Word of the day


Dasypygal –  having hairy buttocks/posterior.

The Homely Ghost


This Tuesday’s poem is The H0mely Ghost by Marjory Nicholls.

Among other Tuesday poems linked in the sidebar are:

The geometry of water by Susan Landry

My Father by Andrew Bell which includes these lines:

At all the painful pinnacles of growing
my father was there like a crampon you know will not fail you. . .
That is a stunning simile and a wonderful tribute.

In-flight fame


Kia Ora, Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine, has a blog watch in its February edition.

The two blogs featured are Kiwiblog and this one about which Kia Ora says:

Kiwiblog creator David Farrar has been “fomenting happy mischief” online for nigh on eight years and his followers grow by the day, with more than 6,500 regular commenters.

Right leaning Farrar is prolific, posting up to eight time s a day on a healthy mixture of politics, the internet and technology (even asking for help with his laptop).

From the window of her North Otago farmhouse, Ele Ludemann reflects on New Zealand’s social and political world from a rural and slightly right-leaning perspective. The self-confessed media junkie also provides titillating words of the day such as “bumfuzzle.

While on the topic of blogs, Open Parachute has posted his January sitemeter rankings.

No such thing as “our people”


Quote of the week from Jim Hopkins:

There it is again – “our people” – a collective entity thinking with one mind and speaking with one voice. Yet . . . we all speak with different voices. It’s the life we live, not the DNA we’ve inherited that shapes us. Context means more than colour. . .

The fact is, there’s no such thing as “our people”. “Our people” doesn’t exist. It’s a convenient myth. And a potent one as years of argy-bargy confirm. But potent things can still be bollocks – try homeopathy next time you’re dying.

“Our people” is homo-opathy (as in erectus, you understand). Every one of us is a person before we’re a people. If we’re not, Hitler’s won.

If it’s acceptable to define someone as a Jew rather than a physicist, then every racial generalisation, foul or flattering, becomes legitimate.

But they’re not. Race is neither the arbiter of identity nor the measure of destiny . . . Our personalities are as individual as our immune systems.

This is the reality facing and fracturing the Maori Party.

There is, as Bryce Edwards said no single Maori view:

In order to understand the current major schism within the Maori Party, you need to understand the major contradictions within the party and within Maoridom as a whole. The Maori Party is a pan-Maori party, and is trying to represent vastly different Maori interests. It has always had a very contradictory voter support base. After all, not all Maori think alike, have the same political views, or the same economic interests. Most importantly, the party has tried to represent the interest of poor Maori and the growing middle income Maori.

You can’t fool all of the people all of the time, nor can you get all of them to agree all of the time.

Claim crime only way to survive ridiculous – Minister


Claiming crime is the only way to survive is ridiculous.

This was the response from Social Development Minister Paula Bennet to claims by a beneficiary and a superannuitant who used the excuse of poverty for growing cannabis.

When asked to comment, Ms Bennett, . . .  said: “There is no excuse for criminal behaviour and the benefit system should not be used as a scapegoat.

“This country has one of the most generous welfare systems in the world, tax credits for low-income families and a range of organisations prepared to help those on low incomes to make ends meet, so claiming the only way to survive in New Zealand is to be a criminal, is ridiculous,” she said.

“It’s insulting to those who do manage to live on a benefit, to hear others claim they need thousands of dollars a year from drug deals to supplement their taxpayer-funded income.”

Managing on a benefit is not easy but that is still no excuse for crime.

Anglican Family Care director Nicola Taylor said high living costs coupled with inadequate benefit payments had pushed many people to breaking point.

For some people, their benefit was “gone before they got it” on money owed to Work and Income, court fines to the Department of Justice, and hire-purchase payments.

While the social agency did not condone criminal activities, there were certainly cases of “resourceful” beneficiaries trying to earn money from unlawful activities, she said.

“Some people manage on their weekly benefit and others don’t.”

When this question of recourse to crime if you were poor was raised a few years ago the Oamaru Mail quizzed North Otago clergy. One vicar was from South Africa and said he found it difficult to comment on poverty here.

Where he came from hudnreds of people shared a single cold water tap, here he watched people drive cars to the food bank.

When you’re on a benefit there is rarely much left after basic costs have been covered. But some of the reasons given for problems – paying fines and possibly some hire purchase payments – are usually a sign of high outgoings as a result of poor choices and inadequate budgeting skills rather than a reflection on the adequacy or otherwise of welfare payments.

Some people will always manage better than others on any income. But regardless of that and the reasons for difficulty in budgeting, poverty is no excuse for crime in New Zealand.

Growing vegetables wouldn’t be as lucrative as growing cannabis for the two people who ended up in court. But it would reduce their food bills and selling the surplus would be a legal way to earn extra from their green fingers.

February 5 in history


On February 5:

62 AD – Earthquake in Pompeii

1576 Henry of Navarre converted to Roman Catholicism in order to ensure his right to the throne of France.

1597 A group of Japanese Christians were killed by the new government for being seen as a threat to Japanese society.

1649 The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland was declared King of Scotland.

1725 James Otis, American lawyer and patriot, was born (d. 1783).

1778  South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1782 Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.

1783 In Calabria, Italy, a sequence of strong earthquakes started.

1788 Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1850).

1818 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, was born (d. 1921).

1840 Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor (Maxim gun), was born (d. 1916).

1859 – Wallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.

Alexander Ioan Cuza.jpg

1878 André Citroën, French automobile pioneer, was born  (d. 1935).


1885 – King Léopold II of Belgium established the Congo as a personal possession.

1867 New Zealand’s third public railway, the 27-kilometre line between Invercargill and the port at Bluff, built by the Southland Provincial Council, opened.

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1900 The United States and the United Kingdom signed a treaty for the Panama Canal.

1908 – Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twins, were born  (d. 1969).

1917 The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

 The Asiatic Barred Zone as defined by the Immigration Act of 1917.

1918 Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

Stephen W. Thompson.jpg

1919 Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.

1920  Frank Muir, British comedian, was born (d. 1998).

1924 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.

 Graph of the six pips

1942 Cory Wells, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1946 The Chondoist Chongu Party was founded in North Korea.

1958 Gamel Abdel Nasser was nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.

Head and shoulders of a man in his forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead, thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt with a tie.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence.

1964 Duff McKagan, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1972 Bob Douglas became the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1972 Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, was born.

1994  More than 60 people were killed and some 200 wounded when a mortar shell hit a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.

1997 – The “Big Three”  banks in Switzerland announced the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

2004 Twenty-three Chinese people drowned when a group of 35 cockle-pickers was trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. .

2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States left 57 dead.

2009 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal ran aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship and a coral reef.

USS Port Royal

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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