Word of the day


Cachinnate – to laugh loudly and immoderately, inappropriately or too much.

Thursday’s quiz


1. Who wrote: “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”?

2. What line follows this one: “Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!”?

3. By what vehicles did Fred Dagg’s Three Kings travel?

4. Which country did King Wenceslas rule?

5. Name the Three Wise Men.

Survey for bloggers and blog readers


Bloggers and blog readers are bing invited to participate in the 2010 bloggers’ survey.

It is  a follow up to the 2008 survey which was conducted by Andrew Cushen as part of his Master of Arts in Political Studies from the University of Auckland.  The results of that are here.

An email from the researchers says:

 The original survey provided an amazing amount of data about who is participating in New Zealand political blogging, their interests and their motivations. This survey seeks to gain further detailed insights into New Zealand political blogging to inform academic articles and presentations. The 2010 survey has been shortened and improved from that used in 2008 to further assist your responses.

It doesn’t take long to complete.

The link for the survey for bloggers is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZPCCH3F  and the blog readers’ survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZPWT22T.

The researchers are asking for responses to be completed by this Sunday December 19.

Regeneration strengthens a caucus


North Shore MP Wayne Mapp will not seek re-election next year.

The Minister of Defence and Science & Technology says he’s stepping down for personal and family reasons.

He is a popular electorate MP and has made significant progress in his portfolios. But in choosing not to seek re-election he is doing a favour for his party because regeneration strengthens a caucus.

New members bring fresh energy and a new perspective to add to, and sometimes challenge, the experience and views of longer serving MPs.

Although, as Rob Hosking pointed out, that doesn’t happen if a party chooses replacements from the same limited pool as Labour does.

One of National’s strengths is its MPs come from a wide range of backgrounds with different skills and experiences. It has always been a broad church party and continuing regeneration helps keep it that way.

Economic impact of drought not just local


Agriculture MInister David Carter has declared a medium level drought in the Waikato Region and Ruapehu District  which is concerning not just for these areas but the wider economy.

Less production on farms means less employment not just on farms but in businesses which service and supply farms. It also means less export income. As Quote Unquote says:

Slightly more seriously, this affects everyone in New Zealand because the Waikato is the main part of the NZ dairy industry which is the main part of NZ’s exports which are what pays for our imports.

There is dairying in many other regions now but some of them are on the brink of drought too

Declaration of drought triggers government assistance but as Federated Farmers Waikato Provincial President Stew Wadey points out this doesn’t mean hand-outs to individuals.

  “There is no direct financial support to farmers because of this drought declaration. It bothers me when I see letters to the editor making this false point.

“The only way a farmer will qualify for welfare is if they were already eligible for welfare payments. It’s means tested, same as any other WINZ payment, and a drought declaration makes no difference to this criteria.

“There are around 30,000 working farmers nationwide, and less than 100 are actually receiving support. But the facts of life are that with two consecutive droughts some farmers can’t survive.

“This adverse event declaration also gives us access to advisory services that are extremely beneficial for us. That’s not just farm management advice, but also counselling services and Rural Assistance Payments.

“RAPs basically advise and assist extremely marginal farmers who need to exit the business. It’s similar to a small business manager being appointed by a Ministry of Economic Development body to a struggling company in the city.

“The drought declaration also allows Inland Revenue to give farmers the ability to file accounts later, so that’s one less thing to worry about. . .

There is nothing we can do about the weather but more irrigation would help temper the worst effects of a lack of rain.

“But what I think we need to do now is work with the councils and Government on water storage options to help reduce the risk of drought in the future. You can never be too prepared.

“Basically, pasture needs three things: water, sunshine hours and decent soil temperatures.

“Rather than riding the rollercoaster trying to guess what each next season will bring, we can control these conditions much more readily with a reliable and steady supply of water.

North Otago now has sufficient area under irrigation to ensure production continues and money will keep flowing in to town. But there is potential for more irrigation in our area and in many other parts of New Zealand.

Our problem isn’t lack of water, it’s just some of the water isn’t where it’s needed, when it’s needed and storage would help solve that problem.

Irrigation isn’t as good as rain but it is far better than no water at all and the more irrigation there is, the less harm drought does to agriculture and the wider economy.

December 16 in history


On December 16:

1431  Henry VI of Englandwas crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris.

1485  Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, was born.

1497  Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope, the point where Bartolomeu Dias had previously turned back to Portugal.


1653  Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

1707  Last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.


1770  Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer was born  (d. 1827).

 Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820

1773  Boston Tea Party – Members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

 This iconic 1846 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier was entitled “The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor

1775 Jane Austen, English writer, was born (d. 1817).


1787  – Mary Russell Mitford, English writer, was born  (d. 1855).

1790  King Léopold I of Belgium, was born (d. 1865).

1850 The Charlotte-Jane and the Randolph brought the first settlers to Lyttelton.

1882   Sir Jack Hobbs, English cricketer, was born (d. 1963).

 Jack Hobbs (left) walks out to the SCG with his opening partner Herbert Sutcliffe.

1883 Max Linder, French pioneer of silent film, was born (d. 1925).


1888  King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, was born  (d. 1934).


1893  Antonín Dvořák‘s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, “From The New World” was given its world première at Carnegie Hall.

1899  Sir Noel Coward, English playwright, actor and composer, was born  (d. 1973).

 1905  Piet Hein, Danish mathematician and inventor was born (d. 1996).

1905 A great rugby rivalry was born when a last-minute try to All Black Bob Deans was disallowed, handing the Welsh victory.

All Black's 'non-try' hands Wales historic win

1907 The Great White Fleet (US Naval Battle fleet) began its circumnavigation of the world.


1915  – Turk Murphy, American trombonist, was born (d. 1987).

1917  Sir Arthur C. Clarke, English writer, was born (d. 2008).

1920 The Haiyuan earthquake, magnitude 8.5, in  Gansu province killed an estimated 200,000.

1938  Adolf Hitler instituted the Cross of Honor of the German Mother.


1943 Tony Hicks, English guitarist (The Hollies), was born.


1944 The Battle of the Bulge began with the surprise offensive of three German armies through the Ardennes forest.

1946 Benny Andersson, Swedish musician, singer and songwriter (ABBA), was born.

1947 Ben Cross, English actor, was born.

1947  William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain built the first practical point-contact transistor.

1949 Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, later knons as SAAB, was founded in Sweden.

Saab logo.svg

1952 Joel Garner, Barbadian West Indies cricketer, was born.

1955 – Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este, was born.

1960  1960 New York air disaster: While approaching New York’s Idlewild Airport, a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 collided with a TWA Lockheed Super Constellation in a blinding snowstorm over Staten Island, killing 134.

1971  Bangladesh War of Independence and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971: The surrender of the Pakistan army brings an end to both conflicts.

1971 – Independence Day of the State of Bahrain from British Protectorate Status.


1972  Angela Bloomfield, New Zealand actress, was born.

1991 Independence of The Republic of Kazakhstan.

1997  Dennō Senshi Porygonan episode of Pokémon, was aired in Japan, inducing seizures in hundreds of Japanese children.

2003  President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

%d bloggers like this: