Mickey Mouse & Friends Band Concert


Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse.

Mid-week music


It’s W.S. Gilbert’s birthday.

Of all the talents I don’t have that I wish I did, the one I miss the most is the ability to sing in tune. Because of that I was never even in the chorus of school musicals.

I did however, assist backstage for one – The Mikado from which comes I’ve Got a Little List.

In and out of touch


We’d finished the meeting, shared taxis to the airport, checked in and regrouped in the Koru lounge.

A few years ago we’d have chatted to each other until our flights were called.

Instead, a couple checked and dealt with messages on their mobiles, two turned their computers on and started typing and another checked emails on a Blackberry.

Spot the irony.

The technology which makes it so much easier to stay in touch with people in other places makes it far too easy to be out of touch with people in the same place.

Missing numbers


 The commentary on births and deaths in the year to the end of September records  a decline in infant mortality and still births:

During the September 2009 year, the number of infant deaths (under one year of age) registered in New Zealand totalled 290. The infant mortality rate (infant deaths per 1,000 live births) has dropped over the last 40 years. In the September 2009 year, the infant mortality rate was 4.5 per 1,000, down from 5.5 in the September 1999 year, and 17.6 in 1969. The Māori infant mortality rate was 6.2 per 1,000 in the September 2009 year, down from 23.0 in 1969.

 Graph, Infant mortality rate, 1963–2009.

Neonatal deaths (under four weeks of age) made up 55 percent of infant deaths in the September 2009 year. The neonatal mortality rate (neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births) was 2.5 in 2009, down from 2.9 in 1999. The post-neonatal mortality rate (infant deaths over 27 days of age per 1,000 live births) also dropped, from 2.6 in 1999, to 2.1 per 1,000 in 2009.

Australia has also experienced a drop in infant mortality rates in the last decade. In the December 1997 year, New Zealand’s infant mortality rate was 6.5 per 1,000 live births, compared with 5.3 per 1,000 in Australia. By 2007, New Zealand’s infant mortality rate had dropped to 4.9 per 1,000 and Australia’s rate had dropped to 4.2 per 1,000. (The 2007 data is the most recent available for Australia.)

Scotland (4.7 per 1,000 live births), and England and Wales (4.8) had similar infant mortality rates to New Zealand’s in 2007. However, a number of other low-fertility countries had lower infant mortality rates: Sweden (2.2), Finland (2.7), Norway (3.1), France (3.6), and Denmark (4.0).

There were 380 stillbirths in the September 2009 year. This corresponds to 6.0 stillbirths per 1,000 births (live and stillbirths combined).

The sharp decline in infant mortality is encouraging, but I am left with a question – how many of the babies who survived received some sort of damage during birth which left them with a disability?

These stats are for births and deaths so there is nothing untoward about the absence of any records of babies who were damaged during birth and survived, here.

But those numbers ought to be recorded somewhere and readily available and they don’t appear to be.

The optimum outcome of pregnancy is not just a live birth but a healthy baby.

There are growing concerns about our maternity system. The trend in the number of babies who are damaged during birth but survive would be one measure of whether or not these concerns are justified.

Do directors have the skills?


A media release from Health Minister Tony Ryall on his expectation that District Health Boards will collaborate more includes this:

DHBs across the country have responsibility for overseeing budgets from $100 million to over $1 billion a year. They also have in total around $160 million of unfunded services (DHB deficits) inherited from the last Government.”

“The Ministry of Health advises that only around 10% of Board members have specific financial expertise.

Only around 10% of board members have specific financial expertise?

I wonder how that compares with other boards?

Financial expertise isn’t the only skill required of directors but it’s one of the most important.

It’s moments like these . . .


 . . . you wonder what passes for customer knowledge in Cadbury.

The experiment with palm oil in chocolate failed when consumer pressure forced them to return to the old recipe with cocoa butter (and very nice it is too).

But they haven’t learned from that expensive exercise because now they’re meddling with Minties.

Cadbury is changing the recipe of the lolly and switching production to Thailand.

The confectionery company acknowledges the lollies are now “a softer chew” and a different taste.. .

New Plymouth woman Tania Garcher used to love Minties, she says she chewed them for stress relief. But after Cadbury changed the way her favourite lollies were made, her stress levels have raised considerably.

“All I care about is the taste. If they tasted fine – that’s great, but they don’t – they taste totally different to me,” she says.

Minties are Minties because of both taste and texture.

Meddle with one or both and Minties fans will be reaching for something else to get them through their moments.

November 18 in history


On November 18:

326 The old St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated

1477  William Caxton produced Dictes or Sayengis of the Philosophres, the first book printed on a printing press in England.


Caxton showing the first specimen of his printing to king Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville.
1626 St. Peter’s Basilica was consecrated.
A very detailed engraved image of a vast interior. The high roof is arched. The walls and piers which support the roof are richly decorated with moulded cherubim and other sculpture interspersed with floral motifs. Many people are walking in the church. They look tiny compared to the building. 
1785  David Wilkie, British artist, was born.
1836  Sir William S. Gilbert, British dramatist, was born.
1836  Cesare Lombroso, Italian psychiatrist and founder of criminology, was born.
1861  Dorothy Dix, pseudonym of US journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer, was born.
1874 The Cospatrick caught fire off the coast of South Africa en route to New Zealand, killing 470 people.

1903 The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed by the United States and Panama, giving the United States exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

1916 : First Battle of the Somme ended when British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig called off the battle which started on July 1, 1916.

1918  Latvia declared its independence from Russia

1926 George Bernard Shaw refused to accept the money for his Nobel Prize, saying, “I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.”

1928 The release of the animated short Steamboat Willie, the first fully synchronized sound cartoon, directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, featuring the third appearances of cartoon stars Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. This is also considered by the Disney corporation to be Mickey’s birthday.

1939 Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer, was born.

1942  Susan Sullivan, American actress, was born.

1947 The Ballantyne’s Department Store fire, Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 41 people.

1963 The first push-button telephone went into service.
1978 Jim Jones led his Peoples Temple cult in a mass murder-suicide that claimed 918 lives in all, 909 of them at Jonestown itself, including over 270 children.
1983  Jon Johansen, Norwegian software developer, was born.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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