Word of the day


Ideopraxist – one impelled to act by the force of an idea; one who devotes his/her energies to the carrying out of an idea; one who puts ideas into practice.

Would a Wool-X prize inspire winning idea?


I’m not a fan of the Sunday Star Times but one good thing it does do is provide space for a column by Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson.

That allows him to communicate with an audience which probably doesn’t read or listen to rural media and to promote good ideas like this week’s (which isn’t online).

It starts:

Imagine if we had a new green export that could generate more than $600 million a year – $100m more than The Hobbit’s economic contribution. Imagine if that export was 100% pure and derived from natural, renewable sources. That product exists – wool.

If ever there was a time to sell a product with those credentials it is now.

Maybe it’s also time for a “Wool-X prize” modelled on the X-Prize Foundation “making the impossible, possible”.

The word prize is key – Virgin Galactic is now in commercial evolution after Burt Rutan spent $25m to win a $10m prize to create a cheap and reusable space vehicle. Could a Wool-X prize similarly inspire enthusiasts in shed and the world’s biggest universities? If we retained the intellectual property, it could unlock new mass market products and industries.

Even if we didn’t retain the intellectual property it would help wool get to – and pass – the $2.8 billion industry it ought to be when adjusted for inflation.

Falling supply and rising demand are taking wool prices back to peaks last seen more than 20 years ago.

A Wool-X prize could inspire a winning idea, then imagine where prices could go if innovative new uses made high demand the norm.

Did you see the one about . . .


My cricket World Cup squad – Imperator Fish mixes politics and sport.

Just one day – Liberty Scott reminds us what we must remember on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Macdoctor compares state of the nation addresses  –  and shows a picture really is worth 1,000 words. He also does the numbers on asset sales in Sell Down.

Crime scene cooking and bags of milk – Around the World on cultural differences of the culinary kind.

Don’t believe the lies – Kiwiblog figures what’s wrong with what Labour’s saying. He also gives a plug for WordCamp NZ.

Let us not march – Dim Post has word clouds from this week’s state of the nation speeches.

Two year Review – Pablo at Kiwipolitico looks back on two years of blogging.

Phil Goff – the beehive – Whaleoil shows how one silly idea could lead to another.



In the previous post I was referring to people who speak English as a first language.

As a student of Spanish I understand how difficult it can be to get a tongue used to using one language round the sounds of another. 

Therefore I offer this not in criticism of people who aren’t native speakers of English, but as an illustration of what could happen if we continue to mangle our own language:

In order to  continue getting-by we all need to learn the  new English language. Practise by reading the following  conversation until you are able to  understand the term  “tenjooberrymuds“.
      With a little  patience, you’ll be able to fit right  in.
     Now, here  goes…
      Room Service :  “Morrin. Roon  sirbees.”
      Guest : “Sorry, I  thought I dialed  room-service.”
      Room Service: ” Rye  . Roon sirbees…morrin! Joowish to oddor  sunteen???”
      Guest: “Uh…..  Yes, I’d like to order bacon and  eggs..”
      Room Service: “Ow  July  den?”
      Guest:  “…..What??”
      Room Service: “Ow  July den?!?… Pryed, boyud,  poochd?”
      Guest: “Oh, the  eggs! How do I like them? Sorry.. Scrambled,  please.”
      Room Service: “Ow  July dee baykem?  Crease?”
      Guest: “Crisp will  be  fine.”
      Room Service:  “Hokay. An Sahn  toes?”
      Guest:  “What?”
      Room Service: “An  toes. July Sahn  toes?”
      Guest: “I… Don’t  think  so.”
      RoomService: “No?  Judo wan sahn  toes???”
      Guest: “I’m sorry but I don’t know what ‘judo wan  sahn toes’  means.”
      RoomService: “Toes!  Toes!…Why Joo don Juan toes? Ow bow Anglish moppin we  bodder?”
      Guest: “Oh, English  muffin!!! I’ve got it! You were saying  ‘toast’…   Fine…Yes, an English muffin will  be  fine.”
      RoomService: “We  bodder?”
      Guest: “No, just  put the bodder on the  side.”
      RoomService:  “Wad?!?”
      Guest: “I mean  butter… Just put the butter on the  side.”
      RoomService:  “Copy?”
      Guest: “Excuse  me?”
      RoomService:  “Copy…tea..meel?”
      Guest: “Yes.  Coffee, please… And that’s  everything.”
      RoomService: “One  Minnie. Scramah egg, crease baykem, Anglish moppin, we  bodder on sigh and copy …. Rye  ??”
      Guest: “Whatever  you  say..”
      RoomService:  “Tenjooberrymuds.”
      Guest: “You’re  welcome”
      I said by  the time you read through this you would understand “tenjooberrymuds”…….and you do, don’t  you?

Minding Ps & Qs minimising Fs & Cs


“Society is getting more violent. People react more stongly to an incident [than in the past]. ” Why is that? “Manners have gone out the window.”

Judge Josephine Bouchier said this in a Listener interview, Bouchier’s Law. In the same issue Brian O’Flaherty bemoans the degradation of language in reign of error and concludes:

Ah, Terry [Snow, former Listener editor], why do we bother? Because we’re pedantic? Nah. Because someone has to uphold the idea of a common comprehension. You might fry tomayto while I boil tomahto but as long as we both know it’s a red fruit, communication exists; and where communication is lies understanding. Understanding has prevented lots of wars, excluding those sparked by religion and greed.

“I think Terry would agree we don’t care so much about the words, and probably wouldn’t care at all if they didn’t underpin that understanding. But they do. Nothing else does.”

Could there be a link between increasing violence, loss of manners and falling standards of language?

A woman working with violent prisoners noticed how limited their vocabularies were. They were never peeved, tetchy, irritated, annoyed, aggravated or even furious they were always at force 10 which was expressed in almost incomprehensible sentences in which the F and C words starred.

“If you can’t name your feelings, how do you recognise them and if you can’t recognise them how can you control them?” she asked.

The man jailed for swearing at a judge probably still doesn’t understand why.

Incomprehension begets frustration. Just think of people dealing with someone who doesn’t speak their language who try speaking more slowly and loudly in the mistaken impression that will help.

Frustration can easily turn to anger and anger can turn to violence.

Where do manners fit in? At the heart of good manners lie respect for, and consideration of, other people and self-restriant. An excuse me is much less confrontational than a shove, a sorry beats a shrug and a whoops with a smile is more likely to get a smile in return than an expletive.

Too simple? Yes. The causes of increasing violence are more complex than declining standards of language and manners, but they are part of the puzzle.

If we took better care of how we spoke and had a better command of the vocabulary with which we speak we’d find it easier to understand and be understood. 

As part of that, if we minded our Ps and Qs it would help to reduce the Fs and Cs which are part of the violent language which leads to violent acts.

January 30 in history


1648 Eighty Years’ War: The Treaty of Münster and Osnabrück was signed, ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain.

1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded.

1661 Oliver Cromwell, was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.

1790  The first boat specializing as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne.

1806 The original Lower Trenton Bridge (also called the Trenton Makes the World Takes Bridge), was opened.

1820 Edward Bransfield sighted the Trinity Peninsula and claimed the discovery of Antarctica.


1826 The Menai Suspension Bridge, considered the world’s first modern suspension bridge, connecting the Isle of Anglesey to the north West coast of Wales, opened.


1835 In the first assassination attempt against a President of the United States, Richard Lawrence attempted to shoot president Andrew Jackson, but failed and was subdued by a crowd, including several congressmen.

 The etching of the assassination attempt.

1841 A fire destroyed two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

1847 Yerba Buena, California was renamed San Francisco.

1858 The first Hallé concert was given in Manchester marking the official founding of the Hallé Orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

1862 The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.

1882  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, was born (d. 1945).

1889 – Archduke Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian crown, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Mary Vetsera in Mayerling.

1911 An amendment to the Gaming Act at the end of 1910 banned bookmakers from racecourses in New Zealand. Bookies were officially farewelled at the now defunct Takapuna racecourse.

Bookies banned from NZ racecourses

1911 The destroyer USS Terry (DD-25) made the first airplane rescue at sea saving the life of James McCurdy 10 miles from Havana.

1911 – The Canadian Naval Service became the Royal Canadian Navy.

Canadian Blue Ensign 1921.svg

1913 The House of Lords rejected the Irish Home Rule Bill.

1925 The Government of Turkey threw Patriarch Constantine VI out of Istanbul.

1929 Lucille Teasdale-Corti, Canadian surgeon and international aid worker, was born (d. 1945).

1930 Gene Hackman, American actor, was born.

1930 The world’s second radiosonde is launched in Pavlovsk USSR.

1931 Shirley Hazzard, Australian-born author, was born.


1933 Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1937 Vanessa Redgrave, English actress, was born.

1941 – Dick Cheney, 46th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1945  World War II: The Wilhelm Gustloff, overfilled with refugees, sunk in the Baltic Sea after being torpedoed by a Soviet submarine, leading to the deadliest known maritime disaster, killing approximately 9,000 people.

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-H27992, Lazarettschiff "Wilhelm Gustloff" in Danzig.jpg

1945  Raid at Cabanatuan: 126 American Rangers and Filipino resistance liberated 500 prisoners from the Cabanatuan POW camp.

POWs celebrate.jpg

1945 Hitler gave his last ever public address, a radio address on the 12th anniversary of his coming to power. (

1947 Steve Marriott, English musician (Humble Pie, The Small Faces), was born  (d. 1991).


1948 – Indian pacifist and leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.

1951 Phil Collins, English musician, was born.


1954 Queens EliZabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh  left New Zealand, bringing to an end the first tour by a ruling monarch.

Queen farewells New Zealand

1956 American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s home is bombed in retaliation for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

 National City Lines  bus, No. 2857, on which Rosa Parks was riding before she was arrested

1960 The African National Party was founded in Chad through the merger of traditionalist parties.

1960  Lily Potter, (fictional character) Mother of Harry J. Potter and Member of The Order of the Phoenix, was born.

 The Potters as illustrated by Mary GrandPré.

1962 King Abdullah II of Jordan, was born.

1964  Ranger 6 was launched.

Ranger 6

1968 Prince Felipe of Spain, was born.

1969 The Beatles‘ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London.

A terrace building. Its ground floor has plaster render inscribed to look like stone, the middle three are red brick, and the top is an attic. Each floor has four sash windows with a dozen or more panes each, except that the bottom floor has a door in place of the second window. Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, site of the Let It Be rooftop concert

1971 Carole King’s Tapestry album was released, it became the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sold 24 million copies worldwide.

1972 Bloody Sunday: British Paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civil rights/anti internment marchers in Northern Ireland.

1972 Pakistan withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

1979 Varig 707-323C freighter,  disappeared over the Pacific Ocean 30 minutes after taking off from Tokyo.

1982 Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code, which was 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot programme called “Elk Cloner”.

1989 The American embassy in Kabul closed.

1994 Péter Lékó became the youngest chess grand master.

Peter Leko 06 08 2006.jpg

1995 Workers from the National Institutes of Health announced the success of clinical trials testing the first preventive treatment for sickle-cell disease.

1996 Gino Gallagher, the suspected leader of the Irish National Liberation Army, was killed while waiting in line for his unemployment benefit.

1996 – Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.

Comet Hyakutake captured by the Hubble Space Telescope 

2000 Off the coast of Ivory Coast, Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed into the Atlantic  killing 169.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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