Word of the day


Brontide – the low rumbling sound of distant thunder, probably caused by seismic activity.

Stalkers and paraprosdokians


The risk of being stalked was the starting point for my chat with Jim Mora on Critical Mass this afternoon.

It was prompted by three posts by Brendan Moyle at Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings, starting with avoiding stalkers online.

We moved from there to paraprosdokians at Eye To The Long Run.

Next stop was White Sun of the Desert where we found phrases commonly heard but not to be believed in little white lies.

Hat Tip for that goes to Quote Unquote which is where we finished with a guest post from Graeme Lay on New Zealand English.

Tuesday’s answers


Monday’s questions were:

1. Who is the President of Chile?

2. Who is the patron saint of miners?

3. Who said, “The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.”?

4. It’s trabajador in Spanish, travailleur in French, lavoratore in Italian and kaimahi in Maori – what is it in English?

5. Who is the outgoing Director General of Agriculture & Forestry and who is his successor?

Points for answers:

Andrei got four.

David got one, a bonus for deduction and another for not ignoring the quiz when he realised he didn’t know the answers.

Bearhunter got 3 (would have been four if you’d followed your instinct on Wilde) with a bonus for comments.

Gravedodger got four and a bonus for paying attention which earns him the electronic bouquet.

Adam got four.

Bobux gets a bonus for being right.

PDM got one right and a bonus for smile-inducing logic.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

A tale of two cultures


A New Zealand businesswoman was in China when the discussion with one of her hosts turned to the Canterbury earthquake.

He said it was impossible that no-one could be killed after a quake of that magnitude. The government must have very tight control on the media and the people to keep the death toll hidden.

She laughed.

Then she said that no, no-one had died which was due in part to an element of luck but also to our building codes. She added that had anyone died there would have been no attempt to cover it up, the media here is free and the government not only doesn’t, it couldn’t control it.

He laughed.

Striking on a political whim


The NBR reports:

Thousands of workers from Kaitaia to Bluff will stop work for two hours on Wednesday to attend union meetings protesting against the Government’s employment laws, says the Council of Trade Unions (CTU).

Imagine the chaos if employers, contractors and sole operators stopped work every time they disagreed with government policy.

It wouldn’t happen of course because these people can’t afford to stop work on a political whim. Funny how the people they pay, can.

Is it just coincidence the strike is being called by the CTU which played a big role at the Labour conference last weekend?

Is it another coincidence that they they didn’t strike at the many actions of the previous Labour-led government which compromised productivity and provided disincentives to employment?

October 19 in history


On October 19:

202 BC  Second Punic War: At the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal Barca, leader of the invading Carthaginian army.

Schlacht bei Zama Gemälde H P Motte.jpg

439  The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage.

1216  King John of England died and was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.


1453 The French recapture of Bordeaux brought the Hundred Years’ War to a close, with the English retaining only Calais on French soil.

1466 The Thirteen Years War ended with the Second Treaty of Thorn.


1469   Ferdinand II of Aragon married Isabella I of Castile, a marriage that paved the way to the unification of Aragon and Castile into a single country, Spain.

1512  Martin Luther became a doctor of theology (Doctor in Biblia).

1789 John Jay was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the United States.


1813 The Battle of Leipzig concluded, giving Napoleon Bonaparte one of his worst defeats.

MoshkovVI SrazhLeypcigomGRM.jpg

1822  In Parnaíba; Simplício Dias da Silva, João Cândido de Deus e Silva and Domingos Dias declared the independent state of Piauí.

1850  Annie Smith Peck, American mountaineer, was born (d. 1935).

1864 Battle of Cedar Creek – Union Army under Philip Sheridan destroy the Confederate Army under Jubal Early.

Sheridan at Cedar Creek.jpg

1864 – St. Albans Raid – Confederate raiders launched an attack on Saint Albans, Vermont.


1882  Umberto Boccioni, Italian painter and sculptor, was born (d. 1916).

1899  Miguel Ángel Asturias, Guatemalan writer, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1974).


1904 Polytechnic University of the Philippines founded as Manila Business School through the superintendence of the American C.A. O’Reilley.

Seal of Polytechnic University of the Philippines.svg

1914 The First Battle of Ypres began.

Race to the Sea 1914.png

1921 Portuguese Prime Minister António Granjo and other politicians were murdered in a Lisbon coup.


1931  John le Carré, English novelist, was born.

John le Carré in Hamburg (10 November 2008)

1943  Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, was isolated by researchers at Rutgers University.

 1946 Philip Pullman, English writer, was born.

1950 The People’s Liberation Army takes control of the town of Qamdo in what is sometimes called the “Invasion of Tibet”.

1950  Korean War:  China joined the Korean War by sending thousands of troops across the Yalu river to fight United Nations forces.

1954 First ascent of Cho Oyu.


1959  The first discothèque, The Scotch Club in Aachen,  opened.

1966 President Lyndon Johnson, the first NZ president to visit New Zealand,  and his wife, Lady Bird, arrived at Ohakea airfield at the start of a 24-hour visit.

New Zealand’s day with LBJ

1969  The first Prime Minister of Tunisia in twelve years, Bahi Ladgham, was appointed by President Habib Bourguiba.


1974 – Niue became a self-governing colony of New Zealand.

1976  Battle of Aishiya in Lebanon.

1983  Maurice Bishop, Prime Minister of Grenada, was overthrown and executed in a military coup d’état led by Bernard Coard.

1986 Samora Machel, President of Mozambique and leader of FRELIMO, and 33 others died when their Tupolev 134 plane crashed into the Lebombo Mountains.


1987  Black Monday – the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 22%, 508 points.


1989  The convictions of the Guildford Four were quashed by the Court of Appeal  after they had spent 15 years in prison.

2001 SIEV-X, an Indonesian fishing boat en-route to Christmas Island, carrying over 400 asylum seekers, samk in international waters with the loss of 353 people.

2003 Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Mother Teresa

2004 Myanmar prime minister Khin Nyunt was ousted and placed under house arrest by the State Peace and Development Council on charges of corruption.

2004 – Care International aid worker Margaret Hassan was kidnapped in Iraq.


2005  Saddam Hussein went on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity.


2005 – Hurricane Wilma became the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with a minimum pressure of 882 mb.

2007  A bomb explosion rocked Glorietta 2, a shopping mall in Makati. It killed 11 and injured more than 100 people.


Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia

%d bloggers like this: