Happy birthday Lenny Henry – 52 today.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 is here.

Why don’t they make comedies like this any more?

Mothers shape men


Women of our generation have a responsibility to ensure our sons are brought up differently from their fathers because when they grow up the women of their generation will expect more from them.

This was one of the messages from Jenny Shipley, then a new back bench opposition MP, to a Women In Agriculture day in North Otago.

She was talking to a group of educated country women about ensuring their sons mastered domestic skills, respected women and accepted their right to equality.

Her underlying message, that mothers shape men, has been repeated in a very different context by Celia Lashlie:

. . .  It was as I watched her weep and felt her genuine sorrow and grief that I realised, not for the first time, that in some way I had yet to fully understand the mothers of our at-risk children are part of the answer.”  

Lashlie is sometimes angry and often cynical in The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children. . .

It is the third book by the former prison manager who is now a social commentator and agitator.

It is also her last, she says, because now she just wants to get on with the practicalities of finding ways to effectively help disempowered women – and if you do that, you’ll cut down prison rates for men, she says.

. . . One of Lashlie’s key messages, however, is for the women’s prison service.

As of March this year, 496 women were in prison, compared to 8000 or so men. We should lead the world in how we manage these women, she says, “because it is, by and large, the women in prison who are raising the criminals of the next generation”.

I was brought up knowing my father loved and respected my mother; my brothers and I were taught the same values. We all knew that violence and abuse were neither acceptable nor normal and that shaped our expectations of behaviour in our own lives and relationships.

The experiences of most of the women Lashlie works with is very different from that. Violence and abuse are normal for them.

Until and unless they learn it is not, they can not teach their sons to be the loving, caring, responsible people.

Until and unless they learn that they and the people around them have the right to be safe in their homes and communities they can not teach their sons the values which will keep them from violence and crime.

Mothers shape men but shaping good men doesn’t come naturally to those who haven’t experienced loving, caring homes and relationships  themselves. 

They need the knowledge, skills and values to shape themselves and their children into loving, caring, law abiding citizens. Prisons where women are a captive audience and away from the malign influences which are normal to them is a good place to start.

Hat Tip: Beatties Book Blog.

Word of the day


Somnolent – drowsy, slumberous, slumbery, sleepy.

Have you noticed . . .


. . . the late night which seemed such a good idea on Saturday doesn’t seem quite such a good idea on Sunday morning?

Ignorant, arogant or both?


A poll commissioned by The Press shows Jim Anderton leads the Christchurch mayoralty with 50% support over sitting mayor Bob Parker on 31%.

Two thirds of those polled have yet to make up their minds but when the undecideds were prompted  74% named  Anderton, ahead of 61 per cent who picked Parker.

In spite of the odds favouring Anderton winning the race, he’s still adamant he’ll continue to collect his MP’s salary, allowances and the extras he gets as party leaderon top of the Mayoral pay and allowances until the next election.

The ODT added its editorial voice to the calls for his resignation:

. . . by choosing to contest the mayoralty he has surely concluded his career as a politician and “party leader” is without influence and is effectively over.

Why then should the voters of Wigram be deprived of making a new choice, rather than being stuck with a lame duck? Mr Anderton may have miraculous qualities, even at 72, but he cannot properly do both full-time jobs to the level ratepayers and constituents are entitled to expect.

Anderton took umbrage at that and penned a letter to the editor which was published in Friday’s paper:

Your editorial “By-election fever” (ODT 17.8.10) in arguing that I should step down as MP for Wigram because I am a mayoral candidate in Christchurch, serves only to demonstrate that its writer does not really understand what an electorate MP does.

If I took the advice and resigned the almost immediate result would be the closure of my offices in Wigram and Parliament because the funding to run them would terminate. That would leave the many hundreds of people who bring their problems and concerns to those offices, week in and week out, with nowhere to turn for many months. Is that what you editorial writer intends – or have they simply not thought it through?

When I was re-elected for Wigram in 2008, I undertook a commitment to the electors that I would serve them for the next three years and I intend to honour that.

You’d think a man who’d be involved in politics for so long would understand the system but his response shows a disturbing level of either ignorance or arrogance.

It’s not the ODT which hasn’t thought it through, it’s Anderton.

If he resigned the people of Wigram would be without an MP for only the few weeks between his resignation taking effect and the by-election. Then they’d have the services of a brand new fulltime MP not a tired old double-dipping  has-been trying to do two fulltime jobs.

If he doesn’t understand the demands of the jobs mean he can’t properly serve both Wigram electorate as an MP and Christchurch as mayor, he’s not suitable for either position let alone both.

August 29 in history


On August 29:

708 Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time.

1350  Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships.

A depiction of medieval naval combat from Jean Froissart's Chronicles, 14th century

1475  The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war between France and England.

1526  Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

Battle of Mohacs 1526.png
Battle of Mohacs 1526 by Bertalan Székely

1632 John Locke, English philosopher, was born (d. 1704).

1655 Warsaw fell without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

Rzeczpospolita Potop.png

1758  The first American Indian Reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.

1786  Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, began in response to high debt and tax burdens.


1809 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and writer, was born (d. 1894).


1831  Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.

VFPt Solenoid correct2.svg

1833 The United Kingdom legislated the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842 Treaty of Nanking signing ended the First Opium War.


1862 Andrew Fisher, 5th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1928).


1869  The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened, making it the world’s first rack railway.


1871  Emperor Meiji ordered the Abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration.


1876 Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, was born (d. 1958).


1885  Gottlieb Daimler patented the world’s first motorcycle.


1898 The Goodyear tyre company was founded.

Goodyear logo

1903 The Russian battleship Slava, the last of the five Borodino-class battleships, was launched.

1907 The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.


1910  Japan changed Korea‘s name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1911  Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of northeastern California.


1914 New Zealand forces captured German Samoa.

NZ force captures German Samoa

1915 US Navy salvage divers raised F-4, the first U.S. submarine sunk by accident.

USS F-4 (SS-23).jpg

1915 Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Nathan Pritikin, American nutritionist, was born (d. 1985).

1918  Bapaume was taken by New Zealand forces in the Hundred Days Offensive.

Allied gains in late 1918

1923 Richard Attenborough, English film director, was born.


1924 Dinah Washington, American singer, was born (d. 1963).


1929 Thom Gunn, British poet, was born (d. 2004).

1930  The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

St Kilda is located in Scotland

1943  German-occupied Denmark scuttled most of its navy;Germany dissolved the Danish government.


1944  Slovak National Uprising – 60,000 Slovak troops turned against the Nazis.

Povstalecka kolona.jpg

1949  Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.


1958 Lenny Henry, British writer, comedian and actor, was born.


1958 Michael Jackson, American pop singer, was born (d. 2009).

A mid-twenties African American man wearing a sequined military jacket and dark sunglasses. He is walking while waving his right hand, which is adorned with a white glove. His left hand is bare.

1958  United States Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs.

1966  The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

The Beatles, wearing identical dark-grey button-down shirts. They are clean-shaven, except for Starr, who has a mustache. Lennon, wearing mutton chops, holds a folded telescope. All are smiling, except for McCartney, who looks pensive. 

1970  Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar.

1982  The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, was first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991 Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspended all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1991  Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman from Palermo was killed by the Mafia after taking a solitary stand against their extortion demands.


1996  Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801, a  Tupolev Tu-154, crashed into a mountain on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, killing all 141 aboard.

1997  At least 98 villagers were killed by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria GIA in the Rais massacre, Algeria.

2003 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers were assassinated in a terrorist bombing, as they left a mosque in Najaf.

2005  Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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