Drinking Scene

January 18, 2010

Oliver Hardy was born on this day in 1892.


Tongue Twisters

January 18, 2010

Danny Kaye would have been 97 today.

His show was on television in the 60s, we didn’t have TV but our neighbours did and we were allowed to watch Danny Kaye most weeks.


Making the news

January 18, 2010

Good journalists are supposed to report the news not make it.

This has escaped Australia’s Channel 9 which was disappointed by the handful of people who turned out to see Prince William arrive.

A reporter from Channel Nine’s Today show was asked by her bosses to find some fans holding signs.

When she couldn’t, the reporter says she was told by the studio in Sydney to “make some up herself”.

The Channel Nine reporter wrote signs in pen saying “I love William” and gave them to a small group of women.

The reporter then did a live cross in front of the signs but did not mention they were her own creation.

The reporter told the ABC it was a “light hearted running joke on breakfast television” and the signs will not be on the news tonight.

Had the reporter been on the ball she’d have realised the real news story is that royal visits don’t really rate with the public any more which is a symptom of the slow but inevitable move towards a republic.

Journalists following the prince seem to be a lot more excited than the locals:

“It’s low-key to say the least,” said Hello! reporter Judy Wade, a longtime royal watcher who has followed Prince William since the day he was born.

“Compared to people back home, those here really don’t seem that interested at all.

“As one Kiwi I spoke to put it: I think they’d rather spend a nice day like this at the beach.”

Quite.

But while the lack of interest might be a symptom of a move towards a republic, No Right Turn thinks it might also be a hand brake because too few people care enough to agitate for change:

The British royal-watchers call this “a distinct pro-republican feeling”, but its more that we just don’t give a damn – the monarchy is simply utterly irrelevant to our lives. Though from a republican view, that irrelevance is a two-edged sword; not giving a damn also tends to mean not giving a damn about getting rid of them. Hence the slow drift to republicanism; no-one cares about them, but no-one cares enough to finally sign the paperwork to get them out of our lives either…

I think a republic is inevitable,  I’m generally supportive of that in theory and have no problem with people not turning out in droves to meet the Prince. But I am not impressed by those who plan to protest at the opening of the Supreme Court building today.

I won’t second Alf Grumble’s desire to behead anti-royalists but I think the anti royal protest, and another by Justice staff who want a pay increase, are merely displaying bad manners and a desire for publicity.

Though at least this time the crowd will probably bring their own placards  which will save the reporters from having to make some themselves.

Hat Tip: NBR


Monday’s quiz

January 18, 2010

1. Who is North & South’s editor?

2. Who are the three main characters in A Town Like Alice?

3. Who is the founder and CEO of Ice Breaker?

4. Who was made a Dame for her services to children in the New Year Honours?

5. Who said,There is something fascinating about science.  One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” ?


Too much information

January 18, 2010

One of the supposed strengths of  NCEA is that it shows what pupils know and that should be helpful to employers.

In our experience it’s not.

In the old system we could look at results and see percentage marks which would tell us quite a bit about an applicant’s ability to read, write, remember and reason.

The new system has far too much information much of which means nothing to anyone outside the education system and most of which is irrelevant to employers.

Even in practical subjects it’s not as much help as it should be. It appears the ability to explain what you’re doing has too much weight and in farming many of theyoung  people we employ are better at what they do than explaining why and how they do it.

That’s not to say the ability to communicate and explain isn’t important. It is, but often young people in general and young blokes in particular, haven’t learned to do that yet.

The old system was far from perfect but I’m yet to be convinced the new one is any better.


The curse of opposition

January 18, 2010

Guyon Espiner ended his North & South column on his predictions for government initiatives in the coming year by saying:

Which brings us to Labour, well it doesn’t really, but I guess I have to mention them. Right at the end.

There. I think that’s accorded them an amount of space commensurate with their level of relevance.

That’s the curse of opposition, especially when you’ve been there a short time after a very long time in government.

It’s even more difficult when the new government and the Prime Minister are as popular as this National-led one and John Key are at the moment.

If Labour highlight a problem or propose new policy they’ll be asked why they didn’t do something about it when they were in power.

That’s if anyone takes any notice which isn’t likely when, as Espiner points out, they’re barely relevant.


January 18 in history

January 18, 2010

On January 18:

1535  Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, the capital of Peru.

1591 King Naresuan of Siam killed Crown Prince Minchit Sra of Burma in single combat,  this date is now observed marked as Royal Thai Armed Forces day.

1670  Henry Morgan captured Panama.

Morgan,Henry.jpg

1778 James Cook was the first known European to discover the Hawaiian Islands, which he named the “Sandwich Islands“.

1779 Peter Mark Roget, British lexicographer, was born.

Roget P M.jpg

1788 The first elements of the First Fleet carrying 736 convicts from England to Australa arrived at Botany Bay.

The Charlotte at Portsmouth before departure in May 1787

1813 Joseph Glidden, American farmer who patented barbed wire, was born.

1849  Sir Edmund Barton, 1st Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1854 Thomas Watson, American telephone pioneer, was born.

1871 – Wilhelm I of Germany was proclaimed the first German Emperor in the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ of the Palace of Versailles towards the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The empire was known as the Second Reich to Germans.

1882 A. A. Milne, English author, was born.

Monochrome head-and-shoulders portrait photo of A. A. Milne in coat and tie, with pipe dangling from lips

1884 Dr. William Price attempted to cremate the body of his infant son, Jesus Christ Price, setting a legal precedent for cremation in the United Kingdom.

1886 Modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.

1889 Thomas Sopwith, British aviation pioneer, was born.
1892  Oliver Hardy, American comedian and actor, was born.
1896 The X-ray machine was exhibited for the first time.

1903  President Theodore Roosevelt sent a radio message to King Edward VII: the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States.

1904 Cary Grant, English actor, was born.

1911 Eugene B. Ely landed on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania stationed in San Francisco harbor, the first time an aircraft landed on a ship.

Eugeneely.jpg

1913  Danny Kaye, American actor, was born.

1916  A 611 gram chondrite type meteorite struck a house near the village of Baxter in Stone County, Missouri.

1919  The Paris Peace Conference opened in Versailles.

“The Big Four” during the Paris Peace Conference (from left to right, David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson)

1919  Ignacy Jan Paderewski became Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland.

1919 Bentley Motors Limited was founded.

Bentley logo.svg

1933 Ray Dolby, American inventor (Dolby noise reduction system), was born.

Dolby (left)  inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

1943  Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: The first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

A group of SS men on the street of Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising

1944 Paul Keating, twenty-fourth Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

Paul Keating in 1979

1944 The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City hosted a jazz concert for the first time. The performers were Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Roy Eldridge and Jack Teagarden.

1944 – Soviet forces liberate Leningrad, effectively ending a three year Nazi siege, known as the Siege of Leningrad.

Blokada Leningrad diorama.jpg
Diorama of the Siege of Leningrad, in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, in Moscow

1945 Liberation of the Budapest ghetto by the Red Army.

1954  Tom Bailey, English musician (Thompson Twins), was born.

1955  Battle of Yijiangshan.

1958 – Willie O’Ree, the first African Canadian National Hockey League player, makes his NHL debut.

1969  United Airlines Flight 266 crashes into Santa Monica Bay resulting in the loss of all 32 passengers and six crew members.

1974 A Disengagement of Forces agreement was signed between the Israei and Egyptian governments, ending conflict on the Egyptian front of the Yom Kippur War.

1977  Scientists identified a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of the mysterious Legionnaires’ disease.

1977 – Australia’s worst rail disaster at Granville, Sydney killed 83.

1978  The European Court of Human Rights found the United Kingdom government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.

1980 Upper Hutt’s Jon Stevens made it back-to-back No.1 singles when ‘Montego Bay’ bumped ‘Jezebel’ from the top of the New Zealand charts.

'Montego Bay' hits number one
1994 The Cando event, a possible bolide impact in Cando, Spain. Witnesses claimed to have seen a fireball in the sky lasting for almost one minute.
1997  Boerge Ousland of Norway becomes the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided.

1998 Lewinsky scandal: Matt Drudge broke the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair story on his website The Drudge Report.

2000 The Tagish Lake meteorite hit the Earth.

Tagish Lake meteorite.jpg

A 159 gram fragment of the Tagish Lake meteorite

2002 Sierra Leone Civil War declared over.

2003 A bushfire killed 4 people and destroys more than 500 homes in Canberra, Australia.

2005 The Airbus A380,, the world’s largest commercial jet, was unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse.

2007 The strongest storm in the United Kingdom in 17 years killed 14 people, Germany’s worst storm since 1999 with 13 deaths. Hurricane Kyrill, caused at least 44 deaths across 20 countries in Western Europe. Other losses included the Container Ship MSC Napoli destroyed by the storm off the coast of Devon.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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