Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2009

Whether or not a new decade starts tomorrow, a new year does.

Whether or not you call it New Years Eve or Hogmanay, there’s only one song to sing at midnight:

May 2010 be full of love and laughter and be kind to you and yours


Language beats logic

December 31, 2009

A few pedants tried to tell us that the 21st century didn’t start on January 1, 2000 and now they’re trying to tell us that tomorrow isn’t the start of this century’s second decade.

They were right mathematically then and they’re right now because there was no year 0.

But language beats logic.

Just as 2000 didn’t sound like the 20th century, 2010 doesn’t sound like the noughties. As the years roll on this argument becomes even more compelling; most of us say we enter our 20s when we’re 20 not 21 and few would be willing to wait to 101 to claim the title of centenarian.

Adam at Inquiring Mind takes the contrary view,  and while it may be correct it’s a minority one. 

This is one instance when right sounds wrong and most of us will go with a new decade starting tomorrow not a year hence because of the way it looks and sounds in spite of the logic and the maths.


Should our greatest be good?

December 31, 2009

Are honesty and integrity important?

Does the type of person someone is count at least as much as what s/he does?  Should s/he be be judged not only on what s/he does but the way s/he does it? Do not just  deeds but character matter?

Should our greatest people also be good?

If they are getting our highest honour they should and that is why I am disappointed that Helen Clark has been made a Member of the Order of New Zealand.

I wouldn’t have minded if she’d been made a Dame, although her aversion to titular honours would have precluded that.

My disappointment isn’t because of politics. I don’t agree with a lot of what she did but redistribution and encouraging dependency on the state are consistent with her socialist views.

It’s what some of her actions say about her character that’s the problem.

She didn’t just forge one painting. She admitted to signing “about half a dozen” works of art which she hadn’t produced “over 20 years” and then couldn’t understand what was wrong with that.

She didn’t support the police who drove too fast to get her from Waimate to Christchurch.

She used taxpayers’ money illegally to pay for Labour’s campaigns, changed the law to make that spending legal and passed an Act in an attempt to allow that spending to continue while restricting what other individuals and groups could spend.

She backed Phillip Field in the face of strong evidence against him and did her best to thwart the inquiry into his actions.

She continued to back Winston Peters as a minister long after he showed he could not be trusted.

The Order of New Zealand is restricted to just 20 living New Zealanders.

If one of our 20 greatest isn’t also good it reflects very badly on the rest of us.


December 31 in history

December 31, 2009

On December 31:

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain)  consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

The Company flag, after 1707

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1729 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born.

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing hisfirst  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, Ontario, as the capital of Canada.
                           
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born.
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born.

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born.

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

Four smiling young men leaning over the back of a green park bench, a row of three-story-tall residential buildings behind them. The man on the left wears a brown sports jacket and white turtleneck; the man to his right wears a black-and-white-striped pullover shirt; the man to his right (standing straighter, just behind the other three) wears a black suit and tie; the man on the far right wears a black sports jacket and white shirt.Original lineup in 1965. From left: Pete Quaife, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, Mick Avory.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.[1]

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

General Motors.svg

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, New Zealand rugby player, was born.

Richie McCaw

1983 – The AT&T Bell System is broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

 

 

      

 

 

1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.

 Banknotes

 

 Coins

1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).

Taipei101.portrait.altonthompson.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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