Just The Way You Are


Happy birthday Billy Joel – 61 today.

A Touch of Class


Happy birthday Glenda Jackson -74 today.

I’ve never watched A Touch of Class but I think the title applies to the actress.

Musings on motherhood


Our daughter was almost two weeks old before the full implications of motherhood hit me.

She had arrived six weeks early after an emergency caesarean and was in the neonatal intensive care unit.

I was living at the hospital so I could feed her but had been discharged as a patient and was free to come and go.

The nurses encouraged us live-in mothers to get fresh air and exercise between feeds. I was wandering through the university campus and like the small-town pedestrian I am, was about to jay walk across a busy Dunedin street when it suddently struck me – there was someone who needed me and was depending on me as no-one else ever had.

We have to get a licence to marry, we need no permission to have children but the traditional vows are at least as applicable to parenthood as they are to marriage.

Parenting is for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death us do part. If we’re lucky it will be our deaths, but for some it’s the death of our children, against the natural order of things, which part us.

However, seeds of happiness can grow from tragedy. I count the knowledge that life is both precious and fatal; that ability isn’t a right it’s a privilege; and that the view from the peaks is even more glorious when you’ve been in the valleys, as gifts from my dead sons.

There is no one-size fits all recipe for motherhood, we all do it differently. Some of us are lucky enough to have had good role models in our own parents, although even the best make mistakes. We do somethings a certain way and other things differently because of what our parents did and what we learned from them.

A friend once told me that once you’re a mother you’ll never be happier than your unhappiest child.

There is an element of truth in that. But part of growing up as a parent is allowing your children to be independent, to make their own mistakes and face the consequences. Part of good parenting is learning to separate ourselves from our children and be happy both because of them and in spite of them.

If you’re blessed, as I am, motherhood may be the most challenging thing you do but it will also be the most rewarding.

When A Child Is Born


Day nine of New Zealand Music month, chosen for Mothers’ Day.

I couldn’t find a clip with a New Zealand mother singing When A CHild Is Born so have gone for Billy T James:

Another nomination for the Mediocres


 I’m nominating this story for the Mediocre Award:

It starts:

The ANZ came a clear last in pleasing its customers, according to a survey released today.

But then it gives the numbers:

ASB topped the best bank league tables, as 55 per cent of respondents expressed satisfaction. BNZ (46 per cent), National (43 per cent), Westpac (40 per cent) and ANZ (40 per cent) rounded off the list.

 A clear last when it scores the same as Westpac and not much lower than National and the BNZ?

Then it gets even more confusing:

On the dissatisfaction front, the order was reversed. Only 39 per cent of ANZ customers were unhappy with their bank. Westpac scored 33 per cent, BNZ 29 per cent, National 28 per cent and ASB 17 per cent.

 Only 39% were unhappy?

It doesn’t say how many people answered but it does tell us:

Finsec spokesman Andrew Campbell said the survey showed opposition to overseas ownership, and overseas outsourcing: “New Zealanders don’t want banks, particularly Australian-owned banks, sending jobs to Bangalore.”

 How many felt that way? Did they ask if customers would pay higher fees or accept less interest to keep the jobs here?

Then we find out:

ANZ spokeswoman Astrid Smeele lashed out at the survey last night. “Respondents were not randomly selected. It was a self-selecting online questionnaire which union members were pushed to answer.”

A self-selecting on-line survey which union members were pushed to answer, organised by whom?

This isn’t news, it’s what Macdodctor diagnoses as spam journalism.

Happy Mothers’ Day


Whatever the age of your children, may you have joy, wonder, enough sleep and be appreciated for all you do for them.

May 9 in history


On May 9:

1457 BC – Battle of Megiddo  between Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the King of Kadesh – the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail.

Thutmosis III statue in Luxor Museum

1012 BC – Solar Eclipse seen at Ugarit, 6:09–6:39 PM.

328  Athanasius was elected Patriarch bishop of Alexandria.

1092  Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated.

Lincoln Cathedral from Castle Hill.jpg

1450  ‘Abd al-Latif (Timurid monarch) was assassinated.

1502 Christopher Columbus left Spain for his fourth and final journey to the New World.


1671  Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.


1726  Five men arrested during a raid on Mother Clap‘s molly house in London were executed at Tyburn.

1800 John Brown, American abolitionist was born(d. 1859).

1837 Adam Opel, German engineer and industrialist was born (d. 1895).

1860 1860J. M. Barrie, Scottish author, was born (d. 1937).


1868 The city of Reno, Nevada, was founded.

1873 Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralded the Long Depression.

1874  The first horse-drawn bus made its début in the city of Mumbai, traveling two routes.

1877 Mihail Kogălniceanu read, in the Chamber of Deputies, the Declaration of Independence of Romania. This day became the Independence Day of Romania.


1887  Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opens in London.


1893 William Moulton Marston, American psychologist, writer, was born (co-creator, Wonder Woman) (d. 1947).


1901 Australia opened its first parliament in Melbourne.


1904 The steam locomotive City of Truro became the first steam engine in Europe to exceed 100mph.


1907 The first School Journal was published.

First School Journal published

1911 The works of Gabriele D’Annunzio placed by the Vatican in the Index of Forbidden Books.


1914 Hank Snow, American country music singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1999).

1915 World War I: Second Battle of Artois between German and French forces.

Capture of Carency aftermath 1915 1.jpg

1919  Arthur English, English actor and comedian, was born (d. 1995).

1920 Richard Adams, English author, was born.


1920 Polish-Soviet War: The Polish army under General Edward Rydz-Śmigły celebrated its capture of Kiev with a victory parade on Khreschatyk.

Edward Rydz-Smigly.jpg

1926 Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claimed to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary seemed to indicate that this did not happen).

   Floyd Bennett.jpg

1927  The Australian Parliament first convened in Canberra.

1929 Kay Dotrice, British actress, was born (d. 2007)

1930  Joan Sims, British actress, was born (d. 2001)

1932  Geraldine McEwan, English actress, was born.

1933  About 25,000 books were burned by the Nazis in Germany.

1933  Jessica Steele, English romance novelist, was born,


1934Alan Bennett, British author, was born.

1935 – Roger Hargreaves, English children’s author (Mr. Men) was born (d. 1988)


1936  Albert Finney, British actor was born.


1936 – Glenda Jackson, English actress and politician was born.


1936 Italy formally annexed Ethiopia.

1937Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy took to the airwaves becoming an overnight radio sensation.

1940  World War II: The German submarineU-9 sank the French coastal submarine Doris near Den Helder.

U-9 IWM HU 1012.jpg

1941  World War II: The German submarine U-110 was captured by the Royal Navy. On board was the latest Enigma cryptography machine which Allied cryptographers later used to break coded German messages.

U-110 and HMS Bulldog

1942 Holocaust: The SS murdered 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto was destroyed and all its inhabitants murdered or deported.

1945  World War II: Ratification in Berlin-Karlshorst of the German unconditional surrender of May 8 in Rheims, France, with the signatures of Marshal Georgy Zhukov for the Soviet Union, and for the Western Headquarters Sir Arthur Tedder, British Air Marshal and Eisenhower’s deputy, and for the German side of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen Stumpff as the representative of the Luftwaffe, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel as the Chief of Staff of OKW, and Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg as Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine.


1945 New Zealand celebrated victory in Europe.

NZ celebrates Victory in Europe

Steve Katz, American musician (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.


1946 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy abdicated and was succeeded by Humbert II.

 Candice Bergen, American actress, was born.

1949 Rainier III  becames Prince of Monaco.


1949 Billy Joel, American musician, was born.

1950  Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.

1950 – L. Ron Hubbard‘s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was released.


1955 Cold War: West Germany joined NATO.

1955 Sam and Friends debuted on a local United States television channel, marking the first television appearance of both Jim Henson and what would become Kermit the Frog and The Muppets.

Tv sam and friends.jpg

1960  The FDA announced it would approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle’s Enovid, making Enovid the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.

Pilule contraceptive.jpg

1961  Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles became the first player in baseball history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings.

1962 David Gahan, English singer (Depeche Mode), was born.

1964 Ngo Dinh Can, de facto ruler of central Vietnam under his brother President Ngo Dinh Diem before the family’s toppling, was executed.

Tall Caucasian man standing in profile at left in a white suit and tie shakes hands with a smaller black-haired Asian man in a white shirt, dark suit and tie. 

1969 Carlos Lamarca led the first urban guerrilla action against the military dictatorship of Brazil in São Paulo, by robbing two banks.

1970 Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrated in front of the White House.

 Paul McGuigan, English bassist (Oasis), was born.

1974  Watergate Scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opened formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon.

1980 Liberian freighter MV Summit Venture collided with the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, making a 1,400-ft. section of the southbound span collapse. 35 people in six cars and a Greyhound bus fell 150 ft. into the water.


1980 – In Norco, California, five masked gunman hold up a Security Pacific bank, leading to a violent shoot-out and one of the largest pursuits in California history. Two of the gunmen and one police officer were killed and thirty-three police and civilian vehicles destroyed in the chase.

1987 A Polish LOT Ilyushin IL-62M “Tadeusz Kościuszko” (SP-LBG) crashed after takeoff in Warsaw killing 183 people.

1988 The new Australian Parliament House opened in Canberra.


1992 Armenian forces captured Shusha, marking a major turning point in the Karabakh War.

Tank memorial Stepanakert.JPG

2001   Accra Sports Stadium Disaster: 129 football fans died in a stampede (caused by the firing of teargas by police personnel at the stadium)that followed a controversial decision by the referee handling a crucial match between arch-rivals Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko.


2002  The 38-day stand-off in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem ended when the Palestinians inside agree to have 13 suspected militants among them deported to several different countries.

2002 – In Kaspiysk, Russia, a remote-controlled bomb exploded during a holiday parade killing 43 and injuring at least 130.

2004 Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a land mine bomb blast under a VIP stage during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny.

2006 Estonia ratified the European Constitution.

 Ratifications in member states and candidate countries

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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