Blinded By The Light


Happy birthday Paul Jones – 68 today.

I Could Be So Good For You


Happy Birthday Dennis Waterman – 62 today.



7/10 in this week’s NZ History Online quiz – though the ones on numbers were all guesses.

Bringing history to life


Oamaru’s Little Blue Penguin colony had been operating for years before we visited it, and then it was only because we were hosting visitors from overseas.

That’s often the way, tourists know more about local attractions than the locals do.

But I’ve been asking myself why locals don’t support local initiatives because I’ve heard lots of good things about one of Oamaru’s tourist attractions but still haven’t gone to see it for myself.

It’s Living History’s Secrets of the Old Town – walking tours of the historic precinct enlivened by professional actors who become real people from history to tell the town’s stories.

Among the characters are Cranky Kelly, the Scottish Laird and the woman who dared to ask for shoes and those who’ve done the tour tell me they do a wonderful and entertaining job of bringing history to life.

The Living History Players take visitors back in time and behind the scenes to reveal Oamaru’s historic secrets and treasures.

The 50 minute tours leave the Oamaru iSite at 7pm each evening and finish in time to see the penguins come ashore.

I’ve booked to do the tour next Monday and will let you know how it goes. In the meantime, the ODT’s Sally Rae did the tour in January and wrote about it here and there are several online reviews here.

Save a little now pay more later


The plan by the Otago and Southland DHBs to cut funding for some home services to the elderly is short-term silliness.

Assistance for a little bit of housework might seem like an extravagance but it could be all that’s needed to reduce or prevent the need for more expensive services.

Saving a little now on services which enable elderly people to stay in their own homes and live relatively independently will only lead to the increased costs of looking after them when they become ill, have accidents or have to go into full time care later.



8/10 in the Dominion Post politics quiz.

Is not knowing who Labour’s police spokesman is a reflection on my knowledge or his performance?

Less tax = more pension


One of the criticisms about suggestions of reducing income tax and increasing GST has been the impact on people on low, fixed incomes such as pensioners.

The government has been quite clear that if GST increases pensions and other benefits will increase to compensate.

But a response by National’s Dunedin list MP Michael Woodhouse to a letter to the editor of the ODT (not online) points out that pensioners get more when income tax goes down anyway.

Pensions are based on 66% of the average after-tax income. If income taxes come down, the average after-tax income rises and so do pensions.

February 24 in history


On February 24:

303Galerius, Roman Emperor, published his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Empire.

Romuliana Galerius head.jpg

1387  King Charles III of Naples and Hungary was assassinated at Buda.

1538 Treaty of Nagyvarad between Ferdinand I and John Zápolya.


1582 Pope Gregory XIII announced the Gregorian calendar.

Gregory XIII.jpg

1607L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognised as an opera, premiered.

Head of a heavily bearded short-haired man with a  serious expression, leaning slightly forward and facing semi-right,  although his eyes look straight ahead. A white collar over a dark coat  or cloak is also visible.

1711 The London première of Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel, the first Italian opera written for the London  stage.

1739 Battle of Karnal: The army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeated the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad Shah.

Nader Shah Afshar.jpg 

1786 Wilhelm Grimm, German philologist and folklorist, was born.

The Grimm Brothers, Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm

1803 The Supreme Court of the United States, in Marbury v. Madison, established the principle of judicial review.

1804 London‘s Drury Lane Theatre burnt to the ground, leaving owner Richard Brinsley Sheridan destitute.


1822 The 1st Swaminarayan temple in the world, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad, was inaugurated.

Shree Swaminarayan Sampraday, Ahmedabad.jpg

1826  The signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo marked the end of the First Burmese War.

1831 The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, was proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.


1839 William Otis received a patent for the steam shovel.


1848 King Louis-Philippe of France abdicated.

1868 The first parade to have floats was staged at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

1868 – Andrew Johnson became the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives.



1875 The SS Gothenburg hit the Great Barrier Reef and sank off the Australian east coast, killing approximately 100.

SS Gothenburg.jpg

1877  Ettie Rout, New Zealand activist, was born.


1893 The American University was chartered by an act of the Congress.


1895 Revolution broke out in Baire beginning the second war for Cuban independence.

1899 Western Washington University was established.

1902 The Battle of Langverwacht Hill ended.

End of the battle of Langverwacht Hill

1909 – The Hudson Motor Car Company was founded.

Hudson Logo.svg

1917 The U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom was given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany pledged to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona to Mexico if Mexico declares war on the United States.


1918Estonian Declaration of Independence.


1920 The Nazi Party was founded.

NSDAP Reichsadler.svg

1926  Jean Alexander, English actress, was born.


1942 Battle of Los Angeles: a UFO flying over Los Angeles caused a blackout order at 2:25 a.m. and attracted a barrage of anti-aircraft fire, ultimately killing 3 civilians.


1942 Paul Jones, English singer (Manfred Mann), was born.

1945 Egyptian Premier Ahmed Maher Pasha was killed in Parliamen.

1948 Dennis Waterman, British actor, was born.

1968  The Tet Offensive was halted; South Vietnam recaptured Hué.


1970 National Public Radio was founded in the United States.


1976 Cuba’s national Constitution proclaimed.

1981 Buckingham Palace announcedthe engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.


1981 – An earthquake registering 6.7 on the Richter scale hit Athens, killing 16 people and destroying buildings in several towns west of the city.

1989Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offered a USD $3 million bounty for the death of The Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

1988 Salman Rushdie The Satanic Verses.jpg

1989 – United Airlines Flight 811, bound for New Zealand from Honolulu, Hawaii, ripped open during flight, sucking 9 passengers out of the business-class section.

1999 – A China Southern Airlines Tupolev TU-154 airliner crashed on approach to Wenzhou airport killing 61.

2006 Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Proclamation 1017 placing the country in a state of emergency in attempt to subdue a possible military coup.

2007 Japan launched its fourth spy satellite.

2008 Fidel Castro retired as the President of Cuba.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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