Google Doodles


Google asked New Zealand school chidlren to come up with Google Doodles.

The winner will be used on the Google NZ page for a day next year.

The finalists are here  and you can vote for your favourite.

This by Andrei Golovka appealed to me:

So did this by Ashley Brown



Who said New Zealander’s can’t do who-dunnits?

Ngaio Marsh did, Mary Scott and Joyce West did and now Vanda Symon is doing it too.

Overkill is set in Mataura where Sam Shephard is sole-charge police constable. She discovers the body of a young woman washed up on the banks of the river was murdered. The victim hapens to be the wife of Sam’s former lover and soon she’s a suspect.

I bought the book after reading a review and saved it for a long flight and reading it helped make the journey pass quickly.

Sam is not your typical detective but she’s got grit and I liked her enough to read Symon’s second novel, Ring Master, in which she stars too.

dairy 10008

Post 19 in the post a day for New Zealand Book Month challenge.

book month logo green

Deborah at In A Strange Land has picked Annie and the Moon by Miriam Smith illustrated by Lesley Moyes.

Oswald Bastable  posts on Oracles and Miracles by Stevan Eldred-Grigg.

Monday’s questions


1. What does fiat panis mean?

2. What is a Kārearea?

3. Who said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid of misinformed beholder a black eye.”?

4. Where is Timbuktu?

5. Who wrote Beak of the Moon?

Did you see the one about . . .


Weatherston appeal reproach to Court of Appeal – Stephen Franks speaks sense on meritless appeals.

What makes good political interviewing? – Tim Watkins defends Guyon Espiner’s interview with Metiria Turei.

Why I bought a bookstore  Jeff Mayersohn at the Huffington Post reckons there’s a future for books and the stores which sell them.(Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog).

Just – Stripy sock studio on being “just” a job description (Hat Tip: Art & My LIfe)

After the fisking charges are laid – feel the frsutration over political interference in roading changes from Opinionated Mummy.

Williamson and the theory of firm – Anit Dismal on the joint winner of the Nobel Prize for economics.

Fun Police # 2 Don’t let them eat cake – Liberty Scott on the birthday cake blues.

Not exactly deaf – Macdoctor says 6%  hearing loss is barely noticeable.

VUWSA’s VSM violations Scrubone guest posts at M&M on voluntary student membership machinations.

The poor are not helpless victims – Hernado de Soto – Not PC has found a hero.

Is this the worst hotel in the world? – Motella shows where not to stay.

About that poll


A new comment on an old post reminded me that I’d forgotten my offer to set up a poll to pick the Blog Award for Radio NZ.

The offer was made after Radio NZ said it couldn’t afford to enter this year’s New Zealand Radio Awards.

I nominated Jim Mora as broadcaster of the year and  Afternoons  and Country Life for best programme.

Others nominated Brian Crump, Media Watch and Peter Sledmere.

Any further nominations should be made today and I’ll set up a poll tomorrow.

Since I offered a box of Whitestone Cheese to the winner/s and my generosity knows considerable bounds I’ll stipulate nominations must be restricted to two categories – one for people, best broadcaster, and the other for best programme.

I support the Greens


They’ve spotted a missing apostrophe in a government press release – or at least the place where the apostrophe would be if it wasn’t missing.

In doing so they’ve also found their sense of humour.

The Green Party renewed it’s call for better grammatical standards in New Zealand, if only to keep world peace.

This is a Green campaign I’m happy to support – although I may live to regret that given my own propensity for proofreading failures.


I’m already regretting it because it was only when I read the comments on the post that I noticed the apostrophe missing from the original press release had found its way into the sentence I copied above.

You of course will have noticed it straight away.

Can we be trusted?


When people criticise the policies of the 80s and 90s they forget the reason drastic action was needed.

New Zealand had been spending more than it earned for years and governments had no option but to take very tough measures to reduce debt and get the economy growing again.

The situation we’re facing now isn’t quite as bad as it was back then but it still calls for serious changes in government income and expenditure.

If the country was a farm, we’d cull excess stock and conserve feed carefully for animals which needed it most. We’d go through the budget, cutting costs where we could, getting rid of any luxuries and reassessing what we defined as necessities. We’d also look at every aspect of the operation to see how we could make more from it and be on the look out for other opportunities for additional income, including the sale of non-core assets.

It’s harder to do that sort of thing as a government if you want to be re-elected. You’d have to trust the voters to recognise that tough times require tough remedies.

Can we be trusted?

If you listen to the protests about cutting funding for hobby classes you’d say no. But do those protests have wide support or do most people wonder why the taxpayer was ever involved in helping adults do yoga or embroidery in the first place?

I think most people recognise the recession calls for restraint and unlike Labour, I think they accept that means cuts in government spending.

It’s the opposition’s job to oppose but by doing that now Labour’s advocating more spending and more debt. Tonight’s 3 News Reid Research poll  suggests that’s not a recipe voters wish to try. 

National has jumped almost two points to 59.9 – a return to the high it registered in the 3 News Reid Research February poll.

Labour has dropped two to 27, a return to its February low.

The Greens have dropped marginally, while the Maori Party has bounced back up to 2.4.

The other minor parties are struggling.

ACT is up ever so slightly to 1.7, NZ First has a few diehard fans left, Jim Anderton’s Progressives have three voters out of 1,000 and poor old Peter Dunne has none.

There’s no comfort for Labour in the  preferred Prime Minister results either. John Key is up 4.2 to 55.8% and Phil Goff dropped  to 4.7 %.

If people aren’t listening to the opposition it provides the government with an opportunity to talk.

It’s an opportunity to tell us how bad things really are and how putting them right won’t be easy; but that it can be done and it must be done if we’re not to stagnate for the next couple of decades.

It’s an opportunity to start culling.

Has anyone missed the Ministry of Rural Affairs since its functions were taken over by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry?

Would anyone miss the Ministries of Women’s Affairs and Senior Citizens, the Children’s, Families and Retirement Commissions if any vital functions they perform were taken over by whichever of the Ministries of Education, Health or Social Development were best suited to the responsibilities?

Would anyone miss the Ministry of Racing if it disappeared altogether?

It’s an opportunity to take welfare back to where it should be – a hand up for people in genuine need not a hand out for people in want.

It’s an opportunity to change attitudes and that needs a change in language.

If politicians stopped talking about entitlements and called them benefits again it would make it much easier to cull any based on political ideology and retain those which help people who really need them.

It’s an opportunity to look for opportunities for more income.

National promised not to sell any state assets this term and it’s a promise the government will keep. But if Labour in the UK is talking about selling some of their assets which would be better off in private hands then the government here can start telling us what could be sold – partially or fully – if voters give them a second term.

The debacle over the free-to-air rights for the Rugby World Cup is a wonderful illustration of why the state would be better off not owning commercial television stations.

Labour sold several Landcorp farms in the last nine years. It would be silly to dump all of them on the market at once, especially when prices are depressed, but preparing to sell some if the price was right would be sensible.

Increasing the tax take, not by increasing tax rates but through measures which help private individuals and businesses increase their productivity, would also help the income side of the public ledger.

None of this is particularly radical and the opposition can be trusted to oppose most of it. But I think the majority of people can be trusted to understand what contributed to the $10.5 billion deficit and that more of the same won’t make it go away fast enough.

October 19 in history


On October 19:

1453 The French recapture of Bordeaux brings the Hundred Years’ War to a close, with the English retaining only Calais on French soil.

1469 Ferdinand II of Aragon married Isabella I of Castile which paved the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.

A detail of the painting Our Lady of the Fly, attributed to Gerard David and/or someone of the circle of Jan Mabuse

1512 Martin Luther became a doctor of theology

Luther in 1533 by Lucas Cranach

1850 – Annie Smith Peck, US mountaineer, was born.

1882 Italian artist Umberto Boccioni was born.

Umberto Boccioni self-portrait

1899 Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemalan writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born.


1931 English writer John le Carré was born.

John le Carré in Hamburg (10 November 2008)

1943 Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, was isolated by researchers at Rutgers University


1946 Englsih writer Philip Pullman was born.

1966 US President Lyndon Johnson & his wife, Lady Bird, arrived at Ohakea for a 24 visit to New Zealand.

1974 Niue beccame a self-governing colony of New Zealand.


 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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