Cannonball Rag


Merle Travis would have been 92 today.

The only song of his I recognised when searching YouTube was Sixteen Tons, but I liked Cannonball Rag more.

The C word


The first signs of Christmas approaching seem to happen earlier and earlier each year.

The sight of tinsel and sound of carols in October, or even September, used to irritate me now I just ignore them until very late November.

That coincides with the first Sunday of advent which is plenty early enough to start thinking about Christmas for me.

It’s still too soon to get a tree or put up decorations but one of our family traditions is an advent wreath.

We light the first candles on the first Sunday and one more on subsequent Sundays until Christmas day when all five are lit.

Whether or not you are a Christian, it is much better to ponder on hope, faith, joy, love and Christmas itself, which each of the candles signify, than the many other less inspiring meanings attached to the C word now.

Jonell from Jonell’s Florists, makes the wreath for us.

Although she’s been doing them for years now, every one has been different and all have been beautiful.

Green practices can make business sense


Economic growth and good environmental policy go hand in hand, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said in opening yesterday’s National Party Bluegreen forum at Totara.

Her message was reinforced by by party’s Dunedin list MP, Michael Woodhouse, who said what’s good for the environment can be good for business.

“Green” businesses are often regarded as alternative. But Michael said there are a lot of opportunities for any business to do things in a more sustainable way.

He managed Mercy Hospital before entering politics and said changing from diesel to LPG for had not only reduced the costs of heating the hospital, it had reduced cleaning bills because the diesel had created a fine soot.

“Good business processes and practices can improve the environmental footprint and the bottom line,” he said.

Confession of a fair weather fan


I’ve barely glanced at a rugby game all year.

I still didn’t watch the All Balcks vs France test properly.

But my farmer was watching it so I was aware of what was happening in the background.

And now they’re not just winning but winning well ( 39 -12 with three mintues to go), I’m interested.

Recycling aspirin for hangover of over consumption


Recycling is not always good for the environment.

This was the message from Marion Shore of the Waitaki Resource Recovery Centre to a National Party Bluegreen Environment forum at Totara yesterday. 

She was speaking on waste minimisation and said that recycling is like aspirin to treat the hangover of over consumption.

“Most recycling reduces the quality of material being recycled over time. . . Recycling doesn’t make it environmentally benign,” she said.

It is much better to reduce what we use and re-use what we can. 

Product and packaging design plays an important role in waste minimisation.  For example, electronic goods from Korea are packed in rice husks when they’re exported to Europe and once they’re no longer needed they are turned into bricks.Ms Shore said some “green” practices weren’t necessarily as good for the environment. Low energy bulbs used less energy than the old ones but the old ones could be disposed of in landfills without the risks of mercury contamination.

“Fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury which needs to be disposed of carefully. It’s much better to turn off lights we don’t need,” she said.

Her message resonated with me because she cut through the greenwash to the facts. Recycling makes some people feel better because they’re “doing something” for the environment. But the something they’re doing is not always a good thing and never better than reducing and reusing.

This is one of the reasons I was so irritated by supermarkets charging a green tax on plastic bags which are almost always reused when they use unnecessary packaging which is almost always dumped as soon as the shopper gets home.

Ms Shore conlcuded by saying there is no planet B.

She’s right which means we have to look after the one we’ve got – but that requires differentiating between really good green practices and greenwash.

November 29 in history


On November 29:

800 Charlemagne arrived in Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.

1832  Louisa May Alcott, American novelist, was born.

1849  Sir John Ambrose Fleming, British physicist, was born.

1893 Elizabeth Yates became the first woman in the British Empire to win a mayoral election when she became Mayor of Onehunga.

1893 Ziqiang Institute, today known as Wuhan University, was founded by Zhang Zhidong.


1898  C. S. Lewis, Irish writer, was born.

Monochrome head-and-left-shoulder photo portrait of 50-year-old Lewis

1910 The first US patent for inventing the traffic lights system was issued to Ernest Sirrine.

1913  Fédération Internationale d’Escrime, the international organizing body of competitive fencing was founded in Paris, France.


 1917  Merle Travis, American singer/guitarist, was born.

1929  U.S. Admiral Richard Byrd becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole.

Lt com r e byrd.jpg

1932 Jacques Chirac, French President, was born.

1933 John Mayall, British blues musician, was born.


1944 The first surgery on a human to correct blue baby syndrome was performed by Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.

1945 The Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was declared.

Flag Coat of arms


1961 Mercury-Atlas 5 Mission – Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space.


Enos being prepared for insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961.
1972 Nolan Bushnell (co-founder of Atari) released Pong (the first commercially successful video game) in Andy Capp’s Tavern in Sunnyvale, California.
 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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