Word of the day


Captious – Marked by an ill-natured inclination to stress shortcomings and raise objections; disposition to find and point out trivial faults;  calculated to confuse, entrap or entangle in argument.

Real pavs don’t come from packets


Is this an indictment on the cooking skills of a nation or just an enterprising company spotting a gap in the market which it’s filled with Pavlova Magic?

Edmonds Pavlova Magic is a dessert mix product that takes the frustration out of pav making . . . 

Frustration, what frustration?

A friend’s mother gave me her pavlova recipe years ago, it’s easy to follow and the result is delicious – a crisp shell with  marshmallow inside.

I’ve made scores of them since then and only once had a failure which was my fault, not the recipe’s.

Having found the recipe for the perfect pavlova I’ve become very picky about any others so I won’t be tempted by this product.

Magic or not, in my kitchen real pavs don’t come from packets.

Old fashion new attitude – upadated


This could have been written when I was at high school in the 1970s:

The school’s guidelines require girls’ skirts to touch the ground when they kneel . . .

However, while the fashion has gone back a few decades, the rest of the story is very much one of the times:

A pupil told that she “looked like a slut” by her school dean says she feels unfairly singled out and her parents are furious the school has done little in response to their complaints.

Would a teacher 40 years ago have told a pupil she looked like a slut?


Would a pupil 40 years ago have gone home and told her parents a story like this?

Probably not.

Would her parents  have taken their daughter’s side if she did?

Almost certainly not.

Would they have gone to the media?

Almost certainly not.

Would the media have reported the story?


But 40 years later a teacher says something she shouldn’t have, although reading through the lines I suspect she may have been provoked.

The pupil runs home to her mother who calls the school, which admits the teacher was wrong but says her verbal apology was enough. The mother then goes to the media which turns a bit of nonsense into news.


A friend who’s a senior teacher with responsibility for discipline relaxes by building stone walls. He says it’s therapeutic and better to hammer rocks than pupils.

If he has to deal with the sort of behaviour reported in this story I wouldn’t wonder if he was only partly joking.

Hat Tip: Roarprawn

UPDATE: Brian Edwards puts it better in: why absolutely no apology was due to Amethyst Staladi or her parents.

green = good Greens = red


The word ”green” has a powerful meaning in our public life in a way it never did before. It has connotations of habitat, nature, trees, wilderness and also moral connotations – stewardship of the landscape, sustainable ways of living, openness, honesty and transparency.

I would vote for a green party, if such a party existed, but instead we have the Greens, a bipolar coalition of genuine environmentalists and genuine hard-left, anti-corporate progressives hiding under the flag of convenience of environmentalism.

Quote of the week from In bed with the devil – a deal that has tainted Green politics by Paul Sheehan.

He’s writing about Australia but these paragraphs apply in New Zealand politics too.

Hat Tip: Trans Tasman.

November 12 in history


On November 12:

764 – Tibetan troops occupied Chang’an, the capital of the Chinese Tang Dynasty.

1028 – Future Byzantine empress Zoe married Romanus Argyrus.

1439 – Plymouth, became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

1555 – The English Parliament re-established Catholicism.

1651  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mexican mystic and author, was born.

1729  Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French explorer, was born.

1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, was guillotined.

1840 Auguste Rodin, French sculptor, was born.


1847 – Sir James Young Simpson, a British physician, was the first to use chloroform as an anaesthetic.

1866 Sun Yat-sen, the 1st President of the Republic of China was born.

1892 – William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first professional American football player on record.

1893 – The treaty of the Durand Line was signed between present day Pakistan and Afghanistan.

1905 – Norway held a referendum in favor of monarchy over republic.

1912 Striking worker Fred Evans was fatally injured in a clash with police and strikebreakers during the bitter six-month-long dispute at the goldmining town of Waihi.

Striker fatally wounded at Waihi

1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men were found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Five men(three standing, two sitting on the icy ground) in heavy polar clothing. All look exhausted and unhappy. The standing men are carrying flagstaffs and a Union flag flies from a mast in the background. Scott's party at the South Pole. Left to right: Wilson; Bowers; Evans; Scott; Oates 

1918 – Austria became a republic.

1920 – Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes signed the Treaty of Rapallo.

1927 – Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.

1929  Princess Grace of Monaco, was born.

1933 – Hugh Gray took the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster.


1934 Charles Manson, American cult leader, was born.

1936 – The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opened to traffic.

1938 – Hermann Göring proposed plans to make Madagascar the “Jewish homeland”.

1941 – World War II: Temperatures around Moscow dropped to -12 ° C and the Soviet Union launcheed ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

1941 – World War II: The Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina was destroyed during the Battle of Sevastopol.

1942 – World War II: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal began.

1943  Bjorn Waldegard, Swedish rally driver, was born.


1944 – World War II: The Royal Air Force launched 29 Avro Lancaster bombers in one of the most successful precision bombing attacks of war and sinks the German battleship Tirpitz, with 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs.

1944  Booker T. Jones, American musician and songwriter (Booker T and the MG’s), was born.


1945 Neil Young, Canadian singer and musician, was born.

1948 – An international war crimes tribunal sentenced seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.

1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completed the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite El Capitan.jpg

1962  Naomi Wolf, American author and feminist, was born.

1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai story.

1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempted to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

1970 – The 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history.

1978 – As Bishop of Rome Pope John Paul II took possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter ordered a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.

1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I made its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.

1981 – Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marked the first time a manned spacecraft was launched into space twice.

1982 –  Yuri Andropov became the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, succeeding Leonid I. Brezhnev.

1982 – Lech Wałęsa, was released from a Polish prison after eleven months.

1990 – Crown Prince Akihito was formally installed as Emperor Akihito of Japan, becoming the 125th Japanese monarch.

1990 – Tim Berners-Lee published a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

1991 – Dili Massacre, Indonesian forces opened fire on a crowd of student protesters in Dili.

1996 – A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collided in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349. The deadliest mid-air collision to date.

1997 – Ramzi Yousef was found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

1998 – Vice President Al Gore signed the Kyoto Protocol.

1998 – Daimler-Benz completed a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler.

1999 – The Düzce earthquake struck Turkey with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale.

2001 – American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashed minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.

2001 – Taliban forces abandoned Kabul, Afghanistan, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.

2003 – Iraq war: In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war, were killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.

2003 – Shanghai Transrapid set a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems.

2006 – The region of South Ossetia held a referendum on independence from Georgia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikiepdia

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