Word wandering


Wandering round the web for a chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today led me to some wonderful words.

Jim had a story, now locked behind The Times’ pay wall, on readers’ response to a call to rescue words that risk fading into caliginosity  – the dark void.

They included:

Niddering  – prevaricating, cowardly, dissembling;

Embrangled –  confused or entangled; 

Mansuetude – gentleness or mildness;

Muliebrity  the condition of being a woman and

Vilipend – to treat or regard with contempt.

Apropos of this, The Telegraph reported on the secret vault of words rejected by the Oxford English Dictionary.

Among the gems discovered there were:

Accordionated – being able to drive and refold a road map at the same time

Blogish – a variety of English that uses a large number of initialisms, frequently used on blogs

Dringle – the watermark left on wood caused by a glass of liquid.

Earworm – a catchy tune that frequently gets stuck in your head

Furgle – to feel in a pocket or bag for a small object such as a coin or key

Optotoxical – a look that could kill, normally from a parent or spouse.

 Then (Hat Tip: Quote UnQuoteThe Sun had words for stuff there aren’t words for:

In a new book I Never Knew There Was A Word For That  by Adam Jacot de Boinod the reporter found:

Mimping – to speak in a prissy manner.

Fog Dog-  lower part of a rainbow

Pingle –  to move food around your plate without eating it

Acceptable reasons for triggering a by-election


If you’ve been Prime Minister and you’ve just lost an election it’s almost certainly better for your party and you if you accept you’ve done your dash as an MP and chose to move on.

If you’ve left – or been kicked out of – your party and want a mandate from your electorate, resigning and standing in the by-election your resignation triggered could give you one.

If you’re ill and can’t represent the people in your electorate properly a resignation would be better for them and you.

If you’ve decided you’d rather be a mayor than an MP you’d be doing the taxpayers and your constituents a favour if you resigned from parliament.

Giving up because you’ve got a better job is not a good reason to trigger a by-election.

When you win a seat at an election you are elected for a three-year term and the unwritten contract with the people who put you there should be broken only for very good reasons.

MPs who leave early without good reason let down the people who voted for them, their party and the public who have to fit the bill for the by-election.

Winnie Laban is standing down, Chris Carter may and Jim Anderton should.

I wonder how the cost of three separate by-elections compares with the cost of a general election?

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. What is Meat & Wool NZ called now it’s lost the wool levy?

2. What’s the name of the reluctant ram in Footrot Flats?

3. Who said: “A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition and art into pedantry. Hence university education.”?

4. Where would you find the mandible, ulna and phalanges

5. It’s sonrisa  in Spanish, sorriso in Italian, sourire in French and memene in Maori, what is it in English?

Andrei got three right

David got a whole point for # 3, , 1/2 for #1 and a bonus for anatomy and  honesty.

Kate got 4 2/3 .

Gravedodger gets the electronic boquet for five right. and a bonus for extra  anatomy.

CCTRFred got one and a half and a bonus for confidence – even if it was mis-placed.

PDM got 2 2/3 (Disrelie  Disraeli  will be right at some time in the future).

Adam got three.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Sick society


Hopstials  need security gurads  guards and the security gurads guards need stab-proof vests.

The people in the hospitals may be sick but this is a sign society is sicker.

Apple battle won but appeal will prolong the war


The World Trade Organisation has ruled against Australia’s ban on the import of our apples.

It is not quite the end of the process, because Australia can appeal.

But any appeal would be limited to looking at the legal consistency of the decision, not relitigating the whole case.

An appeal could take about eight months, but Australia might not appeal at all.

Given there’s an election looming across the Tasman and both major parties will be courting votes in marginal seats it is likely there will be an appeal.

But the WTO decision is decisive so it’s probable this will only delay the inevitable decision which will let Australian consumers enjoy our apples, including some varieties which aren’t grown there.

Tighter rules or total ban?


Is this really what the  TV3 poll shows:

Voters have sent a clear message in a special 3 News Reid Research poll: don’t let overseas investors buy Kiwi land – especially farms.

The poll comes on the back of the Chinese bid for the 16 Crafar farms and ¾ of New Zealanders want to keep our farms in Kiwi hands.

Because further down the story it says:

In the latest 3 News Reid Research poll we asked 1,000 voters ‘should the Government change the rules around selling land – like farms to foreigners?’

    • An overwhelming 75.5 percent said, ‘yes, tighten the rules’
    • 14 percent said leave it as it is
    • Just 8 percent said relax the rules and let the foreigners buy up our land

There is a difference between tighter rules and a total ban on sales to foreigners. There’s also a difference between sales to foreigners who settle here and selling to people who don’t.

I wrote a column published in yesterday’s ODT on this issue and received a phone call from a retired farmer in response. He said he’s very concerned by what he considers the threat of foreign ownership.

I don’t have any concern about who buys individual farms or even a few. But I do understand fears over the consequences if most of our farms were sold to absentee overseas owners.

The difficulty is devising regulations which allow for much needed investment in New Zealand without ending up with most of our land in the hands of non-residents .

Of course, if we were wealthy enough to compete with overseas purchasers we wouldn’t have to worry about that.

August 10 in history


On August 10:

610 The traditional date of the Laylat al-Qadr, when Muhammad began to receive the Qur’an.


955 Battle of Lechfeld: Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor defeated the Magyars, ending 50 years of Magyar invasion of the West.


991 Battle of Maldon: English, led by Bryhtnoth, Duke of Essex, were defeated by a band of inland-raiding Vikings.

1270 Yekuno Amlak took the imperial throne of Ethiopia, restoring the Solomonic dynasty to power after a 100-year interregnum.

Impero Etiope.jpg

1316  Second Battle of Athenry.

1519 Ferdinand Magellan‘s five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe.

1557 Battle of St. Quentin: Spanish victory over the French in the Habsburg-Valois Wars.

San Quintin.png

1628 The Swedish warship  Vasa sank in the Stockholm harbour after only about 20 minutes on her maiden voyage.


1675 The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London was laid.


1680 The Pueblo Revolt began in New Mexico.

1792 French Revolution: Storming of the Tuileries Palace, Louis XVI  was arrested.


1809 Quito, , declared independence from Spain.

1829 First ascent of Finsteraarhorn, the highest summit of the Bernese Alps.

1840 HMS Britomart arrived at Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula, a week before a shipload of French colonists landed. The ship’s captain raised the Union Jack to confirm British sovereignty over the area.

British assert sovereignty as French head for Akaroa

1846 The Smithsonian Institution was chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donated $500,000 for that purpose.

1861 American Civil War: Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Battle of Wilsons Creek.png

1901 The U.S. Steel Recognition Strike by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers began.

1904 Russo-Japanese War: the Battle of the Yellow Sea.

Tsesarevich Russian Battleship.jpg

1905 Russo-Japanese War: peace negotiations began in Portsmouth.


1913  Delegates from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece signed the Treaty of Bucharest, ending the Second Balkan War.

Balkan Wars Boundaries.jpg

1920 World War I: Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI’s representatives signed the Treaty of Sèvres that divides the Ottoman Empire between the Allies.


1932 Rin Tin Tin, German shepherd dog, was born (b. 1918).


1932 A 5.1kg  chondrite-type meteorite broke into at least seven pieces and landed near Archie in Cass County, Missouri.

1940 Bobby Hatfield, American singer (The Righteous Brothers), was born (d. 2003).

1943 Jimmy Griffin, American guitarist (Bread), was born (d. 2005).

1944 World War II: American forces defeated the last Japanese troops on Guam.

1947  Ian Anderson, Scottish singer (Jethro Tull), was born.

1948 Candid Camera made its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.


1954 The groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint Lawrence Seaway was held.


1961  Jon Farriss, Australian musician (INXS).

1969 Members of Charles Manson‘s cult killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

1977  David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) was arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of one year.

1988  U.S. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.


1990  The Magellan space probe reached Venus.

Magellan mission patch.png

1990 The Massacre of more than 127 Muslims in North East Sri Lanka by paramilitaries.

1993  An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale hit the South Island.

1995  Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were indicted for Oklahoma City bombing.  Michael Fortier pleaded guilty in a plea-bargain agreement for his testimony.

1998 The Royal Proclamation of HRH Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah as the crown prince of Brunei.

2003 The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – 38.5°C (101.3°F) in Kent.

2003 – Yuri Malenchenko became the first person to marry in space.


2006  Scotland Yard disrupted major terrorist plot to destroy aircraft travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States. In the wake of this all toiletries were banned from commercial airplanes.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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