Word of the day


Nepenthe – medicine for sorrow; drug of forgetfullness; a potion capable of making one forget suffering.

No opportunity lost by spammers


The email from the bank started sympathetically:

Dear ANZ Customer

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the earthquake on February 22. If you’re a ANZ customer in the affected area, we know you’ve got a lot going on at the moment and we’re doing everything we can to make things easier for you.

Any ANZ Home Loan and Business Banking customers that live in the Christchurch area who have been affected by the earthquake will be offered:

* three months repayment holiday on their loans (including business banking loans)
* $1,000 overdraft or increase of $1,000 to existing personal overdraft or revolving credit facilities.

But then it said:

Also due to the Canterbury Earthquake, we have lost some of our customers internet banking details,so please click the link below to enter your Customer Registration Number and Password details correctly so we can help you update your account:

That’s a definite spam alert – that and the fact we don’t bank with ANZ anyway.

Even in a national emergency no opportunity is lost by spammers who want to get hold of someone else’s money.

Orientation then and now


Quote of the day from the UC Volunteer Army:

 “These orientation activities seem much more constructive than mine did 25 years ago!”

Stories from the quake


There must be something else going on in the world, haven’t we had enough of the earthquake? an email to a radio station moaned last week.

There are a lot of other things going onin the world but none is as important to the whole of New Zealand than the earthquake and its aftermath.

The MSM is doing exactly what it should be in keeping people in the city and beyond informed and amongst the hard news are some heartwrenching stories.

Social media – Facebook, Twitter and blogs are keeping people in touch and also telling stories.

Many of those, like the three that follow, won’t reach the MSM but they are part of the record of the disaster.

* Yesterday afternoon I visited friends from Christchurch who’ve moved down to Wanaka with both their elderly mothers.

He was in a 12 storey building in the CBD when the quake struck – ceiling tiles fell and furniture moved as the building shuddered and swayed but it’s fairly new and appeared to escape any major damage. As soon as the shaking stopped he and his colleagues tore down the stair well and outside.

She was at home and safe though badly shaken, but they aren’t sure their house will be salvageable.

Their relief at their own safety and that of family and friends is tempered by sorrow at the devastation and tragedy in the city which is their home.

One mother was badly bruised from falling, the other was unharmed. Both had been living independently, neither wants to live by herself now.

* A friend told  me of the son of other friends who was running from the quake when a fissure about a metre wide opened up in front of him. He stopped and grabbed a young Asian woman beside him who was about to fall into it. As he hauled her back the earth closed in front of them again.

* This friend has been helping friends whose son in law died when his car was crushed. They know he’s dead but they also know it could be days or even weeks before his body is returned because search and rescue efforts must concentrate on looking for anyone who might still be alive.

Desperate as they are to get him back, they understand why this is so and say that Victim Support have been amazing in helping them.

February 28 in history


On February 28:

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

Council Trent.jpg

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born  (d. 1283).

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.


1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

Battle of Helsingborg print.jpg

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.


1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

University of Pittsburgh Seal

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born  (d. 1897).


1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

USS Princeton, Lithograph by N. Currier, New York, 1844.

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born  (d. 1940).


1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.


1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

Queen Ranavalona III

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

Ladysmith Town Hall 1900 - Project Gutenberg eText 15972.png

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born  (d. 1945).

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born  (d. 1982).


1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

Flag of Nazi Germany

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.


1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.


1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born  (d. 1969).

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

USS Houston

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

 The 228 Monument located near the Presidential Office in Taipei

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

Paul Krugman-press conference Dec 07th, 2008-8.jpg

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London kills 43 people.

Moorgate station

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.


1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

DIA Airport Roof.jpg

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout took place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.


1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.


2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

New Horizons

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Horme – energetic activity; goal directed or purposeful behaviour; eagerness for a task; setting oneself in motion.

Christchurch earthquake appeal goes global


Prime Minister John Key has launched a global appeal for the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort.

“It’s vital we reach as many people throughout the world as possible who want to help. This isn’t just New Zealand’s tragedy – the February 22 earthquake affected countless people internationally.

 “Like all Cantabrians and fellow New Zealanders, I have been humbled by the offers of help and assistance pouring in from individuals, organisations and governments around the world. This new Appeal gives people another means of donating to the people of Christchurch and the recovery effort.

 Mr Key said the Appeal was designed to complement those already established, such as the funds organised by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

 “It’s my intention that the Government will work alongside these organisations to make sure the funds are used in the best possible way.”

Mr Key said New Zealand government departments at home and around the world would be throwing their weight behind the Appeal. 

“This Appeal will have global reach, with our network of diplomatic posts able to reach millions of people world-wide.

“I am also pleased to announce that the proceeds raised for the earthquake recovery from Saturday’s special Lotto draw will go directly to the Appeal,” said Mr Key.

 Mr Key praised several organisations which had donated their time and expertise in order to get the Appeal up and running.

“Westpac has worked tirelessly with Clemenger BBDO, Direct Payment Solutions and AIM Proximity to turn the Appeal into a reality in a very short space of time. Facebook has also helped its users engage in the initiative, which gives the Appeal a truly international flavour.”

Mr Key also thanked Colenso BBDO and Run the Red, both of which worked with Westpac on the Appeal website and text message donation service respectively.

 “I’d also like to thank New Zealand’s other retail banks, which are working with Westpac on the Appeal.”

 Mr Key said he was encouraging New Zealanders to give generously to Christchurch.

 “Every little bit helps – every donation, no matter how small, will be welcomed.”

 Donations can be made at www.christchurchearthquakeappeal.govt.nz

 Telecom, Vodafone and 2 Degrees mobile customers can text chch to 933 to make an automatic $3 donation.

 Donations can also be made via internet banking, or at any branch of New Zealand’s retail banks, by depositing into account number 03-0251-0039807-00.

More information on the gloabl appeal can be found on Facebook.

Fonterra has arranged for shareholders to donate from their milk cheques and will match those donations and any from its staff dollar for dollar up to $1 million, on top of the $1 million donated last week.

A newsletter from chairman Henry van der Heyden on Friday said shareholders and staff had already donated $260,ooo which with the company’s matching donation meant more than half a million dollars had been given.

Olduvai Gorge Thorn Tree


Discussion on Arts on Sunday between Lynn Freeman and poets Mary McCallum and Jeffrey Papmoa Holman reminded me I hadn’t done my usual post on Tuesday poem.

This week’s feature poem is Olduvai Gorge Thorn Tree by Sarah Lindsay.

Among the links in the sidebar is prose and poetry about or related to the Christchurch earthquake.

InRebuilding Christchurch one sandcastle at a time – Catherine Fitchett posts photos of her daughter’s creative response to the silt.

Helen Lowe has earthquake update and earthquake recovery day 3, day 4 and day 5

Renee Liang writes of the weed mat of humanity.

Helen Rickerby writes on the earthquake.

Belinda Hollyer writes the city of ruins will rise again.

In my city of ruins/tales of Canterbury Tim Jones writes:

. . . In an attempt to do something, anything, to make a difference, we are putting together an anthology of short stories loosely themed around survival, hope and the future. All profits of this anthology will be donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal, or another registered charity aimed at aiding those in need in Canterbury.

The purpose of this Anthology is two-fold—to help financially, but also, we hope, to provide entertainment and alleviation in a time of crisis. We hope that our words will help make a difference. . .

In earthquake – the words, Mary McCallum posts Earth, the poem she wrote after the September 4 quake.

UPDATE: Lou at No Minister has a photo of Olduvai Gorge, the setting for the feature poem.

A tale of two highways


On Friday evening I drove down state highway 1 from Totara, south of Oamaru, to Invercargill.

Traffic was heavy and the journey was made worse by slow vehicles whose drivers showed absolutely no consideration for those following them.

A couple of times it was the second vehicle in line which was the problem – it’s driver didn’t take opportunities to pass but kept too close to the slow one in front to enable anyone behind to pass them separately.

At one stage I was eighth in line travelling at between 70 and 80 kph for more than 10 kilometres before we got to a passing lane which enabled the first five vehicles to pass. It was another six kilometres before the remaining car in front of me and I were able to pass safely.

When I turned off the main road at Clinton I caught up on a four wheel drive vehicle travelling behind a car travelling at 90 kph which stayed in the right hand lane when we got to a passing lane.

I didn’t have to be in Invercargill by a particular time which helped me stay patient and not take silly risks but it wasn’t a pleasant drive and took more than half an hour longer than usual.

Yesterday evening I drove up state highway 6 from Invercargill to Queenstown then over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Traffic was much lighter but drivers were also more considerate. The few times I caught up on slower vehicles they slowed at the start of a straight stretch to allow me to pass.

The trip took a little more than three hours – and I wasn’t speeding. Not having to slow down made it a faster, and much more pleasant, journey.

Moaning about road congestion in the south of the South Island is a bit like complaining to Australians about dry weather. Many roads further north  are worse than those in the south and have a lot more traffic.

But regardless of the state of the roads and number of vehicles, consideration for other drivers makes travelling safer and more pleasant.

Cooking from scratch


A Christchurch friend was waiting for a call from Red Cross when I phoned her on Friday.

She and her daughter had volunteered to do a five hour cooking shift.

They are safe and so is their home – there’s a big mess inside but it escaped with no major structural damage.  But they know people who are missing and many others whose home and businesses are in ruins.

They had power but no water from the taps but had prepared an emergency pack with food and bottled water after the first quake. She  knows how to cook from scratch and how to stretch basic food into appetising meals.

Heeding calls to conserve power and the need to use water sparingly she had cooked enough rice for three meals at a time as efficiently as possible.

Her instructions are:

Boil two cups of water. (If it’s not bottled water it must be boiled for three minutes to purify).

Put three bags of Uncle Ben’s rice (the wee bags that come in a bigger packet) into a 16cm pot.

Pour over rice until it’s just covered.

Put lid on pot and cook gently for 8 minutes.

They’d had rice salad and chicken with the first serving and she was planning to do a stir fry with the second.

She has worked a food consultant and used to take cooking classes. She wants to help others who don’t know how to cook meals from scratch and make basic food go further.

I suggested finding out if there was a school which had home economics rooms undamaged which might be used. If it was at or near a welfare centre, classes would give people camping their something useful to do.

There will be people like this all over the city with skills which are needed and people who need their help. All that’s required is some co-ordination to match them.

No logic and always risk


Two columns written in the wake of  Tuesday’s earthquake in Christchurch are worth reading in full:

Jim Hopkins:

Bad things happen. That’s it. There’s no logic to it, no reason for it. There’s no sense in it. If the world wants to shrug, it shrugs. Even that distorts the facts.

The world doesn’t want to shrug. It’s not a choice. Sometimes it shrugs. Most times it doesn’t. But sometimes it does. It just does. That’s it. . .

Deborah Hill-Cone:

. . .  We live in times where we are able to delude ourselves a lot of the time that we can manage the risks in our lives . . .

Among many other columns and stories on the quake are two first hand accounts of the horror (hat tip Keeping Stock):

The first is written by Press journalist Vicki Anderson and this written by an ambulance officer.

February 27 in history


On February 27:

1560 The Treaty of Berwick, which expelled the French from Scotland, was signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland.

1594 Henry IV was crowned King of France.

1617 Sweden and Russia signed the Treaty of Stolbovo, ending the Ingrian War and shutting Russia out of the Baltic Sea.

1626 Yuan Chonghuan was appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians.


1700 William Dampier was the first European to discover the island of New Britain.

1797 The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound notes.

1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet, was born  (d. 1882).

1812 Poet Lord Byron gave his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.

1844 The Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti.

1900 British military leaders received an unconditional notice of surrender from Boer General Piet Cronje at the Battle of Paardeberg.

Surrender of Cronje.jpg

1900 The British Labour Party was founded.

Labour logo

1902 John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate, was born (d. 1968).

John Steinbeck with 19 year-old son John (left), visits President Johnson in the Oval Office,

1912 Lawrence Durrell, British writer, was born (d. 1990).

Durrell stands at a podium, gazing at the crowd as he addresses them. He wears a suit over a white shirt with a striped tie, and holds his left arm at his side, with his elbow bent upwards as if to shake his fist. A caption runs below the image that reads "Lawrence Durrell, 1986 - photo courtesy R. Rubrecht."

1921 The International Working Union of Socialist Parties was founded in Vienna.

1922 A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Leser v. Garnett.

1930 Joanne Woodward, American actress, was born.


1932  Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress, was born.

In Father of the Bride

1933 Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin was set on fire.

1934 Ralph Nader, American author, activist and political figure, was born.

1939 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sit-down strikes violated property owners’ rights and were therefore illegal.

1940  Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14

1942 During the Battle of the Java Sea, an allied strike force was defeated by a Japanese task force in the Java Sea


1943 The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, exploded, killing 74 men.

 Memorial of the Smith Mine disaster

1943 – The Rosenstrasse protest started in Berlin.

 Part of the memorial “Block der Frauen” by Ingeborg Hunzinger, commemorating the protest

1945 Lebanon declared Independence.


1951 The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, was ratified.

1951 Troops were sent on to Wellington and Auckland wharves to load and unload ships during the waterfront dispute.

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1961 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation was inaugurated.

Italian Fascist flag

1963 The Dominican Republic got its first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, since the end of the dictatorship led by Rafael Trujillo.

1964 The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.

1967 Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.


1973  The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota.


1974 – People magazine was published for the first time.


1976 The formerly Spanish territory of Western Sahara, under the auspices of the Polisario Front declared independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

1986 The United States Senate allowed its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

1989 Venezuela was rocked by the Caracazo riots.

1991 Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced that “Kuwait is liberated”.

1999 Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria‘s first elected president since mid-1983.

2002 Ryanair Flight 296 caught fire at London Stansted Airport.

2002 – Godhra train burning: a Muslim mob killed 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya;

2003 Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

2004 A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack killed 116.

2007 The general strike against Lansana Conté in Guinea ended.

2007 – The Chinese Correction: the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell 9%, the largest drop in 10 years.

2010 – Central Chile was struck by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake.


Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

Word of the day


Bouleversement –  convulsion, overthrow, overturning, ruin, turmoil, tumult, violent uproar or disturbance, upset.

Waltjim Bat Matilda


This Saturday’s smiles’ post comes by way of a song – Waltjim Bat Matilda by Ali Mills. 

Dedicated to our neighbours who are donating money and people power to help with the earthquake relief efffort.

Keep an ear out for the baaaas.

Thanks to regular commenter Richard who alerted me to it.

Keep them going


A friend I spoke to in Christchurch yesterday said it’s still horrific but it helps to know that people all over the country are doing what they can to help.

Among the initiatives is keepthemgoing.

It’s an opportunity for Dunedin people to contribute to the recovery effort by providing pre-packed lunches of non-perishable food for the student army of more than 1,000 volunteers who are helping throughout the city.

Federated Farmers is working with Fulton Hogan and Civil Defence and had called for farmers with;

    •  Loader tractors
    •  Front end loaders
    •  Tip trucks
    •  Small to medium sized excavators
    •  Above all else, we need the skilled staff to operate them.

Roads aren’t yet in a suitable condition for the vehicles. In the meantime Feds is asking for people with shovles, spades and wheelbarrows to join the volunteer army.

A gown awaits its bride


Text messages to friends in Christchurch telling them I’d be passing through on Thursday if they needed anything resulted in a request from just one who wanted fresh fruit and vegetables.

I detoured into Oamaru to pick up supplies on my way north and packed them in chilly bags.

These friends live on the west side of the city, not far from the airport and the roads to their home were unscathed. Their house had no serious structural damage and they had both power and water.

They were heeding calls to conserve water,  flushing the loo only once a day, had only had a two minute shower and hadn’t washed clothes or dishes. Her elderly mother was unhurt but they couldn’t get to her because the roads round her house were impassable. Their daughter, son-in-law and wee baby were also safe but had major damage to their house, no power and no water.

The friend makes wedding dresses.  A bridesmaid had turned up as expected on Wednesday but a bride who had an appointment to pick up her gown on Tuesday still hadn’t been in contact by Thursday evening.

Like so many others my friends are waiting and hoping that it’s other priorities in the wake of the earthquake or a problem with transport and phones that is stopping the bride getting to the gown which awaits her.

February 26 in history


On February 26:

747 BC Epoch of Ptolemy‘s Nabonassar Era.


364 Valentinian I was proclaimed Roman Emperor.


1266 Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeated a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily who was killed.

The Battle of Benevento from Giovanni Villani's Nuova Cronica.

1361 Wenceslaus, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, was born (d. 1419).


1564 Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, was born (d. 1593).

1658 Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655-1661), King Frederick III of Denmark-Norway was forced to give up nearly half his territory to Sweden to save the rest.

1794 Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen burnt down.


1802 Victor Hugo, French writer, was born (d. 1885).


1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba.

Photo of a coastline with the sea, greyish cliffs, vegetation and beige buildingsNapoleon’s Villa Mulini on Elba

1829 – Levi Strauss, German-born clothing designer, was born  (d. 1902).

1844 Two Wellington lawyers, William Brewer and H. Ross, undertook a duel as the result of a quarrel that had arisen from a case in the Wellington County Court. When the two men faced off in Sydney Street, Brewer fired into the air but ‘received Mr. Ross’ ball in the groin’. He died a few days later.

'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington
1846 William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, American frontiersman, was born  (d. 1917).

1848 The second French Republic was proclaimed.


1852 John Harvey Kellogg, American surgeon, advocate of dietary reform, was born  (d. 1943).

1861  Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, Russian revolutionary, Lenin’s wife, was born (d. 1939).


1863 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act into law.

1866 Herbert Henry Dow, American chemical industrialist, was born (d. 1930).

1870 In New York City, a demonstration of the first pneumatic subway opened to the public.


1885 The Berlin Act, which resulted from the Berlin Conference regulating European colonization and trade in Africa, was signed.

1887 – At the Sydney Cricket Ground, George Lohmann became the first bowler to take eight wickets in a Test innings.

George Lohmann.jpg

1909  Fanny Cradock, English food writer and broadcaster, was born (d. 1994).

1914 Robert Alda, American actor, was born (d. 1986).

1914 HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, was launched at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Britannic hospital.jpg

1916  Jackie Gleason, American actor, writer, composer, and comedian, was born (d. 1987).

1917 The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.

1919 An act of the U.S. Congress established most of the Grand Canyon as the Grand Canyon National Park.


1928 Fats Domino, American musician, was born.

1928 Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, was born.

1929 The Grand Teton National Park was created.

1932 Johnny Cash, American singer, was born (d. 2003).

1935 The Luftwaffe was re-formed.

1935 The Daventry Experiment, Robert Watson-Watt carried out a demonstration near Daventry which led directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom.

1936 Adolf Hitler opened the 1st Volkswagen plant in East Germany.


1936 – In the February 26 Incident, young Japanese military officers attempted to stage a coup against the government.


1947 Sandie Shaw, English singer, was born.

1949 Elizabeth George, American novelist, was born.

1950 Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.


1952 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that his nation had an atomic bomb.

1954 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, was born.

1954 Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, heir to the deposed Kingdom of Hanover and a husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco., was born.

1955 Andreas Maislinger, founder of Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, was born.

 Andreas Maislinger in middle

1958 Susan J. Helms, Astronaut, was born.

Helms sj2.jpg

1966 Apollo Programme: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket.

Saturn Apollo insignia

1968  Tim Commerford, American bass player (Rage Against the Machine), was born.

1971  U.N. Secretary Generlal U Thant signed the United Nations’ proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.

1972 The Buffalo Creek Flood caused by a burst dam killed 125 in West Virginia.


1987 Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebuked President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff.

1990 The Sandinistas were defeated in Nicaraguan elections.


1991  Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announced the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

1993 World Trade Centre bombing: A truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center exploded, killing 6 and injuring more than a thousand.

1995 The United Kingdom’s oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapsed after a securities broker, Nick Leeson, lost $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts.


2000 Mount Hekla in Iceland erupted.


2001 The Taliban destroyed two giant statues of Buddha in Bamyan, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Statua di Budda 1.jpg

2003 War in Darfur started.

Darfur map.png

2004 – F.Y.R.O.M. President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2005 Hosni Mubarak the president of Egypt ordered the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections before September 2005 by asking Egyptian parliament to amend Article 76.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

Word of the day


Obtenebrate – to darken, cast a shadow over.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?

2. What does a penetrometer measure?

3. It’s fuerza in Spanish and pākahukahu in Maori, what is it in English?

4. When was the Hawkes Bay earthquake?

5. Bob Parker was mayor of which local authority before he was mayor of Christchurch?

Points for answers:

Gravedoger got four right with a bonus for extra information which earns an electronic box of chocolate (comfort food for another tough week in Canterbury).

 Xchequer and Andrei also got four right.

Fred got one right, a couple of nearlys and a bonus for imagination witht he bottle opener.

Adam got three right.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Census on hold


Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson and  and Government Statistician Geoff Bascand have announced that the census which was due to be held on March 8 has been called off.

The decision has been made after extensive consultation.

“This is not the time to go door to door asking New Zealanders for information when they’re dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake,” Mr Williamson said.

“It’s unthinkable that we would ask this of people. It would be an unfair burden and distraction at a time when they are grieving.”

There has been extensive damage to Statistics New Zealand buildings with significant impacts on census staff.

Mr Bascand said he acknowledges the decision will have consequences for people who use the census data in their work.

“We will now investigate the feasibility of alternative options,” Mr Bascand said.

This is a sensible decision but not one without consequences.

Among those will be the re-drawing of electorate boundaries which is carried out after each 6- 5 yearly census.

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