Saturday smiles


A blonde motorist was about two hours from the Gold Coast when she was flagged down by a man whose truck had broken down. He walked up to the car and asked, ‘Are you going to the Gold Coast?’

‘Sure,’ answered the blonde, ‘do you need a lift?’

‘Not for me. I’ll be spending the next three hours fixing my truck.,” he said. ‘My problem is I’ve got two chimpanzees in the back which have to be taken to the Gold Coast Zoo. They’re a bit stressed already so I don’t want to keep them on the road all day. Could you possibly take them to the zoo for me? I’ll give you $100 for your trouble..’

‘I’d be happy to,’ said the blonde.

 The two chimpanzees were ushered into the back seat of the blonde’s car and carefully strapped into their seat belts. Off they went.

Five hours later, the truck driver was driving through the heart of the Gold Coast when suddenly he was horrified!! There was the blonde walking down the street and holding hands with the two chimps, much to the amusement of a big crowd.

With a screech of brakes he pulled off the road and ran over to the blonde. ‘What the heck are you doing here?’ he demanded, ‘I gave you $100 to take these chimpanzees to the zoo.’

‘Yes, I know you did,’ said the blonde,’ but we had money left over — so now we’re going to Sea World.

Hat Tip: The Ag Letter – sample and subscription details here.

Word of the day


Screever – a professional writer of begging letters.

The dignity of work


They were young by today’s standards when they married and had four children in just over four years.

He was the sole income earner but she worked too and a lot of her work (gardening, preserving, cooking, sewing . . . ) made a significant contribution to the family economy by saving a lot of money.

Saving was necessary because although he was a tradesman he wasn’t a well paid one. The family would have had a better income if he’d stopped work and claimed a benefit.

The dignity of work is an old fashioned concept but this was part of what motivated them to stay off a benefit even if, in the short term, it would have given them more money.

They took a long term view and it paid off. His income gradually improved and when the children were old enough she started part-time paid work.

Now the children are independent adults, both parents have fulltime jobs, their house is mortgage-free, they have good savings and money to spare to give them both security and choices.

The dignity of work and the long-term benefits of it must have escaped Tao Wells. He’s the artist who received a $40,000 grant from Creative NZ to create a beneficiaries’ office which promotes the benefits of being unemployed.

He described himself as an unemployed artist with a masters degree who had been “off and on” the unemployment benefit since 1997. Wells said he was receiving welfare and admitted his benefit was at risk by him speaking out.

Late yesterday afternoon his benefit was cut off after Work and Income learned of the project.

This doesn’t reflect well on two government agencies – Creative NZ which signed off the grant while unaware of  the installations “precise contents”; and WINZ for being unaware a beneficiary was double dipping.

But it paints an even worse picture of the artist who:

. . .  advocates the opportunities and benefits of unemployment and says it is unfair that long-term beneficiaries are labelled bludgers for exploiting the welfare system.

Wells’ installation, The Beneficiary’s Office, urges people to abandon jobs they don’t like rather than suffering eight hours of “slavery”.

Tell that to the people who are working, sometimes for less or little more, than a benefit to pay the taxes to support this madness.

Press Council upholds grieving mother’s complaint


The sudden death of a young woman might be news but in May the Oamaru Mail made the mistake of turning it into a front-page sensationalisation of a troubled life.

Her family, confronted with this just two days after the death, was understandably upset. So was the community which responded with a torrent of letters, phone calls and cancelled subscriptions.

The editor, who had written the story, apologised and explained the reasoning behind the decision to run the story. The family wasn’t placated and Elle’s mother complained to the Press Council.

The council upheld her complaint and in doing so said:

The council does not deny the newspaper its right to publish the fact of the death – but it is the way the newspaper went about it that has brought it into conflict with Elle’s family, the local community and the council’s principles.
Publications, particularly those serving small communities, have a particular duty to report tragic events with sensitivity. The untimely death of a young person is distressing to such communities as there is a greater likelihood of individuals being known to one another and, in the event of a highly publicised sudden death, the community becomes alight with speculation.
In this case, the front-page lead article and its accompanying photograph added fuel to fire. It contributed to increased distress and trauma of Elle’s family and friends at this time of tragedy.
The editor did not try hard enough to obtain positive details about Elle; the article was simply a list of her problems with the law.

The paper had tried to contact the family but they understandably had other priorities immediately after the death. Had the Mail stuck to reporting the bare facts at first then waited it might have had the opportunity for another and better story later.

Its haste and insensitivity, compounded by the use of a photo of Elle being arrested, cost it dearly in loss of reputation and readers.

The sudden death of a young woman might be news but the Press Council’s decision shows that coverage of it must be sensitive.

Happy to be a list MP?


The Oamaru Mail reports the Labour Party has selected its candidate to contest the Waitaki electorate next year:

Local building contractor Barry Monks has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for Waitaki, The Oamaru Mail can exclusively reveal.

The announcement was delayed because Mr Monks, 40, was standing for an Oamaru Ward council seat in the local body elections.

At the next general election he will take on National’s Jacqui Dean, who beat David Parker in the 2005 and 2008 polls. Mr Monks faces an uphill battle to overturn Mrs Dean’s 11,000-vote majority.

Taking any seat off a popular MP is never easy and the size and configuration of Waitaki make it even harder for a newcomer.

Oamaru is the biggest town in the electorate and tends to be red but Jacqui won every polling booth in the town at the last election. She also won all but two of the 89 polling booths in the more than 20 distinct communities over the 34, 888 square kilometres the electorate covers. Getting traction with voters across that large area is a huge task for a new candidate.

The more interesting part of this announcement is the implication that David Parker isn’t seeking a seat.

When he didn’t seek selection for the Dunedin North seat after Pete Hodgson’s retirement announcement some wondered if he was going to have another tilt at Waitaki.

He won what was then the Otago seat in 2002 but lost it to Jacqui three years later. Boundaries then changed making the electorate even bigger and it gained a new name, Waitaki,  for the 2008 election. David stood against Jacqui in the bigger seat but upset local party people by conceding the seat at a public meeting in Geraldine a couple of weeks before the end of the campaign.

That he didn’t seek selection for either Dunedin North or Waitaki suggests he’s content to remain a list MP.

October 16 in history


On October 16:

456  Magister militum Ricimer defeated Emperor Avitus at Piacenza and becomes master of the Western Roman Empire.

1384  Jadwiga was crowned King of Poland, although she was a woman.

1758 Noah Webster, American lexicographer, was born (d. 1843).


1781 George Washington captured Yorktown, Virginia after the Siege of Yorktown.

1793  Marie Antoinette, was guillotined.


1793  The Battle of Wattignies ended in a French victory.

Lazare Carnot Wattignies.jpg

1813  The Sixth Coalition attacked Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Leipzig.

MoshkovVI SrazhLeypcigomGRM.jpg

1834  Much of the ancient structure of the Palace of Westminster burned to the ground.

1841  Queen’s University was founded in Kingston, Ontario.

1843 Sir William Rowan Hamilton came up with the idea of quaternions, a non-commutative extension of complex numbers.


1846  William TG Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome.

1854 Oscar Wilde, Irish writer, was born (d. 1900).

1859  John Brown led a raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.


1869  The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous American hoaxes, was “discovered”.


1869  Girton College, Cambridge was founded, becoming England’s first residential college for women.

Girton College heraldic shield

1875  Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

1882  The Nickel Plate Railroad opened.


1890 Michael Collins, Irish patriot, was born (d. 1922).

Portrait of Micheál Ó Coileáin.jpg

1905 The Partition of Bengal in India takes place.

1906 The Captain of Köpenick fooled the city hall of Köpenick and several soldiers by impersonating a Prussian officer.


1916 Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood by opening the first U.S. birth control clinic.

1922 Max Bygraves, English singer/songwriter, was born.

1923 The Walt Disney Company was founded by Walt and Roy Disney.

TWDC Logo.svg

1925 Angela Lansbury, English-born actress, was born.

1928 Mary Daly, American feminist philosopher and theologian, was born (d. 2010).

1934  Chinese Communists began the Long March.

Overview map of the route of the Long March

1936 Jean Batten crossed the Tasman on the last leg of her flight from Britain, landing in Auckland 10 1/2 hours after leaving Sydney.

Jean Batten conquers UK-NZ route

1940 Benjamin O. Davis Sr. was named the first African American general in the United States Army.

BG Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr. 201 File Photo.jpg

1940 The Warsaw Ghetto was established.


1943 Fred Turner, Canadian bass player (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), was born.

1945  The Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in Quebec City.

FAO logo.svg

1946  Nuremberg Trials: Execution of the convicted Nazi leaders of the Main Trial.


1949 Nikolaos Zachariadis, leader of the Communist Party of Greece, announced a “temporary cease-fire”, effectively ending the Greek Civil War.


1951  The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated.


1964  Soviet leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksey Kosygin were inaugurated as General Secretary of the CPSU and Premier, respectively.

1968  United States athletes Tommie Smith and John Carloswere kicked off the USA’s team for participating in the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute.


1968   Rodney Riots in Kingston Jamaica,  inspired by the barring of Walter Rodney from the country.

1970 In response to the October Crisis terrorist kidnapping, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada invoked the War Measures Act.

1973  Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1975 The Balibo Five, a group of Australian television journalists then Portuguese Timor (now East Timor), were killed by Indonesian troops.

1975 Rahima Banu, a 2-year old girl from the village of Kuralia in Bangladesh, was the last known person to be infected with naturally occurring smallpox.


1975  The Australian Coalition opposition parties using their senate majority, voted to defer the decision to grant supply of funds for the Whitlam Government’s annual budget, sparking the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.

1978 Pope John Paul II was elected after the October 1978 Papal conclave.

Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 in Denver (Colorado)

1978 – Wanda Rutkiewicz is the first Pole and the first European woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.


1984 Desmond Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1986  Reinhold Messner became the first person to summit all 14 Eight-thousanders.


1986  Ron Arad, Israeli Weapons System Officer, is captured by Lebanese Shi’ite militia Amal.

Ron Arad.jpg

1987  Great Storm of 1987: Hurricane force winds hit much of the South of England killing 23 people.


1991  Luby’s massacre: George Hennard ran amok in Killeen, Texas, killing 23 and wounding 20 in Luby’s Cafeteria.

1993 Anti-Nazi riot  in Welling in Kent, after police stopped protesters approaching the British National Party headquarters.

1995  The Million Man March in Washington, D.C.


1995 – The Skye Bridge over Lock Alsh was opened.

1996  Eighty-four people were killed and more than 180 injured as 47,000 football fans attempt to squeezed into the 36,000-seat Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City.

1998  Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London on a warrant from Spain requesting his extradition on murder charges.


2002  Bibliotheca Alexandrina: a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, was officially inaugurated.


2006  A magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Hawaii.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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