Word of the day


Rutilent – glittering with ruddy light;  glowing ruddily; shining.

Learning experiences


‘I like to think of my behaviour in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid

P.J. O’Rourke said that.

He also said:

Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.


Ideology, politics and journalism, which luxuriate in failure, are impotent in the face of hope and joy.


There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

It’s his 63rd birthday today. I hope it’s happy.


Rural round-up


Sky’s the limt for new director:

Blue Sky Meats’ new director might have been raised on a farm, but it’s not her agriculture experience the company wants to tap into. Mark Hotton reports.

Sarah Ottrey made her mark in the advertising world with a highly acclaimed – and often controversial – beer marketing campaign.

Now the board of Blue Sky Meats wants to take advantage of her experience in developing the Tui `yeah right’ series, and her years of marketing with Unilever and DB Breweries, to take the Southland-based meat processing company forward. . .

‘Crazy’ Pioneers seek new pastures:

Central Otago wine industry pioneers, Sue Edwards and Verdun Burgess, branded crazy for starting a vineyard in the Alexandra basin almost 30 years ago, are following their instincts again – and this time a “mad invention” or two is in the mix. . .

Farms for sale for first time in decades:

Two Otago high country farms are being offered for sale, in the case of one for the first time in 100 years.

Patearoa Station in the Maniototo, settled by the Beatties 100 years ago, is on the market, and for the first time in 86 years, Mount Pisa Station between Cromwell and Wanaka is being offered for sale by the MacMillan family. . .

Farmers in touch with the times:

Cloverdowns farm near Dunback has been in the Philip family for more than 100 years. East Otago correspondent Bill Campbell looks back over the years.

Trying to contain half-wild Chatham Islands cattle, giving up farmland to help threatened skinks and coping with hordes of hungry shearers and builders who came to stay for several days have all failed to faze Cloverdowns owners Keith and Margaret Philip. . .

Roland topples world champion:

QUIETLY-SPOKEN Kiwi shearer Roland Smith says he just like crossies.

Well on Saturday night he liked the crossbred ewes at Warrnambool in south-west Victoria so much he toppled a world champion.

In less than 11 minutes the North Auckland shearer outclassed fellow Kiwi and world champion shearer Cam Ferguson with a quality performance in the Romney Shears open final at the Warrnambool Show. . .

Food price blame game targets US bio-fuels policy:

Earlier this year, the food versus fuel fight raged as corn and soybean prices reached record highs.

Today, commodity and oil prices have decreased 50pc with the recent market fallout and declining worldwide demand.

However, the United States consumer price index for food is still expected to increase 7-9pc in 2009.

Led by the Grocery Manufacturers Assn, US food companies and the livestock industry have launched a campaign to dismantle the country’s biofuel policy.

Livestock producers claim that using corn for ethanol production drives feed costs higher . . .

Hill Country Man:

The years have passed, but the eyes are sharp.

On a hill in the far distance, John O’Carroll picks out a spooked mob of deer long before others half his age.

This comes easy to someone who has spent a lifetime working with dogs, horses and stock at the Hawarden sheep and beef farm of Waitohi Downs.

The veteran stockman, who turned 90 last month, watches intently as the neighbour’s deer break along a fence line, pondering what startled them.

Then, with a tip of his wide-brimmed hat, he bids farewell to son Lawrie and heads off in an old white truck with wife Edith, 85, in the passenger seat. . .

Myths and legends – dairy farmer average age:

Troubled by lies, damned lies, and statistics, Neil Lane was stirred to write about the average age of Dairy Farmers in Australia … or perhaps he is just feeling sensitive about his age.

Neil puts the case that the much publicised “aging dairy farmer population” is something of a myth. Whilst there is some indication of a marginal increase in the age of dairy farm owners, that increase is not the significant issue. There is a need to account for increasing life expectancy and to look at the average age of people living and working on farms.



7/10 in the NZ Herald news quiz.

Cairns are breaking out all over


Once upon a time a few years ago, the exact number of which is irrelevant, someone stopped on the side of the road leading from the Lindis Pass to Omarama to build a cairn.

It was a simple structure,  just a few rocks piled cairnishly in a roundish heap.

Sometime later some other body saw it, stopped and built another one.

Some other bodies kept seeing and stopping and building and now the cairns are dotted along the road side for more than seven kilometres.

Cairn building isn’t just spreading along this stretch of road. Rocky, roadside art is breaking out in other places too.

A couple of bigger ones have sprouted just short of the intersection before the bridge across the Clutha River when heading from Tarras to Wanaka:

There are  a couple more on the straight between  Tarras and the Lindis and cairn building has spread to the North Island too. 

Finn Howell has built 23 cairns along the Hutt River since September. His work has inspired another 15 cairn builders to leave their mark in stone.

PM of NZ wonders how long it will be before someone spoils the fun with good reason.

Robert Guyton has several photos like this of one of  several driftwood sculptures in the Riverton estuary which attracted the attention and ire of people with too little to do.

I hope these cairns don’t run foul of someone with a clip board. 

I like the random rural roadside art and hope the cairn builders will be able to carry on building cairns happily ever after.

Spot the flaw


Dunedin City Councillor Fliss Butcher is upset she was not appointed chair of the council’s planning and environment committee.

Only the cost of a by-election has stopped Dunedin City Councillor Fliss Butcher resigning from the council she was elected to just over a month ago. She says she has been sidelined and that part of the reason is that she is a woman. . .

There is however, a flaw in that argument – the person who was appointed to chair the committee is Kate Wilson who is also a woman.

. . . Cr Butcher claims being a woman counted against her.

“I see it as a gender issue for me particularly because I’m a feminist and I’m well known to be a feminist. . .

I’m not sure if Kate identifies a feminist. But she’s an intelligent, articulate, energetic woman who appears to have all the skills needed to do the job to which she’s been appointed.

Fliss was offered the position of deputy but turned it down and it’s now held by Teresa Stevenson who is also a woman.

That doesn’t look like sexism on the part of the mayor, Dave Cull, unless it’s tokenism but the abilities of the people concerned should allay any fears about that.

November 14 in history


On November 14;

1533 – Conquistadors from Spain under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cajamarca, Inca empire.

1770 – James Bruce discovered what he believed to be the source of the Nile.

1805  Fanny Mendelssohn, German composer and pianist, was born  (d. 1847).

1840  Claude Monet, French painter, was born (d. 1926).

1845 – Governor George Grey arrived in New Zealand.

George Grey arrives in NZ

1878 –   Julie Manet, French painter, was born (d. 1966).


1889 – Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) began a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days.

1908  Joseph McCarthy, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was born.

1910 – Aviator Eugene Ely performed the first take off from a ship in Hampton Roads, Virginia when he took off from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham in a Curtiss pusher.

1918 – Czechoslovakia became a republic.
Flag Coat of arms

1919  Veronica Lake, American actress, was born (d. 1973).

1921 – The Communist Party of Spain was founded.


1921 – Brian Keith, American actor, was born. (d. 1997).

1922 – The BBC began radio service.

1922 – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian UN Secretary-General, was born.

1923 – Kentaro Suzuki completed his ascent of Mount Iizuna.

1935  King Hussein of Jordan was born  (d. 1999).

1940 – Coventry was heavily bombed by  Luftwaffe bombers. Coventry Cathedral was almost completely destroyed.


1941 – World War II: The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal sank after torpedo damage from U-81 sustained on November 13.

1947 P. J. O’Rourke, American writer, was born.

1948  Prince Charles  was born.

1952 – The first regular UK singles chart published by the New Musical Express.


1954 – Condoleezza Rice, former United States Secretary of State, was born.

1957 – The Apalachin Meeting outside Binghamton, New York was raided by law enforcement, and many high level Mafia figures were arrested.

1959  Paul McGann, British actor, was born.

1965 – Vietnam War: The Battle of the Ia Drang began – the first major engagement between regular American and North Vietnamese forces.


1967 – The Congress of Colombia, in commemoration of the 150 years of the death of Policarpa Salavarrieta, declared this day as “Day of the Colombian Woman”.

1969 – NASA launchds Apollo 12, the second manned mission to the surface of the Moon.


1970 – Soviet Union enters ICAO, making Russian the fourth official language of organisation.

Flag of ICAO.svg

1970 – Southern Airways Flight 932 crashed in the mountains near Huntington, West Virginia, killing 75, including members of the Marshall University football team.

1971 Adam Gilchrist, Australian cricketer, was born.

Adam Gilchrist.jpg

1971 – Enthronment of Pope Shenouda III as Pope of Alexandria.

1973 –  The passage of the Social Security Amendment Act introduced the Domestic Purposes Benefit to New Zealand’s social welfare system.

DPB legislation introduced

1973 –  Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, in Westminster Abbey.

1975 – Spain abandoned Western Sahara.

1982 – Lech Wałęsa, the leader of Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, was released after 11 months of internment.

1984 – Zamboanga City mayor Cesar Climaco, a prominent critic of the government of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated in his home city.

1990 – After German reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Poland sign a treaty confirming the Oder-Neisse line as the border between Germany and Poland.

1991 – Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk returned to Phnom Penh after 13 years of exile.

1991 – In Royal Oak, Michigan, a fired United States Postal Service employee went on a shooting rampage, killing four and wounding five before committing suicide.

1995 – A budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress forced the federal government to temporarily close national parks and museums and to run most government offices with skeleton staffs.

2001 – War in Afghanistan: Afghan Northern Alliance fighters took over Kabul.

2002 – Argentina defaulted on an $805 million World Bank payment.

2003 – Astronomers Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz discovered 90377 Sedna, a Trans-Neptunian object.

An image of Sedna seen through an Earth-based telescope: it is a faint point of light.

2007 – The last direct-current electrical distribution system in the United States was shut down in New York City by Con Edison.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikiepdia

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