Britain’s got 80 year old talent

May 10, 2010

The YouTube clip of Susan Boyle’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent was compelling watching, not just for the singing but for the reaction from those watching.

The audience this year learned from that and there was no sign of scorn when 80-year-old Janey Cutler walked on stage.

Whether or not she wins the contest, she gets full marks for showing that 80 isn’t too old to give something a go.


Puttin’ On The Ritz

May 10, 2010

Fred Astaire was born 111 years ago today.


Monday’s quiz

May 10, 2010

1. Matau and maui are opposites – what do they mean?

2. Finish the chorus of the Ballad of the Waitaki: So roll on again Waitaki on your journey to the sea . . . ?

3. Who said: “A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”?

4. Name the highest mountains in three of the six continents.

5. An easy one for NZ Music Month – name your favourite New Zealand song.


Under My Skin

May 10, 2010

Day 10 of New Zealand Music Month – Gin Wigmore with Under My Skin.

I’m familiar with the chorus from the safety video on Air NZ but this is the first time I’ve listened to the whole song.


Sorting Auckland’s traffic

May 10, 2010

We had to leave Campbells Bay, where we were staying with friends, at 7.45 on Friday morning to ensure we’d be in the city in time for the graduation procession muster at 9am.

Driving in Auckland rush hour traffic was a culture shock for us.

We live 20 kilometres from town. There are four give way signs en route and 99% of the time the only one where we’re required to stop is when we get to the intersection with State Highway 1.

There were five of us in the car on Friday so we were able to use the transit lane and looked in amazement as we passed cars without passengers crawling in the congestion.

But once we got the road leading to the bridge there was no transit lane and we had to crawl too.

My farmer reckoned he could solve the congestion by putting up the price of fuel. That has been tried and wasn’t very popular.

The former Aucklanders in the car explained that part of the problem is the woeful state of public transport. All had waited for buses which arrived late, passed without stopping because they were full or didn’t come at all.

The stick of congestion charge,s either by increasing the cost of fuel or parking, won’t work unless there’s a carrot of efficient, convenient and reliable public transport.

An alternative would be for some of the people to move elsewhere – just as long as they don’t do it in sufficient numbers to clog South Island roads too.


Graduation a multi-cultural revelation

May 10, 2010

The faculty head speaking at a gathering of Otago graduands and their families four years ago said that graduation would mean more to the parents than graduates.

I thought back to my own capping more than 20 years earlier and better understood my mother’s and father’s excitement, possibly in part because I’d achieved something the Depression had prevented them from doing.

I can’t remember who delivered the address at my graduation or what s/he said. The speaker at our daughter’s capping was Jonathon Lemalu. He told us that he’d been on many stages round the world but on none of them had he felt as proud as when he crossed the Dunedin Town Hall stage to be capped.

Fast forward to last Friday and another graduation, this time in Auckland, and even more parental pride.

The University of Otago is a very important part of Dunedin and because of that there’s usually good will between town and gown. I hadn’t expected the same feeling in Auckland, where the university is bigger but less important to the city. However, the excitement of the graduands and their families seemed to be shared by other onlookers as the graduands’ procession passed by.

The procession had a strong muliti-cultural look. That international flavour was reinforced during the graduation ceremony later in the day as we listened to the graduands’ names being called and watched them cross the stage.

 It was particularly noticeable with Optometry. Only 12 of the 37 graduating were men and all of the dozen looked as if they were of Asian descent. If appearance and names are a reliable guide, about 2/3 of the women in the class were also of Asian descent.

Appearance isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of nationality, of course. Many of these people will be New Zealanders by birth, or choice. New Zealand is a melting pot, and there are many positive opportunities for us in that.

I do however, have concerns about another observation – only four of the 37 new optometrists are working in the South Island.

Emeritus Professor Bellamy gave the graduation address and offered five points to guide the new graduates:

* Maintain honesty and integrity in what you do.

* Strive to ensure decisions are evidence based.

* Foster the ability to work in a team.

* Continue to read outside your discipline to broaden your understanding of the world.

* Keeping perfecting your ability to express your thoughts clearly in speech and writing.

After the ceremony we had a celebration dinner at Number 5 . First class service and delicious food in delightful surroundings provided a fitting end to a wonderful day.


May 10 in history

May 10, 2010

1291 Scottish nobles recognised the authority of Edward I of England.

1497  Amerigo Vespucci allegedly left Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.

1503 Christopher Columbus visited the Cayman Islands and named them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.

1534 Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland.

1760 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, French composer (La Marseillaise) was born (d. 1836).

 

1655 England, with troops under the command of Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables, annexed Jamaica from Spain.

 

1768  John Wilkes was imprisoned for writing an article for The North Briton severely criticizing King George III.

 

1774 Louis XVI became King of France.

1775 American Revolutionary War: Fort Ticonderoga was captured by a small Colonial militia led by Ethan Allen and Colonel Benedict Arnold.

A very dark black-and-white print. Ethan Allen is shown in the center, wearing a military uniform.  His left hand is raised, and his right hand holds a sword.  He is facing left toward the doorway to a stone house.  There is a man in the doorway, holding a lit candle.  A woman is visible behind this man.  On the right side of the print, behind and to Allen's left, are a boy and two uniformed men, only dimly visible.

1775  American Revolutionary War: Representatives from the 13 colonies began the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

1796 First Coalition: Napoleon I of France won a decisive victory against Austrian forces at Lodi bridge over the Adda River in Italy.

1801 First Barbary War: The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declared war on the United States of America.

Burning of the uss philadelphia.jpg

1824 The National Gallery in London opened to the public.

1833 The desecration of the grave of the viceroy of southern Vietnam Le Van Duyet by Emperor Minh Mang provokds his adopted son to start a revolt.

Tượng Lê Văn Duyệt.jpg

1837– Panic of 1837: New York City banks failed, and unemployment reached record levels.

 

1857  Indian Mutiny: The first war of Independence began when Sepoys revolted against their commanding officers at Meerut.

1857 rebellion map.jpg

1863  Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died eight days after he is accidentally shot by his own troops during the American Civil War.

Stonewall Jackson.jpg

1864  American Civil War: Colonel Emory Upton led a 10-regiment “Attack-in-depth” assault against the Confederate works at The Battle of Spotsylvania.

 Battle of Spottsylvania.png

1865 American Civil War: Jefferson Davis was captured by Union troops near Irwinville, Georgia.

 

1865  American Civil War: Union soldiers ambushed and mortally wounded Confederate raider William Quantrill.

Quantrill.jpg

1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with the golden spike.

 

1872 Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for President of the United States.

1877  Romania declared itself independent from Ottoman Empire following the Senate adoption of Mihail Kogălniceanu‘s Declaration of Independence.

1893  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Nix v. Hedden that a tomato is a vegetable, not a fruit, under the Tariff Act of 1883.

 

1899 Fred Astaire, American dancer and actor, was born (d. 1987).

1908 Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia.

Mother's Day

1915 Denis Thatcher, British businessman and husband of Margaret Thatcher, was born (d. 2003).

1922 The United States annexed the Kingman Reef.

Map of Kingman Reef.

1924 J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the Director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

1933 Barbara Taylor Bradford, English writer, was born.

1940  World War II: The first German bombs of the war fell on England at Chilham and Petham, in Kent.

1940  World War II: Germany invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

1940  World War II: Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940  World War II: Invasion of Iceland by the United Kingdom.

 

1941 World War II: The House of Commons in London was damaged by the Luftwaffe in an air raid.

 

1941  World War II: Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland in order to try and negotiate a peace deal between the United Kingdom and Germany.

 

1942 World War II: The Thai Phayap Army invaded the Shan States during the Burma Campaign.

1944 Maureen Lipman, English actress, was born.

 

1946  First successful launch of a V-2 rocket at White Sands Proving Ground.

Fusée V2.jpg

1946 Graham Gouldman, British musician and songwriter (10cc), was born.

1954  Bill Haley & His Comets released “Rock Around the Clock“, the first rock and roll record to reach number one on the Billboard charts.

1957 Sid Vicious, English bassist (The Sex Pistols) was born (d. 1979).

1960 The all-white All Blacks left for South Africa.

All-white All Blacks leave for South Africa

1960 The nuclear submarine USS Triton completed Operation Sandblast, the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth.

A surfaced submarine is seen from above and to port making high speed, with a long wake around and behind. 

1960 Bono, Irish singer (U2), was born.

1969 Vietnam War: The Battle of Dong Ap Bia began with an assault on Hill 937 which became known as Hamburger Hill.

1979 The Federated States of Micronesia became self-governing.

1981 François Mitterrand won the presidential election and became the first Socialist President of France in the French 5th republic.

1993  In Thailand, a fire at the Kader Toy Factory killed 188 workers.

1994 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president.

 
Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday in 2008.

1996  A “rogue storm” near the summit of Mount Everest killed eight climbers including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, both of whom were leading paid expeditions to the summit.

2002 F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole for selling United States secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.

2003 May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence.

2005  A hand grenade thrown by Vladimir Arutinian landed about 20 metres from U.S. President George W. Bush while he was giving a speech to a crowd in Tbilisi, Georgia, but it malfunctioned and did not detonate.

A photo of a white man wearing black sunglasses and a black leather jacket, with his right hand wrapped in a red handkerchief.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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