Fairy Tale of New York


Happy birthday Spider (Peter) Stacy) – 51 today.


Jim Mora and this afternoon’s Panel (part 2) discussed Kirsty McColl’s death.

The Whole of the Moon


Happy birthday  Mike Scott – 51 today.

Monday’s quiz


1. How many letters in the Maori alphabet?

2. What is  a Sophora microphylla?

3. What are Frankincense and myrrh?

4. Who wrote, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus . . .”?

5. Who said, “Christmas is the one time of year when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.”?

10 years and they’ve done what?


The Greens have been celebrating 10 years in parliament.

They might think that’s an achievement but it’s been 10 years not in government.

Given their left leaning social and economic agenda it’s not surprising they weren’t offered a place in the National-led government.

But for all but the last year of their decade in parliament there was a Labour led government. If they couldn’t get around the cabinet table in three terms with Labour they ought to be taking a serious look at themselves, what they want to achieve and how best to achieve it.

They should especially look at their environmental agenda because as David Cohen points out there’s not much green about the few things which can be attributed to the party or its MPs.

Too chilly for cherries


Very cold weather in October combined with recent wet, cool weather is taking its toll on Central Otago cherry crops.

We bought some at a road side stall near Roxburgh on Saturday.

The woman serving us said the unseasonal weather wasn’t just slowing down ripening and that the fruit wasn’t as flavoursome as usual.

The weather is also reducing the yield, with some orchards expecting their harvests to be down by at least a third.

North Otago cherries ripen later than those in Central and they are expecting smaller crops here too.

In MMP you need partners


Remember the coloured graphs on television before the last election?

The ones that showed Labour with lots of friends – New Zealand First, the Greens, the Maori party and Jim Anderton; and National with just Act and Peter Dunne?

The commentators took great delight in explaining MMP 101: It’s most unusual for a party to be able to govern by itself. A major party needs one or more parties which will give it enough support to govern in coalition.

What will the graphs look like in the lead up to the next election?

Labour and Phil Goff might take some heart from the rise in the latest 3 News Reid Research Poll.

But the small increase in support from a very low base doesn’t take it anywhere near power when it’s done on the back of a speech almost guaranteed to allow the Maori Party to win all the Maori seats and spurn Labour as a coalition partner.

The options for 2011 look like National plus the Maori Party and/ or Act on one side or Labour and the Greens on the other.

I’m counting Anderton as Labour (if he stands again) and assuming Dunne will do the sensible thing and not stand again.

I’m ignoring New Zealand First.

If it looks as if its approaching 5% support, I hope that enough floating voters will be so appalled  at the prospect of a Labour, Greens, New Zealand First coalition they’ll vote for any other party to stop that happening.

December 14 in history


On December 14:

1287 St. Lucia’s flood: The Zuider Zee sea wall in the Netherlands collapsed, killing more than 50,000 people.

1503 Nostradamus, French astrologer, was born.


1542 Princess Mary Stuart beccame Queen Mary I of Scotland.

 1751 The Theresian Military Academy was founded as the first Military Academy in the world.


1782  The Montgolfier brothers’ first balloon lifts on its first test flight.

 A 1786 depiction of the Montgolfier brothers’ historic balloon with engineering data.

1843 The first Auckland A&P Show was held.

1895  King George VI  was born.

1896 The Glasgow Underground Railway was opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company.

A map of the Glasgow Subway

1900  Max Planck presented a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law.

                    Black body spectrum

1902 The Commercial Pacific Cable Company laid the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii.

1903 The Wright Brothers made their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.


1911  Roald Amundsen‘s team, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting and Amundsen, became the first to reach the South Pole.

1918 Friedrich Karl von Hessen, a German prince elected by the Parliament of Finland to become King Väinö I, renounces the Finnish throne.

1922 Don Hewitt, American creator of 60 Minutes, was born.

 1932  Charlie Rich, American musician, was born.

1946 Patty Duke, American actress, was born.

1948  Kim Beazley, Australian politician, was born.

1949 Cliff Williams, English bassist (AC/DC), was born.

1958  The 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition became the first expedition to reach The Pole of Relative Inaccessibility in the Antarctic.

1958  Mike Scott, Scottish singer-songwriter (The Waterboys), was born.

1958 Spider Stacy, English musician (The Pogues), was born.

1962  NASA‘s Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.

Mariner 2 in space.jpg

1964  Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States – The United States Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress can use its Commerce Clause power to fight discrimination.

 1972 Apollo programme: Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt completed the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of Apollo 17. This was the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century.


1981  Israel‘s Knesset passes The Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights.

1994 Construction began on the Three Gorges Dam in the Yangtze River.

Three Gorges Dam

2004  The Millau viaduct, the highest bridge in the world, near Millau, France was officially opened.


2008 President George W. Bush made his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and almost got struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad.

 Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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