Word of the day


Tychism –  theory that accepts the role of chance.

Did you see the one about . . .


University of life to introduce tuition fees – Newsbiscuit and also Apple claim the letter i and seek to take over the alphabet.

Time for some bull – Progressive Turmoil on mating (of the dairy kind).

Nature’s changing moods at Uluru at Larvatus Prodeo -if you click the link Magic at Uluru after rain that’s what you’ll see.

Poverty in poverty measures – Offsetting Behaviour on absolute and relative poverty and also testing whether we are liked –  why some people leave it to the last minute to reply to invitations..

Monday Inspiration – A Cat of Impossible Colour introduces the 10 + 2 x 5 technique for keeping you focussed and energised while working.

No I don’t like this Imperator Fish with Sir Cecil Worthington-Brown’s view on the royal engagement.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. What do bolshevik and menshevik mean? 

2. Who is sitting on John Key’s left?

3. What is the noun of assemblage for priests?

4. Who said “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”?

5. What is a chronogram?

Points for answers:

Andrei got three.

Robert got a reluctant grin.

Mr Gronk got two and a bonus for humour.

David got 1, a half for #1 and a bonus for logic, even if it didn’t lead to the right conclusion, for #5.

Gravedodger got three and a bonus for restraint which earns the electronic bouquet.

Adam got two and a groan for cynicism.

The answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »



Only 6/10 in the NZ Herald weekly news quiz.

We are amused . .


. . . we are also entertained and amazed by the talent and energy the North Otago community displays in the District’s annual Victorian heritage celebrations.

The programme  includes live theatre, the national penny farthing championships a servants and swaggers dance for the downstairs  folk,  a ball for those upstairs and the annual fete a feature of which is the world stone sawing championships.

The second annual Steampunk: tomorrow as it used to be exhibition at the Forrester Gallery is an undoubted highlight.

Join us in a journey to a distant place and time. A world styled with brass, copper and leather. A steam-powered world of blimps, balloons and coal smoke darkened skies, a magical, miraculous, mechanical world of cogs, levers, wheels clocks and glass gauges. A world that is full of mad and quirky technology. A place where Jules Verne and Monty Python might meet to share a port wine and smoke a pipe at home together . . .

I had a quick look round the gallery yesterday and will return for the long, lingering visit  required to do justice to the exhibits.

Each year more people get in to the spirit of the celebrations by dressing in Victorian clothes.

If you’re anywhere near North Otago, the celebrations provide a very good reason to visit this weekend.

Some will take all they can


Speaker Lockwood Smith has put an end to subsidised travel for MPs – or at least those still in parliament.

But that still leaves the question of how to pay work related overseas travel costs for MPs:

Smith announced last night that he would ask the Parliamentary Service to come up with a replacement scheme to fund work-related travel.

“It’s important that MPs have some ability to travel overseas on legitimate party business.

“Not having access … would restrict the ability of members, especially Opposition members, from gaining important skills and knowledge overseas. The exposure is often valuable preparation for members who may eventually become ministers.”

Smith said the detail of the scheme would be decided later, but it would have to be for travel that was on parliamentary business only and be subject to an approval process with appropriate controls, transparency and accountability. It would also have to be simple to administer.

His instinct was that the new scheme would be run by the Parliamentary Service and that it would retain an element of personal contributions from MPs. “I’m not looking at a free scheme.”

Kiwiblog had a better idea:

Parliamentary Service should not be placed in a position where they have to judge whether a trip has enough “work” in it to qualify for a subsidised airfare.

The answer, as I have said before, is to fund international travel out of the leader’s budget. A party leader is far better positioned to decide whether a trip is worthwhile, and they will have an incentive not to say yes to the more dubious proposals, because the more they approve for travel, the less they have for other purposes (staff, policy, research, propaganda etc).

So it is vital that any money for travel not be ring-fenced. The moment you do that, you encourage people to come up with ways to use it all. It must be part of the “bulk” fund that goes to each parliamentary party. 

 He’s right, some people will always take everything they can and play the game to the limit of the rules.

It’s not fair to expect Parliamentary Services to make judgements on what fits the rules and what doesn’t. After the credit card fiascos I don’t have much confidence that they’d do it as it should be done anyway.

Far better to bulk fund it and let the leader decide who has a legitimate claim for public money and who should reach into their own pockets.

November 19 in history


On November 19:

1095 – The Council of Clermont, called by Pope Urban II to discuss sending the First Crusade to the Holy Land, began.

1493 – Christopher Columbus went ashore on an island he first saw the day before. He named it San Juan Bautista (later renamed Puerto Rico).

1600  King Charles I of England was born  (d. 1649).

1794 – The United States and Great Britain signed Jay’s Treaty, which attempts to resolve some of the lingering problems left over from the American Revolutionary War.

1805  Ferdinand de Lesseps, French diplomat and Suez Canal engineer, was born  (d. 1894).

1816 – Warsaw University was established.


1847 – The Montreal and Lachine Railway, was opened.

1863 – American Civil War: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the military cemetery ceremony at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.


1881 – A meteorite landed near the village of Grossliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine.

1905  Tommy Dorsey, American bandleader, was born  (d. 1956).

1916 – Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn established Goldwyn Pictures.

A Goldwyn Picture.jpg

1917  Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India was born (d. 1984).

1930 – Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow committed their first of a large series of robberies and other criminal acts.

1933  Larry King, American TV personality, was born.

1941 – World War II: Battle between HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran. The two ships sank each other off the coast of Western Australia, with the loss of 645 Australians and about 77 German seamen.

Photograph looking down on two lifeboats crammed with people in naval uniforms. A third lifeboat of a different design can be seen behind the first two. 

1942 – World War II: Battle of Stalingrad – Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launched the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR’s favor.

Eastern Front 1942-11 to 1943-03.png

1943 – Holocaust: Nazis liquidated Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg (Lviv), western Ukraine, murdering at least 6,000 Jews after a failed uprising and mass escape attempt.


1944 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling $14 billion USD in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.

1950 – US General Dwight D. Eisenhower became supreme commander of NATO-Europe.


1954 – Télé Monte Carlo, Europe’s oldest private television channel, was launched by Prince Rainier III.


1955 – National Review published its first issue.

1959 – The Ford Motor Company announced the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel.


1961  Meg Ryan, American actress, was born.

1962  Jodie Foster, American actress, was born.

1967 – The establishment of TVB, the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong.

Tvb logo.svg

1969 – Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean landed at Oceanus Procellarum (the “Ocean of Storms”) and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.

Apollo 12 insignia art.jpg

1969 – Football player Pelé scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé 23092007.jpg

1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel.

1977 – Transportes Aéreos Portugueses Boeing 727 crashed in Madeira Islands, killing 130.

1979 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.

1984 – San Juanico Disaster: A series of explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility at San Juan Ixhuatepec in Mexico City started a major fire and killed about 500 people.

Pemex logo.png

1985 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time.

1985 – Pennzoil won a $10.53 billion USD judgment against Texaco, in the largest civil verdict in the history of the United States, stemming from Texaco executing a contract to buy Getty Oil after Pennzoil had entered into an unsigned, yet still binding, buyout contract with Getty.

1988 – Serbian communist representative and future Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic publicly declared that Serbia was under attack from Albanian separatists in Kosovoas well as internal treachery within Yugoslavia and a foreign conspiracy to destroy Serbia and Yugoslavia.

1990 – Pop group Milli Vanilli was stripped of its Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.

1992 The Fred Hollows Foundation was established in New Zealand.

Fred Hollows Foundation launched in NZ

1994 – In Great Britain, the first National Lottery draw was held. A £1 ticket gave a one-in-14-million chance of correctly guessing the winning six out of 49 numbers.


1996 – Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril of Canada arrived in Africa to lead a multi-national policing force in Zaire.

Maurice Baril.JPG

1998 – Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee began impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.

1998 – Vincent van Gogh‘s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sells at auction for $US71.5 million.

1999 – Shenzhou 1: China launched its first Shenzhou spacecraft.

Shenzhou front white shadow.png

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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