What was man’s most important invention?


Happy birthday Pauline Collins – 70 today.

I know it’s fiction but this scene makes me sad and angry.

And since it’s Pauline’s birthday – here’s I always have my tea at six o’clock which shows more of her.

Word of the day


Bumfuzzle – to confuse.



7/10 in this week’s NZ History Online quiz.

Stop yawning and pay attention


I turned 18 in the year of a general election and was very excited about being able to vote.

The excitement didn’t spill over into local body politics and I’m not sure if I voted in the council elections a couple of years later or the one three years after that.

I’ve taken my democratic responsibility more seriously since then. But while local body policies and actions  have at least as much impact as central government ones I find it difficult to summon much excitement about the forthcoming elections.

Elections.co.nz has a website designed to increase interest and participation.

I typed my address as instructed and found the names of the candidates for whom I can vote for the Otago Regional Council, Otago District Health Board,  and Waitaki District Council.  But so far the only two  candidates – one for the health board, the other a mayoral aspirant – have availed themselves of this opportunity to communicate with voters.

The ODT is profiling mayoral candidates and holding meet-the-candidates meetings round the province. The one for this area was yesterday but  I missed it and if there are any defining issues I’ve missed them too.

But I’ve resolved to stop yawning and pay attention from now in case Credo Quia Absurdum Est is right that there’s always one  – I wouldn’t want to vote for one like that by mistake, and not just because I don’t like oysters.

Memories of the 80s


Rural people remember the mid to late 80s for the difficulties of the ag-sag.

The removal of subsidies -which I now agree was a good move – coincided with high interest rates (we were paying around 25% for seasonal finance at one stage), raging inflation and a very high dollar.

In North Otago and much of the rest of the east coast we also had to contend with recurring droughts.

Until the share-crash of 1987 the country endured the pain while the cities partied.

The freer economy which made it so difficult in the country as farming was dragged into the real world, provided plenty of opportunities for money making in cities.

This video clip from a Close-Up programme shows a little of how it was done and features a longer-haired and greatly bespectacled John Key.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

September 3 in history


On September 3:

36 BC  In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, admiral of Octavian, defeated Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey, thus ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.

301 San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.

  Coat of arms of San Marino

590  Consecration of Pope Gregory the Great.


863  Major Byzantine victory at the Battle of Lalakaon against an Arab raid.


1189  Richard I of England (Richard “the Lionheart”) was crowned at Westminster.


1260  The Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.

Campaign of the Battle of Ain Jalut 1260.svg

1650  Third English Civil War: Battle of Dunbar.

Cromwell at Dunbar Andrew Carrick Gow.jpg

1651  Third English Civil War: Battle of Worcester – Charles II of England was defeated in the last main battle of the war.

Battle of Worcester.jpg

1666  The Royal Exchange burned down in the Great Fire of London

1777  Cooch’s Bridge – Skirmish of American Revolutionary War in New Castle County, Delaware where the Flag of the United States was flown in battle for the first time.

1783  American Revolutionary War: The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by the United States and Great Britain.


1798  The week long battle of St. George’s Caye began between Spanish and British off the coast of Belize.

1802 William Wordsworth composed the sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge.


1803  English scientist John Dalton began using symbols to represent the atoms of different elements.


1812  24 settlers were killed in the Pigeon Roost Massacre

1838  Dressed in a sailor’s uniform and carrying identification papers provided by a Free Black seaman, future abolitionist Frederick Douglass boarded a train in Maryland on his way to freedom from slavery.


1870 Franco-Prussian War: the Siege of Metz began.

1878 More than 640 died when the crowded pleasure boat Princess Alice collided with the Bywell Castle in the River Thames.


1914  William, Prince of Albania left the country after just six months due to opposition to his rule.


1933 Yevgeniy Abalakov reached the highest point of the Soviet Union – Communism Peak (7495 m).


1935  Sir Malcolm Campbell reached speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive a car over 300 mph.


1939  World War II: France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia declared war on Germany after the invasion of Poland, forming the Allies. In contrast to its entry into the First World War, New Zealand acted in its own right.

New Zealand declares war on Germany

1940 Pauline Collins, English actress, was born.


1941 Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experimented with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.

1942 Al Jardine, American musician (The Beach Boys), was born.

1942  World War II: In response to news of its coming liquidation, Dov Lopatyn led an uprising in the Lakhva Ghetto.

1944  Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz.


1945 – Three-day celebration was held in China, following the Victory over Japan Day on September 2.

1947 Eric Bell, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born.


1950 “Nino” Farina became the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.

1951 The first long-running American television soap opera, Search for Tomorrow, aired its first episode on the CBS network.


1955 Steve Jones, English musician (Sex Pistols), was born.


1958 Pioneering heart surgeon Brian Barratt-Boyes performed New Zealand’s first open heart  surgery using a heart-lung bypass machine.

First open-heart surgery in NZ

1967  Dagen H in Sweden: traffic changed from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.


1971 Qatar became an independent state.

1976 The Viking 2 spacecraft landed at Utopia Planitia on Mars.

Viking spacecraft.jpg

1987  In a coup d’état in Burundi, President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed by Major Pierre Buyoya.

1994 Sino-Soviet Split: Russia and the People’s Republic of China agreed to de-target their nuclear weapons against each other.


1997 A Vietnam Airlines Tupolev TU-134 crashed on approach into Phnom Penh airport, killing 64.

1999  87-automobile pile-up on Highway 401 freeway just east of Windsor, Ontario, after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair.

2004  Beslan school hostage crisis: Day 3: The Beslan hostage crisis ended with the deaths of morethan 300 people, more than half of whom were children.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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