Simply The Best


Happy birthday Tina Turner.

Geoscience delegates dine well


The annual Geosciences conference is taking place in Oamaru this week.

Last night about 200 delegates were dining at Burnside Homestead. The owners asked my farmer and a friend to lend a hand.

They were happy to oblige and spent most of the day tending two lambs and a leg of venison as they cooked over the fire.

They’re getting well practised and have found the secret. They use hard wood like manuka or blue gum which burns hot, then use the heat from the embers rather than the flames so the meat cooks slowly.

The result is tender, succulent meat which almost falls off the bones.

One of the delegates was Argentinean and was thrilled to have an asasdo  for the first time since she’d left home.

Just a little click


Osward Bastable has written a book which has been published on-line.

He’s asking people to click on the free download to help him up the list to where a browser is more likely to see it.

It’s just a little click and a big of bandwidth; and if you like what you read he’s offering a discount on sales.

(I did the clicks but got called away from the computer before I had time to read past the opening paragraph).

Greens on good farms


The Green Party is often regarded with suspicion by farmers because they appear to be far better at putting the spot light on bad practices than acknowledging good ones.

However, the party is launching a new initiative today telling good farm stories.

Jeanette Fitzsimons says:

There’s plenty of good farmers pioneering new ideas to make farming more sustainable, and we’re keen to tell New Zealand about them. . .

There’s great stuff going on down on the farm, and I thought it was time some of these stories got out. They include clever innovations, quality animal husbandry, excellent protection of waterways and biodiversity, reduced pesticide use, and lots of pride and pleasure in running a good farm.

This is a really good idea and I look forward to reading these stories.

Sometimes you’re lucky


The bloke who took over from me at the Rotary chocolate wheel at Sunday’s Victorian fete had bought five batons from me so I felt obligated to return the favour.

The first spin landed on one of my numbers and the second landed on another.

Shortly after I got home I received a phone call telling me I’d won a prize in a raffle.

The following evening I won a bottle of wine in the Rotary raffle.

I’ve heard of bad luck coming in threes, this week good luck did too.



10/10 in 46 seconds in this week’s Dominion Post politics quiz.

Just one lucky guess – I never remember numbers.

Show don’t tell


Show don’t tell.

That’s the advice given at creative writing classes and it also applies to journalism.

Why then does television, the medium best equipped to show, waste so much time telling us things?

An example that stuck in my mind was the reporter standing in the empty Wellington stadium telling us how full it had been for the football game the night before. When she’d finished talking we were shown the stadium from the night before and surprise, surprise, we could see that it was full.

One of the lessons drummed into me at journalism school was that we look before we listen and so whenever possible we should let the pictures tell the story.

That lesson must have by-passed whoever directs TV news these days. Not content with showing us the story, reporters have to start by telling us what we’re about to see and finish by telling us what we should think and how we should feel about it.

If the pictures and voice-over don’t convey everything that’s needed, the solution isn’t breathless to-camera reporting telling us the story from the journalist. It’s better pictures,  showing us the story with the voice-over explanations kept to a minimum and without gratuitous comments and opinions at the end.

What we get now isn’t reporting, it’s an unhappy cross between amateur dramatics and propaganda.

TV needs to do less telling, more showing and leave the thinking and feeling to the viewers.

Growing, growing . . .


Westpac economists are predicting 3.5% growth next year.

The next highest forecast is 3 percent, the mean is 2.4 percent and the lowest a measly 1.3 percent, while the Reserve Bank plumped for 2.5 percent.

Factors contributing to their optimistic outlook are:

* Asset prices, particularly housing and equities, had rebounded strongly,

* the country was experiencing a mini migration boom,

* forecasts of global activity continued to be revised upward,

* a dramatic shortfall in houses being built would be a multi-year source of economic growth in a nascent recovery,

* restocking of the extremely low inventory cycle would reinforce the economic recovery, and

* leading indicators, such as business and consumer confidence, were, if anything, stronger than in most other economic recoveries.

Economic recovery will be welcome, but not all growth is good.

Max Bowden’s Business Sense newsletter*  looks at the ASB/Main Report Regional Economic Scoreboard for September. It’s reasonably positive but too much of that positivity is based on rising real estate prices and retail sales rather than productivity.

Auckland and Canterbury scored 3 stars out of five. However that came from increases in house prices and retail spending, construction holding up and an improvement in new car registrations. Retail sales also helped the Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and Wanganui.

Aren’t climbing house prices, retail spending and car purchases part of what contributed to the recession?

In Northland employment picked up, the Fonterra payout helped Waikato, Hawkes Bay had increased visitor numbers and Taranaki was helped by its oil industry and dairying.

The Australian ski invasion  had a positive impact on the Otago economy, That was an unexpected consequence of Kevin Rudd’s recession-busting package and those visitor numbers are unlikely to hold up now the ski season is over.

The newsletter credits the Ranfurly Shield win with boosting Southland’s consumer confidence but the increased Fonterra payout will also have had a positive impact.

The West Coast dropped a star to two as house prices went back. Wellington, Tasman and Marlborough also got two stars.

Increased growth and Westpac’s prediction for more next year are encouraging. But growth based on improved productivity, particularly in export industries, is what we need rather than growth based on increased house prices and retail sales.

*You can can subscribe to Max Bowden’s newsletter here.

November 26 in history


On November 26:

43 BC The Second Triumvirate alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (“Octavian”, later “Caesar Augustus”), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony was formed.


1731 William Cowper, English poet, was born.


1778 Captain James Cook became the first European to visit Maui.

1789  A national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States as recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress.

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930)

1842 – The University of Notre Dame was founded.

1876  Willis Carrier, American engineer and inventor, was born.

1895 Bill Wilson, American co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born.

1922 Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, was born.


1923  Pat Phoenix, English actress, was born.


1924  George Segal, American Pop Sculptor, was born.

1939 Tina Turner, American singer and actress, was born.

1941  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

1960 Keith Holyoake began his 12 year service as Prime Minister.

1970 In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain fell in a minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.


1998  Tony Blair became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland‘s parliament.


2003 Concorde made its final flight, over Bristol, England.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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