Love Child


Happy birthday Cindy Birdsong – 70 today.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

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.”? 

PaulL gets a point for justifying his answer to #2 and a half for his answer to #4.

Andrei gets 2 and a half for his answer to #4.

Since it’s Christmas I won’t deduct a mark for pedantry. I don’t know enough about linguistics to know if he’s right about the Maori alphabet, but the intent of the question was to determine how many letters of the alphabet are used when writing the Maori language.

Gravedodger gets 4 plus a half for his answer to #4.

David gets three.

Paul Tremewan gets three and a bonus for humour.

PDM gets a bonus for honesty.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

There are two ways . . .


. . .  to prepare for an overnight trip to Wellington.

The first is to think about what you need, pack carefully and leave in plenty of time to chat with an elderly aunt when you drop off some food for her en route to the airport.

I did it the other way this morning, packing in a rush, leaving home later than desirable with just enough time to give my aunt the food, have a very quick catch up on her health and run.

Then I got to Dunedin airport to find the flight was delayed for at least an hour.

It’s not the airline’s fault I was disorganised. But given they get a phone number and email address when you book online, how difficult is it to email or text a message to let intending passengers know when there’s more than a short delay?

Flagging the future


The news that the Maori flag will fly on Auckland Harbour Bridge, Parliament and Premier House hasn’t been universally welcomed.

The opposition comes from Maori and non-Maori and for a variety of reasons.

There’s no surprise in that.

Some don’t like the idea of any Maori flag and some don’t like that particular flag.

If anyone suggested it’s time to fly a new New Zealand flag there’d be a similar range of opinions.

But there is a website which is aiming to do that. ;

 is a  Trust established to promote debate about New Zealand’s national identity and, in particular, about New Zealand’s flag. We believe that the time has come for New Zealanders to choose a flag which represents New Zealanders as we see ourselves today – to respect and reflect our history as a nation, to represent us to others as we would we would like them to see us and, importantly, to carry us forward with our hopes and aspirations for New Zealand’s future.

The website gives reasons why the flag should change, looks at various designs which have come up before (I like John Hepbrun’s and Jason Paul Troup’s). Then there are  several new designs  which have arisen during the debate and comments on them.

There is a lot of emotion tied up in a flag and some won’t welcome the debate but I would like a flag which is distinctively New Zealand’s and not likely to be confused with Australia’s as ours is now.

SIT beats Oxford & Cambridge


Southland Institute of Technology has top spot on the list of most popular education downloads on iTunes.

The institute’s Intensive English series has spent the past three weeks atop a list of content offered through iTunes University, a free education area within the Apple iTunes online music and video store.

SIT is the first organisation outside the United States or United Kingdom to occupy the No1 spot, from a stable of more than 300 education providers worldwide.

Internationally renowned universities Cambridge and Oxford in the UK and Stanford, Texas A&M, MIT and UCLA in the US are some of the bigger names in SIT’s cyber shadow.

I wonder how the students cope with the New Zealand accent and if they learn to roll their Rs?

Health Boards’ merger less certain


Otago and Southland District Health Boards have been developing a closer relationship for some time.

They have a single chief executive and chair and have been consulting on a full merger.

Public meetings on the proposal haven’t been well attended which indicates people don’t have strong feelings on the issue.

The most heat about the the proposal was from Central Otago where people who are caught between board boundaries were in favour of the merge. They gave the example of someone in Queenstown who needs chemotherapy who has to go to Invercargill under the current structure but would be able to make the shorter journey to Dunstan Hospital if there was a single board.

However, Southland Hospital doctors wrote an open letter opposing the merger, just a day before submissions closed.

Dr Charles Lueker, who chairs the senior medical staff committee in Southland, said the letter was signed on behalf of “well over 90%” of senior doctors at Southland Hospital.

The doctors expressed concerns about services being centralised to Dunedin and the loss of the board’s advocacy for the people of Southland.

Reducing costs, sharing resources and providing more convenient service for many rural patients has a lot to recommend it.

It would be a pity if the merger which would do this was to fail at this late stage.

December 15 in history


On December 15:

37 Nero, Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, was born.

Nero 1.JPG

1791  The United States Bill of Rights became law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.

United States Bill of Rights

1832 Gustave Eiffel, French engineer and architect (Eiffel tower), was born.

1863 The mountain railway from Anina to Oravita in Romania was used for the first time.

1891  James Naismith introduced the first version of basketball, with thirteen rules, a peach basket nailed to either end of his school’s gymnasium, and two teams of nine players.

1892 J. Paul Getty, American oil tycoon, was born.
As I See It, J. Paul Getty’s Autobiography
1905 The Pushkin House is established in St. Petersburg to preserve the cultural heritage of Alexander Pushkin.
  • 1906 – The London Underground‘s Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opened.

    1915 – World War I: Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig replaced John French, 1st Earl of Ypres as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.

    Douglas Haig.jpg

    1930 Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and short story writer, was born.

    1933  – Donald Woods, South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist, was born.

    1939 Cindy Birdsong, American singer (The Supremes), was born.

     The Supremes Jean Terrell (left), Cindy Birdsong (center), Mary Wilson (right) circa 1970

    1939  Gone with the Wind received its première at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


    1944 The Finance Act (No. 3) abolished the Chinese poll tax, introduced in 1881, which was described by Minister of Finance Walter Nash as a ‘blot on our legislation’.

    Poll tax on Chinese immigrants abolished

    1951 The towering Belmont railway viaduct, which bridged a deep gully at Paparangi, northeast of Johnsonville, Wellington, built in 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company, was demolished by Territorial Army engineers.

    Belmont viaduct blown up

    1955  Jens Olsen’s World Clock started by Swedish King Frederick IX and Jens Olsen’s youngest grandchild Birgit.

     The back of Jens Olsen’s World Clock

    1965  Gemini 6A, crewed by Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford, was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida. Four orbits later, it achieved the first space rendezvous with Gemini 7.

    Ge06Patch emb.png

    1973  John Paul Getty III, grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, was found alive near Naples, Italy, after being kidnapped by an Italian gang on July 10, 1973.

    1978  President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States will recognize the People’s Republic of China and cut off all relations with Taiwan.

    1997 The Treaty of Bangkok was signed allowing the transformation of Southeast Asia into a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

    2000 The 3rd reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was shut down due to foreign political pressure.

    Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station, viewed from the roof of a building in Prypiat, Ukraine.   Fourth reactor

    2001 The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.

    2006  First flight of the F-35 Lightning II.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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