Word of the day


Badinage – playful or frivolous  banter,  raillery or  repartee; to banter with or tease (someone) playfully.

I’d read this word long before I heard it spoken and for years had  misread and then mispronounced it as bandiage  thinking it meant to bandy words, which it does.

It was only while I was doing a book review on radio when the host used the word, and pronounced it correctly, that I realised my mistake.

Feds seek funniest farm video


Federated Farmers has launched a funniest farm video competition with an iPad  2 for the winner.

“This competition is a chance for Kiwis, from both the city and the country, to showcase the humorous side of New Zealand’s farming world,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers chief executive.

“Farming is critical to New Zealand’s success, but our rural areas are also the source of many light hearted events. For example, our recent Federated Farmers Farm day was an opportunity for our city cousins to visit a farm.

“Now we want Kiwis to upload some videos to celebrate the lighter side of farming life. 

The funny thing is that funny on the farm is often only funny in hindsight and even then it’s usually funnier to the observers than the participant.

And when we have those moments that are funny at the time everyone’s usually too busy laughing to record the hilarity.

If you have a funny farm film, a click on the link above will take you to details on how to enter the competition which closes on May 31.

Autumn asparagus?


Asparagus is one of the joys of spring and it usually runs out in early to mid summer.

But I’m still seeing New Zealand grown asparagus in supermarkets.

Have growers managed to extend the growing season or has it been stored to extend the selling season?

Waste, what waste?


The difficulty in selling the message of frugality is that people understand and even approve of  it in theory but aren’t so keen on it in practice unless it’s applied to other people rather than them.

What one might regard as waste is another’s pet project. 

However, a careful reassessment of all but the most stringent personal budgets can usually unearth something in the nice-but-not-necessary category, and the same will apply to public ones.

I’m not suggesting we have this sort of public-spending profligacy here, but take a look at the Taxpayers’ Alliance April Fools Quiz to see some fine examples of expensive nice-to-haves they uncovered in Britain and Europe, many of which aren’t even nice.

April 2 in history


On April 2:

742 Charlemagne was born (d. 814).

1453  Mehmed II begins his siege of Constantinople (Istanbul).

Fatih II. Mehmet.jpg

1513 Juan Ponce de Leon set foot on Florida, becoming the first European known to do so.

1743 Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, was born  (d. 1826).

Jefferson portrait by Charles Willson Peale

1755 Commodore William James captured the pirate fortress of Suvarnadurg on west coast of India.


1792 The Coinage Act was passed establishing the United States Mint.


1801 Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Copenhagen – The British destroyed the Danish fleet.


1805 Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer, was born  (d. 1875).

1810  Napoleon Bonaparte married Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.


1814 Erastus Brigham Bigelow, American inventor, was born (d. 1879).

1840 Émile Zola, French novelist and critic, was born  (d. 1902).


1863 Richmond Bread Riot: Food shortages incited hundreds of angry women to riot in Richmond, Virginia and demand that the Confederate government release emergency supplies.

1865 American Civil War: The Siege of Petersburg was broken – Union troops capture the trenches around Petersburg, Virginia, forcing Confederate General Robert E. Lee to retreat.

1865 – American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

1875 Walter Chrysler, American automobile pioneer, was born  (d. 1940).


1900 US Congress passed the Foraker Act, giving Puerto Rico limited self-rule.

1902  Dmitry Sipyagin, Minister of Interior of the Russian Empire, was assassinated in the Marie Palace, St Petersburg.

1902 “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opened in Los Angeles.

1914 Sir Alec Guinness, English actor, was born (d. 2000).


1916 Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana was arrested.

Arrest of Rua Kenana

1917 World War I: President Woodrow Wilson asked the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.

1917 The first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin, took her seat as a representative from Montana.


1930 Haile Selassie was proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia.

1939 Marvin Gaye, American singer, was born (d. 1984).

1940 Penelope Keith, English actress, was born.


1947 Emmylou Harris, American singer, was born.

1947 Camille Paglia, American feminist writer, was born.

1956 As the World Turns and The Edge of Night premiere don CBS-TV. The two soaps become the first daytime dramas to debut in the 30-minute format.

As The World Turns 2009 logo.png Edge56.jpg

1961  Keren Woodward, English singer (Bananarama), was born.

1962 The first official Panda crossing was opened outside Waterloo station, London.


1972 Actor Charlie Chaplin returned to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.


1972 – Vietnam War: The Easter Offensive began– North Vietnamese soldiers of the 304th Division took the northern half of Quang Tri Province.

T-59 VC.jpg

1973  Launch of the LexisNexis computerized legal research service.


1975 Vietnam War: Thousands of civilian refugees fled from the Quang Ngai Province in front of advancing North Vietnamese troops.

1975 – Construction of the CN Tower was completed in Toronto. At 553.33 metres (1,815.4 ft) in height, it became the world’s tallest free-standing structure.

Toronto's CN Tower.


1980  President Jimmy Carter signed the Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act in an effort to help the U.S. economy rebound.

1982 Falklands War: Argentina invaded the Malvinas/Falkland Islands.


1984  Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma was launched aboard Soyuz T-11, and becomes the first Indian in space.

Rakesh sharma.jpg

1989 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Havana to meet Fidel Castro in an attempt to mend strained relations.

1991  Rita Johnston became the first female Premier of a Canadian province when she succeeded William Vander Zalm (who had resigned) as Premier of British Columbia.

1992 Mafia boss John Gotti was convicted of murder and racketeering and later sentenced to life in prison.

2002  Israeli forces surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem into which armed Palestinians had retreated.


2004 Islamist terrorists involved in the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks were thwarted in an attempt to bomb the Spanish high-speed train AVE near Madrid.

2006 More than  60 tornadoes broke out; hardest hit was Tennessee with 29 people killed.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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