Word of the day


Fantod – a state of nervous irritability or tension, an emotional fit.

Saturday’s smiles


First-year vet students were attending their first anatomy class, with a dead cow.

 The professor started the class by telling them,  “Veterinary Medicine requires two important qualities in its practitioners: The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the animal body.”

He then stuck his finger in the rear end of the dead cow, withdrew it and stuck his finger in his mouth.

 “Go ahead and do the same thing,” he told his students.

 They were understandably hesitant but eventually took turns sticking a finger in the rear end of the dead cow and sucking on it.

When everyone finished, the professor looked at them and said, “The second most important quality is observation.

 “I stuck my middle finger in the cow and sucked on my index finger. Now learn to pay attention. Life’s tough, but it’s even tougher if you’re stupid..”


A doctor who saw this said there was a similar story about med students and testing urine for diabetes.

Thank you Canterbury


People sell papers.

That was the advice the first editor I worked for kept telling reporters to keep us focussed on the human side of an issue.

There have been lots of people-focussed stories in the wake of last Saturday’s earthquake and almost all of them have been good.

There’s the dairy owner who gave away stock to customers on Saturday morning, the army of student-helpers who mobilised via Facebook.

There have been a few stories of people behaving badly. There was a bit of opportunistic looting before the police and army arrived;  a break-in and theft of equipment from a special-needs school and a few acts of stupidity which ended up in court.

But almost all the stories are about people behaving well in spite of what they are going through as the after-shocks continue.

The people of Canterbury have expressed gratitude to the rest of New Zealand and people further afield for support.

The rest of the country should be grateful to Cantabrians for showing that when nature misbehaves people don’t have to.

John Key said:

The scale of the destruction in the city I grew up in is hard to grasp until you see the amount of damage and talk to people about what they have been through.

But what strikes me – more than anything else – is how well people are coping. Some families have lost almost everything. They are scared and worried. And they don’t know how long the aftershocks will continue. But they are picking themselves up, helping out their neighbours and their friends, and soldiering on in some really tough circumstances.

 Thank you Canterbury.

Once in a lifetime too often


It was the morning of September 12 in New Zealand when we woke to those horrifying pictures of two planes flying in to the World Trade Centre.

I woke our then teenage-daughter up so she could watch, saying I hoped she’d never see anything like it again.

Even once in a lifetime is too often for an act of evil like that.

We must remember it and be vigilant. But we must also be careful not to let fear of a repeat be used as an excuse for needless restrictions.

Freedom is the best proof that they didn’t win.

September 11 in history


On September 11:

1185  Isaac II Angelus killed Stephanus Hagiochristophorites.


1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly-led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated the English.

1390  Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392): the Teutonic Knights began a five-week siege of Vilnius.

1541  Santiago, Chile, was destroyed by indigenous warriors, lead by Michimalonko.

1609  Expulsion order announced against the Moriscos of Valencia; beginning of the expulsion of all Spain‘s Moriscos.

1609  Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan Island.

1649  Siege of Drogheda ended: Oliver Cromwell’s English Parliamentarian troops took the town and executed its garrison.


1697  Battle of Zenta.

Zentaicsata (Battle of Senta).JPG

1709  Battle of Malplaquet: Great Britain, Netherlands and Austria fight against France.

Bataille Malplaquet.jpg

1758  Battle of Saint Cast: France repelled British invasion during the Souven Year’s War.

1773  The Public Advertiser published a satirical essay titled Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One written by Benjamin Franklin.

1776  British-American peace conference on Staten Island failed to stop nascent American Revolutionary War.

1777  American Revolution: Battle of Brandywine –  British victory in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

1786  The Beginning of the Annapolis Convention.

1792 The Hope Diamond and other French crown jewels were stolen.


1802  France annexed the Kingdom of Piedmont.

1814  War of 1812: The climax of the Battle of Plattsburgh, a major United States victory in the war.


1847 Stephen Foster‘s song, Oh! Susanna, was first performed at a saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1857  Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacred 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

Mountain Meadows massacre (Stenhouse).png

1858 First ascent of Dom, the third highest summit in the Pennine Alps.


1862 O. Henry, American writer, was born (d. 1910).


1885 D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, was born (d. 1930).


1892 Pinto Colvig, voice actor for Goofy, Pluto, and Bozo the Clown, was born (d. 1967).

1893 First conference of the World Parliament of Religions was held.


1897 After months of pursuit, generals of Menelik II of Ethiopia captured Gaki Sherocho, the last king of Kaffa, bringing an end to that ancient kingdom.

1903  The first race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin was held. It is the oldest major speedway in the world.

Milwaukee Mile Logo.jpg

1906  Mahatma Gandhi coined the term “Satyagraha” to characterize the Non-Violence movement in South Africa.

1914 Australia invaded New Britain, defeating a German contingent at the Battle of Bita Paka.

Colour map depicting the location of the Bita Paka within New Guinea 

1916 The Quebec Bridge‘s central span collapsed, killing 11 men.


 1917  Ferdinand Marcos, 10th President of the Philippines, was born (d. 1989).

1917  Jessica Mitford, British writer, was born (d. 1996).


1921 Nahalal, the first moshav in Israel, was settled.


1922  The British Mandate of Palestine began.

The borders of Mandate Palestine after the Mandate formally came into effect in 1923

1922  The Treaty of Kars was ratified in Yerevan, Armenia.

Tratado de Kars 1921 - Territorios disputados.png

1922   The Sun News-Pictorial was founded in Melbourne.

1928 Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm made the first successful trans-Tasman flight.

First trans-Tasman flight

1932 Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura, Polish Challenge 1932 winners, were killed when their RWD 6 airplane crashes into the ground during a storm.


1941  Ground was broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

1941  Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and the Roosevelt administration of pressing for war with Germany.

1943 Mickey Hart, American drummer (Grateful Dead), was born.

1944  World War II: RAF bombing raid on Darmstadt and the following firestorm killed 11,500.

1945  World War II: Liberation of the Japanese-run POW and civilian internment camp at Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, by Australian 9th Division forces.


1956  People to People International was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1961  Foundation of the World Wildlife Fund.

WWF logo.svg

1961 Hurricane Carla struck the Texas coast .


1968  Air France Flight 1611 crashed off Nice, France, killing 89 passengers and 6 crew.

1970  88 of the hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings were released.


1972  Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, California began regular service.

1973 A coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet toppled the democratically elected president Salvador Allende


1974  Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 69 passengers and two crew.

1977 Jon Buckland, British guitarist (Coldplay), was born.

1978  U.S. President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel agreed on the Camp David Accords a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.


1989  The iron curtain opened between Hungary and Austria.


1992  Hurricane Iniki devastated Hawaii.


1997  NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars.

Mars global surveyor.jpg

1997  Scotland voted to establish a devolved parliament, within the United Kingdom.

1997 14 Estonian soldiers drowned in the Kurkse tragedy.

1998  Opening ceremony for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

16th Commonwealth Games

2001  The September 11 attacks in the United States.

2003 – The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety came into effect.

2004  Seventeen people were killed when a helicopter crashes in the Aegean Sea – among them were Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria.


2005 The Israel completed its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

Israel with the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights 

2007  Russia tested the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of all bombs.

Foab blast.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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