Andrea Bocelli – Nessun Dorma

September 22, 2009

It’s Andrea Bocelli’s birthday which provides an excuse to listen to him sing Nessun Dorma from the Opera Turandot.


My oath he’s dropped the F-bomb

September 22, 2009

The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”

That might have been the case when George Washington made this statement, but language standards must have deteriorated by Mark Twain’s times because he said:

When angry count four, when very angry swear.”

He also said, ” The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong. He can still swear and be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.”

Whether or not Kevin Rudd is a gentleman may be a moot point, but he is reported to have sworn on more than one occasion. The most recent was when he dropped what Quote Unquote delicately refers to as the F-bomb.

If reports are correct, it wasn’t just one but several F-bombs. While not condoning the language, I appreciate the frustration Rudd must have felt when backbenchers complained about cuts to what appears to be taxpayer funding of propaganda. As Twain said:

Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstance, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”

Apropos of this, Quote Unquote points to a copy of a speech which Rudd is to deliver in Copenhagen which has found its way to the Joe Hildebrand blog. (If you’re offended by asterisks, don’t follow the link).


Tuesday’s Answers – corrected

September 22, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. What were the surnames of Peter, Paul and Mary?

2. Who wrote Bums On Seats?

3. Who said: We are human beings as well as women, and our humanity must take precedence of our womanhood . . . We are New Zealanders, and therefore citizens, and whatever affects the well-being of the Commonwealth is our immediate concern.?

4. The Hakataramea is a tributary of which river?

5. Name the vice chancellors of three of New Zealand’s eight universities (the debate on whether that’s too many universities can wait for another time).

Gravedodger got two right and I’ll give him 3 for the last question because it was his answer which made me realise I had to clarify the question. He gets a bonus for extra info on question one as well.

Paul Tremewan got two right, a bonus for imagination (who’s Michael Snelgrove?) and none for the last but I’ll accept that maybe my clarification muddied the waters).

Paul M gest one and a bonus because he was the only one who got Roger Hall.

No-one got Kate Sheppherd – even though Saturday was the anniversary of women’s suffrage in NZ.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

CORRECTION:

Cctrfred has corrected me – The Chancellor at the University of Canterbury chairs the Council and it is Rex Williams. Rodd Carr is Vice-Chancellor and appears to be CEO. I’ve done a quick check and think the others are correct, but feel free to put me right if I’m wrong.

If anyone can explain why some universities appear to call the council chair Chancellor and othes call him (their are no hers at the moment) Vice Chancellor, please do.

While I’m correcting myself, Paul Tremewan gets another point. Michael Snelgrove didn’t write Roger Hall’s autobiography (had he done so of course it wouldn’t be an autobiography) to which I was referring, but  he did write a play by the same name.

Read the rest of this entry »


9/10

September 22, 2009

Kiwiblog got another perfect score in the Dominion Post’s political quiz.

I was undone by the poll numbers and scored 9/10 – though honesty compels me to confess three of those were guesses which owe at least something to luck.


Dairy payout forecast lifted to $5.10

September 22, 2009

Fonterra has announced a 55 cent increase in its forecast payout.

Last season Fonterra’s forecast payout was revised downwards twice. When this season’s forecast was set at $4.55 we hoped the company was being cautious so that any change would be upwards. That’s the case with today’s announcement of a new forecast payout of $5.10.

Fonterra Chairman, Sir Henry van der Heyden, says the revised forecast reflects a sustained improvement in commodity returns and a more positive outlook in international dairy markets. Sir Henry says farmers will begin to benefit from the higher payout forecast from next month, with a lift in Fonterra’s Advance Rate schedule of payments to farmer-suppliers.

 “We’ve had really tight cash flows on farms going into this season, and some serious belt tightening to get through. This will give our farmers a bit of relief and some extra flexibility to get the best out of their farms this year.”

 CEO, Andrew Ferrier, said demand had strengthened and there wwas a robust recovery in international dairy prices.

“What we’re seeing in the international market is the firming of a trend, with a more positive sentiment and stronger demand, producing better pricing across the board. Whole milk powder prices have been leading the way, with the prices for other dairy commodities now all moving in the right direction.

“While this is good news for our farmers in New Zealand, we remain in a period of extreme price volatility, which makes forecasting challenging, to say the least.”

In other words, it’s still too early for champagne, but another celebratory milkshake might be in order.

The company announces its 2008/09 financial results and confirms last season’s payout tomorrow.


Life’s fatal

September 22, 2009

An Australian man who won a court case allowing him to refuse food and water has died.

Rossiter, who broke his spine in 2004 in a road accident and was left a spastic quadriplegic after a fall last year, had described his life as “a living hell”.

In mid-August, the Australian state Supreme Court ruled that Rossiter’s nursing home in the west coast city of Perth must respect his decision to starve to death. . .

         The case shed light on a gray area in Australian law: patients have a right to refuse lifesaving treatment but helping   another to commit suicide is a crime punishable by life in prison.

Some may feel the law is dancing on the head of a pin here, but there is a significant difference between killing people and withdrawing, or not giving in the first place, treatment which allows them to die.

Macdoctor discussed this in  To treat or not to treat :

One last comment. The withdrawal of pointless treatment from a patient has been described as “medical euthanasia” or “passive euthanasia”. I don’t believe for a second that this has anything to do with euthanasia at all. Euthanasia is the active termination of the life of a person. In this country it is also known as murder. The passive termination of a life by letting nature take its course has another name. It is called death.

I have twice been asked to make the decision on whether or not treatment should be given for my sons.

Both had brain disorders. The first, Tom, was just 20 weeks old. He hadn’t passed any of the developmental milestones and had spent nearly a third of his life in hospital.

When he stopped breathing in the middle of the night we revived him and went in to Oamaru Hospital where the doctor asked us how aggressive we wanted to be in treating him.

We said if it came down to treatment which was only delaying his inevitable death we’d prefer to leave him be. He was transferred to Dunedin Hospital where a medical team spent a considerable amount of time trying to help him. Finally, the senior doctor turned to me and repeated the question we’d been asked in Oamaru.

I gave the same answer and a few minutes later, Tom stopped breathing.

Seven years later I faced a similar decision over our second son. Dan had a brain disorder and he too had passed none of the developmental milestones. He was five but could do no more than a new born baby. He had a hernia and reflux which required surgery. He contracted an infection a few days later and stopped breathing.

The doctor was going to summon the crash team but I told him Dan’s paediatrician had advised us if something like this happened we should leave him be. The doctor asked me if that’s what I wanted and I said yes.

These cases are different from that of the Australian man, but the principle of the right to refuse treatment, yourself or on behalf of your next of kin, is the same.

Life expectancy has increased and so to have our expectations of medical treatment. But there are limits to what health professionals can and should do because life is fatal.

One of the guiding principles in medicine is first do no harm. Sometimes letting nature take its course so people die, with the physical and emotional support they need to make it as painless as possible, is the best way to do that.


Inner beauty contest

September 22, 2009

The winners of most beauty contests  get the title because of genetic luck enhanced by make-up and grooming.

In Alexandra the Senior Blossom Festival Queen is judged on her inner beauty.

The contest was started 14 years ago, to thank the many volunteers who gave their time to help with the festival and serve on community groups.

It’s part of the the annual blossom festival. The winner Jennifer Bowie is a member of the Clyde Lauder union church which nominated her. She also serves on the Alexandra branch of the Red Cross and is a member of Dunstan Lions and the Birthright organisation.

She and the two runners-up, Christine Butler, of Clyde, representing Alexandra Citizens Advice Bureau, and Joan Shirley, of Alexandra, representing Castlewood Home, will ride on one of the floats in Saturday’s festival parade.


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