Saturday Smiles


Or should that be Thaturday’th Thmilth today?

Once upon a time, not very long ago police officers wrote reports by hand and passed the information to a computer tech to type into the database.

One day when a tech spotted a reported theft of 2,025 pigs she thought that might be a mistake and called the farmer.

“Ith it true Mithter Thmith that you lost thome thtock?” she asked.

“Yeth, I did, thome of my favouriteth”  the farmer said.

“How many animalth?”, she asked.

“2,025 pigs

“Ah, I thought the offither had got it wrong,” she said and typed in: “Subject lost 2 sows and 25 pigs.”

Mr Ed


This morning’s history post said Connie Hines was born on this day in 1936. I got that from Wikipedia but when I clicked the link it told me she was born on March 24 1931.

I don’t know which date is correct but she did star in Mr Ed and I thought this was an appropriate posting given this week’s celebration of 50 years of television. I’m not sure, though, if it’s evidence that TV viewing was better in the past.

Would be MPs need enthusiasm


Dunedin North MP, Pete Hodgson, has announced he’ll retire at next year’s election.

Kiwiblog speculates that list MP David Parker is a likely successor.

If so he will need to show more enthusiasm for winning and holding the seat than he did for Otago and Waitaki.

I think Parker was surprised to win Otago in 2002 and he didn’t make much effort to hold it. I have some sympathy with him on that because it can’t have been easy juggling commitments to a young family in Dunedin with work in Wellington and one of the biggest electorates in the country.

His candidacy for Waitaki (which was formed from most of Otago and Aoraki when the boundaries changed) at the last election was at best perfunctory. He conceded defeat to National MP Jacqui Dean at a public meeting in Geraldine a couple of weeks before polling day much to the horror of Labour’s volunteers who were working in the electorate.

Dunedin North is much redder than Waitaki and far more compact. It’s just 642 square KMs compared with Waitaki’s 34,888 sq kms, and therefore much easier to service.

Ultimate cheese roll competition


The competition will be hot, the talent will be tasty: the New Zealand International Science Fair is seeking the ulitmate southern cheese roll.

The word southern is redundant because cheese rolls are a peculiar to the south of the south where they feature in cafes and tea rooms and are also made bulk by community groups for fund raisers.

Recipes vary – some use evaporated milk, some have egg, some add onion and/or mustard.

But whichever way you make them they’re easy to make, freeze well and taste great by themselves or with soup.

I use my mother’s recipe:

2 lb/250g grated cheese           1 egg 

3/4 cup milk                              1 medium grated onion

 grainy mustard             thin sliced bread

Optional: frozen corn.

Beat egg then add cheese, milk and onion.

Cook in double boiler, stirring til thickens (or cook in microwave, stirring often).

Remove from heat and beat well (or put in kitchen whizz).

Add corn if you’re using it.

Cut crusts from bread and spread thinly with mustard.

Spread generously with cheese mixture

cheese rolls 003

Roll bread:

cheese rolls 004

Place on baking tray and cook for about 5 minutes until bread is toasted golden but not brown.

If you’re not going to eat them in the next day or so, put them uncooked on the baking tray, freeze and bag.

Mum’s recipe used tasty cheese and white bread. I prefer wholemeal bread and a mixure of edam and parmesan which has the flavour but lower fat.

The ODT has investigated cheese rolls and gives a couple of recipes, and a video which shows how to make them.

Purpose of good governance: growth and efficiency, not redistribution or morality.


John Key crossed the Tasman to learn from Kevin Rudd, but it’s Key who’s showing Rudd what to do according to an op-ed in The Australian.

. . . Key came to visit to see how Australia did things, why Australians enjoyed salaries one-third higher than those of their Kiwi neighbours, what NZ should emulate to match the better living standards. Despite Key’s substantial commercial success in banking before entering politics, his self-effacing nature made it look like a case of little cousin with modest goals meeting big cousin, the ambitious and supremely confident Kevin who had everything to teach little John.

How the tide has turned. Rudd is polling poorly after lacklustre reforms while Key, along with Minister of Finance Bill English, passed down an impressive budget last Thursday and surprised everyone. And perhaps what Rudd will envy the most is Key’s approval rating in the polls. . .

The writer, Luke Malpass,  is a policy analyst with the New Zealand policy unit of the Centre for Independent Studies. He explains the Budget and concludes:

These changes are broadly fiscally neutral over the forward estimates for the next three or four years. The cuts to the personal tax rates are deeper than expected and designed, along with spending freezes in most areas (except the big three: health, education and welfare), to return some integrity to the tax system that was lost under the previous Clark government. The reductions also reflect the present administration’s conviction that growth and efficiency, not redistribution or morality, is the purpose of good governance.

Those who accuse National of being Labour-light haven’t recognised the change of focus. This government’s much more concerned about policies which will make a bigger cake. That’s a pleasant change from the previous one which concentrated on cutting it into smaller pieces and telling us how much we could eat.

The strategy of Key and English is the opposite of that of Rudd, who has used his full arsenal of rhetoric to justify meagre changes to the tax system, especially changes that will not be funded without the proposed resource super-profits tax. . .

Malpass also approves of the tax changes:

Key has quietly and substantially rebalanced NZ’s tax system, far more so than in Australia.

The tax reform in NZ’s budget may seem a bit tame to many Kiwis but is radical compared with what the Rudd government is contemplating. Australia seems to be inexplicably averse to increasing its GST or giving it some integrity by getting rid of frivolous exemptions.  Indeed, the GST was deliberately omitted from the Henry review’s terms of reference.

This is surprising given that by raising the GST to 12.5 per cent and cutting exemptions, the government would have a highly effective revenue-raiser and could do away with most of the 115 economically damaging taxes, which raise only 10 per cent of government revenue in any case. . .

Anyone tempted by those trying to sell the idea of complicating our GST by exempting fresh fruit and vegetables should take note of the cost and benefits of those frivolous exemptions.

This is quite unlike the Clark Labour government, which was more concerned with the principle of progressivism than its actual effect on tax take, growth or the resources wasted to gain tax advantage.

The Rudd government, unfortunately, is falling into the same trap with the RSPT. This has been demonstrated by invoking unhelpful notions of class war (big fat miners and their profits) and redistribution (by being somehow related to helping superannuation and mining companies at the margin), as well as a good dose of unhealthy jingoism (attacking multinational miners).

Where the Rudd government has tended to make bold claims about weak reform, the Key government has been quietly creating an atmosphere for more growth, foreign investment and a tax system that doesn’t penalise higher earnings. Even more impressive is the government’s projected 10-year spending reduction plan to reduce spending as a proportion of gross domestic product from 35 per cent to 29 per cent, and this is without any big-bang reform or swingeing cuts yet.

Those who criticise National for not going far enough ignore political reality – bit bangs usually cause more pain than the electorate will tolerate.

Despite only these modest, conservative and “steady as she goes” efforts, Key’s personal net satisfaction poll ratings (approval minus disapproval) are stratospheric at about 50 per cent compared with minus 12 per cent for Rudd.

Perhaps little John can teach big Kevin a thing or two after all.

Is it too much to hope that the left in New Zealand could learn from Rudd’s mistakes so that if/when they’re back in power they don’t repeat them?

June 5 in history


On June 5:

70  Titus and his Roman legions breached the middle wall of Jerusalem in the Siege of Jerusalem.


1257  Kraków received city rights.

1305 – Raymond Bertrand de Got became Pope Clement V, succeeding Pope Benedict XI who died one year earlier.


1723 Adam Smith, Scottish economist, was born (d. 1790).

A sketch of a man facing to the right

1798 The Battle of New Ross: The attempt to spread United Irish Rebellion into Munster was defeated.


1817 The first Great Lakes steamer, the Frontenac, is launched.

1829 HMS Pickle captured the armed slave ship Voladora off the coast of Cuba.

1832 The June Rebellion broke out in Paris in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy of Louis-Philippe.


1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy by the signing of a new constitution.

1851  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.


1862  As the Treaty of Saigon was signed, ceding parts of southern Vietnam to France, the guerrilla leader Truong Dinh decided to defy Emperor Tu Duc of Vietnam and fight on against the Europeans.

Truong Dinh.JPG

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Piedmont: Union forces under General David Hunter defeated a Confederate army at Piedmont, Virginia, taking nearly 1,000 prisoners.

1866  East Coast military leader and prophet, Te Kooti, was deported with Pai Marire prisoners to the Chatham Islands.

Te Kooti deported to Chathams

1878 Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, was born (d. 1923).


1879 Robert Mayer, German-born philanthropist, was born (d. 1985).

1883 John Maynard Keynes, English economist, was born (d. 1946).

John Maynard Keynes.jpg

1888 The Rio de la Plata Earthquake took place.


1898 Federico García Lorca, Spanish poet, lyricist and dramatist, was born  (d. 1936).

1900  Second Boer War: British soldiers took Pretoria.

Afrikaner Commandos2.JPG

1905 Jock Cameron, South African cricketer, Wisden COY 1936, was born (d. 1935).

1915  Denmark amended its constitution to allow women’s suffrage.

1917  World War I: Conscription began in the United States as “Army registration day”.

1932 Christy Brown, Irish author, was born (d. 1981).

1933  The U.S. Congress abrogated the United States’ use of the gold standard by enacting a joint resolution (48 Stat. 112) nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.

1936 Connie Hines, American actress, was born (d. 2009).

Mister Ed.png

1939 Margaret Drabble, English novelist, was born.

1941  Four thousand people were asphyxiated in a bomb shelter during the Bombing of Chongqing.


1942  World War II: United States declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.

1944  World War II: More than 1000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries on the Normandy coast in preparation for D-Day.

1945  The Allied Control Council, the military occupation governing body of Germany, formally takes power.

1946 Freddie Stone, American guitarist (Sly & the Family Stone), was born.

 Seven young adults in garish clothes and hair. The most prominent is a black man in a vest with chains; he wears an enormous afro with sideburns, and looks with narrowed eyes and closed mouth at the camera.  A black woman is in a gray wig and black dress. A white man with red hair wears a leopard print shirt and pants. There are two other black men, also in afros, another white man, with a short beard and glasses, and another black woman.

1946  A fire in the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago, Illinois kills 61 people.

1947 Tom Evans, English musician (Badfinger), was born (d. 1983).

1947  Marshall Plan: In a speech at Harvard University, United States Secretary of State George Marshall called for economic aid to war-torn Europe.


1949 Ken Follett, Welsh author, was born.


1956  Elvis Presley introduced his new single, “Hound Dog“, on The Milton Berle Show, scandalizing the audience with his suggestive hip movements.

1959  The first government of the State of Singapore was sworn in.

1963  British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigned in a sex scandal known as the Profumo Affair.

1963 – Movement of 15 Khordad: Protest against arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In several cities, masses of angry demonstrators are confronted by tanks and paratroopers.

Coat of arms of Iran.svg

1964  DSV Alvin was commissioned.


1967 Six-Day War began: The Israeli air force launched simultaneous pre-emptive attacks on the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

Soldiers Western Wall 1967.jpg

1968  U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan

1969  The International communist conference began in Moscow.


1975  The Suez Canal opened for the first time since the Six-Day War.


1975 – The United Kingdom holds its first and only country-wide referendum, on remaining in the European Economic Community (EEC).

1976  Collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho, United States.

Teton Dam

1977 A coup took place in Seychelles.

1977 – The Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale.


1981  The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five people in Los Angeles, California have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what was the first recognized cases of AIDS.

1989 The Unknown Rebel halted the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.


1995  The Bose-Einstein condensate was first created.


1998  A strike began at the General Motors parts factory in Flint, Michigan, that quickly spreads to five other assembly plants (the strike lasted seven weeks).

2001  U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party, which shifted control of the United States Senate from the Republicans to the Democratic Party.

2001  Tropical Storm Allison made  landfall on the upper-Texas coastline as a strong tropical storm and dumps large amounts of rain over Houston. The storm caused $5.5 billion in damages, making Allison the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.


2003  A severe heat wave across Pakistan and India reached its peak, as temperatures exceed 50°C (122°F) in the region.

2006  Serbia declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia.

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