Sunny Afternoon

February 15, 2010

Happy birthday Mick Avory, 66 today.


Give A Little Bit

February 15, 2010

Happy birthday John Helliwell – 65 today.


Monday’s quiz

February 15, 2010

1. What was the origin of the term proof in relation to alcohol content?

2. What does stick to one’s last  mean?

3. What are the two smallest countries, by area, in the world?

4. Who said, “New Zealand is a country of thirty thousand million sheep, three million of whom think they are human.”

5. Who is New Zealand’s Minister of Internal Affairs?


Dick Francis – a tribute

February 15, 2010

The paperback had lost its front cover and the blurb on the back mentioned racing.

That almost put me off, but I was stuck in a cottage in rural Kent. Rain had stopped hop picking for the day, it was too wet to walk into the nearest village and there was nothing else to read.

The book was Flying Finish by Dick Francis and within a few paragraphs I was hooked.

I sought out his other books and have now read everything he’s written.

He was a champion jockey who went into journalism when he retired from the race track. That didn’t pay well, his wife suggested he write a novel and that was the start of his career as a thriller writer.

Horses and racing feature in all his books but his heroes usually have other strings to their bows. Through Dick Francis I learned more about photography, flying, the jewellery business and wine than I’d otherwise have thought I’d want to know. 

The meticulous detail which made his characters and their lives so real and believable was one of the factors which made his books so good.

He had an old-fashioned attitude to women, but  most of his books featured a strong woman and his heroes always treated them  with respect. They were also honest and upright and one of the themes in all his books was the triumph of good against evil.

His late wife, Mary did a lot of his research and some suggest she played a bigger role in the writing too. His last four books were co-authored with his son Francis.

Dick Francis’s website is here.

The Times’ obituary is here.

The Telegraph’s obituary is here.

The Guardian’s obituary is here.

Keeping Stock also pays tribute.

Update: Kismet Farma has posted her tribute too.


America’s Cup is America’s cup again

February 15, 2010

The USA regained the America’s Cup for the first time since 1995 when BMW Oracle beat the Swiss yacht Alinghi this morning.

It’s the third fourth * win New Zealander Russell Coutts has been associated with.

He skippered New Zealand yachts to two wins and is now CEO of the Oracle team.

Coutts could have skippered a record three wins but in a gesture of sportsmanship handed the helm to Dean Barker for the final race. He was praised for that but then received a lot of criticism when he left New Zealand to sail for foreign teams.

I didn’t blame him for doing that. He’s a professional yachty, he’d done his best for New Zealand and had the right to earn more money elsewhere when he had the opportunity to do so.

* Ian left a comment pointing out Coutts also won with Alinghi.


Mining doesn’t have to be a dirty word

February 15, 2010

Moonlight sounds romantic but there wasn’t much romance in the dry, barren East Otago hills where farmers struggled from drought to drought.

There’s still no romance there, but since the area was opened up for gold mining there’s been plenty of life. Conditions on consents are safeguarding the environment and ensure that the land is left in a better state than it was before the mining started.

They’ve proved that mining doesn’t have to be a dirty word and there is no reason the same thing couldn’t happen in a few selected areas of the conservation estate with low conservation values.

When someone says National Park, most of us think of beautiful bush, glorious mountains and pristine water ways. But it’s not all like that.

Some of it’s like this:

There’s some native scrub and exotic weeds; it’s home to wild rabbits, hares, pigs and deer; it’s no where near tourist trails and it borders private land.

If there were minerals of value under land like this, they could be extracted with minimum disruption to the neighbours. One of the conditions imposed on the mining company could be that the land is planted in natives when the mining is finished.

This would provide jobs and income and leave the land in a better condition than it is now.

What’s the problem with that?


February 15 in history

February 15, 2010

On February 15:

509 Khosrau II is crowned king of Persia

 
KosrauIIGoldCoin.JPG

1564 Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and physicist, was born.

1637Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

 1804Serbian revolution started.

1805Harmony Society was officially formed.

 The Harmony Society church in Old Economy Village, Pennsylvania.

1812 Charles Lewis Tiffany, American jeweller, was born.

1820 Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist, was born.

 

1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia was adopted.

1852Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admitted its first patient.

 

1874 Sir Ernest Shackleton, Irish Antarctic explorer, was born.

1877  Louis Renault, French automobile executive, was born.

 

1879 American President Rutherford B. Hayes signed a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

1882 The first shipment of frozen meat left New Zealand.

First shipment of frozen meat leaves NZ

1891 AIK was founded at Biblioteksgatan 8 in Stockholm by Isidor Behrens.

Aik.png

1898 – Spanish-American War: The USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana harbour, killing more than 260.

USS "Maine" entering Havana Harbor on 25 January 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later

1906 – The British Labour Party was formed.

Labour logo
   

1909 Miep Gies, Dutch biographer of Anne Frank, was born.

 

1909 The Flores Theatre fire in Acapulco, 250 died.

1942  The Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, British General Arthur Percival surrendered. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history. The Sook Ching massacre began.

Singaporesurrender.jpgLt Gen. Arthur Percival, led by a Japanese officer, walks under a flag of truce to negotiate the capitulation of Allied forces in Singapore, on 15 February 1942.

1944 The assault on Monte Cassino, started.

Battle of Monte CassinoRuins of Cassino town after the battle

1944 Mick Avory, British drummer (The Kinks), was born.

1945  – John Helliwell, British musician (Supertramp), was born.

 

1947 David Brown, American musician (Santana), was born.

1950 – The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China signed a mutual defense treaty.

1951 Jane Seymour, British actress, was born.

1952King George VI was buried in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

1959 Ali Campbell, British singer and songwriter (UB40), was born.

1960 Mikey Craig, British musician (Culture Club), was born.

1961Sabena Flight 548 crashed in Belgium, killing 73, with the entire United States Figure Skating team, several coaches and family.

1965 – A new red-and-white mapleleaf design was adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.

 

1970 – A Dominican DC-9 crashes into the sea during takeoff from Santo Domingo, killing 102.

1971Decimalisation of British coinage was completed on Decimal Day.

1972 – Sound recordings were granted U.. federal copyright protection for the first time.

1976 – The 1976 Constitution of Cuba was adopted by the national referendum.

1978 New Zealand beat England in a cricket test for the first time.

New Zealand beats England in a cricket test for the first time

1980 Television One and Television Two (formerly South Pacific Television) under the newly formed Television New Zealand went to air for the first time.

1982 The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 rig workers.

 

1989 Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announced that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.

1991 The Visegrád Agreement, establishing cooperation to move toward free-market systems, was signed by the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.

2001 First draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature.

2003 Protests against the Iraq war occurred in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people took part, making this the largest peace demonstration in the history of the world.

 StWC poster advertising the demonstration

2005YouTube, was launched in the United States.

YouTube logo.svg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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