Word of the day


Whisternefet – A sharp slap



If you’re among the political tragics suffering from the absence of the Dom Post’s weekly political quiz you might like to take your mind off it by trying the narcissistic personality test.

I got 3/40 which means I’m well below average if this is to be believed: 

 Between 12 and 15 is average.
Celebrities often score closer to 18.
Narcissists score over 20.

Hat Tip: Scepticon.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Where was Julia Gillard born?

2. What is the common name of Australia’s naitonal flower, Acacia pycnantha?

3. Who said: “Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.”?

4. Who wrote the series of books featuring Scobie Malone which started with The High Commissioner ?

5. Who in Banjo Patteron’s poem came from Eaglehawk and caught the cycling craze?

Points for answers:

Gravedodger wins an electronic watermelon for five right and a bonus for commentary.

JC got three right and a bonus for being able to quote the first vers of Mulga Bill.

David got one and a bonus for extra  information.

Adam got two right and a smile to compensate for the frown.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Is XT working properly yet?


Alcatel-Lucent, which designed telecom’s XT network has been employed to find out if it’s working properly.

We still have concerns with it.

When we were in Wanaka over Christmas/New Year my farmer’s phone and mine kept disconnecting mid call even when the display showed full reception.

I have an XT t-stick for my computer and it kept losing reception and/or disconnecting too.

I suspect that means the system can’t cope with the population influx.

We haven’t had any problems with phones in Wanaka since then but computer connection, in Wanaka and other places, while better is not 100% reliable.

We also both find that coverage for our XT phones isn’t as good as it was with the old system. There’s always been a black spot between the Otematata saddle and Omarama but anywhere else in the Waitaki Valley used to be okay.  It’s not with XT phones which go in and out of reception in several other places in the valley and other places between home and Christchurch and throughout Otago and Southland where we used to have no problems.

The system has got over its initial problems and is certainly working better than it was but there’s still room for improvement.

High food prices good for NZ


Quote of the week:

At times of rising food prices, the rest of the world must look at NZ  and see strong growth prospects, and the benefits from the world buying our products at higher prices are shared across the economy. The NZ dollar tends to follow broad movements in international commodity prices. Among the benefits of this are lower prices for imported goods, leaving more money to be spent elsewhere. In the upshot, the effect of high international foodprices is a net positive for the economy. “To think otherwise, would be like thinking higher oil prices are  a negative for Saudi Arabia. It would just not make sense.”  Economist Doug Steel in Trans Tasman.



On Wednesday I wrote a post asking why use wheat for ethanol when there’s a shortage of food?

I concluded it by saying,  could it be a Green plot to reduce world population by starving people to death?

Robert Guyton understandably took exception to that and responded with mad cow in the homepaddock (which was later revised to mad comments from the home paddock).

I write a lot of posts in advance. That posts keep appearing doesn’t mean I’m sitting in front of the computer and even if I am checking this blog I might not have time to read others.

Real life has taken priority  in the last couple of days so I only caught up with Robert’s post and the comments on it last night.

I then re-read my post and realised how stupid the final comment was. I meant it as hyperbole and was referring not to the Green Party but the eco-extremists who have talked about population control as a planet-saving measure.

However, that wasn’t what I wrote and although I have now corrected it that will be too late for the people who were upset by it.

I was wrong, I’m sorry and I apologise unreservedly.


I will take more care in future but if I get something wrong it’s much easier for me to correct it if you let me know with a comment on the offending post which I’d usually see within a few hours than on another blog which I might not read for days, if at all.

February 18 in history


On February 18:

3102 BC Epoch of the Kali Yuga.


1229 The Sixth Crusade: Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor signed a ten-year truce with al-Kamil, regaining Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem with neither military engagements nor support from the papacy.

Al-Kamil Muhammad al-Malik and Frederick II Holy Roman Emperor.jpgFrederick II (left) meets al-Kamil (right).

1268 The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were defeated by Dovmont of Pskov in the Battle of Rakvere.

1478 George, Duke of Clarence, who was convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was executed.

1685 Fort St. Louis was established by a Frenchman at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France’s claim to Texas.

1745 The city of Surakarta, Central Java was founded on the banks of Bengawan Solo river, and became the capital of the Kingdom of Surakarta.

1797 Trinidad was surrendered to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby.

Sir Ralph Abercromby by John Hoppner.jpg

1814 The Battle of Montereau.

1841 The first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate began and lasted until March 11.

1846 Beginning of the Galician peasant revolt.

1861 Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the provisional President of the Confederate States of America.

1861 King Victor Emmanuel II of Piedmont, Savoy and Sardinia assumed the title of King of Italy.

1873 Bulgarian revolutionary leader Vasil Levski was executed in Sofia by the Ottoman authorities.

1878 John Tunstall was murdered by outlaw Jessie Evans, sparking the Lincoln County War.

 Jessie Evans.

1884 Mark Twain‘s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published for the first time.


1901 Winston Churchill made his maiden speech in the House of Commons.


1906 Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician was born (d. 1980).

A white-coated man in his thirties sits at a table across from a boy. He looks intently at the boy through his rimless glasses. His hair is cropped fairly short on the sides and is wavy on top. The boy, seated in the foreground with his back toward the viewer, sits straight up, with one arm resting on the arm of a wooden chair.

1911 The first official flight with air mail took place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 km away.

1913 Raymond Poincaré becomes President of France.

1922 Helen Gurley Brown, American editor, was born.

Helen Gurley Brown 1964.jpg

1929 The first Academy Awards  were announced.

1930 Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.


1930 – Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.


1932 – The Empire of Japan declared Manzhouguo (the obsolete Chinese name for Manchuria) independent from the Republic of China.

1933  Yoko Ono, Japanese-born singer, was born.

1933  Mary Ure, Scottish actress, was born  (d. 1975).

1936 Jean Auel, American writer, was born.

1943 – The Nazis arrested the members of the White Rose movement.

 Monument to the “Weiße Rose”

1943 – Joseph Goebbels delivered the Sportpalast speech.


1946 Jean-Claude Dreyfus, French actor, was born.

1948 Eamon de Valera resignsed as Taoiseach of Ireland.

1948 Keith Knudsen, American drummer and songwriter (The Doobie Brothers), was born (d. 2005).

1950 Cybill Shepherd, American actress, was born.

1953 Robbie Bachman, Canadian drummer (Bachman-Turner Overdrive), was born.

1954 John Travolta, American actor, was born.

1954 The first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California.

1955 Operation Teapot: Teapot test shot “Wasp” was successfully detonated at the Nevada Test Site with a yield of 1.2 kilotons.


1957 Walter Bolton, a Wanganui farmer was the last man to be hanged in New Zealand.

1957  Kenyan rebel leader Dedan Kimathi was executed by the British colonial government.


1960  Greta Scacchi, Australian actress, was born.


1965 The Gambia becomes independent from the United Kingdom.

1969 The Hawthorne Nevada Airlines Flight 708 disaster occurred, killing all on board.

1972 The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, 6 Cal.3d 628 invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death ro innmates to life in prison.

1977  The Space Shuttle Enterprise test vehicle was carried on its maiden “flight” sitting on top of a Boeing 747.

Space Shuttle Enterprise

1979 Snow fell in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history.

1982 “Queen of Crime” Dame Ngaio Marsh died.

'Queen of Crime' Ngaio Marsh dies

 1983 Thirteen people die and one is seriously injured in the Wah Mee Massacre in Seattle, Washington. It is said to be the largest robbery-motivated mass-murder in U.S. history.

1991 The IRA exploded bombs in the early morning at both Paddington station and Victoria station in London.

2001 FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested for spying for the Soviet Union.

2003 Nearly 200 people died in the Daegu subway fire in South Korea.


2003 Comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) made perihelion, seen by SOHO.

2004 Up to 295 people, including nearly 200 rescue workers, died near Neyshabur in Iran when a run-away freight train carrying sulfur, petrol and fertiliser caught fire and exploded.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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