Okie from Muskogee


Happy birthday Merle Haggard, 73 today.

The first time I remember hearing this tune was at an Otago University capping conert but it wasn’t with these words. Jon Gadsby had changed the lyrics to I’m proud to be a scourer from Mataura. (You may have to be a South Islander to get scourer to rhyme with Mataura).

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24 1st Movement


Happy birthday André Previn, 81 today.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Where would you find vitreous humour?

2. How many stock units is a breeding cow?

3.  Where does: Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness/Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; . . .  come from and who wrote it?

4. Name three of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

5. Where would you find Micah, Nahum Habakkuk, Zephanian, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi in that order?

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Deborah got four right with a bonus for reasoning for her answer to #2 (and would have got five if she’d stopped part way through her answer to 5).

Kismet got 4.

David got three .

Gravedodger got 5 (with a bonus for his acknowledgements).

Rob got two right plus 1/2 for #3; 2/3 for #4, a bonus for lateral thinking and humour for #1 and another for humour for #4.

Steve got four right and knowing he knows his Bible I’m giving him number 5 because although it’s not the answer I was looking for I suscepct it’s also correct.

Paul got three right, no points off for being wrong about fooling city boys, and a bonus for humour.

Andrei got four right and a bonus for extra information.

JC got one with a bonus for obvious concern for animal welfare.

Read the rest of this entry »

How much debt do we want to leave our grandchildren?


We’re borrowing about $240 million a day.

Some of that is for infrastructure which will help economic growth and serve several generations.

Some of it is for services which will make the population healthier, better educated and more secure.

Some of it will benefit our grandchildren and some of it won’t.

It’s not unreasonable to expect future generations to pay something towards things from which they will benefit, but some of the $240 million we’re borrowing is paying for things which will have little or no worth for our descendents.

If we don’t want to leave an unreasonable amount of debt for our grandchildren we have three choices:

We could spend less and the government is working hard to reduce public spending and make the rest more productive.

We could pay more tax but our tax system is already complicated and inequitable. Besides, higher taxes are unpopular and often counter productive.

We could increase economic growth which is by far the best option.

One way to do that is by mining and Gerry Brownlee explains the benefits of that in today’s NZ Herald.

. . . Mining in 2008 was a $2 billion industry and contributed $1.1 billion to exports.

Including oil and gas, the mining industry employs around 6000 people – and those jobs are highly productive and highly paid, relative to other sectors of the economy.

Mining is an important part of regional economies such as the West Coast and the Coromandel.

The Government is currently borrowing around $240 million a week and we have more than 100,000 people unemployed. The tradables sector of the economy has been in recession for the past five years.

That is unsustainable and the Government accepts the challenge of improving our economy and living standards.

We need to do some things to improve the income side of the ledger.

The suggestion that a tiny part of the conservation estate might be opened up for mining has been greeted by a level of hysteria which ignores the benefits:

. . .  mining already takes place on conservation land in New Zealand. There are 82 mines operating on conservation land and 118 permits for mining are at present active over conservation land.

Some people argue that New Zealand would not see any benefit from increased mining and that all the profits go overseas.

Yet the largest mining company in the country, Solid Energy, is 100 per cent state-owned. All its profits go straight towards spending on government services. There are also many New Zealand-owned mining companies active on New Zealand land.

The average ownership structure of resources companies listed on the NZX is 57 per cent New Zealand and 43 per cent overseas ownership. Others that are fully overseas-owned pay both company tax and royalties in New Zealand.

Some argue that the royalties from mineral mining are small, meaning it’s not worth it for New Zealand. But royalties are just an added bonus from mining.

The real benefits from mining are the jobs created and economic activity generated inside the country. That activity generates company tax revenue for the Government as well as economic growth.

The economic benefits are clear but it is important that this doesn’t come at a high cost to the environment.

Many New Zealanders are rightly concerned about protecting our natural environment and some say mining is inconsistent with that goal. The Government shares this concern and we will make sure any mining on conservation land in New Zealand is done responsibly and carefully.

Mines in New Zealand are subject to strict environmental tests. The higher the conservation value of the land concerned, the stricter the test. That fact will rule out open-cast mines on Schedule Four land.

Modern mining is totally different from its image in the past. Companies are required to rehabilitate the land after they leave and mitigate the effects of their activities as much as possible.

A good example of a responsible mining company is Pike River Coal in the Paparoa Ranges, which won an award from the Department of Conservation for the environmental consideration it displayed in developing its underground mine.

Some have also argued that mining puts New Zealand’s clean and green image at risk and that tourism may be affected. But the Government is proposing only a small increase in mining activity for quite large economic gain.

Tourism numbers rose between 2000 and 2008 while the mining sector grew and mining permits were issued for conservation land.

Other countries are able to marry their environmental image with a strong mining industry – for example, Canada. There is no reason New Zealand cannot do the same.

 The proposal to open up a tiny part of schedule 4 land to mining is not a foregone conclusion.

The government is calling for submissions on the discussion document.

Most of the response to the proposal so far has been negative and comes from people who are well organised.

It’s important that those of us in favour of the proposal make submissions too, not just for our own sakes but for those of our grandchildren.

We have a responsibility to ensure  economic development doesn’t come at the cost of the environment. We also have a responsibility to ensure that emotive and ill founded concerns about the environment don’t stop economic development.

P.S. Kiwiblog and Keeping Stock also discuss this issue.

Only at Fleur’s


When my farmer ordered whole blue cod at Fleurs Place yesterday the wiatress checked that he was happy to have it with the head, tail and bones.

He was and that’s how it came:

He was part way through it when Fleur sat down at our table for a chat.

She asked if he knew how to get the flesh for the fish’s cheeks, found a spare knife and fork, sliced into the fish head and fed him the flesh.

It’s service like that which makes Fleur’s so special.

April 6 in history


On April 6:

46 BC Julius Caesar defeated Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Younger) in the battle of Thapsus.


402 Stilicho stymied the Visigoths under Alaric in the Battle of Pollentia.

1199  Richard I of England died from an infection following the removal of an arrow from his shoulder.


1320 The Scots reaffirmed their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath.

1327 The poet Petrarch first saw his idealized love, Laura, in the church of Saint Clare in Avignon.

1385 John, Master of the Order of Aviz, was made king John I of Portugal.

1483 Raphael, Italian painter and architect (, was born.


1652 At the Cape of Good Hope, Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck established a resupply camp that eventually becomes Cape Town .


1667 An earthquake devastated Dubrovnik, then an independent city-state.

1671 Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, French poet, was born.


1773 James Mill, Scottish philosopher and historian, was born.

1782  Rama I succeeded King Taksin of Siam who was overthrown in a coup d’état.

1793 During the French Revolution, the Committee of Public Safety became the executive organ of the republic, and the Reign of Terror began.


1808 John Jacob Astor incorporated the American Fur Company.

1812 British forces assaulted the fortress of Badajoz under the command of the Duke of Wellington was the turning point in the Peninsular War against Napoleon led France.


1814 Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba.

Full length portrait of Napoleon in his forties, in high-ranking white and dark blue military dress uniform. He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.

1830 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. and others at Fayette or Manchester, New York.

Joseph Smith, Jr. portrait owned by Joseph Smith III.jpg

1832  Indian Wars: The Black Hawk War began when the Sauk warrior Black Hawk entered into war with the United States.

Native American chief with red headdress and red robe

1860 The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—later renamed Community of Christ—was organized by Joseph Smith III and others at Amboy, Illinois.


1862 American Civil War: The Battle of Shiloh begand  when forces under Union General Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate troops led by General Albert Sidney Johnston.

Battle of Shiloh Thulstrup.jpg

1864  A British patrol was ambushed by Pai Marire warriors near the present-day township of Oakura, south-west of New Plymouth.

Pai Marire ambush in Taranaki

1865 American Civil War: The Battle of Sayler’s Creek – Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia fought its last major battle while in retreat from Richmond, Virginia.

1866 The Grand Army of the Republic, an American patriotic organization composed of Union veterans of the American Civil War, was founded.


1869 Celluloid was patented.

1886 Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, The Last Nizam of Hyderabad state, was born.

Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan.jpg

1888 Hans Richter, Swiss painter, film maker, graphic artist and avant-gardist, was born.

1888 Thomas Green Clemson died, bequeathing his estate to the State of South Carolina to establish the Clemson Agricultural College.

1890 Anthony Fokker, Dutch designer of aircraft, was born.


1892 Lowell Thomas, American travel writer, was born.

1893 Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated by Wilford Woodruff.

Salt Lake Temple is the centerpiece of the 10 acre (40,000 m2) Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1895 Oscar Wilde was arrested after losing a libel case against the John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry.


1896 The opening of the first modern Olympic Games was celebrated, 1,500 years after the original games are banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.

Athens 1896 report cover.jpg

1903 The Kishinev pogrom began, forcing tens of thousands of Jews to later seek refuge in Israel and the Western world.


1909 Robert Peary and Matthew Henson allegedly reached the North Pole.


1911  Dedë Gjon Luli Dedvukaj, Leader of the Malësori Albanians, raised the Albanian flag in the town of Tuzi, Montenegro, for the first time after Gjergj Kastrioti (Skenderbeg).


1917  World War I: The United States declared war on Germany.

1919 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ordered a general strike.


1923 The first Prefects Board in Southeast Asia was formed in Victoria Institution, Malaysia.


1926 Ian Paisley, Northern Irish politician, was born.

1928 James D. Watson, American geneticist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1929 André Previn, German-born composer and conductor, was born.

1930 Gandhi raised a lump of mud and salt and declared, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.”  and started the Salt Satyagraha.


1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado  hit Gainesville, Georgia, killing 203.

1937  Merle Haggard, American musician, was born.

1938  Paul Daniels, English magician, was born.

1941Nazi Germany launched Operation 25 (the invasion of Yugoslavia) and Operation Marita (the invasion of Greece).


1947 The first Tony Awards were presented for theatrical achievements.

1955 Rob Epstein, American filmmaker and journalist, was born.

1957 Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis bought the Hellenic National Airlines (TAE) and founded Olympic Airlines.


1962 Leonard Bernstein caused controversy with his remarks from the podium during a New York Philharmonic concert featuring Glenn Gould performing the First Piano Concerto of Johannes Brahms.


1965  Launch of Early Bird, the first communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit.


1965 – The British Government announced the cancellation of the TSR-2 aircraft project.

1968 In Richmond, Indiana’s downtown district, a double explosion killed 41 and injured 150.

1970 Newhall Incident: Four California Highway Patrol officers were killed.

1972 Vietnam War: Easter Offensive – American forces begia sustained air strikes and naval bombardments.

T-59 VC.jpg

1973  Launch of Pioneer 11 spacecraft.


1982 Estonian Communist Party bureau declared “fight against bourgeois TV” — meaning Finnish TV — a top priority of the propagandists of Estonian SSR

1984 Members of Cameroon’s Republican Guard unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the government headed by Paul Biya.

1994  The Rwandan Genocide began when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down.

1998 Pakistan tested medium-range missiles capable of hitting India.

2004 Rolandas Paksas became the first president of Lithuania to be peacefully removed from office by impeachment.

2005 Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani becameIraqi president.

2009 A 6.3 magnitude earthquake which struck near L’Aquila, Italy, killed 307 people.

Soucred from NZ History ONline & Wikipeda

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