Nine to Five


Happy birthday Dolly Parton, 64 today.

Of historical interest – the bell which puncutates this song represents the one on typewriters which rang as you approached the end of the line signalling a need to return the carriage so you could begin another line.

What’s a typewriter?  A communication device that people used before computers were invented.

It had a ribbon with ink and if you made a mistake you had to cross it out; paint over it with correction fluid, called twink, and type over it; or put in a new piece of paper and type whatever you were working on again from the start.

Those weren’t the good old days.

Word of the day


Tacenda – things to be passed over in silence, not to be mentioned.

Last Rescued Bird


This Tuesday’s poem is Last rescued Bird by T. Clear.

Other Tuesday poems include:

Young Woman Marries the Farmer’s Son by Marisa Capetta

Helen Rickerby’s Partying with Katherine Mansfield

Mopani Worms by Clare Beynon

Black Dog by Sarah-Jane Barnett

Question by May Swenson

The Butcher by Elizabeth Welsh

Headache by Amy Brown

Here’s to a Little Rebirth by Eileen D. Moeller

Blessing by Greg O’Connell

After Reading Auden by Mary McCallum 

Ripple by Helen Heath

From the Inuit by Susan Landry

Lament for Lost Literary Comfort by Andrew Bell

Putting In The Seed by Robert Frost

I Like My Own Poems by Jack Grapes

You Do Not Need Many Things  by Taigu Ryōkan

Time and Materials by Robert Hass

Haiku by Kobayashi Issa

The Ministry of Going In by Christine Paice

American Names by Stepehn Vincent Benét

Is It Possible by Melissa Shook

Short season for meatworkers


The shortage of stock which is one of the reasons farmers are getting better returns for sheep and beef this season will mean much less work for meatworkers.

The pay cheques of the country’s 22,000 meat workers will be thousands of dollars lighter this year with their seasonal jobs likely to be cut short by up to seven weeks because of falling sheep numbers.

Meatworkers used to be big earners and their unions was one of the most militant. In the 60s, 70s and early 80s they used to down tools they had no compunction about striking regardless of how desperate the need for farmers to quit stock.

The ag-sag of the late 80s and improvements to labour laws changed that. Sheep numbers plummeted and it became both more difficult to strike on a whim. With subsidies gone there was no fat in the system for unrealistic demands on wages and conditions.

Meatworkers can still earn good money while they’re working. But automation has replaced some workers and seasons are shorter than they used to be for those who still have jobs. 

This will impact not just on them but their communities. Retailers in Oamaru always say they notice an upturn when freezing workers start work and a slow down when they stop.

Continued conversion to dairying will provide some with off-season work but it will also lead to less stock to kill and shorter seasons in future.

Small increase in globalDairy Trade twi


The trade weighted index increased 1.2% in this morning’s globalDairyTrade auction.

The price for anhydrous milk fat dropped .3%; butter milk powder went up 14.5%; skim milk powder increased 2.4%; and whole milk powder went up .5%.

While on the subject of dairy prices, trying to compare dairy production and prices around the world isn’t easy.

Here we value milk in $s per kilo of milk solids (which is fat plus crude portein).

Australian dairy farms talk about cents per litre.

In the USA its $s per hundredweight (and that’s a USA hundredweight not a British one).

Europeans work in Euros per 100 kilograms.

In Britain it’s pence per litre.

So how do you compare one with another?

Over at Xchequer Neil Lane attempts to make sense out of units of milk price and has a link to the Xheque milk price calculator.

Good for economy hard for consumers


The increase in the global price of milk which has been welcomed by dairy farmers isn’t so welcome to consumers who are showing resistance to domestic price rises for dairy products.

The price of milk has become too rich for many households’ taste with dairy giant Fonterra reporting a “dramatic” fall in sales.

The price of a two litre bottle of milk has jumped 15c to $4.30-$4.50 after two price rises in the past five months, the result of strong global dairy commodity prices.

Fonterra Brands managing director Peter McClure, an industry veteran, says it is the highest milk price he can remember, and has led to a fall of about 1 per cent in milk sales in the past three months.

This is more significant than it sounds given milk sales have been growing solidly at 2-3 per cent for five years, boosted by Kiwis’ love affair with coffee, he says.

McClure has seen shoppers shy away from buying milk during previous price spikes but says sales have recovered quickly in the past. This time the decline is continuing.

How long will it be before someone suggests subsidising domestic prices and/or asks farmers to take less for milk supplied for domestic consumption?

Funny how no-one wants to subsidise the farmers when the price falls – and I hasten to add I’m among them.

Increased prices for producers are very good for the economy in the medium to long term. Although that will be cold comfort to people struggling to afford dairy produce in the short term.

January 19 in history


On January 19:

1419 – Hundred Years’ War: Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England completing his reconquest of Normandy.

1511 – Mirandola surrendered to the French.

1520  – Sten Sture the Younger, the Regent of Sweden, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bogesund.

Death of Sten Sture the Younger.jpg

1607 San Agustin Church in Manila, now the oldest church in the Philippines, was officially completed.

1736 James Watt, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1819).

1764  John Wilkes was expelled from the British House of Commons for seditious libel.

1788  Second group of ships of the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay.

1795  Batavian Republic was proclaimed in the Netherlands. End of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.


1806 – The United Kingdom occupied the Cape of Good Hope.

1807  Robert E. Lee, American Confederate general, was born  (d. 1870).

Robert Edward Lee.jpg

1809 Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and poet, was born (d. 1849).

1817 An army of 5,423 soldiers, led by General José de San Martín, crossed the Andes from Argentina to liberate Chile and then Peru.

1829 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s Faust Part 1 premiered.

1839  Paul Cézanne, French painter, was born (d. 1906).

1839 The British East India Company captured Aden.

 The Company flag, after 1707 



 1840 Captain Charles Wilkes circumnavigated Antarctica, claiming what became known as Wilkes Land for the United States.

1845 Hone Heke cut down the British flag pole for the third time.

Hone Heke cuts down the British flagstaff -  again
1848 Matthew Webb, English swimmer/diver  first man to swim English Channel without artifical aids, was born (d. 1883).

1853Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera Il Trovatore premiered in Rome.

1883  The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, began service at Roselle, New Jersey.

1893 Henrik Ibsen‘s play The Master Builder premiered in Berlin.

1899 – Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was formed.

1915  Georges Claude patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.

1915  German zeppelins bombed the cities of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn killing more than 20, in the first major aerial bombardment of a civilian target.

1917 German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent the Zimmermann Telegram to Mexico, proposing a German-Mexican alliance against the United States.

1917 – Silvertown explosion: 73 killed and 400 injured in an explosion in a munitions plant in London.

1918 Finnish Civil War: The first serious battles between the Red Guards and the White Guard.

1923 Jean Stapleton, American actress, was born.

All in the family.jpg

1935 Coopers Inc.  sold the world’s first briefs.

1935  Johnny O’Keefe, Australian singer, was born (d. 1978).

1937 Howard Hughes set a new air record by flying from Los Angeles, California to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

1939 Phil Everly, American musician, was born.

1942  Michael Crawford, British singer and actor, was born.

1943 Janis Joplin, American singer, was born (d. 1970).

1943  Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, was born.

1945  Soviet forces liberated the Łódź ghetto. Out more than 200,000 inhabitants in 1940, less than 900 had survived the Nazi occupation.

1946  Dolly Parton, American singer and actress, was born.

1946 General Douglas MacArthur established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo to try Japanese war criminals.

1947 Rod Evans, British musician (Deep Purple), was born.

1951  Dewey Bunnell, American singer and songwriter (America), was born.

1953 68% of all television sets in the United States were tuned in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr., American actor.


1966 Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India.

1972 – Princess Kalina of Bulgaria, was born.

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bulgaria

1977 – Snow fell in Miami, Florida for the only time time in the history of the city.

1978  The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany left VW’s plant in Emden.

Volkswagen Beetle .jpg

1981 United States and Iranian officials signed an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

1983  Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia.

1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, was announced.

Apple Lisa.jpg

1996  The barge North Cape oil spill occurred as an engine fire forced the tugboat Scandia ashore on Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.

 Tug Scandia and tank barge North Cape

1997 Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron after more than 30 years and joined celebrations over the handover of the last Israeli-controlled West Bank city.

2006 – The New Horizons probe was launched by NASA on the first mission to Pluto.

New Horizons

2007– Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated in front of his newspaper’s office by 17 year old Turkish ultranationalist Ogün Samast.

Hrant Dink.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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