in parliament is set at 120 (without an overhang) so each extra electorate seat results in one fewer list seat.

If the country decides it wants to continue with MMP something will have to change before the imbalance between electorate and list seats causes problems.

I can think of only three possible solutions:

We could reduce the number of electorate seats, but provincial seats already cover far too great an area.

We could increase the number of MPs to retain a better balance between list or electorate MPs. But I don’t think that will find favour with the majority who think we already have too many MPs.

We could change to an electoral system where population changes don’t matter.

Taking definition of public servant to extremes


A CYFS manager who prepared staff for a visit from the Social Development Minister with an email warning them:

“This is a formal visit and she is not your ‘friend’. It’s a bit like the relationship between a servant and a master, i.e. the servant knows their place.

This means:

a) The manager should know that the possessive pronoun should not take the plural form after a singular noun.

b) The manager should get out more.

c) They’re public servants and should know their palce, what’s the problem?

d) The manager made an error of judgement.

e) The reporters who made so much of this story made an error of judgement.

Naked emperor wins Waikato art prize


There more than a whiff of emperor’s new clothes about modern art.

People are too scared to admit they don’t understand, or like it, in case they look stupid.

When I look at a work which bemuses me I ask a simple question: could I do it? If the answer’s yes then I don’t consider it’s art.

I’d have no trouble creating something like the pile of rubbish which won the Waikato National Contemporary Art Award and therefore have a great deal of sympathy for the artists who’ve rubbished the win.

Meanwhile, down here the Waitaki District Council is mulling over the membership of a committee which will be charged with the placing of art in public places.

Deputy Mayor Gary Kircher posted on the issue at Waitaki Blog  and the ODT reports councillors are concerned that the committee will be too arty farty.

It’s a vexed issue and as the judge in the Waikato competition has illustrated all too well, one person’s art is another’s pile of rubbish.

Arty farty or not, I hope the people who end up on the committee take care to ensure that public places in the district aren’t populated by a whole lot of naked emperors.

Rates rises raising ire


A Federated Farmers survey found that rural property rates have increased by an average of 12.5% in the last year.

The survey was self-selecting so was more likely to reflect the views of people with higher rates rises, but even so that is a very high figure when inflation was less than 3% in the same period.

A good deal of the problem is that rates are based on property values which are often unrelated to a farm’s earning capacity.

“Two farms, both under Maori trusts, face $100,000 rates bills this year. Another North Island farm, also run by a Maori trust, is staring down the barrel of a 50 percent rates increase just because it farms a coastal property that could be sold or subdivided. It pays rates based on the ‘potential’ value of the land rather than its current and future economic use as a farm.

A change to a greater proportion of rates from a uniform general charge and more user-pays might help reduce rural rates but the problem is greater than who pays for what.

Initiatives by successive central governments have passed more responsibilities on to local authorities without them passing on any extra funding. That has placed a greater burden on ratepayers.

The power of general competence granted to councils has also added to costs as they’ve got involved in more activities which have to be funded, at least in part, from rates.

Then there’s the question which Fairfacts Media raised of computers in libraries competing with private enterprise.

The Oamaru Library has recently installed computers. Online research capabilities are compatible with a library but email, Skype, TradeMe,  and other web-based features will be in direct competition with internet cafes.

The amalgamation of councils in Auckland will almost certainly not be the last. Rationalisation ought to reduce some costs, but that by itself won’t address the fundamental problems caused by property-based ratings system where how much you pay is not necessarily related to what services you receive.

September 9 in history


On September 9:

1543 Mary Stuart was crowned Mary I, Queen of Scots.

 1839 John Herschel took the first glass plate photograph.

1886 The Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works was finalised.

1941 US singer Otis Redding was born.

1951 Former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was born.

1960 English actor Hugh Grant was born.

1969 Model Rachel Hunter was born.

1975 The Wanganui Computer Act was passed.

1976 Chairman Mao Zedong died.

2004 a bomb exploded outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta.

Sourced from BBC On This Day, NZ History Online, Wikipedia.

%d bloggers like this: