Word of the day


Pacable –  lenient, mild, lamb-like, benign, meek; willing to forgive, able to be appeased.

Waste not . . .


The people who packaged this lamb  can’t understand the concept of waste not, want not.

The meat was sealed in the vacuum pack which was branded and labelled then put on a tray and covered in plastic wrap.

The tray and the wrap didn’t make it look any better. Rather than adding value the extra packaging just added more rubbish.

Shock horror – students forced home to work


TV3 reports Cost of living forces some Auckland students home for summer:

University students are supposed to be on holiday, but instead of taking a break, many are being forced to move home and find extra work to save money for the new academic year.

Supposed to be on holiday? Being forced to move home and find extra work?

Back in the late  1970s when my generation was supposedly getting a “free” education that was normal.

We finished exams in November, found jobs and worked until early to mid February when we returned to university. We didn’t feel entitled to three months holiday and we didn’t see it as being “forced” to work. It’s just what we did to ensure we had enough money to live on while we were studying because while we paid little in fees we still had rent, food, books and other expenses.

We also regarded it as part of our education. We learned new skills, gained an appreciation of what other people have to do for a living and motivation to study so we didn’t have to do those sorts of jobs for ever.

At least one of today’s students doesn’t understand that. Med student James Shand says:

“I’ve got friends in Dunedin who’re paying $100 a week, and we’re paying literally $60 a week more than that,” James says. “And that’s eating up our entire student loan, which they’ve got money to buy food, and travel expenses, and stuff.

The weekly difference sounds big but the annual one isn’t nearly as great. Almost all Dunedin flats are rented for 12 months. Most students come from out of town and go home or elsewhere to work for the summer but still have to keep paying rent while their flats are unoccupied. They can’t, as Auckland students can, give up their flats for three months.

“For us, we literally have to have jobs over summer just to try and sustain us throughout the year, whereas they can sort of get by without that.”

Student loans are supposed to help people while they’re studying. They are not supposed to allow them to stop taking responsibility for their own finances.

Money earned from holiday work can be used to reduce the amount students need to borrow.  Or, if they use the incentive to borrow the maximum which the interest-free loan provides, they can invest what they earn and use it to help repay the loan faster when they graduate.

Fortunately for the future of the country the attitude of the student quoted isn’t universal.

We spent last evening with students whose work ethic was obvious. They all had holiday jobs, accepted them as a normal part of student life and as something to add to their CVs to make them more employable when they are looking for work when they have completed their studies.

Commercial exploitation or vagaries of nature?


A few weeks ago spot prices for electricity were very high.

The justification was that the hydro lakes were low.

Now the dams on the Clutha and Waitaki Rivers are spilling water because the lakes are too full and councils are warning of flood danger.

Were the high prices commercial exploitation or is this just the impact the vagaries of nature have when we generate so much hydro power?

January 3 in history


On January 3:

106 BC Cicero, Roman statesman and philosopher, was born (d. 43 BC).

1431  Joan of Arc was handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon.

1496 Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested a flying machine.
 A design for a flying machine.

1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

1793 Lucretia Mott, American women’s rights activist, was born  (d. 1880).

1823 Stephen F. Austin received a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico.

1831 Savitribai Phule,  social activist, first female teacher in India, and first female poet in Marathi language, was born  (d. 1897).

1840 Surveyors arrived in Port Nicholson to lay out plans for the proposed New Zealand Company settlement of Britannia at Pito-one (Petone). When this original site proved unsuitable, the decision was made to relocate across the harbour in a settlement they called Wellington.

New Zealand Company surveyors arrive in Port Nicholson

 1848 – Joseph Jenkins Roberts was sworn in as the first president of the independent African Republic of Liberia.

1870 Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began.

1883  Clement Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1967).

1887 Helen Parkhurst, American educator, was born (d. 1973).


1888 The refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory, measuring 91 cm in diameter, was used for the first time. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time.

1892  J. R. R. Tolkien, British writer, was born (d. 1973).

1899 – The first known use of the word automobile, was seen in an editorial in The New York Times.

1909  Victor Borge, Danish entertainer, was born (d. 2000).

1916 Maxene Andrews, American singer (The Andrews Sisters), was born (d. 1995).

1922  Bill Travers, British actor and director, was born  (d. 1994).


1923 Charles Tingwell, Australian actor, was born  (d. 2009).

1924 British explorer Howard Carter discovered the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.

1933 Minnie D. Craig became the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States.

1942  John Thaw, British actor, was born  (d. 2002).

1945  Stephen Stills, American musician (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) was born.

1946 John Paul Jones, British musician (Led Zeppelin), was born.

1950  Victoria Principal, American actress, was born.

1953 Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver from Ohio, became the first mother and son to serve simultaneously in the U.S. Congress.

1956 A fire damaged the top part of the Eiffel Tower.

1956  Mel Gibson, Australian actor and director, was born.

1957 The Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

1958 The West Indies Federation was formed.

Flag Coat of arms

1961 The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba.

1962 Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro.

1977 Apple Computer was incorporated.

1988 Margaret Thatcher became the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century.

A professional photograph of a lady with ginger-blonde hair, sitting in a traditional style and wearing jewellery.

1990 Former leader of Panama Manuel Noriega surrendered to American forces.


1993 George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin signed the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

 1994 – More than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands, received South African citizenship.

 1999 The Mars Polar Lander was launched.

Mars Polar Lander undergoes testing.jpg

2004 – Flight 604, a Boeing 737 owned by Flash Airlines, an Egyptian airliner, plunged into the Red Sea, killing all 148 people on board.

2007 – National Express had its worst coach crash just outside Heathrow Airport.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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