Obama fails vegemite test


Julia Gillard’s attempts to convert Barack Obama to vegemite failed.

She shouldn’t have tried.

Every country has food which is peculiar to it. If you’re not born there and grow up eating it you’re very unlikely to acquire a taste for it.

Vegemite is one of those. Partiality to it is peculiar to Australians and New Zealanders.

You might get away with offering someone a thin scraping on cheese toasties which moderates the flavour. But trying to convert people not born and bred appreciating its unique attractions isn’t worth the effort.

Word of the day


Gerent – one who directs, manages or rules.

How to drop a bad book


Noelle McCarthy and I started our discussion on Critical Mass by looking at a couple of blogs by New Zealand writers:

Raymond Huber, Dunedin author of Sting, blogs his thoughts. In the sidebar you’ll find advice on best books to encourage reading and he also has a cellphone poem and some tricky puzzles.

The first puzzle:

There are 6 eggs in a carton.  6 people are given 1 egg each, but there is one egg still left in the carton.
How can this be?

You’ll have to follow the link above to get the answer – unless of course you work it out for yourself.

The title of writer and Artist Claire Beynon’s blog All Finite things reveal infinitude comes from a Theodore Roethhke poem.

In sand and salt water’s edge she muses on the advice from a friend: when in doubt opt for something astonishing.

The last link has nothing at all to do with the previous ones – it’s Nancy Pearl’s rule of 50 for dropping a bad book.

Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae new Gov Gen


Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae will succeed Sir Anand Satyanand as our  Governor General.

Prime Minister John Key made the announcement this morning:

“Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae is a highly regarded leader with a distinguished 38-year military career.  He joined the New Zealand Army in 1972, and rose through the ranks, serving and commanding in a wide variety of roles,” says Mr Key.

 “This culminated in his appointment as Chief of Defence Force in 2006.  He is currently the director of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

 “Jerry will be New Zealand’s 20th Governor-General.  I believe he will bring great mana and a wide range of qualities to this role, including judgement, energy and an enthusiasm for encouraging excellence in others.

 “As Governor-General, he will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of New Zealanders and develop an active programme in the community.

 “Jerry has served New Zealand with dedication and honour throughout his career, and I am delighted that he has agreed to continue that service in a new, broader role,” says Mr Key.

Sir Anand Satyanand’s term finishes on August 23.  Jerry Mateparae will be sworn in on 31 August for his five-year term.

Biographical notes on the Governor General in waiting  cover a distinguished career and community service:

Jerry’s military career has shaped his advocacy of “excellence” and interest in developing leaders, the welfare of veterans and the development of New Zealand’s youth. His current community service includes the Rotary Club of Wellington, the Palmerston North Boys’ High School Board of Trustees and the Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. In the past, he has been a patron for various organisations and groups. Currently he is the patron of the New Zealand Special Air Service Association.


 His interests include keeping fit, diving, reading, sport, and health and wellbeing


11/15 but really 12


Political tragics missed out on a politics quiz in the Dominion Post last week and today’s trivia quiz has an error.

I got the right answer for question 13 –  how many acres in a hectare? But the quiz marked it wrong so although I got a score of 11/15, I got 12 right.

Stock prices soar for earthquake recovery


Prices at the weekly Waiareka stock sale soared as buyers bid high to support North Otago Young Farmers earthquake recovery fundraiser. 

The call for stock over the weekend resulted in the donation of 240 sheep and 72 cattle which went under the hammer yesterday.

North Otago District chairman Greig Moore said:

“I came into this thinking we’d make about $10,000 – not quite half way through it I started to think we were going to blow it out of the water.”

And blow it out of the water they did. Over $68,000 was raised with every cent to go straight to the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Fund.

Greig said that a lot of people turned out for the sale and the stock went for much higher than the usual sale price. Prime ewes sold for $184, prime lambs went for $180 and prime cattle averaged at a price of $944.77.

“One person ended up selling an angus steer for over $1300 alone.”

Greig says that thanks must be made to those that donated and bought stock and also to several trucking companies: North Otago Transport, Rural Transport, Mainland Agri Transport, Waimate Transport and Bennett Transport all donated their cartage for free.

Stock agents also gave their services for free: PGG Wrightson and Whitestone Livestock stock agents waived their commissions for the sale.

My farmer has been going to that sale for more than 40 years and said this was the first time he didn’t mind paying well above market price for stock.

Sally Rae reports on the sale in the ODT.

UPDATE: While on the subject of fundraisers, if they’re felling oak trees in Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, why not offer them to woodturners and furniture makers? Either auction the timber or give the trees to craftspeople who are willing to donate what they make from it to be sold for the quake recovery.



The petrol gauge on my car has 10 little blocks stacked vertically.

Unlike the gauges I’ve been used to in other vehicles which are more like a clock with a hand that moves gradually round the face, the blocks drop off suddenly one at a time.

Unless I’ve noticed when it gets down to the last couple it’s easy to get down to the final block and the warning that I’m almost out of fuel.

Filling a tank that is almost empty has never been cheap – but yesterday was the first time it’s ever cost more than $90 – ouch.

It was at a BP station which was charging $2.09 a litre. That might seem steep but if oil prices rise and our dollar falls fuel prices will become even more expensive.

March 8 in history


On March 8:

1126 Alfonso VII was proclaimed king of Castile and Leon, after the death of his mother Urraca.

1495 John of God, Portuguese-born friar and saint, was born.

1655 John Casor becomes the first legally-recognised slave in what became the United States.

1702 Anne Stuart, sister of Mary II, became Queen regnant of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

1722 The Safavid Empire of Iran was defeated by an army from Afghanistan at The Battle of Gulnabad, pushing Iran into anarchy.

1775 Thomas Paine’s “African Slavery in America,” the first article in the U.S. calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery was published.

1777 Regiments from Ansbach and Bayreuth, sent to support Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, mutinied in the town of Ochsenfurt.

1782 Gnadenhütten massacre: Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity were killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.


1817 The New York Stock Exchange was founded.


1844 King Oscar I ascended to the throne of Sweden-Norway.

1856 Bramwell Booth, the 2nd General of The Salvation Army, was born  (d. 1929).

1859 Kenneth Grahame, English author, was born (d. 1932).

1911 International Women’s Day was launched in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany.


1917 The U.S. Senate votes to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.

1921 Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato Iradier was assassinated.

1924 The Castle Gate mine disaster killed 172 coal miners near Castle Gate, Utah.

1929 Frank Borzage’s Street Angel, a silent picture with a recorded musical soundtrack, screened at Wellington’s Paramount Theatre – before this silent movies had been accompained by live music.

First 'talkie' draws huge crowds in Wellington

1936 Daytona Beach Road Course held their first oval stock car race.


1937 Juvénal Habyarimana, President of Rwanda, was born.


1942 The Dutch surrendered to Japanese forces on Java.

1943 Lynn Redgrave, English actress, was born  (d. 2010).

1945 Micky Dolenz, American musician (The Monkees), was born.

1946 Randy Meisner, American musician (The Eagles)


1947 Mike Allsup, American musician (Three Dog Night), was born.

1957 Egypt re-opened the Suez Canal after the Suez Crisis.

1963 The Ba’ath Party came to power in Syria in a Coup d’état by a clique of quasi-leftist Syrian Army officers calling themselves the National Council of the Revolutionary Command.

1966 – A bomb planted by young Irish protesters destroyed Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin.

1974 Charles de Gaulle Airport opened in Paris.

Aeroports de Paris logo.svg

1978 The first-ever radio episode of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, was transmitted on BBC Radio 4.

1979 – Philips demonstrated the Compact Disc publicly for the first time.

Compact disc.svg

1980 The first festival of rock music kicked off in the Soviet Union.

1985 A failed assassination attempt on Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut killed at least 45 and injured 175 others.

2004  A new constitution was signed by Iraq’s Governing Council.

2010 – The stolen body of Tassos Papadopoulos, 5th President of Cyprus, was discovered in a cemetery near the capital.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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