Silent Woods


Jacqueline du Pré would have been 68 today.

She was a gifted musician, in spite of the multiple sclerosis, which led to her early death when she was only 42.

Changes in Cabinet


John Key has announced a couple of changes in Cabinet roles.

Steven Joyce becomes Tertiary Education Minister, allowing Anne Tolley to fully focus her efforts on the Education portfolio, and in particular the implementation of the Government’s national standards policy.

Kate Wilkinson becomes Conservation Minister, a portfolio in which she is currently Associate Minister. This change reflects the fact that Tim Groser is frequently out of the country representing New Zealand’s interests in the Trade and Climate Change fields.

The responsibility for Tertiary Education has often been separated from the rest of the Education portfolio and having the Associate Finance Minister in charge of Tertiary Education shows how important it is.

Kate has already been taking a lot of responsibility for Conservation because of Tim’s absence and will have no trouble taking on her new role.

There are some big issues ahead in this portfolio including tenure review and what action, if any is taken after the stock take of mineral reserves under conservation land. These need the attention of a Minister who is in the country most of the time.

The Toastmaster


Michael Bentine would have been 78 today.

Oh dear, I think I’ve been at one of those dinners.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is Boyle’s law.

2. Which yacht won the last America’s Cup and who was the skipper?

3. Who said, “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”?

4.Who wrote, Dust to Gold?

5. Who was the musterer who found the hermit merino Shrek?

Gravedodger gets four points – and a fifth, with a bonus for fooling me by being cryptic, if his answer to #3 means Mae West.

Andrei gets 2 plus a 1/2 for #2 and a bonus for the very full answer to #1.

Paul got 2 right, a 1/2 bonus for creativity for his answer to #4 which was lost for assuming – wrongly – the musterer was a bloke.

Woolcombe got #3 right and gets 1/2 for each of  # 1 & 2.

PDM got 1 for #3 (and a bonus because it was his repeated answering of Mae West which sent me in search of a quote from her); a 1/2 for #1 and a 1/2 bonus for good memory but wrong answer to #5.

David got 2 – and would have got another had he stayed with Mae West.

The answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day


Paul Tremewan’s comment on today being the birthday of bubble wrap sent me is search of information about it – and there’s lots.

It’s been manufactured by Sealed Air Corp for 50 years.

It was invented by Arthur Alfred W. Fielding and Marc Chavannes by happy accident when they were trying to make wallpaper with a plastic backing.

Today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day – and there’s a lot to appreciate.

Besides the obvious use of protective packaging for precious bits and pieces, it’s been employed for many other things and has even been used to make a wedding dress.

I’m an advocate for its therapeutic  properties – popping the bubbles is fun.

Bubble wrap is also very good for wrapping clothes when you’re travelling. My farmer wrapped his suit in it before we flew to Argentina for a wedding last year and it arrived without a crease.

Happy Australia Day


Waitangi Day is almost two weeks away and already a debate has started.

This time it’s over whether or not the holiday should be Mondayised if, as it does this year, it falls on a weekend.

Meanwhile, over the ditch, the Aussies will just be having fun.


Ethics vs politics


If a public hospital has done all the work it’s funded for and has no money to do any more procedures but does have the staff and equipment, should it be able to do so with private money?

More to the point, is it ethical to refuse treatment which could be provided if someone pays just because not everyone else can?

Providing private paying patients aren’t taking precedence over those whose procedures are publicly funded when the funds are available, I don’t see any problem with public hospitals providing privately funded services.

But I do think there’s an ethical issue if the hospitals aren’t able to provide services when the only issue is where the money is coming from.

Oncologist Dr Chris Jackson explains the thinking behind private funding for some procedures in public hospitals in the ODT.

Allowing public hospital cancer patients to have the option of paying for drugs not available through the public system would not mean the beginning of the end of the public health system . . .

. . . The consultation document states it is important for the hospital’s priority to be providing publicly funded services and that provision of extra treatments should not affect the care of patients receiving the publicly funded treatment. . .

Not everyone supports the idea but it sounds to me that those who oppose it don’t understand that paying patients wouldn’t be shoving others aside and they’re letting politics get in the way of ethics.

Macdoctor supports the concept and the panel discussed the issue with Jim Mora  and Dr Jackson (at about 15:30).

P.S. A personal example of when the private-public stand-off gets silly. Our baby son needed an MRI scan in 1989 when New Zealand’s only scanner was in a private hopsital in Auckland. Rather than sending us there, we were flown to Sydney.

January 26 in history


On January 26:

340  King Edward III of England is declared King of France.

1500  Vicente Yáñez Pinzón becomes the first European to set foot on Brazil.

1531  Lisbon was hit by an earthquake–thousands die.

1564 The Council of Trent issued its conclusions in the Tridentinum, establishing a distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

1565 Battle of Talikota, fought between the Vijayanagara Empire and the Islamic sultanates of the Deccan, led to the subjugation, and eventual destruction of the last Hindu kingdom in India, and the consolidation of Islamic rule over much of the Indian subcontinent.

1589  Job was elected as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

1699  Treaty of Carlowitz was signed.

 Poland after the Treaty of Karlowitz
1700 A magnitude 9 Cascadia Earthquake took place off the west coast of the North America.

1714 Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, French sculptor, was born.

1722 Alexander Carlyle, Scottish church leader, was born.

1736 Stanislaus I of Poland abdicated his throne.

1788 The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the continent.


1808 Rum Rebellion, the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.

The arrest of Bligh propaganda cartoon from around 1810.jpgA contemporary propaganda cartoon of Bligh’s arrest produced to show Bligh as being a coward[1]

1813 Juan Pablo Duarte, Dominican Republic’s founding father, was born.

1838 Tennessee enacted the first prohibition law in the United States.

1841 The United Kingdom formally occupied Hong Kong.

1844 Governor Fitzroy arrived to investigate the Wairau incident

Governor FitzRoy arrives to investigate Wairau incident

1855 Point No Point Treaty was signed in Washington Territory.

1857 Trinley Gyatso, Tibetan, The 12th Dalai Lama, was born.

12thDalai Lama.jpg

1880 Douglas MacArthur, American general, was born.

MacArthur Manila.jpg

1885 Troops loyal to The Mahdi conquered Khartoum.

1892 Bessie Coleman, American pioneer aviator, was born.

1904  Seán MacBride, Irish statesman, Nobel Prize Laureate, was born.

1905 The Cullinan Diamond was found at the Premier Mine near Pretoria.

 Glass copies of the nine diamonds cut from the Cullinan

1905 Maria von Trapp, Austrian-born singer, was born,

1907 The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk III was officially introduced into British Military Service, and remains the oldest military rifle still in official use.


1908  Stéphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist, was born.

1911 Glenn H. Curtiss flew the first successful American seaplane.

1911 – Richard Strauss‘ opera Der Rosenkavalier debuted at the Dresden State Opera.

1913 Jimmy Van Heusen, American songwriter, was born.

1918 Nicolae Ceauşescu, Romanian dictator, was born.

1920 Former Ford Motor Company executive Henry Leland launchedthe Lincoln Motor Company which he later sold to his former employer.

1922 Michael Bentine, British comedian and founding member of The Goons, was born.

1924 St.Petersburg was renamed Leningrad.

1925  Paul Newman, American actor, philanthropist, race car driver and race team owner, was born.

1930 The Indian National Congress declared 26 January as Independence Day or as the day for Poorna Swaraj (Complete Independence) which occurred 20 years later.

1934 The Apollo Theater reopened in Harlem.

1934 – German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact was signed.

1939 Spanish Civil War: Troops loyal to nationalist General Francisco Franco and aided by Italy took Barcelona.

The El Campesino directing Republican soldiers at Villanueva de la Canada.jpg

1942 World War II: The first United States forces arrived in Europe landing in Northern Ireland.

1945  Jacqueline du Pré, English cellist, was born.

1950 The Constitution of India came into force, forming a republic. Rajendra Prasad was sworn in as its first President. 

1952  Black Saturday in Egypt: rioters burnt Cairo’s central business district, targeting British and upper-class Egyptian businesses.

1955  Eddie Van Halen, Dutch musician (Van Halen), was born.

1958 Japanese  ferry Nankai Maru capsised off southern Awaji Island, 167 killed.

1958 Ellen DeGeneres, American actress and comedian, was born.

Ellen DeGeneres (2004).jpg

  • 1961 Janet G. Travell  was the first woman to be appointed physician to the president (Kennedy).
  • 1962  Ranger 3 was launched to study the moon.

    Ranger 3

    1965  Hindi became the official language of India.

    1978  The Great Blizzard of 1978, a rare severe blizzard with the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the US, struck the Ohio – Great Lakes region with heavy snow and winds up to 100 mph (161 km/h).

  • 1980Israel and Egypt established diplomatic relations.
  • 1984 Floods devestated Southland.

    Floods devastate Southland

    1988  Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera had its first performance on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre.

    1991  Mohamed Siad Barre was removed from power in Somalia, ending centralized government, and was succeeded by Ali Mahdi.

    1992  Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia would stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.

    1998 Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denied having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

    2001 An earthquake in Gujarat, India, caused more than 20,000 deaths.

    2004 President Hamid Karzai signs the new constitution of Afghanistan.

  • 2004 – A decomposing  whale exploded in the town of Tainan, Taiwan.
  • Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia.

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