Back in Black


I recognised the name AC/DC but wasn’t familiar with the music.

A quick search of YouTube gave me plenty of choice. I listened to the start of a couple, liked neither and decided that Angus Young’s  birthday could pass without a musical post from me.

But then Andrei left this comment  and since his generous sharing of musical knowledge adds so much to the birthday music I had another listen.

Still couldn’t find anything I liked but liking the music hasn’t stopped me posting music from other groups so here it is:

Happy birthday Angus Young – 55 today:

Haydn – Trumpet Concerto in E Flat


Joseph Heydn Haydn was born 278 years ago today.

Lonely Bull


Happy birthday Herb Alpert – 75 today.



This is what happens when you do answer questions without engaging the brain first: a barely adequate score in this week’s Dominion Post politics quiz – just 6/10.

Open road


The trip from home to Wanaka takes about 2 1/2 hours.

Last night I left home at 8.15 and 15 vehicles passed me heading east.

Not a single one passed or was passed by me going west.

Don’t tell anyone trying to get out of Auckland or Wellington this weekend, it’ll only make them jealous.

ECan couldn’t, commissioners will


The decision by Ministers for the Environment and Local Government, Nick Smith and Rodney Hide, to replace Environment Canterbury with commissioners would not have been made lightly.

But this is what the independent review panel chaired by Wyatt Creech recommended. It is also what the mayors of the area ECan covered and other groups including Irrigation New Zealand, requested.

ECan has been plagued by internal politics and delays.

Its rivers are among the most important to the country’s environment and economy yet ECan has failed to come up with a water plan.

Dame Margaret Bazley is chair designate of the commissioners. Kiwiblog notes:

The choice of Dame Margaret is a shrewd one. She is 110% non-partisan, and has a excellent track record of sorting out dysfunctional systems.

In a second post answering criticism that this over rides democracy he also points out:

. . .   it happened under the last Government, and to a territorial local authority which has far bigger impact on people’s lives than a regional council. Also done under urgency, and also done at the request of local Councils – but in this case the ten or so territorial authorities.

What is the big difference?

National in Opposition supported Labour, because they put doing the right thing ahead of petty politics. If a Council has not managed a water allocation plan after 18 years, then it is a pretty sure sign than things are wrong and need fixing. Just waving a stick and saying “try to do better” has not worked.

The ministers’ media release includes a comprehensive Q&A which includes extracts from submissions and lists other bodies which have been replaced by commissioners – Rodney District Council, Auckland  and Hawkes Bay District Health Boards and 30 Boards of Trustees.

Even with these precedents, replacing a regional council is a radical move.

However, ECan has had 18 years to come up with a water plan and failed dismally. The problem of water allocation and quality in Canterbury requires urgent action.

ECan couldn’t do it and the commissioners will.

They have a demanding job ahead of them and one which must be done as quickly for the sake of the region’s water, wider environment and economy and to enable the return to elected councillors as soon as possible.

March 31 in history


On March 31:

 1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preached his sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade.

1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.


1596 René Descartes, French mathematician, was born.

1621 Andrew Marvell, English poet (, was born.

1717 A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.


1732 Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, was born.


1774 American Revolutionary War: The Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.

1822  The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.

1854 Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.


1866 The Spanish Navy bombed the harbor of Valparaíso, Chile.

1885  The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Bechuanaland.

1889 The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.

Tour Eiffel Wikimedia Commons.jpg

1903 Richard Pearse made a powered flight in an early aircraft.


1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.

1909 Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1909 Construction began on the RMS Titanic.

RMS Titanic 3.jpg

1912 Construction was completed on the RMS Titanic.

1917 The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.

1921 The Royal Australian Air Force was formed.

Ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg

1926 John Fowles, English author, was born.


1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next thirty eight years.


1931  An earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.

1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.


1935 Herb Alpert, American trumpeter and band leader, was born.


1936 Marge Piercy, American writer, was born.

Woman on the Edge of Time (book cover).jpg

1940 The funeral of Labour Prime Minister Michael Josepgh Savage took place.

  Funeral of Labour PM Savage

1942  World War II: Japanese forces invaded Christmas Island, then a British possession.

1942 Holocaust in Ivano-Frankivsk (then called Stanislawow), western Ukraine. German Gestapo organised the first deportation of 5,000 Jews from Stanislawow ghetto to Belzec death camp.

1946 – The first election was held in Greece after World War II.

1947  César Gaviria Trujillo, former President of Colombia, was born.

1948 Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1951 Remington Rand delivered the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau.


1955 Angus Young, Scottish-born Australian guitarist (AC/DC), was born.

1955  Robert Vance, New Zealand cricketer, was born.

1959 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum.

Characteristic hands-raised anjali greeting

1964 The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of general Castello Branco, began.

1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashed into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.

1966 The Soviet Union launched Luna 10 which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.

Luna 10

1970 Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).


1970 Nine terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.

1972 Alejandro Amenábar, Spanish film director, was born.

1979 The last British soldier left Malta which declared its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).

1986 – A Mexicana Boeing 727 en route to Puerto Vallarta erupted in flames and crashes in the mountains northwest of Mexico City, killing 166.

1986 – Six metropolitan county councils were abolished in England.

1990 200,000 protestors took to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.

1991 The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, was established in Kuwait.


1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters supported the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.

1992 The USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active United States Navy Battleship, was decommissioned.

USS Missouri in her 1980s configuration

199 The journal Nature reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.


1995 In Corpus Christi, Texas, Latin superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.

1998 Netscape released the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; with code name Mozilla and which was spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.

Mozilla Foundation logo.svg

2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, were killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Wonderful Tonight


Happy birthday Eric Clapton – 65 today.

Go Now


Happy birthday Graeme Edge – 69 today.



NZ History Online didn’t do a quiz last week but this week’s is up .

I got 8/10 (partly knowledge, partly lucky guesses).

Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport


Happy birthday Rolf Harris – 80 today.

Singing here with The Beatles in a version of Time Me Kangaroo Down Sport I’d not come across before.

If you prefer a more traditional version, try:

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Where would you find  adagio, con anima, forzando and tranquillo?

2. Who said: “Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don’t eat has been proved to be indispensable for life.  But I go marching on”? 

3. What is tempranillo?

4. Who said: “As a woman painter I work to represent love of humanity and faith in mankind in a world which is to me richly variable and infinitely beautiful”?

5. What does manumit  mean?

Mr Gronk got two right.

David got two and a bonus for extra information for #2.

Deborah got four right and earned a bonus for her car names.

Gravedodger got three right.

Rayinz goets the electronic flowers for getting all five right.

Andrei got four right and a bonus for translation.

Paul got three right and a bonus for lateral thinking/humour.

PDM got one and a bonus for honesty.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

80 years young


Don was a widower farming up a no exit road with a son and daughter who weren’t interested in taking over from him.

He put the farm on the market, it sold and at the clearing sale he told my farmer to call him if he needed any tractor work done.

A couple of months later my farmer did need a tractor driver and gave Don a call. He said he couldn’t come that day but he’d be there first thing next morning and he was.

The original offer was for three days work. That was just over 20 years ago and he’s still working for us.

I’ve known him all my life because we’re distantly related – his grandfather and my great grandfather were cousins and my father worked for his parents when he first came out from Scotland in the 1930s.

Since he started working for us he’s become much more involved with our family and has accompanied us on three visits to Argentina to attend weddings. A photo  from one of those trips sums up his zest for life and popularity. He’s sitting on a lawn in his shorts with a glass of beer in his hand, surrounded by five bikini clad young women, all of whom are laughing. Don’s story is he was helping them with their English.

Today is his birthday – he’s a very young 80 and has no plans to retire.

He reckons he’s lucky to be working for us, we know we’re very lucky to have an employee, friend and family member like him.

Just $1 an hour


Why should anyone work for just $1 an hour? the opponents to the government’s plans to work-test sickness beneficiaries are asking.

The answer is: is the abatement rates which impose a high marginal tax on extra income for all beneficiaries.

But if the benefit isn’t abated, beneficiaries would get more for part time work than some others would for fulltime work and that’s definitely neither fair nor right.

The problem isn’t that beneficiaries are working for just $1 an hour, it’s that they aren’t working for all the other dollars they get.

There are good reasons why some people need a benefit temporarily. There are good reasons why a few people will need a benefit permanently.

But getting those who are able to work in to work, albeit part time, is better than leaving them to do nothing on a benefit.

Working isn’t just about the money you earn, it’s about satisfaction, standing on your own feet, and requiring less from the public purse which frees up money for those who need it more.

It’s unfortunate but unavoidable that some beneficiaries may find they’re only $1 an hour better off than they would be if they weren’t working. But they won’t be working for only $1 an hour.

They’ll be working for all the dollars the taxpayer gives them plus the $1 an hour.

That’s better for them, better for the economy and better for society.

March 30 in history


On March 30:

240 BC 1st recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.

A color image of Comet Halley, shown flying to the left aligned flat against the sky

1282 The people of Sicily rebelled against the Angevin KingCharles I, in what became known as the Sicilian Vespers.

Sicilian Vespers (1846), by Francesco Hayez

1296 Edward I sacksed Berwick-upon-Tweed, during armed conflict between Scotland and England.

A man in half figure with short, curly hair and a hint of beard is facing left. He wears a coronet and holds a sceptre in his right hand. He has a blue robe over a red tunic, and his hands are covered by white, embroidered gloves. His left hand seems to be pointing left, to something outside the picture.

1746 Francisco Goya, Spanish painter, was born.

1811 Robert Bunsen, German chemist, was born.

1814 Napoleonic Wars: Sixth Coalition forces marched into Paris.

1814 – Joachim Murat issued the Rimini Declaration which later inspired Italian Unification.

1820 Anna Sewell, British author, was born.

1842 Anesthesia was used for the first time in an operation by Dr Crawford Long.

1844 One of the most important battles of the Dominican War of Independence from Haiti took place near the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.

1853 Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter, was born.

Impressionist portrait painting of a man with a reddish beard wearing a dark coat and white shirt while looking forward with his body facing left

1855 Origins of the American Civil War: Bleeding Kansas – “Border Ruffians” from Missouri invaded Kansas and forced election of a pro-slavery legislature.

1856 The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.


1858 Hymen Lipman patented a pencil with an attached rubber.


1863 Danish prince Wilhelm Georg was chosen as King George of Greece.

1864 Franz Oppenheimer, German sociologist, was born.


1867 Alaska was purchased for $7.2 million, about 2 cent/acre ($4.19/km²), by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward. The media called this Seward’s Folly.


1870 Texas was readmitted to the Union following Reconstruction.

1885 The Battle for Kushka triggered the Pandjeh Incident which nearly gave rise to war between the British and Russian Empires.

1909 The Queensboro Bridge opened, linking Manhattan and Queens.


1910  The Mississippi Legislature founded The University of Southern Mississippi.

The University of Southern Mississippi Seal

1912 Sultan Abdelhafid signed the Treaty of Fez, making Morocco a French protectorate.


1913 Frankie Laine, American singer, was born.

1918 Outburst of bloody March Events in Baku and other locations of Baku Governorate.

1928 Tom Sharpe, English satirical author, was born.


1930 Rolf Harris, Australian artist and entertainer, was born.

1937 Warren Beatty, American actor and director, was born.

1939 The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph.

1939 – First flight of the Australian C.A.C. CA-16 Wirraway.


1940 Sino-Japanese War: Japan declared Nanking to be the capital of a new Chinese puppet government, nominally controlled by Wang Ching-wei.

1941 Graeme Edge, British musician (Moody Blues), was born.

1945  Eric Clapton, British guitarist, was born.

1945 World War II: Soviet Union forces invaded Austria and took Vienna; Polish and Soviet forces liberated Gdańsk.

1945 – World War II: a defecting German pilot delivered a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1 to the Americans.


1949  A riot broke out in Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík, when Iceland joined NATO.

1950 Robbie Coltrane, Scottish actor and comedian, was born.

1954  Yonge Street subway line opened in Toronto, the first subway in Canada.

1959 Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, who was convicted of child abuse at the Christchurch Civic Creche, was born.

1961  The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed in New York.


1962 MC Hammer, American rap musician, was born.

1964 Tracy Chapman, American singer, was born,

1965 Vietnam War: A car bomb exploded in front of the US Embassy, Saigon, killing 22 and wounding 183 others.

1967 Fred Ladd flew a plane under Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Fred Ladd flies plane under Auckland Harbour Bridge

1968 Celine Dion, Canadian singer, was born.

1972  Vietnam War: The Easter Offensive began after North Vietnamese forces cross into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of South Vietnam.

T-59 VC.jpg

1979 Airey Neave, a British MP, was killed by a car bomb as left the Palace of Westminster. The Irish National Liberation Army claimed responsibility.


1979 Norah Jones, American musician, was born.

1979 First Gay Rights Parade held in Michigan.

1981 President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr.


1982 Space Shuttle programme: STS-3 Mission was completed with the landing of Columbia at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.


2006  The United Kingdom Terrorism Act 2006 becomes law.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

I’m A Lumberjack


Happy birthday Eric Idle, 67 today.

The first time I heard/saw this perofrmed was at an Otago University Capping Show in 1970 something.

Conquest of Paradise


Happy birthday Vangelis – 67 today.

Monday’s quiz


1. Where would you find  adagio, con anima, forzando and tranquillo?

2. Who said: “Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don’t eat has been proved to be indispensable for life.  But I go marching on”? 

3. What is tempranillo?

4. Who said: “As a woman painter I work to represent love of humanity and faith in mankind in a world which is to me richly variable and infinitely beautiful”?

5. What does manumit  mean?

Not as green as they’re painted


The Dog & Lemon Guide says that electric cars aren’t as green as they’re painted.

That can be said of a lot of claims about things which are supposed to be better for the environment.

Many are just greenwash based on feel-good factors rather than fact.

It’s a bit like “lite” foods which may have less fat but use a lot more sugar than the supposedly less “lite” foods with which they’re competing.

The only way to counter spurious claims of healthier options, for the planet or people, is with proper analysis.

It’s time the people and companies making green claims were made to back them up with science.

We’ve got only one world and we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of it.

But if we let the greenwashers get away with their campaigns making the effort to be environmentally friendly might be making matters worse.

Meat & Wool to be Sheep & Beef


The loss of the wool levy has forced a name change on Meat & Wool NZ.

It’s going to be Beef and Lamb New Zealand Limited.

Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen said that while the need for a name change was a consequence of the referendum, it also allows for fresh impetus as the organisation moves into a new era with a meat only focus.

“We have spent a considerable amount of time looking at various options for a new name including commissioning someone in the branding world to come up with some suggestions.”

“However we have come to the conclusion that there is considerable merit in sharing the name Beef and Lamb New Zealand with our partner in the domestic promotion work Beef + Lamb New Zealand Incorporated.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc is an incorporated society that has responsibility for promoting beef and lamb in the domestic market, with Meat & Wool New Zealand as its principal funder. New Zealand meat retailers and processors also contribute to the domestic marketing of red meat.

The organisation had to change its name after losing the wool levy. It could have become just Meat NZ but there will be benefits with linking to the name of Beef + Lamb NZ which is already established in the domestic market.

I suspect at least some of the many sheep and beef farmers who didn’t get round to voting in the wool levy referendum are regretting their apathy now the consequences of losing that funding are becoming apparent.

Alan Barber reckons Meat and Wool suffers from an excess of democracy.

The results of the wool levy vote and more recent board elections showed farmer frustration at the state of the meat industry but the results in themselves won’t make anything better.

However, I hope that farmers learn from the loss of the wool levy, get behind the new entity and realise that it’s not the vehicle for restructuring the meat industry.

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