The Times They Are A Changin’


Happy birthday Bob Dylan – 69 today.

So far so wet


The weather forecast is warning us we’ll get 200 mls of rain today.

That’s nearly half what we get in a good year and not much less than the total we get in a bad year.

We woke to light rain which slowed to little more then mizzle – misty drizzle – by mid morning.

However, it’s now raining heavily and we’ve now increased the odds on the forecast being right.

Monday’s quiz


1. Who was Britain’s youngest Prime Minister?

2. Ag, Co, Fe and Hg are chemical symbols for what?

3. Who said “It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain”?

4. Finish the quotation: To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune . . . .

5. What do al dente, con anima and trompe l’oeil mean?

Dance All Around The World


Day 24 of New Zealand Music Month: Blerta with Dance All Around The World.

In memory of band member, Beaver, who died yesterday.

Conference reflections part 1


Too little sleep and lots of excitement is not  conducive to insightful or incisive posts so I’ll stick to reflections on the weekend’s highlights of  the National Party’s Mainland conference which was held in Oamaru’s beautiful Opera House.

Delegates were welcomed by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean who was too modest to point out that she had led the project to restore and refurbish the building when she was on the District Council.

Waitaki mayor Alec Familton opened the conference with a lesson in history and politics in which he linked Liberal MP and Minister of Land, Sir John McKenzie, former National Prime Minister Sir John Marshall and our current PM John Key.

He applauded the government for policies which leave more of our money in our own pockets, a sentiment which I, as a ratepayer, heartily approve of in a mayor.

Environment Minister Nick Smith had been going to speak about water but in response to requests from delegates he tackled the more complex and controversial issue of the ETS  (a post on that will follow).

Invercargill MP Eric Roy spoke with knowledge and passion about the goal of a pest-free Stewart Island. It’s a challenge but the environmental and economic rewards would be huge.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett’s speech included an outline on strategies to help people become independent.

She told of a man who had been unemployed for many years. He had poor literacy one of the consequences of which included lots of fines for driving without a licence because he couldn’t read and write well enough to get one. He was taught to read and write, got his drivers licence and a jog operating a forklift.

When his case manager went to check on him after the first week he liked his boos, was enjoying his work, and delighted to be earning $600 a week. When the case manager went back the following week he wasn’t so happy. He still enjoyed the work but thought the boss had lied to him because he hadn’t got the $600 he’d been promised. The case manager checked his pay slip and pointed out the difference between the $600 he’d been promised and what he got in his hand was tax.

The man mentioned his 19 year old son was looking for work too. When the case manager went back a couple of weeks later she asked if the son, who hadn’t got the job, was on a benefit.

The father said of course not, he wasn’t working to pay taxes to have his son sitting round on the dole.

MPs Katrina Shanks, Michael Woodhouse and Jo Goodhew spoke on leaky homes, ACC and reforms to Aged Care policy respectively then joined Paula for a social policy forum.

The remit requiring freedom campers to have self-contained loos passed unanimously. Matthew Littlewood of the Timaru Herald reports on that here).

Finance Minister Bill English, fresh from the Budget which has gained unprecedented levels of approval, including not only economic and political analysts but fashionistas too, shared some reactions.

Among these were: It’s not great but it’s not Greece and it’s okay not UK.

He also said it was better to tax less the things you want and tax more the things you don’t. that’s why the budget increased tax on consumption and lowered it on income.

Bill said New Zealanders seemed to be more resilient and independent in this recession than in the 1990s. Most people are handling the tough times and we are a more resilient country because we’re standing on our own feet.

The better Blog Awards


When I posted on the reaction to the Qantas Media Awards blog finalists I suggested we come up with better Blog Awards.

I got an email telling me a couple of bloggers were working on it and the result is far, far better.

It’s the  Air New Zealand Best Blog Award  .

  The judges are:

Matthew Hooton – right wing extremist, political commentator and co-owner of PR agency Exceltium;
Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury – left wing extremist, media commentator and radio and TV host, co-author of Tumeke;
Ricardo Simich – director of
One Agency, marketing and events specialists;
Tim Selwyn – creator of the first NZ blog ranking system, co-author of
Tumeke; and
Regan Cunliffe – doesn’t need to pimp himself as a social media guru, but is from Throng and ffunnell.

No representatives or lackeys of “old media” in that lot and we have tried to cover all political spectrums so there is no accusations of bias.

I was giving the New Zealand Bloggers Union which is behind the awards full marks for audacity when I started reading. I awarded bonus points when I came to the fine print at the bottom.

May 24 in history


On May 24:

15 BC  Julius Caesar Germanicus, Roman commander, was born (d. 19).


1218 The Fifth Crusade left Acre for Egypt.

Capturing Damiate.jpg
1276  Magnus Ladulås was crowned King of Sweden in Uppsala Cathedral.


1487  Lambert Simnel was crowned as “King Edward VI” at Dublin.

1595  Nomenclator of Leiden University Library appeared, the first printed catalog of an institutional library.


1621  The Protestant Union was formally dissolved.

1626  Peter Minuit bought Manhattan.

1689  The English Parliament passes the Act of Toleration protecting Protestants.

1738  John Wesley was converted, essentially launching the Methodist movement; the day is celebrated annually by Methodists as Aldersgate Day.

1798 Irish Rebellion of 1798 led by the United Irishmen against British rule began.

Vinegar hill.jpg

1819 Queen Victoria  was born (d. 1901).

Photograph of Queen Victoria, 1887.

1822  Battle of Pichincha: Antonio José de Sucre secured the independence of the Presidency of Quito.


1830  “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Sarah Josepha Hale was published.

Mary had a little lamb 2 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546.jpg

1830  The first revenue trains in the United States began service on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad between Baltimore, Maryland and Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland.


1832  The First Kingdom of Greece was declared in the London Conference.

1844  Samuel F. B. Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought” (a Bible quotation, Numbers 23:23) from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the United States Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland.



1846 Mexican-American War: General Zachary Taylor captured Monterrey.


1854 New Zealand’s parliament sat for the first time in Auckland, with 37 MPs.

Parliament's first sitting in Auckland

 1856  John Brown and his men murdered five slavery supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas.


1861 American Civil War: Union troop occupied Alexandria, Virginia.

1870 Jan Christiaan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa, was born (d. 1950).


1883 The Brooklyn Bridge  was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.


1887 Edward “Mick” Mannock, Irish WWI flying ace was born (d. 1918).


1895  Henry Irving became the first personage from the theatre to be knighted.

1900 Second Boer War: The United Kingdom annexed the Orange Free State.

1901  Seventy-eight miners died in the Caerphilly pit disaster in South Wales.

1915  World War I: Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1921  The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti opened.


1930  Amy Johnson landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia.


1935  The first night game in Major League Baseball history was played in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Cincinnati Reds beating the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field.

1940  Igor Sikorsky performed the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.

1941 Bob Dylan, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1941  World War II: In the Battle of the Atlantic, the German Battleship Bismarck sank the then pride of the Royal Navy, HMS Hood, killing all but three crewmen.

Bundesarchiv Bild 193-04-1-26, Schlachtschiff Bismarck.jpg

1943  Josef Mengele became chief medical officer of the Auschwitz concentration camp.


1945 Priscilla Presley, American actress, was born.

1956 Conclusion of the Sixth Buddhist Council on Vesak Day, marking the 2,500 year anniversary after the Lord Buddha’s Parinibbāna.


1956 The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland.


1958 United Press International was formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.


1960 Kristin Scott Thomas, English actress, was born.


1960 Guy Fletcher, British keyboardist (Dire Straits), was born.

1960  Cordón Caulle began to erupt.


1961  American civil rights movement: Freedom Riders  were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for “disturbing the peace” after disembarking from their bus.

1961  Cyprus entered the Council of Europe.

1962 Project Mercury: American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.


1967  Egypt imposed a blockade and siege of the Red Sea coast of Israel.

1968  FLQ separatists bombed the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.

Bandera FLQ.svg

1970  The drilling of the Kola Superdeep Borehole began in the Soviet Union.


1973  Earl Jellicoe resigned as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the Lords.

1976  The London to Washington, D.C. Concorde service began.

1980  The International Court of Justice called for the release of United States embassy hostagesin Tehran. 

1982  Liberation of Khorramshahr, Iranians recapture of the port city of Khorramshahr from the Iraqis during the Iran–Iraq War.

Khorramshahr POWs crop.jpg

1988  Section 28 of the United Kingdom’s ocal Government Act of 1988, a controversial amendment stating that a local authority cannot intentionally promote homosexuality, was enacted.

1989  Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, was awarded  £600,000 in damages (later reduced to £60,000 on appeal) after winning a libel action against Private Eye.

1990  A car carrying American Earth First! activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney exploded in Oakland, California, critically injuring both.

1991  Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia.

1991  Israel conducted Operation Solomon, evacuating Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

1992 The last Thai dictator,  General Suchinda Kraprayoon, resigned following pro-democracy protests.

1994  Four men convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in New York in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.

2000  Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation.

2001 Fifteen-year-old Sherpa Temba Tsheri became  the youngest person to climb to the top of Mount Everest.

2001  The Versailles wedding hall disaster in Jerusalem, killed 23 and injured over 200 in Israel’s worst-ever civil disaster.

2002  Russia and the United States signed the Moscow Treaty.


2004  North Korea banned mobile phones.

Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

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