Hallelujah Chorus


It’s 268 years today since Handel’s Messiah had its world premiere.

Get Smart


Don Adams would have been 87 today.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who wrote Died in the Wool?

2. What is Leptospermum Scoparium?

3. DINKIE stands for Double income No Kids – what do OINK and SILKY stand for?

4. What are the seven deadly sins?

5.What gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavour?

Points for answering:

Deborah got all the deadly sins on her second attampt (and I”m not sure what it means that she knew them but none of the other answers).

JC got one right and a bonus for confession.

Andrei got 1, 1/2 of #3 and 6/7 of the sins.

David got two right, a bonus for pedantry because yes, he had explained that species’ names are lower case; another bonuse for added information on bergamot, 6/7 of the sins and 3/4 for #3 – right with Oink and 1/2 right with SILKY.

Paul got three and 4/7 with a bonus for humour.

Gravedodger got four, a bonus for extra information and another for introducing me to PEGSLAG.

Kismet got 4 6/7.

PDM got 7/7 for the sins and a yuk for his answer to #5.

The answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Free trade with the land of the not so free – corrected


A free trade deal with the USA is one of the government’s goals – as it has been for previous administrations.

John Key pushed the free trade message during his meeting with Vice President Joe Biden.

No-one should be holding their breath while waiting for a positive result though.

To understand just how difficult achieving free trade with the USA will be you only have to look at the strength of  protection in its domestic economy.

The impact of  restrictions on potato growers in Manitoba is a good example:


  • With the new regulations introduced on March 31, 2010, you now have less choice when it comes to picking locally grown potatoes
  • When you buy Manitoba grown red potatoes from a major retailer, you are only supporting Peak of the Market’s 13 member potato growers because of their monopoly control within Manitoba

Small Potato Growers:

  • If you grow even as little as one acre of potatoes, you must apply to Peak of the Market for a permit
  • You are permitted to sell only ‘freshly dug’ potatoes
  • Your potatoes can only be sold in bulk (no pre-packaged bags)
  • Any potatoes unsold by November 1 every year ‘must be given to a food bank’

Farmers’ Markets and Seasonal Vegetable Stands:

  • Farmers wishing to sell potatoes must obtain a permit
  • Potatoes can no longer be sold at any market after November 1 of each year
  • Potatoes can now only be sold in ‘bulk’ (ie. no pre-packaged bags)

Year-Round Vegetable Stands:

  • Under these new regulations, small potato producers are no longer allowed to sell to you

Restaurant Owners:

  • If you wish to feature locally grown potatoes on your menu, they must now be purchased exclusively through Peak of the Market

Vegetable Wholesalers:

  • If you want to sell Manitoba grown potatoes, they must now come exclusively from Peak of the Market

One of the comments left on the blog show what the regulations mean to a single grower:

I am a farm woman and I earn a living growing food especially vegetables. I love farming with a passion , and I’m enthusiastic about planning my garden months ahead. This new regulation will put an almost complete halt to my operation. My seeds are ordered and I have already purchased my potato seeds. I am in disbelief that they some 13 farmers can be so powerful and disregard their fellow Man. farmers. I will also be disappointing my 7 to 10 part-time employees like me enjoy and find great satisfaction in this line of work. I’am creating my own employment and giving someone else a chance at a job in the emplyment section. With ll the talk of supporting small manitoba local farmers, now is the time to speak up because as a grower, it will be a challenge to be able to keep operating as we were in the past. I SINCERELY AM SO VERY HOPEFUL THAT I WILL HAVE FREEDOM TO GROW FOR YOU my vegetables this summer. Jeanne Berard Garden

This is the power 13 potato growers can wield against their immediate neighbours. The combined power of the country’s producers and manufacturers against the perceived threat from New Zealand if protective barriers are lowered will be far worse.

The USA is supposed to be the land of the free but when it comes to trade it’s the land of the not so free.

Hat Tip: Offsetting Behaviour.


Julie has pointed out my geogrpahical error – Manitoba is of course in Canada, not the USA.

Producers in the USA are protective about imports but I don’t know any examples, like the Candaian potato one, of protection on their domestic market.

Guard cat


British posties have stopped delivering mail to a woman’s home because of the injuries inflicted by her cat.

We used to have a cat like that.

Her name was Lucy but she acted like a Lucifer.

He mother was a hunter, her father was wild and she took after both of them.

We applauded her tally of rabbits, rats and mice but were less enthusiastic about the birds she caught and not at all happy about the people she attacked at random. Even the hands which fed her weren’t immune.

Then we had a baby and even when the baby learned to crawl then walk and chased her, the cat kept her claws sheathed and her teeth to herself.

Perhaps she was smart enough to know that in a contest between the baby and her she’d have come a distant second.

Lucy and the working dogs treated each other with mutual respect but then a playing dog arrived in the household and he showed no deference towards her at all.

No matter how she spat and batted his nose with her claws, he kept trying to make friends.

Perhaps if they’d been young together they may have come to an accommodation, but Lucy was about 14 when Pepper joined the family and soon after, though not from any fault of his, she died.

We wanted to bury her in the garden and plant a tree over her. But she was cantankerous to the end and died during a drought when the garden was like rock and no tree would have been able to take root.

How can ATVs be safer?


When I heard the news there’d been another fatality with an ATV I assumed it was on a farm.

It wasn’t, although that doesn’t make the death any less a tragedy.

It does however, raise a question of what can be done to make quad bikes and ATVs safer.

Federated Farmers is urging more training for recreational users.

That might help but it won’t change the fact that they are big, powerful vehicles which can be difficult to control and are very unforgiving if they roll.

We’ve had two incidents when a quad bike and a its rider have ended up in the irrigation dam – both times the riders were unharmed. Last year one of our dairy workers broke a leg when she rolled a quad and like msot other farms our staff have had minor scrapes.

It’s not difficult to learn the basics of driving quad bikes and ATVs, probably easier than it is to ride a motorbike, but it takes strength, skill and experience to drive them safely.

April 13 in history


On April 13:

1111 Henry V was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

1250 The Seventh Crusade was defeated in Egypt, Louis IX of France was captured.

Seventh crusade.jpg

1256 – The Grand Union of the Augustinian order formed when Pope Alexander IV issues a papal bull Licet ecclesiae catholicae.

B Alexander IV.jpg

1570 Guy Fawkes, English Catholic conspirator, was born.

1598 Henry IV of France issued the Edict of Nantes, allowing freedom of religion to the Huguenots.


1742 George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah made its world-premiere in Dublin.

1743 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was born.

Jefferson portrait by Charles Willson Peale

1796 The first elephant ever seen in the United States arrived from India.

1808 Antonio Meucci, Italian inventor, was born.

1829 The British Parliament granted freedom of religion to Roman Catholics.

1849 Hungary became a republic.

1852 F.W. Woolworth, American businessman, was born.

1861 American Civil War:  Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate forces.


1866 Butch Cassidy, American outlaw, was born.


1868  The Abyssinian War ended as British and Indian troops captured Magdala.


1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art  was founded.

Facade of imposing building with Greek columns. Large colored banners hang from the building's top. A crowd of people is in front.

1873 The Colfax Massacre took place.


1892 Arthur Travers ‘Bomber’ Harris, British Air Force commander, was born.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris.jpg

1892 – Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, Scottish inventor, was born.


1895 Sir Arthur Fadden, thirteenth Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1896 The National Council of Women was formed in Christchurch.

NCW formed in Christchurch

1902– James C. Penney opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Jcpenny logoq.png

1902 Philippe de Rothschild, French race car driver and wine grower, was born.


1906 Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel laureate, was born.


1919 The Establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.


1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British troops massacred at least 379 unarmed demonstrators in Amritsar, India. At least 1200 wounded.

 Jallianwala Bagh memorial

1919  Eugene V. Debs entered prison at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia for speaking out against the draft during World War I.

1920  Liam Cosgrave, fifth Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland, was born.

1921 Foundation of the Spanish Communist Workers’ Party.

1923 Don Adams, American actor and comedian, was born.

1931 Jon Stone, co-creator of Sesame Street, was born.


1939  In India, the Hindustani Lal Sena (Indian Red Army) was formed and vows to engage in armed struggle against the British.

1941 Pact of neutrality between the USSR and Japan was signed.

1943  World War II: The discovery of a mass grave of Polish prisoners of war executed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre is announced, alienating the Western Allies, the Polish government in exile in London, from the Soviet Union.

1943 James Boarman, Fred Hunter, Harold Brest and Floyd G. Hamilton took part in an attempt to escape from Alcatraz .

1943 The Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’ss birth.

1944 Diplomatic relations between New Zealand and the Soviet Union were established.

1945 Judy Nunn, Australian actress, was born.

1945 German troops killed more than 1,000 political and military prisoners in Gardelegen.

1945 Ninth American army crossesdThe Elbe River.

1948 The Hadassah medical convoy massacre: In an ambush, 79 Jewish doctors, nurses and medical students from Hadassah Hospital and a British soldier are massacred by Arabs in Sheikh Jarra near Jerusalem.


1949 Christopher Hitchens, English-born journalist, critic, and author, was born.

1953  CIA director Allen Dulles launched the mind-control program MKULTRA.


1956 Peter ‘Possum’ Bourne, New Zealand rally driver, was born.


1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for Lilies of the Field.

1969 Closure of the Brisbane tramway network.

1970 An oxygen tank aboard Apollo 13 explodes, endangering the crew and causing major damage to the spacecraft en route to the Moon.

Apollo 13-insignia.png

1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.

1975 Bus Massacre in Lebanon: Attack by the Phalangist resistance killed 26 militia members of the P.F.L. of Palestine, marking the start of the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.


1976 The United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.


1983 Harold Washington was elected as the first African-American mayor of Chicago.

1984 India moved into Siachen Glacier thus annexing more territory from the Line of Control.

1987 Portugal and the People’s Republic of China sign an agreement in which Macau would be returned to China in 1999.

1992 The Great Chicago Flood.

1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win The Masters Tournament.

Tiger Woods drives by Allison.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia,

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